May 16th, 2015

krazy koati

You can help to collect some more in

There was more to do at the pole barn. For example they had a mechanical bowling machine, with the kinds of pins that fly upward and back as the ball rolls underneath. It's a fun game and the machine has a couple neat variations of standard bowling that should keep it interesting. And between me, bunny_hugger, and MWS, we had several rounds in which everybody got a strike, which is awfully toy-gratifying.

Another mechanical non-pinball attraction is a horseshoe simulator. The tossing is done by spinning a wheel, which powers a flywheel, which animates a string of lights that can make your virtual horseshoe hit the post exactly, or land in the pit, or overshoot or undershoot. After some coaxing we joined the contest --- we thought it'd be too late for us, and it turns out we could stay even later than we figured with just a little encouragement --- and I put in some serious practice ahead of the tournament.

As a result, I had a couple of ringers, including a string of them on the tosses where a ringer gives you an extra toss. In practice I got as high as 23 points --- the highest recorded was 28 --- although in the actual competition I came in at 16. That would be a winning score for pretty much any match except I played against the one person who could put up an 18 in play. So I was out, early, and just watched as people with nines and tens won their matches. Figures.

After the tournament --- and it was getting pretty late by then --- I also joined in a dollar-game tournament on Centaur, which I lead off with a perfect brick. ``That's Centaur,'' was the best anyone could say. Rough start, yes, but I did have the glory of a third-ball comeback where I just could not stop scoring. I confess not really knowing how to win this solid-state game; I fell back on the strategy of shooting banks of drop targets, then the spinner; and that was right enough. I got to bask in that moral victory. The game owner managed a final-ball come-from-behind to score the actual victory, but I at least looked like I had a logical place in the big-city world of Michigan pinball. I don't have to be the hick in the big city of Kalamazoo.

Trivia: Lt Colonel John Paul Stapp and David Simons wanted to call the ``Man High'' program of upper-atmospheric ballooning Project Daedalus, but were told the Air Force already had a highly classified program with that name. Source: Animals In Space: From Research Rockets To The Space Shuttle, Colin Burgess, Chris Dubbs.

Currently Reading: Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, Cynthia Barnett.

PS: Reading the Comics, May 14, 2015: At The Cash Register Edition, featuring a bit of my own history of working retail. Spoiler: there's not much to be angry about with the customer exactly. He was just a little overly insistent about something.