Our next big expedition after Traverse Bay was Pinburgh, the major pinball event. That we would leave for a week and a day after getting home. So yeah, we fit something else in between that. And at the risk of sounding out of character, of course it was a pinball event.
Fremont, Michigan, is out in the middle of nowhere, not even a major highway running through it. Getting there involves at least a half-hour driving minor streets, and the quickest way from our home involves an hour on surface roads like that. That might be good for the town, oddly still the headquarters for Gerber. It supports a healthy number of pretty major festivals, including the Baby Food Festival. AJH, one of the state's top pinball players, has teamed up with the Baby Food Festival for a charity tournament that brilliantly uses the festival to draw in casual players and generate International Flipper Pinball Association ranking points for experienced players. And usually brings in a great selection of games you don't see everywhere to play out.
bunny_hugger, MWS, and I went out for the Saturday, last day of qualifying and the one day of finals. We took advantage of early reports that the tournament was kind of slow, with not many of the serious players competing. Maybe it was the timing: days before the much bigger, much higher-stress Pinburgh event, but out of AJH's hands because the Baby Food Festival is the schedule-setter. Maybe it's a chronic thing: there's enough tournaments and leagues now, and enough points mines on both the east and west side of the state, that the jackpot of doing well at the Baby Food Festival isn't the make-or-break to qualify for the state championship that it used to be. (Fremont, host of the Blind Squirrel League, is one of those points mines, but given how far it is for us in Lansing, I can understand folks in the Detroit area figuring that you know, it isn't actually worth it even for potentially 25 points.
The format was much as previous years: put your best scores up on the seven or so tables in the main tournament; the best five give you your tournament ranking. Put your best scores up on the three tables in the Classics side tournament; how you do compared to other people gives you your ranking there. There was also a side, women's, tournament, and bunny_hugger was feeling good about that until she saw SMB, one of the best players in the country, walk in. Right this minute SMB is a top-16 player in four states. She's the 25th-highest-ranked player in Michigan, and she lives in North Carolina. (I think.) She was visiting family, apparently, and figured to just pop in and see what might happen. Only the top four women competing would go to finals there and bunny_hugger saw her chance evaporating.
Trivia: A 1710 map of Cheshire, England, marks ``John Stubbs salt pit''. The current Stubbs --- after centuries in the salt business --- are not certain exactly who John was. Source: Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky.
Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.
PS: So this dovetails nicely for once. Day after Thanksgiving last year we went to a charity event at the VFW Ann Arbor Pinball Hall of Fame. Here's some of the spectacle.
``So you wanna mouse around?'' Lower playfield of Bally's 1989 Mousin' Around, a cartoony cat-and-mouse chase-themed game that would actually be less Poochied Up if it had actual Poochie in it.
``So what did we watch for the FlopHouse 1989 Super-Spectacular, Dan?'' ``Well, Elliott, we watched Midway's Transporter: The Rescue, all about women being caught by a rubber mask with cocktail weiners growing out of his forehead.'' ``All right, I'm not quite sold on it, but has he got lobster claws and does he wear a crown of candy corn?'' ``Yes.'' Also the game that made Pinburgh 2016 for bunny_hugger so, that's pretty good.
PPS: How October 2017 Treated My Mathematics Blog, a brief report.