austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I took a ride on a shoot-the-chute

I went to the Silverball museum recently, the side effect of a haircut (the pinball museum is comfortably near my barber's), and only mildly strange things came as a result of it. For example, my entrance was delayed by a couple minutes because the person in front of me was having some surprisingly complicated discussion about arranging an event party where all the kids would play pinball (and the affiliated games they have there) after loading up on pizza and soda. I'd have expected this sort of thing to be right up the museum's alley, but talks kept going on, with a key breakthrough coming when it was pointed out all the kids would be wearing the same model T-shirt so they wouldn't need wrist bands. To compensate me for this exceedingly tiny inconvenience the guy working the register gave me a two dollar discount, which I suppose is what you get for being freshly shaved around there.

The day was relatively free of strange incidents except that while I was playing the Elvira-themed Scared Stiff a teenaged girl wearing a museum T-shirt stood by the side and stared at me. Steadily. Continuously. I would have guessed she was interested in the game, although she was more following my hand on the left flipper rather than the ball or the dot matrix display. As soon as my game finished, while I was still writing down my score, she slipped her hand over and hit the Start Game button. (The games are all on free play, with the cost covered by the entry charge.) She hadn't even said a word. There's something going on there I wasn't qualified to evaluate.

My habit of writing down scores did get someone else to ask if I were in the league, an association I didn't realize existed but probably should have imagined. He said he was there trying to understand why Attack From Mars commands higher prices on the resale market than Twilight Zone, and it's a fair question. Though Attack From Mars is a great game, Twilight Zone is enormously better. On the other hand, Twilight Zone has about nine hundred little fidgety props and no machine ever has had them all in working order simultaneously. There's probably a discount for the hassle of ownership.

In other notes I saw on high score tables the initials of Sean Joseph Grant, someone who back in undergraduate days I would watch in awe as he played with psychokinetic-level abilities. So apparently he's still in the area and visits at least sometimes.

Trivia: A 1950s policy of sanctioned feeding of pigeons made the species' population in Moscow increase by twelvefold over five years. Source: Superdove: How The Pigeon Took Manhattan ... And The World, Courtney Humphries.

Currently Reading: A War Of Frontier And Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899 - 1902, David J Silbey.


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