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austin_dern

July 2017

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Let me take a break here to share stuff that's been on my humor blog the past week. I've spent a good part of it posting some Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction from a decade-plus ago. It'll be finished tomorrow.

That said, how about that Calhoun County Fair?

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Poor little chicken, all deflated and set out on the cage floor between shows.


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Poor little chicken, aware that I was saying something about her and worrying that it was worse than it actually was.


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``Can I help you?'' Turkey is not at all sure about being on camera, especially my camera.


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Turkey decides to do something about my camera once and for all!


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From the fair's historical museum section: the pre-2003 corn dog frying machine. It's not an industrial-grade machine; that they got in 2003. This was their homemade contraption for frying up corn dogs and I'm charmed by it.


Trivia: Insurance companies wanted to charge $35,000 to cover the 1947 move of the 200-inch mirror from Pasadena, California, to Palomar, well outside Caltech's budget at the time. The journey was eventually insured for $1,800. Source: The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence.

Currently Reading: Barnaby, Volume 3, Crockett Johnson.

PS: What Would You Like In The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z? The request lines are open! Featuring art from [personal profile] thomaskdye!

Tags:

What's kept my humor blog going the past week, besides some recycled material and a string of silly apologies for not posting my monthly statistics roundup? Pretty much that. Here's what you've been missing out on:

Last summer during the slow periods, and it's amazing to think we had slow periods, we popped over to the Blind Squirrel tavern to put in some game scores. To make the trip less obviously a ploy for pinball ratings points, we also stopped in at Michigan's Adventure on what proved to be the busiest day we had ever seen there, ever. Let's watch.

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An not-at-Michigan's-Adventure picture and one from my iPod Touch since I had that on me: the former location of Emil's and a bunch of other buildings dating back to the 1920s, cleared out and obliterated and levelled to the sidewalk. They've since put up most of the replacement building here; this is what it looked like when it looked like after you hit 'bulldoze' on SimCity.


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The most crowded and busy day at Michigan's Adventure that we had ever seen. In the center top you can see a little yellow angular thing; that's the Mad Mouse ride, and that was historically as far back as [profile] bunny_hugger ever needed to park. The entrance to the park isn't even visible from here, which is wild.


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Shivering Timbers, Michigan's Adventure's big wooden roller coaster --- more than a mile long --- well out along its path, about where we had parked. The surrounding areas are strikingly unurbanized and, you see, marshy.


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Michigan's Adventure began life in 1956 as Deer Park, a petting zoo. The petting zoo side fell away over the decades as rides came in, and the name turned to Deer Park Funland before being finally abolished in the 1980s. For the park's 60th year they put in a new petting zoo, named Funland Farm. People can come up and see animals and braid their hair and put adorable little booties on their hooves.


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``Can I help you?'' From the Funland Farm petting zoo in Michigan's Adventure and if this picture doesn't make you fall in love I don't know what will.


Trivia: ENIAC cost $650 per hour in electricity when it was not running. Source: Eniac, Scott McCartney.

Currently Reading: Sky Island, L Frank Baum.

It's a day late but here's the roundup of my humor blog pieces, as brought to your Reading page or your RSS feed. Thanks for being around for it all. I spent a lot of this week in a low-impact mode, looking over old stuff and adding a little bit of commentary to it.

On the way back from Pittsburgh and Kennywood we dropped in at Cedar Point on the day the plans to close Mean Streak were released to the world. So we made our little hour visit there mostly about going to the giant wooden roller coaster and taking in a ride and getting some documentary pictures taken.

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Cedar Point's new water tower, under construction, and getting ready to replace the old water tower. We'd follow its progress over the season and I was surprised that the nearly century-old old water tower was still up when we visited the park in June 2017.


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Final approach to the Mean Streak! That is, the stretch of path leading up to the Mean Streak. We'd make another approach to it in September for the proper farewell and last ride.


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Mean Streak's entrance and some of the great big honking pile of wood that makes up the attraction.


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Some of the Mean Streak's switchback areas, capacity for a ridership that it just never saw these days. Also some of the gorgeous major hills that it's got.


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Some of the less glorious infield of Mean Streak, showing off some more of the wonderful hypnotically soothing supports to its great swooping hills and, on the left, the return leg.


Trivia: The Latin zodiac sign Libra, the Scales, was in Sanskrit `Tula', and in the Babylonian scheme `Balance'. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: The Gem Collector, PG Wodehouse.

PS: A Listing Of Mathematics Subjects I Have Covered In A To Z Sequences Of The Past on my less deliberately funny blog. Just observing.

What's on my humor blog the past week? Stuff from your Reading page, and maybe from your RSS feed, if you didn't want to wait for this. If you did, here we go.

Let's get back to Kennywood, because that is always a correct thing to do.

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Jackrabbit, Kennywood's (barely) oldest wooden roller coaster, rolling across frame.


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Kennywood's cute little aliens. Thee's a bunch of these statues, along with some of similar aliens loading (or unloading) boxes of fun from their spaceship, and a couple just lying about, near the flying saucer-themed Disk'o ride.


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Caught a nice angle on The Phantom's Revenge here. Also some good skies that it turns out were getting ready to rain on us.


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View of Thunderbolt (and in the distance the Turtle and The Phantom's Revenge) from the altitude provided by Ghostwood Estates's launch station. This is after it had basically got done raining.


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[profile] bunny_hugger very backlit and trying to show off the Turtle ride's animated neon sign.


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So if the rain has closed your Noah's Ark ride there's probably something wrong.


Trivia: After the discovery of Neptune in roughly the location where his calculations forecast, John Couch Adams declined a knighthood. Source: In Search Of Planet Vulcan: The Ghost In Newton's Clockwork Universe, Richard Baum, William Sheehan.

Currently Reading: DC Showcase Presents: Superman, Volume 3 Editors Dan DiDio, Mort Weisinger. That's the loopy Silver Age writing I love, like when Supes and Lex Luthor reminisce about the time Luthor attacked Metropolis with a atomic-powered spinny top.

You could be reading my humor blog as part of your Reading Page or Friends Page if you liked, or by whatever method of RSS you use. Or maybe you just like these posts because it simulates archive-binging once a week. Your business. Here's the most recent stuff:

Enough old stuff. Here's Kennywood pictures!

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The pizza stand in Lost Kennywood is decorated with these miniature wagons that, an information plaque explains, were used in the 1930s to showcase squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons as part of the park's free menagerie. It's up to you whether it says more about the park that they used to show off caged squirrels for Great Depression-era entertainment or that they kept the cages for decades just in case.


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The Turtle ride, one of only two Tumble Bugs known to still exist. In the distance: the Phantom's Revenge roller coaster (blue, left), and the Thunderbolt roller coaster (white, right), and across the river, industry and commerce.


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Statue of Kenny Kangaroo in the kiddieland area, near the SS Kenny miniature swinging ship ride. Yes, his nose looks weird compared to the way everybody draws kangaroos but you know, it's their thing.


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Detail of the entrance to the Racer Moebius-strip roller coaster. I was just caught by the sign: 'George wants you to scan the QR Code to learn about his role in the French And Indian War events while enjoying your day here at Kennywood'. There were a couple of these QR Code historical markers there, posted by someone unaware that nobody has ever scanned a QR Code.


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Kennywood's historic carousel, taken from a low angle because I discovered how good that can make carousels look.


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[profile] bunny_hugger enjoying the Kennywood Grand Carousel and adjusting well to her right foot becoming a lion's paw.


Trivia: As British Secretary of State for War in 1914 Herbert Kitchener suggested that Britain delay its major war effort until 1917, by which time the Continental Armies would have exhausted one another in a standstill and the British Army would be fully trained and equipped. Source: The First World War, Hew Strachan. (Events outran this, mostly in how desperately Russia needed help to avoid collapse. It does seem to me like this is basically how the United States fought World War II in Europe, though.)

Currently Reading: Storm In A Teacup: The Physics Of Everyday Life, Helen Czerski.

I want to let people know about my humor blog, available on your Friends/Reading page, or in your RSS reader, and can't think of any fresh ways to do it. So here's the stuff that was posted there the last week:

And now let's return to the day at Kennywood!

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Lost Kennywood: one of the few themed areas, the park is themed to ... what amusement parks used to be. Behind it is The Phantom's Revenge, its taller steel roller coaster and the one with an entry queue that begins way over the other side of the park, like when a Roller Coaster Tycoon player realizes they forgot to account for the entrance.


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Our lone disappointment for the day: The Exterminator, the ride that always has the longest queues, was also the only closed roller coaster. We'd try a couple times and there was just no going there, alas.


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Wedding party! I was fast enough to get a glimpse of the bride and groom being shuttled around for what I suppose were photos for the wedding party.


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The general packed-ness of Kennywood. From the queue for The Phantom's Revenge here's the track of that roller coaster (green), the Turtle ride, the Thunderbolt wooden roller coaster, and just barely a glimpse of the Ghostwood Estates dark ride, plus, the Potato Patch French-fries stand. I got some pictures that also show off the valley, but the trees in the foreground are so much more interesting.


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Rides atop rides: the green track is all The Phantom's Revenge. The wooden roller coaster on the right is Thunderbolt, and you can see how the ground slopes down and how there's the far side and the industry on the far side of the river there.


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View of The Black Widow, the big spinning swing ride, from the spider-cavern entry queue. Not to brag but boy was I there at the right moment to view the support tower there.


Trivia: A pilot in the X-15 could not see any part of the plane except the cockpit and window. The plane's nose and wings were obscured. Source: At The Edge Of Space: The X-15 Flight Program, Milton O Thompson.

Currently Reading: Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers, Simon Winchester.

Welcome

Jun. 2nd, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)

I'd spent the weekend at AnthrOhio while stuff about Motor City Fur[ry] Con went along here, so that's part of why my humor blog had a low-key week. If it's not on your friends feed or on your RSS feed then this is what you've missed:

And now ... something I thought might never happen. This is the last of my Pinburgh picture selection. I hope you enjoy this little farewell tour and stick around for the next stuff.

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My final game: Spanish pinball company Recel's 1978 Poker Plus, which finally gives us a card-themed game featuring a woman cosplaying as a wasp-themed superhero.


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After the end of everything: one of the rows of games --- the front three part of a bank I had done pretty well in tournament play --- powered down for the end of the event.


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Outside the convention hall was this setup, ReplayFX's 1980s Living Room. Besides the wood-grained sets and Nintendo system there's all sorts of classic old-time fun, including vintage issues of TV Guide and ohter magazines. Notice on top of the TV is a storage box for audio cassettes, too. No idea what if anything was in there.


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Convention put to bed. All emptied except for staff, who're getting ready to move the very many games back where they ought to be. Except those two people in the bottom right playing games. Did you spot the FunHouse in the scene before [profile] bunny_hugger did?


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Post-convention photo of the game floor. The bank of pinball games on the right, between the dividers, were the games for the Intergalactic Pinball Championship, which we tried to finish on Saturday night and for which we didn't place. Did you spot the FunHouse in the scene before [profile] bunny_hugger did?


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Striking the main stage. This was where the A Division had its finals --- you can see there's still some confetti on the left side of the stage --- and where I had put in a quick game afterwards when the place was free.


Trivia: The term ``cash flow'', one of the key measures of a commercial project's prospects, was coined only in 1954. Source: An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, John Steele Gordon.

Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.

Despite catastrophe my humor blog kept on going, as you might have seen on your Dreamwidth friends page or on your RSS reader, or for that matter on your LiveJournal friends page if you still have one. And if you're just like normal and watch stuff from here, there's my normal weekly review.

And as we draw to the end of the last day of Pinburgh we go upstairs and look out from the bridge over the main floor. There we see:

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Panoramic photo of [profile] bunny_hugger taking a photo of the convention floor. From the pedestrian bridge over the center of the main floor.


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The main pinball floor as seen from the bridge, on the last day, when all the activity was over. Did you spot the FunHouse before [profile] bunny_hugger did?


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Video games and some more of the pinball games, from the opposite side of the bridge. In the lower left you can see the Attack From The Back modded pinball game, at least a bit; it's behind that big posterboard.


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Just people having fun. It may not be much of a scene but I like the composition. At the top right is the Black Knight 2000 with the frosted glass obstructing the playfield's view.


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Last hours of playing video games and some pinball.


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Quick view of the baseball park and one of the bridges as seen from the patio outside the convention center.


Trivia: The Bowery Theater, opened in Manhattan in 1825, burned down four times between 1828 and 1845. After that it survived another eighty years. Source: Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, David S Reynolds.

Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.

PS: Getting Into Shapes, some convex-polygon center-finding stuff. Practical!

No pictures right now. While I'm getting my new computer up and running, it isn't there yet. And while maybe I could post some pre-2012 pictures and caption those I'm not at all sure I can successfully upload pictures to Dreamwidth so don't want to deal with that. I'll have more pictures sometime later. Meanwhile, this was on my humor blog this week, despite the fiasco.

Also, you know what? Let me post this here before the postscript. I wrote a heck of a big post for my mathematics blog and it gets into some real physics and diff eq and all that.

Everything Interesting There Is To Say About Springs. You might learn stuff here!

Trivia: In a Saturn V's Mode II abort the Apollo Service Module main engine lifts the Apollo capsule away from the second- and third-stages to get clear. Then on separation from the Service Module the Command Module rolls heads-up, to a full-life entry attitude. (The capsule's shape and mass configuration let it generate some lift.) Source: The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture And Operation, Frank O'Brien.

Currently Reading: The Number Mysteries: A Mathematical Odyssey Through Everyday Life, Marcus du Sautoy.

Tags:

Didn't miss a day on my humor blog again, despite temptations. If it's not on your Dreamwidth Friends Page, or your RSS feed, then here's what you could see now:

Here's some more puttering around Anthrocon In The Off Season:

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The experience of everyone playing Nascar: play Nascar or just sit impassively waiting for the thing to finish? I'm being too hard on it; there's some fun stuff on the game. We just always played savagely hard tables. In front of it, the Gottlieb mid-80s game Car Hop that's entirely based on roller skates and short skirts.


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The classic arcade video game section was overseen by Car Dealership Santa.


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So when I saw this Journey arcade I thought it was a refitted thing where some obscure early-80s game got the faces of the band imposed on whatever the original sprites were. Not so: the original game included digitized pictures of the band, with the objective being to reunite them with their instruments. Well, would you think that was legit if you encountered it in the field today? Especially with the digitized heads of the band on sprite-cartoon bodies?


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Game console section, seen from a low angle so all the laser lights on the ceiling show. Also I show off my love for weird shadow and light play.


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Small UFO serving the game consoles.


Trivia: Jay Ward's last TV pilot was a show, Fang, the Wonder (?) Dog, conceptually a Lassie spoof. Source: The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose, Keith Scott.

Currently Reading: Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40, William R Trotter.

PS: Excuses, But Classed Up Some instead of another Why Stuff Can Orbit post.

Happy actual doctorversary, love, since I got it wrong two days ago.


Another week without missing a day on my humor blog! It's there as a Dreamwidth feed, if you want to follow that, and also on RSS. Run in the past week have been:

Back to Pinburgh, and Sunday, a chance for a lot of wandering around and not doing anything particular.

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Backglass for Gottlieb's 1966 Mayfair, an electromechanical game that hoped to piggyback on how the kids could not get enough of My Fair Lady. The game was also released in a version that gave extra balls instead of replays, named Hyde Park.


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Merch tables! Besides admiring the pinball and video game machines you could buy stuff for your pinball and video game machines. Or other nerd-culture stuff. I don't know that these folks were actually selling their Hi-C stock or if that was just so they had something to keep them going.


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Backglass for Gottlieb's 1967 Super Score, the pinball-themed game that avoids being an infinite recursion. But you know they were thinking about it. Mostly I admire the cleverness of the score reels. The four-player version loses that, in favor of another level of recursion.


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``How am I supposed to let people know we're making this game in 1978?'' Williams's Disco Fever is one of two released games made with these curved ``banana'' flippers, which hold and fling the ball kind of like jai alai paddles. The flipper feeling is weird, but I think a good weird, and I think it's a shame more games haven't tried them. You get a different kind of control to the shooting.


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Attack From The Back! [profile] bunny_hugger delights in one of the modded pinball games, an Attack From Mars played with flippers hooked up to the top. She's still irked that she had a slightly better-than-average game on it. The strangest thing about playing the game this way: trying to nudge the machine even though when you'd want to the ball is hopelessly far away from you, closer to the fulcrum of your nudge, so your efforts are inherently futile.


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Mortal Kombat ripoff named Tattoo Assassins that caught my eye with its wonderfully goofy character biographies. The game, based on a concept about magic living tattoo ink (from the screenwriter for Back To The Future), never went into production and it's not clear how many of the prototypes still exist. The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association is believed to have two of them, so this might be legit. Anyway. Read everything you can about it, because it's one of those fiascos that just keeps giving. Not sure? The game has a Nancy Kerrigan expy. Also Hanna, who was ``a world class strip club dancer until a deranged killer'' and I'm sorry but what is the precise skill which differentiates a world-class strip club dancer from the merely very good strip club dancer? Plus they seem to have invented animalities and actually done nudalities. And that's not even counting the 90s Cyber stuff and the stuff that would be racist if it weren't so goofy and probably really is racist in that ``what, were we supposed to think?'' 80s-movie style.


Trivia: The word ``stamina'' is first recorded in a letter Jonathan Swift wrote to Irish dramatist Richard B Sheridan: ``I indeed think her stamina could not last much longer, when I saw she could take no nourishment''. Source: Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning, Sol Steinmetz.

Currently Reading: The Boulanger Affair Reconsidered: Royalism, Boulangism, and the Origins of the Radial Right in France, William D Irvine.

PS: Why Stuff Can Orbit, Part 8: Introducing Stability, getting back into the swing of this series.

What have you seen on my humor blog if it's part of your RSS existence or if you have its LiveJournal or now Dreamwidth feeds on your Friends page? This stuff:

And now let me close up Pinburgh Saturday with mostly backglass art.

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Lower playfield of Williams's 1981 Barracora, the body-horror game that will haunt your dreams. The story is that the game was to be called Barracuda but the President of Williams didn't like that association. Note the drop targets match up, as tradition, one target per letter of the name Barracora, except for the 'RR' target on the left side. The story there is that when the Gordian knot of how to match the game title with the number of drop targets was finally settled this way designers said if they'd known they could double up letters like that it would have solved so many problems. (In that time the table layout and the theme were developed often with little cross-talk or planning.)


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Yeah, so here's that picture you wanted of the G I Joe team's Lady Jaye riding a bucking pink robot space horse. And the company that'll bring it to you is Gottleib in 1979.


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Yeah, so here's that picture you wanted of the the cheery, dopey, plotless days before renewing yourself in the fires of Carousel. And the company that'll bring it to you is Williams in 1979.


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Meanwhile from our friends Recel, in Spain: 1977's Space Race. Fine cheery scene that makes you ask: that guy in the center, behind the fallen woman. Is he wearing flesh-colored pants or does he have a long pouch adhering to his naked thigh? Before you say this is obvious remember that it was the 70s and this is a science fiction theme.


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Williams's 1979 Stellar Wars reminds us all that we don't have to have an official license to have a good time.


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Yeah, so here's that picture you wanted of a shiny silver-mirrory winged centauress mooning the Hal 9000. And the backglass that'll bring it to you? Stern's 1978 Lectronamo.


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Another attempted panoramic shot of the banner on the convention center's underpass for the ReplayFX Arcade and Gaming Festival. On the far right is one of the Attack From Mars aliens, just past the big old-fashioned style pop bumper.


Trivia: When the Cincinnati American Association team (we'd call them the Red Sox) moved to their new field in 1882 (and where they'd stay to 1870) a local sportswriter admitted the new location had flooded that spring, but prior to that, not since 1852. It flooded again the following February. Source: Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeeping Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball, Peter Morris.

Currently Reading: Rust: The Longest War, Jonathan Waldman.

PS: Reading the Comics, April 22, 2017: Thought There'd Be Some More Last Week Edition but hey, Thursdays, why not one of these?

Had another full week on my humor blog, so if you missed it here's the various recent posts:

So let's get back to Saturday at Pinburgh and a couple more hours of the fun and photogenic stuff there.

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More backglass art because it was just that captivating: Sonic's 1976 Faces, an electromechanical game with the ever-popular theme of gazing into your soul.


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Most of the playfield for Sonic's 1976 Faces, a game we did not have cause to play in the tournament but which we couldn't resist because look at those eyes and those nostril-bumpers and the lips on that machine and then there's more faces below it. Seriously, just, wow.


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Finals for the Tiny Pinball tournament; contestants stand on chairs. Or, I get arty while waiting for the C Division finals to play out. Stars is a great early solid-state game we can't get enough of ourselves.


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The C Division Champions, by contrast to B, were able to arrange their victories in decreasing order by size.


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One of the other concerts: a live orchestra playing the music while someone speedruns the video game I Dunno, Something About Ninjas Or Something. I have no idea if they missed any beats but none of the people who knew what the game was seemed unhappy with their performance so I suppose it was without flaw in technique.


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Mobs of people waiting to put in games for the side tournament, the Intergalactic Pinball Championship. It was like 10:30 pm, with qualifying ending at 1 or 2 am and it turns out that we should have put games in earlier in the day when nobody was there. Live and learn.


Trivia: The Hudson River bed in the area of the Tappan Zee bridge is a layer of silt, in some spots 300 feet deep. Source: Engineering In History, Richard Shelton Kirby, Sidney Withington, Arthur Burr Darling, Frederick Gridley Kilgour.

Currently Reading: Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen, Philip Ball.

Tags:

I still have my humor blog going on, if you want it on your LiveJournal Friends Page, and the RSS feed is still going strong so far as I know. If it hasn't been, nobody's told me, which is about what I'd expect. RSS deserves better. Humor pieces of the past week include:

Back to photos of Pinburgh's Saturday affairs. If the pictures look different it's because I'm trying out Dreamwidth's image server to see if I can stand something that's different from what I've been using for years now. I give it like a 45 percent chance of not driving me crazy.

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Pac-Man, playing Mouse Trap. There was costuming going on at the convention, not as much as at a furry convention (so far as I saw), but involving a lot more video game characters of whom Pac-Man was about the only one I recognized. He'd chatted with [profile] bunny_hugger some about how good a game Mouse Trap was.


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Us defying the posted rules about King Kool (Gottleib, 1972). Since it was Saturday, playoffs day, fewer game banks were needed and they were open to casual players like us. Note the nightmare double-flippers there; do not try to trap the ball on the lower flippers by holding them up. You'll feel awful.


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Outlane on Stern's Big Buck Hunter, game licensed to the video game that turns out to be a whole franchise with its own fan community and conventions and all that. I mean, the heck, right? Anyway, this is maybe the only video game I know with a realistic picture of a bunny on it. It's also got two photographs of raccoons in similar 'Critter' targets.


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[profile] bunny_hugger chopping wood on the modified Tri-Zone Simon. The objective: watch the flashing lights in front of each of the fur drop targets spread across the lower playfield, and shoot those targets in that order. She was much better at it than I was. It was a fine test of control.


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Across the street, and around the corner, and way, way down the street: people queued for the Clinton rally occupying the other half of the convention center and making the place less accessible during Saturday.


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On the corner: nearly half a dozen people at the Jill Stein counter-rally. There were also briefly two or three Trump supporters on another corner, but they didn't stick around long.


Trivia: Ahead of the first space shuttle launch dynamometer tests indicated the brakes could be expected to meet five normal stops, with each brake assembly absorbing 36.5 million foot-pounds of energy, and one emergency stop absorbing 55.5 million foot-pounds. (This would be what was needed for a Return-to-Launch-Site abort.) Source: Development of the Space Shuttle 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, The Metal That Runs The World, Bill Carter.

Tags:

Once more the advisory: I have my Dreamwidth bug-out account a couple months ago, and may well be shifting over to that as soon as I find a transition date that accords with the complex and home-grown numerological superstitions I have.


The LiveJournal feed of my humor blog, as far as I know, is still functioning. The WordPress RSS feed certainly is. I think. Nobody's told me otherwise. Here's what I've posted there the past week:

Now back to Pinburgh Friday, the day I took surprisingly few photographs:

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``And you tell me this is 1980?'' said the backglass artist.


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Playfield art for the 1980 game Roller Disco, celebrating that happy time when white people and blue people could put on roller skates and disco together. And for all that, I sincerely love the art here, and the simply fun scene pictured.


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A game that I don't think was in competition, although maybe I just missed it. 1977's Time 2000, a game made by Atari, somehow. Atari made a couple of pinball games and none of them are quite normal somehow. But if this were the cover of a yellow-spine DAW paperback wouldn't you read it? Of course, if you know what a yellow-spine DAW paperback is.


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Playfield of Atari's Time 2000 game and you see what I mean? There's a couple pinball games that have this weird bifurcated flippers thing --- Rocky is the other prominent example --- and it's weird every time. Yes, it looks like there's a gap between the left side's right flipper and the right side's left flipper, but there's actually a little island there concealing, I think it was, a scoop that tosses the ball back up into the playfield.


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Playmatic's 1975 game Fairy, which again I would totally buy if it were the cover art for a yellow-spine DAW paperback. The art seems more like it's not so much ``fairy'' themed as ``1930s Flash Gordon serial'' but we can work with that too.


Trivia: The New York Central railroad, when first capitalized in 1853, was $23,000,000. Source: The Story Of American Railroads, Stewart H Holbrook.

Currently Reading: Gateway To The Moon: Building the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex, Charles D Benson, William B Faherty. NASA SP-4204, excerpted.

PS: Reading the Comics, April 1, 2017: Connotations Edition, closing out what was a busy week last week.

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While I've been slacking on my mathematics journal, my humor blog's been going on daily still, encouraged by stuff that turns out to be easier to write than expected. Didn't see it on your RSS feed? See it now:

And now back to the first day of Pinburgh, which would see me sorted into the C Division and [livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger lofted to the heights of B.

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One of the other custom-modded playfields: Black Knight 2000 with frosted glass that allow only slight unobstructed views of the game. This makes the game rather more difficult, certainly, but isn't that part of the fun?


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Lower playfield detail art on Aftor, one of the early solid-state games used to make everyone regret they ever started playing pinball. It was a bit of a rough field. But who doesn't like rampaging lion-men and stuff?


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View of the pinball area. In the near field are the free-play games that anyone could play anytime. Past the little dividers was the competitive play area, where only those in a match were supposed to touch anything. To the right is the judge's desk where we turned in cards and where the trophy belt and cup sat.


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The other half of the convention area: video games and lots of them. Way off in the corner on the left is a stage where some bands and other stuff would play. Off in the far right corner some Anthrocon attendees who only now got free from the Westin elevator traps. There's another stage in the upper right for video game stuff.


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Opposite view of the main field, showing the pinball area and one of the upcharge attractions, that bungee-assisted trampoline thing.


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Opposite view of the video game field, showing more of the games and to the right some other kind of upcharge attraction where people went in and ... I don't know. Something or other. Also way off on the right there was a food counter with, like, vegetarian burgers, something we didn't discover until the last day.


Trivia: In her first appearance on her husband's radio show (then the Linit Bath Club Revue) Portland Hoffa portrays a woman trying to get back to Schenectady. When Fred Allen gives up trying to spell the city's name he concludes, ``I'll get you a one-way ticket to Troy and you can hitchhike the rest of the way from there.'' Source: Fred Allen: His Life And Wit, Robert Taylor. I'm guessing this joke really wowed the radio audience in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Currently Reading: Handwriting In America: A Cultural History, Tamara Plakins Thornton.

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I passed my 1500th post on my humor blog and then forgot to mention that fact when it happened. I'll have to wait for the 2000th, I guess. Anyway, here's stuff that's run on my humor blog the past week:

And now return with me to Anthrocon in the off-season, when it's cheaper: Pinburgh 2016!

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The start of Pinburgh 2016! Assembled competitive pinball players receive final instructions from the guy on stage. Bonus: if you hold the screen up to your ear, you can hear exactly the same instructions I heard from standing back here. Notice on stage that every three games there's two large TV screens stacked vertically; they're showing --- from cameras mounted above the playfields --- what's going on to the audience. Some people got assigned to banks on-stage; I didn't, but did play one in free time after the tournament.


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My first bank! Jack-Bot, Gator, High Speed, and (off-panel) Cheetah. The first game I knew very well, the last tolerably well, and the third I knew some. I did relatively well on Jack-Bot because everyone else tried to use this rules exploit trick to get extra shots in before the ball saver starts counting time; I just played the game like it's supposed to be. They came to grief trying to out-clever the game.


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The actual pro-wrestling style belt awarded to the Pinburgh champion as the game was part of the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association circuit, a set of like two dozen events over the year.


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The closest I got to winning the Pinburgh Division A.


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Strangely charming side box art for The Lost World, one of the games in a later bank. I love the sheepish look on the dinosaur. I have a weakness for timid monsters. In the foreground is Volcano, the first table on which I just bricked every ball.


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Backglass art for Lost World, which is just a perfect representation of that early-solid-state era in game design.


Trivia: Dwight Eisenhower did not declare himself uninterested in the 1948 Democratic party nomination for president until fourteen days before the convention, and did not make an unambiguous declaration of uninterest for three more days. Source: Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World, William Lee Miller. (The ambiguity was that Eisenhower declared he was uninterested in the nomination ``at this time''.)

Currently Reading: A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies That Suck, Roger Ebert.

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My humor blog's kept up its daily postings this week, too, and it passed its 1500th post without my remembering to say anything about that. Um. Sorry. RSS feed included here. That's something, right? Anyway, here's what was happening there:

Our journey to Pinburgh began with a stop at a small municipal park which had absorbed the contents of a small amusement park. What happened in our nearly twelve minutes wandering around there? This.

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Inflatable figure set up outside Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia, Ohio, for ... well, I don't know. So visiting Michigan fans have something to punch? I don't know, you all are weird.


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[livejournal.com profile] bunny_hugger enjoying the antique carousel that Tuscora Park has had since 1940. It's a Herschell-Spillman from around 1925; the National Carousel Association doesn't know who owned it before Tuscora Park.


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Music scrolls for the carousel's Wurlitzer 153 band organ. I love getting photographs of their inventory like this.


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The Spillman carousel at full speed and from that nice low angle that makes for such exciting pictures.


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The C W Parker Superior Wheel, finally (finally!) working. We'd ridden its sibling, and the only other survivor of the breed, at Crossroads Village in Flint often.


Trivia: Insurance payments for the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire in 1906 alone depleted about 14 percent of Britain's stock of gold, the largest outflow of gold from Britain between 1900 and 1913. Source: The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm, Robert F Bruner, Sean D Carr.

Currently Reading: Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS, David J Barron.

PS: Reading the Comics, March 11, 2017: Accountants Edition, wrapping up last week's comics in time for this week's, almost.

It's Thursday-ish Friday so let me remind you who haven't put my humor blog on your Friends page and don't even have an RSS feed that you missed reading stuff like this earlier:

Back to the ballpark! And the game.

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Infield prep: planting first base in a freshly-dried-enough ground.


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Oh, the Princess and the Pizza Pie-rate, huh? I get it.


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The kid who won the Pirate costume contest, who happened to be sitting near us and who went in with a Ninja Turtles sword.


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What happens when the scoreboard guy gets the lyrics to ``Take Me Out To The Ballgame'' from the first hit on allthebestlyrics.com instead of a reputable source.


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Some postgame thing where a bunch of kids were brought in to run around the infield for reasons I forget. Big Lug was there too, but this was a better picture despite the lack of dragon.


Trivia: During the four-hour second lunar EVA Apollo 12 astronauts Alan Bean and Pete Conrad walked about one kilometer, 3300 feet. Source: Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of NASA's Apollo Lunar Expeditions, William David Compton. NASA SP-4214.

Currently Reading: The Complete Peanuts, 1985-1986, Charles M Schulz. Editor Gary Groth.

PS: Words About A Wordless Induction Proof so you can read that or just look at the pictures.

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You may have seen this on your Friends page or perhaps in your RSS reader already. If you haven't, then here's the past week in my humor blog. Enjoy!

Besides the Baby Food Festival pinball tournament there was actual proper festival stuff going on. Let me prove it with photographs.

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Giant slide and satisfyingly fast (if rough) merry-go-round set up in the streets of Fremont for the Baby Food Festival. This is downtown, just outside the diner where the tournament was held.


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Drop tower set up as part of the Baby Food Festival in Fremont.


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Mystery Mansion! Extremely compact dark ride that, when we rode it at another setup, wasn't all that exciting. But it did make great use of very limited space; the thing's set up to fit inside a single truck trailer, after all.


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Redemption game, swinging ride, and a Super Round-Up at the Baby Food Festival.


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And then some more of the rides, mostly kiddie rides, with a Ferris wheel, set up in the streets of Fremont. We'd ride the Ferris wheel when it came to Ingham County a couple weeks later.


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It's just coincidence and not at all the pharmacy run by [livejournal.com profile] baar_bear. Sorry. On the street opposite the Blind Squirrel Tavern in Fremont. We'd get to know the Blind Squirrel Tavern quite well in the following months, as we rode it into the State Championship Series. Still haven't made it into the pharmacy though.


Trivia: The 51 repeaters in the transatlantic telephone cable (TAT-1), spaced at about 60-kilometer intervals, imply a total amplification of the original signal by some 10306. Source: How The World Was One: Beyond the Global Village, Arthur C Clarke.

Currently Reading: Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection In Medieval Paris, Eric Jager.