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July 2017

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How about that mathematics blog? I've got one, yeah. Here's what it's run this past week:

Also if you were wondering: What's Going On In The Amazing Spider-Man? I know and I can tell you. Meanwhile, back at the Calhoun County Fair:


The drop tower, reaching up from dusk to night. I think it wasn't all that enormous, maybe forty feet or so, but that's still plenty to get a breathtaking view of the fair grounds and to rival the Ferris wheel's view of things.


Also here's the Ferris wheel. At the bottom the ride operator had this cozy-looking seat and just put his foot up on the ride platform while there was little to do but let the big wheel keep on turning.


Platform and lots of reflections from the Wipe-out ride, which is one of those many spinny platform rides that are a good deal of fun. I couldn't resist what the lights did to the metal plating, though.


Another view of the merry-go-round and the ride operator helping it brake to a stop. Or maybe helping it get up to speed; it's hard to tell just from his body language. But I think he had to help stop it more.


Farewell shot of the fairground rides as they closed up for the night and we tried to find somewhere that still had elephant ears for sale. We found them.

Trivia: In 1977 Spain had the highest per-capita fish consumption of any Western country, and almost no fishing grounds within the 200 miles of its coastline that could be reserved to itself. Source: Cod: A Biography Of the Fish That Changed The World, Mark Kurlansky. (That year Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone cut Spain from many cod grounds.)

Currently Reading: Introvert Doodles, Maureen 'Marzi' Wilson.

Meanwhile how's my mathematics blog doing? If you don't have it on your Reading page? It's been busy with stuff like this:

And for the sake of symmetry: What's Going On In Gil Thorp? April - July 2017. Curiously, it's not that much, but it's complicated to summarize. Now some more of the incredibly busy day at Michigan's Adventure. Warning: bunnies!


The Funland Farm petting zoo bunnies want you to know they're under the table because they have had enough pettings for right now, thank you. When we first saw the animals early in the year we worried about how their rabbits didn't have somewhere to get away from people and sun, but they'd improved things some. The Flemish Giant on the right made us think of our Stephen, of course, and how poorly he was getting around and how maybe he'd be better off with fellow rabbits as companions.


``Can I help you?'' Goat at Funland Farm in Michigan's Adventure sizing me up to see if I have any food. I did not.


Operational mishap on a busy day. Stuff from the Chance (fiberglass) carousel at Michigan's Adventure, with something having gone and spilled an operations report sheet and booklet and somebody's pop.


So yeah, this is how busy it was: the ride queue for Shivering Timbers spilled out into the main walkway. The line was not that long in duration, as the various switchbacks inside the queue area weren't set up to hold people, and in fact the wait time was something like twenty minutes. But still, I'd never imagined the park could get that crowded. And yet here we were.


Further signs of how crowded it was: the queue for Sea Dragon, the swinging ship ride. I mean, wow.

Trivia: In 1971 TRW estimated that the use of data buses, instead of conventional avionic wire bundles with a separate wire for each signal or function, for the space shuttle orbiter would save 2500 pounds of weight and 500 watts of power requirement. Source: Development of the Space Shuttle 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, Sarah Lohman.

And now a week of mathematics blogging, as represented in a list for people without RSS feeds, which is everyone.

And, lest we be imbalanced, What's Going On In Judge Parker? 8 April - 2 July 2017. Some big stuff got resolved.

When we got to the Mean Streak station the operator mentioned how they had just announced the ride's imminent closing. This caught some of the people in the queue by surprise. It was about an average crowd, maybe a ten-minute wait, which for an August visit to Cedar Point is really underperforming.


Upskirt shot of Mean Streak's lift hill. There's a big long chain pulling roller coaster cars up there, so they have the energy to get all the way through its three minutes-plus length. The lift hill has been altered quite a bit as of June 2017, and the platform where the cars actually ride is currently not there. Not sure what's going to go there instead, but it'll probably be named Vicious Streak.


Underneath the Mean Streak station. The long, thin horizontal bars connected to vertical pipes are the mechanism for the queue gates. They all open or close together.


Jaunty-angle view of the start of Mean Streak's lift hill --- the track turns around immediately after leaving the launch station --- with a hazy view of Lake Erie beyond it. Somewhere off in the distance, to the left, is Sandusky.


Stuff hung up in the Mean Streak operator's booth. Mean Streak Henry would be there the last day for the ride. The Cedar Point flyer on the right I imagine is from the early 90s when the roller coaster was new; the logo is certainly of that era.


Mean Streak's retirement coincided with what would have seemed impossible: the creation of Mean Streak merchandise, eg, the T-shirt there. We learned that trip that Cedar Point had made ride shirts for all its roller coasters, and all of roughly the same style, with the ride's logo atop a circular badge and some rendition of a part of the ride behind it. By September the Mean Streak shirts were sold out.


Also discovered: they made faux vintage shirts for rides and attractions now gone. Jumbo Jet is a roller coaster --- two roller coasters, in fact --- that Cedar Point had in the 70s; the latter of it has since been relocated to Minsk, Belarus, where it's still running. Beneath that, Fascination was a ball-rolling bingo-like game that the park had until the 1990s, and that we discovered this decade is a lot of fun, which is a pity because there's like four parks left that still have the frightfully complicated machinery for it. (Indiana Beach, Knoebels, and Wildwood are three of the spots, though.) The spot's now a Johnny Rocket's.

Trivia: The BBC's August 1936 ten-day trial run of television broadcasting, dubbed The Radio Show, began two hours late owing to a blown fuse, and two women hired as the ``super women'' announcers were out, sick. Jasmine Bligh was in hospital for an emergency appendectomy; Elizabeth Cowell was at home with a throat infection. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television, Michael Ritchie.

Currently Reading: The Gem Collector, PG Wodehouse.

My mathematics blog putters along as it ever does. Here's what you could've had on your Reading Page or your RSS feed if you weren't just waiting for me:

And for symmetry: What's Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? April - June 2017. A lot of low-level dating drama, turns out.

Now to close out my Kennywood photos, sad to say, since it means closing out the day at Kennywood. The good news: should be back at Kennywood in about a month! So you know how far behind I'm running here. Some week I should just do a bunch of pictures and try catching up instead.


Yes, amusement parks always look better in the twilight glow, but you know what's better than that? The post-rain twilight glow, that's what.


From one line to another: people lined up for Thunderbolt as seen from The Phantom's Revenge and you know, I bought this camera because it had a 21x optical zoom and could do up to ISO 3200 but deep down I hadn't believed it really could.


Lasers! Kennywood does a half-hour laser show in the evenings, weather permitting, and it's everything you might have hoped for from 1985. Yes, they include Neil Diamond's ``America''.


Jackrabbit after dark, with the full neon stars on display. Kennywood does a lot with neon and it's all magnificent.


Selfie! View of the Kennywood Grand Carousel from one of its mirrors. On looking at it, I now think I took this photo just as [profile] bunny_hugger was taking a picture of herself in one of the interior mirrors.


The lagoon by night picture that we're required to get every Kennywood visit. A tree's grown enough to obscure the Jackrabbit logo, but you can sort of make it out on the right.

Trivia: In a single week in the early 19th century London's fourteen largest gin houses served 270,000 guests. Source: Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants, Wolfgang Schivelbusch.

Currently Reading: DC Showcase Presents: Superman, Volume 3 Editors Dan DiDio, Mort Weisinger. Not sure if it's more poetically beautiful or creeeeeepy beyond measure that Superman and Supergirl build a life-size duplicate of Krypton populated by robots. Also, the story where Supergirl gets revealed to the public after years of acclimation to Earth and being Superman's ``secret weapon''? Is twelve pages of not much happening except the world celebrating that there's a second Kryptonian superhero, and it's kind of neat that way. It makes the thing feel like a real event, and if it's a lot of things like Supergirl-inspired fashion shows and stuff? So what if it's small stakes? They're believable stakes too.

Won't fib, I'm excited by my mathematics blog this week since I got into perturbation theory and talked about it, I think, coherently and even logically. RSS feed mention and all that but here's the week's items:

Also, What's Going On In Mary Worth? March - June 2017 if you missed any good cruise ship action. Now let's check back in on Kennywood, back in August, when everybody was happy and Pokemon Go was a thing and all that.


Mascot! I spotted the Kennywood Arrow being waked into place while we were on the Grand Carousel, but this is the best photograph I could get of the mascot. We didn't see Kenny Kangaroo walking around this time either.


Statue of George Washington in his French And Indian War livery, along with a marker pointing out that while some of the key action in the war happened kind of near the park nobody's actually sure that anything happened quite here. But it could have and anyway a bit of history makes an amusement park more wholesome.


Stuff no longer in operation at Kennywood's main arcade. Among the nickelodeon movies: Johnny Comes Marching Home, Little Old New York, Movie Queen, and Whipping The Huns.


More stuff no longer in operation at the main arcade: miniature carousel horses, a vibrating chair, another nickelodeon, and an 1877 ``Indian Head'' penny mysteriously gigantified and recovered from the Batcave.


Kennywood's train ride includes a visit past billboards showing off the park's history. Sad to say this isn't a vintage photo of the exact spot you're riding past on the train at this point. I think the building on the left of the billboard photo is currently a Johnny Rocket's, if I'm making out the geography right. I might not be.


Another fascinating old billboard: they had an Alice In Wonderland On Parade week in 1950? And that's a year early for the Disney animated movie, although I suppose Alice In Wonderland is a perennial for whimsical places like amusement parks.

Trivia: An English East India Company clerk, in the 1680s, could expect a basic annual salary of £5, not much more than a domestic servant in England received. Source: Empire: The Rise And Demise Of The British World Order And The Lessons For Global Power, Niall Ferguson. (One lesson: a salary of £5 pa encourages your clerks to take on side projects of imaginary legality.)

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

You know what I've noticed in my mathematics blog? That a serious post like one in my Why Stuff Can Orbit series eats up my writing energies for other stuff. Run the past week was just this:

But I think it's some good stuff anyway, especially the post about second derivatives. Thanks for reading, if you read it.

Also, since you wondered, What's Going On In Mark Trail? March 2017 - June 2017. You're welcome.

Kennywood's big feature attraction for 2016 was the newly renovated and restored Noah's Ark ride. It's a kind of ride that used to be all over the place, and this seems to be the last of its kind left. So here's some pictures of it.


Noah's Ark, renovated and restored for 2016. Also set up with a couple of dumb jokes for kids to like while in line.


Noah, Ark, and giraffe (right). I love how the shingles are ``broken'' by the giraffe.


[profile] bunny_hugger entering the whale's mouth that leads into the Noah's Ark, a feature that makes sense because that's just how these rides work? Not sure.


The back of the whale's mouth, leading into the Ark and a storeroom.


In the storeroom, a bunch of glow-painted boxes containing things like Apples and Corn and Crickets and, well, there you are. If I remember right you can get near this box and it'll blow a spray of warm air at you.


One of the few animatronic scenes I photographed after I remembered oh yeah, I have a new camera that's much better at dark scenes. Yes, it's one of the few with bunnies. I don't remember that this one had any punch lines or surprises, just like, mild motion.


One of the other animatronic scenes in the Noah's Ark that I could photograph: owls. I was helped by the lighting here. I forget what was in the other cage within the cage.

Trivia: In 1658 the Province of Massachusetts ordered the death by hanging of any Quaker who entered the colony a third time after being twice put out. Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.

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.

My mathematics blog can appear on your Reading page, if you're on Dreamwidth, or on your Friends page if you're on LiveJournal. Or if you just have RSS you can put it there too. Or you can catch up now, with my roster of what ran the past week:

And then What's Going On In Dick Tracy? March - June 2017 was my comic strip briefing for the week gone by. Now on to what occupied us the day after Pinburgh closed: Kennywood!


An old friend: The Red Roof Inn parking lot, with my car filling it to capacity.




Plans realized: the parking lot at Kennywood, where [profile] bunny_hugger and I were along with MWS and his friend K. This is the ski lift that brings people to the most distant parking lot, which we've never seen in use. We've heard of it being used as recently as a couple days after our Pennsylvania Parks Tour visit, though.


Ah, one of these: ceramic flowers that hide loudspeakers spreading music to the area.


The ramp down from Kennywood's entrance area (with ticket booths and all) to the underpass beneath the highway. The park proper is through the tunnel on the right. It was about a half-hour before the opening of the park, as they open the doors well ahead of any rides opening, to better let people spread out and not all crowd the stuff at the front.


Stuff at the front: the candy shop and, above, storage lockers. We weren't able to show MWS and K this, but we had discovered the lockers there are numbered, as you'd think, except that any number which might end 69 is instead marked 68A, for example, locker 168A or 268A. And yes, there's a locker 665A instead of a locker 666 instead. This is so delightful.

Trivia: Mayonnaise was a seasonal food when Fred Allen was hired to produce the Best Foods Salad Bowl Revue for fall of 1933. (Best Foods had previously sponsored The Musical Grocery Store.) Source: Fred Allen: His Life And Wit, Robert Taylor.

Currently Reading: The Mighty Music Box: The Golden Age Of Musical Radio, Thomas A DeLong.

And, what the heck. Here's the LiveJournal feed for my mathematics blog, and here's the Dreamwidth feed, and here's the RSS feed, and if that's not your fill, here's what I posted there the past week:

And what the heck, for symmetry. This week's humor blog Sunday story strips low-daisy review:

What's Going On In Gasoline Alley? February - May 2017

And now let us make the final venture into the Pinburgh convention floor for a little more view of the novelties on display.


Searching for Kennywood. No sign of it yet but there's at least three bridges in view looking opposite the ball park.


Merch table. First of all, Pinball Breakaway, eh? Second of all: boy, remember the days when you'd try to rip off the Atari 2600? Trust me, kids, there were days when people did that.


Some of the many, many, many old game cartridges available. Catching my eye: so, wait, a WarGames game? If you can actually play it I think you've missed the point of the license.


Some last-minute games. Here, Bally's Minizag, and go ahead, guess if the game is from 1968. Not a Christiaan Marche game, incredibly! Now go ahead and ponder what the main playfield might look like.


So, as you might expect, the main playfield for Bally's 1968 Minizag is indeed groovy.


Middle playfield of Stern's 1979 solid-state game Magic which I include just because, man, whatever you want in game art, it's there, somewhere.

Trivia: The morning of the day President James Garfield was shot he had roused his teenage children from bed, lifting Harry and Jim, one under each arm, while singing ``I Mixed Those Babies Up'' from Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. (Jim later said his father swung them around ``as if we were in fact two babies''.) Source: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard.

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

I believe I've got the important problems with images worked out. And I'll return to posting stuff from Pinburgh later this week, barring surprises. Not today, though. I just don't have the energy to deal with it. I'll keep my postings about mathematics-blog content, though. It does exist as a Dreamwidth feed, and is still available on the LiveJournal feed, and as an RSS feed too. This was a quiet week in the number of articles posted, but one of them was a monster, big and I say important, so I feel satisfied:

So that was the week. As I say, pictures to come.

Meanwhile how about a bit of symmetry? What's Going On In Prince Valiant? February - May 2017 is the most recent post on my humor blog, and it describes the last couple months of action in the time of King Arthur there. Valiant and company are way out of England right now, off tromping around Tibet Or Something. Not to worry, they've found refugees harassed by brigands.

Trivia: In late fall of 1928 long-term loans from the United States to Germany and the rest of the world fell from $1.5 billion per year to just over half a billion per year, the start of the fiscal crisis that would ruin the German democracy. Source: A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters, Scott Reynolds Nelson.

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

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May. 15th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)

Had another average week on my mathematics blog, despite my plans for one piece getting interrupted by the power outage, so if you didn't see it on your RSS feed here's your second chance:

We didn't just spend all Sunday at Pinburgh looking at odd pinball games and weird performances. We also looked at old arcade and console games. For example:


Ancient console system playing what I guess is Pong maybe? I love how 1978 it all looks.


This is what every modern game console looks like to me. Well, they're having fun.


For the era that's an impressive shot of Generic Stadium. Also but heck that's a disheartening score for the ATLs. I mean, that's the kind of score you don't see since the Tripartite Agreement.


Person with a rather good costume chatting with an Imperial Stormtrooper. You would totally believe she's a little girl!


View of one of Pittsburgh's many bridges outside the side windows. I saw this a bunch of times because there was a vending machine with cheaper Diet Pepsi in it, most of the time, than any of the in-venue dealers offered.

Trivia: In 730 the Venerable Bede set out to prove the spring equinox did not, as commonly supposed, happen the 25th of March. Though a year of observation with his sundial he found the spring equinox of 731 did not happen on the same day as the year before, indicating the estimate of the year of 365 and a quarter days was not quite right. Source: The Calendar: The 5000-Year Struggle to Align the Clock and the Heavens --- and What Happened to the Missing Ten Days, David Ewing Duncan.

Currently Reading: Heat And Thermodynamics: A Historical Perspective, Christopher J T Lewis.

Good news, everyone! I think the Dreamwidth feed for my mathematics blog works. The RSS feed definitely does. Did you skip them? Then here's the past week's writing:

Now the start of the last day of Pinburgh, and our last day at the Westin, and a day with no pinball events going on that we'd be any part of because we didn't make finals.


People having fun! I assume. They're on that thing that was I assume an upcharge attraction, this inflatable structure where you hurl a big ball at your opponent and have the fun of getting hit with stuff. We never got on it.


There's always little problems along the way at a convention like this. When we first looked at the sign we read ``Tastes like Man River'' which is an evocative yet hard-to-parse concept. I suppose they mean Mon[ongahela] River. Still.


[profile] bunny_hugger doing very well playing Super Pac-Man, getting her Pac gigantified and able to pass partially through maze walls as long as his center of mass doesn't go through the solid lines.


Arcade cabinet for LadyBug, along with the rig set up for the arcade video game championships that were going on in parallel to the pinball stuff.


Expert Donkey Kong player Billy Mitchell, hosting the arcade video game championships, has had enough of my high school geometry teacher and hurls him off stage. (Trick of the moment; Mitchell was just patting his shoulder while he walked.)


The side of the Mouse Trap cabinet, because I don't remember before seeing it. While a Mouse Trap was in the Brighton Arcade it was packed alongside many other games so that art of the art went concealed from me.

Trivia: The Latin zodiac sign Leo, the Lion, was in Sanskrit `Simha', and in the Babylonian scheme `Lion'. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

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

Had something like another normal-ish week of activity around my mathematics blog. If you weren't part of it but want to join now, here's a chance:

Some more of Pinburgh Saturday. We got back in time to see the B, C, and D Divisions finish their finals. Who! Will! Win!?


The kid from Where The Wild Things Are! Also that I trust are two characters from video games I don't know, part of the costuming going around.


Another game in the free-play area and enver, so far as I know, part of the tournament: Star Race. I don't know just what's going on with the backglass (and playfield) art, but once more, if it were a DAW yellow-spine paperback cover I would so buy this.


Champions! The D Division, playing in the little reserve games corner behind the main stage, hands out plaques to its top four players.


Championship! B Division plays Dirty Harry in the championships of the Half-Size Pinball Games tournament. Playing is TOD, Todd MacCulloch, former NBA player and Olympic basketball player.


Between balls at the B Division playoffs. It's not just you. Todd MacCulloch is so large that he looks like a rendering error.


Champions! The B Division finds its top players and actually, no, Todd MacCulloch came in second. Yes, there are other people in the shot there. Promise.

Trivia: A US Navy intelligence officer's report, from the 3rd of August, 1918, on the Spanish Influenza reported his advisors indicated ``the disease now epidemic throughout Switzerland is what is commonly known as the black plague, though it is designated as Spanish sickness and grip''. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M Barry.

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

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.

If you haven't been following my mathematics blog directly, or its RSS feed, then here's what you missed the past week. Here's your chance to fix that by enjoying:

Saturday at Pinburgh we were at liberty; we weren't in the finals and so had nothing particular to get to at any time, and could take in the show and any panels or events that caught our fancy. Got many more pictures of this.


Kings of Steel, one of the first games [profile] bunny_hugger and I played while at liberty on Saturday. I ... had a surprisingly good last ball, overtaking [profile] bunny_hugger on the bonus, which she might yet forgive me for. Note in the background the Donkey Kong For President banner. Back in July it was a very funny idea to imagine as President a short-tempered, irrational building-wrecking, woman-grabbing primate stomping and throwing barrels of flaming oil at defenseless people.


Over on this side of things they had vintage video game consoles set up. Here, [profile] bunny_hugger plays E.T. which they had because of course. She didn't do well. I don't remember playing, but if I did, I did worse.


They also had a Vectrex console, which was dazzlingly bright. To show off how bright it was, see it here competing with the light from a 19-inch Sharp TV playing Ghostbusters '84 because of course. Yes, that's a TV with built-in double VCR, playing a VHS tape in glorious-ish pan-and-scan, which was charming.


Waiting for the first concert of the day, a chiptunes performance. We'd wait for a little while and eventually realize we'd have a lot longer to wait, but we did worry about losing our good seats. Note the famous chicken purse. Now that you have, compliment [profile] bunny_hugger on it.


The chiptunes concert in action! So this guy fiddled around with things a good while. I think this was the one featuring Nine Inch Nails tunes, which I don't know but which our friend MWS is a fan of. Unfortunately he couldn't make it; I believe he was feeling ill after the night before. In front of his laptop there was some lights panel that did all kinds of complicated shows, none of which are interpretable in a still picture. Sorry.

Trivia: In September 1970 railroad critic and gubernatorial candidate Milton J Shapp started a whistlestop tour on the Penn Central in a four-car campaign train. Before it reached its first stop the air conditioning in the press car broke; by the end of the first day the toilet in Shapp's car backed up, flooding the candidate's luggage; his car's air conditioning broke down. Then the cooling unit in the main sleeper car broke, and no hot water was available for washing, and the drinking water was warm. In Pittsburgh the next day a hose coupling burst, covering Shapp in steam as he was beginning his address to the crowd. Shapp won election. Source: The Wreck of the Penn Central: The Real Story Behind The Largest Bankruptcy In American History, Joseph R Daughen, Peter Binzen.

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

Another sleepwalking-style week on my mathematics blog, although there I blame all the hassles of work eating up what would have been perfectly good writing time. Still, if you'd like to know what you missed since last week? I don't blame you. Here:

I took surprisingly (to me) few pictures of Pinburgh Friday. I guess I got too wrapped up in playing, working myself into the middling sections of C Division. But, eh, here's what I have.


My first game of the second day: Asteroid Annie and the Aliens, an early solid state game from 1980 that I'd played some long before at the Silverball Museum. It's got the traditional card-game theme, but mixed with aliens. And it's a one-player game, an oddity for the era. I came in fourth of my four-player group.


Do you spot the important thing I'd forgotten? It's the ``suicide inlane'' on the lower right of the playfield. If you try to catch the ball on the right flipper it'll roll up the metal wire and then fall through the gap there. That's how my first ball ended. The left inlane is the more normal kind, with a wire guide shaped kind of like a very wide L, so that catching the ball on the left flipper has a harder time draining.


The long view: that first bank was at the end of one of the columns. Many of the Pinburgh games were organized by themes. Note in The Party Zone and the third game, High Roller Casino, the backboxes both feature ``woman pointing upwards with a sharply angled leg'' theme.


The Party Zone is where I started to get that set back together, as the center shot allows one to ``Make Request'' of the game's disc jockey. I picked ``Pinball Wizard'', you see.


Old friends! Not the game, although it did give me a rare win, but the initials here. SJG was someone I very slightly knew as an undergraduate; he was the dominating pinball player at the Rutgers student centers. And he's obviously still around; he won New York State's championship in February. And was obviously doing stuff at Pinburgh.


View from the window. During a break we popped over to MWS's room, and saw his roommate, and also saw what I imagine to be the railroad station out the window. Really quite lovely and I don't suppose I can do it justice, but I tried.

Trivia: Army terminology for the launch schedule of Explorer 1 in 1958 put events, such the start of the spinning of the uppermost stages, at ``X minus 12 (seconds)'', rather than ``T minus 12''. Source: Project Vanguard: The NASA History, Constance McLaughlin Green, Milton Lomask. NASA SP-4202.

Currently Reading: Michigan History, March/April 2017, Editor Nancy Feldbush.

It was as close to a sleepwalking week on my mathematics blog as a week gets. Sorry. Should do better next week, if all goes well. Meanwhile here's what you missed:

Yeah, not much. Let's get back to the opening day of Pinburgh 2016.


A rare excellent performance on my part (player one) on Mars Trek, which features somehow both the Battlestar Galactica and this weird hypnotic spiral-haired space woman. I unironically love the graphic style of this. My competitors applauded after the second ball, when I put up nearly all that score. It's the thing to do.


One of the Zaccaria tables, Robot, which I've played in simulation and in the VFW Pinball Museum. I didn't get assigned to the bank with this game in it, but don't you love it from the backglass? If you don't, consider your answer after knowing part of the playfield is a bright pink ramp labelled the Robot Bridge.


More backglass art, this one of a game that was (I think) in the Free Play Area and not turned on when I had the chance to see it. But I quite like the theme since who doesn't like references to Cincinnati-area amusement parks in their pinball? Also who doesn't like game titles that include exclamation points?


One of the modified pinball machines: Tri-Zone Simon. The game is physically identical to the game we have at home, although its backglass is in better shape. But it's been recoded to a Simon game. In front of each of the four drop targets is a light. This game blinks lights in a sequence of the drop targets, and your objective is to hit the targets in that order. Really good idea and quite challenging.


Lower playfield detail art on Middle Earth, which I don't think was in the playing bank. But who doesn't like rampaging giant reptiles and light sabres and stuff? It's got that fine old-style space-opera comic strip attitude to it.


View of the competition area, from low down so you can see where the power switches and where the games have been scarred by frustrated players setting Independence Day on fire.

Trivia: In the early 1690s King Louis XIV ordered the solid silver furniture (about 27 tons) and gold plate settings of Versailles melted down to pay for the ongoing wars. Source: The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour, Joan DeJean.

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

I had one of those four-post weeks on my mathematics blog, which you might have seen on your RSS reader or just your friends page or from following the PS: tags every couple days here. If you didn't, too bad. Here's your next chance to catch up on all this:


Tuscora Park's carousel and some of the open space as seen from atop of the Superior Wheel.


The swinging chair ride as seen from the Superior Wheel. The seats are solid moulded plastic and so there's no slack for fitting in and they're honestly not that comfortable to sit in.


The train station again as seen from the Superior Wheel.


The junior roller coaster and the train tracks over by the lake, and its little lighthouse figure.


The Superior Wheel as seen from a better angle.

Trivia: Among the founding investors in the R E Olds Company was William H Porter, founder of the Lansing Spoke Company. Source: R E Olds: Auto Industry Pioneer, George S May.

Currently Reading: Ozma of Oz, L Frank Baum.

Three posts in the week seems to be my new normal for the mathematics blog. ( RSS feed here.) I've got plans for this coming week, though! Watch this space. Run since last week:

After the ball game we said farewell to JIM and then wandered around town a little as the day had gotten much sunnier, in fact so sunny as to burn our skin, and we had some time before we figured to get home.


Clara's was a restaurant set up in the former train station. It had been there forever and then suddenly closed without warning. There's talk of what they're going to do with the site (make it into a restaurant) but we'd got there after the ballgame and before anything was really changed about it. Also, while this was a month after the place closed there was still a full parking lot and it looked like people inside. Our best guess was a pre-booked event.


Inside the vestibule for Clara's. The place was decorated in the Pile Of Railroad-Connected Antiques style; note the Chesapeake and Ohio train schedule on the right. No idea if that was ever a specifically correct schedule or if it just looked good.


Opposite Clara's and to the east is this alleyway that for some reason got dressed up with the name Père Marquette Place and one of the town's good number of murals.


One of those things you never notice is around: the Lansing Inn. We're none too sure if it's still a current hotel or what. The best we can tell from the area suggests it might have once been a hotel and now is just offices. I could understand keeping the sign above the door as an historical artifact, but then why the small one to the right?


Capital City Scoops, an ice cream shop near all this. Mostly we like its sign, which turns the state capital into the Cadbury Flake for a 99.

Trivia: Henry VI was the only English King to be crowned in France. (He also lost all England's French territory apart from Calais.) Source: Old London Bridge: The Story of the Longest Inhabited Bridge in Europe, Patricia Pierce.

Currently Reading: The Complete Peanuts, 1987-1988, Charles M Schulz. Editor Gary Groth.

My mathematics blog could be on your friends page, in more forms than just being a postscript to my regular posts. It was another four-post week there, going from Sunday to Sunday, as evidenced by:

I've got a couple days of photos from the ballgame [ profile] bunny_hugger and I went to with my pinball-and-other-things twin JIM, plus some walking about town. And after that: Pinburgh! Or, Anthrocon in the off-season.


Infield preparation. It had poured in the morning and through to about an hour before the game but they worked mightily to squeegee the ballpark dry.


Broader view of the work put in to drying out the ballpark. Note from the scoreboards that it was Princess and Pirate Day, which provided theme for a bunch of the between-innings amusements.


View from outside center field. I hadn't been around this far back of the park. On the right of the bleachers is the smokestack with a nut-shaped topping that serves as the vertical visual marker of the ballpark district.


Some of the condos built on the rim of the outfield. They're of the bright Lego block style that's the natural mode for one of the Gillespie Brothers contractors so a lot of buildings like this get put up around town. Yes, the windows are supposed to be of glass strong enough to take a home run. No idea how long you can live in these before getting sick of baseball games.


Oh, yeah, besides Princess and Pirate Day it was also ... this. I don't know, but they were having fun.

Trivia: Three-quarters of Italy's aeronautical budget in 1914 went to lighter-than-air craft, rather than airplanes. Source: Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity through the First World War, Richard P Hallion.

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

My mathematics blog had a gift possibility open up this week. You don't need to get it for me. But if you're interested in what you missed, here, enjoy.

Ah, now for a break from pinball reporting with ... pinball event pictures. These are from July and the Baby Food Festival/Meijer State Games, in Fremont, a tiny town we'd come to know one small part of well in the close of the year.


Trophy table at the Summer 2016 Baby Food Festival/Meijer State Games pinball tournament. [ profile] bunny_hugger and I would take two of the medals home. Note the baby food festival trophies there. The Coke wasn't anybody's particular award.


Competitors putting in games for the Baby Food Festival tournament. The screen on the right lists the standings. The people above the red line are qualified for finals. Qualification is based on total points, with more points given for beating more people's scores on a single machine. One good game might not be as valuable as fair scores on everything.


Low-angle view of every pinball tournament, or at least what qualifying for the tournaments always looks like.


[ profile] bunny_hugger grabbing the awards presentation to the kids division winners. The kid on the right would go on to state finals.


[ profile] bunny_hugger examining her own medal, for second place in the women's division.


Finals. ADM tries to put up enough billions on The Walking Dead to squeeze out victory. Watching him with the notepad is AJH, who'd be the top seed in the state thanks in part to his knowing how to get ALL THE RANKING POINTS EVER for arranging pinball events like this.

Trivia: In May 1932 an experimental television broadcast for station W6XAO, Los Angeles, originated from a tri-motored airplane in flight. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory Of Television, Michael Ritchie.

Currently Reading: Vichy: Two Years Of Deception, Léon Marchal, Translated by Jean Davidson, Don Schwind.

Normal-paced sort of week on my mathematics blog, so here, enjoy the work done there:

Now for the way we ended the week in Omena. Your heart may break.


To take the edge off our leaving we stopped at the Omena Beach and then, on impulse, thought we'd see what our pet rabbit made of the sand. It turned out he rather liked the beach so I'm glad he was able to experience that.


Our lost rabbit enjoying his beach experience much more than we had expected since as you can see it's a very rocky surface.


Our lost rabbit, ears up, ready to supervise the beach and disapprove of anything going on.


The wonderful thing about letting an animal be is that, given time, they will do something you never imagined. Here, our lost rabbit got up and moved towards the water. Did he understand this was essentially the same thing he fought against in baths back home? What did he hope would happen?


Our pet rabbit getting a wave washing up on him. I had expected him to get furious at this, but no, he seemed happy to have the waters of Traverse Bay soaking into his dewlap.


And it was not a fluke! He got to experience several waves and seemed content there. Notice his paw, holding back the tides. I'm assuming that he enjoyed the water but --- what kind of rabbit enjoys getting wet? What a strange and compelling fellow he was.

Trivia: In February 1858 Japan and the United States agreed to the opening of eight port cities in Japan, and that the opium trade in Japan would be outlawed. Source: A Modern History of Japan, Andrew Gordon.

Currently Reading: The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, Kwame Anthony Appiah.