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Saturday, October 6, 2007


Okay, that was really fun!
Today I went to the Pacific Pinball Exposition with my boyfriend (to be identified now as The Boy).

Picture a convention center/expo hall filled with hundreds of pinball machines, from the antique models circa the early 1930s to the new ones with all the souped-up bells and whistles. That cavernous room sounded like a crazy Vegas casino. For $20, you have unlimited access to all of the pinball games you can stand. The expo is open until midnight, too.

Let's face it, guys, there are a lot of things in this world a person can be addicted to, besides tango. I'm not saying one addiction is better than another, mind you. But I can totally see how you could become addicted to pinball. It's pretty damn fun.

So, come to find out that The Boy is something of a Pinball Wizard. He told me he used to play a lot of pinball at the Select bar during the summers on St. Barts. But that was a long time ago and he is still really good. I guess there are some things you never forget, like how to ride a bike.

He knows that you can do these little tricks with the flippers and actually aim the ball at different gadgets, instead of flailing around and just trying to keep the ball from going right past you. He beat me every time, except for one game.

We were going to stop by this expo for an hour, and then go to see the Blue Angels airshow for Fleet Week. The Blue Angels have been roaring through San Francisco airspace for the past couple of days on practice runs, and if you didn't know any better, you'd think San Francisco was preparing for some sort of air raid. Those planes are LOUD.

Anyway, we ended up drinking sodas and playing pinball for a solid 4+ hours, and by that time we were worn out, only to find that the Blue Angels had flown away. (Just so you know, when you play pinball for over 4 hours, it makes your wrists hurt from grasping the sides of the machines. And your fingers get tired from pressing those flipper buttons.)

So here's to the day. In honor of The Boy, his favorite band, and Roger Daltrey's awesome hair. At least now these lyrics make sense to me:


Anonymous October 7, 2007 at 9:30 AM  

Pinball was a massive part of my childhood and I was definitely addicted to it. Quarters were like gold, and I and my fellow addicts called them "quads." When I was 9-11 I hustled in bars, offering sixpacks against sixpacks of Coke until I could find a money sponsor for that day. My favorite machines of all time are Klondike, a very rare number from, probably, the early 60s, and Playboy.

Once, when I was 16, I was playing the Kiss machine in a bar which I did not realize was gay. It was 7AM. A skinny-ass longhair guy came up behind me, put his hands on my shoulders and started jeans humping my rear. It freaked me out, but not enough so that I was going to lose that ball. I played on.


Anonymous October 7, 2007 at 9:35 AM  

Oops, apparently Klondike is from 1971.


tangobaby October 7, 2007 at 8:27 PM  

Dear b,

I loved reading your recollections about pinball; thanks for sharing. I'm picturing how cute a nine-year old "hustling" innocently for quarters would be. I'm sure by the time you got to be 16, you were quite the pro and perhaps your quarters lasted a lot longer.

I understand how you would need to have a certain game you could play over and over again to learn all of its little quirks. I could see myself improving on particular games after playing it 2 or 3 times in a row. However, I would have needed to be laden with bags of quarters to be able to play for as long as I did yesterday. For me being such a newbie, that $20 was well spent. I could have never afforded to play all that time for real money.

Your second comment about the gay bar made me chuckle a little, and I'm glad you were not permanently traumatized by the event.

As you well know, there is a certain thrusting action to the hips and pelvis when a person is heavily engrossed in a game of pinball, and I'm sure you were quite exciting to the person who couldn't keep himself off of you. I'm glad you were able to continue unabated. That takes a lot of concentration.

I did not see a Kiss game at the expo. I would have remembered that. I don't recall the Klondike either, but there were hundreds of games there. Perhaps you should mark your calendar for next year's event. You and The Boy can square off on the Addam's Family game, or my favorite, Funhouse.

One last thing, both The Boy and I were thinking about where we could put a pinball machine in our apartment, should we decide we need one in the future. (I had gone from impartial girlfriend to feeling the need for a little pinball in the house within about 30 minutes at the expo.) You can get a primo machine for about $3500. Hours of family entertainment!

Mustafa December 24, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

i always wanted to have tilt machine ;)