Thursday, September 28, 2006

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Pinball

Life is good.

No really.

I've been thinking a lot lately. Or meditating. Or something.

I've got a wonderful thing going. I have three beautiful children. I've got a wife that still blows me away with how amazing she is. I married up, even if she doesn't know it. I've got a good paying job that, while I have my rough times, I enjoy it immensely. My opinion is respected there and I have a lot of freedom. I've got a house, soon to be a good sized house once the basement is finished. Good parents (and in-laws) and great extended family. And a few toys, including a pinball machine. I've got a car and a van to haul my family around with. I live around great neighbors, in a good area of town. There are stores around close that I can get everything I need and even most of the things I want. I've got the internet to get those hard to find items and to meet good people like you. Among other things.

I've got it good.

I was thinking on the way home from Arizona, with a pinball machine in the back of the van... Where am I going to be in the future? Am I going to be happy? What will I be doing? Who will I be with?

Before I go further I should give some background. I believe that I (and all of us) existed before we were born. I believe that we have a spirit and that our souls are eternal. Being born and dying is just a phase, there was more before and will be more in the future.

With that context, I wondered, where will I be in 100 years? What will I be doing?

I'm not really sure how to put into words what I was thinking... Indeed, I think that English isn't a first language for me. It feels so... Inadequate for communication much of the time. I'm a better writer than a speaker, and I don't think I write all that well. Adequate, but not well. Many emotions, impressions, and nameless feelings later, I realized a truth, though I didn't have the words for it at the time. The best I can convey is to refer to the saying... You can't take it with you. I get it.

There I was with my dream in the back of the van. While it was--no, is--wonderful, it isn't life defining. Sure, I was excited to have it... But I realized more than anything I was excited to share it with my family. I didn't NEED this pinball machine, though a few months ago I think that I did, and for many wrong reasons. Or at least wrong in the sense that those reasons took me away from where I want to go in my life. This machine doesn't make me who I am. I do.

Paradoxically, I think that the pinball machine very much communicates who and what I am. I am a person who likes a challenge. Someone who likes, even desires, to work. I'm not afraid to admit it; I don't mind working, as long as I feel something is worth doing and have a reasonable understanding of it. I enjoy accomplishment. And I enjoy the ride, the journey from point A to point B. That's pinball -- it's about the ride, not the score at the end, though that can be rewarding as well.

A pinball machine... Well. THIS pinball machine especially represents a number of things, is a type, a symbol, a metaphor for many things, both personal and ideal. A passing of innocence from an estranged teenager. Camaraderie and friendship. Understanding action and reaction, simple and complex systems. Systems that are both simple and complex at the same time. Immersion of thought, of placing your mind within a context, of thinking within boundaries. Physics and along with that magnetics, the inevitable and the unexpected. Disappointment and failure, accomplishment and success. A point of reference, a landmark of the past. A landmark that I'm now sharing with a new life, with a new generation... To help them towards what I hope is a better future. And to have some fun along the way.

I hope everyone gets their own pinball machine in their lives.

I've crossed a milestone in my life, though I don't think it was this past weekend. A few months ago I needed a pinball machine to help me be whole. And, due to the circumstances I was in, I gave it up. I was able to move forward with my life, to continue, to progress without it. It's interesting to me that once I was able to truly give it up and put it behind me a pinball machine falls into my lap.

I'm sure it's not chance.

The thought process that spawned this post lasted less than a minute, but really tied off some loose strings I've had floating around for a while.

This is the last of the pinball posts for a time, barring requests. I'm afraid I'm getting pretty singular on this blog. I'll be mixing it up a bit here in the future, though not as much at first. (I still have a number of video game related posts in the works, heh...) I may post a little less frequently, but I'm going to try and post a bit more meaningfully. Or constructively. (haha, basement posts and constructive...Oh nevermind.) Or whatever you want to call it. There will be less 5 minute posts, though you will continue to see entertaining links here. There will just be more than that here and there.

Until later.

(Apologies for the watermarks, not sure what's up with that)

Friday, September 22, 2006


Today is the day! In less than an hour I will be on my way to AZ!

Did I say I am excited yet? Well, I'm excited! =)

Since it's friday, go check this old post out, (or just a direct link here) it's always good for a laugh. =)

I've been a slacker with the camera, but sunday sometime I'll force myself to take some pictures of the machine in my home and share a bit. Wohoo!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Hey, you all have seen troops right? Right?

Good stuff.

More later. I'm lazy, what can I say.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Today is a great time to talk like a pirate!

I may do another update today, depending on how things work out. Busy week this week.

Run your blog through this link. =)

Thursday, September 14, 2006


So, to continue my (somewhat ridicules) saga of pinball and yanking y'all's chain, thought I'd post and clarify a bit.

Wednesday morning I got up and decided to check my email early. Not really sure why, maybe it had something to do with the pinball machine I missed the other day that was a great price and local to boot. In any case, there was a guy in Arizona who was selling a twilight zone pinball machine a very reasonable price. I thought hey, may as well check on it so I fired off an email to him.

By the time I was at work I had an email waiting for me with a bunch of pictures of the machine. Nobody (or should I say no single person, heh) had beaten me to it this time! You could have knocked me over with a feather. This is where some of the shots I posted below came from.

My wife has been feeling sad/guilty for quashing my pinball dreams for some time. Earlier this summer I was planning on sinking upwards of $4500 into a TZ machine. That's kind of a scary amount of cash. I was so delirious at that point though that I was willing to do it. Real life came knocking however, and we just couldn't have done that and finished the basement both. Go figure.

Anyway, the point here is that Bon was quite excited by the fact that we suddenly had a shot at a relatively nice machine for about half that price. My "Pinball Jar" has right around half the funds for the price of this current machine, so including driving down to pick it up (gas, food, hotel, etc) we'd be out $1500 or so on top of that. Not a horrible deal really.

The deal cincher was talking to the guy on the phone. He's rebuilt this machine from the ground up. "cool" addons include the gumball machine has a light and gumballs added and the 3rd magnet is installed on the right ramp. (The 3rd magnet was in prototype machines and removed for production machines due to cost issues). He also listed a number of other things he has added, such as replacing the clock circuit board, a diverter magnet to reduce ball bounce on the power ramp and a few other small changes. All of the top few that I wanted to have done were already finished. Can't beat that. (For anyone who is interested, you can look at some of the mods here)

So, long story short (too late!) Saturday September 23rd I should be in Flagstaff Arizona picking up my very own Twilight Zone pinball machine!

It's going to be a long drive, but I'm okay with that!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Saddest part...

Steve Irwin's death was more to me than just a sad story.

Check it out at Pinball News.

A company other than stern finally starts making a pinball machine and look what happens. Maybe pinabll is fated to die or something...

quick update...

'What will your obituary say?' at

I've got a post to do about the past weekend, a basement update, as well as a few other posts coming. So little time. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

And here it is....

Yeah, two posts in one day. The world may be ending....

I finally found this again. I was thinking about it today and I realized I never did a search on yahoo, just google. It's 17 minutes long, so make sure you have time to watch it. It's pretty darn hilarious. You know, in a sad, sick and twisted sort of a way.

Fair warning, it has a couple of bare breasts in it (on a computer screen). May not be safe for work.

Per usual, you will have to push play yourself.

Thanks to Fox Searchlight Pictures for keeping this around.

Coming soon?


I got this back from the guy. DOH!

I am meeting a guy from SLC in a little while to show him the machine.
I will let you know if he doesn't buy it.