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Bill

[ website | UFO Pinball ]
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Birthday... [Sep. 30th, 2007|10:12 am]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |Ramones - Sheena is a Punk Rocker]

Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes!! Last night was Schoolgirl Lingerie Night, which is always a packed house, lots of old friends (and some new ones too!), and was also a very fun show!! Pics will hopefully be posted later in the week...

And now, a word from the folks at Bloom County...



Not my personal sentiment, but I always liked this one. :-)
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Farktography Chess Match [Sep. 27th, 2007|02:00 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |Billy and the Boingers - U-Stink-But-I-♥-U]

So there's such a thing as Farktography. Every Wednesday on Fark, there is a themed photography contest. This week's theme was "Everything's a Dollar/Pound/Euro". Basically, go buy something from the dollar store and use it as the centerpiece for your own composition.

I bought a magnetic chess set ... I wish they'd had a more 3D version, but it was all I could find. I then grabbed my Chess Champions: Opus and Yoda, and went out to "Rockystock park" to take the photo. I hadn't expected it to be quite so late in the day, but I think it made for a nice touch.


(Click for bigger)

Currently, I'm in the top 5 in the contest results. It seems to fluctuate between 4 and 5, even though I'm only a couple votes away from the top. That's where you all come in. :-)

Click here to vote for me and/or see the voting results. You'll need a Fark login to vote, though.

Even if you don't (or can't) vote, I hope you enjoy the pic. It was kinda fun to put together.

Next week's theme is "Tourist in Your Own Town". I may actually have to get on my bike and go wandering around for something fitting...
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(no subject) [Sep. 6th, 2007|04:02 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |calmcalm]
[music |John Parr - St. Elmo's Fire]

Okay, so I survived the 3-day weekend. The intense heat basically kept me from doing much of anything, providing me with some well needed rest.

Mostly, anyway...

On the Saturday of a 3-day weekend, I somehow had both a new bed, and a new laptop, delivered. Go figure. The new bed is bigger than my last one, so I had to go get new sheets. The laptop came with Windows Vista, so I reformatted it for Windows 2000. Yeah, I'm "old school". :-)

I love the new bed. The old one was very old, so it was definitely time to upgrade.

Likewise, my old laptop was bought before Frankie Goes to Hollywood ... so it was pretty much time to upgrade as well.

Monday was meant to be a family BBQ to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday (Julia, not Diana). The BBQ got nixed due to the heat, and we just went out for a nice dinner instead.

After that, I randomly picked up Travis, and then we made an impromptu road-trip up to Silverlake to pick up Katya. Katya had just returned from a 10 (?) day tour with her band, Jail Weddings, and needed to come home for some serious downtime.

This week has been pretty busy already. Long, early-morning work meetings ... and at least one evening spent shipping more pinball orders. I'd have done more, but I'm currently waiting for parts to arrive. I did have a nice dinner with Katya at Phuket Thai.

I've spent the rest of my free time setting up the new laptop, and not very much time *running* things on it. One thing I did find out yesterday ... the Wi-Fi setup in my house sucked horribly on my old laptop, where the new one runs like a champ! Sadly, I've wasted numerous hours trying to make the transmitter stronger, when all this time it was a shitty receiver. Oh well ... on the plus side, I guess I won't have to worry about that anymore. :-)

And on that nerdy note, it's time to post my Weird Al Yankovic pics, taken at the OC Fair more than two months ago...

Weird Al Yankovic at the OC FairCollapse )
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SNAFU [Aug. 30th, 2007|01:52 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |exhaustedexhausted]
[music |Voice of the Beehive - Sit Down]

So, life has been an absolute nightmare as of late. Things have been going at a hectic pace since before convention, and I've been hitting a significant level of burnout these past 7-10 days. Stressed, sick and exhausted ... have pretty much been the norm. I'm not exactly a happy camper.

That said ... with any luck, I'm staring at the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, it's not so terribly far away. I figure I still have 6+ hours of pinball (business) stuff to do before the end of next week, though. I'll try and spread it out as best I can ... though I hope to spend at least part of the 3-day weekend doing ... well, 3-day weekend type stuff. :-)

For now, here are my pics from Bats Day...

Bats Day Pics, etc.Collapse )
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California Extreme / Rocky Horror [Aug. 14th, 2007|06:03 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |Susanna Hoffs - Wishing on Telstar]

I have actually been meaning to make an entry (or several), but things have been busier than I think I can actually explain. Despite the fact that the PirateCon is over, I'm still booked for every single weekend in August ... and seem to be equally busy during the week. Go figure...

Anyway, the short version of what's been happening is:

I went to see Weird Al
I helped throw a Pirate Convention
I climbed up a tree
I rode some paddle boats
I went to see Cry Baby
I played in the OC Pinball league
I went to California Extreme (pinball show)
I visited friends at the Rocky Horror Show
I went to Chinatown
I went to WUMPSKATE
I'm busy trying to fill orders for UFOPinball

Weird Al pics will be posted later this week...

Likewise, the Pirate Convention pics will also be posted very soon. That's pretty much my task for this evening. These pics include tree climbing, paddle boats, and the subsequent water fight.

I thoroughly enjoyed Cry Baby, but I did not take all that many pics. What I have I will submit to Sins o' the Flesh, to add to their collection.

OC Pinball League was fun (as always) ... I got best score of the night on Tommy. :-)

California Extreme and the Rocky Horror Show (the play) were both this past weekend. It was nice to have a weekend off, and it would have been even nicer if I hadn't gotten the room next to the noisy ice machine rooftop air conditioner unit ... I had to move rooms the next night, but it still upset my overall sleeping schedule.

More, after the cut...Collapse )
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Vegas, Baby!! [Jun. 24th, 2007|04:29 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |accomplished]
[music |Genesis - In the Glow of the Night]

You know, these things always come out a week late ... but at least I'm posting. :-)

Note: This is a long one, you've been warned...

Last weekend, Colleen, Danielle (pirate_dolly) and I made a fairly impromptu trip out to Vegas. It was a truly awesome weekend, and one of the best times I've had in Vegas. Somewhat ironically, this trip included no booze, no buffets, no gambling (well I lost a quarter, but it wasn't even mine), and no tittie bars. Is there anything else Vegas is known for??

Actually, there is...

This was somewhat intended as a quick getaway to help relieve PirateCon stress ... but we also had a very specific reason for being out there.

A couple of years ago, MI folks were out in Vegas, scouting the area for our then upcoming convention, Cirque Du Rockeil. I recall the day we were out looking at the Cashman Theater, and as we were leaving the lot, I spied a bunch of stuff just over the wall. We drove over for a closer look and what we saw took my breath away.

The Neon Graveyard!!!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Neon Graveyard was popularized in a few scenes out of Tim Burton's movie, Mars Attacks! I didn't even know about its existence up until then, and here it was laying before me!!

We had originally planned to include tours as part of the CDR convention package, but weren't able to figure out the details with the folks in charge. Even if we had worked something out, chances are I wouldn't have been able to spare the time during con to take a proper tour.

So, I always did want to go back and see it, and Colleen told me she was very interested in going. Danielle was, too. I consider this to be a fairly unusual thing to want to do in Vegas, so I was glad to have companions who were equally fascinated by the idea.

More after the cut...Collapse )
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New Pinball Machine!! [Jun. 11th, 2007|12:28 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |excitedexcited]
[music |Tom Jones - I'm Coming Home]

Sorry, I am terribly backed up on things. PirateCon stuff is growing in intensity, but things are starting to shape up nicely. :-)

That aside ... last Friday, I picked up a BRAND NEW pinball machine. I have never owned a brand new game before ... I even got to unbox this one.


(Click to enlarge)

The story behind the game's theme is as follows:

"On the night of July 2nd, 1947 a loud crash was heard near Roswell, New Mexico. Remains of an alien spacecraft were recovered, although this was officially denied by the United States Government. Was this craft the advance scout of an impending alien invasion of the Earth? Or was it simply an accident by a group of joyriders after having one too many at the... BIG BANG BAR ?"

The story behind the game itself is a little weirder. Basically, this pinball machine was created by Capcom back in 1996. A few units were built for test, and some of these were brought to various pinball shows. The game was a quick hit in the pinball community, and we eagerly awaited its release.

Shortly thereafter, Capcom closed its doors. Big Bang Bar was never put into production, and only about 12 games were ever assembled ... the last few being cobbled together based on parts they found laying around at the factory.

The rights to Capcom's pinball division were purchased by Williams/Bally ... who unfortunately also closed their doors in late 1999. The Capcom rights were later sold to a man named Gene Cunnigham.

Gene came up with the idea of re-running Big Bang Bar. He had some of the parts, and presumably most of the plans. This was an unprecedented project, with an awful lot of naysayers going on and on about how it would never get done, and we'd lose all our money with nothing to show for it. I still loved "Big Bang Bar", and the idea that I might actually get to own one was a gamble I was willing to take.

Well, it's just over two years later, and Gene came through. I don't remember what the actual target timeframe was, but it seems two years isn't all that out of the ordinary. All in all, Gene produced 183 new units, limited by the amount of original CPU boards he had available. Pretty much everything else was re-run (playfields, cabinets, plastics, ramps, aliens, etc.)

My game arrived on Friday, and I brought it home with Travis' help. The game is simply gorgeous!! Gene and company did an awesome job putting this together!! I did have to tweak a few items to get it to play properly, but I imagine that's to be expected with a project of this nature. The games (as I understand it) were assembled by pinball hobbyists, not full time pinball factory career workers.

Here are some more pics (click to enlarge):



New Game!


Backbox


Upper Playfield


Middle Playfield


Lower Playfield


Entire Playfield


Darkened Playfield

Now all I have to do is set a decent high score. Thus far, I've only managed to get up to spot #4.
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(no subject) [Apr. 23rd, 2007|10:11 pm]
Bill
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |Supertramp - It's Raining Again]

Soooo ... last week sucked, for so many reasons. True, there were bright spots, but on the whole, it was one of the worst weeks of the year.

Let's start with ... my Mother has recently been re-diagnosed with cancer, specifically she has Follicular Lymphoma, Grade 1 ... this is unrelated to her previous cancer, which is apparently a good sign. We're guessing the lymphoma is in either Stage 3 or Stage 4, which probably sounds worse than it is. She'll be starting the necessary therapy sometime soon, and it will last about six months. I'm hoping for the least amount of discomfort, as I know that stuff can be pretty nasty.

Right now, I'm doing my best to stay positive. The prognosis could certainly be a lot worse, and at least the problem can be treated. That said, there is almost always a recurrence, so we're basically guaranteed to have to go through this a number of times. Hopefully it will be enough to keep the lymphoma in check, while still allowing her to live a normal life...

In other news, last week was just ... busy. Early morning meetings, perpetually busy evenings ... sleeping when I can, but mostly just not feeling like it was enough.

On the subject of bright spots, we have some new cast members auditioning and they're showing immense promise. I love seeing new talent, and watching the excitement in their eyes ... can't wait to see them on stage. One of them (Eddie) starts as a new Rocky on Saturday. :-)

The weekend was still busy, but in a good way. Had a good show, helped Poncho move, and then spent Sunday evening watching Frankenstein (the 1931 version) with a group of Rocky folks.

This week should hopefully be a little lighter. There's still some early morning meetings to deal with, but at least they're not all-day meetings.

I'm also looking forward to returning to the Fox Theater in Fullerton, this Friday. Last year's visit is mentioned here. If you'd like to go, this year's details are posted here.
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Stardust Memories [Mar. 13th, 2007|04:29 pm]
Bill
[Tags|]
[mood |peacefulpeaceful]
[music |Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds]

I had a strange desire to re-watch Casino [1] over the weekend.

I found out today that the Stardust Casino (which closed on November 1, 2006), had been demolished at ~2am this morning.

[1] If you haven't seen the movie, it's the story of when the mob ruled Las Vegas, and specifically ran the Stardust Casino (called the "Tangiers" in the movie).

Here are some pics from the 'net...


Farewell sign...

More picsCollapse )
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Virtual Monday [Mar. 6th, 2007|02:04 pm]
Bill
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |Genesis - Land of Confusion]
[mood |busy]

After a VERY busy weekend, I woke up Monday morning at 8:30am. I thought about it, then called into work requesting a vacation day. Then I went back to sleep and woke up again around 2pm. :-)

I spent the majority of the afternoon on the couch, then started surveying pinball repairs. Most of the machines held up well over the course of the pinball party ... but at least one pop bumper (coil) melted and will need to be replaced. I also spent some time on the phone with Katya, then a couple hours talking to my sister, Diana.

In other words, I had one of the nicest Mondays in a long time. :-)

Today, I am back at work, and there's a ton of stuff piled up. In the meantime, there's also some pressing UFO Pinball business matters, and this evening there are some Midnight Insanity website updates that need to happen.

Anyway, before I get back to work, I figured I'd look forward to NEXT Monday, which will be the next WUMPSKATE (March 12th). At the time of this writing, the WUMPSKATE website has not been updated, so I don't know what theme it will be. I did hear a rumor that there wouldn't be any more themes ... though that feels like a mistake. At any rate, I have not seen an official announcement.

I did have a lot of fun at the last WUMPSKATE, even though everyone who was originally going to go with me ultimately had to cancel (mostly due to illness and injury). I even sent a note to the Rocket Scientist (to be) down in San Diego, but I guess it was too far a drive. Instead, I got a note from the Carny (yes, she works a booth in the Travelling Fair ... and yes, this really amuses me) who happened to be home that weekend, so I took her along instead.


Me and Trisha (the Carny girl)


Greg (former MI security) and Rosetta


Yes, even Jesus joined us!!

The remaining pics from the night are posted here.

Anyway, like I said, the next WUMPSKATE is on Monday, March 12th. Several people are already clamoring to go, so we should have a pretty big group this time around. Wanna join us? Let me know...
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