As always we closed Pintastic NE with a final interview with the founder, head man and provider of 20 count them 20 Pinball machines for people to play for free Gabriel D’Annunzio

Gabriel’s efforts bring the first of my ten thoughts about Pintastic into focus. The amount of work he puts in to bring this show together is incredible, he and the volunteers give up a lot of time to make a ton of people happy and they are succeeding.

Even if you ignore the effort of running the show proper the amount of effort to physically bring 20 pinball machines to and from this location is a herculean task. Pinball machines are not light, even the least expensive of his machines could sell for several thousand dollars and most amazingly he does this in the expectation that said machines will get more wear and tear in those 3 to four days than they might the entire year. I try to treat the machines I’m playing there with kid gloves because they aren’t mine.

The Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club, facebook page here was there in force with over a dozen games. For a $30 monthly membership you get a key to go in and play as much as you like 24/7. For $10 you can get a day pass. They run regular tournaments and have some creative ideas (including Pinball Ninja warrior which we played at Pintastic) Their space was in the old VIP room from last year and it was constantly full.

One of the things I mentioned in my interview with Gabe was the family friendliness of the event, the number of parents and kids, particularly on Sunday was huge. Sights like this were very common.

You can’t grow a hobby without youth and this is a great sign.

Speaking of youth Jersey Jack mentioned something during his seminar worth repeating here. He was giving a tour of the factor and the games and showing how they worked etc and noticed one thing in particular. None of the kids were looking at their cell phones with their head bent down. In 2018 that’s really something!.

While we had downpours the first day of Pintastic the heat that replaced it was MUCH worse, particularly for those hauling multiple games home as Gabriel does. We gave a hand to some folks form Rhode Island who had seven games to put on a UHaul and the Heat was unbearable. I can’t imagine how they got all that stuff on and off the truck without the good folks at Pintastic there to help back home.

The Sturbridge Host Hotel is a perfect place for Pintastic, they have a small private beach on a lake/pond two indoor pools and a small pub and a fancier restaurant right there and best of all the price is right. My only fear is that in a few years Pintastic will grow too big for the venue which would be a real shame as they’ve been excellent hosts. There is also a McDonalds, Burgerking and CVS in practically the same parking lot along with a seafood restaurant so there are plenty of lunch options

One of the newest fads nationwide have been barcades, bars with acrades built in including Pinball. Combined with Pizza joints that include pinball arcades like the one in Bethesda I vised at CPAC and the one in Kansas I hit while out west they are a growing trend and a great one to boot.

For a guy who has lost most of his Doctor Who Mojo I confess I spent a lot of time on the Doctor Who pinball machine which was one of the most popular games in the place

I’m still surprised that we haven’t seen a new one since the series revival but it would be hard to improve on the old one which, with the exception of the backglass art) is an excellent design with some fun voice work from Sylvester McCoy

Finally one of the best parts of Pintastic NE was to get away from the political back and forth. There were plenty of Bernie bumper stickers in the parking lots but I also met someone in a “Deplorable” t-shirt and one head of the college republicans there too. At Pintastic it’s all about the pinball which unites us, there’s plenty of time to argue about the other stuff the other 51 weeks of the year.

Last Saturday night my son and I were having dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Sturbridge and had some time to kill before our order came up.  Rather than play one of the peg games they had for sale I came up with a new game, the “Cracker Barrel Trigger a Woke liberal College Student”

You see Cracker Barrel is a restaurant filled with Americana.  The decor has been unaffected by the current  explosion of being “wokeness” and every item on the wall was invented before the term “microagression” existed.

The game can be played with two but can be played with larger parties, the rules are very simple.

Starting with the first player you point out an item of decor that would trigger a liberal, a flag, a gun a photo, an old ad and play continues to the right until a person can not name one.  If a choice isn’t obvious then that person, in the voice of a triggered woke liberal, has to explain why they would be triggered.

In a game with more than two players, the player who can’t name the item is out and play continues until there is a single player left who share of the tip is covered by the rest.

If you’re going to have to deal with woke liberals why not have fun with it?

A common sight at Pintastic NE 2018
There was more to Pintastic than Todd Tuckey and Jersey Jack there were the vendors like Ben from Pinbox 3000

c

his system has really grown since the first one

Steve from Rock Fantasy store/arcade in NY who has been to every pintastic but one

Clever to bring a machine that needs slight tweaking to a show full of tweakers

You have virtual Pinball well represented among the vendors, I spoke to Cliff of the VR zone

His virtual reality cabinet was so big it took two videos to show it

It’s a good solution for fans with limited space.

Of course there were the individuals like Chris

He brought his daughters which is no surprise as every year more and more kids are there with parents, which is why we saw old friend Maggie the Clown entertaining them, but in a cunning disguise sans makeup

Most of the kids however were to be found at the games on tiny step provided by Pintastic for them to reach the tables.

I wasn’t the only person filing in fact the good folks at Xtreme has a three person team which did live streaming of games with an excellent setup to do so.

this makes sense because even on the last day of Pintastic the stars of the show are the games

And the people who meet while playing them.

I was playing a four player game with the young couple to my right and my son, Pintastic is a great place to connect with people. It’s a place where people in Deplorable shirts share a parking lot with folks with Bernie bumper stickers because it’s all about the Pinball and the camaraderie of the joy of the games that all share.

We’ve got two more pintastic posts coming a compilations of Q & A and a wrap up post but those will not be leads so starting tomorrow expect a return to news and commentary in the lead posts here at DaTechGuy blog again


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At Yesterday’s Pintastic NE Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball held a seminar about his business that produces some of the best pinball machines on the market. These games are constantly in demand both on the market and at the show:

During the seminar one of the attendees asked him an obvious question, why has he made it when others have failed? Here was his answer.

This is not a light thing to say because it must be remembered he started this business in the Obama years before the Trump boom AND because when it comes down to it a Pinball machine is not a necessity.

I think thanking God and a bunch of others is important as was his decision to market to individuals, but for my money the real secret is the fact that in terms of subject matter, video, artwork and display, all of his games are PG rated or lower. I asked him why he made that decision and his answer was telling

Note that he didn’t say: “I don’t think anyone should make an R rated game”, he just decided that as a Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and a Catholic Eucharistic Minister involved in his church, he decided that he wasn’t going to making anything that wasn’t family friendly.

In an era when kindergartens are having very inappropriate stuff pushed at them and Disney has apparently decided that being “woke” is more important that being family friendly that’s an incredibly radical decision.

My interview with Jack is here

And you can buy his games here

Hit the right sequence and you get the batsignal
When you’re talking Pintastic NE you’re talking a lot of fun, such as the Batman 1966 game that has proved to be one of the most popular games in the Free play room.

But before you can start playing games like that here is a lot of work from the setup of the vendor room

to the setup of the free play room

And the man behind it all is Gabriel D’Annunzio who founded this event.

Of course once things get started, it becomes all bout keeping the machines, many of them 20 or 30 year old or more, running and that’s where folks like Tony come in.

Let’s give folks like Gabe and Tony a big hand, because though their time and effort along with all of the people on their team thousands of folks will have a great time this week away from the worries of the world.

Take a bow guys.

As you are reading this I am in my hotel room in Sturbridge at day one of the 4th Annual Pintastic NE Pinball extravaganza.

If you are unfamilar with it Pintastic  is four days of all things pinball with free play rooms, vendors seminars Tournaments and fun activities from the kids. There are machines on sale for as low as a couple of hundred bucks to brand spanking new releases for eight grand and there is even a bank on hand to process your loan if you want to buy one.

You can buy single day passes for $10 to $25 and kid passes for $5 to $10 dollars and if you are a huge Pinball guy who wants two or four days of 24 / 7 pinball they have a plan for you too.

I have been covering and enjoying Pintastic since the very first one back when it was a two day event (my coverage of 2015 is here, 2016 is here and 2017 is here) and my Pintastic 2017 video playlist is here My first interview from Pintastic 2018 is with Alex from Boston

This is an event that’s just plain fun, and if the news is getting you down (or if it’s not) it’s the perfect escape. Come on down and enjoy it.

I’ll try to get more video up as I can but with 24/7 pinball in front of me for the next few days don’t be surprised if I’m a tad distracted.

Update:
The bank didn’t come this year, I think that’s a bad move, in a booming economy you’re much likely to have someone ready to buy a machine

Maitre’D: Good Evening. Welcome to the Woke Arms. Do you have a reservation?

Reilly: Yes Reilly party of six?

Maitre’D: Ah yes, Reilly, party of six for dinner at 7 PM [looks at watch] 5:30 PM, you’re right on the dot! If you will all follow me please.

Reilly: [following down a long corridor] Yes I was meaning to ask you about that? Why is it that we have to arrive at 5:30 PM for a 7 PM reservation?

Maitre’D: Why to give you time to fill out the questionnaire, if your party can step though here please and take a seat in front of the screens.

Reilly: Questionnaire?

Maitre’D: Yes, here at the Woke Arms we pride ourselves on inclusiveness to all races, creeds and sexual orientations etc, so naturally we need to confirm your status as sufficiently woke if you are to dine at our restaurant. After all we can’t have any person whose opinions might are unacceptable in our establishment, if you would sign in please.

Reilly: Sign in?

Maitre’D: Yes a name and full address so we can cross check you with public records of political contributions over the last 20 years to make sure that at no time were any of your dollars spent to support the wrong sort of people. We’ll also need your twitter and instagram names and any names you used to comment on blogs or message boards to be sure you haven’t posted anything online inconsistent with our standards. While that check is running you can begin the questionnaire on the next tab

Reilly: [ Clicking Over ] But there are over 200 questions here!

Maitre’D: Two hundred and seven at the moment to be precise.

Reilly: At the moment?

Maitre’D: Why yes, the definition of being woke is very fluid and we have to be sure our clientage meets the current acceptable standard of wokeness at any given moment.

Reilly: Kindergarten Cop? What on earth his that?

Maitre’D: Ah yes most of our under 40 patrons don’t recognize it. that’s a film from 1990. There is a particular scene in where a child claims boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. If a person is not sufficiently outraged by it then obviously such a person is not subtitle clientele for the Woke arms

Reilly: [Scrolling down] And this question. “Did you at any time oppose Gay Marriage after May 9th 2012? May 9th 2012, why that date in particular?

Maitre’D: Well, that was the day President Obama publicly came out for gay marriage so naturally any failure to publicly support gay marriage after that date would be considered unacceptable and since Barack Obama was clearly not a bigot we must presume that any Democrat or independent, who didn’t come out for gay marriage before that date was waiting for the President’s lead. Republicans naturally would be filtered out long before they got to that question.

Reilly: Naturally, And this question concerning Pope Francis, it changed on the screen just now, right as I was about to answer it.

Maitre’D: Yes, unfortunately Frances’ pronouncements can be so varied by the day that it can be a trifle challenging. we’ve had the same problem with Starbucks coffee chain as well.

Reilly: [skimming through the rest] I can see why you need that 90 minutes, but at least when we get through these question we’ll know we are dining with the right people.

Maitre’D: That’s our guarantee. It’s why we have screens at the tables so updated questions can be posed between courses on the off chance someone inappropriate makes it to table. In fact a successful night dining here is a requirement on job applications for many gender studies departments and diversity programs nationwide.

Reilly: My God, that’s what I call being woke! Very well done, we’re all proud of you!

Maitre’D: [Voice suddenly dropping] I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you and you’re party to leave.

Reilly: Leave! Us? WHY?

Maitre’D: One can not invoke a deity without doing so in the contest of supporting undocumented immigration, except for Allah of course.

Reilly: But…. but… what about dinner, and what about our reputations?

Maitre’D: Well we will accept a future reservation once we receive proof of a contribution of at least $5,000 to the Democrat National Committee and to Black Lives Matter. As for dinner, there is always the hot dog wagon just outside side door across the street. Funny, they seem to do a very good business, I can’t imagine why.

The Hostage gazed in wonder as he moved, goosing the first terrorist with his hand as he delivered a kick to his head while dodging the wild shots of the 2nd, blinded by silly string, who would never see the blow that fell him.

The leader’s cry of “Allāhu akba!” turned to shock as the oblivion he expected was replaced by Rick Astley’s voice pouring from his cell But his shock was brief as the brick concealed in the pie fell from his face & the robed infidel in Groucho glasses’ final words echoed though the room: “Try the veal”.

For those utterly confused (and that’s likely everybody) This post was inspired by this tweet which frightenly was not produced with the aid of any form of drugs or alcohol.

Yes there are many more serious things I could have written but in the words of Sheldon Cooper: “What’s life without whimsy?”

By John Ruberry

“When I came into office I took an oath, alright,” the mayor of Portland (Kyle MacLachlan) proclaims in Portlandia. “The oath was to keep Portland weird.”

And so he did.

The final episode of Portlandia, a sketch comedy series focusing on the hipsters who have taken over Portland, Oregon, aired on Thursday. The IFC show stars Saturday Night Live alumnus Fred Armisen and former Sleater-Kinney singer and guitarist Carrie Brownstein.

Over the last couple of decades Portland has become one of America’s most liberal cities. Do you remember the left-wing talk radio network from the 2000s, Air America? Its strongest market was Portland.

Most of the skits center on Armisen and Brownstein, including their Fred and Carrie characters, easily the least quirky of their Portlandia personas, who are also the best friends–“my favorite Portlanders”–of MacLachlan’s “Mr. Mayor.” Nina and Lance (He plays her she plays him), struggle in their relationship because they have almost nothing in common. Chin-bearded Spyke (more on him later) and Iris look to me to be the archetypal Portland couple. The Weirdos, Vince and Jacqueline, a goth couple, a kind of a Portland version of Fred and Lily Munster, face their own conflict. How do they get noticed in an increasingly freaky Portland? They choose a trip to the beach as their solution to this problem, which is delayed after their hearse breaks down. In another episode, they are falsely accused of a torching a taxidermy store. Their lawyer is another weirdo, Paul Reubens, better known of course as Pee Wee Herman.

But my favorite characters, and the most developed, are the owners of the Women & Women First book store–Toni and Candace, with Armisen playing the latter. The couple seems to have reached “lesbian bed death” years ago. It’s difficult to see what the well-adjusted Toni sees in the caustic Candace, who at a diary reading at the store barks at a late comer, “We’ve already done our journals–hers was abysmal, she refuses to contribute anything, and of ours, of course I think we won.”

Can a conservative enjoy Portlandia? Well, this one did.

Three years ago I briefly visited Portland where I discovered on my own that yes, it is weird, and it is filled with passive-aggressive people, just like these two Subaru drivers in the below clip. That make of car is enormously popular in Portland, by the way. They are afraid to offend but they do just that when they can’t decide who should proceed first at a four-way stop. “You, go,” one says, “No, you go.”

During that Portland sojourn I encountered some goofs, who were probably stoned, reclining inside a van at a gas station–I had to return my rental car with a full tank of gasoline before I dropped it off at the airport and I was in a hurry. They were blocking both sides of a lane of gas pumps. After I asked politely for them to move a couple of times, unlike the characters in the above clip, I quickly threatened to bash them if they didn’t immediately make room for me. They did indeed go.

Portlandia offers viewers a dazzlingly eclectic roster of top tier guest stars and cameos, including some who appear more than once, including Ed Begley Jr., Jeff Goldblum, Steve Buscemi, and Kumail Nanjian.

Others who show up once or twice include Aimee Mann (as herself trying to make ends meet as a housecleaner because of the difficulty of earning money as a musician in the era of streaming music), Matt Groening (a Portland native), Michael Nesmsith, Penny Marshall, the B-52s, Tim Robbins, Heather Graham, Martina Navratilova, k.d. Lang, Jason Sudekis, Paul Simon, Brigitte Nielsen, Greg Louganis, Henry Rollins, Jeff Tweedy, Louis C.K. (eww!), Andy Richter, George Wendt, the Flaming Lips, Andy Samberg, Eddie Vedder, Seth Meyers, Sarah MacLachlan, and Laurie Metcalf.

Special mention needs to be given to Roseanne Barr, who stars in two episodes as Portland’s interim mayor–she is hired from a temp agency. Yes, Barr is an actress, duh, who takes on roles, but Barr’s turn to the right may have been foreshadowed in Portlandia because she attempts to govern Portland pragmatically, in contrast to the loopiness of Mr. Mayor. After all, I believe it was radio talker Dennis Prager who said, “Common sense is conservatism.”  As mayor, Barr suggests having fewer bike lanes, coffee outlets that sell only coffee, movie theaters with more than one screen, not as many stores for dogs, but more big box outlets. In short, she wants Portland to be a practical city.

“I’ve been to a lot of places, but nothing’s like this,” she complains. “Everybody’s just lost in a dream world.”

And finally, I’d like to acknowledge the regular but all but anonymous supporting performers on the program who live in the Portland area, IFC calls them the Citizens of Portlandia. They are the show’s answer to the John Ford Stock Company. These actors, who arrive like old friends, include Henry Cottrell, Kristine Levine, Angel Bouchet, Jedediah Aaker, and Sam Adams, who plays Mr. Mayor’s assistant. He was the real mayor of Portland from 2009-2012.

Season 8 was the only batch of episodes filmed during the Donald Trump presidency and I expected Portlandia to skewer what liberals, and yes, conservatives, see as low-hanging fruit ripe for the plucking. Amazingly, the Portlandia universe remains a Trump-free zone. Although Spyke–remember him?–reforms his old punk band, Riot Spray, fronted by the aforementioned Rollins with Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic playing bass, as a protest gesture against unspecified corruption in government. But he does so after first threatening to Iris to move to Canada.

In a jab at those dozens of celebrities who vowed to move north of the border if Trump won the presidency, Iris replies, “Spyke, no one moves to Canada.”

Seasons 1-7 of Portlandia are available on Netlfix, all of the episodes can be found on Comcast’s On Demand. This program is not for the little ones as there is some brief nudity here and there and some foul language.

John Ruberry, who has never had a chin beard, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.