I played around with the first round of machine improvements, as more problems reveal themselves. I was brave enough to open up the field glass and touch some of the mechanisms to test them out. The main shuttle ramp is supposed to activate a ‘heat shield’ – an illuminated orange bumper which emerges from between the flippers, but it hasn’t been doing anything. Thankfully, it’s not an electrical problem – it’s just a wire that’s not bent at the right angle to trip another sensor. A few re-bendings later, it works inconsistently. Still thinking about how to fix it completely, because there’s a very fine line between trapping the ball and setting off the right switch.

The machine also pitches to the right and might be at too shallow an incline, so I’m playing with a level and the leg bolts.

I’m a little discouraged by the cult of pinball. While they present themselves as a welcoming group, they’re surprisingly unwilling to spit out certain details. I learn best by hard visualizations of things – I prefer satellite maps to illustrated ones. I reverse engineer better than I engineer, so pages of schematics aren’t too useful to me. Show me something which is already assembled and I can probably fix it or improve it.

So, when a pinball supplier has a pack of fuses designed for my machine but does not disclose what’s actually inside this pack, I write to find out. When the seller then tells me to check my manual, instead of actually just telling me what’s in this mystery pack, it’s not helpful in the least.

The local pinball supplier who I hoped to befriend is ridiculously oldschool, refusing to take credit cards or in-person pickups. Instead of driving the 45 minutes it would take to pick up my supplies in person, he insists on charging 12 bucks for shipping and getting a money order via the mail. As a result, a process which could take 24 hours and be incredibly simple is prolonged into an expensive week-long event. Which, honestly, is fucking annoying. Why be so encouraging about the hobby and then make it difficult for me?

It’s all a little offputting, but dammit, I’m enjoying my crazy little pinball machine. Once I get these pieces in my hands and experience them, the understanding of the next machine will be much easier.

I recently visited the half-forgotten graveyard at the end of my road, complete with rusted-gate-falling-off-the-hinges and Revolutionary War heroes aplenty. It’s much larger than I recall it being, but back in high school, most of it was impassably overgrown. Since then, it’s been cleared out and forgotten again. I recently had dreams about a deep, dark evil that lived there – but when I was actually there, it felt really peaceful.

I’ve been preoccupied with Google Maps lately, and found a completely residential path to my favorite sushi restaurant instead of taking various busier roads. I also stumbled upon a local road called ‘Enrico Lane’, which culminates in ‘Fermi Ct.’, which is awesome and amazing and now I need to go take a photo of that street sign.

Oh, and that Chicago Museum doesn’t want me. I blame my unsexiness. There’s gotta be a better way to earn $10,000.

Also, Toyota rotated my tires and forgot to tighten a hubcap, which vanished the next day. After a week, they replaced it for free. I’d like to go to Curry Toyota just once and get in and out without them really messing something up.