ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

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ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby R.A.B. » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:07 pm

ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE
(a route technician making his way home)

Let's start this thread with an understatement, - things sure have changed since 1947. The roads of the America which Kerouac detailed so poetically have become quite trodden-ed upon in the last 70 years or so making it seem that there are less stories worth telling about any of us going anywhere ..... the mysteries of living our personal disorientation have all but been extinguished in the last little while. Such a disorientation is almost shameful to admit - we are not lost, there is no question about that, right ? We have a better reality now as to where we are, who we are and where we are going, and it is so absolute & marvelous. There are certainly no more doubts about where we are headed now, no sir. Well, that's all jake with me. ;)

It is now all about “getting there”, fast and safely, without incident or questions. And maybe even without a single comment as we let ourselves be guided so easily. Just another destination without even a feeling that may reflect what randomly crosses your mind in a beautiful & fleeting moment through time. There is no time for that bullshit anymore, we need to just arrive dam it. No one wants to hear about how you got “there”. In any case, those silly human reflections are just too messy, let alone trying to share them. Fuck that, turn on that gps and let's get there without incident or thought, don't look at the road, look at the device representing the reality of that paved road which lays just beyond the thin safety glass of your windshield, it is quite hard and real. It will get you there, and that is the goal of course, what else could it be ? Hence, there is little mystery left in that incredible process that leads to finding yourself on the way to somewhere else, - unless ofcourse you get lost and end up very hungry and/or voluntarily uncomfortable. Becoming cold and wet and letting yourself feel a real lack & loss of comfort which makes your life so god damn sweet once you find refuge, warmth and friends once again. It has always been about finding your own way home no matter how difficult and complex that was, like the Odyssey, and many more stories written after that, including Kerouac's On the Road. It felt good to arrive at that place of refuge which we can call home, not just what Ikea displays out for you as that concept. Conformity is very convenient, but it is also entails a lack of diversity and tends to limit creativity, some people like that, - I don't.

Contrasts instead of constants, substance as opposed to hype, what is actually happening vis a vis expectations, curiosity instead of judgment, I appreciate the differences of those concepts and recognize the dichotomies useful when seperating the wheat from the chaff. However, these concepts seem to be melting into each other lately and are being "fudged" to a certain extent to reduce questioning. I think this is managing to make a real mess of the majority of us in these times. I also believe that this is to be expected as the world changes so quickly and as the tilting pendulum swings back and forth and all around looking for the center of things. This energy which is looking for some sort of definition & center that balances our humanity will likely once again prevail. Maybe we should let it do just that. Maybe we should leave things alone instead of mapping them, coding them, and even naming them. This action just creates a cage of sorts for what could possibly be more interesting than just representation. Caging ideas and concepts and even people sure makes them easier to peddle for profit, just like “the nasal strip experience” pamphlet I saw at the drugstore yesterday, “an experience”, you don't say ? Boy I just can't wait to try those.

Yet, the chance for what I like to define as “being uneasy” has been largely quelled by the proverbial corporate signposts and rest stops on the roads we travel. Ofcourse, I do not only mean this literally, it is meant as a metaphor as to how big business continues to suck the marrow out of the diversity of being human. They have also managed to take the fun out of work, out of life itself, out of individual freedom and continues to look for new ways to grab at the money you try to hang on to for some sense of security, which incidentally was also created by them. “The man” has also made sure that there will be no chance at a wide variety of human characters manifesting themselves beyond what has been formulated by what serves him, thus leaving little room for a personal experience or thought when you stop to pee and eat and drink and think of how fortunate you are not to go hungry out on what Kerouac long ago called “the holy road” and where he pissed on trees more often than in super white urinal within a beautiful and very real “no man's land”. He continued to walk forward hungry and beaten down, always further, always forward. And while Allen Ginsberg howled for holiness for all and for everything we touched or touched us, the road was being paved under their words. To hell with being holy, because the man wants you comfortably numb, dumbed down and also needs you to to feel unique and important, because he must make everything out to be about you and me, not about the ephemeral “out there”. That is as deep as it is going to get folks, just you, little old important you. It is also about the very important and all entitled “me-me”, that's it, that's all. That is where you are to be, which incidently is largely determined by someone else. You and I and all the super important people around you are being valuated, diligently assessed and closely followed as a group of consumers since we are now the vehicles providing profit on that new highway. Give us your info and habits and we will give you points & candy so you can feel savvy and smart, remember it is all about you. Hell, your cell phone is much smarter than you are, and we seem to have no clue that it is. How could it possibly be smart, it is my hands and subject to my commanding taps and swipes, I am in control of this incredible device that holds so much info about what I am doing, what I will be doing, where I am and where I am going and who I know. If we were ever individually asked to give away the aforementioned personal information to a company or to the government we would viligiantly refuse and appeal to our right to privacy and defend the protection of personal info we have been told we have a right to. Useful little device to have on one's person all the time. Throw the damn thing in the lake I say. :lol:

There was a reality before this one, and it made more sense to any human who valued the freedom to choose a path other than what was offered and made out to be convenient.

So I offer this thread to the community of freaks here and will post words that hopefully will spark what has been left behind of our imaginations, and if that doesn't do it for you, look at the digital representations of the road and of the refuge, maybe that will help. In and through all these stories and movements and actions I still more than often find those other people who exist around us in these twisted times as interesting. Ideally you will chose them and they will choose you to be a part of the road and the refuge which you can hopefully still manage to create, protect and travel on without being told what or how to do this or that by outside forces that claim to want to make your life easier.

Let's see where this thread goes.

R.A.B .
Last edited by R.A.B. on Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:06 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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Maxed out at 10 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 10 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule til the days when I can no longer "do" arrive. Because when I am too old to wipe my own ass, adjust an AX relay or relieve a woman from sighing, there will be only memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of memories, come hell or calm tides.

P.S. A man needs something to do besides contemplate how crazy everyone has become in a world of overly exaggerated self-importance upheld and maintained by the new dumb.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby WARLOCK » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:50 pm

Things have changed - as they always do and have done.
On the road - the stories are all worth telling others of our tribe.
Everyone - the younger you are - needs to slow and understand the new pace.
Mysteries and disorientation are commonplace - but everyone has the answer now.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby WARLOCK » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:02 am

There is so much going on in the first paragraph of this new thread...
Game on...Boo-ya...

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby Mrhide » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:07 am

I offer this musical background for reading and to think about peeing on trees:

LF: EGRET 2 *FOUND!* + Shoot 'em up PCB. Let me know what you have!
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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby R.A.B. » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:04 am

Thank you MrHide and Warlock for your encouraging words, song & comments, I mean that.

I am committed (in more ways than one) to write about the road and the refuge in view of the riverside on a regular basis and into the next decade.

Forward, further and in the most colourful way I can manage without losing "it" completely. :lol:

The Road and the Refuge.jpg
THE ROAD Photo Credit - Valerie Guerriat


20191130_080806.jpg
THE REFUGE
Last edited by R.A.B. on Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com

Maxed out at 10 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 10 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule til the days when I can no longer "do" arrive. Because when I am too old to wipe my own ass, adjust an AX relay or relieve a woman from sighing, there will be only memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of memories, come hell or calm tides.

P.S. A man needs something to do besides contemplate how crazy everyone has become in a world of overly exaggerated self-importance upheld and maintained by the new dumb.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby SoapyMule » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:19 am

Great writing and a great read. Really enjoyed it.

Although, I don't think all is as lost as it may seem. Things are just different and that spirit hangs out in more diverse corners of adventure and creativity than in the past. Montreal is a great city for this and is filled with all types with a bit of madness thrown in there.

Or maybe you're just an anarchist :D

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby cait001 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:46 am

here for this
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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby R.A.B. » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:55 pm

I was on the road Saturday November 30, for what turned out to be a long day at the tail ass end of the month of the dead. My father would have been 100 on the 20th, and I thought about him quite a bit this month and how his generation was not prone to express in detail much of what they felt or thought about. So here I was now, the same man in essence, but in a different time where it is almost OK to talk and write about what one thinks and feels and does. Laying out the following experiences to a boatload of strangers (and some friends) would have made my father quite uneasy.

There is a reason we should not stay alive past 90, some say even 70 is too much, and one existential man claimed that anything over 50 is being greedy in this quick changing overpopulated world of ours, I almost tend to agree. Times change faster than most of us can adapt, and it becomes harder and harder to accept the changes exponetially occurring from decade to decade without going crazy or at worst, becoming a reactionary loud mouthed moron like many little brains do. A recent example of the latter is Don Cherry. He was removed from the public eye (or at least the CBC) after saying one too many out of whack things; proving that being alive too long without changing, or not even trying to at least keep up with the times is a bad thing. One inevitably becomes a sort of troglodyte.

Regardless, St. Laurent boulevard was a road my father knew well but in a different way than I do. So, my idea is to lay out what we both thought in order to maybe edify those who are now making their way up the Main. Two perspectives can be more helpful than one, that seems to still stand up to truth.

I can also sometimes keep up with the newer gens, other times I watch and try not to judge them, and this is damn difficult especially when I am involved in the consequences of their choices which sometimes seem so nonsensical to me and not deeply thought out. But I knew that I was understanding time in a deeper way that day, as my father probably had near the end of his road while observing the younger people of his time and trying not to judge or get upset about the changes he knew were happening regardless of his view of the world. His stomping grounds were in the financial district of old Montreal, mine are on the trendy, artsy Plateau Mont-Royal and up in Mile End/Mile X districts, very appropriate don't you think ? It's all jake with me anyway.

Nonetheless, I was planning to have a banner day despite the things I had to deal with in this present context often comprised of non-sense and short attention spans to get what I wanted done - just done. The world is beginning to look crazy to me and so do most of the people who acknowledge my generation's "perceived" craziness as their norm, hell, I may be out of time already, but I keep plowing ahead with ideas I think are valid and inevitably less ordinary for these times. On a relevant note, I also learned about memes this month. My 15 year old explained the concept to me, and one meme that applies here is simply - "ok boomer". :lol: Sounds bang on in relation to all these thoughts and reactions I am living, and that is completely OK with me. The crucial difference is that I can encompass their reality by living and working within it, but they can not possibly encompass mine because it is no longer sustainable in the way they see the world. My world no longer exists, theirs does in the here and now, - for the time being.

The consolation to the non-sense I was identifying that day was that I set the reward of a refuge for myself after I got off the road, but only if I did what I had set out to do. This was a promise, a promise I had consciously laid out for myself a while back. I tend to keep my promises, so the refuge was imminent. And this reward would be triggered by the first glass of cool clear cider going smoothly down the hatch before making it to the riverside late that night to rest, write and recuperate from hitting the mad mark I had set for myself. It (the mark) was to install three electro-mechanical pinball machines from the various workshops we frequent, and by the same token move three pins out of North Star and back to the storage unit. I left the lifting to the younger members of the crew, they did a great job moving the machines. After a while of doing this or anything at all, you inevitably develop a method. My job all along was and had been to install the three shopped machines that day at North Star and get as many of the remaining bugs out as possible under commercial use. So one Bally, one Gottlieb and one Williams. That particular variety/balance was clear to me and to be at the rendez-vous that evening when I took my first sip of cider and watched people play and react to that colourful scene we laid out for them to experience.

20191130_150241.jpg

The day had started at 6 am for me, and Joanna became available at 8:30 AM that morning as planned. She kindly promised to keep an eye on me since we were heading into what was looking like a big & crazy day. She had seen me react to things before, and knows exactly when to kick me in the shins just before I say something metaphorical out loud.

20191130_080509.jpg

The three machines to be installed that morning had been in preparation for the past month or so in workshops across the Plateau area. It had taken a lot out of me to get them playing up to snuff to North Star standards and I was excited to get the emotional kick back through this install by watching the regulars react to this new line up. We usually rotate one machine a month at North Star as a general rule in order not to spoil our patrons or burn out our repair people too much.

So today was the day to do what I had promised myself to do. Sometimes it is good to check if you can meet some of the challenges you set for yourself. Joanna was watching me go through the paces and kept a close eye on my moods and reactions to situations. I think she is aces for doing that and also letting me know when I am about to turn into a monster or a moron and promptly tells me to shut up before I speak. She is one sharp cookie for a 30 year old and provides a sort of bridge for me in understanding her generation. (Oh shit, she is actually 29 according to North American calculations and hates it when I say to her that she is in her 30th year of life already and about to start her 31st in January.)

After lunch at the Main and back to the bar a few hours before opening, we realized that we should head up the street for a change of pace. We had been at North Star too long and we were on schedule for the 3pm opening, so we took a walk up the Main. We hit Fabuleux to check on a few issues and grab a part or two from the stash inside the Williams baseball machine "Upper Deck" in order to light up the back part of the playfield on the Adams Family pinball at North Star, players were saying that it was too dark near the back ramps, so we abide to our clients reasonable requests, in this case by adding lights and reflectors.

20191130_174913.jpg

So we head back to the North Star which was about to open and attended to the little problems that came out of the 3 new members of "the herd". A lot of little things went wrong as they usually do but the machines remained in service until about 10:30 when Captain Fantastic decided to not eject the ball to the shooter lane anymore, I was almost by the riverside when I got the text about the Captain refusing to present the ball to the shooter. The other two machines kept the line up colourful and ringing.

20191130_210106.jpg

The day was done, and I had kept the promise I made to myself last month. So before making it back to the south west of the Montreal island, a place where I find more solace these days than when I last lived there in 2014-15, I thanked whatever energies allowed me to live that day the way I did.

OK BOOMER, time to seek refuge again until the next time you venture out into this brave new world.

20191130_082652.jpg

20191130_070037.jpg


To hell with it, life can still be sweet, despite the things that make you go crazy for a while.

Morning edit complete - 19/12/05
Last edited by R.A.B. on Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Maxed out at 10 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 10 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule til the days when I can no longer "do" arrive. Because when I am too old to wipe my own ass, adjust an AX relay or relieve a woman from sighing, there will be only memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of memories, come hell or calm tides.

P.S. A man needs something to do besides contemplate how crazy everyone has become in a world of overly exaggerated self-importance upheld and maintained by the new dumb.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby WARLOCK » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:05 pm

Great read, and well done my friend. You wrote about exactly what was "lived" thru.
I can't believe it is Dec. 9th already and you wrote this on the 4th and lived it on the 30th + earlier.
I am only just reading it finally today; What a blur it has been for the last 11 days since I was in Montreal.
I still have to re-read and respond to the rest of the Dec.1 chapter. All in due course apparently. Cheers. Salut.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby R.A.B. » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:34 pm

WARLOCK wrote:Great read, and well done my friend. You wrote about exactly what was "lived" thru.
I can't believe it is Dec. 9th already and you wrote this on the 4th and lived it on the 30th + earlier.
I am only just reading it finally today; What a blur it has been for the last 11 days since I was in Montreal.
I still have to re-read and respond to the rest of the Dec.1 chapter. All in due course apparently. Cheers. Salut.


Thanks Scott. I have Dec.7th's salient points and events in chapter form on my computer at home, that is where I like to write most. Oh yes, I keep forgetting that you saw that quiet corner space with the bits of paper and sayings on the wall.

20191207_075623.jpg


I should be posting about last Saturday's adverntures late tonight when I make it back to that place I consider my refuge from the world, others and when I feel that the road has stretched out too far for me to make it back in reasonable shape.

All my hopes for you to find/build/create your own refuge soon my friend, it is a place where resourcing the mind, and the soul (if the latter exists at all) can take place away from the noise of our world generates, often through others.

The road is OK to flirt with, but later in life, it can wear you down if you live on it too long; And even though it is addictive because of the adrenaline and the freedom it conjures up, it is like playing with fire as a kid, but you know all this already. It comes down to choice and how you want to live your life and for how long. We shouldn't let others take that freedom of choice away from us if we can still help it.

Robert
Last edited by R.A.B. on Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com

Maxed out at 10 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 10 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule til the days when I can no longer "do" arrive. Because when I am too old to wipe my own ass, adjust an AX relay or relieve a woman from sighing, there will be only memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of memories, come hell or calm tides.

P.S. A man needs something to do besides contemplate how crazy everyone has become in a world of overly exaggerated self-importance upheld and maintained by the new dumb.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby Sparky » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:45 am

Well, I can talk about the road... a lot. I travel constantly for work (and play). And I hear the comments often... how can you do it.... must be lonely... that is a long trip...

All true. But... in this condemned age filled with offended, stationary, non-evolving, anchored tormented souls, the road does offer me a few things...

Time to think. Time to breathe. Time to refocus. Time to listen to myself. Time to prioritize. And time to appreciate.

The man who is out in the cold most appreciates shelter from the elements. And so do I value family time, and am thankful when I do get home. But yes, I still do relish time on the road, provided that blight on today's society called a cellphone doesn't ring. They are convenient and all. But when I want a steak, I don't eat a hotdog. So, if I want human contact, I rather go see someone and shake their hand. But, work obliges.

OK, I digress... on the road. Yes. I guess that one element I rarely deal with now is traffic on a travel deadline. I do drive off-rush-hours locally. And as for commutes in other cities, I see traffic as an opportunity to put down the window, tap my fingers to a good tune on the radio, and watch humanity at it's best and worst around me. Screw reality TV... reality period is better. And again, I can think. No one disturbing me every 3 minutes, complaining about something. No one offended. My only contact with other humans are the banter through WhatsApp popping up on my radio screen fro Bluffs and Borderlands. Nutjobs, all of them. But a good kind of insanity.

Just today, my early morning drive to St-Hubert was started with Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street. Gold... one of my faves, while thinking of which pin I should set up tonight. A little Joy Division... a little Ozzy... a little Opeth... a little Christopher Cross. I don't care. Whatever. The truck rolls, the radio paints the scenery, my mind paves the road. Fuck the destination.

90 minutes later, everything is silenced. Damn. Time to put on my thinking cap. For a few hours, I cease to be the student of life and become the teacher of techno-logical action-reaction systems that simulate life through movement and sound... but offer little else. Funny how I find more spirituality in a pinball machine. It is still a machine. Yet machines will take over one day. I might as well be nice to them now. I still catch myself saying thank you to Siri... Hmm... maybe they already have taken over. Oh well... glory to our new overlords. All hail Big Brother. Orwell was right...

Same last week. The drive to Toronto felt like going to the corner store... Until my phone didn't stop. My original pinball build plans progress in my head as I pass Kingston. My day went to shit after that when Siri started having a nervous breakdown. God do I miss the days without these fucking celluliars. People can't seem to be able to do anything anymore without some bit of technology. More on that.

The saving grace was arriving at Bluffs and be able to chat with a big brother that is truly that in the proper sense. Jesus we can talk ideas for days. But, shit awaits. Souls need saving. So we fix pins. We establish plans. Motors are whirring. Gears are turning. Coils are firing. Balls are rolling. There is life.

So yeah... I try to enjoy long shitty rides. You never know when that damn Game Over light will turn on. Might as well enjoy what you can.

On tonight's menu, cream of Blackout with wild Phish, followed by a filet of Black Pyramid in a Slayer sauce, ending with a Defender pie topped with fresh Cream.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby R.A.B. » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:11 am

Ian, thank you so much for contributing to this thread. Your perspective is appreciated and needed, and I hope that other members will take an example in your posting on this thread. I also hope that there will be an impetus for members do the same as you did so well, and in turn share some of their thoughts and their experiences "on the road" and in finding refuge in playing, repairing and having their lives touched by what these wonderful amusement devices mean to them. Make it fun and make it count people, what have you got to lose ?

Hugs,

Rob
Last edited by R.A.B. on Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com

Maxed out at 10 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 10 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule til the days when I can no longer "do" arrive. Because when I am too old to wipe my own ass, adjust an AX relay or relieve a woman from sighing, there will be only memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of memories, come hell or calm tides.

P.S. A man needs something to do besides contemplate how crazy everyone has become in a world of overly exaggerated self-importance upheld and maintained by the new dumb.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Postby R.A.B. » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:30 am

SATURDAY DECEMBER 7TH, 2019

Picked up Joanna at 8:30 am and made our way towards the Main. She doesn't usually like to talk much in the morning, but this time she took the floor. It was an interesting change from my own usual babble & mourning soliloquy. Then I remembered, one can usually learn more from listening than from talking, ofcourse this is largely dependent on the parties involved.

The morning was cold and the tasks for this day on the road were lined up neatly, very neatly indeed. Almost painfully neatly I would say, and maybe on purpose in order to give the refuge at the end of the day more clout. It worked.

20191207_075757.jpg
Cold Morning

- Line up check and the weekly maintenance of the herd at North Star starting at 9am.
- Get a bonus count bug out of the cool 1974 Gottlieb “Big Shot” we installed last Saturday
- Address all the problems and small issues listed in the log book by the staff.
- Jordan and Lucien would be removing a Bally “Wizard” from a location that wasn't earning.
- Once back to North Star Jordan and I tackled a GI issue on Bally Spectrum, it was technically annoying us. An anomaly of a machine when it comes to lights.
- Booked a home service just after lunch in order to fill the first hours of the afternoon
- Around 3:30 we check up on two other North Star locations, had a couple of beers to start winding down the day and delivered some parts to the client.

That was the plan. Again, it was a tightly knit plan and that can generate trouble when pinball repair is part of the equation. I seem to have a problem factoring this into my schedual lately, but time has a way of repeating the lessons previously learned when you deviate from some of the knowledge you have painfully acquired.

So on our way up the Main that morning we drove past the La Presse, North America's largest French daily newspaper, corner of St.Laurent and St.Antoine, I couldn't help but think about how many years my father had worked there. His dream job was to work in a newsroom environment, and so he did during the last decade or so of his career. I think he enjoyed the feeling that something important was taking place in that environment. The Remington typewriters clacking loudly in haste and later the IBM Selectrics clicking away even faster in order to feed the latest dope to the type setters running about frantically. The adrenaline rush must have been something when that feeling of urgency built up as the deadline of going to press neared. Getting all the news down and printed for the masses was the main all important daily task for over hundred years. That environment is long gone, or should I say that it has changed like most things have changed which have to do with information and how it is delivered.

La Presse ground level.jpg
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The huge printing presses that you could watch rolling out pages at high speed from the street have been dismantled and removed from the building's foundation floor. And there are no more docks for the newspaper delivery trucks on St.Jacques street ready to roll out at 3:30 AM each and every morning of the week from the 19th century part of the original La Presse building in order to get those newspapers out to the public via news stands on the streets of Montreal and to the door to door delivery geeks. The first floor (and probably the ones above it) of the newer part of the facility facing St.Antoine street are now filled with mostly empty cubicles and computers. It has all changed over to a less physical reality in a few years, and it is much quieter at La Presse now. The “newspaper” is easier to hold in one hand on the city bus as well these days. Those same city buses that still roll on the same roads of a unique North American city. The number 55 still runs up the Main from old Montreal past St.Antoine as it has for the past 6 decades, and I can still see myself riding it up the Main after meeting my father for lunch near La Presse in a smokey tavern in the summers of the late 70's during my early teens.

But this is almost the early 20's, and will be for a while. So when Joanna and I got to the coffee shop near the North Star, we both asked for shots of espresso in our coffee. This too was different than usual, I don't normally need that extra boost, but the night before I was invited over for a few drinks (vodka and grapa) at one of my neighbors' studio apartment. She sent me a text later during the day thanking me for being a good listener. No problem I replied, and added that I can do more than only listen to her. She sent me some kind of smiling yellow face with red cheeks back through the smart phone. We are both of the same age group and in a way I wish she had sent words instead of an emoji. People really need to talk to eachother and learn to listen again, more than ever now as times gets nervous. Or at least use words in texts and e-mails that hold together via complete sentences in order to minimize misunderstandings. We need to be able to communicate in confidence and clarity about the things that preoccupy and often trouble us. I knew that, and so did she, but this is now apparently a time for abbreviations due to time running faster than before by the looks of things. Personally I don't believe it is running faster, and that is probably why I am wrong so often.

What I am noticing these days, and having some trouble understanding, is that we told that our own personal expectations are the problem and that what is actually going on is not necessarily the issue we are actually having trouble with. "Issues", as they like to call real trouble in the 21st century makes it sound as if problems can all be fixed easily, some can and some can't, so call them problems when they appear tough to resolve. Expectations are now slated as the problem for those who believe that some sort of truth can be lived by and be used in order to settle down via its ideals. Basically looking for stability via some value system that hasn't been too fucked with is the goal of the exiting generations. Yet the world is becoming more and more disruptive and chaotic as we are made aware of more information than ever before in a powerful and immediate manner. Becoming aware of so many events and happenings through such a flood of channels encourage us to often scramble for stability and look for a refuge in hopes that it will provide some mental shelter from a storm of mostly useless information. In the city, finding refuge and peace is more than often achieved through some kind of consumption. This is good for those who sell that dope in this system, and the dope in this case can be a lot of things, as long as it does the job of putting us at ease so we can go on, at least until the next time we are subjected to some kind of noise and torment. So between mindless exercise, to opiates to meditation, to booze to over eating, to pills and going to sleep, to yoga and sex, you've got lots of choices. Your call.

At North Star I tackled the bonus count problem on “Big Shot” and Joanna went from machine to machine cleaning, checking lights and rubber rings and addressing the smaller detailed issues (not problems) written out for us in the pinball repair log book. Jordan and Lucien came in around 11 after the move. Together we addressed the GI PROBLEM on the Bally “Spectrum”, a very oddly lit machine with a bottom panel power module with triacs mounted on the transformer panel, - odd. Bally used two lamp driver boards for this game and several small auxiliary driver boards scattered about and mounted here and there in the machine as needed. Jordan figured it out after realizing that we were barking up the wrong tree since Tuesday. It was simpler than we first thought, and by that time, I was getting exasperated at the other end of the bar with the bonus unit count sequence on Big Shot. Joanna saw this from afar and said that I should step back for a little while and look at other problems in order to get back on it after some distance, ofcourse she was right, and I do recognize this method as a valid way of solving stubborn intermittent problems after many years of fixing shit, but I am also getting more stubborn and stupid in my later years, so I tend to hold my stance and ground a little longer these days. This usually doesn't work out too well.

This Gottlieb EM machine uses the same one coil bonus unit stepper unit as Target Alpha and Sure Shot in order to scan and count up the targets spotted after the ball drains. Must have worked reliably when they first came out, but after a few years of paying the rent, this complex count sequence and all the components involved in getting the right count up on the players score demands some extra attention. What partly makes this worthy of operation and exposing it to the younger gens is the mechanical analog rhythm which the end of ball bonus count produces in sounds as it scans the 14 dropped targets and the 8 ball rollover trigger on the game. Gottlieb invented the drop target back in 1951, another Harry Mabs invention I believe and uses it well on this playfield layout which was reused in "Pinball Pool" and a few other games. So I looked more closely at the relays that are associated with the end of ball bonus count.I.E. the bonus score control relay, the ball return relay, the bonus score relay and finally the ball return control relay, and oh yes, - ofcourse the infamous and rare motor 1D relay, ever see one of those ? FAWK. I then took a break as Joanna suggested. Gottliebs are often the machines which challenge my abilities to new limits as they get older and present us with problems we have never seen before, - got to love that, got to love those problems and sweep away issues.

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It was getting late and we still had the Bally "Wizard" to unload at the shop and look at an Eight Ball Deluxe and assess its needs for deployment. we were definitely running late, so I texted my Montreal Pinball client and delayed the home service call by an hour. After a quick lunch at the Main restaurant, time continued to slip by according to my father's wrist watch which insisted on running slow while my cell phone kept the correct time thus surprising me as to how late it was actually getting. Hence, I just ended up reschedualing that home service call to another day because it was obvious that this day was quickly became two sizes too small for what was left to do and thinking about the service call was wearing on me more than the tasks we had on hand that day for North Star business.

We head to the North Star shop and storage unit and helped Jordan unload the pinball from his Matrix. We also took out the stripped and cleaned Eight Ball Deluxe playfield from its cabinet and put in in my Camry. We would get this thing to Joanna's place for touch ups, hopefully that evening on the way to the refuge of the south west and away from the evening that was coming down on the Main. She uses her Williams “Time Warp” cabinet to house the playfield candidates we send to her for touch ups before we clear coat or mylar in order to protect the work. She had done a great job on the OXO we have at North Star next to that Big Shot that was giving me doubts about my abilities.

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After the shop Jordan graciously offered to help with the bonus count problem on Big Shot back at the North Star. I had managed to stabilize the problem to a minimum that morning, but I wasn't quite confident about it. Jordan's eyes are better than mine and that is what it basically took to get much closer to the proper tuning of those dancing components. The relay switch actuator throw on two relays (Q & O) had left something to be desired, and Jordan adjusted them while I held a strong light on the relays so he could accomplish the precise adjustment needed. It made a huge difference and we happily stepped back from this thing.

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Big Shot Squarepants


We then went to look at why Dolly Parton had lost her voice. Sound board needed a rebuild (cap kit and all) and that could not be done right there and then even with good eyes and good light. We left her without sound for now. Jordan went to get something to eat and Joanna and I head off to Lucky Ho's. I had brought the owner some plastic yellow dart flights from Alouette for his Valley Cougar 8 electronic dart machine. We then checked the log book, addressed a few minor issues but could not resolve a boot up error & problem on Dialed In. Called Jordan and we worked on this together for about an hour with no results. Took pictures of the messages on the screen and moved on, leaving Dialed In out of service for the first time in over a year. Tough machine, well built and road reliable.

Back at North Star we enjoyed the vibe that comes with the end of the work day as the the afternoon customers and regulars filed in. It was then time to take refuge before the Plateau kids invaded the place. It was good to get back home and off the Main after another day on the road. I was toast physically and emotionally from a day of repairs that got the better of my mood, especially when I understood the reality of the old lessons of my trade. All life and all living things must overcome themselves, and I would add all lessons we learn and relearn as well. Nietzsche said this in not so many words more than a century ago. It was once again time to trust the energies at hand and dampen the tilting of the pendulum once again.

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Zoltan with tilt pendulm dampener
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com

Maxed out at 10 machines, no more no less. Toujours a 10 machines, pas moins pas plus.
Une règle suivi gueri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule til the days when I can no longer "do" arrive. Because when I am too old to wipe my own ass, adjust an AX relay or relieve a woman from sighing, there will be only memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of memories, come hell or calm tides.

P.S. A man needs something to do besides contemplate how crazy everyone has become in a world of overly exaggerated self-importance upheld and maintained by the new dumb.



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