ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

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ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

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 & 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 now - we are not lost, HELL NO, 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 very real & absolute & marvelous. There are no more questions to hinder our choices or our freedom. We have no more doubts about where we are headed, no siree jack. There is a great future ahead for those who want to run the human race

Well, that's all jake with me. ;)

It is now all about “getting there”, fast and safely, without questions. Maybe even without a single comment as we let ourselves be guided so voluntarily. Just another destination, with no feelings whatsoever which may reflect what randomly crosses your mind via the possibility of a beautiful & fleeting moment in your life. There is no time for that bullshit anymore, we just need to 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 all knowing gps and let's get there without letting any doubts or thoughts about our destination possibly getting in the way. Don't look at the road, look at the device representing the reality of the pavement which lays just beyond the thin safety glass of your windshield, and yes, it is hard and real. It will get you there alright when you meet it head on, no doubt about that being the final goal, what else could it possibly be ?

There seems to be little mystery left in the incredible process that leads to finding yourself on the way to somewhere else, unless ofcourse you get lost, end up hungry and/or voluntarily uncomfortable as your senses naturally sharpen. Becoming cold and wet and letting yourself feel a real lack & loss of comfort makes your life so god damn sweet once you eventually find refuge, warmth and friends once again. And yes, It has always been about finding your own way home no matter how difficult and complex that was. Just like the Odyssey by Homer and many more stories written after that, tons of stories including Kerouac's On the Road. It felt good to arrive at that place of refuge which we can call home especially when you manage to find your own way there. And so you made it, and it is not just what Ikea displays out for you so neatly as the concept of "home", that's not it at all. Conformity is very convenient, but it is also entails a lack of diversity and inevitably limits creativity. Some people really like that cookie cutter thing for the ease of achieving - I don't. I like my cookies to be of various shapes and sizes and flavours.

Contrasts instead of constants, substance as opposed to hype, what is actually happening vis a vis expectations, curiosity instead of judgment. I recognize the differences clearly and acknowledge the dichotomies of these concepts as useful when separating the wheat from the chaff. But lately, they seem to be melding together and are being "fudged" to a certain extent by some tendency of our times, thus reducing questioning and variety. I think this is helping to make a real mess for many of us and I also believe that this is to be expected as the world changes so quickly 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 ability to choose 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 an abstraction/representation. Caging ideas and concepts and even people sure makes them easier to peddle, just like “the nasal strip experience” pamphlet I saw at the drugstore yesterday, “an experience” ? Hell, you don't say, and 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 so they can increase profits and projections by gathering information in code. By the same token it has managed to take the fun out of work, out of individual freedom and choice and out of life itself in some cases. Coding information continues to look for new ways to lay down information in order to grab at the money you try to hang on to for some sense of security, which in the end may be false since it was also man made. “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 subtly being paved over & even beneath their words, thus caging their freedom to wonder & question. To hell with being holy, because the man wants you comfortable & dumbed down, but he also needs you to to feel unique and important because he must make everything out to be about you, and not about the ephemeral “out there” that is too big and difficult to measure or market. That is as deep as he wants it to get for now folks, just you, little old important you. It is also about the entitled “me-me”, that's it, that's all. That is where you are to be, which incidentally 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 to see what we do and like since we are now the vehicles providing profit on that new recently paved highway. Give us your info and habits and we will give you points & candy so you can feel savvy and smart, and remember it is always about you. Even if your cell phone is much smarter than you are while we seem to have no clue that it is. How could it possibly be smart, it is in 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, what I like and dislike and who I know and what I buy. If we were ever asked to give any of the aforementioned information away to a company, or even to our government which represents "the people" we would vigilantly refuse. We would protect such personal information because it is part of our rights, who we are and mainly because it is part of our freedom. Well, no one is going to ask you anything now, they don't need to anymore. Thank goodness for this useful little device to have on one's person all the time. Throw the damn thing in the lake I say and wait to see what promotions you receive by e-mail then. :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 so easily and made out to appear so convenient. Not practising our freedom will certainly encourage its erosion, and you may as well forget about your rights soon after that. :oops:

So I offer this thread to the community of freaks here and will post words that hopefully will spark what has been left un-raped of our imaginations, and if that doesn't do it for you, look at the digital representations of the road and of the refuge I offer to you here, maybe that will help. In and through all these stories and movements and actions, I still more than often find other people who exist around us in these twisted times as interesting to different degrees. Ideally you will choose 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. Ask questions even if you do not hear an answer coming from outside yourself.

In closing, an appropriate quote from David (raptitude.com) that I ran into after starting this thread.

"In an era when it feels as though we've somehow seen everything already, or at least photos of it online, it's comforting to know that out there, just beyond the boundaries of our own routines, await subtle flavors of joy we can't conceive of. "

So, let's see where this thread goes.

R.A.B .
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Last edited by R.A.B. on Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:41 pm, edited 33 times in total.
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Une règle suivi guéri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by WARLOCK »

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

Post by WARLOCK »

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

Post by Mrhide »

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

LF: VewLix, GrooveCoaster + Shoot 'em up PCB. Let me know what you have!
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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

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 damn straight into the next decade. It will be the 20's again, a decade for the next lost generation, but whom once again won't admit it. (Did I say "whom"?) :FP:

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

Luckily there are still a few young and sharp sherpas I can count on when I venture out into this world which sooner than later will fully & completely belong to them. And as we gradually lose our way in this world, we sometimes still find common ground in the deeper questions which have always lurked in the human spirit since the ages, and then it doesn't feel all that lonesome or desolate for a while.

Yes, many of us are lost, how could we not be ? There are so many more of us now than there has ever been, and the more we are the crazier it will get.


THE ROAD   Photo Credit - Valerie Guerriat
THE ROAD Photo Credit - Valerie Guerriat
THE REFUGE
THE REFUGE
Last edited by R.A.B. on Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:19 am, edited 20 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by SoapyMule »

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

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

I was on the road Saturday November 30 for what turned out to be a pretty 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. Especially 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 experiences below to a boatload of strangers (and some friends) would have made my father quite uneasy to say the least. Times have changed again, haven't they ?

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 years of life is simply being greedy in this quickly changing overpopulated world of ours. I almost tend to agree. Checking out at 50 would have been OK, besides, times are changing faster than most of us can adapt. It becomes harder and harder to accept these changes exponentially occurring from year to year let alone decade to decade without going at least a little bit crazy. And instead of going totally crazy, or better yet leaving the world behind, many little brains have become reactionary loud mouthed morons. You see it all the time. A recent example of the latter is exemplified via Don Cherry. He was removed from the public eye (or at least the CBC) after saying one too many things that were out of whack with the times; proving that being alive too long without changing, or in his case, not even trying to acknowledge that ideas and behaviours are changing as they have always done. Instead he blurted out what reactionary crap he had stored up from not questioning and not really thinking, his capacity for the latter process seems poor. One inevitably becomes a sort of troglodyte by stubbornly exercising a refusal to evolve. First step in allowing the possibility of evolution to occur is to try and leave judgement behind and replace it with questions. Step two, try and come up with answers that accomodate the difficulty of accepting the differences observed.

Regardless, St. Laurent boulevard was a road my father knew well, but in a different way than I do. So, my idea here is to lay out what we both thought in very different times in order to maybe edify those who are now making their way up the Main, - do I have to yell "metaphor !" here ? The Main, the Road, your Path. Two perspectives from different sequential eras of the past can be more helpful than one present era alone in helping us to have a better chance at understanding a perspective as a truth. Those truths, the older ones yielding some history in tow are at best more substantial and have a better chance at holding up the present. Fleeting truths, you know the ones, they come "up" easily and very quickly. The younger gens use them alot because they are convenient in explaining something they want to believe or understand so they can look knowledgeable about something they have not lived and/or experienced. Fleeting truth provides the most popular answer for a question one can't couldn't figure out on their own, even by asking and/or being with someone who can explain the process in person. Google is now the elder, and the elder is made up of all sorts of experts who can find an internet connection to start uttering their expertise, and that is a very powerful thing. These truths are often built on information that is flowing so fast and abundantly that it can not possibly develop any roots or a sort of solid basis in reality, if there is one to be had. These truths are fleeting fast and plenty. Yet, not everyone with an idea or opinion is there typing away on facebook, so it is not even a full picture of what the still larger picture of people are thinking or even liking, crazy stuff. No one in their right mind, except marketing companies should act on this fleeting and partial info as gospel. Yet many individuals do and will even pay for it. We have always had a need to believe in something, and nothing is easier to wound than someone at the mercy of a belief. First religion via preachers provided truth to those who were lost, now facebook is providing truths for the new dumb who are also lost and which facebook has conveniently lassoed into various groups and put under observation of their likes and habits. We have once again become gods worthy of our own mess as we did in previous periods of quick changes. In any new age we scramble for stability like a bunch of monkeys being assaulted from all existing angles.

On the flipside, I am happy to report that I can still keep up with the newer gens, other times, I watch & stand back and try not to judge. This is damn difficult especially when I am involved in the consequences of their choices and/or actions which sometimes seem so nonsensical to me, highly reactionary and often not very well thought out in any significant way. Basing a decision on a fleeting truth can be very unwise, and damn if there aren't alot more temporary truths with short lifespans displayed on their screens lately. But, this Saturday I knew that I was understanding time in a deeper way, as my father probably had near the end of his road when 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 even up into the Mile End/Mile X districts, very appropriate don't you think ? It's all jake with me anyway even as I break ground that no 56 year old in their right mind should ever bother to tackle at any price.

Nonetheless, I was planning on having myself a banner day despite the things I had observed and have to deal with in this context often comprised of non-sense and short attention spans. I knew what I wanted to get done - just done. The world is beginning to look crazy to me because it is losing its basis in the reality I know and is increasingly fueling on hype instead of substance which I think is risky, but it sure sounds good when you get away with it. Most of the young people who acknowledge my generation's craziness as different from their own are now paving the road ahead, and I understand that. Hell, I may be out of time already, but I keep plowing forward with what I think is valid and varied and less ordinary and not necessarily subject to common tastes. I am essentially an impostor in these times, but you know what, - it has been a pretty good run. ;)

On a very relevant side 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 doesn't exist anymore. That past, mine or my father's no longer exist as a context, but theirs does in the here and now, and only for their time being. That may be why people are making such a big fuss about the importance of "NOW" as the end all. And by that same token they have become philosophical zombies who feed off self help books and often step away from their past and back off from anticipating the complexity of any future which as always, is looking uncertain. Both concepts are far too overwhelming to lurk in for too long. So in order to survive going crazy, these philosophical zombies find refuge in "the moment" and call it mindfulness. That is the fashionable way to handle the unbearable lightness of being without going totally bughouse as they finally acknowledge their individual insignificance on this immensely complex web of being. This paradox insults many of them, especially the ones that call themselves americans. So many continue to maintain their illusions of individualism amplified with a focus on "their NOW" and this makes them unpleasant and embarrassing to be around. I understand the need for some sort of usefulness and to continue to function in a world where most of us are quite useless to the essence of being, more so evident in these overwhelming times. Yet existing on this complex web of Being is more than enough to keep anyone busy who has the mind and courage to look back and forward from the solid perspective of an existential present. All along the watchtower indeed.



The consolation to the non-sense I was identifying that day was that I set the reward of a refuge 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 would be 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 that day. The "mark" was to install three electro-mechanical pinball machines from the various workshops, and by the same token move three pins out of North Star and back to the storage unit.
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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, especially when you can learn from your mistakes and remember the pain from your bruises.
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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.
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The day had started at 6 AM for me, and Joanna became available at 8:30 AM 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.
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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 a 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 doesn't like me saying to her that she is in her 30th year of life already and about to start her 31st if she had been born in China)

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.

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.
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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. I thanked whatever energies allowed me to live this day and influencing the way it unfolded.
Angle of a Saint and a garbage Pitt
Angle of a Saint and a garbage Pitt
OCT-2012 crane.jpg (40.87 KiB) Viewed 2330 times
CRANE2013 008 (Large).JPG
CRANE2013 008 (Large).JPG (60.29 KiB) Viewed 2336 times
OK BOOMER, time to seek refuge again until the next time you venture out into this brave new world.
20191130_070037.jpg
OK SNOWFLAKE, thinking should not be such a bother. Life can still be sweet despite the things that make you so anxious, and rightly so, this may well be the end time so just try to maintain some hope that things will work out as a grand finale.

Morning edit complete - 19/12/05
Last edited by R.A.B. on Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:21 am, edited 46 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by WARLOCK »

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

Post by R.A.B. »

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 at my refuge with the bits of paper and a bunch of sayings on the wall.

20191207_075623.jpg
I should be posting about last Saturday's adventures later 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. Times are strange and people are getting crazy.

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 that this 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 Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by Sparky »

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.

Bon Ape Tit.
Patron saint of lost pinball causes.

Stage 5B. All except for NIB crap.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

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 from your posting on this thread. I hope that your post will provide an impetus for members to share some of their thoughts and their experiences "on the road" and in finding some refuge in playing & repairing amusement devices. Also letting others know how their lives are touched by these wonderful machines from the past and what they mean to them now. Make it fun and make it count people, what have you got to lose ?

Hugs,

Rob
Last edited by R.A.B. on Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

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. No shit Sherlock.

The morning was cold and the numerous 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.
Cold Morning
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. Loaded.
- 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 call 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 planned to deliver some parts to a 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 edifice, North America's largest French daily newspaper at the 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
La Presse ground level.jpg (11.81 KiB) Viewed 2852 times
1966 Multiball taking a Pause to reflect
1966 Multiball taking a Pause to reflect
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 many newspaper delivery trucks lining up on la Ruelle des Fortifications 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, street corner vendors yelling out the headlines and ofcourse 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 are told that our own personal expectations are the problem and not the situation or what is actually going on. We are told we have issues when we have expectations. "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. Maybe we should call them problems when we deem them tough to resolve, what's wrong with that ? 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. Awareness 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 peddle that kind of dope in this system, and the dope for taking care of what is messing us up can be a lot of things. It has to do the job of putting us at ease so we can go on in this frantic rat race right to the finish line, or at least until the next time we are subjected to some kind of anxiety and torment. So between mindless exercise, opiates, meditation, booze, over eating, pills, going to sleep, yoga and sex, you've got lots of choices. So it is your call as the times get nervous and nasty.

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 stepper unit as Target Alpha and Sure Shot do 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.
GTB N.LAKESIGN 013.jpg
GTB N.LAKESIGN 013.jpg (61.04 KiB) Viewed 2852 times
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.
20190618_140903.jpg
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.
Big Shot Squarepants
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.
Zoltan with tilt pendulm dampener
Zoltan with tilt pendulm dampener
Last edited by R.A.B. on Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:57 pm, edited 10 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by mrmikeman »

Thanks Robert for the super nice read. Sometimes I find your writing a little "heavy" and somewhat too philosophical - anyone can find meaning in anything - it doesn't make it "true"... But today's read was interesting and exciting and makes me miss the thrill of the repair. I also miss the road. I used to take an escape on the road a few times a year but it's been a long time now. I agree with you and Ian. It's a place where you lose yourself, you find yourself, explore possibilities, get your life's plan all laid out. I miss it.

In my previous life in the hobby, I used to love the mental stimulation of bringing back to life these wonderful machines. Granted I never worked on EM machines much, but the hunt for the problem is the same. I over did it unfortunately. At the time I was working 13-hour rotating shift work which consisted of 2 days, 2 nights, 6 off – but not really 6 as the first day “off” was the end of your 13 hours night shift, and the last 2 days off were actually standby to come in on a moment’s notice so no drinking or going anywhere. So on those days off I would go fix machines for a local guy who was importing them by the dozens. He had over 60 machines at the time. Most of them were re-import basket cases that he over-payed. He would then ask me to fix them without spending any money on parts.. Whatever I had to do…. Ugggh.

There was the stress of work which was tremendous (Military) – I can’t get into it much but it was like we see in movies. Control room. Big screens. Big red phone. Info pouring in. Bad things happening around the world. Dealing with the TOP levels of government and DND. I was the team lead in the room.

Then there was the stress of keeping my pinball dude happy, while trying not to fuck over the local buyers (MAACA members) when they would buy his machines. That’s why I always stayed away from his transactions. Guys would ask me to comment on the machines, give my opinion, or my seller would try to use me as a reference. “Mike worked on this machine”. I had to make it clear that if I had to botch repairs he could not use my name. He used to say “just MacGyver it”. That was bad news. I take pride in my work and this was killing me inside.

I crumbled. After 2.5 years my body/mind gave up. The stress led to a burnout. The burnout led to a divorce. The divorce led to depression and me selling everything I had that was amusement/coin op related. I didn’t feel bad about it at the time either. It was part of the things that broke me.

Now I am returning somewhat slowly after taking 10 years to heal. Returning slowly not in the amount of money I am throwing at the hobby but in the amount of work I am willing to entertain. Hence the 2 NIB out of my 3 machines. However I am realizing how much I miss it. I find myself being jealous of you and your crew to be honest. Doing home repairs not so much.

I am “retired” since September from the military after 30 years. However I am still working full time (11 months/year) as a reservist so not really retired at all lol. It lets me make my full salary 11 months/year while collecting my full pension. An interesting loophole that let’s me be able to afford NIB machines and other things. My gf(and most people) thinks I am so lucky and she’s jealous. She only sees the end result. She doesn’t get the 30 years where I gave up control of my life. I am 50 and I had no control over 30 of them. I think most people can't grasp the extent of that. Moving when/where I was told without ever saying a damn thing, with the family in tow. Doing what I’m told, changing jobs on a whim, working as long as they say without any overtime. I am not complaining, just trying to explain to her(unsuccessfully I might add) that it isn't luck. I paid my dues. Now I want to live my life – whatever is left of it.

I keep dreaming of ways to just collect my pension and fix machines as my day job – doing what you love isn’t really work is it…
Current Lineup:

PINS:
Medieval Madness Royal Edition - Mods: Merlin, Troll lighting
Stern Jurassic Park LE - Pinstadiums, Stern topper, stern amber shooter, mods: signs, watch tower, raptor pen, T-rex fence, pteranodon, and a few more
Wizard of Oz ECLE - Mods: Pinstadiums, witch, tornado, castle, crystal ball, emerald city, flaming pots, hot air balloon lighting
Star Trek the Next Generation - Alt translite, Pinstadiums, Pinsound board & speakers, full LED, LED&GI OCD, custom topper, ColorDMD
Doctor Who - Alt Translite, moving Dalek(real one - not the cheap servo mod), new decals, new ramps, pinblades, full LED, Pinsound & shaker, LED&GI OCD, ColorDMD
Revenge from Mars(+SWEP1 pf) - Running RFM custom code v2.23 on Nucore, Mods: saucer LEDs, 6-ball trough, knocker, shaker. SWEP1 is original software and no mods. Original neon works

Looking for:
Willy Wonka
Stern SW Prem/LE
LOTR

JUKES
Rock-Ola 446 - Up and running. Listed on Kijiji/FB.
Seeburg STD2 Entertainer - Converted to MP3 while retaining the original look and feel.

Gone but not forgotten
So many... Road Show, Monster Bash, Twilight Zone, Lord of the Rings, Simpsons Pinball Party, Demolition Man, Terminator 2, Funhouse, Tales from the Crypt, High Speed, Bad Cats, Flintstones, WWF Royal Rumble, Laser War, Laser Ball, Silver Slugger, Batman Forever, Pinbot, 6 Million Dollar Man, Galaxy, Meteor, Countdown, Hot Tip(SS), and others I just can't think of lol.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

SoapyMule wrote: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

@ SoapyMule - thanks for reading and commenting, see you at North Star sometime soon.

Much like yourself, I certainly do not think that all is lost, but I do believe that most of us are. How can we not be, at least to some degree knowing what we know and are told to concern ourselves with daily. What a mess of stuff and noise we are exposed to going through our day.

Essentially, that is what I am writing about. Being lost for a while and finding one's way home, and getting lost again and finding warmth and home and other humans we like again. And this thing we call home is more than likely different for each one of us. This is not practical for furniture stores, they have to keep lots of different products on their showroom floors, and that can get expensive in square footage etc etc., wouldn't be easier if everyone liked the same uniform home furnishings. :?

Montreal is a very unique city indeed, and I may well be an anarchist who still loves this city and which I still do call home in the wider sense of the word. Not a practicing anarchist at this stage of my life, but I do like to use words in protest of what I see “the man” subtly and not so subtly putting down as the rules for the masses of individuals of which I am but a single one. And I think "the man" works hard at getting us to behave in a uniform fashion so he can sell us the same couch for our homes. I also like to use humour to communicate, since we as humans are the ridiculous outcome of evolution. The top of the rotted heap in a sense. All coming from something rotting in a puddle of water a couple of billion years ago which started life on this planet. Kinda sad that it wasn't more grandiose of a beginning like that Garden of Eden storyline. And much like the “the man”, he is from that same little dirty puddle of water, and hence we are all the children of some chance and some misery. Some of us these "children" have turned nasty and dangerously harmful to others in finding themselves thrown into existence against their better judgement. They are seriously pissed off at life.

We the masses are less powerful than "the man" in these times, especially when we are neatly divided while still enjoying the impression that we are now more connected than ever, it is a powerful thing.
Last edited by R.A.B. on Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:26 am, edited 3 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by WARLOCK »

Division, segregation and ultimately everything filed in a pile... fascinating... All chalked up to it being required for us (we) to be a standard "couch" purchaser...
There is no anarchy here I believe, just a mirror placed very carefully to reflect upon the past... what once was our world, to see what is still worth doing as we age in it...
And for the most part, an immense amount of effort paid to portray the present; which may lead to the next gen doing something about the future for themselves as they see fit to do so...
The present is in fact, no longer ours anymore... It is theirs. My 15 year old son; (just like Robert's 15 year old son as well) will remind us of that fact when we become even remotely out of line...

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by SoapyMule »

R.A.B. wrote:
SoapyMule wrote: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

@ SoapyMule - thanks for reading and commenting, see you at North Star sometime soon.

Much like yourself, I certainly do not think that all is lost, but I do believe that most of us are. How can we not be, at least to some degree knowing what we know and are told to concern ourselves with daily. What a mess of stuff and noise we are exposed to going through our day.

Essentially, that is what I am writing about. Being lost for a while and finding one's way home, and getting lost again and finding warmth and home and other humans we like again. And this thing we call home is more than likely different for each one of us. This is not practical for furniture stores, they have to keep lots of different products on their showroom floors, and that can get expensive in square footage etc etc., wouldn't be eaiser if everyone liked the same uniform home furnishings. :?

Montreal is a very unique city indeed, and I may well be an anarchist who still loves this city and which I still do call home in the wider sense of the word. Not a practicing anarchist at this stage of my life, but I do like to use words in protest of what I see “the man” subtly and not so subtly putting down as the rules for the masses of individuals of which I am but a single one. And I think "the man" works hard at getting us to behave in a uniform fashion so he can sell us the same couch for our homes. I also like to use humour to communicate, since we as humans are the ridiculous outcome of evolution. The top of the rotted heap in a sense. All coming from something rotting in a puddle of dirty water a couple of billion years ago which started life on this planet. Kinda sad that it wasn't more grandoise of a brginning like that Garden of Eden storyline. And much like the “the man”, he is from that puddle of water as well, we are all the children of some chance and some misery and occasionally some joy looking for a way home.

We the masses are less powerful than "the man" in these times, especially when we are neatly divided.
Haha! Couldn't agree more. Sounds like we have the beginnings of the Anarchist Pinball Collective: Montreal. "No Gods, No Masters, No Tilt!" I'll get working on the logo and T-shirts.

Not sure if you followed up On The Road with Dharma Bums, but its a great look back.

We'll have to catch up over a beer next time I drop into NorthStar and you're around.

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

@ mrmikeman - Thank you Mike for contributing to the ideas in this thread. Your post is very giving in its straight forwardness. It provides one more perspective for us via our slightly different filters. I think all these “life slice/situation” posts, (on a god dam pinball forum out of all places) are enriching us somehow in the way we see and decide to live our lives. Strangely enough, pinball is the common denominator that made us a group of people who otherwise would likely have never met, let alone share their ways of thinking. Again, the more the perspectives, the richer the possibilities.

I am especially moved by two of your observations -

1) My gf(and most people) thinks I am so lucky and she’s jealous. She only sees the end result. She doesn’t get the 30 years where I gave up control of my life. I am 50 and I had no control over 30 of them. I think most people can't grasp the extent of that. Moving when/where I was told without ever saying a damn thing, with the family in tow. Doing what I’m told, changing jobs on a whim, working as long as they say without any overtime. I am not complaining, just trying to explain to her(unsuccessfully I might add) that it isn't luck. I paid my dues. Now I want to live my life – whatever is left of it.

Your gf not empathizing with the pain and effort it took for you to get to that place where you are now is very much what I was talking about in the first post of the thread.

A) 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....... 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, …......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,............

You may well be home now Mike, or at least in a place where you are calling the shots and have every right to after dealing with “the man” for so long and not being in control of your life as you say. There should be little place, or none at all for "the man" in our homes if we want to call that home ours. We should not voluntarily let him in, and at least limit his infiltration as to what he wants from us. Under no circumstances should we ever allow him the chance to sit on one of our couches.

2) Thanks Robert for the super nice read. Sometimes I find your writing a little "heavy" and somewhat too philosophical - anyone can find meaning in anything - it doesn't make it "true"... But today's read was interesting and exciting and makes me miss the thrill of the repair. I also miss the road. I used to take an escape on the road a few times a year but it's been a long time now. I agree with you and Ian. It's a place where you lose yourself, you find yourself, explore possibilities, get your life's plan all laid out. I miss it.

My pleasure these days is to write, a sort of refuge from alot of nonsense I live in this new reality. And I am glad that you enjoyed the post Mike. And yes, I do believe that there is meaning everywhere, however slight it may appear sometimes, but I certainly do not believe any of it to be true for very long. It may just end up being true just enough to acknowledge some of the possibilities that truth reveals. Solid truths that stand the test of time seem to be getting rarer as we rush through our lives, or maybe we have exhausted them all by now. Truth certainly gets in the way of this economy, so the man has gotten rid of the ones that hold up too long.

I know that when I get on the road to somewhere, I can usually identify a period of solace when the goal is not just “to get there”. I honestly think life would be horrible without being able to find meaning in the things we see and do. Maybe I tend to connect the dots too often and too easily, basically out of a search for a truth that will stick for a while and that I can act upon at different stages of my life. I do this simply via the nature of my formal education and maybe that is “too philosophical” for daily life, but like yourself, I am a product of my past and acknowledge this, much as you did so well in describing how you got to where you are and how you now see your worlds - past and present.

In your expressing the notion of wanting to live your life now and making your own choices, I hear a truth. I commend you Mike, that to me is the real luxury of life, making it home and shutting the door in the man's face. Sure money helps, but it sure as shit does nothing to take away the painful lifelong task of finding your way home, some people never do.

So, pinball repair - what a wonderful occupation it is to fix something that hasn't worked well and/or wasn't up to one's standards and likely does not live up to the memory of what was just good when we were simply playful in the best moments of our lives.
Last edited by R.A.B. on Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:25 am, edited 3 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 guéri de tout. A rule respected can cure anything.

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

WARLOCK wrote:Division, segregation and ultimately everything filed in a pile... fascinating... All chalked up to it being required for us (we) to be a standard "couch" purchaser...
There is no anarchy here I believe, just a mirror placed very carefully to reflect upon the past... what once was our world, to see what is still worth doing as we age in it...
And for the most part, an immense amount of effort paid to portray the present; which may lead to the next gen doing something about the future for themselves as they see fit to do so...
The present is in fact, no longer ours anymore... It is theirs. My 15 year old son; (just like Robert's 15 year old son as well) will remind us of that fact when we become even remotely out of line...

@ WARLOCK - I greatly appreciate the way you write. Punching phrases, edited tightly and revised poetically. I can't write like that, I am too long winded when I write, but man, sometimes I wish I could be brief and to the heart of the matter. Your way of handling thoughts is quite suited to these times and I may well be out of phase with our times in some ways, who knows.

Thank you again my friend for being there when required, and always providing ideas that help me be more in tune with the god damn reality at hand.

Thank fate that we are not living 100 years ago, we would have likely put the gloves on to settle some sort of pecking order in those times, and I would have most likely have lost. :lol: They were the lost generation, and maybe we are a version of that now, a softer version, more a tuned to the process and not so much the goal as the end all.



Hugs,

Rob
http://www.montrealpinball.com
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http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14TH, 2019

It was warm for mid December and the sky was low over the water. The rain was coming down lightly when I left the refuge of the riverside to go deal with ….....pinball machines.
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The schedual for this Saturday was as follows -

1) Line up check at North Star 9-11 or so
2) Lunch on the Main 12-12:30
3) Home service call in the east end at 1PM-3PM
4) Back on the Main to check up on the two other NS locations opening just before 4PM
5) Back to North Star to make sure everything is copacetic with the herd. Drink apple cider, play some EMs with the clients and explain the objectives and watch them try to win replays.
6) Head back to the refuge of the south west – write, drink and eat oysters and write some more.

The above is already starting to look like routine with a few variables thrown in so as to keep things interesting. That's OK for now, but I expect routine to settle in a much harder way as it always does when repetition is present for too long. It's like this - the first kiss is magical, the second is intimate the third is routine. Keeping it glamorous is a billion dollar industry and it costs every cent of it, and you have to work like a bastard to keep the same old things fresh. It is basically becomes more about hype than substance after a while, and hype sells better these days than substance, so we are OK for now.
(the words in italics above are roughly quoted from Raymond Chandler's novel "The Long Goodbye")

And magic does not last forever, and in my view of the world, the best part of anything we take on is always the beginning. Whether it be a relationship, a project, a business with a vision, even starting a new job. The beginning is always the best part, then patterns inevitably set in and this pushes the individuals who are still thirsty for new adventures and who do not want to settle yet to move on to other things feeding on that rush which comes with the process of creation once again. It is like a drug, the drug of creation, and that is what moves the world forward in a sense. Can be good or bad, but it is always forward and further, that I am certain is natural fact jack.

The consolation for many of us when the work we do becomes dull and necessary is the refuge you can create for yourself later in the day. A drink, some TV, smoke a joint, read a book, religion, exercise, meditation and a variety of escapes in all shapes and forms, some good, some bad for you, it remains your choice, and one should avoid moral judgment here because anything goes when it comes to getting by these days, with this being the end of civilization and all.

The best escape I believe is to find refuge in a world where one can create in a liberal fashion, free from preconceptions if at all possible. Ideally, only topped off by personal limits and shortcomings, and certainly less subject to the limiting factor of others. It takes a special type of person to believe in a future these days, let alone look at the present right in the schnozzle and still want to move the world forward with hope for a better life for the masses. Sometimes I think the final solution is a protest against life, and just make it stop by stopping reproduction of the species somehow, no more growth for a while and let the world heal without us interfering. But since we are here, by no fault of the ones who are born, we need to do something while here, and so I do things while knowing that change is the only constant in life. The fact that I do not know when or how it will intervene adds a certain gamble, but always knowing that it is sure to take place as long as we are here is what keeps things interesting. I don't necessarily mean “good” by the word interesting, we can not know for certain as to what will take place, so we can not or should not qualify.

The week ending today had not been anything close to routine. The full moon had been getting bigger & brighter, and by Wednesday it scared the shit out of me. This was the last full moon of this nervous decade and all I felt like doing was to get some sleep and occasionally hide avoiding any physical kind of work. This is not like me at all, and I knew I had to change something if I was to go on doing what I do and put out what people counted on me to do. However, I just had to postpone my schedualed home service call on Tuesday in order to just nap in the middle of the day, try to go to the gym, try to clean up my space up, and try to get back to a state of normal somehow so I could be efficient again. I ended up being a write off until Thursday when things started to stable out as the moon began to wane once again.

Monday, after work at Alouette I decided to keep the evening open for writing, maybe call a few home service clients to schedual appointments before the holidays, but instead, I listened to my body and fell asleep at 8:15, WTF was that. I was tired and the moon was beginning to rise and that combination is just pure trouble in my book. I knew that I was in deep when I heard what the characters in my dreams were saying. They all babbled senselessly like many of the real characters in my daily entourage do and tend to go beyond their superficial level of discourse (good or bad) and are struggling with something or other. It is amazing how many of us just tend to react with authority to what we don't know or more often do not want to see or even bother to take the god dam time to understand. Let alone explore the dimensions and consequences of a decision we take because it conflicts with what we have predetermined as the truth. The dreams turned to nightmares and I woke up at 2AM and started to write until 5AM. It was some of the best writing I have done of late.

Wednesday morning I head back to my day job with some sense of normality and a plan to get things moving. My boss came to work for an hour this week, after over a year in jail. No wonder they have transition houses for those who have been isolated from the coming and goings of a bustling world and society, it can not be easy to readjust to this shit. I hadn't seen him in over a year and it was raining lightly as I head out to the “gut truck” to get a snack after lunch and saw his son Kevin in the service department idly standing around. I naturally said hello and extended my hand. After shaking it, he pointed to the shipping dept which led the way to his father. Mr. O'Reilly gave me a hug and exclaimed to the group of employees around him that this was the last working amusement operators shop in Canada and that he was very proud of what we did while he was away on “vacation”. I almost fell to the floor laughing, here was this 86 + year old man talking about the future of the amusement business in Canada and that we were in a position to grow with the business and possibly lead the way. I just hope that I am as tough as he is when I make it to 64 let's say, after that it is anybody's game.

Friday the Montreal Canadiens marketing team booked their team building meeting at the North Star from 1pm to 4pm as a private event, so I made it to the bar at 6am to 9am and made sure every machine was up to my standards, then I went to work at my day job and was happy to get home by 3:30 and fall asleep again before a potluck supper took place on my floor which my neighbour Nadine hosted. I went back to my place after the gym and fell asleep almost until the routine like Saturday came around again.

And that is where to start this post.

I have obviously gone off on a tangent, but you know what, this is part of what happened Saturday somehow. Everything can be connected and I find a certain comfort through the confusion of that possibility. I will write about Saturday the 14th of December sometime this week and give you folks all the dope you expect from this thread. I will await your comments and thoughts if you await my post about another Saturday out on the Main. We will be dealing with the routine and ofcourse that saving grace that the wonderful variety of people we meet on the road provides.

Last edited by R.A.B. on Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14TH, 2019 – FOR REAL NOW. - WOE, WOE, WOE – WHERE ARE YOU ?

So here is how it was.

I had it in my mind to revisit St.Jacques street that Saturday morning before getting to the North Star. I felt a powerful need to take a picture or two of a building's entrance that meant a lot to me.
20191214_084956.jpg
I picked up Joanna at 8:30am as planned (routine) and she said that I should talk for now and that she will listen as we drove towards the Main (routine). I told her about what was planned today, and then began babbling about Montreal history as we took a different route. St.Antoine east from Robert Bourassa, up St.Urbain to Place D'armes to Notre-Dame, then left to St.Laurent, and then left again and west on St.Jacques through the old financial district of Montreal (not routine).

Stopped at La Presse, parked the Camry, and walked out to look around while thinking hard, - not routine at all.

On St.Jacques street and while acknowledging the architecture, I was reminded that Montreal was the most important city in Canada 50 years ago, and quite a long time before that. Now it is Toronto, and it keeps being Toronto because big business continues to rule. You can get a sense that Montreal was the previous schnitzel just by looking at the proud structures of Old Montreal. Toronto that has pretty well torn down most of its original buildings and hog shacks because it needed that prime space near the water and the train tracks to erect its present stature at being the center of Canada. Toronto grew very fast, way too fast to look historically relevant to the building of a nation that was born of two empires. Hog town grew way too fast due to a huge influx of money in the 1980's, and that money came from Montreal during a change that was a long time coming in Quebec and which historically needed to happen and made sense, so it did, and it changed many things.

Joanna and I stood there that morning on a quiet Rue St.Jacques which about 40 years ago was called St.James Street. The head offices for the big banks which line this 19th century corridor all have a majestic look because they grew into their positions by being part of a city that grew from it's old country empires. It seemed that she didn't know this part of the city judging by the way she looked around and continued to say very little. She then admitted to not having explored this Montreal district except for the old port area below Notre-Dame and on de la Commune. So I took it upon myself to suddenly become the tour guide. She was kinda freaked out that Montreal housed the biggest financial district in Canada, and not that long ago. I made this appear real for her by saying that if you go into the Bank of Montreal branch on St.Jacques, pointing to the ornate doors, you will be immediately impressed by the grandiose and opulent nature of that time & space as you essentially walk through into another time ... you can bank on that girl. :?
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I flippantly added that people who deposited their earnings needed to have a sense that if they were going to put their money somewhere else than in their mattresses, they had to be assured that they could run a mok and ran sack part of the branch's furnishings if things suddenly went south. So it follows that there had to be enough nice stuff displayed in that bank to go around for everyone involved. So a nice branch with gold and brass trimmings and nice fountain pens reassured the people who were dropping money into those big vaults. Luckily she began to laugh, if she hadn't, I would have been a little bit concerned. Yet, I think there was some truth to my statement. People wanted to see their money reflected in the appearance and stature of the bank they dealt with. How their bank appeared and stood on an important city street mattered enormously to the people of that time, now it can just be in a shopping mall in the burbs and no one gives a shit, they trust their banks for some reason. But backtrack about 100 years ago and you all of a sudden have a very different system of checks and balances, especially for the big shots, and there were quite a few of those buggers in Montreal at that time, industrialists indeed. Now we call them venture capitalists, and they produce very little that is physical.
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You can trust this place, just come on in.
You can trust this place, just come on in.
Indeed, things are quite different today, the branches of your bank feel sterile and trend towards Formica and Ikea. Hell, you can't even handle a throw pillow with a lower case f stitched on it that is sitting on the uniform couch the man has chosen for you, at your branch and where this god-damn worthless piece of crappy furniture replaced the human tellers as a better more comfortable way to bank. I wish they would just stop treating us as if we were penguins.
Pillows instead of people
Pillows instead of people
There are cameras everywhere and I would get busted for walking out with my own pen if I accidently left it on the reception counter where the hipster with the hairdo sits and checks his emails and occasionally guides an old lady to an electronic device so they can pay their bills themselves without talking to anyone ever again when they do their banking going forward. Besides that, what really makes me sore is that I had a crush on a teller last year and we were both beginning to see signs of some compounded interest, so I was very unhappy when she vanished and the bank turned her and all her co-workers into a couch with twitter throw pillows. Now all I got is this pillow with an f on it that I wouldn't be able to pawn so as to cover a service charge for a single month of that wonderful comfort and convenience I was told I would experience if I banked on-line with these greedheads. It is always the little things that make you sore.
"Chez soi" translates to "your place". Well, this is not my couch or my pillows, it is just the one they want us all to have.
"Chez soi" translates to "your place". Well, this is not my couch or my pillows, it is just the one they want us all to have.
But again, I digress.

Another clue about the relative importance of these cities in the 20th century is revealed when you look at the size of their main train stations. It is one of many testimonials and silent witnesses to a proud past and as to which city was hustling and bustling at a time when trains connected the country to its growing populations and new provinces. The size and décor of these train stations tells another story than what we may observe now by looking at the downtown core of these two metropolises. Toronto's Union Station is tiny compared to Montreal's Central Station, and now Toronto's downtown core is getting close in comparison to some sectors of New York city, and Montreal is no where near reaching this magnitude. There are reasons for this ofcourse, and they are not just economic. I wondered if Joanna knew that we were now driving through what had been the financial district from which Canada grew and on our way up the Main, maybe she did. One thing for sure, she needed coffee so we made our way up St.Laurent.

A lot has happened to change this city and in turn the name of the streets to reflect the cultural change taking place in the 80's, and I think it is for the better. Fuck big business, keeping it at a necessary minimum to run and feed the city instead of letting it run obscenely in favor of more and more development when there is no real need for that many more condos, stores, shops and offices. Purposely keeping them empty, or selling them to outside interests after they go up and up does not help the people who actually live and work and play in their respective cities, it just makes it harder for them to buy their homes near their jobs, or even rent refuge without giving up 50% + of their monthly income just to be sheltered. So it is still a rich man's game, and the masses are the pions trying hard to "make it" to the top of the rotted heap in order to be just like the ones who they are really working for.

This nation was born from two empires, one was on the decline, and the other one on the rise when Canada was born via confederation. One got rid of their royalty by chopping their heads off, and the other kept theirs as figureheads. I will let you guess which one was which. And as the English fought off the Americans in 1812 and kept those buggers below us things were also changing overseas. And as for those pesky yanks, all we have to do now is turn off their water and see what happens as things get reshuffled like they did in the early 80's in Canada when the English ran away with their money and brass fixtures from the Bank of Montreal.

Again, I digress. Maybe not.

Joanna and I stopped for coffee where the spunky young woman who definitely runs the franchise was training yet another hipster to serve the walk in customers and run the cash register, wait, strike that, total correction - "the payment station". Joanna wanted a shot of espresso in her coffee and I just wanted my regular mi-noir medium sized coffee from the big brewer/canister in the middle (routine). It was my turn to pay, so I pulled a ten dollar bill from my wallet as the young person at the payment station automatically held out the debit machine towards me and then pulled it back looking sideways at the bill in my hand. I guess it was one of those vertical tens, tough to understand why the government would do such a thing, fucks up the vending machine business which has to reprogram all their bill validators each time the government wants to change up the bills so they can keep track of what is in circulation as far as old money is concerned. All that cash in mattresses can be too much fun to control. The smarter pions don't trust the banks anymore to keep things confidential, unless ofcourse you are connected to some common interest, and those interests are nothing you and I could ever fully understand. Cash is King, and using it instead of plastic money is another way of not giving up on our freedom. I like using cash since I get a sense better sense of value versus goods being purchased, you don't get that with a tap pay. So 3.80 and a cash tip in the coin cup was what I knew I had just spent. The hipster smiled thankfully at the sound of the coin in the porcelain cup, Joanna had her fix, and so did I in a way.

We made it to the North Star without Lucien, and understandably, he had been working with Jordan moving pins and setting them up for a private event/Christmas party at the Rialto theatre on Parc avenue the night before. The arrangement included having the machines removed just after the party ended (around 2AM), so I wasn't gonna ask him to show up for line up check that morning at 9.

It was a routine check up and we addressed what needed to be done based on the pinball repair log book which the staff and the players make notes in. The regular maintenance and cleaning and testing of the games before leaving for lunch and the rest of the day was also part of the morning. (routine) I honestly do not remember anything weird or noteworthy having to be done that Saturday.

After lunch Joanna and I head off on a home service call at a collector/players' house in the east end of Montreal. As we head further & further east on Sherbrooke past Place Versailles, Joanna mentioned once again that she was not familiar with this part of the island or the fact that Sherbrooke street could be the longest street in Montreal and remarkably so different at each end of the island that you would have imagined it to be another city if you weren't a Montrealer.

To be continued and edited with the rest of the routine, the rant and the road leading to some refuge at the end of the day.

When we arrived at the client's house, we were greeted with coffee and courtesy. We began by changing drop targets and flipper caps on two Bally machines as well as two cabinet flipper button switches. I think they should include these switch assemblies in flipper rebuild kits, or at least make it a purchasing option. What a difference new high current cabinet flipper button switches make in the playing experience, our client was very pleased after we installed these on his Paragon, his Flash Gordon cabinet switches still had decent contact points, so I under sold them to him.
20191221_081224.jpg
After the home service call and the client tipping Joanna 20 bucks, she suggested that we head back to the Main nerve of the city, get some drinks and check out the wildlife at our locations. What could I say except, "OK JoJo, let's go.", so we did. It was just routine to me and seemed exciting to her. We drank and fixed and laughed and left. I just wanted to get home and rest and make notes about what I had learned today, if anything at all.

Ah life, what a useless passion you have turned out to be.
Last edited by R.A.B. on Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:56 pm, edited 12 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

December 21st-2019 - Routine & Refuge

The schedual for that Saturday was -

1) Line up check at North Star 9-11 or so with Lucien & Joanna
2) Lunch on the Main 12-12:30 with both apprentices
3) Lucien off to pick up a TOTAN in a home & move it to the shop for evaluation and eventual operation
4) Montreal Pinball home service call in N.D.G. (Notre-Dame de Grace in French)
5) Pick up a free TV in N.D.G. (No Damn Good in English)
6) Back on the Main to check up on the two other NS locations opening at 4PM
7) Back to North Star to make sure everything is copacetic with the herd. Drink apple cider.
8) Head back to the refuge of the south west – hug Joanna's boyfriend Chris, and get Joanna and the LCD TV to their place and leave it outside for a couple of days
9) Back to the refuge above the sleeping trees and write, drink and eat oysters and write some more and sleep until 9 am for a freaking change and wait for the next day.

So another day has gone by. Yet from 2018-12-21 I found there to be some reflections that somehow still stand up from a year ago on that day, or should I say from 100 years ago. What's the difference really, a lifetime of ideas continue to flow and eventually fly away regardless of attempting to documenting them.
baffleball.jpg
Back home now. I sit here and think/type about how many exceptional days there have been so far, I continue to anticipate and plan for more to come. It is not about how many days in life are ordinary and forgettable, those days are common and repetitive and plenty when left to unfold on their own. There certainly will be a lot of those when you are someone else's tool or meal, and hell most of us are. It is really about how many days are and will be exceptional because you actually think and feel that you are calling the shots. Hopefully those exceptional days that you will draw will mark how many more are likely to come on as “exceptional”, especially since you know the way now, don't you ? I do know that this is a hard thing to maintain and practice as we get older and set in our ways, especially if one is sold on comfort as the goal of it all. It should not be if your life is to mean anything in the end.

You've got to keep trying to be present to what is at hand as the first prerequisite for exceptional experiences to take root during the “assemblage” of any day you can call your own, that I am sure as shit is key. God dam presence and power over yourself is difficult to maintain in a world of distractions. Don't get hung up on the little things and remove all the fuzzheads from your path as you make your day happen. Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Today was exceptional, mainly because of presence. Maybe also because of the consciousness I shared with others in my age group last night. I am pretty sure that this was a factor, regardless of the total 28,854 days that a lifetime will likely be comprised of and for which I may remember or anticipate those days with some hindsight and/or foresight. The ones I have managed to document by trying to nail the fuckers down on paper come to about 7826 days, (Warlock would be proud of me for the math I have managed) all documented, or at least with key words to spark memories and possibly ignite future prosperity as to how to live the remainder of those 28,854 days which amount to just one more insignificant lifetime in comparison to the larger scheme of the things we know as that ephemeral human animal which we are. Chances are getting slim that I will have the time or interest to reread all those journal entries, so I let them go as I get older.

@ North Star – Machines a Piastres

In the pinball repair log book there was a claim that a broken Adams family flipper put the machine out of service much to the dismay of some avid players the night before. I personally would have kept playing, but when the tip of the flipper makes its way to the outhole, the game is over for most of us.
20191214_102354.jpg
Also, OXO needed to have the proper flipper coils installed which nobody except myself had really noticed. The ones that were there were too weak now. I say “now” because I hadn't noticed the weakness since the machine was on high tap when we installed it. Hell, what a difference 3 volts makes, we were having all sorts of problems with relays behaving erratically while some of the coil latches on the X & O bank of relays were sometimes not catching because of the extra voltage, too snappy. Things were intermittently goofy, too much juice Dexter, too much juice. In any case, the schematic called for the stronger of the two flipper coils Williams used at the time. I don't argue with engineers, I am a philosopher so there is no need to argue with those who believe that they are armed with the truth, I just follow what they say when it comes to this mechanical and electrical shit, but I certainly won't let them tell me how to tend to the incredible variables having to do with another living creature. There is no schematic or technical drawing to map that task.

In the EM 70's era Williams used -

FL21-375/28-400 & FL20-300/28-400

Meanwhile Bally was all over the place and couldn't come up with a consistent flipper coil winding until the early solid state era which they dominated as far as the pinball landscape was concerned. Their designs and distribution of the energy transferred to the ball from finally settling on AQ25-500/34-4500 as a flipper coil was just right. They also used AQ25-500/34-5050 which was the same initial flipper strength, it was just too much of a secondary winding, and it almost over-spilled the bobbin.

Gottlieb EM pinball machines going back to the 60's right through to the late 70's used the infamous A-5141. This consistency made it easier for the operators not to fuck up flipper coil replacement with an inappropriate value, and no one likes inappropriate values, especially engineers and philosophers, well in the majority of cases.
20191221_081228.jpg
At North Star Lucien cleaned playfields, checked lamps & leds & sockets as well as rubbers rings etc all the way down the line. I put Joanna in charge of the OXO coil replacements. Both of the used coils I got from a bin at Alouette were defective, (gotta watch those guys) so I got some from my stash when I drove up to the parts locker to get the yellow Williams flipper bat & shaft for TAF (p/n 20-9250-6). Time was running short so I made the call that it was too late to install the Williams flipper coils, it would have to wait. I took care of the baseball, replaced the yellow flipper bat & shaft and talked on the phone booking the rest of the days tasks and a little beyond. Did my share of teaching Lucien and Joanna a few repair tricks and checked stuff for stability, so I was feeling pretty good.


When eating in restaurants I find that it is more and more difficult to pick something that won't make me feel like crap when I am fed and done. So coleslaw and some protein was all I had. I did pick at Joanna's fries cause they looked better than they usually do, hell, the restaurant must have changed their oil recently, because the fries were light and golden and not at all soggy burnt and/or nasty. Changing the oil every 3000 meals is a minimum damn it. The coffee was not as offensive as usual, thank fate.

Lucien took off after lunch to hook up with Adam and go pick up a machine to add to "the herd", and I confirmed the home service call with Denis. Joanna was game to partake. Denis is a really great guy with a collection of EM Gottliebs that almost made me feel like I should be a collecting these things again. Almost every Gottlieb EM that offers an interesting challenge was there, and I was called in to deal with three games of the 12 + which he had in his basement.

Surf Champ had a scoring problem, so I left that for Joanna since I knew she could handle that OK on her own, so I got on to Jungle Princess that had a finicky AX relay. The real challenge was the Blue Note he had recently picked up. What a cool game, I never owned one or played one extensively, but once I figured out the features, (half of them were not working) and got them doing what they were suppose to do, I thought that this game was pretty damn good and nasty. Joanna assisted with Blue Note when she finished getting Surf Champ scoring properly and we spent a good hour getting Blue Note to ring right. She handed me tools, called me Doctor and watched attentively. We solved every little thing that needed to happen.

And once again, just like last week, the client tipped Joanna and he asked her how she got into fixing pinballs. She told him about being a client at North Star back when it first opened in 2016 and thinking the place was amazing, especially with the variety of electro-mechanical & early solid state machines in the opening line up. She had left a drunken note in the pinball log book asking to apprentice with me. Denis had a good laugh, and she continued to say that it has been a great experience and was lucky to have such a good teacher. I think that I blushed, yet I don't think my body can do that anymore.

That is only one side of the story. I have had many apprentices in the last 30 years, most have dropped off the map. One thing that I know will make a good student is the ability to listen but also to question in order to clarify what is being taught and sometimes treated as common knowledge, it is not. Those that come on too cocky too early and harbour little patience are not even worth trying to teach. I can sniff them a mile away now. And it just feels like you have lost a pint of blood by just trying to show them the simplest fix, I can no longer be bothered trying to save them from themselves and the web. Bits of information do not equal understanding, and many of the next gen are really into bits of information.

After the service call, we moved on to another part of "No Damn Good" to pick up a TV Joanna was buying from a friend who lived in one of those apartment blocks near Loyola. They had it packed in a box when we got there and I waited downstairs a long time with the engine running cause it was cold, so when I decided that it was running for too long I turned it off. That is when the box came down and just fit into the backseat of the car, There already was two sheets of pinball glass back there, but it all jived.

We then went to the established road routine according to the 4 o'clock hour of the Saturdays of our recent lives. Lucky Ho for beers and line up check, mostly coin jams and removing a cup holder from a Namco Arcade Party video game we have in operation there. People were occasionally banging into it when they made their way to the washroom later during the drunken evening of their lives. All done.

Down the Main to Fabuleux where another rod collar let go of the gearbox on a brand new Super Chexx we bought about a month ago. Someone working at I.C.E. in Buffalo NY must of had a late night before assembling this thing, because this was the second loose collar (P/N SC1002X https://www.icegame.com/service ) I had to tightened the Robertson bolts on this particular example of the amazing latest version of this classic piece of commercial amusement equipment.

https://www.icegame.com/bubblehockey

Back to the North Star where Joanna bought me ciders and had herself the best bloody caesar on the Main, it is like a meal in a tall glass. We played the Gottlieb "Big Shot" and managed to win some replays and extra balls. Both these features seem to be gradually disappearing from pinballs mainly because of the competitive side of how pinball is played now and turning into a sport instead of a casual diversion from the stupidity of daily life amongst the animals that we are and refuse to evolve beyond being the head ape. What is the ape to us now except an embarrassment when he shows up in us, well some people still admire this ancestor and his base instincts. We both left after some laughs talking about anthropology and dropped off the TV at her place with Chris' help. I head home to think and thank and sleep and not write and chase ideas in my dreams which did not turn to nightmares that night.

This is the last installment of this thread for 2019. I did go out on the 28th to do a line up check, and did it on my own and ran into no one except the coffee lady. The refuge was not much of a contrast to the road that time around. I guess it is because it was an easy day, and I was not confronted with anything or anyone difficult or silly crossing my path.

Let's hope that the 20's are good to the those who care, and that there will be an uprising in intelligence and a decline in stupidity and savagery of those who are now in power and causing great suffering while claiming some higher purpose in trying to justify their actions, they are flea dirt. :FP: I will not say, "fat chance", but we have seen this similar kind of period in history before where there is an uprising of carelessness towards ourselves and the world that supports our existence. We kinda know where this is going, yet we hope it will be different than in the past. Hang on people, hang on, because it sure as shit will have to get very bad and painful before it gets any good at all again.

Happy New Decade people, 3 days to go.
baffleball.jpg
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Wow, have we really made it this far ? Well jumping jesus, that is simply Great !

Must remember that there are always some losses via any advancement, that is just natural fact jack. I didn't make that up, it just is. Something is left behind in order to make room for something new in the way we do things. It may be some kind of gauge, as if there was a limit to space and time. Maybe there is, maybe not, and maybe it is just really about knowledge and nothing else, - so to the devil with time and space for now.

These losses seem to have begun early this year, a sure fire sign that there will be more and more things left behind as we move forward and crowd the future with our latest form of non-sense. Always further and faster as the world changes and continues to race to a finish line. Yes, yes, yes - always further and forward regardless of consequences, I told you this before, this is not a value judgment, it is just about moving ahead no matter what, good or bad. And if the short term thinkers are essentially in charge of most of the resources now, the rest of us have just become their fodder, mostly at their service and at their disposal. Fawk !

" IT ", the great force of evolution has to move forward and further no matter what. Beware of that constantly expanding universe thing, it just leads to trouble in my book. That forward "drive" manifests itself through all of us and is at its' strongest usually when you are young, and rightly so. It tends to take a back seat after middle age before becoming basically lame. Regardless, it has manifested itself through all of us in one form or another no matter what. It can be very reckless and void of thought especially when human actions are taken in haste. Consequences will occur. Our new age seems very careless towards a solid chance at a sustainable future. This is a sign that the powers that be, those who can actually do something about this ignorance & neglect seem to have given up on the world and told very few of us about it.

Short term thinking is a sure sign of trouble lurking, and short term thinking has certainly become a more common & popular practise in this electronic/information age where the letters IG are not just an abbreviation, but a way of life for many self entitled douche bags. Those who have the real control of our times and exercise their power in the name of profit will likely & quietly exclaim,- "Hell, let's do this thing because after we're out of here, who cares what happens to all these smart phone drones." Those in charge of the general demise and encourage it in the name of obscene profit disguised as free enterprise will have left the sinking ship behind like shithouse rats in SUVs and jet planes loaded with gold, silver and supplies. No surprise there, it is like Canned Heat - "going up the country, baby don't you want to go," It is all about the “me” and the “now” so who cares what happens to the others in the aftermath. We may well be slowly descending into a real nasty survival trip in the 20's while milking it all the way to that point of no return. We will likely see the effects of this manifest itself in the cities first, - have you noticed any changes yet ? Hell, I did. Why is this fellow human being lying on the street corner with nobody checking if he has a pulse ?

In our time we have seen a shocking decline in public and private morals. I own newspapers, but I don't like them. I regard them as a constant menace to whatever privacy we have left, a constant yelping about a free press means with a few horrible exceptions freedom to peddle scandal, crime, sex, sensationalism, hate, innuendo and the farcical political use of propaganda. A newspaper is a business out to make money on its advertising revenue that is predicated on circulation and you know what circulation depends on.

This doesn't make any of the recent losses observed as we move deeper into the 21st century any easier to bear. It becomes difficult to understand how some of these losses are provoked by greed and profit alone, - what about our individual finite lifetimes ? Doesn't that make everything even and equal at "the end of the day" or as corporate talk says & claims to even everything out, "all things being equal" ? Why isn't money not just treated a tool instead of as a goal or even a master in some twisted cases ? Why has it become a reason to justify almost any behaviour ? And some of the behaviours in this time and age can get pretty ugly at times.

There is a peculiar thing about money, in large quantities it tends to have a life of its own, even a conscience of its own. The power of money becomes very difficult to control.

It's mind boggling how many of these human greedheads become so asinine in the pursuit of profit and personal fortunes that can not possibly be spent in a lifetime. The many ordinary and low key humans who get too close to this ugliness and witness the extreme behaviour of the power hungry end up turning to prayer instead of fighting back when they see our own humanity going ape shit. Braver souls have left god behind and taken on the responsibility for this terrible mess and mayhem created by the lower forms of life belonging to our species. Some have decided to fight for a better future, and I think that this may well become our primordial duty now, hell, even our sole purpose, even if we lose our lives to it. Better to die for a purpose than slip away without one.

Man has always been a venal animal. The growth of populations, the huge cost of wars, the incessant pressure of confiscatory taxation, all these things make him more venal. The average man is tired and scared and a tired and scared man can not afford ideals. He has to buy food for his family.


We are led to believe that all is OK and that the average man has a voice, well at least an impression of having one, which is nice.

We live in what is called a democracy, ruled by the majority of the people. A fine ideal, if it could be made to work. The people elect, but the party machines nominate and the party machines in order to be effective must spend a great deal of money. Somebody has to give it to them and that somebody whether it be an individual, a financial group or a trade union or what have you expects some consideration in return.

Only through a lot of losses, whether brought on by humans or natural disasters do we have a chance to better our collective fate. We need to die a little and make room for the future and let things grow organically again. Problem is that from here, the future looks like a very controlled bag of shit on the way down to the chute. We have outgrown this reality and many of us out of desperation and being bloated with knowledge of that desperation have decided to be crazy and reckless because we sort of know that we are at the end of the line, very close to a vanishing point. Hey, what a movie!



More recent equivalent of how it translates into normal daily life and how it can become dangerous to retain some sort of freedom from the norm is laid out in American Beauty. That movie comes to mind clearly, so I am not the first one to tell you that we are close to some sort of curtain descending somewhere, somehow, sometime on the common folk,- soon at a theater near you.

Here ya go boys.



Now back to our story, you know it, the road and the refuge (R n' R) and quick because I am staring to sound like an editorial that has forgotten the point it wanted to make. Let's just sum it up by saying that in the 20th century - “smart went crazy”. So now, in the 21st century, let's see what “crazy” turns into. Cross your fingers.

Anyway, the sun was shining in Montreal that Saturday morning, and when I gazed at it long enough my 25 year old self suddenly said “live existentially asshole”. And then I remembered that my son had just turned 16 the day before and that I should probably teach him how to do just that. There was no choice now but to stay alive, I had to pass it on.

The notoriety that comes from a moment of clarity is short lived, now isn't it ?

As per the routine, Joanna had agreed by text to meet at 8:30, and was also ok to load the Eight Ball Deluxe playfield she had finished touching up into the back seat of my Camry that morning. I wanted to get it back to the shop for completion and also start the playfield tear-down on the Gottlieb Sinbad we had picked up from a home about a year ago. The problem was that the lock down bar was not releasing its hold on the locking mechanism even after trying several tricks including the one shown in the picture below using a defective Stern Metallica transformer as an incentive to drop the release lever down after a thorough lubricating with a penetrating oil treatment fit for the most persistent of the Greek gods. Didn't work.
The Weight
The Weight
Rust Never Sleeps (but a crowbar made it give up the ghost)
Rust Never Sleeps (but a crowbar made it give up the ghost)
The North Star check up went well, Joanna rebuilt a couple of flippers based on notes in the log book that said that the right flipper on Adams Family felt “soggy”. I would have used “slightly less efficient than the left one”, but “soggy” made sense cause I know the soggy bottom boy that wrote that comment, and then again, another “soggy” adjective for a flipper on a Stern. Well, that just turned out to be the usual broken flipper stopper. I am seriously hoping that they will come up with a revision B soon where the actual stop does not crack or come off the bracket through normal commercial use. The stop is stamped onto the bracket and I have seen many of those just loose their grip in the past year, hope 2020 will be better for coil stop number 515-6308-01.

Joanna tried the new Stern (Stranger Things) after we finished working, I couldn't be bothered just yet, it had been installed the day before and I would try it later that day after having a few drinks, otherwise I would find no fun in playing just another Stern.
JoJo and Stranger Things
JoJo and Stranger Things
You can not expect quality from people whose lives are constantly subject to a lack of quality, and you can certainly not have quality with mass production. You don't want it because it lasts too long. So you substitute it with “styling” which is a swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence. Mass production couldn't sell its goods unless what it sold last year is made out to look unfashionable.

After a game of the new trend worthy Stern pinball, Joanna and I moved on to lunch at a Korean restaurant near the shop. The restaurant owner looked at my North Star t-shirt and asked if I was from North Korea ? I said no, and that I was just another soul who is on the road today, and that North Star was a Montreal pinball manufacturer in the late 1940's and I was chasing a dream. Well, I couldn't really explain all that to this guy, he didn't seem to speak much English, he just recognized the tilted star logo on my shirt as the same one as the one on the North Korean flag, and I guess it made him curious enough to ask about it in broken English.
Montreal rosewood shipping crate
Montreal rosewood shipping crate
Joanna laughed at my explanation of the tilted star and almost spit her soup all over the place. We both had decided to have soup and sprouts cause it was much more satisfying than a lump of smoked meat on bread with a pile of fries sitting in your gut when you left the table. If I hadn't eaten in three days, maybe I could deal with a heavy meal, but not today.

We have the most shinning kitchens in the world, but in those lovely white kitchens, the average young adult can't produce a good and healthy meal fit to eat. And our lovely shinning bathroom is mostly a receptacle for deodorants, laxatives, sleeping pills and the products of that confidence racket called the cosmetic industry. We make the finest packages in the world, but the stuff inside is mostly junk.
Chez Serge & chez Les Boys
Chez Serge & chez Les Boys
At the shop we began the tear down of the “Sinbad” playfield. Joanna did the grunt work and I checked voltages before connecting the original system 1 Rockwell computer. It (the MPU) looked very clean compared to the rest of the machine.
Sinbad MPU
Sinbad MPU
All voltages were present at the power supply level and most of the connectors looked good so I pulled a Budman and crossed my fingers. Plugged the fucking thing in and it booted. No score displays though, but the bugger booted up, all I could see was the match number and the amount of credits, which is really what makes pinball fun, luck and skill. I was lucky it booted up and skillful in my cautionary steps.

We continued to work on Sinbad together, talked and laughed about the world around us and decided that we had to get out of the shop and do the rounds on the Main starting at 3:30. JoJo said that she was looking forward to the first beer of the day at Lucky Ho's where the music is always amazing and makes her shazama app get used alot. I told her she could just ask me what songs were being played, since they were mostly really cool covers of 60's & 70's rock songs redone in a weird way that felt really good to hear, but she is more use to her phone giving her answers than a human.....oh well.

Drove down to the new Chez Serge and finally had enough bayonet based warm white leds in my doctors bag to make the bowler score reels amazing looking and get Upper Decks Player up lights looking good again. Details are so important in the way the big picture ends up looking.
Leded bowling scores reflecting on the pins
Leded bowling scores reflecting on the pins
Ideally, I want the machines we take care of on the road to be as nice as the ones in the North Star, the pinball shrine of Montreal where you can find pinball in its' purest form the majority of the time. I have set the bar high in the past 4 years so I train the younger ones to maintain a standard of quality even if most people have learned to ignore quality and truth as we move forward and further into this brave new manipulative world spinning the truth in the smog it has generated in order to sheild quality or competency from the general populations' sight.
The Main from the new Chez Serge
The Main from the new Chez Serge
The refuge of the North Star felt good that night, the quality of the drinks was the same as the week before, thank goodness for that, no one had cheapen the quality of the place. I bought Jojo a Bloody Ceasar and I had the cider which was fresh and crisp and not at all sweet, exactly the the way I like it, no frills and absolutely no bullshit to the experience.
Warmer colours are essential in the dead of winter
Warmer colours are essential in the dead of winter
The refuge of the night felt just as right.
20200104_192708.jpg
Note: All italics above are from the 1953 novel "The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler with a few minor changes to accomodate this post.
Last edited by R.A.B. on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:03 pm, edited 8 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

Friday-Saturday-Sunday-10-11-12-2020 – 3 days of work and of little refuge.

There is usually a plan looming over any work day, and I try hard to be the author of that plan. And when the day (& night) swerves from the plan, I will go along ; - insofar as I trust the energy that has intervened. No use fighting the corrections which have to take place in order to succeed in making the marks.

Work is not a bad thing in my book, hell no, because it is about getting the things done which we want done. It is essentially about the goals, but it can also be about the process itself which includes the refuge when the work is all done. No matter, the work we do should provide some reward in return for our efforts; monetary or otherwise, ideally both. This in turn promotes the incentive to get back to the work that still needs to be done the next day. Putting it that way, it doesn't sound too bad now does it ? Yes, it can get a little boring due to the repetition of tasks that the work may demand of us, so each one of us has to decide if it is worth the reward(s). There is a challenge to be met when routine settles into the work equation. These two R's (repetition and routine) are more likely to take hold of us in adult life. And more often than not they will persist, and become overbearing when we let ourselves become washed up, obsolete and replaceable in doing the same thing for too long, avoid these two R's in your life's work if at all possible.



The consolation to the routine is that work can take on many forms, especially when there is no asshole telling you what he or she thinks has to happen based on whatever evil forces they have forsaken their life to in exchange for money alone. Fuck these people. Work can be about raising a kid, fixing a pinball, taking the sighs away from a friend, writing, building a deck, making art or whatever you plan to do. It is work no matter what when you have a plan (the process) and a goal (the mark). At worse the work is only about money. At it's best it is about contributing a verse to this great big & powerful unfolding of events. That I believe validates “work” in its highest form, and if it happens to pay, well so much the better.


PART 0NE

The plans I drew for the weekend of the 10th were subject to many variables and were accompanied by more marks than usual. Hence, a larger amount of flexibility had to be factored in. I knew this just by the complex nature of what was planned and the amount of humans involved in the execution of the tasks which lay ahead. Changes in the plan would surely ensue, thus creating various fluctuations in the course of our actions.

1) The plan for Friday was to meet up with the Warlock after the work day of buying & selling parts at Alouette was done. Scott was schedualed to arrive in Montreal with a truckload of pinballs around 4:30 pm at first, and then later adjusted to 6:30 pm. I was to meet him at the storage unit and unload the truck. That did not happen Friday.

2) Saturday morning we were to pick up Joanna at 9 for line up check, hook up with Lucien and Jordan at North Star. Get some lunch after that, go back to the shop and start the triage and evaluation of the equipment received the day before so that by 3:30 I could start doing the routine like rounds of the locations we operate in on the Main. This didn't happen that way either.

3) Around 6 PM Saturday get the Warlock back to the empty truck parked outside the storage building in order for him to make his way back to Toronto for around midnight and be with his family before leaving for the States on Sunday. That as well did not happen that way at all. Not one bit.

There is always a place in my sights, a destination in my work day (or night) where I need to find refuge. That is how I roll, making it back to that place of refuge where I know I won't have to deal with anybody else but myself. Yeah, I know that may sound like a task in itself, but not to me. I know myself enough to lay off the thinking & worrying & anticipating when I need to and there are plenty of ways to escape thinking. Some people are experts on that front. Some have learned to meditate in order to stop representational thinking, and others have simply stopped thinking for themselves by looking at their screens for their answers. One group is more agitated and anxious than the other, again I will let you guess which one.

Part two of that weekend of wonders & debacles & of rain, ice and snow by next Friday-Saturday-Sunday. For now rest easy and trust that everything will unfold as it must.
After midnight at the storage facility. Felt like Al Capone's boys receiving a shipment of booze from Canada. Our weekend story starts here.
After midnight at the storage facility. Felt like Al Capone's boys receiving a shipment of booze from Canada. Our weekend story starts here.
PART TWO

So the Warlock crossed over at the Quebec border around 11PM on Friday night. I had asked him to text me when he saw the red roosters head, i.e. the St.Hubert Barbecue chicken place at the first rest stop in Quebec. Now, this is Quebec gastronomy, don't you agree ? :( I informed Scott that the chain had recently been sold to Ontario interests, but his mind was elsewhere, probably focused on getting the truck to dock at St.Zotique street and safely off the highway. It certainly had been a long day, so the refuge would be welcomed. But first, we had to secure the load.

We met at the warehouse around midnight and Scott backed the five ton into the building. I had gotten the overnight permission from the building manager to leave the truck in the dock until morning. Both North Star and Montreal Pinball rent space there making it handy to have all the parts & service resources under under one roof. We couldn't bloody well leave this truck full of expensive equipment outside in the Montreal night, especially in the Mile X hood. :D Some hipsters might get the idea to break into the truck and mess up their hairdos. Yikes, pinball is making a wicked comeback in the fringe neighbourhoods of Montreal and beyond, so let's "wing it" boys.

Once the truck safely backed right onto the docking plate, we locked up the building, and put ourselves in the Montreal Pinball staff car (i.e. the Camry) :geek: We debated stopping at North Star for a drink or two, but that night was sporting a full moon along with a lunar eclipse to boot - so not good. The North Star would be full of crazies, freaks and hipsters about to lose their wigs, and that is not what we needed to witness after such a long day.
Refuge, refuge, refuge from the crowds and especially from the road was required
Refuge, refuge, refuge from the crowds and especially from the road was required
We went back to my place to set up headquarters for the Warlocks stay. This entailed vodka, club soda, cider, oysters, whelks, smoked salmon and beers if necessary. We babbled about our life situations well past 2 AM since the next day was a late 9:30 start at the warehouse in order to unload the goods with Jordan and Lucien to help with the lifting.


PART THREE

After a hearty breakfast we head off to meet the boys at the storage facility. Joanna had texted the night before to let me know that she needed to get some rest after a long week at her regular job. No problem. Lucien showed first and then Jordan, we then prepared to unload. I say "we" but Scott was in and out of the truck so fast with pins on wheels at a frightening pace that we could only logically stand back and watch or risk trying to help and getting in the way of the Warlock's plan.
Trunk-load
Trunk-load
Scott in what he calls - "show mode"
Scott in what he calls - "show mode"
The shop on the first floor was filling up quickly, and the overflow of pinballs would have to go to the third floor shop.
Left wall 1st floor shop
Left wall 1st floor shop
20200118_142418.jpg
Center of 1st floor shop
Center of 1st floor shop
3rd floor shop almost full, you know the drill, you can always squeeze in one more.
3rd floor shop almost full, you know the drill, you can always squeeze in one more.
What we could fit into the 1st floor shop and have standing on legs was about 8 machines, and these were carefully chosen since they had to be checked and rigorously tested before going on location at the end of January. Jordan was calling the shots on the positioning of the games since he would be working on them in the 1st floor shop for the next two weeks before the location install. It is best to let those who do the actual work decide how to set up their space, there is no one in a better position to decide that than the person doing the work. No place for consultants at this stage of the game, especially in the rugged shops of a street business like coin-op amusements, what could they possibly understand about how things get fixed and how that keeps the balls rolling and how that in turn makes people jump. Again, in good fringe businesses, decisions should not be taken solely based on profit, it pisses the playing public off and takes away the essence of pinball i.e. the enjoyment equation.
Jordan evaluating the new members of the herd
Jordan evaluating the new members of the herd
Once everything was out of the truck and in the shops, Jordan made notes based on what Scott had in his head concerning the machines he had moved. We then all head out to North Star for the line up check and to meet the other hoodlums making this North Star project prosper. It was an exceptional feeling to have more folks than usual partaking in what I consider my weekly Saturday morning routine. As I looked around the bar at this motley crew, I realized that everyone present was there because they believe that pinball has a future. An important diversion and a place in the daily lives of the people of the 21st century. How could it not, pinball grew out of a time of strife as an escape to the woes of those times. Little has changed, granted, the game sure has, but the energizing feeling of getting something for your money has remained primordial in our nature. It is essential to feel you are winning at something, especially while so many other things around us are slowly being taken away. These are still times of want and woe for many, and it is not just about money to survive this time, but for other things as well, - positive human interactions and real social time for the most part. There is an emptiness to these times, a lack of substance, and pinball helps. The ball is real and small victories like an extra ball and/or a special makes us feel good and helps us forget how money alone has become an all too important value and how it is falsely associated to happiness and well being. Bullshit, it can help, buy it really doesn't buy anything of intrinsic value.

The French have a phrase for this. Those bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right. I just can't think of it right now because the wheel is still in spin.

The rain had not let up since the early morning and the temperature remained above zero well into Saturday night. The puddles were becoming something to avoid.

Part 4 and maybe 5 by this weekend, then February begins. And as that seemingly endless month of cold, wet and icy winter doldrums begins to try our patience at reaching another springtime, I thought about the seasons of one's lifetime and the repetition which we learn to expect. The French have a phrase for that as well, but for now, I can only see a drawing of what this repetitive cycle of life might mean to them, - sitting there staring back at me from my desktop.
Café de Flore - Paris in the early 50's
Café de Flore - Paris in the early 50's
Last edited by R.A.B. on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:08 pm, edited 8 times in total.
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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Re: ROUTINE ON THE ROAD – REFUGE BY THE RIVERSIDE

Post by R.A.B. »

The writing routine that was beginning to take hold of this thread has been somewhat derailed by the non routine nature of some bigger work events of late.
I don't worry about this too much because I know that given time, all things come around and find their own rhythm and direction that suits their being once the dust settles. This will happen to this thread as well as to other other "living" things providing that they are free to make the changes required to allow a context to come forth which supports that end.

Freedom is primordial to having a chance at happiness. I believe that this concept, or even the perception of personal freedom to be the most important requirement to having a good life. All the above writing and efforts has helped me relearn this lesson and I hope it has provided enjoyment and reflection for those who can be curious prior to being judgemental.

Example :

1) "Why is this guy writing about finding his way home from the road of routine and writing this all out on a Montreal based pinball forum ?"

2) This guy is not normal."

1st quote stems from being curious, and the second one is judgmental. Both are valid perceptions about the same thing, however the first quote is in question form, and the second isn't.

How are you doing ?

Well, if anything comes from this thread at least I find myself believing in something that won't slip away from me all that suddenly. I am working hard at maintaining some basis in a truth that suits my being here or there or anywhere.

Yabo !!
LDV @ 6.jpg
LDV @ 6.jpg (31.37 KiB) Viewed 1771 times
http://www.montrealpinball.com
http://www.northstarpinball.com
http://www.alouetteamusement.com

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

A philosophy of doing shall rule until 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 friend from sighing, there will then only be memories to fill my time. So, the task at hand is to build a RRSP of occurrences to recall come hell or calm tides.

In real life I always preferred the exceptional qualities in any normal state of affairs. But alas, so many of us have suddenly become exceptional via a world wide web of self-promotion upheld by the new dumb that it has made the quest for something truly exceptional much more difficult to notice.

"Ah, you goddamn writers, never a good word for anything. Hell, you never really know what the frag they will say or do next." My Alter Ego

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