I missed posting about Christmas because, well, I got sick again. Or still, depending upon your point of view. Bad enough that a day ahead of what we planned, I tried to visit a walk-in clinic up where my in-laws live and we wound up leaving a day early.
I was in a pretty bad way. It had been a week since I'd finished the antibiotic I'd hoped would be enough firepower to win the fight. I did get well enough to lay still for that PET scan you may be wondering about, but by Christmas Day, enemy forces had regrouped and taken me down.
This only dampened Christmas though. I came home with some excellent new fleeces and two new shirts, some fluffy/grippy socks, a healthy eating cookbook, a Thai curry cookbook, curries and rice to go with, a bunch of clever gifts from Germany courtesy of my traveling in-laws, and a very cool new pair of FRS/GRMS rechargeable walkie-talkies among lots of other gifts and sweets.
Back home I paid a second visit to my own doctor and got some horse-sized antibiotics for a second battle. This one is going well so far helped along by my Mom's Russian spiced tea.
I've receovered my strength enough to have muscled my big surprise Christmas gift down into the basement for a temporary setup. Do you know what pachinko is?
Ye of my longer associates know just what I'm talking about; the highly addictive Japanese gambling game. Imagine pinball stood upright, about as wide as your shoulders, with hundreds of small pinballs falling through a strategically placed playing field of brass nails. The nails dodge and direct the falling balls into and way from traps; some that open and close. Balls that are caught cause the machine to yield more balls in return... but those that are lost you don't get back. Hence the gambling aspect.
In Japan these machines are lined up in parlours in even the smallest towns. Players buy a set quantity of balls and risk them in the machines to win a variety of prizes ranging from plastic toys in the fun parlours to groceries in some pragmatic places and motorcycles or cars in high stakes casinos.
My oldest friends know I've found and fixed a handful of antique machines. They are fascinating to figure out as all the older ones really need is gravity to work. The falling balls do all the magic both in front of and behind the machines.
This new one though... it does need electricity.
But that's because it's a personalized Las Vegas casino! It has music and digital slot reels to make the caught balls even more hopeful as one plays. And it has lights. LOTS OF LIGHTS. And it happens to be Star Wars themed. (Think of a movie, rock band, Japanese cartoon, etc... there is probably a pachinko machine with that theme out there)
My Nerd Night friends punk'd my big time with this thing. They all chipped in to buy it and surprised me last week when I showed up for our regular Monday night out. I walked into the cantina and noticed it. I thought the restaurant had bought one to go with the video games, jukebox, and poker machines. I was completely shocked when they told me it was for me!
I've got some pictures to share later and a little video I found online... enjoy!
Better yet, come visit Jody and I to play it yourself!
Look at the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnS19GVSvsE