Happy Halloween from your favorite Lego Batman crew – Batman, Robin, Alfred, and Harvard for Police alumni Barbara Gordon.
At what point does the running joke of “Stein Car Problems” become unfunny? Apparently never. Case in point, I receive a phone call from K on my way to work this morning…something slightly out of the norm. I proceed to ask the question, “How’s it going?” and am met with the response, “Not great,” immediately followed by hysterical laughter.
It’s tough to know how to respond to that. So I wait and hear the following confession:
K – “I broke the rear-view mirror.”
Me – (laughing) “How’d you do that?”
K- “I hit the garage.”
Me – (not laughing) “You hit the garage?”
K – “Yeah, we haven’t parked in the garage for so long and there were a lot of things going on. It’s still usable!”
Me – (laughing) “Well, that’s a positive!”
Mind you, this is the day after we just got her car back from the repair shop…and mere months after we had to fix a broken tail light because she backed into a garbage can.
Me – “Well, you have to park in the street from now on.”
K – “I can’t! The snow plows will come and I’ll get stuck!”
Me – “Better add ‘digging out time’ to your morning commute!”
This is why she doesn’t get to drive the leased car.
And you people think I’m the problem.
Hotel Stein has undergone some major upgrades since October. On top of providing our guests with the latest in aquatic beds, we’re introducing themed rooms, a la the infamous Settle Inn. Now, you can enjoy staying in the “Television Room,” complete with posters and pictures of TV shows you should really already know about. (If you haven’t seen them, maybe you shouldn’t inquire about staying.) On top of the great view of the trees in the front yard, you can get 24 over-the-air channels, a shared bathroom, and a complimentary “bars and tone” wake up call. Make your reservation today!
For most avid readers of the blog, this will be a glimpse at the recently painted/put together Team Stein basement. For a few of you, this will be the post about the man cave/basement arcade that you’ve been pining for…
As you can see from the tiny panorama picture below (which seems like it should be an oxymoron), the basement is ready for movie watching, TV viewing, video gaming and…even pinballing.
Taking another oxymoronic picture from the other end of the room, you can clearly see that my Batman pinball machine has made its way north from Nebraska…finally.
**If you have little to no interest in one man’s tale of acquiring things for a basement arcade then now is the time to stop reading.**
Full disclosure here, I’m a pinball junkie. Dad got me hooked when I was a kid and, because I have the reflexes of a cat and the speed of a mongoose, I was able to keep the ball going for more than 10secs at a time, thus getting my childhood $0.25-worth and cementing my love for the silver ball. I even convinced the family to get a machine when I was roughly 10-years-old…a shrewd business move that ranks right up there with collecting baseball cards…I think. (Black Knight 2000, for the curious minds).
Fast forward to becoming an adult and I slowly started acquiring more arcade gems to put in my own house (much to the chagrin of K). At the old house, I went through various “line-ups,” as they’re known in the pinball world. Lethal Weapon 3 (that I had my parents pick up for me in Atlanta when they were driving back from Florida…good thing they have a conversion van and nothing but time on their hands) and an Operation Wolf arcade game I bought from The Barley Street Tavern were the first additions.
Whodunnit (which I had my parents pick up for me in Houston when they were driving back from Texas…there’s a theme developing) was the next to arrive because everyone loves a good interactive pinball murder mystery. And then I was out of space and money.
But, much like the Grinch who stole Christmas, I got a wonderful, awful idea…and the Whos down in Whoville would never see it coming…if I sold some of the less sought-after titles, I could make room and use the money to get better titles…it’s almost like using free money to buy things you want, so what’s not to love? That meant saying goodbye to Lethal Weapon 3 to add a Junk Yard, perhaps my favorite game I played growing up. (You build a flying jalopy out of junk to escape Crazy Bob’s junk yard…and then you fight him in outer space…A FLYING JALOPY…OUTER SPACE!) They used to have machine in Lawrence, KS when I went down there for basketball camp in the summer. And, never being a person to reject nostalgia, I bought one I found for sale in the middle of Nebraska. So, naturally, Dad and I drove the van out there to pick it up. 6 hours later we got it home, plugged it in and watched the power go out in it less than 2 seconds after I turned it on. (Not quite the glorious first play I was hoping for, but it just blew a fuse, so it was a $0.50 fix.)
After that, I was content…for a brief period of time. Then a game called Fish Tales (a machine I used to play often at the Kwik Shop by my childhood house) came up for sale on Craig’s List…in Bellevue. That was far too close to pass up, so I convinced Dad and a friend of mine to take the 10 minute journey with me to pick it up. Then, I was really out of room and money.
Now up until this time, I had been dabbling in the “deals” and nabbing older machines when I could, but at some point you have to step up to the Major Leagues, right? So I sold two machines I thought I would never part with, all in an effort to make the purchase of all purchases. Batman. A relatively new machine based on The Dark Knight Trilogy…which is perhaps my favorite movie trilogy of all time. While it hurt to part with my “old friends,” I’d played both Whodunnit and Fish Tales to death as a kid and adult,..and made it to the “wizard modes” in both. Plus, like Beyonce, sometimes you just want something shiny and new-ish.
Right now the new house only has room for one machine…but fear not…I have grandiose plans for a basement arcade that would make Showbiz Pizza look like Chuck E. Cheese…wait…
Oh, and in the meantime I can go to this bowling alley that’s 15 minutes from my house.
Shortly after we moved, as in 2 weeks after we moved in, construction began on the major interstate that both of us had to take to work and generally anywhere that we want to go outside of our suburb. Extremely intense construction that often led to only one open lane, ramp closures and 15-30 minute commute increases on a good day. Couple that with the super-skilled drivers in MN and the fact that we weren’t familiar with the alternate route options, and Team Stein ended up on QUITE a few “I have no idea where we are or how we get to our destination and Siri is super confused so I guess I’ll keep driving until we see something familiar” excursions in the Cities. Continue reading
T has officially made it big time in Minnesota with his television debut.
After some super-sleuth-like detective work, I have discovered that our hot water heater makes noise. A lot of noise. More noise than a normal hot water heater should…I think. I say this because half of the time it sounds like the inside of a tree when the Keebler elves are hard at work and the other half of the time it sounds like an evil wizard is having his army of orcs build him a muscle car.
Now, you tell me if that’s normal.