Friday, March 30, 2012

Pinball 10

This was at the Pacific Pinball Museum. It was not, technically, we admit, a pinball machine. But how many pictures of pinball machines were you hoping for?

Coming next, if things go according to plan: Travel photography from exotic destinations abroad!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pinball 9

So after so many Pacific Pinball Museum pictures, I will say: I don't see why pinball is fun. Why do people spend the time to become good at pinball? If you are a pinball fan who happened upon here through a google image search, feel free to elucidate. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pinball 8

One more funny pinball machine theme. "Cover Girls" obviously appealing to the prurient interest of the potential pinball player with a quarter (or probably back in the day, a nickel? Penny?) in his pocket. And some hot cover girls, indeed. I, for one, think it's wonderful that the combination of the illustrator's style, the fashions of the day, and the limitations of pinball machine printing combine to make all the "cover girls" here look somewhat matronly - fit, but matronly. But if that wasn't enough, who could resist the magnetic attraction of a hot Cover Girl Drum Major? If there is one thing sexier than archery, it's definitely drum majoring.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pinball 7

Not totally sure what this game was. There was apparently an open space in the middle of a room at the Pacific Pinball Museum and that doesn't really work for pinball machines. It looks like it would be good for betting on. Further investigation will have to wait for some future visit.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pinball 6

We didn't really mean to do a second week of Pacific Pinball Museum pictures, but that's all we've got fully set to go at this point. We've got plenty of other stuff but it's all in various jumbles on various hard drives. So, here you go: More pinball machines! Actually, they're not bad pictures, just a bit same-y with some of our other recent entries.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pinball 5


As noted yesterday, the olden days pinball machines had themes that tracked other pop cultural currents. Apparently, at some point in the middle of the last century, marbles were something kids were really into. So who wouldn't want to play a pinball game with a "marbles" theme? But just to up the ante, the clever marketing team at Gottlieb's wanted to add drawings of sexy ladies. The solution? A pinball machine with the theme that perhaps there are back-alley locations where lithe young ladies play marbles in swimsuits. Or maybe that was just the way things were done back then.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pinball 4

From some highly politically correct Native American-theme pinball game. The variety of themes for the olden-days games was quite impressive, although it's clear that they followed pretty closely with whatever trend someone thought teenage boys might be into at the time, whether surfing or science fiction, or I guess, Native Americans.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pinball 3

Colorado vs. Nebraska, pinball edition.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pinball 2

More Pinball Machine Pictures!

Pinball machines are tough to photograph because they have glass over the colorful bumpers and chutes and such, which glass reflects the lighted backboard/scoreboard (not to mention overhead lights). The one above emerged mostly unscathed. The one below, by contrast, did not.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pinball 1

So some time ago we published this picture and promised more to come. Well, here's the more. This week: More pictures from the Pacific Pinball Museum. "Foreign Service" content will be holding steady at zero for March - but we promise a triumphant return of the more Foreign-y stuff in April, if that's what keeps you coming back.

So, the Pacific Pinball Museum is clearly the beating heart of Alameda. This fine cultural institution features dozens of pinball machines, ranging from antique pinball precursors to the latest stupid talking machine advertising Iron Man movies. It's kind of more expensive than you want it to be, but once you've paid to get in, you can play unlimited pinball on all but the very oldest machines. Your correspondent played maybe two games of pinball. I've never really thought it was that much fun... but the old machines are fun to look at.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gettysburg 4

Sunsets are a terribly cliche photo topic, but they're hard to resist, especially with foreground material like this.

In all, we highly recommend a day trip to Gettysburg for anyone stuck in Washington for a while.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gettysburg 3

Further to yesterday's talk of monuments, the most impressive pieces are the monuments built by each state involved in the war. These take the form of huge sculptures of soldiers and horsemen and angels and such, wrought of massive amounts of bronze and stone, dedicated to the soldiers of that state who died at Gettysburg. These are sculptures of a scope that would be appropriate as the centerpiece of a town square or city park, plopped down on some rural grassy knoll of military-historical significance. Above, a detail of Virginia's monument. Five hundred dollars seems a bit cheap, actually.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gettysburg 2

Your correspondents are far from being Civil War buffs, so pretty much any information we attempt to provide here should be taken with some grains of salt. The only other Civil War battlefield we have visited is Manassas, or Bull Run, which is nice and all, but is mostly just an open field with a few old cannons. We knew that being relatively close, Gettysburg was something we ought to do, but we didn't know what to expect. We were quite surprised.

First of all, the visitors' center features a very good museum with a history of the entire war and a crazy "cyclorama" which is apparently a word for a room with a giant 360-degree painting wrapped all around.

Second, and more surprising, were the monuments. There are over a thousand monuments ranging from modest stone markers to huge equestrian sculptures. From the best information we can gather, as Gettysburg was contemporaneously recognized and preserved as a historic location, many of the survivors of the battle decided to put up monuments there. This must have somehow fed on itself because there are monuments to every unit that fought in the battle, tributes to many prominent individuals, and memorials from each state involved. It creates a landscape unlike any other I have seen. It is sort of like a sprawling, low-density cemetery, creeping across miles of land, working around hills, forests, human development, and any other obstacle it may find.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gettysburg 1

So, to review, we were in Afghanistan. We returned to America and spent Home Leave in Alaska and California and Colorado. We have been back at our assignment in Washington since August, some seven months ago(!), and, in an attempt to keep publishing without ranging too into "what we had for breakfast" territory, been slowly shuffling through photos from leave ever since. But we're almost pretty close to being done with those pictures.

So, for this week only, some notes from the Washington area, or at least from a day trip away from Washington to Gettysburg. Starting with this picture, from the sprawling cemetery with row upon row of graves of unknown Union soldiers, generally buried by regiment.

This was also the site of the Gettysburg Address - which I guess is why some visitors leave pennies on the grave markers. The Lincoln connection is clear but the exact significance still escapes me.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Colorado 16

Ok, I think that's all from Colorado for now. Next week, something else. For now, two versions of the same picture. If you're feeling motivated, feel free to let us know which one you like better, star trails or stars standing still.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Colorado 15

One more from the same abandoned gas station. Different angle, more flowers. I'm hopeless with flower names. I guess these are just daisies, but they have such an extreme sloped-petal shape, not unlike a shuttlecock, maybe they're some sub-type like "Badminton Daisies." Although modest internet research suggests maybe it's chamomile, which can't possibly be right.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Colorado 14

We're back from vacation! It was great. Let's finish out the week with the last few pictures from Colorado and then on to new topics next week. This gas station, abandoned and attractively overrun by nature, can be found just outside of Leadville.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Colorado 13

The star trails wheeling around the North Star trick is one of our favorites, if you haven't noticed. We also did some "light painting" (which I think is kind of a stupid term but oh, well) with the fallen tree in the middle ground there to distinguish this from previous star trails photos.