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Another thought popped in my head on my drive home today relating to how technology has evolved.  I remember back when we both started to drive, because aftermarket stereos were out of our budget (and a pain to install yourself), our geeky solution was to build an FM transmitter kit for $10 (long before commercial ones were available).  They worked really crappy, the antenna sucked, the audio was muffled, but to be able to hit play on a walkman and hear it through your car speakers was amazing.  Eventually when we both got honda civics in 96, we opted for the $200 tape player upgrade.  This at least allowed us to use the tape to 1/8" jack adapter to get decent sound from a portable CD player.  If you remember when they first came out, they skipped like crazy.  Eventually they added shock absortion and cache buffer.  Around 2000 portable mp3 players started to become somewhat affordable.  I think my Diamond Rio was about $100, and had a whopping 64mb (enough room for almost 8 songs), and transferred over serial cable which was dog slow.. But hey!  You had a solid state player in your hand!  I eventually acquired larger mp3 players like the 5gb creative zen, but battery life was horrible.  Wasn't until 2008 or 2009 when I finally decided to jump on the iphone bandwagon, which of course meant you had a built-in ipod.  This means you always had a pretty decent playlist with you at all times, and playing music in your car just got better.  Fast forward to today, I have a samsung galaxy s8 with 32gb internal memory, and 32gb external memory (which I believe can max out at 128gb).  Beyond the fact that I can have pretty much every song I have on my phone, the convenience now that I can search any song on youtube and stream whatever song that happens to pop in my head... Or if there's a song on the radio I can immediately identify what it is with an app.

So what have I been up to in the last 5 years?  Well I've really gotten into pinball deeply.  Having a Bally Evel Knievel growing up, pinball has always been sort of ingrained in me.  I'm up to 11 machines, though I'm trying to downsize because when you have that many you realize a lot of time is spent upkeeping them.  It's sort of amazing how strongly pinball has come back.  Where there was only one company building pinballs, there's a ton of them now, even some smaller boutique companies.   One in partiuclar is spooky who's based out of Benton, Wisconsin.  I did end up buying an america's most haunted (which I still have).

One thing that pops up in my head from time to time over the years is when I see something and I think "Man, Chuck would really love that".  There's been a lot of those moments that I haven't really talked about.
Fast and furious - Though the first one came out in 2001, I don't know if he ever really watched this movie.  Even though he was starting to get into his vette, he did drive a honda civic so I would think he would have enjoyed this very long series of movies.
Baby Driver - I really enjoyed this movie on so many levels.  The driving stuntwork is really amazing, and really makes me think of Chuck's driving.  This opening scene is absolutely amazing, and would totally be something Chuck would do to avoid a ticket:

Need for Speed Payback -
It's rare I get excited for a video game these days, but I've been following the trailers for this for a while.  While the need for speed series has always involved cops, this thing looks so action packed.

Grand theft auto
- I know he liked playing the original top down 2-d version back in the day.  Again, even though the first 3d part III came out in 2001, it was so new (and required a Playstation 2 which was still expensive at the time) that I doubt he ever got to play it.  It's amazing how many versions of this game there have been (and clones of similiar games).  If I could go back to 2001 and show myself what games would look like in 2017 I'd be floored.

Maybe 4-5 days ago I had a chuck dream, it didn't make sense of course.  He pulled into my garage, and was talking something about how the car I sold didn't belong to me, that his name was on the title too.  I wasn't sure what car he was even talking about?  Just before he left, and I said "wait, I don't know why you think I'm trying to screw you, but I'm not".

Also this week Stern released photos and video of the new Metallica pinball machine

This is not just signifigant because it's probably the best ones they've ever made (and sold out within an hour of press release), Metallica has always been a huge part of Chuck's life.  I remember before they were even well known.  They were on the local rock station, and my brother recorded them.  I remember him playing that tape back all the time because the band at the time were pretty down to earth and funny.  His passion for metallica was pretty deep, he'd owned probably 6-8 tshirts, all the CD's, he even bought 2-3 vinyl records with art printed on the whole record, and even a gold one.  I remember sometime around 2001 me and my wife were staying overnight at my mom's house in lakemoore, and at like 5am all of the sudden metallica starts playing out of the blue over the intercom (battery).  I was a little freaked out about this initially because this was so out of the blue (and why would my mom be listening to metallica at 5am)?  I actually had thoughts that maybe my brother was out partying and died, and this was his way of saying goodbye.  Turns out, someone left an alarm activated on the built-in radio system, and it was left on CD player (which happened to have a metallica CD in it).  Who knew he would actually pass on a year later.

So I went to the pinball expo a weekend ago.  Now that I'm getting serious in the hobby, I'm starting to go to shows.  Went to MGC early this spring, and I went on Friday night to Chicago expo.  It just happened to be the night that Mark Ritchie was at one of the Seminars.  I don't usually attend them, but a friend of mine wanted to check out what Stern was doing.  The last seminar was just finishing up, and I saw him up there.  I decided to go ahead and walk up there to see if he'd recognize me.  He was talking to someone else, and when he finished up he looked at me for a second, and I held out my hand and said "how's it going".  He said "wow, it took me a second to realize who you were".  He wondered how I was doing, and if I was really getting into the hobby.  I told him what I had in my collection, and he teased me that I didn't have any of the ones he worked on.  I told him it wasn't because I didn't like his titles, it's just getting harder to actually find the titles you want.  He knew what I was talking about, he can't believe how much pinball has exploded over the past 2 years.  He introduced me to his wife, who was very nice.  He asked me if I saw Brad, I said no his wife is too protective.  He couldn't believe it's been 7 years since he'd left IT.  Seems like they both miss Chuck, or maybe they just miss the old days.


So one thing we both grew up with is pinball.  Chuck somehow convinced my dad to buy one from a Coin-op reseller in Chicago.  He would have been something like 11-12 years old? We ended up buying an evel knievel (solid state, not EM).  I remember how cool it was to own an arcade anything back then, and I remember how clean it was.  You compare that to today, some of the heavily routed pinballs simply because operators are lazy, and just want to make their money, and sell off the machine.

Anyway, a little over a year ago I finally purchased my first pin.  You can read my progress on my blog:

Like Chuck would say, "I need this shit!"  I hunted around probably for 4-6 months, trying to spend as little as possible.  Finally I found a local garage sale by work that was trying to sell a non-working 1968 bally for $200.  I talked him down to $150, which I thought was fair considering I had no idea what I was in for.  After replacing some fuses, and cleaning some contacts, I finally managed to get it working to the point where it would play a game.  I ended up selling it, and meanwhile (as you can see by the video above), my collection continues to grow.  It's certainly an addicting hobby.  I've learned to fix my own machines, and if chuck were still around I'd think he be a little proud (and hopefully wanting to play a few games).


Chuck was always into weird alternate versions of songs he liked.  I remember when mp3 first became popular, he loved the version of NIN - closer where it's some redneck singing about fucking actual animals.  Here's an odd Jazz version of a Metallica song (enter sandman)


I guess what initially made me want to update this site is this video:

It's a guy named POGO.  He's done a bunch of really cool movie remixes (the pee-wee's big adventure one is great).  I've been listening to this song at work, a lot.  Brings back memories of Chuck loving quentin tarrintino.  The three movies at the time was Dusk till dawn, Resevoir Dogs, and Pulp fiction.  I believe the last gift I got him was a framed Resevoir Dogs poster.  Also these three movies were at a "quentin tarrintino festival" at the brew-n-view.  There's nothing quite like watching your favorite movies with a bunch of drunks yelling comments at the screen.