Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pinball Wizard

He's a pinball wizard. My dad, that is. Inspiration can come from the strangest places. This time, it's from a buggy computer, and (maybe not so surprisingly), my dad.

So here's the scenario - for a few weeks now, my computer has been acting buggy. Well, beyond buggy, actually - try squirrely. Bizarre. Confounding. Stupid. Whatever. It's just been acting like a spoiled child with no direction home, like a rolling stone. The more I mess with it, the worse it gets. A couple weeks ago Aneesh in India (gotta love it) helped me with some McAfee issues. Cured the McAfee bugs, or so I thought. Then here we go again. Trouble with a capital "T". Problems galore, freezing up, error messages, blue screens that give me all sorts of dire information. What's a chick to do?

So dad tries to play his war game last night on the computer while I'm watching television in the living room. I hear "Dammit!" a couple of times. No biggie. This is getting to be business as usual. That only means the computer has frozen up again, and he has lost his game. Just unplug and replug, dad. That's what we've been doing to cure it. Then, later, well.....this is a semi-family blog, let's just say, *$!@!!! or something like that. Okay, that was different. Now he can't even get into his game, the McAfee is acting up, etc. He's just aggravated as can be, and so am I by this point. So we do the unplug, plug, and keep it up. Well, he decides to uninstall his game, and I decide to uninstall the McAfee, and to take it in for debugging in the morning. But wait, he spends hours playing that game, now what is he to do for entertainment?

Where does the pinball come in, you ask? He gets bored and discovers the "Pinball" game that comes with the Dell computer as a standard game. He promptly racks that thing up, within minutes of learning the controls, to over a MILLION. Okay, so I haven't played that in a long time, actually forgot I had it, and he VAULTS over my high score of around 200,000 with no problem. That's just how he is, good at everything. So I figure, hey, let's turn on the sound and he (if not me) will have even more fun. I try and realize my "sound" icon is no longer on the taskbar. Let me repeat that...NO SOUND!!!!!!! Okay, it wasn't a crisis before, but it is now! This means I can't listen to my music??? OOOOOHHHH no, we aren't going there! I promptly lose my cool.

We try to figure out the sound issue, and I keep coming back to "RealTek" sound, but that's not what I usually run. WHERE is my sound driver? GONE. This computer is about to be chucked out the window. By this time, after hours of messing with it, and around 5:00 this a.m. dad (a night owl like me) decides to give it up and go to bed. He had tried reinstalling his war game, and it kept hanging up when he tried to access it, and he had enough. He goes to bed, and I remain, forlorn and royally pissed at the same time. I mess with the sound options some more, make sure all connections are secure, and blow away some dust from the back of the tower.

And what does this stupid computer do???? It works perfectly, just like the events of about a month or so never happened. Sound? Intact. Speed? Faster! Not a single error message, nothing hanging up, and believe me, I have put through the paces. It is now quiet in the house (after listening to the Beatles' "Revolver", my favorite by them, on my computer library, JUST to make sure the sound is good.....)

And, now, I have time to think. There is dad, in bed, probably already dreaming. And I flash back to all the pinball games we used to play together, not on the computer, but the real, old-fashioned pinball machines. And what a good time we always had. Oh, he would let me win every once in a while, but we both knew who was better. And I liked it that way. He's my dad, after all, and I always looked up to him. I do more so now than ever, as a matter of fact. I was starting to show a bit of my short fuse earlier, and didn't have the patience I should have had when here in the library with him. I have time to remind myself that a couple of years ago, I would have given anything to see him at a computer playing any kind of a game. I have time to remember that each day with him is a gift, and to promise myself I won't let frustrations get in the way.

There he sleeps, unaware that I have gotten back on that pinball game, and given it my best shot (or three) and.....have I beaten his score? And I likely never will. But I know that later today, we will play together, and we will laugh and have a good time. We will be doing yard work as well, spreading weed and seed, and the sun will shine and I will be thankful he is healthy and whole and himself. I will be myself, also....the good daughter self, not the bullheaded, obstinate, short-tempered self I let this contraption bring out.

Will this computer act up again? I don't know. Maybe. But if it does, it can be fixed. Tomorrow will be another day. And we will play pinball once again. Perhaps even on a real one in the game room. Wouldn't that be a wonderful father's day present for him? Shhhh.....don't tell. I think I just got inspiration for a present for the most wonderful dad in the world.

MINE. The pinball wizard himself. My cool daddy-o.


Truth Ferret said...

Sweet, sweet story from a sweet, sweet lady. Thanks for the smile and warmth in my heart this morning.

Of all the games, I too love pinball the best. I guess it reminds me of a simpler time, before PONG and those two dimensional games. To stand and push the two side buttons for the flippers and not give into the temptation of "TILT" was both nerve wracking and exhilarating.

You have such an appreciation for your dad and I am so thankful you share him with me. Thank you.

Warmly, your furry friend

Sugar Magnolia said...

Thanx, Ferret, as your reply was an upper for me, too. I am now on the lookout for a Rolling Stones pinball machine that plays "Satisfaction". Wonder if they make one of those? I hope so. Cause that's what dad would like the best, I think.

Legion said...

A Rolling Stones pinball?

Nope, I don't remember one of those. There was a Kiss one and years ago some knock-off named ones, like the Bootles.

Of course the Pinball Wizard pinball machine was a classic with Elton John on the back glass.
It was also the last of the great electro mechanical pinballs.
It had SO many relays in it, it was a pain to work on, shortly after it's release the electronic pinballs became the norm.

Sugar Magnolia said...

I've seen those KISS pinball machines, Legion! I don't know exactly what I'll find when I start looking, but I would prefer an older, vintage model. Those would likely be sky-high in price, though, like a vintage Rock-Ola jukebox.

The new, electronic ones just aren't the same to me.