Monday, May 10, 2010

Walk Yourself

Ok so this post is more about walking your dog than it is you but non-dog owners need to walk too and I'm all about being inclusive. Which, coincidentally is what dogs are all about even though they sit out many of our day to day activities for one ineligibility or another. It's easy then to understand why they are always willing to go for a walk... it's their time to have 'you time' and it's all-around good medicine.

Now your dog may not be easy to walk. If that's the case, look up the Dog Whisperer and get to work on straightening that out. Oddly enough many bad behaviors go away when a dog is properly exercised. For the rest of you, you may already know why dogs enjoy walks so much. You get in touch with the weather and your surroundings, blow off a little steam, maybe meet a neighbor or two and you never know... which is the point, you never know what you'll experience until you do it.

And it's healthy of course. You could take two walks a day and still not go wrong. You'll burn a few calories and help maintain your metabolism... All of which will make you look and feel better. You'll feel better for the change of pace and scene and when you get home, that'll transfer over to everyone around you - because you took time for yourself, dog or no.

It may sound strange, but do us all a favor and go walk yourself.

Reconditioning a Pot 'O' Gold Pinball Machine

I'm just putting the final touches on a Williams Pot 'O' Gold pinball machine from 1965.  Williams made 1800 of the under-sea treasure themed game with Great White sharks and divers in the artwork.  Pot 'O' Gold has a mechanical animation in the backbox that tallys in bonus points and extra ball.  Now that I'm down to the final touches, I've been able to play a few rounds and I'm finding it's a charmer of a pinball machine.

Pot 'O' Gold enjoys that special slow pace that you only get in the older pinball machines.  There's four pop bumpers and the flippers have good power so it's not a snooze fest... just plain old long running rounds from a time before our highway system existed - much less the digital age.  As vintage pinball machines go, Pot 'O' Gold is a strong player especially considering flippers had only been in wide use for 10 years or so when it was being produced.

This Pot 'O' Gold pinball machine came to me from a basement game room, the owner had picked it up from a dealer and claimed it had worked recently.  I'm not sure if he had this game confused with another one because this was one of the most out-of -whack pinball machines I've come across.  Steppers were assembled incorrectly and the game needed all new plastics fabricated - something I've not had to do before.  It never ceases to amaze me though how old pinball machines need so few parts to make them run again.  Besides rubber rings and light bulbs, this pinball machine only needed a single coil to be replaced for it to be working 100%.

A few shop supplies went into the game as well including a stip of soft plastic I harvested from the lid of one of the 50 blank CD cases.  A 1/2 inch strip of that made for a suitable track/bulb cover for the bonus unit in the head.  The ball now runs a smooth path from the vertical plunger un around past the wire stop and a new rebound spring I fabricated form an old cell phone holster clip. I might take just a little too much pleasure from watching the rebound spring and wire stop pass that smaller gauge ball back and forth.

Overall the Pot 'O' Gold is in top playing condition now and really only suffers from a marginal quality repaint on the cabinet.  The backglass and the playfield are in nice enough shape and it would show well enough in a line but it might not satisfy a particular owner or a collector.

Having grown up with electro-mechancial pinball machines in the house, these old games really stir up the nostalgia for me.  There's something special about the sounds they make resetting the score reels and bonus relays at start-up, real mechanical bells and cabinet knockers too.  I'm sure that whoever winds up with this one will have plenty of their own magic to make.