One should have known, I suppose, just how impossible it would be to post a video of something as unquestionably fantastic as Mini Bowling and just walk away. I got some great comments and emails with questions about the pin setters, (or Pin People as someone called them). This lead me to go back and try and find another pic or two, which of course led to me losing a few hours putting together a more comprehensive video of my Milwaukee experience, which should be glaring at you below.
Again, if you want the prettier version, you can download it here. (14mb)
A quick note about the "Prettier Version" Flash8 format: I recently sent McKenney a file in this format. Monsterpants and Glass Eye Pix, being genre production companies, rely heavily on the internet and need to project a strong presence there so he's usually a good guy to ask about this sort of thing. He agreed with me regarding the quality of compression. That was good information and I would certainly have been satisfied with it. However, being McKenney, he couldn't leave it there and felt obliged to inform me the codec was so good, the authorities have now tagged it as the default format for most kiddie porn on the internet.
Always just a bit too much information with that guy...
To answer a couple of those questions, we never really conversed with the pin people, as they were still quite a ways away and behind a sort of wall, but there is a lot of eye contact and a sort of communication going on. They need to keep an eye on your game, and you need to make sure they are clear before you start chucking bowling balls at them, so there's a...something...there. The most surprising and hilarious sort of communication happened very occasionally when after a nine-pin knockdown, as the bowler was turning in despair, a "magic pin" came flying across from the back and knocked the last pin over. Strike. The Pin People do work for tips (mostly), and this is certainly a winning favor, but it seems it is really just done in the fun-first spirit of the game, though I noticed no men received the "magic pin."
As far as cost, when we went it was $3 per person, per string, which adds up, I guess, but with $7 pitchers of beer thrown in the mix, it was not a bad bargain in a very inexpensive city.
I've always liked the smaller cities of the Midwest. When I used to drive a truck we'd go as far west as St. Louis, south to Miami and north up to Minneapolis. The Milwaukees, Clevelands and Pittsburghs were my favorite stops. I had been raised in a city, Denver, that spent the 19th century as way station to Farther West and Higher Altitude. We had enough warehouses to get that specific job done, but most trains were passing through, cargo still loaded, and a couple city blocks of red brick did the trick. Denver would have to wait for oil and aerospace and people with vacation time before it hit its stride. So to roll over an overpass and up on a place like Cleveland or Pittsburgh, with hundreds of these brick warehouses and tens and tens of railroad tracks weaving between them and not just passing through but often terminating, terminating right there...
These rails cross this country unbroken.
Awesome. The "awe" awesome.
And I know that to speak of all these Midwest cities that had their day in those days and not mention Chicago seems disingenuous... But Chicago is still a very much Capital C City and I was living then in an East Coast City that saw itself as Capital C City (Boston), and I live in one now, and I didn't grow up in those towns. Back then I was very young and very Important and knew I should be in a place that was a Center of the Universe, but I was still and am still from the Other Cities. Denver. Houston. Driving into Chicago was excitement, but driving into those other cities of the Midwest was warmth. They had the warehouses, they had the railroads, but they didn't have the attitude. They were not a Center of the Universe anymore. They lost that Capital C and with it all the baggage and most of the Type A personalities who would no longer be caught dead there.
I live where those people went, doubt they were missed.