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Birthday at the JuJu

Posted by on August 25, 2008

Gene and I attended Ian’s birthday bash at the Lucky JuJu last night. This sounds like it might be a dive bar on 24th Street, but it’s actually a pinball arcade in Alameda which Ian’s lovely wife rented out for two whole hours of free play.

The games at the arcade range from old-school mechanical to the new electronic kind. I tried many eras, and I have to say that as much as I appreciate the old-school machines for their intriguing designs, the new ones are more fun to play. They make more booply noises and have more flashing lights and the flippers can really whack the ball. Many of the old machines were built with weak flippers, making it a game of skill instead of a game of working out frustration on an innocent ball. Anyone who has seen me up to bat in our baseball games knows which kind of game I prefer.

I don’t generally think of Ian and his l. w. Tracy as being older than me, but now and then I’m reminded of it — and not just because I am stuffing my face with a huge slice of fantastic vegan cake that says “40!” on it. At the arcade, Ian said a few things that made me realize he’s just been on the planet longer than I have. For example, he knows which brand of pinball machine he likes and which he doesn’t. It is amazing to me that anyone could live long enough that they have acquired likes and dislikes about pinball brands. At what age have you gotten all the big, important life questions sorted out so that you have brain space to spare for pinball preferences? I shake my head in awe.

(“I think he’s just indie,” Gene says. But no. Old.)

If you’re interested in playing some wicked fun pinball without losing all your laundry money, you can visit the L. JuJu on your own. Admission for adults is $10 and all the machines are set on free play. It will not be so fabulous as having Ian and Tracy there, but still pretty fabulous, and I recommend checking it out at your earliest opportunity. And make sure you try the Dracula game.

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