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Dave Marron


2008-12-12 - 12:27 p.m.

Okay. First off, go read about my surprise for Brin over on her blog.

Go ahead. I'll wait.


Back? Okay.

First of all, a confession: I told a huge lie to everyone in this entry. My buddy did NOT help me carry up my new desk - he helped me carry up the Crystal Castles game.

I needed to tell that lie to keep the surprise intact for Brin. My apologies to you all.


Now, my part of the story.

About ten weeks ago, I got a phone call at work from a very nice lady who wanted to know a good place to donate a game where it would have a good home with people who would take care of it. Her first thought was, of course, Camelot.

"What game is it?" I asked.

"Crystal Castles."

In about three seconds the following thoughts went through my brain:

  • our tech would promptly say he wouldn't be able to get parts (he's not big on going online to vintage parts shops)
  • it's Brin's favorite game
  • the vandals would carve all over it

I then told her that I myself would take it. She agreed - as long as she could occasionally "come and visit" (her husband had gotten it for her because it was her favorite game).

After making arrangements with my buddy for the use of his truck and his muscles, I called her back and set up a pick-up time. Bobby and I subsequently drove out to her home, met her and her family, loaded up the game, and brought it to my apartment. We got it up the stairs (there's wheels on the back corner, so it wasn't that hard) and situated in its spot. Bobby left, and I got to work.

I plugged it in. No power. Uh oh.

The power cable had been chewed on. I did a continuity check and found that one of the wires had indeed been chewed through (by the lady's pet rabbit, it turns out). I went online and bought a new power cable. I also found a pristine manual for the game on eBay. I also checked all the fuses and made sure everything else looked as it should.

I connected the new cable - and it fired up. Next item - the trackball itself. I took it apart and cleaned the bearings and the roller shafts (three metal bars the trackball itself actually rests on). This is the original trackball - it's translucent, and lights up. I could replace it with a brand new one, but I didn't want to unless I had to (besides, I didn't have the $110 for a new one). I also found a source for the roller shafts and bearings, so I can rebuild the trackball when it comes to that.

Then I cleaned the living crap out of the game itself - both sides of the glass, the monitor, the bezel (which is the paper sleeve that is set around the monitor - on lots of games it has game instruction stickers on it), and the interior of the cabinet.

I played it and, although the trackball is still a little rough, it played like I remembered. I now had a full-size Crystal Castles game...and it only cost about $20 in parts.

My surprise was intact. Now all I could do was wait.

So I waited. And grinned. And waited.


Brin was originally scheduled to arrive December 4. Due to car problems, it got rescheduled for December 11. An extra week.

I tried very very hard not to tease her about this "huge surprise" she had waiting for her. I admit, I was a little bit afraid that she might do some detective work and find out what I had planned.

But she didn't, and it all came together better than I could have hoped.

To misquote Mr. Spock:

"I think you're [...] going to be insufferably pleased with [yourself] for at least a month."

Oh yes. At least.


I got a phone call from Bob yesterday, and we now have a New Year's Eve gig.

Bob is having more medical problems, and Dave Kern (the bass man) is taking care of his wife after she got sick. So we are going to be taking December off, mostly.

We should be back on stage sometime in January.


Brin and I need to get some supplies, and then we'll probably go to the Park. After all, the band isn't playing tonight, so my time is free.

Have a good weekend.

Be seeing you.


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