Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson
magellanic

Friday evening

I saw Forbidden Planet and The Time Machine last night at the Stanford Theater. (These were the renditions filmed in 1956 and 1960, respectively.) Forbidden Planet really does have a great story, and it had some impressive special effects for 1956. The first 10 minutes of the film, I felt like I was in an MST3K episode -- the geek crowd in the theater laughted and guffawed at the futuristic scenes that the 1956 film depicted. And having Leslie Nielsen be one of the lead actors helped fan some of these flames. But folks settled down after a short while.

I stuck around for the Time Machine as part of the double feature (I went to the theater with a half dozen of my co-workers). I was really impressed how closely to the story the film started out, and ended, and many of the elements in the movie were well-represented from the story. But, I was disappointed that they seemed to have been overlayed with each other. For instance, in Wells' original story, the time traveller spends about a week in the distant future, but in this film, all those events happen in about one day. And not all in the same order as from the book. Oh, well. The film depicted a story, which was subtlely different from the one Wells told, but wasn't too bad. The only other thing I didn't like this story vs. the original, was how the Eloi were portrayed. From the book, I gathered that the Eloi acted much like children (teletubbies, actually, was my mental image): playful, carefree, and easily distracted. This film, though, made them out more like apathetic cattle, disinterested in most things around them. But, hey, as I said, the film told a story, which wasn't exactly the story from the book, but that's the perrogative of the director.

After the movies I headed back to work with the intention to head straight home. Instead, I stopped by the game room and helped a friend fix his pinball machine. A flipper was returning to its nominal resting position, and the causal failure was a broken reed switch. Here's what happened: to move a flipper, a solenoid fires to drive a shaft into the solenoid (magnetically, of course). There's a limit switch that a mechanism beneath the flipper strikes just as the flipper reaches in peak position; this insructs the solenoid to stop firing. The switch is needed, as opposed to having a set amount of power sent through the solenoid, because the flipper may be dry firing, or shotting one ball, or shooting multiple balls. Well, anyway, the switch broke, so the solenoid was driving the cylinder inside it to the maximum position. There, unfornunately, was a metal stop, which the cylinder was striking on each flip. After repeatted hammering, the metal on the end of the cylinder began to mushroom out, and these jagged edges were rubbing the sleeve inside the solenoid. At first, this meant that the flipper didn't respond going up quickly and smoothly. Eventually, though, this lead to the later failure: that the (relatively weak) spring couldn't pull the flipper back to the rest position, because the friction from the jaggies was too much. A bit of scraping away at these jaggies, and cleaning out the sleeve, and it's working much better now. My friend had some spare reed switch parts which we cannabalized to repair the limit switch, and it's all working pretty well now.

I pulled out of work at 1:15am last night, hungry from not getting much for dinner. In-n-Out was still open (for only 10 more minutes), so I rounded the evening off with some fries and a chocolate shake. It's quite there at closing time. Two small groups were eating, and another co-worker was among them. We exchanged waves as he headed out. I finished my fries and headed out just as the lights in the restaurant went out.
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