Black Knight is Back!

Black Knight is a classic Williams pinball machine. Black Knight and I go way back. I met him years ago at a place called Funway Freeway in Kenosha. It was an awesome arcade, back when arcades were more than just money making machines out to get your quarters. Back when you could actually learn and win a game, earn free games, and heck… even SELL a bunch of racked up credits to some sucker who wasn’t good enough at the game to earn them himself…YET.

I mastered Black Knight in the arcade. For months and months I learned the moves, all the nudges, perfect shots and combos, everything I needed to come in early, pop in a quarter, and play all day on it. It was a blast, and it paid off for me. Pinball Wizard wasn’t just a song, it was my life. And Hans was that poor sucker in the first paragraph who bought most of my credits. Yeah, some days I even turned a PROFIT!

A few years later, after Black Knight was eventually retired from the arcade and replaced with some new money-gobbling machine–when my master skills were waning, Bob Jensen gets a Black Knight machine for his restaurant, Pizza Popper. Not long afterward, it was offered for sale. I grabbed it of course, I couldn’t resist. It was $300 of money well spent, in my opinion. Getting it into my parent’s house and up to my bedroom must have been an interesting project, but I don’t really remember any of that. All I remember is playing it endlessly, cleaning it, and just looking at it. I had my dream machine, right there in my room.

Eventually it broke down though, to a point where I couldn’t fix it. I think it was a circuit board that failed, if I remember correctly. I got rid of it after that, and I don’t really remember who took it off my hands, if it was Hans or someone else. But Black Knight had provided a lot of the glue that brought Hans and I together back in the day, so there’s always been that special something in it.

Since then I had only my memories of it. Up until recently, when we got our Wii. Just after buying it we wanted to try out a few games on it, so we went to Family Video to rent some. I noticed a game titled “Williams Pinball Classics” so i picked it up. I flipped it over and looked at the 10 pinball machines that it contained. There it was. Black Knight was back. I doubted it was any good, so I thought renting it would be a pretty safe bet, since it’s much cheaper than shelling out the price of the full game. I really didn’t expect much, but thought it would be funny to see how close it was to the real thing.

Not knowing much anything about the Wii yet, we had to figure out the goofy nun-chuck connection thingie.. (why the heck does the nun-chuck use a WIRE, when the controllers are wireless?!?!) Who’s the brainiac that came up with that one? Fire him and hire someone who can develop a wireless nun-chuck! Duh. Anyway, we put the disc in and I immediatety searched the arcade and found no Black Knight. Silly thing was hiding up on the second floor! I quickly inserted my virtual quarter and figured out how to start a game and flip.

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Whoa. I was able to earn almost one million (you get a free game at one million) on my first game. I got just over 800,000 points, and by golly my SHOTS were there!!! Just a little more practice and I could get this down just like the real thing! It’s really quite well done for a virtual pinball machine! The timing, physics, and the who package is just amazingly accurate. There are a few sound issues I can hear and a couple mechanical differences, but I doubt many others beside Hans and myself would ever even notice. You can even nudge (in different directions!) and tilt, as well as play from several different camera angles! How they did it I have no idea, but I’m sure the original designers and/or some diehard players had a lot of input.

Fast forward a few weeks to today…

Jay was here from Arizona just after we got our Wii and we were in the middle of this rental.. Jay knows Black Knight well, having played it in my room quite a bit himself. Now my goal is to get him off of my high score board. The hard way. Tonight I got one step closer to my goal. It shouldn’t be long. I was able to “roll” the REAL Black Knight pretty easily ‘way back when’. Just a little more timeis all I need… you’ll see…Click on the thumbnail to see tonight’s high score.

Thank you!

Thank you everyone who attended the visitations and the funeral.  It was great to see everyone again, but it’s so sad that it takes something so tragic to get everyone together.

Thanks to everyone who sent flowers, gave cards, donations, and helped plan things.

A special thanks to Bruch Funeral Home.  Kris did such an awesome job of just taking care of every little detail so well, and making us feel so comfortable, it just made the whole ordeal so much less stressful than I thought it was going to be.

Thanks to Casa Capri for an excellent luncheon after the funeral, and for everyone who attended the luncheon.  Again, it was great to see you all!

Lastly, I’d like to thank the U.S. Navy for providing such a formal, respectful, and memorable graveside service for my father.  I’m sure he got quite a kick out of it, and it’s something we will certainly never forget.

Dad’s Funeral Sermon

Funeral for Harold Trottier
6/12/08 ““ First United Methodist Church
Rev. Ned Hintzman

Note: The recording may have started just after the service did, so a small portion of the pastor’s words are probably missing. This was my best effort to transcribe the service.

God gives us the capacity to mix our losses with our celebrations, our sadness with our joy, and our grief and our comfort. You see, the loss we feel is the gain we have been given. Think about that. The loss you feel today is because of the gain you have been given. Harold was a good and simple man. Life was not complicated for him. Surround him with his family on Christmas at his house and he was happy. Maybe he had on his red sweats and his Santa’s hat, and if he did, he was in his glory. Family cookouts, where somebody else did the cooking, was a good thing. He was doing well then. Give him a good steak along with his dog Tiny Toy in his arms or Friday night fish fry, and he was satisfied.

He was a good father to all you children, and his children’s spouses. To you, Jimmy and your wife Sandy, to Clayton and Clifford, and daughters Karen and Penny and husband Robert, and Loretta and Elizabeth and husband Tom. There are lots of good memories, of watching scary movies on the Sci-Fi station. There was that sense of humor that, to my understanding, at times was boundless (laughs). You never knew where it was going. And there was the “Bozzo” image that sticks in your mind. The trips to the family reunions during the summer in the Chevy station wagon, a loving grandpa to twelve grandchildren and Grandpa T. to seventeen great grandchildren. The scooter rides. And his dog Tiny Toy. Watching gangster movies, and sleeping over, and rummaging, just having a good time.

And not to be forgotten this morning are those 42 years that he and Donna were married. Her seemingly untimely death in 1992 ended a lot of travel plans with that barely two-year-old van that had hopes and plans written all over it. The van that remains, even though it doesn’t run. But he couldn’t have it be sold, because he couldn’t part with it.

Harold was in the Naval Reserves for five years and will be honored for that service when we are at Sunset Ridge. He was employed for over forty years at American Motors, and in recent years again, just, I guess I need to say it again, he loved that Sci-Fi channel. All the mysterious and scary movies that were on there. The picture boards””I always like looking at picture boards. Picture boards full of those pictures that, for you, bring back all those memories, all those good times, all those hopeful times, all that time that you lived with him, and he knew and loved you.

The bulletin cover today reflects the hope of his fate. In my Father’s house there are many dwellings, many rooms that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare. One for Harold, and one that Donna’s already taken care of. He’s gone home to be with his gracious and loving God, to be with Donna and the rest of those who have gone before him.

These words seem appropriate today:

God looked around his garden and he found an empty place.
He then looked down upon this earth and saw your tired face.
He put his arm around you and lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering; he knew that you were in pain,
He knew that you would never get well ever again.
He saw that the road was getting rough and the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids and whispered “peace be thine”.
It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.

The joy of our fate is that when this life in the world can no longer be, God has another place prepared for us. A place where peace passes all understanding and living is always full and we share that hope not only for those who have died, but for us, as we continue into our lives. And I pray today that each one of us may live each day in the gracious compassion of God’s love. I pray that we might live with the assurance that God gives us, knowing that our lives will be filled with faith, and fill with the trust in God that is necessary, no matter what comes our way, no matter what we need, believing and knowing that God will be with us. This great gift of life. May you go forth today as people ready to live and ready to die knowing that either way, you are the Lord’s. Amen.

{Hymn: How Great Thou Art}

Go in peace. And may the peace, and the love, and the blessing of God Almighty, go with you, and be with you, now and always. In the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Funeral Services for Dad

Here are the funeral arrangements for my dad, Harold L. Trottier.  If you would like to visit his online memorial book or read his obituary, please click here.

Visitation
Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Bruch Funeral Home
3503 Roosevelt Rd
Kenosha, WI 53142
(262) 652-8298

Church Services
Thursday, June 12th, 2008
10:00 am – 11:00 am Visitation
11:00 am Funeral Service
First United Methodist Church
919 60th Street
Kenosha, WI 53140

Interment will follow the church services at:

Sunset Ridge Memorial Park
6211 38th St
Kenosha, WI 53144
(262) 652-7488

Dad’s Gone

My father, Harold (Bozzo) Trottier, passed away this morning at Kenosha Memorial Hospital. He was 77 years old. He was born in 1931, and lived a good life. He raised a family of 7 children–A fine legacy to carry on his name–and we will all miss him greatly. I will post more as we learn more and as time permits. Tomorrow the details of the funeral and visitation will be finalized, but at this point we have set Wednesday evening for the visitation, with the funeral to be held on Thursday.

In memory, I’d like to re-post a portion of the sermon that Reverend Charles King gave when my mother passed away:

“This album of memories will contain a section for her husband, and their children, and the children of those children. Donna and Harold went to school together here in Kenosha and when the family moved to Iowa, Harold managed to cross Wisconsin to continue to see Donna. He was considered by Donna’s sisters, “Almost a part of the family.” But they had to wait until Donna was eighteen and had graduated from high school before they could get married, and so they did.

Obviously Donna loved her family, and I know that you who are here can fill in the blanks with example after example of her love and forgiveness and patience and the cheer that she radiated and which was kind of contagious. You are the ones who can share with each other sentences that start out: “Do you remember the time we. . .” I grew up in a very small family and when I was a child that was fine–one sister was even too much at times. But when I witness the support that larger families provide one another and all the interaction that takes place, I know that I missed something–like traditions at Easter and the entire family around to decorate the Christmas tree, and waiting until midnight and the start of Christmas to open presents. So there will be a large number of pages in this family section.”

There is much more to that sermon, so if you’d like to read it in its entirety, just click here.