Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I may be wearing a dress and heels (fishnets?) and a nametag this evening.

Photos to follow? We shall see.

Just call me Pearl.

Out

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clarification:

Just for the record, Robb and I are fine.

He actually encouraged me to write the letter and keeps telling me I should deliver it to Nick at work...Hell, he told me if I don't write it, he'd write it himself--and we both knew I wouldn't want that!

So no, I'm not leaving him for the Water Guy, regardless of what his supposed response to my unsent letter might be.

Sorry for the confusion.

Out

Seven Minutes...

I have seven minutes before I have to get in the shower and go to work all day.

Have I updated you on the Water Guy situation?

We were forced to go with corporate water because apparently PNC, the bank that bought National City, doesn't support local businesses. So we had to cancel the Water Guy. He came in last Friday and took the cooler away. I had a good long chat with him. He's actually a really articulate, funny guy. Which doesn't help.

Before he walked out I said maybe I'd see him around. He said, "I hope so." Hm.

I wrote him a little letter a few weeks ago when I found out he wouldn't be coming back.

It said I enjoyed seeing him and I was bummed he wouldn't be coming in anymore. I said I'd kick myself if I didn't at least ask him. So I asked him if there was more to the smiles and extended glances, or if it was just wishful thinking on my part. I said that if I was mistaken, I meant no harm and just know that I think you're pretty much sex on legs (not in those terms). And I left my phone number and email. Just in case.

But I didn't give him the letter. I was in such shock because I didn't think he'd be in the day he came in. I'm amazed my mouth even worked, let alone got something coherent out and made him laugh. So I forgot...and sort of neglected on purpose. Chickened out? Maybe. Decided I'd rather have that hope than an enemy? More likely.

But he's gone.

Nick, if you're out there, here's to you.

Out

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday: Ice Cream Edition...

Everyone love ice cream!  And if you don't, you must be one of those Commie Nazis.  And sure, it wouldn't be hard to list your top five favorite flavors, would it?  Cake Batter, Fudge Brownie, Moose Tracks...BORING!

No, no! 

Today I am here to give you my list for the Top 5 Failed Ice Cream Flavors!

5)  Spewmori

Spewmori is the offbeat cousin of an already questionable flavor:  Spumoni (chocolate, pistachio, cherry).  Spewmori is a tantalizing blend of three flavors we think you'll go gaga over!  Pomegranate, Onion, and Chutney!  Oooh.  Yum!  With real chunks of onion and pomegranate seeds (all the rage nowadays), you'll be a hit at any party when you serve this!

4)  Dill Pickle

I know, I know.  They HAVE this.  It's true.  Go to a very specialty ice cream stand and you'll be able to get a dish of this for $4.  It's a delicacy.  Yeah...right.  So are snails, but you don't see me chomping them down.  I'veh ad it, people.  Don't waste your money.  The combination of sweet and...dill...NO GOOD!

3)  Al Gore-gia Peach

This delicious blend of flavors pays homage to one of the leading political minds of our time!  Without his global warming scare film, people may not know enough to conserve our nation's natural resources, like the Georgia Peach!  That's why this blend features Peach, Corn, and Toupee flavors!  Mmm.  Nothing says delicious like a Georgia peach combined with one of the U.S.'s most abundant natural resources!  Corn?  No!  HAIR!

2)  Beef Jerky Fudge Swirl

You love fudge!  Who doesn't?  And you love beef jerky!  Why not put them together and swirl them just for fun!?  The salty, chewy jerky combined with the sweet, chocolatey fudge will make instant memories at any birthday party!  And with a base of vanilla, you can't go wrong!  Serve it with cake or steak!

1)  Neighborhood Stray Tracks

You've had Moose Tracks, Bear Tracks, Fox Tracks, Elephant Tracks, and any other tracks they've put out there.  I can guarantee you've never had this!  New, from the people who brought you all those tantalizing flavors comes Neighborhood Stray Tracks, featuring fur, caramel, and mystery chunks!  People love mystery, and this carton has it in droves!  Cat fur?  Dog fur?  Ferret?  Rabbit?  I certainly hope those brown chunks are chocolate and peanut butter!  Slap this into a dish and call up yer kinfolk!  It's time for fun!

And there you have it; the Top 5 Failed Ice Cream Flavors.  Who knows, with the publicity they'll garner here, you may see them in your grocer's freezer the next time you're looking for a late night snack!

Out

Monday, October 26, 2009

Health Care...

I don't talk politics. I think it divides people. But I will say this:

I have no health insurance. And my teeth are falling apart. I take great care of my teeth. But, I inherited my mom's bad teeth, genetically speaking. In the world of raw deals, this seems like the worst.

I need to get these taken care of, because every time I think of going through another tooth-related tragedy and the pain and agony associated with that, I literally panic. I get all hot and start freaking out. I can't sleep, can't eat...basically can't function.

This morning, I'm sort of feeling the same way. One of my back teeth needs work, and it's starting to let me know it's there...just barely. And now I'm so freaking warm I can't stand it.

This post is a bust, but tomorrow I may have photos from Robb and my trip to Lake Geneva yesterday!

Out

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's a destiny!))

I awoke wondering what to post about, only to find this in my Xanga inbox!

My name`s Cynthia
I really feel shy, but I have to tell you, Viewtiful_Justin, that you`r just so cool... It was a wonder to find ur profile but now I am sure it`s a destiny!))
You are so pretty... but I am sure that in ur real life u will excite me more and more, again and again!! -))

I would like to get closer 2 u, Viewtiful_Justin!
This site removed my pictures... (
so the most interesting and hot photos I hosted here: http://yourpersonalprofile.com/account/852775645/
Viewtiful_Justin, I think you`ll like them and will write me something 2 begin our thrilling challenge :)!!!
love you honey :))


Hmmm. I wonder what, exactly, our "thrilling challenge" is. Perhaps a woman's feeble attempts to come on to me? Perhaps a computer's feeble attempts to get me to look at straight porn and, thus, infect me with some horrible virus? It would be a thrilling challenge indeed to try to get rid of that!

How come none of you tell me "you'r just so cool" or "in ur real life u will excite me more and more, again and again!!-))"?

You're failing in your duties, people, and this mongoloid had to do it for you. Shame!

So Pretty...Out

Thursday, October 22, 2009

She Stuck Her Voodoo Pins Where My Eyes Used To Be...

Disregard the title. I've been listening to the new Mika album nonstop. It's wonderful.

And...I accidentally posted Top 5 Tuesday on my other blog yesterday, so...I may as well do it here today, right? Nothing like missing the mark entirely! It took me 3 hours before I realized it was Wednesday yesterday.

In other news...I'm driving to see the boy at work and having lunch with him. I love being a good boyfriend. It happens so infrequently.

Anywho...Top 5 Tuesday: Pinball Edition

Guess what, friends?  It's the triumphant return of Top 5 Tuesday!

I'm sure we've all spent a few quarters in a pinball machine in our lives.  Me?  I've spent more than anyone ever should.  I could probably buy every machine on this list with the number of quarters I've used playing pinball in my lifetime.  But some of you may not know where to start.  That's where this handy list comes in!  If ever you see one of these in an arcade, you'll know it's worth the quarters!  I give you the top 5 pinball machines I've ever had the pleasure of playing:

5) Tales From the Crypt



I remember playing this game in the general store of a campground we used to visit every year.  It's been probably close to fifteen years since I've played it, but I remember it being one of the most fun pinball machines I've ever used.  The Cryptkeeper was your guide through the game, and despite his creepiness, he never fell short of having a good quip when you failed.  The ball launger in the form of a doorknocker-representation of him was a nice touch!  I also remember this game having the loosest match numbers at the end of the game of any pinball machine I've ever used...and that means more free games!

4)  The Simpsons



This machine has eaten far too many of my quarters.  I would say that of all the games on my list, this one is the most unforgiving.  There must be something about the pastel paradise of Springfield under the glass that drives balls to the no zone.  It's not a fantastic pinball game, but, like everything else that has the Simpsons' name on it, people play it no matter how much it sucks.  I think maybe there was a little too much going on under the hood, but that's what makes it so much fun and captures the zaniness of Springfield.

3)  Hook



This game lands itself on the list because it's the easiest pinball machine I've ever played.  I'm no pinball wizard, but even I have trouble losing a ball in this one.  And with scores totaling in the hundreds of millions, it makes even the worst player feel like a big shot!  The skill shot at the beginning is a great touch and keeps me coming back to nail just one more launch.  The fact that it has an instant replay feature which gives you one free ball if you truly suck or have terrible luck on a ball is enough to set it apart from any other game on the market.  The icing on the cake?  Hearing Captain Hook say, "I hate, I hate, I hate Peter Pan!"

2)  Fire!



I know what you're thinking:  A pinball game based on the Chicago Fire?  How on earth does that work?  Quite well, let me tell you!  It's one of the only pinball machines that I've ever been able to figure out, goal-wise.  You're supposed to bep utting out the fires and saving the citizens of the city one flick at a time.  There's a rather loud fire bell on the top of this machine that rings every time you hit the multiplier, which multiplies your bonus at the end of a round by how many times you hit it.  That means huge bonuses and free games for people who can keep the ball going.  A great feature of this machine is a certain ramp that captures a ball and tells you a firefighter is trapped.  You're tasked with raising the ladder to the burning building and launching the ball up the ramp, triggering a multi-ball, the joy of pinball enthusiasts everywhere!  It's mayhem; it's loud; it's fun; it's Fire!

1)  Taxi



We've come to the top of my list, the cream of the crop, the best damn pinball game there is, in my humble opinion.  Doubtful?  Let me tell you this, then:  Nowhere else can you find Mikhail Gorbachev, Marilyn Monroe, Santa Claus, Dracula, and Pinbot in one place!  In one taxi, no less!  They're your targets in this madcap game with a sense of humor, and y'all know how I love a game with a sense of humor.  Your bonus at the end of every ball depends on how many of them you can cram into your taxi without losing.  Fill it full and take a joyride, and the points shoot through the roof!  Each character has their own voice and will call out when you're close to picking them up, and each shot gives you points depending on how many times you can "spin out" in the ramp off the main shoot.  It's a riot, and I've spent enough money in this thing to buy the machine!

So there you have it, my list for the top 5 pinball machines of all time.  Have you played any of these?  What would you put on the list?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Crazy Month...

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us. I am both giddy and terrified. So...you know...nothing special.

For those of you not in-the-know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every year I, along with a hundred thousand other crazy nutbars, write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Want more info? http://www.nanowrimo.org

You'll be glad you did it! I've written three complete novels in three years, and I'm hoping for a fourth.

What kind of novels, you ask?

The first year I wrote a road trip story. DePaul to UCLA loosely along Rt. 66. There was pot smoking, fights, a pregnancy, scorpions vs. cheerleaders, and a man who was not who he said he was...oh, and a house fire.

The second year I wrote a novel of horror and interior decorating. Hauntings, bad smells, a skeptical husband, a cute daughter, and the mystery of that tiny room in the basement...oh, and a house fire.

The third year I wrote a novel about a woman who has an affair with the guy that runs the arcade and her son who is gay and how they both find out what the other is doing. It had Dungeons and Dragons, bigotry, Ms. Pac Man, adultery, laughter, dating, and fake internet personals...oh, and a house fire.

This year will be the first novel that doesn't have a house fire, I think. Although...maybe I'll squeeze one in just for good measure. If I write about the current idea I have, it will be Jesus in space. Trust me. It's a scream!

I look forward to it (and dread it) every year, and this one is no exception. Is anyone with me on that?

Out

Monday, October 19, 2009

Full...

Seeing 10 friends on three separate days whom I hadn't seen for months, making applesauce (that is expletive-worthy AMAZING) and cupcakes with the boy, going out for breakfast (one of my favorite things to do), being chased by a chainsaw wielding maniac in the haunted corn maze, too much junk food, great conversation, tons of laughs, new Mika album, writing group, and just a twist of sexual tension...

It was a full weekend, to say the least. I needed it.

Out

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sorry If This One's a Drag...

Now that I typed that, I don't feel like ranting anymore. Just know that I'm having a shitty day.

Know any good jokes?

Out

---------

You know what? I do feel like rainting. I feel like the universe has shit on me. Here I am SO EXCITED to be blogging for a video game blog, and then we have a meeting where all the negative examples are blogs I've done. And then I get discouraged and post about it and y'all are so great and helpful.

And I get over it.

And then I write some things that I feel like should appeal to everyone, things exactly like what we were told to do. I send the head guy an email about them, asking him if he thinks they're more relevant and accessible to everyone. And an email goes out to EVERYONE on the team and in it are two more points we forgot to cover in the meeting. In one of those points is a line that says something like, "And we all know the 'arcades are disappearing' post has been done to death!" Guess who just did a post about that?

I just feel picked on, I guess. And it's a juvenile feeling, I know, which makes me feel so much more silly and out of my league like a small fish in a big pond...

I thought it would be scary and hard, and I was hesitant to go through with it. And then I swallowed my fear and did something, which is RARE for me, and now it's turned out to be just as shitty as I was scared it would be. Why? Why can't I win? Or, rather, why the hell am I used as EVERY fucking example of what NOT to do?

My posts aren't offensive. They're not boring. They're about the kinds of things that brought ME to that site in the first place. And apparently I'm the only one who thinks that stuff like that is any good...

Or maybe our head editor has no idea what people like. I mean...they've scheduled all my posts for 10 PM and wonder why no one reads them. And yet, I have 500+ hits on posts that they say didn't do well or weren't going to do well. What makes honcho the head? Why does he get to decide what people like and don't like? Why does every fucking post have to be dynamite? Not everybody is going to like everything. It's just the way things go! So why do I have to suffer because of that?!

ARGH! I just feel like I stuck my neck out there and said, "I'm going to take a chance, because I'll never get anywhere not doing anything." And then down came the cleaver. To prove me right. Again.

I take a chance, I get smacked. I recover. I pick myself up (with the help of my friends and readers) and trudge on with higher hopes. And then I get smacked again! There are only so many times I can get back up. I'm tired....

Out

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Wish...

I've been thinking about my brother a lot lately...



At least three times a day I wish I could send him a text message, a terrible song lyric by Skee-Lo or some other crappy R&B singer from the 90s...

Iraq feels further away than it ever has before.  The last time he was there, I never had a cell phone, so I couldn't just fire off a text and wait for a laugh.  I had to write letters and wait a month for a phone call. 

I wrote this poem because I was disillusioned the night before he left from his last visit:

Shooting

This horror floated ashore from the sea of memory,
a corpse that looked too familiar to ignore
too much like myself.
It was only drunk talk on a Saturday night
guys shooting pool
shooting the breeze.
(But my own brother--
builder of snowbank forts
screamer of obscenities
bestower of bruises
the same man who stood up for me--
crossed a line.
"There is nothing"
he says
"like pulling the trigger and watching the guy fall down.")
shooting my image of my only brother.
He is never coming back.
---------------

My image of him was blown.  Completely.  And yet, all I can think about is how much I'd like him to sing "I Wish."  I wish I were a little bit taller; I wish I was a baller.  I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her.  I wish I had a rabbit in a hat and a bat....

Out

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MISSING!!!

So...you may have noticed that Top 5 Tuesday was missing yesterday.  I wouldn't blame you if you didn't though...I sure as hell didn't...until about 11:00 PM when I was lying in bed and thought, "Shit..."

I guess you all get a week off.  My apologies.



My entire blogging drive has been put into blah mode after a meeting with the Hardest Level team last night.  Here's sort of how it went:

Leader:  This post Justin wrote is a prime example of what not to do.
Everyone else:  Agreed.  Yeah, whoever wrote this is an idiot.  Oh, they're in the room?  Moving on.
Leader:  So is this whole series of posts he's writing.  In fact, don't write about any specific games.  Don't write about anything retro or anything upcoming.  And stuff that's out now?  Don't write about it.  Have fun!
Everyone:  So....what do we write about?

And that's where we're left.  Writing about video games but NOT about video games.  And that nixes EVERYTHING on my ideas list.  So I'm pretty much fucked and not happy about it.  At all. 



Last night I was lying in bed in that insane place right before sleep (the same place in which I composed a letter to the Water Guy...but that's another story) and I just thought, "Why do I even do this anymore?  What am I doing blogging.  It just goes on forever and won't ever get me anywhere." 

And then I fell asleep and had dreams that I was stuck on a mini golf course naked.  Blah. 

So...I'll get there, I'm...sure.  But like everything, it can't just be fun.

Out

Friday, October 9, 2009

White Pines Adventure...

After visiting the nuclear plant and accomplishing my one lifelong goal, we decided to go for a hike.



Yes.  This IS a photo of us driving across water.  At White Pines State Park there are two bridges that are submerged that you ust drive over to make it to the parking lot for the lower half of the park.  It's so cool!

Once we were back on dry land and parked, we picked the hardest trail and headed off, crossing several of these:



Apparently the theme of  this park is something about crossing water in unconventional ways.  There's a life lesson here, I'm sure...but it was too pretty of a day to think about that.  The trail meandered into the woods, and we saw what was left of an old cabin:



At a particularly dangerous-looking spot, we decided to do some climbing and take some photos.



See if you can spot the Robb in this photo. 

The sun was brilliant and warm, and the trees whispered as we wandered through the crunchy leaves of our early fall.  A sign that said "Lookout Point" made us get off the main trail.  We made it to a little pavilion that overlooked the river and a grassy clearing twenty feet below.  Apparently what we were to look out for was this, though:



That would be Latin Kings graffiti.  It was everywhere.  Those gang members love their nature!  And apparently so does this person:



Three years ago...I'm certainly glad I wasn't here for that S&M blowjob...eek!  But maybe these people were?



Spud and Mary were also bitten by the "sex in the woods" bug.  Alright then. 

I suppose if you're not getting any, you might adopt the philosophy of this next guy:



"Mary Jane is the only girl that I (Stoners) will ever trust"

I guess he didn't think people would figure it out unless he added that little parenthetical road sign...Thanks for that.

We started heading back, worried that we might become pot-crazed, bondage-loving Latin Kings if we didn't get out of nature soon! 

And he wouldn't be Robb if he didn't take his shoes off and get a little wet.



Adorable. 

But do you know what WASN'T adorable?  This:



Damn thing said hello to me and then tried to bite my finger off.  He thought he was reeeeeeeal funny, too...laughing when I called him a little bastard.  I told the woman in the gift shop that I wanted her to let him out so I could wring his little neck.  She apparently didn't appreciate that.  Fine.

And that' friends, is why I love to hike.

Out

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nuclear Adventure...

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, but with Cake Wrecks and ski lifts and the weekend all in a row...it got pushed aside.  And this weekend will be no different...we've got Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday night at the Egyptian Theater in town here, and the we're jetting off to Michigan to stay the night near...eh....Saugatuck?   Yeah.  Saugatuck.

Anyrambler...last weekend was one of the last nice weekends we thought we'd get around here, so Robb and I took a trip to White Pines State Park, and on the way, we did something I've always wanted to do...like, ALWAYS.  My whole life. 

We visited Byron Nuclear Power Plant!



It was always smoking off in the distance, the huge plume of steam visible on cold days, but it was never close enough to justify making the drive over there.  However, today was different!



There's something about this pristine rolling farmland with the backdrop of the nuclear plant that seems somewhat ominous.  I love it!

As I expected, we weren't able to take a tour or anything (not since 9/11), but we did get to drive up so close we could see the water falling out the bottom of one of the stacks.  We were this close, y'all!



So I took this PSA below!



*Shooting Star*  In this world of oil crises and strife, it might seem like nothing is for certain.  But there is one thing:  Nuclear power...the key to a brighter future for our children.

I'm still waiting on those Exelon people to call me for the TV spot on that one...

It was so cool, though.  Seriously.  HUGE!



I love it.  Makes me feel so tiny...

Yup.  It really was a treat!  And now I can cross that off my list of things to do before I die.

Out

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday: Special Guest Edition...

After guest blogging for someone else last week, I really thought it would be cool to do the same thing on my blog.  I haven't, in the five plus years I've been here, ever had a guest blogger.  It's about time that changes, isn't it?

So, I picked the person who is nearest and dearest to my heart to do a Top 5 Tuesday post about the thing that's nearest and dearest to his heart.

Now you have to understand something.  My boyfriend is a nerd.  A big one.  But not about computers, and not about video games (as much).  No, no.  He's a nerd about something most people don't think twice about!

Without further pish-posh, I give you Robb's Top 5 Tuesday list of his favorite ski lifts!  And it's a doozy!

*round of applause*

5.  1975 Borvig center-pole quad at Villa Olivia, Bartlett, Illinois.  www.villaolivia.com
   
This is the lift that I know the best from working at Villa.  First off, it’s rare to see a center-pole quad chair.



As far as I know, only two companies made this style of lift: Borvig and Riblet.  (If I’m wrong, please let me know).  This lift has seen little modifications or upgrades to it.  It still operates much the same today as it did when it was brand new in 1975.  Right about this time in 1975, Borvig was beginning to use a newer tower design; this lift uses an older tower design.  The tower itself is larger in size than the newer design, and the cross arms are thinner.  To compensate for thinner cross arms with a heavy quad chair, Borvig used additional support to form two 90 degree angles on either side of the tower.



Typical of Borvig, this lift sports the company’s signature "hanging sheaves" and "snowflake bull wheel".



This style of lift was known for its exceptionally strong grips.



The only modification to the lift is the addition of snow making equipment and lights to the towers; this was completed after the lift was installed.  The lift is also still using its original motor, but has a semi-newer gear box.  Towers 4 and 5 are also switched; when installing the lift, Villa accidentally put tower 5 in tower 4’s place and 4 in 5’s place.  Most people don’t realize this and you can only tell if you look at the lift as you ride:  tower 4 is slightly taller than 5.



4.  1968 Hall double at Skyline Ski Area in Friendship, WI

Skyline is the ski area where I first learned to ski, and for that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart.  For years I was terrified to ride this lift due to its speed and its steepness.  At one time, Skyline boasted that this lift was the fastest lift in the state of Wisconsin; it was run at 7 ½ mph.  Keep in mind that this is extremely fast compared to most lifts running at 1 - 2mph.  Some detachable lifts don’t even run this fast. 



Older Hall lifts that had two or four sheaves per cross arm had the sheaves standing on top of the cross arm.



Compare the older style of Hall sheave assemblies at Skyline vs. the newer style where the sheaves hung at tower arm level.



This lift has a steep climb for a portion of it, tower 5 perches on the edge of the drop off and sports a six sheave assembly.  For six and eight sheave assemblies, Hall used a different style of cross arm. 



This lift also has the older style of Hall bull wheels that have six support beams in it compared to the newer style of eight. 



Unfortunately, Skyline has gone through several owners recently and is currently closed to skiing.  The lift line has started to become overgrown,



and the cable is rusty.  Hopefully a new owner will come along soon and restore this lift.


3.  1989 (?) Leitner-Borvig High Speed detachable quad.  “Spirit Express”  at Spirit Mountain, Minnesota.  www.spiritmt.com
   
Spirit Mountain is currently home to an interesting “Frankenlift”.  A Frankenlift is a lift made up of multiple components.  The lift was originally built by Leitner and Borvig and later modified by CTEC.  This lift is an early model of a high speed, detachable quad lift.  Detachable means the chairs/gondolas actually detach from the cable in the station area for slower/smoother loading.  Older detachable lifts sometimes had a separate motor house that sat behind the loading terminal. 



The loading terminals and original chairs where designed by Leitner.  Borvig designed the motor house, the bull wheels,



towers and sheaves/sheave assemblies. 







The motor house is located at the base of the lift



and skiers line up under it and board the lift in the loading area.  The original chairs had plastic seats and backs and had a clear plastic shell that could be pulled down over the chair to help keep warm.  Spirit quickly got rid of the plastic bubbles on the chairs.  Later, CTEC switched chairs on the lift from the plastic seat style of Leitner



to metal CTEC chairs (which were on another lift at Spirit Mountain).  The original grips from the Leitner chairs stayed with the Spirit Express



When CTEC switched chairs, they also upgraded the controls of the lift.  Currently Spirit Mountain has a modernization master plan which involves moving and lengthening the Spirit Express. Whether they will keep the same lift and modify it again has yet to be determined. 


2.  1971 Hall Double “Eagles Nest Double” at Whitecap Mountain, Hurley, Wisconsin. www.skiwhitecap.com
   
This Hall double is unique in the fact that it is a partial two-way lift (most lifts you can only ride in one direction) and it crosses over a small valley.  It is also unique that the motor house uses an older design



but uses newer style chairs, towers and sheave assemblies.  It has two midway unloading points





on either side of the valley it crosses.  On one side of the valley is another unique feature of this lift: its lattice type tower.





On the Eagles Nest Mountain side, the lift uses two depression towers to ascend the extremely steep incline of the mountain. 





The other unique feature of this lift is that one of the towers sits at an angle.  Most Hall towers sit like this:    |    where this tower perched on a rocky ledge sits at an angle    /    over the ledge. 





If there isn’t a lot of snow, you can see the lake at the bottom of the valley that the lift crosses over; it has some amazing views from here.


1.   1966/1989 Hall Skycruiser gondola  at Lutsen Mountains, Lutsen, Minnesota.  www.lutsen.com
   
This is one of four remaining Hall Skycruiser gondola in the country.  This lift was originally installed at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire and then part of It was moved to Lutsen In 1989.  Lutsen bought the terminals





cross arms, and Skycruiser cabins and one original tripod tower from Loon.  This particular lift requires an attendant to move the cabins around the contour and send it back on its way;



Newer gondolas use automatic rollers in the station and to speed the cabins onto the cable; this lift uses good old fashioned gravity.  A lift attendant has to pull a cord to release the brake in the station and the Skycruiser cabin travels down a slight decline before being attached to the cable.

Skycruising


Lutsen kept the original, gravity powered coupling design and the original Skycruiser cabins and refurbished them to ensure a long life and a quaint, vintage feeling.  The original Skycruiser featured Hall’s tripod towers



for extra support and stability.  The gondola crosses over a creek and a goes down into a small valley



before making a very steep ascent into the summit station. 



During this portion of the ride, you get some great views of Lake Superior and the surrounding land.  I particularly love this part of the ride.  The three break-over towers are perched right on the edge of Moose Mountain



It’s a very interesting feeling departing the summit station and looking over the edge of the mountain before going down the decent.  The Skycruiser is a two way lift. Lutsen does sell tickets to non-skiers to ride the lift to the mountain top restaurant.  While I was skiing at Lutsen, I fell and tore my ACL; I had to take the Skycruiser back to Eagle Mountain where my car was.  I took this video of the Skycruiser on my trip to my car. 

Skycruising: 2 years later

For the memories associated with it and the rarity of the lift, this one grabs the top spot on my list of the Top 5 ski lifts of all time.

*round of applause*

There, now, wasn't he great?  We have a picture he took of that last lift hanging up in our bedroom.  Having been with him for almost 4 years, I could sit here and tell you about Borvigs and Halls and Riblets (not on the list because he hates them) and all that stuff.  I've definitely learned a lot from him, and I hope you all have, too!  If nothing else, maybe you're geared up for winter now.  God knows we're not going to get to see Fall this year...

Out