Art n’ Oddities

Despite the best collective efforts of the Pearl District, and the Portland Business Alliance (of sit/lie law fame, among other deplorable activities), there’s still some cool stuff in close in NW Portland.

Don’t recognize the style or the name Bunny M but this thing is pretty rad. On the side of the building that houses Slabtown.

Offerings to the Postal Garden gnome.

Another Damn Skull from rx and a bunch of marker pieces. I wonder if USPS calculates how many of those stickers become slap tags?

Odd growth. There was a trench dug out all around this tree, sadly it looked like they might be removing it. There’s another fire hydrant about ten feet down from it that was probably installed after this one became overgrown.

The Cars of Others – Subaru XT

Ever since I saw my first, the Subaru XT it has had a place on my automotive bucket list. 80s starfighter styling, all wheel drive, pop up headlights, and crammed full of failure prone but endearing gadgets that are a product of their time in every way. What’s not to love? A little under 100000 were produced over its six year run, so it might just be attainable.

This one lives in NW Portland, displaying a surprisingly nice paint job for its age in that one shade of blue that somehow works only on Subarus of a certain vintage.

The bumper stickers give away the owner as a local.

Radical joystickectomy

This is a relatively minor repair but I thought I’d put a post up about it because of the parts involved. The Do Run Run I got this weekend came fitted with really cruddy quality components. One piece buttons that aren’t serviceable and a joystick set up with some really crummy switches. I also found it suffered from disintegrating microswitch syndrome, as the Frogger player 1 stick did.

The Mr. Do on the other hand had relatively nice hardware, if a bit weathered. All leaf switch stuff, which is preferable for many older games. I spent a couple hours today carefully desoldering the joystick and buttons from the Mr. Do harness and transferring them over. The joystick ended up being a bit of a rare bird. Here it is disassembled:

It’s a Monroe Electronics model (they’re still in business, but no longer apparently making anything video game related). Has some interesting characteristics, most notably that it uses an all metal ball joint instead of the usual rubber bushing thing. Once I polished off the built up rust and oiled it it actually took on a very smooth movement.

It also happens to be the correct model for games such as Gyruss, Rampage, and Time Pilot. Used prices seem to be in the neighborhood of $20-50 depending on condition, and the NOS examples that pop up from time to time go for $50-100. I was a little surprised to find it was worth more than the entire cabinet it came in.

It helped out Do Run Run a lot, no longer sticks left and kills you at random :P Unfortunately the power supply gave up the ghost while I was testing and my spare seems to have issues too. I’m picking up a new one tomorrow but the sudden failure put a damper on things.

Also managed to find this (cropped from an ebay listing for a NOS stick: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Monroe-Joystick-NOS-for-Video-Arcade-Game-New-Old-Stock-Gyruss-Rampage-/310565134161) original instruction insert for the stick in question.

Might be useful for anyone looking for the correct way to put one of these things back together.