Motel Hell and Pinball Nirvana

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This is My Canvas

Hello world! I made it home alive from my excursion to exotic York, PA last weekend where I attended a pinball convention (of sorts) for the third straight year. If that sounds super exciting to you, then wait, there’s more! I am also pleased to report that I was privileged to stay in what I judge to be the worst hotel in the world.

I can hear you doubters out there saying “Come on, Dave! It seems certain that there are hotels in third world countries and West Virginia that can proudly make that claim. Surely you jest!”

I’m not sure why you all speak that way, but that’s what I heard.

Anyway, I can offer proof of this claim by way of a list that I will entitle:

Why the York, PA Econo Lodge is the Worst Hotel in the World

Let me list a few examples that help to illustrate my point. Let’s begin at check-in….

1. I was greeted and checked in by a woman (I assume) that (I assume) was the owner, who-during the entire time (s)he was checking me in- was wheezing uncontrollably and continuously. I almost called an ambulance for this person, but (s)he didn’t seem to be bothered by this nearly as much as I was. Also, I didn’t call for help because I was so distracted by the large flap of skin in her (?) left nostril that fluttered in rhythm to the wheezing. This had an oddly hypnotic affect on me.

So perhaps I only imagined the rest of these examples…

2. The hookers relaxing in the lobby, as well as (evidently) in the room next to mine were, well…let me put it this way- have any of you seen “Breaking Bad”? And how did I know they were in the room next to me? Let’s just say that I could hear them doing their “breathing exercises”. Enough said.

3. In my experience, most no star hotels at least have chain locks on the doors so that you can barricade yourself in the room, offering at least a small measure of resistance to any criminal encroachment, FBI raids, or zombie hordes. The Econo Lodge in York, PA does not offer such a thing. The chain lock in my particular room had been ripped from the wall several decades earlier.

4. The hotel room was curiously large and spacious- which may seem like a good thing. It was perhaps 12 feet wide and maybe 25 feet long- in fact I counted as many as 7 (maybe 8?) carpet remnant patches used to cover the massive floor. The variety in the carpeting color and texture were much like the rings in a tree, offers clues and glimpses into the colorful history of the room. For example, the patterns of stains in several of the pieces suggest periods of time when civilization may have first used fire, or the inhabitants evolved to using utensils like crack pipes. Other sections of carpeting hint of massacre or perhaps human sacrifice. Fascinating.

5. An interesting feature of my particular room was that all electrical outlets (except one!) had been eliminated. Smoky colored plastic plates covered areas of the walls where (I assume) electrical outlets used to exist. I can appreciate how this may save management the expense of having hotel guests syphon off precious electricity from their power grid. I imagine they also save money from not having any place to plug in vacuum cleaners. The one lone outlet in the room was taken up by the microwave oven, which was perched on top of the trash can by the door, 20 feet from the bed. I must remark that the microwave seemed out of place in this room, like some strange “artifact from the future” accidentally deposited here by a careless time traveler.

6. The towels (both of them) were of an interesting gray color, crusty to the touch, yet still lacking the “nibs” that seem to be common on most towels. My best guess is that the nibs had worn off several years ago after repeated washings on stones in the local “stream” that ran in the back.

7. I’m glad I didn’t have a black light.

8. I could go on, but I’m guessing you can see a pattern here.

At this point, a logical (and fair) question to ask is how I ended up at the Econo Lodge in York, PA, and why I stayed there after my first impressions of “Wheezy” and the girls.

I admit that this is all my own fault- for when I am traveling on my own, I am admittedly very frugal, and in fact I make a game of seeing how little I can pay for a hotel room. In this case I used Priceline, and even “named my own price”- a price so low that I was surprised it was accepted. In hind site, I can understand why Wheezy would take any offer (s)he could get. I usually am OK with my Priceline results- I really don’t care that much since I tend to arrive very late, go to sleep immediately, get up, shower, and leave. No star hotels are OK with me as long as I believe the sheets and towels are clean- my basic rules include: never touch the comforter; wear socks at all times; wear long sleeves to bed; use plenty of hand sanitizer.

But in this case, Priceline and the room won, and my rules were insufficient. It was that bad.

The weekend was not all lost, however. I eventually made it out of the Hotel California, past the beast, and on to Pinball Nirvana at the York Fairgrounds. I spent the day with other game room aficionados, freely playing the dozens of old and new games and perusing the older junker machines for sale that I target for my restoration/customization projects.

I have several projects in the works currently (one is in the photo above), and have a few donor machines in stock already, so I didn’t have to buy anything. I did end up buying a machine very similar to the one I converted into my Springsteen machine- Tenth Avenue Freeze Out-complete with the roulette wheel/turntable feature. My thinking is that if anyone out there wants a machine similar to that one, I now have a donor unit that can be used (along with the art designs I have already created) to create a very similar, but new, Springsteen themed machine at 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of the original. In the scheme of things, this could be a bargain for someone.

So as I wrap this ramble up, I want to again mention the photo above- this shows the original play field of the machine that I will be using for my Night of the Living Dead project. It has been stripped of all hardware and is ready to be stripped of the original design- down to the bare wood. In others words, I am preparing this as my next “canvas”, and am currently working on the art design on my iMac.

As I ponder my adventures of the past week, and look for inspirations for this new design, my memories and thoughts converge into an idea that is growing on me- “Wheezy” and the girls as zombies.

Unfortunately, this idea is very close to the reality.

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