Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.

AKA, The Only Time I’ll Ever Get To Use My Sonic Screwdriver and Not Feel Like a Total Jerk.

We had the sheer joy to experience the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special in 3D at the local theater.  It was really difficult to avoid the spoilers present on the web these last 3 days since it was simulcasted in Europe.  Two and half hours before the show I grabbed my sonic screwdriver and met Joanne at the Kamita restaurant, which is a 5 minute walk from the theater.

An hour before the show, tickets in hand, we joined the crowd before a shut door #19.  “Is the door locked?” I asked.  Screwdriver in hand I pointed it at the door activating the light and sound effect.  Which generated a few laughs from the audience.  And I was more surprised than anyone when the theater cleaning staff opened the door at that moment.  The crowd didn't even hesitate to enter in the rush for seats.   Not missing a beat, I called out to no one in particular, “You’re welcome.”
The theater filled quickly.  At least half full before the commercials started.  If you only saw it on TV, then you missed the introduction by Strax, the Sontaran who chained bandaged movie etiquette violators to the wall and explained he loved blowing up the corn creatures and stated that popcorn can feel pain.  

The show was magnificent.  The 3D was not over done to distraction and greatly enhanced of imagery of the 3D pictures within the film.  The ending changes the history of the Doctor as we know it, and the closing shot of the 12 current doctors was worth the price of admission.

Afterwards, there was a short film on the making of the special, narrated  by Colin Baker.

On the way out the door, we headed for the normally unused back exit.  I gave it shot with the sonic screwdriver before opening it.  I hope someone saw. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Best Exotic Travelodge Hotel*

An open letter to Wyndham Customer Service department.

My only real question is how dare you take money from customers to stay at your hotel at 2390 Lincoln Hwy E, Lancaster, PA 17602, phone number (717) 397-6531?

Are you serious?  I know you just bought the place, and were renovating it heavily, by why subject your customers to such a heavy renovation in progress? 

With the dry wall removed from the walls, open exposed wiring in the showers, and fresh, but sticky asphalt on the road ways, cobwebs in the ceilings, how can you be serious?  The mats on both my cars have to be cleaned from mud and oil, and probably will have to be replaced. 

The staff must be new as well, as they couldn't find the room keys, all of which were in a single cardboard box.  Nor did they seem to be able to find the thermostat in the common areas.  And please have the maid come to room 152, as no one did so during our stay.

This place is such a joke, that one couple I talked with was at the Shady Maple Restaurant, some 10 miles away, and their waitress gave them a look of horror when they told her where they had been staying.  My wife refused to stay a second day, and went home early.

And in case you didn't notice, that thin plastic sheet proclaiming Travelodge covering the old Canadaina name is invisible at night, as the original sign bleeds through it.

The day manager tried to put a good face on it.  It took 3 tries to find a room that was available, even if it wasn't made.  He said that when I return in March, I will be amazed by the differences.  I just gritted my teeth, because I my thought is why would I ever frequent any Wyndham hotel chain hotel ever again after receiving this kind of treatment. 

And when I crafted this fine letter of complaint and went to send it to you, the customer service department, what did I find?  A limit of 450 characters.  Which doesn't even get to the comments of the staff on duty.

Disgustingly yours,
Phil Gardocki

Hotels forever on my personal blacklist:
Days Inn,
Howard Johnson's,
Knights Inn, which I have stayed at and can say at 2 stars, is generously over rated.
Microtel Inns and Suites,
Red Roof Inn
Super 8,

*With apologies to the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", which I would rate as a 4 star movie.