My grandfather and I drove over to Wappingers yesterday to pick up Space Shuttle, after a day of stomach aches and black outs. Either I ate some undercooked sausage or some unholy force is seeking vengeance upon me, but the headaches and waves of nausea aren’t too great. As a result, I haven’t slept all night and I’m now obligated to bring my niece & her friend over to the semi-local arcade after work today. About eight years ago, said arcade had a Star Trek : The Next Generation pinball machine there, which is the object of my ultimate desire – so here’s hoping it’s still there.

The man selling the Space Shuttle machine is a hardcore pinball collector, but is moving from Williams machines to Gottlieb machines, and was thus making room for the new additions to the collection. I was glad that he didn’t have some hard luck story which was forcing him to part with his most favorite possessions. I prefer the ‘such good luck that I have excessive awesomeness to get rid of’ stories. We plugged it in, I played a ball, got a brief tutorial in pinball machine care and moving (and they are heavy as bastards, presuming that bastards are very very heavy), took it apart and loaded it into the SUV. I managed to get it back out of the SUV by myself, except for reattaching the fourth leg, when my industrious mother helped out. In reassembling the thing, I realized that the guy had forgotten to pop a necessary bolt into the toolkit, so I’m off to Home Depot for a replacement part later today. Home Depot, by the way, opens at 6 AM, which is news to me.

I look forward to a few hours of playing it to figure out what needs to be done. There are some burnt out bulbs and some dirt all over the playfield, but the most troubling thing is a few LED readouts that won’t light up. They don’t impact gameplay at all, and the scores are still displayed for the first player, but it would be nice to fix it all up. Unfortunately, the game’s original cabinet graphics were painted over, so I’m deciding on whether or not to get decals printed, or to carefully mask out things and paint them by hand. Most people seem to use acrylics to repaint small details, and I have a steadier painting hand than most, so I’m not too concerned.

I’ve dreamed of owning a pinball machine for 20 years, so I’m quite psyched to finally have one of my own – at least until I fix it and possibly resell it, but I think I’m just gonna fall in love with it.