SHE SAID: Gambling

August 30, 2009

gambling_chipsI know why I had not been gambling.  I don’t know why someone else thought it would be a great idea to bring a competitive, addictive and stubborn person gambling, but as chance would have it, I found myself walking into Foxwoods giving myself all sorts of boundaries for the night ahead.  Or the remaining hours of the night ahead.

We walked past the pits of slot machines to get to the tables.  Mesmerized people sitting with huge bags of change just pulling on levers over.  And over.  And over.  The flashing lights and dizzying sound standing out in stark contrast and almost mocking the actual lack of activity going on.

The first span of gambling was spent looking over shoulders at the black jack table and studying this handy piece of information.  My goal was to memorize it because I felt like it would be cheating to have it at the table while I was playing.  And I was terrified of coming off like I didn’t know exactly what I was doing.  Which of course, made it all the more evident that I had no idea what I was doing.

Let me take a minute to delve into my experience with blackjack.  I love cards and have spent long hours playing hearts, canasta, bridge, pinochle, solitaire (all variations), asshole, spit, go fish, poker, spades, rummy (and gin rummy), war, cray eights and even some low moments that included indian poker.  I have not spent much time playing blackjack and whenever I did play it was usually because someone was peeing and we were waiting for them to commence playing whatever real game we were playing.  My experience with blackjack was a couple of hands and the one rule I had been told was, don’t hit when you have over 15.  Which made it all the more fascinating to me that people were betting large amounts of money on such a lame, luck centered game.

I realized I may have been too quick to judge when I saw how elaborate the “cheat sheet” was.  And after watching hands that included such snazzy sounding phrases like “double down”, I settled in for a long night of learning.

Fast forward a few hours, and I’m sitting with the big kids at the table, trying to reclaim my original chips and resisting the urge to treat my chips like Monopoly money while the eighteen year old to my right is playing with $100 chips bemoaning the eight grand he’s already down, the guy on my left is deciding to hit or stay while his very pregnant wife whispers over his shoulder, “stay, just stay” as she has been for the last few hours, and the nervous looking slight woman in the corner surrenders almost every hand.  It’s intense, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s awesome.  How it is depends on if you’re winning or losing.

I love gambling.  The utter disappointment, the unrestrained fist pump, the wordless focus, the general sense of unease exuding even from those that are most comfortable, the love affair between excitement and fear, the occasional addiction that is excruciatingly unbearable to witness.  But these are also the reasons why I don’t like gambling.

I find the whole scene fascinating.  I love how your mind can convince you that you are going to win, that those last chips will come back to you, that chance is on your side.  That you aren’t one of those pathetic losers, unable to walk away, mindlessly frittering your money away.  That you’re in control.

I walked away with $50 in winnings.  Which made me pretty happy since I was expecting to lose more than I had intended.  Thankfully, I was with someone who kept an eye out on me and made sure I wasn’t banging on the table at the end of the night yelling “HIT ME”  in between running back and forth to the conveniently located ATM’s.  Because that could have so easily happened.  Only later, I totally would have won it all back.


HE SAID: Gambling

August 30, 2009

I really don’t even know where to start, although maybe a high school trip to Lincoln Greyhound in Rhode Island and got four aces in my first round of video poker seems like a good place to start.  A good place to finish would probably be where an hour later my debit card was rendered useless because there were $0.00 left in the account.

I could literally write a book about gambling, not because I have done it a bunch, I’ve just been around it a lot.  For brevity’s sake, I’ll provide you with some high and lowlights of my gambling career.

1. Winter, 1999.  The DVD of the movie Rounders was released.  I rented it with my best friend, watched it on a Sunday night.  Then we brought it to school the next day and watched it in the library during our lunch and free periods.   I think it’s safe to say that I had strong, positive feelings towards the game of Texas Hold Em, and insanely quotable movies.

2. Spring Break, 2003.  On a cruise with 22 of my fraternity brothers (I swear, these guys would have been my friends anyway, I DID NOT PAY FOR MY FRIENDS IN COLLEGE), I lost every night at the blackjack table.  I was like Clark Griswold in Vegas Vacation.  Only, on the last night, my roommate and I pooled together our remaining cash – one crisp ten dollar bill – and managed to turn it into $300.

3. Cross Country Road Trip, 2004.  Just as a warning, stopping in Reno, Nevada when you are driving cross counry on a very tight budget isn’t the best idea.  Luckily, my buddy and I lost enough (and it was a Tuesday night in June) they comped us a room!

4. Random Poker Nights – 2005-2009.  First off, I should note I don’t actually consider this “gambling” in the true sense of the word.  Throwing $20 or $30 into a pot with a bunch of your friends for a few hours of poker is entertainment.  Win or lose you are most likely going to have a good time.  And if you play enough, you win once or twice and come out even.  However, I actually do quite well at these games.  I used to think it was because I was a superior poker player.  Then I realized it was because the games are usually 30 minutes from me.  What does this mean you might be asking?  Simple, I have a 30 minute drive home, the others have a 5 minute walk.  This means they drank a lot more, and get noticeably shittier at poker as the night goes on.

5. Fall 2008, Las Vegas.  Poker rooms, slots, hundreds of gaming tables…I was there for 4 nights and I think I spent 15 minutes on them.  For a sports lover, this is where gambling can really take its hold on you.  The Sportsbook.  Hmmm, let’s see…sit in there for 6 hours on a Sunday drinking free bloody mary’s gambling on mutliple football games, three team teasers, and having them all on big screen in front of your face…that sounds good, I’ll have that.  For what it’s worth, I spent lots of money on booze while I was in Vegas, but left with the same amount of money I came with.

I still don’t know whether I like gambling or not, because truth be told I think if I had lots of cash, I could see myself getting a bit out of control.  And besides if I did have a lot of cash, I’d probably just enter higher priced fantasy football leagues, because that’s not gambling, right?


HE SAID: Birthdays

August 28, 2009

Today is my birthday.  In fact, apparently is made extra special because it is my “Golden” birthday or some shit like that.  I turn 28, on the 28th of August…this was most likely made up be females in an effort for even more attention on the celebration of the anniversary of their arrival (ironic, isn’t it? Here I am blogging about my own birthday claiming females crave attention).  Bottom line is I turn 28 today, and am starting to freak out a bit.

Exacerbating this tweak out episode is the fact that I start Graduate School Monday.  Take out the ‘graduate’ part though, and it simply reads, “I start school Monday.”  My fingers are twitching as I write that.  28, just starting school again, really? What the fuck have I been doing these last 5 years?

Truth be told, life has been pretty sweet since I graduated college, I just can’t believe it’s been five years…and truth be told, I’m excited about this next stage.  However, it does raise a few questions, the main one being – am I allowed to hit on undergrads?

When a friend found out I was starting grad school his first comment was, “I want to be attending a dorm party with you before the end of this semester.”  Is that allowed? Is it condoned? Fuck, is it even legal?  Am I really going to be doing an Around the World Party at the UVM dorms soon? Remember those, when like 5 different dorms would have 5 different drinks, good times.  I mean, I highly doubt this will actually come to fruition, but stranger things have happened.

Stranger things like holding down a steady relationship? I mean, I am 28 now, its about effing time.  I wonder what is actually more likely to happen – attending a dorm party sometime before finals or finding myself in a somewhat serious relationship.  My guess is Vegas would have the former being somewhere around 10:1, and the latter at 15:1.

What about intramurals?  I am pretty sure I spent a good amount of time as an undergrad making fun of the dbag grad students who participated in intramurals, and pretty much anything that related to undergrad students.  But now I’m starting to think it would be a good way of meeting some people; and not to be arrogant, but I’m pretty sure I’d clean house if I played tennis, and winning is always fun…even at my old-age.

Last Friday night was amazing…so amazing in fact that I really couldn’t tell you in detail what made it so amazing, not so much a black out as a brown out.  I’m sure doing that at age 28 is still fine, lets be honest, what makes 28 so different than 27.   But what about 29, one short of 30.  Hell, what about 30.  I would say that I’m pretty mature for my age, but I enjoy my immature moments as well…do I have to start phasing those out?

Ok, enough verbal diarrhea.  I realize this is not a typical post, but I needed to get it off my chest.  And you readers unfortunately have to deal with it, since I don’t have a diary…I stopped writing those when I was 24.


SHE SAID: Birthdays

August 28, 2009

I think my main issue with birthdays is that I peaked at eight.  My parents filled an entire car with balloons, they surprised me with a ridiculous amount of presents AND I got my first cabbage patch doll (remember the years where parents were waiting in lines days long to get those and starting full on fist fights over them!?  This was in that time period).  Add onto that cake, ice cream, the fact that we spent my late summer birthday on vacation at the beach, and it’s hard to fulfill that expectation year after year.

So, after a few years of getting really excited for my birthday and having it fall short, I stopped building it up.  Even though a very small part of me when I wake up on my birthday still expects the entire world to stop business as usual, people to sing to me constantly throughout the day, fireworks to follow me, flowers to bloom when I walk by, dancing extras, work to be canceled, the sun to shine, birds chirping, cars full of balloons … you get the idea.

In addition to not letting myself down, I don’t want those around me to feel like they have to do something for me if it’s not just something that happens.  I’ve gotten too many gifts that were “oh shit, I have to get something for her birthday” gifts and I know it’s a pain to go shopping under pressure thinking you have to find something.  And it’s never that exciting to receive something knowing it was bought so a gift would be present (haha, pun intended), not because it was something that struck someone as something you would just love.  Presence is so much better than presents.

I hope I never turn into one of those people who dreads their birthday.  Because if nothing else, I’m all for having a good reason to share a beer with a friend, to get together with friends and family, to wake up with a smile on your face in the morning, or to have cake and ice cream.  And it’s kind of fun to be secretly expecting all the people around you to spontaneously burst into song all day.

As far as where I thought I would be, since Jeremy is clearly tweaking about this a little, no.  No, I am not where my eight year old self thought I would be.  At all.  So far from it.  And in a lot of ways, thank God.  I’m not where my eight year old self thought I would be, or my eighteen year old self, or my twenty eight year old self.  I think at eight I would have expected a Barbie-type existence.  At eighteen, I believe my younger brother and I promised each other we would help each other not make it to the staggeringly old age of forty.  At twenty eight, I was just dreading 30.

I like to think some wisdom has jumped on board over the years.  I have made some friends who make me speechless when trying to express what their love and laughter mean to me – suffice to say that I cannot imagine my life without them.  I have some funny stories.  Some embarrassing ones that aren’t far enough in the past for me to laugh at.  I have some good scars.  I have learned a lot from the many people I have been lucky enough to encounter.  I have enjoyed much and experienced much and when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t change a thing.  And most of it, I wouldn’t have predicted.  Nor was I expecting to have one of my best birthdays at 31.  And I didn’t even get a Cabbage Patch Doll.


HE SAID: Marry/Fuck/Toss

August 25, 2009

We are a classy couple, Jeremy and I.  Going from a post on douchebags, to the walk of shame, to a Marry/Fuck/Toss round.  My mom would be so proud … thankfully, I don’t think she reads this.

I am going to spare Jeremy from having to choose between Wonder Woman and Jem or the female cast of the first season of Saved by the Bell.

Recently, the US held it’s Olympic trials for the track and field events.  I was in awe of both the overwhelming strength and delicate agility required of many of the athletes.  However, the hammer throw seemed to require the most of both and the precise footwork of these athletes was impressive even when not combined with their staggering strength.

So, Jeremy.

Choose between the top three finalists from the first preliminary round.  If they can utilize strength and agility on the field, imagine how much fun they could be off the field.

This year’s top qualifier in the first preliminary, Jessica Cosby, from team Nike.

Second place finisher, Loree Smith, from team New York AC.

And third place finisher, Kristal Yush, who is not on a team and is conveniently listed as “unattached”.

mft_hammer_toss

Go, Jeremy, Go.

You want me to bitch and moan like you do every time, don’t you? But I am a bigger person than you Nifer, so I am going to respond happily, and then puke in my mouth…alot.

I know nothing about any of these girls, so I’m going on these three pictures alone.  I am going to marry Kristal, for no other reason than she looks like she might be alot of fun in bed, and therefor the rest of her life as well.  I’ll fuck Jessica for two reasons – 1. she goes to UCLA and I hate the USC Trojans and 2. I like fucking winners.  So that leaves tossing Loree, which I feel bad about because she might be a great gal, but something tells me she’ll get over it pretty quickly…

I just realized, how the fuck am I supposed to toss this girl off a cliff? She can beat the shit out of me.  Am I allowed to use some chloroform first?


SHE SAID: Marry/Fuck/Toss

August 25, 2009

Historically, I have not been kind to Nifer in this game.  After seeing “Inglorious Basterds” this weekend, I decided my theme for this round I will give her the options based on a pool of my favorite male Tarantino movie characters.  As a reminder, Nifer is not selecting from the actors, but the characters themselves.  These are in no particular order: Mr. Blonde/Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs (played by Michael Marsden); Clarence Worley from True Romance (Christan Slater, back when he was still cool); and finally Lt. Aldo Rain from the Basterds (Brad Pitt, with some sweet facial hair – Mustache Ride alert)!  I realize you probably haven’t seen Basterds yet…in a nutshell Pitt plays a funny, over the top soldier who leads a team of Americans through France killing and scapling Nazi’s.  Now, I think there is plenty to like here…at least more than there was from the infamous cartoon post.

mft_guns

Nifer here.

The first selection is easy.  I’m going to marry Mr. Blonde.  I like dark guys, which he is, and he’s dapper.  How many guys can you describe as dapper!?  Plus, fantastic dancer, definitely a lot of personality.  Creative and dedicated in his work, funny, dark sense of humor … clearly this wasn’t a hard choice for me.

As for the others.  A blond from a movie I haven’t seen and a romantic …. ugh.

I’m going to toss Clarence for a few reasons.

1. Clarence is not a name I want to be screaming in the heat of the moment.  It’s not sexy and you can’t shorten it to anything.
2. He wouldn’t be able to have a one night stand.  The guy is a clinger.  No offense to the female lead in that movie, but she could have been anyone.  Insert chick here.  He was looking for someone to love obsessively … and obsessive love is never a good thing.
3. In addition to being clingy, he’s also completely off his rocker.  I’m going go out on a limb and say that’s a bad combination.

But mainly, I don’t want to ever have to say, “oh, Clarence!”

So that leaves Aldo.  Other than the fact that he looks a little old for me,  I don’t know anything about him, which is sort of fitting for the one night stand role.  But, sounds like he’s up for a good time and I can work with that.


SHE SAID: Walk of Shame

August 21, 2009

Always more embarrassing for a women.  I don’t care how dressed up you were the night before, even stumbling home in the morning fog wearing a disheveled tux with stubble is more distinguished than stumbling home in heels with a wrinkled dress and your hair only slightly reminiscent of its previous night’s splendor.  And most times, let’s figure the couple in question was at a bar, the guy is wearing something he could arguably wear in the morning … while the girl is in something that is clearly evening attire.  Eyeliner, mascara … it can get ridiculously messy.  We women give away WAY more when trying to ease our way home the next morning whether or not you snuggled, snogged, or slept with the person you spent the night with, it is assumed you spent the night grappling with the double backed beast when caught slinking home.

walk-of-shameIn college, these walks were more prevalent for most people.  Myself, I was saying my prayers at nine thirty and in bed by ten with all my homework done, but some of those ruffians I hung around with would come home the next morning.

One made it home in a shower curtain liner after leaving his fair lass’s room to use the lavatory and not remembering which room he had left once he exited the bathroom.  This necessitated some quick thinking.

One friend never found her other shoe despite panicked rummaging and her prince never sought her out.

Another was relieving himself of last night’s ingestion in a bush on his way back to his room while a prospective student tour happened upon him.

In hind sight, I wish I had planted myself somewhere on a Sunday morning where I could have taken in some of the walks of shame.  I’m a little bummed when I think of the people watching I missed out on that would have been so easy to witness.  Head down, eyes focused on the sidewalk, pace quickened…heels clicking.

And therein lies the fun.  Not getting caught.  There’s something victorious about making it back to your room without getting seen.  Not that you won’t laugh about the story with friends or brag to your buddies, but there is some key part in getting back to your room before someone sees you.

As an adult, it gets less exciting, a little more pathetic.  Getting spotted driving home early, your car seen in someone’s driveway, your parent’s drinking coffee at the breakfast table while you’re sneaking in the back door.  And no, that never happened to me.

But one time, having thought I snuck in unnoticed at an ungodly hour, I went to join my father for breakfast after grabbing a few hours of sleep.  He put the paper down as I sat to eat and said, “You looked really beautiful last night.”  Thinking this was one of those touching father-daughter moments that Hallmark attempts to construct, I thanked him.  Then he picked the paper back up and as he cracked it to make sure it wasn’t folding over and hampering his reading, he followed with, “Maybe that’s why you didn’t come home last night.”

Busted.