June 24th, 2002


Atlantic City Higlights

As some of you may or may not know, I have absolutely no grasp whatsoever of basic arithmetic. What some could look at and without thinking add or multiply, takes me genuine thought and concentration. If only I had been born about ten years later, this quirk of mine would have probably been rewarded with prescription drugs. There is no better place to showcase this "different-ability" of mine than in Atlantic City. While I love to play Blackjack, for example, I tend to get confused if my hand consists of too many number cards. So I will sit and stare at my 7, 6, 4, 2 hand trying frantically to pair the numbers into easily addable groups while the dealer points at me demanding to know whether or not I want a hit. the more attentive ones will catch on that I can't add for shit and announce my counts to me. Interesting side story: this is how I revealed to my dealer in Amsterdam that I was American. From the beginning of the game I hadn't spoken at all, then a complicated hand came up and while I fumbled with the math, the dealer asked for my decision in Dutch. In the pressure of the moment, I blurted out, "gimme a second", to which he replied, "oh, English? You have 17."

While this weekend was no exception, and Tom, the walking-undead Multi-Action Blackjack dealer was very forgiving of them, my anti-math skillz showed themselves at the video poker game as well. My brother and I were playing Double-Down Video Poker, which allows you to play Hi/Lo if you win a hand to double your winnings, and to double again if you choose. I was playing the poker part of the game very well, but kept losing my money getting greedy on Hi/Lo. I had just lost my previous winnings trying to double my 8 into 16 quarters when I pulled a hand with two jacks and a joker. Held the three of a kind, pressed the deal button, then turned to consult my brother on his hand. My machine starts ringing and hemorrhaging quarters. I had pulled two more jacks: 5 of a kind. The payout for this was 400 quarters. I show my brother, he excitedly congratulates me and I was pretty happy too, but was still trying to figure out how much money I had just one. Okay, 25 cents...400 quarters, 40 divided by 25 is 1...carry 15...

I gave up and asked Mike, "so, this is like what, 17, 18 bucks?" No, he informs me, it was a hundred. I grew more appropriately excited, leaned back, smoked a cigarette and stared at my five jacks. To answer your question, no, this does not mean that I returned from Atlantic City this weekend $100 richer. This just allowed me $100 more to play with. I came out down, but not down much more than I would have spent on a busy weekend at home, so as far as I'm concerned, I didn't lose. I do want to figure out how to win though. I hear stories of people going gambling and returning with more money than they started with. I would like for that to happen.

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    happy happy

Jersey Fresh

Another super-duper-bonus of going to Atlantic City this weekend was that on the way home, we were able to stop at a farmer's market and pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables. I spent about $20 and got two of the biggest, fattest, reddest tomatoes I have ever seen, perfectly dark and soft plums, a ton of big fat green grapes, 3 gigantic cucumbers, a canteloupe so fresh and fragrant it's freshened my entire kitchen, and string beans the way my grandmother used to bring them to us from her farm, with huge beans bulging out of the casings and that lightly fuzzy texture that goes away after they're handled too much. I even got a jar candle that was made locally that smells like pears.

All this *and* a grilled cheese to go with my black and white Cowtown milkshake.
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    hungry hungry