Sunday, February 8, 2009

Voodoo Cabbage

I have hated you,
Since the dawn,
And I won’t rest,
Until you’re gone.

Slimy and vile,
Unnatural and shrill,
Too small in size,
For so much chlorophyll.

Smelling you cook,
Makes my stomach turn,
Brought to a boil,
I wish you’d burn.

Mere thought of you,
Causes a reflex gag,
Cooking there,
In your little bag.

How could I eat,
Something like you,
A head of cabbage,
Shrunken by voodoo.

I might put a lid on,
Never let you out,
Shrivel up and die,
Tiny brussels sprout.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Casino Century Club

My butt sinks into the foot-thick foam padding, I put my money into the machine, peruse the pay table, locate the inviting “max bet” button, one push and....Oh so close, I was a half cherry away from that mythical “progressive”. Maybe, just maybe it was just one push away, of course I will never know until I push it again.....and again.....and again. Wait a minute though, everyone else seems to be winning around me, another siren, riches are surely just minutes away. Alright, I know I said only 20 bucks, but come on, I’ve sunk this much into this machine, and it has to pay out soon, right....RIGHT?
For all those who have had a similar experience, the following experiment is for you. After a particularly unlucky trip to the local casino, I decided I had to rethink my gambling strategies. Is sinking money into one machine better than playing lots of different ones? Lord knows I’ve tried both, with mixed results. After a restless sleep and many casino tainted dreams, I woke up the next morning knowing exactly what I had to do.
My plan is to take a crisp $100 and play exactly 100 different machines. No matter what happens, I would not spend more than $1 at any machine. This goes against every bit of gambling logic I’ve heard through the years. It will absolutely be the least “green” thing I’ve done in some time (100 machines means 100 little pieces of paper) Some friends found the idea inspired, some thought it ridiculous, I’ll let you, the reader, be the judge:

#1 (7:45ish) Hot Red Ruby: A $100 bill goes in, a slip of paper with $99.00 written on it comes out, not the start I had hoped for, but comforting to know I have 99 more machines to go
#8 Five Times Gold: True to its name, I spent $1 and won exactly $4! My first win of the night feels amazing, I leave this machine feeling like I can do anything, maybe even win millions, I am the most delusional loser of three dollars in history.
#12 777 Blazing: Time to take a break, I’m still feeling a little light headed from machine #8, or is it the fact I have sat down and gotten back up a total of 12 times in the last 20 minutes, either way, time for a beer. ($92)
#18 Frog Princess: I’ve just spent $1 and received 30 cents in return. Did I just lose 70 cents? I chose not to look at it that way, I have won 30 cents and you can’t convince me otherwise.
#21 Total Meltdown: The wins are starting to pile up ($1.50). Someone around me just won big. Slots are like the guy next to you ordering fajitas, and I am drawn to them. I want to go to there.
#25 (8:45) Beer, Bait & Ammo: Couldn’t have thought of a better machine to lose too going into the break. After 25 machines, I’m at a cool $82.60. I’ve thought I was one push away about 22 times thus far; this is harder that it may seem.
#39 Cool Catz: I ran into a friend during the first quarter break and he recommended this machine. Thank you Will, first double digit win of the night $10.20. I can do anything; I might levitate to the next machine, if it pleases me.
# 45 Jackpot Express: winner, winner, chicken dinner ($2.00)
#50 Diamond Fever: Halftime is here and I’m at $80!! Some said I would only leave with $20-$30 after the whole evening! I ran into a weird batch of machines (they keep spitting out these tickets that can’t be used, only cashed), I'm having to back and forth to the cashier. After telling one particularly impressed cashier about my brilliant plan, he asks, “Why? What are you trying to figure out?” Indeed, I have stumbled upon their secret. They are scared.
#61 Mr. Money Bags: I have finally run out of new machines, this is the first repeat title, but it also coincides with a $4.00 windfall. I should have tried this earlier.
#75 (11:20) Star Spangled Sevens: the end of the third quarter and I am getting tired. Not coincidently I’ve dwindled down to $67. It has already taken more time then expected, I need something good to happen and quick!
#76 Hot Red Ruby: JACKPOT! A $44 dollar win and I am reborn! The pit boss will surely be here soon, I think about employing a body guard. I see assassins around every machine, I’m being watched.
#94 Gold Standard: a win! I have reached the edge of the desert; finally, my thirst is quenched! ($.50)
#100 Wheel of Fortune (11:45): The end has come. After playing exactly 100 machines I have won exactly $88.91. I firmly believe that I am the smartest man in the world. I cannot stop grinning. This is the best I’ve ever felt leaving the casino.

So what do you think? After 4 hours and $11.09 spent; I’m left with more questions than answers. I know for a fact that it is REALLY hard to leave a machine after one pull. I know for a fact that my date was bored out of her mind (I cannot thank her enough for the brilliant note-taking and encouragement, thank you Cyndi!). But do I know whether it is better to play a lot of different machines or just one? I think that question will have to remain unanswered.........FOR NOW!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Res(v)olution

I’ve been reading a book the past couple of weeks entitled A Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. In the book, a 30ish white guy from New York attempts to live a whole year by every strict rule found in the Bible. While not meant to be secular or religious, it is a fairly enlightening journey into both the Bible’s beautiful and/or insane declarations. One of the commandments Jacobs finds the most difficult to obey is the one against coveting:

Deuteronomy 5:21:
Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Interestingly enough, while reading this book I started to look at the things I covet and how much pain disobeying this commandment has caused me. I believe my whole life (well, maybe not so much through years 0-5) I have had a severe problem with coveting. I definitely believe my adult life has been one gigantic coveting party. I want everything anyone else has; and have an inability to appreciate anything about my own life. I am jealous of how much money you make, how hot your girlfriend/wife is, how much you can drink, how many slaves you have, your ox and your donkey. I believe that perhaps if I can stop the bleeding from my giant coveting aorta, then maybe I can live a happy and contented life.

I therefore have made a New Year’s Resolution to control my coveting. I would say to eliminate it, but failing at that sort of cold turkey approach would only make me jealous of people that actually can quit like that. Therefore I resolve:

To be free of the consumerist wantonness that leads to me getting into debt,

To be free of desiring all sorts of single or taken women,

To be free of wanting my cake and eating it too,

To finally be free of all types of jealous and general coveting activities.

In the past few days I have tried to cut down on my coveting and I have to say that although it is hard, it really isn’t quite as difficult as I though it would be. Of course it has only been a few days, but there is something about denying your urges that gives you a sort of moral high. We will see how this goes, but hey, doesn’t hurt to try right? I’m not even jealous that someone else tried this before me and wrote a book about it, not even a little bit...ish. See, it's working all ready! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Prayer for the Lost

Grant me Your peace O Lord, for without Your love, I am forever at war.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nugget King Family Palace

I see you there,
Making my mouth wet,
Waiting in the buffet,
Fried corn nugget.

How far you’ve come,
Since your pilgrim feast,
Now dipped in oil by,
People from the east.

Savory creamed corn,
Wrapped in pure heaven,
Frozen for solidarity,
Cooked to perfection.

I slide past the rice,
Ignore the orange glaze,
Only to fill my plate,
With gold-breaded maize.

No need for soy,
Or mysterious MSG,
Nothing but corn,
To make me happy.

The dinner buffet price,
Seems sort of low,
When my pockets are filled,
With nuggets to go!

Monday, October 13, 2008

An open letter

Dear George,

I was trying to hold off writing this letter until the anniversary of your death, but I feel it can wait no longer. For the first time since you got sick, I cried tonight. I have been nothing but numb since those days a little over a year ago. I feel nothing but guilt over it. I should have shown you in those final days how much I cared for you and how much you meant to my life. For some reason I couldn’t, I don’t know why, I have no excuse.

Since then I have been unable to conjure up any kind of emotion for anything. I feel like I have been incapable of loving anyone, including myself. I am completely eaten up with guilt for being such a bad son to you. I know a lot of people (including you) would take this opportunity to disagree with me. I know in my heart that it is true. I know in my heart that I never gave near enough back to you for everything you did for me. I know in my heart that I continue to not give enough back to my mother, your beautiful wife.

I was supposed to be there that night; I was supposed to come the measly mile to see you in the hospital. Regardless of the fact that you were coming home the next night. You were in the hospital and I should have been there, there is no good enough reason in the world for me not being there. I know there is no way for me to know that I would never see you again, but I knew damn well that the days were drawing near. You would have never gone a day without seeing me if the situation was reversed.

I don’t know why I’m such an asshole. You did not raise me that way. You are the man that five days before you died, text messaged me to say happy birthday. I would give anything for those last days back. I know you are in a much better place now and I would say that I will see you again, but if heaven is a place for people like you, then I’m not sure I have any business there.

For a man that never wanted children, you became the best father any child could have asked for. You were a truly amazing man. I’m sorry I was not there for you when you needed an amazing son, you deserved it. My niece and two nephews are so lucky that they had an amazing grandfather. If I someday have children, I promise that they will know their grandfather too, if only in words and pictures. I can only hope to be half the father you were, with twice the son you had.

I love you George, I can’t now remember if I ever told you that. Yet another of my failures in an embarrassingly long line of them. Please forgive me, maybe if I can believe that you have, I can find some peace. Please thank God for me, he finally allowed me to cry tonight.

Your loving son,


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Down here at the Pawn Shop....

Some people have called me an "English snob"; I don't believe I agree with them. I think that when amongst friends and family, strict language rules can be relaxed. I do believe however, that using correct English is the key to effective communication in our society.

While working at the pawn shop today, a man asked me "Ya'll ain't got no fifteens?". I immediately started analyzing what he was attempting to say. My question to you is this, exactly how many grammatical errors are in that one sentence? I counted at least four:

1) "ain't" - common slang for common idiots. Sometimes when people say this I like to ask them "Exactly what two words are you trying to contract?". This inevitably leads to a frustrated look and under-the-breath insults, which is alright with me. If I could hear what they had said, I would probably have more terrible English to translate, this sort of thing could snowball out of control.

2) "got" - is he asking me where I "got" something or whether I "have" something? My best guess is that he has no idea what he is asking for, he is just pretty sure I don't have "got" it.

3) "no" - another common mistake for common idiots. The word he is looking for is "any", although I suppose his crusade to find "dope" stereo equipment has left him too fatigued for such an exhaustive search for the correct words to use.

4) "ain't + no" - used in conjunction, I believe they form a double negative. That would mean he actually thinks I do have the item he seeks. Now this is the one I'm confused about, because since "ain't" is not a word, then I guess I am just assuming that it is the first negative. You know what they say about assumptions....

Now some might say a fifth error exists. "Ya'll" is very ugly English no matter what, but I believe that if it is actually spelled "y'all" then it is a valid contraction. Since I could not "see" the words he was using and how he would spell them, he gets a pass.

I love my job(s)!

Prologue: At the moment he asked me the question above, I had 6 shotguns and 2 rifles to my left, 6 semi-automatic pistols to my right, I'm just saying....