Thursday, February 23, 2006



So, my lovely wife and I are visiting the wonderful metropolis of Albuquerque this last weekend. And after a delicious dinner at some mexican restaurant (of which I can't quite remember the name) we headed back to the hotel (N2Deep) and, as we were pulling into the parking lot, my lovely wife noticed a billboard for the new casino just north of town--the Sandia Casino and Resort. I said, what the hell, I'm prudent with my cash. I know my limit. Let's do it. So, we drive north of town--about 5 minutes north of town and seek a parking space (which was a challenge) and begin walking upon this mega-humongous casino. The picture doesn't really capture the scope of this muddah, but here it is anyway:

We walk in and I'm completely awestruck. The ceilings disappeared. The main room filled with smoke and the sounds of heartbreak and fortune. I've only spent maybe thirty minutes in a casino before--with my lovely wife when she was my lovely girlfriend--and I blew about 20 bones on a nickle slot machine. Now, a little more comfortable financially, I don't mind paying for the experience of throwing your money into a machine, a computer (which, in case you didn't know, reduces the "chance" involved in gambling--remember, that computer has a brain). I found out what I had known from my first trip to the casinos and that is, even if there's no skill involved, I have not an ounce of luck to my name. I lost all five bones that I threw into those stupid machines. My wife continued loading them full of money, except unlike myself, she was fairing pretty well. Let me tell you though, it's amazing going into one of these places. You got the people that have one shiny nickle in their pocket and not a crumb of food on the table at home HOPING that something good comes out of that nickle. Maybe it's two more credits and then fifteen more credits, then next thing you know they're cashing out with $500 bucks. You never know. And then you got the ritzy folks--in their sweet perfumes, their handfuls of drinks, their cocky laughter as they walk by all the poor folks dropping pennies into machines. Even if they have a bad evening, their kids are going to eat well in the morning, there's gas in the car(s), there's food in the dog's bowl. It was like sensory overload. I sitting here sucking down the free Dr. Pepper's like there's no tomorrow and, who knows, if my lovely wife gets outta hand--there might not be. I'm just walking around vibing off the place--it was so electric. And, in the corner of the main room (which was actually the size of about three football fields) I heard the familiar sound of a band long from the past. It was freaking Earth Wind and Fire--playing free for the patrons. I could've just come in with nothing in my pocket and watched EWF for free. Amazing. But that's when you realize how much money these places haul in on an evening. They can pay EWF to be the house band for an evening and not think twice about frontin the cash because they're gonna make it back a hundred-fold.

Well, we ended up spending $20 and making $25 and I tell my wife it's time to go because, well firstly, I'm a frugle prude that doesn't like blowing my cash on stupid stuff and, two, we're AHEAD, man! You know what they say. And my wife has two crisp one dollar bills, she hands them to me and says, "Play 'em." And I say, "No, let's go," and she insists. Well, whatever the lovely wife wants, she gets.

I take the two dollars over to a machine called "Texas Tea"--a nickel slot.

Nickel Slot

I take both dollar bills and insert them into the little "shredder" as I refer to the dollar slot. It gives me 40 credits. I sit there and mash buttons with no rhyme or reason--just hoping I don't lose two more dollars. I get down to my last 3 credits ($.15) and I decide to double bet (2 credits) and I hit the "play" button and, whaddya know, I hit the bonus--with a nickel left to my name. It takes me to a screen where a little animated character tells me to select three oil rigs in seven different regions of Texas. Well, I'm homegrown so I select the northern panhandle (Amarillo, the Yellow), lower panhandle (Lubbock, my hometown) and the piney woods (Tyler, where I lived for two years or so) and then the oil rigs began to vibrate--spitting animated oil into the air. I racked up 150 credits ($7.50) and looked at my wife and said, "That's it, enough of this crap," cashed out and left $7.50 which went to an icy six pack of beer and an enjoyable evening back at the hotel room watching the American curling team play the Swiss. We won.

There' s a reason why guys like me aren't equipped for the casino experience. I just can't take money out of my pocket and feed it into a machine that has a clear advantage over me FOR FUN. But seeing EWF in the corner was cool...and equally sad. And the free Dr. Pepper's and hot chocolate was nice. But it'll be a while before I land my ass back in a casino. Not my scene, nah mean? Plus, I've watched Casino one too many times to feel comfortable in a place like that. I'm afraid if I push my glasses up or blow my nose, I'm gonna end up in a dark room with a guy about to jam a cattle prod up my backside. Sorry, I'll opt for Putt Putt next time.

Everyone have a good Friday. I gotta racketball game scheduled this weekend. Should be good fun. The teams are myself and Timbo and Mahan with Rory--four of the eight skiers attending the great j3 Ski Extravaganza in Wolf Creek, March 10th.

Wow,'s playing Asamov's "Supa Dynamite." This has got to be the best song of 2005 aside from Three Six Mafia's "Stay Fly." Beautiful.

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