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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ellis Island and the Anti-Gravity Ashtray

Monday - Day 10 - continued

It is really a beautiful morning to be out walking. I reflect on my surrounding, observing that fake things look really good, and the fake things in Las Vegas are the best of the fake best. Occasionally, somehow, some kind of nature crap creeps its way into the gamblescape, like a weed, literally, and ruins it for everyone.

They need to keep on top of this sort of thing a little better. For example, this should be a series of huge interlocked top of the line display screens which could then be used to show various enticing scenes of fakery, such as a fake pond with some fake ducks.


(Some of these images probably should have been with the previous post, but I literally just got these back from the Flusherville Fotomat. They were holding them until I returned my rented videocassette of "Action Jackson". It should be noted that I have not run into the Fotomat kiosk three times like everyone says - it's only twice.)

How's the serenity?
Coming out of the Linq I see a genuine Las Vegas cowpoke. He's not good at gambling, though, he's lost his shirt.

One for the people who like half-naked mens. That would not be any of the women in this photo, apparently. And pretty clearly none of the mens. It's up to you, Flushies! Like away!

As I leave Bally's and head east to Ellis Island, I marvel at the amazing blue sky. And I wonder if I will get rolled before I get to Koval. I've never done this walk before and there are a few people down on their luck to be encountered for sure.


The walk isn't too bad in the end though, and the only time I'm really on my guard is at the corner of Koval and Flamingo, where four or five people are having a sort of spring bbq picnic and sing-along, except there is no checkered blanket and no food, and there is no bbq, but there are drinks, mostly high-octane cans of whatever you can buy with donated change. There's no singing either, but there is stumbling, and swearing.

Fotomat did a great job of these prints! Look at the color! This print perfectly captures the abstract composition of this photo, with the mechanical symbolism of the High Roller starkly shown against the post-modern sky in an eternal forbidden dance symbolizing man's relationship with big fucking ferris wheels.

I envy this group and their communion and fellowship, right there on the corner, and sprint across Koval when the light finally changes.

And there it is is, I've immigrated to Ellis Islan successfully. Already, they are working on their construction! Or maybe in this case, it's 'D' struction.

Welcome to Ellis Islan!
Ellis Islan(d) is interesting - it's like three casinos in one. It's got a lot of that downtown flavor to it, with all kinds of player promotions and better paytables, it's definitely a locals casino, and there are quite a few strip visitors playing there as well, because of the better deal. The staff is down to earth and friendly, and the atmosphere is as unpretentious as a solid blue collar place should be. I feel comfortable here.

I go through the LVA coupon rigamarole and kiosk stuff and do every promo that I can except for the blackjack match play. Frankly, it doesn't go well. Surely, I don't mean that?

Once again I have planned poorly and the BBQ place isn't open. It doesn't open until four. I'm famished from the Torment Oatmeal strip walk and decide to eat anyway. I have never been at Ellis Island when the BBQ place is open. At four. Ever.

My LVA coupon gives me half off and I order a Reuben sandwich. Rueben has made better sandwiches than this one - it gets about a 5 out of 10. Live and learn. You never know when you are going to run smack dab into the Russian dressing of a decent Reuben, but it doesn't happen here. The steak-cut fries are good, though. Nice and hot.

To make steak-cut fries, its pretty simple. Take frying potatoes and cut regular sized fries out of them, except at the last second, don't, and cut a third as many fries as you were going to, making each fry three times the size of a fry. Magically, these are now related somehow to steak. I'm not really complaining, they are hella fry-licious.

For the 38th time this trip, I photograph my food before eating it. It is an odd practice, but critical to the enjoyment of this blog. Fortunately, the entire world is doing the same thing (photographing their food, not my Reuben), even though they don't have a blog. Heh, heh, suckers.

Goddamn it, where's the dressing? Where's the correctly shaped bread? Where's the dasm sauerkraut???? I'm deducting three style points, Mr. Reuben! It would have been four except for Mr. Pickle!
I eat my Reuben and man, I am salted out from the corned beef, the pickle, the fries, the condiments. My mouth is puckered four times tighter than my butt, and my butt is puckered four times tighter than that. My tongue is dry and my eyes are now just 3mm apart. I look like a prune. I get another refill of water and drink as much as I can, but mano mano!

Because I am a 'real trooper', as my Mom used to say, I disregard physical discomfort and the missing 'D' in Ellis Islan, and embark on yet another (I don't want to say epic, but maybe it fits) epic blackjack adventure.

I employ my Match Play on Profit technique - I buy in for just $20. I will win $10, then use that to bet the $10 match play. I will win, and I will have won $30 profit on that one hand alone.

It works perfectly until the moment I make my first bet out of the initial $20.  I lose four hands in a row. I skip the part of the plan where I play the match play if I have only enough left to cover it.

I buy in for another $20. Again, I employ The Technique. I actually manage to win enough to play the match play, which I lose. And then I lose the rest of my chips.

I don't know if it is the lack of Russian dressing, or the free beer, but I go a weeeeee bit on tilt. I buy in for $100, even though the people on my right, a weathered-looking Asian couple, are annoying as hell.

When I say people, I mean one person playing and one person hovering, forever taking cell calls.
The little guy playing smokes cigarettes at the rate of one every four minutes. His missus smokes at the rate of one every three minutes. It all goes in my face. I figure that 'being a trooper' and sticking it out will be good for my karma and I will win.

I lose about eight hands out of a dozen. This table is tighter than my salt-hole. But it's become a mission, and by God I will not break my blackjack winning streak even if it kills me (with second hand smoke lung cancer).

Actually, the little guy's cigarette is so close, it's first hand smoke, without the benefit of the fibreglass or whatever it is filter that the smoker gets.

I struggle on and there is a change of dealer, and they have to strip new decks. This is not something you do with sandpaper and a gallon of Rez. This is where they open however many new decks they need (six in this case), check every card, front and back, by two people, and finally shuffle hunks of the new cards in sections, and finally put it all together into (yet another) losing shoe for me.

Fortunately, a spot opens up at the only other table available, and smoker-boi takes his nicotine craving over there.

Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad person. He just smokes badly.

I take the time out and the new dealer and I hit it off. We have 'something in common' - we are both at the same table.

It turns around for me, and I start to hold my own. Slowly, slowly, I claw along.

I look over at the other table and see what ranks up amongst the stupider things I've seen. Some people believe in fate. Some believe in Buddha. Some believe the Leafs will win the cup this century.

Little smoker-boi's partner believes that she has an anti-gravity ash tray.

Here's the scene. Smoker-boi is wound up tight, and has three ashtrays and four cigarettes going in front of him - practically. Smoker-boi's missus flits around, taking a 12 second cell call every 30 seconds. Smoker-boi's jacket, and another jacket, and a hoodie, are all draped over the back of his official Ellis Islan blackjack stool. The hoodie hood juts out a bit and Smoker-boi missus has decided that this is the perfect perch for her anti-gravity ashtray.

With her lit cigarette in it.

Because it couldn't possibly fall from sitting on top of a dirty jersey hoodie hood, now could it. No it could not. It is an anti-gravity ashtray.

I point the scene out to the dealer and say, "This is going to end badly."

It becomes a circus. Smoker-boi moves, and the hoodie shifts and the ashtray tips - and the missus just barely grabs it. Then, not one to 'catch on' quickly, not up on the fact that 'cotton burns' or 'fire is bad', she puts the ashtray right back atop the soft floppy hoodie hood.

Either the ashtray is going to fall, or the lit cigarette is going into hubby's clothes while she is taking yet another yammering cell call.

We bet, we deal, we hit, we stand, and we watch the anti-gravity ashtray. It takes a little longer than I thought it would but sure enough, the ashtray hits the ground, sparks fly, and there is much flapping of arms and attempts to put out smoldering hoodies.

This buoys me. My game improves, I either take more cards, or don't take cards with laser-like focus and I claw my way back.

And I'm even! Do I quit? No way! It takes another half hour but I finish up $20 on the session. That's $10 an hour, free beer and nicotine, and a fireworks show. Not bad.


It's time to walk back to T.I. I have a date with a shower and plans for a nap. And this evening, who knows?



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