Twin tales of betrayal
When my girlfriend Jill and I walk places together, I almost always walk on her right side. That’s just how it is for us. I don’t know how our sidewalk protocol came to be that way, but we mostly stick to it and it feels awkward when we don’t.
Circumstance occasionally demands that we thin into a single file or switch sides. As creatures of habit, such a changeover occasionally leads to one of us turning to say something only to find the other absent. Once, this happened:
Jill and I were walking down Putnam Street in Saratoga Springs discussing whether the trees blossoming around us were the pear trees reputed to smell like semen. She stopped to sniff a branch, and then that happened. I made fun of her for weeks afterward.
On Sunday, Jill and I were walking my brother and friend through Atlantic Terminal, which was very crowded. I wondered aloud where we should go next. Jill, surveying the nearby businesses, replied jokingly from somewhere behind me: “How about Men’s Wearhouse?”. I smiled, spun to my left, leaned really close and— in my best George Zimmer voice— rasped “Ya gonna like the way ya look”… to some strange old lady, who promptly shuffled away looking perplexed while I collapsed to the floor in embarrassment.
So, I guess we’re tied.
3:57 pm • 25 November 2013 • 2 notes
I explain the @Horse_ebooks story to my mom
A conversation on iChat, beginning at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2013 (netw3rk’s idea, I should mention):
a weird thing happened on the internet today and i was thinking it’d be fun to try and explain it to you and publish our conversation
would you be willing to participate?
it is lunch time
have a go
first remind me the degree to which you understand what twitter is
ah…it is a form of communicATION IN WHICH THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CHARACATERS in a post is limited
why are you shouting
my dead pinky slipped
and I was too lazy to retype
and one can choose to follow the tweets produced by a given tweeter
or search subjects of interest
more or less correct?
yeah, more or less
so if you have a twitter account, you follow other accounts, and all the stuff those accounts say merges into one constantly updating feed
a continually renewed stream of waste
for the most part
but one could follow news organizations, or people they find entertaining, or whatever
as with anything on the internet, there is twitter spam
i don’t personally understand quite how this works, but there are accounts that are almost totally autonomous and tweet random bullshit at you sometimes
or not necessarily at you. sometimes they just broadcast random bullshit, often loosely resembling ad copy
in the same sort of garbled english you’d see in a spam email
rather like the ubiquitous viagra emails?
now, sometimes people discover that these robo-spammy accounts are kind of charming in their own way
because the auto-generated mush is strangely poetic
I suppose that could be though it seems unlikely
well, one account in particular had this quality
it’s called Horse_ebooks
and its twitter avatar thing is a horse
and it updates every once in a while with stuff like:
what is a twitter avatar
just a picture
associated with the account
like your little rose picture on your ichat account
ok got it
so horse_ebooks tweets stuff like:
How many times have you wished you were strong enough to concentrate your mind,
AND BURNED BY UNSCRUPULOUS BUSINESSES MORE TIMES
interspersed with weird ad links
and even though it is apparently a robot spitting out mashed up bits of copy it found on the internet, it gained a lot of followers
because it has an eerie poetic quality
I am unmoved by the poetry
your roses. Realize that rain water
I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got I ve got to me. I ve got I ve got I ve
are you reproducing their stream or have you been clubbed senseless?
copying and pasting tweets
213,000 people follow that account
I am often puzzled by popular tastes
well, it’s sort of an ironic thing, but i can see the charm
There are so many beautiful things in the world produced with skill and effort
it’s interesting, in theory, to see what randomly generated text looks like, even though the origin and construciton of this text wasn’t really consistent
WELL on that note
why would anyone intentionally monitor a nonsense strem?
i guess because it’s funny
but to your previous point:
it came out today, in a new yorker story by susan orlean of all people
that at some point in 2011, a human actually took over that account
so she reported that two people, i think
one of them a buzzfeed employee
actually took over that account somehow in 2011
and have been writing what appear to be randomly generated robo messages
and now intentionally produce nonsense that is supposed to look like random content?
with occasional ad links to maintain apparent authenticity
weird internet art project
but people on the internet are very disappointed to learn it was a person
it sounds like it started as a real robot, but then it got popular and someone found a way to get access, i guess by talking to whoever set it up in the first place
which was apparently some guy in russia
I can’t begin to imagine why 1) anyone was interested in the first place
2) why anyone then made the effort to subvert the process
3) why anyone cares now
but then I am perennially out of step with the rest of the universe
well, you followed the explanation, which is probably more than could be said of the average momlady
It s clear to me that I am not an average momlady
you are an exceptional momlady
but seriously i’d rather watch paint dry then read a nonsense stream looking for bits of sense
12:35 pm • 24 September 2013 • 635 notes
An ode to Domingo on his first birthday
It is not actually Domingo’s birthday. It’s not even the exact one-year anniversary of his adoption into my family, though that is the occasion spurring this post. My girlfriend and I found Domingo at Benson’s Pet Center in Clifton Park, NY on August 26, 2012. We chose him from a glassed-in display of about a dozen parakeets because, in the minutes we spent staring at the group, he distinguished himself as a cheeky individual— nipping at his companions, then flying off with a mischievous chatter. We admired his verve. Based on the stripiness of his head (the bars recede as a male parakeet ages, like reverse tree rings), we figured him to be about four months old. I can’t find his “birth certificate” (the receipt), but I think he cost $19.99.
That trip to Clifton Park was rather rushed considering how reluctant I’d once been to get a pet bird. My paradigm for domestic avian behavior was Chizzy, the African Grey who loomed in the corner of my grandparents’ house throughout my childhood. Chizzy was a gifted imitator, especially in ways that incited chaos. He tormented my severely deaf grandpa with pitch-perfect renditions of the ringing telephone, drove the dogs into frenzies by summoning them in my grandpa’s voice, and called my brother and I “no-good punks” whenever we visited (that one he also picked up from my grandpa, who used the term lovingly, I think). Mostly, he screeched and strutted and made weird, wet poops on the newspapered floor of his cage. To a young me, Chizzy was fascinating in a discomfiting sort of way. I could only tolerate his company for short periods of time.
So, I wasn’t super into the notion of living with a bird, but my girlfriend chipped away at my conditioning with well-supported counters to each qualm. Chizzy was big and scary; parakeets are small and cute. Chizzy was loud and obnoxious; parakeets make mostly little, twittering noises and are relatively inoffensive even at their loudest. Parakeets are cheap to buy and cheap to keep alive. Their poops are small and mostly solid. They can be left alone for a couple days if need be. Parakeets are superior company to larger parrots in every way, with the exceptions being that they are dumber, less interesting, less talented vocally, and shorter-living. After she showed me some internet support for her claims and a couple lovely videos of the parakeet she grew up with (and mentioned that we could take that parakeet’s old cage), I relented, agreeing to welcome a parakeet into our home as long as she was the one responsible for its upkeep. By the time we’d returned from a vacation with my family, I’d absorbed enough of her excitement that we made a beeline to the pet store right after driving several hours back to our apartment.
All of that was a needlessly long preamble for what I mean to say, which is that Domingo is wonderful company and I can no longer imagine living without him. As someone who works mostly alone and mostly at home, I really treasure his presence in a way I never expected. Here, now, is what this post was supposed to be: A summary of Domingo’s charming qualities, many of which I understand to be universal bird/parakeet things.
Domingo can fly.
You can clip birds’ wings so the best they can do is flutter from one perch to another, but we didn’t, mostly because doing so would have required effort and/or money. Domingo has been able to fly since the moment we got him. For a while, he mostly didn’t. He only flew: 1. Back to his cage if we took him out of it. 2. To a hard-to-reach spot on the molding above the front door of our old apartment, where he’d cower and peck at the paint until someone climbed up to fetch him. Every once in a while, Domingo would do something a bit more elaborate, like take a quick lap around our apartment before settling in his cage. Never anything longer than a few seconds.
Domingo’s more advanced forays into flight began late one night in that old apartment. We’d taken to leaving his cage open when we were home in hopes that he’d explore a bit. The girlfriend and I were watching TV in the dark when, out of the blue, Domingo launched. Mouths agape, we watched him zoom around the apartment like a little chirruping jet fighter. He banked to avoid cabinet doors, ducked low to make tight loops around chairs, coasted the length of the room a few times, then buzzed right over our heads back into his cage, where he landed to pant himself to sleep after what must have been 30 or 40 seconds in the air. It was as if a baby just learning to crawl had suddenly sprung onto its feet and danced a few pirouettes around the room. I felt like crying, really.
These days (and in a new apartment), that’s pretty normal. When we’re home, Domingo’s cage is open, and he uses that freedom to take occasional leisure flights. Usually, he returns to his cage or lands on an occupant’s head/shoulder/laptop/toe if I’m laying down with my feet up. Sometimes he lands elsewhere in the apartment, a phenomenon that’s reconfigured my sense of the topography of my home. I hadn’t noticed how many branch-like surfaces there were in my surroundings until watching Domingo alight on the upper rail of a chair, or a picture frame, or the top of the TV.
He’s a fantastic little pilot.
Domingo is friends with his toys.
Even with the freedom to roam, Domingo spends most of his time in or atop his cage. He eats, drinks, and sleeps in there, but mostly he plays with his toys. He fucking loves those toys. There are bells, rings, and spinny-things hanging from the bars of the cage, and Domingo treats all of them as dear friends. He scampers sidelong from one to the next, pecking and gnawing at them, leaning to grab and pull them with his dumb little feet, and sidling up close to the shiny ones to conspire in hushed cheeps. That last part is some weird bonding behavior wherein he sees his reflection and treats it as if it were another bird. He bobs his head to show off and occasionally goes so far as to regurgitate a seed for his buddy the bell. He also wears it like a hat sometimes.
On top of Domingo’s cage are some plastic cat toys, a little parakeet figurine, and my old Blackberry. He likes throwing those things onto the floor, often celebrating the clamor with a noisy airborne jaunt.
Domingo jumps when he’s startled.
Straight up in the air, sometimes with a single flap of his wings. It’s hilarious.
Domingo is a hype man.
Domingo spends much of his day cheeping and chattering, but he’s not very conversational. If you look at him and speak to him, he won’t respond. He’ll just turn his head to stare at you with one eye. If you’re talking around him, though, he lights up. He sings background vocals to inter-person conversations and issues a response to any abrupt utterance. Like, he makes a little cheep every time my computer makes the new email sound and he warbles a bit every time I burp, but even better, if I say “shut up!” or “no!” or “yes!” or “tractors!” or anything exclamatory, he’ll follow with a “woo!” or “wee!” or a tiny fart noise. He’s a constant font of affirmation. It feels great. Exactly like having my own hype man, only very tiny and cute.
Domingo eats when we eat.
When my girlfriend and I sit down to eat a meal, Domingo hops onto his food cup and starts munching seeds. Almost always. It’s the darnedest thing.
Domingo sleeps like a bird.
I was always (and still am) tickled by the way my childhood dogs just knew to do dog things. My brown dog spins in a circle before she settles down to rest and sprawls out in patches of sunlight. My black dog chases her tail. They bury bones in the backyard. Just tons of stereotypical dog behavior without ever having consulted a dog manual, at least to my knowledge.
I take the same pleasure in watching Domingo sleep exactly how I imagined birds should sleep. Just like a cartoon bird would, he tucks one foot into his tummy feathers, balances on the other foot, and dozes off with his head under his wing. He even mutters in his sleep sometimes.
While we’re at it: Domingo does some dog stuff. He uses his foot to scratch his head with the same rapid kicking motion a dog employs. I imagine he’d grin a satisfied grin if he had the lips to do so. He also stretches his legs exactly like my dogs do. And he eats poop sometimes. Bird poop.
Domingo is passionate about hygiene.
This is sort of a dog thing, too, although no matter how much my dogs groom themselves, they still smell like shit. Domingo doesn’t. He’s never dirty and he never smells. This is because he spends hours of every day preening. He uses his beak to dig and pull and arrange his feathers, settling everything with an occasional full-body shake. It’s a fastidious, vigorous process, and it always leaves him looking impossibly fresh.
Sometimes we fill the lid of a take-out container with water and place it on the cage so Domingo can bathe. He knows exactly what to do, leaning each way to dip his wings into the water and using his beak to flick droplets onto his back.
Domingo loves technology.
I mentioned Domingo’s tendency to perch on laptops, but I didn’t mention his love of scampering around laptop keyboards, pecking between the keys for crumbs and occasionally typing a letter or two. The boy’s also fascinated with phone screens. He’ll fly over, perch on my iPhone, and bend over to peck at it while I’m trying to do something. Sometimes, he’ll play with it when it’s just sitting on a table. The touch screen responds to his feet and tongue, which occasionally causes trouble. He has typed (but not sent) text messages, initiated phone calls and FaceTimes with people in my contact list, and come a single click away from purchasing a ticket to Despicable Me 2.
Domingo hatched from an egg about a year and a half ago. He’s spent just over a year of that time living with me. For most of my life, I couldn’t imagine wanting the company of a bird. Now I feel lonesome without it. Domingo is two inches tall, dumb as a rock, and weird as hell, and I love him.
3:24 pm • 13 September 2013 • 2 notes
Twitter’s consensus Hershey’s Miniatures rankings
Today, after a small kerfuffle in my household over some suspected trail-mix-picking, I posted this tweet denouncing those who dare violate the carefully proportioned heterogeneity of a well-made trail mix. This goes for all food “mixes” sampled in plural— trail mix, Chex mix, fruit salad, etc. If the mix is available to a group, then it’s unfair for any member of the group to intentionally select for his or her favorite items. You can aim your scoop toward asset-rich regions, but you must scoop. No picking. Those who pick should be shot with guns until they die.
My trail mix tweet got esteemed Twitter friend Bill Barnwell thinking about Hershey’s Miniatures. That’s a slightly different matter— small candy bars are often eaten one at a time— but still, digging for your favorite bar is as reprehensible as mix-picking. Anyway, Bill and I discussed our Hershey’s Miniature rankings, which led us to poll Twitter. Much like the Great Starburst Twitter Poll of 2011, the response was as impassioned as it was varied. Mr. Goodbar in particular proved divisive.
Here are the final rankings (only of the big four, excluding occasional guest Cookies ‘n’ Creme because that is indisputably the greatest) from a sample of 23 people, with 4 points awarded for a first-place vote down to 1 point for a fourth-place vote:
1. Krackel (76 points)
2. Mr. Goodbar (62)
3. Special Dark Chocolate (50)
4. Milk Chocolate (42)
My rankings are: 1. Mr. Goodbar 2. Krackel 3. Special Dark 4. Milk, with the logic being peanuts (even stale peanuts, which people kept complaining about but GROW UP STALE PEANUTS ARE GREAT) > crispy rice stuff, fixins > no fixins, and dark chocolate > milk chocolate.
I can update the above if there is another wave of responses, but for now these are the consensus Hershey’s Miniature Rankings. They are unassailable.
7:48 pm • 20 August 2013 • 2 notes
An incomplete history of people naming animals after Mephistopheles
ZooBorns had something today about a Southern Pudu fawn at the Chester Zoo in England. It’s very cute, and it got me reading about Pudu. In doing so, I noticed for the first time that the Northern Pudu (Northern and Southern are the only two representatives of the genus Pudu) goes by the scientific name Pudu mephistophiles. The Northern species is even teensier than the Southern, making it the smallest deer on Earth. It seems less understood, too (yet also less endangered). Though males of both species sprout curvy little antlers, Juan Ignacio Molina gave the Southerners a relatively generic scientific name in 1782 (P. puda; sometimes P. pudu), simply repeating John Edward Gray's designation of Mapundugun origin. When William Edward de Winton (I think) went to name the Northern species over 100 years later, he was, it seems, fixated on those horny little antlers, which I guess reminded him of Mephistopheles, the devil figure from the legend of Faust. That must be it, right? What other characteristic of the tiniest, cutest deer on the planet could possibly strike someone as demonic?
Anyway, I like when taxonomists get referential, so I did my best to find some other species whose scientific names allude to Mephistopheles. Dude’s name gets spelled all different ways, so it took a little digging to be even somewhat thorough. I got a decent list of names by searching “mephisto” on THE ITIS.
The internet wasn’t much help in figuring out why a bunch of bee species of different genera have references to Mephistopheles in their scientific names, nor can I find any photos of any of those species. The same goes for this copepod friend and for the spider Amaurobius mephisto, though that guy is in the suborder Araneomorphae, which means it has fangs, which makes some sense vis-à-vis Satan.
Another one of those unsatisfying results is the spikefish Mephisto fraserbrunneri, the only member of that demonically titled genus. Spikefish often have horny-looking fins, though, and that guy is said to live up to 291 meters deep (which sounds pretty deep to me), so one can guess what James Chase Tyler was thinking. As far as I can tell, Tyler was responsible for naming both the genus— after the devil— and that sole species…after a famous ichthyologist. Mixed message there.
Moving on to research that actually produced results, a nematode discovered a couple years ago in South African gold mines proved to be the deepest-dwelling animal ever found.
Scientists called their new discovery the “devil worm”— Halicephalobus mephisto— because, ya know, it lives in the underworld and can withstand extreme heat. (Of note here: Wikipedia cites one of several proposed translations of the name “Mephistopheles” that traces it back to the Greek meaning “not loving the light”). That’s a good one.
Another good one, and the only other Mephistopholean mammal I can find: The extinct Short-horned Water buffalo, Bubalus mephistopheles (Yes, water buffalo are in the genus Bubalus. One familiar domestic subspecies is Bubalus bubalis bubalis!).
That guy was named as a fossil by Arthur T. Hopwood in 1925, presumably by the same logic that got the Northern Pudu its name— some taxonomists see those little horns and, no matter how cute or gentle the beast, immediately think of the devil.
And that’s pretty much the extent of what I’ve found. I just ordered a book explaining the scientific names of mammals, so perhaps I’ll be able to follow up at some point.
4:17 pm • 18 August 2013
Excerpt from The Authentic Animal by Dave Madden (which is excellent. It’s about taxidermy.):
The swamp booger is the answer to the question, What are we supposed to do with all these posterior deer hides? You take the ass skin of a deer, turn it upside down so the tail hangs to the floor, secure some glass eyes near the top, and fix an artificial bobcat jaw right where the anus used to be. Et voila!
Basically, people so regularly mount the foreparts of deer that there exists a surplus of orphaned deer hind parts. Sick, inventive taxidermists realized they could pawn these deer asses off on collectors by fashioning said deer asses into spooky faces. Would you like to see what that looks like?
This is what that looks like:
(I should have waited to let you answer my question, because in retrospect, the answer should have been “no”, right?)
Swamp boogers vary— some get fitted with snoutier noses, and people choose a wide variety of anus-mouths— but they are uniformly terrifying.
If you’d like a swamp booger, please check out SwampBoogers.com, where— along with the forms necessary to custom-order your own new wall friend— you’ll find photos like this:
…and sentences like these:
I SPECIALIZE IN HIGH QUALITY MOUNTS. ONLY THE BEST QUALITY MATERIALS ARE USED HERE.MY FAVORITE TO MOUNT IS THE SWAMP BOOGER.
Swamp Boogers are actually natives of South Carolina, the swamps in the lower part of the state are perfect habitat for them.
These animals are very shy and only move in the cover of darkness. Sightings are so rare that most people have never seen one and actually regard them as a myth. In in 2003 a team of scientist stumbled into a small colony of them in the middle of the Sumter National Forest. They are now protected by Federal Law
While we’re on the topic of The Authentic Animal and novelty taxidermy, I should inform you that the town of Douglas, WY (home of the jackalope) issues “jackalope hunting licenses” every year. Mmhmm.
Anyway, good book. Highly recommended.
1:43 pm • 15 August 2013
Could we as a world agree that anyone can tell anyone— no matter relation nor circumstance, and as tactfully as possible— if they’ve got shit in their teeth or some schmutz on their face? I think of it as a limb of The Golden Rule. Who wouldn’t want to know?
11:46 pm • 12 August 2013
The bear eats fruits and drinks fruit juice, then he shits out Haribo Juicy Gold-Bears. For this, I thank him. Thank you, the bear.
Update: The bear could be a girl.
2:32 pm • 7 August 2013 • 1 note
Bride of the seafarer
I happened upon this video yesterday:
It is perplexing. Here’s what I’ve figured out about it:
1. This is the Puri district of Odisha, India. (That was in the video description).
2. It is tradition in the Puri district to collect “rain bugs”— or, locally, beer bahuti— when they emerge during monsoon season.
3. “Rain bugs” are adult Giant Indian Velvet Mites: Trombidium grandissimum. The larvae of the species are insect parasites not unlike the more familiar “chiggers”. The adults are those plump, fuzzy friends seen in the video. In India, these guys are prized for their use in medicine. Oil extracted from the bugs has been used traditionally to treat paralysis, while whole individuals are chewed as a sort of “Indian Viagra”. While I don’t know about those specific applications, that anti-fungal oil has indeed been shown to be an effective immunomodulator.
4. The “Indian Viagra” thing is for real, whether or not it’s valid.
5. It looks like you’re supposed to dry them out before ingesting them, but this guy didn’t have time for that shit.
6. I think the language being spoken in the video is Oriya. If anyone can understand what’s being said, I’d love to know why the bugs get to go on a swing, why the kids get to go on the swing, and why everybody is dancing. My instinct is to approve strongly of all of the above, but I’d like a more complete understanding. Cursory research of the region and the bugs and stuff hasn’t turned up a particular holiday or anything concerning beer bahuti, but collecting them is clearly a cause for celebration.
Here's a good giant red velvet mite resource. Here's another, including that the bug is also called “Bride of the Seafarer”, which is what the Oriya term sadhaba bohu apparently means.
This has been “Seth Tries To Figure Out What The Fuck Is Going On In A YouTube Video”.
3:36 pm • 2 August 2013 • 1 note
I went to Atlantic City this past weekend for a bachelor party. It was my first ever bachelor party and my first ever visit to Atlantic City as a sentient adult. Some things:
1. I say “as a sentient adult” because there is an old Rosenthal tale about an infant me joining my extended family on a trip to Atlantic City and getting approached in a restaurant by a drunk old man who wanted to kiss me, only to have my uncle dive in and— depending on who you ask— either intercept the kiss or just shove the guy away. But yeah, I have no recollection of visiting. My previous familiarity with the city came from that story and Boardwalk Empire.
2. We went to Revel. I’d seen it before in commercials (they’re the ones behind that “Never lose in slots!” scam), and I suspect that’s where whichever one of my friends booked the trip saw it, too. It is an equally dazzling and depressing spectacle both inside and out. The building sits way back against the water, so you don’t really see it from afar during the highway approach, but once you enter city limits, it cuts into view like a giant, gleaming razor.
The place is brand-ass new, but, as I understand it, not exactly killing it financially, and both of those qualities resonate inside. The walk from parking garage to lobby, lobby to room, or room to casino floor is a series of smooth caverns with dimensions far exceeding their utility. Every amenity, no matter how insignificant, gets its own atrium. There was a room the size of my apartment building that housed four ATMs, a door to the garage, a door to the spa, and nothing else. Three or four employees stood behind a front desk ninety feet long and a minute’s walk away from the elevators. Our walk from the room to the casino must have been a good quarter of a mile, and it took us through a massive, echoing chamber with door-walls featuring a repeated motif of huge, coquetting lady-faces and a central seating area bearing a few awkward chairs between two ceiling-to-floor pillars painted to look like full bookshelves. It would have taken hundreds of people to make the room feel occupied (and we never saw more than three or four), and even then, I wouldn’t know why they were there. Do the lady-face-door-walls go somewhere? Are those painted-on books worth browsing?
And that’s the crazy part: Revel was full! Co-workers of the bachelor who’d made last-minute plans to join us couldn’t get a room. Yet, save for an occasional bottleneck at the needlessly labyrinthine elevator terminal and evening traffic at the blackjack tables, I rarely felt crowded.
It felt a bit like navigating a post-apocalyptic video game. Just miles of glistening, looming, wildly excessive features that seemed ignored until that very moment, partly because they served no obvious purpose, and partly because no amount of people could have filled the space. At one point, I insisted my friends take a detour to sit on a set of whaleboat-sized couches that resembled giant, crimson labia simply because I hadn’t seen anybody sit on them before.
3. The whole resort is called “Revel” and the spa— the first thing you see upon entering from the garage— is called “Bask”, which had me hopeful everything would be named after its appropriate verb. Alas, it was just those two things. The casino wasn’t called “Squander”, and the in-house burlesque club wasn’t called “Leer”.
4. Speaking of that burlesque club, I was coerced into paying $13 to go in there. Besides some even number of pasties, I saw a marginally conscious, vomit-soaked man frog-marched out the door by security, and I also saw this gentleman:
I watched that man enter the club, purchase a drink, and dance directly in front of the stage in exactly that manner for the entire time I was there. He never acknowledged the performers, nor did he pay any mind to the people laughing at him, snapping photos, and taking Vines to show their internet friends. I salute you, man.
5. I played hours and hours of blackjack, leaving the casino with unhealthy infrequency. I ended up winning a decent amount of money, in part because I was lucky, in part because I knew when to fuck off, and in part because I had a couple dealers who noticed my chip-pocketing strategy and made sure to pay me out in a way that would deter me from recycling my winnings. On that note, some top dealers/tables from the weekend:
- On Friday night, I played very well with a dealer named Howard who knew the odds down to the tenth of a percentage point for every single hand, which, assuming he wasn’t fibbing, is way more helpful than just getting told what the book says when you ask for advice (which I often do). By my side was a very old, vaguely European man who spent a few hours winning, giving me shaky fist-pounds, and encouraging me to hit on all 12s (“Ees gambling. Ees name of game.”) before standing up at 6:30 fucking AM to “get a bit of sleep before work” at 9:30. Dude couldn’t have been younger than 80.
- On Saturday morning, I played with a dealer named Hill, which is a name I’d never heard before.
- On Saturday afternoon, I was about to stand up from the unluckiest table of the weekend, when a wizened, olive-complexioned lady wearing a hood over a shock of white hair and speaking a language I couldn’t understand sat down directly across from me. I told my friend “we can’t get up. This witch is about to change our luck”. It didn’t go down quite like that, but after I bottomed out, that friend bought me back in for a hand, and I managed to shoestring my way back up well after the “witch” had departed. So, my being totally dazed and somewhat racist may have helped me win money?
- On Saturday night, a dealer named Maria kept pausing our game to point out when the severely fucked up guy at the slot machine behind us was about to snooze-topple out of his seat.
- Later on Saturday night, I, a friend of mine, and a new blackjack friend named Ryan were on a bit of a roll before another guy at our table got into a dispute with the dealer and sidetracked our game for a good 20 minutes. After asking for advice on a 14 with a 3 showing (we’d all told him to stay), he’d muttered “stay” while tapping the table quite forcefully. When the dealer dealt him a bust, he freaked the fuck out. He insisted he said “stay” and denied he’d tapped the table— a claim that went to the pit boss, then all the way up to the Men In The Sky. It was a bit like an NBA video review, only the referees were in some far-off video room and the verdict (he’d unmistakably tapped the table) was delivered to the pit boss over the phone. The dude not only bitched for the rest of the game, but nearly got himself thrown out by trying to change signals at the last second on a few later deals.
6. It’s well known that casinos are static, windowless, and laid out so as to ensnare gamblers, and Revel was no different. The floor must have been circular, but it felt more like a spiral or some sort of Escher creation. It took several attempts to leave— repeatedly struggling to find the exit, only to end up discovering a $10-minimum table I hadn’t yet played— before I could successfully turn in for a night, only to find it was no longer nighttime and HOLY FUCK THERE’S AN OCEAN RIGHT THERE.
7. I saw a small dog dyed hot pink from snout to tail. I’m pretty sure I also saw the owner of the dog bicker with a stranger over whether or not this was okay.
8. Again, I hardly ever went outside, but when I did, I noticed that the outskirts of Atlantic City are littered with what appear to be rowhouses cleaved off their rows and just left among the reeds. They didn’t even face the road, but they looked occupied.
There were plenty other bits of normal bachelor party licentiousness and profligacy, plus a few experiences that exceeded even that baseline, but those are stories for another day. For now, all I know is I do not wish to go back to Atlantic City.
4:30 pm • 30 July 2013