reindeers and scorpions.

2 01 2012

once upon a time, there was a guy who drove around to all the bars in downtown portland making animals out of tin foil for all the good boys and girls (also, for money). one holiday season, i was at the free street taverna (now the dogfish) drinking my xmas booze, when the tin foil man burst through the front door bellowing “ho ho ho! merry christmas! i got your reindeers and your scorpions!” it was nothing short of an xmas miracle in my book.

but yeah, i know it’s the 2nd of january. so why the fuck am i telling you this pointless xmas related story?

well, mostly it’s because i wanted a reason to tell that story. but also, it’s because i’m about to use it as a flimsy analogy for the shitstorm that is my current life.

basically, sometimes xmas is all reindeer and jinglebells, and sometimes it’s accidental scorpions. this xmas, i got scorpions.

i have overall made it a point not to share much about my personal life with the internet. but the cliff’s notes version of this story is that come february 1st, my life is going to look a lot different. i’ll be moving out of my condo, and back into an apartment (a particularly crappy but cheap bachelor pad apartment if all goes well with the landlord next weekend). i’ll be living with my first roommate since 1996 (when my smith college roommate zoe moved out after 3 months because of her dislike of my late night online gaming habits [text based!] and predilection for menthol cigarettes). i’ll be a single dog parent.

you might also notice that instead of a hilarious picture of a tin foil scorpion in the upper left corner there, there is a MOTIVATIONAL SLOGAN. yikes. what the fuck am i trying to pull? as another rule, i try not to resort to sincere but uplifting over-sentimentality. i swear a lot. i am a cynical old crank. i want to find the person who wrote the first “chicken soup for the soul” book and light them on fire (or at least give them a stern talking to).

but for the new year, i’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time for me to toss a little sugar in the massive ocean of vinegar that is my soul. (don’t worry, not too much). as i’m careening into this utterly terrifying and uncertain new life, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have a little something to grab onto. when i broke up with my college boyfriend (and dropped heavily into a very low and confusing period), i taped a tiny scrap of paper to my front door that said “just start over” that i would have to look at every time i left my house.

but i already used that one.

so i actually did a google search for “inspirational quotes” (oh how the mighty have fallen!), and this is what i found. i think it originated on a t-shirt or something. but whatever, it very correctly sums up the reason that i’m leaving to start my whole life over at 34. my life has been very easy and comfortable for the last few years. as it turns out, easy and happy are two very different things. so i’ll just leave it at that.

i’m not entirely sure what all this biz means for broke207 (i’m focusing my energy these days on finding moving boxes and figuring out how to get a bed). but i have a feeling that we might be getting a little less coupony and more life lessony over the next few months. bear with me. if you do, maybe someday i’ll get back to my roots. or, maybe i’ll just distract you with terrible online dating stories until you forget what this blog was about in the first place.

slut for slots.

12 02 2010

wow, who would have thought that internet gambling was a terrible idea? i enjoy regular gambling, so i figured that it would be fun to add a new layer to gambling month by hitting the internet slots. all the fun of foxwoods without having to leave the confines of my sweatpants! except not.

difficulty #1: apparently, not all online casinos are mac friendly. after doing extensive recon on which casinos were the best (least likely to rob me and leave me bleeding in a ditch), i found that none of my first choices had a mac interface.

difficulty #2: after going on a secondary internet research mission to find a mac friendly home-casino, i finally decided upon gocasino. my requirements were simple:  no software to download, mac-ability, lots of slot machines, and no flagrantly bad reviews. i was able to set up a user account quite quickly/easily, but things started to unravel when i went to the “cashier” area to put some scratch into my account. apparently they don’t take debit cards. or not my debit card (despite funds being more than sufficient). it took me two tries to figure this out (this will come into play later), until i finally ended up going to the freezer, melting out my lower interest card (i know, wrong- but i did it for the experiment!), and laying down the minimum amount of $25. success! (for now)

difficulty #3: i remember loving old school casinos where you used actual quarters and could use the bucket method. simple. one bucket for the money that you want to spend, one bucket for the money you end up winning. when the spend bucket is gone, spending time is over. now at most casinos, you have to print out a ticket if you want your winnings. and at the online casino, you just have to try and remember how much you’ve won- because the credits you win just get folded into your total credits immediately. i tried, i really tried to keep track… but it’s just so easy to keep clicking away. i got lazy and just decided to blow it all until i either won big, or it was gone. surprise, it got gone real quick. i mostly played slots (which had adjustable play amounts down to $.10 which i thought was cool), but i also played a couple games of keno, and one very ill fated $5 game of roulette. i liked that you didn’t have to be a big spender, and there was a good variety of games. it was fun, but the $$$ went too fast. there was nothing to break up the time- no wandering around the slots looking for one that looked ripe for a payout,  no oogling the crazies hooked up to the machines like life support. and there were certainly no free cocktails.  it was just me, on my couch, repeatedly clicking away the money that didn’t seem real. i could definitely see how people get into trouble with this.

difficulty #4: after my 30 minutes or so of clicky gamblin’ fun, i decided to call it quits. wait, that’s a lie. i actually decided to play $10 more, but apparently that is below the minimum deposit- so they wouldn’t let me. THEN i decided to quit. foolishly, i figured that the worst part of my gambling experience was putting $25 on my credit card. wrong! the worst part came the next day when i got phone calls and emails from both my credit union and my credit card company telling me that both accounts had been suspended for suspicious overseas activity. fuck! mostly i just needed to spend time with some grumpy CSRs verifying that i had indeed made the transactions, and all was restored to normal. i was also told that if i wanted to make more deposits with gocasino, i would have to fill out some paperwork to verify them as safe- or the same thing would happen again. no thanks, i’m good.

difficulty #5: wow, you think i’d be done by now, but several hours after CSR hell, when i was thinking that i was finally free… i get a call from gocasino. and an email. fuck, i’ve given them my phone number. they want to tell me about some sort of “special offer”, but i’m not buying it. i’m done with internet gambling for good, but i wonder how long it will take them to figure that out. oh, and their number comes up as “unknown”, so i can’t even block it. BALLS! *UPDATE* they called me one more time, just an hour after i wrote this post. i told them to go screw and then hung up on me. am i done yet?

lesson learned. next time i yearn to squander my dollars at the casinos, i’ll skip virtual hell, and go to a real one. next stop (next weekend)- foxwoods!