Thursday, January 31, 2008

One More

One more.

Popular phrase. Frequently, it's the answer to a question.

Another drink? Yeah, why not? One more.

Or. Ok, one more brownie.

How about, One more won't kill me. I assume that's not applicable to a Speed Ball. Or leap off a bridge.

Convey a sense of dread? One more shopping day to Christmas. Maybe.

One more ski run and we'll call it a day. Ah, good times. Legs afire for that last run as you savor it not knowing when you may be back.

It could be, One more kid? Um. I don't think so. Nooooo......Mrs. B's not pregnant. I don't think. No, she's not. I'm sure of it.

One thing for sure. One more class. One more 130 mile round-trip commute. One more three and one half hour stay in that big room with all the felt tables. One more break of Mountain Dew and Peanut M&Ms. One more night away from my family. In the past 12 weeks, I've gone to dealer school 4 nights a week. Three months. That's 47 times, people. And there's only one more.

Our final written exam was last Friday. I scored 98 thank you very much. Highest in the class. Cool beans. On the two major tests I scored 99 and 98. I'm a good test taker and I believe I may be the only person in class with a college degree so I probably much more experience. Having said that, there's a bunch of smart, well-read people in the class who's company I've enjoyed. And that's saying something! At times its all too easy to get on my nerves or under my skin.

Our auditions were Monday and Tuesday and I did excellently if I do say so myself. One rather minor error but no bid deal otherwise. The instructors seem to like to put me at tables, as a player, for dealers who are a bit weaker at certain games. I usually know the procedures and I definitely know the games and the hands. As a group, we have come so far though. Its amazing how polished we've become (although, inconsistent still -- smoothness will come with time in the real battle -- on the floor). Many of the students had never played blackjack even. Many had no idea what hands beat what at poker. So I had the advantage of experience as a player.

Anyway, tonight wraps it all up. There's no cap and gown and tassle thingy transition from left to right (or is it right to left?). I don't imagine there will be a commencement speech and there certainly won't be any friends and family in attendance as we parade across a stage. But we will receive our gaming licenses and after orientation next month we will begin work in accordance with our submitted schedules. We're told they need each and every one of us as soon as possible (then move up the damn orientation!). Whatever.

Instead, my classmates, who are bonded in a way only a group brought together through difficult circumstances can be, will share a dinner in the break room. And a nice group it is. Quite diverse. We have black, hispanic, Korean, Chinese, and caucausian students consisting of a college kid, a few middle agers changing careers, some young moms finding careers, older moms changing careers and two guys (another and I) just looking for decent part-time work to make some extra bucks. Everyone gets along quite well, seem considerate and intelligent and we have plenty of laughs despite a few minor spats.

So, with permission from our instructors, we have planned the feast fit for a king. Or the Amish. Or an anti-anorexia group or whatever. I know there will be a Dunkin' Donuts Box of Joe. That was my assignment. Easy enough. There will be sushi. Homemade lasagna. Mexican Chicken. Chips. Soda. Cake. Cupcakes. And salad (vegetables? we don't need no stinkin' vegetables). We will all hang out in the break room and breathe a collective deep sigh of relief that the journey is over. Rumor has it there may be Champagne or beer in the parking lot afterwards. But I don't know nothing!

So that's it. I've missed my family. I miss being around at night. I won't miss having to iron my white shirt and black pants (class uniform) every night and dashing off as I kiss my girls goodbye and they cuddle up on a nice warm couch. I won't miss the 65 minute commute each way (thank God for Sirius radio). I won't miss coming home after 1 am so I can get 5 hours sleep or less and start it all over again. I will miss my classmates a bit though. I'm sure to run into a few when we begin work though.

Just one more class.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ok, ok!!

First of all, I ALWAYS flush. And secondly, the name-calling isn't necessary.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bodies in Motion

Mrs. B., her sister, the Little One and I went to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit at the XL Center in Hartford Saturday night. I had heard a lot about it and was looking forward to seeing it. If you're unfamiliar with it, its a display of body parts or whole bodies set up both scientifically and in "motion" such as a guy getting ready to hit a volleyball. I guess it was the subject of some controversy but I think that's a vocal, pissy minority. Frankly, I don't see where its controversial at all.

In any regard, it was pretty cool, but it wasn't exactly what I expected. I had the notion it was more artistic than scientific. However, since I had spent 2 years as an undergraduate biology major, I had seen many of the things they exhibited, such as removed hearts, brains, bones, etc. so perhaps my awe was less spontaneous than others. Still, though, it was rather fascinating.

My group thought it was great. There were no reservations about bringing the Little One because in our view, the body, even deceased, shouldn't be feared. Its nature in all its glory and wonderment. Plus she asked tons of great questions.

One particular body was "running" with all it muscles displayed.

The Little One, in front of a dozen or so patrons asked, "Mommy. Where is he running to?"

Mrs. B. replied, "I don't know. Maybe the doctor?" That had a group of strangers laughing.

See it if it comes your way. It was a bit pricey ($24 adult/$17 kid) but still worth it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I watched the Michael Moore documentary Sicko over the weekend. Its basically a send-up of America's health care system done in Moore's sarcastic style. If you haven't seen it give it a look. If, after viewing it, you still think a "for profit" health care system is the best alternative for our great country, then at the very least you should forfeit your rights to complain about "corrupt politicians". Because that, simply, can be the only explanation why our current health care system sucks so bad and why other countries, even Cuba, mock it.

Good health, in the greatest and most prosperous country in the world, should not be a privilege of the wealthy and we should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing a system wherein hospitals dump those who cannot pay onto the sidewalk.

All the while CEO's of health insurance providers get 100 million dollar golden parachutes.

Such a shame.

Moore pointed out the terrorist prisoners getting all their health-care provided for free. These are individuals that may go to the electric chair for their heinous crimes yet they get screened for cancer, treated for hyper-tension and high cholesterol and benefit from a wide range of medical services that some of our own law-abiding, tax-paying citizens can't? Actually, those that suffer terribly from their work at ground zero can't get proper medical care and are slowly dying. But the asshole terrorists that at the very least supported it, can? Am I missing something? WHO in their right mind thinks this is all right? Shouldn't we be taking care of our own first and foremost?

We have billions and billions of dollars to kill people in far away lands but we can't scrape up the funds to heal our sick? That to me, my friends, is disgusting.

Then there's the Michael Moore bashers. Seems to me, all he does is point out his view on things and presents it in an entertaining way. I'm sure plenty of his facts can be disputed and the debate is fine. I try to be open to other views. Of course, I was already a proponent of universal health care, so he was preaching to the choir, but I don't see how anyone with any kind of gentle spirit cannot be enlightened by this film. Or his others, for that matter.

Some call Moore "un-American". I'm not sure at what point questioning the way we do things, or disagreeing with our policies or politicians became un-American. Seems to me, the right to question authority, the right the protest, the right to present an alternate view is about as American as it gets. THAT, is democracy at its best.

As long as the masses go along with the company line and label those that don't drink the Kool-Aid as un-American then there is no impetus for change. So there won't be. The rich can keep getting richer as our babies die because some bottom-line driven executive thinks that a particular procedure isn't necessary or the poor mother erred in taking her to an "out of network" hospital and the baby died in transit to the "in network" location.

My wife said yesterday at dinner, "I can't get that movie out of my head." Neither can I. So much of it was very disheartening and eye-opening.

I'm a proud American. But I'm not always proud of how we do things. In fact, I feel rather disgusted. Give the movie a look. I would like to know if its possible to feel otherwise.

Monday, January 21, 2008

So Stupid

While listening to the radio yesterday, during one of my many endless commutes, they played a comical bumper of women from The View (as I recognized Whoopi and Barbara Walter's voices) wherein some idiot could not answer whether the world was round or flat. I didn't know who it was at the time, but after a bit of research I learned it was Sherri Shepherd.

I don't know jack about The View except that its a reasonably successful daytime talk show and that Barbara Walters, respected newswoman, is a host and co-producer.

I know even less about Sheppard except that she doesn't know if the world is round or flat and seems to me to be blinded to the scientifically obvious, as are many, by her devotion to God. While that issue drives me nuts at time, I really go crazy about her ignorance to issues that don't fly in the face of her faith. Like; is the Earth round or flat? I mean, you have to be friggin' kidding me! How can an adult, let alone an adult in the entertainment/news business, not know? Check out this site to get a sense of her tone also. Its as if knowing that fact is a complete waste of time and she's astonished that others can't believe she doesn't know it.

Below is part of the transcript, which I also lifted from the aforementioned site.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is the world flat? (laughter)


SHEPHERD: …I Don’t know.

GOLDBERG: What do you think?

SHEPHERD: I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.

BARBARA WALTERS: You’ve never thought about whether the world was round or flat?

SHEPHERD: I tell you what I’ve thought about. How I’m going to feed my child–

WALTERS: Well you can do both.

SHEPERD: …how I’m going to take care of my family. The world, is the world flat has never entered into, like that has not been an important thing to me.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK: You’ll teach your son, Jeffery, right?

SHEPHERD: If my son, Jeffery, asks me ‘is the world flat,’ I guess I would go…

JOY BEHAR: You know, didn’t some person already work this question out? I mean, why are we doing this again? (laughter, applause)

Walter's response of "Well you can do both" is priceless. I couldn't put it in those words, but my thoughts upon hearing it were along those lines. She doesn't think about it because she's busy thinking about how she's going to feed her child? Listen, she probably makes 10 times or more than I make! Yet, I have plenty of time think about how I will feed my child AND keep basic life knowledge in my simple, partially-evolved brain.

Besides, Shepherd's response implies she had a child when? In third grade when one learns this shit!!! I don't think so.

It would seem Joy Behar's constant grin screams "What an idiot!" and her response was to move on and avoid any further embarrassment for Shepherd. But Jesus, how can she not know THAT? She completely lost all credibility for anything she says as far as I'm concerned. What other basic elementary school knowledge does she not know? She would have to research it if her kid asks! I wonder if she knows her multiplication tables.

Obviously, her level of ignorance torques me. Assuming she has at the least a high school diploma, does that not diminish other's with the same level of education who know the most basic wisdom? And, what qualifications does she possess to be on a show called "The View"? None that I can see.

Lady, if you don't know the Earth is a sphere, then we can't take any view you have seriously and, in fact, nobody should have to listen to it.

I'm no Einstein for sure, but at times I'm exhausted from other's stupidity.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Shallow Hal

Remember that movie where a dude falls in love with some chick whom he sees as incredibly hot but everyone else sees her as, shall we say, not so hot? Shallow Hal?

I've think I'm living one of those, except I'm the one that doesn't see the "beauty" and the object person is not a chick. Wait! I don't like how this sounds. Allow me to explain.

There's a guy in my golf league. He goes by two initials so for the purpose of this blog, I'll refer to him as J.P. So many guys think J.P. is just the greatest guy. But, frankly, I don't get it.

"Oh, man! J.P. can't make the Cape Cod tournament" I hear from my buddy Jim with the utmost sincere depression in his voice. The whole time I'm thinking, "And that changes what?"

"Hey, did you hear that J.P. made a birdie on three? Way to go J.P!" Twenty guys may have made birdie that day, but J.P.'s gets called out for public acclaim. Great for him, but why? I know truly likable or popular guys that everyone wants to hang out with or root for, but I don't see that in any respect in J.P. He's just, there (I made a weird face when I typed, then italicized the word "there" but I don't think I can translate it to text).

Don't get me wrong, J.P. is a nice enough guy. He's harmless and he's never done anything to me or that I've seen for me to dislike him in any regard. Hence, I don't dislike him at all. I have not reason to. However, he doesn't bring a whole lot to the table. He's not especially funny or witty or the life of the party or anything those lines. He's a horrible golfer who dresses slovenly, has a beer belly, is short and bespeckled. All of which is fine, of course, but I don't see the man-crush others have.

Simply put, I don't get it. There's guys in that league that I really like for various reasons: their golf talent, business success, sense of humor or they're interesting or fun, or whatever. Then, I hear so much J.P. this and J.P. that and I think to myself, "What the hell am I missing about this guy?" He's an ordinary guy who, to me at least, is quite a bit less than ordinary in every way I know how to measure him.

Shit! Do I sound jealous? Honest. I'm not.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm Hit!!!!

Recent hits to my blog have come from the following searches --

"Connecticut River Geography" - booooooring! But good luck with that project, kid. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. It just goes to show you, the internet can be an informative resource for things other than email, porn and blogging.

"Busted Bursa Sac Knee" - Ouch! Been there, done that. I don't care to go back, but good luck with it and I hope yours doesn't still hurt like mine does. Did I spell it "sac" in my post??? I'm too lazy to go look.

"Girls Exposing There Whaletail" -- Ha, ha! Good luck with, well, whatever you're up to. Could be a project, eh? If it is, take a minute and learn the differences between "there, their and they're" ok? While I'm at it, I don't think Whale Tail is one word, but happy googling in any regard. I'm the seventh hit on google if its searched that way.

"BlackJack Dealer and Math Test" - Well, buddy, I can tell you one thing. The math part is the easiest part of it all.

Tha-tha-tha that's all folks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bloggin' Sleep

I just haven't had much to blog about lately. Nor do many others from the results of my blog surfing. Must be the time of year.

Some updates had my parents down for a lovely five days the week of the first - I may finally have a furnace that will work for more than two consecutive days as it appeared to have been an electrical problem which was discovered in visit number 7 - Poor Mrs. Blogger has a virus and has missed her last 4 workdays of a job where missing 1 day creates unimaginable stress - I'm down to 11 more classes of dealer school and can finally see the end of the tunnel that was so dark and distant when this all began - Work has been hectic as we have bought out another business so my workload has increased by at least 50% but I did get a nice raise as of the first of the year - My Vegas trip is 5 1/2 weeks away so I hit golf balls on Sunday and hit them almost too well and feel its probably all downhill from here on.

I guess that's it. I'll leave you with two relatively clean jokes perhaps you haven't heard before:


A woman walks onto a bus carrying her 1 year old baby. After she puts the money in the slot and begins to move down the aisle, she hears the bus driver mutter, "Good God! That is one ugly baby!"

Despondent, she sits next to a distinguished looking older gentleman who immediately notices her troubled look and asks her what's wrong.

"The bus driver completely insulted me. I'm so hurt I feel like I'm going to cry" she said.

"That's horrible," responded the gentleman. "He is a public servant and you deserve better than that. You should go up there and either demand an apology or get his badge number and report him to his supervisor."

"That's exactly what I'll do! That's a good idea" exclaimed the woman as she stood to go about the task.

"You're damn right it is!" responded the man. "Don't worry, I'll watch your monkey while you're gone."


A man agrees with his wife that its time to take his elderly mother-in-law into their home. While she's always been a pain in his ass, he loves his wife and its simply the right thing to do since money is too tight to put her into a retirement home.

A week after she moves in, he comes home to find her unconscious on the floor. Immediately, he calls 911 and she's rushed to hospital. They admit her and work on her for over an hour before the doctor comes out to inform him of the situation.

"Mr. Smith. I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?"

"I guess the bad news" Mr. Smith replies.

"Well, your mother-in-law suffered a massive stroke. It would appear she will need constant care for the rest of her life. She will need to be fed and bathed and dressed and even have the most personal of hygiene attended to. Plus, other than the stroke, she's extremely healthy and could well live another 20 years or so."

Mr. Smith immediately processes the daunting challenge ahead for his wife and him.

"What's the good news, doctor?"

He replies, "I'm kidding. She's DEAD!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Don't Smoke Crack!

I had to have the heating company out YET AGAIN to fix my furnace! I don't feel like going into it now, so maybe later. One thing I have to say is the company I'm dealing with, all incompetence aside, has been nothing short of pleasant and understanding and accommodating.

However, when I peered into my utility room to see how things were going with my latest serviceman, I got the most disturbing view of Plumber's Crack I've ever seen.

I really think at this point I need to be held tightly as I mumble and slowly rock myself to sleep.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Audition Time

Last Thursday night I had my audition for Blackjack. The audition is where the student goes one-on-one with an instructor in a casino setting putting everything he's learned on the line. Predictably, I ended up with the "tough" instructor. He's a nice enough guy but not as nurturing as the other one and he doesn't hide his frustration with students nearly as well. Also, it seems he revels a bit in tricking students wherein the other is much more straight-forward.

Didn't matter though. I was cocky. I really knew my shit. I got 99 out of 100 correct on our final. Plus, I've been on stage before and I've played guitar publicly and been in sports pressure situations such as baseball and golf and come through on top many times. I was positive I could handle the pressure and subsequent nervousness. Hell, its just dealing some cards and taking and paying cheques (chips).

My shuffle was nearly flawless and well under the time required so I was off to a flying start. Then I made a big mistake. I sent out the wrong number of cheques after the "customer" gave me his money. Of course, in the casino, the floor supervisor would never authorize sending it and I could have easily rectified the situation. However, my instructor who was also the customer told me to send it
after I asked for "change $820".

As I pushed the pile out to him, I thought to myself, "I think that's too much. Can't be, though. He said send it." But it didn't feel right. My mind started reeling and he did nothing to help matters. He said, "Well, I'm done playing your table, I think I'll go cash in." It was the exact opposite of nurturing and, in fact, it was very sarcastic. At first I didn't know what he meant. I thought he was testing my customer service. Soon enough, I knew I really screwed up.

He pushed the cheques in front of me, in a big sloppy pile and said, "Re-rack it neatly and try again".

Shit! Shit, shit, shit! "Work with me, nervous fingers, work with me", I thought. My mind raced onto thoughts of wasting 8 weeks of class and not passing.

"Don't be nervous" he said. Yeah, okay, whatever. How do you not be nervous? How can you turn it off? Well, I did minimize it, but I never really felt sharp dealing to him. By feeling sharp, I mean I was in control. It was my table and I know what I'm doing. Because I do normally. I understand, from later conversations he made a woman in my class cry at her audition and she ran off to the bathroom. And I thought she was a pretty good dealer.

I got the checques right the next time but made a simple mistake dealing to him right away. It wasn't a huge mistake, but it surely compounded my thought process. I just couldn't get my mind in synch at all for a bit. I knew I had to slow everything down in my mind in order to get into a dealing groove so I could move along nicely and in rhythm. So much of dealing is going in rhythm and I was a beat off.

After I showed I wasn't a total moron, he gave me a few tricky challenges and payouts and I did very well with them, so at least I ended on a high note but I was very disappointed in myself and I don't think I hid it well.

He asked how I thought I did. I said, "horrible". He sat there with a doofy grin. Thanks for the reassurance, dude!. However, a few moments later, the told me he did the exact same thing in his audition (and, hell, he's a floor supervisor now). He said he thinks part of my problem is I'm a perfectionist and that part of dealing is dealing with mistakes. He went on to say he knows how hard I've worked and how seriously I take the class. Which I do. He told me not to worry myself about it.

Well, I worried myself about it. And when Friday night came and I wasn't called in for a review of my audition, I worried more about it. That, in turn, allowed me to worry about it all weekend even. Lucky!

So last night, we began novelty games. Texas Hold'em bonus was my side's lecture and when the nicer instructor was done he asked, "Who wants to deal?" I volunteered immediately and was nearly flawless in a game I had about 60 minutes of class on. I was much, much better (in my humble opinion) than those that followed me. But then, I do understand the game as I've played it a ton.

I was getting back to my old, cocky self. "They both saw me. They know what I can do" I convinced myself, but I was still concerned I hadn't heard back on my audition review. Many in the class hadn't either.

So after class last night I went to them. "I noticed I hadn't been called in for my audition review. Is that something I should be concerned about?" Both, almost in unison, said, "No, not at all". My audition instructor said, "You didn't show the real you in your audition. We know what what you can do. You have nothing to worry about."

Phew! Thank God!

So, it looks like in 4 weeks I'll get my gaming license in Blackjack and novelties. Apparently, nobody that passes Blackjack fails novelties, so it looks good from here in. The new games are a nice change of pace and I had tons of fun learning last night's, playing it and dealing it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


We woke up this morning to a temperature of 2 outside. Two degrees! With wind. Brrrrr. But at least we had heat.

Last Thursday we woke up to no heat. The house was about 59 so I stuck around that morning waiting for a serviceman to come fix it. I'm reasonably handy around the house, but I wouldn't know where to begin with that stuff. He arrived promptly and cleaned the furnace nozzle or some shit.

Last Thursday night, Mrs. Bloggger text me in class to say we had no heat! What. The. Fuck? So we "reset it" (pushed a button which gets the heat back on temporarily) and the heat didn't die until the morning wherein Mrs. B. waited for another serviceman. This time he changed some fitzer valve or flux capacitor or some crap like that.

Monday morning comes: we had no heat! Now. You. Are. Fucking. Kidding. Me.!!!! Arrrrrrgh! So, again Mrs. B. stayed home, the service guy (a different one then the other two) came and adjusted some screw. Allegedly, it was letting too much air in. Yeah, ok. Whatever!

Tuesday morning: guess what? We have no Goddamn heat! Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuuuuuuck!!! Its New Year's day, of course and my parents are expected shortly. They send over the tallest serviceman in the history of servicemen. He was 6' 7" I kid you not. I would imagine that's a tough job at that height with all the working in the tight confines, like where my furnace is located. But, hey, that's his problem. This nice enough man (who wanted to talk way too much) replaced the oil filter and flushed out the oil lines. Awesome! Heat! Yay. Take care, Kareem Abdul Jabbar!

Yesterday afternoon my dad (my parents are staying for a bit) calls to say THEY HAVE NO HEAT!! Double-dog-fuckity fuck with a thin layer of fucktardedness and a heaping side of WHAT THE FUCK???!!!! He was apologizing for calling me!

Sorry for my language, but, really! Come On! So, as I'm leaving work early to tend to this matter I realize not one repairman of the four different ones has said anything about the air filter. And, since its a very difficult size to find, I know for fact it hasn't replaced since last summer (it filters the central air too) so I get to thinking.......

I pulled the filter. The friggin' thing was nearly impenetrable. I mean, all clogged up like I panned for gold in the mud with it. In the first class of HVAC school, right after they pass out the syllabus, isn't that where they start? I mean, I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it and I'm not a trained technician.

So I drove half way around the state visiting three "supply stores" before finding the right size wherein I bought a half-dozen of them. Once home, I replaced it and reset the furnace. So far so good. I'm thinking the lack of airflow caused the unit to overheat so it would shut itself down by tripping the reset so as not to burn out the motor or whatever. None of which was covered in my undergraduate Psychology degree at any point.

What do you wanna bet that does the trick? I'll keep my fingers crossed.

And, no, I don't know what the bill is yet. But I'm sure to dispute it heartily.