Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chicken Pox Gambling Vacation.

We left last Monday on a jet plane to Nevada to spend a week gaming the slots. We have fun doing that. We have MORE fun when we WIN doing that, but (overall) we don't even mind too much when it seems like we're donating to the casinos we visit because we had wins that balanced the losses and enjoyed the whole experience.

We enjoyed this whole experience, as well, despite the fact that it looks like I went with Chicken Pox. No clue how/why I might have gotten Chicken Pox at 62 years of age. It's unclear whether or not I had them as a kid (no scars to prove it), but I remember nursing my three kids through it in the 1980s AND keeping them away from my dad (who also had never had it). Is "chicken pox" a collective noun? I don't know whether to call it an "it" or a "them". Reading up on it/them once home, it looks like I was exposed 10-21 days before my first symptom. That knowledge didn't help at all.

So, last Sunday I noticed my glands swelling, which they ALWAYS do when I get ANY kind of illness. I attribute this to having had Mononucleosis when I was a teen. The glands are there to help fight infection/disease, and, IMO, having Mono simply expanded the immuno lounge area.

Sunday my glands swelled and Monday morning I woke up feeling sick. The glands swelling was a tipoff that something was working on my body, but I hadn't expected it to be "I feel like I'm going to vomit" sick. Working as designed, however, the white cells did their job, the uncomfortable sensations went away and we flew off to Nevada.

As usual, we'd reserved a room at the Stratosphere. We may change our MO in the future, though; seems we've gotten spoiled by hotels with coffee makers in the room and (more importantly) grab bars in the bathtubs. It'd been about three years since we'd been there.

We play penny slots with strategies that we've developed through the years. My strategy is a little different than Em's, but it's one with which I feel comfortable. I win more than he does with my strategy, but I also lose more than he does. He's fond of keeping "score", so brings paper and pencil to keep track of how many bonuses I win and how many HE wins. 90% of the time I win more bonuses.

If you haven't been in a casino in years, you wouldn't even recognize today's slot machines. They're not symbols of fruit or playing cards spinning into similar matches anymore. They tend toward themes. Here's an example of a Jade Monkey theme. If you get three of the jade monkeys on a spin, you win free spins with extras determined by your selections. Bonuses are a little like interactive video games. Some are so humorous that we choose the machines for the laughs they provide. Both computer programmers in our working days, Em and I oftentimes discuss the insanity of the slot programmers. We also discuss the "bugs" in the system when we notice that an advertised win doesn't win.

Here's a DaVinci themed slot. It has "cascading" or "tumbling" reels. This means that if you win on a reel, it falls down and gives you a "free" chance at another ensemble for a win. Em likes the cascades more than I, but any/all can be fun. Our strategies wouldn't have waited as long as the player in the video for a win. We're, typically, on and off a machine in just a few minutes. There's an employee at Winstar (the casino in Oklahoma where we tend to go each Wednesday for the free senior breakfast buffet) who remarks on how we come to get our exercise. "You two sure work for your money." It's the part of our strategies that keep us moving to ensure we don't get hypnotized by the machines, fall into the "That was CLOSE, so I'll try again", or even "I put $xx into this machine and I'm gonna sit here until I get it back" illogics.

Em wanted to give Laughlin, Nevada at try as well this trip, so we reserved spaces on a bus with these folks for a day trip. We took that trip on Wednesday, and Wednesday evening I started breaking out with the chicken pox blisters. I thought for sure there were insects on the bus... or in the bed at the hotel. Breaking out with chicken pox was the LAST thing on my mind. We didn't win much of anything in Laughlin. Our strategies prevent us from losing much of anything, either, so we concentrated on the Colorado River which ran alongside the town and the great buffet. Casinos (and casino towns) offer free food and transportation because they know we'll spend money once there. We had a great healthy lunch included in the $5.00 each we spent for the bus ride.


Tor said...

Alas, they still don't have casinos for skill based video games. :/ I guess the experience/challenge is supposed to be it's own reward.

From what I hear, Chicken pox never really go away, so it could just be being tired. I always thought they came back as Shingles, though.

Get better!

Oldnovice said...

In re casinos for skill-based video games, I think there's something else at play here. You work at perfecting a particular video game and what have you got at the end? You KNOW how the game will end; you will (eventually) win.

With games of CHANCE, though, there's an uncertainty that's oftentimes missing in the lives of older people, and I think it's the uncertainty that keeps us going back for more (uncertainty).

I think that's why casinos cater to us, and I think that's why we flock to them.

The CP definitely threw a wrench into my life. Who Knew? Some online folks have asked "Were you near someone with shingles?" No. I (AFAIK), though, wasn't near anyone with chicken pox, either. I'm pretty sure that I acquired CP at a casino, and I'm pretty sure that I spread it on at a casino.

Em hasn't caught it from me (yet), and he may NOT, of course, but with a 10-21 day window from time of infection to notice any symptoms, he's not out of the woods yet, either.

Always good to see you here, son.

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