Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm in!


I've read a lot about it in the last few months and signed up for an invitation sometime in May or June. Today I went to their page for antsy hopefuls, put in my info, and it said that my invitation had been sent July 27. But, as happens to so much email that I want, the spam filter took it out. (It's my work address, and I can't do anything about the filter.)

It told me to sign up again and they'd send another invitation immediately. So I did, twice, and nothing came through. I emailed the owners, and within half an hour they sent me an email with the url and I was in.

Ravelry is....... I'm not sure. It's everything for knitters and crocheters. You can list your yarn stash, books, patterns, needles, add photos of your finished items, use their forum, and I'm pretty sure that I'm just scratching the surface. I know that this sounds horribly boring to non-knitters (ARE there non-knitters? Oh, yeah.), but it sounds fascinating to me.

Time-consuming, too, which is why I'll probably never get my stuff on there.

Update: Now it's blocked here at work. Crap.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gambling fools

Two of my sisters and I went to Atlantic City for a weekend earlier this month. Having never gambled before, it was an exciting prospect, especially since we all three figure we have addictive personalities.

We didn't go for the gambling; Joe Walsh was the draw. Joan will drop her everyday-life in a split second if Joe glances in her general direction (such as the East Coast). The Borgata hosted Joe and his band in their 3500-seat (or standing) Event Room. Bruce Willis and his blues band opened.

We didn't stay at The Borgata; it's (I think) Atlantic City's newest casino and is very upscale (as opposed to say, Harrah's, where we stayed), and as such, the rooms were going for $450 a night on the weekends. We couldn't even swing one night there. Harrah's was about $250 a night, for heaven's sake. Who can afford these places???

Harrah's was nice enough, although the a/c in the room was either a) Arctic or b) Sahara. I guess they didn't want us to get too comfortable and stay away from the casino. Not a problem; although we weren't experienced gamblers, we were..... shall we say, interested.

When we first went into Harrah's, Betty wouldn't trust her new car to a valet, so we had to park in the parking deck and, dragging enough luggage for a month in Europe (ha--I took less to Europe than I did that weekend), had to find our own way through several miles of tunnels, skywalks, elevators, and escalators (that weren't wide enough for luggage, although we forced our way on) (why on earth would the only way into a casino/hotel be by way of a 2' wide escalator?) into the casino. Even employees there couldn't (or wouldn't) tell us how to get to the lobby.

Once we'd forced our luggage onto the escalator, which was pretty steep (but not as tall or intensely steep as the escalators at Dulles Airport), we struggled to maintain our balance as the first view of the casino came into view. Then we sort of forgot about the stupid luggage; the casino is immense, very brightly-lit, and very loud. I pretty much fell off the escalator when my luggage caught at the bottom instead of smoothly transitioning to the casino floor, almost taking Betty out, because we were gaping like a couple of rubes at the sight.

I've never seen anything like it. There are acres, probably miles of slot machines and other assorted gambling paraphernalia. There is this an all-pervasive loud hum; the combination of that, cigarette smoke, and the sound of so many voices babbling at once was almost overwhelming. (As much as I like concerts, I don't tolerate noise and crowds well. The older I get, the more overwhelming it becomes. So, at school, I avoid rallies and most assemblies; panic attacks aren't pretty.)

After two or three days we found our way to the hotel lobby and checked in.

The first thing we did was eat. Betty can't eat while traveling, and it was a week-long trip to drive the 300 or so miles to Atlantic City. (We are all map-reading-impaired.) (Even with printed instructions from MapQuest and Betty's son.) We went outside for a little while to smell the ocean, which we couldn't see, since we were on the harbor or something.

We explored the shops in the hotel and checked out the restaurants. This place is like a city. An expensive city, at that. By that time, the hum had started sounding welcoming, almost comforting, sort of like the music you hear when you enter the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It was starting to sound exciting. The noise of the crowd wasn't bothering me as much, although the cigarette smoke was still annoying.

I realized then that the sound was coming from the slot machines; it was the sound made as one punched the buttons and won--or lost. It was a chord of three notes, the final one being a perfect high C. I'm betting that phychiatrists or some else hired for that purpose determined that particular combination of notes to be soothing, envigorating, and inviting.

Being the total innocents that we were, we actually thought that slot machines took actual coins. Ha ha, we are so dumb. They only took $5, $10, $20, $50, or $100 bills, or tickets printed by their money machines that took your money. After a woman condescendingly explained that to us, we each, hesitantly, inserted $5 bills into the machines that looked like winners. (Yeah, I said we were naive.)

Huh. It wasn't difficult. It was fun. We each had preset a limit on what we were willing to lose. I took the money that Mom and Dad had given me for my birthday (and aren't they proud!) and played for 2.5 hours. Each time I won more than the $$ I started with, I cashed in the ticket, stashed the extra amount, and put the original $$ back into play. By the time I was ready to go to the room, I'd spent $20 and had about $2.50 stashed.

The next morning, or at some point during the day, we took a shuttle to the Boardwalk. After Betty and I walked out to the beach and into the cold, rough water, the three of us decided to take a buggy ride down the Boardwalk. That was fun. Our "guide" (who pushed the cart thingy) kept up a running commentary and we saw some other casinos and some really scary-looking stores. We got off at the mall on the Boardwalk and found a Chico's with a really good sale.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I'll catch up as soon as I can! Now that I'm back at school, things might calm down a little.

Quick notes:

1) The original Mommy deer came back last week.

2) Stumpy and Stella are growing and no longer look like babies.

3) New twins hanging around sometimes.

4) Still working in the afternoons for Claudia.

5) Atlantic City/Bruce Willis/Joe Walsh

6) Florida!