Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I've been dragging my feet so long in discussing my Vegas vacation, it feels like ancient history now. But I'll touch on the highlights, such as they are.

I stayed at the Stardust for the first time. I enjoy gambling there, it has a very old-school charm. The pit boss, who reminds me of Lunchlady Doris of Simpsons fame (or, if you prefer, a Night Court bailiff), is a Vegas landmark, to me at least. Hearing her Vincent Price impression always makes me squeal (sadly, I saw her, but never spoke to her this trip). As rumors are swirling about the future fate of the Stardust, I figured I should stay there at least once. There's probably no reason to stay there again. The rooms reminded me of the rooms at the Fremont, downtown, only larger, and with nicer bathrooms. Rather underwhelming, though I thought the artwork was nice, by hotel room standards. The small TV's remote control didn't work, but the front desk quickly sent up a replacement. The bathroom was reasonably large, and had a blowdryer, if memory serves. Overall, it's a decent room, in a decent location, and better than other Strip hotels in its price range (i.e. Imperial Palace).

One criticism I had for the hotel the first night--the shampoo they provided smelled like ass. I was taking a shower, put some shampoo in my hair, and nearly puked. Really foul. I had visions of a hotel employee putting sewage in a shampoo bottle to avenge some slight I may have given them. The next night, the shampoo was fine, but I could still detect a hint of odors which, if present in different quantities, might smell like ass. So I concluded that the shampoo the first night was from a defective batch, and let it slide.

Gambling didn't go too well for most of the trip. I just didn't have an adequate bankroll. The money I'd been waiting on from various online casinos arrived while I was in Vegas, but cashing a check in this town is hard. The casino cashed a small check for me, but I had to resort to ATMs with outrageous fees, and daily limits, so that I didn't have the deep pockets I would have liked. And so I played scared, feeling like I had to take risks to get a decent bankroll or bust out trying. And mostly, I went bust. Fortunately, I had some good luck my last night at the Stardust, and at the Riviera on my way out of town. So overall, I left a small loser.

I gambled a lot at the Stardust, but also put in a fair amount of action at the Wynn. A brief stab at the table games proved disastrous, but I had somewhat better luck at the machines, at least insofar as I lost slower and got to play for awhile. And I got a buffet comp, which was exciting. The buffet room is very nice, if perhaps a bit over-the-top. The buffet itself, however, was disappointing. I started out with a nice soup and salad, and some seafood. But as I slowly progressed through the buffet line, nothing really grabbed me. The ceviche station was a nice idea, but despite the variety, was ultimately nothing special. The sushi was of poor quality, though that can be expected of buffet sushi. The made-to-order risotto was a nice touch, and the shellfish was excellent. But the baked fish was dry and bland, and I had a hard time finding other foods that excited me. I think it may just be a matter of whether any of their specialties happen to be one of your favorites (I don't think I'd ever seen Cornish game hens in a buffet before), and for me, they weren't. Of course, good desserts can save a buffet, and the desserts certainly weren't bad. A chocolate mousse with chocolate brownie was quite good, and the ice creams were top-quality, but the bananas foster had an odd aftertaste. My main complaint, however, was with the service. Every time I got up to get a new plate, the servers decided I had left and bussed my table. When I returned and the waitress brought me a new water and silverware, she acted like she was doing me a big favor. Then I'd get up, and they'd do it again. And I never got another water after that. Even when I went for dessert, and was gone less than 90 seconds, they cleared my table. Luckily, they weren't able to seat another guest before I got back. Overall, I'd have to say the buffet, while by no means bad, is not the best in town. If I had paid $32 for it, I'd have been pissed off. I still prefer the Paris buffet (though I haven't eaten it since Harrah's assumed ownership, so I can't guarantee it's current quality).

The reason why I ventured over to the Wynn from the Stardust was because I bought a ticket to see Avenue Q. The ticket was obscenely expensive, though not too terribly out of whack by Vegas standards. But I rarely see shows in Vegas, and figured after all the comps I've received over the years, I could splurge to see a show that came so highly recommended. And I did enjoy myself, though ultimately I don't think I could recommend it, given the price. I was also disappointed by the lousy seat I received, six rows back, on the aisle. I could see the primary action well enough, but the recessed portions of the set, when doors open and walls are cast aside, were not very visible. Even worse, the backs of the puppeteers blocked my view of the hot puppet sex during the Act I climax. Fortunately, some elderly couples in my row didn't return from intermission, and I took their seat.

As to the substance of the show, my general opinion is that the show is for people who want to say they like "edgy" productions, but really don't. I mean, "The Internet is for Porn?" Wow, what a cutting-edge observation! But it certainly had its moments, and the basic story, of young people trying to find their way in the world, was touching enough, if not exactly novel. Of course, it's a shame the ticket price created a disconnect between the target audience of this story and the demographics of the audience, in Armani suits and furs. But then I suppose those are the sort of contradictions that drive Vegas. I was amused to discover that there was a character of Gary Coleman in the play (the building's super), and I did enjoy several songs, including "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist." Overall, it's an entertaining show, and if you can see a touring production when Wynn's exclusive arrangement is done, at a reasonable price, check it out. I just didn't think it necessarily lived up to the hype, or the ticket price.

I'm sure there were other delightful happenings in Vegas this trip, but I've waited too long to write this, and I'm just going to wrap it up. I stopped off at the Riviera on the way out of town, and had some great luck, so that I only left town a modest loser. Overall, it was a disappointing trip, as the odd turn of events in my online gambling overshadowed the trip.

Which means, I suppose, this is a good time to provide an online gambling update. First off, both casinos paid me. I'd have to give Casino On Net the edge on payouts, because while their posted cash-out times are ridiculously slow, they came pretty close to meeting those goals, while King Solomons was quite slow on the cashouts, compared to their posted policy. But I like King Solomons' software better, and they take care of their players a bit better, I think.

So I now feel much better about the integrity of these casinos, and their willingness to pay after a win. Unfortunately, my luck has turned. It got ugly. The sort of losses that would have me in tears, if it was real money, but since it's just credits in a computer, there is enough of a disconnect from reality that the money can just slip away. Fortunately, I got enough money off the table and tucked away that I didn't completely wipe myself out. But I still find myself thinking of what might have been, had I just walked away. I mean, really, how much did I think I was going to win? But ultimately I just have to accept that much of what I won is gone, and just look at the long-term picture, and concede that, overall, I've done alright. And just not let myself go broke trying to get back to where I once was.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleads guilty to taking bribes. Of course, that he was guilty as hell has been clear for some months, but I must admit I was surprised by the initial revelation that he was a corrupt politician. I vehemently disagreed with his politics, but I always figured he was at least a straight-shooter. And the lesson, as every person I've discussed this with mentioned immediately, is, if you're going to take a bribe in the form of free room and board on a docked yacht, don't name the boat after yourself (The "Duke"ster). And for what it's worth, I'll give him credit for taking the blame in the end, even if he had little choice. He could have pulled a Traficant.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

John Water's one-man show, A John Water's Christmas, will be at the Casbah December 18. $40 seems a bit steep, but I'm real tempted to go. I'm going to have to miss Los Straitjackets' Christmas show at the Belly Up, so this might be a good consolation.
Pink Martini are performing on Conan tonight. Don't miss it. I'm debating whether to buy a ticket to see them at UCLA this spring. I'm hoping they'll add a San Diego show, but somewhat doubt they'd be here twice in less than a year. Of course, if they do, that just means I can see them twice.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Today's Foxtrot addresses the recent Sony fiasco.

I'm sick, and I'm dragging a bit, but I'll post about Vegas soon. As for the Lovett/Hiatt/Ely/Clark concert of some weeks ago, I'll just say it was a great show, and I fully intend to explore Ely's music.

I also saw Lewis Black recently. Still funny, if not in top form. Trying out new material, some worked, some didn't. Looked tired, but hard to see anything in my nose-bleed seats (three rows from the back of the upper balcony, I could almost touch the ceiling...bad for seeing Black, but nice for checking out the architecture).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I've been rather tired lately, so I haven't had a chance to post about my trip to Los Angeles on Saturday. I had tickets to see Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Joe Ely and John Hiatt at Disney Hall, and I took the occasion as a chance to see the Sergio Leone exhibit at the Autry National Center. Unfortunately, I encountered traffic, and only had about an hour to spend at the Leone exhibit. I would have liked to linger over some of the film clips and scripts on display, but was basically able to see the entire exhibit in an hour (but was unable to see the other exhibits at the museum. I wouldn't make a special trip to Los Angeles just to see the exhibit, but I did find it informative and enjoyable. At the entrance to the exhibit, you can pick up a very nice mini-poster with a brief overview of the exhibit and of Leone's history. The exhibit briefly discusses Leone's background and early work (in his last stint as an assistant director, he worked on the chariot scene in Ben-Hur, before getting to the so-called Man With No Name trilogy. Clips from various films are screened through the exhibit, alongside informative signs about Leone's concept of "Cinema Cinema" and his various influences. Several scripts are on display, with translations, as are many props and costumes, including Blondie's poncho in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. One wing of the exhibit was dedicated to Leone's work with Ennio Morriconi, and while some of the listening stations were experiencing technical difficulties, I enjoyed this portion very much. I didn't have much time to watch the videos in the "Leone's legacy" portion of the exhibit, but from what I did see, it just seemed like a bit of fluff. But overall, a very good exhibit.

On the drive up, I got to thinking that the gift shop might be selling a replica of the poncho. I realized that I am not really a poncho person, and it would be rather impractical, but I decided I ought to treat myself a bit with my recent winnings, and decided, if they had a replica and I liked it, I might go as high as $200. Knowing how expensive those gift shops can be, I figured that was a reasonable price. Turns out the gift shop does sell a replica poncho, but it is $500. I was not prepared to go that high. I did look at a very nice duster, which I quickly decided was impractical after seeing its $200 price tag. But after leaving, I kept thinking back to the jacket. I dismissed it rather quickly, so I didn't really get a good look at it, but I think it would be rather flattering on me. It looked durable, and I emailed the store to learn it is made from a 100% cotton canvas. I first dismissed it because of the price, and also because I didn't know when I would have occasion to wear it. I soon realized that I had occasion that very evening, as I'm sure I would have looked very dapper at the evening's concert. I will not be in Los Angeles again until January, and the store couldn't tell me if they would still be stocking the jacket at that time (the Leone exhibit will be over, but while the duster was displayed near the poncho, and certainly seemed to have been delivered straight from the set of Once Upon a Time in the West, I don't think they stocked it only for the Leone exhibit...they had a lot of Western wear on sale). But I wouldn't be surprised if I soon make the duster part of my wardrobe.

The museum closed at five, and the concert was at eight, with a tour of Disney Hall at seven. So we had some time to kill, but proceeded to Disney Hall to eat. Unaware that Disney Hall actually had a nice restaurant, we started walking around the neighborhood, and ended up eating at an outdoor cafe outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilian. Decent food, overpriced. My mom asked for a medium-well cooked hamburger, and what she got was nearly raw. But it was a nice night for al fresco dining, and we were seated next to an old soap opera star my mother immediately recognized, who apparently was performing next door in the new Mamet play.

So that just leaves my comments on Disney Hall and the concert. But I'm very tired, and I need to pack. So I'll just say I had a good time, and try to elaborate when I get back home. Stay tuned.

King Solomons Casino paid me today. Not all my winnings, just my first cashout request (due to daily withdrawl limits, I have to stagger my cashout requests), but that alone leaves me with a profit, off the table. My the time I get back from Vegas, I should also have my money from Casino On Net, and my King Solomons Casino cashout should have made the journey from Neteller to my bank account. A shame I couldn't get the cash in hand in time for Vegas--as Maj. Kong would say, "a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."

Incidentally, while I've had my money stuck over at King Solomons Casino, I've still been playing. I had one truly ugly session, but lots of truly amazing sessions that more than made up for it. Makes me wonder why I ever go to work, like a sucker. Of course I know, from lots of personal experience, that this winning streak can't last forever. But that's no reason not to enjoy the ride. I just hope my luck holds in Vegas.

If, like me, you've been following the Sony spyware/copy protection scandal and intend to never buy a Sony product again, they have a list of all the labels currently owned by Sony on their web site.

I've been rather fatigued lately, haven't finished my post about this weekend's concert, but I'll try to post that tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Gambling trade group speaks out against FBI data-mining in Las Vegas. If threat of terrorism doesn't keep you away from Vegas this New Year's, threat of government snooping should.
Salon has a fair and even-handed article on the DeLay case. Some of those who have ran into prosecuter Ronnie Earle have rather nice things to say about him:
Partisan considerations don't enter into it with Ronnie," says Republican state Rep. Terry Keel, who worked for Earle in the D.A.'s office. "I don't think it involves political ambition or is a political vendetta," says former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, a Democrat who was indicted by Earle while in office in 1985 for felony bribery. (He was acquitted at trial.) Adds Joe Turner, who represents John Colyandro, one of DeLay's codefendants, and once worked for Earle: "I like Ronnie. He's a good person. I don't think he's an evil person. And I think he truly believes that what he is doing is correct."
And Earle's record includes highlights not likely to be widely cheered by Salon readers:
Earle also risked the scorn of Austin's African-American and liberal communities when he tried 11-year-old Lacresha Murray -- the youngest murder defendant in Texas history -- not once but twice for negligent homicide in the death a 2-year-old child. (Both convictions were later overturned.)
After reading the article (and in particular the details about the attempted Hutchinson prosecution), I feel better about Earle's chances. I don't know if he can get a conviction, but I think at the very least, DeLay will have to answer the charges at trial.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Arrested Development looks to be in its death throes. There's always the hope of another network saving the show, but I hope at the very least they are allowed to wrap up their storylines.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Judge vacates verdict against Zucchet, sentences Inzunza to 21 months. It was a complicated case, so while I don't like to see judges disregard the thoughtful decisions of juries, this is the sort of thing where the judges decision may have been right. I've said from the beginning I wasn't sure on which side I was (other than that, guilty or not, Inzunza was a huge jackass), and would go by the court's decision, so I'll say that it is certainly possible the judge was right, and that the sleazy dealings of Zucchet, which the jury found criminal, were merely business as usual in politics today (by all accounts, the case against him was much weaker than that against Inzunza).
I was playing Elvis pinball, a fine game the praises of which I am sure I have sung here before. Unfortunately, the game at my local arcade has gotten rather run down, and in my first game, started behaving erratically. On my very first ball, moments into play, the game went into multiball mode, with ball saver mode also active. Once I got Hound Dog mode going, you can imagine how I racked up the points. Eventually ball saver came to an end, but multiballs kept starting for no apparent reason. As I was playing my first ball, up to about 600,000,000 points, and realizing it would be almost impossible not to get the new high score, I began thinking about that Twilight Zone episode, where the gambler dies and goes to a Vegas-style afterlife, with gambling and women, and he begins to win and win and win, and eventually he decides it's not in his nature to enjoy winning, so he asks his guardian angel if he can leave heaven and go to the other place, to which the "angel" replies, this isn't heaven, this is the other place. As I raked in the points at Elvis pinball with no effort to speak of, I began to wonder if I failed to wake up one morning a week or so ago, and that those of you reading this blog are merely fellow travelers in an ethereal nether region where my spirit is no longer hindered by probability and statistics. For my gambling winnings are piling up to a degree that's, frankly, scary.

Of course, I haven't seen a penny of that money, yet. I got an e-mail from Casino On Net (the operators of which, judging from their newly designed website, with the annoying pop-ups missing from the main page, at least, must read this blog), explaining that my cashout would be delayed a few days, because my check to them has not yet cleared. As they pointed out to me in the e-mail, this is a reasonable policy, as it probably does take the purported seven days for an American check to clear in Gibralter, which I believe is where Casino On Net is based. I was slightly annoyed that it wasn't until the third day of processing my cash-out (said processing generally taking one day, according to their own timetable) that they bothered to contact me about the delay, and more annoyed that their e-mail claimed the delay was required "according to our cashout policy," when their cashout policy says nothing of the kind. Again, I ultimately feel that it is reasonable for them to require the initial deposit to clear before processing a cashout, but I am still disappointed that they were more obtuse about this policy than they admit. What this means, of course, is that I will not have that money in time for my Vegas trip.

But I had already concluded it was unlikely I would have that money for Vegas. I was hopeful, however, I would have my money from King Solomons Casino. And I was still hopeful that, should they process my cashout by tomorrow morning (now this morning), I could still get the funds to my bank in time for the trip. Then I remember Armistice Day, bank holiday, and realize it's extremely unlikely the money will be available by my trip. Which means I will be going to Vegas with a very puny (by my standards) bankroll. For a brief trip, I should be okay, unless my luck is horrendous, but since I am, as I've said, a wraith of good fortune doomed to spend my eternal non-existance accumulating winnings, that shouldn't be an issue. But I'm less concerned now about getting my money from King Solomons Casino in time for Vegas than I am about getting my money at all. By their time frame, the money should have hit my account today, but it did not. But I understand that one's first cashout might take slightly longer than is typical, so I'll give them a break. I wouldn't worry at all, except that it is at King Solomons that I have had luck that I am hesitant to believe mortal men can have. Basically I log in, win money, take a break, log in, and win more money. So I now have a lot of money to cash out of my account, and am wondering if I'll ever see that money. Again, my experience in the past leads me to think highly of King Solomons Casino. In my experience with them the last few weeks, they've extended good offers to me, and I had no major problems. But it's easy for them to treat me well when I'm losing, but now that they owe me a lot of money, are they willing to pay up? Time will tell...I will be sure to update you on my experiences with cashing out from both King Solomons Casino and Casino On Net.

As for Elvis, I did earn a high score, about 1,300,000,000 points. I was hesitant to enter my initials, as I didn't truly earn that high score, but I did. Makes up for the high scores I lost when they moved the machine into the back (though I'm pretty sure I didn't have the number one slot).

McDonald's employees fooled by calls from "police officer" ordering them to strip-search fellow employees.
[Clinical psychologist Jeff] Gardere goes on to say that it was no accident that caller was targeting fast food restaurants. "Everything is by the book," he explained. "This is how you serve it. This is exactly how you do it. You follow the book -- you're OK. I believe he picked fast food restaurants because he knew, once you got them away from that book, once it was something outside the manual or the procedures, they would be lost."
The apparent perpetrator of the hoaxes was employed as a prison guard...makes you wonder how he entertained himself at work.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A couple more posts went missing. I've realized the problem is that I was using an outdated version of Safari at work, and it was causing problems. Unfortunately, I can't upgrade, but maybe in the future I can use Internet Explorer to post here from work, and see if that works better (it's only an issue when I work in the ticket booth, which I only do one day a week these days). These were the links I were posting:

Pat Boone weighing in on the parchesi vs. dancing debate.

Odd use of umlauts in the New Yorker.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I don't think I included the link for election results in my earlier post, so here you go. As I go to bed this evening, it seems pretty assured that every ballot measure in the state has been defeated. So was Donna Frye.
Energy reregulation defeated at polls. No big shock, but disappointing. I think this article illustrates the lack of information that was put out on this initiative. Take this quote from a voter: "'I didn't want the state getting involved with regulating electricity. We already know what happened with the last crisis,' said David Culbertson, a 48-year-old electrician from Long Beach who voted against the measure." The crisis he refers to (Enron, et al) was caused by deregulation. If you don't like "what happened last time," you're supposed to vote FOR 80. The article explains this near the end. But, unfortunately, the media decided not to explain this to people before the election, since no one was buying ads from them on either side of the issue, and therefore it was, in their eyes, a non-issue. I never did hear an explanation as to why there was virtually no campaigning, on either side. It's like they went to the trouble to get it on the ballot, and then gave up.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's 11:18 PM, 56.1% of precincts reporting, and every proposition on the ballot is being defeated. Prop. 75 is touch-and-go (49.7% yes), and a lot of Orange County votes have yet to be counted, but so have a lot of Los Angeles County votes, so I'm fairly confident Arnold just got his ass handed to him. He made a public appearance recently with his skeletal wife, a shit-eating grin plastered on his face, trying to look like a winner, to put a happy image in the face of the electorate, lest we picture him sitting in a darkened room, sobbing inconsolably. He vows to build more roads. Don't know how we're gonna pay for that, probably with the same magic money tree that's paying the $50 million for this election.
I saw Dave Alvin this weekend, performing at Acoustic Music San Diego. The show was unusual for Alvin in that it was an acousic show, and even more unusual in that it was a solo performance. He seemed somewhat uneasy with the format, looking a tad nervous as he bantered with the audience while tuning up between songs ("I should probably tell you a funny story...think of your favorite funny story...yeah, that's a good one"), but this certainly didn't manifest itself in his performance. "Haley's Comet," "Wanda and Dwayne," and "Out of Control" were a few stand-out tracks, as was anything off the new album, Ashgrove. He segued effortlessly from blues to country to folk, and adapted some interesting material for the acoustic show ("This is why Chuck Berry never did acoustic shows," he explained before one adapted electric guitar solo, which still sounded damn good to me). Before playing a Blasters tune (maybe, I can't remember for sure), he mentioned driving to the venue down Adams Avenue, and passing the old Adams Avenue Theatre, where he played in the '80s with the Blasters, and noticing it stands today as a fabric store. He seemed troubled by that, and who could blame him? But I hope he didn't take that as a sign that his best days are behind him, because Saturday night showed me that Alvin is still a tremendous talent. I'm kicking myself for missing him a few months back, when the Knitters were in town.
I hope you all made it out to vote, if they're voting where you are. CNN has reported a Democratic win in Virginia. Unfortunately, Donna Frye seems to be heading for defeat here in San Diego. But I am very optimistic about our statewide election. I do fear that maybe Arnold might win on one proposition (74 seems to have a decent chance to squeak by), and be able to claim victory since he seemed doomed to humiliating defeat. The whole lowered-expectations thing. But we should have a good idea in a few hours how things have played out. Oh, and if you're in California and haven't voted yet, do so, and vote no on everything except 79 and 80.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wynn Resorts posts $14.2 million third-quarter loss. The article mentions rumors of disappointing ticket sales for Avenue Q, which makes me wonder if I should have bought my ticket in advance, or taken my chances on buying tickets when I arrived, and saving some Ticketbastard fees. Who knows, maybe the half-price ticket outlets might get tickets. I doubt it, but you never know...I've seen them offer discounted (not half-off) tickets to O before, and those tickets are generally hard to get.
A 78 year old woman, taken into custody by casino security after picking up a nickel left by another gambler, was awarded $600,000 in punitive damages on appeal (reduced from $875,000). The appeal court's ruling (PDF file) is an interesting read, and a reminder that one is not necessarily better off playing in the nice, legal brick-and-mortar casinos, given the disregard for civil liberties many of them have been known to show (and are finally beginning to pay for in court). I may have anxiety about Casino On Net actually paying me, but at least they are extremely unlikely to detain me against my will (and I'd like to think the La Mesa Police Department would be on my side, should they try--but I have no doubt on which side the Las Vegas authorities would come down if I had a problem in one of their city's fine gambling parlours).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I've come to the conclusion that online gaming may not be the best thing for someone of my compulsive tendencies. I'm not writing off online poker entirely, just thinking of scaling back my efforts in that area. Taking a little break. Getting back to my first love, reminding myself that poker is not the only game in town. And so I have booked a trip to Vegas, two nights at the Stardust, and even bought a ticket to see Avenue Q at an obscene price. I figure it's time to do some serious gambling, in my prime element, where I know the score. Remind myself of what's out there, so that I don't think I have to stake my survival on becoming a better poker player.

So I decided I would tone down my gambling until the trip, but decided to make one last jab at online riches. Give poker a brief respite, and hopefully return to the game with a fresh outlook. Instead, I directed my attention away from the poker rooms and towards the online casinos, and their lucrative new player bonuses. At first glance, these deals are no-brainers, with new players often getting 100% bonuses on first deposits, sometimes up to $400. But I've avoided these offers, for two primary reasons. First, I've never trusted the casinos to offer legitimate games, and pay off fairly. They have much more to gain by cheating at casino games than at poker, where the house merely takes a cut of the action. Second, a related point, I don't trust them to give me my money if I win, especially if I win while taking advantage of a bonus offer. The terms and conditions at many of these sites basically state they can take your money if they think you're taking advantage of them, and you have no recourse. And, of course, any site can fail to pay you for any or no reason, and you really have no recourse. To be fair, most casinos seem to offer fair games and pay their obligations, but it always worries me. Moreso with casino games than poker, because, as I mentioned, the house doesn't have a direct stake in the action at poker, but also because of the higher stakes of casino gaming, where you might be chasing a huge jackpot rather than just some big pots. A casino might pay off small wins, but what if you hit it big?

So this form of online gambling makes me nervous. But I believe the major players in the market are honest and legit (they do have one thing in common with poker rooms--they're making too much money legitimately to risk cheating customers and driving off their clientele), and the sign-up offers are tempting. So I played at several casinos this week. Had some good luck at King Solomons Casino, but had bad luck taking advantage of some good follow-up offers they sent me (and also had some technical issues in taking advantage of those offers). Decent site overall, and since playing there once they twice deposited $50 into my account (one of these times was a birthday present), with no apparent strings attached (I lost it both times before trying to cash it out, but there didn't seem to be a minimum play requirement). The technical issues bothered me a bit, though, and customer service was only adequate, at best. Bodog seems a good site for people who don't want to shop around. No great signup bonus or anything, just a standing offer of 10% added to every deposit, with minimal play requirements. After playing and losing my initial deposit and my second deposit, I logged in a few days later and found $55 in my account. Never received an email telling me they gave me a bonus or anything, so I found that a bit odd. I'm not real crazy about their banking interface, and their deposit limits seem a bit low (though you can apply for a raise). I played at other sites, but only one other merits mention.

I won't actually put a link to Casino On Net, because of the horrendous overuse of popups and javascript windows, but feel free to go to their website,, if you like (the windows are annoying, but won't download anything unless you consent). They are one of the oldest players out there, and have a good reputation, and a generous 100% deposit bonus, up to $200, for new players. So I deposited $200, and did pretty well for awhile, and then things turned ugly. I eventually went broke and deposited again, and things were looking pretty bleak. And then I hit four deuces at deuces wild. And then I returned to blackjack, and kept winning there. And now I find myself facing the situation I wondered about: Will the casino pay me when I hit it big?

I'm not too worried, as Casino On Net has a good reputation. My main concern at the moment is when the cash will hit my bank account. One annoying aspect of Casino On Net is that they basically sit on all cashout requests for five days, then spend a day or two processing them, and then it takes a day or two to finally reach your bank. So they say a wire transfer payment should take 10-13 days. Which means it will most likely post the day I leave for Vegas. So I have no guarantees I will have that money to fund my Vegas trip. And as I hate banks and their piddling interest rates, I find myself in a bit of a cash crunch, with few liquid assets. I've transfered about everything to my credit union, and I will have a decent bankroll for Vegas, but if Casino On Net pays me in time, I will have a little more flexibility for taking risks in Vegas.

To conclude my discussion of Casino On Net, I'll just say that their software is somewhat annoying, as is their website, and their cashout policy is ludicrous (they are most generous in that, after you have wagered at least $3 million at their casino, they will only sit on your cashout requests two days before processing them). But I had good luck there, and so I will most likely play again. I would have to say, though, that both King Solomons Casino and Bodog are more likely to get the bulk of my action. And I'll probably keep shopping around, as I still haven't found a casino that offers everything. And so while I have put some of my big win towards replenishing my dwindling poker bankroll, I do plan to reinvest some of that win into some more lucrative sign-up bonuses.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A touching and amusing Peanuts strip. Charlie Brown's refrain is rather reminiscent to a Magnetic Fields tune, "The night you can't remember, the night I can't forget", or something like that.
Another post of mine has disappeared for some reason...don't know why, but it happens infrequently enough that I choose not to worry about it.

UPDATE: This replacement post also didn't show up, but I was able to recover this post, since I hadn't logged off yet. So I don't have to type this post a third time. I think it has something to do with the "preview" option, so I just have to stop checking my spelling and HTML coding, I guess)

Anyway, the last post was just to let you know that Music Without Boundaries is returning to San Diego radio, on 91X. Thank you, Clear Channel. I've discovered several artists on this program, including Natalie MacMaster, and (one of my all-time favorites) the Hot Club of Cowtown. Too bad my tendency to sleep in, now that I don't work Saturdays, means I will probably be an irregular listener, at best.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Poll numbers show that all of the governor's four ballot propositions losing. And momentum doesn't seem to be on Arnold's side (though given his horrendous poll numbers personally, I was surprised the percentages were as close as they are). Now we just have to hope low turnout doesn't lead to any nasty surprises.
The following are my results from one of those personality tests you can take online. I'm posting it since, if I were truly paranoid, I would not put such damning test results online, where my friends and loved ones could find them and use them against me. So the test is clearly bullshit. Probably was rigged to give me bad results by one of my closest friends, just to drive me mad. But I'll show them soon enough... (actually, I would say it's my low narcissistic score that puts the validity of the test in doubt, as I tend to think I'm pretty full of myself)
Paranoid Personality Disorder:High
Schizoid Personality Disorder:High
Schizotypal Personality Disorder:Moderate
Antisocial Personality Disorder:Low
Borderline Personality Disorder:Low
Histrionic Personality Disorder:Low
Narcissistic Personality Disorder:Low
Avoidant Personality Disorder:Moderate
Dependent Personality Disorder:Low
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:Moderate

-- Take the Personality Disorder Test --
-- Personality Disorder Info --