Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Val Couldn't Get Forked at the Casino

I'm sure you're eagerly awaiting the lunch review from last week's casino trip. Or maybe not. You're getting it anyway! It's not like looking at food will put calories on your hips! Same as looking at a slot machine won't take money out of your pocket (or your ATM!).

Hick started with a new dessert. Pecan Pie!

Mmm... that makes my mouth water, and I don't even LIKE pecan pie. Of course I couldn't get a picture fast enough. It was not served to Hick with the end already eaten off.

Hick also had his standard burger. This might be the most photogenic view I've obtained. I didn't even make Hick pose it. He set it down this way as a happy accident.

The Pony went with the 1-lb Red Shrimp. Not sure why they call it red. I didn't notice any special spices. Oh, wait! Did I just reveal that I ate some of The Pony's shrimp?

He couldn't finish it all. No need to let it go to waste! No need to let Hick put it in his pecan pie juice and take it home in a clear plastic pie-purse!

Since there was no Fair Food skinny corn dog available, I returned to my new favorite.

The Philly Cheesesteak was extra steaky this day! I must admit, I was afraid I might have to dive into it like a pie-eater at the fair! The guy who took our order did not bring me any plasticware! Never expect a man to do a woman's job right. The old lady who has taken our order the last four times was not there. She was when we left, walking around cleaning up. Maybe she switched shifts

Anyhoo... WHO doesn't provide plasticware for somebody eating this Philly Cheesesteak? Look at it! No way could I pick that up and eat it like a sandwich. Of course Hick and The Pony took The Guy's side.

"Mom. You didn't ask for it."

"I never ask for it! The Lady always brings us each a set, along with the ketchup and salt and mustard."

"Mom. He asked you right after we paid! If we needed anything else. And you said 'lots of napkins.'"

"Yes. And he brought them. I thought plasticware was standard. He gave it to Dad."

"Val. I had PIE. He knew I'd need it for the pie, so he handed it to me right there."

I still sense a conspiracy to slow down my feeding...

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Pony Locks Down His Thunder So Val Cannot Abscond With It

Back in the day of my fantastic $8,600 casino jackpot, The Pony was disappointed (!) by my win, because he'd had quite a notable day on the slots himself. He felt like I took the spotlight off of his success. Not that The Pony is self-centered or anything. How could he be, with Hick and Val for his parents...
Last Thursday, The Pony made sure I didn't steal his thunder. In fact, he locked his thunder in a treasure chest wrapped with chains, mailed the keys to an invalid address so they'd languish in the Dead Letter Bin, buried the chest in a lead-lined concrete vault, that he covered with a swamp inhabited by alligators fed a vegetarian diet, and established a perimeter of thorn bushes infested with fire ants and spitting cobras. Nobody was going to steal The Pony's thunder on Thursday!

First of all, let's flash back to the day of Val the Thunder-Thief.

The Pony had some major luck on the Zapper. We don't know the real name of this slot, so we call it the Lightning Thing or the Zapper. Or sometimes, if he and I are feeling particularly science-y, The Van de Graaff Generator.

As you can see here, The Pony hit a Zap of $203.60. It's in the box near the bottom left, showing the total credits won. He was playing the max bet of $2.00 a Zap. Armed with all that wealth, The Pony continued to play. And four minutes later, 

The Pony hit a Zap of $627.60. Again, it's in the total credits won box. The other number shown is as the machine is counting up the wins. This time, he was betting $1.00 per Zap.
So... you can understand how The Pony was disappointed that my big jackpot took attention off his incredible (on any other gambling day) win. He won over $800, and left with $700-something of it.

Now, back to present time, last Thursday. 

The Pony tried a new slot, Buffalo Revolution. I think I played it once, somewhere on an Oklahoma trip, and I didn't like it. Well, I think it's safe to say that The Pony DOES like it! He really likes it, as much as we all like Sally Field.

The Pony hit a $559.55 bonus, on a 75-cent bet. It's already added the bonus win to his CREDIT tally in this picture. The Pony went on to play some other games new to him, and had a streak of luck. When we were ready to leave, he had this magnificent ticket to cash out:

So magnificent, in fact, that the cash machine spit it back out, with the message that the ticket was too big, and would have to be redeemed by the cashier. The Pony wasn't happy about that, but he has young and nimble legs, so it was a minor setback at most. What else are you gonna do, have a tantrum and tear up your ticket? I think not!

Anyhoo... The Pony got his day in the sun. I congratulate him on his win.

I do not recommend that anybody go out to a casino to win this easy money! Nobody takes pictures of their losses. Because... um... there's NOTHING to take a picture of.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Selfishness For Thee But Not For Me

You may recall that on Friday, I had thrown myself on the floor in a kicking and screaming tantrum shared with you how the casino had reconfigured their points system, and taken my $30 FREE CASH comp that I'd been saving to withdraw on my next visit. Well. As Hick so kindly pointed out on the way to our next casino visit Thursday, the casino had also stolen my PLAYER POINTS! Uh huh. Just a fraction of them remained. I'd gone from $40-something worth to $2.85.

"You could have used them for us to eat on, but you said no."

"I remember that. I said for her not to use my points when she rang it up."

"Uh huh. You were SELFISH, and saving them for yourself!"

"Yes. That is what selfish means. For the self. Excuuuuse me! I suppose I was just going to buy our lunch like a big spender, while you and The Pony saved your points for YOURselves! As I recall, neither of you had enough points to spend on lunch, because you had CASHED THEM OUT for money to play on!"

"Well. You were selfish. And lost your points."

I do not love the smell of hypocrisy in the afternoon.

Sheesh! So in Hick's mind, I was supposed to use my saved-up points to pay for lunch for the three of us, but he and The Pony were smart in using their point-money as soon as they got it. Okay. I guess they WERE smart, because theirs got used, and mine got taken back by the casino. So, thinking only of themselves paid off for Hick and The Pony, but I was supposed to be so caring and sharing that I should have bought lunch for them.

Let's see. Hick and The Pony were smart. But SELFISH! Val was only stupid. And now madder than before, thanks to Hick pointing out that she was a bigger loser than she originally thought!

Anyhoo... on our Thursday casino trip, I did not come out a winner. I lost $50. The same amount I was ahead on the last visit. Even Steven for the past two visits. Of course, I think I play pretty smart, despite losing $50. I run my money through, and cash out wins and save the ticket. That way I generally leave with most of my casino bankroll. I don't keep playing wins down to nothing. (Like Hick.)

Hick the selfishness-screamer was in a bit of a bind when he joined The Pony and me at the casino, after making his rounds about town looking for gun bargains to resell. He found me right after the slot tournament.

"Ya got any money? Alls I have is seventy."
Even cheapskate-roller Hick can't make that last for three hours in a casino. But seriously. After his SELFISH crack, why would I lend him one cent from my casino bankroll, culled from decades of wins?
"No. Maybe you shouldn't have squandered your money on guns. I guess you'll have to sit up front and play on your phone until we're ready to go. Or you can probably find an ATM and take out some of our money to pay back when you get home."
"I ain't takin' money out of no ATM to gamble with!"
Well said. We have NEVER, EVER done that, in our many long years of gambling. Not once. Off Hick went. To lose his money. Off I went. Feeling guilty. So a few minutes later, I sent him a text.

"I have a ticket you can cash out, and use some to play on. But you have to pay me back AS SOON AS WE GET HOME."

Heh, heh. It didn't take Hick five minutes to weave his way through the casino to find me. Almost as if I was emitting a FREE MONEY beacon for him to follow. THEN he acted put-out when I told him to bring me the rest, after he cashed the ticket. He self-righteously declared that he was good for the money. I held firm. And he brought it back to me. Although I would have preferred he not flash it in plain sight and make a show of counting it out. Also, Hick DID pay me back as soon as we got home. At least before he went to bed. And no, Hick was not a winner either that day.

Here's a picture of a little win, just to brighten up this shady tale of woe. Of course I cashed it out, but played elsewhere, so I didn't haul away any profit. At least I replaced what I spent of my casino bankroll, except for $50. Not a good day at the casino, but not a bad day at all.

This slot is Wonder 4 Boost. The game has four screens, but if you get a special bonus (like I did), or get the random BOOST, it goes to 8 SCREENS! For playing 13 games with 8 screens, this is actually a pretty poor bonus, even at my minimum bet of $1.60 (.40 per screen when it his this bonus).

Anyhoo... I'm not complaining about this win. Just about Hick reminding me that the casino had ripped me off for my hard-earned points money as well as the comp money. Who would have ever expected a casino to steal their money...

Sunday, September 27, 2020

YayHills Are the New Creachers

A new tribe has invaded Outer Backroads. Gone away are the Creachers, the strangers who used to congregate at our creek beach. All not-good things must end, I suppose. But they've been replaced! So don't you worry about Val having idle time on her hands, with nothing to blog-complain about. The new menace is the YayHills! They are yayhoos staking a claim on higher ground.
Saturday afternoon, I was almost home. T-Hoe was chugging up the roller-coaster-like long hill, before coasting down the other side to Mailbox Row and the Creach. Up top, I spied a human! Standing on the pavement at the crest of the hill. Well. That's an unusual sight. I'm extra-curious these day. A pitchfork-waving, tar-and-feather-justice-craving, stark raving vigilante since Hick discovered the stolen vehicle on our detached 10 acres.
This hill area is the unoccupied land where Hick lost Juno many years ago, after she followed him and the Gator down to the mailboxes, and he left her. In fact, the last human presence I saw on that property were the Rockers, raping the land and hauling giant boulders out on a flatbed trailer. It was three years ago. Maybe four.

Now, here were three dudes mucking about at the fence line. Maybe they were putting in a gate? Maybe they had undone a slipshod gate made of barbed wire and sticks? There's no metal hinged gate there, that's for sure. The property is completely wooded, except for the small clearing to get a car off the blacktop.

Anyhoo... the road dude was dressed like a frat boy. Khaki pants that Jake from State Farm might envy, and a royal blue t-shirt with a white logo. He had dark hair, in a nondescript cut, that might be replicated by putting a bowl on one's head and trimming what sticks out.

A second dude was dressed like a moonshiner! Wearing the pointy, wide-brimmed, felt hat, favored by moonshiners, and camouflage clothing. The third dude was dressed like a moonshiner's helper. Nondescript jeans and a dark t-shirt, with a cap covering his hair.

They had a red pickup truck parked in the little clearing just past the barbed-wire fence. It was a not-Ford, not-Chevy. Beside it was some kind of small vehicle, either a 4-wheeler or a side-by-side. I couldn't turn my head to look, because I had to skooch T-Hoe over to avoid that Frat Boy, and keep an eye out for oncoming traffic cresting the hill from the other side.

Maybe they were long-distance owners or heirs of that property, getting it ready for a deer-hunting expedition. It's about that time of year, you know. Or maybe they were city folk with country acreage, funnin' with us, trying out their Halloween costumes out here in the sticks.
The Frat Boy waved at me as I drove by. Um. RED FLAG! Unless we are neighbors with connecting land, nobody waves on these roads. Not even a courtesy wave if you stop to let them cross the low water bridge before you do! Was Frat Boy trying to throw me off my just-opened investigation? To make me think he belonged? We'll probably never know.

One thing is for sure, though. Creachers AND YayHills are POO. People of Outside Origin.

Yes. I am Judgy McJudgerson, perched astride my high horse upon a pedestal, my lovely lady-mullet skimming the clouds, peering down my nose at the YayHills. I earned this position the day Hick found a stolen truck parked in the woods of our detached 10 acres.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Val's Week Ends in PENCE-DIMEonium

Whew! The harvest came down to the wire this week, with Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune collection basket barer than Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. I thought Steven was Evening-out my prior weeks-o-plenty. But NO!

FRIDAY, September 25, I rounded T-Hoe's rear to head into the Gas Station Chicken Store, and spied a shiny circle on the pavement beside him. I thought it was the silver foil top off a tiny bottle of energy supplements sold there. They've fooled me before! So I nonchalantly strolled over and poked the silver circle with the toe of my non-New-Balance. It moved like a metal coin! So I forced myself to bend for a closer look.

It was a DIME, by cracky! Waiting just for me, knowing I'd find the Man Owner's parking spot empty on this day and time, and take that route inside.

It was a face-down 2018 dime. [Don't you worry about the Man Owner. As I came back to the stoplight there after buying a (LOSER) scratcher at Country Mart, the Man Owner was indeed parked in his rightful space. Timing is everything.]

With that dime in my shirt pocket, relieved that I hadn't been shut-out this week on my coin quest, I stepped into the Gas Station Chicken Store, to find...

A penny waiting for me! I turned to take a photo, against the backdrop of the front wall, covered in previous scratchers winners. Hick was in there yesterday, and left AMAZED by the wallpaper decor. Now he wants to do it HERE! And I think he meant INSIDE the HOUSE! Not gonna happen.

This was a face-down 2018 penny. Very sticky with something. Not Diet Coke! That stuff isn't sticky, and it will also remove a grease stain from your shirt if you drop something tasty on it during a feeding frenzy in a casino. Just sayin'...

Double-happy with my double-find, I turned to start down the middle aisle in a quest for my 44 oz Diet Coke, and saw an even better surprise!

A second dime, and a second penny! Could life possibly get any better? Well, maybe... if I had one of those Hostess treats on the shelf behind them.

It was a face-down 1992 dime.

And a 2001 penny, also face-down. Much shinier than the sticky 2018 by the door.

That makes 4 COINS this week, for 22 CENTS! All found in the span of 60 seconds. The crowd (okay, just Val) went wild with excitement. Can't beat that with a stick! Speaking of beating, I beat last week's total! [19 cents, which I was please with at the time.]

Penny       # 111, 112.
Dime         # 20, 21.
Nickel       still at 10.
Quarter    still at 1.

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, September 25, 2020

That's Casino Robbery!

I'm not talking about the one-armed and no-armed bandits robbing me while I play slot machines. That's a given. Something I expect. If the timing is right, I'll win. If not, I'll lose. I'm prepared for that. What I was NOT prepared for was for my new favorite casino to RIP ME OFF FOR $30!

I'm a low-mid-level roller. I get comps in the mail from casinos. At this casino, Hick had a weekly comp of $10. The Pony had $20 a week. And I had $30 a week. Since this casino changed ownership in January or February, things had been operating pretty much as before. We'd get our booklet with tear-out coupons for our CASH comps. We loved it! No other casinos gave out CASH. Only free play.

Anyhoo... the whole VIRUS thing changed our casino habits. We didn't go for four or five months. But we'd still get our comp booklets in the mail, with our weekly cash ready to be available when the casino could reopen. It was a state gaming issue, not a local thing.

Once it reopened, we took our little CASH coupons, got a voucher at the player's card desk, and took it to the cashier for our CASH. The Pony and Hick usually spent theirs, but I sometimes held onto mine to use for scratchers. We went to the casino about every two weeks. And I noticed that the casino was giving us our weekly CASH comps, even for the weeks we did not go. YIPPEE! That was also unusual, but I guess they really wanted to lure the hard-core gambling addicts back.

When I'd go to the player's card desk, they'd ask how much I wanted of my CASH comps. At one point, I had a $120! I took $60, planning to get the rest on future visits. Which I did. I used the current week's CASH comp, and another $30 that was added during our absent week, and a $30 of that $60 I had left. IT'S NOT A MATH PROBLEM, PEOPLE! Don't get all "I'm confused" about the figurin'! 

The point is... I knew I had $30 left on my casino CASH account, and planned to use it next trip, combined with that current week's $30 comp. (Hick made us go two weeks in a row, for his gun-running purposes at the pawn shops!).

Well. I walked in, jammed my player's card in the first slot I saw, to activate the week's CASH comp... and saw that my ginormous total of points that translate to cash had been ravaged. Seriously. All the zeroes were off that puppy! It seemed like less than a 10th of my previous balance. It looked like I only had TWO DOLLARS of cash available from my player's points! But it DID say that I had $30 of free play that I could activate in any slot machine.

Ever since MARCH, that casino had been putting out info that soon they would be updating their system to allow people to access their comps on the slot machines, rather than going to the player's card desk. Yeah. Those wolf-criers! That's dirty pool! They should have given a specific date when that would happen! I think they first said it would happen in June (when they weren't open yet). Then July. Then August. When it didn't, I grew complacent. I had a good thing going.

No way would I have left my precious $30 on that account! I would have sucked that sucker dry! Cash money is cash money! The Pony says that you can still print out a ticket and take it to the cash machine and get it that way. I haven't tried it. Most places won't let you do that with free play. You have to actually PLAY it in the slots until it's gone, after first putting in some of your own money to activate it. I'll have to check this out.

In the meantime, I'm absolutely LIVID about losing my $30 of FREE CASH! I have a good mind to, uh... never go... back... there. I'll show THEM!

Oh, who are we kidding? I was just there yesterday.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Baconator

Hick is one of those people who fall backa$$ward into FREE STUFF. Not just the things Back Creek Neighbor Bev wants to get rid of, or furniture he finds at the end of driveways waiting for the trash truck, or casino comp items that he sells at his Storage Unit Store. Remember how one of Hick's customers brought him a 20 lb box of sausage links, and a 20 lb box of chicken patties?
Yes, the same customer brought it to Hick last week. It's over in The Original FRIG's freezer in the BARn, with the rest of the free meat. It's sliced bacon, with rashers (?) separated by paper dividers. Hick says it's hard to get it apart, to bring portions over to the house. He takes a plastic Chinese Tupperware container to fill it, then put in FRIG II.
Here's the deal. We were going to have roasted vegetables (carrots/potatoes/onions) and bacon for supper last week. I peeled and sliced the vegetables, and draped the bacon over them, to cook before I went to town. When it was done, I had The Pony assisting me to put stuff away until supper time.
"Look, Pony. I'm taking this bacon off with the tongs, and laying the slices on this plate. Count with me, since last time we mysteriously came up with missing bacon."
We counted. There were 7 pieces of bacon, and about as many half-slices of bacon. I don't know about how you hummingbird-stomached people eat, but in this house, THAT IS NOT ENOUGH BACON FOR 3 PEOPLE'S SUPPER! Let the record show that The Pony and Hick can each eat a steak the size of Fred Flintstone's rack of brontosaurus ribs. And I'm sure it will come as not surprise that Val is a hearty eater herself.
"Huh. Dad didn't bring enough bacon. You guys can have it. I'll have something else with my vegetables. I'll see what Country Mart has in the deli. Next time, he needs to bring more bacon over."
Yeah. I survived on a chicken-fried-steak-on-a-biscuit sandwich. I asked Hick how many slices of bacon he thought we each should have.
"I don't know, Val. But I thought I had more. It's hard to peel that bacon apart. I need to let it thaw a little, and take some baggies over there and package it so I can just pick up a bag and bring it over here to thaw."
I did get two half-slices of the bacon, to put on my chicken-fried-steak sandwich. It seems like good bacon. If you can get it...

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

If You Go Down In the Woods Today, Beware of a Big Surprise

Hick went down in the woods Monday, and it was NO PICNIC!

Remember how we've been having some unwanted activity around our enclave? Like the white Dodge sedan that parked overnight on our Other 10 Acres, then was seen elsewhere on our gravel roads? And the guy breaking into a neighbor's house, caught on camera? There's MORE!

Wednesday evening, the guy whose kids vandalized Hick's Creekside Cabin called Hick to say that he'd just run off some people in a side-by-side who were riding around by a house that's for sale. He asked if they lived here, and they said no, they lived out on one of the nearby county blacktop roads. So he told them they were trespassing, and to get on out of here, and not come back. I find a certain satisfaction in that irony, he himself the parent of trespassers...

Sunday evening, Hick was called by a guy who said there was somebody burning stuff on our Other 10 Acres. He went up there, but only saw two small piles of sticks, which the lady living next door likes to burn. Sure, it was on our side of the property line, but Hick didn't even stop. He said maybe she'll rake up some sticks from OUR side and burn them.

Monday, Hick decided to go up to our Other 10 Acres and look around. He drove the tractor, planning to move a few more logs along the frontage, to keep people from driving in. A car won't make it, but currently a 4-wheeler or 4WD truck could. He'd been gone about an hour when he texted me.

"Just found an abandoned truck down in the woods at our Other 10 Acres."

"Are you calling the police? Might be stolen."

"Yes. Waiting on them to call me back."

"Did you ask HOS if he knows anything about it?" [Hick's Oldest Son, who used to live up there until last summer, when he moved into the $5000 House he and Hick renovated.]

"Yes. He said he saw it a while back, and sent me pictures. I never got them.

"Huh. Seems pretty random for a stranger to leave it. And when was HOS out here, and why didn't he call you? Last I remember, he texted you he was up there getting some of his stuff. That was before you put the log across the driveway."

"He said since I didn't text him back, he figured I didn't care. He's re-sending the picture. Somebody has been cutting wood. Looks like trees on the ground. Maybe to make a fire."

"Might be something with the neighbors or people they know."

"No. I asked them. They saw a couple trucks up here a few weeks ago, but said they left pretty quick. I'm still waiting on the deputies. It must be shift change for them. It's 3:00."


The county sheriff's deputy arrived, and ran the VIN. As he called it in on the radio, he said, "It looks like it could be the truck the Backroads police chased out here a few weeks ago. They lost it on [county blacktop road where are mailboxes are]."

Hick got more information, by eavesdropping, and by making conversation while waiting for the county to send a tow truck.

The Backroads police know who was driving the truck when they chased it. They know the truck was reported stolen from a little town over by Bill-Paying town, about three weeks ago. At the time, it had a motorcycle in the back. Gone now. 

Hick showed the deputy the picture of the house-breaker-inner, INSIDE the house, that the owner had put on the enclave's Facebook page. And said people out here think he lives in the house by our Other 10 Acres, where the stick-burning lady lives. The deputy said they are acquainted with that guy, and he has been involved in a lot of stuff, and they are investigating.

Oh, and such a coincidence... the guy who the truck belonged to just happened to call the dispatcher while Hick and the deputy were waiting for the tow truck, asking if they had any information lately on his stolen truck. Maybe he was listening to a scanner, and heard about a truck found on someone's property.

Something is pretty fishy here. Not pointing any fingers. I'm not a big believer in coincidences. Somebody knows somebody who knows something.

Here's the truck:

It looks like a little one, but it's a Ford F-150. Took two tow trucks to get it out. A 4WD wrecker to hook up to it and pull it to the gravel road, and a flat-bed tilting car-hauler to take it to town. Hick volunteered to use his tractor if they couldn't get it. The deputy said, "This is going to cost that guy more than the truck is worth! He's already said he doesn't have insurance on it." 

Hick said there was also a BBQ grill and a vaccum cleaner sitting down by the creek, which is in the direction behind the truck. Heh, heh. Were they going to have a cookout and clean up? Hick thinks those items were probably in the back of the truck (with the motorcycle?) when it was stolen. I am wondering it that's a truck, or a clown car! 
Hick says it looked like that truck had made several trips in and out, accessing our Other 10 Acres by a pig-trail of an entrance off the gravel road, and not by the driveway at the top of the hill by the neighbors. It's stuck there in the picture. Hick said it drove over a downed tree, which slammed the other side into an upright tree, denting the other side, and pinning it so they couldn't drive out.

Hick spent the rest of the afternoon pulling tree trunks across the front of the property.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

And Now, the Requisite Weirdo Encounter

No trip to the casino would be complete without a denizen pulled in by Val's Weirdo Magnet. I'd been there scarcely an hour when he appeared. 

I'd established residency along the back wall, at a set of Wonder 4 Spinning Fortunes slots. The Pony and I like to play there, and he'd given me instructions (what with him staying home, feeling a bit indisposed) to take a twenty and play it on his favorite game, Brazil.

Of course my desires came first. I played my Buffalo Gold on the very machine that had given me my $8,600 win. Not with hopes of that lightning striking me twice, but because that slot gives a lot of bonuses, which (while not always profitable) are fun to play. Indeed, I had several bonuses that didn't even pay back the amount of my bet! But then the slot felt remorseful, and gave me a screen that was a winner.

Bottom left, I had a buffalo in all five columns, thanks to the multipliers, which are wild. Usually, you get ONE multiplier. Sometimes two. But to get three of them, with two being X3, is GREAT! This slot plays four games at a time. The bet per spin was $2.40, but each individual game is only a $.60 bet. So that payoff was actually very good. Too bad the other three screens didn't hit such a winner as well!

Anyhoo... I moved to the slot on my left, that one being The Pony's favorite, the one he has the best luck with Brazil. I don't understand Brazil, but when it hits a good bonus, it can be as lucrative as Buffalo Gold.

The Pony got $99.30 on this bonus, from a $2.00 bet. It has already added itself over to the "CREDIT" total. I played it down to $100.95 for him, in case another win was forthcoming (it wasn't), and then cashed out.

This was not a great bonus, and I can't even explain what paid off. First of all, I don't understand anything about Brazil, except that you get a bonus with three big green fish (that look like piranhas to me), shown in the top right screen. The bonus gives you 5 free spins, of only one screen. If you get gold butterflies, that's good, because they are wild, and they lock in place, and give you a replay of your win. So in effect, it's like hitting a 2X your win. Here, the bonus already ended, and the screen went back to when the bonus hit. The total bet was $2.00 a spin, with each individual game being worth a $.50 spin.


I was thinking about moving back to my favorite machine, but I fed this one a twenty to see if it would do any good on Buffalo. I was only a couple spins in when I heard a guy at the bar to my right, ordering a beer. He sounded friendly and polite. Maybe overly so... 

Of course Beersly came over and sat down at MY slot! I mean, the one I was thinking about playing. My former jackpot winner. Dang it! I made up my mind to lose that twenty (or win big, but that rarely happens), and move on. I hate playing with someone next to me. Even though there was a see-through plastic divider sticking out past my shoulder, and I was wearing the required mask. I didn't even notice if Beersly was wearing one! It's not a big deal to me, with that divider acting as a sneeze guard. I felt as safe as a buffet salad bar!

Anyhoo... Beersly sat down and greeted me. "Hey, how ya doin'? Get anything good?"

"No. Not really." I make it a rule to NOT ENGAGE with small-talkers in the casino. I don't need any new friends. I'm not there to entertain them. I'm usually counting spins in my head. My luck or lack thereof is nobody's business.

Beersly leaned way over. Getting a bit forward with me, it seemed. But he was only shoving his beer bottle between our slots, on the shelf they sat on. The plastic divider was making it difficult. Not my problem.

Beersly continued talking. I continued ignoring him. No eye contact. No more responses. Beersly played really fast. About half the speed you might use in a slot tournament. Eegads, man! That must be using up money at a really rapid rate on these Wonder 4 Spinning Fortunes! The minimum bet is $2.40 if you play all screens. And why would you play them if you only wanted a single screen?

THEN Beersly turned bitter! He yelled at the machine, where before he had been wheedling, pretty-pleasing for a bonus. In fact, Beersly cursed the machine! And commenced abusing it with his open palm! Smacking the screen, and punching the SPIN button with his fist! As you might imagine, this did not make the slot pay out. I got a little nervous. 
I've encountered such tipsy hotheads in Joplin, at the Downstream Casino, and once in Norman, Oklahoma, at Riverwinds Casino. I try to stay calm. Blend into the loudly-patterned carpet. At Downstream, security came and followed the guy around. At Riverwinds, a cleaning employee called security on her radio, he left, and they announced for him to go to the front entrance (after a mini-conference at the slot, while running his player's card info). I know the Eye in the Sky is always there, watching (usually ME, for taking pictures of my wins), but nobody showed up for Beersly.

I attribute that to his otherwise goody-goody demeanor. He was a small, stocky guy. Neatly dressed. He wasn't staggering or slurring. In fact, when he sat down, he reminded me of RUDY, in the football movie with Sean Astin. Nobody is going to have security come after RUDY!

Anyhoo... Beersly ripped out his player's card, saying what thieves these machines were, and moved to the same kind of slot that was two machines to my left! He started the same abusive curse-and-pound routine with it. He was farther away, and not trying to engage me, so I stayed where I was. In retrospect, not a good idea, because my lucky streak had been broken. I'm sure it was due to Beersly's karma, and not to random chance!

Beersly lost his money, I guess, because he left the area altogether, still hot under the collar. I went up front to register for the slot tournament (no Fourteenthampionship for me this day), and then meet Hick for lunch.

I left with a $50 profit. And The Pony's $100.95. Plus my full casino bankroll that I'd come in with. So I'd call it a successful day at the casino.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Val and Hick Have a FAIRLY Good Lunch at the Casino

Hick and I were excited to try the FAIR FOOD at the casino last Thursday. We'd seen samples of it being brought out on our last visit two weeks prior. The waitress said that since the county couldn't hold their annual fair, the casino was switching up the menu of their only open restaurant to serve FAIR FOOD. Because the casino is selfless like that, I presume...

The menu posted at the entrance didn't explain what some items were. Most FAIR FOODS are pretty recognizable. We knew we wanted to share a funnel cake. I chose a Foot-Long Corn Dog, but couldn't decide on a side. Not that it was a combo. Everything was separate for the FAIR FOOD. I decided on Ribbon Potatoes. I assumed they would be like the home-made potato chips that come from one long slice of potato. It was.

Hick picked the Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops. I had no idea what that might look like. But with a price of 2 for $5.99, I was pretty sure they weren't going to look like something served to Fred Flintstone in his car. Hick went with the Curly Fries for a side. I was hoping he'd pick the Philly Fries, but no such luck. Good thing, because later I saw a picture, and they were curly fries with Philly cheesesteak ingredients on them. Hick doesn't like green peppers.

Anyhoo... let's get to the pictures.

That's my Foot-Long Corn Dog, with the other items in the background. I sent a picture to The Pony, who didn't accompany us because he'd been feeling a bit indisposed. He said, "That's the skinniest corn dog I've ever seen!" I agree. You might think there wasn't much batter on it, but there was. Inside was the skinniest hot dog I had ever seen. The Foot-Long Corn Dog had a good taste. It was crispy. I sometimes use ketchup on a corn dog, but ketchup did not complement this batter. It was good with mustard, though.

My Ribbon Potato was delicious! It was my favorite of all our FAIR FOODS. Crispy, with a little dash of some special seasoning. This kind of potato can sometimes be too oily, or limp and tough. Not mine! I ate every crumb! It looks like more than what's there. It was probably less than one of those Big Grab bags of chips that you can get for a dollar at convenience stores.

Those are Hick's Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops. I cautioned him to let me get a picture first, but he'd already started his feeding frenzy. I don't know about Hick, but I would term them a disappointment. He said there were cubes of pork chop skewered on the stick, then wrapped with bacon. They didn't come with any sauce. I'm pretty sure Hick ate them straight.

Those are Hick's Curly Fries. I did not try them, but they were plentiful. So much that Hick did not finish the entire basket. I'm pretty sure it wasn't because he got filled up on his Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops! I think the Curly Fries might have had a spicy coating. Not sure.

Here's the Funnel Cake. Or as I have come to think of it, the unhappy non-birthday imitation cake. Whoever made this sad treat must have been launching his maiden Funnel Cake. It wasn't so much poured through a funnel as it seemed to have trickled out the end of a ballpoint pen. It barely wove together in a cake form. More like assorted strands of fried batter. And they must have been rationing the confectioner's sugar! The Funnel Cake came with two sauces: caramel and chocolate. I pulled a fast one, and snatched the caramel, telling Hick: "You can have the chocolate sauce."

I was eager to share the caramel sauce with Hick, after the first bite. It was more like watery caramel juice, not sauce. It dripped too much to get a good coating on the Funnel Cake strands. It was like dipping a single strand of spaghetti in tomato juice! Hick declared that the chocolate sauce was "Not good." I gave it a try. It was also runny, and had a bitter taste. We came to the conclusion that the FUNnel Cake was a SADdel Cake. The Pony didn't miss much. He wasn't even enthusiastic about the Foot-Long Corn Dog after seeing the picture.

Too bad, so sad. We won't have a chance to sample the FAIR FOOD again. Saturday, September 19, was the last day of the casino fair. In ranking the items we tried, noting that I did not taste any of Hick's food, I would say they go, in order of best to worst:

Ribbon Potato
Foot-Long Corn Dog
Curly Fries
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops
Funnel Cake

Hope you enjoyed this little taste of FAIR FOOD! Val gets out and about to try these things, so you don't have to!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Hick, in the Casino, With a Dope

Reports of Hick being an asymptomatic superspreader are greatly exaggerated.
We went to the casino on Thursday. The Pony was feeling a bit indisposed, and did not make the trip with us. So it was just Hick and me in line at the grill for lunch. We were looking forward to the FAIR FOOD that we'd glimpsed last trip. [You'll see the fair food tomorrow.]
At 2:30, Hick met me at the entrance. It's an open area on the back right side of the casino. It used to be called the Lone Wolf Express, but with the new ownership since January, it's called Express. You go through a line, looking at pie slices in a glass case, and the menu on the wall up near the ceiling. Then you order at the register, get your foam soda cup/lid/straw, and head to the soda fountain. NO REFILLS!
The Pony would have been proud of Hick this time. He actually waved his palm under the sanitizer dispenser at the entrance to Express, rather than pushing on it, whacking it, and shaking it. We were sanitized up to our elbows as we walked across the tile to the pie cooler. Of course we were masked, as that's a rule to gain entrance into the casino, and not get tossed out on your ear. I, myself, felt prepared to perform surgery. Hick, I wouldn't have trusted to play a game of OPERATION! Not for sterility reasons, but because he doesn't know water-on-the-knee from a wrenched ankle.
Anyhoo... Hick walked ahead of me, and I didn't think to complain. He does that all the time, almost as if I am not worthy. Besides, I was thinking about what FAIR FOODS I wanted for my meal. I was standing behind Hick, still thinking, when the man ahead of him turned around.
"Hey, buddy."
Buddy did not speak back. In fact, he looked a little unfriendly. Then it dawned on me what his problem was. Hick had dared get within four feet of his back! I guess Hick sensed his perceived faux pas. But he held his ground. 
"I'm on MY circle, buddy. Yours is over there." Hick pointed ahead to the next circle, over by the brick wall.
Indeed, Hick WAS standing on the six-foot circle. Buddy was in No Man's Land. He'd been looking up in the air. Maybe he was really far-sighted, reading the menu on the back wall. I had assumed he would either go towards the line proper, or we'd pass around him. The only other person in Express was a little old lady standing at the register about 20 feet away! 

In fact, there were THREE more six-foot circle decals between newly-relocated Buddy's spot, and the little old lady. Buddy stood there until she paid and went out into the eating area. Then he walked across the three other circles to order.

Hick and I ordered our FAIR FOOD [tomorrow, I told you!] and proceeded to a table. The tables are set up at least 10 feet apart. Maybe 15. They've taken some of them out. Of course once we were served our food, we took off our masks to eat. 
Midway through our feeding frenzy, I glanced over at the table Buddy had chosen by the entrance. He had been joined by a buddy. They were both dressed in jeans and flannel shirts. It's kind of a uniform around here, even in summer, although temps were in the 70s that day.

Buddy was wearing his mask, so I figured he had finished his meal, and was chatting with his buddy, whose back was to me. Then I saw Buddy pick up something, and lift it towards his mouth! I was distracted by Hick asking something, and took my eyes off him momentarily. I swear, I'm pretty sure Buddy shoved a morsel of food up under his mask to eat it!

Ooh! Yuck! I can't imagine how much gunk was embedded in the weave of that mask, after wearing it around the casino, and touching it to adjust it. And now Buddy was shaking it loose right over his mouth, moving it to put food into his probably-gaping maw. Yet he'd been worried about Masked Hick standing within four feet of his masked self. I guess next time, Buddy will plop himself on a distancing decal forthwith. 

Of course, he'll probably expect the next person to allow three empty circles between them. That is crazy, baby! To wear a mask while you're eating! If you're that skittish, perhaps you shouldn't come to a freakin' casino!

It takes all kinds of kinds, I suppose. As Miranda Lambert sings.
Did I mention that tomorrow, I'll tell you about the FAIR FOOD? With pictures!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

19 CENTS on the 19th, for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!

Three late-week additions ruined my original title this week, but that's okay! We never turn away any coins that turn up after the title, or even after the Saturday CENTSus goes to press.
SUNDAY, September 13, I was thrilled to see a dirty spot on the floor of the Gas Station Chicken Store. They usually run a clean shop. The place is small and old, but you don't find unswept messes on their tile. I couldn't quite tell what I was looking at. For a spot of dirt, it was quite symmetrical. So I put my toe on it to see if I could move it, and I COULD!

Lucky for me, but more lucky for THEM, nobody was behind me to view my ample rumpus as I bent over to take possession of my rightful nickel!

It was a face-down 1984 nickel, patiently waiting to come home with me.

Back at the Gas Station Chicken Store on MONDAY, September 14, I left my phone in T-Hoe. SamGalA needed an android update. Apparently, I'd been ignoring the requests. I would be subjected to a FORCED UPDATE on the 15th, at 1:30. No thank you. Nobody FORCES Val to do anything. So I okayed the update, and left SamGalA to soak up the signal that's better in town than in my kitchen.

Of course you know what happened. Walking from the soda fountain to the register, I spied a DIME on the floor by the chicken counter. No chicken since the VIRUS, so I set my 44 oz Diet Coke on the counter, and waved my ample rumpus for the mirrors above the beer coolers. I'm pretty sure I was caught on the surveillance video. If they caught a sunglasses thief in that very spot, I'm sure my ample rumpus made the highlight reel.

Anyhoo... because my phone was out in T-Hoe, I lost a little joy in my discovery. Once outside, I couldn't even get a picture with the Gas Station Chicken Store surroundings, because my android update was only 62% complete.

Back home in the driveway, I got my picture of this 2000 dime, which was face-down in the store.

WEDNESDAY, September 16, I had business at the bank over in Sis-Town, so I stopped by the Casey's for T-Hoe's weekly gas. While waiting to pay, I spied a penny meant just for me. I gladly vacated my next-in-lineness, and waved my ample rumpus like the checkered flag at Daytona taking a victory lap, so I could get a picture.

Maybe OTHER people are also plastic Christmas mooses, dropping money out of THEIR butts, as they walk out the door.

It was a heads-up 1999 penny, with a floor-detritus arrow pointing right at it! I didn't party like it was 1999. I can only draw so much attention to myself.
THURSDAY, September 17, I pulled out the chair to sit down at the slot machine where I won my $8,600, and found a little gift waiting for me.

It's all paper money or printed tickets these days. The only place to get pennies, nickels, or quarters is at a cash machine (none near this slot), or the cashier's counter (on the other side of the casino).

It was a heads-up 1965 penny, waiting by a slot that doesn't take any coins whatsoever. Oh, and on the way home, I heard my special "Mom" song Holes in the Floor of Heaven, and when I woke up in my OPC (Old People Chair) later that night, I saw an infomercial with a LADYBUG nap-time sleeping bag for kids. I guess my mom went gambling with me that day, since The Pony was a bit under the weather and did not accompany us!

FRIDAY, September 18, was Save A Lot shopping day. I parked in not-my-regular spot, because that was the only one open in the front row. I was actually closer to the Dollar Store end of the lot. There was a gray Tahoe parked on my left, as I opened T-Hoe's large black door. Plenty of room to get out. I was hoping nothing would park closer if that Tahoe left while I was shopping. I even looked out the front window to check, as I was boxing up my groceries. Empty. So far...

I had already climbed in, and was reaching to close the door when I saw a PENNY waiting just for me! I suppose it had been under the gray Tahoe, patiently waiting to reveal itself to me.

It was a heads-up 2017 penny, shiny on the asphalt. Of course I didn't mind climbing back down to fetch him. I had already seated myself again, and reached for the door, when ANOTHER irregularity caught my eye. YES! It was a second penny that I almost missed! 

You'll never see it if you don't zoom in. It's at about the 10 o'clock position compared to the first one. Over by the donut-looking white trash, to the left of the white trash below the donut. It was dirty, and blended in with the dark blacktop.

At least I got a close-up on T-Hoe's console. It was a 2005 heads-up penny. I was planning to photograph it in the field (LOT), but a car was coming, and I thought it might want to park there. So I just grabbed it and climbed into T-Hoe for the third time.

That makes 6 COINS, and 19 CENTS that have thrown themselves at Val this week!

Penny       # 107, 108, 109, 110.
Dime         # 19.
Nickel       # 10.
Quarter    still at 1.

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Schemer Asks Val To Provide a Schematic

As if Hick eating my hour-and-forty-minute supper in six minutes were not enough of a red flag waved in front of ready-to-charge Val... he dared to pass off a personal request after sating himself with the fruits of my labor.

"If I email you a picture of a schematic, can you print it for me?"

"Where did you get it?"

"Off my phone."

"I KNOW that! Where did it come from?"

"Off the internet."

"I know that."

"Well I don't know how much more you want me to say. Can you print it?"

"Last time I printed one, you said it was too small. I can't blow it up."

"Well I can blow it up on my phone. But it's hard to hold my phone while I'm working over in the BARn. Can't you print a whole page? Doesn't it fill the page?"

"Maybe, depends on the size of it. When do you need it?"

"Not soon. Just by tomorrow."

"It's already 7:40 p.m.!"

Hick had no response to that. So I tried. Dowloaded his picture of the schematic showing 38 parts of a shotgun, numbered in the order to take them apart, maybe? Or put back together? I don't read schematics.

The top half was in big bold print: Harrington and Richardson Shotguns. It had a model number. The schematic was the bottom half of the page. I opened it in PAINT, and cropped just the parts, mainly.

I tried to print, but my printer was dead. Oh, it had the green flashing light. But it made no noise like it was limbering up for a print job. It has been doing this since I replaced the ink cartridge. I went into TROUBLESHOOTING, but it just showed the job was pending. Not failed, or whatever that message is.

I looked over my printer. Pushed the OKAY button. The green light went from flashing to solid. No sound of printing. I went back to the DEVICES and the TROUBLESHOOTING. Wait a minute! The job was trying to print to the WORKSHOP PRINTER. The color printer that Genius brought home and gave to me. I switched to my LaserJet, and it worked!
I got a good copy, but with a logo in the background that barely showed on my computer monitor. I lightened the quality to DRAFT, which lightened the background logo, but also the numbered parts 1-38. Hick DID send me a text the next day, saying that it came out good. So he can rebuild his gun and make a tidy profit. 

All for free, I might add. No profit for Val. Used up some of my new recycled ink, too!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Gone in 360 Seconds

You might sense that I garner no joy in cooking for Hick. I do it. But I don't have to enjoy it. No matter how much or how little effort I put in, the meal is hoovered up like the blueberry pies by Davy Lard-Ass Hogan in the story told by Gordy LaChance in the movie Stand By Me

Tuesday evening, I made deep dish pizza for Hick and The Pony. They both love it. Nothing elaborate. It's from the box mix by Chef Boyardee. You mix the packaged dough, let it rise, pour on the canned sauce, and shove it in the oven. Easy peasy, but time-consuming. Oh, and while The Pony likes his pizza right out of the box, Hick must have MEAT on his portion. So I fry hamburger to add on top.

I'd already devoted 50 minutes to the endeavor. The Pony had just slid the puffy creation into the oven. I was washing up some of the dishes when Hick traipsed through the kitchen, and said,

"Now don't take this wrong. But what do you say... it's going to be... maybe 20 minutes until it's done?"

"Yes. Twenty minutes."

"Okay. Because my buddy just called, and wants some numbers off a gun that I have up at my store, so I'm going to run up there and get it. I should be back when it's ready."

"I can warm it up."
"I'll set yours on the stove. I want to get the pan washed."

The trip to town is 10 minutes. The trip back is 10 minutes. I KNEW Hick wouldn't be home when the pizza came out of the oven. In fact, The Pony had finished eating his portion, and was already soaking in the big triangle tub as per his nightly ritual, and I'd washed up all the dishes involved.

Hick was gone for 50 minutes. 

He picked up his deep dish pizza from the stove, and headed for the living room. By the time I wrapped up The Pony's tomorrow-supper and went to sit on the short couch, Hick WAS DONE!

I had devoted an hour and forty minutes to that meal, and Hick ate it in six minutes. I'm glad I didn't whip up a gourmet feast.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Hick Spots a Black Panther

Last week, Hick got a call from HOS (Hick's Oldest Son). They've both been busy with their own lives lately, and haven't been in communication. I only have Hick's side of the tale.

"HOS called me and asked if I still collect things. Well, yeah. He said he knew a lady that had a black panther for sale. In a glass case."

"WHAT? Where would she get that? I don't think you're supposed to have that stuff. It's an exotic animal."

"Apparently, it belonged to her father-in-law, and he died, and she's trying to sell off some stuff. I want you to look up and see if it's legal to own in Missouri."

"Because I have all the time in the world, and you don't have a phone with unlimited data..."

"I TRIED to look it up on my phone, Val, but I couldn't find anything."

"Here. I'll do it right now, while I've still got my laptop on."

Huh. It's really hard to find that information. I couldn't find anything definite. Just a little on the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

"Was it roadkill? Did somebody shoot it? Did that guy buy it? Who stuffed it? The main thing here looks like you need a letter saying it's legal to own. But that depends on how it was killed, and where."

"I had one of my buddies looking, too, and he found that same thing you have there. I don't know if she has a letter. I'm supposed to go look at it this afternoon."

"You're going to her HOUSE?"

"How else am I going to look at it?"

"You're not going to BUY it, are you? What would you do with something like that?"

"I'd put it up at my locker! And probably sell it."

"That's all you need, an illegal stuffed exotic animal at your Storage Unit Store. Where somebody will see it, and report you!"

"It may not be illegal!"

"Don't buy it! You're not going to buy it today, are you? How much is it?"

"Not today. I have to look at it. And find out if it's legal. HOS says she wants two for it. That's cheap! I know I could sell it for more than that! Maybe I'll call the game warden. He should know the laws about exotic animals."

"Yes! That's the best idea. If anyone could tell you Missouri's laws on exotic animals, it should be the game warden."
So off went Hick, to see a black panther in a glass case. When he came home, he showed me a picture that he took with his phone. Not a very good picture, but we'll get to that lower in the page.
"I went in there and seen it. She had all kinds of stuff like that! She didn't have a letter for the panther. The guy's wife is an old lady, and she didn't know anything about any paperwork for it. But she said he used to hunt a lot. He bought this one though. It's been studied, and it's from South America."
"Then you'll definitely need a letter! What did the game warden say?"
"I didn't talk to the game warden. This panther must be okay, because otherwise, how could the guy have brought it into the country? He must have a letter somewhere."
"That is NOT a picture of a black panther. A panther doesn't have spots like that!"
"She said the name of it, but I can't remember.  I think some panthers have spots."

"Is it a jaguar? Or a civet cat? A leopard? I don't know what their spots look like, or where they live, but those are the only big spotted cats I can think of right now."

"I don't remember what kind she said. Anyway, I said, 'So how much do you want for it?' Even though HOS told me she wanted two, I figured I should hear it from her. That glass case it's in is one-inch-thick plate glass. I knew I could get more than two hundred just by selling the glass."

"That would be stupid, to buy a black panther with spots in a glass case, and then sell the case for the glass."

"I don't think I'll be buying it. When I asked the price, she said, 'Two THOUSAND!' I had no idea she's want THAT much! I thought HOS meant two HUNDRED! This lady said the guy had paid five thousand for it way back when he got it. I need to tell my one friend up in Iowa, who built that house with the fancy carved staircase. This is just the kind of thing that would interest him."

Yes. Hick still collects things. But not a two-thousand-dollar, (non-black) black panther, with spots, in a glass case.

As with most things Hick, the end result is often quite different from the original concept.