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Losing My Casino-Virginity

On Flower Power

As frightened as I was, I did it. I lost my casino-virginity. Last Thursday I went to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut with a bunch of good-time friends who are more experienced than I am. We shared a suite on the highest of floors and had the most magnificent view over a frozen lake. After a couple of drinks, I made it down to the casino part of the hotel.

Before I go into the gambling part, let me tell you how capturing these casinos really are. First of all, there are no windows! No matter what time it is, it will always be dark. That is probably also the objective: these places want to get as much money as possible from you, so they take away your sense of time.

The enormous area illuminated the roulette tables and slots with flashing colorful lights, directing your eye and attention to the win-it-or-lose-it facilities. You won’t know where to look: every side looks completely different. While there is a huge plastic ice castle on your left, there is a wooden forest-like area to your right. It’s a world of magic; anything can happen.

I wanted to start small, so my other casino-virgin friend Chris and I made our way to the slots. Big mistake. We lost $20 just like that. We also had no clue as to what we were doing, so in a way that makes sense.

2011

On Tynan

New Year's eve is approaching, which means that people are making their New Years' resolutions and asking me what mine are. I don't have any, and I think that's a good thing.

The problem with New Years Resolutions is that they're not motivated by a burning desire to change. Wee all know that most people don't really change, and we know how hard it is for us to change ourselves. The only fuel powerful enough to push through that pain period is the burning desire for results. New Year's resolutions don't have that burning desire. Instead we realize it's a new year, get the fluffy feeling that a fresh start is upon us, and then scramble to make up New Year's resolutions. That method of change is about as effective as the US' "war on drugs" is against drug addiction.

How motivated can you possibly be if you're willing to wait until the ball drops before taking action? Not very. I have a friend who is capable of, and has executed on many occasions, 180 degree life changes. On a normal day if he told me he was going to do something difficult, I'd have full faith in him. But he recently picked up smoking and told me he's quitting for New Year's. I bet he won't. Quitting cigarettes requires a fundamental hatred for the effects smoking has on your body and life. Anything less is a break from smoking. If he had that harsh emotion, he wouldn't be smoking today.

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