Saturday, November 30, 2013

33rd New Thing ~ Nice Working With Proper Villains Again

Last June, I found myself grovelling at the feet of Queen Jackie.

(That's Queen Jacqueline Sue UWT Graduate, to those of you who are not on such familiar terms as myself...).

This is Jackie raising her royal cocktail to all grovelling. 

I'm guilty of Graduation Day atrocities. I'm ashamed to say it. But it's true. It's also true that if I'm going down for said atrocities, I'm taking my co-conspirators down with me.


My sister, Michele (aka, Shelly), my mom, (I'll call her....Carolyn) and "Auntie" Cheryl  were in town for the Glorious Event that was Jackie's Graduation from University of Washington Tacoma.

Graduation Day went like this:
  • Drive car to Tacoma Dome at an unnecessarily early hour.
  • Park car. 
  • Cross my fingers that car will still be there when I return.
  • Scramble up the hill.
  • Push and shove my way into the dome.
  • Locate my family and sit down with a sigh. 
  • Wait.
  • Wait.
  • Wait.
  • Then, across the expanse of the dome floor, attempt to spot Jackie in a crowd of 1300 graduates, marching in from two different directions, all wearing pretty much the same outfit. 

    • "Is that her?" 
    • "I think that's her." 
    • "Where?" 
    • "Behind that girl with purple hair." 
    • "Which girl with purple hair?"
    • "The tall one." 
    • "Oh, I see her! I see her!" 
    • "You see Jackie? Where?" 
    • "No, I see the tall girl with the purple hair." 
    • "Well, is that Jackie behind her?" 
    • "No, that's a short Samoan man."
    • "Wrong purple hair."
  • Continue to scan the sea of black robes and flat head-wear.
  • Listen to the commencement speaker talk about her daughter, who was graduating from a different school entirely.
  • Cheer loudly when Jackie walks across the stage.
  • Swear loudly when we can't find her in the crowd of people outside the dome, afterwards.
    • "Okay. Whose flippin' idea was it to meet at the flagpole?" because apparently 1285 other families had the same brilliant plan.  
  • Picture taking at the dome.
  • Picture taking at UWT campus.
  • Margarita's at Moctezuma's. 
  • Regroup at the hotel then hit the casino. Wait, casino? (I know, I know...hence the grovelling.)

I'd never gambled in a casino and wanted to make it a New Thing. What better opportunity, than when Jackie had gathered all the key players. It was like getting the band back together.

We (Carolyn, Cheryl, Shelly, Jackie & I) parked on the outskirts of the Emerald Queen parking lot. A trolley-looking vehicle pulled up to shuttle us to the main door. I asked the faux-trolley driver if I'd be able to take my camera inside the casino. (Blog photo documentation is a high priority.) Bernard, the Trolley driver, wasn't sure.

But when we pulled up to the front doors, the EQ Photography Prevention Security Team was on me and my dangerous weapon (Nikon 5100), telling me I couldn't take it in. We trolley-ed back out to the hinterland and left my beloved camera in the trunk of the car. (Somehow this felt more risky to me than having Carolyn & Cheryl create a diversion while I tried to run past the aforementioned security thugs.) 

No cameras....I guess I saw that one coming. "Oh well," said Bernard, as he ferried us back. "You can always use your smart phones."

Consequently, I have only a couple blurry iPhone pictures in the casino. Shots taken by undercover operatives, which was pretty daring, being that it's clearly some type of felony to take unauthorized casino pictures. (I'm just wondering here.....but if casinos were the fun, exciting place they're marketed to be, wouldn't they encourage pictures of all that fun on people's Facebook and other internet wasteland sites?)

Upon walking into the Casino-proper, my mouth went dry. Not because it was some kind of magical moment, but more from the questionable quality of the overly-recycled air.
"I need something to drink." I dug into my purse for some cash and headed for the "Deli."
I walked up to the counter where a person, clearly unhappy with her job situation, ignored me.
"Excuse me," I croaked in my state of dehydration. "Can I get a Pepsi?" I held out a couple ones.
"It's free," she said, pointing to the self-service beverage bar behind me.
I slipped my precious money back into my purse and grabbed a free pop.
I quickly located my group of supporters and graduation revelers and whispered with glee, "This was free!!" They stared at me.
Maybe they didn't hear me over the canned noise of people winning lots of money.
"THIS WAS FREE!" I said, pointing excitedly to my high-fructose corn syruped, caramel-colored carbonated water. They rolled their eyes.
But from my point of view, I was already ahead. "'The house always wins,' my ass!"

First, I played a couple slot machines. That was futile and unrewarding, on all levels. (And that's aside from the fact that I didn't win a dime.)

I'd hope to garner the courage to play table games. This felt like big girl casino gambling, to me. But I confess that I found the rules, jargon and etiquette intimidating.

I swallowed my Casino Virgin pride and played Roulette then Black Jack.

I really thought I'd like roulette. The spinning wheel, pretty colors and lucky numbers.  But turns so much.

Much to my surprise, Black Jack was the most fun. The dealer was very patient and informative. I won two of three hands. I was so excited. "I want to quit while I'm ahead," I said and thanked the dealer for humoring my rookie questions, amateur hand gestures and mockable inexperience.

When I was telling Carolyn and Cheryl how much money I'd won, Jackie was quick to remind me that I hadn't really won that much because I wasn't subtracting the money I'd wagered. In fact, if I considered all my bets, I was behind. "Your degree is in political stuff," I said. "Quit with all the math already," Holding tight to my casino illusions.

So New Thing #33: Gambling in a Casino. I thought it would be so much fun. Doesn't Ocean's Eleven makes it look like so much fun? But it wasn' all. It was interesting, maybe. But mostly, disturbing and depressing. And probably an appropriate subject for numerous studies in human behavior. But not fun.

And it's not like I believe every commercial I've ever seen but don't those casino commercials make it look like such a wonderful social experience? People laughing and cheering! A big party, right?
Nothing personal if you happen to love the casino experience. I just don't get it and I'm good with that.

In the end, the ride to and from the car was the most fun. Disneyland's got nothing on Bernard's Trolley Experience.


I may not have interesting casino pictures but I have some great graduation shots.

This was the same bench Jackie sat her first day of her freshman year. 

"Mischief Managed"

Congratulations Jackie
Well done, You!!

On the Dean's list every quarter of her four years, Jackie graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy and Economics with a concentration in foreign policy and international relations. (Took me almost four years just to type all that out....)

I presume to speak for everyone in the gang, as I beg Jackie's forgiveness....
Sorry we dragged you to a casino on your special day. For the record, I may have been the mastermind but your mother drove the car!

It was very convenient of Jackie to graduate the same year as the 50 Things. My sister probably wouldn't have been on my side of the continent, otherwise.

Waiting for drinks at the end of the night, someone observed, "It's quiet in here." The hotel bar was almost empty. Apparently no conventions at the Dome.
"It's quiet in here."
"Jackie could sing for us," Shelly said.
"There's no karaoke," Jackie said.
"You can sing a cappella," I pointed out.
"Yeah, we can be your Pips," Cheryl offered.
"You want to be my pimp?"
"Yup, you're out of school now, time to start making your own way! Gotta pay back those student loans somehow."

Post Script:

~ Graduation Party at Paddy Coyne's ~ 

Jackie, Bryan & I : Enjoying the ceremonial Irish Car Bomb

Bryan waiting for us to finish.......


"Touchdown!" Or "Three-points!" Or "Something!!"

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