December 08, 2008

Gamblin' Man

aka - My First Gambling Trip

I've been to casinos before, but I've never actually gambled in one. My first employer gave me $20 once to play slots and I just couldn't do it. I ended up giving it back.

However, when Sean got a free room Sunday night so we headed down to Fallsview Casino, I took $400 and figured I'd go see if I could play the odds. Sean and I cleared $1200 in profits! More below...

I started with a bit of poker - a variant called "Let it Ride". The odds aren't good with poker, but I came in about even there, so not bad. But we didn't stay there long.

Then we went to blackjack (in theory, about 50/50) - but the limits were really high: $25 per bet! So Sean and I pooled about $100 bucks each and he started coaching me. I was pretty darned lucky and we cleared about $400 bucks I think? From then on, we were playing with winnings.

Blackjack is interesting, because there really is a definite right way to play to maximize your odds. But that being said, people at the table nonsensically get angry if you don't play correctly - they feel that it lowers THEIR odds. Each card being dealt has pretty much an equal chance of being any card, so taking or leaving a card can have no NET effect on the next card's probability - so that doesn't make sense at all. The next card is as likely to be a 10 as the card after that, if you don't know what the first card is! I persuaded Sean of this before we left... but he was slipping back into it as others near the end of the table were 'messing up'. Heh, the one time I really did the wrong thing, I prevented the dealer from getting 21.

I tried Casino War (basically, high card wins) which should be 50/50 - but my luck was disastrous and after losing $25 bucks I was like, "Next!" Sean HATED that game (but stay tuned for later...)

We went back to blackjack and Sean and I alternated playing. I think we won about $300. The dealers were all really nice and between Sean, the dealer and the lady next to me, they kept me from making disadvantageous plays.

We got dinner at the buffet with Sean's mother-in-law and Liz (Liz insisted on paying despite all protests). The buffet was just ok, but the desert section was pretty nice. We stuffed ourselves, regardless. Unfortunately, by this time, I realized I was starting to come down with a cold that would last the rest of the week.

We headed back to the blackjack tables where we managed to go through $200 in record time - it was HORRIBLE. With our last two $25 chips, I suggested we each put them on the roulette wheel. I chose red (almost 50/50) and Sean chose 19 (1/38). As it went, I mentioned that this bet reflected our personalities, me playing it safe and Sean going for the big payout.

Well, Sean won! So it was a $875 payout! We were disbelieving for a bit and then totally cracked up. Sean tipped the table $50 bucks and we tried 2 more spins on numbers (just in case - but we lost).

We hit the sack around 3AM and unfortunately, my congestion was getting pretty bad by that point. It made for a not very comfortable night, especially trying to blow my nose without Sean waking up. And apparently when I -did- get to sleep, I was snoring and Sean had to put pillows over his ears to sleep. I blamed the snores on the congestion. And hey, Sean snored too. Unfortunately, any time I had to blow my nose, his snoring stopped and I wasn't sure if he was waking up (he said later he wasn't).

Sadly, the next day our gambling didn't meet with much luck either. But we still had a good take, thanks to the roulette wheel and cards the previous day! It's a bit scary how little money a 24 buck chip seems like - I can see how people lose track of how much they're betting.

Anyway, fun AND profit, what more can I ask for?

Posted by JAY at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2008

Naomi Enjoying a Truffle!


From her first taste of bitter chocolate a year ago (laced with coffee, though we didn't figure that out till later), Naomi has been a fiend for chocolate. (And apparently, pudding is only "kind of like chocolate".) This truffle (recipe) reportedly lasted her a good long time! Jen almost forgot to send me the video!

Posted by JAY at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2008

Wintering at Sean's

My tires are getting a bit bare (almost to the wear indicator) and there was a big storm scheduled for Friday. But we were going to have our Holiday work lunch and I didn't really want to miss it. So I left early before the storm and packed an overnight bag.

Oy, did it ever snow. It started coming down mid-morning and didn't stop until the night. So I ended up staying in one of Sean's spare rooms. It was a good time, too - I played with Brandon, Jax cooked a yummy Vietnamese meal, we worked a bit and played Rock Band 2.

Sara, however, hasn't gotten over the hair cut yet. Pre-haircut, we were playing peek-a-boo in the car, she was leading me to the snack cupboard, we were playing with a bubble machine. After the hair cut, she won't even LOOK at me! That evening, she would toddle to the opposite side of the house as me. She REALLY wanted a lollipop unwrapped for her, but when Sean insisted that she give it to me to unwrap for her, she held it out realllllly far and dropped it as soon as I touched it. And then wouldn't look at me when she came to get it back.

She will, however, say my name over and over again. Towards bedtime, I had Brandon leading me in one direction and Sara calling me from another room. And I woke up to screams of "Where's Jason?" But she still won't look at me or take anything from me!

I should probably just be more forward in playing with her. But I dislike invading kids' personal space - they should really insist on taking their time to be comfortable... it's a good instinct!

Posted by JAY at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2008


Stephen was in town and took Jen and I for all-you-can-eat sushi at Aji Sai. (Have I really never done a review? Their website is down...) We had a great time catching up and really over-stayed our welcome at the restaurant. (We thought they had free tables, but it turns out they were reserved.) Stephen left a really big tip to compensate them for the trouble.

Jen can really pack in the salmon sashimi - twenty plump pieces! It was very tasty, though. I packed away a lot of nigiri and 'special' rolls. Stephen ate much more moderately, but was impressed with the amount of sushi we ate for the price that we paid. Aji Sai definitely has the best quality sushi for a moderate price. Sushi Itto, in Newmarket, doesn't compare well (though it's been a long time and the review I wrote is better than I remember). And Wasabi is horrible by comparison.

After dinner we returned for an early viewing of "Yes Man". I'm not really a fan of Jim Carrey or movies in general (ever since Trev and Dave found other people to go with, I don't think I've been to see one!) but the movie was surprisingly entertaining. Just a TAD cloying and more than a bit of creative license with the storytelling, but hey.

Overall a fun night!

Posted by JAY at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2008

Exploding Pyrex

Pyrex is potentially not oven-safe.
(Or even heat/microwave safe, judging by Dan's comment below!)

After my sister reported that her 9x13" Pyrex dish exploded while cooling atop her stove (which was off), I started doing some research. It turns out that many people have been reporting the same problem.

Further research shows that Corning/Pyrex now make their kitchen Pyrex out of tempered soda lime glass (cheaper to manufacture because there are less environmental precautions required) instead of the more heat resistant borosilicate glass that they now only use to make lab Pyrex. They also seem to like to sic lawyers and fancy lawyer letters on people who talk about it. Manufacturers in Europe still use borosilicate glass.

Apparently, borosilicate glass expands and contracts much less under heat. However, tempered soda lime glass is more impact resistant. But when they do break, borosilicate snaps into a few large pieces (or cracks) while soda lime shatters into small shards. I expect glass to break when I drop it and can look away - I don't expect it to shatter when it's cooling on the counter. Frankly, I'd rather have the former if I'm going to be putting glassware in the oven.

Which I won't anymore.

Posted by JAY at 11:16 PM | Comments (1)