Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Jan. 3, 2020, poker recap

January 10, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 10, 2019 2020

It’s only been five days since my visit to the casino in Bethlehem, Pa., but it seems like a much longer while.

I was card dead for quite a while, both before and after my successful acquisition of a working Wind Creek player’s card. Over time, my stack shrunk from $220 to $210 to $200… I had a number of $25 chips plus some $5 and $1 chips. I must have gotten below $150 as things continued to go direly.

The best hand and only pair I got over the first hour or more was 9-9. I raised with it and got at least two or three callers, plus a flop with at least one over (a 10, and maybe there was paint as well). I called a post-flop bet but folded when the turn failed to bring me a third nine.

I made money on three hands. I remember no details about the first — was it ace-queen or ace-jack — except that I bet the river, mimed a bit of anxiety and got called by a beefy fellow two seats to my left. I think I must have straddled that hand, which is a move that involves posting twice the big blind ($4 on this $1–$2 table) and acting last on the initial round of betting.

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All I wanted to do… Or: Departure day! (Being part of my impromptu holiday travels series)

January 9, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 9, 2019 2020

The plan was simple enough: Leave my parent’s home in the greater New York metropolitan area around 9 the morning of Friday, Jan. 3, 2020; drive about 105 minutes to the Wind Creek casino (formerly a Sands property) in Bethlehem, Pa.; play poker for roughly three hours, until 2 p.m.; and then drive another three and a half hours for dinner and a night’s stay with my friends in Northern Virginia. If I timed things nicely and got a bit of luck, I would avoid heavy rush-hour traffic — especially around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital — and have a little extra cash in my pocket.

All I wanted to do was play some poker on the last full day of my trip, and I was getting grief from this, that and the other.

Actually, most of the grief was coming from my parent’s computer, which had been the focus of many of my information technology efforts over the course of the past 10 or so days. In an effort to improve the speed of a seven-year-old basic 21-inch iMac, I’d installed CleanMyMac X and used it to delete some cruft. The machine seemed to be operating a bit better. (Your mileage may vary; not a paid or otherwise compensated endorsement.)

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Drive, return, blackout: Selected sketches from my holiday travels

January 6, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 6, 2019 2020

I left my home on the morning of Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, and did a bit of holiday shopping in downtown Durham before heading north to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. (I later realized, in reviewing and deleting old email messages, that my shopping errand could have been done over the weekend thanks to the magic of extended store hours — alas.)

On the evening of the last full day of my trip (more about which I may describe in a future post[s]), I stopped at the home of friends in Northern Virginia. After enjoying lunch at an Ashburn restaurant called Pho Noménal, I struck out for North Carolina.

I parked south of downtown Raleigh around 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2020, and walked over to Boxcar, the arcade and bar. After playing a bit of Batman ’66 (Stern 2016), where I don’t believe I got to the main multiball even once, I switched to Monster Bash — again, I’m not sure if it’s the 1998 Williams original or the 2018 Chicago Gaming remake, although I suspect the latter — and put up one good score and some mediocre ones.

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Florida flipping: My pinball excursion to Orlando* (*by which I mean Oviedo)

September 19, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 19, 2019

I went to Orlando to do one thing: Watch Stanford football. But in booking my trip, I gave myself a few days on either side of the actual football game against UCF. I looked online for a few other activities to fill the time.

A quick search of a handy app named Pinball Map revealed that the Orlando area has three locations with large numbers of pinball machines. For reasons that escape me, they’re all in a town called Oviedo, which is five miles north of the University of Central Florida and about 15 miles northeast of central Orlando.

The first pinball venue that I stopped at was District Eat and Play, which is located in Oviedo Mall. When I visited on Thursday evening, the facility was so dark that I at first believed it was entirely abandoned. This is one of the old-style enclosed malls that were popular in the latter half of the 20th century, as opposed to the street-style shopping districts that have supplanted them. (Incidentally, I suspect this trend might be cyclical, but it could be decades before a possible shift back to indoor malls, so I may not live to know the truth.)

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Botanical beauty in Central Florida: Images from my stroll through the Leu Gardens

September 18, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 18, 2019

My major cultural activity while staying in Orlando for Stanford’s ill-starred football game at UCF was visiting the beautiful Harry P. Leu Gardens. I headed west from the main gate and walked to the Lake Rowena overlook — where a woman inspecting the informational placards was surprised to learn that alligators might be about — before cruising through the northwestern sections of the property.

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Roadside mechanic: One man’s heroic battle to open and prop up car hoods and refill his radiator

August 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 15, 2016

A few weeks ago, I took a long drive that got interrupted by something pretty annoying. The interruption was then in turn disrupted by something rather amusing.

This was one of those really hot days that we’ve having this summer. Roughly two-thirds of the way into my trip, I noticed that the air conditioning in my car was no longer working. This was annoying, but it wasn’t an interruption.

That came about an hour later, when the check-engine indicator lit up on my dashboard. I was only an hour or so from my destination, so I briefly contemplated driving the rest of the way and bringing the car to a repair shop the next day. However, I quickly reconsidered after I happened to glance at the engine-temperature indicator and saw that it was redlining.

That would not do. Fortunately, there was a rest stop coming up. I babied the car for a mile or so until I could get off the highway and pull over on a stretch of gravel along an access road by a gas station.

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