Posts Tagged ‘summer’

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Well, the BEST SUMMER EVER is hitting the home stretch, so I figured it was time to check back in with the greatest city you can go to if you take exit 38 off the Garden State Parkway.  This time, we were off to see one of my favorite bands, the Killers, playing at one of the casinos I’m least familiar with, the Borgata.  Sure, they played the night before at Prudential Center, which is much easier to get to and the tickets were much cheaper.  But what fun is it going to Newark?  All my memories of the Prudential Center involve watching Devin Harris lead the Nets to 20-ish win seasons.  Whatever – this isn’t the god damn Newark Diaries!  Anyway, yadda yadda, and OB and I are at Port Authority…

1:00PM – I’m telling you, the time is right for someone to come in and usurp Greyhound’s stranglehold on buses from New York City to Atlantic City.  The price for Fridays has been raised up to $44, which is really taking a bite out of the value of the ride.  Also, Greyhound has now instituted a policy where you can only go to the gate area if you have a ticket.  While this does crack down on the number of bums meandering the facility, it makes it really inconvenient if you buy tickets for a friend, knowing that said friend will be showing up later (a situation that happens to me all too frequently, as you may recall from Chapter 9).  So we are paying more money for worse service, but there’s really no better alternative at the moment.  Basically, Greyhound is the Netflix of bus lines.

2:00 – Aboard the bus, I am drinking like a fish.  Unlike last time, when I was nursing a hangover, I am ready to party, fully prepared for all the negative consequences – terrible gambling decisions, lack of memory inhibiting my ability to write this diary entry, vomiting and pooping at the same time, etc.  OB is not intimidated, however, making my drinking efforts look amateurish by downing a water bottle full of Jim Beam.

(Just a side note with my man OB: he is returning to Atlantic City for the first time since July 4th.  In 2012, he went down to Revel on July 4th, and won a staggering amount of money, which led to the circumstances of Chapter 4.  This year, he went to Showboat, but kept the winning alive.  He now has a handler at the Boat of Show, and the room and our meal would be complimentary.  It should also be noted that I was not with him during any of his large wins, but I have been present at all of his large losses.  Yeesh.)

Anyway, on the ride down, we had one notable conversation about statistics.  OB mentioned learning about the “gambler’s fallacy” in college.   In layman’s terms, it basically means that past random events do not predict future events.  For example, if I roll a 7, it isn’t less likely that I roll a 7 next time – the odds remain the same.  Surprisingly, OB tells me that he thought his professor was wrong, that it WAS less likely.  Unsurprisingly, he told me that he had to take statistics three times in college.  I do my best to explain the fallacy again, and he reluctantly accepts my argument, but I hear lingering doubt in his voice.  How this man has won more money in Atlantic City than anyone else I know is, literally, one of the biggest statistical anomalies.  It’s a case that would probably make Nate Silver throw up his hands and go “Fuck it, I quit!”

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In last month’s Atlantic City Diary, I made the bold mission statement that I wanted to make this the BEST.  SUMMER.  EVER.  And, to accomplish such a grand task, there will have to be a lot of trips to the Lost City of Atlantic.  However, taking a three-hour bus ride to go get drunk and lose money does need some justification.  As explained in my guide to Atlantic City, I usually go down to see a concert or comedy show.  However, a good 90’s band or horribly offensive comedian does not come to Atlantic City every weekend.  You’ll have to invent excuses to go down.

This time, we celebrated my buddy Finn’s “birthday,” which was actually over a week ago, and involved the usual crew of drunken vandals.  The cast of characters this time involved Keith, OB, Finn, my girlfriend, Polar (making his debut for the AC Diaries) and yours truly.  The setting – the Boat of Show, also known as Showboat.  Let the adventure begin!

12:00PM – The previous night, my girlfriend and I both proclaimed that we would not get drunk and stay out too late.  We split up to hang out with our respective friends, and, of course, found ourselves coming home at 3:00AM and nursing killer hangovers the next day.  At noon, we headed for the subway to Port Authority, and she was asking me how I got home.  Struggling to recollect the experience, I say, “Well, I think I said goodbye to my friends, left early, and walked back by myself.”  As soon as I finish this story, I hear my name being called.  It is the friends I hung out with last night.  So, my girlfriend asks them how I got home last night.  The answer:

“We walked you home!  And you kept drunkenly shouting, ‘Are we there yet?’ every block!”

So that was my Friday night.

2:00 – We reach Port Authority, where we meet up with Keith and OB.  Unlike previous experiences, I’ve learned to eat heartily before the trip.  OB grabs a sausage-and-egg sandwich, which the master chefs at Port Authority stick in a microwave and nuke to high heaven.  OB tries to stuff the scalding hot sandwich in his mouth, his hand shaking the whole time, nearly breaking into a sweat.  Some may call it an impressive feat, but those people must have a very low threshold for being impressed.

On the bus, we are immediately treated to an argument between passengers.  One guy is playing a video game very loudly.  A man shouts from the back, “Could you turn it down?”  The offender retorts, “Mind your own business!”  The complainer explains, “I’m on the damn bus!  This is my business!”  Nice.  The man continues to play his video game, albeit at a quieter yet still audible level, then turns it off, and eventually borrows Keith’s newspaper.  What a guy.

During all this, my girlfriend and I are sitting out on the typical “drinking on the bus down” festivities, due to the previous nights activity.  OB, however, is engaging what I like to call “pregnancy drunkenness” – he’s drinking for two.

5:00 – We arrive at Showboat, with OB two flasks lighter.  I haven’t been to Showboat in a while, but the bus center has taken on a distinctive cheese smell.  Like all the world’s problems, this problem too can most likely be traced to the Earl of Sandwich.

Keith and OB have rooms next to each other, so they go up together to the Orleans Tower.  As my girlfriend and I check-in, I inquire to see if there is a room available on their floor.  The person checking us in is very polite, and taps away vigorously on the keyboard, searching for rooms that fit our criteria.  Unfortunately, she can only get us a room in the NEW Orleans Tower.  That’s fine, we say.  However, little known fact: the NEW Orleans Tower and the Orleans Tower are, you know, the same tower.  We’re a five-minute jaunt from Finn’s room.  Gotta love that customer service you get in Atlantic City.

While my girlfriend takes a nap, I go and pregame with the gentlemen.  However, before we can gamble or drink more, it is decided that we are all starving and need something to eat.  We don’t want to do the buffet, and Scarduzio’s is too expensive.  So what do we decide on?  A little mom-and-pop joint called Jonathan Rockets.

Keith Stone: While OB and I were walking to the room, we happened upon a rambunctious family that was having trouble deciding where everybody should stand for a group photo. OB settled the argument by walking right into the middle of the shot and becoming part of the family. Now they can tell everybody about their crazy Irish cousin.

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When we arrived at the room, the real drinking began and we were joined by Finn and Polar. For some beautiful reason, Polar had with him three Million Dollar Man tuxedo T-shirts, so OB, Polar, and I threw them on, and began laughing like only Ted DiBiase could. Because I am an idiot, I decided to wear my shirt for the night of gambling, and that, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of the end.

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My-Photos-Third-Eye-Blind

As a young lad growing up in New Jersey, summer was my favorite season.  Not so much because of the weather, but really because of the all the free time I had.  I loved the freedom from the regimented school day, and used this new-found autonomy in the most efficient way possible: playing video games and reading comic books.  However, as I’ve become older and more grizzled, summer is dropping down in my season power rankings.  I’m sweating in the subway to work, all vacation spots are increasing their prices, and I spend 20 minutes putting on sunscreen to go out and check the mail.  And yet, even as the glory days of summer become a thing of the past, I still love Memorial Day weekend, as it signifies the start of what will assuredly be the greatest summer ever.  This year, things kicked off the way my younger self would have whole-heartedly approved of: a Third Eye Blind concert.

The crew for this adventure consisted of the Atlantic City veteran and man of leisure, OB, and good-friend-but-Atlantic-City-novice Steve.  Like many of our trips, this tale begins in the subterranean basement of Port Authority, waiting at gate 80….

3:30PM – OB and I are waiting on an ever-growing line for a bus to Caesar’s.  As it is Memorial Day weekend, the crowd is more numerous and more hostile.  Behind us, a crazy women dressed like Stevie Nicks is monitoring the line, yelling at people she suspects may be cutting in (when in reality, they are just asking if this was the right gate, or they had been in line already).  We are slightly nervous, as Steve has been unresponsive so far, and sneaking him into our spot in line may prove difficult.  However, another bus to Atlantic City shows up at the adjacent gate, and the crazy lady hops on it.  The first crisis of the weekend has been averted.

4:00 – Due to the excess of people, there are two buses waiting to take people to Caesar’s at the scheduled time.  We begin to board, with Steve still incommunicado.  We have to pass up the first bus, and things are starting to look dicey.  The next bus is the “last of the Mohicans,” a strange Greyhound worker tells us.  As OB and I try to unwrap this baffling piece of information, Steve makes a dramatic last minute appearance, and we are able to get the second bus.  Second crisis averted, and we are off to Atlantic City!

6:25 – At our estimated arrival time, we arrive….at exit 102 on the Garden State Parkway.  The traffic is bad but not unexpected – it is Memorial Day Weekend after all.  However, the concert starts at 9:00PM, and I still do not have a ticket to the concert.  Just to explain the situation – OB was given two complimentary tickets, but the seat location was not set.  I would like to get a third complimentary ticket, but failing that, I would like to buy a ticket near where they are sitting.

Anyway, this bus ride was not as booze-filled as our usual trips.  Since it is just the Friday of a three day weekend, we are all playing the long game – you don’t want to get too drunk too early.  We pass the extended bus ride by playing a “top 3” game, where we name our top 3 songs by particular artists, or top 3 movies by particular actors.  We are cool.

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