Archive for August, 2005

Adventures in Video Lottery

August 24, 2005 Leave a comment

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

I work in a video lottery casino. And boy is it depressing sometimes. I’m a guy that pretty much cherishes each dollar that comes my way. And by that, I don’t mean that I possess that love of money that is the proverbial root of all evil. I mean that pretty much each dollar is counted and used for something I need (i.e. food, clothing, rent, etc.) So working at a place in which thousands of dollars can pass through my hands in a matter of hours – thousands that are being dumped straight out of their wallets into the bowels of the machines – is somewhat harrowing. I really could use some of that to gas up my car so I can actually drive to work tomorrow.

Usually, people tend to spend what they can spare. Little old ladies with millions in the bank can throw a thousand bucks into a machine with no problem. But then you get the sad cases. Cases in which people are down on their luck and they mistakenly believe they can cure their problems with a Royal Flush. Well, I’ll tell ya; that hand is few and far between in the world of video lottery. But the lure of the possibility of winning a thousand dollars overpowers logic. They blow the last fifty bucks they have in an attempt to turn it into winnings and they walk out, head hanging, eyes downcast, empty-handed.

One woman I dealt with a couple months ago was so far gone that she had been writing checks on a closed account. I didn’t know it until my boss noticed the name on the checks. She wrote TWO two-hundred dollar checks that particular day and blew it all in roughly thirty minutes. She was so desperate to win that she was risking arrest and jail in casinos all over town.  She currently owes my employer $1000.

Is it really that much of a thrill?

Another woman we deal with on a nearly daily basis is a lonely, elderly lady who plays one particular video lottery machine every time she comes in.  And she plays nothing but Twenties – for hours at a time.  It’s not at all uncommon for her to spend $1500 in one evening.  Sometimes I think that perhaps she could take a break for a couple days and buy me a used car so I can drive to class.  But of course, that would be preposterous.  But spending $1500 on video lottery is acceptable.  It blows my mind and sometimes makes me shake my head.

Occasionally – and by that I mean perhaps once a month – I’ll plug a dollar into a machine after work and try a couple hands of poker. But that’s my limit. One dollar. If I’m meant to win, I will in my dollar. If not, well then I payed a buck to play a game. Not a big loss.

It’s depressing being poor and working in a casino. I do not recommend it to anyone. All that money, going to waste, when it could be doing something – anything – useful.

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Here’s how nerdy I am; this is about Harry Potter.

August 10, 2005 Leave a comment

[The entry was originally posted to my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as soon as it was released. Afterward, I decided to go back and read all of them over again. I’m currently in the middle of Goblet of Fire.

And there are a few things I’m mulling over.
SPOILER warning: If you haven’t read Half-Blood Prince yet, don’t read further in this entry.

First of all, I haven’t read ANYTHING online regarding the current Harry Potter book, no discussion, no theories, no threads on any message boards… Probably what I’m writing about is old hat to most of you, and perhaps it’s absolute garbage. But it’s just a couple things I’ve tossed around in my head.

1) Severus Snape. The potions teacher we love to hate, so smoothly portrayed by Alan Rickman in the films. In Year 6, we see an ultimate betrayal, right in front of Harry’s (cloaked) eyes. Snape, who has wanted the Defense Against the Dark Arts job forever, hindered only by Dumbledore’s hiring of others, finally gets his revenge, even though he’s already got the job. How must this feel to Harry? Knowing that You-Know-Who killed his parents, and knowing that James, Sirius, and Lupin all gave Snape a hard time in school, which in turn causes Snape to give Harry a hard time. Harry has seen Snape try to give in to that old hate when he bursts into the Shrieking Shack where Lupin and Sirius have the kids and “Scabbers”. And we see Snape lose all sense of reason due to having been made a fool all those years ago. He says things to Harry to the effect of, “Your father strutted around like he was something special as well,” and “Clearly, fame isn’t everything,” and all manner of snide remarks borne of his hatred of James Potter. Harry watches his parents’ memory desecrated by Snape nearly every day. And not only that – he now sees one of the few adults he can fully trust, Albus Dumbledore, ruthlessly murdered by the same Severus Snape who childishly teased him in potions class for years, adding cold injury to the already freezing insults. And Harry’s suspicions are confirmed – Snape has been in league with the Death Eaters all this time, mentoring Draco Malfoy, and waiting for the right moment to strike.

But hang on a minute…
Yes, we all have a love/hate relationship with Snape. He’s a brilliantly written character who we despise, and that’s why we love him. And because of the fact that we both love and hate him, couldn’t this still go either way? I mean right now, it seems pretty cut-and-dry that Snape is in league with Moldy-Voldy… but is it? In Order of the Phoenix, we see him working as a spy for the Order, looking in on the Death Eaters, which he could easily do since he bears the Dark Mark. But…. there’s got to be a reason that Dumbledore trusted him so implicitly – to keep him around Harry for so long, even leaving him absolutely ALONE with Harry at times. Perhaps – just PERHAPS, Snape still IS working for the good guys. Sounds silly. But remember before Dumbledore took Harry to the cave to retrieve the locket horcrux? He told Harry that no matter what happens, he MUST do what he’s told. Even if that means leaving Dumbledore behind to die to save himself. Snape is pretty adept at Occlumency, is he not? So isn’t it POSSIBLE, that during that standoff, he saw into Dumbledore’s mind, and Albus told Snape not to blow his own cover, that the cause was bigger than himself. We saw it with Harry, so why not with Severus? What better way to retain his cover with the Death Eaters, than by killing Albus Dumbledore in front of witnesses.

Of course, Severus also made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa Malfoy that he would watch over Draco and finish any job he was assigned that he would not finish on his own. Isn’t it POSSIBLE too, that this was part of Snape’s orders as a spy for the Order?

Please note that I am not making predictions – I do not necessarily believe this, I am only examining possibilities.

2. Horcruxes. So Tom Riddle/ Voldemort/ You-Know-Who split up his entity into seven objects, including his own self. One was Riddle’s Diary from Chamber of Secrets, another was Slytherin’s Locket, yet another was Slytherin’s Ring, Hufflepuff’s Teacup, etc.

What if the final horcrux was… Harry’s scar?

It burns when Voldemort is near, it burned the first time Snape threw a glance at him in First Year, it burned when he had the dream of Wormtail and Voldemort. Could this be a piece of Voldemort (perhaps inadvertantly) making his presence known in Harry? Tom Riddle told Harry that they were alot alike. The Sorting Hat nearly put him in Slytherin. Really, just being a parselmouth is a pretty big coincidence if you ask me. And what about this exchange at the end of Chamber of Secrets between Harry and Dumbledore;

“Professor Dumbledore…Riddle said I’m like him. Strange likenesses, he said.”

“Did he now?”…”And what do you think, Harry?”

“I don’t think I’m like him!”…

“You can speak Parseltongue, Harry, because Lord Voldemort…can speak Parseltonge. Unless I’m much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I’m sure…”

“Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?”

“It certainly seems so.”

Also, here’s an interesting little tidbit from the Half-Blood Prince (page 506 of the American printing);

“You can use animals as Horcruxes?”

“Well, it is inadvisable to do so…because to confide a part of your soul to something that can think and move for itself is obviously a very risky business. However, if my calculations are correct, Voldemort was still at least one Horcrux short of his goal of six when he entered your parents’ house with the intention of killing you. He seems to have reserved the process of making Horcruxes for particularly significant deaths…I am sure he was intending to make his final Horcrux with your death. As we know, he failed.”

But did he? Perhaps with Lily’s death, the horcrux was created in Harry’s wound or even in Harry himself?

Now I wouldn’t throw these excerpts around as irrefutable proof of my theory, but one could easily say it supports it. Perhaps I’m completely off-base and perhaps this is simply a cheeky fanboy rant. Whatever Ms. Rowling does to end this story will be, I’m sure, quite spectacular. But since we have to wait years for the final installment, I think I’ll continue speculating.

See?  See how much of a nerd I am?  Nice.

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