Two things happened yesterday. It was perfect cycling weather. And I needed some props for the the ongoing art saga. Assiduous readers will recall the Call for Art will close next week. That means it.s time to get together the props. The only playing cards here are a Japanese sumo set, a gift from MG when he was visiting in 2008. I remember the year because we were watching Phelps dominate the Olympics. Did you know that in ancient times, they used to date things by the Olympiads (e.g. in the second year after the tenth Olympiad, x event happened)? Well, that never made sense to me. But now it does. It.s a communal event everyone remembers. In that way, it has a significance that is easily communicable to other people. MG.s one of those people who went abroad after finishing university to teach English and never looked back. The sumo playing cards are beautiful: each card depicts wrestlers in the act of grappling and throwing. But for the cover illustration, I wanted something traditional, something that would call attention to the idea of the dead man.s hand without drawing attention to itself. So I needed some basic playing cards. They had some ‘Bicycle’ brand cards at London Drugs. Looking online, amazon.ca had some fancy cards. But then I thought of the View Royal Casino. Maybe they had a gaming store which would sell playing cards and poker chips?
Then it occurred to me: maybe the View Royal Casino is part of the Great Canadian Casino chain. Diligent readers will remember I had read Warren Buffet Speaks a little while ago and then assembled together a portfolio of popular brand name stocks. Great Canadian Casino, ticker GC was one of them. Well, it turns out View Royal Casino is part of the Great Canadian Casino! As a shareholder, I could go there to check out my investment! So I called and asked whether they had a casino oriented gift shop. D, who answered the phone, said they didn.t, but they had lots of playing cards, how any did I need? Well, I got greedy and I said two decks. Well, from her reaction, I thought she was expecting me to say fifty or a hundred decks. Of course, just come on down, she said, but make sure you come through the right door. The door? Which door?–I was a bit perplexed but didn.t ask for clarification. Maybe I needed to be a customer to get playing cards. Well, I had a response prepared. It would be fantastic and would go like this, ‘Er no, I.m not a customer, but I.m a shareholder, will that do?’. Yes, it.s true, I confess, I am a bit like that!
So, I waited for the day to cool down a little bit. The trip is just over ten kilometres each way. Twenty or so kilometres round trip is a perfect ride. I can go fast and not feel it the next day. And you.re not on your bike the whole day either. But you.re on the bike long enough to enjoy it. Thirty kilometres is okay as well. But forty kilometres is starting to be a long time in the saddle. So, in preparation for the trip, I adjusted the brakes (it was getting to the point where the brake lever was going all the way down to the handlebar) and adjusted the front derailleur (the chain would quite annoyingly pop off when going into the big ring sometimes). Here.s a picture of my chariot, a beautiful custom 2014 Marinoni Sportivo Ti, made right here in Canada and sold by Straight Up Cycles:
Isn.t she beautiful? I.ve lusted after a Campy Gruppo since being a kid and finally ride one!–Athena 11 in silver. The Sportive Ti was my early retirement present to myself last fall. I haven.t had a car since 2010, so I figured I could splurge. It.s likely justifiable, since my last bike (a Specialized Stumpjumper) lasted over twenty years before one of the welds gave out.
The Great Canadian Casino is just littered with slot machines. They keep the place looking nice and new as well. A cavernous interior. The slot machines adorn the fringes and in the centre of the auditorium are the tables: roulette, blackjack, poker, and so on. There.s maybe fifteen or twenty tables. It.s around dinnertime and there.s dealers at ten or eleven tables. There.s games at maybe seven tables. I talk to one of the dealers at an empty table, H. He.s been on again off again with Great Canadian for over ten years. It.s a good job; he likes the regulars. Employees also get stock options with the company. He.s just recently sold his shares because of the run up in the stock price. He tells me about the different odds for all the games, which games to play, gives me some tips (pick a game, learn it online before coming to the casino). He.s a connoisseur of gaming. I like that. When I make to go and offer to shake his hand, I discover that he.s not allowed!–but of course, I should have known!
So on my way out, I get the playing cards. That.s what D had been referring to when I called earlier: you can only get the used playing cards on your way out: you can.t bring used cards into the casino. I get it! So, after all, I didn.t get a chance to use my line, ‘But I.m a shareholder!’. But now I have the cards and am one step closer to Doing Melpomene.s Work. Bonus: here.s what they look like and I.ve even arranged out for your viewing enjoyment the infamous dead man.s hand!–
PS if they only use decks once, does anyone know where the rest of them go? Surely they go through many, many decks each night! Also ordered some find looking chips from amazon.ca. It.s all coming together! Soon, soon, soon…