The Blair Hippo Project (blairhippo) wrote,
The Blair Hippo Project

Happy Fun Times

So, I just got done with a vacation-plus-coda with my girlfriend Cheyenne, and had a blast. I needed this. Most of it took place in Erie, PA.

Friday: Went to a casino for the first time evar! Observations from the Presque Isle Downs & Casino:
  • Holy hell are slots designed to be addictive. Random reward pattern? Check. Wide variety of bright shiny images? Check. The First Hit Is Always Free? Big check. They gave me and Chey $17 each in slot-machine-first-timer pseudo-money that we were free to try converting into real money as we saw fit. Chey walked away with about $9.50, I retained $1.50. I'm willing to bet we were both well above average.
  • Slot machines make me feel like a rat with a feeder bar. A retarded, easily-amused rat. Fuck slot machines.
  • Over 90% of the casino floor was slot machines.
  • Of the table games, I played craps and blackjack. Lost more or less instantly at craps. Went up $10 my first attempt at blackjack before ultimately losing my $20 stake. Before we left, on a whim I tossed another $20 onto the table, and got on a little hot streak. When I hit $60, I pulled $50 aside and told myself that I was only going to play as long as the remaining chips lasted. I got as high as $80 before putting $30 on a losing hand. I walked away from the table with $52.50, up from my $20 buy-in. So between two rounds of Blackjack, craps, slot machines, and blowing $5 on a horse that came in third (Horse racing! I'm throwing my money away anyway! Why not?), I finished the night down precisely $1.
Saturday: Split our time between Presque Isle State Park and the Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park. Our original plan for the weekend was to go to Indiana Dunes State Park (a favorite vacation destination as a kid), but with the weather turning cool and a bit dodgy, we turned to our whimsical "Indoor water park!" Plan B for the weekend's centerpiece.

Presque Isle was lovely. Because this particular vacation was being driven by the impulse of "Ooh! Shiny!", we rented a surrey -- a pedal-powered four-wheeled contraption that reminded me of Fred Flintstone's car. There was a monument four miles down the surrey-approved path; we made it about two and a half and said "Screw this noise" before turning around. The surrey had no gears, you see, and was really a beast to maneuver or propel. Chey was steering, and was often faced with the choice of "Have a head-on collision with that other pedal-powered vehicle, or put my boyfriend into the weeds." I can't really hold her decision against her.

All the pedal-powered vehicles available to rent were heavy one-speed slabs of metal, though. I'd love to explore the place on a decent mountain bike; it's flat as a pancake, with beaches and lighthouses and big art-deco pillars and other such cool stuff to find. We may need to go back.

Splash Lagoon was a hoot. It's the off-season, so it was mercifully uncrowded. Of its seven water slides, the two I'd most recommend are the Big Kahuna and the Cyclone. Both inner-tube slides, the Cyclone dumps you into this enormous bowl that you go round and round before slowing and getting funneled into the exit tunnel. Simple, but immense fun. The Big Kahuna was a more traditional water slide, and stood out because you could see where the hell you were going. Pitch-black-tube water slides are a fun change of pace, but Splash Lagoon goes to that well early and often. I'm not sure that Kahuna's tube was supposed to be translucent or if that was a result of sun bleaching, but whatever. It was fun.

Which is more than I'm willing to say for Hurricane Hole, the one slide I truly disliked. It was much like the Cyclone in that you went round and round a big bowl, but with no inner tube. Which wouldn't be a problem, if the seams between the sections comprising the bowl were perfectly smooth; they weren't, and kinda stung. And on my first time around, I managed to bang my foot against the entrance hole I'd come through. And rather than an exit tube, there was just a big damn hole in the center, like in your toilet, and whether you go feet-first or head-first depends on the whims of physics. After a profoundly graceless "dive" into six and a half feet of water, I was so disoriented and stunned I'd kinda forgotten how to swim, and awkwardly doggie-paddled my way out, under the watchful eye of an apathetic lifeguard. Or, to summarize my real-time reaction to the ride:


Luckily, there was a grown-ups only hot tub in which to soak away the shame of getting my ass handed to me by a water slide.

Sunday: Drove back. And Steelers game! Seriously, how did Mendenhall break that run for 50 yards? Atlanta had eight in the box! That hole never should have been there for him to exploit!

Monday: After an ordinary day of work, Deftones! The Deftones played Club Zoo tonight, and Chey and I went. Great show. Chey pointed out that they played a bunch of stuff off the album they're ostensibly touring to support, and then used their first three albums for the rest of the set, leaving albums #4 and #5 out entirely -- and it was probably a good choice. (Though we both would have liked to hear "Minerva.") The White Pony and Around the Fur songs were fabulous, as you'd expect, but the stuff off Adrenaline blew me away. Their first album, Adrenaline showed promise but was often dull and plodding -- and the material they played off it was anything but. Wow, did those songs come alive.

Oh, and this was my first proper metal concert in ... hell, ever, I'm pretty sure. One of the nifty things about Club Zoo is that the multi-level viewing area means that you can safely view the mosh pit from fairly close up.

My ears are still ringing. I need to get some ear plugs. Damn, I'm old.

Anyway. Good weekend.
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