Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birthday Vacation

My increasingly inadequately named Gal Pal's birthday and mine are three days apart. Since I've known her, we've always taken a birthday vacation.

The first year we went to the Bahamas.

The second year we went to Vegas, but I didn't blog about it. I don't know why. Perhaps because my blog was becoming too explicit and the major memorable thing we did was going to an exotic vampire show. Oh yeah! It was on this trip that I learned how to sit at the bar in Vegas and get free drinks while playing deuces wild poker and make about $10 per hour. That's important!

This year, we took a road trip in the Miata. Tuesday night we celebrated Fat Tuesday at the Razzoo's in Lewisville. Razzoo's is always packed for Mardi Gras, but for the most part this one seemed a bit blah. I blame it on the weather.

Wednesday we headed to the WinStar Casino in Oklahoma. I always thought the WinStar was about 100 miles away. It's about 60 miles from where I live. We arrived early.

En route, we stopped at a AAA to add insurance to our freshly refurbished Miata. I've been a AAA member for about 5 years. Back when I first joined they were saving me darn near $500 on my home and auto insurance. This particular AAA office had a travel agent. I didn't realize they had such things. Therefore, since I was stopped in anyway, I went ahead and booked my honeymoon with the agent. Don't worry. It's a few months in advance. And I didn't really book it with the agent. I mean, I'm going with my Gal Pal, but the agent booked the tickets -- for us.

WinStar casino is huge. But, unless you like gambling, don't go on a Wednesday night. I think most of their events happen Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Wednesday was mostly walking through a forest of slot machines trying to pick out the pathetic people and attempting not to look like one.

I tried my trick I learned in Vegas. You basically go up to a bar with video poker and put a $20 in the slot. Now, in Vegas, this immediately gets the bartender's attention who comes over and offers you a drink "on the house". Not so much at the WinStar. In Vegas, I was also able to steadily make about $10 an hour while sipping on my free drink. It's all about taking the easy wins. This again did not work at the WinStar.

Together, my Gal Pal and I lost about $90 in 2 hours or so. I refuse to lose more than $100 so we were nearing the end of our gambling money. This is when the Gal Pal demanded a dollar to go put in one of those normal slot machines (not at the bar). 10 minutes later she returned with a ticket for $45!

We took the ticket for $45 and found another bar with video poker. She inserted the $45 ticket and I hit the bet buttons. Although it seemed random, I had some kind of strange pattern built up in my neurotic head that was telling me when she was going to win and when she was going to lose. Therefore she played and I placed the bets. Sometimes I'd press max bet, sometimes 1 and sometimes 2.

After about an hour of this we still had our $45. We hadn't lost anything, but I still wasn't making my $10/hour like I did last time in Vegas. Suddenly, the machine lit up and started making this irritating squealing noise. I casually said, "What the hell did you do? Break it?" I looked around slightly embarrassed by all the racket, but I didn't want to lose my $45 so I had to diagnose the problem.

On the now annoyingly loud machine, the words, "Call Attendant" were flashing. Behind the flashing words I noticed that my Gal Pal had somehow managed to get a royal flush on a max bet. I found an attendant. That little fiasco ended up being worth about $1400. Vacation plus extra paid for by WinStar, thank you very much.

Next day we drove down I-40 (Route 66) to Amarillo to see my father. He took me out to eat for my birthday. In case you were wondering, he's as crazy as ever. I wanna be like him when I grow up.

Friday after lunch, we drove to Roswell to visit the aliens. It's a quaint little place. The UFO museum was almost, but not quite stupid. It costs $5 per person to get in and it's almost a waste of time except that you can't really go to Roswell without at least going in the place. My favorite part of Roswell was the Farley's Pub. That says a lot.

Saturday morning, we drove to the Carlsbad Caverns. I can't remember the last time I went to the caverns, but it must have been a long time ago because my memory of them was completely skewed. They were much better than I expected. Well worth the $6 entry fee. Especially when compared to the $5 entry for the UFO Museum in Roswell!

Saturday afternoon we drove through Wink and Kermit and finally arrived in Odessa. From there, we went to see Erika's New Blue Max which had kind of a folk singer followed by two blue grass bands playing that night. I was trying to think of a new name for the venue like, "Bluegrass Max" or perhaps "Max Bluegrass", but nothing acceptable came to mind. Everything ended up sounding like some kind of hallucinogenic marijuana. It's a cool place though. If you're in the area I advise checking it out. It's right off I20 in Midland so you won't have to take much of a detour.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Miata Experience

I've always wanted to get a 1969 Corvette and restore it. Why, you ask? Because I was born in 69 and the 1969 Corvette had the Stingray body style. I just think it would be cool.

In preparation for this endeavor, I have acquired a 1992 Miata. I wrote a bit about it in my previous blogging.

Here's what it looked like initially before we started working on it:

 As you can see it's a nice faded classic red color from sitting out in the Panhandle weather for the last 15 years or so. The top is literally held together with hot glue and a bit of tape.

We replaced the top. We replaced the pop-up barn door style headlights with a flush mount kit. We replaced the wheels. We replaced the broken power antenna with a raked antenna. We replaced the fuel door with black fuel door. We replaced all the weather stripping. And, we had it repainted.

Everyone I talked to said, "Don't take it to Maaco." I shopped around for a couple of months trying to find a body shop that would do the repairs I wasn't capable of doing myself. I finally ignored "everyone" and took it to Maaco in Irving. Not all Maaco's are created equal. The guys at the Maaco in Irving did exactly what I asked them to do and more and for about half the price of the other guys.

The pictures do not show the new rotors, new brakes, new serpentine belt, new battery and new starter, but believe me, they are also in there somewhere... And for the record, I am not a Longhorn fan. I didn't even realize what I was doing until someone pointed it out at work today. I just like the color and it's not orange anyway. It's Dark Persimmon.