Monday, December 27, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________


Christmas morning brought with it two houseguests who crossed the international dateline to arrive here two hours before they left Singapore in the first place.

David and Lisa arrived safely into a grey, wet Vancouver day. A typical Vancouver day then, in other words. The weather up till their arrival was unseasonably beautiful with blue skies and a sun that shone like you see on Sesame Street. Earl commented that it's better to let them see the real Vancouver before they get too enamoured with the postcard Vancouver and then spend the rest of their vacation here in subtly moist rain jackets. I guess he's right.

Due to the fact that most of the people who have seniority at the casino have booked this time of year off, I've got alot more shifts this week than I know what to do with. It's a good thing in the sense that I've certainly overspent my Christmas gift budget. It's not such a good thing in that I have people here whom I haven't seen in a damn long time and I'd rather be spending time with them than with the regulars at my Blackjack table. On the other hand, I have all of next Sunday to Sunday off. That's going to be fun, I can tell you that.

On a not entirely unrelated note, I've finally learnt how to deal Fortune Pai Gow. It's a complicated game which can be easily described as seven card poker. It's in the casino mainly to attract the asian gambling community, but unlike Mini Baccarat, I see white people playing it too. It's one of those games where the learning curve is rather ridiculous, but the only way you can learn how to play it is by dealing it. So far my pits have been telling me that I've been doing alright. I just have to be comfortable enough to take my time and not get pushed around by the players. Assertiveness. That's something I told my interviewer that I'd like to develop on the job. She gave me a weird look that I didn't know how to interpret at the time. After four months on the job, I now know that it meant something along the lines of "You'll learn it faster than you know you will, fresh meat."

I dunno what it is about the Pai Gow and Baccarat players. It's like they can smell fear or something. They don't pick on the dealers who exude a certain something. Something that certainly does not come naturally to me, seeing as how most players try to pick on me. Like telling me to do things that would benefit them but that they know are completely against house rules. Chances are that they know the house rules better than I do anyway, me still being a rookie and all. Rookie status is not shed through chronological time but through total number of hours worked. Seeing as how I only work 1-3 days a week, I think I'm going to shed rookie status sometime next Christmas when I would most probably be working. I'm not too chuffed about it though. Actually, I'm really glad that they take actual hours worked into account when they evaluate my performance because really, there's no way my skills can be compared to someone who went to dealer school with me but works more than twice as much.

I like the people at work though. Not the players or anything, but the people I work with. I'm told that it's a Coquitlam Casino thing, that they don't have this sort of thing going on at the Rock. I've never worked at the Rock so I really can't comment. I went for supper with a bunch of guys from work the other day. A real Chinese supper, the kind that I haven't had for the longest time what with me living with white boy and all. That was nice. I went with someone who I went to dealer school with and someone who went to the night school. (I was day school) Mmmmm, thinking about it is making me so hungry right now...

I digress. I was talking about Lisa and David being here. Last night we watched the Shawshank Redemption Special Edition DVD. The only special feature that we watched was the comic spoof (and Morgan Freeman's son was in it, it was fantastic) because we had to watch the movie first. Lisa hadn't seen it before and I can't remember what she thought it was about, but considering what the movie is actually about, her misconception was hilarious.

It's a weighty movie but between blackberry port (made with berries picked by virgins in Saanich -- well I don't know about the virgins, but it was damn good port), irrelevant comments about various balls and finally a rather interesting question about Malay dicks (seriously, don't ask) I don't think Lisa managed to get a full appreciation of the dramatic tension of the movie. Still, it was fun.

I have tomorrow off so I really should go wake the two of them up and make plans. I think today we're just going to make a pot of laksa. Mmmmm laksa....

posted by Joie! at 11:21 a.m.


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