Push Your Luck

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So it was another trip to FireKeeper’s Casino and Hotel in Battle Creek today. The enormous colorful sign on the side of the highway advertising it is hard to miss on the way there. More than 66,000 people pass that sign each day, which means most will get excited about the potential of winning a lot of money at the casino and will be going or think about going in the future.

When you walk through the front door of FireKeeper’s casino, you will immediately notice the large fiery orange pole going from floor to ceiling with a helical metal structure climbing around, to symbolize the flames of the firekeeper, referring the job a Native American would have in the tribe.

If there is one machine that I loved in this place and was doing really well for me and I wanted to find it again, it would be next to impossible to find it, because it’s a sea of machines with various bells and whistles and themes, most of which put the idea into your head that you could get rich quick just by playing.

Today was not my lucky day, though it was for my mom who won over a hundred dollars. Good for her on getting money that is basically free. I’m going to learn eventually that if I suddenly earn more than I came with I should just call it quits and walk away, but it’s the thought that I could win so much more and I could have a really lucky day at hand.

 

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Welcome, Stranger

A middle-aged man named Adam Anderson was traveling from his home state of Wisconsin to his brother’s wedding in Bay City, Michigan. He had been on the road for two days and the wedding was tomorrow. After a long, grueling drive Adam finally crossed the Michigan border and strolled into a busy looking town called Jackson during the night. He intended to rest here and seeked out an affordable, quality hotel for the money he had, this happening to be at the Baymont Inn and Suites off a Bondsteel Drive across from a Planet Fitness. Adam checked into the handsome looking hotel, got his room, and settled in with what little luggage his had – just a couple of shirts and jeans; his suit for the wedding was being reserved until he arrived in Bay City. The king size bed in this room felt like sinking into a heap of clouds and Adam easily fell asleep, setting the alarm for seven.

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The next morning, after a cheerful tune commenced, the journeyman arose from a luxurious sleep and got ready to head back on the road. He showered, dressed, and went down to the continental breakfast helping himself to waffles, eggs, sausage, muffins, and glasses of sweet orange juice. A TV was hanging on the wall in front of Adam and there was a news broadcast currently tuned in. A run off of events happening in the city and elsewhere, nothing too interesting to Adam though something about a shooting in Jackson caught his attention; he put down his fork and twisted a finger in his ear to hear clearer. The shooting happened somewhere near his location, involving three men fighting over some money and drugs. Adam shrugged his shoulders; every city has its fair share of crime and this place seemed to be no different but to be so close to the scene disturbed him.

After gathering his things and checking out, Adam left the Baymont, beeped his Altima, and headed out onto Bondsteel for a new day. The sun was gleaming brightly over the industrial skyline. Jackson didn’t look like a place Adam would suggest to anyone looking to travel, but he did not want to leave quite yet. He figured he could spend a couple hours exploring the place (he always wants to check out obscure cities on the map) and get to know his surroundings better, adding to the experience.

As he went into the heart of the city, the first major thing Adam saw was the enormous Henry Ford Allegiance Health hospital and Consumer’s Energy building as he was driving through the inner metropolis. Turning on the radio, he caught local stations talking about Detroit sports, college sports, and high school sports teams. After more of a drive Adam began to see that this city is quite tame and uneventful at times. There aren’t many high-end restaurants in this mid-size development, mainly local eateries that offer affordable meals such as a Denny’s and Steak n’ Shake, and the usual fast food joints found along either side of the main strip. Adam took a trip into Downtown Jackson and felt like he could fit at least ten of them into New York City and there didn’t seem to be much activity going on except for a shady looking bike rally that was only really appealing to roughneck biker men and women and people who like loud, raucous music.

Adam’s one day experience in Jackson already had him observing that citizens here seem to follow ordinary everyday routines, going about their lives in uninterrupted fashion. He also made a first impression that they are all like robots, walking around with little expression and enthusiasm on their faces. It’s like they just live for necessity. That’s probably the strangest part of Jackson, though this can be said about other cities as well. Adam came to the conclusion that no famous celebrities would ever come around here since the place is quite depressing and the entertainment value is subpar at best. There are quite a few things to do in Jackson though after Adam consulted his travel brochure from the hotel, seeing many opportunities of fun that he had not known about, such as the Cascades Light Show.

His day in this little metropolis was not all cherries and cream though. As Adam was going downtown and seeing all of the various shops and attractions, including the historical and recently renovated Michigan Theatre according to his guide, he was suddenly cut off in traffic, a white pickup honking its horn and racing around him, leaving Adam in the dust. The truck ran a red light and narrowly avoided colliding with an SUV coming from the left side of the intersection. Stunned, Adam decided to stop at the Michigan Theatre and check out the shows playing there. He parked on the side of the street near the theatre, being careful not to park in the timed zone, and headed for the set of old fashioned wooden green doors with red trim around the inner glass frame. Adam was simply awed in amazement as he stepped inside the front entrance; it looked like something in a museum, the sculpting of the walls, ornate marble columns, the vintage red rope by the 20th century ticket window. There was a concession bar on the left as Adam sauntered through the open theatre doors. A tall man, about fifty, with black framed glasses saw him and casually nodded. Adam walked up to the counter and asked about the shows going on here. The man, who seemed to be the owner here by his look, said a classic western hour was currently running and would be $3 to see. Adam wasn’t the biggest fan of westerns but figured it would be a shot of entertainment. He put down the cash and walked into the lone theatre on the right, his breath being immediately taken away by the vastness of this chamber. The place was like an old cathedral with meticulously crafted designs on the walls and ceiling. The giant Victorian light fixtures in the ceiling also gave this theatre a vibe of historical significance. Adam sat down in one of the seats near the back that looked like it had not been replaced since at least the 1930s, adding to its value, and immediately felt a comfort rush over him as the previews before the western hour consumed. This place felt like home to him, he could have stayed here for hours and reveled in the comforting magic it seemed to engulf him. The western hour commenced and Adam was subjected to a fantastic hour of gun-fighting, horseback riding men galloping with a superior authenticity, and dialogue that was as dark and gritty as the westerns intended them to be. This definitely became Adam’s favorite place in all of Jackson.

Adam eventually made it to Bay City, in the thumb, in time for his brother’s wedding, bringing back memories of his trip through that old fashioned town.

Now the wedding turned out to be a complete disaster. Someone accidentally fell into the cake and the expensive ring was swallowed by the uncle’s dog that was attending the wedding.

Across the States

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The Boilermaker Special

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Chicken Alfredo

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Children’s Museum

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Pictures from my trip across several states this week.

Repurpose, Solitude,  Shadow

Chicago Time

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Ain’t no time in Chicago
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Quarter two says my watch

The Guy on the Train

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Good evening, everyone.

It’s been a great two day holiday in Wisconsin with Liz, Shaun, and Jace, but it’s time to go home now, back to normalcy, back to my usual 300 something day lifestyle. The cheese that is made right here in Wisconsin on the many farms simply out bests “regular” cheese by big name brands.

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With over four hours of Christmas music playing on YouTube that was projected via HDMI on the television, the lot of us opened up gifts and played some Apples to Apples (an updated version). Ate at the rustic Texas Roadhouse for dinner beforehand (where it is normal to drop your cracked peanut shells on the floor). I ordered a sirloin steak and grilled shrimp combo with Caesar Salad and mashed potatoes on the side, along with a frothy white margarita with a lime wedge on the edge.

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I’m on the Amtrak train now heading due northeast towards Michigan, this time sitting in the seat that is in the opposite direction the train is moving. It’s a peaceful journey through the Midwest, the choo choo sound of the train’s engine a great reminder of how trains are still a classic way to travel. The view outside my window is all dark now with the occasional train racing past in the opposite direction that my train is going. The air is cool in the compartment and the car gently rattles on the track. Riding the train has become one of my favorite ways to travel now, obliterating my idea that the travel method was all but obsolete compared to faster ways.

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There are 19 days left until Christmas and then all of this holiday bonanza and anticipation simply vanishes, the down spiraling crescendo often anticlimactic and underwhelming to say the least.

A Christmas Story

For the second time in my life I took the long train ride to Janesville, Wisconsin to see my oldest sister. This time it was during the Christmas holidays, where a large fully decorated tree sat in the lobby of the old Michigan Central Railroad station. As was before, we stopped at the Union Station in Chicago and boarded a charter bus to Wisconsin, which was packed and full of frequent bathroom goers (the facility located at the back of the bus). Ended up in the same hotel as the last couple times as well, the Baymont Inn and Suites, in which the luxurious hot tub was broken this time, but still warm enough to put our feet in.

The continental breakfast is always a scrumptious affair at the Baymont. The question of the day written on the board in the front lobby elicits discussion. Getting to sleep in an actual bed is great as well.

Share Your World Week 36

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List 2 things you have to be happy about?

A good family and having a steady income now that allows me to buy the things I want and not depend on others so much.

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

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I’d write about Egypt and the pyramids I suppose.

Should children be seen and not heard?

It depends – if I had children. They shouldn’t bother older people and stick to doing their own thing but every once in a while a kid can be good company.

List at least five of your favorite first names.

Brianna, Ashley, Jordan, Justin, Bianca off the top off my head.

Share Your World