Could use some local advice on setting up a night of Pub Crawling/Casino for a birthday event.
I have a couple of pretty broad questions, but any response would be appreciated. Are there enough bars/restaurants within walking distance of each other to do a pub crawl in Traverse City? If so, where should we start? Also, would it be wise to get a hotel near the casino rather than at Turtle Creek, or is the hotel there not too bad?
tl;dr Come to Atlas Pub for drinks and games -- all while supporting a local nonprofit! Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is hosting a Casino Night at Atlas Pub on Friday, November 4th! Rack up as many chips as you can and trade them in for raffle tickets! Prizes: 1. Apple Watch 2. GoPro 3. $100 Atlas Pub Gift Certificate 4. Tito's Gift Basket ($650 value) Buy-in rates: 1. At the door: $20 for 50 chips 2. Online (prepaid): $20 for 100 chips If you buy in before the event, you get double the chips for the same price! That means more playing time and more opportunities to win raffle tickets! Purchase prepaid tickets here: www.ylc.net/casino-night About us: Atlas Pub (www.facebook.com/atlaspubhtx) offers a large selection of over 100 beers (40 of which are on tap), generous space with two beer pong tables, and great fusion eats from its kitchen. All buy-in proceeds and a portion of drink proceeds go to the Youth Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering leadership development among high school students. Each year, the Council sponsors a conference that offers students a unique opportunity to learn leadership skills, build relationships, and discover themselves. For more information, please visit ylc.net. If you have any questions, feel free to email [email protected]. See y'all there!
Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster. In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly. The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged. Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms. The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist. The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale. ‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing. It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment. Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge. That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted. The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions. Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge. Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it. Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales. Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others. This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse. Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away. These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk. If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced. If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober. The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs. The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them. This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame. Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier. There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language. What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand. That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough. If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses. As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial. The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt. Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame. This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’ So Stokes punches him. It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road. Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks. Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him. Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended. Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop. Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance. ‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’ The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’. The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back. After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed. If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence. Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued. ‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass. A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’. The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now. Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa. It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’. The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
Covid-19 Update for November 24: 1,115 new cases, 916 recoveries, 16 deaths + Announced Restrictions to Limit Covid-19 Spread
Data is taken from the Covid-19 portal and today's media availability by Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, and Dr Deena Hinshaw. Minister of Eduation Adriana LaGrange, Deputy Minister of Eduation Andrew Courbold, and AHS CEO Verna Yiu were also present, but did not speak. Dr Hinshaw will be available every day this week. There are currently enhanced measures in effect for multiple regions of Alberta. This link provides a quick summary of which ones are in effect for different regions of Alberta. Top line numbers:
For values where "Current" and "Total" are the same, I have left results under Total
Cases with "Unknown source"
7,538 (88.0%) in last 7 days
+13,617 (~8.19% positive)
+20/+15 based on yesterday's post/portal data
+4/+1 based on yesterday's post/portal data
+16 (3x 60-69, 70-79, 10x 80+)
Spatial distribution of people tested, cases, and deaths (since yesterday):
All other values are compared with respect to yesterday
New People Tested
Spatial distribution of cases for select cities and regions (change since yesterday) (cities proper for Calgary and Edmonton):
High River county
I.D. No 9 (Banff)
Wood Buffalo municipality
Rest of Alberta
Municipalities with 10+ active cases is given at this link Schools with outbreaks are listed online. Quick numbers (since yesterday):
65 schools are on Watch (+1)
117 schools have 2-4 cases (+3)
Spatial distribution of hospital usage (change based on yesterday's post):
Hospitalization zone are where the patient is receiving care, not zone of residence
Statements by Premier Kenney Opening Statements
Pandemic is "once in a century" event that has affected everyone
Has received lots of heartbreaking/heartfelt letters and read some out of them in the meeting last night
Letters include concerns about family impacts and economic impacts, as well as the loss of life
Has phoned front line healthcare workers over weekend and sought out their advice
Has noted the hesitation of further restrictions before and focus on targeted measures. The vast majority of Albertans have worked to the guidelines
Spread is speeding up and is significant at long term care. We need to do "everything we can" to protect them. That requires dedicated work from the community
Must also protect healthcare system. Healthcare system is at risk, and Edmonton Zone is an example of the trade offs that now must be made. Other services will have to be put on hold if the trend continues, even with the spending in it
Measures below were not taken lightly. These are the "minimum restrictions needed" right now to protect healthcare system and avoiding widespread damage to livelihoods
Declaring a State of Public Health Emergency in the province of Alberta
Series of mandatory measures also approved:
For social gatherings: No indoor social gatherings will be permitted in any setting and outdoor social gatherings will have a limit of 10 people
For funerals and weddings: 10 in-person limit and no receptions will be permitted
Social events have been one of the biggest driver of cases. Weddings and funerals are one of the biggest widespread drivers of transmission ("This is just a reality")
These social gathering restrictions are province-wide and can be subjected to fines
An emergency alert will be sent to all Alberta phones this week to make Albertans aware
Gatherings of worship services will be capped of 1/3 of Fire Code with mandatory masking if region is under enhanced status. This is now mandatory. This will be evaluated mid-December
Effective Friday, for regions under enhanced status, three temporary restrictions will be added at businesses and services:
(1) The following will be closed: banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, concert venues, community centres. All levels of sport too, but must apply and have an approved exemption
(2) Retail businesses and services will be limited to 25% of occupancy limit
(3) Hair salons, personal wellness services, hotels, and professional services will be limited by-appointment
In-person dining and bars can continue, but must abide by guideline. Each dining tables will be limited to 1 household
Asking all workers that can work from home to do so. Government of Alberta will do so
These will be reviewed in mid-December
On November 30th, Grades 7-12 will end in-person schooling for 2020 and Winter break will begin December 18. In-person learning will be delayed until January 11, 2021
Effective immediately, masks are mandatory in Edmonton and Calgary Zone
The measures are tough, but necessary to protect Albertans from a "crushing lockdown"
Knows this will be hard and encourages people to shop local
Will give a chance to review before Christmas
If the measures do not have meaningful impact, further restrictions will be made in December
Q&A - Announced Restrictions
Alberta has had some of the least stringent measures and highest cases rates. Is today's announcement that it failed? Why are we doing the "minimum"?: Thinks the response has been effective for a long stretch of time. Obviously an issue has cropped up in the past few weeks. Also notes a "chase after 0 [cases]" shutdown won't be the goal and that restrictions and interventions, in accordance with Charter of Rights, should be limited to minimizing infringement of rights to achieve a goal
How will you enforce gathering restrictions?: No "snitch line", but will be expanding enforcement officers (Level 1 and 2 peace officers) to enforce orders and writing the tickets (up to $1,000/person). Anticipates officers will see if obvious "large gathering signs" will be noticed
How is in-person dining not "indoor gatherings"? How do you feel about doctors recommending closing in-person dining?: Notes dining is one household and limited spread in dining centres and asks those with a secure paycheck ("particularly a government paycheck") to think about those who sink life savings in dining services
Why are stores being restricted if they are not a significant cause of spread?: Compares well to other provinces who have fully closed retail. Thinks it was a grave mistake to allow big box stores to remain open because they had grocery/pharmaceutical sections while small businesses must close. That said, restrictions must be made to limit social spread
Due to challenges with Albertan spread information, what data is being used to make the decisions?: Points to data from previous 8 months
Are you confident that these measures will control cases by December 15?: Yes. Notes the challenging balance between infringement of rights and controlling cases. Also hopes this will be a "wake up call" to those not following the guidelines
(Interjection - I felt this was important and it needs to be separated from the above question). Kenney recognizes he will get quite a few people "on [his] Facebook page" angry at the restrictions. Wants to emphasize this is not a lockdown. Nor is this an abstraction. If you know someone waiting for surgery, this is to protect them. It's not about politics, but for them. It's not something he wants to do and is upset about the situation. But it's not enough to complain. Challenges people to explain how to grapple with timely healthcare access if Covid continues to spread and more need care
Q&A - Future Restrictions
How bad will it have to be to announce a lockdown?: Would like to avoid it if possible. Key metric will be hospitalization (in particular, ICU), measured against capacity. (Interjection - The wording of the rest of the response was focused on more targeted measures if these restrictions do not limit spread within 3 weeks)
Are there specific thresholds for lift measures/add more measures?: On 15th of December, reproductive value (R) must be <1 to lift measures. Ideal target is 0.80. We are currently at 1.3 in Edmonton, 1.1 in Calgary
Q&A - Other
Where is Alberta when it comes to vaccine and rapid testing?: Alberta depends on the federal government. Notes disappointment in the slow roll out of rapid testing (though 577,000 tests have been delivered). Hopes to announce more roll out details in the week. For vaccine, Oxford trial has also headed to mass production (giving Canada 3 incoming vaccines). When it arrives, will likely begin with healthcare workers and vulnerable populations
Statements by Minister Shandro Further details on the above guideline
Indoor social contact should be limited to you household. If you live alone, you may have two non-household social contacts
Indoor social gathering gatherings doesn't apply to home based services
Funeral/wedding gathering limits can result in $1,000 fine, up to $100,000 through courts
Additional details for restaurants/bars/pubs/lounges: Must follow 4 points: (1) 6 person/table limit, all from one household, (2) same note as above for single person household (and limited to the same two people), (3) only seated eating/drinking allowed, (4) no other services are allowed (e.g. billiards/darts)
Encourages takeout/delivery/curbside pick up when possible
Enhanced screening of measures will begin
Retail services extends to bingo halls, fitness, pools, etc. No group fitness is allowed, nor team practice or games
Casinos can be open for slots only and follow the liquor laws of bars and casinos
High all! I really recently fell in love with the Fallout Universe, with all its complexities and unique stories. In particular, I very much enjoy the subjectivity of interpretations of the games and their outcomes, and I wanted to create my own personal contribution by writing a story specifically set after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. The Courier is referenced once in passing and there's no mention of a next of kin for the Courier. The story is completely original with entirely unique characters that I've made and it takes place after a non-specific timeline in which Mr House wins the fight for the Mojave Desert. I wanted to share some of my work with my fellow Fallout fans and see what you think. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Beginning: After the guns fell silent during the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, the world was forever changed. Mr House’s City State of New Vegas gained full sovereignty and control over the Mojave Desert, and his Securitron Army pushed the exhausted NCR and broken Legion out. In the following years, Mr House rapidly expanded the city of New Vegas, and reignited the production of old Pre-War Technology automobiles, bus lines, and a high speed train line appeared. The Strip itself expanded beyond the Three Families; Strip clubs, pubs, casinos, all you can eat buffets filling the area, with some residential apartments and houses now beginning to be sold to the highest bidder, just as it was in the old world. The expanded city of Vegas outside the Strip itself however is a slum, crime, inequality, and denigration is all but abundant, and unrest is growing. Following the removal of President Kimball, his Vice President Donald Watson took over and inherited a State in crisis. Faith in the government had rapidly deteriorated, and the economy of the NCR began to suffer as many relocated to the Strip to live a life of luxury and excess. The NCR is now a shadow of its former self, with Military Police now required to keep order on the streets of its towns and cities. The poverty level is rising. In the East, Caesar’s Legion too is changing, and not for the better. With the Western Campaign a failure by all accounts, resources dwindling, questions about the strength of their Leader Caesar are cropping up in the minds of those closest to him. By 2295, the pieces had fallen into place. The fate of these States and the people who uphold them is uncertain. One thing is for sure. Whatever happens, the Wasteland will be changed unlike it has ever been before. ‘I appreciate your respectful and restrained response to my contact. It is a pleasure to interact with the less agitated members of your State.’ Aminta barely heard Mr House, and instead stared out the windows of the Lucky 38. The skyline of the Strip extended seemingly forever, pushing away the surrounding darkness with neon light. Just beyond the city outskirts, the silhouette of Mr House’s newly created Launch Pad. It was one of five, and she could just see the other four, each slightly further away from the city than the last. She scrutinised them, and was struck by the boundless possibilities of such technology; the opportunities provided. How exciting it would be! Mr House’s voice then cracked her thoughts and brought back to the present. She listened, without comment. ‘Roughly 18 hours ago, a team of five extraordinarily skilled individuals ascended Hoover Dam from the base of the structure,’ The ostentatiously large screen in which Mr House’s face sat suddenly changed to show grainy footage. ‘This was captured by one of our cameras on the perimeter of the dam. I apologise for the bad quality, it has been surprisingly difficult obtaining improved camera lenses, and As you can see, they used some kind of Grapnel Launcher and ascended via the rope.’ On the screen, it was possible to just make out five distinct figures at the base of the dam. They were clearly dressed in dark clothing, though the quality was too poor and the camera was too far away to make out any of the fine details of the material. Aminta scrutinised the footage, watching intently as the five figures used an oblong object, reminiscent of a hunting rifle to fire a rope, or cord up the side of the dam; high enough to catch the top. The operator of the device then disconnected it from the gun, and pressed it into the ground. It appeared to stick. They then ascended the rope. The camera feed then cut to show three of the attackers subdue and restrain two security guards. Due to the light, it was clear that the clothing the criminals were wearing was Recon Armor, though there were no insignia or identifiable characteristics. The two men were then held down by two and clubbed across the face by the third member with the butt of a 10mm pistol. He then turned to the computer and retrieved something from his pocket. Then the screen went black. ‘At this point, at roughly 1:27 am a Trojan was fitted onto the system. It temporarily disabled all the security cameras in the sector. It was one of the strongest Trojans I’ve ever come across, but I was able to get the system back up and running within 15 minutes. Unfortunately we cannot recover any footage from the corrupted data files that detail how the robbers escaped. I hope you can understand why I decided to contact you.’ Aminta pondered to herself. Why would Mr House, a man who controlled Rockets and owned and governed an entire city and it’s enterprises, would need to contact the New California Republic for assistance in a robbery? From where they were standing, he appeared to be in a position any high ranking NCR official would kill for. She didn’t say anything. There had to be more to this meeting than what Mr House was implying. She looked to her left, trying to be casual. Sitting next to her with an overexaggerated grave look on his face was Political Officer Neville Dawson, and next to him was Dennis Crocker, former Ambassador to the Strip. They too were quiet, their faces frustratingly hiding what they were thinking. Not sure where to look, Aminta turned back to the screen Mr House’s caricature face was on. She had to say something. ‘Mr House, why exactly do you think these people targeted Hoover Dam? There are many casinos and places full of money on the New Vegas Strip. Is there anything of massive value at Hoover Dam?’ ‘Well Chief Aminta Marr, no, ostensibly speaking, there is nothing there of real value to anyone, unless they have the ability to take and control the Dam and source it’s hydraulic generated electricity,’ ‘Then why would someone do this?’ Aminta said curtly. She tensed up, not meaning to sound dismissive. ‘Well Aminta, they did take one thing from what we've deduced,’ Mr House said, appearing to ignore her tone. ‘And what was that Mr House?’ Neville cut in. He was leaning forward, hands clasped tightly together. He was trying - and failing - to ease the tension in the room. ‘Well, before I contacted you Neville, and to answer your question Aminta, I ran through my storage records from 2285 to the present. I had Mr Harvey Shwarze, my ‘Representative in Government’ review them in paper form in our archives. Three things - completely inconsequential things mind you, were missing. Three Platinum Chips.’ ‘Three Platinum Chips?’ Neville said concertedly, as if he knew exactly what Mr House was talking about. ‘That’s right. It’s a data storage device, well it was a data storage device. Designed by me before the Great War of 2077. Perhaps once upon a time this would’ve been valuable to somebody, but after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam I had access to all kinds of ruined facilities all over the Mojave to reform to working order. I began reprinting hundreds of Platinum Chips which were variations of the original Platinum Chip. They continuously upgrade and encrypt my software to prevent any outside programmers from accessing my highly sensitive data. I have no idea what a group of hooligans would want with three. I can easily replace them, and since they’re only usable on my systems, well they would simply be useless.’ ‘Perhaps they wanted to sell them,’ Aminta proposed. It wasn’t impossible, she thought. People pay top dollar for things with perceived value, isn’t that the cardinal rule of the Strip? ‘To whom?’ Mr House replied. ‘The point still stands. Nobody has any use for them but me.’ ‘Well, perhaps they thought they were valuable.’ Dennis remarked. ‘In any case, they will soon learn they are not valuable.’ ‘If you have no problems with this Mr House,’ Aminta cut in. ‘Why do you need us here? The NCR has its own problems, big problems, and from where we’re standing, you seem to have everything under control.’ ‘That’s precisely the issue!’ Mr House exclaimed. ‘The very fact they managed to steal anything from me at all is deeply disconcerting! I spent days and nights running statistical simulations for all possible scenarios in and formulated the best plans for countering every scenario I came across!’ ‘I guess my point is, I do not understand, in any capacity, why you, YOU of all people would need to call us for assistance in a matter that you - whether intentional or not - have spent the last fives minutes telling us it isn’t an issue.’ The room fell quiet. Aminta pulled her hands back from the table and into her lap, and looked down at them, pretending to be occupied analysing them. She had exposed the true, unspoken meaning of this meeting, and they all knew it. She bit her lip. Dennis wiped the sweat off his face. Neville breathed in deeply, as though he was going to speak. But Mr House did first. ‘As I understand it, the NCR has fallen on hard times since the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. My Lieutenant after the battle was admittedly curt in regards to handling our relations, and since then it seems your economy is really struggling with extremely poor unemployment and satisfaction levels,’ Mr House paused. Neville looked at Aminta with a look of understanding, and regret but he didn’t say anything. Mr House was right. Of course he was right. ‘It just so happens that while it may look from the outset I’m doing well, with the occasional launch of one of my experimental rockets, crime in Greater New Vegas is extraordinarily high. To be clear, the Strip is not, but the extended city state with the newly constructed buildings - those areas are. I want to make a proposition for the mutual benefit of the NCR, and New Vegas. Neville, think carefully about what I’m about to say.’ Neville spoke up. ‘Alright, I’m all ears.’ ‘Dennis Crocker here can once again become the Ambassador to the Strip, and the NCR can once again have an Embassy. I will also give the NCR access to some of my technologies to help your state re-stabilize after everything that’s happened. In return however, I would like Aminta here, who is your Chief and Commander of both your military and normal police forces, to assist my Securitrons in patrolling Outer Vegas. Securitrons don’t make the best police, and security guards are in short supply and are not equipped, in any sense, to be police. I also would like your help in tracking down the culprits of this robbery; that being an extension of the aforementioned policing stipulation. Such a breach of security cannot happen again. Neville Dawson, I’m willing to sign a treaty pertaining to these terms, or any terms the NCR may propose, unless of course it does mutually benefit both states.’ Aminta felt her twang strike her deep in her heart. For years, the NCR Police Force had been absorbed into the Military Police Unit, and they could barely contain black market dealings of Chems and military grade weaponry on the streets of NCR’s cities. They did not have the resources or power Mr House seemed to think they did. For nearly 3 years straight she had been bombarded with evidence of killings by her own subordinates, illegal incarcerations, and illicit behavior between colleagues within her own chain of command, with no power to rehabilitate or prosecute those involved. Meanwhile, those that had the money to escape fled to New Vegas, desperate to find a life of comfort. It was possible that through re-establishing trade and mutual respect with Mr House, they could rebuild the NCR’s respectability on the international and internal level. She found herself hoping the treaty would be signed. ‘This... is a huge proposition. I hope you can understand the overwhelming nature of what you’re telling us, it’ll take a bit for us to come to a conclusion.’ Neville exhaled, as though he had been holding it for the last minute. ‘I understand.’ Mr House responded. ‘Maybe I ask,’ Donnie piped up. ‘What specific kinds of technology will you provide to the NCR?’ Mr House ran down a checklist. ‘Vehicles. Remade pre-war cars. Excavation machines. Cement mixers. Would provide jobs and improve your infrastructure in the process, whilst also giving me business and improving the situation here. Mutually beneficial for both sides.’ ‘I see.’ Aminta struggled to contain her happiness. She had become a police officer to enforce safety and protect those who abide by the law. This was a way back to such operations, in which she could help those in need, rather than sit idly while their situation worsened. ‘I’ll also be willing to give 10% of the electricity produced by Hoover Dam to the NCR. It produces more than I need.’ Mr House offered. Dennis shifted his weight, and opened his mouth. It was a second before anything came out. ‘15% would be great, if possible.’ ‘Done.’ Mr House concluded. ‘Well, we’ll definitely have to confer this back to President Watson. As previously said by Mr Dawson, this is a huge offer.’ ‘I understand. Aminta, I can only hope you also support this.’ Aminta smiled. ‘I am willing to establish a NCR Police Force here in New Vegas, and assist in establishing prosperity and stability, for the benefit of both states.’ ‘Excellent. I’ll arrange for a Taxi to take you back to the border.’ ***** Nobody said a word in the ride in the elevator down to the entrance of the Lucky 38. There was a perpetual sense of being watched, and listened to, and Aminta supposed they probably were. She sensed from the stiffness of Donnie and Neville’s postures they felt the same way. As the three left through the ground level of the building, the desolate casino indicated a time long past, preserved in pristine condition yet uncannily lifeless; inhabited only by robots. Aminta felt a shiver flow throughout her body, prompting her to hurry outside. Upon exiting, Aminta was greeted by the fantastic lighting she had seen from the Lucky 38. Buildings stretched high into the now night sky, perpetually lit up and calling for you to spend a few short hours in their luxurious suites and lose all the money you have without knowing it. She had visited the Strip a couple of times before the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. Back then, whilst still grand, its exterior walls felt cobbled-together, layered pieces of steel to preserve what glory the pre-war days had. Now, the Strip felt open, almost a complete return to complete pre-war glory, though there was no way of her knowing what such a time looked like. Polished, beetle like cars with extravagant interwoven pieces of silver and gold making up their hubcaps cluttered the road, filled with nicely dressed young women chattering incessantly. Boys, ranging from teenagers to old men stumbled around, drunk and happy, their legs falling beneath them as though they were wet noodles. To the left, the Ultra Luxe Casino hotel stood at the far end of the street, intoxicatingly ostentatious and alluring for any hoping to climb the social ladder, despite the many rumors of cannibalism attempting to tarnish the brand. The fountain outside the front sprayed sparkling water into the night air which caught the light of the strip and reflected it like the jewels the building it was in front of was embroidered in. However, Aminta was not taken by the hotel, and watched two NCR troopers, still in their military uniforms be forced to dance in front of a crowd of onlookers. They were pushed and shoved as they struggled to dance, their arms and legs barely keeping to any rhythm as they fell to the ground, vomiting a putrid yellow substance onto the asphalt. She looked away in disgust and embarrassment for the two men. A man in an expensive looking suit and bowtie greeted the three. Behind him stood a long polished black car. ‘Shall I take you to the crossing point?’ ‘Yes.’ Donnie answered. Aminta and Neville followed his lead. He had more experience on the Strip than the majority of the tourists around them. She started the car once they were all inside, the engine barely kicking as it began to drive. Aminta marvelled at its power, it’s sleekness, at the strength and confidence of its movement and the luxury of it’s exotic wood plated interior. The chauffeur drove to the large South Gate of the Strip, passing multitudinous buildings of similar grandeur and spectacle, all the same though uniquely different, until they all blurred into one mix of different colours and moving forms. The chauffeur leaned out of the side window, showed an identification pass to a Securitron, and the gate opened. Aminta’s car was the only car that left. As the gate closed, the car picked up speed and tore through the rest of Vegas. Immediately outside the Strip, the buildings were noticeably more dilapidated. Aminta watched as the varied prosperity of the Strip curtailed rapidly into a mess of buildings, barely recognisable as residential or industrial, though they were unmistakably new creations. She almost didn’t notice it at first, but they were all the same. Row after row of buildings with the same geometric exterior, though placed at odd angles to each other, as if a child had been playing with them and haphazardly threw them into where they now stood. As the car moved further and further away from the Strip, lights in these buildings became scarce, and the brickwork became exposed to reveal pipelines and shreds of electrical appliances, some still spitting sparks. When the light of the Strip was nothing more than a flicker of light on the night horizon, the copied buildings were replaced with houses, roofs sagging, walls crumbling. As the car zipped passed, Aminta caught wisps of figures; people moving about the ruins and the darkness like ghosts, until they passed the last house, and all that could be seen was the night sky and desert shrubbery.
The Saga of Creepy Old Dude, part 1 of infinity probably.
I am so sorry this will be so long, and in multiple parts LMFAO I used to be a server at a casino, but my job closed in March so I have been bartender and (sometimes) server at this pub since July. It's been open for like 30+ years and a lot of regulars here have been coming here forever, and 90% of them are great and lovely. This dude is not one of them. I will call him T. T comes in basically every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. He also stops by our liquor store at like 8-9am before the pub opens, or he goes to other pubs to drink before coming here. He always gets drunk here, and every time he gets drunk he gets weird and fucking creepy. I absolutely loathe when he sits at my bar because then I have to interact with him. I work nights mostly, so when I come in at 4:45pm the daytime bartender will give me the daily update on T, how many drinks he's had, how long he's been there, and when we should cut him off. This Thursday was no other, she told me he had 6 beers, so I decided he could have one more and I'd cut him off because otherwise he just becomes the most stereotypical creepy, old, lonely man. I give him his last beer and go deal with the Thursday wing night drink rush. T asks me for another beer. I tell him he can't have any more, and he gets annoyed and asks me why. I tell him that DayBar has told me how much he's had and I know how long he's been there and I think that's enough for him. He gets mad and asks me "WHO TOLD YOU TO CUT ME OFF? WAS IT [NAME]? WAS IT [OTHER SERVER]?" and I'm like dude no I made this decision on my own, I'm my own person. He gets mad, pays his tab (and doesn't tip lol!) and leaves, thank Christ. His friend who is NOT cut off apologizes for T's behavior and basically doesn't give a shit that T is gone. The next day I get into work for my shift and the manageowners son is there and asks about T. I tell him what happened, and he's like yup I figured. He shows me his phone and he has like... 40 text messages from T!!! The dude went on a drunken rant to my boss saying how he spends FIFTY DOLLARS here every day, how much $50x365 days is, that S, my bosses dad is gonna be PISSED because he is going to tell all his buddies to stop coming to our pub because we cut him off 3 days in a row and he was SO EMBARASSED about it! Apparently day shift hates him, he's gonna go to [other pub] because it has better food and happy hour and he's taking ALL HIS FRIENDS WITH HIM!! My boss responded to him with a beautiful one word answer: 'Enjoy.' Unfortunately for us, him 'leaving us FOREVER' lasted less than a week, and he came back on Tuesday to harass us some more, and then an even stupider series of events transpired from this weeks later. I'll post in another post if people are interested in the saga of Weird Old Man.
My list (only based on cities I've actually been to!) 1) London 2) Liverpool 3) Sheffield 4) Nottingham 5) Birmingham or Milton Keynes So every January and June - me and two mates go to a city in the UK that atleast two of us haven't been too before - however becuase we've been stuck inside for so long due to COVID we're gonna go out more next year. We're quite young so we like the tall building, busy city London type of vibe - good food, open spaces, nightlife etc and was wondering your recommendations. London - nothings going to beat it, feels like literally the whole world in one place - dwarfs everything else by comparison, after not going there for around 5 years or more I went back last year for winter wonderland and fell in love with the place again - haven't been clubbing there though, feels too crazy a place to do it. Liverpool - Amazing city, was there for 2 days and it exceeded expectations - the accent isn't great but the place is quite gorgeous - part of me loved the centres open designs and part of me found it underwhelming - the shopping is meh but everything else is great, it feels massive and busy and the street food is exceptional - will definitely be returning if just for that - also the clubbings underrated, never hear Liverpool brought up but it was great - apart from when we had to walk all the way back to the apartment then to the club again becuase apparently the shoes I had on are worn by druggies in the area. Sheffield - Sheffield surprised me alot - went to see a hockey game (or a footy game I can hardly remember) what I do remember is how surprisingly modern it feels - meadowhall is huge which is nice, the shoppings just ok though - could've put a Selfridges or something there - I much prefer bullring and MK's centre. Nottingham - I moved from London to Nottingham around 2 years ago and I really like it, sitting in market Square and just chatting with mates while the tram goes past is great, it has that city feel and is one of the more varied cities in terms of food, shops etc just a shame that the better shops aren't inside the shopping centre which severely lacks imo - it's an old place that feels young. Known for its clubbing it dosent disappoint - I don't think I've ever seen so much clubs in one place. Birmingham - the first time I came to Birmingham was a college trip about 3 years ago and I was in awe of the place, I thought it was gorgeous and huge. My gf is in Birmingham so I've been there alot since and that effect has almost completely worn off. Bullring/grand Central is still great - shops are great, layouts great - no issues there, plenty of big shiny buildings and the food is exquisite - the restaurants, the fast food, shisha lounges - all of that is great and there's some really nice areas..but man, is the city dirty and kind of ugly sometimes to - jewellery quatre is a nice area but that's the only one I can think of, not to mention the amount of rats there is staggering. Really 60/40 with Brum - the nightlife was good though, really fun vibe. Milton Keynes - never been clubbing here or really seen the living areas but the shopping centre is still my favourite, it feels modern, Xscape used to be more fun when I was a kid before the bowling alley and arcade became a casino but there's still the snowdome and other things - I'm a bit bias becuase I used to come here with my mum alot as a kid and the place was always just magical to me whereas London was too big for me to understand what was going on - we never turn down a chance to go. Possible visits : I've heard Manchester's the second best to London - heard nothing but good things all of a sudden by people so thats next on the list for sure. Heard Leeds is great - really fun atmosphere and great food. Newcastles always referred to as the undisputed king of UK nightlife - I'm not really into drinking anymore but I love the electric you dunno what's gonna happen feel in the air on a night out so that's on the plans to. Edinburgh - at some point next year we're planning a road trip to either Edinburgh or either lake or peak district - lake District has the best pub food btw, went when I was like 12 and never forgot the place.
Folding the office job for a year full of (poker) adventures - PAGE 4
For the first page CLICK HERE (page 2 in comments etc.) ‘Oh no honey, it’s 44’’ So I finally got my Vegas experience and although it wasn’t a great success from a money point of view, it was a great first experience. Like every player I’ve wandered about what Vegas would be like ever since I first played cards, watched 2 months 2 million and saw the famous Chris Moneymaker footage. We go back roughly six years in time and we found a very young me in New Zealand. I was there for a Marketing internship and was already grinding the low stakes online .If you ever have the opportunity for sure go to New Zealand, and play in the SkyCity Tower Casino in Auckland. Very nice poker room with a view over the whole city . I always sold a bit of action to play live because I definitely wasn’t rolled for those games, being an intern student. Anyways, my internship ended and I have my good friend Rick visiting me all the way from Holland. We find ourselves sitting in the Irish Pub, drinking Heino’s. We’ve had a good amount of them and I notice an older woman a few tables further down winking at me. I’m 22 and tell Rick what I just noticed. Being a true friend he immediately encourages me to seal the deal. ‘A true milf man, you have to go for it’. I approach her, we have a drink and she tells me she’s 34 years old and from Brazil. 12 years age difference and from South America, nice. We end up in her hotel room and the next day Rick, me and another guy are off the South Island. I can still remember the cab driver laughing when I told him about what happened the night before. During our trip in the South Island we visited the casino in Christchurch. I’m the first one to sit down and there’s an Asian gentleman next to me in seat 1, he’s in the middle of a big pot when he is handed the hot tea he ordered. Being polite he decided to take it off the waitress and put it on one of the tables close to him, but not without getting up from his chair. It was his turn to act and when he turned around, literally 10 seconds later, he saw that the dealer mucked his hand. This led to an incredible outburst which was very understandable to be honest. His hand must have been very strong. Poker is weird, if someone gets screwed it’s always funny, except when it’s you. It’s like seeing people miss the train after giving it all during a last sprint, it never gets old. I didn’t speak to the Brazilian woman but when we were back in Auckland I decided to contact her. She’s keen to meet again that night, she’s staying at another hotel. Being a young gentleman I invite her to a classy place for some drinks. We’re casually talking and I mention I really would love to go to Vegas one day. She said ‘Oh it’s great I’ve been there 15 years ago’. I ask her how that’s possible because she’s 34 and you have to be 21 to go out and play. She looks at me and says ‘Oh honey, no not 34, 44’. Well this was certainly interesting, the age difference wasn’t 12 but 22 years. We had a great night and apparently she focused more on her performance between the sheets than she did on making breakfasts in the past 44 years. Worst breakfast of my life. Back in the now, I’ve returned home from Vegas and the money part starts worrying me a bit in the back of my mind. It’s not that I didn’t have money, I just didn’t want to spend money while being home. Money had better purposes, I’d rather spend it towards experiences like the Vegas trip and finding yourself in spots to sleep with 22 year older woman. However, the gap year was a calculated decision, so at the end of the day it would be fine. The only thing you can do is keep showing up and play your best. Within 5 days I got a really good run online and won the full 5k back, this is great. Vegas has basically been turned into a free trip now. In the meantime Gary let’s me know he’s staying close to the mailbox while being home, he doesn’t want his mom or dad to find a hospital bill. I picture the scene out of Harry Potter where Harry is waiting for his letter from Hogwarts. Things are going a whole lot better for our other Irish friend Clicki, he made the final table of the Crazy 888 WSOP event! One thing is sure, that backer he wanted to keep happy, he must have been very happy.
All of a sudden I got 4 Celebrities and I really don’t need them right now and need to clear my Lobby! These are the floors I currently have so send over a bit you want to convert-I’ll even convert them to gold if needed! Food * Airline Food * BBQ Place (Austin BBQ) * Bakery * Burrito Bar (Chip Throttle) * Cheese Shop * Coffee Shop(Stardollars) * Donut Shop * Frozen Yogurt (Blueberry) * Italian Food (Tortellini's) * Pancake House (IJUMP) * Pub (The Blazin Foot) * Scoops (Hotrock Creamery) * Seafood * Shrimp Buffet (Insect Of Da Sea) * Sky Burger * Smoothie Shop (Jumbo Juice) * Sub Shop (Subdirection) * Sushi Bar (Sa Shaymi) * Vegan Food (Eat Mor Chikn) Retail * Bike Shop (Stay In Ur Lane) * Bling Jewelers * Book Store * Brick Store * Candle Shop * Candy Shoppe * Comic Store * Game Store * Grocery Store * Hat Shop * Joey Bitton * Legit Watches * Mapple Store * Men's Fashion (Small and Short) * Pet Shop * Plant Nursery (Plant N Grow) * Record Shop * Surf Shop * Women's Fashion Recreation * Aquarium * Arcade * Boxing Gym * Broadway Theatre * Casino * Circus * Comedy Club (Lots of Love) * Golf Sim * Haunted House (House of Terror) * Karaoke Club * Mini Golf * Museum * Night Club (Mood Element) * Park (Middle Park) * Planetarium * Racquetball * Tiger Magic * Volleyball Club (Salt & Pepper) * Wax Museum (Madam Corsage) Creative * Ad Agency * Art Studio * Cake Studio (Batter Up) * Chocolatier (Billy Bonkas) * Costume Shop * Creative Ink * Dance Studio (Twist & Shout) * Fashion Studio * Floral Studio (Wat In Carnation) * Game Studio * Metal Studio (Heavy Metal) * Photo Studio (Shoot To Thrill) * Pottery Studio (Kilning It) * Soda Brewery * Superhero Lab * TV Studio * Wood Shop (Lumber Hacks) Service * Bank * Barbershop (Subpar Cuts) * Dentist's Office * Doctor's Office * Doggy Daycare * Fortune Teller (Palm Spirits) * Health Club (Inshape Galaxy) * Laundromat * Law Offices * Pharmacy * Plumber (Drain-Woah) * Recycling * Security Office * Stables * Style Salon * Travel Agency (Travelotiny) * Tutoring Center * Wedding Chapel
A bit of history. My dad passed away almost three years ago on Dec. 19th. This was so devastating. My mom is elderly in her late 70's and is now living alone in the city. I live 3 hrs away. (no casino where I live) Anyway. I come to the city every week to keep her company, help her with house work, and do her shopping. our routine is to go to the casino after everything is done. I stayed home last night trying to avoid the casino on a friday night. I drove in this morning all was good, went shopping now here is the real dumb thing. I went to the casino, due to covid they are only allowing 30 people in at a time. I went to register at 3:30 they said to wait in your vehicle or wait in line and they will text when it is my turn. I sat in my vehicle for over an hour waiting for my text. I was nervous, anxious, telling myself how dumb this is. I looked around and saw people sitting in their vehicles Im sure they were waiting for their text maybe thinking the same thing. Real dumb! anyway I had to go to the bathroom so I drove off the nearest place was a hotel, I went in and the washroom was in the pub and guess what? VLT's so I sat down and played. I hated every minute. I am so disgusted with myself. I am back at mom's watching Christmas movies, coffee and cigs. and regret! I got to get this under control. Thanks for listening had to vent.
Something’s wrong with my neighbour, they won’t stop staring at me through their window.
Miss Berry has always been a kind old woman, the type who’d say hello to you as you pass them in the street, or the type who snuck her grandchildren candy under the table when their parents weren’t looking. She was there when my wife and i first moved into my home, being the first of the many in our cul de sac to welcome us into the neighbourhood. I remember the first day i met her, with her long grey hair tied in a bun and a fresh apple pie in her hand as she stood outside our front door with a smile. “hello there! i’m your new neighbour, Jolene Berry, otherwise known as the neighbourhood cook, miss Berry! i own a bakery down the street, your welcome to stop by any time for a free pastry!” Something about her tone made you feel like you could share anything with her and she would not judge. Her smile was warm and genuine and it made you feel oddly safe. “thank you! we sure will, would you like to come in for some tea?” my wife responded whilst i unboxed some of the stuff into our new living room. “i would love to!” she responded before briefly checking the time on her watch. I watched as the once warm smile quickly faded and turned into a cold, worrisome look before retracting her acceptance, saying something had come up and she had to reschedule. i watched as she scurried back to her own house, and right as she opened the door i briefly saw a glimpse of what looked like a man in his 30’s standing in the hall as she closed it behind her. Over the next few months i came to learn that the man i had saw was Miss Berry’s son. He still lived with her as he never could hold down a job for more than a year, and his mother was the only person who was willing to keep him around. He was known to be antisocial and only left the house to go to late night casinos or the pub. I never really interacted with him, but when on the rare occasion our paths crossed, he never failed to make me feel uneasy. There were rumours that he was in huge amounts of debt due to his gambling addiction, and that his wife had left him because he tried to spend all her deceased parents’ insurance money to fuel his addiction. One evening we had miss Berry over for dinner and found ourselves talking and reminiscing about our childhoods for hours. Miss Berry was mid laughter when her eyes suddenly widened and she checked her watch, before mumbling to herself something about being late and excusing herself from the table to leave. Before we could ask what was wrong she was out the front door and away home. “what was that about?” my wife asked as we stacked the plates and started unloading them into the dishwasher. “i don’t kn-“ i was cut off from the sound of someone yelling. We attempted to locate where it was coming from, walking upstairs into our bedroom and watching through our window into one of next door’s rooms. That’s when we saw Miss Berry and her son arguing in what looked like Miss Berry’s bedroom. We couldn’t make out full sentences but from what i could decipher it sounded as though her son was yelling about being late and how he lost something and needed to make it up somehow. Miss Berry seemed to be standing there like a lamb being helplessly mauled by a lion, and i couldn’t help feel as though i needed to interfere. My wife stopped me though, and the voice quickly died down before stopping completely as we headed to bed. In the morning i did my usual routine and began opening the curtains before nearly jumping out of my skin at the sight of Miss Berry greeting me at the window of her bedroom. She seemed to be sitting down on a chair facing the window, smiling at me. something about this smile was different to her normal warm one, but i gave her a small smile and wave before continuing with my day and heading to work. I returned home late around 7pm, with the sun beginning to set and my stomach rumbling loudly. Everything seemed to be normal up until i went to change out of my work clothes only to discover Miss Berry at her window again. She was sitting in the chair, once again looking straight at me and smiling. i began to feel unnerved as i gave her a confused wave, waiting for her to return one. she never did, continuing to stare at me. I went downstairs and alerted my wife of what was going on, before both of us going back to the scene and being equally weirded out. That brings us to now, as i sit typing this. It’s been around an hour since, and Miss Berry still haven’t moved. And the more i go to check if she’s still there, the more i’m starting to realise that she hasn’t blinked once.
My gambling story - which led to bigger than just financial problems
Even if this just helps just 1 person realise how gambling could impact aspects of your life you didn’t know was possible I’ll be happy 🙌🏼 I started gambling 10 years ago when I was 16, my dad was always gambling whether it be on slots/sports/casino I always found it fascinating growing up watching all these huge machines with flashing lights when he’d take me to the pub or to play pool. My first gamble took place when I stumbled upon one of the old £5 jackpot slot machines you could play on when you’re under 18 which I don’t think are around now, I ended up putting in £20 for a £5 jackpot! (crazy I fucking know) This then led to online gambling aged 18-24 specifically sports and in play betting. My sports knowledge is probably my biggest strength to this day so in my head I thought I could have one over on the bookies. I knew it reached a stage where I was bad when I’d stay up till ridiculous hours in the morning and go through back to back sleepless nights betting on in plays for anything I could get my hands on even bet on Kazakhstan u21 badminton at one point 😆 at this point online gambling was like Monopoly money to me I’d deposit £50 lose it, £50 lose it & all this was happening whilst I was jobless using my mums cards, luckily I was breaking even most months so financially we wasn’t being effected but mentally I was digging myself a deep hole. Gambling was always my happy place, it reached the point where I wouldn’t even care if I lost or won, but the buzz of placing a bet and waiting for that notification to come through to see a team score in the 90th minute to win a bet was what I was living for on a daily basis. I got diagnosed with Depression & Anxiety when I turned 25 due to what I believe was environmental factors such as spending ridiculous hours on social media, gambling & a very dark childhood. This all also led to breathing problems, anxiety attacks, poor posture & very expensive but needed chiropractor treatments to try and restore my body. My whole personality was changing from my younger days, I was on very strong anti-depressants for a year which made me feel like a zombie and I’d regularly miss out on going out with my childhood friends because I wanted to stay in bed on my phone and bet on in play sports. I’ve been 2 years clean from online gambling and have absolutely no urge to go back - the 1 thing that massively helped me other than permanently closing all my accounts, was distancing myself from friends who gamble. During them 10 years the feeling of jealousy that would go through me when a friend told me their 100/1 Acca came in on the weekend was frightening, my biggest losses came during these periods. Sometimes you don’t realise it but if you’re on a break from gambling the smallest sign will make you wanna go back so distancing or making your gambling friends aware that it affects you and kindly telling them to stop will help. I hope this helps someone 🤞🏼
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