Day at Sea – Alaska Day 2

Woke up pretty early Sunday morning, feeling very refreshed after the long travel day Saturday. Utilized the amazing on-board room service option to have some coffee and grapefruit to the room for an early morning pre-breakfast. Read on my computer for a little while and then got ready to go to the real breakfast.

Much like my other two on ship dining experiences, the breakfast buffet proved to be an excellent spread with several options. I ate a LOT. It was awesome. I tried to stick to foods that were natural (fruits, eggs, bacon, etc.) and not highly processed, and I would say I did a decent job. Still ate more than I should have.

After breakfast I went down to the casino again to see if I could still play blackjack. Turns out that I needed to wait until 10 AM. I went back to the room and chilled out a little bit and then eventually went down to the casino to test my luck. I didn’t fare nearly as well as the night before, losing $80 in about 25 minutes.

After lunch (I am not going to go into food details as much during the rest of this diary, otherwise this would turn into a food blog. If that’s what you want, you should check out my sisters Twin Cities Restaurant Blog, which kicks more ass than you could ever imagine. It is the Chuck Norris of Twin Cities area restaurant review blogs) my dad went and watched a guy speak about living on an Island in Alaska by himself. I watched the replay on TV later in the day, and it was very informative. He was like a real life version of the guy from Into the Wild (I suggest you watch this movie if you haven’t already) *spoiler alert* only he doesn’t die at the end. *end spoiler alert*

Since we were at sea all day, Sunday, our entertainment options were solely on the ship. With cold, rainy weather outside, our options were limited. That meant that our best entertainment option for the afternoon was watching Nicolas Cage in National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I actually enjoyed this caricature of a movie, because I set my expectations low beforehand. I also secretly enjoy Nic Cage movies, especially those in which he is a caricature of himself.

The movie lead us right up to happy hour, which featured a fine selection of scotch and red wine that my dad smuggled onto the cruise ship. After happy hour, we went to get dinner at one of the many restaurants available on the ship. We tried to get a table for the two of us, but apparently the ship hates when groups of 2 try to dine by themselves (without other groups of 2), so we were forced to wait 20 minutes to get a table; even though tables were clearly open.

I took this opportunity to go to the casino and test my luck for 20 minutes. I threw down $40 at a $5 minimum Black Jack table, and I brought the house down (a pun for any of you who read the book about the MIT blackjack team)! I was on fire, and with my progressive betting method, I cleaned house.

Here’s how my progressive betting works: Start out betting the $5 minimum bet. If I win a $5 bet, I throw my winnings on top of the stack of chips ($10 total). If I win that $10 bet, I add another $5 to that, and pocket the other $5. If I win that $15 bet, I put another $5 on and pocket $10. On a $20 bet, I add $5 and pocket $15. And so on… until I lose, where I start over at $5.

This is the smartest betting method I have ever used with Black Jack, and it has helped me win quite a bit of money when I have hot streaks. It plays right into the extreme streakiness of Black Jack. You ride the good streaks and when you are on a losing streak, you only lose $5 a time. It’s hard to really lose a lot of money that way, and your long winning streaks more than supplement your losing streaks (well, most of the time). It takes emotion out of the picture and adds structure to the game. This works perfectly, since it is fact that if you play Black Jack properly (hit when needed, split when needed, double down properly), you have a 49% chance of winning vs. 51% for the house. This is much better odds than any other form of gambling at a casino (not counting craps and poker. Slots and pull tabs are worst at about an 85% pay out).

Back to the story, I used my method as described above, and I started getting into some ridiculously large bets. I did not lose a hand the entire time we were waiting for the restaurant to “buzz” us, and my progressive betting had me putting $60 on each hand! When I finally lost, I had accumulated $325 in chips in less than 20 minutes! I finally lost a bet right as the restaurant buzzer went off. Total profit: $285.

Dinner was excellent once again, and without getting into too much detail, I had the best piece of salmon I have ever had in my life, as well as a medium rare tenderloin filet. I ate like a king, and was compensated accordingly at the blackjack table.

After dinner, my dad wanted to see a ventriloquist show, and I reluctantly accepted. This was actually my first time seeing a live ventriloquist, and it was better than I had thought it would be. Generally, I have two basic reactions when I even hear the word ventriloquist. The first is that those dummies are creepy! Seeing grown men with their hands up the ass of a puppet is not usually my #1 source of entertainment (a HUGE exception can be made for Bubbles on the show Trailer Park Boys, and his dummy named Conky. Much love Bubbles).

If you have never seen Trailer Park Boys, I suggest you watch the Conky episode below!


gallagher_2.jpgThe other thing I think of when I hear the word ventriloquist is from the watermelon smashing comedian Gallagher. When I was a kid, I loved Gallagher. I’m not really sure why, but I think it has to do with him breaking stuff on stage. My dad always told me that he’d take me to see him in front row seats, but that we’d need to bring our own plastic sheeting in order to protect us from the watermelons and other sledgehammer byproducts. As an 8 year old, that was like telling me that he was taking me to see He-Man on Ice! I don’t even remember any of Gallagher’s jokes; I just knew that he smashed stuff!

Well, I take that back, I do remember one of his jokes, and it has to do with ventriloquists. In particular, it has to do with “fart ventriloquists.” Basically, he says that whenever you’re in a public area and someone lets out a nasty smelling fart, women never take credit for their accomplishment, and it is always attributed to a man. Gallagher challenges this unwritten rule of gastrointestinal discharges, and elaborates on why he thinks that occasionally these “gassy chassies” (thanks Franny) can be attributed to the other half. I think he make a compelling argument, and I am guessing that several of my readers have at one point dabbled in fart ventriloquism.

Now that I have offended most of my readers, let’s get back to the story. Jimbo and I went and watched the ventriloquist, and he was pretty decent. Rather than having a dummy to use, he actually took a volunteer from out of the audience and put a baby crib-like suit on him. Additionally, he put some kind of face mask on the guy so that the ventriloquist could manipulate and contort his face to fit in with his act. The volunteer was only allowed control of their hands, while the ventriloquist interviewed him and took on both speaking parts. Hilarity ensued.

Dad and I both enjoyed the show, and were surprised when it ended quickly. I was actually happy, because I had $325 worth of chips burning a hole in my pocket. I parted ways with Jimbo, and I made another stop at the casino. I cashed out my 3 – $100 chips for some crisp B. Franklin’s, and took the other $25 chip and tested my luck. Within 15 minutes, I had $125 in chips; all due to progressive betting (and 3 blackjacks). I cashed out once again and met my dad at the Newleywed – Not so Newlewed game.

This game was a classic crowd pleaser where several married couples of various anniversary levels (1 year, 10 years, 20, 50+) are expected to answer questions. I’ll spare you the details, but my favorite question/response came at the end of the show. It came from the husband of the old married couple (50+ years!) provided his answer to this question: “If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be with a nun, or a hooker.”

His response?

“A hooker dressed as a nun!”

That response absolutely brought the house down! I am looking forward to taking my stab at the newlywed game on a luxurious Mars spaceship, in the year 2024.

Later that night, I went down to the casino and tested my luck once again. I ended up winning $25, which seemed pedestrian by now. Final tally:
up $390 for the trip.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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  1. Kick ass!! You’re so funny! You better keep posting about your trip.
    PS I think I would love cruising too