A quick trip to London

I was in London this week, my first time on the island across the pond. On Wednesday I spent a few hours walking around the city, from Picadilly Circus to Leicester Square to Westminster. It was a loud night. Hundreds, maybe thousands of protesters marched through the streets, hours after British parliament authorized airstrikes in Syria.

We live in interesting times. Through the chaos, I managed to snap this picture of Big Ben.

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The move

It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

After six years of living in Boston (four years of college, plus two years of working), I’m back in the New York groove, I’m in a New York state of mind, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothin’ you can’t do. I’ve traded pahk youah cahh for hey I’m walkin heeeere, the T for the subway, Fenway for Yankee Stadium (yay), the Charles for the East River (oh dear God), chowder for bagels, and expensive stuff for even more expensive stuff.*

*That’s the whole meaning of life – trying to find a place for your stuff.

I’m happy to be back in the big city because I’ve always identified myself as a New Yorker. And I do feel like I’m more at home when I walk around New York, mostly due to Yankee hats. But the city is still very new to me. I knew Boston like the back of my hand – the good restaurants, the tourist traps, the most efficient public transit routes, the way the city smelled on a hot summer day. I’m not at that place with New York yet – in fact, I think you could live in the city your whole life without getting to that point. New York is a big city.

I had a lot of good friends in Boston, and I will miss seeing them throughout the week. But I also have a lot of good friends in New York. Tide goes in, tide goes out.

You know what the worst part about moving was? It wasn’t the packing. It wasn’t the heavy lifting. It wasn’t the lifestyle change. It wasn’t the tax forms. It wasn’t even leaving my friends. No, the worst part was that, as I moved stuff in, I kept thinking to myself: I’m eventually going to have to do this againI had no time to comprehend the current move because all I was thinking about was the inevitable future move. I suppose that’s a problem for Future Jeff.

You know what the best part about moving was? The sense of freedom that it brings. It’s pretty exhilarating.

We’ll see how long it takes for New York City to run me through the wringer, tear me up, and spit me out. I hope I come out the other side in one piece. But I do know this: when I took the subway in this morning, and I walked around Grand Central, and I saw the rush of the morning commute and the dawn of a new day, I got chills. I don’t know what that means. But I think it means something.

Vegas

Last weekend, I went to Las Vegas with three of my friends from high school.

Here are 17 random observations:

– Some dealers are strict. Some are laid back. Some want you to do the elaborate hand signals. Some don’t care.

– Dealers will help you out if you ask. They want you to win, so you can tip them.

– The dealers have to alert the pit boss any time they cash in $100 or more.

– The minimum bets increase at night, but you can still find a blackjack table for $15.

– It is hot and dry.

– The Bellagio Fountains are wonderful.

– Only play the slots if you’re up and willing to lose.

– The Strip is fairly clean!

– North Las Vegas, aka Old Vegas, is not. Do not go there.

– If you gamble a lot during the day, you will probably dream about gambling at night.

– The Bacchanal Buffet in Caesar’s Palace is legendary.

– In fact, there are lots of buffets.

– Drinks are free, but the servers will give you an attitude if you don’t tip a dollar or two.

– You can smoke in the casinos. There are small fans at every table.

– The MGM Grand has an epic sports room.

– Uber is not available.

– And, I don’t want to brag, but the four of us finished the weekend with a profit. I realize this is highly improbable. But, with some skill and some luck, you can beat the house.

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