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Seven-Eleven's Night Shift

I often work at 7-11 in the nighttime. In Taipei, a number of 7-11 stores have some nice tables. There's free WiFi, and while it's somewhat limited (you need to get a login that expires after 30 minutes, and you can log on only 3 times in a day), my phone has infinite 3G internet and tethers to my computer.

There's a 7-11 a few blocks from my place, so it's my de facto go-to place after the cafes in this sleepy little area are closed at 1AM.

After being here on and off for a few weeks, I've come to be impressed by the industriousness of the nighttime clerk here.

7-11 has managed to have one man cover the majority of the general service of customers who come in, preparing microwaved food or other things that need preparation when customers order them, stocking the shelves when the delivery trucks arrive sometime between midnight and 5AM, doing general maintenance and keeping the store clean (sweeping, mopping), and -- and this was the part that struck with the need to write this -- make repairs and maintenance of long-term fixtures like the fans, appliances, and refrigerators.

Tonight, he disassembled all the fans that are embedded into the ceiling, and the genius of the system became apparent. The fans were made to be assembled and disassembled with no tools at all. They're made of some lightweight material, and easy to logically take apart. They're held together by some sturdy plastic screw-like things that can be easily hand-cranked on or off while using the other hand to support the main weight of the fan. 

Losing My Casino-Virginity

On Flower Power

As frightened as I was, I did it. I lost my casino-virginity. Last Thursday I went to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut with a bunch of good-time friends who are more experienced than I am. We shared a suite on the highest of floors and had the most magnificent view over a frozen lake. After a couple of drinks, I made it down to the casino part of the hotel.

Before I go into the gambling part, let me tell you how capturing these casinos really are. First of all, there are no windows! No matter what time it is, it will always be dark. That is probably also the objective: these places want to get as much money as possible from you, so they take away your sense of time.

The enormous area illuminated the roulette tables and slots with flashing colorful lights, directing your eye and attention to the win-it-or-lose-it facilities. You won’t know where to look: every side looks completely different. While there is a huge plastic ice castle on your left, there is a wooden forest-like area to your right. It’s a world of magic; anything can happen.

I wanted to start small, so my other casino-virgin friend Chris and I made our way to the slots. Big mistake. We lost $20 just like that. We also had no clue as to what we were doing, so in a way that makes sense.

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