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Cumberland MD - Don't tell me town ain't got no heart..
First of all, live a comfortable, humble and fulfilled life where ever you are. I hope everyone agrees that positive thinking and placing emphasis on qualities is a better practice than emitting energy toward perceived negatives. e.g., Tell your child they are doing something really well instead of focusing on something they aren't.. After growing up in Cumberland and living in a few other cities around the country my opinion of HOME is much better than I expected. We moved back home in 2012 after being out on the range (South and West) for close to 20 years. No two cities are alike, so it's not worth comparing Cumberland to other places we lived. In my opinion the pros out-weigh the cons for this area and I'll state several reasons why. Cumberland and Allegany County have so much to offer if one chooses to see its assets!! This also applies to towns surrounding ALCO and as a whole we are actually a METRO.. Neah sayers? Wiki Cumberland and google metro. Considering that Cumberland is a metro can be confound when comparing to larger cities, but it is true. This is another hidden reason why I believe the area is highly under rated. There is enough culture and diversity to compete with other places but it seems to be hidden in plain sight. Once you get to know the area it is easy to see the unique and interesting qualities. Moving home was actually calming in several ways. A decent house on the west side that needs some tlc for under 100K! My thought was..I'll pay it off as soon as possible! It's an easy way to avoid interest..aka the bankers cut. A renovated house in Cumberland worth 150K would be worth 350K+ in other cities. Btw--I'm currently in need of a vehicle with lower mileage. An affordable home with a relatively low mortgage payment will allow a vehicle update relatively easy. Note: The area offers a level of financial freedom that is more difficult to attain then other cities. Financial freedom is equal to less stress and anxiety in my world. Home improvement contractors are reasonable and comparable to larger cities. Contractors have enough work that it can be tough to get on a schedule at times. Quotes always range from wowzer "that seems high" to hmm "that reasonable". Generally there are plenty of renovation experts in the city ready to work for 15-25 an hour. Last weekend we observed the neighborhood and almost every house in view has been recently updated in one way or another. The past 5 years have been active in terms of home maintenance. It shows there is a sense of pride and this is visible all over. Regular home maintenance is ongoing and it only takes a one project a year to make significant improvements. Keep up the good work Cumberland..it's obvious that people care about their properties. There is deferred maintenance and blight in Cumberland. This is mainly near Interstate 68 or desirable home locations. A few long time rental streets have even seen improvement in recent years. In my opinion, focusing on the enforcement of City housing codes would help and more creative tax breaks could be designed for improvements. With 10K homes in Cumberland, it would not take much to swing this city into an hip spot. The entire area is Walking/Biking friendly. That is without riding on the C&O Canal or Great Allegheny Passage trails. All of Cumberland's neighborhoods are connected with streets and sidewalks. I've never felt unsafe anywhere at anytime. We commonly walked and bike from our door step to downtown and places such as the Constitution Park or Riverside Park with no concerns. We have walked and biked most streets never having a single problem. I lived in South Cumberland for several years and visit family and friends regularly. The unspoken rule is don't bother people and they want bother you. Being friendly or stick to yourself will be reciprocated. Very simple. If you hear anyone say this area is unsafe, I would sincerely disagree. Crime is petty and low tolerance policing is a common theme for folks in poverty. So about work..jobs... WORK FROM HOME is growing and Internet speeds in Cumberland are comparable to most cities. High speed Internet is available through ABB. Otherwise, jobs are here!!! There is a need for experienced higher educated individuals. Basically if you want to work there is work here. In fact, there are a lack of workers in a few career paths. Lets take tech for example. IBM has been growing (400+ employees) and continuously hiring out of town people because the qualified pool of technical staff in the area already have stable careers. There are high, mid and minimum wage jobs. Northrop Grumman is a huge company with high paying jobs and there are many small government jobs at ABL-Rocket Center. UPMC hospital has a number of medical field jobs. Higher education is abundant with several colleges to note. Rocky Gap Resort and Casino employs several hundred. Also there are factories such as American Woodmark, Hunter Douglas and Superfos. That's just naming a few. Over the years I have heard there are no high paying jobs in the area. I highly disagree and rationalize this statement with context. These statements typically come from people seeking 60k+ jobs with no college degree and organized skill-set. My response to these types of comments: "Allegany College of MD has an excellent Continuing Education program full of night and online classes. Additionally, financial assistance is available if needed". Or: "There is a shortage of small restaurants serving healthy food at a reasonable cost:)". Moving forward, the Appalachian mountains are lush and beautiful with comfortable fall, spring and summer temperatures. The variety of hard wood trees is staggering. Wild berries and mushroom galore throughout the mountains. Cumberland has several surrounding State Parks and natural areas. Rocky Gap -Green Ridge State Park - Buchanon - New Germany ..and a few others. The parks and trails are typically empty or maybe a few hikers. A vast majority of the time the forest is all yours without every seeing another person. We are not game hunters (deer,turkeys,etc.) but hunting is prevalent during winter months. Hunting seasons are posted online and DNR regulates policy on public lands. If you meet a hunter and be very very friendly there is a chance they will share a pack of venison steak with you. It is delicious. I've never seen anyone hunting off season on public land in several hundred hiking expeditions. Public land is shared with unconditional respect. Fishing opportunities are abundant. The lakes, creeks and rivers are full of fish. Lake Habeeb has great fishing. Wills Creek, Evitts Creek and the Potomac River all run through Cumberland. Kayaking, Canoeing or floating on a tube can all very relaxing. Being on the water seems to reset the soul. Floating the South Branch Potomac has been popular and this activity is becoming more common on the North Branch of the Potomac. Delfest Bluegrass festival seemed to spawn more floating action on the North Branch. There has been an expansion or update of river access locations along the North Branch Potomac in the past years. There are a wide variety birds in the area because of the River and creeks. Eagles and hawks are around and if you keep an eye out you will surely spot one. In the winter, an assortment of ducks are on the Potomac River just below the Blue Bridge. We take binoculars to the overlook near Canal Place to view all of the types. That's a nice winter air-out activity. If you are not aware, there is a biking trail that spans over 300 miles from Washington DC to Pittsburgh and guess what is in the middle?? CUMBERLAND! Cumberland is the western terminal of the C&O canal. Bike from you door step to DC or Pittsburg in 2-3 or4 days.. Also, Rocky Gap has a 5 mile mountain bike/hiking trail that loops Lake Habeeb. A pro tip: After a long bike ride hit a Dive Bar with really cold beer. Cumberland has more than a few. The D.A.M tavern is one of my favorites. Everyone is friendly and beers are cheap. Most of the dive bars are enjoyable once you understand the culture. Dive bars in this area are another under-rated asset. Warning - the local police have given DUI's to bikers or DUP's to staggerers.. Have you ever heard of duck pin bowling? Look it up! Diamond Bowling Alley is a spot to visit at least once in a lifetime. Bowling clubs fill the lanes several nights a week. It's free to watch. There are quite a few clubs to note. Anything from knitting, Bee keeping to Archaeological and Drone clubs. If you are looking to meet people with like interests there is a good chance it's here. If you don't find what interest you start a club and they will slowly come. Let me emphasize slowly because the area is moving at a slower pace than some cities/metros. This is a Good Thing..relax and enjoy life. There is always tomorrow. Traveling around Cumberland is simple once you know the city. Within 10 minutes one could drive anywhere. Drive 2 hours to Washington DC or 2 Hours to Pittsburgh or take a shuttle. There are countless cities under 2 hours drive. The Amtrak passes through town twice a day. DC to Chicago anyone? The Amtrac will accept bikes. Leave your Cumberland door step, load your bike on the Amtrac and head to Chicago for a long weekend. DC is the other direction and the National mall is free! This is just a few things the Cumberland METRO has to offer :). A positive attitude opens your eyes to endless possibilities. It is April 14th and we are being told that Morel mushrooms are popping up in the lower elevation areas. I hope you enjoyed the information. Pass along good vibes. Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart - you just gotta poke around
Something's wrong and for once it isn't the people I work with: Part 2
The time is 06:50, March 21st of 2020... You've heard about Nonna Federov, her rampage, her bloodlust and how she became the serial killer that she's known as today. Hopefully you haven't met with her yet in her angry state or anybody else, commit that to memory and don't lose hope. Nothing major has happened since the first audio log apart from Aleksi claiming that he was growing scales or something like that. Knowing Aleksi to be a chronic drunk we all laughed, yet I couldn't shake off a feeling of dread that he was telling the truth so I sent him off to be examined a day ago and now I'm just waiting for both the report and Aleksi to come back... A bit about Aleksi in case if he does turn out to be a lizard man like Mark Zuckerberg and escapes, I'd prefer to help in any way I see fit to ensure hell doesn't break loose and people don't get hurt. He doesn't look too strong, don't let that fool you as he can easily knock a 200 pound guy like me over. He looks like any typical Russian man and has a horrible scar across his cheek from when he angered Federov by scamming her out of one of her knives and she in turn slashed him with the same knife. He gets along with mostly everybody except Digger and Fernando, he and Federov have a rocky friendship that consistsof one scamming the other while the other hurts the scammer. It works good enough I guess. "Tell me the story again, Rodney!" He'd say to me after I had finished telling him stories about what I had survived through, he was captivated in the same manner that a small child would be when recieving a new toy. Guess it can't be helped since he's somewhat autistic from what I've heard, or was it trauma or even brain damage? For the life of me I can't remember and that specific piece of information was unintentionally destroyed when the intern spilled his coffee on the paper. One day I decided to ask him about his life after me and a few of my co-workers shared stories and memories of the good times and bad. He became unexpectedly violent and tried to stab me, thank God that I was strong enough to restrain him and the fact that Fernando was carrying sedatives to somebody at the time that we both were unscathed. It was there that I decided to research into detail about his past since his papers were quite vague. His full name is Aleksi Romanov, born to a single mother, his father ditched on the mother during pregnancy and due to the bills and things that needed to be paid off, Aleksi lived the life of poverty. God bless his poor mother's soul as she worked day and night to provide for her only son and still had her money taken from her by the government and robbers, her son one day was found beaten senseless in an alleyway, and later her arm was taken off by somebody's stupid dog. Now remember how Federov was a murderer? Aleksi might as well be one because his specialty is scamming people out of all their money or in some cases, their free will. Taking all their money to the point where they became homeless, insane, suicidal, or a combination of the three due to suspected mind control, it's not this pussy ass MK Ultra shit either from what I've seen and heard, it's more like some telepathic connection that he uses. Banned from all the casinos in the United States and not willing to step foot in one again, he started gambling with people from a very young age as a way to help his mother pay for basic provisions since she couldn't work as well due to the dog incident After he got tired of that he moved on to doing those stupid "Win a free PS4 just complete this survey!" scams that pop up on the internet, going from cheap thrills to stealing credit card information in under three years. Not that bad, right? He started to mind control people somehow after his scam job was overturned by who knows what. Or at least that's what I was told, apparently he hypnotized (can you call it that? Is this the right term??) his victims to hand over all their cash, cards, and assets to him. Those same victims were usually found dead months later with the four survivors suffering serious trauma and injuries. Hell, I had a hard time getting the only one capable of talking to actually talk, two of them are vegetables, and the third right now has been in a coma for about ten months with no sign of returning. I don't know what to believe anymore after my search, everything seems strange, the mind control, the scamming, the suicides. Even his official papers seem off now that I'm looking at them closely after this, way too many gaps, not even the most mysterious person here has this many gaps. HR must've decided to accept him by just sticking a thermometer in his mouth and seeing if he has an average body temperature, or maybe he mind controlled his way in here too. And of course they stuck him with me. Not that It's bad, he's certainly better than the previous guy and he's way more predictable than Fernando. I find it hard to believe that a happy-go-lucky guy such as Aleksi Romanov did all that damage but I'm not ignoring such blatant evidence, especially after the sudden attack he pulled off against me. If you are to attack Aleksi, use a gun, the longer the range the better. Don't even think about doing hand to hand combat with him, espicially while he's drunk. Don't think about playing any games with him either as that's how I suspect he gets a hold of his victims, kind of like that one guy from My Hero Academia, by asking questions. I survived but only through sheer luck and sedatives so I'll place those along with everything you need to defend yourself against everybody in the same crate the tapes are going in. Good luck and God bless. End tape.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997
The issue opens with the death of American MMA fighter Douglas Dedge who died from brain injuries suffered in a fight in Ukraine. It's a long story but TL;DR as you can imagine, this isn't good news for the fledgling sport, which is already struggling to stay alive in the face of government scrutiny over the perceived dangers. Political opponents of MMA have been waiting for something like this to happen and they wasted no time in jumping on it. Even though it wasn't a UFC event, that hasn't stopped UFC from taking the brunt of the bad publicity. Dedge was punched into tapping out and immediately stood up after the fight ended, but then collapsed again. He went into a coma and never woke up, dying 2 days later. Former UFC co-owner Art Davie (who now co-owns K-1 America after UFC fired him) sent a letter to UFC and, conveniently enough, also sent the letter to Arizona senator John McCain and several cable and PPV companies, saying that MMA wasn't a sport and that UFC should be banned and even plugging his own new kickboxing promotion. So obviously, his motives for sending this letter are questionable to say the least (here's the video of the fight. Fair warning: you'll basically be watching a guy die).
Scott Hall has checked himself into rehab again, almost exactly a year to the date that he did it last time. Hall is expected to be gone for at least 30 days. Last year, WCW caught a lot of flack for continuing to promote Hall when they knew he wasn't going to be appearing at shows. This time, they didn't mention his name once on Nitro and are no longer advertising him for house shows. This comes just a few weeks after the death of Louie Spicolli, who was a close friend of Hall's. Dave also mentions that 2 years ago, around this same time, Hall was suspended by WWF for testing positive for marijuana on the same day he gave notice that he was going to WCW.
The Academy Awards, usually one of the top 2 or 3 rated TV shows of the year, aired head-to-head against both Raw and Nitro this week and yet both shows still managed to do strong ratings, which is phenomenal considering most shows get eaten alive by the Oscars. Basically every week or two, both Nitro and Raw seem to be setting ratings records and not even the Oscars seem to be able to slow them down. Interestingly enough, Raw actually won a quarter-hour segment in the ratings for the first time in over a year, but WCW still owned the night. But WWF is undeniably beginning to close the gap. In related news, a recent Raw aired on Tuesday because it was preempted by another show. That Tuesday episode of Raw, without facing Nitro competition, did a pretty monster rating also and has USA considering possibly moving Raw to Tuesdays, but it's still premature to speculate on whether it will actually happen. Besides, Dave says that if Raw moves to Tuesdays, WCW would likely just move Nitro to Tuesday also. One final note: these big time Raw ratings were for taped shows, which once again proves that taped vs. live has no bearing at all on ratings. (not sure if you've heard, but turns out wrestling was pretty damn popular in the late 90s).
Les Thatcher will be promoting a Brian Pillman benefit show next month and he's managed to do the impossible: bring WWF, WCW, and ECW together under one roof. WWF has agreed to send Steve Austin and Sunny to co-host the show (but not wrestle). WCW will provide the main event, Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho. And ECW is sending Al Snow vs. Chris Candido. The rest of the show will be various indie wrestlers. All the money will go to Pillman's family.
Eric Bischoff appeared on TSN's Off The Record show, mostly to respond to Vince McMahon's comments on the show the week before. While Vince came off charming, confident, slightly out-of-touch, and somewhat dishonest, Bischoff came off as far more open and honest, but also defensive and somewhat arrogant. Dave says that a lot of the wrestlers who have worked for both Bischoff and McMahon say that Bischoff doesn't seem to care about the wrestlers, while Vince at least acts like he cares even though most feel like it's just a facade and that Vince doesn't care about them either. Bischoff is far more blunt with his opinions and is less liked by his employees than McMahon. But those same people also say they trust Bischoff to be honest with them far more than they do McMahon. During their interviews, both men refused to admit to their obvious mistakes (McMahon when talking about the Melanie Pillman interview, Bischoff when he refused to admit in hindsight that firing Steve Austin was a mistake).
Other notes from the interview: Bischoff claimed that much of McMahon's success was because of the talent, not because of McMahon's alleged promotional genius. Bischoff pointed out how both Hogan and Randy Savage already had the gimmicks that made them famous before coming to WWF and in Hogan's case, he was already a huge international star from his years in AWA and NJPW. Or in the cases of gimmicks that really hit, it was usually the talent that came up with it (Bischoff noted Scott Hall's Razor Ramon gimmick, which was Hall's idea and was basically just his old WCW Diamond Studd gimmick with a Scarface twist. Bischoff claimed Vince originally wanted Hall to do a G.I. Joe-style gimmick). As for Vince's claim that WWF was winning everything other than the ratings war, Bischoff disputed that too, saying WCW is leading in PPV buys (true) and that WCW is outdrawing WWF in house shows so far in 1998 (also true, although it's very close). As for TV ratings, Bischoff said Tuesday afternoons, when the ratings come in, used to be exciting but now they're so used to beating WWF that it's not even a big deal anymore (he's gonna be choking on those words in a few months).
And still more notes from the interview, because paragraph breaks are helpful: Bischoff points out that Austin's gimmick was his own creation and that Vince's idea (The Ringmaster) flopped, but admits WWF deserves credit for pushing Austin to the moon when he got over. As for firing Austin, Bischoff said Austin was injured a lot and they felt like Austin wasn't being honest with WCW about his injuries, which is why they fired him. Said Austin in WWF is "a big fish in a small pond" and he wouldn't be a top star in WCW. Talks about meeting Vince in 1990 for an announcer tryout and admits he wasn't a good announcer back then. Bischoff also admitted that he came up with the NWO concept after seeing the NJPW vs. UWFI feud in Japan in 1995. Says Lex Luger was originally supposed to be the 3rd man and then Sting but he figured both were too predictable, so they made the decision to go with Hogan 4 days before the show (Dave calls bullshit on that one, since he knew 10 days before the show that it would be Hogan). Said WCW plans to do a Hogan vs. Hart angle sooner or later and that it won't be a U.S. vs. Canada angle like WWF did. Regarding rumors that Bret was going to show up on Nitro with the WWF title the night after Survivor Series, Bischoff said "absolutely not" and explained how the circumstances were different from the Madusa WWF women's title incident. Given Hart's contract situation and WCW's ongoing lawsuits with WWF, he said there was no chance whatsoever that Hart would have shown up on Nitro that night. When questioned about all of WCW's top stars being over 40, Bischoff name dropped guys like Mysterio, Guerrero, Benoit and Jericho but the host pointed out that they're all mid-card guys and not presented as main eventers but Bischoff sorta dodged the question. And finally, he said McMahon tries to portray the wrestling war as himself vs. big bad billionaire Ted Turner, but Bischoff says Turner's involvement in WCW is minimal and that he actually only talks to Turner maybe twice a year. Eric Bischoff says he is the one kicking Vince's ass, not Ted Turner. (Weirdly enough, I can't find video of Bischoff's interview, but here's a more in-depth recap with a lot of exact quotes):
Promo Azteca has taped a few demo shows with higher production values in an attempt to sell them to a network to air in the U.S. WCW is reportedly interested in airing it as their own Lucha show and is willing to pay for the extra production costs. On the flip side, WWF is interested in doing their own Mexican show called WWF Latino and have been negotiating with Televisa in Mexico about airing a show, but it's all in the discussion phases for now.
Giant Baba has finalized the deal with WWF for Vader to appear at AJPW's upcoming Tokyo Dome show. There have been discussions for a relationship beyond that but the problem is basically....Baba is cheap. He's still stuck in the old mindset of paying a headliner around $10,000 per week. But when you're trying to sell out the Tokyo Dome and you need to bring in special attractions and gate money is potentially in the millions, it takes more than 10K to get a top WWF star. Baba won't put any serious money on the table for big time foreign names, so WWF ain't biting.
A 19-year-old named Takeshi Morishima debuted for AJPW this week. Word is they're really high on him and he has great potential since he's a tall guy with a lot of skill and a judo background (he's mostly known for being one of the top names for NOAH and also a former ROH world champion. He retired in 2015 due to health issues but still helps run NOAH behind the scenes).
NJPW rookie Shinya Makabe (better known these days as Togi Makabe) suffered a broken leg in a match last week and will be out for awhile.
Randy Hales' new promotion Memphis Power Pro Wrestling debuted sooner than anticipated, holding their first show at Lady Luck Casino in Tunica, MS. It was basically the same group of people who have been working Jerry Lawler's casino shows for months, including Lawler himself, Sid Vicious, Bill Dundee, Tracy Smothers, etc. Despite basically being the exact same promotion as USWA, on paper, the company is 100% owned by Randy Hales, since he has no part in the ongoing legal mess from USWA. Speaking of...
The legal situation over the demise of USWA got messier this week. Mark Selker filed a 200-page lawsuit against Lawler and Larry Burton, alleging conspiracy to defraud. Vince McMahon and several others are also named in the suit as co-conspirators, but not as defendants. The suit claims McMahon lied to Selker about the potential value of USWA in regard to advertising revenue that the promotion could bring in.
A&E will be airing a 2 hour special called The Unreal Story of Pro Wrestling featuring interviews from many of the biggest names in the business (this is actually a pretty good documentary. I could only find it broken down into 7 videos. Here's Part 1 and it should automatically play the next part).
Many in WCW are expecting that Syxx will be brought back. Hogan and Kevin Nash have been talking about doing a storyline to use the real-life heat between them, including the firing of Syxx, to work an angle where Nash would headline against Hogan, which pacifies Nash somewhat since he's been vocally unhappy about being held below Hogan's level.
There's also rumors of Ultimate Warrior heading to WCW and it was even referenced by Mark Madden on the WCW Hotline. Dave says that 95% of the time, when you hear rumors about Warrior returning, they're false but in this case, there might be some truth to it. There's been talk of him working a couple of WCW PPVs in late 1998. Dave doesn't know if it's going to pan out but he says it'll surely bump ratings up in the short-term. Of course, Warrior has a known track record so he probably won't last in WCW long term, which is okay because aside from a short-term curiosity boost in ratings or buyrate for his first match, Warrior isn't good for much in the long run anyway.
ECW has sold out 15 consecutive shows in a row. Meanwhile, WCW had sold out 20 in a row, but that streak came to an end last week in Cincinnati.
Notes from the latest Nitro: Lodi suffered a legit broken ankle when catching Psicosis outside the ring during a spot. DDP vs. Sting was possibly Sting's best match in years. Chris Jericho was fantastic and hilarious yet again and has just been killing it the last few weeks. The Giant has been legitimately gaining a bunch of weight and when the announcers said he's 493, it's not an exaggeration.
Kevin Wacholz, formerly Nailz in the WWF, is expected to join WCW and be part of the NWO and get a big push (nah never happened). Dave recaps the incident from 1991 where Nailz attacked Vince McMahon and choked him over his Summerslam payoff and then filed a police report claiming McMahon sexually assaulted him. Nailz then testified against McMahon in the steroid trial and was so obviously full of shit that it actually helped McMahon rather than hurt him. Dave seems befuddled that anyone would hire this guy and says, "Next thing you know, somebody can O.J. his girlfriend and get a job in this profession. Hell, they can do that and afterwards be considered for the Hall of Fame in this profession." Chris Benoit respectfully disagrees.
Latest update on the Jim Carrey "Man on the Moon" movie about the life of Andy Kaufman: Jimmy Hart will play himself but it's believed they may not actually call the wrestler in the movie Jerry Lawler because it's being produced by a Time Warner company. So they will tell the story of the wrestling angle, but it's believed it'll just be a fictional wrestler. WCW is actually pushing for Disco Inferno to get the part (Lawler later confirmed this in his autobiography but thankfully it didn't happen that way. Can you imagine?)
Notes from the latest Raw: indie wrestler Christopher Daniels, who wrestles as Fallen Angel, worked a dark match before the show. Rocky Maivia is great. Vince Russo appeared on TV as part of an angle with Sable and Luna Vachon.
John Tenta and Steven Regal are reportedly close to signing deals with WWF.
Shawn Michaels will work Wrestlemania but it's expected that he won't be wrestling again for a long time afterward (boy, I'll say).
Someone who attended the Eddie Gilbert memorial show put on by Dennis Coraluzzo writes in and talks about the show, specifically about Coraluzzo and Gilbert's mom cutting promos burying Paul Heyman and claiming he stole ECW from Gilbert. Dave responds and says he doesn't really think a memorial show is the classiest place to be burying people. He also says the story between Gilbert and Heyman over ECW is a lot more complicated than Heyman allegedly backstabbing Gilbert and stealing it and for Coraluzzo to simplify it to that extent is pure fiction.
FRIDAY:Wrestlemania 14 fallout, X-Pac debuts in WWF, news on Antonio Inoki's upcoming retirement, and more...
Abusive parents, a silent family and teaching myself how to break free from them all
tw: abuse, alcoholism, suicide, drug use, self harm This is the first time I’ve ever talked about this all, so bare with me for the length of the post- i get a little pissed off here and there. So my mother is a very narcissistic person. Ever since my family moved back to my mother’s hometown (i live in an area thats very rural and im surrounded by my moms side of the family), my mom picked up an alcohol and gambling addiction and came up with this idea that my brother and I owe her something because of the “work” she’s done for us. I wouldn’t necessarily call it work, I would call it being a mother. You know, teaching us how to read and walk and talk. Taking us to school when we were kids- feeding us. She had her own business when I was about 11, but shut it down after her marriage got rocky. Now, she hasn’t worked a real job since, and stays in bed and smokes all day, complaining about her life. My older brother and I were kicked out of our house very often (by my junior year it was every other day). She would get into physical fights with us, punch us and scratch us and the next day, claim that we were the ones who started it (ah, yes because i just love having to defend myself against my own mother). Because I’m her only daughter, I’ve felt a lot of resentment on her side for my existence. She constantly (still) calls me a bitch, a demon, a stupid whore, etc. she even uses my brother against me because she knows he’s the only person who I look up to. She would come in my room drunk and talk to me for hours on end about how my dad is the reason she is the way she is. If I showed any ounce of disinterest, she would call me selfish, grab me, my shit and kick me out at night in the middle of no where. I would have to call my cousins who thankfully lived up the street- or I would walk barefoot to the closest house nearby and ask them for a ride to my aunt’s. This happened all throughout high school until I left for college last summer. Now my dad, I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s any better. I believe he’s also a narcissist in the sense that he only cares about him and my mom’s relationship and has done nothing but make me suffer and neglected my brother and I for the sake of his marriage. He’s a very self righteous guy, super fucking spiritual believes he’s a profit or god himself and he can preach for hours without asking you any questions, or stopping for a breath. He was a combat veteran who suffers from a TBI and PTSD. He smoked weed rather than getting therapy and he has obviously not come to terms with himself for his past. Not going to lie, the guys helped me when I was struggling, but I’m not going to ignore his blind raging and constant anxiety I have when I’m alone with him. He tends to get really righteous when my siblings are around him without my mom there. He once called his PTSD a superpower, and how he needs to be the one to save people because nobody else will. I’m aware he’s not all there. I don’t hate him for that, I hate him for the fact that he has no problem with his disorder and doesn’t get the proper help for it. Also, he says some crazy shit that pushes me more towards being okay with being an atheist. I’m not putting all of his behavior on his disorder. He’s just a flat out asshole. I’ve heard stories from my tía that my dad was always a spoiled brat and was always angry, and would bully his siblings and their friends. I’ve witnessed him have temper tantrums and cuss out my grandma and his sisters. Entitlement to the fucking max. So both parents have suffered from trauma whether it be abusive households, treatment in the military, etc. Because of these problems, you know damn well two narcissists in a relationship will cause some hefty damages. They would physically fight often, my mom once hit my dad over the head with a wine glass, he’s driven himself to the emergency room plenty of times because of her. I’ve had to clean blood off of the floor and the couches and we’ve had to fix a few doors in the house. My brother has had to tackle my dad, I’ve had to lock my mom in a bedroom then get dragged and had my hair pulled after. It was a fucking circus. When I was 13, I asked my parents if they would take me to therapy because I was having trouble sleeping at night and ultimately having suicidal thoughts but I didn’t tell them that. My therapist told me to continue our sessions because I was most likely suffering with depression. I made the mistake of telling my parents because they told me I don’t have it, they’ve been through worse, and never took me again. This all happened repeatedly even until senior year. My dad was constantly kicked out, so during this time, he was gone for about 6 months. My brother graduated the year before so he decided to move to Colorado for his gap year. My mom and I were alone. I lived in fear every night she came home from the casino because everytime I thought something would happen- it would. She’d cuss me out, hurt me, kick me out. Day after day. I lived with my girlfriend for weeks on end before getting texts from her like “I miss you, when are you coming back?” Absolute manipulation everyday all the time. My family from my mom’s side aren’t ignorant about the fact that my mom is indeed the crazy sibling. It was always a running joke. I would have to stay at my aunt’s house during the week and my cousins would kind of laugh at it because it honestly was ridiculous how often I would be there. I would call and my older cousin would answer with “I’m on my way.” It became a code when I called her. My aunt helped me a lot when it came to shelter. But she never said anything to my mom. My other aunt, the youngest of them, always hounded me for not participating in family events, saying Im just like my mom for not making time for the family. I never understood them because they were abused as well, but they hold the family on this pedistal and this fucking stupid notion that blood is thicker than water. They all know what my mom’s done to me. I’ve yelled at them and screamed at them and cried to them about it. But they just say “I’m sorry but that’s how it is.” My grandma on my moms side has locked her door on me in the past, and my grandpa has lectured me on disrespect and how I know how my mom is and I shouldn’t make it worse. My grandpa passed away recently, and for the first time before he passed, all he said to me was “I’m sorry.” My grandma also recently hugged me the last time I was kicked out and said “I’m sorry for your crazy mom.” It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I appreciated it. On my dads side, everyone has this idea that he’s sacrificed so much for my brother and I and the reason he stayed in the marriage is for us. Which is utter bullshit because since I was 12 I’ve asked him to divorce my mom. They’re aware of his mental illness, but again- “that’s just how it is.” Constantly. My grandma recently cussed out my girlfriend for standing up for me against my dad who was having a raging episode. She is extremely complicit in his behavior as is the rest of my family. Now I’m nearly 19, and although I’ve grown to come to the realization that this is indeed not normal on any level, I still live with this guilt. I feel guilty sometimes for arguing and defending myself against them. Everyone always tells me “it’s not your fault” but proceed to tell me “if you didn’t do ___, they wouldn’t have acted like that” I’ve grown to suppress my emotions because everytime I would show an ounce of uncomfort, I would get in trouble. I feel like I’ll never truly get out of the grasp of my parents. I was self harming for a while,and suffer with really bad anxiety and depression. My brother is heavily relying on drugs and his girlfriend is a mirror image of my mom. My oldest brother is homeless and hasn’t paid child support in idk how long. I haven’t talked to my parents about anything I’m going through personally and I’m honestly afraid that I’ll get a lecture of how fucking stupid I am because what I went through isn’t nearly as bad as what they did. But you know, I think I’ve been to hell in back with the constant mind games and manipulation. I’m now going to school to be a teacher, and I’m away from home for the summer to get a job and start working on my mental and physical health. I’m afraid that I’ll work so hard to make myself better and I’ll go home and immediately get my self esteem dragged to the fucking ground. I’ve been trying to get out of the manipulation, but you know even being away from home— cellphones exist. I’ve been thinking of blocking their numbers. I feel guilty though because nothing right now has necessarily happened (except one incident with my gf) and I’m stressing over what I would want to say to them so they can just stay the hell away from me. Theyre not fucking right. Theyre insane, they’re self righteous, they’re abusive. They are abusive. I shouldn’t have to feel so bad about their faults. I shouldn’t feel like a burden. None of this is my fault, and it’s okay to break away from them and live my own life. I need to live my own life and teach myself self love and actual logical fucking thinking and relearn what’s right and wrong. I guess even through this vent, I want to let people know that it is a progress to get out of your abuse, but I am with you guys in working on getting out of there. If it wasn’t for my girlfriend, I think I’d already be dead so I really hope that there is a sane person around you in your life and if you don’t have one, we can work through this shit together and I hope to be a success story someday and the same with you. Lets meet on the other side lol
Cage & Club Shift Supervisor - Rocky Gap Casino Resort - Flintstone, MD
Cage & Club Shift Supervisor - Rocky Gap Casino Resort - Flintstone, MD Monitors all financial and data activities on property, which relate to Cage/Club, to ensure that all applicable laws, rules, regulations and controls of the... From Rocky Gap Casino Resort - Tue, 24 Jul 2018 02:52:46 GMT - View all Flintstone, MD jobs [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] *** To Apply To This Job: http://goo.gl/pZ9ZGu * Enter your details such as: *Personal Details *Education Details *Professional Details *Skills *Activate Your Account Via Both Email & PHone Number.
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas
I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m normally one of those ‘oh let’s play it safe at all times’ kind of women, but not this time. I think I messed up big time. I used to be your average ‘Plain Jane.’ I worked at an average desk job, making an average income, in an average town. I was very much a loner with no friends of family to speak of, so I was very surprised a few weeks ago when the ladies at work asked me if I wanted to go on a week-long trip to Las Vegas with them. We had always been cordial and polite, but I wasn’t ever invited to the weekly book club meetings, or the occasional Friday lunch at Red Lobster. I always blamed the age gap; I was early 30’s while they were well into their 50’s. Deep down I knew that it was because of my standoffish demeanor, and possibly my lack of personality. Normally I would have politely declined, throwing out some random excuse like, “I don’t have any vacation time left,” or “I don’t have anyone to cat-sit for me on such short notice.” My acceptance of their invitation was out of my mouth before I’d even realized I’d said yes. There was an immediate chaos as a whirlwind of women practically carried me back to my desk, my ears full of excited chatter about how much fun this was going to be. 1 hour and a maxed out credit card later, I was booked for 8 days and 7 nights of fun in the sun in the City of Lights. I was a little anxious about rooming with Claire, a woman I barely knew, but I figured a little anxiety was worth getting out of my comfort zone for a week. This would be good for me. I needed this, I reminded myself. The few weeks leading up to the trip flew by. Before I knew it, I was standing in the lobby of Treasure Island collecting my room key. The ladies from the office were very kind, and included me in every stop on their daily itinerary. Go to this casino this day, see that show that day, eat at this buffet, back to the casino where everyone won a few dollars, etc. Claire and I bonded over night time facial creams and Forensic Files the second night of our stay as we crawled into our beds at 3:30am. The trip was turning out to be a success in my eyes. It was a little overwhelming at times, but I was finally making friends. A grown adult should have friends that don’t walk on four legs and have a tail. The third day of our trip was the day that changed everything. I wasn’t feeling very well from the heat and lack of sleep, so I decided to stay at the hotel for the day and take advantage of the pool. I laid there on a lounge chair underneath a thick layer of sunscreen when I heard “Oh, shit!” followed by ice cold liquid splashing across my legs. I jumped up quickly, only to have my eyes land on a perfectly average looking man. “I’m so sorry,” he said hurriedly as he dabbed my legs with his towel. “I was looking off to the side, and tripped on your chair, and well the rest you already know.” “It’s fine, it’s okay,” I said, using my own towel to soak up the rest of his drink that sprinkled itself across my thighs. I could feel my cheeks burning red with embarrassment, “I should have pulled my chair back further. I was in your way.” He settled down into the chair next to mine, extending his right hand out, “I’m Paul.” We spent every waking minute together for the next 3 days and 3 nights. He was everything that I didn’t know I’d wanted in a man. Funny, but not hilarious. Charming, but not cocky. Attractive, but not Tom Cruise handsome. We gambled, ate amazing cuisine, and made love. He laughed when I showed him my terrible Rocky Balboa impersonation, and I stayed up an extra ten minutes each night to watch him sleep. There’s something to be said about watching someone sleep. That’s when they’re at their most vulnerable state, so innocent and peaceful. Our last day together was upon us before we knew it. He seemed as bummed out as I felt about having to say goodbye. “Fly out to Florida to see me, Linds,” he suggested as I slowly packed my suitcase. “I would love to, I really would. I just, I have to work, Paul.” “Next week. I’ll book you a ticket right now,” he said while pulling my laptop into his lap. His fingers immediately blazed across my keyboard. This was something I’d come to realize in the last few days about him. He didn’t take no for an answer. ‘No’ didn’t seem to even exist in his vocabulary. “I don’t even know how many vacation days I have left.” “Doesn’t matter. I’m booking you a one-way open ended ticket. You can figure out your days off before you come down, and we will book your return flight later.” I zipped my suitcase shut, and sat down next to him with a sigh. “Well, I have always wanted to go to florida,” I said, cozying up to his side just in time to see him finish up the purchase of my ticket. Paul slid the laptop off to his side and slung his arm around me. “At approximately 11am on Thursday that wish will be granted,” he whispered in my ear, punctuating his last word with a kiss to my temple. “Four days,” I said, snaking my arms around his neck. Those four days proceeded to coast by at a glacial pace. Work wasn’t so bad now that I had a few acquaintances in the office to help make the time go by faster. On Monday the ladies (especially Claire) were full of questions about Paul and our budding relationship, wanting to know every gory little detail. With all of their questioning, however, I realized how little I had answers for. “Where does he work?” “What does he do?” “Does he have family, and what are they like?” “Has he ever been married?” I soon grew overwhelmed with all of the answers I was lacking. At lunchtime I pulled out my phone with every intention of shooting all of these questions to Paul, only to see that he’d already text me 13 times. 8:01am: Hey beautiful 8:22am: Good morning, gorgeous 8:43am: How’s your morning going 8:57am: I miss you so much, Linds. Hope your day is going good 9:05am: I can’t stop thinking about you 9:07am: 3 more days 9:19am: 3 more wake ups and we can be together again 9:26am: Linds, you there? 9:33am: Linds? 9:41am: I am going to take you to my favorite beach when you get here. You’ll love it. So peaceful. 9:49am: I really wish you’d answer my texts 10:03am: I’m gonna head to lunch. I’ll text you later 10:58am: Back from lunch. Where are you? I was instantly floored at the amount of attention I was receiving from him. I wasn’t one to really even have an actual boyfriend, let alone be chased by a man. It felt so good to feel wanted. I was always the one who was friend-zoned, or was given the line “You’re like my sister.” It was such a nice and welcome change to be pursued. Forgetting the reason I pulled out my phone in the first place, I immediately texted back: 11:05am: Hey handsome, sorry my phone was in my purse. No phones allowed on the floor. I miss you, too! We proceeded to text throughout my entire lunch, making plans for my trip later in the week. After that morning I started keeping my phone hidden under a pile of paperwork. I didn’t want to appear disinterested, so I made sure to make myself as available as possible at all times. I found out a few things about Paul through the conversations that took place over the next few days. He did have a few distant relatives, but they were scattered across the country and they didn’t keep in touch. His parents passed away years ago in a horrific car accident, and he’s an only child. When I attempted to push for more details about his life, he had the tendency to offer a short answer, or completely clam up and change the subject. Even when I asked what he did for a living, all he would say was that he worked as a foreman for a construction company. Finally the day arrived for my trip to Florida, and my stomach was a ball of nerves. I must have unpacked and repacked my suitcase 4 times. The last text message I received from Paul was just before I stepped into the terminal to board my flight. “See you soon,” was all it read. “Can’t wait!” I quickly replied. When I arrived in Tampa, my welcome party was underwhelming. I wasn’t expecting flowers, a red carpet, and a flash mob, however, I did expect Paul to be there to pick me up. I left 3 voicemails before resorting to text messages. Finally, after 6 texts, each one getting a little more frantic, he replied simply with his address. I was a little pissed, but more so confused. He’d seemed so excited about my coming out that it felt a little strange that he wasn’t waiting for me to take me to his house. I ended up taking a cab. I had a 45 minute drive to calm myself down, and justify Paul’s absence. He probably had to work, I thought. Maybe he was running last minute errands to free up his time while I was there. When we pulled up to his address I was slightly taken back at his house. I’m not completely sure what I was expecting, but the simplicity of his house caught me off guard. It was a nice yellow ranch with a brown privacy fence that stretched off a few feet to the sides, then disappeared off to the backyard. There was a basic walkway from the driveway to his front door, and a single palm tree off to the side. No frills, nothing to spruce it up a bit. If it weren’t for the car in the driveway, I’d have assumed the house was vacant. I made my way to the front door, after retrieving my bags and paying the cab driver a hefty sum. I knocked on the door, eagerly waiting an answer. A few seconds later I knocked again. I leaned off to the side to see if I could peer into the front window, but thick curtains blocked any view to the interior of the house. Just as I was about to knock a third time, the door opened and there stood Paul. I immediately threw myself on to him, wrapping my arms around his neck, and kissing his face. “I missed you so much I’m so happy to see you It feels like it’s been forever,” poured out of my mouth. It took me a few moments to realize that he wasn’t returning my hug. Instead, I could feel a gentle pat-pat-pat on my back. “Hey, are you ok?” I asked, pulling back a little to look at his face. “Yeah. Come inside,” he nodded, breaking my embrace and grabbing the bags. I followed him inside and quickly noticed how dark it was. There weren’t any lamps on, and the only light coming in was the moon light that squeaked through the cracks between the curtains. It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust, but from what I could see the interior was as simple as the exterior. Minimal furniture, and literally no décor. Not even a potted plant. I stayed a few steps back as we made our way into the master bedroom. “You’ll sleep here with me,” he said gruffly, setting my bags to the side. “Of course I will, silly,” I giggled as I wrapped my arms around his waist. As quickly as my hands met, his were there pushing my arms away. “What’s the matter?” I stood there, dumbfounded, as he shook his head, and crossed the room to lay in bed. “Um. Aren’t you happy to see me?” I had to practically force the words out of my mouth. “Just get changed and come to bed, Lindsey.” I stared at him intently. On the outside I probably looked calm, but inside my brain was swimming with insecurities and doubt. Slowly, I pulled my pajamas from my bag, made sure to change with my back facing him, and slipped into bed. A few days went by, and his standoffish behavior continued. The first few days I chalked it up to the newness of being reunited, and the stress having to get acquainted to our being together outside of vacation. Paul had gone from being funny and sweet, to quiet and withdrawn; his joking turned to silence and cold glares. I tried to talk to him about the sudden behavior change, but was met with the bedroom door being slowly closed in my face. There have been other subtle changes as well. Every night since I have arrived here he always receives a call from a man at 11pm. It’s the same routine every night: his phone rings once, he answers after the full ring, he talks in a hushed tone very quickly for about 1 minute, and then hangs up. I could hear the urgency in the man’s voice on the other end, but it was too muffled for me to make out any of the words. Of course, I had asked Paul about these nightly calls, but I didn’t get an answer. I tried to peek into his phone a few times, but I didn’t know his passcode. Paul also stopped sleeping very much. He didn’t appear to work very often, as he was only gone for a few hours during the day. I wasn’t sure if he was sleeping at work, but he was definitely not sleeping in bed at home. He would just lay there. A few nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and found I was alone in bed. I called out to him, but he didn’t answer. I made my way through the house, checking every room, only to find it empty. I even checked outside to make sure his car was still in the driveway. On my way back to bed from the restroom I noticed a glow coming from underneath the bedroom closet door. I opened the door to find Paul sitting cross-legged in the center of the closet, facing the back wall. His hands were placed on his knees, and his back was as straight as a board. His head, though. His head was tipped back as far as it could go, eyes staring widely at the ceiling. His mouth hung slightly open, unable to completely shut from the overextension of his neck. “Paul?” I gasped. He didn’t answer, didn’t even move a muscle. I inched forward and spoke a little louder. “Paul, honey, are you ok? What are you doing in the closet?” Still no response. A bundle of uneasiness settled just below my bellybutton. I slowly eased my hand towards him. “Honey, you-“ I started to say, fingers just an inch from his shoulde,r but was interrupted. “I can’t see it,” he said. His voice was so low, an entire octave lower than usual. I don’t know how he was able to even talk with his neck stretched so far back. Sleep talking?, I thought. “But they are open,” he replied in his dream state. I wasn’t normally one to eavesdrop, so the feeling of guilt that settled across my shoulders was expected. I, again, reached out to touch him, to wake him. “Paul, honey, you need to come to bed,” I said gently. He flinched when my fingers brushed his skin, as if I’d burned him. “Lindsey, go to bed,” his voice, now a bit louder. “But Paul,” I started. “GO.” I jumped so severely from the force in his voice that it knocked me off balance, sending me backwards into the closet door. I fumbled clumsily with the door knob, my eyes glued to his unmoving stature, to the very second before the door was shut. I returned to our bed, careful to stay on my side. I tried to stay awake, waiting for him to come back to bed, but after an hour I’d fallen asleep. The next day I was determined to talk to Paul about what had happened the night before, but was again met with silence and a closed door. That night I took extra time getting ready for bed, intending to seduce him into being the man that I thought I’d fallen in love with. I sauntered my way out of the bathroom to the best of my ability, and found him lying in bed. The moonlight snaked its way into the room through the slight part of the curtains casting a sweet glow as I tiptoed across the floor. The closer I got to the bed, the better I was able to see him. He was lying on his back, arms crossed across his chest, staring at the ceiling. I slowly eased my way under the covers and scooted up next to him. My fingers caressed his side as I showered the side of his face with kisses. His body remained unaffected, his face a blank slate. I leaned my body over his slightly, closed my eyes, and pressed my lips to his. His once warm and soft kiss had been replaced with tight lips. I lifted my lids to see that he was still staring at the ceiling. “Paul,” I whispered. Nothing. I repeated his name, more forcefully this time, staring into his eyes. He didn’t even blink. It was like he was looking right through me, as if I wasn’t even there. His once loving brown eyes were now cold and completely empty of any emotion. If his body wasn’t warm to the touch I would have questioned if he were even alive. Frustrated, I rolled away from him, back to my side of the bed. Tears stung my eyes as I whispered, “You can’t ignore me forever. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but if you don’t stop this I’ll just go home.” “You’re staying,” he said as he rose out of bed, crossed the room, and shut himself in the closet. “What?” I called to him, knowing I wasn’t going to get a response. I, again, slept alone. The following morning Paul left a little earlier than usual for work. The second I heard the deadbolt slide into the lock I bee-lined it for the closet, determined to figure out what was going on in there. As I crossed through the threshold of the bedroom, I glanced back at the front door to make sure all was clear. Once I felt that I was safe, I tiptoed my way towards the closet door. The air of the room seemed to grow thicker with every step I took. A brick of dread settled itself into my lower abdomen causing my legs and arms to feel feather light. I reached out and grasped the doorknob, pulling the door open a few inches. The light was still on as I peeked inside. It was void of any clothing. In all of the excitement from last night, I failed to notice that the closet was completely empty. I slid the door open a few more inches and eased my way inside. To the left were bare shelves from floor to ceiling, and to the right was a single horizontal rod. I placed my hands on the walls and felt around, pushing every few seconds to see if there was any give, but found nothing. I knelt down to the floor and slid my hands along the carpet on the floor, working my way along the edges. As my hands passed the bottom shelf in the back corner, the front piece of wood moved the tiniest bit. Excitement immediately overpowered any dread that I had felt as I worked out that small flap of wood, exposing a hidden cubby. It was only about 3 inches high and 6 inches wide. I lay my head on the floor to peer in. Tucked a few inches back I could vaguely see the spine of a book. I reached in and pulled it out to examine it. It was soft, brown, and leather bound. I held it gently as I passed it from one hand to the other, searching. The front, back, and spine were blank. Cautiously, I opened the cover. There, on the inside of the front cover where one would usually write a sweet dedication, was a simple marking. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, a hook like symbol with a few dots. There was a single ribbon slipped in the middle of the book, so I opened to that page only to find it completely blank. I flipped through the pages before that one, and all of them were blank as well. Every page in the book was unmarked. I pulled all the pages over and studied the marking again. My fingers grazed down the inner cover. My index finger seemed to take on a mind of its own, lightly caressing the symbol. I repeatedly traced the curve of the hook with my fingertip, tapping each dot. With each trace, the air in the closet grew heavier. There was pressure growing behind my eyes and in my ears causing each beat of my heart to sound like the beat of a drum inside of my skull. My throat muscles began to tighten, and I arched my neck back slightly in an attempt to alleviate it. The book tumbled from my hands onto the floor, and almost immediately the pressure in my head began to slightly cease. My hands fumbled along the carpet, pushing the book back to its place in the cubby. I, as carefully as possible, put the wooden plank back in its place, and crawled out of the closet kicking the door shut behind me. I lay on the floor for what felt like hours, until my body felt normal again. Later that afternoon I found myself still alone, which was unusual. Paul rarely left the house for more than just a few hours, and he had been gone most of the day. No matter what I did to keep my mind busy, it kept trailing back to that empty journal in the closet. It trailed back to that strange symbol that marked the front of the book. Back to the possessing affect it seemed to have on me physically. I felt the overwhelming urge to crawl back in there and run my finger over the slight curvature of the hook; to place my fingers lightly over the dots. I fought that urge, instead busying my brain with mindless daytime t.v. shows and dusting the long planks of the fireplace mantle that remained undecorated and untouched. I had attempted to text Claire, my friend from work, but I kept receiving an error message. I tried to call her, but was given the ‘We’re sorry, all lines are currently busy’ response. My phone was rendered useless, and tucked back into my purse. Numerous times throughout the day I would find myself back in the master bedroom next to the closet door, unsure of how I ended up there in the first place. Paul finally came home later that evening, his hands full with Chinese takeout and a dozen roses. “Linds, I’m home! I brought dinner.” I stood frozen in my spot in the kitchen, confusion anchoring my feet to the floor. “Hey,” he said as he leaned around me to place dinner on the counter, “I brought you these.” The roses were placed in my hands, a kiss placed on my temple. “Paul, I-“ I started, unable to form a full sentence. “Orange chicken with a side of rice, and 4 eggrolls with a side of sweet and sour sauce. Your favorite,” he said as he pulled out plates and the appropriate silverware. I set the roses on the counter next to me, and stared briefly at Paul. He was back. Not just back from work, but actually back. He must have felt me staring, because he looked over at me and gave me that warm smile that made my knees go weak. Relief flushed through my body, and I threw myself at him wrapping my arms around his neck. Unlike a few days ago when I’d arrived on his doorstep, he wrapped an arm around my waist, and his other hand lazily rubbed up and down my spine. “I missed you. I missed you so much,” I whispered, afraid that if I’d used my voice that it would crack and give away the immense amount of emotion I was feeling at that moment. He chuckled. “You just saw me this morning.” “No, not –“ I started, but he cut me off with a chaste kiss to the mouth. “Come on, Linds, let’s eat. I’m starving.” That night was the best night we’d had since Vegas. We ate dinner hurriedly, as Paul was eager to get to the bedroom. I was just as eager, as I was really in need of the attention and connection that making love would provide me with. The last few days were so full of confusion, that I was desperate to feel any kind of reassurance of love. I’d needed the soft touches, the whispers of sweet nothings, the skin on skin contact. I fell asleep quickly afterwards, our limbs tangled together, and his fingers grazing my lower abdomen. I woke a few hours later to use the bathroom, quietly chastising myself for not going before falling asleep. I rolled to my side, intending to steal a kiss before getting out of bed, and found that I was alone. My eyes instantly shifted to the closet door, the same glow creeping out from beneath it. I quickly made my way to do my business in the restroom, staying as quiet as possible so not to disturb Paul. As I tip-toed past the door heading back to bed, the muffled sound of his voice speaking my name stopped me in my tracks. I pressed my ear to the door and listened intently. A few quiet moments passed, so I gripped the door knob and pulled it open. The air was noticeably heavier in the small space, and seemed to roll out of the doorway in waves. He sat there in the closet the same way as before. Legs crossed Indian-style, hands on his knees, and his head tilted back, his neck nearly to its breaking point with his mouth slightly agape. His lips began to twitch. I lowered myself to the floor, leaning my back against the door frame. “I am. I understand,” he said, his monotone voice breaking the silence. “Yes, Lindsey’s ready. It’s working.” My heart started to race at the mention of my name. Ready? I thought. Ready for what? What’s working? An internal battle was going on inside of my head. I wanted to ask questions, to guide his sleep talking, but I didn’t want to wake him. A moment later the one-sided conversation continued. “It’s too soon. I have no way of knowing.” His voice was so void of any emotion that it sent chills from the base of my skull down to my tail bone. “Too soon for what?” I whispered. “Too soon for what, Paul?” I leaned in closer as the words escaped my mouth, and saw the journal I’d found earlier sat open in his lap. A very familiar pressure started to build in my head. My heart pounded in my chest as each second passed, waiting for his response. My breaths were rapid and shallow; my brain screamed for more oxygen. “Lindsey will be with child . It is the order. It will be done.” My heart felt like it dropped to the lowest pit of my stomach. I clumsily stumbled backwards, shutting the door once my body was clear. I sat there dumbfounded for what felt like ages, before finally springing into action. I knew that he would be in that closet for the rest of the night, and only had a few hours left to gather my things and leave. I ransacked the master bedroom for any items of mine that I could find, and stuffed them into my bag. When collecting my toiletries from the top of the dresser my hip caught the edge, sending it all tumbling to the floor. I froze, waiting for any type of reaction from Paul. The house remained quiet, the closet door remained shut. I gathered the last of my things, threw on some clothing, and walked out the front door. I ran for the first mile or so in the night, but exhaustion quickly set in and I had to resort to speed walking. I tried my best to stay in the shadows, walking through people’s front yards, staying off of the sidewalk whenever possible. Every time a set of car lights came up from behind me, I quickly ducked behind a bush or the side of a house, convinced that he had found me. And every time the car just continued past me down the road, relief would flood through my entire being. Finally, about an hour later, I made it to a brightly lit gas station. It was completely dead, with the exception of a young man behind the counter. The cashier was eerily pleasant, and called a cab for me. He acted as if it was the most common thing in the world for a young woman to walk into his place of business with a giant duffel bag at 3am, frantically asking for a cab. Upon arriving to the airport, I paid cash for my ticket for a plane that left for home in just a few short hours. I spent those hours huddled in the ladies room back stall, listening to the second hand on the clock on the wall tick-tick-tick the countdown to my being on that plane and home free. That was over 8 months ago. I arrived home to find that I had been relieved of my job, and quickly relocated to a small town outside of Cleveland. The last months of my life have been full of cash jobs, month-to-month apartment rentals, and different small towns throughout the surrounding states of Ohio. My life is now full of uncertainty and the sharp pang of dread. The feeling that I’m being watched is always there in the back of my mind, filling my nights with horrendous nightmares, and silently urging me to pack my few belongings and get back on the road to a new destination during the day. I sit here tucked away in my small apartment, gently rubbing my swollen belly, attempting to calm the baby boy that is kicking at my ribs. I fear for myself, but mostly I fear for his little life that has yet to begin. I realize that I am hormonal, and pregnant women have the tendency to have very vivid dreams and nightmares. These nightmares, though, are full of hook-and-dot symbols and men whose eyes glow gold. I can’t help but feel that they are a warning of what is yet to come.
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