Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Don't leave home without it

Vegas is an endlessly interesting place. One of the great things about being here is that I feel like I'll never run out of stuff to see or do. So from now on, I'm carrying my digital camera with me every day, and if I happen to get a snapshot of something funny-haha or funny-strange, I'll be sure and share it. Like today, for instance. I got to class a little early (traffic was actually moving close to the speed limit on I-15), so the doors were still locked when I arrived. So I hung out on the balcony for a few minutes, like a smoker getting my fix.

I looked down and noticed a body sprawled out on the sidewalk below, like it had been thrown off of the building. Of course, the building is only two stories high, so I figured they'd live even if that were the case. After a couple of minutes of wondering how this dude got there, a cement truck came rolling by and laid on the brakes sending a loud squeal in all directions. The body suddenly came to life, looked around to make sure that they were in no imminent danger, then slowly deflated back into a heap on the sidewalk. At this point I realized that it was a woman sleeping off what had to have been a most interesting evening. Traffic started getting heavier, making it impossible to have a nap, so she slowly got to her feet again and shuffled off down the street, using parked cars and telephone poles for support.

By this time the doors were unlocked and I went inside to begin my day. But tomorrow, I'm gonna bring my camera. Because you just never know when you'll see a body flung off the roof of your building...


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

It's gonna be a good day, Tater...

After the lightbulb went on for me at school yesterday, I was looking forward to another day of actual learning and applying my newly-gained knowledge, so I was up and out the door early today after a pretty good night's sleep.

Turns out that I had an hour to kill before class, so I decided to drive over to one of my favorite places in Vegas--the restaurant at the Ellis Island casino--and have one of their dirt-cheap monster omelettes. I figured it would be better to have the big meal in the morning instead of coming home at 7pm and fixing a frozen pizza or a lasagna or something.

Anyhow, while standing at the hostess station waiting for a table, I noticed their daily specials. And today was a great one--Steak, eggs, hashbrowns, toast for $3.95. Sold! I sat down, ordered a tall OJ and the steak & eggs special, and started studying while waiting for my food. Most people would make fun of a two-dollar steak, but I gotta tell you, for the $5.37 it cost me with juice and tax, it was the best steak I've had in a very long time. And whoever they had running the grill knew exactly what 'medium rare' and 'over easy' meant, so as far as bang for the buck goes, Ellis Island has another winner. (Don't get me started on their home-brewed rootbeer, or their chicken & ribs special for $6.95...)

It was a great start to another great day in Vegas. The sun was shining, it was in the mid-seventies with a slight breeze going, and the girl with the nice cleavage and the low-cut wardrobe in my class asked me to hang out with her sometime next week--we're gonna play hookey from school and go downtown, play three-dollar craps, and drink margaritas all day. Should be another fine day!


Current Events

I don't watch the news on TV much--I get most of my news over the internet these days. Normally, when I have more time on my hands I'm usually up to speed on things, so I feel like I'm behind the curve on the whole Terri Shiavo controversy. I could go on a rant, but I'll leave it to the experts who are more in-the-know. But I've got two immediate thoughts about the whole thing:

1) Thank God she isn't black.

2) I hope her "husband" ends up the same way someday. Karma, that's all.

I really should know more about the situation and have an informed opinion, but there's only so many hours in the day. I hope she finds comfort and peace in her last days.


No More Goofing Off...

I really enjoyed being a Gentleman of Leisure these past few months. Basically, I haven't done a damn thing as far as work is concerned since last July. That's when my company was 'merged' and my workload went from "Light and easily managed" to "Damn near non-existant". Then of course I got laid off at the end of December, so that gave me two more months of doing nothing while waiting to move here to Nevada.

After I arrived in Vegas I immediately enrolled in dealing school, and that kept me busy for a couple of weeks. But March Madness rolled around, and I found myself goofing off for a week while all of my friends were in town. Then I got sick and spent a week in bed. That time has now passed, and I spent the entire day today in school--like seven hours straight, working on my craps game. I've been playing the game for years--but dealing it is a different animal entirely--and just today the lightbulb went off for me. And it went off before anyone else in my class, so while they were there scratching their heads and wracking their brains trying to come up with answers to all the ridiculous prop-bet questions the instructor was tossing out, there I was answering them all in my head and keeping my mouth zipped to give others a chance to 'figure it all out'.

Not that I'm an expert--not by a long shot. But today I reached the summit of 'competency'. While the others in my class are struggling with the green felt crevasses and ice fields, I get to enjoy the view for another day or so. In the meantime, more study and practice, but I *think* I may be ready for an audition in a week or so. We shall see.

Anyhow, the point of all this is that it's nice to actually be making some sort of progress, instead of just floating along like I have been for the past several months. Sure, I'd love to be sitting around posting on all day, but now I actually have better things to do!


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Finally Settled in Vegas

Well, I know it's been a couple of months, but what a crazy couple of months it's been. I finally made the move from Nashville to Las Vegas--what an adventure that was--a story for another time, however. Anyhow, I started dealer's school as soon as I got out here, and aside from a week of goofing off with my buddies for March Madness, and a week on the deathbed with some sort of funky illness that damn near pulled the plug on me, I'm back at it, shuffling, cutting, dealing, and practicing.

I'm pretty much done with the blackjack part of school, I just need to practice my technique. I'm probably still a couple of weeks away from mastering the art of dice dealing, but since it's such a complicated game and difficult to deal like an expert, I don't feel like I'm behind at all. I figure that by the end of April I should be gainfully employed at some break-in casino trying my best not to embarrass myself.

Life in Vegas has a surreal quality about it. Just from my trips to the grocery store I've deduced that most every stripper and/or cocktail waitress in the city lives in my neighborhood, or at least shops at my Albertsons. The parade of fake cleavage in the produce aisle was something I was unprepared for when I began this adventure. I should have been, however--I share a house with both a stripper and a cocktail waitress. It may sound like a lot of fun, but the reality is well, actually kind of normal. They're just like normal roommates except for the hours they keep. Well that, and some of the interesting clothes I've seen them wear...

It's also nice having a great view of the Strip off in the distance as I begin my daily commute every morning. I was worried that I might be tempted to go gambling a lot, but I've discovered a couple of things--I don't like to gamble by myself very much, and spending a week on the Strip with my buddies was just about enough 'Vegas' experience for me for awhile. I've also found that I'm gonna have to learn to say 'no' on occasion. I've only been here a month, but it seems that every weekend somebody is in town that wants me to meet up and play craps or go drinking. I cannot participate in everyone's vacation and expect to be successful here. I'm looking at my experience here as a means to an end, and not an endless parade of free drinks and gambling stories, so my desire to visit the casinos is almost nil. In fact, I'm hoping to work two jobs, just to keep me out of trouble and keep me from spending money. That sailboat won't buy itself!

That being said, I have to mention what a great time I had last week. It was the annual March Madness ritual where my buddies gather in Vegas for four days of gambling, cigars, basketball games, and general buffoonery. On top of that, about twenty or so new friends from the message board made the trek out and spent the weekend keeping me sauced and entertained. It was truly an epic week that could never be topped.

Anyhow, now that I'm here, settled, and moving forward, I'll begin my regular updates.

Viva Las Vegas!