Monday, April 25, 2005

Out of the Wilderness

I haven't posted in over a week because I've been in the process of moving away from my (former) disgusting and thieving roommate. The cold shower last Friday morning was the last straw, so I found a new place that afternoon. I've been slowly herding my shit from one place to the other and hope to have everything out of there by the end of the week.

My new place is much older, polite folks would call it a 'fixer-upper', but it's cheap, clean, in a decent neighborhood, and closer to everywhere I have to be. And my new roommate pays the bills on time and doesn't steal from me.

Unfortunately, we don't have cable internet installed at the house yet, and I still have to spring for a new cable modem, so it might be another week or two before I'm back to posting on a regular basis.

Otherwise life is good!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Roommate from Hell

I'm at the end of my rope. I have absolutely had it. I've only been here five weeks, and it's time to move on.

I found a place here in Vegas through a roommate matching service. I found a gal that seemed compatible, we spoke on the phone a few times, exchanged emails, and from the pictures of the place, it sounded like a great deal. So I sent a deposit and the room was here waiting for me when I got to town.

My roommate (actually, I have two--one of them is cool as hell and I wouldn't hesitate to live with her again) is a cocktail waitress and a former pole-dancer. I expected a little baggage, as everyone has some, but good lord, not to this degree.

Since I've moved in--

--She's gotten into all of my booze and drank every bottle that I left downstairs on top of the fridge. She's never replaced a drop

--She constantly gets into my food/groceries, and gets pissed when she comes home at night and there's no 'instant' food for her to steal, so she slams things around in the kitchen, angry that we haven't provided for her.

--She doesn't pay her bills. About three weeks ago I came home and the cable was cut off. I called the company and put the overdue bit on my card in order to get internet access back. I still haven't gotten the difference back from her. Just tonight, she slid a note under my door asking me to pay the gas bill of like $120 or it would be cut off also. Sorry, no can do. I'm waiting for my next deposit to hit on Friday, and until then I've got about fifty bucks to my name. I'll gladly pay my share, but I refuse to bail her ass out again. So by this time tomorrow I will likely be unable to use the stove and we will have no hot water. Nice.

--The washing machine has been broken for almost two weeks straight. She hasn't bothered to get it fixed yet, so I have to take all of my clothes to the laundramat. That's convenient. Especially since the house is in a pretty nice area, so there are no laundramats ANYWHERE closeby. I have to drive all the way down to Tropicana to get my laundry done.

--She doesn't clean the litter box until the house absolutely reeks. She has two cats and the downstairs constantly smells like cat piss. It's ridiculous.

--I can't leave a leftover box of pizza or a tupperware full of leftover lasagna in the fridge or she will eat it as soon as she finds it.

--I've asked her twice to stay out of my food in the kitchen. I went downstairs two days ago and discovered that she had eaten an entire jar of peanut butter and left it empty on my shelf. So I left a note on the fridge in big letters that said "STAY OUT OF MY STUFF". She replied by writing "Get your shit out of my garage, asshole, or I'm throwing it out!". No response whatsoever on her mooching. Ok, bear in mind that she told me when I moved in I could store all my stuff in the garage due to lack of storage space in the house. Apparently she's forgotten that. And yeah, clearly she's all about throwing stuff out. Not. She doesn't throw anything out, and the house is completely cluttered with junk. The kitchen counter is buried under six inches of junkmail, the living room has crap stacked in all the corners, and the upstairs hallway outside of her room is cluttered with boxes, blankets, phone books, dishes, and other assorted debris.

--I contribute completely to the household, having bought trashbags, cleaning supplies, laundry soap (which she used all of), paper towels, napkins, dishwasher soap, etc. She has not contributed anything of the like since I've been here. Not that she would ever actually use any of it... (And I'm the asshole...)

--She has not cleaned the kitchen or done the dishes one time since I moved in. Only Kelly and I have done so.

Unfortunately, my arrival here and all of the expenses incurred over the past month have left me tapped out. I need to come up with enough cash in the next couple of weeks to pay yet another deposit at another place and go through the hassle of moving again. Luckily I start working part time next weekend, and tomorrow I'm going on another job audition, this time for about three times the money I'd be making at the current casino. It's going to be a VERY TOUGH month. But I will perservere. I have to.

On a happier note, last week she ate some of my other roommate's leftover sushi. It had gone bad so she got food poisoning and spend the next 24 hours alternating between squatting on the can and huggin' it. Made my whole day. Karma, baby. Lots of it. Something tells me she's got a lot more coming her way, too.

Thanks for reading. I just needed to vent. I feel much better now.


Friday, April 08, 2005

How I Spent My Week

Not that I'm trying to toot my own horn--wait, this is my website, that's exactly what I'm trying to do--but I posted some experiences on the Travel2Vegas board about my adventures this week in finding a dealing job here in Sin City, and I'm quite proud of the writing.

So here's what happened on Wednesday-- (Scroll down if you want to skip to Thursday)

Ok gang...

Did a little scouting around tonight. Decked out in my new white shirt, I showed up at the Plaza around 6:30. I ask the floorman who I needed to talk to about an audition, and they pointed me to one of the guys in the next pit.

I introduced myself, told him I was looking for an audition as a dice dealer, and the first words out of his mouth were "Man, you have perfect timing. We need 'em bad!" We got to talking, but he couldn't find any record of my application which was submitted online two nights ago. After several phone calls from there in the pit, it turns out that now that the Plaza is no longer a 'family business' and is corporation-owned, they do things a little bit differently. First of all, he found out, they only download applications once a week, then it gets screened by HR, then they have to forward it along to the casino hiring manager's screening process, etc etc, then they finally get the applications into the hands of the pit crew who are looking for help. The bottom line was, "Sorry man, I'd like to give you an audition right now, but I have to wait for approval, it could take another week..."

So we shook hands and I wandered across the street to the Golden Gate.

I stopped at the dice pit, and asked for "Joe" like my instructor told me. They referred me to another guy who said that Joe was his backup. I again introduced myself, told him that I had been in school for the last month and that I'd like to schedule an audition sometime soon.

His first words were, "Ok, go tap out the stickman".


Ok! So the table was completely packed, ten players or so, and I jumped on stick in the middle of this guy's roll. He had just made a point, so everyone started tossing chips at me and making all of their prop bets and hardways. Luckily the boxman was placing them faster than I could pick them up, so I didn't run into any problems there.

I made all the right calls, didn't mess anything up, and got all the payoffs right for about three or four different shooters.

Then I got tapped out and he had me go deal base--of course on the heavy end of the table.

First thing, two players tossed me two red chips each and said "Nine dollars inside!"

WTF?'s a three dollar game. Ok. I learned this once. After that, no problem at all, I did really well and my only messup was knocking over a stack of chips. Otherwise, not to shabby for a complete rookie. I felt like I was completely tossed in the deep end of the pool with no life jacket. Sink or swim, baby! Luckily I did fine.

I got tapped out again, and was told to go to the cage and get an application, fill it out, then come talk to the pit crew again.

So I went to the employee lounge, filled it all out, and went back to the dice pit. Two guys looked over my application, the second one extended his hand and said "Congratulations--you're hired."

So now I'm working for these fellows...

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Anyhow, tomorrow morning I go into HR and get my gaming license squared away. I probably won't work until sometime next week, unless they are shorthanded between now and then. I start on whats called the 'extra board', meaning, no set shift, no set hours, just on call. Maybe a day or two here and there but he said that within a month I'll be working five days a week. No problemo, I still have a little bit of an income. He also said he didn't expect me to hang around long, that once I get fairly good and fast, I'll leave for greener pastures just like everyone else does.

In celebration of my new status as a contributing member of society, I went to the snack bar at Binions where rumor had it that they put the grill back in. The rumor is true. I ordered a cheeseburger, a bowl of chili with cheese and onions, and a rootbeer, just like the last time I was there a couple years ago. It was still excellent, greasy as ever, and I got my new white shirt dirty!

So tomorrow I'm gonna go down and take care of all the legalities, then of course just go to school and deal the mock games until they call me with a schedule. I could be working days or swing shift next week (and they have 3 different starting times on each, so my schedule could vary wildly for the first few weeks), I just don't know.

I don't care. This first stop is just for the experience, I'm sure I won't get rich there. But I think I'll have a lot of fun!


...And here's Thursday:

I dragged my carcass out of bed at 8:15 this morning (still struggling with sleep deprivation...), answered a few emails, took a shower and was out the door heading for downtown by 9:30. I showed up promptly at 10am at the Golden Gate HR department to start doing paperwork.

This marks a milestone for me, having now explored further than the main floor at the Gate, as the offices are up those stairs there in the corner of the Deli.

Anyhow, after getting my ID copied and signing a few forms, I am sent to the Fremont Medical Center to go take my 'Whiz Quiz'. Yep, it was time to--like the Greatest Vanity Plate I've Ever Seen said--PNA CUP.

Remember the discussion thread where Doc Al was saying that the ElCo was just a seedy block past the end of the Fremont Street Experience? I'll give you three guesses where Fremont Medical Center is. Yep--right there on that same block at the corner of Fremont and Sixth Street, directly across the street from the El Cortez.

So I signed in, found a spot way over in the corner, tried not to touch anything, sat down, and proceeded to make my way through two bottles of Aquafina. Apparently, there were lots of folks waiting to be tested today, so the wait was over an hour. Luckily, the place was built with huge picture windows, so I got to enjoy the endless parade of human drama passing by on the street outside.

One thing I noticed was that the gals working the sidewalk (yep, in the middle of the day on a Thursday...) outside the ElCo were of a totally different caste than the ones working, say, the Baccarat Bar at the Mirage. I guess one has to know their market...

Anyhow, my name was finally called and the two bottles of Aquafina had done their magic. There wasn't gonna be any stage fright for me this time!

When I got back there, the line to use the "booth" was four people deep.

Uh oh.

In an effort to speed up the process, I offered to go across the street and use the parking garage at the ElCo to pee, figuring I certainly wouldn't be the first person to do so. Nope, it had to be an 'indoor' sample (Don't know how they'd enforce that rule back in Tennessee...), so I just had to wait my turn.

After the deed was done, I found my way back to the lot where I'd left the Ghetto Sled, one scenic block away. It was still intact, because although it was tough, I found someone there with a nicer car and managed to park next to them so as to not present such a tempting target...

I then made my way up to the fingerprint place at Sahara and Maryland Parkway. I was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes, and $90 lighter in the wallet. 15 bucks for the prints, and 75 for the racketeers at the Gaming Control Board for the priviledge of calling the dice in this fine state.

After that, it was back to the Golden Gate for another round of paperwork, where I signed almost as much stuff as I did the time I bought my condo a few years back. I got my computer ID card, and they even set up my nametag so it says "MIKEY", in case any of you folks had a hard time picking me out of the group of Asian dealers there at the dice table. I was now officially "Processed", as they called it--all I needed to do then was get de-loused and have the warden issue my bible...

As far as tips go, the payroll gal told me that the pit dealers earned about $50 bucks per shift on the check that goes out tomorrow. Not great money at all, but much better than breaking in at the Gold Spike, Western, or El Cortez... Plus you can't forget that handsome $5.15 per hour on top of that. (Living The Dream, I tell ya! Living. The. Dream.)

Also, I am no longer allowed to play any table game whatsoever at the Gate, on duty or off. How do you like that? I mean, if I'm going to get banned from someplace downtown, I was hoping for a better story to go with it... (and a few of you characters should've been involved, too!)

Ok, after all the pleasantries were taken care of, I went downstairs to get some lunch. For the second time this week, my efforts to dine at the as-yet-untried Bay City Diner were rebuffed by the length of the line. So it was back to the San Francisco Shrimp Bar and Deli for me!

There was no line, and it seemed like they actually wanted to serve me, unlike Doc Al's visit of a few weeks previous. I had a hotdog, chili (Binions is much better), a shrimp cocktail, and an MGD draft. All for less than $7. Of course I couldn't finish it. Well, I finished the beer...

It was a bit of a wistful lunch when I realized that every other time I'd been there it was always at the beginning of a trip with my Phoenix gang, or with a pack of drunken T2Vers. Suddenly I felt very alone in the middle of Sin City, so what did I do? As soon as I finished up, I called by dear old friend Hoyaheel (Since I know she works for The Man and was most likely to have free time on her hands). I told her that I was getting my car out of the valet and to get over to the Fremont Street webcam. I timed it just right and got to the front of the line when it turned red, and Hoya was kind enough to get a picture of me waving from the sunroof of the Ghetto Sled!

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After that, I drove back to school, shared the news with everyone, told them all about the audition and what to expect, then spent the next few hours goofing off dealing blackjack with a couple of young hotties that were suddenly impressed that I had found suitable employment.

I stayed at school until I was sure that traffic had died out a bit, then hit the road to come on home. Amazingly, I was able to hit 75 mph on I-15 for the first time in a month! As Gunnery Sargeant Hartmann said, it was a biblical farking miracle!

So here endeth the story of another day in Vegas. It's always an adventure, let me tell ya. I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Recent Photo, and a Not-So-Recent One

This here is a picture of me and Lara. We blew off class on Monday afternoon and went to the Sahara for a few drinks. The bartender was kind enough to snap a picture for us.

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And no, I didn't win the Mustang at the Palms. So I'm still pimpin' around town in the Ghetto Sled.

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Only mine has 10 years of nicks and dings in it, along with a passenger-side window that's slightly off-track and a free-form antenna that hangs down low over the rear wheel-well. Like Jules told the Wolf... Other than that, the car is tip-top! Yep, a fine piece of American craftsmanship.

Also, the answer to the trivia question is...The day BEFORE and the day AFTER the MLB All-Star Game. Why it took ESPN so long to figure that out and hold the ESPYs then is anyone's guess.


Sunday, April 03, 2005


Ok--I figured out why lately I've not been able to sleep at night. It's because my body knows something that my brain didn't figure out until just a few moments ago. Obviously, the reason I can't sleep during normal hours is that very soon I'll be working a new job, and of course I'll be working the swing shift--8pm until 4am--every night, and my sleep cycle is preparing me for the changeover from the years of office hours/being an unemployed bum to working the Michelob shift.

Mystery solved.

In the meantime, I have to try to sleep somewhat normal hours for the next few days so that I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for school every morning until I leave the nest.

As far as tomorrow goes, I'm really looking forward to the NCAA Final. I picked Illinois to go all the way on my bracket, but now that it's down to it, I find myself kind of hoping that Carolina gets the victory. I'm fickle I guess. I have friends who went to both places, but I've liked Carolina for a long time. I just didn't think they'd make it this far.

I'll probably go over to the Palms after school and watch the game. There's a very very miniscule chance that I could retire the Ghetto Sled tomorrow, so I'm gonna give it a try. It seems that the Palms is giving away a new 2005 Mustang tomorrow at 6pm, and I'm going to be there for the drawing. Basically, all through the month of March, they were giving away entry tickets to anyone who scored a blackjack. Well, my crazy-assed friend Angy was there a couple weeks back being the ringleader of the circus that encompasses her wherever she goes, and managed to have everyone she came in contact with give her their entry slips. She then passed them along to me, so I've been filling them out for the past few weeks and stuffing the ballot box.

Wish me luck! By this time next week I could be cruising around town like Steve McQueen. All I need is a fast machine.


Playing Tourista in My Own Backyard

One of my favorite pieces of bar trivia that I like to toss out every now and again is the question "What are the only two days of the year where no games of the Big Four professional sports (Baseball, Football, Basketball, and ... Hockey) are being played?" It never fails to stump people, even a roomful of complete ESPN junkies. Anyhow, today felt like one of those days. No hockey of course, I don't watch the NBA, football sadly, is on hiatus until August, and no baseball games until tonight's opener. I've got a little redneck in me, so Nascar is of some interest, but I'm more of a Talladega kind of guy. Watching cars drive around bumping into each other at a top speed of 50 mph in Bristol doesn't really turn my crank. I was feeling a little bored today.

School is closed on the weekends, too, so that left me in a quandry. I could've spent a few hours cleaning the garage and finally getting the rest of my stuff unpacked, but where's the fun in that? Then it occurred to me that I live in the biggest tourist attraction in the world, so I should get out and take advantage of it.

My friend Kelly aka 'Hoyaheel' was out here in February for a working trip (and I missed her by a week). But she left town with a $5 slot machine cashout ticket still in her pocket, so she mailed it to me. So here I was--bored in Vegas with five bucks of free money in my pocket!

Since I had to go to the Luxor to cash it anyways, I decided to go check out the IMAX theatre and see a flick or two. As luck would have it, they had four different shows going on each day, and two of the ones that looked the most interesting to me were playing back-to-back.

So I loaded up the Ghetto Sled and made my way down to the Strip. I absolutely love parking it with the valet, even more so now that I snapped the antenna completely off in the carwash yesterday, so it just hangs there flopping around. Pure class.

I left my fine ride in the capable hands of the Luxor valet attendant and ambled my way thru the pyramid, realizing that I hadn't been in there since a drunken St Paddy's night at Nefertiti's Lounge last year. I found my way to the 'Attractions Level' which was just a quick escalator ride up from the casino. I've been to the Luxor a dozen times in the past, but never made it anywhere besides the casino, buffet, or my room. This was a new experience for me.

I found the ticket booth right away, and they offered a great deal on the IMAX. Normally, tickets are $9.95 per show, but they had twin-packs and triple-play tickets available. So I bought a twin-pack for $13.95. I had about a half hour to kill before they started seating, so I wandered a bit looking at all of the Attractions. There was a huge arcade, crawling with kids, that I never knew about. Or perhaps I did, but I just blocked the knowledge from my mind. But there was the King Tut's tomb tour (A condo made of stona!), another theatre, a motion-simulator ride, and booths where you could get a video made of yourself riding a magic carpet down the Strip, or get your picture on the cover of a magazine or on a movie poster. Instead of that, I found my way to the bar at La Salsa and had a Pina Colada made with a splash of the Captain.

Yes, one could also get a yard-long margarita there, but I only had a half-hour to kill--the margarita would've been about a foot too much. Then I found out that it would be about $18 for the tall green slushy made with no-name tequila, so I felt much better about my choosing the normal sized Pina Colada for the bargain price of only $7.95. And it came with free chips, salsa, and people watching.

Before I knew it, my drink was empty and it was time to get in line. The first feature was Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was filmed here in Vegas at Nellis Air Force base and featured some great views of the city off in the distance. But it was the flight sequences that were most amazing. More than once I felt like I was in the cockpit--total sensory overload, and worth every penny.

Much too soon it was over, and we had to shuffle out. I had just enough time to make a quick pit stop, then back in again for the next show. This one was called Sharks 3D which really interested me, being an Ocean Lover and all. The 3D aspect was very cool. One couldn't help but reach up and try to touch the schools of jellyfish and sardines that jumped off the screen and into your personal space. But the show was less about sharks and more about sea turtles, sea lions, and getting a dose of environmental claptrap. Yes, I am fully aware that Man, not the shark, is the most dangerous predator in the sea. But I'm cool with that. If it ever comes down to him or me, I hope the shark loses every time. I didn't spend the last 400 million years evolving to the top of the food chain just to lose my spot to some toothy fish that is only doing their job of 'maintaining the delicate balance...'

Again, the scenery and the effects were fantastic. The narrator just needed to shut the fark up.

Otherwise, it was very enjoyable.

After the second show, I was hungry and decided to wander a bit looking for something to eat (Seafood, maybe?). I made my way south on the Mandalay Mile, and wanted to go to the Burger Bar, but the line was much too long for someone as impatient as I. Instead I went to the Davidoff store and picked up an overpriced Partagas black label, then made my way back to the Luxor. Mexican food at La Salsa it was! I had a pretty tasty steak burrito with rice, black beans, and a Dr Pepper for sixteen bucks. Not too bad, but I think the place is a lot like a pricier version of Baja Fresh. They just don't use paper plates, thats all. Not bad, but no real reason to go back with all of the other options in this city. A restaurant really has to stand out here in Vegas for me to make a return trip (Peppermill, Ellis Island, Grand Luxe, etc), and although I enjoyed the meal, it didn't blow me away--so it'll be awhile before I make it back to La Salsa.

I didn't want to go home right away, so I figured I'd check out the casino situation on a Sunday afternoon. I found a decent-for-the-Strip craps game--$5 limit with 3x4x5x odds, so I bought in for a hundy and played very conservatively. The table was choppy, no big swings in either direction. I managed to get in right before a decent shooter and she made me a couple of bucks. When I finally got the dice I had a great roll-- I made three points and hit a bunch of numbers while shooting, so I immediately cashed out with a $140 profit and a brief round of high-fives and applause for nailing the 10 five times in about five minutes before the dreaded Cinco-Dos-Adios.

After a trip to the cage and a brief stop at the valet, I was on my way back home for the evening. It was not a bad day at all. Tomorrow it's Back To School, where I attempt to do a Triple Lindy while calling stick.


PS. The answer to the trivia question will be posted tomorrow, for those who are interested. Unless some wise-ass posts it in the comments firs

Friday, April 01, 2005

Trying to sleep in the city that never does...

I've come to the end of a long week. I don't know why, but for the last three nights I haven't been able to get to sleep until sometime after three am. I'd leave school around 5:00 pm, yawning and barely able to keep my eyes open for the hour-long commute of less than 20 miles, get home and check email and such, surf the web for a bit, and force myself to stay busy and awake until about 10 o'clock. I'd hit the bed (ok, actually foam pad on the floor...) and I'd stare at the ceiling for a few hours, unable to drift away.

Maybe it's too quiet in my neighborhood. Although I'm less than ten miles from the Strip, late at night it feels like a world away. I don't hear a sound. In Arizona, my house was right under the approach flight path for Sky Harbor airport. In Nashville, my house was about 75 yards from Ellington Parkway and it's four-lanes of trafficky goodness, along with a set of railroad tracks that never seemed to get any use until around 5:00 am. But I had no problem sleeping then.

It's not like I've got a guilty conscience or have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Life is pretty good and I'm making progress in the right direction--I just can't sleep. Of course, dealer's school has become almost all-consuming as far as brain power is concerned, so in moments of daydreaming or just trying to relax, I find that I'm forcing myself to try and think of something besides stuff like the payoff on a nine-dollar High-Low or a $25 horn bet when the Aces hit. (Ok, it's $130 and $168 if you must know).

So I lie there in bed trying to clear my mind of numbers, checques, odds, and such when just a few miles away there are hundreds of different casino stories unfolding simultaneously. People winning big--clapping, cheering, high-fiving--while a few feet away somebody hits rock bottom again and wanders out into the neon glow swearing to themself that this time will be the last time. Drunks try to regain their bearings, others collapse at the first available slot machine to rest their aching feet, not having walked as much in the past year as they had this day. Propositions of all kinds are being made--in the sports books, at the craps tables, and of course at the lounges and bars, where the professionals circle like sharks outside the reef, waiting to separate a man from his newly-acquired windfall.

I love Vegas, I just hope I don't become bitter and jaded from living and working in Sin City. Other dealers I've spoken to have told me that the thing that helps them the most is to just ignore most of what you see and hear. I don't know if that's helpful advice, as most of what I see and hear in a casino is extremely fascinating from my point of view.

The one thing I've noticed about life in Vegas is that this place attracts SO much more human debris than any other city I've ever visited--People on the fringe, dregs of society, or as polite folks of a higher station might say, "Salt of the earth types". I know I'll have to work on my tolerance, as nothing gets on my nerves or tries my patience like people who don't have their shit together (Of course, any freshmen psych major will tell you that's just a reflection of my own inadequacies, and of course I'll agree. I just prefer to be around people better than me--I'm not above riding a coattail or two...)

So my first Zen lesson is dealing with a couple of those types of unfortunates who have found their way into my daily dealing classes. You know the type--down on their luck, but are experts at talking the talk. They know all the lingo, but don't have a damn clue about how to play the game, much less deal it. So it gets tiring after a few hours.

One fellow in particular stands out. He showed up this week out of the blue, apparently after a month-long absence, and announces that he's ready to get a dice-dealing job immediately. We're not five minutes into a mock game when he's trying to tell anyone who will listen that Laying the 4 and 10 is one of the worst bets on the table (when actually, it's a pretty good bet) and other such nonsense. I just stared right through him and hit my mental 'Ignore' button when it was obvious that he was trying to gain my approval. Maybe I'm just a bad person, but all I could think of at the time was What's with all the scabs on your eyebrows, dude?

Anyhow, other than a few assorted freaks, school has been an excellent experience. Overall, the dice gang are good people and I enjoy spending my days with them. Of course they all smoke like recovering alcoholics waiting for an IRS audit to begin, so I'm thinking of going long on Phillip Morris, excuse me--Altria--again, but like I said, good people. There's also a surprising amount of talent taking classes--mostly the young Asian gals learning to deal blackjack. If one was prone to Yellow Fever, one could really enjoy the classroom experience. That's not for me, though. I'm looking for an income, and don't need another expense. But it sure helps the day go by faster.