Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Missing Christmas

It's the most, wonderful time, of the yeeeeeaaar!

I used to think that this was the greatest time of the year--the beginning of football season. This was my holiday season! For the degenerate combo of couch potato/gambler, nothing is better than making a ton of sports bets and lying around all weekend drinking beer and watching football. It's what my buddies and I have lived for for years. My new job, however, has changed my outlook a bit. Oh, I'm still a degenerate gambler and couch potato, but now my motivation has changed to "I gotta drink from the river of money that flows through this town", so my weekends will be spent working. Weekend tokes during football season are the best of the year, so while I may be able to catch a few of the early games each day, most of my football watching will be furtive glances at the flatscreens while dealing blackjack. And I'm cool with that. This is the first year in a long time I didn't go out and spend a small fortune on all of the season preview issues of all the sports magazines, or spend hours at ESPN.com or NFL.com reading every bit of minutiae regarding the every team and player. Basically, this year there will be a whole lotta room in my brain for other stuff. Maybe I can finally learn to speak Spanish. Or figure out that damn 3rd Card Rule at Baccarat. Anyhow, as much as I love football season, I think it's going to be at arm's length from now on.

Another reason that this was my favorite time of the year was that every September for the past five years, I've gone on a cruise with my sisters--no matter how spread out across the country we are, we've always managed to get together and head to the Caribbean for a week of reconnecting--laughing our asses off, sightseeing, lounging on the beach, shopping, and generally goofing off. Unfortunately, this year we're not able to do it. I'm out here with a new job and being low man on the totem pole, I can't get a weekend off to save my life. My sister Amy had some serious health issues earlier this summer and burned up all of her sick time and vacation time. My sister Cyndi just accepted a new position at a new company this week, so she won't be seeing any vacation time anytime soon either. So the annual "Sibling Revelry" trip is on hiatus for a year. That is truly a bummer.

For us, the annual cruise is bigger than any mere religious holiday. As it gets closer and closer, the anticipation builds and the cellphone minutes get used up in record time every month as we constantly discuss who'd going to bring what, what shore excursions, if any, we'd like to do, and how much money we're not going to spend this time around (which always goes out the window). Stories from past trips get retold and there is truly an air of excitement surrounding us.

Unfortunately, none of that is happening this year, and it makes me sad. Since I can't go until 2006, I seriously have nothing to look forward to for awhile. My life will be all about the drudgery of working for a living for the next twelve months with no vacation on the immediate horizon. Imagine a 10-year old kid finding out there will be no Christmas this December. That's about how I feel. A melancholy combination of disbelief and acceptance, like a convict that finds out his parole was denied for another year.

However, as bummed out as I sound about doing the Vegas equivalent of turning large rocks into small ones and singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot every day, I really can't complain too much. I really do like my job, and actually look forward to going to work. I do something enjoyable in a comfortable environment, I make decent money, I meet some of the coolest people in the world, and the constant eye candy of having barely-dressed cocktail waitresses lurking about sure beats the hell out of sitting in an office pretending to work.

The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but otherwise, life in Whoville is pretty damn good.


Monday, August 29, 2005

The Latest Quiz

Another blogger quiz is making it's way around the internet. I've never indulged in one of these exercises, but in my recent commitment to myself to post more often, I figured this was as good a reason as any.

Seven Things I Want to do Before I Die

1. Sail around the world
2. Write a book
3. Buy beachfront property in Cuba
4. Supplement my income with writing
5. Learn to Scuba dive
6. Visit the Normandy battlefields
7. Swim with the Hammerheads at Cocos Island

Seven Things I Can Do

1. Sail a yacht
2. Make people laugh
3. Teach
4. Fly a small airplane
5. Play guitar
6. Cook
7. Write

Seven Things I Can't Do

1. Blow smoke rings
2. Speak a foreign language
3. Build model ships and planes that are worth a damn
4. Finish the chicken fried steak & eggs breakfast at the Peppermill
5. Look at a picture of the ocean without daydreaming
6. Surf
7. Sit through Lord of the Rings

Seven Things Which Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

1. Sense of humor
2. Laughs at my jokes
3. Great Smile
4. Long Legs
5. Nice Rack
6. Eyes
7. Got her shit together

Seven Things I Say the Most

1. Alright Alright Alright...
2. The light's green, dipshit
3. Thank you for the bets
4. Seven out, line away
5. I'm just sayin'...
6. You gotta be shittin' me, Pyle!
7. Good Luck

Seven Celebrity Crushes

1. Angelina Jolie (like who doesn't have this one...)
2. Jenny Love
3. Kari Wuhrer
4. Melissa Gilbert
5. Christina Applegate
6. Jaime Pressley
7. Lucy Liu, to fulfill the diversity requirement


People That Need to be Kicked In the Nuts, Volume I

--Anyone who rides around on an electric scooter that doesn't need to. If you can walk, pick your ass up and walk.

--People who insist on whistling while riding the elevator. Yeah thanks man, glad you're in a fine mood. Now shut the fark up.

--People who have those new miniature cellphones that they clip to their ear and wear around constantly, even when they're not talking on it. Yeah, we know you think you look cool and all Borg-like and futuristic, but to the rest of us, you just look like a huge dork that still lives in your parent's basement.

--Paul McCartney, for crimes against music since the Beatles broke up. Seriously, the man has released some of the worst songs in existence that would never have seen the light of day had he not been a former Beatle. Silly Love Songs? Are you kidding me? And that whole Uncle Albert song. Good God. Just how bad were the drugs he was taking at the time? The worst, however, has to be that Christmas song Simply, having a wonderful... oh God, make it stop! My ears are bleeding! I don't care if the man was Knighted by the Queen Mother--He rides through my village, he's getting pelted with rocks and garbage.

--Greta Van Susteren. I wonder, Greta, how many other people in the U.S. have disappeared under mysterious circumstances over the course of the past three months have you reported on? I'm guessing that if Natalee Halloway were black and plain-looking, you wouldn't have spent the majority of your summer down in Aruba...

--People that walk up to the table bet the Dark Side in the middle of my roll.

--At least one person at the table from every televised poker tournament.

--Ashton Kutcher, just on general principle.

That's all for now. My foot is getting tired just thinking about it.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Time For A New Tattoo

I have two tattoos. One on the outside of each calf. On my right leg is a gecko. Of course, I had it done before those no-talent assclowns at Geico decided to make all of those horrid commercials and ruined the image of the gecko for the rest of us. On my left leg, I have a great tattoo of a shark. What I love about it is that you can't tell what it is right away, so people are always staring trying to figure it out. Anyhow, it's been five years since I've had one done, and I think it's about time for a third.

I've been thinking about it for a long time, but I couldn't decide what I wanted done. I knew it would be some sort of nautical theme, but I've never found anything cool enough to endure a few hours under the needle for. Until now.

My friends, I give you a vision of my next tattoo:

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It's going right between the shoulder blades.

Now I just have to find a quality shop around here that can do it justice.


Is it Me, or is it Vegas?

Thankfully summer is coming to an end. That means a couple of things--no more sweating my ass off in the Ghetto Sled with it's broke-ass air conditioner, and also it means more money in my pocket. Cooler weather means more folks coming to Vegas, which means more folks gambling in the casino, which means I'll be working more, and also making more tokes every day. Nice. I'm looking forward to a better income.

Speaking of more people coming to Vegas, just a quick glance at the September calendar shows that I've got lots of visitors on the horizon. My buddy Ed and his wife Michelle will be here next weekend. The weekend after that, my friend Vanessa from Texas is coming out for a few days. My sister Sherry is thinking of coming out for a quick trip during the third week of the month, and the last week of the month my sister Cyndi and about 15 other friends are in town for a weekend of buffoonery.

Hmmm...got me thinking. I lived in Nashville for two years, and not one soul ever visited me there. Well, scratch that, one person did, but they were actually there on business and we just met up and went out to dinner one night. One could infer that Nashville just doesn't have the appeal that Las Vegas does. Who'da thunkit?

In the meantime, I'm enjoying my evening off, watching all of the pirate documentaries on the Discovery Channel and switching over to the Weather Channel during the commercials to get the latest update on the hurricane. Looks like Katrina and the Waves are going to perform their smash hit on New Orleans. Apparently Mother Nature is tired of the piss smell, too.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Slow News Day

Friday always seems to be a slow news day. Is it just the newspeople slacking, getting ready for the weekend, or is there truly not that much going on in the world? I've already hit all of my internet bookmarks a couple times today, and I've yet to find anything really interesting.

In that spirit, I'm going to post a few of my favorite headlines from the past several months from FARK.com, one of the best websites in the world for wasting time at the office. As many political nimrods as there are on that site, those folks sure can write some funny headlines.

So here we go--these headlines were linked to actual news stories. However, I think these Fark versions are much better than the original sources.

Without further adieu:

Country stars launch their own brands of food. Dolly Parton's melons sure to be a big seller

Israel identifies new secret Hamas leader, give him a 10-minute head start

Satellite photo reveals possible Noah's ark on Mt. Ararat. Next step: Acquire headpiece, Staff of Ra, Abner Ravenwood, U.S.

Miller drops test of fruit-flavored beer. No word on when they'll stop distributing the urine-flavored variety

New Da Vinci drawing discovered. Hidden code says, "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine"

Afghanistan holds first post-Taliban execution. Texans score it an 8.5 out of possible 10

Saddam still thinks he's president of Iraq. Al Gore being flown in to help with therapy

Suspicious powder that shut down Houston ER for three hours was simply a prescription drug. In other news, you can now get prescription drugs in suspicious powder form

Ricardo Montalban Theatre to open in LA, all seats to be fine Corinthian leather

A virus ate my term paper. Dogs everywhere finally off the hook

Weirdos cutting off their own perfectly healthy limbs with a chainsaw. Shrinks, weirdos both stumped

Tornado reveals child pornography in Maryland man's home, sending him to OZ

If you lost a glove at the Frisbee Golf Park in Columbus, Ohio, a dog just found it with your hand still inside

Church of England unveils first online "i-church" and new web pastor. Bootleg sermons already showing up on Kazaa

Middle school food fight gets out of control. Senator Blutarsky unavailable for comment

The good news: It wasn't a bomb. The bad news: It's not a typewriter anymore either

Researchers find chemosignal that encourages women's sexual desire. Said to smell like fresh cash

Hurricanes cut Florida orange crop by 27 percent. Winthorpe and Valentine unavailable for comment

New Zealanders to put human DNA in cows, this time for scientific reasons

Lightning strike in Israel kills 10,000 chickens. Colonel Sanders and Doc Brown call emergency joint meeting

Church of England debating whether to allow female bishops. Critics say move won't help women to move forward, only diagonally

"Queer beer" hits the shelves. Available in bottles or in the can

Man-made blue ice sculpture reaches 111 feet, 7 inches. Airline officials unavailable for comment

Friends of James Dean disagree on what led to his death, but all agree that the man knew how to make one hell of a sausage

Thousands of gallons of pork grease spills onto highway. Route 460 is no longer kosher

15-year-old surfer who lost arm to shark in 2003 will singlehandedly launch own fragrance line

Europe offers Iran incentives not to develop atomic weapons. Hopes to sign agreement in Munich, declare "peace in our time"



Sucked In...Again

Here it is, 5am on a Friday morning, and I'm sitting in my room watching Pirates of the Caribbean for at least the 50th time. Not only do I own the DVD, but since Starz replays it just about every day, I find myself watching it over and over again. Of course it's a damn good movie, so I can't escape it. Once it comes on, I have to watch it till the end. There are several other movies that suck me into the vortex, and anytime they come on cable, I can't help but watch 'em. Just a few off the top of my head--

Shawshank Redemption
Pulp Fiction
Forrest Gump
That Thing You Do
A Bronx Tale
Master & Commander
The Italian Job

What's even more pathetic is that I already own most of those movies on DVD, too. As many movies as I see on cable, there's also plenty of comedy out there to be had...Anyone ever sit through an episode Cathouse--The Series on HBO? That's gotta be the sickest thing on TV! The ladies at the Bunny Ranch are some of the foulest I've ever seen. Why would somebody drive all the way out to Pahrumph--60 miles away--and spend $500 to a Grand to 'party' with one of those skanks, when all you have to do is sit down and play video poker at the Baccarat Bar at The Mirage after midnight, and a parade of much more attractive working girls will saunter by and offer their services for a much more reasonable price.

I'm not one to fritter away my limited disposable income on that kind of diversion when there's so much more available for free in this town, (and I must be getting old, because honestly I'd rather use the money to play craps...), but since I've been coming to Vegas for several years, and having moved here in February, I've been propositioned all over this town--Walking thru New York New York, riding in an elevator at the LV Club, sitting at a stoplight on East Fremont, having a drink at the Island bar at Mandalay Bay, rolling the dice at Binions Horseshoe, the list goes on and on...

One time I actually had a talk with one of these gals. She propositioned me, I turned her down, but bought her a drink if she'd let me ask her a few questions. This was at one of the bars at the Imperial Palace, some time ago, but I was amazed at the experience. Turns out this gal, who by the way was extremely hot, was a substitute teacher in Southern California, and would come up to Vegas on weekends to subsidize her income and maintain the lifestyle to which she'd become accustomed. Had I had a better night at the dice table, I might've bought more than just a drink--she was that hot. But it was a fascinating conversation. How many substitute teachers do you know that drive a new Mercedes?

Much too soon the drinks were empty, the story ended, and she had to get back to work. But the next morning, I had that damn Van Halen song stuck in my head all day.

I don't feel tardy...


Friday, August 19, 2005

Thieving Bastards...

Apparently, the ever-so-stylish Ghetto Sled is a tempting target for some folks, obviously those with poor taste. As I was leaving the house the other day, I thought to myself, Why is my driver's side door unlocked? Of course, once I sat down and inserted the key, my next question was Why is my dashboard in pieces all over the place and where is the faceplate to my CD player? Yep, I was burgled. Right in my own front yard. Directly under the streetlight.

I had to laugh because they obviously tried to get the entire stereo out of the dash, but only managed to nab the faceplate (which I didn't much care for anyways--the buttons were too small for my fat fingers...) Luckily it's a Sony and needs two special bracket pullers to remove it from the frame. So whatever genius that saw this as a crime of opportunity got away pretty much empty-handed, unless of course he has the exact same model of stereo in his car with a missing faceplate.

Unfortunately, I no longer have tunes to accompany me on my daily commute. And the car is not worth spending the money on a replacement, so I shall drive in relative silence from now on.

Just to piss me off for not allowing them to steal the entire stereo, the perpetrator took off with the knob that turns the lights on and off. I can't turn the post with my bare hands, so I was afraid that I'd have to bring a set of vise-grips with me whenever I drove at night, but then I remembered that the good folks at Lincoln designed this as a 'luxury' car, and there is another switch on the dash which allows the truly lazy to have the lights go on (and off) automatically when the engine is turned over. No vice grips needed.

That, coupled with the fact that the only tool I needed to put the dashboard back together was a clenched fist, made me realize once again just how lucky I am to be pimpin' around in such a fine ride.


Hittin' The Pipe

So... Randy Moss admits that he occasionally uses marijuana. I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

A Pretty Good Day...For a Monday

I know it's been awhile, but life just hasn't been that interesting over the course of the past month. Nobody want's to read about me laying around in bed with a fever and some funky flesh-eating virus, so we'll just skip the last few weeks, ok?

Today, however, goes into the personal pantheon of 'Good Days'. I woke up early, thinking it was just like 2am, but when I looked at the clock and saw that it was 5:30, I had the smug satisfaction that I'd gotten almost seven hours of straight uninterrupted blissful slumper. That was nice.

I laid in bed for about an hour thinking about stuff to do today and finally got up and started cleaning my room and sorting laundry. Then the tractor beam of the internet pulled me to my desk and I spent an hour surfing the web and emailing friends who happened to be 'working' at the time.

I showered and got dressed, and made my way down to the Peppermill for my usual Monday morning breakfast. While looking over the menu that I pretty much have memorized, I had a Kahlua and coffee to get the day started on the right foot. Instead of the usual omelet or french toast, I decided to change it up and ordered the Eggs Benedict. I've gotta say--it was one of the top 5 breakfasts I've ever eaten. Excellent!

After breakfast I headed back to the Fireside Lounge in the back of the restaurant and took a seat at the bar. My gal Krista was tending bar, of course (the reason why the Peppermill is my usual Monday morning stop, truth be told...) and she immediately set me up with an Appleton's & Seven. I've gotta say, one of life's great pleasures is a glass of premium rum, and this didn't disappoint.

I had a relaxing couple of hours, talking with Krista, drinking my rum, and reading a sailing magazine to fuel my escapism. After a couple of rounds, I paid my tab and headed out for the rest of my day.

I'd been lugging around a couple of matchplays in my wallet since March, good at the tables at the Imperial Palace. I won a whole bunch of money in there back then, but haven't been back since. I figured that since I was already on the Strip, I might as well stop in and use 'em, and maybe double up and pocket $50.

So I parked the Ghetto Sled there in the rat-maze that is the Imperial Palace garage, made my way to the casino, and bought in at the dice table for $150. I'll make a long story short by saying I'm glad I did, because about an hour later I was cashing out to the tune of over $600. Nice!

I walked to the cage, got a fresh stack of hundies to class up the wallet, and used the mens room. Like other fellas throughout the ages, while there I had a moment of clarity and thought "Hey, I've got all afternoon...let's play some more!" I promised myself that no matter what I'd walk with at least a $400 profit, so with that bit of justification going for me, I headed back to the table.

It was a little choppier this time around, and my $200 buyin started to dwindle. At one point, I was down to having just $4 left in my rail after making all of my bets. Well, the dice gods decided that it was time to heat up the table because I started making a little bit of a comeback. A shooter at the other end of the table managed to make three passes in a row which put a hundred dollars back on my rail.

About that time, Lady Luck walked right up and perched herself on my right arm. An 'Attractive with a Capital A' young lass decided that she wanted to learn how to play craps, and she wanted to learn right there at my table right then. So I obliged...

I didn't want to talk to much and scare her away--I'm sure she'd had guys hitting on her the entire weekend, so I didn't say much except to help her with a few pointers. Fortunately, the shooters were being good to us, so she was enjoying her lessons. By the time the dice got to our end of the table, she'd introduced herself and we were chit-chatting like buddies, so it made the game that much more enjoyable. Even luckier was the fact that both she and I had *monster* rolls and managed to fill up the rail with chips. I'd have to say that it was easily the most enjoyable couple of hours I've had at a dice table in years.

When I finally sevened out, we colored up. She managed to turn her $40 buy-in into just about $300, so she is now a dice degenerate like me and my friends. When all was said and done, I managed to pocket over an $800 profit. Along with the great company, I'd say it was pretty much a perfect day. So good in fact, that it's one of those days you wish was like 'Groundhog Day'. I'd love to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.


PS. I know what you're thinking. Yes. We made arrangements to keep in touch...