Monday, April 30, 2007

A Pirate Looks at Forty

One day soon I’ll be a grandpa
All the pretty girls will call me ‘sir’.

Now where they’re asking me how things are
soon they’ll ask me how things were…

Ok, I doubt I'll be a grandpa anytime soon, hell, I'm not even a 'pa', but Brother Jimmy's words ring true, especially now.

Mikey's getting older, and today is one of those landmarks in the passing of time.

So where does the time go? It seems like just last summer I was sitting aboard the Carnival Paradise, wearing a James Bond tuxedo and Groucho Marx glasses while mocking/toasting my oldest sister Sherry for turning forty years old. Now I’ve hit that magic number.

When I thought about it, it brought to mind that famous old OMD lyric:

Seven years went under the bridge, like time was standing still…

It may have seemed like it was just last summer, but that was back in the year 2000. Y2K, Sidney Olympics, anyone? Since then, two other siblings have crossed that Rubicon, and now it’s my turn. Life sure has changed a bit in the past seven years and it might take a bit more time before the realization sets in that I'm now part of such an exclusive club.

Forty years old. Damn. That’s about how much time Red spent in Shawshank—It’s a couple of generations. Four decades. Ten presidential elections. Two score, according to Abe Lincoln.

It's an ounce of Old E from the brown paper bag of life for every year I’ve trod upon this planet…

It’s funny. I don’t feel old at all, and inside I guess I’m still only about 32. But some days I feel like a directionless post-college slacker who doesn’t want to grow up, while other days I feel like the old guy who yells at the neighborhood kids to stay off of his damn lawn. Sometimes it’s both in the same day. I'm somewhere between two worlds--one where I sometimes believe the iPod is the coolest invention created by the hand of man, and the other one where I can't believe the shit kids listen to these days.

Now that I’m an ‘adult’, the worlds are getting further apart. I’ve realized it takes me a little bit longer to recover from a night of buffoonery than it did in times past, but at least the wisdom of years has allowed me to have a good time without having to probe the fences of my limitations. It took me a few years, but now I know that hard liquor is only meant to be tasted once. The second time, while quite entertaining for onlookers, isn’t nearly as enjoyable. ‘Tis a lesson hard learned. But as a kid, it's a lesson one has to learn several times before it sticks.

But it’s not the only lesson I’ve managed to learn the hard way—there have been several. The importance of good credit, disciplined saving and investing, having sufficient insurance and a Plan B or two are good things to consider for a young person just beginning to make their way in the world. Avoiding student loans unless one is absolutely 100% certain about one’s life’s work is another degree I’m currently still earning at the School of Hard Knocks.

On the other hand, there are a few land mines that I’ve managed to avoid all these years that I see others entangled with on a regular basis.

I haven’t made nearly enough bad decisions in my life to require that I have an attorney on retainer. Of course, that means that I don’t have complex business interests at stake, either, but I’m ok with that.

I’ve managed to make it all these years without owing child support to girl I can no longer stand, which means I’ve got a leg up on several of my buddies. Other than a minor traffic infraction here or there, I’ve managed to not run afoul of the law. I’ve never been seriously in the wrong place at the wrong time where my life or property has been in imminent danger, and nobody has ever tried to sue the pants or any other article of clothing off me. I’ve avoided serious injuries, accidents, and illnesses, and the only real problems I have can easily be solved with money and/or self-discipline.

I guess, when I get right down to it, life is pretty damn good.

I’ve got a great circle of friends, a close-knit family, a decent job, and I live in a city full of hot single women. I’ve got a few enjoyable hobbies, a goal or two, and plans for the future. I consider myself mildly lucky, considering the breaks I've gotten, and I thank those lucky stars that I’m moderately smarter than the average guy on the street. Laziness in my cross to bear, and I suppose that knowing about it is the first step to getting a handle on it. It’s never too late, right?

Everyone older than me tells me that forty is just a number, while everyone younger than me just points and laughs. It may be just a number, but unfortunately, it's now in the rear-view mirror.

It might take me a few years to get used to the view.


Friday, April 27, 2007

An Open Response To 'Chris'

Apparently, my blogging has cut a little too close to the bone with a couple of readers lately, as evidenced by the recent posts in my comments section. 'Sipote' tells me that this blog has sucked ass lately (in not so many words). My only response to him is, If you don't like it... Well, you can figure out the rest. I invite you to give it a shot, Mr. Critic Man, and tell me how well you do. It's not so easy to write compelling and creative posts at all times, which you'd soon figure out if you ever tried it. But several hundred unique hits a day and a quarter million page views in the last year tells me that somebody out there finds this site interesting. If you're not one of them, nobody is forcing you to stay.

Don't let the door hit ya, as they say...

Another delightful comment came from some basement-dwelling, World-of-Warcraft-playing toolbox named Chris, and I feel I must respond. Here are his words in their entirety:

At some point you are gonna have to tell the world that you are gay. Dont worry, I am sure it will not stop you flow of cash into your tip jar that you are always hinting about. Dude you need to get a handle on your manhood. If by chance you are not batting from the other side you need to think about your posts and think about what you are telling your readers. I have been a reader for a long time and recently I really have begun to wonder about it. Fess up and come out of the closet....


I guess my first response should be a great big Effue.

But lets dig into this a little deeper, shall we?

Yep, the more I think about it, smoking cigars and drinking beer is totally teh ghey, as you net-savvy youngsters like to say, don't you think? Would you be happier if we spent our time discussing the WNBA or the latest moronitude to fall from the gaping maw of Rosie Rottencrotch on The View?

And I guess if grilling steaks and hanging out by the campfire with your buddies makes you want to dress up like a lumberjack and make sweet sweet love to a brawny fellow with a ticklish beard and matching flannel sheets, by all means, knock yourself out. But don't go projecting your homo-erotic tendencies in my direction, because I'm all about the coochie, brotha. Always have been, always will be.

Buttsecks is not for me, but you seem to be trying to identify potential partners. You really have been 'wondering about it' lately? Why is that, do you think? (Could it be because it makes it easier for you to hide your shame if they "fess up", maybe so you don't have to, hmmm???) If that is the case, good for you--I wish you the best, and unlike you, I wouldn't call you out in a public forum. First of all, it's poor manners, and second of all, Like we give a toss about who you're buggerin'!

As far as the topics that I post go, most of my readers seem to *love* it when I talk about food/cooking/recipes. Those are the topics that generate the most responses and comments. It's called "knowing your audience". Clearly, you don't know yours. Or mine, for that matter. But the bottom line is, I'll write about whatever I damn well please. If it makes you uncomfortable, the issue is with you, not me.

Wine with dinner? Does that bother you? It's one of the finer things, dude. Everyone knows this.

But feeding your chronic acne problem with delivery pizza and Code Red while you sit in your parent's basement/dorm room/IT cubicle and download anime tentacle porn all day, you probably have yet to acquire the taste for anything that doesn't come with a screw-on top. That's ok--start with white Zin like everyone else does and go from there. In a few years you might actually be able to carry on a moderately sophisticated conversation instead of telling somebody they are gay just because you don't have anything to add to the discussion.

And let me remind you of another piece of advice that's over 200 year old, but somehow you must've missed it. It goes something like this:

Never pick a fight with a man who buys printer ink by the barrel.

But this is the 21st century, and this is my site. And all of it's far-flung readers read what *I* decide to devote the "printer ink" to. My voice reaches thousands of people--you just had one shot in my comments section and blew it by being a snarky little dumbass cursed with sexual frustration. That is your legacy.

Now your IP address is banned and can't respond to anything I say about you. I could spend the entire next week roasting you over the coals like a chubby little marshmallow and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Everybody that visits this site will hear what I have to say. Not one of them will be able to hear your flaccid response.

Nice move, Junior. I guess you didn't think that one out very well, did ya?

Oh.. and thanks for the tip jar reminder. As always, all donations are appreciated, and it's especially helpful right now, seein's how The Man wants a piece of my ass even more than our friend Chris does.

That is all.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Morning After

Good morning everyone! I hope your Thursdays are going well, because mine is. I got up early this morning when Eddie got ready to go down to his "office", and I'm halfway through a pot of coffee. And there's nothing better to do at this time of day than pecking away at the keyboard, watching the sun come up through my front window, and sipping a hot cup of hazelnut java.

Dinner last night was a success, of course. Once Eddie got back to the house yesterday afternoon, it was off to Albertson's for a shopping expedition. We bought a pound of shrimp, some cocktail sauce, a few nice and thick NY strip steaks, a bundle of asparagus, and a few other odds and ends (to the tune of $80+).

Once we got back to the house and unloaded the groceries, we went on a firewood safari. The house sits on two acres of prime Vegas real estate, with lots of mature trees. However, a full acre of the property looks like Fred Sanford's back yard, with old cars, sheds, piles of old office furniture, broken tools, etc. strewn about. Also, there is plenty of underbrush in the areas where nobody goes. Since the property has been occupied for over 40 years, and every few years the owner sends out a crew to trim the trees, there is lots of good wood laying about. Most of the "low hanging fruit" had been used already, and the rest of it, while plentiful, is not so easy to get to.

So we set out to find the oldest logs and chunks of firewood that we could, being careful to dodge all the creepy crawly things that have made their own homes in the areas where angels fear to tread. Once we cleared enough underbrush to get enough wood to last the evening, and had it stacked by the fire pit, it was time to relax with an ice-cold beer. Heineken for Eddie B, Michelob Light for your humble correspondent.

Rob was spending the day over at Sante Fe Station doing corporate orientation thing, so we had no idea exactly when he'd show up, so we were cool with just chillin' out and relaxing for a bit.

After a couple of beers, I got a bit antsy and did stuff like getting the grill ready (and on Marlisha's suggestion, we got a bag of Mesquite chunk charcoal) and then I hit the kitchen for some prep work. I cut the bottom ends off of all the asparagus, washed it, made a big foil pack and loaded it up with the veggies, butter, garlic, spices, and a few ice cubes to facilitate the steaming. About the time I was sealing that up, Rob showed up, so we lit the charcoal and got busy slicing and dicing peppers, onions, and mushrooms for sautee. We'd picked up a bottle of steak rub while shopping, so we prepped the meat while munching on our shrimp cocktail.

That's one of the best things about hosting an intimate dinner party--having everyone in the kitchen doing a few small tasks beforehand, noshing on some appetizers, and just enjoying the good company. Don't get me wrong, the steak is the main attraction, but the social setting of hanging out in the kitchen doing the prep work is where the fun is.

Once the mushrooms/onions/peppers were going (with butter and minced garlic--oh hell yeah), we wrapped a huge loaf of garlic bread in foil and put it in the oven, threw the asparagus pouch on the grill, set the table, opened a bottle of wine (Kendall Jackson Pinot), and waited until just the right moment to throw the steaks on the grill.

Rob was the grillmaster this time, as I was juggling all the other stuff in the kitchen, but even with three cooks, we managed to have everything finish at the same time and we sat down to a fine meal. The steaks were cooked to medium-rare perfection, the asparagus was hot, steamed through, yet still crispy--not mushy, the sauteed veggies were excellent, and we even had a bit of potato salad and macaroni salad to fill up any empty spots on the plate.

We poured the wine, offered up a Salud!, and enjoyed a very memorable meal.

Of course the conversation at the dinner table pretty much came to a standstill at that point, as we were all about the task at hand. And Butch the dog was laying under the table, hoping for a few scraps of meat to fall his way, and he wasn't disappointed.

Once we the steaks were gone, the wine was drunk, and the veggies wiped out, the conversation started up again as we took a few moments to digest. We cleared the table, put the leftovers away, rinsed and stacked the dishes, then headed back outside. The sun had set completely by that time, so I turned on the yellow gas-lamps out on the patio and we lit the fire pit.

It was almost a perfect evening weather-wise--no wind except for the occasional slight breeze, cool, clear with a thousand stars visible in the sky, and the smell of wood smoke setting the mood. We cracked a few beers and sat around the fire telling stories and smoking cigars. I got Rob to try a Black Label, while I found a Fuente Fuente Opus X rolling around in the humidor. I figured there would be no better opportunity to enjoy such a rare stick, and I was right. Damn, that's a good cigar!

If you couldn't tell by now, let me state the obvious--It was a great evening.

We smoked, drank, and laughed for about an hour and a half, and once the cigars stubs were tossed in the fire, we figured it was Smore time.

While we were out shopping that afternoon, I mentioned to Eddie the earlier conversation in the comments section about the dark chocolate, and he thought it was a fine idea. So I held my tongue and we picked up a few bars of Hershey's Special Dark to go along with our regular chocolate.

Well folks, I have to admit--I'm a believer now. I retract my previous disparaging remarks about Dark Chocolate and the consumers thereof, and have fully embraced the Dark Side. Those smores were full-on gourmet style, if there can be such a thing. Not that I don't still love the original plain old milk chocolate Hershey bar version, but semi-melted dark chocolate with a hot and gooey marshmallow on a sweet honey graham cracker is a little square of heaven.

Like Ferris Bueller so famously said, If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up!

Now I just have to find a suitable after-dinner drink to go with something so decadent. Michelob Light is good and all, and it goes well with most food, but I couldn't help but think that I should've been drinking some sort of wine at the time.

Once the smores were gone and the fire burned down, we all pretty much hit the wall. I'd gotten very little sleep the previous couple of days, and the combination of rich food and exhaustion were conspiring to put me under. Eddie was the first one to pull the ripcord, as the bell tolls for him at 5:00 am. Rob and I talked for a bit more, but before long I was dozing off in my chair.

We called it a night sometime around 11:00 pm--Rob hit the road, and I picked up all the bottles and turned off all the lights before steamrollering across Eddie and his inflata-bed, landing in my own bunk and passing out to the ambient sights and sounds of the late-night SportsCenter broadcast on ESPN.

Not a bad evening. Not bad at all.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Since Hoya Is Bored At Work Today...

To answer all of your pressing questions...

DC Wolf-- Dougie was right, fleas are everywhere. Some fleas just have more money. At least downtown I could tell them to piss off. Where I'm at now, I can pretend not to hear them and/or defer them to the floorpeople. If I were working at Wynn, I'd have to kiss their ass. As far as career progression is concerned, I don't really have working at the Wynn on my radar. It may be some folks ideal dealing job, but it's not mine. I suppose some folks daydream about working there, but I don't. In a perfect world I'd be working part time during the day at my current casino, dealing pai gow, dice, and blackjack, and then poker full time at night at a great touristy room on the strip, pocketing about $240 per night in tips. We're not there yet.

Hoya-- Nope, we don't use dark chocolate. Real men use plain old Hershey Bars. Dark chocolate is for metrosexuals, chicks with PMS, and Democrats. I suppose if I were a man of means I could get some purpose made stainless-steel marshmallow roasting sticks from someplace like Williams-Sonoma, Ikea, or The Sharper Image, or if I were more of a hunter/gatherer I'd use plain old sticks from the yard. I fall somewhere in between and took a pair of pliers to a couple of wire coat hangers, straightening out all the kinks, making a looped handle, and leaving the 'corkscrew' end intact to hold the marshmallow secure while roasting it over the coals. I'm quite proud of my handiwork, actually, and Rob even told me that he was impressed the first time he used one.

As far as how they get roasted, I like the slow rotating browning process. I know when it's done by seeing it expand slightly and turn the color of coffee with too much cream in it--that tells me that it's been heated all the way through. Of course, before doing *anything* with the marshmallow, I make sure my graham cracker and chocolate square are already prepared and standing by, ready to receive the gooey toasted goodness. Eddie B is less patient, and prefers to catch his marshmallow on fire, blow it out, and then lay the smoking carcass on his cracker. But he is a Cretin who drinks beer from green bottles, so that's to be expected.

Dougie-- You're more than welcome to come down and poke things with a stick right alongside the rest of us. Just bring a bottle of good rum with you, that's all I ask.

Jay-- Man, where to start? Dark chocolate and a propane grill? You've gone soft, my man. Propane is cool and all, but not for grilling animals. Gotta use charcoal. Kingsford briquettes, to be exact. Hell, we've even turned Butch the dog into a grill snob--We turn on the gas grill, he doesn't give a shit. But when we fire up the charcoal, he comes running and hangs out underfoot, begging for scraps all night. Even the dog knows that charcoal is superior.

That's all for now...


PS. There will be no naked bonfire frolicking with this group tonight.

Total Waste of Time

What a great week it is--the weather has finally started to clear up and turn into that elusive late-spring/early-summer goodness, I'm having a lot of laughs with Eddie B being around, and I don't have to work tonight. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Again I apologize for my less-than-regular posting schedule, but not only am I sharing the computer with Eddie (who's actually doing productive "work" type stuff while he's here), but I've been a busy fellow this week.

First of all, as far as that tournament poker dealing gig goes, it fell through. I showed up at noon on Monday, dressed in my finest black polyester pants and crispy white oxford shirt, looking every bit like a tearoom waiter, ready to wow them with my awesome poker dealing skills. Unfortunately, the first order of business was to go over the tournament schedule for next week and see if there were any conflicts.

Well, I have a relatively well-paying full-time gig at night, so all those 6:00 pm start times just weren't gonna jive with my schedule. Once I told them that I wasn't going to quit my full-time job for a four-day tournament, (and it took place Thursday thru Sunday, right directly on top of my work week), they pretty much told me to hit the bricks.

Oh well. I guess it wasn't meant to be. I don't know who schedules these things, but it would seem that the rest of the town is doing something right when they schedule the majority of their tournaments to start between 10:00 am and noon every day.

So I was in and out of there in less than two minutes, tops, just like on Prom night. (He's here all week folks... Try the veal!). Basically it was a wasted day because I got no sleep the night before, thinking about it, and then getting up early to spend the morning practicing. So I was home by 12:30 and spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on missed sleep.

Yesterday I went down to school and met up with Falcon Rob. He just got hired at my casino, and starts this weekend, so I wanted to help him out with all of our house procedures as far as the single, double, and six-deck shuffles go, along with all the little nit-picky things that the bosses have a hard-on for this month. We spent a couple of hours doing that before the instructors booted us off the table for hogging it, then we headed over to NYP&P for some lunch. Sadly, no pizza to report this time, but we had some monster-sized calzones to feast upon, and they were pretty damn tasty, too.

Later last night Eddie was in the mood for Chinese, so we drove around for a bit looking for a good spot (Did you know that there are absolutely NO Chinese restaurants of the non-buffet genre on Sunset Road between Pecos and Hwy 95? Neither did we, until last night!) So we settled on the one in the strip mall across the road from Casa de Mikey and munched on shrimp puffs and Kung Pao chicken.

Once we got home, we built the fire, poured a couple of rum drinks, and chilled out for a bit. Eddie went to bed early, as he has to get up at 5:00 am, so I stayed outside for a couple hours longer poking at the fire with a stick and smoking a Black Label.

As far as tonight goes, it's just another night of steaks on the grill, followed by smores and cigars. Falcon Rob will be joining us, also.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Folding My Way To 37th Place

I hope everyone's having a great weekend (or *had* a great weekend by the time you read this). It started out as a gloomy, overcast, gray winter day here in Vegas-land, but the sun is now out, the "windy" has turned to just "breezy", and the Cardinals/Cubs game from Wrigley is on TV. Eddie and I are just chillin' out, relaxing with a couple of vanilla rum & cokes, and enjoying the day.

We got up early this morning with the intent of going down to Green Valley Ranch for breakfast at the Original Pancake House, but everyone else in town had the same idea and the line to get into the restaurant looked like the last day of the month down at the DMV. It had to have been at least a 45 minute wait to get a table. So we gave up on that idea right away, and decided to head over to Blueberry Hill on Green Valley Parkway instead. Of course, we couldn't leave without feeding the monster, and I told Eddie about the dollar slot that I've never lost on.

So we walked over to the other side of the casino and found the bank of magic slots, and wouldn't you know it--out of all the hundreds of empty slot machines on that side of the casino, there was one chain smoking old bag sitting at my machine hitting the button once every thirty seconds or so. She had 200 credits showing, so we knew that we wouldn't be getting a seat there anytime soon, either.

Basically our day at GVR was a total waste.

So off we went, and a few minutes later we were putting our name on the waiting list at the Bloob. Only a 15 minute wait there, they told us.

Once we finally got seated, it was coffee time. Eddie had some banana pancakes, eggs, and a ham steak, while I had pigs in a blanket and some hash browns. Good stuff, and for only $20 or so we walked away stuffed.

Now we're just kickin' it here at the house, sippin' on adult beverages and watching baseball. I can think of far worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

As far as Saturday afternoon goes, we spent the day at the Sahara, playing in their daily No-Limit Holdem tournament. It's a good format--$42 entry fee with one $20 rebuy in the first hour, and 20-minute blinds.

Unfortunately, Eddie and I were at different tables and were unable to foist our particular brand of buffoonery on the poker room. And making it even worse was the fact that I was completely card-dead the entire time. In two-and-a-half hours, I had exactly TWO pocket pairs. With pocket jacks I raised 3x the blinds, only to see the jackass on the button to go all-in. Since jacks are weak against most all-ins, I folded, only to see the guy turn over his pocket nines. A few hands later I got pocket eights, raised, and only picked up the blinds.

Sadly, I only played nine hands the entire tournament--it was that bad. Of course, I had 'the Dougie' six times, and 'the Doyle' five times. But a pocket pair? Forget it. I did manage to triple up when I was on the big blind with four limpers, holding King-Eight of clubs and seeing two kings hit the board, but that's as high as my stack ever got.

My last hand came when the guy on my right went all-in for $2500, and I had Ace-Jack of diamonds and about $4200. So I went all-in, trying to keep it between the two of us, but somebody behind me with a huge stack also went all-in. We turned the cards over, and I was the bronze medalist--the guy on the short stack had pocket sixes, and the big stack had Ace-Queen. Had he not got in the hand I would've won it, as an Ace came on the river. But he got his money in and knocked both of us out at the same time.

I walked over to tell Eddie that I was out, and he said he was about to be, as he was all-in against a bigger stack at his table. The board brought no love and he went out in 35th place.

I think there were eighty-something players with about 30 rebuys, so they were playing nine places, with first place was paying $1600, and $800 for second. Unfortunately, we didn't even get a whiff of the prize money. But it sure was a lot of fun. I played well, just waaaaay too tight early on, especially when I saw some of the junk people were going all-in with. I would've liked to loosen up, but unfortunately I just got no cards after the first break. Ace-Jack of diamonds looked like a million bucks when I finally saw it come my way, but it proved to be my undoing.

Oh well. For forty bucks, it was a helluva good time. I'm looking forward to doing it again soon.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Tempin' Ain't Easy

As much as I've been talking and *thinking* about gettting a poker dealing job, it still hasn't happened. Of course, I've been to a couple of auditions, but as of yet I'm still just dealing in the pit at my regular full-time gig.

March Madness is over, and I told myself that I'd redouble my efforts as soon as everyone left town. However, I've recently come to the realization that my interest in getting serious about dealing poker is inversely proportional to my satisfaction with my full time job. When things are good, I'm lazy about poker. When I'm irritated or the money is low, I'm all about trying to be a poker dealer instead of blackjack/craps/etc. And things at work have been fairly good since the middle of February or so. Tips are down this week due to tax season, but otherwise, I'm fairly happy where I'm at.

I committed, however, to going back to school every day starting this next Tuesday, just to get on top of things, keep my game sharp, and exploit any networking opportunities. I figure if I just committed to treating school/job hunting as a job, like I did when I first moved here, I'd find something fairly soon.

Coincidentally, all this was going through my head as I was trying to sleep today--it was keeping me up, although I was dead tired after work last night. Around noon I heard my phone ringing a few times, but was paralyzed by sleep and unable to answer. I also vaguely remember it making the "you have messages" noise a couple times, but again, I was half asleep and told myself I'd check the messages later.

Once I finally got up, I remembered that somebody was trying to call me. I thought it was the family, but I noticed that all of my missed calls had 702 area codes. Doh! That could mean only one of two things--either wrong numbers or job offers. Turns out that it wasn't wrong numbers. Some of those auditions/applications/inquiries I've made have panned out.

One of the casinos I auditioned with is doing a mid-major tournament early next month and requires my services, and asked that I come back down on Monday morning and do another tournament 'refresher' audition and do all the processing paperwork. Then they asked if I would also be available during the entire month of June for a bunch of other tournaments.

Of course I'm available, and they tell me that I'll be brought on as a temporary dealer. I was also told that after 90 days as a temp, then I would be considered for an Extra Board position (part time, on call, no benefits, but I'd be an actual employee).

The more I think about it, the more I think it's the perfect situation for me. I get lots of experience with a known casino, it fits my schedule, it's extra money, and since I'm not a 'regular' employee, I won't be burning any bridges if something better comes along in the meantime.

The only bummer of the situation is that I'll have to start using that alarm clock thing again. I've got some long days ahead of me.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Moving Pictures

I'm always behind on stuff that lands in my inbox, but this survey sounded interesting, so here goes.

1) Name a movie that you have seen more than ten times. Groundhog Day, National Treasure

2) Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in a theatre. True Lies, Star Wars

3) Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie. Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson

4) Name an actor who would make you less likely to see a movie. Ben Stiller, Rosie O'Donnell.

5) Name a movie you can and do quote from. Dazed and Confused, Pulp Fiction, Ocean's Eleven, Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Star Wars.

6) Name a movie musical that you know all the lyrics to all the songs. All the lyrics? None that I can think of.

7) Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with. Grease II, The Commitments.

8) Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see. The Commitments, Serenity.

9) Name a movie that you own. I own lots of dvd's. I *wish* I owned a copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

10) Name an actor that launched his/her acting career in another medium but has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Will Smith.

11) Have you ever seen a movie in a drive in? If so, what? Hundreds of times. The last one was America's Sweethearts with John Cusack and Julia Roberts. Gag. I saw Pet Sematary about a dozen times or more back in the summer of 1989--it was part of every double feature that year.

12) Ever made out in a movie? Only with Paris Hilton, but that tape hasn't been released yet. Oh... you meant in a theatre... Once or twice in college. Was way too awkward in high school--I never got any lovin' in the movies back then.

13) Name a movie you keep meaning to see but just haven't gotten around to it yet. The Matador--I've recorded it three times in the past year on the dvr, but haven't seen it yet.

14) Ever walked out of a movie? Yep. I think the first time was Making Love with Streep and De Niro. God, what a dreadful plodding piece of crap. I also walked out of Defending Your Life another Streep movie, but it was more because of Albert Brooks. And I would've walked out on "Seven Years in Tibet" except that I was on a double date and trapped.

15) Name a movie that made you cry in the theatre. The Notebook.

16) Popcorn? Usually. With salt and that buttery-flavored goo from the dispenser. Gotta have Junior Mints though--that's my favorite movie-time snack.

17) How often do you go to the movies, as opposed to renting them or watching them at home? Hardly ever. I've been to three movies in the past two years. All of my free movie passes go to waste.

18) What's the last movie you saw in a theatre? Talladega Nights--The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

19) What's your favorite/preferred genre of movies? Hmmm... Probably either comedies or action/adventure. Not a big fan of science fiction, and I hate costume dramas. (I know, Serenity is supposedly science fiction. But I think it's more of a western, just disguised as science fiction)

20) What's the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre? Bedknobs and Broomsticks or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

21) What movie do you wish you had never seen? Blair Witch Project. Stupidest waste of time I've ever witnessed.

22) What's the weirdest movie you have enjoyed? Pulp Fiction was pretty weird.

23) What's the scariest movie you've seen? Seven. Gave me the creeps, couldn't sleep all night after watching it, haven't seen it again.

24) What's the funniest movie you've seen? Early Eddie Murphy movies always make me laugh--Trading Places, Coming to America are a couple of good ones, and Harlem Nights always makes me chuckle.

25) What's the first R-rated movie you saw when you were 'under age'? Can't remember which came first--Officer and a Gentleman or Flashdance.


Midweek Camping Trip

Hey everybody!

Just checking in to let everyone know that I'm alive. It's tough to set aside time at the computer this week with Eddie B being here, as we spend our free time partying like it's 1999.

So let's see here, what has happened since I last checked in...

Working as a dealer in an off-strip "locals" casino has it's ups and downs, one of the downs being that tax week is the slowest week of the year, and the fact that tax day fell on a Monday didn't help--it was extremely slow that night. I sat on a dead table for two hours before I couldn't take it anymore and told the bosses that I'd be willing to punch out ASAP if they needed to shut down games. It's not like I'd be losing much money in tips--all the toke boxes were dangerously low and there was a definite lack of activity in the casino.

So at 11:00 pm, my boss told me that if I didn't say anything to anyone, especially to those who'd signed up ahead of me, she'd let me go first because 1) it was my Friday and 2) She couldn't find a spot for me at that moment. So I went into "stealth" mode and snuck out, avoiding saying goodnight to anyone and hitting my locker and the time clock after everyone who was on break had cleared out of the back hallway.

It was a little too early to head home, I thought, and since Eddie had to get up at like 6:00 am, I didn't want to come home right away and wake him up when I stumbled in and had to crawl across his huge inflatable bed that was blocking access to my bed and computer. I figured that he could use a bit of extra sleep before I showed up. Also, I didn't have much of a budget to work with--there are plenty of diversions in this town, but mostly for those with a pocketful of money. I wanted to do something, I just didn't want to spend much cash.

What's the solution I came up with? I headed out to Boulder Highway and went to visit Rob at the Nevada Palace and played some dollar dice.

It was a relatively slow night there too, but he had a couple of fleas at the table when I showed up. I bought in for $25 and had a good time drinking Michelobs and playing low-stakes Craps while shooting the shiat with Rob and his roommate Chris, who was also working that night.

Due to Rob's new employment offer, Monday night was his last night at the Palace and I tried to get him to "buffoon it up" a little, like I did the day I left the Golden Gate, but that's not his style. He remained a professional to the end and didn't come close to burning any bridges. Not that I burned any bridges a couple years back when I left the Gate, but I just made it clear to the asshole floorman at the time that I wasn't going to take his shiat anymore. Word was that he got shitcanned a couple months later, anyways.

But I digress. We had a lot of laughs, I called out a few fleas at the table--one guy in particular who was trying to take shots at the crew--and I actually ended up making ten bucks in the two hours I was there.

On the way home, I realized that I was kind of hungry--it was still the middle of my "workday" and I hadn't eaten anything since some Thai food for lunch the previous afternoon. So I stopped in the Jack in the Box just off the highway and grabbed a couple of sausage biscuits--they were on sale and I couldn't show up at home empty-handed, just in case Eddie woke up.

I did the right thing, because Eddie woke up as soon as I got in and tried to spiderman my way around the inflata-bed in the dark. (Stealth is not one of my strong points, previous experience at work notwithstanding...) Anyhow, he told me that he'd woken up about a half hour before that thinking he was kind of hungry, but figured he'd just wait until morning. But luckily I showed up with a bag full of Jack in the Box breakfast sandies, and for a few minutes Eddie was happier than a stoner finding the last bag of Doritos.

He went back to sleep and I websurfed awhile, finally giving up on finding anything interesting to read after about an hour.

Eddie got up and snuck out early in the morning, while I spent my morning snoozing like a cat who found the warm spot on the carpet. Once I got up, I did a few productive things like write a grocery list and putter around on the patio, getting the firepit and bbq ready for an evening's worth of use.

We hit the grocery store for charcoal, ice, and burger fixin's and Rob showed up around 6:00 pm, free from the flea circus. We lit the bbq, built a fire, and hung out on the patio having a beer or two. Once the meat was cooked, we had a fine meal of cheeseburgers, chips, and beer. Butch the dog was happy with the table scraps and leftovers instead of eating that organic dog food shiat that Bob feeds him, so he was underfoot the entire time.

The sun went down, we cleaned up the mess, fixed some cocktails, and then just hung out by the campfire telling stories and laughing it up for a couple of hours. Once dinner was properly digested and the fire had burned down to a nice bed of coals, we broke out the marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey bars and made Smores.

Good times!

It was getting close to 10 pm by then, and Eddie had to go to bed. Rob and I are creatures of the night, so we stayed up, built the fire back up, and stayed outside smoking cigars till the wee hours. Once the cigars were gone, the wind kicked up, the temperature started to drop, and we moved the party inside to the kitchen. I fixed a pot of hazelnut coffee and we stayed up talking about our experiences thus far in trying to find our fortune in Sin City. It was an enjoyable conversation, especially since he's following the same trail I blazed a couple years ago, and hearing his perspective on things was especially interesting.

The coffee ran out around 2:00 am and we decided to call it a night. The fire was dying, the wind was howling, and we both smelled like that wonderful combination of cigar and wood smoke. We said goodnight, I washed out the coffeemaker and refilled it so that Eddie could turn it on first thing in the morning when he got up and take a cup or two to go.

Wednesday was kind of a "lost" day as I accomplished nothing but cleaning up from the day before and taking a very long nap. Once Eddie got home, we just kicked it here at the house for a couple of hours before heading out to meet Rob again.

This time, dinner plans were for pizza at our new favorite joint, New York Pizza and Pasta. We were a bit late as there was a wreck on Desert Inn and Paradise, basically restricting all traffic to the West side, but it was smooth sailing once we got through the bottleneck.

Dinner at NYP&P is a casual affair, and we started with a couple of baskets of hot wings, followed by two large pies--a sausage and pepperoni and a ham and onion, just like last time. Everything was excellent, and our meal was highlighted by having an attractive waitress cater to our almost every whim...

Rob offered to pick up the check, partly in celebration of his new job, and partly as a nice gesture to me for helping the process along.

Once we got back home, we caught a little SportsCenter before calling it a night. I actually dozed off for a bit, but right now Eddie B is snoozing away on the inflata-bed and I'm sitting here at the desk pecking away at the keyboard, bathed in the light from monitor. I'd *really* like to fetch me one of those beers out of the blue cooler, but that would require me to go Spiderman once again and everyone knows that I cannot use my super-hero powers for personal gain.

I guess I'll just go thirsty until Eddie wakes up and has to go pee.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Rendering Unto Caesar

Hey Everyone...

Sorry I haven't posted in the past few days, but I've been extremely busy this weekend. Besides work, of course, I spent my days doing 'projects' around the house--Not only did we get the interior painted here at Casa de Mikey (a nice light coral color), but all the associated moving of furniture and reassembly of everything had to be done (shelves, doors, hooking up all the appliances again, etc.) Also, Eddie B, of trip report fame arrived on Sunday and is staying here at the house with me for the next few weeks and I had to do stuff like rearrange furniture and move stuff to storage to make room for his stuff and his big inflatable life-raft bed.

He decided to get the hell out of Schwab (all of the cool kids had left years ago, anyways...) and is taking a shot at another business venture. So he's here in town taking attending meetings, taking some classes, doing that sort of prep work for a few weeks and crashing here instead of paying a grand or more to stay at Budget Suites. It's almost like being in college again, as we have the big blue cooler sitting in the corner of the bedroom (full of Heineken and Michelob Light) and we pretty much keep ESPN running 24/7 while not working.

Also, I spent most of the day doing my taxes and finally finished, and I got them submitted today, and-- Praise be to Allah!-- I get a $63 refund. Woot!

Oh wait, that good news was tempered by the letter I got in the mail this weekend from the IRS saying that due to a witholding error in 2002, I owe them $960, payable immediately. However, if I just happen to have documentation handy that proves otherwise, send that along and they'll take another look, otherwise, here's an envelope... That's just what I frickin' needed, especially this week.

Damn The Man!

Between the Feds wanting a grand, and the City of Las Vegas hittin' me for $360, I am now truly the gub-mint's bitch. I've got my fingers crossed that I don't get a call from Carson City telling me the State wants a piece of my ass, too. Getting bent over by two levels of government is quite enough, thank you very much...

That's all there is from this end right now--I think I need a beer from that big blue cooler.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Button Up, Campers, Because It's COLD Outside!

It is overcast, gray, cold, and extremely windy outside. If we were near the ocean, there would be a small craft advisory and the Coast Guard would be on alert. The sea was angry that day, my friends... But I'm back inside where it's relatively warm and I can only hear the wind instead of feeling it. It's howling out there. It was insane downtown, with the buildings funneling the wind down the streets--it must've been gusting 50 mph at street level this morning.

But I survived the maelstrom and I'm back from the Clark County Justice Court, and I have to admit, it couldn't have gone smoother. Imagine a super-efficient DMV visit. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, and that includes all the hiking back and forth from the public parking garage a couple blocks away. Unfortunately, I'm still on the hook for $300, no getting around that, and traffic school is going to cost another $60 or so, but at least I can do it online. But I don't have to make my "formal" court appearance until the middle of next month, and then after that I have 30 days to do traffic school and 90 days to pay the fine. That's much easier to swallow. I've gotta tell you, it sucks having to give the gub-mint a few hundred bucks of my hard-earned cash for such a minor indiscretion, but they are really nice about taking it from you here in America's Playground.

Since I got up early this morning after getting just three hours of sleep, I think I'm going to take a nap for a few hours before heading back into work and starting my week.


I Fought The Law...

Well, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday--I get to spend my day down at the Clark County Justice Court. Yep, it's time to pay the speeding ticket I got that night last month when me, Steve B, and Falcon Rob got together at Main Street Station and drank all that strawberry beer. I think spending a couple of hours in the Vegas courthouse should provide some interesting observation and insight into the human condition at the very least.

As far as the speeding ticket goes, this is my first time running afoul of the law here in Nevada, but according to the ticket I could just send in my "bail" of $300 and all will be forgiven. For going 50 mph in a 35 zone they want to charge me three hundred bucks? That's twenty bucks per excess mile per hour. Screw that. I'm gonna go throw myself on the mercy of the court and see if I can't arrange to spend the day in traffic school instead. My insurance, with no tickets or accidents in the past ten years, is almost $175 per month--I certainly don't need a speeding ticket on my record and jacking up my premiums even more.

I had another brush with the law late Monday/early Tuesday after work, also. It was my 'Friday', I was at the top of the Early Out list, and had been trying to get out of work since about midnight. To top it all off, my friend Stephanie showed up, looking absolutely smoking hot, with one of her friends for dinner, drinks, and bowling. About 12:30 she stopped by my blackjack table and made a show of flirting with me and asking what time I got out of work and such, and to give her a call if I didn't get out too late.

So after that I was pretty much begging to go home! It was not to be, and I was stuck dealing to a bunch of morons until 3:00 am. Another friend of mine was in there playing and I stopped to talk to her at the table she was sitting at, and since she was winning big and drinking like a veteran T2Ver, she tried to slip me about $50 worth of chips. I couldn't just drop them there on the floor, so I went back over to the main pit and gave them to the shift boss, who was kind enough to drop them in the toke box for me and said she had my back in case surveillance called. (Not worth losing my job for fifty bucks).

Anyhow, it was just after 3:00 am, so I ran out to the parking garage and as soon as I started my truck I gave Stephanie a call. Of course, being well-lit in the garage, I forgot to turn on my headlights, and got a mile down the road before I saw one of Henderson's Finest flip a yoo-ie and cruise up behind me. At that moment I realized that I was in such a hurry to hook up with Stephanie that I didn't turn on my lights.

I told her that I was about to get pulled over and that I'd call her back. Of course turning my lights on then was too late. His lights came on too--the red and blue ones.

I gave him my excuse that I was on the phone as soon as I got in the garage and forgot to turn on my lights, but he wasn't so sure he believed that I'd just gotten off of work in the casino--he quizzed me about work to make sure I wasn't making stuff up, and stopped just short of making me get out and do a sobriety test. But he took my info, ran a check on my registration, license, and everything else, and let me go with a warning after just a couple of minutes.

Of course I called Stephanie back, but she was already at home, working on a hangover cure for the next morning.

So there I was, ridin' off into the sunrise.



Oh well. I was tired, sweaty, and needed a shower to wash all the casino funk off of me. I then went home and slept for about twelve hours straight, pretty much wasting my entire day off. I was so out of it that the only thing I ate all day was four graham crackers and a diet coke. I got up to check the internet/email a couple of times, but for the most part, I either slept, read, or watched tv for the next 24 hours.

Fortunately, I've got a couple of books to keep me interested the next few days, and another sailing website written by another couple who are out there doing what I wish I could be. It'll take me a few days to read all of their journal entries from the past three years, but it's a great form of escapism. I love the neon city, but I'd trade it for some palm trees, ocean breezes, and sandy beaches in a second.


Monday, April 09, 2007


I finally finished my March Madness trip report. Head on over to Travel2Vegas and have a look. I'll also post another thread with a few more pictures from Angy's suite party on Friday night, but that probably won't be up until tomorrow morning.


They Call Me Mellow Yellow

I must be getting old. Well, actually, I *am* getting old--I hit the big 4-0 at the end of the month, but that's not the reason for today's post.

Last night at work I actually had a customer get abusive to me for the first time. Oh I hear people say rude shit all the time, and when they're called on it they pretend that they were saying to themselves. But this jackass was a foul-mouthed cocksucker before I even sat down at the table. When I asked him to mind his language as there were ladies present, he just kept it going, but at a lower volume. I was waiting for the floor person to come back around and have them put the hammer down, but before they did so, I'd beaten this guy to the tune of $600 in three hands.

He went apeshit and started calling me every rude thing his simple mind could think of and slammed the cards down, kicked his chair and stomped around.

Had he been talking to the Mikey of ten years ago, who had a short fuse and used to be a bouncer at a dive bar, I would've came across the table and beat the ever-lovin' snot out of him and kicked him in the nuts so many times that he'd have to squat to pee for a month (Hey, if you're gonna fight, fight dirty!) But I am more mature these days, and I knew that everything he was doing was caught on camera with a table full of witnesses, and I didn't need the hassle of explaining my actions after the fact.

So I just sat there and took it in silence, then gave him a smug smile and asked in my most neutral voice "Would you like me to deal you in on the next hand?"

He just kept yelling expletives and calling me names and finally stomped off. About that time a couple of floor people saw him, so they called the main pit and security on the guy. But he took off, broke (heh!) and that was the end of that, although everyone at my table said they were happy to see him go, as apparently he'd been betting over his head and losing all night and getting more and more agitated with every hand. I just happened to walk in on the tail-end of it where he finally snapped.

Oh well, I got the last laugh. They took his rating down from $200 per hand to a dollar per hand (no more comps, freebies, or coupons for him) and attached a report of his abusive behavior onto his account.

Frankly I'm surprised at myself for my ability to remain cool and keep my mouth shut. Normally if somebody gives me shit, I can tee off on them and put them in their place, and this guy truly was an easy target. But one thing I've learned in the casino business is to just shut up and let somebody else deal with the assholes. Besides, if he had enough money, they wouldn't think twice about booting my white ass out the door if there had been any kind of altercation. That's the biggest problem that comes with working in this business, especially at an off-strip location--dealers are a dime a dozen, black-chip players, not so much.

The lesson here is to let the guys with the dark suits and pockets full of zip-ties handle clowns like that.

After that, it was a pretty uneventful night. It got really slow in a hurry, and this week and next week are the slowest of the year for us (tax time). Talk about a long night--we were closing games so fast after midnight that we were down to doing forty-minute shifts on each table, so I decided to take two hours of E.O. since we weren't likely to make much money for the night and I was bored off my ass.

Also, a bit of housekeeping to take care of--Yes, I *have* been working on my trip report, and got several hours of typing done over the weekend. It will be posted sometime later this week, over on T2V.

In the meantime, I've got about four hours of Tivo to catch up on--Sopranos, Entourage, and two hours of Planet Earth on Discovery.

Oh, and that reminds me... I also want to test out the DVD player on this laptop, too. Apparently I have some sort of monster video and soundcard, so I need to take it out for a walk pretty soon and stretch it's legs.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Back to Work

Well, the weekend is over for me, and I have to admit that it was an enjoyable one. I got a lot done, and had some fun, too.

Yesterday I spent the day working on stuff around the house, which seems to be a never-ending task, ran some errands, did some shopping, and then got to relax for a few minutes before Falcon Rob arrived.

Wednesdays are a common day off for us, so we decided to get together and grill some steaks. He had a few Omaha Steaks sirloins left in his freezer, so plans were made. I also picked up a couple of fillets at the store yesterday, along with side items like potato salad, beans, and garlic bread. I also stopped by KFC and picked up a couple of tubs of--dare I say it--coleslaw...

Luckily we had plenty of cold beer on hand, so that was not an issue.

Rob showed up around 6pm, and the charcoal was well on it's way to white-hot goodness. I had a pan of sautéed onions and mushrooms going, and the steaks only took a few minutes to cook to medium-rare perfection. While waiting for everything to finish, we nibbled on shrimp cocktail and chips and salsa.

Yeah, it was a damn good meal and we ate until we were stuffed. After dinner we just hung out around the fire pit smoking cigars, drinking adult beverages and congratulated ourselves on being Masters of the Universe. Well, at least our little corner of it.

It was a nice night out and the overcast started to fade away after the sun went down, so it was enjoyable to sit under the stars, stare at the campfire, and talk about life in Vegas. We hung out until about 9:30 or so, and then decided to head down to the Sahara and catch another Savannah Jack show.

We caught the last two songs of the 9:00 pm show, and afterwards Mike sat down to visit with us, after mingling with other movers and shakers in the local entertainment scene, of course (Chrissi Scinta was sitting at the next table enjoying the show and lobbying the band to come do a song or two in their show this week). I really enjoy the Scintas show--they are extremely talented, but I hate how they spend the last ten minutes of the show trying to sell pasta sauce...

Anyhow, Mike told us that we missed some good comedy from the earlier show--in the middle of a song, some hooker walked up to the stage and handed out her business cards to all the guys--while they were playing!

We laughed about it, but I guess it's just another night on the road for those guys... Mike then gave the card to me, because I recognized the potential for buffoonery. I have a floorman buddy at work with an extremely jealous girlfriend. I know she checks his pockets on his suit every so often, because it caused some hilarity a few months back... So when she finds this card next week, he's going to be sleeping on the couch for a week. Heh. (I want to take this opportunity to thank Doc Al and LV Terry for inspiring me by filling up Snert's backpack with porn flyers on the walk back from Maggiano's a couple weeks back...)

Anyhow, the second show was just as enjoyable as the night before. Instead of Waylon and Willie, this time around the lead singer did a pretty good interpretation of Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline, which had the crowd going crazy.

The crazy hooker lady came back, walked up front, trying to get the guys' attention again, but they sang "over" her and she gave up and left. But it added a bit of interest to the show.

Once the show ended, we hung out and visited for a few minutes, then Rob and I wandered down to the poker room to check on the size of the 11:00 pm tournament, and the place was still packed, even an hour-and-a-half after the start. So it looks like a good one to get in to. After my success in online poker and my in-the-money finish at the T2V tourney, I've decided to play in one or two tournaments a month around town, and everyone I've talked to has recommended the Sahara's poker room.

I'll probably play next week or the week after. Don't know if I'll be any good, but it should provide a good story for only fifty bucks.

After leaving the Sahara we headed back to the house. The fire was still going in the pit, but by that time had burned down to a nice bed of glowing embers . We were done with beer and rum at that point, but sat out for another hour or so roasting marshmallows and making smores. Good times.

We finally decided to call it a night sometime around 2:00 am, and Rob packed up his leftovers and headed home. We made plans to do it again in a couple weeks, next time probably just going with hamburgers instead of steaks--much cheaper and easier.

Today, I slept in, nibbled on some leftovers, and mentally prepared myself for five days in the green felt jungle.

It's Monday morning once again.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Night Out

Hey Gang.

Sorry, no further progress on the trip report, which I know seems to be what everyone is anticipating. I just hope it's not a disappointment.

I've been busy, of course, since the last update. I went out last night, down to the Sahara to see the Savannah Jack show. For those of you who aren't familiar with Savannah Jack, they are the next big act in country music, having played together for the past three years or so. Anyhow, they are on the cusp, just got a record deal with a new label, and their first single will be released nationwide in June.

Anyhow, they are mega-talented musicians and put on a helluva show. I'm not a huge country music fan by any stretch of the imagination, but any kind of live music is always interesting to me, and they didn't disappoint. They played a bunch of favorites to get people in the door but mixed in their own music to get people to listen and also sell a few cd's after the show. I damn near pissed myself laughing when the lead singer did impersonations of both Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson in the same song--it was certainly a crowd pleaser.

Oh, and full disclosure here, the lead guitarist, Mike Ulvila, is married to my niece Allison, so you know, I went to the show to see him play. I always knew the guy had talent, but damn, this group could easily take off. Just a great show all-around. Like I said, if they can convert me, a non-country-music fan, they can convert anyone.

So listen for them come June. Also, they wrote another song called "Dancing With No Music Playing" that is pretty damn good--good enough that Lee Greenwood recorded it and is releasing it as a single this summer too. So keep your ears open for that one, too.

After the show we got to hang out and talk, have a drink, and visit for a bit before some drunken yahoo from the casino stumbled in and pretty much ended the party, although providing a bit of entertainment as security escorted him away.

Once I left the Sahara, around 12:30 or so, I made my way out towards the trailer parks and used car lots of Boulder Highway and found myself at Falcon Rob's dollar dice table. I only had about $12 in my wallet when I got there, and discovered that getting money from an ATM at a joint like that is a little different that I'm used to. It only took about five tries and a visit to the cage, but I was strapped with $32 only ten minutes later.

The purpose of the visit wasn't really to play dice, I just needed to talk to Rob--there are some openings at my casino and I'm going to try and get him in there, and we were making plans on getting together tonight and grilling some steaks, too.

Anyhow, playing dollar dice at a joint like that is an opportunity that doesn't cross my path everyday, so I *had* to buy in. Of course, I had one of those rolls that only comes around about once or twice a year, and didn't realize it till I was twenty minutes deep into it. Of course I wasn't playing with red and green like I normally would, I was big pimpin' with dollar checks and the the Nevada Palace version of the Banana Chip--25 cent yellow chips.

So I made $47 on a dollar craps game with double odds only, and walked away shaking my head and thinking "if only...."

Oh well, it was a good time hanging out at Rob's table, we got our business taken care of, and I made a little scratch, too. Can't complain about that. I did, however, stop at the cashier's cage on the way out and grab a handful of moist towelettes, rubbing down all exposed skin before getting back in my truck. The Nevada Palace is a funky place in more ways than one, and I didn't want to bring any of it home with me.

Had my camera been working properly, I would've gotten some priceless photos, the least of which was a very scary poster full of odd-looking meat advertising their deli. Yep, a new digi-came is the next gadget on the must-buy list...

Once I got home, I was wide awake, of course. So I started doing laundry and re-arranging my room. I had a huge picture laying under my bed, waiting for a frame repair. Unfortunately, when I lifted the bed up to move it, I accidentally stepped on the picture and shattered glass all over the carpet. And I do mean all over... It took me almost an hour to pick up and discard all the scattered remains and then vacuum it up sufficiently enough that I felt safe to go barefooted again.

Finally around 6:00 am I ran out of gas and got some sleep. I still have lots to do before Rob gets here (gonna go grocery shopping and maybe even go down to KFC and pick up a bucket of coleslaw, at the risk of lighting up my comments section again...), but I wanted to pop in and post an update.

Oh and thanks for all the kind thoughts for Mamasan. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear about all the attention she's getting. Word out of Tennessee today is that she's doing fine and will be going back home. Her heart is fine--and I suspected it was because we've never had any history whatsoever of heart disease and such in our family, but we do have a minor history of hypochondria.

That's all for now--more tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Off Day

Hey Gang!

Just wanted to post an update, as my traffic meter keeps showing everyone re-clicking the site waiting for new stuff to read. I'm still working on that trip report, although I was delayed a bit by all the stuff going on around here, plus not getting to bed until around 7:00 am this morning, so I'm just now getting up.

First of all, the trip report is coming along nicely, but again, I'm trying to self-edit to protect several of the attendees from their own buffoonery, and also I've spent some time going through the pictures, trying to figure out which ones to include, and which ones should remain in the vault.

Also, just about the time I was getting to bed, my phone started ringing. Unless it's my gal Stephanie, who only calls at 5:00 am wanting to go out, it's usually bad news. This time it was bad news... The family was all trying to reach me at the same time--Mamasan was on the way to the emergency room, via ambulance.

It kept ringing on and off all morning, but as of now, she's doing ok, we even spoke on the phone about an hour ago, but the cardiologist is running a bunch of tests and if all goes well, she can go home tomorrow. In the meantime, three of my sisters and Reverend Dave are all there at the hospital with her and are keeping me updated.

It sounds like it's not as bad as it sounded initially, if that makes any sense.

On top of all that, I was especially tired last night anyways. It's been a helluva busy week at work, and I was still worn out from the Madness festivities anyways. I signed up for early out, and early in the evening last night we were just dead. I'd dropped a grand total of eight bucks in tokes up until midnight, and I was the first one on the Early Out list. I even told the bosses to get me out as soon as they started closing tables, they didn't have to wait until 2 am, like I'd indicated.

But at midnight I got taken off of my Pai Gow table and sent to blackjack, which always sucks, and what made it even worse was that I was sent to a single-deck game with a complete drunken asshole who was playing black and purple action ($100 and $500 chips, anywhere from $300 to $1000 per hand).

I will admit, he was a real prick, but I did that whole "keep your mouth shut, your head down, and deal as fast as you can" thing and it seemed to work. I've dealt to the guy before, and for whatever reason, the guy hates all the other dealers but likes me, and I ended up dropping about $600 in tokes from the guy, after he'd been stiffing everyone else all night long. He wore my ass out, though.

It was nice to finally get off that table.

I thought I was going home at 2:00, but then I got put back on Pai Gow. No biggie--after dropping all that money I decided it was cool to stick around and get a bigger share of the toke pool. At 3:00 am I got tapped out of the table and the dealer told me that the shift boss said I could go home. So I went to sign out, and as I was heading out of the pit and towards my locker, the shift boss stopped me and told me he needed me to stay.

I was the first one on the early-out list, yet still there pitching the cards at 3:00 am, and half the tables were closed!

I was kind of pissed at first, but the boss said he had a special assignment for me.

It seems that my drunken belligerent friend from earlier in the evening had gone even further downhill and was being abusive to the women dealers, and they told me that they didn't want any women to deal to him anymore. Apparently the guy was up about 10 grand, but just being a complete dick to everyone.

My boss even told me that if he gets out of hand that I had his permission to "go across the table and kick his ass". When I got back to the blackjack pit, there was another shift boss watching the game, along with a floorperson, one uniformed security guard lurking about nearby, a plainclothes security officer standing behind the guy, and god knows how many cameras from surveillance.

"Great", I thought, as I walked up. "This ought to be a real treat".

He mellowed out once I got there, knowing he couldn't intimidate me, and I actually busted him out of several thousand dollars, too. I talked him into calling it a night and just going to the cage, coloring up, and getting a cab.

Everyone was expecting a bang, but it ended with a whimper.

I was one tuckered out little trooper by the end of the night, and I only managed to get out a half hour early. Of course I got home later than usual because I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home, plus I had to catch last night's episode of "24" before going to bed.

And then the phone started to ring...

In the meantime, I'll be working on that trip report thing, but I've got a few other projects I'm working on, too. Some for public consumption, some not. But like Elvis said in Viva Las Vegas, even if there were 40 hours in the day, I don't think it'd be enough this week.

More later.


Monday, April 02, 2007

A Poor Excuse...

... is better than none.

Folks, between working, catching up on sleep, meeting friends and family for meals and drinks, (somebody has been here visiting every day since March 13th), and searching for a second job, I just haven't had a bit of free time to myself for the past few days, so that's why there haven't been as many updates as everyone would like.

I promise to do more, but my March Madness trip report is about five pages long already and I'm only on day two. Besides, it's a tough one to write because I have to dance around all kinds of delicate subjects, and I'm the worst at self-editing my thoughts.

I'm going to get some sleep right now and maybe later post another update with the latest news from Vegas-land, and then spend my days off going to school and working on my trip report.

As soon as I get some rest, clean my room, do my laundry, and have a day off, I'll be pounding this new keyboard like Florida pounding on Ohio State.

Patience, grasshopper.