Friday, August 31, 2007

New Yoonees

So, there I was, spending an hour dealing to the retards on Let It Ride again last night, and the floor person came over and told me that Shahla wanted to see me.

Uh oh.

She's the Big Boss. The number-one El Jefe In Charge. One step below casino director. She's very nice, and I don't mind working for her one bit, but she doesn't normally mess with the day-to-day operations of running the shift or specific dealer issues unless it's a biggie--one of her underlings does. So naturally I was a bit apprehensive--kind of like getting called to the Principals office when you know you're guilty of all sorts of mischief, but you're not sure of exactly what they have on you.

Turns out, she just wanted to ask me a question--

Now that football season is upon us, would I be willing to wear a football jersey to work instead of our normal dealer outfits on Sundays and Mondays? (We would have to provide said jersey on our own.)

Oh. Hell. Yeah! Not only that, I recommended Saturdays, too, so as to show our support for the NCAA. Seriously, any excuse to get out of wearing that long-sleeve polyester clown suit for the night is ok with me!

(But I always wear the clown suit when I watch Billy Madison, Mikey... --Eddie B.)

I guess she was just taking a poll, and as far as I heard, it's a landslide on the side of the angels. I think there were a few Asian dealers who answered with a shrug of the shoulders, but by and large, it looks like we *may* be able to start wearing football jerseys two nights a week.

Now, the question is... Which jersey to get? I own a lot of football t-shirts, but no jerseys. I guess I could probably pick up a Michael Vick jersey pretty cheap these days, although his new one will be bright orange with a big number 'P' on the back... I could go for the all-thug lineup-- Michael Vick, Rae Carruth, Ray Lewis, Tank Johnson, the entire Bengals roster...

Actually, my ultimate jersey would be this:

A new-school Rams jersey with Jack Youngblood's name and number on it. How cool would that be? I don't think it's possible, however, because I'm fairly sure that you can't customize an authentic jersey with a retired player's name, at least not on a jersey of the team they retired from (more of those stupid NFL rules). I guess it's for the best, because the jersey costs $309 from

And there ain't no way on god's green earth I'm spending three hundred bucks on a shirt. At least not until after I own a proper bed. I guess I'll keep shopping.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up my breakfast of grits, eggs, toast, and coffee before heading out to run some errands. We got a note on our door saying the City of Henderson was shutting off the water for a few hours today while they do road work, so I may as well vacate the premises.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

If I Were In Charge

Sometimes I wish I had Steve Wynn-type of money. Or hell, even Sheldon Adelson's bankroll. Actually, I wish I just had their ears. Because even though those two are quite visionary, there is something missing from this town and nobody with deep pockets has seemed to identify it yet.

Let me tell you what this town needs.

  • It needs a huge new resort, with rooms like the ones at Red Rock or THEhotel.
  • It doesn't need a shopping mall, although some sort of upscale boutiques would do.
  • It needs an over-the-top pool, taking the best from the Hard Rock, Mandalay Bay, and Mirage, with beaches, waterfalls, coves, and grottos. No waterslides. And swim-up blackjack and dice, preferably in the shade.
  • It needs a casino that doesn't take it's cues from the Harrah's playbook. Intimate feeling, like Treasure Island, and not sterile like Mandalay Bay. I think the ceilings are just too high at Mandalay Bay. We'd bring it back to the 5x odds, ditch the continuous-shuffle machines, and single-deck blackjack. And offer the highest limits in town. Wide screen TVs suspended in the pit, so people wouldn't have to run to the sportsbook as often, and could stay at the tables.
  • It's got to have a proper sportsbook that can hold a couple thousand people for the big events, with a separate, or at least clearly delineated race book, so that basketball and football fans aren't treated like second-class citizens. Maybe build it to resemble a stadium, with private 'skyboxes' on the second level, and a scoreboard evocative of ballparks, where you can read the scores and lines from a hundred feet away.
  • It would still have all the normal resort amenities, like spas, wedding chapels, and such.
  • It would have the requisite celebrity chef-owned restaurants, steakhouses, and the like, but the 24-hour options would include more than a coffee shop. There would be the ultimate late-night munchie stops--A taco stand like Roberto's, and most definitely a White Castle. Could you even imagine how much money a White Castle inside of a casino would make?
  • And I'd work on getting some regional favorites in there for casual/quick dining--Dunkin' Donuts instead of Krispy Kremes, Rubio's, In & Out Burger, Ted Drewe's, The Varsity, stuff like that.
  • There would be proper lounges and cigar bars.
  • Most of all, there would be a showroom like the old Copa Room at the Sands. Dinner and drinks early, with Rat Pack-style crooners and headliners such as Harry Connick Jr, Matt Dusk, or Chris Isaak, and the late show would feature more of the R-rated comedians. And yes, there would be a strictly enforced dress code.
  • There would be no movie theatres, bowling alleys, or arcades.
  • Because there would be a strictly enforced NO ONE UNDER THE AGE OF 21 ALLOWED ON PROPERTY AT ANY TIME policy. All guests would *have* to be over the age of 21. People cannot bring teenagers or other children with them to the hotel. Adults only, even in the rooms. No strollers at any time, anywhere. (I would imagine there would be a HUGE market for this type of resort).
  • Theme? No theme, per se, Casual Elegance, Vegas--circa 1961, would be the closest thing to a theme.
  • Champagne would flow, just like the old days. The main bar in the casino would be geared towards champagne.
  • Live music, soft jazz, every night, playing in the casino. Not piped-in music.
  • The main show would *not* be Cirque du Soleil. It would be and old-school showgirl-type of variety show. Better than Folies. Way better than Jubilee.
  • A 24-hour coffee stand right next to the elevators that sold overpriced bottled water late at night.
  • Of course there would be a world-class poker room with celebrity hosts and such.

If you build it, they will come.


A German Shepherd Would Never Do That

All this talk about Michael Vick and the ugly things he used to do to dogs has worn me out. I hate thinking about it, and while I'm glad he's going to jail and getting punished for his misdeeds, I'm not one of those people who loses perspective. There are a *lot* worse people in the world, and I hope they get what's coming to them, too.

But as somebody who's had dogs as pets, I believe there is a special corner of hell for people like him.

So to take our minds off of the ugly dog stories, I figured I should share a good one with my readers. I hope you enjoy it.

Back when I was a kid living in the woods of Tennessee, we had the best dog ever. He was a huge, beautiful German Shepherd. Smartest and toughest dog in the county, but he had an appetite for expensive tires. Only when they were attached to cars though.

Anyhow, his name was Rebel and as kids we were very attached to him. He disappeared one day, rumor had it that one of our hillbilly neighbors had shot him for some perceived slight. We went without a dog for awhile, until we got another huge German Shepherd to replace him. This one's name was Baron, and he was pure white, although not albino. And instead of tires, this dog killed and ate cats every chance he got.

I tell you this because we had those dogs in my formative years, and to this day, I'm partial to German Shepherds and have the opinion that all other breeds are inferior. None are as handsome, and very few are as smart or loyal.

But for some only-god-knows-why reason, my sister Cyndi and her husband decided at one point several years ago to get Dalmatians.

Good lord.

Now, I don't want to piss off the Dalmatian lovers out there, but seriously, if there was ever a breed designed to ride the short bus, it's the Dalmatian. I know they are sleek, and handsome, and have a beautiful unique coat. But they ain't got the sense god gave a coconut. I have no idea how you'd go about training a Dalmatian to do anything but poop outside--they are just too playful and excitable. All they seem to want to do is jump, run, bark, and roll around.

Anyhow, back in the summer of 1988, I was coming home from my first year in college. My sister Cyndi offered to let me come to Nashville and live with her and her husband and work there in Tennessee for the summer. They had a spare room and a spare car, and it seemed like a good idea for me, so I road-tripped from Idaho to Nashville once the spring semester ended.

I got a job selling shoes at Dillard's, and settled down for life in Nashville for a few months before heading back to school that fall.

Anyhow, Cyndi and her then-husband Doug had a Dalmatian named Pepper as a family pet for my nieces, then aged six and three. Pepper was a good dog, but about as rambunctious as a dog could be. He didn't do well on a leash. And he certainly didn't listen to commands. But he didn't tear shiat up, either.

The problem was, they lived on the busy main road coming into their subdivision, and none of the yards had fences. So as soon as the door would open, the dog would take off at full speed, running around like a spaz, and no amount of yelling or calling would get him to come back for a good ten minutes. It's like he needed his free time, and wouldn't be restrained. This happened pretty much every day, and everyone got used to it, thinking that eventually that dumb dog would get himself run over.

The neighborhood was full of young families with kids, lots of toys in the yards and Big Wheels in the driveways, stuff like that. And every day there were always lots of people out and about walking their well-behaved dogs, pushing strollers, and just enjoying the cool early evening after the hot summer afternoons. And while everyone on the street knew who Pepper was, nobody could ever catch him--he was just too fast. But he'd always come back, worn out, and lay down on the porch when he was done spazzing out every evening.

Eventually, we got tired of trying to walk him on a leash like a civilized dog, and just let him do his thing. It seemed to work.

Well, one day I was out in the driveway washing the car, Doug was watering the lawn, and the girls were bouncing on the trampoline. As usual, there were lots of people out and about, kids playing in front yards, neighbors on the front porch, dads working on cars in the driveways.

My grandmother was alive at the time, and she stopped by for a visit. Grandma was a big woman, yet she always had muscle cars--Mustangs in the early 70's, a big Starsky & Hutch car after that, and that summer she was driving around in a blue Firebird. Besides being a big woman, Grandma, I'm sad to say, was pretty much a slob. Her house was always a mess, her garage was always full of junk, and her car was always full of trash. That's just the way she was.

Anyhow, after visiting with Cyndi, she opened the door to leave, and of course Pepper saw his opportunity to make a break for it and squirted out the door, free at last! Doug yelled for him to come back, but of course the dog ignored him and started doing laps around the neighbor's yards.

Well, Grandma's car was parked next to the garbage cans, about three-quarters the way up the driveway, so she decided to do a little car cleaning and throw away most of the trash and fast food wrappers that she could reach while still sitting in the drivers seat. Unfortunately, trash was not all that was sitting on the floor of Grandma's car.

While scooping up the trash and trying to toss it into the garbage can, she'd managed to pick up an item of a personal nature without realizing it. And she couldn't quite reach the garbage can, so most of the trash just landed on the driveway. Oblivious, she backed out and left.

Doug and I both saw the trash and went to pick it up before the dog got to it. We were still about ten feet away when Pepper got there first. But fast food wrappers and paper bags didn't interest him. The driveway was slightly sloped, as most driveways are, and the dog was attracted to the object that had started rolling down the driveway towards the street.

Yep, Grandma had inadvertently tossed her big pink dildo/vibrator onto our driveway. Why she was carrying it around in her car remains a mystery to this day, but once that thing started rolling down the hill, it proved to be irresistible to the dog. So he loped over and snatched it up like a stick. Doug and I both looked at each other with a Is that what I think it is? expression on our faces, and Cyndi, standing on the porch watching this was absolutely mortified once she realized all the neighbors were watching.

I started laughing my ass off, and it only got worse when Doug took off chasing the dog who he had absolutely no shot of catching. Seriously, watching your brother-in-law chase a Dalmatian around that's got a dildo in it's mouth has got to be the absolute pinnacle of unintentional comedy. He was yelling and swearing at the dog, and the dog just thought it was the most fun he'd had all week, sprinting around carrying a sex toy while all the neighbors thought it belonged to my sister. Of course, I was doubled over in laughter, tears in my eyes, yelling "Go Pepper, go!!!" trying not to piss my pants, while my brother-in-law couldn't decide whether to be mad, embarrassed, or also highly amused at the ridiculousness of the situation. Cyndi, several shades of red darker, went inside and closed the blinds.

The absolute highlight came, of course, when one of the neighbor kids was heard to ask "Mommy--what's he got in his mouth?".

The dog finally wore himself out after about ten minutes of the funniest chase scene I'd ever witnessed (all that was missing was the Benny Hill music), and dropped the drool-covered vibrator next to the porch. By that time, nobody wanted to go pick it up and throw it in the garbage can. The neighbors were still out there, laughing just as hard as I was.

I swear I laughed for hours after that. I still do, whenever I think about it.

And nobody ever spoke of it again for the rest of the summer, either, although devilish kids that we are, we were tempted to buy Grandma a new vibrator for Christmas.

She got a puppy, instead.


The Thousand-Dollar Deuce

I didn't write much about my week at work, because truly, not much happened. It's still pretty slow, and we're all just biding our time until Labor Day Weekend/Football season starts.

On Saturday night, I was exiled to No Man's Land, the far end of the Pai Gow pit where nobody ever goes. Basically, you're on two games, dealing for 40 minutes, followed by a 20 minute break every hour. It's a cakewalk, but it makes for a long night. And the two games aren't the first choice of any dealer--Bonus Holdem (total sucker game--I avoid it like the plague) and the $20 Pai Gow game which is always the last to open and the first to close. After midnight, those games are shut down and you're just stuck on random tables for the rest of your shift. It kinda sucks.

Anyhow, there I was, sitting alone at the Bonus Holdem table, watching the Nascar race from Bristol on the big screen TVs way over in the sportsbook. I opened the table, and no players had yet sat down. And who did I see bouncing her way towards me from the food court? None other than my hottie friend Lisa Lisa The One I Adore, you know, my gal who works as a cocktail waitress down on the strip (the one from the puking story, for my regular readers). She's literally the hottest chick I know in this town, so my evening was instantly looking up.

She said she took the night off and was out goofing off, fighting with her boyfriend, and wanted to come down and see me, so she took a seat at my table. I tried to warn her off, saying not to play the game, but that she could just sit there and visit. But she didn't want to bring any unwanted attention to me, so she bought in for a hundy and played a few hands. We had a few laughs and did some catching up, but the cards weren't kind. Luckily I was leaving soon, so she was only down about ten bucks by the time I got tapped out.

I told her to move over one table and that I'd be back in twenty minutes. But she didn't want to play Pai Gow at twenty bucks a hand, so she wandered over to the ten-dollar game.

I got back from my break, and since the $20 table still had no players, I asked the floorperson to call the shift boss and see if we couldn't get the limit temporarily lowered to ten bucks. She did, the boss said yes, and a few minutes later, I was kicking Lisa's ass at ten bucks a pop. We were still laughing it up and having a good time, and of course she asked me to take off early and go drinking with her.


I need the money, so I couldn't leave work early on a weekend. The best I could do was hope for the 2:20 am push. She said she was cool with that and told me to call her once I got out of work.

One problemo. I never had her phone number. So of course when I went on break, I made a big show of walking over and obviously scoring her digits, putting them into my cell phone while my buddies watched, shaking their heads in disbelief. Heh. As a bonus, she kissed me goodbye. Double heh.

As I wandered back to the dining room, I got a lot of "Dude--who was that???" type of questions, which is always good for the old ego.

Anyhow, several hours later, my shift ended, I got the 2:20 am push, and headed for the door. As soon as I pulled out, I called Lisa, said I'd be at the bar in two minutes, and she said she'd be there about two minutes after me.


I walked in, but had to pee, so I went straight to the mens' room. When I got out, I saw that Cory the bartender had set me up with a tall glass of Captain and Coke and set it right next to a pretty cute blonde girl who at that moment had just hit a royal flush while playing video poker. Cory is a good bartender and earned a big tip for setting my drink up at a primo location. I had a couple of minutes of interesting conversation with my new friend, but Lisa then showed up and we got busy drinking, laughing, and carrying on like we do.

At some point, we went outside, but it was too hot out, and we went back to the bar. The cook, Johnnie--the one who makes the steak nachos for us every weekend--came out with some homemade salsa for us to try.

No problemo--I love me some chips and salsa. But holy shiat--he'd made this stuff out of habaneros and jalapenos. It tasted really good, but about five seconds after putting it in your mouth, it just burned like slurping hot lava. We passed it around the bar, and could find only one brave soul who said he really liked the stuff, so we gave it to him.

Anyhow, after the $200 ass-whoopin' I'd put on Lisa at the casino, she decided to make her money back by playing video poker. I told her about the gal at the end of the bar who'd hit a royal an hour earlier, saying that there wouldn't be another royal in that place for a week. But we were grinding it out--she put in $40 and we played some Double Double Bonus Poker (I freely admit that I have no earthly idea what the differences are between the different games, except deuces wild). Anyhow, we were playing the same machine, she was hitting the buttons on the right, me on the left.

She managed to catch a couple of four-of-a-kinds and was up almost $200 when we were dealt a King, Queen, Ace, and Deuce of diamonds, along with some rag. I hit the 'hold' buttons on the Ace-King-Queen, and she tried to hold the deuce!

I freaked out a little, telling her that she *had* to go for the royal. But she wanted to go for the more likely flush, since she had four cards to it already. But I said That flush will only get you two-fifty. A royal will get you a thousand!

She reluctantly agreed, because she was just shy of breaking even for the night, and threw away the deuce.

We hit the deal button, and pandemonium broke out when the ten-jack of diamonds flopped.

Royal Flush, baby!

Four thousand credits.

Boo-yeah! High fives all around, screaming, jumping up and down, a round of shots were ordered--the celebration got loud for a few minutes. We played a couple more hands, she got the balance to $1198, and then cashed out.

She tipped the bartender a hundy, and then also threw a Benjamin my way for talking her into throwing away that deuce. Nice!

After about a half hour more, she put another twenty in the machine and we played it for awhile. But she had to go to the bathroom and told me to play it for her while she was gone. As soon as she walked away, the first hand I was dealt was Ace-King-Queen-Jack of diamonds, with nine of spades.

Holy shiat--one card away from *another* royal!

I had the bartender get me a towel, and I just covered the screen, opting not to deal the hand until she got back to see it.

A few minutes later, she came back and was like "What's up with the towel?"

I 'slow-rolled' it, revealing one card at a time from left to right. Of course by the time she saw the third card, she was in full-on freak-out mode, thinking I'd hit another royal. But I told her I was waiting for her to get back to hit the button.

She ditched the nine, and instead of getting the ten of diamonds to make the royal, we got the deuce. That same one we threw away earlier, earning us a plain old flush instead of the monster.

Oh well.

Two royals in one hour would've been too much to hope for. But damn, it sure would've been nice.

As it was we stuck around till the sun was almost up, and said our goodbyes. It was a helluva Saturday night.

And since I had me a brand-new crispy hundred in my wallet, I decided to stop at the grocery store and stock up without having to use the debit card. I got a few things I needed, and also a few 'luxury' items since I was shopping with house money.

My purchases came to $57.98, earning me two pennies, two twenties, and believe it or not, a two-dollar bill in change.

No diamonds, though.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Haunted Mini-Mansion

There is something funky going on around here, and I'm not quite sure what's up. After my mild tirade about the overly-sensitive smoke detector, things have been acting up.

First of all, I have the loudest dishwasher in captivity, and I just realized last night that it can overpower Rob's thousand-watt 5.1 digital surround system. Seriously--don't even try to watch TV in this place while running the dishwasher. I think it's probably quieter on the deck of an aircraft carrier during combat ops than it is in our living room.

Since you're gonna ask anyways, Whirlpool.

Then, last evening I walked into my bedroom and flipped the light switch and it immediately popped the light bulb in my Christmas Story leg-lamp. It went off like a supernova--a brilliant flash followed by immediate darkness. And I have no idea where the spare light bulbs are packed. I'm guessing they're deep in the inaccessible reaches of the storage closet, buried under a half ton of cardboard boxes and Rubbermaid totes. So I've been blogging in darkness for the most part, with only the glow of the monitor and the dim light from the closet providing illumination in my bedroom.

But that's not all.

Around 6:00 am this morning, while sitting here drinking my coffee, the smoke detector in my bedroom decided to go off for about ten seconds. It scared the shiat out of me, because there was nothing cooking at the time. I jumped up and checked the kitchen, living room, hallway, and bathroom to make sure there was nothing on fire, and as suddenly as it came on, it turned itself off.

I refilled my coffee cup, settled back down at the desk, and got back to looking at dirty pictures reading the morning news, and the damn thing went off again. It wasn't one of those 'Hey, time to change the batteries' chirps--it was a full-on Call-the-fire-department-and-get-the-hell-out alarm. What made it especially bad is that Rob was trying to sleep at the time, so I'm sure he thinks I'm the worst cook ever. (Yeah, his recipe for toast is to wait until it smokes and then scrape off the black! --R. Dangerfield)

But I wasn't cooking. My only guess is that our damn smoke detectors are so sensitive that they picked up the steam from my coffee cup. (The one in my room is attached to the ceiling directly over my desk).

Holy shiat! Here it is 9:53 am--and as soon as I typed that last sentence, it just did it AGAIN!

No coffee right now, either. Time to call the maintenance guys and have them come fix these things before they suffer from blunt-force trauma. What a pain in the ass.


The Secret's Out

Ok, I've been harboring a secret for the past couple of weeks that I can now speak about freely.

Everyone knows how desperately I need some time away from the casino before I crack and go ab-so-frickin nuts, and I was talking to my sister Cyndi about it a few weeks back.

She suggested I take a couple of days off and come on back to Nashville for awhile, and I thought it was damn fine idea. So that evening I found some cheapo airfare on Southwest, arranged the time off, and didn't tell anyone. Cyndi planned on hosting a big family BBQ/get-together, and I was going to show up and surprise everyone.

So she made plans and invited everyone, but the family all had other plans. Sherry was going to St. Louis to spend the weekend attending Cardinals games, Mamasan was going to work that day, and who knows what kind of trouble Amy was going to get into. I guess she had to tell everyone at that point, in order to assure that folks would be around. So now they know. And I'll have five glorious days away from the ding-ding-ding of slot machines, second-hand smoke, cheapass fleas, and listening to dealers bitching about shiat that just doesn't matter.

I cannot wait!

I leave in less than three weeks, and I plan on doing a whole lotta nuthin' but laughing it up with the family for a few days. Oh, I might try and hit a few of my favorite restaurants while in town--Raz'z for sure, maybe Monell's for Sunday Brunch (I'm gonna start twisting arms this week...), and I'm guessing that Mamasan and I will have breakfast at Bob Evans before she takes me back to the airport on departure day.

Other than that, I don't plan on doing much but sitting out by the fire pit, smoking cigars, drinking rum, and telling stories.

Should be a great time, secret or not.


All Messed Up

Well, my sleep schedule is all jacked up. Normally about this time I'm all about hitting the sack and not moving until around 2 pm or so, just in time to wake up, stretch, shuffle out to the living room, and catch Pardon The Interruption on ESPN.

But yesterday I was up earlier than usual, got a few things done, but then dozed in that hypnotic chair of Rob's for a few hours, waking up in time to catch the two hours of the World Series of Poker Main Event, also on ESPN. After that, it was a bit of farting around the house, but I fell asleep at nine or so, before waking up again around 2 am this morning. Now I'm wide awake.

Unmotivated, but still wide awake.

Anyhow, this year's WSOP looks to be imminently more watchable than last year's version. First of all, literally all of the asshats have been eliminated early--Phil Helmuth (what's up with that ridiculous outfit?), Mike Matusow, Jamie Gold, and that moron Bruce Buffer, too. Not sure about Humberto Brenes, but any hour of televised poker that doesn't show him is a good hour, as far as I'm concerned. Hell, even Jose Conseco got busted out early.

So next Tuesday's episodes should be more fun to watch than the entire 2006 version.

While watching poker, I made myself a snack that I'd heard of somewhere recently that sounded pretty good. I don't go to a lot of movies, but somebody (I can't remember who or where) said that their favorite movie snack is dumping a box of Junior Mints into their bucket of buttered popcorn, giving it a 'trail mix' vibe with both salty and sweet going on at the same time.

Well, that sounded good to me, so I microwaved a bag of Act II popcorn, poured it into a bowl, dumped some Junior Mints over the top, and then stirred it all together.

Um yeah--good theory, but the reality falls a bit short. We'll call this a learning experience.

First of all, if you put chocolate candy into a bowl of hot popcorn, the shiat is gonna melt. Second of all, if you try to stir candy into popcorn, hot or cold, it's gonna sink right to the bottom. Third of all, if it's melty and gooey and sitting on the bottom, guess what it sticks to--that's right, all the unpopped kernels.

Not my best effort when it comes to snacking in front of the tube. I think next time I'll just take the Offspring's advice and keep 'em separated.

But that was several hours ago, and I'm gonna be hungry again pretty soon. And that was my snack-food quota for the weekend, so I'll have to cook a real meal at some point. I've got biscuits, sausage patties, grits, eggs, coffee, juice--all the ingredients for a fine breakfast if I were motivated to bang pots around in the kitchen. But as of right now, I'm not.

Hell, I even told Rob yesterday that it was a perfect time to order pizza--I was hungry but too lazy to cook. But getting a pizza delivered is a royal pain in the ass here in our maximum-security gated community. Nobody seems to be able to figure out the key-code thing, and since we don't have a land-line telephone, the authorization rings to my cell phone. So it doesn't do Rob any good to have visitors or have food delivered if I'm not here. And if for whatever reason my cellphone decides not to ring (we've all had that happen before), whoever is out there just has to wait at the gate and sneak in behind the next resident who happens to drive up.

The bottom line--we've never had a pizza delivered to our new home. Chinese food, either, I'm sad to say.

Anyhow, I guess that's a good thing. The law of Unintended Consequences has reared it's responsible head and kept us from spending money on pizza delivery, forcing us to go grocery shopping and actually cook. But everyone knows that I generally love to cook, and having a nice kitchen is a big help, too. But some days I'm just lazy.

Today is shaping up to be one of those days.

But breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and the most fun to cook. I could go with a bowl of Special K, a sourdough English muffin, and a glass of juice, but that's the kind of thing I would eat back when I wore Dockers to work and left the house at 7:30 every morning. Hell, I don't even read the Wall Street Journal anymore, either, so a bran muffin, a banana, and yogurt at my desk are also out of the question.

I guess, in the meantime, I could just brew a big pot of coffee, crank out a bunch more drivel for your reading enjoyment, and eventually get hungry enough to go cook something.

Like most things, I seem to enjoy talking about it more than actually doing it...

So it looks like it's coffee time!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Restrictor Plate Cooking

Everyone knows how much I love love love the new apartment. I guess it's fairly standard around these parts, but compared to the last two places I've lived in this town, it is genuinely a wonderful home. Being so nice, it makes me *really* wish I could afford new furniture--a nice home needs nice furniture. But as much as I'd like to have a sweet leather couch and a couple of club chairs, it's not the priority right now. We can get by on the old stuff for now.

However, that's not to say that I can't do some sort of necessary modifications to the place.

Everyone also knows how awesome I think it is to finally have a gas stove/oven. I like to cook, and I'm constantly surprising myself with how much fun it is to use a gas stove that works like a champ compared to the old electric P.O.S. model at the old house where only two burners at a time would work. Cooking is fast and easy, but there isn't a lot of time for dilly dally, and there is much less margin for error. It's much easier to burn stuff on a gas stove.

Anyhow, the favorite weapon in my culinary arsenal has got to be my Lodge cast iron griddle. It makes the absolute greatest grilled cheese sandwiches in the world. But man does not live on grilled cheese alone--so I use it to grill brats, burgers, sausage links and patties, bacon, ham, french toast, pancakes--the list goes on and on.

However, using that bad boy on the open flame creates a bit of smoke, even if I'm not burning my food. We have a pretty powerful exhaust fan built into the hood over the stove, but sometimes it doesn't seem like it's up to the job. Burgers are especially prone to this phenomenon.

So about every other time I'm using that pan, the smoke detector goes off. It drives me nuts. And it's especially bad if I'm cooking in the early afternoon because that's just about the time Rob is getting to sleep after working the graveyard shift. Lucky for us, our smoke detectors are in tip-top condition, because they go off with ear-splitting consistency. I can guarantee that we will never die in a fire in this apartment.

The problem is, the smoke detector is only about twelve feet from the stove, as the grease flies--much too close. The only solutions I've come up with so far are to turn on the ceiling fan in the dining room area and use the rear burner on the stove so less smoke escapes the exhaust fan. But even that doesn't work every time. Just this weekend I was cooking a burger and the damn smoke alarm went off again.

Maybe turn the heat down and cook stuff longer and slower? Maybe try re-seasoning my griddle? I don't know how else to cut down on the smoke.

I guess my next plan, short of ripping the smoke detector out of the ceiling, is use the Nascar method and put a restrictor plate on the damn thing, Talladega-style. Yep, I'm gonna get me a roll of Alabama Chrome, climb up on a ladder, and silence that smoke detector once and for all so I can cook my bacon without alerting the entire neighborhood every time I do so.

Yep, duct tape on the ceiling. I think it probably goes better with the old furniture anyways.


I Love A Rainy Night

Sunday night, although stormy out, was absolutely beautiful here in Vegas. We've got a helluva skyline that can give San Francisco, San Diego, and New York all a run for their money. And even though it was raining, the clouds were high up, making it easy to see all the way across the valley. You combine the awesome skyline with the constant lightning strikes going off all over town, and it was a sight to behold. I was driving down Horizon Ridge Parkway, enjoying the view and thinking to myself that if I, a) weren't so exhausted, and b) had me a hottie for company, it'd be a great time to head up to La Collina, sit at the bar and enjoy the view while sipping on premium martinis.

Instead, I came home, drank a beer, and fell asleep in the chair watching a documentary about polar bears.

I am a dork.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Thunderbolt & Lightning, Very Very Frightening

Man, I *really* want to post a nice long Monday morning update for everyone, something to kick off the week at work for everyone with ten minutes of goofing off instead of doing actual work, but I just don't have the strength.

I just got home from work, and my plan was to spend some quality time in the hot tub, because I am one tuckered out little trooper, having been dealing hight-speed blackjack all night (I was on three shoe games, and I was hauling ass for about seven hours straight). So my feet hurt, my arms were sore, and I was tired, looking forward to some quality soak time. But as soon as I got out of work, a huge lightning bolt cracked overhead as I was strolling across the roof of the parking garage, close enough to scare the bejeezus out of me, but far enough for me to raise my fist to the sky and yell Hah--You missed!

But it's raining pretty hard here at the ol' homestead, and that kinda puts a damper on the trip to the hot-tub. Maybe by the time I finish doing this post it will have cleared up for me enough to take a trip down there and relax a bit. I've been spoiled these past two weeks--sitting in the rice paddy all night long dealing Pai Gow, I forgot how much work it is to deal blackjack. But last night they made me work for my money. And I did well, dropping about $600-$700 worth of tokes.

I hope it's enough to help us crack the $150 mark, because it's been a dry month. But it's been tough all over Las Vegas this August. I've talked to all of my bartender and waitress friends from all over town, and everybody is hurtin'. I've got a friend who's a floor supervisor at Caesars, and she said on Friday night, she had live games in her pit for only two hours on swing shift--for the next six hours, the pit was completely dead. And that was at probably the busiest casino in Vegas!

I can't wait for Labor Day weekend and football season to start. Then maybe somebody will finally turn on the money faucet in this town.

Anyhow, it sounds like the rain has stopped and maybe I can trek on down to the pool. If I get a second wind, I've got lots of stories to tell.


Update: Nope, going to bed... Hot tub was nice and I'm too tired.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


If you're smokin' hot, feel free to stalk.

Hat tip to Reverend Dave.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Malibu & Coke

Yep, sadly, I'm out of The Captain, so Malibu will have to do this morning. And all that booze on the shelf ain't gonna drink itself. I just got off from a fairly easy night at work, although I spent three hours in hell for my earlier comments about Let It Ride and the mental deficiencies of it's players. Yes, as soon as I showed up, I saw the roadmap showing me doing my first hour on that god-forsaken table of gambling moronitude.

Clearly the boss has been reading my website, and decided to take me down a peg or two.

And of course, all of our best players were out in force tonight. Luckily I busted everyone around 1:30 and the suits just said The hell with it and closed the table for the night, giving me the green-felt equivalent of a Get Out of Jail Free card.

And speaking of the boss reading my website, there's a delicate issue I need to address. Since I started my first website back in mid-1992, I've created quite a collection of regular readers. This particular blog has had almost a quarter of a million visits since I started it, and I average about 400 readers a day. Not too shabby if you ask me. Not only that, but because of it I've met some wonderful friends and had some great experiences here in Vegas.

But with the good comes the bad. Not all 400 people that read this site are fans of my writing, or are they what I would consider friends. I get some real dirtbags that send me emails and try to post crap in my comments section. Hey, I know I'm an opinionated guy, and while I try to not be overtly political, like so many websites out there, I can't deny who I am or what I believe in. And I've never been one to keep my damn mouth shut. So there's the background.

In the meantime, some of these lurkers are just plain assholes with nothing better to do with their time than to try and stir up trouble. Anyhow, back in the day I didn't keep any secrets at all about many of the details about life in Vegas. I must've been a bit naive to think that everyone is friendly and only has good intentions.

But I was wrong.

Early on, I let people know where I was working, and what my shift was and what my days off are. Hell, I even posted pictures of what my automobile looks like. Well, I have since learned that I would rather people didn't know where I was working, and didn't come to visit me at work and play at my table.

First of all, I'm really not supposed to deal to close friends or whatnot. And trying to explain the relationship I have with people at my table to any bosses that might overhear a conversation is not something I enjoy. Second of all, I know it's completely harmless from their perspective, but on several occasions people has showed up at my casino looking for me, and just told anyone who would listen all about me and this website, which opens another can of worms. I try to keep this website separate from work, and only my closest friend know about it. It's a place for me to vent, and if too many of the folks I work with start reading it, I'll have to self-censor. And I'm no good at that. Seriously, there are a couple of people I work with who are total asshats who run to the HR department or to the shift bosses for *everything*. I don't need them telling my boss about any of my rants. Hell, I even had some people who thought they were helping me out by telling a shift boss at another property all about this blog and how he should hire me because I'm such a well-spoken dealer.

Uh, no, that's not how I want to make my first impression.

People with good intentions aside, there are some people out there who just want to stir up trouble. And there are weirdos and stalkers too. I've had several people who I've never met, talked to, corresponded with, or read comments from who just randomly show up at my table and start talking 'shorthand' to me. At first, it was flattering, but some people just don't have the social skills to pull it off and they just come off as creepy.

They don't introduce themselves or say "Hey, are you Hurricane Mikey?" or anything like that. They'll start by saying something weird like "So, I guess your new place is better than the stripper house, huh?" or something oddball like "Your taste in music sucks!" which is always a good way to kick off a conversation, don't you think? Hell, I've even had somebody show up, tell me they were a lurker, act like they're my best friend, and then ask me for a ride back to their hotel once my shift ends.

Seriously, WTF?

And I've had a couple of people show up with an axe to grind and decide to take time out of their Vegas vacation to come down and tell me how much they dislike me. That's always pleasant too, but a chickenshit way to engage me, knowing that I can't say anything but 'Have a nice day, thanks for stopping by' while I'm behind the table. Those people need to die slowly of a painful genital rash...

Anyhow--what's the point of all this? The point is, several times a month, I get emails from people who wish to know where I'm working and would like to come by and say hello and maybe play at my table. That's very nice, and I truly am flattered. But because of a few bad apples, I've decided to be more private and haven't been responding to those requests.

I don't want anyone else to know where I currently work, who doesn't know already. I also no longer talk about auditions or other jobs I'm interested in applying for or transferring to. I just don't want anyone to know. It's nothing personal, I'm not trying to be an ass, I just don't want people who know more about me than I know about them showing up at my place of employment, no matter how good their intentions.

I'm sorry, but that's the way it has to be. Please consider this from my perspective, that's all I ask. I've talked to Sonya and Scott over at T2V about it, and they've agreed to delete any posts on that site where people talk about where I work. It's just not worth the hassle.

It's either that, or I just have to go plain vanilla if I write at all, and I can't see that happening.

So please--Don't ask me where I work. Some details of my life need to remain private.



Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hangin' Around the House, Drinkin'

Yep, it's been that kinda week here at the ol' homestead. I've had more time than money, so basically I just hung out at the house the whole time. The truck hasn't moved, and the only sunshine I got is when I took some trash out to the dumpster. I've made a couple of trips down to to the hot tub and the mail box, but those have been in the middle of the night.

I really wanted to crank out some writing these past few days, but I haven't had the bug. So instead, I've sat at the computer, surfing for a few days (the latest topic was sightseeing in Russia and eastern Europe--I have no idea why, that's just where my clicking led me to--and I would've thought my random clickiness would've led me to a motherload of undiscovered pr0n). When I wasn't glazed over in front of the computer, I was glazed over in front of the TV, trying to catch up on all the stuff I recorded back during Shark Week.

So, you could say that it's been a pretty dull week. There has been *nothing* of interest going on in my neighborhood. Hell, I haven't even had the desire to experiment in the kitchen and rattle the pots and pans around to come up with another creative dish to write about.

I guess I'm just not hearing the muse this week.

Oh, I could gripe about work, but that's been overdone like an Ellis Island steak. I could write about the pennant race and how my Cardinals have finally woken up, but damn, they're still three games out. Not quite close enough to get excited yet.

I think part of what's giving me the blahs is that it's Cruise Season amongst my homeys, and I'm missing out again this year. Hell, this makes three years in a row that I haven't been on a cruise--this record shall not stand! Anyhow, a big chunk of the family is taking off on a ten-day Eastern and Southern Caribbean Cruise (that I picked out last year!) within the next sixty days, and I don't get to participate in the excitement and anticipation. I really love going on cruises--it's a perfect vacation as far as I'm concerned. And dammit, I'm missing out again. Ugh. Money, time, not enough of both right now. At the current pace, I'm about four years away from being out from under my student loan debt. Coincidentally, if I don't pay off my truck in advance, I'll own it free and clear at the same time. That's almost a thousand dollars a month I won't have to give to other people!

I guess there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.

But back to cruising. Yes, it's the ultimate vacation, and ten days away from the flashing lights, the ding-ding-ding of slot machines, the secondhand smoke, the fleas, those hideous shirts, the black wardrobe, and the dark undercurrent of desperation that flows through this town like a river would do a body good. Hell it'd be almost like two weeks away if I went--travel time and all. But it's just an impossibility--I'm saving my vacation time for next March (I only get two weeks a year, and I don't get reloaded again until next May), and I have to use my extra time that I still have left for a quick couple of days out to L.A. for a big-boat sailing refresher in either January or February.

So I'm stuck here in Vegas, my second favorite place in the world. I guess life really ain't that bad. I got a lot of friends, a lot of visitors, there are plenty of hot women around, and I live in a nice place. The weather is good, the money is ok, and my opportunities are limited only by my inherent laziness. I spend eight hours a day doing a fairly easy job that I really enjoy doing about 95% of the time. Other than a mostly-empty wallet and a deathly fear of steak, I'm doing just fine.

I'm just bored and in need of a vacation.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Something in the Chair

We have some magic furniture here at Case de Mikey. I don't know where it came from, but Rob procured some used leather furniture when he first moved here to Vegas, and since I have nothing but bedroom and office furniture, it made the move here to the new apartment.

We got rid of the hide-a-bed couch he had (too heavy to move) and just kept the loveseat and chair. And the chair, for being as old and worn as it is, is almost too damn comfortable.

I don't know what it is, but it's almost hypnotic. As soon as I sit down in that thing, I immediately fall asleep. So when I eventually realize I'm asleep, I get up and go to my room and lie down in bed. And then I stare at the ceiling for two hours. It's uncanny. Half the time I can't sleep in my room, but put me in that chair in the living room, and I'm out like a light. Even after getting eight hours of sleep, and I wake up in the morning, crawl out of bed and stumble to the living room, then sit down in front of the tv--it's lights out, baby!

I don't get it.

Maybe it's not the chair at all, but something in the HD Tv signals that relax my brain and puts me in a zombie-like trance.

If that's the case, I'm going to be a full-on flesh-eating creature-of-the-night when football season starts in about two weeks--because I'm going to live in that chair on the weekends!


The Dog Days

I think I've discovered the only activity in a casino more pathetic than playing Let It Ride--it's watching other people play Let It Ride.

Seriously, of all the other activities available--bowling, movies, the sportsbook, snack bars, restaurants, slot machines, bingo, Keno, video poker, a half dozen bars where you could get a drink, or, heaven forbid, playing another table game--people choose to stand there and watch all those stupid people playing that stupid game. It's unbelievable.

As you may have guessed, I hate Let It Ride with the fire of a thousand suns. It's the dumbest game ever invented, and I think it only appeals to the retards not smart enough to grasp that whole 'pick a number' concept of hard games like roulette. Of course, it's got a huge house edge (we hold about 24% of every dollar that comes to the table), but people say they're there to 'have fun'. Well, as far as I can tell, that game isn't even fun. It's just a stupid grind, losing six or eleven bucks every hand.

As a dealer, not only do I hate dealing it because it's even more tedious than $5 blackjack, but also because prying a tip out of a clueless Let It Ride player is almost as tough as trying to open a soup can with a feather duster. Dealers don't make any money on that game, but the house makes a fortune. People bitch and moan about not getting cards, and by the time they finally catch something they realize they're so far in the hole that parting with a buck to give to the cocktail waitress might just keep them from affording that extra pack of cigarettes to get them through the weekend. So it doesn't matter how outgoing, funny, or friendly I am while dealing that game--that toke box is always light at the end of the night.

On the plus side, I know that whenever some doofus walks up with a crispy Benjamin, clearly displaying more money than sense, all I have to do is deal him 15 bad hands in a row, and he's toast. Then I can get back to sitting there enjoying the pretty lights and ogling the cocktail waitresses for the rest of my hour-long jail sentence.

One could deduce that I don't like dealing Let It Ride very much. And one would be right.

But I only had to do an hour in Purgatory last night, so I figured my penance to the Gambling Gods was relatively easy. On the other hand, I got to spend an hour dealing dice, too, which was nice. I hadn't seen a craps table in almost a month, so it was like trying to cross the freeway in rush hour for the first few minutes, but after a bit I was doing just fine. Then I got tapped out and sent to Pai Gow, which is usually my Happy Place.

It was even more happy tonight because one of our biggest fleas came and sat down and decided to go head-to-head against me. And I laid a beat-down on him. Sadly he had more bankroll than I had time, so I didn't get to finish him off, but I saw the dealer that tapped me out bust him about a half hour later, so that was nice. But the highlight of the hour was when the dude had an Ace-high Pai Gow and fouled his hand by putting the Ace in his low two-card hand, and the King/Queen in his five-card hand.

I had a Queen/Nine up top, and he would've pushed the hand had he set it properly, but since he fouled it, I had the sublime pleasure of breaking the bad news to him and snatching up his $25 bet without the slightest bit of remorse.

Sorry sir, a fouled hand is an automatic loss.


The thing is, the guy is a total stiff--he *never* tips. One time he got five Aces for a $2000 payoff, and he stiffed the dealer. And he's in there every night, and every dealer hates him. So instead of giving him a 'mulligan', I went completely by the book and took his money. For anyone else, I would've stopped the game, called over a floorperson, and pleaded their case. Not this asshat. He got no consideration and it was truly the highlight of the night. I giggled about it for hours.

Aside from busting that asshat and having to spend an hour dealing Let It Ride, it's been an otherwise semi-enjoyable weekend at the casino. I was everyone's favorite the other night, just dumping the rack and passing out bonus hands like campaign promises. Hell, I gave one lady two straight flushes in Pai Gow within twenty minutes of each other, and then last night I dealt a four-of-a-kind and a straight flush in the same hand to two different players. And I made a *ton* of money, relative to what we normally drop in the Pai Gow toke boxes, but this past week has been the worst for tokes, and slowest as far as number of players, that I can ever remember. We had a few under-a-hundred-in-tokes days this week, which has never happened before. Usually we have one bad day and then it picks up the next day. Not so lately--it's been awful. I can't wait for football season to hurry up and start, and the weather to cool down a bit so that we get more people in the door.

But it was so slow again last night that after about five hours, I couldn't help but be pulled in by the siren song of freedom offered by the Early Out list. It was my Friday night, of course, and as soon as the Shift Boss had to hesitate when I asked him what table to go to next, since they'd closed two of my tables while I was on break, well, that was the break I was looking for. I said, Well, I'm a seven o'clocker and it's my Friday, so you can put me on the 'anytime' EO list.

He said, You can go now if you want.

Bam--I was out the door less than two minutes later! As soon as I got home, I turned on the Michael Vick station ESPN to check the scores (Cards win!), grilled up a ham and cheese sandy, and kicked off my weekend with an ice-cold Amber Bock.

Since that time, I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, moved all of my CDs to more permanent location than the end table next to the couch, and brewed a pot of coffee. I plan on doing an all-nighter, as Rob and I are cleaning the house in anticipation of his parents arrival later this evening, and the fact that the Nascar race starts in less than two hours. (In fact, at this very moment I can hear him gasping in his bathroom as he's scrubbing the tub with bleach and is about to die from the fumes). I've got no place to be for the next two days, and no money to spend, so I'm kickin' it here in the house doing free stuff on my weekend--cleaning, reading, watching tv, listening to music, and going to the pool. I probably won't move the truck again until I leave for work on Thursday night--maybe by then I'll be stir crazy and looking forward to spending the evening in the casino.

But probably not.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

On the advice of Mamasan, one of the items I picked up while doing a quick stop at the grocery store after work last night was a couple of individual-sized tubs of gelato.

Now, I'm a huge fan of gelato, having discovered it almost two years ago when they forced us all to eat in the buffet one weekend at work, instead of the employee dining room. Anyhow, I don't know why it took so long for me to discover it's frozen creamy goodness, but the truth is, I now prefer gelato over regular ice cream. And now, whenever I eat in a nicer Italian restaurant, if I'm not too stuffed to order dessert, I always go with pistachio gelato--even preferring it over my original favorite, tiramisu.

Anyhow, while chatting on the phone yesterday, Mamasan was singing the praises of some hazelnut gelato she'd bought last week. And knowing how much I love hazelnut coffee and creamer, using it to flavor gelato sounds like a little scoop of heaven here on earth.

Well, I managed to find it, and picked up two different kinds--both hazelnut and pistachio. As soon as the groceries were put away and I sat down at the computer, I busted into the hazelnut one.

Oh good god almighty it was sooooo frickin' tasty.

Breyers mint chocolate chip? Forget it. Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heathbar Crunch? Pffffft. Not even close.

Blue Bunny hazelnut gelato is the most heavenly thing I've tasted in months. It's like getting a little cup of awesome, for just a $1.28.

I think, if I were about to walk the Green Mile, and got to choose my final meal, it would go something like this:

A large New York Pizza & Pasta pie--half pepperoni and sausage, half ham and onion. With ranch dressing on the side.
Hot wings.
A huge fountain Coke.
Hazelnut Gelato for dessert.

After a meal like that, I'd be one happy prisoner, and getting strapped into Old Sparky and getting zapped into oblivion wouldn't bother me in the least.


Feels Like A Monday

Good morning everyone--I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was relatively dull and uneventful. Seriously, while thinking about it these past couple of days, the only highlight of the weekend I could come up with is that they started serving Chicken Pad Thai in the employee dining room at work.

Yep, that's how dull living in Vegas can sometimes be.

But it's not that bad. Although work is about to drive me crazy (Yep, I'm gonna crack if I don't get some sort of vacation before March...), I still managed to have a little bit of fun on Saturday night. I hadn't hung out with my friends Anna or Jovanka in a few weeks, so we decided that the three of us would go out after work on Saturday and not tell anyone else. It's not like it was a secret or anything, we just wanted to go have a relaxing drink or two and not have to hear other dealers bitching about casino life the whole time.

We survived the pain in the ass that was Saturday night at work, and once I broke free I did my quick change in the parking garage, using the top floor like Superman uses a phone booth. I got out of my skanky work clothes and put on some comfy shorts, flip flops, and a Corona t-shirt. I then made my way over to our favorite watering hole and got there just as Anna was pulling in.

We went inside, and the place was a tomb. There was nobody there except the bartender, cook, and one waitress. So yeah, they were happy to see us. Cory, our fave bartender, hooked us up with a round, and we ordered a pile of monster steak nachos. Jovanka showed up right after that, and the three of us just sat there munching on our nachos and sipping on cold beers and catching up. Michelob Light for me, Heineken for Jovanka, and Corona for Anna Banana.

It was awfully quiet in there, but then my friend Andrea (no, a different Andrea) showed up with a posse of hot women and they came and joined us. I couldn't believe my good fortune. I felt like Hef on an episode of The Girls Next Door... As luck would have it, there was even a digital camera handy.

Anyhow, we had a few laughs, and then the three of us original party-goers headed outside to the patio where we drank, smoked, laughed, and talked until the sun came up. It was good to hang out with those gals again--we always have a good time.

We said our goodbyes, and I headed home to spend the rest of my day sleeping. I got up to watch both the Nascar race and the Cards/Cubbies game, and as luck would have it, both were rained out.

I went back to work last night, a little beat from sleeping too much, and was lucky enough to get an easy string of Pai Gow games. I got an early push, stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and sat down here at the computer to make a quick update so everyone can take a peek into my otherwise dull and uneventful life.

Seriously--I don't even have any good casino stories from this weekend. I had good tables, with good tippers, and nobody got into a fight or tried to take a shot at the house. So I guess it was a good weekend. I just need to get away from the noise, sights, and smells of a casino for more than 48 hours at a time.

Homey needs a vacation.

Mexico, anyone?


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gonna Be Payin' For It

My sleep schedule is all whacked out this week. After Monday's episode of hovering near the can for 18 hours straight, I'm all messed up. I stayed up all night again on Tuesday, having spent most of the day catching up on lost sleep.

Feeling much better and well rested, Rob and I went out that night for a little late-night buffoonery. First of all, it was 99-Cent Fish Taco Night at Rubio's, so we took full advantage of that. For those of you who are unaware, fish tacos from Rubio's are one of life's simple tasty pleasures. I know, it sounded sick and wrong the first few times I heard about them, but about ten years ago I bit the bullet and gave it a try. I mean, seriously--fish tacos? But, just like trying sushi for the first time, I was immediately hooked. I guess the reality of both dishes is just better than the concept.

Anyhow, dealing some Pai Gow last week, I had the manager of the local Rubio's outlet playing at my table, and he told me about the Tuesday night special. So now that I know about it, and it happens to be on my day off, and since there is an outlet just down the street at Green Valley and Pebble, I've got a feeling that's what I'll be having for dinner most Tuesday nights.

After introducing Rob to fish tacos (he's on board now, too), we headed off to the west side to meet up at his old roommate's house for a few hours of cheap beer and cheaper dice. We made a quick stop at a convenience store for a 12-pack of Keystone Light before camping out for the night at the five-cent dice table.

Of course, after the beating I laid on them last week, I had to hear about how 'biased' the table was, and that there was something wrong with the dice. I guess the table's bankroll was down eight bucks total from the day they 'opened' it, so Chris, Rob's old roommate, was beginning to sweat the money worse than an old-time pit boss at a downtown grind joint. He went on and on for most of the night, saying that it's because people were setting the dice, or that the dice weren't balanced, or that the table wasn't long enough, or any other number of reasons he could think of.

Of course, I asked him why he wasn't that concerned when the table was up about $80 a couple of weeks earlier. But he didn't really have a good answer for that one...

And then he pulled the "I'm getting really tired guys, we need to wrap it up soon" card around 2:00 am when he noticed us starting to bet 'bigger', trying to get our money back--bigger being a relative term--the table has a $1 limit, as opposed the the $3 limit we enjoyed, but rarely took advantage of, the week before. (Most of the time we played 27 or 54 cents across...)

But I ended up giving back about $13 or so until Rob and I gave up and called it a night. It was a fun time, and there were some good laughs, but I don't know if I'll be going back. They built the table for fun and to keep out of the casino on their time off, but it seems like they're taking it waaaay too seriously now. (Charting every roll of the dice, making graphs, puzzling over every statistical anomaly, and getting way too concerned over oddball streaks). I've been dealing enough to know--sometimes tables get hot, sometimes tables go cold--there's nothing you can do about it. But it really sounded to me like they're going to remain mildly irritated until their 'bankroll' is at a steady 105% of seed money.


After we got back home, we headed off to the pool and jacuzzi for a few hours. I think Rob stayed up watching tv for awhile but I went to bed and slept away most of my Wednesday, too. I didn't do a damn thing today except the usual household chores between sitting on the couch watching tv. I haven't even been outside in the past 24 hours.

But I've been up all night, and I've got to get some sleep at some point--I've got to go back to work tonight at 7:00. But Rob needs me to go with him shopping for a new computer and desk as soon as Best Buy and Fry's open up. That'll take up a chunk of my day, so I'm sure I'll end up getting not enough of a nap and being dead tired at work.

That's no way to start off the new week.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Getting My Mojo Back







We shall never again speak of such un-manly subjects as wine coolers or George Michael from this point hence... From here on out, I shall only blog about booze, chicks, mechanical stuff, smoking, gambling, sports, carousing, and bacon.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Big Thing this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.

Good advice for the early eighties, but having attended college in the happy hunting ground currently known as BYU-Idaho back in the late eighties where we Bad Influences were outnumbered about 3 to 1 by Repressed Mormon Chicks Willing to Experiment, I, personally, discovered that side two of Duran Duran's Big Thing did the trick. (Ok, since it was a cd, and there was no actual side two, anything from track 6 and beyond was the good stuff). Couple that with a couple of Bartles & Jaymes berry wine coolers and I was scoring like Gretzky in an All-Star game. Good times. Good times, indeed.

As good as that cd was for me, somewhere along the line, I lost it. I guess somebody lifted it at some point, because I haven't heard it in years. But just last week I saw that it was available again on Amazon, shipped from Argentina, after having been out of print for over a decade. So I coughed up a couple of bucks and ordered it.

It arrived today, and I'm listening to it right now, and you know what--it still holds up even after almost 20 years. Of course, it brought with it a flood of good memories, too--Me and my roommates all racing back to the house with our dates after the winter formal 'Preference' dance so as to get a primo private room or one of the couches. (Preference was the one where the chicks had to ask the dudes, like an upscale Sadie-Hawkins dance, so you knew you were gonna get some lovin' that night...) But we had to race home like crazy lunatics in the snow and ice, get a bedroom and lock the door before anyone else showed up--Six guys, three bedrooms, two couches. The last couple to get to the house got the living room floor. Talk about some motivated college students!

Or there was the time I answered the phone and it was a wrong number, and I ended up talking to the chick for almost two hours, closing the deal sight unseen and having her come over. Lucky for me she was as hot as she was easy... She liked the cd a lot too.

But the problem with the Big Thing cd was that there was only about 30 minutes of music once you got to track #6, so you needed backup. Sarah McLaughlan hadn't hit the scene yet, but luckily Enya was getting hugely popular at that time, and that whole Watermark cd was chock-full of 'mood' music. So that went in the rotation, too. As a hat tip to the classics, I kept a copy of Ravel's Bolero in the mix, figuring if it were good enough for Bo Derek, it was good enough for me. And none of those chicks had ever seen the movie 10 anyways, so they just thought I was sophisticated. And, I'm ashamed to admit it, but some George Michael a bunch of Richard Marx ballads were kept on hand, also.

Ah, the good old days. If it were only so easy now. It seems that nowadays if I want to score some hot college-coed action here in Vegas, it's going to take a limousine, a handful of Ecstasy, and a stack of hundies. So I guess those days are far behind me. But for the fifteen bucks I spent on this Duran Duran cd, it's like I got the keys to a time machine. And the chicks that loosened up their buttons after a few sips of wine coolers back then are still around--they just want Cosmopolitans before they put out now, instead.

Well, that and a babysitter.


Women With Wifles

And speaking of hard-to-find music, this album was a big part of my life's soundtrack back in 1985.

Not only was the entire album filled with great songs that totally kicked mid-eighties ass, but at the time I was involved with two, yes, two girls on the Webster Groves High School Rifle Corps at the time, so it was like, Our Song...

I've managed to get mp3's of this song, Girls With Guns, and the other big hit off the album, Lonely School, but there's a song called Outside in the Rain that I just absolutely loved and I haven't been able to find it in years. The cd is out of print, and some joker on Amazon wants $169 for it, while on Ebay it's running about seventy-five bucks.

I guess I'm going to have to wait a few years before the record companies run out of crap to sell and start re-releasing the good music from the 80's.


The Unplanned Four-Day Weekend

Hey gang--yes, I'm still alive, although I haven't posted in a couple of days. But there was a reason for that. I was sicker than you-know-what. Bad enough that I actually called the doctor's office to set up an appointment in addition to getting online and trying to self-diagnose.

It seems I had a bad case of unintended bulimia. Basically, the problem was that I couldn't swallow anything--I hadn't eaten for a couple of days, and even water made me gag. It was so bad that after almost 48 hours of not getting any liquid in my system, I was getting bad headaches. And I tried to force liquid down--water, Coca Cola, coffee, more water, iced tea, and as soon as I did, I immediately gagged and puked it all back out. This went on for a day-and-a-half straight, but I didn't notice anything was wrong until Sunday afternoon, just because I wasn't hungry or thirsty all day. I felt miserable, and was honestly scared a bit that there was something *really* wrong with me.

But it really manifested itself badly on Sunday night at work. I got there a bit early, and sat down to have dinner--my first food of the day. One bite of Mongolian beef and fried rice and I thought I would choke to death. I got up, ran outside, yakked in a garbage can, and proceeded to get the most painful hiccups I ever had. I tried to force down some more water, but that didn't work at all. All too soon, I had to get out to the table and deal Pai Gow, but after about 15 minutes, I had to call the floor person over to watch my game, while I did that same run to the garbage can. I came back like it was no big deal, but then ten minutes later, it happened again, only worse. Of course by then I'd already dirtied two shirts, and the floor person had to jump in my game twice. So they sent me packing.

I got home, feeling like absolute dogshiat, and spent the entire night trying to sip water or coke, but puking more often than Nichole Ritchie on Thanksgiving weekend. I got no sleep whatsoever, and was up all night, trying to force water down my throat. It would stay for maybe thirty seconds, than come back up with a vengeance.

I've done my share of self-abuse puking in the past when I've drank too much. But doing the technicolor yawn when there's nothing but still-cold ice water coming back up was a totally new experience for me.

I even tried to eat a spoonful of ice cream, thinking that might soothe whatever was bothering me, because it felt like there was something stuck in my throat, about halfway down at the base of my neck. It also felt like if I could just have a nice healthy belch, all would be well. But nothing worked. Every half-hour or so I'd get a mouthful of spit, my body 'greasing the skids' for the inevitable visit to the bathroom, where I'd spend a couple of minutes dry heaving. I was feeling pretty bad, so I called in sick to work for last night, and the guys in the pit told me they were waiting for my call, as word had gotten around that I looked pretty bad when I left the night before.

Anyhow, I was getting genuinely worried that something was very wrong, so late yesterday afternoon, I got online to look up the doctor's info and call my insurance company, letting them know that after two years of paying premiums, I was about to become a customer, and wanted to make sure I was covered. About that time Angy called me--I haven't talked to her in over a week and we had some catching up to do.

Of course, after about ten minutes of conversation, I had to run to the can, set the phone down on the sink, and yak once again. She thanked me for sharing that special moment with her and let me go while she popped into a store to run an errand.

But wait--this time, it wasn't just the dry heaves. A little tiny hunk o' steak came out, and with it my throat suddenly felt like it'd been hit with a gallon of Drano--no more gagging, no more painful hiccups, no more being unable to swallow. Apparently, I had been half-choking on a little tiny piece of steak from the nachos I shared with my gal Anna on Saturday morning around 3:00 am.

Just to make sure all was well, I went to the kitchen and gulped down two huge glasses of water. Not only did it go straight down with no ill effects, but I immediately felt 100% better. I drank a third, just to make sure I was good and re-hydrated, and then I fixed myself a tall glass of Coke on ice (no booze just yet). I called Angy back to tell her the good news, and we ended up talking for another half hour or so. She even said I didn't sound nearly as sick as I did earlier when she first called. And in all reality, I felt fine--100% better.

And to think, I was just choking on a piece of meat for almost 48 hours. Good lord, what a nightmare. And then when I thought about it, I realized, a few weeks ago when I got sick that night at work and they sent me home, I had just eaten a steak in the employee dining room. And back in January when I got sick in the restaurant at Main Street Station, thinking it was the water making me gag, I was eating a steak at that time too.

Apparently, I cannot eat steak unless is cut into tiny little pieces and chewed forever. But I've eaten steaks dozens of times in the past several months, so it doesn't happen every time, but it's the one common denominator that these three incidents shared.

So I didn't go to work, and it's like my weekend got a head-start. I mean, I left after only an hour on Sunday night, and now I don't have to be back until Thursday night at seven. Of course, Monday was completely wasted, but on the plus side, now I don't need to go to the doctor today.

Rob invited me to join him and his old roommate for a trip back over to Nevada Palace for a night of dollar craps, but I had to decline the offer. I didn't want to be too far from home just in case there was something really wrong and I started feeling sick again. Although, if I'm going to puke in a casino, it might as well be Nevada Palace. It's not like anyone there would notice... I also didn't want to be out and about and take a chance on somebody I know seeing me when I'd called in sick. Las Vegas is definitely a small down, especially in the casino biz, and I didn't want to take the chance on having to explain anything to the bosses. As far as they're concerned, I'm lying alone with my head in a garbage can, thinking of you till it hurts...

But I'm feeling a thousand percent better. Hell, I even had steak a couple of leftover chili-dogs for dinner. I figured that if I was going to puke, I might as well make it count. But I'm fine now. No hiccups, throat is clear, and I've been able to drink whatever the hell I want.

I'm back, baby!


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Quarter-Million Dollar Vagabond

Now that my daily chores are done and I'm in that dead space between starting any new projects and hopping in the shower and getting ready for work, I've been spending time on one of my favorite pr0n sites, Talk about hours of eye candy! Oh man, it's a digital version of the Little Blue Pill for those of us with a bit of saltwater in our veins.

There's just something about a nice salty-looking yacht with a clipper bow and a pleasing profile that just stirs the lust in me almost as much as a hot redhead with a low-cut top. But the problem with nice boats and hot redheads is that they both generally cost much more than I can afford. So it's all window-shopping at this point.

But damn, if I had about $300 large stuffed under the mattress and a couple grand in interest income every month, I'd be found pirating around the Caribbean in this gorgeous thing, sipping rum and listening to Brother Jimmy singing about how he wished he were me!

But we're still a few years away.

So I better put on my happy face and get to work. That boat ain't gonna buy itself.



Wow... Has it been three days already? Man, I guess time flies even when you aren't having fun. Regardless of the amount of fun I'm not having, it's been a busy week for me. Of course the obligations of working in the casino have drained most of my energy, causing me to spend most of my off-time recharging the old batteries by just lying in bed reading.

The good news is, I've finally paid off the Clark County Justice Court, done my five-hour sentence of online traffic school (no getting around that requirement--after each section, it would tell me that I have something like 22 minutes more I should be reading and reviewing before I could go on to the next page. Ugh.), and my clean driving record, as far as the DMV and insurance company goes, remains intact. No tickets or accidents for the past ten years. Truth be told, I've had two speeding tickets in the past six years, but a couple of days in traffic school has wiped my driving record cleaner than a teenage shoplifter's rapsheet on his 18th birthday. Of course, it wasn't quite painless--It still cost me $175, which I really can't afford this month, but The Man insists on being paid.

But that's how I spent my Thursday.

Wednesday night was a lot of fun. Rob talked me into going with him over to his old roommate's house for the evening. His old roommate, Chris, and his buddies have assembled a half-sized one-ended dice table in their dining room to practice dealing on, and host the occasional five-cent game. The lure of free canned beer and five-cent dice somewhere other than Boulder Highway was too strong to resist, so we spent several hours over there laughing it up. And of course I had two absolutely EPIC rolls, which I wish I could've saved for a real casino, because I turned a ten-dollar buy-in into fifty bucks. Yep, I made forty bucks on the dice table, a nickel at a time. Pretty much killed their seed-money bankroll, too. Heh. But thinking about that roll and fantasizing about moving the decimal point will drive me almost nuts, so I'm just happy that I could afford to stop for a burrito on the way home and pay for it with house money, with a little left over for some non-canned beer.

I've always thought it would be a pain in the ass and waste of perfectly good space to have a dice table in your dining room while living here in Vegas, but the honest truth is that since they've put it in, they've stopped going to the casino at night, thereby saving hundreds of dollars that would've easily been lost to the big boys on the strip. I guess that makes perfect sense, and it's more socially acceptable than holing up in their rooms and playing World of Warcraft for days on end.

Last night at work was a lot of fun. I saw a very deserving old drunk loser get his ass beat to a bloody pulp. He picked a fight with the wrong dude (half his age and strapped) and got dropped like an annoying girlfriend. Blood, smashed glasses, tossed out by security--he pretty much hit the dumbass trifecta last night, and I could barely contain my enjoyment while watching it happen. And his nasty wife got tossed, too, which was just the cherry on top of the Sundae when all was said and done.

On top of all that, I managed to snag the half-hour early push, so I was on the road home by 2:30 am. I stopped to top off the gas tank, wash the truck, and get some groceries. Once I got home and put everything away, I was tempted to hit the jacuzzi for a half-hour or so, but decided against it. I stayed up surfing the net for a bit before calling it a night and hitting the blob for a good six hours of sleep before being awakened by my goofy sister Amy.

I haven't talked to her in about a month, but it was nice to catch up--she's coming out to Vegas in October for a long weekend, and we're thinking of hitting the Jimmy Buffett concert at MGM. Of course, tickets have long been sold out, and the nosebleed seats are going for $175 or so on the scalper market. Most I've ever paid was fifty bucks, so I either have to stop buying groceries and gas for a couple of months, or do something creative here in this sunny place full of shady people to earn some extra cash... Hmmm...

Anyhow--It's time to do another load of laundry, fold the clean clothes, run the dishwasher, and prepare myself for another evening calling the action behind the green felt tables. I've been working on my Down goes Frazier! all afternoon.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Celebrating Black Laundry Month

I think I'm turning into a Ninja.

Before I moved to Vegas, I owned absolutely *no* black clothing. No black pants, socks, shoes, jackets, nothing. I wore either polo or Hawaiian shirts to work every day, with either navy, tan, or olive green khakis. That's it. And on my off days, it was more Hawaiian shirts or t-shirts, and shorts. I always thought black clothes were for shallow urban poseur-types that subscribed to the NY Times, drank wine with dinner every night, and shopped at Pottery Barn. Not my demographic.

Of course, Johnnie Cash looked good in all-black, but I didn't recognize his hipness until he was walkin' that line in the Great Beyond.

But when I made the decision to move to Las Vegas and become a casino dealer, I knew that I'd need a wardrobe update. I had plenty of white oxford shirts--those have been a staple of my wardrobe since my sophomore year in high school when my favorite cheerleader told me I looked good in one. But unless you plan on being a waiter, white shirts will only carry you through the auditions in this town. So I needed some new gear. Black socks, black shoes--with big comfy soles, black polyester pants that could stand up to the rigors of nightly abuse, and of course every casino ninja needs a black belt.

Well, that's where it started, and that portion of the wardrobe keeps growing on it's own. But now my current job requires us to wear black undershirts, too, if we wear one at all. I'm certainly not going to go without--I sweat too much, and a cotton undershirt actually keeps me cooler than not having one. And wearing one will keep nasty sweatiness from showing through the uniform shirt too. So for comfort and aesthetics, I now have a drawer full of black undershirts in addition to everything else.

My only nod to traditional clothing when at work was the fact that I wore regular old plain white Jockey boxer-briefs. More support than boxers, minus the geekiness of tighty-whiteys. Just like Victoria, that was my secret I kept underneath. Then one day I made the mistake of bending over to get an errant chip off the ground while wearing an old threadbare pair of pants. Polyester is tough stuff, but once it goes, it goes all the way.

Suddenly, my bright-white billboard of shame was on full display for anyone unfortunate enough to be looking in that direction at the time. All I can say is, thank god they were clean!

I live too far from the casino to make it home, change, and come back in time during my break, so I just had to grin and bear it, as they say. Of course, I turned my apron around, but that just drew more attention to the fact that I was mooning everyone in the pit for the rest of the evening.

Some of them probably deserved it though.

Anyhow, that was a bit embarrassing, but it taught me a lesson. Always keep a spare pair of pants in the truck, and start buying black 'fashion' underwear.

So now that I have to dress in black from head to toe five days a week, I have tons of cold-water washing to do on my days off. And my outfits have never been so coordinated in all my life! But all black from head to toe is rather dull, so I guess I'm lucky that the casino gives me shiny blue and maroon shirts to wear every night. Yep, fake satin long-sleeve bowling shirts with contrasting cuffs and wide disco-style collars.

So now I look like a cross between Johnny Cash and a 350-lb. peacock. From the 70's.

As Paris would say, That's hot!