Sunday, September 30, 2007

At Peace

What an exhausting weekend--and it's not over yet. I have worked my ass off the past two nights, and basically just collapsed in a heap as soon as I got home. I hope it's worth it, because the money was only so-so on Friday night, but last night, we were all making good tips and dropping lots of cash in the toke boxes. It felt like the good ol' days of a couple years ago when we'd get close to $200 on busy weekends. I just hope we get a little carry-over tonight, too.

As far as my college football picks go, lets just say I got completely crushed on Saturday. I swear I'm not picking a Big 10 favorite again for the rest of the season. My pro picks are looking good--but at this very moment the Steelers are down 14 points against the spread in the fourth quarter, so it looks like I'll go 3-for-4 today. Not too shabby.

But it's tough for me as a sports fan at this time. Just as soon as the (baseball) Cardinals got hot and closed within a game of the Cubbies and Brewers, they immediately ripped off a nine-game losing streak, thus guaranteeing no trip to the post-season. So even as big of a rival as they are, I'm pulling for the Cubbies to go all the way.

And my Rams. Oh good lord, how could so many people be so wrong about this team before the season started? They are absolutely horrible. Granted, they have no offensive line, Steven Jackson tore his groin (an injury that nobody wants to talk about, much less think about), and Bulger has a couple of busted ribs. So basically, the Rams are put-a-fork-in-them done for the 2007 season, and I can salvage a little positivity by betting against them (like I did today) and making a little bit of cash on the side.

Ain't America great?

But as bad as my two favorite teams are, there are a few bright spots in the sports world. Arizona State is looking strong, and I'm enjoying that 5-0 start they're off to. Unfortunately, they share a conference with Cal and USC. But I'm enjoying the ride for now. And who doesn't love watching that season-long train wreck at Notre Dame? That's got to be the highlight of the college season right now, watching them get their asses kicked every week and seeing that smug-assed Charlie Weis sweat his way through press conferences. Sports pundits like to say that college football is more fun when Notre Dame is good--and they might be right--but damn, it sure is a blast to see them suck so bad, too!

And as a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, I absolutely loved watching the Mets collapse. I've hated them for years (and even had a "Mets are Pond Scum" t-shirt back in the eighties), and seeing them completely piss away a seven game lead when they had seventeen to play has put an extra spring in my step today.

So even though my teams completely suck ass, I can take small consolation in the fact that I'm not a Mets fan dialing the suicide hotline today, or a fair-weather Notre Dame bandwagon rider, having to just shut the hell up and sip from a huge flask of Irish whiskey mixed with FAIL.



Saturday, September 29, 2007


Damn, the last two days of work have just worn my ass out. I'm so tired right now, that I'm damn near passing out in my chair at my desk, but I wanted to make a quick update. I've got a few posts in the pipeline--nothing big like the cruising story or the dalmation story, but a few fragments rolling around in the attic that I'll take a stab at later in the week when I get some free time. I've also got a bunch of college football picks to post, but damn, I just don't feel like digging out the tickets right now and making that list. I'll do it in the morning after I wake up (It's 3:20 am right now).

Anyhow, I'm so sleepy, I think I'll just pass out under the window listening to the wind howling outside (It's a gale out there, minus that whole ocean thing...)

I'll catch up later.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another Mystery Solved

I don't know why all grocery stores do it, but they seem to purposely hide the Velveeta. Not that I make a habit of buying a log of greasy pseudo-cheese, but sometimes I need to get my hands on some. Like during football season when I want to make a crockpot full of my famous nacho cheese dip. (Easy recipe--1 brick of Velveeta, 1 can of Rotel tomatoes, heat for 2 hours in the crock pot. Double the recipe if going to an office potluck or a tailgate party).

Anyhow, I never eat the stuff except to use it in recipes. I'll keep sliced American on hand for sandies, but if I'm feeling flush with cash, it's Alpine Lace Baby Swiss, or a chunk of Havarti (the best cheese ever invented, in my not-so-humble opinion). Anyhow, since I'm more of a Sandra Lee-type of cook and less of a Tyler Florence, Velveeta works for me when it's time to make a cheese dip. It's quick, easy, and everyone raves about the dip--no babysitting a double boiler or anything like that.

But the problem is, Velveeta isn't really a "food", and as such, it's tough to categorize. So grocery stores don't seem to know where they want to display it on their shelves, making it tough to find when I finally decide that I want to buy some. I can tell you this--it's *never* found anywhere near the rest of the real cheese. So it's always an expedition when you go to a new grocery store and decide that you want to buy some Velveeta. It's always hidden somewhere way out of sight, like hot chicks at a Phish concert. And being a typical male, it's against my code to stop and ask for directions. So we've just gone without for these first few weeks of the football season.

Well, on the way home from school earlier this week, I stopped and did some grocery shopping at the local Walmart Market. Although it's the only place I buy groceries anymore, the Smith's and Albertson's in my neighborhood being ridiculously expensive, it's still somewhat new to me. But I was wandering the aisles picking up a few odds and ends and I happened to find the Rotel tomatoes, so I picked up a couple of cans. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of the Velveeta remained a mystery and I couldn't find any during my wanderings.

As I went to check out, the cashier asked me the required "Did you find everything you were looking for today?" question. Instead of my usual nod in the affirmative, I asked. Well, not that I need it now, but where the hell do you keep the Velveeta???

I could see the look of panic cross his face as it was clear that he had no idea. While he was scanning all my groceries and bagging them up, it was easy to tell that the gears were turning in his head. He finally had a moment of clarity and said "I think it's on aisle 2. Yep. Aisle 2--I'm sure of it!"

He offered to go fetch some, but I told him I'd be back on Friday night after work and pick up my football-watching supplies for the weekend (Beer, chips, mustard, Velveeta...)

As soon as our transaction was complete, I started pushing my cart towards the door, and he sprinted off in the direction of Aisle 2, obviously seeking confirmation. I hadn't gotten completely out the door when he came running back towards me, waving a brick of Velveeta like a crazy cheese-man, yelling "Yes--Aisle 2!!!"

Luckily there were no hot milfy-types anywhere nearby doing their shopping, so I was only partially embarrassed by the cashier's cheesy enthusiasm. I nervously thanked him and made my escape to the parking lot.

So now at least, I know where to find it. And this weekend, we shall dine on nacho cheese dip!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Isaac Newton Can Kiss My Ass

I'm having a slight problem today. I don't know if my equilibrium is off, or if they set off a whole bunch of nuclear bombs over in China and altered the earth's rotation angle, or if my ass has just turned into a huge magnet. But gravity has not been kind to me today.

It started early this morning when I was putting my socks on--I slipped and fell out of my chair. Then once I went to put my shoes on, while standing up, I lost my balance and almost face-planted right into my bedroom door. But I managed to catch myself before I did any damage to my face or my door. I left the house without incident, but then I tripped over the sidewalk on my way across the parking lot at school this morning. I didn't detect a pattern until I knocked a stack of twenty gaming chips off of the poker table and all over the floor, making it necessary for me to crawl under the table and fetch them all.

I should've just stayed down.

After school was over, which by the way, is on the second floor (foreshadowing!), I was headed back out to my truck and about halfway down the stairs, I overstepped, just catching the edge of a step with my heel, causing me to stumble. Luckily I didn't go all the way down the flight and land in a crumpled heap at the bottom, but managed to grab a rail so all that happened was that I landed directly on my ass. That one actually hurt a little.

But I'm a trooper, so I got up, dusted myself off, and made it home without further incident.

Of course, I was hungry, having not eaten anything all day except for a handful of peanuts the hottie in my poker class shared with me. So I decided to make some lunch. It was a simple affair--a can of ravioli in the microwave, and some garlic/cheese bread in the toaster oven. Long-time readers know of my previous problems with canned pasta products and I thought I'd put that episode behind me. The can of Chef Boyardee ravioli opened with no problem, but when I went to put the sauce-covered tear-off lid into the empty can before tossing the whole thing in the garbage can, I missed, and it hit the counter and the floor, leaving a small red gooey mess. No problem--I have paper towels and a bottle of 409 handy.

So the main course was put in the microwave, and before I hit the start button, I buttered the bread, sprinkled on some garlic salt, and tossed a pinch of shredded cheese on top. As I picked it up, I fumbled, and the bread landed on the kitchen floor, butter side down. So did the dirty butter knife that was sitting on the edge of the counter...

Damn. Another mess.

I finally got the whole thing cleaned up, a new piece of toast made, and my lunch prepared.

As I sat down to watch Around the Horn, the first piece of ravioli fell off the spoon and landed directly on my shirt.

That's about the moment I snapped and let out a screaming stream of blue expletives that continued all the way through the first commercial break.

I just cannot get it together today. I've either dropped my shiat or fallen on my ass all day long today and I'm getting sick of it, so I've decided to fight back. First of all, I'm sitting on the floor and don't plan on moving for the rest of the day.

And I don't care if all my shit is stuck to the ceiling next week when I get home from work in the middle of the night, but I'll be DAMNED if I pay the gravity bill this month. They can turn that shiat off for all I care. I'm tired of dropping stuff and falling down.


The New Kid

Well, my first day back at school went pretty well. And yeah, I felt a little bit like Billy Madison going back in there, having pretty much finished the poker course a year ago. But I was a bit rusty and spent an hour working on technique all by myself at an empty table, while all the other students played their game at the main table, taking turns dealing a 2/5 no limit game.

But I eventually scored an invite to the table, and I actually got a seat next to the hottest girl in the class, which was cool. But being the hottest girl in poker school isn't really that much of an accomplishment--it's like saying I was sitting next to the smartest person in Kentucky. Not a lot of competition, if ya know what I mean.

Anyhow, it was sort of fun to be back, and the current crop of students didn't have any of the typical asshats who thought it was their job to create obstacles and make stupid bets trying to "teach" their fellow students "because it happens just like that in the real world all the time". Oh yeah, I've played a little Omaha in my day, and I've never seen SIX f*cking people go all the way to the showdown with four of them being all-in. That was the kind of stupid shiat that went on every day the last time I attended regularly, and it just drove me nuts.

But everyone seemed to actually be there to learn, not to show off their individual nuggets of knowledge, and the class went pretty smoothly. Hell, I thought I'd be all jacked up on side bets and what-not, but I did well, figuring out a monster pot with two side-pots. It looks like I'll just have to re-learn all the silly button and blind-posting rules, and smooth out the rough edges on my game for now.

So it was a good day, and somewhat productive. And I honestly think I'd be ready for an audition in less than a week if I had to. Let's just hope that some opportunities present themselves in the near future.

I stayed at school for about three hours, and came home before the traffic got too insane. And I realized, living down here in Henderson, there is just NO good way to get from my house to the school and back--I'm up the street from Green Valley Ranch, and the school is located in the DMZ between the LV Hilton and Maryland Parkway. It's at least a half-hour commute. So I'm thinking three days a week instead of five will probably be my likely schedule (Tue-Wed-Thu), as far as attending class is concerned.

Other than that, there's just not a whole helluva lot going on around here. It seems to be the calm before the storm, as all the buffoons from T2V will be here in about four weeks. I'm taking one night off for the party, but other than that, I'll miss out on most of the festivities. That's too bad, because I had a helluva great time last year--that's when I shacked up with Sticky and Angy at NYNY. Bow chicka bow bow!

Oh well, bedtime--gotta get up early.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Once More Into the Breach

Ok, I'm ready to go, just as soon as I get a few hours of sleep. I've got my Trapper-Keeper, my Evel Knievel lunch box, and my #2 pencils packed and ready to go. Clean clothes, matching socks, and a Trojan in the wallet, just-in-case.

To paraphrase Bowling for Soup, poker school never ends...

Yep, I'm heading back today, and this time I'm gonna stick around and keep going until I network my way into some sort of poker dealing job. I'll practice every day, go on auditions, and not be too picky when it comes to which rooms are hiring. As long as I can find one that lets me work day-shift, I'll take it, even if it's at a dump in North Vegas. I don't care anymore. I'll deal poker at Joker's Wild or the Poker Palace if need be. It's good experience, a foot in the door, and most importantly--tax-free income!

It's been so long since I practiced dealing poker that I've forgotten all the stuff I learned the first couple of times around. So I need a few weeks practice, anyways. And this time I'm gonna stick to it and find something that will eventually lead to a full-time gig in the poker room because I'm sick of going to work and learning that I've got to spend two hours of my Friday night dealing to the retards on Let It Ride... Grrrrr.... I'd rather my nightly letdown be finding out that I have to deal 7-Card Stud to the wheelchair-and-oxygen-tank crowd for an hour or two, instead.

Actually, I hope to be able to work two jobs for awhile. It'll pay the bills down faster, put money in the bank, and keep me out of trouble. And my full-time gig ain't that bad. I know I bag on it all the time, but for the most part, it's a pretty sweet deal. My co-workers are pretty cool, the bosses are mellow, and the cocktail waitresses let me flirt with them just enough to make me think I've got a shot. My main beef is with the amount of cash I make--I just want to make more, that's all.

So it's time to do something about it.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Holy Shiat!

I went 5-1-1 in my picks yesterday, and would've had a helluva payday had Penn State covered. Oh well, that makes my record 17-7-1, for a .708 winning percentage.

I guess I should have my own show and 900 number.

Of course, if I were smart, I'd load up on each game individually, and quit doing these stupid cheapie parlays, but damn, they sure are fun for five bucks a week.


UPDATE: Another holy shiat! I went 3-0-1 with my NFL picks this morning, too. Yep, I'll be cashing tickets tonight at work. Would've swept, but the Indy game was a push. Not too shabby!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pick the Unpaid Pros

I'm looking forward to a great weekend of football, and I think I'm slowly becoming one of those people who enjoy the college game more than the NFL. Don't get me wrong--I *love* the NFL, but unless you're sitting in a sportsbook with access to multiple games, or have DirectTV with the Sunday Ticket, it's just a royal pain in the ass to sit through an NFL game with all the damn commercials. At least on Saturdays, with the college games, there are usually more games available than I have TV's, so it's a rare moment indeed where all three TVs are showing commercials at the same time.

And living here in Nevada, where wagering on the games is not only legal, but encouraged, I find college to be easier to pick. The NFL is damn near next to impossible, and it's reflected in the fact that just today I made my very first picks of the NFL season. But we'll get to those in a moment.

As of last weekend, I'm 12-6 this season when it comes to picking college games against the spread. And last week was a terrible week for me. I had both UCLA and Louisville covering as favorites, and both of them lost outright. But this is the week that we right the ship, as they say.

Normally, I only pick five or six game a week, but this week I saw so many juicy ones that I went with seven of them. Here they are:

Illinois -2.5 over Indiana

Penn St -2.5 over Michigan

Cal -14 over Arizona

ASU -12 over Oregon State

UCLA -6.5 over Washington

Michigan State -11 over Notre Dame (I'm ridin' the Anti-Notre Dame bandwagon until the wheels fall off!!! Haven't lost yet!)

South Carolina +18 over LSU

Not only do I like these seven games, but I was also tempted to take Kentucky over Arkansas (they're getting 7 points, but I want to see one more game out of them--I'm thinking they shot their wad last week and are in for a letdown, so I didn't touch this game). I was also thinking about taking Iowa and the 7 points against Wisconsin, since the Badgers can't seem to cover this year like they were doing consistently last season, but opted out. And Bowling Green over Temple by 21.5 seems like a gimme, but damn, that's a lot of chalk. So I passed on those.

As far as the NFL goes, there were only four games I liked on Sunday's schedule:

Indy -6 over Houston

Patriots -16 over Buffalo

Packers +5 over San Diego

Steelers -9 over San Fran

And although I didn't bet it, like a dumbass, I like Dallas getting three points against Chicago. For whatever reason, I thought it was a Monday night game, and didn't get a bet in. But I can do it later tonight. Hopefully the line hasn't changed against me.

I can't wait for kickoff. Until then, sleepy time!


The Whole Eight Yards

Damn... for the first time in what seems like forever, I didn't get the early push at 2:20 am, and had to work the entire eight hours. Shiat--I'd been getting the half-hour Early Out for so long that I felt entitled. Oh well, now I understand the pain of all you working stiffs who have to do eight hours every day. Heh.

But it was a relatively easy eight hours--It was all on Pai Gow and Deuces Wild. I only had one old problem bitty on Pai Gow who was taking a shot on damn near every hand, so I had to put the hammer down. Unfortunately, I couldn't bust her, as much as I tried. But I told the floorman and the dealer who tapped me out, but they were already well aware of her assholedness. Deuces Wild was an easy table tonight too. Normally, every weekend we have a cadre of old women who play for hours on end, and they constantly bitch about their cards. They're affectionately known to us dealers as 'The Deucebags', but that's more of an inside joke...

Anyhow, none of them were there making life miserable for us, and I was dealing out some good hands, the table was fun, and everyone was making some money, dealers included. To make things even better, Lisa Lisa The One I Adore made an appearance, but my tables were full at the time. But I had a quick visit with her on break and we made tentative plans to go out after work, but apparently the cards were sour for her and she called it an early night. That, coupled with the fact that I had to stay till the Bitter End, conspired against any late-night buffoonery. But I was cool with that. I needed to go grocery shopping, I was tired, and I didn't really wanna spend the money that comes with hanging out at the bar.

Once I stepped outside, it was nice to walk to my truck in the pouring rain. We need it pretty badly, and at the time I felt like I could use a bit of a shower anyways... I made a quick stop at my friendly neighborhood Walmart grocery, picked up a few munchables that were needed for a weekend of football watching, and made my way home.

And instead of relaxing with a tall rum drink, I've got a glass of water here to keep me refreshed. I swear, I must be slippin'.

Or just getting old.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Oh Hell Yeah...

Here's the weather in Vegas for the next few days...

Chance of Storm
77° | 64°

Chance of Storm
76° | 59°

Mostly Sunny
81° | 62°

84° | 63°



Friday Update

Howdy everyone--I hope that everyone has had a great week and is looking forward to an even better weekend.

I'm back in the saddle here in Vegas, and it's good to be back. I'm refreshed and recharged, ready to get back into my usual groove. Last night was my first night back in the casino, and as happy as I was to be back, my good mood immediately turned sour as soon as I got to work and saw that I was scheduled to deal Let It Ride and two $5 blackjack games all night.

Just f*cking kill me now, I thought. I swear, present technology cannot measure my distaste for Let It Ride and 'fleajack'.

Anyhow, as it turns out, I only had to deal Let It Ride for an hour, and they ended up not even opening the other two blackjack games up in the bar, so I never got stuck on them. After my first hour in purgatory, I went to a quick training session for a new sucker game they're putting in, but luckily it's what we dealers call an "8:00 o'clock game" and since I start at seven every night, I'll likely never have to deal it. After that, I spent an hour in another mandatory training meeting that all employees have to go to every week for 12 weeks. Good lord--it's such a waste of time. My only thought is that the problem with my casino is NOT the front line employees, it's the jerkoffs with their names on their office doors who learned the theory of how to run a casino in classes at UNLV and not from behind a green-felt table. I could go on and on, but I'll refrain for now.

Anyhow, after all that, I actually ended up dealing dice for the rest of the night, which was nice. Although, it was tough at first--I hadn't dealt a busy dice game in almost four months, and I was stumbling around like a rookie lump for the first twenty minutes or so. After getting my bearings, it went much smoother for the rest of the night, but I caught myself trying to figure oddball payouts that I hadn't seen in weeks, hoping I'd either come up with the answer or the dice would seven-out before it would hit. Luckily, all mishaps were avoided and I didn't make any mistakes, even with a couple of strokers at the table playing black action.

Once I got home, I couldn't keep my eyes open and I went straight to bed.

I had to get up early this morning--at first I had an appointment/screening interview with a large casino down on the Strip, but yesterday I got the message that the position had been filled, but they *might* be calling me back again in a few weeks. No big deal--it was one of those situations where I filled out the application on a day I was pissed at my current job, and as soon as I hit the 'submit' button, I thought to myself "Man, I really don't wanna work there, do I?" so either way I'm cool with what happens.

Also, I had to be up early because we were getting a visit from the exterminators. Apparently, the apartment complex does industrial-strength spraying for bugs twice a year, and they just did it a couple of weeks ago. Well, the bugs get poisoned and seek refuge inside, and people on the ground-floor apartments, like Rob and I, started seeing the occasional pest about two or three weeks ago. F*ck that--for as nice a place as this is, I don't even want to see an ant on the driveway, so Rob raised hell and went down to the office and complained. Apparently, we weren't the only ones to bitch about it, so they scheduled the exterminator to come and spray all of our baseboards, corners, and entrances.

The guy showed up around 10:00 am this morning, and was done it ten minutes. According to him, we shouldn't have any more problems for several months, until they spray the outside again. Of course, everything around us is new construction, and there is a huge vacant construction lot next to the complex, so whenever the dirt gets churned up, the bugs, spiders, and scorpions are turned loose like a biblical plague. I'm just glad that we haven't had a problem with scorpions. Yet. But that's the price we pay for living in the desert. And knock on wood we haven't had to deal with any snakes on the patio, either.

Anyhow, since I got up early this morning, I surprised myself with how much I've accomplished today. My room is clean, the laundry is done, and all the little things I had to do are finished up.

I'm looking forward to a profitable weekend at work, and my off-time will be spent watching all the football I can handle.

Starting on Monday morning, however, I've decided that I'm going to go 'back to the beginning' and head back down to dealer school. And I'm going to keep going every day until I find some sort of poker dealing job. What's it been now, almost three years, give or take? I've gone off and on so many times, and could've easily gotten a job several times in the past if I'd just applied myself, but my inherent laziness took over. I kept telling myself that unless it was the 'perfect' situation, I didn't need a poker job. But the truth is, in this town, you never start out in the perfect situation. You have to pay your dues just like everyone else, and unless you really know somebody who can juice you into a position, this industry is almost a perfect meritocracy.

But while on vacation I realized that the reason I moved to Vegas was to earn enough cash to someday buy that sailboat, and so far the only saving I've done has been in my 401k. Granted, I've paid down a ton of old debt, and I've still got lots more to pay, but I need to be serious and start banking some big dollars or I'll never get out of here. And I don't wanna be one of those sixty-year-old guys I work with who have been dealing forever and have an endless supply of stories from 'back in the old days of Vegas'. I wanna be one of those old ex-pat guys on a sailboat, drinking rum, playing my guitar, and telling stories of when I used to work in Las Vegas.

I love it here, but I've always said, if I had my sailboat and enough to live on, I'd leave forever.

And if I don't find a second job where I get to keep all my tips in cash, I'll probably be here forever.


Hello CD Listeners...

It's hard to believe how fast this week has gone by. Vacations are always like that, workweeks seldom are.

My vacation started late last Friday night. I was coming back from break around midnight, and as soon as I sat down at a Pai Gow game, the last two people decided to color up, leaving me at a dead table. About that time the boss decided to close it up and let me get out early. So I did the usual game-closing rituals, signed my name on the proper forms, clocked out, and hit the door running. I had to be at the airport by 5:30 am.

I got home, did a last load of laundry, finished packing, did a little housecleaning and websurfing, then took a shower and headed out the door. I was thinking of driving myself to the airport and just parking in the long-term economy lot, but at $12 per day, that would end up costing me $60. And the fact that the shuttle bus doesn't drop you off anywhere near the departure area, forcing me to schlep my luggage about a quarter mile further than necessary, well, that was a deal-breaker. I called a cab.

Of course I got the dumbest cab driver in the history of Vegas dispatched to pick me up--he drove by me twice, and then missed the on-ramp to the 215. Once he finally got his ass turned around, he drove at a max speed of 50 mph on the freeway, causing me to be 20 minutes late and earning himself a more-than-generous sixty-cent tip on a $24 fare.

But there was no line at that hour, and I checked my bags and did the looooong hike from the Southwest counter all the way out to gate C-20.

Being a 'Gentleman of Stature', I bought the extra seat, which also earned me a pre-board pass. No worrying about an 'A' pass, no sitting in line on the floor, no cattle call. So I was the first one on the plane, took a window seat in 1-A, put my 'Reserved' sign in seat 1-B, and enjoyed all the legroom that comes with sitting behind the forward bulkhead while the huddled masses piled on behind me. It was as close to being in First Class as one could get with America's favorite discount airline.

We didn't have nearly a full flight, so we got an early start once everyone found a seat. The flight was very smooth, and I even managed to catch a catnap for about a half-hour. I also had a pocketful of drink tickets, compliments of one of my generous readers, and I used them up, starting with screwdriver to kick off my morning. One taste, however, indicated that not only were they not using top-shelf vodka, they weren't even using top-shelf orange juice. So after that I just drank Budweiser Select for the rest of the flight (Hey, my only other choices were Miller Light, Bud Light or Heineken--and I hate that skunky Dutch shiat).

I was the first one off the plane once we arrived (about 10 minutes early), but my luggage wasn't nearly as lucky. But as soon as it showed up, I hustled outside and Cyndi was waiting for me in her smooooove Lexus.

The plan for the day, I thought, was that she was having a party that night, so I figured I'd get to her place, take a nap, a shower, and be ready to go around 6:00 pm. Well, word around the campfire was that it was an all-day affair, and people (Reverend Dave) were going to start showing up around 3:00. So once we got to her place, which is waaaaay the hell out in the boondocks of Spring Hill, I had just enough time to take a shower and change clothes before everyone started showing up.

Between family and friends, there must've been about 30 people attending. We spent the day with college football playing on the big-screen, while we milled about inside and outside with cocktails and snacks. We played horseshoes, Bocci-ball, and some other game that involved tossing two golf balls that were tied together with a string, trying to hang wrap them around a three-tiered goal thingy set about 30 feet away. Nobody knew the official name of the game, but at some point we just adopted the name 'Horse-balls' and it stuck. And it was a huge hit with the drunks at the party.

Not only was it a great party, but the weather was extremely cooperative. It was sunny, breezy, and cool--around 78 degrees--quite the improvement from the 100 degree heat I'd been putting up with in Vegas for the past three months. Just a perfect day all-around.

It was also nice to see the whole family again--I hadn't been back to Tennessee in two years, so we had a lot of catching up to do. I met Cyndi and Amy's new dudes, Tim and Scottie, and we hit it off immediately--both are cool guys who survived the initial meeting of the whole family and still decided to stick around. And I also got to see my beautiful grand-niece baby Brynn, who I hadn't seen since she was just a couple months old.

But it was a fantastic get-together, and my cheeks hurt from laughing so much. My sister Amy, who is a complete goofball, had me giggling all day long. Between her, Cyndi, me, and Reverend Dave, talking in our 'sibling shorthand', not only did we have constant laughs, but I'm sure we drove Mamasan to the brink. (Not a long drive, mind you, but still...)

Later that evening, Tim fired up the grill and we had hot-dogs and hamburgers to soak up some of the booze we'd been consuming all day. We also lit up the Tiki torches and built a fire in the chiminea, so the party just kept on going. Scottie and Amy busted out the guitars while we sat around the fire, and their duet of 'Bobby McGee' was a huge crowd-pleaser. I even picked up the guitar for a bit and embarrassed myself for a few minutes before giving up in disgust, realizing that I hadn't played in almost five years. The calluses on my fingertips were no longer there, obviously having moved to my palms...

Anyhow, the die-hards stayed up late, sitting around the campfire, smoking cigars, and telling stories till the wee hours. It actually got so chilly out that everyone was huddled together wrapped in blankets, and about the time we ran out of firewood, we called it a night. Of course, most of the die-hards ended up just crashing in various places around Cyndi's spacious home, and I was lucky enough to score a queen sized bed all to myself, while Reverend Dave and his gal Carrie slept in the bunkbeds in the kid's room. Heh.

I slept like a rock for a good eight hours, not moving an inch. It had been a very long day, and I was very much in need of some relaxation anyways, and I took full advantage of the fresh air and comfy bed.

The next morning, everyone started stirring about the house. Tim took off to head to the Titans/Colts game with Sherry and her man Steve, while the rest of us had plans to go to Monel's for Sunday brunch. But once Cyndi put the coffee on and we were all sitting around in the living room chilling out, we decided to skip getting dressed and doing brunch. We sent Amy and Scottie down to the grocery store with a pile of money and instructions to buy breakfast food.

When they got back, Scottie fixed us a wonderful feast of banana pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee, and juice. From that point on, all we did was kick back in the family room and watch football all day. One by one, the siblings took off for home, leaving me, Cyndi, Tim, and Jake the dog to ourselves for the evening.

Our plan was to sit out by the fire again, but we just couldn't find the motivation.

Tim and Jake capture the essence of Sunday night at the end of a long weekend.

The next morning, I had to get up early. Tim and Cyndi both had to go to work, so I headed north up to Nashville proper. Tim dropped me off at a Cracker Barrel on the side of the freeway about halfway between their place and Mamasan's at 7:00 am, and she was waiting for me there in the parking lot. We stashed my gear in the trunk of her car and we went inside for a nice relaxing breakfast with just the two of us.

Breakfast was great, as usual, and we enjoyed coffee and good conversation for an hour or so before heading back to her place.

Monday was quite relaxing--we didn't do anything but play cards all day. I also tapped into her wireless network and was able to use my computer for a bit of websurfing and emailing that afternoon.

The plan for that night was dinner at Maggiano's. Originally we had reservations for a party of ten, but as the day wore on, people dropped out. It turns out that five of us ended up going--me, Mamasan, Amy, Scott, and Sherry.

We got there first and had drinks in the bar, but everyone else arrived shortly thereafter and were seated immediately.

Maggiano's is a huge hit with the T2V crowd, and the restaurant here in Vegas is one of my favorite places. The Nashville offering, however, left much to be desired. Our service was slow, our waiter farked up my order twice, and the food just wasn't as good as expected. Of course, the company and conversation made up for it, and the spinach salad and the 4-cheese ravioli were excellent, but our main courses were less-than-impressive, and we also had a bottle of wine that didn't quite cut it (but we remedied that with another bottle of Merlot...).

I have no idea what the total was for the five of us with two bottles of wine, salads, appetizers, and dessert, as Scottie insisted on covering the tab. I *knew* there was a reason I liked that guy... Actually, he's very cool and I swear he and Amy make the perfect couple.

This is the only picture I could find of Scott and Amy together--Saturday night at the campfire.

Anyhow, dinner was still a great time, and the meal was good if not spectacular. Afterwards, it was straight home to sleep off the food coma.

Tuesday was more of the same--the rest of the family had to go to work and whatnot, so Mamasan and I hung out at the house being entertained by her two cats, Max and Jack, while we played cards most of the day. We'd planned on going to Bob Evans for breakfast, which was a monthly tradition we had back when I lived in Nashville, but we decided to just hang out at the house instead, and she made some great grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, using garlic bread instead of regular wheat or sourdough. Damn, they were tasty. We also went to the grocery store and spent about fifty bucks on party supplies.

Yep, that night we had another get-together scheduled at Mamasan's place--this time just the family. She's got a big backyard with a couple of huge trees and a nice firepit, so the plan that night was to do a weenie roast and then make smores.

So that afternoon was preparation time--we gathered the firewood and folding chairs, refilled the tiki torches, and I spent an hour with a pair of pliers and a pile of wire coat-hangers making my special tried-and-tested hotdog/marshmallow roasters.

Everyone showed up after they started getting out of work, and we hung out in Mamasan's backyard for several hours, eating, drinking, laughing, and telling stories. It was a highlight of my week. Oooh, and Amy, cool chick that she is, brought over a HUGE bottle of Mt. Gay rum, which coincidentally she decided last year was one of her favorites too. So the party was a huge success, even though everyone seemed to like to make their smores with Reece's Peanut Butter cups instead of my Hershey's Extra Dark 60% cocoa chocolate. Heathens, all.

I don't have any pictures of that last get-together, but I'm hoping some members of the family will email me some. There was some funny shiat going down, I'm here to tell ya, but sadly no photographic record as near as I can tell.

But as much fun as we were having, everyone had to go to work in the morning so we didn't get to stay up too late. After cleaning up and saying my goodbyes to everyone, Mamasan and I played cards for about an hour before calling it a night.

We had breakfast and coffee the next morning, and she took off for her part-time job that she does, leaving me there alone with the kitties while I finished up my laundry and packed for the journey back home to Vegas. Amy came and got me on her lunch hour and dropped me off at the airport, and just a few hours later I was back in Vegas.

Funny, this was the first time I wasn't so excited to get here that I was going crazy watching the clock. But it was nice to get home and back into my normal routine.

And Vegas did just fine without me for a few days.


Thursday, September 20, 2007


Technical issues, coupled with a touch of laziness, have conspired against me today. I also have a few other projects I'm working on, plus I'm preparing a few documents I'll need for a meeting I have tomorrow.

Stories of my Tennessee adventures will have to wait.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I got back from Nashville, safe and sound, about four hours ago. It was a long flight (Don't *all* flights to Vegas seem too long?) and I'm pretty tired, so I think I'll be going to bed early. I'll post a recap of the weekend sometime tomorrow morning.

As much fun as I had, it's good to be home.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Because I Can't Say No To Andrea...

Here are some more pics from the weekend:

Your humble correspondent sitting by the fire, smoking a Partagas, and trying to remember three chords and the truth.

Further proof that you should never bring your kids to a party with me and my sisters. This here is Jackson and Baby Brynn, Alli's kids.

The chiminea. Much fun after dark.

Reverend Dave and his main squeeze, Carrie.

My niece Jennifer and her son Carson. I'll be surprised if this kid survives till he's ten. He hit himself in the head with every possible loose object he could find this weekend.

Mamasan eating with no hands, accompanied by my nieces Diana and Rachel.

My sister Amy and me. She's by far the goofiest in our family of goofballs.

Tim, Cyndi, and Jake the dog.

More later... lunch is ready.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Me and My Homegirls

Hey everyone! Not only am I still alive and kickin', I survived the trip out to Tennessee and I'm having a great time. It was a looooong weekend, but I finally got some sleep after being awake for about 38 hours straight to kick off the trip . I spent the first two days over at Cyndi's house (got lotsa pics from the party on Saturday night), and now I'm at Mamasan's place, and we got the wireless network up and running, so I can use my laptop to check the mail and whatnot.

Anyhow, that pic above is of me and two of my nieces, Diana and Alli (Cyndi's daughters), at some point during the party on Saturday. Almost everyone was there, and we had a lot of laughs, as expected. But the crowd at that end of town had to go to work today, so Mamasan and I had breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel and headed back to her place where I can relax and enjoy the quiet breeze and the fresh air while the cats use me as a huge chew toy.

Did I mention how awesome the weather is here this weekend? Clear and cool Indian summer days with chilly nights. I'm lovin' it.

Anyhow, that's all for now--I'll post more pics and experiences later. Right now I've got to raid Mamasan's liquor cabinet.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Has Two Thumbs...

... And Likes the Boobies?

... And Is On Vacation?


I'm outta here!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Almost Outta Here!

Woo Hoo--Friday afternoon! I'm almost on vacation! Now I know what the rest of the world feels like when the end of the week rolls around. I just got back from the bank and running the last of my last-minute errands. I think all I have left to do is just top off the gas tank, but I'll do that on the way home from work in the morning.

After that, it's throw the clothes in the duffel bags (I no longer own a proper suitcase...), pack my carry-on, and call a cab. I have to be at the airport at 5:30 in the blessed a.m., so I have no idea when or even if I'm gonna get any sleep again until late Saturday night. I may doze on the plane for a bit, but that ain't gonna cut it. And once I get to Tennessee, the party is ON.

I was thinking about parking the truck in the long-term lot but that would cost me $60 for five days, plus the fact that the shuttle buses don't drop you off at the departure area--you've got to schlep all your gear up a couple escalators, across the baggage claim area, down another escalator, and then to the departure desk. Forget that . Two cabs will cost me about $35 and be much quicker and easier.

Before I forget, I also want to thank a couple of my readers for their generosity--besides the two sailing videos I got last week, someone else sent me a pack of SW airlines drink tickets for the flight, so I can get good and looped before hooking up with the family, and they also enclosed a twenty-spot with strict instructions that it was only to be used for drinks on the flight back to Vegas next week... Heh. And just this morning I was lying in bed awake, having just shut off the alarm, but not quite up yet, and I heard the doorbell ringing. I jumped up, and as I was putting some pants on, I thought Oooh, maybe it's that hottie Tiffany from down at the office hand-delivering a package... So for a split second I debated whether or not to actually put on the pants. Luckily I did, because it wasn't Tiffany, it was the UPS man, delivering a goodie from my Amazon wishlist. Seems that one of my British readers was kind enough to send along a copy of To Rule the Waves--How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World. History geek that I am, of course I dig the subject.

Thanks again everyone--I really appreciate it!

Anyhow, that's the news. I think I'm gonna go ahead and try and take a short nap before going into work tonight. I know I'm gonna need it.

Blogging will be light-to-nonexistent for the next six days or so.

Mikey out!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Best Damn...

... Frozen Pizza???

As most of you know, I've been on a quest for the Best Pizza West of the Hudson for several years now. It hasn't been a dedicated pilgrimage, like those dorks in New Zealand with that ring, but whenever I'm out and about and have a chance to try a new pizza place, I usually do, and I usually come away somewhat less-than-impressed. So far, the clear winners are NYPD in Phoenix, and NY Pizza & Pasta here in Vegas. Both are head and shoulders above the competition as far as New York style thin crust pizza is concerned. Nobody else--that I've tried--even comes close.

But living down here in Henderson, it's a huge commitment to drive all the way over to the northwest side of town to get a slice of the good stuff. NY P&P is way over on Jones and Sahara, hell and gone from my southeastern neighborhood. So eating at my favorite pizza joint is a once-a-month treat at best.

What do I do in the interim? Well, there's a Metro Pizza outlet down the street on Horizon Ridge and Stephanie, but even though they make a damn good pie, they are a distant, and somewhat pricey, second. And due to speeding tickets, IRS goons, and shiatty tokes, it's been a cash-strapped summer for me. Eating out is a luxury I haven't been able to afford as much as I'd like to.

But I think I found a decent substitute.

Frozen pizza has come a long way in the past decade or so, but I think it has finally reached it's zenith. I've always been a fan of Red Baron frozen pizza, and will occasionally buy one when they go on sale. I've never liked the expensive Freschetta or Di Giorno varieties--I mean, they ain't that great anyways, so why spend the extra cash? And as tasty and cheap as Totino's are, they don't quite fill the hole when you've got the munchies. I used to like Tombstone, but their quality turned to shiat and they went cheap several years ago and I haven't bought one since.

Anyhow, last week when I was grocery shopping at my local WalMart Neighborhood Market, I saw that they had Red Baron Thin Crust pizzas on sale for $3.75. It didn't seem like a bad price, so I picked up a pepperoni one.

It sat in the freezer for a few days, and then Saturday and all-day college football rolled around. Instead of grilling up some burgers or going through the hassle of making nachos or tacos or something, I just threw that bad boy in the oven, and eleven minutes later I was dining on some damn fine frozen thin-crust pizza goodness. Probably the best frozen pizza I've ever had.

It was certainly better than I expected, so I think it's gonna get a spot in the regular rotation as far as weekend football snacks are concerned.

The price is right, and I don't have to cross the Strip to get it, either.


Update: Apparently, I'm not the only one impressed with the Red Baron Thin Crust offerings.

The Latest Annoyance

Just the other day, I was doing the happy dance while watching ESPN's coverage of the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event, because most of the biggest asshats had been eliminated. Mike Matusow, Phil Helmuth, Bruce Buffer, Devilfish Ulliott (who I used to like, until I saw how he treats other players on a regular basis), and a thousand other wannabes who would literally do anything for their fifteen minutes, much less a shot at eight million and a bracelet. Only the Sombrero of Asshats, Humberto Brenes, remained as the token Annoying Player that ESPN has to feature.

But as big of a farking retard the Humberto Brenes is, his asshattery absolutely pales in comparison to the Turban of Asshats, Hevad Khan. I don't know if anyone else has been watching the coverage and seen his stupid antics, but I swear to God, he is the most annoying dipshit in a profession that attracts more than it's fair share of annoying dipshits. What I find hard to believe is that nobody else at his table has had the strength of personality to tell him to sit down, STFU, and just play cards.

And to make it worse, I just found out that this douchebag made the final table, so we'll be seeing his sorry act for the next several weeks. I guess it's too late to wish somebody would beat his ass just on general principle, so I'll just have to resort to rooting against him from now on like I do with the others mentioned in the first paragraph.

Good lord what a tool.

I swear to God, if I'd been sitting next to him at the table and he popped me on the hat while doing his gay-assed touchdown celebration, I would've cockpunched that fucktard so hard that he wouldn't have made a sound for the rest of the week except for an occasional gasp whenever he tried to inhale.


I hope he blows all of his winnings on Asian hookers and comes down with an incurable and painful crotch rash.


Back In My Writing Chair opposed to sitting on the couch watching SportsCenter reruns.

It's Wednesday, which means that I've seen every possible college/NFL highlight at least ten times now, along with all the accompanying chatter. Now it's just looking forward to the weekend and another slew of games I have no idea which way to bet on.

But wait--This Saturday, I shall miss most of the morning games due to the fact that I will be flying back to Nashville. And I shall miss most of the evening games due to the fact that we'll be grilling and partying at my sister Cyndi's house. Oh well, it's a small price to pay. Of course before I get on that big brown bird on Saturday morning, I'll be sure to make a stop at the sports book and buy a few tickets, because even if I can't watch the games, it doesn't mean that I can't bet on them. Just like the Founding Fathers intended. Or something like that.

Anyhow. It's a lazy day here at Casa de Mikey. I got up way too early this morning, because my sister decided to call me at 8:00 am. Damn. Nobody calls that early except bill collectors. So I've heard... I guess the family is gettin' excited for my long-awaited return and needed to discuss plans for the weekend. Basically my plan is to do a lot of drinking and laughing. I don't know about the rest of them crazy fools, but they're welcome to join me.

After that, I plan on just enjoying the fact that I'm not looking at the same old fleas I see every day. I'm gonna sleep in, breathe clean air, and stare at the trees. I haven't seen one in months. I might also spend some time telling tales of life in Vegas, if anyone is interested.

In the meantime, all I have to do is wash my clothes and pack. Word around the campfire is that it's gonna get down to 50 degrees at night, so I'll have dig deep into the closet to find a sweater and maybe a hoodie. I no longer own any cold-weather clothing. Hell, I'll even have to dig to find a pair of jeans. All I wear out here is shorts on my days off and those uber-trendy black pants to work.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Too Cool

I don't know why I took this test--I'm not into the usual 'nerd' pursuits, and I suck at computers and science fiction. But here ya go-- It turns out that I'm an 'Uber Cool Non-Nerd'. Heh. Wait till the ladies find out... says I'm an Uber Cool Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

I'm guessing Falcon Rob, Dave P, and Big Stogie will blow me away at this, nerd-percentile-wise.

In other news, I'm a little pissy right now, as the Cardinals are blowing a perfect opportunity to gain ground on the Cubs, and I turned the damn game off in the fourth inning because the Redbirds were already down five runs. Ugh. I even had two TVs going at the same time here in the Man-Cave, one for the baseball game, and the other on ESPN with it's all-day NFL programming (and not one mention of Michael Vick, thankfully!). But there's only so much Stuart Scott I can take, so once the baseball game got out of hand, I pretty much just gave up on tv for the afternoon.

Almost forgot--we finally have some resolution with our smoke alarm problem. I seems that Rob was cooking a pizza in the oven the other day, and of course the damn smoke alarm went off again. (And our oven is clean, it's not like there were a bunch of smoking crusties lying on the bottom just waiting to combust). Anyhow, after beating the thing unsuccessfully with the broom handle trying to make it shut off, we got fed up, fetched a folding chair from my room and Rob climbed up and took the thing off the ceiling. It looks like our smoke alarms used to be hardwired, but have since been retrofitted with plain old nine-volt batteries. Once we learned this, the batteries came out. We haven't had a problem since, and the house hasn't burned down, either.

As far as work goes, it's my Friday night and I'm pretty damn happy about that. It should be an easy one, although I have no idea what I'll be dealing tonight (the roadmap hadn't been posted before I left work early this morning). The smart money is on Pai Gow, though.

I thought last night would've been a good one--I was on my favorite 'string' of games--two Pai Gows and Deuces Wild. But by 9:40 pm they'd thrown the roadmap out the window and we went to what is called 'The Rubberband', which basically means that you no longer stay on your same games you were scheduled on, but when you come back from break, you have to check in with the floorperson in charge and they will assign you to a table. So it's completely random at that point--you could go from Pai Gow to blackjack, to another carnival game, back to blackjack, all night long. And when we get on the rubberband, it's usually not full hours on the tables, either--it's either twenty minutes on, twenty off, or maybe forty on/forty off. Makes for a sucky evening if you have good tables--which I did.

All griping aside, it turns out that we made decent money last night--our biggest day in about a month. Thank god for the return of the NFL.

But as tough as it was to bounce around all night and take all those extra breaks, I'm not taking any more Early Outs, as tempting as it was last night. First of all, I can't afford it, and second of all, a bunch of people on my shift started getting letters from the payroll office telling them that since they didn't maintain at least a 32-hour per week average last quarter, they have two weeks to bring it up, or else they get punted back to the Extra Board, losing all benefits and everything. It's happened to a couple of people on my shift already, and I can't afford for that to happen to me. But I'm in no real danger--the only early outs I take are the occasional hour or two here and there, maybe an hour on my Friday night--some people sign up to go home immediately, or ASAP, and don't work but two or three hours per night.

What makes it even worse is that they go to the BOTTOM of the Extra Board when it happens, so it might take them eight months or more before they get full-time status back. So after spending years getting seniority, then finally getting the shift and days off they want, they lose it all. On the plus side, that means that Rob just picked up some instant seniority.

Anyhow, as much as I'm hoping the money picks up at work, my attitude towards the place is slipping. So I've decided that when I get back from Tennessee I'm going to be going back to school full time to practice that whole poker-dealing thing, do some networking, and maybe, just maybe, find a decent daytime job in a poker room somewhere which might eventually lead to a full-time gig.

And I've also got an interview scheduled upon my return for a dealing job on the Strip. I don't have high hopes, it's just a screening interview, no audition, but at least it's forward progress. The thing is, I'm not sure I even want the job. I certainly want the money, but I'm not so sure about the hassle of working down on the Strip, and starting all over again at the bottom (I'd still keep my current job if the schedule allows--and if the schedule doesn't allow, well, I won't take the new job. The money ain't that great). But I felt like I need to do *something* to get out of the rut I'm in. We'll see.

Maybe I just need the vacation.


Monday I've Got Friday On My Mind

Howdy everyone, I trust that y'all had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxing, in a sports-junkie sort of way. As far as my sports betting proficiency goes, I do about as well at that as I do in poker tournaments--just well enough to make a little money and get me hooked, but not nearly good enough to make a living, along with the occasional days where I just get crushed.

In other words, if sports betting were a poker tournament, I didn't quite make it to the final table this weekend. Damn Huskers. And Bulldogs. And Rams.

Oh well, the good news is that I've only got three more days of work before I'm on vacation and away from the mind-numbing and soul-sucking environment of the casino. I cannot wait to spend a few evenings where I hear nothing but crickets instead of slot machines. And spending a few days reconnecting with the nutty branches of the family tree will do me some good, too.

In the meantime, I think I shall get some sleep.

More later.


Friday, September 07, 2007

You Think You Know Somebody...

I'm afraid my roommie has snapped. At this very moment, from my room, I can hear him singing Rocky Top in his shower (and he's an Ohio State guy). Couple that with his recent blogging about the WNBA and his love of Star Trek reruns and it just adds up to one big question mark.

I guess I won't start worrying too much about it until we get to the point where I don't have room in the freezer for my ice cream due to all the body parts...


Friday Afternoon Update

Hey everybody!

Sorry for the dearth of postings, but there has been nothing really newsworthy happening in the past couple of days. My days off have been dull--I didn't leave the house except to go grocery shopping, and my workweek started up again last night. There was nothing interesting going on in the casino, either.

I'm glad that the NFL season is finally underway, but starting on a Thursday is sort of anti-climactic, since we have to wait three days for the rest of the teams to play. I'm just glad that this game wasn't on Sunday, because I totally would've bet on the Saints to cover. Talk about dodging a bullet!

In the meantime, I want to thank reader Garry, from Ocanada, for his generous package I received from Amazon yesterday. It seems that he was browsing my wishlist and sent along a couple of cruising/sailing videos that I had been interested in. Thank you very much! Unfortunately, due to my sleep schedule and the fact that this a a sports-junkie weekend, I won't be able to watch them until Tuesday at the earliest. Or I may just save them and take them on the plane with me next weekend and watch them on my laptop during the flight.

Other than that, life is extremely boring at the moment. I could bitch about work, but they *seem* to have made a couple of positive changes in the past couple of days that should put an extra buck or two in my pocket, but we'll see. And as much as it sucks for Rob, who is on the Extra Board, they've cut back the part-timers hours significantly next week. I don't know if that's really necessary on his shift, but on my shift, I *know* we have waaaaay too many dealers working after midnight, so if there are fewer part-timers lurking about, it's better for the rest of us. But it's just been slow all over.

I think I'm about the only dealer in all of Las Vegas who hasn't applied at the new Palazzo casino they're adding on to the Venetian. It seems like a nice gig, but they had about 5000 people apply for 600 dealer jobs. And the rejection letters started arriving this week--a couple of my good friends, who are *excellent* dealers, got the bad news already, and I have a couple of other friends who still have auditions scheduled. Me? I dunno, it seems like a good gig, but I just knew that it would be a stampede of people trying to get over there. They all seem to think it's gonna be a $300 per day job, but those players have to come from somewhere. I'm guessing that the Venetian will be competing against itself for a majority of the action. I don't pretend to know, but as slow as things are right now, it's hard to imagine another huge new casino opening up that isn't going to scavenge players.

Hopefully things will pick up soon. Hell, maybe it's just my casino that's slow. If that's the case, it might be time to seek greener pastures.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

About Fricken Time!

Damn, What a Boring Hump Day

Seriously, there is nothing going on around here of interest. Ever since I got out of work late Monday night, I've been catching two-hour catnaps here and there, and the rest of the time I've been shuffling around the house, doing the occasional chore, preparing some food, surfing the net, or watching tv. Since this month has been the worst month financially since I went full time at the casino, I've not had any extra spending cash to go out and get into any Vegas-style adventures, either. No new restaurants, nothing interesting to see. Hell, I don't even feel justified in spending the cash to go play in a poker tournament until I see our tokes get back up over $150 per day.

Besides, I'm saving any extra cash on hand for my trip back to Tennessee, although it'll be a cheap one. I'll be bouncing around from different family members' houses, and I don't need a rental car, either. Basically, I'm just biding my time until I go on vacation.

In the meantime, I just got finished with scrubbing the bathroom, likening the experience to a Russian nuke technician on the K-19 working on the reactor meltdown for as long as I can before being overcome, except in my case it's bleach fumes instead of radiation. But the throne is as clean as it's ever been, and the whole place smells like a swimming pool. I still have to figure out something to use on the glass shower enclosure--the hard water and soap scum have made it almost opaque, and glass cleaner doesn't work for shiat.

I've also started on the mountain of laundry that's been climbing the wall in my bedroom like runaway kudzu. It's amazing, for the amount of dirty clothes I have, it sure seems like I wear the same thing every day. My current uniform consists of my March Madness II T2V t-shirt, a pair of Elvis boxers, and a three-day beard. All I need is a hot girl from the cable company to make a surprise service call, and I could be starring in my own porno.

Anyhow, I think it would be good to get out of the house for a bit, so I'm gonna put on some shorts with pockets and maybe a pair of shoes and do a little grocery shopping. It's my night off, I'm out of Coca-Cola, and I still have to do something with that bottomless bottle of Malibu rum.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Jersey Update

Still no word from the bosses on whether or not we can start wearing jerseys to work on the weekends, but that's cool, as I don't have the spare cash to buy one this week anyways. But I've been doing a lot of thinking about which jersey to go with. Since the NFL won't allow me to do a custom Jack Youngblood jersey, I have to go in another direction.

Of course, the Rams are My Team. And I love 'em and root for them. But there are a few caveats to getting a Rams jersey. First of all, I want somebody's jersey who will still be on the team for several years. I don't want to be that drunken jackass that buys a Kendrell Bell jersey that becomes obsolete a couple months later...

And I'm still not sold on Marc Bulger and his prospects for long-term success as the quarterback. I'd *love* for him to do well and be an All-Pro, but I've got a nagging feeling that even though he has a new juicy contract, he's not the answer. (Do you Bears fans buy Grossman jerseys? Not that I'm comparing Bulger to Grossman, but you know what I mean...) So I doubt that I'll be wearing that one. I'd also consider getting a Stephen Jackson jersey, but he's the 'trendy' pick nowadays, and I'm starting to see his jersey on a lot of people--most of whom have never been Rams fans until recently. Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce are out of the question, because just like fat chicks shouldn't wear spandex or thongs, fat white guys should never wear a receiver's jersey. It's just wrong on so many levels.

Rob suggested Orlando Pace, as he's an All-Pro lineman. But I'm still sore at Mr. Pace for his protracted hold-out a couple years back. Brothaman was going for the dollars and isn't playing for the love. He'd never give a hometown discount in the free-agent market, so I won't wear his jersey, either.

I guess I just really had my heart set on Old School players with New School jerseys for the past few years, and I'm just disappointed.

So I'm leaning toward my bandwagon pick--A Reggie Bush Saints jersey. It seems that the Saints are everyone's second favorite team nowadays, and I'm no different. If the Rams aren't going to the Super Bowl, I'd like to see the Saints go. And Reggie Bush is just gonna blow up this year. Not only that, he's the most exciting player in the NFL, besides maybe LT.

But getting a Reggie Bush jersey makes me no better than the better-late-than-never crowd wearing Stephen Jackson's jersey nowadays. I dunno. Maybe I am a hypocrite, but I root for Reggie Bush every week, and that black jersey has a slimming effect... I could use that.

On the other hand, I could just stick with my Rams jersey, and just customize it. I'll go with number 21, and have 'THE COOLER' stitched on the back where my name goes.

I think that would be perfect for work.



I hope everyone had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend, especially those readers who happened to be in Labor at some point over the past few days. Mine was dull dull dull. I worked, slept, and bitched about tokes with my co-workers. Seriously, it's getting so bad. I think we only made $120 on Saturday night, and $138 on Sunday night. That still works out to around $48,000 a year, but that's not enough. for me. I'm getting pretty fed up, and have decided to look for a new job as soon as I get back from Tennessee in a couple of weeks. Second job, part-time job, unrelated to casino biz job, or a totally-new full-time job? I don't know. All I know is that I need more income and/or a change of scenery or I'm going to eventually snap. I like dealing. I'm just sick of seeing the same old fleas every day, and busting my ass for crappy money.

I still haven't gotten used to the fact that everyone else's weekend is winding down and you're all shuffling off to work, and my weekend is just beginning. So I hope y'all have a good, if shortened, work week. I've got a lot planned for my days off, most of it doing with organizing my life a little better. I'm going to do a lot of cleaning and scrubbing, and start tackling all those little things that I've been jotting down on post-it notes for the past several months. I think I might also find my way back down to poker-dealing school at some point. I'm also going to wash, fold, hang up, or stow every piece of clothing I own, so that I'm not living out of laundry baskets like I have been for the last three lazy weeks.

At some point, after my chores are done of course, I have to catch up on my tv-watching. Since we got the HDTV, there have been tons of programs I want to watch, but just don't have the time to sit through them. And our DVR memory is about 80% full already, so it's time to clean house there, too.

Some things will stay--several weeks ago Rob recorded the 2007 Fiesta Bowl off of ESPN Classic, and it was a mainstay last week while we were preparing for the college football season to kick off. That game (the one between Oklahoma and Boise State, where Boise ran all those trick plays and won in overtime) is one of the most enjoyable games to watch, and maybe even one of the all-time greatest bowl games. It's so good, and almost inspiring to watch, that it's like watching Rocky all over again. And the stunned look on all the old grouchy Oklahoma fans faces at the end is just priceless.

But since yesterday was the unofficial end of summer, the Discovery HD Theatre channel was teasing us with nothing but beach programming all day long. When I got home from work early in the morning, they were showing another episode of my new favorite way to unwind after a shiatty night in the casino-- Sunrise Earth. I don't know if any of you folks have ever watched it, but it's the epitome of stoner tv. It's all nature scenes and sounds in glorious high-definition and digital surround sound. And yesterday's version was just waves crashing on a beach after a storm-- for an hour straight. It's even better than the Shark Reef aquarium channel on the room tv's at Mandalay Bay.

I swear, if I would've had this available to me back in college, I would've hit the bong every day and sat around watching it for hours on end, failing out of school at least three or four years earlier and thereby saving myself thousands of dollars and several years in student loan payments.

Damn you, technology!

Anyhow, after scanning the day's offerings on that channel, I set several programs to record, and went about my business. Currently, I'm also recording a show called 'The Beauty of Snakes', which should be pretty spiffy in HD. And I just finished watching 'Fighter Pilot - Operation Red Flag' which I saw two years ago at the IMAX. And it's just as cool in my living room as it was at the Luxor.

There was also an Anthony Bourdain marathon on the travel channel, and I would've loved to record all of that, but that was just overkill. As much as I love his show, and his commentary, it's all pretty much the same--only the scenery changes. He travels to an exotic locale, meets a lot of 'salt of the earth' type folks, smokes, comments, and then eats a bunch of weird food. But the formula works for me! I'm all about food and exotic locales, and on occasion I'll even eat the weird stuff. But the bottom line is that I didn't record any of it, because the travel channel being the travel channel, they will re-air it again and again until the disc is worn out. So it's not like I really missed anything.

But tv-watching is pretty far down on the list of priorities, so it might be awhile before I get the recorded list pared down to a respectable level.

I've also got a few other stories to tell, er, write up, but that takes a Herculean effort on my part. And after the Dalmation story from last week, I'm afraid that anything I post might fall flat. That story is certainly a tough act to follow, as I re-read it last night and it still cracked me up. So you'll probably get nothing but rants and drivel for a few days. And you'll like it!

Oh, before I go--I have a little hard-luck story to tell. College football started this past weekend, and it provided a helluva good time. I opted out of my college fantasy league that I was in last year--just got sick of all the damn emails. But I still did my traditional weekly five-dollar weekly sucker-bet parlay card.

I had the following teams covering:


An hour before I left for work on Saturday night, I was Five-and-Oh, just waiting for Auburn to hang two touchdowns, at home, on K-State.

Of course they farked me by barely squeaking by. Bastards. So instead of cashing in a $260 winning ticket and dining on all the best food and wine this weekend, I'll be snacking on peanuts and drinking cheap beer again on Saturday. What made it even worse, is that on Friday night I was agonizing over taking Georgia Tech over Notre Dame, but I got scared by the fact that it was a road game. Clearly, I am an idiot.

Oh well. At least my team didn't lose to Appalachian State.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Man Cave

Hell yeah--it's like Christmas morning here at Casa de Mikey. Football season is finally here and we're celebrating! When I got up around noon, Rob had added a third television to our normal two-tv setup, just in time for kickoff.

Here's what we've got:

On the top shelf, a spare 13-incher, on the bottom shelf, my old 27-incher. And front and center is Rob's 37-inch widescreen HDTV. It's a beautiful thing.

So we've been parked in the living room all day long, and at one point I cooked up some cheeseburgers to go with the chips, salsa, and beer.

I made a few cheapie parlay bets last night at work, and not being in mid-season form quite yet (I haven't placed a sports bet since the Super Bowl), I realized that one of my tickets was all first-half lines. Yep, like a dumbass, I thought the lines were so good that I jumped on them, not realizing until later that they were all halftime lines. D'oh!

But I was doing really well, winning them all except for getting farked by Nebraska. What, they couldn't put up two touchdowns on lowly Nevada at home? Morons. Anyhow, the comedy gold of the day was provided by Michigan (previously ranked #5) losing to Appalachian State. Not only was it a ridiculous loss, but watching Mark May and Lou Holtz talk about in on ESPN was the funniest thing we saw all day. Listening to Holtz talk, we thought Mark May's head was going to explode. It was so funny that we 'rewound' the live tv on the dvr and watched it over and over again. Then we paused it and took photos:

This was so funny to us that Rob even printed it out and hung an 8x10 copy on our fridge. Now we can't walk into the kitchen without cracking up.

But as great as today is, next week will be even better when the NFL season gets underway. Between college football, the NFL, the pennant race, and Nascar in Richmond, it's going to be sensory overload!

I can't wait.