Friday, November 30, 2007

Best Readers Ever!

I must've been a very good boy this year, because it appears that Santa came early to Casa de Mikey. When Falcon Rob was heading out the door and rubbing it in my face that his evening was going to consist of eating Chicago deep-dish pizza at Amore's and then going to a hockey game, while I was eating leftover beans & weenies and preparing to spend the night at work, he noticed that there was a note attached to our front door from the UPS man.

Apparently, there were two boxes waiting for us to claim down at the office. So I put on some shoes and a hoodie and headed down there to see what we got, while Rob took off for an evening of buffoonery.

First bonus, both parcels were addressed to me--Heh! Not noticing the return address right away, I figured that one of them was a coffee can full of Mamasan'ts Christmas peanut butter balls. That was just a guess, but I had no idea what was in either box.

So, once I got home, I pulled out my handy dandy two-inch pocketknife which serves no other purpose than to open shipping boxes.

Holy shiat, I was shocked! I got two presents from two different loyal readers--both gifts from my Amazon Wish List. The first was that skull and crossbones beach towel that I just put up there the other day, but somebody was Johnny-on-the-spot and immediately launched it in my direction. Now I'll be the coolest guy at the hot tub! Usually, I'm the only guy at the hot tub when I go, but now my coolness is validated.

The second box, (the heavy one), blew me away. Somebody was feeling very generous and sent me the Altec-Lansing In-Motion iPod docking speakers that I've been wanting for almost a year now.


I couldn't believe it when I opened the box, and I sat there in stunned silence for a minute or two letting it sink in. That was unbelievably nice.

There was also a nice personal note included in each package that really made my day, too.

Thank you so much, guys! Later tonight when I get home from work, I'm going to spike some eggnog and raise a glass to both of you. I hope you both have a wonderful Christmas!

Once the realization set in, it was time to get down to business. The first thing I did was put the towel in the laundry to soften it up and get rid of the 'new' smell, and then I sat down with the instruction manual for the iPod dock.

It's a pretty simple device, but it came with a box full of every known electrical adapter in the world. Seriously, I never knew how many different AC outlets there were in the world. But the best feature is that it charges my iPod while it plays, so I don't have to use the one in my truck all the time (and the one that hooks up to the computer is a pain in the ass to use, you can't just plug it and unplug it--you've got to jump through a bunch of hoops). So it's very useful. And I started listening to my all-Jimmy Buffett playlist as soon as I got it hooked up. It sounds excellent!

Even better is that it will come in handy when traveling, or whenever I'm staying down on the Strip. Back in the days when I was seeing Sticky, she'd bring hers along when she came to town, and we'd leave it on all night long, playing stuff like Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and Sinatra for background music. Oh, and it'll also work great for Angy's party in March, since I'm collecting every cool and cheesy party song I can find between now and then.

Oh yes, there will be much disco on display.

But right now, I'm listening to my Christmas playlist and getting into a festive holiday mood. Even if there were no peanut butter balls in either box.

Thanks again, guys.


Rainy Day Women

Happy Friday everyone! Right now, here in America's Playground where the sun always shines, it's cloudy, gray, cold, and rainy. It's the kind of day where you don't want to do anything but eat soup and grilled cheese, curl up under a blanket, and read a book. Seriously, I woke up today and thought I was back in Nashville.

Notice I said woke up today, not this morning. I was literally the last man standing on my shift last night, not punching out until sometime after 3:00 am. So by the time I got home, I was good and tired, and I slept until just after noon--awakened by the sound of the rain.

I'd had a fairly easy shift, dealing Pai Gow and blackjack all night. But I got back from break at 2:00 am, went to a table, closed it, and then they moved me to dice. The game had three players on it, but quickly went dead. And the rotation worked out that I had to go over to the 'Reserved' game and stand on it by myself for 40 minutes while everyone else got to go home a half hour early. That kinda sucked.

Anyhow, from 2:20 until 3:00, I was the lone guy standing post on that game out in no-man's-land, feeling like I was in Time Out.

With no other dealers or players to talk to, and no cocktail waitresses coming by, it's a looooong forty minutes to just have to stand there doing nothing. Luckily I'd already dropped my share of tokes earlier in the evening, so even though I wasn't making any money for us during my last hour, I'm sure I dropped more than the dealer average for the night, so I wasn't too much of a burden on my fellow dealers.

Anyhow, there's nothing much else going on around here, and the only news is that yesterday I finally got my oil changed and my tire fixed, so that little chore is behind me.

Y'all have a great weekend--hopefully we'll have some stories for you on Monday.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thinking Dirty Thoughts...

...about PIZZA.

Yep, here I am, lying in bed, unable to sleep, with a hard-drive full of quality pr0n, and all I can think about it how damn good dinner was a few hours ago.

Rob and I hooked up with 'Lars Vegas' over at Grimaldi's last night, and the second visit was every bit as spectacular as the first. I can still say it with supreme confidence--Grimaldi's is far and away the best pizza I've ever eaten. There just aren't enough superlatives in my thesaurus to do a decent job of relating the culinary awesomeness that we experienced.

I went with pepperoni and Italian sausage this time around, Lars had sausage and onion, and Rob went with ham and onion. All three were amazingly good.

The crust--perfect. Who knew that something so simple could be so wonderful? The sauce--if tomatoes have feelings, the ones that get sent to the Ragu jars have *got* to be bitterly jealous. Only the best and brightest land on a Grimaldi's pie. The cheese--Oh dear God if you've never had fresh-made buffalo mozzarella, you have no idea what you're missing. The slightly smoky/buttery combination is a taste you simply have to experience at some point before you depart this mortal coil, especially when it's paired up with such heavenly ingredients as we were privy to.

Did I mention the fresh basil?

I could go on and on, but I'm sure I sound like a huge enough dork already.

I think Rob summed it up best, about three hours after we'd finished dinner, when he verbalized what we were all still thinking about. Twelve inch pie, Sixteen inch pie, Eighteen incher--it doesn't matter how big of a pizza they set in front of me. I will eat the whole thing!

And he was right. I killed that entire sixteen incher in front of me like a hungry shark tearing into a fur seal, and stopped just short of licking the pan.

Grimaldi's is that good. I'm not exaggerating one bit.

Once we ran out of pizza and settled the tab, we headed off to relax with fine cigars and adult beverages. We ended up out on the back patio at Chilly Palmer's, enjoying the outdoor fireplace and space heaters that took the edge off of the cold night. Lars worked on emptying their stocks of good single-barrel Scotch, Rob kept the bartender busy making Black & Tans, and I made sure that none of the rum they had on hand would go stale. We also smoked six cigars between us, one of mine being a Cuban Monte Cristo that put a smile on my face that lasted longer than the one I was sporting that night I spent a half-hour in the VIP room at the Palamino Club with that smokin' hot Asian gal.

Basically, me and my boys were living the Good Life, if only for a few hours.

Good food, good booze, good company, and good conversation--it just doesn't get much better than that. And it was just what I needed. It felt like I'd crammed a weeks vacation into just a few hours.

I can't wait to do it again.

The plans have been laid. The next time around will feature rib eyes on the grill, more cigars from that Worker's Paradise just south of Key West, and a bottle of Scotch that's old enough to vote.

Some days it's good to be Mikey. This was one of those days.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hump Day Afternoon

It's 4:20 here on a chilly Vegas afternoon, and I'm not doing much but lying in bed under my sleeping bag, wearing a flannel shirt for warmth. Rob and I are seeing how long we can go without turning on the heat. Not that we can't afford it, we just don't want to pay for heat. It's the principle of the thing, living in the desert and all. He's not cold at all, in fact, days like today are considered balmy spring days back in Ohio, so he's fine. But my thin desert blood has turned me into a puss.

I ended up going out to Ellis Island after all last night. About a half hour after I posted that last update, my phone rang and it was reader Chris, also known as PHU-KNA over on T2V (and I just figured out what that meant after two years...) Anyhow, he was still up for getting together, so around 6:15 or so last night I headed towards the Strip. I got about halfway there before I realized that I'd hit the trifecta of absentmindedness by driving off and leaving my camera, cigars, and POV coupon for an hours worth of free beers sitting on the counter. Doh!

I got there first, and was starving, so I grabbed two slices of pepperoni from the Metro outlet there by the bar, and ordered what was easily the worst microbrew I've ever had. It took me about four sips to figure out that it was probably the most bitter Amber I'd ever tasted. Yuck. So I went with a glass of the home-brewed root beer instead. That was a little better.

I ended up running into a co-worker who was also there on her night off, so I was talking to her when Chris and his buddy Jay showed up. We then headed to the bar for a couple hours of cocktails and storytelling, staying just until they started up with the Karaoke. I was ready to head home, but they wanted to get some dinner, and insisted that I join them for some BBQ. I hadn't eaten there in over two years, but damn, those ribs were still fantastic. The corn on the cob was excellent, the beans kinda blah, and the coleslaw was about average. But the ribs--damn, I ate an entire rack!

We sat there eating and laughing it up till after 11:00 pm, and they invited me to join them downtown, but I'm trying to be good and not spend my limited funds frivolously, so as much as it pained me, I declined. But damn, I could've used a night of drunken downtown buffoonery... Instead, I headed back to my house and daydreamed about the epic three-hour craps roll that broke the house at Binion's that I was sure I was missing out on, and went to bed shortly thereafter. I still had a great time, I just didn't pull an all-nighter, that's all.

Today, I did nothing productive. I didn't go to the bank, didn't run any errands, didn't answer any emails, didn't do laundry, nothing. I was a complete bum.

And I loved every minute of it.

I've got to hop in the shower in a bit and get ready to go out again tonight. I'm meeting up with 'Lars Vegas' for dinner over at Grimaldi's (and as soon as I mentioned that to Rob, he was like HELL YEAH I'M GOING!), and then afterwards we're gonna hole up somewhere for drinks and cigars for the rest of the evening. I know that my favorite watering hole has a back patio with a fireplace, so we'll probably end up there.

Y'all have a good one. Catch ya tomorrow.


PS--Happy Birthday to Cyndi!

PPS -- Thanks to Tony from Ohio, I now have an mp3 copy of that 'Sara' song on my hard drive. Awesome.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Reason #572 Why I Love Having a Laptop

... Because when I get tired of sitting at my desk staring at the same spot on the wall, I can unplug the thing and go lay on my bed and still use the internet. Yep, we have a secure wireless network here at the house, too, so in addition to *not* having to run a blue ethernet cable down the hallway to Rob's room, I can be a lazy bum and blog from my unmade bed. It's my day off, after six long days of being in the casino, so I feel justified. And I also have an optical mouse, so I don't need a flat surface or a mousepad--I can just run it across my comforter and it works just fine.

Man, it's been a long time since the days of AOL keywords and a 28.8 modem.

So, what's new today?

Well, in addition to being my day off, I'm having a great day. I found some extra cash in my tip jar (thanks much, whoever you anonymous donors are), and while I was going through the mail I got a check from 'Shareowner Services' for eighty bucks. It seems that Station Casinos has now gone private, and all outstanding stock was sold at the offering price of $90 per share last month. I had a fractional share due to a bunch of dividend reinvestment from a few years back just sitting in an account that I'd forgotten about. I thought the letter was just more junk mail/corporate propaganda, and it's been sitting on my desk unopened for two weeks. So it was a nice surprise.

Of course, not all is sunshine and balloons here at Casa de Mikey. I was rudely awakened at 8:00 by what I thought was a Mexican with a leaf blower right outside my window. But the thing didn't change pitch or switch off for three frickin' hours! It was just a loud constant drone, like an airplane engine. I finally gave up on trying to sleep and took out the trash just to see what the hell was going on. I guess that somebody nearby had moved out, and they parked a truck with a huge industrial steam cleaner right outside of my door. Apparently, their carpets were pretty shiatty, because they ran that thing all morning long.

What was even worse is that our internet service was also down this morning, and I got to spend a half hour or so talking to the robot that does tech support at Cox. It finally started working, but damn, it's never a quick call to the cable company.

Once that ordeal was over and the steam cleaner finally got shut down, I decided to make a pot of coffee and cook some breakfast. I made southern-style biscuits and gravy, and I have to say, this was easily my best batch ever! The gravy turned out perfect--and it didn't get all thick and gooey as it sat in the pan. I think the secret was mixing the flour and milk separately before adding it to the sausage and melted butter. And I added about a quarter cup of water to the mix and that made all the difference--it didn't harden up like tile grout when I was done. Good stuff!

Word around the campfire is that I'm supposed to meet one of my readers over at Ellis Island today for a few drinks and maybe a cigar. Unfortunately, he has my number but I don't have his. So I have no idea when or even if we're going to meet up--we haven't touched base in a week. And I hate sitting around waiting, because I know how it goes when people come to Vegas. Plans get made, but Vegas sometimes gets in the way and the best laid plans go out the window. Since I haven't heard anything by now, I'm guessing that I'm probably not gonna be sampling the smoky ambiance of Ellis Island today, after all.

Tomorrow night, however, is gonna be a good one. Dinner at Grimaldi's, followed by cigars and booze. Can't beat that.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Quick Housekeeping

1. It's NOT that horrendous Fleetwood Mac song. PLEASE quit suggesting it. I appreciate the help, but I've got it now, you can stop sending emails. Except for you, Tony--if you have an mp3 copy of the Bill Champlin version, send it!

2. Cici -- email me. I cannot find your addy.

3. I thought that adding a bit of Ketel One to my Crystal Lite Rasberry koolaid might make it taste better. Not so. Now it just tastes like medicine.

4. Damn I don't want to go to work tonight.

5. Dougie -- nothing in my mailbox yet.

6. Amy -- tell your admins to start allowing stuff from That's my outgoing mail server, not a pr0n site. Every email I send you bounces back saying 'client host rejected'.

7. I seem to have angered the Ohio State clowns fans. I awoke from my afternoon nap to find my bedroom door had been covered with a huge scarlet flag. Luckily whoever hung it there took it down, or else I was going to fashion it into a new contour rug for the base of my toilet.



I've looked all over the internet for a suitable photo of Johnny Drama standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon with his arms raised above his head and shouting Victory! at the top of his lungs, but sadly, I have come up short...

But it won't temper my suddenly good mood. As I was updating the post below (Thanks again, one and all, except for you, 'Benji'. Fleetwood Mac? Are you kidding me?), I was going to end it with some snarky remark about how I'm gonna have to sell a kidney or something to afford that cd, along with Tommy Shaw's Girls With Guns, and Doyle Bramhall's Birds Nest On The Ground, both of which are rarities that I've been looking for for years.

Just as I was trying to link to Amazon's page with the Tommy Shaw album (which at last look, the only jackass in the world with a copy to sell had priced it somewhere north of $150, having been out of print since, oh, 1986 or so), I noticed that it was finally re-released less than a week ago!

$11.99 Baby! Oh. Hell. Yeah.

I've been trying to get my hands on that CD for at least 15 years, when it mysteriously disappeared from my collection back in college. And only two songs from the album ever made it to the file-sharing sites, leaving me frustrated for years in my search.

But like another great 80's band so eloquently put it, the search is over...

I immediately put that bad boy in my shopping cart, and then hit my wishlist for one more item that would break the $25 barrier and earn me free Super Saver shipping, and it's on the way! Woot! (Along with ESPN's 'Uncyclopedia'--25 Ways to Get to First Base).

So it's one down, two to go. I'm sure at some point I'll get a copy of that 'Sara' song, and that Doyle Bramhall CD seems to be easy enough to find on the used market. My original copy got stolen by our lead singer back when I was in a band ten years ago. There is an absolutely kick-ass blues version cover of Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now on it that we considered doing, and our frontman 'borrowed' my CD to learn the song and never returned it.


Oh well, I'm not too bitter. I feel like Mel Fisher the day he finally found the wreck of the Atocha. Except on a much smaller scale.


Musical Bleg [UPDATED]

I have worn out all my resources and the internet has come up empty for me in the past week. I've checked every lyric finder site I could find, and even researching the Billboard Top 100 lists from the early 80's doesn't help.

Here is my dilemma:

There was a nice slow romantic ballad that got a bit of airplay in late 1982 that I cannot find *anywhere*. I'm fairly sure that the name of it was 'Sara' or 'Sarah', but searching for it only finds that god-awful song by Jefferson Starship or 'Sarah Smile' by Hall & Oats. That's not what I'm looking for.

Anyhow, I'm almost certain that the name of the song is some variation of the name Sarah, because in addition to the radio play it got, I also heard it at church dances that I'd go to as a teen, and I remember playing it on the jukebox at Big Cheese Pizza back in Harvester, Missouri 25 years ago.

The hook goes something like this... (from memory)

How could I let you go?

I'm willing to give it all

I'll gather the tears from all of the years and catch them whenever they fall...

Does anyone have any idea about the artist or name of the song? My collection of music acquired by purely legitimate means will remain incomplete until I find this song. And it means a lot to me--it got me a kiss on New Years Eve from a chick I was totally hot for back in high school.

The girl is long gone, but the song remains. Somewhere out there.



Wow! You guys are great. It was Bill Champlin's version of Sara, which seems to be unheard of out there in the digital world. Of course it's on a rare import CD, and unless I create an Ebay account, bid, and win, I'm gonna have to cough up some substantial scratch for it. Sadly, it hasn't made it to Limewire... At least I know what I'm looking for now. Thanks guys! You're the greatest!

Monday Morning Apathy

Hey gang.

Here it is the end of a long holiday weekend, and I've got a few stories to tell, but the mechanism that moves them from my brain to the keyboard doesn't seem to be working too well this morning. Every Sunday night I think to myself that I've got to post some good stuff for first thing in the morning because that's when I get the most traffic, but it's just not working for me today.

Sorry 'bout that.

I guess I could toss up a few bullet points of random thought, and then maybe later, or even tomorrow, return to my normal wordiness.

  • Six night in a row at the casino. Ugh. Nobody is looking forward to Tuesday morning more than I am.
  • Big money all weekend, until last night. It was a tomb. We closed five games before 8 pm--that has never happened before. I dealt eight hands of Pai Gow before getting sent home.
  • I am 0-for-3 in attempts to get my oil changed this past weekend.
  • I got a bunch of pics from Reverend Dave from the cruise. There were only a few pictures of the 'fellas', and they were quite tame. No trip report though, and now that a month has passed, I'm guessing that it ain't gonna happen.
  • The first time all season I bet on the Patriots, and it's the first time all season they failed to cover. One more reason to hate them, I suppose. I hate the Eagles even more, but how great was it to see Tom Brady getting creamed and then trying to pull himself up off the turf like an 80-year old man getting out of bed...
  • Write it down--Mizzou will lose to Oklahoma next weekend, just to piss me off by putting Ohio State in the national championship game. Rob will be insufferable if that happens. And it will. It's just my luck. I'm fairly certain that the walls of hell are painted scarlet and gray. And Satan wears a sweater vest.
  • I ate some real Chinese food this weekend. Not the stuff from the Takie Outie. It was... interesting.
  • Good lord this Vanilla/Rum coffee creamer tastes like ass. I thought it would be better.
  • The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's rendition of Wizards in Winter is one of the coolest tunes relating to That Winter Holiday Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken In Public, Especially In TV Commercials And Corporate Communications.
  • It's somewhat ironic that I bitch about $3-per gallon gas, when I just paid $5 for a can of compressed air.
  • I had a musical epiphany this weekend. I realized that instrumental Jazz is cool as hell. But as soon as somebody starts singing along, I think I'd rather listen to silverware caught in the garbage disposal.
I think that's about all for now.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Drawing A Blank

Hey gang! I hope you all have recovered from your food comas and such and are enjoying the long weekend. Me? Well, I had the same response yesterday when people asked me if I had a good Thanksgiving...

Well, I'm stuck here at the casino dealing to all these degenerates, how good could it be?

Ah well, it's the life I've chosen, for now. Weekends and holidays no longer belong to me. Actually, it wasn't that bad. We were busy, we seem to be making decent money this weekend, and aside from ASU completely shiatting the bed against USC, it was a pretty good day. Rose bowl? Forget it--somebody else from the Pac-10 will have to do the dirty work and beat down those dorks from Columbus.

I feel like I should have a whole bunch of stuff to write about today, but I'm kind of at a loss. It's a boring day so far, but then again, all I've done is download a little bit of Christmas music, browse around on Amazon, and drink a pot of coffee. That new vanilla/rum creamer isn't nearly as good as I'd hoped. Once I finish of this last cup and motivate myself enough to put on shoes, I've got to go and get the truck taken care of.

It needs an oil change, badly--I think I'm almost 1500 miles past due. Oh, and for being a year-and-a-half old, the truck just hit the 10,000 mile mark this past week. Not bad, but I guess the miles really don't add up when it's just 6 miles to work, and I don't really go anywhere else except to school three times a week. Also, I noticed that I had a slow leak in one of my tires a few weeks back, but I topped the air off and it was fine, but last night it was down again and I saw that there is a screw embedded in the high part of the tread, so it must be just barely breaking through and causing a bit of air to escape, so I've got to get that fixed today too. Shouldn't be a problem, though. We got a load of coupons in our weekly junk mail, and a place over off of Eastern and 215 is offering a $13 oil change and free flat repair, so that's where I'm headed.

And in case anyone is interested, a gallon of gas here in America's Playground now goes for $3.11, which means that it cost me $62 to fill up last night. Most expensive tank ever. Damn--it didn't seem like it was that long ago that it only cost me $25 to fill up my old Z or my other Nissan trucks. Then last year, fifty bucks would do it. Now it's starting to sting a little. I'm just glad I don't have a 60-mile daily commute like I've had for most of the past ten years.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Why are you sitting there on the computer? Get up, go to the kitchen and see if your mom needs help. Or better yet, go outside and join in the neighborhood touch football game!

Just do something Thanksgiving-related, even if it means gorging yourself on brown food and sleeping through three football games.

But at some point today, raise a glass of the good stuff and remember just how very lucky you are.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I just got back from the holiday shopping trip to WalMart, and I've got to tell you, it's downright chilly outside! And wouldn't you know the first song that came on the radio when I got in the truck was 'Wheel in the Sky' by Journey.

Winter is here, again, oh lord...

Steve Perry is right--it's cold out there. Well, at least to me and my thin desert blood.

I was watching the weather forecast last week and they said that we'd get a huge arctic blast of cold air starting today, and man, they weren't lying. First of all, it's quite breezy outside, and it's a cold north wind. On the other hand, it's blown all the haze and dust out of the valley, the sky is crystal-blue, and if it weren't for the mountains, you'd be able to see a hundred miles. Aside from being a little too cool outside, it is an absolutely *gorgeous* day. It makes me wish that I had a nice quality digital SLR camera, and I'd spend the day at the top of the Eiffel Tower taking pictures all up and down the strip, and then head out to the high ground in Henderson and take pictures of the valley. It's amazing outside--it was almost the same feeling I got the first time I put on prescription glasses. Whoa! Everything is so clear!

As far as my shopping trip went, it was fun to see all the picketers out front huddling up in a circle with their flannel jackets and Elmer Fudd hats. The only thing they needed to complete the picture would've been a 55-gallon drum with a fire going.

As expected, it was a total zoo at the grocery store, although everyone was displaying good manners. Of course, being WalMart, they only had two checkout lines going. But I didn't have to wait long, and I got some good stuff--pumpkin pie scented candles, egg nog, and my latest discovery, vanilla-rum flavored coffee creamer. Oh yeah, like I was going to pass that up. The rest of my afternoon is mine to rest up for the long weekend ahead of me.

Y'all have a great Thanksgiving!


Kickstarting the Holiday Weekend

Ah, sometimes there's nothing better first thing in the morning than to smell the aroma of a fresh pot of coffee and hear that tell-tale gurgling noise that says "Hey jackass, get out of bed, your coffee is ready!". Such is the wonder of having a coffeemaker with a self-timer.

Yep, it's gonna be a good day.

Yesterday wasn't bad at all, either. I met up with Eddie B and Regina for lunch around one o'clock over at the Venetian, and we ate at the Grand Lux Cafe. It was excellent, as usual, and of course we started out with my my favorite item on the menu, the Asian Nachos, as an appetizer. I was talking up the steak sandwich I'd eaten there a couple of weeks ago when 'Drew' was in town, so Eddie got that and raved about it. Regina got an order of fish and chips that would've fed all three of us, and I was defeated by the Grand Lux Burger Melt. What is that, you ask?

Well, it's a huge burger served on grilled Parmesan bread with grilled onions, Thousand Island dressing, and too much cheese. It was easily the greasiest juiciest burger I've ever eaten. The first bite sprayed my shirt down, making it look like I drew a map of the Hawaiian islands across my chest. From then on, I held my napkin up under my chin to eat it. I may have looked like a complete dork, but at least I wasn't covered in grease once I finally gave up.

Oh, and that sandwich completely kicked my ass--I could only finish half of it, and about half of the fries. (I took the rest home in a to-go box and ate it for dinner last night). But we sat around talking and catching up for so long that we decided to finally order dessert, too, even with all the leftovers sitting on the table. We got a slice of carrot cake and an order of banana cream pie. Both were excellent, and even between the three of us, we couldn't finish them off. Nobody will ever go hungry at the Grand Lux.

After we finished eating once and for all, we just sat and digested visited for another half an hour or so, trying to plan our next get-together. I'd been thinking of heading back down to Phoenix sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that's such a hectic time for everyone that I've pretty much shelved the idea until after the holidays. Eddie brought up the idea that we need to track down Derek, kidnap Ed W, and have the four of us get together out here in Vegas just like old times--with no wives, girlfriends, work commitments, or outside distractions--just the four of us tearing it up like we did in the old days. That sounded like a good idea in theory, but I'm skeptical that we could pull it off in practice. We'll see. But it gives me something to shoot for next year, though, along with finally going on another cruise.

Our lunch visit ended far too quickly, but we were all pretty tired, and I could tell they wanted to get a nap in before getting dressed and going to see Phantom later that night, so we said our goodbyes and I headed for home.

It was about that time that the side effects of my lunch kicked in. It was damn tasty, but holy shiat, did it ever kick my ass. Not only did I suddenly feel like crap, it gave me the worst gas you could possibly imagine! Seriously, I drove home with the window down so as not to choke on my own fumes. And it didn't help, four hours later when I ate the other half of it for dinner. I had to light up a bunch of scented candles to counter the effects of that deadly sandwich.

Later that evening I was in the T2V chatroom with some of the other buffoons, and I told Doc Al that I felt gassy and bloated, and smelled like I'd been eating boiled eggs and drinking dark beer all afternoon. He said that I shouldn't worry, and that I'd just described half the population of Wisconsin at any given time, and that it would be over soon enough. It's good to have a doctor handy, because he was right. I feel much better today. But I'm not the least bit hungry. And as good as that sandwich was, I'll probably never order one again unless I'm scheduled to work on the dice table later that night, because it would be great to clear a table with some noxious ass-gas, since the old codgers that come in there every night do the same thing to us, and we have to stand there and take it. It would be nice to be able to turn the tables on them, so to speak.

Aren't you glad that you clicked over here this morning? Heh.


Being that it's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I'm sure everyone is getting lots of work done in their respective offices. I remember back when I used to sit behind a desk, today was a day for potlucks and goofing off, followed by the bonus of scooting out a couple of hours early. The only downer for me, working in the brokerage industry, was that the stock market is open on Friday, so most of the time I had to work the day after Thanksgiving instead of hanging out on the couch watching college football. (No, I'd never go shopping that day--are you crazy?). So I'd never get the four-day weekend anyways, unless I won the vacation-day lottery. Now that I work for a casino, all holidays and weekends and whatnot are no longer mine to do with as I please. I'm a slave to the neon gods.

But at least I'll be able to watch some football during the day.

Oh, and speaking of Thanksgiving, my FedEx package arrived yesterday--no holiday goodies, but there was a pretty funny card and a giftcard for WallyWorld included. My instructions were to use it to get a bunch of stuff to cook a Thanksgiving feast, but I since I have to work that night, I'll be eating at the employee dining room. (They actually put out a pretty nice spread for us there on the holidays). So I may use it to get a few football-time munchies, and they also sell beer at WalMart, so I got that going for me, which is nice. But I think I'll use the rest of it for stuff that I hate paying for, like Gillette Mach 3 Turbo razor blades, which cost a fortune and help pay the salaries of those bastards who play for the Patriots.

I guess I should probably put some pants on and go hit the store, if I'm gonna do it. Because it's only gonna get worse as the day goes on.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One Born Every Minute

Working in a casino, the level of stupidity I see on display every day is not only amazing, but a never-ending source of amusement for me. I swear, I don't understand how some people made it so far in life being so dumb. And what's worse, how they amassed enough money to piss away so much by just being plain ignorant. It's one concept that I have a hard time wrapping my head around--how can somebody so dumb have so much disposable income? It's a paradox I witness every day, and it vexes me to no end.

But nobody ever went broke underestimating the judgment of the American consumer, and I've discovered the latest goofy gadget designed to separate a man from his cash.

It's called the Golf Ball Sweet-Spot Finder, and it's seriously one of the dumbest gizmos that the Sharper Image has ever foisted upon folks who have more dollars than sense. I know that's a bold statement, and normally I only browse the Sharper Image catalog while on a cross-country flight, chuckling to myself that somebody would spend good money on a towel warmer or an electronic dog dish. But this particular abomination caused me to spend a good three minutes of my life muttering What the F*ck? to the television set.

Apparently, for the bargain price of just thirty five bucks, you can have a device that finds the so-called 'sweet spot' on a golf ball (Because that fifty-dollar box of Titleist Pro V1's is just chock full of inconsistencies!). Then you put the old Sharpie magic marker in the hole, hit the button, and it will spin and mark the ball, indicating where you should hit it. Seriously. Notice how the line shows you to hit it right in the middle. Well, duh. I don't need no electronic doo-hicky to tell me to aim for the center of mass when I'm teeing up. It's like putting a big neon sign above the hoop in basketball, with an arrow pointing down saying SHOOT IT HERE!

What made it sound even stupider was the fact that they featured this on that show called Gear! on the MOJO channel (Finding the coolest toys that both the indoor technophile and the outdoors adventurer crave!). The host was actually trying to sell the thing as the greatest golf gadget ever devised, and he 'demonstrated' it by using it to draw the line on the golf ball, then teeing up, and taking a swing. And no, they didn't show the flight of the ball, so for all we know he shanked it onto somebody's back porch and broke a window.

I'm convinced!

I don't know why this struck me as completely stupid, but golfers, as a whole, seem to be the most gullible when it comes to paying for expensive gadgets that will supposedly improve their game. Have you seen all the goofy shiat they market to golfers? Somebody's buying it.

I haven't picked up a set of clubs in over five years, but that's only because I sucked, I knew I sucked, and I didn't feel like putting up with the lifetime expense of only getting marginally better and being forever frustrated. A bunch of expensive gadgets wasn't going to cure my slice, and drawing a line around the circumference of a golf ball won't make you the next Tiger Woods, either. You still have to get that driver to behave.


Mother Nature - 1, Neon - 0

Good morning from Las Vegas! I got a good eight hours of sleep last night, and it looks like it's going to be a great day here in America's playground. Eddie B is in town, and I'm off to have lunch with him and his bride Regina this afternoon--they're here celebrating their second anniversary, and word around the campfire is that I've also got some sort of surprise package arriving today that needs to be signed for, which I'm looking forward to. I just hope it's not a frozen turkey or something like that.

I was thinking that it might've been some of Mamasan's peanut butter balls (tis the season!) or maybe some of Cyndi's famous chocolate chip cookies, but I'm told it's not edible. I'm hoping that doesn't eliminate the possibility of a bottle of fine rum or a box of cigars, because, technically, you don't eat either one. Oh well, I'm guessing it's probably a bunch of pictures and other such goodies from the Caribbean.

In the meantime, I've made myself a pot of coffee and I'm thinking of curling up with a good book for a few hours and taking full advantage of my day off before heading back down to the Strip. I've got no plans for the rest of the day, and nothing on the agenda is clamoring for my attention except that big pile of laundry on the floor in my closet. Nobody is at school this week because of the holidays, so I don't need to go down there and deal to an empty table, either.

Doing nothing seems to pretty much be my only option today. Bummer.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Further Evidence

Yes, I am a complete idiot.

Monday night is usually my 'Friday' night--the end of my workweek, and a night so slow in the casino that it just drags on and on. I hate being there.

So, at 5:45 pm, my alarm went off, I got up from my nap, took a shower, got dressed, and drove on down to the casino. Instead of checking the toke book, road map, and sign-in sheets, I just went back to my locker got dressed, and stopped in the employee dining room for a bowl of rice and some diet Pepsi.

When it was time to start my shift, I followed the rest of the herd out to pit to sign in and find out what tables I'd be stuck on for the night. Unfortunately, I didn't see my name on the road map. Maybe I was going to dice? So I went to that pit, checked the podium there, and didn't see my name on any of the games.

After drawing a blank there, I went to the main pit to talk to the shift bosses, telling them I didn't have a table. Then I learned that I wasn't supposed to be at work on Monday night. Yep, it's a holiday week, and I'm working Wednesday night instead (it should be crazy-busy that night). And I just completely spaced it. Yeah, the schedule book was even showing me having Monday and Tuesday off, and it was also highlighted in bright florescent yellow highlighter so I couldn't miss it.


So, I went back to my locker, changed back into my street clothes, and hit the door. Of course I was pissed that I went in to work without knowing it, because now my weekend is halfway over and I feel like I missed a day of it. But I'll make more money on Wednesday, and it'll be much busier.

But that still doesn't change the fact that I'm a dumbass.


Two Morons, One Egg, and the History Channel

Ok, the Monday night Titans/Broncos matchup isn't the most intriguing game on the NFL slate this weekend, so instead of watching the manufactured pre-game hype on ESPN, Rob and I spent the afternoon watching a couple of recorded episodes of Jeopardy (dammit, lunch-lady Doris won again!). Once that ended, it was on to the History Channel for a documentary about the Hoover Dam.

At some point, they had an engineer talking about the different types of dams, and they said that an Arch dam was the best option for Hoover Dam because the weight of the water pressed the structure into the canyon wall, thus making it even stronger (or something like that), and to illustrate his point, he said Just like you can't crush an egg in your hands when you squeeze it from the ends--it speaks to the strength of the arch...

We don't know what else he said after that point, because it struck us as a challenge that we couldn't crush an egg with our bare hands. The truth is, we'd never tried it before. So we bagged the documentary and headed over to the kitchen to prove the experts wrong. Rob even took pics and video:

Your humble correspondent holding Test Subject No. 1 (We figured that we'd crush a lot of test subjects, so we numbered them) Also, doesn't Rob have mad composition skillz with the camera?

I tried it first. The results were somewhat different than I imagined.

I really wish I would've had some safety goggles handy, just to make it look even more authentic, but we figured we looked dorky enough already.

The last sentence was "...because of the strength of the Arch", but I got cut off. Rob's camera only takes 15 seconds worth of video at a time, and my digital camera is sitting in my locker at work (I was trying to take some covert pics of the Naughty Santa's Helper outfits that the cocktail waitresses will start wearing on Thursday, just in case the door to the seamstress shop was open--they had one being altered on a life-sized mannequin, but I was denied in my quest...), so we were limited to the video we could take.

Anyhow, I was squeezing as hard as I could, and nothing happened. I even went to two hands there at the end and it didn't work, either. Rob somehow didn't really believe I was trying, or thought I was just a wuss, so he gave it a try. No video, but I got a pretty good picture of him trying to crush the egg. Or take a huge and difficult dump. I'm not quite sure which:

As it turns out, the engineer was right, or we are just a couple of big wimps when it comes to hand strength. We couldn't crush the egg from top-to-bottom, so in order to avoid being defeated by the embryonic chickens, we turned them sideways, thinking they'd be easier to crush that way.

Nope. These bad boys were laid by Super Chickens!

We got schooled. Apparently human hands are no match for an egg, unless those human hands have the edge of a mixing bowl nearby. Then it's Scramble City, baby! Oh yes, the eggs may have won the battle, but I shall win the war! I will exact my revenge tomorrow morning at breakfast time.

So the guy on the History Channel was right, and Rob and I are just a couple of huge dorks with weak fingers. Stay tuned for our next experiment--the Winter Solstice is coming up, so we're going to try and stand up all of the eggs on their ends, like Weebles. They damn well better cooperate this time, or the next day you'll see a picture of a 12-egg omelet.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Happy Place

No, I'm not talking about the Champagne Room at Deja Vu...

I got the first batch of pictures from the family cruise down to the southern Caribbean, so I figured I'd share a few with you folks, especially now that the weather is all cold and late-autumn-like. Reverend Dave's 'alternative lifestyle' photos and trip report haven't made it to my mailbox just yet, so these will have to do. (Remember to clicky for full-size goodness!)

All these photos were taken by my sister Sherry, who has evolved from insisting that every vacation picture consist of somebody standing in front of a landmark into quite the photographer. She's still a rebel, though.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

She's a MAN, Baby!

One of the best, and worst, things about working in a casino is the endless parade of human drama on display. I see people at their best and worst (mostly the latter), and just like watching an episode of COPS, spending eight hours in a casino always makes me feel better about myself.

Of course, just seeing these people and dealing with them are two different animals entirely. Just watching freaks and weirdos is cool and all, but when they come to my table to play and then won't leave, well, it's basically an hour of my own personal hell.

The bosses have changed up the table rotation at work, so I'm getting some new games to deal. No more Deuces Wild, Bonus Holdem, or that god-awful Let It Ride for me this week, but I have inherited a few shifts at the mini Pai Gow table, which is a total sucker game with six cards instead of seven like regular pai gow. (And no, I'm not going to explain it, either. It's a shitbag game and if you wish to play it, I deem you a moron with the same level of mental deficiency as Let It Ride players).

Anyhow, as bad as that game is, we still have a few 'regular' players who won on it initially, and insist on throwing more money down the hole thinking that the cards will eventually turn for them. They show up every weekend, and every weekend they go broke. But they're having fun...

One particular player comes in every weekend and it is damn near impossible for me to keep a straight face whenever I deal to 'her'. I use the scare quotes because nobody is quite sure if she's really a woman. The smart money says 'Tranny' all the way.

Let me try and paint a picture for you: This 'chick' is about sixty years old, six feet tall, HUGE hands, no discernable figure, and wears gaudy colored Hillary Clinton-style pantsuits every night. She also has a collection of 'fashion' sunglasses that Elton John would kill for. Seriously, I've never seen a more ridiculous collection of eyewear in my life. Of course she accessorizes with huge fake gold jewelry--over sized hoop earrings, and every finger has a fake lounge-singer ring on it, along with the inch-long press-on nails in every color of the rainbow. The best part has to be the hair. She's wearing a different style blonde wig every time I see her, and you just know that shiat would come off in your hand if you grabbed it.

To complete this picture of stunning hotness, imagine a voice tempered by five decades of black coffee and unfiltered Camels. What makes it even better is the fact that she never shuts up. She talks nonstop for the entire hour--complaining about her cards, the other players, the cocktail service, whatever song is playing in the background.

Dealing to her is truly the longest hour of my week. And the worst part was on Thursday night, I saw that my first table of the night was an hour at Mini Pai Gow, and when I walked by the table to sign in, I saw that it was empty--not a single player. Very cool--we don't make much money on it anyways, and it faces the TVs in the bar, so I was hoping to sit and watch ESPN for my first hour. Which would've been ideal, since it was my 'Monday' morning.

But two minutes later, just as I was sitting down and shuffling the new cards, I swear to god that old freaky bitch walked up and sat down, throwing a hundred-dollar bill at me and demanding change, poor manners on display, as usual. I looked over my shoulder to the floor person who immediately started cracking up and whispered "Welcome to your workweek!"


Yes, it was an hour of hell. Any time anyone else sat down to play, she'd pretty much chase them off after three or four hands. Believe me, nobody wants to sit, gamble, or drink with an angry six-foot tall she-male who dresses like she's wearing Fred Sanford's front yard.

The only bright spot was that I took over $300 from her in that first hour, which made her even nastier.

I'm guessing it's probably because I was cutting into her estrogen-in-a-bottle budget.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

On the Menu

I've been lazy lately and haven't gone to the grocery store in awhile. I'd run out of bread, milk, lunchmeat, eggs, creamer, Coke--you know, the essentials. So yesterday when I was coming back from the Strip, I stopped at Walmart Neighborhood Market to pick up a few items (and also get my double jollies by pissing of the endless supply of union protesters that are always picketing out front). Those tasty thin-crust Red Baron pizzas that I like so much were on sale for $2.80, so even though they weren't on the list, I'm not above the occasional impulse buy. Besides, there is a long weekend of football coming up...

I also picked up a huge bag of trail mix, which is one of my favorite snacks, and I'm a firm believer that all of the nuts, raisins, and seeds offset any ill effects of the M&Ms. One of the other things I bought was a frozen Stouffer's lasagna. I'm not big on any type of frozen food except for pizza (I've never bought a Hot Pocket, and I stopped buying frozen burritos once I got my first full-time job), but damn, those Stouffer's lasagnas are one of the best bargains going. Not only do I get several meals out of it, it's every bit as good as homemade and much cheaper and easier than doing it myself.

So, there I was, all excited about cooking up a lasagna last night, and maybe having a small salad and garlic bread on the side, too. But around 5 pm or so, there was nothing on the tube and I went to my room to read. I must've gotten maybe four pages into one of those poker books when I just passed out, drooling on the pillow. And I didn't wake up again till around 10:30 or so.


It was too late to cook anything that would take over two hours to bake, so I just nibbled on some trail mix while Rob and I watched a couple of episodes of Jeopardy on the DVR. I went back to bed around 1:00 am, and when I woke up, I was kind of hungry. The pot of coffee helped, but I didn't feel like making eggs and toast or grits or anything. So about an hour ago, I gave in and finally put that lasagna in the oven. If all goes according to plan, I should be face down in a plate of it, enjoying myself immensely, by noon at the latest.

The problem is, it's not quite 10:30 yet, and I can smell it. It's making my stomach growl. And I'm tired of trail mix already.


Tough to Read

They say that strong emotion makes for the most beautiful art and the best music, and I would extend that to writing, too.

Go take a look at what Rachel has to say today about saying goodbye to a longtime companion, and try not to get choked up. The whole post, and the comments, are good for your soul.


Sunrise at the Man Cave

Good morning everyone... I'm sitting here, freezing my ass off, enjoying my second cup of peppermint-mocha coffee and doing my daily websurfing. Why am I freezing my ass off? Because yesterday when I came home, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon outside, and I opened up all the windows to get some fresh air in the house. Unfortunately, I forgot about them and my bedroom basically had frost on the walls when I woke up a little while ago.

As cold as it was, I still managed to sleep all through the night, because I put my sleeping bag on top of my comforter, and to me it just felt like I was on a camping trip in the mountains. Getting out of bed, however, sucked, and the first thing I did was take a hot hot HOT shower and put on a pot of coffee.

I'm feeling much better now, although my feet are still cold. But it goes against my code to wear socks unless I'm leaving the house wearing something other than sandals, so I guess I'll just have to deal with it.

Ok--lemme answer a few questions I've gotten over the past few days. As far as the hot girl from poker school goes--not a chance. The next day, after I thought I blew an opportunity, I saw her again and asked her what she ended up doing the night before. Her response was Well, I've been seeing this guy and we went out to the brew pub at Main Street for dinner... Ok, so maybe I got my signals crossed on that one. Luckily I did and avoided a potentially embarrassing situation.

All that going to school is paying off, hopefully, as I had an interview yesterday afternoon for a job down on the Strip. Not an audition yet, just meeting with the recruiter and doing the paperwork and hoop-jumping that goes along with working for a huge corporation. But they said I should hear something within the next couple of weeks. That has brightened my outlook considerably, because the thought of possibly never having to deal Let It Ride again has put a noticeable spring in my step. But I'm not getting my hopes up--I've dealt with this particular company on several occasions before, and following up doesn't seem to be their strong suit.

Oh well, fingers crossed--gotta have something to hope for.

Also, Reverend Dave has offered to be a guest blogger and write up a bit of a 'trip report' detailing the events of the 'gay cruise' that he inadvertently went on. He's also threatened to include pictures, so I'm warning you now--keep the eye bleach handy. Just some of the stories he's told me are enough to make me thank my lucky stars that I wasn't along for the ride, so to speak.

I wish I would've written some over the weekend, as I wanted to publicly thank Jim Tressel and the rest of the football team from The Ohio State University for losing to Illinois, thus setting the stage for a Man Cave Grudge Match in the Rose Bowl between ASU and Ohio State. Hopefully, it works out that way. I'm also hoping that Oregon and LSU win out, as does Kansas (barely) so that an undefeated team gets shut out of the BCS Championship game (by two teams with one loss each!) and the nationwide drumbeat for a playoff grows louder and louder.

But mostly, it was fun to see Ohio State lose and watch Falcon Rob slowly deplete all of our tequila stocks that afternoon as he built his own palace of shame out of empty bottles and dirty shot glasses. It was pretty much the highlight of my weekend. Well, it was until later that night when I went out with some friends and it felt like I was back in college, or at least at a T2V gathering--we pulled an all-nighter and there were a few derailments along the way. I mean, it's pretty sad when *I* am the voice of responsibility and reason in the crowd. Trust me, we had a good time! But I missed an entire day of football and Nascar racing as our three-ring circus of TVs stood silent and I spent the day after in bed.

But not today. I'm wide awake, amped up on coffee, and my to-do list is actually quite manageable.

Catch y'all later.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Ok, let's try this again.

Apparently the Law of Unintended Consequences raised it's ugly head with my last post (which has since been deleted) on both the friendly and unfriendly end of the spectrum. The main point wasn't that I was going to take my ball and go home because my 'ransom demands' weren't met, but that a gray cloud seemed to be hovering lately and I needed to either do something about it or just shut up.

I just wasn't very clear.

I want to thank everyone who posted comments of concern or sent emails of support, but seriously--it's not that big of a deal. I just did a quick post on my way out the door (feeling obligated, since I hadn't written anything all weekend), and didn't re-read it or really even think it through before hitting the 'publish' button. When I can back from school late in the afternoon, I saw that I had created a tempest in a tea cup and even generated some hate mail. It's just further evidence that there is a never-ending supply of anonymous jerkoffs in the blogosphere, and my favorite comment came from an un-named goat humper who somehow connected that post to accusing me of being a stiff for giving a cab driver a buck-forty tip after arriving a half-hour late, missing the airport turnoff, and not helping me load my bags. Somehow in his pea brain, it all made sense.

But that's ok. After re-reading his comment about a half a dozen times trying to figure out where he was coming from, I filed it in the proper place. And my anonymous friend, to borrow a quote from Hans Gruber, won't be joining us for the rest of his life.

Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense tomorrow.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

20 Things I've Never Done In Vegas--

  1. Played craps at the sidewalk table at Slots-o-Fun
  2. Eaten at any restaurant at Bellagio
  3. Cashed a winning ticket at the Mirage sportsbook. Caesars Palace, either.
  4. Been to an 'ultralounge'
  5. Spent quality time in the Champagne Room
  6. Ridden the double-decker bus.
  7. Or the monorail.
  8. Won any part of a bad-beat jackpot while playing poker.
  9. The gondolas at Venetian.
  10. Ridden any of the attractions at the top of the Stratosphere.
  11. Gotten a Royal Flush.
  12. Visited Rumjungle.
  13. Seen a Cirque show.
  14. Toured Hoover Dam.
  15. Dipped a toe in Lake Mead.
  16. Sampled a piece of Ethel M. chocolate.
  17. Eaten at any of Emeril's or Wolfgang Puck's restaurants.
  18. Gotten a tattoo.
  19. Seen a celebrity at the Palms.
  20. Been to the Wax Museum.

And here I was, thinking I was some sort of Vegas expert. Clearly there is much work to do.

On the other hand, here are a few things that have been part of my Vegas experience over the past several years.

  1. Placed in the money in a few no-limit poker tourneys.
  2. Did four shots of tequila inside of 15 minutes without getting sick or arrested.
  3. Enjoyed a 5-star meal at Andre's.
  4. Paid $28 for a six-dollar cigar.
  5. Flopped Aces full and lost to four of a kind.
  6. Got propositioned by three different hookers inside of ten minutes.
  7. Drank Cristal champagne from a plastic cup.
  8. Won $375 on a 75-cent investment at NYNY.
  9. Picked 8 losers in a row during March Madness.
  10. Watched somebody win over a million dollars on a slot machine.
  11. Played craps with Johnny Chan.
  12. Met 'Jesus' Ferguson at the bar inside a strip club.
  13. Dealt blackjack to Mork.
  14. Tried caviar, alligator, and turtle meat for the first time.
  15. Turned $20 worth of matchplays into over $1200 cash in one afternoon.
  16. Woke up in bed with two chicks. Twice. Didn't have to pay for 'em, either.
  17. Got a high-five from Scottie Nguyen while walking down the Strip.
  18. Saw a midget dressed like Gene Simmons.
  19. Spit from the roof of the Rio
  20. Bluffed somebody off a pot with the infamous 10-6 offsuit.


Holiday Coffee

Of course, regular readers know of my fondness for Don Francisco's Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee. It's the only coffee I'll drink when at home (or even visiting Nashville, because both Mamasan and my sister Sherry keep it on hand, too), and I always make sure I have at least two cans on hand. Otherwise I panic. Kinda the way I feel when I'm low on Captain Morgan, but that's a post for another time...

Anyhow, it doesn't have an overpowering taste of hazelnut, just a hint that really cuts out the bitterness that usually comes with most coffees, and the aroma is amazing when I brew up a pot first thing in the morning. I love the smell it gives the kitchen, and if I end up cooking some bacon at the same time, well, one can't help if their mouth waters.

However, there is no bacon on the grill this morning, but there was a pot of coffee brewing. And just the other day when I was grocery shopping, I picked up some CoffeeMate Pumpkin Spice flavored creamer. Oh hell yeah--I love the seasonal flavors they offer--it seems that they have almost as many varieties of flavored creamer as those hippies from Vermont have of ice cream. My 'everyday' creamer usually goes back and forth between the Coconut Creme or the regular Hazelnut, depending on my mood. But this Pumpkin Spice variety is like Thanksgiving In A Cup. It's really quite good--better than it sounds--and I'm amped up after drinking the entire pot in the past hour.

Next month, it's Peppermint Mocha. Sipping on a cup of that is almost as good as seeing all of our hot cocktail waitresses in their Naughty Santa outfits. Almost.


Taking Cluelessness to the Next Level

So there I was, enjoying a full day of 7-card Stud goodness at poker school, when the previously mentioned attractive gal arrived and sat down in the seat next to me. It was kind of a slow day there at Nick's, with only eight students in class that day, so Stud was an ideal way to spend the afternoon.

We share the same days off--she works in a casino also, but, like me, would rather be dealing poker than doing her current gig. So we spend a couple days a week goofing off together at poker school. And I'll freely admit that because of her, I spend a lot more time there practicing than I normally would.

Anyhow, we were laughing it up and carrying on like we normally do, and as a bonus she'd brought in enough lunch from L&L Hawaiian BBQ to share with me and turn me into a Katsu convert. I'd never had it before, and damn, that is some good shiat! So we sat there playing Stud and eating our Hawaiian chicken, trying not to get grease on the cards. (Not only did it taste great, but it smelled so good that later on, class broke up and everybody else headed down to get the same thing).

While we were playing, we were talking about other people we'd gone to class with, and friends that had gotten temp jobs dealing tournaments or lucked into real jobs, along with our own prospects. It turns out that a mutual friend of ours got a job this week dealing at South Point, and we kicked around the idea of going down and playing some low-limit holdem at her table. At some point, the table got loud when a monster hand lost to an even bigger hand, and she leaned in and asked "So, you don't have to work tonight, right? What are you gonna with your night off?"

Inexplicably, the first thing that came out of my mouth was "Oh I don't know--not much going on for a Wednesday night--I'll probably just hang out at the house and explore the vast untapped world of online porn..."

We laughed, as did everyone else--because my response was an order of magnitude louder than her question--and then something happened on the game that needed our attention and the subject was dropped. It took me about a minute and a half before that little voice in the back of my head screamed YOU IDIOT! That's what they call an OPENING! You just blew a chance to hang out with a hot girl tonight because you went for the laugh... Moron!

I sat there for a few moments in stunned silence, wishing I had a time machine that would propel me back three minutes into the past. But opportunity only knocks once, and the moment was gone. Going for the recovery would've made the situation even worse, and I'd rather be painted with the stench of cluelessness than that of desperation.

By that time, my mojo was spent and there was nothing left to do but head home and bang my head on the wall for an hour or two.

But I'm (over)due for some good karma, so I'll head back today and try to avoid the mistakes of yesterday. Unfortunately, I have to work tonight, so even if opportunity knocks again, I'll have to pencil it in for next week.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Shell Game

Finally--there is a light at the end of the tunnel! I may be poor, but due to relentless paying down of debt and living like a no-life social outcast, I can almost smell freedom. Spending the afternoon on the phone with various creditors from the past has been quite enlightening, and even though I'm still getting bent over by student loans, the IRS, and my less-than-stellar decision-making during the technology bubble, I can see a point in the not-too-distant future where The Man doesn't take almost a thousand bucks a month from me without giving me the courtesy of a reach-around.

I'm ready to breathe easier. I've been doing the creative money-moving borrowing-from-Peter-to-pay-Paul kabuki dance for far too long.

It'd be easier if I was working in a different place, a casino that's *not* circling the bowl, but hey, you gotta play with the cards you're dealt. I'm doing all I can to improve my situation and I hope to be working two jobs by Christmas. If I'm stuck here for the holidays, I might as well be earning as much jack as I can get my hands on.

In the meantime, I'm still going to live like a no-life social outcast for awhile, as life always tends to throw a curveball or two as soon as you think you're ahead in the count. Right now, the obstacle du jour is the fact that Sid needs an oil change and a new tire, and it's almost time to update my threadbare collection of trendy black polyester work pants. (I need new, better-looking clothes for auditions, anyways).

Yep, I'm trolling for donations. I'm not proud--poverty tends to do that to a person. So if you can spare it, please hit the tip jar over on the sidebar. And anyone who donates the default amount or greater gets to choose a topic for me to write about. (I'm currently working on an epic Wendover road trip story from deep in the wayback machine...) Yes, I am a whore, although, technically, it means that I'm a professional writer... Where do you think that post with all the Loverboy song titles sprinkled throughout came from a few months back?



Forcing Myself to Write Something. Anything.

Hey gang... Sorry I haven't been posting for the past couple of days, but I'm glad y'all were concerned (Hoopswife!). But Sunday was spend dozing in front of the football games, then I spent the evening dealing dice, which always wears my ass out, especially dealing with the strokers that call my casino home. So Monday, instead of coming up with something to write about, I slept late, battled a moderate case of writer's block, and then headed back to work for a few more hours of frustration. Yeah, it was dead again last night, except for our usual die-hard fleas who had no place else to go.

I think I'm to the point where I'm looking forward to quitting my job. I was hoping to hold out until next May, but I don't think I'm going to make it that long. It is starting to suck so bad there that it puts me in a bad mood almost every day, which isn't good for my mental or physical health. I've got a few irons in the fire right now, but nothing really solid as of yet. But I'm looking. And I'm almost to the point of spending my days off lurking in poker rooms around town dressed in my black & whites, with a copy of my ten-year employment history in hand, just hoping to catch a cardroom manager with a free moment. And I've taken the *huge* step of deciding that if somebody wants to hire me on swing shift, even if it's on extra-board, I'll take it. Hell, I'm already broke, what difference would it make?

Can you tell I'm just about at the end of my rope with my current situation?

Anyhow. I'm sure it's no fun to read about me constantly bitching about my job, so I'll stop. At least until Friday.

So last night, it was my 'Friday', so I took off a bit early because we just didn't have enough players in the casino (Chinatown had EIGHT games open, and only four players by 9 pm). I don't know why, but I was exhausted. It certainly wasn't from working hard. So as soon as I got home, I checked in with the buffoons in the chatroom at T2V for a few minutes, then hit the bed, hard. I slept for a good solid four hours, woke up, watched an hour of Mike & Mike on ESPN, then made a pot of coffee.

I sat down at the computer with the best intentions of writing an interesting update, but the muse just wasn't singing, so I stared at a blank screen for almost a half hour before deciding to download some music. I'm working on putting together the ultimate party collection for my iPod so that we can have about four or five hours of non-stop non-repeating music next March during Angy's suite party at the Madness (She brings her iPod with a small selection of disco hits, but I know she hasn't added anything to it in over a year--but granted, she *is* a busy woman). Anyhow, on Limewire, once I find a song I want and see that it's downloading at a pretty high rate, I 'browse' that host's files for new songs, and usually find a few more. That seems to perpetuate itself and I ended up spending almost four hours working on my music files. Of course, I thought of some other songs I already had on CD, and spent some time ripping them to my hard drive, too.

Before I knew it, it was almost 10 am--I'd been sitting here at my desk for almost six hours working on music. But I'm proud of my collection. It's not finished yet, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it's getting there.

Just as I was finishing up, I got the first phone call from the cruise crowd--the family had gotten back to Ft. Lauderdale safely, and were sitting in the airport waiting for the flight back to Nashville. And I have to admit, as bad as I felt for not being able to go, it sure sounds like I picked the right cruise to miss. Apparently, Princess had booked 500 gay men on a 'retreat' on this particular cruise, without disclosing it to other travelers, so it made for an interesting week. Mamasan said she didn't get in the pool or jacuzzi once the entire ten days because they'd taken over, with plenty of lewd behavior on display.

Word around the campfire is that 'Letters will be written"...

Heh. Kinda glad I missed that one.

Next year. Working in the casino biz might keep me from going home for the holidays, but I'll be damned if I go another year without taking a cruise vacation. I've already found one I'm interested in -- 8 days to the Mexican Riviera leaving out of San Diego. Yeah, I know, I love the Caribbean, but I can drive to San Diego, and not have to add two additional travel days to my vacation getting to Florida and back like I would with a long Caribbean cruise. Besides, I've already done five cruises in the Caribbean, not once have I been to the Mexican Riviera.

Let's just hope that the seagoing Village People choose a different itinerary.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Morning Coffee

To somebody who hasn't had a Friday night off with no commitments in almost three years, I gotta say, it was a little slice of heaven. And I didn't do much but read, catch up on the the three-month sleep deficit I've been running, surf the internet, and do laundry.

I also got to go to bed early, for me, thus guaranteeing a full-night's sleep. And here it is, sometime after 7 am, and I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face the day. I've already cleaned the bathroom, loaded the dishwasher, and made a pot of coffee. I might even clean my closet, vacuum the bedroom, and organize my desk if I get a real wild hair.

But today's number one priority comes at 3:40 this afternoon, as the UNDEFEATED and fourth-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils kick off against the ugliest uniforms in the NCAA. I've been watching the hype for this game all week, and every single one of the talking heads is picking the Ducks, who, oh by the way, LOST to Cal a few weeks ago, while just last week we kicked the shiat out of the Hippie Bears. It makes me sick--No love for ASU to be found anywhere on the Worldwide Leader.

I will admit--I'm worried about this game. ASU has an annoying habit of being either downright sucky or raising my hopes, only to collapse at the end (see also, 1996-97 Rose Bowl, *another* reason I hate Ohio State...), so I've got my fingers crossed. If they win this game, their chances for a trip to New Orleans and a national title are greatly improved. (And maybe even a rematch with the Buckeyes, although the truth is, I'm hoping that Michigan knocks them off before it comes to that).

I should note that my roomie, a HUGE Ohio State fan and alumnus, thinks I root against his team just to irritate him. But the truth is, Reverend Dave and I have been anti-Buckeyes ever since that Gator Bowl where Woody Harrelson punched that kid from Clemson in the throat. Yep, we were watching at the time. Hey, it could be worse. At least I didn't attend Michigan... (Besides his obsession with Ohio State, Falcon Rob is a fine roommate and a decent cook, too. But I know he *hates* it when I refer to Woody Hayes as 'Woody Harrelson'. Heh.)

Regardless of what happens, it's going to be a *great* game, and I can't wait for kickoff. I've got a pantry and fridge full of 'tailgating' food at the ready, minus the beer (gotta work later), and ESPN, as much as I rail on them for institutionalized moronitude, has seen fit to broadcast this game in HD. Nice!

Oh, and that chump Reverend Dave, a huge Sun Devil fan--right down to the over-sized Sparky tattoo on his leg--won't be able to see the game today. He's stuck down in Aruba, sitting on the beach sipping rum-based umbrella drinks and watching the hotties wander about in their bikinis. Heh. What a loser--sucks to be him! I mean, seriously--there is a Pac-10 grudge match on this weekend, and he's down there pretending he's Greta Van Susteren. As Dad used to always tell us, the boy really needs to get his priorities in order...

There is another game of interest going on this weekend (besides today's slate of great college games), you may have heard about it--the Patriots versus the Colts. Of course I'm rooting for the Colts, and between them and the Sun Devils, I'm afraid I'm in for a weekend of disappointment. As much as I'd love to see Indy just beat them down and lay 60+ points on 'em, I'm guessing that if they manage to win, it'll be a very close one. That, and the fact that Coach Dungy has got a bit of class, and wouldn't run the score up on an opponent even if they deserve it.

It's just gonna be a helluva weekend of football. And you know what? I *totally* forgot to make any bets while at work on Thursday. I usually make all of my bets on Fridays, just because our book has one-day 'happy hour' parlay cards with higher odds. And I didn't even think about wandering over to the book the other night. So I have no action on any of the college games, which means that I'll probably go undefeated on the games I *would've* bet. I'm sure I'll toss a few bucks down in the NFL, however.

In the meantime, I think I'll cook up some breakfast. The early games don't start for a couple of hours, and I could use a little fuel in my system before I tackle the rest of my projects.


Six Categories

After re-reading the Jeopardy post below, and considering the categories that Rob would kick my ass at, I think everyone needs to fess up with their Ultimate Jeopardy Round. Remember Cliff Claven's round--Beer, Stamps, Bar Trivia, Mothers & Sons, etc..? He totally dominated.

So what are the six categories that you would totally kick ass at?

After careful consideration, here are mine:

80's Music

Oh, and since we can't leave out the harder Double Jeopardy round, I've got six more.

Caribbean Geography
World War II
Goes Well With Ranch Dressing
John Wayne Films
Vegas History

And speaking of everyone's favorite game show, back when I was in college, I got invited to the Jeopardy College Championship tryouts, which was a cool experience. I spent the day down at the studio with about 300 other college students, and we spent the whole afternoon auditioning for 15 spots--a week's worth of programming.

Because I'm smarter than everyone else (and humble too), I thought for *sure* I'd just roll through the competition, make the show, dominate for a week straight, win tons of cash to pay for college and get a new car, become a huge star with literally dozens of adoring fans, and live happily ever after with the hot redhead from my Honors Biology class.

As you may have already guessed, it didn't quite work out that way.

After a brief interview with producers, having our 'head shots' taken, and getting all the paperwork signed, they put us in the main studio, gave us each a clipboard, an answer sheet, and two pencils. The answer sheet was numbered 1 thru 100, and after each number was a blank. They'd give a random category, and then put up each question on the big monitors, while a producer would read it to us over the PA system. We then had five seconds to write down the answer. No repeats, no going back, no asking for clarification, nothing--write it down, move on. And each question, they told us, was part of the $800 and $1000 level questions from Double Jeopardy rounds.

No problemo, I thought, this should be easy!

But there were no repeating categories, and it was all subjects like--

The Opera
African Capitals
Founding Fathers
Classical Music
The Renaissance
English Literature
Age of Discovery
House of Tudor
World Religions
Ancient Egypt

etc, etc, etc....

Honestly, it was probably the toughest test I ever took in college, aside from a few Mathematics for Aviators finals. Aside from the fact that the subjects were tough and obscure, there were potentially thousands of dollars on the line, and for hungry college students, it was hard to keep from thinking about it, so it added an extra variable of stress to the equation.

So it wasn't much of a surprise that my name wasn't called to be included in the next round of tryouts once they tallied the scores. And they wouldn't tell us our scores either--what a 'passing grade' was, or anything. It was just pass or fail. If you passed, your name was called. If you failed, out the door you went.

Round two was to be a mock game with other contestants, right there on the set, and the winners would get slots on the show. I would've preferred that, instead of the early exit. And to make matters worse, once I got back to campus the next Monday and everyone found out, I heard nothing but endless shiat from a few jealous dorks who also applied, but never even got an invite.

So close, yet so far away--I was pretty disappointed. However, I didn't walk away empty-handed. The whole experience gave me about three good minutes of material a few months later when I did open-mike night at a Tempe comedy club. I had a great bit I called 'Jeopardy for Idiots' with categories like Vowels, Primary Colors, Brady Bunch Kids, 'Battleship' Gamepieces, Change for a Dollar, French Fry Toppings...

Oh yeah--I just killed 'em that night.

Anyhow... feel free to give the six (or 12) categories where you'd run the table and make thousands of $$$. Comments are open!


Friday, November 02, 2007

Beowulf, The Iliad, and Warren Buffett

Who are three people who've never been in my kitchen, Alex...

In case you're wondering what kind of craziness happens around the Man Cave when Rob and I both have the day off, well, I'm about to enlighten you. Usually televised sporting events is the activity du jour, but on mid-week afternoons when there is no more baseball, we have to fill the void.

So we started recording all episodes of Jeopardy. Yep, it's pretty much the only game show I'll watch, just because crap like Who Wants to be a Millionaire and that one with Howie Mandel and all the suitcases (the name escapes me right now) are impossible to watch because of all the fluff. Seriously, in a half hour of Millionaire, they might ask 20-25 questions, max, while wasting time with asinine bullshiat. And all of the conversation that goes on is of no interest to me whatsoever. I really don't care one bit about each contestant's personal life. Remember, I'm a misanthrope...

But Jeopardy is great because the questions come rapid-fire, the contestants--for the most part--are generally smarter than your average mass sponge migration, and Alex Trebec seems to be the only host on tv who isn't addicted to the sound of his own voice. (I give props and love to Pat Sajak also, but god-almighty, are the people on Wheel of Fortune just dumb as shiat...)

And the beauty of having a DVR is that we can fast forward through not just the commercials, but the whole get-to-know-ya segment after the first commercial break where each contestant shares an oh-so-interesting factoid about themselves and Trebec pretends to care. (And I can tell that his outlook at his job is an awful lot like mine--yep, we depend on those folks for our livelihoods, but we both know that a lot of them are morons).

Anyhow, when I get tired of ESPN's manufacturing of sports 'news' in the afternoon, we hit the old DVR list and play along with several episodes of Jeopardy, back-to-back-to-back. Rob will admit that I usually kick his ass when we play, but only because I can read at lightning speed, thus giving me a leg up. (Seriously, I can kill a Grisham novel in less than three hours). But he can hold his own, and just this afternoon he smoked me five-to-nothing in a geometry category. And if there were ever a round consisting of stuff like Star Trek, Small College Mascots, Obscure Microbrews, Cartoons, Ohio State Alumni, and Pink Floyd, he would kick the ever-livin' shiat out of me. Luckily the creators have wider-ranging interests, so it's a more even playing field. Anyhow, I get luckiest on the big money Double Jeopardy questions, and I'm having a helluva run at Final Jeopardy, thereby crowning me the current Household Champion.

Those three names in the title? All correct answers to Final Jeopardy questions this week, which I nailed.

Seven years of college, baby!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Mellow One

Well, Halloween certainly seemed uneventful this time around. Since it fell on a Wednesday night, it was pretty effin' slow at work, and I only saw a few good costumes. Our cocktail waitresses stepped up though--one was a naughty nurse, which was a huge hit in my section. Gotta love those white thigh-high stockings... There was another one who dressed up as a pirate wench, and looked great, and another one had the complete St. Pauli Girl outfit going. So for being such a slow night, at least I had something to look at.

Of course there were buckets of candy lying about in the pit and in the break room, so I did my own version of a quick trick or treating expedition around 11 pm and got myself on a sugar high to carry me till the end of my shift. And it was the good stuff, too. I had a handful of mini Reese's and a bag of M&M's. They also took care of us in dining room with some uncharacteristically good grub--steak, shrimp (both breaded and peel & eat), salad, lasagna, fresh fruit... I was like, Holy shiat, this is what they serve around here on my day off???

And to top off a pretty good night at work, I met a nice gal at the tail-end of my shift, when I was down to just working two tables, one dead, one with a single player. I tapped into a $10 Pai Gow game and was happy to see that none of our regular fleas were around, and instead there was a fairly attractive gal playing all by herself. We had a fun, flirty conversation, and she seemed pretty interested in continuing it further at another time and place, and without being blatant about it, she made sure I knew how to get hold of her (we have some mutual acquainances--some of my regular players who I see four or five times a week are clients of hers at her place of business), so I think I may follow up in the next week or so. We'll see.

As a bonus, a few minutes before I was relieved, I dealt her a four-of-a-kind for a $250 payout, so I was golden after that.

All in all, a pretty good night at work, although it was so slow that I'm sure we didn't make any kind of decent money.

Once I got home, I stayed up reading for a few more hours, finally tackling a great book I received as a gift last Christmas called An Embarrassment of Mangoes. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, and I'm enjoying every page. Not only is it a great Caribbean adventure, the author is all about discovering and cooking the local cuisine. At the end of each chapter are recipes for several of the dishes that get mentioned in the course of her travels. My only gripe is that she only took two years off to sail the Caribbean. Had she stayed longer, I'd have more stuff to read!

Finally, sometime around five o'clock this morning, I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, so I put the book down on the nightstand and turned off the light, falling asleep just before the sun made it's daily appearance. Now that I'm up, I think I'm going to spend another hour or two reading, and then make some lunch before spending the afternoon doing chores. I've got to work again tonight, then I've got Friday all to myself. I may not have much cash on hand, but I've got a whole shelf full of books to choose from.