Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has It Been Nine Years Already?

So... Who remembers the biggest hoax ever perpetuated (besides global warming, I mean)?

Yup, I'm talking about Y2K. Remember the hysteria? Remember all the millions (billions?) that companies spent making their systems 'compliant'? I was working for Schwab all the time, and the worst phone call to take, which came in at least twice a week, was some old codger wanting me to "explain this whole Y2K thing..." because you know he was gonna be another jackass calling on New Year's Day, wondering if his money was still there...


What a joke it turned out to be. I especially liked listening to all of the newly-created survivalists hoarding bottled water and canned goods, preparing for the Apocalypse. Me? I just hoarded ammunition, figuring that food and water would take care of itself if one had enough ammo. (Luckily I've matured since then. Next time we have an impending 'crisis' on our hands like Y2K, I'll make sure I have a can opener and plenty of toilet paper, too).

The good thing about working in a brokerage is that I always had weekends and holidays off, so when they announced that everyone had to work on New Year's Day, nobody was happy.

I had plans on New Year's Eve, as did all of my friends. My buddy Devin was hosting a party, and I certainly didn't want to miss that, and I'd also just started seeing this gal named Corrine, and we planned on spending the evening together. My buddies all hated her because she was batshiat crazy, but she was filthy rich and had a nice rack, so you know, I thought it'd be worth it for awhile.

Classy guy that I am, I took her to the Macaroni Grill for dinner that night (actually, we had *just* started dating, and I didn't know until the last minute that we'd be going out, so it was the only place we could get a reservation). After dinner, we motored back down to Chandler to Devin's house, and we spent the balance of the evening sipping on cocktails and sneaking out to the garage to hit the bong. Quite a sight, a bunch of us sitting around in a circle on upside-down buckets, wearing our nice clothes, passing the torch, so to speak...

The TV was on, so we were watching the New Year hit the other time zones, then when the time came we donned our hats, popped the confetti, made some noise, sipped some champagne, and welcomed the new millennium with nice sloppy wet kiss. And a grope, if I remember correctly...

Everyone had to be at work at 6:00 am, but Corrine and I were the first ones to hit the road. I think we were back at my place, rolling around in front of the fireplace by 12:45. Good times!

Since it was our 'first date', she didn't have any spare clothes with her, so she bailed around 4:00 am to run home and get ready for work. I snoozed for another forty five minutes or so, then got dressed. I purposely didn't shave--my small way of sticking it to The Man for making me work.

It was tough to make it to the office, but I made it, and everyone else crawled in just under the wire, too. Of course we were all hung over. I guess the clowns who worked the general 24-hour service line had gotten the worst of the dumbass phone calls the night before, and since everything else civilization-related on the outside world hadn't suffered the slightest hiccup, our phones were silent.

But we were fully staffed, so we needed to entertain ourselves. Some enterprising souls had set up a miniature golf course that wound it's way through the department. Instead of having CNBC on all of the TVs, we watched the Rose Parade and ESPN. The guys in my area just entertained ourselves by tossing nerf balls around and surfing the internet (everybody who works in a cube farm has a nerf ball in the drawer, don't they?). Corrine's cube was about 75 feet away, so I called her and told her to come over and hang with us. But she wanted to stay put in her area, citing the fact that "all those guys over there know what we were doing last night..." I had no idea how to respond to that, so I just let it go.

Of course, the VPs in charge felt bad for making us work, so they provided free food in the cafeteria that day. I remember going upstairs for 'breakfast' at 8:00 am and finding all-you-can-eat hot dogs and hamburgers. Nice.

Finally, once we came back from our meal break, the bosses declared the day a dud and sent us all home to sleep it off. Corrine headed for home, as did most of my buddies, but as I was walking out to the parking lot, I ran into a couple of gals from one of my recent training classes, and they invited me to go out with them. So we went to a local bar for some bloody Marys, and we ended up sitting there all day long watching bowl games and drinking beer. I finally made it home sometime after dark, went straight to bed, and slept for about ten hours straight.

The Apocalypse would have to wait for another day.


They're Not Just Skinny Fanboys Drinking Overpriced Coffee. Some Of Them Are Pervs, Too!

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year tonight, especially my new reader in Houston who was led here by doing a Google Image Search for "girls sucking boobs" on his iPhone.

Hmm... I've always been of the opinion that nothing drives new technology like the ability to use it to access pr0n. Stealing music is waaaay down the list...

Me? I have no iPhone, and my computer is pretty much just a thousand-dollar deck of cards.


If Blog Posts Were Food, I'm Serving Tapas Today

Little plates of randomness...

I think my run on Amazon has finally ended for awhile. All the presents are here (a few arrived a bit late), and I couldn't help but jump on some after-Christmas sales and get some stuff for dirt-cheap.

For instance, I've had the movie The Sting on my wishlist forever, but it was always priced at like $23--way too much for a DVD that didn't come with a ten-dollar bill folded up inside. It finally went on sale for like eleven bucks, so I grabbed it. Lots of books and such were also on sale, so I picked up a few deeply discounted items, the last of which arrived today.

One of the things I got were some new earbuds for my iPod. Actually, they're not earbuds at all--I got some Sennheiser noise-attenuating earphones. First of all, the white earbuds that come with the iPod are awfully uncomfortable. And for some reason, I was always having to adjust them--they would never stay put. They sound ok, but the one thing I really don't like about them is the color. Yep, I've always kinda resented the subtle marketing ploy of having white speaker wire to announce to the world how cool and trendy you are because you are using an iPod. Oh yeah, I admit, I love my iPod, but I certainly don't buy into the whole Cult of Apple that so many untanned slackers in skinny jeans do. I don't need to have my coolness validated by the color of my earphones. White is also the color of sheep, people. Ironic, huh?

Anyhow, due to irritating combo of uncomfortableness and the mug-me color, I wanted a change. I've been looking for a suitable replacement for some time, and eventually I settled on the Sennheisers. Of course, all the good reviews come at a price, and they wanted like $45 for some portable frickin earbuds. I decided to wait. When they finally got marked down to twenty bucks last week, I jumped on the deal.

They arrived this morning, and once I finally got that modern day plastic chastity belt known as clamshell packaging removed, I gave them a test drive. First of all, they come with three sized of padding included, and I put the biggest ones on. Before I put them in, I noticed that the cords were asymmetrical beyond the split junction--the left-side one was about a foot shorter than the right-side one.


Reading the instructions, I saw that the right side speaker wire is supposed to go around behind your neck. Ah--that makes much more sense, and when you wear them like that, the combination of gravity and shirt buttons doesn't conspire to pull them out of your ears. Very clever!

Anyhow, the sound quality is very good, just like all the reviews say. But the noise dampening of the padding might work just a little too well--it completely blocked out all ambient outside noise, so the only thing I could hear was my own breathing. I can't even imagine trying to eat something crunchy while wearing them. As bad as they'd be for a poker tournament (you gotta be able to hear some outside conversation) they'd be fantastic on a long flight with crying babies. But I still have the other smaller pads, so I'm guessing they would work better in situations where I didn't need to be cocooned in my own personal fortress of solitude.

So yeah, I give them a thumbs-up. Not only do they work very well, but I don't look like I drink the apple-flavored Kool-Aid, either. Besides, black is slimming, and well, you know, I could use all the help I can get...


The Train that Runs Every Seven Minutes

Ok, that Ozzy Osbourne World of Warcraft commercial drives me nuts. Why? Well, first of all, I'm of the belief that WoW players are, as a group, not much more than a huge group of basement-dwelling dorks. Ok, lemme amend that. None of my readers who play. Y'all are all well-adjusted and socially adept. It's them other people...

But it's the intro to the song Crazy Train, where he yells All ABOARD!!! that makes me do a double take every time I hear it. Why is that? Because Crazy Train is Mamasan's ringtone on my phone! So every seven minutes or so when that commercial runs on ESPN (which is always the background noise in my bedroom), it makes me jump and look at my cellphone. It doesn't help that the commercials are so much louder than the regular programming on the TV, so whenever I hear it, I can't help but think for a split-second that my phone is ringing.

I guess it could be worse--I mean, I'm very much ok with my mom not calling thirty or forty times a day, and if there were a commercial that got that much airplay that featured something like She's A Lady (Beth's ringtone), Hopelessly in Love (Kimmy's ringtone), Push It (Andrea's ringtone), or Mrs. Robinson (Angy's ringtone), then I'd probably just be disappointed all the time.

Oh well, I guess I could just change the channel and keep something like HGTV running in the background. But if I did that, I'd miss out on all the rest of ESPN's ear candy like Lou Holtz, Stephen A. Smith, or Stuart Scott.


Out With A Whimper

Well, here we are, the end of another year.

2008, I gotta admit, was a pretty good one for me. Of all the things that went my way this past year, the job upgrade is first and foremost in my mind. I think if I were still dealing Pai Gow every night, with the occasional foray to the $5 blackjack table and the annoying dice game, I'd probably be kinda bitter about things. Especially since I left the pit, and the nightly average tokes are down about $25 each (causation or correlation???). Oh, yeah, I'm still a little bitter about a few things, but overall, I can't complain too much. I know how lucky I am.

And I've got much to look forward to this year--March Madness with my buddies, a likely trip back to Nashville for my birthday, a family cruise this fall, and a promise of time off next Christmas. I'll probably make it out to Phoenix at least once or twice to see my old gang, too.

So life ain't too bad in the grand scheme.

On the other hand, the day-to-day grind somehow manages to take my mind off the bigger picture, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who suffers from that affliction.


I'm quite well-rested today, and will probably get a lot done before I head back to the casino tonight. I went in last night, got there about 15 minutes before my shift started, and just as I walked up to the poker room, the only table we had going broke up and closed. Suddenly I had less game Drew Peterson standing in Jerry Maguire's living room.

I never even took my jacket off. I hung out for a bit, went over and talked to Kimmy for a second, and then came on back home. I tried to stay up and read, but I didn't make it an hour before falling asleep. I'm hoping tonight is juicy, because it's pay-the-bills time again on Friday. Normally, I can anticipate the swings of good nights and bad nights, but to make zero dollars ain't much fun.

So that was my last shift of 2008, as it stands right now. I'm scheduled to go in tonight at 1:00 am, which isn't exactly ideal, because that means I can't really go out and do anything, and I certainly can't go out and get silly before work, either. I'm just hoping that it's so busy tonight that I get called in a couple of hours early. If I can't be out having fun, I might as well be working... Besides that, I really don't want to be out on the road at 12:30 am on New Years in the World's Drunkest City.

I may post again later today, not sure yet. We'll see how the afternoon goes.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Say, Fuzzybritches

...feel like talkin' typin'?

Actually, no, I don't. Not that I'm being pissy or whiney or whatever, I'm just not feeling like spending quality time with the keyboard this week. Two days of graveyard shift, followed by two days of day shift really kicked my ass, and then I followed it up with a long night of drinking with my buddy Ed W.

Besides, I've got a big stack of new books on the nightstand, so I've spend the last two days hiding out in my cave reading, when I wasn't sleeping.

I'm about to catch another cat-nap for a couple of hours, then it's back to the casino for me. I'm working the next three nights, so no New Year's partying for me, although my roommate is getting the house ready for a celebration.

Anyhow, I'll probably post a bunch tomorrow, but right now, I'm just not motivated.


Monday, December 29, 2008

The Answers

Ok everyone, now that you've had a few days to digest all of the movie quotes, I'll go ahead and give you the answers. Nobody got more than three right, so yeah, it was probably a little tougher than it needed to be. Next time, I throw in a few more gimmes.

Without further adieu...

1. We move swift. We move silent. We move deadly. Only one shake of those wangs ladies. Anymore than that constitutes pleasure and we're not in that business.

--Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, aka Clint Eastwood, in Heartbreak Ridge. I was going back and forth between this quote or Stitch Jones saying She's got some angry titties, boy...

2. That's the one good thing about Paris: there's a lot of girls willing to take their clothes off.

--Leo DiCaprio in Titanic. I figured if I used his 'making it count' speech, everyone would have gotten it too easily.

3. You ain't from this planet are you, Vincent? Who is gonna mug two black fellas, holding pistols, sat in a car that is worth less than your shirt?

--I forget the character's name, but the line is from one of the funniest movies of all time-- Snatch.

4. This is a story you will tell your grandchildren; and mightily bored they'll be.

--NOBODY got this one, but it's rather obscure. It's from A Bridge Too Far, when they unveil the Market Garden invasion plans to the British Paratroops.

5. Luther said I could learn some things from you… I already know how to drink.

--Robert Redford in The Sting, one of my all-time favorite movies.

6. Ask your girlfriend. She's the one who's calling all the shots now. She won't shut up.

--I thought more people would get this one, but nobody did. It was from National Treasure.

7. On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

--This is also a favorite movie of mine, Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way. Every time it comes on AMC, The History Channel, or TNT, I can't help but sit and watch it. John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, and Patricia Neal starred. Henry Fonda actually uttered this line when his character, Admiral Nimitz, gave 'Rock' his Admiral's stars.

8. Ok, you've heard of Aretha Franklin right? She's a big lady. But when she sings, she blows people's minds! Everyone wants to party with Aretha! And, you know who else has a weight problem? Me. But when I get up there and start doing my thing, people worship me! Because I'm sexy, and chubby, man.

--This line is from the only Jack Black movie worth a damn. School of Rock.

9. Oh, great. You get the girl, I get the coroner.

--Kevin Spacey's character in L.A. Confidential. What a great movie all-around. And tons of great dialogue to choose from, too.

10. You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.

--I thought more people would get this one, but it was Al Capone (De Niro) in The Untouchables. Perhaps the fact that it came out 20 years ago might've had something to do with the fact that very few people knew this one.

11. I don't know about that, father. Your guy may be bigger than my guy up there, but my guy is bigger than your guy down here.

--'C' in A Bronx Tale.

12. To be with another woman, that is French. To be caught, that is American.

--Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Everybody loves this movie, and it's one of my all-time favorites. I love the twist at the end.

13. With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

--This is the easiest one of the group, as most people seemed to get this one right away. It's Ed Harris in Apollo 13.

14. You better shape up, Tiger, or some hotshot Jap pilot's gonna flame your ass!

--Charlton Heston in Midway. In Sensurround, as Marty pointed out. I saw this in the theatre in 1977 and thought it was the awesomest movie ever. And yeah, Heston's son in the picture was a whiny bitch that needed a good ass-whoopin'.

15. I don't tolerate this sort of thing. It's hard on the peace, and it's hard on the furniture. Now, knowing a bit about Carter here, I'm going to let you go without paying for the damages, but go you will, and I mean now.

--John Cleese as the Sherriff of the town of Turley, in the movie Silverado. Probably one of the most entertaining westerns I've ever seen. I remember being on a date in high school, or shortly thereafter, and seeing it--laughed all the way through it.

16. I find that smuggling is the life for me, and would be delighted to kill your friend the maggot!

--Has anyone besides me seen the latest version of The Count of Monte Cristo?

17. Don't you sometimes feel that this is the kind of life we were meant to live on this earth? Everything we need, everything, right here, right at our fingertips. You know, if only people could have all this and be satisfied, I don't think there'd be any real problems in the world.

--The dad in Swiss Family Robinson was a wise man.

18. I regret trifling with married women. I'm thoroughly ashamed at cheating at cards. I deplore my occasional departures from the truth. Forgive me for taking your name in vain, my Saturday drunkenness, my Sunday sloth. Above all, forgive me for the men I've killed in anger… and those I am about to.

--Marty nailed this one in the comments section. It's from The Cowboys. I think I was about five years old when I saw this movie at the drive-in for the first time. Has Bruce Dern always been a dirtbag?

19. You're legally allowed to drink now, so we figured the best thing for you was a car.

--Nobody got this one? What if I said REEEEEE-TAINER!... Would you get it then? It's from Good Will Hunting.

20. Oh, he proposed to her four times already, said he would leave his wife and kids, convert from Catholic to Baptist. Now you know that's some mean pussy to make a man change Gods.

--Critics hated this movie, and it kinda bombed at the box office. But I thought it was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. Harlem Nights anyone? Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, and Eddie Murphy at their best.

21. Have you ever gotten the feeling that you aren't completely embarrassed yet, but you glimpse tomorrow's embarrassment?

--Tom Cruise grabs Renee Zellwegger's boob in Jerry Maguire.

22. Father Bobby would have made a good hit-man. It's a shame we lost him to the other side.

--I can't remember the character, but he was talking about Robert De Niro in Sleepers.

23. Like all Brits, he thinks he was born with a better pot to piss in.

--This would've been much easier if I'd gone with 'Greed is good'. Yeah, it was Gordon Gecko in Wall Street.

24. Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol.

--This one was pretty easy, too. Everyone knows it was George C. Scott in Patton. Back in the day, I could get drunk and do that entire opening speech. I've forgotten most of it now.

25. What did you do, wake up this morning and say "Today I'm going to ruin a man's life"?

--No, not Gordon Gecko again, but close. Jack 'Trustworthy' Colton in Romancing the Stone.

So I hope everyone enjoyed it. If I do it again, I'll try and make it a little easier next time around.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Night Restlessness

Here it is, Friday evening in Vegas, and my system is so effed up I'm not quite sure what to do... I worked the graveyard shift the past two nights, as usual, but tomorrow I have to work at 9:00 am--right about the time I'm usually winding down and going to sleep. Now, I got a bit of a nap today, but I'll need to force myself to sleep tonight or else I'm going to be a wreck tomorrow.

And it's not like it's gonna be a big money day, either--I'm dealing a big freeroll tournament where we don't make shiat for money. The only redeeming factor is that it will be a fun day because everyone in the department will be working, and my co-workers are a great group of people for the most part. Even though it'll be a miserable tournament, I'll have company. Working the graveyard shift, I don't really get to see too many people. There are maybe three dealers there when I get in every night, and by the time my shift is over, I'm the last of the Mohicans. So working a middle-of-the-day shift will be a bit more social.

So tonight, I've got to force myself to sleep when I'm normally working, and tomorrow, I've got to force myself to stay awake when I'm normally sleeping. I'm sure I'll be a zombie by Sunday night.

Adding to my potential exhaustion is the fact that Jen wants to go out tomorrow night after work, too. We'll probably find some place to hole up and drink for awhile, but I'm guessing that it'll be an early night for me.

Last night wasn't nearly as lucrative as Christmas morning was. I worked two hours longer and made about thirty bucks less--that's never fun. The game was full of drunks, two of which we had to cut off, and if it wasn't obnoxious drunks, it was newbies that had no idea what they were doing, acting out of turn, repeatedly asking how much they could bet, etc. Not a fun night at all. Luckily it ended around 6:30 or so and I got out before the old farts showed up.

After my shift, I hung out for a bit talking to the graveyard floorman and the morning dealer--I didn't want to come home too early because my roommate's brother is here for the holidays and sleeping on the couch, and I didn't want to come sneaking in and give him the blast of cold air when I opened the front door, much less set the dogs off barking and waking everyone up. So I stuck around shootin' the shiat with the fellers there in the poker room, while the cocktail waitress brought us drinks and hung out with us too, as she had no customers to tend to. Hell, to walk by and see us sitting there in the corner around an empty poker table, you'd think you would've walked in to our own life-sized version of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Eventually, the old guys started shuffling in, as did the day-shift floorman, so our party broke up. The floorman, who I worked with all summer, told me he had a card for me, so I stuck around while he ran back out to his car to get it. He came back a few minutes later with my Christmas card, and I was shocked to see that inside, there was a $50 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. That was really nice!

I thanked him, said goodbye to everyone, and finally headed out. When I got outside, I was amazed at what a beautiful day it was out here in Vegas--it was one of those 100-mile blue sky days that is so clear that you can see forever. When I got to work the night before, it was rainy, cold, and overcast, and this morning, it was just awesome outside. Clear and cold, and all of the mountains surrounding he valley were covered in snow. I wish I would've had my camera with me, because it was a gorgeous day.

I was hungry, so of course I headed back over to the Omelet House. I was seated immediately, at my usual table (Been there five times now, each time I've sat at the exact same table). Unfortunately, my gal Marcie wasn't around, and some dude was my server. I ordered a cup of coffee and looked over the menu for a bit. I decided to have pancakes and bacon, with a glass of juice. Just after I ordered, my waiter told me that Marcie had just shown up, and a few minutes later, she was out there at my table visiting with me before her shift started. She told me all about her Christmas and we had a nice conversation. And she made me memorize her schedule so that I could plan my meals around when she was working.

Breakfast was very good, and of course I could come close to finishing it--the pancakes were huge, and three of them were more than enough. It was slow enough that I was able to linger and visit for a bit, but once the crowds started making their way in, I said goodbye, paid my tab, and headed back to the house.

I tried to stay awake as long as possible, but it was a losing battle. I *really* wanted to go outside and take advantage of the beautiful day--maybe check out one of those hiking trails out at Lake Mead, but damn, as willing as the spirit was, the flesh was just too weak. I lasted about an hour before passing out in bed and getting my snooze on.

I didn't get as much sleep as needed--once I woke up a couple hours later, I forced myself to stay awake, just so that I'd sleep tonight. This mixed-up schedule is hell on my system...

Anyhow, that's the news from here. I wish I had more interesting stuff to report, but things are kind of mellow.

Y'all have a good weekend!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

She'd Been Drinking Too Much Eggnog...

And we begged her not to go...

First of all--I want to thank everyone who sent along cards, gifts, messages, and kind thoughts my way this Christmas. It meant a lot and made my stuck-in-Vegas Christmas that much easier. Actually, it hasn't been too bad at all. But more about that later.

'Tis the season for miracles, and I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the greatest Christmas miracle I've experienced in a very long time. I went the entire month without once hearing that god-awful 'Wonderful Christmastime' crapfest song by Paul McCartney. Good lord how I hate that song. And somehow I managed to dodge it this year. Along the same lines, I also didn't hear Barbra Streisand's horrible version of 'Jingle Bells', either. I'll take that Oh-for-two every year and be satisfied.

Christmas, this year, also provided a bit of entertainment on the family front. I opened up the (wrapped) presents this morning, and one of them was my traditional beaches-and-palm trees calendar from Mamasan. Yep, she gets me one every year, but this one was a bit different. It was entitled 'Las Playas' (The Beaches), but when I took the plastic wrapper off to look at all the pictures, the whole thing was in Spanish. All the dates, the holidays, and the picture captions--all Spanish.

At least the pictures are nice, and the numbers are the same, but everything else--not a clue.

So I called Mamasan to ask her where she got it, and she said she couldn't remember, but she said she bought herself one, too. So far, the only holiday I recognize is Cinco de Mayo. The rest are a mystery.

But that's not the best of her absent-mindedness. On Christmas Eve, the whole clan gathered over at my sister Sherry's house for dinner, drinks, music, snacks, and the gift exchanges between everyone who would be at different places on Christmas morning. That's when I called, and while all of those festivities were going on, they passed the phone around and I got to participate somewhat with my own glass of spiked eggnog and a handful of peanut butter balls, laughing all the way.

Anyhow, once the party wound down and broke up, everyone went back to their own homes, but Mamasan was going to spend the night at Amy and Scottie's house, so they could do Christmas morning together. The plan was for her to follow them back to the other side of town, and once they got on the freeway, she called me up to give the after-action report while she drove over to Amy's place.

While we were talking, she somehow managed to lose Amy & Scott, but started following another car that looked just like theirs. So while we're talking, she started saying stuff like What the hell? Why are they taking the scenic route home? Oooooh, look, I think they just want to drive through the nicer neighborhoods to look at the lights... I have no idea where we are... I've never been to this area before... Maybe they have to make a delivery to their friends or something, because we're not exactly heading straight to their neighborhood... etc.

So we're just having a conversation about the evening's events, but she keeps interjecting random stuff about getting frustrated because she just wants to get over to the house, drink some more spiked eggnog, listen to some mellow Christmas music, and go to bed, but Amy and Scott are driving her all over creation. Then she said--Hold on for a second, they just pulled up into somebody's driveway--I think they're delivering gifts. Oh wait... That's not Scott! Oh shit! I've been following the wrong car for the last half hour! They probably think I'm some kind of stalker!

It was even more embarrassing for her, because she pulled up right behind this guy in his driveway, so he came over to the car, not knowing what to expect, and she had to fess up and then ask for directions on how to get back to Hillsboro Road. Heh. When I heard that, I got a chuckle. Eventually she made it over to Amy's, and they all got a laugh.

I guess it's not as bad as me running into the ladies room at Green Valley Ranch to take care of business, but it's right up there...

Anyhow, it sounded like the gang had a wonderful gathering on Christmas Eve, and it was nice to talk to everyone.

After that, I went to bed--I needed to get a little sleep before heading into work, so off went the lights, and I lit a scented candle and hit the Christmas playlist on my iPod, playing through the speaker system, turned down low.

I was asleep for about an hour, and I woke up to some god-awful shrieking. The smoke alarm in my bedroom was going off, as was the smoke alarm in the game room, plus the ones down in the living room and entryway.

Holy shit! I panicked, thinking my candle was gonna burn the house down, so I blew it out--but my room was kinda smokey. So I opened the door, and the gameroom was all smokey, too. I turned on every ceiling fan on the second floor along with the exhaust fan in my bathroom, but that's when I realized my candle had nothing to do with it. My roommate's girlfriend was baking something down in the kitchen, and they stepped outside for a few minutes, and whatever she was cooking, burned. So she came running in to tend to the emergency, apologizing for waking me up, while the rest of us just laughed. My roommate opened up the house for a few minutes to clear the smoke, and I went back to bed, but the smoke alarms went off a couple more times before the smoke cleared.

Eventually, I was able to go to sleep, and then I woke up one minute before my alarm. I showered, shaved, and got dressed, then took a load of big empty cardboard boxes downstairs with me to ditch in the nearest dumpster on my way to work. My roommate, his brother, and his girlfriend were still up listening to music, drinking some wine, and just getting their Christmas on, so I wished them all a Merry Christmas. My roommate said Holy shit Mikey, you must've been a good boy this year--you made out on the presents! And I agreed... And that's when I saw another box addressed to me, sitting there on the entry-way table. T-Rev had sent an assortment of smokey treats from Thompson Cigar (Thanks bro!).

It was cold and rainy out, but I got rid of the empty boxes and headed off to the casino. Just as I was getting out of my truck, I turned to see my favorite gal in the world, Kimmy, walking towards me. She had just gotten off of work, and was heading home. I was just lucky enough to be in her path right then, and well, I'll just say that my Christmas got off to a great start.


Hadn't even walked in the building, and I was already sweatin'...

I got down to the poker room, and there were two really strong 4-8 games going. Not bad--I figured that I'd make some decent money. And also, my friend Randi was working the room as the cocktail waitress. I've never mentioned her before, but she's a little cutie and we hang out sometimes, but our shifts almost never overlap. But I got a lot of envious WTF? looks from the players and the floorman when I got a kiss from another cocktail waitress, right there in front of everybody. This time, there were witnesses... Heh.

That's me, the walking mistletoe...

Anyhow, both games were especially juicy--lots and lots of action, so the money was very good. I was locked down the entire shift, only getting up a couple of times to empty out my toke pocket whenever I started to spill chips on the table. Luckily the last game broke just after 4:00 am, so my night was pretty much over. I stayed until five to help the floorman count down all the tables and do paperwork, then hit the poker office to look over the munchies that the boss had provided. But I just grabbed a cookie, said goodnight to everyone, and headed out.

I couldn't ignore tradition, so I hit the local watering hole where I met my gal Stephanie three years ago. When I got there, the place was relatively empty, but the bartender told me that everyone had been there but the party ended about a half-hour before I got there. No problemo. I had a coffee and Kahlua, ordered a breakfast burrito, and put twenty bucks into the video blackjack machine. I sent Stephanie a text saying "Three years ago, baby! Merry Christmas, I miss ya!"

I didn't hear back from her, but I usually don't too much--she's in California with a boy, and I only hear from her a couple times a year now.

Anyhow, I ate my breakfast, lost my twenty, paid my tab, and headed home. It was almost 6:00 by then, so I made some hot cocoa with schnapps and opened my presents. I got me a new comforter, another DVD, a CD, my calendaro-en-Espaniol-o, a book or two, and some new 600-thread count sheets. All very cool stuff!

I made a couple more phone calls back to the family to get the morning updates, and everyone was having fun and enjoying all of their gifts, and Christmas sounded like it was a success all across the Hurricane Mikey family.

I was getting kind of tired, so I took a shower and went to bed. I woke up a little while later, though--Stephanie was texting me, causing my phone to beep. We went back and forth for a bit, catching up, but then I went back to sleep. An hour later, I was awakened to the sound of Journey's cheezeball Hopelessly In Love tune, which I hadn't heard in months. That's Kimmy's ringtone, and she hasn't called me since last May! It wasn't actually a call though, she was just sending me a text message wishing me a very merry Christmas.

Just like Charlie Brown, all I could do was *sigh*. It must've been the mistletoe.

Anyhow, after that, sleep was impossible. But I was cool with that--my phone started ringing a bit. All of my fellow buffoons started sending text messages, and a couple of my gals here in town called too, so yeah, it was a pretty good day. But I killed all of my minutes on my phone--I had to bust out the MasterCard and add more minutes or else...

I talked to Reverend Dave later in the morning, too. He was frustrated by the difficulty of the movie-lines timewaster I posted yesterday, so I gave him all the answers. He said he wouldn't have gotten five of 'em. Perhaps I made it a little too hard... Oh well.

I also talked to Amy again--she sent me another one of her famous 'mix tape' CDs that just crack me up. She always puts funny songs on there, and lots of songs where the lyrics have come up in our colorful conversations over the past year. Songs that when I hear them, they make me chuckle and think of her. And you may ask yourself, Where is that large automobile?

But that's been my Christmas here in Vegas. I spent the day sort-of alone, but I got to talk to pretty much everyone who is close to me. I could do a lot worse. Anyhow, it's after six now, and I've got to try and get some sleep before I head back to the casino. I have a sneakin' suspicion that tonight is gonna be much busier than last night, so I'll need my rest.

So as Christmas winds down for another year, again, I wish you all the best and hope that Santa was good to everyone.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope all of my readers have a safe and wonderful Christmas, surrounded by family, close friends, and good food. And I hope Santa Claus is good to everyone, too.

Thanks again, everyone, for thinking of me this holiday season.

God bless us, everyone!


Time Waster

Ok, I promised a fun-type post that would give you something to do while sitting around in the office today. So here it is. Lately, there's been another one of those internet memes going around the blogging world, and it was forwarded to me a couple of times, but I've been sitting on it for a few days. Anyhow, I decided to take some time to set it up, so here it is.

Basically, what I've done, is search for famous movie quotes. I've compiled a list of 25 of them below, and the idea is to see how many you can guess--and NO cheating by using Google or the IMDB search engine (or other people's comments). A couple of things--these are all from famous movies, although there are a few more obscure ones thrown in to make it a little more challenging. Also, I avoided using some of the movies I regularly quote from here on the site--that would be too easy. And none are from sequels, either, so maybe that info helps a little. And I couldn't use movies like Pirates of the Caribbean (all the dialogue is pirate-speak, much too easy), Casino (every quote has an f-bomb in it!), or most quotes with names or places referenced (I think one or two might've slipped by, but I've tried to make it a challenge).

Anyhow, enjoy. Here they are:

1. We move swift. We move silent. We move deadly. Only one shake of those wangs ladies. Anymore than that constitutes pleasure and we're not in that business.

2. That's the one good thing about Paris: there's a lot of girls willing to take their clothes off.

3. You ain't from this planet are you, Vincent? Who is gonna mug two black fellas, holding pistols, sat in a car that is worth less than your shirt?

4. This is a story you will tell your grandchildren; and mightily bored they'll be.

5. Luther said I could learn some things from you… I already know how to drink.

6. Ask your girlfriend. She's the one who's calling all the shots now. She won't shut up.

7. On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

8. Ok, you've heard of Aretha Franklin right? She's a big lady. But when she sings, she blows people's minds! Everyone wants to party with Aretha! And, you know who else has a weight problem? Me. But when I get up there and start doing my thing, people worship me! Because I'm sexy, and chubby, man.

9. Oh, great. You get the girl, I get the coroner.

10. You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.

11. I don't know about that, father. Your guy may be bigger than my guy up there, but my guy is bigger than your guy down here.

12. To be with another woman, that is French. To be caught, that is American.

13. With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

14. You better shape up, Tiger, or some hotshot Jap pilot's gonna flame your ass!

15. I don't tolerate this sort of thing. It's hard on the peace, and it's hard on the furniture. Now, knowing a bit about Carter here, I'm going to let you go without paying for the damages, but go you will, and I mean now.

16. I find that smuggling is the life for me, and would be delighted to kill your friend the maggot!

17. Don't you sometimes feel that this is the kind of life we were meant to live on this earth? Everything we need, everything, right here, right at our fingertips. You know, if only people could have all this and be satisfied, I don't think there'd be any real problems in the world.

18. I regret trifling with married women. I'm thoroughly ashamed at cheating at cards. I deplore my occasional departures from the truth. Forgive me for taking your name in vain, my Saturday drunkenness, my Sunday sloth. Above all, forgive me for the men I've killed in anger… and those I am about to.

19. You're legally allowed to drink now, so we figured the best thing for you was a car.

20. Oh, he proposed to her four times already, said he would leave his wife and kids, convert from Catholic to Baptist. Now you know that's some mean pussy to make a man change Gods.

21. Have you ever gotten the feeling that you aren't completely embarrassed yet, but you glimpse tomorrow's embarrassment?

22. Father Bobby would have made a good hit-man. It's a shame we lost him to the other side.

23. Like all Brits, he thinks he was born with a better pot to piss in.

24. Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol.

25. What did you do, wake up this morning and say "Today I'm going to ruin a man's life"?

Have at it. See how many you can get. I'll post up the answers in a couple of days.


Santa's Latest Visit Sparks a Debate

Hey Gang!

It's Christmas Eve, and those of you that are stuck going to the office today, I feel for ya. I don't have to work 'officially' today, but my shift starts at 1:00 am late tonight/early Christmas morning, so technically, I have the day off. And I'm guessing that my trip to the casino later tonight will be a short one. Back when I was working in the pit, all it took was one jackass who wanted to play blackjack to keep me stuck at work overnight on Christmas, but in the poker room, you need a quorum.

I like my chances of being back home in bed before the sun comes up.

Anyhow, those of you goofing off at work today, have fun and drive safely back home when it's all over.

When I got home from work last night, I was just exhausted. It was one of those draining shifts that just sucks the life out of you. Not that I had to deal with any jerkoffs or anything like that, but it was just a grind all day long. And my hands were hurting--what's up with that? My hands never hurt, but from the wrist down, it feels like I was in a prize fight or something. Weird.

My plan was to go down to the grocery store and pick up some holiday munchables--more eggnog, some cheese and crackers, some cashews, stuff like that, so that I could have my own little Christmas Eve celebration tonight while I'm listening to the holiday music and talking on the phone to the family back in Tennessee. In fact, on the way home from the casino, I stopped at Albertson's and used up my gift card that they gave us at work. Luckily Albertson's was having a huge booze sale. I picked up some Captain Morgan Parrot Bay coconut rum (nothing better in eggnog, except maybe vanilla rum), and a bottle of that new hazelnut Kahlua. I also grabbed a couple of four-packs of Vernor's in the glass bottles. Yum!

When I got home, there were a couple of other things waiting for me on the entry-way table. First of all, a couple of Christmas cards from family and friends, which is always nice, and then a couple of packages. One was from Eric in Maine, a Super Troopers DVD, with a cool note telling me thanks for the years of right-wing common sense, from my friends at US Customs. Sweet. It's good to know that The Man is on my side!

The was another box, too. Inside was a note from reader Benji up in Minnesota, wishing me the best for the holidays, along with a Harlem Nights DVD and that Freakonomics book that's been on my wishlist for a couple of years--a great gift because it's something I've always wanted, but probably would've never bought for myself. So thanks again guys--it's much appreciated, and nice to know that folks are thinking of me this year during the holidays. I don't know why, but this year seems to be a little tougher for me than years past. Maybe because I came so close to being able to go back to Nashville, and then at the last moment the opportunity evaporated. But I just felt like I really needed to be there this time around, and being stuck here in Vegas for Christmas just ain't much fun.

But that's ok, I'll get over it. Besides, the other 364 days of the year, I'd much rather be in Vegas than Nashville, so it kind of balances out.

One of the other things waiting for me there on the table when I got home was a claim ticket from the post office. Mamasan's package of goodies finally made it here, but unlike the UPS man, the post man won't leave anything on the porch. Luckily, it's only a block away, so as soon as they open at 8:30, I'll head over and pick it up. I *think* there may be another set of 600-thread count sateen sheets in the box, along with my usual calendar featuring pictures of islands and beaches and whatnot, but what I'm really looking forward to is the batch of famous peanut butter balls. Some folks, like Rob and the Suburban Hausfrau, call them 'Buckeyes', but that's blasphemy as far as I'm concerned. Real peanut butter balls are completely covered in chocolate, no naked insides exposed. And tis *not* the season for blasphemy, anyways...

But Mamasan's been probably more excited for the package to get here than I am, and calls every day asking if it's here yet. And it's led to an interesting debate--she thinks that everything people send me should be considered Christmas gifts, and I shouldn't open any boxes before Christmas--that I should just take all the brown cardboard shipping boxes and pile them up under the tree like a redneck and then wait until Christmas morning to open them all at once.

I, on the other hand, disagree, and think that the packages should be opened as soon as they get here--besides, if I were to open a box and see that the stuff inside was giftwrapped, of course I'd wait to open it. But stacking up a bunch of cardboard boxes under the tree looks kinda ghetto-ish, and it's easy to post up individual thank-yous as things come trickling in (I think if I did it all at once, I'd probably end up leaving somebody out, and that would be very uncool). But Mamasan thinks I should've waited to open anything. Even my sister Amy said the same thing.

I disagree. Maybe I'm wrong, but hey--I've been wrong before. What do you folks think? I'll go with majority opinion next time around...

Anyhow, y'all have a wonderful Christmas!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Stuff Coming...

I've got a nifty time-wasting post in the hopper, and I was gonna put it up tonight, but I figure only the hardest of the hardcore re-clickers would be hanging around. And I'm just too tired. I had a very long day at work, and I'm all about the hot shower and crawling into bed now. I'm gonna turn off the computer for a few hours and get some sleep, but there will be some stuff for y'all to goof off with at work in the morning.

Mikey out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not My Day

Well, I've figured out the downside to wearing a watch... I drove off today and left my cell phone sitting on my bed. Actually, I drove off and left it under the covers--before I left the house, I did a 'bachelor style' bed-making, where you just shake out the covers and let them fall wherever, so the bed doesn't look exactly unmade, but it's not exactly neat, either. Well, I did that, and my cell phone and all of the tv remotes were under the covers when I left.

Since I don't use my cellphone to tell time anymore, I'm not constantly taking it out of my pocket and checking the clock. I just look at my wrist, like pretty much everyone else does. And unless I need to make a call, I forget that it's there until it rings. And I had a pocket full of stuff when I left the house--my camera, a lighter, a cigar cutter, my keys, a card protector, the change on my desk, and my phone (I thought).

But I didn't really have my phone. I just didn't know it for several hours.

Anyhow, around noon, I left the house, and the plan was to get some lunch and go play some poker. Of course I went to the Omelet House again, but this time I got a cheeseburger and fries, with a Coke. It was good, your average diner burger, but nothing to get too excited about. I think I'll just stick to breakfast from now on whenever I go there. And my favorite gal Marcie wasn't working either, so it was an uneventful meal.

Once I paid my tab, I headed over to Vegas proper, hoping to get into the afternoon tourney at Planet Hollywood. I was there about 45 minutes early, so I hit the $10 Pai Gow table again. After a half an hour, I was up one single dollar, so I gave it to the dealer and headed back over to the poker area.

That's when I suddenly felt naked. I went to text Eric and Dougie and give 'em the breakdown, like I normally do when I get into a tourney, because they like to follow my exploits. But I was freakin' out there for a few minutes, emptying my pockets all over the table (luckily there was nothing embarrassing in there), looking for my phone. I gave up after a bit, trying to convince myself that it'd fallen out of my overstuffed pocket and was sitting on the seat of my truck.

I don't know about the rest of you, but damn, I feel absolutely naked without my phone. I mean, I'm a slave to the poker room, on call 24/7 so I have to have it with me at all times, but it's just one of those things that I can't function without. Besides this computer, it's my only connection to the outside world.

So I was off to a rough start. I tried to convince myself that all was well and that I'd get my phone back, but it was tough to concentrate. A recipe for disaster in a poker tournament--if I were smart, I probably would've gotten a refund and gone to look for it. I was too preoccupied to play my best.

But I managed to do ok once we got started. There were about 45 players total, and I knocked a couple of people out early, so I had a good chip stack going. Of course, Ace-Queen and pocket Jacks made an appearance, taking me down a notch or two because neither hand could win, and at one point, when we were down to two tables, I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world because I looked down to see pocket Aces when the guy on my right pushed all-in preflop. Of course I made the call, and was happy to see his pocket Sevens. Before the flop even came out, the guy in the big blind said that he folded a Seven, also. So I liked my chances.

You all know how that hand ended--they guy caught the case Seven on the river and doubled up through me.

Even though I was crippled, I made it to the final table. Actually, the final table only had nine players, because once we went hand-for-hand, there was a three-way all in and the big stack won, knocking out two players at once.

But I was the short stack, and they were paying only six places. Of course I wanted a chop! Nobody wanted to do it, especially when they saw my lame excuse for a bankroll. I managed to avoid being the first one knocked out at the final table, though. A couple of other guys tangled, and the smaller stack lost, so I found myself two spots from the money with pocket Queens. Every chip I had went into the pot.

I got one caller--he had pocket Kings. And yeah, they held up. Ouch. So I guess the only thing worse than being the bubble boy is being the double-bubble boy.

Pissed off, and having forgotten about my phone, briefly, I stopped when I saw the rarest of creatures on the Strip, a $5 dice table. So I bought in for a hundy, thinking I'd make my tournament buy-in back. After all, it's the season of miracles!

No such luck--I was doing the come-bet thing, which I've decided is far superior to place betting, but I just couldn't get any repeats. I lasted about a half hour and gave up in disgust, leaving my last seven bucks for the dealers, mostly because I was too lazy to walk to the cage.

Once I got back down to the valet, my apprehension regarding my cellphone started to gnaw at me. And when my truck arrived, and it *wasn't* sitting on the seat, then I panicked. Nope, the valet guys hadn't seen it, either. I basically tore my truck apart right there at the hotel entrance looking for my phone, but I gave up in defeat after a few minutes and drove on home. Losing the phone wasn't so bad, I told myself, I've got the cash to replace it, but losing the Sim-card would be a real bitch.

When I got back home, I gathered up the mail and came upstairs. I sat down on my partially-made bed, and heard a tell-tale beep coming from under the covers.

Woo hoo!!! It wasn't lost, but then I had another brief panic--the beep was notifying me of missed calls, and when I checked, I had three missed calls and a couple of voicemails. Damn. I just *knew* that I missed a shift at work...

But no, that wasn't the case--it seems that a couple of my sisters decided to call me this afternoon, so no, I didn't miss out on anything at work. So I listened to my messages and then called 'em back, feeling much better about my day, even though it kinda sucked up to that point.

Now that I'm home, I'm home for the night. I've got me some cheese, fruit, and crackers for dinner, along with a bottle of the Pellegrino. And I'm just gonna chill here in front of the football game for a bit, then watch a little bit of stuff from the DVR before calling it a night. I've got to work the day shift tomorrow--a couple of easy hours doing the tournament, then an afternoon full of cash games.

Once I scoot out of work, I'm gonna stop and get some eggnog and a few other goodies so that my Christmas Eve isn't a complete waste, but then I'm gonna hole up in my hermit cave for 30 hours or so, with nothing but old movies and the three Christmas ghosts to keep me company until I go back to the casino.

I wish my Christmas were different this year, but this is the business we chose...

I may do some writing, I may not. I dunno. I'm feeling kind of hum-buggish about the whole thing right now.


Suzette is Right!

Everything is better with bacon on it! Oh my God--this is too much fun! Somebody stop me! It's just so addicting... Even the unbearable is tolerable with bacon!

Whew. I think I need a cigarette.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Much, How About You?

Ok, so I took a couple of days off from the website. I deserve a weekend every now and then, right?

Actually, the truth is, there just hasn't been anything really interesting happening around here. The snow is pretty much all melted, Vegas is back to it's usual neon-splashed brown color, and I've been hiding out in my hermit cave for a couple of days, doing a whole lot of not much.

Avoiding the Christmas crowds, I haven't done any shopping (well, I try to do all my shopping on Amazon anyways, and this year, I only sent gifts to my parents), although at some point I've got to hit the grocery and liquor stores. I went out to breakfast again at the Omelet House yesterday, and yeah, it was very good once again. This time, I didn't get an omelet, I tried the chicken fried steak and eggs. I had to compare it to the Peppermill, and yeah, it falls a bit short, but then again, the Peppermill is the king of CFS and eggs in Vegas. There is none better. But that's not to say that the Omelet House isn't damn good. And the location and prices are more favorable, too.

On this latest foray, I discovered that if you order hot chocolate, they'll give you one free refill, unlike every other restaurant in the free world who charges by the cup. So that's a nice perk. And I'm three-for-three sitting at the same table on each visit, and my new favorite waitress Marcie was working again, too, so overall, it was another positive experience.

After breakfast, I thought about stopping over at Casual Male and getting some new jeans, but the traffic around the mall was just horrendous on the last-weekend-before-Christmas rush. There is also a Super WalMart across the street from the mall, with a parking lot as big as the airport, and it was packed, too. So I just kept on driving and came home, not wanting any part of that particular brand of madness.

I was doing a little bit of reading, watching some football, and the phone rang about 8:00 pm. I was just getting ready to make a pot of chili, but work called, asking if I could come in an hour later. Chili denied! So I got dressed and stopped at Taco Bell for a quick dinner--those loaded nachos are actually pretty damn good if you spring for the extra thirty cents and get a side of pickled jalapenos.

There were five games going when I got to the casino, but I kinda figured they'd all go dead around midnight. It seemed like every guy was saying "Oh, I'm just killing time until the wife finishes her shopping". And like clockwork, at midnight, three games went down at once. A few minutes later, another limit game died, and we were down to one game and three dealers, so I called it a night after just four hours. It wasn't a bad night--no jackasses to speak of, the money was decent, and time went by pretty quick. Also, Kimmy was working, wearing that naughty Santa outfit that makes me think all kinds of impure thoughts. And even though she was working the Chinatown pit, her service well was at the bar nearest the poker room, so whenever I was up from my tables and she was between rounds, we got to chat and visit for a bit. Of course that was the best part of my night.

I considered, briefly, sticking around and playing some cards, but I'm getting to the point where I really don't like playing limit poker, so I just bailed and came on home.

I stopped at the local convenience store to pick up a bottle or two of Pellegrino, but all they had was Perrier. I'm on a Pellegrino kick lately, having decided that it's more fun to drink than regular water, and much better than drinking Coke all the time. Besides, Grimaldi's is a Pepsi joint, so what's a brotha to do? I can't ruin a perfectly good pizza by drinking Pepsi with it, so I've been either having a Peroni draft or drinking Pellegrino whenever I go there.

Oh, I still keep the Coke on hand to mix with rum, but for just having for when I'm thirsty, I'll go with the mineral water.

Anyhow, today is another one of them relaxing days where I don't plan on doing much but reading and watching football. And speaking of reading, Kevin the Weatherman sent a cool book along that I got on Friday--he was astute enough to see from my latest wish list additions that I've been thinking a lot about hiking lately, so he sent along The Recreational Hiker's Guide to Las Vegas Area Trails.

It's a great source of info, and there are lots of nifty trails around town that I had no idea about. Of course I want to hike up at Mt. Charleston, but the weather up there is a bit chilly for me, plus there are feet of snow on the ground, not just inches. But there are some cool hikes around Lake Mead that are fine right now that it's not blazing hot outside, and plenty of beginner trails for somebody who's as out-of-shape as I am. As much as I'd love to conquer the summit of Mt. Charleston, a man's got to know his limitations, and I know I'm in no shape to do it right now. The altitude and elevation changes would kill me!

But I want to start taking easy hikes around the valley every week, and eventually build up to the more strenuous hikes up at Mt. Charleston, and eventually I'd like to do the 16-mile north loop trail to the summit (it gains over 4200 feet in elevation in eight miles, so it's a climb!).

So it was a very cool gift, from the guy who didn't send the Dean Martin CD. Thanks, again, Kev!

Back when I was a younger pup, I used to go camping and hiking all the time. I remember one year I did a long weekend in Brown County, Indiana, and did three trails in three days, hiking 50 miles. That second day, all 21 miles of it, damn near kicked my ass, but it was a good experience. Since then, I've always kinda liked hiking, although that whole backpacking thing isn't really my style. When I go camping, usually it's a sit around the campfire and drink beer type of activity, and when I hike, it's usually an out-and-back type of trip. I won't be conquering the Appalachian Trail anytime soon. But what's better than walking around in the fresh air and enjoying the awesome scenery of the mountains? And it's cheap, too!

That's about all for now. I'm getting hungry for some chili, so I think I'll wrap it up for awhile.


Update: Dammit... I can't keep all the Kevins straight. Somebody named Kevin sent the hiking book. I don't think he's a weatherman. I have no idea anymore. Whoever it was--thank you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Going Back For Seconds

I just couldn't help myself. After having such a good breakfast at the Omelet House yesterday, I didn't eat again all day or night, then worked all night, and by the time I got out of the casino, I was hungry again. So I had to go back.

But more about that in a bit...

So after I posted the pictures of the snowstorm yesterday afternoon, I did the only sensible thing I could thing of. I bundled up in sweats, wool socks, and a flannel shirt, and crawled back into bed.

I set my alarm for midnight, and avoided all the bad weather and traffic accidents that I was sure were raging around outside the safety of my house. The first thing I did once the alarm went off was to go and check to see how much more snow we had gotten. It was about six inches deep on the balcony, and the Strip was nowhere in sight--we were good and fogged in.

So I showered, shaved, and got dressed, and left for work about ten minutes earlier than usual. There was no traffic, of course, but I was worried that the roads might be iced over. Anyhow, when I went downstairs, there was yet another package from the UPS man on the entryway table. One of my anonymous readers, Helaine from CT (who I've never spoken to, met, got an email from, nor do I recall her ever commenting here) sent me the Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels DVD. At least she included a nice note so that I'd know who she was. So Helaine--thank you very much! And don't be so shy!

Anyhow, I sat there waiting for the truck to warm up, and the six inches of wet snow that my truck was buried under was too heavy for my windshield wipers to work. I don't have a snow scraper or anything like that, but I had a clipboard behind the drivers seat, so I used that to scrape my windows. The neighborhood roads were slippery as hell, and just getting up the slight grade to the stoplight was interesting, but after that, it was smooth sailing.

Work kinda sucked--there was a shorthanded limit game, and a decent no-limit game going, but between the two tables I had to deal with three of the biggest douchebags on the planet. Eventually, the 4-8 game broke, and I got locked into the no limit game, but it was just three-handed for about two hours. And one of the three players was one of the jerkoffs I was hoping would go home. Luckily some kid sucked out on him in a $600 pot, and the other player got him a few minutes later for a couple hundred more. That put an end to the game, and I called it a night at 6:00 am this morning.

So when I left work, I was hungry, and I figured I'd hit the Omelet House again. So I drove over to Boulder Highway, and when I got there, the place was all dark and closed up. WTF? It was like 6:15 in the morning. What kind of breakfast joint doesn't open at 6:00 am? So, I kept on driving.

I figured I'd head over the the Flea-esta for some $5 Pai Gow while I waited. The casino looked deserted when I pulled in, but wouldn't you know it, the only full table in the entire joint was the one single Pai Gow game. Just my luck. I wandered a bit, and finally decided to try my luck at the $3 craps table. Nobody else was playing, and they only had one end open, so I stepped up and bought in for a hundy.

I mostly broke even for about a half hour, making a few bets here and there for the dealers. But I couldn't get over the hump. Well, at one point, I was up about $25 and I should've stopped there, because then the table went ice cold. I had $125 worth of chips in front of me, and about $60 in action on the table when I sevened out and it just went downhill from there.

I couldn't get anything going at all, but since I was the only player at the table, I had nobody to blame but myself. At one point, I was down to my last $14 when I finally hit my number. I came roaring back after that, and went on one of those epic rolls that dice shooters dream about. Of course, it was just a $3 table, and I was only doing minimum bets on the line, and Come bets with 2x odds. Once I got paid twice, I'd press 'em a unit.

Luckily, the dice gods were with me because I hit a two-way hard four to start off my hot streak, and that put another $35 worth of bullets in my holster, so then it was off to the races. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and just as I started really getting paid off, three old dickheads showed up and ruined my perfectly good roll by splashing chips all over the layout and prop-betting themselves broke, slowing down the game and killing my mojo. I swear I wanted to kick all three of them in the nuts.

When I finally sevened out a few minutes later, I had turned my $14 into $285. Woot!

Color me up, boys, Mikey is outta here!

We didn't chase you off, did we? asked one of the old farts.

Yeah you did, betting like jackasses, confusing the dealers, and ruining the flow of the game...

I hope they all went broke.

Besides all the bets I made for the dealers, I left 'em the two red chips and walked with $275. I hit the cage and then hit the exit. By then, the sun was up and I was sure the restaurant was open.

So I headed back over there, and yeah, it was open for business. I ended up at the exact same table I had the day before, and ordered a cup of coffee. Sadly, my new favorite waitress Marcie wasn't around, and I was stuck with another gal who wasn't nearly as enthused to be serving me.

This time, I had to go upscale, so I ordered the lobster, avocado, and Jack cheese omelet. And instead of toast, I got the warm banana bread. And a tall glass of juice. The coffee was very good--just what I needed to take the chill off, and just a few minutes later I had a huge slice of banana nut bread with whipped butter in front of me. Oh yeah, it was wonderful. I sat there enjoying that with my coffee, and I swear, I could've made a meal out of that. It kind of reminded me of eating at my favorite breakfast spot in San Diego, Hob Nob Hill, with their famous coffee cake. It comes with each meal, but I prefer toast with my breakfast, so I always order some on the side. The banana bread at the Omelet House is just as good. Next time, I'm having toast with my meal, just as God intended, but I'm getting a side of warm banana bread, because dammit, you only live once.

While I was sitting there, I noticed that everyone around me was ordering the pumpkin bread, so I asked the waitress if I could try that, too. She brought me some a few minutes later, and as good as it was, I think I prefer the banana bread. The pumpkin bread was tasty, but it reminded me of a not-quite-as-good version of my sister Sherry's famous holiday pumpkin roll, minus the cream cheese frosting, so it came up a little short.

Eventually, my omelet arrived, along with a huge side of their sliced, seasoned, and deep-fried spuds. One bite was all I needed to be convinced that I'd made a good choice--Oh hell yeah, it was even better than I imagined. Something about the combo of avocado and melted Jack cheese, with big chunks of lobster mingled in that just arouses the taste buds. Man, it was goooooood. But it was rich. There was no way I was finishing that monster. I gave it the ol' college effort, but in the end, I was reduced to picking through the eggs looking for bits of lobster and avocado, not wanting to waste one bit of the best ingredients, regardless of how full I was.

My breakfast tab came to about $16, which wasn't bad considering that I had one of the more expensive items on the menu, an extra side of pumpkin bread, and the usual restaurant tradition of gouging on the fruit juice.

Once I finished my third cup of coffee, I paid the tab and headed on back to the homestead. All the snow has pretty much melted off of the roads, but the ground, buildings, and trees are still covered, so it still looks kinda cool outside. I'm guessing that it'll all be gone by tomorrow, which is just fine by me.

The rest of my day? No plans at all. I've got to work late tonight, so I won't be going out unless I get really bored and need to scratch my poker itch.


PS: I stand corrected--it was not 'Kevin the Weatherman' who sent the Dean Martin CD. Whoever it was, please email me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lest We Forget...

We're still in the middle of the f*cking desert!

At this point, you certainly could've fooled me. Right now, the entire Vegas valley is blanketed by several inches of snow! It's amazing outside. It's snowed about an inch an hour since I've gotten home, and it's not melting at all--it's accumulating all over the place, and I don't think that there is a single salt truck or snowplow anywhere in Clark County.

It's gonna be fun driving to work tonight--but even worse, I can't imagine what the 215 looks like right about now.

Anyhow, how about some new pictures? Here's the same view off of my balcony, taken less than 36 hours later than the ones I posted yesterday morning:

Remember, click on it to get the full effect. Somewhere out there is the Vegas strip...

This is my street:

And this is the entry to the house. Check out the plants.

Here's a good shot of the balcony, showing just how much has accumulated so far:

And here is a shot of our neighbor's tree, which I thought was kind of cool:

The thing is, it's coming down even harder now than it was a few hours ago. There might be a foot of snow on the ground tomorrow morning!


Are You KIDDING Me???

Ok, so I swore I went to bed in Henderson last night, but somehow I woke up in Chicago.

There is a f*cking blizzard going on outside right now! Snow, sleet, wind, crazy drivers, the whole bit. Seriously--where did that come from???

Checking the Intellicast website, I saw this gem:


1107 AM PST WED DEC 17 2008
1107 AM PST WED DEC 17 2008

Seriously, WTF?

Well. I don't care at this point. I've got plenty of food and booze on hand to ride out any storm, and I'm wearing my wool hiking socks to keep my feet warm. Not only that, but I'm back inside my flannel and fleece cocoon, and I'm not coming out for several hours.

I would've never noticed, except that I got up a couple of hours ago and headed out to get some breakfast. I've been wanting to try the Omelet House over on Boulder Highway for quite some time now, and today was the day I finally made it over there.

First of all, it's over in Old Henderson, not the trendy Green Valley/Seven Hills part of Henderson that everyone knows about. And the restaurant itself is straight out of the fifties. No joke--the chairs are the metal stackable kind with vinyl pads, and the booths are made out of brown naugahyde. The carpet looks original, too, and the decor is straight up garage-sale chic. The place just screams 'Route 66 greasy spoon'.

But don't let the looks put you off. It's a great spot, very comfy and inviting, and the staff is friendly and helpful. It seems that everyone has been working there for years. The menu, as you can see at the link, is quite extensive, and the omelets are made with six eggs. You can't leave this place hungry, I'm convinced.

Anyhow, I wandered in around 11:00 am, and was immediately seated. My waitress was an attractive gal named Marcie, who knew me well enough at first glance to make sure there was a fresh cup of coffee sitting in front of me less than thirty seconds after I sat down.

I was a little intimidated by the menu--everything looked good so it was hard to choose. When Marcie came back a minute later asking if I knew what I was going to have, I *had* to choose something quickly. It's not the kind of restaurant where they suffer fools--not that they'd be rude or anything, but you could tell that the proper protocol was to know what you wanted when asked.

I told her that I wanted a ham and cheese omelet, but that I wanted some veggies in it too.

Oh yeah, we can add whatever you want she told me.

So I ordered my mine with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, too. With wheat toast and a tall glass of orange juice. I was tempted to order some of the banana nut bread or the pumpkin nut bread, as everyone around me seemed to be having it, but I wanted to go with the basics on my first visit.

It didn't take long for my food to come out, maybe five minutes or so after I ordered it, and I had a pleasant conversation with the waitress while I waited.

Anyhow, I wish I would've taken a picture, because it was a mighty fine looking omelet. And it came with 'Spuds'. I figured it would be hash-browns or home fries, but no, their version of 'spuds' is thick-sliced potatoes, deep fried and seasoned, almost like kettle chips. Kind of an unexpected version with breakfast, but damn, they were good! And the toast was the good thick wheat bread that every restaurant in Vegas has, but it's damn near impossible to find in the grocery store.

I really enjoyed the meal, and the price was right, too. The omelets are all about eight-and-a-half bucks, quite a deal for the amount of food you get. The coffee was good and basic--it always tastes better in places like that, and the spuds were an unexpected treat. The service was off-the-hook friendly and quick, so overall, I can't recommend the place highly enough. It's not fancy at all--if you're expecting a 'Vegas' style breakfast spot, you'll be sorely disappointed, but the old-school shopworn ambiance has an appeal all it's own. They're all about the food, and with food this good, that's all they need.

Anyhow, I ate as much as I could stuff into my pie hole, overtipped the waitress, and vowed I'd be back again soon. (Next time I'm gonna get that lobster omelet with the banana nut bread!)

Once I got back outside, that's when I noticed that lazy white precipitation falling from the sky. It started slowly at first, but once I flipped a UE back onto southbound Boulder Highway, it was coming down like god had knocked over a box of cosmic laundry detergent. I couldn't believe it. A few minutes later when I got back over into my neighborhood in new Henderson, it was just a mess. A fun mess though--I saw a couple of kids at the bus stop in front of Walgreens trying to catch flakes on their tongues, and the guy in the truck in front of me had his window down and his hand out to 'feel' the snow as he was driving.

Anyhow, regardless of the weather, I had a great breakfast, and I really enjoyed the Omelet House--I think the best way to sum it up is that it's the kind of place you'd take your parents to when they come to visit, otherwise, it's a great place to treat a hangover. But now that I'm home, I'm staying put for awhile--I imagine traffic is gonna be a nightmare around here for the rest of the day.


A Night at The Fezziwig

Is it hump day already?

This week is going by quickly for me, but I plan on slowing it down today. I'm definitely going to spend a few more hours here in my toasty warm nest, sipping hot cocoa with a splash of schnapps, and doing lazy-day things like reading and surfing the net.

Oh, I may get up and get some breakfast at some point, but I'm not hungry enough to pull the covers off from over my head and get dressed. Yep, you should see me--I'm like a critter in a cave with only my hands sticking out, and then just far enough to reach the keyboard. I could live quite happily like this for some time. And I would, too, except that I have to head back to work in about 18 hours.

Yesterday was tough on me. I woke up much too early in the day, didn't get enough sleep, and was already tired when I got to work. And day shift isn't nearly as much fun in the poker room as graveyard is. Day shift is full of expressionless grinders, while graveyard is full of jovial drunks. Of course that's a massive generalization, and I get my fair share of retards late at night, but overall, yeah, graveyard shift offers me much more for my entertainment dollar.

And it seems that I work a lot harder on day shift than I do late at night, yet the money is never quite as good. Oh well--I'll take any shift I can get my grubby paws on at this point. Speaking of which, my boss was working at the designated floor person yesterday, and I haven't seen her in almost a month. But she went out of her way to apologize for not letting me get home for Christmas, and said that I'm top of the list for any time off I want in 2009, so yeah, next year for sure. And I'm taking time off for March Madness, a cruise, and maybe a couple of long weekends thrown in the mix too.

Anyhow, while I'm scheduled for four days over the holiday week, she said she'll likely work me like a mule all week long. One dealer resigned the other day, and another one left early on Monday, not feeling well, went to the doctor, and is having triple bypass surgery today and will be out for six weeks or more. Plus there are about five people off next week, too. So Mikey won't be around much--I'll be either working or sleeping all week long, which is fine with me, because as much as I love Christmas, this year is just a big pile of suck as far as I'm concerned. I *really* thought I'd be back in Tennessee, and the let-down has bothered me more than I thought it would.

Even though I've been feeling like a total Ebenezer this month, my loyal and generous readers have been doing their best to help me keep my chin up. When I got home from my exhausting day at work, there was yet another delivery from the UPS man. Actually, there were two of them.

Kevin the weatherman sent along a Dean Martin Live From Vegas CD, which will go into rotation immediately. And Lisa Lisa the One I Adore hooked a brotha up! She sent a couple of books of of my Wish List (one was a collection of pirate stories, and the other one a perfect-for-browsing reference book that already has a place of honor on the porcelain bookshelf!), additionally, she sent a CD of old-school lounge music that makes me want to bust out the cocktail shaker and wear a skinny tie. If Lars ever gets off of probation, it'll be the soundtrack for our next martini-and-cigar night.

So as much as that made my night, it was the notes and well-wishes from everyone I've gotten lately that have improved my mood the most. It's good to know that people are thinking of me this holiday season and just as bummed about me being stuck here as I am. It means a lot.

At that point, I was spent--seriously, once I got home from work, I really didn't want to go out last night. I like Jen and all, but I don't like her like her, so I was tempted to just call up with some excuse, make myself a rum and Coke, and then fall asleep listening to my new music. I was really droopy by then. But I gutted it up and hopped in the shower, and as soon as I got out, I saw that I had a missed call and a voicemail message on my phone.

It was Jen, saying she was just pulling into Green Valley Ranch and wondering where I was. So I called her back, saying I'd be there in about 20 minutes. Luckily I live really close.

I got dressed in some of my new duds, and hustled on down to the casino. I found her wandering around outside of Hank's with a glass of Merlot in her hand, so we headed on down to the ballroom. We checked in at the registration desk, got our wristbands for the free drinks, and hit the bar.

The party was actually really good this time around. The ballroom was packed, because I think it was the Christmas party for three different casinos in the family all at once. On the downside, however, I heard the DJ playing the Macarena twice within the first half hour. That's never a good sign. But we found ourselves a table with a couple of other people we knew and sat down and chatted for a bit.

Eventually, everyone wanted to hit up the buffet lines and carving stations, so I offered to sit and guard the table while they went on a food run. Of course, as soon as they left, the waitress came around, so I ordered another round for everyone. A few minutes later, they were back carrying a couple of plates of goodies each. There were salads, cheese, crackers, pasta, carved prime rib, turkey, and ham, plus our favorite Chicken Cordon Bleu Balls, and they'd also hit the dessert line too--lots of Christmas cookies and such.

So we hung out noshing for a bit, and a few of our other friends came by to say hello and drop off some extra free drink tickets for the cash bar, in addition to our wristband tear-off tickets. It turned out to be an enjoyable evening. Once we finished our food, we wandered around a bit, getting a few more drinks and just walking around talking to people. By then, I was hitting the wall, and the DJ was so damn loud that it was almost impossible to carry on a conversation. That, coupled with hundreds of bodies dancing (ours included), made the main ballroom ridiculously hot, and everyone was sweating and needing a break.

So we headed back out to the lobby for some cold water bottles and then chilled in the quieter and more mellow overflow rooms, where the vibe was much more relaxing. But I was just dead on my feet, and yawning every two minutes or so, so I told Jen that I'd had enough. Besides, she had lots of other friends there to keep her company, so I didn't feel too guilty about pulling the ripcord (besides, every single one of my favorite gals were working that night an unable to come to the party, so I didn't get to see any of them, which kinda took something away from the evening).

I headed back upstairs, but on my way to the parking lot I ran into a buddy of mine who I used to work with . We started talking and decided to sit down at an empty Pai Gow table. We played for about a half an hour, and after all that time, I was up $2.50. So I left it for the dealer, colored up, said goodnight to everyone, hit the cage, and headed back home. I was in bed, asleep, by 1:00.

I wish I wouldn't have been so tired, because the evening truly had potential for some epic buffoonery, but man, I just didn't have my A-game with me. I was just too tired.

Oh well. I still managed to have a bit of fun and have a nice dinner, and it was good to see folks dressed up and out and about away from work.

Today is gonna be somewhat mellow. I've caught up on my sleep, but I may try and put some more in the bank--I know I'm gonna need it next week.