Monday, March 31, 2008

Missed the Anniversary

I don't know if any of you realized it, but 27 years ago yesterday was a momentous day in both U.S. history and the world of Hurricane Mikey.

In case you have forgotten, March 30th was the anniversary of the day that President Reagan was shot. I was in eighth grade at the time, had 7th period gym class, and had just changed into my gym clothes when they made the announcement over the PA system. Of course, some jackass did a "Woo Hoo!" and took an immediate verbal beat-down from one of the gym teachers, and then got to spend the entire hour running laps around the basketball court. Dumbass.

I got home from school a couple of hours later and had to do my paper route for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It was an evening paper at the time, while the now-defunct Globe-Democrat was the morning paper. Anyhow, the papers were sitting in the driveway next to the garage when I got home, and the first hour consisted of me sitting on the floor, rolling them up, and either binding them with a rubber band or stuffing them in a yellow plastic bag, depending on the weather. As I recall, it was a rubber-band type of day.

I didn't turn on the TV, but was listening to the radio--my old favorite station K-SHE 95. Of course, they weren't playing much music, it was all news updates. I distinctly remember them announcing that James Brady had been killed, and then about a half hour later, they issued a correction that he hadn't been killed, but was in deeply critical condition.

Of course, being the evening paper, and having been printed several hours before, there was obviously no news whatsoever in print yet--everything relevant was on the TV and radio, and everyone was consumed by that on that afternoon. But I still had to deliver my papers, so I loaded up my huge canvas tote bag and started doing my walking route around the neighborhood.

About 3/4 of the way through my route, I saw a bunch of my friends riding their bikes at the new construction site across the road from our neighborhood, so I walked over to talk to them for a bit. Of course, we were all told not to play over there--it was supposed to be a dangerous area, and one of my buddies had broken his arm there two weeks before. There was a huge hole where a basement had been dug for a new home, at the base of a large mound of dirt. So we'd ride our bikes off of the dirt hill, down into the 'basement', across the 'floor', and then jump out of the hole on the opposite side, Evel Knievel style, flying about ten feet before trying to control our landing, and having to make hard turn before careening down an embankment next the road below.

It was tricky, and parents freaked out whenever they saw us doing it, as did a few of the local cops, who kept catching us and telling us not to do it--it was much too dangerous. But being 13 and 14 years old, we knew better, and kept riding our bikes over there.

Anyhow, everyone was jumping and showing off, so I set my papers down and used one of my buddy's bikes since there was an impromptu who-can-jump-the-furthest contest. We had a few good showings, but nobody went crazy because you had to account for the possibility of flying off into oblivion and getting run over by the traffic on the road below, so the trick was finding the magic landing spot that was further than anyone else's but still allowed you enough space to remain on the bike upright and off the road.

I, however, disregarded all thoughts of personal safety and went for the world record jump. It was a beauty, too, but about halfway through the air, I realized that I would never stick the landing. So I tried to swing the bike around in mid-air, but my foot slipped off the pedal, and I came down in a heap, with all of my weight and the bike landing directly on my calf.

SNAP. Obviously I had just broken my leg.

Oh holy shiat did that ever hurt. I hit the ground and me and the bike both rolled over the embankment. I was writhing in agony while my buddies all had that oh crap we're in trouble look on their faces. I didn't cry though, and got mad props for the next month because I went down like a man, but my buddy Keith cried like a little girl when he broke his arm there a couple of weeks before. As I was lying there, unable to move, a couple of the other guys took off in an effort to save their own asses, because once word got out that I'd gotten hurt while playing there, some of them would have to take a beating just for being in attendance.

Just a few minutes later, my dad drove by so one of my buddies took off on his bike and chased him down and told him to come back and get me. I had managed to scoot myself down to the side of the road, and my dad found me there, covered in dirt, twigs, and leaves, with a left leg that didn't work.

It was all I could do to stand up and take two steps to the passenger's seat in the car, even with my dad and one of my friends helping me. They grabbed my tote bag with the rest of my newspapers and tossed it in the back seat, and my dad and I drove around delivering the rest of them before heading to the emergency room.

My dad was working for a medical equipment company, so he had some sort of free parking placard that we used to park right in front of the doors of the hospital. He went inside, and just a minute later re-emerged with two nurses and a wheel chair.

They got me into the emergency room, and immediately took me in for an exam and X-rays. I remember it being kind of surreal because there were portable TVs everywhere in all of the rooms so that the staff could watch the news. I also remember them cutting the leg of my jeans all the way from the cuff to the hip and seeing my nasty distended lower leg for the first time.

Not good. It turns out that I'd broken it in two places, but just above the ankle, so I'd get away with only a knee-high cast.

Of course it hurt like a sonofabitch, but I recall the heat from the plaster cast made it feel much better. The entire time I was lying there in the treatment room, we (the doctor, nurses, and I) watched that same disjointed footage over and over again of President Reagan outside the Washington Hilton, where you couldn't see anything but people piling on the assailant and the limo speeding away, which Eddie Murphy made even more famous on Saturday Night Live with his Who Shot Buckwheat? parody.

Anyhow, they gave me a walking cast, a set of crutches, and a bottle of Tylenol with codeine, but said I wouldn't be able to walk for at least a week.

They were right. I spent the next six days on the couch with my foot elevated, and when I bathed, I had to use the tub, but could only sit sideways because the plumbing was on wrong end of the tub--the wall was on the left, so I couldn't use the tub normally. Yep, it truly sucked.

But both the President and I were up and walking around just a week later. I still had to use crutches for another week or so, but soon thereafter could walk on my own. The thing that pissed off my dad was the fact that I had to cut all of my Levis up to the knee to be able to wear pants, and once the cast came off, he had to buy me all new jeans. Well, that, and I broke the cast two more times that month and had to go back in and have a new one put on each time. He didn't like that too much.

But six weeks later, the cast came off for good and I was almost as good as new, except one leg was all pale and scrawny looking compared to the other one. President Reagan was back in the Oval Office, and I was back in gym class.

And that dangerous hole in the ground never claimed another victim. They poured the concrete foundation less than a week after I crashed and burned on re-entry, hauled away the dirt mound, and then put up a fence, too. We had to find a new spot to ride our bikes if we wanted to injure ourselves.

Nowadays, if I get hurt, it's usually from falling down while drunk or bumping my head into stuff. My days being fighting gravity on bicycle ended for good back in March of 1981.


Home Again

I finally got out of the hotel and was able to sleep in my own bed last night--it was wonderful. Not that staying in a hotel is a bad thing, but it's nice to be home again.

The Madness is winding down, although a few of my favorite buffoons are still in town. I may be heading back down to the Strip this afternoon if the weather is nice, but at the very least I'm supposed to have dinner with Angy tonight--one last night of fun before she heads home tomorrow. At least that's the tentative plan--another one may manifest itself, however.

And speaking of dinner, about ten of us went to Grimaldi's last night, which was a blast. Not only was the pizza great, as usual, but we had a huge table out on the patio and laughed it up the whole time we were there. As always, the Vegas gang is good for a lot of laughs.

But I'm just waking up right now, spending my morning sorting through the pictures on my camera, trying to remember the when and why to most of them. Oh, and out of 96 photos I took this weekend, a good ten percent or more will likely never see the light of day. What happens in Vegas and all that...

After dealing with all of the pictures and such, I've got to dump a couple of duffel bags worth of laundry into the washing machine, hoping to wash most of the casino funk off of the last week's worth of clothes. Sadly, smoke and stale booze are edging out stripper perfume as the dominant flavor of my dirty laundry.

Once the chores are done, I get to go back out and play one last time. But then I get to relax for three more days. I'm loving this whole 'vacation' thing.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Still Alive

Yep, I managed to survive most of the week's buffoonery, but I haven't been near a computer in several days.

I should start updating again on Tuesday or Wednesday. But in the meantime, I'd rather drink, gamble, and carouse that sit here and type.

So I'm out!

See ya later this week!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Off The Grid

Ok gang, the last little bit of preparation is just about wrapped up, and I'm chillin' here at the house until I pick up Dougie in a couple of hours.

So blogging will be very sporadic until at least next Monday. Oh, I'm packing the laptop, but how much updating I will do remains to be seen. For the most part, I'm just using it as a music-delivery system. But if I get some free time, or if I'm awake and coherent in mornings before the days activities get underway, I'll post an update. But that's a big if...

Y'all have a good one!

Mikey out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Down to Just Watching the Clock Now

Wow, my first day of vacation was completely uneventful and relaxing. Almost dull. But not quite. It's never a dull day when Angy calls, and she called while she was packing, panicking like a crazy woman because she couldn't find her 'Beach Crazy' shirt I made her about a year and a half ago. She was planning of wearing it to the poker tournament on Saturday, but somehow, it was missing in action.

I suggested that it's probably still in the suitcase from the last time she wore it, back in July.

I only post that pic because I know she hates it--but it's one of my favorite pictures of her. And she's offline until sometime tomorrow afternoon, so there's nothing she can do about it. Heh. Of course, when she *does* finally see it, I'm probably gonna get a beat down with a sparkly high-heeled shoe.

So I was on the phone with her while she tore up her house looking for this shirt, but she finally gave up, knowing she'd be up all night and forget to pack something really important like a cellphone charger or cigarette lighter if she focused on finding the shirt. So I got online and accessed my account at the Hurricane Mikey shirt vendor's website, and her custom shirt was still in the archives, so we did a rush-order and instructed them to Fedex it to the Imperial Palace tomorrow.

Whew. Disaster averted.

Other than that, we just chatted a bit while she packed--she's as excited as everyone else is for this week, and while I may have been the original-gangster-founder of the Madness as we know it, Angy is truly the center of the March Madness universe--everything revolves around her. And I mean that in a good way. I may be the big green olive in the Vegas martini, but she is the glass. Without her, there is no Madness--just a bunch of drunken morons stumbling from poker table to poker table, drinking directly from the bottle.

I couldn't even imagine having March Madness without her in attendance.

Anyhow, we had a fun-filled conversation, just like we always do, but we had to end it or she'd never finish packing. After that, I got back into the chatroom with a few of the other buffoons, and the anticipation was palpable. But there was a mellow vibe as everyone was distracted by last-minute to-do lists and finishing off the last of their packing. Besides, everyone wanted to go to bed early, hoping to catch some precious sleep before they hit the ground running tomorrow. It seems like everyone has early-morning flights, too, so that contributed to the All Quiet On the Western Front vibe that I sense tonight.

As far as my preparations go, I'm pretty much ready to go. I just have to pack up the speakers from my computer system and finish one more load of laundry. I finally got my truck gassed up, washed, and super-detailed this afternoon. Kikky tipped me off about a good car-wash spot here in Henderson to take it to, and she was right--they did a great job and the price was more than reasonable. Hell, the truck hasn't been this shiny and clean since the day I drove it off the showroom floor. And it was filthy--I hadn't vacuumed it in months, and the exterior looked crappy because it has sprinkled about once a week for the past four months, leaving a coat of mottled dust all over it that just got worse with each passing week.

But now it's all purty.

And I'm ready to go.

I was munchin' on another pimento and cheese sandwich while chatting with the buffoons earlier tonight, and Dougie said he'd just finished dinner--the last thing he was going to eat until we're sitting down at Grimaldi's tomorrow afternoon. I guess that means we're getting close.

Damn, it almost feels like Christmas Eve around here.


Such a Wuss

I feel like a huge dork this morning.

I got off work two hours early, as per my original plan, came home, and like a moron immediately fell asleep. Yeah, I know I need to bank as much shut-eye as I can, because starting tomorrow, I'll be running a deficit, but I *really* wanted to fix myself a tall rum & Coke, head out to the hot tub, and smoke a cigar, spending a couple of quality hours envisioning all of the heady possibilities that this week might bring..

I suppose I can still do that tonight, but that moment that I got cut loose from work, as exciting as it was, just fizzled away. I guess today is a do-over. Besides laundry and housecleaning, I've got no plans today other than to clean my truck and get gas. It'll take me about two minutes to pack a bag once the laundry is done, and I don't have to be anywhere until I fetch Dougie from the airport early tomorrow afternoon. Then I start living like a drunken tourist for the balance of the week.

My last night of work was rather enjoyable, if somewhat slow. Sunday kicked off our official slow period at the casino, where we make no money until after tax day. Our tokes on Sunday night were way down--back to the bad old days of 2007. April is a shiatty month at my casino, and this week seems to mark the beginning of that slowdown. Glad I'm on vacation.

On the plus side, being so slow last night gave me ample opportunity to flirt with the future Mrs. my favorite cocktail waitress while sitting at my dead tables, and I've got my break schedule figured out so that as long as I don't do the first full hour of dealing at 7:00 pm every night, our late breaks overlap and I can hang out and visit with her. This only took me about a year to figure out, but hey, some days I'm lucky to remember to put pants on before I leave the house.

Can you say the word "smitten"?

Of course, we were talking about my vacation and all the buffoonery that is planned, and how I'm going to be living like a tourist and gambling and such all week. She told me that if I should win the Megabucks, she would 'gladly be my slave'... Of course, that comment pretty much put me off my game for the rest of the night, but I managed to respond with something smooth and un-crass while in the meantime my head was temporarily filled with visions of Jabba the Hut and Princess Leia in her metal bikini...

Anyhow... After that conversation, I went back to my last table of the night, a $10 Pai Gow game, and only had to do forty minutes before I got to say farewell to everyone that mattered. Once I signed all the requisite forms and punched out, I fairly skipped out to my truck. I took a moment before driving home to stop and look at all the lights of the Strip in the distance and think about how much silliness and good times I have on tap, hoping that this year's Madness tops them all.

Somehow, I think it will.

More later,


Monday, March 24, 2008


Damn, I think this is the first time in the past three years that I couldn't wait for my workday to start. Why is that? Because it's my Super-Friday. Yeah, I work tonight, but once I step out of the casino at around 12:30 tonight, I'm on vacation and I won't have to go back until Thursday, April 3rd. That's like next month! I don't have much to do once folks start arriving except pack a bag and hit the ATM, so in my mind, I'm already on vacation.

And work will be easy tonight--I'm sure I'm back in Chinatown, and I'm getting out about two and a half hours early. When I left last night, the boss said she'd put me at the top of the early-out list for tonight--so Mikey gets first priority when the tables start closing down!

I cannot wait to get this party started!

This morning, I was futzing around on my computer, and I decided to put together a little March Madness anticipation slideshow, made entirely from pictures I had on my hard drive. It was thrown together in a hurry, and the slides aren't completely in-sync with the music, but it works.

If past performance is any indication, it's gonna be a helluva week!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Time Flies When I'm Having Fun

Here it is late Sunday afternoon, and I can't believe the weekend is almost over--time seems to be moving in fast forward, which is a good thing right now. Work has been very enjoyable so far this week, and last night was no exception--I was dealing at three of my favorite tables, I was fairly busy, and I got to flirt with my favorite lady throughout the night, too. And I even got the half-hour early push, so it was pretty much a perfect evening at work.

Once I got out of work, I finally broke down and went to the grocery store--my cupboards have been bare for several days, but I was trying to stretch it out and not buy anything before next week, since I won't be home for pretty much five days straight. But I couldn't make it. I needed some milk, and bread, and stuff to make sandwiches, and something to mix with my rum. And although I've had no rum today, I just finished off my redneck-style pimento and cheese sandwich, and it was quite tasty. But I guess I didn't go totally redneck--I used wheat bread instead of Wonder bread. And I was drinking a glass of Coke instead of RC. And there were no moon pies consumed, either.

But once I got home from work and the grocery store early this morning, I had all kinds of grandiose plans to do some housework and get stuff done, but all I managed was a shower, loading and running the dishwasher, and doing a load of laundry before I collapsed in bed and snoozed for about eight hours straight. I shouldn't be surprised though--Saturday was a very long day for me.

I got up around 9:30 yesterday morning and called my old buddy Ed W. He was in town for the first weekend of the tournament with a couple of the guys he works with, and we'd made plans to spend the day together. When I talked to him, he was in the process of trying to do two things--drink an entire bottle of Skye vodka and walk from the Riviera to the Luxor. When he answered the phone, he was doing pretty well with the vodka aspect of the mission, but he had made it as far as Caesars Palace and had given up on the walking bit, and decided to catch a cab the rest of the way to Luxor.

I told him to give me about an hour to get showered and dressed, and I'd pick him up on the north side of the pyramid.

I got there a few minutes early, but he was outside waiting, already sporting his early-morning Vegas buzz. He hopped in the truck and we then made our way downtown to the Four Queens, as the plan was to grab a bite, watch some hoop, and spend the afternoon smoking cigars and catching up.

Luckily the Chicago Brewing Company and cigar lounge is a still-undiscovered gem in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Fremont Street, and we scored one of the five tables in the place. Lunch was pretty good--we ordered some southwestern egg rolls, garlic knots, and a club sandwich, along with a couple of tall pale ales. In addition to the good food and good beer, they had the Duke/West Virginia game going on the big screens.

Once we'd finished off all the food, we migrated twenty feet over to the 'lounge' part of the place and grabbed a couple of comfy chairs in the corner. We'd both brought the best from our own personal stashes, so we spent the balance of the afternoon smoking Partagas black labels, Series E's, and some Rocky Patel reserve sticks. All were very good.

We'd also ordered a couple of snifters of Grand Marnier, and the bartender hooked us up with two of the biggest damn servings I'd ever seen. Seriously, when she brought them out, I said It's gonna take me all day to drink that! I mean, there must've been eight full ounces of sinus-clearing happiness in those glasses. Not that we were complaining, mind you, it was just our initial shock of seeing such a generous pour.

But that's not what we started out doing. Nope, tradition dictates that whenever Eddie and I get together, we kick off the celebration with a shot of chilled tequila. Since we're both doing better financially than we were about ten years ago when we first started out, we've moved up the tequila food chain--no more 1800 for us like in the old days. We went with the Patron Silver this time around.

It was almost too smooth. Dangerous, even. There was talk of getting a few more, but cooler heads prevailed and I put the brakes on that idea since I still had to go to work later that night. But for a moment there, we considered getting flat out stupid and making another great Vegas memory. But I would've had to call in sick, again, and I just couldn't do that. So one shot was all we did. Ed, of course, was way ahead of me--he'd already killed a bottle of vodka before I picked him up.

But you have to wonder just how bad a situation has devolved when I become the voice of reason and responsibility for the group...

But things didn't get out of hand or too silly after that--we just had a wonderful mellow visit, smoking cigars, catching up on the latest news and gossip, and making plans for future vacations and buffoonery. Since Ed and his wife are expecting in late July (and the kid, Ed the fifth, already has a nickname--Cinco!), we decided to get together in early June for another weekend in Phoenix. I'm going to take some vacation and do a Friday-Tuesday road trip again, and this time we're going to have an all-night poker game like we used to back in the early days.

I'm really looking forward to that.

We had quite a few laughs while sitting there in the lounge, though. The late game was the UNLV/Kansas game, where everybody just *knew* that UNLV was gonna get waxed. But there were a few fans sitting near us in Kansas gear, and a few other people in the bar wearing the UNLV colors. The biggest tv near us was set on 'mute', and the closed-captioning was turned on. One of the Kansas fans asked the bartender (who was wearing a UNLV jersey), if she could please get rid of the close-captioning on the TV.

I chimed in with Yeah, because you know them Kansas fans can't read! which got a huge laugh from the rest of the crowd. It was all good natured though--everybody was rooting for Kansas to cover, even the UNLV fans (Hey, they're from Vegas, they're not stupid! Nobody had UNLV getting to the sweet 16 this year, so all they bet accordingly).

Before we realized it, the clock on the wall said it was 4:30 in the afternoon, and we had to wrap it up. We settled our ample tab, extinguished the last of the cigars, and finished the last of our ice water. I had to get back home and get ready for work, and Eddie had to get over to the Hilton to see his brother, who was also in town, having flown in from Austin.

We laughed our way out of the Four Queens, and I dropped him off a few minutes later. We said our goodbyes and promised to make good on a Phoenix get-together in a couple of months. Eddie then stumbled into the Hilton for another night of Vegas buffoonery, while I made my way back to Henderson to prepare myself for another night of working the felt.

Overall, it was a pretty damn good day. But once was enough. I'm glad that today I'm able to relax, catch up on my sleep, and get a few chores done. And if I can just make it through these last two work-days, well, then the party really begins.


Friday, March 21, 2008

One Down, Four To Go!

Oh hell yeah, we're on the home stretch until my vacation starts! I cannot wait--not only for March Madness, but just the fact that I will get to spend NINE entire days away from work for the first time in three years fills me with unbounded joy.

Seriously, if the buffoons weren't coming to town next week, I'd happily take a hundred bucks out of the bank, buy a couple of sailing magazines and a book or two, use the rest on Pacifico, limes, rum, and Coke, and spend the entire week out on a chaise lounge at the pool. And I'd be a happy man.

But the buffoons are coming to town, so I guess I'll just have to drink complimentary booze all week while stuck indoors playing poker. Bummer, man.

Anyhow, Day 1 of the Final Countdown wasn't too bad at all--my workday just flew by last night. Yes, I was busy, as was the entire casino, and I had a lot of fun players too. No jerkoffs to deal with at all. I even got a visit from lurker/commenter 'Jazzguy' who showed up at my Pai Gow table right after I opened it, so it was a nice way to kick off the evening. He also played a little $5 blackjack with me later on in the evening before heading back to the airport. It sounded like he had a pretty good trip, too.

As the night wore on, I got bounced all over the pit from table to table--I was assigned to deal Pai Gow, Blackjack, and 3-Card Poker, but I ended up dealing dice for awhile also, along with Deuces wild to finish of the night. And since the last player left at around 2:10 in the morning, once I closed the table and dropped my tokes, I was outta there--I finally got that elusive half-hour Early Out that everyone covets so much.

After stopping for a Thirstbuster on the way home to wash down my amoxicillin horse pill, I spent an hour or so websurfing before going to bed. And I got a good six hours of sleep before the garbage truck woke me up. Yep, our apartment is the closest one to the dumpster hut, so when I sleep with the windows open (which is 90% of the time), I wake up every morning to the sound of the trash being emptied or a couple of leaf-blower jockeys making sure there is nothing on the grass outside my bedroom window. Oh well, it's not like I can't take a nap later...

But today is Saturday, and the landscaping guys have the day off. And there is nothing on my agenda today but basketball and housework, but before I attempt any of that housework stuff, there is a pot of coffee calling me from the kitchen.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Real Reason For The Season

Taking a break from the comfy chair in front of the HDTV that is showing nothing but college hoops all day, I have a chance to review my brackets.

So far, so good--I'm 7 for 7. But so is the rest of the universe, I suspect. My opening-day four-team parlay, however, isn't looking so good since Temple +7 was part of the mix (they lost by 11). Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

Anyhow, as far as my bracket picks go, I'm all about the chalk, baby! I've got Carolina, Kansas, Texas, and UCLA going to the Final Four, with Carolina winning the whole enchilada over UCLA in the final game.

As usual, I'm rooting for a Winthrop upset in the first round--I've been on their bandwagon for ten years now, ever since I met that one redheaded gal who was a grad student there and we spent basically spent four days straight in bed, doing nothing but listening to music and drinking wine. It was a pretty good week, and ever since then I've been a big fan of the Winthrop Eagles.

One of these days they're going to get out of the first round--and I'll be the first guy at the window cashing that ticket, saying See--I called this upset! to anybody who will listen. Of course, I've been calling for it for the past ten years or so, and have yet to cash in. I could've two years ago, when they covered against Tennessee in the first round, coming a last-second basket away from the upset, but no, my drunk ass didn't get out of bed in time to make a bet that morning, so I missed the opportunity.

And speaking of drunk asses and March Madness, I picked up Steve B from DC at the airport last night--he's in town for the first two rounds. He got in around 11:00, and afterwards we went to the Peppermill for our traditional Kick-Off-The-Madness chicken fried steak breakfast. Of course it was excellent, and of course I didn't come anywhere near finishing it, but it was great nonetheless. I also had a Bailey's & Coffee, but they used that new caramel-infused Bailey's, and that shiat is so thick that it won't mix with coffee--you can stir all day and in the tall glass coffee cups that they use at the Peppermill, you can see it--it remains in two layers no matter what you do. We called it a Tan & More Tan. And it's so thick that it's like trying to drink maple syrup. Not good at all.

But not only was the food great, but the company was a lot of fun, too. ATCMurph joined us, although I only learned recently that 'Murph' was a chick, and her real name is Ilene. I told her that if she insists on people calling her Murph, they're gonna think that she's a dump truck driver from Queens, instead of an air-traffic controller from Indy. Oh well, she took in stride. But the three of us had a lot of laughs over our late-night breakfast.

Once we gave up on trying to finish breakfast, we made our way downtown to Main Street Station. Steve did a quick check-in, and we made a visit up to his suite on his private elevator--really nice--so he could toss his bags and we could all use the facilities. After that, it was back down to the Triple Seven brewpub where we sat for a couple of hours drinking beers and talking about basketball and music.

Around 3:00 am or so, I hit the wall. We said goodnight to Steve, and I drove Murph back to the Flaming-O, and I came home and went to bed, where I remained until almost noon today. Since then, it's been nothing but college hoops and Michelob Light. But now I'm back to bottled water and maybe a quick nap--I've got to work tonight, and do five more nights at the casino before my vacation starts.

This week is gonna drag...


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No Longer A Secret

It appears that word is getting out. Grimaldi's makes a damn fine pizza.

Readers in Texas, take note.


The Re-Education of a Poker Player

Hey, check it out--call the neighbors, wake the kids--Mikey actually has something to write about today!

So instead of sitting on my ass here at the house and doing nothing last night, I decided to get out, be social, and go play a little poker in anticipation of the T2V Donkey Invitational next week. The Silverton hosts a great tournament on Tuesday nights, they call it the Industry Night Poker Tournament, and all that's required is a casino ID card. And forty bucks. And dealers are some of the worst poker players ever, so I figured my chances were good.

So I got drove down there at 9:30, and there were a couple of cash games going on--one of them was a crazy 3-6 game with about $4000 in chips scattered around the table and four people involved in each showdown. I thought about joining the cash game at first, especially since I saw three people at the table who I knew--one was a buddy of mine I hadn't seen in about a year, and he was just there killin' time with his short stack. Another was a chick I know who works at the Monte Carlo, and she was drunk off her ass and donkeying off all of her chips every hand, and the third was this squirrelly little dorky dude with bad personal hygiene who I've played against a few times at MGM Grand and taken about a hundy off of each time.

It certainly looked juicy.

But I wanted to wait for the tournament to get started so I just checked in at the podium and gave them my buy-in and casino credentials. I got my receipt just a moment later, and found that I was the first one to sign up--table one, seat one. Ugh. I *hate* seat one--you can't see shiat at the table, and if you have a left-handed dealer, you can't see the flop when it comes out, either.

Lesson learned, don't be the first one to sign up for a poker tournament. Since I had a half-hour to kill, I wandered over to the pit to the Pai Gow tables. Of course, Vegas being a small town chocked *full* of degenerates, I saw three of my regular players who were taking the night off from my casino and giving Silverton a little action that night instead. So I sat down and joined them. And immediately got three Pai Gows in a row, putting an end to that little field trip.

Back to the poker room!

I only had to wait a few minutes before they got the tournament started, and there were only about 30 players signed up. The good thing about it is that there is a guaranteed prize pool of $1500, even if only fifteen people showed up.

$700 for first place
$400 for second
$250 for third
$150 for fourth

Not bad for $40, so I think I'm gonna make this tournament a semi-regular event. I believe the buy-in was actually $37 for $2000 in chips, plus a $3 dealer add-on for an extra thousand. The $40 was basically automatic, however--they didn't even ask if we wanted it or not, and I can't think of anybody except for cheapasses like Johnny Chan or David Sklansky who would protest, and luckily they didn't make an appearance this night.

I figured I was in trouble immediately because as soon as the first card was pitched I realized that I'd left my lucky Tabasco bottle card protector back in my truck. Dammit. Oh well, I just had to deal with it, I suppose. I ended up using my last $5 chip from the Pai Gow table as a card protector.

I actually started out doing really well--I dragged three pots without having to show my cards, and had the chip lead at my table, and that third pot was a stone-cold bluff with absolutely nothing that forced two other guys to fold. Heh. I will admit, however, that I was sweating a call, and was totally lucky that both of the other guys folded.

We'd been playing for about a half hour when the hand of the night came up. I was on the big blind with $300 already in the pot when I was dealt pocket nines. There were two callers and one raiser. He only doubled the big blind, so three of us went to the flop with $2100 in the pot.

The flop came out King - Nine - King, two clubs.

Jackpot! I flopped a boat, and I was praying that somebody had a King. I checked, and wouldn't you know it the other two did all the work for me--raising and then re-raising. I just called.

The turn was an Eight of Clubs. I checked again. Next player goes all in. Woot!

The other player decides that he wants to go all in, too. Since I had both of them covered, I was doing the happy-naked-muppet-dance in my head!

Since I was the one who called, they had to show their cards first. One guy had Ace-King for trips, and the other guy had Ace-rag of clubs, holding what he thought was the nut flush. But I had the boat, and a huge lead going to the river.

And guess what came out on the river? The case nine, giving me four of a kind and knocking those other two out.

Bam--monster chip lead for Mikey!

I nursed that lead for another hour or so, folding pretty much everything, letting the small stacks knock each other out, and then made my first blunder of the tournament. I had pocket jacks, bet out $1500, and got one caller. The flop came Queen - Eight - Three, and the other player came out firing for $3500. I had a decent-sized chip lead, and I antagonized for a good thirty seconds before folding, and immediately kicked myself as soon as I did. The guy showed me pocket sevens before mucking them.


After that, I got a little more aggressive with my stack, playing 'big stack' poker and stealing a shiat-load of blinds. That helped because by then the blinds were up at $300 and $600 and everyone was happy to limp in. I was cool with that, because on my big blind I had Jack/Three offsuit and only had to check to see a three-way flop. It came out King - Three - Three. Again I was content to just check my trips all the way until the river and let everyone else to the heavy lifting.

Again I knocked out two players, and the one guy who had pocket Aces about lost his mind, bitching up a storm that I'd stay in with Jack/Three. I was like, Uh dipshiat, you're the one who let me limp in and see the flop for free--it's your own damn fault for trying to get action for your Aces!

Heh. What's the old line? Better to win a small pot than lose a big one? Yep, had he raised even the bare minimum, I would've been out of the water like Chief Brody on the fourth of July. But he didn't. I bet you'll raise with Aces next time, Hippie!

I bled off about another $2000 worth of blinds before we got down to the final table, and I liked my chances--Only had to knock out five more people to get to the cash!

But it was not to be.

On the very first hand, I had Ace-Queen. I raised three times the blinds, got one caller, and the short stack at the other end of the table went all in. I had him covered, so I went all in. The other caller had me covered by about $1500, so he thought for about ten seconds and also went all in.

My Ace-Queen was up against King-Queen from the short stack, but the guy who had me covered had Ace-King. Damn. At least there was an Ace and a pair on the flop giving me a second's hope that I'd be chopping, but no help came on the turn or the river, and I went out in eighth place.

Damn Ace-Queen. Sticky was right--it never wins!

Oh well. I had a great time, and it was $40 well-spent. I realized that I'm not nearly as rusty as I thought I was, and I even got a compliment from a couple of other players who said I played a couple of hands really well (in addition to that snarky Nice hand! after my jack-three cracked the aces).

I also saw some terrible poker on display. One guy had the stone-cold nuts with a straight-flush and went all-in on the turn, basically killing his action and severely limiting the size of his pot, especially since he had two other players on the hook who took their own sweet time deciding to fold. Had he made a smaller bet, he could've taken them both out, especially if the river brought help to their hands. I couldn't believe how stupid that was. And he was so proud of his straight flush that he showed it to everyone.

I believe the words Nice play genius... Thanks for saving me four grand! were uttered at that point, giving a chuckle to everyone else at the table.

Anyhow, it was a lot of fun, and even though I didn't cash, I certainly did much better than I thought I would when I walked in the front door.

I'm ready for the T2V fish fry next week!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Feeling Much Better, Thank You!

Hey gang, I know that this site has sucked these past few days, but seriously, I've had nothing to write about. Hopefully, that trend will reverse itself.

Due to some much-needed rest, I'm feeling about a thousand percent better today. I slept so hard last night that I didn't hear Rob come home, which I always do, nor did I hear him run the dishwasher, which I believe truly wishes it could be a leaf-blower instead of a dishwasher. It's easily the loudest appliance in captivity. But I didn't hear it. And I didn't hear my phone starting to go off around 2:30 this morning either--apparently all of my local buddies here were getting together for a party after work. I missed it, although I'm not too upset. The real party starts next week, and well, my local gang are rank amateurs compared to the experienced pros I'll be hanging with for March Madness.

Anyhow, as good as I feel, I haven't had any food yet today, but I've had a pot of coffee. And it was so nice to be able to swallow without having to take a ten second time out from everything else.

And as soon as my coffee pot had filled up, the doorbell rang--UPS man again. He was delivering that load of black undershirts that I ordered last week. No more of those nasty faded and worn out ones that I've been nursing along for the past year--they all went directly into the garbage.

Other than that--nothing else of interest has happened yet today besides talking on the phone with a couple of my favorite buffoons--Angy and Dougie, both of which are getting pretty excited for next week's silliness.

And I'm feeling so much better that I *may* just head down and play in that poker tournament at the Silverton tonight. My game needs a tuneup before next week, and I figure if I fall flat on my face, it's much better to do it in front of a bunch of strangers that I'll never see again, instead of the usual gang of T2Vers who'll never let you forget the slightest indiscretion.


Monday, March 17, 2008

A Head Start on my Weekend

Well, I think the drugs are starting to kick in a bit. My sore throat only hurts about half as bad as it did on Saturday, and the swelling is down about halfway, too. But I'm not better just yet--I've still got three days worth of 'Roids to take, plus another weeks worth of amoxicillin.

I don't know why, but the only kooky side effects I'm having are that *everything* gives me heartburn, and I get beyond tired late at night. I still need my rest, and Angy keeps after me to call in sick, so I decided to take her advice tonight. I will admit that it became much easier when last night, my future wife favorite waitress told me that she was taking Monday and Tuesday night off, too. Since seeing her is basically the highlight of my day on Monday nights, well, it became much easier to just say f*ckit, I ain't workin' tomorrow, either. That, and I really do need the rest in order to kick this bug.

So starting this afternoon, I'm going to bed--no computer, no phone, no music, and sadly, no company... I don't have another commitment until late Wednesday night when SteveB from DC arrives. I'm picking him up at the airport, then it's off to the Peppermill for some late-night munchin', and then to the Main Street Station. We might set foot in the brewpub there, as word around the campfire is that Falcon Rob and his posse from Ohio will be in there sampling the brewmaster's special until the wee hours. I did this last year and it didn't turn out so well--I ended up getting a speeding ticket that night. Oh well. I'm taking the freeway this time.

Last night at work was nice and easy--business at the casino, while still busy, wasn't nearly as off-the-hook busy as it was earlier in the weekend. My tables weren't quite as packed, and I still had some fun players and made a bit of money. Early on, around 9:00 pm or so, one of the gals I used to hang around with quite a bit in the past showed up and sat down, asking me if I wanted to go out for Chinese food after work. I asked her if she was still going to be around in six hours, and I cracked up when she opened her purse, counted out eight $100 bills, and said I sure hope so...

Well, she followed me from table to table for the rest of my shift, and I was actually able to get out an hour early--I'd signed up again for EO, but last night I was finally able to get it. So she went to the cashier's cage, while I signed out and changed clothes. A few minutes later we were freezing our asses off in the parking garage because the temperature had dropped about 30 degrees and the wind had picked up. And here I thought winter in Vegas had ended. I guess not.

Anyhow, a few minutes later we were enjoying a beer and going over the menu at our new favorite Chinese restaurant. We got some pan-fried dumplings (oh man those things are addictive), shrimp with vegetables, and sweet & sour pork. Oh yeah, and a bowl of rice. Of course it was all good, we were stuffed, and couldn't finish it all. And my super-tiredness kicked in about that time too, and I couldn't keep my eyes open.

We paid the bill and headed back to the casino to drop her off at her car. I swear it was all I could do to not fall asleep at the wheel on the way home, but I made it. I went straight to bed and could actually hear myself snoring within thirty seconds of turning off the light.

I got about three hours of sleep before I woke up and had to pee (all that damn soup, apple juice, and beer), and saw Rob sitting in the living room watching TV. So I stayed up for a bit with him catching up on the latest, and watching the last three episodes Jeopardy. But after that, it was back to bed for several more hours.

I woke up again to the doorbell ringing, this time it was the UPS man delivering a special package. I ordered a nice gift for Doc Al this March Madness, and it arrived today. I think he's gonna get a kick out of it, as will the rest of our buddies.

Tomorrow, all those black undershirts I ordered last week should arrive, plus my new 'Client 9' t-shirt--I figured I needed something new for the Madness, so I splurged a few bucks. So the UPS man should be waking me up again on Tuesday.

Until then, it's time to hit that big damn snooze button.

Mikey out!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Food P0rn For the Soul

I'm feeling a touch better today--my throat isn't nearly as constricted, and while it still hurts to swallow, it's not as bad as it was the past few days.

I gutted it up and went to work last night, over Angy's not-so-subtle protests. Yeah, I know I need my rest, but unlike the real world where a sick day doesn't cost you any money, in casino-fantasy-land, no workie = no money. And the money has been so much improved lately that nothing short of being on the slab would've kept me from going in.

But I offered Angy a compromise--I said I'd sign the Early Out list and indicate that I was sick, which usually gives you priority, and as soon as the first table closes, you get launched. Well, I did, but again, we were so slammed last night (it was a fight night, too), that the entire casino was just packed for almost the entire shift. Finally, at 1:40, the boss came over and said Hey, do you want an hour? I replied with I'll take whatever I can get! The dealer next to me had just closed her Holdem table, so she came and tapped me out right then, freeing me up after just seven short hours...

I was an exhausted wreck, but I somehow survived.

Of course my throat was killing me the whole night, but it didn't affect my voice. And I wasn't running a fever, sneezing, or coughing, so to all outside appearances, I looked fine. But my immune system was working overtime to kill this bug so I barely had the strength to put one foot in front of the other. And it was messing with my brain, too--as the night wore on, I kept f*cking up at the Pai Gow table--dealing to the wrong spot, mis-setting my hand, etc. It took every bit of concentration to keep from dealing like a retard. Then my favorite cocktail waitress walked by and said hello and winked at me while I was selling a player $300 worth of chips, so of course I scattered them all over the table like a rookie, half of them rolling back into the rack with the house money, so I had to start all over again for surveillance. I'm sure I looked like a complete dumbass.

On my first break, I wanted something to help make my throat feel better, besides a salt-water gargle, so I got some grilled chicken and stuffing. The chicken was ok, but the stuffing was fresh off the burner, so it was piping hot. And the mushy consistency was just what I needed. And it seemed to work better than ice cream to sooth my throat. I washed it down with a tall glass of apple juice, and felt much better. After each hour, I just another drank another huge glass of ice-cold apple juice, and it helped carry me through.

Then, around midnight, one of the old-school dice dealers was hanging out by the salad bar grabbing a cup of soup. I asked him what they had, and he told me that it was chicken noodle! Oh hell yeah. I grabbed one of the big 20 oz. styrofoam coffee cups, and ladled it full. Talk about just what the doctor ordered--it was hot and tasty, full of onions, carrots, noodles, and grilled chicken chunks. And it made me feel about a thousand percent better, which I needed, because that last hour and a half really took it out of me.

When I finally got out, I went over to talk to the bosses, telling them about my visit to the doctor earlier in the day, and asked if I might be able to use a couple of my floater days for tonight and Monday, enabling me to basically call in sick but not lose any money. But I was denied--no floater days can be granted once the schedule is posted. And, apparently, we are already short about three dealers for the next few days, too. But I was free to call out sick and not get paid if I wanted to do that...

I declined, but right now I'm *really* feeling like calling in sick tonight, just because I need the rest. But it's not like I'm dealing dice or a trying string of blackjack games. I'm on my 'home' string of Pai Gow games where I get to sit on my ass all night, so the stress factor is low. We'll see how I feel after my nap this afternoon.

It's days like this that I miss the good old days of working in the real world.


Saturday, March 15, 2008


Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jose Conseco, Hurricane Mikey. I hate it, but now I'm clumped in with those guys. I'm probably going to have to change my middle name to 'Juice Box'.

Yep, Mikey is now on the 'Roids.

I just got back from the doctor a few minutes ago, and it wasn't nearly as bad or painful as I thought it would be.

Bottom line-- I've got Strep Pharyngitis.

For treatment, I got a couple of prescriptions--some 875 mg Amoxicillin horse pills to kill the infection. And I thought it was tough to swallow already--try swallowing something about the size of a bottle cap. My second prescription was for some steroids in pill form to help kill the swelling. So I'm on the juice for the next week or so. Maybe I can get a contract with the Yankees.

And the asterisked 32 in the title? That's how many consecutive work hours I've had without taking one minute of Early Out time this week. I know--hard to believe, huh? But now my Ripken-esque streak is somewhat tainted.

Anyhow, I hope the drugs take hold quickly and I start feeling better. I don't know if I could take another night like last night. And the pharmacist told me not to take the roids on an empty stomach, I have to eat something with them (I've been living on juice for the most part these last several days), so I've got a frozen pizza in the oven.

So, what's new? Well, as far as this 'economic downturn' is concerned, I've yet to see any evidence whatsoever. This week, the casino has been as busy as I've ever seen it--busier than Super Bowls, busier than New Years Eve. Last night, they opened up every game in the joint, and they were all packed until deep into my shift. I've asked for the half-hour early out every night this week, and normally about 20 dealers a night score it. But not this week--nobody was leaving early. Especially the players.

As bad as I felt last night, it was still an enjoyable night at work. One of my favorite gals was playing last night, and she followed me from table to table for the entire shift, so that made the night go faster. We also had to do hour-and-twenty minute rotations instead of just the normal hour at each table, so even though it wears you out, the night flies by.

There was also some sort of anniversary or celebration for the casino last night, and the employee dining room was all decorated up, and they were serving the fancy food--steak, crab legs, peel & eat shrimp, all kinds of funky salads. I tried a little bit of shrimp and chicken cordon bleu, but eating is actually painful right now, so I didn't really get to take advantage of all the stuff they were offering. And my problem with steak is well-documented on this site, so I figured I wouldn't tempt fate since it was hard enough to swallow mashed potatoes. Besides, after last week's excursion to Kobe Beef Nirvana, I was pretty sure the stuff in the employee dining room wouldn't quite measure up.

But I gutted it up and ground out my eight hours last night, and even though they offered me a doctor's note today saying that I could take the week off, I declined. I'm not coughing or sneezing or being overtly contagious, and I'd rather keep my personal days for goofing off instead of laying around in bed being a slug. I do that often enough anyways. So I'll muddle through these next couple of days, and I'm guessing that I'll feel much better by Tuesday.


Off To See the Doc

Sorry for the light-to-non existent posting these past couple of days, but I feel like complete shiat. It's bad enough that I've got to break down and actually go see a doctor--and you know how I hate doing that.

I've got some sort of nasty infection that is just killing my throat and left ear, and last night at work damn near put me over the edge. I got a long-distance diagnosis from everyone's favorite ER Doc, Jack21, the other day--I had him on instant messenger and he was telling me to do all kinds of whacky self-exam stuff, which narrowed it down, but there is no reciprocity agreement between Nevada and his home state of Virginia, so he can't call me in a prescription. And I wanted to go to the 24-hour Urgent Care Center last night after work, but the one on Koval, over by Planet Hollywood doesn't accept my insurance (Station Casinos--one of the biggest employers in the state--go figure!), and the one over by the Orleans couldn't verify my insurance without me being there. And my official 'primary care' center, the only one open 24 hours, is way the hell up on Charleston and Rancho, too frickin far to drive, especially when I felt like death on a stick.

So I said f*ck it, came home, took five Ibuprofin tablets, drank a half a bottle of water, and went to bed.

Luckily, I muddled through, and there's a Southwest Medical Associates just down the road at St. Rose hospital with Saturday hours. I'm on my way right now.

I hope your Saturday is better than mine.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Oh man, what a great day I see outside of my bedroom window! And word around the campfire is that it's supposed to hit 78 degrees today. Man--what's that like? It's been so long. Of course, the forecast sucks--it's gonna cool off the rest of the week and be cold and rainy on Sunday. But I'm going to take advantage of it and enjoy it while I can.

So what's new around here? Well, my weekend was totally unproductive--I didn't do much at all. I think I got a little too much rest, because I felt sluggish all day yesterday. Finally last night I forced myself to run a couple of errands and do a bit of housecleaning, and I felt much better. While doing my daily rotation of websurfing, however, I uncovered the latest treasure culled from the internet--another artist I'd never heard of before, but man, when I saw this I was blown away.

Wow. Powerful stuff! I'm always humbled when I see somebody with such immense talent, and I think I've watched that video about ten times in the past 12 hours. Makes me want to go and buy all of her albums.

Not much else going on around here. Just that my email box and cellphone are starting to get lit up with the anticipation of the circus coming to town in less than two weeks. It should be an epic adventure.

More later,


The Tom Petty Reference

Ok, so I didn't post anything yesterday--I was lazy. But hey, it's my weekend, and I just didn't feel like writing. Except for answering about a million emails--that takes it out of me, too.

Anyhow, it seems that I've got more than a few people who didn't get that Tom Petty reference from my post earlier the other day:

I have piles and piles and piles of Tom Petty

I guess I have to tell a little back story. About five years ago, when I was living in Nashville, I was hanging out with the family, goofing off, I don't know what we were doing, probably just hanging out at Cyndi's house one weekend. My little sister Amy and I were talking about something, laughing it up, but there was a sudden lull in the conversation, like somebody had hit the 'pause' button.

After a couple of seconds, I said Hello CD listeners... We have come to the point in this album where those listening on cassette, or record will have to stand up, or sit down, and turn over the record, or tape...

This of course, is the interlude about halfway through Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever CD, where the music ends and he makes that announcement in a near-monotone voice. It catches you off guard the first time you hear it, but it's kind of funny. After that first line, it goes on for a couple more seconds and then he says, Thank you, here's side two. And then the music continues.

Anyhow, Amy is a huge music fan, and knows more obscure musical references than anybody I know, and as soon as I busted out with my impromptu Tom Petty impersonation, she knew exactly what I was talking about and cracked up. The rest of the family just thought we were weird, Mamasan, of course, rolling her eyes and thinking There they go talking in their code again...

So that's been a running joke between Amy and me for years. Whenever conversation comes to a stop, or if we're watching tv together and the screen goes blank for a couple of seconds after a commercial, one of us will always bust out with Hello CD listeners... and it always gets a laugh. I know, we're weird like that.

Fast forward to this past September when I flew back out to Nashville for five days to hang out with the family. The first night I got there, Cyndi hosted a bbq/party and lots of family and friends were in attendance. And Amy brought me a gift--a CD she'd burned with a bunch of pretty cool, but some obscure, music.

The title of my new CD? Hello CD Listeners...

And the first track in the collection was a tune called Vinyl Records by Todd Snider. It's a country-folk song in the style of Johnnie Cash's I've Been Everywhere, but instead of a litany of towns, this particular song features him singing about his record collection, where he runs down dozens and dozens of artists, and he ends the first verse with the phrase I've got piles and piles and piles of Tom Petty!

So the first time I listened to the CD, it cracked me up because of our inside joke. And since I know that certain family members are reading this blog from time to time, well, I sometimes toss a few of our inside jokes out there for laughs. And two or three people actually knew what I was talking about with this particular one, but now everybody knows the whole story.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Decision Time: Poker Or Underwear?

This morning when I was writing that last post, I got so wrapped up in telling the story of beating down the stiff at the Pai Gow table that I'd forgotten a couple other details of my night in the orange-felt jungle.

Early on, I was sitting on a Pai Gow table that had just opened, and I didn't have a single player. I was like the lone dead game in the casino, as most hard-core Pai Gow players won't sit at an empty table--they want a chance to get an envy bonus from other players. So if nobody "breaks the seal", a game will sit dead for a long time. But as soon as one person bites the bullet and sits down, it's Game On! and the table usually fills up within just a couple of minutes.

So there I was, chillin' at my dead game, watching the TVs in the bar (love my new glasses!), trying to think of something funny or clever to say whenever the future wife cocktail waitress came by, and doing the mental countdown as to how much time I had before my weekend, when who did I see wandering through the casino? Why, it was my buddy Lars Vargas and his lovely bride Sherri, having just finished up a dinner date to the Mexican joint on the other side of the casino. So they came over and sat down to visit, and I thought it might entice a few players to join them, but nobody was biting. Regardless, we had a nice visit for about ten minutes or so before they headed back home for the evening. It was a needed break from the monotony.

Later on, a different cocktail waitress wandered by, one that I hadn't seen in awhile. So I said Hey stranger--where you been?

She told me that it was her first night back after having been out for a month. I asked if she had gotten 'downsized' like the other departments, where they took people off the schedule and said 'Don't call us, we'll call you!'.

Her response cracked me up.

She said, Oh yeah, I got downsized alright--I had surgery. I'm surprised you didn't notice!

Oh geez. The first time ever I wasn't staring at her rack, and I totally missed the fact that she had gone from about a 32-FFF down to about a 32-C. Seriously, I'd been looking at her face since she walked up, and I missed the new, normal-sized, girls! I guess, as a youthful indiscretion many years ago, she'd had her boobies super-sized. And believe me, she's a tiny little thing--like maybe 5-foot nothin' and about 98 lbs. But she'd had an absolutely *huge* rack, so much so that it was almost a tourist attraction at our casino.

Anyhow, I guess it wasn't a novelty anymore, and a husband and a couple kids later, she decided to get back to normal.

But I told her that she looked good and apologized for not noticing at first, and we had a laugh and she moved on. And I got back to spending most of that rotation relaxing at a dead game.

While sitting there, I was daydreaming, of course, mostly about winning huge at the poker table or dice tables during March Madness. Knowing that my poker game probably needed a tune-up, I figured I'd go play in that Casino Employee's Tuesday Night Tournament at the Silverton.

I may have mentioned it before, but it's $40 to get in, and they've only been averaging around 20 players per week, yet there is $1500 in guaranteed prize money. That's huge! And I've knocked 20 people out of tournaments many many times in the past, so I figured my chances were good.

Fast forward to today. I was sitting here surfing the web, doing my thing, when I checked my Yahoo mail account--the addy I give whenever I buy stuff online. I'd gotten a message from one of the places I shop that they were having a sale on Jockey underwear this week.

Now, I've got plenty of drawers, but that's a commodity like razor blades--you can never have too many because you're always gonna need them. But the one thing I'm woefully short of is black undershirts. Oh, I have piles and piles and piles of Tom Petty white undershirts--almost too many, in fact. But I work in a casino where we are required to wear black undershirts, if we choose to wear undershirts at all. I can't understand those nasty gross hairy sickos I work with who wear nothing under our polyester uniform shirts, and that's a rant for another day, but I cannot go without an undershirt, and all of mine are old and ratty--getting thin, faded, and worn out. And man-sized black undershirts are actually pretty damn hard to find. It's not like I can just walk into Target or WalMart and pick some up.

So when I saw the email ad, I followed the link and saw that they had black Jockey tagless undershirts, in my size, for 30% off. I *had* to buy some. So I bought three packs of two for about $55 with shipping. Not a bad price considering how bad I'm used to getting poked at the Big & Tall store.

But that was my poker budget for the evening--entry fee, valet, and cocktail tips, just in case I busted out before the money. I guess the tune-up will have to wait until next week when the budget is replenished. In the meantime, I can throw away all my nasty faded black t-shirts and start all over again.

Next on the shopping agenda, black polyester pants. Oooh la la, they're always a hit with the ladies! And speaking of the ladies, I suppose if my poker game was strong enough to win a big pile of money on a regular basis, I wouldn't need to wear underwear in the first place.

Gotta work on that.


Instant Karma

I would've posted earlier, but by the time my workweek ended, I wanted nothing but a shower and some sleep. I was home around 2:30, and in bed with the light off by 3:00, asleep within about thirty seconds after that. It was a very long week at work, especially the past three days. Luckily the money was pretty damn good--no complaints there. So when I got home, instead of spending time in front of the computer, I just basically went straight to bed. And since the weather is good once again, I slept with my bedroom window open--and it was all the birds outside that woke me up this morning--no garbage truck, no screaming kids, no low-flying jets. I felt sorta like I was camping, except with the luxury of porcelain facilities nearby.

I had a nice night at work, again. Usually Mondays are the slowest night of the week for me, but we were so busy that *every* single seat at our blackjack tables were occupied. It was Standing Room Only in the main pit. So the bosses closed a couple of the slow games in Chinatown, like Let It Ride (thank god) and opened up five more blackjack tables once the 8:00 pm crew showed up. That bodes well for our tokes, because we make so much more money on blackjack than on stuff like Let It Ride, Pai Gow, and Mini-Pai Gow. I'll be interested to find out how we did last night.

But I was still working in Chinatown, dealing Pai Gow for most of the night. At one point, I had only two players on my game, a guy with his girlfriend, and after just ten minutes or so on the table, I dealt the guy a straight flush for a $250 bonus payoff. Like I said, we don't normally make much in tokes on Pai Gow, but whenever a big bonus hand is paid, we get a few bucks--Generally, on a $250 Straight Flush, even our stiffest of players will cough up ten bucks. Everyone knows they hate to do it, but the unspoken peer pressure to give something to the guy who dealt it is pretty powerful. Otherwise, the decent players always give in the neighborhood of $15 to $25 (And honestly, I think 10% is awfully generous, especially on that game--I never expect to see that, but I love it when it happens).

Anyhow, I'd been laughing it up with this guy and his girlfriend since I first sat down, and we all got pretty excited because his hand was just one card away from a 7-card straight flush and a $25,000 payday. (He had the 5 thru Jack of diamonds, except for the 6--it was a heart). But as soon as I paid him off, along with his girlfriend's $20 Envy Bonus, he acted like I wasn't even there at the table, and totally stiffed me. Granted some people are in mild shock when they win a good hand like that, and it takes them a second to get their bearings, but that wasn't the case--this guy made a conscious decision to stiff me. I could see it by the look on his face. I made eye contact with him after all the payoffs, and he looked away. So I took my time shuffling up and getting the next hand ready, and even said By the way... You're welcome! thinking that maybe I could shame him into coughing up a little love.

But it was not to be. Hell, the asshole even stiffed my favorite cocktail waitress a few minutes later!

So I decided that I was gonna 'go in the tank' and wasn't going to say another word to the guy for the rest of the hour. Sorry, but I live on tips, and I don't apologize for it--and if you're gonna stiff me, especially if I've been social, funny, and paying off good hands, well then, I'm not going to make the effort to do anything except bust you. I'll sit there and deal as fast as I can like the most expressionless closer from the Asian Gaming Room you've ever seen.

So at that point, it was head down, speed up. The guy waited a couple of hands and tried to initiate conversation, but I just ignored him. He must've thought that I didn't hear him so he kept trying.

So Mikey, what are your days off?

As much as I wanted to, I couldn't completely ignore him with one of the bosses lurking about the pit, so I gave him terse, one-word answers.


Where do you live?


After that, the boss wandered off and I decided that he'd get no more personal info from me--I'd just act like I couldn't hear him.

He then had the audacity to say Well, before you get out of here, we need to exchange contact information.

That didn't compute--it's not like I gave the guy several thousand and he wanted to meet me somewhere offsite to throw me a couple hundy.

So I said, Why on earth would I do that?

Well because I've got an opportunity for you where you can make $10,000 or more per month in residual income, if you're interested!

Oh yeah, like I wanted to sell Amway with this f*cking loser. So I rolled my eyes, made an obvious smirk, and said I don't think I want to do business with the type of person who's going to stiff me and my cocktail waitress after I pay off a monster hand. No thanks.


While this conversation was taking place, we were still playing the game, and he had kept making bigger and bigger bets--and losing. I'd taken nearly $400 off of him since his straight flush several minutes before.

With that, he chunked out about $160 in red, so I called out Checks play! to the floor.

Go Checks! I heard, so out came the next set of cards. I could see that he was semi-disgusted with his hand, so I was hoping to lay down a good beat-down, but when I turned over my hand, I had a King-high Pai Gow.


I was pissed, thinking I was gonna have to pay off that asshole.

As it turned out, he also had a King-high Pai Gow, and I beat him by one card. Score! I didn't make any effort to hide the grin on my face as I scooped up his entire stack and dropped it in the rack, and I figured he would leave after that hand. His girlfriend had just gone broke, he could tell that I was obviously trying to bust him, and he'd just lost all of his red $5 chips. He had about $350 in green left, so I thought he'd just walk with that.

But no. Brothaman wanted to dance.

He put all $350 out in the betting circle. Again I called out Checks play!, and again I heard Go checks!

Watching his face like we were in a heads-up poker tournament, I could tell he liked his hand. As soon as he set it down, he announced Ace-Queen top, two pair bottom! putting an exclamation point on his thoughts with an in-my-face flourish of his hand.

I guess he felt like he was going to win that one.

But when I turned over my cards and set a pair of fours on top and four Kings on the bottom, the look on his stupid mug was priceless!

I actually said YOINK! as I snatched up the last of his chips. Both he and his foul girlfriend wandered away, broke and disgusted. And I sat there giggling to myself for a good five minutes after.

By then, it was getting late, and some of the dead games got closed down. I got an early push onto my next break and was told to take a long break. As luck would have it, my favorite cocktail waitress was going to take a break at the same time.

So we headed back to the the dining room, and I rehashed the whole story for her and we had a lot of laughs at his expense. I'd never dealt to the guy before, but she knew him and said he's been a stiff for years. So that made her day, too. And the bonus of being able to sit and chat for a half-hour with this girl who I've had a crush on for months made the evening that much better.

Mikey had a spring in his step when he got back to the pit awhile later.

When I got to my next table, it was just dead, but they waited until it was almost time for me to go before closing it up. So I got out a few minutes early--not as early as I'd hoped because the rest of the casino was still hopping--but ahead of most of the crowd. It was still my Friday night and the boss tried to cut me loose as soon as they could, but we just had too many players still chugging along that night. No biggie--I'll take the money!

I considered hitting the grocery store on the way home, thinking I'd bang around in the kitchen today, but I had that weary throbbing going on behind my eyes, and I didn't have a list of stuff I needed or wanted. Hell, I didn't even have any ideas on what I'd want to make. So I just came straight home instead, happy that my workweek was lucrative, fun, and that I got the slight thrill of spending a little time with my favorite hottie.

And now it's my weekend. Life is good.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Gonna Have Fun In The City...

Howdy everyone! It's amazing, the rejuvenative powers of a good cup of coffee, a humjob, and six hours of uninterrupted sleep. I feel like a new man today! Finally, I think that I've killed most of that sleep deficit that I've been running, and I may survive this week yet.

I was going to write more on Sunday, but Saturday night at the casino was just so routine that it was boring--no big wins, no big losses, no fights, no asshats, no fleas, no huge Georges, no spilled drinks at my tables, nothing really of note happened at all. It was just a nice easy night at work.

Last night, however, was great. I felt like the night flew by--even though I was exhausted--and I dropped a ton of money in the toke box. I certainly carried my substantial weight last night. When I first checked in, I stopped at the podium behind my table to get a clean hand towel, and the floorperson gave me an ominous-sounding Have fun... greeting. I looked and saw that one of our biggest fleas was playing green action on two spots, and another old guy had a huge stack of black chips and was playing two spots at $300 per hand. And the minimum table limit was set at $50.

Nice! It kinda felt, for a second, like I was dealing at a class joint like Caesars Palace.

Well, I flipped my 'On' switch, sat down, greeted my players, and started dealing the cards. I tried being nice to our flea, but he was oblivious, so I was ok with providing minimal interaction while I just crushed him hand after hand. The old guy with all the black chips, however, seemed like a nice old gent and I concentrated on giving him all of my attention. And he was doing pretty well. Pretty soon, he was putting me up for $10 a hand, and I was paying him off, so we both were making pretty good money. He wouldn't play the bonus, saying something along the lines of I've been playing Pai Gow since before they put me in this wheelchair, and I never win that damn bonus!, but of course whenever he'd get one, he'd toss me a green $25 chip and tell me to drop it in my box--this was in addition to the bets he was making for me.

Making all that money, with the added gravy of busting the old stiff that comes in every night, well, that was just good clean fun. After about forty-five minutes or so, the old gent decided to color up, several thousand dollars to the good.

As I was changing up his chips, the boss was standing directly behind me, as they tend to do when players make a killing. The player asked if I would be able to join him for dinner in the Italian restaurant, but I had to decline.

So, they'll dock your pay if you have dinner with me and my wife, huh? That's ok, tell 'em I'll cover it!

I looked up at the boss and said, Hey Gary, you mind if I go to dinner for about an hour? I'll come right back, I promise!

He just smirked and said You're not going anywhere... and the unsaid part, You've got to win back all that money you just dumped...

So I stayed and proceeded to just bust out everyone else. But believe me, it was so nice to drop some good money on Pai Gow--I dropped more tokes in that first 45 minutes than I made for eight hours the night before (and we had a good night on Saturday, too). So I was off and running.

I was back on my favorite string of tables, and paid out enough big hands on Deuces Wild to squeeze another hundy or so out of my players during the next hour. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, and time just flew by.

Before I knew it, it was after midnight and they started closing tables. But not mine--I went from midnight until 1:00 am, and hour straight, without dealing a single hand. I sat on a dead game the entire time, trying to keep from falling asleep. The other boss--the one even higher up who everyone thinks that I'm her teacher's pet--came by and asked me how long I was staying that night, fishing for me to take an early out. But I had to decline, having missed 12 hours during the pay period which ended as soon as I punched out last night. I *did* however, sign up for the half-hour early out, hoping to get out at 2:20.

But it was not to be--I ended up dealing blackjack (dropped another small fortune) and Ultimate Holdem, not getting tapped out until 3:04 am--the last man standing, literally, on my shift. That was two days in a row of that nonsense. I didn't know what to do--I *always* get the half-hour early out, and both Saturday and Sunday I had to stay till the bitter end! I honestly haven't worked a full eight-hour day in a month--so it was quite a shock to my already worn-out system.

Of course, after work, I had to go out with a couple of my ladies for some Chinese food. This time we went with Orange Beef, Extra Spicy Cashew Chicken, rice, and Pan-Fried Dumplings. Oh yeah, and a couple of beers. The food was great, as usual, but I was in for a shock with the orange beef--they actually cook big hunks of orange rind in the wok with the meat, and it makes it look just like bacon after it's cooked. So when your eyes and your brain are thinking "bacon" and your mouth finds out the hard way that it's "scorched orange peel", well, there's kind of a disconnect. Aside from that and the toasted red chilis that I had the unfortunate situation of biting in half, it was a decent dish. But one that I probably won't order again. Between that and the spicy chicken, my dessert consisted of a cup full of ice cubes.

Around 5:00 am, I found myself hitting the wall, barely able to carry on a conversation, so I had to say goodnight to all my friends. A couple of us snuck out as soon as the bill was paid, and I was in bed a half hour later, spent.

Luckily, I was asleep before the sun came up, so I was able to get some rest. I got a few chores done once I woke up, although I'm saving the big To Do list for tomorrow.

Until then, I've got about 12 hours until my weekend starts. The countdown is on!



I thought I did some pretty good writing these past few days, and thereby thought I would get more responses than what I have had today, which just goes to show that I have no idea what interests people besides food and gambling. Everything else, to torture a pun, seems to be a crapshoot.

Everyone seems to have an opinion of coleslaw though...

Anyhow, I went to my Sitemeter homepage to see who was on and who was lurking, and it raised a question that I cannot figure out on my own.

I check my referral pages all the time, and a majority of my hits come from other blogs that have linked me, or the discussion boards over at T2V because I have a link in my signature. But I get dozens and dozens of hits every day from Google and Yahoo searches where the search terms are nothing but the words 'Hurricane Mikey'.

Who does this???

Obviously if you're searching for Hurricane Mikey, you've heard of me and likely been here before. Do I have that many readers who don't know how to use bookmarks? Or can't? My question is--why not use bookmarks? Why go to Google every day and type it in and use that link?

Are there issues at home or at the office where my site is banned? Seriously--I have to know! It drives me crazy to see so many people going that route--it just doesn't make any sense.

However, while checking the same referral pages, I found out that if you type in the words 'toothless crack hore picture'[sic], guess who's site comes up NUMERO UNO on Google?

That's right baby. Cachet--I haz it! Along those same lines, somebody else used the search term 'Woman Brick' and it led them to me, too. I have no idea what that means, but whoever you are, I hope you found what you were looking for...

Oh well, that's what on my mind this afternoon. Well, that and boobies.


I Need Sleep!

You guys know how in zombie movies the monsters are all glazed over, looking at nothing in particular, but always plodding along? Well, that was me at work last night. Seriously--I was on autopilot, but I still had a fantastic night at work--one of those nights where you just love your job--but I am so tired from all the silliness this week that I'm afraid I'm going to collapse in mid senten

Just kidding. But I'm pretty tired though. I couldn't sleep at all yesterday, and went to work on just a two-hour catnap between shifts. Right now the only thing keeping me awake is caffeine. It took two cappuccinos, about five Mountain Dews, and three Cokes to get me through my shift. And then I let a couple of girls talk me into going out for Chinese food with them after work, and here it is now 5:00 am, and I'm just getting home.

Seriously, I'm about to pass out.

But I wanted to write another 'casino' post for you guys, and I feel I owe you a couple after all the food-bloggin' these past couple of weeks, but I know that if I start writing, it'll take a couple more hours, the sun will be up, and the whole ugly cycle will repeat itself.

I need to rest--I've got that exhausted and drained feeling, and I probably *do* look like a movie zombie. Except zombies are never chubby.

If I wake up with time to spare this afternoon, I'll put up a post or two. But right now it's all I can do to keep from passing out on the keyboard.

See ya,


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Casino Double Happiness

No... That's not the daily special at my new favorite Chinese restaurant here in Vegas, it's a three-word summation of last night at work.

After signing in and seeing the road map, I found out that I was dealing one of the strings most of the dealers really don't like, officially, it's known as BJ 9, BJ 10, and Pai Gow 5. Unofficially, it's known as Eight Hours in Dealer Hell.

BJ 9 is a $10 Super Fun 21 game, that normally wouldn't be a bad table to deal, except on the weekends, when one of our worst and most annoying fleas in the entire area code camps out at that table all night long and never leaves. I mentioned him before--the smelly guy who doesn't wash his hands after using the men's room that Rob and I refer to as 'Edgar Winter', while the rest of my co-workers just call him 'Freakshow'. He never shuts up, he never tips, and he's just disgusting. Everyone cringes when they see that they have to deal that game on the weekends.

BJ 10 is a six-deck shoe game, but a lot of times it's a $5 table, so it obviously attracts the best and brightest players--usually the salt-of-the-earth types from the trailer parks out on Boulder Highway, trying to double up their rent money. That's always a treat!

And Pai Gow 5--The bane of my existence, the $5 'Flea Gow' game that everyone hates so much. Every dealer in the joint wants to be the one to finally take a match to that table, then wait until the flames are good and uncontrollable, and then attempt to put it out by peeing on it.

So as soon as I saw the road map and learned that I'd be on those tables last night, I got a few empathetic nods from my co-workers, but on the inside they were all saying Heh--glad it's him and not me... But I had a moment to make my peace with my sorry luck and remind myself that I can put up with anything for eight hours. And I figured that I could just fake it and make the best of it. I certainly couldn't take the night off, so I had to just deal with it.

Anyhow, on my first stop, Freakshow was there, stinkin' up the joint and babbling incessantly. And it pissed me off that he lost his first four hands at ten bucks a pop, then chunked out a $120 bet and won it. Man that was irritating! But I guess he had to get one, because after that, the beat-down commenced. I was only on that table for twenty minutes to start, but the tippers were winning and I was just pounding on this guy. Several times I took his bet but paid off everyone else.

Hey, that hand worked out perfectly! I uttered on more than one occasion.

When I moved over to the shoe game a little later, the table was full but the limit was bumped up to ten bucks, thereby cutting the moron factor in half. There were still a couple of die-hards who had been there all day who were grandfathered in at five bucks, but overall, there was a good vibe, fun players, and both the players and myself made a bit of money.

When I got to the Pai Gow table, I encountered the most shocking development of the evening. It was no longer $5. It was now a $10 minimum game. Woot! It's a Festivus Miracle! Oh thank you dear lord baby jeebus!

And guess what? Every seat was still full. Hmmm. I hope the bosses remember that next weekend, too. But I'm not concerned about next weekend. I was just thrilled that the usual fleas were shut out. Well, all but one of them--he was still there betting $5 on the bonus and $5 on the hand, having been sitting there before they raised the limit. But I didn't give him a single bonus for the entire hour--so his outcomes would either be to lose both bets, and lose ten bucks per hand, or lose the bonus and push the hand, so he'd lose five bucks each time, or lose the bonus and win the hand, so he had to pay 25-cents commission each time when I moved the five-dollar chip from the bonus spot over to pay his hand. He had no possible way of winning. It was beautiful--even when he 'won' a hand, he still had to pay, so it was like witnessing Death by a Thousand Cuts.

While all that was happening, there was a guy playing two hands at $200 per hand, and he had me up on the bonuses and the play hand, so I was dropping a small fortune in tokes at the same time. Again--the best possible combination.

That was my first four hours of work, and I was feeling pretty good, but when I got back over to the Super Fun game, I had the absolute highlight of the weekend--crushing Freakshow for every dime. He went so broke the ATM wouldn't even acknowledge him... anymore. Yep, between me and the other three dealers on my string, we killed his bankroll and his reinforcements.

Right near the end of his run, everyone else at the table had pat hands of either 18 or 19, and he had a 13, while I was showing a Jack as my upcard. When it was his turn to act, he hesitated, and then made a huge flourish out of taking a hit. I gave him the seven, which made a twenty for him. I swore to myself under my breath, and then when I flipped my hole-card, it was a three, giving me a thirteen. The next card off the deck was a ten, causing me to bust.

You know what this jerkoff said?

See--I saved the table!

So I responded with Oh yeah, you're a super hero all right--it takes a huge set of stones to hit a thirteen when the dealer is showing a ten...

I thought the guy on first base was going to spit his drink out.

Anyhow, the dude went broke a few hands later when he chunked out his last $100, got a 17, and I drew a four-card twenty. As soon as he left, all the rest of the players started bagging on the guy for not only playing like a dumbass (splitting tens, standing on hands he should've hit, etc.), but also being a dumbass and 'coaching' everyone, wrongly, of course. It was a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively, when he left.

Once I got off that table, I did another round at the shoe game, where I was just the soul-crusher. I mowed down everybody for an hour straight, and by the time I was done, I couldn't fit any more chips in the rack. Of course, I didn't make squat for tokes that hour, but I'd already dropped something north of $200 by that time. I spent the last 15 minutes of that rotation watching the action at the roulette table and trying to figure out in my head how to divide 18.2 million into 25 equal installments should I win the Megabucks this weekend. (It only took a few minutes, but it's $728,000, if you must know. Before taxes, of course). Since I haven't dropped a dime into a Megabucks machine in over six years, I figured my chances were pretty slim. But it helped pass the time.

After that, it was after midnight and tables started closing down, so we went on 'Rubber Band'--no more assigned tables, we just check with the floor after each break and they'll tell you what to deal. I got lucky and ended up back in Chinatown dealing Ultimate Holdem, where I had some fun players and dealt a couple of big hands. I ended the night back in at a six-deck shoe with another pierced and tattooed freak, but as annoying as he was, at least he had the sense to take the money and run after a small winning streak. By then, it was 2:00 am, so I closed down the game and got the half-hour early push.

Not wanting to go home right away, and remembering my conversation earlier in the week with the little blonde cocktail waitress, I hooked up with her and had a couple of drinks at a local bar before calling it a night. We had a few laughs, but there are no prurient details to report. I was home and in bed, alone, by 3:45.

Actually, I was on the computer and such--still a bit wound up. After the 'coast was clear' (I heard Rob's woman lurking about when I first got home), I snuck out to take a shower and get all the casino funk off of me. When I got out, I saw Rob sitting in the living room, watching SportsCenter, grubbing on a huge plate of pasta. I asked him if Danielle had gone home, but he said no, she was back in the bedroom asleep, but he couldn't sleep because his stomach was growling. So while he was on a late-night munchin' spree, I sat down and we caught up on the latest 'current events' while watching our usual Jeopardy episode recorded from the night before.

But then the sunlight was starting to creep through the blinds, and vampires that we are, we had to call it a night. Still not quite sleepy yet, I cranked out this post.

Now it's bedtime. And still no cocktail waitress in sight. Damn.