Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Ok, so I had a big ol' list of junk on the DVR to work my way through this afternoon--a couple of shows from the Travel Channel, the Food Network, and a bunch of poker programming, too. Not only that, I've recorded a bunch of movies over the course of the past week, and planned on watching them during my on-call days later this week. There was a bunch of stuff that I'd never seen, like Click, Casino Royale, Flyboys, and The Da Vinci Code.

Yeah, I missed all of those films when they were released in theaters.

So, this evening, after watching the WSOP coverage on ESPN, I decided to watch a movie from the list. I figured I'd go with oldest first, so I brought up The Da Vinci Code.

It kinda caught me off guard when just as the movie started, that disclaimer popped up warning me about nudity and whatnot. Really--nudity? Score!, I thought. Who knew there was a bunch of nudity in the movie? No wonder all the Catholics were up in arms when it was released.

Well, I figured that maybe something wasn't quite right when this was the opening scene:

Pavarotti in a renaissance hat, frolicking in a hot tub with some nubile young nymphs? That's what this movie was about?

Confused, I clicked the 'Info' button on the remote, and I discovered that I wasn't watching a Tom Hanks movie... Actually, I was watching an Oscar-worthy flick called The Da Vinci Coed.


Of course, my first reaction was Woo Hoo! Free pr0n on Showtime!!!

And of course I watched for a bit--I mean, who's gonna pass up free pr0n? Not I!

While I had to give the creators of the movie mad props for coming up with a great title that caught me by surprise (and I'm sure I wasn't the only one), I have to give the film a couple of huge thumbs down. Having viewed my fair share of erotic cinema over the years, I feel that I'm qualified to offer up the following critique:

It. was. awful.

Pretty much unwatchable. Granted, pr0no films aren't exactly known for their screenplays and scripts, but this was just plain bad. It had some redeeming qualities--I mean, who doesn't love to see boobies? But still, there's got to be some sort of context, but this movie was just so damn cheesy that I was expecting to see some 'disco bush' or an errant boom mic hanging down from the top of the screen. I could only take about 15 minutes of it before giving up, shaking my head in disgust. Not that I found the content offensive, but the acting and writing was just so awful that I actually felt bad for those poor tramps who thought that starring in such a vehicle was their big break. For a second there, I was thinking to myself that if this poker thing doesn't work out, I could move out to the San Fernando Valley and make a living writing screenplays for the adult film industry. Seriously--a third grader could've written the dialogue in that movie. A really farked-up third grader, but you get my point.

Perhaps my standards are too high, but I gave up after just a few minutes, wondering just what kind of person would get their jollies by watching something so crappy. But I just couldn't resist getting a screen-shot of the opening scene before I erased the movie from the DVR.

I guess next time I'm scrolling through the on-screen tv guide, I'll pay a bit closer attention to the movie titles before I hit the 'record' button...


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Riding On The Metro...

I only had to work a half-day today, but it was a good day, regardless. I went in at six, not really looking forward to my day, and when I got to the poker room I was happy to see a game in progress, and from the looks of the players, it had been going on for quite some time. I guess the graveyard dealer was working some overtime, so I pushed him out as soon as I got there, and I was locked down in the box for the next two hours.

Yep, instead of sitting on my ass watching CNBC and SportsCenter reruns for the first couple of hours of my day, I was dealing a very juicy 4/8 game. Included was a drunk that had been at the table since 1 pm the day before, who somehow had a huge stack of chips in front of him, a couple of other random folks pulling all-nighters, a dealer from Green Valley Ranch, and a couple of dealers from the Flamingo. So it was a great table.

Around 7 am, however, somebody spilled an entire Heineken on the layout, and we had to pick up the game and move it to another table. It slowed down a bit at that point--two players colored up, and I was afraid the game was going to break. It almost did, but the last three players were die-hards and insisted on playing three-handed.

I finally got a break at 8:00 am when another dealer showed up, but by then I'd already made a hundred bucks. I was ready for a break though. I needed to hit the head, stretch, and get something to drink, as calling the game for two hours straight had given me a pretty dry mouth.

After that, it was half-hour on/half-hour off until 11, when a couple of tournament dealers showed up. Unfortunately, that meant there were four dealers to share one cash game. The tournament never got off the ground--only three players had signed up by 11, so they canceled it and sent me on my way. I didn't mind too much. Yeah, it would've been nice to stick around a couple more hours and pick up a little more scratch, but I'd made more money than I'd expected, so I couldn't complain too much.

On the way home, I was contemplating filling up the gas tank, but the little warning light isn't on yet, and gas has dropped 28 cents a gallon since I last filled up (it's down to $3.99 at most places in my neighborhood). I figured I could make it until the weekend, hoping that maybe it'll drop a few more cents between now and then. I was on the phone with Lars when I drove into the gas station, but then I realized my tank wasn't quite as empty as I thought it was, so I just did a circle of the parking lot and got back out on the road.

I made a stop at Walgreens to pick up my prints I ordered yesterday, and they turned out nice for such a cheapie camera. I also picked up a couple of picture frames and other doo-dads before heading back towards the house. I was kind of hungry at the time, so instead of coming home and making a salad, which was my original plan, I celebrated my good fortune and stopped at the Metro Pizza that's about two blocks from my house.

I haven't had Metro in a good long time, so I thought I'd give it a try. I ordered a large pepperoni and mushroom pie so that I could have some leftovers, and it was out on my table in no time. Yep, it's still very good, but I have to give it the participation ribbon when it comes to Vegas pizza. Grimaldi's still gets the Gold medal, far and away the best pizza in town. The Silver medal goes to Chicago Brewing Company--and it's slowly becoming my favorite restaurant out here. The pizza is damn good, but so is the rest of their menu. New York Pizza & Pasta gets the Bronze hardware--their pizza is right up there with the best. As good as Metro is, and as many awards and accolades it's been given, well, it's still just fourth best in my book. But hey, if Metro pizza is the fourth best pizza joint in your town, well then, you are truly blessed.

While I was eating, I got a text message from Terry, who lives out in California-land, saying that they were having an earthquake. After the fires and evacuations last month, my simple reply was Locusts are next!

I haven't heard back.

Anyhow, that's the news for today. I'm going to spend the rest of my afternoon paring down the DVR--it's Shark Week, so I've got a lot of documentaries to watch. And tonight is more of the 2008 WSOP coverage, so I'm gonna be watching that, too.

Basically, I'm all about the boob tube tonight. Unfortunately, there will be no boobies involved.


PS... I got most of the rest of the custom ringtones loaded on my phone today. Doc Al is off the hook from his Copa Cabana. It's got a long percussion intro that I'd never hear, so I scratched that and gave him something a bit more manly--the Elvis/JXL remix of A Little Less Conversation. LV Terry got Big Pimpin', and Eddie B's got changed to Just A Gigolo. Andrea is no longer a Redneck Woman, either... And my basic everyday ringtone is The Stripper, by David Rose.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Well, There Goes A Hundred Bucks...

It's been a busy day for me, although you wouldn't know it by looking at all of the trash strewn about my room. Instead, it looks like I've just been holed up writing a manifesto and preparing for The Final Countdown or some other such weirdness. But no, I've actually been out stimulating the economy, the mess is just the aftermath.

First of all, I was up early again this morning, having spent most of yesterday in a half-glazed funk, too tired to do much of anything. Since I was up so early today, I just hung out at the keyboard doing the daily internet rotation and working my way through a pot of coffee. Once the sun came up, I took a shower, found some clean clothes, and shuffled down to the kitchen. I made another yogurt/fruit/granola parfait for breakfast (gotta eat all them damn strawberries before they go bad), and lingered over the latest issue of Card Player magazine.

At the time, I was undecided on where to go this morning. I really wanted to get out of the house, and was considering heading down to Fry's Electronics to do a bit of shopping and browsing, but I figured I'd probably spend too much money if I went there (it's kinda like Costco--you can't walk outta there without spending a couple of C-notes). I also thought about going down to Green Valley Ranch and playing in their 10 am tournament, but again, I had to remind myself that I'm taking a sabbatical from the poker tournaments until after next weekend. So that was out.

I needed to at least go to Walgreens and get a bunch of photos printed (I want to get one of those multiple-picture frames because I have hundreds of snapshots on my hard drive that aren't really being enjoyed or shared), so that was my first errand for the day. After that, it was all up in the air. I've been putting off a trip to WalMart, only because, well, it's WalMart. Given my druthers, I'd rather do just about anything else.

But since I needed to hit Wallyworld, that's where I ended up spending my morning. I needed another book case and another one of those plastic pseudo-dressers (I finally did all of my laundry and had no place to put it. Who knew I owned so much underwear?), so that was a priority. But I found myself wandering around a bit and exploring that gigantic monstrosity of a shopping center over on Sunset and 95, and of course I spent a few more bucks on other 'necessities'.

Well, I definitely needed a black ink cartridge, otherwise my new printer/scanner was just a big ol' coaster, and WalMart, believe it or not, actually sells single-use re-manufactured cartridges for like $17. Not a bad deal. I also got a 2 MB SanDisk micro memory card for my cell phone. I got this wondrous new KRZR phone a month ago, but I haven't been able to program it to do anything yet, and I wanted to be one of the cool kids with customized ring tones and pictures. But I needed a memory card (not a SIM card) to do it. Just plugging the thing in to my computer with a USB cable didn't work, and I don't trust the third-party drivers that were available for download.

Anyhow, once the electronics and housewares were bought, I headed over to the newest Place I'd Never Been, the grocery side of the SuperCenter, just to have a look around. Wouldn't you know it, they actually had fresh chives and some Mexican 'crema fresca', which I understand to be a suitable substitute for the creme fraiche that I was looking for a few days ago. Unfortunately, the only crab they had either came in a can or frozen, still in the shell at the seafood counter. No fresh lump meat was to be found. So my latest chance at culinary greatness was shot down once again.

I'm thinking that by now the hype on this eggs-and-crab dish has grown out of proportion, and I'm in for a huge disappointment when I finally get around to making it... So the chives and the Mexican cream didn't make it home with me today--I just bought a bag of trail mix and some coconut flavored coffee creamer, then called it a day.

Since I got home, I've been shuttling all of my new junk upstairs and unwrapping it all, creating a trash pile that the folks in Detroit would be proud of. Once I got the memory card loaded up with songs and pictures, I spent some time trying to figure out how to customize my phone. So far, so good. The only thing I need to do is go back and re-size a bunch of my pictures so that they actually fit--a lot of them are still too big to display on my phone screen.

But I'm having great fun doing custom ringtones. So far, this is what I've got going on:

Reverend Dave: Sweet Home Alabama

Angy: Mrs. Robinson

Andrea: Redneck Woman (although, I think I'm gonna change that one to my sister Sherry's ringtone, and give Andrea Push It by Salt-n-Peppa)

Mamasan: Crazy Train

Amy: Hippie Chick

Kimmy: Hopelessy In Love (Yeah, I know)

Lars: Police On My Back

Big Stogie: Smoke On The Water

Jennifer: Crazy Bitch

Dougie: Tequila!

Hoya: Soviet National Anthem

Eddie B: Panama

Ed W: Hell's Bells

Doc Al: Copa Cabana

Cyndi: Shake Shake Shake Senora

That's all I've done so far, but I'm having great fun setting it up. Now I'm just waiting for people to call.


Cardroom Lingo

Re-reading a bunch of my old posts, I've realized that for the non-poker playing visitor to this site, it's probably like reading a foreign language. That can't be a good thing, so maybe I should explain a few terms that seem to make an appearance here regularly, but may be confusing for the casual visitor.

First of all, for the basics of the poker lexicon, Sticky has compiled quite a list. You can find it here. But here are a few things I use in my daily vocabulary that everyone may not be familiar with. These are in no particular order and are just off the top of my head:

Down: Used as a noun, it's 30-minute session in the box.

In the box: Literally, sitting at the poker table, dealing.

Line-Up: The daily schedule showing the order of tables a dealer will be pushing. A typical line-up in our room on swing shift would go something like 4-1-3-Break-5-7-8-Brush, meaning I'm dealing three different tables, taking a break, then coming back, dealing three more, then helping out with the brush work, before starting all over again. In poker rooms that have the electronic waiting lists on the TV, you'll see the line-up crawl going across the bottom of the screen. In old rooms like Binion's, you'll see a white board on the wall next to the desk with the line up hand written with a dry-erase marker. Line-ups change constantly, depending on the number of dealers that are present, coming in, or going home, and the number of games that are going.

Push: When it's a noun, it's the time of the next table change, usually at the top and bottom of the hour. Go to table six on the next push, the tournament is about to break...

Pushing: It's basically the number of consecutive downs you have before you get a break. As in, It's so damn busy tonight everyone is pushing five tables...

Stiff: A player who doesn't tip.

George: A good tipper.

Brush, or Brush-work: All the side work that goes with being a dealer. You could be doing anything from running chips, making change, picking up empty glasses from vacated seats, straightening the room, signing up players for tournaments, moving players from table to table, resetting decks, etc. It's basically the grunt work that goes on in the poker room.

Dead Spread: Sitting at an empty table with the deck spread out across the layout, trying to entice players to sit down and get a game started. I don't mind doing this, because the more games there are, the more money I make. But damn, some of our full-time dealers just absolutely detest having to sit at a dead-spread.

Limper: A player who only calls the action, never raising, hoping to see a flop on the cheap. The morning game I deal about three times a week is *full* of limpers.

That's about all I can think of right now, but my phone keeps ringing and my email keeps popping up, so I'm kind of distracted. If anyone has any other questions about life in the poker room or other terms they've heard but aren't quite sure about, feel free to drop a note in the comments section.


Off Kilter

Happy Monday everybody!

Here it is the middle of the night (still kinda feels like Sunday in my world), but my internal clock is so whacked out that I sometimes have to check the Weather Channel to make sure of the day and date.

I *thought* I was going to have the entire weekend off, but that was not the case. Around 9 o'clock on Saturday night, I was dozing in front of the TV when my phone rang. Thinking it was one of my degenerate friends calling, proposing some sort of late-night Vegas buffoonery, I scrambled to answer it. But no, it was the casino calling, and the poker room manager was asking me how soon I could get down there.

So I took a quick shower and got dressed in my stylish black clothes and headed out. I did a fly-by of the poker room to tell 'em I was there, and I saw that all but one of the tables were full. That was a good sign. I still had a couple of minutes before the next push, so I had time to hit the uniform room and get a clean shirt if I hustled.

Before that, however, the priority was to head over to the pit and say hello to my favorite gal. I hadn't seen Kimmy in almost a month, and found her delivering a tray of drinks to a baccarat table. So I snuck up behind her and gave her a squeeze, and we had a couple of moments of a happy reunion. But she was slammed and I had to get over to the poker room, so we could only chat for a minute or two. But it was great to see her again.

My first table of the night was a no-limit game, so that was a good start, but even the limit games were lucrative. I had a three-table push to begin the shift, so I was off to a good start. I got a break after that, so I hurried back to the dining room hoping to have dinner with Kimmy. Unfortunately, she ended up with the early break that night, and we passed each other in the hallway. So my break was much less enjoyable--the food sucked and the company wasn't nearly as attractive.

After that, I was pretty much locked down in the poker room for the rest of the night. A couple of graveyard dealers came in after I got back from my break, and I figured that they'd send me home. I didn't worry too much about it because I'd already made some good money, and anything I made that night was just a bonus. But they kept me around--the room was still hoppin' and I was in for the long haul.

I also saw that my second table on that push was another no-limit game, and our big high-roller guy who hooked me up for about $300 one night back in May was there again. Score! I figured that I was in for a very big night.

But it was not to be--he got busted just before I got to the table, and his seat was empty when I finally pushed in. That sucked. But all was not lost. It was still a good table, with the exception of one grouchy old stiff. But everyone was tearing into his bankroll like a pack of vultures on a carcass, and he was getting more pissed off with each hand he lost. It was hard to keep from smirking every time I pushed a pot to somebody else, because this guy is such a whiny asshole, always cursing and throwing his cards around, bitching about the other players, always asking for a new setup, along with being a total stiff. So it was lots of fun dealing that table, even though the high roller was gone.

The night just flew by, and during one long and protracted no-limit hand, I looked up from the table while a player was taking his own sweet time making a decision, and I saw Kimmy walking towards the poker room. Her shift was over, and she was heading for the garage, and came by to say goodnight, giving me a wink and a wave. That made my night, because walking by the poker room was quite a trek out of her way. So yeah, she's still got me on the end of her string...

Anyhow... We stayed pretty busy till around 4:30 in the morning, and suddenly all the games started breaking. Mine lasted till about quarter till five, finally going dead after the stiff asshole guy tried to steal a big $250 pot and got snapped off on the river. I thought his head was going to explode when the other guy showed the winning hand, and he stomped off in a huff, cursing and frothing at the mouth. There were only three players left by then, so they called it a night once the fish left the table.

I hurried to get my game closed down, counting down the rack and re-setting the decks. I managed to get out by five, and I had a nice pocketful of cash for my efforts. It turned out that Saturday night was my second biggest night of the month.

I considered sticking around and having some breakfast, but when I got back to the dining room I saw that the eggs were overcooked, the bacon was greasy, and the hashbrowns were underdone. Instead, I just came home and had some cheese and crackers (creamy Havarti and some multi-grain Wheat Thins, if you must know). I thought I'd be tired, but after such a busy night, I was still keyed up for several hours. So I spent some time wrestling around on the floor with Bear & Stoli, trying to wear them out, and getting myself completely covered in dog-slobber as a reward. I took a shower and finally fell asleep around noon, and spent most of Sunday afternoon dozing through the Brickyard 400. I finally woke up around 8 pm, grabbed a can of DCWL, and ate some more crackers. I was much too tired and lazy-feeling to go down to the kitchen and make any real food, so my dining adventures for the day were somewhat uninspiring.

Luckily, I'm scheduled to be officially off today, so when the phone rings, chances are that it won't be work. However, my boss sent a memo out to all of the floor supervisors on all three shifts telling them that even if I weren't On Call, they could still call me in if they needed me. So I'm basically the Break Glass In Case of Emergency dealer--I'll always take a shift if they want to give me one. But even though my schedule is always a crapshoot, today I'm putting my money on the Don't.

Regardless, it'll be nice to be able to spend a day trying to re-align my sleep schedule and get my system functioning like a normal person. Tomorrow I'm back on that crummy 6:00 am shift with all the old farts for the rest of the week.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gonna Party Like It's 1999

So far, it's been a good weekend for me. I finally managed to get some sleep during the actual night-time hours, and I woke up this morning to the dogs expressing their opinion of the thunderstorm raging outside. But the thunder and lightning didn't hang around too long, and soon enough it was just a nice drizzling rainstorm that was quite peaceful to listen to while I made a pot of coffee and surfed my way through my morning internet rotation.

I also exchanged a few emails this morning with my buddy Eddie B back in Phoenix, and I told him that I was 'starting to get the itch again', referring to going back and trading options again. No, not as a profession, but as a way to make a little extra income. Lately, a couple of the guys in the poker room have come to me seeking trading advice and we've been bouncing ideas around during our breaks, and that has got me thinking about getting back in the game.

Back in the day, before the bubble burst, me and my boys used to trade options constantly, and although somewhat risky, if you didn't get too greedy, there was plenty of money to be made. My favorite thing to do was trade contracts on the OEX (the S&P 100). There was plenty of volatility, which was good for premiums, and it was somewhat predictable. And I had a lot more hits than misses. My problem was that I was almost too conservative, and I left a lot of profit on the table.

But I wasn't the only one guilty of that. One time Ed W was bragging about how he did a quick hit-n-run on a load of Qualcomm options and had made about $2500 in just a couple of hours one afternoon between breaks during the trading class we were team teaching that day. So he was all happy and said drinks were on him that Friday at happy hour. The next day, the stock went through the roof, and had he held the position for 24 hours instead of just three, brothaman would've pocketed about $40,000 in profit. Heh. We gave him shiat about that for months. Whenever he got too uppity or started talking about 'his' Dallas Cowboys, all we had to do was say "Qualcomm!" and he'd curse at us and shut up for awhile, properly chastened.

Those were the good old days. I had damn near the perfect job--I'd teach a four day options class about every two or three weeks, which was great fun, and the rest of the time I'd be back with my team in the cube-farm, trading and talking options with clients, and doing margin sellouts on those poor fools who wouldn't listen to me and over-extended themselves. I had a thick three-ring binder full of my files on the 'frequent fliers' who I had to smack down almost every week. Basically what happened was that some folks were addicted to buying on margin like a crackhead craves the pipe. As soon as the market had a good day and their account value would increase, giving them a bunch of new buying power, they'd spend every dime of it on some speculative bullshiat, thinking that the law of market gravity didn't apply to them. Invariably, there would be a couple of down days, and since they were so margined up, they had no cash available to cover their margin calls. So I had to go all Collection Agency on their asses, but none of them would ever pay, so then I had to go in and sell off their riskiest positions to bring their accounts back up to minimum equity requirements. We called that 'Operation Yard Sale' and my margin notebook was labeled as such and decorated like the top secret nuclear launch codebook seen in Hollywood techno-thrillers.

I'll admit, I got a kick out of it, especially when it came to our worst offenders. But when I wasn't doing my real work, I was trading emails and ideas with Derek, Eddie B, and Ed W all day, figuring out ways to make a few bucks in the options market and the online sports books. Luckily I've always been a better options trader than I was a sports bettor. Hopefully that's still true, because I can't bet on football to save my ass.

But lately, now that I've pretty much recovered from the Dark Times of 2001-2002 when the bubble burst and forced me into a life of poverty, I've been thinking of getting back into the game. Especially during my breaks at work when I find myself at an empty poker table giving an impromptu trading lesson on the back of a cocktail napkin to a couple of dealers, the floorman, the waitress, and a random poker player or two that happen to overhear us and then come over to investigate.

It might be awhile before I get back into trading like I used to--it takes a bigger bankroll than playing tournament poker ever will (hell, spot-month near-the-money OEX contracts cost about a thousand dollars each!), but I think I'll do some smaller trades in the meantime to see if I still have the touch. Besides, Ed's waiting for me to have my own 'Qualcomm moment', just so he can return some of the shiat he took for the past eight years.


Everyone's Favorite Topic

No. Not cole slaw. But close...

Finally--the weekend is here! That means it's gonna be pretty quiet and lonely around here, with nobody but the hard-core re-clickers stopping by to say hello. I have no plans for the next couple of days--I'm on call today, and there's a slight chance I might get called in, but then I'm actually scheduled to be off on Sunday and Monday.

Since I only had three days of work in each of the past two weeks, I'm living the life of a frugal hermit for another week or so, staying in, reading, doing household projects, and avoiding the temptation to go out and spend money. Granted, playing poker is a positive expectation activity if I'm playing tournaments, meaning that I treat my buy-in money as an investment. But since my run of poor luck and poor play these past couple of weeks has continued, I've decided to take some time off from the tournament circuit.

Anyhow... My Friday at work was another long and tiring day, but again, the money was excellent. Even though I'm only working three days a week now, I'm still making just as much as I was out in the pit. Couple that with the fact that I don't pay hardly any taxes anymore, and my student loan payments have been cut by about 60%, it feels like I've gotten a raise. Even better, I retired one particularly onerous debt in June, so even though I constantly beg my boss to give me more hours, well, I'm still doing ok and managing to meet my obligations. Just think of how nice it'll be once the economy picks up a little more...

But enough about that. When I got to work at 8:00 am yesterday, the graveyard dealer was sitting in the box, dealing to all the old fogas. There was no 6:00 am dealer. And there wasn't another dealer scheduled to come in until ten. So before I sat down, the floorman told me that I was gonna be locked down for two hours--there was no relief coming. I was ok with that, that was two hours of guaranteed money.

When I finally got up from the table two hours later, I swear, my ass was asleep. When I'm dealing, there's no time to get up, stretch, or move around like at the blackjack tables. The more pots I push, the more money I make, so I was in high gear and personal comfort took a back seat. So I was quite stiff when I finally got relieved. I made a quick trip to the head, and then headed over to Fatburger to get a fountain Coke, then back to the poker room to cash out my tokes from the first two hours. It wasn't a bad haul, especially coming from the morning game--in my first two hours I'd made $75 in tips. Things then slowed down for about an hour--we had three more dealers coming in at 11, and I was worried that I'd get sent home, but it was all for naught as we had 26 players show up for the tournament, meaning that all hands were needed on deck. I dealt another half hour at the cash game, then did two tournament 'downs' before getting another break.

By then, the room was hopping. We opened a no-limit game and then a 6-12 cash game. Both were very lucrative and I knew I'd be staying my entire shift. The floor worked it out so that my last table push ended at 3:30, and I got to spend my last half hour doing brush work--seating players, cashiering, running chips, picking up racks, etc. That let me get out a few minutes early, and I had a nice pocket full of cash when all was said and done.

Again, my plan was to go to the grocery store and do my shopping, but again, I was just beat. Besides, it was hot as hell outside, and I didn't want to deal with the Friday-afternoon crowds at the grocery store anyways. So, I talked myself out of it and came straight on home.

I grabbed a cold DCWL out of the fridge, sat down on the floor, and immediately found myself at the bottom of a literal dogpile. The pups were happy to see me! So I played with them for a bit, while my roommate and his girlfriend loaded up the car for a weekend road trip. They were headed out to LA to escape the heat and to spend a couple of nights on the boat. They also took Charlie with them, leaving me to babysit Bear and Stoli for the weekend. Luckily the dogs are pretty self-sufficient and all I have to do is make sure their water bowls stay full.

After awhile, I crawled upstairs, and as much as I tried not to, I promptly fell asleep until around 8:30 or so. I was tempted to drive down to Chicago Brewing Company for some pizza and beer, but I figured it would probably be a zoo on a Friday night. Then the realization struck me that I had no coffee creamer in the house! In my book, that's a mortal sin akin to running out of Captain Morgan, so I finally decided to head to the store, figuring the worst of the weekend shoppers would be gone.

Also, I've been trading recipes with Mrs VJW, and she mentioned a great-sounding dish on her site the other day, scrambled eggs with crab. It sounded awesome, so she sent me the recipe. It required a few things I didn't have on hand, like fresh chives and creme fraiche, so that too facilitated the need to go to the store.

However, as much as people bag on the WalMart market for having a limited selection, Smith's is just as bad. I've looked for fresh chives on several occasions, and have only been able to buy them once. And creme fraiche? Forget it. I'm gonna have to wait and make a trip down to Trader Joe's sometime next week. So I won't be dining on that wonderful-sounding crab dish anytime soon, as much as I want to.

But I got a couple of other things I needed. The other morning at work, I found myself tiring of the usual breakfast buffet where the selection never changes. That was Rob's big beef when he worked on graveyard. He said he was sick of the food in the employee dining room because all they ever had was the same breakfast food every day for his entire shift. But when I was on swing shift, I was sick of the same crappy casserole-based garbage they put out every night, and loved it when they put out the breakfast spread early. But I would never wait around until the end of my shift to eat breakfast--once I punched out, it was bye-actus kye-actus for me--I was out the door in a flash. But Rob used to stick around for lunch on 'Taco Day', even though he was off of work. Me? Man, they couldn't have gotten me to stay one minute past the end of my shift even if they offered up some Grimaldi's pizza served on a naked cocktail waitress. (Well, I guess it would depend on which cocktail waitress...)

Anyhow, I digress.

I was to the point where I was sick of the usual breakfast fare, and I remembered one of the things I saw on the menu at the Peppermill--a fruit and yogurt parfait. So I got a cereal bowl, put a box of granola in it, threw in a cup of Yoplait, and topped it all off with some cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Oh hell yeah it was good!

So while I was at the store last night, I got in touch with my inner hippie and picked up a bunch of Yoplait and a huge box of the expensive granola. I swear that box of cereal weighs as much as a fireplace brick. Instead of the usual stuff like honeydew or pineapples, I got a carton of blueberries and strawberries to put on it instead. And since I got my coffee creamer too, I'm really looking forward to breakfast today.

But even though I didn't make it out for pizza and beer at Chicago Brewing Company, I was still hungry and needed some dinner. I was thinking of quesadillas, but I decided to change it up a bit. Instead of the plain old cheese-and-salsa filling, I decided to make a pizza quesadilla. I heated a big burrito-sized tortilla on the grill, and instead of salsa, I smeared on a couple of tablespoons of that Ragu Pizza Quik sauce. Then I sprinkled on a generous handful of shredded mozzarella cheese, followed by some sliced pepperoni and some canned mushroom stems and pieces.

It looked so good that I decided to make two of 'em!

Not suprisingly, they turned out really great, but it was a much more hearty meal than I expected, probably because my traditional quesadillas never have any meat in them. So I only finished off one of them, and then let the other one cool and saved it in a Rubbermaid dish for later on this weekend.

So even if I don't get called in this weekend, or go out for a nice meal at a favorite restaurant, I'm ok with holing up in my bunker until Tuesday. I've got a fridge full of good grub and Diet Coke, a shelf full of rum and sailing books, several poker magazines, and the internet. Not to mention my meager porn stash... So I could live here quite happily for the next few days, which is exactly what I intend to do.

That's all for now-


Friday, July 25, 2008

...Like A Rented Mule

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you all have a fun day at work before your weekend buffoonery gets underway.

Me? I'm beat. I'm feeling like I was run over by a truck. A very large, angry truck.

It's still tough for me to sleep at night, as my body still wants to believe that I'm still working swing shift. So no matter how tired I am, between midnight and four am or so, I'm always wide awake. And that truly sucks when I have to either get up around 6 am, or already have to be at work by 6 am.

Having to be at work at 6 am is extremely shiatty. Unless there's a drunken carryover no-limit game from the night before (which is chock full of monetary awesomeness!), I'm sitting on my ass doing absolutely nothing but yawning and watching infomercials for the first two hours of my day. And, that usually means I get punted out of there by 11 am when the tournament crew shows up. So about three times out of every five, when I have to be in at 6:00 am, it's a crappy shift.

Wednesday was one of those days--I had no game until almost 8:00 am, and then I got booted at 11:30 because we only had one cash game and one tournament table left by then, with four dealers on hand. It was a miserable day for me, and I was kind of pissy when I left. Luckily, I'd had no sleep the night before, so as soon as I got home, I took a shower and went straight to bed, sleeping until around 9 that night. Of course I was up all night watching TV or surfing the net, and I finally tried to go to sleep around 4:00 am yesterday, but that never happened.

My alarm was set for 6:30, and I was wide awake when it went off, so I turned on the light and shuffled off to the bathroom. While taking my shower, I started yawning and thinking that it was gonna be a long tiring day, and I was right.

Even though I was ready to go to sleep, by the time I got to work at eight, there was a full game going. Luckily some backward-hat wearing youngsters had injected some life into the usual morning old-farts limpfest, so we were pushing good-sized pots around the table. By the time the tournament started at 11, I'd opened another cash game, and after my tournament 'down' ended at 12:30, they'd sent one of the full-timers home and I opened a no-limit game, too.

I always love a good-no limit game--they're usually pretty lucrative and even if we open it short-handed, it fills up immediately. So I spent the balance of the afternoon pushing three tables, instead of the usual half-hour on/half-hour off that I normally do early in the morning. And they told me that not only would I be working the entire shift, but if more players showed up, there was a chance I'd be working some OT. I was certainly ok with that--I'd love to work some extra hours. I was fully prepared to chain myself to that poker table for the balance of the evening.

But, as busy as I was, I managed to get out of there after my normal eight-hour shift was completed. And I had a *huge* day, too, which was very nice--I quadrupled my take-home from the day before, so I was pretty happy. It's amazing what a two-hour difference in my start time makes...

But man, I tell ya what, when I finally hit the parking garage, I was completely wiped out. The combination of no sleep and a long work day had sucked the life right out of me. I had a long shopping list and every intention of hitting the grocery store, but I was so tired that I drove straight home, took a cool shower, and then immediately fell asleep.

I didn't have dinner or do anything else, and I crashed until about a half-hour ago. It's just after midnight right now, and I'm still pretty tired. So I'll putter around for another hour or so, trying to answer all of the mail, but I'm gonna get some more sleep before I go to work this morning.

After today, I'm just on call all weekend, but it's looking like I may pick up a shift or two--there are a couple of full-timers going on vacation, some of our floor supes have to go over and help with the Alliante recruiting (which makes our dual-rate dealers have to pick up the floor shifts, opening up dealing shifts for Yours Truly), and the bad-beat jackpot is inching ever closer to that magical $200,000 level which brings in the players at all hours of the day and night. I know that I picked up another day on the schedule for next week already, but I'm hoping to score another weekend shift, too.

Funny, back when I was working in the pit, I could care less if I worked or not--I'd jump on the extra time off like Rosie O'Donnell on a pint of Ben & Jerry's. But now that I'm keeping my own tokes and doing a job I really enjoy, damn, they can work my ass ten hours a day for seven days a week and I wouldn't complain. Much.

Anyhow, that's what's going on here. I've got another full day of work ahead of me, three days of maybes, and then four more scattered around after that.

It's nice to be busy.

I'll post more this weekend. Y'all have a good one!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Word For The Day Is ... HOT

I think we're here in the portion of summer that I like the least--the 'monsoon season'. Granted, the past few days haven't been too bad, but the combination of triple-digit-heat and double-digit humidity that comes from the daily thunderstorms just sucks worse than a tofu burger sauteed in Pepsi. And I'm starting to miss having access to a pool--for the past three summers, I've had a huge puddle of chlorinated water available to me whenever things got a little too uncomfortable, and now, well, all I can do is take a cool shower, I guess.

Overall, I don't mind the heat--hell, I've been a desert-dweller for most of my adult life. But there's a certain irritation that comes with going outside in the middle of the night and learning that it's still 104 degrees. That just ain't right, no matter where you live.

But instead of complaining about it--because I truly cannot do a damn thing about it--I've decided to embrace the concept of heat and talk about a few of it's upsides.

First of all, let me sing the praises of one of my favorite condiments. Officially, it's called Sriracha sauce, or rooster sauce, which of course the more Beavis-and-Buttheadesque members of society have bastardized into calling Hot Cock Sauce. I just refer to it as Flaming Hot Thai Chili Sauce, myself.

Anyhow, I discovered it about 15 years ago when I was working the night shift as a banquet set-up supervisor at the Sheraton San Marcos down in Chandler, Arizona. Unlike the resorts in Vegas, they didn't offer 24-hour room service, but since I had master keys to everything at the hotel, late at night me and my boys would break into the kitchen and make ourselves a snack. One of them turned me on to this stuff we found in the fridge and I've been hooked ever since. It's hotter than shiat, and has a much better flavor than Tabasco sauce. My favorite thing to do is mix it with ranch dressing and put in on a salad, although it goes on anything you'd normally put Tabasco on. And it's great to mix in any red sauce for a little extra zip. Lately, I've been on a baked chicken kick, and again, mixing it with ranch dressing and using it as a dipping sauce is great. All that time I spent in Tennessee, I never saw it on the shelves at the grocery store, but out here, everyone sells it.

If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it.

And speaking of hotness, let me introduce you to the latest addition to my laminated list--Nichole Hiltz:

I'd never heard of her until a few weeks ago, but damn, Mikey is smitten. Normally I'm not a huge fan of blondes, (Jenny Love, Melissa Gilbert, Teri Hatcher, Kimmy, random smoking-hot Romanian chicks, etc.), but for her, I'll make an exception. I guess she has appeared in The O.C. or some other such nonsense I've never watched, but I discovered her delicious hottiness when I started watching In Plain Sight earlier this summer. She plays Mary McCormack's dumb-worthless-lazy younger sister (who by the way is an ass-kicking hottie in her own right), but most of her scenes are shot when she's in various stages of being barely dressed, so she appeals highly to my particular demographic. She kind of reminds me of another favorite, Jaime Pressley, but without the red-neckedness that comes from starring in My Name is Earl and Joe Dirt. Anyhow, here's another pic of Miss Nichole, maybe not quite safe for work. You've been warned.

So we've talked about hot sauce and hot girls, two of the things that make life that much more enjoyable, but I haven't yet mentioned the hottest place I've ever been. And let me preface it by reminding you all that I lived in Arizona for 13 years. As hot as it ever got in Phoenix, the most ridiculous heat I've ever experienced would've had to be in San Pedro, Belize.

I was there about four years ago, having never heard of the town of San Pedro, nor was I planning on going there when I got up that morning. We were on our annual 'Sibling Revelry' cruise, and one of the stops that week was in Belize. The plan for the day was to go to Shark Alley and swim with (and feed) the nurse sharks and sting rays.

What they didn't tell us on the cruise, before we each slapped down about a hundred dollars for the 'experience of a lifetime', was what was involved in getting there. First of all, the water around Belize is extremely shallow, so the cruise ship anchored several miles offshore from Belize City, and one had to take 'tenders' or water taxis to their destinations for the day. Second of all, the place where the sharks liked to hang out was about 30 miles away from the cruise ship.

So, unknowingly, we all disembarked from the lowest sea-level deck of the ship, hopped on a water taxi, and headed off for the horizon. Once we were away from the cruise ship with no hope of getting back, they then broke the news to us that it would be a two-hour trip to the reef. In an uncovered boat. With no water. Or shade. In 100-degree heat.

It. was. awful.

At first, it didn't seem too bad. We were motoring through scenic mangrove swamps and just being out on the water was pretty cool. But after an hour in the blazing sun, people were starting to get uncomfortable and grouchy. Apparently, they knew it was a problem, so they had scheduled a stop at San Pedro, on Ambergris Cay, for lunch and rest.

Talk about a crew ready for mutiny--everyone was happy to get off that damn open boat. I swear, by the time we tied up, we felt like a bunch of refugees--hot, sweaty, cramped, wanting to be anywhere but on that boat. So we hit the 'town' with gusto.

As I recall, lunch was at some dive bar on the dock, but we had about two hours to explore the town. Nobody really wanted to eat, but everyone wanted to drink! Sadly, most of the offerings involved freaky shiat like Scorpion and Viper rum, featuring dead critters in the bottle.

So we scarfed down our lunch in a hurry and head off for the main drag, seeking further adventure and a way to cool off. Even though it was late September, it was still about 98 degrees down there, and the humidity was hovering at around 90%. It was tough to breathe. We hit a couple of souvenir stores, just so we could stand under the air conditioning units, but they didn't sell cold beer at the t-shirt shops. The street was dusty, dry, and a little bit third-worldish. Finding a cool comfy spot to hang out seemed an impossibility. And all of the bars, we noticed, were outdoor thatched-roof type of joints. Once it got too crowded under the AC units in the trinket shops, we bit the bullet and headed out to one of the beach bars, willing to pay any price for an ice-based cocktail.

We sat there in the shade, enjoying the ceiling fans and the icy cocktails, agreeing that if it were our choice, we'd bag the trip to see the sharks and just sit there drinking all day. But that was not possible. Eventually, we had pile back into the boat and head out to the reef, about a half hour away. By the time we got there, everyone was roasting and miserable and ready to just hop overboard.

The sharks have been conditioned over the years to come running whenever they hear the boat engines, because it means that they're gonna get fed. Once we stopped and threw the anchor over the side, I was sitting there dangling my arm overboard, trying to keep cool while half-ass listening to the 'safety' briefing. Then something bumped my hand, and I looked over to see a six-foot nurse shark about to treat my digits as a chew toy, causing me to jump about three feet straight up in the air. That put an quick end to the safety briefing and people started getting in the water.

Since the shark had scared the shiat out of me, I thought I'd return the favor. So I cannonballed my fat ass right off the side of the boat, scattering all the sharks and rays, pissing off some of my fellow travelers. I didn't care. I was hot, cranky, and suddenly felt the need to assert my position as the baddest mo-fo on the reef. The sharks, they understood, and none of them tried to nibble on me the rest of the afternoon. And snorkeling around down there, it was pretty cool seeing those bad boys, and swimming around with them on their turf was a neat experience.

Much too soon, it was over and we had to pile back into our refugee raft and head back to the ship. Nobody was looking forward to that ride. About halfway back, we stopped at another beach bar on one of the countless islands that dot the area.

It was nice down a couple of cold beers, take a bottle of water to go, and leave my mark.

Although it was an interesting experience, once we got back to the ship, we all agreed that had we known how miserable it was going to be getting to and from, we never would've done it. Riding in that open boat in that blazing heat and humidity for hours on end was just downright awful. We were all thirsty, tired, and sunburned, not to mention feeling like we got a little bit ripped off.

So if you're ever on a cruise that goes to Belize, take my advice -- Bring lots of sunscreen and skip any excursion that involves an uncovered boat trip to Ambergris Cay. You don't wanna end up looking like this guy when you get back.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Four Days of Nothing

I'm pretty sure that I've just spent the most boring three days of my entire Vegas existence. I haven't done a damn thing interesting since I left work on Friday. Well, ok, I flopped around in that tournament down at the Sahara the other night, but that ceased being interesting about five seconds after I saw that dude's pocket deuces.

I'm on call today, but if they don't call me by 8:00 am, then I've got the day off. Something about the stupid matrix of weird casino rules that you can't be at work within 16 hours of your next shift or some such nonsense I've never quite figured out. I have to work at 6:00 am on Wednesday, so unless there's a severe poker emergency that manifests itself within the next couple of hours, I'll have today off, also. Granted, I'd rather work, because the only thing that sucks about having all this time off is not having the resources on hand to properly exploit it.

Right now I'm chillin' here at the computer enjoying a pot of coffee and listening to the SportsCenter reruns for about the fifth time. Oh--what's that sound off in the distance? Kind of like a storm gathering just over the horizon? Could it be, yes, I think it is--it's FOOTBALL season knocking on the door. One good thing about keeping ESPN on all day long is that just this week they started up with all the football coverage, both college and pro. I can't wait! And oh by the way, I'm no Bengals fan, but Carson Palmer is my new favorite quarterback. Heh. I cracked up when I heard that rant.

And speaking of football, I was talking to Eddie B yesterday, and it looks like I'm going to make a trek back to Phoenix in September for the Georgia/ASU game at Sun Devil Stadium. The only bummer of the deal is that the game starts at 5:15 local time, instead of the usual 7:30 pm night-time start. But I guess they have to accommodate the TV coverage, so it gets the earlier, hot-as-hell, start. So it looks like if we want to go, we're gonna have to spring the extra cash for the good seats on the shadier west side of the stadium. But I'm looking forward to a weekend in Phoenix with my buddies, regardless.

Since there is nothing else going on today, I guess I'm gonna finally break down and put that bookcase together and move the heaviest shiat out of the garage, finally. But not until after my morning nap...


Monday, July 21, 2008

What Shall We Talk About...?

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday and all that... I hope you all had a good weekend, recharging the batteries and such before heading back to your cubes for the week.

My weekend was rather dull, to be honest. I was on-call both Saturday and Sunday, and--shocker--I wasn't called in either day. I'm actually scheduled to be off today, so as it stands, I have a three-day weekend. But, since I paid off all the bills, got gas, and went grocery shopping, well, there ain't a whole lot of extra scratch left over for entertainment purposes.

After spending Friday night unpacking my new toys and hooking up electronics, Saturday was quite uninteresting. I think the highlight of the night was that I spent some time with my nifty tool kit, hanging and leveling pictures. Hell, I even measured the wall space for a couple of them so that they'd look more centered at first glance. I also did a bit of laundry and changed the sheets on my bed, which is rather important information to share... (this is what English teachers call 'foreshadowing')

Once my household improvement projects were done, I spent several hours watching all of the recorded episodes of the World Poker Tour that I had yet to see, and at some point around midnight I dozed off. I woke up about 3:00 am just frozen in place, thinking Holy shiat, this bed should not be this uncomfortable! I can't move! What the hell is going on?

I grunted a bit, rolled over (my arm was asleep), and then realized what a dumbass I am. Reaching under the sheet, I pulled out my hammer and tape measure! Yep, when I put down the clean top sheet on the bed, I wasn't paying attention to the tools sitting off to one side, and just covered them up. And when I was watching TV later on, I was lying on the other side of the bed. At some point in the middle of the night, I rolled over and just remained asleep on top of them, oblivious to the discomfort until a couple of hours later.

Further proof that I probably shouldn't be allowed out in public unsupervised unless I'm wearing a bicycle helmet or a large warning sign...

Being stuck in the house for three days straight did not appeal to me in the least, and I had to get out or go stir crazy. Oh sure, I had gone to the store and gas station, but that doesn't really count as 'getting out'. So last night, I pulled a few twenties out of my secret stash and headed down to the Sahara, sans bicycle helmet and warning labels... Word around town is that they put on a really good daily tournament, and if you can get down to the final four, there are usually enough entrants that you can chop it up and walk away with about a thousand dollars each.

I played in one of their tournaments about a year ago when Eddie was here, but I didn't like it at all because they offered unlimited re-buys in the first hour. And if I recall correctly, I believe I was pissed that a guy I had knocked out twice ended up knocking me out after the re-buy period was over, or something along those lines. I don't recall the exact details, but I remember hating the format. So I was a little hesitant to go this time around, but I had been assured that they have made positive changes in the past year.

So I got down there about 20 minutes before the thing started, and I was already the 65th person to sign up. That sounded promising. And I had thought that the tourney was a $60 buy-in, but I was mistaken--it only cost $45 to buy in, which got me $4000 in chips, but then there was an option to re-buy once in the first hour, but if you did so, you only got $2000 more chips. That, I thought, was a brilliant idea, because then almost everyone would do it regardless of if they busted out or not, and it would add a lot of juice to the prize pool. So far, I was likin' what I saw.

As soon as I got my seat assignment, a line formed at the desk and there were well over a hundred entrants. What was interesting about it was that it was a virtual Who's Who of the Unknown Vegas Poker World. Yep--I saw a *lot* of familiar faces--a lot of grinders that I've seen all over town for the past year, a few folks who I deal to every week, and a whole lot of dealers and floorpeople from other properties. It was almost like another Industry Night tournament.

I figured I would do well, and I wasn't disappointed by the amount of jackassery I saw on display when it came to some of the hands I saw called down. Oh good lord, there were some bad players at my table. Luckily, I managed to rake a good pot when I had top pair, overcard kicker, and both straight and flush draws, and some doofus called me all the way down. Unfortunately, I didn't make my flush draw, else I would've doubled up because he was chasing a (much lower) flush, too.

After that, I spent the next hour just folding crappy cards and listening to all the wannabe 'pros' sniping at each other. I swear, it's some of the best entertainment in Vegas watching some of these people play poker--they all think that they're so good at reading their opponents that it's just cringeworthy listening to them as a detached spectator. Normally, at the poker table, I'm outgoing and gregarious, laughing it up and joking around, but at a table with a bunch of sunglass wearing morons, I am stone-cold silent the entire time, just watching and plotting. The happy side effect of playing with a table full of jackasses is that when I'm 'in my shell', they all think I'm an uber-rock and only raise when I've got the goods, so I get away with a lot more bluffs than I should. Almost to the point of recklessness.


On the other hand, I've learned that when you're early in a tournament and you've got a table full of idiots that will run you down, you've got to play it like it's a low-limit cash game--slow down, play only big cards, and don't try any of the fancy stuff--it doesn't work with people who will call anything.

So, just before the break, I was in early position and I looked down to see my nemesis, Ace-Queen. Having not played a hand in about two orbits, I figured it was time to raise it up. The blinds were at 100/200, so I raised it up to $650. I got one caller, and the flop came out Queen - Ten - Three, all different suits. The other guy had position on me, so I bet a thousand dollars. He called. The turn was a rag, and I bet another $1300 to put my opponent all-in. Of course he called, and showed a ten-three offsuit, having flopped two pair.

I had him covered by about 3-1, but damn, I just sat there shaking my head in disbelief that somebody would call a $650 bet cold with nothing but 10-3 in his hand. And you know I wouldn't be sharing this story if the river brought me any help...

Once the hand ended and the pot was pushed, the gal next to me leaned over and said I'll bet you a dollar that you outlast that guy...

Heh. Probably a safe bet, and instead of throwing a Helmuth-style tantrum along the lines of How could that idiot make a call like that before the flop?!?!????, I just shook my head and figured that it was somebody else's turn to run hot. And even after that beat, I was still above-par for the tournament.

Just before the break, they raced off all the $25 chips, and then we had ten minutes to stretch, pee, and eat. They brought in a couple of trays of big sub sandwiches, catering style, so I had two inches of sandy for dinner.

Once the first break was over, there were no more re-buys, so the bust-outs started coming fast and furious. When I was under-the-gun, I folded my hand, and the guy on the big blind went all-in and lost. So on the next hand, there was no small blind, just me and my big blind against eight opponents. I was hoping to get a walk, but no, one guy raised it up, barely, just doubling my blind. I had a suited King - Queen, so I called.

The flop came out King - Deuce - Queen, with two diamonds. I made a healthy raise, and my opponent went into the tank for a few seconds, then asked me how much I had left. He had me covered, and I was thinking that I was about to double up. He waited a few seconds more, staring me down, and finally said I put you all-in. I couldn't get my chips out there fast enough, thinking this guy was on a draw again, trying to steal the pot.

Imagine my dismay when I saw that he didn't have any diamonds, but pocket deuces.

I sent Dougie a single-word text message -- Doh!

Yep, I busted out again, so far from the money that I couldn't even sniff it. The bad thing was, I only played about eight or nine hands in an hour-and-a-half and I thought I was playing pretty well. But like Andy Dufresne once said, bad luck has got to land on somebody. This has just been my fortnight...

However, thinking about my last few bust-outs, I had an epiphany that hit me like a ton of bricks. Once I can formulate it into a couple of coherent paragraphs, I may share it with you. But it was so simple and obvious, I'm almost ashamed to admit the realization.


On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things I'd forgotten the other day -- fresh spinach leaves, mushrooms, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, milk, some of that crazy-hot Thai pepper sauce, and some of that unnaturally-square ham to chop up and put in a salad.

I got a few hours of sleep, but woke up about an hour ago. Right now, I'm enjoying a peaceful morning with a cup of coffee from my brand new coffee maker, listening to the rain outside making my truck even dirtier. I have absolutely nothing on my agenda for today, although, that damn bookshelf is still down in the cab of my truck where it's been riding for the last week or so. Eventually it'll find it's way upstairs, but today's not looking good...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Y'like dags? I like dags.

Since they seemed to have caused so much controversy this week, I figured I should probably post pics of the critters that I share my home with. But that is much easier said than done--I had no idea how hard it would be to take pictures of animals--especially when said animals want to stick their nose up in the camera and lick it every time you get ready to take a picture. Seriously, they thought that shiney little silver Nikon was a tasty treat every time I tried to take a shot. And they must've known something was up because as soon as I'd get them to finally sit still and the little red light came on signifying that a pic was about to be snapped, they'd turn completely away or look directly at the lens. So that's why they have the creepy eye thing going. That, and my digital camera is a piece of shiat.

Anyhow, here are the pups:

This is Stoli up front and Charlie snoozing in the background. Charlie is a real sweety, but Stoli is the big cuddly one that everyone loves to snuggle up with.

This is Bear. He's a big, loping, clumsy kind of special-needs doggie. He's really sweet and loves to play, but he's only been living here about three days longer than I have, and didn't grow up in a home where he was trained properly, so he's kind of rambunctious. But he's coming along.

This is a better pic of Charlie--she's the momma, while Bear and Stoli are brothers from the same litter. (That's Stoli in the background looking at the cat on the TV)

And you can blame the crappy photographer for this pic--I tried to get all three of them in the photo at once, but that stupid delay on the digital camera just makes it damn near impossible. But that's Bear laying there saying Rub mah bellaaaay!


Weekend Demotivators

Here's a few more of my favorites for ya.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Staying In On A Friday Night

Howdy all...

Here it is a sunny Saturday morning in Vegas-land, and I'm happy to be just waking up after catching a good nine hours of sleep. That hasn't happened in awhile, but I gotta admit, it sure was nice.

I have no plans for the day except more puttering around the house getting a few odds and ends done, but I'm a slave to the casino and I'm on-call all weekend, so I can't stray too far from the phone. If the poker room gets busier than expected, I'll be heading back in to work, but usually there are plenty of staff on hand during the weekend, so I'm expecting to enjoy the day off.

Yesterday was a pretty good day for me, though. When I got to work at 8:00 am, the 4/8 game was going in full-swing, and only a couple of the players were the old regulars. The floorman told me that the game had been going all night and was actually a pretty good one--lots of big pots, none of the usual limp-in and check down to the river nonsense that is usually the case with the early game.

The room started to get busy early on, and during my first 'down' at the table, enough other players walked in to start a second table. Since there were only two dealers there at the time, me and the guy who'd come in at 4 am, we got locked down for a couple of hours, and I didn't get a break until 10 am, when a third dealer showed up. That was nice, because when I'm actually working, I've been averaging about $45-$50 per hour in tips. It's taking a break that costs me money!

When I came back a half-hour later, we had some other people come in and get on the interest list for a no-limit game, plus the folks who come in for the daily tournament at 11. So it was a nice and busy day for me, and very lucrative, too.

One of the the 4/8 games had a guy just feeding the whole table all day. He was there before I came in at 8:00 am, and he was still sitting there when I left that afternoon. And he must've bought in for at least a thousand dollars. At a 4/8 game. Seriously. It was the kind of guy you dream about having at your table when you're playing poker. He would call every raise all the way down to the river, and nine times out of ten, he had a completely junk hand. He was seriously the worst poker player I've ever seen--and I've seen some bad ones! All day long, I think I saw him fold maybe five hands pre-flop, otherwise he was in it till the bitter end.

Dealing to him was exasperating, too, because even though he'd been there all day long at a structured game where the bets never changed, every time the action was on him, he'd ask How much is it? or Can I check? or some other dumbassed question. And he took forever to make a decision, which was stupid, because everyone at the table knew he was going to call every time. It's like he learned all he knew about poker from watching TV. We were talking about him later and a couple of the other players thought there might have been something wrong with him mentally, but having worked in the casino for so long, people pissing their money away for no good reason just doesn't phase me anymore.

On the other hand, as much of a pain in the ass as he was to deal to, with all that calling, he'd occasionally run somebody down and rake a huge pot. And whenever he did, he'd tip $4 or $5 every time, which is pretty damn nice on a 4/8 game. So I let the other players do the berating, while I just sat there being nice to him, thinking that I'd ride the gravy train until he went broke. But he never did, he just kept pulling hundred-dollar bills out of his pocket and re-buying. Who knows how long he stayed there, but people were making a killing on this guy.

I managed to stick around until 2:30 or so, getting out once one of the side games broke. But it was a damn good shift, money-wise. So, on the way home, I stopped back at the Wally-world Supercenter and did a bit of shopping. I bought that mini-fridge and coffeemaker I was talking about the other day. I really wanted a stainless steel fridge, but they were like $150 or more, while the white old-school ones were on sale for just $79. So I got a white one. And a brand-new Mr. Coffee machine was only about $25 or so, and one of them found it's way into my shopping cart. I got a few other toiletries and such before calling it a day, and made my way home.

So last night, instead of going out or playing in a poker tourney (which I was sorely tempted to do), I stayed in, and armed with a box-cutter, I got busy setting up my new 'toys'. There was a little more furniture re-arranging going on, but once I got the appliances in, I spent some time setting up my new printer/scanner that I bought like a month ago, but had remained sitting in the corner, still in the box the entire time. The printer, which I thought I got a great deal on, didn't include a USB cable, but luckily I had a bag full of coaxial and USB cables I've collected over the years, so that wasn't a problem. And then I found out that it only included one color ink cartridge, and no black one. I thought it was a bit odd, and kind of cheap on the part of Lexmark, but oh well--I managed to get the software installed on my laptop, and got the jets aligned and so forth, so it works. I just have to go down and get a black ink cartridge at some point this next week.

For dinner, I was thinking about calling Grimaldi's and getting a pizza to-go, since I haven't eaten there since my birthday in April (entirely too long ago!) but instead I just made a pimento & cheese sandwich and had some Pringles and a glass of milk. Yay-exciting Friday night in Vegas, huh?

When I went down to the kitchen, I noticed a package on the table in the entry hall addressed to me. I'd gotten an email from T-Rev, Seahawks fan and dog-hater, telling me to expect a parcel this week. Back when he was here a month ago, we were joking around, talking football smack, and he said he was gonna send me a Jack Youngblood bobble-head doll. I thought that would be cool, because Jack Youngblood, as you all know, is my all-time favorite player. So I thought that's what would be in the package.

So I took it upstairs, and with my handy-dandy box-cutter still sitting on the desk, I opened it up. Instead of a bobble-head doll, there was something MUCH better inside. It was a Riddell miniature old-school Rams helmet, autographed by none other than the original Ocho-Cinco, Jack Youngblood! Included was a photo of him autographing it, along with a certificate of authenticity. I was shocked at how cool that was, so I immediately fired off an email to T-Rev, thanking him profusely and telling him that I would do my best to limit my Seahawks smack-talk this season. It's gonna be tough...

Anyhow, after my chores were done, I watched TV for a bit, but around 10pm or so, I was just too tired to keep my eyes open, and so I just hit the lights and fell asleep for the night. That hectic three-day workweek is just a killer, don't ya know...


Friday, July 18, 2008

Prisoner In My Own House?

I'm warning you all now--I'm about to go on a righteous rant.

Writing for a website that gets about 600 unique hits a day is a lot of fun for the most part. It's a nice tension reliever and it gives me a social outlet without having to be actually, you know, social. For the most part, I'm a self-admitting misanthrope who really doesn't like people in general, but a brotha's got to make a living, so I can turn it on when I need to. When I'm away from work or friends, I'm generally keeping to myself. Not that I don't like being the center of attention--I certainly can enjoy the spotlight on occasion. But the side nobody sees is the sometimes quiet introspective person who sometimes prefers nothing more than to spend an entire weekend reading a good book or working on a jigsaw puzzle--I find solitary pursuits extremely satisfying.

Even so, by having this website, so much of my private life open to public scrutiny, and there is one hugely frustrating side effect. I don't know why it seems so, but whenever I make a post, it is not an open invitation for unsolicited advice.

Go back and read that sentence again. I'll wait.


When I *do* need advice or help with a troubling issue, this website is the last place I look to solve my dilemmas. I have a phone book full of close friends and family who are smart, experienced, and usually patient with me. And any real problems I might encounter generally never make it to this digital graffiti wall. For the most part, my life is fairly simple and easy--the things you read about are minor annoyances at most, usually written in a manner that makes them sound bigger than they are for the sake of interesting reading.

But the latest group of comments has got me scratching my head. I've mentioned my roommate's dogs a few times, and some of the accommodations I'm choosing to make to keep home life peaceful, in addition to facilitating my own inherent laziness.

But being a prisoner in my own house? Seriously, that's one of the most asinine things I've ever heard. Taking two or three off-hand comments and coming up with a mind-numbingly stupid statement like that wins the gold medal for twisted logic.

So I went back and reread my posts, and then read the comments again. Here are my thoughts:

First of all, taking advice or hearing opinions on pets from people who don't have dogs or refuse to have them is like getting marriage advice from a celibate priest. It just doesn't compute.

Second of all, these dogs, while playful and wonderful companions, are extremely well trained, and yeah, they are also watchdogs. They're supposed to growl and bark whenever they hear strange noises in the middle of the night. We don't need an alarm system--we've got golden retrievers with bionic hearing.

And I'm putting the coffeemaker in my room out of consideration to my roommate. He's never said one word about me making noise since I've moved in, and actually just yesterday mentioned that the dogs are used to me now because they don't make noise and wake him up when I'm coming and going at odd hours.

However, they are extremely playful and love interaction with humans. So whenever they hear somebody in the kitchen, they want to come out and be social. But my roommate values his privacy and sleeps with his door closed--which I appreciate because his girlfriend stays here a few times a week. And the doggie door is in his bedroom wall, not in the sliding door off the kitchen. So the dogs are in there at night and can go outside and do their business whenever they want to, without whining or scratching at the bedroom door trying to get out.

But if I'm banging around in the kitchen at four am, not only will the noise be unappreciated by my roommate, whose bedroom is not very far from the kitchen, and of course the dogs are going to hear me, too. Our schedules are not in sync by any stretch of the imagination, so whatever I can do to mitigate the noise factor whenever he's sleeping is just simple consideration.

Third of all, those that know me know that I'm kinda lazy. Trudging up and down the stairs over and over again to refill my coffee cup would be a hassle, not to mention the possibility of spillage on the carpet. When I make a pot of coffee, I usually drink the whole pot, or most of it, and it would be a pain in the ass going back and forth. Why not just keep a coffeemaker upstairs in my room?

Fourth of all, for the most part, I *am* kind of a hermit at home. When Rob and I had the apartment, of course I used the living room and kitchen areas much more because of the TV and such. But our schedules were dictated by the casino, and sometimes we went days without seeing each other. Otherwise, in the other places I've lived, I have my tv, computer, and all my books in room, so I tend to spend almost all of my time there. When I lived at that old 'Ruben's House' place, I spent about 90% of my time in my room when I was at home. Coming home from the noise and lights of the casino environment every day, I prefer a quiet and private sanctuary to relax and unwind, so holing up in my room like the Unabomber in his Montana cabin is just fine with me. I have to talk to people all day long, and not by choice, either, so hiding out in my 'fortress of solitude' is exactly what I want most days, especially right after I get home from work.

And my roommate works out of the office in the house, and is in and out all day long. He doesn't need me down in the living room with the TV on distracting him when he's at his desk doing paperwork and whatnot. I choose to be kind of a hermit--it works for me, and my roommate has the added benefit of sharing his home with somebody he doesn't see very much.

But, as much as I try to keep the dogs from making noise at certain times of the day and night, I still find time every day to play with them and get rambunctious and wear them out (not to mention wearing me out, too!). And as nice as this house is, the dogs are an added bonus, not a detriment in the least. I love having pets around--dogs, cats, it doesn't matter. I haven't had pets of my own since I sold my condo back in Phoenix several years ago, so having three golden retrievers around is great fun. Those who think otherwise need to get a clue.


I'll Catnap When I'm Dead

Here it is after midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, and I'm tired, but wide awake. That whole episode of getting called in at 1:30 in the morning the other day really jacked with my system, and I haven't recovered yet.

I was obviously exhausted when I came home that day, but was unable to get more than a couple of hours of sleep--the dogs kept barking and waking me up, and I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night because my system is still stuck on swing shift. So basically I was up all night before going to work yesterday. I was ok with that, figuring I'd eventually just collapse from exhaustion and get a good ten hours of sleep at some point in the next few days. But since I was up all night anyways, my plan was to get up early and take myself out to a nice leisurely breakfast over at Green Valley Ranch, reading the paper and enjoying a pot of coffee before strolling in to work.

But I got caught up reading yesterday morning, and only gave myself an extra 20 minutes or so before having to leave the house. So while I saved the expense of eating at the Original Pancake House, I got stuck having breakfast in the employee dining room. The food, while decent, sure doesn't measure up to the Pancake House. Oh, and on top of that, the air conditioning in the dining room has been broken for the past two days, so my sub-par meal was rather uncomfortable as well.

Luckily, coming in at 8 am instead of six guarantees that I'll have some sort of game going, lame as it may be. So the other dealer and I pushed each other out every half-hour until the room got a little busier for the tournament at 11. By then we had enough players to start a second table in addition to the tournament, so we were nice and busy for a few hours.

I made good money yesterday--the tourney ended up paying us each $46 bucks per hour on top of our regular cash-game tokes, so it was a decent day. And I was so tired that I didn't mind one bit when I got sent home at 2 pm.

On the way home, I stopped at the bank for the third day in a row--Tuesday I had to go in and fix my new address information, which didn't take when I updated it a couple weeks back. Wednesday I deposited all my cash, because I was down to like $45 in my checking account and my insurance was going to be auto-debited, so in addition to covering the bills, I figured that I didn't need a wallet full of cash because it'd get frittered away otherwise. And yesterday I had to go and cash the damage deposit refund we got from our old apartment. The property management company had made the check out to me, but mailed it to Rob. So he mailed it back to me, I got it on Wednesday night, and deposited it yesterday. And his cut goes back in the mail this morning.

That was a nice surprise, getting back the full deposit from the apartment. First of all, I figured it would take at least a month, and secondly, I thought they'd hold back a hundred bucks for carpet cleaning and paint and such. But nope--they gave it all back, and we used it to pay all of our final utility bills and split the difference. So I spent my Thursday night writing checks and licking envelopes. Thrilling, huh?

Anyhow, I've been such a good customer at the bank lately, that when my 'usual' teller saw me standing in line yesterday, she called me by name and took me ahead of everyone, making some excuse about how she 'fixed my account' out loud to placate all the people ahead of me giving me dirty looks. Heh. I guess all that flirting this week has paid off...

So once I finally got home, I fixed myself a tall cold glass of DCWL*, went upstairs, cranked up the AC and the ceiling fans, and promptly fell asleep, completely forgetting about my drink sweating on the desk. And, like a dumbass, I slept through until around 10 pm, and now I'm wide awake--and my alarm is set to go off in five hours.

Tomorrow is going to be another one of those long days. But I'm going to force myself to sleep tonight, regardless of how perky I feel. The only bummer is that I haven't had anything to eat since yesterday at 7:30 in the morning, and I'm starving. But I don't want to eat anything and then try to sleep, so I guess I'll just go hungry and have an early breakfast in a few hours. And I'll try and remind myself to have some lunch and/or dinner tomorrow, too.

As hungry as I am, and even though I know I should be sleeping, what I'm really craving right now is a cup of good coffee. I haven't had any coffee, except the occasional venti Starbucks offering at work, since I tossed out my old coffeemaker during the move. We have a coffeemaker here at the house, obviously, but I don't have any filters, and I don't wanna be 'that guy' and use up my roommate's stuff. Plus, I've been working early in the morning, and if I go down and start banging around in the kitchen at 4 am, it'll send the dogs into a frenzy, knowing somebody was up and available to play, so it would wake up my roommate. So morning coffee at home hasn't been an option.

So I've decided that my next purchase is gonna be a new coffeemaker for my bedroom--that way I can make a pot any time I want it without creating any noise downstairs. I'm also going to buy a mini-fridge for my room, and then I'll be set. I can fill up my Britta water pitcher (one of the greatest inventions, ever!) in the bathroom, keep water and Coke in the fridge, and not have to trudge up and down the stairs refilling my coffee cup. Plus I won't be disturbing my roommate. If tomorrow is a good toke day, I'll probably stop by Target on the way home and get both the fridge and the coffeemaker. If not, well, I guess I'll wait a few days.

But now it's time to turn off the light and force myself to sleep for a couple of hours--hopefully something interesting will happen this weekend and I'll have stuff to write about. Otherwise, I think I'll just do a little photo safari around the new house.


*Diet Coke with Lime