Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roller Coaster Day

Howdy gang. It's late on Tuesday night and I'm one tuckered out little trooper. I've already dozed off twice while trying to watch SportsCenter (watching Al Davis' corpse read a prepared statement will do that to you), but I wanted to post an update before succumbing to blessed sleep, because I've had such an up-and-down day.

I was up last night playing poker in some ultra-low buy-in tournaments on PokerStars, when one of my longtime readers, Kendra, shot me an email. She's actually here in town now, having moved here earlier this past summer, and had a few questions about my neck of the woods.

We emailed back and forth for about an hour or so, but once I busted out of my tourney, I wanted to shut down the computer, so we just chatted on the phone at that point instead. Eventually, we made plans to get together for a beer on Thursday after I got out of work (which we talked about doing years ago). We decided on a local bar and before heading off to bed sometime after midnight, I had some more social life to look forward to this week.

Anyhow, I got about four hours of sleep, but somehow managed to wake up one minute ahead of my alarm. When I got to work, there was a crazy-action poker game going, and I managed to pocket about a hundred bucks in my first hour and a half of work.

The game broke once the 8:00 am dealer came in, so since I'd had such a great day already, I volunteered to prop the game once again and get it going again. That was a huge mistake, as I didn't see a pocket pair again for two hours, and basically lost my blinds over and over again. Or I'd get a hand just good enough to see the flop, but then it would totally miss me. I just couldn't catch any kind of cards. It sucked, but had I gotten up, the game would've broken anyways, so I wouldn't have been working, either. Talk about a sucky Catch-22 to be in. I *knew* I was gonna get sent home at 10 or 11, so I just stayed in the game, killing time, hoping for a monster hand that never came.

Even the floorman, who was the dealer on Sunday when the jackpot hit and pocketed about $1300 in tokes that half hour, handed me $40 worth of his chips and told me to add it to my bankroll and we'd split the winnings--he had played earlier in the day and had the same shiatty luck I did, but for whatever reason believed that I could pull a hundred bucks back off that table.

It never happened. I finally gave up around noon and headed for home, wondering at just what point the shiatty cards will start hitting somebody else. Since eating in the cafeteria at work is now about as appetizing as mouth-breathing inside of Rennaisance Fair port-o-john, I hadn't eaten all morning and was starving.

I figured I'd just stop and get a burger at Jack In The Box and then head home to catch up on some sleep, wasting an afternoon. Just about the time I was getting my burger out of the little window, my phone started going off. Kendra was texting me, telling me she was at the casino, having gotten out of work early herself and was gonna come down and surprise me.

So I turned around and headed back. Of course, crossing six lanes of traffic on Horizon Ridge Drive, I lost control of my large fountain Coke and spilled it all over the freshly shampood carpet of my passenger's side floorboard. I managed about three bites of my burger before getting back to the casino, so I threw the whole bag in the garbage can, popped in a breath mint and headed back inside.

I found Kendra lurking around by the casino cage, and we headed up to a nice comfy booth up in one of the casino bars, where we settled in for an afternoon of cocktails and pleasant conversation. We had a great visit, and made plans to get together again on Thursday like we originally planned. She had a meeting to go to at 5:15 or so, so we parted ways once we got to the parking garage. It was a nice afternoon that I really enjoyed--we got along well and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Once we said our goodbyes, I hopped on the elevator and headed up to my truck, a few floors up the ladder.

Just as I was leaving, I saw Beth pulling in, so I drove over to talk to her. But she was clearly not very interested in talking to me, and our visit was over in less than a minute. So I said later and hit the road. The only thing that came from that conversation was that I learned that she'd already quit the spa, so if I want a manicure, I gotta go someplace else. Eh, no biggie...

Anyhow, I've been home ever since, trying to stay awake, but it's a losing battle. Only the dogs barking at joggers or other dog-walkers out on the sidewalk are keeping me from falling over in a puddle of my own drool.

I'm still hungry--three bites of a Bacon-Ultimate Cheeseburger only aroused my appetite without beddin' it back down, and I'm also waiting for a phone call, too. So no sleep just yet. Although, I have some Fritos, sour cream, and that crazy-hot Thai chili sauce downstairs, along with a fridge full of beer, so that might slay the hunger-dragon. Although, I *really* wish Taco Bell was closer, because the idea of that whole fourth-meal thing is relevent to my interests, especially since I've not partaken in the first meal quite yet...

Tomorrow is another early day, so that's all for now.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

Unfortunately, sometimes I'm not there to hear the doorbell.

I am just sick right now. Seriously, I feel like I got kicked in the nuts by an angry cocktail waitress. That pit in my stomach is feeling up with disappointment, and I'm afraid I may choke on it.


I just got off the phone with work, just to kinda get a feel for how business was today since the market was tanking, and kinda wondering why I didn't get called in all weekend since the bad-beat jackpot was up over a quarter-million dollars.

Well, the main reason I didn't get called in all weekend was because that the bad-beat jackpot hit yesterday morning. At 8:45 am.

Here's the part that makes me sick... Every day this past week, I sat in the old guy's 4/8 game from 8:00 am until 9:00 am. And would've been doing so again yesterday had I been scheduled. When the jackpot hit (at another property), there were so few players at all of the sister properties around town that the players' share was $5600 each.

Had I been working yesterday, I would've won $5600. When it happened, in our room there were four regular players in the game, the second dealer, and the floorman--Six people playing, each getting a players' share of over five grand. Hell, even if I weren't playing, and dealing at the time instead, I still would've had another thousand dollar day!

Seriously, it feels like a kick to the groin. But it's worse than that because not only did I miss out on a share of the jackpot, work is going to be deathly slow for me for another month.


My Last Name Isn't Nearly As Fun

Next time I go to the airport, I'm gonna have this guy paged over the P.A. system, just for laughs.


De Demon Rum, Mon!

First of all, I have to say, that going on a Google image search using the term 'rum barrel' is just downright pornographic to somebody like me. Oh good god, if I can choose the way I get to depart this mortal coil, I would like it to be by drowning in a vat of rum. While getting my freak on with a hot redhead. And I would like it to take awhile too, please, thanks.

Anyhow, as I talked about doing sometime ago, it's time to talk about my favorite spirit. No, not the Ghost of Elvis, I'm talking about the kind you drink, and for me, nothing is better than RUM.

Not including wine, I think I have about fifty or sixty bottles of booze on hand, and well over half of them are rum. And there are no repeats, except on occasion when I have two bottles of Captain Morgan on hand. Otherwise, every bottle is a unique variety.

But lets talk about the notables, shall we?

Overall Favorite Rum: This honor goes to Mt. Gay Eclipse rum. It's made in Barbados, and it goes with everything. Coke, Sprite, fruit juice, soda, tonic, on the rocks, ice cream, etc. It also makes the best pina colada ever, hands down, no contest, don't even try to argue. If I had to choose just one bottle of rum to spend the rest of my days with, this would be the one.

Everyday Rum: The original Captain Morgan. I remember the exact day I discovered it--summer of 1990, I was working as a river guide in Alaska, and it was our company photographer's 21st birthday. In addition to a keg of Ranier, we brought home a couple bottles of the Captain to celebrate with. Of course, it was a rocky introduction, as we were doing it as shots (and I can think of not one single rum that should be shot like tequila or whiskey). Anyhow, I survived the first impression 18 years ago, and now it's an old friend. Everybody loves The Captain.

Best Mixer: Captain Morgan Silver. I love regular Captain Morgan, but when it comes to mixableness, the Silver is the way to go. It's a bit smoother, maybe a touch sweeter, and I've never gotten a hangover from it. And it goes so well with fruit juice that I call it my 'breakfast' rum. Some folks drink mimosas or bloody marys--not this cat, give me a Captain Silver and OJ with my brunch, and I'm living the high life.

Best Sippin' Rum: I'll have to go with Pyrat Cask Rum for this one. It's a premium spirit, and it ain't cheap. But it's one that you can have on the rocks, or even sip slowly from a brandy snifter, especially while smoking a fine cigar. It's got a very smooth, complex, and almost smokey flavor, like a good scotch, but not nearly as harsh.

Most Interesting Rum: I'll offer up one that nobody's ever heard of -- Flor de Cana Rum from Nicaragua. I would've never heard of it either, but my buddy Eric sent a bottle along as a gift last summer. It's a premium-type rum, and you won't find it any many places outside of specialty shops. And you'll never find it at the corner bar. But it's got a delightfully dark color to it, almost like coffee, and it's a fine rum for sipping or mixing, whatever you're in the mood for. It is not, however, a beginner's rum. If you're not already a rum drinker, don't start with this one, you probably won't like the first time you drink it. I like it quite a bit, but I may have a more refined palate than most casual rum drinkers. I know that sounds snobby, but like cigars, you don't start off by smoking a Cuban Partagas Rubusto--you won't like it until you've had a few dozen others under your belt, and it'll probably kick your ass anyways. Same with this stuff.

Best Top-Shelf Rum You Can Order at the Bar: Appleton's Estate Rum. Hoya turned me on to this stuff several years ago, and I have to admit, it's pretty damn good. And you can find it almost everywhere. It's made in Jamaica, and it's a bit sweeter than some of my other favorites, but you can't go wrong if it's the main ingredient in umbrella drinks. You might get charged an extra buck or two, but it sure beats the hell out of Bacardi (which I consider to be the Pepsi of the rum universe--successful only as a result of good marketing, not from having a superior product).

Best Rum to Put in Your Christmas Eggnog: I know, some folks scoff at the thought of using anything but bourbon in eggnog. But as we die-hard Caribbean Souls already know, rum makes the holidays better. I have to go with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum here--it's sweet, not harsh at all, and the combo of coconut and eggnog is hard to beat. Besides, you're supposed to top your eggnog with nutmeg anyways, and you know where nutmeg comes from? The same place coconuts do. It's like they were meant to be together. Some folks might go with Malibu here, but here's a dirty little secret--Parrot Bay has a higher alcohol content than Malibu, and sometimes, it's the little things like that that'll help you make it through the holidays when relatives are hanging around. Besides, when you open the bottle and sniff it, it smells like ladies lying on the beach, wearing not much at all. And that turns me on even more than the smell of bacon frying or coffee brewing!

Best Infused Rum: I'm not a huge fan of infused rums--I prefer infused vodkas (which reminds me of something funny Lars said the other night, I prefer my vodka infused with Juniper berries, as he sipped his Bombay Sapphire martini...). Anyhow, if you're going to get a flavored rum, and coconut doesn't blow your skirt up, go with Mt. Gay Vanilla. Rum is naturally sweeter than vodka, and a hint of vanilla makes it even more so. Throw some in a blender with ice and a couple of scoops of high-quality vanilla ice cream, and you've got yourself one helluva milkshake!

Favorite Top-Shelf Rum: I'll have to go with Captain Morgan Private Stock on this one. Very smooth, very easy to drink, it isn't ruined by mixers, but on the downside, you gotta make sure your limes are ripe. For whatever reason, this rum will let you know if the lime is bitter.

Rum You Gotta Have On Your Bar If You Want to be Taken Seriously: Pusser's. It's a product of the British Virgin Islands, the main ingredient of the famous Pusser's Painkiller, and a direct descendant of shipboard 'Grog'. In fact, if you mix it with sodomy and the lash, well, you've got yourself 300+ years of British Naval Tradition in a glass. Actually, it's a pretty damn good rum, and it always seems to sell out fastest down at my local booze-monger's place.

'Just Because' Rum: Myer's Original Dark Rum. This is a tricky one. It's not very good as a stand-alone rum, at least to my taste buds, and there are much better rums to mix out there. But there are a lot of cocktails out there that call for dark rum, so it's a niche that every rum aficianado has to fill. And if you want to enjoy the quintessential Bermudan drink, the Dark & Stormy, you gotta have Myer's. Mix it in a pitcher with ice and Ginger Beer (*not* Ginger Ale), and enjoy. I can almost guarantee you won't like the first one. But by the third one, you'll love it. It's the world's fastest acquired taste.

Worst rums: Oh geez, there are a lot of bad rums out there--Cruzan infused rums are pretty foul, which is a shame since their Estate rums are so good. I don't know why there is such a drop-off in quality. Whaler's Rum, as cool as the bottles are, sucks like crap on a stick, which just goes to show that a nice cover can't disguise a shiatty book. But the worst rum I've ever tasted has to be Captain Morgan Tattoo Rum. Oh lord, I don't know what they were thinking. According to Wikipedia, it was designed to compete with Jaegermeister. To me, it barely competes with dirty bathwater. Seriously--avoid it at all costs.

Anyhow, I prefer to drink my rum Cuba Libre-style, that is, with Coke and lime, as most people do. But fruit juice is always good, especially when I feel like I'm not getting enough vitamins, and on the rare occasion, I'll sip it straight, but that's usually when I'm wearing shoes and a shirt with buttons on it. And I would never drink it straight unless I have a cigar in the other hand.

Of all the spirits, Rum is the best. It may not be as versatile as vodka, but it sure tastes better. Besides, rum is a happy drink, vodka is not. You ever see a Russian smile? Me either. But Caribbean islanders are always grinning. I guess if I lived down there sitting in the sun, barefoot, staring at the ocean, drinking rum all day, I'd be smilin' too.


Halfway Through My Morning Coffee

... and I thought Hmmm, maybe I should post a Monday morning update.

So here goes...

First of all, the good news. The Rams fired their head coach last night after losing another game in spectacularly ugly fashion. They're 0-4 and probably gonna be 0-5 because they head to Washington after their bye week. But there's no place to go but up, and my team isn't burdened with expectations this season. So yeah, I'm happy that they're finally doing something to turn their fortunes around, but I'll be shocked if we win three games all year.

And I know I said that I wasn't going to play any poker at PokerStars for awhile, as the bad-beats had gotten to the F.N. Ridiculous level as of late, but last night around 5:30, my phone started beeping at me. It was a reminder of the weekly gathering of Buffoons, but I opted out, citing the fact that I only had $2.65 in my account, and the buy-in was $5.50. Since I'm still a little short-stacked as far as the beginning-of-the-month bills go, there was no way I was depositing any more cash. But then some generous yob transferred three bucks to my account, eliminating my excuse. I paid him back by eliminating him from the tournament an hour later.

It turns out, I actually made it to the money, taking third place. Of course, I broke one of my cardinal rules by ignoring the fact that an Ace is *not* a pair, and it bit me. But I'll take the win--it's been a long time coming.

My weekend was fairly mellow--I got out of work early on Saturday, lost my ass in the college football picks, and then spent all of yesterday lounging around watching NFL and emailing back and forth with a couple of my more engaging readers. I was on-call, but the poker room never called, so I just hung around the house all weekend, opting not to go out and spend money.

Next weekend, however, I have some buffoonery planned. My gal Jen is having a birthday, and we're gonna go out and tie one on. We haven't hung out in FOREVER, as she had found herself a jealous boyfriend awhile back and was off the market completely for a long time. But they recently broke up, she moved out, and we're gonna go out just like old times. It should be lotsa fun. I told her that I'm bringing my Sharpie markers with me, too.

Back in the day, when she first started seeing this guy, before it got too serious, her and I went out one night after work and got a little too drunk. I don't quite remember how it got to that point, but she has quite the ample bosom and I ended up drawing all over her boobs with a Sharpie marker. She went home, passed out, and her boy showed up later and Freaked. The. Hell. Out. Bad times all around... He was still bitching to me about it almost a year later.

Anyhow, now that she's taken the 'L' out of lover and it's over, she suggested that I go Michelangelo all over her Sistine Chapel once again, but this time we take a bunch of pics and send them to her ex.

Always happy to lend a hand...

I don't have much on the agenda for today. I don't think work is gonna call, so the day is mine. I'm gonna finish my pot of coffee, then motivate myself down to the kitchen and make some sausage and biscuits. I may do a load of laundry or two, and dammit, I still have another bookshelf that needs to be put together. I guess I should appreciate the fact that I have a couple of days off, but it's tough when I don't have the resources to fully exploit them.


PS. Speaking of Sistine Chapels, imagine the artwork Mikeyangelo could unleash on this old-school canvas!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Opposite

My name is George. I'm unemployed and live with my parents.

Today, I have done the damn-near-impossible. Seriously, I'm amazed at my ability to f*ck something up to a level of perfection previously unheard of.

My advice to you, dear readers, is that if I ever offer up my opinions on college football, run, don't walk, RUN to the sportsbook, and lay all the money you have on the exact opposite of my picks.

In my hot little hand, I'm holding a six-team parlay ticket on today's action, a $10 play that would pay $410 if I picked each game correctly. This is what I have going:

  • Auburn -7 over Tennessee
  • Purdue +1.5 over Notre Dame
  • East Carolina -10.5 over Houston
  • Georgia -6.5 over Alabama
  • Nebraska -7 over Virginia Tech
  • Penn State -16 over Illinois

Let's see how I'm doing so far.

  • Auburn beat Tennessee, but only by 2 points. Loss
  • Purdue lost to Notre Dame by 17 points. Loss
  • East Carolina lost by 17 points. I missed this one by four touchdowns. Loss
  • Georgia is down 31-0 right now. Definitely gonna lose.
  • Nebraska is down by 5 points at home as I type this. I'm 13 points in the hole. Not looking good.
  • Penn State and Illinois are tied up in Happy Valley, and it's almost halftime. Illinois needs to collapse for me to sniff a victory. Gonna lose this one, too.
Perhaps I'll do better in the NFL games tomorrow. Last week I was perfect and cashed a ticket for $140. Let's hope for a repeat.

Otherwise, I suck.


A Night On The Town

After I finished off that post last night, I put on some shoes and my eatin' out shirt and waited a few minutes for Lars to show up. He was right on time and we headed off towards Summerlin for our rendezvous with garlic donuts at one of our favorite joints, Chicago Brewing Company.

We figured that the 215 would be a parking lot at 5:30 on a Friday night, especially where it crosses I-15 just south of the Strip. It's always a clusterfuck, but it was quite eerie to make it all the way across town without having to tap the brakes. Seriously, where was all the traffic? The economy must be hurtin', because there were just no cars on the road. So we got there in record time.

Sitting down in the dining room, the first order of business was what kind of beer we were going to have this time around. I think we were both on the same wavelength because we both opted for the Downtown Brown. Oh yeah, it was excellent--a dark beer that's not too heavy, and has lots of flavor, including a generous dollop of 'not bitter'. And it goes well with food, we soon found out.

Appetizers consisted of a plate of calamari and a half order of the garlic knots, which we refer to as 'garlic donuts'. Of course, as soon as they hit the table, we dove into them like vultures on a carcass. Luckily, we remembered to take a picture before they disappeared completely.

I don't know what it is about them that makes them so tasty--it's just bread, butter, spices, and cheese, but damn, talk about being better than the sum of it's parts... We decided that it was a perfect example of synergy food.

A few minutes later, the main courses arrived, and again we both had the same thing. No, we skipped the pizza--the rest of the menu is pretty damn good, and this time we both had the baby-back ribs, basted in Downtown Brown BBQ sauce. They were tender and quite good, although they didn't have the slightest hint of smoky flavor to them. But that's not a complaint, just an observation. It certainly didn't keep us from sucking every bit of meat off the bones and making a complete mess of our hands, faces, and shirts.

Since I'd had no veggies in about 24 hours, I had a side salad with my ribs, but Lars stuck to the menu and had the steak fries. And of course I took a ration of shiat for eating the wussie food, just like the time I had pasta when he had steak. At least the waitress and other patrons weren't mocking me this time, I just had to hear it from Lars.

Anyhow, it was a great meal, and for two plates of ribs, four large beers, and two appetizers, the bill came to $74 before tip. After we paid the bill, our plan was to digest for a bit and head over to the separate bar and smoke some cigars for an hour or two. And we were going to order a couple of pizzas to go so that we'd have some good grub for lunch today.

But when we went over to the bar, the waiter totally ignored us for more than ten minutes, spending all of his time at the next table, the one with the three blonde chicks, so we gave up and headed back to Henderson. We decided that it'd be better to slurp some martinis closer to home anyways, but it wasn't until a half hour later that we remembered that we'd forgotten about the pizzas. Damn.

We made our way over to Sunset Station and hung out in the Martini Bar for a couple of hours, smoking our Partagas Black Labels, drinking Bombay Sapphire martinis, and people watching. After a round of gin berries, I decided to change it up and have a chilled Tuaca. Lars took one look and asked exactly what it was. I made him take a sip before telling him that it was Italian Brandy, and he instantly had another new favorite drink. So it didn't take too much peer pressure from the waitress before another glass landed in front of him, and he was suddenly in his new happy place.

We hung out until the cigars got short and the glasses got empty, and then called it a night. I was just *sure* that I'd get called in to work in the middle of the night, so I figured I should get home and go to bed.

I'm glad that Rabbi Vargas was driving, because I had a seriously cool buzz going. Once I got home, I went straight to bed, thinking my phone was going to ring. But it didn't--I went to work at my normal time, but the floorman said he came really close to calling me in at 3:00 am, but couldn't call me because I'd worked a full eight hours the day before. I have no idea what the rules are or how that works, but regardless, I got a full night's sleep.

Works was very slow today, which I thought was odd, since it's a weekend. I played some cards on the clock in the short-handed old codger's game this morning, and broke exactly even after an hour. But then I got punted out at 10:00 am since we had seven dealers scheduled to be there by 11 o'clock. So I've been home ever since, just watching some college football. And so far, my six-team parlay card looks good...

Anyhow, that's the news from here today. I'm supposed to be off tomorrow and Monday, but I told them to put me on call--I'd like to pick up another shift before the rent is due on Tuesday. If I don't work, well, I'm just gonna be hanging around the house, not spending any money for the next couple of days.


PS--Here's a recent photo of 'Rabbi Vargas':

Friday, September 26, 2008


Ok, I'd love to do a Simmon's-style mailbag as a recurring feature on this site, but unfortunately, I just don't get nearly enough funny and/or interesting comments or questions. What I'm sayin' is... I don't have much material to work with, so get after it, people!

Anyhow, to answer the questions from the comment section buffoons and random emailers--

Who do I like in the Bills/Rams and Cardinals/Jets games this weekend?

First of all, the Cardinals are NOT one of my favorite teams. Just because I had season tickets for a few years, it doesn't mean I'm a fan. But hey, I was at the game where Steve Young got knocked out of the league...

Anyhow, my poor pitiful Rams have lost each game so far by at least 20+ points. They didn't even get into the red zone for the first time until the third week of the season. The bottom line is that they suck more than Paris Hilton did in that green-tinted video. So I'll take the Bills and lay the nine points. I'm also trying to find the current over/under on exactly what point in the game Trent Green is carried off on a stretcher.

As far as the Cardinals/Jets game goes, everyone likes the Cardinals and Kurt Warners sudden rejuvination. And the fact that they stayed on the east coast all week, chillin'. I dunno. The Cards haven't beaten anybody yet, and the Jets are somewhat frisky. I could never bet on the Cardinals anyways--thats every bit as dumb a move as wandering off into the woods by yourself in a teen slasher movie. But the Jets, good lord. They're still the Jets. I'm not touching that game, but if I were forced to, I'd take the Jets and lay the three points.

What steak house are you talking about?

Lars and I love go grub on good food around Vegas, and he told me about a joint out in East Bumfuck Henderson, over on Horizon Drive on the way out to Boulder City, called, oddly enough, Steak. It sounds really good, and I'm looking forward to it, but after visits to Stack and CraftSteak this past year, it'll really have to knock my socks off.

What the hell do they serve in the TDR on graveyard shift?

Basically, crap on a stick. It's awful. No more breakfast, no more made-to-order grill specials. They bring in the crap from the buffet. Seriously--steam table pans of random crap. Twice this week I went in to the dining room at 8:30 in the morning and there was dried up meatloaf, corn on the cob, chili, mashed potatoes, and a huge tub of alfredo sauce. But no pasta. WTF? And the salad bar hadn't been put out yet, either. There is no more yogurt, donuts, that god-awful 'pizza', or breakfast of any kind. There is a do-it-yourself sandie counter, and they have chicken breast and hamburger patties also, but everything is always dried out and nasty. And they have these stupid propaganda posters all over the back hallway with pictures of the Executive Chef saying "Our commitment to you is to serve you the finest food, just like our buffet customers". What the fuck ever, dude. He should be forced to eat that shit every day. Everyone has started brown-baggin' it now, or grabbing stuff from Sbarro, China Panda, or Fatburger.

What the hell clogs your drain? I'm guessing it ain't your hair.

I have no idea. I've only been here three months, but my roommate told me he used to wash the dogs in that tub before anyone else lived here. So I'm guessing it's a bunch of Golden Retriever hair clogging the pipes. But the Drano did the trick.

Dude, what's the deal with you and cocktail waitresses?

The deal is, I work in a poker room, so cocktail waitresses are damn near all the female interaction I get at work anymore. Besides, they're nice to look at, and hot girls need love too. The smart money says that within ten years I'll have an ex-wife who was a cocktail waitress at some point.

Does anybody ever really win at 4/8 Holdem?

Nope. Only the guys with their names on the building, because the house breaks one player an hour. Otherwise, it's just a pleasant diversion and a fun way to spend an afternoon. Anyone that tells you they're making consistent money at low-limit poker is full of shiat. (Unless, of course, they're playing a weekly game at the Nashville City Club against the worst players on the planet...)

Is Georgia going to beat Alabama this weekend?

Probably. But they won't cover.

Ok, now that you've been dealing poker for awhile and seem to be comfortable at it, do you mind if I ask about how much you make in tips? Is it better than being in the pit?

Ok, the honest truth is, when I'm working before 10:00 am, I make about $30 per hour in tips. After 10:00 am, it's closer to $40. And don't forget the awesome minimum wage the casino pays me in addition to the tips I pocket. And yeah--it's waaaaay better than working in the pit. If I never deal dice, blackjack, or Pai Gow again, I'm totally cool with that.

I heard that all you locals play video poker like maniacs, is that true?

It seems to be, but I hate it. I *never* play VP unless I'm at a bar drinkin' and needing an excuse to talk to a hot girl who's also playing. Otherwise, I never touch it. Seriously, I hate video poker like I hate Rachel Ray, the Seahawks, and 6:5 blackjack. All of my friends, however, seem to play regularly. I just don't get the attraction to it.

How often do you go down to The Strip?

Rarely, if ever. I only go down there if friends or fellow buffoons are in town, or if I'm playing in a particularly juicy poker tournament. Otherwise, I stay away.

People always talk about playing Spot the Hooker in Vegas. Do you see a bunch at your job?

Rarely. I don't work on the Strip, so the working gals don't usually troll my casino. There are a few on occasion, but nothing like the gauntlet you have to run at the Bellagio.

Do you ever see any of the big-name poker pros?

Not at my job, that's for sure. But sometimes when I'm down on the Strip I'll see them. I've seen Scotty Nguyen all over town, along with that asshat Humberto Brenes. But I've never run into Matusow, Hellmuth, Lindgren, Ivey, Brunson, or Negraneau anywhere outside of the Bellagio or the Rio during the Series. I'm holding out hope that someday I get trapped in an elevator with Clonie Gowan for a few hours, but otherwise, nah, the real poker players don't play in the same games I do.

Anyhow, that's all the questions for now. I'm on my way out to the Chicago Brewing Company with Lars for some 'garlic donuts' and some fine microbrew. He's driving tonight, so it'll be quite enjoyable for me...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dodging A Bullet

Man, this week is just flyin' by--it's hard to believe that it's Thursday night already. I'm spending my evening watching Oregon State put the smackdown on the Men of Troy. And all I can say is that I sure am glad that one of the hottie cocktail waitresses stopped me to chat for a few minutes and totally distracted me on my way out of work today. Because otherwise, I would've made it to the sports book and put some heavy action on USC to cover by 24. Instead, after we got done talking, I wasn't thinking about football anymore and just walked out to my truck and headed home.

I stopped at the bank to make a deposit, and then came home and dozed through my afternoon shows on ESPN. When I woke up, I was all pissed at myself for forgetting to make a bet. Now it looks like it was a brilliant non-bet (as of this moment, I'd be down 45 points!), so I owe my gal Laurie some high-quality Mikey-love for saving me a bundle of cash.

Speaking of high-quality Mikey love, I had an embarrassing moment earlier this evening. After I woke up from my brief nap this afternoon, I was pretty hungry. Normally I eat at the casino and don't eat at home on days I'm working. But they fired all the cooks in the employee dining room and now just haul in the leftover slop from the buffet. And guess what--once that buffet closes at ten pm every night, there is nothing new brought in--just a bunch of awful crap drying out on the steam table for eight hours. So there's no breakfast available during my shift, and basically all there is to eat for lunch is do-it-yourself sandwiches where all of the cold cuts have been picked over by the nasty people I work with, half of which don't wash their hands all day long.

Anyhow, the point is, since I didn't eat at work, I was fairly hungry this evening, and I really didn't have a whole lot of interesting food on hand in my pantry. So I had to break down and go grocery shopping. While I was at the store, I was browsing the Chunky Soup display (it's on sale for $1.45 a can) and I could feel the eyes of somebody staring at me. I ignored it for a few seconds, but then I finally forced myself to look.

I saw a mildly attractive blond gal with an ankle tattoo and a tight tank top looking at me, and it took me a second to make the connection. She said Hey Mikey--how you doing? and I told her I was good. But I panicked because I had no idea what her name was. I kept moving because I didn't want to embarrass myself further, because I knew that if I stopped to talk, she'd totally bust me. The problem was, several months back, I hooked up with her after a night of drinking with my compadres in the pit. We'd all gone out to the bar after our shift, and she was there. Somehow we started talking and hung out for a bit, and after everyone had split up and gone their separate ways, I went home with her.

But even now, after I've been wracking my brain for the past three hours or so, I still have no idea what her name is. I know she must've told me at some point, and you'd think that I would've kept her name and number in my phone, just in case. But that ain't the case.

I guess I'm a very bad person... heh.

Anyhow, besides my momentary embarrassment at the grocery store, there was more drama. Once I finished all my shopping (I went with chili-dogs for dinner by the way--there was a game on!), and was standing in line to check out, I managed to get in line behind the one complete asshole that decided to go grocery shopping at the exact same time as I did.

This jerkoff decided to go and buy all of the Smith's brand raisin bran they had on hand, because there was an ad saying it was on sale. Unfortunately, the smaller size box featured in the ad was already sold out, so he grabbed all of the huge boxes, thinking they'd honor the 99-cents sale price or whatever it was.

No chance on that, the cashier told him, but he decided that that was the flag he was gonna die under and raised holy hell right there in the checkout line. It was fun to watch, because working in a casino, I see people take shots at the house all the time. But I'd never seen anyone take a shot at the grocery store. They even had to get the manager on duty to come over there and tell him to STFU, but he kept on ranting. Everyone in line was getting pretty tired of his gig after about a minute, shooting him dirty looks, sighing, shifting from one foot to the other.

He kept going, and it got to the point that I would've loved to introduce him to my Bitch-be-cool! stick, but luckily for him it was safely tucked behind the seat out in my truck.

I guess they eventually rounded up some rain checks for him and he finally took his chump ass on the road and order was restored in the check-out line.

So I came home, made my chili dogs, and have been watching the football game ever since. I'm not playing anymore poker online for awhile unless I'm either really bored, or I've just got nothing better to do with my money. The ridiculous suckouts are just too common to believe that the cards are coming out totally randomly (By the way, is it ok to use two adverbs in a row? Can I get a ruling on this?).

Anyhow, although I'm taking some time away from the online poker world, I'm still playing the live game. Earlier today I got into the old codgers game and made a quick $45 with some well-disguised three-of-a-kinds while I was 'working', and reading the latest issue of Poker Player magazine, I saw that Binion's is doing their Poker Open series again in October. I'm excited for that--I did really well in that bunch of tournaments earlier this summer, and I like the structure and the affordable buy-ins.

But that's about all there is from my neck of the woods tonight. Hopefully there's more interesting stuff happening in the life of Mikey over the weekend.

Y'all have a good one.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chillin' At Home

Well, I need to post something...

It's nice to be back home in Vegas, even though I really had a great time in Phoenix. It was so nice to be able to relax and not hear the same shiat I hear every day--no ding-ding-ding of slot machines, nobody bitching about their cards, none of that god-awful XM 25 'music' that they play in the casino every morning.

But I'm back now, paying my dues. Luckily work has been much busier this week than it was before I took my little vacation. I've worked full eight-hour days both today and Tuesday, and the money has been pretty good. It hasn't been slammed, where I'm struggling to get any rest or time off, but it's been nice and steady. I think part of it is scheduling--there haven't been five dealers coming in before 11 am every day like usual, so that helps to keep me around.

Once I got out of work yesterday, I had to go by Wally-world and pick up a few things, most notably a bottle of Drano. Before I left for Phoenix, I noticed that my tub had been draining very slowly. And on the last day before I left, I noticed that it didn't drain at all by the time I got back from work almost five hours after I'd had my morning shower.

So while shopping for Drano, I guess I was kinda thirsty too, because instead of just picking up mixables for my rum (juice, Coke, & Sprite), I found myself in the beer aisle, window shopping for microbrews. I noticed that Sam Adams has released it's seasonal Octoberfest beer, so I grabbed a 12-pack of bottles. Normally, I really don't like Sam Adams beer at all, at least their regular stuff. But last year when I went to Grimaldi's for the first time, they had Sam Adams Octoberfest on tap. And I tried it and thought it was pretty damn good at the time. I haven't had any since then, but now the little mini-fridge next to my bed is chock-full.

Now that I'm back home and life is back to normal, I decided to end my latest poker sabbatical. I was getting really sick of the outrageous bad-beats on Poker Stars, so I hadn't played in over a week. But last night I got into another one of their big tournaments but got knocked out an hour into it when some dufus made his two-outer. I was pretty pissed about that, so I didn't play again until this afternoon when I got home from work. And this time I got knocked out by a guy who caught his four-outer on the river.

Apparently, I'm just not meant to win right now.

Anyhow, that's about all that's going on around here right now. I talked to Lars Vargas today and I think we're gonna head over to Chicago Brewing Company on Friday night for some good beer, great pizza, and maybe some of those tasty garlic donuts. We've also got another steak joint on the agenda that we're gonna hit at some point, too.

That's all for now...


Monday, September 22, 2008

A Well-Deserved Overdue Binge

Howdy everyone!

I made it back to the 'real world' of Vegas earlier today, safe and sound, and now I'm just chillin' here in front of the Monday Night Football game and I thought I'd get started with a report of my weekend's activities.

Long story short--I had an absolute blast! It was great to see everyone and it felt wonderful to get away from the casino and the poker tables for a few days.

Work was pretty slow on Friday--we only had one game going, and besides me and the eight-o'clock dealer, we had another one coming in at ten, plus three more at eleven. So I told the floorman that I was willing to bail out as soon as possible, and he was kind enough to cut me loose at 9:30 in the morning.

I hurried home, changed clothes, grabbed my stuff, and was on the 215 heading for Boulder City by 10:20, well ahead of schedule. Traffic was fairly light, and I made it to Hoover Dam in less than a half hour. Once I got out of Black Canyon, I opened up the truck to stretch her legs, and kept the speedometer somewhere north of 80 mph all the way to Kingman. Usually, I stop in Kingman to top off the gas tank, but I must've had a tailwind because I still had more than 3/4 of a tank. Besides, I wanted to avoid as much of the hideous traffic in Phoenix as possible, so I was in a hurry. I elected to just keep on going.

Once I got out of Kingman, heading east on I-40, I was rewarded with a late-summer desert rainstorm. It was dumping so hard that I had to slow down to a crawl, along with everyone else, and the windshield wipers could barely keep up. It lasted about a half an hour, but by the time it ended, I was enjoying the scenery along Hwy 93 as it cuts through northwestern Arizona. Instead of listening to The Joshua Tree, as is the usual ritual on that stretch of road, I had created a 'road trip' playlist on my iPod that included stuff like Ghost Riders in the Sky, Ramblin' Man, Eastbound and Down, Interstate, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Gypsy Road, etc. It helped pass the time, and it was a fun soundtrack.

Before long, I made it past Wickenburg, Lake Pleasant, and all the way to where the Carefree Highway meets I-17. I was tempted to turn left and go just five minutes to Ed W's house, but no, my destination was actually clear on the other side of the fourth-largest city in America, and I had another sixty miles of traffic and road construction to contend with. My original plan was to just stay there on that side of town at Ed W's house, but when I found out that I'd have three days off and could extend my stay, plus the fact that Eddie B's wife was out of town, well, it was bachelor weekend time! (Besides, Ed W and his wife have a brand-new baby, so even though they generously offered use of their guest room, I thought it would be best to go stay with Eddie B this time)

So I kept going...

I finally pulled in to Eddie B's house in Chandler almost exactly five hours after I pulled out of my driveway in Henderson, and I made it on one tank of gas. According to the odometer, it's 316 miles door to door, and I actually squeezed 19.5 mpg out of the old girl, and that was doing about 15 mph over the speed limit almost the entire way.

After sitting in one spot for five hours straight, I was one stiff and tired bandito, but Eddie was kind enough to provide me with a frosty cold Heineken Light to help me wash down a handful of ibuprofen as soon as I shuffled my way indoors.

I freshened up and changed clothes, and Eddie and I spent the balance of the afternoon catching up, drinking beer, and watching the Ryder Cup.

For dinner, the plan was to meet George and Marlisha (Big Stogie and Big Tips) at the Grimaldi's down there in Chandler for dinner. They were already waiting for us in the dining room when we got there, and we had a nice leisurely dinner together. We somehow managed to run the tab up to about $175 between the four of us, which is a neat trick at a pizza joint. Grimaldi's does charge a bit of a premium for their fine pies, but most of the damage was because of the extensive bar tab. We started with draft Peronis all around, but with dinner, we dove deep into the wine list and complemented our fine food with some excellent vino.

After dinner, we drove over to their place and hung out in the back yard for cigars and more cocktails. George and Marlisha seriously need to feature their house on 'Cribs'. Not only is the kitchen the kind of kitchen I'd like to have, but the dining room is more of a game room, the living room is a pimped out media room, and the back yard is a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and the the grotto at the Playboy mansion.

George turned on some music and the misters to cool things off, we lit up a few fine cigars and sipped on some top-shelf booze, and within a half an hour or so, my tired ass was passed out cold in the lawn furniture. Luckily I was smoking a good cigar where the ashes didn't fall off, otherwise I probably would've lit my shirt on fire. Apparently, everyone else had a really nice visit while I snoozed. At least that's what they told me.

But the combination of a long day on the road, a big meal, and too many drinks had taken their toll on me. Eddie drove home while I dozed in the passenger's seat.

When we got back to his house, I made my way up to the guest room and was out like a light about ten seconds after my head hit the pillow.

I woke up briefly around 4 am when Nemo, Eddie's pet Huskie, came upstairs to let us know that he was ready to go outside and take a piss. The power of suggestion is an amazing thing, and I opted to do the same. Well, instead of using the yard, I hit the guest bathroom. Then I went back to bed for a couple of hours.

I woke up around seven or so, took a shower, and got dressed. Eddie was already up and kicking around the house, and had put on a pot of coffee. We didn't have any creamer, so I volunteered to run down to the grocery store on the corner and pick up a couple of bottles of the flavored stuff (I've got Eddie drinking Don Francisco now, after his 2-week stay at my place in Vegas last year). Anyhow, in addition to coffee creamer, I picked up a 12-pack of Michelob Light, then headed back to the house.

We spent most of the morning switching back and forth between Game Day and the Ryder Cup, and at one point Eddie cooked us up a nice breakfast of eggs, toast, and turkey sausage.

We then loaded up Nemo's cage in the back of my truck, and took him over to Eddie's parents place. Nemo is too damn big to fit through the chihuahua's doggie door, and it's too hot to leave him outside all day, so Eddie talked his parents into keeping him overnight since we were gonna be gone for most of the day and night.

Another bonus from taking the dog over there was that I'd get to see my kitty again. I used to have this beautiful black cat several years ago, and when I sold my condo and moved in with Derek at the 'frat house', Eddie took the cat. That worked out well until he got married, and his wife was allergic to her. So his parents adopted her. And I haven't seen her since I moved away from Phoenix five years ago.

Anyhow, when we got over there, I got to see her again, but clearly, I was more excited about our reunion than she was. She wasn't too interested in me because I didn't have any treats to give her...

Me and my 18-lb. bundle of bad luck.

Eddie and Nemo.

Anyhow, once we dropped off the dog, played with the cat, and visited with Eddie's parents for a bit, we hit the road for that long drive up to Anthem. Our destination for the day was Ed W's place, as he was hosting a home tailgate party and invited everyone over to watch the Georgia/ASU game.

We got there about an hour later, the first ones to arrive at the party. We mixed up some cocktails, hit the relish tray, and the three of us sat around shooting the shiat just like old times. It had been far too long since all three of us were in the same place at the same time so we took advantage of it, laughing it up like we used to. Ed's wife Michelle even snapped a picture or two:

The three amigos.

Before long, everyone else started showing up, and the party was ON! My old roommate Tammie came up with her husband--I hadn't seen her in almost five years. The funniest person I know, Eddie's buddy Wade, also made an appearance, and George and Marlisha came up too, and they were packing a cooler full of smoked meat. They provided a shiatload of brisket, pork butt, and baby-back ribs, all done in their smoker. Holy shiat was it ever tasty! Marlisha even went so far as to make a jug of home-made Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce.

Between all that, the sub sandwiches, the little smokies, the relish trays, the chips and dip, the mixable booze, and the keg out in the garage, nobody went hungry at all. It was a great party, but the game was a laugher, and not in a good way, either. Georgia just kicked the crap out of Arizona State, so by the time the third quarter rolled around, half of the party moved out to the back yard where we did more drinking and cigar smoking.

Eventually, a few of us made it out to the hot-tub, and that's where the party ended. We almost had Ed convinced to re-stage the infamous R2-D2 photo, but he was much too sober for that. But while we were out there, we made some firm plans to get together again soon, once in Vegas, once in California.

Once we finally called it a night, Eddie and I hit the road for that long drive back to Chandler. We paid attention to the odometer this time around, just to make sure of the distance, and we were more than a little surprised to find out that Ed W and Eddie B live 65 frickin' miles apart. No wonder they never see each other unless I'm in town. Holy shiat!

It was really late, sometime well after midnight, by the time we got back to Eddie's house, so we both went straight to bed. Well, we tried to watch a little SportsCenter, but we didn't make it to the first commercial break.

Sunday morning started much the same way Saturday did--a pot of coffee and the Ryder Cup. Besides a quick trip to Jack-in-the-Box for some breakfast burritos, we didn't really get off the couch all day except to fetch the occasional beer from the fridge. We were still wiped out from the day before, so we spent the day being world-class couch potatoes. Ed's dad showed up for the afternoon game--they're both big Steelers fans, so that was the afternoon activity. His mom showed up a few hours later with a big bucket of The Colonel, so dinner was taken care of. Then it was more football as we remained on the couch watching the Cowboys/Packers game, then all of the wrap-up programming on ESPN.

I remember taking a shower and shaving at one point, but after the football games, all we did was play with the dog out in the back yard for awhile. Overall, it was a pretty mellow day, but it was just what I needed. We both turned in early--I think I was in bed by 10:30 or so on Sunday night.

I got a good nine hours of sleep, and once I got up and showered, I packed my things, ready to head back to Phoenix. Eddie had been up for over an hour, working, and had a pot of coffee on. I sat there in his office with him for awhile drinking coffee and just watching him do his thing (he gave up the brokerage business over a year ago and earns his living as a self-employed day-trader now). It was quite interesting and he made a few profitable trades while I was sitting there watching all the lights and charts. It made me realize just how much knowledge I've lost since I left the trading desk at Schwab--I've forgotten so much stuff that I'm surprised I know anything about the market anymore. But it was fun to see Eddie in action.

I couldn't delay the inevitable any longer, and finally had to say goodbye to Eddie and hit the road. I stopped to fill up my gas tank and check my Powerball tickets before jumping on the freeway. No, I didn't win the 160 million, but at least I won four bucks. That paid for an energy bar and a bottle of Gatorade, and I was on my way. I also won a three-team parlay this weekend that put $140 back in my pocket, so besides everything else, it was a great weekend.

Anyhow, I said goodbye to Phoenix until next time, and I was kind of sad to leave. It's funny, but nowadays, I'm not so excited when I make that drive to Vegas from Phoenix. Ironically, going back to Vegas is going back to the 'real world' for me, and Phoenix is the destination for a weekend of drunken buffoonery.

I was not blessed with another summer rainstorm to accompany me on the drive home, but I had Brother Jimmy singing to me about all the stuff that makes me happy--sailboats, rum, and sunny places full of shady people. It made the long drive seem a bit shorter, and before I knew it, I found myself parked on top of Hoover Dam, waiting for the tourists to get out of my way. But I had my camera handy, so I snapped a quick picture of the bypass bridge that's under construction. I can't wait until it's finished--it will easily cut another half-hour or more off of the drive to Phoenix. Right now, Hoover Dam and Black Canyon is just a biatch of an obstacle to have to drive through, and the bridge will alleviate all the hassle of winding up and down through the canyon and crossing the dam itself, which is a royal pain in the ass.

That picture was taken from right in the middle of Hoover Dam, 700+ feet above the canyon floor. The bridge deck is another 300 feet or so up above that. Can you say vertigo? That's gonna be an interesting drive once it's finished.

Anyhow, I made it home without incident, and dragged myself and my gear upstairs to my room. I took a quick shower and changed clothes, and just laid down to take a nap when my phone rang. One of my girlie friends I hadn't talked to in a couple of months was calling 'just to say hi', so we chatted a bit. That turned into an invite to come over, so I spent the rest of my afternoon at her place, forgetting about cocktail waitresses.

We eventually had some dinner, but then I decided to come on home. I've got a ton of dirty laundry that needs attention, and I have to work in the morning anyways. So I have to spend the night in my own bed, as much as I'd rather not. But it was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

And now that I'm here, it's nice to be home.


Friday, September 19, 2008

No Time For Love, Dr Jones

Of all the things I want to do today, work is not one of them...

I wish I had more time to write, because I'm feelin' it now, but instead I've got to hop in the shower, get dressed, and head down to the casino for a couple of hours. If only they'd let me use my laptop there at the empty poker table while I'm sitting on my ass doing absolutely nothing... Oh well.

Anyhow, once I pull the ripcord from work, it's a quick stop back at the house to change into some comfy road-trippin' clothes, grab my bags, and hit the road. I've got my fingers crossed that it's somewhat slow today and I can bail out by 11:00, and get on the road by noon.

Y'all have a great weekend.


PS. Go Sun Devils!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is It Thursday Already?

Ok gang--one note of housekeeping here. This blog is about to get a wee bit more boring. I had a sit-down with the Boss and the Big Boss this morning, and the bottom line is that I had to sign a confidentiality agreement. So the Word from On High is that whatever happens in the poker room, stays in the poker room. No stories from work can be shared here in the public forum.

No, I'm not in trouble at all, but there were some drama going on, involving other people, and we all got swept up in it. I'm not sure, but I think some other folks paid a severe price for it, if you know what I mean and I think you do, so I'm not going to take any chances. And that's all I have to say about that. On the plus side, however, I went from thinking I was going to get canned when I got to work this morning to finding out that out of all the part-timers, (and remember, I'm the lowest-ranking toad in the poker room), I'm the one getting the most hours scheduled every week. And my schedule is improving too--not just more hours, better hours.

In the meantime, I got home early today, and set about downloading some music. At the same time I was wasting my afternoon over on YouTube, and I found these two videos from our overseas troops. Well, one if from the Brits, but I still consider them 'our' troops. Anyhow, they gave me a giggle, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. First of all, from the Navy:

Secondly, from the Brits:

Catchy tunes, huh?

Anyhow, that's what I've been doing with my afternoon. When I got home today, I saw that my check for my poker winnings had arrived, so as soon as I make this post, I'm off to the bank, then I'll get my truck washed and the oil changed. When I get back home, I'll finish my laundry and start packing for the weekend. I'm hoping to get out of work a bit early tomorrow and hit the road early enough to avoid the worst part of rush-hour traffic in Phoenix. My first stop is at Eddie B's place, and he lives waaaay down in the southeast valley, almost an hour past Ed W's house.

We'll have some dinner, drinks, and maybe a cigar or two, but we decided to cancel our traditional evening at the 'ballet'. Regardless, I'm gonna take lots of pictures while I'm there and I'll have some good stories to share, too.

I may post some more later, but that's all for now.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lost and Found

Yeah, I'm thinking I probably should've disabled my alarm clock before I went to bed last night, because I'm up at 5:00 am for no good reason. I'm not scheduled to work today, but I'm on call. And they ain't callin' this morning, I can almost guarantee that.

Since I've decided to take a short hiatus from the poker game, it's left me with a bunch of free time that I wasn't aware that I had. First of all, I got plenty of sleep last night, which is why I'm wide awake right now. Also, it's given me time to think about other little projects to do, and I've also got time to do some reading someplace besides the small tiled library that adjoins my bedroom.

One of the projects I've slowly been working my way through is to rip all of my CDs to my computer, and in turn organize them into different playlists and load them onto my iPod. So far I've got my Jimmy Buffett collection loaded, along with all of my U2, Erasure, Duran Duran, a 'Road Trip' compilation, a party tunes playlist, random favorites, and all of my Christmas music too.

The one that's bothered me, however, is that I looked high and low for one of my missing Buffett CDs, and I couldn't find my Essential Dean Martin double CD, either. And that one is an integral part of my 'Vegas 1961' collection. I had a huge cardboard box full of hundreds of CDs, and I went through the whole thing the other day, plus looked in my 100-CD wallet I usually carry in my truck, and couldn't find 'em anywhere. Hell, the other night I even got up in the middle of the night with a flashlight and went down to my truck, checking all of the door pockets and under the seats, hoping to find a clue to their whereabouts. No luck.

So that's been bothering me for several days. But last night I was lying awake thinking about where I could've possibly put those CDs, and it hit me. When I was moving, I packed up everything on my desk into three different shoeboxes, and one of them was full of CDs. I just had to find the storage tote full of shoeboxes. It wasn't down in the garage, it was sitting in my bedroom closet the entire time. But it was a minor jackpot to find it, because there were plenty of others in there that I'd forgotten about--some Clapton, Tommy Shaw, Frank Sinatra, Johnnie Cash, etc. So now I'm fairly certain that I've located every missing CD in my collection. Now I just have to get them all ripped and organized.

Anyhow, when I woke up this morning, I was extremely thirsty. Not wanting to put on a pot of coffee, I went down to the kitchen and fixed a tall glass of juice on ice. While I was shopping the other day, I picked up a carton of 'Pina Colada Juice', which is just a mixture of tropical fruit juices, heavy on the the pineapple and coconut. I came back up here, took one sip, and thought, hey, this is missing something. Oh yeah... Now I remember.

So does that make me a drunken degenerate to be sitting here sipping on rum-spiked juice at 5:00 am on a Wednesday morning? I justify it by telling myself that 1) it's my day off, 2) I haven't drank drunk had any rum in several days, and 3) it's five o'clock somewhere!

I'm not totally irresponsible however. Before I mixed in the good stuff, I called work just to make sure I wouldn't be pitching the cards anytime soon, and they confirmed that I was off the hook, at least for day shift. And since I have to be in tomorrow morning at six, I won't be working swing shift tonight, either.

Game on!

So I'm gonna enjoy my juice, maybe surf the internet for awhile, do a bit of reading, and once the roomie is up and out of the house, I'll start doing noisy stuff like laundry and puttering around in the garage. At some point today I've got to get my truck washed and get the oil changed--I'm about 500 miles past due on that little chore, and I've got that long drive ahead of me this weekend. And the truck is absolutely filthy--I haven't washed it all summer long, and instead of it's regular pretty garnet metallic paint job, it looks more like desert camo.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Shouldn't Complain

You know, we all have good days and bad days at work. Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with my job, but lately it's sucked like crap on a stick, money-wise. But I worked a full eight hours today, for the first time in what seems like forever, and the money was actually decent again. Well, good enough that I stopped at the bank on the way home to make a deposit. It's been awhile since I've done that.

Early on this morning, we only had one game going--I was dealing a short-handed 4/8 game. I think there were four regular players at the table, plus the 8:00 am dealer and the floorman who were both playing on the clock. But the game came to a stop when an old man came stumbling in to the room, looking like he was having a heart attack. Seriously, he barely made it to the desk, and he couldn't talk and he was barely breathing. The game came to a halt, as the floorman and the other dealer hopped up to offer assistance.

The security desk, with a portable defib kit, is just a few steps away, but the guy recovered after a couple of seconds and refused all assistance, saying Oh, this happens all the time, and then he asked for a rack of chips, wanting to get into the game. Everyone at the table, myself included, was like WTF? Did you see what I just saw?

He sat down and joined the rest of us, playing like nothing happened. It was a surreal moment, to be sure.

He was sitting in the 10-seat, just to my right, and since I was locked down for several hours, (yep, I sat there dealing for 3 1/2 hours straight at one point), I was worried that he'd keel over right there next to me. Since he was sitting right next to me, I could see his cards every time he looked at them, and I could see that he was about the worst poker player I've seen in months--he was calling damn near every hand with the worst draws or bottom pair--he would rarely fold. But he was great for the game because in the four hours he sat there, he re-bought three times, giving away $400 before calling it a day. The rest of the players loved it, and I have to admit, so did I. Whenever there is a big fish at the table giving away chips, I'm pushing better pots because everyone wants a shot at his bankroll, so I end up making good money due to all the action.

Every time he called for another rack of chips, you could see the other players all grinning and giving each other knowing glances. Before long, the table filled up and nobody was willing to give up a seat.

Eventually, he ran out of money, and we were worried that the game might break, but by then the room was much busier and we actually had three tables going. I *almost* had to work overtime, but even though there was just one more dealer than open games, and a waiting list, I got cut loose on time.

Anyhow, the point is, even though I wasn't expecting much when I got to work at 6:00 am, and still sat on my ass doing nothing for the first two hours of the day, it turned out ok. And as frustrating as it is some days, I really do enjoy my job.

So I probably shouldn't complain, it could be much worse...


Grudge Match

It is ON! This weekend, my lowly Rams travel to bigfoot country to take on the hated SeaChickens of Seattle. Since T-Rev is a long-suffering Seahawk fan, we decided to make it interesting. He'll be in town in early December, so the wager is that loser buys pizza and beer at Grimaldi's during his next visit. I thought it would be a sucky bet at first, putting me at a disadvantage because the Rams ineptitude knows no bounds, but he's giving me the 9.5 points.

I'll take that.

So the grudge match is on. On the other hand, as much as it pains me to do so, I'll probably lay a few bucks on the Seahawks in the book this weekend, just to hedge. If I have to pay for T-Rev's pizza, I may as well do it with house money.


Changing Poets Fire Into Frozen Dust

Hey gang, I know you've all been diligently checking in on me over the past couple of days, waiting for some entertainment.

Unfortunately, I just have nothing to say. Well, at least an interesting way of saying whatever is on my mind, so I've been staying away from the keyboard. Besides having nothing to share, nothing too interesting has happened lately, either, so I've got no stories to tell.

Well, something highly entertaining happened at work yesterday morning, but it's not a story I would ever be able to share in a public forum such as this, just because if I were to report the asshattery I saw on display, well, it'd get back to me in a hurry and there would be unpleasant consequences. Let's just say that it put a smug grin on my face for several hours--somebody got what was coming to them, and I was lucky enough to witness it. Anyhow...

As far as the poker game goes, after my big win on Friday night, I cashed out for a little over $800, leaving exactly $150 in my online account. Since then, I've played in about eight or nine more low-priced tourneys, and I haven't cashed once. The first five knockouts were ultimate-suckouts, one of them being a guy catching the ONE single card in the deck that would make his hand, on the river, to knock me out. It's been so ugly that I'm starting to give some serious credence to Sticky's "Doom Switch" theory now. Since then, it's been just comical--earlier this evening I pushed with pocket Queens, the first pocket pair I'd seen in two hours, and I got one caller--the guy with pocket Kings.

Since I have been running so bad, I'm doing another poker hiatus for at least a week. That last $150 of house money is down to thirty-five cents now, and I'm not making another deposit anytime soon. I'm so ashamed... But I figure, if I'm gonna brag about the big wins, I might as well fess up to the losses, too.

I think the one that stung the most was being the first one knocked out on Sunday night in the weekly buffoon tournament. Doc Al caught me with my hand in the cookie jar on a semi-bluff, and his hand was just good enough to make a call. That led me to do the whole Teddy KGB monologue from the end of Rounders -- Nyet! He beat me. Pay him. Pay that man his money... It was rather embarrassing, but again, I think it speaks volumes about my competitive nature (and none of it good, I'm afraid) when you realize that it was a just five-dollar and fifty-cent tournament!

I was ok a few minutes later when I got into another tournament, but then that's where my string of bad beats began.

But enough about that.

However, speaking of shame, it's feeling pretty bad to be a Rams fan right now. And an ASU fan, too. Seriously, losing at home to UNLV when you're a 22-point favorite? Between those two games, I was doing the face-palm all weekend.

On the other hand, I can take small solace in a couple of things. As bad as the Rams are, it's easy money betting against them in the sports book. They may tear my heart out with their on-field ineptitude, but if I make a hundred bucks every time they stink up the joint, I should easily be up a grand or more by the end of the season. Besides that, that deathly silence you hear coming from Seattle, interrupted only by the occasional cricket or tumbleweed, is music to my ears.

It's one thing for my Rams to lose to the defending Super Bowl champions, I mean, we're not burdened by expectations. But it's a whole 'nother kettle of thrown fish for the Seahawks to get beaten at home by the lowly 49ers. Heh. That made me giggle almost as much as watching Ohio State take a beating on Saturday.

Anyhow. I wish I had more stuff to write about, but life is quite mundane right now. I work, I play poker, I try to sleep, I start all over again. If the routine changes, you'll be the first to know.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

How I Spent My Friday Night

No, I didn't spend it on the couch watching TV like my alter-ego Homer Simpson there.

I was up all night long on Thursday, watching movies because I couldn't sleep. I finally went to bed around 7:00 am, and woke up at noon with my phone ringing. It was the poker room. Thankfully, they weren't calling me in for Friday, but telling me that I had to work on Sunday morning. That's ok with me--I need the cash and I forgot to make my football picks for the week. And I certainly didn't want to drive back down there if I didn't have to.

Anyhow, I was still tired, so I dozed a bit more before getting up, taking a shower, and getting dressed. I had a couple of errands to run, so I fought the Friday-afternoon traffic for awhile while I went to the bank and such.

I had some dinner and thought about playing some poker, as I got back on track yesterday. I considered going down to Planet Hollywood and taking some money off the tourists, but I decided to stick around at home an build up my PokerStars bankroll.

So I found a good $15 tournament that had open registration, and as it turned out there were 471 players. Quite a bit of difference from my usual single-table sit-n-go tournaments where I only have to knock out eight other players.

It started at 7:00 pm Vegas time, and I just finished up a few minutes ago. Here are the results:

PokerStars Tournament #107235184, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $15.00/$1.50

471 players
Total Prize Pool: $7065.00

Tournament started - 2008/09/12 - 22:00:00 (ET)

Dear T2V Mikey,

You finished the tournament in 3rd place.
A $724.17 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Yep, five and a half hours later, I busted out in third place. I know, I should be more excited, but honestly, I'm kind of pissed off about the results. When we got down to three-handed, I had an overwhelming chip lead (more than double the chips of the second place stack), and got a pair of fours on the button. The short stack went all-in, and I called. He had King-Jack offsuit. Nothing came on the flop, but he caught two pair on the turn and river.

So that knocked me down a bit. He then hit the other guy for a big pot, so he had me covered a few minutes later. Then I pushed all in with Ace-Jack suited, and he called with Ace-Ten. Of course he caught his three-outer ten on the river to knock me out. It was a sick suck-out. It felt like a kick in the nuts. And first prize was $1300, so that stung a little too. Had that ten not come on the river, I would've had about a half a million in chips, and both of the other guys would've had less than 50K each.

I'm still shaking my head. That was a bad, bad, costly beat.

On the other hand...

I still got my money in with the best hand, and that's all I can hope for. And I've turned it around as far as my earlier running bad goes, so I'm ok. Oh, and seven hundred bucks helps take the sting out a little, too.

So the first thing I did was cash out $800 from my account--I've got a truck payment and electric bill coming up next week, and I've been making NO money at work, so I'll gladly use my winnings for that. Plus I'm going to Phoenix next weekend, and that's a couple hundy just for gas.

Anyhow, I had kind of an epiphany the other day when I was playing badly. It's one thing to get knocked out of a tournament when I've got the best hand, but it's another thing entirely when I get beat by making a bad call. I could see myself making bad plays, not paying attention to my table position, and just 'guessing' too many times.

So I said to myself, That's it--no more poker until you start playing up to your capabilities. There was more to it than that, but that's the gist of the self-conversation. I just had to kick my own ass and remind myself to play better. I was thinking, What's the difference between me and all those poker pros on TV? I mean, besides fame, fortune, and bracelets... Hey, I'm just as smart as most of them are (138 IQ baby!), but there's something else too. Part of it is fearlessness. I'm not quite there on that one, but stuff like figuring pot odds, taking advantage of position, reading my opponents tendencies, using measured aggression, and above all, patience are all things that I can do pretty well.

Well, patience has always been an albatross for me. Rather, the lack of it. But I'm learning. I just keep telling myself to 'think like a pro' and it seems to be working--I've cashed in five out of six tourneys since then.

Part of it is practical, too. I *really* don't want to go back to dealing in the pit, but the poker room is dead slow and I'm lowest guy on the totem pole. If it gets much worse, I will get laid off. I harbor no illusions about that--casinos treat employees like meat, and if the bottom line is affected, they start throwing bodies overboard with no remorse. And there are just no poker jobs out there in this town right now, so if I were to lose this job, I'd be well and truly fucked.

I have to treat playing poker as a part-time job. At least for now. But hey, at least it's a fun job. And I don't have to wear a name-tag or hair net, either.

So I'll play a little more today, once I get some sleep, but then, it's time to get serious. Starting in November, the Venetian is putting on their month-long Deep-Stack Extravaganza, and the buy-ins are $330 for each tourney. So I need to build a little bit of a bankroll for that. My goal is to cash in a couple of those, and maybe have enough scratch to play in the World Poker Tour events at the Bellagio in December. No, not the main TV event, but some of the preliminaries. I figure that will give me the experience it takes to play in the World Series next summer.

We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I'm just trying to make a few extra bucks and take the pressure off at work.


Friday, September 12, 2008

It's An Agreeable Town

Me? Wide awake, hoping the phone doesn't ring for the next several hours. The rest of the world--asleep, preparing for an easy Friday at work.

Yeah, I've been up all night, but my mood has improved considerably. I got a nice long nap in yesterday afternoon, and played a bunch of good poker, too. Yep, after my second place finish after I got home from work, I played in five more tournaments, cashing in four of them. I think the nap helped!

Once I grew weary of surfing the internet and playing cards, I settled in to watch a movie from the DVR library. I recorded Shooter a couple weeks ago, and while I know that a lot of people make fun of Mark Wahlberg's acting chops, but I enjoy his movies. It was a fun action flick for about an hour and a half, but then they had to go and have Ned Beatty and his pig-squealing ass give a fantasy political speech that added nothing to the movie but eye-rolling from the audience. They made up for it, though, by making sure he got whacked at the end. Anyhow, it was a nice diversion, but the DVD won't be getting added to the collection anytime soon.

Now that the movie is over, I'm keyed up and ready to do something... Anything. But I don't know what I should do. I'm not sure if my roommate is home or not, so I don't want to go down to the kitchen and bang around. But then, I'm not really hungry. I sorted some laundry, wiped down the bathroom counters and scrubbed the toilet, picked up all the scraps of paper on my bedroom floor, and farted around at my desk for awhile. Now I'm out of ideas.

I feel like I should be doing some writing, however, as much as the flesh is willing, the spirit is weak on this one. Something maybe coming to me later, so you re-clickers might have something to look forward to, but I don't know.

I guess I could spend a few hours ripping CDs to my iPod--that would give me something to do while I watch ESPN...

More later.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can't Get No Satisfaction

I was prepared to make a whiny bitch post, but I'm suddenly in a better mood because I just got second place in a $30 sit-n-go. Actually, I didn't want to post at all, because I was in a foul mood. I have been running extremely bad playing poker--it's been a weird cycle. From Sunday to Tuesday, I was on fire--just couldn't lose. And then the last two days, I couldn't win at all. Hell, after work today, I even played in a live tournament again, and of course I got knocked out when a guy caught his six-outer on the river. Ugh.

Anyhow, so I was a little pissy the past 48 hours or so. I couldn't win a hand of poker, and I haven't been making any money at work this week, either. I've been scheduled every day, but have gotten sent home after just a few hours. Between working and playing, things just weren't going my way. Luckily, I got back in the saddle...

So my mood is a little brighter now. As far as work goes, I'm on call all weekend. I was scheduled to be off on Saturday and Sunday, but I told the boss to go ahead and put me on 'Alert Five' status since I haven't made hardly any money this week. She agreed, so I'll be keeping my phone handy.

I finally feel like I've gotten enough sleep, now that my work-week appears to be over. Yesterday, once I got home, it was nap-time of course. But then when I woke up I realized that I hadn't eaten anything in over 24 hours. Hell, I knew it was bad when I was getting the munchies from watching Andrew Zimmern. I noticed that Lars had dropped the garlic donut hint a couple of times in my comment section, so I took a shot and called him. Unfortunately, it went to voice-mail, so a trip out to Chicago Brewing Company didn't happen.

I kicked it around the house until hunger overtook laziness and I headed out. I was planning on going to Timbers, but when I pulled in to the parking lot, I noticed a new Nathan's Famous hot dog joint in the same plaza. I'm always up for a good dog, and having watched more than my fair share of the Travel Channel, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Unfortunately, my string of bad decision-making remained intact. I should've gone to Timbers. When I got inside the restaurant, it seemed that it was more of an ice cream joint than hot dog stand. And it had an absolutely huge dining room, which seemed odd for a hotdog stand. I didn't know if I should sit and be served or stand at the register by the ice cream display. But they finally handed me a sheet with the hot dog menu.

Seriously, all I wanted was two hot dogs with mustard and a cup of fries, but that was nowhere to be found. All of the hot dogs were 'jazzed up' with multiple toppings. I didn't want a loaded Chicago-style dog, I didn't want sauerkraut, I didn't want onions. So I finally decided on a chili-dog with Pringles (WTF? No fries?), and a 'nacho platter'.

I sat down in the dining room with my Coke and a magazine, waiting for my food to show up. It seemed to take an extremely long time to wait for a hot dog, but it finally showed up. The nachos not only looked bad, but tasted bad. They were made out of several-days-old generic tortilla chips from Costco, with canned cheese sauce, chili, jalapenos, sour cream, diced bell peppers (again, WTF?) and the completing the vortex of suck were generous dollops of almost-frozen guacamole. And no, it wasn't real guacamole, it was that crappy artificially-colored 'avocado dip' that looks like baby-poo and tastes like salted baby-poo. Worst nachos I've ever had, and that's no exaggeration.

The chili-dog was just as bad. First of all, all of the Pringles were broken--not a single one of the chips looked like it was supposed to when they come out of the can. Second of all, the hotdog was waaaaaay overcooked, like it'd been on the meat treadmill at 7-11 for three days non-stop. The chili sauce was non-descript, the same stuff they had on the nachos, and the bun had the pretzel-like chewy toughness that told me it had been put in the microwave for far too long.

At least they were consistent. It was the worst hot dog I'd ever had, coupled with the worst nachos you could imagine. Seriously, after a couple of bites, I felt as if I were eating lunch in my high-school cafeteria. You'd think that a place that specializes in hot dogs wouldn't screw one up so badly. You'd be wrong, though.

I managed to eat about half before giving up in disgust and walking out, the clueless drone at the register offering me a free refill on my way out the door. No thanks. I certainly won't be going back, and actually, I'd bet a couple of paychecks that the restaurant won't make it six months. Not only is it horrible, but it's overpriced, and it's in a poor, hard-to-find location. Maybe that's a good thing, so more people won't have to suffer like I did.

Still hungry, I stopped at the convenience store on the corner and picked up a bag of beef jerky for dinner, instead. Then I came home and proceeded to get my ass kicked at poker all night long. Not a good day for Mikey.

Anyhow, as Foreigner said, that was yesterday. Today seemed to be heading in the same direction, but my almost-win at the poker table helped, and then a phone call from Reverend Dave helped put things in perspective. At least I didn't come home from work and find the locks changed and all my shiat on the front porch.

Sounds like brothaman is single again...


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Hard Eight

It's been a helluva week for me. Work has been a total grind, and today was the first day all week that I actually worked a full eight hours. But it wasn't a good eight hours--the first two were spent on my ass doing absolutely nothing, the next four were half-on, half-off, and then I was finally busy for the last two hours.

Didn't make much money though--like I said, it was a grind.

I didn't get much sleep the night before, so I zombied my way home this afternoon, then took a shower and tried to watch some tv. I tried to stay awake, but there's only so much info on Tom Brady's knee that they can say without repeating, so sleep was a blessing. I dozed right through the first hour of the WSOP coverage on ESPN before waking up.

Since I'm not making any money at work right now, I've been playing a little more online poker, too. I won $225 last night, and once I woke up this afternoon, I won another $90 in a $22 sit-n-go. But my lucky streak came to an end a few minutes ago when my pocket Aces got cracked by a dude on a draw. He got there, and I arrived a little early for my appointment with the rail.

Otherwise, there's not much going on around here. I'm taking the rest of the night off from the online poker tables, but sipping a nice tall glass of OJ and silver rum. I may watch a movie then try and get a full-night's rest tonight.

Sorry for the dull posts, but the muse isn't speaking to me right now. Maybe later this week.


Monday, September 08, 2008

I Want That Trophy, So Dance Good...

When you little scamps get together, you're worse than a sewing circle...

Well. I'm glad to see that I gave you guys something to chew on over the weekend. But you're all just a wee bit off. I spent a lot of time with Beth on Saturday, and we had another lengthy conversation today, and the truth is, there is no problem. I'm not sad, depressed, rejected, or anything like that. And my collection of rum bottles still looks exactly the same way it did in that picture I posted.

For one thing, I'm not all wrapped up in her like I was with Kimmy. True, she is so attractive that it's almost to the point of distraction every time I talk to her, but that's not the issue. I call her my favorite gal, because, truthfully, there's just nobody else I'm interested in. And she makes it very easy to forget about Kimmy, although, the other problem is that they're damn near best friends, and so I took a few uncomfortable questions on Saturday. But that was just a small part of our conversation.

Anyhow, the bottom line, is that while we get along well, are quite compatible, and I make her laugh, I found out that she's kinda on-again off-again with her ex-husband. She admitted as much when pressed, which kinda put me in an awkward position. So I told her I didn't want to get in the way of that, especially since they have a child together (who would obviously be much happier if mommy and daddy got back together). But once that was out in the open, well, it was like a tension-breaker and it was much easier to just sit and talk about everything.

So no, there's no there there. But it feels like we're actually closer now. It doesn't make sense on the surface, but it's true. Unlike Kimmy, she still calls and texts me and still wants to hang out on occasion. Kimmy says she does, but she really doesn't. Hell, Beth called me this morning just to tell me about her day so far. Kimmy hasn't called in over two months.

Anyhow, that's the story as far as the wimmenfolk go. I figured it was too good to be true, but it was nice to live the dream for a couple of weeks. Just this morning I had to correct somebody at the casino who saw us together a couple of times, telling him, unfortunately, that no, she's not my girlfriend. She's just a smokin' hot girl I'm lucky enough to hang out with sometimes.

As far as work goes, it's been dead slow lately. Really slow. I'm scheduled every day, but I spend half my shift doing nothing, the other half dealing the old foga's limpfest game, and then I get sent home early. The money has been horrible this week, so I'm trying to make it up at the poker table.

I won a few bucks online this week, but not quite enough to retire on just yet. But I'm working on it.

Later on this evening I'll post some more nonsense, but I wanted to clear the air... All is well in the life of Mikey. I just wish I were a little busier at work, that's all.