Saturday, January 31, 2009

Because Y'all Have Asked...

  • If you want to participate in my shame and read the piece I'm most embarrassed about having published, you can go to the Lats & Atts magazine archives. Scroll down to the February 2005 issue and download it. You'll need acrobat. It takes a minute to download (the 'view' option thing never works), because it's a pretty big file. Once you get the file open, my article starts on page 119. Enjoy. And be kind--that was the first thing I ever wrote for public consumption, almost eight years ago. Yeah, that's right--I wrote it in 2001, and they sat on it for four years before they published it.
  • As far as Lars getting into the poker tourney during March Madness, the invite is open, but brothaman is MIA this week. I'm hoping he reappears from the Witness Protection Program or whatever he's doing and lets me know.
  • I want to thank the seventeen different people who forwarded me the 'Bacon Explosion' article this past week--it's nice to be known as 'the guy who would really dig this'. But oh hell yeah--you know you want to try it. Admit it.
  • Website hits--according to my Sitemeter stats, I'm averaging 626 visitors per day. I used to think that it was the same 15 or so pathetic people with nothing better to do all day, but checking the location listing of my hit log, I've got a worldwide audience from such globally diverse places as Brisbane Australia, Ankara Turkey, London England, and Whitefish Montana. And *lots* of Canadians.
  • I'm stickin' with the flannel sheets until it gets out of the forties at night here.
  • A pat on the head goes out to Amy for coming up with the 'Twestivus for the rest of us' title. That was her fault idea, not mine. But she's a hard core Twitter kool-aid drinker. I was talking to her on the phone early this morning and she said that her and Scottie were going out to buy her diamond ring today. "And you'd know that already if you were on Twitter!". No I wouldn't. I hadn't turned on my computer yet. So there.
  • So this whole peanut butter crisis... Are Reese's Pieces still ok? I can easily live without Nutter Butters and such, but I will admit to occasionally getting my E.T. on.
  • I'm amazed at how many people are put off by me not fessing up to where the best CFS this side of the Peppermill is found. Get over it. Y'all ain't driving out to the 89012 for breakfast anyways. And no, it's not the Omelet House--their version is too salty for me, and their gravy isn't nearly as good.
  • No, there will be no man-purse at the March Madness Festivities. I went with the Wenger backpack. It's on back-order, but hopefully I'll have it within a month or so.


No Rest For The Weary

It never ends.

Today makes 13 days out of the last 15 that I've worked. Yeah, I was supposed to be off tonight, but get real--it's Super Bowl weekend, the bad beat jackpot is over 200K, and the losing hand is down to sixes. Every poker room in town is gonna be packed to the gills this weekend, which means that I'll be working.

In fact, Carmen had talked about maybe going to play in a poker tournament together this weekend, but I had to say no, just because I was *sure* I'd get called in to work. And I actually ended up working a split shift yesterday--I got home from the previous shift around six in the morning, and yet I got another call at 8:15 at night, and they told me to get down there as soon as possible, regardless of the overtime issues. When I walked in, every single table in the room was full--that rarely happens. Hell, there was one table in the corner that we almost never use--it hasn't had a game going on it since before Christmas, and that was my first table of the night.

Although it was slammed in there last night, it didn't have legs, and by midnight we were down to just four games and I got to bail out after just three hours, which was just fine with me. When I left, I was tempted to go out and hook up with some friends, but man, I was just too tired. I drove straight home, even resisting the urge to stop and top off my tank at the last $1.99-per-gallon gas available in the area, and went straight back to bed. I opened the laptop to check the mail, but fell asleep less than five minutes later, face down in front of the keyboard.

It was great to be able to sleep in today, but just a little while ago, I heard my phone going off with that familiar poker-room ringtone. I was like Are you f*cking kidding me? I just got off at midnight!

But it wasn't as bad as I thought. It was the day shift floor manager calling to tell me that I'd *definitely* be working tonight, so I shouldn't make any plans. No problemo there--at least now I know for sure. But he said he didn't know what time they'd need me exactly, but that somebody would call me by 4 o'clock this afternoon. So yeah--at some point, I'll be heading back to the poker room, hopefully earning a whole lotta cash.

Like you can imagine, yesterday was pretty much a sleepless day. Once I got home from work, I did some writing, and then I had to go hook up with Drew for lunch at Grimaldi's. Actually, it was him, his wife, and another gal who was a Vegas virgin. His wife is actually out here on business, but she got introduced to the goodness of Grimaldi's on her last visit, and once she found out that we were going, she totally blew off her afternoon meetings and made it a foursome.

Lunch was great, as usual, and we had a lot of fun trying to kill the Peroni keg while talking about all things Vegas and the Caribbean. Seriously--try and come up with a better way to kill an afternoon than hanging out at Grimaldi's with friends, eating excellent pizza, drinking cold draft beer, and telling stories and sharing experiences from Vegas and the Caribbean. It was so enjoyable that the sleep deprivation didn't bother me a bit.

Once I got home, however, I was spent. I slept straight through until the bat-phone rang again, summoning me to a crisis in the poker room.

So that's my life right now--work, catnap, work, a little bit of social interaction, work some more. Tomorrow I have the chance for a bit of social interaction again, though. For the first time since I've been here, I won't have to work during the Super Bowl (or immediately at the end of it), so I'm gonna spend the day with friends watching the game and grubbing on various munchables, while diluting my Coke with copious amounts of rum. Luckily the game will end by 7:00 pm or so, giving me enough time to come home and snooze it off before going back to work at 1:00 in the morning.

At this point, it looks like Wednesday is my next day off.


Friday, January 30, 2009

A Twestivus For The Rest Of Us

Man, if I only had a dollar for every time somebody asked me if I were on Twitter, I'd be able to afford a round of martinis at the Wynn.

No, I am *not* on Twitter. Yet. But remember--I'm the guy who's always on the trailing edge of technology. I was running Windows Millennium until March of 2007. Hell, I didn't even own a camera phone until last summer. So no, I'm not one of the cool kids who 'tweets' all day.


I *do* have a kick-ass blog with traffic numbers that are the envy of my fellow Vegas bloggers, so I must be doing something right!

Anyhow, last night, I hooked up with one of my favorite ladies, Linda Lou, and we went to the Freakin Frog for Beer & Bloggers night to drink network with a bunch of other local Vegas bloggers. I didn't have any idea what to expect, but damn--I had a great time. Basically the whole joint was taken over by our group, and I was quite surprised at how many complete strangers came up to me and said "Hey, you must be Hurricane Mikey!". Of course, I was wearing a convention-style nametag, so either I've got lots of local readers, or they all have mad skillz at scanning a nametag in a split second...

Anyhow, I got there just a few minutes before Linda, but we ended up standing in the beer line together and meeting some folks. And if you've never been to the Freakin Frog, the beer selection can be quite daunting. They have over a hundred beers available at all times, and they constantly change. But Linda got a chocolate stout, and I, since I was running on absolutely no sleep, had an Espresso Lager. (Holy shit was it good!).

We found our way to the end of a long Last Supper-style table and joined the crowd. We introduced ourselves to our neighbors and settled in. It seemed we were the only ones in attendance not sporting a laptop or a Crackberry, but at least I brought my digital camera. Behold:

Linda Lou gives me a big cheesy grin. Of course, that empty glass in front of her had *nothing* to do with it...

This is my new buddy Sarah, aka '408Down'. She is a complete goofball, and her, Linda, and I laughed our asses off for an hour straight. Girl can drink, so we're makin' plans...

This is not my computer, but it does serve as proof that other folks read my stuff. There's nothing quite like introducing yourself to a room full of complete strangers while they all log onto your site at once to see if you're up to snuff. No pressure. No pressure at all.

I don't know what it was, but the atmosphere was conducive to complete silliness. Linda and I were both pretty tired, and we have the same sense of humor, so once we got a few drinks in us, it was ON! I swear, my cheeks were hurting from laughing. And Sarah was part of the circus, too, so between the three of us, we made the most of the evening. About an hour into it, my gal Carmen SinCity showed up...

She's another one of my local blogging buddies, and we've been emailing back and forth for about a month or so, but we'd never met in person until last night. She'd been talking about her sweet tooth, and her latest obsession with sour balls, so I brought her a big bag of them. As soon as I gave them to her, I was immediately in her good graces!

So even though we were 'networking' with other people, the four of us kinda hung out there at our end of the table, telling stories, making plans, and generally just having a good time. Oh yeah, and a few drinks might've been consumed, also. And we took time out for one more picture:

Me and my ladies, otherwise known as the Las Vegas Royal Family of Blogging Greatness -- Carmen SinCity, Hurricane Mikey, Vegas LindaLou, and Sarah 408Down.

As much goofing off as we did, I actually learned a few things here and there. I'm thinking of totally revamping this site, and I got a lot of good info and some hands-on lessons with a couple of WordPress pros. And I also got the hard-sell on why I should be 'on' Twitter. Everyone else seems to be, but my biggest gripe is that I waste enough time as it is every day--if I were connected to Twitter all the damn time, I'd never get anything done. It may help some other folks be productive, but not me. I've got enough time wasters in my life. Also, I'm not down with the cultish aspect of it. The hard-core Kool-Aid drinkers put the letters 'Tw' at the beginning of all commonly used words in their universe, and I'm not quite ready to attend 'twestivals' or call myself a 'tweet' just yet.

This Beer & Blogging gathering seems to be a weekly event, and as fun as it was, the four of us agreed that every week may be too much of a good thing. Once a month is more our speed. I guess if I ever sign up for Twitter, I'll be able to coordinate our monthly appearance. Until then, it's old-fashioned email and cell-phone calls. Excuse me while I locate my buggy-whip...

But besides gathering with the other bloggers, we made some plans of our own. Linda and I are gonna hit Grimaldi's for dinner next week and finally talk about writing and such. I'm really looking forward to that, because not only is Linda a certified nut, she's pretty smart and I value her opinions. And Carmen and I are gonna go play in a poker tournament together next weekend and cut it up like Worm and Mike McD hitting the 10-20 at the Chesterfield or the Hi-Low at that goulash joint over on 79th. Should be a good time.

Anyhow--it was kind of an early evening for me. Linda had been entertaining company all week and was the first to drop out. I was a few minutes behind her, as I'd only had about 3 hours of sleep in the previous 36. Everyone else stayed behind and made a night of it. On my way out, I noticed that God had put an In & Out Burger across the street, so I thanked Him like I was Kurt Warner at the end of a 300-yard game, and made my way over.

I had a Double-Double Animal Style for dinner, and it was damn good. It reaffirmed my belief that In & Out makes a far superior burger than Fatburger does. I even ordered my fries well-done, but that didn't help. Their fries still suck. Nobody is gonna convince me otherwise.

Once I finished off my burger, I made it home, and called the poker room to see how busy it was. Luckily, it was fairly slow--they were down to just two games, so I wouldn't need to go in early. I got a quick cat-nap, woke up at 12:15, and headed in.

I worked until 5:30 this morning, made a little bit of scratch, and then went out for breakfast with a couple of buddies from the casino. Well, it wasn't exactly breakfast, per se--I had coconut shrimp and an Asian chicken salad. But I could hardly hold my eyes open, so I was the first one to bail, leaving them behind to drink beer and play video poker without me.

Now, I'm home for a couple of hours, but then I'm meeting Drew and his wife for lunch at Grimaldi's. I'm *supposed* to be off work tonight, and I'm hoping I don't get called in, because as soon as I get home from lunch, I'm gonna go to bed and sleep for about ten hours straight!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

16 Things About Mikey

1) I was never able to swallow pills until I was a sophomore in college and got Mono. I had to take so many drugs that I forced myself to do it. Before that, I smashed up pills in orange juice or whatever. And to this day, when I want to gross people out, I crunch up aspirin dry and eat it. The taste doesn't bother me at all, and it freaks people out.

2) I have lived in eight states in my life. The shortest was Alaska--six months. The longest was Arizona--13 years.

3) I have no idea how to do a Sudoku puzzle. No clue whatsoever. Somehow I missed this phenomenon.

4) Last night at work, I managed to take 653 pictures of the inside of my pants pocket. I am not making that up. Six hundred and fifty-three.

5) I own more pairs of shoes than I own pairs of pants. And I really don't own that many shoes. I don't know if this is significant, but there it is.

6) There are two foods that will literally make me gag. Beets and salmon. If I try to swallow either one, I *will* puke them back up, almost immediately.

7) Every time I use a box cutter, I can't help but think of those terrorist assholes on 9/11. And I use a box cutter about ten times a week. Seriously, it sits on my nightstand.

8) I have only one magnet on my fridge. It's a skull and crossbones, of course.

9) That TV stand I bought back in early December? Yeah, it's still in the box, leaning against the wall in my bedroom.

10) I have found a chicken fried steak that is just as good as the one at the Peppermill for about about five bucks less. No, I'm not gonna say where it is, either, so don't ask. But the hashbrowns and the ambiance at the Peppermill will keep me coming back.

11) I can't decide on who to root for in the Super Bowl. I have no dog in the race, but I've always kinda liked Pittsburgh. But how can you root against the Cardinals, especially having witnessed the futility up-close and personally for so many years? My brain says to take the Cards and the seven points, so I may let the sports book decide who I'm gonna root for.

12) My most cringe-inducing piece of writing that I've ever put out for public consumption is the only thing that I've ever had published and the only writing I've ever been paid for.

13) I haven't seen the ocean in over four years. Hard to believe, huh?

14) I bought a new laser printer last July and I have yet to print a single document or picture. It basically functions as an end table next to my desk.

15) I broke my prescription sunglasses last weekend at Binion's. I've been mad about it for almost a week now. Losing $200 that night didn't help much, either.

16) It's taken me almost exactly an hour to come up with this list.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Spirit Is Willing

But the flesh is weak.

I *want* to do more writing and posting, I truly do, but my crazy schedule is keeping me from it. I worked all night again last night (having been called in early, too), and then after work I went out for some breakfast and socializin' with my friends.

We hung out for a few hours, but then everyone pretty much hit the wall. I made a quick stop at the bank on the way home to deposit a small stack of hundies, but then came home and immediately crashed for several hours. I just woke up about an hour ago, and I'm pretty sure I'll have to go in to work early again tonight. So that doesn't leave a lot of time to pound the keyboard.

Tomorrow is gonna be pretty much the same thing, although I'm gonna go out with Linda Lou and Carmen SinCity for a little Vegas-bloggers get-together tomorrow night. And Little Drew from Wisconsin is in town, too, so we're gonna try and hook up for lunch, maybe on Friday. I'm guessing that I'll be working on Saturday, and Sunday I'm going to a Super Bowl party. I have no idea when my next day off will be, either.

So yeah, my schedule is pretty full right now.

I guess I'll see ya when I see ya...


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It Kinda Feels Like A Day Off

... although, it's not. Just as the rest of you are going to sleep tonight or gettin' your freak on with that special someone, I'll be getting ready to head back to the poker room. The clock on the wall mocks me with it's daily countdown to the inevitable. That's the downside of working non-traditional hours--instead of getting up in the morning and going to work like normal folk, I keep looking at my watch all day and thinking Ok, how many hours of free time to I have left? It's a sucky way to live, I gotta tell ya. I don't think I'll ever get used to it, and I've been working swing shift or graveyard for almost four years now.

But my day has been rather productive--I got a lot done and currently own a fine sense of accomplishment. Aside from the things I *had* to do today, I drove over to the Omelet House for lunch and got to visit with Marcie for a bit (damn, there's something about that ponytail!). While I was there I had a pretty good bowl of chicken noodle soup--it had lots of celery and carrots and totally hit the spot. Even though it's a sunny and bright day here in Vegas, the wind is blowing and it's not even 50 degrees outside, so a hot bowl of soup warmed me right up. My only gripe is the fact that all the chicken was the white meat. Don't get me wrong--I love chicken breasts, but they're not the most flavorful part of the bird. The thigh and leg meat makes for a richer broth, I think, and whenever recipes just use chicken breasts, I think they always lack some zip. Hell, even the nuggets at McDonalds suck now that they won't use any dark meat.

But the soup was still really good, not to get off on a reckless tangent... After my soup I had an All-American burger--just a plain bacon cheeseburger, loaded with pickles, lettuce, tomato and thousand-island dressing. It was actually much better than expected, so it was a pretty satisfying meal. I may go back again. Heh.

When I got home, there was a package from the UPS man waiting for me. Last week I bought three CDs on sale at Amazon--more of the old-school lounge music that I like so much--and they arrived today. I'm listening to the first one right now. I like it quite a bit, but this CD has a bit of duplication going on with my current music collection. But how can you go wrong with stuff like Louis Prima, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, and Bobby Darin? It's great background music, and makes me wish I had a leopard-skin lounge chair, a martini, and a gal with go-go boots, a hairband, and a minidress with a full-length zipper up the back keeping me company...


My brain is fried a bit right now, and it's almost bedtime, so let me post a couple of pics that I have on the memory card in my camera and call it a day...

Here it is, one of my fave spots to have breakfast:

That's not a palm tree. It's a cellphone tower in the parking lot behind the Omelet House.

I took this the other night after I got blown out of the tournament at Binion's. It's the crowd on the balcony at Gold Diggers. I fully expect Angy to get tossed out of there in March.

A rainy night on Fremont Street.


It's A Conspiracy

I'm telling you, the poker room is out to get me. Actually, it's out to keep me from ever making normal and entertaining updates because they just won't quit calling me! If you would've asked me yesterday (and actually, some did) if I were going to work last night, I would've sworn that I was going to have the night off. And I felt like I needed it, too.

It's been a very long week--going back to before that big-assed tourney up at Texas Station last weekend. In fact, I just checked my pocket-calendar book where I keep track of all my work records, and I've worked eleven out of the past twelve days. And I'm actually scheduled for the next three nights, too, which will make it eight days in a row of work, *if* I don't get called in this weekend. But that ain't gonna happen--the bad beat jackpot is hovering around $200,000 and it's Super Bowl weekend, so we'll be all kinds of busy for the foreseable future.

But y'all know me--I'd rather be busy than slow, because soon enough it'll be dead again and I'll be whining about not working enough.

Last night, however, was kind of a joke. It would've been nice to have the night off, but I got called at 9:30, and they told me to come in at 11. When I got to work, I saw that there were three games going, and before I sat down in the no-limit game, one of the 4-8 games broke. And then, when I got into the no-limit game, three players cashed out within the first couple of minutes. That basically turned it into the tightest no-limit game ever, where a couple of players would just limp in and check down to the river, so I was pushing $8 pots the whole down. At one point, I even asked if they'd prefer me to deal the cards face-up since nobody wanted to actually, you know, play poker.

Ugh. It sucked.

But then, I got over to the 4-8 game, and it had been going south also. By the time I got there, it was down to seven players, and one of them was the floorman sitting in trying to hold it together. The no-limit game eventually died, and one of the players from there came over and joined us at the 4-8 table. Immediately, he started pushing the action, won his first three hands, and broke the game--out of the seven players, three of them had short stacks and went broke when he got there. So he killed that game, too.

Since I was the Last of the Mohicans as far as dealers went, everyone else got to go home and I had to stick around to help the floorman clean up the room and count the bank, so I ended up doing busywork for another half hour after everyone left. Not exactly a lot of fun, and even though I picked up a little bit of money, I think I would've rather just stayed home and got some rest.

Here's the thing--everyone thinks that working in the poker room is a 'cake' job, and for the most part, it is. The stress level is low, the money is pretty good, and we don't have all of the formal procedures like working in the pit does. But I work much harder in the poker room than I ever did out in the pit (aside from dealing dice). When I was dealing Pai Gow every night for two years, it was like going on vacation. I was sitting on my ass flirting with cocktail waitresses and watching ESPN all night every night and oh by the way dealing the occasional hand. But there was so much dead time that it was truly a cakewalk. On the other hand, there was a high bullshiat factor I had to put up with.

But I work my ass off in the poker room. I can't turn my brain off and go on auto-pilot like I could when dealing blackjack or Pai Gow. I always have to pay attention, run the game, track the pot, keep the action going, etc. etc. and by the end of the night, I'm spent. You're engaged the entire time you're in the box. After a full shift, I don't want to do anything but have some sort of brain candy and go to sleep. Adding to the degree of difficulty are the folks wandering around outside the poker room out in the casino who see me sitting at the table and want to stop and chat. Talk about some difficult multi-tasking. I guess it's not so hard in a 4-8 game, but in a no-limit game I have to pay more attention. Oh well, I think I just don't have enough experience to deal no-limit holdem on auto-pilot just yet.

Anyhow, once I got out of work, it was freezin' assed cold here, and I was kinda hungry. Having had breakfast over at Sierra Gold the past couple of days, I noticed on their menu that they served both clam chowder and chili in a bread bowl, so I was all over that idea. I drove over there salivating at the idea of a hot hearty meal, but when I got there, I was denied.

There were no other cars in the parking lot except for the two employees' vehicles parked in back. And most of the bars out here in Henderson keep the doors locked late at night and you have to buzz in. So I hit the buzzer a few times and nobody answered. That was odd--the place never closes. I hit it a couple more times, but then gave up when nobody would answer, figuring the bartender and the cook were sitting in the walk-in getting high or something (hey, I used to work in restaurants back in the day...).

So I just stopped at the convenience store and picked up a bag of Sun Chips and a Diet Coke with lime, came home, and watched last night's episode of 24. Overall, it was kind of a dull night for me.

As soon as I get this entry posted, I'm gonna shower, shave, and make myself pretty(er), then head on over to the Omelet House for some breakfast. I haven't seen my gal Marcie in a week, and that's far too long. I'll run a few errands after that, but then the balance of my day is gonna be spent doing housework and such.

I'm livin' the dream I tell ya. Livin'. The. Dream.


Monday, January 26, 2009


I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!

Ok--I really wanted to do a bunch of writing this weekend, but my quality time with the keyboard was severely limited.

On Friday night, I played in an online tournament--I was the chip leader the whole way, and then when we got to the final table after about three hours, I ran into Aces twice and went out in 9th place. Grrrr.... So I left the house and headed down to Binion's to play in their 11:00 pm tourney. I played really well for a couple of hours, but then my pocket eight's got cracked by some douchebag with a King-Nine offsuit, and I didn't even sniff the money. I did a bit of wandering on Fremont after that, looking to take some decent pictures, but it was kinda rainy and blah outside, so it was a pretty fruitless evening.

I didn't make it home until around 3:30 in the morning, so I stayed up watching TV until the sun started to peek through the windows. Since I'd been up for so long, I ended up sleeping all day. No writing on Saturday... Around 8:30 that night, I got called into work and had and extremely long and productive night in the poker room.

Once the game broke, I hung out talking to the floorman for a bit, and we decided to hit up Sierra Gold for their $5.99 steak & eggs special after work. The bartender there is one of our regular poker players, so we hung out talking to him for a couple of hours. I think I got home and got to bed around noon, and again, I slept all day Sunday.

I was puttering around my room most of the evening, and I actually had a few notes and an outline of stuff I wanted to write about, fully intending to spend the entire night pecking at the keyboard so that you all had tons of stuff to read today. But at 1:40 this morning, the phone rang again, and the floorman at work said Hey, I've got a shorthanded game and no 1:00 AM dealer--I may need you to come in if the game doesn't break by three o'clock.

So I showered and got dressed, and then headed back down to the casino, hoping that I'd get at least an hour's worth of dealing in, maybe make about fifty bucks or so, and call it a night. When I got there, there was one six-handed 4-8 game going, and the dealer had been locked down since 11:30, so she was glad to see me. The floorman warned me that a couple of the players were kinda drunk and obnoxious, but we wanted to walk a fine line--we wanted to keep the game going for at least another 45 minutes or so, so that I could make a little cash, but the most obnoxious guy at the table was also the biggest fish and was holding the game together, so we didn't really want to cut him off and break the game right away, either. So we had the cocktail waitress slow it down to a crawl.

On the other hand, I had instructions to 'rake the shit out of that game', as in, even though it's a shorthanded game, don't cut the house rake until somebody asks for a reduction. And none of them were askin', so I went into ninja mode when it came to taking the rake. Again--we had that fine line to walk--nobody was being overserved, but they were just kinda being dicks and just barely toeing the line without crossing it. So we figured that the full rake would break the game after an hour or so. That way nobody had to get cut off or thrown out and the game would end more 'naturally'. Anyhow, a lot of dealers are obvious and loud about it and have a really shiatty technique, but me, I've learned a few tricks on how to be unobtrusive, and I'm very sly and stealthy and nobody ever really notices the five bucks that gets yoinked out of every pot when I'm in the box. (Four for the house, one for the jackpot).

But the game held together all night long, and I swear I dropped about forty pounds of dollar chips down the hole by 7:00 am. I also picked up another couple hundred in tokes because it was such a loose game and there were no stiffs, so I was happy. But when I walked in, I thought I'd be lucky to pull thirty bucks off that table before everyone split.

Anyhow, a new dealer came in at seven, so I punched out after four hours. The floorman got out the same time I did, so we headed back over to Sierra Gold again. This time I got some potstickers and popcorn shrimp, which were both amazingly good. The bartender got done around 8:00, so he joined us when the morning crew came in. And the morning crew was a couple of absolutely smokin' hot brunettes, so we ended up hanging out for another four hours sipping cocktails and keeping them company (we were the only customers in there for a couple of hours).

Around noon, I couldn't sit there any longer--I was tired and wanted to come home and go back to bed. Even though I only worked four hours last night, I got worked. (It was one of the more difficult tables I've ever had to work, but luckily it went smoothly). And five more hours in the bar was enough for me.

So all that lack of writing that you saw this weekend--I have an excuse. I've been busy. But I'm free for the rest of the day and all of tomorrow, so once I get some rest, I fully intend to do more writing. We'll see how it goes.


Friday, January 23, 2009

What's Up With All The Drizzle, My Nizzle?

Well, I went to work in Vegas last night, but when I got out this morning, I stepped out into Seattle. Normally I can see casinos in every direction when I'm walking to my truck, but this morning, I couldn't see much at all--it was like the Earth put a sweater on. It's gray, cloudy, overcast, and drizzly. In Nashville, they even have a word for days like this. I think they call it "Friday". Yesterday was sunny and beautiful (from what I saw of it), and today--not so much. It seems to be shaping into one of those days that makes you want to just eat soup and stay indoors building a fort out of blankets and couch cushions.

Speaking of yesterday, I was both wired and exhausted all day. At one point, before I went to sleep, I'd been up for almost 30 hours straight. I told y'all about how after work I stayed and played poker for a bit, and when I was there I was drinking coffee and Kahlua. When I finally came home, I was a bit wired, so I couldn't go right to sleep. I spent a bit of time on the computer, checking email, doing my daily reading rotation, etc. Just as I closed up the laptop and pulled the blanket over my head, I suddenly remembered that I *had* to go to the bank.


Since my personal micro-economy is an all-cash off-the-books endeavor for 90% of the time, I don't keep a huge balance in my checkings account anymore. (That's for you, Drea!). Basically, it sits pretty empty until the middle of the month when the truck payment and insurance is due. Once those hit, it empties out again.

Anyhow, the other day I was browsing around on Amazon and I bought a few of the lounge music CDs from my wish list. Of course I forgot to write it down in my checkbook when I used my debit card. While I was shopping, I chose the free super-saver shipping, which delays delivery for a few days, and Amazon doesn't charge your card until your order ships.

Well, just as I closed the lid on the laptop, I heard my email notification go off, and it was from Amazon alerting me that my order had shipped and they charged my debit card about thirty bucks.


That would put my checking account about twenty bucks overdrawn if I didn't go down and make a deposit before the end of the business day. I was so tired that I set my alarm for 3 pm, telling myself that I'd do it then. But lying there, it bothered me that I'd have to get up again in a few hours to run down to the bank.


So as much as I hated to do it, I got up again, got dressed, and went down and put a couple hundred in my account so that I was covered and it would also remove the temptation to spend it since it wouldn't be in my wallet any longer.

When I finally came home, I crashed hard for about five hours. My phone woke me up again, and yeah, it was calls from the family. I was talking to Amy about the upcoming plans and we were looking at stuff on the computer at the same time. She ended up calling about three times over the course of the evening, as did Mamasan. The excitement is building, and in the past two days I've used up over half of my monthly allotment of cell-phone minutes, something I never run out of except at Christmas time or March Madness.

But the plan is coming together better than an A-Team caper, and the hotel rooms are booked, the flights are booked, and the wedding chapel is booked. All that's left are the details.

I made it back to bed at 9:00 pm or so, confident that I wouldn't be called in early (there are two six pm dealers every Thursday night, so it's rare that I'm needed earlier than 1:00 am). I got three more good solid hours of sleep, woke up to the alarm, and hit the shower.

When I got to work, I had mixed emotions when I saw that there were still two dealers on hand, and only one poker game going. I walked in and said Well, I guess this means I get the first break, huh? But one dealer was going home at the top of the hour, and the other dealer said that he'd volunteer to go home too if I was willing to get locked down at the beginning of my shift.

I was all for that, thinking that game wouldn't go another 45 minutes, so I jumped at the opportunity while the other two dealers went home. As soon as I pushed into the game, I knew it was a doozy. I was pushing huge pots, and my first toke was five bucks. Wanting to make hay while the sun was shining, I cranked up the speed, and coupled with all the heavy action on the table, I got a workout. But I was in that buck-a-minute zone, and at exactly 2:00 am I had to have the floorman come in and relieve me because I couldn't fit another chip into my shirt pocket.

Our dealer shirts are ingeniously designed (although hideously ugly), as our toke pockets will hold exactly sixty chips. Since I was on a 4-8 game, there were no redbirds on the table, so I had 60 one-dollar chips in my pocket after one hour of dealing. Not a bad average if I could keep it up!

So the floorman got a few minutes in the box and a chance to make a few bucks himself while I racked up all my tokes and stashed them behind the desk. When I went back in the game, it seemed to slow down a bit. A few players got busted out, which caused the game to change gears, but it was still pretty loose.

It finally broke up at 4:30, and while I made a buck a minute the first hour, it took me the next two-and-a-half to make another hundred. Not bad, but not a virtual ATM, either.

I was wide awake, and didn't really want to come home and go to back to bed, either (not much to do around the house in the middle of the night when the roommate is sleeping and you don't want to make the dogs bark), So I hung out and bullshiatted with the floorman for a couple of hours while the cocktail waitress took all my loose singles one glass of Captain and Coke at a time.

It was an enjoyable way to kill time--relaxing in the empty poker room, but eventually it started getting busy again. The floorman had to do his fills and end-of-shift paperwork, so I called it a night.

Stepping out of the elevator onto the roof of the parking garage, I realized that I should've brought a hat with me, but I didn't have far to walk. There was a very light drizzle going, and if I were skinny, I might've avoided getting wet at all.

I considered heading to a local coffee shop for some breakfast and the morning paper, but I wasn't quite hungry enough to do that, so I just came straight home. Besides, the Omelet House didn't open until 7, and Marcie doesn't work on Fridays anyways. Plus, I've got about ten pounds of meat and cheese in my mini-fridge, and that shiat ain't gonna eat itself.

But that's not what I'm in the mood for right now, anyways. I want some soup. And I've got a fort to build, too.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Real Life Trumps the Keyboard

Hey gang...

Oh dear god, I just read the update I posted last night and I'm so ashamed... It's an incoherent mess with no editing, and syntax errors out the ying-yang. My apologies for handing in such sloppy work.

But the truth is, that quick post took me FOUR hours to write. See, the thing is, I started typing around 4:30 in the afternoon, but then the phone started ringing. It was the family.

Yesterday morning, I got a call from Amy, my younger sister. Her and her fiance Scottie have decided to get married this year, and were trying to figure out a way that they could have the ceremony where I could attend. I've got six days of vacation that I have to use by the first of May, and then after that, any time I take off is completely unpaid--and I'm taking a week off in the fall to go on a cruise, and another week off in December to go back to Nashville for Christmas. More time off would be financially daunting.

Anyhow, Amy and I have been having some secret discussions over the past few days, and her and Scott finally decided to just come to Vegas and get married during March Madness!!! Oh hell yeah! You have no idea how cool of an idea that is!

I'm pretty excited for that all by itself, but it also means that a good chunk of the Hurricane clan will be in attendance for the festivities. And you thought the T2V gang was a bunch of drunken buffoons. Wait'll they get a load of my family. This will be one March Madness for the history books.

So anyhow, I was sworn to secrecy for a couple of days while Amy and Scottie deliberated and weighed all their options, but then it became official and the phone started ringing off the hook. They're now booked, Mamasan is booked, Cyndi is booking today. Reverend Dave will know within a week, subject to his main squeeze's work situation. My niece Diana is booked. Don't know about Sherry or any other of my nieces. Haven't heard back from Nancy, either.

But the intensity level of the party has been officially cranked up to eleven, and all those distractions yesterday served to keep me from paying attention to what I was writing. By the time the phone calls wound down for the evening, I was tired of looking at that post, so I said the hell with it and just published it 'as is' with no editing and such...

And now, I don't feel like going back and fixing it, so there it is.


After all that, I logged onto the T2V chat and talked to Angy for awhile, and then once she went to bed, I stayed up to watch Sticky play poker. I *should* have been sleeping, because at ten minutes after ten, my phone started ringing. Instead of coming into work at 1:00 am, they needed me ASAP, so I jumped up, got dressed, and ran out the door five minutes later. I made it to the casino in record time and managed to make the 10:30 push.

There were four games going at the time, and I didn't get a break until 12:30. I did another rotation after that, and then got locked down at 2:30. The last game didn't break up until after 6:30 this morning, and by then, I was one tuckered out little trooper. Once I got the table closed and the last bank counted, it was 7:00 o'clock, giving me even more overtime for the week (remember the 12 hours I did on Saturday?). I stuck around for a bit to chat with a couple of the old guys that came ambling in and had a couple of cups of coffee and Kahlua, too.

Eventually, the old guys limpfest started up with the morning dealer, so I sat in the game and played a little 4-8 Holdem for about an hour. I won one decent pot and split another, so after an hour of blinds, I was up four bucks. I couldn't handle it anymore--I was so tired that I couldn't stop yawning--so I tipped the dealer two bucks, gave the other two bucks to the floorman, and cashed out exactly even.

But while I was sitting up in the garage waiting for my truck to warm up, I counted the evening's take and realized that I did very well again, just shy of three Benjamins again. Damn. I wish every week were as good as this one has been. And it came just in time, too--things were looking kinda lean two weeks ago.

I don't know if I'll ever get used to the constant ups and downs. It takes a certain brand of patience to deal with the constant uncertainty, but I've been lucky so far.

Anyhow, when I finally got home this morning, there was another huge box on the porch from the UPS man, and he had delivered about ten pounds of meat and cheese. And a big bottle of sweet-hot mustard, too! Oh hell yeah. And word around the campfire is that there is another box arriving tomorrow. My hat's off to Dougie for finding this bargain sale and taking advantage of it, because by the end of the week, I'm gonna have so many Hickory Farms groceries on hand that I won't be able to close the door on my mini-fridge.

Hell, I'd like have a Super Bowl party and use it all then, but I just know that as soon as I make plans, I'll get scheduled to work...

Now, however, I must get some sleep. I've been up for over 24 hours straight, and I have to go in to work again tonight. My guess is that I'll probably get called in early again, too. If I ever get some free time, I'll work on the stories I've got in the hopper--four good poker stories for your reading enjoyment. But it'll probably take about ten hours of writing time to knock 'em out, so don't expect them within the next day or two.

Y'all be cool. I'm going to bed.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hump Night

Hey gang, let me offer my apologies for the lack of sufficient posting lately, but I've got an excuse--I've been working like a Filipino hooker during Fleet Week for the past several days. And although I'm technically 'off' today, I had to spend most of my day doing productive things away from the computer. And being off ain't exactly true, either. I have to work the graveyard shift tonight, so I might get a bit of rest later this evening, but I'll be up and getting ready to head back to the casino by 1:00 am. Unless they call me in earlier like they did last week.

I've been working the 1 pm shift for the past couple of days, and it's good and steady, but having a few hours off and going back to graveyard for the weekend sucks the life out of me. The poker room was nice and steadily busy during the day, and the money was decent. Yesterday I got my envelope of tokes from the freeroll tourney, and for 14 downs, I made a whopping sixty bucks. That works out to $4.28 per hour. Yikes! It's no wonder why every poker dealer in the entire company tries to get out of working that thing. It felt like I was back dealing dice at the Golden Gate--working my ass off and getting slave wages. At least I'll get that extra hunnert-an-fitty added to the paycheck.

Anyhow, yesterday's shift was kinda fun, and moved by pretty quickly. A couple hours before I got done, my gal Randi came by to say hey--I hadn't seen her since New Years. I thought she might be working the poker room that night (she's a cocktail waitress, of course), but no such luck--she had the penny slot section up at the front of the casino, and told me to come on by before I left.

I got out after seven hours, so once I cashed out, signed out, and ditched my ugly shirt, I wandered up to the front of the casino. I found a comfy spot at a five-cent deuces wild video poker machine, and Randi brought me two shots of Captain Morgan with lime slices to pour into my fountain Coke that I'd gotten from Fatburger. I played about fifteen minutes and got four quick wild royals for 120 nickels each time, so I cashed out and split my winnings with her.

But her section was huge, and the penny slots are always busy, so she had to work instead of goofing off chatting with me. And just like me, she's on the Extra Board, so she has to hustle tokes when it's busy, too. I was pretty tired anyways, so I said goodnight and headed out. Dinner was an Asian chicken salad from the Jack in the Box drive-thru. Not bad for like six bucks.

The rest of my evening consisted of nothing interesting, so I went to bed at a decent hour and got plenty of sleep.

I considered spending my entire morning doing nothing but making a pot of coffee and doing some writing, but I had stuff to do. The laundry monster needed slaying, and I had a bundle of small bills that needed to get deposited at the bank so that I could finally close my wallet again. So instead of being lazy and writing poker stories, I got my ass up, took a shower, and headed out.

I ran a few errands--while out I also topped off the gas tank at $1.93--I'm trying to keep it as full as possible until it slip back over two bucks a gallon, and eventually ended up over at the Omelet House sitting at my regular table and sipping on a cup of coffee that somebody else made. It was a slow morning for Marcie, so we got to chat quite a bit between her refilling the coffee cups on her other two tables.

She talked me into trying the stuffed French toast for breakfast, and I went with the apple variety instead of blueberries. Basically, it was two slices of French toast, stuffed with apples, cinnamon, and cream cheese, dusted with powdered sugar and served with bacon and eggs. It was damn good--probably my favorite thing so far that I've ordered so far. And it didn't need butter or syrup, either. I came close, but I couldn't quite finish it. But I lingered a bit taking advantage of the free coffee refills and visiting with one of my favorite gals.

I came home after breakfast, and got my exercise going up and down the stairs all afternoon between my bedroom and the laundry room. I've still got lots more to do, but I've called it quits for now. I've got no plans for tomorrow except for vacuuming, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to ditch the flannel sheets and put on the new 600 thread-count luxury set.

More later...

I've got some stories in the hopper.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Lost Monday

I had every intention of doing a bunch of writing, getting all my chores done, and being fully productive yesterday. But alas, it was not to be. As you can imagine, I was pretty tired on Sunday night, and went to bed pretty early.

Of course, that means I woke up early on Monday morning--like 3:30 in the morning, so I popped in a movie. I watched that Capricorn One DVD that I got last month, and oh holy hell, I was eye-poppingly shocked at what a lame movie it was. Seriously--it was hard to believe that they got away with that crap in the 70's. I'm afraid to watch any of the old 'Airport' movies now.

I remember back in the 70's when that movie came out--it was released the same time as Jason & the Argonauts, and my and my brother Reverend Dave saw that while the parents and the older siblings saw Capricorn One on Saturday afternoon. At some point several years later, I must've caught it on cable or something, but I didn't remember it being such a bad movie from top to bottom--bad script, plot holes all over the place, no continuity... Ah well. I asked for it. It's out of my system now, though.

Once the movie was over, I watched a little ESPN, surfed the web, and sipped my coffee before falling back to sleep until 12:19 pm. How do I know the exact time? Because my phone was ringing and I looked at the clock. It was the floorman in the poker room calling to tell me that he needed me to be at work forty minutes later.


So I jumped up and took a speed shower, got dressed, and headed out the door. It didn't seem so busy when I got there, but it was extremely steady all afternoon and into the evening. In fact, it got much busier as the afternoon wore on. I didn't get a break until 4:30 or so, and I was starving by then. I grabbed some Chinese food and hid in the corner, but then a few minutes later my gal Lori came wandering by, and since I hardly get to see her anymore, she stayed to visit for a bit. That was nice, and much too soon my free time was spent. I ended up working past 9:00 and I was one tuckered out little trooper when the day was done. But it was a good day--I didn't get any big tips, only one redbird all day--but it was steady and when I counted it all up at the end of the shift, I had over two bills. I'll take it, especially since I wasn't expecting to work at all on Monday.

On the way home, I finally remembered to go to the grocery store and get my crackers, along with a few other things like coffee creamer and Coke. On the downside, however, WalMart doesn't sell sweet-hot mustard. And spicy brown mustard, as good as it is, doesn't go so well with beef stick. I guess I gotta go to one of them fancy-schmancy grocery stores with an apostrophe in its name if I want to find some proper mustard to go with my hunk-o-meat.

Once I finally got home, I made a small cocktail (didn't wanna take a chance of falling asleep again and wasting all that booze), took a shower, and managed to stay awake long enough to watch last nights episode of 24.

I got a bit of sleep, but these mixed shifts just fark with my system, so I was tossing and turning most of the night. I'm wide awake now, but I'm going to try and go back to sleep for a few hours this morning. I have to work again this afternoon, and I've got a feeling that it's going to be another long one.

And then I've got to go back and do graveyard shifts for the rest of the week, starting late Wednesday night.

That's all for now.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Round 2

It's finally over. I never have to drive up to Texas Station ever again! Until the next time, I mean.

I woke up nice and early on Sunday morning after getting a good solid eight hours of deep sleep, and enjoyed a leisurely pot of coffee to start my day. I puttered around for a bit, but then decided to get some breakfast before heading back up to N. Las Vegas.

I ended up at the Omelet House again, sitting at one of Marcie's tables, reading the Sunday paper and sipping on hot cocoa. I had a really good breakfast this time around--it was the flapjack special--two huge pancakes, a sausage patty, and two eggs for like eight bucks. And it was too much food for me to finish. I also got to visit, flirt with, and overtip my fave waitress, so my day was off to a good start.

Traffic was fairly non-existent on a Sunday morning, so I got to the casino pretty early. I found a nice comfy chair outside the ballroom, zipped up my fleece jacket, put on my sunglasses, tucked my hands in my pockets, and dozed off for a few minutes until people I know started showing up. A couple of the gals insisted that I go in early with them, but I didn't want to. But I did, which was a brilliant move because there was already an Early Out sign up list on the registration table, and the three of us were some of the first ones on it! Woot! And it filled up in a hurry.

Day 2 went very smoothly, because we all knew what to expect, as did the players. It kicked off at noon, the same time as the Cards/Eagles game, but they had the playoffs on huge projection screens in the corners of the ballroom. So I was able to keep one eye on the game and one eye on The Game.

I ended up dealing three downs before they started running short on tables, so I got to pull the ripcord after just three hours.

Since the tourney was still going on when I left, I had no idea what we'd make for tips. But the director said they'd be delivered to our home poker rooms by Monday night. I guess I'll be happy with anything over sixty bucks for the 12 downs I did. Can't really expect much more than that.

I didn't hang around and socialize with everyone--as soon as I was able, I hit the road. I wanted to come home and watch the game on my own TV. And I had those Hickory Farms goodies to dig into. Of course, I didn't remember it until I was sitting at the stoplight a mile from the house, so I popped into the convenience store and overpaid for a mini-box of Club crackers.

I got home just in time for the fourth quarter, so I grabbed a Coke and put my Gerber knife to use slicing up some beef stick and apple-pie cheddar. It was damn tasty, although I ran out of sweet-hot mustard a little sooner than I should've.

But damn--the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Seriously--who saw that coming? I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to August and bet on them to win the NFC championship. At like 200-1! Hell, just two weeks ago they were still 50-1 to go to the Super Bowl!

I've been accused of being an Arizona Cardinals fan many times in the past, and yes, I will admit that I even had season tickets for a few years back when I lived in Phoenix (they were cheap, as you can imagine). But honestly, I've *never* been a Cards fan. I had the tickets just because I liked seeing other teams. And of course I've always liked the Steelers and believe that they'll probably win the whole enchilada. And you must admit, it's hard not to root for such underdogs. But damn, seeing the Cardinals win that game, I swear I peeked out the window this afternoon just to check and see if the Four Horsemen were saddling up...

Anyhow, I made it through the first quarter of the Steelers game before dozing off again, but I woke up a few times on and off throughout the game. I finally woke up for good just before Palomalu got his taint (touchdown after interception). I saw that my phone had been ringing while I was asleep, but luckily none of the calls were from work.

One of the calls was from my sister Cyndi, so I called her back. It turns out that she's decided to come out for March Madness, and wanted the exact dates so she could book a plane ticket. That'll be great to have her here again. Now I've got to work on getting Reverend Dave out here, too. If Amy and Scottie would show up, it would be epic. Between all my goofy friends and siblings, I'd probably die of laughter by the end of the week.

Oh well, we'll see--we've still got two months left to twist arms.

Anyhow, that's all for today. I've got the day off tomorrow, so I'll get some sleep, do some reading and chores, and then I may go and see that new Daniel Craig movie. Gotta love seeing a film with lots of Nazis getting machine-gunned, don't ya think?

Even better, I won't have to drive to North Vegas to see it, either.


And His Mama Cries...

Ok, so it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be. Y'all know how much I was dreading having to go up and deal that free-roll tourney, but it turns out that it wasn't completely awful. I'm not saying I enjoyed the hell out of it, but then again, it didn't suck like crap on a stick, either. More like crap on toasted Parmesan bread with a hint of garlic.

It was tough for me to sleep the night before, so I was not well-rested before heading out. But I was out the door by 6:30 in the morning and found my way to the North Vegas ghetto a half-hour later. I'd never even been to that part of town, having never set foot inside of Texas Station before. But it was easy to find--it's maybe five minutes from downtown.

I had no idea where I was going when I got there, but I just followed a couple of other people that looked like poker dealers (yeah, we have a certain look, I'm convinced) and I ended up in the right place, one of the huge ballrooms back in the convention center. I found my crew--four other dealers, the boss, and two of our floormen--and sat down and joined them. The veterans told me to lay claim to a really low-numbered table or a really high-numbered one and the day would be a lot easier, just because they break tables from the outside in, so you didn't want to be stuck at a table in the middle of the room and get worked like (even more of) a bitch all day.

As far as the tournament went, there were like 2500 players invited, and they broke them up into four different start times--8:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 5:00 pm. Each session would play down to a hundred players, and the last four hundred would come back today for the final session.

So I went in at 7:00 am and put in twelve very long hours yesterday.

My biggest gripe going into the thing was that the money was going to be awful. Besides the minimum-wage that the house paid us, the toke rate in these free-rolls is legendarily bad. Whenever I'm dealing a tournament in my own room, we usually make anywhere from $15 to $25 per half-hour 'down'. In these free-rolls, word is that we're lucky to make five bucks per down, if that. Ugh.

So before they opened the doors for the first session, the tournament director announced that we'd each be getting an extra $150 from the house on top of our hourly wage and tokes. That put everyone in a much better mood, and it'll work out to a little over $20 per hour when it's all said and done. I can live with that--that's what I make whenever I do temp gigs or deal private tourneys through the school, so my outlook immediately improved when they made that announcement.

Also, the structure of the tournament was designed to just blow people out as quickly as possible--each player only got $700 worth of chips, and the blind levels were only 15 minutes long. That would never work in an entry-fee tournament, as there is too much of a luck factor involved, but as a free-roll, it worked perfectly. Once the cards went in the air, we were breaking one table about every two minutes. It only took two hours to go from 600+ players down to a hundred. Then they'd clear the room and do it all over again an hour later.

Because of the structure that knocked people out so fast, there was a lot of free time. Even though I was there 12 hours, I only had nine or ten downs worth of dealing. But it's not like it was easy, as there were all kinds of little chores to do between each session--we had to turn the room over four times and set up all the tables so that it looked like a brand-new tournament for each group of people that came in. Coupled with the fact that I'd had so little sleep the night before, it made for a very long day. Besides, dealing a tournament like that involves an inordinate amount of babysitting. It seemed like half the players in there had never played in a tournament before, so it was kind of a grind. Plus, with all of the constant all-ins, it was sidepot city--much more work than dealing a regular game, or even a 'normal' tournament.

Any poker dealer will tell you that the longer a tournament goes, the easier it is to deal. Early on, there's just so much going on and you have to keep explaining the rules and betting structure over and over again. By the time the blinds are high, most of the worst offenders have been busted out and everyone is acclimated and in the flow of the game--it just goes much more smoothly after the first couple of hours. But in this thing, we'd work for a couple of hours, and just as it was getting good and easy, the session was over, and we had to start all over again from the beginning. Believe me, that just sucks the life out of you.

Another thing that made it tough was that the first three levels were 'limit' poker, with the second level being Omaha, and then after the third level, it went back to being all no-limit Hold 'em. Limit tournaments are a pain in the ass because everyone is always betting the wrong amounts, and on top of that, I'd say a good 30% of the people in there had NO clue whatsoever about how to play Omaha. And I guess that is a feature more than a bug because Omaha is such a high action game, it served it's purpose and broke a lot of people.

But it was an interesting day. First of all, the 'misery loves company' factor was high, and it was actually kind of fun to be there working with a bunch of my friends. We made the most of it and had a lot of laughs. And the poker world is much more laid-back and easygoing than the pit-games world, so there ain't much stress involved. Plus, we had the smug satisfaction of seeing some of our more dick-headed players that nobody likes get busted out early. Yep, after each session, we'd be sitting around bragging about the bad beats we'd dealt that befell deserving individuals.

Of course, being used to dealing in a nice room in a nice casino in a nice area of town, it was a given that I'd put my foot in my mouth, too. The players were from all over the city, and during one of the sessions, somebody had found a set of keys on the ground. The tournament director got on the PA system and announced that they had some car keys up at the podium. He joked and said Yeah, I think they are keys to a Lamborghini, so if anyone is missing them, please come up and claim it. It got a polite chuckle from the crowd, but not thinking, I rolled my eyes and said Oh yeah, I always bring my fancy Italian sportscar with me when I drive up the the North Las Vegas ghetto. One or two people at the table laughed, but I got the stink-eye from a couple of other ones, and immediately realized that they were playing on their home turf. Doh!

One of them spoke up and said What, are you some kinda snob from Henderson or something?

There's nothing to do at that point except be honest so I responded the only way I knew how.

Why yes, yes I am!


Anyhow, the day was kind of interesting, but man, getting ready to open the doors for the fourth and final session of the day, we were all just wiped out. By then everyone had been there for 10 hours or more, and we just wanted the day to end.

I saw that I was the lucky dog for the final session and that my table was one of the designated 'break' tables, meaning that after my first half-hour down, once I got tapped out, I was to go on break. But at the end of the day, that meant that I was likely to be one of the first people to get to go home because I likely wouldn't have a table to go back to a half-hour later due to being on the 'outskirts' of the room.

So once I got tapped out, I went up to the front to see if I could split, but then they told us that they couldn't let anyone go because they still needed dealers to push in for the next break tables. Ugh. Dejected, I went over to the side of the room to sit with the rest of the dealers who had just gotten the same bad news as I did.

It was like walking into the Village of the Damned. Everyone had that same sunken look in their eyes, listless shuffle, the glazed and exhausted pall of veterans that had seen far too much combat. There was no conversation at that point. Everyone was either slouched over dozing with their chin on their chest or had the thousand-yard stare going, oblivious to the commotion going on around them.

I sat there for another half hour, hoping they'd hurry and get down to the final hundred players before the top of the hour, but no such luck. I got another table assignment. Luckily, after 20 minutes or so, my table broke and my day was done. Once I closed it down and did my paperwork, I said goodbye to everyone and hit the door, hoping I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel on the drive home.

I *really* wanted a cocktail, so I hit the convenience store on the corner for a big-assed fountain Coke before I came home. I came upstairs, turned on the shower as hot as I could stand it, and poured about three fingers worth of the Captain into my Coke. I stood there under the steaming rain for a good ten minutes, slurping on my drink like Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.

I dried off and got into bed, but got on the computer for a minute or two. I popped into the T2V chatroom to talk to the buffoons for a bit, but my head was just too heavy to hang around and chat. I didn't make it a half-hour before I gave up and passed out.

I woke up this morning with a half-glass of watery booze on the nightstand, but finally feeling somewhat normal after getting nine hours of sleep.

Luckily today will be much easier. I don't have to be up there at Texas Station again until 11:00, and I'm pretty sure I'll be done by three or four. Word is that I have to check in with the home poker room before I can call it a night, but I'm guessing that I'll have the rest of the night off.

If that's the case, then I might finally get around to buying some crackers...


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just When I Thought I Was Out...

They pulled me back in!

Good morning everyone, especially you weekend re-clickers. Here it is an hour before my alarm is supposed to go off, and I'm wide awake. So I did what anyone else in my situation would do--I scrubbed the bathroom and put on a pot of coffee.

I've got to go deal that god-awful freeroll up at Texas Station in a few hours, and man, I am *not* looking forward to that. Spending my Saturday putting up with dipshiats for minimum wage? I might as well be wearing a nametag and hair net asking if they want fries with that.

Truly, I am the casino's bitch.

Oh well, I can put up with anything for a couple of days, so I might as well just grin and bear it.

Yesterday was kinda fun. Once I got home from work early in the morning, I switched on the TV with the volume down low and left it on AMC--they were running classic war movies so I figured I'd doze through Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Longest Day. I've seen those movies dozens of times apiece, and would probably toss out quotes from them in everyday conversation, except for the fact that it would reveal me to be an even bigger dork than people already believe.

But I forgot about one thing. Remember that whole scene in The Longest Day where the paratroopers are landing in St. Mere Eglise? Well, it's a lengthy scene and the church bells are ringing for a good five minutes straight, and that particular scene is louder than most of the rest of the film to add to the sense of mayhem. So I woke up all confused thinking it was like Easter or something.

Once I realized it was the TV, I clicked the volume down a notch and fell right back to sleep. But about an hour later I woke up again, this time because the next-door neighbor's car alarm was going off. And the jackass didn't go outside and turn it off for a good ten minutes. Seriously, WTF? I don't know how he couldn't have heard it.

Finally, I got back to sleep, but an hour later, it was my alarm that got me up. I showered and got dressed and such, then dozed on the couch downstairs waiting for Rick to show up.

He rang the doorbell around quarter to twelve, and we were on our way to Grimaldi's. He'd never been there before, so it was up to me to introduce him to the best pizza in Vegas.

Of course we were seated right away, ordered some drinks (Pepsi for him, Pellegrino for me), and carried on with our conversation. Not only did he stumble upon this site several months ago, but he coincidentally lives about a block away from me, too. So we both had some interesting stories to tell over our lunch of pepperoni/sausage and pepperoni/mushroom pies.

For whatever reason, it seemed like every person working in the restaurant was pushing the 'cheesecake of the month'--amaretto--because we got upsold by three different people. No thanks, we're just here for the pizza. But man, they just wouldn't let it go. Everybody that wandered by the table said something along the lines of Make sure you leave some room for the cheesecake, which led us to eventually believe that the shiat must be going bad and they needed to get rid of it...

Rick insisted on paying the tab, but since neither of us had any place we had to be yesterday, we got up from the table and migrated over to the bar once we finished eating. It was nice and sunny out, if just a bit cool, but nice enough to sit on the 'outside' area of the bar and have a couple of drinks. I believe we lingered there till sometime after two in the afternoon, chatting about poker and gambling, before calling it a day.

It was a nice visit and a great meal, and I think Rick will probably be joining up with us next time there's a gathering of buffoons in the neighborhood. And yeah, he's now a Grimaldi's convert, too.

When I got home, I talked to Dougie for a bit--he went kooky with the Hickory Farms website again. Apparently, they dropped their prices even further, so he told me he sent along another huge gift box that usually sells for $75, but it was on sale for just $12. Nice! So yeah, I'm loaded as far as football time snacks go. Too bad the season ends in two weeks. I guess I'll be enjoying cheese, crackers, and beefstick during the Daytona 500, too. But word around the campfire is that one of the big 4 lb. beefstick logs is gonna find it's way into Terry's nightstand at some point during March Madness.

After that phone call, I finally got a nap in. I didn't want to sleep too long, but I guess I did. I woke up around six or so, stumbled around a bit, drank a Captain and diet, then got onto the computer. I surfed over to the T2V site, and saw that a bunch of the buffoons were in the chatroom, so I logged in.

Sticky was also playing in a tournament on PokerStars, so I logged into the site to watch her while we chatted. Dougie suggested that we all get into a tournament together, so a few minutes later, Sticky, Dougie, Snert, and I were all registered for a cheapie 90-player sit-n-go.

It was lots of fun playing with those guys and doing all the smack-talk in the chatroom at the same time, and several times throughout the course of the tourney, we'd be at the same tables for a bit. We were doing really well, too, representin' the T2V gang. It got down to the final three tables, and all four of us were still chuggin' along. There was some fantasy-talk about how cool would it be if we all four made the final table, but not long after that, Dougie got knocked out by the mother of all bad beats. He flopped a flush, one card away from a straight flush, and went all in. He got one caller who had a high pair, but then went runner-runner to beat him with a full-house. It was awful. Sick. Just plain ugly. I felt bad for him for just a minute, but then realized that he had some poker Karma coming his way for all the bad beats I've seen him put on other people over the last few years, especially all the ones he's put on me. And then I was pissed because it wasn't me that sucked out on him. Heh.

Sticky also took a bad beat to get knocked out, although the details of the hand escape me at the moment. I missed the hand that got Snert, but I ended up being the sole survivor of the T2V gang and made it to the final table. I would've made a better showing but I accidentally folded a hand instead of calling a guy who went all-in. I'd flopped top set, and he had two pair. There was about a $12,000 pot going and it only would've cost me about $900 to call his all in, and I hit the wrong damn button on the computer. I would've knocked him out and added a big chunk of money to my stack, but I screwed up. Turns out that the guy outlasted me, and I went out in sixth place a little while later. Not bad for a field of 90 players. I haven't played that well in a long time, so it was nice to get back into the game.

Once the tourney ended, I stayed up chatting with everyone--March Madness fever has taken hold and the countdown is on. I finally called it a night around 11:00 or so and tried to get some sleep, knowing that I had to get up early this morning. I tossed and turned all night, having maybe gotten a little too much sleep the previous afternoon, but what's a brotha to do? I finally gave up around 4:00 am, turned on the light, made a pot of coffee, and got out the laptop.

But it's almost time to get ready and head off to the North Las Vegas ghetto--I haven't been up there since the Sled died on the side of the freeway over two years ago. I'll probably wave or something as I drive past the spot where the old green Lincoln took it's last breath.

Anyhow, I hope y'all have a wonderful Saturday, and think of me as you're doing enjoyable activities, as I'll be dealing a crummy tournament against my will. Damn The Man.


Friday, January 16, 2009


Forgot to get crackers.

Oh well.

I stopped and got a bottle of orange juice at the convenience store, but completely forgot about hitting the grocery store for some crackers and such. That's ok, I've got all weekend to do my stone-cold munchin', besides, I'm having Grimaldi's for lunch today. The meat-and-cheese fest can wait a couple of days.

Work? Just four hours this morning. The money was good though, so I can't complain too much.

I'm off to bed for a few hours.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Got No Crackers!

So, I'm zombie-ing my way through my day again, and I just got home from the casino for the second time just a little while ago.

The meeting went well, nothing really new and earth-shattering as far as news or procedures go, but I have to admit that the longer I work there, the more I like working for my boss. Even though I'm the lowest toad on the roster, I feel like she's looking out for me and trying to improve my lot. So I can't really complain too much right now, especially in these trying times. I should be happy that I even have a job right now, because things are tough all over the neon playground.

But my shift may be changing for the better. I'm normally scheduled from 1:00 am until 9:00 am, but everyone knows that's not reality--I never work past 7:00 am. The room is either dead by then, or if there is any action, it's just one game and another dealer comes in at seven anyways, so I'm always sent home. (My weekly total hours are a joke). But on the other hand, they've been calling me in early more often than not, so the boss is looking at starting my shift earlier. That would be awesome. If I were scheduled at 11:00 pm instead of 1:00 am, I'd easily put an extra fifty bucks in my pocket each shift, and I'd get more sleep, too, by not waking up to the phone ringing every night wanting me to come in early.

Anyhow, I was out of the meeting after less than an hour, and I stopped by the book to talk to my gal Lori before heading home--I hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks, so I used the excuse of picking up the prop sheets for this weekend's games as a reason to lurk around the book and get a drink.

On the way home, the fuel light came on in my truck, so it was time to fill the tank. My last couple of fill-ups cost me $1.69 per gallon, but the prices keep rising. I figure we'll be back over two bucks pretty soon, so I was happy to squeeze in all I could at $1.89.

I considered stopping for some Chinese food for dinner before heading home, but I just wasn't hungry enough, and I'm totally pinching the pennies for a couple of weeks anyways. But once I got home, there was a surprise waiting for me on the entryway table. Mr. UPS man had brought some more goodies, this time from Hickory Farms.

Apparently, Hickory Farms is clearing out the leftovers from the holiday warehouse, and everything is 75% off right now. So Dougie hooked a brotha up and sent me a box o' meat. And cheese! I was tempted to dig right in, but then I realized that I have no crackers. Gotta have crackers with my meat and cheese, right?

So I guess it'll have to wait until after my shift tonight. I'll stop at the store on the way home.

But if anyone is interested, get over to their website and buy yourself some serious munchies for the Super Bowl or whatnot. I mean, who doesn't love the Beefstick with that sweet-hot mustard? And it's so frickin' cheap right now! I think that box that I got is regularly around forty bucks, but it's on sale right now for less than ten.

I was telling Dougie that about 23 years ago, I worked part time in a Hickory Farms store for about a year. Back then, once stuff came within a week of the expiration date, they tossed it. (But cured meats and cheese seem to last forever, so we never figured out how they came up with the dates) And by 'tossing' it, I mean, they set it out for samples or just gave it to their employees. It was just me and a couple of old ladies who'd been working there forever, so every week they'd send me home with a bag of 'groceries', which my dad & stepmom, plus my buddies, benefitted from.

Also, if anyone has family or close friends on deployment with the military, not only is the stuff on sale at ridiculous prices, but they'll ship it free to APO/FPO addresses. So get after it!

Anyhow, that's the news for the day here. I might watch a movie and then take a catnap, but it looks like another good shift is on the agenda for me tonight.

Tomorrow I'm having lunch at Grimaldi's with my reader/neighbor Rick, and then I'm gonna try and get about 10 hours of sleep in. I have to be up at Texas Station at 7:00 am on Saturday to deal a huge tournament that lasts all weekend. I'm not looking forward to that at all--one of the gals I work with told me that last year they got about $3 per down. Ugh! Just to put it into perspective, whenever I work a tourney in my home poker room, we usually get between $15-$25 per down. Brothaman is gonna be slavin' away for minimum wage all weekend, and to make it worse, I'll be doing it in the ghetto of North Las Vegas.

So after my shift tonight, I'm gonna try one more time to win the Megabucks jackpot (almost 16 million as I type this), just so I won't have to drive up and deal that lousy tournament this weekend.

Wish me luck!


Nothing New To Report

I'm sorry for being so dull this week, but there is just nothing for me to write about. My work schedule has got me all jacked up, so I'm been kinda zombie-fied the past couple of days.

Yesterday, once I finally got out of bed, I made my way down to get some breakfast at the Omelet House. I was still pretty tired and out of it, but luckily it was a slow day at the restaurant so I got to spend a lot of time visiting with Marcie. She was the only waitress working by the time I got there, and she only had three tables, so she was able to hang out and chat quite a bit.

That was pretty much the highlight of the day. I went out with a couple of friends later in the evening, and just as we were sitting down to have a beer, my phone went off. Yep, the poker room was calling, asking me to come in within the hour. So, I had to take my leave, run home, change clothes, and get back down to the casino. About the only thing I remember was taking a shortcut through one of the neighborhoods and seeing that some redneck still had their Christmas tree up.

It was a killer night at work, though. So busy for me. And I was locked down for four hours straight without a break for the last half of my shift. By the time I was finally able to stand up and stretch, I felt a bit like Han Solo once they got all the carbonite washed off of him. Stiff, unable to walk right, a little off-kilter... It was a good night though--I made over $300 in tips, which I'll take every time. Geez--if only I could actually work eight hours a day, five days a week. I'd have a chance to make some real money.

Thankfully, the game finally broke around 6:30 this morning, and by the time I finished up all my chores, it was seven o'clock and time for me to go home. As I type this, I'm yawning about every fives seconds and I'm about this close to just collapsing face-first into the keyboard.

So I'm gonna go ahead and go to sleep for a few hours. But then I have to get up and head back down there again this afternoon for a department meeting, then come home for a couple of hours. And then I work again tonight, so that's three trips to the casino today.

My life sucks right now.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Alive, Just Sleepy

I had such grandiose plans for today, but none of them happened.

I was going to get up early this morning, head over to Omelet House for some breakfast, and then take a few pics of Boulder Highway weirdness that only seems to be visible in daylight. After that, I was wanted to go down to the Strip and take more pics from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It's a beautiful clear day here, and I thought it would be a perfect day to get some cool photos.

But, thinking I wasn't going to work again until late Wednesday night, I didn't get much sleep on Monday, and just after midnight last night, the poker room called and told me to get down there ASAP. I had been up all day, and suddenly I had to work all night. I didn't really want to work, but I need all the shifts I can get this month.

It was a pretty good night to be there, and I got locked down from 2:30 until the game broke a little past 6:30 this morning. I couldn't leave until seven, but I stuck around to talk to the morning crew and have a couple of cups of coffee & Bailey's. By the time I finally got home around nine, I was a zombie. I took a shower and went straight to bed.

I just woke up a few minutes ago and I'm still completely out of it. I want to be up and doing stuff, but I've got that dull ache behind my eyes that tells me I'm still tired. Functioning at half-speed, I can't decide if I want to eat, read, watch a movie, play with the dogs, or just close my eyes again and hit the reset button for the day.

In the meantime, I'm just gonna lie here and yawn for awhile...


Monday, January 12, 2009

I Want To Believe

So, I'm sure I spent my Sunday like 90% of the rest of the population--in front of the TV watching the playoffs, (and we're waiting for Hoya to chime in and say she didn't, in 3...2...1...), followed up by watching Jack Bauer kick ass and take names for two hours.

Oh hell yeah--it was like a High Holy Day for couch potatoes!

Actually, I didn't watch TV all day--in fact, I missed the first three quarters of the Eagles-Giants game, the one contest of the week I was least concerned with because I really don't care for either team (although I find Giants fans far less detestable than Philly fans, so I guess if I had to care, I'd root for the Giants). The reason I missed it is because of my whacked out sleep schedule. I was up most of the night before, even though I was exhausted from my shift at work. I finally went to bed at six or so, thinking I'd wake up in time for kickoff. I was wrong, but then again, I don't much care.

But it was a relaxing morning, and the ability to sleep in without the phone ringing, followed by a leisurely pot of coffee while watching the playoffs ain't a bad way to spend a Sunday. I was kinda hungry, but figured I'd be meeting Drew for dinner after the games. So I didn't eat anything all day.

After the games ended, I decided to get into the T2V Sunday poker tourney, as I haven't played in a tournament, live or online, in almost a month. In fact, two people this past week came up to me and asked me why I'm not playing cards anymore. I never play in the room at work, and I've gone almost cold-turkey in live tournaments lately, too. I have no simple answer, but busting out of the last three tourneys didn't help, and I was either just too damn busy in December, or just not feeling the mojo.

I was playing well early on in the online tourney, picking up lots of small pots with no showdown, but then I got crippled by putting Doc Al on Ace-King, when he actually had a pair of Queens (a costly mistake with my pair of Sevens and busted straight). Dougie administered the knockout blow a little while later when my top pair with a kicker lost to his top pair with a weak kicker that happened to give him two pair. Oh well. It was only eleven bucks and a good 'halfway-house' effort to get me back into the game. I'll probably start playing in live tourneys again as soon as this month's nut is covered.

I think I just surfed the net for awhile after I busted out of the tournament, and watched some SportsCenter, killing time while the season premier of 24 was recording. I won't watch it live and sit through all of those god-awful American Idol promos, so I waited until it was about 45 minutes into it (deep enough to fast forward through two hours worth of commercials without catching up to live tv) before I started watching it.

So far so good, but there is just one huge leap of faith one has to make for the plot to make sense. Seriously, do the writers expect us to believe that some bad guys can get hold of a pocket-sized electronic device that can control the national power grid (is there even such a thing?), all of the dams and water purification plants, plus all air traffic? Really?

Am I supposed to believe that a nerd with a soldering iron can make a little doo-hickey that will not only allow him to talk to commercial aircraft (no biggie), but can prevent the FAA from doing so at the same time? WTF?

Hey if that ever happens, I want to give everyone from the FAA, TSA, FBI, NSA, and Homeland Security a little tip--spend $300 and get an Icom transceiver. Maybe spend three million and pick up a few of 'em:

You can get 'em at any pilot supply store. They're hand-held and run on batteries, so they're not connected to any government computer OR the 'national power grid', so no matter what the bad guys do, you can still talk to air crews in flight. That way, you can avoid stuff like near-misses and the mayhem of runway incursions.

Problem solved.

I'm surprised none of those guys at Air Traffic Control thought of it. But that's me--thinking outside the box.

But it made me wonder--is the general population that clueless about airline/air traffic operations? Do most people believe this shiat? Same thing happened in that second Die Hard movie--the bad guys just took over all communications and started crashing airplanes. Please. It's pretty much impossible to disrupt radio transmissions unless there is a huge electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all electronic stuff. Basher in Ocean's 11 explained it all--and in order to do that, you need something like an atomic bomb. And if one of those goes off, communicating with airliners is suddenly way down on the list of problems you're dealing with. I'm just sayin'.

Other than that obvious plot hole, I'm down with the new season of 24, although didn't they already play out the kooky Presidential spouse angle a couple of seasons ago? On the other hand, I'm really likin' that red-headed FBI agent chick. She's not a whiner like that Audrey biatch, so I'm hoping Jack takes a couple of minutes out of his busy schedule during this hectic 24 hours and gives her some good lovin', CTU style.

My only other gripe is that the show is full of famous faces. The Director of Homeland Security is Gaurnere from Band of Brothers, Red Forman is a Senator, and Warden Norton is the Chief of Staff. I found myself thinking Hey, what else was that guy in? every time a new character was introduced. Without cheating and looking at IMDB or Wikipedia, I'm trying to figure out where I saw the guy who played that minor FBI agent who Jack had to shadow at his desk at the beginning of the show... The Sopranos, maybe?

But all minor criticism aside, it's still great brain candy and an enjoyable show that I make a point of seeing every week. I'm glad it's back.

It turns out that I was never able to connect with Drew, so I never got to go out to dinner. And since I was holed up in my room all day watching football and such, I was kind of hungry. Normally, it's no big deal and I'll just go to bed. But finally, around midnight, my stomach was growling and I had to do something about it.

Unfortunately, there aren't many choices around Henderson for late-night eats. Yeah, I guess I could've made a run for the border or even got some real Mexican food at Roberto's, or return to La Collina (the scene of me and Kimmy's last 'date'), but none of that turned my crank. There's a 24-7 place called Timbers down the street, but I hate going there because it's always full of Henderson cops. They always go there to do their paperwork and such, and I always feel like they're watching people leave, so they can score a cheap DUI. Of course, they do no such thing, but it still kinda takes the fun out of hanging out there.

So I said the hell with it and decided to just drive on down to the Strip and show the Peppermill some love. I was starving, and hadn't had any of their legendary chicken fried steak and eggs in god-knows-how-long. It's easily been almost a year--maybe March Madness last year? I don't remember the last time I ate there--it's been a long time. Far too long.

And just because I love you people, I took my camera and captured some good old-fashioned food porn for you degenerates:

The plates are the same size as they've always been, but you'll notice that the actual chicken fried steak is much smaller than it used to be. A few years ago, that bad boy was so big you couldn't tell what color the plate was. And I learned a long time ago to get my eggs over-easy. If you get 'em scrambled, they'll give you a huge ramekin full of them, probably five or six eggs worth--way too much food.

But when I first started going to the Peppermill over five years ago, not only was the portion ridiculously huge, but it cost $12.95. It's up to $14.75 now. I don't mind the downsizing of the portions--I could never finish my breakfast for years. This time, I cleaned my plate. Also, back in the day, the strawberry preserves came in a hollowed out tangerine. These aren't even preserves anymore, just cheap strawberry jam. And the toast is thinner too, so they can get a couple more servings per loaf. But the hashbrowns haven't changed, and they're still my favorite hashies in all of Vegas.

It's still a damn good meal, but not exactly a great value. But then again, it's still the best CFS I've found. And you know I don't mind occasionally paying a premium for a really good meal, especially breakfast.

Anyhow, my breakfast with coffee and a glass of milk cost about $23, plus tip--again, not a bargain, but it sure tasted good and I'm not gonna be hungry until sometime on Tuesday.

But I had a nice time while I was there, savoring a good meal while reading a good book, and getting out of the house was just what I needed. After I paid the tab, I drove the entire length of the Strip before coming home, just enjoying the lights and the scenery. Encore looks amazing now that all the construction is finally done and all of the temporary scenery-blocking walls are down, and I'm completely in awe of the absolute monstrosity of a clusterf*ck that City Center is becoming. This time next year, traffic on the south Strip will be complete gridlock. That place is insane, and it looks like it's going to swallow up the Monte Carlo completely. It already dominates the skyline, dwarfing the rest of the Strip.

Before long, you'll be able to walk all the way from Tropicana to Flamingo at noon without getting any direct sunlight. It's turning into a glass and steel canyon.

Traffic on the Strip is pretty thin in the middle of the night, so my field trip didn't take very long. I'm home now, and I'm pretty sure I've got the next two days off, away from the casino. If the sun comes out on Tuesday, I may take a little hike, or at least do some more suburban exploring.