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.


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