Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Miracle

Hello Everyone--

It's been quite a week, hasn't it? I wish I could say a personal thank you to everyone who has helped out my dear friend Marcie this week, but it's overwhelming, the number of people who have stepped up. Whenever I've had a moment's peace this week, thinking about everything that has happened just blows me away. I feel so very blessed, not only to have met someone like Marcie, but to have an audience comprised of so many good and generous people.

Your generosity has been unbelievable, and it's gone to a great cause. Marcie is getting out of her old place for good this weekend and she and her boys are moving in to their new apartment. The tears have finally dried up, and she's getting a fresh start. I couldn't be happier for her. Just a week ago, she was literally at the end of her rope with absolutely no options, when I decided to brave the weekend crowd and go grab a meal, hoping that she'd be my waitress. When she told me the heart-rendering details of the obstacles placed in front of her, I knew I had to help.

When I my meal was over and my tab was paid, she gave me a hug and I promised her that I'd help her find a way through the labyrinth of problems she was facing. I insisted on giving her a hundred dollar bill and told her that somehow, someway, there was more to come. I think my exact words were Marcie, don't worry. I have a lot of friends all over the country and they're good people. I bet some of them will be willing to help. I can't promise much, but I know that I can pass the hat and raise a few dollars for you. She forced a smile, gave me kiss, and said thank you, and the rest, as you all know, is well-documented history.

I don't know why or how it happened, but I woke up on Sunday morning with a perspective that I'd never had before. Suddenly, the welfare of somebody else was more important than my own piddly concerns. I *know* that I'll always land on my feet--four years in this town has taught me a few tricks--so I started to live for somebody else. Almost everything I've done in the past week has been directly or indirectly related to easing Marcie's burden. I've tried to help her in every way possible, from taking her mind off of things by taking the family to dinner, to spending the day criss-crossing Henderson looking for suitable new accommodations, to helping her run all of her errands. I don't say this to toot my own horn or to try and make you think I'm some sort of model human being, but because all of these things I've done this week have made me feel good.

It's an amazing thing, when you realize that somebody else is more important than yourself--I've never experienced it before. I know her burdens are heavy, and most people would turn their backs, but living for somebody else, even if only for a week, is simply the way we're supposed to live. I get it now, and I hope I never forget it.

As most of you already know, I love Marcie dearly. Not in the googly-eyed syrupy romantic way you'd think, although I told her any guy would be lucky to have her. And I mean that. And I would be very lucky to have her. But I love her because she is a good soul, a friend I can talk to, and she knows me well enough to keep me humble. I love her because she is a good mom to her kids and she's the kind of person we all wish we could be. I love her because she saw something in me from the very beginning, and I wasn't just another dork at the diner trying to hit on her.

As much as I love her and want to be with her (and I know a lot of you folks are pulling for us to be together), the head and the heart have to be in sync for it to work, and even though my heart is full of love and adoration for her, and has been for a long time, my head knows that her heart needs time to heal and any new relationship in the immediate future is doomed to fail. She's only human, and needs time away for herself so that the emotional wounds will heal. Otherwise the next guy lucky enough to be with her may end up paying for the sins of the past and will likely lose the best gal in the world. I don't want to be that guy. Marcie doesn't want me to be that guy.

I'd be willing to wait, of course, because that's what you do when you love someone. But just as the fickle finger of fate brought us together, it will also keep us apart. Marcie needs her family more than ever. Her sister and her mom are the people closest to her, and they are back in California. She needs the emotional support that only a family can provide, and her kids need to be in a stable environment, far from the bad memories and terrible experiences of the recent past.

Although it breaks my heart to hear it, Marcie has decided to go back home to California. It's what's best for her, and even though it fills me with an infinite sadness, deep down, I know it's what she should do. I can respect her decision, because I felt exactly the same way in 2003 when I picked up from 13 years in Arizona and moved back to Tennessee to be with my family. She signed a three-month lease on her new place, is going to wait until the kids get out of school, and then this summer she's going home to stay. Her life is in California, my life is in Las Vegas.

We both know that our paths crossed for a reason, and it seems like it was just in time for her, but probably much too late for me. She tells me that I'm her guardian angel, and I guess angels have to move on once their work is done. I will miss her terribly. I'll miss her wonderful smile, her gorgeous blue eyes, and that grin I get when she first sees me. I'll miss her quirky aversion to her own hair, the way she slips one-liners into our conversations, and the awkward not-quite on the lips, not-quite on the cheek way she kisses me goodbye when people are looking. There will be a hole in my life that I won't be able to fill for a long time.

Our time together will be short, and now that I know where the end lies, my emotions are in turmoil. I'm sad that I will lose somebody that means so much to me, but on the other hand, I am happy for her to get a fresh start and even happier for her kids. They have no idea what a good mother they have, I can only hope that someday they realize it.

I know what a good person she is, and because of all of you, I got to know her better and I was able to turn the worst week of her life around, while in the meantime it turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life. I finally know what it means to truly care about somebody so much that I expected nothing in return. It's an amazing thing. If only everyone could feel what I've experienced this week.

When it comes right down to it, I feel a lot like Bill Murray at the end of Scrooged.

Thank you again, everyone, for everything. Words cannot express my gratitude.

Your humble host,


Friday, February 27, 2009

A Note of Thanks

Hey everybody--I've got a note that Marcie wrote for all of my readers that she wanted me to post. Here it is:


I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has helped my boys and I, or even just to give us a thought. I am very humbled to be so blessed to have people step into my life, even those of you from a distance to give a second thought to help myself, but mostly my boys.

I know you all have a good interpretation of the things I have gone through the past year. I am so greatly appreciative of everyone’s generosity and good wishes. I have always tried to be an optimistic person, I had always tried to help people wherever I can, I thought the good days of people paying it forward and caring to lend a helping hand were over. I can’t explain or put into words the gratitude I have to all of you, and especially to Mikey, for helping pulling me out of the mess my boys and I were in.

I have read the comments people had left, and want you to know, I never ever once asked Mikey for help or money. It was Mikey’s own good will, good heart and good doing to actually help me. If it weren’t for him, I have no idea where I would be. I can’t believe how lucky I was for him to reach out to me, instead of turning his back like everyone in my family had. (Except my sister. But she is in a similar situation.). I did try looking into homeless shelters. I had never been in this kind of mess before. But they said no, due to the fact my older son is almost 15. It caters more to women and younger children, so my 7 year old made the cut. So that option was out. I have prayed and prayed to have God please help us through this situation. I know God will provide, and I had to keep faith.

When Mike and I started small chat at work in just getting to know him. (no, I never really let my personal life just flow). I believe he would always catch me on my hardest days. He told me he wanted to help, I told him his generosity from his tips was enough, I had no idea this was what he meant. I didn’t even know about his blogging, till a couple weeks ago. Wow…… I’m shocked! This is a really cool site. Never knew I was a part of the story for so long, And now I’m a big part. I know not in a good way. But I want to promise you, this is a story of hope, faith and trust. I just can’t believe every time I think of it, that it’s about me! And you all! And how you paid it forward to help me. I thought people like this were gone; I have always been on the other side of the fence looking in. And to be on this side, it’s tougher than I thought. I have always been a Christian, My faith in people has always been there. But I questioned it. You all, proved to me, we all do have hearts, and care. And when I start to ever think down on things, I’m going to think of you all, and tell the story, of how you all took a piece of my family into yours and helped with your kind words of encouragement and donations. I’m going to remember there are always people who care. Even when we think we are alone, we are not.

I will always do my best to help others like I have I the past. And to no end will I ever stop PAYING IT FORWARD LIKE YOU ALL HAVE DONE FOR ME AND MY BOYS! From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you all. THANK YOU will never be enough. Thank you for caring, for sharing, for helping me get into a place where I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get into financially. And for helping dry up the tears I have cried.

I thank you, and most of all, my boys thank you! They know of this. This is a great lesson for them to learn. I have always taught them to be gentlemen, this lesson will teach them to always be grateful for people everywhere in our life. If you are ever in Hendertucky (I heard it called that a few times, and got a kick out of it. Cuz I'm a hick girl myself)… I would love to thank you personally, face to face. Come into the Omelet House and say HI!

I’m sure Mikey would love to come in and meet you over an omelet. So would I.

Forever grateful,

Marcie, Jarred and Bryce……

As my life has always played out as a country song, I figured it was always themed as “A long trip alone", I now see it as “Angels among us”…!

And I thank you all, too. What a difference a week makes. Last weekend, she was devastated and had no place to turn. This week, the hard part is over and life is looking up. You've all done a wonderful thing, and it makes me proud to know such people.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Running Around On Thursday

Hey Gang!

Sorry for waiting so late in the day to post an update, but I was gone all day long, then immediately fell asleep for almost two hours as soon as I got home today. Since then, I've been on the phone and what-not. But now, I'm all yours!

I couldn't sleep at all last night, don't know why, but I only got about three or four hours worth. Of course, my phone rang about 15 minutes before my alarm went off--thanks Mamasan... So I crawled out of bed and got ready for the day, and left the house at nine to go pick up Marcie. On the way out the door, I saw that a couple of donations had arrived in the mail, so I grabbed them off the entry table and headed out. When I got to her place, we took a little tour around the estate, looking at all of the stacked boxes and stuff that was ready to go. Luckily we both have pickup trucks...

But we didn't hang around the house very long--we had stuff to do. When she got in my truck, I told her that she had mail showing up at my house, so I gave her the two envelopes. Enclosed was another fifty bucks for The Marcie Fund. Of course, she was very humbled and thankful.

The first item on the agenda was to head over to Friendly Donuts on Boulder Highway for breakfast. After eating there, I doubt I'll ever patronize a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin' Donuts again. We ordered three donuts to share--one apple fritter, one bear claw, and one creme-filled popover--and I got some milk while she went with the Starbucks Frappuccino. I think we paid nine bucks even for breakfast.

Friendly's is a tiny mom-and-pop joint, and we got the last available table. Of course, now that Marcie is a regular reader of this site, she's always asking me if I have my camera available to take pics of the food (I still take a ration of shiat from her for never posting a picture of my breakfast from the O-House. But that's coming soon, I promise!). So here it is--our tray of donut happiness:

And since Marcie missed her calling as a Price Is Right girl, he she is, showing off the goods:

Of course, I'm probably in the doghouse now for posting her pic without makeup, but then again, I wasn't wearing any, either. But you gotta respect an apple fritter that is as big as your head.

The donuts, of course, were oh-my-god good, but very filling. We got one complete one consumed, half of another one, and then one 'finger' of the bear claw. The rest went with us in a take-home bag. I think next time we go there, we'll pick up a couple to go, then head over to Saxby's Coffee on Horizon Ridge and eat 'em there--more comfy, more quiet, and I'm guessing the coffee is a little better, too.

After breakfast, we headed over to the bank. Luckily we both do our checking at Washington Mutual, so I wrote her a check for $1400, and she immediately deposited it into her account. The look on her face when I gave it to her was just priceless. I wish I would've had my camera handy right then. I'll write more about it later this weekend, but you folks have done a great, wonderful thing. I can't thank you enough! You gave Marcie her smile back, and that just made my whole week. Words can't describe how it made me feel, and I'm sure she felt a hundred times better. I could see the stress from her shoulders evaporate almost immediately.

Once the financial housekeeping was done, we headed over to the storage place to rent a unit. It took a bit longer than I expected--we got a full-on tour of the facilities, and once all the paperwork was completed, she paid for a couple of months in advance--one less thing to worry about next month.

After that chore was done, we decided to go back to the one apartment complex that had already basically approved her, as she was tired of looking and decided to just settle there and take a short-term lease. It's not the nicest place in the nicest neighborhood, but it's clean and quiet, and it's hers and she'll be safe there, free from the god-awful situation she'd been enduring for the past several months. I'm guessing her situation will improve even more over the next couple of months, and she'll get out of there this summer.

Once we took a look at her new apartment, we went back to the office to do the application paperwork. They ended up waiving the application fee, and totally ignored the whole pet issue and fees (Marcie has a little kitty cat that's making the move too). I'm guessing that they wanted somebody responsible and trustworthy in the place, so they bent the rules a little bit to get her application approved. We then we ran back over to the bank to get a cashiers check for the deposits and rent and such, and now she's good until April 1st. She signs the lease first thing in the morning and our goal is to get her completely moved on Friday so that she never has to spend another night in the hell-house with that punk-ass loser.

Again, everything took a little longer than anticipated, and by then it was noon. We had plans to meet up with one of the gals she used to work with over on the other side of town at one o'clock, so we took off and headed to Big Dog's Brewpub over on west Sahara. We took Boulder Highway all the way down to Sahara, and then across the Strip to the restaurant--I think it took us almost 45 minutes to get there.

As soon as we got a table, our waitress appeared, and Marcie decided she needed a cocktail. She went with a spicy bloody mary, while I had Captain and Coke. Her friend (Terrie, I think her name is--I'm terrible about remembering names) texted and said she was on her way. Miss M wanted some garlic fries as an appetizer, so we ordered that and an Arnold Palmer for her soon-to-arrive friend. I was a little disappointed with my cocktail when it arrived--instead of lime, there was a huge lemon wedge in it. WTF? Being a trooper, I somehow managed to choke it down, but after that, I changed up to straight Coke.

The garlic fries were very good--Marcie wanted me to try them because she knew that I don't generally like fries, but I have to say, I was impressed. When Terrie (I hope that's her name) showed up, she also ordered some cheese curds. Having been to Wisconsin only once in my entire life, I've never had cheese curds. But they were good--kinda like really heavy deep-fried mozzarella nuggets, but not made out of mozz, and not served with marinara--these came with ranch dressing and also a sour cream/dill sauce for dipping. Very good, but filling.

The gals ordered a large Big Dog salad to share, and I ordered a 'small' taco salad. In case you need some visual stimulation, here ya go:

Again, I had my camera handy, but forgot about taking pics until somebody reminded me. But this is the Big Dog Salad, after Terrie scooped out about a third of it onto another plate. Seriously, the thing was a monster.

And here is my taco salad, minus a couple of bites. It was damn good, even better than the ones at Taco Bell. High praise, indeed...

But we had a nice lunch and a nice visit, and it was good to see Marcie able to relax and re-connect with her friend. It's been a really tough week, and I think a little vacation from her daily stress level was just what she needed. I mostly just ate and listened, letting the gals catch up, but I had an enjoyable time nonetheless.

As much as we wanted to, we couldn't hang out and linger over drinks and conversation all afternoon--Terrie had to go back to work, and Marcie and I had to get back over to Hendertucky. (Her term, not mine, for the part of town she's moving to).

By the time we made the trek back from the west side, the junior high had just let out for the day and we found her oldest riding his skateboard out in front of the school. So we picked him up and headed back to her place. But we put the errands on hold at that point, as she had to go down to the elementary school and pick up her youngest who now has the cold Marcie was fighting earlier in the week. So we said goodbye, and I told her to call me later if she wanted to get some stuff moved over to the storage unit.

As soon as I got home, I collapsed into bed and caught me a perfectly relaxing two-hour nap. I sent her a text when I woke up, seeing if she wanted to get a head start on tomorrow's chores, but she called me back saying that she put the kids to work and they got a big load of stuff in storage already and that she was gonna do a little grocery shopping and call it a night.

I was cool with that, even though doing crummy stuff like moving heavy boxes and furniture with her is more appealing than doing nothing without her, but she'd had a very long day and needed the rest. Our plan for tomorrow is to start moving all the furniture at 10 am, and then keep going until it's all done. I'm guessing that around the time we finish up and I'm good and tired, the folks in the poker room will call me up asking me to work. So I probably won't be spending much time at the keyboard tomorrow.

Catch ya this weekend--


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You Asked For It

So here ya go--a picture from last night of me and the Kri-Monster enjoying some beer and pizza at Grimaldi's:

There's more, but you'll have to go over to Carmen's place to check them out. And yeah, that grease spot on my shirt is courtesy of an adventurous mushroom that didn't quite want to stay on the slice, especially when I started laughing before I got it to my pie-hole. Luckily, I was wearing the oldest t-shirt in the collection, so the damages were minimal.

What a great time though--I love those gals, and hanging out with all of them is about the most fun one can have while still keeping your pants on.

Anyhow, after dinner, my phone never rang--I had yet another day away from the casino, so I got a full night's sleep again. I'm tellin' you though, as soon as I get back to a 'normal' routine--BAM!--I'll be working like a crazy man again and not getting any sleep for weeks on end. Let's just hope that it's sooner rather than later.

But once I got up this morning and puttered around for a bit, I got myself dressed and ready to head out. I checked my bank account online and saw that the first installment of the Marcie Fund had already arrived, and there is another pending deposit of $300 that will hit tomorrow morning. So in the short span of less than a week, we've raised almost $1500! Thank you all so very much--it really means a lot.

So I headed back over to the O-House to see the other Divine Miss M, and also get some lunch. Before I did that, I decided to surprise her with something nice. She's been under the weather for a couple of days, so I got a gift bag and tissue, complete with curly ribbons and stuff for decoration, and then went to Walgreen's and filled it with stuff like Zycam, Tylenol Cold medicine, sore throat lozenges, mints, green tea, and eye drops. So while it looked like a birthday present or something, it was actually a bag full of useful get-well stuff. But she appreciated it very much, and now I've got some of her germs. Woot! But there's nobody else I'd rather get them from...

I had a long and lingering lunch, hanging around for a couple of hours reading the paper and taking my time while she worked, but she was still able to come and hang out between delivering food and taking orders. Of course we had another wonderful visit, and made plans for tomorrow.

She's got the day off, so once the kids get off to school, we're gonna go down to the bank and move the money from my account to hers, then go get some breakfast at Friendly Donuts. They've won a couple of LVRJ 'Best of Vegas' awards, and Marcie loves the apple fritters there. And yeah, the donuts are so much better than those too sweet by half sugar, shortening, and air excuses they sell at Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts. These are good old-fashioned donuts, made the way god intended, and once we fight our way past all the Henderson cops, we're gonna indulge.

After breakfast, it's over the U-Haul store to rent a dolly, then to the storage place to rent a storage unit, then to the parking lot at Home Depot to hire some, uh, migrant employees. Then we'll get all the boxes and furniture out of the garage at her current place and get it stashed. Also, she's following up tonight about that one decent apartment she found, so hopefully all goes well and we'll know where we'll be moving the rest of her stuff to next week.

Once the plans were made and my lunch was paid for, we said goodbye until tomorrow. On my way home, I stopped at the little music store on the corner and picked up a new maroon-colored strap and a 12-pack of guitar picks. It doesn't look like I'll be able to go on a treasure hunt for all my guitar stuff down in the garage for a couple of days though--my stuff is all blocked in by my roommate's truck, and well, I just don't have much free time on the horizon. But I'll get to it soon enough--I can't remember any scales or anything, and I really need the practice.

Funny how the topic of guitars keeps coming back to wants and needs. Practice, I need. But right now, all I want is just a nap.


Hot Chicks, Pizza, & Guitars

Yep, that's pretty much the Holy Trinity as far as I'm concerned!

I've had a wonderful day, and I'm dog tired, kinda glad that things are slow in the poker room tonight so maybe I can get a full night's sleep.

First of all, I managed to catch about five hours of sleep in the morning when I got home from work, which was nice. Once I got up, I showered and got dressed and motored over to the O-House to have lunch and visit my favorite gal. I did a sneak-attack and grabbed a table in her section without her knowing it, so I surprised her when she came out of the the kitchen.

My lunch was really good--I had a bowl of chili with cheese and onions (it's right up there with Binion's, only less greasy!) and a grilled cheese sandie. It was really good and although I thought it might be too much, it hit the spot and I was able to finish the meal. And I got to the restaurant at the tail-end of Marcie's shift, so once her shift wound down, the little room in back where I was sitting was pretty much abandoned, and she came out to sit and visit with me once she got done working.

I felt bad for her though--her cold had gotten worse and she was starting to run a fever. But taking a sick day is out of the question. And by the time her day ended, her voice was starting to go, too. Not fun at all, but even so, it's always nice to be able to spend some time with her.

We both cut out of there at the same time, she went home to rest, and I came home to try to do the same, but little things kept popping up that needed my attention, and before I knew it, it was after 5:00 pm and I had to shave and get dressed and head down to Grimaldi's to meet my gals for dinner.

Before I left, I got a message from Sarah (Miss 408Down) saying that she wouldn't be there--she had a doctor's appointment. Of course, I called shenanigans on that, saying no doctor was gonna see her at 6:00 pm unless there was a flaming rash or something like that...

But she lit me up and told me that she had a valid excuse. Her doc is up in Summerlin and the appointment was at 4:45 and there was no way she'd make it to Grimaldi's in time. So she got a pass. This time.

So we were one-down for the night. I was the first one to get to the restaurant, so I grabbed seat at the bar and ordered a tall cold Peroni draft. I got about two inches down the glass when the Kri-Monster drove up in her bitchin' Camaro Jeep. She joined me at the bar and we had a few laughs while we waited for Linda and Carmen.

Linda wasn't far behind, so we went ahead and got our table, asking the hostess to seat us as far away from any children as possible, in case of the off-chance there might be foul language and lowbrow humor emanating from our merry band.

Of course, we had the most faaaaaaaaaabulous waiter in the joint as our server, and yeah, he was a little irritating. You know the type, just a little too friendly and talkative, and doesn't quite grasp the concept of 'unobtrusive'.

Carmen showed up right after our waiter made his introduction, and then the party was ON! I gotta tell you--sitting there at the table was so much fun--it was like four comedians were having dinner together. I wish somebody would've been videotaping it, because we sure have a lot of laughs when we get together. Had Sarah been there, it might've been off the charts. Probably a good thing she wasn't, because it would suck big ol' donkey balls to get banned from Grimaldi's.

As it turns out, I totally spaced on bringing my camera with me, so Carmen is the only one with photo evidence of the evening's activities. As soon as she emails me some copies, I'll post 'em up. But we weren't there just for the laughs--we had to get our grub on. We ended up getting three pies--one cheese, one pepperoni and mushroom, and Carmen's 'meat lovers' with ham and sausage.

When the waiter said Oh, I just love sausage!, it was about all we could do to keep from laughing our asses off and saying something wildly inappropriate. I looked around the table, and to see us, it was like looking at four different dams about to burst with off-color jokes. But we didn't embarass ourselves. This time.

The pizza, as usual, was outstanding, the beers kept arriving, and the conversation was quite entertaining. Again, it was one of those evenings that you wish you could just put in a bottle and uncork whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

After we finished eating and the leftovers were boxed up, we sat and chatted for quite awhile. Of course, since Sarah wasn't there, we had to talk about her, and I got the brilliant idea that we should send her a text message letting her know what she'd missed out on.

The best we could come up with was I hope that speculum was ice-cold!

Heh--big laughs all around. I'm thinking it was much funnier on our end... Not two minutes passed when we got her response. Ewwwww!

Anyhow, that's pretty much how the night went--lots of laughs, lots of good food and drink. Once we settled the tab, we all went our separate ways, saying goodnite in the parking lot. But the Kri-Monster said she had something for me. So I walked over to her Jeep and she pulled out a shiny Ibenez acoustic guitar!

Wow--so cool. It was pretty and it sounded nice, and it even had a set of brand-new strings on it. Times are kinda tight right now, so it was cool that Kristen provided me a guitar to wail on until I'm able to get a new one of my own. And now I have to practice and shiat--I've got to re-learn all that stuff I've forgotten over the past five years. So tomorrow I'm gonna go rooting around in the garage and look for my strap, a tuner, some picks, and all my old practice notebooks.

Once I got home, I messed with it for a bit, but yeah, my fingers are all wussie and tender now, so it's gonna take some time.

I also checked in with Marcie to make sure she was doing ok and didn't need any medicine or anything, and yeah, I'm gonna go back and have lunch with her tomorrow. And on Thursday we'll start getting her extra stuff moved into storage.

For a guy that only works about ten hours a week now, I sure seem to be busy... I guess it's time for bed--I need my rest.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kickin' It Old Skool

Howdy gang!

I hope that your Tuesday is somewhat normal. I really hope mine is--it's been a real roller coaster these past few days, and I think I'm ready to get off of it.

First of all--a little housekeeping. My gripe with Amazon was fixed, finally, on Saturday--they finally figured out what was wrong with my account, got my CD out of limbo, and gave me free overnight shipping "since I've been such a good customer for over seven years". Yeah, that's right. Besides my CD, the UPS man also delivered a replacement pair of prescription sunglasses yesterday. Oh hell yeah--I can see again!

On the work front, well, it's been a challenge lately--as in full-on biblical style famine. I worked ten hours total last week, and then on Sunday night I went into work, dealt five hands of no-limit holdem, and the game broke. I made a whopping nine bucks for my shift, on the clock for a half hour total. But the floorman felt bad for me and gave me a five-spot out of his toke bucket and asked me to join him for a beer after work.

No problemo there--I had nothing else going on. So we hot footed it over to Sierra Gold and took advantage of their awesome graveyard breakfast special--a huge ham steak, 2 eggs, toast, and home fries for $5.99. And this ham steak is huge--about a quarter inch thick, but the diameter of a Frisbee. And they grill it like a steak, not fried on a griddle. Oh yes, it was damn good. But I couldn't linger and hang out--I had to get home and get to bed--my alarm was set for 8:00 am, as I had to meet Marcie early in the morning to get a head start on apartment hunting.

I covered that already, and I finally got home around 3:00 in the afternoon. I was totally cool with dozing off for a couple of hours before work, but I got an email from one of my longtime readers, Mike in K.C., reminding me that he was in town and that we were supposed to have a beer together.

We planned on it a couple of weeks ago, and I told him to send me a reminder just before he got here, which he did on Friday. But then all the drama of the weekend took it's toll and I completely spaced it. So once I got the email, I called him up and told him that I'd meet him at Benny's Bullpen an hour later.

So I picked my carcass up out of bed, put my shoes on, grabbed some cigars, and headed for downtown. When I gave my truck to the valet at Binion's, I made sure I was holding my new sunglasses so that they wouldn't get crushed in the door again. A few minutes later, I stumbled into the Bullpen, and Mike immediately recognized me.

He waved, and the first thing he did was hand me a couple of folded up twenties and tell me "This is for the Marcie Fund!"

Wow--that was nice. But apparently, even though he's been in Vegas all weekend, he was checking my site on his new iPhone, so that's how he knew about it. So I promised that I'd make sure she got the money when I saw her today.

He also introduced me to his girlfriend Leanne, and we sat down to have a round or two. A few minutes after we got our first drink, I managed to kick our cocktail table hard enough to douse Leanne with her own margarita. Big laughs all around! I kinda felt bad, and had the waitress bring another one, but the bartender was cool enough to give it to us for free.

We sat there for about an hour or so, maybe longer, just telling stories and catching up on things, but we were getting hungry. We saw other patrons having food delivered, and it looked damn good. But we couldn't decide if we wanted to eat there, or head over to the Golden Gate and re-live the early tradition of a French Dip and a shrimp cocktail.

Although the menu at Benny's looked good, tradition won the battle, and a few minutes later were were wandering down Fremont Street, heading to the Gate. Of course the line was long and slow moving, but oh, it was worth it! See for yourself--

Even though I had doused Leanne with a margarita, she was a good sport and insisted on buying my dinner. So not only did we get to re-live a great Vegas tradition, I got it on the cheap, too! Woot!

While we were eating our dinner, we were talking about all the old times that we'd been there at the downtown, and I honestly could not remember the last time I had a shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate. It's been at least a year, probably longer. And I mean, that was always our first Vegas meal whenever I'd come up with my boys. It was a tradition! But I hadn't been there in so long that I had no clue when the last time I was there--it had been far too long. But the dinner was excellent--the cocktail sauce was nice and spicy, the French Dip was as good as it's ever been, and of course the clowns behind the counter moved like molasses running uphill. No reason to break their tradition of slowness, I suppose.

After dinner, we wandered the street a bit and did some people watching, but I *knew* I'd probably get called in to work early, and I wanted to get a catnap before heading back to the poker room. So I said goodbye to Mike and Leanne there at the Binion's tournament area, and thanked them for inviting me to join them on their vacation.

I headed back home, and I wasn't even in the door before my phone was ringing, asking me to come in to work at 9:30. That was nice, given my lack of making any money the night before, but damn, I really wanted a catnap. I had about an hour before I needed to be there, so I called Marcie and she gave me the low-down on the apartment she looked at earlier in the evening. It sounds promising, so I've got my fingers crossed.

After the call, I made a quick post, got dressed and headed out. By the time I got to the poker room, they were down to just two tables. That didn't look good at all, but somehow I managed to stretch it into a seven hour shift.

That brings us to now--I'm all kinds of tired right now, but I've got a full day ahead of me. Once I get some sleep, I'll go down and have lunch with Marcie, and then later tonight, I'm meeting all of my blogger gals for dinner. Oh yes, there will be pics.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Quick Update

I've got about five minutes before I have to leave, but I wanted to share a little info. (Work just called--I gotta go in four hours early tonight--Woot!).

Anyhow, I just got off the phone with Marcie, and we *may* have a winner. She went and looked at a place this evening that sounds very promising, somewhat affordable, and right in the area she needs to be--close to work and close to her kids' schools. We'll know more by Wednesday, but so far, it sounds pretty good. It's still a little early to breathe a sigh of relief, but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

On the other hand, the stress of the week, and from what I can tell, the lack of sleep and lack of eating properly has taken it's toll and she's sick as a dog tonight. Just one more obstacle to overcome, I suppose. But she'll make it--she's not alone in this fight--it seems that the entire Hurricane Mikey community is pulling for her.

Anyhow, since I'm sharing small part of this burden , just to know that she may have found a suitable place is great news. I know how much better I feel all of the sudden, so I can only imagine it's a hundred times better for her.

Thanks again everyone--I'll be back sometime tomorrow!


Thank You All!

It's been a long weekend, and my traffic on the site has been through the roof today, which I'm guessing is that people are looking for updates. (Normally I get just over 700 hits per day, and today, by 2 pm, I already had 600 visitors!). So I figured that it's time to bring everyone up to speed.

When I first put up the call for help on Saturday evening, I was on the phone with Marcie. Well, I have the PayPal account set up to send me an email notification whenever a donation goes through. In the first half hour or so, she heard my email box go Ding! about five times. Before we hung up the phone, there was about $175 that had come in.

We went out and had dinner together last night, and by the time we met up, there was over $600 in donations. Late that night after the kids had gone to bed, we were on the phone again, and I told her that my goal was to have it hit a thousand before midnight. I don't know if we made it on time, but when I got up this morning at 8:00 am, I checked the account, and there was $1,103.54 in there!

Of course, I called her with the news, and I wish I could've recorded her reaction. Folks, it's a wonderful thing you've done, and she appreciates it more than you know. She even told me that once things settle down and she has a place to live that she'll write up a note for me to post here. Believe me, though, when I say that she is thankful beyond words. And so am I.

So the first thing we did was initiate a transfer, and the money should be here by Friday, in time to use for deposits, moving expenses, and rent. Besides that first $1100 that came in, several people have requested the info to on where to send a check, and those funds will be be used to take care of the kids needs with groceries and whatnot once she gets moved. I've also received offers for a few other things to come her way like Walmart gift cards, gas cards, and even a cash rebate on a big-ticket purchase that'll get signed over to her. If anyone else wants to go the gift card route, by all means, you can do so. Just send me an email and I'll let you know where to send it. So the floodgates have been opened most generously, and I thank you all very much. I am amazed at the response, but not surprised. I always knew there were still lots of good people in the world, and this is just further proof. I thank you, and Marcie thanks you.

Anyhow, after we got off the phone, I headed over to her place to pick her up, and we went searching for apartments and rental houses all day. A lot of our leads turned out to be dry holes, but a few show potential. There's one apartment that we looked at that is affordable and available, but the neighborhood is a little sketchy. There's another place that she really likes, but she can't see it until later this evening. And as I'm typing this, she's heading over to look at a small house in the 'downtown' area of Henderson.

The biggest obstacle in her way, of course, is the broken lease from a year ago. Not only does it show up on her rental history, but it went to collections also, so it has screwed her credit, too. It's just been a complete nightmare finding a decent place that will work with her. But we're working on it. It's just not gonna be easy, that's all. So wish us a little luck as we keep searching.

Once we ran out all of our leads, we came back over here to my place, grabbed a bite for lunch, and looked online for some more stuff. Nothing really looked too promising, but we criss-crossed all over old Henderson looking for 'For Rent' signs--and that actually seemed to work. We found a few more places to look at because of that. And while we were out, we had a nice long talk. It's no secret that I'm very fond of her, and believe me, nobody wants her to stay here and try to make her life work out more I do, but the thought of just packing up and moving back to California has crossed her mind quite a bit lately. Luckily, she doesn't want to take her kids out of school, so picking up and leaving for Cali is off the table for now. I'd hate to see her go.

So that's where things are right now. She hasn't found a new home just yet, but the stress of how she was going to pay for it is off of her shoulders. And we've still got a few days to figure things out, too. And while we were out running around today, another $250 or so in donations came trickling in. All I can say is Wow. Thank you all so very much.

I'll have more later, but until then--thanks again everyone!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Marcie Fund **UPDATED**

Hey everyone...

Get comfy. First of all, I want to say Thank You! to all of my readers, lurkers, and re-clickers who have helped make this site as successful and long-lasting as it is. I don't have one of those Uber-blogs like Rachel Lucas or Instapundit, but I have respectable traffic--I'm up to over 700 hits per day, and my Sitemeter stats tell me that it's not just people I'm related to. So thank you all very much for sticking with me all these years.

But I want to talk about something that's been weighing heavily on my mind for awhile, and today it came to the forefront. I need a favor, or two.

You all know about Marcie, my waitress at the Omelet House who I have a small crush on, right? (Those of you who don't, well, just start reading from the middle of December onwards to catch up--we'll wait).

Anyhow, over the past couple of months we've become friends and she's opened up to me quite a bit lately. I've known that she was in a miserable relationship for awhile and looking for a way out, but I didn't know how bad things were for her. Until today.

Normally, I don't go to the Omelet House on the weekends because it's so damn crowded and I don't want to have to sit around and wait for a table, and then, once I finally *do* get a seat, Marcie is way too busy to come around and visit. And I certainly don't want to take money out of her pocket by monopolizing her time.

But last night after work, I completely skipped out on getting some food on the way home. I knew I'd be hungry when I got up this morning, and mentioned that I'd probably go back down there to the O-House and have lunch once I got up. And regardless of how busy it was in the restaurant, seeing her for just a moment is much better than not seeing her at all, right?

When I got there, it was a complete zoo, just as I feared. When I walked in, her section was all booths on the front side, and completely full, and they put me in the back room at a table completely on the opposite side of the restaurant from her. For a minute, I thought about bailing out, but I *was* hungry, so I sat there sipping on my Coke that the hostess brought me and started reading my book. About five minutes passed and I realized that nobody was coming to take my order. I looked around, and one of the waiters came over and said Hey, Marcie said to tell you that she'll be over in just a minute.

Very nice--they all know that she's 'my' waitress, so she was able to pick up my table, even though it was hell and gone from her normal section.

She came by a few minutes later and gave me a hug, but I could tell there was something wrong. She's always got a wonderful smile, but her eyes looked like they'd been crying.

I asked her if she was ok, and she told me that she wasn't. She ran back to take care of her other customers, but once all of her other tables got their food, she had a lull and came back to talk to me.

So here's the story, in a nutshell, and I have her permission to share it.

She's been in a bad relationship for about a year. In fact, it's an abusive relationship--I'll spare the details, but trust me when I say it's an awful situation. And she's been trying to get out of it for some time. But that's easier said than done. She lives with the guy, for now, and she has a couple of kids. And her work situation is a lot like mine--she lives on part-time tip income only. She has no benefits, the kids have no insurance, but she was getting by because of a two-income household.

But things got so bad that she finally broke it off this week, and since it's his house, he's throwing her and the kids out at the end of the month, and trying to make things difficult for her.

She has nowhere to go. But here's the thing--back when they first got together, he convinced her to break her lease at her old apartment and to move in with him, and adding a degree of difficulty into the equation, that went to collections with a bunch of fees added on, which she can't afford, and he has refused to pay. Not only that, but he's also been stealing money from her, so much so that she's resorted leaving her tips locked in her car at night. It goes on and on, but you get the idea...

So finding a new place has proved especially difficult for her because most apartments won't rent to her now. And her income is 'unprovable', plus it's not that great anyways. I know it sounds a lot like a white-trash soap opera from Alabama, but that's not the case at all. She's not a smoker, a drinker (he's an alcoholic, though), or a welfare queen. She has all of her teeth, she's well spoken, attractive, and just an all-around nice girl. She's just in a shiatty situation, and as a single mother with two kids in a crappy economy, she just doesn't have a lot of options. She has no family around to lean on, either.

And listening to her today just damn near broke my heart.

But she's doing all she can--she's been spending all of her free time looking for a new place and applying for second jobs. She hasn't asked for anything except for somebody to listen. She's never asked me for money or anything like that, all she's ever wanted is a little emotional support.

Of course, because I have a soft spot for her, all of this weighs heavily on my mind. I wish I could do more. I mean, I overtip her significantly whenever I see her, but that only covers her daily stiffs. I told her that I'll do whatever I can--help her move, help her find another job, help her get settled in a new place, give her my time and let her use my truck. If I were a man of means, she wouldn't have the sleepless nights. But I'm not a man of means--I just don't have the resources to help her get over this seemingly insurmountable hump. Her life is extremely difficult right now, and she doesn't have anywhere to turn.

And yeah, I readily admit, I have a bit of a thing for her. But beyond that, I think this situation goes back to my whole 'cracked eggs' theory I wrote about a couple of weeks ago--sometimes people cross paths for a reason, and well, here we are. There is some sort of cosmic significance to this situation, I'm convinced. And I've volunteered to do all I can for her, even if it means that all I ever get from her is a 'Thank you' and a peck on the cheek. I'm not looking for anything in return.

But I do have one valuable resource at my disposal--my website and my readers.

I know it's a lot to ask, but it's not for me--it's for somebody I care about deeply. I've set up a PayPal account if anyone would like to donate to her. The link is at the top of the page. Every dime that goes in there will go directly to her--you have my word on that. And if somebody wishes to donate, but doesn't want to go through PayPal, you can email me directly and I'll give you a mailing address where you can mail a check (made out to her).

I thought about this all afternoon, and I just got off the phone with her--she gave me her blessing, putting the details of her life out here for everyone to read, in the hope that a few pennies from heaven fall in her direction. And I put my money where my mouth is--before I left the restaurant this afternoon, I dug into the wallet and gave her the hundred-dollar bill that I have tucked away for emergencies, and insisted that she take it. I'll do all that I can, but I need your help. Actually, Marcie needs your help.

Anyhow, that's the situation. I remember how I've benefited in the past when things went south for me, and Dougie stepped up and organized a 'Save Mikey' fund about four years ago. I'll never forget that. So I'm doing the same thing for Marcie. She's a nice gal and she really means a lot to me, and I hate to see her crying--it just rips my guts out.

Please help.

Thank you all very much.


PS I'm going to leave this post up at the top all weekend and through Monday--I get most of my traffic on Mondays, so I want to make sure everyone sees it. I'll post new, happier material again on Tuesday.

**Updated Sunday 2/22 @ 7:35 PM**

Hey Gang-- I want to first of all say Thank You all so much for the support and notes of encouragement received so far. The response and generosity we've received has been unbelievable.

I just got back from having dinner with Marcie and her two wonderful kids, and we had a great time. When I told her how much money has been donated so far, she couldn't help but get a little emotional. She was blown away by the kindness of strangers--people who would think of her and help out. But that's ok--she's done a lot of crying this week, and this was the first time it was for a good reason. You all make me very proud. I have the best readers in the world, and I'm gonna try and remind myself of that every time I don't feel like writing for a couple of days. Thank you all so very much.

Also, a couple of housekeeping things. A few people have asked if Marcie will be attending the March Madness festivities. Of course I told her all about it, and I think she can be persuaded to make an appearance, but she's got other things to worry about this week. Once life settles down a bit, then we can talk about getting back to normal and doing normal fun things again.

Another thing came up that I didn't think of, but I'm not that cynical. A troll or two suggested that I'm just making the whole thing up to scam people into donations and just lining my pockets. That couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, Marcie is real, and yes her problems are very real. But even folks I know have asked when they'll see a picture of her. I've never taken one of her at work (and she would refuse to let me take a picture of her with her hair up, anyways), and today was the first time we've hung out together outside of the restaurant. But she offered me up some photos that she had, so here ya go.

Ladies and Gentleman, friends, readers.... Here is my favorite gal, Marcie:

First, from the camera phone.

Next, I like to call this one the 'Farrah Fawcett Poster'

And finally, here she is on Fremont Street showing the Gorgeous Girls of Glitter Gulch that they can't even compete with her hotness.

And just so you know that I didn't just go and fetch a bunch of random hot girl photos off of Google Image Search, here we are together earlier this evening.

Things are looking up. I'll write some more tomorrow night with a full update. But for now, she's got a lead on a decent and affordable apartment in the right area, and she'll be checking it out tomorrow.

Thanks again, everyone. God bless you all!

A Random Survey For The Weekend

Since it's the weekend and I don't feel like writing what's on my mind right now, I'll do another one of these surveys that lands in my mailbox from time to time. Here ya go...

1) What does your username mean? Well, back in the early days of the internet, I was more involved with the stock market and was immersed in that world, so my first username was 'Oddlot', which was a great one. But then after me and Chuckie Schwab parted company, and I started working for Go Daddy software, I wanted something more tropical and parrothead-esque. But all the good names and domains were taken. So after trying over and over again to find a good domain name that was available, I settled on Hurricane Mikey. Some of my old 'friends' say that name fits because of the whole dangerous wind thing, but now it's become a permanent fixture. And I get asked a lot, but no, I did not attend the University of Miami. Hell, I've only been to Miami twice in my entire life.

2) Elaborate on your user photo. Ok, well, basically it's hurricane flag with a Jolly Roger superimposed, although an actual hurricane warning uses two flags. So I guess the truth is, my logo is more like strong gale than an actual hurricane...

3) How many comments do you have? As of Saturday, February 21st at 2:58 pm, I have 3,888, not counting the jerkoffs I've deleted, or the first two year's worth of comments that were lost in the fog once I installed the Haloscan commenting software.

4) What's your current relationship status? Non-existent as far as I know, although aside from all the drama going on in Marcie's life right now, I think there is something going on there. She asked me for my number today. But it's complicated--a long post will be forthcoming by Monday.

5) What are you wearing right now? A tan t-shirt, olive green shorts, no shoes.

6) What is your current problem? A lack of poker players in the casino.

7) What do you love most? My family, my friends, sailing, sitting on the beach, writing.

8) What makes you most happy? Family gatherings after a long absence.

9) Are you musically inclined? I think I covered this a few days ago. I don't think I am, others would disagree, but only because I can fake it.

10) What would you do if you woke up one morning and found out you were on cocaine? I dunno, probably wonder why I'm still fat? WTF kinda question is this?

11) If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? I would've used all my student loan money to buy Microsoft stock at the initial public offering. Seriously, one trip in the time machine--that's exactly what I'd do.

12) If you must be an animal for one day, what would you be? Probably a killer whale. I dig the ocean, no predators, and hey, seafood...

13) Ever have a near-death experience? Was almost killed one day in Alaska--had a boat accident and was chest deep in 36-degree water for almost an hour. Also, I had a motorcycle accident one summer in college--I used to never wear a helmet, and one day I went back in the house and grabbed it for some unknown reason, and that's the day I went down hard. There was also another time that Reverend Dave and I came face to face with a big damn Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake when we were barefootin' around in the woods in Tennessee. Scared the bejeezus out of us.

14) Name an obvious quality you have. Hmmm... Well, I'd like to think I have the ability to tell a good story.

15) What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now? Luckily I don't have any earbugs going right now because I've got my iPod playing a random list through the speakers on the shelf as I'm writing this post. Currently, I'm listening to BB King singing The Thrill Is Gone.

16) Are you happy today? Yes, generally I'm always happy. I'm a little stressed right now though. But I've said it before--my life is an afternoon in a hammock, but it's the people I worry about that get to me.

17) Name someone with the same birthday as you. Kirsten Dunst and Willie Nelson. We're the trifecta of cool right there.

18) Do you have a secret crush on someone? It's no secret. She knows. You all know.

19) Have you ever been in a fight? Last fist fight I got into was in like eighth grade. If somebody wants to take a swing at me nowadays, I'd just bust a cap in 'em, like a fed-up Indiana Jones in a Cairo bazaar.

20) Have you ever sang in front of a large crowd? Karaoke in front of about 30 or 40 people, back-up vocals in front of about a hundred. But I'm a horrible singer. Seriously--you'd laugh if your ears weren't bleeding.

21) What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Attitude, followed closely by the rack.

22) What was your biggest mistake? Attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for three semesters and two summer terms. Good lord, what an expensive joke.

23) Something totally random about you? Last time I played Guitar Hero, I got booed off the stage three times in a row. ON THE EASY LEVEL! On a real guitar, I could totally play the first two and a half minutes of Cliffs of Dover, but Guitar Hero is a total mystery to me.

24) Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? Back in the day, people said I looked like John Candy, but nowadays they only compare me to Butterbean. The most random one I heard was one time some chick said I looked like Garth Brooks--I was wearing a brown leather fedora and a plaid shirt at the time, but damn... Garth Brooks?

25) Are you comfortable with your height? Sure. Six feet is cool. I wouldn't mind being an inch or two taller, but that would just make it harder to get in and out of taxi cabs. But this question reminds me of the best joke ever on Cheers. Sam: Hey Norm, what you up to? Norm: My ideal weight if I were nine feet tall, Sammy!

26) What is the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you? About three years ago, I did a post of what I considered the best 100 songs in Rock n Roll history. Well, at the time, me and Sticky were an item, so for Christmas, she bought me an iPod and loaded it with all 100 songs. Then she made another playlist of a bunch of 'our' songs and loaded them on it, too. Then she put the whole thing back in the box and sealed it up like it had never been tampered with. So when I opened it, I had a brand-new iPod, but it was personalized. One of the coolest gifts ever--it just floored me.

27) What is your favorite smell? Bacon cooking, coffee brewing. Campfire smoke. The first whiff of evergreen during the holidays. The 'ocean scent' where the sea meets the land.

28) What is something that really annoys you? People who can't spell. Slow drivers in front of me. Indecision. Political correctness.

29) What's something that you really like? Getting away from it all. Sleeping on a boat. Making a well-timed joke.

30) Do you give random hugs and kisses? I used to, but I'm not allowed at the high school anymore...

31) What's the latest you have ever stayed up? All night, baby! Even if I'm not working, I'm usually up until four or five in the morning, anyways.

32) Have you ever been rushed to the Emergency room? Only when I broke my leg. I've never had to take a ride in an ambulance, though.


Nothing Better To Do At 3:00 AM

Yep, I'm wide awake, and I don't feel like sleeping quite yet, so I figured I'd stay up and post some nonsense in the hope that somebody is reading this weekend.

Anyhow, my Friday night went just about how I expected it would--I was chillin' here at the house, not doing a doggone thing, when the poker room called, requesting my mad skillz on the green burnt-orange felt. At first, they were hesitant, as the floorman thought I'd be up against overtime again, but I told him to check the logbook--up until that point I'd worked a grand total of four-and-a-half hours this week. So he gave me the ol' Bob Barker and told me to neuter my pets Come on down!

I got there in time for the 8:00 o'clock push, and I ended up working until about 1:30. The money was just ok--nothing to get too excited about, because about an hour after I got there, the games started breaking right and left and I had three breaks in the five hours I was there. But I'm certainly not complaining--the whole shift was gravy as far as I was concerned.

Once I punched out, I sat in on the 4-8 game (didn't bring a bankroll with me for the no-limit table, although it looked exceedingly juicy and one of my buddies was in the game, telling me I should be there with him). I was playing well, but suffered two ridiculous river suckouts to the same guy. But it's not a sad tale--I still made $60 profit in the hour I was there. I just didn't want to stick around and give it all back because it was a no-foldem game. Everyone stayed to the river on almost every hand. I was happy with the win, so I cashed out after just an hour.

I thought about heading over to Sierra Gold to get some late-night munchies, as I'd had nothing to eat all day except some trail mix, plus a bag of Sun Chips on my break. But I didn't feel too hungry at the moment I was driving by, so I just came on home. I'm sure I'll be good and hungry when I wake up, and I suppose I could go over and see Marcie at some point.

Speaking of the ladies, they finally got to me. Yes, I gave in to peer pressure and signed up on Twitter. Yeah, it's ok I guess. Since I sat around doing f*ck-all for the entire afternoon yesterday, it was cool to chit chat, but I'm still waiting for all the knowledge and light to fall from the sky and the mysteries of the universe to unfold before me. That's what I was promised.

So far, nothing.

I still don't get what the big deal is. It seems to me like it's just like Yahoo messenger, except way more limited. I dunno. Microblogging...whatever. I'm all about the macro-blogging! Anyhow--I guess I should reserve judgement until I use it for awhile, but so far, color me less than impressed.

However, one good thing that came out of all my goofballing yesterday afternoon is that I've got firm plans with all the ladies next week to go out and have dinner together. I'm really looking forward to that, because as much fun as the Freakin' Frog is, it's a bit loud and tough to carry on any kind of conversation unless you're in a small circle or you're yelling. Then again, we're not exactly a quiet group, so I'm guessing we'll probably disturb our fellow patrons at the restaurant at some point in the evening. Oh well. At least we're not a group of people with bratty screaming kids. I'd rather sit next to a table full of loud drunks any day!

Also, now that I know Sarah and Kristen are getting into the guitar, and they're putting the pressure on me to get back into it, I've been doing some window shopping. I think I've found my next toy:

Yeah, it's a Washburn, as was my old acoustic that I liked so much. So I know it'll be decent quality for the price. And it's got an electric pick-up built in, so I can plug it into an amp. And I like the cutaway, also--it makes it much more versatile. Right now it's only $170 on Amazon, and normally I'd just cough up the funds and buy it today, but I'm kinda being a little tight with money until after March Madness has passed. So I just wish-listed it for now, hoping it'll still be available next month. Maybe I'll treat myself to it for my birthday in April. It'll be nice to get back into playing again, and it'll be fun to play with some other noobs, too. That way, I won't look like a complete jackass when I'm fumbling around trying to find the right chords and such.

I'm hoping that once I pick up the guitar and start playing again that all my old knowledge comes flowing back to me. I've attempted playing only once in the past six years, and I was completely clueless. I was amazed at how much I'd forgotten. Besides, it'll be hard to get back into working with an acoustic instead of an electric--it's like I told the gals the other night--the callouses have left my fingertips and migrated down to my palms...

I'm sure it'll all come back to me eventually. And they broadcast the live performances at the Freakin' Frog over the internet, so you know, once we have a gig scheduled, we'll put the word out and all you re-clickers can watch it like we're a smaller, less talented version of Brother Jimmy and the gang on Radio Margaritaville.

But that's all for now. I'm gonna do a little bit of reading, catch a few winks, and then maybe go pitch a little woo have lunch at the Omelet House. And if I get really lucky, I might get called into work again this evening. Brothaman could use a little jingle--I've got a guitar to buy.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Trail Mix & Pellegrino

Yep, that's what I'm lunchin' on right now. Now that the work famine has returned, I'm livin' cheap, working my way through the canned goods in the pantry, too.

There's not much going on around here today--it's basically a replay of yesterday afternoon, except that now the bathroom is clean and the laundry is done and I'm not looking forward to doing anything fun tonight. I'm not even gonna go out and play poker. Actually, I'm just hoping the phone rings and I get called into work.

The only thing of interest right now is that I'm fighting with Amazon. A couple of weeks ago, one of my readers sent me a $70 Amazon gift certificate, so I went shopping. I got about 68 dollars-and-change worth of stuff, but they broke it up into three different shipments. The first two arrived, no problem, but the last CD is still sitting in limbo, and they're saying I need to revise my payment, saying there is not enough purchasing power on the certificate.

Of course, I've talked to their customer service department twice this week, and both times the moron on the other end of the phone said they'd take care of it for me, but so far, nothing has changed, and the order is still in limbo. It's beginning to frustrate the hell out of me. And I love Amazon and shop there for about 90% of the stuff I buy, but I'm not spending another dime with them until they get this order straightened out.

On the other hand, my new Wenger backpack arrived from Amazon last night, and it's way cooler than any crappy Jansport I had back in college. It'll be perfect for hauling around all the shiat I carry with me during March Madness, and I won't have to resort to a man-purse now, either. It seems to built pretty ruggedly, and it looks like it can put up with a lot of abuse. As soon as I get a new walking stick, I'm going to spend my days off exploring the local trails, as I actually bought it because I want to get back into hiking, but it'll double as a urban gear bag in the meantime.

That's all for now...


Beerin' and Bloggin' Wif Mah Biatches

Wow, another fun Thursday night with the ladies is in the books, and I must admit, I had a great time once again. I had a rather boring day, but I talked to CarmenSinCity, of sourball fame, earlier this afternoon, and we decided to get down to the bar early. Happy Hour 2-for-1 prices started at 5:00 pm, but the 'official' meet-up with all the Vegas-area bloggers didn't start until six. Screw that man, we wanted to get some drinkin' done before the festivities started. So I called Linda and told her of our plan, and she was down for getting an early start, too.

I pulled in just a couple minutes before five, and Linda drove up just behind me. We wandered in to the bar, and of course we were the first ones there. I believe our first round was a couple of bottles of Alleycat Amber Ale. And as I recall, Linda liked it a lot more than I did.

Anyhow, while we were sitting there talking and catching up and such, Linda reminded me that I had a new internet stalker buddy that was looking forward to meeting me. One of the gals she used to work with, who now shares an office with my favorite lush, Sara, was coming to join us. Her name was Kristen, although everyone calls her Kri-Monster. In fact, when I RSVP'd over on the Beer & Blogger website the other day, I said that I'd be there with three of my favorite ladies--Linda Lou, Carmen SinCity, and Sara 408Down. Well, then the Kri-Monster chimed in and said that I didn't know it yet, but that she'd be one of my favorite ladies by the end of the night, too.

Ok! A fella's gotta like the sound of that!

Anyhow, she was the very next person to show up, although I didn't know it at the time. But when a smartly dressed brunette with piercing blue eyes grabbed a pint of Shiner Bock and sat down to join us, I figured it was her. Once the proper introductions were made, we started chatting and laughing it up like old friends, so yeah, she made the cut and is definitely one of my main gals now. Heh.

After about 45 minutes though, we were getting worried about Carmen. I called her a couple of times and her phone went to voicemail--not a good sign. Besides, I had a bag of her favorite sour ball candy on hand, and people were eyeballing 'em. But we figured she'd eventually show up, making an entrance or something.

Around six o'clock, my baby-girl Sara wandered in, and of course the party was ON at that point. I don't know what it is about her, but whenever we get together, we start laughing. She kinda reminds me of my sister Amy, who is about the funniest person I know, so it's always fun when she's around.

This was the second time I've attended the Beer & Blogger gathering, and this time around was much more social--a whole lot of beer and not a whole lot of blogging was going on. It was more like a regular happy hour this time, although the Twitter freaks were out in force, proselyting like a buncha damn Jehovah's Witnesses.

Since I still don't see the benefit of it, I think I'm getting to the point where I'm not gonna get on Twitter just because it pisses people off. I've got a contrarian streak in me, and for whatever reason, this issue just pushes my button. I guess I get my jollies by seeing the look on people's faces when they find out I'm not a twitterer. I didn't know it was such a powerful force in the universe. Anyhow...

I guess there was a lull in the action, or maybe we'd gotten to the point where the inhibitions were long gone, so Linda decided to stir things up and show off the girls:

Of course I was there to not only snap a picture, but to encourage her, too! Once the camera came out, it was Fun With Magic Marker Time (the gals haven't experienced the whole Sharpie thing, yet...)

And we had to get a group photo, too, but for whatever reason, the camera never found all four of us in the same spot, so this is all I had when I got home last night:

Since no evening is complete without some hot girl-on-girl action, and because I'm a giver, here ya go:
Sara was off being a social butterfly for awhile, so I only got one picture of her the whole time, and here it is:
Don't let the saucy pose fool you--she was drunk at the time! And, I think this is the only picture in existence of her without a drink in her hand. Getting a snapshot this rare was a lot like getting a picture of Bigfoot, Elvis, and the Loch Ness Monster playing Scrabble together.

Anyhow, as it turns out, both Sara and Kri-azy Biatch (my new pet name for Kristen) have started taking guitar lessons this year, and my post from the other day seems to have touched a nerve, and they are now after me to hurry up and buy a new guitar and play with them. Until I do, Kriazy says she has a spare I can use.

While we were sitting there talking, we were subjected to some pretty bad live music there in the bar, and we decided right then and there that we'd practice for awhile, put together a small set-list of about four or five songs, and then one of these nights we'll just rock the house there at the Freakin Frog--show them amateurs how it's done! Yeah!

That might've been the beer talkin' by then, but we're still gonna get together and play. And to avoid any uneasiness, I went ahead and volunteered to be the fat chick in our Wilson Phillips tribute band.

As it turns out, amidst all the laughter and big plans, I got a text message from Carmen. She was alive and well, but had fallen asleep and didn't wake up till about quarter to eight. And since she lives in BFE Summerlin, the party would've been pretty well flamed out by the time she got there. She was sorely missed. I texted her back, saying that we were eating her sour balls. And we *did* kinda have a little tasting party, as one of the bags broke open. We all decided that the orange ones were best, but none of them really went too well with dark beer.

Linda, being the voice of reason, called it a night first, but Sara, Kriazy, and I decided to stay there and chug along like a bunch of freshman during Rush Week. We chilled out, told some stories, drank a beer or two, and just laughed at each other's antics. Eventually, probably about an hour later, we wrapped it up and headed for home.

It was a fun night all around, and it was great to make a new friend. Kri-Monster is a complete goofball, and between her, Sara, Linda, and I, holy shiat, there's enough comedy on tap to make even Dane Cook sound funny.

We've got plans to do a 'group date' dinner at some point next week, and I'm hoping we can get Carmen to wake up and join us, too. Because, if I can't have my four nut-job sisters around to make me laugh, well, I've got four crazy Vegas gals to hang out with.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nothing To Report Today

Sorry, but there's just nothing going on around here. The highlight of my day, so far, was driving down to the convenience store to pick up Carmen's sour balls. Seriously, that's it. That's all I've done today besides be a slug. I didn't make coffee, I didn't eat breakfast, I didn't download any music, I didn't play any online poker.

I'm just killin' time before I go meet up with three four smokin' hot ladies for beer and buffoonery. Pics to follow.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Post Isn't For Everybody...

Only the sexy people!

Sorry--couldn't help myself. I just walked in and was listening to my 'Andrea' song--Push It--out in the the truck, and I couldn't come up with a clever title since I've probably used every variation of 'Hump Day' already. Gotta take the inspiration where you can find it, I suppose.

Anyhow, thanks for all the well-wishes and suggestions over the past 24 hours, but my back is now much better. I'm not quite 100% yet, there's still a slight twinge there, but I don't feel crippled nor do I gimp around like Quasimodo, either. Basically, I feel fine. And all it took was two Aleve tablets. Dammit, why don't they pay me to do a commercial? Probably because I'm afraid of that shiat. I'll never take more than like four or six of them in a week--I'm worried that it'll kill my liver or kidneys or something like that, so I've always been one to avoid pills. Aspirin seems to be the only drug with no side effects, and apparently it's good for your heart, so I'll take that whenever. But the hard stuff, I try to avoid until I'm good and miserable.

Now that the poker world is slow again, it seems that my hot streak at the tables is over, too. Last week I made over $700 in profit at the cash games, and last night I went down to the poker room to extend my streak, and frankly, I was expecting to make a couple hundred more.

I sat down in the no-limit game with $220, and over the course of the next three hours, lost four all-in hands on the river. Unbelievably bad run of luck. I had each guy covered, except of course, the last one, so I got 'felted' and walked away. Yep, it stung. I was tempted to re-buy, but I was smart enough to recognize that I was running bad. I never made my draws, and my big pairs just kept running into trips. Ugh.

Oh well, like TJ Cloutier so famously said, that's poker.

After getting my ass handed to me on a green-felt platter, I took off, a little wiser and a lot poorer. I was pretty hungry, and that little cup of chili I'd had earlier in the day tasted pretty good, so I had the idea I'd get some more. Sierra Gold serves theirs in a bread bowl, just like the clam chowder, so I motored over there to get some late-night dinner.

Of course, when I got the menu in front of me, I forgot all about the chili and got some sweet-hot popcorn shrimp and a cold Peroni. Here's the thing--I don't really like Peroni all that much, but I've gotten into the habit of ordering it when I'm eating. It's on tap at both Sierra Gold and Grimaldi's, two of my favorite places to grub, but in the bottle, it's just as skunky as Heineken. So all the bartenders think that Peroni is my beer of choice, but honestly, I really don't like it that much. I'd much rather drink Michelob Light with my meal, but nobody in this town offers it--they all changed over to that watery Michelob Ultra shiat.

Anyhow, while I was sitting there sipping my Peroni and waiting for my shrimp, I put twenty bucks into the double-double machine there at the bar and got quad fours for a hundred bucks. Woot! That made my dinner free and covered some of my losses from the poker table. Of course I hit the cash-out button immediately.

I didn't hang around the bar--one beer was enough, and there was nobody fun there. All of my friends were working that night, so I was surrounded by strangers. As soon as I finished my shrimp I paid my tab and split. On the way home, I remembered to hit the Walmart grocery store and finally ended the shaving cream crisis that has been dogging me for several days. I also grabbed a huge bag of trail mix while I was there, just because I've been out for a few weeks, and I usually keep trail mix on hand for whenever I don't feel like cooking.

When I got home, I stayed up for a bit, just because I'm used to being up all night. Searching for something to do, I took the chip out of my phone and hooked it up to the adapter and popped it into the laptop. I put more music and ringtones in the memory, and deleted the six-hundred-plus pictures of the inside of my pocket I took last week, too. Oh, and looking at the files as I deleted them, I found out that took about sixty other ones back in November, too. It's amazing how much memory is on that little chip the size of my pinky fingernail.

Since I have so much free time on my hands this week, I've been trying to come up with little projects to do. I'll always have housework and laundry, of course, and there's still that TV stand that ain't gonna put itself together, but I'm also going to burn a shiatload of CDs to my computer and then put some more playlists on my iPod. I've got about ten of those ultra-lounge CDs now, and I need to get them loaded onto my iPod first--that's a must-have for March Madness.

So far today, I haven't done much at all. Once I got up and got dressed, I puttered around for a bit, then took off to go visit Marcie again. Since I missed out on the chili again last night, I ordered a bowl of it for lunch, along with a pretty damn good BLT. I had a good book with me to read, so she told me to hang out for awhile until her lunch rush was over. So I sat there reading for about an hour, and she'd come by and visit during her lulls.

That's about it for my hump-day. I don't have much planned, but I'm going to spend more time with that book I'm reading, Ghosts At the Table. It's really fascinating, and hard to put down. If you're the least bit interested in the history of poker, it's a great read.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night though--I'll be out having a few beers and telling stories with three of my favorite ladies. But we'll talk about that later...


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somebody Finally Found the Famine Switch

Yep, the feast is officially over, and I'm back to scratchin' out a living again. I took all the cash I made last week, minus about $200, and put it in the bank this morning, then spent a half hour or so sending off the next batch of bills. So I've got a little bit of walking around money, but the work schedule is all blanks from here to the horizon.

I was supposed to work the graveyard shift last night, and around 11:00 pm, my phone rang. For a second I thought I'd get called in early, which is always nice--it means I'll be busy, but that was not the case. The graveyard floorman had just gotten in, and was calling to tell me to not even bother coming to work. When he arrived fifteen minutes earlier, there was one single 4-8 table going, and it only had two people playing heads-up (dealer hell if there ever was one), and they had just wrapped it up and the room went dark. So he closed down the bank and locked up everything, and told me to take the night off.

That kinda sucked.

So I was wide awake with nothing to do. I didn't want to drive downtown to play or head over to MGM, so I just stayed home. Luckily Next Friday was on Stars, so I stayed up and watched that. Yay--excitement.

This morning, once I finally crawled out of bed, I went down to the bank and such to take care of all my financial obligations, then I motored over to the Omelet House to get some lunch and see Marcie. Although it was sunny and clear out, and it seems like the storm has finally passed, it was still breezy and cold, so I wanted something to warm me up. I'm tired of always getting the chicken noodle soup, even though it's damn good, so I wanted to try the chili. But I didn't want to commit to a huge bowl of it, just in case it sucked.

So she brought me a small cup with cheese and onions, and I have to admit that it was better than I expected. Yeah, it had a few beans in it (I'm a non-bean chili-head), but it was mostly meat, with just enough spice to keep it interesting. Very passable, especially on a cold day. My biggest gripe is that they don't have cornbread on the menu, but I guess that's more of a southern thing, but I want cornbread with my chili.

I also got a bacon cheeseburger and some fries, and of course it's just impossible to finish a half-pound burger and a plate of fries that's bigger than my head. But I sure enjoyed trying. Besides, there's nothing wrong with a little feasting now that the famine is here. I lingered a bit, as her lunch rush tapered off about the time I'd waved the white napkin of surrender, and we were able to visit for a little while and catch up on the previous week's adventures.

Eventually, I picked up and got out of there, my main priority was stopping to buy some shaving cream and some Aleve. Normally, I horde the toiletries like an old lady hordes stray cats--I'm always buying in bulk and making sure I have enough on hand to make it through the lean weeks. But for some reason, I managed to run out of shaving gel. I thought I had four or five cans under the sink, but I guess I used them all. And I have to shave my head every day or I just look plain ridiculous with that toilet-seat stubble pattern growing out.

When I realized that my last can of Edge was empty, and the cupboard was bare, I panicked a bit. But I went rooting around and found a bag full of 'spares', and in it was that five-dollar miniature can of Barbasol I bought at the 7-11 two years ago when Rob and I went there to check out the new Simpsons decor. Yep, I used it once or twice back then until I hit the grocery store, and I've been carrying it around ever since. It's good in a pinch, but I hate the smell of it. Give me my Edge gel anytime.

So I've been using that Barbasol all weekend (and again this morning), but as much as I needed more shaving gel, I *really* needed the Aleve more. Back in 2001, when I spent six days straight living on a sailboat, I wrenched my back at the end of the week. It was so bad that I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes for a couple of days. Eventually, the kink worked itself out and I made a full recovery, but ever since then, it flares up about once a year and my lower back just kills--and I end up walking around with a stoop like an old man for a few days. That's how I am right now, althought this particular episode is much milder than usual.

Even so, it still hurts if I twist the wrong way, and if I sit or stand to long in one spot, it really tightens up. Sitting at the poker table doesn't hurt it too much, and all the stretching and reaching I do actually tends to help. But driving, or just sitting up for more than ten or fifteen minutes makes it hurt.

Anyhow, after sitting in the restaurant for over an hour, my back was killing me. So I stopped at Walgreens on the way home to pick up some Aleve, as it seems to be the only thing that helps, besides, of course, a hot tub or an Asian midget walking on it. Since it was bothering me so much, I totally forgot about the shaving gel while I was doing my shopping. To make matters worse, that chili decided to upset my stomach, and it was Go time--I was afraid of another Green Valley Ranch ladies room episode, so I paid for the drugs and got out of there as quickly as I could. Of course, I was a block away when I realized that I'd forgotten the shaving gel. Damn.

I made it home without incident, took my medicine, and instead of sitting at the desk typing, I'm lying on the floor with the laptop out in front of me, arms outstretched to the keyboard looking like a superhero with a gravity problem. And right now, my back feels fine. Of course, in a few minutes I'm gonna have to go downstairs and puts some clothes in the dryer, so we'll see what happens.

In the meantime, I've got nothing but free time on my hands. I don't see picking up any shifts this week unless a full-timer calls out sick at some point, so I should have plenty of time to read, watch movies, and oh yeah, crank out some blog posts. Speaking of which, I just got off the phone with Reverend Dave, and he's gonna do a guest blogger piece for me this weekend, following up that last guitar post with some stories of his own. So y'all have that to look forward to.

Catch ya later,