Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Really Should Be Sleeping

Here it is, 9:30 on Sunday morning, I'm dead tired, yet I can't sleep. I'm about 99.999% finished with the move, getting the last of the difficult loads over here to the new place around 8:30 last night.

I checked with the poker room to see if I was free for the night, and they'd already called in another dealer at 9:00 pm, so I was off the hook. That made me happy--I worked on Friday night, a full eight hours, made ridiculously good money, but I was wiped out. I rolled out early in the morning on Saturday, went and grabbed some pancakes for breakfast with one of my buddies who was also stuck there all night, and then I went back to the old house to use the bed for about nine hours.

Once I got up, I scrubbed the bathroom, packed the closet up, and started the endless trudge up and down the stairs. Of course having three dogs underfoot added a degree of difficulty to the process, so I'm damn glad that experience is behind me.

Anyhow, once I finally got over here to the apartment, I unloaded pretty much everything, and when I was wrestling with the computer desk, one of my new neighbors came outside and insisted on helping me get it out of the truck. That was very nice, and made me feel like I've moved into a good place. Then, a couple of minutes later, as I was wheeling it around the building towards my door, another neighbor was walking by and asked if I needed any help to get it into the house. I thanked him, but declined--I was close to the door, and once it was across the threshold, it was easy--no stairs to climb. But those two encounters make it seem like I've moved into a friendly neighborhood, and that I made the right choice when I was looking for a new place to live.

I pushed a few boxes around, then took a shower, tempted to just collapse on the floor with a bottle of water and a Bourdain book. But, being the poker degenerate that I am, I figured I needed to go out and raise a little bit of cash. So I headed over to the casino, secure in the knowledge that I wouldn't have to work last night.

I had fun, a couple of my friends were in the room playing at the same time, but it was kind of a grind. I didn't really win any huge pots or have anything interesting happen, and by the time 2:00 am rolled around, I was up $55 so I called it quits, exhausted.

I drove over to the all-night Walmart SuperCenter with the intention of buying an inflatable air mattress, but the Coleman ones were $25 and didn't include an air pump. And although I *think* I might have an air pump somewhere in that collection of plastic tote boxes stacked in my living room, I wasn't sure. And I didn't want to pay another $20 to buy another one, especially if I only needed the air mattress for a night, or two, max. (My bed is currently standing up against the wall in my otherwise empty bedroom at the old house). Hell, for $45, I could just check into the hotel--actually, I could get a free room with all my points... But then I remembered that I had my queen-sized egg-crate foam mattress pad at the apartment, along with about three comforters, a couple of blankets, and a sleeping bag, so I could put together a pretty serviceable nest on the living room floor. So I skipped the air mattress. And the hotel room.

Instead, I got a few other essentials--a new oscillating fan for my bedroom, some more cleaning supplies, and a toilet plunger. Not that I needed one at the time, but purchasing one at 2:30 in the morning conveyed a sense of urgency to the otherwise unmotivated cashier who was moving at half-speed until I showed up. She was careful not to touch my hands when she handed me the change...

Anyhow, I got home, thinking I'd fall right asleep, but it just didn't happen. I felt like a line from Soul Asylum's Runaway Train was written for me personally--So tired that I couldn't even sleep...

So I stayed up, did a couple of loads of laundry (Nope, I didn't get it all done over at the old place, and I now have confirmation that my washer is brand-spankin' new--it was hooked up, but nobody had turned on the water faucets on the wall behind it), I took down the sheet and hung up the shower curtain and liner, set up the computer desk and side tables, surfed the net, and oh yeah, built my nest on the living room floor.

I also called back to Nashville and talked to Mamasan for a little while, thinking that maybe updates on the dog, cats, and weather might lull me to sleep, but no such luck. Now I *have* to sleep, because I need to get over to the house sometime later this afternoon/evening and pick up the last four totes from the garage, my groceries from the pantry, and oh yeah, my bed. I'm wishing Angy was here with her stash of sleeping pills.

If worse comes to worse, I guess I could raid my medicine stash and take a Benedryl, but that might knock me out for like 12 hours. I need to be up by six or seven at the latest...

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to cowboy up and deal with it, and hope that the last table breaks early tonight. If not, I guess I can spend all day Monday sleeping. Hopefully in a bed this time.


Friday, May 29, 2009

I Shouldn't Feel This Lazy on a Friday Afternoon

Man, I just can't seem to get it into gear today.

I guess it might have something to do with blowing off my chores last night and going to play poker instead. Yep, I should've gone back to the old house last night and got some work done, but once I got back here to the apartment, I just didn't feel like doing much. I kicked it around here for a bit--the maintenance guy came by and installed a set of blinds in the living room, but the rest of the stuff on the list, not so much...

Anyhow, once the sun went down and I got a few boxes unloaded, I changed my shirt and drove over to the casino for a bit. The poker room was hopping, and I had to wait about 20 minutes for a table, but it was nice to get away from the grunt work for awhile.

I didn't have much luck to start out with--I think I got stuck a hundred bucks in the first half-hour. That's the downside of getting big suited Aces, flopping four to the flush, and then never getting there. I called away eighty bucks, easy, on hands that never made it. Even worse, I folded a four-of-a-kind, and right now, any quads pays a $100 bonus.

I had pocket threes pre-flop, of course it got raised, so I called. I was in early position, the flop ran out 9-10-J, so I checked, somebody bet, somebody else raised, and I did the prudent thing and folded--my threes being no good at all. The turn brought a three, which was a little irritating, but somebody else had obviously flopped a straight, so I felt like it was a good laydown. Then the river brought the case three and I was a little pissed... Oh well, what can ya do?

Besides being stuck for a hundy most of the night and giving up on a big hand too soon, to make matters worse, the air conditioning at the casino had gone out, too. So it slowly got hot in the poker room. I would've just left, but I wanted to get my money back--and there were a couple of guys at the table who I knew I could beat, it was just a matter of time. I sat there sweating my ass off, trying to catch a hand all night long. But I was card-dead for a good solid two hours or more, so it was truly a grind.

Eventually, I made a couple of flushes and got paid off, and around 5 am this morning, I was up $26 for the night. The game was shorthanded, I was hot, and tired, so I called it a night. I was gonna go over to the old house and sleep on the bed under the ceiling fan, but decided to just crash at the apartment instead (it's actually closer to the casino). So I drove over here, rolled out a sleeping bag and a couple of comforters in the living room, and crashed for several hours on the floor.

Now, I'm all stiff from sleeping like a bum, and I've got to get over to the house and get all of my clothes and the stuff out of the bathroom. I'm pretty sure I'm down to the last two truckloads, mostly small stuff, besides the bed and desk, and then I'll be done. But then I'll be spending a few days unpacking and getting the new place organized. Right now the living room looks like a warehouse, and the only thing in the bedroom is a suitcase, a bookshelf, and my computer on the floor in the corner.

I'll be glad when this is all over.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back In Business!

Woot! That didn't take long... Usually, when I've moved in the past, I've been offline for a couple of days or more. Not this time, baby. I unhooked the computer this morning around 10:30, and here it is, not even four hours later, and I'm back up and running at the new place!

I was first on the list for the cable guy, and he got here about quarter after one. It only took him about a half hour to get the apartment wired and the TV and modem up to speed. Now if I only had my desk here and my TV stand put together, I'd be in great shape... Yep, I'm lying on the floor as I type this, in the corner of my new bedroom, enjoying the sweet sweet air conditioning.

I brought a bunch of heavy stuff over this morning, knowing I had to be here between 1:00 and 3:00 to meet the cable guy, but damn, did that ever suck. It was hot outside. Luckily when I got here, I scored a covered spot close to my front door, so the unload was much easier. And Linda's hand-truck has been a godsend. I'd be paying a couple of day laborers to move all this shiat otherwise. Lugging boxes full of books in this heat sucks like crap on a stick.

I also talked to the leasing office today--they're gonna beg borrow and steal from another empty unit and get my blinds replaced and my laundry closet doors installed sometime this afternoon. Then I should be good to go.

The first thing I did once I got here was to unload all the booze since it's taking up the most floor space. Besides a shelf full of rum, I've got a lot of oddball stuff on hand. Blue Curacao? When am I ever gonna use that? And that bottle of Seagrams VO--it might be awhile before I get around to putting that in the ol' cocktail shaker. And there is a two year old bottle of Jager that's gonna probably be around for several more years unless I can get Larry the surfing sailor to drop by on his next visit to Sin City. Somehow, the bottle of Ketel One is nowhere to be found...

Anyhow, I'm gonna lay low for the next few hours, waiting for the sun to go down. Then I'll hit up Wally World for an air mattress, a few more totes, and a couple of other odds and ends, then head back to the old house. Most of my clothes are still over there, and I haven't touched the bathroom yet, either. Luckily, all the heavy stuff except the bed and desk are already moved. Tonight's load will be much easier, and since I won't be distracted by TV or internet while I'm over there, I'll get done much faster. I'll get some cleaning done, grab my clothes, empty the pantry, and bring over the small stuff that's stacked in the gameroom. By then, I'll be about 99% finished with the move. Then I begin unpacking and making this place liveable.


Last Post From This Old House

Yep, the time has come to unplug the computer and the TV and get them moved over to my new apartment. I've got an appointment to meet the cable guy in about 12 hours from now, but since I'm a night-crawler, I'm up and preparing for the rest of this busy day. I should probably start by taking a shower, since I've been wearing the same shorts and t-shirt since Tuesday morning, and I can't remember the last time I shaved. Instead of having two places to live, I look--and probably smell--like I have zero...

Anyhow, yesterday wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped--apparently, my truck doesn't hold as much cargo as I thought it did, and the monster dolly, after probably years of non-use, had flat tires, something you can't tell when you're pushing it around empty. I didn't really need it that much to do the loading--I can back my truck right up to the garage here, so everything that's in there is just a matter of schlepping it about 10 or 15 feet. I had a few totes stacked at the bottom of the stairs, however, and being full of books, they were heavy. Stacked three high, it was damn near impossible to maneuver the dolly, and now I've got a huge black stripe on the entryway sidewalk that needs to get scrubbed off.

So on my way over to the new place, I stopped at the gas station with the idea of putting air in the tires. One problem--I left my wallet on the desk upstairs in the bedroom back at the house, and didn't have a single dollar to my name--and I needed 75 cents for air. No change in the center console, either. Damn.

There was a guy sitting on a planter outside the doors at the Sinclair station, begging for change, and for a moment I thought of turning the tables on him and asking him for a buck. But didn't thing he'd be willing to part with a portion of his hard-earned scratch, especially to a well-dressed and successful gentleman like myself.

So it was back to the house to fetch the wallet and start all over again.

The second attempt was much more successful, and flush with cash, not only did I spend 75 cents on compressed air, I grabbed a Marathon Energy Bar and some Gatorade. That made a huge difference, as the last meal I'd had was late Sunday night at work. I aired up the tires on the dolly, and it was much easier to do the unload--it took me all of ten minutes to get the truck emptied out. And I realized at that point that I have three bins full of booze--two coolers and one plastic storage tote. Damn, I should've done more drinking last month, if only to make for less stuff to haul.

At this point, I'm just stacking everything in the living room, and I'm realizing that I have packrat tendencies. I'm amazed at how much more junk I've collected in the past four years, yet none of it is furniture, save for a couple of bookcases and a TV stand. And I still have to move the bed, TV, desk, all of my clothes, end tables, and my mini fridge, not to mention all of my kitchen stuff which is still mostly in the garage, but some is actually in the, you know, kitchen.

The energy bar just served as an appetizer, because by the time I finished up, I realized how hungry I was. One cannot live on coffee alone for very long. Before leaving however, I left another scorching message at the leasing office--the work was *still* not done on my place--and while the last message was more like measured, "Heads up" call, this time there was a little bit of urgency in my message and I made them aware that I'm running out of patience. If it doesn't get done today, then they're gonna get a full-on shiat-storm on the answering machine on Friday morning.

Anyhow, on the way back to the house, I stopped for dinner at a local Mexican joint--Fausto's. There are a couple of them here in Henderson, Marcie introduced me to 'em, and they are wonderful. Like a cleaner and better-run Roberto's Taco Shop. I had myself a huge carne asada burrito and three rolled tacos, washing it all down with some raspberry iced tea. Oh hell yeah was it good. Normally, I can't quite finish all that, but last night, it was no problemo. I mowed it down with extreme prejudice and also had a handful of pickled carrots to go with it. Yum!

While eating alone, it's almost a compulsion for me to have something to read. I feel naked if I don't have a book or magazine with me. Luckily, I'd had the foresite to rummage through one of my storage totes and grabbed a book on the way out, Anthony Bourdain's Bone In The Throat. Unlike his other books, this one is a work of fiction--a gangster/crime novel--and even though the reviews were kinda so-so, I find that I'm really enjoying it. So far, I've loved everything he's written, fact or fiction, and this one is no exception.

Anyhow, dinner was excellent, and a nice break and re-charge. But once I got back here to the house, it was getting late so I didn't get too much else done. I read for a bit, then went to bed for a few hours. Now that I'm up, I'm planning on how the rest of my day is gonna go.

I was thinking the bed might get moved this afternoon, but I'm having my doubts. Pretty much everything else I need for living will be at the new place by 1:00 this afternoon, then I've got to hang out and wait for the cable guy. I plan on spending the down time hanging up pictures and settling in and getting the new place somewhat organized while I wait around this afternoon, and I don't know if I'll feel up to getting the bed wrestled down the stairs and over to the new place after all I've got to do today. So I may spend twenty bucks for an air mattress to sleep on for the next couple of nights and bring the bed over last.

Anyhow, that's all from here. The next time I post, it'll be from the new apartment. I'm not sure when that'll be, but if I run out of gas this afternoon, it may be tonight--I'll probably be writing from the floor of my new living room, sprawled out under the ceiling fan and enjoying a dinner of ibuprofen and Gatorade.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gettin' Sweaty on Hump Day

I don't know why I've been so low on energy lately--I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that I haven't had a real meal in a couple of days, and the fact that I've been working a lot and also expending a bunch of energy stressing over the move.

Stressing? Well, maybe not that, but just getting all of the 'little things' done is a pain in the ass. Anyhow, yesterday seemed to be catch-up day as far as sleep was concerned. I got a few chores done, but once I got back from the Linda's place and Walmart, I was just done. I turned on the computer to check email and such, and I couldn't keep my eyes open. So I just turned off the light and fell asleep, fully clothed, wearing my watch, not emptying my pockets or anything.

But I woke up around 3:30 this morning, feeling much better, and got another storage tote filled with books, my last two loads of laundry sorted, my desk kinda-sorta packed up, and both bookcases completely emptied. I also made the last pot of coffee here at this house. I didn't go all out because my roommate was asleep downstairs, but I got a lot done.

In just a bit, I'm going to load up the truck and haul another batch of junk over to the new apartment, and then go somewhere and get some real breakfast. Once I get back here, I'd like to do another load of small stuff, but by late this afternoon, I'd like to be about 90% done with the move, having nothing here but the bed, the desk, the bookshelves, and a dufflebag full of clothes. I doubt that'll happen, but hey, it's only Wednesday. I've got until Sunday. But the TV goes first thing tomorrow morning, and the internet gets hooked up on Thursday afternoon, so by that point, I'd like to be sleeping in the new place.

Right now, I'm just delaying the inevitable workout. It's gonna get hot soon, so I've got to get after it.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Linda Lou Saves the Day. Again.

I'm definitely moving at half-speed, as far as this relocation goes. I thought I had enough Rubbermaid totes to hold all of my shiat--lots of CDs, DVDs, and books. Good lord I gotta lotta books. At least I had enough totes when I moved here a year ago... But all those boxes from Amazon add up, and so I needed to go buy more stuff to hold books. A trip to Walmart was in order.

Besides, I had to buy stuff like a new shower curtain, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc., so I couldn't delay the shopping trip any longer. At least I was gonna wait until watching tonight's episode of Deadliest Catch though. Can't miss that.

Anyhow, before I left to do my shopping, Linda Lou called with an offer I couldn't refuse. Here I was willing to spend $15 a day to rent a hand-truck from U-Haul, and she tells me that she has a big industrial-strength dolly in her closet. WTF? This is the same Linda Lou who has no food in her fridge, no oil in her engine, has never tasted guacamole, and thinks that What About Bob and Pee Wee's Big Adventure are the heighth of cinematic achievement. And she lives in an apartment. I know lots of people who live in apartments, and not a single one of them keep a dolly in the hall closet. Honestly, at first, I didn't really believe her. I figured she'd have no idea what a 'dolly' was. It was an offer so far out of left field that I would've been less shocked had Barney Frank called me up and asked me if I had any use for a closet full of old Playboys.

Still not believing her, I made her describe it to me, just to be sure we were on the same page.

It's a tall thing with two wheels and it folds out so you can move big furniture and stuff...

Hmmm... The folding-out thing threw me for a loop--I figured it was a low-duty stainless steel one people use in their offices to carry the inter-office mail bins. But I thanked her for her offer and told her I'd be over in about an hour to come and get it. I figured at the very least, I could carry one box at a time with it, being careful not to destroy it with heavy boxes full of books, camping gear, booze, and kitchen supplies.

But when I got over to her house, lo and behold, sitting there in the entry hall was the Mother of All Hand Trucks, a heavy duty monster with huge tires that could easily be used to move big-ticket appliances. And the fold-out thing was a two-foot extension making it useful for moving bookcases or even a couch if need be. All I could say was "Wow". It was a thing of beauty, and will be very useful indeed. It'll make short work of all the junk in my garage.

I couldn't just pick it up and run, so I stuck around when Linda offered me a beer. She's made quite a big deal out of the (lack of) contents in her fridge, so I had to see for myself. This here is a snapshot of Linda Lou's fridge:

As sparse as it looks, that's actually pretty full for her. But she had company this past weekend, so that explains the diet Pepsi, eggs, and vegetables. Of course she keeps that same can of Spotted Dick front and center just for shock value. (Clickie for full-sized goodness) Anyhow, next to the eggs and Spotted Dick, you see those purple and orange cans? That's some sort of Chocolate Stout she picked up at Whole Foods, and damn, is it ever tasty.

I'm not much of a stout drinker at all, in fact, I've been known to stir the pot by saying Nobody drinks Guinness because they like the taste, they only drink it when other people are watching. But a chocolate stout sounded intriguing, so I gave it a try. It's damn good. All I kept thinking about was how potent it would be if you added a shot of Stoli Vanilla to a pint--It would be like drinking the Devil's chocolate milk. So tasty, but two pints would knock you on your ass.

Anyhow, about the time we settled down with our pints of stout, her boyfriend Mike showed up to join us. Actually, he showed up to join her--I was just there picking up a dolly and raiding her fridge. But we had a nice visit for a few minutes and then I hit the road, leaving the two of them to do whatever it is that adults do whenever they're alone together...

My first stop was over at the Walmart where the Evel Knievel wannabe with the small wang gave me a ticket last week. I loaded up on some cleaning supplies, paper products, another camp chair for my patio, and my first 'grocery' purchase for my new place:

Yep, had to get some coconut-creme flavored coffee creamer. I also had to leave a scorching message on the answering machine at the leasing office, as all the work they promised would be done by Tuesday hadn't been touched. I'm still missing a drawer and cabinet door in the kitchen, a set of blinds in the living room, and my laundry-closet doors are nowhere to be found.

But the power was on, I had light and running water, and the A/C worked perfectly. I didn't hang around long, just unloaded and left. Now I'm back here at the house, wishing I'd stopped and got some dinner while I was out. I haven't eaten anything all day, and I'm pretty hungry. I don't even have any bottled water or Gatorade in my mini-fridge, either.

Anyhow, I've got to tackle this mess that is my desk before I take the next load, so that's my project for tonight.

Y'all have a good one.


No Points For 60th Place

Hey everyone...

I feel like such a slacker this week, at least as far as the blog goes. I've been neglecting the keyboard very much lately, but then again, I have a legitimate excuse. I've been busier than hell.

I've had to work every day this past weekend, and I've also been a slave to the phone--I've had to go in early a couple of times because of the busy holiday traffic. I've also got that whole moving thing going on, and yeah, even though I've got all week, I'd really like to be done by Thursday. But between work kicking my ass, and feeling tired and cranky from being slightly sick, I haven't been able to get nearly as much done as I'd like.

I got home this morning around 6:30 or so, and have been sleeping ever since. And I'm definitely *not* moving stuff during the heat of the day, so right now, I'm relaxing with a cool drink, watching the afternoon shows on ESPN, and once the sun goes down, I'll take another load of stuff over to the new apartment.

Tomorrow is when the heavy lifting happens, however. In fact, I'm gonna run over to the U-Haul place and rent a cargo dolly, just because I can get stuff done about three times faster with about 90% less effort. And I don't wanna burn my hands again, that's for sure. The power gets switched on officially today, so I'm hoping that I'll be sleeping there by Thursday night, and on Friday the only thing left to do here at the house is the final cleaning.

So that's the plan for the rest of the week. I would've gotten a bunch done yesterday, but on Sunday I realized that the annual Binion's Poker Classic started again on Monday, and it kicked off with the Casino Employee's Event (the same tournament I took sixth place in last summer). I couldn't miss that. So after working all night, I came home, got about four hours worth of sleep, then got my ass up out of bed and dragged it downtown and got into the tournament.

The problem, besides still being tired as hell and fighting that bug, is that I haven't played in but one poker tournament in the past four months. My tournament game is rusty as hell. Having been concentrating on cash games, my mindset was a little different than last summer when all I did was play tournaments. So I've got to make some sort of adjustment.

Anyhow, there were 99 people entered into the event at Binion's, and once it got started, I could tell that I was just not playing very well at all. I was weaker than usual, and got pushed off a couple of hands--I was definitely not playing my 'A' game. Along with that, I was pretty card-dead for the first couple of levels.

However, as tired, sick, and weak as I was feeling, I managed to get a decent chip-stack built when I doubled up with pocket Queens that turned into a full house against a guy who had pocket Jacks. But that thrill didn't last very long.

Somewhere in the fourth or fifth level, I was in the small blind and finally got pocket Aces--only the fourth pocket pair I'd seen all day. The action was raised before it got to me, so I re-raised. My opponent then came over the top and went all-in pre-flop. He had me covered, so I figured I would double up. It was an easy call for me.

He turned over King-Queen off-suit, and I thought I was golden with my pocket Aces. But then the dealer ran two Kings out on the flop and I was done. Out in 60th place. Ugh. Honestly, though, sitting there in the tournament, I was feeling like crap and didn't know how I'd make it nine or ten hours that it would take to make the final table. Maybe getting busted out was a blessing, because I just wasn't feeling it yesterday.

So, I took off and headed for home. But, when I left Binion's, I realized that I was feeling pretty hungry. Had I thought about it before hitting the valet, I would've gone to the snack bar and got a bowl of chili and some cornbread or something. It was too late for that, so instead, I just headed west on Charleston and made my way over to Chicago Brewing Company. I hadn't been there in far too long, and I wanted a good meal.

I got some 'garlic donuts' and a bowl of French onion soup to start off with, then had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with homemade ranch chips for my entree. It was all very good, but the best part of the meal was their seasonal Springfest Ale. Damn, that was tasty, and much better than I expected. I downed three pints while I was there, and if I didn't have to drive all the way back to Henderson, I might've stayed there all night, emptying their kegs...

But, having not had much sleep, still feeling a little out of sorts, and knowing that I had to work later, I headed for home.

Once I got back to the house, I puttered around for a bit, moving some stuff out of the bedroom and out to the game room before giving up and going to bed. I got about an hour's worth of sleep before the phone rang again--the poker room was calling, asking me to come in early. It was a decent night at work, not great, but not bad.

That brings us to today. Now that I've gotten enough sleep, my evening will be dedicated to clearing out my room, at least down to the bare bones. We'll see how that goes.

By the way, the internet connection is probably gonna get cut off here sometime tomorrow night. Once that happens, it'll be a couple of days before I'm back up and running at my new place.

More later...


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Touching Base

For as little as I've gotten done these past couple of days, I'm certainly worn out. I pulled an all-nighter at work, after a long day on Saturday, and I think I'm coming down with a bug of some sort--I've woken up to a sore throat and a little achy for a few days too. Not what I need right now.

Oh, and speaking of bugs--check out the front of my truck. I haven't washed it since I got back from Phoenix a week ago, but that trek across the desert just pasted my grill with all kinds of flying critters.

Yep, I think it's time for a wash.

Looking through the photos that I still have on my camera, I found a couple that I took on Friday night that I'd forgotten about. Carmen and I had dinner at the 'M' and then spent the rest of the night playing poker. But I had a comp for two for their seafood buffet, so we took full advantage of it.

We got there kinda late--we didn't have much time to really hit it up and try everything we wanted to but we just *had* to hit the dessert station before they closed up for the night. Actually, Carmen has the sweet tooth and did most of the damage. I just got a slice of pecan pie and a couple of scoops of ice cream, but girlfriend mowed it down! Check out the damage--

This is the "before" picture, after the first trip through the dessert line:

And her she is after putting it all down. Girl makes me proud!

While the buffet itself was pretty good (we only did one round of dinner grub--mostly shrimp and chicken, while sampling a few other things), but the desserts were a hit. Carmen made me try the peanut butter ice cream, and damn, it was awesome--it was by far our favorite thing we ate. I had originally gotten a scoop of lemon, but it wasn't very tasty. But that peanut butter ice cream was so good that we both went back on got seconds just as they were shutting the whole place down for the night.

After that, we had a fun night at the poker table until around two in the morning. Then we drove around like the Seinfeld crew for awhile looking for Carmen's car, as she was in such a hurry to get there, she forgot where she parked. We eventually found it and said our goodbyes, but it was a great night.

I slept in on Saturday, after getting a message that my move-in appointment was pushed back until 11:30 am. So I got up at ten, loaded the truck with stuff from the garage, then headed over to the new apartment. It took about a half hour to sign all the paperwork and go over everything, and then I finally got the keys and was able to see the new place.

A nice surprise is that the power was still hooked up for the maintenance crew, so I had lights, A/C, and a working ceiling fan. That made the unload process a bit less of a pain in the ass. But here's the thing. By the time I loaded the truck, drove over, signed all the paperwork, did the walk-through, and then started to unload stuff, everything had been roasting out in the Nevada sun for almost two hours.

And the first thing I grabbed were two 40-lb. surplus 50-caliber steel ammo cans. Oh holy shiat did I burn the hell out of my hands. And I don't have work gloves, either, so I just had to man up and take it. That thirty yards between the truck and the storage closet seemed like a mile. When I got done, I felt like that nazi dude in Indiana Jones after he grabbed the headpiece out of the fire.

And it didn't get any better either. The metal chair frames were just as bad, as was the metal frame on the utility table. And the Rubbermaid totes had gotten so hot that the plastic went soft--while they weren't quite as hot to the touch as the metal stuff, it was impossible to lug an 80-lb tote full of books by the handles. So I hoisted 'em up over my head, coolie style, hoping I wouldn't do another face plant like I did at Eddie's pool last weekend.

It was an extreme workout, and I was sweating like a pig. And like a dumbass, I drove off and left my bottled water back at the house. So I was dying of thirst when I finally finished off the first load. There's a gas station right around the corner, so my first priority was to stop there and get a drink. I think I downed two bottles of Gatorade before getting out of the parking lot, and then polished off another bottle of water by the time I got back to the house.

And before I had even pulled into the driveway, my phone was ringing. It was work.


I did *not* want to get called in right then. But the gal who was working the floor was calling as more of a 'heads up' courtesy call. She said she might need me in about an hour, or not at all, but they'd definitely be calling me for swing shift a few hours later, no matter what.

Ok.... So I guess my moving activities were done for the day. While waiting for her to call back, I did a few other little chores like laundry and such and started clearing out the closet. I braced myself for the bad news when I heard the phone ringing again about a half-hour later, but I was off the hook. Apparently, a game broke, so they didn't need me right away. But I was told to keep the phone handy.

Instead of moving another hot and sweaty truckload of junk, I took a shower and dozed, waiting for the inevitable phone call. I had to get some sleep, figuring I'd be up all night.

Around 9:00 pm, my gal Sheena called, wanting me to go play poker with her. I told her of my situation, said I'd call in and find out when they needed me.

When I got hold of the desk, I was told that I was off the hook for the night--if I wanted to come in and play for a couple of hours I could do so and not have to worry about getting asked to work. No problem there! I would've rather worn shorts and had a beer once I got there, and enjoyed my evening. So I called Sheena back and told her to meet me down there later.

Once I walked in, I was surprised--the casino was packed, as expected, but so was the poker room! I asked the floorman if he was sure I wouldn't be needed, and again he said to enjoy myself and have a beer if I wanted.

Well, I sat down at a 4-8 game, but I could see how busy it was, so I didn't drink. And just as I expected, a couple of hours later, the graveyard shift floorman asked me if I could work. So I cashed out (down $13 dammit--had he asked five minutes earlier, I would've been up almost $40), ran home, got dressed, and came back in, working instead of playing.

But the games were good, and even though I was locked down all night, I made decent money. And I had a lot of fun too--we had a good group of players who chose to stay and play. Nobody was drunk or crazy and there were none of the usual graveyard shift shenanigans going on.

I finally got home around seven in the morning, but I was beat. Saturday kicked my ass. And I *know* I'm gonna get called in early again tonight. I'm fine with that, I'll certainly take the money, but an all-nighter shift is gonna definitely gonna make me want to sleep when I should be moving more stuff. Luckily, I've got all week to get it done.

Anyhow, that's the news from here. Oh, and I took a picture from my front door of my new place. Here's the view as I walk outside:

I'm wondering which one of my drunk friends will be the first one to trip over that rock as they head to and from the pool.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Moving Day

Hey gang...

Sorry for the light blogging lately--I know people get used to having lots of stuff to read and when I don't deliver, well, all I can say is 'sorry'.

I've been kinda-sorta super-tired, that whole day-shift-in-the-middle-of-a-graveyard-schedule has really thrown my system for a loop. I'm tired, but I'm wide awake, but I know I have a big day ahead of me, and I *know* I'm gonna get called into work again tomorrow night. I need to sleep at some point.

Anyhow, Friday was fun, aside from a full day shift at work where I made about half what I make in five or six hours on graveyard. Once I got out of work, I drove over to the new apartment, hoping once again to see the actual unit I'll be living in, but once again I was denied. I about flipped my shiat right there in the leasing office, but before I did, it was all explained to me.

Apparently, the unit I'm moving into today got a complete Home Makeover Henderson Edition. I got all new appliances--new fridge, new stove, new washer and dryer. And I got all new blinds all around, too. But, they hadn't done the 'maintenance walk-thru' yet, so they weren't allowed to show it to me, dammit.

But I drove back to it to see how badly it would be roasting in the sun at 5:00 pm in the afternoon, and I'm happy to report that it is nicely shaded, as is my patio. And it's a real patio, too, not the phone booth Rob and I had over on Green Valley Parkway. Also, when they installed the new blinds, they left them wide open, so I could see in all of the windows. It looks nice--perfect for my needs. And pressing my face on the glass, I could smell fresh paint and such.

So, once I got home, I grabbed a few hundies out of my stash can and ran to the bank to get the cashier's check for the move-in expenses, and while I was changing out of my work clothes, Carmen called. We made plans to get together later in the evening for dinner, poker, and buffoonery.

I hauled ass down to the bank, got in just under the wire (Friday night of a long holiday weekend--good lord, what a zoo!), took care of my biz, and then headed off to the 'M'.

We had a long night of buffoonery, which I'll detail fully later this weekend, but I just got home a few minutes ago and need to get a few hours of sleep. The first truckload of stuff goes over at 11:00 am. I'm gonna try to get three loads over and then catch up on sleep--I've got a feeling that Saturday is gonna be a very long day for me, though.

Anyhow, that's all for now, but maybe you weekend re-clickers will have something to read on Sunday night. Certainly by Tuesday morning when you get back to work, that's for sure.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


You know how they say that some days you're the windshield and some days you're the bug? Well folks, last night, I was the bug. A big, steaming, runny bug, smashed on the windshield of the poker table...

Of course I wanted to ride my hot streak, so I headed down to the 'M' around 7:30. There was still a waiting list for the only 4-8 table when I got to the casino, so I cruised over to the Vig Deli to grab some dinner.

I had a $5 off coupon that was about to expire, so I didn't even have to spend five bucks for my grilled brat and macaroni salad. (Both were really good, but damn, service there is sloooooooow). I was just finishing up when Sammi came wandering by, but she was headed in the wrong direction. I told her that I hoped she wasn't getting sent home, but luckily it was a false alarm--she just got the first break, that's all.

When I got back to the poker room, a seat had finally opened up, so I bought a rack of white and took a seat.

The first 45 minutes were a complete train wreck, bloodbath, massacre, call it whatever you like. All I know is that I felt a lot like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. It was ugly. I kept getting dealt premium hands, and they all turned to shiat. After one particularly gruesome suck-out, I sent the following text message to a handful of my friends:

So far, AA, KK, AK, 88, 77 cracked. Been here 45 minutes, down $160+.

The responses I got were entertaining, however. Dougie told me to pull the ripcord and Eject Eject Eject!, CoolP told me not to worry, it'll even out eventually, and my gal Sheena just wrote back Where you at?

What made it even worse is that right after I sent that text message out, I got pocket fives, flopped a set, and lost another huge pot to pocket threes when the board ran out 6-5-Q-2-4. No amount of betting would push my opponent off her hand... It was awful.

I just couldn't get any big hands to hold up at all. In fact, one of my better pots came on a sick bluff. There was a guy in the hand who normally plays 2-5 No Limit every night, but there was no game, so he was playing in the minors with us last night instead. There were a lot of scare cards on the board, and he even had position on me, and when I check-raised him on the river with absolutely nothing, he folded and said something like Your Aces are good... I thought he was gonna come unglued when I showed the 6-5 offsuit.

That was about the only bright spot in the evening until Sammi came along. On the first hand of her down, she dealt me pocket Queens, I rivered a set and got a decent pot off of a guy who had nothing but a pair of Jacks. She also got me two more pots before she left, but by then the damage was done--I was too far in the hole, playing a shorthanded game, so my prospects of breaking even were almost nil. In fact, the game broke around 11 pm, so I took off, down $250 for the night.

I called back to my poker room to see if they had a game, and they did, so I headed back over there, hoping to make back some of my losses. A couple of the gals I play with were there too, so it was a fun table. However, I just couldn't get over the hump--my play was inconsistent and I went from being up $40 to being down $50 for several hours--back and forth all night long.

Sometime just after 4:00 am, I raised with Ace-Jack of diamonds, got five callers, somebody else built a huge pot, and I went runner-runner to get the nut flush on the river. Finally, the tables had turned! I was able to put a bad beat on somebody else instead of it happening to me. Whew. I raked a $150+ pot and ended up making back $110 of my losses from the 'M', so for the night, I was only down $140. That was a relief. And since I'd won so much the night before, it didn't sting as badly when I considered the big picture.

But that hand pretty much broke the table--I think we played one more orbit after that and then cashed out.

Now that I'm home, safely back in my crypt before the sun comes out, my plan is to sleep for a couple of hours and then get some more moving prep done. Last night, before I went out, I got a lot of little things done, nothing you can really see at first glance, but my desk and closet can feel the difference.

Tonight, I may go have a beer or two with my blogger gals, and maybe go back to the 'M' for a couple of hours, but it'll be an early night. I've got a day shift scheduled on Friday, so I can't stay up all night.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Knocking The Rust Off My Mojo

It's good to be back... Both home and in the poker room. I hadn't played any cards in over a week. Hell, I think it might've been more like ten days. I think the last time I played it was over at the 'M' and I busted a couple of Russians and tilted the guy with all the neck tattoos. That was a pretty good night.

After working a couple of nights after that, then going to Phoenix for a few days, and then working a couple more nights, well, one can imagine that my game was quite rusty. I hadn't worked at my 'part time job' in far too long.

So I was looking forward to Tuesday night. My plan for the evening was to watch the latest episode of The Deadliest Catch, then make my way down to the 'M' for an evening of 4-8 poker. When I left the house at 7:30, I called down there to put my name on the waiting list, and the hostess told me that they didn't even have a game going at the time and that I was only the fifth person on the interest list. I figured that there would probably be a few stragglers coming in by the time I got there, so I still made my way southwest on St. Rose. Besides, game or no, it would've been nice to see Sammi, too.

By the time I got there, they were just getting ready to seat the players and start a game. I told the hostess that I was there, but the floorman missed the communication and gave somebody else my seat. Grrr... So I sat down with a magazine, content to be the second person on the new waiting list. About ten minutes later, I looked up and saw that I was suddenly now the fourth person on the waiting list. I went to the desk to find out why, but the hostess was nowhere to be found.

After getting jacked out of my seat at the beginning of the game, then somehow booted down the waiting list, I was kinda pissed off. To make matters worse, they only had four tables total going, so Sammi had the night off. Oh well, time to move on, I thought. But being a poker degenerate enthusiast, I have a whole mess of my favorite poker rooms on speed dial. So I started looking for a game. It was kinda strange though--it seemed that nobody had a 4-8 game going-- couldn't find one anywhere.

Eventually, I found a room a ways away that had two tables going, so I told them to put me on the list and that I'd be there in a half-hour. I was feeling no love at the 'M' last night, so I bailed.

When I got to the second casino, it didn't look good. Both 4-8 games looked kinda weak, and there was 7-handed 1-2 no limit game going, too. Before I bought in, I watched the no limit game for a bit, and I recognized a couple of the players--guys I'd beaten a few times in the past.


So instead of playing 4-8, I got two stacks of red and a stack of white (that's $220 for you beginners out there) and sat down at the no-limit table. As soon as I sat down, the gal in the seat on my left said Mikey! What are you doing here?!?!?

I did a double take and started chuckling to myself--it was my friend 'Sheena', who I swear, I must play with two or three times a week over at my casino--and she usually plays 4-8 also. She was in disguise--I totally didn't recognize her when I first came in. Her hair is usually curly, but it was straightened, and she was wearing a ball cap down low over her eyes and had sunglasses too.

I asked her what she was doing, and she said that she was incognito because it was such a juicy game...

Juicy game huh? Then why do you only have $150 in front of you? Heh.

I think she slugged me after I said that.

I sat down and ground away about $50 in the first half hour, completely airballing every flop I played. But then I took a few down without a showdown and started building my stack. Two other guys had the bad sense to go all-in against me when I was holding monsters, and I broke them, which in turn broke the game.

Sheena was right, it was juicy, right up until the part where I mowed down the other players. There were only five of us left--not worth playing--so both Sheena and I got seats at a 4-8 table. Before I sat down, however, I went to the cashier and pocketed $260 in profit.

I spent the next four hours grinding away at the 4-8 game, not really winning any huge pots, but constantly building my stack. I did, however, lose a triple-digit pot on the river with pocket Kings against pocket sixes when the board ran out 8-K-5-4-7. That kinda sucked. And my iPod cost me an extra $24 on a kill-pot when I raised with the second-nut straight, thinking I was heads-up against one player, when I didn't hear or notice the guy behind me who raised the river with the stone-cold nuts. Ouch.

But other than those two miscues, I did pretty well, and was happy to pocket another $100 for my efforts before calling it a night around 1:30.

I was starving when I got out of there, having not had anything to eat all day. So I hit the Taco Bell drive-thru on the way home and was denied. That kinda sucked. I thought they were open all night for that whole 'fourth meal' thing, but they shut it down at 1 o'clock in the morning on weeknights. Vegas might be a 24-hour town, but Henderson, not so much. I really wanted some Mexican food, but Fausto's also closes early, and the nearest Roberto's is way down on Eastern and Horizon Ridge. Laziness trumped hunger, so I stopped at the 7-11 and got a Gatorade and some 'Garden Salsa' flavored Sun Chips. Meh...

Anyhow, I'm not quite tired enough to go to bed just yet, and I'd really love to start moving stuff down to the garage since it's not so damn hot outside. But my roommate is asleep downstairs and if I started hauling stuff around the house, it would drive the dogs nuts. So I guess I'll just watch some TV for awhile, go to bed in a few hours, and then later this afternoon get all of the non-essentials down to the garage.

Maybe tonight I'll give the 'M' another try. My poker mojo might be back, but I haven't flirted with Sammi in over a week.


Monday, May 18, 2009

I Heard I Was In Town

Wow--What a great week it's been! Yep, I'm back from my little mini-vacation in Phoenix, and I'm ready to do it all over again. I had a blast.

I punched out of Vegas-land around twelve-thirty on Wednesday afternoon, pointed the truck south, and headed for the Dam. But there were some sort of shenanigans going on down there--traffic was completely stopped and there must've been about 20 different cars and SUVs with lights and sirens going, blocking traffic. I called Dougie to see if there was anything on the news, but he drew a blank. I was only delayed about ten minutes or so, but it sure was frustrating when all I wanted to do was get on the road.

Once I got across Hoover Dam and out of Black Canyon, I cranked up the music and put my foot down on the pedal. I was absolutely hauling ass across northwestern Arizona. I think my rate of travel was closer to the outside temperature than it was to the posted speed limit. I was making good time. Almost too good. Before I knew it, it was 4 pm and I was on the far side of Wickenburg, less than forty miles to Eddie W's house. I had told him I'd be there around six, so I was pretty far ahead of schedule.

I called him up, and before I lost the signal out there in the middle of nowhere, he said that he was already on his way home for the day and would probably get to the house about 20 minutes before I did.

Once I got off the Carefree Highway and close to his neighborhood, I dialed it down a bit, and also stopped at the nearest Circle K to fill up the tank on cheap-to-me gas, scrub the bugs off, and grab a bottle of water. But he was waiting for me when I pulled up in the driveway.

I unloaded my gear, dropped the bags in the living room, kicked off the shoes, and less than a minute later, I was sipping an ice cold draft beer from a frosty glass, courtesy of Ed's beer fridge. It was a nice way to kick off my visit to Phoenix.

We planned on having a mellow night, so we just kicked it in front of the big screen, watching the ballgame and having a few beers. Eddie's wife Michelle was kind enough to pick up some pizza and wings, and after dinner, we just hung out on the back patio smoking cigars and catching up until we were too tired to drink.

Thursday was the big day, and we had a lot planned. Eddie got up early and dropped the kid off at the in-laws, took Michelle to work, and gassed up the SUV before I got out of bed. Once I got up, showered, and got dressed, he was back, down in the kitchen making a pot of coffee.

Our 'breakfast of champions' consisted of leftover pizza and coffee with Bailey's. The only thing we had to do that day was go grocery shopping and then pick up Michelle at her office at 3:15--from there it was off to the Jimmy Buffett concert down at Desert Sky Pavilion. (Yeah, I know, it's now 'Cricket' Pavilion, but it was Desert Sky forever, and I can't shake the habit). Our plan was to just sit in the hot tub, smoke cigars, have a few beers, and spend the day relaxing before the show.

While sitting out in the pool, enjoying the Arizona sun, Missouri beer, and Dominican cigars, Eddie told me of the last thing Michelle said to him as he dropped her off at work.

I don't want you guys to be late picking me up because you're off getting lap dances at The Candy Store!

Hmmm... Well, honestly, that idea had never even entered our minds, but while sitting out there, we figured that if we had the grocery shopping done by noon, we could still get an hour in at The Candy Store before picking Michelle up from the office. Sounded like a good plan to us! Strip clubs here in Vegas are geared to tourists and way too overpriced, so I haven't gone to see the ladies since the last time Ed and I hit the Hi-Lighter back in the summer of '06.

It was shaping up to be an epic day.

Sometime after that decision was made, it was my turn to go fetch the next round of beers, so I hopped up out of the pool, did a cursory dry-off, and took the pint glasses back to the garage for a refill. Coming back out to the backyard, I forgot about the little half-step that separates the patio from the pool deck, and carrying two full beers, I didn't see it either. I completely tripped over it, doing a textbook face plant, going down in a painful heap.


Being a pro, however, I sacrificed the body and managed to keep Ed's beer intact. Mine however, hit the deck and spilled everywhere. Luckily the glass didn't break, but man, I jacked up my knee--it was all skinned up and bloody. Eddie had the hose handy, and sprayed off both the deck and my knee, and a few minutes later, all was well--he got a replacement beer for me while I eased my now battered body into the hot-tub for some 'therapy' for another hour or so.

Since we had a plan for the day, we didn't linger too long. We finished our beers and changed into dry clothes, then headed out to the grocery store to get stuff for the concert that night and the BBQ on Saturday. When we got back to the house, we unloaded everything, then packed the coolers and loaded up the truck with stuff like blankets and lawn chairs, bottled water, etc. Once the chores were done, we both took showers and got dressed in our concert gear and were out the door by 1:15, figuring we'd get a good hour and ten minutes worth of lappies if we made it to the strip club by 2:00 pm. (Eddie lives a long way from everywhere. Except maybe Vegas--he's pretty close to my place...)

The first thing we did, of course, was put the old Music For The Rub & Tug CD on as we made the drive down towards civilization. That CD was one of the first ones I ever made as soon as I got a computer with a burner on it, and I made three copies--one for the two Eddies and another one for Derek. It's been a favorite for years, and it's the perfect warm-up for a trip to the 'ballet'.

Now, I hadn't been to The Candy Store in probably eight or nine years--it's in Eddie's old neighborhood in north Phoenix, and we both moved away over five years ago. Back at the time, dances were only five bucks and most of the girls that worked there had a lot of skank in the tank--the pickins were a bit slim, especially if you went there on a busy night. Just to give you an idea, I remember one gal in particular who had paw prints tattooed all the way across her body from her right knee to up over her left shoulder. And she was one of the 'hotter' ones.

So our expectations weren't very high for this visit, but we figured with only an hour to kill, what the hell, at the very minimum we'll get a good laugh or two, as our trips to the strip club are usually quite memorable.

Our prospects were looking up as soon as we got there, however. The same smoking nazis who took over California have moved east to Arizona, and you can no longer smoke indoors, even in a bar/strip club. So sitting outside on a concrete parking stop, smoking a cigarette and talking on a cell phone, was a barely-dressed blonde hottie. She gave us a smile as we passed by, and I told Eddie that no matter how skanky the lineup was, there was at least one chick I'd be willing to get a lappie from.

He agreed and we made our way inside. There was no cover on a Thursday afternoon at 2 pm, and aside from the one lonely Mexican guy nursing a Budweiser at the bar, we were the only patrons. We grabbed a couple of beers, found a couple of seats in the corner, and waited for the procession to come trolling by.

We didn't have to wait long, and I have to admit that we were both impressed by the lack of skankiness on display from the dozen or so gals working the room at the time. There were some very attractive ladies in there willing to get naked for ten bucks! Before long, we were both face-deep in fake boobs and stripper perfume. I however, having not been in so long, made a rookie mistake. I forgot to empty my pockets and the first girl to climb up on me and start grinding stepped right on my keys. Ouch!

It didn't take but a couple of songs before I found my favorite--an amazingly hot blonde with a perfect body and an Arizona tan named 'Rikki'.

So if your name is Rikki, how come you have the letter 'M' hanging from your necklace?

Anyhow, I kept her busy for pretty much the entire time we were there, while Eddie took the variety-is-the-spice-of-life route. Luckily we were under a time restraint, else this gal would've probably emptied my pockets. As it stood, she earned about a hundred bucks and I ended up with a bunch of glitter stuck to my head and most her perfume infused in my shirt. Good times!

Just as our time ran out, she had to do her shift on the main stage, so we left her a few singles and we headed for the door, glad the Eddie's wife put the idea in our heads. He married a good woman.

And we were actually about two minutes early picking her up, but she was already changed and waiting in the parking lot at her office when we got there. We stopped to get some sub sandwiches to go, then headed out on the 101 down towards Desert Sky, ready to get our tailgate on!

We made it to the arena about four hours before showtime, but the parking lot was already filling up with hard-core Parrot Heads. Of course, being a dumbass, I'd forgotten my camera (but at least I remembered the tickets!), so I was unable to capture any photos of the buffoonery going on all around us. But we found a good spot at the south end of the lot, next to a berm with plenty of shade, so that's where we set up camp.

My old roommate Tammie and her crew were on the way also, so we touched base and told her where to find us--they had a three-car caravan a few minutes behind us. So we set up the camp chairs and pulled the cooler out, and I got to work making margaritas in the cocktail shaker. While waiting for the others, we munched on our sandies and had a few cocktails.

Tammie and the gang showed up a bit later and found us, and we spent a few minutes setting up the pop-up shelter and BBQ grill, and passed around a few beers and such. We had a great time tailgating for a couple of hours--it was still about 101 degrees, which is just perfect for Phoenix, but we had some shade and a slight breeze, not to mention plenty of cold drinks on hand, so it was an ideal afternoon/evening for the concert.

Tammie was smart enough to bring her camera, so there were plenty of pictures taken. Here we go--this is Ed, Michelle, Tammie and me, deep into the tailgating experience:

Around seven pm, we packed up the party and moved it inside the venue. We all had general admission seats on the lawn, which, if you ask me, is the only way to enjoy a concert by Brother Jimmy--it's tough to initiate any buffoonery or make new friends in the reserved seats, so we *always* opt for the grass--that's where the real fans sit, anyways.

Here's a bunch of pictures we took once we got inside:

It didn't take long before I made a new friend--this is Megan, and we had a great time dancing and drinking together during the show.

This is Ken, Tammie's brother, and her Uncle Mike.

Of course, there are always opportunities for buffoonery out there in the lawn seats, so we captured a few of them on film.

Oh yeah, word around the campfire was that there was actually a concert going on, too...

A few more...

Of course, not everyone was having as much fun as we were...

Anyhow, it was a great show--Jimmy played all of his normal standards from the regular playlist, plus a couple that I'd never heard before (Surfin' in a Hurricane? I had no idea). My only gripe was that he chose to cover two Beatles songs, too. Hey man, it's not like the guy has about 40 albums worth of music to choose from--I don't need to hear Yellow Submarine... But that's just me--I'm just not much of a Beatles fan. The concert followed the usual outline--about an hour and fifteen minutes of music, a twenty minute intermission, and another hour-plus of music, and then a three song encore.

It was a fantastic show, as usual, and the tailgating and the outrageous costumes just added to it. I love going to Jimmy Buffett concerts and can't wait to do it again--it's always a great party. Oh, and afterwards, I got a laugh at Eddie's expense. Remember when I turfed it on his pool deck earlier in the day? Well, his drunk ass fell down the stairs on his way out of the concert, landing in a pile of semi-empty beer cups and other assorted shiat at the bottom. Heh. No harm no foul, but certainly a few laughs.

After the show finally ended, it was bottled water in the parking lot for another hour or so while we waited for the post-concert traffic to thin out. We finally made it home sometime after midnight and went straight to bed, stopping only long enough to unload the unconsumed booze from the back of the truck.

I felt kinda bad for Michelle, she had to get up early and go to work, but Eddie and I were under no such pressure. He had a couple of meetings to go to that afternoon, so he needed to go into the office, but we had a more leisurely start to our Friday.

I packed up my gear and prepared myself for the 60 mile drive down to Eddie B's house in Gilbert, and we both left the house around ten in the morning. Yep, it took almost a full hour to make it to the other end of town (Phoenix is a big city), but once I got down there I grabbed a cheeseburger and read one of my Bourdain books while Eddie B spent the last couple of market hours working in his home office.

Once he was free from the computer, we poured ourselves some ice cold Tecates and hopped in his pool. Luckily his pool deck is at the same level as the patio, so gravity couldn't reach up and smite me that time around. It was another 100-degree day, but the sun didn't seem so intense and the pool was the perfect temperature. I think we hung out there for almost two hours, and I got some more much-needed sun (I came home with a nice tan). His wife Regina got home from work eventually, and the plan for the evening was to join George and Marlisha for dinner over at their place.

So we got showered and changed, then headed up to their place, which is only about ten minutes away from Eddie's house. When we got there, the party was ON! They had the whole entertainment setup going.

Outside in the backyard, there was a full bar going on with all of our favorite booze on hand, plus plenty of cold beer on ice and several bottles of top-shelf wine. George was manning the industrial sized charcoal grill, and Marlisha had plenty of food ready to go. There was a dining table set up with candles, plus all of the outdoor 'mood' lights around the pool were going, and the misters were keeping everything cool. It was turning into another perfect night.

Their neighbors also showed up a few minutes later, so we had a full-on dinner party going. Besides our drinks, Marlisha had made some deviled eggs for an appetizer, along with some marinated shrimp, which George threw on the grill for a couple of minutes. She had also made a batch of super-spicy homemade cocktail sauce, and the shrimp were amazingly good. Sadly, I'm a dumbass, and forgot my camera again, so the only photo evidence of the meal was a single snapshot taken with my cellphone.

As much as we enjoyed the shrimp, it just got better from there. George had procured some fresh corn, de-silked it, but left it in the husks and soaked it in saltwater for a few hours. Then he threw it on the grill and roasted it. It was oh-my-god good! We also had potatoes, marinated in olive oil and rubbed with herbs, cut in half and grilled, too. Marlisha also made some of her famous home-made macaroni and cheese that has to be tasted to be believed. There was a caprese salad, made with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and basil fresh from their garden that we all raved about, plus sauted mushrooms and a wine-reduction sauce. And oh yeah, there were also steaks on the grill.

Along with all that, we had a few bottles of good wine to go with it, and it was a fantastic meal all around. Everything was just amazingly good--words and pictures couldn't begin to do it justice. Good company, good food, and good wine--the trifecta of awesome. And it was another beautiful night outside, too.

We ate until we were stuffed, and sadly, nobody had room for dessert--we'd brought a chocolate cream cake, but they had all the makings for Bananas Foster on hand, too! Unfortunately, we just couldn't find the room for it, so we were content to sip cocktails and wine after dinner and spend several hours smoking cigars and enjoying each others company. It really was a perfect night and a perfect meal--we could've never had such a great time in a restaurant. George and Marlisha are awesome hosts, and of course offered to do it again if I would just come down and visit again, so I'm checking the calendar for this fall...

After a night and a meal like that, we all slept like babies once we finally made it home. I got a good eight hours of sleep in, but Eddie is used to getting up around five in the morning, so he was up and kicking around early. I showered and got dressed, and once I came downstairs, he and Regina started cooking some breakfast--we had eggs, bacon, seasoned potatoes, and something called 'aroz con leche', Spanish for rice with milk, which was actually pretty good for something I'd never heard of before. It's rice cooked in evaporated milk, with cinnamon and nutmeg and a few other things added. I guess it's a traditional Mexican dish that Regina grew up on. Eddie married himself a good cook and has been reaping the benefits--but it was a good breakfast all around.

Eventually, we had to make our way back up to Ed W's place for a BBQ. I was also gonna stay there again on Saturday night because it would cut sixty miles off of my drive back to Vegas. Unfortunately, it seemed like damn near all the roads out of the east valley were under construction, and it took me an hour and a half to make the drive. I swear to god, the Superstition Freeway is the biggest clusterf*ck on the planet. That damn freeway has been under construction for going on 30 years, and it's STILL not done yet. They had it down to just two lanes coming out of the east valley on Saturday, and it was completely gridlocked.

I remember ten years ago when I bought my condo. I told my realtor that I wanted to live in the east valley, but I worked at Squaw Peak, so I would only buy a place if I didn't have to use the Superstition Freeway for my commute. It took some looking, but we found a place that met that criteria. Most of the time freeway access is a good thing--not so in this case--it's a complete nightmare to drive on.

Anyhow, I eventually made it up to the far northwest end of town, unloaded all of my gear again, and set about doing some damage in the kitchen. Eddie and Michelle were providing all the stuff for burgers and such, but I brought along some beer brats. So I put five bottles of Shiner Bock in a big saucepan, cut up a couple of onions, and simmered the brats for awhile while we waited for everyone else to show up. George and Marlisha eventually showed up, and Eddie and Regina weren't far behind.

We munched on a veggie tray, chips and salsa, and wonderfully spicy wasabi peanuts, while emptying Eddie's keg fridge and watching the baseball game on the big screen. Eventually we threw the meat on the grill and had another great meal.

After dinner, it was more hot-tub and cigar time. That was a lot of fun. We stayed up until the wee hours drinking good Scotch and smoking Partagas Black Labels, and eventually Ed got drunk enough for another retelling of the legendary Blue Moon, midget stripper, and cheese sandwich story from waaaaay back in the day. I swear I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

But the weekend was coming to an end, and we had that happy combination of drunk/tired catching up to us. Eventually the party ended, everyone went home, and we called it night. I stumbled up the stairs and passed out, the activities of the previous three days having finally worn me out.

At 4:00 in the morning, my phone was ringing... Yep, it was work, seeing if I might be available. As much as I wanted a shift, well, I was a good six hours away, so I had to turn it down. I fell back asleep till around 8:30 or so, got up, showered, packed my gear, and loaded the truck. I said goodbye to Ed and Michelle, thanked them for their hospitality, and hit the road back to Vegas. I topped off the tank, checked my Powerball tickets (nope, didn't win the $150 million), bought a bottle of Gatorade, and plugged in the iPod. Just four hours later, I was pulling into my driveway, happy to be home, but looking forward to doing it again soon.

Once I got my luggage in the house, I spent the balance of my Sunday afternoon catching up on my sleep, knowing I'd be working late that night. I actually got called in early, which was nice, and had a pretty decent night.

Now I'm home and life is back to normal for a few days until the weekend. I get the keys to my new place on Saturday, so I've got a busy week ahead of me.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Off The Road Again

I'm back, safe and sound, here in Vegas Henderson. It was a great time, and I'll have a full report, with lots of pics, sometime on Monday afternoon.

I'd do it tonight, but I need to get some sleep before heading off to work and doing an overnighter.

I had a lot of fun, but it's good to be home.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gone Bamboo Saguaro

Sorry for the lack of updates this week, but y'all are gonna have to somehow deal with it--There won't be anything more posted until probably next Monday at the earliest.

I'm still here in Vegas, for now, but in my head, I'm already in Phoenix at the Jimmy Buffett concert. It's about four in the morning now, and although I can't sleep, I have to force myself to do so--I've got a long drive ahead of me this afternoon.

Last night, I got a few last-minute chores done. I gassed up the truck, and then also did a few things like top off the air in the tires and water in the radiator, checked the oil, etc., in preparation for the trip.

I know a few things about vehicular maintenance, but I feel like I got jacked by the crooks down at Ted Wiens Auto Center the last time I was there. Basically, I got my oil changed and my tires rotated, along with a 'free' inspection. They told me that my brakes needed 'adjustment' very soon and offered to do it for me right then, to the tune of somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred bucks or two. But at the time, the truck only had about 18K miles on in, so I knew they were full of shiat.

When they finished up, I pretty much decided that I wouldn't go back to them, I kinda felt like they were being a little crooked. But then I noticed that it was taking longer to slow down and it didn't seem, suddenly, like my brakes were working as well as they should've been. Also, I noticed a slight shimmy in the rear tires right at 40 mph, but only when it was cold.

I figured that once I got a few extra bucks after the move and such, I'd take it in to a different garage and have a more honest mechanic look at it. I also noticed these past few weeks that my tires would chirp much more easily than usual, and would squeal at almost any speed going around corners. And it's not like I've got the monster Magnum engine in it--it's the 210 hp 'mini-magnum', which has plenty of power for my needs, but it's not a fire-breather by any means.

So upon closer inspection the other day, I noticed that my tires looked a bit underinflated. I figured that had a lot to do about it, but holy shiat, I had no idea how much. While I was out last night I stopped and got a new tire gauge and checked each one. Each one only had 19 pounds of air! WTF? I *know* they had more than that before I took it to Ted Wiens, so I'm guessing they deflated my tires a bit, trying to drum up business. I can't prove it, but that's what it looks like to me.

I know that 19 pounds of air ain't nearly enough--I worked as a tire-buster for about six months back in the days before I left for college, and 90% of the cars and trucks we serviced needed 32 lbs. of pressure at a minimum. And big as day, right there on the door pillar, the manufacturer's recommendation says my truck should have 35 lbs of air in each tire.

So I found a coin-operated air pump and spent several minutes re-inflating my tires, and I swear, the difference is like night and day. The brakes work fine, the tires don't squeal, and I'm guessing the 10% drop-off in gas mileage will come back (I attributed it to never driving on the freeway anymore).

Anyhow, after that little mystery had revealed itself and was taken care of, I treated myself to a little sensory preview of the next few days. It was Taco Tuesday at Rubio's, and their totally awesome fish tacos were only a buck and a quarter. I had to take advantage.

But it got better from there. I was sitting there in the dining room, with a huge saltwater fish tank next to me, tropical music playing overhead, reading Bourdain's travel adventures, and munching on some excellent Baja-style Mexican food. I was in my happy place. And once I got back out to my truck, I had the iPod plugged in and set on the 'Brother Jimmy' playlist which serenaded me while I did all of my running around.

Did I mention that I can't wait to get to Phoenix?

I'm gonna leave around noon or so, and roll into Ed's place sometime around five or six. We're gonna spend the evening having a nice dinner, several cocktails, and a good cigar or two. On Thursday, we'll do a little pre-gaming before heading to the concert, but then early in the evening, about three hours before the show starts, we're meeting up with the whole gang--about 15 of us, for a little tailgating and tequila. Then I'm sure I will embarrass myself for a couple more hours by singing along with brother Jimmy, loudly and off-key. And dancing like nobody is watching, of course.

On Friday, I'm driving down to the other end of town and hanging out with Eddie B all day, and then that night we're having steaks on the grill at George and Marlisha's place (aka Big Stogie and Big Tips). I believe the plan for the rest of the night involves several bottles of wine and a few cigars, hanging out in the pool.

On Saturday, we all make the trek back up to Ed W's place for another BBQ/pool party, which will probably be the point where I finally reach total relaxation. On Sunday morning, I make the trek back to Vegas, sleep all day, and then work again that night.

Anyhow, even though I'm still here for the next few hours, I'm really looking forward to being there for the next few days.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Looking Ahead

Hey Gang...

Hope y'all are having a lovely Monday. Me--I'm about ready to go to bed. I worked last night, but the game broke around 4:30 this morning. But I hung around chatting with a couple of friends, talking poker strategy for a bit before coming home.

I've got a list of chores to do today, but sleep comes first--I'm beat. Anyhow, I have to work again tonight, and then tomorrow it's more preparing for the move. The pictures will come down off the walls and everything from my bedroom closet that isn't hanging up will go down to the garage, and all the booze will get packed up, too.

On Wednesday, I'm gonna kick it around the house until about 1:00 in the afternoon, then I'm gonna take off and head to Phoenix for a few days. I'm not gonna bring my laptop with me, so once I hit the road, there won't be any more posting until Monday at the earliest. I'm really looking forward to the time away.

I'll try and come up with something interesting to write about before I hit the road, but right now I'm kinda distracted, looking forward to my trip.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Something Something Chicken Dinner!

Finally! I'm off the schneid. And in the most entertaining way possible, too. But more about that later...

I've had an interesting couple of days, and since I'm wide awake at 2:30 in the morning, I might as well share them with you.

Yeah, you know how I said that I wasn't going to go play poker again until I got back from Phoenix next week? Well, that was a good plan until Friday night rolled around and I was sick of sitting around the house watching TV. There ain't shiat on TV on Friday nights. Oh yeah, I've got books to read, but I was tired of sitting in my room--it felt like I'd been there for days.

So, I grabbed the last solitary hundie out of my stash can and headed over to the M to play some cards. Just as I was getting there, my very most favorite dealer in the whole joint, the little blondie gal with the kookie hair and the pierced tongue, was opening up a new 4-8 game. So I took a seat.

First hand of the night--pocket Aces! Even better, somebody else got pocket Queens and we flopped set-over-set. Bam--Mikey up $80 on the first hand!

That, my friends, is a helluva slumpbuster!

My opponent, a little pissed at me at first, warmed up to me eventually, and we had a lot of laughs there at the table over the course of the evening. It was kind of a grind, however, and I noticed that I was paying to see a lot of flops, but not hitting too many of them. And getting Aces cracked by 10-8 offsuit was a major bummer later in the evening. After about six hours, I was only up $20 for the session, and thought about leaving, just so that I could bank a win, but there was a kid at the table raising and calling with nothing, but hitting everything, so I figured I could get him to call-off most of his chips.

I decided to stay. That didn't work out so well, as he hit me on the river a couple of times and it ended up costing me about $80 altogether. Grrr!

On the other hand, the whole night, my little blondie friend (the dealer) would come over and chat whenever she was on brush or break, so that was a nice diversion. She knows I've kind of got a thing for her, so she throws me a bone every now and then. And I'm always following the line-up so I know when she's gonna be coming back to the table. And man, do I get pissy whenever it changes and she ends up skipping to another game...

It happened again on Friday night--some games broke, some dealers went home, and instead of coming back and doing another round at my table, she had to push ahead to another game. So while I was taking a breather and going to the mens room, I stopped back by her game and whispered to her Hey, I think it's a conspiracy--the floorman is keeping us apart...

But she said she'd get back over there eventually--she was scheduled till 4:00 am.

Around 2:30 in the morning, about the time I kept getting rivered by the Asian kid with the backwards hat, she came back over and tapped me on the shoulder.

I was in the hand, and had pocket Sevens at the time, so I was a little distracted...

"Hey Mikey, I just wanted to come by and tell you that I was leaving--I got an early out."

I raise--make it $9 to go! (pause) What? You're leaving? What are you gonna do?

"Well, I guess I'm gonna go home and open a bottle of wine..."

The flop comes out 3-7-9 rainbow. I flopped a set! Woot!!!

Wine huh? So are you gonna take a bubble bath, light some candles, maybe watch a little Lifetime TV? My opponent bets into me. I finally have him. I raise--make it twelve! He calls.

"No, nothing like that--just gonna chill after a long day." (Long pause) "So, are you gonna be here tomorrow night, then?"

Here comes the turn. It's a nine--I've got a full boat! My opponent checks, I bet $12, he calls. Nice--I'm finally gonna rake a huge pot off of this mope!

I will be, unless this guy rivers me again. But then, I won't see you for a week--I'm going to Phoenix next week.

"Oh, ok then... Well, I guess I'll see ya later..." And she walks off.

Here comes the river card--it's another nine. Shit. There are now three of them on the board. I know I'm dead now. My opponent, I'm sure, has the case nine.

He bets out. Resigned to my fate, I call, and say Well, if you've got the nine, I'm dead in the water.

Nah, he says, I thought you might've had the nine--I've got a full boat. I can't believe my shiatty luck as he turns over pocket eights, giving him nines full of eights, which beat my now-sabatoged nines full of sevens.


My opponent rakes in another huge pot, courtesy of the turn and river, and I sit there staring straight ahead like I'd just been hit in the nuts. By a nine-iron.

I look up and see the gal across the table from me shaking her head at me.

What? How the hell else could I have played that? I had a pair pre-flop, flopped a set, turned a boat? What did I do wrong???

"I'm not talking about the hand, you idiot, I'm talking about the girl!", she said.

What about her?

"Are you that clueless?!?!?!? She was inviting you to go home with her and you just blew it! She's been over here talking to you all night--got out of work early, and just gave you the biggest 'Open for business' signal ever, and you spaced it!

Oh f*ck.

The realization hit me like a ton of frustrated bricks.

I jumped up and ran over to the desk, but she was long gone. And I don't have her number, either. So not only did I lose a huge pot, but at the same time, I may have lost a pretty good opportunity to spend some quality time with a gal I've got the hots for. Clearly, it was just not my night. And I am just a huge clueless dork.

So, everyone at the table is laughing at me by that point, and instead of being up eighty bucks and halfway to gettin' some good lovin', I'm now stuck again for like $60 and nothing but YouPorn to keep me company when I get home.

Just as laughter fades, I felt a familiar buzzing in my pocket, and I heard the muted strains of the opening guitar riff to Rush's Working Man. That's the poker room calling. The other poker room--the one I work in.

I answer, and my buddy James is asking me what I'm doing.

Getting my ass kicked at the M, thanks for asking...

"Well, why don't you come over here and make some real money--I've got a crazy 2-5 game going and I need another dealer" he tells me.

I'll be there by three, I say, and hang up. I've got 27 minutes to cash out and drive my ass across town. I leave with $89. I bought in for $150, so y'all can do the math.


Anyhow, I sat around chatting with the cocktail waitress and floorman until seven in the morning, then we took off. I hadn't eaten anything except yogurt and granola bars in the previous two days, so I was starving. Off to Sierra Gold...

I slipped a twenty into the triple-play machine and got four queens on my third spin, so I cashed out and breakfast was paid for. But it wasn't actually breakfast per se--I had popcorn shrimp with spicy Thai peanut sauce and a Bud Light draft--it beats bagels and lox any day. We hung out for a bit, but by 8:30 in the morning, I was toast--I'd been up for about 20 hours by that point.

So I came straight on home, took a shower, and spent the majority of my Saturday sleeping. I only woke up when my phone started going off--James was texting me our Nascar bets. (We did not win..)

Anyhow, I got up and got showered around 7 o'clock in the evening, and headed back down to the M, thinking that the last half-hour of the previous night was an abberation. I was winning, then just got crushed on four hands at the tail end of the evening.

My favorite dealer had an open seat at her table, but it was a 2-4 game. 3-6 is as low as I'll go, so I opted to sit in the sports book and wait for a 4-8 seat to open up.

I didn't have to wait long, and again, I won my very first hand. It seemed like the bad luck streak was finally over. The night before, I was a little irritated at one point because I was sitting by one guy who was a complete asshole, and the guy on the other side of me was a loud annoying drunk. I desperately wished I'd brought my iPod with me.

Normally, I don't bring it--I think you miss too much information if you can't hear your opponents, and I certainly don't have a backwards hat, nor do I complete the poker douchebag trifecta by wearing sunglasses at a 4-8 table, either.

But last night--I brought my iPod, just in case. I'm glad I had it--not because people were being annoying, but because I was bored off of my ass. I was completely card-dead for almost three hours, just bleeding off my blinds, waiting for a hand.

My girl 'Sam' finally got to the table, and I was happy. (I call her that because she looks like a Samantha. But that's not her real name, and it's easier to write about her when I can just assign a name to her instead of saying 'the little blondie gal with the kookie hair and pierced tongue' every time). I didn't get any cards until the last hand she dealt before getting pushed out--Once again she gave me pocket Aces, and once again I dragged a nice pot. And she got a nice tip, too.

But it was a troublesome table. There were some truly bad players there, but I just couldn't beat them. There was a Russian couple--the lady had no eyebrows, and the husband, man, he had the creepiest/dumbest look on his face, like a movie mobster, but one that had spent far too many years drinking the water at Chernobyl. Anyhow, they would bet/raise/call with anything or nothing at all on every hand, yet they kept catching cards and raking huge pots. I mean, how many times is 8-2 or J-3 the nuts? But they seemed to be holding them every time.

There was another guy at the table who seemed to be kind of a dickhead, and for some reason, he had it in for me. Too many piercings, and oh yeah, lots of prospects with all of the neck tattoos. He seemed to think he was hot shiat--he did a lot of raising and talked a lot of crap, but he kept getting hammered over and over again.

Anyhow, at one point, I was down almost $80, but went on a nice heater and got AA-AK-AQ-AK four out of five hands, winning three nice pots and just annihilated the Red Menace. I made almost $150 off of the two of them in four hands, so they got pissed and left. A few minutes later I got Mr. Neck Tattoos on two hands with 8-9 suited and K-Q suited. So I was doing pretty well.

It was getting kind of late, and I certainly didn't want to give any of my winnings back--it had been far too long since I'd done so well. Sam came over and told me that she probably wouldn't get back to my table before 4:00 am, so I thought about wrapping it up.

I decided to play until my big blind, which was one more hand away.

I looked down to see 6-3 of clubs, which I'd normally fold, but since 1) they play half-blinds at the M, so it was only two bucks to limp in, and 2) they also pay nicely for straight flushes, so I like to play suited cards if they stretch.

Of course, the white trash table captain with the neck tattoos saw me limp in and decided to raise. There were two other callers, and at that point I was getting 5-1 on my money ($20 in the pot, $4 to call), so I made the call.

The flop was 10-9-4, with two clubs. Not great, but not bad for me, either. I checked, one guy bet, and Tats raised, of course. He *always* raised. I thought for a second, wanting to fold and hit the door, but at the last second, I got that twinge that told me to call. A third player called, so the pot was getting too big to get away from...

The turn brought the five of diamonds. It was kind of a rag, but then it gave me more outs--15 in all (any club would give me a flush, 9 of which were left in the deck, and any seven or deuce gave me a straight, that's eight more outs, minus the 7 and 2 of clubs which are already counted, leaving me 15 cards that would likely give me the winning hand). I liked my chances.

I checked, the other player checked, Tats bet out. I snap called while the other player folded.

The river brought the Queen of Clubs, giving me the flush. I bet out, my opponent just called and I showed the flush. (I would've loved to have check-raised him, but that would've been a little too obvious--either way, same size pot) He was livid--cursing up a blue storm and calling me a donkey and all kinds of other names. All he had was 10-Jack offsuit. Dumbass.

I dragged a nice healthy pot and told the dealer that I was done. While I was racking up, I had to listen to the guy tell me stuff like "Can't wait to see you again--next time I'll mentor you". I responded with Man, you sure don't take a beating very well...

"A beating? You got LUCKY!"

Yep, 15 outer on the river. I got lucky. And you paid me off. But I'm glad to see that I'm leaving you on tilt!

I motioned to everyone else at the table and said Have fun taking the rest of his money, boys...

With that, I headed for the desk, up almost $250 for the night. I stopped by Sam's Omaha game and dropped her a redbird, telling her I'd see her again in a week, then left a couple of bucks for the cashier, too, pocketing a nice hefty profit. It felt good to be back on the winning track, and even better to do it at the expense of a total prick.

A few other things of note from my latest visit to the M:

I finally hit the 32 Degrees bar this time. I had an 'M Cider' which was amazingly good, so I kept them coming all night long at the poker table--so smooth and sweet, it was almost like apple-flavored soda pop. The only downside is that I must've drank six or seven of them, but didn't catch the slightest buzz. Also, the Vig Deli is damn good. Last week I ordered a 10-inch pizza, but it's handmade, so the finished product was closer to 14"--and they don't charge you extra for toppings, so it's quite a bargain at $9.99. And it's not bad pizza at all. It ain't Grimaldi's or NYP&P, but it'll do in a pinch. And last night I ordered a baked ham and cheese sandwich for dinner while I was playing. Also very good.

Anyhow, that's how my weekend has fared so far. Today I'm gonna sleep under the ceiling fan and enjoy the air conditioning (gonna be almost a hundred outside today), but then I've got to work again tonight. At some point, I might get around to answering all the email that's been piling up this last week, but don't count on it. Of all the Seven Deadlies, Sloth seems to have a special appeal to me.