Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Calm Before The Storm

Good evening everyone.  I'm right smack dab in the middle of doing chores, so this seems like the perfect time to procrastinate.  This is probably going to be my last best opportunity to shoot a few written words in your direction before the NCAA Tournament gets underway, the "calm before the storm" if you will.  I ripped off that phrase from it's creator (whoever that is) sometime back, but now it's been swiped from me.  Whenever we're slow at work before a big sporting event (Super Bowl, NCAA Tournament, you get the idea, etc...), I'll casually let the words, "This is the calm before the storm" roll from my lips in my acquired southern drawl...  Then in the past few weeks, Gaming Today not only reported on a writer at a sportsbook in Nevada using the phrase, but GT actually made the phrase THE HEADLINE of that edition!  The nerve...

So yes, anyway, I'm cleaning up my clothes and my house in preparation of taking bets on and watching a lot of basketball during the remainder of March.  The "madness" unofficially kicked off last night when the #1 team in the nation (DEBATABLE) Gonzaga lost by 13 in the finals of the West Coast Conference Tournament, sending Saint Mary's to the big dance with an automatic bid.  I'd argue that the West Coast Conference is college basketball's answer to the AFC East, but we have all month to fight about basketball.  :D  YouTube.  While we're talking about doing chores, I think that using YouTube as a jukebox is about as underrated as the concept of taking naps.  In the corner of the room, I have the Louisville/Notre Dame game muted as I play tune after tune through my computer.  I highly recommend this if you have never tried it.  YouTube isn't even paying me for the plug...

Back to the tournament and the ensuing calamity (I don't want to use the word "madness" too many times, since the NCAA evidently owns the word), I took a moment to reflect recently, and I reminded myself how lucky I am that my current job is watching sports t.v.  That's not all of it obviously, but basically, if you break it down, I'm watching sports on television for a living.  That probably explains why in almost thirty-one months with Caesars Entertainment, I've yet to miss a day of work, or even come in late.  :D  "Watch sports on t.v., and talk about the games with people?  What time do I have to show up?  :D  In all honesty, next week is a big favorite to be the most stressful that my job will be until football starts again.  Starting with my brother Pete, and ending with my friend and book manager Rob, I could thank a lot of people for their assistance and patience as they taught me the ropes of doing the other things that we do (besides watching t.v.), as I sit here typing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast anticipating some exciting basketball over the next several weeks.

As for a big bunch of the other people in-between, it's only three months until June, and my flights have been confirmed for my excursion to the desert.  I actually received an e-mail today (this is completely true, I am not making this up), and two of my flights have been completely changed (in addition to one totally different airplane), and I now have to be prepared to depart from the Gulfport/Biloxi airport TWO MINUTES EARLIER!  *gasp*  I either arrive in Las Vegas a minute earlier or later also, I don't remember which...

This seems like a good time to take a random timeout.  I was about to explain how after my trip to Las Vegas, I would probably start looking to buy a vehicle when I return to Mississippi, and I'm also going to be in the marker for an aquarium so I can own some more fish, so you get this...  I bought seven new goldfish about three months ago, and these turned out to be the two "lucky" ones.  (Seven, it's a gambling/casino thing - lucky number seven...).  ANYWAY, the fish are nameless, and the one in the front likes to chase the other around the fish bowl.  I did answer an open solicitation on Facebook yesterday about naming a pet.  A former coworker of mine asked for suggestions about naming a new gecko.  Well, it was actually a vote on two pre-chosen names, but my write-in vote was Gordon.  Gordon Gecko...  If you don't get it, you're going to have to look it up, because I'm not going to explain it.  I've seen a few geckos around my house, and if I ever have the urge to catch one, Gordon will be his/her name, it's a lock.

Anyway, since my job at the University of Texas, where my Montero Sport died, I have never looked into acquiring a new vehicle.  While living in Austin, I had a place on West Campus about fifteen minutes from work (this will be a recurring theme), and my job on the Forty Acres gave me free access to the city bus system, so I didn't really need a car.  Then I moved back to my hometown (we're not going to get into all of that), and then I moved to Las Vegas, and then I moved to Biloxi.  In every situation, I could walk to work, and I have a friend who lets me use his car about once a month to go buy groceries, so I really haven't had the pressing need for a vehicle. (In Las Vegas, my friend Joey would take me to shop about once a month, and here in Mississippi, my friend Nick doesn't have the same patience to watch me shop for an hour, but he's kind enough to lend me his car keys...).  :D  So my number one plan (Plan A), is to win enough money in Las Vegas to pay for a new vehicle.  That would be ideal...  If that doesn't work, I'll need to save some more money (Plan B).  After I return from the desert, I will have been at this property for almost a year, and with Caesars for almost three years, so that should show some job stability, yada, yada.  I won't tell the new car people that I watch t.v. for a living...  ;)

So, I told you that to tell you this.  Despite my advantageous new location geographically (I am about an 8 1/2 hour drive from San Marcos, America, I am within a dozen hours of each of my parents, and really close to a lot of neat things that are just a short drive (a few hours), I should probably get a car again.  With the new four-day schedule that I'm working (I'm now working four 10-hour days as opposed to five 8-hour shifts, in case you missed our last episode), I could theoretically miss four days of work (paid time off), and take a ten-day trip somewhere.  I haven't been to San Marcos in quite some time, so that's probably at the top of my list.  NOTE:  San Marcos also means Austin/San Antonio, since they're all located in the same convenient corridor.  San Antonio to Austin is just an hour (well, with zero traffic), and San Marcos is located in-between the two.

Back to gambling, although I love to play poker (yet, ironically, have yet to visit a Gulf Coast poker room since I've arrived), I think that you have more edges betting sports than you do playing cards (well, that I have more edges betting sports)  :D, but I will definitely be playing some poker while in Las Vegas, since I'll be staying right on the Strip, AND the World Series of Poker will be taking place at the Rio, which brings a lot more poker players and money to town.  Another thing that I won't be telling the new car people is how much time and effort will be spent preparing to bet the 2019 football season, but that's another post for another day...  ;)

Alright gang, I've spent enough time chatting with you (and ignoring my chores), so I'm going to get back to it.  Enjoy the college basketball for the rest of the month, and I'll talk to you soon...

Friday, February 22, 2019

Lots of News

Good morning everyone.  If you were able to decode that title, you've already figured out that there's a lot going on in my universe down here in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I've now been here on the Gulf Coast just shy of seven months.  Working in a sportsbook, it's rare to take many days off of work during football season, and for the third year in row, I didn't.  That left me in the same position that I've been in the last two years (wait for it, wait for it...)....  So I was in the position of choosing how I was going to use some PTO (Paid Time Off) days.  I am long overdue for a visit to San Marcos, America, and I now live just an 8 1/2 hour drive away after my most recent move from Las Vegas to Mississippi.  So now that I've thrown that out there, that is not where I recently dedicated a chunk of my PTO hours.  Another option that I had was the "staycation."  This would no doubt include doing some housework, going to Shuckers games, playing poker, sleeping more, etc...  Didn't choose that.  Guess what I did choose......

WOOHOO!!!!  I've never been to Las Vegas before....  :D  A key factor in this choice was being able to take off two weeks of work in a row.  Sportsbook are slower in the summer, so this was possible.  My thinking is, if I'm going to have to pay for round-trip airfare, I want to stay in the desert as long as possible.  I can't understand how people who have to travel any substantial distance can just visit Vegas for two or three days, though I'm guessing it probably goes back to that's the longest that they can afford to be away from home.  Well, your friend Coach just booked a June vacation for ELEVEN nights on the Las Vegas Strip.  :D  Is it a coincidence that the World Series of Poker will be taking place during my visit?  Is it a coincidence that my favorite band will be playing in town during my visit?  Actually, I probably have less "partying" planned for anyone you know that visits the desert, especially for this amount of time.  I probably do have more time visiting friends planned that anyone you know that visits Las Vegas though.  For the two years that I worked in Vegas before moving here in August, I was working for three Strip properties concurrently, so that's a lot of people to touch base with right off the bat.  And then there's those people that I know in the poker world, and then there's the World Series, and then there's the Blue October concert.  You're right, eleven days probably isn't enough, but I'll make the best of it.  :)

Not only was I able to get two weeks off in a row from work, but now my schedule has just been switched to where I'm working later shifts (which are my preference, being the night owl that I am).  Actually, there is NO WAY that I'd be typing for you right now if I was still on the schedule that I had worked since arriving here, because I'd be soundly sleeping preceding a 5:30 a.m. alarm for a 7:30 a.m. shift.  (The time is currently 12:44 a.m. in Biloxi...).  Now I will be waking up at 12:30 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. shift.  Ahhhhhh...  :D  I will also be switching to working 4 10-hour shifts, as opposed to 5 8-hour stints, which is also to my liking.  While each one of my work days will be a bit longer, I will have an extra day off each week to do things like......

BATTLE MY YARD...  WHOA!!  One of the pluses to living in Biloxi over Las Vegas is that housing is cheaper.  I am currently renting a small two-bedroom house here on the Gulf Coast for $675.00 a month.  When you find that deal in Vegas, please let me know.  Something that comes with a house that doesn't come with an apartment is yardwork.  So I'll be honest at this point, and let you know that today's fun was all work that I brought on myself.  The basic responsibility with renting this house is that I'm supposed to take care of the yard.  I spent an hour cutting the grass yesterday.  Fine.  But SOMEBODY decided that I should dig up dirt around the edges of the house, and plant varioius herbs, flowers, and berries.  So your somebody spent another two hours outside doing yardwork today, which was promptly followed by that same somebody taking a three-hour nap...  :D  If ANYTHING actually grows (except for weeds, because I seem to be able to grow those with no effort at all), then maybe I'll post some photos for you here on the blog.

Back to working later shifts, something that will change is the 2:00 a.m. train.  Well, the train schedule probably isn't going to change, but how I deal with the train blasting its horn at 2:00 in the morning will be different.  Before, that train was either waking me up 3 1/2 or 5 1/2 hours before I needed to get up for work (depending on if it was the weekend or a weekday).  Now, that 2:00 a.m. train will remind me that I need to start thinking about getting to bed pretty soon so that I can wake up on time for work later that day.  Have I ever mentioned that the train tracks run right behind my house, and that they are REALLY CLOSE?

And now back to the yardwork.  I was able to do yardwork today, and right now it's still 70 degrees here in Biloxi, at 1:00 a.m.  This was Las Vegas yesterday...

I guess that I picked the right winter to not be in Las Vegas.  BRRRRRR....  Anyway, it's getting warmer here, I cut some grass and planted some seeds, and now I'm gearing up for the NCAA Tournament, which is right around the corner.  Yes, it's less than a week til March, for those of you keeping score at home.  The aforementioned Biloxi Shuckers will be starting their baseball season down here right about the time that the NCAA Tournament comes to an end, and then it will be time for baseball, swimming, poker, and yes, more yardwork...  :)

This old man should really be getting ready to call it a night now, but for my friends in the desert, I should be bothering y'all sometime in the middle of June.  Have a great week everyone, and I'll see you soon!


Saturday, January 19, 2019

This Football Stuff Is Just About Over...

Good evening everyone.  Unusual to catch me here typing on a Saturday night, but I'm just resting before what promises to be a very eventful day at work tomorrow.  There are just four teams alive in the race for the Super Bowl trophy, and that number will be cut down to two after the Saints host the Rams and the Patriots visit the Chiefs.  For those of you who haven't visited in a while, I'm taking sports bets on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and as luck would have it, the majority of people here seem to be Saints fans...  : D   Our sportsbook will open at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, and the Saints game (the first game of the day) doesn't kick off until just after 2:00 p.m., so I'm curious as to how fast/slow the betting crowd will congregate for the games.  Two weeks from Monday I will begin my annual depression as the football season will have just ended, and I'll have to wait until almost September for the colleges to tee it up again.  *SIGH*  As a consolation prize, I will begin playing poker again once the football season has concluded, so there's that.  Today I received my fifth copy of Card Player Magazine since I began my subscription, so I've been studying up a bit, seeing what the cool kids currently think about the crazy game of Texas Hold 'Em.

At this point I'm going to transition into a paragraph where poker is the main theme, because that footbally/poker paragraph was starting to get pretty lengthy.  Great thing about writing your own blog by the way, is that you can make up words, type run-on sentences, use ellipses until the cows come home, and no one can do anything about it...  ;)  Okay, poker.  Although I'm not in Las Vegas anymore, there is some poker action to be had here.  Being the responsible person that I am  :) , I've held off on playing poker during football season.  I have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. on the weekends to get to work on time, which is not optimal for late Friday or Saturday night poker sessions (although I'm sure I could've snuck a few in, and probably will in the future).  Also, I have an alarming amount of my bankroll that goes toward football betting during this time of year (WHO KNEW?!).  :D  Honestly, I'm betting a lot less now, just because the games this weekend are so tough, there aren't as many to wager on, and I'll be plenty occupied with work.  (Lucky for me, there is a two-week break after tomorrow's games before the Super Bowl, so I'll have PLENTY of time to place a TRUCKLOAD of prop bets).  Did you notice how I stuck to poker in this paragraph, leaving football in the previous one???  Back to poker, the Imperial Palace hosted a World Series Circuit Event here in Biloxi in the past few months, and the Beau Rivage recently hosted a tournament series of their own very recently.  Long story short, I looked at my Bravo Live poker app. on a WEEKDAY during the Beau Rivage series, and they had EIGHT games running in the middle of the day, while I was eating lunch, so there is some poker to be found here.  The funny thing here is that Biloxi is relatively small compared to Las Vegas (with only three poker rooms - Imperial Palace, Beau Rivage, Golden Nugget), so I'm sure that in no time at all, I'm going to get comments like, "Oh, I know you.  You work in the sportsbook at Harrah's..."  Fun times ahead...  ;)  I plan to keep wearing my ENDLESS collection of Texas State gear to the tables also, so if I'm not already bookmarked in people's heads, it's gonna happen real fast...  (You know, something other than, "Wow, that guy is an AWFUL poker player!").

One of the reasons that I'm writing for you tonight - sheer guilt.  About three weeks back, my brother mentioned to me that he was playing daily fantasy sports on Draftkings.  (Yep, this is the same brother that turned me on to poker also, in case you were wondering...).  I quickly did some research, and realized that DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) are legal in Mississippi.  DFS were specifically shot down in Las Vegas (the state of Nevada), so I had pretty much forgot all about them.  Well, needless to say, with my addictive personality (is that a thing?), I have been a participant in DFS contests on Draftkings practically every day since Pete mentioned it.  The entries to contests run as low at .10 cents, so don't worry too much.  I can lose much more at a poker table or on a football game, TRUST ME...  :D  So, anyway, I'll enter my group of contests for each day, and then I'll monitor my computer to see how my teams are performing (underperforming, not performing at all, getting curb stomped), but yet, I have no time to write.  LOL  Draftkings is great for me because I'm more comfortable betting chunks of money on football than on any other sport, and the majority of football games are played on the weekend.  I'm not inclined to go to a casino every day to make bets on basketball, hockey, or baseball games, so DFS is a cheap way to have some action and stay informed on the games.

And in the event that I don't want to be a total degenerate, the aforementioned baseball season is just around the corner.  Biloxi has a AA minor-league team called the Shuckers, and I live about a mile from the ballpark.  NEEDLESS to say, I will be attending several Shuckers games this season.  I don't know if you've ever seen the movie 'Bull Durham' (and if you haven't, watch it), but it resulted in me wanting to someday live near a minor league baseball park, where the price of admission is nominal, pretty much every seat is a great seat, and the atmosphere is just phenomenal.  Speaking to that festive atmosphere, the teams in the Southern League are the Shuckers, the Jumbo Shrimp, the Biscuits, the Blue Wahoos, the Smokies, the Lookouts, the Braves, the Barons, and the Generals.  You can't make this stuff up.  Well, I could, but I'm not this time...  ;)  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here, but growing up, I would've picked 'Professional Baseball Player' as my preferred career choice.  Anywho, the spring and summer seem to hold some promise, despite the lack of football.

I'm going to sign off for now, but I hope that y'all enjoy your football tomorrow, and I'll be back to write some more for you real soon...

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Happy New Year

Hello everyone.  I just wanted to stop in and say hi to those of you who have been checking in.  I'm still alive and well and plan on writing a full blog entry here in the next few days.  In the meantime, enjoy your football and have an outstanding 2019!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

3:30 In The Morning

Good morning everyone.  It's 3:30 in the morning (I bet you already guessed that) and I shouldn't be awake right now, but I went to bed at like 8-something and I'm awake, so here I am.  I just changed my Facebook and Twitter cover and profile photos and couldn't think of any other ways to kill time, soooo again, here I am...  : )  It appears that it's been just over a month since I last typed for you (the dedicated blogger that I am), so you are in for the extra treat that this post was completely unplanned, and there is no script or notes (which is pretty much the definition of completely unplanned)...

Let me start off by saying that it's hard to believe that it's just over a week until Thanksgiving.  In case you're wondering (because I'm sure you are), your NFL lineup on Turkey Day features Bears @ Lions, followed by Redskins @ Cowboys, with Falcons @ Saints for the nightcap.  Thanksgiving is on the 22nd this year, which seems a bit early, but my calendar says so, and my calendar is usually pretty trustworthy.  Today marks one month since I turned 50 years old, and time still doesn't appear to be slowing down at all.  We're already at the point in the college football season where the major conferences are on the verge of hosting their championship games, and the bowl season will start in just over a month.  If my math is correct, 42 days from today will be Christmas Eve, which means that 2019 is about 50 days away...  #wheeeeeeeee

In one of the major upsets of all time, I still haven't played any poker since moving to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Off the top of my head, I can't remember the last time that I did sit at a poker table, and my best guess was that it happened in late July or early August.  In all honesty, I normally do play less poker during football season, and this fall I moved across the country and started a new job on top of it.  I do have three poker rooms to choose from here in Biloxi, and they're all in the vicinity of about a mile from where I live.  #locationlocationlocation  Just this week, I actually subscribed to Card Player Magazine, which costs about $40.00 a year in the United States, in case any of you are interested.  I was picking them up at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for no charge, but none of the rooms here seem to carry them.  Similar to Las Vegas, the predominant games in the poker rooms here are 1/2, 1/3 and 2/5 no-limit, and 4-8 limit.  The casinos with rooms here are the Beau Rivage (MGM), the Imperial Palace (not Caesar's affiliated), and the Golden Nugget.  I'm sure that I'll eventually stumble into one of the poker rooms here, and I'll bore you to death with the details when I do.

We've had a light but steady rain here for a while now, but it's only rained a handful of times since the beginning of September.  Ha.  That's in contrast to the month of August, when it seemingly rained every day, and I believed that water falling from the sky was the only weather that Biloxi ever got.  

I innocently snapped and posted this photo during lunch yesterday, and as my break progressed, dark clouds slowly but surely rolled in from the west (the direction that we're facing here).  By the time I returned to work, it was raining, and it continued for pretty much the rest of the day.  The rain was so prevalent in August that I've brought an umbrella to work with me every single day since I purchased it.  I purchased the umbrella after arriving here in Mississippi.  It rained so infrequently when I lived in Las Vegas that I didn't even own an umbrella in the desert.  : )  Neither here nor there, but this is my view at lunch every day, this shot having been taken from my seat in the employee dining room.  : D  Speaking of weather, the temperatures took a quick dip down into the 40's recently, which prompted me to search for my gloves.  I thought this was a bit early to be chilly, but I noticed yesterday during lunch that Las Vegas is under a freeze warning tonight, so I guess that Thanksgiving and Christmas really are approaching fast.

I'm gonna let you go for now and get a few more hours of sleep before I get ready for work (I seriously fell asleep at like 9:00 last night).  Have a great week and MAYBE I'll see y'all again before Thanksgiving...  : )

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Turning Fifty

Good evening everyone.  I'll let you know up front that this post is not one that I have an outline for, and that all of it is just going to be from the hip.  This entry is being typed in the spirit of, "Well, if I don't make a post tonight, it's not going to happen for at least another week, because it's my birthday week..."  : )  It's hard for me to believe that I'm turning 50 on Saturday.  Fifty.  FIFTY YEARS OLD...  Honestly, when I was younger, I couldn't imagine even being 30.  Going to college, getting a degree, getting a real job, etc, etc, etc...  :)  As I sit here and reflect back for a second, it's hard to believe how much life I've packed into 50 years.  It's not often that I sit still and reflect, believe it or not (which is probably why you don't get more blog entries)...  ;)  I was an "Air Force brat" when I was younger, and moving several times prepared me well for what was ahead.  I've graduated from high school, from college, went back to college to get a teaching certification, taught and coached high school for nine years, worked another three years for the University of Texas at Austin (in voice and data cabling, a field that I had zero experience in prior to stepping foot on the campus of UT), worked a couple of years in bars on the Square in San Marcos, I've managed a swimming pool, I was a customer service manager at WalMart, and I was a poker dealer on the Las Vegas Strip...  (Deep breath, deep breath...).  I was also a chip runner at the World Series of Poker, and I wrote race and sports bets on the Vegas Strip.  These are just AMONG the many jobs that I have held, leading up to my current job, which is writing sports bets on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I'm hoping to post more original photos (photos actually shot by me) of the area in the future, but I've led a pretty laid back (LAZY) existence since arriving here in Biloxi.

I've been here in Mississippi for just over seventy days, and the VAST MAJORITY of my weekends have been comprised of catching up on rest.  :)  My "weekends" in the near future are about to change, as I have been off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but that's going to switch to Thursdays and Fridays.  I just received my schedule for next week (Thanks Nick), and although I have to work tomorrow, the Friday thing takes effect this Friday.  That means that I have a one-day "work-week" tomorrow, and then I'm off on Friday, before resuming a full work-week.  After work tomorrow, I receive an early birthday present (other than being off on Friday) in the form of my alma mater playing a televised home game.  The Texas State Bobcats will be hosting Georgia Southern tomorrow night on ESPNU.  The "home game" part of that is KEY, because I get to see San Marcos and Bobcat Stadium while taking in the game.  As I said, I only confirmed moments ago that I'll be off this Friday, so I don't even have to "sleep fast" after watching the game tomorrow night.  Back to being lazy, I've had a pretty normal night's sleep the last two evenings (albeit going to bed a little later than normal), and then I've put a big exclamation point on top of it by taking roughly five-hour naps the last two afternoons...  So yeah, I'll probably be watching this whole Warriors/Lakers preseason game, because I feel confident that I'll be able to function on seven hours of sleep at work tomorrow...  :P

So back to life being pretty chill on the Mississippi Gulf Coast right now, my big chore for the remainder of this week is placing my bets before this weekend's football games.  :)  My birthday is on Saturday, which falls on the 'Monday' of my work-week if you've been keeping score at home, but I love my job and being around the football, so like I just mentioned, getting my bets in is my chore in the next few days.  My "earlier than the Bobcats playing a televised home game in San Marcos birthday present" was the Red Sox beating the Yankees 3-1 in the American League Divisional Series.  I wish that they'd restrict the baseball games to days other than the weekend right now, but I'm sure that I'm in the minority there, so that's something else that I'll have to find time to watch this weekend...  :)

As I close out this post, I want to thank all of you who I've met along the way.  Included in all of the schooling and the work history that I mentioned above, I've been extremely fortunate to meet a lot of really neat people.  Thanks my being my friend, and thanks for tuning into the blog.  Enjoy my birthday weekend, and I'll see you again real soon (just not before next week)...  ;)


Friday, September 28, 2018

Birthdays & Fights & Stuff

Good evening everyone.  It's very unusual to catch me writing a blog entry on a Friday night (or at all some would say), but I feel compelled to type tonight because this is my blog's 7th birthday (at this point I wish I could type in "Congratulations" Facebook-style, and have the word turn red, with a bunch of balloons being released into the blogosphere, but alas...).  This is my original blog, whose given name was 'The View From Bikini Hill' (some of you have been following along since then, right?), but I have retained 'Bikini Hill' and changed the rest of the name to better reflect several moves that I have made.  After accepting a job offer on July 20th, and leaving Las Vegas with all of my stuff packed in an SUV on July 30th, I feel like I'm almost within grasp of getting a handle back on my life.  Writing an entry on a Friday night when I have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning isn't ideal, but hey, it's my blog's SEVENTH BIRTHDAY!!!  (Cue the Facebook 'Congratulations' and balloons again)... I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that my twin niece and nephew have a birthday today.  Well, since they're older than this blog, one MIGHT SAY that I stole their birthday for my blog, but that would be pure conjecture and hearsay, I'm sure.  ;)  Happy Birthday Nikole and Dillon!!!

One of these photos is present-day (I'll let you guess).  I had several pictures to choose from, but I like the contrast in this shot.  "I'll look at the camera and smile" vs. "I'm going to take a bite of this and totally cool kid you..."  Again, Happy Birthday Superstars!

Speaking of superstars, if I was kind and considerate, and I had any respect for doing things in a timely manner, I would have posted this next photo about a month ago.  My friend and former softball player Leanne had another fight on Labor Day Weekend, and who knows, she may be World Champion by now.  :)  I already had an outline written for my previous blog entry, which I published on September 6th, so I didn't include Leanne's fight, which took place on September 2nd (good plan, I know).  I was 100% sure (lol) that I'd write tonight's post sooner, and then life got in the way, and guess what?  LEANNE WON HER FIGHT!!!

Is this a great photo or what?!  Leanne is the superstar throwing the punch, if you hadn't guessed.  From where I'm sitting, the ABSOLUTE BEST THING about this fight was that she had friends who RECORDED this, and I was able to watch Leanne's whole fight on Facebook.  Okay, I guess that Leanne winning the fight would have to run a really close second, but I was THRILLED that I got to view the whole fight.  Leanne decided to become a professional fighter and bodybuilder after I moved away from Central Texas, so I take what I can get...  ;)  Congratulations Leanne, and I'm sorry that this took so long.  :)  SO proud of you!!!  :D

Now I'm just gonna freelance, since I don't have an outline for tonight.  :)  I have had 'Leanne' written on a piece of paper for almost four weeks, and then I realized that I HAD to write an entry tonight once I remembered that today is the blog's birthday.  So I heard some of you ask a little while ago, "Why in the hell are you waking up at 5:30 a.m. Coach?"  When I moved from Las Vegas to Biloxi, my life changed in a lot of ways.  Most of you are familiar with Las Vegas to some extent:  Casinos, nightlife, lots of people, desert, HOT...  Biloxi, Mississippi has hot, but we also have WATER, life is more laid back here on the Gulf Coast, you RARELY find a traffic jam, and our casinos don't dominate the skyline.  Another difference:  When I worked for our company in Las Vegas, I was the "closer" in the sportsbook.  This meant that I'd normally sleep til noon or 1:00 P.M., and my shift at work would begin at 2 or 3 p.m.  Here, I am the "opener."  For several weeks now, I have set my alarms for 7:30 a.m. to begin work at 9:30 a.m. on the weekdays, and have woke up at 5:30 A.M. to clock-in at 7:30 a.m. on the weekend (football season, ya know?)...  As with everything in life, you can always find positives and negatives in every situation (well, I guess allegedly).  I'm going to point out a really funny positive first, and then we'll backtrack.  I live fairly close to the casino, and my walk to work is pretty pleasant.  On the first Saturday morning that I was scheduled to be at work by 7:30, I had a very difficult time sleeping.  This was like trying to sleep on Christmas Eve.  We had a full weekend of football ahead of us, and because I woke up before my alarms went off, I also left for work while it was still dark outside.  It was dark outside, and there are several trees strewn along my walk to work.  Evidently bugs like hanging out around trees.  Guess what likes bugs???  BATS!!!  I'm pretty sure that if you go find any bat literature, it will say that bats don't attack humans, and that they're awesome because they eat bugs, etc, etc..., but I'll tell ya, when those LIGHTNING QUICK FLYING RATS are SWOOPING DOWN for the low-flying bugs, you start ducking down and crouching like an idiot who thinks that's gonna do any good if they're targeting you...  :)  So yeah, not having to walk home at night and having to dodge bats the whole way home is probably a positive.

What else is different, and positive???  A positive to making this transfer to Mississippi is that for basically the same amount in monthly rent and bills, I'm now living in a house as opposed to a weekly/monthly apartment complex.  If you've been to Las Vegas (or several other cities across our nation), I was living in a Siegel Suites in the desert.  The price was right (the place was furnished, all bills were included), but I wasn't in the best of neighborhoods.  I was watching t.v. here a few nights ago, and when I heard a siren, I soon realized that it was part of the t.v. show.  In Las Vegas, the siren was ALWAYS outside, about 100% of the time (you know, that 'always' that is like 99.9999972% of the time).  I miss my three-minute, door-to-door walk to McDonald's, but that's also probably another positive of living here...  :D  As I glance over to the t.v., one negative of living in the Central Time Zone and waking up early is that I can't watch very many Pac-12 (late) college football games.  The Pac-12 is like the Big 12 in that teams habitually go up and down the field and score for days, but it's getting hard for this old man to operate on 5-6 hours of sleep.  I would love to get into better shape and have more energy, but I am already thinking about eating a big plate of spaghetti after I publish this post...  ;)  Currently UCLA 10  Colorado 7, if you're wondering...

Like I said, I feel like I'm within inches of being adjusted to this cross-country move, having caught up on missed sleep and gotten my sleep right with my new schedule, adjusted to my new casino, and also to my new living environment, mastered the art of the run-on sentence, and I think that I'll be able to get some positive things done in my life soon, which includes writing more for y'all.

I'm going to end right here, with the hope that I'll see you again on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Those have been my days off, and I'm almost to the point where I feel confident that I'll be able to carve some time out for you on one of those days (or I may see you four months from now)...  ;)  Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon!