Friday, March 2, 2018

For A Limited Time

Good morning everyone.  A funny (not really funny) thing has been happening with me this past week, where I wake up for no reason at about 6:00 a.m., and I'm WIDE AWAKE.  To compound matters on weekdays, my favorite sports talk show ('The Dan Patrick Show'), airs live from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. locally on the NBC Sports Network, and I'm EASILY hooked into watching all three hours.  Depending on the day of the week, my alarms are normally set to wake up for work between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., so this "funny thing" has made life a little interesting.  Anyway, since I was up (again), I decided to write a blog entry for you.

For those of you who happen to stop by here on a regular basis (whenever I feel motivated to write), this will definitely be the post that pushes the blog's total view count over 125,000.  I remember when I started this blog, and searched Google and Yahoo for information pertaining to writing blogs, and read that "personal" blogs (blogs about someone's life experiences, etc..) weren't very successful, and I find that pretty amusing now.  For any of you who know how often I wrote (3 to 4 times per week) when I began this blog (September 28, 2011), and how little I've written by comparison since, the reach of this blog could be exponentially bigger right now.  LAZY...  Well, life gets in the way sometimes, but I'm writing now, so....  Thanks again to those of you who take the time to stop in and check out my ramblings.  :)

I'm interested to see how much (when) I'll be writing here the rest of the month.  Oh, by the way, welcome to March.  Life at work (and in the sports world) really amps up this month.  In college basketball, the conference tournaments are taking place over the next two weekends, and we'll have the official NCAA Tournament brackets available to us on Sunday, March 11th.  The four days of the tourney from March 15th-18th are an event here in Las Vegas, and the amount of betting on games during these four days rivals the amount wagered on the Super Bowl.  This weekend there is a NASCAR event here in Las Vegas.  Also heating up right now are the stretch runs leading to the NBA and NHL playoffs, which begin in mid-April.  Las Vegas also has a playoff-bound NHL team now (the Golden Knights), which adds a little to that.  Throw the impending start of the Major League Baseball season into the mix, and there is A LOT going on...  :)  Due to this sports calendar (and my wonderful sleep habits), I'm putting my poker on the back burner until activity in the sports world calms down a bit.

As I referenced in my last entry, I've been listening to a lot of stand-up comedy on my lunch breaks at work, and I've been posting a lot of my favorite material to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  It's very easy to be negative and pick fights in today's world (especially with the explosion of social media), and I just want to throw a few laughs in the mix.  Since you stopped by today, I thought I'd share a bit of this humor with you...

"If you were to second guess your decision to book time at a Native American community, that would be a reservation reservation reservation..." -Brian Regan-

"Have you ever asked somebody something so profoundly stupid to them that they have to physically regroup before they answer your question???" -Tom Segura-

"A fish tank is not a pet.  It's a t.v. that you've gotta feed..." -John Caparulo-

"I order a club sandwich all the time and I'm not even a member.  I don't know how I get away with it..." -Mitch Hedberg-

"I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose..." -George Carlin-

"You've got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7-Eleven..." -Dennis Miller-

"Let's go to Brunch. What a great idea! Why would you want to sleep in on a Sunday when you can go pay $18 for eggs???" -Bill Burr-

"I'm not a big animal person. Some animals I hate. Uh. Bats. I think bats are disgusting. I hate bats. I hate rats with leather wings. Have you ever seen one? They look around. It's like somebody. They have a face. It's disgusting. Hate bats. Oh I am sure there's a whole thing, "Did you know that bats make all the french toast in the world?"  Whatever. I don't care..." -Louis CK-

"Craft beer snobbery has now surpassed both wine and soccer snobbery..." -Paulie Pabst-

"You ever talk about a movie with someone that read the book? They're always so condescending...
'Ah, the book was much better than the movie.'
Oh really? What I enjoyed about the movie: no reading..."  -Jim Gaffigan-

"I'm not sure how many problems I have because math is one of them..." -via Laura Spencer-

"Because the best things in life should be never-ending, for a limited time..." -Olive Garden Commercial-

"I always wonder what a bird is thinking standing in a cage.  “Alright, thank you! I have been blessed with the gift of flight. I know how to fly, and I am standing on a STICK!” -Brian Regan-

I have found that the stand-ups make it a little easier for me to get through the rest of the workday (plus I end up sharing their material with my coworkers)...  :)  I was pretty proud of myself for picking up on the Olive Garden line, and that's why today's post is titled what it is.  I hope that y'all have a great weekend and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lots Of Olympics

Good morning everyone, and while I'm at it, Happy New Year!  As I lay here watching Switzerland and Germany skating to a current 1-1 tie in the 2nd period in men's hockey, I realize that I haven't posted here since December 16th of LAST YEAR....  (Oops).  The focus of that post was my Bobcat and Rattler poker gear, and to be honest, I haven't played much poker since 2018 started either.  I'm not going to try to convince you that I've been too busy to EVER stop my life for a minute and write something here, but my work life did get busier since my last entry here with the onset of the college football bowl games and the NFL playoffs, which culminated in that little event that we call the Super Bowl...  Uncharacteristically for me, I'm not writing from any notes this time, so let's see where we go...

Las Vegas.  I'm still living in the desert, and I've been back for about 21 months now.  I've been working at my current job in the sportsbook for about 18 months.  After giving up a full-time job with benefits at the University of Texas at Austin to move 2,000 miles back to my hometown for a girl (and to say that things didn't work out as I expected would be the understatement of forever), I'm glad to say that I've bounced back (because that's what I do)...  ;)  Like I said, I haven't played much more poker than I've spent time writing blog posts, although after working on New Year's Eve, I did ring in 2018 by playing poker at the Flamingo until after sunrise...  :)  I still enjoy playing poker, but since it's my job that enables me to pay the bills (to live), I try to get the necessary amount of rest required when things like the Super Bowl come up...  :)

Twitter.  I have been spending a little time on Twitter, because that's a place that I can easily visit during my lunch breaks at work.  It's a little bit easier for me to put together a tweet than a blog entry.  Funny Twitter story...  Lately I've been listening to a lot of stand-up comedy during my lunch breaks on Pandora Radio (Pandora may get its own little paragraph here).  Anyway, I've been quoting some of my favorite lines from the comedians to my Twitter and Facebook accounts.  One joke that I tweeted from Brian Regan (FUNNY guy) was 'liked' by Brian on Twitter.  The result of him 'liking' my tweet was an increase in views for that tweet to the tune of about 8,500 impressions.  Good stuff...  :)

Pandora.  I originally started listening to Pandora (with earphones) at the poker tables a few months ago so that I could relax and focus better.  It's amazing how much the earphones help drown out the extraneous noise in the casino.  Then I decided to listen to Pandora during lunch also, because I had been reconnecting with a lot of old music that I enjoyed while playing poker.  Something possessed me to click on the comedy stations within the past month, and I have to admit that hearing the jokes makes the rest of the workday a little easier.  I end up telling my coworkers the best jokes that I heard on my lunch break...  ;)

The Olympics.  Switzerland and Germany are heading to overtime tied 1-1, in case you were wondering...  I usually work til 10:00 or 11:00 at night, and I've watched A LOT of Olympic coverage after work because the NBC umbrella of networks has done a great job of broadcasting around-the-clock.  I've watched more women's hockey and curling than I ever imagined possible, that's for sure...  :)  By the way, the Germans just defeated the Swiss in overtime, 2-1.

124,532.  Despite my writing hiatus, you awesome people have continued to find my little blog, and we're on the precipice of 125,000 views.  That's pretty impressive considering that I almost NEVER write.  Hopefully I'll do better in the future.  I have no shortage of stories to tell, that's for sure...  :)

I'm going to leave you now so that I can start my chores for the day, but I hope that all of you have a great week!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rattlers & Bobcats

Good afternoon everyone.  This is a very strange time for me to be writing a blog entry, as it's an hour before I have to start getting ready for work on a Saturday, but I woke up early, and I'm wide awake with an hour to kill...  :)  Let's get started...  ;)  I started playing poker again on a consistent basis very recently, and I've purchased some more "gear" to bring to the tables with me.  For those of you who may not know me as well as others, I have lived more of my life in San Marcos, Texas than in any other single place.  San Marcos is a rapidly growing city located right in between Austin and San Antonio.  I was introduced to San Marcos when I enrolled at Southwest Texas State University.  SWT had about 20,000 students when I entered as a freshman, and now 'Texas State' has almost 40,000 students.  In addition to my several years in school as a Bobcat (B.B.A., return for a teaching certificate, etc...), I also taught and coached high school for four years in San Marcos.  Additionally, I lived in San Marcos, America for several additional years.  'Bikini Hill' is the nickname for a stretch of grass by the river where students commonly tan on the Texas State campus, in case you were confused about the blog's namesake...  :)  For a while now, I've been wearing some sort of Texas State gear when I play poker, because when you're living in Las Vegas, it's very rare to see any Bobcats.  Texas State's maroon and gold is a very unique item here in the desert, and it stands out to fellow Texans.

When I was playing poker a few weeks ago, a woman at my table was using a card protector that had a spider on it.  This protector was basically a ceramic collectible or miniature with a spider on a rock, about the height and width of a quarter.  As players at the table chatted about it, I guess that the little thing crawled inside my head, because later the thought suddenly occurred to me.  RATTLESNAKE!!!!  For a while now, I've simply been using a poker chip to protect my cards (if some sort of object is covering your cards, the dealer is less likely to kill your hand by mistake), but then I thought, how awesome would it be to find a rattler to guard my hands.  The mascot of the high school in San Marcos is the Rattlers, if that helps bring you up to speed.  :)  In addition to my Texas State gear (which now includes eight t-shirts and a football jersey), I have my newly acquired collection of three rattlesnakes to help me represent San Marcos at the poker tables.  These are my new card protectors and my most recent shipment of clothing from San Marcos...  

As I said, I've been wearing my Texas State clothing to the tables for a while, so much so that when I wore my Steelers jersey to play poker after we clinched the division title, a poker dealer at the Flamingo commented, "no Bobcats shirt today?"  :)  As for the rattlesnakes, I can't recall anyone using any sort of snake as a card protector in all the time that I've been playing poker, and let me tell you, they are QUITE the conversation starter...  :)  Some people have very strong feelings about snakes, especially when you add fangs and a rattle to them.  The very first time I sat down with one, the guy to my left didn't say anything, but just looked at the snake curious and wide-eyed.  Another time, a player lifted the rattler from my cards for a second, and then proceeded to lose over 100 dollars pretty quickly.  The rodeo is currently taking place in Vegas, and a cowgirl from California had a visceral reaction to my rattlesnake, explaining how she's killed 28 of them on her property.  In another instance, a dealer picked up my rattler, and then proceeded to deal me my first winning hand in hours.  And yeah, I've only been playing with the snakes for about a week...  :D

It appears that I have to get ready for work now, but I'm sure I'll have more stories for you in the future.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Happy Belated Birthday

Good morning everyone.  I saw on the poker calendar a few weeks back that the $10,400 main event of the WPT's Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio was set to begin on Tuesday, so I notified my brother Pete, and we decided that it would be a good day to belatedly celebrate our birthdays.  After getting out the calculator, I figured out that this is the 14th anniversary of Pete bringing me to my first Five Diamond Classic.  I had never lived in Las Vegas or played poker in a casino at that point in time (heck, I had barely played or watched ANY poker up to that point).  As we headed to the Mirage to play some poker ourselves, I remember asking Pete if a straight beats a flush, and after TORCHING $337.00 in about six hours in a 3-6 limit hold 'em game, I was HOOKED....  :)  Tuesday cost me a little less, as we watched the professionals play for free (free for us) after we had lunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet.  When Pete and I arrived at the Bellagio, there was a substantial line of players waiting to enter the tournament, and most of them would become alternates as the tables in the Bellagio's poker room were the only ones being used for this event.

Bigger poker tournaments are often held in areas outside of a casino's normal poker room.  We arrived at 12:15 p.m., but instead of being 15 minutes late, we actually showed up a little early, and got to see Richard Seymour in his pregame routine.  For you poker people, we recognized several well-known players on Tuesday, including defending champion James Romero (he cashed for 1.9 million last year), Mike Sexton, Tony Dunst, Ben Lamb, Noah Schwartz, Freddy Deeb, Allen Cunningham, Andrew Lichtenberger, David Williams, and an attractive female player that busted when she ran her flush into a bigger flush.  No worries, she hopped right back into line to buy in again for another $10,400...  Pictured below is former NFL player Richard Seymour...

And this picture is my first plate of food at Planet Hollywood...  :D

After Pete left, I ventured over to the Flamingo to watch my friends Errol and Mike play a little bit of poker in cash games.  I had planned on playing myself, but I suddenly remembered that I had been awake since 6:00 a.m. and was completely exhausted.  After Mike completely blew by me without recognizing me, Errol won a nice pot when he turned a full house before his opponent rivered a flush (yes, fourteen years later, and I now know that a full house beats a flush)...  ;)  I returned to the Flamingo last night and won $29.00 in an hour in a 2-4 limit game when I flopped a set of 5's against an opponent's two-pair on a K 9 5 flop.  I'm preparing to play a lot more 1/2 no-limit soon, but I'll gladly accept a wage of $29.00 an hour playing poker any day.

Things are going to change a bit for me at work now as the college football season ("regualr season") has ended, meaning that there won't be football from very early to closing now on Saturdays, and I'll also leave work an hour earlier on Friday nights, which naturally means more time for playing poker.  :P  I also anticipate having more time to write, so cross your fingers...  For the second post in a row, I'm stealing a little something from my friend Ali, as she took a great shot of some desert Christmas trees...  :)

Enjoy your holiday season until next time, and I'll see you soon!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

December, Really?

Good morning everyone.  In case no one's ever told you, time flies my friends.  Tomorrow is December 1st, 2017.  The first day of December.  You've got to be kidding...  Things are going pretty well for me in my life right now (you'd already know that if I wrote more often).  I've been back in Las Vegas for just over 18 months, and I have a job that I love, writing race and sports tickets for Caesar's Entertainment.  Who would've guessed that a coach would enjoy working in a sportsbook???  :)  This is my second football season at work, and it seems that our most busy chunk of the year takes place from September Thanksgiving.  Of course we have other busy weekends during the year (Super Bowl, March Madness, the big horse races), but regarding a big block of time, we start to slow down a bit during the holiday season.  Conversely, I've found myself playing very little poker during this time of the year, but I'm looking forward to spending more time at the tables in the near future.

Speaking of poker, one of my favorite poker players visited town recently (I'm trying to convince Courtney that she needs to visit Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker and play in the Women's Event this summer), and I was able to watch her win some cash in the Flamingo nightly tournaments over the course of a couple of days.

I met Courtney several years ago through Spadeclub, an online poker site that is similar to the current WPT site, and when I thought back on it, I realized that Courtney was the one who initially let me know about the existence of the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma.  A fellow Texan, Courtney lives much closer to Oklahoma that I did in San Marcos or Austin, and she is able to take advantage of her proximity to the cardrooms in Oklahoma.  Recently I've started studying my backlog of poker materials again, and watching Courtney play succeeded in getting me just a little more amped up for my serious return to the tables.

The last time that I wrote about anything here was just before my birthday, which means that I've been holding onto this little gem for a while.  Like most people, I was looking forward to going out and having a nice meal for my birthday, while hoping for more prosperity and bigger and better things in the year to come.  Ali, one of my friends from work, found this little treasure and gave it to me on my birthday weekend...

My first reaction was that I'd never seen such an extravagant post-meal 'wipe," and then of course I chided Ali for not bringing me a "Post-Lobster WIPE DOWN," which seems to promise more optimism for the future than it's chicken counterpart...  :)  Truth be told, I eat some form of chicken almost everyday...

Speaking of birthdays, I've waited so long to write this post that it's already this youngster's special day...

Eileen was a high school classmate of mine in New Hampshire, and she recently crossed the country with her husband Darren (both pictured above) to do a little networking and have some fun in the desert.  Although we hadn't seen each other since we were in high school ten years ago (ha ha ha), I thought it was pretty cool that Eileen and I picked right up like we see each other on a daily basis.  Acutally, Eileen looks like she could be at her ten-year reunion, and as for me..., well...,

Have a great birthday Eileen!  :)

While we were up on the 50th floor of the Rio, I pointed out to Eileen and Darren the convention halls where the World Series of Poker is held every summer.  It's now going on fifteen years when my brother first brought me to the Bellagio to see the start of the $25,000 buy-in Main Event of the Five-Diamond Poker Classic, which is the annual capstone event of the WPT (World Poker Tour) season.  After railing the action til the first break, Pete took me to the Mirage, where I promptly lost $337 in six hours in my first live casino poker session, and I was hooked...  :)  Anyway, the WPT is back in town, and on Tuesday I'm probably going to go rail the first day of this year's Five Diamond Main Event.  Like I said my friends, time flies...  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Almost Half A Century

Good evening everyone.  I think that I've finally adjusted to my new schedule at work since the start of the football season, and hopefully that will bring you more posts to read.  The football season brings more business in, and it also changes our operating hours.  Today is my "Saturday" now that I'm off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I'm currently tuned into the first game of a hockey doubleheader as I begin typing for you.  I've been a fan of the Montreal Canadiens probably for longer than most of you have been alive, although they've admittedly been the least-followed of my favorite teams (Red Sox, Steelers, Spurs) due to more limited televesion coverage throughout my lifetime.  However, living in Las Vegas and working in a sportsbook, I've pretty much decided that I'm adopting a second-favorite hockey team, as the Golden Knights drop the puck on their inagural home-opener in the next couple of hours.  Anyway, the Canadiens are up 1-0 on the Blackhawks right now, and Vegas hosts the Coyotes after this game.

Almost half a century...  I'll be starting my 50th year on the planet as I turn 49 years-old on Friday the 13th.  When I was younger (in my teens, etc...), I could never envision even living into my thirties.  It's funny how your perspective changes over time.  When you're a teenager, a 50 year-old is OLD...  Now that I'm almost 50, it really doesn't seem that old.  Okay, well it kinda does...  :)  Regarding writing more blog entries, I could probably become a hermit and still have enough material to write for at least the next ten years.  I've had a pretty full life to this point.  :)  Surely in an effort to honor me, my alma mater has a nationally televised football game on the eve of my birthday Thursday night.  Unfortunately, Texas State won't be playing the game in San Marcos, which is the one thing that would make it better.  Well, and winning of course.  I believe that we're currently about a two-touchdown underdog to Lafayette.  In the midst of my not writing anything here since late August, I neglected the 6th birthday of this blog, as the first entry posted here came on September 28th, 2011.  I remember that day well, as I had kicked around the idea of starting a blog for a little while, and then I just happened to dive into Google's 'Blogger' for a couple of hours, investigating and choosing my layout, design, settings, etc..., and then I suddenly had a blog.  With this post or the next, this little blog will have been seen over 120,000 times, and that number will skyrocket if I dedicate myself to writing again.  

Football and playing poker are the types of things that cause me to write less, so life isn't exactly horrible for me when I'm not writing, but I'd still like to post more.  In the past, I've played in several freeroll tournaments at the Flamingo (you play 12 hours of poker in a week, which gives you a free entry into that week's tournament).  However, I recently realized that working until 11:00 on Thursday night, and then having to wake up at 8:00 a.m. to be on the Strip until after midnight (morning poker tournament, followed by work) is probably not a very bright idea.  Anyway, not having to chase those twelve qualifying hours every week, and just playing when I choose to, that should probably enable me to write a little more.

Another thing that I should be doing more is exploring this great city.  It's been almost a year and a half since I've returned to Las Vegas, and I STILL haven't made a trip downtown to Fremont Street.  You have no doubt seen the news recently and heard about the senseless shootings that took place here just over a week ago.  That tragic night actually opened my eyes to how great a place this city can be.  As the news coverage began hitting the airwaves, reporters had to convey the message from police that people should avoid going to the Strip, because concerned citizens were arriving to offer help in any way that they could.  Blood banks had lines of people waiting to donate the next day before the doors were even open.  People used pickup trucks and SUV's to rush wounded and injured concert-goers to hospitals because the local EMS units were so overwhelmed.  Over ten million dollars had been raised in seemingly the snap of a finger to help victims of this tragedy, and there's no telling how high that number is now.  The site of the memorial to the shooting victims has literally blossomed with flowers, cards, and other expressions of love.  As numb as I felt in the aftermath of last Sunday night, the response of the people of this city has just been phenominal.  All I'm saying is that I need to pull myself away from the television and poker tables more and just get out and enjoy this city.  

I'm going to stop here for now, but I want to say thank you again for following this blog, and I'll try to do better in the future...  Until next time, have a great week!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Outer Space

Good morning everyone.  This is the tail end of my last day off from work before the football season begins, so I'm psyched to say the least.  My friend Joey, my brother Pete, and myself will once again be sharing our favorite weekly football bets in cyberspace on my blog Coach's Parlay Card.  This promises to be a big weekend in Las Vegas as the McGregor/Mayweather fight takes place here Saturday night.  The onset of fall will be bringing cooler temperatures in addition to the kickoff of football, and this pleases me to no end.  The older I get, the less thrilled I've become with triple-digit temperatures.  The forecast high of 108 degrees on Monday will probably be the hottest day that Las Vegas see for the rest of 2017.  The combo of the fight/football/cooler temperatures should also bring some more poker players back to town.  After the World Series of Poker ends each summer, the poker scene in the desert is a bit more quiet before football returns.  Last night after my "Friday" shift ended at work, I felt the urge to play (I hadn't played poker for about a month), and I was pleased to find that the Flamingo had several tables going.  There was enough action going on that I was able to get my feet wet again for five hours at a 2-4 limit table, and after being down somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 bucks at my lowest, I flopped a set of 6's in a multi-way pot (like 8 players saw the flop, with a preflop raise), and even after I raised to 8 on the turn, I still had two players around to call my river bet, and I scooped a pretty nice pot.  Long story short, I won 33 bucks for my five hours of blood, sweat, and tears, in addition for the 5 comp dollars of course.  Anyway, after my month-long poker hiatus (which afforded me more time to study for the upcoming football season), I should be making numerous appearances in local poker rooms in the near future.

Outer space.  Since we recently got to experience an eclipse firsthand (except for a nameless person that was taking a nap in cloudy Las Vegas during the festivities), I'll share some photos with you that my friends on Facebook shared with me.  Hang onto your hats though, because these photos are not the reason for the title of this blog entry.  My friends Michelle, Kristi, Sydney, Courtney, and Wes were busy sharing these photos from across the U.S.A. a few days ago...

Now I won't go to the trouble of buying special glasses (or even staying awake for the eclipse for that matter), but I'm more than happy to steal some pictures from my friends...  Thanks y'all, great work!  ;)

Outer space...  So my friend Kimberly traveled to Area 51 recently to compete in a run (I believe it was a 10K, but I won't promise you that). Anyway, Kimberly is posting Facebook statuses about the big event, and in the comments section to a status, Kimberly says (I'm paraphrasing) that the course runs along the perimeter of Area 51.  Something instantly clicks in my head, and I think that I'm about to win the internet for that day.  I immediately reply to Kimberly's comment:  "So you're saying that the course is in the outer space of Area 51?"  Think about it, think about it, think.......  BRILLIANT, right?  The "outer space" of Area 51?  Aliens..., OUTER SPACE..  I think that I'm going to get this HUGE 'LOL,' and win some award from Facebook for being clever (probably presented by Mark Zuckerberg himself).  I brace myself for Kimberly's sheer delight and gratitude, and the powerful response that I receive...  "Yes."  ***Crickets***  I was so crushed that I was telling the story at work, and now I'm sharing it here with you...  :)

On a more serious note, I'm hoping for the best for all of my friends in Texas as Hurricane Harvey makes its way toward the Lone Star State.  On a lighter note, you have to love that someone in Corpus Christi was thinking of Selena (and the statue dedicated to her) when news of the imminent storm came.  Thanks to my friend Valerie for sharing this gem...

Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon!