Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What A Difference...

Good evening everyone.  I'm relaxing on a couch right now at the home of my friends in central Texas, taking a moment to reflect back on the past few weeks.  I'm still fresh off an hour and a half nap that was taken with the intent of watching the remainder of the Giants/Royals Game 6 upon my beauty sleep's conclusion.  Yeah, yeah, there's not enough sleep in the universe to make me beautiful...  A week ago today (meaning Wednesday, which will come in about an hour) I was embarking on a journey from Reno to Austin.  Exactly a week before that I was being inconvenienced unfathomably (and with no hint of caring or concern) by Enterprise as I attempted to pick up my rental vehicle for my trip from Las Vegas to Reno.  On the Wednesday (and probably 2 or 3) before that, I was weighing options in my head.  What a difference a week (even a month) makes.  I'm back in Austin and I couldn't be more content (well, I could always be more content to some extent, and there are some topics on which I've yet to vent, but you get the idea)...  I have been very fortunate to have more than my share of very interesting life experiences, and this most recent stay in Nevada is another one that I'll be able to reflect on and learn from.  When I get firmly resettled here in Austin and find some more time, that visit promises to be the focus of several more blog entries here, and will surely have an influence on the rest of my life, as I imagine that most of my experiences and relationships do.

It's getting pretty late and I have to get some more rest for work tomorrow, but I just wanted to check in with y'all.  Have a good one and I'll see you soon...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oh Deer

Good evening everyone.  I haven't written very often lately as I was deciding what to do next in my adventurous life, but I made my decision.  While in Las Vegas, I basically had a "stop loss point" in mind where I'd have to get a job if my money dropped to a certain level.  When my money reached that point, I made what turned out to be a bad decision due in part to misinformation (although I'll shoulder my share of the blame too).  There will be more written about this in the future as I filet Enterprise and speak about lodging options in Reno.  In the interest of keeping things a little bit shorter now however, I'll move on...

I had pretty much decided by Monday morning that I wanted to move back to Texas, and bright and early I put in a call to my former boss.  He told me to check back in a little while later, and when I did, I was told that my paperwork was already being processed.  :)  Now I had to make arrangements to get back to Austin.  Unfortunately (as I recalled once I went to the Avis site and started pricing vehicles), renting from Austin to Las Vegas was cheaper than Vegas to Austin back in July (yes, I priced it both ways).  On top of having to drive from Reno to Austin (which takes about seven more hours than driving from Vegas), the rental costs more because of the extra distance.  Also, it's not possible to make that trip in less than 24 hours if you adhere to the speed limit, adding even more money to the cost of the rental.  Regardless, I had made my decision and had to focus on getting back to Austin - I'd have to figure out the money problems later.  When I talked about my stop loss point, that included enough money to rent a vehicle to get home, gas for the trip, application fee/administration fee/deposit and first month's rent for an apartment, money to pay my phone bill, and maybe even a little food money in there til my first paycheck.  That's a laundry list of things that got OBLITERATED by the Reno fiasco and the extra money that I had to spend returning to Austin.

All of that aside, I was having a pretty good return trip here on Wednesday and Thursday.  I had a lot of sleep on Tuesday, and I had my Sirius radio to keep me occupied and motivated as I made my journey through several miles of desert and nothingness.  I skated by Las Vegas Wednesday night, and through Phoenix and Tucson early Thursday morning, cheating rush hours and traffic.  In El Paso I encountered the only real traffic that I'd meet during the trip.  I was about fifteen minutes from Austin, FIFTEEN MINUTES away from my destination, approaching Austin from the east on Highway 290 at about 9:00 p.m., when a big deer jumped out of the woods and the darkness and into my lane of the 4-lane highway, and STOPPED ("Deer in the headlights" anyone?), and BAM!!!...  I had tried to turn at the last minute (a fact that I didn't even remember until afterward when I was looking at the front end of the vehicle with the police, noticing how one side took more damage than the other).  So yeah, BAM!!!  The airbag deployed and hit the inside of my forearms as I discovered exactly how fast a deer can decelerate a vehicle.  When I came out of my brief moment of shock, I realized that my rental was still operable, and I looked for a safe place to pull over.  The area that I was in was unlit, surrounded by woods, and the speed limit was 70.  For those of you familiar with the Austin area, I ended up stalling out at the red light across from the Nutty Brown Cafe on 290.  Anyway, I wasn't happy at all when I had to wait over two hours for the tow truck and my replacement vehicle to show up from the airport, but I finally calmed down, realizing how lucky I was that I wasn't injured...

Fast forward to right now, and once again I'm incredibly fortunate to have some good friends.  The friends that I'm with right now are housing me and my stuff, and I received a facebook message from another friend yesterday offering to put me up at his place while I'm in this transition period.  I'm really, really fortunate...

As I get settled back in Austin over the next few months, you'll still get to read plenty from my adventures in Las Vegas and Reno.  Don't feel bad for me.  I had told several people that if I had to get a job, I'd rather work in Austin than in Vegas - it's just a nicer place to live.  I was honestly excited to be returning once I had made my decision.

So to Gabby, I obviously learned that San Diego was too expensive (I still didn't make it to the ocean this trip).  And to Kyleigh, I won't be in Reno when you get there, but I hope that you enjoy visiting downtown and going back in time.  And Jason, sorry that I'm not still there, but enjoy your visit to the desert.  And to all of you who have supported me and enjoy following the blog, I'll bounce back again... ;)  And yes Valerie and Yvonne, you can tell people that the real reason cameI came back is so y'all could make Spam for me...  :)

I'm going to stop now because we have a Mississippi/LSU matchup in addition to a World Series Game 4 that are about to start, but I'll be back pretty soon.  Thanks again for your support and have a great football weekend...  :)


Late Football Picks

Good morning everyone.  I'm going to rush typing these football picks into this entry (and I'll come back through later to clean up the season/weekly records for Joey and myself).  After I finish with this, I'm going to type a "real" blog entry to catch you up with my world...

Joey's Lucky Seven (3-4 Last Week, 21-33-2 Overall)

U. Mass. (+17) @ Toledo - U. Mass doesn't have much of a defense, but their offense is averaging 37 points per game.
Ole Miss (-3) @ LSU - Rebels will stay undefeated and will be 1 of the top 4 teams in new playoff system.
Western Kentucky (-10) vs. Old Dominion - Western Kentucky has the offensive firepower to play with the big boys, they just don't have the backups, but they will be okay to beat up on Conference USA foes.
Utah (pick) vs. USC - The Utes and Trojans are about equal talent wise, so I'm taking the home team with the home field advantage, and the altitude will get to USC.
Colts (-3) @ Steelers - I've been playing one week with the Steelers and one week against.  This week is against.
Packers (+2.5) @ Saints - This is probably the second best team in the NFL, right behind Denver, and I'm getting points!!!  Plus it's in a dome.
Lions (-4) vs. Falcons (London) - This game is too early for most to watch and too late in London, England for the Falcons to care.

Coach's Lucky Seven (3-4 Last Week, 27-28-1 Overall)

Texas/Kansas State (Under 48) - UT has good D and doesn't score...
Packers (+2.5) @ Saints - I'm with Joey here - please give the Pack points...
Colts (-3) @ Steelers - Steelers blitzed Texans late in first half, but Colts are better...
Patriots (-6) vs. Bears - Pats only have to cover a touchdown at home...
Seahawks (-5) @ Panthers - Seahawks better beat someone soon...
Eagles (+2) @ Cardinals - Again, giving Philly points?  Please...
Cowboys (-9.5) vs. Redskins - McCoy's stock would be very high if he wins this one...

Okay boys and girls - give me a few hours and I'll catch you up with my life...  ;)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reno Is Like A Donut

Good afternoon everyone.  I still have a little bit of a sense of humor...  I messaged my friend Ken before I came to Reno, and when I asked him about it here, he opened with that line - "Reno is like a donut..."  Ken was one of my high school classmates, and he actually lived here.  I really know very few people that have ever been here before at all
.  Ken explained that the center of the "donut" is comprised of Reno's entertainment and gambling element, and that the outskirts of the city are better for housing.

Back to my sense of humor, I figured that if I needed to look for a job (and wanted to live somewhere that I could readily bet football and play poker), I'd be better off here than in Las Vegas in respect to the size of the city, in that I don't have a vehicle to get around.  I found a great rental rate on a vehicle from Las Vegas to Reno through Enterprise, and the weekly/monthly places are supposed to be cheaper here than in Vegas.  I'm not going to get into all of the specifics right now, but having used Avis twice now in the last three months, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND renting from them, and I STRONGLY DISCOURAGE you from having any dealings with Enterprise.  This will be a future topic of discussion here, count on it...  Anyway, after the nightmare of dealing with Enterprise and barely getting my Avis rental vehicle loaded before the office closed at my place in Vegas (so that I could return the key), I drove to Reno on Wednesday night.  Other than the fact that I had to pay 3-4 times more for my last minute rental from Avis because Enterprise is a joke, the drive here was uneventful.  I got to town in plenty of time to scout out potential weekly/monthly apartments, and unfortunately Ken was right in that a lot of places didn't look very suitable to rent.  This observation was based at looking at them from the outside, as I was driving around town in the middle of the night.  Of course I want to be close to downtown if I'm here (for its proximity to the casinos).  Long story short, the place that I'm staying in for this week turned out to be more expensive than I had bargained for due to the size of the unit that they had available, and coupled with having to pay way more than I had agreed upon for a rental, I'm pretty much freaking out (mentally) at this point due to where I find my finances.  To catch you up, this is one of several places that I had contacted before deciding to give Reno a shot, and it's one of the very few whose location I'm comfortable with.  Anyway, again making the long story short, my finances are almost to where I thought they'd be after renting a place here for a whole month, due to the unexpected expense of the rental vehicle and not trusting he looks of the cheapest places here.  I figured that a month would give me plenty of time to find a job here (and even give me some money), and even if that didn't materialize, that would be a whole month that I'd have to figure out my next move.  Now I'm up against it, but at least I feel better after sleeping yesterday, after having been up for over 24 hours straight from Wednesday through yesterday...          

Anyway, so that's where I'm at right now.  I really didn't plan on getting into all of that yet, and just came here to give you some football picks.  Due to the fact that I still need to make a limited number of football bets, I'm going to keep this super short right now, and probably come back and edit Joey's and my records and comments about our picks here later.  And here's Joey...

Joey's Lucky Seven (2-5 Last Week, 18-29-2 Overall)

Northern Illinois (-13) vs. Miami (OH)
Iowa (+5) @ Maryland
Duke (-3) vs. Virginia
U. Mass. (-13) vs. Eastern Michigan
New Mexico (+12) @ Air Force
Western Kentucky (-5) @ Florida Atlantic
Hawaii (+9.5) @ San Diego State

Coach's Lucky Seven (3-4 Last Week, 24-24-1 Overall)

Colts (-3.5) vs. Bengals
Bears (-3.5) vs. Dolphins
Bills (-5.5) vs. Vikings
Chargers (-4.5) vs. Chiefs
Cowboys (-6.5) vs. Giants
Broncos (-6.5) vs. 49ers
Texans/Steelers (Under 45.5)

A couple of things here before I go...  The parlay cards here in Reno are much more limited in the college games that you can choose from.  Maybe half of Joey's picks are available on the card (and I'm using the odds from the Peppermill card).  Also, not much studying went into my picks (ha ha - watch them win this week)...  :)

Anyway, that's it.  I'm trying to figure out what to do since I've been about even on my gambling but still have to pay my bills.  If I have to work, I might as well be in Texas, because I'd be living in a much nicer place (my apartment and the state)...  :)  However, maybe I get super lucky this weekend...  :P  Well, have a good one and I'll try to come back and edit in the missing information regarding our picks.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Birthday Weekend

Good morning everyone.  This is obviously coming to you way later than I'd like, especially considering that the UT/OU game kicks off in less than nine hours.  However, since my 101st birthday is this weekend, I will forgive myself...  ;)  Well, except for in the morning, when I have to wake up.  Merp...

Joey and myself both went 2-5 last week, so I should probably start charging for this priceless info. (I'll give you half Joey)...  Okay, without any further ado, live from the Palace Station Sportsbook & Casino, here's Joey...


It's that time of the week again for the parlay cards to come out, so let's color in the bubbles (Joey is clearly stealing my material)...

Joey's Lucky Seven (16-24-2 Overall, 2-5 Last Week)

U. Mass (-2) @ Kent St. - U. Mass is winless, but they could be 4-2.  There's a reason Kent State is 0-5.
Alabama (-9) @ Arkansas - Bama knows it has to run the table.
Memphis (-7.5) vs. Houston - Cougs QB is having his sophomore slump.  Memphis is 6th in the nation in takeaways.
 Temple (-17) vs. Tulsa - Temple had a week off & Tulsa is 4-13 versus the spread.
Penn St. (-1) @ Michigan - H.C. Brady Hoke is about to be fired from UM, if not now, then in 4 weeks.
Browns (1.5) vs. Steelers - Like I said last week, I'm betting the Steelers one week & this week is the blind bet against.
Bengals (-6.5) vs. Panthers - Cincy has something to prove after Pats, plus Panthers can't run the ball.

That's it for the parlay card, except for my New Mexico State play.  The Aggies are on the road to Troy, and that's all you need to know.  Close game, but the Aggies lose 35-34.  May all your parlay cards be winners...

As I said, I also went 2-5 last week, so I'm going to spare Belle the Cat...  I'm going to DARE my picks to be wrong now, under the watchful eyes of Francesca and Leanne (it's just been way too long since y'all have been in the blog anyway)...  :)

Coach's Lucky Seven (21-20-1 Overall, 2-5 Last Week)

Clemson (-9.5) vs. Louisville - Tigers are tough in Death Valley.
Texas (+16) vs. Oklahoma - Big spread against this improved UT defense.
Memphis (-7.5) vs. Houston - Tigers have played well, Cougars, not so much.
Texas A&M (-1.5) vs. Ole Miss - Letdown game for Rebels at Kyle Field.
Broncos (-8.5) @ Jets - Hope it's as easy as it seems.
Patriots (-3) @ Bills - Brady vs. Orton - Bills will have to prove it to me.
Steelers/Browns (Over 46.5) - Every Browns contest has video game scoring, as did this matchup in Week 1.

And that's all boys and girls.  If I don't see you again before Tuesday, tune into ESPN 2 on Tuesday night for the Texas State football game.  Eat 'Em Up, Cats!  Enjoy my birthday weekend and I'll see you soon!

Friday, October 3, 2014


Good morning everyone.  The blog hit the 77777 mark this week (which is supposed to be lucky in Vegas), so hopefully this will be a good week.  Let's get right to the football picks...

Joey's Lucky Seven (14-19-2 Overall, 3-3-1 Last Week)

Rutgers (-3) vs. Michigan - Michigan is in shambles.
Northern Illinois (-24) vs. Kent St. - Kent is 124th in scoring & 111th defensively.
Appalachian St. (+5) vs. South Alabama - S. Alabama has only covered once as a road favorite.
Ball St. (+2.5) @ Army - Army has lost last 3 meetings by 20 points or more.
Arkansas St. (-9) vs. Louisiana-Monroe - Arkansas State had a bye last week and is much faster.
Nevada (+2.5) vs. Boise St. - The Wolfpack play better at home.
Steelers (-6.5) @ Jacksonville - I'm taking Pittsburgh every other week.

That's the parlay card for this week.  May all your parlay cards cash.

Thank you Joey.  I'll once again be putting my picks under the Belle the Cat, who has presided over consecutive 5-2 weeks...

Coach's Lucky Seven (19-15-1 Overall, 5-2 Last Week)

Tennessee (-2.5) vs. Florida - Vols went toe-to-toe w/Georgia last week.
Georgia (-33) vs. Vanderbilt - Vandy won't be pulling an Arizona in Athens.
Saints (-10.5) vs. Bucs - Saints are just better in the dome.
Chargers (-6.5) vs. Jets - The Pats are slipping, so maybe put Vick in already???
49ers (-6) vs. Chiefs - This game is not at Arrowhead.
Steelers/Jaguars (Over 46.5) - Big-arm QB's and suspect D's.
Texans/Cowboys (Under 47) - Hard-hitting battle looming in Arlington.

And there you are boys and girls.  Despite my 5-2 repeat and hitting several other picks last weekend, I somehow managed to lose money and am once again considering bolting for greener pastures.  I didn't hedge enough when I should have, hedged too much when I shouldn't have, etc., etc...  I still have this weekend ahead of me, so we shall see.  The Falcons and Steelers just killed me last weekend, and both games were more than I could stomach.  Of course the Vikings get planted by the Packers tonight after thwarting Atlanta by 13 last Sunday.  Don't even get me started on the Steelers...

I hope that you have a great football weekend and I'll see you again next week...