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!

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Good evening everyone.  It's very strange to find me writing on the opening night of the NFL season, but I have a feeling that if I don't type this entry right now, you won't see it for at least another week.  I only say that because I wrote an outline for this post a week ago, and well, you know the rest (I didn't type a word)...  For all the times that I haven't written for a while, and I really had no excuse, well, I've been extremely busy this time around.  I was offered my new job here in Biloxi, MS on July 20th, and I made all of the arrangements to move and left Las Vegas driving an SUV with all of my belongings on July 30th.  Since that time I found a place to live, attended orientation and training for my new job, and we opened our new sportsbook at Harrah's Gulf Coast.  During the training/opening the new book stretch, I worked 14 out of 15 days at one point.  We actually did open the new sportsbook on August 20th though, and here's a little proof...

Rob, Nick, Brandi, Re, Big Crave, and several others who I can't tag to this blog entry on Facebook can thank me for making them a little more famous, including this Deuce McAllister guy.  Actually, Deuce has already paved his way to fame, having played football for both Ole Miss and the New Orleans Saints.

I don't have details about what Deuce is doing in his retirement, but on August 20th he was kind enough to come to the property and help us open our new sportsbook.  One of the more memorable moments of the day occurred when Deuce came behind the counter to shake everyone's hand and pose for our group photo (above), and Re welcomed him with a "DEUCE!!!"  Deuce and certain unnamed blog writers (among others) appreciated Re's enthusiasm, and it was really special for our book to usher in this new era of sports betting in Mississippi with an athlete who was born and raised in Mississippi, who played for Ole Miss, and then went on to play for the Saints (who are undoubtedly Mississippi's favorite NFL team).  I remember watching Deuce play running back for the Rebels and the Saints, and what surprised me the most about meeting him was how tall he is.  When I watched him play on t.v., especially in the NFL, I wouldn't have been surprised if I was taller than Deuce, because the big bodies in the NFL tend to make those around them look small.  Well, I just did the official Google check, and Deuce is 6' 1", while Coach is 6' nothing...  Deuce was really down to earth, and I hope that he is fully enjoying his retirement.  This is a photo of Deuce posing with his first bet...

I don't know where Frank was for our group photo, but now he's behind my shoulder in this picture, getting famous also...  :)  Thanks again to Rob for bringing me down to Mississippi, where later than sooner (because it's football season) I'll be able to enjoy the fruits of living closer to Texas...  :)

Back to all of my possessions that were packed for the move in the SUV, here is a quick photo of my ballcap collection.  I later realized that I omitted a few...

Nick is another of my friends and coworkers who also made the move here from Las Vegas, and he has been dragging me kicking and screaming to dine at SEVERAL of the local dining establishments in the Biloxi area, including Sal & Mookie's, Whataburger, and Stacked (who I'm recognizing in the photo below).  This is a picture of 'Seafood Fries.'  Enlarge this one and look closely.  This is french fries that are covered with shrimp and crawfish, among other awesome things.  If I ever cash a football bet, I may one day return...  ;)

This is a bacon, egg, potato (from the leftover fries), and cheese burrito that I made for myself, just to prove that I don't go out to eat all the time.    

I actually RARELY eat out alone, which I why Nick makes a great scapegoat.  As a stranger in this new land, Nick, Rob, and Brandi have been a tremendous help in giving me rides to help me find my new home, fill my new home with stuff, and provide the transportation needed to make losing sports bets.  Thank y'all, I appreciate it!  In other news, I'm optimistic that I'll cash my first winning ticket(s) betting sports in Mississippi at the end of this weekend.

While I wasn't writing, one more thing happened that I haven't blogged about yet.  My favorite basketball player retired very recently.  I was a big Michael Jordan fan when I was younger, but he didn't play for my Spurs.  My first glimpse of Manu Ginobili was watching him play for Argentina in the 2002 Summer Olympics.  When the commentators mentioned that Manu was a Spurs draft pick as he led Argentina that summer, my reaction was, "We're getting THAT GUY?!"  I was instantly a fan, It's rare to see a player with Manu's talent, energy, and selflessness, and I hope that he also enjoys his retirement.

Thank you for patiently awaiting this blog entry.  It's my intention that you'll see me again very soon.  Have a great opening weekend of NFL football everyone!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pins On Strings

Good afternoon everyone.  There is no reason why I should be writing this right now, and my best explanation is that I get to procrastinate from finishing my unpacking (and let's not lie to ourselves, that's not happening anytime soon anyway)...  You see, tomorrow I am scheduled to have my cable and internet hooked up, and I can type SO MUCH FASTER on my desktop keyboard than I can on this phone.  So yeah, we'll go with procrastinating.  Speaking of procrastinating, you'll be happy to know that after having been in a big Tupperware-like plastic container for the last 33 months, my desktop does still work, and while having no connection to the internet, I've been using it to play solataire and free cell to avoid unpacking...  :D  For you curious types, I've been using a tablet and wifi at my last two residences, and thus the desktop was packed away...

After some late night unpacking and time killing Thursday night, I woke up to a couple of very pleasant surprises on Friday.  This photo was in the very first status that appeared on my facebook Friday morning..

And this photo was in the very next status...

My eyes shot to my calendar after seeing the second picture, when I realized that these two superstars missed sharing the anniversary of my college graduation by one day.  Bianca and Alexia are a couple of San Marcos "kids" (remember, I'm 100 years old, so they're kids...) who graduated from my alma mater on Friday, both earning their degrees while working their way through school.  What a great way to wake up on Friday, and then I found this photo later on...

Now while Nicole and Taylor aren't from San Marcos (they're from San Antonio and New Braunfels, respectively, but nobody's perfect), these two cool kids both received their MBA's over the weekend after working their way through school.  Congratulations to all four of these superstars on becoming Bobcat Alumni!  I'm really proud of y'all...

And then there's this guy...

TWENTY-EIGHT years ago yesterday, I received my B.B.A. from what was then Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University).  If you've followed my blog or known me for any length of time, you know that my degree has allowed me to pursue several very interesting and fulfilling job opportunities.  Before this football season begins, I'll be taking sports bets in a state that had never had legal sports betting prior to this summer.  Anyway, I got to celebrate my 28th anniversary last night by eating pizza and bowling with some of my new coworkers.  And for those of you who are jealous of my glamorous lifestyle (driving across the country nonstop, playing solataire, eating pizza, bowling, etc...), know that I will be back at work FULL-TIME starting on Tuesday...  :)  Back to the bowling.  First, I'm disappointed to say that I only bowled a 245 (that would be a 100, followed by a 145)...  First time that I bowled in about twenty months, so sue me.  Second, Brandi, one of the cool kids from here in Mississippi, won the first game that we played.  This blog is the only concrete record of her victory, and if it comes up at work, I'll be like, "Brandi?  Win?  I don't think she even showed up.  Did anyone see her???"  Nice game Brandi...  ;)  Third, and this was interesting, the pins at the bowling alley are attached to strings.  Like I said, I'm 100 years old, but I've never seen this before.  So on the alleys that I'm used to, you knock down some pins (theoretically Nick) :) , this machine comes down and sweeps them away, and then the standing ones are reset.  Here at Big Play in Biloxi, the pins all dance on their strings like marionette puppets, but the pins were reset to the right spot everytime.  Pins on strings...  :)

Okay, that's enough for now, but I'll definitely have more for you soon.  The desktop keyboard simplifies things tremendously, so I really have no excuses...  Have a great week and I'll see you soon! 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Welcome To Mississippi

Good morning/afternoon everyone, depending on which part of the country/world you're in.  I'll probably end up posting this at about noon central time, give or take.  So, it's been a while (over two months), and a lot has happened.  My only internet access at the moment is on my phone, so forgive me if any of the formatting on this entry ends up looking out of whack when you read it...

When I last left you, the World Series of Poker was about to begin, and I was getting ready to play a lot of poker, which I did for about a month.  I met my friend Brian for breakfast on the morning of the Casino Employee's Event at the Hash House at the Rio, and then I proceeded to rail several friends who were playing in the event for hours that day.  For the next month, I played A LOT of poker (mostly at the Flamingo), but that's not all that was happening...

New Jersey won their Supreme Court case, which means that individual states now have the right to determine whether or not to offer sports betting to their residents.  Mississippi was one of the early states out of the gate, and one of my then-supervisors expressed interest in managing a sportsbook here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Nothing was happening immediately because sportsbooks still had to be set up in Mississippi's casinos, sportsbook managers (and then staffs) had to be hired, etc, etc..., so after initially doing some research on Mississippi (and moving back closer to Texas), I resumed my poker-playing summer.  Then, once my friend Rob (now sportsbook manager) was hired in Mississippi, I expressed my interest in a possible transfer from Las Vegas, and began doing a lot more serious research about moving to the Magnolia State.  At this point, my friend needed to move his family south, find a place to live, begin working at our new casino, etc, so interviewing for a job was still several weeks out...

NOTE:  In my defense, this is why I haven't written a blog entry in more than two months, because I didn't know what was going to be happening in my world.  Long story short, I was offered the opportunity to transfer, and very soon I'll be taking bets at Harrah's Gulf Coast.  Of course this meant moving from Las Vegas to Biloxi, Mississippi.  On Monday morning, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Vegas time to finish packing and cleaning my apartment.  At a little after 9:00 a.m., I was able to load everything I was moving to Biloxi in LESS THAN AN HOUR thanks to a HUGE ASSIST from my "pit crew."  My brother, his wife, my nephew, and my friend Geoff had me packed up and leaving Las Vegas by 10:00 a.m. 

Before you judge me for what I'm about to type, know that I had slept for 14 of the 28 hours before waking up at 4:30 a.m...  My plan was to drive from Las Vegas to Biloxi nonstop.  For those of you who have followed my previous exploits, you know that this goal was within my reach.  Soooo, I left Las Vegas at about 10:00 a.m. PST (noon CST), and I arrived safely in Biloxi at 5:30 p.m. CST, about 29 1/2 hours later, having been awake for about 35 straight hours.  I don't know if I should tell y'all about the part where I unnecessarily added more than an hour to my drive by taking a wrong turn into New Orleans, and then having to come back north through Slidell, Louisiana before reaching Biloxi.  Nah, I'll leave that out...  :)  Thanks again to all of you facebook friends who shared my journey with me and supported me with yoour 'likes' and your witty comments.  For those of you not linked to me on facebook, I drive with my phone off, but update my status/location when I stop every 2-3 hours to get gas/food/use the restroom, etc... 

Yes, for my clever friends that like making witty comments about food, there has been some dining involved on this adventure.  :)  The first three photos are from the buffet at our Harrah's Gulf Coast property, where I stayed for the first three nights after arriving in town, and the last is from Sal & Mookie's, a very popular pizza joint (45-minute wait last night) here in Biloxi.  My friend Nick (who also transferred here from Las Vegas) treated me to the pizza last night. 

That's all I'm gonna write for now, because I could go on for hours, but I've got PLENTY of unpacking to do.  However, there will be much more to talk about in the future, for sure.  This little blog did go over 130,000 pageviews today, and in case you haven't noticed, she's been renamed, again...  ;)  Have a great week, and I'll see you soon...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Fleury Of Activity

Good morning everyone.  Here I am again, writing when you least expect it.  It's pathetic how little I've written recently, considering how busy I expect to be over the next two months, but let's get started.  Las Vegas had the pleasure of hosting the honeymoon of my sister and her husband recently, and although Whitney and T.C. weren't in town very long, they got their money's worth.  Catching a show featuring one of her former students at the Flamingo, a picture with the iconic Las Vegas sign, a 24-hour Caesar's buffet pass, a stroll down The Linq Promenade, and this visit to Beer Park at Paris are among the boxes they checked in their whirlwind visit to the desert...  (Coach pictured far left, happy couple lined up on the right...  :) )

I should also mention the three hundred dollars that Whitney won in less than an hour playing three card poker while T.C. and myself were checking out the Flamingo's poker room...  :)  Knowing my love for all things Texas State (and, by the way, we're all Bobcats), T.C. and Whitney sent me a nice gift which I received recently....  :D

It was great catching up with the happy couple, especially since it was their first trip to Las Vegas, and hopefully they'll make many more in the future...  Speaking of trips to Las Vegas, it was exactly two years ago today that I returned to the desert.  After leaving northern New Hampshire at 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, followed by one Saturday overnight stay in Des Moines, Iowa, I pulled up to my brother's house at 7:20 a.m. on Monday monring.  Yes, I was a driving machine...  :)  After Carmen and Pete were kind enough to put me up for about a month while I resettled in the desert (found a place to live, applied for jobs, etc...), I'm happy to say that I've been working for Caesar's Entertainment for going on two years now.

With my feet back firmly underneath me, I'm looking forward to a summer filled with poker.  We're a couple of days from Memorial Day Weekend, which means that Las Vegas will be crawling with poker players for the next two months, with the World Series of Poker returning to the Rio early next week.  I'm estimating (conservatively) that I'll play 20-25 times over the next eight weeks.

In my last month of non-writing, I haven't told y'all the story of one of my most recent excursions to the poker tables, where I ended up costing myself about 175 dollars.  I was playing 1/2 no-limit at the Flamingo, and in early position, I folded pocket 3's to a raise of 11.  I believe that four players went to the flop for 11 each, and the flop came... 9 3 3....  So as I pondered the quad three's that I folded, I watched three players check, followed by a bet of 60.  The three checkers (including the pre-flop raiser) proceeded to fold, leaving me to assess the damage.  Excluding the casino's take (the rake and jackpot drops), I lost 44 dollars (11 x 4) from the money put in before the flop.  Then I lost the 60 bet after the flop, plus the 30ish I'm assuming I would have won from that same bettor when I eventually got all of my chips in.  I only had about 90 when the hand started.  I also would have won a 50 dollar bonus from the casino for hitting four-of-a-kind.  So yeah, I lost about 175 dollars for folding quads.  WHEEEEEEE.......

Back to the present, one of my friends and former athletes has a fight coming up Friday night in Dallas for anyone who might be spending Memorial Day Weekend up in the Metroplex.      

That's a pretty cool photo of Leanne (sorry, the Lioness) if I say so myself.  :)  Have a great fight Leanne!  Poker, UFC, and....  hockey???  Yes, there's a new hockey team in town, and if you haven't heard yet, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are headed to the... STANLEY CUP FINAL...  Anchored between the pipes by Marc-Andre Fleury, the fledgling Knights have defied all odds, and will begin playing for the Stanley Cup on Monday...

In the midst of all of this excitement, I will also be heading over to Brooklyn Bowl in the middle of June for a Blue October concert.  Fun times in the desert...  :)  Have a great summer and MAYBE I'll write again sometime before football season...  :D

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Damn You, Molly Bloom

"It didn’t matter who his opponent was, he outplayed them every time..." -Molly Bloom- (Molly's Game)

"I felt like a fly on the wall in a top-secret, masters-of-the-universe club..." -Molly Bloom- (Molly's Game)

"And, for all the negative stigmas, gamblers seem to have an endless reserve of hope and optimism.  They all believe they can make something out of nothing..." -Molly Bloom- (Molly's Game)

Good morning everyone.  My sleep patterns over the last week-plus have been horrendous, so it should come as no surprise to you that I'm writing a blog entry at about 4:00 a.m. PST today.  I'n sure that your surprise is that I'm actually going to post something for the second time in a week...  :)  So back to my irregular sleep.  First, it seemed that the universe was conspiring against me getting any sleep last week.  In this instance, 'the universe' being defined as anybody out to make a ridiculous amount of noise at my apartment complex.  Some "temporary" residents were here (enough that I saw them leaving together the next morning in a van), and they were loud, and I was trying to sleep...   A few mornings later (and by the way, I was sleeping til 1:00 p.m. because I didn't work until 3:00 p.m.), it seemed like they were completely filling an empty unit with furniture, because a loaded dolly kept RUMBLING past my apartment, and it sounded like a FREIGHT TRAIN, every..., single..., time...  Okay, so that's the sleeplessness that I'm blaming on random people.  Next, I'm specifically blaming Molly Bloom.  I could blame myself for buying Molly's book, but I wouldn't want to lose any sleep over it........   ANYWAY, Molly used to run an underground poker game for some of the rich and famous people in Hollywood (actors, athletes, other celebrities, wealthy businessmen, etc...), and she wrote a book about it.  'Molly's Game' has been well-received, and has also been into a movie.     

Well, yours truly thought that it would be a good idea to start reading Molly's book right before going to bed every night.  A poker junkie, already countng down the days until this summer's World Series of Poker hits town, thinking that Molly's stories of poker and money and her part in all of this would somehow soothe and calm me, and help me get to sleep faster at night...  WRONG...  :)  Needless to say, I finally figured out that I shouldn't try reading this book right before going to bed, but I highly recommend 'Molly's Game' for any of you who are looking for a very interesting read.  I have also heard great things about the movie also...

In totally unrelated news, I woke up for no reason EARLY yesterday morning, my first of three days off.  When I'm awake at 6:00 a.m. PST, I tune into the NBC Sports Network and the 'Dan Patrick Show.'  Normally I'm upset to be awake that early and find that the show is not on, due to DP being on vacation, or something else bumping the broadcast temporarily, but yesterday was Patriots Day in New England, and the Boston Marathon is traditionally run on that Monday.  Back in my youth, I previously completed three marathons, so this 26.2 mile challenge peaks my interest...

I was IMMEDIATELY sucked in further when I learned that the temperature was 39 degrees, with rain, and wind gusts of up to 25-30 miles per hour.  Hey, I wasn't running...  :D  So I settled in, and was able to enjoy watching Des Linden become the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.  After posting an update on Facebook, I learned that one of my former athletes is a big fan of Linden's, so thanks to Jenn, you get to see these photos that I took as the race concluded...

One point of intrigue in both the women's and men's races is that runners who broke away and led for long stretches of each event were not the eventual winners.

So, now that I've finished my "monthly" blog post, I have tons of chores awaiting me in the next two days.  Wash, a haircut, shopping, continuous and endless apartment cleaning, finishing Molly's book...  :)  The one big obstacle that has been erased from last week is having to do my taxes.  Since my coveted WSOP and the extra poker action that it brings to town are about 42 days out (not that I'm counting), I should probably get to it.  Have a great week and I'll see you soon! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April Showers

Good morning everyone.  As Aprl has arrived, I hope that y'all are ready for the change in seasons, and I hope that everybody has filed their tax returns.  Unlike you procrastinators, my return has been filed for....  HOURS...  If you haven't filed yet, why are you reading this right now?  :)  As always, it has taken me longer to return here than I had anticipated, and maybe all of my life stories and musings are going to have to wait until I'm retired, when the highlight of my day will be sitting down at my desk (which I don't possess yet) with a cup of coffee (which I also don't have currently) and tapping away at a keyboard.  But since I am here right now, keeping up my torrid pace of posting almost once per month in 2018, let's get you caught up on life in Las Vegas.  Fortunately for everyone, there isn't anything to distract me on t.v., so this post should go up pretty fast.  I watched the crew of Apollo 13 safely splash down AGAIN about twenty minutes ago if that's any indication, and this was preceded by watching the U.S. beat the Russians at Lake Placid AGAIN back in 1980...

Anyway, it's April here in the desert, and we've been showered with sunny weather in the 80's.  The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and all of the action that it brings to Las Vegas has come and gone.  Next up for us are the NHL and NBA Playoffs, baseball, and the Kentucky Derby early next month.  As things begin to slow down a bit at work, this will be offset in my life by more poker, especially once the World Series begins at the end of May.  I have continued to represent Texas State and San Marcos with my Bobcat tees and Rattler card protectors at the poker tables, and I have recently added a little more to that arsenal....

These ballcaps are destined to spend more than their fair share of time at the Rio and other poker settings througout Las Vegas this summer.  Having a job obviously removes the pressure of me "needing" to win at poker, and this has made the game very enjoyable for me as of late, as I can choose to play when it's convenient, and I don't feel it necessary to play in bad games (against nine other local poker players for example)...

I'm going to let you go for now as I have a poker book (SHOCKER) that I want to begin reading before I go to bed tonight, but hopefully I'll see you soon.  Within a month anyway, right???  :)  Have a great weekend everyone!

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!