Friday, November 30, 2007

Baby Elephants

I'm starting to think that the manager of the Subway sandwich shop near my office either has the gestational time-line of an Indian Elephant or that perhaps she's not pregnant.

Glad I never said "congratulations".

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Phish & Chips

We've booked our second annual trip to Las Vegas. We will have 6 guys in attendance late this February and I'm already looking forward to it.

A cool thing about going away with all guys is everyone can, and often do, their own thing. There's no allegiance to doing things "together". We were 5 guys in the hotel lobby after golf. Two announced they were off to play poker, one decided to head up for a nap, one announced he was off to play craps. This one decided to do some sightseeing.

After meandering through a few casinos and gawking at the marvels of architecture and over the top opulence I felt a need for a grass-roots casino. I craved a darker, more gritty place to lose money and I found one. I can't remember the name, but I believe it was attached to a Denny's or a KFC. The Mirage or the Rio weren't about to offer $2 craps with a Grand Slam Breakfast, but Denny's Casino and Diner was.

I would estimate I arrived there at about 4pm. I left after 1am. Nine hours sure can fly by when you're having fun. And fun I had. I never left the first table I approached except to pee. There were a bunch of people in town for the NASCAR race and I delighted in all our conversations about that, Vegas and where we were from. The beer was flowing, the table paying (sort of) and I had a blast.

Eventually, however, I had nearly run through that day's gambling allowance of $300 so I decided to head back. As I stumbled out into the warm evening I marveled at the number of people on the sidewalks at that hour. And most of them had a drink in their hand. Where else can one find just as many, if not more, people on the sidewalks at 1am as there were at 1pm, not to mention holding drinks? Perhaps New Orleans?

Anyway, during my 5-block walk back to the hotel, I spotted a sandwich board advertising golf shirts for $10. I checked them out and they were nice quality complete with the Las Vegas logo and all. I perused the shirts, selected two fearful there must be some mistake. I half-expected there was some catch, or I was reading things wrong or my buzz was causing me to hallucinate. But the total was $20 so I gladly handed over the bill.

On my way back to the sidewalk I passed a kiosk that was selling drinks. Since it had been 15 minutes or so since I had a drink, naturally I stopped still amazed at a drink kiosk in an open-air mall after 1am. But who was I to complain. So, I took further advantage of my good fortune and purchased myself an adult beverage to occupy myself for my walk back. An hysterically huge and fruity beverage at that. It was delicious, but then it better be for $15.50.

After finding my way back to the sidewalk my stomach not-so-gently reminded me I hadn't eaten and I was too far to go back to Denny's Casino and Diner. Since boozey fruit and beer haven't made the FDA food pyramid (yet) I found solace in Ben & Jerry's that was, of course, open. I selected their Phish Food Waffle Cone and forked over the $9 or so. This thing was friggin' huge in yet another indictment of Vegas opulence or gluttony. And, just a tad messy. At least it was big enough to make up my evening meal. So I had that going for me.

What I didn't have going for me at this point was any element of "cool" by this point. Picture if you will a guy, face sunburned from golf and pool-time plus beet-red from drinking 13 plus hours, holding a bag of shirts under his armpit, with a drink in that hand and a huge messy ice cream cone in the other all the while navigating pedestrian and vehicular traffic down the main strip of Vegas. I'm not sure, but civilians may have been poking each other and pointing. But I didn't care.

At one point, while waiting with 100 or so of my newfound friends at a crosswalk as I chowed down on my dessert/dinner I realized just how ludicrous I must have looked. Every movement I made was awkward as I tried to balance three items, two of which were messy, in two, unsteady hands. I'm sure the ice cream was getting on my nose, chin and lips but I had no way to wipe it off since I've never practiced, nor possess the flexibility, to napkin my face using my feet. I was sober enough to know how stupid I must have looked but drunk enough not to care.

Eventually, I found my way back to my room, with the help of some hotel janitorial person to see my cell phone had had one missed call and the following text messages:

5:20 pm "Meeting for dinner at 6 if you want to go"
8:30 pm "You playing craps?"
8:55 pm "Dude, where are you?"
10:15 pm "Where are you?"
12:25 am "You ok?"

Guess who never heard, nor checked, his phone? It was a guy vacation though. There was no lecture about inconsideration or about how they "worried" about me. Although I guess they did. I should have been more considerate. Oh well.

Stay tuned to see how things turn out this February.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey Wrap

I trust everyone had a reasonably enjoyable Thanksgiving? Mine was fine, if uneventful. We went to Mrs. B's sister's house and had a pleasant enough time.

I felt badly, though, that my brother had invited my family and my other brother's families to his house for Thanksgiving and everyone declined. I'm not positive, but I think it could be that last year he ran out of food!

Has anyone else gone to a Thanksgiving dinner where the host ran out of Turkey, corn and stuffing? I mean, there wasn't enough for everyone to have firsts let alone seconds.

Perhaps I'm crazy or harsh or whatever, but I find that totally unacceptable. If I don't feel bloated and uncomfortable, I'm sorry, that is simply not a 5-star Thanksgiving in my book.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Is it wrong that I like the song Baby Hit Me One More Time from Britney Spears?


Happy Turkey Day everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I HATE this!


This occurred 90 seconds ago while I sat at my desk eating Chinese food and sipping a Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Our receptionist stepped out for lunch so Princess Fiona and I filled in to answer phones. (Yes, we have a voice mail automated attendant, but "Company Policy" is to have live people to answer if at all possible. I'd have to agree with that policy. There's nothing more frustrating than "If you're calling about unsightly back hair, press "12" - toe nail fungus press "13" - rectal itch press "14" - you've lost your hand in a kiln explosion "15" - you're head is trapped in an alligator's mouth "16" -- "Dammit! When are they going to get to a scratchy throat and runny nose?").

Ring, ring (I believe that's the standard text for phones ringing when, in fact, NOBODY'S phone "rings" anymore provided you're not 89 years old and still have a 1942 rotary dial. I'd never survive with one of those as its AWFUL difficult to check one's checking account balance with those dinosaurs, no? (press one for savings, two for checking - dial, "click, click, click, click, click" We're sorry, we did not get your response. Please, try again). Therefore, to be perfectly accurate our phone "rings" more like bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop) - Yes, I did parenthesis inside parenthesis. Just checking to see if you can all keep up. There will be a quiz later.

Me: Good afternoon and thank you for calling Widget Corporation, a subsidy of Blowme Enterprises, to whom may I have the pleasure of helping today and if you'd like to take our survey after our service, please press "1" at the end of your call. (Ok, we're not nearly that bad here, but I swear, more and more of my phone calls going out are greeted with some 22 minute expose on how great and important I, the caller, am and how anxious they all are to meet each and ever need of mine. Well, there are certain needs they simply cannot meet and nor do I want them to." And that brings me to the phrase, "More than happy to help." you're not!! NOBODY is MORE THAN HAPPY to help ANYBODY with ANYTHING, especially when its your JOB).

Caller: Um. Yeah. Someone there, uh, just called me? (Yeah, ok dude. Each and every one of our 6 or so on-site people do a general interoffice page to let all the others know he/she just made a phone call that was not answered. So, fear not! I know exactly who called you).

Me: (Of course I have to be pleasant because I'm at work even though I already hate this guy) Ok. Are you a current client of Widget Corporation?

Caller: Who?

Me: Widget Corporation. That's who you just called (didn't you fucking listen to my 3 minute answering speech?).

Caller: Uh, I don't think so, but, uh, someone there just called me (Duh! We got that one Einstein).

Me: Ok. I can try to check around (This is office code for put you on hold, stuff two more fork fulls of lunch into my face, then pick up two minutes later to announce, "Sir? Nobody here knows anything about it" and hope he goes away). What's your name, sir?

Caller: Uh, maybe it was a, a, um, wrong number (At this point he's hooked me line and sinker with his ease and elegant prose with the English language and I hang excitedly on his next phrase and witticism).

Me: Possibly (you dumb shit).

Caller: Uh. Ok. Bye (thank God!).

Me: Good-bye (Butt-head) and thank you *click* for calling Wid....... (Hmmm...I guess he didn't want to do the survey).

Seriously, who calls back numbers on caller ID when the caller didn't leave a messages?

Hell, I can't stand answering most of the calls from people I know let alone taking valuable time tracking down possible solicitation (No! We don't do that here) phone calls from companies I don't know.

I decided against the parenthesis quiz. Class dismissed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

10 People You'll Meet

With all due respect to the fact that tonight I begin week two of my dealer training classes, I have to say that this guy is pretty much dead on. I, too, have met all these guys and usually in the same night. I think, however, you'll find all these characters at any casino, not just Foxwoods, and dealers make quite a bit more than minimum wage after tips.

Friday, November 16, 2007

1 of 12

I've completed week one of my 12 week dealer schooling. Its pretty intensive and there's so much to learn including book study and personal time practice but at least 4 three and one half hour classes are past me.

This week we worked on our shuffling (riffling) and the procedures for blending the 8 decks used at Foxwoods as well as chip (cheque) sizing, which is the art of using the finger as a guide to pay out stacks of chips. Finally, we did quite a bit of rudimentary dealing last night and I'm definitely finding that my experiences as a casino patron are helping and I feel, with the exception of my riffling, I'm pretty natural (read as "good") at it .

Having said that, there are so many nuances that the trained eye looks for in a dealer that others would never notice. In a lot of ways, things are almost like a dance in how sequential thinigs are and how easy it seems when one is doing it perfectly. I'm finding myself fascinated and anxious to learn more which can only be a good thing.

So far, so good with the hours. I've slept a total of 20 hours since Monday morning but I feel I'm holding up well. My main concern was the hour-long midnight commute home and the possibility of falling asleep at the wheel. But I'm pretty wired up when I leave and I sip a Mountain Dew as I crank up some Sirius radio or Howard Stern repeats to keep me occupied.

They gave us 8 decks with which to practice and I found a steal at Dick's for some 11.5 gram casino cheques so I am all set up to practice this weekend.

And practice I shall.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So stupid!

While watching the news this morning, I saw a story about shoddy airport security. Apparently, it is still incredibly easy to get dangerous liquids onto a plane. These liquids, which the story explains are easily available, can be combined to create an explosion big enough to seriously damage a car. I could be wrong, but I believe these were government tests and not journalistic investigations.

Does anybody else think this is stupid? Should we be freely telling the public and all its psychopathic zealots how easy it still is to bring explosives onto a plane?

While we're at it, why don't we broadcast which banks don't have any kind of alarm systems or locks on their doors?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh no, she ditn't!!

Holy crap! Is anybody even reading me anymore? Oh well, I'll post to amuse myself so that in 8 months when I look back I can send "LOL" comments to myself.

I have another story since that seems that's how my blog has evolved and perhaps its why my viewings are so low. At least I get a lot of hits from the words "men's thong" and others of that ilk, including the movie quotes I posted awhile ago, but those never leave comments or participate in other ways.

Anyway, this story is from maybe 5 years ago and I'm not sure it will work so well in text but since I've told it a million times in person, with all the proper inflections, my audience has always enjoyed it. Perhaps you will to.

Many in my family were up visiting my parents for Christmas. As per usual we ended up playing board games together and at one point we were playing a game where one has to give clues but cannot say certain words and others have to guess the words. I'm not a huge board game guy, but I think it was Scattergories.

Anyway, it was my brother's turn. He was sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch and my wife was sitting on that couch with her knees right beside his head. He looked at the card and muttered, "This is going to be bad". He looked me square in the eye and then pointed between Mrs. B's jeans-clad legs. I quickly said, "Box" and we got the game point.

My then 65 year old mother looked incredulous. "What? How did you get that word? Ohhhh....a box? I never heard it called a box. A TWAT, yes, but not a BOX."

We nearly died laughing red-faced. Not only was my was sweet, petite mom saying "twat" in our presence, but the emphasis she put on the word was at the same time unsettling and hysterical.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bumper Skiing Part II

On another occasion and during college, my then-girlfriend and future wife and my best friend J and I were out partying. J and I had quite a bit to drink so Mrs. B. agreed to drive us home in his car. Of course, drunks can never make it easy on the sober, so we made her take some diversion from the bar to go eat at D'Angelo's. This represented a major upgrade from our normal dirty-water-dog cuisine from a trailer parked outside the bar. Plus, it was snowing.

After chowing down, we got the bright idea of her driving us around the Stop-N-Shop parking lot so we could bumper ski behind his BMW 530es. Who in college drives a BMW? Well, not him for long. The bank kindly asked for it back. Anyway, after 4 or 5 journey's around the parking lot, my peripheral vision picked up a cop car coming at us.

We quickly plopped ourselves in the car as if nothing was amiss but his lights were on in seconds. He came over to talk to Mrs. B but we barely rolled down the windows so as to avoid any implication there might be alcohol. I'm not sure he was fooled at all, but Mrs. B. was rather sober so we had that going for us.

After he explained the dangers of what we were doing (duh!), it became obvious he was going to let us off the hook and did so in telling us to go home. As he trudged back to his car, my buddy, in the spirit of the holidays and perhaps due to the fact we weren't being ticketed or cuffed, told him, "Merry Christmas, officer." J has always had a kiss-ass way about him.

Without turning his head, the officer said back, "Yeah. Ho ho ho".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bumper Skiing Part I

There's a chill in the air this morning and the weather forecast calls for a spot of snow tomorrow night. Winter brings with it the excitement of the holidays, sleigh rides, clean crisp snow covered meadows, blankets by a warm fire, shouts of joy from sledding children, snowmen and, of course, bumper skiing.

To the uninitiated, bumper skiing is the art of slamming the trunk of a car over a chord or rope or some fabric and pulling willing participants, using only boots or sneakers as skis, over snow covered roads at sometimes breakneck speeds. Sometimes the whimsical driver decides to try to ditch a victim by doing a few doughnuts.

Years and years ago my two younger brothers and I were all-too-excited about a recent snowfall of perhaps two inches or so. Conseuqently, we got the bright idea to slam a pair of pants in the trunk of an '81 Chevette and "ski" tandem style, one per leg, around my parents condominium complex.

In direct accordance with brotherly law section 45(a)-2b we were obligated to "one-up" each other time and again. What began as a leisurely jaunt around the square parking lot near my parent's home turned into a 40 mile per hour wind tunnel test frought with speed bump jumping. Well, most of the time. In defense, the weight of two skiers can actually cause a fishtailing car to literally spin out as well. So we had that going for us.

We were briefed pretty well of the pitfalls to expect, except one. Apparently, manhole covers cover warmish air and therefore snowflakes tend to melt upon hitting them. Unfortunately, a thin layer of water is not quite enough to ski on. Plus, being 2 feet behind a speeding car allows the skier practically no forward visibility. Wherein one could expect the speed bumps based on the movement of the car's bumper, mere wet spots in the road combined with their 3 dimensional graphics, provide a particularly daunting challenge.

My youngest brother and I were not up to that challenge and suddenly found ourselves pitching forward as our feet stopped dead yet our grip held the pants for just a fraction. Luckily, we landed in a fresh, albeit thin and hard, layer of snow where we continued in an out of control slide only to be slowed by an impending speed bump before coming to rest against the curbing some 40 plus feet down the road.

We survived with barely a scratch but the wake-up call was enough to end our little "game" so we adjourned to the warmth of the condo to relive all the exciting moments. And not a moment too soon. From the balcony we could see a town officer driving around slowly with his searchlight apparently looking for hoodlums doing dangerous things involving cars, pants and snow.

Fortunately, he never found them.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Druken College Tale

Isn't it always the nights you plan to go out for a "couple" that turn out to be the most wicked? Yet, the ones you plan to really tie one on end up falling short and have you home in bed in time for Carson? Yeah, Carson. This is a college story and I'm getting old, ok?

So, my friend "B" and I decided to meet my then girlfriend and eventual Mrs. B and some of her friends at a local college pub to celebrate the end of the school year. The evening started out nice enough and we were having a pleasant time with laughs and fun conversation. However, things progressed to the point of many, many drinks complete with swilling straight from the pitcher, jaeger shots and a bunch of us climbing on the back of Mrs. B's shitty car bumper as we bounced up and down and sang "this old car she ain't what she used to be". At some point, the police kindly requested we stop so we then trudged about 2 miles back to the dorm because none of us were anywhere near all right to drive. Hell, we could barely walk.

Along the way, one of my many great ideas was to "hedge swim" or "bush dive". This involves climbing on the top of neatly trimmed hedges and swimming along them, parallel to the sidewalk. Oh, it be possible. If you can ignore the assorted puncture wounds and the occasional collapse of the shrub edges leaving the fledgling Mark Spitz prone on the sidewalk with new assorted injuries that do nothing to abate the hysterical laughter then, you too, can be a professional bush diver.

None of the above, however, is my tale. It merely sets the mood.

Our particular university was and is a huge baseball school with multiple national championships in their division. The running joke at the school was the board of trustees always had a dilemma about whether to get more books for the library or cool new landscaping to jazz up the baseball field. Inevitably, the field won and we did research in 1920's texts. "Wow! The periodic table sure has grown".

So, B and I and another guy whom I didn't know before, nor have I've seen since, decided to break into the field and play some baseball. I don't want to sound haughty when I say this was my idea too but, hell, it was. I'm full of them. Just see my strip trouble post a few months ago. It wasn't difficult to get onto the field and we played phantom baseball reminiscent of the Bull Durham rain out scene, complete with base-running and diving into home. I'm pretty sure I hit the game-winning home run.

Needless to say, Mrs. B and the rest of her friends didn't quite find the humor in our activities that we did. So they left.

We stayed and stayed. Of course, drunks sliding on baseball fields for 30 plus minutes are apt to get a tad dirty. After our victory celebration, B and I were somehow able to get back into the women's floor at such a late hour and in direct violation of the parietal hours. Oh, did I mention Mrs. B was a Resident Assistant? The one responsible for rules enforcement of the dorm inhabitants? Mmmmm....yeaah!

Anyway, I guess she went to bed and was none-too-pleased when B and I came a-knocking on her door. For some reason she saw fit to NOT let us in. We had ourselves a bit of a quandary, so, what's a couple guys to do? We went to rinse off in the ladies' showers. The idea was to clean up our arms and legs but my staggering eventually caused most of my clothing to get wet so, unbeknownst to B, I stripped nude and was taking a regular shower. When I eventually stepped into the common area, clean and strategically covering my "bits" and clutching my dirty and wet clothes, he was laughing hysterically at my audaciousness.

Of course, I did not have a towel but that did nothing to deter me from trudging completely nude the 100 or so feet down the common hallway to Mrs. B's door and knocked again as I called her name in the sweetest way possible. I knocked and knocked and knocked and I called her and I called her and I called her.

It took awhile, but eventually I was informed, in no uncertain terms, that I would not be welcome in her room. While I was still confused as to why she was so mad, I was also disgruntled and proceeded to the lobby area where I promptly sat my naked ass on a chair and turned on the TV. B thought this was all so funny and I guess that's all I need; an audience. Intermittently, I had other audience members as well. I was a hit for a while there.

I guess at some point, the Headmaster, whom I was good friend with, got word of my antics and went to Mrs. B's room to inform her of my antics and ask her to take care of it. While she was no doubt horrified when she turned to corner to see me sitting in a comfy chair, bare naked, remote in one hand and junk covered in the other, she allowed me back in her room. I even caught her laughing as she shook her head. She never seems to be able to stay mad at me for long. Main show was over and since B lived close by so he took off. I promptly fell asleep.

The next day was moving day. That was the primary reason I had gone up and Mrs. B's mom came up to help as well. One particular resident took that as the opportunity to mimic my prior nights actions complete with sweetly singing out Mrs. B's name and covering his privates. Yeah! Funny stuff.

Good thing my future mother in law had as good a sense of humor as my future wife.