Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shocking revelations

I basically have become numb to the electric blue arc that emanates from my fingertip anytime it approaches a positively charged object such as a door handle, light-switch, wall, another person, or metal of any kind. Pop! Ow. Yeah... there's no avoiding it. It's pretty darn dry out here folks.

Here's some new things I have had to add to my routine that I hadn't anticipated.

1) Moisturizer. Yes, I have used hand lotion before...but not because my skin needed supplemental moisture..if you know what I mean. Now I am actually putting this stuff on the top of my hands, my elbows, knees, and the backs of my arms right around the triceps. I do this in the morning and before I sleep. Maybe a good ad campaign would look something like this:

2) Manicures. I'm bound to get some shit for this one, but whatever. I am a dealer and part of the job is keeping my hands looking nice. The dry air causes my cuticles to crack and I get hangnails. The one things there is no shortage of in Las Vegas is nail salons. They are literally on every corner. Not really sure what that is all about...maybe because there are so many "working women" in this city? Somebody shed some light on this for me. Anyhow, I get a mani-pedi every couple of weeks, right after a haircut. It is pretty relaxing to be honest. The chair gives you a massage while a pair of Vietnamese women go to town on your feet and hands with all sorts of sharp tools and sandpaper. I got one for the first time a little over a year ago with my then-girlfriend, just on a whim. I hadn't gotten one since... but now its a necessity. The women talk back and forth in Vietnamese. I have no idea what they are saying, but I cannot help but wonder if they are talking about me. I have decided to learn some common Vietnamese phrases in the hope that maybe they will think I understand them and they won't jabber on and on. Mà cảm thấy tốt means "that feels good." And if they really hit the spot...Tôi yêu em thời gian dài means "Me love you long time."

3) Humidifier. I turn about 4 gallons of tap water into vapor every 24 hours. I turn it on when I get home and leave it running next to my bed while I sleep. Nights when I have forgotten to use it or not filled up the reservoir have left me with a sore dry throat in the morning.

4) Hang drying laundry. In San Diego, a load of laundry would take hours to dry in the machine. Here it takes about 20 minutes. In fact, it drys things so fast it shrinks a lot of clothes. So, in order to combat shrinkage, I have taken to hang drying a lot of my laundry. I use my total gym pull up bar and hang it in the doorway between my bedroom and bathroom. It doesnt get the floor wet. It doesn't drip at all. Items dry in about an hour or less.

5) Staying Hydrated. I find myself consuming about twice the amount of water that I used to. In the first week I was peeing at least every hour. This has gotten better as my body has acclimatized, but its still far more often than before.

So there it is. Moisturizer, mani-pedis, line drying laundry, and peeing often. I feel like I have turned into June Cleaver.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Solitary Man

As an aside, this is the first time in my 34 years that I have lived alone. Do I love it? Whoa, hey, its only been a couple of weeks. Let's not throw around the "L" word just yet. Jeesh. But I will gladly weigh the pros and cons of my new living situation.

PRO: When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who walks to the refrigerator naked.
CON: Nobody to shock with nudity. Unless it's a random stripper. And then nudity isn't really going to shock her now is it?

PRO: When I come home and find half of my ice cream sandwiches gone, I can instantly call the police.
CON: I have been known to sleepwalk and apparently the police don't investigate missing dessert items. "Are you sure you didn't eat them sir?" "Well, not totally sure, but I think that I would remem.... hello? Hello?"

PRO: There is no dog hair to be found anywhere in my condo.
CON: There is no doggie to be found anywhere in my condo. :(

PRO: My living expenses have been cut in a third.
CON: My living space has been cut in a third.

PRO: If there is a mess, it is because I made it.
CON: I am making more messes just for the sake of it.

PRO: I can do laundry whenever I want.
CON: I like doing laundry. A lot. I think I may be a compulsive launderer.

PRO: More quiet alone time.
CON: I drink like a fish.

PRO: I can sit and watch whatever I want on the tv without interruption.
CON: I don't have cable, so I just sit on the couch staring at the plants.

PRO: When I have guests over... I don't have to clear it with anyone first.
CON: I don't have any friends. Don't feel bad for me. It's because I'm an asshole.

PRO: No misunderstandings over whose turn it is to feed the gimp.
CON: The gimp doesn't get fed very often.

PRO: Any disagreements end with me winning. Duh.
CON: I'm basically insane.

PRO: If I come home late and smelling like cheap hobo wine, there is nobody to answer to:
CON: I've been drinking Night Train again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One week in...

Yet I felt like I've been here for a month. I suppose thats mostly because I have been going nonstop. Here's a breakdown of what I've been doing for the last two weeks or so.

April 2 - Alfred Kelley's 98th Birthday. I was able to see the man himself in all his ancient glory. Aunt and Uncle made it down from LA with delectable fare and epicurean flare. Good times were had by all. After dinner I hit the road and drove over to Greg and Wendy's to get the keys to their condo. 4.5 hours and 300 miles later, I arrived at their place in City Center around 3 am.

April 3 - Woke up around 9, hit the button on the retractable shades and spent at least 30 silent minutes staring out the windows from the 33rd floor of Veer East... contemplating what might be in store. I opened up the laptop and got to the task of finding myself a place to live. I made several appointments and went out to see some places. I found the one I wanted, put down a deposit and made an appointment to return the next day to sign the lease. I went back to the condo, got cleaned up, and then strolled through the mall at Crystals to grab a bite to eat. Afterwards I walked over to Aria and bought into their nightly tournament. At around 1:05 am I chopped it up with the other remaining player for a tidy profit. Yay!

April 4 - I headed over to the Mirage to sign some papers with my new boss at the poker room. After that I had to go over to the MGM to sign even more papers and get my Nevada Gaming license application going. This required me to get my fingerprints taken. I decided to kill two birds at once and found a place near my new condo in Summerlin to get that done. Then I went over and signed the lease and did the walk-through. I returned to MGM with my receipt and spent the next 2 hours on their computer filling out and signing more forms than I thought imaginable. I headed back to the condo, had a good workout and then relaxed in the rooftop jacuzzi.

April 5 - I have been in need of some new clothes, so I took a good portion of my tournament winnings to the Las Vegas outlet center. I bought some new shirts and sunglasses. It was a hot day and I drive a black car with black interior (problematic in my new city) so I headed back to get cleaned up again. I talked to Greg and Wendy and offered to pick them up at the Henderson airport at 630. I was able to drive right up to their hangar to pick them up. They brought along their friend and colleague John. The 4 of us went back to the condo and had a few drinks before grabbing a cab and heading over to The Joint at the Hard Rock to see Bad Religion and Rise Against on the first date of their new tour. We took our time and ate dinner first since we didn't have much interest in seeing the opening band. We strolled in just in time to see Bad Religion finishing their set and walking off stage. "What the???" We theorized that Vegas shows start promptly and end early to get people back into the casino gambling before they are too tired. Seems to be a reasonable assumption. I wasn't terribly upset as it would have been my 33rd time seeing Bad Religion, but still I do always enjoy it. Rise Against hit the stage soon after and put on a great show.

April 6 - I left my car in the valet at Veer and flew back to San Diego with Greg, Wendy and John. Greg was taking his daughter to the baseball game so he offered to drop me off at home on the way down. I got back to to the task of packing that I had started a week earlier, when Sean called me up and asked me if I wanted to go to the baseball game. Funny. "Sure," I said. We headed down and watched the Giants destroy them for 8 innings before finally giving them a good scare in the 9th with a solid rally. But it was too big a deficit to overcome and my last Padres game of the foreseeable future was a loss.

April 7 - Packing. Packing. Packing. That evening some of my wonderful friends took me out for some going away cocktails at Nunu's, one of my favorite dives. It was a great time. Thanks everybody for making it out. It really meant a lot to me.

April 8 - I rented a moving van and filled it with everything I cared to keep. It turned out to be a lot more than I had pictured in my mind. Thanks to Tim and Dad for helping me carry the heavy stuff. All packed up, I drove the truck to my parent's place, and then headed over to meet Greg and Wendy at the Torrey Pines Glider Port. Greg was flying when I arrived. Wendy and the rest of the gang showed up with food not long after. We ate and then took the short drive over to UCSD to Rimac Arena to see, you guessed it, Bad Religion and Rise Against...again! This time we made sure not to be late... and as a result were there very early. It was a solid hour before the opening act, Four Year Strong went on. I didn't care for them. I think they thought the more they said "Fuck" the better they were somehow. Definitely not so. Bad Religion killed it again. The sound was phenomenal. Rise Against put on another great show. I have no idea how Tim McIlrath can scream like that every night and not totally blow his voice out. Thanks Greg and Wendy for a great last night in San Diego. I was really happy to spend it with you guys.

April 9 - I woke up at 6 and hit the road by 630. The truck guzzled gas so I stopped to fill up at Barstow around 9. I arrived at my place in Vegas at about 11:30. I quickly took my key and garage door opener and started moving in. My buddy Chris showed up soon after to help me haul in the heavy stuff. We were done before 2. We dropped off the truck, but not before filling it with another $100 worth of gas (OUCH). Chris dropped me at Veer, and I picked up my car and drove it home. I spent the rest of the evening unpacking.

April 10 - More unpacking. Finished up by late afternoon and took some time to rest my aching back. Then met with my friend Joyce who lives in the same complex to go have some dinner.

April 11 - First day of processing and orientation. It was a long day. Processing started at 9 at MGM. Then I went over to Mirage for orientation from 12 til 7. Lots to process. Every employee has to know where everything in the hotel is, how much it costs, when it opens, etc. Information overload.

April 12 - Orientation Day 2. 8 am to 4 pm. More kool-aid.

April 13 - Poker orientation with my boss at Mirage. Tons more info and documents to sign.

April 14 - DAY OFF! WOOT! Got my computer set up and internet hooked up. I decided against getting cable installed. Yeah you heard me, I'm getting all righteous about television being a drain on creativity... so I removed that distraction. Movies only for this kid.

April 15 - First day of work. I was way more nervous than I imagined. I forgot to take the rake on the very first hand. Doh! I made a few mistakes throughout the day, but nothing serious. I dealt in a player that wasn't at the table. I killed an unprotected hand. I also had trouble counting down my rack a few times because of the the $3 chips. All in all though I think I did alright. I do have a few mechanical tendencies that are bad that I need to fix. I have a really bad habit of squaring the deck with my free hand that covers the cards. This is a big no-no, and its something I do without even thinking about it. I also caught myself rolling the deck once or twice, Also not good. I made decent tips that day, but they let me go early because things were slow... and well... I'm the new part timer so I get cut first. Some friends were in town from San Diego so I planned to meet up with them later. But first I went up North to a roller skating rink in North LV to celebrate my friend Dana's (Chris's wife) birthday. After skating we went back to their place for drinks. I headed off to meet my friends at the Wynn and we partied there with a good group of folks well into the morning.

April 16 - Still out from the night before. I remember being at the Hard Rock playing poker. Somewhere north of 6 am I found myself at the Spearmint Rhino literally falling asleep in a chair. I was woken up regularly by girls trying to hustle me for money. If I had been more conscious they might have succeeded. I also remember sitting next to and talking with a married couple from San Diego. They were there at the wife's suggestion. Keeping it fun I gather. At about 7 am we walked out the back door into the blaring morning sun. The place was still packed when we left. Only in Vegas. I went home and slept til about 4 pm. I then went and picked up some friends that were in town visiting (I think this is going to be a common occurence) and drove back up to Chris's place for a relaxed dinner. During dinner I got a call from the Mirage asking if I could work the graveyard. This was my first call-in and I was not about to refuse. So I went home after dropping my friends off at Bellagio and hit the sack at about 10 pm.

April 17- I successfully slept from about 10 til 2. I worked the grave from 3 til 11 am and made some good tips by the end of the shift. I went home and did laundry and then picked up my friends at Hard Rock and went back over to the Encore Beach Club. I probably would have recognized most of the girls from the rhino if I had been more than half-conscious the night before. Half of the females in attendance looked like they were in the "industry". Honestly, this sort of place is not really my scene most of the time. There is a lot of vanity and inflated sense of self-importance that centers around being physically attractive. One must fight to not be consumed by it. In short... lots of douche-bags. In the past I would have stood in the corner drinking heavily... being miserable. Instead, I really had a good time. The DJ was good and I danced and enjoyed myself. I guess I've learned to loosen up. My friends were terribly intoxicated before the sun even went down. I urged them to get something to eat. I was sober so I offered to drive them somewhere to get some food and take it easy. They wanted to stay and tried to convince me to do the same. I had to remind them that I live here now, and just because they were on vacation...doesn't mean that I am. I am going to have friends in town every other weekend, and I had already gone wild enough. They made me promise to go out with them that night. I vowed to do so... but I knew they would be going nowhere that evening except to the bathroom to vomit. I went home, ate, and fell asleep at about 9 pm. Sure enough... they never called.

April 18 - Monday. Woke up at about 6. I've got a really nice little day planned. I'm going to Costco and then The Home Depot. Maybe Bed Bath and Beyond... I don't know. I don't know if there will be enough time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life moves pretty fast.

I want to apologize to my throngs of loyal readers (all 10 or 15 of you) if you have become bored reading what I realize has become an insanely long series of posts about the Costa Rica trip. It's just that... I had an amazing time there and wanted to document every moment. Once I started recanting in such detail, I felt the need to continue on in the same manner. I think I am a little more than half done. I will get around to the last few days of the trip when I get some time... Hopefully in the next two weeks. Once finished, I can get back to the sensitive white man poetry, memorable events from my childhood, or the everyday happenings in my little life that you all so eagerly wait to learn about. :)

Speaking of which... I am really busy right now because I am in the process of packing up everything and moving to Las Vegas. I went up there earlier in the week to secure a place to live and set up my utilities, as well as take care of the details of my employment. Yep. I already have a job, an apartment, and even friends to hang out with.

I guess sometimes life moves pretty fast. On March 8th, I was applying for jobs online. One of them was a gig dealing poker at the Mirage. On March 9th I received an email reply asking me to log into a computer system and select a time to come in for an audition. The available times were the very next day. I shrugged, threw some clothes in a bag, and drove 300 miles. I showed up at the Mirage the next morning, demonstrated that I was competent and amiable, and headed back to San Diego the next day. About a week later I was asked to take a drug test. About a week after that I was offered the job. And then just earlier this week I went up to sign all the papers and fill out all the forms. My first day is this coming Monday.

So, tomorrow will be my last night in town. It will have been exactly 1 month from the night I put in the application. It's all happening so quickly I have barely had time to reflect. This will be my first new city in 15 years. I will be leaving my one true love... San Diego. It's not an easy thing for me. However, this is a fairly soft transition seeing as how I am already familiar with Las Vegas and even have several groups of friends living there. The plan for now is simple. Work hard, save money, and continue enjoying my life. I think this is going to be a fun summer. :)

I will check back in soon. Stay tuned.