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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ELECTION DAY 2012...and a Weekend Trip to Death Valley!!!

Wow! It's 7am, and I'm in Las Vegas watching election coverage. I have my wonderful daughter Carley to thank for being awake. First...of course, I gain two hours by being here. Secondly, I've completely readjusted my personal schedule...getting up now almost every morning at around 8 or 9 to feed the dogs, feed and change Carley...and just be up to entertain her...while Mama Squirrel goes to work to mostly stand around and look and listen to slot machines all day.


I got in to Sin City at around 11pm last night....after a long day of flying, with a 4-hour layover in Atlanta added in. I have to say, it was a great flight. On the second leg...despite having paid the $20 on Air Tran to take an exit row (more leg room) I got sandwiched in between two very large individuals, who both smelled like they hadn't bathed in weeks. I asked a flight attendant if it was too late (we were already in the air) for me to pay the upgrade fee to one of the numerous open 1st class seats. She told me I could. Whew! Then after being seated for awhile, and having my debit card out to pay the $99...she came by and whispered in my ear that she wasn't going to charge me. She apparently saw and smelled the two people in my row!!! That really made for a nice flight.

It's really been a busy week...despite not having gone anywhere...well unless you count Baton Rouge and a trip to Death Valley somewhere, which I guess I should! More on that later! But this week, I had a trip to New Orleans, once to play the 'big' cash game at one of Barth's bars...'Out of Bounds' in Metairie, and once to fly out of there to come out here for a 12-day event at Venetian. The cash game session at the bar was filled with promise, and at one point I was double my buyin...but a bad read against the table maniac ended up ruining my night and sending me home down an amount I'm not proud of.

The last time I was out here for a 12-15 day poker trip, which also came on the heels of an Alabama victory over LSU (the BCS Title Game) I went on a cucumber and blueberry diet...weighing in at 264lbs when I left town...and then going home weighing 249 lbs. Included in that was a lot of walking...so I decided NOT to rent a car for this trip. I am staying at the somewhat trendy Artisan Boutique Hotel...which does not have any semblance of a casino attached to it...which is kind of nice. It's about 1.5 to 2 miles from the Venetian...which should provide me with a nice 30-minute walk every morning. I stepped on Barth's scale yesterday when I left my car at his house and got a ride to the airport. I came in at 258lbs this time. If I could just lose 8 lbs out here it would be great.

So...who is going to be the President at the end of the day? It seems to be a tough call right now. The polls seem to be going one way or the other with neither candidate seeming like they will win by a lot. Being out of town has taken away my right to vote, as I'm only registered to vote in the State of Mississippi...so I won't be a factor. Which is probably a good thing, because I honestly can't commit to either one of these guys. I have enough things about each of them that I can't stand...that voting for either one of them would have instilled a feeling of irresponsibility in myself if that candidate should happen to win. 



I think its interesting that certain 'key' states are called MUST win states...that there is statistical data to suggest that winning those states amounts to a win for a particular side. I think that it really takes away the motivation for a lot of people to go out and vote. I mean...if you're some guy who is committed to a candidate, but you live in Wyoming,  a state that is barely noted by the 'voting experts,' what is your motivation to go vote? I think the Electoral College system is antiquated and needs to either be revamped, or just scrapped altogether. For the life of me, I can't begin to understand why the popular vote isn't the system we use. 


Whatever...I'm just glad I will be playing a poker tournament today, hopefully ALL DAY...at Venetian and won't have to watch the non-stop coverage of this thing. And I am SO freaking glad that after today we won't have to be hammered by stupid campaign ads. And finally, I won't keep getting 20-25 emails a day from the Obama people mooching campaign contributions. That has been going on for FOUR damn years now. This guy (IMO) spent more time trying to get re-elected then he did trying to be a good 1st term President. Its amazing how much I liked this guy in 2008...and how optimistic I was that he would really bring about positive change in our nation. Pffft. That was a bit of a pipe dream I guess. And the things he tries to take credit for kind of sicken me...since most of them are things that would have happened with or without him. Ahhh hell, whatever...someone is going to win, and someone is going to lose. I have no predictions. Let's just see what happens.

Everyone was afraid of the gorilla...except...of course, for Carley!!!

Earlier this week...Halloween paid us a visit. And as every holiday will be, for about the next 15 years...this one was ALL ABOUT Carley! We live in the type of neighborhood where you aren't going to see too many trick or treaters...a few neighbor kids, and then a handful of the poor people from the ghetto-like apartments down the street.  A lot of those 'kids' came by not wearing costumes, and being way too old to even be attempting to trick-or-treat. That kind of shit pisses me off. But of course Cheryl is always nice to EVERYONE...including them. So when she told them to 'help themselves,' they weren't shy about it...diggin in and pulling out several handfuls...while I was sitting there growling. Which...normally they may have heard and slowed down...but since this was my Halloween night costume (gorilla)? They probably thought it was just part of the act!

A Halloween gift from Ms. Pam...for our little pumpkin!

Daddy's sweet little elephant!!


Oh well...it wasn't that big of a deal I guess. The highlight of the night...was our neighbors across the street. She was dressed in all black, and was maybe a witch....he was a ghost, with a sheet tossed over his head. They were both sitting there in chairs...not moving. When the kids would approach...he would suddenly leap at them...BOOOO!!!! Lots of screaming, and running kids. It was hilarious. Me and Squirrel had set up a table and chairs in the garage and opened the door, leaving a dim light on to let them know we were 'open' for business. Squirrel had no idea I was going to put on my gorilla outfit...so when I came around the corner of the house...she freaked out! But what did Carley do? She snickered. Then just grinned. No fooling THAT kid!!!



Though Carley was at the last matchup of these two teams...watching from Mama's belly...she had to sit this one out...staying with her awesome babysitter, Ms. Pam. But she was decked out in her Bama colors for the day!!!

So the weekend came around...and it was time for some SEC football...in the form of the biggest game of the year. My good friend Brett Alello, who finished 2nd to me when I won my WSOP ring, and who lives in Baton Rouge...treated Squirrel, the Claw, and myself to the game. All we had to do was drive up there. Fortunately, a couple of our other friends, who have 4 kids and a giant 'Not-So-Mini-Van' joined us...and did the driving. It was a pretty smooth road trip since we left at 10am for a 7pm game. We got there in time to do about 4 hours of tailgating.

Road Trippin from Biloxi to Baton Rouge!!!!

My previous two trips to Death Valley left me loathing LSU fans. For some bizarre reason, they were being incredibly polite and really kind of friendly this time. I mean...there were some obvious exceptions, including two who I nearly came to blows with, one punk I actually backed him into a wall before his friends came and peeled him away from me and apologized for 'their drunk friend.' But for the most part...they were really acting classy...compared to past experiences. I think maybe the reason was that they didn't really feel like they had a chance in hell of winning...and likely went into the came without the usual swagger that they usually have. 

Squirrel was having some ugly episodes...she'd never been there before, so to her...she had no idea what 'bad' really was. The good news for her was that she had Claw with her...and that's a girl who does NOT take shit...from ANYONE. 

The girls...getting their Game Day 'drink on!'

THE CLAW meets THE TIGER!!!

I found me a bunch of 'Lil Tigers to play some ball with and prove that I am nowhere near as young and limber as I used to be!!!

Outside the stadium with our host, Brett!



                   In our seats...we were surrounded by LSU fans. Which I expected, since Brett is an LSU fan. We got along great with all of them. Why? Because we know how to act when in someone elses stadium. Basically. We would salute their big plays, and they ours. It was a mutually enjoyable game...until, well...the last drive. Then...you could see their mood change. Like someone had sucked the life out of them. And I can understand that. I mean...LSU probably (easily, actually) played their best game of the year...and Alabama was a little flat, and made a few critical mistakes that LSU knew they would need to get to have a chance to win. It was a great game. In front of a record crowd in Death Valley...and at the end of the day, the Crimson Tide had survived, and left 8-0...with three games left...the toughest, being at home next weekend against Texas A&M. 

Squirrel was a good sport all throughout the game...and when a guy in the row in front of us (who's wife was cool enough to shuttle me some of her bourbon!) would turn around every single time LSU did anything positive, and start chanting...'Not Here! Not in OUR house!' 'Our House!!!' Over and over...ad nauseum. So it was especially sweet when Bama engineered the last game-winning drive...leaving only seconds on the clock for LSU to work with...which they did nothing with. That was when the low-key got her revenge. She gently tapped the guy on the shoulder...and when he turned around...says "Thank you for the hospitality! Roll Tide!!!"

The view from our seats....
video


In the middle of the game...I realized I had left my iPad at the tailgating area. Usually they won't let you leave and come back in...but I found a nice older lady who was a security supervisor and she gave me permission. So began the most grueling workout of 2012...as I jogged all the way back to our tailgating area...where I found my iPad...in some woman's hand...who was reluctant to give it up...not believing me that it was mine. Okay...listen lady...I'm going to prove it to you...first, by entering my 4-digit unlock code...then, by showing you my desktop photo of my daughter...and allowing you to match THAT picture, to the one here on my iPhone. Believe me now? She still 'thought I should leave it there until the game is over and Chris (some guy who I guess had left his cooler there) comes back.' Ugh...yeah...that's not gonna happen. I practically had to pry it from her fingers. Then it was another long jog back to the stadium, where I went in the wrong exit...and had a bitch of a time finding my way back to the seats. At any rate...I finally made it. 



Check out this lady. It struck me as kind of a cool picture. Here are 93,000+ fans watching the biggest game of the year...and she is all alone, sitting on a bench just outside the stadium, reading a book. She couldn't have been any more content. I asked her if I could take her picture. Sure!


AJ McCarron to TJ Yeldon...Bama scores! Bama wins!!!!

Two extremely happy Bama girls!!!

Well, as you all know, Bama escaped with the win...and we waited quite a while before leaving the stadium...just so we could soak it all in, while letting the stadium empty out, and hopefully...the traffic to subside a little. Pffft. So much for THAT plan. We spent two hours in the parking lot just socializing...before we even TRIED to get out of there. And once we did get in the car...it took another TWO hours to get out of Baton Rouge. I'm not sure how you have a stadium, in the SEC...that has a transportation system that is THAT horrible. It's the worst I've ever seen...anywhere. Good thing we didn't have to be anywhere by a certain time. Carley spent the night with our babysitter, as we never made it home until about 4am. We slept 3 hours and picked her up at 7am.

To top off the weekend, ALL OF OUR favorite football teams won. Though, calling my Washington Huskies game against CAL a win is kind of done so with the shame that came with calling the win over Green Bay by the Seahawks a victory. It was one of the sloppiest, most embarrassingly bad games I've ever watched...but someone had to win, and I'm glad it was us...because with Utah being our only real 'tough' game remaining, we have a good shot now at finishing 8-4, making another bowl game..and continuing to  rebuild our program. In the NFL, my Seahawks continued to improve, and my free dinner 'anywhere in Vegas' at the hands of Gavin Smith is looking better and better...with them only needing to win a total of 7 games per our bet...before Gavin has to sit with me and watch me devour a gigantic meal consisting of oysters, and steak and most likely a fine red wine!!! And of course, last night...the Saints finally found their winning ways at home...dispatching the struggling Eagles. Drew Brees extended his incredible record of a touchdown pass in a game for...what? The 50th game? 51? He has to keep it up too...because he has Tom Brady hot on his heels!! So with the Saints now at 3-5, they still have their work cut out for them...but they aren't dead yet.

So...yeah, today begins a 12-day stretch of events in Las Vegas at one of my favorite venues of all time, the Venetian. So far their turnout has been pretty healthy. Its probably aided by the recently concluded Wynn Classic and an event at Caesar's. Also...I think a lot of people who were going to go to play the Borgata Open might opt for Vegas instead. I really wanted to go to Atlantic City for that event...but honestly couldn't get anything resembling a decent flight into there, due to the storm. On that note, my heartfelt condolences go out to anyone affected by SuperStorm Sandy (as they are now more accurately calling it...as it morphed from a hurricane into a beast of a Nor'Easter). I lived in NYC for five years back in the early 90's and still have friends up there. I've also made a lot of new friends up there through poker. Seeing the destruction...damn, its just amazing the power that water has when it pushes ashore. We've witnessed that kind of destruction down here in Biloxi and the whole gulf coast really...its horrendous. And once it falls off of the country's radar as being newsworthy, and the media has moved on to the next issue...the residents are just left with mountains of debris and broken dreams. I hope the northeast can recover quickly. Hopefully they aren't bogged down with a bunch of insurance delays like we were on the Gulf Coast after Ivan and Katrina.

That's about all I have for you...got a lot of other 'stuff' I need to tend to before I start my day, and walk it over to Venetian for my first event of this trip. I really could use a good trip. Especially with the holidays approaching. It's been a very 'negative e.v.' fall so far...I usually have a strong fall every year...with all my various financial ventures...but this year has sucked. Bad. And I still haven't gotten a tenant (5 months now) into my rental home in Pensacola...as I am stuck holding, waiting for the city sewer to hook into my lines over there (delays on permits and shit). I decided to 'gamble' and load up on oil stocks last week...predicting that after the election comes and goes...the fuel prices will skyrocket again. They always seem to go down leading up to the election...trying to sway voters...but then after, they stop caring...and the oil companies return to their greedy ways. At least that's how I hope it goes...at least for a month or two! (as a footnote, the price of oil escalated almost $3 a barrel in late trading on Election Day!)

Okay...hopefully, there will be some good news coming out of here this week!!!!

MONKEY


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