Feelin' Stronger Every Day
My brain is like a TV dinner. There's a little compartment for the salisbury steak, one for the carrots, the mashed potatoes and that odd dessert-y thing. I'll start in on the carrots and get easily distracted, "Ohhhh, steak!" As such, I leave the other items sitting around too long, getting soggy, and ultimately, inedible.
So I'm going to try to clean my plate here today before we get to this week's episode of "The Countdown." Speaking of "The Countdown," I've been trying to work in a reference to "The Final Countdown," that '80s anthemic piece of hysterical garbage performed by Europe. I'm sorry, any "rock" song that needs the keyboards to carry the melody is an instant classic. Not in a good way. There's a line burned in my memory from Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden in some long-ago metal documentary that goes, "You can't play heavy metal with synthesizers." Amen, brother.
Anyway, I suck at weaving the obscure into the idiotic, so I haven't been able to get the Europe reference in there, leaving me no choice but to just plop it in like a huge dump on your lawn. Just know this: The lead singer's name was Joey Tempest.
Why that makes me giggle, I don't rightly know.
But I'm all about anthemic rock cheese. Yes, my secret shame is Styx. When I was 13 and doing my paper route, I listened to "Paradise Theater" for a good 6 months straight while folding. I got my first handful of Wendy Stephens' bum with "Babe" on the turntable. I love them like I loved my first silk Adidas sweat suit. I make no apologies for my affliction.
That said, since Def Leppard got two votes, next week's titles will be all theirs.
Felicia and others can be rest assured that I will be spending some of my recent poker windfall on a suitable Vegas wardrobe. I'm thinking something in a fuschia, mesh if possible. I have an image to uphold as the pre-emminent metrosexual of the poker blogsophere. Speaking of which, can I be "The David Beckham of Poker Bloggers?" He's a primary Poster Boy for our "movement" and I can swerve in a mean cross if called upon. Judges?
(Yes, there's some possible blasphemy there as a Liverpool fan, since I'm obligated to hate anything and anyone ever associated with ManUre, but while I think Becks is horribly over-rated by many, the man works his ass off on the pitch and I've always respected his engine.)
On the wardrobe front, is it any coincidence that my WPBT ringer-T arrived during the first hour of the Re-Buy on Wednesday night and covered my torso during the drive to the Final Table? I think not. The only thing, as a ringer-T, I expected the sleeves to accentuate my throbbing biceps (if you haven't seen my throbbing biceps, think Angel Hair pasta). Instead, the sleeves flare like an ill-fitting softball uniform, giving the appearance of two umbrellas hanging off my shoulders. It's still kick-ass.
Okay, another fashion question, this one for April. If I wear my WPBT ringer-T in Vegas, am I "that guy?"
The Aladdin Classic will be my first live tournament. In fact, unless something changes, it will be the first time I've ever played no limit live. I've tried to get into one of the myriad tourneys at my local Indian Casinos/Card Barns, but they're all at bad times for me and I'm pretty much booked up with family bidness for the next few weekends. I'm pretty sure that inexperience will show. Adding up all the potential issues, from having to fight off what will surely be a massive hangover, to counting the money in the pot, to helping Al figure out his chip colors, to my propensity to shake worse than a methadone clinic waiting room and I don't really like my chances. I'm looking into wearing a Haz-Mat suit to obscure the tells.
My bounty arrived yesterday...drum roll, please...and the person who knocks me out will receive a copy of one of my favorite novels, "Homeboy" by Seth Morgan. I know it's kinda boring, but I am, after all, known in your better poker circles as "The Librarian." And while a poker book would have been an obvious choice, I decided to go with this one for a couple reasons. One, it's about a degenerate, which should appeal to roughly 75% of the community. Two, it's protagonist is none other than Joe Speaker, the inspiration for my internet poker nom de plume. The book is in really good shape (thank you, e-bay), surprising since it's been out of print for several years (and my copy no longer has a front cover). Sadly, it's the author's only finished novel, as he died in a motorcycle accident shortly after its publication. It's really quite different, with some richly drawn characters and innovative use of language. I hope my vanquisher will enjoy it as much as I.
Okay, on to "The Countdown," our weekly episodic stroll through my feckless imagination.
Things to Do in Vegas When You're Drinking Yourself to Death
It has come to my attention that we will have several first-timers in the fair city of Sin, so I'm here to offer a list of "must do's" and "bests."
Walk The Strip: Few things are as liberating as rolling down Las Vegas Blvd. with a drink in each hand. I do this every time I go. I stop in at the various casinos for a drink or some quick table action. I people watch. Get a little exercise. Get propositioned for every imaginable act/substance.
Some of my favorite places to stop:
Barbary Coast: Old school casino is my favorite place for blackjack. Centrally-located and they feature two-deck games with as little as a $10 minimum, even on weekends. It's always a party in there and the dealers are fantastic. Last time I was there, some incredibly drunk guy was giving me $100 chips to bet.
New York, New York: Best greyhounds on the planet, thanks to the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Also the best collection of restaurants in a single casino. Special shout-outs to the carnitas burrito at Gonzalez y Gonzalez and the authentic Irish pub smack in the middle of the casino.
The Mirage: Has lost its lustre in recent years, but their Lagoon Saloon features the city's best bloody mary. Get it spicy, you big baby.
Caesar's Palace: For you shoppers/metrosexuals, The Forum Shoppes are the first place to go.
Paris: This hotel has a great outdoor cafe to sit and drink in the sun and watch the masses go by. As an inveterate people-watcher, I've passed many an afternoon here. It also has quite the wine list--so I'm told--for you vino-philes.
Nightlife: I hate nightclubs. Gimme a noisy pub with a killer jukebox over a dark dance joint with rib cage-rattling techno music any day of the week. As such, I have next to nothing for you here. I DO like the Double-Down Saloon, an off-strip dive bar near the Hard Rock, though I liked it better 5 years ago. Last time I went, it was a little too "scene-y" for me. I have been to "The Beach," an off-strip nightclub that is tolerable, thanks to areas where you can hear yourself think and an around-the-clock sportsbook upstairs. And I can see the lure of The Ghost Bar, located at the top of The Palms.
Best Places for Breast Implants: To see them, not to purchase them. The centrally-located bars at the Hard Rock and The Palms. Again, people-watching opportunities up the ying-yang. I'm especially partial to the ultra-wealthy shriveled-up toads with back hair and a hooker on each arm. Also, I suppose some strip clubs might fall into this category, but I can't confirm, nor deny, any particular knowledge on that score.
Best Place to Pass Out: I'm not sure, but I DO know a bathroom stall at the New Frontier isn't it.
Best Looking Cocktail Waitress/Revealing Outfit Combination: Rio. Ah, serendipity.
Best Show: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! How the fuck would I know?
Best Fine Dining: Well, I've only been to two of your upper-crusty Vegas food troughs. Aqua, at The Bellagio, was unbelievable. Like being drunk on food. Like an edible orgasm (that's meant to sound appetizing, even if it doesn't). Delmonico's, an Emeril Legase joint in The Venetian, was excellent, though not quite as good as Aqua. In both, the service is impeccable, far above any standard I hold for wait staff. Take you wife/husband/partner to either of these places and you'll reap great reward.
Best Day Trip: I suppose it's Hoover Dam. Or the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Again, I have no idea. Neither has to do with gambling or drinking.
Best Pool: Hard Rock. Oh Sweet Lord.
Best Buffet: Rio wins this one as well. Often a ridiculous line to enter, but a few dozen drunken railbirds might be able to clear it out in a hurry.
Best Wedding Chapel: Don't do it. Get on a bus to Albuquerque. Now.
Please note this is only one man's opinion and despite that one man being a BAD-ASS motherfuckin' card player, your mileage may vary.