I woke up feeling 38% better than I thought I would, although not well enough, or early enough, to take a shower, a fact I withheld from my playing partners. I put on three layers of clothing, including some freshly-purchased spandex tights that not only did the job of keeping me (relatively) warm, but are also quite sexy. I've taken to wearing them, and only them, around the house, much to Emet's delight.
I didn't think the weather was too bad as I waited for my car at the valet, though I was even happier when I got in and the attendant had turned on the seat warmers and heat, the latter perched at a balmy 85 degress.
"85 degrees!" drizz screeched when he grabbed shotgun at the IP. drizz was wearing a polo shirt. The 38-degree Vegas temperature was like Minnesota Spring. Then Schaubs jumped into the back seat and one-upped drizz. Schaubs was wearing shorts. They make 'em hardy in Canada.
We made it to Las Vegas National without getting lost, though I instantly regretted making drizz the co-pilot when I found out he hadn't slept all night and had made a prop bet with GRob and Otis that he could not sleep for another 18 hours, meaning his first 32 hours in Vegas would be REM free. Personally, I'd be dead if I tried such a thing, but drizz seemed pretty chipper at that point, as well as driven to pocket some of that GRob money. Later, I would implore him to sleep (while he was in one of his less-lucid states) and give up the $20, which I pointed out was a relatively piddling amount.
"I WILL NOT GIVE MONEY TO GROB!" he bellowed. So I dropped it.
LVN was ready for us when we arrived (if not "prepared," if you know what I mean), a marshal meeting us at the car and taking my clubs. We hustled to the range for some warm-up swings, then hustled to the snack bar for a bloody mary. I was paired with Schaubs and Astin's friend M. The group in front of us was Fuckin' Katkin, DrChako, Astin's other friend N and a Ringer. Right behind us was F-Train, Pebbles, Astin's other friend E (I feel like I should be calling them all "Larry") and AlCantHang.
Haha! Kidding. Jason rounded out that foursome. The final group was BamBam, drizz, jjok and ck, who we were all happy to see got to play after doing all the legwork to set up the outing. Thanks so much to her and BamBam for doing the cat herding.
Schabus is an ace, which was great, but also a little nerve-wracking, since, even though I suck, and I know I suck, I didn't want to suck for 18 holes and have him get frustrated at having to carry my sorry ass out and in and be tempted to take hard left turns in the cart so I would tumble out. Fortunately, I hit the ball pretty well most of the day. That didn't prevent me from almost falling out of the cart twice.
I got off to a good start, hitting fairways (or close enough) on four of the first five holes, preventing a mental meltdown. By the time we were through five, the beer cart arrived and...well...giddyup.
We played the front in even-par with two birdies and two bogeys, our main problem being unable to sink birdie putts (while Team Ringer in front of us was apparently draining 30-footers). We loaded up our coolers at the turn (hey! What's that water doing in there!) and shot a scrambling two-under on the back. We had some fun moments, like the hole where M and I both hit the same tree in successive shots, a tree that was only 10 feet in front of us, causing us all to duck quickly as our balls came ricocheting back. And the par three where one of us duffed it to the ladies tees and two of us hit into the water. Amazingly, we got up and down for par from the ladies tees.
Then there was the 18th, a par-5, where I yanked my drive into the adjacent neighborhood and both Schaubs and M found water. We dropped lakeside and had trees in our path to the green. I took out a 3-wood and decided I was going left, around the trees. Jokingly, I said, "I'm going with a power fade here," which is really what I was trying to do but the chances of actually performing it were around 8%. Yet, BAM! one power fade, coming up. The shot left us about 70 yards to the pin, with a good lie, so Schaubs could go ahead and swing for the fences.
Which he did. A beautiful arching draw over the other set of trees. The only problem was it headed right for Team Ringer still kibitzing greenside.
Dear Team Ringer, he did yell "Fore!" I swear. In addition, I was screaming for the ball to kick left off Katkin's cart.
Again, we got up and down for par for a round of 69. Two shots behind Team Ringer, but good enough for second place and my first ever round of golf under par.
You probably heard that F-Train won the long-drive contest--big hitter, the F-Train--and Pebs and ck grabbed the closest to the pin honors, which sets up the obvious joke that nobody missed, but is still so funny that it bears repeating:
All the girls got a prize!
We slay us.
Again, thanks to Bammer and ck for all the organization and to my fellow hackers for making it an absolutely great time. Even bigger shout-outs to Astin and CaApril for braving the elements. I know, from pretty much everyone I talked to who wasn't playing that the idea seemed absurd, what with the cold and the early wake-up call, but it was enormously fun and you'd not regret it if you drag your ass out of bed and play next year. Which is not to say I didn't relish coming back into the clubhouse for warmth.
From the course, drizz and I went to Nine Fine Irishmen for some pints and sausages, a payoff for a bet earlier this season on Niners-Vikings ("Enjoy your Sausage Fest!" chuckled Schaubs). It was at this point that drizz, who finished his round in a spiffy new jacket he had to buy at the turn to cover his bare, blue arms, was at his most faded. We sat there mumbling into our Harp like we were on an awkward first date, both of us tired (honestly, I couldn't imagine how badly he felt, considering I was operating with a needle poised just above E). And while we were both famished (I'd eaten only a microwave breakfast burrito the size of my thumb; well..and the bloody mary), we barely consumed half the pail of delicious sausages.
Sausage Fest consummated, we made our way across the bridge to the MGM where I ran smack dab into Table 16.
I've never seen its like before and perhaps never will again.
I was contemplating a nap (I'm old), but couldn't resist watching. I hadn't seen The Mark yet, and he was his typical garrulous self (I mean that in the best possible way). He had a mound of chips in front of him. Yes, mounds, not stacks, and when he bet, he'd just shove a pile, or most of what he could bulldoze in two hands, into the pot. After relentless prompting from the floor, he did finally stack his chips. In stacks of two, a rainbow which covered one end of the table.
In the meantime, I couldn't resist playing. Alan racked up and I took the seat to The Mark's right (oh joy). So this is what a G-Vegas game is like. Pretty much how it's been described. Tilt of equal importance as dragging the pot. I'm not one with the skills (or sack) to play that type of game, so I stuck with the cards, winning a little (for a while), doing my part in tipping Tip and others, donating to stb, standing for the National Anthem ("What are you, Canadian?!?!") and throwing away the idea of a nap before Emet arrived.
It's not really possible to recount the shenanigans. It was all cutting remarks and degen vibe and, oh yeah, some poker. I do know I was lucky to get out with just losing my initial buy-in (when diamonds didn't get there against BadBlood's Kings), but also wishing I had the energy and bankroll to sit there for much, much longer or until, you know, the whole table got cut off.
But Emet did arrive, instantly falling under The Mark's charms. He ferried her to the bar straightaway, queried her why, on God's Green Earth, she'd stoop to be with me. She sat behind me for a bit, and then I went broke (cooler), so we headed upstairs to...um...nap.
Up and showered at 10:30 (two nights in a row, I make my comeback at 10:30; these sorts of things don't happen in real life), Emet and I went back to the scene of the crime, but Table 16 had already been sent to the penalty box. drizz was standing right there, like a big tree ready to be felled. He was in worse shape than I'd left him, counting on that fourth wind to kick up any time now, but I didn't have time to give him a cursory physical exam, because we were late meeting the crew for Steel Panther.
Now, this kind of thing is right up my alley. I love the metal. Hair bands are pure nostalgia. Live music rules. But I was non-committal to the hordes of folks demanding my attendance because I knew it was over-the-top and vulgar and concerned that Emet might not dig the scene. I needed to get a better overview of the show, so I asked BadBlood.
"How vulgar is it?"
"Do they use the c-word?"
He paused, combing his memory banks. "No," he said finally. "But anything and everything right up to that."
Regardless, I convinced her to go (helped by the fact she was delighted by Table 16 and they were all going) and we cabbed out to Green Valley Ranch after missing the group by scant minutes, which had me on a little tilt since I hadn't RSVP'd to Nickerson, but my tilt was nothing compared to that of The Rooster, who missed Emet and I by mere minutes (hey dude, when you're gonna get thrown out of a poker room, do it earlier!) meaning he had to foot the cab fare all the way out to BFE by himself.
Nickerson had snagged us a couple booths (thanks partner) and we killed time before the show started talking to everyone. Emet met a lot of new people whose names she won't remember, but talked long enough to most that she'll at least be able to recall the face/conversation. Talked to DrChako about the real estate market, to Peaker about how Skid Row is underrated and to a late-arriving drizz about the symptoms of renal failure (let's just say I was happy Dr. Jeff was close by).
As for the show...eh. I liked it. I really did, as my sore ribs would attest the next morning. At times, I laughed in spite of myself--Cocktails!--but ultimately, my preference would have been for them to play more songs, rather than repeating endless variations of the "lady parts" jokes.
Regardless, a great time (complete with a couple episodes of drama that need not be repeated here but to say that if you ever get into a shoving match at a Steel Panther show, Emet's got your back) and worth every penny.
Afterwards, Emet and I watched a table-full of donks was playing 2/4 as drizz approached the Witching Hour with seven racks of singles stacked up in front of him. He'd finally found his closing speed at some point during the show and was cruising toward the finish line.
Nice hand, sir. Buy yourself something pretty.
We then went to get assaulted by a Pai Gow dealer, followed by what was at least misdemeanor battery at a craps table. Green Valley Ranch is a cooler. I'm not sure I won a single hand or collected on a single point. In fact, at this point of the trip, I'd taken exactly $90 profit off the combined table games I'd played against about $600 worth of buy-ins. So sleep seemed like the good play.
It had to turn around. That's more foreshadowing.Up Next, Saturday:
WPBT Winter Classic