Friday, April 25, 2008

Sick and Broke in Las Vegas

I think I was likely doomed from the get-go with my previous talk of being in Vegas on a very short roll, but lo and behold, here I sit in Las Vegas at the tail end of covering the WPT Championships for the PokerRoom blog with some sort of monkey croup virus, barely able to talk in a froggy voice, with no cash to gambool with and another day and a half before I can fly back home.

So yeah, not exactly the balla trip so far. It's actually been a great trip as far as the work side of it, as PokerRoom has gone all out to show everyone a good time, and my job is to basically tag along and document all that. So big thumbs up there, as we've gotten to hang out in a $10,000/night private suite at Red Rocks for a day, tickets to the Hopkins/Calzaghe match, Cirque and Blue Man group shows, helicopter rides at Hoover Dam, you name, we've done it.

As far as the gambooling side of it, not much positive to relate. I had a baby cash in one of the Venetian Deep Stack tournaments and in one of their noon tournaments, but that's about it, and no love at all in $1/2 and $2/5 NL cash games, or in the other half dozen or so tournaments I played in. Took some pretty tough beats in cash games but nothing that crazy, and it's more my own fault than anything as far as playing overly nitty on a short bankroll due to all my walking around money being sunk into houses at the moment. Indeed, I got my money in pretty damn good but you it's easy enough to see your 80/20s go down in flames a few times and lo and behold, you're sitting in your room, watching Die Hard for the eighth time on cable, using the Internet tubes to say "Waaah, woe is me, my aces got cracked by J9o all-in preflop for a $1,100 pot."

The monkey croup is the most annoying part, as I have no idea what that's about. I had the normal slight cough from breathing too much recirculated casino air and all the dirty monkeys at the poker tables, but this morning I woke up barely able to talk at all. I was about to have to break into desperate mime mode when trying to order a $6 coffee at a Bellagio shop this morning when the lady finally deciphered my croaking and got me a coffee. Tried to talk to my wife, who I miss very much, but we finally gave up due to my inability to speak in anything other than croak-speak.

So yeah, good trip. Other than wanting to be home, and the whole monkey croup thing, and having no money to gamble with. Other than that, Vegas rocks.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Made This

No matter how many times I swear to be prepared and not put off assorted things to the absolute last minute, here I am scrambling around like a mad man, trying to get nine million things done before flying out to Vegas tomorrow morning to cover the WPT Championships at the Bellagio for PokerRoom from April 15th- April 27th.

Not the best timing as far as trying to close on the investment property I have under contract, but such is life, and I'll likely be back home before closing anyway. Rushing around tying up the last odds and ends with that place, hauling me tools out, cleaning up, etc., and I finally managed to snap some photos yesterday, as far as what's been keeping me so dang busy for the last few months:

Before Photos

After Photos

Not quite as impressive as many of the transformations you see on assorted house flipping shows on television, but not bad, either. Have to admit that I'm pretty proud of how much of it turned out, especially since I had to buckle down and do a large amount of the work myself due to flaky contractors. I get down on myself as far as far as it taking 4+ months to get the damn thing done but then I look back and start adding up everything I tackled (painting the entire interior and exterior, ~1000 sq. ft of tile, refinishing ~800 sq. ft. of hardwood floors, tile in two bathrooms + kitcheh countertops and backsplash, etc.) and it's fairly impressive, even for a reserved, not-prone-to-self-praise monkey such as myself.

It'll likely be right back to the grind as far as more house renovation work in the near future, but it's all going to be on our own house this time around, as it's long overdue and the wife has been very, very patient of me doing all this work on other houses at the expense of working on our own home. I'm actually kind of looking forward to it, as it'll be nice to work on stuff without crushing deadlines and other less than fun aspects of the last few projects I've tackled.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Having a Life is Nice

One major contributing factor to the near-death of his here blog has been the fact that since last April I've constantly had one (or two) investment properties that were in need of various state of repair, with huge ticking clocks hanging over each in the form of carrying costs, mortgage payments, checks to contractors, you name it.

I'm not completely out of the woods yet, but the second investment property is now under contract, and the renovation work is 99.9% done. If everything closes as scheduled (and it's an all-cash offer on the place, so odds are pretty good it'll close), I'll make pretty good money on the place but, more importantly, finally be able to kick back and relax, for the first time in a year, without deadlines hanging over my head.

I take a decent amount of pride in my work ethic and ability to stay busy, but this last year was a bit much, even for me. I can't say I regret it or would do things differently, as I've learned a lot and not lost my shirt buying houses in what has turned into a dismal overall market, but I'm definitely looking forward to the prospect of having an honest-to-Jebus life once again, and the ability to do absolutely nothing all weekend if I choose to do so.

So yeah. Kind of nice to have a life again. That's all. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Solution to Chat-Asshattery

If you can't help but act like an asshat, no matter what: act like an asshat, as at least other asshats will love you and embrace you for it.

If you find yourself acting like an asshat when you would otherwise act like a decent human being if playing at a live poker table: stop acting like an asshat.

If you can control whether you act like an asshat or instead act like a decent human being: act like a decent human being.

If you're a decent human being and cannot act otherwise: pat yourself on the back.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Random Odds and Ends

* I've pretty much been a walking zombie of late due to all of the house renovation work, trying to get the latest project done and finished. I try to avoid our local Wal-Mart like the plague, but the only hardware store in the small town we live in is closing, so I've had to visit Wal-Mart three or four times in the last week for various stuff like caulk, screws, etc.

The first trip I'm in the checkout line, some cashier waves me over to an empty line, I walk over, put my stuff on the counter, and the cashier says "Cigarettes?"
I'm kind of baffled but assumed she saw my staring into random space waiting in line in the general vicinty of the cigarettes as interest, so I just say no and conclude my transaction.

Second trip, same damn thing, except the cashier asks "Would you like any cigarettes?" I'm too baffled to really answer, thinking: "Wow, I'm used to the upsell at the grocery store for the candy and random hair products they're trying to unload at the checkout lines, but is Wal_Mart seriously pushing the cancer sticks on people buying ordinary items (and not lighters, dip, or Nicoderm patches)?

Third and fourth trip confirmed that yes, yes they are trying to push cigarettes on each and every shopper. Still baffled by this. I'm not a militant non-smoker by any means but that just seems all kind of wrong to me for some reason.

* I've tried to play in some of the BBT3 tournaments that Al and others have busted their asses to set up for all us ungrateful slobs, but man, it's painful these days to play in a "blogger" tournament. I remember when I'd look forward to such things for days and days before they happened, instead of cringing every thirty seconds at the asshattery on display. Sorry, kids. Just calling 'em as I see 'em. But hey, as long as YOU'RE having fun, right?

* Writing the US guvmint a check at tax time is not a fun experience.

* Facing the odd prospect of being in Vegas for ten days, starting April 15th, with absolutely no spending money whatsoever, due to all the money I'm pumping into my real estate schemings. I'll be there working for PokerRoom, so it's not like a real vacation or anything, but it'll be kind of strange to be in Vegas for that long with no fun money to splash around on the normal degenerate activities.

* It's never a good sign when the president of your company sends out a funny, over-blown, completely-over-the-top April Fool's email about a huge, universally-terrible sweeping change to corporate policy and half the company mistakes it for being real, due to the fact that such things happen on a regular basis, for reals.