Rutgers March O’St. Pat’s Madness

For the first time in history this tournament was PDGA sanctioned. Turnout was pretty low since conditions were less than ideal. It was about 36 degrees with a fairly steady 15 mph wind throughout the day. Worse, however, was the fact that the course was covered with a layer of ICE. Every missed putt had the risk of sliding an extra forty feet past the basket. I saw people laying up from forty feet. It was crazy.

And carrying on a tradition of the new year, I sucked. I’ve played 5 pdga rounds so far (and probably another 6 tournament rounds) in 2007 and I have yet to play a good round. For the first winter, not playing has SEVERELY hindered my game. My drives were so irratic. I was griplocking half of them, and letting the other half go early. My putting was solid (until the last four holes), but really, no aspect of my game was working. BBD suggested that, to be good at upping, I *need* to learn how to throw a putter off the tee and from 200′. He’s probably right. I might practice that, you know, in my abundant spare time.

Anyway, I carded a 60 the first round (on the very easy Rutges B-Tee layout, which can easily see a -10 in good conditions). Here’s how my tourney started: hole 10 is a big anhyzer hole with a hill sloping down to the left towards a creek which is OB. I throw a decent shot (it hyzered at the end, so it wasn’t GREAT), but of course the thing slides ALL the way down into the water. I throw my next shot to within 50′ of the pin. I just try to layup to take my circle 5, and my disk slides up and hits a tree, stands up, and then rolls ALL THE WAY back to the water, OVER the water, and lands on the other side. My fifth shot sees me throwing to the EXACT same place my 3rd shot landed. I layup (no roll) and start the day with a circle 7. That pretty much killed my entire round.

The second round I carded a slightly better 55, but with only one birdie on a course where each hole is birdieable, it’s just not gonna cut it. So my 115 was not even close to the 102 that won the tournament.

What happened to the way I ended 2006? I wanna get back there!

Zinfandel #1

Gnarly Heady Old Vine Zin 2005 – Yes, I bought this wine solely for the name, Gnarly Head, named for the gnarly heads of the vines and not, I would assume, because it’s just a great name for anything.  Zinfandels are wine that I like to say punches you in the taste buds.”  This one was no exception.  It’s got a full flavor, which is much better (in wine terms) than containing partial flavor.  I had this without food, and in fact, it was while playing Wii Bowling, so that may have increased the potential taste value (it is well documented that drinking wine while doing something active does alter taste.)  I can’t compare this to many other zins, as I’ve only had one since starting this column.  This was one was better, though I’d be at a loss to explain how.  It’s quite a drinkable wine if you like something with more flavor and less down-ability.  Definitely a wine you could have one glass of and call it a night.

At $13 (or $9 with my discount) it certainly is worth it, without being spectacular.  It passes with a 6/10.

The Nevada Trip Wrap-Up

It’s been a few days since the end of my trip, and I suppose it’s time to wrap it all up in a tidy bow, but trying to wrap a violin bow around a intangible thing like a vacation has proved insurmountably difficult.  So I’ll just chat briefly about it.  First off, I didn’t notice much of a social difference between Nevada and home, but that was until I got home.  First of all, it’s refreshing to see black people.  It really is.  I think it was a bit of culture shock: I was warned that Reno didn’t have a big ethnic diversity, but I didn’t know that it meant it was literally a cowboy hick town.  The only thing that separated it from being a southern bumpkin town was the sheer amount of book stores.  (I’m kidding here, Ashley…)

But it was a very rural area – surprisingly so.  I’ve never seen a more apt slogan for a city: “The biggest little city in the world”.  So true.  Down to the pick-up trucks, country music, and spittin’ (as far south as Vegas, there were signs posted not to spit inside the carpeted poker rooms)  It’s a bit harder to gauge the city of Vegas simply because it seemed to be 95% tourists.  It’s like judging how hot a girl is based on her socks (though that’s not an appropriate metaphor because I can sorta gauge how COOL a girl is by socks alone…)

Anyway, nobody is on hear to read about the cities I visited.  They want to know what happened with Ashley.  Okay.  It was great, put simply.  Just a fantastic time.  We got along from minute one until one minute left.  Saying goodbye was also surprisingly easy because we’d done it mentally since before we met – that’s the joy of being PRACTICAL when viewing a significant other that you think rocks.  I’ve already been asked “What’s next?” a few times.  Nothing.  It’s an answer nobody really likes, as they wished I would have fallen madly in love and moved out there next week.  Instead, she’ll probably come out here some day, and I’m hoping to make another trip out there during the summer so I can truly enjoy Tahoe.  Other than that, we’re gonna exist like we do right now: talking very often but living our lives.  In a year, if we’re still here, that’s a different story.

And was the *actual* purpose of the trip (to wrangle and see friends) a success?  Mostly yes.  I didn’t get all my friends gathered, especially Scott (with whom I originally came up with the plans).  But I got to see Mitch, Corey, Alisha, Cyrus, Kevin and Angela.  Those are many of the people I would put at the top of my list of friends and, sadly, many of whom I don’t get to see nearly enough.  Of course, a day or two is NEVER enough, but I would say it was worth the hefty paycheck to lug myself out there.

And as for gambling?  Success again.  Based on my rudimentary count, it looks like I came out $210 ahead.  I did significantly better in blackjack than in poker, and I only lost $2 or maybe $3 in the slot machines.  Considering I probably spent near $100 in tips when all was said and done (between dealers, drink ladies, maids, taxis services, shuttle services, and Soapy Bubbles the Intriguing Lady of Mystique and Unparalleled Flexibility), I came out ahead.

I can’t wait to do it again.

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 11)

10:43pm – I’m home at last. I don’t know what’s more absurd: the trip out or the trip back.
The trip out: in order to go from my apartment to my hotel, I took the following: car, train, train, subway, subway, bus, plane, tram, plane, shuttle.  That’s silly.

The trip back: to go from Reno to Laguardia is 2,702 miles as the crow flies.  I flew like a pretty drunken, confused crow.  Reno to Atlanta to Chicago to Laguardia (a total of 3,903 miles).  That’s over 1200 extra miles.

A full update will come later.

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 10)

2:13pm – Ah, the internet – the oasis of the desert of reality; how I’ve missed thee. It’s been a while, and I say “oops” and “I’m tired of paying $12 a night for internet access.” But much has happened since the days of snowboarding. Namely, the arrival of “the others”, Kevin, Angela, and Cyrus (not in that order). Cyrus strolled into town Friday night and was met with a rousing chorus of me showing him how to lose money at blackjack. Fresh off the heels of my winnings in Vegas, I thought that my luck would continue. It did not, nor did Cyrus’, although Friday night I did manage to find myself +$7 at the end of the day. Here is a picture of Cyrus that I absolutely love.

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My program’s crop feature sucks

Additionally, we celebrated Ashley’s sister Jennifer’s 21st birthday by watching her imbibe an awful lot of liquor and wobble away quite contentedly.
Anyway, Saturday morning we got up and decided to try our luck at Hold’em. 27 minutes later, Cyrus and I were both out in one of the most impressive displays of bad luck and poor play I’ve ever encountered. To combat this, we tried more blackjack. Let me tell you something about the Atlantis Casino. It’s nice, and the rooms are spacious and awkwardly decorated, but DO NOT play games there. You will not win. By the end of Saturday, I’d flushed $160 of my winnings back down the toilet, only if I had actually done just that, I would have at least had the joy of watching the water swirl.

Then Kevin and Angela arrived, as is evidence by this picture.

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We decided to hit an early dinner at this great steakhouse Cyrus and I had found, where the very cute (and apparently underage) hostess was making cute-talk with me. I can’t IMAGINE why I wanted to go back. There, we had way too much food (a recurring theme in Reno) and some shenanigans.

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From there we split up with intent to make our way back to the hotel and play dash. Ash and I got distracted by one of the most beautiful moonrises I’ve ever seen. These two pictures do it NO justice, and quite frankly, I wish I had a better camera.

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Moon over the mountains

Then the trip took a turn for the inevitably worse. We stopped back at Ash’s house to feed her dogs only to get what I’ll call a verbal obliteration by her parents. Without going into great detail, suffice to say they are not exactly pleased with my presence and seeming abduction of their daughter. I felt bad for Ashley, but really, I just didn’t want to be there (though her sister Jennifer politely managed to pull me into another room to play with her two-year-old daughter Lexi, who might be singly cutest human being alive.) After the drama went down, we left brusqely and headed back for some Dash.

After maybe an hour and a half of some small-table Dash (I haven’t looked through the definitions yet), we headed out, but not before this gem.

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He’s so cheery it hurts

We headed out to this bar to watch Sol Jibe, a very unique band. It’s a tribal latino infused sound with a lead irishman playing the fiddle. Quite good for the $7 charge. After that, a quick stop to the Nugget (a casino) to watch Cyrus and Ashley shoot things in the arcade and we were home to bed.

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We’re adorable

Today, we awoke to grab some quick lunch before Cyrus headed back to sunny, markedly warmer CA (though to be fair, it’s gorgeous out right here… 50’s and sunny). Ash managed to snap a terrific picture of Kevin, which I might crop better sometime down the line, as well as an outright enigmatic shot of the man-Chi and myself

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He’s staring at the black wall

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Some things are better left unexplained

Finally, we dropped Kevin and Angela off at Kevin’s grandfather’s place and bid adieu to Cyrus, who I was VERY glad I could see and get hooked on blackjack, despite losing alot of money at it.

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For some reason, I LOVE this pic

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And this might be appropriate for later tonight, but a great look at the scenery of the surrounding Reno area.

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Up next? NAPTIME!

8:50pm – I don’t like anything about Nevada hotels and casinos. Not a thing. Here’s why. Every single aspect is to keep you downstairs gambling. In terms of hospitality, NOTHING (I couldn’t even get a corkscrew – I had to buy a $2 one at the gift shop. Why? Of course – so you drink their alcohol. No fridge or microwave. Why? So you buy their expensive buffets. No sultry staff maids who fluff pillows in short skirts. Why? I have no idea. But seriously….

And then, something much more enigmatic about Nevada. They very recently (2 years ago) passed a law requiring seat belts (and people are pissed about it.) But we are fully allowed to ride in the open bed of a pick-up truck all we want. When asked to explain, Ashley kindly said that we’re allowed to because the truck had no more seat belts. It was a cold and painful ride, and I’ve never been so scared of rear-ending in my life. Reno is just as weird backwards, I must say.

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 8)

12:34pm – Is it really day 8 already? Man, time flies when you’re really sore. That’s right, the effects of snowboarding are sinking in. Here are a couple of shots from yesterday. Notice how when I’m gliding along on relatively flat surface while upright, I’m ecstatic, while Ashley is about to disembark on a super tricky slope, and she is the epitome of grace and kick-ass.

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Notice the difference?

Anyway, we have spent a good bit of time in our hotel, The Atlantis, because we’re both pretty pooped and sore. I think that one nasty wipe-out last night has not helped my already sore neck. But still having a blast. Here’s a spectacular view from our hotel.

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Finally, we’ve done lunch at a terrific place where I ordered an angel on toast (it tasted that good), and now we’re off to a planetarium to watch a special on the Mysteries of the Nile. How old am I?

Here’s ole Ash!

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What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 6)

3:41pm – Well, I’m here in Reno at my super hotel room. I say that surprisingly because I had originally booked a motor lodge room and was told it would cost me $40 per night to upgrade to a tower room. One bout of pity from the very pretty desk clerk Tiffany and I’m staying in a king room in the tower for an extra $20 a night. Hot diggity.

So since last night, I am actually quite poorer. I played in a Hold’em tournament last night, and despite playing well and bluffing quite a few good hands, I just didn’t have the cards to sustain me in the 160+ person tournament. My final hand of pocket tens did not hold up to the ace on the flop. Then I played some blackjack also at Sahara and lost. Mental note: don’t play at the Sahara if you like money. Finally, I came home and threw a quick $50 down at the cash hold’em game.

I’ll cut the tension short – I lost the $50. But what happened during this game is a story that will live on in infamy, likely because I plan on telling it. A lot. The guy next to me kept saying he was going for flushes (a bluff tactic, obviously.) But he was fun, so I started in too, saying I was always going for a flush. Finally, I turn to him and say: “Screw the flush. I’m going for quads this hand.” He laughs and says okay. I get dealt pocket 5’s. I do a raise and only a few people stay in. The flop comes: 10 5 5. That’s right, I FLOPPED QUADS on a hand where I CALLED that I was gonna get quads. People were scared off by the 5’s and didn’t bet into the hand. I think I won maybe $10 on the hand. But when I turned up my quads, the whole table went nuts because they all heard me call it. Ahhh, what happens in Vegas is… well… I guess what I just told you.

Some pictures for you:

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The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino (this was the closest I got)

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The view from the El Cortez

Finally, I’d like to bring back up something I blogged about a while ago: my luck. So I come to Vegas for a disc golf tournament on what was considered the coldest week in Las Vegas all year, and likely the windiest (as verified by locals). As I go to leave the airport, it is SNOWING in Vegas, which is absurdly rare. See this pic for proof.

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And I get to Reno, where they’ve been pounded by snow for weeks now, and not only that, Ashley is having a bad day and the restaurant we were going to go to tonight for our “first date” is closed for a family event. Not bad for one day of my luck.

Oh, I suppose not everyone knows the story with Ashley. She’s a girl I met online on a dating site, but I was immediately relieved because she lived in NV and, well, I’m not going to start to like a girl in NV. So we chatted for a month or two idly, sending some emails. I thought she was a cool chick. Then we found ourselves with a couple of weeks without heavy workloads (we’re both ridiculously busy), and we started chatting online. And on the phone. And in emails. And in various other media that, for some reason, aren’t creepy. And we both just kinda clicked in a way I have yet to experience else in my life. Part of why I bumped my trip up to Reno (it was originally going to be just Vegas) was to see her. So I guess you can say this is the most expensive first date I’ve ever been on. And it happens in about 90 minutes.

This entire blog will be posted long after I’ve met her, because THIS casino doesn’t offer free wireless internet either! I hate the world!

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 5)

3:39pm – Las Vegas is all right in my book. After a very restful 11 hours of sleep (making up for previous days), I awoke to a few friendly voice messages and good-luck wishes for tomorrow (having NOTHING to do with gambling whatsoever), and I hopped online to check my mail. Then I thought I’d play a little blackjack, having not gambled yesterday, which is actually illegal in Vegas.

What I liked most was that the table was FUN. There were these identical twins Jennifer and Jenette at the table, and a few assorted other folk. I was skeptical because there was a trainee-dealer, who did her fair share of messing up, but man did she deal me good cards. 3 hours later, I’m cashing out $375, a gain of $335. w00t.

With my assorted other losses, I’m still up over $400. If I double this, it will be like I haven’t shelled out ridiculous amounts of money for this trip. If…

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 4)

8:56pm – Well, it’s been a long time since the last update, and the reason is because I’ve been partaking in the debauchery here. Okay, that’s a lie, aside from a little gambling. For a city of abject sin, I’ve managed to stay clear of it as if I had radar. I also haven’t been drunk out of my skull yet, and that correlation is probably not coincidence.

So last night I hit the town with Alisha, stopping at many of the casinos to check out their interior design (that’s what I get for traveling with a girl who loves stuff like that.) Truthfully, there was some interesting stuff there. Here’s two interior shots.

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The Venetian

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Alisha in Aladdin

Without much desire to gamble my life savings ($4.23) away, we mostly just walked and gawked, which is what the previous few days consisted of as well. We also noticed this little gem outside the Paris.

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Arch de TriHOFF!

By the way, Dome said that ‘Hoff was pretty good in the Producers, and he was “pretty funny”. I still can’t fathom paying to see that.

We got back to El Cortez and decided to try our hands at blackjack (pun still intended). I got up $50 pretty quickly, and let Alisha sit in. All the while I was drinking white wine (which I didn’t know you could get free at a casino – I usually get mixed drinks that accidentally have tiny amounts of liquor in them). I lost some of my earnings at a different table then headed over to hold ’em. There, I sat for a WHILE, whittling my money away. I ended up about 80 down, I think. It was late, and I had gotten tipsy on the wine. I went upstairs to go to bed only to discover that dawn had already broken. Oops.

Getting up this morning at 12:30 (oops again), Alisha and I decided to hit the Strip one last time before she left. We started out the Freemont District where the El Cortez is, and we got to see this.
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The Freemont “Experience” is apparently a dome

The Strip has everything. Pirate ships:

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Hot chicks with swords

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And photo ops:

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Second!

Now just killing time, we hit one or two more things before I sent Alisha on her way. This is a blurry representation of the Luxor’s mighty beam of light, for instance.

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The Mighty Luxor’s Beam outshines the moon

Anyway, I’m now back at the ole El Cortez. I feel like I’m in a different world. And that world has the faint smell of sleep depravation.

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 3 – 2 entries)

5:29am – Yes, it really is this a.m. Whatever this is. I am sunburned. Who knew you needed sunblock when it doesn’t even hit 60 degrees? Let’s see if I can recap my earnings. +90 at the first casino on the Strip at blackjack (the Bellagio), then -60 at our home casino at blackjack, then +25 at hold ‘em, then +20 at blackjack, then -30 at blackjack. That puts me up… some math amount… let’s see… +45 on the day. Vegas ain’t so shabby.

As for touring the Strip, we did some of that too. It started off in fine fashion, with Mitch dancing on a street corner, as all nights should start out.

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MiTTenZZ bustin’ a move

Then, after hitting about four different casinos on the strip and realizing that, aside from spatial relation and which old 70’s actor is headlining their hotel’s production of “West Side Story”, there really isn’t that much different between each casino. We went to Ballagio’s where I hit my first blackjack table (see above). It also features the famous water-dancing show, set to Celine Dion. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of this. There are a billion pictures of this on the internet. Instead, I took this.

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Corey, moments before suggestion that instead of shooting water out of tiny cannons, Bellagio’s might be better off shooting out prepositional phrases

In trying to find a casino that featured drinks that cost less than $12 a pop, we stumbled upon an interesting looking one that featured an 18-hour happy hour.

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Of course we missed it.

Finally, we settled in at O’Shea’s, a tiny casino that prominently offered very very cheap drinks. After all, if we weren’t going to drive to the Strip because we wanted to be able to drink, we were gonna make it worth our while.

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Our foursome

Then back to our host hotel where the gruesome details can be read above. I’m not much for chronological order, am I?

7:27pm – I think I inadvertantly said it best when the taxi driver asked me how I was doing when picking me up after my final round today.  “I’m extremely tired, but if you go to Vegas for the first time and you’re not really tired, you’re not doing it right.”  I’m having a ball, and it’s my poor body that’s paying the price.

This was undoubtedly the toughest tournament ever to evaluate.  Like Friday, today’s conditions were WINDY WINDY WINDY.  It was a pretty constant 15-20mph, with gusts up to 30.  Unlike Friday, however, by the 12th hole (of 20), I wasn’t +13, I was +2.  That was insanely good.  And then the wheels came unhinged on only three holes, where I carded a circle 5 and two STUPID circle 6’s.  That is the difference between a 67 (which would have been 1000 rated) and a 75 (rated 945), which I actually got.  Numbers wise, this was my worst tournament since being a pro.  Yet I didn’t feel like I played all that badly (except for Friday, where I couldn’t have played worse without a bleeding chest wound and a mission statement)

So why is there this discrepancy?  Each round, I had *something* working for me.  On Saturday, when the weather was calm, I was putting very well.  Hyzer putts, straddle putts, and even long putts that wouldn’t go in, but leave me the tap-in to finish.  Today, I drove SO well.  I only had one two bad drives the whole round, with quite a few spectacular drives mixed in.  However, today, the upping was painful (cost me no less than 9 strokes), and the putting crumbled before my eyes.

And I lost my $10 to Dome who beat me by 4, as did Val, to whom I lost $1.

I had a great time playing, however.  The people were great, and aside from an incessant guilt-driven blitz to get you to buy fund-raiser discs (I feel that a tournament’s pot should NEVER be hinged on the sale of fund-raiser discs), it was very enjoyable.  I was in Vegas, throwing plastic at metal.  Really, you can’t beat that.

Now it’s off to the Strip again to meet up with Alisha and several of the disc golfers for, you guessed it, some shenanigans (as there’s been a distinct lack so far).

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 2 – 3 entries)

8:46am – Well, it’s just after 8 the morning, meaning I’m still adjusting my body clock. That or I’m excited for some disc golf and hookers. I did make a realization, though. We will have upwards of six people in this room this weekend. And I am not gettin’ any from any of them. Let’s see, there’s my twin brother, my gay [male] friend Corey, Alisha, who’s been in a 4-year relationship, and two friends of hers that are a couple. Sheesh. Looks like I’ve have to wait on that front to where I’ve made my riches and can split up any happy couple I wish.

6:28pm – Well, that wasn’t the worst round I’ve ever thrown, but if I were to estimate, that would be the third worst. Literally, I felt like I began my day by vomiting into a bucket, and then sprinkling it all over each hole. More appropriately, all over the first five holes. Then I saved some for later.

To put things into perspective, the leader of the tournament shot a 59, which is *technically* a -4 according to course par. I threw an 81. That is, for those who are mathematically disinclined, 22 strokes above the leader. On a scale from one to 22, I am exactly the worst possible place I can be. So what happened?

First, the Sunset Park Disc Golf Course in Las Vegas, exploits all of my weaknesses. It is very wide open. Mainly, that is the one weakness it exploits, but it does it like a mofo. Holes range from 300′ to 700′, so it’s nice for a good bigarm, of which I am… but only rarely. Not to mention there were winds between 15-25mph steady the entire round. I was playing with three new players, which was nice. And I started on the pretty simple first hole, threw two fair shots, and missed a 15′ putt (with no wind). That started me off right. I then proceeded to throw a 6, 6, and a 5 (all of which had OB strokes) and the another 5. That’s right, with 5 holes (out of 20) played, I was +10. Remember, the leader after all 20 holes was -4. This did not bode well.

I then managed to laugh enough to solidify my head and went 3, 3, 3, 2 over the next series of holes. I was thinking I was back on track. Then I proceed to throw my next two throws OB, then throw a terrible fifth shot, followed by a sixth shot that went 60′ past. At this point, I see Dome (with whom I have a $10 bet). I tell him that he has pretty much won our bet with only 10 of the 60 holes done. He says “Don’t bank on it” I then proceed to BANG the 60′ putt with a big tailwind for my double-penalty 7.

From there, I managed to tourniquet the bleeding a bit, but in all honesty, it was just a miserable miserable round with perhaps three good shots. And solid putting (after the first five holes – from there, I didn’t miss a putt)
On the bright side, I’m about to get some food, perhaps play a bit of blackjack – and then pick up Corey from the airport, to engaged in some Coreynanigans. Maybe, I’ll bring my camera to eliminate the bland grey backspace on my blog.
The way I see it, if I suck at disc golf but gamble successfully this whole week, I’ll take that.

10:45pm – I think I’ve discovered a conspiracy with Las Vegas. Everything on TV and the radio is CRAP! It literally is terrible programming. And why is that? Because they’re trying to get you into their casinos. And what’s worse is that we’re going. Because the TV is that bad.

What Happens in Vegas…… (Day 1 – 2 entries)

3:44pm – I, in a bit of twisted irony that will be immediately evident to anyone acclimated with my song The Biscuit Blues, am deeply entrenched in a layover in Atlanta. And I’ve made a few observations along the way. 1) Suburbia looks downright silly from overhead. Seriously, it looks like Legoland in its homogeny. 2) It unnerves me that airplanes are held together by Phillips-head screws. I mean, I know there’s MANY of them, but seriously, Phillips-head? Shouldn’t they at least be using hex-head or something? Perhaps toggle bolts!? 3) Three hours is just too long for a layover in a state that I’ve been to before and one that boasts the only town (Retreat) that I’ve ever actively tried to avoid (quite a pungent aroma that Retreat features, eh JayMar?) 4) No free wi-fi for people with three hours to kill? C’mon! 5) If I were an airline pilot, I’d have SO much more fun making announcements to people. 6) Hearing the FAA announce a bump in Home Security Alert System always brightens my day.

11:52pm (local time) – I am in Las Vegas, having been picked up by Mitch. But not before I heard a few interesting quotes along the way.

“The flight to Las Vegas will take approximately 4 hours and 30 moments.” – stewardess during the opening speech

“How do you spell fury? F-U-R-R-Y?” – overheard in the GA airport

“Sweet holy moses!” – I swear I heard this from someone in the airplane, which is a reference to Get Fuzzy.

Anyway, we settled in our hotel, which is surprisingly nice for the dingier part of North Vegas. The El Cortez boasts “looser slots” than anywhere in Vegas. Well, Mitch and I did about 1 hour of experimentation, and he made $130 ($50 in slots, $80 in blackjack), and I pocketed $170 (all blackjack). I could get used to Vegas if it was always like this.

I tee off tomorrow at 1:40pm. I have no internet connection – or rather, no FREE internet connection. The price I pay to keep the nameless masses informed…

What Happens in Vegas…… (prologue)

I embark tomorrow on twelve days of debauchery, social misacclimation, and, of course, shenanigans. That’s right, by the close of tomorrow, I will be in Las Vegas for the first time ever, meeting up with Mitch “The Mullet ManMiTTenZZ” Sonderfan, where we will compete in a disc golf tournament starting Friday. Accompanying me in this trip will be an odd assortment of awesomefolk such as Miss Alisha “Thunder” Flaumenbaum, Corey “Foresight Tom” Revilla, a couple of Alisha’s friends, who I will nickname “The Stump” and “Li’l Fingers” respectively, and possible other cameos by some interesting folk. That’s right, 6 days in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps alone.

From there, I go to Reno for four more days of debaucherier, shenaniganner funn. The cast of sordid characters there includes Kevin “T Mob” Gilbert and his lovely wife Angela, who will certainly have to earn a nickname this week, Cyrus “The Man-Chi” Chi, and the ever-intriguing “Awesome” Ashley Wade.

This blog will put aside rumors that will likely arise from my first time in such a city of notable decadence. It will be bare-bones, balls-to-the-wall, monkeys-in-hyphens telling of ALL the twisted tales of the activities in the self-proclaimed Silver State, as well as a smattering of ‘acceptable’ photographs (the unacceptable ones will be available by special request for what I’ll call an ‘extortion’ fee.) I say BOLLOCKS to the old phrase. The new phrase is: “What happens in Vegas… is public domain!” Check right here for daily updates. It won’t be for the faint of heart, the squeamish, or people who like hearing about me getting “punchy with the polecats”, if you hear what I’m saying.

It begins tomorrow!

Evil Dead: The Musical

So I had to go check this out before it stopped its 4+ month run in NYC.  I mean, even without it having Bruce Campbell in it, it’s a must-see for any fan.  Well, I actually didn’t have high expectations for the show going in.  I expected to enjoy it, but I expected it to be pretty schlocky and it would be pure ham.  Now don’t get me wrong: it WAS pure ham and it was schlocky, but I really really enjoyed this show.  There have only been three shows (including this) that I’ve watched and just smiled from ear to ear the entire time (the other two being Blue Man Group and Spamalot)

What made this show work for me was that it wasn’t concentrated on one thing.  It wasn’t pure schlock, or else I would have hated it.  It wasn’t just the movies set to music, because that would have been equally lame.  It wasn’t bad puns (it limited all the puns to one character, which was palatable), and there was enough new material to keep it interesting.  There were insider jokes (at least one joke at Raimi’s expense, as well as using Bruce Campbell’s autobiography as a prop).  It also had plenty of references to the gaping plotholes between Evil Dead 1 & 2, and a VERY SUBTLE reference to the infamous tree-raping scene, which was enough to make me grin.  All told, it was a clever intertwining of the first 2 Evil Deads with the attitude (and all the taglines) from Army of Darkness, but it jumped around enough to not ever get stagnant.
Best new line? (sung):  I bitch-slap demons with my one good hand!

Best scene: the end fight scene where Ash just goes NUTS with the gun and there is enough blood to satisfy even the biggest of fans.

Because the show was closing, we got tickets for only $40, and we’re talking eighth row orchestra, dead center.  You honestly could not ask for better seats (though I still contested we should have paid $5 less and sat in the “splatter” zone, since some of the crowd walking away from the show looked bloody and excited.)  As for the music, I thought it was the weak part of the show, but really, if you’re going to see Evil Dead: the Musical to hear brilliant composition, contraposto melodies, and music theory, you’re probably not right in the head.
I would highly recommend this show to ANYONE who is free the rest of this week.  It is DEFINITELY worth your money, and it closes on Saturday.

Dunham Ice Bowl

It was a cold and windy day yesterday. It was a high of 21 with a wind chill below 10 degrees all day. So what was I doing? Certainly not home, getting drunk before the Superbowl. No, I was out at the sillily small Harry Dunham Park in Liberty Corner NJ, throwing plastic around with fingers that were not too happy. And why? I’d like to say it was for charity. I’d like to say to hang out with Horrible Pete. I’d even like to say because I did well. (The first two, incidentally, are true), but the truth is, I have mental problems: that’s why I was there.

After a few practice holes with Horrible Pete and Scowbag and Jeannie and a few others, Pete and I invented the “glummer”, which is the glove-thumber, and that started a streak of new words for the day: the glurbo putt, the glee-60, the glomahawk… and the unrelated Gloots, poosh, and poje, and the entirely called-for term “handsin’ up”. Anyway, the 1st round got underway and I was paired with Horrible and Karl Molitaris, the man who truly boggles the mind with his insistence on using only Aerobie discs. Dunham is a short, wide-open course, which is fine for people who have good approach games. Approach is the worst part of my game, and approach shots in the open (with wind) is even worse. Needless to say, I threw a total of two birdies the first round (there really is only one or two holes where a birdie is very hard, but still not impossible) I had a +1. Now, this didn’t put me in last (tied for second-to-last), but it certainly didn’t butter my pancakes, since the leader was -10.

We got warm at lunch and had some hot dogs, burgers, and bratts. Then there was a putting contest. Now as anyone who’s known me in the past two years can attest, putting used to be the WORST part of my game. Missed 15′ putts were common. So I joined the putting competition just to donate to charity. We had 6 putts (using 100 gram discs suitable for indoor putting) and had three stations where we threw two putts. I was the first person to make 4 of the 6. Then another twenty entrants went and nobody matched it until right at the end Don Thoms went (on his third try) and got 4. Either way, we each one a new Inferno. Yay me!

I bring this up because I’ve noticed something – since September, I’ve been a “good” putter. Not great, but certainly solid. I haven’t had a tournament in teh past three or four where I missed more 30′ and in than I made 30′ and out. Meaning my putt ratio is pretty good. Whenever I turned into a decent putter I didn’t notice, but it’s pretty good. (And bear in mind that my miserable +1 the first round came with solid wind putting)

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase – it took less time to play the tournament than it’s taking me to write about it. The second round came and I played a little less consistently, but actually shot three strokes better due to actually getting a few birdies and making a couple of good saves. Aside from two missed putts in that round, I was still solid. I ended up in 3rd to last, but did beat veteran Matt LeCourte, and that’s another top player that I’ve beaten in a tournament, even if he really shot himself in the foot and bled to death in the process.

Next up: perhaps Hickory Run next week if it warms up a bit. I don’t want to freeze again.

Pinot Grigio #6

Tomaiolo Pinot Grigio 2005 – Truthfully, there’s still another 6 words on this bottle, so the actual title may be another few words long. I’m all about getting to the point. And to get to the point on this wine, it another in a long line of satisfactory pinot grigios that I’ve had in my life. It didn’t stand out as excellent, but it was certainly good. I am beginning to think my tongue is quite like my nose: it can’t really differentiate subtlety (then again, if you look at my history with women, that may have more to do with my own inability to comprehend anything that isn’t directly spelled out). I digress. My point is my tongue is only able to tell if I truly love something or if I abhor it. This was another good pinot with no particular good or bad punch.

But I will say that I’m changing my opinion about plastic corks. After my last cork shattered into my bottle, I am beginning to understand the value of “fake”. But this wine would be a true 6.5/10, only it was another donation, so we’ll call it a 7. I’m so easy sometimes.

On the Brink:

Tonight, I have the first of two readings for The Unusual Suspects to decide whether or not it will go on to the Fringe Festival this year.  I’m at a new job where the boss actually appreciates me, and I’ve written more in the past month or two for fun than I have in the last year combined.  In a month, I go to Nevada to see old friends, meet a special someone along the way, and kick off my disc golf tournament season.

My slogan for the last two years was: “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.”  I think I need a new slogan this year.  How about: “Things are lookin’ up”?  Nah, that’s cliche!  How about: “Why should toad-lickers have all the fun?”  I may need help on the slogan.  Either way, I’m looking forward to 2007.

Sonnet 48,316

2007

At last, I have that which I’ve sought awhiles,
Or, more explicitly, as now I’m learning,
I would thus have but for two thousand miles,
The one for whom I have this cursed yearning.
The portents do abound that warn of pain,
As if I’ve not considered consequences;
Yet if to live like this be deemed insane,
Prefer I never to regain my senses.
Yet what of she, the one who doth present
To me this insomnambulent elation?
Such ire will from her flow – not of dissent,
But that she wrote not first this proclamation.
From which enticing cup should we then run,
When antidote and poison are but one?

Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to the newest winner of an esoderek.com/blog contest (which DEFINITELY needs renaming)! Stephanie has won herself an esoderek.com bumper sticker for her caption for this photo:

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“The most important thing to remember during a wicker attack is to remain calm”

In addition, I am giving out another bumper sticker to JayMar, who never received a prize for his winning entry into my first contest. He came up with a slogan for this fine company:

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“When you need man tools, Go Gayer!”

Expect your prizes soon! (JayMar, I need an address for you)

Also, stay tuned for more fantastic esoderek.com contests!