Monday, August 29, 2005

I just returned from a two day trip to Reno. The main purpose of the trip was to conduct a draft for the fantasy football league I participate in....


See, this is the part where you feign interest in my fantasy football draft.


Uh, for example, you could ask if I like my team, or if we got any big-name players.



Well, let's cover other aspects of the trip then. The other attendees on this trip were a bunch of great guys that I used to work with at Hewlett Packard, back before I became a work-at-home hermit. Some of these guys I've barely seen in the last 10 years. In that time, I've gotten married, had a kid, bought a house, run marathons, and done various other life-enriching/ruining activities.

So, after a weekend of getting back in touch with these fellows, what astute observation did one of them make to me?

"Mike, Stan and I were talking about you. We both agree that you haven't changed one bit. Not physically or mentally. You're exactly the same!"

This coming from a guy whose idea of a good time used to be getting his dogs stoned and now he's an award-winning vintner. I have no idea if I should be offended or appreciative. For the time being, I'm going with "hmmmph".

Gambling was fun, as always. Although I got my butt whipped at blackjack and poker, I had a great time taking in the casino ambience. One cocktail waitress charmed our table of geeks by making a "Lost in Space" reference (just a standard "Danger, Will Robinson", but still). We applauded her geek chic and suggested that we'd be even more impressed if she tossed out a few Star Trek quotes. She paused for a moment and then overconfidently threw out a "Nanu nanu".

Naturally we were horrified. She was one Shazbot away from losing her tips.

At one table we were introduced to a fellow player who claimed to be the owner of a brothel. You know, I took a couple of career aptitude tests in school and never once did "brothel owner" appear as a career choice. I should have known not to trust the tests since, in all seriousness, the results indicated that I should consider being a bus driver or a member of the clergy. I think it's safe to say that I'd be a better brothel owner than clergy member.

In general in Reno, it's pretty easy to spot the locals, even those who aren't pimps. Almost all of them have a haggard and bedraggled appearance. If you took a cowboy, housed him in a trailer park to break his spirit, and then made him smoke 2 packs a day for 20 years, you'd have a good idea what the locals look like. And the men ain't too polished neither.

*rim shot*

My favorite part of the weekend may have been playing poker with the boys. The casino didn't have a poker room, but one of the guys had brought his own case of poker chips. All we needed was a big room with a round table. It just so happened that we knew of just such a place. We had conducted our fantasy football draft in a casino conference room hours earlier, but our reservation had ended and the rooms were in a locked hallway. My coworker, Al, went to go check out the situation while the rest of us played blackjack. He came back a few minutes later.

Al: Ok, we're all set.
Me: The conference room was unlocked?
Al: Sort of.
Me: What do you mean "sort of"?
Al: It's unlocked now.
Me: You unlocked it?
Al: Ok.
Me: Al, what did you do?
Al: I've had some experience with doors like that. I learned in college that if you simply apply enough torque to the handle, there's usually some plastic in the lock that will snap.
Me: You're my hero.

So, we skulked back into the conference room and held our own poker tournament for the next 4 or 5 hours. Everytime I walked in and out of that room, to get drinks or to go to the bathroom, I smiled at the broken door. Mind you I'm not endorsing vandalism, but I'm pretty sure the casino can replace the lock with the money that I donated to their blackjack tables. We'll call it even.

I didn't do too well at poker either. In fact, the only gambling where I won any money was on my baseball bets. I placed 12 bets during my 2 days there and ended up with 30 cents of pure unadulterated profit. If I could keep up that pace for an entire baseball season, I'd take down a cool $27. Easy money, baby. Day jobs are for chumps.

And on a final note, I am going to say one thing about my fantasy football team. Since I am basically ignorant about the NFL, I usually help our team make at least one totally bonehead move where we draft someone who has recently been jailed, or died, or maybe developed a limb-threatening case of gangrene. This year, mostly due to luck, our team is surprisingly able, and fully-limbed. Look out, world!

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