Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 #WPBT Winter Gathering - Day 1

Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now let it out very slowly.


Ya, getting me to this point has taken a lot longer than I had hoped. I miss the carefree days of online poker and kids going to bed earlier. For those of you with infants that think they take a lot of ain't seen nothing yet.

As it happens, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada the first weekend in December. What happens in Vegas, stays...on the Internet...forever!!! Muwahahah

No. Really. It does. Be careful what you say on one deletes anything anymore. Damn cheap hard drives.

Ok, back to business. The minutia of the day is probably pointless to most everyone. Let's just quickly sum it up. I worked a half day so that I could be in a position to catch a shuttle to downtown Rochester, where I would catch another shuttle to fly out of Minneapolis airport on Thursday, like I've done every the 3 previous years only this time, Except this year I was really just travelling alone. Drizz took a different flight. OhCountess stayed home. It was quality me time. Am I the only one that really loves the feeling of being all alone in a sea of strangers, like at the airport? Damn, it's my drug.

The flight wasn't really all that much. I'm addicted to getting wi-fi now on flights. $8 just seems fair for 3 hours of Twitter and web surfing. Above is a picture of something new for me on a Delta flight, (I cheated and took this picture on the flight home...shhh...don't tell anyone) - the map of where Carmen Santiago is was wicked cool.

But no as cool as the WPBT bloggers. Not this trip. While airborne, I was watching the plight of one my fitness heros, PokerPeaker. Seems he was getting screwed by his airlines and his flight got cancelled. Low. I'll let you read it over at his blog, he's a way better writer than I am. Bloggers came through and got him to Vegas. You guys absolutely, friggin' rock.

If you've never landed at McCarren, you get off the plane to the greeting of slot machines. Someday, someone will need to explain their appeal to me. -EV with a touch of boredom just ain't my thing. Wish it was. Might make for some fun stories. Oh, wait...I did play slot machines this trip...but that was later. These machines I just skip. I seriously don't think you understand my desire to be checked into my hotel, and drinking beer(s) with the bloggers of the WPBT. I look forward to this from the moment I get back to Minnesota and realize it's over. I am already looking to book next year...which weekend? The first or the second??? I'm serious? Let's do this!!!

MSP is the most boring airport in the world to me. It's devoid of anything interesting. It's the cheap vanilla of airports. Maybe it's an upgrade from RST here in Rochester, but at least that one is tiny and doesn't try. The shot from McCarren is something I just love seeing. Could be that I usually see it while nearly sprinting through the airport trying to get to ground transportation...

This year, I did pause for a few minutes. McCarren has free wi-fi. Free wi-fi is the best wi-fi cuz it's cheap. I had promised my 8 year old OhPrincess2 that I would FaceTime with her when I found some wi-fi. I know the rest of the night was gonna be fun, but I did enjoy some quality time with her chatting it up and showing her around the airport. Good times...

Until the ride to the airport. Some hunyuck had gotten on our shuttle. We are moving and leaving the airport. He chimes in, "Is this the shuttle to the Rio?" You are kidding me? There's beer waiting for me and you want to take me to the Rio first? homicide illegal in Nevada? I think it is, so consider yourself lucky.

The bus winds through Bally's. I remember thinking to myself, "Hmm...self...should we get out here and walk? We aren't that far from the Imperial Palace. We might get there sooner if we do. Nah. It will be fine."

 Always trust your gut.

Next stop. The Rio. Kill Me F'n Now.

On the way to the Rio, I notice I missed a FaceTime. That's odd. I must have caught some wi-fi and the Mrs was trying to get me back. Then I received a text from her.

"Call home as soon as you can. There's been a death."

Um. What? Not really how I was hoping to start my weekend. Now think brain. If the death had been a human or a dog, she would have called me or at least said something more, right?

Another text...

"OhPrincess2 really needs to talk to her dad"

Big, deep breath. I never make phone calls on the bus. It's so rude, but this seemed different. Screw etiquette. I called. Goldie died. Her gold fish. For those of you that can remember being 8, this is a big deal. When I'm in Vegas, I like to think I'm a kid again. For a few minutes though, I was a dad. I wished I could hug her.

(It's OK, go get a tissue)

After dropping numbnuts off at the Rio, we headed back to the Strip and to the IP.

Home, Shitty, Home.

I'm not sure I can stay there again. I might need to crack the wallet open a little farther next year. Hm....

So I got checked in. Way faster than in any prior year. I think it took all of 15 minutes. I was impressed. I headed towards the Geisha. Ah, the Geisha. Look! The Dealertainers! Pai Gow! For some reason I could never explain, I felt like I was home. Where I was supposed to be.

I saw their faces, and all was right with the world. Jeebus. Hard to believe just 4 years earlier, I didn't really know anyone and now, I see StB and Iggy and I feel like a part of me has been found.

Iggy tells me they are about to get a cab and head to the Sherwood Forest bar thing over at Excalibur. "Can you hold that thought long enough for me to throw my suitcase into my room and come back down?"

They do and we share a cab over to the other end of the Strip. We chat it up and I'm looking forward to hearing about Iggy's trip to God's country in the extreme northern part of Minnesota. So jealous of him. The driver joins in. Good times. We then tried to explain the WPBT to him...don't think he really got it. It's hard to explain.

We find the bar, but not many people are there. I'm starving and I'm about to consume more beer than I ever should. A brand spanking new restaurant is open right next door. Lynard Skynard's. I coulda sworn that gym teacher was dead and most of the members of the band had died in a plane crash. I'm not sure any of them would have approved of this place. My worst dining experience ever in the state of Nevada.

I asked how this works. The tell me it's kinda like a buffet. I'm taken to my table where they hand me a ticket. "What's this for?" "Take that up to the buffet and they get you your food." the greeter tells me. She was cute and I didn't have the heart to tell her that this is much more like a cafeteria.

But it gets better.

I get to the line, now rememember, I've been working/travelling since 6:30 AM CST. I'm starving and I don't want to think real hard. "What would you like sir?", they ask. "What do you have?" They point to the sign. Ugh. Really? You can't tell me? I'm tired. The pork ribs sound tasty..."I'll take the pork ribs," I reply. "How much, in pounds, would you like?" Pounds? "I'd like 4 bones?" I ask. "We don't do it that way. Would you like half a pound or a whole pound?" You are kidding? Have these people never eaten BBQ before? "Half a pound?" They show it to me and the wrap it in paper and place it in a paper tray thingy and then place all of that on a shinny metal tray. It felt like McDonalds.

I get to the next stop on the line. A nice lady tells me these are the sides. They are $5 each. Wow. I just paid $18 for what turns out that half a pound is like 4 bones. (Bones are way easier to count people). Now I need to pick out sides at $5 a pop? Ugh. I'll take mashed potatoes and bread pudding cuz you say it rocks. Probably would have rocked more hot, but who's complaining?

Lastly, they put another paper tray thingy with 3 slices of plain white bread. "How much is that?" I ask. "It's free!" Oh, boy. Free slices of white bread. I feel so lucky. I sit down and then get to order a beer. I order the one I've never heard of, the Lynard Skynard ale. I have very low expectations for this. I figure it's just something shitty relabeled and I'm not disappointed. Rather meh.

The whole time I'm here, not one Skynard song is played.

I eat my food and ask the waitress if they have warm towels or even wetnaps. You remember, I'm eating ribs. "No. There's a sink across the restaurant you can use." Holy shit. This is a good sized restaurant and you want me to walk over there to wash up? I just want to remove tiny layers of sticky while I eat. Helps to keep the silverware from getting gross. I also notice something really strange...the white bread. I don't know what people in other parts of the world do with their bread, but I rarely eat it plain. It's white bread. I look around the table and nothing. No butter. Nothing. I do the only thing I could think of and I poured a little BBQ sauce on it. Not great, but I could eat it. I asked the waitress for butter. She said they didn't have any. Wow. By now, I'm beyond expectations for shitty. She's doing a decent job under the circumstances. I'm just thinking about what idiot got the green light and some cash to do this? This place won't last long. Last I checked, UrbanSpoon still had no one to rate it a star. There are ratings, just no stars.

I gobbled my food, made an exit and headed to the bar.

The rest of the night pretty much looked like this (see below)

More to come...


DrChako said...

You stared at April's ass all night? Sweet.

Can't wait for the next post.


(see last pic)

OhCaptain said...

Well, not exactly her ass. I usually focus on the beer. A nice ass is just a bonus.

Drizztdj said...

I think I need to write a recap of some sort...

If you're around, I'll be at Treasure Island on February 4th bowling, then terrorizing the poker room with drunken blind 4-bets.

OhCaptain said...

Drizz - the calendar is open as of now. And yes, you should write up a recap.