Saturday, December 20, 2014

Las Vegas Trip Report Part I: Circus Circus, Tony Bigcharles and the Search for Deep Fried Oreos

I guess it is about time that I post about my recent Las Vegas trip. After all, old, feeble minds like mine can barely recall anything anyway. Ummm ... this is my blog, right?

I decided to take a trip longer than I usually take. This particular trip would be for six nights, keeping me away from home for almost an entire week. And of course, the most difficult part of a trip is getting everything at work in line so that I could go with no worries.

With that accomplished, I did my usual wait until the last minute to pack routine. I don't know why I wait, but it works.

I woke up early in the morning on Thursday, December 4 and was finishing up my packing when I got my first trip-related text -- from Tony Bigcharles, wanting to know when I would be getting in. And so it began.

Instead of my usual routine of driving to Chicago Midway airport and taking Southwest Airlines, I instead flew from my town to Chicago and then on to Las Vegas on American Airlines. It sure was nice being dropped off at the airport a few miles from home rather than having to drive about 150 miles just to catch a flight. I had just enough time to catch my connection in Chicago, so my morning meal consisted of a Snickers bar and a Coke. Breakfast of champions.

When I arrived in Las Vegas, I picked up my rental car from E-Z Rent-A-Car. I have rented from E-Z many times. They keep getting better as there was no line and I had my keys in about five minutes. I highly recommend this agency.

I headed to The Orleans to eat at the lunch buffet there and was able to use comps to pay. I didn't even charge myself have the cost!

After lunch, I checked into ... hang on to your hats ... Circus Circus! This was a throwback to earlier Las Vegas trips when my brother, the King of Komps, and I would stay in crap holes like the Circus Circus Manor, Westward Ho, ... With the rodeo in town and because I didn't make room reservations early, I actually thought that Circus was my best option for the beginning of this trip. I knew that I should get a room in the West Tower since they were refurbished. Additionally, the elevator for the West Tower is right inside the hotel lobby, meaning I could just basically go to my room and avoid most of Circus.

The room itself was actually pretty nice -- as long as an orange motif is fine with you.
I then headed to my usual poker home, Bally's, to play some $1/2 NL. I even was dealt some hands by balt999. Surprisingly, he didn't oversee my typical decrease in stack that seems to happen whenever he is around. Just a joke, buddy!

I saw that TheGameCat was at a different table, but I chose to just observe for awhile. I did put out a tweet that I was observing him in stealth mode, but he was not able to locate me until we finally met while heading to the restroom.

The session was not particularly productive (my way of saying that I lost some money), and I eventually picked up TBC at Wynn and drove us to Fremont Street where Tony needed to pick up some promo. Tony did treat me to dinner at the El Cortez café, and then headed off to play one of dem good machines.

Meanwhile, I heard the siren's call from angerisagift and headed toward Mermaids in search of nirvana.
Unfortunately the time was about 2:00 a.m. and Mermaids was already closed. Heresy!

As I was now up for 24 hours (not counting cat naps on the plane), I decided to call it a night. I went back to El Cortez to grab Tony to drive him back to the super secret hidden location where he was living. It is on ... oops, still can't tell you! I know he wasn't too happy with me when I admonished him for his lack of hygiene. This will become more of an issue in the next installments of my trip report.

So ... it was back to Circus Circus to get to sleep. How nice it was at that late hour with almost no kids around.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Con Alt Delete Coming This Weekend

Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan
Anime fans of the Midwest, it is time to unite! The 2014 Con Alt Delete convention will be held this coming weekend, December 19-21, at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, IL. The convention is brought to you by, the same group that sponsors Anime Midwest and other anime conventions in Illinois and Minnesota. This will be the last opportunity in 2014 to dig out that cosplay outfit and strut your stuff!
Although the early registration period is almost over, tickets can still be purchased online. Registration at the door (cash only) will cost $40 for the weekend.
Events at Con Alt Delete will include gaming rooms and tournaments, fan panels of favorite anime topics, the Maid Café, an artists and dealers room, and of course, ConSweet, which features free Ramen noodles and Mountain Dew.

A schedule of events for the weekend can be downloaded at

See you there!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Repost: Living in the World of TBC: A Short Response to Tony Bigcharles

I have received several requests to put back up the post I wrote last night that responded to Tony's most recent epistle. I actually took it down right after I posted it for several reasons. It was not going to satisfy the blood lust of the anti-Tony crowd and, upon review, seemed to me to be even more boring than my usual posts. Ha!

However, I did want people to get a feel for how demanding Tony can be and why he wears out some people -- me included. I have included part of an e mail that I wrote Tony shortly before I left because I had a pretty good idea of how things would eventually come down.

I also understand why Tony sometimes feels the way he does. So yes, if he says that I can sometimes be insensitive to other people's feelings, I will not disagree. The part Tony doesn't get is the way he wears on people and wears them down. I have met many people because of Tony (Koala, PPP, s i, Alysia Chang,  Nick, CoolDave, etc), and the thing most have in common is that they are great people who have tried to help Tony but have found that helping him exacts a price.

People who follow Tony also know that the ways Tony perceives the world and posts about it are, shall we say, unique. Little wonder that the most recent version of his blog has almost 1.5 million views.

So, here goes. If you received the impression that I did not spend any time with Tony while in Las Vegas or constantly blew him off, you would be wrong.

Have a great day!

In the near future I will be posting a series of blog posts about my recent trip to Las Vegas. However, since Tony has chosen to make an issue of several things, I present to you this quickie lesson in understanding the wonderful world of Tony Bigcharles.

1) About five days before going to Las Vegas, I sent Tony an email that contained the following:

Hi Tony:
I just wanted to make sure you heard this up front to minimize any confusion. I will have lots of friends in town this trip and already have some things planned. For example, I will be playing in the annual blogger tournament Saturday morning/afternoon, will be going to a bar/restaurant with Rob, Alysia, Michelle, Kristi, Nick and maybe others Monday night, and will need to get in at least ten hours of cash game play at Bally's from Thursday at 5pm until noon on Sunday to qualify for Sunday's freeroll. There are a few other blogger gatherings going on that I might or might not attend and other people I might be seeing. I am deciding on going to a concert, too.
So, I am just warning you ahead of time --  you might not plan out things in your life, but I do. I am going to be in Las Vegas for six nights and have lots of things I plan to do. We will have some time to play poker and to talk, but just don't be expecting that I will be dropping everything to be taking you around from poker room to poker room, especially since you don't play in the rooms in which I plan to spend time, like Bally's and Luxor.
2) I was waking up, getting dressed and doing final packing before my 6:30 a.m. flight to Chicago departed when a text message from Tony arrived, asking me when I will get into Las Vegas. And so it began..

2) I got into Las Vegas early Thursday afternoon. That evening, I picked up Tony at Wynn and took him downtown so that he could get to a slot club by midnight to get a promotion. Ate at El Cortez (via Tony's comps) and hung around while he played Dealer's Angel. Eventually drove him back to his apartment to end the night.

3) Friday night - Tony played mixed games at my table at Planet Hollywood. I left for a bit, then stayed to play $1/2 NL with him for several hours. Finally left and dropped Tony off at Venetian.

4) Sunday night -- Was playing poker at Bally's with Rob and Nick. Left to go to Venetian solely to play poker with Tony. Alysia Chang met us there. No Tony there as he had been 86ed. Of course, he wanted us to then leave to go to Wynn. We just got to the V so we declined. I got tired, took a nasty beat and just decided to go back to the hotel to sleep immediately.

5) Monday night -- outing at 6:00 p.m. arranged by Alysia Chang. Tony didn't wake up and text me until almost 6:30. He wanted me to leave to pick him up. I declined for several reasons. Later that night he claimed I was selfish because I was playing at MGM, one of the 1001 places he can't play due to his behavior.

6) Tuesday -- Tony woke up just before 5:30 p.m. and was told that Nick and I just started playing poker at Mandalay Bay. We were obviously not just going to pick up and leave since the King now commanded us. I was told that I am not reliable, I am a hypocrite, I don't keep promises, on and on. I told him that I was sick of his shit and would not come now. I was told I never intended to, I don't know how to treat someone as a friend, etc.

Of course, when Tony feels sorry for himself, he then spews crap about how people play at certain poker room just to exclude him. Well, now there are virtually no poker rooms in Las Vegas where he can play anymore. And frankly, I have little desire to play in those few places.

There are many more details to these stories that I will include in future posts, but I wanted you to get the flavor of the TBC Experience. I actually had an excellent vacation, which I rated a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 scale. Thanks to Nick, Rob, AC, Poker Prudence and a few other friends and characters who made for a great trip!

Note: Check out the excellent post by Pete P. Peters.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On Leaving Walden

I wrote this post three months ago but never published it, leaving it in draft form on my blog. After returning from a great trip to Las Vegas -- a trip that had only one real negative to it --  I believe that the time to publish is now.

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.           Henry David Thoreau

Several things have struck me recently, especially regarding friends. In my most recent post, I wrote of my friend Carol, a former co-worker who I have know for over half my life. Spending time with Carol is always fun, as we have many memories of fun times in our early adult years.

My life outside of work and regular home duties and activities is enriched by the many friends that I have met via poker and/or the internet. I communicate with some via text messages, blog posts and comments, e mails and tweets. Sometimes the routine consists of sharing and celebrating friends' successes and commiserating with them and their struggles. Sometimes it is just fun giving and taking little jabs about favorite sports teams and the like. In almost all instances, there is a positive vibe running through these communications. These are the little things that are the spice of life.

People who know me well see me as a positive person. I do not like to dwell on the negative and like to engage in productive activities. Sometimes, though, like many people, I get stuck in ruts -- the beaten track that Thoreau speaks about in Walden. And like Thoreau, it is time for me to leave the woods.

Please consider this to be my resignation as assumed chair of the Inner Circle. It is time for another to ascend to this lofty position. Godspeed to my successor.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Polk Salad Annie

I might be eating Steak 'n Shake tonight, but my friends down south just might be eating some polk salad.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Back Home and at Work - Ugh

I got home from Las Vegas last night at about 10:00. Although it is always nice to return home, I sure wish that I'd had at least ONE more night in Sin City.

After catching up on several hundred e mails at work, I crawled to my lunch hour. I do believe that I will be able to make it through the afternoon. Then tomorrow -- only a half day as my department is having a holiday celebration in the afternoon.

In the very near future I will put up several posts regarding my Las Vegas trip. I will try to keep them under 100 paragraphs each so that Rob does not feel that I am taking on his role in blogging. I have rated this trip a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was pretty fantabulous!

So ... you will hear about Rob, Nick, grrouchie, Alysia Chang, Tony Bigcharles, the PPP Stalker, Ohio TBC Junkie, Mr. Subliminal, AgSweep, Poker Prudence, WPBT (World Poker Blogger Tournament), cowboys playing poker, the "King" of the MGM poker room, In-N-Out Burger, deep fried Oreos, Cards Against Humanity, the value of Q-10, ...

Lunch hour is over - back to work! Posts to follow in the coming days.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Leaving for Las Vegas ...

... in the early morning on Thursday. I didn't get a pass on work earlier today as I was in meetings all day and was busy right until the end of the day.

As always, I wait until the last minute to pack. O.J. Simpson once mentioned "that little thing I do" -- referring to his frantic last-minute packing before a trip, not killing people, as I recall. Well I still have to do that little thing!

I am taking my old laptop computer with me to Las Vegas, so if the friggin resort fees I have to pay on four of my six nights get me decent wifi, I will be posting from the trip.

With the annual WPBT (World Poker Blogger Tournament) going on and with plans to meet up with some old and new friends, this should be one heck of a fun trip.

So ... the next post will be from Las Vegas. Catch ya then!