Monday, August 6, 2012

Back To Reality

It's Monday.  The Poker Barrister returned from the West coast on the red eye from McCarran Sunday morning and is back to the grind.  California was awesome, as always.  And, Vegas was . . . Vegas.  Follows is a quick recap with some pictures.

The trip started out with a headache.  I had a 9:00am flight from Dulles direct to SFO.  Got up at 5:00, drove 495 to the Dulles Toll Road, and rolled into the daily garage at Dulles right at 6:50 am.  I get out of the car, pop the trunk and grab my bag, and take a glance at my IPhone.  Email from United.  Flight cancelled.  Second email from United a minute later.  Rescheduled on a 6:30 am flight to SFO . . . the next day.  Fuck that.  I get to the terminal and, as usual, the line to the ticket counter is an hour long.  I call United ticketing while I'm waiting on line to see what other options I have besides the flight which United has kindly rescheduled me on (which, in addition to losing a full day, would require the Poker Barrister to get up at 3:30am to make it on time).  Agent tells me, "there's a flight out of Dulles that leaves at 9:00 am."  I tell the agent, "no, that's the flight I was on that was cancelled."  She says, "no, there's a second flight that also leaves at 9:00am."  Ahhhh.  Now it's clear.  Typical airline move - cancel a flight that didn't sell well . . . customer be damned!  Gotta love the airlines.  Anyway, I get rebooked over the phone on the other 9:00 am flight to SFO.

After waiting on line 45 minutes, I reach the ticket counter, check in, and check my bag.  People on both sides of me are arguing with their respective ticket agents.  They too were on the cancelled flight.  Sadly for them, however, there are now no more seats on SFO Flight No. 2, and the remaining options involve long delays and layovers.  I mentally pat myself on the back for deciding to call ticketing immediately, rather than waiting to deal with the issue at the counter.

It's now 7:45.  I head to security.  There is a line to reach the TSA agent who checks your ticket and ID -- the pit stop before  you actually get to go through security.  It's a long line.  Thirty minutes later, I reach the check point.  It's now 8:15 and I'm waiting on the actual security line.  It's a long line.  Twenty minutes later, I'm through security.  It's 8:35 and now I'm waiting for the tram/bus that takes passengers to the terminal.  It leaves in 8 minutes.  Tram arrives at concourse D at 8:42, and I board the flight 3 minutes later.  Yeah, I made it; but still - how the fuck can you get to the airport two hours and ten minutes before your flight . . . at 7:00am on a Saturday morning . . . and STILL almost miss the flight? 

DAY 1 - San Fran

Saturday afternoon was spent hanging out with the boys in San Fran and feeding poison to the liver.  Nothing remarkable. 

DAY 2 - Napa Valley

Sunday morning, we rented a car and drove out to Napa.  What an awesome place.  Incredible scenery and fantastic wine.  Leslie, who has been on the wagon for as long as I've known him, drove our wagon around town for the day.  First stop -- Silver Oak Cellars

Totally sober.  Paid the $25 "tasting fee," made small talk with the staff, and generally attempted to make it look like we were not there just to get ripped:

Jimmy: "Yes, I can definitely taste the difference between the 2008 Alexander Valley Vineyard Cab and the 2011 Soda Canyon Ranch Cab from the Napa Valley Vineyard . . . "

Poker Barrister:  "Yes.  Number 3 -- the 2010 blend - is very nice.  Is that 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 4 % Cabernet Franc?  Do I have that right?  Also, I'd like to try Number 1 again - the 2008 Alexander Valley --  if I could . . ."

Leslie:   ". . . Holy fuck.  I hate you both.  Can we leave already?"

From there, it was on to Silverado Vineyards.  Slightly buzzed.  More free-flowing atmosphere.  We were able to grab our glasses and hang out on the back porch without having to chat-up the staff.

Third stop - Stags Leap.  Feeling good.  Paid the $35 tasting fee and hung out by the bar, praying the entire time the pourer would just shut up and let us drink in peace.

Final stop for the day - Mondavi.  

Sort of drunk.  Entire mouth pretty numb.  Really just wanted a pale ale at this point.  Instead, we paid $20 to sample another four local wines, and took turns hitting on the girl behind the counter as she poured our glasses.  While I'd like to think she found us charming, her suggestion that we could "sample the wines out by the gardens . . ." could be interpreted otherwise . . . She did, however, give us a great suggestion for stop-off on the way back to San Fran the following day -- Muir Woods.


Monday morning, we got up early and drove Route 1 down the coast towards Muir Woods to do some hiking. 

When we arrived, we opted to go off the beaten path.  Rather than "hike" the Cathedral Grove, we decided to trek the Dipsea Trail, which ended up being a relatively steep climb up the mountain.  The entire trip was virtually tourist-free.

Ultimately, afterwards, we opted to pay the park entrance fee, mingle with the tourists and check out the redwoods.  They looked a lot like big trees.  Pretty exciting stuff.

Monday afternoon, we made it back to San Fran and got ready for the Mets-Giants game.  Some dude name Heffner was pitching for the Mets . . . against Madison Bumgarner.  Promising.  To prepare for the ensuing debacle, we filled up a few paper coffee cups from the hotel room with a $120 bottle of Cabernet from Silverado (yes, we're that classy), and made the walk down 3rd Street to AT&T Park while boozing on the down-low.

AT&T Park is everything I'd heard it was.  It's intimate, much like the Yard in Baltimore.  And the location on the bay is just fantastic.  It's just an all around great place to watch a game.

As for the game . . . it was one of the worst efforts I've ever witnessed . . . by both teams.  Someone had to win.  And, after blowing a two run lead in the 9th, the Mets did in fact get the "W," but only after nearly blowing another two run lead in the 10th. 


Tuesday began with an early morning jog around the city.  No better way to shake off the beers (and "ballpark punches") from the night before.  It's also a great way to see a new city and to snap a few IPhone pictures along the way. 

The afternoon was spent doing some touristy stuff, which involved walking up and down a shit-load of hills.  We randomly came across the Rogue Ale House.  Having drank my fair share of Deadman's Ale over the years, this seemed like a good place to cop a quick buzz before finishing the trek to Fisherman's Wharf.

After dinner, it was back to the ballpark to watch rookie sensation, Matt Harvey (yes, sarcasm), take the mound.  Feeling confident in the win, I decided to bust out the Retro Cooperstown jersey.

Shockingly, the Mets lost.  We drank our disappointment away . . .

DAYS 5- 8

Wednesday morning, Jimmy flew back home to be a responsible member of society.  Leslie and I, on the other hand, made the quick flight to Vegas for four days at the PH.  We spent nearly the entire trip betting bases and donking video poker.  I also mixed in a few sessions of black jack and about 4 hours of poker.  Despite losing $75 at the poker table, I actually ended the trip up a few hundred after hitting fourteen (yes, 14) four-of-a-kinds on Triple Bonus Poker over the course of four days (including quad aces).  Clearly, I'm very skilled at video poker.

All-in-all . . . another great trip.



  1. "While I'd like to think she found us charming, her suggestion that we could "sample the wines out by the gardens . . ." could be interpreted otherwise . . ."

    Horny old fauckers. lol

  2. Thanks Lightning, for the reminder!