Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pete P. Peters and a Labor Day Trip to Rome

Well, not really.  I did, however, change my Vegas reservations from MGM Grand to Caesars for my trip at the end of August.  I love the MGM Grand.  Really, I do.  I particularly love the lounges/bars, which in addition to delightful beverages, present a wide array of bar-top "devils game," including ten-handed VP.  My last trip there -- 5 days over Memorial Day (which, if you follow this blog, you'll recall nearly killed me) -- I barely ever even left the joint.

Nevertheless, I find myself itching for a change.  The last time I stayed at Caesars was about 5 years ago.  I was there with a friend. I got us 6 nights fully comped at the Augustus Tower.  Problem was, my friend doesn't gamboooool much.  And, as a result, I barely gambooooled that trip.  And, Gary Loveman is nothing if not vindictive.  In retribution, my rates at Caesars Palace immediately went from "freerolling" to like $215 or so on, like, a frigg'n Wednesday night (and $300-plus on weekends).  Needless to say, I've been residing elsewhere on my Vegas trips.

But, perhaps Gary is feeling more charitable lately.  Or, perhaps its the fact that I reached 15,000 tier points for Diamond in May this year.  Whatever the cause, I find myself back in Caesars' good graces. 

And, accordingly, I'm planning a triumphant return.  While I'll miss the MGM Grand, I think Caesars is a solid alternative.  The pools are some of the best on the strip.  The rooms (Roman-Helmut Tower aside) are pretty nice as well.  Plenty of restaurants, including some in the Forum Shops.  And, the location is, in my opinion, far better than MGM, particularly given my recent love of the Linq. 

While the poker scene was somewhat of a concern, my fears were assuaged by the recent review from Rob-The-Poker-God (and, no worries, I'm use to the dreaded $2 chip from playing at Maryland Live!). 

Indeed, looks like P3 will be heading to "Rome" in a few short weeks.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Angry (Middle-Aged) Man

Yes there's always a place for the angry young man

With his working class ties and his radical plans

He refuses to bend he refuses to crawl

And he's always at home with his back to the wall

And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost

And struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross
And likes to be known as the angry young man

Zeen, my oldest friend, was in town with his woman . . . um, lady, this weekend.  While generalized fun was on the docket, the crown jewel of the weekend was Billy Joel at Nationals Park Saturday night.  And Billy did not disappoint.

But . . . (there's always a but), three quarters of the way through the show, Pete P. Peters became the Angry Young Man.  Could it have been that beer sales were cut off at 10:15?  Possibly a contributing factor.  But, really it was this:

I grew up on Long Island.  My first real lasting memory of music was listening to Billy Joel's Glass Houses on eight track on my parent's couch. Yes, an eight track is a real thing.  For those readers younger than Lightning, before there were MP3s . . . before their were CD's . . . BEFORE THERE WERE CASSETTES . . . there were eight tracks. Billy Joel's music has been a part of my life my entire life.  The man's career literally spans decades.  He has so many hits, it's absurd.  Even his non-hits are hits.  In short, Billy Joel is a legend with an insane song catalog. I'd practically give a nut to hear him sing Ballad of Billy The Kid . . . Miami 2017 . . . Zanzabar . . .

So, what's the problem?  What raised P3's blood pressure?  Aside from the floor last night, people sat in their seats for 97% of the show.  That's fine.  I mean, it's Billy Joel.  But . . . BUT . . . BUTT!!!!!!  What songs got the crowd on its feet?  "We Didn't Start the Fire" . . . .  "River of Dreams."   Seriously?  For real?  This is what the people came to see?  You're in your seat for The Entertainer, Big Shot and You May be Right.... but River of Dreams rocks your world?  Ugh.  

Anyhow, I did manage to put aside my anger to enjoy the show.  It was a great evening, with good friends.  And now, Sunday, my ass is behind the computer . . . working . . . trying to get a mediation brief drafted.  What a cruel world . . .


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slumping Like It's April Again

As previously reported, I flew out to Vegas in mid-March to get some MLB futures down.  In 2013, I missed out on 4-0 by 1.5 games.  The Braves, Cards and Rays all cashed easily; and the D-Backs missed the OVER by 1.5 games.  While not perfection, it was fun cashing those tickets and free-rolling MLK Weekend with the proceeds.

So, this year, I liked the Reds and Royals.  A lot.  I also liked the Nats to bounce back, even though the total was high.  And I needed a 4th team.  It was between the Giants, the O's and the Rangers.  I really wanted to take the O's since I naturally root for them as my adopted hometown team.  But, ultimately, at the last minute (literally, as I was in the cab driving over to The LVH to lay the action), I decided on the Rangers.  I wanted at least one west coast team, and I wasn't a believer in San Fran.

So, in the end, my plays looked like this:

Nats OVER 89
Royals OVER 81
Reds OVER 84
Rangers OVER 86.

I also took the Rays at 12-1 for the WS.

Well, as we now know, the Rangers were dead out of the gate.  I was hopeful their offense would hold out until the pitching got healthy.  But injury hit the offense too.  And by mid-May, they were dead men walking.

The Nats struggled too out of the gate.  Injuries to Harper, Fister, Ramos, Zimmerman, etc., and an utter inability to beat the Braves, had them behind pace.  But now, healthy, the Nats are playing better ball and may hit the 90 wins.

The Reds season has taken a similar arc.  Injuries to Chapman, Latos, Mesoraco, Philips, Votto, et cetera, lead to a slow start.  Then, last month, they got healthy and went on a bit of a tear.  So much so that I took them to win the NL my last trip in Vegas (with their rotation, I could not pass up the 22-1 odds).  84 looked well in reach.

As for the Royals . . . Not sure what to say.  Who would have thought that Hosmer, Butler, Moustakas and Gordon would all slump to the degree each have?  And Aoki missed so much of the season.  Yet, the Royals got great starting pitching (including a surprisingly nice first half from Duffy) and incredible relief from the pen (Davis/Holland have been an insane 1-2 in the 8th and 9th), and stayed competitive early before becoming one of the hottest teams in baseball in June.  The 81 looked golden.

And then the allstar break came . . .

The Royals and Reds have both lost 4 in a row . . .  It's April all over again.  None of my three remaining plays are looking very solid at the moment.

On the bright side, the Rays have finally started to wake up.  After having the worst record in baseball for most of the season, they are a "mere" 8 back in the East.  It will be interesting to see whether or not Price gets traded in the next week or so. 

 Anyway, as a Mets fan, I'm just glad to still have some rooting interest in the game with August approaching.  P3 is looking forward to finishing up the second half strong and cashing some tickets again this year.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Photo Dump -- Week in Review

I spent last weekend back at the Diplomat in Hollywood Beach, Florida.  As luck would have it, the resort was hosting some sort of Latin American Teen Pageant.  The entire joint was swimming with delightful young ladies.  

After a few Coronas, I had to work hard to avoid the urge to walk the pool deck repeatedly kicking the following:  "It should have been you!"  In the end, I managed to not get arrested.  Win.

Friday night, I got the urge to mash, and drove up to MDL!  Some VP Porn:

Saturday morning, I went back to mash a bit more.  Lost $100 total over both days.  I'll call that a win.

Saturday night it was off to the OAR show in Columbia, Maryland.  Some punk Philip Philips opened.  I caught the show from the rail:

OAR Crushed as usual.

Otherwise, it was a boring 7 days . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Labor Day in the Desert

It's been May (Memorial Day) since I've stepped foot in Paradise, NV.  I'm ready for my return.  And this morning, I finalized plans for my August trip: 

I'll be flying out to San Francisco August 23rd (Saturday) to spend a few days with friends, drink some good wine in Napa, and catch a few DMB shows at the Greek Theater in Berkley, CA. 

Then, Tuesday afternoon . . . . zooooooom . . . . Vegas.

I'll be landing early Tuesday afternoon, and spending the night at The Cromwell.  I walked through Caesar's latest joint during my last visit and liked the vibe, but I'm looking forward to spending a full evening mashing buttons and drinking beverages this time around to really get a feel for the place.   

Wednesday, I'll be heading South to the MGM Grand for five days.  Pools . . . more beverages . . . more mashing . . . perhaps some poker . . . and . . . . NCAA Football !!!   Labor Day is one of my favorite weekends to be in Vegas.  Already looking forward to it.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Life's Resort Fee

So . . . P3's mid-year taste came in this morning.  PPP was, of course, prepared for the government to take it's cut.  But the State's greed was shocking to see in practice.  Fifty-percent.  Yes, 50%.  A big Hawaii-Five-0.  Where did it all go?  Here, apparently:

                 Federal Income Tax:             38%
                 State Income Tax:                  9%
                 Medicare/Social Security:     2.7%

                 TOTAL:                                  49.7%

Sure, Pete drives and appreciates, like, roads and bridges and whatnot.  And, yeah, it's nice to know that police walk the city deterring some joker(s) from knocking P3 over the head on his walk home from the bar at night (or, at 3:00 in the afternoon as the case may be . . .).  And sure, as a fairly liberal guy, Pete P. Peters is all in favor of providing some assistance to those in need, and has no problem donating to the cause . . . And Pete sure as fuck believes no one should die for being poor (i.e., he fully believes everyone should have access to health care) . . . but . . . . But . . . . BUT . . . . 50% goddamn percent?  P3 only gets to keep HALF of his sweet, sweet roll?!?  Looking at it differently, Pete is basically working for free the remainder of the goddamn year.

And look, Pete is by no means rich.  He is a "working man."  He drinks Miller Lite, loves watching sports, and succumbs often to his minor video poker addiction.  Pete puts on his hard hat every morning and slugs off to the job site with his lunch pale in hand . . . just dreaming of the day he can retire.  And this is how he is treated.  Fifty-G-D-Percent!!!!

But Pete is working on a plan.

Step one - go about impregnating a bunch of young chicks.  P3 is gonna litter the Montgomery County Public Schools with his offspring.   

Step two:  get canned and collect unemployment.

Step 3:  Get incarcerated for a long stretch.  "Country Club," of course.  Tax Fraud seems about right.

Step 4:  Get out of the poke, binge-spend all cash on hookers, booze and black jack, and fall hard into the "guberment net" during his senior years . . . SSI . . . Medicaid . . . Food Stamps . . . the works . . . 

Step 5 -- the finale -- long, slow death in a state-funded hospital.

Uncle Pete is gonna get his in the end . . .

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cincy Trip Report

It's Sunday night.  6:30.  Sadly, I am not airborne.  My fight was cancelled.  I'm riding it out at the Airport Marriott in Northern Kentucky.  A black eye on an otherwise awesome weekend.

I rolled into Cincinnati around noon Saturday, and went immediately to the Horseshoe:

 I quickly found a 100 hard VP machine and raked up 300+ tier points.  After grinding 3 hours, I left the casino up $10.  Off to great American Ball Park:

The Friday night series opener saw the home team take a 1-0 advantage over the first place Brewers.   After the game, I grabbed a quick late night dinner at Rock Bottom and headed back to the hotel.  I got in the elevator and looked to my right . . .  Standing next to me, none other than Carlos Gomez.  I remember the trade like it was yesterday.  Johan Santana coming to the Big Apple.  In retrospect, Johan brought the Mets a shady no-hitter (first in Franchise history) and likely cost him his career by throwing 130+ pitches.  And Gomez is now an all-star while the Mets have 3 holes in the outfield.

Saturday morning began with a run to Kentucky.  Downtown Covington was empty.  A weird scene to say the least:

Great view of the ballpark from the bridge:

I ran under the stadium and caught Joey Votto coming to work.  Pretty cool.

After a few pre game beverages in Kentucky, it was back to GABP for game two:

Ultimately, I befriended an usher and worked my way to second row:

After the game, it was off to dinner at Ruths' Chris.  I passed on the several great recommendations I got for local steak houses and opted for the tried and true.  Yeah, I suck.  And, while I had planned on heading back to the casino, after a couple of glasses of cabernet, I decided to just call it a night.

And this afternoon, it was back to the ballpark for game three of the series,  Latos vs. Gallardo.  And the matchup lived up to it's promise.

From second row behind the dugout, I saw Latos throw eight innings of two run ball.

Then, in the bottom of the eight, with a runner on first and two outs . . . Jay Bruce went yard to secure the series win!

And now  . . .  a minor hiccup after an otherwise fantastic weekend  . . .  Stuck in Kentucky over night,.  Alarm set for 4:30 am.  Straight to work in the morning.   Then 5 days of the grind . . . and then next weekend . . . back to the Westin Diplomat for some beach time in Fort Lauderdale ....  


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bases, Horseshoes and Skyline Chili

It's a short work week, with 4th of July weekend approaching.  A month or so ago, I booked a quick trip to Vegas to celebrate the Holiday.  My flight was scheduled to leave DCA at 5:00 Thursday evening, with a layover (and tight connection) in Phoenix, before arriving in Paradise, NV at 9:30 pm. 

And then I saw the forecast for D.C. on Thursday.  Strong storms likely.  And the flight from DCA to Phx. only has a 55% on-time rate as it is.  If I miss the connection, I'm shit-out-of-luck getting into Vegas until Friday morning, earliest.  So . . . rather than stress about it, I decided to audible.

Yes, I may be the first person in history to cancel a trip to Vegas and, instead, head to . . . . . Cincinnati.

But, I'm actually sort of pumped about it.  As you may recall, during my last trip to Vegas over Memorial Day, I placed a sizable wager on the Reds to win the NL at 22-1.  As a result, I've been following the Reds closely every night.  And, I've never been to Great American Ballpark.  I've never been to Cincinnati for that matter.  The weather should be delightful, and the thought of seeing a three game series against the front-running Brewers seems like the foundation for a decent weekend.  I even shelled out for a 2nd row ticket behind the Reds dugout for Sunday afternoon, when Matt Latos throws.  Nothing like seeing great pitching up close.

And, of course, Cincinnati is home to a Horseshoe Casino (walking distance from the Westin, which, if you read this blog, you'll recognize as PPP's preferred brand).  The Horseshoe Baltimore opens in a little less than two months, so I'm looking forward to getting a preview while racking up some sweet, sweet, Caesars' Tier Credits.

It won't be Vegas.  But I've done Vegas.  A lot.  This will be something different.  It will have all the elements of a winning weekend.  Bases.  Beers. Steak & good wine. And gambooooling.  And, it will be much more relaxing than a two-day visit to the desert.

Now, if I can just avoiding getting drunk and taking a late-night stroll through Over the Rhine, I should be golden...