Los Angeles, CA
Somedays, I relish the small simple pleasures that make life worth living.... I woke up next to my girlfriend in our bed. I ate chocolate cake. I walked around in shorts. Smoked a strain named after Willie Nelson. I set aside some time for freestyle writing. Free swim, if you will. Writing for the sake of writing, not because I had a deadline looming overhead.
I headed to Vegas for a special assignment. I had been to Vegas many times before to cover non-poker stories such as the Vegoose music festival and March Madness. But this was the first time I was going for the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo. The yearly event happens in January. Since 2006, it seems that I was always working somewhere (AC in 2006, Australia in 2007 & 2008, Bahamas in 2009) in January and unable to head out to Las Vegas. This year, I set aside January to write with the exception of a quick trip to Las Vegas for the porn convention. At the least, I would be able to secure material to a follow-up to Lost Vegas. At the best, I land that juicy story in a major magazine about my adventures at my first ever carnival of porn.
Luckily Nicky was cool with me going to cavort with porn stars and other people of ill-repute in the sex industry. I invited her along, but she rolled her eyes and told me to have a good time without her.
Getting to Vegas was a mini-nightmare. I should have drove. It would have taken less time. We left the apartment before 2pm to drive to Burbank. I would have been in Vegas no later than 5:30pm without any stops. Sadly, JetBlue's plane was broken and it took forever to fix. I sat at the gate and lost $130 playing online poker. I also got a gutache from eating a really bad cheeseburger at Bob Hope Airport. When the plane finally got a new part, the pilots waited forever for a new flightplan. We sat idle on the tarmac for almost ninety minutes. The waitresses, er flight attendants, could not serve booze until the plane was in the air. That menat everyone was grumpy and even more anxious to get to Vegas. Everyone had the same thoughts... "Why didn't we fuckin' drive?"
Due to the original delay, a couple of shmucks from Boston went directly to the bar. They got shitfaced and obnoxious as they stumbled back to the gate. I'm surprised they letthem board the plane they were so belligerent. One fat guy in a Randy Moss jersey couldn't hold his booze and he yaked all over the aft toilet before takeoff. We were delayed an extra fifteen minutes while they cleaned up his mess.
The plane smelled like puke mixed with cheap perfume from all of the skanks heading from the Valley to Vegas for the porn convention. I spotted no less than five or six women who might be in the business or at least working the AEE or the CES show as a trade show model.
The worst part about the flight last Thursday? I had money the BCS game. ABC was the only channel that JetBlue did not have on their inflight entertainment service. Fuck me. Talk about getting pissed off. I couldn't even watch and sweat my bet. I had to keep refreshing my CrackBerry just to keep an eye on Alabama's thumping of Texas. Glad I bet on the right side of that debacle.
Ironically, I spent more time playing poker and writing/researching/sifting through notes than I actually spent on the floor at the convention. I made a couple of hit and run trips. I'm not a claustrophobic person, but there were moments of utter misery when I got caught up in a traffic jam of sex freaks with cameras and boners who weren't moving anywhere because of the logjam of fans seeking photos and autographs from their favorite porn stars.
I crashed with the Friedmans at their new home in the far out burbs. I had my own room with a bathroom/shower and desk to write so it was a perfect set up. I came and went as I pelased but spent my time doing three things: poker, porn convention, and writing.
I watched a little football including the Jets. I would have gone 1-3 had I gambled on every game. The only wager I hit being Dallas and the Over in their game. I bet against the Jets because they always let me down. And man, I thought Green Bay was going to come from behind and pull out a miracle. I had bet them across the board from anywhere to a two point dog to a pick'em to a one point favorite. All of those bets lost, but I did win a first half wager on Arizona and a second half wager on GB to cushion the losing blow of my big bet.
Poker was awful. I made a few mistakes, tilted a bit, yet played overall solid poker making good decisions with horrendous results. For the most part I was a very unlucky player that was spread across a few casinos. I only won a bunch of money at the Venetian, but lost a shitload at Mandalay Bay during a ugly-mofo of a session. I was demoralized so much that even weed couldn't cheer me up. I drove straight to In-N-Out Burger just before it closed and I asked for the largest chocolate shake they had.
I got to do a few fun things like work with Flipchip again, touch the red rocks at Red Rock Canyon, have a couple of meetings with Friedman about upcoming projects, rage solo on the Strip and play poker all night long, and unplugging/going off the grid for hours at a time. It felt good to pull the plug and live life a bit without the constant (distracting) bombardment of useless tweets, molded news, and other remnants of the micro-celeb du jour's personal psycho-dramas.
The flight on Monday night was smooth. Light wait at security checkpoints in Vegas. Flight was on time and arrived five minutes early. I had the entire row to myself. No crying children. Too bad the flight was less than an hour from Vegas to Burbank. I would have really enjoyed that luxury on a longer distance flight. On the way home from the airport, Nicky stopped off at In-N-Out Burger so I could devour a 3x3. She also had a surprise for me at home.... a slice of chocolate cake.