Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ten Minutes at the Gate

I'm at my gate in McCarran airport ready to board my JetBlue flight back to NYC. I spent almost 70 of the last 80 days on the West Cost. I'm eager to get back to the city for a few weeks before I have to move back to Las Vegas for two grueling months to cover the 2006 World Series of Poker.

My internet connection keeps going out so I stopped surfing the web and decided to write something. The past week I have been consumed with poker and for the first time in almost a year, I enjoyed nearly every second of it. I don't know what happened, but at some point I said, "Fuck it!" and stopped worrying about the petty things and focusing on the negatives of what I do. I came to that realization when I was driving down Pacific Coast Highway gazing out at the Pacific Ocean.

I took a new attitude into the Bellagio with me and I flourished. My writing is at it's peak this year. A talk with sportswriter Steve Rosenbloom also got my head on straight. Once I got the writing on track, the gloomy skies lifted in my world. When my writing is not in sync, I slid into a deep hole filled with despair, self-loathing, and substance abuse.

The last few days have been hectic. I had 6am deadlines on consecutive days. I got one in at 4am. And I had follow up questions from the editor via email at 7am. I didn't sleep. I tried and passed out, but woke up when Grubby had to go to work at 5am.

I played some live poker last night for the first time in a week. I actually won money and played in two different casinos, including the newly opened Red Rock Casino. I also had to house sit and cat sit for Friedman. There was a family emergency and he had to go back to Pennsylvania. I had to take his cat to the vet and hang out with him. Cats are weird, especially when they are jacked up on cat nip.

Friedman lives in the northwest suburb of Las Vegas called Summerlin. A lot of pro poker players and strippers live up there. I live with Grubby in Henderson, which is a southeast suburb. To get to one burb to the other can be a pain in the ass. But getting to see a different part of town was beneficial. More importantly, I learned different highways and parkways and picked up a few shortcuts.

In the last day, I had to do laundry, pack, gas up the rental car, feed the cat, and meet a deadline. I left some clothes behind for this summer, since I'll be back. I rarely return from a trip with less stuff. I also tend to pick up random things along the way.

Grubby and I ate breakfast at Ellis Island this morning. He was on his "lunch break" from the radio station where he works. I got French Toast with bacon, breakfast potatoes, and ice tea for under $5. Not too shabby. Ellis Island is super cheap.

The day before we ate at the new buffet at Silverton. Grubby had two free buffet comps which expired so he needed to use them. The room looks nice and the food is better than average. The roasted chicken and baked beans was different.

They are boarding in a few moments. For the first time in over a year, I'm leaving Las Vegas and wished I got to stay a few more days. The last several trips here, I've been anticipating the day I leave. I rediscovered what's great about Las Vegas, poker, and writing.

Next stop JFK...

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