Thursday, August 17, 2006

One More Week in Hell

"Oh my God. You're driving a Honda. We're living together in a condo in a gated community in the suburbs. And we're going to eat at Applebee's," screamed Change100. "Please kill me."

Change100 said that about three weeks ago when I still had the sleek Honda. Since then, the rental expired and I sent it back to the rental agency and picked up a new rental. I got stuck with a PT Cruiser. It could have been worse... the other choices were a minivan with bad breaks and a minvan with good breaks. The one positive aspect about the Cruiser is that it has an AUX slot so I can plug my iPod in there. The bad aspects of the Cruiser is everything else. After all it's a PT Cruiser which gets crappy gas mileage and I look like a schmuck driving around in it. I have it for one more week, when my rental expires the day I leave Las Vegas for a few days in Colorado followed by a week in Hollyweird.

Change100 found ourselves living those bleak suburban lives we dreaded. Even the mailbox has both our last names written on it. She's an LA girl and I miss NYC every waking second. But living in Henderson is a lot more healthier than living down in Las Vegas which is filled with degenerate gamblers, tweakers, rednecks, and gang bangers.

When I agreed to do work for PokerStars, part of my compensation package included a room at Treasure Island which is a 5 minute drive from the Rio where I worked. The commute was amazingly quick and I saved up to 45 minutes a day. But living in a casino gets old and troublesome after four days and I was counting the minutes when I could go back to the apartment. I dread every other suburbs, but the Las Vegas burbs keep me sane.

I'm going to miss the apartment that I had as my home base with Grubby. The apartment is nothing special and we didn't have any cable TV. Sure it's in a gated complex and we have a pool that's populated with UNLV co-eds and strippers. And it's hard to see the difference between the two. The location is nice, up on a ridge where you can see the mountains and the Strip just at the foothill of the posh Seven Hills and Anthem neighborhoods.

We lived across the street from a 24-hour supermarket which I never had that advantage in NYC. There's also a Subway, El Pollo Loco, and Brooklyn Bagels across the street. Everything is within a five minute drive including a Citibank branch which menas no $3-$4 ATM fees. I don't have to spend too much time on the road. Plus the posh Green Valley Ranch is a five minute drive away. That's the casino featured in the reality show American Casino. They have several cool places to eat in their complex along with a movie theatre and a full casino. Yeah, I'm about ten minutes from sitting on my ass ripping bonghits to sitting down at a poker table in a local's casino.

I played poker the last two nights at local's casinos... both Green Valley and Red Rock. I won a little at both and I'm starting to get a groove again playing live in Las Vegas. After covering poker for seven weeks straight, I had very little time to play. And when I did... I was more gambling for enjoyment than trying to win.

All my major deadlines and writing assignments are now over. I've been billing everyone and my client list for the 2006 WSOP is nine. I wrote for nine different places and only a handful had paid me. I sent out invoices and I'll be eagerly awaiting those paychecks. I earned enough in the last two months so I can take the rest of the year off to write and travel. And I've also turned down a few big assignments between now and then. Maybe I'm foolish for walking away from a steady paycheck, but you can't put a price on personal time. I'm sick of writing about poker. It's suffocating. I want to write fiction. I want to be in NYC for the next upcoming months. I want to write everyday for myself. I want to watch NYC sports teams with my brother. I hate driving and I miss the subways. And I miss the food. And the Rooster.

I finally sat down and figured out all my travel plans for the next few weeks and months. I have eight different flights booked for trips from now through Turkey Day. I finally booked a Vegoose flight and a hotel room. I have my plans for the Boathouse Bash finalized as well.

I also had to tweak my schedule for when I go back to NYC. I'm going to Hollyweird for Labor Day weekend. I planned on flying from California to Las Vegas to complete my round trip. I was going to stay in Vegas for a half of a day before I headed back to NYC on the last leg of that original round trip that started when I left for Las Vegas in June. That's two flights and having to deal with extra airport security hassles. I decided to consolidate the two flights into one flight.

Jet Blue is a cool airline. I was able to change everything online. I canceled the Long Beach to Vegas flight and I canceled the Las Vegas to NYC flight inside of three minutes. It only cost me $50 total to do that. They gave me the remainder of the actual cost of the flights in a form of a credit. I used that credit to buy a new ticket.... Long Beach, CA to NYC... which ended up being cheaper than both canceled flights combined. I used the remainder of the credit towards my Vegoose flight which cost less than $200 round trip.

Did that sound confusing? It made sense to me.

Recent Writing Music:
1. Wilco
2. John Coltrane
3. Garcia & Grisman
4. Karl Denson
5. Phish

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