Total Pageviews

Friday, December 31, 2010

Once more into the breach...

     Ok, I've got about a half an hour before I try to get to work.  I say try because I don't know how bad the traffic will be tonight.  Right now it's about 7:30 pm on 12/31/10.  I have to get to the Las Vegas Strip, which by the way has now been shut down to car traffic by the police, by 10pm.  And then the real chaos will begin, I'm sure.

     New Year's Eve in Las Vegas is...how do I describe it?  Wild, stupid, dense, a pain in the butt, maniacal, sinister...  The fountains will probably end up full of vomit, and the streets full of trash.  There will be fights, arrests, violence, screaming, noise, and complete insanity.  Everything that I loved when I was younger...and hate now that I'm older.  It's funny how we change like that, isn't it?

     I'll have one of the best seats in the house for this year.  I'll be a Security Dispatcher.  While handling about 400 phone calls, and sending officers here and there, I'll somehow find time to use the cameras to watch the screaming crowd...the cameras don't have sound by the way, so I get to watch them with relative quiet.  I'd like to put on my Ipod while I watch them and have some cool music playing (Maybe the piano tune "The Entertainer?" *chuckle*), but will have to listen to the security radio instead.  And actually, that might have quite a bit of comedy come through itself!

"Big Sal to Control, I have a man here who hasn't checked in yet, do we have any rooms available for the night?"

"Control to Big Sal, you were told in briefing the entire city is sold out for tonight!"

"I understand that, but do we have any rooms available?"

"No...I just told you we're sold out!"

"Ok, he wants to know where he can go then."

     I'm sure I'll have a crowd of "Big Sals" to deal with.  No one seems to listen, especially when we're busy.

"Control to available units, there's a fight at the Mambo Bar!  Repeat, fight at the Mambo Bar, get over there!"

"Charlie Six and Charlie Seven responding!"

"Copy Six and Seven, let me know what's going on and keep me informed."

"Big Sal to Control, I think there's something going on over at the Mambo Bar."

"Yes, there's a fight!  Head over and assist Charlie Six and Seven!"

"I think it's a fight.  Did you want me to go over there?  This is Big Sal again, by the way."

"I read you, Big Sal!  yes, get over to the Mambo Bar!"

"Charlie Six to Control, multiple injuries, and we have one in custody.  We're taking him to the security office."

"Copy Charlie Six."

"Big Sal to Control, I'm over at the Mambo Bar now, and I don't see a fight."

"We have one in custody, Big Sal, head over to the security office!"

"But what about the fight?  Shouldn't I find the fight first?  This is Big Sal, by the way."

     Obviously any headaches I get tonight will probably be because of "Big Sal" and not the loud, insane, screaming crowds of people!  And for my coworkers who read this and think about asking me who "Big Sal" is:  Look around you, if you can't recognize him, he may be you!  *chuckle*

     So for tonight, pray for me.  Hold high hopes for me, and have a good time yourself.  And for "Big Sal"...START PAYING ATTENTION, YOU MORON!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

How to annoy Vegas hookers

     I've been in Security for almost 8 years now, and have dealt with a lot of hookers in Las Vegas.  Actually, you can't really call them hookers because most of them get guys drunk, take them back to their hotel room, and then rob them after they pass out.  So they really aren't having sex for money, they're just female thieves.

     Anyway, after watching them, and dealing with them for as long as I have, I have a few suggestions if you happen to be taking a trip to Las Vegas and would like to have a bit of fun annoying these...women.  This should be really fun!  If you're a guy, you won't have to seek these girls out, they'll find you.  Trust me, sit at a bar in the middle of a busy casino all by yourself and they'll show up and start talking to you.  When one does, just start in like this:

1.  When she starts talking to you, tell her you really like her, but your wife is sitting at a table behind you.  When she turns around to look, yell as loud as you can, "NO, DON'T LOOK AT HER!"

2.  This one is a bit complicated, but still should be really fun.  Watch the bar and find the largest (fattest) girl you can that is talking to all the men sitting at the bar.  Go and start talking to her.  If she decides to give you a price, or maybe says she'd like to go back to your room, take her up on it.  Now, go up into the hotel hallways, but don't go to your room.  Start telling her that you have to get to your room quickly before your roommate gets back, and get her jogging up and down the hallways.  At the end of each hallway, tell her you thought your room was there, but it's in a different hallway.  Keep her jogging around the halls for as long as you can.  See if you can get her out of breath.  When she finally has enough, and tells you she's leaving, yell "OH SHIT, IT'S SECURITY!" and run like hell!  She'll more than likely run again, too.

Now, after she leaves, go back to the bars downstairs and try to find her again.  If you do, try and pick her up again!  Tell her you know where your room is now, and if she actually follows you, jog her around some more!  She'll come if she thinks you have a lot of cash in the room.  Tell her you couldn't figure out the hotel room safe and so the $5,000 cash you brought with you is in a sock under your pillow.  Quite a few will follow you.

3.  If you're able to pick one up in the bar, especially if she's quoted you a price, take her up to your hotel room, but ask her to wait outside for a few minutes while you get rid of your roommate.  Then go inside your room and call security.  Tell them there is a strange woman outside your room and she won't leave you alone!  Ask for help and sound all panicked.  Security will show up and take her away.

4.  Find where the Security Podium is in the casino.  Now go and let a hooker pick you up in a bar and tell her you need to get some money from an ATM.  Instead of going to an ATM, walk her over to the Security Podium, and announce as loud as you can, "This woman has agreed to have sex with me for money!  Do you have a house doctor that can check her for diseases?"  Be forewarned, this will not go over well with either security, or the hooker, but it'll be funny, I promise!

     Yes, these ideas are very rude.  But let's remember that these women are in the casinos and bars to rob men.  Most have been in and out of jail quite a bit.  If they get the chance, they'll take everything you have.  So remember that if you start feeling sorry for them.  They are out there so frequently that there are even security officers who know a lot of them by name.  "Hi Bambi, you know you aren't supposed to be in here.  Time to head out!"

     So have fun with them, but use a lot of caution.  Some of them do carry weapons, pepper spray, and who knows what else.  There is also a percentage of girls working the Las Vegas Strip who have AIDS!  Yes, I said AIDS.  So while this blog is fun and might make you laugh, in all honesty, leave the working girls alone.  Prostitution is a two way street and I usually won't feel bad for some idiot who take a hooker up to his room, falls asleep, and then wakes up to find all his money and stuff gone.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A famous writer

     A long time ago I met another author who wanted to swap book reviews.  I was good with that, it's always good to have reviews of your books.  Her name is Dawne Prochilo, and I read her first book, "Crape Myrtle."


     I thought it was a good story, and gave her a good review.  Feel free to take a look if you have a Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/Crape-Myrtle-ebook/dp/B003FL6X6G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1291433442&sr=1-1

     Anyway, we ended up chatting and exchanging an email now and then, and became friends.  Dawne's quite a good writer, and moving up in the world!  She'll still tell you that she's just a small town writer, maybe slightly famous where she lives.  But I think truthfully she's building up quite a following with the stories she's writing.  She has quite a different style of writing than I do, and you might even say she writes in an entirely different genre than I do.  She writes what she describes as "erotic" stories.  Interaction between men and women, where I usually write about a bunch of wild, crazy, characters doing insane things.

     I decided to ask her if she would mind being interviewed for my blog.  I don't have a ton of readers, but the few that I do, I thought might like to meet my friend.  (I also figured I would see if she'll let me post this interview on her facebook page.  She has a lot of fans that might like to read just a bit more about her!  *chuckle*)  So, without further ado, here are the questions I asked her:



You've written and published a number of books so far, do you remember back when you were writing your first? What is its title, and what was it about?

Yes I do. It was the most intense book I've written to date. I spent hours and hours writing, editing, revising and finally selling that book. Crape Myrtle is by far my favorite novel to date. It's a suspense romance about a woman, Sadie Callaghan, and the local sheriff, Walt Malone. Her life is threatened, he's investigating a string of religious vandalisms- with Sadie being a prime suspect and as they clash over the investigations, their feelings and attraction can't be missed.  

I understand you've also just received a contract to publish one of your latest books called "When We Meet Again." Can you tell us a bit about it?

It's a contemporary romance about two friends from high school that were inseparable, and in love but never admitted it to each other. The story takes place over the course of 25 years, from high school through her abusive marriage and divorce, his strained marriage and pending divorce and eventually having them meet up and share their love. It's a story about second chances at love and finding your true love.

I know it's quite a thrill when you get a book published. Does that feeling ever wear off for you? Or are you just as excited each time you get a new book coming out?

It's a feeling that never gets old. Every book release, signed contract and promotion is a new experience for me. My stomach flutters, my nerves are on edge and my psyche gets regenerated for the next novel. 

Ok, here are the obligatory general questions: Tell me a bit about yourself, and how you got into writing.  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I'm mother of three grown children and live in rural Michigan where there's more cows and corn than residents. It's a very serene piece of heaven where I live and I love it.
I'm currently a full time writer. I freelance for a local newspaper, write SEO and web content for various websites and am the Administrative Editor of the WM Review Connection and a Contributing editor for the WM Freelance Writers' website. I also contribute to five blogs weekly and coordinate blog tours for two romance blogs. All in all, I don't have time for another career but I do substitute teach when needed.
I knew I wanted to be a writer during my freshman year of high school. I fell in love with writing during English class when we were asked to write a short story. I dove in, wrote to my heart's desire and never looked back.
My first official and paying writing gig was back in 1999, when I was a freelance writer for a local newspaper. Since then I have worked for four different publications. 

What is your personal favorite of all the writing you've done? Or do you like everything the same?

My personal favorite would have to be Crape Myrtle my first published book. I spent about five years writing, editing and trying to sell the book. I developed a relationship with the characters, rooted for their love and finally felt sadness when their story was complete.

For the last bit, I'd like to ask what's next for you? Do you have any new books, or stories in the works?  (I know you do, but people reading this might not.) Feel free to tell us about anything you'd like, and whatever you're doing now, or in the future!

I'm currently editing When We Meet Again, I have a collection of short erotic stories for adults that I'm always dabbling with in my down time and I just started a new novel about a call-in radio sex therapist and her menagerie of callers with sex issues. This one has humor and is real fun. And finally, I'm collaborating with a friend and fellow writer, Robert Wacaster, on a novel set in 1944 about two high school friends and their long distance love. This is where Robert can fill in the storyline if he wants. I'm real excited about this book and I've never collaborated before so this is real new territory for me.

 Crape Myrtle July 2009
On Her Own- July 2009
When We Meet Again- Valentines' Day 2011
Room 11- February 2011
Rachel's Desire- March 2011

     Ok...so she's going to throw the ball back in my court?  I guess I can spill a bit.  Yes, Dawne and I did decide to work together on a novel.  It's set in 1944 and is about a boy and girl who had feelings for each other in high school.  After graduation, the boy leaves for the army and World War 2 while she stays back in Detroit and ends up doing a "Rosy the Riveter" thing in a factory.  Will she stay loyal to him, or will she find another, closer love while at home and far away from him?  

     This book raises a few challenges for both of us.  We had agreed on trying to make the book as historically correct as we can, which is going to take a LOT of research!  On my side, as I write about the male character (Sam Benson) I want to make certain I write about him going to boot camp at the correct base.  I want to make certain he received his training in the correct places, and most important of all, I want to make certain he ends up in a unit that actually served in Europe, and is in the same places the unit actually was.  Yes, I could make all this stuff up myself, but we decided we didn't want to do that.  The book will still be fiction, it'll just have realistic overtones.

     For Dawne, she's decided she wants to take her research into the factories that were back in Detroit in 1944.  She's already caught me once on the language used back in the 40's, and expects me to keep the 1940's slang.  (A research project in itself!)  She wants to look into hairstyles, clothing, where people went, what they did...I had thought her part of the book might be easier than mine, but I guess not!  She's going to be putting in a ton of work, too!  And we don't even have a title yet!  But since books take months, if not years to write, I think we have time.

     I really want to thank Dawne for letting me interview her today, and for giving me this upcoming chance to collaborate with her.  She's quite a talented woman, and I'm thrilled to work with her!

Thanks, Dawne.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writing for free money...or just for free.

     I've been on "vacation" the last week or so, and really didn't do anything.  Well, I accomplished a little bit.  I wrote a bit and actually finished reading a book so I could put out a semi-intelligent review.  I'm not one of those maniac critics who will rip a book apart, so my reviews are usually fairly simple.  Either I like your book, or I fake my way through the review.  Ha ha.  Actually, since reviewing things isn't my "real job" I usually only read books I want to read, and so usually give pretty good reviews.  I can't imagine reading a someone's book and then ranting and raving about how bad it was.  If I didn't like the book, why would I read it?

     People think that if you write a book now a days, you're suddenly a millionaire.  If you write a book, you can just quit your job and live the life of luxury!  Fabulous!  Not quite so.  Most of the writers I know are broke.  Well, not broke, but we don't make a ton of money from our writing.  We actually have to have real jobs to get by.  And honestly, I think that's one of the things that makes a good writer.  I know that probably sounds stupid.  But if you're writing just for money, you aren't going to succeed.  If you're writing because you like it, because you like your own stories, that's when the quality comes out.

     Take a look at two of my favorite writers.  They're both probably way more popular than I am.  First is Katie Salidas.  The book I just finished and reviewed is her first novel.  It starts a series called "Immortalis."  It's a vampire book.  Katie's also a hustler.  Not in the bad sense, but I mean she gets out there and pushes her books!  She does book signings, and giveaways, and writes her own blog!  (Only her first book is out in real book form, most of her writing is on Kindle and that kind of thing.)  She's out there!  And believe it, or not, after reading her first book I think she's created a fantastic series!  I mean HBO worthy series!  After seeing some of the crap that's been in the theaters, and on pay television lately, she's much better!  Will she be signing a deal with HBO soon?  Showtime?  Cinemax?  Probably not.  She's an unknown just like me.  That doesn't mean she isn't loaded with talent.  Is she rich from all the writing she's done?  I doubt it.  But still she keeps writing, keeps the world she's created alive.  I'm proud of her!


     I met Katie in person and she signed a neat promo card for me.  She even gave a shot at getting me to get some of my books together and head to a book signing.  She gave me a few hints on how to hustle, too.  Very intelligent woman.  I'm pretty lazy though, and just keep writing.  Maybe someday I'll hustle, or maybe I'll just keep writing and my stuff can become best seller after I die.  

     Katie helps out a lot of other authors by interviewing them on her blog.  http://myimmortalstories.blogspot.com/  I'm learning pretty quickly that there are quite a few independent authors out there willing to help each other out.  Check out her blog, and read her books.  She's good!

     The other author I really like is Steve Morris.  He's English.  That means he lives in England.  He's a teacher, and a much more popular author than I am.  He's been in the papers over there in the U.K!  (That stands for the United Kingdom, if you weren't sure.  Yes, England.)  But does he make enough money to quit teaching and just tour the world signing his books?  No.  He's not an independent author, though.  He does have a publisher.  But still, that doesn't mean he's raking in the dollars...or pounds, or whatever.  He writes because he likes to write.  I've swapped books with him, and he really loved the military book I wrote called Frigate: November.  Don't worry if you haven't heard of it, not too many people have read it.  I enjoyed writing it though, and that's what counts.  I read and reviewed his first book called "In All Probability."  It was a book of short stories.  Good short stories!  He's sent me his newest book called "Jumble Tales" to read and review now.  I've had it a couple of months and haven't gotten to it yet.  I had Katie's book and another couple ahead of his.  But I'll read it now, almost certain I'll love it! He's got a great talent for writing stories with the twist ending.


     So there you have it!  Me and two other authors that have books out there.  We aren't rich, we aren't celebrities, but we are writers.  And one day one of us, or all of us may actually be famous.  And if it ever happens to me, if I ever sell a few million books, or sign a lucrative tv, or movie deal, I think I'll still miss the days when I was trying to type just one, or two more sentences before I had to go to work.  I'll miss the days when I wrote just because I liked writing.

     Support independent writers, unknowns, and see how much talent really is out there!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Density

     It's almost Thanksgiving.  That means time to travel and visit family.  Turkey, football, and the start of insane Christmas shopping.  And of hassling TSA security in airports.  What the hell is wrong with people?  People are now hung up on scanners at the airport.  Back when they started to use x-ray equipment to scan your carry on bags people were upset that it might ruin the film in their cameras.  I can understand that.  You spent a whole week trying to get a picture of Uncle Sid wearing nothing but a fig leaf, and now the airport ruined it!  That's something to protest.  But now people don't want to get in a new full body scanner because someone might see their "junk."  Oh no!  Give me a break!  You people and your "rights" are making me sick!  During the summer I flew through Salt Lake City and went through one of the scanners.  I was more unhappy that I had to pull every scrap of paper out of my pockets, than I was about anyone seeing what I looked like under my clothes.  These people act like they're being asked to march in a naked parade!


     Here's an actual TSA scan.  Scandalous, isn't it?  How horrifying, you can see her gun...I mean boobs!  And you can clearly see that this is...that...I can't tell who this is.  So who is it?  If you go out into the airport and see 50 idiots protesting this machine, which one was the one pictured here?  Probably the one waving the gun and yelling "Wawawawawa!"  But besides that, what "junk" is pictured here?  People just want to protest anything anymore.  They claim they don't have anything to hide, but they don't want to be scanned.  Luckily, no one was protesting the scanner in front of me in line.  If I had missed my plane because some idiot was causing a scene screaming that they didn't want anyone to see their "junk" I think I probably would have kicked them in the their junk!  What is with you stupid people?  Lines at the airport aren't long enough?  You want to make them longer because you're afraid someone might see your private parts?  How many of these idiots refuse to go through a scan on their way flying to a topless beach somewhere?


     Here we have an evil TSA person scanning another woman.  Look at the evil look on her face!  Look how she's ogling the young girl!  Look how...ok, she doesn't really look interested.  This is some good looking girl and the TSA agent isn't really interested.  How about ugly people?  Do you suppose she's interested in them?  Or do you suppose she just wants to get through her shift and go home like everyone else?  Is the TSA somehow only hiring perverts that have an x-ray collection of naked people?  

     If you refuse to go through the scanner, they give you the option to be frisked by hand.  But people don't want to be touched.  "If you touch my junk, I'll sue you!"  How about if you refuse to go through the scanner, we sue you?  A better idea might be if you refuse to be scanned, you don't fly.  If I worked for the TSA and someone refused to go through the scanner, and then threatened to sue me if I touched them when I frisked them, I would just refuse them entry to the boarding area.  "Sorry sir, you present a threat.  Go away."  Then they can sue me, and the airport, and the government, and everyone else and try to prove that all their rights were violated because they refused an airport safety precaution.  

     Now it's a big deal.  Everyone wants to blog about how they hate the new scanners.  They're a violation, they show everything, the TSA is hassling people!  Last year I flew to Florida for my birthday and the TSA agent looked at my driver's license and said, "Happy birthday!"  Was that hassling me?  I was really pleased, and my birthday vacation started out really nice with that comment.  I think these people unhappy with the scanners have a bit too much time on their hands.

     My birthday is coming soon, and you know what I want?  I want a full body scanner.  I want to put it on my porch and use it to scan everyone who comes to visit me.  And don't be protesting it either, or I'll sue you!  HA!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Post office games

     This should be a fun blog.  Each time I've written a book, with the exception of the very first one, I've put them up for a free giveaway on a web site called goodreads.com.  It's a nice way to get my work out there, and people enter to win a copy (or copies, depending on how many you want to provide) of my books.  The contest ends, and goodreads lets me know who the decided I need to give my free copy away to, and I have to mail them off.  No problem.  You also get to decide what countries you want people to be able to enter from.  What countries?  People from other countries can enter?  Oh, that's so cool that I can maybe go international!  So I allow America, Canada, England and Australia to enter.  And of course, a girl from Australia wins a copy.  No problem, I know how to fill out a customs tag.

     I buy an envelope, address it, and head to the post office to mai lthe book.  Congratulations, hooray!  I find out it costs me $14.20 to mail the book overseas!  HOLY COW!  Do you believe this?  Oh well, I guess it's a small price to pay for having someone from another country read my stuff, right?  While I'm waiting to pay, I notice the "pre-paid boxes" hanging on the back wall with signs telling how much it costs to mail each one.  I mailed one of those boxes out to another author who was having some kind of book fair giveaway thing last week!  Cool...cool...uh...the size of box I used shows a mailing price of $10.90 or something like that.  I mailed mine with a cheaper stamp.  My stamp said $5.40 or something.  Oh no, now maybe the box didn't make it?  Oh &^%$!

     So I run home and check my computer.  I did have tracking on the package, so I can see where it went...hopefully.  I check, and the package went anyway, even with the short postage.  Where did it go?  It was MISSENT!  The post office sent it to Seattle when it was supposed to go to some other Washington city.  They figured it out, and finally send it to the right place, though.  And...no one picked it up.  It says a notice was left.  Hopefully someone will pick it up soon. 

I hate the post office.

    

Friday, October 15, 2010

Paying to write

     I just read a friend's blog.  She did a long thing about a new "self publishing" service she had heard about.  It's another "pay and we'll pay you" scam.  At least that's what it looks like to me.  What the hell is with these people who want money up front before you even start to sell your books?  My friend gets a bit more technical.

http://networkedblogs.com/9cOUb

     Yes, her blog is called "Written in Blood."  Great title for a Vampire book author's blog!  Anyway, she makes a few technical points on the good and bad points of the new program.  I'll just go simple and call it a scam.  People want money for everything now!  Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee!  Las Vegas is notorious for greed.  It seems like every night I go to work I end up dealing with some idiot who's yelling "I lost $50,000 here!  You need to let me do whatever I want!"  Is that supposed to matter to me?  The person was dumb enough to lose that kind of money and that's supposed to mean I let them destroy property, or attack someone else?  Having, or losing money doesn't mean anything to me.

"I'm sorry sir, but losing a lot of money here doesn't mean you can swim in the decorative pond with the coy fish!"

     You have no idea how many coy have died from eating vomit.  That's probably why there aren't too many coy ponds around Vegas anymore.  At least none that aren't behind about six inches of protective glass.  Everything here needs to be behind some kind of glass.  Things even need to be protected from the casino EMPLOYEES!  They decided to paint a path going to an employee entrance.  So as not to block the entrance off, they only painted half at a time.  After painting, they blocked off the painted half with barricades.  Some employees still climbed over the barricades and left footprints across the paint.

     The other night I ended up back in dispatch.  I hadn't been there for a while.  Before the shift was over, there were a couple officers downstairs in the security manager's office complaining that I had assigned them to do security details!  They felt that I shouldn't have been telling officers what to do!  If there were details to be done, someone else should have had to do them, not the people who were hired to do them.  No, I don't understand this either.  In a time when there is so much unemployment, you would think people would want to be thought of as a valuable employee, not someone who refuses to do his job!  I'm honestly stunned by these people.  They want to be paid, but they don't want to actually do any kind of work for the pay.  And as security, most of the time you just stand somewhere and watch someone else.  This is apparently too difficult for some of these people.  If not for security, I wonder what these people would do for work?  Maybe get a job as a Walmart greeter and then complain all day that it's too much trouble to actually greet people?

     What does all this have to do with self publishing, and paying to get your work out there?  Nothing.  If you read the things I write, you know I ramble on.  Oh well, if you're really interested in publishing yourself, read Katie's blog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pawn Pawns

This is complete and utter fiction...hopefully.

     A few weeks ago after watching the tv show Pawn Stars, I decided I wanted to see if I could get a part time job in a pawn shop.  It looked like fun, and I would be able to see a variety of items that people wanted to get money for.  I mentioned this to Chinstrap, and he decided he wanted to go for a job, too.  I happened to have a friend named "Charles" who had a small pawn shop near where I live, so I asked him.  He told me it's always hard to find good help and would welcome us as clerks as long as we were careful.  So one Saturday afternoon I met Chinstrap outside the pawn shop.  

     I had thought it would just be me and Chinstrap, but he had also brought along a Chinese guy named "Choy Su."  I don't know where he found this guy, but Chinstrap guaranteed me Choy Su would be great in the shop.  Charles went over the basics with us, and after watching me make an offer on a watch a customer had brought in to sell, decided that he could trust us three with the shop while he went to lunch.  What could possibly happen in a hour, right?

     I was at one counter, while across the store Chinstrap and Choy Su worked another counter.  A guy walks into the store with a small pistol and comes over to my counter.  He starts to go on and on to me about how the pistol is 600 years old and how he had paperwork to prove it.  I start to look at the papers he pulls out, and out of the corner of my eye notice Choy Su talking to another guy holding what looks like a beat up, old record.  I then hear Chinstrap yelling.

     "I told you you're too fat to try on the rings!"  He's yelling this at a large, female customer.  I want to go over and stop him from yelling, but the idiot with the gun keeps going on and on about the paperwork.  Now I see Choy Su counting out a pile of hundred dollar bills to the guy who had the beat up record.  Finally, after a few minutes, I can't stand to listen to this guy anymore and tell him he needs to come back in an hour when the expert (owner) comes back to look at the gun.  After getting rid of him, I quickly go over to Choy Su and ask why he was giving the guy with the record all that money.  He holds up a really old Hawaiian shirt and the beat up record and says, "Mambo kit!"  I ask how much he paid for the "Mambo kit" and he says "Si tausan"  I don't understand him.  I ask him again, and again he says "Si tausan."  I call Chinstrap over to translate, and he tells me Choy Su has paid SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A BEAT UP RECORD AND OLD SHIRT!  I can't believe this, we're now going to be in so much trouble when the owner comes back from lunch!  I tell Choy Su he is no longer allowed to buy anything from the customers!

     Chinstrap is now back at his counter and with a customer.  He's showing Chinstrap a watch.  Chinstrap tells him the watch is fake.  The guy insists the watch is real, and again, Chinstrap tells him it's fake.  The man tells Chinstrap he doesn't know what he's talking about, and Chinstrap picks up the watch, and throws it at a nearby wall.  Now he tells the man, "Fake or not, now it doesn't even work!"  I think I'm in a waking nightmare!  The man, now clearly very upset, picks up the watch and says we'll be hearing from his lawyer.  But at least he leaves the shop.

     A man in an electric golf cart now tries to drive through the shop door.  The cart won't fit, but he keeps ramming the doorway anyway.  Chinstrap leaves his counter and goes over to the front door to yell at the man in the cart.  The man stops the cart long enough to pull out a large knife and wave it around wildly.  Chinstrap grabs the knife, and throws it inside the store, into a painting hanging on the wall with a price tag of $2,000.  He's now leaning out the door, across the cart, trying to punch the driver.  As he's leaning over the front of the cart, the driver backs up, and then goes speeding out across the parking lot with Chinstrap across the front of the cart.  I remember being amazed at how fast the little cart drove.  Finally, Chinstrap rolls off the cart across the lot, and the man zooms away.  I want to go outside and see if he's ok, but he jumps quickly up and stalks his way angrily back towards the shop before I can.  
     
     Choy Su is now taking some money from a customer and smiling ear to ear.  After the customer leaves, I go over and mention to him again that he's not supposed to be buying anything else.  He says "No, I sell!"  He proudly shows me the tag he removed from the watch he's just sold to the customer.  It says "Rolex watch:  $5,000."  I ask him to show me the money he got for the watch, and he proudly shows me two twenty dollar bills and one ten.  "I make fify dollar!" he says proudly!  He then stuffs the money into his own pocket instead of into the nearby cash register.  I now start to think I may be going to prison after my shift.  My stomach starts to hurt, and I'm about to go over and tell Chinstrap that I might just go home and leave him and Choy Su to wait for the owner to come back.  But just as I'm going over to his counter:

     Chinstrap leans across the counter and slaps a guy.  He slaps him hard, too!  He slaps the guy so hard, the man actually spins in a complete circle!  It was like watching an old Charlie Chaplin movie.  I'm so stunned, I don't know what to do!  The man stands there stunned for a few seconds, and then turns and staggers unsteadily out the door.  I go up and yell "Why the hell did you hit that customer?"  He answers "What customer?"  I can't believe this.  "You just slapped a guy so hard, he spun in a circle!"  Chinstrap smiles and says "Yeah, that was neat, wasn't it?"  He still doesn't bother to tell me why he slapped the guy, though!  I really want to leave because now it's almost been an hour and the owner should be back any minute.  I now see Choy Su wearing all the watches that were in the case in front of him a few minutes ago.  

     I go up and start to ask why the hell he has all the watches on, but stop myself.  I just yell for him to take them off!  He smiles at me and says "You buy watch?"  I grab him and try to drag him across the counter, and as we're struggling, the owner walks back in.  I stop struggling with Choy Su and he yells "You no buy watch!"  The owner, Charles, walks calmly across the store and pulls the knife Chinstrap had thrown earlier out of the painting.  He looks around and then asks how much money went out the door.  Chinstrap leans casually on the counter nearby as I'm trying to tell Charles how sorry I am.  He asks again how much money went out the door.  I tell him $6,000 and a $5,000 watch.  He rubs his chin and asks "That's all?"  I tell him yes, that was it...plus the painting, and the man saying he was going to call his lawyer, and the slapping.  He actually thanks us for our help and tells us to go home.  Before we leave, he tells me the last people he left in the shop while he went to lunch destroyed the shop.  So he was actually happy there was no damage to the store.  Charles is good people.

And you know what?  I don't think Choy Su took off the watches before he left!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Laziest in HISTORY!

     I really do live in Wonderland.  And not the "Oh wow, look how wonderful everything is here!" kind of wonderland either.  I live in the "I can't believe you actually did that" kind of wonderland.

"I'm not trained."

     This is what I hear every night I work.  This seems to be what you say anytime you don't want to do something where I work.  You just say you aren't trained, and then walk away from something.  It can even be something as simple as filling out a paper.  One guy was "trained" three nights in a row on how to fill out this small paper that takes maybe a minute and a half to do.  On the fourth night, he refused to fill the paper out saying he wasn't "trained."  I'm not sure how some of the people I work with get their shoes tied before they come to work.

     As a security officer you need to write reports sometimes.  Most of the people I work with refuse to write a report saying they aren't "trained."  Even if they're involved in an incident I'm handling, and all they need to do is get someone's name, or ID, or something, they still do nothing.  Do I have an extreme example?  Of course!  I get sent to a room where a guy has stopped breathing.  His wife is frantic, and I call for the paramedics and start CPR on him!  I do CPR until the paramedics arrive and they put him on a their gurney and take him away.  While I was doing CPR and waiting for the paramedics, there were 3 other people in the room related to the man.  Everyone leaves with the paramedics and I find the three other officers who were on the call with me.  Actually I only find two, one has decided everything was too traumatic for him to handle and went home.  He didn't do CPR, or even come inside the room to help me, but he went home anyway.  I ask the other two officers what the guy's name was that I was doing CPR on.  I get this:

"I dunno."

     Ok, I was doing CPR on him for 15 minutes!  No one else bothered to get his ID, or talk to his wife, or anything like that?

"I dunno."

     When I talk to a supervisor later, what I get is the same thing:  They talk to the other officers who were up on the call with me and the explanation they get is "I'm not trained."  How are you not trained to ask for someone's ID, or gather information?  I really wonder what these people are actually "trained" to do!  I have NEVER in my life seen people this lazy!

     So now the "management" people have decided that everyone will be sent to a lot of "classes."  I guess these will be classes like how to stand upright, or how not to drool on people while you're claiming you aren't "trained."

     Back to writing reports.  Last night an officer was tasked to write a report because they called for the paramedics.  That's fine, you can call for the paramedics if you need them.  But then you are responsible to write a report about what happened.  I can't put the report in this blog, but I can write something similar:

'i saw guy there on the floor  he said oooo.  i said aaa and asked if he was on the floor  he said oof and tried to tell me the wather.  he was not responsiveable and so i called for amr.  they came and said ooothen he went to the hspital.'

     I honestly think I could recruit more security officers from a local kindergarten who could write reports that make more sense.  You might think I exaggerate these things to make what I write funnier, but that couldn't be further from the truth!  I guess the person who writes like that isn't "trained?"  But trained in what, modern English?  Holy cow!  How would you even train someone like that?  And what would you even start to train them in?  People complain about working with maids that only speak Spanish and no English, but what do you say about someone who's primary language is English and also speaks just the way I wrote the above 'fake' report?

     These are the people who write "maybe" on their employment application where it asked for "sex."  They check both boxes they see, both "male" and "female" and think it's some kind of "perk" if they get the job.  I'm just...stunned.

     I'm usually assigned to the security podium every night now because no one else is "trained" to work up there.  I know not to drink any water while I'm working, even if I'm thirsty, because if I have to go to the bathroom later I either can't find any other security on the floor, or if I do, they won't sit at the booth while I run to take a minute and a half piss because they aren't "trained."  Someone might come up and ask them something!

     I know I'm venting a lot here.  And some of this is fiction.  (Probably just the part about what people write on their applications?)  But honestly...REALLY?  Are people really this dumb and lazy?  Oy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reviewing confusing stuff

     I was surprised to find an email asking me to review some screen capture software called "Snapit."  After doing the review in my blog and forwarding the link, I would get the software for free.  First question, do I even need screen capture software?  What the hell would I even do with it?  Well, the easy answer for that would be that I would use it with my blog.  I can take pictures of anything I find while I'm surfing around the net, and then make other people see it here.  HA!  Sounds good, right?  What the hell, let's give it a go.  If you're interested in the web site, or where you can get this program, here's the link:

http://www.digeus.com/products/snapit/snapit_screen_capture_3_5.html

     I tried to download and open the trial version through America Online, and it didn't work.  I got some kind of error that told me it somehow didn't finish loading correctly.  But then AOL isn't the most reliable way to download things.  I switched over to MSN and downloaded it that way and it worked fine.  The program is a bit confusing at first, and I wasn't sure what the hell was happening.  It put a little camera icon down on my little system tray on the bottom.  What the hell, I'll use the program to show the icon!


     See?  It's the little camera below the eyeball thing, and next to the little...guy thing.  Whatever.  Now I'm all ready to go!  Hooray!  I click on the camera and nothing happens.  I click on the screen, nothing.  Now I'm confused and don't even know if the program is doing anything.  So I went back to the web site and read the directions.  Once I got the hang of things, it wasn't hard.  The directions said to click "PrtScr."  What the hell is that?  I looked and looked, and eventually found the "PrtScrn" (Print Screen) button on my keyboard.  Ok.  So now I press that and my cursor turns into something that lets me make a box around whatever I want to snap a picture of.  Easy enough.  Now what?  Where did the picture go?  Now I'm still confused, but I'm determined to figure things out because this program has the potential to be neat...if I can figure it out.  I guess whatever I put the box around went to the "clipboard?"  Where's the clipboard?  This seems a bit complicated, but after reading a bit further, I find out that after making the box, I can right click on the camera icon and save the picture where ever I want.  Ok, I'm learning.  Now to try it out on something big.  I like books, so let's snap a picture of a book on amazon.com!  Katie's a great author, you should read her books!


     Ok, I need to also push one of my own books:

     Ooo, it worked.  The capture is exactly the screen I was looking at, and what I selected to capture!  So far, so good!  So now of course, comes the fun part.  I can break just about anything.  But, since I can't bang this program against the wall, I need to see if I can find other ways to make it not work.  I've gotta try to push the limits.  Let's try moving pictures!  How do you suppose it'll do trying to take a picture of a video?  Well, let's find out:


     No, I won't be buying the sweater.  As soon as I pushed the "PrtScrn" button, the video froze.  The sound still played, but it stops right when you push the button.  So if you want a part of a video, you need to make sure you're pushing the button right when whatever you want to capture comes on the screen.

     Capturing from youtube worked great, too!  This is becoming fun!  Now let's try a movie.  Let's see how the capture works, or if it even works, when I try to grab a screen shot of the movie Star Trek while it's playing on Itunes:

     It's Spock!  Fabulous!


     And the Joker!  Wow, this actually works pretty well!  I can see right now how useful it can be when I blog, if I want to show pictures of things.  And the way it allows you to capture just what part of the screen you want works well.  It took me a few minutes to figure out, but once I got the hang of things, I really liked the program!  You can even set the program up so that it will automatically save your captures where ever you want.  Very nice.

     So I guess I'd give the program an A+ for the review.  It does exactly what it's supposed to do, and even froze and took snapshots of video for me.  I guess this program is only for a pc as of now, so sorry Mac users.  I do have a Mac laptop and am sorry I can't use this program on it.  But for my pc, this is actually pretty convienent.  Be careful with it, though.  I'm certain somewhere someone will throw a fit about copyright infringement. 

     So if you need a good screen capture program, Snapit might just be the one for you.  And as it has a free trial, you can try before you buy.  So give it a shot, just like I did and see what you think.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Books and things for the literate

     If you've figured it out, I've written a couple of books.  Ok, I've written 6 so far.  All of them are for sale on Amazon.com, and some of them even on the Kindle.  (I think that's some electronic kind of thing made by elves.  Some kind of magic book thing.)  Even though I write, I do read books.  How odd, right?  I love books and they take you to other worlds.  So for today, I thought I'd do a review of a book I've read, one I'm reading right now, one I will be reading, and shove one of mine in there somewhere, too.  And off we go!

     The first book was written by a friend of mine, Steve Morris.  He's English.  He's also a teacher, and a damned good writer!  His first book was a book of short stories called "In All Probability."  Look the book up on Amazon, it's pretty good!  My favorite story is the first one.  It's about a guy who kills a dictator in another country with a rock.  There's more to the story obviously, but that's the gist of it.  And they go on from there.  This is actually a great book!  Not only are the stories fantastic, but all of them are short enough to read in just a few minutes.  So you don't get bogged down in some huge plotline, or stuck in the middle of some 80 page chapter when the doctor calls you out of the waiting room for your prostate exam.  (Was that rude?  I can never tell.)  A camera that photgraphs ghosts, a man who lives a completely other life when he sleeps...or is his waking life the dream life?  A society that is perpetually happy, the stories get better and better as they go on!  A great read, and a book I highly recommend everyone pick up!


What's next on my shelf?  Well, that would be the book that I'm currently reading.  It's called "God does have a sense of humor."  It's by active duty Naval Officer Rob Ballister.  I'm about half way done with this one, but I can tell you I absolutely love it!  It's a collection of I guess you would call them essays?  He wrote these things as he grew up through life, and they're chaotic, insane, and hilarious.  In some ways, they remind me of my own blogs, except they aren't about Las Vegas.  It's great writing, and I can promise him a shining review as soon as I'm finished.  If you've ever wondered if a Naval engineer can put together a gingerbread house, read this.  Rob seems to have no luck with women, furnature, gingerbread houses, doctors, or anything else.  Each essay left me wanting to read the next one!  Very good book so far!


          Next is the book I'm waiting to read.  It should be on it's way to me shortly.  It's a "fairy tale" called Cinders.  It's about how unhappy Cinderella was after she got married, I guess.  I love the sound of this one!  It's always fun to read about how a fairy tale went wrong after the "happily ever after" end.  The Fairy Godmother is locked up?  The Prince is now loveless?  Wow, sounds neat to me!  I can't wait to read it! 


     Ok, and last, but certainly not least, one of my books.  This one is called "A Writer's Engagement."  I guess a few people have read this one, but I don't have any reviews of it up on Amazon.com.  Nobody's reviewing it!  Shame on you people!  You tell me it's really good, but don't review it for me!  It's the second one in a series of books about a guy and a girl, how they fall in love, and in this one, how they get engaged.  So, if you've actually read this, or IF you end up reading it, I'd love a review.  THANK YOU!  If you like soap opera type stuff, this is the book for you.  Mushy parts, relationship parts, he loves her, she loves him, on and on.  It'll be continued in the book "A Writer's Wedding" that I'm working on now.  So take a look, and read one or all of these books.  All quality stories!


     And, just for the hell of it, here's the promotional video for my newest book, "Terminating Vegas."  Enjoy.

video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mad Man Matthew Promotions...wow.

     As you might know, I'm a writer.  I've written and put out a few books, but if you go way back to when I wrote my first one, there are some really funny stories.  One of the best ones, is about my friend Matthew.  Or as I've refered to him in blogs before:  Chinstrap.

     My first book was called "Adventures in Casino Security."  It followed one particular security officer around for a week and showed the things he had to deal with.  Matthew loved the book.  Maybe because it was good, or maybe because his friend had written it, or maybe just because he was represented as a character in the book, I don't know.  But, through several agreements (One of which was me promising to use him as my personal body guard after I was a millionaire) Matthew decided to promote my book for me.  Back then I didn't know much about promotion, and Matthew knew even less, I think.  But not knowing something has never stopped him.  He gets his way, period.  So he takes a few copies of my book and decides on a written media blitz.  In other words, he'll push the book on some magazines published here in Las Vegas, and maybe a couple in California.


     He decides he wants the book promoted in a magazine here called "Las Vegas Weekly."  He finds the office where the magazine is published and takes a drive over.  He can actually clean up really well, wear a tie and jacket, and look very mature and business like!  Looks can be deceiving.  He shows up at the office all dressed up, looks professional, and asks nicely to speak to the editor.  After a short wait, he is led into the edtor's office.  Matthew explains to the editor about how his friend has just put out a new book, shows the editor the copy of the book, and asks nicely for a review, or maybe just a short article about it to be in Las Vegas Weekly.  The editor thanks Matthew, tells him he'll "take a look when he gets time" and puts the book under a huge stack of papers.  Matthew doesn't like this, but leaves politely...for that day.

     The next day, Matthew goes back to the office and again asks to see the editor.  After a brief wait, he is escorted into the office, and points to the book, still under the stack of papers.  "Have you read it yet?" he asks.  "Uh, not yet, but we'll get to it."  He is told.  Matthew leaves and goes home.  Once he's back at home, he calls the editor on the phone to ask when the article is coming out.  He's again told that they haven't gotten to the book yet.  Matthew, trying not to get upset tells the editor, "Take the book out from under all of those papers, and put it on top!"  The editor politely says he'll move the book up, and will get to it.  Is Matt done?  A normal, mortal man might be done, but not Matthew.

     The next morning when he wakes up, he calls the Las Vegas Weekly office again.  This time, the editor agrees to give the book to a "staff reporter" and have something done with it.  Matt agrees and hangs up...only to call back around noon and see if the book has been given to a reporter yet.  He's now becoming obsessed with getting my book into Las Vegas Weekly.  He will NOT be blown off!  He's given a few other books to a few other places, but is completely focused on Las Vegas Weekly.  Every day now, he either calls them 10 times a day, either demanding the "staff reporter's name" or he shows up at their office, wanting to know when an article about the book is coming out!  Finally, the editor allows him into his office for a "talk."  He tells Matt that as I'm a new, "self published" writer, and don't even have any reviews of the book yet, it's hard to find space for it in the magazine.  He tells Matt "It's quality writing, but you have to understand we only have so much space each week."

     When Matt tells me what the editor said, I'm really thrilled.  A professional editor said my writing was "quality writing!"  I'm ecstatic!  Matthew is not.  He continues to call the office and show up almost every day, he will not leave these people alone!  You don't tell Matthew no.  You simply DON'T!  I'm not sure he even knows what no means. 

     And guess what?  If you bother people enough, they'll sometimes do just about anything you want just to get rid of you.  Finally, one day as Matthew is showing up at the office, the editor comes out and tells him a small article about Adventures in Casino Security will be in the next issue of Las Vegas Weekly.  Matt calls me and lets me know.  He tells me to make certain and get a bunch of copies!  That shouldn't be hard, it's a free publication.  I pick a few up, and sure enough, there is a small article called "Excerpts from Adventures in Casino Security."  It had four quotes from the book, and listed it as for sale for $15 on amazon.com.

I'm proud of Matthew.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Teriffic Twos

     I've written about going to see the Shark Reef at Manadalay Bay with Matt and his daughter Bei Lei.  This week, I was invited to go to a place called the "Adventuredome" with them.  Matt, Bei Lei and Kim and Allen.  Two adults (You would think) and three kids.  Adventuredome is kind of like a mini theme park.  For me, it was a place to see a two year old go wild.  Things didn't turn out exactly like I thought they would, but it was still a really fun trip!

So good ol' Chinstrap picks me up and we head out.  I don't really want to ride on anything, so I don't really spend any money.  Matt buys wristbands for all the kids though, so they can ride.  He then instructs the kid who's sold him the wristband to place it on the wriggling, squirming, two year old.  You can see how her arm is blurry, two year olds don't stay still, even for wristbands.

Bei Lei begins to explore the dome.  She's having a ball!  She's a busy little kid and doesn't stay in one place for more than about a half a second.  We find a wall with a frog painted on it and I show it to her.  I ask her to stand in front of the frog wall so I can take her picture.  She goes over to the frog wall for half a second and then leaves.  Since my camera doesn't work in half second bursts, I miss the picture.  I ask again and get another half second.  Finally, Matt gets her to stand next to him for a picture for a good three seconds and I actually get a good shot!


Matt puts her on a few kiddie rides, and she's having a blast!  Two year olds having fun are always great to watch!  I'm waiting for the tantrum.  I can't wait to see him try to take her out of here when she's having fun!  He decides we need to eat eventually, and I figure she'll go nuts as we walk out.  As we near the exit, she's looking around, not wanting to leave.  I think what the hell, let's try like Matt does and just talk to her like an adult.  So I tell her we're going to eat, and then we'll come back.  Bei Lei smiles and says "Ok."

     I'm shocked.  She's being more reasonable than most adults I know!  Is this really a two year old kid?  We find a little pizza restaurant and Matt orders us some pizza.  He also gets us some drinks and then gives little Bei Lei some Pepsi.  I like Pepsi.  It's full of sugar and caffine.  Wait...sugar and caffine?


     She slurps it right down.  He gives her more.  She slurps it down.  He gives her more.  Now she's wired!  Now she's fun to watch!  Matt has filled his two year old full of sugar and caffine and she's chatting with me from across the table.  I have no idea what the hell she's saying because I can't really hear her, but she's having a great time!  WIRED!


     She begins to bounce around the booth.  He tries to get her to sit down and eat, but she's bouncing, and bouncing.  She's on the floor, she's on her brother, she's on Matt.  WIRED!  MORE PEPSI!  I tell Matt that when you give a two year old Pepsi, it's filled with sugar and caffine and they go nuts.  He just says, "It's what she wants."  Now, laughing away, I'm happy to watch her.  She pulls off the wristband.  Matt puts it back on.  She pulls it off, he puts it back on.  She pulls it off, and finally he leaves it off and sets it on the table.  We finish eating and head back for more rides.  As we reach the dome, Matt realizes Bei Lei isn't wearing her wristband anymore.  It was left on the table.  I walk back, but the table has been cleaned off.  He decides he'll just go and argue with someone and get her another wristband.  He finds some 20 year old kid in the dome and begins to argue about getting another wristband.  Meanwhile, Bei Lei is rolling on the floor, looking up at the top of the dome, and running here and there, still wired.  Matt argues and argues with this kid, but he won't give out another wrist band.  The wired two year old may bankrupt the company by going on a couple more rides.  After fighting and agruing for a while, the kid finally gives Matt four tickets for four more free rides for Bei Lei.  We discover that when we go to take her on rides, the attendants don't even ask for the ticktes.  They obviously see she's wired and don't want to get in her way!  They just let her on.  When you see someone who is two feet tall banging on a gate, I guess you just let them in!


     One pigtail has come loose and hair is everywhere on her!  She's happy and running around and bouncing onto rides!  Wahoo!  I can't wait for the tantrum when we leave!  This should be a great one!  A screaming, sugar and caffine filled child, yelling and screaming as Matt tries to drag her away from the rides!  *chuckle* I can't WAIT!  I ended up disapointed.  After a few more rides, Matt takes her hand and says "Ok, it's time to go now."  She says "Ok" and takes his hand.  We walk out towards the car and I figure maybe she didn't understand he meant leave the dome.  She'll scream when he puts her in the car seat.  I'm still disapointed, but actually really impressed!  She's quiet and happy when he puts her in the car seat!  I turn around from my seat and ask her, "Did you have a good time tonight, Bei Lei?"  She answers "Yes."

     So, I didn't get a tantrum tonight, but that's ok.  I get to see plenty of adults at work throw tantrums.  I did have a great time with the kids, though.  I suggested to Matt that we take them to "Build a Bear" next time and spend several hundred dollars buying underwear for a stuffed animal.  I'm not sure he liked that idea. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Steam

Because someone asked me about "butt prints on a window."  I don't think that's in the blog, but this is the trip it happened on.  And since this is Matthew"s (Chinstrap) favorite blog, I thought I'd post it again here.  (It's also in my blog book, Vegas Ramblings!)

The Steam


On Monday a friend and I decided we needed to blow off some steam. What does this mean? Well, for us it meant we made reservations in a casino/hotel in Laughlin, Nevada. We went there thinking it would be a nice room, maybe a nice Jacuzzi tub to sit in, gamble a bit and just relax. We had rented the best suite a hotel called the "Aquarius" would let us have and made the 100 mile drive from Vegas thinking things would be fun! Well, when things get off to a bad start, they sometimes go from bad to worse.

I was supposed to pick my friend up at his house. I don't like cell phones much, but I have a little MPA that I can send text messages from. So, after work I took a little nap so I would be rested for the drive and sent him a text message. No answer. What the hell, he can't answer me? I sent a few more as I got gas for the trip. Nothing. I drove over to his house, but his truck was gone and nobody answered the door! How dare he do this to me! I located someone else's cell phone and called him up. He answered and said he didn't get the text messages I had sent. I drove back to his house and this time found him, and off we went to Laughlin.

To keep things anonymous and confusing I'll call my friend "Chinstrap." Chinstrap couldn't understand why he didn't get the text messages and so called the cell phone company on the drive to Laughlin. He argued with somebody for 50 miles of the drive! All the way to a place called Searchlight, Nevada! As I stopped in Searchlight to pee and take a nice break he continued to argue on the phone for at least a half hour more. The argument stopped after I got back on the road and was so far out in the desert that no communication signals were receivable at all.

As we pulled into Laughlin, Chinstrap started to scream about how hot it was! "Oh the heat!" He kept crying, "It's killing me!" He then produced a fly swatter which he began waving around. I parked in the Aquarius garage and listened to Chinstrap cry on the short walk inside about the heat. He then became upset in the casino when he didn't see anyone under the age of about 80. We walked up to the front desk and the clerk asked if he could help us. Chinstrap smacked him in the face with the flyswatter. I asked Chinstrap, "Did you get it?" and he answered "Get what?"

The clerk was a good sport and checked us in and gave us the keys to our "suite." It was on the third floor in a building that you supposedly had to be at least 21 years of age to enter. Why? I never figured that out, but it was written on all the entry doors. As we entered our room we couldn't wait to check out the view! We walked inside and slung open the row of curtains to see.....a wall. And not just a wall, but a filthy wall. We were staying in a suite with a view of a filthy wall. Chinstrap immediately picked up the phone and called housekeeping to demand more towels.

If you didn't mind the view of the wall, the room was pretty nice. It had a nice kitchenette and a separate bedroom with two beds inside. There wasn't a Jacuzzi though, just a small bathtub/shower combo in a small bathroom. We unloaded our small overnight bags and decided to drive across the river to Arizona and a local Walmart to get some supplies. On the drive we were surprised to see a homeless man alongside the road wearing only a burlap sack. Chinstrap almost fell out of the car trying to get out his camera. Unfortunately he didn't get it out in time. He kept screaming, "I'm an educated man, but I wouldn't even know where to find a burlap sack like that!"

Once inside Walmart we proceeded to pick out snacks and things to munch on for our short trip. As we walked through the store I heard Chinstrap say to one woman, "No amount of cuetips will help you, lady." Another woman said, "Oh, I must be in the wrong aisle!" Chinstrap replied to her, "Wrong aisle? Try the wrong planet, honey!" I decided it was time to speed up getting the snacks and go back to the hotel.

Upon returning to the hotel Chinstrap again called for more towels. This time he also asked for more pillows, three more bathmats, more shampoo, and two more tv remote controls. Housekeeping happily brought everything up and I piled it all in a corner of the room. After stowing our supplies we decided to check out a couple of the other local casinos. On our way out Chinstrap stopped at a bar and got himself a shot of whiskey and a beer. We walked outside and headed for a hotel next door called the Riverside and for the entire walk Chinstrap waved around his flyswatter and screamed not only about the heat, but also about how he didn't like the way Laughlin smelled. We entered the Riverside and once again there wasn't anyone under about 80 years old. Chinstrap was once again upset about this. He went over to one of the bars and got another shot of whiskey and a beer. We decided to move on to another casino to see if there were maybe younger people somewhere else.

We came across a dump called Edgewater. As we went inside, Chinstrap was actually behaving. We walked up to a bar and ordered drinks (Pepsi for me and whiskey and a beer for Chinstrap), however before we were served a security guard came up and asked what the flyswatter was. Chinstrap looked at me and I looked at the guard and I told him it was a Cheese factory. The guard asked where I was staying, but before I could answer, Chinstrap yelled out, "Hey! Where can I get a burlap sack to wear? You people have incredible fashion sense!" The guard looked confused and again asked where we were staying. I answered, "We're staying at the Cheese Factory, of course!" We were then asked to leave. On the way out Chinstrap kept asking people where the Burlap Sack Store was. Upset at being asked to leave somewhere just because Chinstrap was carrying a flyswatter, we went back to our hotel room. On the way to the room Chinstrap got another whiskey shot and another beer from our hotel bar. Once at the room I took my turn and called housekeeping for more towels, a few more bathmats and four more pillows.

The room didn't seem as cool as we would like it, so Chinstrap called the front desk and asked for someone to come to the suite to check the air conditioning. He then called housekeeping for more towels, more bathmats, and several more pillows. The pile in the corner was becoming quite large! Chinstrap also called for a bellman. I asked him why and he screamed "I demand to know where the Burlap Sack Store is!" He was becoming quite drunk. An engineer showed up to check the air conditioner and actually told us that part of it had been disabled! She said she had fixed it and it should cool down shortly. Chinstrap then began screaming lines from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at her. "That man is my attorney!" he yelled, "And despite his racial handicap..." The engineer hurried out of the room before he could finish. He then called housekeeping for more towels and also asked if they had any burlap towels.

At about 3 A.M. Chinstrap decided he wanted to go back to the casino. I could gamble a bit while I kept my eye on Chinstrap who was now extremely intoxicated. We went to a bar in the center of the hotel and he ordered more whiskey and more beer. We were playing the poker machines at the bar so the bartender didn't charge us for the drinks. Then Chinstrap saw a slot tech girl that actually looked young! He hurried over to chat with her. I watched from the bar and after a minute or so of him waving around his flyswatter, I walked a bit closer to see if I could hear what he was saying to her. I got near them just in time to hear him ask her if she could send up more towels to our room. I coaxed him away from her and we went back up to the room to find a pile of delivered towels sitting outside our door.

Now Chinstrap decided he would actually take a shower. After the shower he started screaming at me from the bathroom to order more towels because he had flooded the bathroom. He told me the shower curtain kept touching him and so he had it hanging on the outside of the tub instead of inside it. Hence water went down the curtains and onto the bathroom floor. I called housekeeping and asked for more towels and several more bathmats and a few more pillows. Also a couple more tv remotes just to be safe.

All in all it wasn't a bad trip. Chinstrap told me when he got home he was going to call the hotel and complain about the view of the wall, but one thing he can't complain about would be the service. If you like towels and are in Laughlin, stay at the Aquarius. If nothing else, the service there is wonderful! I think the final count of things we had sent up was something like 22 pillows, 45 towels, 18 bathmats, 6 tv remote controls, an engineer and a partridge in a pear tree!

I have much less steam now. Everyone should blow off steam.