Loose Ends

As I was winding my way up Highway 50, I turned around to sneak one last peek at Lake Tahoe. The car crested over the mountain and Lake Tahoe was out of my life, hopefully only for the time being. I resumed facing forward and could help but think about just how amazing this country is. I’m almost more of a sucker for scenery than I am for a level-headed girl with a pretty smile. Almost. There is so much of this country that I have never seen: the Pacific Coast, the Florida Keys, the Gateway Arch, Walla Walla Washington. I hope someday I get to see it before I am relegated to the Daily Grind for all eternity.

Around the office I was given the nickname “The Glass.” That sounds like the street name for a drug or a designer steroid.

As I pulled up to Sacramento International airport, I noticed a fairly attractive girl sitting outside. I didn’t think much of it at the time so I just went about my check in routine. I sat outside the terminal and began taking advantage of the free internet. About 15 minutes before boarding was set to begin, I looked up and saw that very same fairly attractive girl sitting in front of me preparing to board the same plane. Now considering the events of the past few days, I was riding a fairly high wave of self esteem. And ever since I was stabbed I was trying to figure out if maybe the event served a larger purpose. In about a nano-second I came up with the halucination that perhaps I was destined to miss my flight so that I could meet this girl. Now that would be a good story for the kiddies. Lets tune in and see how it turned out:

<Over the Loudspeak the jetBlue agent annouces that the 1:00 flight to JFK will now be boarding. He then adds that headphones are for sale for only $1.00, but if you have your own they are surely better than the crap he is peddling. Immediatly a good 70 people get up to wait on line. Rick refuses to stand right away so he packs up his computer and continues to read his crappy book which hasn’t hooked him yet 84 pages in. Out of the corner of his eye he sees the fairly attractive girl stand up>
Rick: You’re not really going to stand in that line are you?
[The Fairly Attractive Girl looks at the line. Then sits back down and continues reading her book. 10 minutes later they both get up at the same time and take their place at the back of the now shortened line]
Rick: My name is Nick
FAG: Nikki
Rick: That’s conveinient. So are you from NY
Nikki: I’ve been bouncing back and forth for the last five years, but now I think I am going to stay in NY for good
Rick: Whoa, that tone was a little ominous (and strikingly familiar to too many movie quotes)
Nikki: And yourself?
Rick: I live just north of the city. Born and raise in NY. Do you have a place somewhere?
Nikki: I am crashing at a place in SoHo.
Rick: What do you do for a living? (Biting his tongue wishing he wasn’t the one to bring that up)
Nikki: I make furniture
Rick: That’s pretty awesome. I couldn’t make furniture.
Nikki: What about yourself
[Rick goes into his NBC Sports spiel which is getting pretty old. Afterwards they both board the plane. Nikki takes her seat in the third row and Rick recedes to the tenth row. As the cabin door closes, Rick is still sitting alone in his row and Nikki is alone in hers. In an uncharactoristic brave move, Rick gets up and takes the aisle seat in Nikki’s row]
Rick: No sense for both of us to sit alone
Nikki: Very true. So you live in Rockland County? That’s really funny, I grew up in Rockland, CA. A suburb of Sacramento.
[As the plane taxis across the runway, Nikki and Rick begin to make fun of the disgruntled stewardess. She is no Mrs. Mac. Amidst the laughter and a seemingly genuine good time Rick makes the highly dangerous move of switching to the seat next to Nikki while the Pilot still had the fasten seatbelts light on. Nikki claims that Ice Age 2 was an awful movie, but Rick defends the movies honor]
Nikki: How long does it take you get to the city?
Rick: 45 minutes without traffic, sometimes 2 hours if the traffic is bad during the commute.
Nikki: You commute to the city from there? Why don’t you move closer? (Things aren’t looking bad as of now, you could almost say they are on the up and up.)
Rick: I am as soon as I finish up my last semester of school
Nikki: Oh, you go to school in Rockland?
Rick: No, in Massachusetts
Nikki: Oh
[Nikki puts both of her headphones on. Cue five hours of akward silence broken only by feable attempts by Rick to spark conversation with some lack luster ice breakers. When the plane gets to the terminal, Nikki takes off into oblivion]

How expected. Girls suck. Except of course for those reading this blog. So I guess me stabbing myself served no purpose what-so-ever. How does TV, movies, and bedtime stories make it look so easy.

So now that I have some money in my pocket for something that is happening in May, I am expecting to be hit up for something soon. Today my computer power cable broke, what’s next?
3-1 odds my iPod dies
5-1 odds my car blows up.
7-11 my computer surfs the web for the last time

It’s good to be back on the right coast.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up (The Final Days)

Wow. Lot of action. This may be one that you need to buckle up for.

So the tournament finished up on Sunday. Even without Michael Jordan, the tournament attracted a record number of patrons. The television ratings weren’t impressive but this is one event which isn’t effected by poor ratings. The majority of income comes from the sponsors of the event. There are booths set up throughout the course and Harrah’s doesn’t mind ponying up a ton of dough to have filthy rich celebrities lose money in their casino. We started cleaning up when the last groups had nine holes to go and made a sizeable dent by the time 6:00 rolled around.

We got to the course at 8:00 on Monday and resumed the clean up process. I was just counting down to 2:00 when I would be teeing off at the course just a day after Jack Wagner’s clutch performance (He almost wasn’t invited this year, which can explain why the first people he thanked were my bosses, I’m not going to publish the reason). After an eternity 1:30 finally came and I met Brian Dawson at the range for our tee time. Mind you this was the first time that I even attempted a full golf swing since breaking my wrist so I needed some metaphorical WD-40. I took a page out of dad’s book and popped a few Advil before the round, but of course it wouldn’t kick in for a few holes. On the 9th hole I got a long message from my mom telling me to be careful, a total mom message but it made me look forward to seeing her in two days. I played pretty bad but I stepped it up at the right points to win the most skins on the round. Edgewood charges $200 per round for two reasons: it is the only course on Lake Tahoe and their season doesn’t begin until the middle of May due to the abundance of snow in the area. But I’ll tell you, besides the last three holes, it is not worth it. But I am thankful that I got to play there. Now when I play the course in TW 2005, it will be much cooler.

On the 16th hole I sunk a 30 ft putt for bogey dispite the fact that I had Walter’s cousins watching from the back of the green. Then when we got to 17 there was a group of people heckling us from a boat on the lake. I took the moment to sign a golf ball and hit it to them. For some reason no one jumped of the boat to fetch it. Then the highlight of the day came after the finishing out on the 18th hole. I shook hands with the guys we were playing with, ran to the cart while stripping down to my skivies and jumped into Lake Tahoe. I had expected the water to be cold, but it could not have been anymore perfect. It was unreal. And I am telling you, there is something special about that lake. It is crystal clear, fresh water and I think it has some magical powers because as soon as I jumped in I forgot about all of my troubles.
Up until that point, I was winded and very up tight. I tend to get to serious at times, especially when I am trying to prove myself in a work setting. The entire time I was here, I never really let myself go, and while everyone else was staying out till 2 in the morning, I was always in bed by 10:30. Maybe it was a combination of the tournament being over and the complements I had heard during the day, but I am still going to blame the lake itself.
Fun Fact: If you built a canal the width and depth of the Panama Canal on the equator and wrapped it around the world, the water in Lake Tahoe could fill the entire thing plus have enough left to fill a canal with the same dimensions from LA to NY.

I exited the water and basically sprinted back to the hotel. The lake gave me all sorts of energy. The tournament ran smoothly, I made a bunch of connections, and after 3 hours of work the next morning I would be heading home on a 2:30 plane. I got to my room showered and headed over to Friday’s Station (on the top floor of Harrah’s) where we had reservations for dinner. Brian got us the best table in the restaurant and we ate with his assistant Yvonnea. During dinner the entire trip hit me in a flash. I started cracking up for no reason. For lack of a better term, I was “blessed” to be able to go on this great trip. I did a lot of work, but I also got a lot in return.

After dinner we took the elevator to the lobby/casino level and Brian told us that he was going to teach us how to play Craps. We walked over the the table but not before making a pit stop. As we passed the roulette table Brian pulled out $1000, bet on black, and won. I stood there for a full minute besides myself. I became even more stunned when he handed me a $500 chip accompanied by: “Now you have a bank roll. Just stay positive, you’re going to win $1500 bucks tonight.” At this point I was still riding a Lake Tahoe high but I was speechless. At the Craps table Brian told us what to bet on and this began to escalate quickly. After about 10 minutes I was up $50 bucks and ready to call it quits, I am a seasoned casino high/casino low veteran, but Brian was just begining. We were placing $20 dollar bets meanwhile Brian was over there betting a couple of hundred on each roll.

We played until 12:00 when the three of us all crapped out on our rolls. Yvonnea and I called it a night and I nearly fell over when we cashed in our chips for $1900. I gave Brian his $500 plus more back, but he took it and put it right back into my shirt pocket. After thanking him profusely I went to bed with a huge smile since I would be going home in 12 short hours.I could barely sleep that night and when I woke up at 7:00 I headed out the door for my last 4 working hours in Tahoe. Everyone else had gone home by this point, so Mike and I were left with the closing duties. I moved a bunch of boxes to the storage room on the course and boxed up the rest of the things to be shipped out to random places. When 10:45 rolled around I was getting pretty ancy. 15 minutes till a freedom that tasted even better than the million cups of Jamba Juice I had over the course of the week. I had just returned from my final storage room run and all I needed to do was take the trash to the dumpster and I was a free man.

But of course what trip is complete with out the Piccinich Effect rearing it’s ugly head. I picked up the trash bags and boxes at which point I felt something graze my leg. I looked at the trash can (which is basically a tall box which gets folded together) and there was a plastic knife sticking out of the corner of the box. At that point I looked at my leg and noticed that the plastic knife was not a plastic knife but rather a shard of glass the size and shape of a pen that decided to venture into and (thank god) out of my calf. My leg was covered in blood. I calmly wheeled around walked back into the trailor:

Nick: Hey Mike, Do you have a towel or a tournequet of some sort?
Mike: Huh? Yea, why?
Nick: Well I kinda had a foray with some glass
Mike: (Sees my leg) Holy [explict deleated]

Instead of spending the next 15 minutes finishing work and getting back to the hotel, I was stuck on the floor with an elevated leg and electrical tape and paper towels trying to subdue the blood. By 11:30 the bleeding had stopped and I was still going to be able to catch my 12:00 limo, just sans a shower. Sucks for whoever was going to get stuck next to me on the plane. I stood up took a step in the right direction, then the world started doing circles around my head. I quickly retreated to the nearest staircase and crashed. The next 20 minutes were miserable, not only was I not getting to a limo to go home, the world looked like an over-exposed photograph. I was drinking one bottle of water while pouring a second bottle all over myself. By the time death had subsided, it was 12:15 and all hope was vanquished. Another day in Tahoe for me. Now it’s definatly not the worst punishment of all time but……..

Since I was now spending another day in Paradise, I decided to make the smart play, I hitched a ride to the clinic and got four stitches in my leg. I got back to the course at 1:15, worked for another hour and a half and then left for good.

My plane leaves tomorrow at 1. Hopefully I won’t have to take out the trash before then. See everybody real soon.

And That’s Enough of This (Day 7)

I got to Harrah’s this morning at 6:00. I picked up Neil Lomax, Al Del Greco and Ming Tsai then drove them to another golf course 30 minutes away where they were playing in a Pro-Am. The first 10 minutes of the trip were spent driving up hill. When I reached the crest, the scene was breath taking. The valley sprawled out in front of me was like nothing I have ever seen before. I didn’t really have to much time to admire the view since the trip down the mountain was filled with twists and turns and I definitely didn’t want the next day’s headlines to be “Football Players Driven off a Cliff by Idiot.” After dropping them off, I headed back for the last day of Pro-Am’s at Edgewood.

Much like all the outings at any golf course, the Pro-Am took forever. I kept myself busy by giving away swag bags and making the scorecard for the tomorrow’s rounds of golf. So now I have been out here one week and things are going great. But in my opinion this series of blogs are really going nowhere. So I probably won’t have anymore daily updates. They are becoming a chore to make entertaining and probably a chore to read. I love it out here, and I’m having a great time, but I am looking forward to going home. I’ll be home on Wednesday, I’ll see you then.

Fact: The American Century Championship has been declared a National Security Event so the FBI is here protecting the place.

Fiction: Jim$ was not invited to play in the ACC. (He is not here because it is impossible to provide enough security for him)

Fact: This gap-toothed hotel employee gave me the international sign for “call me” today. I won’t call.

Fiction: Mar is no longer winded

Fact: I am playing golf at Edgewood on Monday!

Fiction: I will be playing with Jim McCann, Gerry Oswald, and Bob Jacobs.

Little Kid in a Candy Shop (Day 6)

Last night’s dinner was $3000. That said, day six was of course very similar to all the rest. Slowly but surely however, I have taken control of merchandise distribution. A little responsibility never hurt anyone right? We have been doing a lot of moving things back and forth from the course to the hotel, and the one thing I have noticed is that there are a ton of groupies hanging around the town. I can’t even fathom the mindset of these girls whose goal in life is to sleep with as many celebrities as possible. That’s not my bag.

Today flew by mostly because it was all in anticipation of the evening’s festivities. At six thirty the dinner party started and was held at Harrah’s. I sat down to eat and within minutes the adjoining tables were filled up by Ray Allen, Marcus Allen, Lou Holtz, and Mario Lemieux. I thought I would be fine around the celebrities but as soon as I saw these guys I became as giddy as a school girl. This is awesome. At 9:00 everyone went downstairs to the club to attend the live auction and Cedric the Entertainer’s stand up act. Charles Barkley and Marcus Allen got into a heated battle over, of all things, a trip to Wimbledon for a week next year. It sold for $20,000. Mr. Entertainer was pretty funny but I left early because I had to wake up at 5:00 in the morning. The icing on the cake was that as I was leaving I walked by Jerry Rice singing karaoke in the lounge (He choose “Just My Imagination”).

I Have Lost Track of Days (Day 5)

What a difference an hour makes. I like waking up at 7:00 much better than 6:00. But fear not, I still got my breakfast in bed: scrambled eggs with cheese, hash browns, bacon, whole wheat toast, apple juice. It was heavenly. When I got to the course, we started working immediately.

As hectic as today was, it ran very smoothly. The running joke of the day was how bad at golden tee Matt was. As for the highlights of the day so this blog doesn’t become to stale and repetitive:

  • Digger Phelps and Gene Upshaw were hanging around the trailer.
  • Played football in the parking lot at the end of the day. The first sign of things loosening up. Gene Upshaw was not invited.
  • There are a lot of good looking girls (that I will never talk to) hanging around the course. Rumor has it they are all aspiring groupies.
  • Quote of the day: Rico: Damn, she might almost be worth the 10-15 years of prison.
  • It turns out that one of the higher-ups is good guy, Springfield grad.

Tonight we are going to the much ballyhooed, annual Jon Miller dinner. I have heard a lot of good things about this event. I’ll let you know what happens tomorrow because I am sure that I will be going straight to bed when I get back.

The Ball Keeps Rolling (Day 4)

After I last checked in with you, I walked around the back streets of the area. I made my way down to the Lakeside Beach to watch the sunset. Berry berry nice. I came back to the hotel, ordered room service, watched some TV (50 First Dates and Family Guy), and crashed for the night. Day four started very much like day three. I woke up at 12:30 and was extremely parched. However, I was smart this time. When I got room service last night I ordered three drinks so that I would have one just in case this very situation happened again.

At the course we got the sickest golf carts. They are mini Cadillac Escalades. All the patrons drool over them. But otherwise today was no different than the days of the past, merchandise bags and box moving. We did have to take a lot of packages to Harrah’s through the most backwards underground tunnels. It took hours and on top of that our car died so we had to get it jumped.

After work GQ took us out to one of Milthorpe’s favorite local dives. It was no Fitzy’s. But on the bright side it did have EA Sports PGA Golf (a golden tee clone). Rico, Matt, and I put in 5 bucks each so we could have a nice 18-hole match, but it turned out it only cost 9 bucks for three people to play 18 holes. You gotta love the cost of living out here. It would easily cost 15 bucks for a person to play 18 holes at Dave and Busters. I had ten birdies on the round, but Rico’s two eagles put him up by one after 18. Matt was 16 strokes behind. KP was there so it was good to joke around with her. Rumors started to circulate that Kevin Nealon was trying to persuade Adam Sandler to coming out. Upon hearing that, KP and I started spouting Sandler quotes like crazy.

Time to go to bed; I gotta be at the course at 7:00 AM tomorrow. It’s the first day spectators show up.

(Day 3) Still Better Than The Daily Grind, But Not RI

Today started off miserably, I woke up at 12:30 sweating profusely and with a ferocious thirst. Saying that I was parched would have been the understatement of the century. I got up turned down the thermometer and left the room in search of a beverage. Of course I only had a five dollar bill and the vending machines only accept singles. I walked down the hall to the bar but of course it was closed. I was way to exhausted to deal with this frustration so I conceded to grabing a cup of ice from the vending area and drinking solid water. I got back to bed and once again woke up at 6:30 to room service bringing me breakfast.

We got to the course at 8:00 and immediately began working. We had 120 bags to make, but would constantly be interupted throughout the day. We constantly had to keep inventory of all the merchandise we were giving out and moved some more boxes. We calculated that since I got here we have moved over 10,000 lbs in boxes. I got a second wind when Tara called to taunt me with stories of her delicious buffalo chicken cold cuts.

Half way through the day we helped put up a 35 foot high arch for the cars to drive under as they enter the course. After erecting the legs of the arch, I stood on the forklift to steady the crossbeam as one of the other guys bolted it into place.

Around 1:30 GQ showed up and provided a much needed third wind. He and Brett jumped in and help us for 30 minutes break down boxes and move some bags. Had they not helped we probably would have got out an hour later than we did. Thank heavens Sunday was created for golf because when the bosses skipped out at 3:00 to go play a round, we got to clean up and get out of there by 4:00.

That brings me up to the current time. I showered and had another lunch at the hotel then went out in seach of internet again. After an hour of walking I got a much needed pick me up at Jamba Juice (NYC flashback). That’s when I stumbled across a Starbucks with wireless access. After debating with myself I decided on purchasing a “pay as you go” pass. It costs six bucks, but that is better than the 11 bucks at the hotel. I don’t know what is going on tonight, but I’m sure it will involve room service and my bed. Until then, everyone take care. I wish you were all here with me.

And Tahoe It Begins (Day 2)

I woke up this morning at 6:30 to the sound of room service bringing me my breakfast. It was good. This pampered stuff was weird at first, but I think I get used to it more everyday. I wonder what my mom would say if I called her at 10:00 at night to tell her to make me breakfast the following morning and to bring it to my room at 6:30? We got to the course at 7:45 and began working right away. We had to put batteries into all the range finders so that the celebrities wouldn’t be burdened with the job. Next we made 68 sponsor bags for the Harrahs group. Each bag took a few minutes to make even with Matt (the other guy, who like myself, receive all the jobs no one else wants to do), so this took us almost to 10:45. The rest of the day consisted of making 70 more bags with the daunting task of making another 110 tomorrow. We also move a lot of boxes, take out the trash, and move some more boxes.

We got off at 6:00 today so I went back to the room, freshened up, and made my way over to the restaurant down the hall. The place was pretty classy (they made me take my hat off) and had a gorgeous view of Lake Tahoe. I probably would not have gone there normally but since I have $100 to spend a day on food and beverages, I have free reign. They greatest part about this fancy restaurant is that after dinner they bring you a plate of cotton candy. Talk about luxury.

After dinner I walked to California just I could say that I have been there in my lifetime. Technically Harvey’s is on the corner of Nevada and California, but still the trip would have left Mar winded. On my walk some girl told me she loved me on a dare. Her friends found it hilarious; I thought I was a pretty good catch. I stopped off at the casino for the first time on the way back. I lost a dollar in the slot machine. I had hoped that I could use my computer out here to post on my blog everyday; however the internet cost $11 per day. I had thought hey maybe I could go down to the casino, play some games and maybe win myself some internet, but I don’t have enough discretionary funds to follow that plan to fruition.

It is beautiful out here. A welcome reprieve from city life, but it sucks being out here alone. I’m looking forward to Kristina, Gary, and Jon getting out here so at least I know someone, but it still will be lonesome.

Greetings from Lake Tahoe (Day 1)

Since everyone is wondering what the heck I am doing out here, I decided that it would be best to update the blog as often as possible.

Friday July 7, 2006
12:00 I finally finish packing and hit the sack.
3:00 Wake up, shower, eat breakfast
3:30 Sayid picks me up and we head off to Newark
4:40 Check-in and begin killing time until boarding
4:50 I am reluctant to put my wallet through the security check because those sly guards can use my money to buy themselves Sierra Mist
5:30 I go to the bar to get some breakfast. I am served orange juice with ice. I have defiantly maybe seen this somewhere before.
6:12 Plane takes off
7:20 Land in Chicago
8:26 Take off again
9:58 Land in Reno
10:15 There is a limo waiting for me outside
11:20 We are driving on a road very reminiscent of the one in the Shining but then we round the mountain and Lake Tahoe comes into view. It’s gorgeous.

Lake Tahoe

11:28 Once again pass by a Snug Harbor, the home of gay men and the swim trunks I returned to the store
11:40 Arrive at Harvey’s and of course my room isn’t ready. So I walk over to the golf course. How ever there is good news, I do get a $100 per diem for food and beverages.
12:00- 6:35 Throughout the day I moved boxes, sorted through merchandise, and organized all the celebrity credentials. The only real highlight was the following exchange:

Jeanine: What’s your last name?
Me: Casanova
Jeanine: Wow that’s awesome. That was my grandma’s maiden name. I always wished I could change my name.
Me: My name is still available if you’re interested.

6:30 Finally make it to my room. It is on the top floor of the hotel. It is rather lavish. I’m defiantly not mature enough for this yet.
7:30 Ordered some exquisite potato skins which unfortunately had huge diminishing returns
8:30 I am crashing to the extreme. I am beyond winded

The View From My Room