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Old 06-21-2016, 03:20 AM   #1
Spike McAwesome
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Vegas stories by Spike (ongoing TR)

Hi all,

I'm Spike and I'm taking this week off from work to **** around during the WSOP. Started playing poker back in 2005 online, but unlike most people, I never had any interest in learning the game or trying to become better. I just liked the idea of gambling for gambling's sake and would be that super annoying fish that occasionally got lucky. Clearly, I lost nearly every time I played, but I had fun. I moved to Vegas from Boston in 2006 because I got a fantastic job offer that I thought would be a great place to grow and advance my career. Poker was never on my mind, and I really only played home games and really terrible donkaments. There have been some ups and downs - like the time I was on Judge Joe Brown (as a plaintiff), or the time my wife and I got an annulment because she was a prostitute. But all in all, I wouldn't change a thing. Moving to Vegas was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

In 2012, I started playing poker again, but this time I wanted to be a little more serious about it. My buddy played professionally for a while, and a well-known pro was renting a room with some friends of mine, so I got to pick his brain during home games too. I started developing more confidence in my game, but I try to keep a goofy attitude at the tables too. I binked my first nightly tournament win during one the old Stratosphere 11pm (RIP). I've played at more rooms in town than I care to count, but I have not yet hit all of them (more on that later). I'm typically low-stakes but have ruled out limit. The game just doesn't appeal to me (although the most ridiculous, crazy, insane hand I've ever seen happened to me during a 2/4 limit game at the South Point). Never played a bracelet event before. Never played a tournament with a buy-in higher than the Rio's $235 actually. Not sure that I'm a lifetime winner, but winning certainly makes the games more fun.

My goals for this trip are a little different than a typical trip report. Instead of the "All poker all the time" post, I will spend this week with the intention of:

- Play a session in any room I've either a) never been in before or b) has been moved/remodeled since the last time I was there (using the list from http://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-rooms/las-vegas-nevada).
- Play at least one deep stack at the Rio.
- Play at least one absolutely terrible daily in a ****ty room.
- Go house hunting with the wife.
- Go swimming since it's going to be 113+ this entire week (126 in Death Valley today).
- Various **** that locals do when we're not in poker rooms.

If you're curious about my "must go to" list, the rooms are:
- Arizona Charlie's
- Boulder Station
- Cannery
- Flamingo
- Hard Rock
- MGM
- Santa Fe Station
- Silver Sevens
- Skyline Casino
- Wynn (haven't been since they moved to Encore)
Yes, it's a long list. But as long as I count any time spent there at all (let's say a half hour minimum), then it'll be good enough. And if you're been following along of the rooms I didn't mention - yes, I've played in some absolute DUMPS.

Alright, enough rambling. I know what you're all here to see:



Cat tax (in case I ever repost this to Reddit):



This vacation actually started a few days ago. I've had a busy weekend which I'll talk about more later. For now, the tables are calling...
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:58 AM   #2
Spike McAwesome
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Alright, I said the trip report starts on the 18th, but on Thursday the 17th:

Decided to take a mid-day trip to Caesars Palace.



Poker room getting closer...



Closer...



And here we... aw ****.




Instead of getting to hit the tables, I've been sent to a sales meeting for a software product I have no say in whether or not we buy, but I get to be the point of contact for the sales people anyway. Uuuuuuuugh.

I saw a bunch of EDC people in the convention center and thought nothing of it - EDC is in town, so maybe it's some kind of pre-party. Nope - EDMbiz conference was going, with keynote speaker Moby at the podium. Really couldn't have been worse timing, because not only did my meeting start at the same time as the Moby speech, it ended at the same time as the Moby speech. Took me nearly an hour to get out of the parking lot.

Decided to meet my wife downtown for some food:



Didn't get any pictures of the meal, but hooooooooooooooly **** was it good. Highly recommended if you find yourself on E Fremont. Check the menu online and see what I mean.

Friday, June 18:

Is there anything better than quitting time on a Friday before you're about to go on vacation? Closing out all your work ****, and just before you shut the computer down for the last time, you see the wallpapers that are usually covered by Excel or Access or PeopleSoft or whatever the hell:



Rush home and get in a quick swim before it's time to meet the wife for dinner again:



Really, no better place in town. Too bad their liquor license was revoked:



Ominous looking sky:



After the wife goes to bed, it's finally time to play some poker! Step 1, cross off one of my "Never been here before" rooms:




When I left the house, there were four games going and one person in front of me. When I got to Flamingo there were three games going and the list was eight people long. Gross. But, put my name on there and went next door to Cromwell to shoot some $5 dice. Which, by the way, I love that a Strip property has $5 dice with 100x odds on a Friday night. Only bought in for $60 since I didn't bring enough to dump a bunch of money at both craps and poker, but cashed out $130 for a nice little win.

Walk back over to the Flamingo and I'm next on the list. Good timing. I take a seat at a pretty dull table with $200. Up a little, down a little, then I go on a little run:



Picked up a few small pots and had a decent little profit in front of me. Then, the kid showed up. You all know the kind I'm talking about - from SoCal so he thinks he's better than everyone, talking about driving around Vegas in his friend's Ferrari, on the phone CONSTANTLY talking to his "boys" about some girls they met at the club... typical forgot-they're-not-teenager-and-don't-need-to-show-off trash. We get involved in a hand where I have TT in the big blind and he shoves all-in on a 9 high rainbow flop. Of course I call. Turn's a brick, river an Ace, and he flips over AKo. There goes all my profit. I stick around until I can't sticks arounds no mores, and book a minuscule win.

In: $200
Out: $210
Result: +$10
Result (cumulative): +$10
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:02 AM   #3
-UBetIFold-
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Enjoyable read. Hope you continue to do so. Keep the pics coming.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:01 AM   #4
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike McAwesome View Post
...or the time my wife and I got an annulment because she was a prostitute.
Ummm, any chance you would be willing to tell us more. Story has to be fantastic.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:28 AM   #5
Dubey
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyCold View Post
Ummm, any chance you would be willing to tell us more. Story has to be fantastic.
+1.

Judge Joe Brown story sounds good too.

(not to take anything away from your trip report which I will also follow and read)
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:24 PM   #6
Bloobird
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Enjoying this so far.
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Old 06-21-2016, 03:17 PM   #7
Spike McAwesome
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyCold View Post
Ummm, any chance you would be willing to tell us more. Story has to be fantastic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubey View Post
+1.

Judge Joe Brown story sounds good too.
Of course, I wouldn't be THAT much of a cocktease to hint at those topics then not go forward. Oddly enough, the stories are related. The prostitute story comes first chronologically, but I'm willing to do either one first. I'll do one tonight. Decide amongst yourselves which comes first.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:57 PM   #8
Dubey
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

let's go chronologically
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:59 PM   #9
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

I'm good with that.
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Old 06-21-2016, 05:13 PM   #10
Stu Ungar
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Great start! Will enjoy a "locals" trip report, for a change..
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:31 AM   #11
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Lovin' it.
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:56 AM   #12
Spike McAwesome
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Alright - my ex-wife, the prostitute.

This starts in the summer of 2005. I was living outside of Boston (Somerville), and life had kind of gone to ****. I broke up with my long-time girlfriend. Work was imploding (11 of the 12 people I worked with quit or were fired, and the temporary replacement boss sent over by the Senior VP was a monster who literally hit me one day). My mom's cancer had gone from "We've got a fighting chance of beating this thing" to "Chemo isn't doing anything. Let's try to make her last few months more comfortable". I moved in to a place with some friends of mine thinking it would be a great place to hang out and party, but I was just too much of a curmudgeon to really enjoy things. So in summary - I was a miserable **** and felt that my life was getting away from me.

In late November, 2005, I decided that one of my roommates really needed to get laid. So I answered a post on Craigslist W4M on his behalf. The post was written as "I love my best friend Erin, but I need my Friday nights back. Someone take her out!" I responded, we chatted for a bit, and then I realized I wanted to keep this gal for myself. The more we spoke, the more I really dug this chick. And, as it turns out, she lived about half a mile from me. We went and hung out a few times, kinda fell for each other, and that was the proverbial "that". Shortly thereafter, my mom passed. Again, I was emotionally crippled, but having Erin around really helped me get over things. Or I was just becoming an emotionally dependent little troll. I suppose anything's possible.

Fast-forward to June of 2006. Erin and I are talking about moving in together, and we decide to take a weekend trip to Las Vegas and stay at the beautiful Fitzgeralds downtown. Okay. "Beautiful" is in the eye of the beholder. But, it was a room, it was convenient, and I was in Vegas. Paaaaaaaaaaarty! We were driving around the city and kinda looking around and joked "Wouldn't it be fun to just move here? My mom wanted to retire here (my parents bought a house in Sun City Anthem in 2000 and planned on retiring there in 2010), so I get to beat her to it!" At this time, Erin works for AT&T. As it turns out, her former district manager from Boston was now a store manager here in Vegas. They meet up, have about a 3 hour conversation, and he says "If you guys move here, you have a job waiting for you". So, now it's just time for me to find work. And I did. In August of 2006, I accepted an offer that would pay me 33% more than what I was making, plus no state income tax, plus a great place to work, plus lower cost of living, plus it's Las ****ing Vegas. We packed our bags, and in September, we were on the road. What could go wrong?

I'm going to flash-forward here for a number of reasons. I have a bunch of stores I could tell, but I'll hit the highlights with a couple of very quick lists:

Erin's cars in the 27 months she lived in Las Vegas:
- Scion TC
- Honda CR-V
- Ford Mustang (a standard, and she didn't know how to drive standard. Couldn't even get behind the wheel for her own test drive. Had to have the sales girl do it. And yes, she fried a clutch)
- Hyundai Accent (this one comes back in the Judge Joe Brown story)
- Toyota Yaris

Only one of those cars was replaced due to an accident (the Accent).

Erin's jobs in the 27 months she lived in Las Vegas:
- Sales at AT&T store (actually 4-5 different stores; she kept getting moved because she was a **** to her co-workers)
- High school teacher's aide
- Nanny
- Home Depot traveling sales of siding, windows, etc.
- Hilton timeshare sales
- Wyndham timeshare sales
- RadioShack cellphone sales
- Prostitute...

And yes, all at different times.

We bought a house in June of 2007 - if you weren't paying attention, this was literally the epitome of "absolute worst month to have possibly bought a home". I paid $250k for 1200sq ft, 3bd 2.5ba in Lone Mountain with a shared driveway. By November, it was worth about $170k. When I short-sold in September of 2009, it went for $93k, and that was after a low estimate I saw of $89k.

We were married in May of 2008 at the Little Chapel of the Flowers near the Stratosphere. To this day, I can't drive by that place without giving it the finger.

In late summer/early fall of 2008 (not six months after we were married), I notice a weird charge on our joint debit card. I do a little research, and I see that it's a charge for a Craigslist ad. "Weird", I thought. "Craigslist ads are typically free unless you're posting in... wait what the ****?" If you remember, Craigslist used to have an "Erotic Services" area which had no purpose other than ads for hookers. It was being overwhelmed by bots, so they decided to start charging for ads in that section only, to ensure that the people were a) actually people and b) over 18. I know, the logic is faulty. But everyone went with it for a while.

I confront Erin about this. She pauses for a moment and says she needs to come clean about something. Before I met her (back in the day), she was working as a freelance nanny. She got a job working for a "call girl" (she hated "hooker" or "prostitute"). This call girl would rent two rooms in a hotel. One where she would work, and the other where her kids would play. Erin's job was to stay with the kids and make sure they didn't get into any trouble. This went on for a few months and no one really gave it much thought.

One night, the call girl turned to Erin and said "I got a message from a client that said if I can find a friend, he would want to watch us together. We can pretend to fool around, and he'll pay big money for it". Erin was apprehensive but went along with it. It was an hour's work, and she cleared $500 tax free. And from there on, she was hooked (GOD I COULDN'T RESIST THE PUN SOMEONE KILL ME).

So Erin went out to work on her own. She built up a roster of regulars and made good money, but started to hate herself, so she quit. She got the job at AT&T, and I came along just a few months later. She had managed to hide this from me in all this time that I knew her.

"That's all well and good", I said. "But it doesn't explain this charge". At the time, Erin was unemployed. She decided that she didn't want a real job. She wanted to get back in to being a hooker. So she started doing it behind my back. Sometimes, she met the clients at the house. Sometimes, at a hotel. I'm not sure what made me angrier - the fact that she was bringing strange guys to my house to **** on our marital bed, or the fact that she would get a hotel room (for which she couldn't pay) and would then take all of her earnings and dump it back into the Wheel of Fortune slot. I swear she must be the only person who ever LOST money at being a hooker. For ****'s sake...

I admit, part of me thought "Well, she's not working right now, and it would be nice to have a second income...", but forget it. I couldn't shake the idea of this **** from my head. After we both did a bit of soul searching, we decided to get the marriage annulled once we could afford it. She packed her **** and moved back to Boston. The annulment was finalized in the summer of 2009.

For a short time after she left, she would keep in contact. Told me that she met a guy and started to fall in love again. Got pregnant but lost the baby. Had an old client she reconnected with. His fetish was simple: She would dress in all black but put on really light makeup and bright red lipstick. She would smoke a cigarette, and he would finish himself off. Paid $80 a pop and they met up once a week.

Remember how I said her last car was the Toyota Yaris? That was the car she took back to Boston. Unfortunately for me, the loan was only in my name. Doubly unfortunately for me, she never made a single payment on said loan. So I started to get calls from Toyota and I basically had to say "If I knew where the car was, I would give you the address today. I want it gone. But the ex-wife took it and drove back east somewhere. She could be in Florida with her friends, North Carolina with her cousins, she's got a ton of family in Boston, and she knows people in New Hampshire. I honestly don't know where she is". One day I was talking to her on the phone and she let it slip that she had been using the WiFi from a courthouse in one of the Boston suburbs (Woburn, MA). I grew up a couple of towns over from there and my dad still lives there. I told him about the slip up, and he decided to go adventuring. He was driving around Wobun square when he noticed a Toyota Yaris parked at one of the houses just off the main drag in downtown. Sure enough, Nevada plates! My dad found the car and gave me the address, which I passed along to the collection agent. It was repo'ed the next day.

That was late 2009. I don't hear from her again until about two months ago. I get a text from a number I don't recognize that says "Is this still Spike's number?" I said "Yeah. Who is this?" No response. "????" No response. "Mystery number!" So I go on Google and type it in. Nothing. I go to Facebook and try there. Bam, Erin's profile, and she's got a picture of her and some meathead looking "I desperately want to be a biker redneck but I'm forced to stock shelves in the Boston suburbs because **** it's expensive to live here" dude. I can only imagine that he went through her phone, saw a number listed as "Ex-husband's name", and thought it could be a cover - either for a side dude or a regular client. Who knows? Serendipitously, not two weeks later, I get a call saying "Hi, this is BILL COLLECTOR from DREAM CRUSHERS, Inc, looking for Erin McAwesome. Is she available?" I explain that this is my ex-wife. I haven't spoken to her since 2009 nor have I seen her since then. No idea why she would use my number for this. They ask "Do you have a current phone number where we can reach her?" I say "Sorry, but again, I haven't talked to her since 2009 so I don't... OH **** HANG ON! I do have her number!" I explain the story, laughing maniacally the entire time. I thank them for listening, hang up, and feel like I've done a good deed for the world.

One last side note to this story: When I met Erin, she was curvy at about 175. But really wore her curves well. When she left for Boston, she was in the neighborhood of 315. And a prostitute. Different strokes for different etc and so on...

Sorry for the lack of pictures and poker in this story. There's plenty more to come. Saturday and Sunday went by a little too quick, and there's a couple of [SCENE MISSING] moments where I'm going to re-create the photos (if only for my own satisfaction), which should happen Wednesday morning. Should be able to get those up by the night. I hit another one of the rooms on my list Monday night, and plan on hitting two on Wednesday. And with any luck, I'll get some great shots at one of them. Stay tuned...
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:09 AM   #13
Bloobird
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Goddamn, solid story
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:20 AM   #14
Jurgy25
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

I was hooked just for the TR, and poker room updates, but that last post was CRAZY! Can't wait for more Spike, including the TV Judge story. Sorry bout your ex, but sounds like your current relationship is going strong.

Run Good!
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:44 AM   #15
-UBetIFold-
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Forget the pokerz and updates, Your an amazing story teller, keep em coming.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:51 AM   #16
Dubey
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Great Story Spike. Very well written. Looking forward to the rest of the TR and other stories.
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:44 PM   #17
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Damn I can only imagine that ****ty feeling where you find out your Wife is sleeping around. I had a girlfriend sleep around behind my back and it was horrible.

Ended up having a kid with her. She disappeared when our Daughter was 3 (she's 9 now) because she loved the heroin, meth and dick. I received a random text message from her one night but didn't know it was her. I looked up the number on google and BAM I found a backpage hooker ad for her.

I know the feeling in a different way. Glad you were able to escape it with no kids.
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:06 PM   #18
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Wow what a back story. If I had a dollar for every story I've heard that went this way from someone that moved to Vegas I'd have a couple 1/3 buy ins.

You deserve some run good. Go get it brother!
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:18 PM   #19
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Wow, what a crazy story. Please carry on with the TR
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:04 PM   #20
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Thanks for sharing this is fascinating. Really curious about judge joe brown story. Interested why someone would go on a show like this. Is it that you get some for
of compensation?
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:06 PM   #21
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Also please, please include pictures of the low tier local joints like Arizona Charlie's and Cannery. I don't need to see more pictures of the Bellagio fountains but do need pics of a smoked filled Arizona Charlie's and Boulder Station.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:59 PM   #22
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

When you go on a court show they pay all your expenses and pay for whatever the court orders if you lose the case. So there's really no downside (assuming you have no shame and don't care if your dirty laundry gets aired on national tv).
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:38 PM   #23
Spike McAwesome
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Saturday, June 18 (just realized I ****ed up the number conventions on the previous days)

The week prior to this, I went with the wife to a yarn store down in Henderson. She's knitting a blanket for a pregnant co-worker, and she's wanted to check this store out for a while. On the way back home to Spring Valley, we missed the turn for the 215 and basically said "Eh, let's take surface streets and see some of the city we don't normally see". When we got to about the Blue Diamond and Durango and I say "Hey there's a new development up ahead. Want to tour a house?" We've talked about buying a place together, but her student loans have been eating our savings and I've still got a little time to work off the short sale so our target date was early 2018. But since we're here... **** it. Let's go look. Well, one community led to four or five more, which led to internet research, which led to us formulating a plan so we could try to buy summer of 2017. Then the bombshell. My dad says "Oh, I'll pay for your down payment. Don't worry about that. Just find a house you really love". In case you're wondering - I am adopted and I'm sure he'd be willing to adopt a few more of you, just to fill out the brood.

So, back to the present. The wife is working all day, so I hatch a plan to take a look at some communities in the south west part of town. We haven't completely settled on an area yet, but we're both very familiar with things so we wanted to stay with what we know. I get to one property and it's so new, they don't even have a sales office or models built. They don't even have an employee on site. Just contractors, and they want nothing to do with someone like me. So, I go a little ways up the road to another community. It's gated, and the floor plans look promising online, so I'm pretty happy. I get there and I'm a little bummed to find out the community has sold out, but these same floor plans are open in a few other locations where they've just broken ground. Take a tour (I have pictures of a lot of these homes, by the way, but I'm not sure how kosher it would be to publish those on a public site like this, if there's even interest in seeing something like that) and I'm pretty pumped. Lots of goodies included, including some features we'd have paid for anyway. I leave my information and shake hands with the salesman. It's approaching 108 degrees today, so I'm anxious to get back in my car and turn on the A/C. "That's funny", I think. "Normally when I turn the A/C on max, it blows cold air and makes noise. Currently, neither one of those things is happening". I turn it off, and turn it back on. Off, on. Realizing my car is not a PC, I now know I'm ****ed and my schedule for the rest of the day is FUBAR. My home for the next four hours:



Turns out, I was just out of coolant. Apparently that's a thing. I do manage to get out of there before most communities close, so I hit the road and run off to a community by Century Communities. They're the only place I'll mention by name because, quite frankly, **** Century Communities. It felt like cheap materials, cheap structures, NOTHING included with the sales price, and overall just a big ripoff. When I realized that I was going to nope right the **** on out of there - when they said "Every home has a kitchen island included! But if you want cabinets underneath, that's extra". ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? So yeah, see ya later.

I rush back home, and the wife and I spend a quiet night on the couch.

Sunday, June 19

The day started off pretty uneventful. The wife and I went to Biscuits Cafe for breakfast (Sahara and Durango). The portions are MASSIVE, so don't be shy about splitting (especially if you're with a broad who doesn't eat much). But definitely get the biscuits. Seriously. The wife went off to work, and I decided to continue on the house hunt.

While at Firestone the day before, I called the builder about that property that was no new it had no models or sales office. The builder sent me information and said to check out one of their communities in Cadence - some of the floor plans available there will be available at the new location. "Cadence?" I thought. "Never heard of that". Turns out, there's a new 2000+ master planned community in Henderson being built in the area of Lake Mead Parkway and Sunset. For those more familiar with the area, this may be common knowledge. But I almost never go to Henderson and when I do, it's for a specific purpose (like that yarn store the previous weekend). I get to the builders site and am greeted with this:



But, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I killed off a Super Big Gulp on my 45 minute drive down to the area.

Since I knew nothing of Cadence, I decided to drive around a bit, visit a few of the other sites and models, and really get an idea what's going on around there. The best feature: a community pool built on a hill with a guaranteed view of the Las Vegas Strip. If they keep that sucker open late or 24/7 (really doubtful), that would be amazing.

Sunday was actually pretty uneventful aside from the trip to Cadence. After doing a little research, Cadence probably isn't the place for us (at least, not yet). Lake Mead Pkwy offers a true "right" and "wrong" side of the tracks feeling, as everything on the "other" side of the road is run down, ghetto, **** neighborhood. If you look at the area on one of those internet crime maps, nearly every color of the rainbow is represented over there. And Cadence is not guard-gated or even gated. Something about that kinda weirds me out. I met the wife for a bite to eat, then we came back home and got ready for Game of Thrones.

Thanks for the kind words on the stories so far. The Judge Joe Brown one is coming tonight, as is a poker recap from Monday through today. My weekend is going to be pretty open and I may put it to a vote where I play. I haven't decided yet.
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:32 AM   #24
Spike McAwesome
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Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

The Judge Joe Brown story part 1; or the Drunken Human Wrecking Ball -

Erin and I bought the house in June of 2007. Almost immediately, we rented out one bedroom to her co-worker and it worked out really well. She paid us a couple of bucks and Erin got a friend in the house to keep her occupied during the day when I went to work. She stays for about a year. When she moved out, Erin and I debated whether or not we should get another roommate. I was pushing for extra income. Erin was pushing for privacy. Money won. We put out an ad for a roommate and only had a couple of people come check out the room. None of them really seemed to fit, so we were about to give up. Then in walks Denny.

Denny was a massive guy - pushing 350. And he was born in New England. He moved to California with his family when he was 14 and had been living in the San Diego area for 20+ years. His brother recently moved to Vegas with his new bride, and Denny got a job with a company based here in town. I should have asked "Hey, how come you're not living with your brother until you find a place of your own?" His answer to that question may have saved me a world of hurt. He has a steady job doing mortgage restructuring plus a company car to meet clients. After a couple of hours of chatting and laughing, we come to an agreement and he'll move in in a week. We get his bedroom and bathroom professionally cleaned, get the house tidy, steam clean the furniture in common areas - everything that should be done anyway.

On the day he was going to move in, he shows up with a single suitcase and a 30 pack of Keystone Light. He's LOUD AS **** drunk and his pants are half falling off. I don't know if he drove here or where his car is. Frankly, I'm a little afraid to look. He insists that we all go outside to drink and toast this wonderful occasion, sounding more like a drunken king toasting at his daughter's wedding. I try to explain that I don't drink and we have neighbors, but he was hearing none of that nonsense. Ugh. After a couple of hours of wrangling him, he goes out the front door, whips out his junk and starts pissing. I turn my head, but I hear the rush of the Colorado River dribbling down the driveway we shared with the neighbors. It suddenly stops, so I think he's done. I turn and look - NOPE. Dude pulled up his grey sweatpants mid-stream and is now urinating down the front of his pants. He says "I drunk. Stairs no" and faceplants into my couch, where he remains for the next 16 hours or so.

The discussion of Erin being a prostitute happened around October of 2008, just a couple of months after Denny moved in. Denny's still living with us, but quit his job (or was fired... I honestly forget) and had to give up his company car. He's bumming rides off of us and is gone for days at a time. He's still paying the bills and has toned down the drinking quite a bit, so things are going better. His money was good, so meh. Erin decides she wants to go back to Boston for a week for some soul-searching to decide whether or not we should stay together. At the last minute, Denny asks if he can borrow her car while she's out of town. "Sure", she says, "but just fill the gas back up to where it was. And be careful, it's still new". That's true. She had purchased that car in August. She traded in her Mustang that she couldn't drive and my paid-off Camry to get her Hyundai Accent and me a
Spoiler:
Let's be honest - none of us were making good decisions at this particular juncture.

I'll give a timeline of events since it'll be easier for me to keep track of these things:

Monday - Erin leaves for Boston
Tuesday - All quiet
Wednesday - All quiet
Thursday - All quiet
Friday - Denny tells me he's talking Erin's car out to meet some clients. I don't ask questions, but he volunteers that they're going out to watch an MMA fight (UFC, I assume) at a bar. I wish him well and think nothing of it.
Saturday - All quiet. Hey wait, Erin's car is still gone. That's kinda weird.
Sunday - All quiet during the day. Still no word from Denny. That night, I pick Erin up at the airport and she is about ready to kick someone's teeth in. At this time, she was working part-time for RadioShack (along with her side business**). She had Monday off but had to work Tuesday and was starting to freak out about the car going missing. I tell her that it's still the weekend and maybe he's just going a little stircrazy. Let him have his fun and if he's not back in the morning, we'll call the cops.
Monday - Still no sign of Denny and/or Erin's car. I have to get to work so I tell Erin to call the cops. At lunch, I get a call...
"Well, the good news is he's already in jail. The bad news is that the car is impounded and probably totaled. We need to call the insurance company and start a claim. Hopefully it's not that bad but OH **** MY BAG WAS IN THE CAR GODDAMMIT!!!"

As you may have guessed, Erin's not the smartest. She let Denny borrow her car but didn't think to clean it out first. She left her bag in the back seat which included, amongst other things, her laptop. I take the rest of the day off work, and we drive down to the impound lot. This is what we find:
Spoiler:


Bag with the laptop is gone. GPS from the glove compartment is gone. A handful of other little knick knacks and whatever other **** she left in her car is all gone. We call the insurance agent and let them know what happened. Turns out, we have to file two claims - one against the auto insurance ($750 deductible) for the car; one against the home owner's insurance ($1000 deductible) for the items in the car. So right off the bat, we're out $1750. I'm livid. Denny isn't answering his phone and hasn't been home in a really long time. I assume he bailed and we'd never see him or our money again.

**Can't resist this one: Why did the prostitute get a vagina surgically attached to her hip?
Spoiler:


During the time he was gone, I went into his bedroom and bathroom. They were FILTHY. The wall next to where he slept was black. But not just black in one area. I mean black like his body was still on the bed and casting a shadow on the wall. There were papers all over the floor. The bathroom was no better but at least I didn't need a ****ing biohazard suit to clean it. I was, again, livid. How was this humanly possible in just a couple of months?

I honestly don't remember when we got back in touch with Denny. It seems like it took a while, but it could have been a couple of days. He's immensely remorseful. That night he took clients out for the MMA fight, he got SUPER-DUPER drunk. Like twenty times worse than the night he moved in. According to witnesses (because there's a zero percent chance this numbnuts remembered this), he was doing about 70, zoomed from the far left lane over to the far right, nailed the sidewalk, hit a community wall, and flipped the car. The car landed on the roof, and he somehow was cognizant enough to crawl out the busted windshield, walk over to the sidewalk, vomit, then take a seat and wait for the cops.

Denny was determined to make everything right and wanted to move back in for a couple of months. I agreed, but only if we could draw up some papers to guarantee he'd reimburse us for the deductibles we had to pay, plus cleaning costs for his common spaces once he moves out. He agreed without even hesitating. Stupid me, I did not want to pay for a lawyer to draw up a contract to this effect, so I drew up some papers myself (hey, I took a class called "The Philosophy of the Law" in undergrad... of course I can write a legally binding and defensible-in-court contract!). He signed it, I signed it, Erin signed it, and we had our neighbors sign as witnesses. I thought this would give us at least a little legal protection and guarantee us that money.

As you may have guessed, that went about as well as hitting your dick with a rock to cure chlamydia. Denny came back, stuck around for like a week, then just disappeared. Once the first of the month came and went with no rent money, I called. And called. And called. And called. Finally, I went into his room to find another contact number and/or a relative. I find a number from an area code I didn't recognize (Dallas, TX) and give it a call. Denny answers. I ask what the deal is. He says "I'm going to live with my uncle in Dallas. Don't call here anymore." *Click*

Oh, you son of a...

Erin and I are distraught. We're out a ton of money. We're out a car. The auto insurance check was garbage and barely gave us enough for a down payment on something else. Fortunately we had gap insurance on the Accent. I have no idea what to do since I can't afford an attorney, and I don't even know where to begin with the story. I know what he did wasn't kosher, but are we able to get money from him? Will we ever see that money? Is it worth going through this?

With more questions than answers, Erin and I have some friends over to try and distract us. So we ordered a pizza....

Part 2 coming soon. I'm typing as fast as I can but I'm starting to get a little sleepy.
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:18 AM   #25
Spike McAwesome
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 768
Re: June 18ish to 26maybe - A local's vacation

Judge Joe Brown part 2; or Pizza guy to the rescue! -

We're all sitting around, chatting about Denny and his bull**** when the pizza shows up. I open the door, greet the driver, and turn to my friends. "Look, if he really bolted from town, I wouldn't even know how to serve him the court papers. And even if I'm somehow able to get a court date, he won't show up. So how do I collect?"

The pizza guy said "Oh, you're having legal troubles? If it's under $5000, send the case to Judge Judy. A buddy of mine did that and everything worked out. Have a great night". I'm stunned. Speechless. It's one of those scenarios where it seems like everything in the world has come together at just the right time in your favor and maybe, just maybe, things are going to start going you way (unless you're Charlie Brown, then that little ***** Lucy is going to yank away that football). Submit the case to Judge Judy - what a great idea! They have the resources to track this guy down, and maybe the threat of being on national TV will make him reconsider splitting town without paying me. I think I can make this work.

I pop online to the show's website and start filling out the case. I'm trying to remember the details and type as fast as I can. Erin's looking over my shoulder and shouting suggestions like "Don't forget about how dirty the bedroom is!" "Don't forget about him pissing on our couch!" And etc. I finish, click submit, and the waiting game begins.

A couple of weeks later, I get a call. "Hi, is this Spike? This is NAME from the Judge Joe Brown show. I see that you submitted a case to Judge Judy. We're actually part of the same production company, and we're interested in taking your case. Have a minute to talk?" Yes lady. For you, I can find a minute to talk. She asks some specific questions about what happened, and I try to answer things as best I can. She laughs at parts, gasps at others. I ask what the deal is with this kind of show. She tells me and it's pretty sweet: First, they pay to fly Erin and I out to LA (they wanted both of us even though I'd be doing all the talking, Erin would be there as a witness if needed). They'll put us up in a hotel in downtown LA and provide transportation to/from the studio. We'll get paid an appearance fee of about $150, a per diem for food, plus whatever money is awarded. The judgement is paid by the show, so the defendant doesn't have to pay. The show has a "limit" of only paying out up to $5000, but in extreme cases, they've gone above that, so I'm told to ask for EVERY POSSIBLE DOLLAR, just in case. This isn't a courtroom in the legal sense, but we have to agree to enter into binding arbitration - whatever Judge Joe Brown says is final, period. Finally, she says "Yeah I think we can make this case work. What are the chances Denny would want to do this?" I tell her I'm not sure. She asks for his information and I pass it along. What I have to do is file a small claims case here in Vegas, and the show basically tells the courts that the case will be heard on the show instead.

I fill out the paperwork for small claims. I end up asking for the two deductibles we lost to insurance ($1750), plus cleaning fees, storage fees (since Denny never cleaned out his room and I had to keep his **** around for a few months before throwing it out), and a handful of other things to push the total north of $7000. Or maybe $6000. All I remember is that it was above what the show said it normally pays, and it was just at the tippy-top of what the Clark County courts would accept for "small claims". I get the case number, pass it along to the show, and wait to hear back. And wait. And wait.

While this is going on, Erin and I have called it quits. We decide to use the money we would get from the show to file for an annulment rather than a divorce - it was only 6 months in to the marriage, and we had a couple of reasons that were deemed acceptable by the courts in the past that we could use. In exchange for no divorce and her not asking for alimony, I agree to take on all of our debts (the big burden is the house). She said that if I sell the house, she's entitled to half of the sales price. I laughed so hard, I almost vomited. Good luck with that. She's moved back to Boston with the Toyota Yaris (the one I mentioned briefly in another post - the loan was only in my name and she didn't make a payment or tell me where she was, so it couldn't be repo'ed) but is checking in via phone to see how things are progressing.

Finally, I get another call from the producer. "We're running into problems with Denny. Because his business is client-based, he's worried about going on national TV and being exposed as a drunk. I don't think we can convince him. Can you try?" I've never been known for sweet-talking someone, but I can give it a shot. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hey, Denny"
Him: "Yeah?"
Me: "Do the ****ing show"
Him: "I'm not sure I want to"
Me: "Listen, you fat ****ing coward. Just do it. The show pays for EVERYTHING and you damn well know you owe me. No one is going to see it and recognize you. You're not going to lose business. Get real"
Him: "Okay. I'll do it"

... well, that was much simpler than I expected.

I let the producer know and she's excited. Everything is set! She'll call in a little while and confirm all the details and logistics of getting everyone out to LA. Then she asks "I know your wife is currently in Boston and you're in Vegas. Are you two okay sharing a room or should I get separate rooms?" Trying to be the nice, Captain Save-a-Ho, money-saving dude, I say "We can share a room... err, but separate beds please."

Done and booked, we're due to film in late January, 2009 for an episode to air in March.

I land in LA around the same time as Erin and we see each other for the first time in about two months. I'm not nervous - more awkward - and don't really know what to say. The taxi from LAX to the hotel was quiet except for the occasional "Hey look at that" sightseeing that I assume all tourists do. The hotel is pretty meh but they got us the separate beds. I was a little disappointed that our one night in LA had an itinerary of (approximately):

8:00pm - Land at LAX
9:00pm - Check in to hotel
7:00am - Check out of hotel
7:30am - Arrive at studio
8:00am - Taping
12:00pm - Flight out of LAX

We get our dress clothes ironed and ready for the next morning. As Erin and I are going to sleep in separate beds, I hear her start crying. ****. "What's wrong?" "Nothing". Oh good. We get to play this game after not seeing each other for two months when we have to get up ass-early and be sharp for national TV. Eventually I drag it out of her. She had visions in her head that I would hold her while she fell asleep. It had been so long since someone who cared for her held her. To quote Mike Birbiglia - "What I should have said was nothing". Instead, I thought it would be super hilarious to say "What makes you think I still care about you?" Goddammit Spike. Seriously. What's wrong with you? And why are you referring to yourself in the third person like TheTrooper97? The waterworks flow freely, and I realize I've done ****ed up. I try to comfort her with words but avoid touching her for as long as possible. I wasn't worried about magically reigniting some spark. Believe me, I was done. But I didn't want her to feel that she could continue to count on me for support. I tried taking a hardline but eventually I cave. I spoon with her, and she falls asleep at 3am. I get back to my own bed and get about 3 hours of sleep before my national TV debut.

We arrive at the studio and have NDAs shoved in our faces. They only cover one aspect of the show and it's not really a big deal. We're brought to a staging area where the producers prep us. They tell us that "Judge Joe Brown isn't a real judge, so you don't have to say 'Your Honor'. But he loves it when people use the full name, 'Judge Joe Brown'. So make sure you say that whenever possible. Now, tell me what you're going to say..." I start going over our case. In situations like this where I've really thought things through, I sound like I'm reading off a script in a 1940's movie. I quickly but thoroughly go through the case, barely breaking stride to answer questions the producer throws at me. I'm satisfied. The producer is satisfied. Erin is looking for a danish. It seems like we're good to go. They tell me to sit tight and we'll be called down in a few minutes.

Those few minutes seemed like an hour. Finally, someone pops their head in and says "It's time". We follow them down some stairs and into a large airplane hangar-sized studio. I realize we're walking past the Judge Judy set, which apparently shares a wall with the Judge Joe Brown set. I'm told "Here's how it works. The crowd is being called in - they're all extras/actors who will sit in on nearly every case today. You and Erin will be called in. You stand at the podium. Erin, you can take a seat next to him. Then Denny will be called in. Judge Joe Brown will come out, and the case will begin. Ready?" I really wish I could say I avoided saying "I was born ready". I really, really wish I could tell you I didn't say that. But... sigh.

Crowd goes in. We're called in. Denny is called in. Judge Joe Brown takes the stage. And we're off...

Judge Joe Brown announces the case and starts going through some of the facts - Denny borrowed the car (with permission), got drunk and cracked it up. I was asked to fill in some details, but I got the impression that any statement that would make the audience gasp would have to be made by the judge, like when he first showed the pictures of the cracked up car. I try to explain that, not only did we get ripped off because of the laptop that was left in the backseat, but we had to finance a new car. Both of our credit had gone to **** so we got an awful interest rate. He seemed disinterested in what I was saying, and I was thrown off my game. I tried explaining that on top of all of that, Denny had signed papers agreeing to pay us for the deductibles, the cost of cleaning the house, the cost of replacing the items lost in the theft, and a few other things. I also explain that Denny skipped town after promising us that he would pay, that he was remorseful after it happened but immediately disappeared soon thereafter. I explained that we were able to get the value of the laptop back, but lost hundreds of dollars in software that had been installed on the laptop. That did not go over well and JJB basically told me to stop talking. Awesome.

Denny argues that we were made whole by the insurance company, and that we're just trying to drag his name through the mud out of spite. It was so stupid, I was honestly stumped on how to respond. I just went back to the fact that the papers he signed showed that he wanted to pay us for everything. JJB hit Denny pretty hard about the DUI, and Denny did not handle the question well. I remember that Denny said he was working with the DA's office and had been keeping his nose clean since the incident. Honestly, it was all a bit fuzzy at this point and I don't remember too many more specifics. JJB seemed to know how he was going to rule the second the case started. I think he had been briefed really well and hoped that one of us would make an ass out of ourselves on TV. The verdict...
Spoiler:


Ready for the kick in the pants? They never called on Erin. They showed her on screen once or twice, but that was it. As we were leaving the studio, she said "We can't tell anyone when this is going to be on. I look awful." HA! Like that would work. Of course I told everyone. I told everyone we were going to be on the show, I'm sure as **** not about to not tell people when it will be on. We get to LAX, I tell her to have a safe trip. As she walks away, I hope that it's the last time I ever have to see her. (Spoiler alert: It's not).

The episode aired in March of 2009, and I've had a couple of friends tell me that they've since seen it in reruns. I got it on a DVR but I don't know how to transfer from a DVR to PC. Also, the DVR is on a DirecTV box I didn't turn in when I canceled my DirecTV service in 2010. I don't know if it will work, but if someone knows how to extract this kind of thing, I'm all ears. The studio does not provide copies of the show, unfortunately, so I have no way of getting it from them. I suppose I could always just tape every JJB episode that airs on my current DVR and see if it comes around again in reruns.

Let me know if you guys have any questions about it. This write-up makes sense in my mind but it's currently 3am and I think my cat is talking to me in French. I may be overdue for sleep...
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