Friday, November 02, 2012

Two poker rooms closed this week

So says Dave Ferrara, writing for Pokerati. Specifically, Jokers Wild and Aliante Station. See http://pokerati.com/2012/11/hpt-rolls-through-town-ante-up-tour-takes-off-jokers-not-so-wild/.

By my count (I'm looking at the records of where I have played), 64 different casinos currently have a poker room or have had one at some point since I moved to Vegas in July of 2006, two of which (Speedway and Railroad Pass) I never got to play at while they were open. Current count is right around 50. Thinking about each of them individually, I count only 23 that have been open continuously and in the same location since I've been in town, and I really think that two or three of the ones I virtually never visit have moved, though I can't picture exactly where they used to be, so I'm crediting them with constancy. If 23 out of 64 have gone basically unchanged in six years; 41 out of 64 have moved, closed, and/or opened in that time span.

Ya think things change fast around here?

How to vote for limited government

To people who care deeply about limited government as a principle, it's perfectly obvious why one cannot vote for Barack Obama. But Judd Weiss provides an excellent explanation of why such people also cannot reasonably cast a vote for Mitt Romney. A few choice excerpts:
Both Romney and Obama will drive full speed towards the cliff. The only difference is Obama will drive a little faster, but it's a negligible difference, and certainly not one worth spending energy on.  
Our only hope to prevent a bleak dystopian scenario from unfolding is to send a powerful NO!! in the face of the forces that are pushing us there....  
People complain about politicians not having principles, but that's only because it's the ones without principles who win. If having principles makes a politician unelectable, that's not an indictment on the politician, it's an indictment on the voters....  
It's not just that Mitt Romney lacks clear principles, he is actually worse on economic principles than many of the Republicans that the Tea Party overthrew in 2010. 
Everything the successful Tea Party stood for is abandoned with Romney. Sure there's limited government rhetoric, mixed with statements like "Regulation is essential. You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation".
If you think Democrats are sorely disillusioned with Obama after 4 years of disappointment, can you just imagine how most Republicans will feel after 4 years of daily nonsense like that from Romney?  
...Romney doesn't actually understand or have concern for limited government free market principles, he's only concerned about coached talking points. Romney doesn't even understand principles, period. He spends much of his time defending himself from his inconsistencies.  
I cannot for the life of me see how Romney represents hope for something better than Obama....  
If we get enough votes for Johnson, and Romney suffers a decisive loss against a weak President as a result of it, you can be sure that it will be noticed. Gary Johnson is a very effective protest vote to let the rest of the political establishment know that there is a strong movement for liberty that you dismiss at your own peril.  
Obama was an embarrassing mistake for those on the left. Romney will be far more embarrassing and disastrous. Don't constrain yourself to options that you know are awful. There is no hope for anything good to come out of a Romney presidency. If we want limited government principles but we all jump on board and vote for Mitt Romney anyway, then we truly have no hope for the future, and we have ourselves to blame.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Fremont Street Halloween

Last night I walked over to the Golden Nugget for a little of teh pokerz. I won some money, which was about as exciting as I have just made it sound.

The trip over and back, however, was as amusing as it has been every Halloween that I've been in Vegas. First, I ran into a parade that I didn't even know was going to be there:





After playing, I just meandered through the crowd for a while, looking at the people in costumes. It occurred to me that most of you probably had not had the experience of pushing through the Downtown Vegas Halloween Scrum, so I just turned on the video and shot what I was seeing as humanity and I streamed past each other. By far the most popular costume theme this year was "zombie."

Warning: This video is just 14 minutes of me milling around in a crowd, looking at whatever caught my interest for a few seconds. If that sounds worth watching to you, great, have at it. If not, move on. Either way, no complaining allowed.





I was in costume, too, though you can't see it. As is my tradition, I went as "sexy poker player."

Finally I came across an opening in the crowd where a bunch of amateur street performers were just unleashing their version of "Gangnam Style."




And so ends the fun and nuttiness of another Halloween in Vegas.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Repeat critical violations"

A few months ago I tried, liked, and recommended to you a Cuban/Mexican restaurant just a block from my apartment building.

Tonight I walked by it, noticed that it was closed, thought that that was peculiar, and looked more closely. This sign is posted on the front door:


It's from the health department. The place is ordered closed because of "repeat critical violations" of the food code.

That does not sound good.

I hereby retract my recommendation.

Addendum: Apparently it's been closed for a while now, and I never noticed:

http://vegas.eater.com/archives/2012/04/10/mamitas-stays-closed-after-health-district-reinspection.php


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Life in Summerlin

No poker content, but there is blood and gore ahead!

The target for this morning's bike ride was this chain of trails (marked in red) out in Summerlin, the rich part of town.



Have you ever wondered what the city provides when it builds bike trails where the wealthy people live that it does not provide when it builds bike trails where we working-class folk live? Well, I'm here to answer your question!

You get beautiful, manicured trailheads!



Trees!



A ginormous floodwater basin!


(I had to digitally stitch together several shots to make this panoramic composite, and it still doesn't adequately convey the size. I checked on Google Earth, and it's about 120 yards across, and just over 2/3 of a mile long. The volume of water that has to be contained when we get one of our occasional flash storms is just staggering.)

Tunnels!



Tennis courts!



Soccer fields!



More tunnels!



Bridges over the busy streets so you don't get killed crossing them!



Purple shrubbery, sufficient to placate the most demanding forest knights!



Whole parks and playgrounds!



More bridges over busy streets!



Baseball fields!



Skateboard parks!



Mormon churches!



Sign posts!



Benches!




Doggie doo bags!


(They have boxes just like this along the trails in the poor parts of town, too, but I look at them as I ride by, and have never, ever seen one that was stocked with bags. 100% empty. In Summerlin, every single one that I passed had bags in it.)

Nicely maintained trails! No broken glass! Lights for night riding!



For when the weather's not nice, an indoor sports complex!



Exercise equipment!



Basketball courts!



Picnic tables and drinking fountains!



I also saw six--six!--very cute chipmunks, but none of them stuck around long enough for me to pull out my camera and take his picture.

The difference in the quality of the amenities provided in the suburb-like Summerlin neighborhood and the central, working-class neighborhoods in which I did my first rides is nothing short of stunning. I'll bet that city politicians would try to claim that such differences have nothing whatsoever to do with the income (and consequent political influence) of the residents. I would laugh in their faces.


Oh, I almost forgot the blood and gore part of the program! That skateboard park was deserted, and it sorely tempted 14-year-old me. At first I just rode around the perimeter, marveling at how lethal everything looked. But then I saw some gentler slopes at the far end, and that mischievous 14-year-old me took over. I can do those! No problem! So I swooped down into the pit and in my lowest gear pedaled hard, and came to a triumphant stop on top of the crest. "See?" said the 14-year-old. "Easy!" He even stopped to take a picture looking down over the handlebars:



He texted that photo to his girlfriend, and coasted down. Whee! Exhilarating! The 51-year-old me thought that that little taste of long-ago recklessness was enough. But the 14-year-old me looked at the next slope over, which was just a little bit steeper, and said, "That one! We can do that one!" Against my better judgment, I gave in to him.

And we almost made it. "Almost" being the key word there.

Just about six inches from the top, Impetus, the Great God of Momentum, looked down upon our foolishness and thundered from Mt. Olympus, "No more of that for you!" Quicker than I would have thought possible, I switched from rolling forward to rolling backward, an eventuality for which I was wholly unprepared.

I wish somebody had been shooting video, because I suspect it would win a prize on "America's Funniest Home Videos." Legs flailing wildly, handlebars twisting this way and that, all while rolling backwards, in a desperate attempt to keep the wheels under me. I did manage to make it to the bottom of the slope before I toppled over, so there was only minimal sliding along the concrete.

As gravity was taking over, the only thing I could think was, "This is not going to end well."

My handlebars were knocked out of alignment. There's some scraping on one brake lever. My helmet--which I'm very glad to have been wearing--has a little scuff mark on one side. My shirt and pants got dirty but, surprisingly, not torn. I got a couple of boo-boos:



There was, fortunately, no damage to expensive things, like my teeth and glasses. Or bones.

In spite of these massive wounds, the 14-year-old in me still thinks that that place looks like it would be hella fun to play in, given a bike better suited for such shenanigans. Sadly, the 51-year-old me realizes that the 14-year-old me is no longer in charge of the reflexes and balance part of the riding process. He could have done it. I don't think that I can, or should.


Oh, and one other little thing about the biking, since if you've read this far you must find something interesting about it (though I have no idea why you would). I've rigged up this front fork mount for the back of my car to keep the bike from flopping around when I drive:




The rear wheel tucks up between the front passenger seat and the frame, like so: 



Note that the larger side of the rear seat stays usable in its normal position. Pretty nifty, eh?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Better lucky than good

Today I played at Mandalay Bay. All of my profit came from one big hand, which I played so badly at every decision point except the last one (after a lucky winning card had come my way) that I'm not even gonna tell you about it. It's too embarrassing.

So there.