The Satchel’s Grand-Reopening (recap)

Satchel’s is finally open again, and anyone who knows me knows I couldn’t wait to get back. So some friends and I went to get a deep dish, which was amazing, as always. Satchel asked us to keep it hush-hush until yesterday evening, so I waited until about 9:00 PM before I binge-tweeted a bunch of delicious pics.

Since it might be hard to find those pics on Twitter or Facebook later, I figured I should put them on the blog, too. So, here’s a recap of my visit to the Satchel’s Grand-Reopening (including the text from the original tweets).

Finally back at Satchel’s after MONTHS away. Satchel asked us to keep quiet till tonight, so I’m tweeting on delay!

Apparently Satchel’s has decided they don’t want to sell Dr. Pepper, soooo… REDACTED!!

The first deep dish anyone has ordered since Satchel’s reopened. And that’s Satchel (who Reagan is investigating).

Half “Super Hawaiian” – bacon, pineapple, ricotta, ham. Half “The Old Standby” – pepperoni, sausage, spinach, feta.

They remodeled Lightning Salvage! The left wall as you walk in (used to be the front bar) – yes, they built a booth.

They moved the bar to your right when you walk in, and knocked out a wall. The new bar is a horseshoe.

Satchel’s update!

For those of you who care about Satchel’s, and for those of you who are just curious about Satchel’s and my obsession with it, here’s an update. Satchel sent this email to the people who contributed something to the Satchel’s “Employee Relief Fund” via an IndieGoGo campaign a while back. I thought I would pass it along to update those people who care, but who didn’t give to the fund.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is an article that talks about the fire that damaged the kitchen at Satchel’s.

And here’s the latest update email:

Hello! Please forgive me for waiting so long to reach out to you and say thanks for helping the Satchel’s employees! I have been working such long days, sometimes 16-18 hour days. My desk is piled high, my clothes need washing, my car needs cleaning but the restaurant re-model is moving along pretty good. The outpouring of support for our indiegogo campaign raising money for employees was incredible. I knew that folks loved our pizzas and salads and staff, but I had no idea that you loved us THIS much! It was humbling and kept me going through the hardest times.

It became apparent quickly after the fire that putting things back the way they were just wasn’t an option. Our tiny kitchen had 8 people working in there and there was very little space for the amount of food we were putting out. Also, in order to increase our occupancy to be more in line with the people we serve, we needed our “back door exit” to be through a hallway instead of through our prep room. The code doesn’t allow customers to exit through the kitchen so we’ve had to not only re-model the kitchen for more space, but also the prep room. We’ve combined these 2 rooms into one bigger connected kitchen and we feel we will have a better flow and more efficient kitchen, hopefully getting your food to you even faster, (notice I said “hopefully.”) The progress is good. Today the exterior walls were put on and tomorrow the electrician is supposed to start running the new electric. There is a lot to do but I am on it every day.

Those of you who got a perk of a cake made by my mom, I’ve already contacted you about how to begin the claim process for that. For the 2 of you that gave enough to get a painting or collage of mine, I will be in touch about that later. Basically my art show will go up in December and you’ll be able to pick from the paintings then. Those of you who gave enough for a menu-back, I’ll contact you when I get a little further along with the re-model and have some extra time. And for the majority of you who are waiting patiently for calzones and pizzas and salads, I’ll be sending out details of how to claim your food when we have a re-opening date. I would like to open for a couple days before the “official” opening to just feed those of you who gave to our campaign. But you’ll be able to come in any time and claim your perk after that as well. I’m still a but too swamped to figure it all out right now.

I just wanted to get out an email to say thanks to everyone for your gifts and your support. The employees were all so very happy and grateful. One employee told me how she cried when she saw the money show up in her account. I feel pretty sure that you’ll be seeing familiar happy faces when we re-open and all of us will be so glad to get a regular paycheck and a pizza again, especially me! I hope I get the chance to thank each of you in person when we re-open, as best I can tell I am hoping that we will be able to re-open in early June.

thank you thank you thank you.

satchel

2011 WSOP Diary: Week 3

Day 12 (July 4): I did end up playing the Wynn re-buy yesterday, and min-cashed again. Here are my results for the trip so far:

  • (+$231) Rio – $235 – 964 entrants – finished 79 – $466
  • (-$625) Wynn – $625 ($225 plus two $200 rebuys) – 111 entrants, finished around 45 (15 paid)
  • (-$1k) WSOP 43
  • (+$560) Wynn – $425 ($225 plus one $200 rebuy) – 156 entrants, finished 20 – Ran T8o into QQ in the blinds
  • (+$394) Wynn – $425 ($225 plus one $200 rebuy) – 128 entrants, finished 15 – Ran 82o into AKo in the blinds
  • (+$752) Wynn – $425 ($225 plus one $200 rebuy) – 131 entrants, finished 11 – Lost flip w/ 99 < AKo
  • (-$425) Wynn – $425 ($225 plus one $200 rebuy) – 125 entrants, finished 21 (15 paid) – Lost flip with 66 < AQs
  • (+$666) Wynn – $425 ($225 plus one $200 rebuy) – 139 entrants, finished 15 (16 paid) – Ran 84s into KJo

A few thoughts on these results:

  • Overall, I’ve cashed 5/8 tournaments for the trip. Over the long run, 2/8 would be considered “good”, and 5/8 is pretty sick. I’m obviously sort of on a heater.
  • But what these numbers don’t show is that I’ve actually be running bad and not catching cards. The last non-cash at the Wynn (finished 21 when 15 paid), I lost a very big pot with about 40 people left: I had QQ and lost a three-way all-in to TT and 66 (66 won the main pot and I chopped the side pot with TT). Had I won that pot, I would’ve had good chips approaching the money and could have gone to work building my stack. Instead, I was crippled and ended up bubbling in 21st when I lost a coinflip.
  • For my last five tournaments, I’ve listed my bust out hands. I’m running bad in those spots. I got all-in totally dominated once, but otherwise got in on the better side of a coinflip twice, and lost two 60/40s. A big component of my style is that I am rarely all-in and called (at risk to bust from the tournament), so it’s not like I’ve been all-in 10 times before these hands come up. In some cases, this is the first time I’ve actually been at risk in the tournament. I will only lose all four of those hands about 7% of the time, and if I win any of those hands, I’ve doubled up and have a very good chance at making the final table.
  • I’m playing the short stack very well right now. Most of the time I’m on a short stack (such is the nature of this tournament structure), and sometimes very short (like eight big blinds or fewer). Normally, I wouldn’t let my stack get this short, but I’m able to find so many spots to steal blinds and get all-in with the best hand that I’m being more patient than normal. In my last cash, I had under seven big blinds with 21 players left and managed to finish 15th without catching any real hands. Playing the short stack is like that scene in “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” where Indie has to walk across the stones that will fall out from under him. (I spent way too long trying to find a good screencapture of Indie stepping across the stones, but just couldn’t find it.) I have to step very carefully and pick each move very wisely or I’m out of the tournament. I’m doing this well right now.

Enough about poker. Today is the 4th of July, and that means… well, I’m not exactly sure what it means. Hopefully the annual party at Mandalay Bay is happening, but I really haven’t heard one way or the other on that. If it’s not happening, I might take my first shot at a $550 mega satellite at the Rio – I need to start trying to win a Main Event seat. It’s kind of a long shot, but the good news is the Wynn has been prepping me to play a super short stack, and that’s what winning megas is all about.

I’m heading over to do some book work with my co-author this afternoon. It’s great to be making real progress while I’m out here. We’re about to wrap up a major section that is the foundation for the entire book, so I’m looking forward to getting that done.

Day 13: Turns out the Mandalay Bay party didn’t happen this year. That was pretty disappointing because I always look forward to seeing old friends and having a nice view of the fireworks on The Strip. Of course, since Vegas sneakily moved fireworks to July 3rd this year, we wouldn’t have had anything to watch anyway.

Since there wasn’t a Mandalay Bay party, a bunch of us went to Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace instead. That’s one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas, so I was happy to finally have a meal there. I forgot to get a picture of the spread, but it was ridiculous and delicious.

This morning, I met with my co-author (@VanessaRousso) and her friend Annie (@AnnieDuke) for a few hours to talk about writing and poker. They even discussed a couple interesting hands that Vanessa has encountered at this year’s WSOP. It was really fun to sit and listen to two great poker minds work through hands. (I’m not intentionally name-dropping here, but since I already mentioned this meeting and its attendees by name on Twitter, I figure it would be awkward if I started talking anonymously all of a sudden.) Anyway, it was a very good meeting that clarified some of the unkown parts of the writing process for us.

After that meeting I tried to hoof it over to the Rio for the $1,500 WSOP event to late-register, but by the time I got there the tournament was already an hour in, and the line was too long to justify registering. So I went to the Wynn and started 30 minutes late there. I actually played pretty well, but didn’t cash (finished 32 and 13 paid). I busted making a pretty risky move, but I saw it as a good chance to pick up dead money, and it just didn’t work out. Sometimes there’s a good spot to make a move, but you run into pocket Kings.

I busted out, then went to dinner with Luckbox Larry and wife at a pretty nice Indian place called Mint. We hadn’t been there before, but we all liked it a lot and will probably go back. We’ll be more inclined to return if we can find more coupons, of course.

I ended up turning in early because I was feeling under the weather again. I think I actually got a cold or something this time, so I figured the best thing was to take it easy. I ended up sleeping for like nine hours, which is a long time for me.

Day 14: Today I was going to do my normal routine of waking up, going to Starbucks to read the news and catch up on writing. But after about 20 minutes Luckbox Larry texted me to let me know there was a 10:00 AM $550 Mega Satellite to the Main Event. I decided to go ahead and play that so I could get some poker in without making me miss the Rally to End Cancer kickoff party hosted by my friends Vanessa and Chad at MGM. Turns out I made it exactly one hour into the stupid thing when I ran QQ into AK and lost the coinflip.

I spent the middle of the day sleeping off my cold. Then went over to MGM for the kickoff party. It was a good time. Vanessa’s husband Chad was recently diagnosed with and underwent treatment for a very rare form of cancer, so they have a real stake in cancer research and they’re aggressively pursuing ways to further cancer research. It was cool to see people coming together to talk about raising money for cancer research, and I think the event they’re planning is going to be pretty neat.

(Note that pic was just before the party started – the place eventually filled up, but I forgot to snap a pic.)

Day 15: Today was pretty unfun. I decided to play the Wynn re-buy and busted out of that pretty early when I ran AJo into AA against a very aggressive player who 3-bet me from the button at a 6-handed table. With our stack sizes and respective images, this is the equivalent of a cold deck – he has Aces almost none of the time in that spot, and I’m often raising hands I can just fold there. But AJ was probably ahead of his range, and I could get him to fold some hands that had me slightly beat (77/88). Even the way he turned over his Aces basically said, “Yeah, I know. But I actually have them this time.”

Later on, I went to dinner with some friends. Luckbox Larry won a bet so that Dan had to buy him a $60 burger at a place at Mandalay Bay. So we went over there and had good burgers and shakes while Luckbox Larry ate his foie gras burger with shaved truffle. I understand that’s supposed to be an awesome burger, but the smell of truffles kind of grosses me out.

It looks like I’ll be playing the Main Event this year (the details are still not nailed down, but it seems likely), so I’m started to try to get mentally ready to play that event. The WSOP Main Event is totally unique in that it’s a very deep structure (you start with 30,000 chips at 50/100 levels, and the levels are two hours each) and there are thousands of entrants, most of whom really don’t know how to play poker. It’s basically the optimal structure for me as I’m very comfortable in slow, deep stacked tournaments. But I also need to get my head right because I’ve been running pretty bad, and I’ve been playing really, really fast tournaments since I got here.

Day 16: I took it easy today to try to get my head right for the Main Event. I think I’ll probably play, but I’m not entirely sure. There are still some things that need to fall into place for it to work out. I’d really like to play, but I won’t be devastated if I don’t get to play.

Anyway, I got a good workout in today, and spent the rest of the day reading and watching TV and stuff. Netflix on iPhone/iPad/MacBook is keeping me sane out here. I’ve watched most of “Dead Like Me” Season 1, and I’m almost finished with Cheers Season 2. Both are pretty good shows for very different reasons.

I’ve been reading Annie Duke’s book “Decide to Play Great Poker” (Amazon link below), and it’s pretty good so far. It’s a high-level book focusing on concepts and ways to think about the game rather than a step-by-step guide to playing poker. I’ve already seen a few ways to think about stuff differently, so that’s been helpful. I think one thing it does well is focus on high-level concepts – it stays out of the weeds of math and really technical discussions. So far, so good. (Jump to the bottom of the post for a link to the book on Amazon.)

I had In-N-Out again tonight. We went at like 9:00 PM, expecting the place to be mostly empty. It most definitely was not empty. I couldn’t believe how many people were getting burgers late at night. That place must be printing money.

Zooming out a little bit, I realized I haven’t really described like my overall schedule out here. It’s actually pretty simple and repetitive. I think that’s actually kind of obvious in my recent posts, which are shorter and less detailed. I’m basically doing the same thing over and over again each day. Occasionally something will jump up and change the routine, but I’m more or less living a strange version of Groundhog Day.

I generally wake up between 8:00 and 9:00 AM, get ready for the day and head to Starbucks to catch up on reading and update the diary. I hang at Starbucks for a couple hours and then start trying to find some lunch around noon. Sometimes I just go back to the hotel room and make a PB&J, but I’ll also go meet friends for lunch or whatever. Then I try to figure out if I’m playing poker, writing or relaxing for the rest of the day. Most of the time, I’ve played poker, and I’ve probably had an even split of relaxing and writing for the rest of the time. If we’re writing, we usually break around dinner and then take it easy the rest of the evening. If I’m playing poker, I’m hoping to make the dinner break and then head to the final table (which hasn’t happened for me yet). Then it’s back to the hotel to read and watch Netflix. Then time to sleep and start over again.

It’s pretty unexciting except when I go to a new restaurant or have a meeting or something to break up the routine. Sometimes a friend will be making a deep run in a tournament, or a friend of a friend will be at a WSOP final table and I’ll head over to watch them play and provide support for a while. “Support” can just be hanging out, watching them play (it’s always encouraging to know some friends are keeping an eye on you when you’ve been playing for 10 hours and you’re starting to get tired). “Support” can also be doing reconnaissance around the bubble, and as they approach a final table.

On the money bubble, it’s helpful to know where the short stacks are and to get a sense of how long the bubble will last. When we’re playing online, we can just go look at the leader-board for that stuff. But it’s tougher to get that information when we’re playing live. So the person doing the recon might wander off, then stop by and say, “Two micro-stacks on that table over there. And on that other table, a stack shorter than yours will take the big blind in the next hand.” This information can help shape the correct strategy at that moment, so it’s very helpful. Occasionally, we’ll have a history with some of our friend’s opponents, or we’ll spot tells on people, and we can share that info.

Day 17: It’s 10:15 PM and I still don’t know if I’m playing the Main Event tomorrow. Some of the pieces have fallen into place, but some haven’t. So, I’ll find out for sure tomorrow morning. I’m ready to play if all of the pieces fall into place, but I’m content to pass on it if things aren’t just right. The Main Event has happened every year for a few decades now, and I’m sure it’ll go on happening every year for several more decades, so there’s no rush.

Today was a relaxing day. I didn’t do much but sleep, eat and read. I met some friends for dinner, but otherwise stayed pretty close to my hotel room for most of the day.

As of this writing, Luckbox Larry has put together a pretty big stack in the Main event. He has 77,000 chips and average is probably somewhere around 40,000. It’s too early to know how significant this is, but he’s a good player and having a big chip stack can only help him.

I’m going to watch some TV and then get some sleep. I could have a pretty big day tomorrow.

Day 18: It’s almost 10:00 AM on the final Day 1 (Day 1D) of the WSOP Main Event and I just confirmed that I’m playing it. A quick overview of what this really means:

  • There will probably be about 6,000 players. Maybe 1,000 are good players. Another couple thousand are decent. The rest are just people looking to have a good time and take a shot.
  • I’m well above average in this field. That doesn’t guarantee anything, but this structure is basically made for my style. I think it’s reasonable to expect I’ll cash about 25% of the time (which is well above a “normal” cash rate in normal tournaments, even for a good player). Of course, that means 75% of the time I probably won’t cash. This isn’t pessimism, it’s just how tournaments work.
  • I probably won’t be on TV. It’s possible, but there will be about 2,000 people in the field today and there is one feature table. There MIGHT be a second feature table, so maybe 20 people will be on TV. The deeper I go in the event, the more possible it is I could be on TV, but it continues to be unlikely.
  • There will be eight days of play before the final table. Those days won’t happen consecutively because there are so man players. My first day is today (July 10), and Day 8 will be July 19 (they’ll play down to the final table that day). So this could be the beginning of a very long poker tournament. Here’s the structure sheet.

Ok, time to go register. Hopefully I’ll update this post with good news in about 15 hours (when Day 1D is over). Until then, here’s what it looks like to turn cash into a seat at the Main Event:

UPDATE: Sure enough, I made it through Day 1D with about average chips. We started the day with 30,000 chips and I finished the day with 50,025. I’m VERY satisfied with this result for a lot of reasons. I made a bad call during the first level and finished that hand with 23k (my low point so far). But I also had a VERY difficult table today, and managed to chip up despite my bad table. There were three well-known pros at my table for most of the day, and there were a couple other guys who I suspect were pros (probably online pros). All three of the initial known pros (Brandon Cantu, Adam Schoenfeld, John O’shea) ended up busting before the end of the day, and I managed to grow my stack to 60k at one point. Considering how soft the WSOP Main Event field is, this was a pretty unlucky table for Day 1.

I should say I also caught some hands today. I had Aces three times in one level (but only won three small pots, all pre-flop). I also had Kings a couple times and Queens a couple times. So, I did catch some cards, but they didn’t do me much good at my tough table. (Of course, I’ll take cards whenever I can get them.)

So, we start back Tuesday morning and I’ll have an average chip stack. My next goal is to make Day 3.

Home, sweet home… When do we eat?

I’ve officially moved to Gainesville and I’m starving. I left yesterday morning around 10:00 (CDT) and I arrived in Gainesville around 3:00 (EDT) this afternoon. I think I made pretty good time considering I was driving a big moving truck with my car in tow. In retrospect, I’m pretty surprised I didn’t hit anything or flip the truck. Also, it turns out I’m pretty competent when it comes to backing up trucks with trailors attached.

Anyway, I haven’t eaten in about nine hours, so I’m going to get some dinner. Hopefully I’ll be able to partake of some kinda’ local food.

EDIT: I ended up eating at Mi Apa Latin Cafe. It’s a nice little Latin place near my old place (which is actually someone else’s old place). It was quick, tasty and their menu is pretty good. They have a lot of different fruit juices for those who like that kinda’ thing. The papaya juice was a little tart for my taste, but that’s probably because I used it as a chaser for my Coke.

I have a lot of updating to do, and I plan to start this weekend. I need to talk about my life since the move, Florida Football (I’ve been remiss vis-a-vis all things Gators lately) and probably a bunch of other stuff. I’ve been sick, so that’s my excuse.

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Getting back into the swing of things

This week has been better than last. Last week, I basically just wanted to be back in Europe… or at least not sitting at my desk or running around to get mundane things done. This week, I think I began to accept that this is what I get paid for right now, so I should just get to it.

This weekend, my new (old) roommate arrived and he’s begun moving in. We were roommates back at Florida, so I don’t have those “new roommate” fears. Also, some friends of mine from Jacksonville are in town, so the new roommate and the friends from Jacksonville and I all went out to dinner tonight. We went to a Brazilian Steakhouse called Fogo de Chao. In a word, it was awesome. The basic idea is you pay a flat fee for all you can eat meat. That sounds ok… it might even kind of sound disgusting if the meat weren’t some of the best I’d ever had. Filet-this-and-that, pork loin, leg of lamb, on and on and on. They just keep bringing it to you, cutting off the piece you want and sliding it on your plate. It’s a little pricey, but well worth it.

After dinner, the new roommate and I went to a place called Kathlene’s Art Cafe, which is one of my favorite places to eat around Plano. Good food, good atmosphere, good employees. Unfortunately, I ate a little too much of some good cake and I’m feeling pretty disgusting. I was careful not to eat too much at the Fogo de Chao, but dessert was just a little much. Tasty, but too much.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.

And some basketball

We’ve practiced the past two weekends and so far I’m pretty pleased with our team… or at least the part of it I’ve played with. Personally, I’ve been playing well in spurts. It seems like I have a really long warm-up period, then I just start playing really well. I can’t decide if I’m streaky, or if I just need a long time to get warmed up, or if I’m only seeming to play better because everyone else is so tired and they’re playing weak defense. Anyway, I’ve been working on specific aspects of my game and my work is paying off. I think I’m ready to run point this season.

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Spanglish

What a super movie. I really enjoyed it and my appreciation for Adam Sandler grew quite a bit as the movie went on. I already liked his work, but I think this may be his best all-around performance yet. Though this isn’t exactly the kind of thing I’d like to write, it’s pretty close. I mean, I wouldn’t be at all disappointed if I was capable of writing this screenplay. Unfortunately, I’m not even really capable of writing about writing this screenplay, so I’ll stop now.

Mignon

So, a friend and I went to a fancy restaurant tonight and it was good eatin’. A little on the pricey side, but nothing outrageous. The steak was so good, I was savoring every bite. It was really nice to get out and enjoy myself for a change since I usually spend Friday night on the couch, watching TV and playing poker. If I’m feeling really frisky, I’ll sometimes go to Starbucks and read.

Basketball on the rebound (yes, I’m very clever)

Today, I ran full-court (well, short-court and four-on-four) for the first time in several months. Overall, I played pretty well, but the competition wasn’t all that great. It’s not that I was super good, just that most of the guys I ran with didn’t really know how to play too well. Simple concepts like switching on a screen and boxing out weren’t being used at all. I made some good shots, passed the ball well, got up and down the floor better than I thought I would and got away with only a few minor injuries (a sore elbow and a sprained wrist). By the time the league starts up in June, I’ll be ready to go.

I’m looking forward to the weekend.

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Vegas: A couple days later

Ok, so I mostly covered the gambling part of my trip in my daily posts and I feel I should also cover the other things I did. First off, I stayed in a room on the 21st floor of the Bellagio. It was really nice, but the nicest part was the bathroom. Not only was their a shower stall, but there was also a big ol’ bathtub. I didn’t use the tub, but it was nice to know it was there. Everything was made of top-quality materials and there was an abundance of marble.

There was a wired internet connection for $11 a day per computer. My buddy and I both had our wireless laptops, so I brought along a wireless router. It worked really well and we only got charged for one computer (because the router looks like a computer to the internet connection and it masks all the computers that use it).

I ate at a few very nice restaurants. First was Sensi, an international restaurant with all kinds of different food. We had a raw seafood platter for an appetizer (I tried a raw clam) and I had grilled chicken for dinner. Of course, I also had a glass of white wine and it was super.

Next night, we ate at Olives. It was another restaurant with a lot of variety, but it hand a bias to Italian food. Again, I had a glass of white wine and some very tasty salmon for dinner.

After dinner at Olives, we went to a show at the Improv over at Harrah’s. It was pretty funny, but not the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. The emcee was actually funnier than the two headliners. It was a really good time and we all had a bunch of laughs… most of which were at material that I probably shouldn’t repeat here.

One morning, we went to the Buffet at Bellagio. It was incredible. So much food and so little time to eat it all. It took a few minutes just to walk around and look at everything, let alone eat it. I had french toast, sausage, eggs, a muffin and some fruit. I also played Keno for the first time, but none of us made any money (surprise!).

The last morning, we went to the Cafe at Bellagio and played some more Keno. I won five bucks and my buddy’s mom won 20 bucks. She was on fire all week and probably ended up leaving about $1000 up. In fact, my friend’s entire family cleaned up at Bellagio and I was the only one in our group to leave with a net loss.

…BUT, that net loss has been erased as I’ve made back all I lost and then some playing poker online. I was down $214,but between yesterday and today, I made about $230. So, the money I lost in Vegas will be in my bank account in 72 hours or less. I made that money in about 5 hours playing online. Outrageous.

That’s about it. I had an awesome time both gambling and hanging out with my friend’s family. They are really awesome people and I enjoyed getting to know them all better. I got to experience some things I’d never experienced before (like the meals at Sensi and Olives and the show at the Improv). And I stayed in one of the nicest hotels in the world. I learned how to play blackjack and played my first poker in a casino. Man, what a great experience. Hopefully that won’t be my last trip to Vegas.

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Florida: Days 6 through 8

Well, power was restored here a couple days ago and we finally got cable/internet back up today. This trip has been a lot different than my last trip because it’s basically been about seeing people and spending time with them. Usually, I spend time with people by getting a meal with them. My routine has been to wake up around 10:30, go to lunch with someone around noon, then come home and nap or whatever, then go to dinner with someone else (usually a group) around 6:00 or so, then hang out and play cards or something till around 2 AM.

Last time I was here, I spent more time playing frisbee golf and basketball and stuff like that. Ironically, though the two trips are a lot different, they’re very similar in that my goal is to spend as much time with my friends as possible. Last time, it worked out so I was playing sports with them; this time, I have spent my time just sitting around and eating with them. Both experiences have been equally fulfilling.

Last night, I went to a Crusade meeting and I was really impressed with how well it went. The emcees were great and the meeting flowed smoothly and was effective. I enjoyed it and I had a great time seeing everyone while I was there.

Tonight, I’m getting the crew together to head out to Newberry for Newberry Backyard BBQ–the best babyback ribs I’ve ever had. Then, we’re going to come back here and watch the FSU vs. Miami game. Hopefully, FSU will lose by a field goal. I guess the only thing better than that would be if they lost by a field goal that was allowed by some ridiculous oversight by the ref’s.

Only a few more days and I’m headed back to Texas. Looks like I’ll be traveling a lot over the next few months: First week in October, I’m going to be in LA; Third week in October, I’ll be in LA; Thanksgiving, I’ll be in Florida; Christmas, I’ll be in Florida and Atlanta. All this traveling is already putting a huge damper on my workout schedule. It’s a hard-knock life.

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Florida: Days 1 and 2 Well, my plane ride in was uneventful and quick. My only beef was that the A/C on the plane was weak and it was freakin’ hot the whole way to Florida. The hurricane has been a non-factor so far in my trip. Some friends picked me up at the airport and we immediately headed for Outback for some Cheesefries and a Special. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and talking. Friday, I spent the day with my family (as is my tradition when I come back this way). I had some great conversations and spent quality time with my parents and the rest of my family. At night, a couple of my buddies drove up from Gainesville and picked me up. We headed back to G-ville and played some poker till about 5 AM. That’s about it so far. We’re headed out to lunch pretty soon.

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Gettin’ ready for vacation

I haven’t had much going on lately because, in one way or another, I’ve been constantly preparing to go to Florida. I spent 8 hours at ‘the office’ (or ‘my cubicle’) this weekend and I’ve been trying to get everything done that I need done before I go: finish my workout cycle, get in some cardio, buy luggage, buy other clothes and stuff, etc. I leave Thursday afternoon and that leaves less than four days to tie up all loose ends and get ready to leave Texas for 10 days.

Pencil me in

I’m already trying to set up appointments, dinners and the like with my friends in Gainesville. While I’m a big fan of living on the fly, sometimes it’s necessary to intentionally set time up to spend with people, especially when I know they may or may not be hanging around where I am. Of course, I’m already looking forward to making a trip (or two?) to Newberry Backyard BBQ, Leonardo’s (deep dish pizza), Burrito Bros., Mellow Mushroom, and probably a bunch of other places around Gainesville. Anyway, I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve basically been preparing to leave. I know it sounds a little ludicrous to spend a week preparing to go on a 10-day vacation, but I like to get things done right and this is how I do that.

Braum’s

All this time in Texas and I’d never gone to Braum’s until today. I decided to drop in and try a shake because a buddy of mine at the gym said they’re pretty good. Turns out he was right. I went with the old standby (for me): strawberry. It was thick, filling and super tasty. I may’ve found a new vice.