Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Escaping the Babble

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Here’s a way to make some extra cash:

1) Find out which team I think should win in any given World Cup match

2) Load up bets on the opposite team

3) Profit!!

I thought Germany would pull it out today. Klinsmann has been helping them kick some ass, Klose has been a fantastic standout during the cup, they are hosting, they have (scratch that, had) a perfect record at Dortmund, and they’ve never beaten Italy in World Cup matches so that should have provided plenty of motivation.

Guess not. Commence rotten mood bender.


While there is certainly a litany of drawbacks to working through the night, there are several positives that make such a thing acceptable. One of these things (and top of my list) is that the night is quiet. It provides opportunity to focus on work that needs to be done instead of dealing with the unavoidable barrage of bullshit that seems to be a consequence of large groups coming together for “work.” If there is nothing pressing to be done, the night is good for contemplation and stillness in a world with precious little of either.

Unless, of course, the night security guard decides he’s going to be your friend.

The font of retarded babble that flows out of this guy is truly staggering. At first, I tried to humor him and remain polite, getting out of Dodge at the earliest opportunity whenever he gets going. It only took two weeks to get annoyed, which is actually a pretty long time for me. I used to enjoy venturing outside into the quiet (and much cooler) night air for a smoke as the clock continues it grind forward. Not anymore. I now spend many quality minutes just staring into the mirror trying to figure out what it is about my face that seems to express, “Hey, I’d just love to hear what you have to say!”

Over these last two weeks I’ve made efforts to give more obvious (while still maintaining some modicum of civility) signals indicating that I’m not interested in being pals. Walking past without making eye contact. Entranced by the goings on of my cell phone. Fake talking on my cell.

Nothing works.

Tonight, I had to hang up my fake conversation and not enjoy my smoke while babblespout gained momentum and I wished for traffic to throw myself in front of. Here’s a sample of the continuous (one-sided) conversation:

“So, most people might be embarrassed by this, but I’m not, I think it’s kind of funny. I almost locked myself in that closet right by you. You know which one I’m talking about? Anyway, there’s something wrong with the lock on that door, so I was like, I wonder what’s wrong with this thing? So I shut the door and figured I would try to fix it from the inside. All of the sudden I couldn’t get out! Luckily, I messed with it and finally worked, but I was in there for, like, 20 minutes. Still don’t know what’s wrong with it. There are a lot of batteries in that room. We had big batteries, well, bigger than that, on some of the Navy ships and subs I used to be on sometimes. One of the big battery rooms was next to the switch room we used to have to clean, man, that thing would get really dirty even though the room was mostly unoccupied ‘cuz of the dirt the diesel engines would always kick up. Boy, we had to clean that thing like every day sometimes…..”

On and on. I gave up with the polite nods and smiles, choosing instead to communicate my apathy by staring out into space. No dice. I turned my back to him, and still the stream of verbal diarrhea continued unabated. Frustrated and tired, I finally gave up with the nice. I cut him off mid-ramble.

“OK, well, I’m gonna go take a shit.”

He seemed perplexed by this. I walked away with a smile on my face as I raised a silent toast to my friend, the bathroom stall, last bastion of peace and quiet, my shelter from the babbling storm..

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Run Up

Per usual during the Vegas run up, it’s time to ask the question.

Are we there yet?

Less than 60 hours to go, 30 of which will be spent working, sort of. I’ve determined that I’ll be doing as little as possible this week as there are other, infinitely more important things to be thinking about.

There are the questions that get asked every trip. Questions like, “How can I tweak my drunken gambling strategy to maximize my chances of hitting the world’s most unlikely big money slot jackpot?”

Still haven’t hit on a definitive answer for that one, but I suspect it’s something along the lines of…Turn 70. Spend all money and free time sitting before the intoxicating reels until one of the following occurs: a) Death b) Jackpot (to be used to buy a few more years sitting some in front of said intoxicating reels).

Then there are the trip specific questions like, “Will my room at the Excal smell like someone spent a week and two days roasting elephant shit?”

Being a superstitious bastard, this is a big question. The last (and only) time I stayed at the Excal, Mrs. Head and I were dating. It was a spur of the moment proposition, one that couldn’t realistically be turned down, what with all of the underlying and oft unspoken “you snooze, you lose” pressure to perform in the dating arena. The happiness of our arrival was somewhat overshadowed by fact that it smelled as though someone shoved a diarrhea-afflicted baby in the air duct of our room and turned up the heat. I had some good gambling luck and some great love luck that came out of that trip. Five years later, this is what I wonder:

If my room at the Excal doesn’t smell like shit, should I be worried that there will be no luck? Can room odor accurately predict something that many would argue may not even exist? (I suppose that if I determine it truly should smell like shit and that I just won’t be happy until it does, it’s a problem I can easily correct without calling upon hotel staff)


World Cup was nothing more than a giant disappointment this past weekend. Thankfully, exhaustion was such that I forgot to put any money on the games—which would have been money lost.

I’d like to know what the hell was going through Rooney’s mind. Also, someone should inform Ronaldo that just because he now holds the record for goals scored does not mean that it’s time to just stop playing. And where the fuck was Ronaldinho? It was as though the field swallowed him; one hardly even noticed he was playing. Both games had me searching out spare supplies of anti-depressants, even though it was obvious that both teams fully deserved to lose (which pissed me off even more because I’m bordering-on-vociferous anti-Portugal).

Germany and France is going to make a great final. If Zidane performs as well as he did in the Brazil game, Germany is going to have a rough ninety minutes. Of course, this is all running on the assumption that they will make it to the final. If Germany fails to triumph over Italy, I’m going to be in a seriously rotten mood for at least 48 hours.