Saturday, March 23

View From a Counter Stool

I've mentioned one of the best things about Reno is the cheap casino food. You can eat just about anything you want here for less than $15. If it's not the Steak and Lobster ($11.95) at the Eldorado, then you can get the Prime Rib platter at the Silver Legacy for $9.95. Don't even get me started on the buffets, all which reinforce my view that a waist is a terrible thing to mind.

The best deal, in my opinion, is the Ham 'n 99 cents deal at the Cal-Neva. The only place you can truly enjoy this, though, is at the counter. Sit in a booth and you miss the prismatic show surrounding you. The counter affords you closeness to fellow diners (often a detriment when those next to you are not keen on hygiene, or who have been at a slot machine for 12-hours straight), a view of the amazingly talented and diverse kitchen staff (cooking spaghetti, breakfast, and corned beef at 7:15 a.m. is a talent), and time to marvel at the wait staff: individuals who can juggle coffee cups, toast orders, vats of butter, multiple coffee urns, cocktail orders, and a myriad of plates of cooked food with uncanny precision and accuracy.

The counter also affords you the opportunity to receive advice from people who have seen life's truly hard edge. From gambling tips I can't/don't want to understand (I only know how to put money in a slot machine and watch it disappear), to advice on matters amorous (never get involved with a woman who is married to two different guys at the same time-- yes, it was said to me), to automotive observations (the 1980 quarter-ton F-250 Ford truck is the best you can ever buy). I've found that I never have to ask for advice at the counter, it's always eagerly shared.

If nothing else, the Cal-Neva gives me a sense of balance in this often seemingly out-of-whack world. I eat a wonderful breakfast for the grand total of $1.07, garner often interesting tid-bits of world wisdom, and realize that my life is just not only not bad, but pretty good.

Sometimes it takes a different perspective to realize what's important.

Friday, March 22

Randomly Expressed Points Of View

Time off, as you can see, gives me greater opportunities to post. As I mentioned in my last message, I'm infatuated with Tom Haynes of CNN. He toasts my bread, scrambles my eggs, slices my melon, lights up my life. I think you get it. If only he were on the air at a more respectable hour. Of course, I've never met the man and probably never will. If I were to, you can be sure I would either utter incomprehensible noises ("ugh. . .duh. . .woah") or something breathtakingly vapid ("Me think you pretty man.")

Time has also given me opportunity to catch up on my reading, paying particular attention to the local newspapers. Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle got my blood racing with three stories: the enlistment of Phil Sheldon, a Pat Robertsonian gay hating political consultant by California gubernatorial hopeful Bill Simon; the announcement of W's plan to allocate $37.7 billion (yes, BILLION) to Tom Ridge's Homeland Defense budget; and finally, news that AIDS infection among Hispanic men on the California-Mexico border has grown to 57 percent.

I wish I were still a registered voter in California just to vote for Gray Davis, although I'm not convinced he's the best person for the job. Where do these Bob Jones University alumni wanna-be's like Simon and Sheldon come from? I've often said the louder the complaint, the bigger the closet. Quite honestly, I don't want Sheldon in the club.

You have to weigh the last two stories with considerable amazement. Our leader (W) justifies entrusting a $37.5 billion dollar budget to a man who believes he is above reporting to Congress, while ignoring the impact $3,700 worth of condoms and safe sex instruction might have in a known San Diego hotbed of AIDS transmission. Hmmm.

Who sets these priorities?

Wednesday, March 20

My New Idol

He's Tom Haynes, a CNN reporter who did a short stint on Headline News. He could read the phone book, the fine print on a contract, hell, even the words on the tag you aren't supposed to remove from a mattress and I would be in total slack-jawed attention. He is, in short, perfect.
Gayer Than Springtime

OK, at 11:46 this morning it's officially spring. And it feels as such here in Reno. The temps actually went above 60 yesterday, warranting shorts and making one think of sandals. This also means that in a few short weeks I'll be complaining about the summer heat.

At least the good weather hits while I can enjoy it. I'm off this week before starting the new job. A time to do some writing, some blogging, some napping, or doing nothing at all. It's up to me. I'm still getting used to not having to worry excessively about the future. Perhaps that will never go away, which might not be a bad thing. Always good to be on top of your game. We are seriously talking about permanent housing, personal mobility devices, etc. Trappings I abandoned in the past for a variety of justifications. For some reason, however, it seems right for right now. So we go with it.

Who knows where it will all go. At times that makes me as nervous as an Afghani woman with a Dr.'s appointment and all of her burkas at the dry cleaners, but I also have a feeling everything will be OK.

I'm going with that.

Tuesday, March 19

Your Indulgence Please. . .

Those of you who read this will notice a change in appearance. Spring is the time of change and so time to change the 'blog as well.

You'll notice that some of the links have gone away, but will replaced soon. Change is good.

Yes it is.
A Rail Runs Through It

The honeymoon with Reno may have run its course. While I'm still liking the slower pace, some things are beginning to annoy me. Top of the list: the train tracks that run right through the middle of downtown.

Maybe there was a time here when there was a "good" and "bad" side of the tracks. Today there are equal sides, both of which suffer from "raillock" each time a passenger or freight train passes through town. I'm sure the rail line was the life blood of this town before there were SUV laden Bay Area gamblers coming up here. And the line still serves as a fast escape west or east via Amtrak's "California Zephyr" service. The rest of the time, however, it's just plain annoying. I've waiting some 15 minutes for trains to pass through town, longer if the roulette table bound blue hairs are having trouble detraining. Just turn the car off and wait. Sip some coffee. Read a book. OK. . .life here is slower.

On a positive note, I did get the job I applied for here in town. Thinking a job here would allow for a little extra sleep time in the morning proved to be an error. I will have to rise a full hour earlier than I did to leave for Squaw to be at work on time. The good news is I will get off early in the afternoon. I don't start for another week, so I'll have more chances to post, perhaps even change the layout of this continuing little on-line tome. The new jobs also leaves time for perhaps a part-time evening/weekend job to amass more wealth. I'm actually talking about renting a larger apartment. . .gasp. . .perhaps even a house. Could it be I'm settling down? Uncertain at the moment, but that is how it feels.

And it feels good.