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Missing/Murdered/Disappeared: Vanished from East Texas, 2000-2020
Hello friends. Per a request, here is a running list of those who have gone missing in East Texas. As a journalist in this area, these are the individuals I have noticed as part of the missing groups I frequent. Please feel free to direct me to more. As it is my line of work, I care deeply. Some of these individuals I know about, some I do not know much about. There are many more, but this first post is just the time range of 2000-2020. I will do other time periods if there is interest, although older cases are harder to track. They are organized alphabetically. Albright, Alwin- last seen 7/6/19 walking away from his home on Scott Street in Gilmer in Upshur County. He is 74 years old with grey hair and blue eyes. He’s 5’10” and 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red shirt and blue jeans. Mr. Albright has medical issues and is without the medications he needs. There is a $1000 reward for information regarding his whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Upshur County Sheriff. Alvarado, Eric “Slow”- Last seen 11/20/18. Disappeared from Atlanta, Texas, he is 6’5” and 180 pounds. He was 32 years old, and now would be 34. He was last seen wearing camouflage pajama pants, a white t-shirt, and a gray zip-up jacket. He also may have the glasses he was wearing. He has tattoos on his arms, chest and neck. There is a $10,000 reward for information on his whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Atlanta, TX police. Birdwell, Jerrod- Last seen 1/6/14. Missing from Tyler, Jerrod was 17 at the time he disappeared. His height is listed as 5’5” and weight as 170 pounds, but he may have grown. He is white, with short black hair and brown eyes. There are no more details available about him. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Boehm, Frederick “Lil Joe” Joseph- Last seen 1/25/01. 6’0”, 130 pounds, white male with hazel eyes and brown hair missing from Marshall. He has a rebel flag tattoo on his upper arm. His sister Jolene is searching for answers and offering a $5000 reward. Anyone with information should contact the Harrison County Sheriff. Cannon, Heather Danielle- Last seen 8/27/09. The 15-year-old disappeared from Athens, Texas. Authorities believe she left of her own accord, and she was last seen in the company of her biological father, Jerral Allen Whitley. Whitley refused to take a polygraph test after Heather's disappearance and was later incarcerated in Florida for drug offenses and grand theft. He was imprisoned for 18 months before being released in October 2014. Police have since completed excavations of a property on County Road 4837, near Larue. Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff. Childress, Antoinette Renee- Last seen 10/13/15. Missing from Henderson at her trailer home. About a month before Childress went missing, her sister, Patricia Nichols, began receiving strange Facebook messages from her. The first message said there was an emergency and Childress needed her phone number. Three weeks later Nichols got another message that just said "Sister where are I, what's going on." On October 6, Nichols got a voice message from Childress's Facebook account. The message said something about guardian angels, but the voice wasn't Childress's. Nichols left home after that and didn't return until November 6, by which time Childress was missing. Two women contacted Nichols after Childress's disappearance and said they knew what had happened to her. The women stated Childress had been involved in using and selling drugs, and gotten some bad people angry, and was tortured and killed as a result. This information has not been verified. Childress was seeing Felipe Villanueva at the time of his disappearance. He is considered a person of interest in her case and has multiple warrants for his arrest on drug-related charges and driving without a license. His current whereabouts are unknown and it's unclear whether he's still in the area. A few days after Childress was reported missing, police found her car being driven by a man in Henderson. He was arrested on an unrelated charge, and stated Childress had sold him the vehicle, something her family finds difficult to believe. Childress has a warrant out for her arrest, but she's considered a missing person rather than a fugitive. Childress had just gotten off probation at the time and was trying to clean up her life. Her case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. Anyone with information should call the Henderson County Sheriff Combs, Donnie “Bon Jovi” and Cynthia Arnold (went missing together)- The pair was last seen 9/26/18 in Linden, near Atlanta, Texas in Cass County. Combs called Arnold and asked her to come pick him up in Cass Countyand she left home to do so. A little while later she contacted her mother and said Combs hadn't arrived and she was still waiting at the meeting spot. Neither of them has ever been heard from again. A few days after they were last seen, Arnold's truck was found abandoned and burned in Marion County, Texas. While Kevin Dewayne Shepard Jr. and his uncle, Gary Edward Shepard were charged in Oct. 2020 with capital murder of the pair, their bodies have never been found. They face the death penalty if convicted. Anyone with information should contact the Cass County Sheriff. Culberson, Larry- Last seen 9/4/13. Larry went missing from his home on County Road 4320 in Emory. Larry had been having some medical issues shortly before his disappearance. Larry was last known to be wearing camouflage-style gray pants, a white T-shirt and he might be wearing high-top tennis shoes. He was 56 at the time of his disappearance. An extensive search was conducted in the area without any result. His medical condition causes him to walk with a limp. Anyone with information should contact the Rains County Sheriff. Dunn, Hartford Hunter- Last seen 8/5/04. Vanished from his home in the 200 block of Private Road 4002 in Marshall in the early morning hours, his daughter said she woke up at 7:30 a.m. and found the door open and her father gone. At 76 years old, he was in the beginning years of dementia. He has not been seen since. Anyone with information should contact the Marshall Police. Flint, Kimberly Carter- Last seen 9/29/18. Kim’s car was found partially crashed and abandoned in the roadway of State Highway 154 near the rural community of Rekaw, in Rusk County. Her purse ID, as well as other possessions, were at her home, according to Kim’s son James. Picture evidence of the wreck shows damage to the front and side panel of the grey four-door sedan. "The vehicle it was found still in the roadway partially crashed," her son said. "She just wasn't there." Two searches, both immediately after the crash and 170 days later, turned up nothing. A witness believes he saw her speaking with someone in a white pickup truck, but as any local knows… there are a lot of white pickup trucks in East Texas. Kim was featured on “The Vanished Podcast.” Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff. Farrell, Justin Kyle- Last seen 05/11/04. Farrell disappeared from Nacogdoches, Texas. In March 2015, his skeletal remains were found near Cushing in Nacogdoches County, Texas. They were identified in April 2015. Farrell's death remains under investigation and has not yet been ruled a homicide. Anyone with information should contact the Nacogdoches County Sheriff. Fleisher, Steven Miller- Last seen 9/14/16. Missing from Troup, he was last seen around 6:15 a.m. in the 1200 block of Noble Street. Police say Fleisher did not take any of his belongings with him and his family has been unable to contact him. He was 53 years old at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Flores, Lydia- Last seen 10/11/20. Reported missing on Oct. 19 by her Shreveport, LA boyfriend, who said he had not heard from her since Oct. 11. She is a 40-year-old Hispanic female, and has two tattoos: a barbed wire on her bicep and a playboy bunny on her lower back. She is 5’1” and 115 pounds. She has brown eyes and auburn hair. She is from Longview, but anyone with information should contact the Shreveport Police Department. Franklin, Johnny William- Last seen 10/21/08. The black male, 5'9" tall and 150 pounds was last seen in Tyler. His vehicle was located in a church parking lot at 3009 N. Grand Ave. on October 21, but police said they saw no signs of foul play. He was 53 at the time of his disappearance. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Gallegos, Veronica- Last seen 01/11/05. Missing from Gun Barrel City at the age of 19, Her live-in boyfriend said she packed a suitcase and left; he speculated she'd returned to her native Mexico. She has never been heard from again. Gallegos left behind her purse, her Mexican identification and her six-month-old child. Her boyfriend is considered a person of interest in her case and has stopped cooperating with investigators. Foul play is possible in her disappearance, but few details are available in her case. Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff. Gipson, Tyress- last seen 8/22/20. Missing from Jacksonville, Texas in Cherokee County, Tyress had just turned 18 and graduated. He is 6’0” and weighs 180 pounds. He has tattoos of the name “Lavance,” “BG$” and prayer hands. He is an African American man, wears his hair in dreads, and has braces. Anyone with information should contact the Jacksonville Police Department. Gutierrez, Marquita Leanna- Last seen 11/11/19. Some report her as missing out of Canton, while others report her as missing out of Wood County. Marquita Gutierrez was reported missing after borrowing her mom's pickup that morning to go to a doctor's appointment, but the doctor's office said she never showed up. Her husband told police she was last seen in the Dallas area and was possibly heading toward Laredo. Her husband has been named a person of interest in her case. Anyone with information should contact the Wood County Sheriff Hunt, Shirley Mae- last seen 6/17/07. Missing from Henderson, Shirley was last seen walking on County Road 454 near her home in rural Rusk County. She had alzheimers at the time of her disappearance. She is 5’4”, 140 pounds with hazel eyes, white hair and a partial denture plate. She wears eyeglasses with a gold wire frame, and was 72 at the time of her disappearance. Sheriff’s deputies believe she got in someone’s car, due to scent dog tracking. Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff. Jackson, Cole Duane- last seen 07/13/06. Missing from Timpson, Jackson was last seen near FM 1645 and CR 4230. The truck he was driving came out of a private pasture and rammed into a fence. He stopped and spoke to the elderly man who owned the land. Jackson apologized and said he would pay $120 for the damage, but said he had to run to get away from the "bad people" who were chasing him. He abandoned his Dodge half-ton pickup with minor damage and left his two inhalers, which he needed, in the vehicle. The driver’s side door was open and the truck was still in four-wheel drive. Jackson's wife was three months pregnant with their first child at the time he went missing. Anyone with information should contact the Shelby County Sheriff. Lee, Anthony Tyrone- last seen 6/25/11. Anthony was planning to go to the rodeo with his mother on the evening of June 25. When his mother came to pick him up for the rodeo, she found his home deserted. The ironing board was set up with the clothes Lee had planned to wear to the rodeo. His pants were on the ironing board with one leg dangling, as if he'd been interrupted while ironing and left in a hurry. His mother said he would not leave the house in his “house shoes” (a very East Texas thing lol) and he had $600 untouched in his bank account. About three weeks after Lee was reported missing, his mother got strange phone calls. A "death song" played on the line, then someone said, "that's what he gets for snitching." His mother noted that he had been associated with a known drug dealer and this person had wrecked Lee's car about a week before Lee disappeared. Anyone with information should contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (State Troopers). Marshall, Kimberly Ann- last seen 3/17/17 after she spent one night in the Salvation Army womens’ shelter in Tyler, Texas. She was never seen again. Thirty-one years old at the time, Kimberly had cuts and scars on her arms, wrists and back. She also has upper dentures. She is 5’5” and approximately 105 pounds, although she fluctuates in weight. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Few details are available about her. Anyone with information should contact the Tyler Police Department. Martin, David Michael- last seen 1/14/10. He was a truck driver based in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and came home to Louisiana most weekends to visit his family. On January 14, Martin called to say he wouldn't make it home that weekend because his truck had broken down. He never contacted his loved ones again. The last person known to have seen him was the mechanic in Longview, Texas whom Martin took his truck to for repairs. They had dinner together, then Martin said he was going to wait on a friend to get truck parts. The mechanic left to do more work on the truck. Martin has never been heard from again. Anyone with information should contact the Sand Springs Police. Martinez, Gregoria Jacobo- last seen 8/13/09. Martinez was last seen in Nacogdoches. She was born in Mexico and was living in the United States without documents at the time of her disappearance. Her two young children, both of whom are U.S. citizens, and they were visiting their grandmother in Mexico when Martinez disappeared. She had asked the father of one of her children for money to help bring her children home from Mexico. He agreed to meet her and lend her money shortly before she disappeared.Martinez planned to go to the Nacogdoches County courthouse on July 13 to pick up copies of her children's birth certificates, but she never arrived there. She has never been heard from again. She was reported missing on July 16. That same day, her vehicle was found abandoned on the side of County Road 525, near the intersection of U. S. Highway 59 south. There were no obvious indications of a struggle at the scene. Martinez may have gotten a ride south with a truck driver in order to find her children; however, her family never saw her. Both the fathers of her children have been questioned and neither of them have been named as suspects. Authorities believe Martinez was taken against her will. Anyone with information should contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (State Troopers). Marquez, Erin Raquel- last seen 8/30/14. The 17-year-old disappeared as she was leaving the Longview Baptist Church in Hallsville, near Longview. She has long dark hair that was dyed red, and 5’6”, 130 pounds, and has brown eyes. Anyone with information should contact the Harrison County Sheriff. McKay, Melissa Darling- last seen 6/10/11. At 1:35 a.m., Melissa walked out of the Choctaw Casino in Grant, Oklahoma with a white male companion, Jeremy Upchurch, of Lamar TX and was never seen again. Upchurch continues to be a person of interest due to his criminal background. Properties in Oklahoma, Delta and Lamar counties were searched, but came up empty. I can’t find an independent source to corroborate, but a personal conversation I had with law enforcement indicates they have found her vehicle in Oklahoma and presume she is dead, possibly due to drug involvement. Anyone with information should contact the Hopkins County Sheriff or Sulphur Springs Police. Meadows, Beverly Lofton- Last seen 12/26/08. Beverly walked away from the Community Cares Nursing Home in the 200 block of west Merritt Street in Marshall, Texas and has never been seen again. Meadows had lived in the nursing home for about six years prior to her disappearance. She was supposed to wear an identification bracelet that would have activated the nursing home's door alarms, but she took it off before she left. She left without taking any personal belongings. Her mother, who lives 15 miles from the nursing home, believes Meadows was trying to walk to her residence. She was 48 years old at the time of her disappearance, 5’3”, and 240 pounds with short brown hair. She requires daily medication, and she doesn't have her medicine with her. Anyone with information should contact the Marshall Police. Morton, Sheila- last seen 6/2/14. Missing from Center, Texas, Sheila’s behavior and personality changed drastically in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, according to her mother Joan. She had recently quit a restaurant job she had for seven years, moved out of her residence, and began hanging out with an old group of friends. Additionally, the last purchase Sheila was known to make was for a 9mm handgun, which was left behind when she disappeared. She was last seen at her ex-boyfriend’s house. Her phone was turned off the same day she vanished, and she has never been seen or heard from again. Sheila’s family members do not believe she would voluntarily leave her son behind. Anyone with information should contact the Angelina County Sheriff. Pierce, Ashley- last seen 3/10/20. Disappeared from the Longview area, she is 5’3” and has a Hello Kitty tattoo on her thigh and a scorpion on her shoulder. She has long brown hair. Anyone with information should contact the Gregg County Sheriff. Salazar, Rosemary “Rose” Rodriguez- Last seen 10/6/19. Attended a family birthday party at the Golden Corral in Kilgore, and was supposed to report to work the next morning at the Kilgore Walmart, but no-show, no-called. She has several distinctive tattoos, including a heart with a fishing hook, a deathly hallow, and the inscription “my person” next to a rose. She is a 5’4”, 185 pound Hispanic woman with brown eyes and brown hair, and it is not known what she was wearing when she disappeared. Her lime green 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is also missing. Anyone with information should contact the Gregg County Sheriff. Stewart, Harry Edward- Last seen 11/30/11. Harry was traveling from Springtown, Texas to Alabama and was last seen in Hallsville, Texas. His age was 65 and he is white, 5’10”, and weighs about 170 pounds. Sheriff’s deputies determined he was driving when he hit something and had to leave his vehicle after his radiator overheated. Harry told the responding officer he would wait at the Dairy Queen on Farm-to-Market Road 450 near mile marker 604 for a ride. He was never seen again. Thompson, Lauren Colvin- Last seen 1/10/19. At 1:53 p.m., Lauren made a frantic but coherent call to her mother. At 2:01 p.m., Lauren called 911 and told Panola County dispatch she was being followed. The call lasted for 21 minutes before disconnecting. Lauren’s family says it “abruptly ended,” police say the “cell phone died.” Lauren’s phone and shoe were found in the Rock Hill community, a rural area with less than 200 residents and more than 2000 acres of woods. A search by multiple law enforcement agencies turned up nothing. A $10,000 reward is offered for information on Lauren’s whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact the Panola County Sheriff. Tidwell, James “Jimmy” Lamar- Last seen 2/15/12. Family members found his rural cabin in Rusk County abandoned, and later found his vehicle abandoned on Farm Road 95, approximately five miles from his home, without a battery. "I do not believe for one minute that he left this property of his own free will," his sister Lynn Akin said. The road was a route he took frequently. He was 58 at the time of his disappearance. The truck showed no signs of foul play, according to Sheriff’s deputies. Anyone with information should contact the Rusk County Sheriff. Valdovinos, Gustavo Baldovi- Last seen 7/11/12. Missing from his maternal aunt's home on Houston Street in Tyler. He told his family he was an alcoholic and had decided to go into treatment, and he left with a group of people who promised to get him some help. The group he left with is described as a Caucasian male and two Caucasian females driving a white Chevrolet Z71 or Silverado pickup truck. Anyone with information should contact the Smith County Sheriff. Wells, Brandi- Last seen 8/3/06. Was leaving the Graham Central Station nightclub in Longview at around 12:30 a.m. Her damaged car was found on Interstate 20 near the Brownsboro exit with her personal belongings inside. She was wearing rust-colored gaucho pants and a floral tube top, and is 4’11, 130 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was 23 in 2006, she would be 36 now. She was featured on Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared.” Anyone with information should contact the Henderson County Sheriff. Witt, Jana Mann- last seen 8/17/05. Missing from Glen Rose in Somervell County, Ms. Witt displayed personality changes several weeks prior to her disappearance. She has also gone by the names Jana Holstin, Jana Howard and Jana Branch. She was 44 years of age at the time of her disappearance, and 5’3”, 160 pounds with blue eyes and dyed red hair. The missing persons database notes that foul play is possible. Anyone with information should contact the Somervell County Sheriff. Sources: News reports, Charley Project, Missing Eight East Texas and more https://www.news-journal.com/news/local/police-searching-for-husband-of-missing-wc-woman/article_7c5144ee-8434-5e12-9829-360d060c510a.html https://www.ketk.com/news/vanished-hartford-hunter-dunn/ https://www.panolawatchman.com/news/still-no-answers-in-lauren-thompson-case-a-year-after-she-went-missing-from-panola/article_07d707bc-4d15-11ea-8c84-af4fb2d30b79.html
Hosted by Travis Scott and Chase B Episode starts with Travis explaining the story that T-Pain was seen telling on his Twitch stream. For anyone else who missed Travis's quick explanation of the T-Pain situation, he basically said he was exhausted from being fucked up all night per usual (his words), and before finalizing Astroworld for good wanted to meet with T-Pain to see if they had any last minute ideas. Him being hungovecomedown with no sleep plus a third-party studio with supposedly strict volume restrictions led to travis being cranky then falling asleep. Doesn't get into ignoring him the days following but glad he got into it. (u/RioChalmers) summed it up better than I could Set List Good Life (ft. T-Pain) by Kanye West Got Money (ft. T-Pain) by Lil Wayne Maybach Music 2 (ft. Kanye West, T-Pain and Lil Wayne) by Rick Ross Buy U a Drank (ft. Yung Joc) by T-Pain The Boss (ft. T-Pain) by Rick Ross Can't Believe It (ft. Lil Wayne) by T-Pain Bartender (ft. Akon) by T-Pain Cash Flow (ft. T-Pain & Rick Ross) by Ace Hood Go Hard (ft. Kanye West & T-Pain) by DJ Khaled Chase B and Travis are back talking about how this is Season 2, hopefully more frequent episodes coming Wavy by Lil Keed Reality Check by Swae Lee We Paid (ft. 42 Dugg) by Lil Baby The Blinding (ft. Travis Scott) by Jay Electronica Turks (ft. Travis Scott) by NAV & Gunna Dropout by OMB Bloodbath & Maxo Kream Bird Call (ft. El Train) by Sauce Twinz, Sauce Walka & Sancho Saucy Too Comfortable by Future The Scotts by The Scotts (Travis Scott & Kid Cudi) Yea Yea by Pop Smoke Rockstar Bikers & Chains by Gunna Been Turnt by 42 Dugg Solitaires (ft. Travis Scott) by Future Hard to Choose One by Future Travis is back talking about COVID in Houston and how people can try to do better Wash Us In The Blood (ft. Travis Scott) by Kanye West Donda by Kanye West Strung Out Over You by Mavis Staples & William Bell Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye World We Created by Giveon Just To Say by Kacy Hill Casino by Ashton Travis & Chase B 3AM by HAIM Kerosene! by Yves Tumor New House by Toro y Moi Zen by Big Sean Lithuania by Big Sean Escapism album on the way Cafeteria by Chase B and Don Toliver White Tee by Travis Scott and Young Thug
December 31, 2019 "The Golden Grin Casino will now fund a moon landing for the new year. We'll be celebrating it by sending 3 brave astronauts, one of which is our current CEO,Mr.James Hoxworth." Now I wasn't sure what was so wonderful about landing on the moon, but considering I've been playing poker, partying on beaches, and running the biggest casino in Vegas, it was a nice way to get away from the grind and relax. My assistant manager, Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto, tells me that there's a secret society of moon people, and that the moon isn't what it seems. "Ah you wanker, first you tell me there's bloody fucking humanoid rabbits on the moon. Second, you tell me there's fucking people calling themselves bloody "Lunarians." Third, you tell me there's a massive metropolis on the dark side of the Moon. What's bloody next, I'm opening a Lunar casino and getting trillions from them?" "Mr.Hoxworth... with all due respect, I don't allow myself to lie. It is against my values. The things I've said about the moon is true." "Mr.Mikoto, please... just take this shift off and get a good night's sleep, you won't have to make it up. You've been working overtime for the last few weeks and I'm worried. Get a good night's rest, would you sunshine?" Well, it was just me running this casino alone now for the next few days. Until GenSec escorts me to launch on a rocket and show people what we're seeing. Bloody moon people? Fucking rabbits? A goddamn metropolis on the moon? Mr.Mikoto never lied or attempted to cheat me before he brought things up related to the moon landing. I wonder if he was telling the truth, but it didn't matter, I have a casino to run, some people to scam, and some sleep to catch. After seeing that things were running smoothly, I left for my penthouse on top of the Golden Grin itself. Taking the stairs I've hid behind the wall, I locked up the manager's room, pressed a button, and went up a few flights of stairs. I refuse to use an elevator, not after what happened at that damn No Mercy job. Going to my penthouse, I scanned a keycard and went in. I've managed to bargain a really nice deal with GenSec, as I've embarrassed them by breaking their "impenetrable" vault, slaughtering their SWAT units, not to mention my crew's numerous robberies on places "secured" by them. I've managed to get their "Premium deal" for $8999 a month, up to the next 5 years, rather than the full $9999 they charge per month. Getting in bed and sleeping in, I had a dream. In James "Hoxton" Hoxworth's dream... "There's the house, and somewhere... the rat." Bain... I've been waiting for this day for over 2 years, the Judas bastard who ratted me, the motherfucker who let me rot in prison. I saw that Clover, shit-for-brains, and Dallas were with me. As much as I wanted to beat the Hell out of him for stealing my name, the rat can take the hits, for now... Feeling for my shank, I was going to drink this rat's blood, and spit it out on his corpse. We all got past the outer fence, whoever this rat was, that bastard at least had a good place to die. Bain told us about a security system, I was struggling to find it, but Clover managed to find it and we checked for any guards that might of caught us. I lockpicked the window and we quickly disabled the alarm, after wandering around for keycards and not getting caught, I saw the FBI boss. I was going to kill this guy, but Dallas told me that he might be useful alive and that our code doesn't involve killing civilians. Alas, he was unfortunately correct when we found a vault and placed the keycards in them. Bain saw a retinal scanner and told us to take the boss there. I opted to stay there, sitting on a bed and lying on my stomach, listening to the voice of the man who betrayed me, after Dallas bound and gagged the boss, we forced him to scan his eye on the retinal scanner and I was taunting him about how he could try putting me in prison, but he couldn't keep me. The boss couldn't talk, but he probably knew I was right. The other 3 left to find evidence and other things, but I stayed behind to see that panic room open, when I saw that door start opening, I grabbed my shank, and raised my arms up to destroy the brain of this now brainless rat. However, the world around me started to shift and I was back in my prison uniform, being escorted by rabbit girls with guns and a purple-haired chick with a yellow ribbon holding a sword to my neck. The next thing I noticed was that I was restrained exactly like the time before my crew broke me out. After walking forward for a bit, I could hear faint drilling sounds and saw a dollar being thrown out, knowing that this was my breakout, I went for it and got kicked square in the stomach by a light purple-haired rabbit girl with a suit. Coughing up some blood and recovering, the girl who pointed a sword at me told me to stop fucking around and get up. I knew this was breakout time, so I yelled, "It's PAYDAY fellas!" When there was no response, I yelled, "I SAID IT'S FUCKING PAYDAY motherfuc-" The wall besides me blew up and the sword went through my thigh, I was expecting the crew to save me, but they ended up getting restrained by a blonde haired girl with a fan. "Hoxton... we're so sorry for leaving you behind. Please forgive us." Those were the last words uttered by Dallas, Chains, Wolf, and my replacement before it seemed like they turned to dust and disappeared into thing air. "Sister... we did it, we took down the filth that the Earthlings couldn't ever take down. It was easier than I calculated it to be... I honestly expected to have to fight to the last hair." "Ahh, everything is so easy for you when you can borrow the powers of gods, isn't it Yorihime? And you've always desired a challenge from the Earthlings, they've sent their best criminals and nothing of challenge occured. Anyways, weren't you interested with this one we took prisoner?" "Yes... a James Hoxworth, known by his alias "Hoxton," a sharpshooter known for his abilities to hunt heads and the infamous thief that went on that crime spree. I've taken a liking to him, more so that Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto has committed a massive sin against us. Hoori is still saddened by the loss, but accepts it now. It's just like when Kaguya drank that forbidden elixir. We still miss them inside, but accept that they had to die on the filthy earth." Wait a minute... I known a Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto, if it wasn't in this fucked up timeline, he would of eventually be my assistant manager after acquiring the Golden Grin. Was he correct, that there were moon people and rabbits. And if so, there must be some sort of civilization on it. Seeing that there was no way out of here, if I was going to rot in prison, I was going to at least have my questions answered. I asked them, "Are you Lunarians, and if so, are we on the moon? Also, is this real or a scare tactic?" The purple haired girl answered me, "Yes, we are Lunarians. And yes, we are on the moon. Allow me to show you our world." Getting escorted, I saw that we were indeed not on Earth, but the fucking moon of all places. There was a massive metropolis, it was on a scale larger than that time I went to Japan for a failed business deal. "What a fuck-tastic place... it's so beautiful. How the hell did you even build this?" "The Lunatic Kingdom... it's been over millions of years since we first established this place. Exploiting quantum physics, enhancing our magical capabilities, having gods on our side. We've estimated humanity wouldn't be able to catch up to our current capabilities until at least tens of thousands of years." I was taken back where the rabbits and blonde girl was. I had my restraints removed, but still had a gun pointed towards my head. A figure, with a crescent moon for a crown with some armor with moon symbols, I noticed that the 2 girls bowed down. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Lord Tsukuyomi, the God of the Moon. These are my 2 nieces, Toyohime and Yorihime. Quite the charm, are they not." "Yes they are." "We will now go somewhere more desirable for me to tell my prophecies that directly involve you." Seeing that we were in a more serene area, with something I would of seen off an ancient Japanese painting worth hundreds of millions, we sat down on a tatami mat, comfortable things, for sure. Here are his prophecies,
You will marry one of my nieces.
You will attain a legendary power that I wish I could have.
You will bear witness to an unexpected event.
You will live here.
We will meet under more desirable circumstances.
You will be pure.
"But for now, I promise you, James Hoxworth. This is simply a dream, but it serves as my place to tell prophecies without having to directly intervene. Remember my words, and your reward will be greater than your casino. Goodbye." I was sent to a room that looked awfully similar to my penthouse, then I received a kiss on the cheek from Yorihime, and then I was sent on my way... Back in reality, January 1, 2020. Holy shite! I woke up with a note next to my hand, with that dude's prophecies written in what, Japanese or something? Along with a sword that seemed like the ones that girl had. Whatever just happened, I was going to see if this was a scare tactic or reality. Going to my casino, I knew now would be the least profitable time, as everyone has a New Year's resolution that they always fail. I saw Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto, it looked like he knew something was up. "Mr.Hoxworth, how was your dream last night?" Seeing the devilish smile and his unusual amount of calmness, I knew this guy wasn't joking. He wouldn't have a reason to put his highly prestigious career on the line for the largest casino in America. "It was... um, weird." "Weird, huh? Fufufu, did you see a moon god, 2 beautiful girls, and some rabbit girls?" "Um... yes, yes I did." "Let me fill you in on something, those girls were my mother and ex-wife, 2 "Lunar Princesses." Unfortunately I've done something to get banished from the Moon. My punishment is to rot on Earth. With nobody in to fill in that void, and the political disaster that I've left behind, only the best are allowed to marry her." "So why the Hell would a moon god choose my sorry ass? I mean I'm pretty sure he can find better." "Simple, I've been observing your magical energy, and it seemed that it's more than what some gods can dream of containing. You've also have a unique power that only few can hope to replicate, much less acquire. I am not allowed to tell you exactly what it is, but you'll learn with time, Mr.Hoxworth." I reached for that note I was given from those "Lunarians," I asked Ugayafukiaezu to read them for me, since if anyone could reach those um... symbols, it was going to be him. "Dear me, Mr.Hoxworth, it looks like you've really ascended from being an Earthling to a Lunarian. Is this the cost of my sin? Being employed by the one who will take my place, well... I deserve it." "Anyways... I sincerely hope you had a good night's rest. Maybe tell your deity buddies to fill me in next time instead of leaving me confused and thinking their saying a bunch of crap." Days have passed, I only had dreams of those "Lunarians" but got more details about them in more desirable circumstances. I remember seeing Bain and Tsukuyomi discuss what I used to be, and how that gave me status to their secret society stuff, or that one time where Locke wrecked all of us in golf and managed to hit a boat for once, and especially that one where Dallas told Yorihime everything about me. It was going to be one more day before I was getting launched into space, hopefully I have everything figured out. January 11, 2020 I took whatever objects I could to get into space, they prepared food, water, and some other essentials. Even 3 Mossberg 500s were packed with us as there's been reports of astronauts being attacked, I wonder if those were the "Lunarians" that I've been seeing in my dreams. GenSec took me on a plane to the Kennedy Space Center, as part of my sponsership with NASA, the Golden Grin will fund their projects and provide for their employees in return of giving me the pleasure of being on the moon. Going through some boring checks and being shoved in a fucking spacesuit, making me look like a glorified Bulldozer from my first crime spree?file=Bulldozer.jpg), I was in a rocket with my other comrades. I was going to be flown off to the moon and had to do all sorts of things, but overall, if the Lunarians are real and Tsukuyomi wasn't bluffing, I was going to hopefully live somewhere better. If it was just a really massive coincidence, I was going to be the first and possibly only Golden Grin member with the privilege of saying, "I was on the moon." And we have liftoff. Flying in a massive hunk of steel and computers, we viewed everything, for the next 3 days, we were doing nothing productive, but I've noticed a few things. My body felt like it contained a load of magic and that I was going to be something greater. But I just played it off as over-excitement and we finally landed on the moon. "OK... so we'll take pictures, replace the flag, and broadcast this to the whole world. It is time that we forward our knowledge of the cosmos. We have to investigate the dark side of the moon." Doing what command wanted us to do, we were going there to forward the cause of science. I felt an uneasiness and heard an intentional static. "Hey wankers... do you get the feeling that we're being watched by something out of this world? Like we're the ones being studied instead of studying?" "No... why?" "I just feel like something is off here, but let's tread on." As my team went further to investigate the darkness, we reached a point where we noticed a sea of all things. Fucking Hell, it looks like my dreams were slowly becoming reality, we took notes until we were ambushed by a bunch of rabbit girls. "HALT! You impure beings, you will now be detained, put your hands over your heads and stay silent. Do not attempt to move, or speak, otherwise you will be eliminated." Son of a bitch... we had guns pointed towards our heads and I saw who looked like Yorihime there. Was this an elaborate thing set up by the FBI and GenSec to get me back in jail? Was this a well-done nightmare? Will the ZEAL SWATs going swarm me any second now? My body was starting radiate what feels like magic and my soul felt like it was starting a process to ascend, whatever this was, it wasn't going to be pretty for any of us. Maybe I've ascended to a new realm or something... whatever this is. I'm going to do what the girl says, that's one sharp sword and I rather not see that as the last thing before my death and get beheaded.
The original Megathread got archived automatically by Reddit, so I've now re-upped it. This megathread is to compile all the information into 1 place so that information can be accessed more easily and smoothly. Please post all questions/comments on this thread. This includes selling/buying tickets, meetup plans, etc. Any further posts about the tour, including questions, will be removed. Please feel free to use the "#live-shows" channel on the subreddit Discord server to discuss and post about the tour. Next, please use Reddit’s spoiler feature when discussing things about the tour that others want to be surprised about. As posted in the sidebar, you can now hide your text on Reddit, so please utilize this feature in posts and comments. Don’t ruin the fun for other members of the horde!
The tour will feature the brand new, highly-anticipated “Cube V3” – with new visuals completely designed by Deadmau5 himself!
NOTE: While the UMF 2019 set may spoil some things for the tour, Joel has confirmed on Reddit that there will be A LOT of changes for the tour - including new visuals and NEW MUSIC! Ultra was essentially just a way to test out the new system before tour season begins.
Set times, ticket prices, age restrictions, and other regulations vary for each venue, so your best bet for specific venue questions would be to visit venues' websites or call them.
The set length will be about 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the opening sets will each be about an hour long.
1) deadmau5 On Stage Experience: -One Premium Reserved or General Admission ticket to the show -One (1) Meet & Greet with deadmau5* -One (1) Individual photo with deadmau5* -The ability to watch the first 3 songs of deadmau5’s set, side-stage* -Exclusive access to special VIP pre-show production tour (see the new cube up close and personal)* -One commemorative VIP laminate -One exclusive merchandise item -Priority entry into the venue* 2) deadmau5 VIP Meet & Greet Experience: -One Premium Reserved or General Admission ticket to the show -One (1) Meet & Greet with deadmau5* -One (1) Individual photo with deadmau5* -Exclusive access to special VIP pre-show production tour (see the new cube up close and personal)* -One commemorative VIP laminate -One exclusive merchandise item -Priority entry into the venue* 3) deadmau5 VIP Cube Tour Experience: -One Premium Reserved or General Admission ticket to the show -Exclusive access to pre-show production tour* -One commemorative VIP laminate -One exclusive merchandise item -Priority entry into the venue* * = no liquids permitted side stage (alcohol, soda, etc)*side stage locations will operate in a different format from city to city depending on local venue capabilities *production tour done in groups of 10*meet & greet and photo opportunity may occur after general doors have opened
MORE DATES WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON:
No need to complain yet that you don’t see the city that you wanted. Joel also confirmed on Mau5Trap Radio Episode #28 that although this first part of the tour is United States only, they are working on plans for worldwide dates afterwards. GUEST VOCALS:
LIGHTS (EVERY SHOW)
SOFI (Select shows only)
OPENERS: (In alphabetical order:)
E̶D̶D̶I̶E̶ (EDIT: CANCELLED DUE TO VISA ISSUES - replaced by Bentley Dean & Julian Gray)
Great Hall Stage: Testpilot, Layton Giordani, Rinzen
Kings Hall Stage: ATTLAS, BlackGummy, MSTRKRFT, SIAN, Speaker Honey
Lost Circus Stage: Todd Edwards, Jay Robinson, Gooey Vuitton
LOS ANGELES POP-UP SHOP:
Special pop-up shop with an interactive art & music installation (powered by Specdrums from Sphero)
Buy exclusive merch
See special displays (i.e. mau5heads, McLaren 720s Spider, etc.)
Meet Mau5Trap artists & get stuff signed
Sunset Strip - 1114 Horn Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Thurs. September 26th to Sat. September 28th
12:00PM - 8:00PM PDT
Deadmau5 signing from 3:00PM - 5:00PM PDT on 26th and 27th
i_o signing from 2:00PM -5:00PM PDT on 27th; 4:00PM - 6:00PM on 28th
Various Mau5Trap artists appearing/signing on 28th (including a Q&A panel from 1:00PM - 2:00PM PDT)
DENVER POP-UP SHOP:
Special pop-up shop with an interactive art & music installation (powered by Specdrums from Sphero)
Buy exclusive merch
See special displays (i.e. mau5heads, McLaren 720s Spider, etc.)
Meet Mau5Trap artists & get stuff signed
2100 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205 (Intersection of Larimer & 21st Street)
Fri. November 1st to Sat. November 2nd
11:00PM - 8:00PM MDT (both days)
Deadmau5 signing from 2:00PM - 4:00PM MDT (both days)
i_o signing from 5:00PM - 5:45PM MDT (Nov. 1 only)
Other Mau5Trap artists signing from 5:30PM -7:30PM MDT (Nov. 2 only)
NEW YORK CITY POP-UP SHOP:
Special pop-up shop with an interactive art & music installation (powered by Specdrums from Sphero)
Buy exclusive merch
See special displays (i.e. mau5heads, McLaren 720s Spider, etc.)
Meet Mau5Trap artists & get stuff signed
260 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11206
Thurs. February 6th to Sun. February 9th
12:00PM - 6:00PM EST (both days)
Deadmau5 signing from 3:00PM - 5:00PM EST (Feb. 7th & Feb. 8th only)
NOTE: Keep in mind, the below setlist compiles every track he's played at the shows so far in order - so therefore, he doesn't play ALL of these songs each show. Every show has a slightly different setlist. BOLDED = Unreleased
Harwinton Halloween FestivalDarkside Entertainment Presents: “The Rise of The Green Lady” A haunting, legendary, family experience this October 18-20th & 25th-27th @ The Harwinton Fairgrounds! This fall, as the nights draw longer and the cool damp fog settles over the grounds, discover the excitement, fear, and surprises which await. Step on our grounds (if you dare!) for nothing with free parking included. Experience free Hayride shuttles, free admission, the Largest Fall Food Truck Festival in New England, carnival rides, and of course, The Green Lady's Haunted House of Horror$5.00-$15.00, Fri, Oct 18 – Sun, Oct 20, 9pmHarwinton Fairgrounds, 150 Locust Rd, Harwinton, CT
Haunted Trail at Harrybrooke*Be prepared to be scared! Follow a self-guided trail that winds through darkness and woods by the Still River, and through the haunted basement of the museum. Wear comfortable shoes. This is a scary event, and may not be appropriate for younger children (under 8 years old), or individuals with physical restrictions. Enter at your own risk. Concessions available.*$10, 6:00PM-10:00PM64 Lanesville Road, New Milford, CT 06776
Science Straight UP! & Spooktacular Science Weekend @ The CT Science Center*Join us for Hartford’s Smartest Happy Hour as we explore Climate Change. Whether you are a climate change expert, curious, or somewhere in between, you will love the fun entertainment, refreshing cocktails, and peer-networking with an environmental twist. See how local organizations are making a difference on a global level and explore our NEW permanent exhibition “Our Changing Earth” after-hours in a kid-free environment.The Connecticut Science Center will get a little spooky and a little kooky for our annual Spooktacular Science Weekend! Have a ball at the ultimate Halloween party. Meet Mal and Evie from the Descendants, join the Baby Shark Bubble Dance Party, and see our stunning new exhibition, Our Changing Earth. Enjoy a Hocus Pocus sing along with the Sanderson Sisters and spooky surprises throughout the day.*Oct 18-20, $5 -$23.95250 Columbus Blvd. Hartford, CT 06103
Haunted: Victorian Ghost Stories at the Mansion – Halloween Tours*Victorians were known for their riveting ghost stories and Gothic horror. From Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Body Snatcher to Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, readers in the 19th century were deeply engrossed in dark tales from the other side. In keeping with this Victorian fascination with unexplained phenomena, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Halloween tours will focus on ghost sightings as they relate to the house during the 19th century as well as its more recent history, and the compelling ghost stories that are part of Connecticut’s legends.*Oct 18-27, $10295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850
11th Annual Cove Side Carnival*Rides, food, games and more, right in the heart of one of the largest historic district and location of the famously inspired Witch of Blackbird Pond. Come for the history, stay for the fun! See flyer for more! High-energy thrill rides and rides just for children Also, food, games, and entertainment. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Wethersfield Food Bank.*Oct 18-20, FREEWethersfield Cove Park, 176 Hartford Ave. Wethersfield, CT 06109
Jurassic Quest!*Jurassic Quest is America’s largest and most realistic Dinosaur event. Our guests will walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and The Triassic period and experience for themselves what it was like to be among dinosaurs of all kinds. Jurassic Quest is the only dinosaur event that has true to life size dinosaurs. From the very small, to the gigantic, sky-scraping dinosaurs that can only be seen at our events, Jurassic Quest has over 80 true-to-life size dinosaurs in each of its two touring shows. In collaboration with leading paleontologists, each dinosaur was painstakingly replicated in every detail. Whether their prehistoric counterpart had skin that was scaly, had feathers or fur, Jurassic Quest has spared no expense in bringing this realism to life.*Oct 18-20, $25-$41Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, CT 06103
Museum Children Free Week*The White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center is located in the Towns of Litchfield and Morris in northwestern Connecticut. Created in 1913 by Alain C. White and his sister, May W. White, the Foundation and Center today comprise 4,000 acres of forest, fields and wetlands. Visitors will find: 40 miles of trails, a nature museum, the Bantam river and shoreline, & more!*Oct 1 - Nov 5, FREE, 9am-5pmWhite Memorial Conservation Center, 80 Whitehall Rd. Litchfield, CT 06759
Yale Mineral & Gem Symposium 2019*The main session, on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will feature eight talks by prominent mineral experts. Michael T. Bycroft of the University of Warwick (England) will present the keynote address on the topic of “Gems and the Scientific Revolution.” Friday night’s session will feature a talk at 5 p.m., followed by a reception from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.*Oct 18-20, $75-$100Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave, New Haven CT, 06511
Glastonbury Apple Fest 2019The Glastonbury Apple Harvest & Music Festival features two stages of live music with 28+ local & touring artists, a full midway of amusement rides, 100+ craft vendors, 25+ food trucks/purveyors, a fully stocked Harvest Pub, and the Angry Orchard 5K Road Race on the festival’s closing day. The festival is proudly presented by the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce. Located at a bend of the Connecticut River, the Apple Harvest Festival and 5K Race has continually been ranked as one of the state’s most popular events. It’s an all-around experience that generations revisit year after yearOct 18-20, FREERiverfront Park, 300 Welles St, Glastonbury, CT
4th Annual Chalk Art Festival*Enjoy a day of art and entertainment in celebration of the local community in the heart of downtown New Haven and Yale University. The Shops at Yale invites all professional and amateur artists, students, and artist groups to participate in the 4th Annual New Haven Chalk Art Festival on Saturday, October 19. The Shops at Yale will provide exclusive offers to retailers and restaurants, raffles, giveaways and more! This event is free and open to the public. Rain date, October 20.*12pm - 4pm, FREEThe Shops at Yale, Chapel Street and Broadway, New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Manchester Beer Festival*This event is being hosted by the MMNT Foundation and is open to the public. The Manchester Beer Fest will raise money for local veteran organizations, the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity, and scholarships to local graduating seniors. The Manchester Beer Fest will feature food trucks, unlimited samples (with a ticket) and a wide variety of beers from local CT breweries.*12pm - 5pm, $2515 Purnell Pl, Manchester, CT 06040
CT Pet Expo 2019*The Family Pet Shows are designed to educate and entertain the public about the wonderful World of pets. It promotes responsible pet ownership and care in a fun filled family event. There are demonstrations and special attractions such as high flying Frisbee dogs, Reptile and bird shows, and much more. Attractions might vary by the venue. There is an outstanding venue of pet products and services for you to buy as well as pet adoptions.*10am - 4pm, $4-$11XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut, 06103
Harvest Market & Dog Costume Parade*The Fairfield Harvest Market features 80 vendors offering artwork, crafts, pet products, jewelry, upcycled and rustic furniture, home décor items, and beauty products. Food trucks and vendors from the weekly Fairfield Farmer’s Market will be there too.*10am-4pm, FREEHistoric Old Town Hall Green in Fairfield, 611 Old Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
Let's Go Birding Together*Fall migration is upon us and it’s beautiful outside! Join us for a special celebration of inclusion and take a leisurely walk through the fields and woods of Greenwich Audubon Center to learn about the many colorful birds that live here. We will also spend time watching for migrating hawks, eagles and falcons at the center's Quaker Ridge Hawk Watch. Our “Let's Go Birding Together” (LGBT) walk is for anyone who enjoys community, adventure, and wants to get outdoors! We welcome those who identify as LGBTQ, allies, families, and anyone who wants to enjoy an outdoor experience that is fun and inclusive.*9am-12pm, $5-$8Greenwich Audubon Center, Greenwich, 06831
Dinner in the Dark*Our primary fundraiser for the year, this event is a true culinary adventure! You will enjoy a gourmet dinner while wearing a blindfold, and we keep the menu secret. Come learn about the exciting ways we are working to transform the lives of those without sight. Be prepared for a unique sensory adventure, good food, fun, and dancing to live music!*5:30pm, $150 - $2,020Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, 625 North Road, Groton, CT 06340
Goats N' PajamasOct 19 & 26, Every Sat of the month*Come with your family to put the herd to bed, cuddle with your favorite goat, and experience pure silliness together. You will be brushing the goats, feeding them, and putting pajamas, tutus, and other costumes on the goats. We will take some of the goats on a walk in the good weather, or will have a coloring contest for all ages if the weather is cold or rainy. We will end the night with a goat cuddle session and feeding the whole herd hay as their Good Night snack. We will be available to take digital pictures from your camera or ours. All ages are welcome!*6pm, $15Bradley Mountain Farm, 537 Shuttle Meadow Road, Southington, CT 06489
The Great Pumpkin Festival*This fun, family annual event is scheduled for Saturday, October 19th from 12pm - 4pm. The popular festival will take place on Stratford’s historic Boothe Memorial Park. This celebration of autumn and Halloween will include a traditional costume parade and contest, a pumpkin carving contest, horse-driven hay rides, a roaming railroad, inflatables and more. The many historic and unique buildings on the Boothe park property will be open to the public.*12pm-4pm, FREEBoothe Memorial Park, 5800 Main St, Stratford, CT
Sunday, October 20th, 2019:
So You Think You Can Dance LIVE!*SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is is bringing it's best dancers to Foxwoods Resort Casino on October 20! Following the continued success of the hit summer competition series and 16 Emmy® wins, Sytycd is packing up its best dancers of 2019 and touring the country this Fall with Sytycd LIVE! 2019. Sytycd LIVE! 2019 will feature the show’s Top 10 Finalists including Season 16’s winner, America’s Favorite Dancer plus soon to be announced All Star guests.*7:30pm, $40-$60The Grand Theater at Foxwoods Casino
Llama Walk*Have you ever wanted to take a walk with a llama? You can! There are many beautiful places in and around Cornwall, Connecticut where this can take place. White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield is working together with Country Quilt Llama Farm to offer llama walks on any one of their 35 miles of walking trails.*2pm-3pm, $20White Memorial Conservation Center Museum, 80 Whitehall Rd. Litchfield, CT 06759
continuing As I was picking myself up off the shooter’s shack floor, I glanced over to the TV. The ballplayers were all wandering around the field, looking skyward. Evidently, there was this hellacious explosion…even the television sports commentators were speculating as to what happened. Whoops. I looked out into the quarry. The wall that I had charged had receded some 75 feet. There was rather a large amount of shattered, blasted dolomitic limestone now in the quarry. Enough, I found out later, for a full month’s worth of orders. We never did find the blasting mats. I think they sort of evaporated. Luckily, the quarry is essentially an open amphitheater in plan view; basically a big hole in the ground with vertical limestone walls. The shockwave of the blast that didn’t spend itself shattering the limestone into which it was housed, blew out laterally, hit the opposite quarry wall, rebounded, and then dispersed, rather energetically, vertically upward. I set off car alarms for a 20 block radius. There were no broken home windows, as the lion’s share of the shock wave was redirected upward. Good thing there were no low flying zeppelins or dirigibles in the area... I waited the requisite time to allow for any loafers. There were none, so I jumped into the nearest wheel loader and began clearing the quarry floor. Hell, I had to so I could open the front gate. As I was clearing the floor, making pile number eight of the loose rock I had liberated, I heard the characteristic whoop-whoop of emergency vehicles. I parked the wheel loader, opened the front gate, and raised the green flag. That was enough blasting for one day. A few minutes later, three police cars zoom into the site. Two were local city cops, and one was a state trooper. “Hi, guys!” I waved, “Nice day, innit?” “Doctor Rock! We should have known.” One of the local boys groaned. “Hey, I did call you beforehand, as per procedure,” I said. Polack the cop walks up, just knowing I was responsible. “Yeah, but we didn’t figure on you terrorizing the entire city.” “Polack! How goes it?” I asked. The other local cop and the state trooper look to Polack, “You know this maniac?” “Oh, hell yeah. For years. Don’t worry, the good doctor is mostly harmless.” He chuckles. “Damn. OK. I guess everything’s OK. Just no more shooting today, please, Doctor. It’s going to take hours to calm everyone down.” He laments. “Yes, sir. I’m done for the day.” I reply, snickering slightly. The one local and state trooper depart, shaking their heads in amazement. This left Polack to follow me over to the shooter’s shack to mooch a cigar and whatever else he can find. “Jesus Hula-Dancing Christ, Rock. What the hell was that? I was all the way out in Whitewatosa and heard you.” He asks as he sneakily snakes a smoke out of my case. “Just some common chemicals in the proper proportions.” I snicker. “Which were?” he asks. I go in the back of the shed and toss him an empty container of one of the parts of the binaries I used. He catches it, reads the label, and drops it like a live grenade. “Binaries? Fuck! Like what you used at the tower?” he asks. “Yep. I used just a little more.” I reply. “Little more? Damn, as I said, we’ve been briefed on the stuff. This shit’s nasty.” He shakes his head. “Yeah. Fun, too.” I reply. Polack grabs a Sprechler’s Cream Soda out of the fridge as I opt for a cold Cream Ale and shot of potato juice. Hell, I was done for the day, so… We sit around and have a chat, just shooting the shit, as it were. Manly topics, so the conversation eventually steered over to guns. “Hey!” Polack remembers, “That’s right! You fucking owe me. Let me borrow that fucking cannon you carry. I want to show the chief a thing or two.” “Yeah, that’s right”, I agree, “When do you need it?” “This Friday, after shift. It’s the monthly qualifiers for us.” He notes. “Are pyromaniacs allowed in?” I ask. “To observe? Sure. To shoot? Nope. Insurance regulations.” He says. “What time?” I continue. “1800 hours.” He tells me. “I’ll be there. I’ll bring my gun and an assortment of loads. Hey, this could be fun!” I evilly smile. “Doctor. You’re doing that thing again. You’re grinnin’ like a shithouse rat. You know how much that scares me. Stop it.” He pleads. “No worries. Friday at 1800 hours.” I reply, grinning. Polack slurps down his Sprechlers, snitches another stogie, and squeals out of the quarry in a cloud of dense dolomitic dust. I arrive back at our flat, after stopping for two frozen custard Turtle Sundaes, to go. I give one to an appreciative wife and I ask her about her day. “Oh, went shopping with Oma. Got the cutest shoes, and a new purse, and…oh well, never mind. You’ll see.” Between bites of Turtle Sundae, she asks how my day went. “Oh, my dear. I had a real blast.” I replied, not lying in the least. Monday, after my first classes, I’m back in the faculty lounge, savoring a Greenland Coffee. There was the usual instructor chatter when Dean Vermiculari walks in. “Good morning, Dean!” I say. “Care for a sit-down and a coffee?” “Good morning, Doctor Rock. Yes, please to both.” He replies. I fix us both a fresh Greenland Coffee and return to our table. I hand him one and sit down to savor my soupçon. “How was your weekend?” I ask the Dean of the College. “Oh, very nice. Had a fine time catching some perch and crappie out on Lake Genever. I see you had a victorious weekend as well. Twice.” He smiles. “Twice?” I asked. “Well, your handling of the tower demolition made all the papers. Very, very well done, Doctor. I congratulate you.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. That means a lot. Just doing what I can with what I’ve got. But twice?” I replied. “It wasn’t front-page news, but I saw there was some, well, let us just say, ‘energetic activity’ out at the Silurian reef limestone quarry yesterday.” He grinned. “Oh, yes. I had a job to do and well, as I always say: ‘Nothing succeeds like excess.” I smile back. “Quite. This beverage you’ve created is really rather extraordinary, Doctor. Again, I thank you.” He tips his mug my direction in the age-old Midwestern salute. “It’s a little recipe I picked up on my last expedition to the northlands. I grew rather fond of the concoction.” I replied. “Ah, I see. Marvelous.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. High praise indeed.” I reply. “Which leads me to…ah, Doctor Rock. I have another favor to impose upon you.” He says, all serious. “Yes, Dean? How can I be of service?” I ask. “We, as you no doubt know, have many, many fine extractive mineral company connections. We actually receive quite a large amount of funding and endowments from them. They recruit here extensively for our young geoscientists. Now, since Dr. Pataariki has left for industry himself, I would like to appoint you as the College of Natural Sciences corporate liaison.” He explains. “Indeed?” I replied, too stunned for words for once. “Yes, indeed.” He continues, “It will require travel, mostly domestic, and delivering symposia at various companies on differing extractive geological subjects. You will also serve as host and university coordinator when they are present on recruiting tours. There will, of course, be additional remuneration to accompany the added responsibilities.” I slurped my coffee, thinking furiously. “Could I please first discuss it with my wife before I answer?” I ask. “Oh, Doctor. Of course, of course. Take your time. I will not require a reply until… tomorrow.” He smiles, finishes his coffee, thanks me again, and toddles out. “Yow, Es!” I exclaim, “This is one hell of an opportunity. It’s never before been offered to a junior professor. This will cement my tenure-track. It’s going to be a bitch with time, though. What do you think I should do?” “Well, Rock, honey, I think you should do…” Es begins. “No! None of that ‘do what you think is best’ stuff. I want your own thoughts, just like when I decided to go after my doctorate.” I explained. “OK, then.” Esme looks all serious like she’s going to deliver a bipartisan political speech. “Yes.” She says, firmly “That’s it?” I ask. “Yep. You asked I answered. We’ll make it work. We always do. You can’t let the Dean down. You will accept tomorrow without fear or qualms of your wife’s hesitations, of which I harbor none.” Esme proclaims. “Did I ever tell you of the myriad reasons I love you so?” I ask. The next morning I meet with Dean Vermiculari. He’s pleased that I accept and hands over to me the charter. Then the lists of company representatives, their contact information, and some other secret stuff that I can’t divulge right yet. A raft of oil companies will be coming in the late spring semester, so I need to contact each and every one to solidify dates, times and positions for which they’re recruiting. But that’s for then, I have something more proximal for now. I have a Friday appointment with Polack the cop at the town police shooting range. I arrive spot on time with my Casull .454 Magnum pistol, in its carry bag, along with a small duffel crammed with Pyrodex, Tannerite, and selection of specialty loads I had Herman the German, the inveterate gunsmith, create. Herman the German, his actual sobriquet, was this incredible gunsmith, craftsman, and all-around artillery specialist. Have any sort of problem with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol? See Herman. Gun holding too high? See Herman. Barrel warped? See Herman. Need solid gold projectiles for a certain one-off job? See Herman. Herman the German can sort it out. Just never ask him: “How?” “Ach! I’ve lived so long to learn, and you want it free? I’ll fix it, you pay, but I am only one knowing how!” Herman was a cranky old Kraut, and has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. Even my Grandfather had deferred to Herman when he had some particularly delicate machining operation that need special attention and was unique. As far as anyone knew, Herman had no family, but was never at a loss for friends. He was one of the most popular, and well known, but still oddly really unknown, kind of mysterious, old bastards in the entire community. Herman the German liked me because I could obtain for him certain high-energy things he couldn’t. All were entirely legal, but some were sort of out there in the gray zone. He also liked that I was educated, as he held education in the highest esteem. He also liked that I was of German extraction myself. I often made it a point to drop by with odd and unusual high-octane potables while never expecting anything in return other than a story or a shared cigar. Herman created some special loads for my .454 Magnum, which he prized. “I like your gun, Doctor Rock, it is so big! I can still see well enough to build things for it.” He told me one day over cheroots and Schnapps. Herman was a character to be certain. It must have been the pixie in him to dream up some of the specialty rounds he created for me to share with the local constabulary. He lived out in the county by himself in an old farmhouse. He had a full machine shop in his basement, complete with forge, metal handling equipment, and a firing test range. He handed back my .454, rather solemnly. “Doctor, I am afraid to say I couldn’t test all the special rounds I’ve created for you. I need to patch the hole in the cinder blocks in the downstairs range. Your gun punched right through the back…” he apologized. Now, Herman does all sorts of work on the local’s deer rifles, the police’s ordinance and has even worked some with the Baja Canada National Guard. Some of the little novelties he’s dreamed up for me are the first to escape his homemade basement test range. I felt oddly honored. After proving who I was to the nice range officer, I looked around trying to find Polack. “It’s 1550. Where the hell is Polack? I wondered. “Rock! Over here.” Polack calls to me. He motions me outside to the police department’s tactical outdoor range. I had thought all along he was referring to the indoors police target range. This might pose some problems. The tactical range was a series of clapboard shacks, all setup and designed to represent some downtrodden urban inter-city landscape. There were a couple of junked cars, broken sidewalks, storefronts, houses, bus stops…in short, all things necessary to replicate the seediest sections of a settlement where malefactors live and breed. The cops all run around this range, shooting at bad guy pop-up cut-outs and avoid the not-bad-guy pop-up cut-outs. They’ve got music blaring, firecrackers going off, all trying to re-create a shady deeply urban environment. Points are awarded by the accuracy of fire on the run, time to maneuver the course, and the ability of not gunning down innocent bystanders. It is not the best place to test a .454 Cusall. This hand cannon recoils like a fundamentalist Christian being solicited for donations to Anton LaVey, shoots flames and incandescent gasses like Smaug after a hard night of drinking and a stop at the Taco Bell buffet, is louder than a dime-store Karen demanding to see a Manager, and more powerful than a Ghost Pepper suppository. To quote Joe Piscopo: “It shoots through schools.” Especially faux-schools made of plywood. A .32 or .38 cop special is the correct weapon here; even a 9mm is a little heavy. Enough power to make a serious dent, easy on control, light on the recoil…a good tactical weapon. But, nothing succeeds like excess. Polack’s Chief is running around, capping off his ‘big ol’ .44 Magnum, and making the valley echo. He punches considerable holes in the pop-up cut-outs, but has such a hard time handling the recoil, his score is barely passable. Polack runs his test with his standard 9mm sidearm and qualifies easily. However, he’s nowhere near done with his Chief yet. I suggest to Polack we have a shoot-off. And since a .44 Magnum bullet ‘is so close to a .454 Magnum’, which it isn’t…the .454 Casull generates nearly 85% more recoil energy than the .44 Magnum; that we’d need something other than holes punched in plywood to judge the efficacy of each. We are literally just down the road from Max Yazzer’s farm and market. They’re the place you go for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. However, now, he has a surplus of melons. I think you can see where this is headed… I borrow Polack’s personal conveyance and run down to Max’s farm. I return with a trunk-load of elderly, overripe, cheap as chips, melons. Watermelons, Honeydews, Musks, and Casabas. We place them in strategic areas on the course, five for the Chief to find, and five for Polack. A .44 vs. a .454 melon-wise results in pretty much the same sort of mess: high-velocity fruit spatter. Although, the Chief was very impressed by the report of the .454. So, after running the tactical-melon course, clear demarcation of a winner was elusive. OK, OK, clever dicks. How about this? A standing shoot-off? We’ll set up 3 melons each at 30, 20, and 10 yards. Beginning at 30 yards, your time will be until you take out all three melons. But, they’re not going to be in a straight line, we’re going to make them somewhat camouflaged. You will stand in one small demarcated area, hunt those miscreant melons, and bring them to justice. Fastest time and greatest display wins, as determined by the Police Peanut Gallery. Polack and the Chief agree. The Chief goes first and dispatches the melons, with a fair amount of spatter, in 15.3 seconds. Not bad. Polack is next. He wipes out all the melons and creates some thoroughly impressive displays with Herman’s ‘special’ rounds. Normal ballistics for the .454 are, for a 250 grain (16 g) bullet, a muzzle velocity of over 2,400 feet per second, developing up to 2,800 ft-lb of energy. Herman’s hot loads are double that. Polack wins the day on impressive high-velocity melon distribution, but misses, so close, with a time of 17.0 seconds. Recoil’s a bitch. Then there are Herman’s ‘specialties’. The Chief is duly impressed and even comments that his ears are ringing even with the ear protectors. He asks to inspect the weapon. He is even more than duly impressed. Polack knows what’s up and asks the Chief if he’d like to give a whirl. Of course, the Chief can’t back down. Polack loads the .454 with 5 of Herman’s specialties: hollow-point rounds loaded hot, compressed, and tipped with alkaline earth metals, like metallic sodium and metallic potassium… We set up the nastiest, glorpiest, just barely-holding-together, overripe, laced with Tannerite (an impact-actuated low-explosive) watermelon at the ‘Concealed Carry’ distance of 5 meters. We slowly fade back into the distance to avoid the inevitable ‘Gallagher reaction’. The Chief fires one, and just nicks the top of the melon. Don’t laugh, with the type of recoil and heft of the sidearm, and tensing up in anticipation, it’s easy to be off the mark initially. The second round impacts dead-center. Now, alkaline earth metals and water don’t get along really well. In fact, their relationship is explosive. Especially explosive when delivered at 2,900 feet per second. The Chief catches a huge smattering of vitamin-packed watermelony back blast goo. He’s not entirely happy. He looks positively grisly with all that blown-up melon schmoo on his nice, neat uniform. He returns my gun and bans me from ever showing up at the police range again. Polack is on traffic duty for the next month. He figures it was well worth it. Back at the flat, Esme is shaking her head and wondering if I’ll ever grow up. “I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up.” I reply. I see I have several missed phone calls. Ah, me; no rest for the weary. Back to company-university liaison duties. After I had contacted these companies, I receive no less than 12 requests for symposia, talks, and seminars to be given to various level of industrial scientific employees in their respective companies. I am now slated to give academic conferences on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and seismic structural geology to different companies in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Casper, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In the next 12 weeks, I’ll be giving no less than 8 talks in seven cities. I speak with Dean Vermiculari on how best to handle the situation. He understands and appoints two graduate student teaching assistants to handle my classes while I’m on the road. That relieves me of being physically there, but I still have to grade papers, compose lesson plans, and keep things running smoothly until finals. Besides giving the talks, there’s travel to oil fields, production facilitates, manufacturing plants, hotels, restaurants while I’m in town…the pace is excruciating. I’m gone more than I am at university. Plus in my time back home, I’m still the ad hoc master blaster for the limestone quarry. Then, there’s the companies arriving on campus, and the roles are reversed. Now I’m the welcome wagon and have to sort out the logistics of receiving the company representatives. I need to set up the colloquia to introduce the companies to the prospective students, arrange lodging, arrange passes for the university, transportation, “Meet-and-Greet’s, ad infinitum. I knew this was having a bit of effect on me when I came back to the flat after one particularly grueling ordeal of canceled flights, full hotels, missed connections and lukewarm reception by the company workers. “Hello”, I said, as I walked in the flat, “I believe you have a reservation for…” Esme just stood there, wondering if I was having a laugh. No, I wasn’t. I was completely hallucinating from road weariness, lack of sleep, jet lag, and total disorientation. This continued on for the next approximately 18 months. Esme was beginning to have second thoughts about all this. My teaching load was diminished by one whole introductory course. However, I was still flying hither and yon, delivering symposia, meeting with young geoscientists and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the Oil Industry. I found it particularly fascinating. Time marched on and it was once again it was the recruiting season. We had no less than eight oil companies visiting the university in their quest to swell the roster of their junior scientists. I’m still busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a windstorm, but have settled into a groove of sorts. I know the company recruiters and they now know me. I’ve actually struck up friendships with several. Particularly since I take them to the best local restaurants and bars after their recruiting duties are finished. I’ve met with recruiting representatives of Shrill Petrol, Mexxon, Nobil, Nocono Oil, Flug, Geddy, Brutish Petroleum, and Qexaco. The recruiting season is winding down and I find myself with Red (not Adair), of Nocono Oil. “Well, Doctor Rock”, Red states, “Another fine recruiting run. We’ve snagged two of your young geologists and one geophysicist. I’d say it was almost a perfect score.” We’re sitting in the Norton’s Steakhouse. After a couple of prime pink porterhouses, we’re working on the post-dinner double vodka and bitter lemon for me, and Lagavulin for Red. “Almost perfect?” I ask. “Yeah. There’s been this one small nagging concern from our company higher-ups.” Red continues. “What’s that?” I ask. “We need some more senior people. For one thing, we’ve recently opened a new petroleum laboratory down in our Houston office. Going to need some serious talent to run that show.” Red says. “I see”, I reply, “And…?” “We need mentors. Those with varied and far-flung knowledge. They must be well educated, global in experience and stature, with an [ahem] diverse set of skills.” Red notes. “Whew”, I agree, “That’s a tall order. You want my help with names of possible candidates? Is that it?” “Not as such, Doctor.” Red drains his drink, motions for me to do the same, and orders another round. Our drinks arrive and Red downs half his in one gulp. “Well, then”, I continue, “How can I help?” Red chuckles, “For someone so educated, you can really be thick as two short planks at times.” I sit back, and sip my Old Thought Provoker. The mercury-vapors light off. “No!” I say, incredulously. “Oh, yes.” Red smiles. “No?” I ask, slowly taking in the possible effects of what he’s hinting at… “OK, Doctor Rocknocker”, Red gets all serious and corporate, “We’d like to offer you a position at Nocono Oil as Senior Laboratory Manager and Head of Corporate Continuing Education.” You could have knocked me over with a grenade. I was stunned. I fumbled with my drink. “Red, you old con artist” I reply, “Is this a set-up?” Red, serious as a heart attack, looks directly at me and replies, “Doctor Rock, absolutely not, it’s a genuine offer.” He slides over a folder with some papers inside. “Here are the particulars.” Reeling, I accept the folder. I open it and right after the corporate logos and legal bullshit, I see a tall figure with a whole raft of zeros trailing behind it. I read furiously. The job would be both interesting and challenging. It would be in Houston, with travel and teaching at all other company outposts on a regular basis. I reexamine that figure from before and verify that I’m not now hallucinating. The job comes with furnished, corporate-paid housing, incredible benefits, loads of opportunity for advancement, more opportunity to travel, really generous vacation time… “Right. On the level?” I ask again. “Yep.” Red bluntly says. “Well”, I gulp, “you know I have to discuss this with Esme”, whom he’s met several times previous. “Of course, and you probably want to finish out the semester, correct?” red asks. “Oh, yes.” I reply. There would be a monsoon of paperwork and other grunt work I’d need to conclude or hand over if I were to accept this offer. “OK, then”, Red finishes his drink, motions for me to do the same, a real rarity; but I was in another dimension at this point. He orders another round and sits back, waiting on a refill. “You have two weeks to reply” Red states. “I know that’s not a terribly long time, but we need to fill this position ASAP. Can I ask for that? Your answer, yea, or nay, within a fortnight?” Red demands. “Yes”, I reply. “I at least owe you that.” And that was the end of the discussion for the night about me joining the private sector. We stayed a few more hours, chatting, smoking my cigars, and discussing everything but the lumbering elephant in the room. We part outside as I need to head back to our flat. Red wants to go downtown to one of those “Gentleman’s Clubs” he’s heard were so famous at the time. I was flummoxed the whole cab ride home. It was late when I returned, but I simply had to wake Es with the news. “Rock, for pity’s sake, its 2 o’clock in the morning!” Es protests. “Can’t this wait until later?” “Sorry, my dear” I reply, probably as serious as I ever had with Esme. “This is a potential game-changer.” “What is it? Are you OK?” Esme trembles. “Oh, I’m fine. Better than fine.” I reply. She’s relieved. “Then what’s so important?” she asks. “Um…how would you like to move to Houston?” I ask. “You going to teach at Cougar High (University of Houston)?” she inquires. “Nope. Brace yourself. I’ve been offered a job with Nocono Oil.” I finally spill the beans. Esme is slightly stunned and sits down. I go to the wet bar, fix me a bracing potato juice and citrus and Esme a stiff white Zinfandel. I hand her the wine and she is still semi-dazed and digesting the information. I slurp a good portion of my drink, retrieve her Sobranjes and me a cigar from my Turkmenistan humidor. I sit on the couch next to her and hug her soundly. “Esme? Es? Earth to Es? You in there?” I joke. “Oh, Yeah. Rock. Really? Hang on”, she leaves, returning with her housecoat as this might take a little time. “So?” I ask, “Your thoughts. Now! Immediately! Initial reaction!” I try to jar her back into reality. “Well, what do you want?” she asks. “C’mon, my dearest. You know I hate that. No, what do you think? What do you honestly think?” I reply. We both fire up our smokes, and I refresh our drinks. We return to the dinner table where Red’s folder lies. “Es, here. Look at this.” I say, sliding the portfolio over to her. She reads like a hungry man at a Vegas casino buffet. I can tell where she was stopped by something extraordinary. “This is for real?” she asks, “Red’s not pulling a fast one?” “Nope. It’s the genuine article”, I tell her, “He needs my reply within two weeks.” “Rock, Rock…I just don’t know. It’s a lot to process at 0230 in the morning. Let’s go to bed and have a think in the morning. You have the luxury of at least that amount of time.” She notes. “Right again, as usual”, I say, “Stuff it. It can wait.” We toddle off to bed. The next morning, over Cuban omelets and Greenland Coffees, we sort through the particulars. “Rock, it’s an extraordinary offer. But, do you want to leave teaching? I remember how you got all animated by Dean Vermiculari giving you the corporate liaison job and how that would improve your shot at tenure.” She notes. “I just don’t know. I’m still shell-shocked.” I tell her. “Let me go to school and we’ll pick this up tonight. We both have work to do no matter what. Oh, bloody hell. I hadn’t considered your job. Another wrinkle in the mess.” “Don’t you worry about that”, Esme smiles. “One catastrophe at a time.” “I do so love you.” I hug her soundly. “Think I should mention this offer to anyone at school?” “No. Definitely not.” Esme shakes her head. “Let’s figure this out on our own.” “I agree”, I say, kiss her and depart for school once again. The next week was a blur. Recruiting duties were dragging and I was being preoccupied. Even my students noted the lack of in-room explosions lately. I spend the next Saturday at the quarry, doing some small amount of blasting. I quiz the quarry owners about their progress in acquiring a new master for the quarry’s operation. “Oh, Doctor Rock” they gush, “You’re doing such a fine job, we haven’t really looked. Why do you ask?” “No particular reason at this time, I reply, “But perhaps you might want to begin looking” The chinks in my armor were finally starting to show. Sunday was spent out on Sliver Lake, with Esme and me chasing the elusive crappie, perch, and bucketmouth bass. It also gave us a chance to clear our heads from work, school and other such intrusions. We both needed a bit of downtime. Later that night, after a meal of beer-battered fillet of crappie and perch on the barbie, we sit down at the dinner table. The portfolio sits there, taunting us. I get up, makes us both our drinks, sit down and declare that this is it. “Es, darling” I say, “its nut-cuttin’ time. We need to make our decision.” “You’re right.” Es agrees, “Time for risk-reward analysis. Get some paper and some pencils.” We spend the next few hours listing the pros and cons of accepting the Houston position or staying here and pursuing my tenured professorship. After several hours, I stretch, stand, and go to the fridge. I retrieve the bottle of Bollinger Les Vieilles Vignes Francaises I had purchased the other day. I return to the table with the wine and the glasses, pop the cork and pour us both a glass of high-brow bubble water. I hug and kiss Esme like I had just returned from a long, solo expedition. “Esme, my darling. I’d like to propose a toast. First to us. Hа здоровый!” “Cheers!” Esme replies. “Secondly to Red, Dean Vermiculari, the quarry guys, Polack the Cop, and all the others that makes our life weird around here.” “Seconded”, Es echoes. “Finally: to Houston, Texas. Our new home!” I finally add. The next morning, Dean Vermiculari peers over the top of his pince-nez glasses. He’s not looking overly happy with me right now. “Why is it, Doctor, that everyone that receives the job of corporate liaison ends up going with corporate?” he asks. “Perhaps it’s just the exposure to another world that exists beyond academia.” I reply, truthfully. “Doctor Rocknocker,” the Dean gravely states, “I am not at all happy about your decision. We had great hopes for you here and you were riding right up the tenure track. Another five years and it would have been assured.” “Five years is a long time, Dean”, I state the obvious. “Yes, indeed.” The Dean replies frostily. “However, you are young. Perhaps you need to get this private sector nonsense out of your system, then you can return to academia where you belong.” “Perhaps, perhaps”, I reply. “Please, do consider this option down the road. You and your antics will be missed here, by students and faculty alike.” He says. “I will, Dean, I promise.” I reply “However, for now, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.” “Doctor, I will miss your strange and unique way of looking at life. I reluctantly accept your resignation at the end of the current semester and wish you all the best in your newest endeavors. Please remember us when corporate support for academia is mentioned in your new company.” he says. “I promise you, Dean, I will not forget what I’ve learned here and what you’ve taught. It’s the least I can do,” I reply. “I will never forget my roots.” “All I can ask”, he concludes. He stands to shake my hand. We shake and my audience is over. I resign from the quarry a week later. They haven’t found a new blaster but wish me well on my new journey. I tell them I’m here until the end of the semester, so I won’t leave them high and dry. I tell Polack the Cop about all the goings-on. “Who the hell can I roust for beer and cigars now?” He whines. “Let me know when you get to Texas if they need any cops. I wouldn’t mind trying’ that. Hell, maybe a Texas Ranger!” “A Cheesehead Ranger…?” I assure him I will and pass a box of cigars to him as a parting gift. He gives me a mayoral-signed get-out-of-jail-free card. “Now you can drive that old Harley just as crazy as you want.” He chuckles. “Thanks, Polack.” I say, shaking his hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I sold my bike a week earlier. Red was very chuffed with the news. “Snagged me a big one this time!’ He laughed, over the phone. There was enough paperwork, considerations and decisions to be made to last the remaining time Esme and I had in-state until our move. Already, a moving company had arrived, done inventory, and was preparing for our move to Houston. Esme resigned her position and decided she wanted to take some time off. She wanted to be a housewife, a colleague, and not have to work for once at an outside job. My new position allowed for that in spades. Besides with her credentials, anytime when she wants to re-join the workforce, there are myriad opportunities in the Bayou City. We made the choice of housing out west of town, in Katy, Texas. We could have chosen Sugarland, Addicks, Greenspoint, Greenway, or the Memorial area. However, these west Houston company properties were closest to the job and largest in square footage. My students got wind of my resignation and relocation. They threw me an unexpected farewell party at the Gast Haus. It was nickel-beer night and since they were footing the bill, it all worked out just fine. I would miss the old place. The camaraderie, the seasons, the university; hell my home these last many years. I’ve been on many, many expeditions, but I always returned home. Now, home was moving and was awaiting our arrival. Esme and I said our farewells to our families as well. We were the first through college, the first ones to travel international, the first Doctor in the family, and the first to leave the state. That’s a lot of familial firsts. I had to keep reminding everyone it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, we’re just moving to Texas, it’s not like we’re off to Greenland or Mongolia… [Gasp] We saddled up Es’s old Chevy Nova, took one last, lingering look in the rearview mirror, and said fare thee well to our previous lives. “We’ll be back. Someday. I promise” I told the city of our youth and young married adulthood. We decided to drive to Houston because we had the luxury of a bit of time. We needed the stretch to chew over some interpersonal and private things on the way to the next chapter in our lives. Besides, the weather was good, the roads ahead open and clear, and Texas had no ‘Open Container’ law, yet. We pointed the old Nova south and hit the gas. A week later, we’re wandering around our new house in Katy, Texas. Our belongings, scant though they may be, arrived the day after we did. Esme and I spent the next couple of day rearranging the house, buying necessary domestic bits and pieces, and getting to know our new neighborhood. First thing, though, Esme wanted to replace the old Nova. I concurred, but insisted we keep it as a second car and went out to purchase our first new car as a couple. I wanted a Land Rover. We ended up with a glossy black Toyota 4-Runner. Close enough. I was scheduled to show up at my new job the next Monday. I had my own parking spot, complete with “Reserved for Dr. Rock” painted on the bumper block. I was shown my new lab and was introduced to my seven laboratory assistants. I was shown the catalogs I could use to order what I needed and went over the requisition procedures. I was trotted around to meet the company CEO, CFO, CIO, VPs and many, many more company executives and managers. I’ve met with presidents and heads of state, I was impressed but not overly. They seemed like a more or less nice bunch of chaps. Almost exactly five weeks to the day from our arrival in Houston, I come home, yelling “Darling, I’m home!” Esme comes to greet me with a rib-rearranging hug. She tells me to sit at the dinner table, where my long hard day at the office drink, cigar, ashtray, and lighter are already set. “How was work, dear?” she asks, sitting down with her Perrier water. “Oh, it’s going great. The knotheads let me have an open-ended budget until I get the labs sorted just the way I want it. These guys pay their bills on time and I have carte blanche at Wards Scientific, and other supply houses. My crew is great, no interpersonal crapola, and hard workers. I can smoke in my office and no one dares give me shit about my cigars. I’m getting to know the exploration department quite well. They’re really interested in our expeditions and are more interested in my opinions of their new exploration directives.” Esme just smiles and sips her water. “Odd”, I thought. “That’s great, dear.” She says. “I am so glad to hear it.” “Me too”, I say, “How are you holding up after all these weeks alone?” “Oh, I’m getting used to it.” She smiles. And smiles. Beatifically. Glowing. “What?” I ask. “Remember what we talked about in the car on the way down here?” She asks. “We talked about a lot of things…” I say, suddenly my eyes grew very, very wide indeed. “Yes. You’re going to be a father. I’m pregnant, Rock.” Esme smiles.
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