Sunday, July 31, 2005

Let's Hear It for PLO

More weekend quick hits:

Pauly has published the latest edition of Truckin', his fine literary blogzine. I have a story this month, along with excellent pieces by The Man himself, BG and Grubby. Please check it out and, if you like what you read there, send us all a, I mean...tell all your friends and internet cybersex partners.

I came to an obvious conclusion a few months back: Do whatever The Poker Nerd says. This week, he said the Pot Limit Omaha super satellites for the WCOOP events on Stars were exceptionally soft. As if I needed any further proof, drizz promptly folded his way into a seat (or 900 FPPs).

I keed. I keed.

I won my own satellite seat last night. It was of little consequence that I had played PLO exactly zero times previously. I can nut peddle with the best of 'em. There were 310 players, meaning 31 seats and, you're not going to f-ing believe this, we were down to 98 players after an hour.

I spent most of the rest of the tourney folding and hanging out in the middle of the pack. Until late, I wasn't flush enough to fold to the seat, but I then made one well-timed play to put me into safety with about 40 remaining. At which point, naturally, I started getting huge starters, the hands that had eluded me most of the night. I folded every last one of them. Of course you did, you might say, what else would you do you frickin' idiot, your seat was safe. Well...ask Jason why this is a big step for me.

So anyway, now I have that satellite seat OR 900 FPPs to pimp elsewhere. My thinking is that I'll go ahead and play the PLO satellite if the numbers look good. Of the 60 seats awarded yesterday, only 18 remain registered. With 9 seats given away, PLO might be the best spot for a small field. Then, naturally, I'll take the W$ if I qualify for the Main Event. That's where the PLO experiment ends, for now.

And that's a good way to end my online poker play until next weekend.


It was a coin flip, a common hand we see countless times every day. Win half, lose half, play the next hand. But, oh man...

It was my 88 vs. AdKd. He had me covered. Flop was 8c6h4d. I lept from the couch with a "Yes!" I noted the pot size (30K). I searched the texture of the flop for potential pitfalls. "No diamonds!" I shouted, not overly concerned (I am a 95% fave at this point).

They came runner-runner. He had only 7 live cards (8d gives me quads; 6d a boat) in the deck and he needed two of them. He got 'em.

I was chatting with and being sweated by Chad at the time, but I walked away for a few minutes.

Yes, a coin flip, but...well, I guess I've never been so devastated by losing a coin flip before.

Notice I can't really describe it?

I mention this not just because of the riviting human drama, but because a curious thing happened. That guy who caught the runner-runner won the tournament.

I know the multis are more luck-dependant than ring games. I've had my share of good fortune and good results. So it's not surprising that my recent run of bad luck has coincided with bad (poor, awful, fucking terrible) results.

I think I'm a little more accepting of the variance issues than I was 3 weeks ago. I still think it's total bullshit, but my growth as a player DEMANDS I handle these swings. As I mentioned, I'm gonna avoid the virtual felt for the week. Re-charge, re-fresh, do some study.

And yes, G-Rob, get in some live play. Please hold the Tequila.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


AJ = Poker
Me = Well, me

Suburban Rodeo

AJ attended a western-themed birthday party today and I went along. It was bleeping hot and there was a big cooler full of bad beer, but nobody would break the seal. So I simlpy stared at it longingly for three hours.

Had a couple Wooderson moments as there were some nubile teen-age older sisters running around in heat appropriate (lack of) clothing, though one of them had the misfortune of resembling Dave Mustaine a little to closely. I think the one with the braces kinda liked me.

MILF count was two, maybe two-and-a-half.

But THE BEST part was the obese Dwarf Pony (Equus Ignatious).

Return of the Donkey

I'm planning on taking a little poker break when the weekend ends. Nothing bad, just having a hard time getting motivated to play, having difficulty enjoying the game and that's a major part of why I play. I want to step back and look at my results and find the problems. The decrease in bankroll can be largely attributed to variance, that much is certain. But not all, which is equally certain. I'm not bitter. Just curious. And mildly depressed.

Regardless, Im gonna play a few select events this weekend, including some FPP satelittes to the WCOOP. I have a lot od FPPs stored up, something to show for the months of bad results anyway.

Oh, I'm also drunk and in two tourneys right now.


Where we stand:

$5 Limit O8 Re-Buy. Level 9 (third hour). 400/800. I'm in for $15.50. Sitting 16 of 89 remaining. 27 paid. Prize pool of $3,055.

I can honestly say, I have never seen worse poker play in all my life. To wit: A66 flop. I have and ace and a six in my hand. I lead and get two callers. Turn is a 6.


I lead and get one caller, who also pays on the river. No, he didn't have AA. Anyway, looking good.

$10 NLHE MTT. Level 3. 25/50. Sitting 129 of 437. Doubled up early with KK (against QQ; yes, it held up). Took a bad beat when all-in pre-flop with AK v. A8s (short stack) who flopped the nut flush. That's more like it. But got a chunk back with KK again.

Okay, time for the running drunken log.

Boy you people are terrible. I scoop another O8 pot against the short stacks with AKKT double-suited. Pair of kings is good enough. You see? 10 of 74.

The guy who beat me with A8 ran his stack up to over 5K with his fishy luck. He's back down to just more than 1K. I didn't get any of it.

Generally, I don't think it's a good idea to not respect the raises of 2/3rds of your table, but Jesus H. What the fuck are you people thinking?

I had a guy re-raise me today with ATs. I had AK. I would guess the situations are extremely rare where one would re-raise with ATs. I'm right about that, am I not?

Of course, he had implied Donkey Odds considering I passively called his minimum re-raise and gave him my whole stack after an AT6 flop.

ANYWAY, I just made a real good fold on the O8 table. Got rivered and dropped a tenth of my stack, but saved myself 3200. 24 of 68.

Just correctly folded the winner to an obscene over-bet in the $10. Limped with ATo. SB pushed (had me covered) with JJ and I folded only to see a TT8 flop. Grrrrrrrrr.

If *I* had JJ, AT would have definitely called.

Break in the $10. 173 of 298. Lost 490 players in the first hour.


That is fucking incredible. We need to have a summit meeting about the plethora of jackasses who have begun populating these tourneys in the wake of the WSOP. The fields are up 25%. The play has never been worse. And...well...I'm getting my ass handed to me for the most part.

All reasonable hypotheses accepted.

Fuck. I just folded the winner again in the O8. I think I'm drawing slim and I'm ahead. It's absurd. Yes, second pair is g00t. How, exactly, on a flop of QT4 do you call a bet with a pair of nines and no draw? I dunno, but I just saw it happen.

It's 1:24. This is surprising news to me.


Kc2c3d4d in the BB flops trip deuces which hold up for a $20K scoop. 11 of 40.

Jeez, in all the excitement, I notice I haven't played a hand in the $10 in a while. The screen pops up, I see 94o and turn my attention back to the O8 gig, with the Bubble fast approaching.

Dammit, just won a smallish pot in the O8 and gave it right back when I got rivered. Chip leader just got moved to my right and he's willing to move 'em around. Gotta be selective with the level at 2000/4000 and me with 26K.

Jesus H. So I am selective and get screwed.

AhKsThTs and I raise pre-flop. K62 flop with two spades. I don't improve and lose the high to a guy betting his low who gets two pair. 26 of 34.

I am sorry to have neglected you, dear reader. Glyph showed, and we got to chattin'.

I busted in the $10. Flopped TPSK (the 'S' is for "shit") in the BB while short-stacked and pushed (less than the pot). Fella caught a set to bust me.

But I went on a rush in the O8 tourney. I'm 4 of 24 remaining. My first in the money O8 finish. Now for the big money...

In a span of five hands, I scooped one, 3/4rd another and split two, going from 32K to 78K. Still, I only have 9 big bets with the escalating blinds.

Still in. 8 of 15. Exciting updates, eh? Sorry. Focusing, you know.

Also, my cards have taken the express train to Shitville.

Nevermind. In six figures with AKK2 double-suited. Scoop!


Just when you think...

Made it to the final table. My flopped top two pair (AK) got runner-runnered by a wheel. And then I got all my money in with the turned nut flush and got 4-outed by a boat. Finished 8th.

Even so, a solid performance. My first FT in 8 weeks. Not gonna do a whole lot for the bankroll, but I wholeheartedly accept.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 29, 2005

This Won't Hurt a Bit

Summer time, the livin's easy...

Hey, that reminds me, Easycure took down a nice score last night/this morning, with a Final Table showing in the $20 Stars MTT. I hung around with an eye on the festivities while getting a three-hour prostate exam, also known as the $11 Re-Buy. Anything to keep my mind off the discomfort.

Congrats, EZ. Impressive performance.

We had almost a handful of bloggers in that $20 tourney. Chad played the role of (sadly, faceless and avatarless) table bully before falling with the bubble coming over the horizon, drizz got donked a couple times early and exited on a suck and re-suck (though he was concurrently winning a seat in a WCOOP satellite that he can't play in, so he's got that going for him, which is nice) and Yours Very Truly who again got busted as a 4-1 favorite. Can we officially start calling an over pair losing to an under pair "The Speaker?" That'd be cool. Demented and sad, but cool.

Everyone's favorite Princess and everyone's favorite Joanne were involved with the raildogging and lent a little class to the proceedings. A little. And some trash chat, too. Even Iggy made a brief appearance, but the only thing I remember about that is him describing, in detail, the act of exhaling cigarette smoke.



Existential question for the weekend:

When did people become such assholes?

I have run into all sorts of neanderthals and jackaninnies this week at the tables. I've run into the rude, those who bid you a mocking farewell after busting you with a brutal suckout. I have run into half a dozen WPT professionals who would never lose and hand if it wasn't for the sheer idiocy of others (and the funny sidelight to that is that the more they kep talking, the more it becomes clear they don't really know what they are talking about).

I don't really have a hard time ignoring assholes. Stupid people? Um....not so much.

Probably should ignore them too, though there's a definite overlap in the asshole and stupid communities. I'd say at least 30%. Here's a graph:

Oh, we can't do graphs. Well, I guess someone could. Not me, though. But it woulda been like two circles with some shared area representing the assole AND stupid population, which I estimate about 30%.


I'm not sure what just happened there. Perhaps the three hours sleep and the fact I sometimes just go with it.

I had a dream on the train today, a poker dream. One of those dreams where you're not entirely asleep, where you can sorta pull the strings in your dream with that tenuous hold on consciousness. So, in this morning on the train poker dream, I had quad jacks and the only possible card that could trouble me would have been a second king on the river and in my dream, I actually shouted "NO KING!" which should have been a signal to the conscious part of my brain to ensure no King, because I really need to get one-outered in my dreams now too.


I suck.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Alright, I'll bite. Or jump the bandwagon. Or steal others' ideas. Whatever. Here's the list of 100 things about me!

1. I have terrible posture.
2. I make the best guacamole you have ever tasted.
3. I lived the first 18 years of my life under the mistaken impresson I didn't like guacamole, a notion I was disabused of my freshman year in college during my first 4 a.m. trip to Roberto's.
4. I also thought I didn't like Chinese food.
5. The best advice I ever got from my father was, "If something seems to good to be true, it is."
6. I am only separated from Kevin Bacon by four degrees.
7. I won six letters in High School; two for soccer and four for tennis.
8. My two favorite albums growing up were AC/DC "High Voltage" and KISS "Rock and Roll Over."
8. I owned them both on 8-track and air-guitared them with my tennis racket.
9. I have had carnal relations with at least two women whose names I can not remember.
10. One of my teen-age nicknames was blatantly racist, as well as ethnically incorrect.
11. I have been in several parades.
12. I can't think of anything more boring than watching a stupid parade.
13. The greatest sports moment of my lifetime is The Miracle on Ice, partly because it was the only time my mother ever let me stay home from church to watch a game.
14. I'm still angry at Kurt Cobain.
15. I have been married twice, both times to women who were not born in this country.
16. My favorite pickup line is, ironically, "Would you like to come live in my country?"
17. AJ is named after his great grandfather and, in a roundabout way, A.E. Hochner.
18. The person most responsible for me being an Oakland A's fan is the late Billy Martin.
19. The person most responsible for me being a Liverpool fan is Kevin Keegan.
20. The person most responsible for me being a San Francisco 49er fan is my Dad.
21. I lost my virginity to "The Slutty New Girl from Florida" and my interest in her was solely for that purpose, though her exceptionally large breasts did not prove to be a hinderance.
22. I am a very good public speaker and kill at wedding toasts.
23. The worst job I ever had was as a telemarketer for a chimney sweeping company.
24. Two movies make me cry every time I see them: Field of Dreams ("Have a catch, Dad?") and Forrest Gump ("I miss you, Jenny.").
25. My family tree includes Statesman and dualist Alexander Hamilton.
26. I stopped taking LSD because my last Trip was so amazing and I knew it could never be matched.
27. I got straight A's my first sememster in college, largely because I didn't yet have a regular weed supplier.
28. Twice in my life I've been "ahead of the curve": I saw "Swingers" in the theater and I saw Nirvana live (twice!) before "Nevermind" came out.
29. The first time I played poker in a casino, I shook uncontrollably for 45 minutes.
30. I started smoking cigarettes to compensate for the fact my first wife demanded I stop smoking weed.
31. The former took; the latter didn't.
32. I am now 11 days smoke-free.
33. If I could have the skill and persona of one poker professional, I'd choose John Juanda.
34. In the early '90s, my friends and I started a rock band, despite the fact only one of us--not me--had ever played an instrument.
35. The second best advice I ever got from my father was "you get what you pay for."
36. Although it happened 31 years ago, I can remember the events of scoring my first goal with perfect clarity.
37. I'm a lassiez-faire guy in regards to capitalism and am particularly irked by government give-backs, tax breaks and general corporate welfare.
38. I once had sex with four different women over the course of a single Labor Day weekend.
39. At this point in my life, I'm not sure if I'm proud or ashamed of that fact.
40. My favorite televison show of all-time is "The White Shadow."
41. The greatest movie endings of all-time are, in order: 1. Godfather 2. Se7en 3. The Last American Virgin.
42. The last pop song I liked was "Big Shot" by Billy Joel.
43. I used to do this thing where I showed up with a picnic basket filled with oranges and chicken noodle soup when a girl I was dating was sick. A surprising majority of the time, they found it a little creepy.
44. My greatest fear is being buried alive.
45. When I was young, my greatest fear was Global Thermonuclear War.
46. I've read the newspaper pretty much every morning since the age of 7.
47. I was born in San Francisco during the Summer of Love.
48. My first best friend was named, appropriately, Mike First.
49. I have engaged in sanctioned athletic competiton with the following "famous" people: Reed Gettys, Marcelo Balboa and ESPN NBA analyst Marc Stein.
50. In addition, I have been to Norman Chad's home.
51. I once got over a hundred splinters in my feet attempting to scale a wooden fence sans shoes.
52. I accept your Galaga challenge. Anytime, anywhere.
53. I once broke my finger during warmups for a basketball game. I taped it up and played.
54. After my first wife and I split up, she found out she was pregnant. That child would be 15 now.
55. My favorite subjects in school were always English courses, yet I scored 220 points higher on the math portion of the SAT than I did on the verbal.
56. I was raised Southern Baptist and still believe in God, if not in overly judgemental organized religion.
57. Whether I give money or not to a homeless person really depends on my mood and their affability.
58. Still the most confounding episode in the history of my dealings with the opposite sex is Kristin Waters dumping me for that douchebag loser Mark Maupin.
59. Especially since I didn't get to nail her first.
60. If I had to pick a single dish to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would come down to a coin flip between the Santa Fe Ravioli from Fritto Misto or the carne asada burrito from Rojelio's.
61. I met the dear and patient wife at a cafe in Paris. I mean "met" in the traditional, three-dimensional way. We'd corresponded on the internet for six months prior.
62. It was love at first IM.
63. Of the many autographs I have collected over the years, I retain only two: Jason Giambi and Steve McMannaman.
64. I did not think it was so great the first time a girl shoved her tongue down my throat.
65. I watched "Friends" from its very first episode and never missed one.
66. I am heterosexual.
67. In 15 years in my chosen profession, I have changed companies once and been promoted five times.
68. During my brief flirtation with rock star status, our band shared the stage with bands who would become Stone Temple Pilots (known then as Mighty Joe Young) and Queens of the Stone Age (formerly Kyuss).
69. The only movie I ever walked out of prematurely was "Witness," with Harrisson Ford. This was because I was stoned to the Bejessus Belt and the young lady I was with started rubbing me in the right spot within 10 minutes of curtain.
70. Back when I first started drinking, I was always the most likely among my friends to puke. Come to think of it, that hasn't really changed.
71. My hometown boasts two Cy Young Award winners: Randy Johnson and Mark Davis.
72. Not to mention the world's longest continuously running light-bulb.
73. My parents have combined for five marriages. In addition to my sister, I have four half-brothers, only one of which I've ever met.
74. I tend to cry more easily when I am happy, or touched, than when I am sad.
75. My favorite sandwich meat is pastrami.
76. I once knocked myself unconscious by running into a fence while chasing a foul ball.
77. Famous people I waited on during my food service days: Mickey Rooney, Christopher Knight, Lindsey Buckingham.
78. I'm average at Trivial Pursuit, but kick ass at Jeopardy!
79. In regards to #51, that is only the second most idiotic thing I've ever done as far as causing myself great physical pain and discomfort. I don't know you well enough to tell you the other one.
80. As a kid, my recurring nightmare was falling out my second-floor bedroom window and seeing a skull and crossbones waiting for me to land. I never did.
81. I have a blood condition called hemachromatosis, which is a genetic disorder marked by excess iron in the body. Treatment is regular blood donations, which I like to refer to as blood-lettings, or by it's slightly dirty-sounding medical term, venesection.
82. There have been three major turning points in my life. 1. When I paid off all the credit card debt my ex-wife ran up in my name 2. When AJ was born 3. When I had my first pitcher of Newcastle.
83. I do not like horror movies.
84. I was 7th grade wrestling champion of my school less than two months after wrestling for the very first time.
85. My voice sounds idiotic on video and audio tape.
86. I was a "regular" at a bar (a pub, really) for an extended time, so much so that the owner fired a bartender--on the spot--based on her mistreatment of my friends and I.
87. I have never won a single nickel on a slot machine.
88. The third best piece of advice I got from my father was "You don't get something for nothing."
89. I worked at Starbucks back before 99% of the population had ever heard of it and I've still yet to come across a barista who can hold my jock.
90. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, I got lost in the wee hours on my way home from USC and drove around the East Valley for an hour and a half while high on cocaine.
91. Which is nothing compared to the four hours I spent on the LA Freeways during Friday rush hour while frying my head off (which is a long and excellent tale for another time).
92. I am a great tipper. In addition, if I get excellent service, I am certain to put in a good word with the waiter's boss.
93. I am a terrible joke-teller, but most people would agree that I am funny.
94. I have never had a near-death experience.
95. I did once get pulled over by the Policia in Mexicali while on the way to our Spring Break destination, with...uh...a full compliment of "supplies." It was still dark (about 4 a.m.) and there wasn't another human around. Amazingly, he let us go without a search or a shake-down. None of us in the car could ever figure out why.
96. My entire life, I've had the odd habit of waiting until the last possible moment to go pee.
97. I was in the 6th grade before my mother allowed me to wear sneakers to school.
98. I have been audited twice by the IRS.
99. I have been in two fights in my life. I won neither, nor did I get in any notable shots.
100. I am not, generally, a list person.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Growth Spurt

There's a picture in an old scrapbook dating to the '70s showing me and 16 or so soccer teammates standing in a ragged, impatient line, waiting to receive our championship medals. I'm standing at the head of the line, one leg out, hip cocked, hands defiantly on my hips. Several others are frozen forever in similar postures. We look like the cockiest bunch of 11-year-olds you've ever seen.

Which we were.

Before I turned 12, I'd travelled to three countries and two continents because of soccer. Before I'd turned 12, I'd won two California State Championships, a Western Regional Championship, tournaments in Canada and Denmark and had a room full of assorted trophies, medals and baubles. We never expected anything but victory.


Funny thing though, that arrogant bunch of guys soon started losing their fair share of matches. We openly ridiculed our new coach, since we so clearly knew more than him about the game. We spent less time working on our games, more time enjoying the fruits of our relative celebrity, mostly regarding the discovery of blossoming girls.

When the State Championship rolled around in our 13th year, we lost in the first round.


That was bad enough. For me, personally, things were much worse. I was the goalkeeper on that last State Champion squad. By the time we lost in the first round less than two years later, I was splitting the net-minding duties with another guy. Harry had been relegated to 'B' teams throughout his soccer life, a big likable kid with an unfortunate surname and clumsy feet. He wasn't half the 'keeper I was and everyone knew this. He was one thing I was not: Big.

Puberty had started kicking in for some, but not for me. I wasn't yet five feet tall and weighed 80 pounds. So Harry got half my time, both in games and in training.


My freshman year in High School, I was Harry's backup. That's how quickly it turns. He'd improved, for sure. He was a hard worker, good learner and getting a fine handle on the mental/positional aspects of goalkeeping. Me? I think I weighed 90 pounds by now.

I only played one game that year, when Harry was sick. I kept a clean sheet against a bitter rival, making two huge saves. I could still do it. I vowed to continue to fight for my place.

Coach Ludwig--"Ludes" to us--called me into his office about a week later. "You'll never be first choice goalkeeper on a team I coach," he told me. "Houston (the varsity coach) feels the same."


I hated Ludes for a time. I thought he was wrong. I thought a few inches and twenty pounds were all I needed to convince him. I rode the pine the rest of that year, sulking, withdrawing from my teammates.

At the end of the year, Ludes again pulled me aside and ripped me a new asshole. I totally deserved it. When he finished, he went on to say he expected me to contribute to the program. Not as a goalkeeper, but on the field, where I was not without experience. "You're smart," he said. "You know the game. You just have to start looking at it from a different perspective. I'll find a spot for you if you work. And hit the fucking weights."


The final whistle blew and I turned and sprinted toward Harry. Jumping into his arms, I screamed "WE DID IT! WE DID IT!"

And so we had. With him in goal, with me at sweeper, we won our school's second Section Title. Naturally, it was a shutout.


Having early success in any pursuit can be damaging. Especially if you let it affect your perception of your own ability. That mis-conception can lead to complacency, a stubborness to change, to continue learning.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes poor results to hammer this point home. Or the learned observations of another.

Ludes was right. I sat his bench another year, learning a new position, getting used to my body after a growth spurt. It took a lot of patience, a lot of hard work and a lot of learning. That's what made it all the more worthwhile.


Sometimes, you need somebody else to set you straight.

I'd felt a little like that cocky 11-year-old a few months back. Three final tables in six days. Two final tables in WPBT satellites, including a win.

Lately, I'm the other guy, riding the pine, still holding the belief I should be in the game. Stubborn, refusing to see the obvious door, instead banging on the inpenetrable wall. I've got the credentials, dammit. I've got the baubles.

"You're playing different than you used to," the dear and patient wife said on Saturday night.

She's right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Just in case I gave the erroneous impression that my two month run of bad results was entirely the result of being unlucky. I'd say it's about 60-40. To wit:

I figure I'll have another go tonight at the $20 MTT based on last night's minor victory. I pick up a couple small pots early and am feeling good when I get JJ on the button. A min raise and three callers, so I bump it to 160. BB and the rest call. Yippee.

Flop is KQQ and there is a push and a call in front of me, so I fold. Pusher shows 44. Caller shows 88.


But I'm down to 1200, but the caller is playing way too many pots, so I hope to snag him later.

In Level 3, I again get JJ and raise it 4x. Earlier Caller calls. Flop is KK9. Alright, not this time. I bet the pot, he calls. D'oh. I'm pot committed, so I push on the Q turn.

He calls and shows KK.

Poorly played on all streets.


So I jumped into a $30 two-table SnG to redeem myself. Let the live blogging commence.


It's all-in on draws night. Thanks to two of them not hitting, I'm the chip leader with 7 left. My flopped two pair with J9 in the BB avoided an OESD to give me an early chip lead. Then my pocket tens had to dodge the nut diamond draw with a four flush on the flop. Twelve outs twice. Beautiful non-ace black cards nearly doubled me up.

I picked up a couple more smallish pots, the short stacks are going to war.

An open letter to me: Don't chip up the short stacks.

Guy on my immediate left seems to be a solid player. The rest? Meh.

I've seen 23% of flops. Much better than last night. Gone card dead lately, though. One steal re-raised so I dropped some there.

We're down to six. Actually five, considering one guy is sitting out. He's got two orbits left. Bubble time.

Break. Chip count with blinds set to go to 100/200 (w/25 ante):

Me: 7.8K
2nd: 7K
3rd: 5.1K
4th: 3.8K
5th: 2.2K

Bottom two go to war and 5th place doubles up with trip queens. New 5th place doubles up very next hand on new 4th place. He had AA. Lucky sonovabitch.

I flop TPGK with QTs, but fold to a big raise from 2nd place. No use getting into it yet.

The worst player remaining has seized third place. His VP$IP is about 85%. This is good. I want those chips. His aggression post-flop is chipping him up, however. Still, one of those over-bets...


In the BB, I raise to isolate the SS with my TT and limping worst player goes all-in. I fold, knowing I'm ahead, perhaps way ahead, but why risk it on the Bubble. No reason.

In the money.

I take a hit with QJ, flopping top pair and a straight draw, but getting out-kicked in the end.

Damn, I wish that TT hand was after the Bubble.


I lose a race with JJ and finish 4th. No facking cards late, man. Oh well, paid for my tourney follies earlier.

Very disappointing. JJ not my hand tonight.

I Am a Patient Boy

It was not a bottom of the 9th home run to win the World Series; more like a bloop single to end an 0-for-25 drought. Will I take it?

Does a hobby horse have a hickory dick?

I finished 32nd (of 940) last night in the $20 MTT on Stars. Hooray for me. I was exceptionally cold-decked the entire way to the tune of seeing 8% of the flops in four hours. Not playing any hands drastically decreases the chance of bad beats. But I picked the right ones to play.

You might think all that folding would be boring. And you'd be right if not for two factors:

1. I had the company of a couple railbirds
2. I hung a bad beat on a guy and he bitched about it for 45 minutes

Just before I laid the beat, April popped into chat to offer a "good luck." It worked, as my short-stack push with A5s made a river flush against Big Slick. Two hands later, I doubled up on the same guy, my AJs (spades even, my ALL-TIME favorite AJ configuration) out-ran his pocket 8s. At which point he called me "lucky," and bemoaned that I'd done it to him twice.

I ignored him, as I nearly always do. He was severly short and figured I wouldn't have to deal with him much longer. Until the deck started beating him about the head and shoulders. Three huge pocket pairs in the next two levels and he was back in. And still yakking.

I continued to ignore him until he called me an "idiot." This is like a half-hour later. He asked if I ran Which is kinda clever. I suggested he register the domain at

And we're off.

About this time, WCOOP Qualifier Jason arrives. I explain to him what's happening and he jumps into chat to stir the pot, hilariously so. The Crybaby is lamenting that he gets "run down way more than most" (a fact my poorly-running self would quibble with) and Jason responds with the classic Hellmuthian "If it wasn't for luck..." quote to the delight of several. Karma's a whore and Crybaby gets his KK cracked by 88 to exit stage left.

Thanks much to April and Jason for hanging around to watch me fold fold fold.


Seems to be a few people at various crossroads in their poker/blogger/human existence. Now, I'm not the guy with the deep thoughts. I'm the guy with the dick jokes. But I will say this...


The feelings are all natural. Malaise creeps into all facets of life so why should this be any different? Stepping back and getting a fresh look is always a great idea. Change is good, but can also be hard to adapt to. Give yourself time and space and do something--anything--that brings a smile to your face. Even if it's a single tiny little thing. Those tend to add up. Most of all, whatever you decide to do, do it for you.


For me, writing is therapy. It's when I confuse the purpose of that writing that I struggle. I stopped writing for a long time because...well, because of many reasons, the most damaging of which was that I didn't have time to do it anymore with a family and the responsibilities that go with that. That writing was a silly pursuit that would never lead anywhere.

And that was the problem. I was writing in order to "get" somewhere. I wasn't writing to fulfill the need that I have to do it. Not just to satisfy a creative jones, but to get my thoughts out, order them on the page--real or virtual. I get a different view when I do that. Occasionally, I stumble upon something that hadn't previously occurred to me.

I have struggled here recently, too. For much of the early months of this blog, I toiled in anonymity. That didn't really bother me, but I can't deny some satisfaction when my site hits began to climb, some measure of pride that I was being read by those who came before, those I vastly respected. Along with the increased readership, however, came a burden, a responsibility I placed on myself to "be" a certain way. To compete with the best stuff out there. To push myself elsewhere. Not that those are bad goals. But I think the motivation was mis-placed, causing me to force the writing, to over-play a marginal hand.

I got away from writing down what I wanted because I was spending to much time thinking about what the reader reaction would be, what the reader wanted, as if I was under some obligation. I'm not good when trying to "be." I'm good when I "am."

Those stories I wrote last week...I fucking love them. They aren't perfect and I even kinda fucked up the last one, but they are ME. They flowed and I was proud of how they came out and I was gonna be proud no matter the reaction (though I'm grateful for the kind words, believe me). But I didn't write 'em for you.

Simple little things. They add up.


Plenty of times I've entertained thoughts and expectations about where this all could lead. There are several examples one can point to, success stories already written and still evolving that spurted from our community. Would I like to be one of those stories someday?

I suppose so. But that can't be my goal. Because its constricting. I'm with Marlo Thomas on this one. I am free to be, you and me. If me is good enough for a paying gig, I accept. But that's not what I'm here for. I'm trying to get better. I'm trying to maximize whatever level of ability I may have. Play to my strengths and work on my weaknesses.

Sounds a little like poker, doesn't it?


Okay, so maybe I don't "order" my thoughts very well. Maybe I just like to sit down and blow out an o-ring of my particular brand of babble. It works for me.

Finding what works is all the battle. Take your time.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday Power Rankings

5. My Mother gets the bottom slot this week for insisting upon smoking a gajillion cigarettes in my presence over the last couple days. Thanks, Mom.

4. Me. Because I suck. And because I post hand histories and later totally regret baring my heat-of-the-moment anger and depression in public, coming of as a whiny little bitch. But, I have to leave it up, for historical purposes. Would rank lower except for the fact I do keep getting my money in while ahead (well, most of the time) and that I am now a week smoke-free, the latter both a positive and negative. While I'm reasonably proud to have made it this far, I am also capable of murder. Don't push me.

3. The Dear and Patient Wife has been both in tremendous measure this week, dealing with my mood swings and making things easier on me.

2. AJ for his hilarious and nearly constant repeating of the "I'll get her two tickets to The Gun Show" joke from "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy," complete with emphatic kissing of the biceps.

1. The Oakland A's. Wow drizz. I think the French might put up a better Wild Card fight than the Twins. You're next, Angels.

One last A's note, a quote from Manager Ken Macha:

Everybody was a dumbass in May, and now everybody's a genius."

No Ken, you're still a dumbass.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Donkeys Drawing

I'm posting a hand history. You need to understand. I could not possibly make this shit up. This is hardly the worst of 'em, but it's the latest and a perfect illustration of everything that's happened to me for 6 weeks. I'm getting brutally fucked, at crucial points in tournaments, by people who have no idea what they are doing. I don't even have words to describe the thought process that allows a functioning human being, with even the slightest passing knowledge of poker, to think he was anywhere near ahead in this hand at any point. Until the suckout, of course.

PokerStars Game #2173075344: Tournament #10124534, Hold'em No Limit - Level IX (300/600) - 2005/07/24 - 00:32:34 (ET)
Table '10124534 168' Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: viennaman59 (17106 in chips)
Seat 2: Noyes (14830 in chips)
Seat 3: ariesone (26455 in chips)
Seat 4: theeeclone (71660 in chips)
Seat 5: MikeyMo (24435 in chips)
Seat 6: JoeSpeaker (18240 in chips)
Seat 7: Elboss2 (19155 in chips)
Seat 8: ywondery (9465 in chips)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to JoeSpeaker [Kh Kc]
MikeyMo: raises 600 to 1200
JoeSpeaker: raises 1800 to 3000
MikeyMo: calls 1800
*** FLOP *** [5h 7c Ts]
MikeyMo: checks
JoeSpeaker: bets 6000
MikeyMo: raises 11400 to 17400
JoeSpeaker: calls 9190 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [5h 7c Ts] [7s]
*** RIVER *** [5h 7c Ts 7s] [Ad]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
MikeyMo: shows [Ac 7d] (a full house, Sevens full of Aces)
JoeSpeaker: shows [Kh Kc] (two pair, Kings and Sevens)
MikeyMo collected 37680 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 37680 | Rake 0
Board [5h 7c Ts 7s Ad]
Seat 5: MikeyMo showed [Ac 7d] and won (37680) with a full house, Sevens full of Aces
Seat 6: JoeSpeaker (button) showed [Kh Kc] and lost with two pair, Kings and Sevens

T37000. At Level 9. Top 20 in chips. And, oh, over a $50K prize pool for a mere $41 buy-in.

I can't believe it happened again. Like it has for nearly as far back as I can remember. I don't even know what it's like anymore to get deep in a tourney. Every time I get to the hand that should put me there, I get screwed. I just...

I dunno. I honestly have no desire to continue subjecting myself to this shit.

Poker Diversion Program

Fidget, fidget, fidget. Play poker. Don't play poker. Chew another nicotine gum. Suck another Jolly Rancher.

The weekend had begun, two full days of no plans loomed. And I couldn't even figure out how to get through the night.

Idle hands are the Devil Tobacco's work. There could only be one solution.

"Honey, can I go to Morongo?"

A half hour later, I was sitting at a 4/8 (w/Full Kill) table in the Indian Casino's pristine NON-SMOKING poker room.

I had gotten there just in time. A 6/12 game had broke and they spread 4/8. A few from the previous limit hung around and others, myself included, filled out the ring. It was not, I soon realized, Donkey Time.

There were several solid players. Good. I wanted the competition. The lineup:

Seat 1: Amiable Mexican teenager (18 is gambling afe at Morongo)
Seat 2: Non-descript foreign guy
Seat 3: Very good older gentleman
Seat 4: Older Asian female Calling Station
Seat 5: Yours Very Truly
Seat 6: The LAG of all LAGs. But not a bad LAG. Smart and tough to read. Dead ringer for Bruce Springsteen
Seat 7: Calling Station #2. Would give me the bulk of his money.
Seat 8: Young Asian Guy. Loose/passive
Seat 9: Lee Jones Disciple. Only played premium hands. Dropped two racks.
Seat 10: Old, drunk--no, fucking wasted--guy. Like Nick Nolte on a 48-hour bender. Along with the LAG, assured there would be no un-raised pots. Rarely able to put out the right chip amount.

Right from the get-go, I knew this was gonna be a challenge. Springsteen was in all-out bully mode. I folded to his raises for a while, until he started showing down his hands. Kxo seemed to be one of his favorites. Naturally, he made a couple boats. He was also rather taken with himself. He claimed to have finished 18th in the WSOP Main Event. I immediately called shenanigans. When asked how much he got paid, he said $350K. Hmmmmm, that soulds about right. In fact, it's exactly right upon further investigation. So, Pauly, does John McCane have an accent and look like Bruce Springsteen?

Nolte was barely coherent. His raises got no respect, but he happily 3-bet the LAG as often as possible. He rarely put the right number of chips out and soon frustrated dealer and plyers alike. I saw a few flops with solid cards, but failed to hit. Did catch TPTK with AQo, but the turn king gave the pot to Springsteen and his Big Slick. I managed to not pay him off on the river.

The older gent in Seat 3 was raking some big pots. Sitting back and letting the others make his raises for him. Got paid off on both quad aces and a set of queens. In fact, you were't gonna drag many pots at this table with less than two pair. Some huge hands.

None of which I managed to catch. The only pot I won in the first hour was when I turned a flush with 83s in the BB. Check-raised the river though to grab an extra bet.

Even with that, I found myself stuck about a hundred after a couple hours. Pocket Jacks put me back in the game. I capped the pot in my BB and four saw a flop of K94 rainbow. I bet for info and got raised by Seat 8. Folded to me and I went ahead and called, knowing I'd fold without improvement on the turn. The lovely Jack of spades fell there and I check-raised Seat 8. The queen of spades put both a flush and straight out there, but, with the pot size, I still led at it. Seat 8 called with his K9o. Two pair, no g00t!

He wasn't happy. Steaming a little and staring me down like he wanted to wring my neck. Not a good reaction for him, considering he called my next pre-flop raise a few minutes later (which I believe was a 3-bet). My pocket Kings flopped a set on a K98 board with two clubs. I bet and he called. The turn? King me.

Them's Quads, bitches!

He called my bet. When an 8 dropped on the River, we had a possible Bad Beat Jackpot if he had pocket 8s. I bet, he called. No jackpot, but an appreciative roar from the Table.


It's much later now, the table a mish-mash of less-solid players, most of them young and drunk. Yet, the play had tightened considerably with the departure of Nolte and Springsteen. I'd been folding rags for a while, hovering around my starting stack. An Asian Guy sat next to me, pickiing up Rockets in his first hand as he regaled us of his misfortune at the 2/5 NL game. He seemed confident in his ability to beat the crap out of everyone.

As I said, action was less prevalent now. I failed to mention I was now officially drunk and feeling awfully squirrely. The lack of cigs wasn't really bothering me, but it did add a weird edge to my buzz. I was enjoying myself and chatting it up with most of the table. Still, something was missing...

"LIVE 8!"

I broke out the straddle. The BB--Asian Bad Ass--3-bet and I capped blind. Flop was ragged and ten-high and after the BB bet, I looked at my cards: AA.

I do not shit you. I smooth-called my monster and after folds around, we were heads up. Turn was another rag and I raised the BB's bet. "I ain't foldin'," he said, and I would soon come to realize that was his mantra in life. The River put a second ten on the board, as well as three diamonds. Sigh.

I called his bet and he took it down with KTo. Double Sigh. I showed my aces to the wonderment of the table. "My straddle is powerful," I said. "Though susceptible to suckouts."

Figuring he'd used up all his luck in that seat, Asian Bad-Ass moved to the 8--where I took a pot off him by slow-playing the Hiltons; yes, in limit--and an older gent of the Any Two Cards Tribe took the 4.

Next rotation, I straddled again. Again, the (new) BB 3-bet it and I capped blind. He bet on a flop of J62 rainbow and I called blind. I figure I lost the last one because I looked. Turn is another Jack and I called his bet hoping I had a jack. River is a 7 and I look. I'm sorry. I can't help it.

I have pocket 7s. I manage to convey the calm of a surgeon and raise his bet. He calls time and eventually calls.

"BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE STRADDLE!" I declare. "Um yeah, and The River."

Never did see what he had. I may well have been ahead all along considering his level of play. Regardless, this deck is so rigged.

My straddles did the trick and the action got wild and woolly there for a while. I played KTo in a capped pot and saw a flop of KQT with two spades. Capped again and I'm afraid of the Power of AJ. The six of spades hits the turn and I check. Bet, raise, 3-bet and I fold.

The funny thing? I was ahead. QTo, K6o and AQo. The funnier thing? A fourth spade hit The River and K6o--Any Two Cards Asain Guy--had the King of spades to take a HUGE pot.

My stack took a hit on that one and another one a few hands later. The Object of My Demise? Hammer.

I raised with it UTG and saw a flop of K72. Bingo. I check-raised an LP player and we were heads up. Turn was a Jack and LP raised MY bet. Uh oh. I check-called the rag river and saw his (obvious) KJ.

I walked out about 4 in the mornin', down $7. Had a great time and, more importantly, successfully killed about 8 non-smoking hours. Barely registered most of the night and for that I am thankful.

Today? Killin' Me.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Closer

"Dude, I need The Closer," Aloha pleaded as he rushed up to the table. I quickly shook my head no.

"What's The Closer?" asked Irish Paddy, a new entrant to our little Thursday Night drinking binges.

"It's Ben's stupid little story he gives girls to get him into their pants," my roommate, Karla, yelled over the din.

"It woulda worked on you," I charged.

"You wish."

"No, I know. It works on everybody. Plus, I'm just your type. Tall, dark, handsome. Big wiener."

"Bite me."

I'd been coming to Byrd's for years along with this rotating band of Merry Men and Women. It's a comfortable neighborhood bar, ostensibly in Hollywood, but miles away from the plastic culture of Sunset Blvd. It's a little more real. A place where some vulnerability is saluted, unlike Hollywood proper where everything and everybody has to be perfect. It's got a well-appointed jukebox throbbing at perfect volume, a spacious patio for the smoking o' the cigs and enough hot-ass ladies to keep any red-blooded American male plenty occupied.

"Come on, man!" Aloha was back. "I need it! Look at that chick!"

"Aloha, every time I let you use The Closer, you fuck it up. You don't tell it right. Because it didn't happen to you. You don't get the nuance, the underlying pathos in the tale. And if you keep using it on every girl you meet, by the time I get around to trying to fuck somebody, they will have all heard the story already."

"Well, what am I supposed to do?"

"Get your own story!" we all shouted, almost in unison. Even Brick joined in the fun, temporarily shaken from his funk. Brick's been down because he wrote this kick-ass screenplay that's been getting rejected all over the place. It's a really smart script. A lot of satire about politics, Hollywood, relationships. It's brilliant. Really. It's about an out-of-work actor who gets this crazy idea to run for Governor of California. He pretty much figured he was fucked when Arnold got elected.

"Dude," Brick looked at me, his eyes bright for the first time in weeks. "You should let me use The Closer in a screenplay."

"You guys are killin' me," I said. "That's my A material. If it shows up in a movie..."

"Selfish bastard."

"It's my story!"

"Do you have it copyrighted?"

"What is this fucking story?" Irish Paddy was getting frustrated.

Before I could answer, a Byrd's regular walked up to the table. Her name is Carrie, but we all called her "Salty," after the way she once described the taste of cum. She's a seriously hot number, think Winona Ryder in "Heathers," and I have tried, unsuccessfuly, to see her naked from the day I met her.

"Salty!" we all shouted, standing to greet her with hugs. She smiled and blushed, mildly embarrassed, and took a seat at the table.

"Do you hate that we call you that?" I asked.

"No. It's no big deal. I've said, and done, things I'm more ashamed of than that."

"Like what?"

She looked down at the table and laughed. "When I was a freshman in high school," she began. "I was really skinny, hadn't developed like the other girls."

"You stuffed!" Karla laughed.

"No, no." Carrie continued. "I...I had no ass. I was really self-conscious about it. All the other girls had these skin-tight Jordache and Dittos and I couldn't find a pair that would fit snugly. They were always baggy. I thought it was the reason why boys didn't like me. So...I..."

She paused, her eyes lifted and fixed me with a self-effacing gaze.

"...I used to wear pajamas under my jeans to make my butt look bigger."

The table, the whole bar, the universe, went silent.

"Carrie. That is the fucking cutest thing I've ever heard," I said evenly, my voice not betraying the backflips going on inside of me. "You wanna go somewhere and grab a bite to eat?"

"Sure." And off we went.

"What the fuck just happened?" asked Irish Paddy.

Aloha just shook his head, "That...was The Closer."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Diary of a Madman

The early line on this post, which will span four full days, is that it will not be pretty.

Monday July 18

I have smoked my last cigarette. The details:

When: 8:28 a.m.
Where: Downtown Los Angeles, outside City Hall
Who: Queensryche's "Jet City Woman" on the iPod
What: Marlboro Medium
Why: Apparently, smoking cigarettes can rapidly accelerate the whole dying thing

Now, clearly this experiment has a high degree of potential failure attached to it, but if I'm gonna try it, I gotta think positively, right? So, I've set the above down for posterity.

I'm going cold turkey. Let the freaky dreams commence. The experts say it takes three full days for the nicotine to be flushed from your body, though withdrawl symptoms will continue for up to a couple weeks. Physical symptoms, that is. Mental ones will go on for, oh, 40 years.

I'm also not playing poker for the next week, as it's one of those activities that promotes my tobacco use. And, if you've been paying any sort of attention, you'll see that it's probably a good time for me to take a break from the tables. I guess I'll not be doing any drinking for similar reasons.

Paging Lloyd Bridges.

So, this post will keep my pissy attitude out of the rest of the blog. Should be quite a journey. Onward...

10:36 a.m.: I am past the first hurdle. I love the post-breakfast smoke, which usually happens about an hour ago. Especially after a filling breakfast like today's (egg, sausage and cheese burrito). Feeling a little fuzzy, but okay.

Noon: The urges are a little like contractions, in that they arrive ferociously, but if you can withstand the wave, they'll leave you alone for a little while. Yes, ladies, the pain of contractions is infinitely more brutal and no man could ever bear the rigors of childbirth, so hold the calls and letters.

So I need to have something. I need to have a task, or a ritual, to take my mind off the fact it's time to smoke. Because even if I'm not physically craving, there are actions I mentally associate with cigs and there are specific times when a five-minute break on the Veranda fit into my day. So what do I do at those appointed times? Ignore them? Take a little walk around the block with the iPod? Castigate the Warhead?

1:05 p.m.: Fantastic. Just what I need.

My biggest obstacle is avoiding stress. Not. Being. Avoided. Unforeseen circumstances rearing head. Must chill.

Seriously, right now, I just wanna scream, loud and long. Might get rid of the tighness in my chest, calm the jackhammering of my leg underneath the desk.

I'll never make it.

1:18 p.m.: Just saw that the little blurb I wrote for BG hit the OddJack page.

BG gets credit for an early save with the diversion.

2:33 p.m.: There's this weird, split-second netherworld between the instant I realize I'm craving a cigarette and the cold hard realization that I can't have one. For that brief moment, it's as if nothing has changed. "Hey, let's go have a smoke...AHHHHHHHHHHH!" And the universe collapses.

Number of compensation chocolate items eaten thus far: 2
Number of compensation Jelly Bellys eaten thus far: Several dozen

The last time the dear and patient wife asked me when I was gonna stop smoking, I said after my HS reunion in October. That kicked off the usual round of "It's always something....First it was this..." But I actually had a rationale for that. Because I'm gonna gain like 20 pounds in the next 3 months and if the past is any indicator, two-thirds of it is going to settle in my face. So, instead of showing up at my reunion all lean and mean, resplendant in my 33-waist slacks, I'll look like I'm storing acorns and struggling to keep the same belt loop.

5:00 p.m.: Made it through the workday. Not a pleasant experience overall.

Tuesday, July 19

5:30 a.m.: This is hard. The good news is there is no thick glob of lung butter in the back of my throat. The bad news is I just woke up and a full day of temptation/withdrawl is staring me dead in the face.

8:55 a.m.: There's a munity going on, my body rebelling against this decision of mine.

I made it through last evening pretty handly, thanks to the diversion of Real Madrid. Not a bad showing by the Galaxy and enough Zidane magic to keep my mind off the smoking. The drive home was a bit of a struggle, but I'll take it.

Right now though, I am completely out of sorts. My head is heavy, almost like its contents are expanding, pushing out against the confines of my skull. My nerve endings are exposed and raw, my nervous system sending out periodic shocks throughout my limbs. I've somehow become more clumsy, too, probably because I'm pre-occupied with my situation and oblivious to various pieces of furniture.

Did you know if all of your blood vessels were laid end-to-end, they would extend for about 60,000 miles? That's far enough to encircle the earth more than twice.

I'm spending far too much time at the American Heart Association web site.

It was brought to my attention that posting this all at once gives me an out if I fail to negotiate the non-smoking waters this week, in that I'll theoretically never have to post my failure. That's fair, but I'm all of 24 hours in and I don't think that's enough time to say "Hey! I quit smoking!" I don't wanna be crying wolf too early here. If I make it to Friday morning, then we're on.

And I'll post this no matter what.

Noon: I broke down about 90 minutes ago. I had to. I was literally dying. So, I've had a Nicorette. I chew them things so hard that my jaw hurts.

I feel better though. Awfully hungry, however.

2:10 p.m.: This are not going especially well. Whereas I could use a couple smooth days at work, the waters are choppy and insistant. I've let slip a few grunts of frustration, the latest prompting a colleague to ask if I was okay. Before I could blurt out that I quit smoking, I remembered that they all think I still don't smoke from the last time I quit.

Far as I know anyway. So I just told her that my hemorhoids were really bothering me.

3:15 p.m.: Nicorette #2. "Cold Turkey" is officially a dead issue.

3:45 p.m.: Leaving work a bit early today. A mild child-care crisis. Yay! Very relaxing. You know, you HAVE to be at the day care center by a certain time or we'll just leave your child tied to a post out front.

Forces conspiring against me. And I'm really itching to play the $11 Crazy Re-Buy tonight since I'll be getting home a little earlier. Danger Bees.

7:40: I'm cruising along, but I am dumb and curious enough to take a shot at Party's new Re-Buy tourneys. Ugh. Why do I do these things to myself?

7:50 p.m.: I already wish I wasn't playing this.

8:30: I'm having a moment. I tried to warn the dear and patient wife, tried to erect a wall around me to protect me from them and vice versa. Didn't work.

Unnecessary snapping at wife count is One.

10:20: I'm out. I think the one thing that bothers me more than any other during my poker downswing is the fact I am being busted out of these tourneys by players who have NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING!

If you are UTG, with blinds at 200/400 and you are dealt KQo, what do you do?

a) Fold
b) Call
c) Raise
d) Raise to 4400

Of course, you raise 11x the BB, you big dummy. You have KQ! You're totally out of position!

Naturally, I have JJ on the button, but only 5700 left in chips, so his call of my all-in is correct. And, this being the last 3 weeks, I do not win the coin flip. Doesn't the very idea of "coin flip" mean I will win half? At this point, I'll settle for one.

10:21 p.m.:Unnecessary destruction of plastic tubing count is One.

Wednesday, July 19

5:30 a.m.: I slept well. My first waking thought was not of the forbidden vice. My first waking breath was not choked with phlegm.

6:30 a.m.: Boy, coffee tastes good. Amazing that just a couple days without cigs energizes the taste buds.

8:30 a.m.: Alright, enough with the happy-happy joy-joy. It's only Wednesday! Fuck me. Here's a tip: If you ever want a week to go by quickly, don't give up cigarettes that week.

No Nicorette so far today. I'm sticking with the Jolly Ranchers. I'd really like to not be chewing those square fucking gums in three months, so I'll sacrifice some short-term tooth decay.

11:00 a.m.: According to those douchebags over at, I've not smoked 45 cigarettes, I've saved 8 hours of my life and $7.00 of potential poker bankroll. The Jolly Ranchers cost $7.07, so I'm still stuck.

And why are the douchbags over at douchebags? Because they've converted most of their features to pay-to-play. It's the Internet! I don't have to pay for anything on The Internet! It's like those wienies over at You can't see anybody's e-mail or who has visited your profile unless you are a member. Sure, I'm curious as to who those three people are who want more info from me, but damned if I'll pay for it. This is America! I want everything now. And I want it free.

11:50 a.m.: One of the interesting things to come out of this Hell Week for me is the two (and counting?) stories I've put up on the blog. They've been a nice diversion from the workday, from my constant thoughts of smoking.

I wrote them both very quickly, which is not the norm for me. The most unusual thing, however, is I didn't know where I was going with them until I got to the end. The first one, about the people on the train, did not really happen. The people are real, the stiuation was real, but the ending was made up. It just came to me about 3/4 of the way through. And I loved it. One of my biggest problems in writing a story is having the template already in place. It's like trying to stuff sausage back into its casing. That story was like free-form writing and it just took on its own final shape, one that I was pleased with.

The second story, The Freshman, is also based on true events. And yes, I was that Freshman. The single most humiliating event in my entire life. When it says in the opening paragraph that people talked about it for years after...that's true too. Every fall, they'd do it to another Freshman. Every year, I would hope and pray my performance would be eclipsed, but it would fail to be even remotely as funny as the act perpetrated on me. I PUT THE BLINDFOLD BACK ON WITHOUT PEEKING!!!!!!!

Goddamn it's funny. For the longest time, it was the exact opposite. The ending, by the way, is not accurate, though it conveys pretty well how I felt. To be honest, I can't remember at all what happened after realizing I'd been had. Only that I was Flat Out Fucked.

12:35 p.m.: I'm hungry a lot. Or, more precisely, I just want to eat. Constantly.

1:55 p.m.: Have spent the last 20 minutes Google-stalking Denise Parley to little effect. That part of the story does not fit. Yes, she was a cheerleader with a huge rack. Yes, I did have a massive schoolboy crush on her when I was in the 4th grade and she and I co-starred in a church play/musical (you know those actor-types, always tryin' to get wit' their co-stars). But she did not lure me into my demise. There really was no reason, near as I can recall, outside of my own special brand of idiocy.

3:36 p.m.: Nicorette in. Ohhhhhhhhhh, the soothing peppery goodness....

Don't judge me.

4:24 p.m.: It's 108 hours after the fact, but I still can't shake it: I got busted out of an SnG by a guy named AnulLube.

9:15 p.m.: I've officially gone insane. Spent the last 20 minutes running around the house with AJ, ostensibly playing tag. It was more like burning off nervous energy, both us careening about like a couple of lunatics. The dear and patient wife said I reminded her of Chris Kattan's Mr. Peepers character on Saturday Night Live. It's cool to burn off the jones with fun, instead of stressing out in silence.

I put AJ to bed with an interpretive reading of "Ten Little Dinosaurs." Sometimes, for my own amusement, as well as his, I do an impression while reading to him. I went with Jerry Seinfeld last night. "What's the deal with archeopteryx?"

11:00 p.m.: The worst night yet. Couldn't get to sleep for a long time. My body was in a perpetual state of anticipation, crying out for smoke. It's a weird feeling, almost like a buzz. No odd dreams yet, unlike last time.

Thursday, July 21

5:30 a.m.: Ugh. Still there. I'm about ready to jump out of my skin.

7:00 a.m.: Must be cleansing day today. I'm coughing like crazy, hocking up junk left and right, which is not a pleasant thing for those riding near me on the train.

8:30 a.m.: That's three days, bitches! That earns me a Bracelet on At this point, I am not the least bit thrilled.

11:10 a.m.: More strange physiological things happening. Everything I eat tastes exceptionally salty. I'm yawning a lot, an act that involuntarilly causes me to project droplets of saliva.

2:00 p.m.: First Nicorette of the day. First in nearly 24 hours for that matter. I am master of my domain. Even so, punching something would feel very good right now.

5:10 p.m.: I'm walking to catch my train, a time of day when I usually have a cigarette, so I'm trying desperately to focus my mind elsewhere. When I arrive at Union Station, I find myself stuck behind an egregiously obese gentleman as I walk down the tunnel. No room to pass on either side. Naturally, he walks at a snail's pace, with all the weight he's lugging. Typically, this would drive me up a fucking wall, because I walk fast, and while I don't discriminate against slow walkers, I discriminate against oblivious fuckers who don't step aside so those of us with a cantering gait can get by. But no, not today, today I use the experience as a tool. I hang back a little to observe him, the two huge fat rolls on the back of his neck straining his collar, the way he's forced to lean back as he walks to support his gigantic belly. I can't even imagine all the health issues his weight causes him and how he's destined for early death. So much here to take in, so much to relate later, but all I can really think about is how much abuse his shoes take. He must go through pairs like a motherfucker.

8:15 p.m.: I'm clearly not right in the head. I am currently laughing my ass off at "Along Came Polly," which is silly because it's the Same Character that Ben Stiller's been playing since his masterwork ("Mystery Men") and the Same Character that Jennifer Anniston's been playing since her masterwork (still vacant) and there should not be anything remotely entertaining about this. But there is. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is shooting hoops.


8:30 p.m.: I'm playing the $20 MTT on Stars. Can I bum a smoke?

I'm also 3.5 days smoke free. 84 hours.

8:50 p.m.: Twenty minutes time elapsed before online tournament poker sends me scrambling for the Nicorette. No bad beats, but a ton of ridiculous pre-flop overbets with AJs and 55.

9:09 p.m.: I've been dealt AJo, ATo, AQs, KJo and KJo. I open-raised with the first two and folded to all-ins behind me. I won a pot with the third, A9o calling me down. I limped with the fourth in EP and folded to three all-ins behind me: AA, QQ and TT. I open-raised with the fifth in the CO and folded to all-ins from the blinds: AA and QQ.

The lesson? Lots of people get good hands when I get marginal ones.

9:16 p.m.: God Bless the big blind. Flop trip queens with Kournikova and get a guy to give me 500 chips before folding on the River.

9:18 p.m.: My prediction: I'm going to need to win a coin flip to make a dent in this thingee, break my two week streak of not winning any. I've got three big stacks at my table and none of 'em are particularly good, though the guy just to my right has gotten aces twice and kings once, getting max payoffs each time.

9:26 p.m.: The streak lives. My AQ falls to short stack's 33. Back just above starting chip count.

9:32 p.m.: What was that I was saying about shitty big stacks? I see another free flop from the BB with Kournikova and flop top pair and OESD. I bet pot, stupid big stack raises, I push and he calls with second pair, OESD and 7 outs with his J9o. No more improvement and I double up on the last hand before the break. Maybe I CAN avoid coin flips.

9:35 p.m.: This is the time of the evening/tournament where I would normally enjoy a tobacco cigarette, perhaps washed down with some alcohol, preferably beer. It's definitely beer-drinkin' weather out here in the IE, 85 degrees with a cool nighttime breeze.

Instead, I think I'll just chew this gum.

9:38 p.m.: We're down to just one "big stack" on the table, the guy who keeps getting big pockets. The other two have steadily chipped up everyone else.

9:41 p.m.: Seriously, I would love for somebody to fucking explain to me what the fuck I am supposed to do? Really.

Dealt to JoeSpeaker [Ks Ah]
solidluck: raises 450 to 600
JoeSpeaker: raises 600 to 1200
solidluck: raises 2450 to 3650 and is all-in
JoeSpeaker: calls 1935 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [2s Qh Tc]
*** TURN *** [2s Qh Tc] [5h]
*** RIVER *** [2s Qh Tc 5h] [Qd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
solidluck: shows [Ac Qc] (three of a kind, Queens)
JoeSpeaker: shows [Ks Ah] (a pair of Queens)
solidluck collected 6495 from pot.

It's not like this is a rare occurance. IT'S THE REGULAR OCCURANCE.


And I don't even have a smoke to fall back on. And don't give me this bullshit about me winning 4 out of 5 of those hands. It is not fucking true. It is so ridiculously far from true that I can't begin to quantify it. I know for a fact that is 8 straight MTTs where I've been busted by a suckout, four of them when I was at least 4-1 to win.

Okay, so in the next 50 years, it will even out. I'll be broke long before then. Twenty bucks at a time. Being "happy with my decisions" is no longer useful. My bankroll is fucking hurting. I need results. For a while there, I really started to doubt my game. I felt like I was getting out-played at a level where I'd had plenty of success. I started to think that maybe I was just lucky, that I really needed to re-tool my game, re-adjust my attitude.

That's partially true. I did play some a month or so back where I wasn't my best. But now I can't find any big leaks. I can always improve, but I'm playing just as well as I had previously. My money's going in when I'm ahead. Almost without fail. And there is NO WAY I'm out-classed at this level. No chance in Hell. There's such an over-abundance of poor play that I can barely handle it.

I toyed with the idea of just playing SnGs, a better chance of cashing with just 9 or 18 players, build the bankroll back up. Of course, that forum hasn't offered any relief from the poor run of cards/results and I found myself losing money at even a faster pace.

I'm still a winning player. But I've cashed out more than half my winnings and the 'roll is well below where it was two months ago. Forty percent below, to be exact. And more than half of that has been in the last two and a half weeks. I can't believe it's actually gotten worse, because it was fucking bad before.

I was so looking forward to playing tonight. I'm over the gun-shyness. I played my best game. Made not a single error. And all it got me was fucking pissed off again.

10:00 p.m.: I was gonna post this at 8:30 in the mornin'. Four days tobacco-free. I ain't gonna let this little episode push me off the wagon, but I'm gonna put the rant out there now. So I don't have to look at it any longer.

All apologies for the vitriol. But I'm free of nicotine, so I have a long healthy life of suckouts to look forward to. It's all just a test. One long, soul-sucking test.

Calling Occupants of Inteplanetary Craft

Teach E.T the turn check-raise:

Free Service Transmits Blogs Into Space.


During the course of my avoidance of online poker this week (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), I checked into my various online accounts for some numbers, which included a rare stop at Neteller. Hey look! Ninety-six bucks. I don't know why exactly that sum was in there, though I'm guessing it had something to do with The Failed Noble Poker Experiment. Whatever, I cashed it out.

Not 20 minutes later, I was at Home Depot, trolling for a proper edger for the yard. The weed-whacker/trimmer is just too imprecise and hard on the back for that sort of job. I picked out a Black and Decker model and paid for it.

$95.90, to be exact.

Poker may suck and it may hate me, but it does keep paying for stuff.


The coolest thing I've read this week. Congrats to all you Bad-Ass Motherfuckin' Bloggers.

Also in the "Must Read" category is Poker Filter, set up by WPBT Superstar Bill "Billy Legend" Rini, where you can find all things related to this fine game, as well as David Sklansky's pontifications on race and his bludgeoning sex appeal.


News Item: Oakland A's win 18th game out of their last 22, take 2 of 3 from divsion-leading Angels in Anaheim, move into second place, 6.5 games back.

Quote: "We just sent a message that we're coming after them."
--Barry Zito, after throwing seven shutout innings.

My Reaction: Aroused

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Freshman

The Freshman concentrated. The raucous crowd's urging reduced to mere background noise as he bent to his task. Winning was all that mattered. For many years afterward, total strangers would tell The Freshman it was the best performance they'd ever seen. The Freshman would smile thinly and nod, knowing it was true.

The Freshman had never told anyone why he stepped forward that day. Her name was Denise Parley, who was the first girl he'd ever loved. "Loved," is perhaps too strong a word, but Denise Parley was the first girl who stirred him deep inside, who invaded his thoughts.

At that particular time in their lives, however, she was hopelessly out of his realm. A Senior Cheerleader, a woman really, amply developed well beyond his means. There had been a period when they were close many years ago. Now, The Freshman wasn't even sure she remembered his name.

Yet, there she was, scanning the crowd. When she raised her arms, the white cheerleader's sweater would rise, showing off a tanned belly, setting off fires inside The Freshman. Before he knew it, before he could stop his limbs from reacting, he was standing by her side, then holding her hand as she led him across the gym floor.

It was a simple contest, she explained. He smiled eagerly and noted her directions. The Freshman knew the names of the other three guys, each representing a different class. He played soccer with The Sophomore, knew the older two by reputation. He could beat 'em.

It didn't take long to realize he was putting on women's lingerie. Though blindfolded, he could feel the silk, figure out how to don the bra. He didn't care. He wanted to finish first and to do that, he had to put on every article of clothing in the bag. The Freshman focused.

At one point, the blindfold slipped from his eyes. He resisted the urge to peek at his competitors, knowing it would slow him down and offer little in the way of information. He did, however, pause to put it back in place.

The Freshman began to get weary. The crowd rose in a crescendo. There was laughter there, The Freshman was sure. Of course there was, he was wearing at least one bra, perhaps as many as three. This was supposed to be fun and yet, he wasn't enjoying it. He was trying to win. For Denise? He guessed it was so.

Finally, he could feel no more clothes in the bag. He reached up to whip off the blindfold and felt hands on his shoulders. Feminine hands, sending an electric current to his heart. Denise! She reached up and pulled the veil away.

The Freshman instantly turned to her. That smile! He could get lost in that. But he re-gained his bearings and immediately looked for his competitors. Was he first?

What had occurred dawned on him quickly. There was nobody else there. He stood alone in the center of the gym draped in lingerie. A prank. A yearly joke played on an unsuspecting newcomer. Despair filled him, shame rose in his cheeks. The Freshman turned back to Denise, her face still smiling wide, but no longer welcoming.

The Freshman often wondered if--in that split-second before he fled--she saw his tears that were to come. Wondered if she remembered the hurt on his face, as he always recalled the ridicule on hers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Observation Deck

I enjoy observing people. Much more than I like talking to them. When I was younger, my friends and I liked to sit in trees (I swear), drink beer and watch the local adult softball leagues. We'd pick a player or three and discuss what we thought their life was like based on their body language.

Like the guy on the train this morning. He's a semi-regular who bears more than a passing resemblance to Tarantino, though he's a red-head. By the looks of his clothes and demeanor, he's a back-room guy somewhere, probably a civil servant. Clean, but basic. And balding, a diminishing wisp of curl floating like an island at the top of his forehead, the rest of his coastline receeding to reveal ribbons of pinkish flesh. Doesn't see a lot of sun, his face a waxen pallor.

This guy is clearly smitten with a blue-eyed brunette who sits in the same spot every day, as do I. She's cute, in an off-hand way. Not the type that makes you sit straighter in your chair, but there's a uniqueness to her look. Her nose is too small, too delicate, overwhelmed by her other features. Some days, it's clear she can't be bothered with her hair. Others it's intricate in its design. She's reads, though perhaps only on the train, considering how long it's taking her to get through that Grafton novel. Works retail somewhere, or attends a trade school, based on her causal look, today's jean shorts and tie-dye tank top a typical summer ensemble.

Tarantino brusquely chats her up every time he sees her, makes an obvious presentation of himself. I can't hear what he's saying (iPod, you know), but he's eager, bordering on over-bearing. She's nice enough, smiles and nods her head, but it's only courtesy.

Today, he couldn't get near her. No open seat, not even a direct sight line. He was clearly perturbed as he barged his way into my bank of seats, lips set in a firm line. He obviously snapped open his Wall Street Journal, eyes darting around, defiant. I stared across at him--from behind my sunglasses--poker-faced, but amused. His paper was open, but he wasn't reading. He was scanning the windows, hoping to find her in a reflection. The rising color in his cheeks gave away his failure and distress.

I continued my surreptitious surveillance, forgoing a quick nap for the drama unfolding before me, fixed by this pure human interaction on a subtle, but unmistakable, scale.

He's only on board for two stops, but, his lucky day, a couple folks disembarked one stop into his journey, opening up seats nearer his intended. Bouyed by this development, he leaned forward, probing for eye contact. Her gaze remained rooted on the lines before her, however, and he slumped back in resignation.

She seemed to feel his attention on her and slyly glanced his direction a couple times, apparently relieved to miss his stare. Just as quickly, she returned to her book. She shifted toward the side of the car and showed him only her shoulder.

At his stop, he stood abruptly, not caring he whacked me on the knee with his backpack. He worked his way purposefully into the aisle, all overt movement. He searched her as he departed, pleaded for a simple smile.

I watched the scene unfold intently. She never looked up, never flinched, until he was gone. At which point she raised her head, fixed me with a stone glare and said,

"What the fuck are you staring at?"

I shifted toward the side of the car and showed her only my shoulder.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Charlie's Tourney

Well, as expected, Charlie's Tournament was fun. Pushing the Maximum Aggression Button with every blogger's favorite hand is +EV. I won with The Hammer twice, once on a pre-flop re-raise getting two folds and once on a continuation bet on a scary flop. Scary, at least for the guy who called me pre-flop, who probably had 8s or something and didn't like those three overcards. These both happened at my first table, where I recognized only Halverson and Mrs. Head.

Pushing the Maximum Agression Button with MY favorite hand is not so +EV. I came over the top of a raise and a re-raise with AJs. Yeah, I knew I was in deep trouble, but I was a little drunk and it's my hand goddamit. Diamonds were my only real out since I was up against AK and KK. That, kids, is how to blow 90% of your stack in short order. Thankfully, I was moved to a different table at that instant so I didn't have to endure the immediate riducule.

Shelly won a big pot just as I arrived at the new digs and had a nice stack. A Donkey to her left also had some stacks, with which he would double me up twice in the next 10 minutes. gracie appeared to be doing well and was concerned about my chip inadequacy. Then BadBlood showed up with StB close behind. I did that all from a pretty drunken memory, so worship me and my functioning brain cells. If I forgot anybody, I apologize and you may petition the court to have the worshipping part waived.

I had to push with a few marginal hands, but got folds from my accomodating fellow bloggers. After The Donkey doubled me up twice, Blood was kind enough to get pocket 9s when I had AA and I was back in with an average stack. StB took a powder around this time and who would replace him on my immediate left than Mr. Wheaton. That was pretty cool. I know half the LA Blogger contingent has Wil on their speed dial, but I'd never met him. Not that I really did outside of welcoming him to the table and getting an 'lol' from him with a Tony Blair crack, but still... Sorry about that whole "bluffing into the nuts" thing, Wil.

I went out in 37th when I lost a race with The Donkey, a queen spiking on the River to oust my pocket 9s. Good times, good cause.

SarahBellum won. I don't know her, but that's a clever name. Congrats to Sarah and thanks to all for participating.


This is gonna be a Rough week for me. Why will be related in a later post (Friday to be exact). Nothing bad. Just Rough. Capital 'R'.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Times Like These

Am I not human? Do I not bleed? Hurt?

I find my self staring into the abyss, my friends. Shoved to the rim by A6o flopping trip siixes agains my JJ. QT flopping the nut straight against my KT nipping at my heels. And pressing on my back, with the weight of a thousand lesbian daytime talk show hosts, 83 sOOOOOOOOOted cracking my AA.

I've stayed positive. My decisions have been rock solid. Every tourney in which I've busted this week, I've got my money in when ahead. A couple times, I was DEEP. But not deep enough to stop the bankroll slide.

It can't get worse, I've been telling myself. Work on your GAME, not the results. I've taken that to heart. I've felt good this week, played well. And have had my worst losing week ever.

On top of that, some douchebag who busted me out of an SnG gives me a mocking "Cya" in chat. His screen name was AnulLube. Now, I may take some shit without complaint, but I'll be goddamned if I'm gonna let that slide from a guy named AnulLube. "Douchebag" is not censored on Stars.

So, here I am, 52.8% drunk, steaming, but not overtly so--thanks to you, gentle readers and this little forum where I CAN SAY WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT--and dying to play poker.

Is that tilt?

Hard to say. On the one hand, I'm still playing fine. On the other, I have this burning desire to win something. To end the day on a good note. Which might not be such a fine idea considering the cornholing I'm absorbing. Without AnulLube, I might add. Walk away from bad cards and all that.

Raise or fold? Ain't that always the question.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Eat 'Em Raw Like Sushi

You know, I'm not one to whine about TV coverage, especially in regard to the East Coast Bias exhibited by nearly all major outlets and especially by ESPN. Nor was I surprised to see the Yanks-BoSox highlights lead Sportscenter last night.

But I was pissed off that Rich Harden's run at a Perfect Game (retired the first 22 hitters) was slotted so late in the show. Arguments have been made that had he managed to pitch the 18th Perfect Game in baseball history, it would have surely led. Well, duh. That's the point. That the Hottest Team in Baseball can only storm its way into the opening segment by having it's young phenom pitch a perfect game. ESPN has been fondling Yankee balls for a few weeks now as the Bombers went on a hot streak to pull themselves back into the race. How fucking gritty of them and their $200 million payroll. Meanwhile, the A's have stomped all over the league for the better part of 6 weeks and are lucky to make the onscren scroll. These are the same A's who were trashed at every turn by the same fucktards two months ago.

Whatever, the last time ESPN told me something informative was...never. Seriously, I've taken dumps that could out-wit John Kruk.


Hi, welcome to Friday. Lots of unrelated jibberish today. First some pimpage:

Anybody who's ever read DoubleAs knows that he's got mad NL skills, so it's not like he had to prove it by cashing in a WSOP Event, though he went ahead and did it anyway. Score. Go see his write-up and express your admiration and envy.

Daddy went on hiatus. Daddy came back swatting 550 ft. bombs. "longdickin" indeed.

Al found this "blog" as a present to BG and some of others of us joined in the fun. Of course, no fun is allowed in this Super Serious Endeavor, so my jokes about C the W being a euphemism for wanking have been deleted forever. It's still a fun game, though, and I expanded it to creating new euphemisms using the template "C the W."

Cradle the Wang
Commandeer the Wookie

and the like. I am also welcoming all submissions.


Damn, I wanted Ivey to win. With all the unknowns at the Final Table, I bet ESPN is poring over thousands of hours of videotape, trying to find images of some of these guys from the early rounds. Hey! Is that Aaron Kanter's ear right there? No, there!

It's that or the Mike Matusow Show.


Most recent albums uploaded to my iPod:

Beck -- Guero
The Shins -- Oh Inverted World
Helmet -- Meantime
Sonic Youth -- Daydream Nation
Dark Angel -- Darkness Descends


Wanna see somethin' funny? Maybe later. I'll pull it out when this portion of the post gets tedious. Current over/under is four paragraphs.

As the ranking metrosexual of the "group," nobody would be surprised that I spend an inordinate amount of time on my hair. No, I don't fuss over it in front of the mirror. In fact, I haven't combed/brushed my hair for several years. But I do spend a lot of time thinking about it.

It's a love/hate relationship. I'm happy to have hair at my age, as many of my peers are struggling in that arena. It's only a little gray, like the good, distinguished gray that gets hot chicks seeking daddy figures all squishy. It's thick and full and wavy's downright impressive. It's also lumpy and unmanageable and a pain the the bleeping ass.

Especially when I'm trying to grow it long, as it tends to grow out as well as down, forcing me to shellack it close to my head with your finest gelatinous mens' products. I've got enough Dippity Do in there to fit right in with the Azzurri. All I need to complete the ensemble is a prissy hairband and a stoic pout.

At previous times in my life, my flowing mane has been described as "disco hair" and likened to that of a certain one-hit wonder who was both Rico and Suave. The other night, I asked the dear and patient wife if it looked "ridiculous." She said "no," but wasn't entirely convincing.

At this point, you may be wondering what on Earth would cause me to talk about this? First, as promised


Please, don't stop laughing. That was Dec. 1992. I cut it the next day. Surprisingly, I didn't get laid a lot with that look.

ANYWAY, now that you're in a better mood, the reason I bring this up is I happened to catch a climpse of my hair in the mirror last night and goddamn if it didn't look exactly like it did in high school, the only difference being it's gelled now instead of blow-dried and hair-sprayed. And it ocurred to me that it would be right hilarious if I showed up at my 20-year reunion in 3 months looking the exact same in the folicle department. Okay, so it would only be hilarious to me and my friends. But that's enough.

I don't drink or smoke ain't into dope
Won't try no coke, ask me how I do it, I cope
My only addiction has to do with the female species
I eat 'em raw like sushi

Rico. Suave.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

False Hit

At some point during the Vegas Blogger Bacchanal, I blurted out what used to be my deepest, darkest, secret. I even referred to in my younger days is as "My Stigma," something I considered a fourth-date admission at best. I don't remember who was in the conversation at that point, but someone asked me a pointed question that I truthfully answered.

That's what folks in the News Biz call a tease. Relax, I'll get to it.


I was trying to send my Dad a WSOP hat from their online store, but I didn't have my address book with me at work. So I did a little detective work. I am, after all, a research professional. I can find anything. So, after a little work, I found what I thought was his address and sent it off.

I was wrong, though it did go to a house he owns and rents to someone else. Transaction successfully completed. However, as a research professional, and an exacting one at that, I went back to my previous inquiry to find out why I had not pulled up what I was looking for in the first place. The best way to do this is to expand the search, truncating names and such, pinpointing precisely why the information didn't turn up in the earlier attempt. I found the right address and instantly knew why I'd missed it before. Easy game. I also found a name I didn't expect, though unrelated to what I was after. What we call a false hit. This false hit caught me right in the junk. Not a steel-toed whallop to the junk, but one of those surprising ones that catches you in just the right spot and lingers longer than the force of the blow dictates it should.


I got married when I was 19. It's a long story. Got time?

The first woman I ever loved, whom we will clevery call My Ex-Wife, just happened to be illegally residing in the Land of The Free. Our initial meeting was magical, so much so that she rejected me. Resisted my offer of an escort home only to acquiesce to the same offer of another. I didn't give her another thought--this was, after all, San Diego State University and I wasn't exactly devoid of other prospects--until I was set up on a date with her. A blind date. A random blind date at a college with 38,000 people. I believed it was seredipity. In retrospect, I can think of several other words for it.

We were inseparable from that night. A six-hour bender in Tijuana can do that to folks. Little did I know that when we came back across the border that night (Do you have anything to declare? Yes, I'm drunk!), she was violating the laws of our country and lying to Government Officers. Because she was born in Mexico. Though she had lived with an aunt and uncle in the US since she was two years old, though she had graduated with honors from one of the top high schools in Southern California, she had no Social Security card, was incapable of working and was not even a student at SDSU, simply the friend/roommate of a student.

Naturally, I found out this little secret well after I was in love with her, so it didn't matter to me. I didn't even see a problem, aside from comforting her when she got angry with her situation.

That summer, I went home, missing her deeply every second, and she found a solution: She went to Colorado to "marry" her roommate's father and work in his bed and breakfast. The upshot of that was that she wouldn't be returning to San Diego in the fall. Wouldn't, in fact, be returning for at least two years, until this sham marriage ran its course.

This did not seem to me an acceptable solution. Because I lose. First loves and all that shit. So like a Noble and Dim-Witted Knight (Welcome to Excahlibuh!) I offered my hand in marriage. I decided it would be much better for me to marry her--at 19--than to have her live in Colorado--apart from me--for the forseeable future.

You're all shaking your heads right now, as did every person I knew at the time. Clearly, we were doomed from the start. I was a stupid-ass kid, far more interested in getting loaded than in perpetuating marital bliss. Hell, I'd never had anything resembling a relationship before, not a grown up one. I couldn't even take care of myself, let alone hold up my end of a (supposedly) life-long partnership.

Predictably, we had competing interests, many fights and a difficult three-and-a-half years together. We were just too goddamn young, neither of us even remotely formed as actual adults. That was actually the major problem. I had no interest in "growing up," while she falsely fancied herself the worldly and mature one. For my part, I felt deprived--self-inflicted as it was--of the golden years of youth. It's safe to say I wasn't fully committed to the union from Day One.

Which doesn't mean that losing her didn't fuck me up for a long time. It boiled down to one thing: That I'd failed. And that failure was all my fault. I know now that's not true, but, for the longest time, I didn't. In fact, I spent a not inconsiderable amount of time trying to become the person she demanded I be during our marriage. I perceived that my failure as a husband was also a failure as a human and the only template for being a stand-up person was the one she constantly laid out for me.

Think about that for a second. Everything about that marriage was wrong, but I still exited it thinking less of myself. My entire personal growth was stunted by the experience and the lesson I took away from it was that I suck. Finally freed from the bonds, I took every negative aspect of it and used it against myself, a trait that manifested itself in a hundred unhealthy--though occassionally fun, hallucinagenic--ways.

That's not even the worst part.


We had an amicable, if sporadic, friendship after that. She continued using my last name (always hated her given surname), though she said she'd dump it when (if?) I got married again. I continued to struggle with my self-esteem, falling even further into depression because of circumstances and what I perceived as a hopeless existence. Something turned me around, though. The detail isn't important (or interesting), but the bottom line is a single small triumph turned into dozens of others, each a step on the stairway out of my Pit. When I look back, it seems like it was easy. All it took was hard work and the positive influence of some important others, people who believed in me, in who I was, not who they'd have liked me to be. I know it wasn't easy, though.

I drifted through several relationships, all of them helpful, if ultimately unfulfilling. I owe a few of those women a lot. They liked me and it helped me like myself. Still, I subconsciously, filtered all these relationships through the prism of my Ex-Wife. She defined relationships for me. Many of my behaviors were direct results of the failure of that marriage. I strove to behave in ways that would have met her approval. I tried to avoid actions she wouldn't like, you pot three times a day.

There was an inevitability to this that I never saw coming.


The night my Ex-Wife and I slept together (four years after the last time), I was actually in a relationship, a relationship that was undoubtedly in its death throes, but I was in it nonetheless. That sucked. She was a nice girl, immature and a little unsure of herself, but she certainly didn't deserve me fucking my ex-wife and telling her 48 hours later that I was breaking up with her to re-up with the former Mrs.

So there we were, taking it slow, enjoying the startled--and generally positive--reactions of our friends and families (that was one thing that never really changed, in that both families continued to think highly of everyone). This went on for a few months until she began a new job, one that required almost constant travel. Again, for the second time in my life, I fell for this woman only to see her decide to voluntarily spend time away from me.

It went bad pretty fast. She began treating me like I was 19 again. The old wrangles, the one-upsmanship returned. I was a different person now, but so easily reverted back into the same destructive, argumentative behavior. It didn't help that she lied to me over and over again. When she didn't call me from the road on my birthday, I blew my stack. And that was that.

Except for the pain of rejection, that is. Where I was the one who left before, now it was I who'd been dissed. Where before, I didn't believe myself worthy anyway, now, after many years of self-improvement-of becoming the person SHE WANTED ME TO BE--it wasn't good enough. That I soon had to move and found myself in a terrible living environment did not help in the slightest.

So yes, I mentioned the lying. Turns out she was seeing someone on the road pretty much the whole time. Some French Canadian fuck with a chick's name. Seriously. I wish it were a joke. I never knew this until she called me later saying she was getting married and moving to Canada. Insert your on NAFTA joke here. Maybe she was trying to let me down easy, by deflecting my questions, but all she did was prolong my hurt. That's the only part I've never really understood.

I wished her well. Not true, I told her to go fuck herself, though I was probably less eloquent than that.

Time provides perspective and, honestly, it was the absolute best thing that could have ever happened to me. Because it broke the spell. A spell I'd unknowingly been under since the day I met her. I could have never committed to anyone else until I was completely through with her. Four years apart hadn't done it. This finally did.


What does all this have to do with my Dad's WSOP hat? The false hit I got last week was my Ex-Wife, a hit that I would not have gotten had she not begun using my last name again. She's back in LA. Has been, in fact, for four years, if one assumes she moved when her divorce--which I didn't know about, of course--came final.

I get no pleasure out of this news. I'd long ago moved on. Prospered, in fact, in ways I could not have unless all of the above happened. Today, this moment, is the best time of my life. Everyone I have ever known contributed in some way to where I stand today, almost nobody more than my Ex-Wife. It's a history I would never trade, not for fame or fortune, because each step brought me to the dear and patient wife, to AJ, who are all I've ever wanted or needed.

But she's walking around with my last name. And it pisses me off. Because it is no longer hers to hold, though I admit it's a wholly symbolic issue and has little to do with practicality.

Thanks to my disdain of confrontation, I'm not sure what to do, if anything, about it. Maybe I'll just send her an anonymous letter with the URL for this post.

I'm kidding. Maybe.