Thursday, November 30, 2006

Search and Rescue

I had just told Al how I thought the play in his Riverchasers tourney was pretty solid when I got crippled (whilst 2nd in chips down to two tables) by a guy who called a pre-flop re-raise with Ac9c and then shoved his remaning stack in on the ten-high, two-club flop and, naturally turned the flush to crack my KK. And two hours later and I was still on fucking tilt.

But now I'm okay thanks to the wise counsel of some IRC folks and the re-reading of a comment from DonkeyPuncher regarding the hygenic shortcomings of German porn actresses, which reminded me of a story.

I was in Sweden, a family vacation, at a party with a group of X's friends. The house had a sauna, a traditional Swedish social activity and I was plenty drunk enough to not care everyone inside the steamy room--male and female--was naked. The woman of the house had similar issues as those DP experienced with his Rhineland Spank Vision. At one point, a guy bearing an excellent resemblance to Alfred E. Neuman pointed at the her...uh...bountiful crotch, leaned over and said, in delightfully fractured English, "You go down on this girl with the tongue, the Forest Ranger finds you in three days."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I finished 4th in The Mookie. I currently love myself. That's the whiskey talkin', a little. And also a bit of "I played damn good poker," a trait that has been in frighteningly short supply lately.

But...fear not...I'm still an idiot. I sucked out once, down to 12 players (8 paid) when I open-pushed short with A6 and out-flopped AT. I also laid my tournament on the line not once, but twice, with The Hammer. I got Mean Gene to lay down 77 with an egregious over-re-raise push (putting him so much on tilt he got the blinds the very next hand with a Hammer of his own) and then open-shoved all my chips into the middle at the Final Table, only to get sucked out on by surflexus and his AQ.

Speaking of Gene, he's Bonafide, landing a gig at the UltimateBetBlog, a well-deserved appointment even if it means he won't be joining the rest of us Proper Football fans watching Arsenal-Chelsea at the tail end of a 24-hour bender next Sunday morning in Vegas.

And to those of you who so kindly donated to my prize pool tonight, look me up in Vegas and I'll give it back in a cash game. In spades.

I'll Just Have a Salad

Saturday night, AJ and I cuddled up in one of Mom's easy chairs to watch a couple episodes of "Veggie Tales," a somewhat odd cartoon featuring stories about plant life as metaphors for biblical teachings. The kid won't eat any veggies, but loves these cartoons. The theme of these particular tales was the Golden Rule...

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:1

...more commonly read as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," but I'm more of an old-school guy and relish any opportunity to use 'ye.'

Of course, we've talked about this tenet before, usually after AJ got in trouble at pre-school for pushing some girl (even though she deserved it the little skank) or head-butting a classmate. But the vegetables brought it into sharper focus with their parable of the fueding villagers who alternately wore shoes and pots on their head. I told you it was odd.

At the end, a little vignette reinforces the message and I further reinforced it as we walked back down the hall to join Mom. I asked AJ to tell her what lesson he'd learned from the show and he replied, "Be nice to other people even if you don't feel like it."

Gawd, I love that kid.


I'm a total Heroes geek. Not as much as some people, but it's become a destination for me and this from someone who can never remember when shows are on. Thankfully, I have the TiVo and marked this before the season to give it a chance. I had four episodes saved before I ever watched one and by the second, I was hooked. I'd watch it for Hiro alone, though I'd like to get my hands on Ali Larter. If you sleep with someone with a split personality, is that considered a threesome? I like how it moves forward (even while going back in time!) with every episode, none of this tease shit that goes on for weeks and makes me wanna headbutt one of AJ's classmates. I like not knowing which side some people are on, the conflicting loyalties (or lack thereof), and that's a credit to the nuance of the creators.

I also have a huge heterosexual Man Crush on Aaron Sorkin. Hell, I liked Sports Night (where have you gone Sabrina Lloyd, you doe-eyed minx?) and I was positively Jonestownian over The West Wing, so I naturally highly anticipated Studio 60 and found myself curiously disappointed a few weeks in. The snappy dialogue was there as was the intelligent plotting. But it just seemed too surface to me. I opined that a sketch comedy show just didn't offer the same opportunities for true dramatic tension that the Oval Office does.

But I've pulled back from that. The two-parter with John Gooodman was fantastic, so much so that, not knowing I was gonna get a "to be continued" after the first hour, I flipped my TV the bird when the message popped up. The actors are finding their rhythms and starting to mesh better. I'm a little unsure about some of the casting choices (still having trouble with Chandler Bing as neurotic sage, but not as much) and Jordan's flippancy annoys me. I still hate Harriet, but find myself wanting more of Tom and Simon. All in all, I look forward to Monday nights in front of the TV like I have not in many, many years. And '24' starts in January.

Speaking of things that start in January, the 6th season of "The Shield" is coming. I've not yet seen Season 5 (as I've lamented here a million times), but now know when it's comeing out on DVD. Late March! Yippee! Do you people have any idea how difficult it will be for me to have 6-8 episodes backed up on TiVo and resist the urge to watch them out of order? Nigh impossible. I'm addicted to many things and Vic Mackey is one of them.

My latest DVD selection is "The Wire." I'm not able to go through it as quickly as I did "The Shield" with AJ's homework and my own self-rehabilitation projeccts taking up a bunch of my free time, but I'm better than halfway through the first season and am blown away by the quality of this show. It's so intricately woven, so perfectly paced and the inter-relationships amongst co-workers and superiors--on both sides of the law--are filled with genuine affection and tension. Just fantastic.

I've also been watching a lot of porn.


The Mookie tonight! I have carved out a few hours from my busy schedule to play this the last few weeks. I've thoroughly enjoyed it and encourage you fence-sitters to get in the game or at least stop by, if only to see Waffle hang a bunch of bad beats on kind, well-intentioned people.

What: Mookie -- Fish Soup $10+$1
Where: Full Tilt
When: 9 pm CST
Who: A bunch of really good poker-playing bloggers and some crappy, lucky ones
Why: Why?!?! You have to ask why?!?! Tourist.
Password: vegas1

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Maple-Flavored Ham Body Wrap

I think it's high time to put flame to timber and whip up a firestorm of giddy "Vegas in 10 days!" posts.

I embrace the IP for its weirdness, though if a hot chick asks me where I'm staying, I'm not telling her the truth. I suppose there's some nostalgia attached from last year, with the serpentine yellow tape, the elevator construction and that u-shaped bar situated perfectly between the elevators and the door so that I every time I went by a blogger or 5 Iggy was sitting there and I could stop, order a malt beverage and enjoy some chat.

And now there's another reason to love it. I just got this in my inbox. Cranberries, you say? You're gonna scrub me with a sticky little fruit? Where the fuck do I sign up?!?!?!

Though, I would suggest to the marketing department that they have their demographics slightly wrong. For the group descending in less than two weeks time, they might wanna cook up something like a Bacon Grease Body Rub or a Pulled Pork Facial. Just a suggestion.

I'm Registered at Banana Republic

Today marks the two-year anniversary of The Obituarium, an astonishing feat for someone of my limited patience and penchant for prancing after even the smallest diversion. This is post #623, making my blog something to which I've dedicated more time and effort than two marriages combined.

So, to reward myself, I started another blog. It was a seedling of an idea, watered by a couple recent stories on which I felt like pontificating at length and ultimately nourished into being by the pressure support and exhortations of a respected other. I give you...

Walking Mike Davis

I may beg for links in the coming weeks as I see if it evolves into what I'm hoping it will be. For now, I'd be honored if y'all will take the occasional peek.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Thanksgiving Story

"My daddy likes to gamble."
--AJ to my 19 year old nephew – during our Thanksgiving meal

Terry and Stewart, my brothers’ boys were chatting about football, with Terry, the older of the two, mentioning that he had placed a bet on Kansas City (-1). AJ’s statement led to a deeper gambling discussion. Terry also likes to play poker online. As it turned out, we have even faced each other a few times online. I showed him his PokerTracker stats and teased him for his rock-ish statistics. Then I also made fun of his football pick.

"Well, uncle Speaker, if you’re such a good gambler, put your money where your mouth is!"

The punk-ass called me out in front of my boy.

"Listen, I don’t want to take all of your dad’s money. You need to take that back to school and spend it on ramen noodles, cans of Natural Light, and the contraceptives you won’t be using." (Don’t worry - AJ doesn’t know what contraceptives are. Rubbers, yes.)

I hoped that that my reply would end the smack talk. It didn’t. He proposed another option.

"It doesn’t have to be for money. How about this...Stewart got the inside scoop that the Target down the street has a shipment of Playstation 3’s in. And they open at 5am. I was going to head there after dinner and wait overnight to get a system. If KC covers, you’ll wait in line for me."

I replied, "That doesn’t make sense. What do I win if Denver covers?"

"If Denver covers, I’ll let AJ use the PS3 for the next two weeks. Just ship it back to me at the frat house."

This kid was good. And there is some serious degenerate blood running through my family’s veins. AJ looked up at me with his eyes and a big smile. My brother took a sip of his wine, and gave his son an approving grin. Almost exactly the same look Miyagi gave Daniel at the end of the first two Karate Kid films.

So I accepted the bet.

And as you probably know, Denver took another beat down.

And I was off to Target, with a backpack that contained a sleeping bag, my bottle of Bushmill’s, my iPod, and a deck of cards.

I pulled into the store’s lot, and realized that Stewart wasn’t the only one who got the inside information. There were already about twenty people waiting in line in front of the store. I couldn’t turn away – I had to set a good example, and show AJ that no matter how ridiculous the wager, you must always pay up.

I grabbed a spot in line, and figured that of the adults, at least eighty percent have never had sex. Thirteen out of the fifteen teenagers are more likely to suffer from heart attacks in the next four years than touch a woman’s breast. I was tempted to say, "Hey kids – how about eating some fruits and veggies, and maybe putting a little pomade in that hair?"

But in their eyes, I was no better than them. Just another douchebag wasting what could be otherwise useful time.

Bloggus Interruptus

As I’m typing this, I got a call from DonkeyPuncher. Apparently he’s sitting at the airport across the guy who SUPPOSEDLY has better hair than us - Patrick Dempsey (aka Dr McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy). DP is tempted to say, "You shit on my house!" or "Hey look, it’s a Nerd Herd." He pointed out that it must be a bad hair day for Dempsey, since he’s wearing a hat. Amateur.

End Bloggus Interruptus

I pulled out the bottle of Bushmill’s - the rest of the crowed looked horrified. Their faces told me that they could be tilted. Maybe I could be so obnoxious that they would leave the line. So I did everything in my power to annoy them. Singing 80’s metal lyrics didn’t work. Neither did dancing like MC Hammer to "2 Legit 2 Quit or explaining pot odds." Warbling the Mary Poppins soundtrack (AJ’s fave) failed as well. Those were some hard core nerds.

I finished the Bushmills in an hour and a half.

And passed out on the sidewalk.

"Mister, they’re about to open up the store." It was 4:50 when the kid who always gets picked last in gym class woke me up.

I had no fucking clue where I was. When I looked around me, the awareness of my surroundings returned, as did my hatred for that manipulative nephew.

I stretched my legs and did a few sets of jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. No sense in pulling a hammy during this.

They opened the doors and the crowd stormed in.

"Let’s get us a PS3!"

I sprinted towards the electronics department, shoving brats left and right. I ended up being sixth in line.

And they had FIVE PS3’s in stock.



The phone rang. It was Terry. "Uncle Speaker, was the mission successful?" I hung up on him.

Then I saw an attractive woman trying to console her son after their failed attempt at getting a PS3. No wedding ring. I was drunk and tilted.

So I got her digits.

Yeah. Mission successful.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Six-Max Blog Attack

I'm terrible at poker. I used to be kinda good, but now I'm terrible. So, to reverse the slide, I am going to live blog the $30K tonight on Full Tilt. You'd think I would do something like...ohIdontknow...go back and re-tool my game, but NO! I'd rather rely on an old superstition, a method I used way back when when I was regularly cashing and Final Tabling online poker tournaments and you...the fortunate to travel along on the increasingly scattered and drunken ramblings of your intrepid narrator.

I also want to get that review off the top of the page. But don't tell the ReviewMe people. I'm happy to sell out for a pittance. I just don't want everyone to know about it. Our secret, 'kay?


7:55 p.m.: This is a $100+9 buy-in double-stack, 6-max tourney (12 min. levels). 409 runners. $40,900 pool. 54 paid.

8:01: Cards in the air. Gotta see more flops in 6-max. Aggression has been a problem, part of the reason I'm playing this 'un.

8:04: Got a very aggressive puppy at the table.

8:07: Gonna publish every 15 minutes to bug you Bloglines folks. Tonight's beverage of choice is Red Hook ESB, also known as Left Hook in your finer beer-drinking circles for its hangover prowess.

8:09: I know I'm supposed to see more flops, but there are three rabid dogs at this table (one of whom appears to be terrible), so I'm just gonna play it cool for a couple levels. I'm also gonna wait for two cards that add up to more than 10.

8:12: I've seen two flops from the blinds, both with K-rag. Both flops came AQx. I'll bet you $100, the flop comes Kxx when I have AQ. Yes, that's my mind set these days.

8:14: Case in point. I open-raise with QJ and get re-raised by the only other tight guy at the table. Am I that obvious? This guy's so tight he checked his second nuts (as last to act) on the river. So I fold.

:8:20: Holding the nuts is good in 6-max, too. Got paid on the turn, not the river.

8:21: AQ. No king, but I totally missed. Continuation bet was called. Trip 4s on the board by the river (check-check on the turn) and I fold when he bets.

8:26: Gotta raise those little pairs, too. BB calls. AQx flop and my continuation bet with 55 is called. Aggro puppy checks the rag turn too and when I fire again, he folds. I'm basically at even. My entire table is, in fact. We're just trading chips back and forth. No bust-outs yet. High of 3700. Low of 2200. I have 3160.

8:32: Guy to my immediate left has called two straight raises from me. Folded when I bet the flop both times. First time I had somethin'. Second time I didn't.

8:34: He's on tilt now. I just flopped trip kings from the BB and got 500 out of him when he hit his ace (T4260).

8:36: Publish.

8:38: AT out-flopped by KJ. Check-raised by aggro-puppy, who shows. No? Really? You had a king? I'd have never thought.

8:40: Must remember that people will raise with A7 in 6-max behind limpers, so AJ is a really good hand.

8:42: Speaking of AJ, I just flopped trip jacks with QJ in the SB. Checked around. I bet half the pot on the potential straight turn and get min. raised. I call. River is a Q and I bet the pot, thinking I just out-drew a straight. Um, AJ actually, who just called, to his credit. T5300

8:47: It's hard to blog during 6-max.

8:49: Boatage! Flopped trip dueces from the BB. Got it all in on the 822 flop (with two spades). Dodged the spade draw, filled up on the river. Deck has been incredibly kind. T7800.

9:01: First break. T8204. 33 of 232 remaining. Ahead of Clonie! Rowr.

9:09: Still only one guy gone from my opening table (courtesy of moi) and I have a stack two times larger than the others. Should exert pressure, yes? Blinds are only 50/100, so the reward is rather small...unless the guy still to my immediate left calls my raise with A6 and folds when I continuation bet.

9:12: I turn the nut flush, but check it. The 4th diamond on the board kills my action, methinks, so I over bet (pot-sized) to make it look sketchy and get called by TPTK, no diamond. T10454. Even at 6-max, $100 buy-in, fancy isn't really necessary.

9:16: Maigrey kicked me out of X-chat. Like 20 minutes ago. I only just realized it. Left Hook kickin' in.

9:26: Ugh. Why is it, when I flop TPTK with AK, someone always catches a set. With dueces. Cost me an extra 1500 to see it, goddamn it. T7870

9:28: Still better than par, but behind Chloe.

9:32: Gettin' rough in here. Deck's hitting others. Those raises with 77 are being called in 2 places and with all overcards, you gotta just abandon it, especially when T9s flops a boat. Goin' the wrong direction. T6450

9:33: On the plus side, my table is action-oriented again. Blinds are still only 80/160. Mucho tiempo, as we say here in Northern Mexico.

9:39: Heh. Suddenly I find myself the shortest stack at the table. Still a viable one, but I liked the situation better 25 minutes ago. We're now listening to "Recipie For Hate," a title I'd like to direct at the dealer.

9:45: The bad news is I've gone card dead. The bad news is my table is full of chip slingers.

9:49: Man. I've totally lost my feeling for the surroundings. Felt very in control there for a bit. Now, I'm not so sure. I might not be the only one. Table has tightened up a bit.

9:56: Made my first "play" of the evening. ATo in the BB and pushed over 4 (yes, 4!) with 6K and took it down.

10:01: Must get to the break. Re-group. And just as I say that I win a pot with bottom pair after a solid rasie/read. So...who knows?

10:08: And I don't make it to the break. Because I got a big pocket pair, the first in a while. And 6-max, I'm going to the wall with JJ. Of course, I ran into QQ. Motherfuck. Somebody tell me how I get away from JJ on a six-high flop in 6max and I'll give you $7.

Cards Chat

The following post is a review paid for by CardsChat, an Internet Poker Forum.

I don't spend much time in online forums any longer. Sure, I can be found on the girlie chat thingee and I cut my intertubes teeth on the Oakland A's message board where I still occasionally spread my peculiar brand of wisdom. But I did used to log into 2+2 regularly and faithfully scoured various poker-related sites for information back in my formitive gambOOOOling years, so I have some experience with mining for fact nuggets.

CardsChat offers a commendable bredth of resources for the beginning poker player. The forums appear to be well attended, with two boards boasting more than 28K in posts. The topics are what you would expect: general strategy, room reviews (both B&M and online), hand analysis and a "lounge" where pretty much everything seems to go, like discussions about Wii or ManU v. Chelsea.

There are myraid poker articles, as well, covering the usual (pot odds, position, etc.). They seem to be geared toward beginning concepts and exclusively geared toward Hold 'Em (with some token Omaha pieces), both ring and tournament styles. This section also boasts limited book reviews.

Overall, the site would be a solid resource for someone starting out on their poker road, though less notewoprthy for players with ballast to their knowledge. In addition, I would recommend it as a place to meet others with similar interests don't have a blog and have already bonded with degenerate strangers that way.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Final Joke

I had an exceptionally vivid dream last night, a rare occurance for me. It was epic, a long and wandering tale of woe, one that likely falls into the category of those "running but not going anwyhere" dreams, though it was not near that literal. It was like the films I hate so much where the solution is an easy one, but first, a million hurdles must be cleared, each one increasing my annoyance level to the point of boiling over. When I woke from the dream, it was all there in my head, but as each second passed, a part of it disappeared. A little frustrating. But I do recall the fact that I was laying out how I was going to blog it. During the dream.

And that...ladies and just sad. Even my subconscious is Under Suspiscion.

Had a great holiday. As always, watching AJ interact with his cousins is the best part. We've got an age gap in the kids, with my brothers' checking in at 19 and 15, followed by AJ and my two-year-old niece. He follows the older kids around like a shadow (with the added bonus of the 19-year-old's boyfriend this year), pestering and generally trying their admirable patience, while the toddler does the same to him. Suffice to say, he was operating at high rpm all day, and I was again thankful to be able to pass him off for long periods of time in order to eat, nap and make fun of the Lions.

I'm working today, because death never takes a day off. In fact, this is our busy season as the guy with the scythe goes stalking for the holiday depressed and the occasional PS3 buyer.


Let's see...two weeks 'til Vegas. Surely I have a past memory to share. In 1979, I played a soccer game in the snow. That was awful. Ever try kicking a ball with frostbite? Every swing of the leg was like Tony Franklin trying a 30-yarder with a frozen turkey. In 1997, I walked into the New Frontier ('cause that's how I roll) and the craps dealers called me out by name, like Norm on "Cheers," the highlight of my Vegas experience until Mrs. Head's roshambo domination of Phil Gordon last year, followed quickly by Josh's header, a double-barreled burst of triumph and hilarity that may never be matched in this life or any other. In 1999, we "lost" Big Head who never made it back to the hotel room one night. We found him right where we left him, at the same blackjack table, with the same drink order, but with a new-found love for cigarettes, a fact made all the more funny because he was late picking up his girlfriend at the airport, which he forgot, and I'd give several hundred dollars to have seen the look on her face when she saw him that morning and I'd double it to have heard her reaction to the way he smelled.

In 2005, I final tabled the MGM tourney on Sunday night at the tail end of the WPBT shenanigans (CJ won; I was 4th), a victory minimized because the length of the run caused X and I to miss a promised "nice" dinner. We ended up in a cafe at MGM where she assured me she wasn't pissed (lies), but I still felt horrible about it and, by way of penance, used nearly the total of my tourney profit to buy her diamond earrings for Christmas, a gift I said I'd never again give since she lost the last fucking pair I bought her. Of course, by the time Christmas rolled around, she was already exchanging dopey e-mails and saliva with The Douchebag, a fact which did not inhibit her from accepting my gift. She later told me this Vegas event was "the final straw" (lies), which is funny, because usually people say something before it gets to final straw stage and while I will not exactly defend my behavior (though I blame it mostly on Bobby because he made me lose $300 on blackjack in 20 minutes, which put me on tilt, and the tilt put me into the tournament), I did try to make amends, but my husbandry and love and contrition was not enough to keep me in the running against a guy who thinks "Life is a gift, so wrap yourself well" is a clever motto for living and sends text messages with the frequency of a 14-year-old girl complete with emoticons and liberal use of the word "booty."

At least this year, none of you fuckers will talk about how out of my league she is, which was true, just not in the generally accepted way, because I compete at a high level in the Morally Superior Division and sometimes play winter ball in Anti-Adultery Conference of Greater Southern California.

And in two weeks, I hope to be ready for the SoCo Relays.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks

Yes, I know I'm a hack. Save your breath.

I'm thankful the network censors gave the green light to the promos for William Shatner's new game show, becuase I laugh like a schoolgirl every time I hear the deep announcer voice say, "Shat-tastic!"

I'm thankful Iggy didn't die, but simply moved to a tonier address.

I'm thankful for the unbridled laughter of AJ and for the simplicity in which I am able to summon it with a certain look or, in one recent instance, by flashing him a BA.

I'm thankful for the 30% of the time I actually win a race.

I'm thankful to still have a job even though I haven't done it very well this year and for my colleagues and superiors who totally understood why that was.

I'm thankful for family and friends who've lifted me up so much during this trying year and for their support and kind words, even if most of the time I don't believe them.

I'm thankful I don't have to go anywhere near an airport this weekend. Same for when I go to Vegas.

I'm thankful I made it here. It was touch and go for a while. It's not the greatest place I've ever been, but it's miles better than there. Some days I never thought I'd get out of there, times when it took every ounce of strength to get from dawn to dusk. But I still have this life and--more and more--it gains weight on the one I lost. I'm thankful that AJ has come through as well, with what appears on the surface to be a minimum of pain and confusion, plus the added joy of an improved closeness in our relationship. And I'm pleased to have a bottle of Bushmills at home, which I'm going to climb into this evening and toast every one of you SOBs out there reading this. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Writing is hard. At least in my current state of mind, which is unstable, to say the least. I don't mean I'm falling off a cliff or anything, but if I were to sit down and write every single day, what came out would be literally all over the map, possibly generating suggestions that I go on some sort of bi-polar medication.

That said, I have been probing myself--an uncomfortable task--and trying to find out the best manner in which to proceed. With life. With self. I think I'm being a bit too results-oriented. What can I do to reach "there" instead of what can I do today to make me feel better today. Not in the sense of escapism, but in the sense of dealing, of checking the soil underneath the rock instead of stepping over it like the day before.

I didn't set out to find the quintessential volumes of Middle-Aged Male Angst, but I found them anyway in the "Rabbit" novels of John Updike. I was tasked to do some work on the author and thought, "hey, I haven't read much Updike (essays mostly) and I really should seeing as he's only one of two people to twice win the Pulitzer for fiction. So I picked up all four installments of the Harry Angstrom novels. What strikes me most is how bewildered he is and has little idea where he stands, in culture, the world around him, even his own family. And it has illustrated to me that very few people, if any, are ever sure in their every step. Though his experiences and mine are chronologically mismatched (he hits middle age about the time I was touching my first boobie), his doubt, his altered world-view as he ages, these are universal themes, out of time.

When I was about mid-way through the books, one of my favorite authors released a new novel. Richard Ford is also a Pulitzer winner and his latest release is the final salvo in the Frank Bascombe trilogy. The first was "The Sportswriter," from which I stole the use of 'X.' The second--the Prize-winner--was "Independence Day" and it is this I am currently reading again, to reaquaint myself with Bascombe before tackling the final novel, entitled, "Lay of the Land." And what a time to read it again.

Unlike Rabbit, who is simply a serial adulterer, Bascombe is divorced and his grief is multiplied by the death of a young child, events which cast him into "something stressful followed by the beginning of something indistinct." I can currently relate to feeling entirely indistinct. More from Ford:

"Though what I in time began to sense...was actually a kind of disguised urgency...a feeling completely different from the old clicking, whirly, suspenseful perturbations I'd felt in my last days as a sportswriter: of being divorced, full of regret, and needing to pursue women just to keep myself pacified, amused and slightly dreamy. This new variety was more a deep-beating urgency having to do with me and me only, not me and somebody. It was, I now believe, the profound low thrum of my middle life seeking to be seized rather than painlessly avoided."

Sick prose. And far more than I could ever manage to perfectly encapsulate me. Today.

How to go about seizing? Still workin' on it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Review Me

This post is sponsored by ReviewMe which means I'm getting paid for writing it, allowing me, officially, to get new business cards reading "Professional Blogger." This new card will be added to my existing ones, some of which read "Internet Celebrity," "Counselor for the Lovelorn" and "Garden-Variety Jackass."

ReviewMe is a new service that matches up sponsors with bloggers. Based on what I assume is your Google Page Rank, you are assigned a dollar figure to review the chosen product, of which the blogger receives half and ReviewMe the other half. Signup is simple, though I had a moment of pause when it asked for my SSN#, but it turns out that wasn't a required field.

It will be interesting to see how this works, what sorts of advertisers will consider a relationship with this blog. You can list up to 5 keywords on the site to help them along. I'd have preferred more as I couldn't get 'infidelity' in there.

I'd like top believe I maintain an ounce of integrity and will only fell comfortable writing about products I--and by extension my obscenely attractive audience--would be interested in. No pandering, either.

The ReviewMe site is simple to navigate and is devoid of long-winded explanations and promises. Short and to the point. I suppose I'd like to know a little more about the advertising side of things, how many clients they have, etc, but I'm guessing it's still a work in progress. I'm looking forward to seeing what transpires from this even as I think a review of the site itself would be more useful after using it for 6 months or so instead of right off the bat.

Even so, I see nothing to lose here, except perhaps my dignity which amounts to very little anyway these days. Let's see what turns up.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

People Are Concerned

I got a phone call from an anxious buddy the other day who had a lot on his mind. I hung up on him, but before I did, I told him it was nothing personal. It's just that I don't talk on the phone any longer. Too close to actual contact with actual people. I prefer the hermitted life in which I've cocooned myself and informed him if he wanted to talk to me, I can be reached anonymously on the internet where I hide behind my meaningless fake name and cyber bravado. He hit me up (yo) later that evening on the girlie chat box. And he brought a friend.*

McSexy: Speaker! It's Mike.
MrSpeaker: Sexton? Nice handle, dude.
McSexy: It's the whole "Grey's Anatomy" thing. It's blowin' up. It's the new "hizzy fo' shizzy." Like it?
MrSpeaker: I think it's McGay.
McSexy: As if a poker blogger is in any position to comment derisively about something being gay.
MrSpeaker: Point taken.
McSexy: Vince is here somewhere.
VanSexy: Yo, Speaker of 'Da House! Bringin' the gavel down! Legislatin', regulatin'...
MrSpeaker: Oh boy. Hi Vince. You know I only tolerate you because I loved "White Shadow" so much, right?
VanSexy: That was my brother.
MrSpeaker: Tell me another Coolidge story.
VanSexy: Wasn't me.
McSpeaker: Morris Thorpe?
VanSexy: Stop it! We need help, man.
McSexy: Yeah, Joe. You gotta talk to Iggy.
MrSpeaker: About what?
McSexy: This hiatus! It's killing us.
VanSexy: I've got nothing to read on the toilet. My porcelein Bonus Code is boredom DAMMIT!
MrSpeaker: I don't know that there's anything I can do.
McSexy: You could bend down and whisper in his ear.
VanSexy: You could kick him in his wee little ass.
MrSpeaker: Guys...
McSexy: Persuade him. Give him things he loves.
MrSpeaker: I could pry him with Guinness...
McSexy: There you go!
MrSpeaker: ...and greyhounds...
McSexy: Yes!
MrSpeaker: ...and gefilte fish.
VanSexy: Mazeltov!
MrSpeaker: I don't know...
McSexy: Yes, you do. Yes, you do. You know none of us can go on without him, his unique and irritatingly high-pitched little person voice.
VanSexy: Workplace productivity will skyrocket!
McSexy: Blogging hacks will stop putting "uber" in front of everything!
VanSexy: Oh the humanity!
MrSpeaker: He actually doesn't like people using that phrase.
VanSexy: But I'm desperate!
McSexy: Yeah, he's one of a kind.
VanSexy: Ctrl+X. Ctrl+V. Nobody does it better.
MrSpeaker: There are plenty of other poker blogs to read.
McSexy: But he dwarfs them ALL!
VanSexy: Miiiiiiiiike!
McSexy: Sorry, Vince.
VanSexy: The puns are mine! Always! You promised!
McSexy: That's right, Vince.
MrSpeaker: Look guys. Let me fill you in on something. You know where "Iggy" comes from, right?
McSexy: Oz?
VanSexy: Beyond the sun?
MrSpeaker: No, not physically, you nitwits. The name. It's short for Ignatious J. Reilly. Do you know that name?
McSexy and VanSexy: No.
MrSpeaker: It's from a book, a Pulitzer Prize winner.
VanSexy: Oh! Right! That was the little guy's name in "Austin Powers."
MrSpeaker: Close, Vince. The point is, "Iggy" is a fictional creation derived from a fictional creation.
VanSexy: Whoa. My head hurts.
McSexy: Yeah, it's like time bending back upon itself.
MrSpeaker: No it isn't.
VanSexy: It's like having six aces in the deck.
MrSpeaker: Um...
VanSexy: It's like that scene in "Austin Powers" where...
MrSpeaker: Enough! Listen. What I'm trying to tell you is this. Iggy is not "Iggy." He's a real person, one whom I admire greatly for his intellect, his friendship and yes, his humanity. I'll miss his posts. No doubt. But the person...he's not gone.
VanSexy: Can you give him my number?
McSexy: Mine too!
MrSpeaker: Sorry. We prefer to be contacted anonymously on the internet.

*Celebrity Girlie Chat impersonated

Monday, November 13, 2006

Out of Balance

Things I might have written about at length in the past three weeks had I any time or wherewithall to do so:

The wackiness of the NFL season has completely changed the way I fictionally wager on football. For weeks, I've been playing 'dogs on the money line. It's high variance, but if you keep the bets stable, you need only hit like 1-of-3 to have a good weekend. And you get good deals like the Saints yesterday at +245. Sure, they didn't come through, but those are the types of price plays you get.


I grew up in a sports fanatical household and the love of games naturally flowed to me. It's difficult to understand all the rules at a young age, but following the score and the action is easy enough. I'm going through the same thing with AJ right now, as he's full of inquiries about whatever contest is on the tube. He's a mirror of me when I was his age. This weekend alone, we watched basketball, hockey, Proper Football and NFL Football.

We devised a new game, part of my primary parenting strategy of tiring him out so he will go to bed early and easily. It's called "Fumble" and it consists simply of he and I on my big bed, throwing the Nerf ball off the ceiling and walls and trying to recover it. It has everything he needs: Jumping around, rough-housing (and it's cousins, grab ass and monkey business) and screaming, as each round beings by yelling "FUMBLE!"

The other day, the ball skipped off the bed. AJ declared it "out of balance," meaning "out of bounds." Funny. And it makes sense in a kid's brain sort of way. But the odd part is "out of balance" is precisely what *I* called "out of bounds" when I was a kid. Genetics are weird. And if you think I've corrected him, you don't know me very well.


Sweet Mistress Poker. Talk about weird. I guess the diagnosis is burn out. The only interest I can find in the online game is in the bigger buy-in tourneys, which I've sporadically played the last 6 weeks after satelliting in. I suppose the big numbers at the end of the rainbow add a little juice to the proceedings and I focus better ("Be the ball, Danny"). The FTOPS Event last night was my fourth such tourney and I've now cashed in two (and got my money in ahead in the others, including a KK v. 44 hand where I went bust at the hands of Steve Zolotow). The Double Stacks and longer levels most certainly aid me. Allows me to play my patient game--my best game--in the first 90 minutes, which is something I struggle with in the nightly guarantees on FT. Those have turned into -EV minefields and I have given up trying to dodge the shrapnel.

I did play some at Commerce and had a highly amusing time sitting one of the wild 4/8 tables. My Lord. I wonder how some of these people remember to breathe. When I sat down, I had an amiable, if talky and goofy, younger guy to my right. We got to talking, took a joint smoke break (not a joint smoking break) and were having fun. About an hour in, a 50-ish, rummy-looking type sits to Amiable Guy's right. He is greeted and says something along the lines of "It's all about having fun, right?!?" His stated goal is washed away on the first hand he plays where he accuses another guy of a string bet (I didn't see it; Dealer claimed player said, "Raise") and goes off on a 5 minute rant. A loud, profane rant. This being Commerce, no floor people bat an eyelash.

He keeps up an almost-continuous monlogue about his awesome poker skillz, all the while berating every play and player. I settled on whiskey as his drink of choice for though he doesn't inbibe at the table, I've heard that "whiskey makes a man mean." As with most Table Captains, his every word illustrates his own cluelessness. My favorite was when he held pocket 9s and he raised pre-flop, getting the usual 6 or 15 callers. Flop is Kxx and it's checked to him. He bets and one caller. Turn rag and his bet is check-called again. River is an ace and the other guy bets out, launching Whiskey Man into a tirade, "You called me down with shit and hit your ace on the river?!?!? You $%&*&#$!-ing idiot. Fine! Take it!" he said, throwing his nines face up. At the dealer. The other guy calmly tables his pocket kings. "Nice Hand, Sir!" Whikey Man bellows and before I can think there's a little sheepishness in there, he follows it up with, "Can you play those things any fucking slower?!?!"

I avoided his wrath until late, when I hemmed and hawed on a river call with top two. I was actually debating whether to raise or not, but there were two to act behind with a very real straight possibility on board. When I dragged the pot, he started in on me. "Oh, that was a tough call. Top two pair. What took you so long?" I replied that I wasn't deciding whether to call, but whether to raise. He continued like I had not even spoken. Since he was into the game for $400 at that point (in less than two hours, mind you) and had already paid me off on every street when I flopped the nut flush, I figured I'd just let him go. So I did.

I'm gonna try to satellite into the Big FTOPS Event on Sunday. Otherwise, poker will probably take a hiatus 'til Las Vegas.


A couple posts back, I used the term "personal turmoil." That's a little dramatic. More like a bunch of little and medium-sized things all coming down on me at once in both my personal and professional life. Sometimes my relentless optimism manifests itself as something like naivate. So I kinda got knocked back on my ass the last two months when my "healing process" arrested and even went backward. Recovery isn't a line moving ever upward. It's a roller coaster and I've spent a while now in a valley.

The Co-Parenting thing is difficult. Not only for me. X and I are often at odds. Not angrily, but in regard to philosophy. We think--or don't think--differently. For my part, I filter everything through the AJ prism. I'm not saying that's the best way, just that it's my way. It's what's most important to me to the extent that I will subjugate some of my own desires for his well-being, including placing myself in uncomfortable situations I'd just as soon skip. But I'm already missing out on too much of his life as far as I'm concerned and am willing to go to great lengths to be included in as much as possible.

X, purposefully or not, has excluded me from a couple of events. And the reason is she just doesn't regard me. As we all know, she's "moved on." So, because she has excised me from Her Life, it doesn't occur to her that she's keeping me from AJ with some of her decisions. Because the idea of Me, even as Co-Parent, is an afterthought.

To her credit, she is coming around on these issues. Thanks, in part, to a perfectly illustrated situation a couple weeks back, one that was incredibly hurtful to me, but also demonstrated the gulf in attitudes concerning this relationship we will ALWAYS have as AJ's parents. Because that's what it is, a relationship. As simpler as it would be for both of us to just forget about the other, it will never be possible.

At the most basic, all I've asked for was a level of cooperation commensurate with my effort. I'm not asking her for anything I, myself, am unwilling to provide. Maybe, in the past week, we've made some strides. It sounds like it. We'll see if it looks like it.


NaNoWriMo. DOA.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I Accept

It took me 6 shots at satellites to make it in at a cost of a little over $80. Not exactly getting in "cheaply," but the $602 payout made it worthwile. I played g00t. Got my money in dominating at the end, with AJ no less, but J7 flopped two pair. In the interest of full disclosure, I spiked a 3-outer earlier to stay alive (quite possibly one of the worst mis-reads of my poker career, that one). I squeaked past the bubble with an M of 2 and about 6K chips. The hit some big hands and went another 350 spots. I was feeling the flow and am a little bummed to not go deeper. Still, I out-lasted 2900 people and all the pros. Maybe the game is coming around.

Thanks to the railbirds and birdettes. When I think of you, it will be fondly.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

An Offer Nearly Every Woman I've Ever Met Has Refused

Hey, anybody want to share a room at the IP in Vegas? I haven't booked yet. I'm staying three nights, Friday-Monday. If anyone is looking to defray costs--yes, I know the rates are low, but you couldn't use an extra $150 gambling money?--get in touch with me, via comments or e-mail by this evening. I already asked Mrs. drizz but she said, "Heck no."

So, if you don't mind a little snoring, the ever-present smell of masculine body spray and falling asleep passing out to Slayer's "Hell Awaits," you know where to find me.

The auction is closed. brdweb was in front of the stampede to share the same rarified IP air as I. for those of you not quick enough on the comment/e-mail draw, we have some lovely parting gifts. You may choose from the following: my wedding ring, my wedding pictures or my wedding license. Thank you.

Monday, November 06, 2006


My Novel-in-a-Month effort is off to a dismal start, mostly because November has dawned with me in a heap of personal turmoil. This black mood is manifesting itself whole-heartedly in the book (see excerpt below), not such a good thing when the idea was to inject a little levity into the proceedings. Aside from 20 hours spent this weekend carousing around Santa Barbara with an old friend (not old as in age; not old as in a former friend restored to friend again status; just old, as in, we've known each other a long time), I've been pretty completely down in the dumps for the past two weeks.

Perhaps the finest illustration of "the random shit I'm dealing with" comes from AJ, who mis-heard me last night at the dinner table. I mentioned something about "life" and he piped up with, "You don't have a wife anymore!"

It stings.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lighten Up, Francis

Well, I finally got the Nano site to load (no link today fuckers, there's too many people mucking up your server already) and hit 1838 words on Day 1. Not bad. It went okay. Some flow, some staunched bleeding.

I'm in a pissy mood this morning, maybe because this is some of what I wrote last night:

Like most of the sprawl surrounding Los Angeles, the town I live in used to be agriculture. Where The Valley and Orange County were covered with orange groves, out here, east of downtown, dairy farms and horse ranches were the norm. Slowly, all that free space has been eaten up by developers and demand. The “exurbs” as the demographers have termed these areas, cities risen overnight from the tilled soil, tract homes in pastels and Spanish tile mirroring each other one neighborhood at a time. It can be beautiful when the sky is free of brown haze, blue and promising as it touches the mountains which ring the area. In the winter, when the San Gabriels are dusted with snow, the wind is chill and clear, it’s almost like there are seasons here. People have come in droves, forced away from the city center by blight or cost of living. They’ve fled to this instant community, master plans and parks galore, the promise of a return to their own carefree childhood, when the neighborhood kids played outside free of threats from pedophiles or drug peddlers. It’s an illusion. Chamber of Commerce bullshit. The ostentatious homes, two stories, fetching trim and blooming beds, looming behind block walls. Chain stores of all stripes, DVD players, burritos, power drills. The veneer of success, the American Dream, the smiling façade of Neighborhood Watch and youth soccer. But the streets are bare, young saplings as new as the residents themselves, provide no shade, no escape from the oppressive summer heat. Inside, lions pace in their air-conditioned cages, the kids on myspace or Grand Theft Auto, too bored to think, too stimulated to move. Mom and Dad occupy silent space, read a book, the plot crowded out by cost overruns at the office, Sissy needs braces, interest rates are up. “How was your day?” and it was the same. The fucking same.

It's the Feel Good Hit of November!

I will be avoiding sharp objects for the immediate future.