Friday, April 28, 2006

Luck of the Irish

Oh how I love Fridays. I've always loved Fridays, except when I worked on Saturdays, I guess, but it's now the day I pick up AJ after a long week of abject loneliness drinking beer and playing poker, giving it special significance. Throw in the fact I'm positively giddy over pulling the trigger on the British Isles trip and you've got a guy with a noticible bounce in his step.

I'm also looking forward to playing the $200K Guarantee on FT on Sunday. Daddy needs Guinness money for next month. I'm gonna try to satellite in tomorrow, but am willing to buy in if I fail. I tried to satellite into the Stars $1 Million Guaranteed last night ($5 Re-Buy) and was looking at a pretty substantial double-up in the second hour when I got in on the turn with AK v. KQ. Darn three-outers. I haven't played a hand--let alone raised one pre-flop--in 4 orbits and this guy thinks KQ is ahead the whole way. God bless 'em. We wouldn't be where we are today without these fellas. I wasn't stung by the beat. I'm handling them so much better these days. If you curse your bad luck, you'll only give yourself excuses to play poorly. I might have read that somewhere. And it's true. I was much more upset about running JJ and TT into AA within a span of 15 minutes later last evening. Not because of the statistical anomaly of such an occurance, but because I pushed my stack into a better hand. Willingly. My bad.


I've been doing a lot of thinking about luck lately. I don't think I'm particularly lucky or unlucky. I'd say it's balanced out in my life. I've had some good luck to keep my head above water; I've had some bad luck that slapped me back down. But I'll never be one of those Six Sigma guys.

For instance, twice in my life, I've been on a game show. And both times, I was on the cusp of a substantial (for my then-financial situation) score, only to be denied, first by questionable behavior on the part of Chuck Woolery and....

Okay wait, I really need to tell that story. I was on Scrabble. I was nervous as hell and when I first got behind the tiles, I could barely breathe, let alone think. I quickly fell behind 2-0 to a human of consierably less intelligence, but got my bearings (just) in time to rally back to 2-2. We went to the tie-breaker speed-round (no tiles, just the clue and letters popping up). The clue was "They think it's the end of the world." and when I pulled "Doomsayers" out of my ass after three letters, the crowd went bonkers. Well, my friends and Mom did.

I set a solid time in the next round (two players; four words) and my opponent had less than a second on the clock when facing the last word. Chuck reminded him, a couple times, that he'd pretty much have to guess it on the clue since there was no time for the letters to come up. He took his sweet fucking time, too. He read him the clue. The guy, a Jerry Garcia look-alike motherfucker, repeated the question back (as is custom) SO. SLOWLY. that several young people in the audience began collecting social security checks before he finished. Then Chuck repeated it again. I've never put a clock on it (yes, I still have a tape), but it had to be at least 45 seconds that he got to think about the clue. And, of course, he guessed it right away and beat me out of $5K and a shot at the bonus round jackpot of $10K AND a returning champion slot.

Someday, Woolery is gonna pay.

The second time, which I've written about here, was on Greed about 6 years ago (you can catch me on re-runs on the Game Show Network from time to time). It was actually Super Greed, where the prizes are ratcheted up and once you hit the million dollar mark, you are GUARANTEED to take home what you've earned to that point. That's big bleeping money. My "team" was on the $200,000 question and I'd already eliminated one guy with my lightning quick reflexes in the Terminator round. So, we answer the question correctly and I'm sitting on 40% of that $200K (I got my share, plus that of the guy I eliminated). The question was "Which of the following are Pepperidge Farm cookies?" Easy. But our captain didn't know the answer (Chessman, dickwad) and took the buy-out, which was 10% of the question amount, split equally among the remaining 4 players, so I didn't even get 40% of that.

These instances make me think I'll never be that guy who hits it big. Which is okay. I know too many dreamers, people who sit around for that one big break, and that attitude can de-motivate one from pursuing more tangible goals.

For a long time, I let the idea of the payoff stop me from writing. The odds are strongly against me ever publishing anything. But that shouldn't be the motivation for doing the work, for satisfying this creative need. And coming to that conclusion has let me be happy with what I do get down (as long as it doesn't suck).


My marriage faltering is a pretty bad beat. There are reasons, some legitimate, some sketchy, that I ended up where I am today. There were things I could have done to make it less likely. I don't think I could have prevented it from happening at some point, however, because, in the end, it has nothing to do with me. So I've been feeeling a little unlucky, unlucky that a woman for whom I'd have given everything, didn't have the character to weather life's little storms with me, didn't have the strength to give herself wholly to me nor accept what I willingly offered her.

I came to the conclusion a few days ago, after a long talk on the phone with X (probably more on that down the line), that she had no idea how much I loved her. Was that due to my inability to to convey the fact to her? Or was she unable to receive it? I don't know. But it was always obvious to me.

Once you start trying to mend from such a life-altering experience, you get your perspective back. And if this isn't the way I wanted my life to play out, there remains an entire world of possibility out there. I have my boy, the love and support of friends and family and a lifetime of days stretching out before me, days filled with unknown pleasures and rewards I can't begin to anticipate.

So I guess luck is balancing out again.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


you just gotta say...

What the fuck.

Flight: Los Angeles -- Glasgow

I just spent two grand in 20 minutes. And I'm still aroused. Here I come, fuckers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Well, there's plane fare anyway.

In the light of day...

I really don't recommend staying up until 3 when your alarm sounds at 5:30. But if you're gonna do it, you might as well hit the pillow counting money. The payout was $1036 and every time my brain tries to split itself in half this morning, I roll that figure around my tongue--my furry, swollen tongue--to ease the pain. It's air fare, plus maybe three nights lodging. I should put up one of those United Way-style thermometers to track my progress.

By the way, Gods of karma, if simply ASKING for a miracle drops a pot of gold into my lap, might I humbly sugggest I wouldn't mind a new car? If the wind is right, I'll play a Big Sunday tourney. Hint, hint.

ANYWAY, I didn't run into any trouble in the tourney last night. Doubled up early off a 'tard who called my pre-flop raise with A6s. We both flopped the ace--my kicker was the irredoubtable J--and when he picked up the flush draw on the turn, he check-raised all-in. I thought I was beat, that the turn gave him two pair, but it was only 200 more into 2600, so I made the call. I dodged the 12 outs, which lately is akin to avoiding raindrops during monsoon season. I doubled up again in the first hour when I let an aggressive player dump me his chips by feigning a draw, simply calling his flop bet with my top two. When the third club didn't hit the turn, I pushed over his pot bet, which he called with top one, no kicker, no club. As we say here in Northern Mexico, Many Garcias.

It was a good thing I chipped up early since the second hour found me folding more than Japanese tourists at an Oragami convention. My table image was solid, however, and my pre-flop raises/steals were not once met with any resistance.

My M was nearly 8 when the third hour started and I got it up near 10 with a couple more steals. I won a nice pot, then busted a short stack, how I don't recall, but my chips numbered 20K when the hand happened.

A lot of times in these MTTs, it's one big hand that changes everything. We were in the money, maybe 40 left, and I sat about 30th. I was in late position with 88. Oh boy have I had trouble with medium pairs lately. So, with two limpers in front of me, I simply followed the crowd for 1200. The two blinds made it a 5-way family pot gathered around to see a flop of T8x rainbow.

My first thought was, "Don't get fancy. It's already a nice 7K pot. Don't smooth call and let some backdoor draws in. Don't..."


SB pushes in his last 11K. Okay. He gets a call. Okay. I push the caller all in and they flip QTs and KTs. I couldn't be happier. I dodged their respective runner-runner outs (the way I've been runnin...) and vaulted to second overall in chips. And from there, I played some gorgeous Big Stack Poker. First in? Raise. Short stack push? I call. I busted three or four more players, my cards dominating each, but for the one coin flip, where my 7s held up against AQ. Another thing you kinda need to do to go deep is win those races.

I busted two players at the Final Table and down to four, we had one big stack and three of similar size. The big stack was playing well. He was on my left and pressured me pretty good. Twice I called his pre-flop raises at the Final Table, once with JJ and once with AKs. Flop whiffed me both times (the JJ one kindly had both an A and a K) and I folded to his bet since any bluff-raise would have pot committed me. Still, I was winning pots elsewhere and wasn't in trouble. Until I made a bad call.

With QJs UTG, I raised. The Big Stack, in his BB, re-raised. Now, normally I'd read that as a Big Pair and drop easily. But we're four-handed so I think his range is wider there, especially adding in the fact he's pressured me out of pots already. I call, hoping to flop nasty, leaving me 90K behind. The flop comes ATx, only one of my suit and he checks. I immediately know he's got queens. He's afraid of the ace. He wouldn't try to check-raise me becuase my stack is less than the pot. He hasn't checked ONCE since I've been here. Check to induce a bluff? I'm not giving him that kinda credit. Can I push him off it?

I tried. He didn't call immediately, but he didn't wait until his time lights started flashing rapidly, either. He showed his KK, my gutshot didn't hit and que sera sera. Even if he loses there, he's still got a healthy stack of 160K, so I guess that's probably where I erred in thinking I could induce a fold. Or maybe it was the pre-flop call (which I think we can all agree was horrid). Or maybe it was betting at all post-flop, since I hardly "flopped nasty." Either way, poorly played and a darn shame since I hadn't made any glaring errors to that point.

A special shout out to Gnome, who finished a solid 20th in the same tourney. Hard to know when Gnome's around since his FT handle resembles an eyechart. Thanks for the sweat, pal. Gratitude also to Veneno and Jason for entertaining me in the girlie chat box.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Emerald Dreams

For the last couple weeks, I've felt the body-wracking anticipation of moving. It's felt like the night before going to Disneyland. On Christmas. To lose my virginity.

It's not just the moving, either. It's the breath of fresh air in my new digs, unpolluted by memory. It's the big, fat check I'm gonna get from the sale of the house, money I'm going to use to both spend like a sailor on shore leave and sock away to help secure my future (stocks, property, Main Event buy-ins). But the one thing to which I was MOST looking forward, in the short-term, was a trip across The Pond.

My friend Shot is getting married in Ireland the first week of June. When he told me in October, after I thanked him for making it so easy on everybody to attend, I said, "I'm a couple big poker scores from making the trip." Within two months, I'd won two MTTs on Full Tilt and made a Final Table at the MGM during the WPBT. I was good to go.

Of course, then everything crashed on me and getting up in the morning became my main goal for the day, let alone planning a trans-Atlantic voyage. I even forgot about it for a time--I forgot about a lot of things--as I tried to figure out first how to save my life and then how to leave it behind. The idea of bailing, even for a week, seemed preposterous. I could barely hold myself together in familiar surroundings. I can't spend that time away from AJ right now, not close on the heels of his agonizing absence when he and X were in Sweden.

But the last six weeks have been better. Much better. When we got the offer on the house last month, the idea of making the pilgrimmage immediately sprang to mind. I wrote to see if I was still invited. I destroyed workplace productivity searching for itineraries and hotels. I contacted Div, my third-favorite among Scottish people I've never met (1. Kenny Dalglish 2. Ewan MacGregor), as I mulled turning a quick five-day trek to Ireland into a 10-day multi-Isle pub crawl with stops in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I was pumped.

Then the deal fell through. And now, I don't have two nickels to rub together.


I am notoriously careful with money. I don't carry credit card balances. I have contributed the max to my 401k since the day I was able. AJ has a college fund that would make Paris Hilton's nipples stand on end. My car is nine years old and I paid it off before the term expired. I don't splurge. Based on recent econmic indicators such as personal spending and savings rate, I'm an anomaly and it's mainly because I spent my early 20s carelessly fucking up my finances and credit score.

It is this trait, I've recently discovered, that was a cornerstone of X's Pyramid of I Don't Love You Anymore. Ironically, since it's a trip that is at stake here more than anything else, my wife's biggest gripe was that we didn't travel enough, something that, to her, signalled We Don't Have Anything in Common. She's full of shit, but let us not get distracted from our point.

The point is, I was over-willing to splurge. Bursting at the seams, in fact, to throw some cash around on pure pleasure, without a hint of guilt or meticulous spreadsheet accounting. And the best part was I was going to get to hang out with my friends in Ireland for a week. Now, it looks like it's not gonna be viable and I feel shitty about that. Shot has been to both my weddings and if he laughed his way through the first one and had a (now) hilarious panic attack at the second, well, at least he showed.

I call my Mom--The Inland Empire's Top Real Estate Agent for like 100 years running--every day hoping for good news. Hoping a solid gold offer comes in. Even if it won't close until late May, it'll hit the wire in time. Starting Monday, I'll be paying rent on my new apartment AND my mortgage. If I check (re-check and triple-check) Quicken, I extrapolate I can afford to do that for...well...May. So I wait for an offer and nervously log on to Expedia every day to make sure my favored iteneraries are still available.

All of the above may seem a little counter-intuitive, since I do have a healthy dose of gamble in me. Just a month ago, I dropped a few hundreds on an ice cold craps table without a second thought. But gamblin' money is different from living money. Yet, worlds are colliding. Poker money is paying my mortgage this month.

I dreamt about my friends last night. I miss them terribly. I need a miracle.

Update: Oh gawd. I realized this could come out like I'm trawling for donations. I'm SO not, even as I appreciate if anyone felt like throwing me a couple bucks. If you did, hold that thought and go spend it here instead. Memo to self: Don't blog when sleepy and irritated.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Paradise City

Let the live blogging commence! I've been meaning to write a post about the Special $10 Re-Buy on Paradise (known officially as Palmtree, appearing nightly at 8 p.m. PDT). Instead of a boring summation of the good and the bad, I figured a drunken, tangental journey through the Short Bus waters of this event might be more entertaining. I said MIGHT.

Shall we?

8:01: It's not 8:01. My computer clock is several minutes ahead. I'm not gonna do math all night to figure out the correct time.

8:01: Let's start the evening off right. Dialing...
It's Robert K. Bracelet's 30th birthday. Shots are in order. Oh, but I get the Heisman from Bobby, who promises restitution when he gets to the bar.

8:04: I have SoCo. I also have a refrigerator full of misfit beers, the single remnants of the gallons and gallons of alcohol I've used as self-medication over the last six weeks. So tonight will be a potpourri. First up is a Grolsch.

8:05: Cards are in the air. The tourney is a $15K Guranteed, but it's gone over $20K each time I've played it. In addition, it allows late registration for the first (12-minute) level, so the number of runners will not be available until then.

8:08: I dump some chips with A7s (perfect re-buy hand). A99 flop looks good for a limping hand and I call a 1/2 pot bet. Big bet on the J turn and I drop believing in AJ. I'm 80% sure I'm right and, if not, I'm splitting at best.

8:12: My early strategy in these is no different from the usual re-buy tack. I will see plenty of flops with big drawing-type hands (like the 1600 I just won with Td9d) and even two big (KJ for instance), hoping flop nasty. I will also over-bet my Group One hands, especially with a bunch of limpers pre-flop. Limp-calling is an epidemic in this tourney.

8:22: T3620. Good enough for 119 and 1K over par. 683 runners total and 30 out already. That's one of the lures of this. You have a lot of people who buy-in for $10, try to get lucky and, failing that, take a walk. Par is less than 3K, which means many people don't re-buy right off the top.

8:24: 133-107-120 and 74-97-86. I'll give you five minutes to figure out what those numbers mean and that's because I'm embarassed to tell you.

8:29 Those are mine and AJ's bowling scores from today. Yes, he almost beat me in Game Two. In fact, he led the whole way until a clutch spare by me in the 9th frame. My skillz are myriad, but bowling is not one of them. It's the first time he's been and he had a blast, ultimately perfecting his overhand throw of the 7 lb. ball and getting the hang of the slippery terrain. But the best was him jumping up and down as his ball made its slow journey down the lane, often bumpering three or four times on the way. Oh yeah, I rolled one strike total, mostly because I hit the head pin about 20% of the time. AJ had two strikes in Game Two.

8:29: Doing a lot of folding. Raised once with AJo, but dropped to a big re-raise behind. Just beginning Level Three (25/50).

8:31: We have a Grolsch down! Now batting, Smithwick's Ale.

8:34: Things to look forward to tomorrow: A wicked hangover, more non-smoking tilt (mornings are the hardest for me, surprisingly. A cig paired with strong coffee is more alluring than one paired with beer, at least according to my physiological reaction, which includes shaking and sweating), cleaning up the house in preparation for an Open House, a task which will include X. Yippee!

I plan on spending most of my cleanup outside, with my iPod in and a blindfold on.

8:38: Hands I don't like to play in re-buy periods are off-suit Ace-rag, though I just won a small pot with ATo. Not really going anywhere yet. T3620 is a par stack.

8:40: In my experience, tables in this thing during the re-buy are homogenous. You either get 9 other lunatics or 9 rocks. I've got rocks today. To wit: I'm the chip leader at my table.

8:48: With only a level and a quarter left in the re-buy, it's time to gamble. I've had nothing remotely playable for some time, including the KQo that I called a 3x raise with only to see all undercards. I am, however, the king of the unsuited four-gappers. T3150 has me almost at the starting stack. I'll risk all of 'em if the opportunity presents itself.

8:56: Poker is funny. I drag a huge pot with 53s, calling a 3x raise from the SB and flopping trips. I got be-rated by the guy who made a position push with unimproved A9o for "playing that gutter %##$." Good times. I got 6-1 on my call and clearly, my implied "You're an idiot" odds were through the roof.

I then give it all back and more with QQ on the next hand, pushing over an over-raise (55) and call and losing to KTs who flopped the flush. T2801

9:21: Hi. I got side-tracked by another intarweb task (and that promised dial-a-shot from Bobby). Don't worry, you haven't missed a thing. I added-on. The only action in the last 20 minutes. The "bad" about this tourney is that at Level 8 (one level from now), the antes kick in and from there, the blinds go haywire (400/800/80 straight to 600/1200/120 a good example). I have an M of 8 right now and am about half par. Not good.

9:27: The "good" is that we've lost nearly half the field. This is by the second level after the re-buy. Silly. The pool is $22250 ($5K to the winner)and with only 400 players left, I'm still getting a good deal on my $30, despite my crappy stack.

9:29: Hey! I won a pot! Limp-call UTG with KQs. Bet on king-high flop takes it down. T5051. M of 9 with blinds/antes at 100/200/25.

9:37: I just got my second pokcet pair of the tourney. TT UTG+1. UTG pushed his last 950 and I re-raised to isolate. It worked. And A6 beat me. If you're scoring at home, that's 4K lost with QQ and 950 lost with TT. T4760 (I'd picked up the blinds and antes on the previous hand with KJo. Yes, I have a good table image)

9:39: Another "bad" in this tourney is the ridiculously slow play. It might be a software issue as there's some lag on my end, but that can't possibly be the reason for all of it.

9:41: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1 in the FA Cup semi. Lovely. Good to see Morinho be a jackass post-game again, not shaking Rafa's hand and bitching in the press. Reading between the lines, what he really meant to say was, "I didn't start Cole, Robben or Duff and my team had no width in the first half and I'm an idiot."

As a quick aside, I'm wearing my officially licensed Liverpool thong underwear (mesh) right now.

9:43: Half the field gone two levels after the end of the re-buy. Yet, you're still not playing this tournament. Shame on all of you.

9:48: I have two huge stacks to my left. One will call a shortie with any two, including 43o on the last hand and JTo on the previous. Not that I have any real choice with T3600.

9:50: That same big stack just called another biggie to the river on a drawless board and mucked, unable to beat third pair. Can I get a hand please?

9:53: No, I can't. 52o 74o and T2o in succession. And a 42s in the BB.

9:53: The new plan is to push within the next 7 minutes and go play the $9K on Full Tilt.

9:55: Suited Jackhammer on the button. Will its magic continue? Let's find out. A triple up is at stake.

9:56: No. Flopped four to the flush, turned a gutter, but no love. You people are bad luck.

<------Beats a hasty retreat to Full Tilt.

9:57: We're coming to you LIVE from the Lobby at Full Tilt Poker, the world's fastest growing online poker room. Tonight's bonus installement of live bloggery is brought to you by Angry Monkey Peppermint Lotion, available at your finest drugstores and back alley sex emporiums.

10:00: Cyber-shuffle up and virtually deal. 447 runners. Prize pool of $10,728. $2,682 to first. It appears I am the only blogger with not enough life to be playing poker all night Saturday night. Congratulations to me.

10:04: Good omen? Dealt "The Shocker" on the first hand in the SB. and though I do not win with it, I laugh hysterically at "The Shocker."

10:08: This is upsetting. I can't make my monkey angry. I can't make him anything other than pliant.

10:10: Ah, there we go. A brief disturbance in the FT force.

10:13: I hesitate to mention this because everyone's been there and whining isn't my thing (mostly), but HOW is it possible I'm card dead on every bleeping site I play and have been for pretty much four months? The only card rush I've see in in Aught-Six was at Excal in March. That I had a winning March (thanks largely to my $1K near miss in the WSOP satellite and that Excal session) and am even for April must be a testament to my hawseomeness. Or a simple case of well-placed suckoutery.

10:17: Can I call it or what? KK in the BB. 900 push from CO. AQ is good. Of course it's good. So that's three big pocket pairs tonight. Total of 5800 chips lost on them.

10:19: That was fun. JJ two hands later gets out-run by AK.

Some people might be tempted to throw things at this point of the evening. Not me. There's nothing in the house to throw.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hopped Up Goofball

I woke up today eight kinds of hungover. After my inspring run in the $17K (I don't recall how I busted. Was I ahead? Was I behind? Was I conscious?), I had to do a little spritzing around the abode, none of it having to do with peppermint lotion (and if you don't know why that's so goddamned hilarious, I pity you). The upshot is I didn't get my drunken ass into bed until past midnight and that 5 o'clock alarm came awfully early.

Funny thing about me when I'm hungoover after a very fun evening. I get silly. I talk to myself and make myself laugh. I sing "Hotel Yorba" at the top of my lungs while walking from the train. I remember what Larry said yesterday about how there's no way Monroe DOESN'T get to that ball in the daytime and cackle anew (and if you don't know why that's so goddamned hilarious, I pity you). I'm in Full Goof Mode.

Yes, that's right. Five products. It used to be three until a few months ago. I've been using ProActive for like 10 years. I used to have really bad acne scars, and reasonably bad acne, and their little kit cleared it right up. If ProActive were a Cult, I'd have given them all my worldly possessions and joined up. So, you have exfoliating face wash, toner and rejuvenating cream. That's three. After I went to the local Spa in February, I added a couple others on top of the ProActive. In the last year or so, my skin has gotten progressively darker under my eyes, not where the "bags" form, but below that, on the top of my cheekbones. I was informed by the facial-ologist that the darkness comes from sun exposure, from the reflection off my sunglasses (which makes sense) and she recommended a product to lighten the patches and even them out to match my regular skin tone. Shit works like a charm (it's called ScarGuard Gel if anyone out there has issues). I also added the fifth on the facialist's recommendation, a 30 spf sunscreen for the mug. It smells like a Hawaiian beach.

So....five. Not geigh. But certainly time-consuming.

Bobby and Captain Jason T. Kirk make me wanna be a better person. They also make me wanna bid on things over the internet.

The Breakup Song is "Time to Waste," by Alkaline Trio or, as I sometimes refer to them, The Al Kaline Trio. Yes, that's funny.

...and you found everything you need
to make your life complete
completely revolting


June 24th is 65 days from yesterday. Game on! Place your wagers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I somehow managed to drink 7 beers tonight (one Grolsch and six Bass Ales) and not have a total fit regarding my lack of tobacco ingestion (read the post below, can ya? It's far more important--but not interesting). Futhermore, I did not CRAVE a smoke with every beer--my usual ratio. To be sure, I had much love and back-slaps and encouragement from the IRC crew, including Those Who Have Gone Before.

However, what resulted was a huge buzz, not only alcohol-induced, but also one that played havoc with my neuro-receptors, which are so used to that dopamine release. I admit it, I was totally off my axis. What other reason (and my first attempt at typing "reason" resulted in "easopmn") could there be for me playing The Jackhammer--HARD--three times in the $17K on Full Tilt. What other reason (and my second attempt at typing "reason" resulted in "reaosnlo") could there be for me going 3 for 3 with The Jackhammer in the $17K on Full Tilt. I CALLED with it twice from a blind with a miniscule M and caught on the river both times (a gutshot 6 and a J to beat TT). The third push got the blinds and antes (yes, I showed).

So here I sit, may fingers numb somehow, in a giddy mood, wondering if staying home from work and pulling weeds and then drinking A LOT is a bad thing, or if physically drinking alone is technically drinking alone if you're chatting with a dozen degenerates, wonderful degenerates who make you laugh every minute and drop you a line of poker wisdom or a physiological definition of your current condition when you're wondering What. The. Fuck. that bet means and...

I ramble. I babble. I realize my TV is tuned to some New York sports talk show and, even in my present state, I realize I am infinitely more lucid than 90% of the dingbats currently talking about the Knicks. The Knicks?

I won a token. I parlayed it into a 30th-place finish in the $17K. I haven't smoked. Or smoken. April, Glyph, drizz, Alan, byron, Shane, gracie, Chadillac and Ryan helped keep me--it--together.

Good day.

I, I Captain

I have had a good couple of days.
I stayed home today and pulled weeds.
I don't know what I'm going to do about my new apartment.
I haven't had a cigarette in 6 days.
I'd like to put a slug in the ass of the jerkwad who was supposed to buy my house, but pulled out prematurely.
I have a token.
I've taken dumps with more baseball savvy than Ken Macha.
I stopped wearing my iPod on the train so I could talk more freely with the hot Southeast Asian girls that get on at City of Industry.
I have been totally self-centered.
I have not read many blogs for many days.
I will rectify.
I use FIVE products on my face every day. Suck on that, BG.
I am remembering parts of my marriage where I didn't so much like being married.
I could have cheated first.
I have morals.
I am back to my pre-Troubles weight, thanks largely to the silo of popcorn I've eaten since I quit smoking.
I have never NOT won a token in an MPS. Two for two, bitches.
I expect the A's to lose no matter the circumstance of the game.
I put the over/under at me having meaningless sex with meaningless women at 65 days.
I am having regular erections again.
I found my Breakup Song. It rocks. It's angry. Its lyrics include both "trustworthy" and "dead eyes." And, oddly, "cutlery."
I feel good.
I look good.
I need to go to the gym, though. Or score some juice.
I'm re-reading "Naked Lunch." Maybe some of those Southeast Asian skirts on the train have a junk problem.
I will be playing the DADI WSOP event on Monday, even though it starts too fucking early.

I'm going to play the $17K right now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pulling Out

Attendance has been sporadic in this space lately and if there's one thing worse than a blank blog it's a post on why the blog is blank. Last time I did that, I became Ground Zero for the Lovelorn, which is a tag with which I am increasingly uncomfortable. I've been getting in some writing. I've been getting in some fun. I've been getting in some poker. And, finally, after three arduous months, I'm starting to get my shit back together.

Something I promised myself in the immediate aftermath of The Troubles was that I would use this life-altering episode to make some important changes in my life. The range of these changes is pretty wide, like G-Rob's starting hands wide, and I right away identified and jumped into trying to rectify some problems with the way I was conducting my life. As an individuial. As a father. I bought books....

(Quick literary aside to facty and whomever else--April?--recommended "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." I enjoyed it. Finished it in a day. But maybe we could recommend a book that DOESN'T have a wife cheating on a husband in it? Why don't you send me a DVD of "Unfaithful" for my birthday?)

Boy, did I buy books and I am SO not a self-help book guy. But I had to "Survive Infidelity" and "Get Healthy in Middle Age" and "Date Chicks That Are Way Hotter Than You" and "Find Peace Through Meditation" and "Learn to Speak the Five Love Languages" and "Parent Effectively With Your Ex" and "Get Laid in Los Angeles on Pennies a Day" and "Resist the Urge to Maim Douchebags."

Hyperbole alert.

I did want to turn this into something positive for myself. I did want it to knock me out of the mundane path I'd trod lately. The problem, I found, was generating the motivation to get on with it. Not only could I not locate that spurring gene, I spent many nights simply doing nothing, going to bed feeling sorry for myself, waking up feeling guilty for wasting this free time I should be filling with positive tasks.

Inch by inch, I'm starting to pull out of it. In retrospect, I made too big a list. You should see this thing. Tolstoy would be proud of its length and breadth. So I just began with one thing. So far, so good. And some of the other stuff is starting to come back.


The writing is sporadic. It's too personal right now and what I have in mind for my next project, while personal, is not so goddamn heavy-handed. I'm sick of talking about feelings. I want people to laugh.

In November, I undertook National Novel Writing Month for the first time. And while I finished, I didn't exactly partake in the spirit of the competition. I didn't write every day. I didn't block out X hours a day for the journey, didn't tighten up the discipline, my lack of which I see as my biggest failing as a "writer." And so it has been the last two months. I've been unable (unwilling?) to write, even as I KNOW I need to, even as I believe it is the key to my future. Furthermore, I spend too much time in self-flaggelation mode over that fact. But the truth remains: I'm stuck.

That novel I began for NaNo is somewhere close to the end of the second act. There are a good 30,000 words left to finish the story. I never will, though. Not because I lack discipline, but because the book was about X. Not literally, but definitely metaphorically. It was a journey that ended in redemption and X was that redemption. In my mind, in my head. And I just got to the tipping point in the story where "she" would appear and save our protagonist.

So, you see, the project is dead. There's an irony here in that one of the things X said to me on her way out the door, one of the assaults on my abilitiy as a husband, was "You never write to me any more." Which is the furthest thing from the truth. In Stephen King's "On Writing," he talks about the Imaginary Reader, that person for whom you write. For me, since the day I met her acquaintance, that person has been X.

Even though I will never finish that particular project, there's some good shit there and in the last week, I've been reading through it, pulling out sections that I particularly like and re-working them, possibly to fit in the new story.

Last night, as I lay in bed, I ran a scene in my head. Unlike usual, I didn't stop there. I got up, wrote it down, and looked at it this morning. It sucks. But it has potential. The idea is there. Just like it is with what I want to write next. Time to execute.


I moneyed again in the Paradise $10 Special Re-Buy last night. That's 5 of 7. And you're still not playing? Okay, more for me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Showing Up

Ah, nothing like starting the Work Week on an exceptionally annoying note. I missed my train this morning, in part because I got held up by a train. Oh irony, you motherfucker. And I didn't only miss my train, I JUST missed my train, as in pulling into the lot, seeing it sitting there, doors open wide and inviting. I leapt from my car and closed the 40 yards of asphalt in Reggie Bush-ian time, only to see the doors close in my face.

Unleash tirade of F-words. Loud, maniacal, repeating F-words.

The particular line I ride has no train after that one until 90 minutes later, so waiting there is not an option. I had to drive to another station, which has trains running every half hour. In fact, that particular station is about 15 blocks closer to AJ's day care. But I don't have a monthly pass for that line. I would have made their 7 a.m. train easily, but it costs me $15 to ride there. But I ended up having to pay and ride there nonetheless and still got to be a half hour late for work.

Unleash tirade of F-words. Again. Internally, though, since I'm at work.


Thankfully, poker did not inspire similar feelings this weekend. In fact, she was downright cuddly, after starting out in her typical-of-late nastiness.

Friday night saw me in the $8K Guaranteed on Full Tilt where I doubled up early with 43o because I love calling min. raises in the BB. The Q33 flop ensured KQ was gonna give me all his chips. Soon after, I raised another min. raise (and call) to 4x with pocket 10s. The min. raiser called and checked the A98 flop. Sensing weakness, I bet 3/4 of the pot and he took a long time to call. That made me sad, since my 3/4 bet pot committed him. I was certain he didn't have an ace, but I was also fairly certain he had me beat with at least JJ. He dutifully (and correctly) check-called my turn bet and showed his KK.

I wasn't hurting too badly though, with 1200 still at Level 3 and with JJ in the SB, I pushed over the top of a 5x raise and call. Only the button called and showed AJ. Sweet.

When you're a 70-30 favorite pre-flop, you feel pretty good. Of course, when you're drawing dead to a split by the turn, those numbers don't look so attractive. AKQA board? Yup. Thanks for that. I did exchange 5% with Absinthe who made the final table, so I got a 40% rebate on my buy-in. Nice goin' dude.

The thing is, since I was out in the first hour and still had some money riding on the thing, I figured I had better play some more. I no longer have the bankroll at FT to play the SnG levels I like, so I dropped into a $5+.50 MTT with 150 other douchebags. Three-and-a-half hours later, I went out in fourth for a nice 15x my buy-in payout. I was pleasantly surprised at the play. It was, well, not exactly solid, a little too passive to be called that, but I've seen much worse play in considerably higher buy-in events. If I had to formulate a theory, I'd say it was a group of fairly beginning players, with some base knowledge of starting hands, etc. that was still in weak-tight poker mode. I was able to take advantage of that somewhat, stealing liberally when the antes kicked in. No big hands really come to mind. It was just a steady stack growth.


I have identified a leak in my tourney game, which I won't disclose here, partially because every bleeping time I sit down in a blogger tournament I feel like everybody knows exactly what I'm gonna do. Suffice to say, I've been overplaying certain hands and they've been pure death to me with the online company I've been keeping. Too much clever, too much wishful, not enough result.

Armed with that, and the $5 tourney score, I thought I'd play a few more events at below my usual level. I don't think it's going to improve my play, but my game could certainly use some tightening and I also wanted to try to stem this leak. First up was an MPS token SnG, which I've not played before. Color me one for one, even if I did run QQ into KK on the bubble, a move which left me an M of less than 1. But I doubled on the next two hands, which were thankfully QQ and AK (I owe fhwrdh some whiskey for that one) to put myself back into it. From there, it was just superior skill that snagged the token. Or maybe it was two idiots going to war on a ten-high board. I don't remember which.


I spent the rest of Saturday afternoon/early evening dying Easter eggs with AJ. I managed not to smear the countertops with myriad fluorescent colors, as I did in the Great Pasta Necklace Making Debacle of '05. I think I'm really coming into my own as a Dad. Of course, there's that whole, "keeping an eye on AJ at all times" thing that I sometimes struggle with, and this time it resulted in him getting the wire egg dipper caught between two of his front teeth. How he managed that, I just don't know, but it was wedged in there pretty good. Because of the shape of the dipper and its positioning, it was a delicate operation to remove it. I couldn't just yank it back up. I had to thread it back out, a process made more difficult by a) the screaming b) the crying c) the snot running down his face and d) his inability to keep his tongue from my sight line. This last approximated a horse trying to rid his mouth of peanut butter. Kid could NOT keep it still, let alone out of my way.

I did finally extract it and my calmness during the operation gave way to a stern talking to about "putting things in your mouth," a conversation and admonition that is not foreign in our house. Methinks perhaps he learned the lesson this time.


We woke from our nap (followed by dinner and bath) a little too late for the $19K Guaranteed on FT, so I jumped into the $10 Special Re-Buy on Paradise. I'm gonna write about this event more (again!) because it's just such a beautiful thing. I picked up my fourth cash in five attempts, finishing 30th for another solid payday. I was on the precipice of going deeper, with a possible double in my hands, which would have given me a par stack for the first time in two hours. I guess it was pretty obvious I was protecting my top pair-no kicker when I pushed my 55K stack into a 40K pot from the BB. The SB, who had checked, called with an over and the OESD for 11 outs twice and mathematically, he's okay by calling there. Calling off 3/4 of his stack? Maybe not so much. But he hit his straight on the turn and IGHN.


Sunday brought the standard Easter fare: Egg hunt in the morning, church, egg hunt at grandma's, Easter dinner and enough ham to feed a small village, the A's blowing a game, a nap and...what?...a poker tournament? On Easter?

I played at my Mom's, who surprisingly, when pressed, said that gambling wasn't a sin. Interesting. But it was for charity (and POY points), so either way, I don't think Christ is gonna be an Indian giver about that whole "dying for my sins" thing. I didn't play particularly well, making at least one bad call (though my memory persists there was another one) and totally lacking the ability to suckout with my ATs v. JJ. I finished 19th and am apparently one of those guys who gets rewarded for being consistently mediocre as I rose 9 places in the POY standings to 13th.

What did Woody Allen say about "showing up?"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter Punday

Resurrect your poker game! Crucify the competition! Let your stack rise again! It's Easter at Full Tilt!

(I'm really playing fast and loose with this "going to hell" thing)

Easycure, aka The Messiah of the Pacific Northwest, King of the Pike Place Jews, The Emerald City Carpenter, Our Lord and Savior, has set up a charity event on Full Tilt. WPBT POY points will be awarded. BYOP.

(Peeps, dammit. Peeps.)

What: Hammer Out Cancer - WPBT-POY Circuit Event
(Tournament ID 3381723 under the Private section.)
When: April 16th - Sunday
Time: 9pm EST
Where: Full Tilt Poker
How Much: $10 + $16
($15 goes to American Cancer Society so buy-in is 25+1)
Password: dahammer

Please accept my apologies for all the above.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Here I am, all set to blog, actually looking forward to the experience, and fucking Blogger decides to take a day off to watch porn and huff glue, a combination that could get awfully messy if you don't know what you're doing. Speaking of messy, cell phones that fall into bowls of soup (Split Pea with Ham) don't function very well afterward. Just a tip.

Anyway, screw it. It's baseball season. I've never needed one more. Finding comfort in the fact the Mariners got shut out for nearly three full games by the vaunted A's pitching staff and knowing even I won't go that long without scoring. Hearing the unmistakable and life-affirming sound of horsehide hitting the sweet spot, nodding knowingly to myself and muttering, "Good wood." One can never be lonely with the Extra Innings package, not when one tends to comment at the TV with regularity, and if it's only to call Rex Hudler or Joe Morgan a "jackass" for the millionth time, well, that's enough.

Yes, this is my special kind of "re-birth."

I had the pleasure of taking in a game on Sunday at Stupid Anaheim Stadium with Pauly, change100 and AJ. Pauly's Bronx Bombers throttled the home 9, reducing the red-clad crowd to a quieter and stupider version of its usual self. I used to enjoy going to games there so much; the politeness of the O.C. faithful was unerring. Then they went and won the Series in 2002, turning each and every one of them into self-important a-holes. You know, like Yankees and Red Sox fans, except lacking the requisite baseball pedigree/knowledge. Now they trash-talk my 4-year-old who couldn't possibly look any cuter in an A's cap. So, he and I went capless on this day, preferring to root against the Stupid Angels in relative quiet. That will not be the case when the A's come to town.

I had to take a few innings off and let AJ run up and down the ramps after his cotton candy went right into the bloodstream. Too bad, too, because the dark-haired MILF in front of us was digging it. Well, she was entertained by my boy's non-sequiters and irresistible smile. Plus, I, unlike some douchebags, don't date married women.


Plunked down some hard-earned cash on a new apartment this weekend. It's a nice place, in a mega-complex typical of the area I'm moving to. The best part about it is it's a "carriage" apartment, meaning there's nobody above or below me. The ground level is the garage, with direct access to the entryway and stairs, which rise to the apartment proper. Two bedrooms, two baths, nearly 1100 square feet, a walk-in closet for me (crucial) and I'm only on mild Tilt that it will cost me almost as much a month as my mortgage did. Small price to pay for a fresh start.

My state of mind has been pretty good lately. I'm letting go. As I know, you know and the American People know, the likelihood of X having a change of heart is pretty strong. For a while, I consoled myself with this fact, knowing the day would come where she came back to me. I never played it out much further than that. Simply looked forward to the day the Douchebag Poet gets what's coming to him. I always took for granted that I'd take her back, even with all that's gone on, for AJ's sake, that his needs are more important than mine and that I could overcome all the hurt--with time.

What a fool.

Because, the absolute truth is, I don't want her back. I won't overcome the hurt enough to see ever her in a positive light, to love her as I once did. Not a chance. My only shot at happiness is elsewhere. I know I can tackle the self-rehab process and leave her in the past. If she continued to loom in the future, I'd be more hard-pressed to heal. Furthermore, what ails HER is far more detrimental to our--any--relationship than even her betrayal.

One of the more comical (and I mean black, absurdist comedy) things she's said to me in the last few months is how "important" it is to her that we remain "friends," as if merely stating that desire could make it so. I've pledged to be civil, for AJ's sake. I've promised not to bad-mouth her in front of my boy. But friends? How can I be friends with someone who did that to me? And has scarcely offered an apology for the act, let alone tried to make amends? To be sure, she's been agreeable to the guidelines we've agreed upon regarding AJ. She's shown a willingness to be flexible, which is a contrast to her recent behavior. And I appreciate it. For AJ's sake. Not for mine.

But the bottom line? I just don't like her very much. How she acts as if there were nothing between us. I suppose that's simply another trick she plays on herself, convincing herself that our relationship is fine, that I'm fine, that this decision of hers has not affected an entire extended family, has not caused immeasurable pain. She makes no mention of the Douchebag, addresses me with nothing but contrived good cheer.


Let me tell you a story: X and I had been married about three months when we went to a party with my soccer team. You think poker bloggers can tie one on? You should meet Scribes FC. The evening was winding down as they always did, with the entire group in various stages of massive drunkery, when I suggested to X that we'd better head home. Nothing seemed amiss until we got into the car and she just lit into me. She was hammered and was making little sense, but it was very clearly an attack on me for "forcing" her to leave the party so early. Her diatribe continued the entire drive home as I parried her with incredulity. I'd never seen her like this: completely illogical.

Back at home, she calmed somewhat, at least began listening to what I was trying to say. And in the morning, we talked it out and everything seemed fine. At its root, the fit was caused by homesickness. The party reminded her of her motorcycle club in Sweden, binge drinking and camaraderie into the wee hours, and she simply had an episode. I would periodically tease her about "going psycho," but I never held it against her.


Probably the thing that initially hurt me the most about all this is that she never came to me with her unhappiness. Me. The man who loved her above all others. How could she not trust ME with her feelings?

Well, one of the issues that has shaken out over this whole affair is that she withheld her feelings from me pretty much since the beginning, since she went "psycho" at that party six years ago. She told me she promised herself that day that she would never reveal her inner self to me like she did that night, that my reaction made her feel like I was going to send her back to Sweden. (Let's not get into the discussion of drunken tantrums vs. real communication between husband and wife. You'll have to trust me that it's a dead end. I've tried.)

X and I hardly ever fought. If we did, it was brief and always ended right there. No grudges. No blemishes to be brought up again six months later. I thought this was the perfect symptom of our excellent marriage. Guess I had a bad read. The reason we hardly ever fought is because she'd never raise any issues with me. If she had 'em, she kept them to herself. So when I asked (repeatedly) if I was playing too much poker, she'd say "no," while at the same time thinking, "yes."

So, when you think about it, a) I never really had a chance and b) it's surprising we lasted as long as we did.

In Japanese, there's a term for what X is: "black stomach." It basically means she's always pretending. She is a facade and the true her will never be revealed, except in drastic, life-altering events. And what pushes me forward is the knowledge that particular trait will no longer afflict me.

She can't say the same.

So I suppose understanding that has been the catalyst for the biggest change. Instead of idealizing my marriage--and exaggerating my own short-comings--I've come to grips with what it was. Do I still think this entire affair was preventable? Of course. I would have done anything for her. But dealing with our problems is not longer an option.

I have some exciting possibilities on the horizon. I'm looking forward to tackling some goals and getting back to my old self. It's slow going some days, but I'm not going to beat myself up for taking a few hours off from life here and there. Call it a Mental Health Time-Out. But as long as AJ's okay (and he's coping pretty well to this point), then I'm okay. Onward.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

When Donkeys Chat

I had to play a $50 SnG at Paradise at better than one in the ayem to find this one but, gosh darn it people, I am HERE for you.

Late in Level One (yes, that's Level One, with blinds at 5/10 and starting stacks of 1K), on a flop of K52 rainbow, the Donkey in question pushed over the top of the pre-flop raiser's flop bet. The push was happily called with top set and El Donko showed A3o for nothing but the gutshot. He did not catch, and when chastened by no less than 3 players, responded,

"At least I'm in a hand!"

I peed myself a little. Then I peed myself a little more.

Then I went and won the thing.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Awaiting Reprisal

Things that are good: We accepted an offer for the house yesterday. Not the best price we could have hoped for, but above what we considered our "floor." Based on the large supply of homes on the market in our neck of the woods, my impatient desire to get the hell out of that depressing shell of a house and the buyer-frightening slope which is poised to become over-grown (again) thanks to all the recent rain, this is definitely a "bird in the hand" situation. Just gimme a check. The idea of moving on has put a bounce in my step all day. I'm not even stressing about all that needs to be done in the next five weeks. And I've been spending WAY too much time pricing home theater systems and other toys a suddenly-single man of my age must have in order to compensate for the plummeting self-esteem.

It's not really plummmeting. In fact, I'm looking very handsome today.


I've been shying away from teh pokah lately, mainly because I'm just not playing very well. In addition, I seem to have gotten into this tournament rut and anyone who goes exclusively that route knows there are long stretches between big cashes even in the best of times. One thing I've noticed about myself is that when my online bankroll is flush, I get a little careless with my play. "It's only $26. I've got 100x that in my account!" Which is dumb.

So, partly to keep myself honest, partly to have a little extra cash on hand for the upcoming expenses of moving, I cashed out about 80% of my online holdings. The object is to make me more careful with the more limited funds. Yes, I'm "tricking" myself, since I will soon be holding a check for more money than I've ever held in my life and can replenish all bankrolls with the click of a mouse or two. But then again, I'm the same guy whose alarm clock is set 15 minutes ahead and that seems to work every morning. But I'm going to be more choosy with how often and where I lay my money down.

The game which got me my bankroll in the first place is the "crack of online poker," SnGs. Pauly and I were discussing our histories the other night and how I found Nirvana in the form of the $5 SnGs on Party. I'd been sinking at the .25/.50 limit tables and the new discovery was a boon to my learning curve, as well as my bottom line. Within a month or two, I was doing pretty well at the $20 level and finally had some working capital.

Of course, somewhere in there, I hit my first big cash in an MTT and have been spending the overwhelming majority of my time in that pursuit ever since. Now, with the demands of both shortened time and concentration, I'm gonna slip back into the SnG groove, anywhere from $20-$50, one- or two-table, depending on mood. I took a second in a $30 two-table last night on Stars (my preferred level) and was immediately reminded how very simple it is to be profitable in these things. I think I won 3 pots before folding into the money.

So I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about poker, too.


Fucking Falstaff. Can't leave a brother alone to wallow in his misery.

I'm still pretty blocked in the whole creativity thing. I can write, but it's not any good. Again, concentration is fleeting. I'll do this, though. Becuase I love the song, because 'Staff has gone out of his way to help me out and because sometmes you just gotta force it out. Sure, you may blow out an O-Ring, but it's better than being backed up.

Redemption Song

"Who is that, Daddy?" my son said, pointing to the image on the TV.
I lowered "Green Eggs and Ham" and looked at him. "Are you going to listen to the story or not?"
"Yes," he said in his insistent way. "But who's that guy?
I traced the line of his finger toward the TV. "That's a very important man, Jack."
"How come?"
I paused, measuring my words and finding them wanting. "It's hard to explain."
"Is he a good guy?"
"Yes, Jack. He is--was--a very good guy. A hero."
"Like Spiderman?"
"Spiderman is a hero. He helps people."
"You're right, son. He is like Spiderman. He helps people."
"Like saving them from fires and bad guys and stuff?"
"No, not exactly. He just told the truth."
"He didn't lie?"
"Lying is bad."
"Right. Lying is bad. But telling the truth is hard sometimes, too."
"It is?"
I nodded and gulped. He only continued to stare up at me, his eyes wide and accepting. He's a sponge, my son. An inquisitive, faithful sponge. "Sometimes," I began slowly. "People have to say things, true things, that might make other people feel bad. Or angry."
"Why do they say them?"
"What's courage?"
"It's like...remember when you broke the window playing baseball?"
"And you started to run away, but you came back?"
"Uh huh."
"That was courage. You knew you did something wrong, but you admitted what you did, even though you knew you were going to get into trouble. You took responsibility. You didn't hide."
Jack smiled proudly. "So the man didn't hide?"
"No, he didn't. When it would have been much easier on him. He spoke up when others couldn't, or wouldn't. He made people face the truth, made them acknowledge the world around them and all its problems, instead of ignoring them, holding them inside where all they can do is fester, or disappear. He brought light to the world, Jack."
"He sounds great."
"He is."
"Can I meet him?"
"I'm sorry, Jack. He's in heaven."
"You don't need to be sad, son," I said, stroking his hair. "People remember what he did. They remember him. His courage. He changed lives. That's why he's so important."
"I want to change lives."
"That's a good thing to want, Jack. That would make Daddy very proud."
"Of me?"
"Of you."
He smiled, my son, that smile that could end wars. He eyed Dr. Suess and as I moved to continue the story, I thought to myself, "They can't kill our prophets. Not as long as others pick up the tale."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wang Chung Tonight

Bobby Bracelet is preparing to run (walk) himself into the ground for a good cause. If any of my readers would like to help out, I'd be much obliged.

It's things like this that make me feel like a perfect ass for my morosity. Yeah, things are fucked up, but I'm alive. AJ still has his Daddy and we both have a future, which makes us lucky in so many ways, not the least of which is knowing selfless people like Bob.

Donate like a Champion today.


I will be hosting a juiced-up Doctor and a Junk Grabber tonight at cavernous Chez Speaker for the Rubber Game of the opening A's-Yanks series. Pauly's been on the 'roids for a week or so and I'm interested to see the size of his head. Jason Giambi has apparently been trying to contact him for a fix. On the agenda:

Prop bets

Oh My.

I also expect to shout Wang! at regular, inappropriate, intervals.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

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I was pleasently surprised last night when I logged on 45 minutes after the start of the WPBT satellite. When my table popped up, I saw Nerd and doubleas, and as my nuts made a beeline for my abdomen I noticed their chip stacks hovering around 5K. "Crap," I thought. "I've been blinded down for almost an hour and I've got these geniuses stacked and licking their chops." Then my chip stack popped up and "Whaaaaaaaaaa?"

Deep stack? Half-hour levels? Giddyup.

And then...It's gonna be a long night. It was, though I bombed out retardedly in the third hour. Congrats to lucko and Wes for the seats and, as always, undying gratitude to Iggy for his hard work and philanthropy in setting thest things up.

I wish the point of this post was the play. But it's not. When I went out, I was hit with that all-too-familiar-lately feeling of loss, an instant sucker punch that says to me, "Well, that was fun, but remember real life?"

Poker has become an escape from all that ails me these days. The problem of late is that I've had so many horrific bad beats statistically improbable circumstances that the "escape" has become every bit as frustrating and unrewarding as everything else in my life. And yes, the attitude I've employed at the tables has contributed to some less-than stellar-play.


I know people who can affect a sunny disposition regardless of their state of mind, or heart. I am not one of those. The truth of the matter is that I'm in a dangerous place right now. I recognize it, but am unable to reverse it. My motivation is gone. I am weak, broken.

I have a hundred conversations in my head every day, chastising myself, attacking X, trying to reason it all out. It's not a nice place to live. So I spend my evenings trying to quiet the voices, with poker, with beer, with silly conversations with my friends. It works, temprorarily. But then the game ends, bedtime comes, and I'm back at Square One.

I'm running away, pure and simple. Doing the exact same thing X did. I'm not addressing my problems. They're too big, too painful, too insurmountable. I've clung to these daily diversions in lieu of addressing life issues. And I hate myself for it.

I have too much time on my hands and no impetus to fill it with proactive works. I'm floating, wrapped in self-pity, convincing myself that my needs don't matter. Nothing matters now. All that talk of being a better man and the measure of a person being how they react to their suffering...gone. I don't fucking care.


This is not a new place for me. I've been here before, though this is worse. Last time, it was better than two years before I pulled myself out, two years where I dug myself even deeper, burying my sense of self-worth. I sit here night after night KNOWING I can't do that again. Knowing hasn't helped me reverse the slide.

Back then, what finally began my ascension was a small triumph, a seemingly innocuous step forward that provided the foundation for everything else. It wasn't a random event, but it changed my outlook enough to give me a little strength, to stop flogging myself for all my failures, to stop replaying the past.

The past is my enemy. In it, I see so much that was good, perfect even, and it taunts me with those images of my happiness, now blackened forever. I also see the seeds of my current plight, feel them for the first time as they took root, expolding into the secrets that overwhelmed love and reason. I'm assaulted by these images in my every waking moment. I don't summon them. They are uninvited. I want only for them to disappear.

This is natural, people tell me. You need time to mourn, they say, to work it out. I know. But I'm wasting that time, prolonging the healing process. And sometimes, I can't fucking cope.


AJ and X returned from Sweden on Sunday night. It had been nearly two weeks since I'd seen my boy and when he saw me, he skipped over and held me tight for long minutes. There it is. I can feel my heart again. He doesn't know it, but he's my redemption. His embrace, his laugh, will save me, return me to myself. But I need to set about deserving that love. Right now.

To Tell the Truth

I am Poker Champ.