Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bring On June

Toward the end of a jam-packed holiday weekend, I felt the full force of the sun's rays as I laid poolside at my sister's swank exurban homestead. A long winter of hermitude and abject depression had reduced my usual golden bronze pigmentation to a sickly yellow. And with a number of very exciting adventures looming, I wanted to "get a little color."

I got a little color alright. Red. I should should fit right in in Scotland. I was standing on a street corner outside a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in West Hollywood yesterday (tease) and traffic backed up for blocks because the Asian lady in the Audi thought I was a stop sign. I've been forced to lube up with aloe vera four or five times a day to reduce the itching. If I was seated next to you on a 10-hour flight from LAX to Heathrow, would you find it inconvenient if I disrobed and emulsified regularly?

I'm a dope. Though I am a dope who had a date last night in West Hollywood at the upper-crusty AOC, a "wine and tapas bar." French-infused and Italian-tinged morsels of splendid quality and a dusky Spanish red. Nice.

Oh, the date? I was pretty good, relatively-speaking, like a guy fresh off the 60-day DL who has a couple solid ABs, though ends up without a hit. I managed easy conversation, drew some laughter and kept from dribbling my pork cheeks with pesto and corn mash on my starched white shirt. And the few minutes I spent later at the Mexican dive bar with margarita salt inexplicably on the bridge of my nose? I think I survived it.

She's another Euro--born and bred in London--and my ability to attract women not born in this country is unCANny. She has an adorable english accent, coal black hair and a runner's physique. Very attractive. She's rather cultured, well-traveled and artistic, and our commmon interests are few, which we semi-decided was sort of interesting. She can teach me about gothic architecture and I can school her on the finer points of the 4-4-2. Preferably in various stages of undress.

I think we'll probably see each other again, though not any time soon, as she is heading to Europe for a month just a couple days after I return. Which is just as well because I'm going to be busy with the WPBT and the World Cup and spending more house profit like a sailor on shore leave.


"So Speaker, how's the poker lately?"
"Poker is a rotten filthy whore."



I don't think I'll be playing much upon my return. My online bankroll is still decimated thanks to all the withdrawls and May being a downswing of troubling proportions. My game is stale. I'm bored. I'll probably find a few excuses for some live action (and will be partaking of The Cincinnati Club with Div whilst in Glasgow) just to prepare for dominating the field at Caesar's on July 8th, but I'm definitely in one of those "online poker is no fun" ruts. Having my last two AAs cracked by KTo (good hand to call with out of position, sir) and 76s (way to chase that gutshot to the river, sir) surely is of no help in that regard.

THEN AGAIN, I will be spending a good three weeks watching TiVo'd soccer games alone late at night in my posh new digs (which will be posh once I get some furniture) and if there's a lull in the Angola-Iran fixture, I'll probably fire up an SnG or six.


I've wanted to post my thoughts about the US's World Cup chances (not good), but it seems like too much work. Their chances of advancing out of the Group are pretty slim, but the best way to manage it is to get a result against the Czechs. the matchup is not horrible for the Americans, but they'll need to be hitting on all cylindars to pull this one out. With Reyna hobbling, O'Brian not fit for 90 minutes and Beasley in a terrible run of form, it will take some divine intervention for them to up their game to the level necessary. They should be able to get loose on the flanks (in fact, the Czech outside backs are mirror "offense first" images of Lewis and Cherundulo, so the battle will be to who can make the other defend more) and McBride is as lethal in the air as anyone in the tournament. Landon Donovan is the key. He can't take chunks of the game off. He can't disappear as he is wont to do on occasion. He needs to demand the ball. He needs to force the issue, be dangerous on and off the ball, create those flashes of brilliance that too often go missing. The US should be able to score in that game. But how they're going to deal with Nedved, Rosicky and Galasek, I couldn't begin to speculate.

How's that for low expectations?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dangling a Carrot

I finished unpacking last night in a frenzy of cardboard and stuffing things in whatever remaining space I could find. After a few days of wondering "why the hell I didn't throw that away," my plans of having an ordered storage system crumbled. Technically, some boxes still sit waiting for their contents to find a permanent home, but they must stay put until I get some actual furniture. I'm currently lacking a table and chairs, a bed, a dresser, a desk and some kind of storage for my books. I have a couch, coffee table and media stand, but those will be replaced. They are either in the late stages of total dilapidation or the wrong color for my upgraded Berber carpet and faux marble countertops.

The first step in the design process is a couch, which I ordered today. It's a mini-sectional in charcoal microsuede, on which I can't wait to play pants-less poker and feel its velvety crush on my bare thighs. Because I ordered it in a special color, it won't arrive until early July, which is okay since I'll be gone half of June anyway. I have my eye on a table from Pier 1, that search--like the one with the couch--complicted by the relatively small dining space. I hope it looks as good in person as it does online, and if so, I'll have it by the end of the weekend. My TV sits too low right now. It basically dominates an entire wall and I'd like to raise it up by a foot or so, as well as getting something a little more classy and roomy than the gunmetal and frosted glass industrial rig where it currently sits. A dark wood, something in an espresso, would be nice. The bedroom set can wait, since I do have a frame and my mattress isn't likely to get a workout any time soon.

I'm surprised I got everything to fit. Though the apartment is advertised at nearly 1200 square feet, I'm sure that includes both the good-sized balcony (oh yeah, I need outdoor furniture, too) and the garage. And while the main living area is relatively small, the master bath and walk-in closet are both huge. I think perhaps this is a disproportionate use of space, but I'll be able to make it work without being cluttered. I hates me the cluttered.

I think I'm gonna like it here. It's been a while since I've had free reign and I'm compiling a laundry list of things I want to do during my non-AJ time. I seem to have shaken the malaise I was feeling those last few weeks in the house, where I pretty much spent all my time drunk and playing online poker. In fact, the only poker I've played in the last week was the Gemini and have only had three beers in that time. That said, I expect to find myself a few beers deep when the 9K starts tonight as a trip to the local BevMo is on tap. I hope my new exurb has a wider selection than my last exurb.


One thing I've noticed is that my sleeping habits are slowly changing. Or, to be more precise, they are changing back. I'd always been a nocturnal sort and for much of my career, I had hours that fit with that lifestyle. When X and I were first married, in fact, I worked a swing shift, rarely getting home before 2 a.m. She didn't work at the time and we'd stay up 'til sunrise most days. That used to be my favorite time of the day, where the sky slowly morphs to blue and you're almost in a dreamlike state. I haven't seen the sunrise in a long time.

Once I got promoted, it was the first time I'd ever had a Monday thru-Friday (roughly) 9-to-5 gig. I was happy about it at first. AJ was on the way, so it was a more traditional schedule. I've been doing it for five years now and I guess I'd forgotten how things used to be, how I used to doze off listening to Howard Stern (when he was funny, before his persecution complex overwhelmed everything). I used to always fall asleep with the radio on. Until X decided she didn't like it. Guess what I've been doing this week?

I had AJ last night for a couple hours as X went off to night school. We put a puzzle together and watched the A's blow a touchdown lead thanks to a devastated bullpen and the inability of Macha to remove a pitcher one batter early instead of one batter late. She came to get him at 9 and my first thought was, "What am I going to do now?" My almost immediate answer was, "ANYTHING I WANT!" Nine o'clock represented "late" to me, likely because I've been getting up at 5 in the ayem the last two years for my long commute. Well, my commute is shorter (by 90 minutes a day) and I haven't gotten down before midnight all week. Mostly unpacking, but some writing, too. Last night, I briefly entertained the idea of showering up and hitting a local watering hole, getting the lay of the nightlife land in my pre-fab community. I demured, less because I was skittish at the prospect, more because I wanted to "finish" the move. Yet, the very idea that I COULD just head right out drinking without needing permission gave me a little spasm of joy.


I have an obscenely large (for me) bank balance right now, so what I did was go to my local ATM and get four-dozen recipts that show the amount. I'm carrying these with me 24/7 so if I meet a girl I can write my phone number on the receipt and she'll be impressed enough by my massive liquidity that she'll agree to sleep with me forthwith. I figure the statute of limitations for being a man-pig and treating women like mere objects only runs through Aught Six, so I'd better get on the horse--and the recipts are the carrot--if I want to exact a little revenge on the female gender for their illogical and lying ways. It's a win-win since women who would be swayed by a bank account deserve to be treated in a manner consistent with their own shallowness and I think I'm the man to fit the bill.

My sister offered that she knows a woman she'd like me to meet, but I told her I'd let her know when it was okay for her to introduce me to people she likes. I couldn't fathom holding up my end of a relationship right now, so I'll just aimlessly troll bar parking lots looking for drunk girls with low self-esteem and a penchant for thin brown guys.

I'm being mostly facetious.


Speaking of getting back on the horse, I got an e-mail from an old girlfriend this week. A friend of hers saw me on the Greed re-run this weekend. I've always been strangely attracted to women with unusual noses and this one has a classic Roman proboscus. She was smart, fun and went to college out of state so I didn't have time to get sick of her. We first met during the Castle days when Donny was dating her twin sister, also possessed of the nose and the fabulous breasts that ran in the family. We were off-and-on for 18 months or so and then off when she decided that, despite being a great guy, I was goal-less and therefore not a good future prospect. I couldn't argue with her. But then we got together again a few years later after I'd pulled myself out. She lived in another state, but all her friends were in LA and visited often. I even once visited her and that time she wondered aloud if we could "make it work" if she moved back. I politely danced around the idea. I didn't like her that much. Though I've always held her in high esteem.

This isn't the first e-mail I've gotten from long-missing people in the last few months and every time I wonder if I should spill the events of my life. With her, I did. Just a little, of course, not the typically wordy treatise you all are accustomed to. She wrote back a nice letter, a nice little ego stroke, though addng the disclaimer that it's possible I've turned into an a-hole in the last 7 years.


I'll be spending some time this weekend at some of your higher-end retailers to get some phat threads for my trip across the Pond. This ritual is also known as "Taking Pauly Shopping."

Then, at some point, I think I'll get drunk. Because I can.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Bestest (or Worstest) Idea Evah!

I have watched "American Idol." My active viewing of the show is limited to the audition installments, because I enjoy a good train wreck like everybody else. I was delighted by William Hung, at least until he got (in)famous and I was confronted with his goofy-ass mug for 14 minutes and 59 seconds longer than I should have been. I tell AJ all the time, like when he sneaks up and pantses me, "One time is funny. Anything after that is annoying." It's like seeing a guy get kicked in the junk. Yes, you laugh, but watch it 5 times and your own balls start to swell. The lustre is gone.

This is in marked contrast with things that can be seen/experienced over and over without losing their allure. Like the six-way, all-girl orgy scene in "Saturday Night Beaver." Or the Full Tilt tourist shoving his TPTK into your nuts. Or this. "You have been imMENSE!"

And like the FA Cup Final, "American Idol" is down to two: the lovely and talented Katherine McPhee and Jay Leno's grandfather. I didn't watch their performances last night. Didn't hear a note. But I will be watching tonight. At my mom's house. She's having an "American Idol" party.

Why would I do this to myself? For you, dear reader. And for the free food. In T-minus 3 hours, I will begin live blogging the party/voting results. Forty- fifty- and sixty-something women getting hopped up on Fuzzy Navels, Ryan Seacrest and moi. A recipe for rapture.

That sound you hear is Felicia's head asploding.


7:45 p.m.: Welcome to the American Idol Finale, the Estrogen Super Bowl, a national holiday for women (and CJ) across the US of A!

I rolled in a few minutes ago, long enough to power down some meatballs and chili, so, in a pinch, I can clear the room if necessary. I was also surprised to see my brother-in-law, the cop, here, so that gives me another out. He's promised to save a bullet for me.

7:48: Some of you may be wondering why I would do something so sublimely ridiculous. In a word: growth. In order to work on my writing, it was suggested I should write about things which I can claim no knowledge or interest and I have to say "American Idol" is about as far removed from my frame of reference as possible.

7:49: There's a red carpet? Wow. This is like the Grammys. Right down to the shitty music.

7:50: We have our first Kelly Clarkson sighting of the evening. In the ever-understanding words of my sister, "She's back on the Twinkies."

7:53: I just had the following conversation with my brother-in-law:

Me: We should have brought some beer.
He: That's what I was thinkin'. Maybe I'll make a run.
Me: Cool. I'll grab some money.
He: Whaddya want.
Me: Anything. I'll drink paint thinner.

7:59: We are 14 people strong, crammed into Mom's living room. Included is my 12-year-old nephew, who I fear may be forever scarred.

8:00: And we're off. A community sing, all in wedding-gown white. To match Taylor's hair, I presume.

8:03: And there's Seacrest, looking typically ubergeigh, and when I hang that tag on him, I mean simply to imply that he has sex with men.

8:04: He claims the show will be watched by 200 million people and considering that number, how is it that I'm not Emperor of the World yet?

8:06: The introduction of the judges. Randy in splendid blue glasses, Pauly with her skin a lovely shade of orange and hair that appears styled by someone in the throes of a seizure and Simon...okay, I'll give it up for the mocking montage. That was funny. And I'm not the only one who thinks so based on the widespread cackling.

8:10: Oh, bringing back the hot O'Donoghue twins. Solid programming choice.

8:15: I have always hated the band Live, so I'm happy to see they've fallen so far as to prostitute themselves on American Idol in hopes of recapturing their early 90s hitdom. Gawd. So pretentious and insufferable. 'Course they're going home to supermodel girlfriends and my bed is currently a mattress on the floor.

8:19: I was just reprimanded by my mother for drinking beer. She apparently told the rest of the guests they couldn't bring liquor (Mom doesn't imbibe). I responded that the group, unlike me, didn't need liquor to get through the next two hours.

8:24: Meatloaf just got a glistening layer of sweat on McPhee's arm. Memo to Mr. Loaf: You might wanna take her on tour. That was pretty impressive. Call it, "Beauty and the Beast."

8:29: My mother voted 6 times last night. Six times! I might need to wrest control of her estate as she's clearly not in her right mind.

8:36: What is the deal with these obviously hideous singers who come on the show? Are they plants? Are they people who are willing to humiliate themselves infront of 200 million people simply so they can be on TV? Or are they victims of what I like to call "The Mullet Effect." See, in high school, I rocked a sweet mullet. I looked in the mirror every morning, decided I looked fucking awesome and went out into the world looking like a complete jackass. Nobody told me I looked like a complete jackass, so I went about my oblivious business. Is it the same with these off-key impressarios? Do they really NOT KNOW how awful they are? Oh well, some day they will look back and laugh. But first they will go through a few years and cringe.

8:44: Bachman Turner Overdrive just rolled over in their grave. Jesus H. These five should go on the road as American Idol's version of the Village People.

8:48: Apparently Elliott's mother has been in the hospital which precludes me from making fun of her. If I HAD made fun of her, the name "Stu Ungar" may have been invoked.

8:56: Poor Elliott. He was a little overwhelmed by Mary J,. wouldn't you say? Is it really a duet if all you do is stand to one side and wave your arms around while the other commands the stage? Not only that, it looked like she could take him out with one punch. Ms. Blige has got some guns.

9:00: Who wants pie?!?!

9:02: Quiet. I'm watching Carrie Underwood.

9:05: At this point, I have to say some of the musical performances are surprisingly strong. I'm not about to get up and shake my thang, but I don't hate them. The recorded bits, on the other hand, make me want to jam a meat thermometer in my ears and pound it in with a ball peen hammer.

9:08: Quiet. I'm watching Toni Braxton. Whew. Is it hot in here?

9:15: I'm feeling a little light-headed. My sister thinks I may have a mild case of the McPheever. Young Kathrerine really is quite cute.

9:20: Now that baby-faced white kid doing Michael Jackson...I could watch that over and over. I loved his excessive mouth-breathing. Reminds me of some of my favorite poker tables.

9:23: Wow. Clay Aiken's been to a stylist, huh? He looks almost straight. That was a pretty tangible before and after thing going on in that duet.

9:24: I fully expected to have lots of material from the crowd, but, for the most part, they've been rapt in front of the spectacle unfolding before them. There is a fair amont of "Oh! There's so-and-so" in reference to people I've never seen nor heard of, but it's fairly benign. Color me disappointed. Maybe I'll offer them some Coors Lights to open the gig up a little.

9:29: I hope I look that good when I'm Burt Bacharach Taylor Hicks's age.

9:36: Dionne Warwick's appearance brings whoops of joy and surprise from the crowed. I point out they'd have known it was coming if they subscribed to the Psychic Friends Network.

9:39: If I was, in any way, invested in the result of this little contest, I'd be pretty sick and tired of this parade. It's worse than Super Bowl pregame shows. Oh, and if Seacrest pulls one of those smarmy here-comes-the-vote-AAAAAAAAAAFTER-the-commercial moves, I'm gonna drive to Hollywood and kick him in the vagina.

9:49: Prince?!?! PRINCE?!?!? I'm speechless. This is like DeNiro doing dinner theater. Shameful. Guess the new CD isn't doing so well. I think I detected Paula touching herself under the judge's table.

9:53: The tension is palpable, so much that people are being posed for pictures just to pass the agonizing minutes until we found out who wins this essentially meaningless crown since I think it's fair to say both these performers are in line for a record deal. Speaking of which, where's Ruben? Did I miss him? Oh wait, not possible. Silly me. I always enjoyed watching him sweat through a performance and the very real possiblity he'd drop dead on the spot.

9:56: Okay, I'll be the one to say it: Taylor Hicks can't dance. Sure, the effort is there, but it's just a little off. Ask his girlfriend, she'll tell ya.

9:57: 63.4 million votes. I weep for our children.

9:58: And the winner is...FOX!

9:58: And Taylor Hicks, a very popular choice in Mom's house. I enjoy a dozen white women screaming out "Soul Patrol" without a trace of irony.

10:00: Thank you for joining me. Congratulations to the winner and to all of us for making it through another season of the Universe's most popular show. I am off now to plot my overthrow of Rupert Murdoch.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Moving Day Tales

As AJ and I were walking the grounds of my new apartment uber-complex, vainly searching for my mailbox, which turned out to be located a large distance from my actual dwelling and was identifiable by a number not the same as that of my actual dwelling, we came upon the pool area. It's a large, resort-style concrete pond and though the day wasn't typical IE hot, it was straddling 80 and muggy, so the morning's lifting of boxes and furniture made the crystal blue water an inviting target. Alas, there was work to be done and I did not have my pool key, so just as I resigned myself to an even longer walk to the phantom mailbox, a young Latino aged 6 or 7 emerged from the pool to open up for us, a neighborly move his mother, in full lounge chair mode and greased up like frying bacon, could not manage though she was far closer. I smiled in gratitude as he grabbed the gate when AJ, like only he can, said, "Hey Daddy! That kid looks kinda like a monkey!"


My day started at 6 a.m. when X and I drove a rented truck to the nearest dump, ominously titled Badlands Landfill, to rid ourselves of seven years of acquired junk. Since I had been weeding through this stuff for weeks, I was numbed to the meaning these items once held and therefore had lost all desire to hold on to memories. X was not so lucky and agonized over boxes of AJ's baby toys as we loaded the truck Friday evening. She ended up taking a few momentos with her, but it was curious to see the impact of her actions roosting on her face. First time I'd seen that, really.

She slept on the couch Friday night and the awkwardness of being around her has abated somewhat. She has ceased putting on her faux cheerful act around me, a welcome occurance. We had a long, productive talk about AJ and I was very pleased with the results, with her willingness to listen to me, even if she doesn't immediately agree with what I'm saying. The last many months, she'd automatically shut down, go into a defensive shell, when I broached topics which made her feel like I was judging her or accusing her of something. For my part, I've tried to keep the discussions from turning adversarial. As I told her, I'm not trying to "catch" her fucking up. I'm only trying to help her see the implications of BOTH our behaviors regarding our son. Neither of us have walked this road before and already many issues have arisen which could not have been foreseen. In addition, certain actions have unintended consequences and we have to be more vigilant than ever about thinking of AJ before we act. So, after some starts and stops, some diversions down other paths, we came to an agreement on how to proceed. Which made tossing our past into a landfill at the crack of dawn a little more palatable.


The next truck that arrived at the house was driven by Lupe, my mom's gardner. This guy's a genius. We had several large pieces of crumbling and crumbled furniture that needed to be hauled away and Lupe was the type of guy to fit the bill. When I saw his aging brown mid-size truck, I figured he'd need 4 or 5 trips to take everything. Little did I know he was possessed of an inner skill, stacking furniture perilously in his mind, fitting them together like Tetris pieces, until they rose well above the cab. It was a masterpiece. All that was missing was Buddy Ebsen and a rocking chair to top it off.


The house closed escrow on Friday. Yesterday, there was a very large chunk of cash transferred into my bank account. More than half of it is already gone. I sent X her slice and, this morning, in a span of three minutes, I spent $30,000. Well, I didn't exactly spend it. I gave it to AJ. So, in 13 years, he'll be able to afford half a semester of college.


I have yet to see any hot chicks in my complex. This is not for lack of trying. I make it a point to drive the grounds in my gleaming new ride for an hour each day, windows and sunroof open wide, blasting "The Thong Song."


When we drove away from the house, AJ started to cry. No, not cry. Sob. Deep chest-wracking sobs. I pulled into the parking lot of the nearby park and sat with him in the back seat for a few minutes, telling him that it was just a house and while I'm sure he will miss it, he still has a home. Two, in fact. But to this point, it's the only home he remembers. He gets this look on his face when he's genuinely sad and it is the most heart-breaking look you can imagine. I've seen it a few times recently. On another occasion, he saw that I was throwing away an old comforter of his. It doesn't even fit his bed any longer and he hasn't used it in two years, but as he negotiated for its survival, he said, "That blanket is very special to me."

Yeah, like I'm going to still throw it away after that.

It's funny, I mention these incidents to X and she's surprised. While he tells me he doesn't want to leave the house, he tells her he can't wait until I move closer. While he tells me he wishes Mommy and Daddy still lived together, he tells her he loves her new apartment. It's like he's treating us diffferently based on our own moods, our own reactions to what is happening. He sees X is "happy" and reacts to her as such. He sees I am "sad" and consoles me with his words. Is this simply a coincidence? Perhaps he's been different with us all along and only the split has brought this into focus. Or is he really THAT perceptive and acts in a way consistent with how we would want him to act; his behavior is DESIGNED to keep him in step with our moods. It's very curious.

To be sure, X and I, as individuals, relate diffferently to AJ. I'm the touchy, feely, silly one, more affectionate, more willing to make an ass out of myself for his pleasure, more prone to ending up with him on the floor participating in a dinosaur attack on a Lego pirate ship. She's the serious one, more strict, more concerned with his public behavior, rigid in bedtimes and foods. She gives him a roughly equal amount of attention, but it is usually more focused on "learning" types of activities, as opposed to "fun."

That's not a judgement, by the way. She could certainly loosen up with him, just as I could stand to tighten up. I simply put it there to perhaps illlustrate how he has divined our moods and how he best can adapt to them. Regardless, this is the only real obvious difference in his behavior to this point, so I guess we can count ourselves lucky that it's seemingly benign, while acknowledging it's something to continue to monitor.


I played the Gemini WPBT Event on Sunday night, which will be one of my few forays into online poker for the foreseeable future. It was fun, though I went on tilt at Level One. I managed to calm myself in time to finish ITM in one and tied for 5th overall in the points race. In a quirk, I was knocked out of one by doubleas when he cracked my Hammer with QQ and then knocked him out of the other when my AJ (Gold!) out-flopped his AQ. So, both times, the worst hand won.


I am totally loooking forward to my Scotland/Ireland trip in 8 days time. Plans are slowly coming together, though I have very little information on what's going to happen most of the time. I have some small trepidation about leaving so quickly after this big transition, feeling like I'm abandoning AJ at a tumultuous time, but it's something I need to do. My only other fear is getting sloppy drunk in a Glasgow pub and not being able to understand a single word people are saying to me, rendering me a daft c--- in their eyes. I've been watching Trainspotting on an endless loop to train my ears.


US v. Morrocco tonight. Anything less than total domination will make me even more wary about the World Cup than I already am.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Assigned by TripJax

1. What is the biggest mistake people make at a NL table?

Sitting between me and Bob. That, and slow-playing a big pocket pair.

2. What is the biggest mistake people make at a Limit table?

Saving/getting that last bet on the river. Shit adds up.

3. Why do you play poker?

Because I'm competitive, curious and an action junkie. And I like money.

4. If you weren't playing poker, what would you be doing?

Wallowing in a puddle of my own sick.

5. What is your favorite poker book and why?

I'm so sick of reading poker books I can't even tell you. If there's one that has helped me more than any other, it's "The Psychology of Poker." Second would be "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." I did like the Stu Ungar bio and the Michael Craig book on Beal and The Corporation.

6. Who is your favorite poker player and why?

I've always liked John Juanda and Lederer for their even-keeled dispositions.

7. Which poker player do you dislike the most and why?

Any of those mouthy fuckers. I don't care if they're funny or entertaining or they love their mothers. I just hate condescending people as a rule. But, since all the players I've actually met are unfailingly nice, I won't point the hate finger at anyone. Okay, Sheikhan's a prime asshole.

8. Do your coworkers know about your blog?

Hell no.

9. What is the most you have won in a cash game or MTT (both live and online)?

Online tourney score: $3480. Won the $14K on Full Tilt back in November.
Live tourney score: Just over a grand (I won $880 for finishing fourth at the MGM during the Dec. WPBT, but I had 10% swaps with fellow runners biggestron and CJ. As such there was some changing of chips after CJ won, so the exact number is lost to memory.

Online cash game: Been so long, I don't quite recall. It was probably on Party the night I won a $280 pot with boat over nut flush on a .25/.50 NL table.
Live cash: That would be the grand I took from the Excal 1/3 NL game in March.

10. What is the most you have lost in a cash game or in one day total (both live and online)?

Biggest one day loss was $417, which occured on Jan. 1 of this year, a perfect foreshadowing to how 2006 has transpired. $215 of that was in the $1 Million on Stars where I had double the par stack in the second hour and had my aces cracked by 88. Again, foreshadowing.

11. Who was your first poker blog read?

Iggy. Then Hank. Then Grubby.

12. What satisfies you more, your aces holding up for a big pot or a bluff working for a big pot?

The bluff. There's a warm tingly sensation when you know you've correctly pegged your opponent as weak and pushed him off a better hand.

13. Why do you blog?

Because I'm a verbose mofo and everybody I know is sick and tired of listening to me.

14. Do you read blogs from an RSS reader like bloglines or do you visit each blog?

Both. I have 30 or so in Bloglines that I check, as well as others that I visit semi-regularly.

15. Would you rather play poker for a living than do what you currently do for a living?

Nah. There are things I'd rather do that what I do currently, but poker isn't one of them.

16. Do you wear a tin foil hat on occasion?

Never. I have been known to wear two lucky shirts at the same time, however.

17. If you had to pin it down to one specific trait, what does a great poker player have (or do) that separates them from an average player?

The ability to handle loss and continue to play to their maximum ability.

18. Is Drizz the coolest person on the planet for naming his baby Vegas?

Drizz was in the top 3 prior to this, but yeah, I'm guessing he's taken the lead. Let's not forget that Mrs. Drizz is obviously pretty bleeping cool, too.

19. What is your primary poker goal and are you close to accomplishing it?

I think I should probably set a goal. I want to compete in a WSOP event. Not just play. I want to sit down with the self-confidence that I have a chance to do some damage.

20. What is your primary online site and why?

Full Tilt. Because the tourneys are soft and the SnGs are softer. PokerStars gets a fair amount of play and the $10 Special Re-Buy on Paradise is gorgeous.

21. What site do you dislike and why?

I'm not a site slut. The only other two I've played were Party (took my profit and ran once I started playing mostly tourneys) and Noble (for the WPBT sat). The former became a turn-off largely because of the horrible manners of the players. The latter just sucks out loud.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Underground Snailroad

The answers to all your questions can be found here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Man's Couch Is His Castle

The latest issue that has kept me up nights is my seemingly endless and fruitless search for a new couch. Complicating my quest is the odd shape of the living room in my new apartment. I hate square, boxy floorplans, but that aversion has left me with an obscenely rectangular layout in which to park my (obscenely large) TV. Furthermore, there is only one place where the TV can sit, stifling any creativity I might have been able to muster. As such, the traditional sofa/loveseat combination would overwhelm the room and if there's one thing I need in my life right now, it's balance.

Trying to find something smaller in America in the 21st Century, where ostentation reigns, is nigh impossible. When I do find something that will work, it's either in a poor color or awful style. I saw one last night that had the perfect dimensions, but the design was befitting a much older person than I. Say...120 years older. The thing looked like it should have come equipped with plastic covering. Then there is the one from a higher end retailer. A little pricy, but the fabric was like butter, the lines clean and contemporary and over 800 colors and patters to choose from. I love it. Except for the part about delivery taking 12 weeks. That's a long time to be sitting on one's ass on one's floor. Still, I could have been talked into waiting (and taking one old loveseat from my currrent house for the interim) if the rather hot saleswoman had laughed at even one of my very clever and hilarious witticisms. I suppose My Game is a little rusty. Note to you service/sales workers out there: Give lots of mercy attention to people trying to rehabilitate their social lives. You can basically sell them the world.

The tack I've been taking is to a get a mini-sectional, basically the length of a standard sofa (that would cover the width of the rectagle) with a Chaise on one end that would fill up some of the space on the length of the rectangle. It seems a good fit in my mind's eye. I just can't find the right one. The local cut-rate warehouse (which offers same day delivery) has some that come close, but there's one or two things wrong with each. Crate & Barrel has a sweet ensemble, but I'd have to drive down to OC to test sit one and then I'd get to pay $3K, which seems like a bit of a "name" overlay.

I'm not a big fluffy couch kind of guy. I like a classic look, the basic geometry of a 50s style couch: square, clean. These styles seem to have an almost contemporary look about them (classic and contemporary? That can't be. "Retro" maybe?), but not a "trendy" contemporary because you don't want to be left with something out-dated in two years time. Remember those bedroom ensembles of the late 80s in black lacquer? Those were FANtastic. Loved coming on one of those in the middle of the Grunge Era and asking the owner if they still had their Z Cavaricci and Generra (the shirt! It changes colors according to your body temperature!) wardrobe in the closet. And yes, I'm calling myself out, too, because I had plenty of both those clothing manufacturers hanging in my hyper-colorful wardrobe. I seem to recall one favorite outfit of mine that was a pair of white cotton Generra pants that I'd peg at the (bare) ankles, topped with a long sleeved, silken, collared shirt in baby blue with black accents worn untucked and with the top button fastened. A pair of worn huaraches completed the picture and Sweeet Georgia Brown did I look like a poof. How I got female SDSU co-eds into my dorm room bed I will never know.

I really have no point. Sorry. There's no universal truth in my search for a couch. No entertainment, either. So I'm taking an 0-fer today. I can't homer every AB. Wait. Here. Somebody suggested pictures from the Castle the other day? Prepare to mock:

Yeah, I couldn't get anyone, male or female, into my Castle bed with that look. Good picture of Morley, though.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nut Cancer by Proxy

That is what I wish on the "douchebags who can't handle the word 'douchebag,'" who have effectively silenced one of the most engaging, literate, trouser-filling voices on teh Intarweb.

Yes, Bobby Bracelet has been Dooced. Or, more precisely, his blog has been Dooced by balding, grim-faced Centurions guarding their self-appointed Gate of Appropriateness.

In the short time I've known Bob, I have come to regard his Totally Gay Online Diary musings as the cyber equivalent of "Howl," epic and grand in scope, a depot of universal poignancy and a dependable space where all manner of douchebaggery was hunted and exposed. We are all poorer today, less our true selves and more like the retarded kids Bob always makes fun of. Yes, I can say "retarded." I can also say "spaz" and "hyper." And yes, the ultra-sensitive culture of ours will rise up in horror at my use of such words and they will further excise voices from the marketplace of ideas because they don't CONFORM or are not synergetic with the idea that we can NEVER hurt anybody's feelings in the world, because if you do that, they will grow up to be a bad person, a MURDERER maybe, because we have invalidated their opinion, we have not respected their word, we have not coddled them to our collective breasts and told them it's okay if they can't fucking add or subtract, so instead we tell them they have VALUE, the idea being that only though NICENESS and soft, velvety caress can we build productive members of society, which means we are simply LYING to them, by not telling them they are WRONG or stupid or hygenically-deficient, but by ENCOURAGING them to continue along their oblivious path so they can, one day, grow up to be Bob's asshole fucking bosses.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

There's Only One Steven Gerrard

I did not want to get up at 7 a.m. today. I'd spent Friday with a sore throat and fever, packing and cleaning the house in the first SoCal heat wave of the year. My bright idea to combat both afflictions was to drink a lot of cool, refreshing Vitamin C in the form of grapefruit juice. As the day went on, I increasingly added increasing amounts of vodka to said grapefruit juice, which resulted in me passing out on the couch circa 1 a.m.

Why would you get up at 7 then you moron, you ask? Why, the FA Cup Final, of course. I'd paid $24.95 for the privilege and my favorite side Liverpool was taking on West Ham. Still, I missed the first 12 minutes as I debated waiting for the replay hours later, my head in that classic state of feeling as if it will explode out of my skull at any moment. But get up I did.

Man, oh man. A classic. The Reds came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force penalties (A Liverpool Final finishing 3-3 after extra time? Featuring combacks and an unbelievable save in extra time? Where have I seen that before?). Jose "Pepe" Reina, the Liverpool 'keeper, was staring the Goat role right in the face, spilling an easy chance for the Hammers' second and being slow to react to a shot-cross on their third. He was given a reprieve by Reds captain Steven Gerrard who equalised in injury time with a strike that is already legend. Thirty metres (say the news reports; I'd put it closer to 35) from paydirt, Gerrard's second on the day was a first-time cracker that gave Shaka Hislop no chance. A simply stunning hit. Worth 5 times the price of the pay-per-view. And my hangover had abated long enough for me to go absolutely nuts.

So Reina gets a crucial touch late in extra time, pushing a Reo Coker header onto the woodwork and the tie goes to penalties, where Pepe saves three of the West Ham attempts. Hamman, Riise and Gerrard (natch) convert for the Reds and...


AJ had waken up with about 15 minutes left and perhaps sensed my discomfort with the scoreline. He joined me in a rousing rendition of "Liiiiiiiiiverpool, LIIIIIIIIIIIIIverpool" and looked on amused as I celebrated Gerrard's wonder goal, even chiming in with a "Golaso!" or two. Later, with the Cup won, he looked at me and said, "Daddy, I sure am glad Liverpool made you happy."

Can you hug a child too hard?

I didn't feel remotely right for many hours later. I packed, napped, drank four quarts of water and popped Excedrin like Sweet Tarts. But I TiVo'd the game and I'm watching it again right now. With a little hair of the dog (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) in me, I'm feeling a little giddy. And I have a feeling things are gonna get crazy when injury time rolls around again.

See for yourself.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Wanna Rock

I am slowly getting things packed up for my move in a little over a week's time. Putting in a couple hours a night, methodically going from room to room, making a million little judgment calls on what comes with and what goes to the dump. It is, at times, gut-wrenching; at others, delightful.

X was over last night to pick through the many boxes in the garage. Most of it is toys AJ has long out-grown/forgotten about, but there are also Christmas and other holiday decorations and some personal effects. I left her alone out there and told her to take whatever she wanted. Everything else is going in the trash. I'm borderline obsessive about getting rid of those little trinkets we acquired during our marriage, especially those gifts that, at one time, meant so much to me.


X had walked up behind me when I carefully pulled The Wooden Man out of the cabinet. It is basically a doll, six-inches high and made of geometric wood. It was the first gift she ever gave me, and it sat on my PC from the day I received it until the day I no longer used a PC, eventually finding its way to one of the many nooks that store our memories. I was turning it over in my hands when she said, "You're going to throw that away, aren't you?"

"I dunno," I mused, truthfully, quietly. "It kinda reminds me of a time when you liked me." Purposeful dig.

She didn't say anything and when she finally did, it was a wholly different subject. She left soon after and I dragged several trash bags out to the bin. And left The Wooden Man sitting on the cabinet.


I evicerated my closet, grudgingly throwing away a pile of old clothes, setting others aside for Goodwill. It's not that I wanted to hang onto some of the garments because I still wear them, but that many carried a certain nostalgia. Soccer t-shirts proclaiming me a Shakey's Cup champion, too-small sweatshirts from my high school soccer coaching days, my first plaid flannel from the Grunge Era. Good times contained in all, clothes I laughed in even before I met X. I let 'em go. Most of 'em. Some I folded longingly and put away in my memorabilia chest, itself a relic from my first marriage.

One such shirt is 24 years old. Yes, it still fits me. It's a little tight in the shoulders, so I won't wear it for fear of it hindering me during a random bear attack, but it went in the chest. It's a (formerly) black t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on the front. Its significance is that I stole it from The Disney Empire in June of 1984 during our high school Grad Night. A bunch of my friends stole the same shirt, which I suppose made it a symbol of our togetherness, as well as our typical teen-age invincible attitude.

Speaking of those guys, I also found something that I feared forever mis-placed. It's a cassette tape containing some live recordings of our hard-rocking and long-dead band.


It was September of 1990 when I first laid eyes on The Castle. I was nine months out of my childhood marriage, a time which I spent at several different addresses, including a recently-ended, summer-long stint at my parents' home. Like the desert where they lived, that time was desolate and dry. Donny and Salk had found the place, hidden at the end of a cul de sac in Canoga Park, the hot underarm of the West San Fernando Valley. The two-bedroom house couldn't be seen from the street, hidden first by a white wooden gate and later by a more-foreboding entrance in black wrought-iron.

The house itself was small, maybe 1000 square feet, but the triangular lot was massive and overgrown. At one time, it might have been inhabited by artisans, as the rear of the house had both an aviary and an embryonic vineyard. The front and side were mosaics of weed, potholes and gravel. The yard's hypotenuse ran along the flood control channel, separating us from Canoga Park High School, but not by so far where we couldn't sit on our roof--complete with sofa--on Friday nights and watch the Hunters get beat down on the gridiron.

The Iranian landlord owned the two houses nearest us, as well, and informed us upon arrival that he would be demolishing all three within the next year to build an apartment complex on the land. We took this news as an invitation to beat the Holy Shit out of the house. That mission was soon accomplished, but it was five long years before the last of us finally moved out.

There were four of us to start: Me, Salk, Kool Breeze and Donny, divided in half into the two rooms. We paid $800 per month for the privilege. I was, at the time, entirely de-motivated and aimless, thanks to my poor choices in life and my continual self-flagellation for them. Nobody else was pointed in any certain direction, either. Donny and Kool Breeze had graduated from UCLA that summer, but neither planned on getting a job any time soon, at least not until after the World Series, which eventually matched mine and Donny's A's against Kool Breeze's Reds. Not only did Donny and I have to suffer the indignity of a sweep, we also had to see Kool Breeze's blinding white ass hanging out on repeated occasions, a ritual he was convinced brought good fortune to the Redlegs. Salk, a year removed from a history degree from San Diego State, was unenthusiastically taking classes toward a teaching credential at the local state college. I was ostensibly enrolled there, as well, but the combination of The Castle and my own malaise only kept me there a half-hearted semester before I dropped out of college for the second time.

About the only things any of us had any appetite for were drugs, beer and music. So, somewhere in our stoned, drunken haze, we started a band.


Donny and I had never played an instrument before. Kool Breeze had some training with the Ge-Tar and Salk had a shiny new set of drums. Donny took up the bass and I lent my classically church-choir-trained pipes to the ensemble, at least until we could convince Brick to do it.

Brick was a guy Salk and I met that previous spring. He lived around the corner from our dingy, furnished two-bedroom apartment near the college. We were introduced by Arve--the most oblivious dipshit either of us have ever met--one night because we needed a little extra dope to take on our annual spring break trip to San Felipe, Mexico. Brick came through, and we were soon spending most afternoons in the company of each other and 40 oz. Miller High Lifes. He was tall, a few years older than us, with an athlete's body beginning to crumble under the weight of rampant alcohol consumption. He had deep blue eyes, full lips and a curly mane of chestnut brown hair. He looked, for all the world, like a Rock Star. And when sober, when concentrating, he could fucking rip it like one.

Back at the Castle, Salk was beginning to get uber-frustrated; with his situation, with Los Angeles, with us, who routinely ganged-up on him during political discussions. He left just after the first of the year and that's when I became the drummer.


I've got rhythm, never been a question about that. But I've never really been musically inclined. Piano lessons at a young age were boring to me. I wanted to be outside playing. But things were different now. My ritualistic avoidance of growing up now had an added component of "coolness." As crappy as I was, I was in a band.

Brick bought me a nice Tama kit on spec and I set about learning how to play. We floundered around a few months, jamming mostly, banging out some three-chord rock embellished by Brick's hilarious and improvised lyrics. It was fun, creative, but ultimately not very focused. Then came Mondo.

Mondo had guitar chops galore and a penchant for writing epic, prog-rock anthems with multiple pace and meter changes, stops and starts, haunting melodies and high-speed riffs. And if most of our songs had at least three spots where he could solo, that was okay, because now we had arrangements for our odd minor-key noodling and punk-rock locomotives. Just like that, we were five.


Our debut was a brief affair, three songs at a party we held in our massive front yard, opening for another local band we'd recently met. We played "Pacing," our first completed song, "West End," three minutes of punky goodness and a blues-laden extended take on The Doors' "My Wild Love." I'd been getting high pretty much every day for six years, but I don't think I'd had a buzz like I did after that show in my life.

We befriended another local band, a fairly popular one on the scene at that time, and through them, started picking up some gigs. We opened at Coconut Teazers a couple times, trying out newer material. Salk's new San Diego band, who would go on to become minorly-famous indie band "Trumans Water," would come up to play shows with us at The Castle and out-of-the-way clubs we could talk our way into. It was a fascinating time. I never bought into the idea that rock stardom was somewhere in the future. I wasn't that great a drummer. I could keep us on beat the majority of the time, but I had no nuance, just a straight-ahead, hit 'em, hit 'em often and hit 'em hard attitude.

We went on this way for about a year (dates are awfully fuzzy for those days) before our two crowning achievements, Sunset Strip slots at The World Famous Whiskey-A-Go-Go and venerable Gazzari's, Ground Zero for the metal scene just a few years previous. We could boast of a dozen or so songs at this point and even a small fan base, who had favorite songs and would scream in between numbers. We also had a singer who was drunk 90% of the time and a lead guitarist who increasingly hated him. The Gazzari's show would be our last, as Mondo made his first of two exits from the quintet. He came back, increasingly demanding, but, in an odd twist, it was I who was the first to depart for good.

Despite the enjoyment of being in the band, there was also a growing surety that this was not what I was meant to be doing. I'd gotten some of my guts back, was working two jobs and planning to return to school in the fall. Along with that new-found mojo, I decided I wasn't going to let Mondo take advantage of me any longer. So when he made one final obnoxious demand, I rebelled and Donny and Kool Breeze sided with Mondo. That hurt, quite a bit more than I've ever told them. Not because I wasn't in the band, but because they were my friends long before and long after, tethered only to Mondo because of where they thought he could take them and blind to my observation that they couldn't count on him for anything of the sort. Being right took away some of the sting.

I haven't thought about those days in a while. It was a confusing time for me. I have hilarious snippets of memory from those days and I wouldn't trade them for the world. I also would never want to re-live them. It illustrates both the best and worst of me, and everyone else involved.


The cassette tape I found has versions of songs throughout the history of the band. There's "Taken For a Ride," "Pacing" and "Castle West" from the Whiskey show. "West End," "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "You Never Know" from practice sessions in The Castle's living room. "Davenport" at Gazzari's. But one song captures it all. It's called "Sunny Jim," and Brick wrote the lyrics based on a toothless bum he saw on the street. It was one of our mellower numbers, but it kicks up a little after the solo/bridge, and there, in this long-ago version, we were perfect.

I think of Brick, his undeniable charisma and talent thwarted by a deep-seated self-loathing that manifested itself in alcoholism and bizarre explosions of violence. But at that moment, he was a Golden God. For eight bars, he ruled the world. Maybe that was the most he had in him. Maybe not. This is not about whether we reached our potential in life or any of that shit. No, it's about making that one moment. When I hear him hit it, I still get goose bumps. And I smile. He sings,

What I see is just a reflection of me
In thirty years. What will the future bring?
All I know, is that I'm doin' my best

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

History of Man

One of the new readers who rallied around me during The Troubles is Elizabeth over at lilbitchmore, which is a terrible blog name (says the guy who writes "The Obituarium"), because it forces me to refer to a person I've never met, yet nonetheless enjoy reading, with a female dog reference and I'm far too nice a guy to generally do that, the exception being middle-aged ladies who write checks at supermarkets (really? In 2006?) AND wait until every last item is scanned before reaching into their handbag--which is the size of a Heavy Duty garbage bag more often seen holding lawn clippings--to find their checkbook, thereby sentencing me to several more unnecessary minutes of standing in line and wanting to bang my head repeatedly on the Tic-Tac rack.

ANYWAY, before I went off on my punctuationally-challenged, Bracelet-ian tangent, I wanted to bring attention to lilbitchmore's (cringe) recent post, entitled "Man Notes." And when I say "bring attention," I mean, "blatantly re-print here."

I am not ashamed to admit I currently feel hopelessly out of the loop as far as interactions with the gender opposite. It's been so long that I sometimes forget which of us pees standing up. So I was thankful for her roadmap. And, similar to being honest when analyzing one's poker game, I'm going to be brutally frank about how I measure up to these guidelines, which I believe to be (mostly) spot-on.

Making plans: Women, no matter how strong and independent, appreciate a man who makes actual date plans. That means contacting her several days prior to going out, making sure that she's available (because it's nice to not assume she's got nothing better to do), and making reservations, or checking movie times, or whatever needs to be done to make the date happen.

I'm actually very good at this, with a caveat. I plan the motherfuckingshit out of dates, right down to the last detail. I am, after all, a research professional. If I have the available information, why would I not use it to be certain the date comes off without an unhappy surprise. For (non-dating) instance, I was meeting a friend for lunch a few weeks back. I found a new-ish, nearby restaurant that sounded excellent. What did I do? I went there to check out the menu, etc. I found out they would be closed that day because of a movie shoot. I'm rarely unprepared.

Now, some have complained such attention to specificity and structure eliminates the chance at spontaneity (but not alliteration). This is perhaps valid. I'm so often focused on getting from one part of the date to the next (oh, and I'm obsessively punctual), that I may overlook The Road Not Taken.

There's probably a Middle Ground there. Or at least a Less Uptight Ground.

Another aspect of this is I need to expand the repetoire of date-type things beyond the standard. In my three-hour long conversation with X a couple weeks ago, one of the many justifications she listed was, "we just didn't have that much in common." I resisted the urge to blurt, "Oh! Like our son! Or that we love each other!" (she has repeatedly claimed to love me, but is no longer "in love" with me, which I'm fully aware is adulteress-speak for I have no good reason for doing what I did, so I'm going with this meaningless gibberish). When I pressed her about all the things we didn't have in common, she ripped off a litany of things she wanted to do that we had never done together, like paintball. Well Fucking-A, that sounds like fun! I never thought of that as a date! Perhaps if you...oh...I don't know...SUGGESTED WE GO PAINTBALLING, I'D HAVE READILY AGREED!

Oops. Sorry. What I mean is, paintball never occurred to me. I'm so often focused on these elaborate, romantic dates that I overlook more simple pleasures. A drive into the nearby mountains. A museum (and I haven't been to The Getty yet, so shame on me). Could definitely use some work in regard to expanding the palette.

Compliments: We want to know that we look good, smell good, are brilliant, witty, etc. Now, that doesn't mean you should just spout off random, insincere compliments to fill some nice thing quota. If I just worked for 10 hours and I'm covered in soot and metal fragment splinters, don't tell me I look great. I don't look great. But if I make the effort to look girly (which is the look I prefer, despite my career choice), notice.

Metal fragment splinters are hot.

I used to be a solid, sincere complimenter. Marriage makes a man soft and I admit I didn't pay/give enough attention to X later on, a failing exacerbated by her insecurity. And no, I don't think, "No those jeans don't make you look fat" is the sort of compliments we're talking about here.

In the case of X, it seemed I was always trying to reassure her, reacting to her: "Do you like my new haircut?" instead of being proactive: "Hey! I like your new haircut!" Too much familiarity. Laziness. I should have done better in this regard. Because I do think she's beautiful, more beautiful than SHE thinks she is. I was hopelessly attracted to her and it's safe to say I didn't prove this fact to her with both word and deed often enough. A lesson learned.

Dress in big boy clothes: I'm sure you think you look adorable in your track pants and tight fitting knit polo, and that would be completely fine if you're hanging out and watching movies at home, or better the house. Men who clean are HOT. But, if you are going anywhere remotely public with a woman, even if it's just a local bar for a drink, dress in something equally cute to what the woman will be wearing. If you're the guy at the bar/restaurant/whatever who looks like he put no effort into what he looks like and the woman sitting next to you has an ensemble with cute shoes, you suck.

Gold. Never a problem. I once broke up with a girl I was dating because she showed up a party I was throwing in an outfit more suited for gardening (ill-fitting Levis, tucked in t-shirt, sneakers). True story.

I do still wear shorts that go past my knees, high-tops without visible socks and ballcaps on the weekends. My age probably dictates I stop that. But screw it.

If the woman (or the 2 of you for the married/living in sin) has pets, you had better learn to love them. That means if you are going out and she must quickly walk her dogs before you leave, or as soon as you get back, this is a chance to participate in something she already loves. Do not sit on the couch while she dons dog walking shoes and tangles herself in leashes. Get off your ass and walk with her. She will appreciate it, and if you can get the pets to like you, you've won half the battle.

I like pets. Haven't been around any in 10 years, but never had a problem. I do prefer dogs. I had a few issues with this one woman's two aggressive black cats that would occasionally "jump into the fray," if you catch my drift. Maybe they thought I was attacking her and I can see how that'd be a reasonable assumption in their little cat brains. She lived in a studio apartment, so there was little we could do to restrain them and I had no small amount of trepidation over becoming a de facto scratching post. Ouch.

Balance the manliness/sensitivity. I know, it seems a hard thing to judge. We like guys who are guys, but we also appreciate someone who is capable of deep thought with a bit of a squishy side. I think the safest way to play it is: if you're a guy's guy..tending to be a little rough around the edges, if you're a sports fanatic, if you're more in tune with your car/truck/motorcycle than you are with your feminine side, just try to be a little softer than usual, especially when you first meet a woman, or if the woman who puts up with you hasn't seen that side of you in a while. However, if you're naturally sensitive, if you know what a duvet is, you can cook, have been in therapy, know what shoes look best with an outfit, you have to man it up a little. Sensitive is great, but I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again...You are the man in the relationship, you have to let her be the chick. No whining, ever. Nothing will ensure a hasty end of a date, or a "headache" when you and your woman get home faster than listening to you whine.

Here we go. It's possible this carries more weight with me at this juncture because of my recent past AND where I live (the latter is LA's version of Redneck Chic, where men are men and trucks are king). I'm sensitive. No way around it. I'm probably in the top 10th percentile of sensitive males, top 2 if you only count straight guys. I can't change it. So the fact X left me for an ex-Marine who is, by all accounts, burly, unrefined and perhaps the shittiest poet to ever butcher iambic pentameter, sort of kicks a brother right in the jimmy.

Now, I can't turn into That Guy, nor would I want to. But I do have a problem with assertiveness. It's odd, because I have a fiery streak. One need only witness me on the soccer pitch. There, I am--and always have been--an emotional leader, not shying away from confrontation, serving as the rallying point for my club. I just don't transfer that to my personal life. That confidence I have, and exhibit, on the field of play, doesn't translate to every day living. I've let some important issues slide because I didn't speak up for myself and some of those have led to my being taken advantage of. At work, at home.

I'm not the type that needs to be reassured. I don't need to be held and told everything's gonna be alright. And I'm mostly one to keep my complaints to myself (sorry, the last three months of blog posts is inadmissible as contrary evidence). But I do avoid dispute if I can help it, which has been to my detriment. It is the one thing I'd like to change about me. I'm told women find assertiveness sexy (and I assume that doesn't mean the controlling, "Star 80" kind), a confidence to speak one's mind when appropriate, even if it creates a momentarily uncomfortable situation. I feel like poker has helped me some in this regard. I can now stare at people across the felt without feeling wholly self-conscious. That's not really a Life Skill that transfers, however, though it sounds fun just to head out to the local library and just stare at people all day.

I'm open to any suggestion as to how to remedy this shortcoming. Is there an "Assertiveness for Dummies?"


So there you have it. Thanks again to lilbitchmore (flinch). Aw hell, "Man Up!" I said, LILBITCHMORE!

Maybe that's not exactly what she means.


Good news, bad news from last nights $330 NLHE Event at Commerce. For once, I got to play a little. My only other "big" buy-in live tourneys saw me folding rags after rags for two-three hours before finding a hand and having it crushed, sending me to the rail. I got to (mostly) fold for five hours last night. Oh yeah, bad news, I didn't money. I made it to the top quarter of the field, but nobody was in fear of my stack near the end.

My initial table with 80% tight. The guy two to my left in the 10 seat was extremely loose. Didn't do a lot of raising pre-flop, but did call a good percentage of the time. He'd also bet out on the flop, irrespective of the cards. He showed a couple bluffs, which was a bad idea, in retrospect. But his play was mostly effective and he took down a lot of orphan pots to chip up. The three seat was a limp-caller who would overbet if he got the slightest piece of the flop, "slightest" meaning gutshots, flush draws, TPSK (that's shit kicker). He'd lose a chunk, then out-draw to double up. I wanted to party with that guy. The rest were conservative and good company, including the guy in the 9 seat, with whom I greatly enjoyed talking for a couple hours.

I folded through he first level (T1500 to start; 40-minute levels, beginning at 25/25). In the first 18 hands, our table had aces 4 times. (Foreshadow alert!)

I picked up the (25/50) blinds once at Level 2 with AJ (gold!) before looking down to see two lovely red aces in MP. I raised 4x and Ten Seat called, as did the BB. The flop was K92, with two spades. Checked to me and I bet 500, leaving me 650 behind. Loosey called and I put him on KQ, KJ or the spade draw (at the high end; Lord knows his range was wide). The turn was the Queen of Clubs and while I groaned a little inside, it wasn't as forceful as had it been a spade. If he just caught two pair, so be it. I shoved. He called with Qs8s, giving him 14 outs. Get this drizz, none of them hit. Ship it!

At Level 3 (25/50), I busted a short stack with AsKs. A fairly tight player raised 3x from MP and the Short Stack pushed in his last 650. I re-raised it to 1200 to isolate (it worked!) and Shortie flipped The Drizz (that's 99, tourist). Get this drizz, I won the race when a king flopped. I'm now sitting at T4000, a very nice start and above-par stack. I drop a bit of it when I see a raised flop with 77. I'm out of position to the raiser and though the flop is a fairly helpful 965 rainbow, I check-fold. He shows me his QQ. Hey! I didn't totally mis-play a medium pair!

A level later (75/150), I get a little frisky with AKo in the BB. UTG and another had limped and I pop it to 600. UTG (my buddy; a player who has made several solid plays to this point) calls. The flop is ragged and I fire out 900. He hems and haws before folding. He shows me a queen and says he had another. I call him a liar and show him my Big Slick. He sticks with his story, so I chide him--good-naturedly--for a "terrible laydown." We're having a fun back-and-forth when our table breaks.

We started with 30 tables and were down to 17 at this point. My stack is grazing 5K and I'm above par. I wasn't crazy about getting moved, though. I had that table pretty well under control and my new group had three big stacks and, I would soon realize, no fear of raises. The first three or four hands were all multi-way pots, complete with check-raise-re-raise action. Okay, change gears.

The first hand I played was a suited AQ UTG. I'm not really crazy about it, but I ain't here to be a pansy, so I raise it 3x to 450. Three callers. Weeeeeeee! Flop is J93 rainbow and I check it. Big Stack (who had the full accoutrements: hat pulled low, bug eye sunglasses, three-day stubble, toothpick, brooding stare. Impressive, really) is check-raised by the guy to my immediate left who flopped a set of 3s. AK no good, sir. I win no pots at this table before it breaks at Level 5.

My new table is less aggro, but my luck begins to run out. The antes kick in at Level 6 (100/200/25). I'm willing to raise with a lot of hands here if I can be first in, but each is met with resistance. An AcJc raise is called by the SB (large stack, no toothpick) who checks the KQx (no club) flop and I smell a rat, so check behind. Rag turn doesn't make me feel any better and I fold to his bet. I open-raise in the CO with 7d5d and get re-raised by the (VERY) tight and (VERY) stacked BB. Gah. I did get the blinds and antes once, though.

Then, trouble. The next level jump takes my M from a solid, if unspectacular 9 to 4ish. Shove 'em in, Big Boy. The first time I do, with TT, I get called by JJ. 9-high flop is all diamonds and neither of us have one of those. The turn?

TEN! Of diamonds. You now what's coming, right? Yep. Seven of diamonds on the river and chop, chop. I was a little lucky there, though I was briefly VERY lucky. That table busts and as I make my way to the new digs, a quick check of the room shows us down to 7 tables. Twenty-seven places paid.

Only a couple big stacks at the table and I resolve to beat folks into the pot whenever possible. Uh, not possible. Jeez. For a full orbit, it's raised before it gets to me and my best hand during that time is KTs. By the time I find myself UTG, my M is less than 4. I look down to see 77. And away we go. Too bad about that guy having aces, though. No miracle for me and I trudged out into the Commerce night.

I told Ryan that my cut-off for going home was midnight. If I played past then, I'd have to stay in the hotel for a healthy $229. My watch read 12:10 at that point, but I cheated and drove home anyway. I was a little amped up, so the drive went quickly. Or maybe that was just me letting the new ride out a little on the mostly deserted freeway. I also took the back way home, because of a freeway closure, so got the canyon all to myself. The Infiniti, sedan or no, can take the corners. Bitches.


All in all, I was pleased with my effort. I think I could have been a little more active at the 75/150 and 100/200 levels with steals. Might have given me a little more ammo when the blinds escalated. Being moved twice during those levels didn't help, but that's the time to amp up the aggression and I failed to deliver. Otherwise, I had two pocket pairs in the last 80 minutes of play and ran into bigger ones each time. Not much you can do about that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Poker, Prose, Ponies

In the wee hours on Saturday night, I received an invitation from Daddy to Ram and Jam on some unsuspecting tourists in a $50 SnG on Full tilt. Iggy was along, as well. I was, at the time, folding my way to immortality (aka "the bubble") in the $9K but...Daddy? The Blogfather? It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

It took me a while to shift from ultra-tight MTT mode into Let's Gamble a Little SnG mode. At the $50 buy-in level, I tend to assume folks know what they're doing. The exception was the one guy on whom I had notes, which he perfectly defined with his play and mis-guided comments. Yes, I busted him. Calling my raise with A9 and jamming unimproved on the flop? Tourist.

The table chat was hysterical. Daddy mentioned how he was down to his last $60 so he had to win. He responded to a comment about playing above his bankroll by saying his brother, he of the "sweet...tricked-out Eclipse," would give him more money if he went broke. We had plenty of smart-alecky railbirds, too.

All three of us were alive on the bubble, but an interloper busted Ignatious in fourth.

From there, only one result was possible. It was pre-determined long ago, the prophecy contained in the Book of Isaiah. The Daddy and I would be heads-up. He claimed to be a little more in the bag than I and I'm inclined to believe him, but lucidity was not a problem for either of us. At least after the first hand of heads-up where we went to Donkey War. I made a horrible call, banking on one of my seven outs to hit. It did. Except, I only had five outs, the ace giving Daddy the frush. That gave him about a 10-3 chip advantage and I had to pull my head out.

The next 20 minutes were artistry. Sure, some of the railbirds thought the play was "like watching paint dry." They just didn't get it. Like trying to explain the nuances of baseball, the always-changing strategery, to a Luddite. And Daddy and I were painting. Sliders on the black. Uncle Charlie in the back door. High fucking heat. He and I have had enough conversations on the Art of the SnG that it was like playing a mirror. So some trickery was in order. Level 12 all the way. I had some good hands, but couldn't get him to pay me off, though I steadily chipped up and, after a time, took a lead. Finally, we got it all in with my flopped pair of aces holding off his flush draw.

It was the most fun I've had playing poker in a while. The company, for sure. The commentary...gorgeous. Being able to do something different than playing ABC poker to grind out a small Thanks, gentlemen and ladies.


Full of hubris and my first heads-up triumph in Idontknowhowlong, I waded, puffy-chested, into my postponed mana a mano duel with Veneno. I was crushed. Fast. Premature stackedulation. Maybe my plan to counter her aggressiveness with more aggression wasn't such a good idea, especially considering I had only 8 river outs when all the money went in. At Level 1. AJ...not particularly gold this time. I bow to The Poison.


I had Point Determined in The Derby. It has not been determined whether he has finished yet.


$330 NLHE tourney tonight at Commerce, part of their Heavenly Hold 'Em series of events. Ryan, with an ITM finish in last evening's contest, and I will be playing. Send good mojo.


I've been reading poker books lately. And some self-help stuff ("How to Be a Great Divorced Dad"). This is due to my mind's propensity to wander these days, so following a fictional narrative is a bit difficult. Heck, I can't even watch TV with any noticeable level of concentration. However, after reading Mean Gene's post about books, I went over to Amazon to read the first few pages of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. I figure a good writer who loves a book that much can't be wrong. He wasn't. I bought it on Saturday and tore through half of it yesterday. And I can't wait to pick it up again. It's not just a great story. Not just impeccably written. It makes me wanna write.

Friday, May 05, 2006

To All the Girls I've Loved Before

Oh boy. This post coming to you live from the tony suburb of Hungoverville, where I just moved in the past half hour from the neighboring hamlet of Stilldrunkburg. I was hijacked last night by a buddy for a whirlwind tour of the local watering holes and believe me when I tell you it was one of those evenings where anything was possible. By midnight, I would have agreed to all manner of whim. Tijuana, vandalism, talking to actual women. In fact...

I was jammed against the bar when I jostled Lisa. She accepted my apology, even touched me on the elbow to illustrate her forgiveness, her body angled toward me, seemingly eager. I turned a little and settled against the bar, facing her, both of us seeing sobriety in the rearview mirror. She was thin and animated, her voice a dusky alto. She talked in an off-handed way, every sentence a vast elliptical arc, like she was momentarily unhinged before landing with a thud.

I focused on the small gap between her front teeth, somehow endearing. As her stories widened, I would go off in my own head, my mind grasping a tangled thought, as she wandered in and out of her latest tale, ending each thought by saying my name. Her face would change on me. With every slight muscle movement, she became someone else. I could hardly hold her image. She was like a spectre, impossible to grasp and equally difficult to abandon.

I leaped at her, lips first. So strong was the tension, my knowledge that this what was supposed to happen next. I clumsily smashed against her, hard and misguided. She accepted the blow and pushed right back.

Yeah, I kissed a girl. Chipped a couple of her teeth, I think. And then I took notes.

I am one smooth sonofabitch.


Despite my explicit charms (*cough*), I'm not really the Rico Suave type. With few exceptions, my rewarding "relationships" with women have been the result of happy accidents, as opposed to any skill at attracting and ensnaring the opposite sex. For much of my life, I was the living embodiment of Mike from Swingers: fully lacking in self-confidence, confused by the female gender and obvious. Oh so bleeping obvious.

Well, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Much of this was because of typical adolescent, and post-adolescent, angst, the kind where I focused on what I wasn't, instead of what I was. I'd always been teased for being skinny, so naturally I wanted to be buff. In my mostly white-bread hometown, I was harassed for being brown, so wanted to be blonde and blue-eyed. It seems silly that it took me so long to get over these perceived inadequacies, but many people carry their childhood experiences long into adulthood and my personal development was undoubtedly hindered by my ill-conceived early marriage.

I exited that marriage in far worse shape than I entered it. It was a thoroughly growth-stunting experience and my immediate reaction was to fling myself into making up for lost time, a desire that mostly manifested itself in getting completly trashed with my buddies five or six days a week. As a method of healing and evolution, I don't recommend it.

Eventually, I recovered my self-esteem. It took a couple years, a couple promotions and a couple women to straighten my spine. By the summer of 1994, I was someone else. Me, only better.

My roommate at the time was female, a great friend to this day and someone who gave me more insight into myself, and others, than anyone I've ever met. I remember this time of my life very fondly as it was when I was taking those first sure steps into adulthood and if 27 is a little late for that, so be it. I liked myself, maybe for the first time ever, and it naturally translated into easier dealings with the ladies. I was a serial dater that summer, juggling four women at once (improbably and hilariously named Christine, Kristina, Anne and DeAnn, which drove my roommate to utter distraction as far as taking messages for me). I'd never been anything other than managamous before and even as I enjoyed the affection, attention and downright ego-boost, it remained clear to me that I was not entirely comfortable with such behavior. So when I met Vanessa that fall, the others fell away.

Vanessa is the only woman I've ever loved that I didn't marry (and that sentence makes me laugh out loud). I was mad for her, especially in the beginning. She was petite and exotic, a mix of European and Middle Eastern parents, and the first woman in whom I completely lost myself since my divorce. That turned out to be a problem. Once the intoxication of blooming love wore off, it was clear she and I weren't such a good match. She was too serious and uptight, especially about sex and politics, two important areas where we were polar opposites. We lasted another year beyond that realization, neither of us willing to break it off nor even acknowledge the slow disintegration. It finally became too overt for us to ignore and we went our separate ways.

I missed her on some level, but exited healthy and baggage-free. I wandered through a few short bursts of companionship, none of them predicated on love or committment. There were rewards in each, often simply physical, and I was happy to be mostly on my own, moving forward in career and financial well-being. But all along, I was waiting, searching, for that one person who could reach all the way inside me. I though for a time it might be Dacia, a long-time acquaintance (a friend of that female roommate I spoke of) who one day decided to put a full court press on me. I'd always liked her immensely and she was unashamedly devoted, but I never got past that like/friend stage with her, as much as I tried to will it into truth.

Then, after another brief, no-strings fling, there was X. And that is where this little jaunt down memory lane ends.


Oftentimes, I start out writing with a certain idea in mind and it ends up going elsewhere. Such is the case here. I can't pinpoint where it all went wrong. Maybe on some subconscious level I was trying to remind myself that I've recovered from hurt, from loss, before. To revive memories of when my heart was free and the world open. That is, after all, where I need to go again. And if I'm not quite ready for it just yet, the above history is proof I've successfully trod this path before.


The one lesson I learned through the trials of the above history, the one I've tried to hold onto these past months is that I am a person of value. I am not perfect. I am not for everyone. But I don't need somebody else to give me my life back. I don't need somebody else to validate my worth. The best self-esteem comes from within, not from outside influence or compliment. It's in me. And that's where it has to start.

I wrote the following more than seven years ago:

You are discovering yourself and learning through others, which is an
absolute necessity to finding love. Love does not begin with
meeting the "right" person. It does not begin the first time you lie
in another's arms. No, my dear friend, love begins when only one
person is involved: you. And when it explodes inside of you, others
will be blinded by the sight. And you will find another who blinds you
as well. And then...well...then you will have no more choice
over the matter.

That is part of a LONG e-mail I wrote to X soon after we met. It doesn't bother me to read it. It's pretty fucking good if I do say so myself and the "insight" I was giving her is perfectly suited to my current situation. I may have mis-read her. I may have made a mistake in giving myself to her. Regardless, I did it with the best of intentions and because I FELT it. Because I was ABLE to feel it.

That, at its base, is what I need to recover. I don't need to become someone greater. I need only to become myself again. To feel as I know I was once capable and will be again.


One last bit of notes:

She crowded me at the jukebox, not simply looking over my shoulder but actively leaning against it, and when she pointed at "The Offspring" I recoiled in horror, politely mocking her. She protested happily and it's okay if she holds Dexter and Noodles to her breast because she's damn cute and if I'll never have the chops to convert a lesbian, at least I do have a track record of getting women to stop listening to shitty music.

I didn't ask for her number. I'm not ready yet. She was hot, though. And she was diggin' it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Poker? I Damn Near Killed Her

After a brief respite from the tables, I parlayed a Peep into a respectable 32nd place finish last night in the $8K Guaranteed on Full Tilt. I said the finish was respectable. My play was less so. And if I didn't know any better, I'd say my recent cashout triggered the Doom Switch, the card dead one. Of the five pocket pairs I got all night, I was dominated by a higher pair on three of them. I got no action with my QQ. And I donked myself out of the proceedings with the last (Note to self: Underpair is no good to a flopped boat). My problems with small and medium pairs continue. I couldn't possibly play them any more poorly. Even as I recognized this leak a few weeks back, I still seem to have a blind spot, one that I thought I'd illuminated months ago. The lesson, as always, is I'm an idiot.

Since I have reduced my online bankroll to a mere pittance, I am forcing myself to earn tokens for the FT nightly tourneys. I've had good results in the Peep Races (these are semi-esoteric name for the $6+.60 two-table SnGs for the uninitiated, officially known as "Marshmallow Peep Sex" or MPS), winning a token in 75% of my (limited) attempts so far. Last night's installment began maniacally. I doubled up on the fourth hand, raising three limpers with KQ from the button and flopping a Q on a ragged board. UTG limper check-called me all the way down, even when I pushed after a King hit on the river, with (ultimately) third pair, 6 kicker. I was confused by his play during the hand, but, having no read, I went with the default: Moron. I like being right. Nice hand, buddy.

An orbit later, I flopped a set of 7s and a guy I KNEW was a moron pushed over my pot bet with a gutshot. A person (I assume it was a person; you never know) put his valued peep at risk on a four-outer. "You can't expose your peep like that," said facty. Indeed. Though I am guilty of occassionaly doing exactly that on Friday afternoons near the local junior high.

With the lunatics relieved of their chips and off to perpetuate further affronts on the good name of poker, I settled into a rock garden once we got down to seven. We played seven-handed for nearly eight levels. The passivity allowed me to keep near the top of the leaderboard with frequent steals, but I also got no action on two KKs and one QQ. Eventually, the blinds caught up with everyone and players busted in three straight hands, earning me the coveted Peep.


It is nigh impossible for me to describe some of the play I saw in the $8K. Mind-boggling is really the only thing that comes to close. My attempts to quantify certain moves remind me of a drawing AJ recently completed. When I asked what it was, he said, "It's a dinosaur catfish with cow's legs." Seemingly nonsensical, but poignant in the imaginative, tangental mind of a child. The action last night was a similar mash-up of styles. I had the uber-aggressive genuses (genuii?) raising, and calling all-ins, with such luminaries as 22 and KTs. I had the guy with an M of 3 limping in early position. I had the button when I was in the BB coming over the top with the illustrious K7s. The sad part is, for most of three hours, I could only watch and groan at missed opportunity after missed opportunity as I folded 92o yet again. I did punish the limping table with a few late position pushes with garbage and that kept me barely alive until I spiked a river two-outer with 99 against KK.

Back to those small-to-medium pairs, I lost a third of my stack at the end of the first hour by calling an over-the-top push with 77. The guy, who was pretty loose, had TT and doubled up. He then proceeded to call me a "douche" in chat. I ignored it. He'd proven to be a prick already by that time with some of his comments. I would like to point out to you, JCans13, that I played like shit last night and STILL finished 100 slots higher than you. I only wish I hadn't been moved, partly so I could bust you, partly because that table was gorgeous in its stupidity. I pick chunks of guys like you out of my stool.

You pick chunks out of your stool?
Shut up.

I was uncomfortable all night with the play. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Sure, I knew I could double with a monster, but they were extinct. So when I was looking for spots to make a move, I was unsure, at best. Perhaps the frustration was a catalyst for me over-playing my few pocket pairs. I don't know. I DO know I haven't adhered to the "no set, no bet" mantra with these hands lately. Whether I'm trying to push someone off a better, but weak-ish hand or betting into the nuts or not believing the (obvious in retrospect) betting, I can do nothing right with these hands. I thought I'd stemmed the leak last week with my Final Table. I stayed out of trouble with my pocket 8s and such, but last night was a return to Donkitude. It's almost like my brain shuts off when the flop comes. I long ago recognized the almost worthless value of these hands in Full Tilt tourneys unless you flop a set. I'd even say that goes all the way up to JJ. Somewhere along the line I've lost control. Must. Think. It's that or a Memento-style tattoo on my forehead.


Someone slipped me a roofie last night and when I woke up today realized I'd agreed to play Veneno heads-up this evening. I'd ask that you all keep me in your prayers.


Monday evening (and possibly Sunday afternoon) will mark my triumphant return to the wonder that is Commerce Casino. Their annual Heavenly Hold 'Em series of tournaments is underway and myself and the LAPC Event #1 Champion will be playing the $330 NL event on Monday evening. Consider this an open invitation to come out and watch me fold my way to the third level.


This website/business idea puts me on massive tilt. Dear brain, what am I paying you for?!?! These are the ideas I need! Seriously, what is more consistently profitable than preying on the pocketbooks of horny men? Ask Hef. Or any strip club owner.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Everyone's clothed on the site, but filters will probably deem it NSFW. Basically, men can "donate" to women who are trying to earn enough to get implants. For their "donation," they get to chat with the girls. The owners charge a service fee for donations AND hold onto the money--earning interest--until the girls get enough for their bolt-ons. And now they're getting 130K hits a day, so will to start selling advertising to plastic surgeons.

I'm literally sick that this idea wasn't mine.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

And The Winner Is...

That was funny. I enjoyed that immensely. I hit upon the idea of a contest after talking with gracie the other night and her laughter at my purchase. Not because it was odd, but because she assumed, like others, that I'd go totally Mid-life Crisis with my choice. And while there was certainly a "penis-extender" factor, my pragmatic side balanced it pretty well. Some of you have a pretty good read on me. Others? Horrible, like Chad, who thinks I'm a 16-year-old female gymnast.

Toyota Camry was a fine choice and that was exactly the car I planned to get. Four months ago. Now that my life situation is changed, I had to go a little more pizzazz. Those that went with the Audi and Volvo (and Bobby's "visible thinking" was top-notch) were right in the neighborhood, as entry-level luxury sedan is exactly where I was treading.

I may have given the impression that I am cheap. I am not. I'm not even frugal. I have no problem paying for quality. But I won't pay for a nameplate (coughBMWcough). And while he didn't get it EXACTLY right, the $10 goes to Hoyazo, who used an "outside the box" method to hit the mark. He just guessed what he liked.

The G Coupe indeed kicks ass. But I got the sedan.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Embrace the Ellipses

I'm happy to report that I have a metric ass-ton of content. Sadly, I've not the time to write it. I'll go Larry King-style on ya, though, for a few of them (I should say Allan Malamud-style, but none of you know who that is. Dot. Dot. Dot).

I have two rules in life:

1. Never go broke with TPTK in a $200+16 buy-in tournament
2. Never ride in a truck with Steve Howe

I violated the first in the $200K Guarantee on Sunday. AJ was not gold. A set of 8s was, though...

I have REALLY wanted to weigh in on the immigration protests/legislation/profound mis-information fest out there as I am intimate with the issue, having emigrated a couple of wives in my life, one of them Mexican. It's not a civil rights issue. It's an economic issue. And you crazy kids with your Mexican flags and jamming up cities and new National Anthem lyrics are hurting your cause more than you could ever imagine. My plan, simply put, is the gainfully employed can stay. Just prove how long you've had a job, pay all your back income taxes, money which we use to build a much better barrier, hire more officers, updated equipment, all those things that might actually SOLVE the problem of illegal immigration. If that fails, might I suggest sharks with frickin lasers on their heads be put in the Rio Grande...

I bubbled in the WPBT Stud event last night. Out in 9th; 8 paid. It's funny, because I played Stud long before I ever played Hold 'Em and about 20 minutes into the thing, I realized I kinda knew what I was doing. In fact, I began to take it so seriously that I went on massive tilt when lifesagrind caught on 6th to put me out (in light of recent events, I'd like to point out here that a) he had me out-chipped 7-1, so could afford to stay in and b) I boated up on 7th against him 20 miutes earlier to stay alive and therefore am not criticizing his play, his viewpoint on blogs, his ethnic background, political affiliation or penchant for wearing mesh stockings)...

Remember when I talked about how anal I am about finances? Scratch that. I bought a car on Saturday. I was window shopping and these dickheads gave me such a fantastic deal that there's no way I could turn it down. It was a little premature for me to buy, but goddamn if I didn't make out like a bandit. Being a research professional, when I bought my last car, I did a ton of preparation and one of the biggest tips I found was "Always buy a car at the end of the month." Sales quotas are due and you have a bit of negotiation room. In this case, they had a big inventory of the car I was looking at. At least a dozen in the color and trim I wanted. And they were willing to move 'em. 6K off MSRP? Check. $1K over Kelley Blue Book for my trade-in? Check. 1.95% Financing? Check...

So, here's the deal. Knowing what you all know abou me, from our in-person interaction or simply through the pablum of this TGOD, what kind of car did I buy? Ten bucks to whomever gets it. Five bucks to the closest (make or class) if nobody does. It fits pretty well with my personality. No, there is not a car called the Hyundai Giddiot...

For my money, nuthin' beats Bailey's Irish Creme...If you see only one movie this summer, it should be "RV"...One of my most embarassing moments was soiling myself while interviewing Menachem Begin...That Barney Rubble. What an actor...