Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Phish in Miami Day 3: Bustin' Out the P-Funk

I saw one of the best Phish shows I had ever seen last night. I've caught 135 shows and 12.30.03 Miami is one of the Top 10 Phish shows... all time! Even Zobo agreed when he said "Top 4 American shows I've seen!" Why was last night magical and special? George Clinton, the funkmaster himself, joined the fracas and took over the show for 30 minutes when he came out with the rest of Parliament Funkadelic. Quite and amazing performance and a sincere homage to Captain Funk himself. Trey was smoking! Page was completely on. Fishman was hanging tough. And Mike was breaking out the heavy spacy-cow-funk all night!! Cities? Scent of a Mule? Makisupa? L.A. Woman? Tube!! Zobo, sititng in the sixth row, called second set Tube opener and although they never finished it, I was still loving life. NICU in the first set was sweet. And 2001 and Down with Disease were some of the better version in the post-hiatus era. I had an awful seat up in Section 412, but it sounded great and we had a cool section. Bruce arrived earlier in the day and last night was his first show this run. My buddy Byron, the Ragin' Cajun' from Louisana was up there with us in Sec 412. We saw a lot of Galactic shows in New Orleans and Texas together. Ironically, he called LA Woman before the show started. Japhans Emi and Junko were behind the stage also up in the 400 level. I rescued them and brought them to our section and they had a much better time in the second set!! That's all I can write for now... don't have much time to write up a lengthy review. Was up all night, went to the beach in Key Biscayne this morning and fixin' to head out to the lots in a few minutes. I'm gearing up for tonight... I've been awaiting this special night ever since they announced the NYE shows. It's been a long year, with plenty of up and downs and I'm having one of the best trips I took... since Japan! Anyway... Happy New year to all. Talk to you next year. With my warmest regards from Miami... start living before it's too late. See ya, McG

12.30.03 American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Set I: Wilson > Sand > Shafty > NICU, Weigh, Cities, Strange Design, Scent of a Mule, Bathtub Gin, 2001 *

Set II: Tube > L.A. Woman** > Birds of a Feather > L.A. Woman > Makisupa Policeman > Booty Ain't Nothing But a Butt Ra*** > Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)*** > P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)***, Makisupa Policeman****, Down With Disease

Encore: Contact, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

* with multiple teases, including P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)
** first time played; with "Timber Ho!" tease right before "Birds"
*** with George Clinton and Parliament; everyone, including Phish, left the stage at the conclusion
**** With Fishman singing opening line of "Touch Me", not played since 12/3/94

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Another Phish Article!!

Phisheads Colorful Roadshow Is as Improvisational as the Band is an article written by Evan S. Benn from the Miami Herald.

Here's a bit: "For Phish fans, this is the life they love. For everyone else, the idea of seeing the same band four nights in a row -- often dropping everything and going anywhere to do so -- is baffling."
Phish Day 2: Rock & Roll Miami

The second wave of Phish hit me... and I left with a wide grin and seeing one of the best sets of Phish in a long time!!

12.29.03 American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Set I(1:01): Piper, Foam, Anything But Me, Limb By Limb, Wolfman's Brother, Poor Heart, Cavern
Set II (1:35): Rock and Roll > Twist > Boogie On Reggae Woman > Ghost > Free, The Divided Sky, Good Times Bad Times
Encore 1: Waste
Encore 2: The Squirming Coil

I kinda had to rush to the show after playing poker with Jerry at the dogtrack in Hollywood. The traffic was kinda bad on the way to the venue. Again, I decided to park underneath the arena for $15. I found my seat rather quickly and was not pleased. I was up in Sec 403, behind the stage, six rows from the top! Yeah, those were nosebleed seats and I decided to move up closer. Zobo and Chad were hanging out in Section 122, also behind the stage. Zobo called me to say that the coast was clear and I should come down. I had my stub from the night before (Section 124) and quickly flashed it to the usher and breezed through. I waited until there was a group of five or six people and mixed in with them before I made my move. I got in with no problems and cut through the sections to get to Zobo, who actually sat 4 rows back behind the stage. Since the section was on the corner or bend of the circular arena, the first row had one seat, the second row had two seats, the third row had three seats and Zobo was sitting in the fourth row with four seats. I plopped down in the third row and I could easily see Page play all night. If he turned to his left while playing his piano, he would see me waving at him. It was a huge difference where I was sitting! I realized that although Zobo and I were at several of the same Phish shows in the last few years... the last time we got a chance to hang out was in Osaka... where we actually stood next to each other at a Phish show. It was very cool to party up with the second most popular American in Japan. All the Japhans were randomly seated throughtout the venue.

Set 1... Normally I am not a huge fan of Piper so that's why I totally enjoyed their high energy version. It was amazing and outstanding. They boys ripped it up and they showed no signs of a lull in between shows. They came out firing and Piper sincerely blew me away. I was hoping to hear Foam and although it wasn't the best version I heard, but I loved every second of it! When they finished up, Trey turned to Fishman and said, "Wow, that was great!" Yeah, I was that close that I could see everything on stage. It was a cool perspective for sure, because I finally got to see what it was like to be on stage and looking out at the crowd. Anything But Me was sweet and mellow. A perfect smoke up song. I've become a big fan of Limb by Limb post hiatus. Some good versions out there after I finally gained respect for that tune in Japan. Wolfman's Brother smoked! The boys were on for sure and they funked it out a little bit. They threw the crowd a definite crowd pleaser with Poor Heart and all I really wanted to hear was Reba! Cavern to close was hot, hot, hot!! I was expecting one more song, and was disappointed when they ended the set after just an hour.

Set 2... I must say that the second set was some of the best Phish I had heard in some time. All I have to say is... too bad you fuckin' missed it!!! To think... I almost blew off the Miami shows!!! Going to Miami was one of the best trips and ideas I had in a very long time!!! Someone recently asked me (in a slightly condescending manner): How long was I going to continue to follow Phish? If you saw what I saw... you'd never want to miss another show. My answer... forever, as long as they keep playing the way they've been doing so the past few shows! They hit some moments, some rare moments, and made me realize why I follow them all over America. They are truly a special band with some of the most gifted musicians in the world. To play something completely different, yet structure is unreal. I dunno how they can keep kicking out great show after great show... but this past few months, I got to see some of the best stuff that Phish had to offer up in years... listen to the tapes and the CDs... you'll see what I'm talking about and multiply that by ten thousand and you'll get a faint effect of the magic of Miami Night 2... Rock & Roll opened the set and I love when Page sings!! It was cool and I was loving life. They segued into a mellow and weird Twist where I swear that Trey was playing some crazy bluesy licks that he had busted out the night before during the Miami Jam after Suzy Greenberg. Just when the crowd got a little bored with Twist, Fishman took control and started busting out the back beat to Boogie On Reggae Woman which was a sweet and delicious version and if it weren't for the drunk kid in our section who drew the attention of asshole Draconian security guards... it would have been perfect. When the secuirty gaurd asked the kid to see his ticket, he pulled out his wallet and cash and then opened up a box of tic-tacs. "Do you want one?" as he seriously offered one up to the security guard. He didn't show his ticket so they bounced him. I had to "shhhh!" him a couple of times. Anyway, the Boogie On was tight and the Ghost was sick!!! Zobo called it! And I'm always a fan... love to hear it at every show. The jam out was stupendous and I kept wanting more but they slowly segued into the fifth song since the set started... Free was rocking and Trey was pulling out rock star antics. He and Mike had a crazy and intense jam when they faced each other and just went off together on a sick and loopy jam... I'm looking forward to hearing it again... but it got the crowd even more pumped up! When they finished their tear... in fifty minutes they did not rest once and played five straight songs!! Most groups can't even throw together enough material for a fifty minute long set... let along play for fifty straight minutes. It was an amzing beginning to a set that I will always recall as one of my favorite sets all time! The crowd applauded for two minutes while they decided what to play next. Divided Sky was one of the best versions I saw since the hiatus... something they had been improving upon each time I see them play it. The boys stood in silence for three minutes while they counted off during that middle-to-end part. The jam out was insane and Zobo and I kept looking at each other giving the "wow" look back and forth. Good Times Bad Times blew me away and Trey was jumping up and down on that one. An excellent closer to an excellent set. They sounded so much better after they got used to the sound system! Now I only prayed that Phish would not cheese out with a slow encore tune... and they came back out for Waste which was OK and again, I hopped that it would be followed up by a heavier tune. When it ended they walked off stage. The crowd would not leave and kept cheering louder and louder. The walked right back on stage a few minutes later and they broke out Squirming Coil. Again there is a lot of misunderstanding, not on my part.... but for some of you think that I hate Coil... which I do not. I always felt that Coil was not a good solo encore song... and anytime they played it outside of an encore... then I was thrilled! I mean... I love Page piano solos! And for a while at every show I went to, Coil was the encore... which was a waste of 13 to 17 minutes!!! Anyway, as part of a double encore, I was not displeased. I was excited because I knew I was just 25 yards away from Page and I'd get to see him play a sweet solo at the end of Coil. As he was playing, one by one the rest of the members of Phish walked off stage, leaving Page along to play and accept a thunderous applause after he finished up!

Afterthoughts... Four sets down... 5 more sets to go!! Great second set for sure, one of the best shows I saw this year!! Got to hang out with Emi and her friends from Japan after the show when we all went back to Zobo's suite on South Beach and partied hard for a couple of hours, before I slowly made my way back to Miami Shores, along Biscayne Blvd., past Little Haiti and past all the hagged out hookers, and their bad make-up jobs, illuminated by the hysertical glow of the neon lights.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Phish in Miami: What the media has to say!

1. 'It's a lifestyle': Phish Heads jam city for joyous show is written by Howard Cohen and appears in the Miami Herald. Thanks to Sarah for pointing it out to me!

Here's a bit: "There was a familiar smell drifting in the air at tent city and inside the arena (if you have to ask what it was, you aren't a Phish Head); outside, balloons filled with nitrous oxide went for $15 a pop (go up, up and away . . .); fans traded tapes of previous Phish concerts; and opportunistic vendors hawked pungent, grilled items."

2. Phish Reel in the Fans is an article written by Sean Piccoli.

Here's a bit: "Also plentiful was a less regulated trade in cigarettes. Travelers sold cartons and single packs to raise money for their tickets, gas, food, lodging and adventures in Miami. Scraps of overheard conversation suggested everyone on hand, whether they carpooled or flew, was finding their own fun: "Free soap! ... Tickets! ... We just made friends with a homeless guy!""
Poker Room at Hollywood Greyhound Racetrack!

I've played poker all over the world. I'll play anywhere, any time... earlier today I visited Hollywood Greyhound Track. My friend Schanzer went there a few weeks ago when he was in Miami visiting Jerry. I blogged parts of his email.

I arrived just after the room opened at Noon. You enter the dogtrack and go up the escalator to a nice room that looked like it used to be a banquet hall or something. There were twenty tables with outer doors facing the actual dog track. At the time only one game, seven card stud was going. I signed up for $1-2 Omaha and Straight $2 Hold'em. After five minutes a few more gentleman came and we had a game! Let me set the premise here... everyone that I sat down with was at least double my age. I would say that everyone that I played with at my first Straight $2 table was over the age of 65. I had no remorse about the possibility of taking some of their social security money... but hey, they're at the dog track, looking to piss money away, so I figured I stop in and see if I could crack that game. I got to play with old fellows by the name of Slow Jimmy, Harry the Greek, and even a guy named Sol. Almost all of these guys were from the Northeast and retired to Miami. They all played the ponies and I got a few random tips (unsolicited of course). Sol was the craziest.... my man looked like Harvey Keitel at age 82 with a freakin' voice box! Every time he'd yell "Raise!" I'd freak the fuck out! Anyway, the very first hand I got dealt Big Slick suited... A-K diamonds! I didn't raise and just called. I caught an Ace on the flop and won my first hand. I lost a few hands early and I was down $40 for a while before I hit two big hands in a row... I nailed a gutshot straight with Q-10 which paid me off well. I also held A-4 in the small blind, and flopped a set of 4s.

Jerry got out of work early and met me at the dogtrack. When he got there, there was a new $1-2 game opening up, I joined him and I counted my chips after I sat down. I lost about $20 in 3 hours playing Straight $2. This time, I sat next to a nice woman named Linda. She's a widow and an avid golfer. She just picked up the game and we had some nice chats. She rooted for me when I stayed in on hands! Anyway, I made back $20 playing $1-2 and walked away up $3 after 5 1/2 hours of playing. I had a good time. Schanzer described the poker room there as sketchy. I would say that it looked fairly nice. It was smoke free and they had brand new chips. 80% of the players were old white guys from the area. The dealers were not so good. They pushed pots to the wrong person on several occassions and some of them never really had control of the table... which they should have. Anyway, Jerry and I had a good time hitting our second poker room in our third session! I won a few good hands against a frat boy from FSU. I held A-J suited. I flopped the straight and just smooth called. On the turn I raised and the frat boy (wearing sunglasses at a freakin' $1-2 game raised me. I re-raised and we went back and forth until the betting was capped. On the river the same thing happened... the bettin ggot capped. I began to think that he probbaly had an Ace high straight as well and I expected to chop up the pot. To my surprise he turned over a K-Q suited. He had top two pair and was betting into me with that! He walked right into a straight and never saw it coming. That win was big for me after I lost a couple of hands to a small flush on the river and when my A-K didn't hold up and lost to a pair of 3s.

For the Miami trip, I am down $32... after three (four if you count the time we went twice in one day) different sessions. But I lost $30 betting on greyhounds!!! Bad idea.... I should stick to poker and betting on college basketball.
More Poker!

I'm heading out to Hollywood (Florida) and to the dog track to play poker in their card room! What would a trip to Miami be without a visit to the dog track to gamble on some greyhounds followed up by a mini session of Texas hold'em?
Miami Phish Night 1: My Name is Henrietta!

What a show...slow start, hot finish!

12.28.03 American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Set I (1:14): David Bowie, Sample in a Jar, Tweezer, Bouncin', AC/DC Bag, Frankie Says, Llama, HYHU > Love You > HYHU, Tweezer Reprise
Set II (1:30): Gotta Jibboo, Suzy Greenberg > Miami Jam> Theme from the Bottom, Water in the Sky, Friday, Harry Hood
Encore: Sleeping Monkey, Loving Cup

What to expect? I had been in Miami less than two days and I have enough material for a novel! I got a feel for the city... the city of sunshine, plam trees, plenty of neon, hordes of Cuban exiles, and those old folks 'just waiting to die'... a city cut off on one side by the thunderous Atlantic Ocean and the swamps on the other side, led to an odd mix of freaks and miscreants. I wondered whether or not that would seep into the minds of the boys during the show. I knew the night would be interesting. I pulled out of Jerry's driveway and three blocks later, I found myself at an intersection with some asshole shining a spotlight at me. That asshole was a Miami Dade Police cruiser and the guy was checking me out. He pulled up and we were face to face. He looked like a bad ass. It was dark outside and he still wore sunglasses.

Miami Cop: "Your lights are too high. You didn't like it when I shined my light at you. So lower your high beams."
Pauly: "Gee whiz, Officer. This is a rental car, my first time driving at night. I'm sorry. But I don't think the high beams are on."
Miami Officer: "Well you better get the company to adjust the strength of those headlights. It's blinding drivers."
Pauly: "Yes sir."

And that was it. Man, I got lucky. It's always interesting when you are out of your tits stoned and are semi-interrogated by law enforcement figures. Those were the same night stick weilding yahoos who were beating up protestors weeks before. I knew what I was up against and I wanted to play it safe. All I had to do was blurt out, "I'm heading to Phish," and I would have been royally screwed and thrown into jail with some real criminals.

Spooked from my run-in with the cop, I carefully made my drive from Miami Shores to downtown Miami via historic Biscayne Blvd. and drove past the truly infamous Vagabond Motel. I drove through a couple of shady parts of town. Slowly, I eventually saw small pockets of Phisheads walking to the venue. Traffic began to build and I found myself right in front of the venue. The American Airlines Arena is a huge new building with plenty of neon, concrete, and it reeked of corporate sponsorship. A traffic cop forced me to go left and I found myself pulling up to the arena parking lot. I drove along side the arena and saw thousands of kids trying to get in the front door. The lines were long, the security checks were tedious, and everyone was restless trying to get to their seats. I followed the arrows to the parking garage and was relieved when I saw a sign "Parking $15" which to me was not too expensive considering I parked underneath the venue in a slightly more secure spot than some empty lot run by a surly ex-Vietnam vet with a huge flashlightand a cooler filled with warm MGD. I found a back gate to enter the show and avoided the huge surge of people up front. Security was taking too long and my bladder shrunk while I was in line. I met two kids in front of me from Riverdale. Too wierd. They're in college but they both went to SAR and live in North Riverdale. Small world, eh? Over the rest of the night, I realized that I did not meet one single Phishead from Miami... let alone Florida. It seemed like everyone I chatted with was from the East Coast.

The venue was fan friendly with plenty of space to walk and tons of vendors and bathrooms. I had a seat behind the stage and the security was lack. Instead of going to my seat in row 34, I walked right down to about fifteen rows behind the stage. Phish usually throws together a no-frills setup, and aside from lights, there are no other props. The view was clear, and I was very close. The best part... I sat right behind Page. I could see him play all night, which was my plan. I hoped I would not get kicked out of my seat. A group of eight folks sat down. We started chatting and I discovered they were from South and Central Jersey... Philly and Delaware. I met my first Icelandic Phishead! Sven's an American, but his parents are Icelandic and he was born in NYC. They guy was huge... like the size of an NFL lineman, but he was a gentle giant. You can't miss the guy... he was so big! He was my "historical landmark" which I used when I bolted to the bathroom... all I had to do was look for Sven and I knew where my seat was. A few minutes later, a hot chick wearing a Superman shirt sat night in between us. "This is my seat" she said and pointed between me and Sven. I nodded and smiled. From her accent, I detected a Boston native. Sure enough, she introduced herself. Maggie was a school teacher from Boston. Just like me, she had a single ticket and her friends were randomly dispersed throughout the arena. Her mother worked for American Airlines and hooked her up with a first class ticket. She told me an interesting story about her flight to Miami from Beantown. She sat next too a woman who was coked up the entire time. When Maggie went to the bathroom, she saw the leftovers of a sloppy cokehead... not just a couple of grains sprinkled here and there... but a shitload of poorly cut cocaine was all over the counter and the floor of the bathroom. Maggie was not happy because for the rest of the flight, the chick yapped her ear off the entire time. She told her about her husabnd who was 25 years older and complained the entire time about him, despite the fact he sat in the seat in front of them! They had also two kids back in coach which she described as "little monsters" and Maggie was bumming! When the cokehead trophy wife headed to the bathroom, Maggie pulled her sweater above her head and prenteded to fall asleep. It was a great story and I told her she needed to write it up for the next issue of Truckin'! All in all, I was happy with the people in my section. Everyone was cool and I had no problems. Usually I always got stuck nest to the "passed out kid", or the "drunk girl"... but for the first night in Miami, I had a solid crew.

Set 1... The boys from Vermont came out just around 8pm and noodled with a spacey jam. I wondered what the fuck they were doing and slid right into David Bowie. It was sloppy, but I wa spumped. I racked my brain to recall any Bowie openers... and I could not think of any. The jam out was nice and Page was funking it up. Sample in a Jar is a classic Phish tune and I'm a fan, but happy they got it out of the way in the first set. Trey was doinf his "rock star" licks and although I coul dnot see his face, I could see him jumping up and down. I was plesantly surprised with Tweezer. Something I once told Gil... "the best thing about Tweezer... is you know they'll play Tweezer Reprise!" echoed in my head. Tweezer was solid and they had a couple of good moments there. But I was still adapting to my surroundings and spent a lot of time checking out the people dancing in the first few rows. In the middle of Tweezer I had to take a wicked piss so you can imagine that I grew anxious with their jam out. I was hoping for a break... a nice slow song so I could bolt to the bathroom. Luckily, they broke out Bouncin' Around the Room... the classic "Pauly's Gonna Take a Piss" song. Judging by the lines at the men's room, everyone else had the same idea. The bathroom was closeby. I scored a quick $3 water and made it back to my seat to smoke up before the song ended. Perfect timing! AC/DC Bag was smooth, but nothing too special. The kid next to me was going nuts dncing around barefoot. He banged into me a few times during Bag, but he was having a good time. Frankie Says is a perfect "sit down and smoke song" and Llama was a high energy tune that got everyone back up and dancing again. Then it got interesting!

9:03 pm... Page starts the beginning of Hold Your Head Up... which means one thing... Fish Hijinks!! Since we sat behind the stage, before the show, Maggie pointed out the vaccuum adjacent to Fish's drum kit. I kinda forgot that there was no appearance of the vac during the Thanksgiving shows. Trey put down his guitar and sat in on drums. Fishman picked up his vac and headed to the front of the stage. He belted out Love You and began his vaccuum solo. All I could think about was... What the fuck am I doing in Miami, listening to a really short guy wearing a Moo-moo and playing a friggin' vaccuum cleaner solo?" It's moments like that which make me enjoy the oddities of my life. I smiled and applauded. Before they ended, Page, Mike and Trey kept playng HYHU and Fishman began running around like a hellcat! He was making his laps around the stage. He would run counter-clockwise and from my seat I could see all of his hijinks. He almost tripped on a monitor and waved when he recovered. He'd stop at the mic and wave to the crowd and continue running around the band. Fishman was beeing goofy as he rolled around in the deep puddles of Miami cheese, yeah he's the namesake behind the band. Afterall, the band's not called Phmike or Phtrey, right?" He introduced the band and told everyone, "My name is Henrietta."When he sat down, they smoked out a sick Tweezer Reprise and I was bumming because the band just got cooking!!

Setbeak: Zobo called me and he was up in Section 308. I saw him waving when he called and I made my way up. He was hanging out with some freinds from Atlanta and all of our Japanese friends were sitting at random places. It was good to see him and we made plans to meet up after the show. Emi wanted to see me and the last time we hung out was at the NYE show last year. She's good freinds with all of my Japanese friends from Tokyo, the guys from Horse; Kohei, Yuh, and Jun. I scored a $6 beer and wandered back to my seat after I spotted Sven. Maggie told me that her friends called from the upper deck. She invited them to come down, since there was plenty of room behind the stage, but they were too wasted too move!

Set 2... I called it! Gotta Jibboo is song that they boys nearly played out to death during the 1999 Fall Tour (I saw it every other show with Angela it seemed that year), but I had a great time and the jam out was some of the best Phish of the night. Suzy Greenberg got the arena rocking! I'm always a fan, and I really dig the "funk-out" jam in the middle lead by Page! The jam out, which I dubbed the Miami Jam was a free formed bluesy jam. Chad, Zobo's buddy, said he called it a Jesus Left Chiacgo Jam. He's right, Trey's guiatr was heavy laced with low blues licks. I liked parts of the jam and got restless at other points until they sugued into Theme from the Bottom. I appreaciated the tempo changes in Theme, which is one of my favorite songs when they boys do a great job on it. Again, I was happy to watch Page play during Theme. I got to see Trey a zillion times, but it's always a treat to watch Page at work. The jam out was sweet and mellow and I thrilled with the song selection at that point. Aside from Bouncin, I was content with everything. Water in the Sky was up and the crowd cheered during the "filter out the Everglades" part. Friday was next and I really like that tune a lot, so I was pumped to hear it. Mostly everyone sat down to smoke and Maggie was poiting out the "really wasted" people. One guy took his shirt off and was waving it around. Another girl was spinning around in circles, and one guy kept yelling "Thank you!" after every song. Harry Hood to close the set was perfect way to end the night. It was a solid 15 minuted version and I had no complaints. I did not expect a good encore so when they broke out a rare Sleeping Monkey and when Fishman belted out a vocal solo, Trey turned his back to the crowd, but faced us and everyone in our section. We could see him cracking up with laughter. Trey wa shaving a ball and Fishman was being his weird self. If they just played Monkey, I would have left without any complaints, but they added a smoking and sizzling Loving Cup, a song I love to hear. Page was marvelous and Trey was being his "rock star" self as they busted it out and ended the show at 11:30 on the nose!

Afterthoughts... The day after I'm still smiling from the night before. It wasn't the best show they played this year. It wasn't something that people are going to look back and say "Wow, talk about an epic night!" But I had a great time, hung out with some interesting folks, and saw a Fish vac solo! The best part of last night was that it was just the first night of four shows! Yeah the boys were warming up and I didn't have to travel to another city to see them again tonight!! Anyway, I met up with Emi and her friends from Japan. They were all excited to meet me. Emi was explaining to her friends who I was and she spoke quickly in Japanese until I heard her say, "Tao of Pauly!" And the rest of her friends giggled and said, "We know your website!" Right on, I thought. They don't read very good English, but they visit the Tao anyway. To all my Japanese readers... Domo Arigato!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

More Miami...

I was in Miami less than 24 hours... I met up with an old college buddy Shappy, Jerry and I hit the Miccosukee Casino to play poker three times, we went bowling (Jerry bowled a 208 and I notched a 154), and ate breakfast at Jimmy's on Biscayne a local hangout for Maurice Gibb (as told to me by Sarah). Man oh man and that was just my first full day in Miami! Today it's gonna be a relaxing day at home watching football... the Jets play in Miami! And then I'm off to Phish tonight to meet up with some old freinds and hit a few post-Phish parties in South Beach... wow, I'm getting super pumped. My mind was on poker the last 24 hours that I almost forgot about Phish! I hope the boys bust out some cool shit tonight like Gotta Jibbo or Slave to the Traffic Light.

Anyway, so far I am down $35 after playing poker for three total sessions. 90% of the players are Hispanic and everyone is speaking Spanish at the tables. Jerry is doing a lot better than me... he's up. We took Shappy for two sessions and he's quickly picking up the game. He did very well for a first timer. At breakfast yesterday, I gave Sarah the lowdown on a crash course for Hold'em. She's a good seven card stud player, but never played hold'em. She did great! She won $5 during her one session. At one point, when she raised the pot, guys were folding... out of respect because she had been playing great hands all night and winning sizable pots with them. At on epoint, I had pocket Aces (A-A). I was rasing whenever I could especially when another ace fell on the flop. Srah kept calling me and when I saw a third heart hit the board, I though I might be in trouble. I raised anyway and Sarah called me. She turned over her hand to show a medium flush. It was good enough to win, and I was wicked pissed. That was the second time my pocket aces did not hold up yesterday, and I grew disgusted with yet another bad beat (there must have been almost a dozen yesterday... it was insane, the shit poeple were catching on the river to beat me.) Anyway, in disgust, I threw y cards down at the table, and at that point everyone knew I lost on A-A. It wasn't upset with Sarah, after all... I tutored her on how to play. Itt was the cards that I was irked at... but a few hours later, I'm happy she played extremely well. They're hooked!

Saturday, December 27, 2003


I arrived, despite serious delays! Got in just before 11pm and headed to the house of an old fraternity brother, Shappy! It was good to see himand meet his wife. I got to see Sarah and Jerry, and of course we hit the casino! Jerry dropped $20, but I won $45!! We had a great time, but only stayed for 2.5 hours. We will be heading back later today. The weather in Miami beautiful, it is cold for their standards! More to come...

Friday, December 26, 2003

Miami Bound... Jerry, Poker, and the Phish!

I am heading off to Miami for a week to ten days. It's so cold here in NYC, so I'm pumped to have some moderate weather. I am visiting my good friend from college, Jerry and his lovely wife Sarah. I am also going to Miami to see four Phish concerts... including a kick ass New Year's Eve show. I frequent Phish's NYE concerts... always a great time. Should be fun... several different groups of friends will be heading down to Miami, so I'll be able to meet up with a lot of people I had not seen in several years.

Of course, when I booked this trip, I had no idea that there were poker rooms in South Florida. When Jerry told me about a casino on an Indian Reservation just thirty minutes from his house... I got even more excited!! Now I can squeeze a couple of hold'em sessions in during my trip. In fact, as soon as I land, I'm driving to Jerry's house and we're going to go to the casino right away!!! Earlier this year, Jerry's wife Sarah hit a straight flush at a seven card stud game... and she won a free dinner for two and a free hotel room for one night! I hope she brings us good luck!

I've been playing poker in card rooms and casinos all over America this year, and I'm eager to add another place to the long list of places I have played... in addition to picking up another poker chip for my collection. Yes, everytime I play in a new casino, I pocket a $1 chip. I have a lot of them.

I dunno if I will have internet access when I am away... if I get to a computer, rest assured that I will be blogging about my casino trips and Phish setlists and reviews. Stay tuned. If I don't blog anymore.... Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!!
Here's a great review of the novel I wrote in early November... The Blind Kangaroo is the third of four novels that I have written.

A Novel Review: The Blind Kangaroo
By Jessica E. Lapidus

Tenzin McGrupp's third novel, The Blind Kangaroo, is by far, his most profound work to date. In an email written to friend Jerry Engel, McGrupp says,

"I think (The Blind Kangaroo) is my most mature novel yet. I have tried to shy away from some of the outlandish sexual connotations and explicit drug use of the first two novels..."

Indeed, McGrupp's first two novels, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, and Sweet Nothing, revolve around over-the-top sex scenes and heavy drug use. The Blind Kangaroo breaks away from that formula. For the first time in Tenzin McGrupp's novel-writing career, he concentrates on strong character development. Not to say that the characters from his other novels aren't strong, but those from The Blind Kangaroo are the most diverse.

The Blind Kangaroo tells the story of a week in the life of "The Norwegian Nightmare," Orsino Fletcher, a 30-year old, former college and Olympic hockey player. In this week, Orsino, known to all simply as Fletch, learns about life from a bathroom book about Buddha, realizes his own purpose, and learns how to let go. He spends time with his girlfriend, Ophelia, and comments on society and its morals (or lack thereof) via his fellow Catholic high school alumni and a through visit to Hollywood, full of realization and revelation.

Others of McGrupp's critics have mentioned that the women in his stories are "either pregnant, crazy, or both." In The Blind Kangaroo, his main female characters - Cordelia, Juliet, and Ophelia - are all different, and each complex in her own way. Ophelia is Fletch's younger girlfriend. It is clear from the beginning that they have deep feelings for each other, but both are too guarded to express them. The underlying tension that comes through in their dialogue and other relations is apparent through the telling of Fletch's story. Ophelia's friends, Cordelia and Juliet, are perfect compliments to her and each other, and the three make a charming triumverate of feminine wiles and female intelligence. In one scene, where Fletch is driving to Foxwoods with two of the three girls, he and the bull-headed Cordelia get into an argument, and Cordelia holds her own. In McGrupp's previous novels, the female characters were so constructed that they might have backed down when confronted by the verbal strength of men the likes of Ivan in JTSMD and Winky in Sweet Nothing. But as I smiled with glee at the barrage of insults flying between Fletch and Cordelia, I realized that in Fletch's world, he would have had no idea how to handle Kelly and Baby from the aforementioned works. Cordelia, Juliet, and Ophelia, in the ways in which they interact with Fletch - and with each other - are perfectly tailored to the setting and mindset of The Blind Kangaroo.

In McGrupp's other works, short stories and novels alike, he always seems to be striving for a grand symbolism to be represented by locale - the seedy underbelly of New York City in Jack Tripper Stole My Dog and the white trash life in both Seattle and Alabama in Sweet Nothing - or by characterization. The Blind Kangaroo is not lacking this symbolism, but it seems to be a lot effortlessly illustrated, and much more subtle. In the story, Fletch is struggling with his history as an Olympic hockey player, the fame of which seems to be a haunting burden to him, while for others, it is a mark of local and national pride. Fletch hides from it, while every other character in the story, it seems, is striving for his or her own recognition. Ophelia is a struggling actress, many of his fellow high school alumni have made or are trying to make names for themselves in the world, and even the people Fletch meets on his trip to Hollywood seem to be searching for themselves, for their place in the world - or at least at their parties.

Aside from the complexites of McGrupp's female characters, the other players in The Blind Kangaroo are also exciting and different. While some of his fans may argue that the locations and the characterizations are semi-autobiographical, McGrupp admits that his characters are each an amalgam of people he has known and met in his life. Most of the characters get the time they deserve, and when we've seen the last of them (in this volume, at least), the timing of their departure is perfect. The one character who doesn't seem to linger long enough is Adriana, the personal assistant to Ophelia's Hollywood-producer father, Duncan. Adriana is the most developed character with the least face time. She appears only in the last two chapters of The Blind Kangaroo and while the story covers it's points in its seven, full, comprehensive chapters, Adriana's presence makes the case for the continuation. I recently spoke with McGrupp, and he tells me that there is a chance that we will see Adriana again, perhaps in a story of her own.

Another character who makes a far too short appearance is Imogen, the Icelandic flight attendant who Fletch meets while living in Denmark. The story of the relationship between Fletch and Imogen takes place in the past, and the way McGrupp tells the story is with love and passion. The telling of the tale of their love affair seems a moment of calm in the whirlwind of Orsino Fletcher's life. Their story and its aftermath barely lasts a whole chapter, and leaves the reader wanting more from Imogen and the passionate affect she has had on our hero.

The final two chapters are set in Hollywood, where Fletch puts into practice the things he has learned from reading the bathroom book about Buddha. He speaks honestly and candidly with Duncan, Ophelia's father, and also with Ophelia, to whom he finally opens his heart. The major concept of Buddha's teachings is to let go of all attachments, and that is exactly what Fletch is able to do by the time we get to the end of the week. He goes from being hung-up and obsessed with his fame, to being free of its implied burdens, and getting down to what is important in his life: respect and love. And keeping with the theme of strong women, the one who seals his realization is Ophelia, who points out,

" much as everyone is focused on the Norwegian Nightmare, you always took the time to tell me how lucky you were to be wherever, with the most beautiful woman in the room."

Her statement speaks of the message in The Blind Kangaroo, which is appreciation for the things around you - from generously tipping a waitress to playing in the fall leaves in New York's Central Park - and having less attachment to the things in your life by which you have felt burdened, but that you know will fade just as the moments.

All in all, The Blind Kangaroo is, by far, Tenzin McGrupp's mature, real-life novel. It is not only about fame and celebrity, and the struggles therein, but also about relationships with others and with the self, and learning about life through life.

Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer from Jersey City. She is also the assistant editor of Truckin'.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Phish on SNL...

I'm watching a repeat of last year's Al Gore & Phish Saturday Night Live show on E! The are playing 46 Days right now. Very cool.

5 Phish Songs I Want to Hear in Miami...
1. Jesus Left Chicago
2. Funky Bitch
3. Tube
4. Sand
5. Foam
Pilot Did Not Show: Feds Believe Some on Canceled Flight Intended to Attack Las Vegas

Right off of the Drudge Report... "Some passengers boarding Air France flight from Paris to Los Angeles 'intended to hijack it and crash land in Las Vegas', the WASHINGTON POST is planning to report in Page One leads on Friday, sources tell DRUDGE... officials said they 'remain suspicious about some passengers who did not show up at the airport to claim their seats on the ultimately aborted Flight 68 from Paris to Los Angeles. One of those who did not appear for the Christmas Eve flight apparently is a trained pilot'... Developing... "

Here's the Washington Post article: Suspicious Passengers Questioned In France

Here is the related article... France Cancels Paris-LA Flights Over Qaeda Threat.
The Fat Guy... and Poker Blogger Fever

I just added The Fat Guy to the roster of poker bloggers... he's a hilarious guy from Texas! Some good stuff on his site. Check it out.

With the addition of The Fat Guy, that now brings the total of 19 different poker blogs (the Tao of Poker makes 20!) that I have been following (and vice versa). There are a dozen more poker blogs out there that I have not read... and I'm sure there are hundreds of daily readers without blogs, that religiously read those sites including mine. The web traffic is increasing everyday. And finally there's a healthy spill over onto the Tao of Pauly and Truckin'. Yes, poker fever is sweeping the nation (and the world) and poker blogs are the newest rage... it's one of those things that will make the 2004 It Lists.

Poker Fever

Poker blogs are the fastest growing weblogs out there today. Wow. I'm glad I started mine almost six months ago... and I was one of the first poker bloggers, and in the poker blogging community, the Tao of Poker is highly regarded as one of the first generation of poker blogs. Whenever I visit a new blog, I almost always see the Tao of Poker linked up.That is a true homage to my poker playing skills and travels... and my ability to write lengthy detailed reports on my many trips to the casinos and playing in tournaments. I have finally embraced the insane popularity of the Tao of Poker and will take advantage of it's popularity and web traffic and hopefully use that opportunity to showcase my writing skills. At the same time, I want to keep everyone up to date on my quest to win a seat at the 2004 World Series of Poker... unless someone wants to just loan me the $10,000 entry fee!

The coolest part of poker bloggers... is the diversity of the players. The old poker player was a degenerate gambler, a chain smoking, alcoholic, ex-con, shady character, who has not shaved in months. These days, a new generation of poker players are out there... and they are getting younger and younger. And with the internet and poker websites booming, there is more information than ever before available to novice players to improve their game. Sales in poker related books have jumped drastically... every pro out there is jumping on the book writing band wagon. The new poker player is well-read and has devoured every major book writen about poker. They have seen every major televised tournament and come from all walks of life. After two amatuers won $4.5 million in the last two years, Brooklyn's Robert Varkoni and Chris Moneymaker from Tennesse, the average poker player is all fired up over the chance to play with the big dogs and even take them down and walk away with millions of dollars in cash. I predict that the 2004 WSoP will have almost 1,000 entries (2003 had 813) and the winning prize will be over $3 Million. Yikes!

I have been talking with some of the most interesting people out there... some family guys, a couple of poker playing females, some businessmen, some students, some writers, and some wise guys... but everyone is passionate about poker and becoming a better poker player. You can check out a project I have been working on called: Poker Bloggers Fotolog, where I posted pictures of poker bloggers. I only have a couple up there, but I hope to add more pics after I get back from Miami.

I am excited for the first poker bloggers tournament on coming soon. Iggy from Guinness & Poker had the brilliant idea of getting a table together comprised of all poker bloggers. It should be quite the event, scheduled for mid January. I can finally play against some of the minds behind great sites... from all over the world... from London to L.A., from Toronto to Chicago, from Florida to DC, from Texas to Germany... we can get together and play online. Sometimes the internet is great when it brings together like minds. Where else would poker players from London have a chance to read about my 7th place finish at a tournament at the Luxor in Las Vegas last week?

With that being said, take a peek at the poker bloggers links. Some great stuff out there. And check back to the Tao of Poker where I will be bloggin' tales about my trips to the casinos in Miami with Jerry!

Tao of Poker Trip Archives

I added a new feature to the left side of the Tao of Poker... called Recent Trips, which are quick links to blogs about specific trips to casinos this past year.

Here they are... Recent Trips:
Foxwoods 12.23.03
Vegas 12.16.03
Vegas 12.15.03
Vegas 12.14.03
Vegas 12.13.03
Foxwoods 12.3.03
Foxwoods 11.16.03
Foxwoods 9.16.03
Foxwoods 8.20.03
Foxwoods 6.2.03
Vegas 4.30.03
AC 4.14.03
Vegas 3.31.03
Christmas Gifts!

My brother bought me a cool book for Christmas... Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker written by James McManus. He also got me a live Phish CD (Denver 11.17.97) and a great Grateful Dead DVD... The Closing of Winterland Ballroom. Those are some of the best gifts I got this year!

I got him Saving Silverman on DVD and the book, Playing Poker Like the Pros, written by the youngest World Series of Poker champion, Phil Hellmuth.

Truckin' December 2003 (Vol 2., Issue 12)

Welcome back to your favorite blogzine. We have finally arrived at the end of the year! This has been a great year from Truckin' and I am happy to say that we are finishing up 2003 with a strong issue. This month, there are two new writers added to the roster. Sigge, a Norwegian student, spent some time studying in Cuba this past semester. He shares his first baseball game with us. Henry Wasserman, a fellow poker blogger, submitted an excerpt from his first novel. Jessica wrote up a great review of one of my latest novels, The Blind Kangaroo. Also, I returned with a funny Subway story. Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.

1. Excess Skin... a Subway Story by Tenzin McGrupp
For Japanese people to pack themselves into subway cars... that made sense. But in America, and especially in New York, there were fat people everywhere... More

2. A Novel Review: The Blind Kangaroo by Jessica E. Lapidus
Tenzin McGrupp’s third novel... is by far, his most profound work to date. For the first time in Tenzin McGrupp's novel-writing career, he concentrates on strong character development. Not to say that the characters from his other novels aren't strong, but those from The Blind Kangaroo are the most diverse... More

3. The Escape Artist: A Novel Excerpt by Henry Wasserman
He woke up feeling the usual morning frustration and immediately looked at the clock in the hope that it was too early for him to be awake. But the fatigue grew heavier when he realized he had slept for 9 hours. Most mornings he felt this way, and always wondered if there was something wrong with him, physically or mentally, or if everybody felt this way.... More

4. My First Baseball Match: A Cuba Story by Sigge Amdal
This past Saturday, I went to see the Baseball World Cup finals between Cuba and Panama, and I was really excited because it was my first time and all... More

Auggie Wren's Christmas Story

Last year I blogged Auggie Wren's Christmas Story written by Brooklyn writer Paul Auster. Check it out... the perfect reading for Christmas, and one of my favorite short stories... of all time.

Here's a bit: "I heard this story from Auggie Wren. Since Auggie doesn't come off too well in it, at least not as well as he'd like to, he's asked me not to use his real name. Other than that, the whole business about the lost wallet and the blind woman and the Christmas dinner is just as he told it to me..."

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. Naughty or Nice by Eric Jerome Dickey
2. The Holy Bible
3. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
4. On the Road by JackKeroauc
5. Dear Emily by Fern Michaels
Busy Pauly

Because I went up to Connecticut yesterday, I blew off a bunch of stuff I needed to do before Christmas and way before I left for my Phishin' trip in Miami. Now, I have to cram all that stuff into one day... today. I crashed around 4am after I stayed up to write. I woke up at 8am, and it was a shitty weather day in NYC with a lot of nasty rain. I have to run all over the city today, and I wished the weather was better.

What do I have to do today? E-mails... I have to send out, and answer a ton of emails. Some of them are fan mails... from the Tao of Poker, that I have not answered since my return from Vegas. I have to get all my Phish plans in order and getting the necessary info via email from all my Phish friends heading down to Miami. I have to do the Pauly's Pub Updates for my various Fantasy Pools, in adddition to doing my picks for this weekend. Oh... shit! Truckin'! I hope to publish the new issue by Midnight... stay tuned, some good stuff for the last issue of 2003! I am in the middle of doing laundry. I already went to the post office. I have to buy two more X-mas gifts... one for my grandma. What to get her? I broke two glass bowls recently and have to replace both, so that means a trip to the Village to a head shop. I'm having lunch with Haley and her friends near Union Square. I meeting my buddy Bruce in midtown, so we can exchange Phish tickets... he's coming to Miami for two shows! I hae to pay some bills and mail them. I have to call Cablevision to get my cable turned back on. I have to wrap gifts. I have to blog a couple of things that I've been holding on... I have to check, confirm and change my flight info to and from Miami. I have to check on my rental car in Miami and get a rental car reservation for a trip to Foxwoods when I get back to NYC next year. Oh, and I forgot, I have to get my doorman a present. Hmmm... I think that's not even the tip of the iceberg. I have to eat, pack, and get a couple of hours of writing and poker playing in before Christmas... I'm on the clock. It's going to be a busy day...
Back from Foxwoods

Yes I'm back after a quick spontaneous trip to Foxwoods to play poker with Senor and Jay. It was great to see them both. Of course I got my ass handed to me and lost $195 plus the $28 for the bus ticket. Oh well. That's poker. Some days you win... some days you lose. I liken my performance to a major league pitcher who had great stuff, but still got rocked and was sent to the showers after the second inning. I'll bounce back at my next outing... to a csino in south Florida on Midnight Friday, when I arrive in Miami!!
How To Get A Book Deal With Your Blog is written by Biz Stone. Here's a bit: "That's how I got my first deal. I became obsessed with blogging over four years ago when I discovered how easy it was and realized that a revolution was at hand. I talked about blogging so much that my friends thought I was a freak, and people mostly rolled their eyes whenever I opened my mouth. But hey, I'm an author now. This obsessive fixation can work for you too. Obsessive behavior is treatable, but if left unchecked, it can land you some sweet gigs."

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker!

I am back from a run to Foxwoods where I met up with Jay and Senor! It was great to see the two and I never played cards with both of them at the same session. Jay had been playing a bevy of "sit and gos" online at Poker Stars and had been doing very well. My brother had to work, so he could not make the trip. I asked Haley if she wanted to go (she's still reluctant to play hold'em in a real casino... we still have a few more lessons to go) but she had an audition, which she said went very well.

I got up early, and it was still dark outside. I jumped out of bed when my alarm went off because I knew I was going to play poker! I dressed quickly and hopped on the subway to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Everyone on the crowded subway was going to work and I was excited because I was going to play cards with Senor!! When I got to the bus depot, I forgot about two things: Christmas time and the Orange Alert. The depot was swarmed with holiday travelers with huge bags and plenty of presents. There was heavy security all over the place... not just cops, but those bad ass dudes wearing full combat armor and toting heavy machine guns with sneering bomb sniffing dogs. Normally I rent a car when I go to Foxwoods (I live in NYC and don't own a car...) but rental cars are ridiculously expensive this week, and with only a few left because it's Christmas week. It was a Greyhound bus for me at $28... a 2 plus hour drive slowed down to a 3 and a half hour excursion on the bus.

I got stuck sitting next to a overly chatty Canadian fellow with a mullet, a greasy NASCAR hat, a couple of earings and a ripped t-shirt. He had not shaven in three weeks and was headed to New Haven, the only stop along the way to Foxwoods. All he talked about was NASCAR, WWE, and horror movies. He was not a smart man. I do not mean to offend anyone, especially Canadians, NASCAR, and WWE fans... but the reason I say he was a dumb ass was because he told me he was going to visit his girlfriend and intended to propose to her Christmas Eve... and he left the ring in his luggage, which was tucked away somewhere in the belly of the packed Greyhound. Oh and he packed his cellphone and almost all of his cash in there too. Now, I know what you are thinking... "what a dumb ass!" Oh yeah. I'd traveled all around the world... on buses, trains, and planes... and I never once got stuck sitting next to the sultry, witty, nymphomanic, well read daughter of a real estate tycoon, with a penchant for wise-cracking, self-absorbed, pothead writers... who was also dying to learn how to play Texas hold'em. Nope, no fucking way. I got to sit next to the yapping Canuck. I should have rented a car. Actually it wasn't that bad. After we tired of the NASCAR and WWE stuff and I exhausted my limited knowledge on both subjects... we attempted a real conversation. We discussed Canadian healthcare... (I'm serious) and the advantages and perks of socialized healthcare. He gave me a few tips on how to give better oral sex on women without getting too many pubic hairs in your mouth (I wish I was making this stuff up...) and he swiftly nudged me in the ribs with his elbow and winked when he blurted out, "But I don't mind the shaved ones too... nothing like finger licking good."

I paid $28 for that early morning amusement. I could not create a more insane character in any of my novels. This guy was a walking trilogy. He showed me a huge scar on his neck, and told me he had part of his pelvis inserted in his neck that now acted as his vertebrae. He gave me tips on how to drive in the snow... "because in Canada, there's so fucking much of it, eh!"

Within an hour and a half hour in our trip, he spilled the beans to me on his entire life. The guy was not even thirty years old and from the stories he told me in that short time span... I gathered that he had enough eclectic material for at least three novels, a documentary film, a reality TV series, and all this coming from a guy who looked like he was at the bad end of a bar brawl. He told me everything. He practically told me his fucking pin number and where his grandma stashed her pension money (in her slippers in her closet). He confided in me that he had been detained at the border a month earlier because of a sexual assult charge (which was dismissed) had gotten him flagged at immigration, and we wouldn't let him into the country. I was so relieved when he got off at New Haven. All I could think about was... there's one lucky woman out there who gets to brag to her friends that she's getting married to a wonderful guy!

OK, there is some poker content in this blog. I'm sorry we got side tracked. There's always something strange going on when I head over to Foxwoods. I got there just before noon and called Senor, who was just getting off on I-95 and was about fifteen minutes away. Security searched his car and his trunk when he drove into the parking deck. Even Foxwoods was clamping down on security. So two of the last three times I was at Foxwoods, I saw Ben Affleck and Chris Moneymaker (and you can kinda count the time I saw Kato Kaelin playing $4-8... but he's like a C-list celebrity). You can judge the sucess of the poker celebrities by the limits they play... Affleck was sitting in on a high stakes pot limit game... just like Moneymaker, and poor Kato... was slugging it out on $4-8. I think he had too much pride to play $2-4. OK, I went off on another tangent there... back to the reason for this blog... the title is very important... If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker! as you will soon find out.

I got seated at a $4-8 hold'em table with Senor. I was awaiting my $2-4 game which was a good hour away. Foxwoods was crowded and they opened up a new table and game for us. I was the Big Blind right away and ended up playing my first two hands. I never like to play right away, but I had a great big blind: A-10o. I caught an Ace on the river, but bailed on the turn when a fourth spade hit. The next had, on the button, I called with K-Q suited. I bailed when an Ace hit the flop and two raises were in front of me. I was down a few bucks and I did not even take off my jacket. The blinds came around quick. Senor commented that $4-8 games seem to be much quicker than $2-4 games... more people folding and less callers at the end speeds it up. Anyway, in the big blind I catch the routine 5-9o. The flop: J-J-5. Interesting. I check so do five others. Senor is one of the last to act. He bets. I call, so do four others. On the turn: J. The table checks to Senor and he bets $8. Since no one else bet, I made them for hands like K or A high. I guessed that Senor was just betting because he had position on everyone, but I kinda thought he had an Ace and nothing more. I had a full house, but was it good enough? Where there any medium pocket pairs out there? I call and everyone folds. A 9 fell on the river, giving me a slightly higher full house. I check and Senor bets $8. I could have raised him, but I didn't... knowing that I had him beat was better than taking his money. I called and he was shocked that I had a full house. He has A-Q suited, a good hand, but not the winning hand. That was pretty much the only hand I won at the $4-8 table. When my name was called for my $2-4 game, I was down $30 in less than a hour. It was all downhill from there.

I sat down and recognized two regulars right away. I was in Seat 7 and the guy in Seat 2 was someone I played in a few tournaments against. Let's call him "Tom" from Vermont. Tom from Vermont is an unusual fellow. He wore a picture of his dead dog around his neck. I played against him in the Act Two satellite during the summer. He was at my table when I had K-K and went all-in pre-flop against a guy with pocket Aces. Yikes. Later that night, he was moved to my table in the weekly No Limit Tuesday tournament. I knocked him out when he was short stacked. He was a really nice guy and we talked on and off during that day at different times. He told me that his dog died sometime ago, and from heaven, he watches over him during trips to the casino.

Anyway, as soon as I sit down Tom from Vermont was happy to see me. "Haven't seen you in a while," he added. I looked at his chips. He had the biggest stack at the table, over $200 in $2 chips. The old guys at my end were funny guys, with healthy attitudes. They had lost a lot of their money to Tom from Vermont. Right away I saw that he was getting crazy hands. I lost to him when I flopped a straight with my A-J and he caught a little flush on the river when four diamonds hit the board. His diamond? The fucking 2! Unreal. I lost another big hand when I got dealt pocket 10s on the button. When I see that all I can think is "Raise!" Nine players were in and they all called after I raised. I nice size pot before the flop is something I love to see when I have position. The flop: 10-7-3 rainbow. A couple of checks on bet, then I raise. Half the field dropped. The rest called. The turn: 2. One bet to me and I raised to $8. Only two called including Tom from Vermont. The river: 8. One bet, I raised, Tom re-raised. We all called and my flopped triple 10s were no match for Tom's gutshot straight when he pulled up with a 9-6o. Unfucking real. I didn't think Tom from Vermont was such a nice guy anymore. That was two in a row that I should have won. I didn't fret. But I looked down and more than $100 of my stack was eaten away since I arrived. Not there for ninety minutes and I lost half my buy-in. Not good. I never should have left my $4-8 game. I thought that if I moved to a lower limit, i could play longer and just wait until the No Limit tournament started at 7pm. Alas, I was wrong. I got my ass handed to me at $2-4.

OK, now so was getting good cards, but horrible flops. I played very tight and only won one pot in two hours at the $2-4 table... and it was a small pot with pocket Kings. All my good hands got cracked. I lost a flopped nut flush to a full house (caught on the river by some kid who showed up wearing sunglasses). When he sat down, one of the old guys joked under his breath to my end of the table... "Looks like someone had been watching the WPT on th Travel Channel." We all laughed and thought the same thing: "DEAD MONEY!" But the kid with the shades took me for a big pot. I hope I don't stumble upon some random college kid's new poker blog and read about him bragging about winning a huge hand after he stayed in on a 3-7o and won a huge pot at Foxwoods. If I do, I'll go find him, piss on his laptop, and break his sunglasses.

Then it got really ugly. I've had some bad beats before, but I walked into one hell of a trap. I had about $80 in chips after I lost a shitty pot when I held A-K suited and lost to an old lady caught a pair of 3s on the river to beat me. Anyway, I see A-A on the button. Tom from Vermont raised pre-flop. I noticed he raised on pocket 6,7,8 and A-J twice. He slow played his pocket Aces the one time I saw him have them. I made him for a medium pair. I re-raised. Eight called. The flop: J-A-J. Did Pauly just flop a full house Aces over Jacks? Yes. What to do? One bet before Tom, he raised, and I re-riased. The kid with the shades called and Tom re-raised. I re-raised and capped it out The kid still called and hung in there. For a second I thought: Someome has a Jack... but do they have pocket Jacks? I put the kid for a Jack and a small kicker. And I pegged Tom from Vermont with a medium pair or A-J and a smaller full house than mine. Rags fell on the turn and the river, the same routine repeats: Tom bets $4, kid calls $4, I raise to $8, Tom re-raises to $12, kid calls, I re-raise to $16 to cap it out. Everyone calls and the kid turns over A-3 suited. I expected to see an A-J from Tom from Vermont, but his dead pooch was smiling down on him from dog heaven because he turned over pocket Jacks!! J-J stared me in the fucking face. I lost the rest of my stack in a $200 plus pot. The kid had no idea what happened, but I was wicked pissed and turned over my pocket aces for the table and dealer to feel my pain. The "oohs" and "aaaahs" filled the mouths of the players. Even the dealer was shaking his head. Too bad there was not a Bad Beat Jackpot like other casinos had... because I would have won that after 4 Jacks beat out my Aces full over Jacks. Fuckin' guy with the dead dog had over $350 in chips, most of that my monet. I had two $2 chips left. In less than three hours I lost $196. I spent a week in Vegas and only dropped around $90. Wanting to cap out my losses at $200, I had to walk away. I was not able to play in the Tuesday night No Limit tourney. Instead, I decided to take an early bus back to the city.

As I got up from my seat to ponder what the fuck happened, I let my disgust be known to the table. My comment was greeted by a thunderous roar of laughter. Even the floor manager who stood nearby heard me. I jokingly said, "If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker!"
13 year Old Girl Arrested For DUI

Only in Indiana... 13 year Old Girl Arrested For DUI, where... "according to police, the girl hit a utility pole, ccausing nearly 600 homes to lose electricity Sunday near LaPorte."
Cablevision Sucks

Those bastards shut off my cable!!

Monday, December 22, 2003


I just got off the phone with Senor. His brother is in town for the holidays and they want to play some cards on Tuesday... so I'm going to Foxwoods tomorrow!! There is a No Limit tournament at 7pm. If I stay that long, then I will play. But I'm just taking the bus up there, so it's not going to be a long session. More to come.

Orange Alert!

That means there is extra security around here in NYC... I have mixed emotions. Do I feel safer? No. Do I feel more like a prisoner in my own city? Yes. Oh well, time to hit 100% al-Qaeda free poker, 24 hours a day!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Sick Pauly? Cold in NYC?

I'm under the weather during a friggin' cold weekend in NYC. I wanted to go see The Cooler with Haley this weekend, but because of my failing health... and the fact that I had to help my brother move into his new apartment, limited my time to do some stuff this weekend. I am sluggish today. I wrote for a little bit, but I want to crawl back into bed and sleep until my flight leaves for Miami on Friday. Senor has off tomorrow and wants to go to Foxwoods to play some poker. Ah yes, poker... I played a little yesterday on where my buddy HDouble got rocked yesterday in just a few hours (lost $700). Yikes! But I played for an hour with my brother in his new place. And I got to watch some of the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel yesterday night before the JETS game. I'm getting pumped for my trip to Miami... to see Phish, Jerry, and to play poker!
Top 5 Phish Songs I'd Like to Hear in Miami...

1. Tube
2. Slave to the Traffic Light
3. MoMA Dance
4. My Friend, My Friend
5. Fluffhead!

Wow... I hope they break out Fluffhead!
Pic of the Day

Visit the Tao of Pauly's Pic of the Day. Did anyone say biscuits?
Al Gore's Son Busted with the Pot!

It's ture. I'm sure he was pumped when his dad was on SNL with Phish last year. But Al Gore's SOn Was Busted for Pot the other day. Read all about it!
More Poker Bloggers!!

Everyday there are new poker bloggers popping up! And all of them linked up the now popular Tao of Poker. Here are some new ones I finally got around reading and added to the roster. Enjoy!

New Poker Blogs:
Felicia Lee
Poker Penguin
Intrepid Cardplayer
Boy Genius
Mr. Decker
Mean Gene
Poker Odyssey

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Cooler

There is a great indie film called The Cooler that my friends have been telling me to see. My art friends are raving about the odd sex scene and my gambling friends want me to see it because it's all about gambing and... Las Vegas!

Here's a review called: 'The Cooler' shines as a tale of life and luck in old-school Vegas from the Seattle Times.

Here's a bit: "Nearly all of Wayne Kramer's Las Vegas fable "The Cooler" takes place in artificial light; scenes unfold on the cavernous floor of an old-school casino where day and night merge, dimly lit back offices, or musty apartments where curtains are drawn firmly against the light. It's a strange, free-floating world, and it's become a prison for Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), a "cooler" at the Shangri-La casino who dreams of going somewhere "where there are clocks on the walls."

A cooler, in this movie's old-school Vegas parlance, is someone whose luck is so bad that he can "cool" a table just by standing nearby. And it just takes one look at Bernie to see that he's got rotten luck -- as played by Macy (who, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman, is king of the indie-movie shlub), he's got greasy, flattened-down hair, nastily wrinkled suits, a pronounced limp and a perpetually worried look. "People get next to me, their luck turns," he explains to Natalie (Maria Bello), the pretty cocktail waitress who's inexplicably flirting with him..."

If you would like to watch the trailer or a preview visit this site: The Cooler: Trailers. I just checked it out... and it looks great. I'm going to try to get Haley to go see it this wekeend (but she wants to go see LOTR 3.) Stay tuned for a movie review from me!!
NFL Saturday Best Bets

It's that time of year when the NFL airs games on Saturday. So far we have a few picks.

Zobo: Tampa Bay -7 over Atlanta
Tao of Pauly: NE -3 at the JETS
HDouble: NE -3 at the Jets and KC -3 at Minny

HDOuble recently blogged this pick to his site: "Game 1: Ride the lightning... NE (-3) at NJ... I said I'd ride Billy Belichek all the way to the playoffs, and what better opportunity to bet on the Pats than this week in their matchup with the hapless Jets. The Pats are only giving away 3 here, but all the Jets have got is Curtis Martin, and the Pats have effectively stopped the run all year. They're also playing for homefield advantage in the playoffs, whereas the Jets have nothing to gain from this game. On the negative side, Pennington was one of the few QBs to figure out Belichek's defensive scheme last year, and punished the Pats in a big game. But Chad P doesn't have the horses this year. Pats win by at least a TD."
Trey, Dave Matthews & Bathtub Gin at MSG!

Haley told me that Dave Matthews solo project played at MSG this past week when I was in Las Vegas. Trey is his lead guitar player and they played Bathtub Gin. Dave sung some of the verses.

Neil a hip Texas Phishead and the blogger behind Bathtub Gin, recently blogged a link where you can download that version of Bathtub Gin. Visit his site for the link and more details. Thanks Neil!

Friday, December 19, 2003

I'm Playing Too Much Poker: Reason #2

I can tell when normal people (non-poker players) are lying to me!! Because I've been playing so much cards this past week, I've been subconciously picking up tells and ticks. I already caught a few people bullshitting me.
I'm Playing Too Much Poker: Reason #1

I walked into the bodega this morning to buy a newspaper and I took two quarters out of my pocket and splashed them onto the counter, just like poker chips into a pot. I laughed when they hit smack in the middle of the counter and I walked out thinking... "Man, I've been playing too much poker!"
The End of the Ring

Check out... The End of the Ring an article written by Jonathan B. Last from The Weekly Standard where he thinks that: "The Return of the King is a flawed, disappointing end to Peter Jackson's exceptional Lord of the Rings trilogy."

The Daily Dave Is Back!!!!

My favorite blogger Dave "Skippy" Simanoff is back to blogging again! Cheers to Skippy!!! I am so happy to see his blog up and running. I was going crazy the last few months without Skippy!! Check out the new Daily Dave 2.0!! Welcome back, Skippy!
One Week... Until Miami!!

It's so cold today that I cannot wait to arrive in sunny South Florida to relax and play cards and do some Phishin'!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Hunter S. Thompson Breaks Leg in Hawaii!

The Good Doctor slipped and felll in the bathroom while covering the Honolulu Marathon as a columnist for
Party Poker?

I made the leap and joined I played for an hour or so today and did OK.
I'm Back!!

My short holiday to Vegas is over and I am super tired. I barely slept the entire trip. But I had one of the best times I ever had in Vegas. Some of my favorite trips to Vegas this year included the trip with Derek and Senor. The highlights of this past week were watching Derek play poker for the first time (he did very well for a beginner) and of course I am pumped about my final table appearance at the Luxor tournament and finishing "in the money" for the first time ever!! That was cool. Now I'm pumped for Phish in Miami for the New Year's run and of course to see Jerry and Sarah and play poker at the Indian reservation near Miami!!! My fingers are itching to play!

For now... some sleep and rest and a lot of writing. I have the new issue of Truckin' to work on! Stay tuned.

Last 5 Books I saw People Reading in Airports...

1. Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson
2. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
3. Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy
4. Bleachers by John Grisham
5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Four of a Kind at the Luxor... Day 4 Vegas Update

Day 1 (Saturday): + $5 (10 hours)
Day 2 (Sunday): - $50 (8 hours)
Day 3 (Monday): - $99 (12 hours... including the tournament)
Day 4 (Tuesday): +55 (5 hours)
Total (4 days): - $90 in 35 hours

I gambled for 35 hours in Las Vegas and only lost less than $100. I guess I'm happy with that. I know that if I played tighter and walked away a lot sooner when I was up a couple of times... then I would have won money on this trip. Alas, $100 loss is nothing because I had a kick ass time in Vegas with my brother. I really love going there with him to gamble (on black jack or sports betting or for poker... we always have a blast!) and it was cool to see him play. He did very well for a beginner. If I played as tight as he did... I am sure I would have made enough moeny to pay for my expenses.

I palyed at the Luxor yesterday. After the first hour, I found myself down almost $50. Then I hit an amazing rush of cards... some of the best I got in Vegas. I got pocket Aces twice, once on the button, and another time before the button came around again. I slow played one hand and won, and the other I intended to slow play, but the old guy in front of me raised pre-flop, so I re-raised. My brother held A-K suited and raised on the flop when an Ace fell. One of the guys on my end said, "Wow, your brother is raising you?" I nodded and re-raised. Derek and the old man called. I eventaully chased Derek out by the river, but the old man kept betting. When he called my raise, he was shocked to see my pocket Aces. I was pumped because my big pairs did not hold up at all the day before at the Luxor and at the Excalibur.

I won another big pot on A-K hearts and a hefty win when flopped a flush with K-10 suited. My rush continued with a bevy of medium pairs. I had 9-9 and the flop only had a Jack high. At showdown, I beat a guy with 8-8. The next hand I had 10-10 and flopped 10-2-2. I checked on the river and raised on the turn, only to have everyone fold. When I turned over my cards (I was super proud of my little run) the table all shrugged their shoulders. My stacks of chips were mounting and I stayed in on a few hands I probably shouldn't have.

The Four of a Kind!

In middle position, I held 4-7 suited. Of course I flopped 7-7-7. I checked on the flop and raised when a 4 fell on the turn. I re-raised one guy who bet into me on the river and won a nice size pot. The Luxor gives away a bonus jackpot of $20 to anyone with four of a kind! That was a $70 hand. To think, I almost mucked that shitty opening hand, but because I was on such a run, I played them.

Eventually, I found myself up $125 and my quick rush was over. I slowly lost some of those chips to a few bad beats (a guy caught a straight on the river with two runners!) and a couple of times my A-J and A-Q did not hold up.

A Las Vegas Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Day 3 Update...

Day 1 (Saturday): + $5 (10 hours)
Day 2 (Sunday): - $50 (8 hours)
Day 3 (Monday): - $99 (12 hours... including the tournament)
Total (3 days): - $145 in 30 hours

We just finished a session at the Excalibur. Derek took a drunk black guy for all his chips. I was impressed by his tenacity. He won $51 in the last four plus hours. He is now up $52 for the trip.

How did I do? I was up $25 for a while, but finished up $5. For the trip... I'm down $155 playing poker. And I broke even at the Sports Book after Philly beat Miami.

We're thinking about the 10 am tournament at the Mandalay Bay. $30 buy-in... could be interesting. Like my brother said, he thinks that I play better against better players. The Luxor tourney was the best I played in the last five days... despite the fact I only played five hands! I was getting housed on the river all weekend playing low-limit, with a ton of bad beats. My last one almost made me go tilt again. I lost on pocket Kings to a guy who caught a 5 on the river to get the wheel. I kept raising and he kept calling. I was pissed because I thought he was cheating... his girlfriend sat next to him, and I swear I thought they were discussing their hands... especially when I saw the girl pick up her cards on several ocassions to look at them... and I caught him peeking at them. It wasn't cool and I almost got into a fight with the guy. My brother said something to the dealer, and I made sure I clocked them the entire time they played. At one point I said something, in my biggest, boisterous, asshole NEW YORKER TONE... something like, "Are you guys discussing your hands down there?" I made their experience as uncomfortable as possible and tried to get inside their heads, without losing my cool. Well, that jerkoff finally got up and left with his girlfriend after they didn't get to play any hands, because by then, not only was Derek and myself clocking them... so were the dealer and a couple of people sitting on my end. That I clued into their shady table behavior.

Anyway... it's 6am and I've been playing since Noon. Going to rest for a bit, eat breakfast and then reload and hit the Luxor for a couple of hands before I head over to the Mandalay Bay to sign up for the tournament. More to come...

A Las Vegas Blog
Casino Hopping...

We're staying at the Excalibur. We played poker there and at the Luxor. We bet on football at the sports book at Mandalay Bay. One day we walked around the Alladin and did some random Christmas shopping. After dinner last night, we took a walk and headed up to the Mirage (and I almost sat down at the poker room because they had open seating for $30-6 hold'em). We wandered through the Venetian and then checked out the Paris. Across the street is the Bellagio and the poker room was packed and we couldn't get on any tables. Of course we saw Phil Hellmuth there, and he kinda blew me off. Not bad for a few days in Vegas and the fact that we played poker for over 30 hours... maybe more and only slept a total of six hours since our arrival.
I Just Saw Phil Hellmuth!!!

I walked into the Bellagio with my brother. We walked over to the poker room. Just fifty yards in front of the room was a WPT table. And Phil Hellmuth was standing there! I nudged my brother and motioned to Phil. Derek thought he was huge! And yes, Phil is a tall guy. I'm six feet tall, but he must be almost 6'6". We stopped right in front of the poker room and peeked inside. Phil walked right by us. I assume he was going home. I felt compelled to say something.

Pauly: "Yo Phil!"
Phil Hellmuth: "Hey."
Pauly: "I read your book."
Phil Hellmuth: "Great."

And then he walked away. He kinda blew me off, but it was cool to see him and I couldn't wait to blog the news! I saw two World Series of Poker winners in the last month!!! I caught Moneymaker at Foxwoods on Nov. 16th and now Phil!

Oh, if you have no clue who Phil Hellmuth is... he is the youngest person to ever win the World Series of Poker at the age of 23. He is to poker what John McEnroe is to tennis.

A Las Vegas Blog

Monday, December 15, 2003

Pauly Makes the Final Table at the Luxor...

I came in 7th place and finished in the money!! I made it to the final table at the noon tournament at the Luxor. There were 51 entires ($28 buy-in) and first place paid $309. I won $44.

I finished in second place once at Foxwoods, but I did not win any money. So techincally, this was the highest money finish for me to date! Derek came in 25th place in his first tournament appearance. There will be another tournament tonight at the Luxor and another one at the Mirage.

A Las Vegas Blog
Luxor Monday Noon Tournament...

I just registered for the limit tourney at the Luxor. We had to get there 3 hours before to make sure we got one of 40 seats. The buy-in was $25. I'm pumped. Derek and I got our seat assignments and we are on different tables. Stay tuned...

I forgot to tell you that Derek won $47 last night playing $1-3 at the Excalibur.

A Las Vegas Blog
Vegas Poker Play... Day 2 Update

Day 1 (Saturday): + $5 (10 hours)
Day 2 (Sunday): - $50 (8 hours)
Total (2 days): - $45 in 18 hours

For a complete and detailed update, please visit the Tao of Poker. Here's a bit of what I blogged there.

I played for a solid 8 hours... On Sunday afternoon, they're weren't as many drunks playing. However, I found myself in a bad rut of cards. When I got strong hands, they got cracked and I lost to folks staying in until the river, and then catching a hand slightly better than mine... I went on a nice run, and within a half hour, I picked up a quick $100 in chips to go up $20.... I had an open ended straight flush. I got raised on the flop. I said "fuck it". No matter how much it was going to cost me... By the end of the fourth hour, midway through my session, I had broken even after I won pots with A-J and A-Q off suited... Then the last half of the session, I played like shit. I got no cards and slowly lost my stack.... By the end of the seventh hour of my eight hour session, I was tired and not pleased with my hands. As always, I lost too much because I played too many hands... It was almost 2 am, so I decided to call it a night. I won $5 on Saturday, and lost $50 on Sunday for a total loss of $45 through two playing sessions, or 18 hours worth of poker in Las Vegas... I played with a couple of women throughout the night. I also played against a couple of cowboys in town for the Rodeo stuff. They were drunk and playing a lot of hands.

A Las Vegas Blog

Sunday, December 14, 2003

NFL Games

Man I just got my ass handed to me. We went to the Mandalay Bay to watch the games. The Sports Book displayed all nine early games!! It was cool. I got to watch my NY Jets (it's snowing again in NYC) and all the games that I bet on. Fuck the damn St. Louis Rams. They cost me a huge parlay bet. I picked 4 teams and if all of them won (New England, Iggy's Bengals, and Kansas City -- all won and covered the point spread), I would have netted 11 times my original bet if allf our teams won. It all came down to the Rams. They were up 21-12 at halftime and did not cover in a 27-22 win. I was wicked pissed. My brother needed them to cover his parlay as well. I'm going to stick with poker. Although I put a c-note on Philly against Miami on Monday Night Football.

A Las Vegas Blog
NFL Best Bets Week 15

Live from Las Vegas, I'm doing the picks of the week. I'll be heading over to the Mandalay Bay to put money on my picks. I put my money where my mouth is. It's easy to say I like this team or that team. But when you actually fork over cash for your pick, it's much different. There's a ton more pressure.

Pick of the Week
Chicago Bob (9-5-1): Indy - 7 1/2
Rib Boy (8-7): Indy - 7 1/2
Tao of Pauly (6-10): Philly +2 at the Fish
Zobo (3-2-2): Philly +2 at the Fish
Jodd (2-1-1): Jags +7 at N.E.

Last Week: The Jets suck. Jodd took his first hit of the year. Bob is looking good.

Week 15: Rib Boy likes Indy and the Rams. Bob likes Indy. Zobo likes Philly +2. Jodd is going with the Jags +7. I like the Rams, New England, Philly, and Cincy.

Parlay of the Week: Cincy - 2 1/2, New Orleans - 7 1/2, Rams - 7 1/2, and KC - 14 1/2

Rib Boy's Beating of the Week (3-9): KC against the lowly Lions

Tao of Pauly Upset of the Week (3-9): Houston

A Las Vegas Blog
Vegas Update

After playing poker for almost ten straight hours last night, I walked away: up $5! Today we'll gamble on pro football games and play more poker tonight. I'm fixing to play ina tournament on Monday at the Luxor!!! Stay tuned for more details and visit the Tao of Poker for detailed poker play!

A Las Vegas Blog
Rodeo Pauly?

Yeah, Derek and I walked into one helluva situation in Vegas. I had no clue that we were visitng Vegas at the peak of Rodeo Week!! Our cab driver aske dus if we were in town for the Rodeo! I laughed. Then when I got to the Excalibur, I noticed hundreds and thousands of guys and gals wearing cowboys hats, boots, and those shiny buckles! The National Rodeo Finals were being held the past week, and we showed up at one intresting time!

A Las Vegas Blog
Flight to Vegas!!

I prefer flying Jetblue to Las Vegas because they have Direct TV service for the duration of the 5 plus hour long flight. I got lucky. On channel 23, they aired music concerts. I think they were trying to sell the DVD versions of the concerts by airing the actual concerts! I saw three... U2 from Ireland, Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden in NYC (from this July), and the Allman Brothers Band Live at the Beacon Theatre. Ironically, I skipped the very shows that they filmed the DVD (late March) because I was in Las Vegas for March Madness!! It was great not to have to pay $70 to see the Allmans and it killed time in the air. The highligts included a kick ass Soulshine and Whipping Post. Greg Allman sounded great, the best he’s sounded in years. The Perl Jam concert was interesting. They’re an amazing live act. ben harper joined them for a few songs included Mother. The boys also performed a rocking cover of Baba O’Reilly.

The coolest things I saw on some of the other channels was a Greatful Dead video for Foolish Heart, on VH-1 Classics.

Anyway, I’m here and ready to play some Hold’em at the poker room at the Excalibur. I found out that tehre are daily tournaments at the Orleans and morning limit hold’em ($25 buy-in) at the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Should be interesting!!! More to come.

A Las Vegas Blog

Friday, December 12, 2003


I'm off for Vegas soon. I'm excited to play some poker! I hope to win enough cash against some tourists to cover all my expenses. I also hope to hit the Bellagio and play in a satellite tournament for the Five Diamond Poker Classic. Stay tuned...

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. Baudolio: A Novel by Umberto Eco
2. Six Easy Pieces by Walter Mosely
3. Irish Born by Nora Roberts
4. The Long Haul by Amanda Stern
5. Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel
Journalists Nachtwey & Weisskopf Wounded in Iraq

Details Emerge on attack on journalists is from

Here's a bit: "Senior correspondent Michael Weisskopf grabbed the grenade when it came into the vehicle, but it exploded as he tossed it out, leaving him with serious injuries to his arm. Photographer James Nachtwey, who was also in the vehicle, suffered shrapnel wounds, as did Weisskopf."
An Actor Prepares

Haley gave me this book: An Actor Prepares written by Constantine Stanislavski. I intend to read it on my way to Las Vegas to pick up some tips on acting.

In the meantime, I busted out Super System (written by Dolye Brunson... referred to as The Bible for all poker players) to thumb through yesterday (on the subway) to prep for my trip to Vegas.
World Series of Poker Is Like Crack

It's true! Iggy from Guinness & Poker blogged this read: World Series of Poker Is Like Crack is an article written by Chris Becker from a student newspaper in Wisconsin.

Here's a bit: "I’m not a very big gambler... which is why I presumably shouldn’t have any interest in watching televised gambling, just like how someone who isn’t really a fan of crap and garbage wouldn’t have any interest in watching reality shows... which is why I was surprised as anyone when I became addicted to the televised World Series of Poker on ESPN. Especially since I don’t even like poker... the main reason why the World Series of Poker, against all logic, is entertaining to watch is because it is heavily edited for time. Imagine it being like a football game in which the only parts that are televised are the plays that are interesting and matter and people care about, except it also lasts several days and the competitors don’t need to be in shape because they’re playing cards...."