Monday, January 31, 2005


Congrats to Gil and Elite who were engaged this weekend. Best of luck guys!!
Ten Worst Corporations of 2004

There's some interesting companies on the list. Check out: Ten Worst Corporations of 2004.
Trey & Mike to Play Bonnaroo

Well how about that. Trey Anastasio Band and Mike Gordon's trio made the lineup at this year's Bonnaroo June 10-12 Here's a bit:
Trey Anastasio will make his third appearance at Bonnaroo with a very special late night performance backed by his new band. Trey appeared at the inaugural festival in 2002 and again in 2004 with his horn-driven ten-piece band. Last year’s show featured an opening set of self-composed selections with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra.

After a successful (and very fun) sold-out four-show run last December, Mike Gordon will perform at Bonnaroo in a special collaboration with NYC improv favorites Benevento/Russo Duo. Mike played at Bonnaroo in 2003 with Leo Kottke.
I betcha they'll both sit in with each other's band. No Page and Vida Blue?
I Want This Guy's Job...

Opening the Dead's Vault is an article about David Lemieux, the archivst for The Greatful Dead. Here's a bit:
David Lemieux has one of the greatest jobs on earth. Not only does he get paid to listen to Grateful Dead music that no one else has access to, but he also helps decide what we actually do get to hear. As the Grateful Dead's archivist, David holds the key to the much talked about Vault.
Seriously, this guy has my dream job... well one of the Top 5 for sure! Otis has one of my other dream jobs.

Since we're still remotely on the topic...

Last 5 Grateful Dead Bootlegs I Listened to...
1. 8.5.74 Philadelphia, PA
2. 3.23.74 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California
3. 2.5.78 Cedar Falls, Iowa
4. 6.24.74 Providence, RI
5. 12.29.77 San Francisco, CA
Chapter 10: Closing Thoughts on Vegas
"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." - Jerry Garcia
Here's the best of the best, some of my favorite passages and quotes from the trip...

HDouble on hanging out in Vegas with the bloggers:
The thing that impressed me the most about the bloggers was their level of intelligence and friendliness.
Iggy wrote something nice about me:
I shower and head straight for the bar. Only one thing is gonna cure what ails me: booze and lots of it. After praying with Saint Hair of the Dog for a bit, I snack on some olives for breakfast before finally hitting the card room and sitting with Pauly and Derek. Had a damn good time hanging with these two, not only here, but all weekend. Pauly's blog doesn't do him justice, believe me, you've got to hang with The Good Doctor to get a full sense of his huge, gregarious personality. You can't make a guy like Pauly up.

Holding court at the Sherwood Forrest bar

Derek's take on the food at Sam's Town:
The big question of the day is . . . what kind of food did I eat at the breakfast? Since I was a little drunk, I definitely needed some food in my belly before the tourney started. I ate 7 bagels (yes, 7). I drank 10 glasses of water and ate the world's greatest muffin. That muffin must've had some crack in it because it tasted so good that I ate two. And to think, earlier in the morning, I turned down an opportunity to share one of these muffins with EvaCanHang. What was I thinking?
The Poker Prof on us being late to the Meet & Greet at Sam's Town:
Then, about five minutes later while pacing in the hall like a patient waiting for the results of a tumor biopsy, I hear a commotion from around the corner? either a pack of bloodthirsty Huns from a Credit Card commercial were decending upon the Casino or the bloggers had arrived. Leading the pack was none other than Pauly with about two dozen Internet scribes in tow.
Asphnxma from Riding the F Train enjoyed the Meet & Greet:
What a stellar line-up! In no particular order: Charlie Shoten, Ron Rose (who provided free copies of his coffee table book Poker Aces to all bloggers), Marcel Luske, Kiril whatshisname, Tom McEvoy, and Eveyln Ng. Wow. I was privileged to have some one-on-one time with both Charlie and Ron, and I can confirm that they are very nice guys indeed!
BG wrote about meeting Iggy for the first time:
That Don Swayze staring dude came rolling over. "Hi, you must be BG. I'm Casey, from the 'Can't Hang Crew.'" Now, far be it from me to know who was in and who was out from the Can't Hang Crew. I didn?t meet a "Casey" in Philly, but whatever. I didn't remember meeting Phil out there either. I gave him a quick hello and turned back to Hank. "Casey" tapped me on the shoulder, and let me in on the joke. "Naw BG, I'm Iggy."

No shit! "Aw yeah, I?m seeing it now? The 'skinny Travis Tritt!'" Iggy had described himself as such previously, but he should give himself a little more credit than that. Tritt's losing the hairline rapidly, while Iggy's got a little more going on up top.

"Did you see me staring at you?" I lied. I told him no. I mean, I guess I really didn't technically staring at me, but trust me, I knew from where my earlier discomfort had arisen. Whatever though, I think I would have been disappointed had I met Iggy and he had not tried to dick with me somehow. Regardless, now that Iggy and Hank were in the fold, and knowing that I was going to meet Grubs on Saturday, my blogger meet-up wishlist was nearly complete.
Bad Blood wrote about a few vicious bad beats he took at the Mandalay Bay:
I had to let it go, and I eventually did. I told myself I'd somehow turn these bad beats into something positive. It took a while but I think I did.

Initially, I lamented the fact that every time I played above my normal limits and "took a chance," I seemed to fail. This was no exception. There are those players who take the chance, hit it big, and never look back. For whatever reason, not me. Upon further thought, I realized I played those hands about as good as anyone could. I had all my money in the pot when I was a 93% and a 95% favorite. What more could you ask for really? Losing the hands was just a formality, an occurance out of my control.

As absurd as it may sound, I took home from Vegas a greater confidence in my play. I was making good reads and good bets, and that's all you can really do at the tables.
Bill spoke about crushing the $2-6 tables at Excalibur.
Once he left I started accumulating chips fairly rapidly and went from a one rack buy-in to 3 full racks fairly quickly. But that was it. At some point I decided it was almost unfair that the games were this soft so I decided to handicap myself by getting good and drunk. I couldn?t win any more after that but I wasn?t loosing either so I ended up sticking around until 7:30am and was at the same three racks I had been at, at around 2am.
Glenn had a funny paragraph about playing Omaha 8 with Al Cant Hang and the gang:
At the start of the game, one lady had sat down, I think realized she was in the wrong game, and left. Another lady filled this empty seat, but this one got us going. During this point in time, we were expecting Maudie at any moment. Felicia remarked that the new arrival could fit the description we had for her and wouldn't it be funny if that was Maudie pulling a fast one on us; just sitting down at our game without introducing herself. Well, she neither said, "yes, I'm Maudie", nor, "no, I'm not, now shut up about it"--grin--but we did have a good laugh with her... While at the table, Al was downing SoCo shots. Once, upon getting a refill, set it down on the table that was sitting between him and the lady. All of a sudden the lady starts turning purple, exclaiming that she was sorry but she just drank Al's drink accidentally; all the while fanning herself after the unexpected hot liquor was coarsing down her throat! She laughed along with us and Al gave her the rest of his water, "don't worry about it, here, drink this."
Felicia wrote about the infamous hand between me and Max Pescatori in the tournament:
Pauly agonized and looked like he was giving birth. Finally, though, he folded, face up. Pocket tens. Everyone gasped. He was HU against Max, with a premium hand. No, no, no. He had only about 1200 left after limping in. The blinds were 100/200. No, no, no. I told him why he couldn't fold that hand, in that position, under those circumstances. At first, Max kidded him by saying it was a good fold, but later told him the truth of the situation. Don't make big laydowns in little tournaments, and if you ever make a big lay down, period, never show it, or the table will run you over. Max showed AK.

Okay, so the funny story was that after this hand, Pauly went on his premium run. During this run, Max looked at me like he was really suffering and said, "Couldn't you have waited to tell him he was supposed to call with those tens? Waited until after the tournament?" Naturally we both saw the hands Pauly was getting, because he always got action, due to the structure of the tourney. At the time, it was a really funny comment, though, and I wish it translated better to paper.

Felicia and Al before he lost to my AA.

And I loved it when CJ cracked Otis' Hammer! He wrote:
I'm dealt two black 6's and Otis raises in front of me. I call, hoping to catch a 6 on the flop. It didn't come, but it wasn't the worst flop ever: 2-3-5, all clubs. Otis checks, I bet out $6 and I believe Otis raised me. I was worried about a flush, but had to call. The turn was the 4 of clubs. Jackpot. I've never had a straight flush at a B&M table before, but I think I hid it well. I was really hoping Otis didn't have the ace of clubs. That would be a hellish beat. He checked and I bet out.

"I can't call you," Otis told me. I said he could and that I wouldn't bet anymore. He paused, and then sheepishly turned over the Poker Bloggers favorite hand, the HAMMER. That's right, I cracked his HAMMER with a straight flush.

When I turned over my 6, the table erupted. It also meant I got to spin the Excalibur's money wheel that brought me an extra 20 dollars (and a really awful baseball cap).

Napping at the table, again?

Otis describes the early Saturday morning fesitives:
Mrs. Can't Hang downed a shot of 7:30am tequila and played video poker. I counted the hours of sleep I would get if I went to bed at that very moment. At some point, someone there (I know who it is, but I won't say. He/She can cop to it if they want) said the funniest thing I'd heard in hours.

"This is surreal. I'm sitting at a bar at 7:30 in the morning with Patrick Swayze and Tony Siragusa."

I digested that and expressed my thanks for the summation of the morning.

At 8am, just two hours before the meet and greet at Sam's Town was supposed to begin, I quietly slipped away from the growing group and rode the elvators to the tenth floor of the hotel. I found a smelly room, full of people, and no bed space available. I collapsed on the floor and wondered if I would wake up in time for the tournament.
And this has to be the funniest blogger-calling-his-wife conversation of the trip from G-Rob:
Wife of G-Rob : So, how much did you lose?

G-Rob : Some

Wife of G-Rob : Did you play badly?

G-Rob : Not at all. I dropped the hammer in a tournament.

Wife of G-Rob : Is that good?

G-Rob : No. Its the worst hand in poker. But let's see if we can buy our groceries with pride.
And then there's Al Cant Hang living the celebrity life:
As we pull up to Sam's Town in this monstrosity (which had to do something like a 7 point turn just to get IN the driveway), the speakers ramming, there are a bunch of younger kids standing in or near the cab stand. Everyone exits the limo via the right door and I'm waiting for everyone to unload. Just as the last of the passengers are disembarking, the kids run over and open the left hand door.

"Is there anyone famous in here!"

There I am. On my knees, trying to slide over to get out of this beast. I turned to them, surely looking rather disheveled. I DO have a lot of hair and I WAS hanging out of a limo.

"Yeah, how you doin' kids. My name's Al. I'm the lead singer of the Al Can't Hang Experiment. You wanna autograph?"

At that point I pull out my trusty notepad and pen (which have barely been used for NOTES) and started signing AlCan'tHang. I wrote out four of the them and then apologized.

"Sorry kids, but I've really gotta go. There are some important people upstairs waiting for me."

The Al Cant Hang Experience

Maudie summed up her trip with a few afterthougts:
My 40 hours in Vegas exceeded all expectations and all fears were quashed immediately upon that first 'Hello...' Someone wrote - and forgive me for not remembering which one of my brethren bloggers wrote it - "It was like meeting your best friends for the first time."

Figuratively - and not so figuratively - speaking, I had roughly 30 pairs of arms reach out to me a gather me into this unique community of people, who hail from such diverse backgrounds and super-glued together by a shared passion for a little card game. A little card game.

I was overwhelmed at the unbridled acceptance of one who dwells outside their generational sphere. As a theatre person, generational differences go unnoticed so it's something I take for granted within that social sphere, but not something I expect outside of it. I felt at home.

My only regret was that I didn't have more time. There were so many conversations I wanted to have - and maybe even a shot of Tequila or two with the CANHang posse.

Pauly was gracious and let me virtually stick to him like glue. Iggy - we have several 'til dawn conversations ahead of us - and Confederacy of the Dunces will be on my bookshelf soon. CJ - what a treat our 2 mile stroll down the strip was, poker celebrities and all...oh, dear godfrey, I could go on and on...

This was the first. There will never be another first. We we always remember our first...

Maudie grabs a handful.

-EV had me chuckle with his take on Sam's Town:
We meander down to the poker room, which consisted of about 12 tables and was mostly populated by locals, cowboys, and really, really old people when we walked in as a group. I heard more than one of the players seated in the cash games grumble about "internet journal posters or some kind of bastards" as we entered. If only they knew that we had hijacked "their" game and taken it to new, amazing heights, across borders, and so on. But they were clueless, and probably pissing away their Social Security checks on a Saturday afternoon.
Bob wrote up a bit on the blogger craps table:
Hank wanders over and we get to talking about craps. I figure this trip should be the trip I learn how to play. Hell, it was probably my subconcious remembering the stories of the last time Hank and Iggy played craps in Vegas that made me want to so bad.

Hank was cool, he explained how to bet, when to bet, and more importantly, when to press!

Before long I was doing pretty good. I had a few good rolls of the dice, and all of a sudden we have visitors. BG, Al, Big Mike, and Tony all roll up to the table. I think Hank and Tony are the only ones who know what they are doing, although I'm learning quick. Well on my way towards hammered, I begin to get a little slap happy. Instead of just asking Kenneth to press my bet, I start semi-yelling "Press it KennNETH!"

You can't just ask him to press it, you see. You need to sort of yell it, and the inflection has to be correct. You need to start Kenneth out low and soft, and then roll the volume up as you get to the end. Otherwise the press wouldn't work, or so I was thinking.

Chatting, yelling for points, screaming Press it KennNETH, and boozing was too much fun to put into words. I can't do it justice. Even though I lost money doing it, I couldn't stop thinking about craps with the bloggers the rest of the weekend.
Grubby and HDouble were even gambling on kids playing video games! Grubby wrote:
I looked past HD and threw envy at two young'uns playing Dance Dance Revolution because ol' grubby has neither the coordination nor the trendy shoes to try jumping around on a platform set to music and lighted footprints.

But that didn't stop me from wagering.

We each picked a guy (my guy's name was Jess) and bought them into the next game. Our bet was $20.

It was quickly clear that this was not my guy's night. He had sat out the earlier round, and I thought perhaps he would have more energy. But as hdouble pointed out, his guy was warmed up. I was hoping to get the girl who was really good and on par with hdouble's guy, but she opted out probably because she didn't believe in gambling. She'll never make it in Vegas.

I sweated Jess and yelled encouragements at him. When that didn't work, I played dirty and tried to distract the other guy by yelling, "Hey there's Britney Spears" and "Your shoelace is untied." I even offered a $10 bribe to the other guy if he'd accidentally "fall."

Despite the winner having the most accumulated points, hdouble gave me a break when his guy won the first round and Jess squeaked a win on the second: whoever won the third round would win the prop bet.

It was neck-and-neck for maybe the first 10 seconds, then hdouble's guy catapulted into the lead by at least triple, and Jess choked.

I doubt he'll return to the Dance Dance Revolution courts anytime soon, as Jess hung his head in shame on the inside and appeared sportsmanlike on the outside. I know a bit about the pain in facing your friends after a failed DDR round.

I gave $20 to hdouble, who then tipped his guy and ran off with the rest of my money before I could ask for double or nothing.
Mas had some thoughts on the Meet & Greet with some professionals:
And I have to admit - I was a bit star-struck. I mean - poker pros are normal people - but to an avid player like myself (and other bloggers) who religiously watches any and all poker on TV they can find - these guys are my heroes.

I don't think I can express how tongue-tied and awed I was with being able to shake hands and have conversations with them about poker.

In a word: awesome.
Martin had a funny bit about playing Pai Gow with Otis:
Otis, after bestowing the mocking monkier on me, decided that what I needed was to play a little Pai Gow poker. This is a game for idiots. Seven cards are delt to you and you basically make two hands out of them. If you are too drunk, or just too stupid to do this, the dealer will play the hand for you. Like I said: a game for idiots. I settled in with about $80 in chips and promptly ordered a jack and coke. The drink service at the Luxor (Otis had decided that a change of scenery would do us some good) was fast, and before I knew it, I'd lost about $30 in chips but consumed about four rounds of sweet booze filled cola. There was a really weird guy at the table with rancid breath and Otis and I decided it was time to bolt.
Brian seemed a little overwhelmed at the tournament:
I shall say this, however - I was sitting at a table with two poker professionals and people who made my six months' experience look like about six hours. My only goal was not to go out first, which I made. And it was a piss poor way to play a tournament.

If you're going to play in a poker tournament, it's easy to play not to lose. And I can safely guarantee you will not win. You need to be willing to take chances and go balls out to take down pots. I know I didn't do this, and I bounced early. To be fair, I hadn't eaten in about 18 hours and was still nicely hung over.

I'll also say this: everyone at the tournament was very friendly and made me feel very welcome, which I greatly appreciate.
Linda wrote up a funny moment during the Meet & Greet:
A few people came to say hello to us "bloggers" and then were off to the tournament at Bellagio. Marcel Luske, Kirill Gerasimov, Evelyn Ng, and Ron Rose.

Ron Rose arrived about the same time I did. He brought each of us bloggers one of his books. I still find myself laughing over the following incident. Felicia Lee made a comment that went something like this, with the queries by Ron. She didn't like his book - why? - because of some of the players that were in it - like who? - John Bonetti.

Ron opened the book to a certain page, ripped the page out, went to another page and ripped it out. He then folded the pages in half and then ripped them in half and pushed her the book with something like, "I aim to please."

I'm still laughing over it. It was funny as hell then and maybe more so now. He did it so smoothly and with a straight face. It looked like he'd rehearsed it but I think it was all spur of the moment.
And of course even Daddy had a few things to say about the trip:
Every time I go to Vegas I get shitfaced, act like an idiot, and then come home and tell everyone who wasn't there all about it. I don't see why this time should be any different. I went to play poker with some like-minded individuals, place a few bets, drink a few coldies, and destroy a few buffets.

Those were my expectations. Needless to say they were blown completely out of the fucking water. Although I can't recollect precisely what happened at certain times with certain individuals, I do know that I'll never forget last weekend...

Daddy and Derek

Lastly, I'll leave you with my favorite bit from my Vegas trip reports:
At some point, just when I thought I had seen it all... the monkey on the dog was shown on the big screen. Yeah, ESPN2 had full rodeo coverage all weekend long and that was the main attraction on the big screen in the poker room. When they unleashed the monkey, the entire crowd began hootin' and hollerin'. It reminded me of the insanity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It was one of those bizarre scenes that you completely miss the context of while reading my report in your cubicle at work. But trust me, if you were shitfaced at 4am, floating around in a sea of loose cowboys at a poker room in Las Vegas and you saw two hundred and fifty people cheering for a monkey dressed up like a cowboy on a Collie... then maybe you too would start to think that time travel is probable, peace in the Middle East is possible and that I'm 100% pretty sure I'll catch my next gutshot draw, even if it is a one outer.

Certain moments in your life define your existence. That was one of them... a monkey in a cowboy outfit riding a dog.

That was also the only other sentence I had scribbled in my notes. So the next time someone corners me at one of those dreadful New York cocktail parties and asks me if I believe in God, I can honestly say, "I do believe that monkeys can ride dogs. I've seen it in Vegas."
Final Thanks

Again, thanks to Dick, Sam's Town, Jeff and Check n Raise, All N Poker, and of course the Poker Prof and his dad for all their help with the first event. And thanks to all the cowboys who dumped their money to the bloggers over the weekend. That was pretty cool. And lastly, thanks to all the bloggers who took a leap of faith with me and did what they could to make the trip.

Thanks to EvaCanHang for taking and sharing the pics that appear in this post.

There are certain points in your life when you look back and say, "That moment changed everything."

Vegas was one of those high water marks.

The reason I've written over 21,000 words on this trip is simple. Vegas with the bloggers was one of my five favorite trips all time and I've been overflowing with inspiration since then. And I'm someone who's lived life and cricled the globe. I've traveled to a lot of places, seen a lot of different faces, and certainly done my share of wallowing in the hedonistic rock star lifestyle.

You have to believe me when I tell you the trip was extraordinary...

not because of the poker...
not because of the partying...
not because of the poker pros...
not because of Vegas...

the trip was amazing but because of the people involved.

I'm forged some new friendships, strengthened old ones, and bonded with a group of people whom I am proud to call my friends. I'm not exaggerarting when I say that the poker blogging community (not just those who were in Las Vegas)... saved my life in more ways than you'll ever know. Thanks again.

And here are the ones I have already posted:

Chapter 1: Day 1, Part I
Chapter 2: Day 1, Part II
Chapter 3: Day 2, Part I
Chapter 4: Day 2, Part II... WPBT Holiday Classic
Chapter 5: Day 2, Part III
Chapter 6: Day 3, Part I
Chapter 7: Day 3, Part II
Chapter 8: Day 4, Part I
Chapter 9: Day 4, Part II

Derek posted some of his trip reports. Check those out.
And the seriatim of Vegas reports have come to a close. Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 28, 2005

3 Day Hiatus

I will be taking the next 72 hours off from blogging. I've spent most of January sick as a dog and the last ten days stuck in front of the computer writing my ass off or playing poker online at Party Poker. I need a break from all things electronic and jump back into the real world for a few days. I'm planning to spend some quality time with Briana this weekend and catching up on reading a few books. Expect me back on Monday morning.

By the way, I'm looking for a literary agent. I have two novels that are worthy of being published. The other two are questionable and the last one... I'm still working on. If you know of any leads, or happen to work for a publishing company... feel free to shoot me an email. Thanks.
Fodder for the Freaks

For Iggy. And for the Poker Geek.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Overheard in NYC

April sent me this link... Overheard in New York. Some funny stuff there. Thanks, April.
Recent Writing Music...
1. John Coltrane with Thelonious Monk
2. Galactic
3. Johnny Cash
4. Sonny Rollins
5. Radiohead
Is Sideways Star Not Enough of a Star?

Thomas Hayden Church and Paul Giamatti in Sideways

No Giamatti Nomination is an article that appeared on Here's a bit:
So what happened? The answer that makes those close to the underappreciated actor most comfortable is that it was a terribly heavy year for best actor candidates. If Tom Cruise and Javier Bardem and Jim Carrey couldn't make it, how could Giamatti? There is some truth to this theory, while in the supporting actor category, the pickings were so slim that Alan Alda got nominated for playing Alan Alda for roughly 10 minutes. It could also be that he is still too young and not a big enough star to be getting nominations just for being a great actor. As bald as he is, Giamatti is just 37 years old. This didn't stop Jamie Foxx, who is six months younger than Giamatti, with a much shorter resume, from being nominated. But Foxx had "The Role."

"The Role" supersedes all the rules of Oscar history. Playing a legendary musician who likes heroin. Playing a girl who is pretending she is a boy. Being a gorgeous blonde who puts on 40 pounds and some freckly make-up to play a killer lesbian. Cha-ching! Paul Giamatti plays a regular guy who isn't very happy. He doesn't kill anyone. He doesn't have sex on screen. He doesn't shoot up or get sick or wear a wig. He drinks wine, complains a lot and wears ugly shoes. "Sideways" offered the role of his career so far, but it isn't "The Role."
Thanks to Haley for sending me the article. Jamie Foxx probably deserves an Oscar for his performance in Ray, but Paul Giamatti deserved at least a nomination for his stellar work in Sideways. He still makes me laugh over his portrayal of Harvey Pekar in American Splendor.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Solar Garlic Starts to Rot

I watched Paris Hilton on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. I wish I could get those fifteen minutes back. She just sat there, like a dead fish. I wonder what SNL will be like this weekend? We'll get a chance to see her acting chops.

I'm little sad to see just a half-assed tribute to Johnny Carson this past week on the Tonight Show. They could have done a much better job on that.

I might have to rent the Katie Holmes smash hit... First Daughter. I saw the commercial and she wears a bikini. I'm sold.

Anyone else irked that Paul Giamatti got snubbed this year?

I was woken up this morning by a call from Iggy. He had shoulder surgery yesterday and is down and out for a little while. Anyway, we chatted for what I thought was like 20 minutes and it turned into a two hour conversation. Man, I never talk that much on my cell phone in one week... let alone one morning. I hate talking on the phone. It's one of my least favorite things to do. Anyway, Iggy gave me a little encouragement and I will be pursuing a couple of random freelance writing offers that have come my way. I might as well take advantage of my recent popularity of my poker blog while the few offers are coming. Hey, in the end I need the money. It feels weird that I will have made more money from writing this month than from playing poker and gambling. That's the first time this has happened in well over a year. To think, if I wasn't sick and stubborn, I could have made more money. And imagine if I wasn't on such a shitty streak playing online at Party Poker. I think I would be going to LA this weekend.

I have been bogged down with writing a bunch of different things everyday for the last week or so. I realized that I had to make an actual hour to hour schedule in order to better organize my time. Yeah, it's gotten that bad. At least I got out Truckin' before the last weekend of the year.

The good news is that something I wrote for a Dutch site was accepted and will be published in the next few days. A wire transfer for payment will soon follow. Getting paid in Euros baby. The guy was impressed with my first article and would like to turn this into a weekly thing for the next month or so. Steady work as a writer. Very nice. It's hard to find work in America, but the good old Europeans will pay me to write, so I guess I need to be a little less harsh on the Eurotrash. If they only had a decent health plan, I'd more to Amsterdam in a heartbeat.

Which makes me wonder... should I move to Amsetrdam or Las Vegas?
Recent Writing Music...
1. Robert Walters 20th Congress
2. Les Claypool and the Flying Frog Brigade
3. John Coltrane
4. Maceo Parker
5. Clifford Brown
Chapter 9... Day 4, Part II: Late Night Hijinks... Hammers, Hookers, and Brawls
"To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect." - Lao Tzu
I was exhausted by the time my last night in Vegas rolled around, after a wild couple of days and turbulent nights of hanging out with some of my favorite poker bloggers amidst the coruscate lights of Vegas. How did I cap off an amazing weekend? I hit the poker room with Grubby and Derek. Gambling wise, I was up for the trip. With a nice Sunday at the sports book in Mandalay Bay, I won enough money to cover all my expenses. Airfare, hotel, taxis, drinks and food were all paid for by the Bengals covering and from loose calls from fishy Cowboys at the Excalibur. At that point, thanks to the AlCantHangVegasExperience, my liver resembled the last urinal in the men's room at McSorely's on St. Patrick's Day... it was a repugnant scene. Drained from the lack of sleep, beat up from the binge drinking, jacked up on pure casino oxygen and high as a kite on my new-found celebrity status... I was overloaded with emotions and stumbled around with an impending feeling of forlorn depression that always sank in heavy during the last day of a trip when I adventure to somewhere special. I wanted to enjoy every last second in Vegas with whoever was leftover and still standing.

We were all seated at different $2-6 tables. A few guys from Otis' Missouri crew were lingering around the Excalibur poker room which was still crowded after their Monday Night Football promotion. I found a spot in seat one, right next to the dealer. There was an extremely drunk, chubby girl sitting next to me. She looked like Drew Barrymore's homely trailer park cousin. She was slurping a pink drink with a straw and giggling uncontrollably as I stacked up my chips. Her breasts would tremble like the ground near Kilauea volcano everytime she laughed. She was spilling out of her white juicy couture halter top and in my notes I actually wrote down, "She had tits the size of a microwave." Why I chose the word "microwave" to describe her superabundant breasts, I'll never know. Weeks later I'm still baffled. Where they big? At least the size of one of the Olsen Twins. Was everyone at the table staring at them? How could you not?

She was drunk, very chatty, and playing any two cards to the river. She was roaring through a rack of chips on questionable calls, pounding drinks like Judy Garland, and asking me a dozen questions at once.

"Where are you from?"

I lied. "Rhode Island."

"What do you do?"

I lied again. "Aquarium salesman at Fish R' Us. Do you want my card?"

"Why are you here?"

"The rodeo. My probation ended and I was finally free to leave the state."

When I asked her what she did for a living she giggled and threw me a seductive glance. "I make men happy," she said as she lowered her voice.

I waited for the punchline or at least an explanation. Nothing. She let my mind wander. How could she make men happy? She's a kick ass mechanic? An amazing cook? Or she's a stripper? Maybe even a call girl?

She ordered another drink and I asked our waitress for a ginger ale to soothe my aching stomach. I guess I had been messing around with my chips and I inadvertently let rip a chip shuffle which I will do when I'm bored.

"That's cool! Can you teach me how to do that?"

The drunk girl tried her best and the chips flew all over the place. In between giggles she said, "I can't do that. But I can do this trick!"

She touched her nose with her tongue. Twice, just in case I was looking the first time. At that point I ruled her out as a mechanic and cook.

"My," as I paused for dramatic effect, "that's impressive."

"I can do it again!" she squealed.

Just when I thought I saw it all in Vegas, a call girl was doing tongue tricks for me at a poker table in between hands. She was the perfect Vegas fish... soused, without a clue, playing with someone else's money, and calling anything to the river. I won a pot with bottom pair against her. It was very ugly. But hey, ugliness builds bankrolls. Her "friend" was seated at Grubby's table. When she was busted, she would get up and go over to get more chips from him. I'm sure you can't do that, but I wasn't going to point it out. She would bring over $20 or $25 in chips and lose it all on a hand, get up and ask for more money. She did that five or six times. I won at least three of those pots. I nearly doubled up in the first half hour. I was on a rush. That was until a new guy, draped in moral turpitudes, sat down in seat 5. Three hands later he ended up in the now infamous brawl. I could have rewritten it... but that would be revisionist bloggery and I'm not one of those bloggers. So I'll just cut and past what I wrote... just a few hours after it happened. Here's the original post from 12.14.04:
I was in the middle of the hand... and I had the absolute nuts too in a pot well over $100.

Seat 1: Pauly
Seat 5: Guy #1
Seat 7: Drunk wife
Seat 8: Her husband

I just sat down at the table. A young, chubby girl with breasts the size of a microwave sitting in seat 2 was wasted as she sipped on vodka cranberries. Later on Grubby and I had an interesting conversation trying to decide if she was a hooker or not. Anyway, I must say for the first few minutes at my table, she was talking non stop to me. I never had a chance to glance down at the other side of the table to see who was who. I never knew that the people sitting in seats 7 and 8 were a married couple. A new dealer sat down. Since I'm in Seat 1, right next to the dealer, I always make small talk. I asked her how her night had been going, "I just started. Ask me in a little bit," she said.

I'm on the button, I have Q-9s and I limped in a seven way pot on a $2-6 spread table. The flop has an ace but with two flush cards. Everyone limped and I called. No flush for me on the turn and ended up raising and got a few callers. The river was a King of spades. I hit the flush... the nut flush. I had the best hand at that point. Apparently, I spaced out for a few seconds. Everyone had checked to me. I was thinking the proper amount to bet to get the most callers. At that point the drunk woman in seat 7 flipped over her cards. She wasn't paying attention and thought I checked the betting. I told the dealer I needed "time" and was deciding. Dealer told her to turn her cards back over.

"What the fuck," she said pointing to me, "he checked."

"No, it's still his turn to act," replied the dealer. She was angry. I bet $6. The guy in seat 4, check raised me! Great opportunity to win a bigger pot. I love when people bet into me when I had the nuts. Everyone in the hand folded. I was ready to raise and picked up a few chips.

"Way to go you dumb shit," said the man in seat 4 to the married woman.

"Hey, watch you language!" shouted the dealer.

"Go fuck yourself!" she yelled in his direction.

"It won't be as good as fucking you," he quickly shot back. I was about to utter, "Raise," when the husband in seat 8 jumped up and ran towards the guy on seat 4 who stood up ready to confront the angry husband. He tackled him and threw him to the table one row over (in front of the Bad Beat Wheel). Chips went flying everywhere when they landed on the table. It was surreal, just like out of a movie. No one saw them coming.

"Security!" I heard someone yell as they were rolling on the table and an old lady got caught in the fracas.

Right away, I said, "Everyone, protect your chips," as I slammed my hand down on my hole cards to protect my hand and put my left arm and hand over my stack of chips.

It took security a few minutes to arrive and when they finally showed up, they were in full force. The wife tried to run away and was caught a few steps outside the poker room. It took nearly twenty minutes to sort everything out. It seemed like there were three people sitting at that other table who were hurt and shaken up. $1 chips cluttered the floor. The entire poker room was buzzing and everyone stood up to see what happened. My brother had jumped up and thought I was in a fight. Otis' brother called Otis and said, "Get back to the poker room, there's a fight at Pauly's table!"

It took twenty minutes for everything to be sorted out. The floor person came over to the table to discuss the situation with the dealer. The hand was still alive and I was not going to leave without taking down my pot. A police man escorted the guy in seat 4 to the table. His face was all puffy. The husband was giving him the business when they were rolling around the table. We completed the hand. I should have raised him! But I simply called. He had a baby flush and I had the nuts and took down the monster pot. I tipped the dealer $10 from the pot. She was psyched since she didn't get any tips during the down time. Grubby was sitting at the table right in front of mine. They were brawling just behind him. Derek and Otis ran over to get the story. Unreal, eh? The entire remainder of the night, everyone was talking about it. I must have told the blogger and Otis' crew the story at all their different tables. It was weird to have an entire table and dealer stop their game to hear my side of the story. I guess I became a part of the story. I was the guy who had the nuts when the fight started!

I wish I could get the video tape to post on my blog. Ah, just another night in Vegas!
Yeah, so there you have it. The brawl revisited. I know that I got a lot of shit from everyone because I did not raise that guy. I should have. I just wanted to get the hand over, you know? Next time that happens, you know what I'll do. Things got a little wacky. The giggly, liquored up call girl left to my dismay, as did the dude who got his ass kicked. The husband and wife were in police custody. Alas, I lost four players from my table and my mini rush was over. Eventually Grubby sat to my left. Derek joined a few orbits later.

At one point I saw the Swedish Hammer (27s) and limped in. Grubby raised and I folded. Here's the rest of the story, from Grubby's view:
I'll leave you this morning with my Hammer story. Monday night I'm sitting at the Excalibur 2/6 impending lawsuit fight table (and Pauly, she wasn't a hooker or am I just refusing to believe a hooker would reject me?) with Pauly and his brother. Pauly was to my right, and we were chatting often enough that I felt other people were suspicious of collusion. I made sure not to talk if we were both in the hand.

I get 72o in the BB, which excites me as much as pocket Aces. Everyone in the world limps for $2 including Pauly, and I raise to $8. All fold except the person in the cutoff. Sigh. This is my first hand raising at the table, and here I have a caller.

The flop is A3x (rainbow). My Hammer is looking good. CO bets out.

Little did he know the monster I held.

I raise.

I bring up the cards to Pauly and ask, "Wanna see?"

He shakes his head, "No."

CO calls. The turn is 5.

CO bets.

I ask Pauly, "Wanna see?"

He says, "I know what you have."

I now have a gutshot straight and no odds to call. Such is the glory of The Hammer and will make my eventual win all the sweeter.

I consider raising but decide to slowplay this one and pop him on the river.

River is nothing and he bets. I let him off easy this time and fold, though I did consider raising so I could show the hand.

Pauly said he also had The Hammer. Had he raised, I would've reraised, and we would've driven everyone out and then split the pot with The Hammer.

But he said his was suited, so not technically a real Hammer.

I forgave him.
Yeah, that would have been a huge moment in poker blogging history... the time Grubby and I chopped a pot with the hammer at a table in Vegas! It was not meant to be. By the way, Grubby is the man. He single handily put his little stamp on poker culture and introduced a word that will eventually become a part of poker vernacular. I suggest that February 7... will be from here on out called... St. Grubby's Day. I am petitioning the Pope to set aside an official church holiday for Grubby and the Hammer. I encourage all bloggers to drop as many hammers as they can on St. Grubby's Day... Feb. 7!

Eventually the ubiquitous Otis joined us at the table and we had a couple of locals at the tables with four bloggers. One heavyset guy wearing a Santa's hat was a taxi driver and he joked around with our dealer. They were tooling on the cowboys and the rodeo crowds. Supposedly they don't tip... very well... er, at all. I'm from New York City and people are hustling for everything. Tipping is how you get things done a little bit faster. I'm tipping everyone here. Delivery guys, doormen, taxi drivers, dog walkers, shampoo girls, cops, bartenders, drug dealers, coatcheck girls, bookies, the cute Cambodian girl with the nosering who butters my bagels... you name it. But in Vegas, there's a lot of random tourists who don't have the money for superfluous tips or don't comprehend the tipping culture and how many people who work in the service industry rely upon tips as income. At any rate, based on the cowboy standards, I'm a big tipper in Vegas.

Anyway, I was pumped to spend my last hours at the poker table in Vegas with Derek, Grubby, and Otis. There was a moment when Otis told Grubby he needed to update his blog more often. "You're one to talk, man," I blurted out. Otis shrugged. He got my point.

It was a wild last day and night. The plowed call girl would have made my night, but the brawl was something that I will never forget about that Vegas trip. As if I did not have enough material to write about or enough random memories to keep me entertained for many years to come... the Vegas Gods threw me a bone. A big one too. That poor shmuck who got his ass kicked limped back to the poker room to play after he filed a police report and saw the paramedics. I glanced at his face. He resembled Rocky at the end of the first flick. (Sorry, HDouble... I couldn't resist. "Cut me, Mickey!")

Before I left I sat at a $1-3 table with some of Otis' crew... Martin and Brian in particular for one orbit. There was a very cute college girl there who kept talking about seeing Texas Dolly at the Bellagio. She was drunk and dropped a few F-bombs. Of course the dealer at the table was the same dealer from the Brawl. I thought it was funny how people in the poker room were talking about the fight all night and how in a few hours the majority of the facts in those versions were so far off. I looked at the dealer and shrugged my shoulders when a few of the kids at my table were talking up a incident that thinly resembled the brawl at my table. There was a gun in their version and I had a royal straight flush that time! The dealer and I knew what really happened. I was too tired to correct them.

I said my good-byes to everyone and to Otis and Grubby. Derek and I grabbed a few donuts from Krispy Kreme before I went up to the room to write and pack before I crashed.

... To be continued.

Here's the timetable of the rest of my trip reports:

1.31 - Day 5: Afterthoughts plus my fav. pictures & quotes

And here are the ones I have already posted:

Chapter 1: Day 1, Part I
Chapter 2: Day 1, Part II
Chapter 3: Day 2, Part I
Chapter 4: Day 2, Part II... WPBT Holiday Classic
Chapter 5: Day 2, Part III
Chapter 6: Day 3, Part I
Chapter 7: Day 3, Part II
Chapter 8: Day 4, Part I

Derek posted some of his trip reports. Check those out.
As you can tell the timetable for my trip reports have been constantly changing. Sorry for the delay. Stay tuned for the final installment of my Vegas stories which will be posted on Monday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Donut News: Two Weddings and a Robbery

Be on the look out for a guy with a laser pointer and a pillow case. He robbed a recent donut shop in Metarie, LA. Here's a bit:
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office was looking Friday for a man who held up a Metairie doughnut shop wearing a pillowcase with eyeholes cut out and armed with a laser pointer... The robber walked into Tastee Donuts... behind the counter was a 61-year-old Metairie woman. The robber waved a red laser pointer at her and demanded money from the safe, threatening to kill her if she didn't comply.
And if that's not all... I offer up this nuptials nugget: Two Couples Say I Do to a Dunkin' DOnuts Wedding. Good grief. Here's a bit:
A hint of pink, a touch of orange and incredible centerpieces. Goin' to the chapel has never sounded so delicious! John Townsend and Michele Sarao and Jeff Dewald and Margaret Neary's wedding plans just got a lot sweeter. America has voted, John and Michele and Jeff and Margaret will be walking down the Dunkin' Donuts aisle to say their vows.

John and Michele of West Milford, NJ and Jeff and Margaret of Philadelphia, PA were among six finalist couples in the New York- and Philadelphia-areas who were chosen out of scores of wedding hopefuls in the Dunkin' Donuts Hole-y Matrimony Contest. Their outrageous proposal stories won each couple an all expense-paid wedding at a Dunkin' Donuts shop and a honeymoon trip to The Islands Of The Bahamas.

Dunkin' Donuts was inspired to throw the unique weddings in response to the "Hole-y Matrimony" survey,* about American's behaviors and attitudes relating to weddings. Only 32 percent of respondents characterized most of the weddings they have attended as fun. It's no wonder that 73 percent of the people surveyed would say I DO to doing something a little bit over-the-top if they were the ones getting married.
You can take a peek at the lovely couples here. I heard they registered for the gift registry at McDonalds and Blockbuster.

On the personal front, I had two donuts recently... both from an indie donut shop. I had a chocolate frosted and a chocolate honey dipped.
Hot 99

Nobody asked for my opinion, nor BG's on the Most Desireable Women list for 2005. Summer from The OC needs to be in the Top 30 for sure. She makes my Top 10 list.
Pieces of Al

AlCantHang is selling peces of himself for a poker tournament in LA. To better understand this joke... you have to realize that a professional player named Dutch Boyd recently put himself up on ebay, which drew a lot of criticism from the pokerati.
Recent Paris Hilton Google Referrals...
1. Paris Hilton shaved pussy
2. Paris Hilton designer purses
3. Paris Hilton Saturday Night Live
4. Paris Hilton shoplifter
5. Pics of Paris Hilton naked with dogs
There's No Fuzz on This Eagle

A certain Eagles fan wondered why the Tao of Pauly has been ignoring Philadelphias recent win over Michael Vick and the Falcons to get them in the Super Bowl. I've been too busy to blog about sports, including the Knicks awful slide and the Jets demise against the Steelers two weeks ago. I'm still bitter about that.

Anyway, congrats to the Eagles for making the Super Bowl (and thanks McNabb for helping your boys cover!) and best wishes to all Eagles fans out there (like Schazner, AlCantHang, CJ, and Sean). Am I missing anyone? I'll be wagering heavily on the Eagles against the Pats.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Truckin' January 2005 (Vol. 4, Issue 1)

The first issue of 2005 features two new writers. Bob Respert talks about his recent high school reunion. Novice shares a touching short story called Comfort Food. We have some regulars returing with stories. Sigge and BG are gracing us with their writing ability by contributing a couple of gems. And lastly, I start us off with a Las Vegas story inspired from my December trip. Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.

1. Sunday Morning in December by Tenzin McGrupp
I sheepishly answered another wake up call minutes after I had finally fallen asleep. I could have sworn that the maids were popping into the room for a "bed check" and were stealing $100 bills out of my pants pocket while I was passed out....More

2. Reunion by Bob Respert
So when you were at a random party a year or two down the road, you had to determine if they looked familiar because you walked by them 600 times, or because you actually knew them, had a study group with them, or had sex with their sister....More

3. 6-3-8 by BG
My old man used to say that running the race on the reel to reel in his head to divine the winning combination was as "complex as calculus computations with a Cracker-Jack code key" and I know he wasn't kidding when he tried in all his efforts to partner our long afternoons in my youth at the track... More

4. Comfort Food by Novice
It is 2 AM, and I am awake. My stomach becomes cranky in the wee hours, and for some God-Only-Knows-Why reason it craves peanut butter... More

5. Shooting the Moon by Sigge S. Amdal
I have reasons to believe that the sperm that eventually impregnated my mother and caused me upon the world, the little pre-me, did not win "the competition" by regular means....More
Happy Birthday Briana!

Everyone's favorite elevator button heiress turns 25 today. Happy birthday Briana!
Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...
1. Cities of the Red Night by William S. Burroughs
2. The Holy Bible
3. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge
4. Journey To Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda
5. To Die For: A Novel by Linda Howard
Rhode Island Stories: See This

It's been almost two weeks since my trip to Rhode Island. I never wrote up any stories. I've been sick and swamped with more writing to do that ever before. Sorry for the delay...

12 Jan 2005... I got off the subway at Times Square and exited the number 1 train. I walked down a flight of stairs and down that long tunnel connecting 7th Ave. to 8th Ave. to get to the Port Authority. There's always a couple of immigrants selling pirate DVDs on a blanket along with the random guy with a musical instrument. On that afternoon, a guy with a saxophone was playing The Girl from Ipanema. I hurried past all the tourists, cold New Yorkers, and a swarm of happy Christians wearing red smocks that had big white letters reading PRAYER TEAM. They were handing out pamphlets for redemption. I see this all the time; busloads of pious Jesus freaks from the South and the Midwest trickle into the city and try to save God's lost children. I lost touch with the Big Guy many moons ago... I ditched God in the back of a seedy bar in New Orleans sometime in the early 1990s and only ran into him a couple of times since.

I brushed past a young girl with a bible who was trying to connect with a homeless person. I was late for my bus and had no time for personal salvation. In the terminal, I ran past a couple of cops with bomb sniffing dogs. I held my breath a prayed that the dogs were searching for plastic explosives or chemical weapons... not herbal supplements.

To cut down on expenses I decided to take the bus to Foxwoods Casino ($26 roundtrip on Greyhound) instead of renting a car ($65 a day plus taxes, gas, & insurance). Senor planned on picking me up at the casino and driving me to his house, about forty minutes away in Narragansett, Rhode Island. The next morning we would drive back to Foxwoods to play in a poker tournament. Sounded like a great plan and there was very little pressure on me to win big in order to cover my expenses. All I had to do was win one pot playing poker and that would pay for my entire trip! The bus to Foxwoods has some advantages (cheap and you get a $10 food coupon/free buffet so in theory the trip cost $16) but it also has a ton of disadvantages... mainly being that due to the fact that Greyhound is the cheapest form of travel, you have plenty of sketchy characters riding along.

I luckily got the only express bus from NYC to Foxwoods. Usually there's one or two stops (New London or New Haven) or as many as five or six stops along the way. Aside from a crying baby in the back of the bus, everything was fine. I had my own seat and zoned out on the ride. It was a wet, ugly, gray, sad, winter day and I was happy to be leaving the gloomy vibe of the city. The bus got to Foxwoods fast (no traffic in midafternoon) and even had time to stop at a rest area somewhere in Connecticut. The driver, an ex-Vietnam vet who looked like Charles Oakley, gave us seven minutes to pee and grab McDonalds if we wanted. I decided against it and snuck behind a few trucks to blaze a doobie. I spent the last hour on the bus to Foxwoods buzzed and listened to a Medeski, Martin & Wood CD.

Senor and Jay got to Foxwoods just as I was pulling in the bus depot. It was perfect timing and we were off to Rhode Island. I almost considered running into the casino, but we decided against it The ride seemed quick this time and I missed the grey ocean as we drove down the road to Senor's house. Jodd was asleep and Ang was busy making us dinner. She prepared a tasty baked brie with berries and nuts. it was served with apple slices and French bread. Diner was awesome. Ang cooked steak with bacon and sauteed mushrooms. Senor is lucky... Ang is not just a good cook, she's a chef in the kitchen!

Jodd woke up and he gets bigger everytime I see him. He's got a few more teeth now and he's speaking more, but nothing coherent just yet. Lots of utterances. When he wants to be picked up he throws his hands up in the air. That's his symbol to get Senor to hold him. It's kinda cute at first. I was blown away later in the evening when he walked over to me, smacked my thigh and put up his hands.

Jodd has picked up a few phrases. Random ones too, like "See this!" he'll point with his hand and finger and say, "See this!" It's kinda funny especially when he points to the TV. He also throws out an "Oh yeah?" once in a while. He gurgles a lot and laughs all the time. For a while he was a little excited and running around when he was playing with Jay and myself. We were tossing around a small cushion toy and Jodd would pick it up and toss it underhand over his head and scream as loud as he can. He would repeat this action and everytime he yelled we'd all laugh. He'd break into random fits of screaming at the top of his lungs. Senor said he had never done that before. Maybe he was excited and all riled up because he had playmates.

Jodd walked over to me and smacked me in the head, something that he likes to do. He'll smack me in the side of my head and laugh. That time he did it and screamed in my face. I screamed back and I guess I was a little loud because he stood silent. He looked like he was about to burst into tears when Senor and I began laughing. He held back the tears and started laughing himself. He then went back to screaming and running around.

I watched Jay play a tournament online at Poker Stars and we caught some of Jodd's favorite cartoons as Senor explained to me what Sponge Bob Squarepants was all about. We decided to crash early. We had to be on the road by 7:15am to get to Foxwoods by 8am to sign up for their tournament. I set my wake up call for 6:30am. I didn't fall asleep until almost 2am. I read a little and watched the late night talk shows since I was crashing on the couch. An hour into my slumber, I was woken up by Jodd. Senor had taken him into the walk-in closet upstairs to play and he was making a ton of noise. I thought that Senor gave him pots and pans to play with... because that's what it sounded like he was banging from upstairs. Normally he takes Jodd downstairs, but since he thought I was sleeping they were in the huge closet. I went upstairs to see what was up. There was Jodd with a big smile on his face banging a bunch of hangers against the wall. Senor took him downstairs and we watched some more cartoons.

"Five years ago, did you ever think we'd be sitting around watching cartoons with your kid at 3:30am... in Rhode Island of all places?" I asked.

"Not in a million years," Senor answered.

Jodd eventually got sleepy and they went back upstairs. I was wide awake and watched the end of a Kate Beckinboobs flick Laurel Canyon. I passed out and the next thing I recall was being waken up by Senor. I got ready and we were on the road by 7:20. It was a foggy day with very low visibility. It looked pretty trippy out there and we eventually arrived at Foxwoods by 8am. It's a good ten minute walk from the garage to the poker room. We waited in line for five minutes and I got registration #149. There would be 250 players in the tournament, $100 buy in ($5000 for first place) and Senor, Jay, and their cousin were also playing. We had ninety minutes to kill before the tournament started. I still had a free coupon for a buffet so I took advantage. I never had the breakfast buffet at Foxwoods before. It was better than I expected. I had lots of bacon, French Toast (it was dry), two kinds of potatoes, sausage links, orange juice, and a biscuit. I had a small plate of fruit and I was ready to play poker after eating a decent meal. I'm not an over eater, so I always feel that I'm not quite getting my money's worth at casino buffets. If I didn't have a poker tournament I probably would have stuffed myself and had a second or third trip back to the buffet. In my eyes, the breakfast buffet is the best when you are eating it after a night of heaving partying and gambling... and just before you crash.

I found Senor and the gang and I gave Senor's cousin a few tips on how to play in a 250 person tournament. He's never played live poker before in a casino and it was his first no limit tournament. He was a little nervous and I told him to relax and avoid playing marginal hands early. And as my luck would have it, I was knocked out within the first hour! It was a bad beat too. Nothing I could have done. I was a little irked and played some regular poker while I waited for everyone else to get knocked out of the tournament. Senor outlasted all of us! And he played well. He did not make the money. Jay did the last time we made it to Foxwoods. I grabbed lunch with them and they went back to Rhode Island. I played a few more hours. You can read all the specifics about the poker here in my Foxwoods write up from the Tao of Poke.

I was down $225 for the day ($100 for tourney and $125 in ring games) and left on a late afternoon bus. It was the bus ride from hell. I rather not write about it because it would just bring up some awful memories of this dude yapping in Spanish on his cellphone while sitting next to me from Stamford all the way to the city. I was so happy to get off the bus and I ran past the bomb sniffing dogs and past the Jesus freaks in the red Prayer Team vests and past the musician in the tunnel all the way to the subway. As the doors closed I muttered, "See this!"

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Goodbye Deer Creek

The Joker sent me this link: Goodbye Deer Creek. Its about 14 minutes with still shots, slide show, and some video footage which documents this guy's last Phish show at Deer Creek. That was one of my favorite shows from this summer.
Today's Best Bets

I'm still bitter about last week's Jets loss. I'm going with Philly -6 and the Steelers +3. Wish I could write more about the final four teams... and I'd love to... but I'm swamped with other stuff.
Required Reading: The Sunday NY Times

Sex Ed at Harvard was written by Charles Murray which he pontificates about recent remarks by Harvard's President. Here's a bit:
In "The Two Cultures," C. P. Snow famously warned of the dangers when communication breaks down between the sciences and the humanities. The reaction to remarks by Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, about the differences between men and women was yet another sign of a breakdown that takes Snow's worries to a new level: the wholesale denial that certain bodies of scientific knowledge exist.

Mr. Summers's comments, at a supposedly off-the-record gathering, were mild. He offered, as an interesting though unproved possibility, that innate sex differences might explain why so few women are on science and engineering faculties, and he told a story about how nature seemed to trump nurture in his own daughter.

To judge from the subsequent furor, one might conclude that Mr. Summers was advancing a radical idea backed only by personal anecdotes and a fringe of cranks. In truth, it's the other way around. If you were to query all the scholars who deal professionally with data about the cognitive repertoires of men and women, all but a fringe would accept that the sexes are different, and that genes are clearly implicated.
Thomas Friedman wrote Divided We Stand. He quickly points out that:
There's only one thing you can say about the elections in Iraq: They are either going to be the end of the beginning there or the beginning of the end.
NY Knicks Downward Spiral Takes Down Wilkens is written by Howard Beck and talks about the resignation of the Knicks head coach and hall of famer Lenny Wilkens. Here's a bit:
Although they made the playoffs last spring with Wilkens at the helm, the Knicks have not had a winning season since 2000-1. Despite a radical roster makeover by Thomas and the stately touch of Wilkens, the Knicks were again spiraling downward as Wilkens hit his first anniversary last week.

They have lost 9 of their last 10 games to fall to 17-22. The final blow came Friday night at Madison Square Garden, when Van Gundy's Houston Rockets shocked the Knicks at the buzzer for a 92-91 victory.
The Knicks have plenty of problems... and not playing defense is at the top of the list. Best of luck to new interim head coach... Garden favorite Herb Williams.

Eliza Griswald sheds light on Bangledesh in her article called Next Islamist Revolution. Here's a bit:
Last spring, Bangla Bhai, whose followers probably number around 10,000, decided to try an Islamist revolution in several provinces of Bangladesh that border on India. His name means ''Bangladeshi brother.'' (At one point he said his real name was Azizur Rahman and more recently claimed it was Siddiqul Islam.) He has said that he acquired this nom de guerre while waging jihad in Afghanistan and that he was now going to bring about the Talibanization of his part of Bangladesh. Men were to grow beards, women to wear burkas. This was all rather new to the area, which was religiously diverse. But Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, as Bangla Bhai's group is called (the name means Awakened Muslim Masses of Bangladesh), was determined and violent and seemed to have enough lightly armed adherents to make its rule stick.
There's always a whacko or two popping up everyday with a swarm of lost souls looking for answers and willing to pass the blame for their own problems.
Recent Writing Music...
1. Johnny Cash
2. Dirty Dozen Brass Band
3. Neil Young
4. Martin Sexton
5. Charlie Hunter
Happy Birthday Ferrari!

Today is Signor Ferrari's b-day. Hope it's a good one...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Best of Craigslist

Will trade my girlfriend for yours is an ad that had me cracking up! Thanks to Edgar for pointing it out.

NYC is expecting 18 inches of snow? I'll believe it when I see it. Visibility is very low. When I was walking into my brother's apartment, there was an old Puerto Rican lady yelling at the super's wife because the super never spreads rock salt in front of the building and rarely shovels.

I'm spent, a tad hungover, and wanting to go back to sleep. I was up until 8am partying last night after winning a poker tournament at TowneHouse, hosted by Toni. I came in first place (out of 12) and won $240!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Happy Belated Inauguration Day!

Trey to Play Tsunami Benefit in NYC

Hot off the presses... Trey at Tsunami Benefit.
Trey Anastasio will be sitting in with moe. at a charity concert to benefit tsunami relief on, Thursday, February 10 at 8 p.m. at New York's Roseland Ballroom. Other artists joining moe. will include MMW keyboardist, John Medeski, mandolin virtuoso, Sam Bush, and Trey dectet/Vorcza keyboardist, Ray Paczkowski.
Sounds like I'm going.
Jenna vs. Jenna

This bit made me laugh my ass off (via Rollertrain).... Jenna Bush vs. Jenna Jameson.
Stoned Cockfighters

Get High on Marijuana, Fly and Fight for the Trophy is your marijuana article of the day. Here's a bit:
Over 300 birds, high on marijuana, fight as thousands of spectators goad them with drum beats and cymbals at the annual harvest festival in Hajo village.

Bird fights, using the red-vented Bulbuls, a 20-cm-long bird of the Pycnonotus Cafer family, are an integral part of the Bihu celebrations at Hajo, with residents training the birds for a fortnight prior to the event.

In the two-day festival that concludes Saturday, at least 300 intoxicated birds are coaxed to fight each other by their temporary owners for a trophy and a cash reward of Rs.1,000.
Damn. I wonder if I can find a line on stoned cockfighting in Vegas.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Recent Writing Music...
1. Tom Waits
2. Galactic
3. Rev. Gary David
4. Bob Dylan
5. John Scofield with Medeski, Martin & Wood
Did Someone Say Donuts?

I came across this funny blog called Dunkin' Donuts Talk which covers according to it's tagline... "All Things Dunkin' Donuts: For the Dunkin' Donuts enthusiasts of the world. Pretty cool. I'm a big fan of all things donuts.

Here's a few interesting articles from the NY Times... the topic... donuts!
  • Dunkin Donuts wants to expand to over 200 new stores over the next few years. (NYT Real Estate) Here's a bit:
    Dunkin' Donuts also began a major expansion across the country. Mark McClellan, director of development for Dunkin' Brands in the New York metropolitan area, said the company had 40 stores in Manhattan when the campaign began, now has 63 and is planning to develop a total of 150 to 200 stores in the borough, including 50 that have already been assigned to franchisees. Starbucks now lists 164 stores in Manhattan.
  • Krispy Kreme picks turn around specialist talks about their new CEO after the old one stepped down after some financial difficulties. (NYT Business)
I can't wait to have a donut today. Chocolate chocolate are my favorite.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Brad, Jen, and Angelina is a funny link that April sent me. Good job!
Straight Flush

Just now on Party Poker...

5 Google Referrals

How about another list of fives? All the lists involve Google referrals to the Tao of Pauly since Jan. 1, 2005. Some funny stuff out there.

5 Most Recent Random Referrals (NOT Scarlet Johansen or Paris Hilton Naked)...
1. Herm Edwards "You play to win the game."
2. Angelina together with Brad
3. Bluto Animal House quotes
4. Buying crack in Atlanta
5. Bikini ice cubes

5 Most Recent Sex Related Referrals (NOT Scarlet Johansen or Paris Hilton Naked)...
1. Old women sex pics
2. Shana Hiatt nude
3. Jesus butt plug
4. San Diego hookers
5. Licking Angelina's feet

5 Recent Random Poker Related Referrals...
1. Poker lessons NYC
2. Illegal card rooms NYC
3. Max Pescatori "The Italian Pirate"
4. Shana Hiatt Playboy pictorial
5. Cheating on Party Poker

5 Random Phish Related Referrals...
1. Trey oxycontin
2. Coventry setlist
3. Cars trucks buses
4. Page's new shirt
5. Naked pictures of Phishy chicks

Top 5 All Time Google Referrals...
1. Lindsay Lohan fake boobs
2. Paris Hilton naked
3. Tara Reid boob slip
4. Phish blog
5. Scarlet Johansen naked

Thank you Paris, Tara, Lindsay, Mike, Page, Fish, Trey, and Scarlet.
Sick TV

So I'm still sick and I subjected myself to flipping the channels. Here's what I was watching last night.
  • 7:08pm EST... ESPN: Collge hoops action. Michigan State takes an early lead against visiting Purdue.

  • 7:15pm EST... CNBC: Watching a rerun of Conan O'Brien. His guests are Jennifer Love Big Tits and the Crocodile Hunter.

  • 7:33pm EST... ESPN2: More college hoops. Wake Forest is getting whooped by FSU.

  • 7:47pm EST... TNT: I watch the last bit of Law & Order. Gary Busey is in the guest starring role. I ordered Chinese food (Chicken in garlic suace) as the credits role.

  • 8:01pm EST... The N: I'm pumped for Degrassi: The Next Generation. It's the ecstasy episode. It's the last day of school and some of the Canadian kids with funny accents wanna try E.

  • 8:24pm EST... ESPN and ESPN2: Wake is still down by 12. Michigan State is up by 7.

  • 8:32pm EST... The N: Back to back episodes of Degrassi as my Chinese food arrives. Very nice. I'm offically hooked on Degrassi: The New Generation. If you have never seen this series, ome of the orginal cast members from Degrassi Junior High reprise their roles this time as adults. Snake and Joey... but where the fuck is Wheels?
People do this all night after work, five nights a week? Yikes. I would love to be swimming with the fishes on Party Poker or working on the new issue of Truckin', instead I'm killing vital brain cells watching the boob tube.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thank You Poker Geek

Natalie Portman thanking The Poker Geek on Sunday

If you missed the Golden Globes the other night, Natalie Portman thanked everyone's favorite Hollywood poker blogger... The Poker Geek... for helping inspiring her to be the best stripper she can be for her performance Closer. Lucky fucker.
Happy Birthday, Ugarte!

Hope it's a good one, Ugarte!
Tuesday's Gone

I'm sick again and the worst time too. I have a ton of shit to write; my recent trip to visit Senor in Rhode Island, the new issue of Truckin', an article on poker player Johnny Chan, Vegas trip reports, the third draft of Gumbo, my infamous The OC write ups, and I wanted to post some of the email exchanges I have been having with one of those Nigerian scam artists. I'm also in the middle of a bad run at the poker tables. I played well in a few home games two weeks ago, but this last week I played awful online and was subjected to a run of bad luck at Foxwoods. Whenever I'm in a slump, I want to get back in the game as fast as possible. With the heavy workload and failing health, I don't have the energy to grind away for a few hours online today.

Alas, that shall not happen now. I woke up yesterday feeling under the weather. I watched the Knicks game and by the time the game ended, I was full on sick. The added frigid temperatures last night didn't help. This is a good gauge about how sick I am... last night I did not get high. I did not play any poker. And I did not write.

I just had some chicken soup and I hope that will help a little bit. I feel about the same, which means I've gotten used to the sicky feeling and I'm frustrated. I tried to write for a little bit, but the nasal drip was irking me. I'm currently watching/listening to Trey Anastasio Band from Austin City Limits. The Joker was at that show! I think it's kinda freaky to listen to shows I've attended. To see the video of a show I went to is even weirder. I was at the Phish show with Heather and my Japanese friends, Yuh and Jun, in Las Vegas (9.30.00) that they used for the Phish DVD... Live in Las Vegas. To this day, it's one of my favorite versions of Mike's Song. That Vegas show, on Trey's birthday of all nights, featured a lot of random goodies like a favorite song of mine that Phish rarely played... I Saw It Again. Trey also flubbed the lyrics on Esther. I dunno if it's the last time the boys busted out Esther. But it was the last time I heard it live. And I was digging a cover of the Rolling Stones tune Emotional Rescue for the encore.

Anyway, back to Trey Anastasio Band. Here's the setlist from the show:
Night Speaks to a Woman, Drifting, It Makes No Difference, Mr. Completely, First Tube
Mr. Completely is a song that's a big hit or miss. Sometimes the jam is not fun. They did a good job this time. Drifting is one of my favorite Trey band tunes so I was pumped to hear it played. I think it's funny that a lot of my friends that are not into Phish like Trey Anastasio Band better than Phish. Part of me is like, "Phish is 100 times better." That doesn't translate too well to them. At any rate, seeing Austin City Limits made me miss Phish for sure. At least Widespread Panic will be back touring again.

By the way, this Trey show from Radio City rocked! It's worth the $10 bucks to download.

Recent Phish Shows I Listened To...
1. Miami, FL 12.30.03 Set I
2. Fukuoka, Japan 6.14.00 Set II
3. Philadelphia, PA 2.23.03 Set I
4. Binghamton, NY 12.14.95 Set I
5. Deer Creek, IN 8.13.96 Set I and II

Monday, January 17, 2005

Lucky Grubby

Here's yet another reason why I wish I was Grubby! He moved to Las Vegas after quitting his job in DC to play poker full time. Here's a bit that he wrote on his blog:
Not to disparage and generalize the fine folks of Las Vegas, but I'm glad I didn't grow up here or I'd probaby also be butchering the English language. And as attractive as you might be, the cuteness of bad grammar wears thin fast. My own grammar ain't the best, but I know the difference between came and come. 'Course, with the Adult Video News expo going on this coming weekend, perhaps she had other things on her mind
In the meantime, he got to attend the AVN porn convention in Vegas and took some amazing pictures. He posted a few collages on his blog.

Lucky dude

Grubby got the autograph of one of my favorite adult stars. Oh man.
Knicks Blow

Ben Gordon, Knick killer

We all know that the Jets suck, but hey... the Knicks suck too. They lost another game to the Bulls and slide deeper into the shit pile of a conference. Former UCONN standout Ben Gordon torched the Knicks in the 4th quarter with another double digit effort late in the game. If Marv Albert was still the Knicks announcer he'd be summing it up with the phrase, "Ben Gordon is destroying the Knicks!"
Speed Pauly and Mena's Hammer

I took 73rd out of 1300+ in a NL Speed Tournament on Party Poker and made the prize money. I was playing with my brother and The Poker Geek with Maudie sweating us on the rail. The event started at 2:45am EST and I was done by almost 4am. Quick? Yes. Overall... these tourneys suck and I apologized halfway through for getting Derek and Geek involved in that insanity.

Basically it's a regular multi, except they have 3 minute blinds, which accelerates the action. It's like playing poker with a bunch of kids diagnosed with ADD and a gaggle of crystal meth snorting tweakers. Yikes! It's a push fest with any two cards. I really enjoyed the first half of the tourney. If anything, it was exciting seeing two or three people move all in on every hand and I'd sit and wait for a good hand. I saw the players drop from 1300 to 100 to 750 in the first thirty minutes.

I started out not so good. I chased an open ended and flush draw and it didn't hit. I was crippled with a mere T250. On the next hand I doubled up with 99. A few orbits later I found AA and tripled up against JJ and KQo. I had a huge stack and I did not play one hand after that! Derek was KO'd and finished 654th about halfway through the pack.

Once the blinds got up high around Level 14, all the players with short stacks beginning stalling. Big yawn. It's not as fun as Dean Smith's Four Corners Offense from the late 1970s. It was down right annoying especially since I had the big stack at my table. I knew that when the blinds eventually got around to me... we'd all have to go in. At that point the strategy is stall, stall, stall... and move all in and hope to get lucky. That's not my version of fun poker. I'd rather poke my eyes out with swizzle sticks and shave my pubic hair with a brand new Williams and Sonoma cheese grater than stall my way into the money.

I knew that with all the stalling, I was going to make the money, however the Poker Geek was on the bubble. In a tournament that paid out the first 140 players... he managed to come in 140th place. Pretty cool. He was pumped to win 56 cents!

I grinded my way to 73rd place. I was all in in the BB with K9o in a four way pot. I flopped a King, and outflopped two players holding QQ and J4o. If some idiot didn't have KK, I would have won a 20k pot! I doubled up my buy in (first place got $1400) and swore off these speed tournaments all together. My buddy Brad likes playing them on weeknights when he gets home from work. But I say, it's a waste of time.

I always said that people do weird things between the hours of 2am and 5am, and not just on Party Poker.

Mena's Hammer

Did anyone catch the WPT's Hollyweird's Homegame last night? Mena Suvari (American Beauty, American Pie) won a hand with the Hammer. She flopped: 2-J-J and pushed out a big bet and won the pot on the flop. If she only raised with it! She outlasted Captain Kirk and the dude from the Love Connection and won it all.

In closing, I have won more money gambling on the NFL playoffs and on the Golden Globes than playing poker so far in 2005. Maybe I should stick to prop bets this year. It's sad state of affairs when you are relying on the Oscars to bail you out of a huge hole.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Suggested Sunday Morning Reading

Top 5 Sports Attention Whores is an interesting random sports list. I dunno about some of those picks. Buy Joe Willie Namath definitely gets on my list!

Russian Blonde sells virginity online. Another story about a girl selling her cherry for cashola on the internet. I got my bid in. Gotta do something positive with the poker bankroll!

Privacy Limited in Public Restroom is compelling story about a court case involving pot heads, cokeheads, and trying to get it on in a 7/11 bathroom. Here's a bit:
Hill was arrested after a clerk called police to report suspicious activity, a man and woman entering the store's one-person unisex restroom. When police arrived minutes later, according to the ruling, the couple twice failed to respond to knocks, and someone inside locked the door after an officer unlocked it. The two finally emerged — Hill with his pants undone — after the officer unlocked the door a second time. He was arrested after he re-entered the restroom, and marijuana and cocaine were found near the toilet.
Hold 'Em, Fold 'Em, Cheat 'Em is a story about cheating at online poker. It's rigged anyway, so why cheat?