I was going to do a ten minute post, but I'll squeeze an extra ten in there for a full twenty minutes of rambling...
Brother Derek did not win the 132nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday. My brother Derek (the real person) had Brother Derek (the horse) at 60-1 odds, which meant a $5 bet (via BG) would have netted him $300 if his horse won the Derby. Instead his horse finished in a dead heat tie for 4th. I had Brother Derek at 13-1 and if it hit, I would have won $130. I curbed my degeneracy and did not bet on any other races or game. But I had a sweet session playing Party Poker and I'm up over $1K for the week.
A lot of poker players think that online poker is rigged. And that if you win some money, then withdraw it, you fall under a "cash out curse" and the online site enacts a computer program to give you horrible cards and make sure you lose your money to even the score. On Sunday morning I took out a few hundred out of my online accounts because I don't like having too much money in one place --- just in case something happens. In the past I used to live off my bankroll and it supplemented my income. I had been on a six month downswing and since I've been losing, I did not have the chance to spend any of my winnings on myself or gifts for family and friends. Fortunate for me, I have other means of support otherwise I'd be seriously fucked. But I don't like my account balance getting over a specific amount, so I withdraw the overage and add it to my cash bankroll.
I think I want this freaky poster (see the photo), if for the only reason to get really high and look at what German's think of NYC. I like the aliens and the Hasidic dude crossing the street. Click here to see a magnified view of the poster.
When things are going bad in New York, it's easy to overlook what's special and amazing about this city. As soon as I leave, I can't wait to get back especially for the food. I miss the energy and the simple fact it's a pedestrian city with a great subway system. Being in Las Vegas and LA for most of this year reminded me how much it sucks living in a place that lacks reliable mass transportation. I loathe traffic. It's the biggest waste of time possible. Sometimes I think about moving to a cool and exotic place, then I realize that I kinda already live there. NYC is changing all the time including the population whether it's people from Nigeria or Omaha, new folks are always showing up and fed-up New Yorkers are always bailing. When I consider the places I want to head out to for a writer's retreat, NYC always makes it on the list. Maybe instead of traveling at the end of the year, I should find a crappy studio in Chinatown or Spanish Harlem and hunker down to write for 100 days straight? Anyone have a 3-4 month sublet starting September 1?
My buddy Ty sent me pics of his twin boys and his house. He and his wife live in North Carolina now. Ty and I have been friends for almost ten years. We lived in Seattle many moons ago. Ty and my buddy Brad were roommates and we all used to struggle living paycheck to paycheck. Ty tended bar downtown and Brad waited tables. I had four jobs that included being a museum security guard, telemarketer, and a house manager. We didn't have much money and spent what we made on amazing weed from British Columbia, twelve packs of Henry Weinhard's, and on movies. Brad and I were writing a screenplay together when we were all not playing poker at the infamous Trout House in Fremont.
When I saw pictures of Ty's current quaint suburban house, I was flooded with memories of their old places that he and Brad shared in Seattle. In 1997, they lived in a one bedroom on Pill Hill. That was were all the hospitals in Seattle were located and it also became an area where a lot of drug dealers hung out. Brad slept in a huge walk-in closet and drunks passed out in front of their window which had huge bars on it to keep out the derelicts. Ty once watched a hooker perform a trick in his hallway. Ah, don't you miss your early 20s when you didn't give a shit about living a few blocks from skid row?
They eventually moved to a basement apartment in Capitol Hill, several blocks away. Their new neighborhood was an eclectic mix of trendoids and that's where the majority of Seattle's gay population lived. They traded in the whinos and tweakers for drag queens and hipsters. They had an alley entrance and we used to play Alley Whiffle Ball there... for money too. Even though we were broke all the time, I was happy then. Times were tough but some things were much simpler. What I miss the most about Seattle (besides the drugs) was sitting on my porch or any one's porch and hanging out with friends shooting the shit about everything. Eight years later, we have all taken different paths away from the Pacific Northwest. Ty is in North Carolina with two kids. Brad went to law school in Beantown and is now an attorney in Atlanta. And you know my story...
I've been reading books for two hours everyday, not including subway rides. I try to get an hour of writing in every morning followed by an hour of reading. I'm finishing off Hollywood by Bukowski and have something from Chuck Klosterman on deck. Before I go to bed, I've developed a new routine that will try to help me sleep better. I read for a while then I listen to music for thirty minutes and close my eyes and let my mind wander. I'm not meditating per se, but I'm trying to focus on the music or clearing my mind of the day's grind. I found this has been a way to allow me to get a few extra minutes of rest every night. And I need it.
I'm going away on Thursday for a few days heading out to Ohio and Kentucky. I'm coming back late next Sunday which is Mother's Day. Since I'm missing it, I had to take my mother out Sunday night for dinner, which wasn't a bad idea because most restaurants are crowded and jack up prices on Mother's Day. We ate Italian food and I settled on the veal parmigania. The last time I was there, I ordered a filet mignon. It came out five minutes later than everyone else's meal and it was only average. I was disappointed and vowed never to order a steak from them again. They had live music. This dude who looked like the Human Head sung and played piano. His setlist included plenty of Frank Sinatra and he even snuck in a John Lennon and Barry Manilow tune. The service was lame and I tipped 16%.
Picasso's $95 million painting
A few days after one of Van Gogh's painting sold for over 40 million, a Picasso went for $95 million. That's just sick. I wonder how much money my painting will fetch after I die? $95? $195? I always want to meet the dipshits who buy over priced paintings. So in the past week, two paintings sold for about $140 million, both from dead artists and both paintings were not even close to being their best work. If they took $70 million and invested it in living artists, that would have been more beneficial for the future of art. I'm sure that several hundred artists could keep making art for the rest of their lives for a couple hundred thousand dollars...
I got junk mail from Tiffany's. Yikes. It was aqua blue too. I got on their mailing list after I purchased a gift off a wedding registry for my friends Josh and Stephanie who were married this weekend. I'm not bragging, but I had two different registries to choose from... the standard Crate and Barrel and the posh Tiffany's. About half of the weddings I got invited to since 1994 have ended in divorce. I want to enter into a contract with the married couple, that if their marriage doesn't last 1 year, I get my gift back. If it doesn't last 3 years, then I get $50 cash from each of them. If they don't last 5 years, then I get $25 each. I think that's fair considering most marriages in America have a 50% success rate, which means that 50% of the gifts that I bought will be awarded to whoever could afford a better divorce attorney.
Since I'm never getting married, I want to set aside a day where all my friends buy me random gifts like Tiffany beer mugs or a blender or candle sticks. Then we'll get really drunk on Grey Goose and throw 50% of them off the Brooklyn Bridge.
I've been trying to write a lot for myself since I returned to NYC. It's going well especially since I scaled back my freelance schedule. I don't feel like I have a looming deadline all the time. I've been able to devote more time to creative writing projects and exercises. Being able to read books helps me become a better a writer. Since I spend most of my time reading news blurbs or poorly written blogs, I haven't been exposed to high quality material. Getting to read writers I admire like Arthur Nersesian, Charles Bukowski, Alan Watts, and Chuck Klosterman has definitely got my mind back on track.
I read Neal Pollock's blog over the weekend and he took a few shots at Kobe which was 100% deserved. Kobe and his Lakers were bounced from the NBA playoffs on Saturday night by the Suns. Pollock wrote...
"The Lakers are a bunch of thugs, head cases and rapists, led by a cocky, stupid man-child who lords his admittedly superior talent over his opponents (and everyone else), as though he was living out some sort of pre-ordained historical destiny. The Suns are a likable gang of misfits, plus one thug, led by a Communist Canadian with bad hair. Who would you root for?"And yeah, Pollock agreed with me when he said he wanted the kick ass ESPN gig that Klosterman scored. That should be my job, dammit! I'll do it for 35% of Klosterman's pay.
I've been gearing up for Bonnaroo spending more time listening to music. It should be a great crew going to the Roo this year that includes Change100, the Joker, and Molly. I haven't been to Bonnaroo since the first one. And I might not be able to see a lot of music this year, so I have to get my fix at Bonnaroo.
I've been trying to devote more time to the Phish blog. I think we had five posts this past week is might be a record! Bruce wrote something really cool about comparing the two drummers from The Grateful Dead (Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman) and from Phish (Jon "Fish" Fishman). Take a peek at... Bruce on Drummers: Hart, Kreutzman, and Fishman.
That's it... 22 minutes later. I'm done and I haven't even referenced The Big Sneeze. My allergies are killing me and I can't stop sneezing. Been sick all week.
Recent Writing Music...
1. Sidney Bechet
2. Neil Young
5. The Grateful Dead