I have to fly back to New York City this weekend to handle a personal business matter. This is an unexpected trip, but if I don't take care of this problem ASAP, it's only going to get worse. Luckily, I found a roundtrip ticket from Long Beach to JFK for under $300. Not bad for a last-minute fare. The only positive aspect of this impromptu trip is that I get to watch the Super Bowl with my brother on Sunday. That almost makes the trip worth it.
Coincidence? A headache developed on Monday morning (approximately eight hours after I got wind of the mini-crisis) and by Tuesday night the minor pains morphed into a migraine. It spilled over into Wednesday. I actually took some pharmies for medicinal usage instead of recreationally. The codeine dulled the pain and the generic Vicodin worked the best. Although I had some lingering affects as late as Thursday afternoon, the worst of it was over by the time I met up with some friends on Wednesday night to play some cards.
Stress related headaches. I used to get these bad stomach aches when I worked on Wall Street. In the last few years, my insomnia worsened when I was stressed out, but this was the first time I actually felt a physical ailment caused by stress. The main reason that I'm interrupting my writing schedule is to take the necessary steps to alleviate future batches of stress. I'm confident that everything will work out, but it's just the worst time for this to happen since I stated to get into a writing groove and adapted to my new routine. I guess I jinxed myself by gloating about the fact that I didn't have to get on an airplane for a six week stretch. Oooooops.
The writing has been smooth for the most part with a few bumps here and there. I'm pleased with the progress of Project Z and hope that I can continue to write with confidence. Some days are better than others, but I always write my best material when I'm in a good headspace. Instead of botching about the time away from the grind, I shall utilize two cross-country plane rides to re-read all of my work, take notes, and give it a relentless and vicious edit. And upon my return to Los Angeles, I'll put my head down and breeze through three long weeks of writing before I take a short hiatus from the project in early March. Then, I'll make a final push at the end of March and work my ass off for six weeks before I complete the entire project in early May.
I played live poker on Wednesday night. You can read the recap that I posted on Tao of Poker titled Cheviot Hills Counterfeit. Jen Leo and Schecky played in a rotating home game in the LA-area. They had the first game since their daughter was born. In fact, the game was hosted by baby Cora. It was a nice evening out and Nicky and I saw some friends that we had not seen in a while. The Mediterranean food was kick ass and I actually won the tournament. Yep. First place. Weeeee! I also put a drunken-foul-mouthed Rabbi on tilt during the evening. Fun times.
Over the past week, I spent my mornings and afternoons writing splitting time between my office and the dining room table. I usually stopped writing around dinner time and hung out with Nicky for the rest of the night. She cooked a couple of tasty meals such as her famous Turkey Chili that happened to be extra spicy (per my recommendation), not to mention a savory batch of Cajun-rubbed chicken breast (which I made into a sandwich smothered in Jack cheese and German mustard).
After our meals, we watched films on the nights that we didn't go to play poker. I caught Burn After Reading and both parts of Che. I was a tad disappointed with Burn After Reading. I'm a devoted fan of the Coen Brothers. Maybe I have to see the flick again to pick up on all the subtle ticks and traits involving the characters? But it really didn't click with me. I'm willing to give it a second viewing sometime in the future. Brad Pitt's performance stood out but everything else was sort of flat. Perhaps my expectations were too high?
Che was over 4 hours long broken up into two parts which were actually two different films shot simultaneously by Steven Soderbergh. Both parts were a little over two hours. Benico Del Torro played Che as the two parts centered on two different revolutions that Che took part in. Both parts were all in filmed in Spanish with subtitles. The Argentine was the actual title of Part 1 and focused on Che's involvement with Fidel Castro and the Cuba revolution in the late 1950s. Part 2 was titled Guerrilla and focused on Che's losing effort to overthrow the military dictatorship in Bolivia circa 1966-67. Che's attempt was thwarted by CIA involvement which help Bolivian government hunt down Che and kill him. Nicky fell asleep during the end of both Che's.
Benico hit a home run with the character although there were times when his Spanish sounded more Puerto Rican (where he's from) than Argentinian (where Che was born). Part 1 was shot in Mexico but Part 2 was filmed in and around the magnificent city of La Paz in Bolivia.
Insomnia struck a few nights. I have been reading Thomas Pynchon to pass the time. One evening, I stayed up late and played Badugi on PokerStars while I watched Pump Up the Volume. That Christian Slater vehicle is almost twenty years old and happened to be one of those flicks that magnificently captured the vibe and spirit of Gen X high schoolers. Plus Samantha Mathis has great supple tits.
My latest addiction? Pac-Man. Perfect for the insomnia. My Google home page has a feature that included random video games. I added Pac-Man and have been playing more than I should.
My Mysterious Google Home Page
Speaking of my Google home page, I got freaked out one night by the alien abduction version of the late night city scape theme with flying saucers and everything. It sorta freaked me out and a wave of hyper-paranoia swept over me. Maybe the Google overlords were trying to tell me something? I sent a screen cap to a few friends of mine and they all thought it was a little weird and bizarre. Wil thought it was awesome, while the Human Head felt it was a total psych-ops production.
On Friday morning, I almost put my fist through the wall trying to snag Phish tickets. I post a rant over at Coventry called Denied Phish Tickets... Again (Sub Title: Live Nation Blows Camel Balls). Live Nation's ticketing system sucked ass. But in the end, the persistence of my girlfriend paid off. She scored two Phish tickets out of nowhere (almost two hours after the release time) which made my morning. And then I got some amazing news from Daddy and Iggy. They had extra tickets to shows that I desperately needed. Daddy hooked me up with two tickets to shows in Alpine Valley, WI, while Iggy scored me a ticket to Deer Creek. They're all lawn seats, but I don't care. I'm happy to just get inside the door.
The real drama will entail trying to score tickets to the rest of the 11-show summer tour. I have tickets to almost half of the shows but I'm gonna need some more help from my friends otherwise I have to pay a ticket broker big bucks to see those shows.
In the meantime, I'm bubbling over with excitement because my summer plans are slowly coming together. I'll still be going to Las Vegas for part of the summer to cover the WSOP, but I'll also get to part take in Phish summer tour and catch the Bonnaroo music festival. Summer 2009 will be a nice and healthy balance. Everyone wins, especially me.
Otis noticed a change in my demeanor. Here's what he wrote...
I have many friends who are die-hard Phisheads. They count the number of shows they have seen by the dozen. When they learned the band was going back on the road, my buddies' normally fatalistic, existentionalist nature turned to something you might see from a 12-year-old girl when Mylie Cyrus shows up at her birthday party. I've never seen two malcontents so happy.Otis was talking about myself and G-Rob. OK, I never thought that I was a malcontent, but I'm a card carrying member of the existentialist club. Alas, we're both super excited. I really haven't see G-Rob this fired up in a very long time and we had an epic time at last year's Langerado music festival. And I'm excited that my summer travels will take me to G-Vegas for an evening where I'll be crashing in G-Rob's guest bed room. I hope to get to see the gang including Otis and Bad Blood and their respective wives and children before I continue back on my wanderings.
In the last few hours, I made hotel reservations in Asheville, NC and Weirton, WV. I chucked a bit. Last year, my travels took me to exotic locales such as Copenhagen and Budapest. This year? North Carolina and West Virginia and Wisconsin. Yeah, after four plus years of sexy international travel, I'm looking forward to some domestic adventures as I hit the highways of middle America while I follow the biggest roving party of the year and record the events as they transpire.
With most of my summer plans falling into place, I can focus on finishing up the book. My reward will be the summer tour with a stint in Las Vegas in the middle followed up by a second leg of summer Phish tour. Then I can worry about publishing the book in the fall and re-assess my freelance schedule for the rest of the year. Perhaps I can make a smooth transition into writing more about music? Or perhaps I'll return to the poker grind? Regardless, I feel as though I'm finally pulling the strings and making my own choices with regard to my career instead of my career running my entire life.
For a couple of years the retarded monkey took control of the bus. I'm back at the wheel... for now.