Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ghost of Jitters

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I quit cold turkey.

I didn't think I actually needed to, and I honestly didn't want to. But I made a promise to myself to get clean in order to prep for the upcoming WSOP. Clear the mind and heal the body. Over the last few years, the month of May was a healthy month for me where I actively worked out, massaged my mental faculties, read voraciously, honed my writing skills, spent as much time outdoors, and improved my eating habits in order to prepare for seven weeks of utter abuse in Las Vegas. This year is no different, with the exception of me entering into May with a heady addiction to pharmies.

I didn't realize how much I was ingesting until I stopped. Somewhere over South America, I popped a half of a pill after the rubbish American Airlines passed off as dinner. That would be the last traces of anything synthetic that I ingested, which I needed to maintain my sanity during a ten plus hour flight stuck all the way in the back of the airplane.

My first three days back in America as a pharmie-free person were a breeze. I didn't crave or think about pills at all. Then something happened to my mind and body over the weekend. I felt ill. And grouchy. Short-tempered. Irritable. I was sleeping substantially less than I usually slept and you can imagine what just an hour or two of sleep per night meant to someone who is chronically fatigued due to hellacious insomnia. I thought that I was coming down with a cold, or perhaps a mutated version of the Swine Flu that I picked up somewhere in DFW last week. Alas, Nicky curiously looked up the symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal. I suffered from every single one and was diagnosed with acute opiate withdrawal.

I was fine for 23 hours a day, but endured 3 or 4 incidents a day that last 10 to 20 minutes in length where I got dizzy and sick and and my vision was blurry and just wanted to crawl up in a ball and die. I dreaded those moments, which were luckily spread out, and all I wanted was a quick fix. Once the weekend ended, the symptoms died down and all the anguish subsided. By Tuesday night, or roughly eight days after I quit cold turkey, I felt almost normal. Sure, I still have the lingering and looming depression, but that's an ordinary feeling. Now, I can settle down and finish the re-write of Lost Vegas and ease into the WSOP.

I finally got that damn monkey off my back. I might celebrate with some pharmies.

* * * * *

I increased the amount of reading per day. And I'm not talking about the filth on the intertubes. Books. Physical books. Before they go out of style. On my flight from LAX to Dallas, I read an entire book on Argentina. Upon my return from South America, I finished off This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession which the Joker gave to me in Hampton.

As soon as I got home and settled in, I finished off a book recommendation from the Human Head. I'm way to paranoid to publish the name of that book or even the controversial author on the intertubes for fear that it would get both of us on a watch list. The don't burn books in America anymore, but they definitely take detailed notes about which individuals read (or even look up) certain books.

I'm currently reading McMafia by Misha Glenny. My buddy Haas recommended it to me and it's a haunting investigation into the criminal underworld in the post-Communist era... everything from human sex trafficking to cigarette smuggling to the billion dollar money laundering operations in Dubai.

I still have to finish off Outliers, the latest book from Malcolm Gladwell. I refused to buy it because of the ridiculous price. Instead, I bucked the system and read fragments in different airports, including the bookstore at the new JetBlue terminal at JFK. I also read bits and pieces at different Barnes & Nobles in New York City. I was about 80% the way through when I gave up. Jordan wrote a worthy review about Outliers (Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3).

Nicky and I went to see a flick at the Landmark the other day. I was highly disappointed with Adventureland. It had so much potential and fizzled right in front of me. Greg Mottola absolutely blew the hinges off the door with Superbad. Perhaps he had too many expectations riding on this personal project about a coming of age story set in Pittsburgh in the 1980s.

Hey, 1980s nostalgia is in. Just read Wil Wheaton's last piece in the L.A. Weekly about miniature golf. Wil absolutely nails 80s nostolgia in his blog and in his books and in his freelance pieces. He should have had a crack at the script.

I know, I know... I'm just mouthing off because I was irked that I did not get a shot at writing a script for the sequel to Wall Street, that somehow Oliver Stone is finally on board. I wonder how much hash and Thai hookers they threw at him in order to direct the sequel?

Anyway, back to Adventureland, Kristen Stewart was just awful in the flick. I dunno what all the hype is with that chick. (I didn't see Twilight but I watched ten minutes of it from over the shoulder of some college chick in an airport). Ms. Stewart's acting abilities were atrocious and muddled. She was absolutely stoned the entire movie (not her character, but the actual real life actress). It takes a stoner to know a stoner. Even Nicky could not stop remarking about how baked Ms. Stewart looked.

Back in the days of Friends, Joey was a soap opera actor and often praised the benefits of smell the fart acting. Lame trick that the public ate up. Well, it appears that Ms. Stewart has been abiding to the rip the bong acting. Another lame trick that the masses have been lapping up. Despite Ms. Stewart's bong-addled acting, the magnificent Bill Hader stole the show with his hysterical scenes.

I re-read the last couple of paragraphs and my review seems too harsh and negative. The flick wasn't all that bad... it just wasn't as good as I hoped. Some scenes were funny and others were outright dark and existential. But compared to epic flicks like Superbad or Pineapple Express or Tropic Thunder... this one just falls short of the mark.

Here's the trailer...


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And before I go, you should check out a post from the Human Head titled You Got Swined.

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