Friday, September 18, 2009

Four Laptops and a Funeral

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The left shift key on my laptop keyboard doesn't work about 10% of the time. Annoying. I got this laptop two summers ago after my previous one crapped out the day after the 2007 WSOP ended.

Last year at this time, my screen died in London the day before a work assignment. I had to buy a Lymie laptop with a slightly different keyboard. Luckily, my client paid for 50% of the computer (which cost around $1,000 USD). They had AOL software installed on the laptop so when I'd check one of my many email accounts, a very polite female with a British accent would say, "You got mail." It was kinda trippy but I liked it.

When I returned to New York City after the London assignment, I discovered that my broken laptop was still under warranty. I shipped it off to Dell and it was fixed in less than 4 days. All of a sudden, I had four laptops in New York City. The first was my baby, an iBook, that I got just after 9/11. I wrote two screenplays and five novels on that precious piece of equipment. I was afraid to take that to Las Vegas with me when I got my first job in the poker industry in 2005, so I used my expanding poker bankroll to buy a cheap Dell for under $800. That was the first real material item that I bought through my poker winnings.

I had no idea that I'd be sticking in the poker world and having to travel constantly. While the iBook stayed in New York City (the Fort Knox of my precious life - short stories, manuscripts, screenplays, vloumes of porn, endless Grateful Dead and Phish bootlegs), the Dell was flown all over the world. In the process, it got beat to shit.

At one point in the summer of 2006, Otis made fun of my laptop. It was only 15 months old at that point, but it looked like it went through a decade of hell. There must have been a 1/8 of an ounce of marijuana shake in between the keys and the mouse pad was worn out. Although I could afford a new laptop, I stuck with the Dell because I knew how much travel I had to do with work and I didn't care if it got lost or stolen. After all, whenever I returned to NYC, I always pulled anything important off the Dell and stored it onto my iBook or a newly purchased external hard drive.

In case of emergency, like if I die in a plane crash, my brother has explicit instructions to retrieve the hard drive since he inherits all of my intellectual property. There's an un-read un-published novel in there... Bar Hopping with Buddha... that I wrote out of sheer cockiness in 2003. I wanted to prove that I could write two NaNoWriMo novels that month. And I did. The first one, The Blind Kangaroo, nearly wrote itself in the first two weeks of November. I struggled with the second book. It was shit, and one of the worst things I ever wrote, but there were some passages in there that I was howling when I wrote. I don't think I have read any of it in six years.

Sorry for the tangent... so in the summer of 2007, the WSOP ended and my Dell died the next day. I got sick to my stomach and wanted to die. Nicky said that I was having a panic attack. I had never had one before, and now I know why some friends of mine cannot leave the house on some days, after it felt like my lungs were being ripped out of my chest. I really wanted to die because I had not backed up everything that I worked on during that summer. Luckily, I was able to retrieve 80% of everything and although the ethernet connection won't work, the laptop is still functional (and sitting somewhere in my brother's apartment).

I bought another Dell, a slimmer model that would perfectly fit on the food tray on airplanes. It was also half the weight of my old laptop. When you travel as much as I do, anytime you can reduce the overall weight of your load... it helps.

The Dell 2.0 ran awesome for one year before the screen mysteriously died in London. Once I got it fixed, I found myself with four laptops: iBook, Dell 1.0, Dell 2.0, and the British laptop. I only have 2.0 with me and the other three are in NYC. During my last visit there, I enjoyed running two laptops at once; the 2.0 and the British one. I had Twitter, email, and music running on one, while I could focus on writing on the other.

So now that this laptop is reaching the twilight of it's life, I have been eying a new (and smaller) one to take with me on the road while I slowly phase out this one. It's a necessary business expense, since my entire life is attached to this machine. Plus, it would be nice to have two laptops running once in a while.

My cellphone is another story. It died on summer Phish tour in a cornfield in Indiana after a downpour. I thought it was toast, but luckily, it sprang back to life when I reached Wisconsin. Although it functioned, some of the things were off... like the keypad. The entire bottom line s screwy. Ns, Ms, and the space bar stick. I either get nothing or three version of what I pressed. "That's really annnoying mmme."

I get a free phone upgrade in six months, but I dunno if I can wait that long. I'm eying an iPhone, but waiting for them to get off the AT&T platform before I make the leap. For now, the phone I got is on its last licks.

I have been eating a lot of grits for breakfast. I figured that it was a healthier substitute for greasy hash browns. If I slather butter all over them, well, that defeats the healthy part. At least it's a change of pace.

There's a new medicinal marijuana dispensary a couple of spaces down from the coffeeshop. It's literally one and a half blocks from my apartment and is now the closest place that people with "pot cards" can buy Northern California's finest. Nicky said she didn't like the looks of it. "Sketchy" was how she described the set up. There's like five or six within walking distance.

Wow. L.A. is almost like Amsterdam, just add more Mexicans and subtract the canals, bicycles, and window hookers.

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