Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It Stopped Raining Benjamins

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I scheduled May to be a month of rest. I can't help but think if I didn't allow myself a flexible month, I'd be completely fucked right now. It seemed as though everything that could go wrong -- went wrong -- and it all happened in the middle and end of April. As much as my life seems completely random, there's more structure than you think. I live more in cycles -- and depending on that cycle, I'll be living it up or grinding out a living.

May was supposed to be a tranquil month before a hectic summer, but it became hellacious at times. With Black Friday fallout (when the DOJ indicted two of my biggest clients and the gravy train was over), I scrambled to figure out how I was going to get paid from both old and new clients. I wondered how the fuck I was going to get my money off of online poker sites if the feds froze their bank accounts? In Vegas, I had to meet a sketchy looking guy, who walked right out of central casting for a bad mafia flick, to get paid when I liquidated my sportsbook account in Costa Rica.

And it just wasn't me, Nicky had money caught up as a player and freelancer. She never wondered when she'd get paid. Many of my friends lost jobs overnight, a few took drastic paycuts, others wondered when they were gonna get laid off, and most of them with jobs wondered if/when they were going to get paid.

Talk about bleak times in a salacious industry that seemed like it had a boundless supply of money. I mean online poker was the modern day gold rush -- printing money and creating wealth from nothing -- except there's peak oil and there was no evidence of peak poker happening anytime soon.

All of a sudden the music stop, the Feds flexed their muscle and it stopped raining Benjamins.

During a crisis, plenty of opportunities arise so I didn't want to be foolish and not see what I could do to profit in the wake of the DOJ pulling the plug on the modern online poker landscape. But as much as I wanted to entertain new ideas and prospects, I had to finish off my existing ones.

With all of the added stress, I was in the home stretch with Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. I knew it was too good to be true because the publishing process seemed like a breeze compared to the dismal experience I had last year at this time with Lost Vegas' publisher.

I finally finished a two-week assignment so I can devote all of my attention on the last leg of JTSMD. I also have less than a week to catch up on sleep, relax, and then pack for the summer assignment. My fingers stiffened up just typing those two words. Maybe I won't delve into the future just yet because it will be something I dread when it gets there, so suffice to say I'll dwell in the past and meander in the now.

The now is something that falls into my work hard, play hard philosophy. I'm always in the moment when it comes to living life or bogged down in a work assignment or writing project. That's why it's hard for me to get involved in petty things (and at times easy to avoid) because it's just a waste of time and energy because I have such little free time as is that I'm best devoting that time to neglected aspects of my everyday life and work life.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got (from someone in Hollywood ironically) was "Learn to say no." Sounded like a lame bit of advice at the time, but in the last few years I realized how empowering the word is when it comes to deflecting any excess burdens until I've dealt with the ones in front of me. It's sort of like an Emergency Room that accesses all the patients -- life and death situations are attended to first before the guy with sniffles. It's hard to have to be that cold and calculated, but sometimes it's the only way to get things done in the fastest and efficient manner as possible.

Balance is tough to achieve. I'm always putting big aspects of my life on hold while I focus my attention on the task at hand. As soon as that is done, I'm either working on a new thing or trying to play catch up with... life.

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