Friday, February 29, 2008

Pauly Videos: The Almost Hole in One

By Pauly
New York City

Last month, Nicky and I played several rounds of mini golf in Queenstown, New Zealand. Here's one of the holes where I nearly drilled a hole in one.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

copenhagen > amsterdam > jfk

By Pauly
New York City

On Sunday, Nicky slept in and when she eventually woke up, we headed out to explore the city. She had been working all week and had not seen much of Copenhagen. We started at the Little Mermaid and the citadel, walked the Storget, headed to Christiania, and then finished up with a walk through the Latin Quarter and the rest of the Stroget. I managed to sneak a few pics in Christiania and those appear in the post from yesterday.

On Monday, I had one of the magical days that I never thought was possible. Breakfast in Copenhagen with Nicky. Lunch in Amsterdam. Dinner in NYC. Three countries. Three meals. One day. Lots of flying in between.

Yeah, we both had a 10am flight out of Copenhagen to Amsterdam. Nicky had a connecting flight in Amsterdam to Los Angeles. My connecting flight to NYC didn't leave until 6pm. I had several hours to kill. I said good bye to Nicky and then went to get my bags.

For some reason, they made me re-check my bags in Amsterdam. I had to waste time waiting for my backpack to get pit out onto the belt. Then I had to lug it back upstairs and waiting in a long check-in line and then stand in another line to drop off my bags. When that ordeal was over, I hopped a train to Central Station. I arrived at 1pm. I had to be back at the airport by 4pm or so, which gave me almost three hours to kill.

I headed right to a French bakery for a ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette. It was the first real food that I ate in days! The food sucked in Denmark. Tons of herring and weird mayonnaise. I stuck to fast food as much as it appalled me.

After lunch, I headed to the 420 Cafe. I hung out and read my Chabon book. I wandered over to Pink Floyd. I drank hot chocolate and read some more. I walked over to Dam Square and I watched the people walk around. That's when I walked back to Centraal Station. I hopped on a train back to the airport.

My KLM flight was slightly delayed. My flight had an influx of highschool girls. They looked like they were 14 or 15 and some sort of teen tour. By the accents, they sounded like they were from New Jersey or Long Island.

As one Scottish guy said to me, "It looks like I'm caught up int he cast of High School Musical."

I never saw it, but I picked up what he was getting at. They were some sort of troupe. And they were loud.

I sat in the middle... in a three-seat row all by myself. Some of the high school girls were back in my section. They weren't that bad. It was much better than the slew of Ethopian refugees that were on my flight home from Amsterdam last time. The bad part were the crying kids two rows in front of me. That sucked.

I watched the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster. I downloaded it on my iPod. I enjoyed it a lot... a popular band struggling to keep it all together.

I welcomed the food service and ate every bite of the rubber chicken and rice. They gave us chocolate ice cream for a dessert snack mid-way through the flight.

I watched a couple of flicks. I finally saw Snoop a Woody Allen flick. It took place in London and starred Scarlet Johansson and Hugh Jackman. It was comedy-murder-mystery. Too bad Scarlet didn't get naked. Anyway that was her second of three Woody Allen flicks that she's done.

I also watched a British flick called Death at a Funeral. It was a dark British comedy with an ensemble cast of Brits. A dysfunctional family comes together at their father's funeral. A stranger arrives and it's their father's secret homosexual lover, who is played by Peter Dinklage, and he blackmails the family. My favorite scenes involved the guy who accidentally took LSD when he thought it was Valium. Hijinks ensue.

I also caught Superbad. Again. I fuckin' love that movie. One of my favorite scenes is when the cokeheads at the party think Evan is "Jimmy's brother" and they make him sing. He sings These Eyes by The Guess Who. Here it is...

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Anyway, my flight arrived late. Immigration was a breeze. My bags took forever to spit out onto the belt. But, lucky for me, the taxi line was only eight deep. My cabbie was a fast driver too. I gave him a $15 tip.

The pizza place was still open and I was able to get a slice. One of the best slices of my life.

I sorted through my mail. No paychecks. A couple of bills. Lots of junkmail. But my Langerado tickets arrived. Along with a couple of books.

When I woke up on Tuesday, I weighed myself. I lost ten pounds when I was in Europe. I've dropped 15 since I got back from New Zealand.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Amsterdam Photo Gallery

By Pauly
New York City

I finally completed my Amsterdam IV photo gallery. It's made up of pics that I took last week. Check it out.

Also, here are my other Amsterdam galleries...

Amsterdam I (2006)
Amsterdam II (2007)
Amsterdam III (2007)

Stay tuned for the complete Copenhagen gallery.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Copenhagen Photo Dump

By Pauly
New York City

I'm slowly uploading pics to my Flickr gallery. In the meantime, here's some random pics that I took in Copenhagen.

The Simpys in Danish

Late night at McD's

Hans Christian Andersen

The Little Mermaid

Poster on wall near Christiania

Mural inside Christiania

Entrance to Christiania

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Six Miles to Freetown

By Pauly
Copenhagen, Denmark

I tagged along with Nicky to work on Friday. It quickly felt weird doing nothing and distracting friends who were working, so I made a quiet exit.

I walked back to the hotel. The internet was faster there than at the casino. I caught up on email and other stuff when the internet crapped out. I called down to the front desk and they said it was working. I told them about the broken window. They sent up a guy who fixed the window.

I watched a soccer match on EuroSport, then skipped over the ski jumping on one of the local stations. I found MTV and Americans shows with Danish subtitles such as Dr. Phil, Star Gate, The Simpsons, Jackass, and Smallville.

I watched an episode of Friends. They call it VENNER. I only noticed that because I saw the lame opening credits when they jump in a fountain. Instead of Friends, the Danish title appeared.

I watched a documentary about the Russian Missile Crisis. It had a lot of footage with Castro talking. Out of everyone involved, he outlived them all. JFK and RFK didn't get past the end of the 60s before they were both whacked.

After the documentary, I channel surfed. Soccer was replaced with Biathlon over at Eurospot. Just a couple of weeks ago, cricket and Aussie Rules football were on the boob tube. I got wasted and switched back and forth between biathlon or ski jumping. Ah, you gotta love the Nordic sports.

I went for a walk to search out decent places to eat over the next few days. I couldn't find much through the Stroget. Just more fast food joints and a couple shoarma places in between a smattering of hip clothing stores.

I holed up in the room and wrote for several hours, until Nicky got back after Midnight.

* * * * *

I slept an unusual amount. Nicky woke up and headed to work. I finished off an assignment and wrote for a bit. I watched a bit of women's team handball. That was one of my favorite PE classes in college. Watching a mixture of butch and hot Scandi women throw a ball around got me a tad horny.

I went for a short walk that lasted over two hours. I made a rookie mistake and walked around in shoes instead of my hiking boots. They were Eccos, some of the most comfortable shoes on the planet, but they were a bit run down.

I walked all of the Storget shopping area and made my way to the Little Mermaid and Christiana. The Storget is Copenhagen's most famous street. It's about 1k long and made of five small streets and a couple of squares strung together. It's a pedestrian only street made up of cobblestones. The buildings are picturesque and the storefronts were filled with clothing stores, restaurants, cafes, and other random retail outlets. There were a couple of second-hand bookstores, but the one I went through had a small collection of English books.

I made my way over to Christiania. In 1971, the government abandoned a military complex that was quickly taken over by hippies and squatters. The called it the free state of Christiania. The government eventually let them have it and it had been an anti-establishment and hippie enclave for over three decades.

Christiania was known as Little Amsterdam because of the accessibility of hash and marijuana. However, it wasn't legalized or regulated like it is in Holland. Over the years, Christiania, particularly Pusherstreet, transformed into a deviant haven for junkies, degenerates, hustlers, and runaways. Because there was no rules governing the area, Christiana got seedier and seedier. The police came in and tried to clean it up. Some of the locals clashed with the cops but they chased a lot of the criminal element out.

Hard drugs are still a problem in the area of south Christiania that I walked through included Pusherstreet. I didn't take any photos. Pusherstreet has a strict no photo policy and the photography is frowned upon over the rest of it. I was afraid to pull out my camera because a horde of speed freaks would rush out of shckas and beat me senseless.

Christiania reminded me of Shakedown Street (an area in the parking lot of a Grateful Dead or Phish concert where people sell stuff and try to score drugs) combined with a post-nuclear apocalyptic village. A horde of angry dogs ran amuck. There were no cars in Christiania and mostly dirt roads populated with older buildings and structures that had been taken over by the hippies and local artists. They re-painted them and a couple of former government buildings had become galleries. Some of the other architecture was inventive and creative. But most of the area I wandered through was makeshift shacks, poorly thrown together by junkies hacking their wares.

Sketchy dealers lined Pusherstreet and called out what they were selling. One older woman asked me if I wanted to buy cocaine. There were other random people, mostly guys, standing around and doing nothing. They were watching... me and everyone else who walked around. It gave me the creeps.

I got a bad vibe the moment I walked inside Christiania. There were a good amount of tourists walking around but everyone else was in bad shape; a slew of functioning addicts running into Christiania to cop and then sprint out to head back to their normal lives before they have to rush back and repeat the process. I saw a lot of bugged out teenagers roaming the streets. It reminded me of the my high school days when we'd go down to the VIllage and score weed. But a bad element had taken over parts of southern Christiania, and it became flooded with junkies and teenaged wastoids looking to get high on a late Saturday afternoon.

I wandered through Christiania at a brisk pace and brushed aside all of the dealers hawking their hard drugs. I eventually left and walked towards the last bit of Storget by the Nyhavn Canal. Hans Christian Andersen lived in one of the house on the canal. Copenhagen resembled a more spread out and cleaner version of Amsterdam.

I headed over to Churchillparken to check out the Little Mermaid. I got lost inside the Kastellet 6. It was a citadel built in the 1660s and the some of the original buildings were preserved. I discovered the way out and walked back to Kongens Nytrov and I watched the ice skaters. I walked back to my hotel through the Storget. It was dark by that point and most of the stores had closed. The pubs and restaurants were filled with Saturday evening patrons.

My feet were sore upon my return to the hotel. I estimated that I walked a good six or seven miles. I took a long shower and wrote.

I host a weekly tournament every Saturday at 4:20pm ET on PokerStars. Even though I was in Copenhagen, I still had to play. With the time difference, the event was at 10:20pm for me. Nicky was still at work, but she played. I played from her hotel room with alpine skiing on the TV in the background. About an hour into the tournament, I took the lead. I ended up winning my own tournament! I have never done that before.

Hey, I just realized that since I started the weekly series a month ago, I played all four tournaments in different cities... Hollywierd, Las Vegas, New York, and Copenhagen.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

amsterdam > copenhagen

By Pauly

Couldn't sleep. Wasted ninety minutes trying to fall asleep on my last night in Amsterdam. Frustration set in. I got up and wrote for two hours instead of tossing and turning. I finally slept for about two hours before I woke up two minutes before my alarm went off. That's always weird when that happens. I rarely set alarms. I usually don't have to because I never sleep for more than a couple of hours straight. But when I used to set an alarm to get up for work everyday, I used to wake up minutes before the alarm and stare at it as it went off.

Friday was check out day.

I always look under the bed on check out day. I often find things that are not mine. That tells me that you have a lazy maid. Lazy maids never check under the bed. Sometimes I find something left behind by a previous guest. Most of the time it's a used condom wrapper.

I always check under the bed to see if something of mine rolled under there during my stay. Then I go through a quick checklist. Passport. Cash. Wallet.

That's all I really need. Then it's onto the other important things. Itinerary. Laptop. Cell/Mobile. Headphones. Pharmies. And clothes is the last on my list.

In the last three weeks, heck, the last three years, I found myself running through that check list a lot. And there I was, dead tired and shuffling down to the front desk to check out of another hotel and praying that I'd fins some good airport karma.

The airport check in line was a nightmare. I stood in one line for a self-check-in kiosk. There was a problem with my ticket and I had to stand in another line. That took longer than expected. I got my ticket and stood in a massive security line. Since I was flying within Europe, I did not have to go through any passport control, and I managed to get through with about thirty minutes before my flight.

Some fat dude was in my aisle seat. He played the "Me don't speak good English" bit. Basically he didn't want to be squished in the middle. Well, that's why I didn't. And that's why I get to the airport early enough to sweet talk the check-in counter chicks into making sure I have an aisle seat.

It was only an hour from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. I was holding up the plane from boarding.

"I'll do it for twenty bucks," I said.

"Ehhh?" he moaned.

"I'll do it for 20 Euros."

"I will not pay money."

"Then you have to get up."

He stood up and pulled out a 5 Euro bill. I snatched it out of his fat fingers and sat in the middle seat.

* * * * *

My flight was fifteen minutes early. I got an extra 900 seconds of bleakness. Copenhagen looked grey and dour for February. I quickly realized why so many Scandis were good poker players... because there was nothing to do during the long winter months except play online poker.

There was a screen at the baggage claim that said my luggage from KLM #23 would arrive in 13 minutes. I headed to the exchange booth. The rate was a little under 5 Kronors for 1 US. I got several 500 Kronor bills and a couple of coins. One of them had a hole in it. I'm always fond of countries with holes in their currency. I had not visited one in a while.

I took the train to the city, which took less than fifteen minutes. I got lost exiting the station. I ended up at the wrong exit on some remote street and had to walk around the huge complex, which included Tivoli. That added several minutes to my walk to Nicky's hotel.

I called her and she had to come find me because I was lost. I drew a make-shift map (copied from Google Maps) on my itinerary. I usually have a great sense of direction, but I couldn't find the address to the hotel. The numbers ended along with the street which abruptly ended in a square. I stood in front of the two most recognizable landmarks... a 7-11 and Burger King. I told Nicky I'd wait for her there. She went to a 7-11 on the opposite side of the square. Who knew that they had two 7-11s?

The room in our hotel was very European, which is a fancy word for overpriced and small. The bed was ridiculouly small and built for hobbits. It was two single beds smushed together. But the matress was comfy. The bathroom was recently remodeled. If you left the door open, you could see the TV from the shitter! That made my trip. I've been in hotels all over the world, and our hotel in Copenhagen was the first one in a long time that gave you the option to shit and watch TV. Or for you females out there... a chance to piss or shit and watch TV.

Of course, there was something wrong with the room. There always is. You just hope it's not big enough of an issue where you can ignore it. This one we couldn't ignore. The window wouldn't close. Since Nicky was running late to work, she said that she'd deal with it later.

We grabbed Burger King because that was one of the few things Nicky felt safe eating. She's not a fast food person, aside from Subway. It surprised me when she said she went to BK a couple of times over the last week. Her Irish co-worker, Mike Lacey, got sick twice from sampling some of the local food stuffs.

Even my British friends could not hide their disdain for the local delicacies. You know the food really sucks when Brits are bitchin' about it.

It was about a windy fifteen minute walk to the Copenhagen Casino. That's where Nicky worked her assignment covering the PokerStars EPT Scandinavian Open for the past week. I picked up my press credentials, even though I really wasted going to be doing much stuff on site in the media room. The press badge was more of a formality and a good gesture from my friends at Poker Stars and the European Poker Tour.

But in the back of my mind, I hoped to dig up some material at the Scandinavian Open for my On the Road column in Bluff Magazine. What I didn't realize was that I was stepping into a religious hot zone. The writer in me was curious with the latest drama.

Political cartoons. Assassination plots. Riots. Religious fanaticism. Freedom of speech.

I picked a perfect time to go on vacation in Copenhagen.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Last Day Skinny

By Pauly

Woke up late. Wrote. Bought a croissant, banana, fruit, and a mineral water from a Boulangerie. I lived around the corner during the summer. I went to Siberie, a local's coffeeshop . I drank mint tea as the Buena Vista Social Club blasted, while two old guys sat in the corner and played chess.

I took the tram to Leidesplein and went to Rookie's. No Woman No Cry was on the stereo. So cliche. I bought Durban Poison. I drank fresh squeezed orange juice at the Bulldog. I went to the Rokerij and sat next to a table of Americans from Sacremnto. I walked into Dolphins. I went there with Senor on my first trip to Amsterdam in 1996.

The Dampkring was crowded. I found a seat near the window. The first stool had an old man. The second stool had a white cat. I sat in the third stool. The cat just sat as its tail swooped around. The old man smoked hash out of an opium pipe.

In Dam Square, a PR company promoted The Simpsons Movie DVD. Girls wearing big blue Marge Simpson wigs handed out free donuts.

The Grey Area was packed. I went to Amnesia instead and drank hot chocolate. They played some weird mash up of a Black Eyed Peas song and a Queen song.

I wrote in my room and ate a ham and cheese on a baguette for dinner. I bought Willie Nelson at Barney's. The starting line of Cripple Creek began as I walked into the 420 Cafe. That was a cool moment in the soundtrack of my life.

Went to the Pink Floyd, where they played the Pulp Fiction soundtrack on the stereo from start to finish. I used to have that CD until I sold it at a used bookstore in Seattle in 1998. Hung out with a weird French guy who asked me about rolling joints without tobacco. I gave a street performer 2.25 Euros. He had only five strings on his guitar as he played the blues. I watched a guy puke in front of an ATM on the Damrak.

The red light district lost a lot of their window girls. The city shut them down. Mannequins wearing designer clothes replaced the windows which used to be draped with hookers. I saw one lady of the night wearing a red hat with a white NY Yankees logo.

I ended the night at the other Rokerij. The guy there remembered me from the summer. I used to live just two block away...

Thursday, February 21, 2008


By Pauly

Days and nights in Amsterdam tend to string together in a blur. Some memories stick out, while others float away, never to be heard from again. Short term memory loss is a given. I blame the local coffeeshops. They vacuum away millions of thoughts and ideas every day from faded hash heads.

I lose dozens of amazing ideas every day in Amsterdam. Concepts for paintings. Books. Screenplays. Photo projects. Essays. Business ideas. Most of them never come to fruition, because I lose them all in a hazy cloud.

The small notebooks help. That is, when I remember to write in them. Sometimes I'll go hours without writing anything. Or other times I'll sit and let my brain wander and try to jot down as much as I can. Attempting to keep up with a racing mind jacked up on Neaplese hashish is never an easy task. It's sort of like sprinting across Grand Central Station during rush hour.

The first day was a blur. It took a couple of hours to get used to being in Europe again. The mannerisms. The style of dress. The accents. The vibe. I eventually wamred up to it and adapted as quickly as possible.

I hardly took any notes. And the ones I took were awful. Lots of one and two word entries. They must have meant something when I scribbled them down. But I can't figure out the meanings... now... while glancing at them two days later. I was on another planet when I wrote them originally.

I know that the first two stops for me were the 420 Cafe and Grey Area. I lived a couple of blocks from the Grey Area last summer. It's one of my favorite coffeeshops in Amsterdam... mainly for the product. Derek told me about it and I first checked it out in 2005. I've always made a point to hang out there on every visit to Amsterdam since then.

It's small. Three tables and a couple of stools. And it's usually packed with American tourists. I dig the Grey Haze. Best value in all of Amsterdam. Nothing is better. When I lived around the corner, I used to pop in every day and take something home. Just like buying milk or bread.

I left the the Grey Area and rounded the corner onto the Signel. There was a single black dice on the ground with faded white dots. It was on "five" and I wondered if I missed an illegal dice game. Heck, there were hookers down the street and hash around the corner. Why not dice? For a triad of vice?

I took a nap. I barely slept on my flight. I fought a cold and took medicine. That combined with the smoke made me very sleepy. I set my travel alarm and crashed for ninety minutes. On some instances, that's 75% of a night's sleep for me.

After the power nap, I was ready to rage solo. I wandered over to Pink Floyd. It used to be called Pink Floyd before the Dampkring company bought it out and expanded their empire. The upstairs was being renovated, like most of Amsterdam during the winter months. I got acquainted Laughing Buddha and sat at a table adjacent from a trio of Germans.

I forgot how weird it is to be shitfaced and hear people speaking in tongues. It can freak you out sometimes. At the 420 Cafe, there were a table of French girls. They were all adorable and totally wasted.

I wandered over to Barney's. They have won many Cannibas Cup medals for their various strains. It was too crowded and I left. I had to wait a few days to get the G-13 or Willie Nelson.

I passed Dam Square. It was cold and windy and nearly empty. I wandered down a side street and ended up at Abraxis. I hung out there for a bit until inspiration struck. I returned to the hotel and wrote.

I slept for almost three hours. I woke up for an hour and smoked to fall back asleep. Then I crashed for another five hours. The final tally? Eight hours of slumber inside of an nine hour stretch. That's a great night's sleep for me! There are times when I get that much sleep spread out over three days. I usually sleep well in Amsterdam. A day of tough smoking knocks me out good.

I woke up by 9am and wrote for an hour. I bought fruit and a croissant for breakfast. I headed right to Siberie. It's a locals coffeeshop, located a block from where I used to live. The menu is in Dutch and you only see a handful of tourists in there. I like their large tables. There's lots of natural light, so it's a great place to read. And they always play great music, especially lots of Jazz.

Last summer, Siberie was the coffeeshop where I started my day. They have an amazing mint tea. They basically toss fresh mint leaves in hot water. Yummy.

When I walked in they played Miles Davis on the stereo. It was one of the tracks from Miles Smiles. There were a table of Dutch house painters sitting next to me. They looked like they were on their lunch break.

I intended to edit my manuscript at some point in Amsterdam. I didn't touch it on Tuesday. It never left the hotel room. I brought it with me on Wednesday. I hoped to start it in the afternoon. But that never happened, once I found fungi at a local smart shop.

I was out of cold medicine. I went into a local drug store chain. I asked for night time cold medicine. The girl behind the counter did not understand what I wanted. She handed me a box of pills. Everything was in Dutch. It seemed like it was aspirin, vitamin C, and caffeine. I figured that would not be good for night time. I bought it anyway. I dropped off the meds and changed jackets. It was colder than I thought. I left the script and just took my camera and Gracie's book with me.

I went into Central Station and bought a tram pass. It cost me 6.90 Euros for 15 rides, or something like that. By then, the funji had kicked in. I boarded on tram to Leidseplein. It had been a while since I rode the trams. I had gotten used to walking all over Amsterdam. Since it was cold and I was feeling blah, I decided to ride the trams all afternoon. I went past Leidseplein and stayed on the tram for another fifteen minutes. I was in a part Amsterdam that I had never seen before. I got out and walked around for a few minutes before I grabbed the tram back to Leidseplein.

I headed right for Rookies and picked up something called Power Plant. Guns and Roses played on the stereo, as I sat down in the corner next to a couple. The guy looked like Charlie Ward. I mean, I know what he looks like and the guy was a dead ringer for the former Heisman trophy winner and former NY Knicks point guard. Except it wasn't him. Charlie Ward is a Jesus freak and I never expected to find him sitting in a coffeeshop in Amsterdam.

The guy and his girlfriend were both British. They were friendly and we started a conversation. He told me that his favorite band was the Allman Brother Band. He asked if I wanted to join him for a volcano hit. I agreed.

We played some pool. I went 1-2 and got my ass kicked I only won one game because he scratched on the eight ball with three of my balls remaining. In the last game, I hit five in a row to start and he took just two turns to win. I was lucky we didn't play for money.

I watched the guys play chess in front of the Hard Rock near the Paradiso. I wandered into the Van Gogh museum. I went through very fast. I had seen almost everything before.

I grabbed the tram back to Dam Square. I wandered inside the Grey Area. I bought something called Big Buddha Cheese. An American stoner-kid worked the counter and made sound effects whenever he did something, like seal up the bud, or open the cash register, or to hand me change.

I sat down and rolled a blunt. They berry flavored blunts came in packages of two for 2 Euros. A table of Brits asked the kid behind the counter if they sold any blunts. They didn't. I offered them my extra one. I told them it was flavored. They didn't mind and asked me to join their table.

I rolled up one for me and they rolled up one for three. They were pretty cool. Two guys and a girl on a holiday. The girl looked like the actress who played Blossom, but with a British accent. They were shocked that I was going to smoke one by myself and they were going to share one among the three. We all took turns sharing both. They never finished theirs. They offered it up to me. I declined and left.

I went into Barney's. There used to be a cafe on the corner and a coffeshop next door. The corner cafe was closed and looked like it was being renovated. I asked one of the guys who worked in the coffeeshop about the cafe. They used to have the best omelets in Amsterdam. I was told that the building was so old that they needed to work on the foundation and strengthen it. Some of the buildings in the neighborhood are over 350 years old. They were going to finish that project, then turn it into Barney's coffeeshop, before starting work on the foundations at the coffeeshop and eventually turn that into a new cafe.

"In three years, if we are lucky, we will be finished," the guy joked.

I bought some G-13. The Dutch guy behind the counter said that he smoked so much of that, he needed to stop. He's been on a Willie Nelson kick. Both had won strain of the year for Barney's.

I walked inside the 420 Cafe as "I Am the Walrus" played on the stereo. I read the Michael Chabon book that Gracie gave me.

Things got blurry. I stopped taking notes. I know that I stopped at the Rokerij, Pink Floyd, and Grasshopper. There were hot Italian girls smoking in the Grasshopper. They kept singing along to the Beyonce song that played in the background.

It was around Midnight when I spoke to Nicky. She had gotten off of work in Copenhagen. I told her about my zany day riding the trams. I never got a chance to edit the script, and I only read a few chapters of Gracie's book. Somehow, I managed misplace thousands of thoughts during that 12 hour stretch.

I decided to crash. I was running over budget and most of the coffeeshops had closed. Besides, it's rare that I can find a place to sleep comfortably.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tao of Five

By Pauly

It's been a while since I did a List of 5...

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading in Airports...
1. No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Viesturs
2. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
3. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
4. The Innocent Man by John Grisham
5. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Last 5 Airports I've Been in...
1. Schipol (Amsterdam)
2. JFK (twice)
3. Burbank
4. Long Beach
5. McCarran (Las Vegas)

Las 5 Coffeeshops I Visited...
1. Rokerij
2. Abraxis
3. Pink Floyd (Dampkring)
4. Grey Area
5. Barney's

Recent Music Overheard in Coffeeshops...
1. Barry White
2. Santana
3. The Beatles
4. Beyonce
5. The White Stripes

Last 5 Strains I Bought...
1. Big Buddha Cheese
2. Fruits of God
3. NYC Diesel
4. Laughing Buddha
5. Power Plant

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

jfk > amsterdam

By Pauly

I spent a long weekend in New York City. I concentrated on fighting off a cold. I managed to battle it thanks to Zicam. Maudie and Otis had mentioned it in the past and I gave it a try. The cherry rapid melts were addictive. Zicam is priduced by Matrixx industries.

I spent the rest of the time in NYC sorting through all of my mail and settling banking matters. I started the lengthy process of organizing my taxes. Stage 1 is complete and all of the necessary paper work is in one large box. I have to sort through that next (Stage 2) and figure out all of my expenses in 2007. I'll do that at the end of the month.

I wrote one article and did my best to catch up on email. The rest of my free time was spent hanging out with Derek. We caught random bits of NBA all star weekend. ESPN Classic aired episodes of all star games from the 1980s and 1990s. That was a great time killer.

I woke up super early on Monday to write. I actually went for a light job. Nothing special. It was fairly warm for NYC standards... in the low 50s.

After the jog, I packed my new bag. I wasn't thrilled with the outcome. I was not comfortable with it. Everything I took was bulky. I must have used 95% capacity of the new bag. I never like doing that when I travel. The bag was also bulky in odd areas. I figured that there would be a good chance my bag got flagged and I'd ahve to check it in, instead of carrying it on my flight.

I was not comfortable with the setup, so I called an audible at the last second. I made a crucial decision and switched bags. It took me less than two minutes to dump everything out and less than five for me to transfer everything to my regular backpack. I had so much more space remaining, that I took another jacket.

My original plan was no laptop. Nicky convinced me otherwise. She knew that I'd be editing my project over the next few days and it would be foolish of me to be without my laptop... in case inspiration strikes or I want to rewrite on the spot. I also have Saturdays with Dr. Pauly poker tournament on Saturday night Danish time (4:20pm ET).

So I took the laptop at the last minute. Basically, I'm traveling with my normal setup... backpack and my bookbag. I tried to rough it, but it's too fuckin' cold in Scandinavia for me to travel super light.

Nicky called me from Copenhagen. She got in there on Monday afternoon. She starts her assignment on Tuesday. I don't have to work this week, although I'm meeting with a Danish website because they want to hire me. I also will try to dig up some material for my On the Road column at Bluff, since Nicky is covering the EPT Scandinavian Championships. In short, I get to fuck around and drink and see some old friends without having to work.

I played a lot of online poker over the weekend. I had a good run, but a dismal Monday afternoon. It wiped out all of my profits from the weekend. It put me in a sour mood while I waited out my last bit of time before I headed to the airport.

There was no traffic on the way to JFK and arrived in 35 minutes. I had lots of time to kill and played online poker while sitting in the food court because I was too tired to read.

Gracie gave me a book, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. That was designated as the book I read in coffeeshops or on trains or to read when stuck waiting for another delayed flight. I read a bit of that while sitting at my gate, especially since we boarded a good twenty-fives late.

I had an aisle seat om KLM... Royal Dutch Airlines. I always had positive experiences with them. I hoped there would be no one next to me so I could pop an Ambien and crash for my flight to Amsterdam. I had row 43. I knew something could go wrong when they announced they would start boarding from the back of the plane starting at row 44. I was in the next to last row. There was a young Dutch couple next to me. The flight was about 75% full, but there was an empty row behind me.

The last row had only two seats. I was going to steal those once we were airborne. My plan was to pop an Ambien, skip the bad food and the movies, and sleep all the way to Amsterdam.

One of the flight attendants, one of those tall Dutch women in powder blue uniforms, asked me if I wanted a row to myself. She pointed out the empty row behind and I quickly accepted. I popped an Ambien and almost fell asleep waiting on the tarmac.

Food service came out and I was very sleepy. I didn't touch my rubbery chicken dinner. I only ate the roll and the slice of carrot cake. Shortly after they picked up my barely touched tray, I passed out.

I woke up three hours later. I took a piss and passed out for another hour. We were near the British Isles. I watched Atonement and sporadically ate their breakfast consisting of a bland fruit cup and a blah banana muffin. The flick went fast and I didn't get to see Keira naked. Booooooooooooo!

We landed in dense fog and made up time in the air. The flight was smooth. I wish that I slept more, but thank god there were no crying babies! It took a while for the plane to taxi and I was one of the last person off the plane. That didn't bother me. I knew it took a while to pick up your luggage at Schipol Airport. I tried to call Nicky and couldn't get a hold of her. I breezed through immigration and waited for my bag. I counted bags. Mine was the 25th one off the plane.

I have been sitting on a couple of grand in Euros (what I didn't spend out of my budget to Europe last year plus my recent paycheck from the Swedes), so this trip is already paid for. I brought a couple of big bills and a whole fistful of 10 cent and 20 cent coins. I dumped a few on the lady at the train ticket window in the airport. I still had a bunch of small change left over from my last couple of trips to Europe... like six or seven Euros in small coins. Geez, the way the US dollar is sinking these days, that's the equivalent of like $4,000 US.

I sat on the train and looked out at the gloomy weather as we approached the outskirts of Amsterdam. It was grey. Seattle grey. Foggy with a dampness in the air. It was cold too. Colder than fuck. But I didn't care. I was about to be anonymous for a few days.

Monday, February 18, 2008


By Pauly
New York City

The Pauly Food gallery is now up to 320 photos! I added several new food pics recently.

The New Zealand and Australia III are complete.

There are some Las Vegas photos posted as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading in Airports...

By Pauly
New York City

I've been in four airports (LAS, LGB, BUR, JFK) in the last few days. Here's what I saw people reading...

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
2. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
3. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
4. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Saturday, February 16, 2008

burbank > jfk

By Pauly
New York City

I spent about 48 hours in Hollyweird. It would be the second of five cities that I would visit within ten days (Las Vegas, LA, NYC, Amsterdam, and Denmark). I was mainly there to be with Nicky during Valentine's Day since we didn't get to spend it together last year due to that crazy blizzard which almost put JetBlue out of business.

After Nicky picked me up at Long Beach airport on Wednesday afternoon, we headed to Canter's Deli for dinner. I was craving a pastrami sandwich and also got a knish. They also have a bakery counter up front. I used to love eating the chocolate cupcakes, but I've been trying to stay away from chocolate and sweets. That did not deter me from grabbing a black and white cookie for Showcase and a couple of mini ones for me.

I put on 6 pounds during the Australia/New Zealand trip. It took me about a week of healthy eating to shed the excess pounds. I had stopped the chocolate binges and all the cakes... and replaced that with fruit. I seriously cut back my bacon and red meat intake, along with lots of starches, cheese, and breads. I have been eating salads and vegetables, despite my aversion to both. I wanted to at least attempt to eat a little more healthy during a period of time where I'm not traveling. Maudie would be proud. Plus Nicky is on a new diet, so I wanted to try to eat similar foods.

Hopefully in NYC, I'll be able to add exercise to the mix, which will allow me to eat some of my favorite foods. If I'm not going to exercise, I have to eat much better. If I'm going to run a lot, then I can indulge a bit more. My goal is to shed about 15 pounds in between now and the end of May. I'm at 188 and I can get down to 173. I got 100 days to do it and that should not be too tough.

The main reason to get in shape is that during the summers in Las Vegas over the last three years, I have put on a lot of weight from bad eating habits. I put on as much as 20-25 pounds in 2005 and 2006. I'm hoping that I can have a more flexible work schedule this summer which means I'll be eating meals at normal times instead of whenever I had a chance. Plus, I need a ton of stamina during the WSOP... with all those long days... and I handle the abuse better if I'm healthy both mentally and physically.

I already bought Nicky a gift while we were in New Zealand... the scenic flight where she puked. When we got back to the apartment, Nicky gave me a cool V-day gift... a portable putting green and machine, including a putter and some golf balls. It took less than a minute to set up and if you plug it in, you can have the balls shoot back at you. We messed around with it for a while. Nicky and I played mini golf in New Zealand and she enjoyed golf and the fact that we can gamble on the outcome. Golf is a game where you can compete by assigning a handicap, and we managed to figure out Nicky's.

Anyway, we gambled on whether or not I could sink a putt. It started out at $20. I missed. Double or nothing for $40. I missed. Double or nothing for $80. I missed. Double or nothing for $160. I missed. Double or nothing for $320? Nailed it. I broke even.

We almost went to see a flick. I wanted to see Atonement due to my fascination with Keira Knightley, but Nicky vetoed that since she preferred to see PT Anderson's new flick There Will Be Blood. However, a 10:30pm showtime for a 2.5 hour movie was not going to happen. It was fitting that we found Caddyshack on cable. It had been a while since I saw Caddyshack from start to finish. Forgot how much I loved that movie. And Nicky realized that a lot of odd sayings that I'll blurt out had origins in Caddyshack quotes.

I stayed up late on Wednesday, mostly catching up on email that I blew off while writing in Las Vegas. I was up early on Thursday to write, then spent most of the morning/afternoon uploading flicks and writing posts for LasVegasVegas and my music blog.

Since we ate breakfast early and skipped lunch, by mid-afternoon we were both starving. We knew that most of the LA restaurants were going to be slammed on Valentine's Day, so we decided upon a late lunch/early dinner at Swinger's. They have a great jerk chicken dish on the menu with black beans and fried plantains.

On Thursday night, we smoked blunts and watched Annie Hall and it made me miss New York City. My schedule is hectic the next month and I'll be spending a handful of days in New York City, which is much more like an aircraft carrier. It's a launching place for me in the next month with upcoming trips to Europe, Florida, and back to Las Vegas.

I woke up on Friday and felt blah. It seemed like a cold was brewing. We went to breakfast at Nick's. I had been ordering egg white omelets, but went with a normal omelet. I knew that I needed some extra protein, especially since I'd be flying into NYC at 10pm and JetBlue does not offer meal service. I got the turkey sausage... and what's the point? It tasted blah and I won't be getting that ever again.

Flying with a head cold is a nightmare, so I did what I could to prevent the onset. I hoped that I could shake it before I got on my flight. However, as soon as I arrived at Bob Hope airport in Burbank, I felt worse. I popped some cold meds and drank lots of liquids.

I had flown into Burbank a couple of times, but never flew out of it. Bob Hope has two terminals. My terminal had eight gates and the closest magazine stand sucked. It had tons of men's health and fitness magazines and a horde of fashion and beauty magazines. The rest were tabloids. I couldn't find the new Rolling Stone or even a random sports magazine. Instead of reading, I played online poker while I waited for my flight.

My flight was delayed for 45 minutes. All on tarmac too.
Flight Delay and Stuck on Tarmac Music...
1. The Bees
2. The New Mastersounds
3. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan
4. Vietnam
5. Galactic
Lucky for me, our flight was about 1/3 empty and had less than 100 people on an Airbus 320 that seats 168. I had an entire row to myself. Of course, without fail, there was a baby three rows in front of me. He started out chill, but started acting up about ten minutes in the air. He did not shut up for the first three hours of the flight. The Xanax and Bose headphones helped, but I could still hear his wailing from California all the way through Ohio.

I rarely watch TV and the only time I have free time to surf the boob tube is during cross country Jet Blue flights of five to six hours in length. I watched the Dog Whisperer and checked out two next channels... Big Ten and ESPNU. There was a doubleheader... women's Manhattan College/Iona game on ESPNU, followed up by the men's teams.

I ignored all of the news channels. The NYC channels were up in a frenzy over the brutal murder of a psychiatrist. It sounded something right out of Law & Order. I ignored all of the alphabet news networks. I could care less about the election and the last thing I need is to be bombarded with distractions and white noise. And if they weren't talking about politics, they were sensationalizing another campus shooting.

My new favorite TV show, Ramsay Kitchen Nightmare, happened to be on BBCAmerica. After that episode, I watched a couple of hours of the Food Network, and then opened up my laptop and wrote for the last two hours of the flight... until the juice ran out on my laptop while we were in a holding pattern over western Pennsylvania.

In Burbank, I checked my big backpack even though it was not filled to capacity. It's a little too big for planes. I had to wait for it to get spit put at baggage claim. It's filled with lots of summer clothes for my trip to Florida in less than three weeks.

The taxi line at JFK was ridiculously retardedly long for a Friday night. I negotiated a nice deal with a gypsy cab driver. He drove fast while he listened to a right wing talk show host. All she did was bash Obama for the duration of the drive. I caught a glimpse of the construction on the new Yankee Stadium and realized it's been a long time since I've been in NYC.

When I finally arrived home, I sorted through a huge bag of mail after accumulating almost seven weeks of mail. I had my mother mail me a couple of paychecks in Hollyweird, but I managed to discover two checks from freelance clients. That was a nice discovery.

I sorted the rest of the mail into piles.... junk mail, maybe junk mail but I have to open it to find out, bills, and other. I sorted through all the magazines... alumni mags, poker magazines, comped magazines that I write for, and mail order cataloges. There was also a lot of tax stuff, like W-2s.

I had a couple of packages, like a couple of used books that I ordered. There was a Christmas present from Molly! It's always cool to get a gift when you least expect it.

And my new backpack from REI arrived. I didn't have a bag that was a size between my book bag and my backpack. I can use it for my laptop or I can use it for luggage for a long weekend trip. I might break it in for this upcoming week in Europe, but I'll have to do a test pack first.

And then there was something from American Express... a brand new gold card. I forgot that I applied for it during Christmas. They must have approved me. My credit is still shit, but over the last four years it's perfect. I'm surprised that I got it because I had run into some problems with Amex when I had a card and never paid my bill. That was in 1999 and it was like $140. I guess my credit is much better these days. In the last nine months, I managed to get a Banana Republic card and an Amex.

And I shredded the dozens and dozens of pieces of junk mail that I got from other credit card companies that want to hook me up with credit.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That Photo Dump

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I'm flying to NYC and don't have much time to write. I realized that I didn't really post any New Zealand pics that were of the non-food variety.

So... here's some pictures that I took over the last few weeks including Las Vegas, New Zealand, and Byron Bay, Australia. Enjoy.


Bean touches the rocks....

Sky Tower in Auckland, NZ

Sign in Auckland

Sunset in Queenstown, NZ

Stone bridge in the Rose Gardens of Queenstown

Front seat for me in the plane that Nicky puked in

Lake Wakitupu, NZ

Luges in Queenstown

Mini golf in Queenstown

Flying from Oz to NZ

Byron Bay, Australia

Playing Chinese Poker at the Beach Hotel Bar in Byron Bay

I almost ordered the BBQ kangaroo from World in Melbourne

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Looper?

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I watched Caddyshack last night with Nicky. It has been in my top 10 list of Pauly's All Tim Greatest Films for at least fifteen years.

I'm dedicating this clip to Jerry... it's of my favorite Caddyshack videos from YouTube...

Click through to Tao of Pauly to view the video via RSS or Bloglines...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

las vegas > long beach

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

My last 24 hours in Las Vegas involved a lot of writing, a bit of deep thinking, and a last binge of gambling. But most of the time, I was pecking away at the keyboard in my hotel room, eating the rest of my Cliff bars, while listened to a ton of music that I downloaded last week.

In November, I clocked in 30K words for the first part of the writing project. I managed to get 47K more over the last five or six days. I wrote well over 50K and will end up trimming about 30% of what I wrote. Trim it and make it stronger. That's my goal for the remainder of the month.

Michalski sent me an email saying how he could not understand how I wrote 5K a day. He liked the Hemingway approach... 500 words a day and mostly about the weather. But Michalski is getting sloshed at odd hours and going to clubs in Las Vegas with Mike Tyson. He better watch it or Tyson will chop his ear off.

I'd love to do that... 500 to 1K a day... but my schedule hardly permits such an task. Alas, I got two weeks in November, one week in February, maybe a week in March, and four weeks in April. I have no idea if I can finish this before I take off to the WSOP at the end of May.

I spent most of my last night in Las Vegas writing and re-writing and erasing and deleting and trying to worry less about quality and more about quantity. I just wanted to get all the words out. Eventually, I'll sit down and read it all and figure out what I missed. I also have several thousand words of orphaned sentences, lines, snippets, and scenes that I couldn't work into what I already wrote.

I played poker and bet on basketball. I ended the trip on the positive side. I could have paid for the trip with my winnings, but I did not have to... since it was already paid for.

I stayed up to 6am. I walked up the Strip from MGM to Harrahs, crossed the street to the Mirage, and walked back down the Strip. When I got back to the room, I crashed hard since the walk had tired me out. I slept for a couple of hours before I woke up, packed, and watched about thirty minutes of the Clemens testimony on ESPN. Everyone is guilty. I finally checked out of my room using express service. I charged a lot of meals to my room and order room service a couple of times.

There was no one waiting in the taxi line and arrived at the airport quick. I gave my cabbie a good tip and checked in. Before I left the hotel, I checked online and my flight was delayed 20 minutes. When I got to the airport, the status was updated... and delayed almost an hour. I was way early because of the light traffic and the delay meant I had over 2.5 hours to kill in the airport. I should have stayed in the casino and played poker for a bit.

Alas, I wandered over to my gate. I thumbed through a few books at Hudson News. I read a few pages of a book by Cormac McCarthy. I wandered into Brookstone and killed ten minutes sitting in the massage chair. I bought Nicky something practical... an iPod charger for the car that hooks up to the lighter.

I sat near my gate and played online poker while I sat out the delay. Eventually our plane arrived. Boarding went quick, but we were on the tarmac forever.

I watched a show on BBC America called Ramsay's Kitchen Disasters... about this cocky British chef who rescues restaurants in trouble. He berates the owners and talks shit to the head chefs and kitchen workers. I had caught bits of it before and thought the concept was intriguing.

The episode I watched involved an American woman living in England. She had a tiny American soul food joint and was struggling. Ramsay got her shit together and everyone lived happily ever after. It made me very hungry for fried chicken.

My plane didn't land in Long Beach until 4:40pm. It took us more than a half hour to get home. I left for the airport shortly before noon. If I drove from to Hollyweird instead of flying... I would have gotten home at least an earlier.

Wasting away in an airport again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Adventures of Puke Girl and the Pittsburgh Fashionista

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

The title sounds like a Michael Chabon book. Rather, that was most of my weekend.

I originally booked a week in Vegas to write and do research. It happened to be the same weekend of a wedding that Nicky and her best friend Bean were invited to. Nicky wasn't interested in going, but Bean was in, particularly because the groom was her ex-boyfriend.

Since I already had a room booked, Nicky decided to go to Vegas, more to see her best friend since they life on opposite coasts and never get to see each other. More importantly, I have never met the illustrious Bean, whom I've heard so many stories about. I wanted to, and unlucky for me, it was right in the middle of my time away to write. Bad timing.

I was concerned whether I not I could write well in Las Vegas. And so far, I've proven to myself that I can be comfortable here for a short stint. There are some things about being in Vegas past the fourth or fifth day that most folks have a tough time adapting to. I know it's coming and get used to it.

I started out slow and rusty, but caught a good grove on my second day of writing. The third day was a short session, since Nicky drove in that afternoon. I managed to be way ahead of schedule with 17K words.

I finally met Bean on Saturday afternoon. She was exactly how Showcase and Nicky described her, as a neurotic Jewish hysterically funny fashionista from Pittsburgh. We met at a cafe and when the waitress asked what she wanted to drink, she quickly said, "Iced team with lotsa lemons."

Bean took a nap and I went to gamble. I won a few bucks playing poker in Excalibur then lost $150 at Pai Gow with Nicky. Kicked in the junk by a cold-heart humorless Asian dealer.

Bean woke up to get ready for LAX, the latest trendy nightclub in Las Vegas. I think it's kinda lame, even though I've never been. Any place with a line to get in is lame in my book. Paris Hilton is throwing a big party there on Feb. 15th if that's any indication to the off the charts numbers on your Hipster Geiger Counter. Anyway, Bean got on the list and she and Nicky went off clubbing, skipping past the unwashed masses in the long line that wraped all the way around into the lobby of the Luxor.

I managed to get out of that sillyness and played poker and Pai Gow at Mandalay Bay instead. I got Aces three times at Mandalay Bay within an hour. The odds of that happening are so high that the numbers are retarded.

I was up a bit when Nicky and Bean stumbled over to the poker room. They had enough of the meat market mentality of LAX and left to find me. Bean heard about the Hooker Bar and wanted to find hookers in Mandalay Bay, except they changed the bar that used to be crawling with hookers and made it a cheesy lounge with more lines, bottle service, and not a hooker in sight.

We settled on the bar at the sports book by the poker room for a cocktail. It's a great location to people watch, especially in a Friday night in Las Vegas at 3am. Bean wanted a Stoli-cranberry.

"Ask for lotsa lime," she said.

I did and the bartender gave me a funny look. I pointed over my shoulder to Bean and he nodded.

On Sunday morning I was up early catching up on email and figuring out my hoops picks. I liked Rhode Island, Denver, and Richmond. Went 1-2 and 1-1 in NBA games.

Nicky and Bean were going to go shopping, but Bean had blown her entire unemployment check on a "cute top at Barney's." Instead of shopping Nicky suggested Red Rock Canyon park. Bean was interested and we drove out there. Bean wanted to touch the rocks because I told her that we took Senor to Red Rock and that's what he did.

On the way back to the Strip, we stopped off at Red Rock so I could check the score of the Mavs game. We sat down at a $10 Pai Gow table and Nicky gave Bean a quick tutorial. When the session was over, Bean walked away the winner. She even got a straight flush. I wanted to die. I lost like $10.

Bean took another nap and said that her goal when she woke up was to find Elvis and/or go to Tiffany's. Nicky and I played poker while Bean slept. We both walked away up a few bucks and waited for Bean to awake. When she did, we drove to the Mirage because we figured Tiffany's would be closed by 10pm on a Sunday night.

Falstaff was at the Mirage playing Stud with people twice his age. He joined us for a drink at Revolution. There was a hot chick/stripper/go-go dancer in a pyschedelic dress shaking her ass in front of us.

Bean ordered a Stoli-cranberry with a splash of sprite.

"And lotsa limes," she emphasized to the bartender.

After a quick drink, it was off to find Elvis. But we didn't know where to look. The Elvis Museum was closed and these days, the suits that own the casinos are ignoring the gems of the old Las Vegas and making it Hipster Vegas. That's why you don't see Elvis impersonators running rampant down the Strip. Instead, you get parties with Paris Hilton.

Anyway, we went across the street to the Imperial Palace. They had dealertainers and erhaps Elvis was working. Sure enough, young Elvis was working. He didn't really look too much like Elvis and Bean was kinda disappointed.

Elvvis dealt black jack and there was an open seat. I told Nicky to take it. That'sw when Bean shrieked and pointed at the table.

"OhmyGod! Is that an Asian woman with a mullet?" Bean asked.

"OhmyGod, it is!" said Nicky.

On Monday morning, Bean flew back to Pittsburgh and Nicky drove back to Hollyweird in record time. I returned back to the grind. I spent the first couple of hours rewriting some of the stuff I wrote on Saturday. When I finally sat down to write new material, I struggled for a couple of hours. I had 4K forced words. I figured that I'd end up cutting out over 50% of those scenes anyway. But I just had to get them down on paper.

Schecky called to tell me he was dropping off some money that he owed me. I went out to the front lobby to meet him. We shot the shit for five minutes. It was a much needed break and it got me outside for a few minutes before I went back into my room and barricaded myself in the room from the sticky fingered maids.

I hunkered down and cranked out as much as I could. In about a twelve hour span, I ordered room service (Caesar's Salad and a blackened chicken sandwich), won two college hoops bets and two NBA bets, and cranked out 17K words.

From Thursday through Saturday, I completed 17K words. On Monday, I equaled that. Of course, I'd say maybe 1/3 is total shit and will get cut. But I managed to meet my goal of 25K words. I also passed the word count from my writing binge in November, where I managed to get 30K in about 2.5 weeks. The difference is the first batch is solid and I spent a lot of time on reworking a lot of that. I'm also thinking about cutting about 1/3 of the scenes in there too.

Anyway, I'm on pace to finish up exactly where I could get to... in the best case scenario. Once I can crank out 5-7K on Tuesday, I'll be in great shape and ready to sit down and rework the first part or Act I and trim 30-35% of it. I really cant wait to print it all up and spend time editing it in the coffeeshops in Amsterdam.

Anyway, after a long day of work, I went to play poker. I won a quick $110 at Mandalay bay against a crazy Asian guy. Then I went to the Excalibur where I won $200 from a woman who I swear to God looked like Lindsay Lohan's mom.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Last 5 Hilarious Referrals...

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Strangers type this shit into search engines and end up here...

1. Tom Petty to smoke blunt superbowl props bets
2. Rachael Ray nip shot
3. Moms with the hugest tits in world getting fuck by there own kids
4. Looking for a home movies the dogs fucked housewife
5. Masturbating single mommies squirting screaming orgasm videos of themselves

Saturday, February 09, 2008

long beach > las vegas

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I flew into Las Vegas on Wednesday. The flight from Long Beach was short. We were in the air less than 45 minutes. I traveled super light. Just my backpack with my laptop and a small bag with eight pairs of underwear, a couple of pairs of socks, one extra change of clothes, and a fleece hoodie. I wore a dress shirt, sports coat, shoes, and jeans on the plane. That would be my "going out and need to look nice outfit" while I also brought a comfortable outfit to "write and play poker" in.

Although I had a couple of meetings to attend, the primary reason for me going to Las Vegas was for a writer's retreat. I needed to do some research for my current writing project. I also needed some time away... from everything... and be able to just be alone, think, and create.

I picked Las Vegas instead of some quaint place in an outdoorsy or nature setting. Those serene places have their benefits and can definitely quick-start and inspire the creative juices. However, I needed to be in a place that catered to my insomnia and allowed me to write whenever I wanted. Las Vegas is a 24-hour city and the perfect place for me. I can eat food at any time. If I was super lazy, I could order room service. If I wanted to seek out food options, all I had to do was walk around the casino or a nearby casino to find what I want. And the 24-hour casino cafes in Las Vegas (more like their version of a diner) will serve you breakfast 24/7.

And the insomnia solution is solved, because if I can't sleep, I can wander around and walk the Strip or play poker. I had everything in place. All I needed to do was write.

I had a couple of meetings to get out of the way. On Wednesday afternoon, I met up with Friedman for about two hours. He pitched me a recent new idea that he had and wanted me to be an active participant. My involvement would entail less writing and more creative multi-media stuff. I was fortunate that he asked me to come aboard, but I told him I needed sometime to think before I made a decision.

For dinner, I met with Flipchip and the Poker Prof at The Palm. I had not seen them in almost two months and I was jonesin' for a decent meal. Since I returned from Oz and New Zealand, Nicky and I had been eating healthy foods. I stayed clear of bacon and red meat, along with cheese, breads, and potatoes. Pretty much your typical Hollyweird low carb and low fat diet that runs rampant through that town. Although I ate healthier and stopped drinking beer, I only lost two pounds since I had not been exercising much. And the foods I have been eating (like lots of salads) have been absent of taste. That's why the filet mignon at The Palm was just what I needed.

We discussed the short term goals of Las Vegas Vegas and briefly touched on the long term outlook of the site. I hoped that my time off the next few months will enable me to contribute more content.

Once I got those two meetings out of the way, I was able to concentrate on writing and gambling. The gambling took on two faces; poker and sportsbetting.

Head over to Tao of Poker and read something I wrote called Being James Madison. Essentially, I ignored betting on the massive UNC-Duke matchup and bet on a James Madison game instead. Lucky for me, that bet hit.

Since my arrival in Las Vegas, I have been betting a few games every night at the sports book. I'm 3-0 in college picks; James Madison -4.5 (over Townson St.), UCLA -2 (over Wazzu), and Yale -7 (over Harvard). Those have been my big bets so far and I've been fortunate that they all hit.

In the NBA, I started the week 2-1 in my picks, but I've been not-so-hot since I got to Vegas. The Lakers fucked me one night. I figured the addition of Pau Gasol would keep them on a roll. They didn't cover on Wednesday night. Last night, I went 0-2. The San Antonio Spurs looked like a lock -7 at Madison Square Garden and the lowly NY Knicks. At one point the Knicks opened up an 18 point lead. I knew that they'd blow it. They always do. The Spurs made a run in the 4th quarter and forced an overtime. Sadly, they only won by six points in overtime and I lost the game.

I also bet the KG-less Celtics at Minnesota. The spread was -5.5. Minnesota was up by 2 to 4 points for most of the first half. The Celtics made a run in the 4th quarter. They were up by four a couple of times but could not pull away. Minnesota made a comeback and it looked as though the game was headed into overtime, but the Celtics scored a bucket at the buzzer to win by two fuckin' points. Lucky for me, I bet small on the NBA. I'm 0-3 in NBA games and 3-0 in college hoops games. Maybe I should stick with college hoops for the rest of the time I'm here?

I have been playing poker late nights. My schedule has been to write during the mornings and early afternoons. Sometimes I play poker around dinner time, sometimes I don't and sit in the sports book to watch the games that I bet on. A few instances, I went back to my room to write or try to sleep. When insomnia struck, I walked into a local poker room, either at MGM or Mandalay Bay to play poker. Last night, I crashed at 11pm and woke up at 4am. I took a cab to Bellagio and played to 6am before I walked back to my hotel. I've had mixed results. So far I'm up $60 playing poker, and up a couple hundred at the sports book.

One night, I played poker with a Drunk Girl from Hollyweird. You know the type. She was a hot thirty-something Jewish chick originally from the East Coast. She had a thick accent and a fake tan. Her boobs might have been fake, but the only thing real was the rock on her finger that was the size of a Titleist golf ball. I sensed the inner emotional turmoil that drove her to drink. She was the your typical Las Vegas drunk girl as she slurped a frozen daiquiri from Ruby Tuesdays. She was the perfect example of someone you want at your poker table. Rich. Reckless. Drunk.

Drunk Girl was my mark. I wanted her money, or her husband's money. That would be even better because she wouldn't blink or think twice about gambling with money that was not hers. She kept trying to buy me a drink. I was only drank gingerale, since I've been trying to stay away from booze for a while. However, the soft drink made her question my manhood. I told her that I wasn't drinking because I was higher than Snoop Dog at 4:20. She almost fell out of her chair laughing. She inquired where she could score any weed. Our dealer, a grumpy old white guy without a sense of humor, must have thought our exchange was hilarious, because he let out a wry smile.

I finally had a chance to take Drunk Girl's money. I had a great hand and knew she had nothing. I raised her for all of her chips.

"I don't like you!" Drunk Girl screamed loud enough that everyone in Mandalay Bay could hear her. "I thought we were friends!"

"You're from L.A.," I said. "You're used to having fake friends who always stab you in the back or fuck you in the ass."

Drunk Girl said that line was one of the funniest things she had ever heard about Hollyweird. She repeated the line three times, just so she could remember it.

Anyway, I won the hand and won about $100 off of Drunk Girl.

It has been a long time since I was alone. I used to be a hermit who spent days and even weeks without much social interaction, as I delved deep into books, music, and writing. Those were the dark days post-9.11 when I had my studio and had nothing but free time on my hands. These days, it's tough to find a block of three or four hours of unfettered time. That's why a week alone was super enticing. I have been using the time wisely. I have listened to a ton of new music in the background while I wrote.

I have also cranked out close to 14K words in Las Vegas in just two days of serious writing. My goal was to get about 25K and I'm more than half-way there. At this pace, I can get 30K, which would equal the output that I did in November. It would be a miracle if I can get my project up to 70-75K words by early March. My goal is to have the first part done by the end of March. At this rate, that's humanly possible.

Nicky drives to Las Vegas later today. Her best friend, Bean, is in town and they have a wedding to attend. I have never met Bean, yet heard lots of crazy stories about the Pittsburgh Fashionista. Supposedly, the two girls will be spending all day Sunday shopping together. At any rate, I have smaller window of writing time while they two are in town.I actually can't wait until they both leave on Monday morning, so I can get a solid two days of writing under my belt.

Now I'm gonna figure out who I'm betting on today, and then it's time to get back to work and write.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Photo Galleries

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Have you seen my recent travel photos? I uploaded two new galleries: Australia III (192 photos) and New Zealand (150 photos).


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Truckin' - February 2008, Vol. 7, Issue 2

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Your favorite literary blogzine returns with an interesting issue including veteran contributors and a new kid on the block. Mini Waffles, a nine-year old son of a friend of mine, makes his debut in this issue. He also becomes the youngest Truckin' author in the process. Quite a feat.
Truckin' - February 2008, Vol. 7, Issue 2

1. Benson and Hedges by Paul McGuire
I looked at her arms and wrists. She didn't appear to be a cutter, but she listened to a lot of angry indie chick rock and idolized Ani DiFranco. Her sullenness always bothered me. I wanted to try to talk to her, but it was not easy. She used to sit in her room and drink alone... More

2. Declaration of Independence and Love by Betty Underground
It felt like I had stopped breathing for minutes as he brushed his lips across mine, without touching them. Dusting them like feathers. My head grew light as he teased me. I was frozen. Suffocated by desire... More

3. The Big Empty by Johnny Hughes
Ever time I see Dowd, he gets shorter. Used to be taller than me. They say he puts a drop of honey on everything he eats, and he gets Chinese herbs from a chiropractor... More

4. Squirrel Hunting with Pudddin' Tooth by Clay Champlin
I was merely a hunter trying to kill him before he made it home. Without a word I pointed at the little grey dot bounding across the forest floor. Puddin' Tooth sprung to his feet, and we were off tracking the beast... More

5. Dragon Slayers and the Angry Villagers by Mini Waffles
J and A heard about a war and it was about the angry villagers and the Charlyaters but the angry villagers had to fight to keep their lands. Then they signed up... More

Tell your friends about your favorite stories. The writer's write for free and appreciate the support. Thanks again for wasting your time with Truckin'.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Home Cooking Food Pics

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I took a bunch of photos of Nicky's cooking. Here it goes...

Prep work

Curry chicken and chickpeas

Grilled cajun salmon with lentils

Egg white omelete with shrooms and tomatoes and veggie sausage

Garlic and rosemary chicken with grilled zucchini and tomatoes

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I spent the last couple of days in Los Angeles. The brain dead locals think it's cold, but it's maybe 55 degrees. That's heaven for me. Aside from one day of rain, it's been good weather. Bad weather affects my mood. I missed an entire month of winter once again by escaping to the southern hemisphere. Talk about being one step ahead of SAD.

SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder. I saw that acronym in a book on insomnia. One chapter was dedicated to SAD. I was more interested in the author's opinion on sleeping pills. Supposedly more than one a week is bad for you. But there was a juicy chapter on old school sleeping pills, the ones that killed rock stars in the 1960s and 1970s when they mixed it with booze, coke, heroin, and whatever else they could ingest at the time.

I was killing time at Borders with Nicky. Most of the bookstores in Hollyweird are empty because nobody reads in that town. The music and DVD section are the post popular along with a few retirees bored shitless while thumbing through magazines at the cafe in the back.

I had a $50 gift certificate from my mother, but could not find any books that I was dying to buy. I almost bought Superbad on DVD, but skipped that impulse buy.

Nicky lingered in the travel section. She needed a Copenhagen guide book. We found one from Time Out and another from Lonely Planet. Nicky got a nice writing assignment in Denmark lasting almost a week. I'm on hiatus, so I was not offered the job. In fact I would have most likely been offered the gig if I was available. Alas... Nicky got the assignment and she's off to Denmark at the end of the month.

I checked out some of my favorite travel sites and found a super cheap flight... NYC to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to NYC... for about the same price as NYC to LA. I decided to spend a week in Europe and split the time between Amsterdam and Copenhagen. That trip was unexpected and came out of the blue. Nicky was just offered the assignment. I originally planned to be in Las Vegas doing research that week, but figured a week in Europe might do me some good.

I'm off to Las Vegas tomorrow for a week of research and a couple of meetings. I expect to be holed up in my hotel room writing, but you never know.

The last couple of days have been scattered, yet somehow productive. I had over a thousand emails to sort through. I'm about 90% done with all of my January email. That piles up so fast...

I managed to upload almost two hundred pictures. I completed my Australia II gallery which included pics from Melbourne and Byron Bay. I will be uploading the New Zealand pics shortly.

Nicky posted a slew of cool New Zealand and Australia pics over at her Flickr gallery.

I returned to the States with several deadlines lingering around. I had very little time to adjust to being back and quickly cranked out three articles. I finished the first draft for a column, which is due on Wednesday. I also finished an article for an overseas magazine with circulation in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia.

I also wrote two pieces for a new client, about the Superbowl and the NBA, which are two topics I'd much rather bullshit about than poker. I also worked on the new issue of Truckin', which will also be out sooner than you think.

I have been spending a the majority of my morning hours plugging away at my laptop while sitting at Nicky's dining room table. I have not had the chance to run or exercise at all. I put on five pounds since I left for Australia. That's not too bad. I can shed those in a week or so if I watch what I eat... but I always go on a slight eating binge when I return for an extended stint overseas. I always crave my favorite foods when on the road, but when I'm not in America, I crave some basic staples and go absolutely nuts for them. I think it's all the addictive chemicals that's in the food I consume on American soil.

We ate a lot of Indian food in Melbourne. The best place in the food court at the casino was an Indian joint. Nicky ate it more frequently than me, since I was always up early and went for the Australian breakfast sandwiches. Anyway... I had been craving Indian food since we left Oz. On a trip to Trader Joe's, I found a yellow curry sauce and suggested some sort of chicken breast with curry sauce. Nicky added a chickpea masala to the side and I found garlic Nan to finish off the dish.

Nicky did a great job with cooking the dish, which ended up being spicy, but not too spicy that it destroyed the taste of the chicken. Most Indian joints give you shitty pieces of chicken, which is why everything is so spicy... to kill the bad taste of old chicken.

We ate out almost every night over the last month, so we relished the opportunity to cook our meals. Well, more like Nicky cooks and I eat. I like how that works. Anyway, one night she whipped up grilled salmon with a cajun rub.

I watched a couple of flicks on cable over the last couple of days including The Good German and The Pallbearer. Gwyneth looked so young in the Pallbearer and to think Ross from friends was more famous than her at that point. The Good German was a Steven Soderbergh flick set in Berlin in 1945. He shot in monochrome with stock footage of bombed out Berlin interspliced with his own material. The opening credits were circa similar 1940s war films. It had a packed casted with George Clooney, Tobey Maguire, and Cate Blanchett, who plays a German woman who turned tricks during the war (and at the time of the occupation by US/British/Russian troops) just to survive. Nicky passed out about twenty minutes into the flick. It's sorta film noir and it would be a good plane movie to watch. I would have been irked if I spent money at the theatre for that flick.

We went to the new Landmark theatres near Westwood to see The Savages. When you buy a ticket, you are buying a reserved seat and have to pick your seat from a floor plan. When we picked ours for a 4:20pm showing, only two other seats were taken. The Savages is a dark (very dark, borderline on morbid) comedy/drama with two adult siblings having to deal with their ailing father and putting him into a nursing home. Phillip Seymour Hoffman always shines. He played a broken-hearted college professor from Buffalo, while his sister (Laura Linney) is a neurotic pill-popping playwright from New York City.