Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pauly Logos

By Pauly
Las Vegas,NV

I have some creative friends who helped come up with banners for my blogs.

Maudie whipped up Truckin' and a Tao of Poker banner:

Kat made me one for Jack Tripper Stole My Dog:

And Mookie hooked me up with this gem:

Thanks guys and gals!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Off the Grid

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I watched a documentary last night on the Sundance Channel called Off the Grid: Life On The Mesa. It's a piece of land in New Mexico where a small underground community of people life off the grid. The Mesa is made up of hippies, Vietnam and Gulf War vets, runaways, and other lost souls who want to drop out of society and be left alone. The Mesa is their anti-establishment Mecca but it's a gritty and bizarre place.

Life off the grid includes zero electricity and no running water. Residents live in the middle of the dessert in make shift shanty towns. Their area is not patrolled by a police force and residents take matters into their own hands. It's sort of a cross between a tribe-like culture and a post-apocalyptic movie.

One critic described the Mesa as a "post-modern wild west" where "many residents are extremely patriotic and believe in the basic tenants of the U.S. Constitution."

Here's the video...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Solo, Shirtless, and Souless

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I pulled an all-nighter on Sunday working on Coventry. I passed out for about forty minutes sometime around sunrise after diligently "live blogging" the setlist from the epic Phil Lesh and Friends show at the Warfield. They played three sets and played past 3am. I spent the rest of the wee hours updating the site. I passed out sitting on the couch and woke up to finish working.

I struggled, but still wrote for a bit before Nicky eventually woke up and we wandered over to Nick's for breakfast. I was dragging ass, but we wanted to get a day at the beach in since Nicky had to fly to New Orleans for a work assignment on Tuesday. Once we got back to the apartment, we shifted into going to the beach mode and made necessary preparations such as gathering up beach books and proper attire and sun block and filling up the cooler. We've been going a lot and we actually have a routine.

The drive up to Malibu was quick. No traffic on PCH. The weather was perfect in the low 80s with sunny skies. There was a light wind but the first thing we noticed were the humongous waves. The only time I saw the waves that high... were once when we went to Zuma in February and too a walk while the ocean was roaring.

We stayed for several hours. I didn't sleep. Instead I read for a bit and jotted down notes for a couple of posts. I let my thoughts drift out to sea and allowed my mind tor ace and wander. Brainstorming. I came up with some refreshing ideas. I let go of some bitter grudges. And I reminded myself what my goals were for the upcoming two months. When I left the beach... I felt lighter... sort of like taking a mental shit. I used to be all sluggish but now I was walking swiftly and with more confidence.

On the way back to the apartment, we stopped off at Zankou Chicken. For $10 you can eat a feast for two. There were times when I was traveling in Europe or Australia and I'd wake up in the middle of the night craving the garlic sauce from Zankou.

After dinner, we settled in and watched a flick... Margot at the Wedding. It was writer and directed by Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale). He's sort of my generation's version of Woody Allen. I adored Squid and was looking forward to his next project which was Margot which included Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Kidman plays Margot, a self-absorbed writer from Manhattan, who travels out to Long Island with her son to attend the wedding of her slightly-odd sister Pauline (Leigh) who is about to marry Malcolm (Jack Black) a nebbish slacker who dabbles in the arts but doesn't appear to have a job. He reminded me of myself in the late 1990s. Margot couldn't stand Malcolm and felt he wasn't good enough for her sister.

"He's not ugly. He's completely unattractive," she flippantly said.

The witty and snarky script is the strength of the film. Here's one of my favorite exchanges:
Pauline: I was dating that guy Horace back then. Do you remember him?

Margot: Was that the guy who liked to rough you up?

Pauline: No, that was our dad.

Margot: Our dad used to strip down to his skivvies and beat us with a belt.

Malcolm: That man had a sexual screw loose.

Pauline: That's awful, that stuff that happens to kids. Malcolm was fondled by a male babysitter.

Malcolm: Just use that information however you want.
This is not a dark-comedy about a dysfunctional family... rather a dark film with some comedic moments. Jack Black really plays a serious character with a penchant for teen-aged girls. I won't spoil the ending.

Like Squid, I might have to see this a few more times and even read the screenplay before I can fully appreciate the depth of characters.

My favorite line? Jack Black is standing in the mirror inspecting his junk... "My scrotum is longer than my penis."

Here's the trailer...

On Tuesday, we grabbed breakfast at Nick's something I always do on the morning that I leave LA. This time it was Nicky's turn. There was light traffic to LAX. I dropped her off and drove back to the apartment. I got stuck in traffic and it sucked.

Once I got back to the apartment, I enacted Operation Boxer Shorts and Bong Hits. I had the entire place to myself for 48 hours. I cranked up the music. I wrote. I played online poker for a small profit. I watched the Yankees get spanked by the Orioles. Jeter got drilled which sucks since A-Rod finally returned from the DL. And in true A-Rod fashion, he hit a meaningless solo HR when the game was out of reach. Nice way to pad your stats, pretty boy.

I also watched the Celtics take game 1 from the Pistons. The Celtics covered and I didn't bet on the game. The Lakers play the Spurs tonight. Should be a good game.

Showcase stopped by to pick up his mail and we hung out for a bit and caught up. Since he's no longer Nicky's roommate, I never get to see him anymore.

I spent the rest of the evening writing and listening to different music. We had gotten in trouble with a band from Portland called Au because BTreotch posted a link on Coventry which pointed readers to a download of their upcoming album which hasn't been released yet. There was some minor drama but everything was cleared before Midnight. We took down the link but I managed to snag the new album before the link disappeared. My reaction to Au's new album? Interesting, different, peculiar... but I didn't like it.

I passed out around 1am and woke up by 5am to write. I even went for a long speed walk down Olympic before I returned home to write.

I have 24 more hours of raging solo before I have to pick Nicky up at the airport tomorrow morning. I actually have a ton of work to do... so I'm better get to it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The 420 Guy on The Price Is Right

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I thought it was just another urban legend... but then I stumbled upon the video on You Tube. Here's the infamous video where a stoner kid bids "420" multiple times on the game show The Price Is Right.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Four Day Bender Part II

By Pauly
New York City


Derek and I met the gang in front of Deluxe, a diner on Broadway which was frequented by Columbia students and UWS yuppies. Deluxe was jam packed at Noon on Saturday. We had a big group and had to wait a while for tables which gave me more time to smoke up around the corner.

We eventually were seated at two different tables and I devoured the most healthy thing all weekend... an egg white omlete. Much better than the hotdogs and hamburgers and pizza that I had been stuffing my face with. Derek was bummed that we didn't get the hot waitress.

We took the subway to Lower Manhattan and showed the gang Battery Park, Wall Street, and Ground Zero. There was some sort of Romanian festival down the street from "the bull." That's StB's nicknames and even though he lives in Wisconsin, he's essentially a Wall Street guy so I thought it was fitting that he got to see all the historic symbols of capitalism. Forty or so tourists swarmed around the bull. It must have took about ten minutes for me to snag a few pictures. The best? Bobby Bracelet and the bull's balls...

We drank at the Kilarney Rose, where I used to drink during both stints on Wall Street. We walked inside and the cute bartender thought, "What's Travis Tritt doing with these guys?"

She told us her thoughts when Iggy went to the bathroom. I was messing around and told her that he used to be a Patrick Swayze impersonator and now he's a Travis Tritt impersonator. She used to live in Nashville and thought that the resemblance was uncanny and told us her thoughts... "What's Travis Tritt doing with these guys?"

We drank pints and completed a successful dial-a-shot with AlCantHang. We were short on time and skipped Chinatown and the South Street Seaport. We headed back uptown and jumped on the subway. We decided to bet on what shirt/garment that F Train would be wearing when he met up with us. Bobby picked first... "Yellow soccer jersey." I picked a blue sweater. Derek picked "Gus Hansen shirt." The Rooster thought he'd be wearing a sportscoat, while StB went with a pastel colored t-shirt. Iggy had "the field" at 5/2. F Train showed up wearing a charcoal grey cashmere sweater. I picked a sweater... but the wrong color. Iggy won. Bastard.

Before we headed into the bar, we went to the OTB on 72nd Street which shared its space with a yoga studio. One of the twenty horses running in the Kentucky Derby was named Bob Black Jack and we had to bet on him because that was also one of Bobby's numerous nicknames. Three years ago, Iggy hosted a blogger tournament and Bobby won it. After his victory, Derek bestowed him with the nickname Bobby Bracelet. It stuck. Since then we've hung out with Bobby a bunch of times in Vegas when he had a bad run at the black jack tables. Derek tweaked the nickname and started calling him Bobby Blackjack. Several deviations of his original nickname have come forth but it seemed like fate that we were hanging out with Bobby Bracelet/Blackjack during the Kentucky Derby. Even his brother, BG, sent me a text earlier in the day saying that he was going to bet $21 on Bob Black Jack. I put $10 on Bob Black Jack to win. At the time, he was a 27-1 long shot to win.

Bobby Bracelet had limited confidence in the horse that shared his moniker.

"He'll come out strong and lead the race for a bit then fizzle out," predicted Bobby Bracelet.

We drank heavily at a beer bar called George Keeley's. The Rooster's friend would be working there during the Kentucky Derby so that's why we showed up. We had a good hour of drinking before the race went off shortly after 6pm.

Just as Bobby had predicted, Bob Black Jack had a lightning start out of the gate and led the first quarter mile of the race. He had Cowboy Cal on his ass, but they were out in head with split times of :23.30, :47.04, and 1:11.14.

The gang went nuts for the first minute of the race as everyone shouted at the TV screens. If Bob Black Jack won, we would have had a nice payday. Can you say a few grand combined?

The pack caught Bob Black Jack on the back stretch and he faded into obscurity with a 16th place finish.

"At least our horse didn't die," mentioned Bobby Bracelet as we tore up our tickets.

Here's the video of the Kentucky Derby...

All eyes at the Derby and in the bar were on Eight Belles, which came in second place but had a nasty accident. Eight Belles had to be put down after breaking both of its ankles and was euthanized on the track. The dark side of horse racing reared its ugly head and I lost another horse race.

We drank for a little while longer and I sampled a few of the different specialty beers such as Scarlet Fire... a Dead influenced beer with a smoky taste. The bartender played My Morning Jacket on the stereo and GMoney chatted up a good looking woman who stopped into check out the Derby.

There was a chick with a shaved head in the bar. I didn't know if she was a cancer patient, a freak, a dyke, or all three. At one point, I went to the men's room to take a hefty piss. The door was locked. I waited for five minutes and did the pee-pee dance. I was about to leave the bar and walk around the corner and piss between two cars when the door opened up. The bald chick walked out followed by a nasty aroma. She busted ass in the men's room. I didn't have a choice and held my nose when I pissed.

We eventually got hungry and left the bar around 9pm to grab a bite to eat. Half the gang wanted pizza and the other half didn't. We settled on Big Nick's since they served both.

The biggest prop bet of the weekend was the one that didn't go off. It involved something called a Sumo Burger. Big Nick's on Broadway features the best burgers in NYC... including a one pound monster called the Sumo Burger. When everyone saw it one the menu, that's when the debate began.

I tried the Sumo Burger once and never finished it. I had confidence that Derek could do it and so did everyone else. They didn't want to bet against him which was smart. Food prop bets are my brother's wheelhouse. But then the focus shifted to StB who started talking smack about being able to eat one.

I set the line at 16.5 minutes. The biggest single bet on the table was $100. Combined bets totaled $200.

"No way," protested StB. "Even Otis ate two tiny keno crayons for $400. This is a pound of beef!"

Just when the talk of the Sumo Burger prop bet was about to die out, Derek upped the stakes.

"I'll bet that you can't eat the Sumo Burger in five minutes for every dollar that I have in my pocket."

Derek emptied his pocket and pulled out a wad of twenties. He slowly counted the bills.

At the poker tables, when someone moves all in and confidently counts out their chips that's a very good indication that they got the nuts. Derek took a couple of seconds before he blurted out, "Four hundred and forty-five. Forty-six. Forty-seven."

Be pushed the pile of cash towards StB. $447. Five minutes. One Sumo Burger. A pound of beef. Could StB do it?

He sat in silence for several minutes as the peanut gallery let him have it. F Train whipped out his iPhone ready to capture it.

"Don't forget to mention in addition to the $447, you'll instantly become a YouTube star," I joked. "I'll make you famous and you'll get a sick amount of traffic,"

StB glanced at the menu and The Rooster snatched it out of his hand and snapped, "You know what's on the burger. So are you going to do it? Or did Derek just call down your bluff?"

StB shook his head and folded. A chorus of boos rained down. Even the busboy who didn't speak English was disappointed and shook his head in utter disgust. Derek and Iggy hazed StB for the rest of the dinner.

"You've been demoted for punking out. You now have to carry Bobby Bracelet's bags for the rest of the trip," explained Derek.

StB was a good sport about it and took the razzing in stride. It was the proper fold. If he ate a Sumo Burger that quickly, he would have been yaking up ground beef in the middle of Broadway.

We left Nick's and returned to Iggy's favorite bar... P&G. We walked in just before 11pm and didn't leave until closing time. Five straight hours.

We got a couple of tables and Elizabeth joined us. I must have dumped $30 or $40 into the jukebox on Saturday night. I initially got 26 songs for $10 and played some Clapton, Phish (Sample in a Jar because it was the most non-Phish sounding song that I could think of), The Band, Beastie Boys, Ac/Dc, The Grateful Dead, Bay City Rollers, The B-52s, Bon Jovi, Johnny Cash, The Doors, Jim Croce, and Radiohead.

A group of 20-something kids were sitting across from us. They were dressed up kinda weird and explained that they went to a Kentucky Derby party. I dunno how this started... but they either overheard us joking around or honestly thought that Iggy looked like Patrick Swayze. After a while, they assumed that Iggy was Patrick Swayze's brother. In fact, they referred to him as "Yo! Patrick Swayze's brother!"

And even funnier... they referred to Patrick Swayze as... The Swayz (minus the "eeee" sound).

"So was it tough growing up with the Swayz?" they asked Iggy.

At some point the discussion turned to the greatest flicks in Patrick Swayze's career. We got stuck on Point Break. That's when I blurted out, "Utah! Get me two!"

If you are a fan of Gary Busey or The Swayz or Point Break, then you know about the significance of the following scene...

The group of kids also had a guy named "White Gold" who got shitfaced and was blurting out the most random stuff. I captured his hijinks on video and will post those later. At one point he pitched me a movie idea about a pug and Patrick Swayze. Somehow, we got Gary Busey and Bill Murray involved and the first act involved a hospital gurney, a chase through a flower market, and a shoot out with Mexicans.

I smell an Oscar.

At one point, a 50-something homosexual British guy in a suit sat down and asked for some weed. He wanted to trade poppers for some bud. They gang wasn't hip to drug slang and asked me what poppers were. It was hard to tell the context... the guy was a generation older and also British. Poppers could have meant any assortment of pills, ecstasy, crystal meth, or even amyl nitrite. We turned the guy down but at one point, The Rooster and the old guy had words when he kept pestering us about trading or buying drugs.

"What are you a cop?" quizzed The Rooster.

"No, just a gay," he said.

He eventually left us alone.

"What's with the freak show? I fuckin' love this bar," joked Iggy who recanted the trannies on the first night and the crazy black guy who talked to himself the night before.

Just before last call, one of the kids from the other table drank too much and passed out in the booth. The tried to wake him up to go home. I walked over and gave him the "Hulk Hogan Test" where I raised his arm three times to see if he was awake. During WWF (or now WWE) wrestling matches Hulk Hogan would always get put to sleep by his evil opponent. Just when you thought he was out cold, the referee conducted the arm test. Hogan always flopped on the first two as the anxious crowd waited. But on the third and final arm test, Hulk Hogan magically shot his arm up in the air at the last second to let the crowd know that he was still awake.

Sadly, the drunk guy failed the Hulk Hogan Test miserably. His friends dragged him outside and tossed him into the back seat of the cab.

We drank for five straight hours at P&G and took turns running outside to smoke. It was 4:04am when they kicked us out and at that point, the trip was over for me. After four long days and nights of drinking, it was finally time to say goodbye to my friends until we meet up again next year in May. Will it be NYC again next year? Or will we go back to Cincinnati next year? Judging on the reaction from the out-of-towners... I have a feeling they're gonna be back.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

By PaulyNew York City

Been riding the subways a lot the last few days...

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...
1. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
2. The Holy Bible
3. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
4. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
5. Lisey's Story by Stephen King