Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday Pic Dump: Food and LA Stuff

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I got a new pocket camera. Cannon SD1100 Elph. This is the third Elph that I have purchased in four plus years. Since I travel so much, I really put them through hell.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics that I took with the new camera...

Black and Whites from Canter's Deli

Location for rent! Not a real diner but used in "the pictures"...
scene from 'The Big Lebowski' was shot here

The ZOOM function works... took this pic from inside a car

Bacon & cheese omelet from Nick's

Cheese tortellini

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Drink Your Milkshake

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Showcase stopped by on Sunday afternoon. It was the first time I saw him since I left for Las Vegas and went out for Thai food. Since our last meeting, he booked a national beer commercial. Unreal. I had been pulling for him ever since I met him a couple of years ago. He has been a struggling actor for almost a decade. He needed a break. Big time.

While he was over at the apartment, we watched Cops and a bunch of white cops beat up on a hysterical black woman. When I was in Iceland in 2001, I met an exceptional young woman who told me that she learned English by watching Falcon's Crest. She made some generalizations about middle America based on all of the episodes of Cops and The Simpsons that she saw on TV. American institutional and society racism beamed around the world. At least there are shards of truth in those thirty minute episodes compared the the shit sandwich that Hollywood serves up on a daily basis.

It's been not the best weather for the beach so Nicky and I have been opting for our backup plan... the movies. We took an opportunity to catch up on a couple of current flicks out in the theatres such as Dark Knight, X-Files 2, and Hancock. I also watched There Will Be Blood on cable. Not to mention several documentaries such as Super High Me and Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub.

I caught the Wetlands documentary on the Sundance Channel. And man, that brought back several vivid flashbacks and warm memories.

The documentary told the history of Wetlands (1989-2001) which was a club in lower Manhattan. I saw my first Phish show at the Wetlands in 1989 when I was 17 and a senior in high school. In fact, that might have been the first time I was ever in the Wetlands.

I can't tell you how many random bands I saw at the Wetlands in the 1990s with Senor including moe., God Street Wine, Disco Biscuits, Deep Banana Blackout, Jupiter Coyote, the Ominous Seapods, and Medeski Martin & Wood. I even saw Robert Hunter there a couple of times including countless other Dead cover bands. And then at the turn of the century, I caught local acts like Soulive and DJ Logic and also saw Robert Randolph get his start in the jamband scene with shows at Wetlands.

The Wetlands closed its doors in 2001 and I recall that my friends were super bummed at the sad news. It was one of the few places in town where you could have fun at a show instead of being harassed by surly security guards at places like Irving Plaza or getting squeezed out by the hipster acts at Bowery Ballroom.

A big celebration with Rat Dog was supposed to mark the closing but the events of 9.11 interrupted the final week of festivities. And if you didn't know, Mike Gordon played in the last official show at the Wetlands on September 10, 2001. He sat in with DJ Logic and Warren Haynes. Robert Hunter would play a couple of nights later to unofficially play the last show at Wetlands.

Here's a bit of Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub...

On Monday afternoon, we met Nicky's mom for the X-Files flick. I had no idea there was a sequel until a week or so ago. I heard zero hype about it and didn't even see the trailer. My favorite story line from the X-Files surrounded the global-galactic-conspiracies and the Cigarette Smoking Man. Heck, I always felt that Dick Cheney was the post-modern Cigarette Smoking Man and the guy pulling the strings inside the Bush Junta. Anyway, the flick was sort of a let down. No aliens. No conspiracies. I think I would have enjoyed reading the script more so than seeing the flick. The entire notion of faith and belief came into question, as it had been one of the major underlying themes of the entire TV series. Those cerebral concepts of the X-Files doesn't make for compelling entertainment on the big screen and would have sunk deeper if I would wrap my mind around the words. I appreciated the effort, but if you are looking for something that will blow you away... it won't be X-Files 2. Save your money and wait for it to come on cable. Or find some geek who already ripped a leaked copy from the intertubes.

I heard lots of positive things about There Will Be Blood. It was directed by PT Anderson who was the mastermind behind Magnolia and Boogie Nights. Blood was a departure from is LA-centric flicks. There Will Be Blood was based on the book Oil by Upton Sinclair about Daniel Plainview, an oil tycoon and all-around asshole. I passed out about 2/3 of the way through but woke up for the climatic ending. That scene was one of the many reasons who Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Daniel Planview.

And yes, I drink your milkshake...

On Tuesday morning, we had a late start to the day trying to decide if we were going to make a run to Zuma or skip it and see a flick instead. We eventually pushed back a trip to the beach to Wednesday and drove to O'Groats for breakfast.

Sometime after I finished my bacon and eggs and home fries and buttermilk biscuits, I felt the first tremble. It felt like the rumbling of a subway car on an elevated subway platform, except we were not in a subway station in NYC, and we were sitting in a restaurant on Pico Blvd across the street from the Fox lot. Yeah, it was an earthquake. The ground shook for a few seconds and it was over.

Nicky did not panic and when everything subsided, she said, "Oh, that was small. Just a baby. 4.5 max."

She went back to sipping her coffee. There was zero damage to O'Groats and everyone went back to their breakfast. That was my first major earthquake. I experienced a couple of small tremors in San Francisco, but nothing like Tuesday during breakfast. It ended up being a 5.4 with the epicenter in Chino. That's where Ryan Atwood is from before he moved to The OC.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wil Talks About Blogging

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Wil was interviewed at Comic Con. He speaks about the evolution of blogging. Check it out.

I love the beard Wil. Makes him look writerly.

Oh, by the way. Happy birthday, Wil.
Videos: Trippy Monkeys and World Series of Lime Tossing

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I recently uploaded a couple of videos to YouTube.

The Trippy Monkeys were an interactive art installation at the Mike High Music Festival in Denver.

And the second stars Otis as we gamble ungodly sums of money on lime tossing in Las Vegas...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Unconnected Undermind

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I accumulated several piles of coins during my last assignment in Las Vegas. Three massive hills of silver were sprayed across the dresser in our bedroom. The majority of them were quarters representing dozens and dozens of states. Around 5 or 6am every morning, I'd empty my pockets before I crashed as more coins spilled out.

I horded the quarters for laundry back in LA. Nicky's apartment has a washer and dryer and her cheapo slumlord recently jacked up the prices. The dimes and nickels went to Nicky's parking fund. The coin holder in her car was barely touched in Las Vegas. In Los Angeles, it serves as her parking fund. One of the good things about Las Vegas was plenty of free parking. In LA, it seems like you are paying a few bucks everywhere you go. Street parking. Valet parking. Garage parking. The LA shakedown. Fuckin' criminals.

The small pile on top of the dresser also contained several casino chips. I collect poker chips. It is one of the rare material items that I collect, and they are more like mementos than anything else. If I'm playing in a new poker room, I'll snag a $1 chip from my stack and pocket it as a souvenir. When I played at the Venetian poker room a couple of weeks ago, I grabbed a $1 chip from the Palazzo, their sister casino, which opened up a couple of months earlier.

Since our return to LA, Nicky and I ate breakfast around the corner at Nick's coffeeshop twice. We've been gambling on which server waits on us. There are four different ones and Nicky and I draft two each before we walk inside. I lost both times and had to pay for breakfast. The last trip, I went for a healthy option and ordered an egg white omelete with a Spicy Italian sausage on the side. I usually get two sausages or bacon and just went for one.

Over the weekend, I caught up on two cable series... Weeds and Generation Kill. I got into Weeds last year. Every couple of weeks in between assignments and traveling, I'd watch two or three episodes with Nicky since Showtime was the only cable station that my brother did not get. This summer in Las Vegas, I went to a party that was sponsored by Showtime and Skyy vodka. They showed a special sneak preview of the first episode from the new season of Weeds. That was the only one I saw all summer. I went into total blackout mode this summer. No TV at all. I believe I watched the final two episodes of Top Chef during the first week of the WSOP via TiVo but that was it.

On Thursday night, we ordered in Thai food and finally caught up on Weeds. There were some random poker references in the episodes, which was weird yet funny.

Daddy recommended Generation Kill on HBO which he dubbed as our generation's Band of Brothers. Generation Kill takes place five years ago and based on a book about the first marine division inside of Iraq in 2003. I watched the first two episodes back-to-back.

For the first time in months, I ate some home-cooked meals whipped up by Chef Nicky. We headed to Whole Foods and stocked up since the entire kitchen was empty. She made two delicious dinners this weekend... blackened Cajun salmon and Jamaican jerk chicken. Yeah, both were spicy dishes and she came through in the clutch. If my camera wasn't dead, I would have taken photos. On Sunday, we rolled our own chicken burritos. The special ingredient? Chipolte Gouda which I found in the gourmet cheese section of Ralphs. Spicy, yet smooth. It added a nice kick to the burrito.

I guess the weekend was lazy, with an emphasis on slack. I smoked a ton and watched a couple of flicks like Guy X and Super High Me. Both were awful. Thank god that I was faded on oxys that night in order for me to sit through both. About half-way through Super High Me, I got super bored and starting playing online poker.

A friend of mine hooked me up with some oxycontin after my car accident. He gave me a specific warning and said to just nibble on it. Anything more would kill me. Holy shit? Are you kidding me? I got a stern warning despite my experiences dabbling in all forms of pharmacopoeia.

I expected the oxy to last a bit, but man oh man. Talk about getting knocked on my ass for 2/3 of a day. That's why they call it hillbilly heroin. What I like about oxycontin is the sustained high over several hours. Waves and waves. Well, one nibble had be floored for about 16 hours. I partied for several hours, slept for like five or six, and still woke up wasted. My faded state lasted all the way into Saturday afternoon.

I played a ton of online poker this weekend. Ironically, I played my worst poker when I was the most sober. I had one awful session that wiped out all of the smaller and positive session. I broke even, but I got to play with a couple of friends I had not seen in a while, the Poker Geek and Shane Nickerson, who ironically was in NYC for an assignment.

And then there was my private tournament on PokerStars. My brother Derek knocked me out and he took second place. He was winning for most of it until it got down to three and he lost the lead.

My sloth was due to some baseball, specifically the compelling Yankees/Red Sox series. Two of the games were on TV and the other I watched on my laptop The Yanks took the first two and went for the sweep on ESPN. But the Yanks always play like shit on ESPN and they got spanked by the Sox. That game got so ugly that we watched Ice Truckers for a bit and I got distracted by playing online poker.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Battle of the Planets aka G Force

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I needed help with this one. I blame too much TV as a child of the 1970s. I also blame too many psychedelics in the 1990s.

Over the last couple of months, I have been bombarded by flashbacks of my youth. Particualrly while covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, I would randomly get flashes of this cartoon that I religiously watched as a kid. For the life of me, I could not recall the name of it. I was stumped. I would wander through a row of poker tables with random images wandering down the hallways of my brain.

The images wouldn't stop. But I had zero time to chase it down.

As soon as I returned to Hollyweird, I tried to do some research. I found a website that had a bunch of cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s. It was extremely trippy to take a walk down memory lane. I forgot about the Mr. T cartoon with those gymnasts and those annoying fuzzy things called The Monchhichis. I searched and searched for hours and even looked on You Tube. However, all my research left me was super frustrated. Unable to properly chase down a flashback. That makes people go insane.

That's when I knew I needed to bring in an outside consultant. If there was one person I could ask threat would know... it was Wil Wheaton... resident uber-geek and sci-wunderkind Wil Wheaton.

Here's the email that I sent Wil the other day...

this is killing me. im having these flashbacks of this cartoon i used to watch when i was a kid but cant recall the name. i know we're the same age so maybe u can help.

cartoon.... sci-fi-ish but more like animae for the late 1970s.

premise: 4 teens (3 guys plus 1 chick in pink) + 1 young kid work for some govt agency. i think they are all orphans. each are on this huge spaceship/plane. the fat guy flew the plane. and there are two tough guys - one rode a race car and the other a single-seater plane. the chick drove a motorcycle. their vehicles would come out of the plane/spaceship. whenever they got in trouble their plane would turn into this fireball like a phoenix. they constantly fought this terrorist group who wore blue masks.

can u help me out here? or am i just rambling on and on...?


Wil had been away at Comic-Con and finally had a chance to catch up with email. Here's what he wrote me...

I loved this show. In America, this was called Battle of the Planets, but it was originally called Z Force when it debuted in Japan.

My friend is working on an updated version of the film, that will be CGI and live action!


Score! I was so happy that Wil cleared up my insanity. Within seconds of reading his email, I found the first episode on You Tube. There were two versions in the US... Battle of the Planets and G-Force.

The powers to be softened the North American version and took out some of the quasi-sexually explicit scenes and tons of violence. That's what I watched as a kid.

I can't recall if I ever watched the cartoon on weekends. I sort of recall sitting around in my Catholic School uniform and watching the cartoon after school.

Here's the first episode...

Since I got Wil's email confirmation, I have been sitting here, clutching the bong, and reliving my lost youth.

And yes, the fat guy is named Hootie.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Iowa, Sweet Iowa

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA



Widespread Panic's Climb to Safety echoed in the background.

Nicky sat on the couch and played online poker.

She's been on a heater all day.

The gambling queen.

Up a couple of hundred.

She's been shopping for boots and clothes in between playing online poker.

I dove into a profitable sea as well.

Scribbled stuff all afternoon and uploaded pics and did laundry.

Feeling emotionally satisfied, I fired up the online poker tables and played with a couple of old friends.

I had not seen either in a while.

Too long.


Last December.

In Las Vegas.

In front of the Venetian.

Or was it at the craps tables at the Imperial Palace?

And that Hanel character?

Must have been last summer the last time I saw that clown.

He's now in Iowa.



As a skunk.

I would be shitfaced too if I lived in Iowa.

And Nickerson was in NYC.

On a work assignment.

Also drunk.

Celebrating life outside of the fickle LA bubble.

Nickerson sat in a hotel room near Times Square overlooking the millions of roaches and rats, while I sat in the shadows of the hills of Hollyweird, sort of wishing I was in NYC.

When I was a kid, the hookers trolled the streets around Times Square.

A ring of fire, a circle of seduction, a perimeter of smut.

Coke fiends.



Porn palaces.

Street walkers.

Speed freaks.

Something hallow yet with a hook, like a lyric from a Velvet Underground song.

When I think about being 7 in 1979, images of big ass afros and bell bottoms and grafitti-splashed broken-down subways flood me.

Like Iowa.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Colorado Gallery

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Wanna see some pics from Colorado and the Mile High Music Festival?

Nicky posted her pics a few days ago. I finally finished my batch of Colorado pics.

That's the last bit of photos that my camera took before it died in Boulder on Monday morning.
Chemical Dumbing Down of America

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

This video has the Human Head stamp all over it...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heath Ledger Is the New Matt Damon

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

It felt good to wake up in some place that was not Las Vegas. Although four times in the last week I had dreams about poker tournaments. Haunting. Nightmares. Well, they weren't scary or evil or anything like that. Pretty boring actually. I'm finally waiting for the time when those dreams stop.

I woke up and wrote. My brain was fried all weekend from partying and adjusting to life outside of Las Vegas. For the first time since the WSOP ended, I felt as though I could sit down and focus and blaze through work. There's always stuff to get done. I dunno how many websites I have neglected over the last two months and I paid a little extra special attention to those.

Then there's the email. Originally I had over a thousand unread pieces not to mention several hundred which I read and never responded to. I limited myself one hour a day to sorting through that mountain. Because I don't have much time, my emails are brief. My goal is to get three addresses under 100 undread pieces... but that might take a few more days.

When Nicky woke up, we headed down the street to our local diner. We missed Nick's coffeeshop. I went for a breakfast sandwich... bacon & eggs & cheese on wheat bread with hashbrowns. Comfort food. Just a block away.

After breakfast we both cranked out some work. I had a deadline which I almost forgot about. We picked up a late lunch/early dinner at Zankou chicken. A whole chicken for like $10. Unreal. They gave us an extra garlic sauce. That was an added bonus. Sort of like getting two cherries on the top of your sundae.

We also stopped off at Nicky's parents house in Westwood. Her father got stung by a ray when he was at the beach a couple of weeks ago and had to be hospitalized for several days due to the infection. He's fine now, but has become the butt of family jokes with sting ray t-shirts.

I forgot that I had been wearing my Yankees hat when we stopped by. He loathes the Yankees and can't stand Joba Chamerlin. Before he even said hello to Nicky, he pointed at me and barked, "There's a trash can around the corner. Make sure you throw that hat away before you step foot into the house."

He was semi-joking. I think.

After a visit with Nicky's parents, we headed up the street to a poker game hosted by Mark, one of Schecky and Jen Leo's friends. The players ranged from a sweet ninety-year old woman. An infomercial guru. Former NBA player. A pregnant travel writer. Former child actor. And my favorite... a foul-mouthed rabbi knocking back Kettle One and cranberry juice in a pint glass.

The rabbi got drunk and won the tournament. I got buzzed and busted out first. Maybe I should have drank more?

I woke up early again on Thursday. I read for a bit and also wrote before Nicky got up (surprisingly early). We wanted to go to the beach, but the weather was little blah this morning (even though right now it's gorgeous). We opted for breakfast and an 11am showing of the new Batman movie. We ate at O'Groats and I love their iced tea. I usually order the French Toast but went for bacon, eggs, and hash browns instead. Oh, and two biscuits. Gotta love their biscuits.

Batman was above average, but definitely blew away some of the lamer incarnations from the 1990s. Some scenes in Dark Knight were better than others. Heath Ledger stood out as the Joker, as expected from what I heard from friends who saw it already or from the critics who raved about his performance. He definitely took a different spin on the character than Jack Nicholson did. Then again, the entire franchise is on a different path.

Heath Ledger's death means we won't get to see him return as the Joker. I wonder if they'll try to use another actor? Or perhaps they'll introduce other villains? As long as it is not Mr. Freeze.

When I was in Australia in January, Heath Ledger died. I was actually on holiday in Byron Bay and Nicky and I discovered the news on the TV in our beach motel. It was breaking news on one of the five stations that we got. One of them was a movie channel and they interrupted their previous schedule programming and ran a marathon of Heath ledger flicks like 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale and Brokeback Mountain.

At the time, industry insiders were worried about how Ledger's death would affect the marketing of the flick. And now, six months later, the new Batman flick is pulling in tons of dough every day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

denver > las vegas > hollyweird

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I had one of the whirlwind days on Tuesday. Breakfast in Denver. Lunch in Las Vegas. Dinner in Barstow. And bong hits on Nicky's couch in Los Angeles around Midnight.

But let's rewind to Monday.

The Joker was a trooper and went to work after a long weekend of partying. He loaned us his trusty vehicle, Marco, so Nicky and I could drive up to Boulder. Her sister went to school there and she had not been back since her graduation. The last time I was in Boulder was in 2006. Hung out with Daddy and the Joker and saw Galactic at the Fox Theatre.

We arrived in Boulder still around breakfast time. The Joker used to take me to a place called The Buff. When we passed by it, I suggested that's where we eat. Their breakfast was cheap but high quality. They served iced tea in big ass mason jars and have delicious omelets on the menu. We experienced a relaxed and casual breakfast for the first time in months. It seemed as though I was always rushing meals in Las Vegas because I was running late or didn't have time to waste. Monday's breakfast was a different story. Small. Simple. Pleasures. Like sipping cold iced tea after a relaxing meal.

We drove up to the Flat Irons and checked out the view from above of Boulder below. That's when my digital camera crapped out. It made a gurgling sound as it breathed it's last breaths of life. The lens opened up but never closed. It was like a corpse who died with their eyes open. I couldn't get it to shut. Busto. Broken. Fuck. I loved that camera. It lasted just 18 months but I beat it to all hell and took it all over the world with me. 12 countries? 13? 14? Hard to count.

I was sad to see my camera die on me in Colorado. Last year just around the same time, my laptop died. At least the have enough sense to wait until after my huge work assignment to crap out.

After checking out the windy roads in the Flat Irons, we drove down to Pearl Street to check out the scene. Plenty of tourists wandered around including a few local shirtless street kids who offered to play songs for a price of $1.

"What happened to playing for free? And busking for tips?" wondered Nicky.

Pearl Street is the perfect place to people watch. We soaked in the scene. It felt amazing to be outdoors and not inside a casino. The majority of people in Boulder where radiating positive vibes instead of oodles of negative energy that accompanies most people in Las Vegas.

Nicky went shopping and I headed into a used bookstore. I migrated to the magazine section. Zero poker mags. Tons of yoga, fitness, and ski magazines. I perused the shelves and bought a used copy of No Logo by Naomi Klein.

Johnny Walker lived just outside of Boulder in Lousiville so we stopped by his condo on our way back into Denver. I had not seen him since March Madness. He looked good then and looked even better on Monday. He used to work in the poker industry with me and was one of the fortunate souls who escaped both the industry and Las Vegas. He fled back to Colorado which suited him well.

We headed back into Denver and I played with Emilio Estevez the cat. Emilio got too excited. He threw up and I made Nicky clean it up. When the Joker got home from work, we headed to grab a bite a a local brewery. We made a pitstop at Sancho's on the way home. I've been there before. Total hippie bar with a Grateful Dead theme. The cover charge was $1 and a Grateful Dead cover band was on the bill that night. I drank cheap pints of Peroni as the band opened up with Cold Rain and Snow followed up by an Allmans Band cover and then they busted out Mr. Charlie. All in all, my last night in Colorado was fun.

Woke up on Tuesday and headed to the airport. We ate chocolate croissants. Our flight was on time. I read almost 100 pages of No Logo during the 1 hour and 26 minute flight. Nicky thought it was extremely bumpy. I barely notice those things and was focused on the words in front of me. Nicky, on the other hand, clutched a barf bag. She was ready to hurl on both takeoff and landing. We almost had The Return of Puke Girl.

Last week, Schecky asked me when we would move out of Scheckytown. I said the 28th. Of course, every day Nicky and I had a short discussion and we moved up the move out day. 26th. 25th. 24th. Then we decided late on Wednesday the 23rd.

As soon as we landed, Nicky said she wanted to leave ASAP. We decided upon a 7pm departure which would get us into LA around midnight. We grabbed lunch at Chili's and I overheard The Connection by Phish. It was never performed live in concert and appeared on their last album. Very strange that it was being played on whatever satellite station Chili's was playing in the background.

Nicky did a quick load of laundry and we slowly moved out of the house. We had to clear out everything from our bedroom and I had to sort through all the shit that cluttered on my desk in my office which was the empty living room. The only thing in there was a desk, chair, light, a huge grey exercise ball, and a portable putting green. Usually everyone hung out in the kitchen/den area where the TV and Wii was located... that's why I had the entire front room to myself.

We loaded up the car and pulled out of the driveway by 7:06pm. We encountered some light construction on the Nevada/California border and the speed limit was dropped to 55mph which slowed us down a bit. Along the drive I listened to a lot of Jerry Garcia Band and Phish. I also put my iPod on shuffle. 4,200+ songs. The selection was heavily slanted towards Miles Davis and Widespread Panic.

We stopped off for dinner at In & Out Burger in Barstow. I forgot that I had a wad of cash on me. It wasn't until I went to pay and reached down and felt that lump in my pocket. $7,000. At least. I sort of freaked out for a couple of seconds and scanned the room to see who would be the person most likely to rob me. I sized up everyone and felt I could take on everyone but one big ass motherfucker. My paranoia subsided when my 3x3 was ready. I took one bite and forgot about the world.

We got into LA before Midnight. I had never been so happy to drive down La Cienega. I missed Nicky's apartment. I wanted to be anywhere but Las Vegas.

We quickly unloaded the car. Less than fifteen minutes. It was 12:14am when we plopped down on the couch for bingers as Deadliest Catch played in the background.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mile High Hangover

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Woke up on Saturday with a stiff back after a night of heaving partying in the local clubs that the Joker frequented. Despite my sluggish nature, I went to the Mile High Music Festival. That was part of the reason Nicky and I flew out to Denver. Mainly we went to unwind from a seven week assignment in Las Vegas, but we also wanted to see the Joker's new house. The fact that there was a music festival playing in Denver at the same weekend was an added bonus.

Ever since the WSOP ended, I had been off the wagon. Pharmie free. I was trying to ween my addiction to pain killers. I mean, how can you turn down the warm fuzzies? I left Las Vegas in a good head space but I woke up in utter agony on Saturday morning. Only one thing would make my back feel better, so I popped a pain killer.

Yeah... bad idea. Downers at a music festival? That's the opposite high that I seek at concerts. I want to be up. Way up. Instead, I was faded most of the day and had to take naps in between moe. and Spoon sets.

I blame the hot weather. Since I just finished a two month tour in Nevada, I was used to triple digit weather. The locals were used to 80+ in the Colorado summer. That's why it bothered a few as temperatures raced past 90 and reached triple digits.

The pharmies make me dehydrated and the sizzling sun didn't help things. I felt sluggish. Kinda weak all over. With a lackluster bill on Saturday, combined with my faded self and the hot weather, I struggled to get super excited and enthusiastic about who we were seeing. I guess that's why I took naps in the middle of performances.

On Saturday, we had a late start because we had partied it up late on Friday. Nicky cooked everyone breakfast for us, including two of the Joker's friends from Boulder who crashed on his floor. Nicky whipped up lots of bacon and Tawny even added a slice to her piece of pie. We eventually arrived to the festival grounds around 1pm. We were in the far parking lot and quite a hike to the entrance. We missed Newton Faulkner... the dreadlocked crooner with an acoustic guitar from the UK. Instead we checked out Bob Schneider. That was my first time seeing him and the crowd was into his music. He's sort of the Bruce Springsteen of Austin most known for banging Sandra Bullock. Geez, what happened to her?

We got a good spot for Mike Gordon. Made me miss Phish. The crowd was into Mike, but it didn't 100% gel for me. He had some highlights, which appear in the video in a previous post, but I went in with low expectations and Mike's band barely met those.

It was boiling during Steve Winwood. The highlights were Light Up or Leave Me Alone and Can't Find My Way Home. We didn't stay for the entire set. I thought his newer material was lackluster and it was simply too hot. The Joker suggested we grab some shade in one of the two music tents. That's how we ended up at Andrew Bird.

Andrew Bird is a regular on the festival circuit and one of those early afternoon artists who can snag an early slot and often sits in with other musicians during the afternoon and night. The stuff Bird played was out-there and different and just kinda weird. I didn't care because he was playing in the shade.

I caught some moe. and took a nap for a few minutes as I recharged my batteries. We left early to get a good spot for Spoon. We hung out behind the soundboard. The quality of sound was top notch and Spoon sounded amazing. I just had low energy and even napped during one song. The Joker and Nicky dug their set. Out of everyone I saw on Saturday, Spoon had the best technical performance.... meaning... they sounded good. I didn't know enough of their material to tell you if they fucked up a song or rocked out a high energy version of a specific tune.

We headed over to Micahel Franti and Spearhead to flash peace signs to him for Strawberry Shortcake. We hung out near a shrine in the back area of the stage Franti played. We drank and took pics.

We made a rookie move and tried to get food before Tom Petty's set. So did 25,000 other people. The result? Stuck in line for 30 minutes waiting my Illegal Pete's burrito. It was worth the wait, but we were super wasted in line. Everything I was on had kicked in at that point. I was mush, rolling hard and had itchy arms courtesy of the pain killers. The Joker was on fire and almost started a riot as our line slowly inched to the front.

Tom Petty was packed and we were somewhere in the back. I kept telling the Joker that Petty was outstandingly mediocre at best. I've seen Petty enough times to know if he had a hot set or just phoned it in. We checked out the monkey exhibit and then sat in the waaaaaay back of Petty up on the side of a hill. If Nicky wasn't blocking me, I would have rolled down the entire hill. That's how wasted I was. We made fun of Petty's voice and the bad sing-alongers in the crowd. One girl was so wasted that she screamed out, "Play Free Fallin!" Petty had played it just twenty minutes earlier. Steve Winwood sat in for Gimme Some Lovin' which was sweet.

We crashed hard on Saturday night and woke up early on Sunday to rally. The lineup was definitely stronger on Saturday and we headed downtown to breakfast at one of the Joker's favorite diners called Sam's No. 3. I crushed an omelete and was ready to get to the festival... except traffic was kind of a bitch.

We found the secret food court inside the soccer stadium. We had no idea that area was open to the public on Saturday. They also had AC in the bathrooms. Nothing is worse than having to take a dump in 100 degree weather inside a sweltering port-o-pottie.

We missed Rose Hill Drive. We could have caught the end of their set, but they were playing at a stage out in the scorching sun. We caught the end of Alberta Cross and smoked tough. At the tent next door was Ingrid Michaelson. She reminded me of a more socially adjusted Ani DiFranco. Happy lesbian songs instead of angry dyke music. She did a cover of Ice Ice Baby > Parents Don't Understand. That whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

The News Mastersounds are my new favorite band. I have been on a serious kick the last six months on the British funk band that reminded me of Galactic circa 1998. They played twice at Langerado and I was eagerly awaiting their set on Sunday. They played a gig in Breckenridge the night before and also got caught up in the massive traffic jam that we were stuck in. They got a police escort and arrived in time so everyone could shake their booty. I skipped Tea Leaf Green in order to see The New Mastersounds.

The acoustic guitar dueling duo of Rodrigo y Gabriela was on the main stage for their 4pm set. We celebrated 4:20 with them before we headed back to one of the tents to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I was more than please with their set. In fact the two acts I wanted to see the most came through in the clutch. New Mastersounds and Grace Potter were the highlights of the festival for me. Grace Potter is pretty hot and she frantically shook her ass during a couple of her high energy tunes.

We skipped John Mayer and hung out to drink and eat dinner in the secret food court. Afterwards we checked out a couple of song from The Roots before we migrated over to The Black Crowes. I wasn't familiar with their new material, but their set was solid as they mixed in a few of their classics with new stuff.

And then it was time for Dave Matthews Band. I really wanted to leave, but the Joker and Nicky wanted to see him. Before I flew to Denver I tried to persuade the Joker to throw a huge party at his house on Sunday night so we could skip Dave Matthews and rage instead. Alas, I got stuck at Dave in the back with a bevy of drunken frat boys and chatty high school girls on their cell phones. Luckily everyone had the munchies and I convinced the crew to seek out donuts and other snacks instead.

We discovered that there was a fire sale for food. Meatball subs for $2? Unreal. I was stuffed but ate one anyway. What a sick deal. They also had massive ice cream cones for $1.

We went back to the same spot we hung out for Tom Petty from the night before and caught the rest of the set. Joker is a closet Dave Matthews fan because he knew the names to all of the songs. I kept giving him guff over that. I was super happy to finally leave and we skipped the last two tunes.

Overall, the music festival was average. Nothing special. The highlights were Grace Potter, New Mastersounds, and Spoon.
Mile High Music Festival Videos: Mike Gordon and The New Mastersounds

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Here are a couple of videos that I took at the Mile High Music Festival over the weekend. The first two are from a British funk band called The New Mastersounds. The last one is Mike from Phish.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Tao of Pokerati Episodes

By Pauly
Denver, CO

Or maybe, Michalski uploaded two episodes including one featuring Nicky.
Episode 28: Exit, Stage Tiffany

Description by Michalski: We're not done yet... still have a few more episodes to share with you, and Brian Balsbaugh and Oliver Tse our agents are in negotiations with French authorities over possible continuation of the show.

It's a 6-minute double-episode — that seems particularly timely with the benefit of hindsight was recorded from the dead-center of an emptied out Amazon room, shortly after Tiffany Michelle busted out in 17th place. Here Dr. Pauly and I survey the atmospheric damage as "the last hope" of the main event exits the building... and I argue that she was the only one of the final 27 players with true Chris Moneymaker potential — meaning her performance wasn't so much about her own abilities to win big cash as it was about the future of poker. Comparisons to Scotty Nguyen and college basketball as well, before one of your not-so-gracious hosts goes through severe WSOP separation anxiety.

Episode 28.5: Fashion Report (featuring Change100 aka Nicky)

Description by Michalski: Dr. Pauly chats with Change100 (his personal fashion yogini) about Tiffany Michelle's attire before her Ultimate Bet patchwork became such a major wardrobe malfunction. It's sickeningly cute as this pokerblogging duo draws the fine line between rocker-chick chic and Tijuana hooker — and further fashion analysis tries to differentiate between the new-money stylings of Alexander Kostritsin, typical "online douchebag" and Mean Gene, and the poker-prep ways of Shronk and Brandon Adams.

Stay tuned for a few more lost/late episodes. You can always visit the Tao of Pokerati archives.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Random Colorado Pic Dump #1

By Pauly
Denver, CO

I'm still a little too wasted to write. So how about a pic dump?

Hippie shrine

The monkeys at day

The monkeys at night

Mike Gordon

Nicky's hat

Chocolate cream pie with bacon

Emilio Estevez

Random mural in downtown Denver

Saturday, July 19, 2008

las vegas > denver

By Pauly
Denver, CO

I was up early and eager and ready to get the hell out of Las Vegas. Nicky and I ate our usual breakfast at OHOP down the street before we made our way to the airport.

The check in for TED was quick, but security was a bitch. The thing about Las Vegas is that it attracts a lot of Americans who don't travel frequently which means lots of inexperienced travels making rookie mistakes.

Our flight way delayed and I knew it was gonna be late because I looked out the window near our gate and did not see a plane there. We had to wait for one to arrive, deplane, clean it up, turn it around, and make all of us board. Yet, the sign read "On Time." Fuckin' liars.

Had three kids sitting in row in front of us. Had Iraq veteran sitting behind us telling Baghdad bad beat stories. Say hello to Mr. Xanax.

Being in Las Vegas for too long warps the way you think and do things. I forgot to slip out of Vegas mode. Sure, over the last few days I accumulated $20 bills and changed as many hundreds as possible. But when the waitress handed me my drink, I slipped her a rolled up $1 bill as a tip since I assumed she was a Vegas cocktail server. I caught my mistake before I really embarrassed myself. Oops.

We arrived into Denver late but the Joker was right there to pick us up. Nicky had never ridden inside of Marco... which was the pimpn' vehicle that the Joker and I took to follow Phish in 2004.

The Joker showed us his new house near downtown Denver which is in a colorful and flavorful neighborhood. An aging black motorcycle gang lives on his block. They were badasses in the 1970s, but now, they are mellow 50-60 year olds.

We also met the Joker's kitty... Emilio Estevez. The Joker grilled up some burgers and Windowsill Wendy from Bathtub Gin fame joined us for beers and burgers. Jonas stopped by with his new pimpin' ride and then it was time to go out and party it up.

We hung out at two hippie bars/clubs/venues with live music. The first one was called Owlsley's. The drinks were super cheap. Pint glasses with booze filled to the brim for under $5. Seriously, I got a Red Bull and vodka, a margarita, and a Jack & Coke for like $15. In pint glasses. Doubles. Sickness.

Pretty Lights performed. He was a kid wearing a hoodie that I expected a 20-something Scandi poker player would wear and Pretty Lights was busting out the tunes on his laptops. Jamtronic. The hippies went nuts.

There's a back porch were people were toking. Reminded me of the Amsterdam vibe but in Colorado. Total opposite of Las Vegas. So happy to be out of that hell hole. One kid in dreads sipped scotch. Then he handed me a flask which contained... more scotch. He offered me a sip and I accepted.

We headed down to the street to Cervantes. Another hippie bar with live music. The Joker took us in the back door and we snuck in without having to pay a cover charge. Except that it smelled like puke and piss in the alley.

A band called Prang opened up. Michale Kang from String Cheese sat in with them. We were there to check out EOTO which is a two-man band made up of ex-members from String Cheese. More jamtronic. More hippies in ecstasy. Kang also sat in with them.

A chick got up on stage with a hulahoop.

"I met her earlier," said the Joker. "She's not wearing any underwear."

Everyone was shithoused by 2am. Nicky made a super fast trip to the bathroom.

"There was so much vomit in there. I had to pee quick," she said.

We bailed from the club and went back to the Joker's for a late night party. I eventually passed out and Emilio the cat decided to jump into bed with me and Nicky. I knew that was trouble. Micky has the "jimmy leg" and likes to kick in her sleep. Within an hour the poor kitty go a swift kick in the ass and jumped out of bed.

Ah, now it's morning. The Mile High Music Festival starts in a few hours. Time to recharge and party it up. I'm looking forward to seeing Mike Gordon and I'm hoping Steve Winwood's set will surprise me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

David Burke and the Eggman

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I'm slowly understanding the addiction to fine dining. I've had the opportunity to chow down at some of Las Vegas' best restaurants over the last year including gems like Nob Hill and Craftsteak and Boa and now I can add David Burke to that list.

Burke is one of those celebrity chef's that become the toast of the town in Las Vegas. Over the last decade Las Vegas Strip casinos have been slowly amassing a collection of the greatest chef's in the world. In some regards, that's when you officially make it in the chef world... when a Las Vegas casino asks you to open a restaurant there.

David Burke got his own joint in the Venetian focusing on classic American cuisine. Lucky for me, Michalski was picking up the tab. When I saw the menu I knew it wouldn't be cheap so I offered to buy the wine. The wine would come into play later in the story.

We had a nice intimate party of six... Michalski, Nicky, Jen, MeanGene, and Benjo. Since Michalski is also the editor of the Vegas sector he pulled some strings and lied. He told them he had a huge client (moi) that he had to impress. Because of that, we got a table for eight. We also had a special menu reading from our waiter. He said one French phrase and Benjo frowned. Afterwards Benjo had to correct him on the proper pronunciation of that phrase (which eludes me at press time).

David Burke has an egg theme. There's a Humpty Dumpty bronze statue out in front. I just don't get it. Anyway, Burke's signature dishes include Crisp & Angry Lobster Cocktail which Nicky devoured. There's the pretzel-crusted crab cake and his famous Cheesecake Lollipop Tree.

My only complaint was that it was super loud because of the fountain in the middle. During a lengthy meal of 2-3 hours in length, there's plenty of time for discussion during the different courses. I felt as though I had to shout a lot which I don't like to do in restaurants.

The bread was ordinary, but it was the butter presentation that made it unique. The seasoned butter on a slab of Himalayan salt which gave it more flavor. Reminded me a bit of the deliciousness of a salt bagel with butter back home in NYC.

Michalski ordered a couple of the crab cakes and goat cheese and snail egg ravioli for the table. I tried several of the appetizers including Nicky's Crisp & Angry Lobster which is picture below...

Gene, Michalski and I all went for the surf and turf combo which included a filet mignon and a lobster steak with a chili rub. I wasn't all that impressed with my main course.

We bought two bottles of wine ($90 each) to start and then we found out that it was half-price wine night for locals. That's when I said fuck it and Nicky picked out a $200 bottle of Syrah. Smooth. Delicious. We all polished that off quickly.

The highlight of the dinner was dessert. Although I only had a little, the black forest chocolate cake had yummy cherries. The cheesecake lollipop tree was unique... little bits of cheese cake on a stick and then dipped in chocolate which hardened to form a lollipop. That "tree" got plenty of curious glances from the table next to us. My favorites were the chocolate eggs with cookies and cream ice cream and some sort of fruit carpaccio with mint basil ice sorbet. Holy shit that mint sorbet was awesome. My favorite on the menu. The highlight of the night.

We left David Burke full and stuffed. I prefer laid back casual fine dining instead of the snootyness of some places I've been too. David Burke fits that mold. Relaxed but high end. I enjoyed the company and overall experience over my actual meal. I was sort of let down by my main course. I know that Nicky raved about everything she ordered.

Afterwards we headed out to gamble. I goofed around playing poker then went on a heater in Pai Gow to almost cover the wine bill.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day Off

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I finally had a day off from the grind. I tried not to write or think about all of the poker hoopla.

So much has happened the last couple of weeks. Bad stuff. My buddy's uncle died in a plane crash. And Nicky's father had to be hospitalized for five days after being stung by a sting ray. Those are the types of things that you are numb to when you hear about it in Las Vegas. If I was anywhere else, those things would definitely have more of an emotional impact. As is, Vegas is a warped universe where things like current events don't always translate. For almost seven weeks, I had no idea what day of the week it was. All I knew was what was in front of me. Tunnel vision.

The hardest part about immersing yourself into an insane project for seven weeks is re-entering the atmosphere of regular life. But I discovered four years ago, that there is nothing that can prepare you for that difficult task about readjusting to living in a bubble for seven weeks, especially a Las Vegas bubble. It's never an easy task to put your entire life on hold and blow off emails, voicemails,and texts from friends, yet that's what I do every summer. I duped myself into thinking it's for the greater good. I have always struggled with that aspect... is it worth losing your friends over a paycheck? Well unless your friends are rich and going to pay your rent or feed your kids, the answer is an easy one... show me the money.

However, this year I feel as though my sacrifices were worth it. I actually declined a couple of job offers that would pay me your yearly salary for seven weeks of work. I turned everything down to take substantially less money and write for myself and a handful of clients. In 2006 I billed over a dozen clients. Last summer, I took in a sickly amount of money for two months of work. But I paid the price. The cost was an insane physically and emotionally drained self. I also felt artistically bankrupt.

But this year? I wrote what I wanted and in the process I gained an even deeper respect from my peers and from the people in my life that I admire the most. That's worth more than a paycheck... no matter how many zeros are on it.

I felt like shit at the end of last summer and during the autumn months of 2007, I frantically came to the decision to take some time away from poker. I'm glad I did because I gained perspective and remembered all the fun things I gave up in order to make a buck in the poker industry.

My life has lacked normalcy since I first moved to Las Vegas to cover poker. Since them I have crossed the globe a bunch of times and visited over a dozen countries either directly or indirectly related to poker. I'm extremely grateful for those opportunities but I also worked my ass off the last four years making many sacrifices. It's always easy to second guess the decisions that you make. But I genuinely feel as though I made the correct decisions over the last couple of weeks and months. I'm blazing a path that is my own.

Physically, my back is still sore from the car wreck weeks ago. I'm mentally drained after a lengthy assignment. My brain hurts from all the poker drama. I seriously can't wait to get to Colorado. In two of the last three years, I always took a trip to Boulder to hang out with the Joker and see amazing music. This year? It's Denver for the Mile High Music Festival. Nicky and I fly out tomorrow for a long weekend. I wish I could fly out today. I also wish that I didn't have to return to Las Vegas to gather up our shit and drive back to Hollyweird next week.

Wil was teasing me a couple of weeks ago when I told him I couldn't wait to go back to LA. He knew that I was in a bad place when Los Angeles freaks are a welcomed alternative to my bizzaro world in Las Vegas. The difference between Hollywierd and the poker scene in Las Vegas is that people are actual stars in LA, when poker players think they are stars in Las Vegas. Even when the lowest of the low celebrities go slumming in Las Vegas, the poker media goes apeshit over it.

Although I enjoyed the press box function at the WSOP, I equally hated it at the same time because it was difficult to do work. Even after I bitched and moaned and instituted my head phones rule, "If I'm wearing headphones... I'm busy. So fuck off!" I still had passive-aggressive nits come over and pester me.

"I know you are busy but..."

I want to punch people when they say that to me, especially when I'm in mid-sentence and working on an assignment and they just want attention or validation or to tell me something that could wait ten fuckin' minutes.

And to my dear friends who respected my privacy and let me write away... I seriously thank you.

I'm sitting at a desk right now in Scheckytown. No headphones. I don't need them right now. No more distractions. No more pros coming up to me to bitch and moan about their bad beats. No more douchebag fourth-rate plagiarists and other unoriginal bottom feeders to tilt me.

I'm super excited right now. No more poker for several weeks. I have at least five weeks of fun. Writing. Music. Book reading. Beach time. Alone time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Things I Missed While Living in Hell for the Last 7 Weeks

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

George Carlin died. Shit Cunt Muthafucker Twat.

Willie Randolph got canned by the Mets. ust wait a year until Giradi gets fired from the Yanks and the job is yours.

Hillary dropped out of the presidential race. Someone going to shoot Old Yeller already?

Britney's sister, Juno Lynn Spears, recent squeezed out her baby.

Angelia dropped twins out of her vag... in France of all places.

The Knicks drafted some Italian guy with the nickname The Rooster.

Skippy got married... in California!

A-Rod getting a divorce?

Oli hits a new high. US dollar versus the Euro hits a new low.

Tiger won the US Open in a playoff.

The Celtics whooped the Lakers in the NBA finals.

Mike Meyer's new flick bombed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Still at work. One more player must bust out and I get to go home. We might be here a while.

I have been doing many things to kill the time...

I pre-wrote an article for LasVegasVegas.

Flipchip told me a couple of old Vietnam stories.

I won $150 in lime tossing today against Otis.

I lost $30 in throwing things bets with Otis and Michalski out back in the area that used to be the Poker Kitchen. I won a few bucks in "golfing" props... specifically hitting empty Gatorade bottles over a wall with a piece of PVC piping. When it came to throwing the PVC pipe as a javelin... I got smoked. Michalski can definitely bring it although he tossed the faux javelin like Lamar Latrell (aka the gay black guy in Revenge of the Nerds).

I recorded a podcast with Benjo for Tao of Pokerati.

I downloaded another BTreotch mix from Coventry.

Monday, July 14, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

The co-worker who ave me the bird flu is among the final 27 players left in the WSOP. Yikes! Tiffany Michelle is the last woman left. For the last few days I wanted to die while she was playing the best poker of her life. First place is $9 million. Unreal.

It's almost 4am and I still have some more writing to do. Monday will be my last day of work. I'm trying not to get too emotional about it, but in reality, Monday can be the last time that I ever cover the World Series of Poker.

With my interest in poker waning, and the rumblings of a Phish reunion next summer, it seems very obvious to me that this might be it. Then again, I could be totally wrong.

Anyway, I'm sitting pool side and I can hear the crickets. Two of them. And the laptop is running out of juice so I gotta go inside.

One more day of work and then I'm done with this seven week assignment. I go to Colorado this weekend and Friday would not come sooner.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things They Twittered

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

taopauly: RIP Bobby Murcer

taopauly: just puked up my ohop breakfast. bacon bits in vomit. about 5 hours ago from

taopauly: I'm super sick. How do I know? I slept seven straight hours.... without drugs.

taopauly: I'm soooo tired.... I attempted to open up the front door to the house by clicking the UNLOCK button on my car keys

Gamblingblues: Sock shopping today. I am a wild man.

snailtrax: Anyone here ever masturbate with a tapioca pudding soaked cheesecloth? My uncle needs to know.

SnailTrax Has anyone else ever sprained their ankle while masturbating on the toilet?. I kinda need to know.

SnailTrax: iggy, do that trick where you say you have a piece of gum stuck to your shorts, and when they look it's really just you holding your sack.

SnailTrax: I'm 32 today, thus marking ten full years since I've seen my penis without the use of a mirror. I miss seeing my penis.

otis: asks what I'm doing. I'm ashamed to say I'm watching what has to be the final season of Happy Days. I think Fonzie is suicidal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Congrats to Iggy!

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

My little friend Iggy cashed in the WSOP! Nice score, bro,

Oh, and my friend who gave me the bird flu, Tiffany Michele? She cashed too.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Bird Flu Approaches

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

My Thursday began too fast. I took a couple of hours to adjust because I was thrown out of my routine. And after six plus weeks, I'm very used to a specific routine. Wake up. Write. Shower. Eat. Go to work. Come home. Write. Crash for three hours. Rinse. Repeat.

I woke up later than usual after staying up late to write. Nicky had the day off, so she ignored my cell phone alarm. I was trying to wake her up to drive me to work until I found out that Scheky was going into work early. I had a small window to get all my shit together and rushed out to catch a ride so Nicky didn't have to get up to do that. Aren't I sweet? I let her sleep in on her day off.

As soon as I arrived at the Rio, I was kicked out of the press box by a security guard. I was told that no media were allowed inside. No exceptions. I reluctantly went into the hallway and sat down at an empty booth. I finished up one article, but a couple of poker agents came by to chat me up. Ah, the early vultures get the rotten apples with all the worms.

Then I started getting the questions from random poker fans and spectators looking for the most random indformation. Once that started happening, I packed up my gear. That was no place to write amidst the constant distractions. I fled to the bar to finish up some writing that I never got to do in the morning.

My friends Brandon and Iggy are still alive and in the hunt for $9 million. If they can survive one more day of poker, then they will win at least $21,000. And if they can keep going? Well... you know that story.

Aside from the accident, my health this summer was much better than last year. I almost always get sick in some way or another. Last year I got the Otis Rash and had tons of other issues. Right now, I'm still stiff from the accident and some mornings are rougher than others. I'm used to those aches by now.

I'm most worried about catching a cold. I can feel the beginnings of one. Slight runny nose. Scratchy throat. The germs always invade when I'm seriously sleep deprived. Tiffany (the on air talent for Poker News) sat next to me the other day and she was hacking up a lung. I guess hot chicks can get away with that, but I sort of gave her some guff and told her that I was going to flame her on my blog(s) if I contracted the bird flu from her.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wednesday, Wait?

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I think I only have to work seven more days. Or is it six more days? I am so confused. Living in the desert confuses me.

I had a semi-day off on Monday after 38 straight days of working inside a casino. I think that's a personal record. How did I celebrate? I woke up early and wrote for about eight hours. I cranked out two PokerNews articles, a column for Poker Player Newspaper, and 95% of a first draft for an upcoming article in Bluff Magazine. I also published the latest issue Truckin' and did a load of laundry so I have clean underwear.

Ah, and on Monday, Nicky and I went downtown to see a lawyer about fixing my ticket. Marissa told us about a lawyer who specialized in getting big tickets reduced. It was sort of a fast food vibe to the place. In about ten minutes, at least a dozen people stopped in and dropped off tickets. We didn't speak to a lawyer, more like a paralegal who said that I didn't have to show up for my court date (when I'd be in Colorado) and they'd get my moving violation reduced to a parking ticket. No points. Nadda. Nicky got a ticket for expired tags. They took care of that as well. Her court date was originally set for when she would be in London.

On Monday night, I met up with Iggy for a drink before I headed to a swanky party at Rain nightclub thrown by PokerStars. One of those million dollar parties where an online poker room blows serious cash on entertainment and an open bar. I hung out with some friends and watched a couple of well-known professional poker players make out in front of me and Nicky... Isabelle from Montreal and Dario from Italy.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up early and went to OHOP with Nicky. They didn't charge us for my chocolate chip pancakes. I left a sick tip.

Michalski got drunk on Tuesday with British gaming execs... at 4pm. We made fun of him the rest of the day. I might get wasted, but I hide my sloppiness.

On Tuesday night, I ran into Dr. Chako. First time I saw him since he returned from his tour in Iraq. So glad that he came back in one piece.

I also got word that London at the end of September/beginning of October is a go. Don't have specific travel dates yet. I also put in for assignments in Poland and Chicago this fall.

I was up until sunrise on Wednesday, again, writing. I finally crawled into bed, shut my eyes, and then it was time to wake up. Where does the time go when I'm sleeping?

Oh, and happy birthday to both Daddy and Facty.

* * * * *

By the way, I love Las Vegas. This is an actual news story running today...
Naked man hijacks bus

A naked man was arrested Tuesday morning after hijacking a Citizens Area Transit bus. Las Vegas police said the man, 35-year-old Charles P. Sell, was first seen stealing a beer at the 7-Eleven on the corner of Lamb Boulevard and Washington Avenue about 8 a.m.

An officer arrived at the scene and the man fled, a police spokesman said.

Sell then climbed onto the back of a moving CAT bus traveling east on Washington, broke one of the back windows with his fists, and climbed in.

He threw the driver off the bus and drove it about 200 yards before jumping off, according to police. An officer climbed aboard and stopped it.

Sell was arrested and taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation before being booked at the Clark County Detention Center on felony charges of robbery, grand larceny and malicious destruction of private property, according to police. He was being held on $14,000 bail.

Police said the man was possibly on drugs during the incident.

Sell has a history of criminal charges, records show. He most recently pleaded guilty to burglary in 2002 and was given probation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Truckin' - July 2008, Vol. 7, Issue 7

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Welcome back to another summer issue of Truckin'! We have six stories for you which would be perfect beach reading material.

1. Berlin by Paul McGuire
It was in a hotel suite, not some dingy hot sheets motor inn near the airport. Anyway, my entire point was that at least I had the courtesy to keep my hooker alive, not like Uncle Teddy.... More

2. One Night Out Part II: Hunter-Hunter by Sigge S. Amdal
The night sky loomed with pregnant darkness, while a million brilliant lights in white, blue and orange from the city below fought the epic battle as hard as they could. Sirens, shouting, gunshots and helicopters; everything was muffled by the distance... More

3. Of Lattes and Stuffed Monkeys By John 'Falstaff' Hartness
I abandoned the carnage of my room, leaving an apocalypse of shattered glass and plastic on the sidewalk and the oak outside my window garlanded with t-shirts and sweaters. Five hours later I pulled up in front of my parents' house without ever really noticing how fast I was going or really having a plan as to where I was headed... More

4. All Those Things That Don't Change, Come What May by Johnny Hughes
Jake inherited the Magic House when his drinking Uncle tried to empty a rabbit out of a long irrigation pipe and the pipe hit a high-line wire. The 1940s furniture clashed with Jake's beatnik, coffee-house conversational monologues sanctioned only by the weekend wannabe artists, singers, writers, and actors from the college that came to his regular parties, called Jake Parties... More

5. Don't You Know What I'm Thinking? by May B. Yesno
You know, education is a funny thing. Too much of it in any one area makes you dumber. That's probably a bad way to look at it. Lets say, a very good foundation in a subject is a good thing, but as you continue to study it, it takes more and more effort to obtain less and less knowledge from it.... More

6. Cold by Kajagugu
When we crossed the border we had to avoid detection and make it quickly to our destination. We had decoy units who crossed the border with us and then led the UN peacekeeping soldiers on a wild goose chase. With these fools out of the way we moved swiftly and silently... More

Thanks again to everyone for wasting your precious time month after month with Truckin'. Please tell your friends and family about your favorite stories from this issue. It takes only a few seconds to pass along Truckin'. The writers definitely appreciate your support.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I Weigh Less Than Michalski

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Me taking a piss in the trailer courtesy of Michele Lewis

There is a scale in one of the service hallways. As I walked past it with Michalski, we both stepped on the scale. He outweighed me by a good 15 pounds. Shocker.

"You're crystal meth diet seems to be working," he said.

My headache finally subsided about half way into the day. I felt as though most of my output was blah and I always get down when I feel like I did not write to my potential which happens to be like 99% of the time.

Several baseball players played in the WSOP on Sunday including former NY Yankee David Wells and Jose Canseco. Orel Hershiser played the other day. Paul Azinger, the golfer, was also in the mix with the usual celebrity poker players in Jen Tilly and Shannon Elizabeth. Sam Simon, the producer of The Simpsons was in the mix but busted out. PokerStars sponsored Orel and Wells. Otis said he met him in the Caribbean.

Two UFC big wigs, Chuck Lidell and Forrest Griffin, were playing. Griffin had won a fight the night before and showed up all kinds of fucked up. He busted out early. I was invited to a press conference, but I blew it off because it was on one of my breaks.

One super hack had been ripping off Nicky's work all summer. It's frustrating too see her unable to defend herself. On my end, somedays it's hard to motivate myself to write when I know it's going to get poached by the lazy fuckers.

I have been back to lime tossing with Otis. I was ahead but then Otis pulled even with a good showing the other night.

AlCantHang and Grubby sighting in Vegas this past weekend, along with GMoney who is in town to sweat Iggy in the Main Event.

I had been listening a lot to Beck, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia Band when I have been writing.

Nicky, Otis, Gracie, Mookie and some other friends got screwed by one of their advertisers. Because they all got dropped from Google for selling links. Ooops. The internet's dirty little secret.

Felt warm ad fuzzy when Derek sent me a text telling me that the Yankees beat the Red Sox. I missed the end of the Federer-Nadal match. Nadal beat the unbeatable Federer.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I got one of those pounding heads aches where the right side of my temple feels like it might burst.

Another one of those desert headaches. Not enough water. Too much dehydration. Include the initial stages of vicodin withdrawal and I'm sort of blah.

And don't forget about the hairdryer sounds that are screeching from above. I was ready to leave for work ten minutes ago but I have to wait for Nicky to finish blow drying her hair. I hate have to wait for stuff when I'm prepped and ready to go.

I like getting into work as early as possible. It's not that I love my job so much. The main reason is that I need extra time to set up my stuff and pre-write a few things before I get bombarded with people coming over to talk. The majority if them are my friends so it's a rough situation. I am generally interested in how they are doing and want to be polite, but when fourteen of your friends come by in the first hour --- well that kills the first hour. And that does not include the vultures who only stop by to pump me for info.

Working the WSOP taught me about non-optimal work situations. I usually write in seclusion but you really have to be on the top of your gave when you can't write two sentenced without getting interrupted.

I turned off the ringer on my phone yesterday. It was the best decision that I made in five weeks. Sometimes my phone goes off every five minutes. Distractions.

I had the "headphones rule" where everyone knew if I had them on in the press box, that it was a sign not to bother me. Of course, that went out the window. I had a few people get snippy because they were talking to me and I didn't hear them. Because I'm working! Ingrates. I have the tunes cranked up and trying to block everything out so I can focus on the task at hand not shower them with attention.

I missed Truckin' deadline. I'm not happy about. Makes me super depressed that I don't have enough time for that project. Utterly disgusting. Makes me want to die when I give poker more priority to the rest of the written word. I have a day off on Monday, but of course, I'll be holed up at home working on Truckin' and catching up on other assignments.

Today is Day 38. You know what? I have not been paid one cent for my work at the WSOP so far. So it feels like I've busted my ass for the last five weeks for... nothing. I'll get paid at the end of July... but for now, the nothingness is haunting me.

Oh well, I have like ten more days and then I can finally sleep.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Cab cost $50 to get home. Not including tip.

My cabbie convinced me to go the long way to avoid the drunks on the road. He was spooked because he had seen a horrendous fatal accident only twenty minutes before he picked me up. Sure, he had felt more comfortable driving, but I ended up paying for that comfort.

I gave him a crappy tip. I had a bad day and that added to the shit pile. All I wanted to do was get home.

Worst part of my day? It's not over. I have at least two hours of writing ahead of me.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Beginning of the End

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I woke up a little hungover and still smelling like stripper perfume.

Nicky and I went to OHOP for breakfast. I love their chocolate chip pancakes.

We got to work super early... closer to 10:30am. Today will be a 15+ hour day at the minimum. I'll probably put 2+ hours of writing time at home before I crash.

I sat in the press box in between Andrew Feldman from ESPN and Vin from Casino City Times.

I saw Wayne Newton who kicked off the festivities for the WSOP main event. I also ran into Jason Alexander aka George Costanza. He played today and busted out early. He said hello to me when we crossed paths. Wil Wheaton introduced me to Costanza at the WPT Invitational in LA back in 2006. Mekhi Phifer and Ray Romano were the other celebrities playing today.

The other night I met the lead singer from Anthrax. He played in a big charity event yesterday called Ante Up for Africa. That event attracted plenty of big celebs like Charles Barkely, Casey Affleck, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Shane Warne who is a cricket god from Australia who is like the Michale Jordan of cricket.

I didn't pop too many generic vikes... only two all day. This batch is not very strong so two is really like one.

I won $20 lime tossing with Otis.

I ate a bacon grilled cheese for dinner. Yummo.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tao of Benjo

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

I have been having fun with a half-baked podcast with Michalski. Some of the best episodes featured Benjo as a special guest. We recently posted three mini-clips featuring Benjo. Hysterical.

Check 'em out...
Episode #17.1 - Benjo - Barley Legal
Episode #17.2 - Benjo - Hooker Tournament Chips
Episode #17.3 - Benjo - Le Masturbe
Tao of Pokerati Archives

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Aftermath and the Party Monster

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Dead ants are smushed up against the floorboards in Scheckytown. The casualties of war. Ah, the fog of war, where there is no black and white, just shades of grey. I know that most people who view life as two polar opposites are the unhappy souls Kill or be killed. My world is several shades of grey.

Almost 26 hours after the bombing, the house still stinks... a bit. But I have not seen any ants since then. Still waiting for that counter-attack.

I went to see a flick last night...Get Smart. It was a 10:40pm viewing. I left work early and Nicky and I went to the movie theatre in Red Rock Casino. Somewhere at the end of the second act and the beginning of the third... I fell asleep. Passed out. The movie was not bad or boring. I didn't think it was amazing, because it had several funny moments especially Steve Carell hijinks. I was simply exhausted. I guess my body was telling me something. For the first time since the accident, I wasn't rushing to do something or write a deadline or work on the mountain of projects. I simply sat still. My body took that as a sign that I was in bed since that was the only other times I did nothing. Alas, I fell asleep and woke up when Nicky was nudging me during the closing credits. Ooooops.

The next two days are easy days before the Main Event of the WSOP begins on Thursday. This is party time at the WSOP and lots of companies throw ragers and blow tons of cash to pimp their shit and try to outdo everyone else by throwing the party of the year. I blew off one on Monday night and went to see a movie instead... and fell asleep. I wonder what sort of mood I would have been in had I went to the party? Probably would have passed out in the corner and rolled by broke poker players.

There's a big pool party on Tuesday (today) and on sizzling party on Wednesday. I think I'll skip tonight's to go home and write and rest up and save myself for Wednesday's party at Sapphire strip club. The magazine I write for is hosting that.

In the past I used to get super excited about these parties. Now? Not so much. The parties are overpopulated with he same idiots and douchebags that I loathe in the poker industry. I let me writing do the talking for me... so I don't have to kiss ass and schmooze to get respect or get noticed by the top industry figures. One of my buddies said that he was envy of my position as an independent entity in poker because I can do what I want and blow off functions where they have mandatory attendance. I prefer it that way.

Nicky is excited because she gets to dress up and be all fancy. So because of that, I'll suck it up and make a token appearance at one of the many parties. When I do go to these things, I almost always stand near the free bar and knock back free drinks and stand in a circle with my friends and make fun of all the people we can't stand in poker. Then we leave and have our own after-party away from the morons and sheep.

Anyway... it's 10am. I'm a little sore. Still very sleepy. But I wrote for an hour and now I'm off for a hike in Red Rock Canyon.