Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Almost Off Tilt...

By Pauly

There's a short Mexican woman in our kitchen," Gloria said matter of factly.

"I hope she's the maid," was my reply.

As I returned to the flat, Gloria was headed to work. I had just finished a random walk through the streets of London, sort of navel gazing and stewing in my own misery while listening to music. I've been on a huge Radiohead kick since I'm wandering their streets and trying to tap into Thom Yorke's weirdness.

The maid went about her business (hich took several hours. The flat is actually a duplex in Soho.Downstairs is a balcony, kitchen, and living room while there are two bed rooms and 1.5 bathrooms upstairs. The light in the bathroom with the shower broke and I had to shower in the dark. Naked. I thought I might be attacked by zombies straight out of Shaun of the Dead.

Most of yesterday, I watched the Bloomberg channel in utter desperation. It was past midday in London and the FTSE was tanking, while the US stock market was about an hour away from the morning bell. All the talking heads alluded that things were gonna be ugly based on the domino effect from the foreign markets. And it was. Talk about donkey blood splattered all over lower Manhattan. One of the worst trading days in years. All I could do is sit and slowly watch the wreck unfolded before my eyes.

The late afternoon was wasted in search of a laptop. I thought I found one and made a purchase. The price was too good to be true. Turned out there were tons of problems with the machine which I had to return. I'm still a man without a laptop (and pecking away on Nicky's laptop while she sleeps). I have to go back today to find something decent.

I also used an internet cafe to catch up on a huge backlog of email. It only cost £1 for unlimited access. I could swear that a bunch of AlQaeda operatives were huddled in the corner plotting out their next strike.

I also got offered an assignment in Budapest. It's during Halloween, which means that I'll have to skip GirlTalk in Denver with the Joker and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot. We had a group costume planned out and everything. Alas, I need the work and extra dough to pay for the laptop. In these troubling times, I fortunate enough that I can still get by as a writer. Man, I'm so glad that I don't work on Wall Street anymore.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Still Tilting

By Pauly

I'm still laptopless. I'm using Nicky's laptop for now while she sleeps. I looked into hiring (renting) a laptop but it's expensive and in the end, I might as well buy a new one. But that's a bad decision since I can get mine fixed when I get back to the States. I tried to get it fixed this morning, but the guy said it would take several days and it wouldn't be cheap.

I'm sort of caught up in a bad spot. Yep, another shitty trip to London for me. I might even lose my assignment because of this.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Death of a Screen

By Pauly

I had been in London for about two hours when one of my nightmares came through... my laptop died while I was aboard in a different country. The screen is busted.

I have to wait until I get back to America to get it fixed. I still think it's under warranty. That won't be until mid-October.

With 2 work assignments, deadlines for freelance clients, and having to maintain up to six different websites, I sorta fucked.

Plus I have several thousands words and new writing ideas which I penned during my brief trip to Amsterdam... of which is only saved on my hard drive. Never had a chance to back those up.

My Sunday afternoon will include a search for a cheap laptop which will get me through the next few weeks.

I had one laptop last for 3 years on the road until it died last summer. The new one last 13 months before it crapped out.

Looks like I'm getting a British laptop. Hopefully I won't get raped in a price.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

jfk > amsterdam

By Pauly

Travel days usually suck. If you get up super early to travel, it sort of fucks up the rest of the day. If you have a later departure, then your morning and afternoon seems rushed, if not lost.

I had a 5:40pm flight out of JFK, right in the middle of the rush hour for European red eye flights. I called for a car service to pick me up at 2:45pm. I was early. At 2:56pm, I called the car service to ask what was up. They said the driver would be on his way.

15 minutes late. They used up all of their buffer time. The driver was someone I recognized. He used to deliver pizzas to me and now he's a professional driver. Except he didn't act like a pro. He bitched and moaned about ever slow down or red light. And he was a horrible driver. I stopped counting the number of "what the fuck are you doing" honks from cars behind us that he almost sideswiped.

We experienced a bitch of rough traffic to begin but the rest of the ride was smooth. I got to the airport at the exact the time I wanted.

Check-in was a breeze. I scanned my passport via the kiosk and it spit out my e-ticket. I dropped off my one large backpack and headed to security. The line was backed up. And to complicate matters, there was an AirIndia flight about to leave within minutes. Of course about 100 or so passengers on that flight showed up at the aiport at the last minute so were funneled to the front of the line... right where I had been patiently waiting.

My flight was delayed and I sat at the gate and played online poker for about an hour. I tooka massive hit early on but rallied within minutes of having my row called. I broke even and boarded the plane.

During check-in I tried to see if there was a better seat. The flight was 90% full but I had an aisle seat with the middle seat open. That was sufficient. A British woman sat in the window seat. Three Hasidic Jews sat down in the row in front of us. Everything was kosher until about half-way through the flight. That's when two of three got into a vicious screaming match. At one point they were shoving each other back and forth. They woke up the British chick next to me and she was pissed.

I watched three flicks... I Am Legend, Jumper, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I only watched Jumper because it had Rachel Bilson in it, otherwise it was awful.

I also recognized one of the flight attendants from previous flights. I usually fly KLM to Europe, so that's not unusual.

Despite the late departure, we had a sick tailwind which put us into Amsterdam almost 45 minutes earlier. I hopped on the train and I was at Centraal Station just about the same time as the morning rush was beginning around 7:30am. I stashed my bags at the station and wandered around. I had to kill several hours. Check in was at 3pm and I hoped to get in earlier around 12 or 1pm.

I wondered if any coffeeshops would be open. I spotted one that was sort of sketchy. I had been there in the past and they had overpriced and stale bud. I kept walking towards my old neighborhood. I came across Barney's. And it was open.

Barney's has the best shit in Amsterdam. Their stains continuously win Cannabis Cup medals. Year after year. The last two were head turners... Willie Nelson and G-13 Haze. I tried both and they were top notch.

It was just me and a French hippie couple sitting around and smoking while random Euro techno-dub pumped over the speakers.

I stumbled outside and I saw the wave of bikers making their way down the street and towards Centraal Station. The locals ride their bikes to the train then head to work. Some ride their bikes to work. I wandered over to the corner store, Brood and Kaas, for a croissant.

I killed several more hours hoping from different cafes and coffeeshops. I checked out my old apartment alongside the canal which I shared with Benjo and Johnny Mushrooms. I went in search of my new apartment. That's when I freaked out.

Thee was a 10% doubt in my mind that the apartment I rented was a part of a scam. I couldn't explain why, but I grew super suspicious as I wandered down the street of my apartment. It was listed as #4. I found #2 which was on the corner and #6 which was a gay bar. But #4? It was a building with a bricked up entrance.

"Awwww, fuck," was my immediate thought.

I freaked out and called the office. No answer. I called Nicky to tell her that I was worried about a possible scam. An hour later, I called again and got in touch with the company. They agreed to meet me 2+ hours early. I met a young woman in front of Centraal Station. She was Lithuanian and showed me to the apartment. I had my streets mixed up. The actual apartment was around the corner.

She got me set up and handed me the keys. I had an apartment, a home, a flat for three days. Time to rage solo...

Yeah this post is three days late. I finally got around to publishing it on the morning I depart Amsterdam for London.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm Alive...

By Pauly

Been a long 48 hours since I arrived in Amsterdam. I'll write more about my flight over and the apartment and everything else.

I'm here for 24 more hours. My raging solo will end later tonight when I'm supposed to meet a friend for dinner.

I'm supposed to fly to London tomorrow for work. Uggggggggggggggh. That's the last thing I actually want to do. Work. Ah, which reminds me... one more day of play.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


By Pauly
New York City

... for time. I don't have any of it these days. I had less than four days in New York City in between a 2+ week assignment in Atlantic City and a 2+ week sojourn to Europe. It seems like I'm constantly in perpetual motion. And NYC is nothing more than an air craft carrier where I land, loaded up on supplies, get a mail call, and hit the road again.

This is no way to live.

When I return from a trip, I dump everything from my backpack into the washer machine. Then I reload for the next trip. It's officially the autumn in Europe, so I have to pack a few extra items. Traveling in the summer is easy and I can go light. Now I have to get creative in my packing skills in order to add heavier clothes while still packing in a limited space.

I have books piled high to the ceiling. Marty Beckerman sent me his latest book that I want to review but had zero time to even pick up his book. I also got a couple of books for my birthday and Mary gave me something from Warren Ellis. So many books, so little time. The depression sinks in because I wish I had time to devour each one. The written word intoxicates me, yet I find myself struggling to find time to even open a book, let alone write one.

I finally finished my NASA conspiracy book called Dark Mission. It was tough to read and if you can skim all the unnecessary academic crap, it is a fascinating read... like what's up with all those glass towers on the moon and all the temples and pyramids on Mars. Shit will blow your mind.

The email backed up like a clogged shitter. I'm in one of those phases where I'm saying, "Fuck it." In the previous months, I devoted 10-15 minutes a day unclogging the jam. That's a waste of time because it keeps building up. Don't flush.

I watched the Jets on Monday Night Football. Even with Favre, they still suck. And I lost my fantasy football game by 0.4 points. That blows camelballs.

The one highlight was watching up on three of the newest episodes of Entourage. You gotta love Johnny Drama. The first two episodes were a B- but the last one was a B+.

The birthday was better than average. At my age, birthdays don't mean as much as they used to. If anything it's a reminder that I'm not getting any younger. The tickets to the Yankees game with my brother were an awesome present. Derek also got me a Dead in Egypt DVD and CD combo. And Nicky redecorated a room in the LA apartment for my birthday so I officially have an office to write in. Awesome gesture, but God knows when I'll find time to actually write.

The rest of my year looks like this... NYC > Amsterdam > London > Amsterdam > NYC > Mohegan Sun > Rhode Island > NYC > Denver > LA > Vegas > LA > NYC > LA > Vegas > LA > NYC. And you know, there might be a work assignment or two thrown in there. That's a ton of traveling and lots of time wasted in airports. A 10 day stint in London might be the longest I'm on one city for the rest of the year.

Constantly on the move. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

At least I get to rage solo in Amsterdam for three days.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium Pic Dump

By Pauly
New York City

I went to the Yankees game on my birthday with my brother. It would be the next-to-last game ever played at Yankee Stadium and it marked my final game at the historic ballpark.

Feel free to click on the photos to see an enlarged view...

Derek Jeter and Babe Ruth's grand-daughter

Cracker Jack!

Giambi whiffs

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Six Stock Market Movie Geniuses

By Pauly
New York City

Thanks to Kid Dynamite for the link.... Six Stock Market Movie Geniuses. Some were obvious and a few choices made me chuckle. One of my bosses on Wall Street was exactly like the Ben Affleck character in Boiler Room. Scary shit.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wall Street Slang

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Yeah, this was hysterical... Your Guide To The Language Of Financial Disaster. Thanks to the guys at DealBreaker.
Key: "If You Hear This" = "Read This" (Source)

"Low Quality Rally" = "Our Dartboard Malfunctioned" (UBS)
"We Might Encounter A Slight Correction" = "Expect A 40% Drop" (AIG)
"We Believe We Are Sufficiently Capitalized" = "Our Leverage Is Still 24:1" (Lehman Brothers)
"We Expect To Benefit From A Flight To Quality" = "Shorts Have Created So Much Buy To Lend Action Our Stock Is Buoyed" (Goldman Sachs)
"Another Front Is Opening" = "No One Wants Our Stock Anymore" (Barclays)
"It's Unclear Who Is Going To Be A Credit Provider Going Forward" = "No One Will Lend To Us" (Concordia Advisors)
"No Evident Catalyst For Ending The Pain" = "We Are Flooded With Redemption Requests And Our Attorney Quit" (Feda Capital)
"We Have Changed The Format Of Our Earnings Call A Little Bit" = "No Questions From Pesky Analysts After That Smartass From UBS Mouthed Off" (Baldwin)
"Markets Set To Bounce" = "Our Editor Has Almost Lost Everything" (Wall Street Journal)
"EU Has Tradition Of Bailouts" = "Don't Look At Me Like That, Germany" (Financial Times)
"Short Sellers Are Attacking Our Stock" = "My Mistress And I Are Fleeing Tonight To A Country With No Extradition" (Pick One)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Worst Crisis Since '30s

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

The Joker sent me this article called... Worst Crisis Since '30s, With No End Yet in Sight. He said it was the best article that he read which sums up the recent financial crisis. Please read it. This affects your future.

This quote is the scary one... "This has been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. There is no question about it..."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two More Days

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

There is a light. I can see it. Just over the horizon. Two more days of work. Time-wise? Have no clue how many hours it will take to end this tournament series.

I got off early last night and spent most of that bonus time catching up on email, writing an article, and drinking with AlCantHang. I'm trying to get as much solo one-on-one time with Al since I'm not going to the Bash. I'll be somewhere in transit from Amsterdam to London on the day of the party.

I like the Borgata. Atlantic City is blah. But I can see the ocean from my room. I get to cross the Atlantic and head to Europe next week. That could not come soon enough.

I am sick of the food, though. You explore almost every option inside a two week period. I have been eating salads from Lettuce Head or eating greasy breakfast sandwiches or the buffet.

I booked Denver for Halloween. But it's hard to think about that trip because I have a few others before hand. I'm focused on where I am today and where's I'm going tomorrow. Hard to think about trips that are two or three down the road.

The Russian stock market tanked the last two days. They had to suspend trading in consecutive days. That's how bad it got. The Ruskies are afraid of a total market collapse.

I'm thankful that I don't work on Wall Street anymore. I still love the rush... the gambler's high that I used to get on wild trading days. That jones is still there. Sometimes I think about poker and how those clowns think they're professional gamblers. Yeah, they might be pros as for as ego and tax purposes. But the real professional gamblers are the guys in the trenches of Wall Street wearing ties. Some say they have the future in their hands. But when they go busto, they look to Uncle Sam to get bailed out. And as the Joker asked last night, "Where does the money come from?"

Maybe this is a bad time to change careers? Or the perfect time to take some time off and just write...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Light Showers

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Surviving a night of drinking with AlCantHang is like weathering a category five hurricane. Last night was a very very very mellow night. On the AlCantHang party storm scale, it was a 1 or what I call light showers...

That wasn't our tab either, just the part that I paid. Light showers. FYI, there's a storm brewing that will touch down sometime on Thursday...

By Pauly
Atlantic City,NJ

Drunk. With AlCantHang. Celebrated Tropical Steve's birthday. Tiffany Michelle calls him "Scuba Steve." Three more days left on this assignment. One week from today is when I leave for Amsterdam.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Busy as a Bee

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Four more days of work and I'm done. However, I'm fading fast.

I partied a little too much on Saturday night. The result? A hungover Sunday with a 13 hour day of work ahead of me. I struggled for the entire day. I had been on the rough end the last couple of days. In the middle of last week, I had an unexpected visitor. I spent less them sleeping and writing for myself and more time partying and catching up.

Last Thursday, an old college friend stopped by to say hello. I had not seen Clint in 13 years. He's been reading my blogs for the last couple of years, but from a distance. We had very little interaction aside from a few emails.

Poker players from the DC area usually end up in Atlantic City since it is the closest option they have for casino poker. Clint read that I was at the Borgata. He thought about calling to let me know he was coming but decided to surprise me. At first I did not recognize him. I was busy at my laptop typing away. I saw someone approach the media row out from the corner of my eye.

"Is Phil Laak here?" he asked.

I didn't look up and said, "No."

"How about Phil Lesh?"

That's when I looked up. I figured it was a Tao of Poker reader that was also a music fan since Phil Lesh played bass for the Grateful Dead. That's when I realized that it was Clint. 13 years is a long time. Slick Willy was still in his first term as President when we last saw each other. Hootie and The Blowfish's Cracked Rear View was the number one album that year.

Clint played some cash games and even helped get me a few bustout hands from the rail. He's a tall guy. Over 6-8. We played intramural hoops together in college and used to party it up together back in the day.

I've been in a weird head space the last month or so. The artist inside is hyper-grumpy and wants to let loose in the world. The battle within is between the malcontent artist who desperately wants to ditch poker and create other things while the wealthy businessman/pimp inside is holding him back and continuously saying, "Just a little while longer. Let's make a little more money, then we can quit."

Clint's unannounced appearance was a godsend. He broke up the monotony of a 2+ week assignment. At the same time, we were able to catch up and analyze our hazy lazy college days. I'm one to constantly live in the now... in the moment. I rarely look towards the future and the past because neither actually exist. It's the right now that is the most important thing for me. However, an intense examination of my past was inevitable when Clint arrived. He brought back a flood of college memories. Most of them were good and a few were bad. We focused on the good.

After my shift ended, we got super wasted and stayed up late talking about life and writing and poker and traveling. Clint even told a couple of blackjack bad beat stories that included getting slow rolled by the dealer on numerous accounts.

Clint even insisted that I leave the Borgata for a couple of hours. I never would have left the property of he didn't show up. We drove over to Harrah's. The poker room was packed. DonPeters and Bradley had made the final table of one of their tournaments. We decided not to play and headed to the pits to drink and gamble.

We opted for Pai Gow. Clint had never played and I gave him a crash course inside of 90 seconds. By the fourth hand, he easily picked up the game. We sat at a $15 table with a young Asian guy and a working girl. I didn't know hookers player Pai Gow.

I picked up four Aces (three aces and the Joker) on one of my first few hands. I never play the bonus, so I lost out on a 25-1 shot. I eventually grew antsy like I always do and started betting big. We had a hot Polish waitress. Clint and I tipped her well and she kept bringing us drinks.

I lost $130 playing Pai Gow but got my fair share of booze. We stumbled back over the Borgata and stayed up late. Partying until the wee hours and reminiscing. The conversation surrounded our old fraternity brothers. Larry is on his second wife. Curley is expecting triplets. Moe owns a restaurant in Oregon. Did you know that Shemp was gay?

It was sometime around 4:20am when we stumbled upon the iguana story. One summer in the early 1990s, I lived in my fraternity house in Atlanta. We had an empty room where a ferret and iguana lived. It was also the location where I tried to grow pot for the first time. Well, the guy who owned the iguana (the name of the iguana was Iggy) went out of town and forgot to tell someone to feed the Iggy the iguana. Well, Iggy the iguana got out of his cage/tank and feasted on my pot plants. Iggy the iguana got the munchies and ate up all the plants. My cash crop was decimated by a hungry and stoned lizard.

This past weekend, Mary came down from Brooklyn to player poker. She also crashed in my room. I had an extra bed and it seems like someone has been crashing there almost every night... from Derek to Clint to Mary.

Mary played in a tournament on Saturday. After she busted out, she wanted to have a drink. I just so happened to be drinking with AlCantHang at B Bar and watching the USC/Ohio State game. Eight days earlier, Derek tried to go shot for shot with AlCantHang... and failed. I fared much better, but when you drink with AlCantHang you just know you're gonna get fucked up. I definitely stumbled out of B Bar when it was all over. And the result? I woke up wicked hungover.

I need sleep. Lots of it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Missed SNL

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

But here's the hysterical video. Tropical Steve originally pointed it out to me. Thanks to the Joker for finding the hulu link.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pauly's Pub and Other Fantasy Football Update - Week 1

By Pauly
Atlantic City

Senor and I won our first game in the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League. That''s a 14-team league made up of lawyers and other middle-aged guys. Uncle Jodd's Band is 1-0. Our team is Tony Romo, Larry Johnson, Thomas Jones, Boldin, Santana Moss, and J. Shockey. Our WR corp put up more points than our RBs.

I'm off to a slow start in Grid Iron and College Football Pool. I'm in a confidence pool with some of my fraternity brothers and I think that I'm 12th out of 40 or so.

However... I'm near the top of the Pauly's Pub pool. Jordan and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot are tied for first place...
Pauly's Pub - Top 9 thru Week 1:
1 HighOnPork (Jordan) 12
1 Emilio Estevez (N. Fontenot) 12
3 Shakedown Street (Pauly) 11
3 Oyster Bay Moore (J. Moore) 11
3 Istanbul Bulls (J. Schanzer) 11
3 how bout a fresca (b. singer) 11
3 Niggling Groin Injuries (Aussie Garth) 11
3 JJ's Funky Chicken Shack (GMoney) 11
3 Feedsack Jenkins (Daddy) 11

Click here for full standings and results.
Aussie Garth won the pool last year and we're trying bring the title back home to America.

I also go my ass kicked in Sundays with Dr. Pauly, which is a contest being held over at Fantasy Sports Live. Click here for more details.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam

Jason Defazio
James Riches
Scott Hazelcorn
Matthew Burke
Charlie Heeran
Steven Schlag
Nigel Thompson

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Movie Quotes Revealed

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Got a lot of emails asking me the source of the quotes in the post from Tuesday. Here they are...

1. "Brandt can't watch..." - The Big Lebowski
2. "My job consists..." - American Beauty
3. "I'm in the junkie limbo..." - Trainspotting
4. "He is the sweetest guy..." - SuperBad
5. "Haven't you seen Boyz N The Hood?..." - Swingers
6. "It's not Bertrand Russell..." - Taxi Driver
7. "And I guess that was your accomplice..." - Fargo
8. "Of course I'm respectable..." - Chinatown
9. "What we have here, little yellow sister..." - Full Netal Jacket
10. "One thing I could never stand was to see a filthy, dirty old drunkie..." - A Clockwork Orange
11. "Let's make some fuckin' money, folks." - Magnolia
12. "I did Shakespeare in the Park, Max. I got mugged..." - Annie Hall
13. "It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy..." - Spinal Tap
14. "You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX..." - Fight Club

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Randomness: Movie Lines

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

At some point, over the last week I thought about the following movie lines...

"Brandt can't watch, though, or he has to pay a hundred."

"My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble Hell."

"I'm in the junkie limbo at the moment. Too ill to sleep. Too tired to stay awake, but the sickness is on its way."

"He is the sweetest guy. Have you ever looked into his eyes? It was like the first time I heard the Beatles."

"Haven't you seen Boyz N The Hood? Now one of us is going to get shot."

"It's not Bertrand Russell. But what do you want? I'm a cabbie."

"And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper."

"Of course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough."

"What we have here, little yellow sister, is a magnificent specimen of pure Alabama Blacksnake. But it ain't too goddamned beau coup."

"One thing I could never stand was to see a filthy, dirty old drunkie, howling away at the filthy songs of his fathers and going blurp blurp in between as it might be a filthy old orchestra in his stinking, rotten guts."

"Let's make some fuckin' money, folks."

"I did Shakespeare in the Park, Max. I got mugged. I was playing Richard the Second and two guys with leather jackets stole my leotard."

"It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I'm working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don't know why."

"You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?"

Monday, September 08, 2008

Running of the Bull

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Were to begin? I don't have much time. Shit, I'm always pressed for time. As my colleague Lacey said, "I dunno how you do it?"

Even with a couple of extra hours a day as an insomniac, I'm still juggling eighty things at once. Some days, I'm being pulled and tugged in so many directions at once that my gut reaction is to retreat and withdraw and do absolutely nothing.

Alas, I have too many responsibilities. My goal is to slowly shed all of those over the next couple of months as I prepare for a new project in 2009. Well, two new projects. One if obviously 2009 Phish Tour whenever that gets announced. The other project is sorta simple... write. A shitload. For myself.

I get grumpy when I have a burning desire to create but do not have the time to allow that process to unfold. It is a timing issue. Inspiration is fickle. You have to grasp a hold of it whenever you can. Over the last couple of years, that always seemed to strike in places were I was unable to follow through on those thoughts and impulses... usually in the middle of assignments for other people. That's the struggle within... I desperately want to do my own thing but I'm trapped writing for others. I try to remind myself that I'm doing those gigs for a reason... money. The more money I can accumulate right now... will allow me more freedom to write in the future. I understand that formula and gameplan in the bigger picture. However, at the time, when I'm in the middle of the shit, I have bouts of existential paranoia... and the hallways of my mind are bombarded with the statement, "Wait, what the fuck am I doing here?"

Anyway... back on course. Gotta suck it up for about two more months then I can go off and frolic and be creative and travel and enjoy the holidays (without the stress of working for others) and basically do my own thing for the rest of the year which includes strengthening my existing personal projects.

Derek arrived at the Borgata late on Thursday night. That kinda put me in better head space. I haven't had much time with my brother this year, so I was happy that he took Friday off and braved the Atlantic City buses to hang out.

On Friday morning, we were ready to head to breakfast when we got a text from the Rooster. He woke up in NYC super early and grabbed a bus down to AC. He was at the Borgata and joined us for breakfast. I had a couple of comps and treated them to some greasy food. Derek piled tons of food onto his plate and we kinda closed out the breakfast buffet.

That's when I got word that AlCantHang was en route to AC from his neck of the woods outside of Philly. Wow... three friends came to visit me. Just at the right time because I was losing my mind. Thanks guys, I needed that.

I went off to work. The Rooster went to the poker room to play cash games. Derek and AlCantHang headed to the B Bar.

I got an early dinner break and discovered that Derek and AlCantHang had not moved from the bar. When I walked inside, Al looked perfectly normal. Derek? Not so much. He was shitfaced. Wasted. Three sheets to the wind. Derek said that he drank 8 double shots of Southern Comfort. Al thought that number was too low. Sweet Jesus. That's at least 16-20 shots.

I applaud Derek for being brave enough to try to go shot for shot with AlCantHang. But that was one bull I don't think anyone can run with. I've seen dozens of people try and fail. At least Derek was still standing up... barely. We headed off to dinner at the Metropolitan Grill and Derek was visibly intoxicated. After dinner I headed back to work for four more hours. Derek hung out with Friedman for a bit before he went up to my room to pass out for a couple of hours.

Al and the Rooster left. Derek stuck around for a bit on Saturday when he realized that a storm was coming. He quickly hopped on a bus and headed back to NYC. He missed the bulk of the storm that hit AC on Saturday afternoon. We could hear the wind and rain from the Events Center. There were a few odd leaks here or there. On a break, I went up to Friedman's room only to discover that there was some hail in the mix of rain. Kinda scary.

Somehow, among the mayhem, I managed to finish off the latest issue of Truckin' and write an article for a client.

On a harmonious musical note, I scored pre-sale tickets to two shows... Trey Anastasio in Providence (going with Senor) and Medeski Martin & Wood in Los Angeles (going with Nicky).

I also won $300 playing in an online poker tournament on Saturday afternoon. I had a shot at $600, but came in second place. Unfortunately, I lost most of that playing cash games late on Saturday night.

I have been swamped with projects. I'm super happy that the NFL season finally kicked off. This week was brutal. I had the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football Draft with Senor and yes, we took Tony Romo as our QB. I hate the Cowboys and they are always on every fuckin' week. So we figured that we might as well go with Romo so we can sweat his games every week. I'm glad that we passed on Randy Moss, especially after Tom Brady went down in the first quarter of the Pats game with a potentially season ending injury.

I'm running two pools (Pauly's Pub for money with friends and Tao of Poker for readers of my poker blog). I also joined a pool with several old fraternity brothers that I recently reconnected with via LinkedIn. Many moons ago in college, we used to have an awesome football pool. It's nice to relive old glory days.

Over the last couple of days, I was busying promoting Sundays with Dr. Pauly, which is a contest over at Fantasy Sports Live. Between that promotion and my private poker tournament on Saturdays... I'm fully booked on the weekends!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Sometimes, I miss the 80s. Right Wil?

The Phish Reunites

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

It's true. Phish played three songs at Brad Sands Wedding. Check out... Phish Reunion.

I can't wait until they start touring again, so I can quit poker, hit the road, and have some real fun.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Truckin' - September 2008, Vol. 7, Issue 9

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Truckin' returns with six stories, including two new writers, two European writers, Bobby, and me.

1. Feline Existentialism by Paul McGuire
You're only one step away from nothingness. Your mere existence is utterly meaningless. What has more value? The zit on the ass cheek of Bono, or a religious missionary that has been burned alive by tribal elders? ... More

2. A Different God by Nick Cantwell
The slow walk along the dusty path was always a time for reflection. Reflection on his life, his family and his standing. But as ever, his thoughts turned to his loss. His daughter had only been nine when the disease had taken her. And since that day, he had walked the same path three or four times a day. Asking questions. And hoping to receive answers... More

3. One Night Out Part III: 120 Minutes in Sodom by Sigge S. Amdal
A show came on and six little dancers brushed past us from the dressing room. Barely legal naked nymphs with eyes too predatory for my liking. Reptile folk with nice legs, ripe breasts and hands long into your pockets. The moment our over-priced beer arrived, in slender glasses akin to lab equipment, my phone rang... More

4. Fatty McLiarson by Bob Respert
Emily and I had been talking for quite some time over an instant messenger on the computer. Her in ski-country and me in the suck-belt. Ugh, the Midwest. What a fucking dump. Nice job basing almost your entire future existence on the American factory worker and his union. Well played, Midwest. I can see the abandoned factories now... More

5. Journey of 35,000 Miles Began with One Bong Hit by Rob Hogan
I was surrounded by a room full of strangers who shared in my pathetic tales of a failed marriage, while enthralling me with their own stories of bad relationships and piss poor decisions. It was an instant camaraderie that connected us on the most basic of human levels. For once in my sad excuse for a life, I felt like I belonged... More

6. The Long by Dan England
The ridge looked like the back of a stegosaurus. It was long and thin, yet it also had many long, technical towers about three times our size that we would have to climb over. And once we got on the ridge, there was no getting off. No wonder many climbers considered it the toughest ridge in all of Colorado... More
I can never thank the writers enough for writing for free and exposing their guts, blood, and soul to the universe. Their art and dedication inspires me and I hope it inspires you too. Tell your friends about your favorite stories. The writers definitely appreciate your support.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Return of Sundays with Dr. Pauly

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Guess, what? Sundays with Dr. Pauly returns on Fantasy Sports Live!

Click here for more details.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Elements to a Bad Day

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Sometimes, bad days are inevitable. I always seem to have them when I'm on the road and in the middle of an assignment. I saw this one looming overhead. It started late last night. I miss my girlfriend. I really do. But last night, she managed to send me on tilt not once, but twice. One was an external issue (not involving our relationship) that I'd rather not discuss in a public forum.

Needless to say, I was not happy with the course of our conversation. I was angry. Pissed off and wanted to punch the walls. So she tried to change the topic and of course it shifted towards Sarah Palin and her speech which sent me on mega-tilt. No, I did not watch the speech. If I had the chance, I wouldn't because I don't care.

When you work inside of a casino, things like current events have zero bearings. Unless it is a sporting event where people can gamble on. The Yankees/Devil Rays game was on the big screen in the big tournament room. The Borgata knows their clientele. Keep them focused on gambling and baseball. No need for politics. After all, casinos know a ton about "the house always wins" which is how I feel a lot about politics.

So here's the scene. It's late. I'm tired. I'm irritated and aside from poker and religion, discussing politics is my least favorite thing to do these days. Yeah, I wanted to jump out of my 40+ story window.

The seeds were planted. I usually get a great rest at the Borgata, but I didn't. I simply could not fall asleep because I got too much sleep the night before. I finally managed to pass out before sunrise. I woke up, wrote, and then headed downstairs. The places I wanted to eat were crowded so I settled upon Fatburger since it is open 24 hours. I ordered their breakfast sandwich. It's basically one piece of bacon, a slice of cheese and one egg on a hamburger bun. I devoured that in seconds.

That's when I realized that I had been inside a casino for 40 straight hours. I tend to go a little loopy if I don't get oxygen. I forced myself to stay outside for about twenty minutes. I called my brother and reluctantly shuffled back inside.

I was at the media desk by 10:30am. I wouldn't leave until almost 12 hours later. I had several chances to grab something to eat, but kept putting it off... which was a terrible idea because in the end, I didn't get to eat until I got off work.

Yeah, it was sort of a busy/crazy day considering it was a minor tournament. The action progressed much slower than normal. Usually when a poker tournament gets down to 4 or 5 players, they will chop up the prize money. Not the case. It went to the bitter end. One of the floor staff joked that it would last longer than the GiantsRedskins game. Well, guess what? The game ended before the tournament.

When I got back into my room, the toilet was busted. That's bad news considering my brother is coming to visit and he has a habit of clogging toilets.

You know it's a bad day when a guy comes home and wants to take a dump, but can't because the toilet is busted. I went back downstairs, did my business, and called to get the toilet fixed.

I had limited food options for this time of night. I ate a half of a Philly cheesesteak. The rest of it is sitting right in front of me.

Oh, and yeah, the stock market tanked today. I promised myself that I would not check my accounts because that would spiral me into a serious depression.

I stopped reading my friends' twitter feeds because of the heavy political discourse. I want to unsubscribe to their feeds, but some of them are hyper-sensitive and it would hurt their feelings. Yes, I'm talking about ______.

Hey, people unsubscribe to me all the time. Twitter. Bloglines. What have you. Poker people don't like the music tweets. The music people hate the poker content. And I gain and lose followers everyday. It's just the way it is. But all of this politics stuff is fuckin' killing me. Ergo, I stopped reading Twitter because I'm too much of a pussy to hurt people's feelings.

You see, I always encourage people to express themselves. It's a healthy thing. But that doesn't mean I have to gobble up every bite. The only solution is to ignore Twitter until after the election.


I told Otis a secret today. I hope he keeps it to himself. If not, I'll cut off a finger.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Good Night's Rest

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

For dinner last night, Friedman and I headed to Noodles of the World. The waiter gave him a weird look when Friedman asked for "General Tso's with the sauce on the side."

Then I threw the waiter a curve ball and asked for an order of General Tso's... "with the sauce on the chicken."

I also crushed a chicken satay appetizer. My first meal during a long assignment is always a fun one. By Day 10, I get so sick of the food that I'd rather starve myself.

I thought that I was going to play poker on Tuesday night. I skipped the option of playing downstairs in the Borgata's poker room. Instead, I hung out in my room and watched Star Wars and played online poker. I turned a small profit and wrote for a bit before I decided that it was time to crash.

I sleep well at the Borgata. So much so that I had been awaiting this assignment because I knew that my body would finally be able to catch up on some of the sleep I lost over the last decade due to chronic insomnia.

I popped a Xanax before I crashed just to make sure I stayed asleep. I also set my alarm and got a wake-up call just in case I passed out too hard.

Although it took me longer than I wanted to fall asleep, I finally passed out at 2:30am. I woke up once in the middle of the night, but quickly fell back asleep. Normally, once I'm up... I'm up for good. Not last night. I slept hard.

The alarm woke me up. I slept for 6.5 hours which is double what I usually get on an average night.

I was sort of groggy when I woke up, and it took me a while to sort of shake off the haze. I experienced a sleep hangover. I got too much sleep.

I was almost late for work. Since I got a slow start, I tried to get breakfast a little later than I originally planned. The buffet had a long line along with a sandwich shop I had scouted out for a bacon egg and cheese. I ended up eating at the Borgata's version of their diner. There was a wait to get in but since I was solo, they seated me at the counter. The food came out quick. It was nothing special... bacon, eggs, and hasbrowns. It almost felt as though they scooped it out of the massive industrial buffet bins and served it to me from that.

I woofed the food down and rushed up to the media desk. I was on time. Just made it. I have a pass for the employees cafeteria which I might utilize over the weekends since the Borgata gets super crowded a the weekend breakfast rush will be insane. Ah, one of the drawbacks to working inside a casino... you have to deal with the ebbs and flows of weekend gamblers.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

nyc > atlantic city

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

I woke up early on Tuesday morning to write. After a brief session, I packed for my trip. I brought along six dress shirts for a 2+ week assignment. I had four shirts in constant rotation during the WSOP and that was a seven week assignment. I worked for myself this summer and set my own dress code so I often wore t-shirts. I'm sort of working for a casino this time around so I have to at least make an attempt to look normal.

I ran a few errands including a trips to the dry cleaners, drug store, and post office. I popped into the Greek diner for breakfast. I ordered food from there three out of the last four mornings. The usual... bacon, egg, and cheese on a kaiser roll.

I took a Greyhound bus to Atlantic City which meant I had to experience the Port Authority bus terminal. That's always an adventure. Bus travelers are a distinct breed of people. And the souls on the buses to Atlantic City are sometimes even more sketchier.

I sat across from a pregnant white girl with hoop earrings. She had the word "HOOD" tattooed on her forearm. In front of them was a teenaged Puerto Rican girl and her portly grandmother. Within seconds of sitting down, the old woman spilled juice all over the floor. That pissed the bus driver off. He screamed and wouldn't leave until the girl cleaned it up, as she muttered curse words in Spanish underneath her breath.

The guy who sat in front of me could have used some cologne. He smelled like a wet dog and a sour tuna fish sandwich. He looked like he was a step away from being homeless, yet he was headed down to Atlantic City... where the sand turns to gold.

I read about 100 pages of Dark Mission and mapped out the first two rounds of my draft with Senor. The Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League annual draft was set for 7pm. However, we opened up an early draft via email. Our team, Uncle Jodd's Band, had the 11th pick out of 14 teams. We made the playoffs last year but lost in the semi-finals. The first nine picks were complete before I boarded the bus. Somewhere on the Garden State Parkway, I got a call from Senor. We were up and picked Tony Romo. I loathe the Cowboys, but I figured if I have to see so many goddammed Cowboys games... well at least I'd have something to root for.

Now if we could just drown Jessica Simpson like a sack on unwanted puppies... the world would be a happy place.

I arrived in Atlantic City on times despite leaving ten minutes late. The bus dropped me off at Trump Plaza and I caught a cab over to the Borgata. Part of what makes the Borgata the most exclusive casino on the East Coast is their location... away from the Boardwalk and all the riff raff.

The Borgata put me up in a room on a top floor. 40+ stories up. It's technically an ocean view because I can see out to the Atlantic. I can't see the actual Boardwalk because the cluster of casinos are blocking it. However, I can see the plight pepper below me. It's the void in between the Borgata and the Boardwalk. Somewhere out there, the infamous Atlantic City hookers are strolling the streets that have the same names from the Monopoly game.

I'm excited about the beds. The Borgata beds are the finest in the world. I have stayed in luxury hotels all over the globe... and by far, my favorite beds are from the Borgata. I can't explain why, but for some reason one of the two places in the world I do not have trouble sleeping is at the Borgata and in Amsterdam. I'm looking forward to several nights in a row of no less than 4+ consecutive hours of sleep.

Yeah, I have to work 12+ hour days over the next two plus weeks but I'm doing it with a couple of friends so that always eases the pain of a lengthy assignment. Friedman and Tropical Steve will keep me company (and hopefully sane) over the next two weeks.

I'll be spending 17 nights in Atlantic City. Hard to fathom sometimes, but the Borgata will be the one place that I spend the most time (in one single location) over the next four months... maybe five?

Migration time. When I packed my bags in Los Angeles on Friday morning, I knew that would be the last time this year where I got to call some place "home" for more than a couple of weeks.

Well, the one good thing was the sunset.

Friedman showed me a chill place outside to hang out where there's a marshland and windmills. Sometimes when you work inside casinos and stay in their hotel attached to said casino, you barely venture outside. I have literally spent several days inside a casino without breathing real air.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sifting and Sorting

By Pauly
New York City

Four months of mail. The Macy's bag was overflowing with snail mail. Next to that bulky bag stood a small tower of boxes. More mail. Four months worth had accumulated while I was on the West Coast. My mother fished out a couple of pay checks at the end of July and mailed them to me. Aside from that, the remainder of my mail went untouched.

I have a process, something that I do every few months. My flight to NYC usually gets in late around 10 or 11pm. I spend the late night hours slowly sifting through and sorting the mail. I dumped the entire bag on the floor. A small mountain formed in front of me. That was the largest mail collection that I had ever seen. 16+ weeks worth. Most of it was junk mail... but some of the more important items are often disguised as junk mail so mail thieves pass over it.

The process is slow and boring. I quickly make two piles... big stuff (like magazines and large envelopes) and letters. I stacked up several issues of various poker and gambling publications. I currently write for them or wrote for them in the past and still appear on the comp list. I noticed that there were random issues of Rolling Stone Magazine in the mix as well. I rarely buy magazines, but sometimes I'll pick up Rolling Stone in an airport. It seems that my mother had some airline miles expiring and she could exchange those for free subscriptions to several magazines. I don't recall the conversation, but she insisted she asked me if I was interested in free magazines and I must have blurted out "Rolling Stone" as one of the few publications that I'd actually read.

I also got a couple of music newsletters such as the return of the Grateful Dead Newsletter. I put those aside (with the Rolling Stones) since I'd actually read them. The poker magazines got tossed.

Then there were all the clothing and merchandise catalogs; a random camping place that featured hunting gear, a high-end men's fashion store I never heard of before, a travel store, and several catalogs from J Crew, LL Bean, and Lands End. Those got tossed as well.

Then there were the alumni magazines. I thumbed through my high school and college rags. Apparently, Salmon Rushdie is a resident writer at my university. He appeared on one of the covers. I glanced through my year of graduation to check up on my former classmates. At this point, everyone is having kids. And I noticed an interesting trend... former classmates where having twins or triplets at an alarming rate. I'm in my mid-30s and I assume that my classmates have been trying to have children for a couple of years without much success so they all turned to fertility drugs. Now instead of one bundle of joy, they have two or three bundles.

I wonder when those alumni magazines will highlight the members of the NKC... "No Kids Club." Maybe I'll send in a picture of me smoking a big fat spliff?

So I obviously sorted the magazines into two piles; one pile is the garbage pile and the other pile is made up of magazines I'll keep and read.

The last of the big envelopes included different financial information such as statements, prospectuses, and other bullshit. I opened up the latest one and ignored the rest. I realized that I have stock in Activision and also own Williams, which is the rival of Grubby's slot machine making company.

The big envelopes and magazines were easy to sort through since everything was labeled and I didn't have to open it up. Next up were the hundreds of smaller envelopes.

American Express sent me a ton of spam and junk mail. They took up almost 45% of the mail. There were only a couple of statements, but the most of the stuff was spam trying to get me to sign up for various programs. I also got multiple offers for a Plum card, a Blue Card, and a Platinum Card. They sent me one each over the last four months. I already have a Gold card and ignored those offers aside.

I fished out only two checks. Sort of disappointing but then again, my mother sent me a bunch when I was still in Las Vegas. Also, I purposely trimmed my client roster over the last six months. I'm no longer a slave to others exploiting my name and my work... but the result is that I make less money and discover less and less checks than I used to get.

The bills are never fun to find. Some were old bills that I already paid, and a few current bills stuck out. I always clench my teeth when I see bills.

A couple of friends already sent me checks to cover their payment for Pauly's Pub football pool.

Then there was the rest of the spam. Tons of banks sending me applications for credit cards. A couple of car dealerships sent me info on car loans and their latest deals. I got plenty of shit from charities and other religious organizations that want my money and donations. I did get one letter from my high school thanking me for my generous donation for the annual fund. The amount placed me in a special category. It's like a pissing match between alumni. Who can give more? Ah, you gotta keep the Jesuits and the Illuminati happy with a fatty check once in a while.

If I knew that a specific envelope was junk mail, it got tossed out. I had to carefully set aside the ambiguous envelopes and open those up. 99% of those were shit, but one of them contained some vital information. I was glad that I was thorough and didn't blaze through the mountain of mail.

The process took two nights of work. I also got excited to open up all of the packages. Christmas in late August. That's what it feels like for me. After several weeks or months on the road, I return to find random boxed up gifts. Some from friends and some from different PR and marketing companies. And the best things are stuff that I ordered online months ago... and forgot.

I had several new books to read and already ripped into Dark Mission. There was the box that I sent from LA that contained a bunch of random shit that I didn't want to carry in my luggage... mostly booty and receipts from the World Series of Poker. I got a new CD from the Avett Brothers courtesy of their PR chick and a couple of other promo CDS from bands I never heard of before.

I spent the last couple of days soaking up New York City again. I wandered the streets of my old neighborhood. I bumped into Vinny the Barber and he told me about his recent trip to Atlantic City. I popped into the Greek diner for a breakfast sandwich and the old Greek guys were both there and mentioned how they missed me. I also saw the doorman who works in my mother's apartment building. I told him that I was in Vegas for a bit.

"Wow, there's a lot of hot women in Vegas," he mentioned.

I sort of nodded. I'm so over Vegas at this point that I tune out when people start talking to me about that city.

I got to watch a couple of Yankees games on my brother's couch. I missed doing that. We ate some of my favorite foods such as the local pizza joint.

I also headed downtown on Sunday. I wandered around the Village hopped up on over the counter cough medicine. I have a lingering cold that won't go away. It had been several months that I rode the subway. I missed reading books on the subway and finished off one book that Human Head recommended called "Technological Society" by Jaques Ellul. It was written over 50 years ago... but some of his words have significance today.

Just one more day to relax before it's time to move onto the next assignment.