Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Great Cruve

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I have been in California for 24 hours now. I was a few hours into my new routine and then that plane crashed in the Hudson River and I fell off the wagon a bit as I watched breaking coverage of the plane crash in New York City. Yeah, that's why I never fly US Air and try to stick with JetBlue.

My hopes of avoiding the boob tube and all forms of media over the next few weeks (save for the NFL playoffs as my sole distraction) failed miserably on Day 1. Better today than next week, right?

Last year, I read a book by Tim Ferris called the 4-Hour Work Week. Some of it was rubbish but a few things stood out about time management especially with a backlog of emails and time wasted reading/watching current events. I'm back to only reading my email twice a day at the max and more like once an evening. I'm also trying to avoid things like my cellphone (turning it off completely) and reducing reading Twitter (except to send updates) and Bloglines throughout the day. I'm setting aside an hour at night to take care of all of that addictive "I have to be connected" bullshit. If I can successfully put off emails, phone calls, and blog reading to a small period, my productivity and independence away from having to e connected at all times should increase.

It's like a bad drug, man. And this is my time over the next six weeks to dry out. It's a retreat of sorts from the life I carved out over the last five years. Clean living. I finally got what I wanted... some time to stay at home and patch my bones and write unfettered for the next six weeks. Then it's off to the Phish Reunion in Virgina where I return to California for another six week writing stint.

My first day back in LA was a good one. It started off slow but I was up early and writing in my favorite morning spot in the dining room by the window. The weather was warm, sweltering by Midwest standards, and I was very fortunate to wake up without freezing my ass off. One of the benefits of LA. I live in a plastic city, but the weather is great.

Nicky woke up and we headed to Nick's for the first time this year. I was starving a killed an omelete and hash browns. Absolutely destroyed it. I also ate half of Nicky's omelete and half of her toast. I needed to fuel to write. I tried to lock myself in my office, but the plane crash happened and I kept popping my head out to follow the updates on CNN that Nicky was closely following.

Amidst the distraction, I cranked out two short stories for an upcoming issue of Truckin'. It felt joyous and momentous to write fiction for the first time in a while. It wasn't forced either and I submitted first drafts to my own blogzine.

I also completed two freelance assignments. One was a magazine deadline for today and the other is a deadline set for next Thursday. I was an eager beaver and got next week's work out of the way so I can focus on working on the writing project all of next week.

I realized that I have acquired a small collection of books in the LA digs. Nicky has a few of them in her bookcase, but next to my desk, there's a pile of 13 books. Seven of those were given to me and five of those were poker or gambling related. The elusive non-poker books were Dumbocracy by Marty Beckerman (which I have still yet to review) and Hamas vs. Fatah by college classmate Jon Schanzer (which I'm 75% done with but have yet to review). I guess I'm reading three books right now if you count Schanzer's and then there's Lie Down in Darkness by Styron and The Plague by Camus. Maybe I'll set aside some time tonight to polish off Schanzer's book.

My 160GB portable hard drive arrived in the late afternoon. Always fun to get an unexpected package. I ordered it when I was in the Bahamas and totally spaced about it. I acquired the hard drive for next to nothing and now I have a device on the west coast to back up all of my music, scribblings, pics, and videos, especially with the new/old project.

Last night, we watched Full Metal Jacket. Nicky had never seen it before and I was astonished. Typical that a former Hollywood development exec would have never seen a Stanley Kubrick classic. Shocker. I told her it was like two different movies rolled into one. I saw it so many times when I was in high school that I had essentially the entire opening scene memorized.

During my last night in New York City, I watched Boiler Room with my brother. We always used to joke that Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot worked in a boiler room operation back in Dallas and that's why he skipped town and moved to Colorado. Anyway, the flick brought back a flood of memories, both good and bad, of my time down on Wall Street. Sometimes I miss being on the phones but the biggest thing I missed was gambling large sums with other peoples' money. Man, I fuckin' crave that rush sometimes.

These days, I'll be content with winning a $20 bet from Otis in a football game. Otis' money is the sweetest money.

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