Saturday, October 10, 2009

I Heard You Say It's Raining All Over the World

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

After a long Friday riddled with distractions, I didn't get as much writing as I had hoped. However, I caught up on crucial life matters -- more importantly -- my schedule for the rest of 2009 final became crystal clear. I seized that opportunity to make travel arrangements and balance my budgets.

Most of the evening was spent working magic on travel websites. In a few hours, I booked a series of flights (JetBlue is my friend), made hotel reservations, and even reserved a rental car for a trip to upstate NY. And... the total cost? Next to nothing. As my friend Girtz would say, "It's like free." I actually used a free flight for the NYC to Burbank leg after Thanksgiving. I booked my flight from Burbank to LA for Christmas... which I gotta say was cheaper than I expected. "It's like free."

Ah, the holidays with the family. I'm glad that I'm so busy the next few weeks that I don't have time to fret over that possibility. I'll be spending almost 2 weeks in NYC for Turkey Day and Phish tour and I'll return to the big city for another week during Christmas.

I crawled into bed late on Friday night (so late that it was actually Saturday). Nicky had been asleep for a while. I closed my laptop as a winner after a winning session of online poker. I had a mini-windfall against the Friday night amateurs. It was unexpected because I didn't expect to play.

A significant amount of poker players get caught up in a pissing match trying to outdo each other. I never fell into that trap. Playing against better players helps improve my skills, but the majority of money that I can make comes from horrible players, or more specifically, players underneath me in the gambling food chain.

Against most pros, I'm the mark and I'm out of my comfort level. But against a field of amateurs? I hold the edge. As Friday night bled into Saturday morning, I was on a good run of cards and had the urge to press my luck, but I knew better. I closed the laptop, listened to some music, zoned out, and then crashed.

I still had that itch to play when I crawled out of bed. It was only a few hours earlier that I had booked a nice score on two different sites, so PokerStars was one of the first sites I checked as the first inklings of daylight seeped into the apartment. I noticed that there was a satellite tournament to an event in Costa Rica that I was remotely interested in attending. I went for it.

I had only one thing written on my "To Do" list for Saturday... Lost Vegas. I would not be distracted by the baseball playoffs with today being a travel day for the Yankees, so I had set aside the entire day to write, yet called an audible at the last second and decided to play poker. If my good luck continued, it would be an awesome way to start the day. If I had a shitty session, then I can accept that my fleeting luck had come to an end and it was time to hunker down and write.

Instead of the morning Jazz mix, I dusted off an old "playing poker mix" that could be a playlist from any major classic rock station in America. Lots of Neil Young, Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Talking Heads, and the Beatles.

The windows were open in the living room and the sounds of a domestic dispute from across the street, those shrill shouts died down and were overtaken by the sounds of children playing. Wait, at 8am? Roaming the slums of Beverly Hills? Then again it could be some kids on their way to Hebrew school or temple services.

By the time I made the final table of my tournament, it was mid-morning. The sun was out. The marine layer was burning off and the first glimpses of baby blue skies were bursting through the grey cover. There were kids still outside playing. Screaming. Chasing after each other.

The tournament results were not that I imagined. I busted out in 8th place and got my money in good. The real cheesecake were the top 4 places. Even if I had won that hand, I still had a lot of work ahead of me. At any rate, my decisions were good. The results were poor, but such is life. I shut off the poker... for now... and will return later in the evening. Games and leisure time were over. It was time to head to work. I was burning daylight...

I changed music and selected a writing mix, the one in particular, a third volume of a Bob Dylan mix (from studio albums, live recordings, and performances with The Band). There were major sections of Lost Vegas that I needed to re-write. Dylan was my steroid choice of the day.

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