Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't Stop the Double Roy G. Biv

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I walked into the coffeeshop. Don't Stop Believing pumped through the sound system at a moderate volume as restaurant sounds tried to drown them out. Dishes clanked as the bus boy tossed them into a tub. The grill behind the counter sizzled with bacon and a veggie burger. Snippets of conversation swirled around, while the outdoor sounds of Los Angles (mostly cars honking) rushed in whenever the front door was opened.

The TV at the end of the counter showed an episode of TMZ. I sat down three seats from the end and noticed a trio of paparazzi sitting in the back booth chowing down on a meal. Appropriate. They must be grabbing an early lunch before they stalk the Beverly Hills eateries in search of young starlets to snap and exploit.

Two booths in front of them sat a couple of folks that I'd call LA douchebags. One of them talked about starting a Facebook page for his girlfriend's dog and that's when I realized that he was trying to hire the other guy to do it for him.

I unfurled a couple of printed pages -- two different things I wrote over the week that needed editing. I scribbled down notes in the margin using a red pen and sliced and diced my way through the pieces, hoping that these quick edits will improve the quality, or at least, assuage any fears that I've gotten lazy with my work. There was a time when I was overworked and swamped with deadlines that I didn't have a choice of turning in only rough drafts or first drafts. One of my editors was kind and send she barely noticed a difference. Another assured me that a first draft from me was 1000% better than third and fourth drafts from the rest of his half-baked staff. After a while, I had to triage each assignment and determining on the importance of the publication along with the amount I was getting paid had determined the amount of time that I set aside to work on said project. For example, the lowest paying gigs got the least amount of attention and rarely got a second or third draft. Sometimes, I'd have less than a few hours to work on a piece, often starting them at 6:30 am for a 9am deadline. Conversely, for the more important clients, I used to set aside a full day of research and writing, along with additional day of re-writing and editing if necessary.

But when it came to myself (here and Tao of Poker), I was really pressed for time, and went for the super speedy write up, when I don't even look up at the screen and just type for fifteen straight minutes and then hit publish, which is my mea culpa for the abundance of typos, run=on sentences, and other gaudy grammatical errors.

It's not that I don't care about you, it's that I don't care about me and I sacrifice that time and reallocate it to those who pay me, which is important sometimes and resentful at other times, especially when I lack free time or don't get paid on time or compensated to the fullest extent of my ability.

I sat in the coffeeshop and my food arrived at the same time that TMZ ended, which was followed up by one of those home video programs where average Americans who live in flyover states submit home videos of their dogs singing like James Brown or their kids swinging whiffle ball bats into their unsuspecting dad's groin region. Most of that stuff is laugh out loud funny, but it appeals to the lowest common denominator and should have been a precursor to the popularity of YouTube.

I got a few stains on my pages and re-read my pieces a second time before I left a 30% tip and paid my bill. A couple of motorcycle cops walked in while I walked out. I hoped that I didn't smell too much like weed.

I walked back to the apartment and I gaze up at a few sporadic clouds in the sky. The previous nights was sort of like a carnival in the sky with a odd sun shower that sprinkled over our building for 10 minutes while the buildings on either side were spared any water. My neighbors stood in the street and pointed up at the multi-colored sky, something that resembled a Bob Ross painting with pink and orange puffy clouds. Nicky had left a few minutes before to pick us up Indian food in Beverly Hills and she sent me a text that it was pouring there and that a couple of hipsters were standing in the middle of the street snapping iPhone pics of a double rainbow.

Usually, LA fabricates double rainbows, but we've been blessed with one. A real one. And we didn't have to put on special 3D glasses to watch it.

I never heard of a double rainbow before that crazy wook in the YouTube video got his fifteen minutes of fame jizzing in his pants over the bows. I saw one at Jones Beach this summer before a Phish show. It was kinda funny to hear people screaming like the wook in the video, poking fun at the absurd enthusiasm.

May your world be filled with double rainbows.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mad Men Haikus, Vol. 1

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I dunno why I wrote one in the first place, but I'm hooked on writing haikus after watching an episode of Mad Men.
Haiku #1
Duck's dookie attempt
In Roger Sterling's office
Foiled by Peggy

Haiku #2
Betty chugs vodka
Don sucked off backseat taxi
Wet blanket Peggy

Haiku #3
Bad mother Betty
Sally runs away from home
Future lesbian

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Experimental Poetry: 3:34am

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Sullen faces sold
Jealous days follow wanton blurred nights
Mannerless mimes, sloppy haircuts
God-fearing and patriotic citizen
Hustling ideas
Pitched from businessmen in faded polka dot ties
Gazing at a Tokyo shrine to set the mind
Forget to set the table
Gazing at expressionless silence
The beaver revival vaguely looms outside Strawberry Fields
Brilliant tactics to drown the static, cotton for earplugs
Stale sensibilities create shy horizons
Lusty enlightenment of a Sunday backyard barbecue
Angular persona
Sonic textures and crinkles
Street corner musicians shouting falsettos
Another dying tradition
Watching skin flicks
Aging starlet's fabricated boobs resemble bruised fruit
Organic masturbation for schizophrenics

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In Case You Missed It... This Week in Poker

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Here's my appearance on This Week in Poker that we recorded live on Tuesday afternoon in the This Week In studios in Santa Monica. We discuss Lost Vegas, but touched on the Phish book that I'm writing and I sneak in a nice little rant about the media being nothing more than propoganda.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Discussing Lost Vegas on This Week in Poker

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I will be a guest today on This Week in Poker, a weekly webcast about all things poker hosted by my friends who run Wicked Chops Poker website. This Week in Poker is part of This Week In web TV network and airs every Tuesday at 7pm ET or 4pm PT.

You can watch/stream the episodes live at

I will be an in-studio guest on this week's episode talking about Lost Vegas. Other guests this week include Lacey Jones, Andy Bloch, and Jess Welman (aka the Tina Fey of poker).

Tune in live today at 7pm ET or 4pm PT (and 5pm MT for all the Colorado freaks). This Week in Poker in interactive, which means that you can even ask questions during the webcast on the site or via Twitter. Send your questions via @replies to @twi_poker.

Anyway... I was fortunate enough to be a guest on the inaugural episode of This Week of Poker with Jen Tilly a few months ago. You can watch that episode below...

Here's last week's episode with Scott Huff...

Don't forget to tune in today at 7pm ET/4pm PT to watch This Week in Poker.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Experimental Poetry: 5:14am

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm a bit wired and trying to wind down the night after my assignment ended a few minutes ago. I flipped on the TV and decided to extract bits of dialogue (lots of infomercials at the 5am hours) and turn them into a nonsensical poem with other random words jingling around my head. I have no idea what to expect, but sometimes you have to shake things up. Welcome to a new installment of Experimental Poetry.


Warmth on this September morning
Free samples for tragic dolphins
Profound goodness for the uncontrollable talking heads
Somber feelings lingering on innocuous depression
Emotional faces on the hypersensitive pedestrians
Limp, tender fingers slide over a wrinkled teal sweater
Recognize an unreal surrealist painting, if only to impress
Spirals of laughter fade into the cacophony of pre-rush hour traffic
Above ground swimming pool leaking chlorine
Avoiding success, ignoring the lack of a defined objective
Echoing octaves, sharp spasms
Frightening scrambled eggs
Hefty commodities, fragile dreams
Deep red petals melt in the precious morning sun
Painful protesters blurting out anti-police rhetoric
Dizzy winds swirls to a point of misunderstanding
Shallow pools of creativity from exhausted musicians
Bedroom ceilings crack under the weight of the elephant races on the roof
Glistening crystals dangle from vague necks
Curves tangled, keys jangled
Interrupting the monotone voice of the business reporter
Slender actresses in black tights yapping on cell phones
Disrupting elders, losing decade long allies
Awaken by the smells of exasperating chemicals
Ignoring invitations to a child's birthday party
Plucked parrot feathers overhead
Sweet moonlight illuminates the triangular tower
Floating diseases taunt melting spirituality
Critics group everyone together
Individuals ignore the traditional aesthetics
Jolted rhythms, shuddering memories
Shrill machines and circular saws
Squinting to see spaceships pause in the desert sky
Stuck in line again, unable to see the possibilities
Clinging to new batches of pudding

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hot August Night (Fiction)

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

In high school when things got rough, Birdy ditched class and drove to Denny's on the outskirt of town. She sat in one of the back booths and drank coffee for hours on end. Always with lots of milk and lots of sugar.

"The waitress was named Doris or Dorothy or Dee or something like that," Birdy told me. "She knew that something was wrong with me, but never said anything. She was polite and never asked questions. The last thing I wanted to do was talk... to her... about my problems. It's never easy being 17."

When Birdy ditched classes for a week straight, school officials notified her grandmother who acted as her official guardian for the last two years of high school. Her mother had a nervous breakdown, which was a polite way of saying that she ran off to Reno with a wanna-be wiseguy who was a third-rate check forger and second-rate safe cracker. Birdy's alkie father was long gone -- a distant memory aside from a faded picture that she used to obsessively stare out for hours on end. To this day I don't know if he died or he just left the family, because she never talked about him. Birdy was stuck living with her grandmother, a religious nut who clipped coupons all day and watched reruns of Little House on the Prairie.

"That's one of the many reasons I life Ohio," she said. "Well that, and all the redneck methheads."

These days, Birdy reverted back to old behavior whenever she was grief stricken. When things got too crazy at the office, she skipped out and hung out at a Greek diner on Third Avenue. She walked seven blocks out of her way, and past two other more popular diners, to make sure no one at her office saw her. I became fascinated with her routine -- she'd sneak out of the office, smoke a cigarette, buy a magazine at the newsstand and head to the diner. She always sat at the counter, ate wheat toast, and drank coffee with lots of milk and lots of sugar. She sat there until she finished the magazine, then she went outside, smoked two more cigarettes, bought another magazine, walked to the park and read until lunch time, then headed to the museum. It was closed on Mondays, so that was movie day and she went to the artsy theatre near Lincoln Center that played indie flicks. She'd sneak back into the office just before mostly everyone left for the day, which drew the stink eye from many of her co-workers. Birdy didn't care. She hated them all out of principle and was doing everything possible to get fired.

To cut up lines or crush up Ritalin, Birdy always used a Neil Diamond CD. Hot August Nights. It was missing Disc 2. Don't ask why, Neil Diamond just sort of happened like that one night, and ever since it became part of the ritual. Just like how most cocaine addictions begin, it started out casual and escalated. Birdy was originally a weekend dabbler when she moved to New York. She limited herself to a few keys bumps in bathroom in different bars on the Lower East Side. When things got a little boring with her life, Birdy graduated to buying her own eight balls from the elderely Dominican gypsy cab driver that a friend of a friend of a friend.

Birdy's weekend binges started earlier and earlier -- Thursday nights, then Wednesday nights and Birdy began skipping work on Mondays, which she spent most of Monday mornings ripping lines and watching Regis and Kelly. Everyone in the office noticed and hated her for her habitual absences. For the last month, I was running a "When Does Birdy Get Fired Pool" and the prize pool jumped up to over $1,500.

I never particularly liked Neil Diamond. I always thought that he was fake cool and not tough, like if he and Van Morrison got into a fight, Van would kick the living shit out of him. But then again, Van had a mean Irish temper and was a bit on the crazy side. Neil seemed to be too much of a pretty boy to win a physical test of strength.

"They used to call him the Jewish Elvis," explained Birdy. "That's what my grams called him, except she didn't say that in a fond way. Grams was full of hate when it came to..."

"Elvis?" I blurted out.

"Yeah," said Birdy. "She hated Elvis... and Jews too."

Birdy didn't like to talk much, so when she did, I attentively listened. I always felt a bit sorry for her. She was always in a dour mood, but she was hardly a negative person. I guess that's why she preferred cocaine and other stimulants -- to help pull her out of the doldrums.

I was curious about where Birdy went when she was in one of her moods and left the office, so I invited myself along without her permission. I guess you can say that I stalked her -- I waited for her to slip out of her cubicle and trailed her all the way to the diner. She never saw me, until I walked into the diner. I was surprised that she invited me to join her for a cup of coffee -- with lots of milk and lots of sugar.

Shortly after our encounter. I willingly joined her on Wednesdays -- it was the perfect way for me to split up my hellish work week. I'd fuck off all Wednesday and that way, I had only a four day work week. After a while, Birdy and I skipped the diner and just went back to her apartment to get jacked up and watch Regis and Kelly.

"That bitch Kelly Ripa is so fake," said Birdy as she gave the TV the middle finger. "But I betcha she gets some good coke."