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 28, 2010

I'm Still Here

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Fellini started the mockumentary movement. I read a David Foster Wallace essay on David Lynch and he wrote something about Fellini was the last filmmaker to invent a genre, and that genre was the mockumentary. I've seen almost a hundred and by far, Woody Allen mastered the mock documentary and consistently nailed the genre in many of his films. Spinal Tap also stands out as one of my favorite mockumentaries.

When I heard all the ruckus about Casey Affleck shooting a (mock) documentary about Joaquin Phoenix'sabrupt decision to quit acting in order to pursue a career in hip hop, I kinda figured they were up to shennaingans. What made Sasha Cohen's Borat so amazing and creatively organic is that he used real people who genuinely thought he was actually a Borat-type of character. So in this case, Casey and Joaquin are running around with a similar philosophy -- except that everyone knows it's them and not some weird Eastern European dude in nuthuggers driving an ice cream truck. When word got out that he was faking it and a serious wave of doubt hit the mainstream press, many aspects of the film were even more interesting for me because in the later scenes, I kept wondering if so and so knows this is a put on and is in on the joke, or if they are totally get fucked with. Anyway, it's an odd mind trip set up against the most surreal circus in the world -- the life of a famous Hollyweird actor.

Take it for what it is -- a couple of guys who are friends and bored to death with working the grind of the Hollywood system, so they decided to poke fun at "celebrity" and smoke a shit ton of weed in the process. Joaquin is playing the tortured artist, jaded with fame, and sick of being a whore so he's on an inner search for his true self, and along the way, he puts on weight (displaying his Fat Elvis phase or in this instance, Fat Joaquin), and stops grooming (aside from trimming stray hairs on the back of his biceps) -- all of this behavior is supposed to foster a positive environment and allow his inner persona to shine, which happens to be a hip-hop artist.

Meet... "JP"... (Joaquin's initials if you didn't figure that out already) who treats his "people" like shit including his handlers, publicist, agent, assistants, and other friends/slash/hanger-ons. The worst part of the film, besides seeing JP's beer gut, is excessive frontal nudity from JP's random assistant who is in the middle of sobering up.

JP is a dirtbag and cruised the internet for hookers and then orders them up his SoHo pad. Cliches ensue including snorting lines off of the whore's tits.

JP shuns his old life and gives Ben Stiller the cold shoulder. Stiller showed up at his house and wanted to discuss JP's role as a co-star in a film called Greenburg. However, JP takes career advice in the form of a Zen poem from Edward James Olmos, or EJO as JP calls him.

JP is told he needs someone in the know to produce his album. So his people set up a meeting with Puff Daddy/P-Diddy/Sean Combs. Alas, JP gets stoned, missed meeting with Puffy. When he finally meets Puffy, he's shocked when he's told "Show me the money!" When Puffy realized that JP was broke, he never returned his calls.

JP found out he's gonna be in Washington for Obama's inaguration and decided to stalk him around town. It's a spontaneous trip and has no transportation or accomodations when he arrives. He's gets holed up at a hotel somewhere, eats pizzas, and smokes weed -- he even did the towel under the door trick. In true JP fashion, he partied too hard, passed out, and couldn't be awoke for the inauguration speech -- which he misses completely. His crew goes to the Mall without him and he's pissed when they return because they didn't wake him up, despite attempts to do so. When they suggest they hit up the inauguration parties, JP scoffs at them.

"I don't give a shit about fucking inauguration parties. They are movies premiers but with less pussy."

JP only wants to find Puffy so he can produce his album. He flies into a prissy rage and blames his assistant for fucking up and not arranging to have a car driving him around DC. During his rant, JP revealed that he was envious of fellow actors, Tobey and Leo, who had private jets and limos, while he flew commercial and sat in the back of a min-van, where he was blazing up a joint.

JP finally tracks Puffy down at a recording studio in LA and gets his audience -- he plays his demo and Puffy is not impressed, and rather insulted. Puffy breaks the bad news that he's not going to produce JP's debut album. JP set off on an epic bender, flew to NYC, and finished up a junket for his "last" film Two Lovers. He lashed out at a few interviewers and acted uninterested in the others. The junket included a spot on Letterman... you know, the now infamous interview.

Letterman was in on the schtick and even came up with the "Unabomber" joke as he played along.

After blowing the Letterman gig, JP freaked out in the limo and ran off into Central Park where he broke down in hysterics. To complicate matters, one of his assistants that he treated the worst, urinated on him in the middle of the night.

Weeks later, JP sat in the dark and read all of the bad press via the internet. He stewed at everyone mocking him or "stealing" his disheveled look and playing that off as a joke to get a few cheap laughs. When he seemed to be at his worst, JP was about to have a huge gig in Miami -- and what appeared to be the last chance for him to gain any bit of credibility as a musician/hip-hop artist.

JP's Miami gig has been seen by millions already via You Tube because every fucking person in the club that night had out their cell phones and cameras recording his every second of his mutter rhymes, especially the fight that ensued with a heckler.

"I got $1 million in a fucking bank account. What do you got, bitch? You washing dishes and making fun of me?"

That was the bit that everyone was waiting for, right? The exact moment JP snapped and dove into the crowd and ignited a brawl with a heckler. He didn't even finish his first number and the gig was over. He pulled a Brian Jonestown Massacre and ruined his one chance at proving his professionalism.

How does JP react? Cut to footage of JP blowing chunks in a toilet.

JP finds redemption with a trip to Panama. The film began with home video footage from the 1980s of a small JP (then named Leaf) climbing up on a mini-waterfall and being encouraged by his father to jump. The little kid took what seemed to be an eternity before he jumped in the water. Well... the film ended with an adult JP replicating that same jump. A baptism, or re-birth of sorts.

Ah that ending killed it for me. Affleck should have faded to black after JP puked in the toilet. That's how you end a fucking film.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sounds of Solitary Silence

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I've been raging solo for a few days. Nicky flew to Argentina on Tuesday for a week-long work assignment, which left me to tend for myself for a week. I was in the final stretch of my own work assignment at the end of last week, so I really didn't get a chance to unwind until Saturday. That was the first time I've been alone at home in a very long time. Nicky had a few periods of alone time in the slums of Beverly Hills at the end of the summer when I went away for Phish, so she got some decompression time from a crazy summer of Vegas and Phish. I didn't get any alone tie until now and I'm lucky that I was able to get some because I desperately needed a bit of solitary time.

It's weird, or I should say, I'm weird. Most people are afraid to be alone, but I relish those times. I love my girlfriend and I want to live with her, but one of the things I sacrificed the most is solitary time. She's great at giving me my own space but sometimes I need time to unplug completely and shut out the world -- which has become harder and harder these days. As I said, I'm lucky that I got this week, or at least four days to just chill.

I had three things that I wanted to accomplish... sleep, writing, and reading.

Sleep results? Better than average.

Our new neighbors moved in over the weekend, and I wanted to catch up on sleep, so I had to knock myself out in order to sleep through the ruckus above me and the barking dogs across the alley. I ate the equivalent of a Xannie bar one night and that allowed me to sleep for six straight hours without waking up. I can't go an hour or two on usual nights. So straight sleep is a Godsend. I overlept on Sunday and if the Joker and Wildo didn't call me up 15 minutes before the first football game, I would have missed out on the one day that I set aside to watch TV. Yeah, Sunday was mindless zombie day and I got super faded and didn't move from my couch. I ordered pizza, watched three football games, one baseball game, episodes of: Hoarders, Empire Boardwalk, Rubicon, Freaks & Geeks, and Mad Men. I also watched the Joaquin Pheonix/Casey Affleck mockumentary I'm Still Here. I wanted to get all of that visual stimulation done in a single day, so I could use the rest of the time to rest my mind.

Writing results? Average for work and below average for personal. On Saturday, I penned two first drafts for future articles, but I lost any enthusiasm to keep writing about poker after just completing a three-week assignment. I began something about the Hall of Fame that I started a draft, then stopped and never finished up. Today, I blew off a spec article I was supposed to but felt like reading instead. I didn't write as much personal stuff. I took notes but didn't crank out as many pages as I hoped. I worked on Truckin' and edited the next two issues. I wrote a couple of new short stories, and I liked one of them and found something for the Christmas issue in December. But aside from that, I was bummed out about my output. I focused more on reading than writing.

Reading results? Excellent. I blazed through a dozen books this month. I read cruise ship essay from David Foster Wallace three fucking times and re-read his footnotes at least two other times. I finished up a collection of essays about music. I'm almost done with a book analyzing traffic jams. I breezed through hundreds of articles that I had bookmarked and finally got around to reading. I caught up with Human Head's recommended reads via Google Reader, and made efforts to migrate all of my favorites feeds from Bloglines to Google Read after learning that Bloglines is shutting down.

So, I got some alone time and would like a little more, but I miss Nicky and can't wait for her to come home, especially since her business trip was not as much fun as our trip to Argentina last year. It was a lot of work, but we had tons of fun last year, even with the bar fight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Furthur at the Greek

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Went to see Furthur last night, an off shoot of the Grateful Dead with two of their original members. Sort of a birthday show for me. Known fact... I have never seen Phish on my birthday, but caught my first ever Grateful Dead show on my 15th birthday at MSG in NYC. My life has never been the same since.

Nicky went away on a business trip to Argentina, so I went to this show with my buddy Bob. We used to see Phish and the Dead together back in college. In the 1990s, some of my best bootlegs (on Maxell IIs cassette tapes) were sourced from Bob's roommate. Lucky for me, Bob acted as designated driver so I could get sloshed and shitty and not worry about getting from the Greek back to my flat in the slums of Beverly Hills.

The Greek Theatre in LA is nestled in Griffin Park in the hills just north of Los Feliz. It's much smaller compared to the sister theatre in Berkeley and seats less than 6,000 people. We found non-stacked parking for an extra $5. Some guy in a Lexus snuck into the lot and asked to use our parking stub so he wouldn't get busted. Bob said no because the guys was driving a Lexus and could afford to custy it up and pay $20 for parking.

Didn't see a Shakedown. Late arriving crowd was stuck in traffic and still making their way to the Greek as of 6:30pm. Lots of people with index fingers pointed up to the skies in search of miracles. Few extras floating around. Old hippie who looked like Abe Vigoda offered me liquid sunshine. When I followed the Dead, I was the teenager embedded with thirty-something and 40+ year old hippies. The older I get, the higher the median age at Dead shows grow. No joke, but I passed one guy in a walker as he climbed up the hill to the Greek. Man, I wonder if that's gonna be me at Phish shows in 25 years?

We had the middle section, which didn't matter too much because the sound is crisp if you're anywhere in the middle. Even a taper sat in front of us. The last time I was at the LA Greek? Phil and Friends a few summers ago when Grace Potter opened for them.

Photo by @furthurband

Furthur included just Bobby and Phil with Joe Russo on drums and John K, the dude from Dark Star Orchestra on Jerry guitar. Nice mixture of youth with the savvy vets. The moon was out and about hovering above the theatre with Jupiter also visible in the twilight sky. Furthur opened with a twisting and windy Alligator. The band was still getting warmed up, so they length of the jam out surprised me. I got used to Phish trimming their jamming time to squeeze in more songs, and here's guys twenty years their senior ripping it up to start the show. A sloppy segue into Caution ensued and at that point, I knew what to expect the rest of the show. The first two songs, off of Anthem of the Sun, dictated the theme of the night. Anthem was one of the few studio albums released in the 1960s, and Bobby and Phil dug deep into their repertoire... how deep? I wasn't born yet when they originally recorded those tracks.

The crowd's energy surged for Good Lovin'. The Dead put their own unique spin on that cover over the years and the crowd always lapped it up. At that point, the shaky and rusty start had subsided and everything was sounding smooth. Bob pointed out that Russo was going off during Muli Guli, and indeed he was among the MVPs of the show.

The crowd erupted during the opening notes of China Cat Sunflower, which would be played without the accompanying I Know You Rider. Instead, the band threw a curve ball with Ramble On Rose for a high energy sing-a-long with John K leading the way. Expected an IKYR, but Mason's Children, another deep cut, was next on the menu. Two high school girls snuck into the empty seats in the row in front of us during Mason's. They were twirling in a sea of tie-dye shirts, many of which were probably older than them.

The seven-song first set ended rather quickly and clocked in at 63 minutes. The highlights were China Cat > Ramble On Rose. I was drinking and was kinda sloppy by the time setbreak began. During the 45-minute break, we joked that Bobby and Phil needed naps. During break, a couple of wooks were hanging out nearby. They were smoking tuff and sipping on a flask.

Setbreak at the Greek, taken from behind the stage
Photo by @furthurband

The second set (almost an hour and 45 minutes including the encore) impressed me mainly because my expectations were lowered after the first set, and that they jammed out all the way until the 11pm curfew. Bobby and Phil returned to the Anthem of the Sun theme with Born Crosseyed > New Potato Caboose, but they reversed the songs as it appeared on the album. They finished up the rest of the album with Cryptical Envelopment > Other One. By that point, I was no longer drunk but rather super faded. Talk about a 180 degree turn. I got sucked down the rabbit hole with the jam out of Unbroken Chain. It was the only rare Dead song that I was hoping to hear (aside from St. Stephen and Cosmic Charlie) and I got it.

Initially, I wasn't thrilled with the selection of Let it Grow. I've never been a Bobby fan, but let me say that they won me over with this version. My buddy Bob thought it was the highlight of the second set. The version started out choppy and Bobby flubbed the lyrics. He's always been dyslexic and sometimes the teleprompters don't work for him, so maybe he needs someone speaking the lyrics to him in an earpiece? The powerful jam made up for the flub.

One of the high school girls was taping Let It Grow with her iPhone while she danced next to taper guy with the old school rig that he had to patch up with duct tape at set break. That moment was a perfect example of the shift in technology and the gap between the generations.

IronGirl mentioned Mountain Song in an email earlier that day and sure enough, they played it. She reminded me that it was an original tune created by members of the Dead and CSNY. Kinda cool to hear it at the Greek.

Morning Dew is always one of those special moments at a Grateful Dead show, especially when you're peaking on acid. John K always nailed the Jerry parts with Dark Star Orchestra and he continued his strong performance playing the role of Jerry Garcia with a smoking version of Dew. At that point, I was spent after ninety minutes of straight jamming with just one breather in between. Heck, I had to sit down before the encore.

Phil gave his usual donor rap and explained that he was only sharing this amazing music because of an organ donor. He followed it up with Box of Rain. Here's am excerpt that I found...

I headed to the pisser on my way out. Shoeless wook was standing in the urinal next to me. I guess I wasn't paying attention and my stream veered off course. After a few seconds, we both realized that I was pissing on the wall, which trickled onto his bare feet. He didn't seemed too pissed and asked me for "some yay." I told him that I didn't have any cocaine to sell and that I was sorry I urinated on his dirty feet.

I had fun with Furthur. Go in with no expectations, get shitty, and re-live those old memories. You will definitely have fun too. Awesome to see a show with Bob, whom I haven't seen a concert with since 1994 (Phish at the Fox in Atlanta). We used to see so many Dead shows together that it was cool to try to recapture some of those golden memories of our youth.

Phil Lesh (70 years young) and Bobby Weir (mid-60s) are still bringing it night after night. It'll never be like it used to, but the new blood (Russo and John K) help keep the vibe going. And yes, the music is bittersweet because it makes me miss Jerry. I've seen over 200 Phish shows and I'd give it all up to see one Dead show circa 1977.

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

This Is What We Do

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I wrote up a review of a Phish concert in the Midwest and got a comment from someone who wondered if I was a trustie (trustafarian), because he could not fathom how someone could afford to see a dozen concerts and pay for travel/accommodations.

The reason I wanted to be a writer and worked my ass off the last few years was so I could put myself in position to: 1) have time off to travel and hang out with friends, and 2) have enough money to cover those sojourns.

I have to admit that Phish is an expensive hobby, even though I'm writing a book about it and could write off many of the costs as a legit business expense. But over the last year or so, I took on extra freelance work specifically to fun my Phishy travels. One of those assignments is right now. I'm like 70% done and actually have a few days off after seven long-ass nights in the last 10 days, before I finish up next week.

So what do I do? I stare at my laptop and I watch people play online poker and then I write about it. Sounds exciting, right? Not as exciting as some of the stuff the "most interesting man in the world" does in those Does Equis commercials like jump out of planes, titty fuck models, wrestle bears, and shoot dice on a dock.

My sleep schedule is all out of whack. Last week was tough to sleep with all of the renovations in the upstairs apartment. The work upstairs is finally done, but they were stripping, sanding, and shellacking the wood floors earlier in the week. That noise set off a horrendous case of insomnia. I've been lucky to get two hours of sleep each night, or I should say between the hours of 8am and 10am. Today was rough. I crashed at 9am after trying to fall asleep watching Charlton Heston in one of those 1970s disaster flicks titled Airport 75. Helen Reddy played a singing nun in that flick.

Anyway, I was hoping that to fall asleep during the flick, but two hours later, I was wide awake. I took some melatonin and smoked tuff before I crawled into bed. I dragged ass all day today and was too tired to do any real work, which gets put off to tomorrow (well, today technically). I'm in one of those spots when I want to knock myself out for 10-12 with rhino tranquilizers so I can finally get some rest and let my brain take some time off and let my body get the needed time to recuperate.

But depriving myself of sleep is what I do -- for work and for play.

And now it's 4:31am and I've been done with work for about thirty minutes. I'm gonna wind down the night and hope to drift off into a deep slumber where I dream about rainbows, butterflies, and a solvent financial system in America.

By the way, in the last 24 hours...

- I ate breakfast at the diner at 6:30am. I was one of three people in the joint at the time.

- I started re-reading David Foster Wallace's essay on taking a cruise ship. I only got half-way before I had to stop when my food arrived.

- I watched three flicks: Airport 75, A Scanner Darkly, and Swimming to Cambodia.

- I picked up Michael Vick off waivers in my fantasy football league.

- For dinner, I ate a Philly cheesesteak sandwich from the pizza place around the corner.

- I bought a lighter at 7/11. Five hours later, Nicky bought three.

- I watched the first episode of Top Chef Just Desserts. Too many flaming pastry chefs for me to watch. But I had the munchies like a motherfucker when I saw all those delicious items.

- I did a load of laundry and have clean underwear.

- Listened to the Yacht Rock 4 mix... twice.

- I got paid for one freelance assignment that I wrote two weeks ago, and I sent a "where the fuck is my money" email to one client who I billed 7 weeks ago and I completed the work three months ago.

- Most importantly, my tickets to Furthur at the Greek Theatre for next week arrived. And I scored a golden ticket to Phish Halloween in Atlantic City. Giddy up.

That's it. Eyes too tired to write anymore.

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.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Snipped and Spayed

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Animal Hoarders.

Nicky stumbled upon Animal Hoarders one late night while flipping the channels. It's a spinoff of A&E's Hoarders (and not to be confused with TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive. The animal hoarders are fucking gross with 20, 30, 40 feral animals roaming through their homes with piss and shit and puke everywhere. One woman had 65 cats with 20 kittens and 3 pregnant mothers. She never bothered to get any of them snipped or sprayed, or torn and frayed. Man, the foul bitter aroma of feline urine from one cat is disgusting. How about a dozen cats, or 65? If you toss a match in there, all of that ammonia might ignite.

Similar trait among animal hoarders? They all think that they are trained veterinarians by the simple fact they have multiple animals, and think they are helping animals but are actually hurting them.The renonkulous sums of money that they spend to feed the animals also baffles me. The ones who give up their bedrooms are sad cases.

I got sucked into this show fast. Nicky and I watched a five-hour marathon, fascinated by the unbelievable amounts of damaged souls. I'm not a fan of the reality genre, but the hoarding theme has triggered something inside me because I've touched on this on the Tao before. The different hoarding shows partially inspired a short story that I wrote titled Everest.

Hoarders (non-animal) come into two types: 1) sloppy lazy garbage freaks and 2) compulsive shoppers.

The fallout from constant bombardment of advertising causes weak-minded parts of the herd to become brainwashed compulsive shoppers, which spills over into a hoarding problems when they have no place to put their stuff. It boggles me that parents put their kids before their stuff. The first group of hoarders are train wrecks -- infestation of rats, roaches, trash everywhere, newspapers, magazines, even dead animals underneath piles of trash. Most of those cases are elderly people who have health issues that prevented them from cleaning, or they had too much pride to ask for help.

During the tour of hoarding house for the film crew, the hoarder always has one room that is packed to the ceiling with junk. The camera pans with dramatic background music to reveal years of neglect. That made me wonder that so many people have rooms like that in their brains -- emotional hoarding -- with all of your problems, phobias, and grudges locked away in a back room and spilling over into the hallways, and on the stairway.

Sometimes, you gotta throw that mental garbage out, but accessing the inner hallways and back rooms insider your head is not as easy as you think.

By the way, I'm waiting for a new show... Drug Hoarding.

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

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Misc Miss

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

5:16am. I have no idea what the hell is going to come out right now. I'm loopy due to sleep deprivation and weary eyeballs after staring at multiple laptops on and off for the last 17 plus hours. I'm in the tweaner phase when that little guy inside my head that filters things takes off for a few hours. That's never good because he controls the filter that keeps incendiary thoughts inside my head instead of being blurted out loud -- which will only confuse, frighten, anger, or irritate whoever is in ear shot. Well, blurting out those randy thoughts is probably much safer than writing them down for publication on the web.

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm possessed when I get this tired. Like the song goes, "There's someone in my head, but it's not me."

Which is why I have to be careful what I say before I hit publish. But then again, ant writing is inherently good in the long run. Who knows how many people really visit this corner of the interwebs? I have a theory that those counter devices are wrong and can be easily manipulated, sort of like the voting process.

I haven't worked in almost seven weeks and that's the kind of stuff that pisses off my friends. I should clarify that I have not worked for anyone else in seven weeks. I work for myself which is a 24/7 gig and I'm always putting in a couple of hours one way or another even if I'm on vacation or in between assignments... emails, phone calls, updating the websites, cultivating new business projects, reading, taking notes for the novel, writing outlines for future freelance articles... all of that transpired the last few weeks even though I was technically off the clock.

On Monday, when most Americans had the day off for Labor Day, I began a new freelance project -- a writing assignment spread out over three weeks. I have to write ten pieces and luckily my client that hired hooked me up with Sundays and Mondays off during the football season so I could concentrate and enjoy game days without worrying about covering a poker tournament.

Nicky is working the same project, along with a few other friends. That means our schedules will be completely out of whack. The hardest thing is trying to take something that is often bland and make it seem exciting. At the same time, fatigue, both mental and physical, are the toughest obstacles to overcome. I got lucky the first two days and was done by Midnight both night. Last night? Not so much. I was up until past 4am editing. The trick is to be at your best mentally at the end of the night in order to catch any mistakes -- but sometimes the body doesn't always cooperate. My biggest liability is my sloppy copy. I can get away with that looseness here, but my client is expecting a professional job.

I'm in that weird phase again when I'm up for a day, then sleep two hours, get up for eight, sleep two more hours, stay up for 16 hours, sleep two hours, and then stay up for a day before crashing for six. That just kills the body. But that's the small price to pay for an unconventional work schedule.

Meals are a bitch when I'm in this state of flux. Sometimes you just skip one by accident because of lack of time. Like right now... it's almost 5:30 and I'm starving. I should go grab a bite to eat at the coffeeshop, but I'm too tired and will try to crash for a few hours and then go eat. But something always happens and I get sidetracked and the next thing you know, it's lunch time and I'm still behind in things and I postpone my first meal of the day until dinner, and after I chow down, I wonder if it's really been 24 hours since I consumed a proper meal. All I know is that I ate at the diner at 2:30 on Wednesday and I ate 1/3 of a Chipotle burrito sometime around Midnight. That counts as two meals in a day, right?

I know it's late when the crickets stop chirping and the birds start singing because the first inlking of light is trying to break out. Next up are the sounds of the alley -- dogs barking, homesless people sorting through recycling bins, and the garabge trucks rumbling through the streets.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Hot August Night

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."

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Silence of the Dogs

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's been a rough week because the slumlord went on vacation and his minions scheduled renovations on the vacant apartment upstairs without telling us. That's the least he could have done -- given us a head's up that our lives were gonna be hell for a week, with disturbing noises waking us up every morning. The worst of it? Being woken as early as 6am when renovations began above us. The most annoying? Having our parking spaces blocked by construction vehicles or reserved spaces outright taken. In Los Angeles, where parking is sparse and always in high demand, you're allowed to shoot someone in two instances: 1) self-defense and 2) if someone takes your reserved spot.

Our slumlord is super old and never around. He has dementia, yet takes a tour of the property every two months with his elderly wife leading him around, and more acting like a cane so he doesn't fall over. The slumlord's adult kids run everything, but it appears to me that those minions are bilking the old man because this property is very shitty compared to similar buildings on our street. The minions are pocketing all of the repair monies and spending very little on upkeep. As one of the usual maintenance workers said, "Oh, Mister R? He's so cheap."

The minion's have no fucking communication skills and failed to even monitor the renovations. That's why day workers showed up at 6am on a Monday morning and began scraping the walls above us. When we attempted to complain, we got voicemail because one of the minion's was on vacation.

The past week has been a bad routine out of an old Abbot & Costello movie -- where ever I'm sitting in my apartment, and the workers decide to fix something in the space right above me. This has happened the entire week without fail. I understand the need for them to work, and I attempt to coexist by working in the opposite end of the apartment (essentially we have three potential work spaces -- the dining room/living room, my office, and the bedroom). Yet, when I'm in my office, that's where they are banging away right above me. When I move to the bedroom, they decide to sand those floors above me. When I move out to the dining room, they decide to work on the windows. It's frustrating joke.

When we confronted the slumlord, his minion's blamed the day workers (same old story -- rich people don't take responsibility and blame the poor people humping a min-wage job) and nothing gets resolved. Like this morning when the water got shut off without a warning. The minion said, "I had no idea they were going to do that." No apology was ever attached. Just a passive-aggressive "not my problem because I didn't do it, it's the plumbers fault, he did it."

Gah. Guess we're going to have to move out of the slums of Beverly Hills or start withholding rent and find a good lawyer.

On a good note, I temporarily solved the barking dog problem. The long term solution included letters to the Animal Police who are broke and are looking to fine pet owners with loud dogs. That's just gonna take a while, so in the meantime, I found a special device that supposedly silences the dogs.

I purchased a gizmo that looks like a garage door opener. Supposedly, the blue device emits high frequency sounds that bug the shit out of dogs. So whenever they bark nonstop, I get within 50 feet, aim the gizmo, and press the trigger.

And the fucking thing works.

I was initially skeptical because the gizmo cost $20 and mostly anything that cost $20 can't be that effective because if it really changed people's lives, it would be much more expensive. At any rate, I was willing to throw away $20 if the dog silencer didn't work. I'm happy to say that it worked -- at least for now.

I asked Cherie, a dog trainer from Santa Barbara, what I could do to get the mean dogs next door to stop barking when their owners mercilessly left the dogs outside for hours on end. The mean dogs go nuts and slam up against an eight foot high wooden fence separating our property and the alley between buildings. The dumpster is located on the opposite side of where the dogs hang out, so whenever a homeless person approaches the alley in search of bottles, the dogs go ape shit. I can almost hear Montgomery C. Burns saying, "Release the hounds!"

Cherie suggested asking my neighbors to get a special surgery that would reduce the volume of barking, or to get a special collar that releases shocks or spray whenever a dog barks loudly. Both were worthy solutions, but it was impossible to persuade thoughtless neighbors to take the necessary steps (and dip into their pockets) to reduce the canine noise pollution. That's when I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Enter... the gizmo.

When you press the button, a tiny red light is illuminated, signaling that the device is on. I cannot hear the emitted sounds, so as far as I know, it could have been broken and I would never be 100% sure. It would have to take a field test to determine the effectiveness of the gizmo. When I first pointed it at the dogs (actually I pointed it at the fence as the dogs bounced against the other side), something magically happened about twenty seconds later -- the dogs stopped violently barking and started to yelp, almost whimpering and crying. Nicky was shocked at how quick it worked and that the violent growlings ceased.

I've used it a few times since, and Nicky used it once with similar results. When the dogs start barking, you go outside, hit the gizmo for about thirty seconds, and they dogs stop after getting zapped. The gizmo spooked the dogs and they are afraid to unleash incessant howling.

Too bad I can't get that gizmo to silence the workers upstairs. That would have solved all my problems. I know that there's a device that blocks cell phone signals, so you can interrupt calls in public places if people are being too obnoxious. I always wanted to get one of those -- more for prankster reasons than anything else. What I really want is a gizmo that silences tools that won't shut the fuck up when I'm in the press box at the WSOP. That would be awesome -- as soon as someone starts yapping, I just press down on the button and zaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap -- the person stops in mid-sentence, whirls around, and walks away. The world would be a better place if I could sell a product that silences extraneous human chattiness by pressing one button.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Truckin' - August and September Issues

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I totally spaced and forgot to plug the August issue of Truckin', so I'll toss it in here with the pimpage for September.

August 2010, Vol. 9, Issue 8

1. Invisible by Paul McGuire
I'm about six to seven inches off the ground with each bouncy step. That's the best way to describe the feeling, like the astronauts doing the slo-mo kangaroo hop on the moon. Floating. Bouncing. Sedated. Happily sedated, I should add. Demons quelled. Anxieties locked away... More

2. Of New Cars by May B. Yesno
The problem, from his view point in his new office, was the distances he once considered large and satisfying were now mean and narrow. He felt he had to expand those horizons... More

3. Connections by Sigge S. Amdal
Smoking indoors was not allowed... rather, it was encouraged. Nobody had ever bothered to change the wallpaper or interior decorations since the first tenant set up trap decades ago. You could feel the horribly clouded history by placing your hand on the scarred wood that had cigarette burns and scratches from fingernails, broken glass and knives... More

4. Russian Spies by Johnny Hughes
In the Army we did a atomic bomb drill. We put on our plastic, rain ponchos. The Sergeant said to sit on the ground and cover your head with the poncho. Then he said, "Now kiss your ass goodbye."... More

5. A Troll's Life by Mark Verve
Look for the hottest girl in the place that's crying. Approach and ask if there's anything you can do to help. Use sympathy and understanding. You're going to have to do some listening... More

6. Bryant Park by Tenzin McGrupp
A suit on a cell phone almost ran over a group of trust fund yentas with freshly painted manicured toes, the unoriginal ones carrying Gucci handbags with tiny yapping poodles given French sounding names by their malcontent owners... More

* * * *

September 2010, Vol. 9, Issue 9

1. Punta del Mota by Paul McGuire
The last time I was in South America, I had gotten involved in a bar fight in Argentina and a cab driver accused me of being a CIA agent. I left with mixed feelings and wasn't that excited to return to South America for another assignment... More

2. Meeting the X-Men by Brad Willis
Culver Stockton—Culley to his couple of friends—squinted. He poked at a liver spot on the back of his hand. He sighed and looked sad. The old hand shook as it pulled the bourbon up to the crooked mouth. When the smell hit his nose, Culver's eyes exploded with recognition... More

3. The Find, Part One by Mark Verve
The moonless night had created an all consuming darkness. The only light for miles around came from my headlights. I was speeding down Highway 82 trying to make the border before sunrise... More

4. The IT Component by Sigge S. Amdal
The first thought of any man in Jacob's positions is senseless violence. But violent crimes have a perpetrator, and it is finally he that ends up as the victim in a state where criminal prosecution was highly prioritized. No. Violence was not the answer. The answer was elegance... More

5. Rodney Dangerfield Explains A Schmear by Wolynski
He rummaged some more and found what looked like half a pound of flour and poured it onto the table. Suddenly the doorbell rang and Rodney shuffled off to take the delivery. When he opened the door, the ensuing breeze made the cocaine swirl all over the room. I got covered in a thin film like some devilish dandruff... More


Friday, September 03, 2010

Got Talent?

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I watched a documentary film last night about advertising titled Art & Copy: Inside Advertising's Creative Revolution. It got me all fired up. If you're a fan of Mad Men, and don't know too much about advertising, then this is a perfect supplement. If you're a creative person who has problems with your non-creative boss, then the film will inspire you to be even more creative and take more risks. Warning... it will also leave you with more disdain for the powers to be.

Thanks to Iggy for pointing out the film. I had been wanting to watch it for a while, but never had the chance. Luckily, DiscoSis1 gave me a login to her Netflix account and I was able to stream that flick last night. Nicky was also fascinated with the film and sat down to watch it with me.

Here's the trailer...

The film reminded me why I never wanted to work in advertising, but it reminded me that I took the proper road in life -- the life of a creative person vs. the life of a suit.

At two points in my life, I wore a suit to work everyday. Not just any suit... a Brooks Brothers suit. Yeah, I was pimpin' and stylin' but I felt like a complete fraud and imposter. I looked the part and blended in perfectly, but I was never comfortable. During both tours of duty when I was clad in a suit for 80 hours a week, I longed for a way out. The reason I was there was mainly because I failed as a writer. Well, we all fail every single day (and little did I know that as a writer, you end up failing like 99% of the time), but I failed so badly that I gave up on myself. Once you loose faith in yourself, you're fucked and have to stand in line with the rest of the huddled masses and shovel shit for a living the rest of your existence.

So many different things happened to me in my 20s, that I had zero confidence in myself and my abilities. I was also not as committed to becoming a better writer and artist back then -- partly, because I was one of those poseurs who wanted to be a writer and told people I was a writer, but never did the actual things you need to do to actually become a writer. It was easier to say that I'm playing the part without doing the grunt work. Plus, I really had no idea what I was doing and lacked the direction and tools needed to be a writer. But mostly, I did not have that fire burning inside of me that inspired me to listen to my gut. And it's your gut that helps shapes your voice, well that and all the experiences in your life.

I eventually departed the world of suitdom to pursue the life of a creative person. I'm fortunate that I had the opportunity to work both sides of the fence because I learned valuable lessons about dealing with other business types during the days in the trenches when I had a tie wrapped around my neck. The only difference between a tie and a noose? The tie cost more.

I learned how the suits think. I figured out what drives them and what fears causes them to act like a tyrant or blatantly lie to their employees. I learned that it's not an easy job, but many decide to take shortcuts toward success. You cannot do that as an artist. If you take a short cut as a writer, which I've seen many colleagues do in the plagiarism department, then it's going to be obviously that you're a talentless hack. But if you take those douchey shortcuts as a suit, then give you awards and you get a bonus.

Titles are very important to suits, but a title is not something tangible, like a painting, short story, or song. That's why a suit's pursuit is often misleading and lacks fulfillment. It's also why suits get super jealous at creative types when they get accolades for their work. A suit's work is often overlooked because there is no concrete or material or physical evidence of a job well done.

These days, I run across a suit every now and then who thinks that they can do my job. When I'm feeling feisty, I tell them that we'll take the Pepsi Fucking Challenge and we'll swap jobs. That always pisses them off even more because 1) the suits are usually jealous that they are uncreative, and 2) the suits get ashamed that they can't do a creative job while knowing that a creative type can probably do their job.

In the end, most suits wanted to be creative types, but they weren't talented enough, or mentally tough enough to stomach the brutality of trying to come up with new ideas every single day.

Of course, I'm not talking about all suits and all creative types. But I'm talking about me and the suits in my life. Yeah, I have never been in a position in the last decade when I felt that I could not do the job of a suit who was giving me guff. I might not be able to do as effective a job in the moment, but given a fair amount of time, I'm confident that my abilities are strong enough that I could do an equally good job as said suit. On the flip side, given the proper amount of time, I'm confident that not a single suit can do what I do for a living.

That's a smug statement, but I'm confident in my intelligence and ability to use both sides of my brain -- the right side and the left side. The suits get irritated when you remind them that they are only one-sided. They also get hostile when that realization crystallizes and they figure out that they are not unique like creative types. So when they act like douchebags and try to exert their limited power other creative types, and remind me that I'm expendable, I have to happily remind them that they are truly the 100% expendable ones because I can do both my job and their job. In the end, that versatility is more valuable than their horrible management skills.

I think it was almost two years ago when I last had one of those conversations. The suit was being a stupendous dick and I had to put him in his place. I reminded him that I turned down his job, which is why he got it in the first place. The powers to be wanted to hire me, but I'm not a middle manager. I opted to remain freelance so I could make more money and retain my freedom. Of course, the guy in question got even more pissed and acted like a bigger jerkoff. Which was proof that I made my point. In the end, don't act like you can do my creative job because you can't and don't act so fucking arrogant about your 'awesome job; because I can replace you in a second, but in order to replace me, you need three people.

The best working relationships that I have today are with suits who respect the creative process even though they might have never done that, nor understand what it takes. At the same time, I have the utmost respect for their jobs -- because I used to do it at some point.

At one point in Art & Copy, one of the creative guys was saying how he originally worked at a sweat shop that represented everything wrong in their business. He attempted to start a revolution and wanted the power to fall into the hands of the creative types -- without them, there would be no ads, and without ads companies would make less money and not be able to hire the ad firms to begin with. In essence, they were the true breadwinners and needed to be respected and compensated for their talents.

Most days, I question what I do for a living. After last night, I'm so fucking glad I do what I do.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Selections from the NYC Sports Thread: Hard Knocks, Entourage, and the LLWS/Yanks

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm part of an email thread specializing in NYC sports that has been running the last two plus years. The group is essentially my brother Derek, the Rooster, and my good buddy Jerry. On a few instances we had a couple of special guests like Daddy and StB, but for the most part it is just us three. I often considered starting a sports blog where I post the best of the best in these threads because frankly, some of the thoughts that these guys share are more interesting and astute than the so-called talking heads on ESPN. Plus, they are funny as shit, especially the tangents when my Derek and the Rooster start sounding off on their fondness for Latina women.

Anyway, call me lazy or an innovator, but I decided to simply cut and paste yesterday's contribution from yours truly to the thread, when we discussed Hard Knocks, Entourage, and baseball. I inserted comments from the peanut gallery.

So here you go...

* * *

Hard Knocks

Kellen Clemens got a wake up call when they signed Mark Brunell as the backup QB. He got bumped to 3rd string and they made him take a pay cut for the league minimum. But it's his fault, he never improved over the years.

"It was a smart move to keep Clemens as the 3rd string QB," said Derek. "Because if Sanchez gets hurt for a long period... like 10+games... no way Brunell can play that many games. Clemens knows the team and playbook better than O'Connell did... even the players in the locker room wanted Clemens to stay. They know they can win games with him under center if they had too."

Coles looked bummed that they had to cut him for wiggle room with Revis.

"The Jets are being cheap," added Derek. "They cut Coles now so they can re-sign him after week 1 when his salary won't be guaranteed. supposedly, they're going to sign Adalius Thomas after week 1 for the same reason. This way they can cut them when (Santonio) Holmes and Pace come back from suspension/injury and not owe the entire salary."

T-Rich + Terminator is an awesome 1-2 punch in the FB department. Love it that everyone gets fired up when he knocks the piss out of someone.

"I'm a little worried that the Jets are hyping up the Terminator too much," explained Derek. "You know how it is... some player on another team is going to get jealous of the hype and make it his job to injure the Terminator or blindside him at some point."

Rex really tore the team a new one before the Redskins game. Jason Taylor needs to hire a fucking driver. Braylon Edwards looked all wooked out with his angry black man Malcolm X beard... until he got it manicured.


Entourage gets a B- this season. Everything had potential at the start of the season but really flattened out. It's always the same fucking recycle story lines -- it's hot/cold for a specific character at any given time.
Hot: E, Turtle
Cold: Ari, Vince, Johnny (about to make a move up to hot)
E is sort of the least important character in the show. He's boring and just whines most of the time and gets women he doesn't deserve. He got a sick job via Sloan. So who cares of he has a douche at work causing him problems -- that's with it instead of being a pussy. With that said, he's doing well for himself.

"E is supposed to be boring," interjected Jerry. "He's the straight man - showing how settling down leads to nights at home with the wife instead of prowling with the boys. That's why she better be as hot as Sloan to make it worthwhile. Still can't believe E blew that chance at anal. He needed a fuck lot more booze in her and more lube as well!"

Turtle is making moves -- trying to get something of his own off the ground. And he finally got the spicy hot Latina. He needs to go to B-school b/c he totally botched the tequila deal. Despite that, he's still way up.

Vince is on his way down if not already down. The cliche coke + pills + pornstar demise is in full effect. He'll bottom out eventually, get lucky, and bounce back. Didn't we see this in season 2? Instead of coke + Sasha Grey's hairy vag, it was Mandy Moore and Vince drunk on love. That was lame -- at least this Vince is raging hard on this descent to the bottom.

Johnny Drama is on the cusp of getting what he's always wanted -- his own TV show. And E's hot British secretary is a Viking Quest fan. He's making a move out of the basement.

Ari is in the dumps -- fucking shit up with Amanda Daniels and the NFL. Wonder when his wife divorces him? Need more scenes with Mike Tyson.

"Another reason why Entourage has been slightly off this season... not many Lloyd scenes," said Derek. "He always had a bunch of funny scenes every episode but now that he's an agent... he's rarely in the show. I agree... more Mike Tyson! haha. I'm laughing at the Mark Cuban arc -- he's trying to steal the tequila company!"

Little League World Series/Yankees

Little League World Series was exciting but Hawaii couldn't hit against the Japanese pitching.

I watched two Yankees/White Sox games over the weekend because I get WGN (Chicago station), which aired one game and TBS aired the other. Former pitchers Ron Darling and John Smoltz were annoucning the TBS game. Darling is awful, while Smoltz knows his stuff about explaining (high end) pitching concepts.

Yanks need to finish out the season strong. Worried that CC Sabathia is shooting his load right now. Want him to have something left in the tank in October for the playoffs.

"Good point on CC," mentioned Jerry. "He's the horse that we will ride straight through the playoffs. He looks comfortable. Not laboring. Wish Yanks get a lead so maybe he can skip a start at the end - but still have like 14 games against Sox and Rays. YEESH! That will separate the division right quick."

When will AJ Burnett get his shit together? I still don't like Javy. Gave him a chance. Blah. That Ivan Nova kid had some good stuff. Hope he can contribute in the future. Fuck Javy, put him in the rotation in the playoffs!

* * *

That's it for now. Stay tuned for another installment in the future.