|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, September 12, 2003
Wow, OK... Time for something happier, right?
First off, felt good to write all that down. I haven't had a good outlet in awhile, so my loyal readership (Anna and whoever else - sign my freaking guest map!) bears the brunt of that crap. Sorry.
On a more positive note, here's twenty things I'd really like to do before I get too old to enjoy them:
1. Rent a villa in a small town in Italy, visit the farmer's market in the morning, buy ingredients, cook all day, live life really slowly between bottles of Barolo and a few good books.
2. I would like to play Iago on stage. I'd like to prove that I'm more than what I claimed to be amongst the talented people with whom I recently performed "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which is a one-note actor. I've never really been asked to hit the other notes, but I bet I could.
3. I'd also like to play the Clarence Darrow part in "Inherit the Wind." That part was written for me. I could definitely handle that one. (On a side note: My parents moved us back to Michigan before my senior year of HS. My drama teacher in Utah told me that as her most prolific returning senior actor, she was going to let me pick the play and pick my part. I had chosen that one. I never got to do it, even though it was, once, gift wrapped for me.)
4. I'd like to read "A Remembrance of Things Past." All 7500+ pages. I have all three volumes, it's just a matter of doing it.
5. I'd also like to read "Infinite Jest," just to see what the hubub is about.
6. I'd like to be on a picket line. Or in a demonstration. I want my own placard, and I want to be on TV because it's got a bad pun or something on it.
7. I'd like to see Max Roach play again, if he is still playing, once more before he passes.
8. I'd also like to see Henry Threadgill perform again, and see what inventive instrumentation ensemble he can pull out of his sleeve.
9. I want to be in the winner's circle for the picture taken after a horse race. I want a copy.
10. I want to learn some Italian, and visit the vineyards in Italy which share my last name. I'd like to share a glass of wine with Sergio, the owner.
11. I'd like to coach my son's little league team(s).
12. I'd like to help my child move into their dorm at Michigan State for the first time.
13. I want to lose weight and discover that after losing the weight that I can drink hard liquor again.
14. I'd like, after achieving #13, to begin drinking scotch again.
15. I want to have tried all the sushi and sashimi (not the rolls, I could give a fuck about the rolls, fucking americanized sushi...) on your average menu in your above average sushi joint.
16. I want to have a minimum of 20 bottles of nice Italian red wine sitting around at all times.
17. I want to feel good about where my retirement account is at.
18. I want one really amazing one-night stand. I've never really had one that, by definition, qualifies.
19. I want to once, with a band in front of a number of people, be able to play harmonica along with a blues band. I can play pretty rudimentary blues harp. I can hold my own without sounding too crappy.
20. I want to roll over in the morning, meet the smiling gaze of my beautiful wife, and wordlessly understand that I am, and really always have been, completely alright. And I want to unconsciously breathe. Deeply.
I feel like a 12 step program this week...
And frankly, I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.
I'm still in rehab, make no mistake about it. It's not about what anyone has done to me. I got at least that far with my therapist a couple years back. It's about how I feel about myself.
I haven't been truly able to believe in myself in quite awhile. To some extent, that was taken away from me. To a larger extent, it's because I let it be.
And I'm in this odd place right now.
I'm paralyzed by my failures. I'm almost afraid to literally move, lest more misery comes cascading down on my head.
I'm also, oddly, paralyzed by the fear of success. The inability to make my own life better. I'm not eager to chase positivity, I'd just assume wish and pray it falls into my lap as I sit here alone on another Friday night.
It's as if I know that I can find the path out of the woods, but I'd rather just sleep under this tree awhile.
I get what might be a date, or at bare minimum a dinner, with an interesting and lovely girl, and how do I feel? Utterly stressed. Literally ready to dart out of there. A veneer of confidence masking doubts about how I can make conversation with a near stranger, something I haven't even attempted in months or years.
I start to see good things piling up at work, ready to happen to me. How do I feel? Burdened. Completely uptight. More afraid I'm going to screw it up than make it happen. Entirely unable to use the positivity as momentum to make more good things happen.
I woke up Thursday, over halfway through a productive week at work, afraid to step out of bed to face my day.
I always go.
I may not be entirely "there" every time, but I go.
But I was afraid. And tension curled my shoulders up around my ears and refused to release its grip on me until just a few minutes ago.
Tension is always squeezing, this time he was really trying to get my attention.
But good things happened to me yesterday. Good things happened to me today.
Why is it then, that I cannot seem to enjoy them? Create from them, sculpt them into burgeoning positive energy?
I don't know.
I don't expect failure. I'm not awaiting its arrival.
But I think that it's been awhile since I've wanted to wake up from this deep slumber I've been walking around in.
And the only thing I've figured out for real about all of this so far...
...it really wasn't all about the girl.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Well, here's something I hadn't thought of...
I was reading the "Dear Prudence" advice column on Slate.com, where a question came up as to what to do with an old wedding ring. Well, I still have mine. It's a simple, relatively inexpensive thing, but doesn't hold any value for me at this point anyway.
So why not pawn it? That makes perfect sense. The person in the article pawned hers and bought a bottle of vodka with the proceeds. I would, of course, buy the best bottle of Italian red I could find with the funds (no more than $40, probably more like $15-$20 ultimately), which I would then consume at one sitting.
How's that for exorcising demons?
I'll let you know when that happens.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
I've kind of wandered away from the original intent of this blog, which was to showcase my burgeoning talent as a thoroughbred handicapper and overall race prognosticator. Hence the title, "Random thoughts and thoroughbred selections."
It's been far too long since I've been willing to share my picks for the races here at my local track. Partly, it's because I'm broke and can't spend my evenings (and my $40) hanging out at the track, drinking beer and wagering on the ponies. That's a little depressing. It's one of the things I really truly love doing. I love the programs, giving you a ridiculous amount of information for each horse in a race to try to process. I like that I can use my own logic to determine my feelings as to what horse to bet on. I like that if I win, I'm obviously right. I love the anonymity of the track. I love that I can sit there with a beer or a cup of coffee and not be bothered for four or five hours, and still be entertained. I love watching the horses run, but I love having a vested interest in who might win, place and show.
But, unfortunately, you sometimes have to give up some of the things you love temporarily for the sake of being able to feed yourself and your dog.
So rather than sharing my thoughts about the bottom rung of thoroughbred competition with my two to three loyal readers (well, Anna I suppose. That's one.), I have done my best to try to find other things to talk about.
Let's start with this one: I carry a lot of stress with me. I've never been good at finding a constructive outlet for my energies, so they reside within me. Constantly. They darken my moods, they add tension to my muscles, and they influence my ability to view my life optimistically. I had a massage once a few years back. Two minutes into it, the lady was working near my shoulders, where most of this is carried, and said something along the lines of "You feel this? I feel it. What's wrong?" I had a golf lesson where five seconds in the pro said "You carry a lot of stress, don't you?" Yeah, I do.
Ultimately, I think what I deal with is the struggle of thinking about what I've done, or haven't done, with my life and taking too much personal responsibility for anything and everything that's ever happened to me, positive and negative.
And part of the problem is that when you're coming out of storm clouds, maybe it takes your eyes a little while to accept that you're back in the sunshine again (funny Freudian typing slip - while typing "sunshine," I caught myself accidentally - ? - typing "sunshit." Fits, doesn't it?).
I've been divorced about 14 months, separated about 21 months, have lived with her deception for almost 30 months, and haven't seen my ex-wife in probably 18 months or so. She's in England, and that's fine by me. There's more to my darkness than just the divorce, but that's really where my depression hit its stride.
I don't trust people easily. It's simple to keep someone at arm's length (like my internet friends here and elsewhere) who don't know who I am and don't see how or if I take their advice. It's harder for me to allow myself to trust someone. Fully. But I did. She may not have been "the one that got away" from my youth, but was certainly the one that I could see myself growing old with.
Until rough times hit us, financially mainly. We weren't in that deep, but the entire load for fishing us out and managing an unmanageable situation was placed squarely on my shoulders. Personal stress plus relationship stress plus financial stress equals depression.
And I couldn't depend on her as a partner. She went looking for something else, found something else, and chased something else. Behind my back at first, but then brazenly out in the open. With friends encouraging her along the way. Rather than fix a problem, just run away.
So she did. Then I did.
And I don't want to trust again, not right now. I don't want to hurt again, mainly.
So the cynical guy is back behind the curtain throwing the switches. Has been for awhile. At least now, as compared to high school, I have the brain filter that prevents me from being a total asshole to those around me.
Just another way I'm bottling up that stress.
I'm alright though, really. I may be alone, but I do have my family. I do have my dog.
I just really have nothing that closely resembles a life that I lead. And that's depressing in and of itself.
I could use a drink... luckily, I have liver problems that prevent me from getting too carried away with everything. I haven't been drunk more than three or four times in five plus years. But it's not because I don't want to.
Thanks. I feel better already. Now, if I can just learn how to relax...
FHMUS.com - Rachael Ray
FHM, you're reading my mind. Did the world need a cheesecake spread of Rachael Ray? Probably not. But did I? Absolutely. Good stuff.
The Onion | Well, Well, Well–If It Isn't A Family-Owned Retailer
From the perspective of the new Wal-Mart in town... Very funny. Too bad it's true, and too bad America's consumers are suckers.
Monday, September 08, 2003
Anna on Desire...
"In a perfect world I would be worshiped by a stable of virile men. I would have a harem of men at my beck and call. No one would get jealous or possesive, there would be no favorites. I would love each of my men for their own special talents and abilities."
Yum. OK, how's about fleshing out what special talents and abilities I'd love my harem of women to have, if I'm indulging the same fantasy of desire?
- One woman, with amazing and deep eyes with full lips to service me orally.
- Two women, adventurous but in love with each other, who live in sexy lingerie, are always touching and groping each other, and are open to adding anyone to the party.
- My dominatrix of the lot would be petite but full of fire. She would be incredibly flexible, and completely schooled in instructing for techniques. There is always something new to learn, and in her I would find my teacher.
- One soft, shy, and full-bodied (not "fat," but awfully curvy) younger woman with nothing but adoration in her eyes and heart for me. She would always be willing, but would take a good amount of flirting and missives of love to get her beyond light kisses. I would own her heart completely, and she would depend on me to open her up to new experiences.
- A completely beautiful woman, completely "out of my league," who was a match or better for me in every aspect of my life. I would not beckon her, she would choose when to be with me. Everything to this woman would be a sensual experience. Visits to art galleries, expensive dinners, sharing bottles of wine by the fire. This would be kind of like the virtual woman the guys created in "Weird Science." Not a woman I could ever feel like I possessed, I would let her roam free, culling experience from afar, and feeling special and honored when she chose to come back to the harem to be with me.
- A completely and unabashedly horny woman, whose only objective is to get laid at any and all times. No standing on ceremony, just makes it happen. She'd be so needy, we'd almost have to keep her behind a locked door at all times. It would be extremely physical, sweaty, amazing sex every single time. And she'd always want more, pleading constantly for me to stay and do it again.
- A fun-loving companion type, who is as unafraid to learn, understand, and appreciate a good football game as she is to take me into a bathroom at the stadium and let me take her in between quarters.
- The reluctant mistress - the one that maybe didn't join the harem out of her own free will, but at some point will give into my "charms," and will someday fully be mine. My "project." (This is fantasy after all, right?)
- Lastly, a very sexy manager/maid/butler-esse type that would be responsible for managing my home and my harem. She could go from staid, librarian looking woman to French maid's outfit in no time flat. With her, it would be an eternal tease. Aside from casting glances, friendly almost-flirtation, and an occasional did-she-or-didn't-she-mean-to brush against me, I would never be quite able to land her, but she would stay virtuous and loyal to me.
Going Back To The Well...
Let's resurrect an old concept here at RTATS, shall we?
(Look honey, he's given his website a pithy acronym, isn't that adorable?)
Top Seven List of the Day
Top Seven Underappreciated Classic Rock Acts
(in no particular order)
1. The Beatles - How the hell can you say the Beatles? Well, let me explain. The Beatles, particularly late Beatles, are as much a classic rock act as Zeppelin or the Who. Problem is, there doesn't seem to be room on classic rock radio for the Beatles anymore. You've got your "Twist and Shout" and "She Loves You" infectious Beatles pop on oldies radio, but where do the cuts from "Revolver" or "Let It Be" or "Abbey Road" go? Unfortunately, they don't fit between the sets of Boston and Journey on classic rock radio. Therefore, they are currently commercially underappreciated.
2. Steely Dan - "FM," "Black Cow," "Deacon Blues," "Aja," and about a dozen more well constructed pop-rock cuts cement Steely Dan's legacy as a great band who just don't seem to get the love they deserve. Maybe it's because Becker and Fagen are about the farthest things from "cool" you can get. Maybe it's because they aren't afraid to have funky guest artists like Wayne Shorter on their records. I don't know. I just think what they did was great, and I never turn off a good Steely Dan block on the radio.
3. Van Morrison - Now here's a guy that 90% of the general public knows for one song, "Brown Eyed Girl," and most of the rest know for that song and "Moondance." Both great, great songs. But from great songs like "Caravan" and "Everyone" to a couple of unbelievably brilliant albums like "Astral Weeks," there's dozens of Van Morrison cuts that most people have ever heard. And it's a shame. As gifted a lyricist as he was a singer, and a pretty impressive improviser (read this Lester Bangs piece about "Astral Weeks") as well.
4. The Band - "The Weight" and "Up on Cripple Creek" are the songs most easily identified with The Band, the group of Canadian musicians led by Robbie Robertson who backed up Bob Dylan on a few of Dylan's early classics. Besides being just flat out amazing instrumentally, the Band had a number of distinct voices sharing lead vocal and harmony parts on any given track. The main reason they're on my list, however, is the chill I get up my spine thinking about rewatching for the umpteenth time Scorsese's "The Last Waltz," a beautiful concert film that captures the Band joined by luminaries ranging from Joni Mitchell to Van Morrison to Paul Butterfield (if you don't know, you'd better ax somebody) to Neil Diamond. It's an amazing film, and the Band is an amazing band.
5. The Velvet Underground - Legend has it that if you bought their first album when it first came out, you were likely to start your own band. I can see where that comes from. If you think the White Stripes are stripped down in sound, check out VU. There wasn't a strong instrumentalist in the group. Best known perhaps for "Heroin," which was featured in the Oliver Stone movie "The Doors," VU was really a showcase for the lyrics of Lou Reed. For my money, no one created more vivid and painful imagery in music history than Reed. If Dylan helped open our eyes to what might be, Reed perhaps opened our eyes to what already was. Maybe they're more "astounding" than "entertaining," but either way I love listening to VU records.
6. Traffic - Two amazing musicians and vocalists in Dave Mason and Steve Winwood, combined with a couple of pretty damn talented guys themselves in Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi, who just liked to play fun music and have a good time doing it. Traffic is an original "jam band" of the late 60s, and definitely featured guys who had the chops to do it. They also had two very talented songwriters in Winwood and Mason, who crafted such classics as "Feelin' Alright," "Freedom Rider," and "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys." I would have loved to see these guys play live, but I would love to hear them on the radio more often as well.
7. Moby Grape - Out of the same scene as Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape made one truly great album, then for some reason changed course and turned into a aimlessly noodling jam band. But what a first album this was. There were maybe eleven songs covering just about 38 minutes. In the age of the guitar solo, not one on the whole album. To me, it was as if you took the best parts of the Dead, the Band, Van Morrison, maybe the Animals, and the Beatles and kind of mixed them up to see what came out. In my opinion, the eponymously titled Moby Grape album is one of the top five to ten albums to come out of the 60s. It's a shame they couldn't sustain their brilliance.
I had a nightmare last night. It was my old boss going behind my back to slowly edge me out of my job. It was really some insidious shit.
I didn't really trust my old boss. Actually, I've been burned before so I don't really fully trust anyone for whom I work. But this boss in particular had my paranoia ratcheted up to another level. Luckily, he got pushed out the door about six months ago. Unfortunately for me, on his way out there were some accounts being divvied up, and he made sure that I got nothing but table scraps. Others have benefitted from what was tossed their way, I got garbage.
But, I can't say a goddamn word about it. Well, I did tell my new boss how I perceived things, and he actually confirmed that it was intentional that I got passed over for some of the handouts that were getting reapportioned when he left. Fucker.
As I mentioned, I had a boss burn me before, and it wasn't a pleasant situation. I got "disciplined" for leaving the office early (twice - forty minutes once, twenty minutes the other time - both times after skipping and working through lunch). The company was going down the tubes (dot-com failure), and everyone knew it. So my dismissal shouldn't have been a surprise. It was the way it was handled that bothered me. I got that disciplinary action in my file, and immediately went out to Office Depot and bought a time log, and asked my boss to sign me in and out pretty much every time I walked in and out the front door. I said "there's no problem, this is simply for my own records."
Well, one week of that and they let me go.
What really pissed me off was the fact that they closed up shop less than two weeks later, letting everyone but two managers (left to dismantle) go. So, basically, I got "dismissed," and everyone else got "laid off."
I deserved what I got to some extent, but I think ultimately my disciplinary action only took place because my boss wanted to feel justified in cutting me out. My salary had to go, and he needed to have something in place that made it look like I was justifiably dismissed.
It was fucking bullshit. And since then, I've always worked with one eye looking out over my shoulder. You never know when someone else's ends are going to take away your means.
Sunday, September 07, 2003
I've been dragged to karaoke a few times recently. I sang once. It was a rather poor rendition of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9." You know, it goes "Welcome back my friends/To the show that never ends/We're so glad you could attend/Move along, move along."
Well, you'd know it if you heard it.
I can't really carry a tune that well. I can "sell it," to some extent though. Which I did with this one. But I sang it at the same night out with the cast of the last play I was in. Most everyone else sang as well, and it was impressive to see all the talent on display. No one sucked quite as badly as I did.
I was out again this past week, but didn't sing. Different crowd, and wasn't out for very long.
I would really like to have a song I could sing well that I could fall back on for karaoke nights. I thought about singing "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream, but that's really a two man song, and I never could hit the Jack Bruce stuff in that song properly. I can sing the Clapton part just fine, but I would need to sing that with a more dominant voice. I was going to sing Jimi Hendrix's "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," simply because it's my favorite Hendrix song and I was surprised to see it on the list. Might be a bit out of my range though. There's a couple of Harry Connick songs I think I could handle, specifically "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," and "Recipe for Love." I don't think I could really sing "It Had To Be You," which is usually the only Connick song on there. The other options that I considered, albeit briefly, were Cream's "Crossroads" and Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys." The reason I didn't sing those was because they're both long songs with extended instrumental parts in the middle (really long in the case of "Low Spark..."), and there's nothing worse than someone who picks a fifteen minute song for karaoke.
Except, of course, for the first drunk bitch who feels the need to fumble her way through "I Will Survive." On Wednesday, not only could the girl not sing a lick, she insisted on adding some sort of free lance scat shit at the end. It was so bad it was surreal.
So, I need a song. I'll figure it out I suppose.
It's football season again, my happiest time of the year. The Lions went out today and wiped up on the worst team in the league, the Arizona Cardinals.
My fantasy football team, on the other hand, is by design, not very competitive. I play in a keeper league, where we have the opportunity year-to-year to keep up to four players based on draft position, trading only the draft pick from the round in which they were drafted for the right to keep them. Unfortunately, last year I made a trade that sent away my two best keeper prospects, Clinton Portis and Donte Stallworth, in order to acquire a top tier running back to make a run at my championship.
I came in fourth.
This year, out of fourteen teams, I drew draft slot thirteen. So not only did I mortgage my best keeper talent, I had a draft position just too damn low to acquire the top talent necessary to make a run at the playoffs again this year.
So I took a different strategy.
Much like the Montreal Expos have been the willing trade partner with their MLB counterparts, selling off their top players for building blocks for the future, I plan on hopefully using my best players to boost another team into the playoffs in exchange for ammunition for 2004's draft.
And then, of course, I'll need a real nice draft position as well. With any luck.
I'm not completely bereft of talent. I do have two of the top ten QBs in Daunte Culpepper and Tommy Maddox, two injured QBs worth either keeping or selling to the highest bidder in Mike Vick and Chad Pennington, and one very solid RB - barring injury - in Fred Taylor. I'm hoping that between those players above I can acquire some decent keeper talent for next season. That'd be nice.
I'd better not be wasting my time or my yearly $75 entry fee on this strategy...
So I finally won at poker...
It was just five of us, including littlest brother, with a $10 buy-in. It was scary what I was getting dealt. Pairs all over the place. Kings, aces, you name it. Plus, I now love playing with Pete, as he's got a bad habit of folding his hand if you so much as reach for your chips. The trick is then, if he checks instead of bets, just reach towards your chips, and see if he cashes it in. It's a beautiful thing.
So I won $50. That was nice. I think I'm generally pretty good at playing with the crew I play with, but it sure helps getting kick ass cards.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
About the Author
Greatest Hits [archived]
Guinness and Poker
Al Can't Hang
The Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Tao of Pauly
Scott, Texas' favorite Fat Guy
Only Built 4 Cuban Links
Up For Poker
Ugarte's Poker Grovel
JD's Cheap Thrills
Poker Stars Blog
Vegas Poker Blog
Poker in the Weeds
Nickle And Dimes
Not a Poker Blog
Dispatches From The Culture Wars
Horse Racing Links
Curb My Enthusiasm
Daily Racing Form
They Are At The Post
Tampa Bay Downs
Your Average Horseplayer
Tote Board Brad
Left At The Gate
design by maystar
powered by blogger
Syndicate this site
Online Poker : Visit Dr. Pauly at Tao of Poker for the best written journal on Poker Around. From on-line poker rooms to off-line live tournament coverage including the WSOP.
Las Vegas : The Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog is the goto stop for people who come to Sin city to hit the tournaments and poker rooms. From the World Poker Tour to the World Series if it's big poker in Vegas it's blogged here. Home to the Prof's Las Vegas Links Directory.
Utilities Provided By