|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, May 20, 2005
An Old Friend (upon seeing a recent picture of me): "The picture looks like a grown-up you."It's 730AM on Friday the 20th of May, and there's a significant possibility that 336 hours (14 days * 24 hours) from right now you'll find me with a beer in hand playing $5 blackjack at the Las Vegas Club. At 430AM local.
Here's to hoping I can kick jet lag's ass and sleep at least until daylight shines through the Fremont Street awning. That being said, if I am up, I wonder if there's a graveyard shift for the Girls of Glitter Gulch? Glitter Gulch, for the uninitiated, is the strip club immediately adjacent to the LV Club, and a good 3-Wood from the front door of the venerable Plaza.
If they do have a graveyard shift, I can't possibly imagine how lousy a 6AM stripper's attitude is going to be. Talk about drawing the short straw. Think instead of buying champagne for a 6AM stripper you get her coffee and a cruller?
Just in case your Vegas juices aren't flowing today, here's a satellite image of Fremont Street. The Plaza is across the street on the West end of the Fremont Street awning. For our friends staying on the strip, here's a recognizable couple of buildings for you.
One more picture link for you: how about a peek inside my refrigerator?
The most disappointing news of the week was that a lion did not, in fact, kill 42 Cambodian midgets from a trained midget fighting squad. Goddamn Internet hoaxes. I can't wait to see the "Mythbusters" boys take this one on next season on The Discovery Channel though. Should be loads of fun. This got me thinking though, if I were a gladiator (and don't we all kinda wish that were true?) armed with only a spear and shield, what kind of fight could I put up against some of nature's most dangerous creatures?
Lion - The lion would be incredibly hard to poke, as being down on all fours facing me doesn't give me a clean shot to his mid-section. I think though that the spear could be used to keep the lion's "pounce radius" far enough away to give me a decent shot at side-stepping a few attacks. I'd absolutely get torn apart, but I think I could make a matador's show of it for up to forty-five seconds.
Bear - Fighting a bear would be akin to boxing George Foreman - he's going to want to get in close so his short limbs can do max damage. I'd also likely be less able to keep him a few feet away with the spear, as his bull rush attack is different from a leaping pounce. I might be able to get a clean shot at his mid-section with the spear, but what happens when I connect? All of a sudden I've got an angry bear on a stick. Against the bear I'm dead in about 90 seconds, and do enough damage on the bear that he needs a band-aid to recover.
Rhinoceros - Now I'm screwed. You can't kill a rhino with a spear. I don't care how sharp your pointy end is, you're not getting the proper leverage to drive that point through his nearly-impenetrable skin. Now, you can dance around a rhino all day long as he's not exactly the most agile animal in the kingdom, but sooner or later he's going to pop you, and then just grind you into the ground. I'll generously give myself two and a half minutes before I get too tired to dodge his advances, and from there it's curtains.
Swarm of Bees - This is my nightmare. Bees rank right near the top of things I fear, right along with egg salad and Puerto Ricans. If I were ever (again, it's happened once already) swarmed by thousands of bees, my knees would turn to jelly and I'd be a whimpering mess. Bees are stingy, and they are easily the biggest vindictive assholes of the animal kingdom. It's like that kid in Jr. High who was two inches and twenty pounds smaller than you, but still played the role of tough guy because his brother was a high school wrestler who apparently took glee in fighting little brother's battles for him, except instead of an older brother this guy brings along eighteen hundred friends just to be a prick. I'd stand no chance against these guys, and while it'll absolutely take them longer to kill me than the lion or bear, I'd give up the fight a hell of a lot sooner.
OK, so I've been dancing around wondering whether I should talk about this - but I will. Read on, to find out how...
BG Pissed Off Wil Wheaton Yesterday
Yep, you read that right. I pissed off Wil Wheaton. Here's the story...
I had just finished my article for Poker Player Newspaper and went trolling around for a picture to sub along with it. Since I wrote that celebrities shouldn't be playing poker because it makes them look like boobs, I found a publicity photo of Star Jones from "Celebrity Poker Showdown" and sent it along.
Later that day I get a call from Prof, my editor at Poker Player. He was worried (figured he might be) about using that photo because it might be copyrighted. So I asked him if he had any photos from his archives of celebs playing poker that we could use. He rattled off a few names, then mentioned Wil Wheaton.
I stopped him in his tracks. "Perfect. Here's what we do, we'll use the photo of Wil next to the article, then you can email him to point him to the article. Let him know we're just doing it out of fun, and looking to make him laugh."
Now, granted, using Wil's photo alongside an article that says celebrities stink at poker is a little unfair to Wil. He knows what he's doing, at least as much as any of us schlubs who are the true nickel-and-dimers of the blogosphere. But if we looped Wil in on the joke, I thought he'd get a kick out of it. So I asked Prof to write an email to Wil. The intent was for Prof to send him something like this:
Wil,Unfortunately, Prof fumbled the email and sent something that basically said:
So I got an email from Wil within a few hours of the article going up that basically proved he took our miscommunicated attempt to have some fun with him completely wrong. Not that I blame him, with the email Prof sent him he really had to read between the lines to see that what we were doing wasn't at all intended to be mean-spirited.
(By the way, yes I know that a picture of someone like Jennifer Tilly (currently the pic in play there) or anyone who's ever been associated with "The West Wing" would have been more appropriate and funnier, but between a little boneheadedness on my/our part, and an effort to jab a fellow blogger in the ribs, I/we misfired. I know this.)
Wil's email basically said, "Come on, I'm not bad at poker like these other celebrities, and I don't deserve to be lumped in like that." No, he didn't. Again, our fault for miscommunicating, which was completely avoidable up front.
Anyway, I sent Wil back the following note:
Hey Wil,Thankfully, Wil wrote back and everything's cool. That was right nice of him to do too. I definitely don't go into these articles looking to piss people off, but I can be a little (cough) acerbic at times (for example, I got a couple "you made us look like redneck hicks" emails off of the Muskegon Poker Championship article). No long-term harm on this foul, and I'll definitely think twice before doing something I think is funny on so public a forum.
So, again, sorry Wil. Thanks for the email back, and I definitely didn't mean any harm on this one at all.
Random Reasons I'm Not Going To Go Out With You
You call your desktop wallpaper "my screen saver."
Your jeans are pleated.
Your drink at the bar contains more than three ingredients, or ends in "-tini," but doesn't start with "Mar-."
The subtleties of homophones escape you.
I just heard you say "supposably" or "lie-bary."
You just split your tens against the dealer's nine.
You were just rude to your waitress for no good reason at all.
You broached the subject of astrology.
You can't laugh at yourself.
You won't laugh at me.
Your mother has cankles (where there is no ankle, just calf with a foot on the end).
You already have a formed and uninformed position on rap music.
The last book you read was by Nora Roberts.
Your desktop wallpaper is a picture of puppies.
You've just described to me, in detail, the plot of a sitcom you just watched.
You're trying to "talk to me about my gambling."
You've just ordered the Filet-O-Fish.
Yeah, kicking it "old school" today, aren't I?
Today marks the wedding day of Mary Kay Letorneau and Vili Fualaau. I actually bought them a wedding present back in February, just to say thanks on behalf of all the eighth grade boys with unnaturally reciprocated crushes on their hot teachers.
I never had a hot teacher. I remember my eighth grade health teacher was a woman I had a little crush on for a minute or two, but she was best described from memory as "sturdy." And that's never a compliment. I remember Mrs. Fisher senior year, but she was twenty years past her prime, which actually was pretty impressive from the photo I saw.
Teachers wouldn't have wanted a piece of this ass anyway. I was more likely to correct them for misappropriating "The Pearl" to Hemingway than I was to shoot them bedroom eyes across the rows of desks. Let's just say that attitude of mine wasn't resulting in any decent After-School Special material at all.
I hope the happy couple enjoys their hand towel.
Anyway, I was talking to someone today who was talking about the fact that he used to be on the road to becoming a priest. He mentioned there's a new movie on Showtime this weekend, about which he said the following: "The movie I guess is about priests and pedophilia and all that... Boy, the stories I could tell about seminary!"
Yes, he came back around to make sure I didn't misinterpret what he had just said. Doesn't mean I'm any less amused.
Bob and I are set for tomorrow to head to the track for the Preakness. Not only is it a big race day in Maryland, but it is the first Saturday of the live meet out here too. I got out for a little while on Wednesday, and had a pretty frustrating time picking my horses.
I was so close.
In the four furlong sprints at Great Lakes Downs, the formula is to find the front running horses, and pick the best two. You key those two into first place on a trifecta ticket, and then find one or two other horses you like in the race and box them with the original two into second and third.
I was three of four identifying the winner. In all four races I had two of three legs of the trifecta right. In all four races I missed the board.
I'm going to hit one this weekend, just watch.
I don't know how true this is, but Pauly said to me yesterday that "people expected me to be" a guy spitting rants out left and right when they met me in Vegas back in December. I'm totally not that guy at all. As a matter of fact, unless it's just two or three of us standing around talking, you're unlikely to hear a whole lot from me at all. I'm horrifically quiet, unbelievably shy. Bob on the other hand? Exactly like you're imagining.
More later, I've babbled on enough for today...
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The boys over at Lord Admiral have really got a good thing going on. I've only pulled the past three episodes, but have enjoyed each thoroughly.
They get the vaunted BG Three and a Half Insecurities out of Four. Keep it up guys.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Before It Gets Better
A man is walking down the street one day and falls into a hole. A little while later a Priest walks by. "Father," says the man, "I've fallen down this hole. Please help me." The Priest writes a prayer and throws it down into the hole. Soon after, a Doctor walks by. The man pleads, "Doctor! I've fallen down this hole. Please help me!" The Doctor writes a prescription and throws it down the hole...Goddamnit, there's something I want to talk about here... I can't though. Wish I could, but I can't.
So I have to talk around it, which will at least help me put my own thoughts together more clearly I suppose. If you've been reading me long enough, most of this is going to be familiar, but bears repeating.
I've been fighting through depression for a long time.
I can't and won't blame all of this on the ex-wife. I mean, it's absolutely not a coincedence that her choices and actions helped accelerate my descent deep into depression, but most of the hurdles I had to clear emotionally were in my own head to begin with. For example, I have an appalling lack of self-esteem. Always did, but the ex slapped it right to the front of my mind and repeatedly validated my own fear that I wasn't worth a shit. As a corrollary, I fear failure, and she magnified that fear and gave me the evidence I needed to corroborate that I was an abject failure in every way that mattered.
This is why I have a hard time remembering the "good times." It's because I've had to spend the last four years facing the worst things I've always thought about myself.
I think that when most people think "depression," they imagine the guy who can't make his way out of bed, can't bring himself to shower or shave, can't find the strength to go to work, all those sorts of things. My day-to-day life wasn't like that. I made it to work every day, I busted my ass, I did what I had to do to keep treading water. But that doesn't mean I didn't harbor the driftwood mentality on the inside. In my head and heart, I was dead inside. All I wanted was for someone or something to push me in a direction that would result in the solution to all my problems. I kept bottling everything up, and hoping everything would get fixed at some point. It didn't - not on its own.
Inertia. I was sleepwalking through my life.
I saw a shrink for a little while, which was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. Unfortunately, I didn't stick it out due to financial considerations, so I've got no outside barometer to chart my progress through the depression in which I've wallowed. But I bet that there's a road map out there, kinda like the one used to chart someone's emotional range while coping with a loss, that talks about the stages one goes through while battling depression. I'm absolutely certain that one of those stages is inertia. At this point for me though? To beat a dead metaphor into the ground, I know I'm still in the tunnel, but can see the light at the end.
The point here isn't how inertia helped to destroy my marriage, or how I overcame (or currently am overcoming) my emotional roadblocks through time, therapy, and blogging. No, I've talked about that.
I want to talk about the resignation that comes along with this stage of depression.
One of the phrases I use to describe my mentality is that I "have a tenuous relationship with my past." This, of course, is a cute way of saying that my history is littered with moments and decisions where I could have been a "man of action," grabbing the brass ring, gone for the gusto, all those sorts of things. But that was never me. I was always the guy who let everything happen to and around him with nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders and tacit resignation behind me. I chose Michigan State over the University of Michigan because I didn't feel like spending a couple hours crafting the essays U of M asked us to write with our applications. I have countless instances where instead of telling the girl I was pining for that week how I felt, I just did nothing instead and hoped she'd notice. In almost every circumstance I've ever faced where I could do something or do nothing, I've chosen the path of least resistance and hoped for the best.
This is, of course, because deep down I always thought I wasn't "whatever enough" to go after what I wanted. It took me a long time to realize that my marital issues weren't what was causing my depression (exacerbating, yes). It was that for the first time in my life these fears of mine were brought to the surface in a way that threatened to bring my whole life crashing to the ground. That depression had always been there, it just took the ex putting all these things under a magnifying glass for me to realize it.
I let a big portion of my life slip out of control because I couldn't face my own inadequacies. Had I been smart enough to realize I needed help before my life was in ruins, I might be writing this with a different perspective. But that's not what happened. I went through the darkest period of my life in abject loneliness, and am only recently understanding that my problems were and are far deeper than a cheating ex-wife and a job I loathed.
I feared failure, and when I started tasting it for the first time in my life, my fear spiraled into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
...Then a friend walks by. "Joe! I've fallen down this hole, please help me!" Joe jumps down to the bottom of the hole with his friend. "You idiot!" the man says, "Now we're both stuck down here."Maybe I'm myopic, but I'm not going to claim I know the answers to anyone else's problems. That being said, I can understand that sometimes the irrational acts of desperation a man makes are just a way of copping out of life's big difficulties. It's subconscious resignation. And I can see the rest of the picture well before it's due to come into focus.
Life isn't "supposed" to be anything. These expectations on your shoulders? Are they what you want? You know the answer to this already, you just need to acknowledge that you made a mistake, and you're going to have to turn some lives upside down before you can make yourself right again. This isn't what you want to hear, but you keep doing what you're doing, and sooner or later the inertia will catch up with you and you'll take everything in your wake down with you. This is where you're going. I know, I've been there.
Take my hand, or it's just going to get worse from here.
Monday, May 16, 2005
WPBT Vegas Bounty
Just got it in the mail today... A few poker bloggers were approached to review advance copies of Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson's upcoming book One Of A Kind - The Rise and Fall of Stuey "The Kid" Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player. I made sure to get a second copy as the prize for bouncing me out when I try to play middle pair into an obvious straight board against you out in Vegas.
I Probably Spelled Antihistimine Wrong
I made probably the worst "move" I've ever made to bounce out of the WPBT Qualifier last night. All I have to say is that you all know I'm (generally) a terrible poker player, and was drinking on top of it. I wasn't short-stacked and the blinds weren't escalating rapidly - I'm just a retard.
So anyway, on Friday I was supposed to continue with Al on the email post thing, but I ran into a little bit of a problem.
I woke up Friday with the worst allergy sinus attack I've had this year so far. I took an Allegra on my way out the door, but that wasn't helping. So around 11AM I dipped into my trusty condiment drawer and fished out a blister sheet of generic antihistimine. No box, no instructions, little tiny pills.
I don't know anything about these pills besides the word "antihistimine" embossed on the foil, so I take a stab in the dark and take two pills.
Big. Fucking. Mistake.
What the hell am I doing with the non-non-drowsy formula at my desk? And shouldn't I have been smart enough to make a note that you should (according to the directions) never take more than one pill at a time?
Yeah, my runny nose cleared up for awhile, but I was worthless until about 4PM. It was worse than any reaction to Ny-Quil I've ever been a part of. All I could do that afternoon was keep my leg bouncing under my desk and take a lap around the office from time-to-time. I barely made it without falling asleep.
Al, I'm sorry I crapped out on the email thread like that. Trust me though, you like "Coherent BG" more than you'd like "High On Cold Medicine BG."
For fun? Let's assume I'm walking into the Las Vegas Club at the stroke of Midnight on June 2nd. Since it's 1:08PM on the 16th right now... carry the one... 25,132 minutes from when I wrote this until I'm in Vegas.
What could I do with 25,132 minutes?
...Watch the contents of "The Godfather Trilogy Box Set" thirty four times.
...Watch, then execute the recipes from, 418 episodes of "30 Minute Meals."
...Make 6,283 batches of my tomato sauce.
...Ring up $1,231 in excess monthly minute charges talking on my phone.
...Listen to "So What" off of "Kind of Blue" approximately 2,280 times.
...Catch a marathon of 209 consecutive teen movies on the USA Network.
...Drive back and forth to Bob's place 69 times.
...Walk at a brisk (3.5 MPH) pace and make it almost all the way out to Evanston, Wyoming.
Anyone want to pick me up at Wyoming Downs on the way through?
Sunday, May 15, 2005
One Hand, I Promise
We were two minutes away from the two hour point of the tournament, which meant a break, blinds raising, and the ability to add on another T1,000 for $15.
Blinds were 200/400. I had T2,800, BB had T2,900.
It was folded around to me in the SB. I had T8o, with a BB I considered a weak player to my left. I completed, he checked.
952 on the flop. I tried to steal, and pushed a bet of T1,200 out there. He thought about it for a moment and called. Before the dealer could get the burn card off the deck, I told him, "I'm all-in in the dark," and pushed my last T1,200 or so into the pot.
Turn was a 7. At least I was open-ended, but I was absolutely behind. He hemmed and hawed and eventually decided he didn't have the stones and folded.
For the next hour I played big raise bully poker and went from T4,400 (after break/add-on) to a height of T34,000. It was awesome.
That being said, for a $70 investment ($40 entry, two $15 add-ons) I made $55 net for my fourth place/five hour finish.
Eh, it was all for charity.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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