Saturday, February 18, 2006

High Stress

I picked a helluva week to quit Quaaludes. Still no job news, and I’m about to go gangsta on some of these fools. Fuck. Not cool. Not cool at all.

At this point if I get called back with a “no” I’m spending the dough on the next flight out to Phoenix to stomp someone into the ground for being so unbelievably inconsiderate.

I’m just saying.

Hopefully the weather isn’t an indication of how it will go. Sixty degree swings day to day increases the surreal quality of this continually scattered Midwestern existence. Hey, at least there’s no ice or snow here yet. Check me out, Mr. Positivity.


So who’s gonna win tonight, Mosley or Vargas?

I keep going back and forth and would be interested in your thoughts.


Great music that I picked up last night

John Legend, Get Lifted—Been meaning to pick this one up for months. The Grammy was definitely deserved. Straight up classic repentant soul.

Talib Qweli, Right About Now—One of the few rappers out there that actually says something (thanks Joaquin). Hard hittin’ and good to listen to while the NBC airs a constant stream of super-ghey ice dancing.

Antony and the Johnsons, I’m a Bird Now—Altogether strange and strangely compelling. It’s like listening to Thom Yorke in a drag show with the vabratto of that Spanish guitar playing lady in Rick’s Café in Casablanca. Good stuff.


And that’s it. I’m so damn scattered and stressed at the moment I can’t put two decent thoughts together, so go check out someone who can.

I think I'll pop in the headphones and do some smokin'. Might be back later.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Serenity and Cardrooms

Last night brought a most pleasant surprise in the form of a horribly marketed movie. For once, I’m not speaking in a negative light about an over-hyped piece of cinematic tripe that, when the end finally and mercifully comes, finds you in the shower trying to wash off that “fresh rape” scent, ala---(I was going to try and cite a specific movie, but just insert any movie title in recent memory, that should do just fine.)


The ads for this movie when it ran in theaters were nowhere even close to what the movie actually was; they were horrifically cheesy and made the movie look terrible. Take that marketing team and throw them in the Gulag. If there exists even a small part of your being that enjoys sci-fi, you owe it to yourself (and the folks who actually had the temerity to make a decent flick) to go grab it and watch at your earliest possible convenience. Hell, even if you don’t like sci-fi it’s worth the watch. Rachel, who normally begins searching for tools that facilitate timely wrist-slashing whenever my Alien or Matrix box-sets are in view, enjoyed the flick. Not-too-Cheesy CGI, a good multi-layer story and plot that left few to no loose ends, and an ending that didn’t make me want to douse myself in gasoline and run into a burning building. I’ll even go a step further and say that this is a movie where I would enjoy hearing news of a sequel. Alas, it was a good movie though, which means my wish will likely never come true.

Instead, I can look forward to such hits as Big Momma’s House III, IV, V, and VI, Elektra vs. Daredevil, and GW: How I found God at the end of a line of coke and saved all the children. I hear tell that one is a harrowing documentary of passion, power, payola, and heroism in the face of monumental illiteracy.


Felicia asks the question—What will poker rooms be like in 10 years or so? Since this question involves my favorite activity, wild speculation, I’ll take a shot.

I think this question hinges on just how much Harrah’s and their ilk can dominate the casino world, which is already a considerable amount. They are the ultimate embodiment of all that is corporate, evil, and soulless. Of course, one could make the argument that this holds true for any casino in that it’s their mission to fleece as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time with the highest profit margin. I do think that there are distinctions, however. After winning the bowling tourney in Kingpin, Big Earn is jubilant at the fact that “I’m above the law! I can finally buy my way out of anything!” This is Harrah’s, WPT, etc., where the line of thought is that the coffers are so damn full and the organizations so big and dominant that they can run over anyone and everyone willy-nilly, carving ever more pound heavy loads of flesh from the playing base.

Then there are the Wynn’s of the world, also huge conglomerates, but in my view are somewhat the anti-Harrah’s in that they give some semblance of a damn about the consumer that throws money at them hand over fist, or at least takes the time to provide a convincing illusion that a damn is given. The poker room at the Wynn actually has the thoughtfulness to have comfortable seating, nice tables, fantastic service, good tourney structures with juice that is actually reasonable (considering the alternatives), and more. Few of these things can be found in a Harrah’s run joint, where the rake is as large as the pot, drinks never come, juice on tourneys is higher than Cheech and Chong put together, and few employees give a good goddamn about the people throwing chips around. I swear this is going somewhere.

The cardroom of the future will be a lot like today’s cardroom, only more so.

I’m too lazy to search out a link, but I’m sure that many of you have heard about the computerized Hold’em casino tables, which basically bring online poker to the casino. A bunch of people actually sit together and look at a screen instead of doing it at home on a virtual table. Of course Harrah’s is hot to trot on bringing out these tables. Less dealers to pay, faster game, more money (plus, I’d bet the monumental rake is less noticeable, as well). The cardroom in ten years will be full of these tables, and the prospect makes me awfully sad. If I want to play PC poker I’ll stay at home. The Wynn’s of the world will continue much as they are now, I believe. There will always be that portion of players that will insist on a “real” game replete with the time-tested comforts and amenities of said “real” game. We can already see the bigger players and the bigger money give the finger to the likes of the WPT and their “above the law” hubris. The question then becomes, how much more still will it cost to play in the “real” cardroom when it isn’t ubiquitous anymore?

Good question. Like I said when I started out, I think it all depends on whether the Wynn’s of the world can keep the Harrah’s monsters at bay.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


….and welcome to another profanity-laden post about nothing.

Why nothing? Because that’s what is happening. Still. If the phone had a some junk or a face I think that at this point I would be abusing it in both places. Since it doesn’t possess any of these abusable (that’s not even a word, is it?) qualities I sit and stare and continue dealing with the everlasting anticipation-induced heart attack.

Fuck me, this sucks, and not just a little. We’re talkin’ big giant donkey balls here. All of my money is in the middle, there’s one card to come, and no one can find the dealer.

So here’s the deal. I was supposed to know something one way or another by last Friday. With a few hours left in the day, I left the guy a message and heard nothing. There had been intermittent Exchange problems earlier in the week (duh, isn’t MS Exchange just a Spanish euphemism for “nothing but fucking problems from bloated software?”), and when I came in on Monday and caught up on email I found out the problems were more serious than normal. That would explain the lack of response I got. I decided to go for broke and sent an appropriately toned email inquiry. Here is the response…

Interviews are over at this time, and I’ve submitted an approval for hire. I can’t make any official offer until I get word, but that shouldn’t be more than another day or two.

This made me feel more positive. I figure that if I didn’t get the job he would have told me so since I gave him the easy out with an opportunity drop bad news through an email instead of a phone call. Thoughts?

I hate waiting.


There were no forts last night—I forgot to consider the hardwood floor angle. I didn’t have nearly enough soft blankets and it made the logistics of the thing a comfort impossibility. Disappointing, yes, but I’m still planning an alternate strategy in my pursuit of escape from adulthood.

The Shield, however, continues to be a triumph this season and was a nice consolation prize in lieu of my fort-building aspirations. Each episode sends me on a fresh tear of wondering why Forest Whittaker doesn’t get more consistent props and loudly speaking about the collective crime that is his underratedness (that’s two non-words and counting). The guy is simply awesome.


I had a dream last night about a Christmas present Rachel and I received this year from her grandparents. It was a foil lined bag with some sort of god-awful country décor design on the outside. I had no idea what it was or what is was for. Then I read the card inside..

“Enjoy a nice baked potato cooked in this bag.”


While I’m not searching for any deeper meaning in the dream and trying not to wonder why the hell it appeared there to begin with, it did get me wondering. When you get to be a grandparent, do your gifts become strange because of advancing age and senility or because you just don’t give a shit any more? I imagine that when my time comes it will definitely be the latter. What? You don’t like your gift? Whatever, I’m oooold.

See? I told you today would be a bunch of nothing. To make sure that I fulfill my profanity promise, I leave you with this quote:


Hey, the guy had Tourette’s, what can you do?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Forts for all!

I’m a big believer in omens, even though I know I probably shouldn’t be. After all, what are they really but random events translated to reflect one’s hopes or fears? Nonetheless, I pay attention to omens. The problem comes when I can’t decide how one or the other should be translated, or if I should be paying attention at all.

In the land of chain restaurants, Ya-Ya’s was one of the few good ones (I don’t know if it’s a chain or not, but I think it is). Never mind that the name conjures thoughts of a lame sisterhood trying too hard to grasp onto invented Lilith-goddess powers. There was always a problem in the back of my mind with the name, but the good food inspired such great relief I put it to the side. Last year Rachel and I went there for Valentines Day and had a wonderful three course meal. Each course had its own wine, and the whole thing only cost $90 for both of us. I was flabbergasted, and since I’m Mr. Positivity I foolishly expected the same this year.


We called and Valentines Day was booked. That’s cool. Neither of us really wanted to be out on a weeknight anyway, so we made some reservations for the weekend. A nice meal was just what the doctor ordered since I was still in job news limbo, and everything seemed just fine as the hostess took us to our table. Until I saw the chairs, one of which was a folding chair of white persuasion. A white folding chair in a restaurant full of brown leather, in an environment where the word “folding” should be never be said aloud. Don’t tell me there’s no such thing as an omen. Both of us were so initially shocked we simply sat. I recovered quickly as the server came and was appropriately indignant as I asked just how long it was going to take to correct this disgrace. The server just looked confused as she walked off to find a decent seat—another omen I should have paid attention to. It would be one thing if they had squeezed us in on short notice, but we had reservations for Chrissake.

I ordered a Guinness to drown the steam that was steadily building.

The lamb pot pie with the rosemary crust sounded good. When it came out, it looked even better. When Rachel broke through the top, her face told a story exactly the opposite as she took a tentative bite. Without a word, she speared another piece and gave it to me. Oh, HELL. NO.


I tried remaining calm. A small part of me thought it was funny as I wondered just how many silly Wichitans (Wichitanians?) they had successfully passed this shit off on. The server stopped by to see how everything was and Rachel conveyed her dismay about being served mutton. The face of the server told us everything we needed to know--she had no idea what the difference was. I tired making the comment that Taco Bell serves better quality meat in the hopes that some light would dawn, but to no avail. She took the shitty 4th-class meat dish back and Rachel ordered the pork chop. It finally came as I was finishing my own dish, a steak of negligible quality.

Another omen I shouldn’t have ignored.

The pork chop looked great when it came out. It was huge and I had high hopes, especially since the manager (who looked suspiciously 19) had been by our table three different times and was very solicitous. Rachel and I thought that everything would be properly corrected and taken care of on the check. When a good establishment makes a mistake (or multiple mistakes in our case) it’s reasonable to assume that something will be comped on the bill. Rachel took one bite, it was okay. Then she cut a little deeper, only to find another in a long line of travesties for the evening. The chop was raw in the middle. You’ve got to be kidding me. Thanks for trying to give my wife worms.

Time for the bill.

We didn’t get charged for the mutton, but nothing else was comped either. Evidently, they didn’t think that comping even one or two of the cocktails was necessary. I mean, after all, coming to a restaurant to eat our meals separately is something every couple looks forward to. This wasn’t the biggest problem, though. Under the “lamb” pot pie was the word “dislike.” While that was true, it wasn’t the reason. IT WAS FUCKING MUTTON, YOU TWATS! The server still couldn’t understand the difference. At this point I was simply tired and wanted to leave, so I just paid the bill. What a damn waste. I should have gone Jesus vs. The Temple Moneychangers on their ass.

Mostly, I’m pissed at myself for not walking out when I saw that folding chair I don’t care if they’re real or not. From now on, omens will get my full attention.

Touchy-feely just doesn’t seem appropriate this year, so here’s what I propose. It should work regardless of your personal situation. Gather your toys, build a fort in the living room, and don’t come out.

It works for kids, why not us?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Medals on the rearview

I used to love the Olympics when I was younger, especially the Winter Olympics in spite of the fact that I hated winter in the general sense (and still do). Following a very disappointing 4th quarter in Pistons/Heat game where I swear to great jebus they fucked me out of my 20 spot intentionally, I flipped over the channel in an effort to assuage my dismay and recapture some of that old time Olympic excitement.

Then I saw the medals.

I remember seeing a news report some time back when the committee was announcing and showing off the design of these things. I remember making some offhand comment about how silly they looked and proceeded to promptly forget about it. Yesterday’s trip over to NBC reminded me and proceeded to re-disappoint because they look even worse when hanging off of someone’s neck. How did no one speak out about this? Truly yes-man-groupthink at work. It’s like witnessing junior high all over again, when no one could afford a proper medallion and ended up stealing cheesy household items or hood ornaments to wear.

I stepped outside this morning and thought for a brief moment that every Mexican in my neighborhood scored a rash of second place finishes. I wonder what events they were in? And how did they get back to the Midwest so fast? Oh wait, those are CD’s hanging from the various rearview mirror’s! Of course! They just looked so much like the silver medals…….

With that in mind, I wonder if my neighborhood Mexican brethren are pissed at having their style usurped by the IOC designers? If this keeps going, the next thing we’ll see is the retirement of Medals altogether. All contestants will now receive Old English style decals noting their placing and event to put in the back window of their vehicles.

Stupid Olympics. Get your own damn style and give us a decent medal design.

I still haven’t heard a damn thing about the new job, which doesn’t have me in very high spirits at the moment. I nearing the point where I just say fuckit, drop everything and just go somewhere, let the chips fall where they may. This incessant torture-by-waiting game is goddamn ridiculous.

I guess I’m going to have to rescind my patent-pending wily nilly sportsbetting strategy I was going with, as this weekend proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that such a thing is only fun in the very short term. My parlays were for shit, and I’ll say it one more time…stupid goddamn Pistons. I’m still up, but not by much anymore. Thankfully there’s always the poker to go back to.

The job situation is driving me into over-the-top anxious territory making it difficult to write much, so this is it for me today. My grandfather used to always say, “Tomorrow is another day.” Well, duh. What I really want to know is will it be better?