Sunday, July 30, 2006

tomorrow may come, tomorrow may never come

I got eliminated from the main event because I got stupid. That's really what it comes down to. I got stupid, made two total rookie mistakes that I know not to make, and didn't even make it to the third level. I was the sucker. I was the dead money. I was the idiot who shouldn't even be on Celebrity Poker Showdown, because he fell in love with top pair twice early on in a deep stack tournament. And called off all his chips. Twice. Fucking. Idiot.

The worst part of the whole thing is that I completely beat myself. I wasn't trapped, or tricked, or masterfully outplayed; I just got stupid and made two completely fucking idiotic donkey moves. I played like a stupid fucking celebrity poker player.

I'm disgusted with myself. I let myself down, and I feel like I let PokerStars down (even though my friends who I work for and with will tell me that I shouldn't beat myself up about it, we all know I screwed up.)

I fucked up every time it mattered in this year's World Series, in every event I played. I completely choked in the 2K and in the Main Event, and I didn't have the balls to make a move when I needed to in the 1K.

Well, I have at least a year to think about it, but I only have about twenty minutes before I go back to the Rio and write about people who actually know what they're doing.

Monday, July 24, 2006


it's five days until my birthday, when i'll finally be older than jesus.

if i can just avoid the romans for the next 120 hours, i should be safe.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


When the government fears the people there is liberty;
when the people fear the government there is tyranny.

    -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

afro wisdom

"If you don't like a song, don't listen to it."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

darkness, imprisoning me

There are just total fucking scumbags all over the place in Vegas: con artists, criminals, liars, scam artists, and people who are best described by Ben Kenobi, thusly: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

Two of my friends were completely taken by different con men in the week I've been here, and I saw it happen once. Even though my spidey sense was going off like crazy, I convinced myself that I was just being paranoid, and it cost my friends a few hundred dollars. Though it didn't cost me any money, it certainly cost me a sense of security and threatens my entire sense of believing that people are basically good. I feel really dirty and violated, and I can't get this one guy's face out of my head, probably because I'd like to see him end up face down in the desert, after digging a hole with his bare hands and begging for mercy.

Yeah, it's shocking to me that I can even think that way, especially over a few hundred dollars, but it's true. I'd really like to watch this pile of shit suffer. I didn't know I had that in me, and maybe it's heightened because I'm very open to emotions (mind and other people's) because I'm completely The Writer while I'm here, but knowing that I would smash another human's face in with a brick until it's unrecognizable if given the chance isn't the most comforting feeling in the world, you know?

So yesterday, as we walked down a hallway at the Rio, I told my friend Pauly, "You know what? I'm done giving people the benefit of the doubt, and I have my shields set to maximum right now. If I don't personally know you, or you're not personally vouched for by one of the ten people I know here who I implicitly trust, you can just go fuck yourself."

A pretty girl passed us going the other way, and she smiled at me and said "Hello."

I smiled back, and said, "Hi." You know, just being polite. Then I thought, "Wait a minute. What does that fucking bitch want from me?"

I involuntarily put my hand on my pocket to protect my wallet, even though she hadn't come within fifteen feet of us. We walked about five more steps, and I said to Pauly, "Hi? Wait. I take that back. I don't  know you, so go fuck yourself."

I've been exposed to the darkness in others while I've been here, and as a result I have had a glimpse at the darkness that I didn't know existed in myself, and didn't exactly want to find. Who knew that it would only cost a few hundred dollars of someone else's money to find it?

Friday, July 14, 2006

it controls your actions, but it also obeys your commands

I drove a friend of mine home last night, and we talked a lot about writing on the way. I commented that when I'm really writing well, I feel like I'm in some kind of pseudo-out of body experience, and I almost feel like I'm floating along in a river that I can kind of control, but enjoy just drifting down.

The key is to stay out of my own way, so I can feel the flow, and holy crap can I feel the flow right now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Last night, I went out to Greg Raymer's house for a barbecue with a bunch of my friends from PokerStars. It was a little surreal -- Greg is playing in the $50,000 HORSE event today, where the buy-in is more than two years of mortgage payments for me, and he invited all of us out to his place for dinner the night before.

Greg's place is way off the strip, and it's the farthest I've ever driven away from Las Vegas Boulevard in all the times I've come here. Once I got about ten blocks away from the cluster of hotels and casinos, the harsh reality of Las Vegas' location was apparent all around me: for miles at a time, I'd be surrounded by empty lots and open desert, and the few lots that had any sign of civilization in them were pawn shops, porn shops, or abandoned bars. That's what Vegas is really all about, when you get away from the shining neon and watered-down drinks.

I stopped at a light way out on some highway, and saw the history of Vegas in two glances. To my left, there was a housing tract that looked like it had been built in the 1970s. The houses were small and were once brightly-colored stucco. Today, they are falling apart, and most had patches of dirt where a front lawn once was. About a third of them appeared empty. Just behind them, a new housing development was under construction. The houses were mostly frames, but many of them had piles of roofing tiles wrapped in plastic on their tops. They were built right on top of each other, were two stories tall, and looked to average about 8000 square feet each. I thought to myself, "Who in the world is going to live in one of those houses? Do any potential buyers look at the existing tract and think of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?"

I looked to my right, and saw a middle-aged man with a dirty face and an equally dirty once-white T-shirt, standing on the side of the road. He held a black canvas bag at one side, and drank deeply from a bottle of clear alcohol.

The light changed, and I pulled away from another Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

to put on a black shirt

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Sinclair Lewis

I'm a huge champion of private property rights, and I believe, like George Washington, that we can all exist in America with tons of different religions everywhere . . . but when I read stories like this and this, I get afraid. I get really, really afraid.

kenny boy dies

On days like today, I really wish I believed in Hell.

the real victims are the conservatives

When I was covering the war in Iraq, we reporters would sometimes tune to Fox News and watch, mystified, as it purported to describe how Iraqis loved Americans. Such coverage (backed by delusional Journal editorials baffling to anyone who was actually in Iraq) misled conservatives about Iraq from the beginning. In retrospect, the real victims of Fox News weren't the liberals it attacked but the conservatives who believed it.
(Emphasis mine.) I hadn't thought of it this way, but it makes sense to me, now. A few years ago there was a study which revealed that people who used Fox as their primary news source were the most misinformed people in America. That's really sad and frustrating, but what's really scary is that those same people were the most strident in their belief that they were correct, and everyone else was wrong. Even when these people were presented with copious evidence to the contrary, they maintained and fiercely defended their erroneous beliefs.

Of course, virtually all of those people voted Republican.