Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hmmm...Vegas twice in one summer? Okay!

So my buddy Chris and I have been friends for better than a dozen years now, and now we're working together on Taming of the Shrew and getting Shakespeare Carolina back in the running, so we're hanging together a lot.

So we both end up in Vegas a couple times a year, but have never made the trek together, because the schedules never worked out. Until now. To celebrate the conclusion of our first summer season at Theatre Charlotte, we're gonna take a degenerates' trip to Vegas in August. Yeah, I know, six weeks after I'm there for the WPBT get-together. We'll be hanging downtown a lot this time, so look us up if you're around the first few days of August (July 30- August 2).

More rehearsal last night, after hanging with Shelley (playing Kate in the show) all day at her school doing our fight scene for her classes. Depending on the age of the students determined how far we went into the fight and whether or not we did the spanking at the end of the scene. By the time we got to the end of the day she was hoarse and I was sore, but all the teenage boys in the classes definitely want to come see her do that fight scene in a minidress and gogo boots now, so we sold some tickets.

It was fun hanging with her at the school. I started college with the intention of becoming a teacher, and sometimes think about the "what ifs" if I'd stuck with it, but frankly, I hate mornings with a flaming passion, so that whole be at work at 7AM thing was never gonna work out for me. Plus I'm a little too quick to tell people to fuck off, and that doesn't tend to endear one to administrators.

But hanging with a bunch of enthusiastic high school kids every once in a while is cool. And Shelley definitely loves her job, as does my friend Carey, who's the other drama teacher there. So it was a neat thing to hang with folks that really love and are fulfilled by what they do to pay the bills, as opposed to most of the rest of us. I like my job, but to say I love it and are fulfilled by it would be a pretty big stretch most days. Good thing I've got all my 97 extra-curricular activities, huh?

Time for food, fatboy burned some calories yesterday and if I don't replenish I could end up skinnier than F-Train by the end of the run.

Yeah, right.

Home game tonight, hopefully plenty of donors coming. I've been on a good run in my game lately, so I hope I can get through the evening without screwing it up.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Theatre News

It's now official - Shakespeare Carolina will be performing two shows at Theatre Charlotte, in the heart of Charlotte proper, this summer.

Taming of the Shrew (redux) will perform June 21-23 and 27-30

Hamlet will perform July 19-21 and 25-28

This is exciting as not only does it mean that we'll be able to do the show again indoors, it also means that many more people may be able to see the performances, as Theatre Charlotte is the oldest community theatre in North Carolina, and these shows will both likely appeal to their subscriber base as well as the folks that come see our stuff.

But you still better come see me in Rock Hill if you got the chance!

Oh that's not good...

Haley's got news. It sucks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A few pics for Badblood

Since he had to go and throw down the "my chips rule!" gauntlet, I'll go ahead and finally post some pics of my home game setup.

Now, there's no question that Dr. BigGuns' Custom Chipcos are very nice, and the graphics are excellent, but really, for that "real casino" feel, you just can't beat a nice set of clay chips.

Blogger's being a little bitch and won't let me post the pics here, so go here for the pics.

If you ever wondered why I love acting, go here for pics from Saturday's fight rehearsal. Yeah, she's a babe. Yeah, it's in my blocking to spank her. Yeah, there are days it's good to be me. Yeah, I'm a sicko. Live with it.

working, working, working

Those rehearsals after the blocking is mostly set and you're exploring character, playing with new movements and trying to learn your lines are called "working" rehearsals. That's because they're hard work. Nothing in theatre is easy, but the working rehearsals are my favorite part of the process. It's the point in the process where it's safe to experiment, because there's still enough time before opening to try something and fail without screwing up anything major. It's also the point where the cast is becoming more comfortable with the words and can actually begin to act, instead of wandering around on stage with big scripts in their hands (not that I can do much without my script yet, but hopefully soon).

So last night we ran Act I and cleaned up some trouble spots. The night before last we ran Act II twice, because it was pretty shaky and needed to have an infusion of energy into the act. The show is starting to take shape, but we're fast approaching time to build things, which is when we're gonna have to start spending money. If you're planning on donating through my little banner link and haven't yet, please go ahead and do so. We'll need to spend some cash in the next few weeks and that will pretty much deplete the resources of the company. These online donations will come in very handy for our second show.

Oh yeah - that second show. The one I'm directing. So much for taking a break from producing theatre. At least this time around not all the responsibility is on me. But Hamlet will be a helluva challenge, it always is, and I'm gonna need to dust off my directing muscles for that one. Anybody who's around NC the end of July, pop on over to see it, it should be fun.

Here's another post-rehearsal quote from the nutjobs I'm doing a show with -

"So, how many time, just a rough guess, do you think you should be dead?"


"You answered that awfully fast, you've obviously got a list somewhere."

AND one more, this is a classic -

"I missed a plane, so we drank a bunch of Robitussin..."

Monday, March 26, 2007

WPBT Summer Classic 2007 Update!

The dates are locked in, the room block is made, all that awaits is you, baby!

When - June 6 - 11

Where - The Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

Who - Poker Bloggers, significant others, insignificant others and
random degenerates

Why - Because it's been months since we've all ambushed the hapless
tourists at a poker table and drank ourselves into insensibility

How - however you can get there, planes, trains and automobiles!

Anyway, all that bullshit aside, the Orleans has a block of rooms for
us held until May 6th. There are 50 rooms as part of the block and the
rates are as follows.

Wednesday - $60
Thursday - $60
Friday - $110
Saturday - $110
Sunday - $65

There is the typical $5 resort fee on top of this, plus taxes and
probably a disclaimer fee that the hotel it not responsible to any
damage you may do to yourself or your liver if you try to go
shot-for-shot with Al (that last bit's a joke, they won't charge extra
for drunkenness).

It will be a couple of days before they are ready to accept
reservations as part of the block, but should be good to go by Friday.
Annette in group sales was my rep and she was very helpful. I'll be
playing a bit of the cruise director as we go along and plan a few
informal get-togethers for later in the weekend, and of course, there
will be mixed games at the MGM on Friday night.

See you this summer!

Lines and more lines

They're coming. Slowly, but they're coming. I'm pretty much off book for the big fight scene, and for my big "kill a wife with kindness" monologue in Act IV. I'm getting there on the entrance scene and on Act IV, scene I, but it's slow going with all the non sequitors in those lines. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm two weeks behind the rest of the cast in rehearsal, so not to beat myself up too much, but I'm at the point where I want the fucking script out of my hand so I can act, and it's frustrating.

But we've got three weeks, which is an eternity in a rehearsal period, so I'm not sweating the overall shape of the show. Some exciting news on the rest of the theatre front as well - we're in negotiations to remount the show later in the summer, and I'll be directing Hamlet in July. Little play, you might have heard of it. I've directed Hamlet before, it was my first show for Off-Tryon when we started that company, so it's fitting that it's my first show for Shakespeare Carolina in the reboot of that company. Not sure what the concept will be, leaning towards a very modern interpretation, but I need to watch the Ethan Hawke movie version to see if what's in my head is too close to what they put on screen. Might be a wholesale change of concept in the offing.

And I actually played poker twice this week! Banner week for me lately. My home game went well, which I wrote about, and last night was the monthly theatre poker tourney. I suck at tournament poker. Actually I thought I played fairly well, just got outdrawn a couple times early and then once I had chips in the middle rounds I couldn't steal enough or get good cards often enough to stay alive, so I went out well out of the money. But I made the final table!

We started with 11, and condensed to one table at 10, so it wasn't much of a stretch.

I cleaned up in the cash game afterwards, taking $90 off the cash game, which made me feel a little better about the $25 I lost in the tourney. Actually it made me feel a lot better about the $25 I lost in the tourney. And further solidified my opinion that I'm not much of a tournament player, but for $25 I can throw cards around with a bunch of people I like for a few hours.

Got the rest of the whole run of Transmetroploitan last week. Does anybody else think that Pauly is Spider Jerusalem, only a less vulgar version? I think Warren Ellis must read Tao of Poker.

End of the post - obligatory subliminal message - click through to the site, donate to Shakespeare Carolina, it'll make your ass look better in those pants and your dick look bigger!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why have a home game at all?

With so many ways to play poker, between the (OMG illegal!!!) internet, underground cardrooms and casinos (for you lucky bastards that don't live in the Carolinas), why do we bother getting together once a week for two years to beat our friends brains out over the felt?

For the love of the game? Partly. For the money? Not really, but it gives a good way to keep score. For a way to kick back after work for those of us who aren't interested in bars anymore? Mostly.

I've hosted a home game for nigh on two years now. It started out pretty sporadic, but for at least the last year, we've played almost every week. We've had a rotating cast of characters, with some that will drop in now and again, some that will be regular for a while and then move to California to have sex on a more regular basis, and some that just keep coming back, time after time.

Last night we held a special game for Tripjax, cause he was stuck working in Charlotte all week. Well, when one of my boys is gonna be in town, we're either gonna get drunk (like me, Blood, Easycure and our respective better halves did over Christmas, and like the legendary-at-least-in-my-house bender that me & Daddy went on when he came to town) or we're gonna play some cards, bitches! It was a typical donkfest, with me only looking at my cards on every other hand, Warbucks thinking that K-high was good enough to call my blind bet with (he was right) and the straddle in play at least once per orbit.

I took an early lead in the battle to Stack Mountain, mostly by just hammering out raises, getting my isolation on, and pushing either Trip or Suzy off the better hand. That didn't last long and eventually I had to look at my cards once or twice. I played fairly well, and was a bit of a card rack, catching at some point in the night every premium starting hand and losing only with my Aces. I woulda played them better had I looked at my hand preflop, but I didn't, and misplayed them, and gave Jim a good $50 on that hand. Oh well, I took it back from Nate with a suck-resuck when my top pair on the flop fell behind his top pair on the turn but caught my kicker on the river to stack him. And that's how it goes in a home game. Here's a good example of what you get when you play the same people for two years.

I'm in middle position with A5o. I limp, Jim raises from the button to about $3. It's $.25/.50 blinds, by the way. Nate calls, I call. I'm pretty sure I'm behind Jim, but could easily be ahead of Nate here. Flop comes textbook-perfect, let's see how I can fuck this up beautiful - 234 rainbow.
Nate checks, I check, Jim fucks up my plan by checking behind. This confirms my initial read of Ace and a face, as he bets if he's got any little piece of that here. Turn brings the worst card in the deck for me, the 5.

Yup, I got the perfect flop and got no money in, so now everyone in the world has caught up with me, and I've slowplayed myself into a 3-way chop, which is worse than kissing your sister, more like kissing your ugly aunt Ethel. Nate leads out with a good-sized bet, and I look down, think that there's only one way to get any profit in this hand, and that's to steal half of Jim's initial bet.

"All In." I say. I have both of them covered by a lot, so I've certainly applied the pressure I intended. Jim thinks for a long time, decides I either have a 6 or big brass cojones, flashes an Ace and folds. Nate calls, because of course Nate calls. I look down, ask him "do you have a 6?"


"Then pull it back, cause we chop." He shows A3, I show A5, Jim mutters something that sounds suspiciously like "good bet, asshole," chuckles, and I grab my half of the pot.

Tripjax looks over at me and says "I don't have that move in my game," and I respond that I knew exactly where I was, because I've been playing with these same guys almost every week for better than a year. And that's what you get in a home game. Most of the time it feels like we're pushing the same $50 back and forth between us, but it's a good time, and occassionally you get some really good moves, like the two times Jax pushed me off a better hand last night by going over the top of me all-in when I held small pocket pairs.

My wife, however, was playing the role of the card rack, taking a 3 buy-in profit off the table, largely on the skill of hitting a set of Aces twice and trip Aces two more times. See, poker's easy, just wait for Aces, get paid off, make more money!

The monthly theatre goof tournament is this Sunday, hopefully I'll be able to make it past the first table for the first time in three months.

Oh, and on an unrelated note, more volumes of Transmetropolitan came in, and I'm very convinced that Warren Ellis has spent some time drinking with Pauly to create the Spider Jerusalem character. Very convinced.

Now if you've read this far, you've found the subliminal message that says - go to the banner and donate money to Shakespeare Carolina. All the Cool Kids are doing it!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Day

So aside from having the night off from rehearsal (not that I don't get off on rehearsing, but a night off now and then is nice), it's also time for another home game! TripJax is in town, so that's all the excuse I need to play poker on a school night!

It gets better - my new clay chips are here, giving me the finishing touches on my clay cash game chipset! I now have 125 25-cent Nevada Jacks Clays, 225 $1 NJ Clays, 125 $5 Aruba Palm Beach Casino Chips by Paulson and 25 $25 Aruba Palm Beach Chips. I've had the quarters, $5 chips and some of the $1s for a while, but this will be the first time out of the gate for the full set.

And I gotta say (although no one is paying me to say it), that the folks at Nevada Jacks kick ass as far as customer service. They always get my orders out super-fast in in great packaging. I've been happy with every order I've done with them, and that's a pretty damn rare thing.

Even better, my Transmetropolitan comics came from Amazon, too! I'm now only waiting on volume 7 to have the whole set. I see lots of excellent bathroom reading for the next few weeks.

Click on the banner and donate money to Shakespeare Carolina! It's cool. Suzy just signed on to be the costumer for the show, so now we need a costume budget! Give us money, it'll make you feel better, you'll lose weight and your dick will get bigger.

Okay, you probably won't really lose weight.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

words, words, words

Lots o' words. I'm getting better on lines for our Act I (Shakespeare's Act I-III), but really, really rough on our Act II (Shakespeare's Act IV & V). Thanks god for Act V, where other people do the bulk of the talking. My problem is with the apparent non sequitors. This always happens to me in Shakespeare, or any play really where there isn't much stage direction or description given in the script. There are things going on, things the character is meant to be doing, and unless you know those things, you have no friggin' idea what your next line is.

Example - Act II, Scene 1 - First meeting between Petruchio and Kate, devolves into a big knockdown, drag-out fight (BTW, we're thinking of making a Taming of the Shrew drinking game. Every time I pick Kate up, or smack her on the ass, you take a drink. So far it's a recipe for death for anyone except maybe Al). At one point in the scene, in one of my innumerable monologues, I say "Thou dost not halt, O let me see thee walk," as I'm checking out Kate's ass.

It took us a little bit to get to the point where she was walking when I said that. If she's not walking, I'm not remembering the line. That's one of the more obvious ones, but Shakespeare's full of stuff like that. Act IV, Scene 1 is similar. It's the scene when Petruchio and Kate go to Petruchio's house on their wedding night. I have a lot of lines referencing things the servants are bringing in or doing, but so far we've had neither props nor servants, so those lines are giving me trouble. I'll get them down eventually, I'm just feeling a little pressure because we open in a touch under a month, and I feel like I'm really just starting week 2 of rehearsals, since I was off being lighting designer boy for two weeks and earning money for all my Vegasy travels.

I also hate feeling like I'm holding other people up, and right now it feels like a lot of other folks are a lot further along with memorization than I am. Again, all this shit will pass, and I come to this point in every rehearsal process, it's just a pain in the ass, and I'm still nervous about carrying a role this size, since I've never done it before.

Fun stuff from last night included beating the living shit out of the guy playing the tailor in our scene. Petruchio is supposed to hate the dress he's made, so I just whaled on him and chased him around the stage with a hideous yellow polyester dress. Fun stuff, especially since he was quick on the reactions and went with it. That's one thing with this cast, there's no attitude, everybody's willing to lay it out there and try new shit. That's what I like in a cast, whether I'm acting or directing, a willingness to lay it all out there. I look at performing a lot like folks look at athletic endeavors - you leave it all out there on the field. When I've done a good job in a show, I usually feel drained, like I'm gonna vomit a little. I've held nothing back if I'm really doing my job as an actor, and these guys are all willing to do the same. It makes for a good core group for the rebirth of this company, and I think we've got a lot of people that will be good to work with for a long time to come.

Now click the banner and donate something! Costumes for fat guys are expensive, dammit!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rehearsal Quote #1

"It's further exacerbated by the fact that not only did we drive his car off a dam and break it in half, but we drove it home, sparks and all"

"How high was this cliff?"

"About 40 feet. We went back and measured it the next day after we went and got Dan out of the insane asylum."

Technically this is a post-rehearsal quote, but really, can't you imagine that same sentence coming from some of our other friends?

This is probably a sign

I think it says something when the manufacturer of your favorite line of poker chips calls you on your cell phone.

And you recognize the number.

HEY!!! Click Me!

If you read this through Bloglines or some other RSS reader (like I read most blogs) you won't notice the new Shakespeare Carolina Donation Banner I've got on my site. So click through and help me raise money for this show I'm doing. If enough people click through and donate, Kevin Bacon will give our theatre $10,000!

Yea, really. He's got this thing called Network for Good, where he's working to inspire grassroots philanthropy, and he's giving 6 charities ten grand a piece this spring. The deal is you put a banner on your site(s), and the six charities with the most individual donations will receive $10,000 each from Kevin's foundation. It doesn't matter how big or small your donation, $10 is a valid donation. It's the number of individuals that donate to the cause that gets us the big mobney. And we certainly appreciate any donations that you can make, too.

Here's my incentive for you guys to donate, just in case supporting great theatre and helping out a project that I really believe in isn't enough. Whoever among my readers makes the single largest donation, I will provide your buyins for a week's worth of blogger tourneys OR one buyin to Don's Blogger Big Game, your choice! That's one buy-in to the following - Mondays at the Hoy, WWdN, The Mookie and CC's Thursday Bash OR a buy-in to Don's Next Blogger Big Game. The only caveat is that the donation must exceed $100. Otherwise, I should just give the money for the tourney buyins to the charity and skip the middle step.

So please click through to my main site and down on the right-hand side of the page click the Shakespeare Carolina banner, and help me win Kevin Bacon's money!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

When last we left our hero...

So since I've posted regularly I've been to SETC, gotten sick, gotten well, finished up designs for The Crucible and Les Miserables (that's a lot of fuss over a loaf of bread), and gotten back into rehearsals for Taming of the Shrew. What's missing from that? Any poker. The home game will return next week, and hopefully I'll figure out some way to get something together for TripJax's time in town, but there's not gonna be a ton of pokery content here for a while.

So here's my question to you, my few remaining readers - Do you care? I've been limiting my theatre stuff to my other blog and trying to keep this place focused on poker, but does anybody really read this for accounts of my mediocre poker play? Or do you read here to keep up with your buddy Falstaff and to occassionally get a good story out of it? I think I'm going to bring my theatre stuff back over here (it is called pokerSTAGE, after all) and keep that other place for just some random scribblings that fits neither poker nor theatre. Lemme know if anyone thinks that's a terrible idea, and I'll probably do it anyway. But I'll at least think it over.

So tonight I'm about as sore as if I'd actually been exercising all week in efforts to lose weight for this role. I have lost about 7 pounds since we've started up, but a lot of that was due to being sick and not eating for several days. But this afternoon's rehearsal was a workout. If you're looking for a good cardio workout, let me suggest Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene 1, with a Kate who is seven years your junior and in great physical shape. She worked me like a fucking plow mule today, and I'm feeling it tonight.

For the uninitiated, that's the first meeting between Kate & Petruchio, and we go from suave wooing to a knock-down drag-out fight pretty quickly, and that's what we worked on this afternoon. There was tripping, groin kicks, face slaps, elbows to the gut, spanking and a LOT of rolling around on the floor.

Yeah, the woman playing Kate is absolutely smokin' hot, so it's a tough life I lead. No, I will not trade lives with you guys for the duration of the play.

But visceral and visual pleasure aside, we worked our ever-loving asses off on that fight this afternoon, and while fun and rewarding (artistically, you perverts) it's tough on an old fat man. But we've got what I think is a great core group of people in the show and once we all (especially me) learn our lines we'll get some great stuff done.

It's a lot of fuckin' words. I'm a little freaked out by the sheer number of words.

Cool thing happened on the design front yesterday. Crucible opened Thursday night, and as I was walking through the front office on Friday I noticed my buddy Eric, who's one of the better designers in town, sitting chatting with Esthere about an order. I said hi, and he made it a point to tell me how much he liked the lighting for Crucible. He'd gone to see it Thursday, since the director is a friend of his, and he commented on how much he liked my use of color and patterns, and really thought it was a well-lit show. That was really nice, to be recognized for doing a good job by someone whose opinion I really respect in the field. I was pretty happy with the way that show looked, so it's nice to have that opinion validated.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Winthrop 74, Notre Dame 64

I told everybody I know that they were better than a #11 seed. With just a couple minutes left, they were looking a lot like a #11 seed. When it's all said and done, and my alma mater has garnered their first EVER NCAA tournament win, they didn't finish like a #11 seed.

It's not news like Duke falling to VCU. People have for weeks been calling them the next George Mason. Fuck George Mason, they're not this year's anybody, except this year's Winthrop Eagles.

Friday, March 09, 2007

SETC day 2ish

Still sicker than shit, made it to my two workshops today, but had to bail on CC's home game, which is a big bummer. He'd gotten a good group of folks together and I was really looking forward to playing, but I'm way to jacked up on cold medicine to drive and play reasonably. Got one more session I'm teaching tomorrow then driving back to Charlotte for rehearsals. Hopefully I'll get better enough in the next 24 hours to be able to do something on Sunday. Suzy got sick a little before I did and she's been almost completely bedridden with this shit, so it seems like I've actually gotten off a little easy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

SETC day 1ish

So I'm in Atlanta at SETC, one of my favorite trade shows of the year. It's more like a family reunion than a trade show, with some of these folks having been involved in this conference longer than I've been alive. I've come to this trade show every year since 1994, and it's a lot of the same faces each year.

So I absolutely love the fact that I'm stuck in my hotel room with a friggin' sinus infection sick as a motherfucker when I'd much rather be downstairs drinking in the bar with my buddies. I'm not. I'm managing to get through my booth duty and the workshops I have to teach, but that's about all I've got in me.

Today I taught a workshop on troubleshooting a lighting system, and it was pretty well-received. I need tonight to be conscious enough to study lines for a little while and prep for my workshop tomorrow, on how to select the right light board for your facility. I like these workshops because they position our company as experts in the field, and get our faces out in front of customers that may not normally come by the booth.

Tired now, I think I'm ordering room service and taking some drugs to help me sleep.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Oh yeah, and computers suck

So I got my new laptop. Pretty. Smaller. Doesn't herniate a disc when I pick it up. Bonus. But getting the new lappy made me decide that I should really track down what was funky with my home network for all these months. Like the not being able to get on the internet from my old laptop kind of funky.

So I verified all my cables were working, verified that I could get internet on both computers by hooking them up directly to the cable modem, and then decided that yes, Virginia, my wireless router is dead. Back to Best Buy, no linksys this time.

So I pick up the newest, snazziest 802.11n Netgear wireless/wired router they have, and trundle back home to set it all up. I start the installation and it tells me that it should take about 20 minutes to complete.

Lying bastards.

It probably would have taken me about 20 minutes to complete if I hadn't spent nearly 90 minutes trying to remember whatever password I set up when I created the network. Oh wait, I didn't set one up. So what is this password BS they're asking for?

Oh yeah, the router comes with a default factory username and password you're supposed to put in here. Username is admin, password is password. Nice of them to write that shit down anywhere! Of course it's on the documentation CD, the one that you can't access mid-install to read! It's also on their website, which I of course now can't access because my internet connection is all blowed up until I get this fucking machine working!

But eventually I get it going, and only have to uninstall/reinstall the router twice to be able to access the internet on the laptop. Someday I have a dream that I'll actually be able to share files across my three computers, but I'm not gonna ask for two much. Right now I'm content with a thumb drive to move shit back and forth.

Not really, but I'm afraid of blowing everything up again.

Oh yeah, the new machine came preloaded with MS Vista Home Premium. Not bad. Seems like the fine folks at Microsoft are getting a little more elegant with every OS revision. I haven't gotten Office 2007 fired up yet, but that's coming soon. I only hope that documents created in Oiffce '07 will be readable on my older 'puters. Anybody know if I'm going to have to "save as" an older version?

I looked long and hard at the MacBooks before buying another Gateway, but finally decided that the cool of the Mac wasn't worth the additional $800. So now I'm all hooked up and ready to go to SETC in Atlanta this weekend, then come back for two tech rehearsal processes all next week.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A little sick

The run I've been on the past couple of days. It's probably a very good thing that I won't have really any time to play poker in the next couple of weeks, because if I played with this level of confidence I'd either make a boatload of money or lose my ever-loving shirt. Ever since coming back from AC, I've felt like my game was on a good run, but the past couple of days have just been sick.

So last night Suzy decides she doesn't want to go to the movies after all, so I'm freed up to head over to the local card room and see what's going on. My last trip to this place was less than stellar, as I couldn't hang in any way with the aggression and disregard for money that was being displayed, and lost a couple buy-ins, which is a significant portion of my bankroll, since I almost always pay over my head.

Smart, I know. I play poker good.

Anyway, I have my usual just-after-the-break tourney exit when I run AK into A8 in a battle of the blinds. Eight in the door and IGCGN (I go cash game now). I'm sitting with $200 and manage to triple up by hitting no less than three sets in the first 30 minutes (two held up, the other went down in flames to a river flush), and getting a massive caller who called me with TPTK on a 6-high board. My 77 was gold. Then the guy next to him goes over the top of my TPTK all in, I put him on a flush draw since he was the guy who took a $200 pot off me with a flush earlier, and I called. He had KJ for TP2K, and I've tripled up.

Then tonight I laid maybe the sickets beat on someone that I think I've ever done live. I don't think I've done anything worse than doubling through anyone with a 3-outer on the river. I've got 62o on the button and everybody in the world limps, so I see a flop. Flop is 229, with 2 spades. Brian bets $2 and I pot it, which is $11. Uncle Phil raises pot, which at that point makes it $35 back to me. At this point I have trips with a weak kicker, and I think Phil has something like A9 for two pair, or more likely the spade draw. I raise another $50.

Phil thinks for a short time (very short) and calls. Turn comes something innocuous and he goes all-in for another $110 or so. I only have $56, so I figure I'm pretty well pot-stuck after he calls the $50 re-raise. I had decided that all my chips were going in the middle at that point anyway, so I instacall his all-in. River is the 6s, completing what I thought was his flush draw, but when he said "Fuck" as the card turned over I realized that my read was completely wrong, and I'd been behind all the way and caught up. I said something to the effect of "You hate that card, but not for the flush, it filled me up," and tabled my rivered boat. He throws his A2 down for trips with top kicker, and I actually, for the first time, feel bad about a suckout I've delivered. I don't apologize, because he's steamed enough and that would be the wrong thing to say, but I don't know any way I could have put him on the case 2 in that spot. If he shoves all in over the top of my $50 on the flop, I probably fold, but by waiting for the turn, I managed to convince myself that I was ahead, and sucked out.

So that was a point where my game and read was totally wrong, but I got super-lucky. Otherwise, I felt like my game was strong and really "on" tonight. I had no premium pocket pairs and still managed to play well, hit flops, and clear a $300 profit in a $.25/.50 pot limit game. Hopefully by the time I get a chance to have a game again, all my friends will have forgiven me for this incredible evening of luck. With my last day in AC, last night and tonight, I'm up about $700 for the week, a serious winning week for my small-stakes ass.

Oh, and I'm typing this on my new laptop. After much deliberation, I did stay in the PC world, largely because of price and convenience. I got a nice new, much smaller, Gateway for $699 from Best Buy with a gig of RAM, 120GB HD, Windows Vista and a bunch of other stuff. Now I just need to get my home wireless network back up and running. This new PC is much faster and lighter than the 17" laptop I'd been using, so I'll be more inclined to treat it as strictly a writing computer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Other news

If you're not following along in my rehearsal process over on my theatre blog, then you might not know that I've been cast as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare Carolina.

Our performance dates are April 19 - 28 in Rock Hill. Come visit and see Shakespeare outdoors, just like in the goodle days. Except no tights. NO TIGHTS. In keeping with a favorite theme of mine and O'Neill's (the director), the show will be designed around old Rat Pack Vegas.

Come see it, it's gonna be good in spite of me. And follow along as I try to learn my lines over in Arranger.

PayPerPost helps monetize your blogs

I know some of you don't care about writing for money. I know some of you are all over opportunities to make a little extra gravy from your blogs. And I know that even more of you could care less and wanna hear more about me losing money playing poker. Well, that's coming, don't worry.

But in the meantime, PayPerPost has come up with a really good blog marketing tool to help folks make a little money from their blogs, and they've got some recent site improvements to help top-flight bloggers make even more money.

The way it works is this - you go to their website, browse the list of open opportunities, write the post to fit the criteria (tone, word count, links, etc) and then let them know it's done. They review the post, make sure you met the requirements, and send you an email telling you when you'll be paid. Most posts range in price from $5 to $15. They also require that you disclose that posts are sponsored, and have a neat little HTML tag to help you do this.

The new thing is their new segmentation system, which rewards high-traffic blogs, blogs in niche areas, and blogs with high Google page rank. A quick browse through the open opportunities showed several opportunities paying out $75 - $100 for only 200-300 words. That's a pretty good deal if your site fits the criteria they're looking for.

Some sites will get excluded because some reviewers don't want Blogspot urls, some might not qualify because they're not topical, and some might not have a high enough pagerank, but it's still a good way to pick up a little extra cheddar for doing something you're doing anyway - writing a blog. This post makes the sixth sponsored post I've done, for about $75 extra cash. I like it because whenever I feel like writing a little content for cash, I sit down and bang out a post on some neat thing I saw, and they pay me directly into my PayPal account.

So check it out if you're interested in making random cash for blogging.

Dear US(eless) Airways

Dear sir or madam that hates me when I fly. I have a couple of questions.

First, why is it that when I am in Atlantic City at a seriously juicy $2/5 NL table and find out there's a snowstorm, does your customer service line pick that moment to crash?

Why is it that when I find a friend at home with internet access they inform me that Philadelphia is listed as having no delays due to weather when in fact 50% of all flights that evening have been cancelled?

Why is it that a 70-minute direct flight that happens daily from Philadelphia (US) to Charlotte (mostly US) takes off from the very last spot on terminal A, the international terminal, which is approximately 60% of the walking distance from Philadelphia to Charlotte?

Why is it that you can manage every bag transfer for the poor bastards who were bumped from their flights onto my flight and get their luggage onto the appropriate plane, but my bag, which was to accompany me on my flight with no changes to itinerary or anything else, cannot manage to accompany me?

Why is it that there is no online method for filing a claim for my bag, which would only make sense since I have my baggage claim ticket and can certainly input the same information into an HTML form that your claims agent can input? This would certainly have led to me coming the hell home at roughly midnight, rather than at 3AM after waiting in line for three hours for something I could do myself in five minutes if you'd just set up the coding for it on your website.

So in short, US(eless) Airways, hub of my hometown, why must you suck so bad?

Thanks for eventually getting my bag back to me after only two days, but if you're gonna keep it that long, you should really wash my socks next time.