Your Skin Looks Good in Moonlight: The March 2007 Poker Report

(Editor’s Note: This son of a bitch only took me about ten days to post, which is longer than it took me to post the last one, but I really feel like I'm starting to get into a rhythm.


2 March 2007

(Editor’s Note: Tonight’s section of the Poker Report is going to be pretty off-color, so, if you're easily offended, you should move on to the 9 March 2007 section. It’s been a rough few weeks down at the factory [management problems], so I may have worked bluer than usual.)

Surely, You Must Be Joking: I've got 7-8 and the flop lands J-8-5. I’m heads-up against Seann, and any pair in heads-up play is usually pretty good. I bet the $5, but Seann doubles it to $10. I don’t think that he’s got a jack or an eight with a better kicker, so I call. The turn is another medium card, a card that I know doesn’t help Seann, but I check when I’m first to act. Seann, however bets the $5. I call, still moderately sure that I’m in the lead. The river’s a three, a card that absolutely doesn’t scare me. Still, I check. If Seann had been running a play on me with a monster hand, I had been dead the whole way, and I didn’t want to bet myself out of another $5. If Seann had been on a bluff, he would check at the end and come off of his bluff if he knew that I would only call again.

When Seann bets the $5, I started to suspect that he’d been ahead the entire time. I have to call, though, because I’m already in for $15+ and there’s about $31 in the pot and I need to keep him honest just in case he’s still trying to work a bluff.

Instead, of the above scenarios, something else entirely different goes down.

Seann turns over pocket threes. He had never led and he wasn’t working a hustle. On the river, he had made a set and passed my middle pair. Even with a flop with three overcards to his pair, he had called my $5 bet and then had raised me for the same amount. He had had two outs in the deck, making him about 9% to improve after the flop.

And he raised. He had to have known that I was ahead after the flop because I only really play a hand if I’ve at least made something decent. He had no reason to be in the hand after the flop, but there he was, pushing all that money in on a prayer.


The Brujeria Was Powerful: But it wasn’t a prayer. I had dropped $20 in that goddamned pot, so I cussed Seann a little bit. I may have called him a miserable bitch and a rat bastard, but that part of my memory’s sketchy. Seann Gee and I are cool, and I said it half-jokingly.

What could Seann make a play such as this? Because he had the magical protection of a little talisman. After he pulled the green, he threw a little, round, disk-like white stone on the table, a stone that seemed to have affixed to it a picture of an ancient Mexican man.

Now, we Mexicanos honor our beloved dead, so I figured that this was some kind of keepsake of a family member who had shuffled off this mortal coil, as my man, Shake, wrote a while back, and had been memorialized by having his image somehow bonded onto a white stone.

I thought that this was some spiritual moment that we were all sharing now, communing in grief and loss and an awareness that death comes to claim us all, the ones we love and also, inevitably, ourselves.

I picked up the stone, getting ready to say (because, uh, I’m a poet, sort of, and people, from the very beginning of the use of language, have expected us poets to do so) something powerful and apt and that might bring about the shedding of tears, or at least that uncomfortable looking away that you do when somebody whiffs on saying something powerful and apt and that most emphatically did not move you anywhere near to tears. Hey, a reaction’s a reaction, so I’ll take anything.

So here’s the stone, in my hand, and I’m looking at it. My eyes are a disaster, so I hadn’t really been able to get a clear visual understanding of the man who was pictured on it.

Goddamn, it’s a picture of Jesse. My mind was blown and I started laughing my ass off.

That’s when I said that Seann had been rubbing the stone under the table (don’t be nasty) and praying for one of his two threes left in the deck. But he wasn’t praying to any currently recognized higher entity. No, he was praying to Jesse, as in, O, Great Jesse, send down, in Your infinite power, a three. Hallelujah to the Great Jesse; all happiness be upon Him, and it had worked.

Lesson Learned: Faithful readers of my website, all none of you, might remember that one of my Poker Reports disappeared at the end of February 2007. It disappeared because it got boned away by Ivan’s servers.

Apparently, his servers went down, and the most recent automatic scheduled backup had transpired before the Poker Report went up. Then his servers went down within hours of my posting the Poker Report, which means that there’s a good chance that there’s not one person on this earth who actually read the thing before it disappeared.

I can’t even begin to describe how much of an ass kicking that disappearance gave me. I went months without writing. When I was finally able to write, it was only about that disappearance ( Not counting Node 382 and an attempt to finally get a story that I think might be pretty hot close to a finished draft, I didn’t do any real writing for about a year.

And all of this could have been avoided if I had listened to Ivan from the very beginning and backed up everything that I wrote and posted to my website.

What I had been doing up until then was rough drafting every poker report into a gigantic document entitled Website Materials. I would just add the rough drafts to the bottom of the document and final draft the material at the top.

Once a monthly Poker Report went up, I’d delete the drafts from Website Materials that had gone into its making. You read that right: I’d delete them.

Even though Ivan had told me any number of times to back up my shit, and to back up my back up, I thought that I’d live my life back up free. If something awful happened, I’d say force majeure, and maybe meh and shoulder shrug it, and then move on.

Of course, I never expected anything bad to actually happen. And then: kaboom.

Gone. Into the ether.

The Return: So when Ivan showed up at the game unexpectedly, he and I talked about the disappearance of the August 2006 Poker Report.

Being the good friend that he is, he laughed at me and told me that he had told me so. I, even though I was still inside out about the whole thing, also laughed because, let’s face it, it was pretty funny.

And that was the day that I decided to save every draft, no matter what, so that if the servers go down, I’m still going to be okay.

All of which means that, perhaps, I’m finally starting to live life more in the adult style that I have been assiduously avoiding.

I Said to Get Me a Burrito: Arizona’s gone completely dead broke. He Ices for a while, then re-buys. He gets that money into play, but it doesn’t last too long, either.

He sits for a little while longer before he announces that he’s going to his bank. I tell him that I’ve got all kinds of money on me and that I can cut him a loan, but he says that that’s okay.

He stands up to leave when Jesse stops him. Is Jesse going to offer Arizona some kind words about tonight’s poker game, something to give Arizona strength and courage, something to help him fight through whatever pain he might be feeling?

No. Jesse wants burritos.

Bert, Seann, and I start looking at each other in disbelief that Jesse would put in a food order when Arizona looks like he’s already not in very good shape. Basically Jesse was saying, “Not only did I take all of your money, but now I’m going to send you on an errand.”

I probably wouldn’t have taken the request very well, but Arizona handled it like a class act.

I think that Jesse noticed that the table had gotten particularly quiet, and so he asked if it had been cool to make Arizona his burrito-buying errand boy. I said that I thought that it was a little fucked up, and the others seemed to be in agreement with my position.

Instead of having a learned discussion about kindness and the nature of friendship, we decided to make jokes in the vein of Arizona being sent on other types of errands..

And then I said that if I were Arizona, I’d violate the tacos and deliver them in less than pristine condition. I may even have joked about running around the block in order to develop an alternative to the little Taco Bell hot sauce packets, but that part’s a little sketchy.

Up and Down: Okay, this might seem less than classy, but Seann had been delivering bad bead after bad beat to me, and, refined guy that he is, he had been talking smack about it.

It was at this point that I threatened to love Seann’s couch up and down. I also named the couch Wanda, as in, I’m going to do some truly nasty stuff to Wanda.

It’s the New Me: I used to go right back at the people who were less than gracious in their victories. I just don’t think that that’s any way to behave.

Jesse’s like Seann, but I don’t think that Jesse realizes this.

But I never once came back at him. Well, I did, but it was only once, and I only half-enjoyed it. Well, okay, I 97% enjoyed it. But I felt 3% guilty, and that’s something. Growth, I think it’s called.

It Was Like a Game: So I had dropped $100 straight for the night, my worst loss of the year. My overall is down to 5-5 and the YTD is now only at +$184.50. Not pleasant.

But I wasn’t really upset with the loss. I mean, I had taken two pretty inexplicable beats that cost me the $38+ that I had invested, plus the money that had gotten into the pot that had come from other players, which adds up to about a $50 swing.

I had had fun and joked around with the poker crew. No big deal. But there’s much comedy to be wrung from having had all of your money taken away.

After I used the facilities before I began the long ride to the town in which I work, I came back into the game room and told Seann that I had pissed on one of the pillows in his house and that he should try to figure out which one it was. I said that it would be Like a game.

And then I left.

9 March 2007

Las Vegas: I booked my room a few weeks ago, and it’s all set. I get there on a Monday and will stay until Friday. Sweet. Bert, along with his special lady, is arriving on Tuesday. I know what you’re thinking, that Bert’s special lady is going to mess with the poker playing.

Not true. She’s cool, man, and she doesn’t hassle him about playing hours and hours of poker. Yes, he does have to put in his time—dinners, shopping, etc.—but he’d put in that time anyway because he’s a classy guy who understands how the biz works.

Check it out, though: Bert’s invited his sister to come along. What does this mean? That he can squeeze in even more poker playing.

Damn, Bert is smart. His strategizing had been so powerful that I felt that it needed to be acknowledged by a fist tap.

Also coming along for the trip will be my big bro. Bert and I always have fun in Las Vegas when we’re both sitting at the same table, and I think that it’ll be even more fun once my big bro catches up to us.

True, I can get a little tense when I have to watch my big bro in the middle of a hand because I can’t stand to have to see him lose the occasional pot. But he does more than fine at a poker table.

It Can Come Apart So Quickly: I made $20 by winning two mini-tournaments before the start of the cash game. I’ve been getting shafted so much during the recent cash games that I was glad to begin with a $20 profit.

Those $20 were gone on the first hand.

I got dealt pocket nines and made it $7 to go after Jesse’s $2 bet. The flop lands with two undercards to my pocket pair but also with a king.

I’m first to act, so I check, but Jesse bets. I called that bet, and then the $5 turn and river bets that Jesse made. He had made top pair on the flop and gotten me for $22. Just like that

He had played K-10, the worst of the barely playable hands, but he had called a $5 raise and flopped top pair. He did bet it after that, and I suspected that he had—was almost sure that he had—a king, but I just couldn’t let it go.

if he had hit his king, then he had hit one of his six outs to beat me. I had been a 55.66% favorite going in, and I had known that I was only slightly favored. There was no reason at all to sink so much money into this particular hand, but reason oftentimes doesn’t have much to do with how Jesse and I play hands against each other.

We just get a kick out of trying to take each other’s chips.

Yes, it is unhealthy, but think about it: at this point, we’ve spent nearly every Friday for twenty-six months playing poker. Healthy is the last thing on anybody’s mind.

At Least I Didn’t Lose: Which means that I won. $17.25, which is about one medium-sized pot. So, after all of the hours of playing, my winning for the night probably came down to one hand somewhere in the middle of all of those hours. That’s how tough our game is.

The YTD’s at +$201.75 now, with the overall at a not-too-impressive 6-5.

16 March 2007

Las Vegas, Once More: Everything’s planned. Two weeks from this coming Monday, I get on the road at eight in the morning. Hopefully, there won’t be much traffic, and I’ll be checked in by two and at the tables by three. I might even be able to get to a four o’clock tournament if I’m lucky.

Part of the plan for this trip is to play in a few tournaments. The last time that I was in Las Vegas, I played in three and won one. My life is so empty of consequence nowadays that winning that tournament might end up being one of the major accomplishments of the last few years. So, minutes after the conclusion of the final table and just before I was about to partake of my post-victory Chinese food, I called Bert, mostly to find out when he was going to arrive, but also to talk about the tournament that I had just won.

No, I’m not proud.

Surge: Surge is a hustler. All he does is come in and take everybody’s money. He’s the only guy who really scares me right now. Don’t get me wrong; everybody who consistently plays at our game can take every single one of your chips. But I’ve managed to be able to minimize losses against those players so that those hands don’t cost me too much.

Against Surge, though, it seems that he can extract money from me almost at will.

For example, I flop a set of fives, but I slow-play them, hoping to check-raise when there’s a bet behind me, usually a safe play because there are people at our table who like to get their money in, with or without a hand.

However, there are no bettors behind, so a free card is going to come off, the last thing that I want because my hand could blow up and leave me trailing with no choice but to call away a lot of chips, hoping that, somehow, my set is still good or that I’ll catch on the river and make a boat.

A seven lands on the turn. This doesn’t scare me too much because I’m holding a seven myself. I had let the last round go off without a bet from me, so I bet the $5. Surge immediately makes it $10.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be worried by a re-raise because people at our table will re-raise a max bet with two pair, a hand that would be far behind mine and with little chance to pass me on the river.

I call, and the river’s a blank. I check, hoping to get a free showdown, but Surge bets the $5.

I’ve got a set, there are no flushes or straights out there, the board hasn’t paired, and I think that I might still be ahead, so I call.

I’m into the pot for $17, counting my $2 pre-flop call. I turn over my set, but Surge turns over his pocket sevens, meaning that he out-set me on the turn.

How unlikely was this? Well, considering the fact that I had one of the sevens, it meant that Surge caught the case seven on the turn when he had a little bit better than 4% to do so. He was about 25-to-1 to hit, and he did.


It Would Have Been Sweet: Jesse’s dealing Omaha Eight or Better, and I look down at my cards: K-Q-10-10. A lousy hand for 8OB, so I figure that I’ll just fold it if there’s a lot of pre-flop action into the pot.

That’s what was going through my mind as there’s a minor commotion at the other end of the table. I look up to see Surge sweeping in what looks like six or seven cards into his hand. It turns out that he’s accidentally grabbed a few of my big bro’s cards.

It’s a misdeal. Hey, not a big deal; it happens. Jesse, for curiosity’s sake, burns out the flop: 10-2-2.

That’s right, I would have flopped a full house. Considering that I had a king and a queen in my hand, it would have been hard for anybody to catch up to me.

There was only one qualifying low card on the flop, and only one afterward, so there wouldn’t have been a low, so all of the pot, whatever had gotten in there, whatever I would have managed to get in there, would have all come to Big Daddy. (I’m Big Daddy.)

To put it simply, Surge boned me. I could have handled this in two ways. I could have gone street-style and hit him with a chip rack and/or made a scene. I went the other way and started laughing. It was funny to me that what would have been one of my best hands of the night was ruined before it even ever got started.

I pretended to be angry, for comedy’s sake, and called Surge a few names, but only jokingly and with nothing but love in my heart. I told him that I was going to go outside and piss on his car. Furthermore, I then said that (and I apologize in advance because this is going be gross and also completely juvenile) I was going to rub the equipment (if you get what I’m saying) on his door handle. I also recall saying, Motherfucker, I’m trying to get paid here, but only because motherfucker is one of the great words in the English language.

Afterward, to show that there were no hard feelings, we fist-tapped it out after I said, “Nah, brother, you know you’re cool.”

I Should Have Left: I have a Saturday gig (incidentally, where I’m typing this rough draft), so I’ve got to leave the game at 1:30 a.m. That means that I cash out at 1:25 a.m. However, I had lost track of time, and it had crept a little past that.

I had just dealt, and I didn’t want it to seem like I had waited for my deal (when one is in the best position to take actions because all of the action is in front of you and you’re the last to act) before I left. I said that I would play two more hands while I cashed out.

I had just counted my chips, and I had almost $100 in profit. Not bad, especially since I had been down about $30 early on in the night. Honestly, I’m hoping to get junk cards so that I can fold and get out with a pretty decent profit for the night, especially since I've had a bad few weeks and recently lost a little over $167.

In the first hand, I look down to see that I’ve got hearts-suited A-J. Ice, who had dealt, had bet $2 into an un-opened pot. Surge called, and I made it $7 to go.

Wait, you’re thinking, didn’t I say that I wanted to get out of the game as quickly and as cheaply as I could? Yes, I did, but I’m still going to play a good hand if I’ve got one; it’d be cowardly not to. And, besides, betting $2 into the pot and then having somebody only call the $2 without coming in over the top tells me that I’m probably in the lead.

Ice and Surge both call, which, I will admit, is a little bit of a surprise. The flop lands A-Q-6, so I've flopped top pair. There is a queen out there that might give somebody two pair, aces and queens, so I decide to only call down any bets that come in.

There’s already $22.25 in the pot when Surge bets $5. I call, thinking that Ice will get out of the hand now. Ice, instead, makes it $10 to go. Surge calls and now it comes back to me.

I run through the previous action into this hand. Surge had bet it; I had called; and Ice, the third guy in, had actually raised. Surge then called without any hesitation. I’m pretty sure that I’m beat, almost certain.

I have pushed $12 into a pot that’s grown to $47.25, but I let it go.

After the turn, Ice goes all in for the rest of his money, and Surge calls. They turn over their cards. Surge has got diamonds-suited A-J, but Ice has unsuited A-K. Ice’s hand holds up, and he wins a huge pot.

Incredibly, Surge and I had had identical hands. Also incredibly, each of the three of us was holding an ace. Most incredibly, we flopped the case ace, a 1-in-46 possibility. While I did lose $12, I did manage to get out without losing much more than I had to.

Okay, I’m still up $82.25. Not bad. I’ll just hope to fold my hand and then happily cash out. I look at my cards, and I've got an ace, nine, a five, and some other lousy card. A worthless hand, but I’m in for a cheap flop that lands 9-9-X, giving me trip nines with top kicker.

Okay, on the last hand, I bet it early and I got killed, so this time I’m going to slow-play it. Everybody checks and we get a free turn, a king. Surge bets $2, Jesse folds, and it’s to me.

Shine that noise, I raise $5, thinking that Surge made a play at the pot and that he’ll fold now.

Nope. Surge bets $5 more. Great. I’m not sure what he has now, but I still have trip nines, so I call. The river’s a five. I’ve paired one of my kickers and made a full house at the end. Surge is first to act, and he calmly bets $5. I call, thinking that I’ve won the hand.

Surge turns over his pocket kings for a turned K-K-K-9-9 boat that thoroughly rapes my 9-9-9-5-5 boat. He had hit one of his two outs in the deck to crack my flopped trip-nines, a less than 5% possibility, and takes the $35.35 pot into which I’d invested $17.

So, in the last two hands, two hands in which I’d made pretty decent hands, I lost $29, taking me from a $94.25 overall win down to $65.25. Still, even though I lost about a third of my overall winnings (which had taken me, by the way, about four hours to accumulate) in the last five minutes, I’m proud of myself for not being a coward and playing as I would have even if I weren’t getting ready to leave. (Okay, yes, I did slow-play my way into trouble on the last hand, but even if I had bet the $5 after I flopped trip nines, Surge probably would have called with his over-pair.)

Next time, I’m just leaving.

23 March 2007

Quality Husbanding: So we’re playing at a house in which we don’t normally play. It’s the house of one of the regulars at our game, but to protect his reputation, he’s going to remain nameless.

Why the anonymity? Because this guy’s wife was sick and in their bedroom the whole time that we played.

My thinking on the deal is that if your special lady is sick in some room of the house that, perhaps, you make some calls, and the game, no problem, gets moved to some other location.

We’re all classy, understanding dudes in the poker crew, with agile minds and solid problem-solving skills. We’d have worked it out in no time.

And then, perhaps, you stay home to minister to your wife in her time of need. You know: soup, adjusting the thermostat, talking about her hopes and dreams. Nice stuff that (let’s not pretend to be innocents here) scores you points for later use

Not once did my homie go in to check on his lady. He did take time, however, to show me his bad-ass $2,400+ grill.

It was gorgeous. I, myself, love to barbecue. It’s a little-known fact, but I’m known as the Grill Master.

Okay, the only person who calls me that is me. Whenever we have barbecues at my parents’ house, it is assumed that I’m the one who will set up and work the grill.

I don’t want to get cheesy about it, but there’s not much that an adult son/brother/uncle can do for the ones that he loves, so I really love barbecuing for my family: pollo preparado (that, for you non-Mexicanos out there, is chicken marinated Mexican-style) and carne asada for the adults, and a boatload of hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids. Occasionally, I’ll even throw some green onions on the grill to roll up in a corn tortilla along with a piece of carne asada.

Ungh, that’s just good living.

The Self-Hater: We’ve got a lot of highly verbal and articulate heavy hitters at our game, and the conversations can take many turns. Somehow, probably related to the tasty food of which we were partaking, the conversation turned to a particular type of Mexicano.

I don’t know if this happens with other nationalities, but among Mexicanos one will occasionally run into some who will make it a point to emphasize that he or she (but almost always a he) is, in fact, of heavily Spanish blood.

I even remember one of my grade-school friends, Kevin, pointing out that if you spelled “Gonzales” with an “s” that you were more Spanish than Mexican. If you spelled it with a “z” at the end, then you were probably pure beaner. God forbid.

It’s pretty clear that these with an ‘s’ guys hate that part of themselves that they think that others are already hating: that dark-skinned, native looking part, that part that somebody might label as poor or ignorant or inferior.

So, obviously, these people have internalized some damaging shit and have been deeply wounded.

But, while I’m sympathetic to the damaged and the lost (because I feel like I’m on that team, feel like maybe I could be a starter), these people lose any fellow feeling that I might have if I see them acting hateful towards others.

It Was Ass Kicking Time: Which brings me to a story from a few years ago. My father and I were at the Bridge Store, thusly named because it’s located next to a bridge that crosses over a nearby river. The store’s been there forever, and it’s just as long been the store to which a Mexicano could go and know that he would both find clerks who could speak Spanish and also find that he would be treated kindly.

I had driven my father there so that he could pay his utility bill. He got in line behind a bunch of Mexicanos who were also there for the same reason. I figured that this bill paying was my dad’s business, so I decided to respectfully hang back and let him transact man to man with the cashier.

Soon, my dad’s standing in front of the cashier, and he says in Spanish that he needs to pay his utility bill, Then the cashier replies in English. It’s clear that my father didn’t understand much of what the cashier had said to him, but my father’s paid many bills in his life, so he knows how the transaction should proceed.

My father said something else in Spanish, only to get another all-English response. At this point, I was getting a little concerned because I knew what was going on.

This cashier, who worked at a store where just about every customer probably doesn’t speak English (one of the reasons that this store has always done so well is because Spanish-only speakers know that they can shop there and not be made to feel bad), must go around speaking to all of his customers in English because he hates himself, hates that part of him that he sees in his customers (the part that must take abuse from all kinds of different people for all kinds of just reprehensible reasons), and might also be abusing the little power that he has thus far managed to accumulate.

So when my father said another thing in Spanish and again had only English spoken back to him, I decided that this bullshit had gone on longer than it should have.

(I should mention here that the cashier was one dark-ass Mexican, much darker than any of his customers. He may have been embittered or become a self-loathing bastard because he was at the ass-end of the Mexican color spectrum, which may have led him to believe that he was in for more abuse than he may have already received from within and without the Mexican/Chicano community for the rest of his life [which, as we all know, might be true], and he was engaging the world through that history and from this mindset.)

My father still wasn’t done paying his bill when I walked up to the counter and stood next to him. I firmly asked the cashier, “Do you speak Spanish?” and he stopped what he was doing and looked at me. And he looked at me some more.

“Yes,” he finally said, as I had strongly suspected that he had all along.

I then said, “Well, then speak Spanish to my father.”

I’m not a violent person at all, but I’m sure that if this person had said one more disrespectful or hurtful thing to either my father or to myself (but mostly to my father), that I would have pulled him out from behind his little counter and thrown him through a window.

Again, violence is not my thing, but I couldn’t stand to see my father being abused by anybody, and certainly not by a young man who hasn’t lived anywhere near as much as my father has or accomplished anywhere near as much as he has when he had had so little with which to start.

After I had told the story, Seann said that I was worked up, probably because I was. I said to Seann, “Dude, this motherfucker had disrespected my father, and I’m not going to let that slide.” I also probably called that cashier a whole bunch of other names. Use your imagination, but remember that I’m pretty good at cussing, so you're going to have to access areas of the language that may make you uncomfortable.

I was so worked up, in fact, that I said, You know what? Let’s go to the Bridge Store right now and kick some ass, but we didn’t go.

Adult Education: Most of the homies at our game are college educated, some of us educated as hell, some of us (yours truly) educated as hell with worthless degrees. Seriously, each MFA program should have a person on staff whose sole job it is to try to talk you out of getting a degree in poetry writing.

Director of Talking You Out of Throwing Away Your Life (DOTYOOTAYF): Poetry? Are you sure?

Stupid Poet (SP): Yes. I love poetry. I think that it saved my life.

DOTYOOTAYF: Okay. Sure. I hear that a lot. You have no idea. Have you ever thought about business school, maybe? Here are some brochu—

SP: I’ve got these ideas, all of these pages of poems. I want to be the best writer that I can be

DOTYOOTAYF [nodding sadly, then in a mildly sarcastic voice]: Yeah, I’m sure that it’s really going to work out for you

SP [missing the sarcasm]: Do you really think so?

One of us, however, hadn't done the college thing, though he was planning to go starting in the fall. Cool. I’m not a snob. Some of the dumbest people that I know have college educations (when I was in grad school in Seattle, those PhD English students were as big a group of morons as I have ever encountered; I've never been around so many people who had not one really smart thing to say about literature, or pretty much anything else; I’d sometimes listen to them talking about a book or some books, and I’d think that they surely must have been joking) and some of the smartest never set foot on a college campus.

My father’s only went up through third-grade on his rancho when he was a kid, but he’s one of the smartest people that I know. There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this during California daylight hours that my father is also reading.

(Editor’s Note, 22 May 2008: And, as I write this, I can happily say that my buddy just completed his first year of business school. Great, just what I need: another math guy at the table to have to battle against.)

Bollocks: I lose $15.00 (about what you could lose in one medium-sized hand) and drop my record to 7-6, keeping me in just this side of not being a complete loser. The YTD’s still relatively strong after nearly three months of playing, +$252.00, so there’s hope.

31 March 2007

It’s a Mystery: Arizona was starving. I, being a classy host, offered him some “chicken chunks.” “Chicken chunks?” he queried.

Those of you who roll Costco-style know that they have a fabulous frozen foods section. They must have at least three sections of various chicken products in that mother. One of those products is bags of Chicken McNuggets-like pieces of chicken: Tiny, breaded, deep-fried. A delight.

But it’s pretty clear that these chicken chunks aren’t made up of the most deluxe parts of the chicken (which is why I gave them the nickname that I did: chunks), and I didn’t want to deceive Arizona about them. That was when I told him that the chicken chunks were probably made up of “the parts of a chicken that not even another chicken would touch, not even if he was drunk or on a dare.”

Pizza: After the chicken chunks discussion, I suggested that perhaps we should order a pizza for whoever wanted to get down on it. This idea met with immediate approval, and I went to the cork-board to see if we had any Pizza Factory coupons. Sadly we did not, and Pizza Factory has a delivery monopoly out where my big bro lives.

There had been a time when ordering a pizza wouldn’t have been a big deal and happened once in a while. But my big bro’s doing the healthy-living thing now, one of my homies was recently told to make some adjustments to his lifestyle, and I decided that it would be way too dumb to die of a heart attack before I turned forty and have been trying to not eat too moronically for the last ten months. I mean, son of a bitch, I even drink diet Pepsi now.

I’m not going to waste time asking what anybody wants on the pizza because I didn’t have an hour to waste and I didn’t want to lose any friends or have to jump into the middle of a punch up. Seriously, anybody who can peacefully and quickly negotiate the toppings on a shared pizza should be immediately shipped to the Middle East.

Instead, I executive-decisioned it and went with an extra-large pepperoni. When in doubt, go with the classic.

That bad boy came out to $20.78, so I figured that I’d pay the dude “25 straight.” That’s what I called the $25, which is funny because appending “straight” to a number is what one does at a poker table to indicate the total of a person’s call and bet. For example, if there’s a $10 bet in front of you and you want to raise $15, then you would say, “Make it $25 straight,” so that there’s no confusion.

So my man hands over the pie and I ask him if he’s got any chili flakes for daddy. Not for me, because I can’t handle spicy foods, (I mean, not at all. For a Chicano, that’s embarrassing, but that’s not that big a deal because I seem to have been born somehow pre-embarrassed, so embarrassment is only a matter of degree for me.), but just in case any of my homies want some.

I've just dropped $25 on a pizza, $4 of which was his tip (a little bit less than a 20% tip, which, hey, isn’t too shabby) which seems a tad high (But what can one expect when there’s a monopoly? I remember that when I lived in Seattle that I could get three large one-topping pizzas for a little over $20. True, I left Seattle in early-1998, but the reason that the prices were so low was obvious: I lived in the University District, and I was surrounded by pizza joints. Competition was rough and I was inundated with coupons and I could have lived cheaply on pizza if I had wanted to.), so I figure that the guy will hand over a load of chili flakes.

He says that he doesn’t have any. Come on, how can he go out on his deliveries without chili flakes? That’s just morally bankrupt.

I’m Getting Raped: Poker-wise, I mean. I've lost three weeks in a row now (-$41.75 this week), so March wasn’t any better than February. I’m still up for the year, +$210.25, but the won-loss is down to 7-7.

If you do the simple math, you'll se that I'm clearing $15.02 a game, about $3 an hour.

That's embarrassing.



(Editor’s Note, 22 May 2008: This post's title comes from a song entitled Steam Engine, a stunningly beautiful song by My Morning Jacket. I originally purchased the CD on which this song can be found, It Still Moves, back in 2004, but you know how it is: There's so much good music out there and you keep on purchasing so much of it that you may never really give yourself a chance to listen to a song or an album or even an entire band, which is what happened in this case.

But then, about five weeks ago, I decided, for no real reason, to finally listen to It Still Moves. The whole album is great [which, considering the reviews that it got, is not a surprise], but Steam Engine is the song to which I can't stop listening. Check out these lyrics: [Y]our skin looks good in moonlight/and goddamn those shaky knees.

That's got to be on of the great uses of goddamn in music, and I'm probably going to have to write an essay about both the above-mentioned usage of goddamn in music and about just how great this song is.)


All I know is that this Ice guy sounds incredibly smart and sexy...

It's Hard to Be Sexy in a Celtics Cap...

...but I'll definitely give you smart.