Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bouncing around the room (apologies to Pauly)

If you haven’t been reading CC’s blog, you’re missing out. Go check out his interview with G-Vegas’ own Wolverine. This kid has serious poker chops and is polite, funny and cool. He came up with Shep and TeamScott to play in my home tourney and even the wife remarked that “he was a nice boy.” He’s got a good head on his shoulders and even looks like he wants to follow in the old man’s footsteps, er, funny hat, er, whatever.

Getting a little bit going on FT ring games, mostly limit. I’m trying to get a handle on multi-tabling, and it seems like I can manage that a little better at a limit game than a no-limit game. I can follow ABC poker on 2-3 tables and focus enough for decent NL action on one all at the same time, but I can’t successfully play more than one table on NL at a time. Just isn’t happening right now. But the goofs at FTP are more than willing to pay off ABC poker with a VP$IP of under 20, so I’m cool with that. Can’t book a winning session at Stars limit tables to save my life right now. Otis, quit fuckin’ around, lay off the doom switch already (.

Thanks to a suggestion from our own inimitable BG, I got the first two discs of Veronic Mars season 1 in the mail today from Blockbuster. Veronica Mars is totally the new Buffy. She’s cute (I’m so going to hell for saying that), the dialogue is witty, and the story is serialized enough to keep my interest.

We watched the entire first season of Lost last week after not having ever seen an episode. What a mind-fuck. That’s another brilliant show, and I really love watching TV shows on DVD. Fits my schedule better, and lets me continue to put off calling the cable company to route cable into the den/poker room from the old den (which is now the dining room).

So I’m taking suggestions for the next series to put into my queue. Realize that we own the whole Buffy series, and have seen all of Smallville, but I’ve seen next to nothing else, so I’m a bit of a blank slate. I watched Season 1 of 24, but nothing since, so I did out the rest of that series into the list. So lemme know what’s cool. Oh, and I’m outta books, too.

Stranger than fiction

Here’s one from the “I can’t make this shit up” Department. Yesterday I woke up feeling like 8 miles of bad road. Sick to my stomach, bleary-eyed, all those things I’ve come to expect from a long night of gamboling and drinking. Except I wasn’t doing either of those things (for very long) Sunday night. I was in bed by 11PM. Eastern time, even.

So I called in sick to work, and proceeded to try to sleep off whatever it was. And failed. Along about 9AM, the project manager for a church I’m working on called me to inform me of an important coordination meeting on site at 2PM. 90 minutes away. Reset the alarm to noon, and we’re off.

Meeting goes well, get back in the car, put my hard hat in the back of the Cruiser, sit down, insert key, turn key…

Well, you knew where that was going, right? A whoooole lot of nowhere. And getting there fast. So at that point, I whip out ye olde celle fone and call AAA. Except no calls can go through due to sunspots. Or walruses. Or some-goddamn-thing-that-was-thwarting-me-at-every-goddamn turn.

So one of the electricians on the site walks up as I pop the hood and says “What’s wrong with it?”

“I dunno.”

“My brother-in-law had one of them PT Cruisers and he said it was a piece of shit.”

I felt oddly compelled to defend my somewhat geigh purple car at this point, but was hard-pressed to do so, as I was stranded over an hour from home by a traitorous machine.

“Try it again, maybe I can see what it is.”

I comply.

“It’s your starter. Battery’s fine. Starter’s gone. You got a tire tool?”

“Excuse me?”

“A tire tool, like a crowbar?”

So I’m now looking in the jack for a tire tool (remember, AAA, I don’t change tires, I pay a yearly fee so I don’t HAVE to change tires) and pull out the crank for the jack.

“Will this work?”

“Nah, that’s too short. Lemme go look.”

So he comes back with a 4-foot stake, sharpened at one end and vicious-looking enough to make Buffy cream herself, and proceeds to try to insert the stake through parts of the engine of my car to reach the starter.

“If I can tap on it, maybe I can get ‘er to go.”

I sit in my car, somewhat dumbfounded by this turn of events, frantically wishing I had stayed in grad school, watching the very helpful electrician “tap” the starter with a 4-foot STICK.

“This is too big, lemme git something else.”

So after my savior finds a narrow metal rod that better navigated the innards of my car, he successfully reaches the starter with the rod, and says “Try ‘er again.”

It worked. In the 21st century, with a vehicle made by robots containing a minimum of 3 computers each of which would make NORC look like a helmet-sporting retard, a 7-toothed electrician hit the starter with a piece of rebar and made the engine start.

I drove straight to the dealership, left it running in the service bay, got in my rental, and drove home. I love technology. No matter how advanced we get, sometimes the best option is to just find the appropriately-sized stick and beat it into submission.

Adder: Here's something I'm proposing. Fat Dan the Fat Fish is trying to become less of all that except for the Dan part, which is probably unalterable. BSN and Hoff are in on the whole weight-loss thing, too. I want to make a wager. Go to Dan's weight loss blog, give him a shout out, and if you've got a few pounds to drop, maybe join the eating of twigs and berries. I'm starting at 255 and want to drop at least 40 lbs.


Live by the Hammer,

Die by the Hammer.

Thanks to Wwonka for the screen shots.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Home Game Hand Question

For Shelly – I use software called Faststone. It’s freeware and easy enough for me to figure out, so I like it so far.

Had a few folks over tonight to play cards, only five this week. Attendance was way down from the dozen or so that we had a few weeks ago, but my results were way better. By that I mean, not negative. I have now strung together two days of not losing in a row. I’m not shooting for winning, just not losing. I finished up about $15.

One interesting hand that I’m still kicking myself for. We had gotten down to 3-handed after emptying out the wallets of a couple of folks, so we switched to Crazy Pineapple. Short-handed No Limit Crazy Pineapple, Hi only. On this hand, I violated my cardinal rule of Crazy Pineapple, and it cost me. I never, ever, ever like to break a made hand to go for a draw. Unless my made hand is total shit and my draw is the nuts, 90% of the time I’m gonna stick with my made hand.

So I look down at KJT rainbow. Ten of clubs. Flop comes down KJQ, two clubs, and I bet $2 into a $1.50 pot. Dad calls, and now time for the discard. I toss my Jack, keeping my top pair with an open-ended straight and backdoor flush draw. Again, I kinda hate myself for doing that. Turn is something ragged and non-club. Another $2, another call. River is an 8, another $2, another call. I say “just Kings,” and Dad turns over Q8. I’m not really sick about the river draw out he put on me, more on myself for dumping the two pair in the first place. Peeps with more Pineapple experience, was that as stupid a play as I think, or do I have some justification in going for the draw?

daddy got screen capture software finally

...and them's quads, beetches. Gonna be swimmin' in the kiddie pool for a while, but that stuff makes it fun.

WPT Championship Update (not really)

In case you were wondering, anyone who took the under on Pauly’s return to poker blogging was gold, baby. The good Dr. is back in style at the WPT Championship. He’s currently eschewing his typical live blogging for more important pursuits. “I'm using my time at the Bellagio wisely(drinking, gambling, bullshitting with pros, gossiping with my friends in the media, checking out the hot railbirds) and I discovered that you get to see and experience more aspects of the tournament when you are wandering around instead of being glued to a laptop in the corner updating chipcounts like a spider monkey jacked up on crack.”

Welcome back, doc.

Go check out Bluff magazine, too. They employ the Spaceman, so they’re cool in my book.

Up on the Hill Countdown

7 Days and counting until the best damn music festival on the east coast! I can’t say enough cool things about Merlefest, the Merle Watson Memorial Music Festival, held every year in North Wilkesboro, NC. There’s such an amazing collection of different styles of music from traditional bluegrass, blues, folk, rock, world music, Americana to straight-up country and rock. There really is something for everybody, and this year’s lineup is extraordinary, with some of my favorite songwriters (John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Darrel Scott), performers (Sam Bush, John Cowan, Bela Fleck) and a few artists I just have an amazing crush on (lead singer for The Duhks. Tattoed bald chicks are smokin’ hot!).

So if you’re anywhere near North Carolina next weekend, and care anything about good music, you owe it to yourself to join me and 70,000 of my closest friends at Merlefest. I’ll try to keep folks posted of what coolness I see, but I’m not sure about the internet connection at our hovel.

Overheard at the office today

You know you’re in bad shape when there’s feces coming out of your nose. You don’t want to say shit, it’s just too much. So you get medical, you call it feces.”

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Put my toe back in the kiddie pool

So last night I sat down for a few minutes at the gamboling machine and played a tiny bit of limit. Micro-limit, even. Nickle-Dime on Stars. Because I have like $4.00 left on Stars and I’d like to rebuild a bit. I’d like to rebuild a lot, but there are holes in my game and I need to work on my folding technique before I redeposit. Unless I decide to play DADI 5 for a WSOP seat on Monday, which will require a redeposit. So I sit there for a few minutes and play ABC poker. Boring enough, but I doubled up in 30 minutes just by playing straightforward poker. If I had it, I bet. If I didn’t have it, I folded to a bet. Period. So now I have $6 on Stars, and let’s see if I can develop a little discipline before I’m completely broke online.

Things I’m trying to fix –

  1. I complete my SB with almost any two cards. Pablo gave me a great tip in Vegas that I defend my blinds with shit too often. He’s absolutely right, I do. And I complete my small blind with shit even more often. The long run will never be long enough for me to hit enough flops with my garbage to make up for the money I piss away in completing small blinds with crap.

  2. I call the river too often when my gut says I’m beat. That’s just fucking stupid and has to stop.
There are more, but no need to tell everyone in the free world how to take my money. So my current plan is to play the MPS sng’s on Full Tilt and concentrate on their Bracelet Race Tourneys, and play micro-limit on Stars to rebuild and work on my fundamentals. Too much Fancy Play Syndrome has crept into my game in the last few months and I need to screw the lid back on and play cards again.

Let’s see if I can manage any of that (.

Song meme continues

Another entry from the song meme – my buddy Stan takes influence from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. Check out more from Stan, who is no shit my favorite actor I’ve even seen live on stage at his blog. Feel free to hit me with your own song stories, I’d love to see what you come up with.

Cold Morning – by Stan Peal

The cold air cuts my throat into crystals and I run. The breath is beating like my heart, like my feet, like the thumping at the back of my neck. I can hear them crunching after me. Red glowing splinters through buildings and broken glass. There’s light enough to see me, not enough light to break the cold, but the sun is coming and I can’t stop it no matter how hard I run.

Something green glimpsed in the corner, up from a crack in the pavement. I gave her a flower once and she brushed the leaves with her fingers, that green squeezed under her gentle pressing. Now it’s just a flash, now it’s pushing up between the rocks. She looked at me, I thought she was looking at me, but no she was already gone. The trail of blood out of her lips came too fast. Dripped into the ground.

That door, I know it’s going to give way if I crash it, if I run full into it, beat it with my body, with my arms, my heart is beating and my head is beating and my breath is beating and the cold air stabs and cuts into my throat. Someone yells and a shot cracks the air. The cold empty air breaks in shards before the sun can melt it. I crash through the tenement door and it’s even colder on the inside.

She slept in a room, dark with metal fittings around the ceiling. We studied them in warm afterwards petting and wondering where the pipes go. Cool pipes never rattle, never blow. I can almost picture a smile, but her lips and the blood flows. The pipe bomb slit the air like a razor canon, split sharp and deafening.

Pounding the stairs, the shocks banging through my ankles, my knees vibrating, fear is electric and blood is passion, flesh and gravity are nothing under the pushing of gasping and heartache. I cry out from the pit of my squeezing guts and her moaning echoes in the stairwell. I kick the steps harder and faster to get away, the sweat almost freezing as it comes out, making my own wind in a wake, awakened to a rising of nothing left. Nothing but running. The yelling disappears in their pathetic burying as I fly higher and up the rotting wood, banging and cracking, pounding and echoing, crying and free.

One day the wind caught her hair and she sang. She smiled and opened her mouth to the breeze, her eyes squinting, cheeks up squeezing out the joy, too big for her heart. Her hands flew up and she sang, sang like an angel, smiling too much of a smile to stick to her body, flying in all directions, into the wind and into the sun.

The shaft of sunlight bashes the wall like a battering ram through the window at the top of the stairwell. They’re still coming, stumbling clumsy up the stairs, hopelessly behind, like animals grunting and rooting for a turn at the mush, dirty and stupid. I fly, crashing the glass, cutting red, I don’t care, I’m already free, I’m already gone, flipping through the frame, broken under my back, useless stabs into my hip, I push up from the tiles, painted in white spots from the birds, they know where the sun feeds. Shifting gravity under my feet, I steady my legs and look to the short, corrugated horizon. They’re right behind me. My foot grinds the gravel shingle and I reach for the cliff, sucking in the cold air like water.

I launch into the empty and the sun fills the air. Speeding down into the sky, gravity turns behind me and I feel upside under, finally apart from everything, the cold air sweeping my arms faster and sharper, the wind whistling at my ears higher and higher. The ground is growing, the pavement is coming. I know I’ll crash right through it, splintering through to the other side.

She’s waiting for me on the other side.

She’s waiting on the other side.

She’s waiting.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Theatre post for a change

I did mention that my theatre life was picking back up a little, didn’t I? Well, check out for more info. Glenn is the Artistic Director of our theatre, Off-Tryon Theatre Company, and the playwright of the show that we’re taking to the coolest damn theatre festival in the US this summer. If you’re going to be anywhere near Asheville, NC around Memorial Day weekend check us out!

So with Off-Tryon picking up a little, my buddy Chris and I are still working on The Towers Project, turning people’s stories about 9/11 and the days following into a communal theatre piece. If you want to participate, email me or leave a comment. Chris has a new blog, check him out for rants and randomness.

Dad is in a show that my wife is costuming. He’s playing Brady in Inherit the Wind, a frighteningly timely drama. I want her to work a FSM shirt or logo into the show somehow, but she’s resisting.  

And it looks like we’re actually going to produce a couple of shows next season. We’re working on scheduling with the venue, but it looks like a 2-show season, which will consist of either Touch, by Toni Press-Coffman and Proof, by David Auburn, or we may replace Touch with Coyote on a Fence. Glenn wants to direct Proof and I’ve wanted to do Touch and Coyote on a Fence for a while. They’re all good shows, and only doing a couple of shows in a season will allow us to focus our energies a lot more and produce more consistently excellent work.

Yeah, poker. Didn’t play any last night. Might not tonight. Having a game Friday night, lemme know if you’re in town. Congrats to Maudie for her big WWDN win!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pokersavvy & SoCo - Doesn't get much better

So there are companies that “get it” and companies that don’t. In general, the folks on my sidebar “get it.” Full Tilt definitely gets it. They have the most options for getting into the WSOP, including the juicy bracelet race tourneys every night that I’m determined to win one of, once I finally stop LOSING EVERY FRIGGIN TIME I SIT DOWN. But anyway. Pokerstars gets it, too. They have great tourneys and great structure, plus they also support bloggers. Poker Source Online totally gets it, they’re giving a monster freeroll into the WSOP for bloggers. They kick much booty.

But not many folks can get it any more than PokerSavvy. Not only did they do a very nice blogger freeroll, Matt over there worked his butt off tom ake sure it was fun and for bloggers only, which was very cool. And now, in a sign that they absolutely understand where bloggers hearts lie, check out the SoCo bottle they’ve provided to measure how many WSOP seats they’re giving away to bloggers this year! So not only are they giving us a bunch of free crap, they’re representing with the official booze of the WPBT! So click through, sign up for stuff, which gets me stuff, and makes the level of the bottle rise! Can’t get much better than that, can it?

And speaking of getting it, there’s never been a question that Linda gets it. You can’t sit in the box for as long as she has and not get it. So now, you can go over to and check out the articles that I’m writing for Linda’s site. They’ve got great strategy articles and other cool info. So go check them out, too.

Oh yeah, I still suck at poker. I managed to not play at all last night. After I lost a SNG, an MPS SNG and busted out of an MTT before the first break, that is.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Well, I guess that was a weekend

So on the second hand of the night, I looked down at Rockets. Pocket Aces. American Airlines. This is it, I thought, we’re turning around two months of running bad TONIGHT, baby!

When you get your aces cracked on the second hand of the night, you know it’s gonna be a long night. When it happens again in the first hour of play, you’re just hurting. Queens cracked just adds to the swelling, and a pretty quick rebuy at Special K’s place Saturday night were all the truth in the cards for me. I managed to have aces hold up a little later in the evening to pull me close to even, but I never managed to forgive myself for the bonehead play of the night.

I’m holding J-6 hearts on the button. I limp, the blinds let me. Jack-high flop makes me happy, I check. SB bets $2, BB calls, I call. Turn 6, I’m even happier, I check again. SB bets $2, BB calls, I call. River is a lovely 6. I’m thrilled beyond belief, and then I do it. I commit the cardinal sin – I check my nuts on the river. Yes, there were a few hands that could beat me, but they weren’t holding those hands and I knew it. SB had an overpair and the BB had two pair. I knew this in my heart of hearts, just like I knew that they would call a $2-4 bet, and maybe even try to punish me with a raise. But I succumbed to Fancy Play Syndrome and went for the check-raise on the river. They both checked behind and I went on full-blown I’m-a-moron tilt. Yeah, I raked a decent little pot, but I was absolutely furious with myself for that move. Now it wasn’t the only stupid move I made all night, I certainly leaked off enough big blinds limping with shit I position (a massive leak in my game), but I made some good moves, too. I made a couple of tough laydowns and a couple of good calls. But I am still kicking myself for that lost bet two days later. We’re not going to talk about the great read I put on K’s buddy Brian to call his all-in when I was way ahead to have him catch running diamonds for the flush. I know, I owe you a dollar.

I played the Hammer Out Cancer charity tourney last night, because I promised I would, not because I really had any desire to play. My online game has been absolute crap lately and I’m gonna take a little time off (yeah right, look for me on Stars or FTP to see if I can hold to that), but I wanted to see if I could FINALLY make the top half of the field to catch a couple of WPBT-POY points. I finished 15th out of 61, so I was very pleased with my play, especially considering I lost about 30 minutes of play when the blinds got big because a stray cat jumped into my back yard to die of injuries sustained elsewhere and my dog was going absolute apeshit. So Suzy and I had to go outside at 11PM to deal with the friggin’ dog and then get Animal Control out to catch this poor kitty. Kitty was 8 shades of fucked up, so we’re glad Leko is up to date on his shots. But I felt like 15th was pretty good, and now I’m on the board at least with POY points. So I can be just like everybody else and trail STB. By a bunch.

I’m thinking of heading out tomorrow night to play this World Tavern Poker Tour thing. Anybody got any insight?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Dear Variance

Dear Variance,

     While I understand that it is in your nature, like the clap, to visit almost everyone now and then, I feel that you are beginning to verge of herpetic territory. Whenever I feel like the sores from your last visit are finally gone, you re-emerge, red and swollen. Like my junk. So I must kindly request, that after the past two months of excessive butt-rape you please consider my rectum sufficiently stretched and please remove the gargantuan cucumber you are sporting from between my asscheeks. For verily, I say unto thee, you have fucked me so long and so hard that I may never again be able to fart without it sounding like the entire audience at the Metropolitan Opera giving a standing ovation.
     Or, since you have managed to deplete my online bankroll to the point where I had to struggle at clearing a bonus tonight just to make my buy-in to the charity tourney this Sunday, allow my vestigial Christian memories to resurrect my C game and make the money just once this weekend. That will certainly allow you greater joy, because then, like Job, you can torture me anew.
Yours truly,


Randomness of Friday

Title with apologies to Hoff. Whew, Friday. It’s been a bitch of a week, but a lot less of a bitch for me than for Tripjax. I’m thinking about you, buddy.

Dad from our homegame has started his own blog, so now the ranks of Char-town poker bloggers is up to 3. Woo-Hoo! Look out, G-Vegas, we’re gainin’ on you! Okay, not really, but he’ll be a welcome addition to our ranks. Dad’s a great guy and a helluva fun poker player, so his blog will be kickin’ once he gets rolling. Nothing really there yet, but check back later for him.

Join me and the rest of the mediocre-cool kids this week playing in the Hammer Out Cancer charity tournament. Cancer research is so important, I dare you to find someone whose life hasn’t been touched in some way by that fucker, including yours truly, who never had the chance to fight with his mother-in-law because she died of breast cancer the year before Suzy and I met. Let’s get together and help Easycure hammer out cancer! Click the banner for details.

Along those lines, here’s my pledge – 50% of anything I win online this weekend will go to help the man with the biggest junk in bloggerdom in his kick for the cure. Unfortunately for Bob, I’m on a 2-month losing streak, but maybe this will be a good impetus to buckle down and focus a little more. Bob’s doing a cool fucking thing, go read about it. Tell you what, I’ll throw a minimum of $25 into the pot win or lose, so join Bob in kicking out cancer.

Let’s face it, our community is pretty damn cool. We’re a bunch of degenerates, stoners, unemployed degenerate stoners, donkeyfuckers, news hacks, steroid abusers, hippies, metalheads, guys who used to be cool, fat former athletes, scribblers, doctors (in more ways than one), lawyers, actors, and the occasional person with meaningful employment. But one uniting factor is that this is a generous bunch of folks. Whether it’s repairing broken punctuation or renting a luckbox to help a sister out, the generosity of this community has amazed me over the last year. You guys make me proud to call myself a poker blogger. I’m pretty sure that the WPBT has given almost as much to charity in the past year as BigMike has tipped to bartenders and waitresses (a viable charity all their own, I agree). That’s pretty damn cool, folks. Good fuckin’ game.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Requiem for a Champion

Puggy Pearson – 1929-2006. World Series of Poker Champion and Poker Hall of Famer Puggy Pearson died yesterday. You can find all the info on various poker websites like if you like. I never met Mr. Pearson, so have no personal connection to his passing, except for the awakening it brings me of that nagging voice in the back of my head. You see, my dad was also born in 1929, and the rock that was his health has taken a couple of hits this year. Both men had momentous years in 1973, Pearson won the WSOP Main Event championship (probably wasn’t even considered the main event back then, it may well have been the only tournament in the World Series for all I know), and my dad had his fourth and most handsome child. Me, of course.

I’ll be back with some poker postings later, when I can remember how to play this silly game. For right now I’m still on a losing streak, so feel free to search me out online and join the hordes relieving me of my cash. It can’t last forever, so get it while the getting is good.

Good rest, Puggy. Good Game.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Quick Pimpin'

Hey – if you’ve got a blog and want free stuff (and really, who doesn’t?) head over to PokerSavvy and sign up for their freeroll tomorrow night. I’m playing even though I’m a big slackass and haven’t registered yet. The folks at PS are willing to do a freeroll just for bloggers, which I think is pretty cool. So check it out!

Friday, April 07, 2006


My Friends take my breath away. Otis has crafted an absolute masterpiece out of his song, Speaker put a touching spin on a song by a couple of my personal heroes, and here’s the picture Daddy painted for me. I’m pretty sure I’ve been on that hill with Daddy, or for damn sure one very much like it.

By Daddy

I guess I’ll never know what made me wait so long.  I spent every day of my youth running through these fields and living in these woods.  I told myself that I was sick of that lifestyle, and that deep down inside I was starving for city life.  The allure of fifty thousand dollars a year and women in high heels will make a man do strange things I reckon.  

Three marriages to high maintenance corporate women, and two marriages to poorly maintained corporations makes the thirty years I spent in Chicago feel like fifty.  I traded Carhartt for Brooks Brothers, and I traded fishing with my brothers for a sports car and a high rise.  After my third divorce I was left with just enough to buy back a lot on the wooded south end of the old family farm.  My boss asked me as I was leaving my office what I planned to do while I was retired, and I told him “nothing in particular.”  

I’m fifty-two years old now, and I can see my favorite fishin’ hole from my front porch.  Coalmont, Indiana is where I grew up, and I can again proudly call it home.  With a population that’s grown from five hundred to seven hundred since I left it thirty years ago, it’s hardly become a booming metropolis.  Way up on old Mabry’s Hill is the General Store, the Fire Department, and the Post Office all located in one building.  It’s also where we all meet up on Sunday for chili dinners and the monthly fish fry.  Birthday parties, graduation parties, and weddings populate the calendar, so there’s always something going on it seems.  Every other Saturday night we like to gather there for some pickin’ and grinnin’ too.  Folks like to take their shoes off and “boogie” while the whiskey jugs get passed around ‘til sunrise.  The building is always filled to capacity and our town fire marshal is too drunk to notice or care.  The joy of living is evident in my hometown, and it’s something that’s been missing from my life ever since I left. There’s a love up on the hill that can’t be found in any city.  It’s why I came back.

Sunrise marks my first Saturday home, and I’ve got a day full of nothing in particular to look forward to.  It’s a new beginning, or a new chapter in my life.  This is the chapter where the book gets interesting and everything starts to have meaning.  Nothing can be accomplished by regretting decisions I’ve made in the past, and no good can come from feeling sorry for myself now.  I’ve been looking forward to this moment since I can’t remember when.  I think tonight I’ll take my shoes off.

Songs update

Speaker is first to submit, let's see if anybody else plays.

If you've got a story about a song, throw it out there. Hit me with an email or a comment and I'll link it up.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Son of Writing Challenge Meme - Music

So I hope you read Shane’s Blog. Or Wil’s Blog. If not, go there now and off of Shane’s blog, check out some fantastic stories inspired by an old picture. I wrote one (below), and then in traffic this morning I heard “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morisette on my iPod. The newer acoustic version. And it got me thinking, wow, there are lots of songs that could serve as a similar inspiration. So here’s my new challenge – pick a song (or have one picked for you) and write a short story based on it. Then pick five friends, and pick songs for them, and have them write stories.

I started with five of my favorite writers, and I tagged them with the following songs.

OtisHome by Marc Broussard. He liked this a lot on my Y2J ’05 CD, and there should be a reason it touched a chord with him.

DaddyUp on the Hill where they do the Boogie by John Hartford. He’s from Hilljack country, what more needs be said?

MaudieSleep while I Drive by Melissa Etheridge.

WilScream by Seven Nations

Joe SpeakerRedemption Song (the Johnny Cash/Joe Strummer version)

My story is below – pass it on. I’m not sure when or if these five will write their stories, but send it around, it’s a neat shove to get the creative juices flowing.

Returning the Favor

I saw her sitting there, at the only patio table with an open seat. Sitting alone listening to her iPod on a gorgeous spring morning. One of those sparkling mornings that’s just cold enough to carry a sweater, with just enough warmth in its smile to promise you won’t need it.

“May I?”

“I…ok, sure.” She gave the patio the once-over to see if there was another option, then gave me the required polite response when she saw it was either sit with her, or juggle my latte, muffin and novel while standing.

“What are you listening to?” I could see she was upset, and probably didn’t want to talk, but I had a feeling it might be worth it to pry.

“I…it’s a new Alanis Morrisette song. Her new album is all acoustic.” I loved the way she paused for a second before answering, just that slightest hesitation when she wanted to tell me to piss off, but couldn’t quite bring herself to do it.

I reach over, take hold of the dangling earbud, and pop it in. “You Oughta Know” sounds so different with a live drummer and acoustic guitar, but it still transports me.

Scent is supposed to be the sense most closely tied to memory, but for me it’s hearing. A song can take me almost physically back to a moment in time, and this one held particular meaning for me. It was almost 10 years ago, the album was new, Alanis wasn’t a superstar yet, just another angry young chick carrying the Ani DiFranco banner for the next generation. And I was twenty, bleached blonde and jilted with her hit single blasting through my dorm room as I threw all of the sorry bastard’s pictures, CDs and clothes out the window onto his head, drowning out his protestations and apologies with projectiles and expletives. He at least had the wisdom to run when showed up in the window holding his guitar. He must have known the amp was coming next.

Annie, my roommate, opened the door, peeked in at the carnage, and swiftly decided that this would be a good night to study at the library. I spent another hour or so playing the raving Medea; then decided I needed to be at home. So I abandoned the carnage of my room, leaving an apocalypse of shattered glass and plastic on the sidewalk and the oak outside my window garlanded with t-shirts and sweaters. Two hours’ drive later, I pulled up in front of my parents’ house at about 1AM. My kid sister, just fifteen, was sitting on the porch swing when I got out of my much-abused Cabriolet.


“Hey.” I sat down next to her on the swing. We sat there for somewhere between twenty seconds and an hour; swinging on the porch, listening to the crickets and trucks on the highway. Just sitting and swinging. I didn’t need to talk, I just needed to be with somebody I still trusted.

“He fucked my best friend.”

“I know. Annie called. She thought you might come home.”

“He’s a fucking piece of shit.”


“I still love him.”


And I curled up into a little ball on that swing, and my kid sister held me while I cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next morning in that swing with a blanket, a pillow and her stuffed monkey tucked under my arm.

A passing truck jolted me back to the present and I caught the girl looking at me strangely. “I know this tune,” I said.

“Yeah, the song’s old. But the album’s cool.”


We sat there for a time without time, listening to Alanis on shared earbuds, until I reached out and touched her hand.

“You know he’s not worth it, right?”


“Doesn’t matter, does it?”


Then I reached into my bag, handed her the monkey, and held my little sister while she cried her soul out on the Starbucks patio.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mystery Hotel Picture

It was a little after ten when she walked in. Dad was wiping down the desk, and I was emptying out the spittoons. She was tall, attractive in a careworn manner, and alone.

“Can I help you ma’am?”

“I need a room for the night. Are there any available?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, we’re full up.”



“It’s Miss. Not Ma’am. I’m no longer married.”

“I see.”

“No, I doubt that you do. But I don’t mind.”

“Well,…Miss, we don’t have any rooms here, so maybe you…”

At that, Dad came around the desk, and stopped me.

“Would you like to have a seat, miss?”

“Yes, thanks you.”

“David, move some of your things into my room for the night. We’ll be bunking together.”

“But… we don’t even know this…”


He didn’t need to add anything. At 35 years old, I still jumped whenever that old man said “Frog,” and probably always would. When I came back downstairs, he and the woman were deep in conversation. They looked up when I came into the room, not like they’d been doing anything wrong, exactly. More like they had been sharing something that I wasn’t going to be part of no matter how much explanation I received.
After I showed her to her (my) room, I went to Dad’s room, and stretched out on the pallet I’d made up on the floor.

“Why did you let her stay?”

“Son, she’s got nothing left. Her husband was killed in the War, and she tried to keep the place he’d made for them. She couldn’t, and now she’s running back to Mama and Daddy Back East, like she swore she’d never do. She’s given up her life, her pride, and everything she’s known. If I can give her back a little touch of something by letting her sleep here for one night, then that’s the least I can do.”

“She told you all that while I was upstairs.”

“No, she didn’t tell me any of that. I knew it the second I looked up across the room at her; saw that ring on her left hand, and that empty look in her eyes. Maybe when you’ve spent 30 years watching people check in here on their way up, down and sideways through life, you’ll see it too.”

I stood behind that desk for another 40 years, but I never did.

Go to Shane’s Blog to see the picture and read other stories.

The truth revealed

I am Poker Champ.

This feels like Monday

Let’s go for a quickie and take more time a little later, shall we? Congrats to the two winners of the blogger WSOP seats last night, Lucko & Myradiohead. I made a fantastically bad play with a flopped set against a turned flush and IGHN in about 80th place. I can’t even blame a bad beat, just a silly bad play on my part. Interestingly enough, the deeper stacks and longer levels in these events actually work against my strengths in MTT play, I’ve found. Not to mention the fact that a goodly portion of the field is just flat-out better than me (.

We had a celebrity guest over for the home game this week, welcoming fellow Charlotte blogger Special K over to the Casa de Falstaff. Special K managed to net a nice win of almost 2 buy-ins, while I managed to lose almost that same amount. I think I suck at playing when I’m hosting. I spent a lot of time worrying about seating, pizza and shit like that, and not enough time concentrating on my play. We had about 12 folks through the evening, so I set up two tables, which was a little funky, and that threw my focus off. I’ll try to keep the number of folks a little smaller and my focus a little sharper in the future.

I made it pretty deep into the Stars $10 MTT on Sunday night, 74th out of 1700+ for a $25 profit. It feels like a lot of time for not a lot of profit, but fighting my way through these huge fields feels like it’s good for my game. Blew up in a FTP bracelet race early when my flopped set lost to a rivered flush, but that one at least felt like a bad beat, since we got all our money in on the flop.

And really, is there any better way to say “I love you” than to lean over your sleeping wife, kiss the tips of her fingers and say “keep your head under the covers, I just farted next to the bed. Bye.”