Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, November 30, 2006


Due to overwhelming popular response (2 comments, but that's pretty overwhelming) anything I blog on MyGaySpace will be cross-posted here. If you aren't on my MyGaySpace thingy, you can go here and I'll "friend" you, and then we can totally be BFF, OMFG.

Pokery content

So I sat down last night at 9:50 and thought "I wonder what time the Mookie is?" So I go look it up, and sure enough, I have just enough time to register. I sign up, and type in the chat thing "why am I playing this thing, I suck a tourneys."

For the record I played one hand. The only street I didn't misplay was preflop. I outsmarted myself right to the rail within one orbit. But I wasn't Gigli.

I'm the BB with T6c. I check. This ends the correct play on my part. Chilly was the SB and he completed the blind. This does not end the correct play on his part.

Flop is T84 rainbow. I bet 1/2 the pot. Chilly calls, continuing the correct play.

Turn is a 6. I bet 1/2 the pot. Chilly types "what are you doing?" I respond "bluffing." Chilly calls. I don't think this was a brilliant call on his part, but I kept the bets small wanting him to call, and he obliged.

River is an Ace. Chilly bets a significant amount, and I think "Oh, he had some silly Ace and just hit top pair. I can mostly stack him now." I push and he insta-calls, since my push was barely more than the significant bet.

Good read. Except that the silly ace was A8, giving him better two pair, justification to call me on every street, and all my chips.


Oh wait. No Rebuy. Sad panda. I'll be at the $.50/$1 cap NL games if you guys need me.

As I said in the chat thing, Chilly did everything I wanted him to do, except catch on the river. I was trying something different, trying to play smaller pots with smaller hands and extract maximum value, but I blew the bit about letting go when it became obvious I was beat. If I hadn't been so busy congratulating myself on getting called on the flop and turn, I would have realized that Chilly ain't calling me with air, so he must have had at least a pair. Thus when he led out on the river and I thought "hmmm...he hit his ace," I should have realized that he hit Aces up. So that's how I outsmarted myself out of the Mookie. I play g00t.

So I went to my 6-max cap tables and made my money back. There's still plenty of folks over there willing to give it away, and Tuesday night I was one of them. Don't you love how one bad night doesn't just undo one night's work, it undoes several? Monday night I came home early from rehearsal because it was a clusterfuck and went on an amazing heater. I picked up $250 in about 90 minutes off the $30 cap NL tables.

So Tuesday I gave away $320 to the same tables. I couldn't stop myself when I was just stuck the previous night's winnings, I had to give away at least two night's winnings. The games were good, I just was playing abysmal poker.

So last night I finished clearing my FTP bonus, and crawled $100 out of the hole I dug myself into. I'm pretty happy with my play lately, Tuesday and Mookie excepted. My bankroll is back up around pre-digital camera and new Birkenstocks levels, thanks in large part to writing for Linda and the Cap NL tables, and I've more than doubled my last deposit to FTP since I stuck money back in there. We're not going to talk about my last Stars deposit, because it didn't go well and I'm just not playing there for a little while as I lie in the corner and lick my wounds, whimpering all the time about things like "I want those calls in the long run," and other things of that nature.

I'm a ways away from any bankroll goals I may have had for the year (doubling last year's winnings seems like a fair one), but I'm still (amazingly enough) a winning player for the year. That makes me a happy fat boy, because I don't have a whole lot of illusions about my play, but one of them at least is that I win more than I lose, and it's nice to have that proven true via Excel. Look! Actual poker-esque content!


I've heard from a few people that they didn't think I was "doing theatre" anymore since Off-Tryon folded. That makes me giggle a little, since I'm certainly doing as much theatre since the closure of OTTC than I have when it was open, it's just not as visible as it was when I was running a company, I suppose. Here's a brief list of what I'm up to theatrically since last summer when Off-Tryon disbanded.

Designed lighting for A Chorus Line at Theatre Charlotte. A kickass production of A Chorus Line I might add.

Serving as co-chair of the Metrolina Theatre Awards, and as a board member of the Metrolina Theatre Association.

Serving as President of the NC Theatre Conference, as well as the NC State Representative to the Southeastern Theatre Conference. These are the leadership, service and advocacy organizations for the field of theatre not only in NC, but in a 10-state region.

Designed lighting for an original play called The Eyes of God.

Designed lighting for Tick Tick Boom.

Helped produce a major theatre festival for over 1,000 participants.

Been hired to design The Guys in February.

Been hired to design the NC Dance Festival Charlotte in February.

Been hired to design Les Miserables in March.

Been hired to design The Crucible in March.

And held down a full-time job.

In contrast, in the last year that Off-Tryon was in existence, I directed one show and designed the lighting for it, and designed two shows for other companies. Then we took a show to Stoneleaf and I handled a lot of that. That's it. So I'm actually doing a lot more theatre stuff now than I have in the past couple of years. And people are paying me to do it. It's been a nice change.

I'm also committed to a production of The Taming of the Shrew in Rock Hill in the spring, so that's another bit of insanity. So I'm still around, just not quite as visible as I may have once been

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Look, I know it's all the "beauty of live theatre" but this is friggin' ridiculous! Last night I got to the theatre to find out that our spotlight operator couldn't be there because her mom was in the hospital, so we got another kid to come in at the last moment, got him trained and he ran the spot for the dress rehearsal. He did a good job, and my light board operator did a good job as well, especially for two kids whose total age doesn't come close to mine that had never performed their relative tasks before last night.

The show is pretty good. The cast has to fight over the band, which is too loud, and the mics on the cast keep fucking up, so that's always festive. Maggie had to sing her big solo last night without mic, and she was able to push over the band, but I could see she was working hard to do it, and hope she didn't blow her voice doing so. Jimmy's mic kept fucking up, too, there's just so much RF interference in the auditorium it's almost impossible to get it to sound good. Oh well, it's up, it's good and in a week, I'm in Vegas, baby!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tick Tick BOOM!!!!

So maybe I'll blog theatre stuff here and poker stuff on Pokerstage. That could work, since most of my theatre friends are on myspace anyway. Let's give it a shot, anyway.

Rehearsals this week for Tick Tick Boom in Rock Hill. Sucks! It's in Tillman Auditorium, which is this old-ass run down theatre with no friggin' lights on the Winthrop campus. I'm really only doing this as a favor to Sheila, Jimmy and Maggie, since they didn't really have anybody else that could do it. Not to mention the little bit they can afford to pay me will at least cover most of a nice meal in Vegas next week.

But I have a total of 18 lights to work with, to light an entire musical. Challenging to say the least. Especially when you consider that Sunday, I used 16 lights just for gobos on the orchestra shell for the Philharmonic, and wanted more there, too. But I've got red and blue backlights, and almost enough front light so you can see the action, so it's about as good as I can make it. I don't have a light board that can record cues, so the high school kid that's running lights is going to have to run everything on the fly, which she of course has never done before. Add to that the fact that we're running lights from the side of the stage and I can't see what anything looks like and we're a little challenged. I don't understand how my buddy Chris does it (he's the facility manager there), they do a shitload of shows and they've given him practically nothing to work with.

Sheila (director) understands the constraints of the facility, so she was fairly happy with what we acheived last night. Which is good, because it's about all I can do. We do have a followspot, which will help a bit in some songs. I feel bad for the cast, they're working their asses off in shitty conditions, and they sound good (when all the mics work), too.

So tonight when I get off work I'll trek back down the the Rock and look over the shoulder of my board op while she runs the show tonight. She watched me run it last night to get a sense of what we're trying to do, so we'll see what sticks. Should be interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


So I'm eating lunch and reading bloglines, when I stumble across a notice from one of my great sponsors - They've got a listing of the televised tapings of the Ultimate Poker Challenge, taping at Binion's next weekend. So I go take a look, and think that $340 is a little more than I want to lay out for a tourney, so I check out the satellites.

Then I get interested.

For $80, you can play a 10-seat tourney that awards 2 seats to the main tournament. So why don't we storm the Horseshoe and load up a couple of these satellites? If we get a full blogger table, we can all throw in our $80, two bloggers will get into the big tourney, and maybe we can all have a tiny piece of their action if they cash.

Anybody interested?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday bloody Sunday

A day in the life of a freelance lighting designer. This is not any kind of “live blog,” since there really isn’t any time to stop and blog while I’m doing these one-off gigs, but I thought I’d take a little bit and give folks some idea of what I do in my “free time.”

A little background – I’ve been doing most of the shows for the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra for about 4 years now. I do their events that take place downtown at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, because it has a nice white orchestra shell that takes light very well and has a lighting rig that supports a little bit of creativity. The Philharmonic shows aren’t your typical symphony shows, they like a lot a kitsch and flash with their music. The Christmas show in particular features a 250-voice choir, two different groups of dancing girls and a group of nine vocalists. I get one rehearsal. And I’ve usually never heard the music before that afternoon. It presents a few challenges. So here’s my life yesterday.

6:30 AM – Yep, on a Sunday. I roll over, beat the alarm clock for 15 minutes, then stagger downstairs to check email quickly, since I know it will be late before I get the chance to do so again. Nothing requires my attention other than the Delete key, so I’m all good.

7:30 AM – Roll out of the house. The theatre’s a touch more than 15 minutes from the house, and a stop for a pair of McD’s sausage biscuits with a large Coke will get me going with just the right mixture of caffeine and gas to get me through the morning.

8:00 AM – I walk into the crew area backstage right and meet up with Hank, my master electrician du jour. Because it’s a union venue, I can’t operate the lighting board without a union stagehand “shadowing” me to make sure that I don’t blow anything up. Them’s the rules, regardless of the fact that I’ve logged more hours on this particular brand of console than most people in a 4-state region, and am factory-certified to train people on how to program the consoles. I don’t mind, though, because Hank is invaluable in keeping up with all my paperwork over the course of the morning.

By the time I arrive, the orchestra shell is in place, and the choral risers are beginning. That crew was called at 6AM to get things rolling. I have a good electrics crew today, so I figure we’ll be done earlier than usual. Bonus – the other symphony was in last night and used a 4-color wash from one of the lighting positions where I usually put in a 3-color wash, so that’s 24 lights that I don’t have to haul up from the basement and put in the air. They even left their color in the lights, so that cuts at least 30 minutes work off my day. This is gonna be sweet.

I get Hank started patching lights into the console and get Tim, Larry and Cat on putting together my floor spoo lights. That’s a highly technical term for lights on plywood bases sitting at the base of columns that are scattered around the stage. Floor spoo. Don’t be afraid of the term, theatre goofs will understand. I decide that since we’re doing risers, we probably won’t have room for the full 6-column setup we’ve used in the past, so I plan for 3 colors on 4 columns, instead of 2 colors on 6 columns like I usually do. Regardless, there are 12 floor mounts for lights in the theatre, and I’m using them all. As usual.

9:00 AM – Jeff (stage manager) arrives with the company’s gobos and gels. Gobos are the metal disks that can be put into a light to project an image. Gobos can be of anything, and can be made with any custom artwork on them (if you’re got the coin). These are holiday-themed. A buttload of snowflakes, Santa, sleigh, Christmas trees, bells and a couple that say Merry Christmas on them. I’ll project these all over the orchestra shell for the different musical numbers.

Gel is the colored filter that goes in front of the lights to make different colors. I use a lot of reds, blues and greens on these shows, not just for the Christmas theme, but because I can mix colors to make a lot of different purples, pinks and yellows as well.

9:15 AM – We’ve got eight 1,000W lights hung on the first electric to wash the choir area. This big-ass choir has been a thorn in my side for years, but this should make all the mommies and daddies able to see their babies now. I send Cat and Larry up to the roof of the building to focus front light on the apron (the extreme downstage part of the stage in front of the main curtain) for the dancers.

9:45 AM – Front light is done. I’ve got 8 lights from the cove (way the hell up in the ceiling) and 4 from the balcony rail (not quite as high) for front face light for dancers and singers. Then we’ve got 12 lights on the mezzanine rail for the organ pipes. The orchestra shell has faux organ pipes in it, which are a nice brushed silver. It takes light very nicely, so that’s one of my main sources of color for the show. I use 3 colors on the pipes, red green and blue, because they’re the primary colors of light and I can mix them to make any color I want on the pipes. We’re now stuck until the crew finishes risers and we can close in the rest of the shell and focus gobos on the sides of the shell.

Break time.

10:00 AM – We’re back on. In a union house, breaks are pretty regimented. Every two hours (3 max), there’s a 15-minute break. Every 4-5 hours, there’s a minimum of a one-hour meal break. If you go longer than 5 hours without a meal break, you pay more for the labor. It’s called the “meal penalty.” My job as the client’s lighting designer is to get done without going into meal penalty. Crew is guaranteed to be paid for four hours for the setup, with the fifth hour optional. If I can get done in four hours, that’s great, but it’s no big deal if it takes five. If I go into meal penalty it’s a very big deal.

Crew also has to have a minimum of an hour break between load-in and a rehearsal, and between rehearsal and a show. This can be the dinner break, but there has to be an hour break. Period. Today’s running pretty smoothly, so there’s no worry about going into any meal penalties. I think we’ll finish in our first four hours, so that will mean a 2-hour lunch break before rehearsal.

We’re fucking off waiting for the shell to be ready. The crew’s running circuits for the floor spoo since I know pretty much where that’s going to happen, but they’ll leave a little slack in the cables in case of clusterfuck. It’s obvious now that the big fru will not be ready to light before lunch break, so I make plans to bring my spotlight operator back an hour before rehearsal instead of at half-hour to touch the focus on the Christmas trees and 6-foot Santas that are on the downstage corners of the stage.

10:30AM – Shell’s in place, so I send Cat and Larry each up into a box boom to focus the gobos. Box booms are vertical lighting positions usually on the walls of a theatre downstage, they’re really good for side lighting or for projections on walls (like I’m doing).

11AM – Booms are done, now time for the floor spoo. Get all that circuited, patched and colored, then head to the booth to program.

11:30 AM – Hank and I are in the booth setting up submasters. I’ll run this show on the fly, with no pre-programmed cues, so I set up all my looks on different faders, and “play” the faders as the show goes along. Each fader will get a different piece of the stage look, so the lights aimed at the pipes are on three faders, Red, Blue and Green. The gobos are paired, with each pair on a fader, and the downlight washes are on four faders. So as the song progresses I change the lights to go with how the song feels. It’s really “old-school” lighting, how we did shows before there were computerized boards, and I prefer this method for shows with limited rehearsal time and planning. It lets me be creative and correct things as they happen. After 15 years or so, I’ve gotten pretty good at this part.

Noon – Done in 4, time for lunch. Then come back, go through a rehearsal which will be done out of order, so I really have no idea what the lineup of the show feels like, take a dinner break, and come back and do a show for 2,200 people. At least this time I’ve seen all the numbers, which is not always the case. Add 250 high school singers, 30 baby ballerinas, two dozen hot college dancing girls and nine adult singers who can’t find their light, and I’m cooked by the end of the show. Fortunately my part of strike is quick, all I do is collect my gels and gobos, give them to the client, collect my check and I’m out the door by 10:30PM. So most of a 14-hour day for $350. Depending on your limits it’s either much better or much, much worse than your 2BB/hr. but the check always clears and there’s no risk of ruin.

And how was your weekend?

This sucked

So maybe it wasn't the absolute brightest move to call a preflop all-in re-raise with AKo, but in the Cap NL games you sometimes get some wild ones.

Like the guy who pushed preflop for $30 with ATo.

QJ3 rainbow on the flop.

You know where this is going.

K on the turn.

Ship it. Away.

Very next hand I raise 3xBB with A8 sooted. Not a good hand, but good enough for a cutoff raise. 3 Callers, about 1 more than I really wanted.

588 flop, two spades. A Push and a call in front of me.

With trips, top kicker, I call. I just got pushed into by a guy who limp-called with Kings and a guy who's on an open-ended straight flush draw with the 67s.

9d on the turn.

Pair the board?

Nope. Js on the river.

Ship it. Away. Again.

Glad it's capped, or I'd be down at least $150 right now instead of $60.

An hour later, and I'm back to even, thanks to a couple of people who just couldn't resist pushing all-in on a flush draw when I've made top two pair. Repeatedly.

Those weren't even particularly bad beats, so I'm not paying anybody a dollar, but that shit in your first two hands will make you throw up in your mouth a little fo sho.

Hope everyone had a good turkey day. I ate too much, big shocker for a fat kid. Hung out with the fam and got some great news from my brother on Friday night that I'll share more about later.

Don't you hate when people do that shit? See you in a couple weeks!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Memory Lane

Reading Wil's post today about his Con experience sent me wandering down the memory lane of my own early geekdom, so take a walk with me, why don'tcha?

I was 18 years old and full of my own independence. Jason, Steve and I had torn off down to New Orleans for Fall Break, gotten drunk at Wet Willie's, pissed in a public park under a streetlight and gotten front row seats at Big Daddy's Topless & Bottomless, where a Eurasian chick with a black pageboy cut and three tattoos did things to Jason's hat that made him swear he would never do laundry again. So when the chance popped of to go to Dragon Con that year, I was totally there.

I'd never done a major Con before, and Dragon Con was pretty damn major. I found out that Todd McFarlane was going to be there, so I packed up my Spiderman #1 in my backpack, tossed a bottle of Mescal under the front seat of my 1978 Impala, and we cruised off down I-85. Steve was originally from G-Vegas, and we were meeting up with Jay and a bunch of his friends from the Greenville Rogues Society, who threw an annual party at Dragon Con that was apparently something not to be missed.

Hell, the whole trip was something not to be missed. From drinking White Russians with Jay that had so much liquor in them they actually fermented the milk, to seeing the bodies lying in the hallway of the Atlanta Hilton (I think) sprawled on the floor, mouths agape with black drool dribbling down their chin after drinking The Black Death (a Rogues Society Speciality), the whole weekend was incredible. It can all be summed up for me by one brief moment.

We were in a ballroom waiting for the dance to start, but there was no music. We'd had about a gallon of White Russians at this point and I felt the need to lie down. As I lay there, I noticed that the chandelier in the room was really neat-looking from that angle, so I called over Jay's friend Carol, who also was feeling a bit of a need to be recumbent just about then. So Carol and I lay in the center of the ballroom exploring the landscape of the chandelier when I felt a twinge in my neck.

I turned my head ever so slightly to notice that there was someone biting me. A smallish woman, at least from what I could tell given the relative angles, with tricolored hair. Platinum, red and goth black. She nibbled a little longer, then she kissed me. Rather intently. I decided this couldn't be all bad, so I kissed her back and nibbled a litttle on her neck in return. After a couple of nips and nibbles, she suggested we depart the ballroom for somewhere a little more private. I thought briefly of going off to have wild gymnastic monkey sex with a woman who I had yet to actually speak with and who introduced herself to me, if you could call it that, by getting down on her hands and knees in the middle of a hotel ballroom floor and biting me on the neck, but then I decided I was really drunk and should get a second opinion.

"Carol, should I go fuck her?"

"No, honey, that would not be good."

"Sorry, my friend says I shouldn't go fuck you. But thanks."

"Thanks, Carol."

"Friends don't let friends fuck dogs, baby."

I saw the tricolored hair vampiress the next day. I wept a little as I thanked Carol from the bottom of my little bitty heart, because while she didn't have the kind of beauty that makes time stand still, she certainly had a face that could stop a clock.

That's my earliest geek-con memory. Kinda heartwarming, in a Vampire:the Masquerade sorta way, isn't it?

My other writing

A lot of my writing lately has been on the aftermath of the UIGEA legislation, and I've been covering that beat over at Pokerworks, home of CC, Iggy, and of course, Linda. I enjoy writing these "newsy" articles over there, so if you want to check out the latest on the internet gambling legislation, head on over.

Cap Limit Musings

Contrary to what you might be thinking from my last few posts, I have actually been playing some poker. Life hasn't been all rehearsals and theatre festivals, just 80% of it. When I've been playing, I've been inhabiting mostly the Cap No Limit tables at Full Tilt, so I thought I'd scribble down some impressions on how the Cap Limit game is different from standard No Limit.

Well, it's capped. I know, duh. But basically that means that your Risk of Ruin on any given hand is significantly decreased. While your betting is unstructured, you can only put in a max of a given amount (I play the $.50/$1 tables, and the max is $30, so I think it's usually 30XBB for the cap) for each hand. Once your betting has reached the cap, you're treated as All In.

So why am I hanging out around these tables instead of the No Limit tables? Because they're making me more money (I know, I just cursed it). The Cap allows me to play at a higher level than I'm bankrolled for by standard bankroll management theories, which says that to play NL100 I need to have at least a $3,000 bankroll. I currently do not have a $3,000 bankroll, although I do have a nice new digital camera and two plane tickets to Vegas in 15 days, so I'll take the trade. But the Cap games allow me to play higher while risking on one hand no more than I'm risking at a NL25 game, which keeps me interested.

I play a very aggressive style of poker. I know, big friggin' surprise. I raise a LOT. That means that I don't often see the river, and frequently don't see a flop. Now I know that's what I like, but I hate making a good preflop raise and driving everyone out, only to pick up $.75. So at a cap game I'm able to take down a pot preflop for $3, which makes me much happier. So my blind steals are much more profitable, which is a big part of my game. And when I get one caller who then folds to my continuation bet, I'm picking up $6-9, which is even better.

But how does it play out if they don't fold? Well, I'm glad you asked (or at least glad that you are allowing me this silly literary device that lets me pretend we're having a conversation instead of you being my invisible internet friend). After the flop is where I feel that the cap games really benefit the aggressive player. If you've read Pressure Poker (and if not, why not!?!?), you understand that aggressive play is profitable play, and if you're the one applying the pressure, then you're forcing your opponents to make tough decisions all the time, while your decisions are pretty easy. The cap games are beautiful for this, as the cap takes away the most potent weapon in a No-Limit game, the over-the-top re-raise.

Let's look at a hand from last night. I don't have the hand history, so you'll just have to suffer my narrative skillz a little further. I'm at a $.50/$1 Cap No Limit Game with about $100 in front of me. Stack size is obviously irrelevant, since the Cap is $30. It's a 6-max table, and I'm in middle position. I pick up AKh, and raise to $3. I get two callers, and lead out for $5 with a flop that includes the JQh and a black rag. This bet is a pattern that I've worked for a while to build up, regardless of my holding and whether the flop hit me or not - if I'm first in the pot preflop, I raise to $3, and then I bet $5 on the flop regardless of hand strength.

I get one caller. I've now invested $8 into the pot, and the cap has $22 remaining. The turn comes a black T, and my opponent (who was the BB), led out for $15. Now this is where the game is lovely. Aside from the fact that I have the nut straight with a redraw to the nut flush, I am pretty much guaranteed to get the last bet out of him at this point, because there's only $7 left to the cap. In a normal NL game, where our entire stacks were at risk, I would have a very difficult decision to figure out the maximum I could get from this opponent, and he would still have the opportunity to push over the top of me with a monster bet. As it is, I raise the $7, he calls with his J9o, and the pot ships my way.

The structure of the cap games prohibited my opponent from any effectiveness in pushing me off my hand. Regardless of the fact that I had the nuts with a redraw, there simply wasn't enough room under the cap for him to put any pressure back onto me. So for a LAG like me, the preflop and flop action that I generate makes all my decisions on later streets easier because of the cap. It also makes it harder for opponents to get away from their obviously second-best hands, becuase the "awwfuckits" are more likely to set in, because of the cap. That's something I have to constantly watch out for, and try to hang on to my small bets when I think I'm beat.

Something odd to think about for me in the cap games, though, is the fact that my implied odds are dramatically diminished. When I'm calling a raise on the button with 64c (yes, occassionally), I'm looking at an opponent's entire stack as my implied odds, because if I hit with 64, I'm getting paid. But with a cap on the betting, it's not worth as much to call with trash, because I can't get an opponent's whole stack, I can just get the amount of the cap. So that's an adjustment I'm just beginning to make.

I also think that these games are great transitional games for limit players wanting to switch over to no limit, because of the limited risk of ruin, which is very similar to the level of a limit game. It's also good for new players, so they can get their feet wet with some bigger bets than at a baby table, but still not blow their whole bankroll in one session.

So that's where I've been and what I think about the Cap games. The 6-max at my limits have been very profitable, allowing me to pretty much double my last FT deposit in the past month, so I obviously like them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

As if there were any question...

I am now officially a dork. Those of you on bloglines will have to click through to see why.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Thank god for Monday

Because work isn't nearly as hectic as my weekend. Poker is further down, so if you want to read about that, scroll, baby, scroll.

As some of you know, I'm heavily involved with the North Carolina Theatre Conference, the statewide leadership, service and advocacy organization for theatre in NC. Like President of the Board involved. Well, this weekend was our annual Fall Gathering, which loosely translates into the following:

2 - College theatre productions entered into the American College Theatre Festival
5 - Community theatre production entered into the American Association of Community Theatres festival
16 - High school plays entered into the State HS Play fest.
250+ College kids auditioning for 100 slots at the Southeastern Theatre Conference auditions, where they'll try to get summer stock jobs
100+ High School kids auditioning for college scholarships
20+ Colleges with displays recruiting students

and not much fucking sleep.

I ran the lighting board for all sixteen high school plays, with no cues pre-programmed due to a snafu at the venue. So I ran a couple hundred light cues live for shows that I'd never seen before in a facility that I'd never worked before on a console I'd only used twice before with 16 different stage managers, some of whom had no idea what they were doing, none of whom were born when I did my first play, and all of whom had a different method of calling cues. It was the most challenging thing I've done lighting-wise since I lit the Count Basie Orchestra on an unfamiliar console with only two hours of prep time. But I was getting paid for that, and this was free.

It's also some of the most rewarding work I do each year, working with these kids. The enthusiasm they bring to these events is incredible, and I can only wish that I had teachers like they have when I was a kid.

I also got to have dinner with a 4-time Tony Award winning costume designer, which was pretty neat. William Ivey Long was our Keynote speaker, and he was very charming. As Pres., I sat at the front table with William, and got to chat with him a little. Suzy of course couldn't come, because she was working as a dresser for Amadeus, which was a bummer. But it was cool chatting with someone who has such a huge theatrical experience and has worked with all of the biggest names in the business.

If you don't want to google him, he did costumes for Hairspray, Chicago, The Producers and Nine, among 50 others. He's a pretty big deal. His brother is a theatre consultant that I've worked with on several projects, and William still comes down to the summer theatre at The Lost Colony in Manteo, NC each summer. His parents started the theatre program at Winthrop, where I went to school, so we chatted a little about Rock Hill and the school and all that. It was pretty neat.

Sunday after our board meeting wrapping up the gathering (by the way, does anyone want to move to NC to be the Executive Director of a theatre organization? We're losing our ED at the end of the year and need to hire.) I went to see Amadeus, and was very impressed with Suzy's work on the costumes. The set was good, lighting was okay, and the acting was good. I wanted them to push it a little more, but they were good and solid. Probably a 6-7 on a scale of 10, but a solid 8.5 for the company that produced it, which is usually a little spotty. It was nice to see them exceed their normal production and performance values.

Last night marked the return of my home game! Since I've been gone or booked on weekends for a month, no home game for me. But last night we crammed 11 people around my table and got in a good 5 hours of play before I ran everyone home. I bought in a BUNCH, but finished the night only down $50, which was pretty good. It was a ridiculous game, with a $3 preflop raise ($.25/.50 blinds) routinely getting 4-5 callers. My highlight of the night was when I managed to call both hands in an all-in when Brian went in with the Hammer and Suzy picked him off with Big Slick. That was about all that I managed to put together that was good, but I didn't lose too much. Been hitting the 6-max NL100 Cap games and liking them pretty well, I have a post brewing about why I like them, but it's not soup yet. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Aahhh, nothing like cracking open a cold Guinness or 27 and sitting down to post. Get settled in, boys and girls, this is going to get uber.

Wait a minute, after all that Guinness, I gotta go pee. While I go whizz go sign up with Party Poker using Bonus Code IGGYDAMMIT.

Ok, I'm back. Let's get rolling with some of our favorite poker news, this from our friends over at

There's no way I'm actually going to read all the stuff out there, so follow the link.

Wow, that's good stuff. Now here's a great quote from RGP resident curmudgeon Gary Carson.

Sklansky - I'm smarter than you.

Carson - But I have sex with girls, and I'm still smarter than Mason. So bite me.

Gotta love the subtlety of Gary.

In more poker news, other stuff happens other places.

So it's finally come. The time to come clean about my identity. I know you've all been waiting for this moment for years/months/weeks/days. Ok, I realize you've only been thinking about this for about 17 seconds since you started reading this sentence. But here's the deal. Once and for all, here's a real photo of the Blogfather. Here is my self-portrait.That's right, bitches. I am Poker Champ. This uber-post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY, dammit! Excuse me, I hear the trashcan near the Sherwood Forest bar calling my name.

Thanks for everything, buddy. See you soon.


Work is ridiculously busy, and the state theatre festival is this week, so I'm really running ragged, but it's all good.


Because in three weeks, my happy fat ass will be in Vegas, drinking it up with my buddies!

See you then!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Funny link

It all started over a T-shirt, but this link is funny. I wondered when all the tubes would get full.

Absolute makes good

According to Pauly, Absolute has taken care of his issues. I deleted the post below where I emailed them nasty things. In their defense, Peter from AP did respond very quickly to my email, and once he got hold of an angry Pauly, took care of the Doc as well.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Interesting times

It's an ancient Chinese curse - May you live in interesting times. Well, we certainly are. Here in NC, a 4-term incumbent is currently leading a high school history teach by less than 400 votes, so the recount is underway. The NC speaker of the House (scandal-ridden can only begin to describe him) is hanging on to a 7-vote lead (those Civics teachers that told you every vote counts were apparently correct). And the Democrats managed to, with the concession of Senator Allen from Virginia, grab the majority in both House and Senate.


Let's not forget that the Senate is actually split 49/49/2, with two independents, which makes Joe Lieberman one of the two most powerful men in Congress. Doesn't that present all sorts of opportunities to thumb his nose at the party that dumped him in favor of a more liberal new kid? Now, Jilted Joe has said that he will caucus with the Dems, but I think he'll likely find an opportunity or two to spank the Donkey Party for their lack of love at some point.

Rumsfeld resigns. Huzzah. Now, while I think that we should bring our troops home from Iraq, and that we shouldn't have gone there in the first place (although since we've been there before, wouldn't this be the second place?), I think it's really, really important that people put together a strategy for getting the hell out. For the record, I don't have one. If I did, you'd be the second to know. But I don't. But there are a whole lot of smart people that work for (although not necessarily run) our government, and I'm sure that plans are already laying around someone's desk. It's going to take time, regardless. We can't just elect a new Congress and expect them to get people out of Iraq by February. That would be silly. But maybe by February '08 people can start to come home and shake the sand out of their shorts. I hope so.

So back to poker - I've actually played a little this month. After I angered the poker gods by talking about booking small wins I gave most of it back, then reclaimed a tiny bit last night. I'm up for the month. Not much, but up a little. And I finished last month up a little, largely on the back of my trip to Vegas, which was a welcome change. I'm loving the Cap No Limit games on Full Tilt, and there's a long post coming soon as to why I think they're great games for a donk like me, so more poker content coming, I promise. Not that I think I'm any more qualified to babble about poker than about politics - I'm pretty equally clueless on both topics.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Interesting Election night

CNN projects around 11PM that the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives after twelve years of Republican control. It's still too close to call in the Senate, but I don't think the Dems will be able to pull off three more seats, leading to a divided Congress for the first time in a long time, which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing.

So what does it mean that Democrats take control of the House? Well, it means that W is likely to have to find his long-misplaced veto pen, which I think has only been used once in his entire term and a half as President. It also means that the opportunity for retributionary investigations and impechment bullshit could rear its ugly head. I would like to think that if the two houses remain yet divided that would be less of an issue, as the Representatives are stuck working to get re-elected every two years and have less time to get mired in that kind of ugliness than Senators do.

It does mean that Democrats would be in charge of all the committee chairs, and likely those chairmanships would go to long-time Congressmen and women, like the appointment of Nancy Pelosi as the country's first Speaker of the House. Now while this is just the way things are done, it might not be the smartest move, since a lot of the seats being picked up by Democrats are by new-breed conservative Democrats, who look a lot more like the Republicans of 40 years ago than they do Democrats. Heath Shuler is a great example of that, dumping a long-time Republican Congressman from western NC while working on a very conservative platform, supporting gun rights, refusing to debate on Sundays to avoid conflicts with church and other similarly conservative ideals. Now if you'r the Democratic party and you've just gained control of the House on the backs of these new Conservative Democrats, how do you turn around and put old Ultra-liberal Democrats in leadership positions everywhere through the House?

In other news, my earlier decision to run for President was half-joking, but I'm pretty seriously considering a run for Congress in 2008. Right now the incumbent Republican Rich White Guy who hasn't worked a day in years Robin Hayes is still leading dark horse Larry Kissell, but Kissell put up a good race. My district is kinda oddly constructed, encompassing a piece of Charlotte (very metropolitan) and also some very rural areas of the state as well, so the structure of the district is very diverse, and I don't feel like Rep. Hayes listens to people in his district unless they come to him with checkbook in hand. So if he is re-elected, I'll be looking for a campaign manager. And maybe somebody to bury a LOT of embarassing photos of me in various drunken stupors.

Keith Olbermann said it

Here's the text of his special comment from last night. I got nothing that can even come close. I'm headed out in a few minutes to do my part to clean governmental house.

And finally tonight, a Special Comment about tomorrow's elections.

We are, as every generation, inseparable from our own time.

Thus is our perspective, inevitably that of the explorer looking into the wrong end of the telescope.

But even accounting for our myopia, it's hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in Non-Presidential years.

And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase "October, or November, Surprise" now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing.

But let us give history and coincidence the benefit of the doubt — let's say it's just "happened" that way — and for a moment not look into the wrong end of the telescope.

Let's perceive instead the bigger picture:

Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court.

Who can argue against that?

He is officially, what the world always knew he was: a war criminal.

Mr. Bush, was this imprimatur, worth the cost of 2,832 American lives, and thousands more American lives yet to be lost?

Is the conviction of Saddam Hussein the reason you went to war in Iraq?

Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the Weapons of Mass Destruction that did not exist?

Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda that did not exist?

Or did you go to war in Iraq to break the bonds of tyranny there — while installing the mechanisms of tyranny here?

Or did you go to war in Iraq because you felt the need to wreak vengeance against somebody — anybody?

Or did you go to war in Iraq to contain a rogue state which, months earlier, your own administration had declared had been fully contained by sanctions?

Or did you go to war in Iraq… to keep gas prices down?

How startling it was, Sir, to hear you introduce oil to your stump speeches over the weekend.

Not four years removed from the most dismissive, the most condescending, the most ridiculing denials of the very hint at, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, this "nonsense"…

There you were, campaigning in Colorado, in Nebraska, in Florida, in Kansas — suddenly turning this 'unpatriotic idea'… into a platform plank.

"You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources," you told us. "And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following."

Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and re-written the constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about "timelines" but instead extolled "benchmarks"…

You've now resorted, Sir, to this?

We must stay in Iraq to save the two-dollar gallon of gas?

Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow.

Sir… you have been making this up as you went along.

This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.

Those vaunted founding fathers of ours have been so quoted-up, that they appear as marble statues: like the chiseled guards of China, or the faces on Mount Rushmore.

But in fact they were practical people and the thing they obviously feared most, was a government of men and not laws.

They provided the checks and balances for a reason.

No one man could run the government the way he saw fit — unless he, at the least, took into consideration what those he governed saw.

A House of Representatives would be the people's eyes.

A Senate would be the corrective force on that House.

An Executive would do the work… and hold the Constitution to his chest like his child.

A Supreme Court would oversee it all.

Checks and balances.

Where did that go, Mr. Bush?

And what price did we pay because we have let it go?

Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have, and thousands more.

He'll get out faster than we will.

And if nothing changes tomorrow, you, Sir, will be out of the White House long before the rest of us can say… we are out of Iraq.

And whose fault is this?

Not truly yours. You took advantage of those of us who were afraid, and those of us who believed unity and nation took precedence over all else.

But we let you take that advantage.

And so we let you go to war in Iraq. To… oust Saddam. Or find non-existant Weapons. Or avenge 9/11. Or fight terrorists who only got there after we did. Or as cover to change the fabric of our Constitution. Or for lower prices at The Texaco. Or… ?

There are still a few hours left, before the polls open, sir, there are many rationalizations still untried.

And whatever your motives of the moment, we the people have, in true good faith and with the genuine patriotism of self-sacrifice (of which you have shown you know nothing)… we have let you go on…

Making it up.

As you went along.

Un-checked… and un-balanced.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Great News!

I thought it had been lost forever, but I just found my habeas corpus!

The bad news is the G.W.'s Posse Comitatus is holding it for ransom.

When I directed God's Country a couple of years ago I read a book called the Turner Diaries, which has been detailed as a blueprint for insurrection, and actually is the book that taught Tim McVeigh how to make a truck into a fertilizer bomb. I'm sure I'm on some type of government watch list just for buying the damn thing on Amazon, but the actions of this government in recent months are coming closer and closer to events that took place in the Turner Diaries. The concept of a national ID card, nobody being allowed to enter or leave the US without government clearance (Yes, including US citizens!), the new ability of the federal government to use the US military in action against US citizens on American soil all sound eerily like things that this radical nutjob wrote in a book that people use as a blueprint to blow up buildings and kill people.

Let me be very, very fucking clear on this. I do not advocate blowing up buildings, unless you own the building and it is empty. In that case, make all the boom boom you want. I do not advocate a violent overthrow of our government. I don't really advocate violence, regardless of how much I wanted to beat the everloving shit out of the guy in the Take-Out Order Pickup Line at McCallister's today who didn't have a Take-Out Order and had obviously never eaten at a FUCKING DELI before, as he considered the metaphysical ramifications of every single goddam menu item.


Ok. I don't advocate the violent overthrow of our government. Yet. But I do advocate the peaceful overthrow of our government. And tomorrow is your chance. Throw the bums out. Every single one of them. Except Barney Frank, because we need a good old-fashioned New England queen in Congress.

Theatre Kids

Last weekend brought a lot of fun and a great story, so while I'm reminding you to VOTE TOMORROW, I thought I'd share a little bit.

I was one of the adjudicators at the High School Play Festival last weekend, where me and my buddy Dan watched 12 high school plays over the course of two days, and critiqued them. These kids have a 45-minute time slot to get their set in place, do their show, and clear the stage, and we judge them on their acting, the use of the space, the directing, all that jazz. We give awards to the Best Actor and Actress, a pile of Honorable Mentions, Directing awards, and two plays win the Distinguished Play award and move on to compete at the State festival (next weekend in Charlotte).

One of the plays that the local arts magnet school brought to the festival was Lone Star, a comedy about two brothers in Maynard, Texas in the late 70's. Lone Star is a very popular show, a little rough in the language department for high school, but the cuts were good and the show was tamed down nicely for the festival. There were a few interesting side notes with this show.

First, the director was revisiting the show. 21 years ago, Dr. LaBorde took Lone Star to the Festival, and cleaned up all the awards he could at State. He's retiring this year, and brought the show back with a cast that wasn't alive the last time he directed the show. And now he's going back to State with Lone Star. And the show was good. Really, really good. The lead character is Roy, a Vietnam vet who's back home in Maynard to find out that life's passed him by. The kid playing Roy got an Honorable Mention for his acting, and the kid playing his brother won Best Actor for his work.

Now the kid playing Ray, who won Best Actor, is a big kid, and I like to see a big guy get ahead. This kid lived the part like I've never seen a high school kid do. I was seriously blown away. I was even more blown away when his mom came up to me after the awards ceremony.

She goes on for a few minutes about how much this means to them, and to Stephen, and his dad tells me how much he learned just by watching the shows this weekend and listening to the critiques, because he doesn't really know a whole lot about theatre, that kinda thing. Then his mom drops this one on me.

"When he was younger we never dreamed this was possible."

I ask what she means, and she tells me that this kid was sent to remedial speech classes in elementary school because he was completely incomprehensible to anyone but her, and his speech therapist worked with him for several years before he could really communicate with the outside world. And now he's just won Best Actor at a theatre festival.

"Fax a copy of that award to his speech teacher, she would really want to know."

And that's just cool. That this kid, who couldn't even speak intelligibly when he started school could go far enough to win an award for acting.

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Friday, November 03, 2006


I know, I know...graphic novels.

Fuck off, they're comic books, and I'm proud to read 'em. I've been a comic book dork ever since I first saw Captain America go undercover inside a prison as an inmate to unmask corruption there, and then go to England to help Captain Britain defeat his evil relative (I forget the relation, I was young) Baron Blood. Cap got the drop on the Baron when his vampire teeth couldn't get through the chainmail Cap wore under his costume. That comic is where I first learned that to really kill a vampire, you have to cut off the head, stuff the mouth full of garlic, burn the body and head separately and bury them in two separate graves, while never taking the stake out of the body. These things are important when you're in elementary school.

I got back into comics with the awesome imagery of Todd McFarlane's Spiderman comics, and followed that winding road through the entire Sandman series, about 37 different permutations of X-Men, picking up back issues of Hellblazer and Watchmen along the way. I dumped all my comics a few years ago, hanging onto my Hellblazer collection and my Sandman hardcovers, but letting everything else go.

But every once in a while I get a hankering to pick up a glossy, bright-colored fix, so I wander back into the "forgotten corner" of the Barnes & Noble, or even pop into a comic shop, and see what's going on in the Marvel or DC Universe.

WE INTERRUPT THIS FOR A RANDOM PHRASE FROM THE OTHER OFFICE - my project managers are in the other room talking about "seeping ass juice." I have no context, just a vile phrase. WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED NAVEL-GAZING

So this week I picked up the trade paperback (which is the only way I buy comics now, since I have neither the time nor the patience to keep up with a series) of a mini-series called Identity Crisis, from DC. Truly one of the best reads in years. I know to real geeks this is old news, but Identity Crisis takes some of the older Justice League of America characters like Elongated Man and makes them relevant and central again. It's full of love, loss and really well-written character pain. It talks about how heroes deal with their secret identities, what lengths they go to to protect those identities, and what happens when their real lives and real partners get caught up in their other world. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good story, whether you give a shit about comic books or not. And I dare you not to tear up, just a little, at the last page.

So go buy a comic book, and fuck the snobs who won't call them comic books.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More Politics

I promise, I'll take it back to being a poker blog after you all go out and vote next week.

But here's my take on John Kerry and his statements this week.


I don't think he's stupid enough to have meant that all our military personnel in Iraq are stupid and uneducated. But I do think he's stupid and meant to say that if you've got an option that will keep you from going to Iraq, try to exercise it. Which is dumb. Brutally dumb. Plenty of folks over there are highly educated career soldiers and reservists who are proud to serve their country in this war. And whether or not you agree with the war (and I don't), it's not for me to tell anyone who is career military not to go if they're called. My job is to sit here safe in my house doing my job that is non-life-threatening, and say "thank you" when they get home. And to shed a tear if they don't. If I disagree with the war, I need to make my opinons known to the folks that keep it going, and I get that option on Tuesday. Yeah, I know, Kerry was a war hero. He was also a vocal war protestor and has a long history of slagging the military.

So he's a dumbass. I can only hope that the Dems don't let this goober run for President again. And for that matter, Hillary either. We've got to face facts, you can't win the White House if you can't win the South. And the ugly truth looks a lot like this - if you aren't a white guy with a southern accent you're gonna have, as my mother puts it, a tough row to hoe.

That means Hillary is unelectable. Period. Too many people hate her guts. Too many people think Kerry is an intellectual snob and a blue-blood stiff. I happen to be one of them. Obama is also unelectable, because too many of my Southern friends and neighbors aren't ever going to vote for a black guy for President. These racist and sexist facts are things the Democratic party needs to buy into, and fast.

So who is electable as a Democratic candidate for President? I don't know if there is anyone, but John Edwards is close. He could have carried much more of the popular vote last time around, but sometime midway through the primaries he stopped being a fiery speaker and started being a big pussy. If he'd run his whole campaign on the backs of his mill-town parents and his self-made money, while swinging for the fences with straight-ahead attacks at the Bush administration, he could have won. But he pushed for "center" and to not offend anyone, and ended up looking like a big pansy. And then when he got partnered with Kerry (who has the largest cranium in the free world, what's up with that head?) he took the back seat when it was clear that he had all the charisma on the ticket. Bad mojo.

But I don't much give a shit if the next president is a democrat of republican. I just want Congress to no longer be completely controlled by one party. That's why I want everyone to vote a straight Dem ticket next week. Not because I love the Democrats, but because I want to see some balance restored. So go vote. Shit, if you live in Chicago, vote a couple of times, that's how y'all roll, right? Fuck it, don't even vote a straight party ticket, just vote out EVERY FUCKING INCUMBENT. THROW THE BUMS OUT. ALL OF 'EM.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting a little political

As long as I'm playing poker, and not losing as rapidly as normal, I'm probably not going to write a bunch about poker. At least not until next Wednesday.

Here's the deal - Y'all need to get your asses out and vote next week. It's really important that the Democrats take control of at least one house of Congress. Not because I'm a Democrat. I'm not. I'm a registered independent, and my political views fall much closer to the Republican side of things, at least what the Republican Party used to stand for. You remember, small government, states' rights, looking out for the little guy and being fiscally responsible?

But that doesn't matter. What matters right now is that there are no checks and balances in our system of creating laws. The whole point in having a Legislative Branch and an Executive Branch is for the two to sometimes disagree, because if everybody's just goes along singing "La, la, la, we're in power and everything is right with the world," you end up with fucked up situations like repealing motherfuckin' habeas corpus and attaching internet gambling bans to important security legislation at the 11th hour with no one to stop you.

It would be just as bad with a Democratic Congress and White House. Don't think for a minute that they aren't as fucked up as the Republicans are. Remember, this country voted for Republican leadership because they thought the Dems were too corrupt and that the Elephants would steer the country back from the far left. Well, they overcorrected, and now there's only one party running everything, and that's NOT GOOD.

It means that whatever the folks that the Elephants are listening to will get whatever they want, with no one to stand up and say "Oh HELLLLLL NO!" Bush certainly won't do it, since he has yet to veto more bills than he can count on one hand. Or one hand with only a thumb, but that's beside the point.

Get your ass out there and vote. Frankly, I wouldn't mind too much if everyone in the country voted against EVERY incumbent, regardless of party, in every election for the next six years. Then, at the end of six years, we'd have a WHOLE NEW CONGRESS. What a concept - throw the bums out!

This is a really important election. If the Democrats can take ONE house of Congress (and frankly I have no interest in them taking over both, I think the system would work better if each party controlled one house) then we can have back a little bit of the checks and balances that the smart people who designed our government a couple hundred years ago thought up in the first place.

I now retreat to apply my flameproof jammies...