Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Words I never thought I'd say

But I'm proud of Waffles. He's started a second blog, which could describe me as well as him. Seems like the little bastard has decided to take some of his aggression out on his waistline for a change, and more power to him. I'm still working on it myself.

I made my next weight loss goal, which was 235 by Suzy's high school reunion. I hit 234.8 last Saturday after riding in the Booty ride, but fucked off on Sunday and piled more weight back on, so I need to get back to 235 by Thursday, which is imminently doable. I weigh in every morning, to kinda keep track of where I'm trending, and I can tell a difference in days when I wake up and feel like a big fatass.

My routine nowadays is to get up, do 30 minutes on the exercise bike, then shower and go to work. I'm doing a cup of yogurt for breakfast, then some type of Lean Cuisine-ish microwave lunch. I usually do a bag of 100-calorie microwave popcorn in the mid-afternoon, then another 300-400 calorie dinner. I'll do a pack of Lance crackers for a snack mid-evening if I need to, or maybe just a few Quaker Quakes Rice Cakes (apple cinnamon = yummy). I'm trying to keep in the 1,500 - 1,600 calorie range for my intake, and I'm making an effort to do little things during the day to be more active, like parking a bit further away from the door and walking into the other building to ask someone a question rather than IM'ing them. I feel better than I have in years, and I think under 200 lbs. by Vegas is a reachable goal. Not a particularly easy one, but a reachable one.

All my clothes are fitting me funny now, though. I can't wear my new kilt without a belt, and hopefully it won't be too long before I can't wear it at all. I think I've got another month or so before the new jeans I bought are just way too big, but I'm on the last hole in my belt now, so that might be the next thing to go. I'd like to hold off on buying new jeans until I can get my ass into a 38" waist, which would be unbelievable. I had saved enough pairs of 42" pants to have some shit to wear, but I now have a bunch of nice 44" waist pants that just are way too big. Guess they're heading to Ebay! The big test of course is that this morning, when I put on my 42s right out of the dryer, they were loose, so there is some real decrease still going on in the belly.

This was my extremely fat ass at the end of April.

This is my somewhat less fat ass at the end of July. Still a long way to go, but also some definite improvement going on. Let's see where we go from here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I didn't bother

I went to my Neteller account today, just to see if there really was any money left in there, because I thought I'd gotten most of it out, but hey, maybe there's a hundy or so floating around in the ether, and if there is, I wants!

Yeah, I didn't bother.

Story from Pop

So my dad called today and asked if I wanted to have lunch. He was in town picking up parts for a truck, and was near my office. I hadn't made it to the office yet, since I was dealing with a plumber at the house all morning, but it was about lunchtime, so I put off going into work for another hour and stopped off to eat with Pop. We generally will go across the street to the meat 'n three for lunch whenever he's in town.

If you don't know what a meat 'n three is, ask GCox or any other hillbilly blogger. They'll be happy to explain.

While there, I mention that Suzy and I are heading through Kentucky this week to attend her 20th high school reunion. BTW, I'll be in the poker room of the Belterra casino an hour south of Cincy starting Thursday night. You know how to find me if you're in the neighborhood. He said "I think I drove through Newcastle, Kentucky on the way home for leave when I was in the army." And commenced to storytelling.

Now Robert Penn Warren is noted for the quote "Southern men like to fornicate, drink whiskey, and tell stories. Not necessarily in that order." And it's as true with my dad as with anyone. So let's see if I can capture as much as I can remember about not only the story, but his words and tone.

The year is 1950, the place is Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, IN.

So this ol' boy Briggs come into the barracks one afternoon and says "Johnny Bob, you got any money? They're giving out three-day passes and we got a quart of liquor and a tank full of gas, but we ain't got enough money to get all the way to Asheville. If you got enough money to get a tank of gas in London, Kentucky, I can get more money in Asheville."

Now this was 'long about the end of the month when didn't nobody have no money, so I told him No.

"C'mon John, I know you always got a dollar or two ratted away, count up your change and see how much money you got."

Well, I did have a dollar or two stuck back, and I had two dollars in my pocket, and when I counted up all my change I had $5.30. We decided that was enough for a tank of gas, so off we went. We had us an Oldsmobile 88 convertible, and it was February, so we had the top up, and the windows rolled up, and as soon as we pulled out of the base, Briggs tore the top off that quart of liquor and threw it out the window.

Well, we got to London, Kentucky, and we filled up, and it cost us four dollars and a quarter for a tank of gas. Now I had $5.30, and that's all the money that was in that car. The other boy had done spent all their money on that quart of liquor and the first tank of gas. So we bought another quart of liquor, on credit, from that store in London.

Now I always did wonder why that ol' boy let us have that liquor on credit, but come to think of it, there was six of us, all of us big men, all of us MPs from Camp Atterbury, and all of us about half drunk. Hell, he mighta been a little scared!

But the funny part of the story is this - Briggs had it in his head that that Oldsmobile was the fastest thing ever been made. Now this road from London to Asheville would go from four lanes to two, then back to dual lane for a little while, then back down to two lanes. And we're clipping along right real good on one of these dual-lane parts when we saw lights in the rear view. I think they were red lights back then, but it don't matter, it was the police.

Well, Briggs said "What kind of car is that that thinks they can catch me?" Wetold him it was a Chevrolet, and that ended that. Briggs stepped on the gas and thought he was gone pull away from the police car. Well, that didn't work out so good, and the faster Briggs went in that Oldsmobile, the closer that Chevrolet got. I tell you, he couldn't get no farther apart from that police car. Well, he kept going 'til he finally got scared, and said "I guess I gotta pull over."

Well, there was six of us in that car, and we'd been drinking and smoking cigarettes since we left base, so when Briggs rolled down that window, all that smoke just chimneyed up out of that window and that policeman had to jump back.

"Damn! Smells like y'all been brewing whiskey in there!"

Well, he made us all get out of the car, all six of us. And then, now Briggs was a big man, about 6'6",250 lbs. and he didn't have no gut on him. He was just broad through the shoulders, a big man. And Briggs, he just starts to sob, right there on the side of the road. And he's just weeping, and out he comes with this.

"I'm sorry officer, but my buddy Warren here's mama is dying and we're just trying to get him back to Asheville so he can say goodbye to his mama. We just gotta get him back to see his mama before she dies."

Now Warren was an orphan, and never knew he even had a mama, so this was all news to him! And that policeman thought about it for a minute and finally he said "I don't know if I oughta believe that sob story, but if I take you in and lock you up, and then I find out it is true, well then I'd feel like a real heel. So if you'll let the soberest one of you drive, I'll let you go."

Then he comes over to me, and says "I don't know if you're any more sober than they are, or if you just handle it better, but if I let you go, will you drive?"

I said "Yes sir, and I'll drive carefully." And damn if he didn't let us go!

Gold, Pop. Pure gold. He told me he's been telling that story for 57 years, and it's still funny. I agree.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ouch, that's gonna hurt in the morning

So I'm done with Booty for the year. Not that kind of Booty, I'm totally NOT done with that booty, but the 24 Hours of Booty bike ride is done for me for the year. I had to bail mid-afternoon to deal with stuff for the show tonight, like taking a shower and running off more programs ( one of my favorite problems to have, because it means I underestimated the number of people who would come to the show!)

I didn't come anywhere close to the 90 miles you nice people paid good money for, but I really appreciate you donating anyway. I'll post pictures soon of me in the silly stretchy shorts (I actually have a very nice ass, thank you very much!), and one of me in the kilt and our custom Team Barbizon jersey, because if you've got the balls to walk around in those silly bike shorts, then wearing a kilt ain't nothin', and vice versa.

UDATE - As promised, a picture of me in the outfit.

I managed 8 laps, or 24 miles, and feel like if I hadn't lost several hours due to monsoon-like conditions last night, and hadn't had to bail early tonight to go to my show, I could have done 12-14 laps pretty easy. It's actually not a bad ride, with only one big stupid hill to make it up, and every time I went round, just about the time I thought "fuck I'm gonna die" I made it 'round the corner and could see the stop sign up ahead that signaled the crest of the hill.

I did get a little choked up this morning when one of the innumerable people that passed me (Jebus, some of these fuckers are fast!) had a tag on his back that said "In Memory of My Wife Linda." That kinda summed up the enormity of the cultural loss that cancer has inflicted on us. It sickens me that we can spends billions and billions of dollars figuring out how to give Bob Dole a better boner, but we still can't, with any certainty, cure cancer. And it seems like everything causes cancer nowadays, from sunlight to red meat, to not enough sunlight, to not enough red meat. But the fight goes on, not just for those folks that are suffering from the disease in all its myriad forms, but also in the labs, where people like Byron work to find a cure.

So thanks to all that donated, it meant a lot to me, and some of that money will go directly to local cancer funds, and some is distributed nationally to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I got a lot more out of this ride than just a duffel bag, pair of socks, a jersey and a blowed-up iPod shuffle (they don't likey the drenching too much, in case you're thinking of wearing yours in a downpour). I'll ride again next year, so start saving up, because I want to double my funds raised next year. I want the yellow jersey, bitches! And in this ride, you don't get the yellow for going fast, you get it for going the extra mile. Thanks again, now I gotta go take about fourteen motrin and pour a quart of baby powder in my underpants.

See you in Vegas December 6-10!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Booty Update

So somewhere around the 4" of rain and the 40 mph winds, the ride for tonight was halted for a little while. Since I was wringing quarts of water out of my socks, I came home to throw all my clothes in the dryer and I'll head back out tomorrow morning. I managed 2 laps tonight before the monsoon started, and one after it stopped raining, but the idea of riding in soaking wet bike shorts was something less than appealing, so I called it a night. I'm gonna go to bed after deciding what to do about my soaking wet shoes, and head back out in the morning for a little more riding.

There were nearly 1400 people signed up to ride in this event, and most of them were there for the start of the ride. There are a LOT of serious cyclists in this town, so lots of people in stretchy pants and clicky-clacky bike shoes. Some of whom, like me, should never be seen in public in spandex.

But it's a cool event, and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can manage tomorrow. Earlier today, I figured I could do 12 laps without any real problem, but losing hours tonight is gonna make that more difficult. I think I can still do 10 laps without much trouble, but let's see how sore I am in the AM.

Live blogging not gonna happen - I couldn't find any wifi around. You'd think on a college campus that shit would be easy, but not so much in the middle of the soccer field.


Not birthday, Booty day. Today is the day that I ride my ever-lovin' ass off. The generosity of my friends has resulted in a hair over $1500 in donations to the 24 Hours of Booty ride (not too late, you can still go to my fundraising page and give), which is far more than I ever expected when I started this quest.

Yes, I know that equates to 30 laps, or 90 miles to ride.

No, I don't expect to actually be able to ride 90 miles in one day and survive.

But I'll ride as much as I can until I drop. I expect to get 10 laps pretty easily, and I'm gonna shoot for 15 laps, which will be 45 miles. I'll take some pictures, and I've got the laptop charging so that I can update the blog as the evening goes along (assuming I can find some free wifi around a college campus, shouldn't be a problem).

Our office has raised more than $13,000 for this cause, nearly 10x what we raised last year, and even though I don't think I have a snowball's chance in hell of riding all the miles you guys have paid for, I'm gonna have a good time, and I appreciate the hell outta you folks digging deep into your pockets to make often hammer-shaped donations to this cause. I'll do it again next year, and hopefully by then there will be a lot less of me to drag around on these laps, and I can actually ride 90 miles without crippling myself.

So thanks to all who donated, and to all who pimped my cause on your blogs, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I'm dedicating this ride to my friends and family who I've lost to cancer, and my friends that are survivors. Here's a little about them.

Joe Stewart - I was 11 when I first saw my father cry. Joe was my best friend Suzanne's dad, and at that age we'd never heard of leukemia, but we got a first-hand look at the effects as this friendly, gregarious man withered to nothing. This was more than 20 years ago, so he had to be flown cross-country for a new experimental procedure called a bone marrow transplant. When Suzanne would go visit her dad in the hospital, she packed Cheerwine to take cross-country to him since he couldn't get any in California. The bone marrow transplant didn't work, and we lost Joe after a year of fighting. That was the first time I remember seeing my dad cry, which shook my world at 11.

Debbie Cowan Moore - I never met my mother-in-law, and it's because of her breast cancer that I have the wife I now adore. Suzy dropped out of college after her sophomore year to move back to Charlotte when her mom was diagnosed. It took her almost two years to die, and Suzy lived with her for the last few months. Less than a year after her mom passed, she started school at Winthrop, and that's how we met. So a rose blooms in the snow sometimes after all.

Dennis Kay - I've written about Dennis a couple of times, how his approach to Shakespeare made the Bard more appealing to me, and how he didn't care if I only had a dozen lines of so in the whole play, my understanding of them was at least as important as the lead's. He helped me love Shakespeare's words, and did a lot to demystify the work for me.

Caroline Crawford - I owe most of my career to Caroline. She demystified lighting for the stage for me, and made me love it. We only worked on a couple of shows together, but I learned a lot about design, a lot about faking design, and a lot about having a good time doing theatre from her. We lost her to a resurgence of breast cancer right after I graduated, and it sucked because we thought she had beaten it. Every time I get a paycheck, I should think of her, and I remember her all too seldom as the years pass.

Blair Beasley - of all these people, I miss Blair the most. He was my mentor, my professor, my directing teacher and my friend. I can hear him telling stories in rehearsal, hear him criticizing some of my directing choices, and hear him helping me clean up my blocking. He's missed by not just me, O'Neill feels it every bit as strongly as I do, as do so many other folks that went through the Winthrop theatre department.

Ed Chapin - he's a friend's father-in-law, and even as cancer ravages him, he still manages to be a better poker player than I am. We had the saddest and most fulfilling poker game I've ever been part of a couple of weeks ago at his house, me, T, Warbucks, Special K, Ed and his son Chip. K wrote it up better than I ever could. Go read his story.

Shelley Jiles - Shelley was our Kate in the first run of Shrew, and she was diagnosed with cancer a little less than a year ago. Right after we opened Shrew, she was pronounced cancer-free for six months, and it's a testament to her fighting spirit that she beat this fucker.

Nate Frankel - Crazy Nate is a home-game regular and a cancer survivor. He's a calling-station, a pot-stealer and the guy most likely to call you down on every street with an underpair, but he fought cancer a lot harder than he plays poker, and he's also one of the most valuable volunteers the Charlotte theatre scene has ever met. He's always working at some theatre or the other, building sets, organizing ushers, running box office, or generally being around to help out. He made our summer at Theatre Charlotte more of a success than we could have hoped for, and he's a helluva guy.

That's a lot of people to carry on a bike, and some of them can ride on their own, but the ones that have gone on will be riding with me. If you're in town, come on out and watch us cruise.

Sylar = Spock?

Veddy, veddy, interesting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Winter Classic

So I had this ticket I needed to reschedule for me and Suzy to go to Vegas. Then Special K said something about the Winter Classic, and I thought "Hmmmmm."

So without further ado, here are the dates for the WPBT Winter Classic 2007 Edition.

When - December 6 - 10

Where - Las Vegas (hotel TBD)

Who - You and your friends

Start making your flight plans now! You can RSVP to me at johnhartness AT gmail DOT com.

I will try to set the tournament up at the Imperial Palace, as they have been the most solicitous of all the hotels we've hosted tourneys at. I will also likely book a small block of rooms there, as it is centrally located and dirt cheap. I don't really expect everyone to stay there, because some folks kinda hate the joint, but they've been good to us in the past, so there it is.

Here's the tentative schedule of events so far -

Thursday December 6th - Early Bird Party at the Geisha Bar at the IP - followed by craps and Pai Gow lessons from the drunks.

Friday December 7th - Mixed Games at the MGM, 9PM ish - Drunken ramblings in the sports book bar simultaneously.

Saturday December 8th - at some point AFTER noon - Private Tourney at the IP - I'm working on getting OUR structure for the event. More details to come.

Sunday December 9th - Breakfast buffet somewhere at 10ish, then a caravan out to the Valley of Fire for fun and photos in the desert. As many times as I've been to Vegas, I've never done the Valley of Fire, or Hoover Dam. I'm gonna rent a minivan for the day, so there will be some seats available in my car, and I expect we might need to rent a couple cars for the trip. This will be the thing that we need RSVPs for before that morning, since there will be rides to coordinate. Someone with a clue of where we're going might help, too.

I'll have the wife, father-in-law and half my home game crowd in tow this time 'round, so we're gonna go see a show at some point. I'll post details once those finalize as well, but Suzy wants to take her Dad to see Love, so that's likely where I'll be. A nice dinner is also always a good idea.

So start letting me know if you can make this one, and I'll make sure that the tournament director we get isn't a douchebag this time, and that there's no bait-and-switch on the tourney structure.

See you in a couple months!

Monday, July 23, 2007


No, that's not how many pounds I still have to lose (although pretty close - I need to drop 49 to get to my goal of 190 lbs.).

That's how many miles I've pledged to ride in the 24 hours of Booty charity ride this weekend. I've bought my bike helmet, my stretchy shorts with the nut pad, and the bike gloves. I've borrowed a bike. I've raised nearly $900 for cancer research and patient support.

Now I've just got one last fundraising push to go, and then we'll be off to the races. I'd like to crack the $1,000 mark by Friday, so if you've been thinking about giving, go ahead and quit thinking and get to the donating. This is the link to my fundraising page, so go ahead and make a donation.

Oh, and I finished the new Harry Potter book. No spoilers except to say Wow. Rowling pulled out all the stops in this one, and it's much more action-packed than any of the others. A well-crafted ending.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

SFP - Sorry for Partying

That's what's on the sleeve of the shirt I bought at the concert last night.

Yeah, I bought the t-shirt. At this point, after so many years of groups giving me t-shirts for working concerts, the times that I'm willing to shell out $25 for a concert t-shirt are few and fucking far between. So if I'm buying merch from a concert, it's gotta be a top 10 concert for me.

Last night made the top 5. The Reckless Kelly concert at the Neighborhood Theatre was as good as the show I saw Robert Earl Keen out on there when he blew the main breaker during "The Road Goes on Forever" and had to play the second half of the song in the dark.

These scruffy boys from Austin played a killer set, including pretty much every cut off their new double live album, Reckless Kelly was Here, which if you don't already own, you should buy right f'n now. I knew it was gonna be a good night when they started off the set with a cover of Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," which is one of my favorite cuts off the album. From there, until the 2-sing encore of "Revolution" (yes, the Beatles' Revolution) and "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah," me and 500+ of my closest friends were rocking like we were college kids again.

The crowd was an interesting mix of rednecks and the typical Charlotte hipsters. When did chinos, polos, flip-flops and ball caps become the 20-something guy uniform for going to a rock show? There were several full-on cowboy types, a little bit of biker trash, a lesbian in a trucker hat and camo t-shirt, and one cool older dude leaning on the speaker downstage left. The old dude was a little bit of an incongruous picture, until the band called him up onstage to sing "Kansas City" with them, so that he could play a little bit with his kid. Turns out Jay Nazz, the drummer, is actually Jay Nazziola, son of Charlotte musician Tom Nazziola, who joined the band for a tune. That was pretty cool.

Really, one of the Top 5 concerts I've ever seen. I'm not counting festival shows, because festivals are just a whole different ballgame. And in case you're wondering, here they are -

1. Sam Bush - Deerfield Campgrounds - August 2003 - Sammy tore the roof off that joint, bringing out Mark Bryan from Hootie & the Blowfish and Jack Lawrence to close out the night.

2. John Hiatt - Neighborhood Theatre - 2001 - Hiatt performed a killer solo set with just himself, a guitar and a piano. One of my favorite singer-songwriters, getting to see him from the 10th row of a 600-seat theatre was absolutely amazing.

3. Robert Earl Keen - Damned if I can remember - Neighborhood Theatre - This is where he blew out the power to the building. When you're jamming so hard the building can't keep up with you, it's a good night.

4. Reckless Kelly - last night. I'm almost totally deaf in my left ear today.

5. Duckbutter - Green Acres music farm - around 2002. Sam Bush, Byron Howse, Kenny Lee and John Cowan doing old rock, blues and soul cover tunes. Fucking amazing, and the site of the best concert picture I've ever taken, of Sammy playing a Fender strat like his life depended on it. I blew it up to 8 x 10, framed it and gave it to Bonnie for Christmas that year. A month later we got Sam to autograph it. It's still on her mantle.

Honorable mentions - Sam Bush at Spirit Square earlier this year, David Childers at the Comet Grill for his daughter's college graduation party, Arrested Development at the Neighborhood Theatre and the Sea of No Cares Tour by Great Big Sea when they played the Neighborhood Theatre. 3rd-row seats for Doc Watson last year for my birthday was also a monster show.

You might have guessed that I like the smaller venues. After working the big rock shows for a couple years, they lost all appeal to me. There are still acts I'm interested in seeing in that format, like Allison Kraus & Union Station next month, but I'm not sure I'm willing to deal with all the surcharges, nosebleed seats and assorted bullshit.

So here's a picture dump from the last two weekends worth of concert-going.
Sammy was pretty good, not on of his best shows, and the acoustics in Amos' Southend are for shit. It'll have to be a killer band for me to go back to that joint.

I found new respect for Willy Braun when he came out in the Ramones shirt. Boy can rock.
Brother Cody Braun on the mandolin, fiddle and harmonica. He's got mad skillz.
This cutie was at the Sammy show and the RK show, dancing barefoot the whole show both times. Wonder if she's read Wil's book? She's definitely got the good taste in boogie.

Now really, don't fuck around. If you're in Winston-Salem tonight, or Raleigh tomorrow night, or anywhere else the boys are gonna be, go see Reckless Kelly. You might get drunk, and you might have to say 'SFP' to somebody the next day, but you're guaran-damn-teed to see a monster show by some boys who write killer songs and have a damn good time playing music. And isn't that better than whatever passes for a hit song anyway?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This might hurt...

So my friends rawk!

Or they want to see me suffer.

Or both.

But so far, you folks have me committed to 12 laps in the 24 hours of Booty bike ride, raising money for cancer survivors, research and other generally good cancer-fighting-type things.

Each lap = 3 miles.

That's 36 miles. This might hurt a little. I'll be blogging the event on our corporate blog, and I'll cross-post here. There's still a week to make donations, so go here and make me hurt more.

It might not be playing 72 holes of golf in 120-degree heat in one day, but it might get close. But Team Barbizon has a new motto, that Paul stole from some guy in the Tour de France. HTFU.

Harden the Fuck Up.

I of course prefer, PAFSIYG, but some people might be offended by being told to Put A Fucking Stitch In Your Gash.

I gotta go buy a pair of those funny bike shorts. And that picture itself oughta be worth big dollars.

Best. Donation. Ever

************************* DONOR INFORMATION ***************************

*********************** DONATION INFORMATION **************************
Organization: 24 Hours of Booty, Inc.

Amount: $72.00

Hammer Time! Thanks also to Joe Speaker, Biggestron and the PokerWolf who have stepped up to the plate already. Also Chip Decker from here has the funniest donation, responding to my email with "a chance to see you sweat? Bwahahahaha! You owe me 6 miles, bitch!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Please pimp this post!

So I'm up to having to ride 5.5 laps (or 15 miles) in this fundraising cancer ride, and I decided I'd like to do it in style. So please spread the word about my ride, and help me win a bike! The person who raises the most money on Thursday 7/19 gets a new bike! So please tell all your friends (and pimp on your blogs) my fundraising page. I think it would be neat to ride in this event on a new bike in the LiveStrong colors, so help a brutha fight the cancer! I will still ride one 3-mile lap for every $50, and provide photos, so you will also get a whole lot of amusement in watching me sweat my fat ass off the more money is raised. Please spread the word!

Here's the promo info -


Join the fun by participating in Prime Awards! Professional cycling races spice things up by throwing in a prime (pronounced "preem," for no good reason). A prime is an intermediate sprint during the race for some sort of prize. The announcer rings the bell as the pack comes through the start/finish area to let them know that a prime is coming up. On the next lap, the first rider over the line wins the prize. Fundraisers in the 24 Hours of Booty pack are invited to participate. The bell is about to ring!

If you are registered for the 2007 24 Hours of Booty, you are a fundraiser in the 24 Hours of Booty pack and eligible to win the prime. Not registered yet? Simply go to and register now!

Do as much online fundraising as you can all day on Thursday! The bell will ring for 24 Hours of Booty registrants at 12:00:00 AM on Thursday, July 19, 2007. You will have 24 hours to do as much ONLINE FUNDRAISING*** as you can. The "lap" will end at 11:59:59 PM on Thursday, July 19, 2007. The top fundraiser for this 24-hour period will win the prime award!


The Fundraising Prime Award prize can be a wonderful reward for yourself for your marvelous fundraising efforts! Or perhaps you will give it as a prize to one of your top donors. Or maybe you know a cancer survivor or cancer support person who needs a special lift? Whatever you decide, the Prime Award will be up for grabs once the clock starts ticking...

The July 19, 2007 Fundraising Prime Award Winner will receive:

~A 20" TREK LiveSTRONG Edition 7.5 FX BIKE!~
(valued at $799)

TREK LiveSTRONG Edition 7.5 FX bike!

This bike was presented personally by Lance Armstrong to Spencer Lueders, in recognition of his 24 Hours of Booty fundraising accomplishments. Since YOU are the are the force behind 24 Hours of Booty fundraising success, it is fitting that this be awarded to our next Fundraising Prime Winner!

Dress Rehearsal - Hamlet

Just a few shots from last night's dress rehearsal. As much as I love my actors and my show, let's face it...T is my lighting designer for this gig, and she understands what it takes to get through dress rehearsal - chocolate and prescription painkillers.

The Kabuki stuff is turning out very nicely.

Your hero, in the LED worklight at the director's table. It's a good show, I'm proud of my cast. They should be proud of themselves. If you're anywhere close, please come join us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I might be an idiot, but...

I just signed up to ride in the 24 Hours of Booty ride for Cancer. I'm fat, outta shape, and look fucking retarded in spandex, but I'm gonna give it a shot. I need to raise at least $100 in the next week and a half to make the cut, so I want you folks to help me out.

Go here, to my sad little personal fundraising page and make a donation. I'll promise to ride a lap for every $50 donated. A lap is 3 miles, and I haven't ridden a bike any distance in probably 20 years, to 3 miles is bad enough. All donations are tax-deductible, so go ahead and throw some money down!

I joke, but cancer is a motherfucker. I've lost several friends to it, and have several friends who are survivors. I'll be riding for my mother-in-law, who I never had the privilege of knowing, as she passed from breast cancer six months before I met my wife. If I can sweat my fat ass off to raise money so no other women die before their time, I'm in.

It would also mean a lot to me if you could publicize this on your blogs, sites, etc. We've done a lot in the past to raise money for cancer, so let's get all our readers to throw their collective weight behind this effort and throw a big wad of cash at the problem! Here's more about 24HOB and the charities it supports.

24 Hours of Booty 2007 is a fundraiser for national and local cancer initiatives.

Our national recipient is the Lance Armstrong Foundation ( The LAF believes that in the battle with cancer, unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong, the LAF provides the practical information and tools people living with cancer need to live strong.

Our local recipients include: The Keep Pounding Fund (, which honors the late Carolina Panthers player and coach Sam Mills and former player Mark Fields. Proceeds benefit the Blumenthal Center for Cancer Research at Carolina Medical Center.

The Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas ( is a local non-profit that is establishing Charlotte as the premier brain cancer research and treatment facility in the country.

So I had this flight to reschedule...

So my late-summer Vegas trip that was supposed to happen in two weeks went by the wayside when Suzy's 20th high school reunion popped up on the weekend that we were supposed to go to Vegas.

So I had these two tickets to rebook.


If anybody not named Falstaff is planning on organizing the WPBT Winter Classic, please let me know soon.

Because I'll be landing in Vegas on December 6th and returning to NC on the 10th.

Barring anyone jumping up and down and saying "Pick Me! Pick Me! I wanna herd a couple dozen hyperactive ADD kittens!" I'll be looking into hotels and poker rooms for private tournaments. It will NOT be the Orleans. And any place that wants our business and our good press is gonna give me OUR damn tournament structure.

I'm thinking around $100 buy-in ($75 prize pool/ $10 Dealer toke/ $15 juice) with 30 minutes levels. Start with 100x BB, and slow levels.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh Yeah - POKER

This hand is why I still play Limit poker ($1/2 & $2/4 on Full Tilt, baby - bonus code falstaff)

I sit down UTG and post. Not my best choice position-wise, but I post rather than wait a hand. I am dealt As-2s.

There's another new player in MP who posts, an EP player raises, MP guy folds, BB calls, I call. Yes, they're rags, but calling $2 into a $13 pot isn't the stupidest thing I've ever done with sooted Ace-rag.

Flop - A-2-2. Bingo!

BB checks.

I check.

Original raiser bets.

BB calls, I call.

Turn is some irrelevant middle card, like an 8, but puts a flush draw out there.

BB checks, I check, Original raiser bets.

BB calls, I raise.

Original Raiser calls, BB calls. Yippee! They're with me to the river!

River fills the heart flush and I have fleeting hopes that one of them was on the draw and will raise me, but I'm not taking my chances.

BB checks, I bet, everyone calls.

My boat is good, worth 10.5 BB in profit, and I stand up before bothering to post my blinds. That was all the post-rehearsal relaxation I needed.

But aren't they ALL busy weekends?

I shit you not, I think I do more on the weekends than I do during the week. My boss might agree, depending on the week.

So Friday night saw most of the standard crew of degenerates sitting around my poker table, with a couple of irregular faces. Dan missed the game, a real rarity, and Charles from work sat in for a change. Diamond Jim moved in to sit on my right elbow, a real rarity for him, and Special K sat on my left, getting the benefit of position on my craziness.

I mentioned earlier that there were some very specific things I'm working on in my game, and I tried to focus on them as the night went on. I didn't chase gutshots (much) and I didn't call preflop raises with trash (hardly ever). I also defended my blinds less with crap hands. It didn't really matter, because I still had to rebuy almost in the first orbit when Uncle Phil slow-played his boat and I gifted him my whole stack with the nut straight.

Charles definitely changed the dynamic of the game, as he stuck in some big raises with medium hands and amped up the action a lot in the early going. He took down some big hands, and generally moved a lot of chips around the table, but took a vicious beat from Jim midway through the night to put a big dent in his stack. Charles went all-in on the turn with J5s on a board of A-5-5-x. Jim called with an Ace for two pair, then spiked one of his two outs on the river to stack Charles.

I ended up in some big hands and with some big chips as the night moved on. Nate was my primary donor, as my streak of catching garbage straights on Special K seems to have come to an end. I also took the high hand jackpot with Aces full of Jacks, my first jackpot win since we instituted it at my game (although last week when Nate won it was like I won, since I took all that money from him later). We recently split the jackpot to create more action. There's the nightly high hand, which goes to whoever gets the biggest hand by midnight, and then there's the rolling jackpot, which builds from week to week until somebody gets quads or better. I take $.50 out of each pot that sees a flop for the jackpots, and the money splits evenly between the two. We've done it that was for two weeks, and there's about $50 in the rolling jackpot. Not anything huge, but it's a buy-in, and that never hurts. So I picked up an extra $25 in jackpot money to go with my stacks, which were fairly healthy and then got G00T on this hand.

I'm in a blind with AKo. Charles makes it $4 to go from Middle Position. Nate calls (because that's what he does), Jim calls, and I make it $20. Charles calls all-in, Nate calls, and Jim folds. Flop comes Ac-Qc-8c, and Nate leads out at me for $15. I call, somewhat concerned about the flush. Turn is a blank, and Nate fires $25 out at me. With nearly $100 in the pot, a $25 bet from the loosest player in the free world doesn't really worry me, as he could easily be trying to push me out with a Queen. I call, and the Ks comes on the river. Nate throws $35 out at me, and I call with my top two.

"I have Queens and eights." Nate says, having called $20 preflop with Q8o. Charles mucks, and I say "I have Aces and Kings" and rake in the biggest pot of the night. Special K looks over and says "nice river," and I can only nod.

It's tough playing with Nate because he's almost impossible to put on a hand, and he is going after any pot worth winning with any two cards. But if you can catch two pair or better against him, you can make the rent playing cards with him.

I made one good laydown of the night, in a repeat of the situation I found myself in with K last week. Jim led out at a flushy board, I raised 3x his bet with a made baby flush, and he pushed over the top. I thought for a minute before folding, said out loud "I made that mistake last week," and folded. Jim was kind enough to show his Q-high flush, and I avoided doubling him up like I did K last week.

All in all a good game, and I finished with another sick night, profiting 4.5 buy-ins in a home game. Good thing it's my house, because I might not be invited back somewhere else after taking over $400 out of a $50 max buy-in game in two weeks.

I luvs me some July.

Saturday I went shopping for the show and bought some costumes, then went to Le Sears to pick up the exercise bike. I'll upload photos later tonight of the serious packaging and the assemblage that was required. I had read reviews where folks said it took them 3-5 hours to put that thing together, and all I can think is that they must be retarded paraplegic amputees with Parkinson's, because my inept ass put the whole thing together in 90 minutes, and then went to dinner with Suzy and my sis before heading out to a bar to see Sam Bush.

Sammy came to jam, but the venue brought teh suck. Acoustics were on the mediocre end of mediocre, and there were not chairs or stools, so it was definitely a young-folks kinds venue. The music was, of course, smoking, and when he segued into Whole Lotta Love, it got really jumping. A lot more instrumental in this set than I'm used to, but they made up for the somewhat sedate set with a 30-minute encore including a 22-minute version of Same Ol' River where every member of the band took an extended solo, and then a screaming rendition of Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms, one of my favorite old bluegrass tunes that I'd never seen him perform before. One thing that was a bit of a cooler was that halfway through the show, a guy from the venue told me I had to take my camera outside, that there were no photos allowed. I whined a bit that no one had told me this beforehand, and he said that the band just told him that after a lot of people were inside. I stuck my camera in my pocket after he wandered off, so not much on the pictures. I'll upload what I did get tonight after rehearsal.

So after getting to bed after 2 Friday and Saturday nights, I got up Sunday and recapped the WSOP, then went to the first ever Metrolina Theatre Association unified auditions. MTA is a service organization for theatre groups in the greater Charlotte region, and this was the first time they tried to hold a mass auditions. 20+ companies watched 110+ actors give a 90-second audition over the course of 6 hours. There were a lot more good actors than bad actors, and I found most of the cast for the next show I'm directing.

We still have a secondary audition for Killing Time next week, but if I knew ahead of time that there would be that many good people in the bulk auditions, I wouldn't have scheduled them. I saw a lot of new faces, and a lot of familiar faces, and saw some new things from old people, which was good. A ton of actors that I know didn't do the unified auditions, and I think once they hear about the big turnout, they'll be there next year.

After the audition I dashed over to the theatre where we had Hamlet's first technical rehearsal. There were some dimmer issues at the theatre, which made the lighting a little rough, but otherwise it went pretty well. The sword fight at the end is looking good, and the scenes that they're solid on the lines for are looking good. Act 4 is rough, because that's where people are still shaky about lines, but I'm feeling pretty good about the shape of the show. If I can get all of the cast to be as committed as some of them are, we'll be golden.

I'm working with a wide range of ages, experience levels and levels of training, so it's sometimes tough to realize what they do or don't know. There are things that are basic theatre behavior that are ingrained in me and some other folks that are just foreign to people that have only done a couple of shows, or have only done high school theatre. So there's been a lot of that training going on, and most of them are getting it. And the others think I'm an ogre and won't come back, so I won't have to deal with them again anyway.

Either way, that was my relaxing weekend - it doesn't get any better this week, as I still have to deal with getting the set painting finished, the masking luan put on the platforms, get the programs created and printed, then try and sell some tickets and live with my wife as she goes insane sewing costumes and learning lines. But in a couple weeks I'm taking a few days vacation, so that'll be nice.

If I don't implode by then into a supernova of stress. Maybe I should just drink more.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday means...

Only two more days in the work week. Kinda sick, but true. I don't really get weekends off, with the writing stuff that I'm doing and the theatre thing kicking into high gear right about now, but I'm really looking forward to rolling up through Kentucky into Indiana in a couple weeks to attend Suzy's 20th high school reunion.

Along those lines, I just bought this on
Did I mention I kinda hate exercise? Let's face it, if I didn't really like to eat and wasn't a lazy bastard, I wouldn't have ended up fat in the first place. The NordicTrack AudioRider gives me a place to jack in my iPod while I suffer, and it was on sale.

Last run-through before tech rehearsals was last night, kinda hard to believe we open that pig in less than a week. The cast has worked hard, as befits a difficult show. Some of these folks are doing the best work I've ever seen, and I'm very proud of them. The concept is a little risky, and I'm not sure how it's going to be received. We're shooting for a very minimalist, rehearsal-clothes type production, except for the play-within-the-play, which is done in full kabuki makeup, costumes and movement.

That's a little but of a leap to ask an audience to take with you, and I know this. My whole point is that this play celebrates two things - the truth in the language, and the spectacle that is theatre. By stripping away a lot of the typical "Shakespeare" trappings, the hose, the doublets, all the period costumes, we're able to focus on the words, and the truth they contain. Even today we're still dealing with the same issues, young people with parents that die, divorce and remarry people we don't like, people that get in the way of our ambition, depression, suicide, disapproving parents and friends who aren't what they seem.

But at the same time, Shakespeare has crafted a love letter to theatre, particularly with the players. While there was a lot of political commentary built into the original text about professional acting troupes that were forced out of their comfortable city theatres and had to take to the road acting for pennies when favor turned to child star troupes, I cut that stuff and focused instead on the love of theatre inherent in those characters.

Stop and read this out loud if you're somewhere that it won't get you fired.

let your own discretion be your tutor:

suit the action to the word,

the word to the action; with this special o'erstep not

the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is

from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the

first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the

mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,

scorn her own image, and the very age and body of

the time his form and pressure.

That's the stuff I tell actors even today, when I'm giving notes. One of my favorite things to tell actors is "speak the fucking speech," which is a mangling of the beginning of Hamlet's instructions to the players. Actors that have worked with me a few times understand exactly what I mean, and they put their silly actor tricks back in the bag and reach for truth instead.

And as I go through this process, my first directing gig in several years, I realize why not every actor wants to work with me time and time again. I'm a hardass, and sometimes I'm not very nice. And not everyone understands that when I give notes for 30+ minutes after a 3-hour rehearsal, it doesn't mean the show's shit, it means the show is coming together and I can see potential that needs to be brought out. And not all actors get that.

But for the actors who will come along for the ride, I make good product, and I can help them be better actors than they were when we started the process. I'll never ask an actor to do something onstage that I'm not willing to do myself, a lesson I learned from my first directing teacher. I think I'm pretty good at this, but really the proof is in what we put on stage, so I'll know in a week.

Wow - that got deeper than I expected. Oh well, more insight into my twisted little brain than most of you ever wanted, but if anyone in my cast reads this, feel free to pass the link along to the rest of the actoids.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


So let's just get an old-fashioned stream of consciousness ramble on, shall we?

So when I stepped onto the scale this morning, we reached a new benchmark in our weight loss trials - 240.8 lbs. Fuck y'all, I'm rounding down and calling it 240. That makes roughly 25 pounds since I started this endeavor, and it all started with me looking at some pictures from Shrew rehearsals and thinking "wow, what a fatass." So it took me a month to lose the latest 5 lbs., and a good piece of that is because there was a Vegas trip in that month, and my schedule got all funky with travelling then doing the show. Now that my schedule is hitting some semblance of normalcy, I've been able to focus on getting the weight off again.

Next up is exercise. Saturday I'm headed to Sears to pick up a NordicTrack recumbent bike for me and Suzy to start using. I've wanted one for a while, and this one's on sale and has a decent reputation, so we'll see if I can add an exercise component to my weight loss and actually get down to my goal weight. Yep, I finally set a goal, and it's a long way from here. I want to get down under 200. That's another 40 pounds away, and probably at least a year from now, but I'm shooting for getting down to close to my college weight. If I see 199 once, I'll be happy to float around 205 forever, but in a perfect world I'll stop somewhere in the 195 neighborhood. That might be overreaching a little, because I'm still thick through the chest (and head) and have big shoulders and shit like that, but it's something to work towards.

Along the lines of things to work towards, I've been working on some of the leaks in my poker game recently. I sat down at the computer and came up with a list of ten things that bleed money from me in poker games, and now each night after rehearsal, I spend a little time decompressing by donking around at Full Tilt (Bonus Code Falstaff!) and I keep that list open on my laptop as I play. Some of the notes are limit-specific, as I spend most of my time at the $1/2 tables, but some are just a given for all forms of poker.

I particularly need to work on giving people more credit for the hand they are announcing with their betting patterns. I doubled Nate up twice last week by not giving him credit for the hand he was betting, and did the same once with Special K. If I had gotten away from those hands, I would have likely ended up even more ahead for the night. So that's one thing I'm working on.

Another is my tendency, in limit games particularly, to call preflop raises with suited connectors or one-gappers. These hands just aren't good enough in limit to make those calls with. In no-limit, where I can get someone's entire stack if I hit, it's often worth it. But in limit, especially at the lower limits where I'm living, the pots just aren't big enough to warrant the risk.

Now last night when I found T and Special K at the same $3 cap no limit table, I threw all those precepts out the window and donked to high heaven. There's something to be said for massive donkage at micro-limits, though, since I left that table up $10, my only winning session on the night! My only decent hand was won with a big suckout when I caught a K to go with my KJ when 4 of us were all-in preflop. I was actually only behind one hand, which means that two of the other players were bigger donkeys than me! Hard to do at a 6-max table.

Rehearsals are going well, we're into the home stretch with opening night looming a short week from tonight. I feel pretty good about the show, as long as everybody gets the lines down. There's just a lotta fuckin' words in Hamlet, and most of them are important. I've been working the cast pretty hard, and it's easy to see which ones are responding to me riding them and which ones are starting to shut down a bit. That's the fine line I walk when I direct, because I'm about as aggressive in directing as I am at the poker table, and some people don't react well to that. They usually don't come back to act for me a second time. The ones that flourish under my pressure turn out some great work, and some of these guys and gals are turning in their best performances ever. Tech rehearsals start Sunday, and those are the really long nights. If I leave the theatre before 11 any night next week, I'll be amazed.

That's enough for now, I'll think of y'all while I'm watching Slammin' Sammy Bush tomorrow night at Amos' Southend here in Charlotte, North Cackalacky. If you're close, you oughta come with. I gots a spare ticket.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HTML help needed

Can somebody out there make me a 125 x 125 banner with a pair of theatre masks on it that would link to

I'm trying to tweak one of my websites and don't have quite the mad HTML skillz that I need to make this happen.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cancer Sucks, Give Money

So my office is raising money for the 24 hours of Booty event, a 24-hour bike ride around Freedom Park that takes place next weekend. This is raising money for cancer prevention, research, and to help families of cancer patients. I know far too many of you have been touched by cancer in some way, and some of you are actively working for a cure (BTW, Byron, you rock!). So help my co-workers raise money by going to the Barbizon Booty website and making a donation. I'm in for a donation, and I hope you will be as well. You can make a donation in honor of a survivor, in memory of someone you've lost, or just on principle.

And after that, go to the Shakespeare Carolina website and donate money there. Look, I know you're all filthy rich, otherwise you wouldn't be reading my broke-ass blog to hear how the other half lives. So give money to my theatre company so my wife can finish buying costumes!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

From rehearsal

I wish I could remember who told this story, but something tells me it was Cartee. This was part of a rehearsal conversation. Is it any wonder why I love these people?

So my buddy’s dad woke me up at about 8 the next morning, holding the phone.

“It’s for you.”


“Some girl, I didn’t ask.”

And apparently I had had relations with this chick the night before and the first words out of her mouth were “What did you do to my neck?”

Saturday, July 07, 2007

More music-type stuff

So I was one of those people who said "why the fuck would I ever pay for radio?" Then I got the new Element (which I have dubbed The Toaster), which came with a three-month trial of XM radio. Fuckers. Yeah, kid, the first one's free, just to see if you like it.

And like all good crack-monkeys, I signed up. So then this week my buddy Chris, who's designing sound for TGPITHOTEL, sent me a link to some John Cage stuff he found on Napster to listen to, and to do it I needed to sign up for the 7-day free trial of Napster to be able to listen.

So I signed up, and found that not only is there a bunch of boogie there, which I can listen to streaming live at work, but I can also stream XM radio via Napster, which makes me think it might just be worth it to keep the $10/month to have the Napster subscription service. Of course, that means that I'll be paying $25/month to listen to the radio, but the ability to select my own pieces of the radio to listen to makes it more appealing. If anybody had experiences with Napster and has decided later that they love it or hate it, drop me a line and let me know. I think I also have an affiliate code for Napster (like I have one for everything else) so if anybody else wants to sign up, lemme know that as well.

But right now I'm thinking it's pretty cool to hang out in my den and stream the Live Earth hippie concerts throughout my house on my laptop as I finish installing my new copy of MS Office, since the free trial that came on my laptop has expired. Thank Jebus I have friends in high places, because I woulda hated to pay retail for this thing!

Oh yeah - and I signed up for Skype, so if you're on there, look me up - I'm, originally enough, johnhartness.

Home Game - bad beats and cheap beers

Did I ever mention that a lot of my home game strategy came from a couple of sessions getting my ass kicked by G-Rob?

No really, regardless of his statements that he sucks at poker, there's method to his madness. Ok, there's also madness, but there is a method. Play looser than Paris Hilton's...morals (what did you think I was gonna say? Perverts!) preflop, and then if you miss the flop, fold. If you hit, you're probably playing shit and everybody else missed, so bet the fuck out of it. Not to mention the fact that nobody will believe you when you hit with that garbage.

So needless to say this usually results in a high-variance style of play. Uncle Phil has made the statement, half-joking (ok, probably in all seriousness), that nobody at the table needs to worry about me until I'm on my second buy-in, because I don't start to really play until Ive dropped my first $50.

For those who aren't familiar (and really, are there people who just wander in here? I'm not Pauly, I just assume that I actually know everyone who reads here. But anyway.) my home game is No Limit Hold 'Em with .25/.50 blinds, $50 max buy-in. We usually get anywhere from 7-11 players and usually end up with more than one rebuy by the end of the night. So my modus operandi for the past year or so has been to blow through my first buyin pretty damn quick, then work all night to finish up a buy-in or two.

So last night I got off to a quick rush, picking up a bunch of orphaned pots and pretty much doubling my stack in the first hour. It took a long time for me to redistribute that back around the table, no matter how many times I refused to give Crazy Nate credit for the exact hand that would double him through me. Nate I think set the world land speed record for a triple rebuy, going into his pocket for the third time in pretty short order. He ended up down four buy-ins for the night, despite picking up the high hand jackpot with Aces full of Queens.

My first big hand was against Jim (this is a recurring theme). After sucking out on Dan a bunch, catching two pair and hitting straights with raggedy shit cards to bust his big cards, I had about $120 in front of me. Jim was floating around $80 or so. I held KQo in late position and came in for a raise. Flop brought me a gutshot with J-9-7. Jim led out and I called, figuring if I hit, I get his whole stack.

That's the thing - I'm not playing for the pot, I'm playing for the stack. So I'll float a loose call or thirty to make my gin on the turn or river and take down a monster. The blocking bet is also really important with this style, because if you miss the turn and want to see the river, you have to be willing to throw out the blocking bet to take control of the hand and get to the river at your price, or give yourself a chance to take it down with a bluff if a scare card comes on the river.

So choirs of angels sing in my head when the turn brought a 10 with no flush draws out there. I checked, expecting Jim to fire, but when he checked behind I figured the hand was in essence over, and pushed all-in on the meaningless river card. To my shock and awe, Jim called, tabling pocket eights for the baby end of the straight. I turned over the nuts, and had him covered by a bit to give me a big stack. For a little while.

It took less than two hands for half of it to go in the exact wrong direction - to my right. You see, money's supposed to flow clockwise around a table, and me getting tangled up with Special K was really a bad idea in so many ways. First off, he's the tightest player in our home game. By a MILE. The boy's so tight he squeaks when he walks. He's not above exploiting that image, which has cost me a pile in a couple of hands. this was one of them.

I limp, then call a small (6xBB) raise with 2h-3h. I call K's flop bet with two hearts out there, and tell him "You know I got there," when the turn brought the third heart. His response "Okay, then I'm all-in."

That was just about the perfect move at the perfect time. I really wanted to play that, and spend several minutes trying to talk myself into folding. I wasn't man enough to lay down my made flush, even though in my heart of hearts I thought I was at least dead to his draw. I managed to convince myself that he had A10o, for top pair, top kicker and the Ace of hearts for the nut flush redraw. So I made the $45 call and was drawing dead to his Kh-Jh. But it was a coinflip to call it, and I managed to convince myself that he was making a move. He wasn't, and he won't be the next time, but maybe the time after that...

Anyway, that hand, and one shortly thereafter with Jim where he caught runner-runner flush after calling a big bet on the flop with bottom pair and a backdoor flush draw put me back down to a little over my initial buy-in. I worked very hard over the next 20 minutes or so to stave off the awfukkits and play good poker, and managed to pick up a few pots here and there to get myself back to up about a buy-in, when I unleashed a massive cooler on Special K in the last orbit before we called it a night.

I'm in the SB with KQo and raise to 6xBB, which I had done about 3 out of every 5 hands for the last 15 minutes. I got two callers, K and Nate, who will call any bet as long as there's enough money in the pot. Flop is the most beautiful thing I've seen in days - 9-10-J with two diamonds. I'm holding the nuts, but there's a flush draw out there and Nate had been known to chase. A lot.K bets and I raise. I don't remember the amounts, but they are not insignificant. Nate comes along for the ride, and the turn completes nothing. I immediately go all-in, and am less than surprised when Nate calls. K thinks about it for a minute or so and says "I have to call," in the tone of someone who knows in his gut that it's not going to end well.

The river brings the Ad, and I think I'm screwed by the flush, but I turn up my nut straight and hope. Nate shows 98o for a pair with a straight draw, and Special K shows Q8o for the flopped 2nd-best straight, and I drag the biggest pot of the night. That was a helluva cooler for K, who was up considerably at that point, and had to triple up to get up $5 on the night. That was Nate's last buy-in, and I finished the night with a 4 buy-in profit after seeing some huge swings over the course of the night. Everybody wsa gone by 2AM, and then I got a few hours sleep before returning to the keyboard to write up Day 1A for PokerNews. I'll also have an interesting article up in the next day or so on Pokerworks about Steve Wynn and the whole tip-sharing thing. He's a douchebag.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Music > Poker - this is important

If you're anywhere near Charlotte on July 20th, come help me stay out of jail!

My favorite band of 2007, Reckless Kelly, is coming to town for the first time since I've started listening to them, and I plan to get, as my sister says "To' up from the flo' up." These guys put out some killer jams, with Texas twang and great storytelling, and I plan to raise enough hell to put myself in the kind care of the great state of North Carolina for some number of months, and am counting on you, my loyal readers, to come keep me out of jail. After all, there's no wi-fi with the communal soap, so if you wanna keep reading my drivel, come throw down with the hillbilly and keep me from getting arrested.

"But Johnny," I hear you say (if you are on the short list approved to refer to me as Johnny, and if you have to wonder whether you're on the list or not, you're not), "don't you have a production of the greatest play in the history of the english language that night?"

"And aren't you also performing in the aforementioned GPITHOTEL?"

Way ahead of you, my chilluns. I am indeed playing the ghost of Hamlet's father in the GPITHOTEL, but he only appears in one scene in this production, Act I, Scene 4.

"But doesn't the ghost come back in Act IV?" you ask.

Well, sometimes, but let's face it, the fucking play is over four hours long if you do the whole thing, and it doesn't really get you anything to bring the ghost back (in this particular interpretation), so I cut that bit.

"But how are you going to make it to the concert if you're onstage at 8PM?"

The production is performed in street clothes, the theatre is 15 minutes away from the concert, and RK takes the stage shortly after 9PM. 'Nuff said? I thought so. So when you go the website to see what the everloving fuck I'm so excited about, I heartily recommend tracks like "Break my Heart tonight," "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah," and "Wiggles and Ritalin."

OK, if you suck too much to come to Charlotte, check them out somewhere close. I can't wait.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!! Call now, and we'll throw in a Sam Bush concert next weekend for only $20! Yeppers, Slammin' Sammy, the only Bush worth voting for, Jethro Beck himself, is coming to Charlotte next Saturday night. So come on up and hang with me there, too! If you've never seen Sammy live, then what in the name of all that is holy is wrong with you?

I have been known to get a little inebriated at Sam Bush concerts, too, so anyone willing to post my bail is more than welcome to join me for these festivities as well.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of me sucking at poker. But to read about people who suck less than me at poker (well, some of them at least), click over to PokerNews and follow my morning recaps of the Main Event.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Maybe the fish aren't all drying up after all...

So in between lounging on the sofa with the wife and watching Veronica Mars Season 1 on DVD, I hopped up to play a little $1/2 limit of Full Tilt. My Full Tilt bankroll, while still miniscule, has swelled to the low triple digits after getting an affiliate signup last month. So I decided to return to the game that helped me build an online roll in the first place (before losing it all by playing like a dumbass) - limit poker.

So I sit down at a $1/2 table (no I do not have the requisite $600 or 300BB in my online roll to be adequately funded to play this level, but I can't bring myself to pay even a modicum of attention at any lower stakes) and pick up 88 in the 3rd or 4th hand after sitting down. I'm on the button, and perfectly content to limp in with my middle pair.

Middle position guy calls (I've seen him call someone all the way down with 3rd pair already since I've been here) and Cutoff raises. I call, then SB reraises. MP guy calls, cutoff calls, I decide to get the extra buck from everyone because it's worth it to me if I hit my set. Flp comes 10-9-A, all clubs. I have the 8c, so when it checks around to me, I bet.

SB raises, and the MP 3-bets. Cutoff folds, and I'm a little confused, but I still call. SB calls, and the turn is the 4h. In an even MORE bizarre street, it checks around on the turn. At this point I don't think anyone has the made flush, so I think I might actually be drawing good. I know there's an ace out there, but I don't know where and I don't know WHAT the other guy has.

The river brings the Kc, and my flush is not only made, there are only two cards that I'm behind, the Jc and Qc. It checks around to me, and with the 3rd nuts, I bet out and am called by both players.
My flush was good, but MP three-bet preflop with the 10-deuce off-suit? It's not like it was the hammer, it was just BAD.

Maybe all the fish aren't gone after all.

BJ Nemeth is the God of Geek!

UPDATE - Read BJ's comment for the explanation as to why Justin Shronk is the demi-God of Geeks with wondrous photoshopping powers!

As I'm working on my writeup for Event #51 - $10K PLO, I notice this gem among the live updates -

Patrik Antonius, the feared Black Lotus of poker

Proving, once and for all, that BJ Nemeth is a sixth sigma geek! This hilarious graphic also swiped from PokerNews (go there to read all the livest updates and stuff).
Bonus lolpoints for the Jeff Gordon quote!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Here's a friggin' news flash

Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • suicide (10x)
  • shit (7x)
  • ass (6x)
  • fuck (4x)
  • kill (3x)
  • sexy (2x)
  • dead (1x)
Obviously my post about raising money for suicide awareness and prevention garnered more attention than my random musings about suxy asses or shitfucks that draw out on me. I am obviously slipping.

Bayne, of course, is rated G. Fucking Snow White I guess.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Closing night

So last night we finished the Charlotte run of Taming of the Shrew, complete with a few extra Ric Flair moves thrown in just for the wrestling fans in the audience.

Our director, Chris (above) did a good job of bringing together a cast of disparate invidivuals and molding us together into a mostly cohesive unit by the time we were all finished.

And, as is standard, after the last show, there might have been a little bit of partying going on.
Not that I would know anything about that.

What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but the stupid shit that you do in my den ends up on Flickr.
Actors + Tequila + Sofa = Body Shots.

'Nuff Said.