Monday, April 17, 2006

The Vegetable Bet and Highway One

Don't forget! Tomorrow is the WWdN: Change100 Invitational on Poker Stars. $10+1, 5:30 Pacific/8:30 Eastern. I won naming rights last week when my AT crushered Wil's A6 with a spectacular 10-on-the-river resuck after he spiked his 6 on the turn. I'll be there. Hopefully my A-game will decide to wake up and come along for the ride.

*****

The decision to drive Highway 1 was fairly last minute. I sensed we were both a little bored with L.A. and that between Pauly, Stacee, him and me, Showcase was feeling the need for a little breathing room in our apartment that was definitely not built for four. Two days away would do all of us some good. Once Pauly threw out renting a car, I was sold. There was no way I could do all the driving myself (I drive stick and Mr. New York never learned) and the chances of my car making it up and back untroubled was akin to hitting an open ended straight draw with one card to come. We rented instead at probably the poshest Budget rent-a-car establishment in the known universe-- their Beverly Hills outpost across the street from CAA (agents to the stars... and Shane Nickerson). With all the rows of Beamers, Mercedes, and convertibles I was crossing my fingers for an upgrade, but we got a Honda instead. Meh. Though it is probably the easiest thing I've ever had to drive.

San Francisco is 385 miles from Los Angeles and it can take anywhere from 5-10 hours to get there depending on your route. Northbound we took the 5, a clear fast shot right through the heart of Steinbeck Country. Typically brown and ugly, the landscape was brushed with color for spring, from the neon yellow flowers covering the mossy hills to the trees such an ashy grey that they reflected almost purple off the fresh green grass behind them. Or maybe I was just really high.

We got up there in 5 1/2 hours, a decent pace. After checking into the hotel, we headed toward Union Square for dinner. Pauly must have been reading the map upside down because instead of staying on Market St., we turned up Leavenworth and found ourselves on one of the Tenderloin's sketchiest three-block stretches. Dozens of addicts, pushers, homeless guys and assorted lunatics lined the edge of the sidewalk as we booked it up the 20% grade. I saw an old black woman smoking a crack pipe right there on the street and another dude rolling a blunt right next to her. When we finally turned onto O'Farrell, the neon-lit porn theatres and the masturbators that emerged from their revolving doors were almost a welcome sight after the scene we'd witnessed on our way up the hill.

After walking around the city for a while, we had dinner at a diner near Union Square. I could see the new H&M across the street and drooled at the thought of a shopping spree as I dug into my strip steak. Pauly ordered his typical carbohydrate-laden feast-- a bacon grilled cheese and cheee fries. Believe it or not, this was actually a small meal for Pauly. But of course there was a rationale behind it.

"What, no burger?"
"I'm saving room for cake."

Pauly hates vegetables. He hates them in a way that I have never seen a human being hate vegetables before. If any portion of any item in his order contains vegetables, they are picked off. Lettuce and tomato on a burger? Not for Pauly. Bok choy and bamboo shoots in the Chinese food? They'll be removed before he takes a single bite. I've seen him take onions and tomatoes out of pasta because the pieces are too big.

By the end of his first visit to Los Angeles, I hadn't seen a single vegetable pass his lips and proposed a serious prop bet. For $4000, Pauly would have to eat nothing but vegetables for a period of seven days. Potatoes do not count. Tomatoes do not count-- they are a fruit. So are avocados. Dressings would be strictly portioned and rationed. And only water-- no iced tea. Veggies only. I didn't think he'd last beyond 24 hours.

We never settled on exact terms or a time for the vegetable bet, but as I stared at the broccoli florets and sliced carrots that accompanied my steak, a smaller-scale angle came to mind.

"How much for you to eat this entire side of broccoli?"

Pauly stared at the plate for a moment while calcutating cash vs. veggie EV.

"A hundred bucks."

"I'm not spending that much."

I grabbed a bread plate and placed a thick slice of carrot and one of the larger florets onto it's gleaming white surface.

"What about this? How much for one broccoli and one carrot?"

"$5."

"Deal." I spat out the word faster than calling an all-in with AA preflop.

Pauly's face contorted in agony as he chewed the offensive broccoli and I laughed my ass off. Best $5 I've ever spent. Video evidence exists but I'm pretty sure it'll never see the light of day.

The next morning we had the famous 18 Sweidish pancakes at Sears Fine Food on Nob Hill. Pauly ate all 18, of course. I only managed 14. We got out of the city around noon, taking the 280 down to the 92, a small state highway that cut through some creepy forest and spilled out onto Highway One in Half Moon Bay. I took over the wheel in Santa Cruz, just before the road's twists and turns got hairy. Though the sky was dark and it rained off and on throughout the nine hours it took us to wind our way back down to Los Angeles, the coastline still takes my breath away and reminds me how lucky I am to live here. Pauly took a ton of pictures I hope he'll post soon and both of us got in some solid thinking time as we passed the bowl back and forth and jammed out to Widespread Panic, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead.

The Doc went back to Vegas on Sunday and after dropping him off at the airport, I went over to my parents' for Easter Dinner. My mom cooked this sort of frightening ghoulash that I picked at and my sister and I polished off a bottle of Pinot Noir between us. Of course, I got the expected grilling. What are you doing/what are you writing/how's the job search/are you still playing poker all the time. You know, the usual.

On a stranger note, my father has developed an obsession with the film Pride and Prejudice. My sister's conservative estimate of the number of times he's viewed it since purchasing the DVD was in the low thirties.

I managed to sneak away after dinner to play in Easycure's Hammer Out Cancer tournament on Full Tilt. I made an early exit when I pushed in over the top of Drizz's T272 preflop raise with 77. He had AQ and flopped an ace, sending me to the rail in 50th place. No points for me from this one. Boooo. Though I was happy to see that both McGrupp brothers final tabled!

So after a nice hiatus, I'm back to grinding LHE again with a little bonus-whoring thrown in. I hope to have a nicer-looking version of one of those gay Poker Patterns graphs for you at the end of April.

Until my next meltdown...

4 comments:

Tully Moxness said...

Your post should be corrected to read: "On a stranger note, my father has developed an obsession with nubile young British actress Keira Knightley"

My father loves the films Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Carribean, too.

AlCantHang said...

"agents to the stars... and Shane Nickerson"

ouch

You LA girls are tough ;)

StudioGlyphic said...

Mmm... Sears.

shane nickerson said...

zing.