Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Adventures in Bureaucracy

I don't have a great history with bureaucracy. When the karmic wheel comes around for me and its time for me to pay a traffic ticket, register my car, change my address on a form, or really, do anything that requires the cooperation of the State of California, the end result as of late is bound to include me screaming at the heavens or Showcase, or really whoever is around to hear me, that the world is run by C-students. Imagine the raw exasperation on Showcase's face as he attempted to explain over and over again to phone monkey after phone monkey, that the state's $6000 tax judgement against him was actually due to a typo of the misplaced decimal point variety. Imagine the tilt that simmered below the surface as I tried to make the guy on the other end of the line at the DMV who had maybe a sixth grade comprehension level of the English language understand that I did indeed pay that $35.00 parking ticket so there shouldn't be any hold on my vehicle registration, which is why I got pulled over in Beverly Hills and fined $718 for expired tags and was about to be dragged into court.

Why should collecting a few unemployment checks be any different?

Long story short, I made an honest mistake. I didn't put my resume online in the California State Job Bank by a certain deadline. I didn't do it, because I didn't know it was some sort of federal requirement. You'd think they'd warn you about these things with a notice in big red lettering or something. Ed McMahon gets the big red lettering but not the government? However, once I found out that was the case, I took the five minutes and did it. It's not like the job bank was ever going to help me, unless I wanted a new career in distributing flyers or selling things on Ebay. At least that's the sort of spam that's ended up in my inbox since putting it up there.

Well my mistake got me DQed from a month's worth of unemployment checks before I realized and fixed my mistake. I got re-registered, so my checks would come from now on, but there were four weeks in there that I wouldn't be paid for. That's $1800. I needed that money back and now.

Last month I got a guy with at least a somewhat average IQ on the phone at the EDD. I explained my situation and he told me I should appeal. He sent the foms out to me, but not before pronouncing the word "resume" like "re-zoom" at least half a dozen times during the course of our conversation.

"It's pronounced reh-zoom-ay."
"No it's not."
"Uh... yes, it is."
"There's more than one way to pronounce it."
"No, there isn't."
"Yes, there is."

I give up.

So I wrote a letter of appeal and got denied. I decided to appeal the appeal and appear before an administrative judge, really the last stop in the process because (a) it was an honest mistake (b) I'm an intelligent person and if I can't figure this shit out, well God help the rest of the population and (c) I'm a 28 year old blonde girl from the west side who is clearly not trying to cheat the system ;) My appointment was yesterday morning at 11:30. Not in a court of law, but in a conference room in Inglewood, a dicey southern 'burb of Los Angeles, home to the Great Western Forum, the Hollywood Park Casino, and a healthy dose of gang violence.

In life, as in poker, sometimes it's all about your seat draw.

Had the stern, bespectacled woman with the cropped gray hair possessed even the slightest sense of humor, I think I'd have walked out a winner. A guy my father's age who probably hadn't been laid in a while would have been my best draw. He'd see a nice college-educated girl who caught a bad break and just needed to pay her rent. He'd understand the absurdity of the situation. He'd pronounce it "reh-zoom-ay." Instead, I got the reincarnation of my grammar school principal on the other side of the table.

"So, Ms. Change. And why is it you think YOU are above the law?"

I probably lost my case. Then again, I really wasn't expecting to win. My faith in the type of jusitce dispensed by bureaucracy goes nowhere near that far. End result? I won't get my 1800 bucks now, but I can still claim it later if I'm still out of work. So I guess I cashed that tournament Sunday night just in time. I still have a 2-3 week wait before I receive a written decision.

The northbound 405 was jammed as I tried to make my way home from the 'hood. Heading east toward the La Cienega Blvd alternate route, signs for Hollywood Park beckoned. I had $200 in my purse. But I wasn't in the mood to gamble. And I have a screenplay to write.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Deal? Or No Deal?

It's almost 3 AM and I'm about to drop, but the effort was well worth it.

Until about an hour an a half into this tournament, I'd been having one of those weeks. Just beat after beat until I was rendered punch-drunk come 6:00 this evening. 9 straight losing days, the last three reaching my daily stop-loss limit. Today looked like it was going to be the fourth such day in a row.

WhenI busted out of the Full Tilt $19K earlier this evening, after another deep finish (255/1017) but no cash, I remarked to JoeSpeaker on IRC that I didn't seem to have much of a problem finishing deep in MTTs lately, but for the 75% or so of the time I'm getting through 2/3 of the field, I'm only cashing 20% or so of these tournaments. It's a revealing statistic that says a lot about my mid-late stage game. Essentially, I need to grow some stones and steal more pots in the early ante levels even when I'm card-dead. I need to take that tight-ass image I work so hard to build in the first hour and exploit the fuck out of it in the second. I've been playing too much pussy poker.

I've been a fan of these random $22 MTTs Stars runs in the evenings. They're like uber-180s, usually drawing around 600-900 players depending on the night. The quality of play just as bad as in the $22 180 SNGs and the players bust out just as fast, only the prizepool is even further inflated by the huge field. I look at these almost like overlays in a way. Tonight, it finally paid off.

Down to the final five tables, I played one of my most aggressive games in recent memory. I forced myself out of my comfort zone. I'm never going to see bigger money unless I continue to push myself in that direction. I played position more than I played hands the later it got. I wasn't afraid to pop a late position raiser all in if I picked up a premium hand and most of the time they folded to me. I raised with shit like KT and J9 and adopted orphan pots. By the time we got down to four-handed, less than 40,000 chips separated first from fourth, all our stacks in the $300K range with $15-30K blinds. Not a bad time for a four-way chop.

Change100... deal, or no deal?

Uhhhh.... deal!!!!!

When we stopped play, I was third in chips. The deal yielded each of us essentially second place money, and when we played the rest out for TLB points, I still finished third. Looks like I made a great deal.

3rd of 988. $2700. Biggest win to date.

Feels good to say that.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Knit Ball, No Limit, and the End of Stacee

The willowy blonde hippie girl blew on my neck as she floated past me, the stage lights reflecting pink and blue off the the whites of her glassy eyes. She must have seen how hot I was, my damp blonde hair twisted into a knot at the nape of my neck, sweat pouring down my face, ruining my once-perfect makeup job. I suppose the MDMA coursing through her bloodstream implored her to reach out to me in my hour of need, in whatever small way she could.

Pauly and I took in Knit Ball in different manners. I'm more of a "dance like an idiot in whatever way the music moves me" type of show-goer. He's more cerebral and introspective, with occasional bursts of geeky air-guitar playing. Friday night's lineup featured Particle and Lotus headlining a night of space-porn 70's fusion jams. Lotus really impressed me. Particle was pretty groovy as well, but their jams were going a little over the top by the end of the first set.

We ran into Brad and Angelina at the show. Not Pitt and Jolie, but two of my juvenlie delinquent neighbors that Showcase has befriended in recent weeks. Angelina is a former child actress much like myself. She appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies as well as the direct-to-video blockbuster "Mary-Kate and Ashley Go to the Mall" all before her 12th birthday. She's 19 and hot now, and just might have some legitimate talent. Her boyfriend, Brad is the manager of a head shop in Hollywood. I'm unclear as to his further ambitions. But he's a sweet kid.

I took a shot at the $100 max NLHE on Full Tilt this week since I was feeling good about my play and where my bankroll is at. The quality of play isn't much different at $100 NL than it is at the $50 special-ed tables, only these guys are much more of the weak-tight variety of pescoid than loose-passive. If anyone tells you that online NLHE players are getting better at the game, they obviously haven't been to Full Tilt. There are plenty of morons out there that still call raises with 26o. I did the best when I played small pots and ground it out. I did the worst when I stuck my whole stack in the middle as a 4-1 or better favorite. 3 sessions, 3 all ins, 3 suckouts, $300 gone and I still owe Pauly 3 dollars for the bad beat stories. Bad results aside, I made excellent decisions. I can't control three outers falling. This is a game I feel like I can beat soundly and regularly if I felt only a little less financial stress at the moment. But losing that money I worked so hard for, even though I did it making plays I'd make again and again and again just proved to me that I'm still just not quite ready to handle the losses.

Then again, had I won those three hands instead of losing, I'd probably be feeling like some kind of a fucking genius right now.

So that's the end of my quick shot at cash games. It'll be back to the MTTs later this week once Pauly's back on the east coast and I have 4+ hours at a stretch to devote to playing.

It's finally starting to look like summer here. The sky was so perfect and clear this morning that I could hardly stand to stay in and write. This town does terrible things to one's motivation. If I get enough done I'd like to end the afternoon at my favorite dive bar in Venice Beach and watch the sunset.

Showcase and Stacee are all but finito. They got into a text messaging mini-war over whether he was going to drive down and spend the night in the O.C. or if she was going to come up to the city. She CLEARLY wanted him to make the effort and drive down there, but Showcase wasn't budging an inch.

"I'm not spending ANY more money on this chick. $50 worth of gas roundtrip just to get laid once and have her get drunk and pass out? AND she lives with her mom! In the mornings it's just too weird."

He clearly has to have the "this isn't working out" talk with her, and soon. Poor Stacee will just have to find someone else to pay for her dinners and booze.

If your local newsstand carries Bluff Magazine, check out this month's issue with Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi on the cover. Some of my favorite poker bloggers got some serious ink in Pauly's article "Poker Blogs: The Best of the Best." Check it out!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For the American Idol fans out there...

In honor of one of this month's top Google search referrals to this here blog ("Taylor Hicks Smoking Pot") I offer you this small piece of advice.

If you have last night's American Idol on Tivo, stop whatever you're doing, get high, and watch the end of Taylor's performance of
"Try a Little Tenderness."


I promise a near-religious experience.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Split Open and Melt

I didn't think it would be this hot yet. But I was already craving air conditioning, something my 14-year old Saturn does not have. I mean, it has an air conditioner. It just doesn't work. About an hour into the drive, I made a mental note to check out JetBlue flights to Vegas for the WSOP because there was no way I was going to have a repeat of last year. I rolled down every window as I flew down the 60 freeway, blowing a kiss to JoeSpeaker as I passed the Spanish-tiled roofs of Moreno Valley and wound my way east toward Palm Springs. The foothills looked so tan and crisp that a single spark could ignite everything around me.

My home for the next couple of days was an old-school 50's style motel on South Palm Canyon. It was three stories high with a stone 50's style exterior and a pool at the center. The place was half-full, mainly by pale older couples peppered with a few hippie backpacker types. My room was on the second floor and had a view of the San Jacinto mountains and the dozens of palm trees that shaded each hotel along the road. Best of all, it had its own balcony equipped with a table and chair. That would be a nice place to write.

I got a lot out while I was there. It was the first triple-digit weekend in the desert so I'd jump into the pool to swim a few laps and cool off after every couple of pages. I wrote two openings and threw one out. Most of the time I was writing on that balcony in a dripping wet bathing suit but it worked. I didn't even attempt to hook up an internet connection until my last few hours there because I knew it would be far too much of a distraction. I was also surrounded by casinos. Agua Caliente was 2 miles away and Spa Resort Casino within walking distance. I'm proud to say I didn't cross the threshold of either, though I was itching for blackjack at 3AM while I was blocked on the second night. I know it's -EV but I still love it.

The drive back took twice as long as the drive out and it was even hotter. There was a jacknifed big rig on the 60 and I sat at a standstill on the freeway utterly melting in my car for almost an hour before forcing my way over to the nearest exit. I got off in Chino and was very lost, though it wasn't nearly the ghetto they say it is on The O.C. Thankfully my sister was in front of her laptop and was able to find me an alternate route home.

I got back into the poker swing Sunday night, cashing the Full Tilt $9K Guaranteed. I swapped 5% with JoeSpeaker and still owe him $2.20 for my efforts ;) Last night I hit up the Stars $3.30 Rebuy, finishing in 15th of 2196 for about $130.00 and a $10+1 MTT on Full Tilt where I cashed in 16th. Missing the final table of the rebuy stung a bit because I was playing really well, but I can take some solace in the fact that it was my deepest finish in a field that huge. I had over a million chips at one point and I don't think I've ever had that many in front of me in a MTT.

I bit the bullet and forked over $200+ for Final Draft yesterday. I had to do it before it got truly annoying to transfer everything over from Word. At least, for me, it's a 100% tax-deductible professional expense. For the uninitiated, Final Draft is Hollywood's preferred screenwriting software platform. I used to have a copy I swiped from work, but it was unfortunately installed on the laptop I had stolen last summer. Once I bust from (or win!) the $22 noon donkfest MTT I'm playing right now, I'll be right back on the horse.

Showcase told me this morning that he's "so done" with Stacee. She showed up at 2AM again last night after partying her ass off at the cool Hollywood club du jour, LAX and passed out in his bed. Poor guy didn't even get laid.

Luckily, his wingman is coming back into town.

Edited to add (4:22 PM): I didn't win. But I did manage to take second!

Final hand was a killer. At a 3-1 chip disadvantage (Spaker had just busted the 3rd place finisher for his whole stack) I raised with K7 on the button and he called with 58. Flop was 467. Money went in on the flop. You know the rest.

This hand helped too, along the way.

I'm gonna go sing karaoke now with Showcase to celebrate!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Off to the Desert

I woke up to another gray morning in Los Angeles just a little while ago, checked my email, made my bed, and threw a change of clothes into a backpack. After a stop at 7-11 for some below-average coffee, I'll be on the road to my cheap Palm Springs motel where I'll be spending at least the next two days and nights writing. I think if I come back to the city with 25 more solid pages, I'll consider it a success. It also has a pool and I really hope it's warm enough out there for at least one swim.

In my absence, check out some of those fine folks over on the right. America's favorite donkeyfucker wrote a sequel to one of the most hilariously depraved posts of 2006 over on the Tao of Poker today. You won't be disappointed.

And if that's not your bag (though I'm pretty sure it is) my friend Drizz just had a baby girl! She's just gorgoeous and has an awesome name. He's also one step closer to getting laid again.

No word yet from the fast food gods, but Showcase was very happy with his callback audition. Fingers still crossed.

Back on Saturday...maybe Sunday...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Coming Out

I had just busted from a tournament and was about to shut down my laptop for the night when my cousin Bobby IMed me. It was pretty late on the east coast, so I figured he must have just stumbled home after last call at one of the bars he frequented. Bobby was a champion drinker. The last time I saw him two Thanksgivings ago, he got me wasted on some concoction called "Red Death" at a locals dive on the side of a South Jersey highway. The next morning I woke up in my hotel room covered in a red rash and flipped out. Turns out I had not caught a disease, but that the drink contained peach juice, peach Schnapps, or some form of peach, to which I am violently allergic. He had no idea about the peach in the drink or that it would turn me into unattractive blotchy girl and we had a good laugh about it as he drove me up the parkway to Newark airport that afternoon.

When "I love you so much...I have to tell you something" popped up in the chat window, I had an inkling of what was coming next. It wasn't going to be that he crashed his car, tried a new drug, or narrowly avoided arrest. I had waited for this day for a long time, though not nearly as long as he had. I was beginning to seriously doubt it would ever happen, given his parents' proclivity for all things Republican and rednecked.

"I am gay. And I know you know."

We were both so relieved and I was so touched that he trusted me enough to be the only family member he's come out to. Bobby and I have always had a close relationship even though we were raised on opposite coasts by two products of 1960's North Jersey. His father and my mother grew up together and though my mom eventually left the Jerz behind in her early twenties for a different sort of life in California, his father never gave a thought of leaving behind the place he was born. He taught at the high school he went to and raised his family in a small, conservative town down the shore. Thick-necked, beer-guzzling, sports-loving, and traditional to the core, Bobby's father would totally flip out if he found out. Though on some level, I'm sure he already knows.

Bobby asked me if I remembered when I figured out he was gay. I told him I knew the exact moment. I was maybe 17 and he was 12. He'd come out to L.A. with his family in the summer for a couple of weeks to visit and they were all dying to go on The O.J. Tour. The O.J. tour was something we native Angelenos had to do quite a bit of back in the mid- nineties when out of towners would come to visit. It began, of course, at O.J. Simpson's Rockingham house, continued to the now-defunct Mezzaluna Restaurant on San Vicente, and ended at the scene of the crime-- Nicole Brown Simpson's condo on South Bundy. While our mothers gawked outside with the rest of the tourists, Bobby and I stayed in their rented minivan, blasting the air conditioning on ourselves. He had just finished appearing in a musical theatre production back home and in the privacy of the car, he sang me his solo since I couldn't be there to see it in person. Being a total unabashed high school drama geek, I totally ate it up and introduced him to my 200-strong collection of Original Cast Albums the second we got home. Bobby got back on the plane to Jersey with at least three mix tapes.

If that wasn't a clue, his purchase of platform shoes a couple of years later might have been an even bigger red flag. But that was no matter. Bobby came out to me and a weight has been lifted from both of us. Both of us cried good tears at different points. Though I was psyched for his visit to LA in July before, it carries even greater meaning now. I can't wait to see him. He's got a hotel room on Sunset Blvd and promises to let out his alter ago, "Bobbo Downey Jr."

Bobby asked me not to say a thing to my parents and I'll keep my word. Now we each have a secret to keep-- he's the only member of my family that knows about this blog. He's the only one I trust enough to tell.

Speaking of gays... Showcase got a callback for a fast-food commercial. He phoned me up the second he got the call from his agent and asked if I would come to synagogue with him. Church, synagogue, voodoo ritual, I'll do whatever it takes to get the man upstairs to give my boy some luck. His car just broke down (in the middle of an Hollywood) and it's going to take almost 2 grand to fix it. We both agree that revenue from greasy sandwiches should pay for it.

I spent all morning trolling Expedia for a cheap rate at a motel out in the desert. I need to get out of here for a couple of days and make some significant headway on my script. Though I've been more disciplined than I really ever have as a writer in recent days, there's still a helluva lot to distract me around here. Tivo. Email. Phone calls. Showcase. My karaoke machine. Poker. Friends coming over. The can fairies that pick through the dumpster in the alley behind my building. I think a 48-72 hour binge in a room with nothing but my laptop, a gallon of Diet Coke and a view of the mountains might bring out the rest of the first act more quickly than it will writing here for the same amount of time. Then I can come back to the city and have 4-5 days for a rewrite before showing it to Charlie. I'm thinking tomorrow morning. I'd go tonight, but it's already 5:30 and I don't feel like sitting in gridlock on the 10.

That, and Showcase is on his way home from his callback. If it's good news, there's no way I'm missing the celebration.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday, Briefly

I sat here last night and tried to crank out a post, but my head was just empty. I've been writing far above my usual level of output and almost all of it off the blog , which is probably why. Now since I'm steaming from bubbling a double shootout on Stars, finishing third with first and second moving on to the $1M Guaranteed, I need to write fast and furious and get the tilt out before going back to work.

The screenplay is coming along. I'm honestly having a blast writing it. I talked to Charlie this morning and told him I was trying to finish the first act by the end of next week. He had just returned from a weekend in Mexico where he and his wife attended the wedding of an L.A. indie pop quartet's bassist. Badly sunburnt and sleep-deprived, he was moving the rest of his stuff into his new office at the HQ of the mini-major where he now has a production deal.

"I've got your lamp on my desk" he told me. I'd given it to him for Christmas the first year we worked for the Big Man. It was red and amber and gave off a nice glow in the office. When the sun would go down for the night, Charlie would call "glow time" and we'd turn off the overheads, pull up the blinds over the windows, turn on that lamp and have spirited arguments about movies for hours. I was glad he took it with him. It's a rad fuckin' lamp and reminds me of good times.

I played a lot this weekend. I got into the Full Tilt $40K Guaranteed via super satellite, but busted somewhere in the mid-100s of 418. I tried another Ladies' Bracelet Race as well, but I made a big mistake on a hand where I had AA on a J45 flop with two clubs. My opponent bet out small and I made a big raise, 6x her raise, which she called. The turn was the 3c. She checked to me and I bet about 1/2 my stack (mistake #1) and she called. The river is a 7, perhaps the worst card that could come for me. She pushes in the 525 she has left and I know she has a 6. There's that outside chance she's been calling me down with a jack, but I doubt it now with the sudden aggression. There's over 3000 in the pot. Could she really be that big of an idiot and just have a jack? Yes. Am I afraid of a flush? No. She would have pushed the turn and I would have gotten out then. Could she have been calling my PF raise with A6? K6? Yes. She's sporting a 53% VPIP. Pocket sixes? Totally. So many reasons to fold. But not enough. I made my second mistake and called. She had the jack. AND the six. Aiyah. I found AK on the next hand in the SB and ran into the BB's KK and that was it for me. Next....

It was a good week in MTTs though. I'm back in the black for 2006 as well as the month of May. My finishes are consistently deep and I'm rereading the second Harrington book to try and refine some of my late-stage play. I'm also zipping through Stephen King's On Writing.

Showcase just left for the evening. He's taking Stacee to the WWE Smackdown at the Arrowhead Pond. Believe it or not, he got the tickets because he's friends with the announcer. Showcase admitted to me a few days ago that he's totally sick of Stacee. She's the kind of girl who likes to be taken care of, and is used to it. He's not down with that at all.

"You need to help me find a cooler girlfriend," he begged the other night as I seared tuna steaks for the three of us.

"Because I really can't afford this shit anymore."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

So close!

I was supposed to go to a Cinco de Mayo party in Venice Beach tonight with Showcase and Stacee but got waylaid by a final table in a Full Tilt multi. I was almost bounced in 7th place when I pushed very shortstacked with KQd and was called by pocket queens. But when CJ's on the rail and you're channeling the power of the luckbox, that three outer's gonna hit. And it did.


Heads-up play lasted exactly two hands. I went in outchipped about 2.5-1. Ladder folded to my button raise on the first hand. On the second one, he raised his button to 50K and I pushed in 176K more with 99. He instacalled with A4 and I was pretty happy about that, especially when the flop came KK3. But an ace on the turn ended my run.

$670 bucks or so for 2nd of 434. I'll take it!

Thanks to JoeSpeaker, Alan, and the Luckbox for sharing their mojo. And again to that wise friend, for telling me to stick to's working.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Play what you're good at

It's the simplest advice really, but at least in my case, some of the hardest for me to follow as a poker player. For not following it earlier, I've paid dearly and often.

When I first started playing, I didn't know any other players outside of the rotating cast of Hollywood douchebags I routinely faced and easily defeated in homegames. As I got more serious about it, my journey toward becoming a better player was an even more solitary pursuit. I read poker books and played online and went to Commerce on my own. And sometime last summer my eyes started wandering out my office window even more frequently than they had before and some spark within me was reignited and I decided to pick up a pen after putting it down for six years. Six years I put it down while I learned how to be a movie producer. And while occasionally I ached to write, I largely ignored that part of myself.

Poker was the thing that made me write again. All that time I was reading 2+2 in my office and sitting in staff meetings pretending to give a shit while calculating percentages on last night's bustout hand in tiny print on the front cover of that week's Project Status Report I was searching for answers, not just to the million poker questions burning in the forefront of my brain stem, but to a larger question entirely.

So I opened up Blogger and I started to write. I didn't care what any of it meant for the first time. I wrote about what I was passionate about-- poker. I found people just like me, going through the exact same shit with their games. Best of all, a bunch of those people lived right here in Los Angeles and they invited me to play with them. That's where I got really lucky. Because the best way to improve your own game is to learn from players who are better than you are. Murderer's Row had two tables full of them.

I recently had a long conversation about the state of my poker game with someone I met on one of those fateful Friday nights in HDouble's apartment. It wasn't our first talk on the subject. I'd sought advice about my game after my March slide, and asked him for some answers now that he'd seen me play quite a bit. He told me what I already knew, but needed confirmed-- that I'm a good tournament player and live NL cash player but I'm not a good limit player yet. He told me to stick to the online NLHE MTTs and play the live $200 NL at Commerce. It was great advice.

So what did I do with it? I turned around and played online limit hold'em again. I rationalized to myself that I needed to do it right now because it was supposed to be steadier money and chasing a couple of bonuses would be good for my bankroll. And then once I had my bankroll rebuilt, I could go back to what I was good at.

Guess what. It totally backfired. I donked off a lotta money at LHE. What good is allegedly "steadier money" if limit is not your best game? I didn't play badly but I wasn't playing my best either. You can totally have a 19% VPIP and a 2.5 aggression factor and still do that. I couldn't possibly play my best, no matter how shrewd I thought my reads were or how fishy my opponents. Because right now, to me, chips were no longer chips. Chips were money.

If that's not a cue to stop playing cash games, I don't know what is.

Back when Annie Duke played poker for a living, she went through a sick losing streak leading up to the birth of her youngest child. She was tired, emotional, in a bad headspace and had no business playing in the $1000-2000 game but pushed herself to do so and play through whatever personal crisis she was going through. And she crippled her own bankroll, eventually taking three months off from the game entirely.

I'm not taking three months off the game because I'm far too much of a degenerate to do that, but I am not going to play cash games at any limits resembling seriousness until I have a regular income again. It's time to take the advice I should have taken the first time and play what I'm good at. And what I'm good at just saved my ass and saved my bankroll with those two big cashes. So I'm going to keep at the MTTs, Stars 180s, and occasional $20SNG to try and generate a poker income.

Income...right. That would bring us to the matter of my career, or what's left of it.

I know what I have to do to find another gig. I could make half a dozen phone calls in the next twenty minutes and set up meetings for myself with a sick collection of studio VPs, agents, and independent producers that I could meet with and schmooze and follow the Yellow Brick Road down Wilshire Blvd and end up with another D-job six weeks from now. I have a stacked deck of cards I could play in my situation and likely scoop a huge pot. But I've been out of the development world for three months and for the life of me, I cannot pull the trigger and make myself go back. I'd rather light myself on fire than go back into D-girl mode. I am so much happier being away from those people and that lifestyle. And after three months of just denying it to myself, I arrived at the conclusion I probably knew all along on some level since the moment the Big Man's Hatchet Boy took me out to the shed.

I'm not going back to development.

So I'm going to play what I'm good at.

Charlie told me something about Hollywood years ago that I remembered again as Pauly and I were driving down PCH in the rain a couple of weeks ago.

"If you really want to make it in this town, write your way in."

It's a gamble. But what in my life isn't?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stacee and the 3:15 AM Orgasm

Just as American Idol came back from commercial, I heard a knock at the door. I wasn't expecting anyone. Peeling myself off the couch and away from the sounds of Katharine McPhee's warm-toned belt, I looked through the peep hole to find out who was there.

It was Stacee. She was clutching her new leather Gucci hobo bag and weaving heavily on top of her wedge heels.

"I need to use your bathroom," she said, as she barged straight past me and unevenly stomped across the living room floor toward the hallway. I heard the door to the bathroom slam and the sound of an extra-long stream of urine that could only have been brought on by some serious drinking.

Showcase wasn't even here. He was all the way up in Hollywood at the theatre where he was about to begin the closing night performance of the play he'd been doing for the last 2 months. Stacee had come up from Orange County to see his show. And, like many of her trips up the 405 from Laguna Beach to L.A., she did it bombed out of her DD-cup tits.

As Stacee continued to pee, my phone rang. It was Showcase.

"Your girlfriend's here. She's drunk and pissing in our bathroom."
"I know."
"You know?"
" I need you to put her in a cab."
"Does she know where she's going?"
"I think so. But could you make sure?"

I put Stacee into a blue and white Beverly Hills cab 10 minutes later. Her cherry-red BMW Z3 was parked crookedly in our driveway and partially on the sidewalk.

Two or three nights later, I awoke to screams around 3:15 AM. At first, I thought some poor woman was being attacked in the alley behind my building. Turns out, it wasn't that kind of mugging.

"Ohhhh ohhh ohhhh... pull my hair! Pull my hair! PULL IT!!"

The sound of bamboo on concrete intensified as Showcase's headboard continued to slam into the wall. Stacee moaned and screamed even louder.

"Oh yeah... that's it... ohhhh....ohhh... PULL MY HAIR!"

I heard my upstairs neighbor get out of bed (yes our walls are frighteningly thin) and start walking around. I wasn't the only one up. It was around this time that I realized that I had to pee. And that Stacee was sure to hear me if I got up. Whatever. I let her "finish" before creaking open my bedroom door and tiptoeing out to the bathroom.

Stacee was gone by the time I got up the next morning. She'd usually sneak out by 6:15 AM to avoid the traffic back down the 405. Showcase got up about an hour after I did and apologized profusely for the noise.

"She drove up here drunk off her ass in the middle of the night again, didn't she?"
"This girl is crazy, Showcase. Certifiable."
"Yeah, but when a hot chick shows up at my door at 2:30 in the morning wanting to fuck me, I'm not exactly gonna turn that down."

The happy couple had plans again that night. I was in my room, deep into a tournament on Full Tilt when Stacee arrived. She sheepishly appeared in my doorway. I mucked a J2 offsuit and waved her in.

"I'm really, really sorry about last night. I'm like, so embarrassed."
"Don't worry. No reason to be."
"Next time... I promise I'll use a pillow."