Friday, July 29, 2005

Jimmy Eat World - Futures - Track 11

This week I spent a couple days in Lake George, NY, a place I hadn't been in 8 years. Eight years, I found that pretty disturbing. I guess I'm actually getting to the age where I can get old man nostalgia. Up until now the longest I went without revisiting some place was probably a year. You waited 12 whole months to get back to the Pocono Cup soccer tournament to enjoy those delicious funnel cakes, and it felt like an enternity. But those days were different, you were pretty much the same person at Pocono Cup '94 and Pocono Cup '95, unless you were one of those people who actually hit puberty in their teens... In any case, the difference was neglible. At 13 you have no sense of perspective and no one cares about nostalgia, you've got banana kicks to practice. But now I'm 23, yep the "ew" age, and stepping foot in a place I hadn't stepped foot in since I was 15 and 5'6" was strange. When I was a kid, walking through Lake George Village was like walking through Las Vegas. It was surreal. It seemed huge and glamorous with limitless entertainment and t-shirt shops. The wax museum with the horror movie figures was genuinely scary, in fact, I never went in just because of the creepy guy on the piano in the window. Twenty dollars seemed like a fortune and nights seemed like they lasted forever, even though they ended by 10. There's something unsettling about remembering those times, as if I lost something I absolutely can never have again, because Lake George Village at 23 is very different.

Upon first glance, the place looks tiny. I feel like I can walk the whole thing in 10 strides. I feel like I could easily kick over a miniature golf windmill and crush the fake tattoo stand with my bare hands. Even for a quaint tourist town, the prices are not cheap. Twenty dollars doesn't feel like it would even get you started, unless all you wanted was a t-shirt with the Budweiser frogs on it. The arcade, once my idea of heaven, seems abysmal. I walk by the games and try to figure out why I played these games I could never win. Really, think about it, try to remember an arcade game you played all the way through to the end. I'd be surprised if anyone could name more than 2, and I've played hundreds of times. And if you did pump in 5 bucks in quarters and actually beat a game, what was your reward? Nothing...your initials if you're lucky. Noah Vanderhoff was right, the arcade business is easy as cake...sweet, sugary, delicious funnel cake.

So what's it all mean. You got me. All I can think of is that 23 sucks. After a few minutes I realized how jaded I sounded. Criticizing arcades? That's almost un-American. Nevertheless, it was true, I wouldn't be caught dead playing the claw game now just to try to win a mustache comb. And 20 bucks? Forget it. I can spend 20 bucks in a bar before I order a drink. And at 23 all bars are lame, to different degrees. Two years is long enough to play out every shore bar and realize how bad Bar A is, but that's the subject for a later post. Now the only thing that really gets me amped is Vegas. Atlantic City is within driving distance, but it's still just a taste to tide me over for the real dope. Going to AC is like watching the USA Version of The Terminator. It's pretty much the same thing and yet at the same time it's completely different. Las Vegas, the ultimate in entertainment, debauchery, and sin, is the only thing that really gets my blood going. Where the nights once again seem endless. Where you're once again dealing with sums of money so much larger than you're used to that it makes you giddy. And once again the town seems infinite. Walking down the strip you feel like you could never see all of this place. Once again you feel humbled by something that's still bigger than you and anything seems possible.

Yet still, it isn't quite the same feeling as when I was a kid. I'm not sure if that feeling can ever be replicated once you grow up. I guess maybe you can relive some of those days by having kids and going through it with them. That may sound sappy, but I'd rather have one of those nights than any night trapped in a meathead sandwich at DJais. So I guess that means I gotta start having kids. It's either that or get a job so I can have money to go to Vegas, and as fun as that sounds, having kids sounds easier.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Poker is like Sex...

...Everybody thinks they're the best, but most people dont know what the hell they're doing." This is a quote from young poker player Dutch Boyd at the 2003 World Series of Poker. With poker becoming even more popular since then, you run into quite a few people who say they play, and more often than not they aren't very shy about it. Typically it's a friend of a friend or a girl's outsider boyfriend, and they don't hesitate to tell you how good they are at poker. Well as Dutch explained, most people aren't as good as they think they are. So it's a strange feeling if you actually get to see any of them play because they are usually flatout terrible. It'd be like someone bragging to you how good they were at basketball, only to get them on the court and they're hucking it over the backboard, dribbling off their foot, and then just grabbing the ball with both hands and running around the court like a 6 year old girl. Well, I played with a bunch of these people on Thursday.

As some of you might know, I played online poker off and on for several months earlier this year. It was just for an hour or two at a time here and there, sometimes a few days in a row, sometimes a few days off. It was enough to keep me unemployed for those several months, and it even funded my trip to San Diego. I had already cashed out about 3500 by March when I decided to stop. I thought that if I took the money out of my poker account, then I would be more motivated to get a job. Ummm...Dead Wrong. Do you think that I was waking up early just because I wasn't able to play poker an hour a day? I just moved cocktail hour up to 6. So in a month I was broke and this time with no means to make any, and I've been coasting on fumes ever since.

Fast forward to this Thursday. PartyPoker was running a freeroll. For those of you who don't know, this is a free tournament where PartyPoker provides the prize money. In this case, you actually needed "PartyPoints" to enter, which is the online poker equivalent of frequent flyer miles. With nothing else to do with these "points" and nothing better to do with my time, I entered the freeroll. 1174 other people entered and the top 30 places won money. I ended up finishing 9th. Out of 1174 people, that's not that bad right? I made the final table at least. Well the prize pool for these events is paltry, so 9th paid a whopping 37.50 I think, which makes it kind of a waste of time in a $/hr sense. But if you think of it as getting paid 37 bucks to mess around on the computer, I guess I can't complain. Anyway with money back in my account I played a few small single-table tournaments and was able to run it up over 100. So now that I finally got my resume posted and I'm getting some semblance of job offers, I actually have some money to work with in PartyPoker again. One step forward, two steps back...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pre-game Report

Before I start giving you what you really want, an in-depth look at my fascinating jet-set lifestyle, a few things must be said. Don't take it personally, unless you do any of these things, in which case take out a pen.

T-shirts: Do not wear a shirt with a "clever" saying on it. Why? It's probbbbably not as clever as you think. In fact, it's probably not clever at all. I'm guilty too, I'll admit I have a couple, but I'm phasing them out. A few samples of what I saw during a dreadful trip to the mall: "Jingle My Bells" (yes, in July), "BEER It's not just for breakfast anymore," and "No More Pictures Please!" (on a very fat Italian, naturally). Let's just agree to abandon the fad in its entirety, we might lose a few funny shirts, but it's worth it to lose the 95% that aren't. PS--The only funny one I saw was, "I fought the lawn, and the lawn won!" I don't know why, but I loved it!

Jeans: Don't tell me things like, "I always see you in those jeans..." There's a reason for that: I'M ALWAYS WEARING THESE JEANS. I'm a guy. We don't tidy, we don't drink diet soda, and we don't have outfits. I have 3 pairs of jeans, two that I like, and I wear them for days or weeks at a time. Life rule #107: Jeans are not dirty until you can physically see dirt on them...and even then, it's a judgment call. Addendum: Do not wear jean shorts, ever, to any establishment, under any pretense, in mixed company or familiar, under any circumstances...ever.

Hair: Mohawks--OUT. You waited too long and now you're the last one doing it. We're not impressed. And for future reference, you'll never be original taking your fashion cues from TRL.

Headwear: I'll just assume that people are being lazy and they aren't trying to make some lame fashion let me remind some people the proper steps in sporting a hat: Remove the sticker. Bend the brim until it is noticeably curved. Secure on head. The End. No hologram stickers or tags left on, no flat brims, no propping hat at an absurd angle. While we're on the subject, I'd like a personal apology from everyone who ever wore a trucker hat. And if you happen to still be wearing a trucker hat, I'm gonna need a rough draft of your suicide note.

I have to cut it short for now to watch the yankees desperately try to get through the 6th and 7th innings. Don't worry, though, I have plenty more ways to explain how not to annoy me. I didn't even talk about girls. Ha! Don't let me get started. Go Leiter!


Starting a blog proved to be more difficult than I imagined. First, I have to point out that this blog has only come into fruition because of a difficulty I have with writing, not the ideas mind you but the physical act of writing. I've determined I'm no good with pens. It started in elementary school. I used to hold it like between my ring, middle, and thumb, or some otherwise retarded arrangement. Not sure what my plan was there but someone on the faculty apparently noticed and then I had to have one of those gel things over my pen so I didn't hurt my hand. What an embarrassing admission, I needed equipment so I wouldn't hurt myself. How much different is that from a helmet?
Well apparently the gel taught me nothing, because I'm still struggling with them. We have one of those pen cups: a collection of well-traveled pens, none less than 5 years old. Most times I go to write and there's no ink. Then I got two moves, first I try to dice. Then I lick the top of the pen and scribble again. Where did I learn this?! It has to be the dumbest idea but I feel like people do it. What's licking it going to do? Wake it up? Even it it did somehow work, which it never has, I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be licking the ink out of pens. So when all my advanced methods fail, then what? Back in the pen cup and try another. Not sure why I'm putting pens with no ink back in the cup, but I think I'm always worried that maybe I just didnt try hard enough. I'd hate to waste a pen. I think I'm more comfortable with throwing out a pencil. You know when a pencil's done, when you've worn that thing down to the nub or the eraser is so low that the metal is scratching the paper. You can't have that and the pencil knows it. The pencil is thrown away proud that he's given it his all, and you don't have to any mixed feelings about it.
Okay so bring us back, about the blog. Once I decided to start one I had to jump through so many hoops before I even got to post anything. You have to choose a title, an address, a template; for some reason this was all very confusing to me. At some point between high school and now I became an old dad, confused and scared of technology and computers. I didn't even have email for about 6 months. But now I have this so when you feel the need to yell at me about something I did to you, you have a forum in which to do it. Good luck, and you stay classy San Diego.