Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Conversations With God III: An Uneasy Truce

So a couple of nights ago I was downstairs watching my favorite program, Fabrics, Fabrics, Everywhere Fabrics. I was in the middle of a two-parter about raffia - very exciting stuff - when the local news station kicked in with a special report. After the cool "special report music," all trumpets and timpani, a haggard-looking weatherman appeared standing in front of a map of Rhode Island.

There was a lot of green, and it was heading my way.

The weatherman, top button undone, hair askew and tie strategically akimbo, told me of a gigantic storm heading our way, with dark skies, lightning, and hail.

"This one is going to be epic," he said, in the worried yet authoritative tone that they all learn. "This storm is going to be positively biblical."

Biblical? Ohhh man, I immediately thought. I'm getting company.

And I was right. Flicking my eyes to the sliding glass door next to the TV I saw Him, holding a white paper bag by the bottom. With His other hand He put His finger to His brow in a genial one-fingered salute.

He was dressed in a white caftan, flowing gracefully around His body, tied at the waist with a ribbon of purple fabric. His face was darker than it had been before, and He was sporting a thick moustache and beard.

"What's with the getup?" I asked, as I opened the door. He looked down at Himself and expressed mild surprise.

"Oh - I was just in Mecca," he said. "I'm Allah too, remember. Hey, what's that behind you?"

I turned around, only to see my family room, exactly as it had been. "What do you..." I started as I turned back around, only to see that he was now clean-shaven and wearing a sportcoat over a pinpoint oxford shirt, black pants and a pair of Ray-Bans.

"Made you look," he said, with a shadow of a grin curling about the corner of his mouth.

"What's in the bag?" I asked. It smelled good.

"Five Guys," He said. "Ketchup and lettuce, just like you like 'em. What in the hell happened here?"

"We're having company," I said. "Had to clean up." It was only too true. Downstairs had been cleaned up to within an inch of its life. There was no squalor to be found.

"Wow. Whoda thunk it, eh?" He said, handing me the bag as He pushed past me into the room to look around.

My last exchange with The Groovy One, Blessed be He, did not end well. I got some things off my chest and banished Him from my house. Said banishment was actually His idea; it made his appearance that much more surprising.

Now look: When I tell someone, deity or otherwise, to never again darken my door, I usually mean it. But Five Guys have the best burgers in the world. A Five Guys cheeseburger, with ketchup and lettuce, is a transformative experience to me, almost akin to Shamanistic Peyote Tuesdays. I didn't yet forgive Him but it got Him into my house. I made a mental note: Jaweh has some game.

"So," I started. "This time it's a hailstorm. Last time it was a tornado. Do You always announce Yourself with a weather event?"

"Call it a side effect of Me visiting Earth. God travels through the atmosphere, shit tends to happen. Nice work in here, by the way. How long did it take you?"

"Better part of a weekend. Listen, is there something You need? I wasn't aware that we'd reconciled. Can I help You?"

God looked at me, smile now unmistakably playing about His lips.

"I like you," He said as He sat down. "Of course I love you, yadda yadda yadda, I love everybody, but you? You, I like, as well. This probably doesn't come as a galloping shock to you, but I rarely hear a dissenting opinion in the circles I travel." He stood back up and leaned up against my pool table, hands in His pockets underneath His jacket in a posture of infinite comfort. "I get the impression you don't like Me much. That's not particularly unusual but you don't mind telling Me about it. Hell, you can look me in the eye and deny My existence to yourself. What'd you call me?"

"A convenient literary device," I said. "But you could be anybody or anything, including a delusion. You never watched TV?"

"No, never once," God replied, adrip with acerbity.

"Wow," I said. "Godly sarcasm. Bet You don't really get a lot of chances to trot that out, do You? Look, what are You getting at?"

"I'm going to lay it on the line with you, My son, because that's what I do." He paused and drew a deep breath. Gracefully he dropped to one knee. "Would you marry Me?" He asked, his face a mask of sincerity.

"Get up," I said, unable to conceal a grin. "I only date Jews...oh, crap. Nevermind that."

God smiled back. "Look, can I just come back from time to time? I like talking to you. You tell me things nobody else would. You'd be amazed at how often I get my ass kissed."

"I actually had that very thought a while ago."

"I know, My son. Comes with the job. I know you think there are matters that lay between us. We can talk about those - or not. I just want you on the payroll. Whaddaya say?"

"You're right," I replied. "There are matters between us. Am I supposed to just forget them and just be your pal?"

God looked at me, a long moment, without speaking. Even for an atheist - perhaps especially for an atheist - the effect of being slowly sized up by the Creator is unsettling.

"I promised to lay it on the line. The fact is, you're no better."

"Than You? You'd be amazed at how easily I can believe that."

"No," He said, that smile playing about His lips again. "No. You're no better than you were 48 hours after the funeral. But the bitch of it is, at this point, it's no longer about any one person. Let me tell you something, ok? Pain feeds on itself. The equation is simple. Pain plus pain equals more pain. You brood, you mope, you cry at a fabric softener commercial. You're in so much pain I'm amazed you're still breathing. But it has no longer anything to do with your Dad, does it?"

I stood there, stunned.

"Does it?" He persisted.

"Probably not," I replied, a bit shaky.

His laser-intensity relaxed and He exhaled.

"Well then," He said. "At least we know what we're dealing with."

"And what is that? You're the supposed all-knowing One... do you know?"

"Sure," He said. "But the important thing is for YOU to know. It's your head."

A short pause. From behind His Ray-Bans I could feel Him sizing me up again.

"But look, He said, seemingly breaking the mood, "let's talk about that later. Your burger is getting cold. Well, actually it isn't - you're welcome - but let's just sit down and eat, ok? We'll talk about whatever you want, or nothing at all."

I eyed the burgers and the fries he brought hungrily. "Fries soggy?" I asked.

"Nope," He said. "You're welcome for that, too."

Another short pause.

"OK," I finally said. "Just tell me you're not a Yankees fan."

"Not here I'm not," He said. "I may just be a convenient literary device but I'm not stupid."

Question for y'all

Suppose a fella wanted to play $20 SnG's all the live-long day. What should his constant bankroll be? Is $300 a good number or should I goose it higher?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where do they FIND these people?

So it's about 4:45AM, and of course I'm awake.

Earlier in the evening I watched an episode of To Catch a Predator, a special in which they go into detail about the various twitchy scumbags who get caught in the sting.

They walk into the living room, these asshats, to find an uncomfortable conversation and an arrest instead of a 14-year-old boy or girl. They're the lowest of the low - like the 61-year-old dude with COPD who gets his rocks off by diddling a pre-pubescent kid who has no idea what the real world is all about.

(see the title of this post)

They walk in that door and their lives are ruined, and I couldn't be happier. Some people deserve everything they get.

Then I flip over to watch Cheaters. That's another show that gets its juice based based on watching society's lowest ebb collapsing, two people at a time. Black, white, asian, hispanic, pink or purple, the name for these people is GHETTO.

(see the title of this post)

The one guy that caught my attention was a scrawny white dude with little zippers cut into his hair. Gets caught red-handed with his arm around another girl, this fuckin genius, and decides that HE's the one who's been wronged. He gets mad because "the other girl" decides she's had enough and gets in her car, so he...kicks in her window and tries to pull her out bodily.

(see the title of this post)

Then, the original girl starts berating him about being a man (or not being a man). He contemplates his next move carefully, draws a deep breath...

...and punches her, hard, right in the face, breaking her nose and sending a spray of blood to the street. I have barely enough time to absorb that horrible sight when they jump-cut to the same dude as a talking head (this apparently happened a few episodes ago; they were doing a "where-are-they-now" segment). He says that he and his girl got back together for a few months but it "ended up not working out."

This 138-lb soaking wet asshole with ears cold-cocked her AS HARD AS HE COULD, right in the moosh, and broke bones. She then weighed all the alternatives and went back to him.

(For the love of God, see the title of this post)

What kind of fucking scumbag hits a woman anyway? You just don't do it. If you're not married, and you can't stand the old lady, you just cut and run - just say goodbye. If you're married, you give her half of your shit and THEN say goodbye. It's expensive, but so is assault and battery. I can't believe there are people in the world that need to be told this.

(see the title of this post)

And then I think, that dude got paid, twice, because of this; he signed a waiver to show his image in the original show, and got paid for his follow-up interview. That he could profit off of his boorish, thuggish, cowardly behavior makes me saddest of all.

I'll close the way I opened: Where do they FIND these people?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pictures, as promised

Sorry for the blurriness, my phone apparently blows.

I'm such a child, I wanted a pic of her "in the kitchen, where she belongs."

Our Wednesday Night Home Game

My wrists are aching like fire - I suspect a change in the weather, really soon - so this entry may be shorter than it ought to be. But you know, still worth every penny, right?

So I almost never mention my home game, because a lot of times it's really almost just pretend poker. These are people whom I've known forever, it seems, and I count them among my very best friends. So if I lose, it's really not that big a deal. As long as I play reasonably well, or identify when I haven't played well (bonus example of same later) I couldn't give a rat's ass less how much dough I pull out of them.

But Josie and I, who I swear to Buddha would bet on anything, made a wager on who won more, and promised to write about it in her own inimitable (nauseating) style.

The first game we played was heads-up. Her strategy was to raise every single hand. I countered with tightening up, folding BB after BB, folding to every re-raise that I didn't think would take it, and just waited in the tall grass for her. That opportunity came when she raised big with K9o. I shoved with KQo and she snap-called. Had I won this hand I'd have been just about exactly even with her - but she turned a 9 and that was the story of me.

A word about luck: To win every tournament, one doesn't need a huge amount of luck, but one does need one's share of luck. Like if you call 10 hands as an 60/40 dog, for example, your share of luck means you win four of those hands. And I think that I get just about my share of luck - maybe a little less than my share but close enough for rock and roll. I also happen to think that Josie, for reasons inexplicable, enjoys more than her share of luck. I actually called the 9 that lost me that first hand as the third card of the flop; I wasn't off by much.

So - back to the scene.

Second game, first hand out of the chute I find myself calling an un-raised preflop with J9 or K9 - I can't remember which. Flop comes 99Q. Woo-hoo! Flopping trips always makes me giggle like a girl. I play it cool, make a pot-plus-a-wee-bit bet and get called by Noodles. Turn comes a blank, I bet about 1/2 the pot and get called again. River comes along and I bet about the same amount, which by now has eaten half my stack, and get called again. My joy at winning the hand was tempered by the fact that I didn't win the bitch - Noodles had Q9 and flopped the joint. There went any momentum I could possibly have built up. I was out second only to Cricket, who didn't quite seem herself this evening. Cricket sweetie, you ok? Anyway, now I'm down ten bucks; Josie agrees to a three-way split between her, Noodles, and FDD Spuds, and she's up on our bet by $15.

And she has that look in her eye - she wants to win.

She even wore a low-cut dress to distract me. God knows how she did it -- she's not the most gifted girl in the world -- but she was showing about 4 inches of cleavage. Those poor things musta been jammed together like veal. But I was a rock! I was absolutely unfazed by this cheap trick. The Dream Police were NOT coming to arrest me; oh no. I took a picture but I promised I'd send her a copy to see if she would allow it to be shown, and a promise is a promise. Hopefully you'll see it later.

It was only the final game of the evening that my share of luck finally showed up.

I was just about felted after that poorly-played hand I was telling you about earlier. Holding Qs6s as BB, I called a small raise to see the flop, Q23 rainbow. I bet out and FDD Spuds calls. Turn is a blank, I bet small, FDD Spuds shoves, and I go into the tank. I'm terrified of my kicker - it will likely play with the 23 on the board - but instead of coming to the only logical conclusion and throwing it away, I actually said "I call, against my better judgement."

Hey, you fucking idiot: If your better judgement is to lay the hand down, THAT'S WHAT YOU FUCKING DO. Call against my better judgement? Jesus F. X. Tap Dancing Christ on a stick, how much more stupid can I be? How much worse could I possibly have played that hand? I'm all wound up all over again just thinking about it. I actually said the words! Another way to put it is this: "I know exactly what to do, but I'm choosing not to do it." Idiot. I was talking to myself for 10 minutes after that hand.


Anyway, you live, you learn. Not next time.

So I was down to about a blind and a half, doubled up, spent a blind, doubled up, made some dough, spent a blind or two. Now I had about maybe three or four blinds - still pretty impoverished - when I looked down to see pocket 3's. I shoved and hoped for the best.

Nope. Ass-chin and Cricket both call. Ass-chin rolls over 10's, Cricket has a high-ish ace. I'm dead. But no! Luck shows her magnificently beautiful head and I pull my 3 to more than triple up. From there it was just settin' em up and mowin 'em down. Josie raised every single one of my BB's, I shoved when I had at least something and she calls with K8 I think. In fairness it was Mookie time, but be that as it may, I won despite having to take the long way home (she caught her 8 but I rivered a straight to take it away from her). Cricket went down the next hand and victory was mine.

And Josie and I end our evening in a flat-footed tie. Can you beat that shit?

Ah well. Bottom line, it was fun and fellowship, and a lot of laughs that don't come too easy these days. So who cares if it's not exactly real poker? Not me - as long as I don't lose to Auntie Jo. ;)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Goal, revealed

Full Disclosure: I did not do well at the Very Josie last night. I would love to say it was because of someone else's reckless play, but that would be lying. The ugly truth was that I grew frustrated because I was card-dead (except for one hand, about which more later) and made a judgement based more on wishful thinking than empirical evidence, played a hand because of a stupid superstition as opposed to it being a premium hand, and it cost me the tournament before the first break.

The ugly details first: I played a hand with J10, for no better reason than J10 has been in the past, a lucky hand for me. Isn't that an AWESOME reason to risk money? Yeah, I think so too. I played this fucking winner of a hand against Waffles, who was pissing and moaning about having a toothache. Oy vey, as my people say, was he playing poorly. Earlier in the tourney he caught himself a miracle straight and exposed his stupidity to a slack-jawed table.

So the flop came AJx. I bet out about 1/2 the pot to see where I was and get called. But I decided not to let that be a lesson to me and tell me I was second-best. No, that wasn't my style last night apparently.I just figured that he was bluffing or chasing. Not because of evidence, remember: I just wanted it to be true. On the turn I made a big bet and committed myself, he turned over an A5 (another winner hand, but no matter, no matter) and the rest as they say is history. Bad Gary! Bad Gary!

However, I am pleased to say that I met the goal I set for myself. Alas I made it on Josie's fine ass. Did I say that out loud?

The ugly reality of the Very Josie is that I've never cashed, never knocked anyone out, never did anything but lose ugly. So I determined that whatever else betide, my goal for this tourney was that I was going to actually get some money back. Josie moving in with 66 to my QQ (the one exception to my card-deadiosity) knocked her (fine) ass out of the tourney, put a deuce in my pocket, and made my goal.

Never doubt the power of small dreams, my friends.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ce nuit au très Josie

(Tonight at the Very Josie)

I have a goal for tonight. To maintain competitive integrity I am not going to tell you what it is, other than the fact that it is NOT ultimate victory (though that would be schweeeeet). I will be honest with you after the fact and tell you what the goal was, and whether or not I met same.

Funny little tidbit: Just got off the phone with Herself. She doesn't as a rule like idle chitchat over the phone (I think it makes her penis chafe). One especially funny thing she does is, when the conversation is over, she will quite abruptly make with an "OK, bye" and hang up, thus:

Me: OK, well, have a good weekend, kiddo.
Jo: (nothing, because she already fucking hung up)

So anyway, tonight I was determined to stretch the conversation as long as I could, just to make her squirm in her chair with discomfort a little bit. So I wind up with this long speech about how important it is, anthropologically speaking, to maintain good conversational etiquette and let a conversation die a dignified death, when the fucking battery to my fucking phone dies. Curses! Foiled again. I couldn't call her back for a few minutes because I was laughing too hard. I dunno, at least I thought it was funny.