Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shuffle Up And Deal

I know it might look like there is only one tournament when watching the World Series Of Poker on TV, but in reality there are over fifty tournaments ranging from $500 to $50,000 to enter every day, plus over fifty tables reserved for cash games, the entire two and a half months the series is at Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. This year the WSOP started on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 with the Casino Employees two-day $500 event.

The WSOP attracts thousands of players from all over the world with varying degrees of poker skill and bankrolls. Some of the people entered in the Main Event for $10,000 do not use their own money and others save all year to participate in this event. Quite a few people win seats from online sites, like Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars and come early and play live with their own money or the stipend they won. The high-profile professionals have sponsors that not only put them in the Main Event (if not all of the events) pay them a fee, plus a per Diem. Las Vegas poker grinders usually get someone to stake them in the Main Event or several of the tourneys with smaller buy-ins.

However, not all of the players who fly into Las Vegas, from all parts of the world during the WSOP, intend to play in the WSOP tournaments. Some people like to play the other tournaments offered throughout Vegas, like in the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza (DSE) poker tournament series or Caesars Palace’s Mega Stack poker tournament series, with entry fees as low as $330, both running concurrent with the WSOP. However, some merely come to play in the ring games. During the months the WSOP is underway the cash games all over Las Vegas get juicier than any other time of year. Some rounders will play one or many of the WSOP satellite games at Rio to win coupons good for WSOP tournament entry. Last year, I saw many players win thousands of dollars in tournament entry coupons at the $100 satellite tables, sell them for cash, and go play the ring games.

Tournament poker playing is much nuttier than live cash games in general; so many players come merely to cash in on that crazy action. That wild hyper-aggressive play seen on TV just looks like money in the bank for the grinders who have been waiting all year for the WSOP to come into town . Shuffle up and deal!

My Article Is Up on Today's Vintage!

The new issue of Today's Vintage is out already in actual magazine form and online with the first article I wrote for them, Two Mules And A Flock Of Seagulls.

Check it out at www.todaysvintage.com

However, I don't really like how a few of the photos look and there's a typo in my bio. Oh well, that's their department, not mine.

Oh and an extra special thanks to my anonymous friend Rob who edited the piece for me.

I Am Almost Awake

I fell asleep around 4am and dreamed of testifying as a witness to a kidnapping, sprinkled with visions of being on the wrong side of the most horrible bad beats in poker, losing all of my money over and over and over and over. I didn't just dream one dream, but a series of related dreams. The overall feeling of my dreams were of very old Perry Mason episodes in black and white, although I don't think mine were in black and white. If my dreams this morning could have had a sound track, the music would have been those loud, heavy, disconcerted minor chord configurations, that punctuated every sentence I uttered under oath on the stand, while I testified on behalf of an innocent little girl or maybe a boy. The whole court experience was accentuated with cut-a-ways of a photo montage showing tilted close-ups of the cards I lost with, my agonized facial expression, the mouth of the guy who won as he laughed at my loss, and my hands as they shoved the mountainous pile of chips away from my side of the table.

I only got out of bed to stop losing all of my money.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

WSOP Photos I Took

Click on the photos to make them larger

Things Are Different At The 2009 World Series of Poker

Well, I have been in Las Vegas for over a week and yesterday I finally made it down to Rio where the 2009 World Series of Poker has been underway for almost a month. Every year it is a circus and this year is no exception. However, every year Harrah's--the parent company of Rio and owner of the WSOP--is a little more organized. I am seeing a noticeable difference in how the separate tourneys, cash games, and satellites are set up. Two years ago I believe everything was in one big room, the Amazon Room. This year the satellites are in a separate room and the tourneys are ending up in the big room, but they are not all starting there. They are still offering cash games in the big room, but it does not look like they are spreading as many as last year. That might be, because they are still spreading games in their regular poker room, which is downstairs and about a mile away in the actual casino part of Rio. The WSOP is held in the conference area of the hotel.

Last year it seemed like every old, fat, greasy, and hairy guy playing poker had a young, blond woman, molded by plastic surgery and injections sitting behind them at the poker table. It looked like the women were just paid (by the fat slob playing) to sit behind him and watch their particular fat guy play poker. It was hard to say, if the women were all props, because a lot of those gross guys actually marry young, blond women. And when I say young, I mean they are 20 years old and the guys are 45 years old, minimum. However, yesterday I didn't see one couple that fit my usual interpretation of the Beauty and the Beast, which seems different...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oh Yeah, It's Vegas Baby!

It's Vegas alright...my hair feels like straw, the inside of my eyelids hurt, my nose may start bleeding, and I have a sore throat. I always forget about how dry it is here. For June it isn't that hot, it seems to be hovering around 95 degrees during the day, which is nice. However, it is very arid and the air conditioning just adds to the dryness factor.

Wow, not a moment too soon...it is pouring rain outside.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 12, 2009 SF Art Openings Are Up!

Whew! I got my comments in under the wire. I actually wrote them while I was in Vegas, so I apologize for not including much detail. I hit quite a few openings in one night, which usually means I run around in a frenzied state grabbing all of the literature I can find and scribbling any info I can squeeze out of the artists or curators on napkins and scratch paper as fast as I can. However, all of that stuff doesn't do me any good if I don't have it when I am writing the comments.

I have three of the openings up on Art Business, Ampersand International Arts, Pin Pong Gallery, and L's Caffe. There are a lot of shows that went up last week. I recommend, HOME at Ampersand International Arts.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Is Anybody Out There?

Hmmm...I have been blogging for about a month. I feel I am finding my footing, trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog. I am glad not a lot of people are really following it yet, because I am still working out the kinks. However, I am not sure anyone beside Rob and Annabelle are reading it at all. So, I am caught in between being glad I can make my blogging mistakes without much notice and feeling like keeping this blog is too much like masturbation. Please, if you can, help me with this issue. If you are reading my blog, sign up to follow it or at least make a comment. Otherwise, it just feels downright creepy...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Feel Good!

I finally finished my first article for Today's Vintage. I wrote about my living room and sent a boat load of pictures. I have no idea what they will think about it. I have to give a public thanks to my new (unofficial) editor Rob. He took a piece of garbage and did the best he could, Thank God.

I really want to write about my weekend, but I still have unfinished business with Alan at Art Business. I haven't even written my comments about the art openings I went to on the 11th.

I was supposed to drive to Vegas today, but I couldn't quite get out of here early enough. I feel bad for Katie she can't wait to get here. Cat sitting for me is her stay-cation. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll just get up and go...well at least leave before noon. I'm meeting my parents at the condo, because I missed my mom's birthday and Father's Day is this weekend and my dad wants to celebrate by playing poker with me. I like the idea of playing poker with my dad a lot better than actually doing it. I need to set rules and stick to them. First of all we cannot play at the same table and when he's bored he can't sit behind me. I swear to God he makes me show him my cards and he makes faces at every play I make. The other players don't even have to look at me, everyone knows what I have, it's written all over his face.

I'll write more later, I have to write the art stuff now...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Writer's Block

I feel a little tapped out...out of steam...on slow...slowly going nowhere...slowly going somewhere...somewhere I may or may not want to be...or not to be......where is my inspiration...how can I inspire...I feel tapped out...out of steam...on slow...going nowhere...going in circles...slowly...on slow...<sigh>

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Thursday Comments and Reviews are up!

So, you don't know what to do this week?

Well, between seven of us at Art Business, over twenty-five art openings were covered. There are a lot of exhibits up all around San Francisco, definitely worth checking out. One good thing about these particular shows, is that they happen to be grouped together geographically, which makes it easy to pop into quite a few galleries in a short period of time. I would say the majority of the shows that opened on June 4, are in the downtown and SOMA areas, with the remainder along Divisadero between Page and Fulton Streets. I covered eight galleries that are part of the official Divisadero Corridor Art Walk and one on the corner of Market Street and Sanchez. My comments are up on Art Business Starting with Femina Potens Gallery about sixteen galleries down on the page.

Below is the actual link...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Check Out This Article on Film Blog!

I decided to post a few of the websites and blogs I like up on this blog. You will find them on the right side of this page under--get this--Websites and Blogs.

I am reposting an article from Film Blog Burning bridge: why the Golden Gate is the sci-fi director's favourite target

Burning bridge: why the Golden Gate is the sci-fi director's favourite target
Melted, bitten in two, reduced to a ruin by nuclear attack – these are just some of the indignities visited on the bridge in recent movies. Is it just because New York's skyline is off limits?
Scene from Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus
Here we go again ... scene from Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus
In the closing moments of Terminator Salvation, resistance leader John Connor (Christian Bale) is hunkered down in the remains of San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge. It's been wrecked by a nuclear attack: the suspension cables have snapped, half of the north tower is gone and the bridge has turned from its familiar shade of International Orange to Fallout Grey. Welcome to dystopia, Hollywood style.
Nuclear terrorism is only the latest fictional indignity to hit the bridge. In the last decade directors have gone to town on the landmark. It's been variously melted (in 2003's The Core), bitten in two (in this year's Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus) and picked up and dumped further up San Francisco Bay by a disgruntled super villain (in X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006).
In fact since 9/11 it's been rare to see any other American architectural icon so regularly and explicitly attacked on film. New York used to be an action/adventure director's playground, but for much of this decade the real-life fall of the twin towers has made it difficult to justify fictional onslaughts on the city's landmarks. The notable exception – Matt Reeves's controversial schlock-horror flick, Cloverfield, in which a giant sea monster beheads the Statue of Liberty – was damned by both right- and leftwing media for trivialising a mass trauma. Liberal news site Salon.com's Stephanie Zacharek spoke for many upset by the film when she accused Reeves of "[harnessing] the horror of 9/11 ... and [repackaging] it as an amusement-park ride".
In a genre that revels in wringing cheap thrills from expensive spectacle, that sort of criticism is hard to avoid. Still, directors have done their best to dodge controversy by detaching the fictional threat of terror from reality to a degree that they wouldn't have done 10 years ago. Danger has been neutered through amplification. Terror (often the product of otherworldly forces rather than human action) is directed at the city in general rather than a specific landmark (see 2007's I Am Legend, last year's The Happening and, especially, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy) or made so vast in scope that its effects are felt globally (2004's The Day After Tomorrow).
In comparison the Golden Gate bridge is a politically safe setting for a director's worst case scenario. It's far from New York (and close to Hollywood), instantly recognisable to an international audience and emotionally evocative to an American one. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, it's a genuine American construct, built during the Great Depression and therefore symbolic of the country's resilience – a visual metaphor for American unity, there to be smashed whenever a director needs to fast-track an audience into alienation and panic.
At the bridge's opening on 27 May 1937, its designer, Joseph Strauss, spoke of "[a bridge that] stands before you in all its majestic splendour, in complete refutation of every attack made upon it". Today that statement has been made a mockery of by the movie business but stands true in reality. It can take what Hollywood throws at it. Terminator's nuclear bomb won't tarnish it for long and, like that sturdiest of critically mauled action franchises, it'll be back.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

OMG, The Church!

Oh My God!
I am mush...The Church is playing live on KCRW Marty Willson-Piper is probably 50 years old and he still looks and sounds awesome! I literally had to stop writing my Art Business comments to post this!!!!

A friend of a friend of mine actually plays--guitar--in Marty Willson-Piper's new band. I was in Vegas when they played here last time. Lame, hugh? But, it looks like they are in the States, 'cause this is live from LA. I guess that means they're going to play here...OH shit, they're playing at Slim's tomorrow.

Oh man, this song is really good!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Poker is Calling!

This is a "SHOUT OUT" to everyone I know!

Poker, poker, poker! That is all I can think about. I really want to go to Vegas and start playing. This time of year, during the WSOP, is the best time to see great action in most of the poker rooms. However, my going to Las Vegas for the summer is contingent upon two things...One, subletting my apartment and Two, working--preferably as a WSOP reporter--while I am there. I am so broke I do not imagine myself just taking off for two months without a few "ducks" in order.

Now, back to reality...I went to thirteen art openings Thursday and Friday that I need to write about for Art Business and I need to work on a presentation--to curate an exhibition--for an art gallery owner...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Eels Live @ KCRW on 06.02.09

I am trying to figure out how to add music...in the meantime, here's a link to "In My Dreams" LIVE on KCRW by EELS. The whole show is great!

Eels Live @ KCRW on 06.02.09

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Last Night Was Fun!

Alan and I divvied up the art openings last night. He got downtown and around and I decided to actually do the Divisadero Art Walk, plus one. My reviews with pictures should be up on www.artbusiness.com within a week...that's if I get can get my act together and turn them in this week.

However, this photo probably won't go on Art Business, so that is why it is here. I try to have fun when I'm rushing around from one show to the next. Last night was no exception. While at Perish Trust busily taking pictures, this woman earnestly needed to get by me, with as far as I could tell in the dim light, her two babies. We thought that was really funny, we took a few photos...

I have one new blurb on Art Business about the Spare Room Project on May 29, 2009, it's the fifth one down, check it out!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I like my hair better, now that I got it evened out...

The IRS Is Messin' With My Credit Report!

Here's the thing, in October of 2006 I was sent a paper from the IRS stating I owed them $14,000 and some change for taxes due in 2000. I totally freaked out and went into the IRS office and we figured it all out and was told I only owed $300.

So, jump to the present 2009 and I can't seem to get any credit, so I request my credit reports to see what is wrong. Basically, it says I still owe the IRS $14 thousand and some change. I called the woman at the IRS who helped me the first time. She told me the case is closed and I have to call another number...an 800 number. I called the 800 number and wrote this post while on hold...it has been over ten minutes and I don't even know if the person who answers is even someone who can help me. At some point after following menu after menu I just got a recording that told me to wait for the next available operator.

...five more minutes have passed...the recorded hold music is really loud and screechy. I am holding the phone away from my ear. I don't have it on speaker phone, because I don't know how to revert back to regular phone once it's on speaker.

...it's been five more minutes...I am holding the phone w/ my left hand and typing with my right...it feels weird, because I am left handed...my coffee is cold.

Oh man, my eyelid feels weird. It's fine, there was a speck of dirt on it. I got it off...My forehead is itchy and the lines between my eyebrows feel really deep.

OK, six more minutes have passed...I totally recognize the song that is playing over and over and over and over and over, stopping and starting in the same places, but I can't place it...it isn't "I Could Have Danced All Night" but it is something like it. It might even be from the same movie...

I can't hang up, because the recorded message says I'll lose my place in line...

Well I got a person at 12:36pm, I think it was a 30 minute wait. I gave the woman all of my info and then she put me back on hold...I am on hold, again...it's a different song...and another one, maybe Debussay, I'm not spelling his name right...oh, Hello?

OK, it's good news I just have to go in and pay the $353.46--interest has accrued...I guess I never paid that...oops.

Wow, I just looked at the time I started this post and it looks like I was on hold for 45 minutes, yipes! It was totally worth it, because now I know how to get the IRS off my credit report.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Dishwand Is Not Just For Dishes Anymore!

I think those dish sponges with the soap dispensing handles are not very practical for washing the dishes. Basically, I think they're pretty stupid. However, I loaded one up with my hard core tile cleaner and now cleaning the bathtub is like performing magic! I got the kind with the scrubby pad. I just leave the Dishwand on the side of the bathtub and use it on the tile and tub when I'm taking a shower. It's perfect, because you don't have to touch the sponge with the chemicals on it. Next time I'm going to get one that stands up on its own.

311 Just like 411

Hey, does anyone know about dialing 311? It is just like 411, but with a 3 instead of a 4. I just found out about it today and I think it is another great thing that makes San Francisco so great! You can dial 311 when you need some information...about the city and they'll just connect you. They are also online, check it out.