11.22.06 why i should have stayed in bed all week

NP: "Jeane" - The Smiths.
NP: "The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack" - Liars.
NR: same as last post, but haven't been reading much. Haven't had time.

I shouldn't go to play poker when I'm sick. You'd think that would be a fairly obvious thing to say / do, but... I didn't listen last night. Not that I think that's the reason why I lost $1300.... I was playing 10/20 Omaha Hi/Lo, and I just wasn't playing well. Playing too many hands, and also ran into some stupid bad luck. Kept turning a set of Jacks, only to find out that somebody had flopped a set of Aces. It happened three times last night. Which is half bad luck, and half stupidity.

But... I just shouldn't have played 13 hours of poker when I had a fever, a headache, and had kinda a crappy day. My laptop was broken, and I dropped my ipod at the post office and it's dead for good this time. I had also thought that my computer speakers were fucked up, too, but... now I guess that just had something to do with my ipod (I had dropped it a couple of weeks ago, and it's been strange ever since.). Not a good combination of events.

With all of that said, all I wanted to do today was go play poker. But I successfully resisted the urge. I actually haven't left the house all day. It's now 6:27 AM, and I'm starving. I absolutely have to go to veselka. Now. I'm dying of hunger. I ordered some Paquito's earlier, and it was damn good, but... that was almost twelve hours ago. I have to take better care of myself.

11.20.06 if it plays an instrument with four strings, i have a crush on it.

NP: "Black Boys On Mopeds" Sinead O'Connor.
NR: just editing these postings.

I'm exhausted on Saturday. Didn't get to sleep until 6 AM, and there was something about the trip with The Twilight Sad that kept making me sleepy. Didn't sleep well on the trip, but... I really was almost convinced that the van had exhaust / carbon monoxide problems, because I just could not stay awake on the one drive.

But, anyway... I'm home. The Twilight Sad end up staying at my apartment, so I go to stay at Melissa's. In her dungeon. We don't wake up until 2:30 PM. Brian is coming into town from Philly, supposedly arriving around 5:00 or 5:30. I run some errands with Melissa, and we get some breakfast at Relish. I get home at like 5:00. The Twilight Sad are still in my apartment, I talk with them for a while, then I end up on the phone with Jon for a bit, and with Adam from Fat Cat too. An hour goes by and I'm still not in the shower, but Brian is stuck in traffic, so I'm off the hook a bit. I call Wolfgang's and push back our reservations. Brian finally gets in, and we get a taxi up there. We had 6:15 reservations and are showing up at 7:30. Fortunately it's Artie at the door, and Mookie is there, as are two or three other waiters I've met (but not Mario). We get seated immediately.

And proceed to talk about nothing but poker for a half hour. The old couple next to us was super annoyed. I quite enjoyed their irritation, I have to admit.

We have some shrimp, the bacon appetizer, the steak for two, and the creamed spinach. And a bottle of the Justin Isosceles. It was amazing. I treat Brian to the meal. I haven't ever had the chance to do that before.

One of these days I need to write about these couple of amazing meals I've had lately. The Grocery with Tessa, Wolfgang's with Tessa (actually, that one goes pretty much exactly like the one I just talked about... except Tessa doesn't enjoy the poker conversation.) And some other meal I wanted to talk about, but now can't even remember what it was. There was a Blue Ribbon trip in there somewhere, and a brunch at Prune... Hmmm... What am I missing?

Anyway, Since we're so late, by the time we get to Mercury Lounge (the ultimate reason for Brian's trip to NYC), we've missed all of Charles Bissell's set except for half a song, and then a closing number: a stunning cover of Sinead O'Connor's "Black Boys On Mopeds". For some reason I recognize it from the second line (if I'd been able to decipher the first line as being something about Margaret Thatcher I probably would have figured it out sooner), and I'm just spellbound. He makes it fuzzy and warm and haunting and it's almost as good as the original, and that's saying a lot.

Today I download the album via bittorrent and listen to the song a good ten times. It's even better than I remembered it. And it reminds me of Erika (driving on 202 was making me think of her all weekend, anyway. I wonder how many times I drove on that road with her to / from Philly.), and I thought about Liz (how many times did I drive back and forth from Horsham to New Hope with or for her?), and I thought about DJ playing "The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance" for hours on his acoustic guitar in college. Sinead is more loaded with memories and associations than even I realized. Soul Asylum covering "Emperor's New Clothes" at Maxwell's on New Year's Eve 1990/1991... and of course that video for "Nothing Compares 2 U" which was everywhere that year.

Really wished I had seen all of Charles' solo set. Although what I saw was enough, for sure.

We run around the corner to Cake Shop. Overlord are still playing. I really enjoy the couple of songs I see. Then Palomar are next. Is it ok to admit that I have a crush on Sarah Brockett? With those Joni Mitchell cheekbones, that look of easy concentration when she plays, and that adorable red hair... What's not to have a crush on? The fact that she was wearing a lovely blouse that made accented her just right didn't hurt.

Brian has a crush on Christina. Palomar have something for everyone. They're set was really great. I'm excited for them to be working with Misra / Absolutely Kosher. I think it's going to be a good fit for them.

And then The Oranges Band came out. They're now a four-piece, and they have a new bass player. And they're bass player is a hot as hell blonde girl I've never seen before. I had just seen Roman in Baltimore a couple of days before and he didn't mention anything (not that he needed to), but I was still surprised. I wonder if they're a couple? Anyway, things like this shouldn't matter, but... I'm suddenly struck with the fact that I'm in love with both of these bass players. I kinda liked it. It made me feel a bit like a teenager again.

I quickly forget about anything that I'm thinking, because The Oranges Band start playing, and they're tighter and better and awesomer than I think I've ever seen them before. We only stick around for 5 songs because we run back to the Mercury Lounge, but... goddamn. They were great, and really bringing it. I regret not seeing the rest of the set. Actual genuine regret. I feel like I missed something that would have blown my mind.

Centro-matic are good, but... a bit too rote / prepared. There's a couple of great songs, and they play them well, but it just doesn't move me. Still, a good show, but... I wish I had stayed down the block.

11.19.06 rocky vs. rodin, pat's vs. geno's, usa vs. scotland

NP: The Myspace page of The Twilight Sad.
NR: same as last post, but haven't been reading much. Haven't had time.

Spent three days on the road with The Twilight Sad, but I must say it was more like a little getaway than a tour. I obviously didn't have to work very hard, as we didn't have any soundchecks, interviews, or anything to really do except to play the three small shows. Philadelphia, Baltimore, and West Chester, PA. Maybe 200 people in attendance over the three shows, and with only two and three hour drives... It was really just a hang out with the 22 year-old Glaswegians.

They're very sweet and funny and fun. And a damn good band to boot.

Philadelphia: I'm going to have to get some photos printed and scanned. I hope they came out. I made them do the Rocky run up the steps at the PMA. And then me and Andy climbed on top of the Rocky statue at the base of the steps. Like, I actually hoisted Andy up on my shoulders, and then he got up on Rocky's shoulders. He was a good 15 feet of the ground. Then we drove down the block to the Rodin museum, and James climbed on top of the statue commonly known as "The Thinker". Like, he's sitting on his head, again, a good 15 feet off the ground. I got a little nervous that the police were going to fuck with us (and, well, it woulda pretty much been deserved), but... we got off cleanly.

Then we went for cheesesteaks. Abby insisted on getting one from Geno's, but me and James ate at Pat's. Craig, Mark, and Andy all slept in the van. By the time we zig-zagged the city, dropped Abby back in Fishtown, and made it to Wilmington it was a solid 4:00 AM. yikes.

I hated leaving Abby in Philadelphia. I should have made her come along for the rest of the trip, whether her mother was visiting Philly the next day or not.

The traffic to Baltimore was ridiculous, and as soon as we got to where we were going the rain came down harder than I've seen it in quite a long time. Or, actually, since the first week of The Clientele tour when we kept hitting late afternoon thunderstorms in the 100-degree south. But... fortunately where we were going was bowling!

We bowled four games, two duck pin and two regular. I got competitive, as usually. I won both of the duck pin games, but I came in second in both of the regular bowling games. Mark came in dead last in all four games, so I shouldn't feel bad. I stole a duckpin bowling ball for Tessa.

The show in Baltimore sucked. James was sick, the crowd was lame, and they wouldn't let me settle until after the show, so we had to stick around until 1:30 AM.

West Chester pretty much sucked, too, of course. But... we hit a thrift store on the way there, went to the mall for a while, and had a decent meal in West Chester. Then we played a bunch of pool and a bunch of games of PGA Tournament and gritted our teeth. Relay were great, but the jamband StillWillis were awful. There were two attractive girls in the room, and I have a feeling I wouldn't have looked at either one of them twice in any major city.

Again we can't settle until after the show, which in this case is well after 2:00 AM... We leave at 2:30 AM. I have one goal in mind: Yum Yum Donuts. I cruise up 202, hit the turnpike, and get off at Willow Grove. I drove right by my old apartment, and get ready to have a white lightning or a chocolate thunder... and they're fucking closed. I didn't stop to see why, but... I guess they're not 24 hours anymore. Which is total bullshit. I'm gutted. I drove the back way up to New Hope, get off towards New Hope and cross over the old small bridge into Lambertville. It's a lovely night and I'm enjoying the drive. I'm totally awake and really loving it. I have on the "long songs" playlist, and while those songs are certainly all going to be songs I like and have picked for the list, they're coming in such a good order, at such a good pacing that I'm amazed. I fly up 202 and 206, cruise down 22, hit the 1-9, and cruise through the Holland Tunnel. I pull in front of my apartment at 4:30 not having stopped once, and listening to "Answering Machine" by The Replacements. It's track #21 that's been played. West Chester to NYC in 21 songs. That's impressive.

11.14.06 kibbles and bittorrents

NP: "It's Expected I'm Gone" Minutemen.
NP: "Track #7" Tom Ze.
NP: "Horoscopic.Amputation.Honey" Califone.
NP: "Feel" The Church.
NP: "A Few Hours After This" The Cure.
NR: Same as last entry, but I did read like half of the New Yorker from like three weeks ago.

Has anybody ever sampled the drum intros from either of the first two songs above? Both of them would make a killer track. I'm guessing the Minutemen track has been on people's radar screens, but... I don't even know the name of the damn Tom Ze song, so... maybe that one's a little more obscure.

I was saying I was going to fill up this entry by doing some research and pulling 8-12 great drum parts that need to be sampled, but... quite frankly I was just too lazy to do it.

I worked a couple of nights, and I went out of town to Philadelphia with the Chrome Children tour for Stones Throw Records. Damn that J. Rocc is a fucking monster on the turntables. I stood on the side of the stage and just watched him for a half hour when he did his own set. Amazing. I'd like to see him doing it without the Seratto or whatever the digital scratching system is called, but... it's obvious the skills are there whether it's analog or digital.

Lessee... What else? Went to go see Califone. They weren't amazing, but they were officially Really Damn Good. And closing with the first track offa "Quicksand Cradlesnakes" doesn't hurt one bit. I love that fucking song.

I've also been a bit obsessed with Bittorrent these last few days. I'm still glad I went out and bought those $500 worth of cds at Virgin Megastore the other day, because then I don't feel guilty about moments like these. I just downloaded all the church albums I don't have digitally (including a lot of the later ones that I actually own, but have never bothered to, well, listen to. I've listened, but nothing has really sunk in.

I've also gotten the later New Order and R.E.M. records that I will probably never listen to, but... since i have the 250 GB external harddrive, why the hell not.

I'm in the middle of downloading all the Incredible String Band albums I don't have, The Clash albums I don't have (including Cut The Crap... wonder if I'll ever listen to that? I'm sure not.), and the one thing that started the whole bittorrent obsession: the movie Trees Lounge. It's been sitting at 587 MB of 700 MB for like three days.

One good thing about all of this is that it made me clear out tons of space on my old desktop so that I'll have a couple of GB clear for downloads, which means I've also moved some stuff onto my laptop that I've not heard in YEARS. Like the two Barry Black albums and a couple of B-Sides from The Cure that I had gotten offa Napster or Kazaa 5 years ago. How the HELL were "The Exploding Boy" and "A Few Hours After This" and "Breathe" B-sides? Holy shit. It's really insane.

11.08.06 if mike tyson had never fought, he'd still be undefeated

NP: "Sing, Little Birdy" Shearwater.
NP: "Constant In Opal" The Church.
NP: "Johnny's Gonna Die" The Replacements.
NR: starting on "The Miracle Game" by Josef Skvorecky. Read "Anthem" by Ayn Rand in basically one short sitting at the recommendation of the bartender Theresa at Camus, the bar at the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix. I'm still kinda annoyed that she didn't write or call to thank me for sending her the books I sent her. I guess she thought I was either creepy or too persistent (or both), but I really wasn't doing it to hit on her... I just always want people to read Alice Munro, Evelyn Waugh, and Ernest Hemingway. Probably won't be the last time I waste $50 on a random act of kindness, but... Oh, well.

A home game at Chez Newmy. There hasn't been one of those in FOREVER. We get a decent turn-out. Pretty old-school. The Hat, Sausage, Drought, Crazy Glenn... then there's Pete, Dennis, and New Kid. It's shaping up pretty nice. We're gonna play higher stakes than we used to, we decide once everybody's there.

We decide on $100 buy-ins, and playing rotation of $1/$1 NL hold 'em and $1/$1 PL omaha hi/lo. When a few more people show up, we also add a rotation of $1/$2 Limit Newmyer's Seven Nuts.

The night passes easily enough. I hit some lucky flushes and gutshots on people that bet like pussies (ie., Dennis), and I'm up between $150 and $100 most of the night. Then, after Drought busts out and Dennis busts out the third time, and Sausage has almost no money left, the stacks start getting bigger and the game starts getting looser. And now I can't hit a goddamn thing. Next thing you know it's 4-handed, and I'm down $400. Pete and CG have big stacks in front of them, Mitch has a couple of hundred, and I'm asking if it's cool if I buy-in for $300. They all say OK.

Once it goes three-handed with The Hat, CG, and myself, I just can't catch a break. I get 10's when CG gets QQ's, I get AQ when somebody has AK, I get 44 when somebody has 55. The night ends with a hand of omaha high only where I have AAxx double-suited and raise big, The Hat hits a set of 5's on the flop, and I lose $150.

I lose $1100 in my own apartment, and it's one of the worst sessions of poker I've had EVER. How's that for a new era of home game? All of the pain, agony, and distress of a bad night of poker, in the (dis)comfort of your own home.


This is a little funny, though: before the night starts I start thinking about this girl Heather that came to a couple of poker games. She was pretty bad, but... maybe not as bad as some of the players I see in the card rooms. Well... worse, but... still. Anyway, the last time I've seen her or spoken with her was at a game at my house where I berated her for calling me down with the shittiest hand possible, and she took it badly (it was kinda bad, even by my standards.). Well... I found her phone number in my old phone and sent her a text message. I said I wanted to apologize to her for my behaviour the last time I saw her and that I wanted to invite her out to the poker game. To my surprise she wrote me back, and eventually said "no worries... it's water under the bridge." I texted back "dumb water under a drunk bridge." As soon as I hit send I realized.

She wrote back: "Are you in AA?" No, I'm just dumb. I shoulda realized how that sounded. Oh, well.

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