Friday, June 23, 2006

Experimental Jet Set, Ephedrine, and Diet Rock Stars. . .

So I get back from Europe and realize my ephedrine supply has run out. Ephedrine is a convenient over-the-counter drug that helps me get less sleep that I would normally require and, in turn, maximize the amount of time I can spend in a day on things I like to do or not do. It was banned for a year, then unbanned, since the FDA could not legimately tie it to the deaths of athletes (Korey Stringer, some Orioles pitcher), who both died during preseason workouts after strenuous lengthy sessions in sweltering heat. You can't get it at GNC anymore, and the reason I am told is because of the fact that in the face of future legislation, the chain would need an insanely large insurance policy, which they don't feel like getting or dealing with. So here's the connudrum: I get it at, and it used to cost $9.98 for a bottle of 48 pills. I usually take two a day in the morning, and sometimes two more at some point throughout the day - but usually just two a day. When I went to get more, it explicably jumped to $29.99 a bottle. Sigh. . . after about 8 minutes of deliberation, I realized that this didn't matter to me, and I bought two bottles. The realization that I may buy more in the future lead me to ponder my expenses and realize I spend a large % of my money on stuff that has no real value - food, drinks, ephedrine, cabs, etc. Also, I hate keeping any kind of financial records. With poker and online banks, it's easier because all transactions result in emails and some form of documentation. After that, though, I have no idea how much I really spend. So, I have decided to strart documenting what I spend my money on every day. I won't include my standard life fees (rent, cell, cable/int, car insurance, netflix, etc) unless they are what tennis players would call "unforced errors:" parking tickets, late payment charges, here's the first entry dating back to my initial ephdrine purchase on Wednesday, in no particular order:

Ephedrine (2): $29.99
Starbucks Double Shot: $2.17
late parking tickets (3): $90
New Sonic Youth album: $16.99
Chili and Caesar Salad, Diet Coke: $16.00 w/tip
Side of Chicken Fingers with Teriyaki Salad: $15.87
There's Nothing Wrong With Love - Built to Spill; Oh You're so Silent, Jens - Jens Lekman; You In Reverse - Built to Spill; Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs: $52.33
CHELSEA WALLS - TWEEDY,JEFF WILCO; TRUE LOVE WAITS: O'RILEY PLAYS RADIOHEAD - O'RILEY,CHRISTOPHER; The Best Of Guided By Voices: Human Amusements At Hourly Rates - Guided by Voices; St. Elsewhere - Gnarls Barkley; The Eraser PRE-ORDER - Thom Yorke: $54.43 (I just wanted the gnarls barkley, but I went off for a package :/ - not typical weekly expenses obv)
2 Diet Rock Stars and a slimfast bar: $7.85
Eggs, homefries, toast, and coffee: $5.75
Wilco and Billy Bragg DVD: $17.99
A book called "Miss Misery" by Andy Greenwald, which was endorsed by Klosterman - "This is the emo Fight Club": $12.95
Starbucks Double Shot, Diet Rock Star, and one liter of Diet Coke: $7.19

*Stoxtrader has come out with videos of him playing 4 30-60s (also 4 1k nls) with commentary, and he's selling them for like $30 I believe. This should be well worth it, so i'll probably get those as they come out. High limit ($300-$600) videos are coming out soon as well. Lee was just telling me that he folds KJo in the hijack seat (co+1). . . KJo in the hijack! (As I am typing this I just 3-bet KJo from the sb to a co raise 5 handed, is that wrong now too?), but will raise K8s - that tidbit alone may be worth the price of the video. He apparently says he ran the numbers on large sample sizes of both hands. . .stox is also collaborating on a book which should be excellent based on the sample excerpt form his website (follow the expert millionaire link to the right).

Also, Schneider was given the job of reporting the WSOP in Vegas for seven weeks for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, MN, where he just finished studying journalism:

After one terrible session of 30 where I played horribly, I went on a 4k downswing in like 300 hands multi-tabling short 30s on Party, Mike suggested that maybe he had helped take some of that money off my hands. He wouldn't reveal his new handle to me, even though I have my guesses. In any case, that prompted to retire my previous emlyfischer handle. I have a new one now. Since Mike linked my blog to his wsop blog, though, I will give him a hint and say my new handle is the name of a famous journalist. He will now probably figure it out and continue to pick on me at the tables :/. I would prefer that he just stay in the 100 game where he belongs, though. . .

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Home Sweet Home. . .

Ok, I'm back to work tomorrow (Today). I got home on Saturday at like four, only about a half hour later I was supposed to arrive. I sat next to this thirty-ish Indian dude on the plane, who was annoying but funny. He had a sweet moustache and standard indian airplane clothes - A tucked-in button-down yellow, plaid shirt. He fell asleep in four minutes and started snoring loudly, and he kind of smelled. Whenever teh flight attendants came to bring food, he always provided a comical exchange:

"Would you like something to drink?"
"Milkoff!!"he yelled.
"Umm. . . "
"Coffee wiff Milk!!"

Also, he woke me up everytime I fell asleep to use the bathroom. I thought I had a window seat, but when I realized I didn't I knew it would be trouble. I watched King Kong, which was the most horrible movie I have ever seen. I did get to read a lot of my Grover Lewis reader, which is excellent. His movie journalism is excellent - especially the Sam Peckinpah, Robert Mitchum, and "One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest" stuff. The way he portrays the making of films, and the role Hollywood played in defining oneself as an American, it made the follow-up movie experience to king kong - some action movie with Harrison Ford saving his family from some dudes that hacked his bank files or something - even worse (fortunately I got some sleep during that). I settled in a little at home, it made the follow-up movie sleep for five hours, played cards for a bit during the night, watched some old episodes of the BBC Office. As for the trip, I'm going to have to just post in the snippets format. . .

"OK, new challenge! You pick something, and if he can throw it over we've won the champagne, and that's it. That's the real quiz! That was the real quiz!" -David Brent

One day in Amsterdam, George and I walked all over for a few hours, looking for some things to see. We ended up going to the Rijks Museum, and saw some unnecessairly elaborate dollhouses, an excellent sculpture of a possesed-looking sculpture of Eros, some fantastic trompe l'oeil paintings, and about four of Jan Vermeer's 19 paintings. After that, we were feeling a little tired (Amsterdam was very hot, and I only wear dark clothes - in this case, a black button-down shirt and navy blue pants.) We sat out in the middle of a park and smoked some of George's joint from the day before. As I stated earlier, despite some experimentation in college, I had never really been high. Knowing that amsterdam has powerful stuff, we both took about four or five hits and decided to lay off for a bit. We were just laying around afterwards in the park, while everyone else secretly assumed we were cops or something. After about an hour or so, we decided to motivate and walk around.
As we started to walk, George found a rubber ball probably 2" in diameter. We walked a few miles, almost getting hit by about 31 cars and bicycles collectively, laughing at the thought of throwing the ball at different things. Then a throwing challenege presented itself. There are lots of canals in Amsterdam. So, as were walking on the sidewalk, I offered George 20 euros if he could throw the ball into the canal from the sidewalk. I would estimate this distance at around sixty feet. I then decided to get more specific by claiming the three feet of stone embankment into the canal as "my 3feet," so if the ball hit the stone, I would win. I was quoted as saying, "I just don't think you can throw it that far." He didn't seem to understand the concept of me getting the extra three feet, and I thought he was retarded for not understanding such a simple concept. We argued for about fifteen minutes I would guess. Finally, I just tell him to go to the sidewalk and throw it. He crosses the street. I am very focused on looking intently at the 3' embankment. He takes few steps and throws. I don't immediately see the ball at all, so my eyes drift up and watch the ball sail over the little embankment, and ultimately over the whole canal, which was also about 60' to 70' wide. At that moment I lost it. I started laughing so hard at myself that my cheek muscles started twitching and I felt like I had been punched in the face. We started walking down the street and neither of us could not stop laughing. Meanwhile, more bicycles were lmaost hitting us, as we kept hearing little bells ding and people yell at us as they passed. It's hard to get used to the european bike paths. I think they put them on the worng side of the sidewalk or something. Anyways, we finally collected ourselves and went to an irish pub to get a beer. Guinness would have been too much, so we ordered Coronas. The barmaid looked at us funny and asked if we wanted a lime with them. We said "no." She said, "Well that's good." She may have refused to serve us if we did want limes I think. . .

I am no Yves-Saint Laurent. . .

We just left a bar in East Berlin and wanted to grab a bite to eat. We saw a McDonalds and decided chicken sandwiches sounded good right then. We saw a German drunk scuppah make out with a guy, who then walked out the door. Thirty seconds later she started making out with another dude right in front of us in line - it was sixth-grade style out of mouth tounging - very Def Leppard videoesque. Then we get up to the counter and I say to George, "Wow, I like that dude's jeans. . " George gave me a puzzled glance. Then the guy turned around to reveal a big ,yellow stitched McDonalds logo on his back pocket. . .

Not Everyone hates America. . .

Cadenhead's and Klaus

"I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. . ." - Ron Bergundy

While walking through East Berlin, Geroge spotted a whiskey store, so we went in. This place place was clearly expert, with chalkboards of hundreds of bottles of whiskey, but I didn't recognize any. Klaus came up and made small talk with us, and we asked if they shipped. "Where to?" he asked. "America." "Sorry sir, we only ship to civilized countries," then laughed and went on to explain US shpping policies etc with regrads to whiskey. George asked if we could have some samples, and he took us into the salon in the back. Over the next hour or so, he talked about his business and we had a few 2 cl samples - and 5 and 6 euros per 2 cls. Here's some of what we learned. . .

The U.S. has a law, which Klaus said is directly linked to the forrestry industry, that every cask may only be used once. Then it must be discarded. The Cadenhead's business, which is based in Scotland and has six locations worldwide, buys the US's old casks and continues to use them. All of the Cadenhead's whiskeys are made in a single cask; thus, they only produce a limited amount of bottles from a cask - around 150-325 I gathered. A cask is usually 200 liters in the US, but they can be adjusted to hold more, usually 250. The great travesty in Klaus's mind about US whiskey is the myth that color makes a whiskey better. In other words, they add water and color, reducing the quantity of alcohol and, in turn, many of the real aromas that a good whiskey can generate. Almost all of the Cadenhead's bottles resemble white wine more than they ressemble a Jack Daniel's or a Johnnie Walker. During our sampling, Klaus brought out an some water with an eye-dropper to add water during the tasting.

This dilutes the whiskey slightly and releases different aromas. Klaus spoke passionately about the discovery of new aromas that every whiskey could contain. I was sampling a "peted" whiskey, where the whiskey maintained a woody taste produced by the cask itself. This is not possible in American distilleries. George went with non-peted whiskey. Afterwards, I purchased a bottle from Ireland, more specifically, the Island of Islay at the Laphroaig Distillery. It is aged 14 years. The wood type is Bourbon Hogshead, and there were 234 bottles produced from the cask. It is 56.1% alcohol, which is notably higher than the 80 proof bottles of the U.S., which is probably the norm. I had a few small glasses last night, and it is excellent. It really burns, though, but you get used to it. If anyone is ever in Berlin, I would suggest stopping by: Cadenhead's Whiskey Market - Ackerstr. 145 10015 Berlin;

Architecture in Berlin. . .

Cab driver are crazy in Berlin, even when compared to the yellow menaces of NYC. On Thursday we took a cab to the center of town to walk around, shop a little, and see some stuff. The first thing we stumbled upon was an unexpected pleasure, since I did not even know that it was in Berlin - the Eisenman holocaust memorial.

Interesting fact about the pillars that compose the whole - they were provided by the same company that produced zyklon b, and they are coated with a graffiti-proof material, thus limiting freedom of expression.


They were donated, though, and Eisenman didn't want them to be coated, but they were anyways. The National Galleries by Jean Nouvel was also a nice structural accomplishment. It doesn't seem possible from the inside, but then you find the semi-hidden suspension cables coming from the central steel opening. You can find it at

"No Deutsch. . . "

We checked into the hotel and were second in line. Geroge's girlfirend booked us a last minute hotel before we arrived, and we stayed at a best western at the Kanthotel on Kantstrauss ave. The receptionist was speaking english to everyone. George's last name is German, so he said, "Watch, she's gonna ask for my name, then start talking non-stop in German for like five minutes. . .and that is exactly what happened. . . maybe you had to be there . . .

I should go to bed now, so I will resume this later. . .

Monday, June 12, 2006

amstahdamn. . .

so I'm in an internet/pool/bar/hash place in amsterdam. I watched the usa get destroyed in soccer on tv, and decided tonight is not the night for my experimentation, as I am naturally a paranoid indivdual I don't need to ruin the night. I treated George to a joint, however, since he lost 100 euros to me in pool, I think it is only fair. So far the trip has been as expected - we are treating ourselves well, relaxing always, eating and drinking well, etc. I slept for 13 hours on sat --> sunday, so George was giving me shit about not being able to wake up for the train to amsterdam. I agreed and said we should clearly stay up all night and get the six a.m. train. He agreed and that's what we did. (It would have been nice if he remembered that he bought first-class eu-rail passes, but we got here :/. . .)We are at the Merdian in Amsterdam, which is very nice. I drank the best bottle of bottled water I have ever had today. It's called SPA.
Yesterday, we were watching a soccer game in an irish bar in Brussels. Geroge went to the bathroom. When he returned, we tried to get two more drinks. The bartender was clearly ignoring us, so George got up and strolled to the other end of the bar. It was then I noticed he had made a toilet paper seat and got a piece caught. So, there he is strolling through a bar with approx. seven pieces of toilet paper hanging down the back of his jeans. I scope the scene to see who notices. Then I realize since it's George no one will notice, which is exactly what happens. He just stands in front of three girls at a table with a roll of toilet paper hanging on his pants, and no one notices. . . .
My plan of maximum relaxation has been going according to plan. While drifting down the street in Belgium, George foresaw an accident in the making - two cars at a decent speeds were about to collide, and the vector of impact was pointed right at me. Normally I flinch hard at just about everything. This time I just decided to ignore a really loudly yelled "Glllllllleeennnnnn, WATCH OUT!" After a second or so (very long time in this circumstance) I just turned my head to watch two cars screech to a halt in front of me, then threw George a sort of "don't waste my time and make me turn my head unless you really mean it, bitch. . . " look. . .

oh, Johnny O, my plan of pulling out George 's secret nickname six days into the trip went as follows: I got off the plane at Brussels and meet up with him. We make small talk for like 3 minutes, then he said, "So, did John tell you he calls me hooter." Bah. . . more coherent update to follow.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Eurotrip: Intro

Going to Europe tomorrow!

I am terrible at packing. My mother knows this, since I always forget something every time I go anywhere. She decided to try to be helpful, so she made the following list for me, which I think is rather amusing:

-Airline Tickets
-Credit Card
-Traveller's Checks
-Foreign Money

-Pants (5)
-Shirts (6)
-Sweats (2)
-Boxers (9)


Hygeine Kit:
-Razor, Shaving Cream
-Soap, washcloth
-Nail Clippers

Health Kit:
-Contact Lens, solution

-Travel Alarm Clock
-Plastic Bag for Soiled Clothes

I think the funniest parts of the list are: sweats, 2 (I have not worn sweats in like 6 years); pajamas (I have not worn pajamas in like 17 years); hairbrush (I do not brush my hair); Nail clippers (I am going away for one week); Bandaides (I completed elementary school 18 years ago); Sunblock (I make sure not to expose myself to this for longer than a half-hour at a time); Umbrella (I suck it up and walk fast, or I take a cab); watch (watches are so 3 years ago); Itinerary (that takes away all the fun); soap and washcloth (nice hotels, tyvm - will not exactly be roughing it). . . .anyways, I'm sure the list will at least make me remember to bring my passport. . . .

I spent three hours at work today preparing itunes for my new ipod nano. It's hard to decided exactly what 59 albums to put on, but I think I have a mix that will cover all my listening desires. I also filled out one of those myspace 137 question surveys - the kind that asks questions like, "Do you have a crush on someone?" and "If you could make out with one person, who would it be?" Even though it must be geared towards middle school and high school kids, I found some of the questions to be very thought-provoking. "Who Is the last person I yelled at?" "What were is the best bedsheets I had as a child?" "If I were a crayon, what color would I be?" "If people from high school saw me today, what would they think?" Anyways, I spent like an hour and fifteen minutes on the survey, then I closed the browser by accident :(. . .

I watched Crash last night, and I thought it sucked. Chris from work summed it up perfectly when he said, "I'm never watching that movie. . .everyone I know that doesn't really think about anything loved it, and everyone I know that actually thinks about stuff hated it. . . "

Well, there should be some adventures in the future to discuss, unless the cowboy makes his now inevitable visit and ruins my trip. . .

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Game over. . .

Ok, the bet is over, and to no one's surprise, I lost most of it. Glenn bought out of it by overestimating my ability to make a last minute push and gave me $750 instead of risking a 2k loss. Matt and Steve have been paid. I owe Canadian Mike $500, but he is telling me to hold onto it for further action on the pool table in Vegas this summer, since he seems to think he can run it up into a preliminary event buy-in. I am such a nit in pool that I doubt that will happen (and I know he plays gooood), but we'll see. . . Peter and George will get their $200 soon. . .

On Thursday night, which is the day the bet ended, Matt wanted to get some food and grab a few beers, as he had just spent the afternoon moving two of his friends into new apartments. I suggested we go to Bacco on Salem St., since they open the windows on the first floor in the bar area, and it was nice out, and I wasn't that hungry and just wanted a few drinks. We couldn't get seated at a table, but ten minutes later we got a table upstairs, which is where the restaurant is. . . So, obviously we went off for a package - several appetizers, main course, a few bottles of wine etc. It was A LOT of food, so I went out in style. . . .

Friday after work I headed back down to Foxwoods to hang out with two old friends. Yes, I know I had less than kind words for that establishment in my last entry, but it's all about the company, and it was time for a weekend gathering with Tim and Aaron. It took an extra 45 minutes to get there due to rain and traffic, but I made decent time considering. I strolled in, hoping friday night would have better games than sunday morning -----> Nope. There was a $75-$150 h.o.e. with a list of six, and I knew it wouldn't move. There was a $50-$100 h.o.e interest list with 10, but they never called it. So, I just sweated Tim and Aaron a little bit in their $4-$8 games:

-I watched the 9th inning of the sox game, thought about how George's bud John is in town, and I have just been waiting for his team to inevitably fall apart in order to then remind him of his earlier statement that Detroit was the best team in baseball. (note: pppfffttp!). Sure enough, they did the unthinkable and Youkilis hit a two-run homer with one out left of almost-automatic Todd Jones --> gg John.

-Tim plays very tight. In two hours I saw him voluntarily play like 2 hands. I know he was getting bad hands, but I like to give him shit anyways. He had a hand that I thought he should have easily 5 bet the river with 99 on a J J 9 4 2 board, but the old guy was a little scary. He called a raise, but then waited to the river to make a move, and he got all shaky like only an old man with the nuts: "I raiiisse." Tim three bet and he instantly said, "Reee-raiaise." I still would have throw in the 5 bet and then called a reraise. He had 44 and I called Tim a fish. He redeemed himself by playing a hand expertly in the same orbit, though.

-I realized I wasn't getting in a game, so I convinced them to hit the bar. After last call, they all wanted to play short-handed, which wasn't gonna happen, especially since there were three of us. So, we sat in a $4-$8 game. Everyone at the table was the most annoying person ever times three. That was that.

-The next day I was on the fence about playing, but I wanted to cash in my silverbird. Yes, the silverbird is the same chip I meant to cash last weekend. Anyways, we ate a nice breakfast, strolled in at around 3 p.m. Again, the board was a joke - no big games except a few $75-$150 studs and a short $75-$150 h.o. It's like just Foxwoods to break my balls - they take out the other game I like from the mix. I drifted over. Some guy from A.C. was in the game. This, I decided, would be my barometer, since this guy will either book a small win, or get really, really stuck and stay up for two days and lose a package. He looked refreshed and happy, so I just said f it and decided to say my goodbyes and head back to Boston. It wasn't until exit 6 on 95 that I realized I forgot to cash my silverbird. . . bah.