Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It’s funny, the writing process. How ideas develop. Mold. Change and transform into something else. I’ve been tinkering with the first chapter of my Chapel of the Chimes novel, knowing a few things that the main character could do in there. What I didn’t realize is my main character is actually going to be a detective of sorts. That was a surprise, and yet the details I’m setting up in chapter one make it so. Julia Milan is a detective for the dead. Interesting, seeing as she’s only 14. She has the rarest of gifts. She can talk to the dead and interact in the spirit world. Very few people can. Only a handful on the planet. They have life energy. There is an opposing force, a death energy which is intent on eliminating these seers. I see a larger storyline here. A rich and wonderful ghost series. My particular contribution to the world of story.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I had one of the more profitable low limit sessions online yesterday, winning around 70% of my hands that went to showdown. What a treat that was. Out of 680 hands I was dealt pocket kings 9 times. What’s even more amazing is the kings held up 6 times. I have such bad luck with kings.

I’ve been playing a lot of heads up sngs on PokerStars lately. I like heads up. It’s a lot like learning a language. I’m playing small stakes sngs, but still it’s good training. Tonight I’m playing an hour of limit and an hour of heads up. I wish I had more time to play tonight, but I have so many other things to take care of.

I met with Ziegler this morning and that went very well. Talked about my upcoming China trip, stuff with Becky, and Jeff & Laura.

I’m still thinking about the incredible 100m run of Bolt on Saturday night. That was incredible. Breaks the world record and slows down before the finish line.

I begin a new three-week diet through the cholesterol research institute. I’m glad I’m back on a healthy diet. I was eating way too much junk food these past two weeks.
Writing: Hitting Chapel hard and getting Retro off the ground. The days fly by

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Poker Thoughts

I wrote again today. I’m devising ways to make the process more enjoyable. The best I’ve come up with is kicking the critic out of the room. I read the first 40 pages of Jim’s new romcom script. It’s not working for me, though it’s very well written with some great description. The dialogue, however, feels stiff. Tonight is poker night. I’ve cashed the last three weeks running. I love it. I’m ahead in my head-to-head against Craig and close to the lead in total points for the season. I’m looking to mix things up again tonight. I have a much tighter image than I deserve. People don’t like playing pots against me. I spoke with Chris on the phone last night and we talked for two hours about family, women, etc. He’s such a great person to talk with. He reminds me that Becky is not Linda. I plan to remember that. I was thinking of giving Becky a call tonight and setting up something new. I enjoy talking with her. I read a couple of poker articles this afternoon and one of them talked about playing in the here and now, not thinking too much about the past or the future. Bad beats should be eliminated from one’s memory. Play each hand separately while using the information I have of each player to make the best decision. If I can master this one concept I will be a deadly force at the table. I’m committed to working on it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just Another Tuesday

I finally purchased a Yamaha silent violin. I bought the SV 150 model which has a few neat features, sort of like an electric organ. The violin has 25 sound settings. They're great! Another great feature is I can play MP3s with the violin. This will make practicing so much fun!

I'm re-reading two limit poker books: Small Stakes Hold'em and Winning in Tough Hold'em Games. Both books are fantastic. If I can incorporate the ideas and strategies of these books and play thousands of hands, I should be a very strong player.

Only one month before I leave for China. I'm beginning to get very excited about this trip.

I received an odd email from Becky last night. She apologized for not having written sooner, but said things were very busy for her. She hadn't read what I had sent but said she would get to it. It made me feel I was quite low on her priority list. I should probably take her email for what it is and move on. OK, I'm moving on now.

I studied some of my poker games over the weekend and need to stay in heads-up matches even when I've been dealt all kinds of bad luck. In this one heads-up match I had AA with 2600 chips against my opponents 400 and all the chips got in with his K9. Of course, he turned a full-house. Then we got all the chips in with my KQ against his KT and he flopped two pair. I was done with the game and pushed all in every hand after that, running into his AA which of course held. Frustrating.

If I can remove emotion from games like and still play my best, as if I were a machine, I'd be an effective and dangerous poker player.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tough Weekend in Poker

Showed my first Eerie St. Theatre last night. Ronda & Biff, Richard, Neil and Rosanna were here. Watched "Planet Terror" and "Fido," two quality zombie movies. "Planet Terror" is so brilliant in so many ways. Great details and quality lines. Best line: "It's a no brainer."

This weekend was a bit tough in the poker department. The only bright spot was making winning a satellite seat to next week's VIP freeroll for Platinum members on Poker Stars. Other than that, I lost across the board with bad cards and even worse beats. Brutal.

My apartment's clean, and I'm hoping to keep it that way for a while.

I look forward to getting a lot done this week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Collage of Stuff

My lucky ways continue at Craig's, my Wed. night poker game. I had 88 against John's TT and hit an 8 on the river to knock him out. I also knocked Craig out with my 33 against his A7. I got all the money in against Stanley heads-up with 77 against his A3 but the flop came AAJ and I was pretty much done. I've been in the money the last three weeks, and up $350 for the season. My side bets against Craig and the field also look good as I'm the point leader so far. Nice.

I'm working on "Chapel" and it's coming along. Getting the ideas on paper. Hard work.

For the next three weeks I can eat whatever I want, then I go back on a special diet for the cholesterol research study I'm participating in. I've been a bit crazy on the junk food, but I guess that's understandable, seeing as I haven't had any chocolate in over 3 weeks.

Tonight I meet up with Becky. This should be fun. I enjoy her company. It's really great that we've reconnected.

This weekend I'm putting on my first Erie St. Theatre in years. I'm showing two films, "Planet Terror" and "Fido." Can't wait! I'm also planning to play several poker tournaments this weekend. I also hope to watch a lot of PokerXFactor videos as well. I've fallen behind in my poker apprenticeship.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cleaning Laptops

I'm in a research study on the effects of cholesterol when eating a high-protein diet. The study is 12 weeks long. I'm given food and $1,400 to participate (that pays for my ticket to China in September). Today was one of three days in which I had to spend at the research facility for over 8 hours. They extracted some fat cells from my side and took about 12 tubes of blood from my arm. I wasn't able to get online and that was a real drag. Had I been able to play poker all day the time would have flown by. Instead, I organized the files in my laptop. They better have the wireless thing figured out the next time I'm there or else.

I did take a look at some old tournaments I had played. I reviewed the Party Poker tourney in which I won a WSOP Main Event seat. I sure was lucky in that one. 3,500 poker players were competing for 14 spots. My favorite luck-out hand was my KQ against AK on the J379T board. I still remember that ten hitting on the river, doubling me up to 640K. Sweet. The tourney took 505 hands to play. I've played very few tournaments in which I've played more than 500 hands. I usually last only around 150 hands or so.

My cash game results at Stars have really improved since reading "How To Beat Tough Hold'em Games." The book is simply fantastic. I'm much more aggressive stealing blinds and defending from steals. This has made a big difference in my ROI for the month. Last weekend I won a seat in this week's Supernova VIP freeroll, so that makes me happy. What a great tourney for free!
On Thursday I'm going out with Becky, a woman I haven't seen in over a year. I reconnected with her a few weeks ago. Of all the women I'd met dating, we had more in common. It's just fun hanging out with her and hearing her take on things. I'm looking forward to Thursday. Should be fun.

I talked with Kevin last night for about 2 hours. Lots going on in my group. Aside from Jeff and Laura's marriage crumbling, Kevin has acknowledged he has feelings for Will, a former student who has the same wry sense of humor. I couldn't be happier. They make a great couple. I really like Will. He's going off to Cornell in the fall, so he and Kevin will be long distancing for a while. That might not be so bad, actually.

While in the research center today, I looked over some old pictures of me and Linda. Our train trip will be 7 years ago this December. That was such a good trip. I miss Linda sometimes. She had her wonderful qualities.

I also read half of the latest screenplay Jim recently finished, his first romantic comedy. It's well written, but I haven't laughed out loud yet. That's a problem I think.

Erie St. Theatre this Sat. night. Showing will be "Planet Terror" and "Fido" two zombie flicks that sound sure to place the Erie St. regulars.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Stuff

I'm reading "Silent Sons," a book for and about men who have come from dysfunctional families and had difficult fathers. That's me, all right. Reading the book puts into perspective why I have the problems I have. When I think about all the great memories I have with Dad, I come up pretty empty. No wonder I have spent my entire life not wanting to be like him. Unfortunately, I do have some "Dad" attributes, like getting really pissed off when I lose. I've really been trying to work on this. It's difficult. I also beat myself up relentlessly. I've actually made a great deal of progress on this horrible bit of bad behavior, thanks to Ziegler and his technique for controlling the voice in my head. I'm also reading a couple of ACA books that have been helpful. Being aware of why I am the way I am has been very positive. I feel I'm doing some excellent work on myself. I like how I'm making more sense to myself. I also like how I'm willing to take more chances.

Jeff and Laura are splitting up. Jeff called me a few days ago. I offered to help anyway I can, but when I talked to Laura I sort of opening up a big can of worms, namely Jeff's bigtime drinking. Actually, both Jeff and Laura are heavy drinkers. Of course, they think I don't know what I'm talking about, and have declined any further help from me. Oh well. I don't see them working through their problems. I think the problems went on way too long, and now Laura is at a point where she just doesn't care anymore. She's done with Jeff and has found a new "fix" to fulfill her. Jeff and Laura are so much like my parents. They'll never resolve what happened to them and will be bitter toward each other for the rest of their lives. I hope that's not true, but that's what human nature suggests.

China is only six weeks away. I'm growing more nervous about this trip. Gwen and Mom will have issues they need to sort out. I don't want to get in the middle of them. I'm sure there will be conflicts, however, perhaps revolving around food, dinner times, what to do, etc. Getting a quick sense of the area is important.

I'm holding my own in my poker playing, landing in the money in some tournaments and doing well in my cash games. I ended up about even for the month in July. I get lucky and unlucky. That's poker. Still waiting to hit a bit payday in the online tourney world. It hasn't happened yet, though I've been down to the final three tables recently.

Monday, June 30, 2008

More Stuff


I reclaimed the Club One AA title by beating Steve Basham 15-13, 6-15, 11-3 in a very exciting and exhausting racquetball contest last Thursday. My energy was very low throughout the match, though I felt good beforehand. I was sufficiently loose and warmed up, having arrived at the Club at 4. I warmed up on the court from 4-5, then took a shower, steam and sauna from 5:15-6. From 6-6:30 I warmed up my backhand and the match began promptly at 6:30.
The first game was fairly even. I may have jumped to an early lead, but then Steve evened the score at 8 or 9 and then jumped into the lead. It was 9-12 when I scored a point. Then Steve scored and it was 10-13. I then scored a few points off my serves. At 14-13, I served a drive serve to the right side, fooling Steve into thinking I was serving to my left. My right-side serve went perfectly along the wall without touching it, and I won the first game.

I changed shirts and socks, determined to win the second game, but Steve played phenomenally well in game 2. I was hitting passing shots that he kept cutting off. I mixed up my serves, but Steve was deadly with his return. Everything was working for him, and he was suddenly ahead 5-14. I scored a point, then he scored a point and we went to the tiebreaker.
I changed my socks, shirt and head scarf again. I did not want to lose. I was ahead 2-0 and felt good. Steve evened things up at 2-2. I then scored three points, up 5-2. Steve scored a point and it was 5-3. I then scored three more points, up 8-3. My serves were still hard and Steve was making mistakes. He wasn’t playing with the same intensity that he displayed in game two. I scored the next three points and the match was over. I was SO happy! I really wanted to take the title back. Now I have it. I’m the club champ once again. I’ve had the title 6 or 7 times now, more than any other player. That makes me feel very good!


I will not be playing in the 2008 WSOP this year. I tried, not as hard as I could have, but I did try and came close twice, but no luck in the end. My poker playing is developing. I’m reading important books and thinking about the game differently. My first priority is to figure out and beat the $1/2 limit game, which is something I have not been able to do yet. I’m reading an important book called How to Beat Tough Hold’em Games which has been a godsend. I’m playing to play a lot more poker in July and get back in the swing of playing many tables at the same time.


I’m writing and reading more. I feel I’m a much better writer at 44 than 24 or 34. I just seem to know what to worry about and don’t worry about what not to worry about. Not too long ago I worried about everything, especially writing right. Now I just write.


Adult Children of Alcoholics. Hmm. I’ve definitely got a lot of work to do but I feel I’ve made a great deal of progress in dealing with some of my most difficult issues. Lots of ideas have come to me and Gwen from our family issues with alcohol. More on this later.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Another Day

What a surprise, lots going on, too much it seems. It's difficult, as always, to prioritize my time. I'm interested in so many activities, which is why I need to plan, plan, plan.

Last weekend at Gwen's was one of the more interesting family get-togethers. With the Nicole crisis brewing and our family taking measures to will her toward treatment, the entire process has unearthed the big white elephant in the room, the family drinking and how it has impacted all of us. Mom feels a bit vulnerable, I think. She should. She will die of drinking if she doesn't do something.

I'm reading "Under the Influence," a book about alcoholism that Gwen bought for me. I'm really proud of Gwen and the battle she has waged against her own drinking.

In the poker world, I tried to win a WSOP seat last weekend and failed. I came close, but no cigar. I am getting better and better at that game, though. One of these days I'll do well. But it doesn't look as though it will be this year.

Still troubled by the death of Tim Russert. He is a great inspiration to me. I want to create a list of folks who have impacted and influenced my life. He would be right up there with his winning smile and optimism. The reality is I'm not nearly as happy as I would lik to be. So much of that is me, though. What more do I want or need from life? Not much. I have everything I need. Really, I do. Work, work, work!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Good but Not Great

I’m really not great at anything, but pretty good at many things. I love playing games. I've never truly excelled at any one game, but I like learning the strategies behind winning. I like to win. One of my favorite movie lines is from Patton: America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser. I feel this way about myself. It's difficult for me to tolerate losing. It's been a lifelong ordeal trying to keep from taking losing personally. I feel it so completely. When I've lost a game I should have won, I go into total respiratory shock. I want to punch holes through walls. You'd like I'd get used to it. I don't.
Like most people, I tend to overplay my abilities, thinking I’m actually a lot better than I really am. I was like that in the dating world. So what if I was 5'6 and balding with no real career to speak of. I thought my natural wit, charm and good-guy tendencies would win women over. HA! What a delusion. They saw something, the women I wanted to charm. Or nothing. I've been a big loser in the dating realm.
Poker: I'm getting better, but can't bring down a tournament or satellite. The table I played at today was good. I played straight up poker, nothing fancy, and lost half my stack with second best hands. I just couldn't get anything going, and then my AK ran into AA. I used to do that a lot. It's been a while, but I can be pretty good at it when I'm up for it.
I Haven't played any limit on Stars in a while. March was so brutal for me. I think I lost 400 or so. I've been a big loser on limit lately. But what's been working well for me lately has been the double shootouts. This weekend I took two and came in 2nd on the other two at the first table. Not bad. I've been using the ICM strategies and they've been working well. The players at these low-limit DSs are not very good. Way too passive when the blinds get big.
Today was my first Sunday Million tournament and $650 WSOP. In the Sunday Million, I pushed all-in in the small big post flop with AQ and the button called with A8. An 8 hit on the turn and I was out. Had I won, I would have had 16K in chips. Really disappointing.
In the WSOP Satellite, I ran into AA with my AK and that was that. Pretty ugly way to go in both tourneys. I had great cards in the WSOP satellite. Had I had those cards later in the tournament, I would have won a seat. They were incredible cards.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last night we had an intervention with Nicole and her drinking/drug problem. It happened quickly. Gwen gave me a call a few days ago saying Nicole was arrested after getting into a fight at a bar near Lake Chelan. She was charged with disturbing the peace. She called Gwen and was upset. Gwen called mom, Jill and me. Gwen felt Nicole had a drinking problem. She thought an intervention might be necessary when we all arrive in Seattle for Mathew’s high school graduation. Gwen, Jill, mom and I got on the phone and concluded an intervention was the right thing to do. Nicole still lives at home with her parents and she’s 23. She was arrested a few months ago for a DUI. Craig reduced the charge to reckless driving. I’m tough when it comes to personal responsibility. I expect a lot of myself and others. I don’t understand drinking and partying and taking drugs. I’ve never been that way. Nicole isn’t yet ready to give up that lifestyle. In the meantime, her goals and dreams have moved further and further from reality. The latest Hough family crisis escalated when Mathew told Gwen Nicole was worried she was addicted to cocaine. Gwen told me, mom and Jill. We scratched the old plan and decided immediate intervention was necessary. When Nicole arrived home from Lake Chelan Monday night, Gwen, Greg and the boys met with Nicole in the kitchen. “Oh, a family meeting,” Nicole said. Gwen said she thought Nicole needed treatment, but Nicole thought Gwen was overreacting. Nicole didn’t think she had anything wrong. Gwen confronted Nicole with her cocaine use. Nicole said it was purely recreational, maybe ten times total. The meeting ended with Nicole leaving the house.
Mom drove to Gwen’s the next day. The were ready to confront Nicole last night after she came home from her double-shift at her second job (she was fired from her other job). Jill and I got on the phone and put together an action plan for what Gwen and mom had planned to say to Nicole. Basically, Nicole had only one option: she either had to go to treatment for her substance addictions or move out of the house and not have any contact with the family until she was ready for treatment. It was not a discussion, but a decision. It’s great to have Jill as a professional guiding us through this process.
Nicole came home last night at around 9:45. I three-way-phoned Gwen and Jill and could already hear mom talking with Nicole using very strong, very stern language. Listening to Nicole without seeing her body language or being in the same room with her was truly incredible. Her voice was flat, almost monotone. She was certain she did not have any issues of any kind. She did not have a drinking problem or drug problem. She absolutely was not going to treatment. Then Jill spoke with her. She was firm, clinical and matter-of-fact. She was harsh. Then I was asked to speak. I said I completely agreed with Jill. I also said any member of this family who uses drugs is really doomed given the history of alcohol abuse in this family. I mentioned how from day one I have been a major cheerleader and supporter of Nicole, that she has had lots of opportunities, and yet, if she does not get treatment I will not interact with her until she does so. I was extreme and firm. I sounded like Dad, which might not be the best thing. Mom then spoke again, then Gwen. Nicole then left the room to pack a bag and leave. She plans to move out by Thursday. Her plan is to stay out of our lives for a year and show us all that she can make something of her life. I hold zero hope for her. Not with drugs and alcohol in her life. No way. She wants to party. That’s what she wants to go. What a waste.
Jill and I stayed on the phone another 45 minutes. Mom was extremely upset. I hadn’t heard mom cry that loudly in years...if ever. She was simply devastated. It was so much harder to be there in person than over the phone. I was all right, though I’m obviously saddened by the choices Nicole has made and how difficult her life will become. She has now become a drug addict and alcoholic. She was always a candidate for heading down the wrong road. We all knew this. I think that’s why we all gave her so much love. We knew she’d need it. In a way, it’s not surprising this is where she is. My favorite memories of Nicole were when she was at Jill and Chris’s wedding. She was so helpful and in such a good place. What that her senior year? I also loved watching her play softball. She was like me and would get so angry at herself if she didn’t perform well. Those times seem far away. Life can be harsh and oddly predictable. Nicole should have done better for herself. I wish her luck in this relentlessly indifferent world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hot Outside

The temperature yesterday was in the 90s. Today it's a little cooler, but still hot. It's most pleasant at 6:00 am when the sun comes out. At Craig's tournament two days ago, someone called my AK pre-flop raise with 92 and the flop was 92A. So painful. What's worse, I was slow-rolled when all the chips were in. It was brutal. Frank is so in trouble.

I played Byron in racquetball today and beat him 15-3, 15-2. It was sweet. I played well, though there was still room for improvement.

I'm writing three projects right now. I'm a writing machine. I'm also getting back into poker after a month off. I doubt I will play in the WSOP this year. No vacation time, plus I don't think I'll win an entry. My online play is not very lucky. Maybe I"m not very good and just don't realize it.

Michael Bell is spending his last day here. His visit has been very enjoyable. The weather couldn't have been better. He's a great great guy.

OK, on to some writing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Michael Bell in Town - Drive up the Coast

California really is a spectacular state. So beautiful. I took Monday and Tuesday off. Michael Bell is in town, so we drove up Highway 1 from Stinson Beach all the way to Fort Bragg. Truly remarkable. The weather was terrific. A little chilly, but sunny and clear of traffic. We took our time. We reached Mendocino around 4, and only had an hour or so to check out some arts and crafts stores. We hit a magnificent store featuring wood pieces by students. Amazing desks, burrows, etc. We stayed at Fort Bragg for the night at the Budget 8 and had fish & chips at Cap'n Flints. On Tuesday, we drove along Highway 128 through a Redwood forest. Another spectacular adventure.

As we drove, I thought about my young adult franchise. It's brewing in my head. The Chapel story needs a grand theme (life energy and death energy).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Energy

So I have several projects I’m working on at the same time: 1) my romantic comedy memoir, 2) my Chapel franchise, 3) Retro-Therapy. I still want to finish Don’s screenplay that I abandoned several years ago. I’ve never been so busy or productive. I’m doing all the things I want to do. I’m just not getting paid to do them. I finished a 1,000-word piece for Chris on our LA trip. I like it. I think he will, too. Retro-Therapy feels like another winner.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day

It takes about 20 minutes for me to wake up each morning. Then I have to motivate myself into being productive. Every day it's the same thing. Without the pep talk, I'm lazy and full of negative thoughts. It's a challenge convincing myself that I'm going to have a productive day. But my pep talk usually works.

I feel unlucky for some reason. This is one of the negative aspects of playing poker. I feel I have terrible luck at cards and always lose. I feel it's worse than it should be. If I have someone dominated, their overcard will hit. I know, every poker player feels they're unlucky.

I'm writing a lot lately. Lots of ideas have come into my mind. I'm really happy that Chris and I wrote and finished Deja Bride. I think it's a great script. I really like how it turned out. Our next project is Retro-Therapy. This one could be lots of fun. We're outlining ideas already. Out with the old script, in with the new one. Chris is feeling a great wave of creative energy. My goal is to get someone going with our screenplays so he can quit his job and write full-time. That's my mission. I also am ready to start publishing books and getting some of that ancillary gold heard people talk about last week in LA.

This morning I'm writing non-stop for one hour. 15 minutes on this blog, 15 minutes on my memoir, 15 minutes on Julia _____ and The Chapel of Chimes, about a girl who discovers a connection between life and death, and 15 minutes on the piece I'm writing for Chris.

Then I'm spend 15 minutes reading The Brain book, 15 minutes reading Harry Potter, 15 minutes reading Grandudes, and 15 minutes reading Selling for Dummies.

Then I'll spend an hour getting ready and zoning.

Then an hour prepping for poker for May. I didn't play a single limit hand in April. Too busy writing, and I needed a break from the awful March loss.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mind Racing

My mind continues to race. So many ideas, plans, goals, hopes, dreams. It doesn't end. I don't know why I feel so energized after LA, but I do. Something striking has happened to me. I feel as if I can write anything without the typical obstacles. It's only a matter of time. I never used to think that. Deja Bride, I believe, unblocked me. It's as though I've come to believe if I can write a romantic comedy I can write anything. A memoir? A franchise collection? I decide what to write. I like that. I decide the tone, the characters, everything. In a way, it's good practice at directing. When push comes to shove I'm actually quite good at making decisions.

I can't believe I"m 44 years old. Where has the time gone? I have four scripts written, some of which are just waiting to be turned into novels. Bridging would make a good novel. Perhaps should write it.

I haven't played poker all month. I think I was so discouraged about last month's losses that I needed to take a break. It's good that so much of my energy has been focused on writing. I'm also planning to just study poker. I have such bad luck at the game. It's comical how bad my luck runs. I feel I just don't know how to play that game sometimes beyond playing like a caveman.

I have to get the Nichol thing out. I've heard comedies don' t win the Nichol, but it's worth a shot anyway. I've never even made the quarters in that contest.

My memoir. I'm thinking about some of the things to write in it. All relationship, girl stuff. My obsessions and passions and contradictions. While it's stil a memoir, I do have to create a character for myself. My true self? What is my true self? Good question. Sometimes I don't know. Full of self-loathing but also self-delight. I hate losing, that much is true. I've never been a good loser. I take it so personally. I'm better minutes afterward when the bloodletting stops.

I sent out three follow-up letters today. Of course, I didn't hear from any of the managers and agents who got the one-page. I wasn't really expecting that. I wonder if they even read them.

We'll see if anyone responds to the letters I wrote. Chris's contact Hart Hansen may prove promising.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trip to LA

I went to LA with Chris last week. I met several agents and managers in the film business. They were instructive in offering advice about how to get a script optioned and sold in Hollywood. Chris and I are on the right page in terms of what we're writing. High concept comedies and romantic comedies that are well-written. I think that's what it will take. We went to LA through the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College. The organization was awful, but the people we met were great. I have a clearer vision as to what I need to do. Write more, read more, watch more movies, stay on task. I have lots of ideas I'm shooting around in my head.

Chris and I are writing a new script called Retro Therapy. I also want to write a memoir/romantic comedy book that sort of explains who I am, what I am the way I am, etc. I think it could be good. I also want to put together a franchise young adult collection set at Chaple of the Chimes. I'm considering various ideas now. I'd like it to be a page-turner like da Vinci Code and 24.

It's impossible to squeeze everything I'd like to do in one day, but I will try. I'm interested in all sorts of things.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Weekend of Poker

I learn more about poker each time I play. Over the weekend, I played around 15 tournaments, some satellites and a few SNGs. I usually get my money in with the best of it, but I seem to suffer 2-,3-and 5-out syndrome on the turn and river. It's tough. I'm getting good as just accepting my fate and moving on, though at times it's hard. One thing I notice about my play is I don't fear getting knocked out on the bubble. I'll go for something when I feel someone's making a play at me. I play almost exclusively at PokerStars. Lots of tournaments, good players and and lots of good deals. I won $300 in a 10,000 FPP tournament that had $2 million in payouts. I like that. First prize was $200K. I got knocked out with 99 v AK. A king on the turn. Oh well. That's poker. I felt I played pretty well over the weekend. I didn't make too many mistakes, and many of the hands played themselves. I'm still waiting for a sizeable win. Hasn't really happened yet.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Feeling Pressure and Hearing Those Damn Voices

Poker over the weekend was frustrating. I don’t have a very large bankroll at the moment, and I keep losing. My attitude is also really hurting my game. The pessimistic, “I’m so unlucky” part of me has thrown all kinds of doubt into my game. I focus on all the unlucky beats that happen to me, and seem somewhat lost in a hand. Rather than pay attention to the players and their beating patterns, I play too many games at once and don’t completely focus on what is happening at the table.

Therefore, I’m going back to poker basics. Relearning the game from the ground up. Rereading some of the books I’ve read, and also start paying attention to just one game at a time. I need to increase my bankroll before I can multitable at PokerStars again (unfortunately).
I’ll continue with the freerolls and play as many as I can. I’m not thinking through my decisions as much as I should.

Gavin Smith told Doyle Brunson the single most important paragraph about poker is sometimes taking the worst of it in certain spots because you picked up all those small pots at little risk.
There are lots of exceptional poker players nowadays. My current records are not very impressive. I’ve never won a big tournament with any big money. And I sure could use a win right now.

I am going to create a Word file of a poker log, along with an Excel file of my poker performance. I’ve been too careless with my poker logs. I’m not taking my results seriously enough. I understand maximizing time, but I also think it’s important to play few tables at once, especially no limit, which is so much harder than limit.

There is a way to win at this game, but it takes patience, commitment, discipline and stamina. It also takes money. I can really improve my game, but I have to get serious, stay humble, and not let my emotions get the better of me. Play to win, both in poker and in life.

I was very depressed yesterday, and it’s true that I’m starting to feel the pressure of not having much money to fall back on; however, I do feel energized today and look forward to playing poker and studying tonight.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Swimming in the Ocean

So much swimming in my mind. An ocean of ideas, thoughts, to-do lists, tasks to complete. My mind can get that way. Never enough time to do what I want to do. Way too many outrageous chores. Between poker and screenwriting there’s not much time left for other pursuits. And yet I keep pursuing.
Super Tuesday was last night and it seems no questions were answered. We’re still where we were the night before. Not knowing is starting to make me nervous. I’d hate to see a chaotic convention in Denver. I fear the desire to win may trump the best intentions of the party. I see both sides to the Clinton Obama choice. Both make sense. I’m with Obama, but more importantly, I want to win in November. I don’t know what I’d do if a Republican president won in ’08. It would make no sense to me, much like the past 8 years have made no sense to me.
Screenwriting, poker, dating, email blogging, watching TV, reading, walking the dog, eating, work, chores. It never ends.
My cash flow is about to run dry soon. I need a big poker win to start paying for all the trips I’m taking this year. Money, money, money...

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Month, New Goals

I was very productive in January. I usually am. Once my shingles cleared I was able to focus on my exercise routine, screenwriting, poker, and connecting with friends and family.

Chris visited me over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. We spent the weekend writing our script Deja Bride, caught a few movies, and enjoyed each other’s company the way we always do. He’s so much fun and makes me laugh all the time. A truly hysterical character. We caught a debate between the Democratic candidates and he started to get caught up in the exciting contest. He and I hope to have a working draft of our script completed by the end of February. I think that’s a totally realistic goal. I have high hopes for this script. We need to do a far better job at marketing ourselves, however. This will take work, but I think there are lessons from Barack Obama that I can use in my own life. Confidence without arrogance. Win them over with charm and wit. I can’t say enough about that strategy.

Poker. Frustrating and not very profitable this month. My mindset was not good for poker. I constantly feel as though I’m going to lose hands. That’s not how I should play this game. My tough-mindedness gave way to indecision and defeat. I lost $108 accumulating FPPs on Poker Stars. I’m down $550 since December at $1/2. Not the end of the world, but certainly disappointing. This game is a mind game like no other. I have a lot to learn and study, even four years into this endeavor. My day will come. Why not tonight! I caught a few PokerXFactor videos and studied their patience, their calculations that go into pushing all in, calling or folding. I think my best game is in the tournament sphere, though I have still not won a big tournament yet. With the increased FPPs I’m winning, I should be able to buy into several of these $215 tournaments down the road. I’d also like to buy into some World Series of Poker satellites, too. I’ll study those videos and do what I can to win a seat again. That will be my top priority online this year. I also want to check out satellites for the Shooting Stars tournament. I need to earmark time for more live play, especially tournament play. I always seem to be stuck in small limit mode. Not fun.

I came back from Kansas City today. I spent the weekend there with mom at Jill & Chris’s. Jill’s second child Hayden spent a week in the NICU because he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. The baby was released this morning, much to Jill’s relief. It was an enjoyable weekend. I stayed with Jill two nights at the hospital. The room was comfortable. Jill had been an emotional mess throughout the week, but I think my presence with her at the hospital calmed her down. It was nice hanging out with her for a few days.

China: I have to start preparing for this incredibly expensive but exciting trip. It’s going to be expensive, but I’ll figure out a way to pay for it. I really need to win at poker eventually. I do win live, but he rake is so much at the card clubs in Oakland. Playing $3/6 is hardly worth it, and playing larger stakes requires a larger bankroll. That’s my catch. Playing tournaments at Poker Stars will help.

My February goals have been written. I am determined to have the most successful month of my life starting now!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Poker Going Well...Finally

I played a few thousands hands of $1/2 limit on Pokerstars today as part of my 1,000,000 FPP mission and won around $300 in the process. That's the biggest victory I've had since accumulating points this way. Perhaps I've found my rhythm.

I'm off to a date tonight with Chloe. I hope things go well. She seems nice.

Writing is going well. I finally have a title for my script: Deja Bride. Deja Bride is about a woman who keeps on dating the man of her dreams until she gets it right.


Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Week 1 Weekend

Didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted this weekend, and haven't written a word of my script nor played a hand of poker since New Year's Eve. But that will change this week. Still recovering from shingles. What a horrid nuisance. Went to brunch with Richad, Lisa, and Ari and talked about college for Ari's school. I've been assigned with helping Ari with her SAT tests, etc. I have some ideas I can throw her way. Everyone is excited about Ari's extraordinary musical gift. She has an amazing world class voice. It will be interesting to see where she takes it.

Since the new year I've been very positive and happy. Staying positive is key. Negativity and cynisism leads nowhere.

Time for bed. Night.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Iowa Results

I watched the Iowa coverage on MSNBC, and the level of giddiness and electricity among the MSNBC punditry was memorable and significant. I thought Hillary's consolation speech last night was gracious, poised and classy, but when she talked about America's need for a champion to look up to for leadership, I couldn't help but think that Obama was that champion. If there is one candidate who can bring the United States back into the good graces of the international community, Obama is that candidate, and the fact that Iowa gave the rest of the country an enormous green light in placing their hopes and dreams and support squarely on his shoulders suggests to me that this country is not so foolish after all.

I haven't watched Chris Matthews recently, so I don't know the context with which he presented his case against Hillary, but after Obama's speech, Matthews was emphatic in his argument that Hillary Clinton has been on the wrong side of the Iraq war from the beginning to the present, and therefore does not represent the change that is needed in this country. He stayed with that point for minutes, as if articulating an absolute truth. It's as if the Iowa results have opened up the flood gates to those Americans who have been so completely opposed to this unnecessary, incomprehensibly tragic war from the get-go that this political phenomenon known as Barack Obama represents the change in direction Americans like me so desperately want.
The experience card was resoundingly trumped last night by the change card. The numbers are exhilarating. 57% of the under-30 vote went with Obama. Of all the numbers I saw last night, that one sticks out in my mind as the most significant.

Had Clinton been the big victor last night (and the idea that experience trumps change), I would have accepted the outcome and given my support to her campaign. As I've stated before, I love and admire Hillary Clinton, and have been enormously impressed with her campaign these past few months. But my heart in this election is grounded in change. I simply don't care that Obama lacks the kind of experience Rumsfeld and Cheney have been boasting about these past seven years. I AM BESIDE MYSELF WITH GLEE THAT IOWA DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN EITHER!
I was five years old when Robert Kennedy ran for president. What I saw on MSNBC last night and what I've observed around the office today comes very close to the kind of political electricity I imaged Kennedy was generating back in '68. My biggest fear is for Obama's safety throughout the election year and the protection he needs against those forces who cannot comprehend the thought of a black president. Benazir Bhutto's death is a huge reminder to us all of the enormous vulnerabilities true agents of change face. It is my hope that his security is super-charged to a level that equals or even surpasses Bush's security. I don't want anything to happen to this man. I don't want another Kennedy situation, and yet I am convinced there are evil forces in this country who are plotting exactly that.

Last night was huge. Obama and his family were beyond radiant. They were transcendent in their beauty, in their promise and fulfillment of that little word called hope. The green light has been given and the entire world is watching this race and wrapping its mind around the thought of an Obama presidency. If that doesn't define change, I don't know what does.

This election now has my undivided attention. I am eager to see how the Clinton camp strategizes and revises their playbook between now and New Hampshire. Edwards is all but done in my opinion. His speech last night was delivered by a guy who was pissed off. The fact that he did not congratulate Obama speaks volumes about his character (along with Jeff's "insider" perspective of Edwards' genuineness). Richardson, unfortunately, was never given a chance. MSNBC framed his result in such as way that his only opportunity for a sound clip was dependent upon whether or not he would drop out. That really bugged me, given Jeff's contributions to Richardson's campaign. But I guess that's how things work in media land, and last night the media shouted it's message loud and clear: Obama is the man!

P.S. Go Huckabee Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008