Friday, September 30, 2011

Pinball Madness

Last Sunday, I spent the day with Sophie Young, who is blessed (and cursed) with the same insatiable pinball gene as I. We hit the Pacfic Pinbal Exposition hard, arriving at 10:15 and playing until 5:15, with a one-hour lunch break at Barney's for some burgers, thin fries and a delicious chocolate shake. The 5th Annual Pinball Expo had over 400 pinball machines, including the usual favorites (Paragon, Twilight Zone, Earthshaker, Diamond Jack, Pinball Pool, CSI, the Simpsons, the Addams Family, and Captain Fantastic) plus two new Tron machines. My wrists were sore through Wednesday. I was wiped out by 5, but Sophie could have gone until 8. I see a pinball machine in my future!
Sophie is the future of pinball.  This kid's got wicked skills!

One of my favorite machines of all time is Paragon, a wickedly difficult game with the Beast Liar in the left-hand corner. I played this game with Neal, Steve, and Dan Friday nights at the Wazzu Cub. Those were the days. Unfortunately, this particular machine had upper left flipper issues, so the game was a bit flawed.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doubles Tourney Recap & Pinball!

Last weekend’s Club One Doubles Tournament involved eight teams, all of which were very good. Steve Rojas and Gary Rieger took the title, beating Barry and Harold 15-8. Dorian and I won our first six games, stumbled against Steve and T, then met Steve and Gary in the semis, losing 8-15. Steve and T’s match against Barry and Harold was the game of the morning. They lost 14-15. Harold had a couple of unforgettable gets. This is the first time in years that a Club One team didn’t make the finals. It was nice to see Gary and Steve take it. They played well all morning.
Tonight I’m attending the first night of the annual Pinball Expo. Can’t wait!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Full Tilt Implosion

I'm still shocked at the DOJ complaint I read yesterday about Full Tilt Poker and Board Members Howard "the Professor" Lederer and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson bilking online poker players for hundreds of millions of dollars. Why? I can't wait to hear their version of what happened. My guess is they will have plenty of time to tell their story. I can't imagine them not going to jail over this. The money's too huge. Epic! The professor and Jesus? It's like discovering Walter Cronkite wrote bad checks, that's how inconceivable this is. I loved playing on Full Tilt and loved Rush Poker. The Full Tilt commercials were so sophisticated and classy that the almost felt like cinema. They were black & white arthouse short shorts that totally captured the excitement, power, frustration and beauty of the best card gave ever invented besides bridge. How could this be? These are smart guys who already had it made. Why risk everything when the odds are such that were eventually going to get caught? Maybe Joan Rivers was right when she said told Annie Duke, Howard's sister, "Poker players are trash, darling. Trash!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Busy, Fun Weekend

I read through Sam's edits of the manuscript and they're first rate. Really good. He'll send it out by next week. That's very exciting. I read through Julia Milan last week for the first time since revising two months ago. The pacing is fine for the most part, but I felt there were moments that could be slowed down and developed a little more. It moves and that's good. I can't wait to get into the second book. I was at Alice's the entire weekend and we had a blast together. I bought her a new laptop, a Toshiba Satellite with a video cam and 4 gigs of ram. I remember when my dad used a Toshiba laptop in 1986 with a 20 megabyte harddrive and 640 k of ram. Those were the days. Alice had her neighbors Chris, Nina and Angie over for dinner Saturday night. They were lots of fun. Last night we went out to dinner with her parents and sister's family. I ate way too much food again, and the brownie and ice cream afterward didn't help. I'm running an extra few miles this week. Alice and I have been watching The West Wing together. This show is such a classic. The interplay between the characters is mesmerizing. Aaron Sorkin has a new show coming to HBO about a cable news anchor and his team. I may have to subscribe!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day

Had a wonderful brainstorming session with Lisa and Sophie Young this morning about Julia Milan. Sophie is full of ideas and gave me a few jems that I can use in the second novel. It was fun to bounce ideas off them. I have a stack of books I want to plow through.
The Debt: This is a well-crafted suspense thriller with complicated characters, a few nice twists and an emotionally compelling storyline. The final act pulled me out because it seemed so unbelievable and pat; however, I'm not sure how the film could have ended differently and still satisfied the necessity for a rousing conclusion. The acting was exceptional. The pacing and structuring of the two time periods (1966 and 1997) worked well. The Debt does a very good job of engaging its audience with curious pieces of information that reveal larger truths about these characters throughout the story. This is how good storytelling works on film. Alice and I watched The Debt Sunday night in Daly City. She found the film too intense and didn't like it as much as I did. The botched transport scene along the Berlin Wall was terrific!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gearing up for Submissions

It's showtime. The manuscript goes to publishers this month. I'm going over the novel one last time, adding what didn't get added to the latest draft and incorporating the suggestions I've heard from others. I'm also launching my website, blog and updating my Facebook page. I'll remind everyone to check things out.

Yesterday, I began researching book 2, which will take place in the present and in 1941-42. I'm drawn to the disbelief of the situations facing Anne, the girl Julia will learn about in book 2. Book 1 is really a setup for book 2. Of the three books in the series, I believe book 2 will generate the most interest and noise.