Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My main man Ace

He strolled by our table wafting of douche, and snorted at every other table that he passed. After circling around the room he decided to grace our table because we all were certain marks to him. While parading around the room, another gentleman claimed the same seat that the douche bag wanted. The other guy, who happens to be a loose player and likes to drink, placed a ton of chips on the table, but the douche started berating him for stealing his seat. I was crestfallen.

Let us call him Ace. Ace's brownish hair was parted in the middle and went down to the bottom of his earlobes. He had darting shifty little eyes and walked slow and deliberate; he loved his brown leather jacket and he loved his blue tooth (of course). Ace was one big pile of shit. After berating the other guy, an older lady at the next table over asked if he was using the little 'snack' table next to him. Well, how dare she. Can she not see the water on the table? How could she be so stupid? He went on, and I wanted to blast him in the face right there. So did the dude next to me. After a few hands of Ace telling everyone how bad they were,(while losing every hand) the dude next to me had had enough and asked why he was being such an ass and gave it to him. I had his back, so did his brother, and the kid from India, and the back woodsman. We all hated his guts like he just plowed over our favorite 3 legged cat. With the bee's nest shaken, the floor manager was called over to calm the storm. Not before I voiced my displeasure about how he stole the other guy's seat. I think I surprised the dealer and floor manager, because my face is becoming familiar around there, but I tend to stay quiet. I was visibly pissed at Ace. I was delighted that one of the brothers broke Ace: we all gloated and cheered and snickered and Ace had enough of our business so he moved to another table to cause a second mini-riot. Poker is surfeit with ego and machismo and I try to ignore most of it, but this guy was just nasty. It was nice to be swept away in a karmic-friendly-mob-mentality-attack on a my main man, Ace.

With love from the trenches,


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

End of an Era

The last of the good time gamblers, degenerates and Carroll's bar frequenters will be leaving this snowy residential neighborhood (and city) for good. Many a marathon all night, day, weekend and week long sessions have taken place in this 10th Ward-transplant-flophouse. And even more marathon booze ridden dawns have been seen with ocean depth weary eyes. This apartment has been passed on through a dysfunctional loving 'family' of drunks and gamblers throughout the years, many of which were born and raised in the 10 Ward of Rochester, and I happen to be the last of an aging, lost network of family members. We have grown old(er), I have become sober and we have seen the world swirl past Sodus St. leaving us confused, playing catch up and still chasing, just not as hard. Broken windows (thanks Rob), my broken plant (thanks Rob), caved in sink (thanks again Rob) and broken hearts (I couldn't resist)-a typical Sunday afternoon on Sodus St. I lived here before I lived here and that is how I came to reside here. What I thought to be many years of wasted time, I still consider to be many years of wasted time, but I am quite sure I would do it all over again if I had the chance. I would hope I had the foresight to do it differently, but with the touch of wisdom I have accumulated over the years, I don't see it going any other way. Aging is a funny business and I am not sure how I feel about it just yet. I really loved living with everyone that ever haunted this place and the one who continues to live here. The last woman standing-she has inherited a fucked up history that I hope she does not carry on :) Sodus St. has not been SODUS St. in years, anyway.

These walls have not seen the booze, broads and cards for some years now, but I still sleep with trouble in the warm glow of cigarette smoke, the sound of chips clicking, and the night pressing and clawing at the windows-whispering me into the past.

With 10th Ward on my mind,


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bijou, Strand, Vaudeville, book in the future?

Although this was located in Manhattan, it is similar to my new obsession: movie theaters at the turn of the 20th century in Rochester, NY. I saw a picture of Fay's Vaudeville, Bijou Dream and others located around the city and now I am hooked. Most of the photos I found are not for public use, but I plan on finding every one of them regardless; I plan on reconstructing my own little past. After months of scouring the city, wild eyed, withdrawn and fatigued, I will sleep for days and days and days, dreaming of where I should have been...

Underneath the marquee,


Friday, December 12, 2008

A Spider in the Pines, or listening to the Moon

Like a lone wolf I limp across the alpine. They can smell the blood; the pack is on to me. I leave little fires to find my way back, but the air is thin and the night is pressing down. I'm losing my way-they feed on the fear. The fires smolder, the snarling gets louder. My hair raised, teeth gnashing, I'm onto them. The storm gathers and the wounds heal. They smell the mountains coming together, I feel the lines blurring...

Sharpening my claws,


Monday, December 8, 2008

I am trying to make your ears bleed: Wilco Rochester Auditorium Theatre

Ceiling of the Auditorium that Wilco tried to blow off

Sometimes I hate everything about being a musician, loving music, and music in general. Peaks and valleys. Thankfully it was not the case this evening. Wilco's first performance in Rochester was an absolute knockout. Being in an "Alternative Country" band automatically places you somewhere in the lineage of a long line of bands that pay homage to this band. The Alpine Black does not consider itself above or outside of this lineage. 3 of the 4 of us were in attendance and the 4th one would have been there if possible. Many people in the 'scene' were at arm's length in the auditorium. It was rumored that The Flaming Lips were going to be the opener; Neil Young was going to make an appearance; Fleet Foxes, etc. None of the above. Jennifer O'connor took the place of the Lips-big shoes to fill but she was on nonetheless. How incredibly fortunate to have landed this gig. Frankly, if the Lips opened up I would not have made it out of the venue with my head on. Wilco did everything right. Hit after hit, sound near perfect, Jeff Tweedy seemingly in a good mood, Nels Cline the professional guitarist/contortionist, flailing around the stage...By the end of the show I was having difficulty protecting my ears at peak levels. Only complaint. I forgot ear plugs and I paid the price. It is was so nice to see a band so tight and comfortable in their sound, in their skin. (Opposite of the portrayal in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart documentary) My first Wilco experience, definitely not the last.

With stomach turning over,


Friday, December 5, 2008

The Devil Responds by Spitting in My Face

Yesterday I found myself swimming in the existential muck of the card profession. A feeling of intellectual rust and social aimlessness prevailed. The thick heavy film of time spent idly wrapped around me tightly and caused me to eat a stranger's tuna fish sandwich at the card table. Really, I gobbled up half of a home made tuna sandwich from a complete stranger. Arsenic and celery; not bad. 

This is what I am up against. I hate wasting time and this little dance, on occasion, is a big bloated waste of time to me-especially when you have a losing session. 6 hours of nothingness. But this is the trade off. 

I get to write a blog at 1:25pm on a Friday afternoon rather than scampering around the office being furiously disgruntled and staring down the other side of social aimlessness. I do not define myself by wins and losses, judge my manhood by the money, etc. However, self worth and accomplishment does come into play and it is extremely important to me not to get lost in this existential bog. 

Today I began volunteering my time at an archival organization that will remain unnamed. I am not going to change the world by this volunteer work, but by doing so, I regain some of my social character or relevance that I feel gets lost in the card game. The organization is run by an older gentleman whose character, as far as I can tell is pristine. It was great to pick his brain and hear about some of the movements that he was a part of. So cool. I am also freaking out about how much I like the archival internship that I am doing as well. I should probably keep their name out of this too, but there is life after the game. 

Careful not to get ahead of myself,


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Slow Waltz with the Devil

The month of November proved to be a slow but steady month. I barely had any time to play as the semester spun wildly out of control. I only played in 5 multi-table-tournaments and cashed 3 of the 5 x's-2 final tables. Mind you, these tournaments are very low stakes, but the variety of games in which I cashed were rewarding (some work paid off): 

7 card stud 8 or better: 2nd place out of 120ish
No Limit Holdem: 16th place out of 2,241 
Razz: 5th place out of 104 

I also made my triumphant return to the live setting after a 3 year absence. Only 3 trips to the casino, but did well ~ Old heavyset biker dude with a beard down to his belly and shades that fill his face slams his cards down in disgust, "I can never beat the goddamn orientals!" He trotted away from the table. I snickered for a second, but quickly realized that he was serious. Huh? Who says that? Then the old broad (and she was and old broad, in her 70's) next to him agrees, "never", and mumbles some other crap that I can't hear. The Asian guy at the other end of the table is stacking the biker dude's chips in silence and I can't tell if he understood what was said, but I have a feeling he did. I wanted to smack both of those fucking idiots. My new work environment.

It will be interesting to see what happens once all of my school work is handed in. The casino is not right around the corner from Rochester, and I don't expect anything from playing online. 

Settling in nicely, 


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Millionaire Quotes and Mission

When all is said and done, if I spent most of my time sitting at a poker table, I would feel that I was a loser in life. -Barry Greenstein, Ace on the River 

Barry seems like a weird dude. Maybe that's why I relate to his statement. 

Poker is perhaps a socially counter-productive activity and as I thumbed through his book I noticed another similar statement about non productivity that I did not write down, but thought about. I have been thinking about such problems for a while and they need to be spit out. My fascination with the psychology of poker and the balancing of everyday life will be flushed out here along with the grappling of the social and personal perception of a card player, my likes and dislikes about the game and my struggles with the 'life'. I read a few professional poker player's blogs, but most of them lack what I am looking for, and I think the market for poker-playing-librarians is slim, so we'll see if we can't make this interesting. 

There will be much more than boring poker talk. There will be numerous boring ramblings about music, literature, film and other things that distract me from life. 

Back up the coast I go in the morning. NC to NY. 

Hoping to see some cool birds along the side of the road, 


Monday, November 24, 2008

Maiden Voyage Part Deux

I tracked my listening habits on a 13 hour drive a couple of days ago. I wanted to monitor my moods vs. songs vs. coffee vs. life outlook vs. driving, etc. It was going to be a brilliant, sprawling epic poem. An amazing list of music interwoven with life and the drive. 
Until it hit the page and I saw a sprawling vomitous mess. My editor J. slapped my knuckles with a ruler and scared me straight. I will give her credit for providing me with a piece of knowledge that all you hipsters should choke on: Will Oldham aka Bonnie Prince Billy is in R. Kelly's weird, mesmerizing scary narrative video. 
I think I will attempt the same controlled experiment on the way home and see if something sticks to the car window. 
As ever,