Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

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Poker Is So Annoying Sometimes

August 5, 2009

I just endured one of my more obnoxious tournaments in quite some time. I usually play the morning tournament at Chips Casino on my days off and because of the structure, I play a pretty fast and loose game in the early stages. Since the blinds double every 11 minutes, I like to play a lot of pots early to try to build a big stack so I can handle the huge blinds in the end game, so I’m usually one of the first people out or I finish in the top 3. After splashing around a little bit and making a couple moves that didn’t pan out, I found myself with half my stack gone after a couple orbits. I was down to $325 with blinds at $25-$50 when I picked up AK under the gun and shoved it. I get called by AJ and finally win my first pot.. but my stack is still pretty puny. With blinds at 50-100, someone opens to $300 and I shove with 99 and get called by AT and double up again. Now I got a playable stack. However, I dwindle a little bit and only have $1200 in chips when I make the final table. Blinds are 50-100 and this is when things start to get obnoxious. I pick up a pot and have about $1500 when this hand happens. I have 5h3h in the big blind and one person limps, who we will call Dumb Hick, the small blind calls and I check. The flop comes 733, which is beautiful, but it’s unlikely I’ll make any money here. If more people were in the pot or maybe if a flush draw was present, I’d usually just go ahead and lead out and hope I get some action, but I decide to check. It checks around and the turn card is an Ace. Perfect. I check again, almost sure that Dumb Hick is going to bet. He bets $200 and the small blind calls, which was a little surprising. I could shove it here, but I’m unlikely to get called and I want to make a little money on the hand so I make it $650 to go. I get called in both places… good result, although I’m starting to wonder if the small blind is underplaying a better 3 than I have. Obviously the river is another ace and I end up check-folding to Dumb Hick, who shows AJ after I table my 3 in annoyance. Then Dumb Hick has the nerve to say “I knew where you were at,” gesturing towards me. Oh really? You knew I had a 3 and you decided to call me with two outs and one card to go anyways? You’re a fucking genius. I didn’t say that, but I was sure thinking it. Anyways, the hand crippled me again and I was down to $650 instead of having $2850 (and maybe $3500 if the Dumb Hick calls an all-in on the river). Blinds go up to 100-200 after that and now I’m pretty much going to go all in any time it folds to me. I do this once and don’t get a call, so I’m up to $950 when it folds to me again and I shove again without looking. Dumb Hick calls me and shows As8s. I flip over my first card and it’s a ten of hearts… flip over the second card it’s a beautiful ace of hearts. I have him crushed. The flop comes ATQ, with one spade. Awesome. Turn card is a 7 of spades obviously… can’t just win a hand without having to sweat a little bit. The river is a Q and I have to settle for a split pot. Fuck my life! Now I’m at $1050 and I have to fold because people enter the pot before me and I don’t pick up a hand. Finally, I’m under the gun and shove as soon as the first card is dealt to me. I don’t even care if people know I’m not looking at this point. Amazingly, it folds around to the big blind and he decides to call me with… 9h8h. Brilliant. I flip over my first card: 9 of spades. Oh oh… this is either going to be really good or really bad for me. Second card: King. Sweet! I hold and double up. I end up folding both my blinds and have about $1800 when I pick up AdKd on the button. Dumb Hick raises enough to put me all in and I eagerly toss in all my chips when it folds around to me. He shows King-Ten and I have him dominated for the third time. The flop comes T86, with two diamonds. Great… the moron outflopped me, but at least I got a flush draw and 3 outs to an ace. Not horrible. The turn card is a Q, giving me another four outs, for 15 total, but the river is a king giving him two pair and I’m broke. Then Dumb Hick reaches his hand out as I’m about to walk away and I really don’t want to shake it… in fact, I feel like puking on him instead.. but I reluctantly shake his hand and then walk out of the building steaming. Seriously though… it’s bad enough to lose three big hands when you have your opponent dominated, but when it’s the same guy every time, that shit is tough to stomach. I wanted to punch him, honestly. I hate poker right now.

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Women & Poker: Does it affect my game?

July 8, 2009

So I was looking over my month-by-month results over the past 8 months or so and I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between my poker results and my last relationship. I’m not going to say one has anything to do with the other, but the coincidence is pretty startling nonetheless. I started dating the girl back in October 2008 and initially, everything was amazing. Simultaneously, after logging a mostly losing year at that point, I broke out in October for a +$1521.84 month. Things only got better in November as our relationship escalated quickly and I turned in a $1081.79 profit. We started declining as a couple in December, but I think that I was still content at that point and I managed a $94.55 profit that month. Things started to change for the worse in 2009 though and by the end of January, I knew I was unhappy in my relationship and I completely imploded poker-wise, with a brutal -$1997.65 month. We nearly broke up in February and were hanging by a thread the last couple weeks and I lost $205.75 that month. We did break up in March and I was genuinely depressed for most of the month and I also lost $558.27. By April, I was a man on a mission. I was determined to turn the break up into a positive thing and focused on bettering myself in almost every way possible. One of those things was severely limiting the amount of time I played poker, and even though I logged significantly less hours than usual, I was in a good state of mind and turned in my first profitable month of the year with +$161.74. After two months without speaking to each other at all, she contacted me in early May, we started talking again, things looked like they were going to work out, but by the end of the month, I felt severely fucked over, I was pissed off, and I lost $558.27. A lot of that bitterness carried over into June and I lost $332.14 last month. While I’m not as productive or as happy as I was in April, today I can say that I don’t have the possibility of this relationship working out hanging over my head anymore and I disposed of all my anger and vengeance musically. There is definite closure there that didn’t exist before and I’m off to a really solid start with a $117.12 profit over the first week of July, including +$157 online, which is a pretty impressive number considering I’ve only been playing $3 sit & go tournaments.

So is that a coincidence or not? Either way, if you were to compare graphs of my happiness in this relationship to my wins and losses in poker they would run almost identical over the same time period. It’s hard to judge whether my relationship started declining because I was losing in poker and it was reflecting on me as a boyfriend, or if my game started declining because I was becoming unhappy with my girlfriend. Or maybe they have absolutely nothing to do with each other and I’m just bored and trying to find a way to entertain myself at 5 a.m. Regardless, I thought it was a pretty interesting trend and maybe one that I should think about if I’m going to continue trying to play poker for profit.

I just posted some pretty scary numbers and I think someone with my income and expenses has to question just exactly what they are doing with their money and if this hobby is something I should even continue with. If you add up the totals for 2009 you will see that I have lost roughly $3700 playing poker this year. Granted, $2500 of that was profit that I made in the last 3 months of 2008 that I never actually had in my possession, but that’s still $1200 out of my own pocket on top of that and for someone that considers himself a solid player, that’s unacceptable. I long considered drinking to be my biggest leak playing poker and that if I ever got rid of that, I’d instantly start seeing consistent profits… but I was sober for all of 2008 and it took an enormous rush over the past three months to turn that year into a profitable one and I’ve been sober all of 2009 and I’ve clearly been dumping large sums of money this year. So one has to ask: what am I doing wrong and how can I fix it? Am I simply a bad player? I don’t think so. I understand the game extremely well and I can often tell what the right play is in most situations. So what is it? The answer: I have no bankroll management whatsoever. I went on a huge rush in 2005 and made $25,000 over a three month period. I’ve played limit poker at the $30-$60 level, I’ve bought into $215 multi-table tournaments without even blinking or caring if I cash, and I’ve lost $1000 in a half hour and it only hurt me slightly. It’s hard to experience that kind of financial freedom and go back to grinding it out at $0.50-$1 limit and feeling strapped when I pony up $22 for a tournament. I hit that rush playing way over my bankroll limits and clearly part of me is addicted to fast money. So in order for me to win at poker, these are the actions that need to take place:

a) No more Fixed Limit cash games: First of all, I can’t even afford to lose at any limits that I’m barely interested in playing. Secondly, I think I’ve lost a lot of my limit skill over the past several years or maybe everyone else has just gotten better, I dunno… but one thing is for sure, I’m not winning at this form of poker anymore. Also, the game is just boring and doesn’t have nearly the flexibility that No Limit does. I haven’t been dumping so bad online the past 3-4 months, but a couple of bad sessions at $4-$8 have made some of these past months look worse than they are.

b) Follow a strict bankroll guideline: Generally, to play a full game of limit poker, your bankroll should be at least 300 big bets. So if I wanted to play $4-$8, the usual limit spread at most local casinos, I’d have to have a bankroll of $2400 to not have the natural downswings of the game completely break me. Basically, that means I have a long way to go before I can play right and comfortable in even the most basic low limit game spread at a casino. Someone that is playing 1-table Sit & Go tournaments should have at least 50 buy-ins.

c) Playing in the right mind state: This will be the toughest rule for me to follow cause I tend to steam if I start off poorly in a given session. The key is going to be recognizing such a session and ending it immediately. There will always be another table to play at another time, so there’s no need to punish myself further when things aren’t going well. I also have a tendency to play when I’m really tired. This is more of an issue when it comes to playing in cash games since the situations in tournaments tend to be a little more cut and dry and when I’m playing 5 or more tables at the same time, a lack of patience is much less problematic.

My current strategy (and a working one so far) has been to avoid cash games completely and stick to playing nothing but tournaments, which I have always excelled at. While the buy-ins for the live tournaments at Chips Casino would break my bankroll guideline rule, they are extremely easy, I know the players and all their tendencies very well, and they can be very profitable with minimal risk. Last week, I won the Chips morning tournament three times in a row for +$500 and paid my rent with it. Online, the risk of a higher buy in is much steeper, since it makes up a significant portion of my online bankroll. So this month I have been focusing on $3.40 10-man turbo Sit & Goes and playing about 9-12 tables at a time. I’m yet to have a losing session doing this and I don’t even think I’ve ran particularly well so far and I’m still crushing the game. I’ve sprinkled in a couple of slightly bigger MTT buy-ins and managed to finish 44th of 2279 people in a $5.50 rebuy tournament today for +$80ish, which was a significant percent increase for my bankroll. 1st place was $7000 and anything above 6th place would have been my biggest cash ever. Unfortunately, once the money bubble approached (416 people cashed), I never found any good situations to build my stack. I had a bottom 10% stack from 460 people left to about 80 people left when I finally doubled up and had about an average stack. I didn’t find any good situations to put myself in a position to take the whole thing down, so when a guy that had been playing way too many pots with his big stack opened up in EP for a small raise, I shoved my 200K stack in the middle with A8 figuring he would fold all but the top percent of his range. He called me with 77, which is a pretty surprising call considering that I should’ve had a really tight image at that point and that wasn’t exactly a bad situation for me. When I shove with a medium stack with A8 and get called, I expect to have 3 outs and be a big underdog, but instead, I had a 50% chance of building a top 10 stack and when I flopped a flush draw to go with my two overcards, I could smell that big money. Unfortunately, he turned a set, and I missed the river and headed for the rail. Regardless, it was a nice, deep run that reminded me of what I’m capable of and I think if I can stick to grinding out this micro-stakes tournaments, while taking the very occasional shot, I should be able to turn the second half of 2009 into a very profitable one.

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R.I.P. Michael Jackson

June 26, 2009

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t make a post about one of the greatest entertainers of all-time shortly after his shocking death? I’m not going to lie… MJ gave me the creeps. Accusations of child molestation aside, the guy didn’t even look human. It’s probably debatable that he hasn’t been dead for the past decade and his ghost has been walking the earth in the public eye for the past several years. Sadly, the man’s wacko persona has overshadowed his music-making abilities for quite some time, but upon his death, I think it’s important to remember what he accomplished for the music industry.

I was debating with some of my co-workers if there was anyone on earth that could die that would usurp MJ’s presence on all the news stations yesterday in reference to his death making Farrah Faucet’s passing a minor footnote… and the only reasonable name we could come up with was Barack Obama. Seriously, Michael Jackson was that big.

I remember when I was in elementary school I used to make fun of one of my good friends for listening to Michael Jackson. I thought his music was gay and I used to torment this kid incessantly for being a fan of MJ. Oh, how things change when you grow up. While I’m strongly engulfed in the world of hip-hop, I can still recognize quality music in other genres and not many (if any) people are as talented a performer as Michael Jackson was. His music is great and his dancing skills are probably unmatched. So I leave you with this video of MJ performing “Billie Jean” in 2001 live at Madison Square Garden. The dude was a beast and hopefully he will be remembered for his music instead of his crazy and questionable public life.

R.I.P. to a legend.

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Getting Back On Track

June 23, 2009

Man…I can’t believe how lazy and unmotivated I have been the past month. Aside from work, really the only productive thing I’ve done over the past 30 days or so is work on my album. I stopped lifting. I started chewing again. I’m just completely unfocused and I can feel my self-worth and happiness levels sinking with me. Not only that but my sleeping patterns are retarded right now. Whether or not I work the next day, I haven’t gotten to bed before 4am in quite a while. However, I’m starting to feel a change coming finally. Last night I went to bed at 11:30pm and woke up this morning around 8:30, a trend I would like to continue, seeing as how the hours I get in the morning tend to be much more productive than my late night hours. I finally hit the gym again last Thursday, a moment I’ve been dreading for quite some time. The first thing I noticed was how the computer flashed that I hadn’t signed in for 32 days… sad, over a month w/out working out. The second thing I did was hit the weight scale, another thing I haven’t been looking forward to. The result was good and bad. Bad, because I lost 6.5 lbs. Good because I’m still 9.5 lbs heavier than I was when I started working out in mid-March. So I’m glad that I haven’t regressed back to my post-appendicitis weight. Now I start my second round of consistent lifting at 153.5 lbs and I’m going to start cycling creatine and bumping up my calorie intake again this week. I’m also switching up my work schedule a bit, so that I’ll be able to lift regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I have to say, hitting the gym again was a painful experience. Not only was I extremely sore the next day, but I lost some pretty significant muscle mass. I was repping 225 lbs on back squats (3 sets of 5) at my peak and Thursday I was struggling to do 185 and I felt like my hamstrings were going to snap at any moment. I didn’t lose as much on my bench press, but again, I was struggling to put up a weight that I was easily doing a month ago. It will be interesting to track how fast I get back to where I was.

I’m starting to feel skeptical about releasing my album in September. I’m pretty far along in the writing phase, but recording is a different story. It’s almost impossible for me to get a take I’m completely satisfied with and even when I think I hit my standards, I’ll be listening to a finished song and find parts that I know I could do better. It’s quite a maddening cycle. Right now I have one song that is completely recorded, mixed, and mastered, and another 3 songs that are completely recorded, but not entirely finished. I debuted a new song at work this past week and the reactions were solid and actually kind of funny. There are few things more satisfying than watching someone listen to your music and reacting to certain parts the way you envisioned people reacting: the laughs, the “oh shit”s, and the shaking of a head with a smile on the face. Ah yes, I am doing my job. When I get my desired reactions while someone is listening to an unfinished, completely unmixed version of a song, it makes me wonder how much effort I really need to be putting into this. From here forward, I’m going to be trying to finish recording at least one song a week, which should put me pretty close to my desired release date if the mixing process doesn’t take me too long.

After missing over a month of the season, and thinking I wasn’t going to be playing at all this year, I finally found a softball team to play on. My buddy asked me to play for his team last Monday and I did well enough and they are regularly short on players often enough that the coach asked me to come out every week. After having what I consider to be a great season in 2007, I didn’t play all that well last year, but so far this year, I’ve gone 4 for 7 in two games, making pretty solid contact most of the time. I also pulled off an out-saving slide into third base last night that I wish I had on video. It was a true beauty. I was on first base when someone hit a single to left-center and as I was heading into second I see the third base coach waving me over and I’m thinking in my head: “this is a bad idea.” But as a new member of the team, I decide to go ahead and go for it. Halfway to third, I can tell that the throw is going to beat me easily and I can see the third basemen lining up for it on the right side of the bag, so I slide head first far to the left and clearly avoid his tag, while barely hooking my arms onto the base. Usually in softball, the umps like to go with the “if the throw beats the runner, he’s out” rule, but I actually got rewarded for my heads up play and he called me safe. Instead of being out, I scored on the next play. It was beautiful and my new team likes me even more. I look forward to playing regularly the rest of the year and hopefully I can see some added pop to my bat when I get deeper into my workout routine.

Okay… now I’m off to Chips Casino to play in the morning poker tournament, which I took first in yesterday ($175) and hope to defend my title. I’ll also be playing in the 6pm tournament… so hopefully I can turn today into a profit as well. I’m seeing The Hangover at 4:30 today and I’ve been hearing some of the most ridiculous reviews in quite some time for that movie. It didn’t look very funny at all to me in the previews I’ve seen, but it’s hard to ignore the extremely positive word-of-mouth it’s been getting and a #130 ranking on http://www.imdb.com’s all-time list is intriguing as well. I’ll be back with a review tonight or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Another Alcohol Post

June 21, 2009

As a recovering alcoholic I don’t make it a habit to go out too much, but my conviction is so strong that I do go to the bars with friends once in a blue moon. This past Thursday was one of my co-worker’s 21st birthday, so a group of us went out to celebrate with her. Despite being surrounded by drunk people and alcohol, I never feel tempted to drink myself. I just enjoy a couple of O’douls and think about how much I’d rather be at home watching a DVD, but sometimes I feel so isolated in my sobriety that it drives me crazy if I don’t get out with some friends once in a while. Unfortunately, social interaction in my age bracket almost always involves alcohol and I usually find myself in situations most sober people are advised to avoid. While I strongly agree with that logic and even offer it to people in similar situations, I simply don’t apply it to myself. Honestly, if the events of the past 3 months of my life don’t drive me to drink, I can’t imagine that anything will. My mind is made up and it’s not something I’m concerned about.

Anyways, to continue with my story, one of the girls I was hanging out with was planning on driving home after the bar closed. This was the second bar we had attended that night, and I didn’t think anything of her driving when we switched bars, but this time it was pretty clear that she shouldn’t be driving. Her speech was slurred and she was having some problems even walking straight. I told her I’d give her a ride home or call her a cab, but I got the “I’m fine… I’ll be okay” line I’ve used so many times myself in my lifetime. After pressing further, I got hit with “you’re the one that’s got two DUIs, why would I listen to you?” Here’s a better question: why wouldn’t you? I don’t want to see anyone go through what I’ve been through… and I certainly don’t want someone to die after I couldn’t convince them to find another way home. I don’t want to ever have to live with that kind of guilt. It’s so frustrating being able to see the big picture and to be able to realize the severe consequences of such minor actions. Lots of people think “I’ve driven home drunker than this and I’m always fine.” Yeah, that’s probably true, but do you realize how many times I drove drunk and never had anything bad happen? In 10 years of having my license and 5 years of being able to legally drink, I got one DUI and one Hit & Run. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve gotten behind the wheel of a car with alcohol in my system… that’s an extremely small percentage. Also, one time, two weeks after my DUI, I got pulled over in downtown Seattle completely wasted. I was so drunk I barely even remember interacting with the cops and I woke up the next morning in my bed still wearing jeans and found a business card in my pocket with a hand-written note that said where my car was left. Even though I was more drunk that time than I was for my DUI or my Hit & Run, I never got into trouble for this incident. I can only imagine how different my life would be today if I got booked for two DUIs within a couple weeks of each other. So yeah, out of hundreds of times driving drunk, I had a potential problem only three times. Some people might get away with it for their whole life. However, it only takes one time and sometimes the stars don’t align for you. Things just go bad… and when they do, they can be tragic. One of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver when we were 14. Two of my buddies from high school were killed in 2002 when their friend got into an accident while driving with alcohol in his system. It really makes me wonder how I ever reached a point where drinking and driving was an acceptable thing for me to do. I guess once you hit 21, it’s really easy to make that excuse to drive home. Again, I never listened to anybody, so why would anybody listen to me? Well, because I understand the consequences of those few times when you don’t make it home without hurting yourself or someone else and I’m sober for Christ’s Sake! I’m not trying to be a nuisance, just trying to save people I care about from fucking up their lives with one little mistake. It can be a pain in the ass to get a ride home and have to track down your vehicle the next day, but believe me, the $10 you spend on cab fare is a lot cheaper than the thousands it will cost you if you get a DUI or worse.

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My Nephew Is An Alcoholic.

June 18, 2009

So this past week, my sister’s stepson fell from a third story apartment balcony and broke several bones, lost six teeth, and has to have his jaw wired shut. On top of costing his parents a tremendous amount of money in hospital bills, this incident is going to affect his personal life in a serious way as well. I don’t know the exact details but he’s not going to be able to get the apartment he was planning to get this summer and I think I heard something about him not being able to go to school either. I imagine he won’t be working anytime soon, so making money for himself is not in his near future. He initially lied and said he wasn’t drinking at all, but later “admitted” he had a few beers… which in alcoholic speak means “I was fucking hammered.”

When I first started hearing claims of my nephew’s budding alcoholism I scoffed at his accusers thinking of everything I’d been through, trying to downplay his situation. However, over the past year or so, it’s become increasingly hard to ignore the seriousness of his problem. Just like me a couple of years ago, the stories just don’t end. And the stories are all horrifying and awful. Just like me. I believe dude is only 22… when I was 22, I definitely already had a drinking problem and despite several warning signs, I wasn’t ready to admit it to anyone yet… including myself. It looks like he’s in the same boat right now. In fact, when I was 22, I went with my family to Las Vegas for my brother’s 21st birthday and got so drunk and out of control one night that my sister was so mad that she bought me a plane ticket home the next day even though I was supposed to be staying with her in L.A. for the next week. If you don’t count my stint as a professional poker player or a few periods of unemployment in 2006, that was the last real vacation I took… roughly five years ago.

I currently find myself in an awkward position because for some reason that I can’t explain it just clicked in my head at some point that I can never drink again and I fully realized the consequences if I do: death or jail. Yeah, that may sound dramatic, but I don’t think many people that really know me would disagree. My inability to handle my alcohol and my decision-making skills after drinking lead to serious trouble… 90% of the time. I actually consider myself lucky to be alive today and that I managed only two encounters with law enforcement is a minor miracle.

I now have no doubt that my nephew’s problem is every bit as serious as mine was. The question is… how do you get someone to realize that their future will be dark if they continue down this path? I knew long before I quit drinking that I had a problem. I was in the denial phase for many years, but even after I realized I had an issue, I still kept drinking for quite some time. My nephew hasn’t even reached that stage yet. One would hope that something as crazy as falling off a third story balcony would be somewhat of a wake-up call but the fact that he lied about and downplayed alcohol’s involvement just goes to show that he’s still hiding something… and if he’s hiding something, he’s not ready to change. So how do you get him to that point? Talk to him? Reason with him? An intervention? Nothing anybody said to me ever made a difference, so why would it for him? If anyone ever tried to pull an intervention on me, I would’ve been so angry I might have punched someone. Even hitting rock bottom wasn’t enough to make me change. From May 2005 to June 2006: I dropped out of college 10 credits shy of my degree in Creative Writing at The University Of Washington; I quit my job to play poker for a living; I got a DUI in October and totaled my car; I got rehired at Sprint and after calling out so many times due to alcohol and gambling-related reasons I just quit instead of calling out again because I was certain I was going to get fired; I got a job at a casino as a security guard and the casino would front you your paychecks and mine would be spent two weeks before I even got paid; I got so drunk at my place of employment one night that I got kicked out by the floor manager, but I hung around outside the building for a few hours and when that guy got off work, I got into a fist fight with him… for whatever reason, I still had my job, but I quit instead of having to look at everyone I work with the next day; I couldn’t afford my rent, got evicted from my apartment, and finally moved back in with my parents in May 2006 with -$700 in my bank account, all my bills two months past due, and unemployed; back in Bremerton, I got an interview with Verizon Wireless, but the night before, I didn’t sleep a single minute and drank until about 7am, and showed up to my interview intoxicated.

One would think all that would be enough to make me be like “hey… you got a problem and you need to fix it.” I had clearly bottomed out… but I didn’t stop drinking. In 2007, I lost an average of $400 a month playing poker drunk. But my highlight was when I went to a Mariner game with a buddy and I was so drunk I threw up in the Beer Garden in front of everybody standing in there. I ran into my old roommate from Seattle and convinced him to go gambling with me. I threw up in the taxi on the way there. At the casino, I ran into someone that owed me $3000 and miraculously he handed me over $1000 of it right then and there. Not only did I get $1000 I wasn’t expecting, but when the casino closed at 6am, I was up about $200 on top of that. Most people would call it a night… but after drinking 2-3 beers over the next hour (only true alcoholics know WA state starts serving again at 6am), I just went a couple blocks up the street to Club Hollywood to play in their $2-$40 spread game, much deeper stakes than what I had been playing. I remember trading shots of sake with a dude at the table, but I was so tired and drunk, that I was passing out right at the table and after walking into the casino with about $1500 on me, I walked out of it around 2pm with $0. Around this same time, I was driving home drunk from the Clearwater Casino and got to my parents’ house at about 3 in the morning, got out of my jeep while it was still in drive and watched helplessly as it plowed through their garage. Finally in December 2007, I got arrested for the second time… this time for a Hit & Run. Once again, I was at All-Star Lanes playing poker… I was losing and I needed more money, but their ATM machine wasn’t taking my card, so instead of walking across the street to WaMu, I decided to drive there. It was super cold outside and my windows were frozen over and I didn’t have the patience to wait for them to defrost… so I just started going forward… right into the car parked in front of me. No big deal. I just put my jeep in reverse, backed up a bit, and started going forward again and hit the car one more time for good measure before making it out of my parking space. I parked my car in the mall parking lot and ran into a couple of my co-workers who tried to convince me to get a ride home with them. I wasn’t having it and walked to WaMu instead, got the money I needed, ran across the street, picked up something at the gas station, and finally got back to All-Star Lanes, by which time I had completely forgot that I even hit the car in the parking lot. However, after sitting back in the poker game for about 15 minutes, the sight of a couple of police officers quickly refreshed my memory and I found myself being taken out of All-Star Lanes in handcuffs and on my way to jail for the second time.

I had plenty of time in jail to marinate and think about the seriousness of my condition. I knew that I had to stop drinking and I finally convinced myself to quit… for a while.. but even then, I don’t think I was committed to it. I had to take my second alcohol evaluation in two years and tried to lie as much as possible about my usage, but the dude saw right through me and told me I was going to be attending alcohol treatment for the next year and that it was going to cost me roughly $3000. I remember crying as I realized how much of my time and money was about to be committed to that shit. Even then, I wasn’t committed to quitting. However, at some point early on in my treatment program, it finally clicked in my head and I accepted the fact that I was never going to drink again. How I got there, I’m not exactly sure… but it happened.

So how do I get my nephew to that point? I’m seriously concerned for his well-being and I strongly believe that his path has the same future mine did: death or jail. So far, he has been lucky enough (or unlucky?) to avoid any jail time. For me the prospect of facing jail time pushed me over the edge. I’ve been there..twice… its not fun. I don’t want to ever go back… and if I need to quit drinking to avoid a return trip, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I haven’t drank in 544 days and the improvements in my life have been dramatic. Every aspect of my life has changed for the better and I developed an overwhelming sense of optimism about everything, something I haven’t felt in a loooooooong time.

So James… if you read this, I’m sorry for airing you out… but it needs to be said. Take a look at yourself and think about where alcohol has gotten you over the past several years and see if the positives outweigh the negatives… they don’t. It’s not even close. I know you’re not ready to accept your problem yet, but it exists. I know nothing anyone ever said to me could have changed me and I didn’t change until I made that decision for myself… but I’m laying this out there for you anyway. You keep going in this direction and it won’t stop until you’re either in jail or someone is dead. You might be able to live with the former, but trust me, you don’t want to be the cause of the latter.

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Small Update

June 8, 2009

Nothing too exciting today. I have one big announcement. I’m going to quit playing online poker until I’m finished recording my album… it’s simply too big of a distraction if I’m planning on hitting my September release date. I’m retiring for three months!

Also, I saw some rough artwork for my album cover and/or flyer. It’s gonna be dope! Hopefully I’ll have some artwork up next week sometime.