Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Into the great wide open

Yes, I know. I've gotten lazy. No report in two weeks. No final BARGE report. (I'll correct that soon, out of order unfortunately.) I'm still floating around like the feather in Forrest Gump, with nary a care in the world. Why such ease? I'll get to that in a second.

First, let me tell you a little about the past two weeks. As soon as I got back from Birmingham, Brian picked me up at the airport and we rode to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to work on the TV production for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans vs. Kinston Indians Class A game that night. It rained on us for three straight days, including game day. Brian's job, as I mentioned before, is to prepare the graphics for each game. All those graphics that show the player's name and statistics? That's Brian's work. I was hired as font coordinator, which equated to glorified statistician this night. I watched the TV monitor in front of me in the truck and kept score of the game, feeding info to Brian so he could update batting average and such.

A final deluge in the second inning caused the ump to call the game and we got to leave early, though still getting paid in full. On my first trip to Myrtle Beach, I noticed how a few things compare to the city I had just left. The Hard Rock Cafe is in a pyramid, with a light beacon shining above it, much like the Luxor. The neon sign for Broadway at the Beach looks a lot like the Sahara sign from a distance. There's even one of those celebrity impersonator shows, American Superstars I think, just like in Vegas.

We headed back that Tuesday and stopped in Atlanta for the Braves game that night. I'm a huge Braves fan, nearly as big as I am an Alabama football fan (near sacrilege in "Bear" country, believe me), but I put a hex on the team. Their record during my attendance? 1-4, and the only win was after I left the game and they won in 14 innings. Brian scored great seats about 100-150 feet behind home plate thanks to the announcer for the Pelicans game (a Braves affiliate.) The rain held off and the Braves defeated the Giants for my first in-attendance victory.

Can you tell I'm enjoying life?

I drove to West Point, Miss., last week to take out an old flame and heard a whistle blow on the radio station, followed by the Loverboy standard, "Working for the Weekend." Then I realized it was 5 p.m. Friday. Days of the week have lost a lot of meaning for me now. My motto: I've got time!

The obvious question now is: Aren't you worried about your finances? No, right now I'm not only surviving, but thriving.

I've studied, played, studied, played and studied some more the intracacies of the shorthanded limit hold'em game. I play on one small site in the 6-max 10-20 limit game. I've found that the smaller sites give you two advantages: you see the bad players more often and learn their tendencies and there seems to be a higher ratio of bad to good players on these sites.

The end result is this -- I'm up $12,000 since I got back from my WSOP trip, a span of not quite six weeks. Since I left my job in mid-June I'm up close to $14,000 overall. It provides a cushion of comfort.

Everyone jokes about it being "tax free"money, but I will be reporting it. I'm not trying to be the scum of society here. I plan to pay my taxes like every other honest American.

Can I keep this up and what will it mean for my future? That's the unanswerable question right now. I'd like to think I can just sit around and make $100,000 in the next twelve months, but that's probably not realistic. I want to build up a nest egg so I can have options.

I wouldn't mind going to grad school next fall here at UA. It'd be nice maybe to be able to run my own business of some sort. As Brian and I discussed during our trip, as he thumbed through a book on real estate investing, to really make it in life you can't work for the man, you've got to BE the man.

I know I don't want to ever work in a cubicle in an office again if I can help it. It's nice to have the option to go back to the newspaper in a year, it's like I'm "on a freeroll" as my friend Joe calls it, but the idea was always to create a situation where I wouldn't have to go back to the 9 to 6.

As for my book idea, it's been nixed by two publishing houses and my agent Sheree is no longer representing it. So I will have to start anew on that. But Sheree is trying to get me a job writing that college poker craze book I mentioned. She told me the other day that I'm one of two candidates for putting it together. I'm playing a dorm room game tonight on the UA campus so I can put together a sample piece for the editor, Richard.

Joe and I rode over to Philadelphia, Miss., two hours away, to Silverstar for its Monday NLHE tournament. I met Richie, a UA senior, at the tournament and got myself an invitation to tonight's game. I finished 6th, which got me about a $230 profit. Richie was still in when I busted.

Brian got me the job as font coordinator for a couple of big college football games coming up. On Labor Day, we're working together at the Miami-Florida State game in Tallahassee and two weeks later we're at the Tennessee-Florida game in Gainesville. When you're watching those games on ABC and CBS respectively, think of us when you see the graphics.

Brian and I plan to drive from Gainesville to Atlantic City for the U.S. Poker Championship at the Taj Mahal. Brian's staying a few days and then flying out, while I will probably stay for 10-14 days.

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