Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Hump Day... Again

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope all you working stiffs are enjoying the midweek grind, while I, well, I'm not doing much of anything.

I had a lot of grandiose plans for getting things done yesterday, but I'll admit. It just never happened. I swear, I had zero motivation all day long. On the other hand, I've gotten a lot of reading done, something I really enjoy. Especially since it's too damn hot to sit out in the sun by the pool in the afternoon. I mean, 114 degrees--fark that. There is no shade until early evening out there, so it's just too damn hot, no matter how many contraband bottles of beer I haul out there with me. 'Tis much better to lounge around in the air-conditioned comfort of my living room while basking in the pleasant breeze of the ceiling fan.

What was I reading, you ask? Well, on Monday night and into Tuesday, I was reading Check Raising the Devil, the autobiography of Mike 'The Mouth' Matusow. It's actually a very good book--much much better than I expected. And you get a whole new perspective on him, the side the ESPN cameras never seem to show. Well worth reading, if you get the chance. But you can't borrow mine--it's a personally signed copy, and the inscription in the front says: To Mikey -- If you suck out on me again, I'll kick your ass!

Yes, I met Mike Matusow a few weeks back and had a very interesting conversation with him. And to tell you the truth, he's actually one of the nicer poker players I've ever met. All that stuff you've seen on TV is highly edited, and he's definitely the not the same person he was five years ago. Same thing for Phil Hellmuth--I've talked to him a couple of times this summer and he is 180 degrees different when there are no cameras around. People have told me that his whole 'poker brat' shtick is just an act, and I'm a believer. He's actually a pretty nice guy. The only pro I've seen act like kind of a dickhead lately is Phil Ivey. I wasn't impressed with him very much at all. But I only saw him for a few minutes, so it wasn't like I was at the table with him for hours.

I could go on and on (Jerry Yang--also extremely nice, as is Dennis Phillips), but I won't--lets just say that my jobs this summer have afforded me some pretty interesting opportunities...

But back to the books. I actually finished Matusow's book, cover-to-cover, in just over four hours. I literally couldn't put it down. Last night, I was looking for something else to read, and I picked up The Requiem Shark, by Nicholas Griffin. I think I bought it about five years ago, and it's been on the bookshelf ever since. So far, I'll give it a five on the one-to-ten scale. It's ok, and I think most people that are into seafaring adventure fiction would probably like it, but having digested 16 volumes of the Alan Lewrie series in the past couple of months, well, the bar was set pretty high, and this book falls a little short, at least to me. The premise is good; a young and educated fiddler is pressed onto a merchant ship in the early 18th century, but the ship is then captured by the pirate 'Black Bart', and the protagonist is taken aboard in the employ of the pirate captain as a biographer/historian of all of their seafaring adventures and misdeeds.

Like I said, it's ok, but it doesn't feel nearly as 'authentic' as some of the better books I've read in the genre. I'm about two-thirds of the way through it right now, and will probably finish it off sometime this morning.

As far as the rest of my day goes, I'm still looking for inspiration. Wednesdays, this summer, have been my busy errand-running and housecleaning day, as it's usually poker night, and it was generally the only day off I got every week. But today, I don't think I'm gonna do much. There are no plans for poker tonight, and frankly, I don't feel like cleaning, shopping, or cooking, so I'll probably spend another well-deserved quiet evening at home with a good book and a bottle of something tasty. I might even fire up my ol' briarwood pipe and do my thing as an armchair sea captain.


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