Notes From The Field: February 11th To February 22nd

February 11th 2015:

I don’t care how much money you’ve made at poker. I care about how much you have.

A lot of guys run well in a casino for a little time, but you know they’re suckers when they lose it all back.

I’ve got a lot of people writing me. About 30 poker players have decided they’re suddenly battle rappers. They want to shoot something with me, and I don’t get the idea they want to do it for any culture.

A lot of people write me about me helping them with lessons, me helping them with their site, me doing things for free which I would never do for free.

A lot of people writing me wanting on my Twitch page now that I got the Full Tilt score.

I do things first. You don’t support, because you don’t have the balls take a risk. Then you want to be right there when I’m getting paid.

I went broke. I remember this. I didn’t go broke playing; I went broke trying to put my family and friends on. Nobody was there for me. I remember asking all my “friends” for a little help back up.

But it was a great. I learned who my real homies were. I had to man up. I can take, “I don’t want to give you money,” but you have to say it to my face. They’d offer whatever they could if they couldn’t give me money. That was real.

It made me tougher. It made me get dead sober. It made me diversify. And now, it’s made me more relevant than I’ve ever been.

The audacity these kids have, the ones who turned their back on me, to come to me for a hand out now, offering me nothing.

I ain’t one of those, “I’m with the people,” bullshitters, but I legitimately get shit for not having friends in poker. I chill with kids who do tech support. I chill with musicians. I chill with cooks.

Why would I want to be associated with these leeches? I’m a professional; don’t ever give yourself my title, unless you want to offend me.

I’d rather give my money and time to someone who doesn’t do anything for me because they can’t do anything for me.

***

I don’t like getting into that negative mind space.

The life unwritten is the life left blank. Your mind can posit suggestion onto your memories. You’ll forget everything.

So I write.

I’m happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I’m bitter. I go off so fast now.

I got a mean block button. Act up and only you’re losing.

***

I’ve done 30+ hours of work in the last three days. I’m forgetting words in every sentence I write. But I’m effective. And I’m on.

I take the morning off. I drink a protein shake and an espresso. I eat a banana. I go to the gym. I run 2 miles, work biceps, triceps, legs, do sit-ups, and then stretch.

More is going on than ever before. I seem to be on point, but I feel like I’m crawling out of my own skin. The sweat makes me feel better. It’s my therapy, my medicine.

I’m making a rabbit hole. You all can go so far down.

I eat steak for lunch. See stupid shit on my Facebook as I finally get to work. Block. Deleted. Bye. Don’t have time.

I toy with the idea of deleting every person I don’t know personally off of my Facebook page, but 98% of the people are kind.

I do need to make a Facebook page.

In the office I send a new monitor, speakers, and mixer to a friend’s place in Texas. I set up the affiliate relationships and ads for Cardrunners EV and Flopzilla on my Twitch site. I iron out some issues with Pokerheadrush. I make some adjustements to the HUD I debuted yesterday, which was such a hit (despite my bumbling). I have no idea what I’m doing but Nick, the creator, is a genius, editing everything. I send 20 emails in my inbox about the HUD to him.

I fix some links associated with the sites, that Roofie pointed out to me.

I answer another 30 emails. I need my assistant back. I can’t handle this flood every time I play on Twitch.TV.

I post the ad for my wife’s concert tonight at Jazz Cafe San Pedro.

I fix my computer’s hard drive for future streaming.

I start working with Staples and Pocketfives TV for future projects.

I pay more outside contractors.

I fix affiliate links and put ACR up on the Twitch site.

I practice my bars a few more times, but with random bullshit variables I come up with. Obviously, in my living room, alone, it’s flawless. With however many people watching, who knows.

Going to Texas for electronics, family, Valentine’s Day, and battle rap.

I keep coming up with bars. I have to be like, “cut that out.” I have the battle pretty much locked. I have extra bars memorized in case I start wavering at some point. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to add a few more, but it seems like I could get myself overloaded.

I take a taxi down into San Pedro, where my wife is playing at the jazz cafe. I go eat $5.00 barbecue chicken at a small hole-in-the-wall, and negotiate a $25,000 trade on my phone while I’m eating.

I don’t put that in there because it makes me feel baller. I put that in there because, well, might be interesting to some of you all.

I go to the jazz cafe, hang out with my in-laws and some of Naty’s friends, and watch her band. It’s serene. Her and her friend Raquel are mesmerizing when they harmonize. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hot in the place.

During the opener I chill, and receive text message updates about someone horse’s I have a significant percentage in.

I wore my nice white boy clothes and boat shoes, so I’d look like a spoiled mama’s boy to Latinos. Better than looking like a gringo. No one jacks a kid who looks like his Mom only gave him $2.00 for lunch money.

I read and sip a double espresso with water. I feel sophisticated as I read.

My father-in-law orders nachos. I feel uneducated I help him scarf them down.

The performance goes well. We drive the drummer home. Go home ourselves.

February 12th 2015:

My last day before we fly to Dallas.

I tell myself I should relax, play some Call of Duty, and go over my bars.

Without me knowing how it’s 2:30.

I wake up, eat some eggs, drink coffee and juice, watch the news. I do my podcast. Our latest one just went up. The podcast goes really well.

After we’re done I just pass out for a minute. I’m tired.

I get up and do my bars, trying to throw more variables in. It sounds great. No idea if I can do it live.

I debate the best albums of Canibus with a friend online, and order lunch, assuming it will take 40 minutes to get here. It takes about eight. I eat it, because it’s warm, and feel in a food coma, while I watch bar-heavy Cortez vs. Danja Zone. 

I start processing videos, continuously. I need to get this Full Tilt Major uploaded.

I fix some advertisements for some new affiliates, because apparently some tech guy can’t get it right.

I do my bars again, adding in more bullshit. They go off fine.

I finally shower. Shave. Make the bed.

Play the San Francisco bridge level. Drink an espresso with a vitamin drink. Pack. Go through my bars again, and again. Debate whether stoners are typically tight players or not on Twitter. Play the shipyard burning level. Call my stepdad. Look up Valentine’s Day dinner ideas for Fort Worth and Dallas. Read the Wiki Travel for Fort Worth. Looking for things to do the day before my battle. Sundance Square seems like a must. Bass Performance Hall has a Romeo And Juliet thing going on…but it’s an orchestra playing and my wife and I both have the attention span of gnats. The Botanical Garden looks solid.

I try, just for the hell of it, to see if any of the nice places in Fort Worth have had any Valentine’s Day cancellations. Four places called. No dice.

Well, knowing my wife, an experience will be worth more to her than any fancy dinner, so I should focus on that, and than maybe something will open up.

She comes home. She tells me a homeless man was outside of a market. She went and got bread for him, and when she came out he wasn’t there. Another couple had rice for him.

So now I have bread for my coffee.

I clean up all the emails. I have all of the Sunday Major run uploading. I put an “away” message for emails.

I feel good as I drink black coffee and read. I read The Bible. I read some interview with Halestrom’s lead singer, and I don’t know why.

Metal and coffee man. That’s my shit.

I want to tear this up.

I finish Revolver. New Marilyn Manson looks dope.

I want to battle right now. I go through my bars for the umpteenth time, then do it again. I try to add something funny I realized while listening to my wife play last night. It works. Another bar I came up with about Drake cancelling a battle with Murda Mook sounds cheesy in practice, so I drop it.

I know I don’t have much to prove. I’ve done fine in poker. I’ve cleared a battle before. But I just want to give a solid performance for the Fort Worth folks, the Dallas kids. I want to make something entertaining for all the Twitch followers. This is not natural for me. I stutter and stumble over my words all the time when I’m speaking. I lose my train of thought more than anyone I know. I just want to feel streamlined, like I honed my mind to do something more difficult.

I eventually settle down, eat, watch Better Call Saul.

February 13th, 2015:

My wife has not started packing till late in the game. She has me waking up earlier than I care to. I thought I had everything already set up, ready to go, but it’s interesting how what you’re doing expands into the time you’ve allotted.

We get on a plane. I find out we won’t be seeing the family member that was part of the reason we were going.

The whole travelling process goes about as well as it could. Funny we’ve all been conditioned to think two hours in a customs line is good now.

My wife meets a friend. I’m glad they are talking while I listen to Adam Carolla and read books.

On the way into Dallas I meet an older man. We get to talking about practically everything. He’s wearing hearing aids and can’t hear me. I start talking louder. He tells me at the end of the trip he struggles with hearing clarity not with volume. He says the way I’ve been talking to him the whole day has sounded like a shotgun going off in his ears. Good practice for battle rap, I think, yelling into the ear of the elderly.

I used to bitch all the time about travelling, but I actually find myself enjoying myself today. I don’t get much time to just read and drink coffee, thinking.

I eat a Cuban sandwich in Ft. Lauderdale with empanadas and tuna salad, because I’m apparently trying to kill myself.

Chilling, eating that food, reading, thinking…I felt good.

When we got here we watched Friends and ate Hot Pockets a black-toothed woman sold us at the front.

February 14th 2015:

Valentine’s Day in Fort Worth, Texas.

We wake up later, jet lagged. We go to breakfast. I eat eggs, gravy, biscuits, and sausage with orange juice and coffee. I lay down in my hotel room and then pound another cup of coffee before going to the small gym they have here. I do a mile of running, work biceps, back, shoulders, and triceps. I try to work more muscle groups on the road because it leaves me feeling more relaxed on what would otherwise be a jet lagged aggravating day.

It occurs to me I have not traveled to a very different time zone in a long time. I wonder if I still have the stamina I once had, or if I’m like the first time I went to Korea; passing out on the side street and falling asleep in the hotel, only to wake up at 4:00 AM.

To think, all those years I was off my meds…I couldn’t sleep. All those 10Ks I played sick.

***

I’m in a La Quinta Inn, in Fort Worth Dallas. I’m drinking whatever it is Nestle tries to pass off as coffee these days. The keyboard seems to be dropping letters again, even though for weeks before this trip it wasn’t. Why the fuck it does that is beyond me, but it is aggravating. I would love to look up how to fix it but the internet is out here.

I battled yesterday. I was supposed to come up here to see some in-laws, but that actually fell through. So, in a way I came for this battle, although not having to pay import taxes on mixing boards, monitors, and speakers I had to pick up anyway (80% in Costa Rica) makes the trip pretty much a wash financially…which I take as a victory.

Fort Worth has been pretty badass.

I know I normally do things in chronological order in this blog, but let’s see if that is how my mind is working today.

February 14th, 2015:

We showed up here on the 13th late. I think I’ve covered this already. Next day, weight room, biscuits and gravy, and eventually we took a taxi to Sundance Square.

I really dug the older south vibe of the architecture in downtown Fort Worth. I took a bunch of pictures of it. I guess I’ll let that do the talking. Hard to describe the views without an intimate understanding for architecture.

For Valentine’s Day, we checked out Bird Café and looked at their decidedly southern menu, and passed. We went to the movie theater, which was packed, and where my wife mercifully didn’t make me see Jupiter Ascending. We ended up getting a Jamba Juice, and then this tea, and chilling out in the main square, watching the kids run through the fountains, relaxing. We then went to Cheesecake Factory for Valentine’s Day dinner, which was excellent. There was a two hour wait, but we got to hang out in Sundance Square while we waited, so I really couldn’t have cared less.

February 15th 2015:

On game day with The Saurus I felt like I couldn’t breathe the whole day.  I don’t why, but this time I wasn’t stressing. I knew I knew my battle backwards and forwards. I also was a total dick when I was nervous for the last battle, so I told myself there was no way I’d win if I didn’t calm myself down.

I knew my wife had to do some shopping, and honestly that was how I was going to save money on the trip, so we went Hulen Mall. It was really tranquil really. I just read while she looked around everywhere. I picked up some good basketball shorts, because those are the hardest to find in Costa Rica.

At home I watched Celebrity Jeopardy, because Jesus Christ, it’s celebrity Jeopardy!

I went to the gym, because I knew weight lifting would relax me before the battle. I did really hard sets on everything, then some cardio, going through my lines the whole time.

The homie John Wood came by later to pick Naty and I up. We went to the address, to find they misprinted it on the flier. The homie who owns the league hit me up to give me the heads up.

Walking into the venue was different. It was a small place behind a quick stop. It occurred to me walking in I’d never been to a rap battle, poetry slam, whatever…sober before. I started repeating my lines in my head and I really didn’t have them. I had five events to get my shit together, so I was cool, but it was weird.

I watched the opener and another battle. Some Christian cat really had a great flow. I really respect these guys who can kill a guy without gun bars or cursing. That takes a lot of talent.

Being around weed and liquor again kind of made me…I don’t know. Nauseated and withdrawing. I didn’t feel right, and I didn’t want to fuck up, so I went outside.

I practiced my bars and walked back and forth across the parking lot. Plan Nein showed up later, and started practicing in the parking lot too, lol. I called him over at one point and told him yo man, I’m rooting for you too today, I want this to be a great battle, that’s all.

An older woman walked by me, asking for change. I didn’t want her bugging me while I was practicing, so I pulled a dollar bill out. She whistled loud and thanked me. As she walked away I checked my stack. Where the fuck did that five go?

Canon, the Mexican homie, came by later, just to wish me luck. Dude was real cool.

Everybody I shook hands with the whole night I kept fucking up with. I’m so damn white, and in Costa Rica everything is so formal. I kept going for the actual handshake, and not realizing till the end. I was so in outer space.

When I saw the dude Canon and gave him a dap, he was all proud like, “man, you like a Mexican.” I laughed. Probably only time of the night I felt like, “ah yeah, that’s who I am.”

Really, growing up…never really fit in anywhere. Too poor for the white kids, too white for everyone else. Latinos are probably the closest to how I grew up, and now we have more Spanish to bullshit over.

It seemed like the time dragged on forever. I kept thinking we had one more battle to go, only to find out I was mistaken. John Wood and my wife came out at one point to make sure I hadn’t been mugged, lol. “No,” I wanted to say, “still just pacing, nervous as hell, pissing in the bushes.”

When they told us it was time to go on I was almost relieved. I just wanted to go off. I hate the waiting. The bars in my mind never sound as good as they do live. I just can’t think clearly to save my life.

Even on the introductions, with Nein having everyone cracking up, I knew I was in for a tough battle. Pretty much everybody in the room was talking about how Nein was going to take it. It’s hard to be the visiting team when the hometown supplies the judges.

At the same time, I hate non-judged battles. You can tell when the emcees don’t have anything to answer to. J-Pro vs. Anygma, that battle comes to mind, of an insane time when two emcees were fighting for the call.

Plan Nein won the coin toss and had me go first, unfortunately. I knew not being the finisher was not going to help me.

My round one was light. I didn’t perform it well. I had a few punches they weren’t feeling. I failed to deliver. I lost it clearly, especially when Nein came back with some sick opening multis.

Second round I knew was mine. I fucking came with it, and the crowd fucked with it. I knew my writing was sick there.

The third really is not debatable, and really that’s enough. You going after the hometown kid as the visitor, you can’t put it in the hands of the judges. I took chances, trying to take the win and make a replayable Youtube video for my followers. I didn’t check my rhymes enough. I didn’t make the rhymes for the area, and I didn’t really deserve the win, straight up. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I took it, but it’s not like Nein robbed me.

The chance he took was he focused pretty much on multis. Those are really complicated to memorize and harder to perform. If he had had a weak moment or two I don’t know if he’d have gotten the win.

I also thought I could rattle him. I know I’m goofy as shit, but I also have a pretty damn awesome life, and that leaves me pretty fearless in the moment. In other battles I’d seen him fuck up when people were laying the pressure on him. But Jesus, he came to play man. He didn’t give a shit. He just went after it.

I thought I hit every bar of mine well. Once again I rushed it, but I loved the way everything was poised. I had a lot of fun with it. I don’t know if I have any skill at this, but it was definitely something I wanted to try, and I got to do it here in a more traditional setting.

I’m not mad about losing. Nein seems like a cool kid. He didn’t give some booty ass performance and rob me, he brought it. He connected with the crowd more, and that’s a emcee’s job.

I really went in thinking, “I’m doing this for the people who support me, so they got something to laugh at and enjoy for twenty minutes on their lunch break.” Every time I’ve done that with poker or anything, I’ve gotten paid, and I’ve had opportunities open up. I tried to write to connect with the crowd and my followers, but honestly I had a tough time with this battle. I didn’t really know shit about Plan Nein, his culture, his city, anything. I added some braggadocio shit, but I tried to connect on him, but…I don’t know.

If I had any criticism for his performance it was that none of his bars were really about me.  That could have been a freestyle battle, much of it. Not that I minded not getting made fun of, but I thought I cut through him a bit more.

I got one judge in his hometown out of three to say I took it, that’s a victory to me. I’m learning about the different crowds.

That’s the thing. I can’t do this like every week. This time coincided with a trip to the states, but I only need to do that a couple times a year. So I don’t know how seriously I can pursue it, unless an opportunity presents itself.

Really what this was about to me was trying new things. I’m excited to go back to playing poker because I did this. When poker and Twitching gets old I like shutting it down and writing.

There’s so much more going on when you’re sober. It’s really fun. I feel like a Martian who is visiting this planet, but everybody’s really kind to me as a visitor. Everybody showed love at the event. Everybody was real respectful and cool. I would have understood if they went, “yo who the fuck is this guy?” But seriously, they treated all of us well.

I’m even appreciating afterward…going to Taco Bell, not able to sleep, watching Seinfeld, listening to Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller’s new podcast.

I was honestly a little pissed I lost the battle, and felt like I didn’t really do anything to deserve the win. But then it was like God wanted to speak knowledge to me. Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller got talking about the venue, how people always bitch about how if they were somewhere else they would make it, and how that’s not true. You have to write for where the money is.

It made me realize…I wrote for where the money is. I did my job. I did it for Youtube fun which will promote my other projects. I can write that violent shit, and maybe taken it more to this environment, but I tried to be real to myself and my base, AND take the judges decision. That was a tall order as the visiting team, and I understood why I came up short.

Carolla also talked about how in the bay area he went to do stand up. He rented an apartment an Oakland, moved out there, practiced for a week, and bombed a nine minute audition. He was probably around my age now.

So If I’d bombed, I’d be on pace with one of my heroes, and I did way better than bombing.

The time was interesting to me. Nine minutes…exactly how much time I got. I don’t believe in coincidences.

You know man, God is good. I can’t believe all I get to experience. It’s pretty good to be sober.

January 16th 2015:

I woke up at 8:30. I went to bed maybe near 4:00. Despite running off five hours of sleep I feel comfortable in the morning.

We eat breakfast and I write for a while. I talk to people on Twitter and Facebook about the battle. I try to respond to some emails that I could. I make plans with my friends for the night.

We go to Subway for lunch, and the second we go outside I feel like I’m riding my bike to Kenmore Jr. High again on a February 6:00 AM. I take my wife to get some gloves and a beanie.

Later on we go to meet up with Pwnasaurus. A taxi driver gruffly doesn’t answer my question about why he’s tacking on extra dollars to my bill. I give him a joke tip after returning the gruff bullshit. I hate this. I’d like to pay the guy a fair wage. I was tipping 20% to my taxi drivers the whole week, but that was to African immigrants who acted genuinely grateful for what is supposed to be a gratuity, as in unexpected. I really flip shit when people act like they deserve my money for doing absolutely nothing.

It’s the first time meeting Mario, but I feel like we’ve known each other for years. We came up in that same MTT environment. Even though we were from way different ends of the spectrum, and he definitely stomped all over my ass growing up, we had a lot in common in regards to the way up.

He’s an incredible host, polite, and just a kind guy. I have met a few people like this in Texas. Some Mexican immigrants and this cat…just the definition of Southern hospitality. Even in the battle, I was used to being more of the alien in that environment, but they all showed love.

Mario’s just an interesting dude too. You have to pry a bit, because he’s not the type to brag about himself, but the man has gone out there and done a lot. He’s road tripped through Mexico, chilled with some of the biggest names in the game, and still can run a tight ship with his new bachelor pad. I was definitely impressed.

We all went to a Tex Mex joint later to meet my friend John, who is my mental coach-in-chief. Mario is also getting into the coaching side of things, so we got to talking shop for a long time. I’ve been wanting to incorporate new people for a while, so there was a lot to build on, despite the fact I was nodding in and out (four hours of sleep).

It also turned into an impromptu interview for John, when I told him I was looking for a new assistant. Guy sounded like he’d been practicing for the interview for years. I didn’t think I’d find a new guy within a few months, but I like the discipline of the ex-marine, and he’s one of the few guys from the poker scene who actually has a work ethic for projects outside of card playing. 

We went to pick up our things from the La Quinta because Mario invited us to stay over at his place. It was also not really a choice. We couldn’t get a monitor and some other electronics I sent to his house out of the post office that particular day, so we had to go in the morning.

February 17th 2015:

What is there to write about the days you travel?

We woke up, had some specialized green tea, went to the post office, spent about an hour fishing for the tracking number on Mario’s phone, picked up the monitor, broke open the box, put it into a bag, and then went to breakfast. Wanting to go full on Texas my last day I got chicken fried steak and eggs with grits and steel cut oats. Downing it with three cups of coffee was great.

We went to the airport, and then spent the next twelve hours travelling, because of some delays.

Some kid was taking up three electrical outlets and loudly on the phone describing, for twenty minutes, how someone was putting their leg into their chair. Like, just pressing against their seat. The guy was in a loud graphic tee, with a baseball bat, holding a backpack.

A part of me thought, “who the fuck is this monster?”

Who tells someone for twenty minutes about what is a very typical occurrence?

He…spoke…so…slowly…but…clearly…infatuated…with…his…description…of…events.

Who is he torturing? Why does he get a cell phone like the rest of us.

AH! HE’S GOING TO COSTA RICA TO FIND HIMSELF! OF COURSE.

Two drunk Americans were ahead of me on the flight, and wouldn’t shut the fuck up about how much they knew as English teachers. He talked fluently in unerring English with a Costa Rican about how he studied Spanish for two years, so he’s good to go in a new country. Then a second later asks, “what does playa mean by the way? I always see it by the water.”

“It means beach.”

I did my best to just read as much as I could. I read through the entire Kindle battery, which I’ve never done on airplane mode. I’m almost done with the horrifying The Dark Road. It was only made better by being in a dark airplane alone. Funny, I finished Ma Jian’s The Noodle Maker in a similar setting eight years ago.

I walked in at 4:00 AM and saw Chani’s puppies for the first time. So adorable.

Strung out and tired again I passed out.

February 18th, 2015:

I wake up at 11:00 AM. I feel like a truck hit me. I told people I wouldn’t be back to work today, but my wife has appointments, so I want to get it in.

I never knew that the most amazing thing in the world would be a metal Mummer’s Dance cover, but by golly it is!

I don’t even want to cook breakfast. I order it from a nearby restaurant.

Back from Texas, running imports, conducting interviews, and battle rapping. Really feel this @TheSaurus831 track:

I go to set up my monitor, and realize I left the stand in Mario’s car. Smooth. After trying to jimmy rig another stand to it I literally throw some books in a bucket, use that as a support, then line the bottom with pillows and set it up.

Check it out! My own specialized HUD is available in the NoteCaddy store now!

http://www.assaultware.com/CoachingPack.aspx?id=66

I call my mother, and tell her I lost the battle. I heard a cell phone recording of my battle just a minute before. I was rushing a bit. I didn’t flow that well round one, and I can understand why the judges thought I didn’t catch up. I respect the decision. I just hope the views show people were really digging Nein and I.

I get to my 50+ emails waiting for me after taking that much time to go to Texas. Cardrunners vids coming up, new employees getting interviewed, setting up new affiliates, about ten lessons being scheduled, new products launching, my new custom HUD needs retooling, tons of new ads going up with Twitch, prep for the new Millions tournament on ACR, and on and on and on it goes.

I don’t know what to say. It’s just a grind. Going, going, gone. Putting in work. Trying to make this money. Drinking more coffee than is probably good for me.

I work to my customary 6:00 PM. I put out a new strategy email, which also alerts people to our new Twitch site and other projects. I post a new strategy article on Pokerheadrush.

We take Naty’s mother home and get groceries. Watch Bates Motel. Get killed by wrought delivery.

February 19th 2015:

3 AM, wake up, eat strawberries. Wake up official, 7 AM. Take garbage out. Vacuum. Eggs. Washington Post. Bible. The Dark Road. Do my morning podcast while Naty and a band mate work with a new interface. I get ranting with Barry 20 minutes before the podcast. We ran for an hour on after the mics are live.

Eat lasagna for lunch. Train my new assistant on his duties. Send out the rough draft of my novel for editing/content review. Do some technical fixing with Note Caddy and the guy I made the Assassinato HUD with. He gives me a lesson on how to use the program more effectively. I join the Gripsed Twitch team, answer emails.

I feel like I ran into a wall at a certain point. Too much work. Sleep schedule still messed up.

I drink a vitamin shake. It regenerates me for a moment. I write 1,000 words for a new article. It’s about all I can do as a rough draft.

I’m told my tests for the new downloadable Twitch videos were well timed, as it seems Mega download has changed their download policy for free accounts.

Sweet, so my students can’t download their videos. This only means I’m out $300 or whatever if it doesn’t work.

Yeah, that was why I bought the Pro Account. How the hell could anyone hit their upload limit if it’s limited to 1 GB per 6 hours?

I talk to my friend and try to make plans to get a coffee. It’s a metal musician friend. I want to make some metal again.

I check in on my Maltese who just had puppies. We were told she could have only two puppies and one would likely die. Crossing her with the poodle got four adorable babies, who all seem very lively.

I get a massage from my wife. I can’t remember the last time I entered her practice as a patient.

My wife was planning to see a friend of hers sing at a local cafe, but the girl cancels last minute. My wife decides to paint, while I read.

I finish The Dark Road. I really enjoyed Ma Jian’s The Noodle Maker. Though I read it as a teen and really didn’t feel I could appreciate the depth of the material, the text had a profound effect on me. I’d never read something that dark, set so vividly in a world that Ma Jian purports to exist. The blending between stories you know he must have grown up hearing and his fictional sections is hard to distinguish. His tomes leave you feeling uncomfortable, jarred, and oh so entertained.

The Dark Road follows a family running through China, avoiding the tormenting police fueled by the one-child policy. Their trek takes them from their simple hometown to polluted waterways through metropolises and finally to an ironically named hell-on-earth.

Ma Jian does a fantastic job of showing westerners how Confucianism and barbaric Communism butt heads. It is horrifying how China’s backwaters have been wrought by the “gains” of capitalism. For the nihilist, The Dark Road is a feast. For anyone human, you will be left frequently shaking your head in disgust.

Occasionally, Mr. Jian tries to shoehorn too much information into a passage. His prose is so stunningly brutal and to the point; you want to beg him to not soil it with unnecessary dialogue and protestations. However, the cultural lessons are needed to set an appalling stage, so it is easy to forgive Ma Jian for his brief tirades.

There are also times where the line between complete dystopian fiction and historical fiction is hard to distinguish. While, as a fan of fiction, I couldn’t care less about where he exaggerates, those who are enjoying learning as they read will be left wondering what is exactly true.

The ending will also infuriate many. It is not for the faint of heart. Ma Jian dances with the girl who brought him here, and doesn’t look to satisfy the book clubs.

The Dark Road is an exotic punch to the stomach, and is thus not recommended for those who aren’t masochists. Ma Jian writes for what makes him irate and for the cynic inside us all, and takes no prisoners along the way. His scorn knows no bounds. He sides with no one, and that’s what makes the book so enjoyable. In a world where faux offense is taken whenever someone is simply losing an argument, The Dark Road is glorious in its real and justifiable fury.

February 20th 2015:

Fridays are supposed to be my day off, but that really means I do the stuff I can’t do in the house.

Wake up, still fighting off all that plane fatigue. Eat a couple eggs. Drink an espresso. Put on my exercise clothes.

I bring my X-rays of my teeth to my dentist before we go to the gym. He tells me he can’t do an implant after removing this one tooth I broke off when I was a commercial fisherman, and had officially die about a week before the Plan Nein battle (thing was brown and black and stunk to high heaven…thank God it was in the back of my mouth.)

He says he needs to do an X-ray. I almost yell, “if you can do one why did I have to go to Coronado to get this one?” Then I find out his machine is pretty small.

He finds the nerve is fine in my tooth, so he can shave it down and wedge an implant in there. He needs to remove the tooth though now so that the gum is soft and pliable in 22 days for the procedure.

Fine, I say, wearing my Alice in Chains shirt which I’ve been sweating in for two days.

The guy is so good. He puts Novocaine in me. I’m terrified, because for some retarded reason I made myself watch that video of 21 Coptic Christians being beheaded. I told myself it was important I understood the problem, lest I become that cunt who went up on MSNBC and told Americans we had to send these fucking pigs jobs at a Jiffy Lube to get them to give up jihad.

I will never get certain images out of my head, and now having someone get their head sawed off is one of them. So when my dentist had my head all to himself I was sweating.

Then I went, “when is this guy going to start?” and he’s holding my tooth.

Fucked up on anesthesia I decide it’s not a great idea to go lifting weights that could crush my skull. My wife suggests we run around UCR. My mouth packed with gauze, I mumble a “yes,” sounding like a deaf kid speaking.

We do two laps, although I’m straggling. We go home and pick up my at-home assistant Felix, and take him to a diner in Coronado that has slabs of steaks and yucas. We order two meals for three people, and still almost all go into a food coma.

After we drop him off in Paracito we go to Price Smart to pick up Ensure, mouthwash, Cafe Britt coffee, paper towels, and toilet paper. I somehow spend $100.00 on all this stuff wholesale, then go drop another $400 on a new set of tires and installation. I feel like a spew monkey.

I get home, and write for a bit. I read, then for some reason decide I should have a record of every book I’ve ever read a part of. Until now, I’ve only been adding books I’ve completely read to my Goodreads, but I’m an obsessive compulsive collector, and I like to see a cross scan of where all my reading time is going. I end up flipping through my Kindle and adding all the books I read a half or quarter of.

I watch Bates Motel with my wife. God, that show is getting good, despite it’s obvious forays into commercial cliches. My wife turns on Switched At Birth and like a kid I keep going through my Kindle, finding books I want to read that I downloaded years ago. I’m freed now that I don’t have to finish everything.

I have no idea what I am, but I’m not normal. I’m obsessive compulsive, that’s for sure. I felt like my dogs would die if I took credit for reading a book I didn’t finish. One day, that’s not the case.

It makes me feel bad when I give my friends such a hard time with their idiosyncratic tendencies.

February 21st 2015:

I wake up around 7:00 to a puppy wailing. I get out of bed, and assuming the baby is hungry I put it to the mother’s teat. It seems to work while I’m there, but when I walk away he starts crying again. I put the mother, the Maltese, to clean the dog, thinking it might be uncomfortable because it’s cold or dirty. That doesn’t work.

I move the dog to the window, where the sun is, assuming he’s cold. He quiets for a few minutes, then starts again. I have the mother lay on her back and make the crying pup suck on the teat for five minutes. Doesn’t seem to do anything. Finally, I give up and go make some eggs for breakfast. For some reason during this time the dog stops.

I send in my Bluff article after some editing and begin negotiations with a potential new coach. I want to have a couple more to deal with the demand at Assassinato Coaching/Consulting/Pokerheadrush/whatever.

I send my assistant more responsibilities while letting in my wife’s patients. I want to see if he can handle them. That and I just don’t care for monotonous work anymore. The less time I spend dreaming up new ways to teach you guys is less content y’all receive.

The puppy starts wailing after an hour or so of peace, and my Maltese decides to bark with it.

I clean up the entryway for my wife’s patients, enjoy walking outside.

I post a new article by Jack Welch on the mind game. See, I didn’t have time to edit and bring a piece like that to market, when I was swamped in the minutiae. His piece actually says a lot about that.

You can thank my regular assistants for the daily free content we have coming out. I finally have the time to work on all this. 

I start training my assistant on how to process video orders, I notify ACR our new podcasts are out, we look for a solution to the Mega.Co.NZ problem, and I start trying to get an article of mine translated into Czech on my site.

The dogs stop whining. Why? I DON’T KNOW!!!

I read, because I really did not want to work too much today. I start reading Infidel. I read through half The Washington Post.

I go with Naty to meet a friend of mine with his wife. I eat a breakfast again at Spoon, then eat torta chillena (spelling?) with an espresso. On a sugar and caffeine high I tell him I have to make music again. I don’t know why, it’s just gnawing at me. I’ve heard some of his arrangements. I know he could make bad ass music, and I could promote it on Twitch.

At home I ride the coffee high and put on two of my favorite math metal albums, Jane Doe and Miss Machine.

When my wife leaves, and I’m chilled out by a vitamin blend, I finish the campaign mode in the new Call Of Duty. Yeah, the story has it’s stupid parts, but it’s about interesting game modes in exotic locales, and my God did they deliver again. I’m loving these new Hollywood-ish games. The goal is not to provoke or challenge, it’s to just entertain. The mind-bending graphics and ease of game play do enough.

I watch Caustic Vs. Head Ice, and am thoroughly bored, although I learn a great deal about delivery, which I am sorely lacking.

It’s not like there’s a farm league I can go to here. Hell, nobody Latino would probably understand me rapping unless I autotuned myself.

“What a charmed life you lead,” a friend said to me today. It wasn’t sarcastic.

I was told by a new backing house my rates were too high.

I’m taking on three new coaches probably by the end of the month to fill this need.

Guiding Poker Head Rush? Web design? Educating my new assistant? It’s all new.

I could lower prices and work all day again. I made pretty good money doing that. But I also felt dead and irritable all the time.

That’s why I make a list. Honestly, I’d rather have a list of books I’ve read than money I’ve made repeating myself. Embracing my need to relax a little makes me much smarter about when I do work. I get paid the money I want to work with people who are really grateful to talk to me. When I sold below my market value it was definitely much harder on me, even if I made out pretty well.

I told my friend today over coffee, “pretty much since I went broke in 2010 I haven’t taken time off.”

Like, just for fun, I went from living in a garage to penthouses from 2006 to 2007. Then in 2010 I just decided I want to come up again.

Most people don’t have it in them the first time. I was brain dead for my second one. I’d already grinded sixteen hour days for years, and I had nothing to show for it. What was I hoping for this time?

I’ve taken days off sure, but like a week? Oh hell no. I’ve walked around cities. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve done a lot. I’ve enjoyed my time on this Earth.

Now I’m on this vacations in my head every day, when I write, when I read, when I listen to music, when I play video games. The ease at which I disconnect, but never truly do, is disconcerting.

I feel in my mind more than ever, but my command of the English language has grown. But it’s not social to be a paid speaker. It’s just me listening to me talk.

Sometimes the coffee is right and I just can’t get enough of the books I’m reading, of the metal album I have on my headphones, or whatever, and I think: I should do this every day. One day, maybe I’ll be rich enough, my savings will earn enough interest to pay all my bills.

But what would I do without the hustle? I’ve done nothing but push back off of what I was supposed to be.

I put groceries in my mother’s home. I put my wife in a house. I’m hoping I can put my mother in one too. I’m 27.

I’m hiring a guy to put together pretty much everything I’ve ever written. There’s a novel there, a journal spanning I think 2000+ pages, and 600 pages of poker articles.

In the blog/journal there’s tales of 20 different homes spanning four continents. Being practically married to a high school teacher in South Korea…when I was just out of high school. Living with an entourage in a mansion with a private beach. Riding elephants in Thailand. Drinking absinthe in the Czech Republic. Battle rapping in Texas. Final tabling EPTs in Italy. I just wish I could have written when I was commercial fishing in Bristol Bay

I don’t know when the hell all this happened. It’s weird I’ve been to 30+ countries, considering I’ve been a homebody the last five years.

I’m just so glad I don’t care about poker anymore. I mean, it’s just a game. I love to play it. I love it’s nuances. I love to teach about it. But it’s just a game. There’s so much more out there man.

I wonder who the hell gets to do all this. I don’t know how it was me.

February 22nd 2015:

I wake up late. I don’t feel great. I’m not sure why. I slept odd. My wife came home late from having dinner with friends. I didn’t want to go to bed before she got home. Mostly because I want to make sure she’s safe, but also I’m just in the habit now of going to sleep when she gets to bed.

I feel fine. I eat a solid breakfast. I clean up my desk area with disinfectant. I feel fine.

Pretty much everything that could go wrong technically happens during the session. The computer crashes. HEM2 stalls. My internet gets slow. I time out everywhere. My stream crashes. None of this ever happens, but when it rains it pours.

I also just don’t feel 100%, but if I only played when I felt 100%, I’d probably never play.

I don’t seem to make any play where I go, “that was stupid.” I know I didn’t because I Twitch streamed the whole day , and I would have been very very aware if I did something awful.

Sure, I played bad in a couple spots, I was a little off…and sometimes that can make the difference, but I was accumulating. I felt like I had chips in damn near everything. Just nothing panned out.

I got into the final 50 of another Full Tilt major, but alas, poker was poker.

I could talk about bad beats but who cares? I got to play poker for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And now my Twitch has a video of me losing 5K+ which everyone can enjoy.

 I end late, and not really feeling able to relax I book my flights and hotel for the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open or whatever they’re calling the $5,000,000 GTD in Hollywood, Florida. As per usual, I am staying somewhere other than the venue hotel. As much as I love the Hard Rock, if I can save $600 sleeping elsewhere I typically will. 

Dead tired I watch that new Law and Order that’s out, the one based on Gamer Gate or whatever they called it. Wow, they actually shot some scenes like it was an FPS, and the characters yell, “game over” and “he leveled up.”

 

 

 

 

Stuff That Was Merely Done In 2015 (and yes I know some of these were technically in 2014. I also know I don’t care):

Accomplishments For 2015:

  • Won my second PCA package (December 28th, 2014)
  • Visited Panama City, Panama for the first time
  • Learned how to use a handgun
  • Launched my Twitch.TV Channel
  • Final tabled the Sunday Major on Full Tilt (February 8th 2015, 2nd)
  • Got the largest score in Twitch.TV history on my first Sunday streaming :P
  • Visited Fort Worth for the first time.
  • Battled Plan Nein in Fort Worth, Texas

Watch me play live with hole cards and commentary on my Twitch channel! Be sure to hit the favorite/follow button so you can get email notifications about when I am streaming. 

Check out this link to read about Assassinato and Apestyles’s new joint webinar, “Why Apestyles Is Right!” Learn all about how Jonathan Van Fleet makes more money than anyone with trash hands out of position, and see how he bluffs regulars at all stakes! Video of webinar now available for IMMEDIATE download!

I have a deal for my fans where they can get 80%+ off the price to join Cardrunners. With bonus code FREEMONTH, you’ll get two months of access to CardRunners for just $30, a $130.00 discount! That is more than 80% off of what you’d usually pay to see over 2,000 training videos from the best minds in poker today! Use that sign-up code when you, uh, sign up, or if you have an expired account at Cardrunners write them with FREEMONTH in the title at support@cardrunners.com. They’ll set you up. 

Join the poker room I endorse too, America’s Cardroom. It’s backed by a great, solid company. I know all the people personally. For years they’ve been doing fast deposits and cash outs. They have huge tournaments, million dollar prize pools even, easy satellites to live events in exotic locales, and the softest cash games. I love the software too – it’s not where it needs to be yet, but my friends play 40+ tables on it without a hitch, so you can say they’ve done a pretty good job. They’re also one of the few sites left that’s decent enough to still give their players rakeback. Sign up through this link to get 27% rakeback. That’s as much as you’ll get anywhere.

In addition, don’t miss the recordings of my private webinars You Flat Too Much and Why Pessagno Is Right.

The hardcore should also be sure to check out my live sweat series, where I recorded every hand of my recent WCOOP with live commentary. See every hand of my $215 Second Chance Win!

To receive every new article of Alex’s as they come out, please write in to assassinatocoaching@gmail.com and ask to subscribe to our mailing list. For private lessons, consult this link. Listen to Alex’s free podcast at Oneouter.com, and follow me on Twitter @TheAssassinato and Facebook.