Friday, January 27, 2006


Maybe the best thing about the Copenhagen trip was beconing a prolific blogger... well the best thing for me anyway. I have had such a difficult time with consistency regarding writing and any writing, even blogging, is improvement.

I actually missed it wen I was in Germany. It was really frustrating not being to access my blogger account. I could kind of get in, but all the instructions were in German and the letters on my brother-in-law's keyboard are actually different from American keyboards. Overall, it was a nice trip, but short and I never really got used to the time change while I was away.

One treat was every time we sat down to eat. My sister's husband is something of a Renaissance man. He paints, he builds stuff, like fixtures, clocks, tables, shelves and a greenhouse, attached to the kitchen... but the talent I most benefit from is his chef-hood.

He is amazing in the kitchen. He's one of these guys that grows his own herbs, so he can them fresh at any moment he needs them. We had a really neat German breakfast with meat, cheese and bread and about five kinds of jam- all homemade. We washed it down with apple juice from apples that they picked and pressed.

He also made an apple wine that was quite popular with their circle of friends, all very likable and friendly folks, though given my history, I had to pass on the old apple wine. I wasn't sure about the quality and availability of detoxes, so I took a pass.

I learned about a few more differences between us yanks and the Europeans. It was about 25 degrees and we were taking the car into town to do some shopping. I knew we were taking the car in because I asked, "are we taking the car, or walking?" and received an answer of, "we're taking the car" which I thought cleared things up for me.

What Europeans actually mean when they say "we're taking the car" is that we will be taking a car for about a ten minute drive, then walking for about forty-five minutes. I was only weating a fleece and a sweatshirt, as I figured we would be either in the car or in a store for the bulk of the time and was met with derision and mockery of Americans "considering w-a-l-k a four letter word" which it is by the way- there are clearly four letters in walk, though I do not consider it profanity.

I can sense my sister eyebrows raising as she reads this, but there was indeed derision and mockery, Barb, oh yes yes there was!

The next day I was better prepared. We went into a really neat little town with a castle and many cool shops lined along streets with very old houses on it. It was very cool and had a historical vibe to it.

I dressed warmly, again as I told my dearest sister, I and Bostonians in general and not afraid of a good walk, we just consider walking primarily functional when it is 20-25 degrees outside, and most of my recreational walking comes spring-fall.

The town, however was lovely and we stopped in a little hotel in a very old building for lunch. I ordered the soup, which was yummy, though I did collect a few strange looks from the waitstaff when I dipped my toes in the soup to warm up. It may have been a little off base, but frpstbite is no joke, and I need those toes to walk the beach next week.

More on Barb which will irritate her:

My sister has a beautiful golden retriever named Ruffy, who is quite a character. The most amusing thing is my sister's interpretation of Ruffy's thoughts and actions, which apparently mainly cinsist of sarcasm and insults directed at my sister.

Each sigh means, "I'll do it, but I won't like, you old bat" and each grumble means "up yours".

I got a quite different feel to the chit chat emanating from the dog, but what do I know?

The most amusing thing to me was Barb's insistence that every time Ruffy got worked up, it was because he was near water, ragardless of the cirumstances.

At one point, Ruffy chased a cat that was actually on fire and fighting with a rabid squirrel over a nut, and Barb insisted he was drawn to the valley because there must have been a glacier that once moved through it, and he somehow had sensed it.

Again, it is her dog, so what do I know?

I know this- I am going to get a "nougie" for those last comments.

Thanks for the visit Barb- it was great to see you and Dieterich.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Things in Copenhagen that I am not resentful about

I am not at all resentful about the broadcasters repeatedly calling me Kortay and Korta.

When I told the main guy it was "cort", he apologized, saying he had a hard time with Skandinavian names. I told him I was an Amercian, and he said, "I can;t do anything right." But he was a nice guy. they kept alternating the announcers, and each and everyone of them butchered my name. I hope I get a copy of this broadcast, it will be, by far, funnier than my act.

I'm not resentful at Joe Hachem for insisting I sound like I am from New Jersey. I simply explained to him that I was from BOSTON and we don;t sound ANYTHING LIKE the pople from New York or Jersey, then I threw a Pepsi at him.

Okay, I made up that last part for dramatic effect.

I am also not resentful at the cute Japanese maid. We had a little communication problem, even though her English was quite good. In the end, she apologized profusely, saying, "your english is very good, really it is."

She must have thought I was Austrian or something and english was my second language.. badumpump- okay, that one hurt a little, but I forgave her almost immediately after she left the fresh towels.

I am not resentful at the entire casino and poker tourney staff, none of whom apparently know the schedules for the side tournements. Okay, there may be a tinge of resentment there. Tomorrow's side tournement sold out, which is probably for the better.

Day After tourney hangover

So the moment was fine, even though it was loaded with pressure and TV cameras all over the place, but it was okay, really.

Today, however, is somehow worse. After defeat often comes remorse, a cloud that darkens vision and makes you question yourself in new ways. Hindsight is 20/20.

Today I am practicing revisionist history. Why didn't I play more hands? Why didn't I mix it up more, throw in a few more bluffs, play rags here and there, try to steal more pots.

Last week, I considered myself a good players, capable of finishing in the money with smart decisions and a bit of luck. Today I question whether or not I can play the game at all. The prosecutor in my head is building a case against me that is beginning to sound pretty convincing. True, I was totally outclassed. It was unnerving, to say the least, that Joe Hachem appeared to know what I was holding half the time, as well as what everyone was holding most of the time.

I guess that's the difference between the best players in the world and a guy good enough to win internet satellite tournements. It was almost eerie as I read a little more of Dan Harrington's book. He describes the different kinds of players... not playing styles, but people in these tournements, and he basically described every player I saw all day, it was amazing. He described betting techniques f this guy of player and his mindset. It was as though Harrington was more of a psychologist than a poker player.

In retrospect, I would have to consider adapting a few new pitches to my game. Adding a curve and throwing a slider or a change up now and then. The one time I did this, I did score with a huge break and won a big pot, but hey... you can't play rags every hand. It is not surprisingly MUCH easier to do this on the internet than it is sitting across from world class players with TV cameras in your face.

Back to the drawing board.

Maybe I should focus on being a better comedian.

It's okay, the clouds will pass, but today, it is just a bit gloomy.

Singin' the Poker tourney bust out blues

Well I had a stack of chips
da da

and I made a lotta quips
da da

but in the end I BUUUSTED out with a frown upon my lips

I got the...

poker bust out... poker bust out blues

I said I got myself a case of the
poker bust out bluuhuuuues

Well I sat across from Joe
da da
a guy everybody know
da da

I called his bluff with a pair of queens but I still had to go

I got the bust out the poker bustout blues

I sad I got myself a case of the
poker bust out blues yeahehhhhh

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mr. Gunn, put it to your HEAD


Okay, so there is not really any weaponry pointed at my temple. I exited during the 6th round, some eight hours into the tournement, but it was not without its highlights. I wish there were a few less highlights, truthfully.

I started the tournement by thinking my "player number- 075" meant that I was at table 7, seat 5, when in fact player numbers had nothing to do with seating. As I arrived at the poker room at the last minute, I rested comfortably in seat 5 on table 7, naturally while I watched a curious looking man, an official type roaming the room with a big sign and the number 88 on it. The dealer informed me that I needed to go to some person with a sheet containing table assignments.

I did and found out, of course, that I indeed was the much sought after player 88 for the purposes of seating. This meant I was sitting at the featured table- the one they will use for the final table Sunday night. The featured table is set apart from the others, in a square filled with spotlights. You play with four cameras circling you at all times, focusing in on your face, hands, it feels like they know when you're breathing.

They wired a mic through my shirt and attached the whatever it is to my belt.

I looked across the table and there sat Joe Hachem, current WORLD champion and widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, in the world. Right now, he is world champ, so someone has to take that away from him.

The other players mostly knew each other, except one local kid and a kid from Marlboro, Massachusetts. I actually know his brother-in-law as it turns out.

The rest of the table contained assorted pros and circuit players.

I have to say, Hachem is all he's cracked up to be and more. The guy knew every hand. He got smacked with a tough beat early, losing after calling an all in with pocket aces to a kid with AK that he sucked beautifully into raising him all in. The kid bagged a King on the river- a 21:1 shot...ouch and double ouch. He was a little upset, but he rallied, building his stack back up only to take another brutal beating as a different guy hit a gut shot for a straight on the river to beat him.

But he came back yet again, only to lose to another tough beat. Last I saw he was down to a few grand and hadn't talked to anyone in about an hour.

The amazing thing was watching him call hands.

"AQ huh?"

"Just the jack?"

"You're not in trouble, you have queens."

The last comment was one of my hands of the night. I was down to about $5,300, Hachem had to be around 18 or 20 thousand again. He raises in front me as I sit with pocket queens. He bet 700. I just want him to go away, so I make it 2,500 and he quick calls me which shocks me. To call a raise that big to go heads up with what he has to know is a pretty big pair, or AK minimum.

This can only he mean he figures to outplay me after the flop. I didn't know that until later, but now it is obvious. he had bullied me out once before, but I knew I was beat. Another time I called him all the way to the river, as he hit an unneccesary queen on the river for trips.

I sat in amazement as he flipped his cards and raised pre-flop with Q4 off suit.Granted, he was one from the button, but still, those are rags.

Okay, back to my pocket queens. Hachem calls and the flop is King, rag, rag, but I'm not happy because there's a king on board and he called so quickly. He checks, I smell a rat and check. Was he playing KQ I wonder?

I have about 2800 left in front of me at this point and another king falls on the turn (4th card). This is actually good news for me because it lowers the likelihood that he had a king in his hand.

Hachem bets 2500 into me. What the hell does he have? I somehow assume he does not have a king, but it is nerveracking now. Would he really bet into me at this point if he didn;t have it? I am short stacked and almost HAVE to call.

I took my time, I breathed deep and thought about The Simpsons. I had been practicing breathing and looking at a light off in the distance to maintain my face for the last hour.

I mumble, I think I'm dead, but I gotta call.

"You're not dead, you have queens," he says.

He had called a bet twelve times the big blind with A4 off suit, he was gambling that he could buy the pot after the flop. He needed an ace on the river to knock me out of the tournement, an ace, fortunately for me, which did not come.

I won a couple of other clutch hands, but my favorite was just after Hachem got smoked by a flopped straight. Pro Morten Jensen had called with 68 suited after a raise and a call, unbelievable. Anyway, he now was table chip leader with over 30,000. I had about 5900 at this point. He raises in front of me. I am on the bhutton and holding JJ, a scary hand, because it about 50/50 that at least one overcard will fall on the flop, the you have to guess whether or not the guy betting into you with a mountain of chips has that card, whether he already held a higher pair, or whwther he is outright bluffing. You'd better guess right, because the tournement is on the line.

The flop comes AJ5. I flopped a set. Jensen had shown he was willing to play rags, so I am praying he has an ace so I can bleed some much needed cash out of him. He bets out 600, a sucker bet. He raised to 700 before the flop, now he leads with a weak continuation bet of 600. This guy has been unafraid to overbet and call with crap the whole night, "why so squeamish now," I wondered. I just call, I think he might be slow-playing me himself (which is what I'm doing), but I still don't want to risk losing him, I have been getting crappy cards and I need to suck every penny out of this guy that I can.

The turn comes and it is a rag, nothing scary there. He checks, feigning weakness. This guy has either bet or folded all night, this is definitely fishy. I check. I can't imagine losing this pot right now. Unless he has pocket aces, which I can't believe he has, he can't beat me. Even if he hits an ace, it will give him trips, but it will give me a ful house.

On the river comes a 5- full house. he bets out 1200 into me. At this point the only hand he can hold that can beat me is pocket aces, and I am as certain as I can be that he doesn't have them.

My real goal now is to bet as much as I can and have it be worht it for him to call me. I need every chip I can get. I reflected on an earlier mistake, where I bluffed after the flop from the smal blind, got a call and hit a gut shot straight out of blind luck. I milked the guy n 4th street, but I was too greedy and threw all in on the river for about 3800, slightly more than the pot. I wanted it to look like I was trying to buy it, but it would have hurt him too much to call and lose, so he folded. I probably could have bet somewhere between 1000 and 1500 and gotten a few chips out of him. I recall Dan Harrington talking about the importance of value bets. Bets you make hoping the person will call because you are very sure you have them beat. I thought forever about it for effect and raised it to 3000. Jensen made the call. He had Aces and jacks and had been slow-playing me the whole way. The best part was the look of shock on his face when I flipped the full house over. After that hand, the guy next to me starting chatting me up, asking me where I was from. I'll tell you, it was a good feeling.

I hit my peak of about 13 grand at that point and could just never get untracked again. I hit a couple of hands here and there, but I never saw aces and couldn't capitalize when I did get hands, everyone dropped.

My tournement ended when I was firced to go all in with J 10, a fairly weak hand, but I was positioned perfectly. The guy in the small blind was convinced I was only playing big hands and had dropped almost every time I had raised. The Big Blind was short stacked himself and I knew he would fold unless he had a solid hand.

Well, he didn't fold, instead, he flipped over the bad news- pocket aces. I flopped 89 to give me eight outs and an open-ended straight possibility, but couldn;t catch the card I needed on the turn or the river.

Over all, it was a pretty good experience. I was impressed at my patience. I folded almost every hand for nearly two full hours, not winning a hand until the cusp of the second break. Had I been playing undisciplined poker, I would have been in serious trouble, but I still had about 8300 in chips.

Looking back, I can see a few mistakes I made, mostly at the tail end when I'm not sure I could have made things turn out any different. The stacks around me got too big and my cards continued to be mediocre. I can point to one hand that I should have either folded or just throw all in before the flop, but by and large, I played very well under the spotlight.

Hey, I faced down a bluff from the reigning world champion and called when my tournement was on the line. I manipulated another, a guy that made a final table at the World series of Poker.

Geez, I wish I finished better, but given the cards I was staring at most of the day, I proved I can play. I mean, I don't know what every single other player at the table is holding like Hachem does, but I can play.

All in all, I played okay, but I will only be better next time, if there is a next time.

It's been a while since I've checked in to see what God has in mind for me.

Mr. Pibb, Put it in your HEAD

As I prepare for the tourney, the foremost thing in my mind is Mr. Pibb. That't right, the delicious Coca Cola product which may or may not at some point in time belonged to Pepsi-cola. I strolled across the street fr the privilege of overpaying for a packaged skinke & ost, sorry, ham & cheese sandwich, made with equal parts pickels and mayo... and whilst there I picked up a carton of cigarettes for a friend from home.

I was horrified when I did the math and figured out they cost about $60, give or take a buck. Smokers here get fleeced even worse than in Massachusetts, which is saying something. Not that I'm promoting smoking or anything, but c'mon, emphezema shouldn't be that costly, where is one supposed to come up with the scratch for an iron lung in ten or seventy years?

What hit me as I paid for the rods was that the price didn't matter, my friend was going to pumped to get her hot little hands on something she adored and had zero access to. My next thought was a longing for Mr. Pibb.

I don't even really drink soda anymore, but I'd gladly lay down a chunk of change for a case of the Pibb. For those not in the loop, Mr. Pibb is sort of in the neighborhood of a Dr. Pepper, but just a tad less sweet and a little more carbonated, then again, it could be in my head. One thing that's not in my head is Mr. pibb. When you find something you really really enjoy, why not just get the damn thing, I mean life is too short as it is.

I believe they stopped making Pibb somewhere in the neighborhood of three years ago. It unceremoniously disappeared from the shelves without a whisper and was replaced by the spawn of a demon, "Pibb Extra". Pibb Extra tastes like a Mr. Pibb that you accidentally dropped 6 tablespoons of sugar into.

Ah, the old days, if I could only have them back... a delicious Pibb, or occasionally a 50/50 Pibb/Coke blend...THAT my friends was living.

Even more senseless was the abandonment of one of the great soda mascots of all time. The Pibb can design was half responsible for its greatness. There was a picture of this cartoonish lunatic with his head at an angle and his hair standing straight up, screaming, 'PUT IT IN YOUR HEAD!!!"

The commercials were awesome, "Mr. Pibb...put it in your HEAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDD!!!"

How can you not love that.

Occasionally I will run into a place that still has Mr. Pibb in the fountain, but be not fooled children, it is... DUNDUNDUNNNNNNNN... Pibb Extra.

...bastards... those bastards...

You can put Mike Greenwell in number 9, but that doesn't make him Ted Williams.

Oh well, T minus 45 minutes and counting. I'd better get down there and practice looking calm.

It just dawned on me that this is a long way to come to get booted ut of a tourney in an hour, should that happen... however, it is also a long way to come to play scared, so vive la HOLD 'EM!

Morning of the Tourney

Didn't sleep much, my body clock is totally wacked out. I was pretty wide awake at 3:30a.m. here, woke up at 8:30 feeling like it 5 a.m.

Had breakfast with a guy from Ohio that I met briefly last night. Nice guy, Paul Giabone I think his name was, or something reasonably close to that. My massage yesterday made obvious to me what I knew in the back of my mind- my shoulders need some serious work. It was pretty good, but a massive knot remains in each shoulder, pared down a bit, but still there. There were no available bookings today.

If I can get in, I'm going to have a 30 minute job tomorrow just hammering those knots out. I am unsure how twelve or thirteen hours (should I be so lucky) at a poker table is going to affect me. I did a bunch of stretching this morning, and grabbed a sauna to loosen up, which will hopefully do the trick.

The dude in the sauna before I got there was Marcel Luske, one of my favorite players in the world. I gave the guy his privacy and said nothing. I am resting in my room and hoping to get a nap-a-roo in before they deal 'em.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Day 1A

Well, the first flight is over. I couldn't help myself, I had to stay up and go hang around the poker room. It wasn't until after 1 a.m. that I realized I was allowed in. I couldn;t wait until tomorrow to see who was piling up chips and who was eliminated.

2003 WSOP champion Chris Moneymaker exited early, and was like the fifth guy out. Apparently he had a real bad beat and had to excuse himself from the table, walk half way down a flight of stairs and let off some steam.

There's aggressive, super-aggressive, then there's Gus Hansen, famed for his radical play. Hansen showed up late for the WSOP championship, then threw all his chips in on the first hand and lost. It wouldn't surprise me if he did something similar earlier today en route to the gate. Another aggressive player put the door is Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier. I didn't get the details, but I saw her chatting with some pals in the lounge, so I know she's been ousted.

That's the thing with the super-aggressive style. When one of these players makes it deep into a tournement, they are generally seen with massive stacks of chips blotting out the sun, but they often get the gate early. All it takes is a couple early beatings to get in a hole not easily crawled out of.

The flip side is Xuyen Pham. Don't ask me how to pronouce that, becase I have no idea. The spelling is probably why they just call her "Bad Girl". Fresh off winning the Dublin EPT Championship and a victory during the week of the World Series of Poker, Pham has amassed about 97,000 chips, which puts her in the top two or three spots after Flight 1A.

I watched her for about half an hour and only saw her play two hands. She pretty much had the stack she wound up with when I first caught a glimpe of her.

One of my favorite players in the world, not only a real gentleman, but one of the most fun players around is Marcel Luske. I wasn't sure he was playing and was very glad to hear he was here. It would be a scream to sit down with this guy. He has been at many final tables during his career and has been sniffing at a WSOP title, but never quite made the final table. He is the kind of guy you find yourself rooting for.

So many of these clowns are super-serious, it's nice when a guy realizes that he's playing poker for a living, and the living is pretty good. Well, it's after 3 a.m., I gotta get to bed early and rest up for tomorrow.


Lunch with the Stahs

Just got back from the Pokerstars lunch where they trotted out all the spokepeople. Reigning World series of Poker champion Joe Hachem was there, but I missed him. Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier was hanging around. The diminutive French chick won the WPT womens title in 2005 and is apparently a brutally aggressive player. Looking at her I can tell she probably learned an aggressive style as meathead after meathead tried to bully her out of pot after pot The best women players generally seem to develop aggresive styles. You don't see many conservative women pros, most likely for the reason I just mentioned. Conservative pros in general are on the downward swing. It seems aggressive and super-aggressive play is the style of the day. From what I am told, European players tend more toward conservative play and become unnerved at overly aggressive American strategies, which tend to feature a lot more all-in style betting than they get over here.

2003 World series of Poker champ Chris Moneymaker showed up, donned in pokerstars garb from head to toe. ya know, he's much shorter than he looks on TV. The guy is a tad pudgy, and his jowels on the tube just make him look massive. he is actually smaller than me, if you can believe it. He must be about 5'7" or so.

The announced a couple of other European players, but their names didn't ring a bell.

The room was not exactly oozing warmth. Was most struck me was the eight zillion gorgeous women in the open area immediately before I got the Iceland room, where our luncheon was held. They were part of a company called Nicotin or something like that that apparently sells fruit flavored gum or something designed to help you quit smoking. I don't know- your guess regarding the product is as good as mine, but the babe count is irrefutable.

First morning in Copenhagen

I think my body clock is slowly adjusting. It's 3:30 am in Boston, but I just finished breakfast here. I woke up about 8:30am here, not sure whether it was noon or the middle of the night. I strolled through the lobby and saw (I believe) Ram Vaswani checking in. I think he caught the slight look of surprise on my face and concealed his own smile.

We aren't even at the tables yet and I'm getting read like the wall of a mens room. I chuckle now as I read the minds of 99% of the people reading this blog. Their thoughts go something like this:
A) Who the %$@# is Ram Vaswani?
B) I knew Korte was a geek, but this is ridiculous.

Being a poker geek and seeing some of these guys is a little like being an ice skating fan and running smack dab into Scott Hamilton, except in that (from my understanding) very few former pro skaters have criminal records.

The hotel is a scream. The poker players from across the world stick out like sore thumbs, anyone or all of them could be from Revere or Somerville. I checked out the tiny casino last night and the poker guys might as well have had signs tattooed to their foreheads. It was as though they were issued ill-fitting mismatched suits by design.

I have never seen so many guys looking so uncomfortable in a suit jacket outside of a Charlestown courtroom.

My favorite character to this point is this guy that kept coming back into the restaurant downstairs where I had breakfast, chatting up the waitresses and scoring- sugar. He kept returning and leaving with a handful of these sugar packets. Absolutely HAS to be here for the EPT tourney, just HAS to be. I couldn't quite make out his accent, more info to follow, I am sure.

I imagine things will get a bit friendlier today at the old Pokerstars meet and greet, but for now, the players drift around the hotel with practiced scowls, it's quite a hoot.

For me, well... I have mostly just kept to myself. As gregarious as I seem, I am not generally a walk-over-and-introduce-myself type of guy. Last night I stopped in to the Japanese restaurant downstairs and had some sushi. It was pretty good, especially the salmon, but a tad pricey and it took absolutely forever to get out of there. People don't seem to move at the pace we Americans do, something I generally appreciate, but not when I've finished my meal and have to wait ten minutes for a check. I actually threw in the towel and walked to the desk after about eight minutes of siting there wondering what to do with my hands (on table or off), legs (I can't cross them, this table is too short, but I look like a truck drivers cramped up like this).

I finally escaped, overtipping the slow (but incredibly hot) waitress.

This morning I hit the health club.

Relax- it wasn't to work out or anything crazy like that. I just wanted to schedule a massage for this afternoon. I always want to get one when I vaction and I never have, so today I went down and scheduled it.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Made it in one piece

...albeit a tired, cranky piece.

The flight from Boston to Reyjavik wasn't too bad, landed half an hour early and I got a little shut eye. Reyjavik to Copenhagen kinda blew. I was freezing and couldn't seem to get comfortable, and oh yeah, the orange juice sucked.

Like a typical doltish guy, I headed out the door of the airport and wandered around looking for evidence of transportation, bus schedules, etc, or a taxi. I wound up walking in a circle to the information booth I initially walked by without noticing. Good news- the 250 Bus goes right to the door of the Radisson- sweet.

What wasn't quite as sweet was the twenty minute wait for the bus. It was a tad cold. They were claiming it was about 32 degrees, but I questioned it immediately. As I rode the bus half dazed, I sprung up as I saw the Radisson cruise by on the left. I lugged my baggage to the front and asked if that was the Radisson. The busdriver said something that made me think he was either offering me poached salmon or some sort of a deal on aluminum siding. he shook his head as I exited the bus and began the now 1/2 kilometer (see how quickly I adapt!) walk back to the Radisson.

I noticed nary a place to cross the street and as I finally got to the cross walk by te hotel, I realized he was trying to tell me the bus swung around and dropped you right in front of the building.

As a good and loyal Amercian, I was outraged. When are the Copenhagians going to learn to speak ENGLISH??? What an inconvenience for me.

When I got to my room, my "pokerstars" pack was waiting for me. It contained a pretty cool coffee travel mug, a baseball "EPT TOUR" hat and a winter hat. I tried the winter hat on with my sunglasses and looked totally thugged out. I stared myself down in the bathroom, using some lemon and orange shampoo and conditioner as "chips".

(Long pause as I stare)

"... I raise."

(Longer pause, cradle beard and give my "evil magician glare")

"All in."

I finally scared myself enough to put the hat away before I got hurt.

As I combed through the bag, I found four shirts. I have never been so grateful for anything in my life as I was when I remembered that I didn't legally have to wear any of the clothes. I won my entry using cash, if I had won in some sort of "free roll tournement" or using "points", I would be legally obligated to wear the shirts at all times during play.

One of the shirts they threw in was a white and red 3/4 length sleaved shirt that called my sexuality into question more so than a starring role in a series of gay porn films.

As I looked into the mirror I could only ask, "what the hell were they thinking?

Some of the subtle differences I have noticed about Denmark:

You can get 3/4 of the way across an intersection before the walk signal changes. (A footnote- when I was in Texas, I literally RAN across an intersection and failed to make it half way across).

The hotel rooms don't have a safe, or a bureau, which I thought was weird. If you want to use electricity in your room, you put your room "key" (a plastic jobby with the strip) into the wall, wen you take it out, all the power goes off.

Free internet.

It is about 30 and rainy here, feels colder. When I got back from my walk of ice, the woman at the front had me sign in and my signature looked like I was signing with a hook. The hotel, though, is really beautiful. My room is classy and neat and has a pants- press thing, not that I intend to use it unless I need to make a grilled cheese sandwich after room service closes.

Oh yeah- the bed is almost on the floor, just a box spring and matress, but very elegant. Defintely too snazzy for the likes of me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hostel... the worst possible movie to EVER watch the day before you fly to Europe for the first time.

Man, I wish I had done a bit more research on this film before deciding to see it yesterday. Granted, it wasn't bad- it was actually pretty good. But, seeing a graphic film about American tourists being abducted and tortured to death, well... "Fun with Dick and Jane" might have been a better cinematic call given my circumstances.

The movie had more skeevy moments than a Bush press conference.

All I am thinking now is how I will manage to avoid the instinctual reaction of a punch to the throat of the first gorgeous blonde that asks me if I am "going to the spa". You have to see the movie to get that- but don;t see the movie the day before you fly overseas.

8:35, EDT

Well, I am pretty nervous. People keep asking me if I am "excited". No, not yet. Excitement is a form of joy, and I'm not comfortable with any joy before I am in the throes of joyousness. Joy is also a positive emotion, which makes it sketchy from the get-go.

Nervousness, however, stems from FEAR, and I totally down with delving into fear at any point in time, the earlier and more often, the better.

Weird, but I never seem to get excited until I am doing the activity. When I have tickets for a rock show I have been dying to go to for a three months, I don;' really get "excited" until I am at the show. When I have a cool upcoming trip, I don't really get excited until I am actually ON the plane, or the ship, etc

However, when I have an important gig, or a show in front of people I want to do well for (like family or a girl I am praying has no idea how little money comedians make that aren't on TV), I take full opportunity to sweat bullets in advance.

Same goes for poker tournements in continents I have never visited.

So no, I am not yet excited about the poker tournement. I AM however terrified that I will be exposed there, that the eight other players at my first tournement table will get up and stand on the felt, pointing and chanting in unison, "He's an internet player, he can't play!!!" or "He must be bluffing...tears are rolling down his cheek!"

Last year's chap Ram Vaswani and current world champion Joe Hachem will get up and refuse to play until I have forfeited my ships and left, head hung in shame.

The dealer will mock me for not knowing how to say "raise" or "check" or "fold" properly in Danish, even though all the other competitors are speaking only English.

Okay, so probably most of these things won't happen. That doesn't stop my head from enacting them hundreds of times on its own.

My strategy at this point is to not talk at the table for four days and do my best to channel Randall P. MacMurphy (post labotome) for my "poker face".

Hey...I am starting to get pretty excited about this trip.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Okay okay, so maybe I had it coming for seeing this kind of tripe, but BloodRayne disappointed me to the point of near-coma. I actually dozed off toward the end of this yawner.

The lead chick, Christina or Christianna or something along those lines with an exotic last name...anyway, she was cute, and I love vampire action flicks where hot chicks in leather pants beat the hell out everyone in sight, but they found a way to make even this dull beyond expression.

The most amazing new fact to me is that apparently Ben Kingsley has wasted his "Ghandi" and "Sand and Fog" money on blow. I can't imagine any other reason he would have agreed to appear in this film unless they had his family held at gunpoint in a remote location.

The most insulting move was a lame-o sex scene tossed in out of the blue and out of context to try to compensate for the yawnery being perpetrated on the viewing public. After the twenty-ninth artery was slashed and the blood guns sprayed the fakest looking blood since the 70s, the closest thing to a Blood Rain was the wrist I kept trying to slash with a straw I had chewed to a jagged edge.

If this is still in theaters a week after its major release, I'll buy ten copies of the DVD.

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