Friday, July 04, 2008

Millionaires

Whenever I start to feel confident or comfortable, I get bitten. This has to be something about me.

Earlier this year, I had a nice situation with work. One gig went 25 hours a week, another averaged 10, so I had a solid week's work each week, which meant I could get my affairs in order.

So the 10-hour gig sacked me about a month after that was all set up.

I had a good June at poker, and started feeling confident in my ability. I felt I would make it. But July I cannot win a hand. Now I think that June was all good luck and this is how good I actually am. The problem is that it could be true and I would have no way of knowing. I am not actually losing (although give it a couple more days and I will be) but I'm not going well. When you run your hand into a better hand, you start to think, was I unlucky to run into AK there or should I have expected it? (Mostly the answer is, you were unlucky, but that's no consolation.)

Why choose something that you can't tell if you do well? Why would someone like me do that? Answers on a postcard.


***

Obviously, I need to be more accepting of it, but doing that tends to make you hopeless (I mean without hope, not hopelessly bad).

I accepted that I would not be likely to have my writing published and promptly stopped bothering to write.

I accepted being ugly and now I'm sad that no woman looks twice at me. I don't have to want other women to want other women to like the look of me. I am vain enough.

I try to accept this life and now I have no ambition at all. I am just spiralling into the grave.

I accepted that I cannot be the perfect father and now I think I am not even a good one. You probably think I am, but you probably have much lower standards than I do.

I am lonely today. I have a couple of poker buddies but they are not chatting today. Other guys, who I want to talk to, don't bother with me. Well, what do I have to offer? A couple I thought I was somewhat friendly with seem to have dumped me; I don't know why. Most people I know are in the other half of the world, and I'm not really very interesting to talk to anyway, so most don't bother. P is asleep; A is asleep; Father Luke has a girlfriend and no time, it seems. I don't know whether he's still trying to learn poker. He hasn't bothered telling me.

Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself. I have a chest infection. I have been sick all week, and I can't take sick leave. I don't have time for my poker study, and when I do have time, I waste it by smoking weed because I am too self-destructive to learn and too fearful that I am wasting my time learning anyway.

Sometimes you think, well, just stop being a fuckhead. But life feels like a carousel. It spins round and you're not in control, so you can't stop it. And you're too dizzy to think straight. You cannot jump off because there is nowhere and nothing to jump into.

***

I am listening to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II, so I'm much more chilled out than all this whining would make it seem. If you've never heard it, it's the last word in ambience, the album that, I think, cemented Aphex's reputation as one of the great geniuses of modern music.

It is static, like all great ambient music. The ear craves dynamism, it seems, so pieces that do not move can become wallpaper. But when a moment or two of it catches your attention, you can sit, mesmerised, listening deeply, and become caught up in its cycling, and find smaller dynamisms. It's a million miles from his frenzied drillnbass stuff, but excellent nonetheless. It's also a pleasant change from the minimal techno (a lot of Andreas Tilliander, GAS and Apparat, the last of which I suppose is not so minimal--and surprisingly Four Tet, whose Ringer EP is not the twittering folkatronica we enjoyed on Everything ecstatic, but is intense techno mode allemande, but no worse for it) and noise rock (Lightning Bolt and the fantastic Black Angels in particular). I also recently acquired Minotaur Shock's Maritime, which was a lot jauntier than I expected: closer by far to Mr Scruff than to Boards of Canada, which made it slightly disappointing, although judged on its merits, it's okay. Also, I've been listening to some Nightmares on Wax, which is smoky triphop, but not so much my cup of tea as it would have been when it was first released a decade or so ago, and to Sally Shapiro (sweet girlie vocals laid over italo house, which is nicer than that description makes it sound), Girl Talk (Avalanches-style cutup that is cleverly put together but lacks the songwriting of the Avalanches), Booka Shade (techno in the Leftfield vein).

***

LOL. The poker gods must have heard me whining, because I got a guy on chat who has been doing a lot of the work I have been slowly getting through on ranges and EV, and he gave me his spreads, which will save me hours of work. He was also very good to talk to. I learn from everyone who will share. I try to stay as humble as possible with poker, so that I do not close myself off from learning. If only boots would teach me how to know what card is coming next! I'd make us all millionaires.

Some days, I feel marooned in a hostile universe. Others, I feel that I could make my dream come true and find myself in a stone house by the sea, wildflowers in the walled back yard, a pear tree in the corner, beholden to no one but my own kin. How hard can that be? Really, how hard?

14 Comments:

At 8:05 pm, Blogger P. said...

Why choose something that you can't tell if you do well? Why would someone like me do that?

Because uncertainty is not hopeless - failure is final. Uncertainty is much easier to live with.

 
At 4:27 am, Blogger Arleen said...

Answers on a postcard.

I had this vision of a slew of postcards being delivered to your house. LOL!

How hard can that be? Really, how hard?

It's very hard. Not because it's hard, but because of what you've just demonstrated in this post. The state of one's mind has a major effect on outcomes.

 
At 7:04 am, Blogger $Zero said...

faith is the only certainty.

 
At 6:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"Whenever I start to feel confident or comfortable, I get bitten. This has to be something about me."

It may be something about you but it is not a phenomenon that only you have observed. Zen, meet Murphy; Murphy... nevermind, I see you two know one another.

"I am lonely today. ..."

Sorry to hear that, no doubt your friends make themselves unavailable because they're tired of your whining. Truth is best eaten cold.

"I don't have time for my poker study, and when I do have time, I waste it by smoking weed because I am too self-destructive to learn and too fearful that I am wasting my time learning anyway."

So stop overdosing the weed and learn from it already.

"I try to stay as humble as possible with poker, so that I do not close myself off from learning."

Well if you try to stay humble with poker it's seeing your best.

"If only boots would teach me how to know what card is coming next! I'd make us all millionaires."

That is the dumbest thing I've read you say in a very long time Zen, it shows that you have no concept of how it works. First it isn't a matter of knowing what card is foreordained. Second were you to learn what you need to know in order to coax nonhostile events into occurrence you would on the way there lose all desire to become a millionaire. Fucksake sometimes you make me glad that you don't answer your email.

"Some days, I feel marooned in a hostile universe. Others, I feel that I could make my dream come true and find myself in a stone house by the sea, wildflowers in the walled back yard, a pear tree in the corner, beholden to no one but my own kin. How hard can that be? Really, how hard?"

The hostile universe thing, it is often a matter of being physically drained of sufficient energy to overcome daily stresses. Take a nap once in a while.

The other thing... it is harder than Billy Hell, but it is worth the struggle. If you plan to build your own house you might consider other than stone, but then I'm finding stick difficult enough.

 
At 7:23 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

It's not so much Murphy's, boots, as constantly relearning humility when hubris takes over, as it often does.

I don't actually whine a great deal in the flesh. I'm more acerbic than self-pitying. I am also quite reserved, so making friends is not easy. I daresay I make a good friend though.

The weed is all that's keeping me sane, bro. Never giving that shit up.

Humility is a key skill in poker, but so is being confident. It's a line you have to ride.

I do not want to be a millionaire so much as I want what being a millionaire would bring. A stone house by the sea with a small, walled yard, wildflowers, bees.

Stone is my dream. Solid.

 
At 7:59 pm, Blogger P. said...

Sorry to hear that, no doubt your friends make themselves unavailable because they're tired of your whining.

There's at least one who's honest when he whines like a cunt - but that's rarely enough reason to "make themselves unavailable". If you're a friend to Zen and don't like the way he sometimes is, why did you begin to become a friend at all?

I was asleep, like the man said. FL has had a broken puter, like the man's blog says should Zen care to read it.

The thing with Zen is he doesn't contact people. If you're not prepared to make the first, second, fifty eighth move, you're fucked. It's not friendship that Zen admires, it's stubborn persistence.

 
At 8:21 pm, Blogger P. said...

It's not friendship that Zen admires, it's stubborn persistence.

Afterthought - he is worth it.

 
At 9:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"It's not so much Murphy's, boots, as constantly relearning humility when hubris takes over, as it often does."

That's the point innit, time spent paying attention to Murphy's little clues leaves less space for hubris to invade.

"The weed is all that's keeping me sane, bro. Never giving that shit up."

I would never ever suggest that you give it up, Zen. It has great value unless you overdose, which most do. Its value? Find the line between stoned and straight then you will know its true value.

"I do not want to be a millionaire so much as I want what being a millionaire would bring."

You have a lot of middlemen to cut out, Zen. Including money.

 
At 9:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"If you're a friend to Zen and don't like the way he sometimes is, why did you begin to become a friend at all?"

P, it isn't a matter of "don't like the way he sometimes is" at all. We all of us are sometimes not as we might prefer to be in a perfect world. It is your friends who will tell you when your armpits stink, those who simply begin to avoid you because of the smell are in it for themselves alone and you're well rid of them.

"If you're not prepared to make the first, second, fifty eighth move, you're fucked. It's not friendship that Zen admires, it's stubborn persistence."

I am not Zen's friend for the purpose of gaining his admiration. I am his friend solely because it turned out that way. If he wishes to distance himself, that is okay. Between friends time means nothing.

 
At 10:37 pm, Blogger P. said...

I am not Zen's friend for the purpose of gaining his admiration.

I wasn't thinking what you could get out of it, but what he will give - regardless of your motives or desires.

Friendship is not one sided. There has to be a reason I will like you or I will not. And of course there's that horrid middle ground of my passing the time of day or small talking with you - which isn't what I would call friendship, but something reserved for acquaintances.

I am his friend solely because it turned out that way.

You are his friend because you wanted to be and he allowed you in. Or because he wanted to be your friend and you allowed him in. It's a mutual understanding that might well be born from accident, but is not an accident in itself.

 
At 5:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"You are his friend because you wanted to be and he allowed you in. Or because he wanted to be your friend and you allowed him in."

What we say about the way things are is a window.

 
At 6:47 pm, Blogger P. said...

Fair comment, Boots.

 
At 7:26 pm, Blogger Father Luke said...

It's, kof, nice to be remembered.

Yeah. Funny thing about Poker, Zen,
since I have had a broke dick 'puter,
and a new gf, what time I have had to
play has been the time I used to use
to sleep. And it's been forgetabout
it time. No time.

Which isn't to say I shouldn't have
been in touch.

Here's the rub.

How much of what I learned about
poker has actually sunk in?

Well. We'll see.

In the meantime, I've quit my job.
They told me I couldn't, seems they
wanted to fire me. Poor them.

I'm thinking about driving truck
again. It would give me a year's
living expenses in a few months. Or
a life time of money in a year.

Then I could retire to learning to
playing poker with you, and loving my girlfriend.

In the meantime, I've been accepted
into two publications. They fucken
asked me, I din't go lo0kiN'fer
them - reminds me, I ned to get my
bios in to them. . .

Priorities:

GF
Friends
Writing
Poker
Money to live

Not necessarily in that order.
Prioritizing my priorities is not
a priority.

And that about does it.

Oh? And I hate my computer.

- -
Okay,
Father Luke

 
At 8:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave the censor arh diddums.

 

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