Lord Miros and other animals

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Decide and rule

Yes, I'm back. The Dordogne was fun and eventful and I did vomit once from eating too much foie gras, but there's really no place like home. Sadly I'm only back for a week or so as I'm off to Vegas on Wednesday to wank away my chips to some lucky sap in that World Series thing.

I've been thinking a lot recently about why I love poker so much, other than that I'm sick. The conclusion I've come to is that I'm actually not sick at all. Some of you may beg to differ, but it's true I tells ya. Sure, I hear the call of the bones, but that's a different matter. At the poker table I'm not there to gamble, I'm there to make decisions. It's all about problem-solving. That's what I really love about the game. Make the right decisions most of the time, and ultimately you'll be alright. Make the right ones all the time, and often you're damn near unbeatable.

I keep thinking that one day soon I'll have some really tough decisions to make. I hope not, 'cos I'm out of practice. I don't mean trivial poker decisions, but real decisions, life-changing stuff. Like finding out your unborn child has a debilitating illness and whether or not you should abort. I keep having this horrible daydream that a loved one will die just as I'm jetting off to Vegas. Would I still play the Main Event? I think we all know the answer to that. Someday soon I'll have to make one of these horrible decisions, because life's just been too damn easy so far. It can't carry on like this forever, can it? Can I get through it all avoiding the nasty unpleasantness that happens to other people? If I was a betting man, I'd say no. Fortunately I'm a mug, so perhaps I'm wrong.

I can't even remember the last time I had a tough decision to make. Probably in the Old Bailey, and that was 10 years ago. Not guilty m'lud, YBA! These days my toughest decisions revolve around whether to have a flutter or a splodge, or whether to have Weetabix or a can of Guinness, or whether my ideal role model is Humbert Humbert or Clare Quilty. That's as tough as it gets. Long may it continue.

I hope I make the right decisions in Vegas. I find it much harder when people are actually there looking at me. My brain convinces me that I'm a fraud, that I'll never get away with it. The other people don't beat me; I beat myself. I hope I can find a solution for it this year.

I think I probably need to drink more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pastures new

I'm nearly in heaven. I'm not there yet, but it's damn close. On Friday Lady Miros and I left the bog end of nowhere for good, in exchange for a variable mortgage and a terraced starter home in the Elysian fields of Wokingham. Wokingham is one funky place. Anywhere with a sprint handicap named after it is my kind of town.

The real joy of Wokingham is that I can now get broadband, Sky, delivery pizza and Racing Post, plus there are at least 10 very reasonable pubs within walking distance. A long summer of horseracing, baseball and inebriation await. Hopefully the blog may even be updated more often as well. Then again, perhaps not. I am, after all, phenomenally lazy. Perhaps you people should find something more productive to be getting on with. Do none of you fuckers ever work?

Next week I'm off to the Dordogne to gorge myself on foie gras and vino. The life of me. I think I deserve a holiday, it's been a tough few weeks for me. I even had to get up at 9.30 the other day to accommodate the Sky Guy. If I have to do that again I may well have an aneurism.

Incidentally, if anyone can think of any interesting options for my stag do, let me know. The problem with having no mates is that I had to choose as my best man the only sicko in the world even lazier than me. As such, he's struggling to come up with something fun which will also entertain a disparate bad of gamblers, university friends (mostly homosexual) and general drifters. Ideally, there should be very little gambling involved. Or homosexuality, for that matter. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Monday, June 06, 2005

No dice

Well, it looks like I am going to Vegas this year after all. I'd been pretty apathetic about it for the past few weeks, but I've won my seat now so that's that. Let's hope it's third time lucky.

Frankly, the prospect of cramming into the Rio surrounded by 6600 hometown heroes still fills me with dread. It was never like this in the good old days (i.e. 2003). Back then you felt you'd really done something to get to the WSOP. Now every lowlife from Porvoo to Pasadena has finegled their way in. They'll be very alright.

Still, these boys Victor Chandler really know their onions. Check out www.victorchandler.com/coupon_outright.jsp?&eid=59058100&eid=&ot=100 . I'm a very reasonable 125/1 to make the final, a shorter price than 6 former world champions, and one Neil Channing. Can't argue with that.

For those of my chums also going to Vegas, I can't wait to see you out there. We''ll knock back some White Russians, go bowling in the Orleans, and generally just kick back and glory in the heady social funfest that is the WSOP. I've always hated it for the poker, but loved it for the company. But please, let's not play any dice. I can't take the pain any more. Last year I was struggling in the WSOP so I spent the ENTIRE dinner break not eating dinner, not hanging around taking solace from my cronies, but playing dice ON MY OWN in the Horseshoe. Solitary dice is the choice of the true sicko. Obviously the inevitable happened, as I spent the first hour doing my nuts and then, just as the event restarted, I got on a roll. I now had a choice to make between getting my money back on the bones or defending my blinds in that silly tournament thing. Bit of a no-brainer. Twenty minutes later I finally struggled back to my seat feeling the relief of a man spared by the dice gods. Within another twenty I was out.

Not this time. Not this year, goddammit. This year the lure of the hardways and the high horn won't distract me from the task in hand. This year I'll just ignore the boys when they suggest a jolly old dicecapade. Perhaps I'll take some Sartre or Proust and examine the philosophical implications of the come bet whilst they donate to the construction of more Nevadan funhouses. Or maybe I'll just go swimming or sightseeing or take in a show. Or maybe I'll just stand and watch, taking in the ambience without the need for financial risk.

Or maybe I'll cut off my own testicles with a rusty scythe. The likelihood is about the same.

Friday, June 03, 2005

One for sorrow

For a moment this morning I thought it was snowing. Unusual perhaps for early June, but as I was busy checking the baseball scores I thought nothing of it. The Yankees lost their 5th straight game, which is nothing short of orgasmic.

As it turns out it wasn't snowing; it was a flurry of dandelion spores from the surrounding fields. I stood outside and became quite upset at the thought that most would land on fallow ground. Silly I know. I mean, it's not as if I burst into tears every time I spray my own seed on the carpet / curtains / grass or wherever. And if every dandelion spore produced another dandelion, the world would literally be overwhelmed with dandelions, which would be mad. Still, that's nature for you.

Speaking of which, Alice and I were confronted with nature at its most bloodthirsty yesterday evening. Driving through Binfield (en route, incidentally, to a poker game at Reading's Madjeski Stadium with the likes of Darryl Wong and Tony Chapman - marv), I suddenly had to swerve as a bird landed flapping and helpless on the road in front of me. At Lady Miros' insistence, we then of course had to turn back to check on its wellbeing (I'd missed, more by luck than judgement). The scene that we came across was really quite disturbing.

The bird in question was lying on the pavement, dazed and confused and hardly moving. For the sake of ornithological accuracy, I think it was some sort of jay. The reason for its distress was the presence of four large, totally psychotic magpies, who were in the process of pecking it to death. Bizarrely the first thought that came into my head was that he was some sort of paedophile bird being lynched by a gang of avian chavs. It's quite sad that modern culture has invaded my thought processes so irredemably.

Anywho, naturally I screeched to a halt and the saintly Lady Miros galloped to the rescue. Our feeble brown chum was seemingly in a bad way. With the magpies still cackling in the background, we decided the best course of action was to offload the fella on someone who might actually give a shit. This was particularly lucky as we were just down the road from Michelle, an animal nut who looks after our guinea pigs when we're away.

On arrival at Michelle's various things happened in a matter of seconds. Firstly, our ungrateful captive started screaming, loudly and repeatedly. Then, in a wild panic, he dug his talons into Alice's fingers with all his might, and started to tear. Then Alice started screaming. Whilst I bravely attempted to extricate him from her grasp, he swivelled his head and bit me, drawing blood. Bastard! It was at this point that Michelle answered the door, to a scene of carnage, with a look of something approaching terror.

The upshot of it all is that we eventually managed to deposit the vicious little sod in a cage, where he showed every sign of being none the worse for his ordeal. Alice was rushed off to have her hands washed, and demonstrated a Messiah-like ability to heal, as she emerged without a scratch on any of her delicate little pinkies. Meanwhile, I stood there quietly bleeding, wondering how long it would take for bird flu to strike me down.

Now being in a rush, we hotfooted it to Reading, leaving a rather stunned Michelle to deal with the bird. I hope she eats it.