just when you though there was nothing good on television...

the travel channel, home of the current WPT season, has agreed to air the new Professional Poker Tour (PPT). looks like both sides finally got over themselves and their pending litigation and agreed that they would both make an obscene amount of money if they set their minds to it.
i'm actually not opposed to another poker show. i can only watch reruns of the same WSOP and WPT tourneys so many times before i start quoting the players along with the telecast... which kind of takes most, if not all, of the fun out of watching poker on tv. maybe i should play more live games instead of living vicariously through the players on tv... hmmm.

here are some excerpts from the press release:

After finalizing the deal, both organizations issued the following statement: “WPT Enterprises
and The Travel Channel are pleased to announce that they have resolved their differences
amicably and terminated the litigation between them. Both parties look forward to continuing their mutually prosperous relationship.”

“This deal allows Travel Channel to feature 44 weeks of premiere episodes of WPT and PPT
programming each year, which is great for poker fans who have asked for additional premieres, and really bolsters our ‘Wednesday Night is Poker Night on the Travel Channel’ platform,” said Pat Younge, an executive vice president and general manager of Travel Channel.

“The WORLD POKER TOUR created the televised poker boom, and the PPT is the perfect extension of that franchise to bolster our position in the marketplace,” said Steve Lipscomb, President, CEO and founder of WPT Enterprises, Inc. “The WPT is the first legitimate televised sports league in history that lets the viewer at home come play with sports greats. And now, when you play in WORLD POKER TOUR events you don’t just have a shot at life changing money and instant television stardom. Win a WORLD POKER TOUR event and you immediately get a three year ‘tour card,’ allowing you to compete in PROFESSIONAL POKER TOUR events. With the PPT, you get a shot at living the professional poker player lifestyle.”

The PPT pits the top 200 poker players in the world against each other week after week. Like the PGA, you have to qualify for a tour card on the PPT – through success on the WORLD POKER TOUR, the World Series of Poker main event or other distinctions including membership in the Poker Hall of Fame. With $2.5 million dollars on the line each season and the pride of every poker great on the line, this show will help define the future of the sport. The new series features high production values, detailed story-telling and expert analysis from two-time World Series bracelet winner Mark Seif, and actor/poker enthusiast Matt Corboy. And, the all-new PPT format transports the viewer into the seat for every step of each PPT tournament. The format provides an unprecedented look into the art of tournament poker – played by the best in the business with nothing between them but chips and felt.

The five tournaments for Season One of the PPT were filmed at some of America’s true palaces of poker, including: Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket, CT); Commerce Casino (Los Angeles); Bay 101 ( San Jose, CA); Bellagio (Las Vegas); and The Mirage (Las Vegas).

text of the official press release from the WPT: PDF version




when at last the animals need feeding...

so if you have been reading this for the last year or so (that might apply only to my wife and mother...), then you might remember the "emo geek revelation" that i kept building up to and never revealed.... kind of like musical blue balls (sorry mom).
well, now is that time...especially with my newly found dedication to frequent and often updates.

chris simpson is not a name that will immediately jump out at you as someone you have heard of in connection with the best lyrics ever written or some of the best music ever recorded. i could probably even mention his newest effort, zookeepers world, and there would still be no more of a flame of recognition than before. but if you like the kind of music that i do, then you have heard and probably adored some of his earlier work. when i start to mention names like mineral and the gloria record, that glimmer of understanding begins to get stronger and stronger as you remember songs like parking lot and grain towers and telephone poles...
zookeepers world is a continuation of this legacy of thoughtful, provoking, and beautiful songwriting. following his ever deconstructing sound (from mineral's churning guitars to tgr's layered atmospheric orchestrations), the songs that can be found so far are of the stripped down singer/songwriter style with the occasional accompaniment by piano and drums. the one constant throughout all of his work has been his distinctive, emotive vocals and they are ever present in these songs and still carry every ounce of emotion that they always have...
i never got to see mineral live, but i did see tgr in athens, ga (caledonia) and in atlanta (the earl)....and i will wait patiently for him to come to atlanta again, or just catch a ride with someone to austin, tx where he plays almost weekly....(anyone going?)

the "about me" section on the myspace page reads:

Zookeeper is the name Chris Simpson has chosen for whatever new musical endeavors he is undertaking. Chris Simpson used to be that guy in Mineral and The Gloria Record. Chris Simpson might have considered using his own name for his new music, but there is already a pretty amazing Christian R&B guy using the moniker. Chris Simpson, the Christian R&B guy's records can be found at pretty much any internet music site. Zookeeper currently doesn't have any records, but please enjoy these works in progress. Thank you for your time.


like i said there are only a few songs to be found, and they exist in stream only versions on the zookeepers world myspace page.
if you live in austin, tx then go and see him play at any of these upcoming show dates.




between jacks and a hard place...

"that's poker" was the mantra that accompanied my catastrophic demise at the weekly poker game and the phrase that every player, be it amateur or professional, has uttered or heard countless times when faced with the improbable "suck out". however, i feel that my battle with this particular card in the deck is more than just some fatalistic occurrence, but something more along the lines of a cosmically ordained punishment, my own personal level of hell occupied by the scourge of playing card royalty, the jacks. what to do with jacks? this is my quandary. yes, they are considered "paint", but the weakest version. if i find two of them in my hand pre-flop, i try to bet high and push out anyone who might be able to catch a better hand on the flop. if they turn up in my opponents hand, i lose all of my money... all of it, and this is the truth, no exaggerations here.
last week, after a run of bad cards, i ended up with all of my chips in with Ah-9h against, wait for it...pocket jacks, and i lost all of my money, all of it, see?
fast forward to this week and my cards, my playing, and my chip stack were much better. i had a dominant stack 5 handed and was patiently biding my time and getting into and out of hands with no great expenditures on my part. the blinds were at 150-300 and i'm sitting in the big blind. i look down at 8h-9d and watch as UTG folds, second to act calls, then a fold, small blind calls, and with a relatively weak hand, i check. the flop comes rainbow Q-10-J.... yahtzee, i've flopped a made straight. at this point, i'm pretty sure there are no A-K hands out there as i would normally expect a pre-flop raise with that kind of hand, so i decide to slow play and check my straight after the small blind checks. fourth to act then raises, small blind folds, and i take a look at my opponents stack and raise enough to put him all in, $1550 in total. he thinks about this for a while, during which i put him on maybe top or middle pair, he hit the Q or J. eventually, he calls...i turn over my straight and he holds onto his cards which is fine with me because i can see the despair in his eyes. the turn comes J which does not cause me any great concern because a set does not touch me. then the river, another J hits.... at this point i need to see my opponents cards, especially with a full house possibility out there. he turn over Ks-Js (a little bit of a slow roll but i'm too stunned to notice at the time)....you have got to be kidding me, quad jacks? that is when the room started spinning.... from that point on, i was beyond tilt, i was upside down and even though i still had a decent stack , it felt like i was the small stack at the table after that beat. i ended up about 5 hands later with all of my chips in the middle with A-J offsuit. i ran into an A-Q held by a bigger stack. could i catch a jack to stop my tilt? of course not... and so i ran screaming from the room tearing at my eyes trying to rid them of the image of runner-runner jacks (ok, i made that part up).
i feel like i might have been more philosophical had he caught an ace to make a higher straight, but quad jacks? it still burns me after a couple of nights of sleeping it off, can you tell? i was a 2 to 1 favorite...
but as everyone to whom i have related this story says, "that's poker".



hey lady, there's a big fat whale in your boat...

let's go sailing hails from LA and produces a wonderfully dreamy, piano driven, space pop sound that soon finds you gazing wistfully out of the window of your downtown highrise wishing for a field to lie in and warm sunshine... sorry, carried away...

anyway, i guess the best way to describe them is to let them do it themselves:

"Let's go sailing is full of rainbows and fairies. But it also has a darker side...It is full of lost and neglected stuffed animals found at the side of the road."
In November of 2002, Shana Levy left Irving to pursue Let's Go Sailing. She asked friends Tanya Haden, Nikki Monninger, Brent Turner and Byron Reynolds to work on an album's worth of material and soon enough they began recording on a demo with Chris Chandler (Flaming Lips/Modest Mouse/Elliott Smith) and Rod Cervera (The Rentals/Weezer). The recording process quickly gained momentum and, with the help of Chris, Jim Putnam (Radar Bros.), and Ben Mumphrey (The Pixies/Frank Black), they decided to make a hi-fi record independently. The result is the 11 song LP "The Chaos in Order." A limited self release of 3 songs from the cd is available on the website and at independent record stores in Los Angeles including Amoeba and Sea Level Records.
according to their site, there is an lp due out in spring '06. let's hope that this will propel them outside of california and possibly to the east coast.... might i suggest atlanta?

::songs:: (all stream only)

- all i want from you is love
- heart condition
- better off

(ed: i would post the files, but i think that you should go here and pay $5 for their ep and support local music....so, nah)

you can also visit their myspace page.

many thanks to my good friend michael "the nubs" for discovering the song and to "the wife" for finding out who sings it...




i heard "chinese democracy" is coming out this year...

and who knows, this time it might be true:

Axl breaks his silence (Rolling Stone)

right, and i'll get famous from writing this blog...



my apologies...

as was pointed out, the white octave song links in my previous post are only samples... sorry about that i didn't realize that they were. deep elm has started doing that lately, which is disappointing (not that they don't have every right to do that, just a personal disappointment).
but you can now stream the entire album on their website:

white octave on mywire.org

turn off your pop-up blocker... if you want to do that.



with the best intentions...

since i plan to be updating more often, i now have an RSS feed that any of you crazy aggregator types can subsribe to....


it will also now be on my sidebar for future reference.

any thoughts on whether or not i should drag myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century and join myspace?



oh the cards, damn the cards...

i couldn't catch a decent hand to save my life last night, and if i did i couldn't get any action on it...just terrible. i made it to the final table but that was just barely by the skin of my teeth. the hand that did me in was the best i had seen all night. blinds were at 150/300 and my stack was right at 1750. i was sitting in the big blind and look down to find Ah-9h. we were 7 handed and first to act folds, second to act (big stack) raises to 650, then everyone folds through the small blind to me. i raise to 1200 and 4th position (now my arch-nemesis) quickly goes all in so i had "no choice" but to call. he flips over pocket jacks, i catch nothing and then start sobbing into my supplicating hands. needless to say, a frustrating end to a frustrating night....yarrrrrr.

after last night, i'm thinking about changing games and playing a lot more california hold 'em.... what, you haven't heard of this? then just wait 'til my twelves bust out your elevens!! ....seriously, wait, it will happen, soon.




i have been gone for oh so long...

but i have listened to a lot of music and played some poker. i didn't get rich while i was gone because you have to spend money to make money, blah, blah, etc... however, i did fairly well...placing second behind a good friend in the weekly poker game hosted by WCP . i will also now be playing in this game a little more regularly and hopefully getting into the points system that determines winners for each "season" of play throughout 2006. i will keep you updated on how that goes... winning is everything though, i need a bankroll to keep playing.

as far as music goes, the best thing that i can tell you to do right now is to go and sign up for e-music (seriously, not just for my benefit...for your own wallet's) and download all of the music that is listed on my sidebar under "most recent downloads".... seriously, i can't help you if you don't help yourself....like god, only with music and not anything else.... oh, and i also own your soul.

most importantly, get the latest album by criteria, when we break.

rising from the ashes of one of my personal faves, the white octave (which itself finds its roots in another stalwart of my collection, cursive), criteria takes the white octave sound and smooths it out a little and then plows forward. their first release, en garde, as their website puts it, was "criminally overlooked", but what they did get was attention from indie powerhouse saddle creek records. their follow-up LP, when we break, was realeased in august to critical acclaim and saddle creek has re-released en garde as a result. listen to it, its good, i promise.

"i'm stuck in a basement world..."


from en garde
- it happens
- me on your front porch

from when we break
- prevent the world
- run together

::other related tracks::

the white octave - style no. 6312
- appeals for insertion
- call the kiss
- style no. 6312

cursive - such blinding stars for starving eyes
- retirement

(ed: cursive has gone on to bigger and more brilliant things, but this album was the only LP put out with Steve Pedersen on guitar, who later went on to form the white octave and criteria)