Casino Parties and Casino Nights in Tulsa Oklahoma and ...
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[Lost in the Sauce] Trump admin hides Paycheck Protection program details; lawmakers benefit from loans
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Title refers to: The Trump admin is blocking IGs from getting info on over $1 trillion in relief spending, including corporation bailouts. The admin is also withholding PPP info from Congress, meaning we don't know if Trump or his family took taxpayer money. Additionally, we learned that at least 4 members of Congress have benefited from PPP money, but aren't required to disclose it. Housekeeping:
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Inspectors general warned Congress last week that the Trump administration is blocking scrutiny of more than $1 trillion in spending related to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the previously undisclosed letter, Department of Treasury attorneys concluded that the administration is not required to provide the watchdogs with information about the beneficiaries of programs like the $500 billion in loans for corporations. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to provide Congress with the names of recipients of the taxpayer-funded coronavirus business loans. After criticism, Mnuchin began to walk back his denial, saying he will talk to lawmakers on a bipartisan basis “to strike the appropriate balance for proper oversight” of PPP loans “and appropriate protection of small business information.” At least 4 lawmakers have benefited in some way from the Paycheck Protection program they helped create.Politico has been told there are almost certainly more -- but there are zero disclosure rules, even for members of Congress.
Republicans on the list include Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, a wealthy businessman who owns auto dealerships, body shops and car washes, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, whose family owns multiple farms and equipment suppliers across the Midwest. The Democrats count Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, whose husband is CEO of a regional casino developer, and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell of Florida, whose husband is a senior executive at a restaurant chain that has since returned the loan.
Mick Mulvaney dumped as much as $550,000 in stocks the same day Trump assured the public the US economy was 'doing fantastically' amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Mulvaney unloaded his holdings in three different mutual funds, each of which is primarily made up of US stocks. The next day, the value of the mutual funds tanked.
Cases rising in many states
Good summary: There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways…The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic. As of Friday, coronavirus cases were significantly climbing in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Oklahoma is experiencing a massive increase in coronavirus cases just days before Trump’s planned rally in Tulsa. In Tulsa county itself, 1 in roughly 390 people have tested positive. Yet Trump plans on cramming 20,000 people in an event with voluntary face mask policy and no social distancing. Attendees must sign a waiver that absolves the president’s campaign of any liability from virus-related illnesses.
On Monday, Pence lied saying that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve.” As you can see at any of the resources immediately below, this is not even close to true. Over the past 14 days, the state has seen a 124% increase in cases and reports 65% of ICU beds are in use.
Tulsa World Editorial Board: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally. "We don't know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city...Again, Tulsa will be largely alone in dealing with what happens at a time when the city’s budget resources have already been stretched thin."
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he is a victim of double standards when it comes to perception of his decision to resume campaign rallies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring that attempts to “covid shame” his campaign “won’t work!”
Resources to track increases: There are many different sites with various methods of visualizing the spread of coronavirus. Here are some that may be particularly useful this summer… Topos COVID-19 compiler homepage and graphs of each state since re-opening. How we reopen Safely has stats on each state’s progress towards meeting benchmarks to reopen safely (hint: almost none have reached all the checkpoints). WaPo has a weekly national map of cases/deaths; the largest regional clusters are in the southeast. On Monday, Trump twice said that “if we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” (video). Aside from the fact that cases exist even if we don’t test for them, we cannot explain the rising number of cases by increased testing capacity: In at least 14 states, the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests.
Reminder: In March Trump told Fox News that he didn't want infected patients from a cruise ship to disembark because it would increase the number of reported cases in the US. "I like the numbers being where they are," Trump said at the time. "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
Fired scientist Rebekah Jones builds coronavirus dashboard to rival Florida’s… Her site shows thousands more people with the coronavirus, and hundreds of thousands fewer who have been tested, than the site run by the Florida Health Department.
Equipment and supplies
More studies prove wearing masks limits transmission and spread of coronavirus… One study from Britain found that routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0. The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth. The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear. Meanwhile, Trump officials refuse to wear masks and Trump supporters copy his behavior… VP Mike Pence, leader of the coronavirus task force, published a tweet showing himself in a room full of Trump staffers, none wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Pence deleted the tweet shortly after criticism. A poll last week showed that 66% of likely-Biden-voters “always wear a mask,” while 83% of likely-Trump-voters “neverarely wear a mask.”
Trump’s opposition to face masks hasn’t stopped him from selling them to his supporters, though. The online Trump Store is selling $20 cotton American flag-themed face masks.
Yesterday, we learned that South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice and family have tested positive for the coronavirus. Just two weeks ago, Rice was on the House floor and halls of the Capitol without wearing a mask.
Internal FEMA data show that the government’s supply of surgical gowns has not meaningfully increased since March… The slides show FEMA’s plan to ramp up supply into June and July hinges on the reusing of N95 masks and surgical gowns, increasing the risk of contamination. Those are supposed to be disposed of after one use. Nursing homes with urgent needs for personal protective equipment say they’re receiving defective equipment as part of Trump administration supply initiative. Officials say FEMA is sending them gowns that look more like large tarps -- with no holes for hands -- and surgical masks that are paper-thin. More than 1,300 Chinese medical-device companies that registered to sell PPE in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic used bogus registration data… These companies listed as their American representative a purported Delaware entity that uses a false address and nonworking phone number. Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine, but hospitals don’t want it… Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a million doses of the drug to show support for Trump, but very few hospitals have requested it.
Native American communities struggle
The CARES Act money for Native American tribes, meant to assist people during the pandemic, came with restrictions that are impeding efforts to limit the transmission of the virus. For instance, the funds can only be used to cover expenses that are "incurred due to the public health emergency." On the Navajo Nation, the public health emergency is inherently related to some basic infrastructure problems. 30% of Navajo don’t have running water to wash their hands, but the money can’t be used to build water lines. Federal and state health agencies are refusing to give Native American tribes and organizations representing them access to data showing how the coronavirus is spreading around their lands, potentially widening health disparities and frustrating tribal leaders already ill-equipped to contain the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data that it’s making freely available to states. A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns… Pregnant Native American women were singled out for COVID-19 testing based on their race and ZIP code, clinicians say. While awaiting results, some mothers were separated from their newborns, depriving them of the immediate contact doctors recommend. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that state officials would investigate the allegations.
Personnel & appointees
Former IG Steve Linick told Congress he was conducting five investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department before he was fired. In addition to investigating Pompeo's potential misuse of taxpayer funds and reviewing his decision to expedite an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, Linick’s office was conducting an audit of Special Immigrant Visas, a review of the International Women of Courage Award, and another review "involving individuals in the Office of the Protocol."
Pompeo confidant emerges as enforcer in fight over watchdog’s firing: Linick testified that Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, a decades-old friend of Pompeo’s, “tried to bully [him]” out of investigating Pompeo.
Trump has empowered John McEntee, director of the Presidential Personnel Office, to make significant staffing changes inside top federal agencieswithout the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head. Many senior officials in Trump's government are sounding alarms about the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge. Trump’s nominee for under secretary of defense for policy, retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, has a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarksagainst prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim. Amid racial justice marches, GOP advances Trump court pick hostile to civil rights.Cory Wilson, up for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, has denied that restrictive voting laws lead to voter suppression and called same-sex marriage “a pander to liberal interest groups.” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has indefinitely extended the terms of the acting directors of the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, sidestepping the typical Senate confirmation process for those posts and violating the Federal Vacancies Reform Act,
Courts and DOJ
The Supreme Court declined on Monday to take a closer look at qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that shields law enforcement and government officials from lawsuits over their conduct. Developed in recent decades by the high court, the qualified immunity doctrine, as applied to police, initially asks two questions: Did police use excessive force, and if they did, should they have known that their conduct was illegal because it violated a "clearly established" prior court ruling that barred such conduct? In practice, however, lower courts have most often dismissed police misconduct lawsuits on grounds that there is no prior court decision with nearly identical facts. The Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.
Alito, writing more than 100 pages in dissent for himself and Thomas, accused the court's majority of writing legislation, not law. Kavanaugh wrote separately: "We are judges, not members of Congress...Under the Constitution and laws of the United States, this court is the wrong body to change American law in that way."
Just days before the SCOTUS opinion was released, the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance. The SCOTUS ruling may make it easier to challenge the changes made by Trump.
The Supreme Court also declined to take up California’s “sanctuary” law, denying the Trump administration’s appeal. This means that the lower court opinion upholding one of California's sanctuary laws is valid, limiting cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two of the Court's conservative members, supported taking up the case. A federal appeals court appeared unlikely Friday to stop a judge from examining why the Justice Department sought to walk away from its prosecution of Michael Flynn. "I don't see why we don't observe regular order," said Judge Karen Henderson. "Why not hold this in abeyance and see what happens?" Judge Robert Wilkins told Flynn's lawyer that if Sullivan doesn't let the government drop the case, "then you can come back here on appeal."
Good read: Fiona Hill on being mistaken as a secretary by Trump, her efforts to make sure he was not left alone with Putin, and what the US, UK and Russia have in common. “It’s spitting in Merkel’s face,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat who’s now a foreign-policy analyst. “But it’s in our interests.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Trump’s plan to withdraw more than a quarter of U.S. troops from Germany.
Op-Ed: Why cutting American forces in Germany will harm this alliance
According to a new book, the Secret Service had to seek more funding to cover the cost of protecting Melania Trump while she stayed in NYC to renegotiate her prenup - taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to allow her to get better terms. Additionally, NYPD estimated its own costs conservatively at $125,000 a day. Georgia election 'catastrophe' in largely minority areas sparks investigation. Long lines, lack of voting machines, and shortages of primary ballots plagued voters. As of Monday night, there were still over 200,000 uncounted votes. Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle’s protests, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone Fox News Mocked After Mistaking Monty Python Joke for Seattle Protest Infighting In addition to holding a rally on the day after Juneteenth (originally scheduled the day of), Trump will be accepting the GOP nomination in Jacksonville on the 60th anniversary of “Ax Handle Saturday,” a KKK attack on African Americans. Environmental news:
Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.
Trump administration has issued a new rule blocking tribes from protecting their waters from projects like pipelines, dams, and coal terminals.
The EPA published a proposal in the Federal Register that critics described as an assault on minority communities coping with the public health legacy of structural racism. The rule would bar EPA from giving special consideration to individual communities that bear the brunt of environmental risks — frequently populations of color.
The Trump administration is preparing to drill off Florida’s coast, but says it will wait until after the November election to avoid any backlash from Florida state leaders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection used emergency funding meant for migrant families and children to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment and other enforcement related-expenditures… The money was meant to be spent on “consumables and medical care” for migrants at the border.
ACLU files lawsuit against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.
Under Trump’s leadership, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has mismanaged its finances so badly that it has sought an emergency $1.2 billion infusion from taxpayers. When Trump took office, USCIS inherited a budget surplus. A large amount of funding is drained by its deliberate creation of more busy work for immigrants and their lawyers — as well as thousands of USCIS employees. These changes are designed to make it harder for people to apply for, receive or retain lawful immigration status.
Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona ICE detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are 'begging' for protection from the virus
ICE plans to spend $18 million on thousands of new tasers and the training to use them
Written by Fortanono Edited by dwright5252, AdamantAce << Previous | Next >> ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ Meet-and-greets were always Marc Silvera’s favorite part of the day. Back in his youth, he loved the thrill of heroism, the adrenaline that came with fighting against dangerous people and bringing them to justice. Now, it was much less about adrenaline as it was before; he got his enjoyment from knowing that he made others’ lives just a little bit safer, helping them sleep more easily. Luckily, Josiah Power’s booths in the Polynesia Resort’s cafeteria boiled that right down to a science. Dan and Courtney would always get the most fans, considering that they ran their own media platforms at one point; Helga and Curtis would occasionally hang around his booth for the fans. Ray and Thunder each had their own devoted lines, with their fans from Tulsa and Metropolis often making pilgrimages to New Coast to visit them. The ceremonially empty booth to the left of Marc was there for Vibe, who had attracted a lot of people placing down flowers and mementos, paying their respects. It was still hard for Marc to believe that he was really gone. Marc’s was always the shortest line. He knew why; for a long time, the second Commander Steel was a small-town urban legend whose existence was unconfirmed. The name was also associated with a military group that many disapproved of or outright loathed, Marc himself chief among them after all these years, who was a willing participant in it. Finally, there was the third reason: Commander Steel was not a welcoming figure to most. His helmet kept out any sign that he was even a human, which was no longer a valid assumption for superheroes. In a lot of ways, he understood why children would even be scared of him. He liked to pretend that this didn’t bother him, but he knew deep down that it did, just a little. Even still, he did have several people who came over to meet him. A tall woman with red hair and excessive amounts of makeup walked up to him, her young son in tow. He couldn’t have been more than seven years old, Marc thought. He sat down on a wooden chair nearby and smiled behind his mask. “Hello there,” Marc chuckled. “What’s your name, young man?” “Collin,” he smiled, hiding his face in his hands, his dirty mop of red hair covering his eyes. Marc laughed heartily, almost as if he were a mall Santa. He felt like the kids needed to know that he wasn’t as scary as he seemed behind the mask, and laughing was the best way of doing that. Collin couldn’t see how wide he was smiling behind the visage, the tear of joy running down one of his eyes. “Now Collin, why don’t you sit on my lap and we can take a picture together?” “Yeah!” Collin said. “I love you, Commander Steel. I want to be a superhero like you when I grow up.” “Oh, is that so?” Marc said joyfully, smiling as Collin climbed up into his lap. He hid a grimace; as much as he enjoyed the job, seeing someone so young determined to be someone who put their life on the line was very off-putting to him. The camera flashed, taking a picture of Collin with his hero, and Marc just let the moment rush over him. “Remember to enjoy your stay at New Coast Polynesia Resort!” he called out behind them as they left the line. He always felt weird saying that, but Josiah told them to, and it wasn’t like he didn’t want them to have a fun vacation. The next person moved forward in the line, a teenage boy wearing a camo button-down shirt. “Hey, Commander Steel,” he said gleefully. “You’re so awesome. It’s so cool that I get to meet you.” Marc went through the rounds, but he wasn’t focused on the boy anymore. Instead, Marc stared transfixed as the next woman in line, a middle-aged Black woman with a short bob of shoulder-length grey hair, wearing a black dress with grey and blue accents. His stomach dropped as he finished up with the kid in camo, turning to the woman in front of him. “Jenna,” he said, coming out as little more than a breath. He stood up from his chair. “Why are you here?” “Trust me,” she said with her lips pursed. “I didn’t want to come just as much as you probably don’t want to see me. Something came up.” Marc stared at her, not saying anything. “Richards’ sentence is up,” Jenna muttered coldly. “I was hoping he’d changed, but he’s on a bus straight to New Coast. I just wanted to warn you and your team, knowing what he’s capable of.” “Yes, of course,” Marc said as his former wife left the line. He turned to her and called out as she walked away. “Hey, hey, you have a fantastic rest of your life, whatever you’re doing.” She didn’t respond. Marc turned to the next guest, his mind not fully there. As his experience with Jenna faded from his mind, he realized that something much worse was about to happen, and he had to warn the team about it. ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ “Okay,” Curtis said, his back against the wall of Room 103. The members of Coastguard were gathered in their costumes, having come back from the meet-and-greet minutes earlier. “A quick recap on the Phosphorus situation for Courtney: We’ve been able to take out some street-level guys who were peddling narcotics, but none of them claimed they had ever seen the man’s face. He apparently keeps very little company; only those he trusts ever see who he truly is.” “By the way,” Anissa said, “Congrats to Courtney for the awesome work she’s done in Opal City! We’re starting to see headlines roll in, and it’s very impressive.” Immediately, everyone in the room around them began to clap and cheer, turning to Courtney who was sitting in her new red-and-green costume. Courtney looked between her teammates and smiled. “Thanks guys,” she said. “It means a lot.” She turned to Curtis, her expression turning more serious. “Anything on ThirteenthFloor? That seemed like a really big deal when I left, but no mention of it so far.” Curtis nodded. “Yeah, yeah, that’s a thing. Helga and I are working on reverse-engineering the tech in the buildings, but no results yet. Anyone else have pressing concerns?” Helga raised her hand. “As you may recall,” she began, “Acrata managed to escape from New Coast after arrest. I recently received word that she may be returning to the city, planning something big. If you spot her, do not be light when apprehending her, and bring her to me as soon as you can.” “Dammit,” Dan said. “I was hoping I’d never have to see her again. That fight kept me sore for days. We’ll be on the lookout if she returns.” “Anything else?” Curtis asked. Marc removed his mask and raised his hand slowly. “Yes,” he said meekly. “Unfortunately, there’s… someone else has shown up here. An old enemy. Curtis, bring up records for Mark Richards, also known as the Tattooed Man.” Curtis turned to a nearby monitor and began searching the web. He pulled out a mugshot of a tall, bald man with a tattoo of a dragon coiled around the top of his head. On the side of one of his cheeks was another tattoo, a small piece that resembled a rose with a thorny stem. “This your guy?” “Yes,” Marc said. He stood up and took a deep breath, addressing his teammates. “A long time ago, I lived in a small town in Maryland called Liberty Hill. Standard small-town fare; most of the criminals were just normal people who had a bad run. This man was different. He showed up, and within months he had killed any gang members who didn’t work for him. With every man he murdered, he got a new tattoo, and these weren’t ordinary tattoos. They gave him powers, and every time I fought him he had a new trick up his sleeve.” He sighed and paused before continuing. “I became obsessed with him. It was unhealthy, and it cost me my marriage. Finally, 15 years ago, I caught him. He served his time, and now it seems like he’s come back for revenge. I'd like to humbly request your help in finding him and making sure he doesn't cause further harm. Mark Richards is incredibly dangerous, and we need to treat any encounter we have with him with utmost caution. He will kill us if we don’t.” The room fell silent for a few seconds before Curtis broke the silence. “Okay,” he said. “The Tattooed Man, Public Enemy Number One. Don’t worry, Marc; we will make sure that we stop him before he can hurt us.” ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ Mark Richards knocked on the door of a townhouse in what looked like any other upscale neighborhood. This development was designed by one of Josiah Power’s friends, he had remembered, but it had never seen use as the designer’s company went down for fraud several months ago. Even though it looked like an ordinary housing development, a far cry from the tourist trap in New Coast’s city center, it was also the home of many of New Coast’s more sinister elements. With the development never having been in use, it was the perfect place for shadowy figures to hide in such a bright city. The skull on Mark’s forearm sensed some sort of danger. Mark willed it to be quiet as a young woman, tall and lanky with blonde hair and blue accents, opened the door. She seemed to have a lot of tattoos herself. “Wow,” she said, staring at him up and down. “I’m going to need the name of your inker. That is some good art.” “I’ve had a lot of inkers,” Mark chuckled. “My first tattoo was from a slave-driver in Moldora. The second one was from a serial killer. I tend to get them from the worst of the worst, and it pays off.” “Ooh, nice,” she said. “I take it you’re here to see the big man? I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you. You should hope so, at least.” Mark nodded. “I believe we already had an appointment scheduled.” “You are correct,” she laughed. “He's been talking about you all day.” Mark walked into the house and down the corridor to a room at the end. If an ordinary homeowner lived here, the room he entered would probably be furnished as a dining room, possibly as a playroom for their children. However, the New Coast crime lord that lived here had turned the room into a sort of makeshift casino; slot machines padded the sides of the walls while a poker table served as the room’s centerpiece. In the far corner were two couches, on one of which sat the man Mark presumed to be Phosphorus. He looked young and arrogant at first glance, reminding Mark of a cocky kid who thought he could run a business back in Liberty Hill, but who would always fall to Mark in the end. The heart tattoo on the left side of Mark’s chest came from him; his sins were driven by his heart rather than his brain, and that’s why Mark had defeated him. It was a fitting tattoo to remember him by. The major difference between Phosphorus and that kid was abundantly clear, though. Phosphorus wore an unbuttoned white jacket with no shirt; across his chest and extending down his left arm, his skin glowed a brilliant red-orange. Underneath the glow, Mark could see his ribcage, lit up by the man’s special ability. “Heh, on time I see,” Phosphorus chuckled. “I knew I could count on you.” Mark took a seat on the couch across from the crime lord. “Of course,” he said. “This business is always about impressions, and I’ve come to know that that means dependability as well as fear. Meet your opponents first, before you destroy them. And I believe that in a couple of months, I may have to destroy you.” “So it’s true then,” Phosphorus said. “You’re gonna hang around a while? That’s unfortunate. Oh well.” “Nice to meet you. I’d shake your hand, but I’ve been told that’s not really a good idea.” Mark stretched out on the couch, throwing his arms behind his back. “So you’re the Phosphorus, huh? I expected someone a little older to have been behind the work you’ve done. It’s impressive.” “Call me Alec,” Phosphorus said. He paused for a second. “I’m old enough. Besides, I’ve got a damn good reason why I’m doing this. Pardon the wordplay, but it’s a fire in my heart, so to speak, y’know? A drive.” Before Mark could respond, Alec’s breathing started tensing up. He turned his head to the doorway of the room. “Melanie! Food!” he shouted. The blonde woman from before quickly came over with a man in a suit, tied up and restrained. She dropped him at Alec’s feet before leaving, not saying a single word. The man’s expression turned frantic. “No, wait, please. Do anything. Ta--take my kids, instead. My wife. I can help you!” He was quickly shut up by Alec’s searing-hot left hand on his mouth, as the man quickly vaporized into thin air. Only a skeleton remained of where he was once standing. “Wow,” Mark said, shaking his head. “That is impressive, I have to say. Not exactly a good dude there, either. Guess you know how to pick ‘em.” “Yeah,” Alec laughed. “I only eat the rich types, people who have no spine or soul. That, and people who disappoint me, of course.” Alec paused for a second. “You know, I never wanted to be a criminal. I started this because I had to; if I don’t feed, I’ll die, and feeding ain’t exactly something you want to do in the open. But now? I’d say it feels pretty good. Not perfect, y’know? But it’s getting there.” Mark nodded. “I get it, I really do. You know, you and I have the same power, so to speak.” Alec gave him a confused look. Mark cleared his throat. “I was on deployment in Moldora several years ago. I was a young soldier, about your age, and I had just killed a few men for the first time. Every day, their voices screamed in my head. So we were taking down this horrible waste of a human being; he had enslaved thousands of men, women and children to work for the worst kind of people. And the night before the raid, I asked him how he did it. That man showed me the art of sin-grafting; for every sin he committed, he added just a bit more ink to his body. He kept the memories of those he killed in the tattoos. Well, I thought it was bullshit, but then he tattooed this dragon onto me.” He pointed at his first and favorite tattoo, the dragon that coiled around his bald head. “From that day on, whenever I kill someone, I tattoo myself with something to remind me of them. And I always use this special ink, which gives the tattoo life. Power. Doesn’t make it right, but it makes it damn near worth it. Now you, you have to kill people to live. I dunno how you got into that predicament, but you realized the same thing I did. If you get power from your sins, then it’s more than worth committing them, don’tcha think?” Alec’s expression soured. “I think you’re fucking wrong about me,” he said. He stood up, towering over Mark. The skull on his shoulder sensed that he was in an incredible amount of danger. Mark said nothing; he wanted to see where this would go. “I’m not a monster,” Alec huffed. “I was a good kid who wanted to do the right thing, and this bitch made me into who I am now. And my father just lets her stay by his side. He doesn’t notice shit. He doesn’t realize who that woman is. And so I’m here to fucking destroy the city he’s created, to burn it down to the bedrock on which it stands.” Mark raised an eyebrow. “Your father is Josiah Power? I see it. I think you’ll realize you’re a lot more like him than you imagine.” Alec lunged at Mark, nearly putting a hand on him. Acting quickly, Mark summoned the dragon from the tattoo on his head. Immediately, the ink turned into a violet energy construct of a serpent, lunging forward at Alec and releasing a sonic blast. Alec flew across the room, landing among the slot machines on the other wall. “See, you’ve got this terrifying power,” Mark chided. “But I got so many years on you it’s hard to imagine. That, Alec, is why I will take this city.” Alec writhed in pain as Mark stood over him and left. This was not the pain he felt when he hadn’t fed in a while, nor was it the pain he felt from Mark knocking him into the wall. No, this was omnipresent, coating every nerve of his body like it did when he was hungry, but ten times stronger. He cried out, bringing himself to his feet and stumbling out the door of the room. He had someone he needed to see. ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ “Help,” Alec gulped, grabbing Helga’s wrist in the hallway of the New Coast Polynesia Resort. He was wearing gloves, of course; he couldn’t let anyone else know about his abilities. Nearly collapsing, Alec straightened himself using Helga’s body as a support. “Alec,” Helga said, faking a smile. “You know, you are the last person I expected to see today. I have to say, I am very impressed with what you’ve managed to accomplish with your abilities. Seems like they’re treating you better than I had expected.” She paused for a second, looking around for bystanders. There were none. “Come into Room 104 with me, and we can talk. I don’t want to have to do to any others what I did to you.” The two of them walked further down the hall, entering Helga’s personal lab as Helga closed the door behind him. It was just as pristine, Alec thought, as the one Helga had imprisoned him in, although it was considerably smaller. Alec had only seen the inside of this lab from the small glimpse he had gotten when he had asked Helga to help save the day. The worst mistake of his life, Alec thought. He cared about his father for one moment, wanted to help save his life, and it cost him gravely. “I take it you have questions about your newfound powers?” Helga turned to the door and latched it shut. “Don’t worry; I’ve soundproofed the room much better since our last encounter. I could yell at the top of my lungs that you were Phosphorus, and Curtis in the next room wouldn’t do so much as to look up from his computer.” Alec nodded. “You said that this power would kill me. Everything’s starting to hurt like a bitch; I fed on my way here and it didn’t help. I need answers.” “Well,” Helga said, “I wish I could give you all the answers you need. Primer is a very imprecise science, and it reacts differently for every person that it works on. That being said, none of the powers triggered by your specific primer have killed anyone in less than 6 months. Trust me when I say I’ve done extensive research on this one.” Alec winced. He imagined Helga Jace, the kind hearted TV personality dedicated to treating people with metahuman conditions, giving hundreds of people the same treatment he had. It made so little sense, but with what he had seen of Helga in the past few months, it still fit perfectly. Helga continued as Alec sat himself down on a nearby hospital bed draped in thin paper. “That being said, any sort of pain you might experience is par for the course, and none of it is a sign of your impending death. Most of it will make you want to die, but you’ll be fine for several more months at least. Now, unfortunately, I still have work to do that my team can’t know about, so curing you would not benefit me. But so far, you’ve been exemplary in your discretion about these matters. Not to mention the immense distraction you’re providing for them; they barely have time to think about anything I’m doing.” Alec nodded. He resisted attacking Helga outright, as he knew she was his only chance at salvation. That did not mean that he wasn’t ready to do so. Instead, he looked her in the eyes and weakly spoke. “Will this new pain go away?” “Hard to tell. I could help run some tests, but as hard as it may seem to imagine, I don’t know everything about every power that comes my way. Most likely, though, there will be high points and low points, as there are with every disease. I can tell from your demeanor, for example, that you’re feeling significantly less pain than when you literally grabbed me, even if it doesn’t feel that way. By the way, don’t scare an old lady like that, especially with your specific ability.” Helga chuckled wildly. Alec felt sick to his stomach, even though these past few months had hardened him. This, he thought, was what true monsters looked like. “Fine,” Alec said, standing up. “You know what? I don’t need any more help. I got money, I got power, I got ladies, and it’s all because of your experiment. When the power does start to kill me, I’ll be here. But until then, I’m not coming through this door again.” Alec left Room 104 and began to leave the hotel. Helga was right; as he got up, the pain had begun to fade. After a few seconds, it had all but disappeared for the time being. He got to the lobby, where he immediately noticed a new complication. Josiah Power, his father, was standing over the desk, talking to the receptionist. Before he could turn the other way, he saw Alec standing there. He fell silent, his gaze softening. “Alec,” he muttered, coming closer. “I thought… I thought you left the city.” The rage that Alec felt that first night in the hotel began to bubble up again, but he kept it down. “Hey, Dad. Yeah, I was gone for a while, but I’m… I couldn’t leave.” He paused, considering his next words carefully. “I think I’m ready to talk to you again.” “That’s fantastic,” Josiah smiled. “Take your time; you don’t owe me anything. But if you want, maybe we could get dinner sometime?” Alec nodded. “I think I’d like that.” It was a lie, he told himself; he had to come up with something on the spot. But it worked in his favor; if he had a relationship with his father again, the betrayal would be much sweeter when he got to that point. He couldn’t wait to see Josiah’s face as he realized who he truly was. But that had to wait. As he left the lobby, he smiled. The pain may come back, but those who deserved it would also feel his pain in due time. ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ ”Alright,” Curtis said through his microphone. ”We’ve spotted the Tattooed Man in Kim’s area. Anyone currently in the field, converge on 44th Street and H. We need to take him down sooner than later.” “Got it,” Ray said, hovering high above Josiah’s central shopping district in New Coast before taking off due west. Below him, Thunder, Blue Devil and Commander Steel patrolled the streets; each of them began to make their way to the location in question through a series of Dan’s portals. As he arrived on location, Ray began to take in the sites around him. The area of the city that one of Josiah’s associates, Terrence Kim, developed felt much more like a normal city than a theme park. That said, it still felt like a theme park, if only because of how sleek and untouched the buildings were. Towering white-and-blue skyscrapers surrounded the wide streets of this area, with tropical foliage in planter boxes along the sidewalks. Palm trees dotted the curbsides, which featured parking spaces where the cars would face the curb. What took Ray by surprise the most, however, was how empty this part was. Not all of Kim’s territory was available to the public yet; only the bare minimum was completed. Ray landed on the street as Dan, Anissa and Marc portalled in behind him. Several blocks ahead of them, the Tattooed Man was smoking a cigar. He quickly noticed them and put it out before turning to them. The Tattooed Man let out a hearty chuckle as he took a few steps forward. “Well, well, well. You finally found me. Hey Marc, how’s the missus doing? You know, I could tell that she was stalking me when I got out. I served my time, why do I need to get harassed for what I’ve already done?” “Seems like it was well worth it,” Commander Steel said. “Considering where you ended up, Mark, you can’t take the high ground here..” “This small talk was never my favorite part. Let’s get this over with.” Two violet wings of energy sprouted from the Tattooed Man’s back, allowing him to tower over the other heroes. Ray immediately met him in the sky. From a sword tattoo on his left arm, he summoned a blade of energy that he immediately gripped with both hands before charging at Ray. Ray dodged the Tattooed Man’s first attack, responding with a barrage of light blasts. From the ground, Commander Steel fired his own bolts of energy from the wrist-cannons Helga had designed for him. The sword dissolved and was replaced by a shield that grew from a small tattoo on the back of the criminal’s left hand. For several seconds, the Tattooed Man sustained the heroes’ continuous fire, but it was interrupted when the Blue Devil portalled onto the shield and began punching at it over and over again. The Tattooed Man dissolved the shield and dived out of the way, flying higher to avoid further attacks. Ray chased after him and Dan portalled himself back onto the ground. “Now this, this is fun,” the villain chuckled to himself. “Marc, why couldn’t you learn to fly, or build some glider or something? Sky battles are awesome!” The dragon on the top of the Tattooed Man’s head came loose, chasing after Ray. He fired out a concentrated beam of light while flying away, but the dragon kept going. Before he could stop it, the dragon screamed, letting loose a powerful high-pitched sound, and Ray fell to the floor. The Tattooed Man landed on the ground, his wings dissolving as he stood over the fallen hero. “Now this will be a fun one to ink. I wonder, how should I remember you by? I’d do a lightbulb, but I don’t think you’re that bright to begin with.” A bolt of energy from Marc’s cannon stopped the villain from finishing Ray off, hitting his right shoulder and making him turn to the other heroes. Thunder leapt up onto the side of a nearby high-rise, tackling the criminal from behind as he was distracted. She began to force a pair of handcuffs onto him, but the Tattooed Man quickly summoned his wings again, knocking Thunder down as he turned to the skies. The lightning tattoo on the villain’s right arm began to let out a violet glow. From the skies, he fired powerful beams of lightning. The first hit Anissa, knocking her down; the second and third were fired at Commander Steel. A metal shield expanded from the hero’s own right arm, protecting him. As the Tattooed Man flew down, a portal from the Blue Devil intercepted him and brought him face-to-face with the two heroes left standing. The Tattooed Man readied another bolt, knocking Dan clean out. “Now,” he chided, “it’s just the two of us. Like old times, isn’t it?” He resummoned the sword and began exchanging blows with the soldier. Commander Steel quickly discharged another energy blast, which knocked the Tattooed Man a few steps backwards as he began to charge up another lightning bolt. He stopped. The skull tattoo on his shoulder began to sense another presence nearby. From above, another hero flew down, clad in a pristine silver costume with glowing accents. In the center was the letter “T” in a circle, clearly the symbol of the hero Mister Terrific. He glided on what looked like two green glowing disks that appeared to be made of pure energy. He looked down at some sort of holographic console emanating from his wrist. The Tattooed Man quickly recognized that this must be the Blue Devil’s associate, the one who once worked for Mister Terrific. The villain was used to recognizing Commander Steel’s body language, even behind that mask of his, and he knew that his enemy was just as surprised as he was. The new hero’s drones quickly surrounded the Tattooed Man, opening fire with green laser-blasts all around him. The Tattooed Man couldn’t take it, and quickly fell unconscious himself. ”Hey,” Curtis said as he flew down. ”I noticed you needed help.” ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ “So, wait,” Ray began to say as the heroes converged in Room 103. Helga had just finished performing medical care on the three members of Coastguard who were knocked out during the battle, and they were now calling a meeting to discuss what had happened. “You’re--you’re a hero now? When?” Curtis nodded. “Not always; I’ll be on comms for a lot of the time. But when you guys need it, Helga and I developed this suit. I’ll be calling myself the Technocrat.” “Cool,” Ray said. He poked at the Technocrat suit, which was standing up in the corner of the room, connected to a charger. “I’d have to disagree,” Anissa said. “Curtis, you’re incredibly important to us. We can’t risk something happening to you.” Curtis nodded. “Well, unfortunately, it’s not really your choice. I’ll make extra sure to choose my battles; don’t worry. But it’s important to me that you are all safe. The Tattooed Man would’ve killed all of you if I hadn’t come out there. And with Courtney in Opal half the time and Cisco… you know… we need more hands on deck.” “He would’ve killed you, too, if he had known you were coming,” Anissa remarked. “And now, everyone who comes to New Coast will know about you. Nothing’s changed; you just had the element of surprise this time.” Dan, who was sitting in the corner, finally spoke up. “Look,” he said. “I get why you’re worried, Anissa, I really do. I’m worried, too; like, really terrified outta my mind that my friend’s gonna get hurt doing this. But if there’s someone who can pull off this stuff, it’s Curtis. I wouldn’t try and stop him, either; he’s a very stubborn man.” “Alright,” Anissa huffed. “But I’m not gonna like it.” “The only question,” Marc laughed, “is what flavor of ice cream he’s gonna be. I can’t think of any grey ice-creams.” “That’s for Josiah to figure out,” Curtis smiled. “If I had to pick? Probably mint chocolate-chip. All of your weird fruit flavors are upsetting to the palate.” Everyone laughed around them, except for Anissa. It still didn’t feel right for Curtis to be going out there, and she knew that feeling wouldn’t change. But they were right; she had to deal with it. ≈≈≈≈≈ 🔱 ≈≈≈≈≈ Mark Richards woke up. His surroundings didn’t feel familiar, but they clearly weren’t any sort of prison. The building he found himself in was some sort of makeshift cabin made of wood. He was tied to a wooden chair on a grass floor. He looked at the ceiling; above him, the panels of wood were ornately painted in patterns of green and silver. “Where am I?” he asked, dazed. A man walked over to him in a red-and-brown robe. Draped over him was a green cape decorated with one glowing red gemstone on it. The first thing Mark noticed about his face was his two piercing green eyes, which seemed to see into his soul. “Greetings, Mark,” the man said. “I know you have many questions, but trust me when I say I am not an enemy.” Mark chuckled dryly. “When I’m tied to a chair like this, that’s usually hard to imagine.” “We both know that those bindings would not hold you if you did not want them to,” the man said in a monotone voice. “We simply had to restrain you, as you tended to flail around when unconscious.” He walked over to Mark and untied the knots that kept him tied to the chair. “My name is Samuel, and we have the same goals: to destroy Coastguard and to rule New Coast City. I am gathering people close to the Coastguard, people with vendettas against their members. You fit these criteria easily; another one of these people has already been clamoring to meet you.” A tall, thin man with pale skin and dark hair walked over to him. He wore a suit and tie that had clearly been hastily put on. Mark stood up and shook his hand. “Hi,” he smiled, speaking in a nasal voice. “Michael Clarion, occultist extraordinaire. Pleased to meet you. I also just got out of prison. Now, I have a lot of questions about your tattoos. They are mystical in origin, correct? I’m very interested to discuss the finer points of this with you.”
18k off a 4k freeroll vs. $800 to $12 to $10k. My first time playing bacc vs. most recent.
Maybe not the best gambling come up ever told, but my personal best. Not dollar wise, I've cashed out way more before. It's a long read, but worth it.... Check this shit out.... I go up to buy a vintage boat in Illinois. 12 hour drive to Texas. Due to crazy weather (worst thunderstorm I have ever driven through by far) and even crazier girls, get stuck in St. Louis. Had an incredible night with and even more incredible woman on her birthday. Start heading home back to Texas. Driving through Oklahoma it starts up again, really bad rain. Nope, not doing this again, I take the next exit. I'm in Tulsa. Exit coincidentally at the hard rock (was just gonna wait the storm out or maybe see if they would comp my room). They say no way, you don't have any players card and this ain't Vegas, you gotta do some damage to earn your free room. I'm like ok...bet....(I am a high stakes baccarat player) So I buy in with $800, tell cashier that I'll be back shortly with $10k. Yeah......okay buddy sure.... I get wrecked, down to my last $12. Feeling shitty and mad at the rain. I proceed to turn that $12 into...well alot. Table max is $1000. My new best bud Jason from OKC was there and we started killing it. We made a deal with the pit boss that if we run them out of $500 chips they would go to cage and just out the golden $1000 chips. They said yeah ok, those chips are dusty because they never need them. I hit max bet wins 9 separate times. Beat a natural 8 with a natural 9 (if you don't know bacc it's the hardest and most satisfying thing in the world) twice for table max bet if $1000. My buddy Jason and I followed each other rarely betting against each other. We wrecked that table bad and did what we said we would do, drained every $500 chip they had. Pit boss begrudgingly called the cage for the ultra rare $1000 chips. Said it hasn't happy in 3 years. In 3 hours I hit my goal, cashed out at exactly $10,000. And headed to cashier. Same girl who I told her I'd be back either broke or with 10k. Slow walk, with my best ass face on. You could tell she felt bad because unlike the dealers cahiers love when people win. I put 10 $1000 chips on the window table, and said....I don't fuck around when it comes to Baccarat. Told ya. She flipped out, couldn't believe it. Got a casino hostess, free suite which was super nice, and a free room anytime I am in Tulsa. Also there was this Mexican pimp who was like a degenerate one armed bandit (plays slot machines like a tool). He tried to hustle me for all his jewelry for like $2000. I gave him $250 but only if he included his heiña's turquoise ring as well (I am a fucking savage). So that's why I am all blinged out on the drive home. And yes, for the doubters, I didn't give a dime back and drove straight home. Going to Vegas in two weekends with some girls and an even nicer free suite. Not going to gamble at all, just rent an exotic car and finally do all the cool Vegas non strip fun nature activities Ive always wanted. Lake Tahoe, Red Rock Canyon, float trip, etc. Yes 2020 sucks but I'm tired of it brining me down. Met somebody very special and from here on out I'm dedicated. Positive vibes only!!!! 💯 Required disclaimer: I don't even like to gamble because it is super stressful for me. I only go once or twice a year. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS. Scared money don't make no money..... Oh, big shout-out to mother nature. Without those two rainstorms I wouldn't have fallen in love or had a much needed come up. If only I could have danced with my baby I'm the rain it would have been icing on the cake. Made it home safe to Texas with boat intact and a fat stack. Life is good!!!! P.s. I was taught baccarat while living in Korea for 3 years. My white ass with big blonde hair and blue eyes, and for some reason Al the older Koreans would stop me in the street saying James Dean......James Dean!!! Well I was playing in a poker tournament, this guy does the James Dean thing during a break in the tournament as I'm walking to get a quick bite if food and bathroom. It's the final table and I'm in like 3rd place with 7 players left (not too big, I think it was $300 buy in, 100 players or so) . Anyway so he stops me and says....in his best broken English, Player ....Banker...James....James (he points at each).... Player, Banker?!?! I'm like shit I dunno this weird Asian card game never even seen it. Banker is like the house right? House always wins, so I say and point banker.... Again with the natural 8 losing to natural 9, player loses. Bank wins. Guy shits a brick and slides me his winnings. He makes me sit down. I realize he bet 4.2 million won ( like ~4000USD) at the time. And he just gave it to me thinking I was his good luck charm. He taught me how to play (it's very very easy to learn bacc...) But more importantly taught me how to play with balls of steel which is a required learned skill in this game. We proceed to wreck the table, I think I cashed out somewhere close to $18k and he hit like 75k. I ended up going back to tournament damn near blinded out but still in 5th place. Took third place and took home whatever $$$ that was. Like I said I have cashed out more but my first and last times playing bacc were extremely memorable. 18k off a 4k freeroll and $800 to $12 to $10k. What do you guys think
My first time playing bacc vs my most recent time (EPIC POLL & INSANE STORY)
Maybe not the best gambling come up ever told, but my personal best. Not dollar wise, I've cashed out way more before. It's a long read, but worth it.... Check this shit out.... I go up to buy a vintage boat in Illinois. 12 hour drive to Texas. Due to crazy weather (worst thunderstorm I have ever driven through by far) and even crazier girls, get stuck in St. Louis. Had an incredible night with and even more incredible woman on her birthday. Start heading home back to Texas. Driving through Oklahoma it starts up again, really bad rain. Nope, not doing this again, I take the next exit. I'm in Tulsa. Exit coincidentally at the hard rock (was just gonna wait the storm out or maybe see if they would comp my room). They say no way, you don't have any players card and this ain't Vegas, you gotta do some damage to earn your free room. I'm like ok...bet....(I am a high stakes baccarat player) So I buy in with $800, tell cashier that I'll be back shortly with $10k. Yeah......okay buddy sure.... I get wrecked, down to my last $12. Feeling shitty and mad at the rain. I proceed to turn that $12 into...well alot. Table max is $1000. My new best bud Jason from OKC was there and we started killing it. We made a deal with the pit boss that if we run them out of $500 chips they would go to cage and just out the golden $1000 chips. They said yeah ok, those chips are dusty because they never need them. I hit max bet wins 9 separate times. Beat a natural 8 with a natural 9 (if you don't know bacc it's the hardest and most satisfying thing in the world) twice for table max bet if $1000. My buddy Jason and I followed each other rarely betting against each other. We wrecked that table bad and did what we said we would do, drained every $500 chip they had. Pit boss begrudgingly called the cage for the ultra rare $1000 chips. Said it hasn't happy in 3 years. In 3 hours I hit my goal, cashed out at exactly $10,000. And headed to cashier. Same girl who I told her I'd be back either broke or with 10k. Slow walk, with my best ass face on. You could tell she felt bad because unlike the dealers cahiers love when people win. I put 10 $1000 chips on the window table, and said....I don't fuck around when it comes to Baccarat. Told ya. She flipped out, couldn't believe it. Got a casino hostess, free suite which was super nice, and a free room anytime I am in Tulsa. Also there was this Mexican pimp who was like a degenerate one armed bandit (plays slot machines like a tool). He tried to hustle me for all his jewelry for like $2000. I gave him $250 but only if he included his heiña's turquoise ring as well (I am a fucking savage). So that's why I am all blinged out on the drive home. And yes, for the doubters, I didn't give a dime back and drove straight home. Going to Vegas in two weekends with some girls and an even nicer free suite. Not going to gamble at all, just rent an exotic car and finally do all the cool Vegas non strip fun nature activities Ive always wanted. Lake Tahoe, Red Rock Canyon, float trip, etc. Yes 2020 sucks but I'm tired of it brining me down. Met somebody very special and from here on out I'm dedicated. Positive vibes only!!!! 💯 Required disclaimer: I don't even like to gamble because it is super stressful for me. I only go once or twice a year. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS. Scared money don't make no money..... Oh, big shout-out to mother nature. Without those two rainstorms I wouldn't have fallen in love or had a much needed come up. If only I could have danced with my baby I'm the rain it would have been icing on the cake. Made it home safe to Texas with boat intact and a fat stack. Life is good!!!! FIRST TIME PLAYING BACC: I was taught baccarat while living in Korea for 3 years. My white ass with big blonde hair and blue eyes, and for some reason Al the older Koreans would stop me in the street saying James Dean......James Dean!!! Well I was playing in a poker tournament, this guy does the James Dean thing during a break in the tournament as I'm walking to get a quick bite if food and bathroom. It's the final table and I'm in like 3rd place with 7 players left (not too big, I think it was $300 buy in, 100 players or so) . Anyway so he stops me and says....in his best broken English, Player ....Banker...James....James (he points at each).... Player, Banker?!?! I'm like shit I dunno this weird Asian card game never even seen it. Banker is like the house right? House always wins, so I say and point banker.... Again with the natural 8 losing to natural 9, player loses. Bank wins. Guy shits a brick and slides me his winnings. He makes me sit down. I realize he bet 4.2 million won ( like ~4000USD) at the time. And he just gave it to me thinking I was his good luck charm. He taught me how to play (it's very very easy to learn bacc...) But more importantly taught me how to play with balls of steel which is a required learned skill in this game. We proceed to wreck the table, I think I cashed out somewhere close to $18k and he hit like 75k. I ended up going back to tournament damn near blinded out but still in 5th place. Took third place and took home whatever $$$ that was. Korea's biggest currency denomination is a 10k won bill, like $10. So I literally walked out with a paper bag filled with money, like I robbed a bank, went home and spread it all over the bed and had sex on it like I was Scrooge McDuck or Walter White or Lil Wayne. Oh to be young again. Like I said I have cashed out more but my first and last times playing bacc were extremely memorable. 18k off a 4k freeroll and $800 to $12 to $10k. What do you guys think? View Poll
I've already spoken with Vegas for the degenerates among us and I've been told the pre-show Hee-Haw o/u line is set at 3 after a measly showing of 2 Hee-Haws at Fenway 2. Live lines to come.
Just finished off way more food than anyone should eat from my favorite Chinese joint! What're y'all feasting on tonight?
Finishing up AHS Asylum before the show, first time seeing this. Man this show is faaaaacked up but so good
SET ONE COMMENTARY
Right out of left field with that call there Troy
Let's hope for a little yam in this one!
HOLY SHIT THIS ONE'S GONNA GO
This is absolutely looking like its gonna be one of those shows
Surprised this only the second Maze of the summer! I'm still hunting one with Lengthwise
That pinterest line makes me seriously consider taking a header off of a high ledge
Love Sample! Bit of a resurgence after being somewhat of a rarity the past couple of years
We're all in this together!
I love Fish's new trigger pad with the gong and triangle sooooo much
Oh fuck yeah let's get weird with this Gin dudes
SET TWO COMMENTARY
I'll be totally honest, I was at the debut of Soul Planet and absolutely despised this song at the time. That being said, it's grown on me more than any of the other new songs I think
Really cool beat Fish is playing there with the triplet on the hi-hat
Wider, Debut. Definitely digging this one so far. When they did that second transition in the Soul Planet jam I was wondering if they were moving to something composed but didn't recognize it. How lucky we are!
OH JESUS THAT WAS SMOOTH
Final Hurrah is another one that has really grown on me. The faceepluntintorokk sample has always driven me nuts cause I really enjoy the song portion but I think I can look past that going forward
Oh man this takes me right back to the lawn on that beautiful night in Camden. By far my favorite debut of the summer
You know how sometimes a song was just SCREAMING to be played...yeah now's one of those times
Loving the big Birds this summer!
Love to see some Rambo Big Red!!
Seems like the shows have been trending towards the longer side side this tour...me likey
----------------- THE SEXY MAN-O-METER [ ] Standing [ ] Raging [ ] Perspiring [ ] Crushing a sandwich [ ] Porno-clav action [ ] Glasses off [ ] Faceplanting into rokk [ ] Still Waiting [ ] All alone [ ] Melting [ ] Summoning demons [ ] Scanning pinterest *barf* [ ] Sexy Fender Rhodes action [X] Sobbing ----------------- DON'T BE A DICK AND ASK FOR STREAM LINKS IN THE COMMENTS WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AT THIS POINT Official Stream on Phish Radio: https://www.siriusxm.com/ Mixlrs won't be posted on here because, all together now, FUCK NUGS!!! Be discrete when sharing mixlrs amongst yourselves Let's have a great night folks!!!
Cardi B Reveals How Much Money She's Making from Every Summer Concert Gig
Cardi B is all about the money and she revealed just how much money she’s expected to pull in this summer at all of her concert gigs. The 26-year-old rapper took to Instagram on Thursday night (July 11) and shared a spreadsheet showing the guaranteed money she’ll take home at every gig in June, July, and the beginning of August. Cardi shared the breakdown to explain to fans why she hasn’t done a tour yet. Basically, she’s making more money in the festival and one-off concert gig circuit than she would with a full-fledged tour. “I find it so funny that people that ARE NOT FANS have the biggest concerns on why haven’t I done a tour. Welp because here you go, let me break it down for you,” Cardi wrote in the since-deleted post. “Let’s say if I go on tour and I do 600K a night right… sounds good but let’s get in the touring business shall we? Stage production gotta be massive since the fans pay massive so just on stage and production I will have to put about 450K maybe more a night since you know Bardigang deserve everything. Don’t forget, outfit, makeup, hair, I’ll be left with like 150k a night.” “Now why would I do that now when I can go on tour on my second album while I get festival and independent Cardi concerts. Money??? Mhhhhhmmmmmm… You see ya might think I’m dumb cause my attitude or the way I think but one thing bout Bardi I loveeeee money and I know how to make it …I hope I answer ya question …Thank you. Just stop it already,” she concluded. You can see the breakdown below, which shows the guaranteed fee Cardi will get from each gig. Some of the shows have potentials for bonuses too.
US SHOWS 6/15/19 at Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV – $300,000 guarantee 6/16/19 at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN – $400,000 guarantee 6/22/19 at BET Experience in Los Angeles, CA – $500,000 guarantee 6/28/19 at XO Cruise in Miami, FL – $350,000 guarantee EUROPE SHOWS 6/30/19 at Vestiville in Belgium – $750,000 guarantee plus private jet from USA 7/2/19 in Norway – $400,000 guarantee 7/3/19 at Roskilde Dyrskueplads in Roskilde, DK – $750,000 guarantee 7/5/19 at Wireless UK in London, UK – $750,000 guarantee 7/6/19 at Wireless Germany in Frankfurt A. Main, DE – $750,000 guarantee 7/7/19 at Longitude Festival in Dublin, IE – $750,000 guarantee 7/11/19 at Open Air Frauenfeld in Frauenfeld, CH – $900,000 guarantee NORTH AMERICA SHOWS 7/20/19 at Mid City State Fair in Paso Robles, CA – $750,000 guarantee 7/23/19 at BOK Center in Tulsa, OK – $450,000 guarantee 7/26/19 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, NE – $450,000 guarantee 7/27/19 at Target Center in Minneapolis, MN – $450,000 guarantee 7/30/19 at Bankers Life Arena in Indianapolis, IN – $450,000 guarantee 7/31/19 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA – $450,000 guarantee 8/3/19 at Veld Music Festival in Toronto, ON – $500,000 guarantee http://www.justjared.com/2019/07/11/cardi-b-reveals-how-much-money-shes-making-from-every-summer-concert-gig/
What's happening around town (Wed, Feb 26th - Tue, Mar 3rd)
Tulsa's event list.
Wednesday, Feb 26th
♪ Brown Bag It: Donald Ryan(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 12:10pm The Brown Bag It free noontime concert series at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center happens the first Wednesday of the month. The series features some of Oklahoma's finest professional musicians performing in the PAC's Westby Pavilion. A commanding and dynamic pianist, Donald Ryan has been called "a music kaleidoscope, sparkling at everything he…
Build a Reader Storytime: Preschool(Owasso Library - Owasso) Start Time: 10:00am The best in children's literature, songs, games, finger plays, rhymes and other reading-related activities are shared with your preschooler. For ages 3-5.
♪ Chris Knight(Mercury Lounge - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm CHRIS KNIGHT Almost Daylight "It's hard to know how people are gonna react," Chris Knight says of Almost Daylight , his ninth album and first new recording in over seven years. "I've written songs about a lot of different things going all the way back to my first record, and some folks still think ‘somebody kills somebody' is all I write…
Dog Play Wednesday presented by AARP Oklahoma(Gathering Place - Tulsa) Start Time: 9:00am Bark your calendars! All day, every Wednesday. But that’s not all! Once a month, Gathering Place will have a special event made just for you and your pup. Keep checking our events schedule to see Pup-coming activities you won’t want to miss. Our tails are wagging just thinking about it! Please note, all dogs must be on a leash. Dogs are not…
🍴 Ladies Night* with Janet Rutland(Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm DUET LADIES NIGHT TICKETING INSTRUCTIONS Duet Jazz offer a free ladies night the last Wednesday of every month. Ladies are free and are treated to a free glass of champagne. Gentleman are $10.00 When you get to the Purchase Ticket page here . it will say general admission ticket. Directly above it, click the blue- hyperlink that says PROMO CODE.…
♪ Lee Roy Parnell(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm
♪ Live on the Patio: Bandelier(Mother Road Market - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Live on the patio: Bandelier! Bandelier formed in the summer of 2010 in a warehouse in downtown Tulsa. Frontman Ryan Allen, originally hailing from Texas, spent a lifetime exploring the vast roots of American music eventually turning the pianist and composer into a full-fledged songwriter. Today, the band's music can be traced back to those same…
Local Cheese Sampling(Mother Road Market - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Join us for Foodie Flight Wednesday at the K66 General Store at Mother Road Market for free samples of our original and hot pepper hellim grilling cheese, as well as the best fresh ricotta Oklahoma has to offer.
♪ NGHTMRE - The Portal Tour(Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Cain's Ballroom welcomes NGHTMRE to Tulsa, OK on February 26, 2020 with Crankdat, WAVEDASH and Black A.M. YOU MUST HAVE A VALID iD TO ENTER! Advance Tier 1 - $20 + fees (limited quantity) Advance Tier 2 - $25 + fees Day of Show - $30 + fees Door - $30 Mezzanine (21+) - $40 + fees No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds! Support acts are subject to…
😂 Rob Little(Loony Bin - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Feb 29th
The Secrets of Sauerkraut(Tulsa Garden Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm RESCHEDULED FROM FEBRUARY 5. Lacey Wissen of Dale & Daughter will demonstrate how to prepare cabbage for sauerkraut and will show the tools used while presenting on the process and benefits of fermentation. The presentation will be followed by a flavor sampling, a Q&A, and participants will get to pack their own jars to take home and ferment…
♪ Track 5.: Lee Roy Parnell(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm Among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat, multiple Grammy Award nominee Lee Roy Parnell established his career through his impressive guitar offerings, smooth, soul-drenched voice and top-shelf songwriting skills. He heads to Track 5. on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.
Footloose(Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center - Broken Arrow) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 7:30pm BAHS Drama presents "Footloose" Feb 27 - March 1! Tickets are on sale now. And the best part is you can buy tickets online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/16313. Limited number of reserved seating available. Buy your tickets today! For more information call our box office at 918-259-5778
♪ The Freshmen(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 7:00pm
Play in the Fantasy Realm: Imaginary Friends(Oklahoma Center for the Humanities - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Play in the Fantasy Realm: Young Children's Relationships with Imaginary Companions Join us for an evening with Tracy Gleason, a developmental psychologist studying relationships, real and imagined, with a focus on young children's imaginary companions. Dr. Gleason will talk about the ways in which children interact with imaginary friends and…
😂 Rob Little(Loony Bin - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Feb 29th
Story Time(Gathering Place - Tulsa) Start Time: 4:00pm Fall in love with the magic found in children's books! Join us every Thursday at 4 p.m. and every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in ONEOK Boathouse for Story Time from guest readers. Guest Reader Schedule Saturday, Jan. 25th - Gathering Place Education Team February Guest Readers: Saturday, February 1 - Gathering Place Education Team Thursday,…
🎭 William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream(Chapman Theatre - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 8:00pm Purchase tickets online at utulsa.edu/tutheatre Adults: $15 Seniors Citizens (55+): $8 Students not from TU: $8 High School Students: 1 free ticket with school ID, otherwise $8 TU Faculty/Staff: $6 TU Students: Free opening night, otherwise $6
Friday, Feb 28th
70s/80s Throwback Night(Dennis R Neill Equality Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:30pm Your favorite gay disco is back open. Its time to have a ball. We have so much to learn about our history and such an exciting way to interact with it at OKEQ's Throwback Night: 70s/80s Edition. Join us for this FREE, all ages event with specialty drinks and cocktails, curated music, and all sorts of historical documents from Oklahoma's LGBTQ+…
♪ Aaron Lewis-Acoustic Songs & Stories(Brady Theater - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm Aaron Lewis - Acoustic Songs & Stories 7pm Doors / 8pm Show On Sale Fri 11/1 10am
♪ Andrew Harmon(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 5:30pm
♪ Asphalt Cowboys(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm
♪ DJ 2 Legit(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 6:30pm
♪ DJ Demko(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 6:00pm
♪ DJ Mib(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 7:00pm
Footloose(Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center - Broken Arrow) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 7:30pm BAHS Drama presents "Footloose" Feb 27 - March 1! Tickets are on sale now. And the best part is you can buy tickets online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/16313. Limited number of reserved seating available. Buy your tickets today! For more information call our box office at 918-259-5778
🍴 Gilcrease After Hours: Memories & Inspiration (FREE Admission)(The Gilcrease Museum - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Join us for an evening of cocktails and culture in celebration of our exhibition MEMORIES & INSPIRATION: THE KERRY AND C. BETTY DAVIS COLLECTION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ART. Admission is FREE! Schedule and details to come. This program is funded in part by Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views,…
🎓 Jake Hertzog Trio(Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm Jake Hertzog is a critically acclaimed guitarist, composer and educator whose career to-date has spanned nine albums as bandleader across jazz, rock and classical new music styles. He has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and India and performed and recorded with a diverse cadre of artists including Randy…
Madama Butterfly(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sun, Mar 1st Giacomo Puccini’s beloved "Madama Butterfly" comes to Tulsa during the Tulsa Opera's 2019-2020 season.…
🎓 Memory Gala 2020(Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 5:30pm Alzheimer’s Association Tulsa presents "Memory Gala" to celebrate the impact and opportunity this milestone presents with a night centered around the Alzheimer's Association's goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by 2025.
🏆 Oral Roberts vs. Incarnate Word(Mabee Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 3:00pm Oral Roberts Golden Eagles vs. Incarnate Word Cardinals First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. All tickets are buy one get one free. Tickets available online at MabeeCenter.com, over-the-phone at 918-495-6000, or in-person at the Mabee Center Ticket Office.
🍴 Teacher Happy Hour(Philbrook Downtown - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Oklahoma teachers are invited to drop in for a happy hour before our Women Who Changed Art (And a BIG Reveal!) event (free for Members, ticket required). Come meet up with other area teachers, talk shop, or just relax and grab a drink. Enjoy food, a cash bar, art, the incomparable Philbrook gardens, and best of all, other teachers. FREE for…
🍴 Vinyl Happy Hour(The Colony - Tulsa) Start Time: 4:00pm Bring your favorite vinyl to spin on our house sound system
🎭 William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream(Chapman Theatre - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 8:00pm Purchase tickets online at utulsa.edu/tutheatre Adults: $15 Seniors Citizens (55+): $8 Students not from TU: $8 High School Students: 1 free ticket with school ID, otherwise $8 TU Faculty/Staff: $6 TU Students: Free opening night, otherwise $6
🎨 Women Who Changed Art (And a BIG Reveal!)(Philbrook Downtown - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:30pm Women have made major contributions to the history of art, and yet are rarely in the spotlight. Join Bridget Quinn (author of "Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History") and Philbrook curators as they discuss the significant impact of women artists throughout history and unveil new additions to Philbrook’s collection by women…
Saturday, Feb 29th
Madama Butterfly(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) 1 day left Giacomo Puccini’s beloved "Madama Butterfly" comes to Tulsa during the Tulsa Opera's 2019-2020 season.…
continuing As I was picking myself up off the shooter’s shack floor, I glanced over to the TV. The ballplayers were all wandering around the field, looking skyward. Evidently, there was this hellacious explosion…even the television sports commentators were speculating as to what happened. Whoops. I looked out into the quarry. The wall that I had charged had receded some 75 feet. There was rather a large amount of shattered, blasted dolomitic limestone now in the quarry. Enough, I found out later, for a full month’s worth of orders. We never did find the blasting mats. I think they sort of evaporated. Luckily, the quarry is essentially an open amphitheater in plan view; basically a big hole in the ground with vertical limestone walls. The shockwave of the blast that didn’t spend itself shattering the limestone into which it was housed, blew out laterally, hit the opposite quarry wall, rebounded, and then dispersed, rather energetically, vertically upward. I set off car alarms for a 20 block radius. There were no broken home windows, as the lion’s share of the shock wave was redirected upward. Good thing there were no low flying zeppelins or dirigibles in the area... I waited the requisite time to allow for any loafers. There were none, so I jumped into the nearest wheel loader and began clearing the quarry floor. Hell, I had to so I could open the front gate. As I was clearing the floor, making pile number eight of the loose rock I had liberated, I heard the characteristic whoop-whoop of emergency vehicles. I parked the wheel loader, opened the front gate, and raised the green flag. That was enough blasting for one day. A few minutes later, three police cars zoom into the site. Two were local city cops, and one was a state trooper. “Hi, guys!” I waved, “Nice day, innit?” “Doctor Rock! We should have known.” One of the local boys groaned. “Hey, I did call you beforehand, as per procedure,” I said. Polack the cop walks up, just knowing I was responsible. “Yeah, but we didn’t figure on you terrorizing the entire city.” “Polack! How goes it?” I asked. The other local cop and the state trooper look to Polack, “You know this maniac?” “Oh, hell yeah. For years. Don’t worry, the good doctor is mostly harmless.” He chuckles. “Damn. OK. I guess everything’s OK. Just no more shooting today, please, Doctor. It’s going to take hours to calm everyone down.” He laments. “Yes, sir. I’m done for the day.” I reply, snickering slightly. The one local and state trooper depart, shaking their heads in amazement. This left Polack to follow me over to the shooter’s shack to mooch a cigar and whatever else he can find. “Jesus Hula-Dancing Christ, Rock. What the hell was that? I was all the way out in Whitewatosa and heard you.” He asks as he sneakily snakes a smoke out of my case. “Just some common chemicals in the proper proportions.” I snicker. “Which were?” he asks. I go in the back of the shed and toss him an empty container of one of the parts of the binaries I used. He catches it, reads the label, and drops it like a live grenade. “Binaries? Fuck! Like what you used at the tower?” he asks. “Yep. I used just a little more.” I reply. “Little more? Damn, as I said, we’ve been briefed on the stuff. This shit’s nasty.” He shakes his head. “Yeah. Fun, too.” I reply. Polack grabs a Sprechler’s Cream Soda out of the fridge as I opt for a cold Cream Ale and shot of potato juice. Hell, I was done for the day, so… We sit around and have a chat, just shooting the shit, as it were. Manly topics, so the conversation eventually steered over to guns. “Hey!” Polack remembers, “That’s right! You fucking owe me. Let me borrow that fucking cannon you carry. I want to show the chief a thing or two.” “Yeah, that’s right”, I agree, “When do you need it?” “This Friday, after shift. It’s the monthly qualifiers for us.” He notes. “Are pyromaniacs allowed in?” I ask. “To observe? Sure. To shoot? Nope. Insurance regulations.” He says. “What time?” I continue. “1800 hours.” He tells me. “I’ll be there. I’ll bring my gun and an assortment of loads. Hey, this could be fun!” I evilly smile. “Doctor. You’re doing that thing again. You’re grinnin’ like a shithouse rat. You know how much that scares me. Stop it.” He pleads. “No worries. Friday at 1800 hours.” I reply, grinning. Polack slurps down his Sprechlers, snitches another stogie, and squeals out of the quarry in a cloud of dense dolomitic dust. I arrive back at our flat, after stopping for two frozen custard Turtle Sundaes, to go. I give one to an appreciative wife and I ask her about her day. “Oh, went shopping with Oma. Got the cutest shoes, and a new purse, and…oh well, never mind. You’ll see.” Between bites of Turtle Sundae, she asks how my day went. “Oh, my dear. I had a real blast.” I replied, not lying in the least. Monday, after my first classes, I’m back in the faculty lounge, savoring a Greenland Coffee. There was the usual instructor chatter when Dean Vermiculari walks in. “Good morning, Dean!” I say. “Care for a sit-down and a coffee?” “Good morning, Doctor Rock. Yes, please to both.” He replies. I fix us both a fresh Greenland Coffee and return to our table. I hand him one and sit down to savor my soupçon. “How was your weekend?” I ask the Dean of the College. “Oh, very nice. Had a fine time catching some perch and crappie out on Lake Genever. I see you had a victorious weekend as well. Twice.” He smiles. “Twice?” I asked. “Well, your handling of the tower demolition made all the papers. Very, very well done, Doctor. I congratulate you.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. That means a lot. Just doing what I can with what I’ve got. But twice?” I replied. “It wasn’t front-page news, but I saw there was some, well, let us just say, ‘energetic activity’ out at the Silurian reef limestone quarry yesterday.” He grinned. “Oh, yes. I had a job to do and well, as I always say: ‘Nothing succeeds like excess.” I smile back. “Quite. This beverage you’ve created is really rather extraordinary, Doctor. Again, I thank you.” He tips his mug my direction in the age-old Midwestern salute. “It’s a little recipe I picked up on my last expedition to the northlands. I grew rather fond of the concoction.” I replied. “Ah, I see. Marvelous.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. High praise indeed.” I reply. “Which leads me to…ah, Doctor Rock. I have another favor to impose upon you.” He says, all serious. “Yes, Dean? How can I be of service?” I ask. “We, as you no doubt know, have many, many fine extractive mineral company connections. We actually receive quite a large amount of funding and endowments from them. They recruit here extensively for our young geoscientists. Now, since Dr. Pataariki has left for industry himself, I would like to appoint you as the College of Natural Sciences corporate liaison.” He explains. “Indeed?” I replied, too stunned for words for once. “Yes, indeed.” He continues, “It will require travel, mostly domestic, and delivering symposia at various companies on differing extractive geological subjects. You will also serve as host and university coordinator when they are present on recruiting tours. There will, of course, be additional remuneration to accompany the added responsibilities.” I slurped my coffee, thinking furiously. “Could I please first discuss it with my wife before I answer?” I ask. “Oh, Doctor. Of course, of course. Take your time. I will not require a reply until… tomorrow.” He smiles, finishes his coffee, thanks me again, and toddles out. “Yow, Es!” I exclaim, “This is one hell of an opportunity. It’s never before been offered to a junior professor. This will cement my tenure-track. It’s going to be a bitch with time, though. What do you think I should do?” “Well, Rock, honey, I think you should do…” Es begins. “No! None of that ‘do what you think is best’ stuff. I want your own thoughts, just like when I decided to go after my doctorate.” I explained. “OK, then.” Esme looks all serious like she’s going to deliver a bipartisan political speech. “Yes.” She says, firmly “That’s it?” I ask. “Yep. You asked I answered. We’ll make it work. We always do. You can’t let the Dean down. You will accept tomorrow without fear or qualms of your wife’s hesitations, of which I harbor none.” Esme proclaims. “Did I ever tell you of the myriad reasons I love you so?” I ask. The next morning I meet with Dean Vermiculari. He’s pleased that I accept and hands over to me the charter. Then the lists of company representatives, their contact information, and some other secret stuff that I can’t divulge right yet. A raft of oil companies will be coming in the late spring semester, so I need to contact each and every one to solidify dates, times and positions for which they’re recruiting. But that’s for then, I have something more proximal for now. I have a Friday appointment with Polack the cop at the town police shooting range. I arrive spot on time with my Casull .454 Magnum pistol, in its carry bag, along with a small duffel crammed with Pyrodex, Tannerite, and selection of specialty loads I had Herman the German, the inveterate gunsmith, create. Herman the German, his actual sobriquet, was this incredible gunsmith, craftsman, and all-around artillery specialist. Have any sort of problem with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol? See Herman. Gun holding too high? See Herman. Barrel warped? See Herman. Need solid gold projectiles for a certain one-off job? See Herman. Herman the German can sort it out. Just never ask him: “How?” “Ach! I’ve lived so long to learn, and you want it free? I’ll fix it, you pay, but I am only one knowing how!” Herman was a cranky old Kraut, and has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. Even my Grandfather had deferred to Herman when he had some particularly delicate machining operation that need special attention and was unique. As far as anyone knew, Herman had no family, but was never at a loss for friends. He was one of the most popular, and well known, but still oddly really unknown, kind of mysterious, old bastards in the entire community. Herman the German liked me because I could obtain for him certain high-energy things he couldn’t. All were entirely legal, but some were sort of out there in the gray zone. He also liked that I was educated, as he held education in the highest esteem. He also liked that I was of German extraction myself. I often made it a point to drop by with odd and unusual high-octane potables while never expecting anything in return other than a story or a shared cigar. Herman created some special loads for my .454 Magnum, which he prized. “I like your gun, Doctor Rock, it is so big! I can still see well enough to build things for it.” He told me one day over cheroots and Schnapps. Herman was a character to be certain. It must have been the pixie in him to dream up some of the specialty rounds he created for me to share with the local constabulary. He lived out in the county by himself in an old farmhouse. He had a full machine shop in his basement, complete with forge, metal handling equipment, and a firing test range. He handed back my .454, rather solemnly. “Doctor, I am afraid to say I couldn’t test all the special rounds I’ve created for you. I need to patch the hole in the cinder blocks in the downstairs range. Your gun punched right through the back…” he apologized. Now, Herman does all sorts of work on the local’s deer rifles, the police’s ordinance and has even worked some with the Baja Canada National Guard. Some of the little novelties he’s dreamed up for me are the first to escape his homemade basement test range. I felt oddly honored. After proving who I was to the nice range officer, I looked around trying to find Polack. “It’s 1550. Where the hell is Polack? I wondered. “Rock! Over here.” Polack calls to me. He motions me outside to the police department’s tactical outdoor range. I had thought all along he was referring to the indoors police target range. This might pose some problems. The tactical range was a series of clapboard shacks, all setup and designed to represent some downtrodden urban inter-city landscape. There were a couple of junked cars, broken sidewalks, storefronts, houses, bus stops…in short, all things necessary to replicate the seediest sections of a settlement where malefactors live and breed. The cops all run around this range, shooting at bad guy pop-up cut-outs and avoid the not-bad-guy pop-up cut-outs. They’ve got music blaring, firecrackers going off, all trying to re-create a shady deeply urban environment. Points are awarded by the accuracy of fire on the run, time to maneuver the course, and the ability of not gunning down innocent bystanders. It is not the best place to test a .454 Cusall. This hand cannon recoils like a fundamentalist Christian being solicited for donations to Anton LaVey, shoots flames and incandescent gasses like Smaug after a hard night of drinking and a stop at the Taco Bell buffet, is louder than a dime-store Karen demanding to see a Manager, and more powerful than a Ghost Pepper suppository. To quote Joe Piscopo: “It shoots through schools.” Especially faux-schools made of plywood. A .32 or .38 cop special is the correct weapon here; even a 9mm is a little heavy. Enough power to make a serious dent, easy on control, light on the recoil…a good tactical weapon. But, nothing succeeds like excess. Polack’s Chief is running around, capping off his ‘big ol’ .44 Magnum, and making the valley echo. He punches considerable holes in the pop-up cut-outs, but has such a hard time handling the recoil, his score is barely passable. Polack runs his test with his standard 9mm sidearm and qualifies easily. However, he’s nowhere near done with his Chief yet. I suggest to Polack we have a shoot-off. And since a .44 Magnum bullet ‘is so close to a .454 Magnum’, which it isn’t…the .454 Casull generates nearly 85% more recoil energy than the .44 Magnum; that we’d need something other than holes punched in plywood to judge the efficacy of each. We are literally just down the road from Max Yazzer’s farm and market. They’re the place you go for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. However, now, he has a surplus of melons. I think you can see where this is headed… I borrow Polack’s personal conveyance and run down to Max’s farm. I return with a trunk-load of elderly, overripe, cheap as chips, melons. Watermelons, Honeydews, Musks, and Casabas. We place them in strategic areas on the course, five for the Chief to find, and five for Polack. A .44 vs. a .454 melon-wise results in pretty much the same sort of mess: high-velocity fruit spatter. Although, the Chief was very impressed by the report of the .454. So, after running the tactical-melon course, clear demarcation of a winner was elusive. OK, OK, clever dicks. How about this? A standing shoot-off? We’ll set up 3 melons each at 30, 20, and 10 yards. Beginning at 30 yards, your time will be until you take out all three melons. But, they’re not going to be in a straight line, we’re going to make them somewhat camouflaged. You will stand in one small demarcated area, hunt those miscreant melons, and bring them to justice. Fastest time and greatest display wins, as determined by the Police Peanut Gallery. Polack and the Chief agree. The Chief goes first and dispatches the melons, with a fair amount of spatter, in 15.3 seconds. Not bad. Polack is next. He wipes out all the melons and creates some thoroughly impressive displays with Herman’s ‘special’ rounds. Normal ballistics for the .454 are, for a 250 grain (16 g) bullet, a muzzle velocity of over 2,400 feet per second, developing up to 2,800 ft-lb of energy. Herman’s hot loads are double that. Polack wins the day on impressive high-velocity melon distribution, but misses, so close, with a time of 17.0 seconds. Recoil’s a bitch. Then there are Herman’s ‘specialties’. The Chief is duly impressed and even comments that his ears are ringing even with the ear protectors. He asks to inspect the weapon. He is even more than duly impressed. Polack knows what’s up and asks the Chief if he’d like to give a whirl. Of course, the Chief can’t back down. Polack loads the .454 with 5 of Herman’s specialties: hollow-point rounds loaded hot, compressed, and tipped with alkaline earth metals, like metallic sodium and metallic potassium… We set up the nastiest, glorpiest, just barely-holding-together, overripe, laced with Tannerite (an impact-actuated low-explosive) watermelon at the ‘Concealed Carry’ distance of 5 meters. We slowly fade back into the distance to avoid the inevitable ‘Gallagher reaction’. The Chief fires one, and just nicks the top of the melon. Don’t laugh, with the type of recoil and heft of the sidearm, and tensing up in anticipation, it’s easy to be off the mark initially. The second round impacts dead-center. Now, alkaline earth metals and water don’t get along really well. In fact, their relationship is explosive. Especially explosive when delivered at 2,900 feet per second. The Chief catches a huge smattering of vitamin-packed watermelony back blast goo. He’s not entirely happy. He looks positively grisly with all that blown-up melon schmoo on his nice, neat uniform. He returns my gun and bans me from ever showing up at the police range again. Polack is on traffic duty for the next month. He figures it was well worth it. Back at the flat, Esme is shaking her head and wondering if I’ll ever grow up. “I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up.” I reply. I see I have several missed phone calls. Ah, me; no rest for the weary. Back to company-university liaison duties. After I had contacted these companies, I receive no less than 12 requests for symposia, talks, and seminars to be given to various level of industrial scientific employees in their respective companies. I am now slated to give academic conferences on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and seismic structural geology to different companies in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Casper, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In the next 12 weeks, I’ll be giving no less than 8 talks in seven cities. I speak with Dean Vermiculari on how best to handle the situation. He understands and appoints two graduate student teaching assistants to handle my classes while I’m on the road. That relieves me of being physically there, but I still have to grade papers, compose lesson plans, and keep things running smoothly until finals. Besides giving the talks, there’s travel to oil fields, production facilitates, manufacturing plants, hotels, restaurants while I’m in town…the pace is excruciating. I’m gone more than I am at university. Plus in my time back home, I’m still the ad hoc master blaster for the limestone quarry. Then, there’s the companies arriving on campus, and the roles are reversed. Now I’m the welcome wagon and have to sort out the logistics of receiving the company representatives. I need to set up the colloquia to introduce the companies to the prospective students, arrange lodging, arrange passes for the university, transportation, “Meet-and-Greet’s, ad infinitum. I knew this was having a bit of effect on me when I came back to the flat after one particularly grueling ordeal of canceled flights, full hotels, missed connections and lukewarm reception by the company workers. “Hello”, I said, as I walked in the flat, “I believe you have a reservation for…” Esme just stood there, wondering if I was having a laugh. No, I wasn’t. I was completely hallucinating from road weariness, lack of sleep, jet lag, and total disorientation. This continued on for the next approximately 18 months. Esme was beginning to have second thoughts about all this. My teaching load was diminished by one whole introductory course. However, I was still flying hither and yon, delivering symposia, meeting with young geoscientists and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the Oil Industry. I found it particularly fascinating. Time marched on and it was once again it was the recruiting season. We had no less than eight oil companies visiting the university in their quest to swell the roster of their junior scientists. I’m still busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a windstorm, but have settled into a groove of sorts. I know the company recruiters and they now know me. I’ve actually struck up friendships with several. Particularly since I take them to the best local restaurants and bars after their recruiting duties are finished. I’ve met with recruiting representatives of Shrill Petrol, Mexxon, Nobil, Nocono Oil, Flug, Geddy, Brutish Petroleum, and Qexaco. The recruiting season is winding down and I find myself with Red (not Adair), of Nocono Oil. “Well, Doctor Rock”, Red states, “Another fine recruiting run. We’ve snagged two of your young geologists and one geophysicist. I’d say it was almost a perfect score.” We’re sitting in the Norton’s Steakhouse. After a couple of prime pink porterhouses, we’re working on the post-dinner double vodka and bitter lemon for me, and Lagavulin for Red. “Almost perfect?” I ask. “Yeah. There’s been this one small nagging concern from our company higher-ups.” Red continues. “What’s that?” I ask. “We need some more senior people. For one thing, we’ve recently opened a new petroleum laboratory down in our Houston office. Going to need some serious talent to run that show.” Red says. “I see”, I reply, “And…?” “We need mentors. Those with varied and far-flung knowledge. They must be well educated, global in experience and stature, with an [ahem] diverse set of skills.” Red notes. “Whew”, I agree, “That’s a tall order. You want my help with names of possible candidates? Is that it?” “Not as such, Doctor.” Red drains his drink, motions for me to do the same, and orders another round. Our drinks arrive and Red downs half his in one gulp. “Well, then”, I continue, “How can I help?” Red chuckles, “For someone so educated, you can really be thick as two short planks at times.” I sit back, and sip my Old Thought Provoker. The mercury-vapors light off. “No!” I say, incredulously. “Oh, yes.” Red smiles. “No?” I ask, slowly taking in the possible effects of what he’s hinting at… “OK, Doctor Rocknocker”, Red gets all serious and corporate, “We’d like to offer you a position at Nocono Oil as Senior Laboratory Manager and Head of Corporate Continuing Education.” You could have knocked me over with a grenade. I was stunned. I fumbled with my drink. “Red, you old con artist” I reply, “Is this a set-up?” Red, serious as a heart attack, looks directly at me and replies, “Doctor Rock, absolutely not, it’s a genuine offer.” He slides over a folder with some papers inside. “Here are the particulars.” Reeling, I accept the folder. I open it and right after the corporate logos and legal bullshit, I see a tall figure with a whole raft of zeros trailing behind it. I read furiously. The job would be both interesting and challenging. It would be in Houston, with travel and teaching at all other company outposts on a regular basis. I reexamine that figure from before and verify that I’m not now hallucinating. The job comes with furnished, corporate-paid housing, incredible benefits, loads of opportunity for advancement, more opportunity to travel, really generous vacation time… “Right. On the level?” I ask again. “Yep.” Red bluntly says. “Well”, I gulp, “you know I have to discuss this with Esme”, whom he’s met several times previous. “Of course, and you probably want to finish out the semester, correct?” red asks. “Oh, yes.” I reply. There would be a monsoon of paperwork and other grunt work I’d need to conclude or hand over if I were to accept this offer. “OK, then”, Red finishes his drink, motions for me to do the same, a real rarity; but I was in another dimension at this point. He orders another round and sits back, waiting on a refill. “You have two weeks to reply” Red states. “I know that’s not a terribly long time, but we need to fill this position ASAP. Can I ask for that? Your answer, yea, or nay, within a fortnight?” Red demands. “Yes”, I reply. “I at least owe you that.” And that was the end of the discussion for the night about me joining the private sector. We stayed a few more hours, chatting, smoking my cigars, and discussing everything but the lumbering elephant in the room. We part outside as I need to head back to our flat. Red wants to go downtown to one of those “Gentleman’s Clubs” he’s heard were so famous at the time. I was flummoxed the whole cab ride home. It was late when I returned, but I simply had to wake Es with the news. “Rock, for pity’s sake, its 2 o’clock in the morning!” Es protests. “Can’t this wait until later?” “Sorry, my dear” I reply, probably as serious as I ever had with Esme. “This is a potential game-changer.” “What is it? Are you OK?” Esme trembles. “Oh, I’m fine. Better than fine.” I reply. She’s relieved. “Then what’s so important?” she asks. “Um…how would you like to move to Houston?” I ask. “You going to teach at Cougar High (University of Houston)?” she inquires. “Nope. Brace yourself. I’ve been offered a job with Nocono Oil.” I finally spill the beans. Esme is slightly stunned and sits down. I go to the wet bar, fix me a bracing potato juice and citrus and Esme a stiff white Zinfandel. I hand her the wine and she is still semi-dazed and digesting the information. I slurp a good portion of my drink, retrieve her Sobranjes and me a cigar from my Turkmenistan humidor. I sit on the couch next to her and hug her soundly. “Esme? Es? Earth to Es? You in there?” I joke. “Oh, Yeah. Rock. Really? Hang on”, she leaves, returning with her housecoat as this might take a little time. “So?” I ask, “Your thoughts. Now! Immediately! Initial reaction!” I try to jar her back into reality. “Well, what do you want?” she asks. “C’mon, my dearest. You know I hate that. No, what do you think? What do you honestly think?” I reply. We both fire up our smokes, and I refresh our drinks. We return to the dinner table where Red’s folder lies. “Es, here. Look at this.” I say, sliding the portfolio over to her. She reads like a hungry man at a Vegas casino buffet. I can tell where she was stopped by something extraordinary. “This is for real?” she asks, “Red’s not pulling a fast one?” “Nope. It’s the genuine article”, I tell her, “He needs my reply within two weeks.” “Rock, Rock…I just don’t know. It’s a lot to process at 0230 in the morning. Let’s go to bed and have a think in the morning. You have the luxury of at least that amount of time.” She notes. “Right again, as usual”, I say, “Stuff it. It can wait.” We toddle off to bed. The next morning, over Cuban omelets and Greenland Coffees, we sort through the particulars. “Rock, it’s an extraordinary offer. But, do you want to leave teaching? I remember how you got all animated by Dean Vermiculari giving you the corporate liaison job and how that would improve your shot at tenure.” She notes. “I just don’t know. I’m still shell-shocked.” I tell her. “Let me go to school and we’ll pick this up tonight. We both have work to do no matter what. Oh, bloody hell. I hadn’t considered your job. Another wrinkle in the mess.” “Don’t you worry about that”, Esme smiles. “One catastrophe at a time.” “I do so love you.” I hug her soundly. “Think I should mention this offer to anyone at school?” “No. Definitely not.” Esme shakes her head. “Let’s figure this out on our own.” “I agree”, I say, kiss her and depart for school once again. The next week was a blur. Recruiting duties were dragging and I was being preoccupied. Even my students noted the lack of in-room explosions lately. I spend the next Saturday at the quarry, doing some small amount of blasting. I quiz the quarry owners about their progress in acquiring a new master for the quarry’s operation. “Oh, Doctor Rock” they gush, “You’re doing such a fine job, we haven’t really looked. Why do you ask?” “No particular reason at this time, I reply, “But perhaps you might want to begin looking” The chinks in my armor were finally starting to show. Sunday was spent out on Sliver Lake, with Esme and me chasing the elusive crappie, perch, and bucketmouth bass. It also gave us a chance to clear our heads from work, school and other such intrusions. We both needed a bit of downtime. Later that night, after a meal of beer-battered fillet of crappie and perch on the barbie, we sit down at the dinner table. The portfolio sits there, taunting us. I get up, makes us both our drinks, sit down and declare that this is it. “Es, darling” I say, “its nut-cuttin’ time. We need to make our decision.” “You’re right.” Es agrees, “Time for risk-reward analysis. Get some paper and some pencils.” We spend the next few hours listing the pros and cons of accepting the Houston position or staying here and pursuing my tenured professorship. After several hours, I stretch, stand, and go to the fridge. I retrieve the bottle of Bollinger Les Vieilles Vignes Francaises I had purchased the other day. I return to the table with the wine and the glasses, pop the cork and pour us both a glass of high-brow bubble water. I hug and kiss Esme like I had just returned from a long, solo expedition. “Esme, my darling. I’d like to propose a toast. First to us. Hа здоровый!” “Cheers!” Esme replies. “Secondly to Red, Dean Vermiculari, the quarry guys, Polack the Cop, and all the others that makes our life weird around here.” “Seconded”, Es echoes. “Finally: to Houston, Texas. Our new home!” I finally add. The next morning, Dean Vermiculari peers over the top of his pince-nez glasses. He’s not looking overly happy with me right now. “Why is it, Doctor, that everyone that receives the job of corporate liaison ends up going with corporate?” he asks. “Perhaps it’s just the exposure to another world that exists beyond academia.” I reply, truthfully. “Doctor Rocknocker,” the Dean gravely states, “I am not at all happy about your decision. We had great hopes for you here and you were riding right up the tenure track. Another five years and it would have been assured.” “Five years is a long time, Dean”, I state the obvious. “Yes, indeed.” The Dean replies frostily. “However, you are young. Perhaps you need to get this private sector nonsense out of your system, then you can return to academia where you belong.” “Perhaps, perhaps”, I reply. “Please, do consider this option down the road. You and your antics will be missed here, by students and faculty alike.” He says. “I will, Dean, I promise.” I reply “However, for now, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.” “Doctor, I will miss your strange and unique way of looking at life. I reluctantly accept your resignation at the end of the current semester and wish you all the best in your newest endeavors. Please remember us when corporate support for academia is mentioned in your new company.” he says. “I promise you, Dean, I will not forget what I’ve learned here and what you’ve taught. It’s the least I can do,” I reply. “I will never forget my roots.” “All I can ask”, he concludes. He stands to shake my hand. We shake and my audience is over. I resign from the quarry a week later. They haven’t found a new blaster but wish me well on my new journey. I tell them I’m here until the end of the semester, so I won’t leave them high and dry. I tell Polack the Cop about all the goings-on. “Who the hell can I roust for beer and cigars now?” He whines. “Let me know when you get to Texas if they need any cops. I wouldn’t mind trying’ that. Hell, maybe a Texas Ranger!” “A Cheesehead Ranger…?” I assure him I will and pass a box of cigars to him as a parting gift. He gives me a mayoral-signed get-out-of-jail-free card. “Now you can drive that old Harley just as crazy as you want.” He chuckles. “Thanks, Polack.” I say, shaking his hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I sold my bike a week earlier. Red was very chuffed with the news. “Snagged me a big one this time!’ He laughed, over the phone. There was enough paperwork, considerations and decisions to be made to last the remaining time Esme and I had in-state until our move. Already, a moving company had arrived, done inventory, and was preparing for our move to Houston. Esme resigned her position and decided she wanted to take some time off. She wanted to be a housewife, a colleague, and not have to work for once at an outside job. My new position allowed for that in spades. Besides with her credentials, anytime when she wants to re-join the workforce, there are myriad opportunities in the Bayou City. We made the choice of housing out west of town, in Katy, Texas. We could have chosen Sugarland, Addicks, Greenspoint, Greenway, or the Memorial area. However, these west Houston company properties were closest to the job and largest in square footage. My students got wind of my resignation and relocation. They threw me an unexpected farewell party at the Gast Haus. It was nickel-beer night and since they were footing the bill, it all worked out just fine. I would miss the old place. The camaraderie, the seasons, the university; hell my home these last many years. I’ve been on many, many expeditions, but I always returned home. Now, home was moving and was awaiting our arrival. Esme and I said our farewells to our families as well. We were the first through college, the first ones to travel international, the first Doctor in the family, and the first to leave the state. That’s a lot of familial firsts. I had to keep reminding everyone it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, we’re just moving to Texas, it’s not like we’re off to Greenland or Mongolia… [Gasp] We saddled up Es’s old Chevy Nova, took one last, lingering look in the rearview mirror, and said fare thee well to our previous lives. “We’ll be back. Someday. I promise” I told the city of our youth and young married adulthood. We decided to drive to Houston because we had the luxury of a bit of time. We needed the stretch to chew over some interpersonal and private things on the way to the next chapter in our lives. Besides, the weather was good, the roads ahead open and clear, and Texas had no ‘Open Container’ law, yet. We pointed the old Nova south and hit the gas. A week later, we’re wandering around our new house in Katy, Texas. Our belongings, scant though they may be, arrived the day after we did. Esme and I spent the next couple of day rearranging the house, buying necessary domestic bits and pieces, and getting to know our new neighborhood. First thing, though, Esme wanted to replace the old Nova. I concurred, but insisted we keep it as a second car and went out to purchase our first new car as a couple. I wanted a Land Rover. We ended up with a glossy black Toyota 4-Runner. Close enough. I was scheduled to show up at my new job the next Monday. I had my own parking spot, complete with “Reserved for Dr. Rock” painted on the bumper block. I was shown my new lab and was introduced to my seven laboratory assistants. I was shown the catalogs I could use to order what I needed and went over the requisition procedures. I was trotted around to meet the company CEO, CFO, CIO, VPs and many, many more company executives and managers. I’ve met with presidents and heads of state, I was impressed but not overly. They seemed like a more or less nice bunch of chaps. Almost exactly five weeks to the day from our arrival in Houston, I come home, yelling “Darling, I’m home!” Esme comes to greet me with a rib-rearranging hug. She tells me to sit at the dinner table, where my long hard day at the office drink, cigar, ashtray, and lighter are already set. “How was work, dear?” she asks, sitting down with her Perrier water. “Oh, it’s going great. The knotheads let me have an open-ended budget until I get the labs sorted just the way I want it. These guys pay their bills on time and I have carte blanche at Wards Scientific, and other supply houses. My crew is great, no interpersonal crapola, and hard workers. I can smoke in my office and no one dares give me shit about my cigars. I’m getting to know the exploration department quite well. They’re really interested in our expeditions and are more interested in my opinions of their new exploration directives.” Esme just smiles and sips her water. “Odd”, I thought. “That’s great, dear.” She says. “I am so glad to hear it.” “Me too”, I say, “How are you holding up after all these weeks alone?” “Oh, I’m getting used to it.” She smiles. And smiles. Beatifically. Glowing. “What?” I ask. “Remember what we talked about in the car on the way down here?” She asks. “We talked about a lot of things…” I say, suddenly my eyes grew very, very wide indeed. “Yes. You’re going to be a father. I’m pregnant, Rock.” Esme smiles.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 This section is a bit erratic as I had to jump around a lot and it may not flow well. I almost didnt post it and instead did a short version, but it did the story no justice imo. The tail off in these posts are going to end with a lot of self reflection and things I have learned through all of this. I hope to keep the remainder to less than 3-4 parts but could genuinely make it 30-40 if I wanted to. This part (the bulk of it) is going to cover the least amount of actual time but its a pretty important juncture in my life. I am about 3-4 weeks clean of opiates but I am still withdrawing badly, though no where near as bad as I was early on it was still bad. Could not sleep was always sore and achey sneezy runny nose etc etc. They say a month is what it takes to cold turkey but I was taking so much that it wasnt pacing well. One thing I realize in my current day and I will probably elaborate on it more later but taking oxy or opiates was only about the high for a month or two in the beginning. If you know anyone who struggles with it they arent taking it to get high, they are taking it to not hurt, taking it just to feel normal. Opiates are so unbelievably addicting its mind boggling to me. They are the most evil thing I have ever encountered. I am driving to go play as I am trying to start playing live for income and I reach into my center console to grab some aspirin (it kinda helped the joint pain and physical pain of the withdraw) and I dump a few aspirin out and a little blue/green pill falls into my hand. As it turns out there were three 30s in that bottle. I remember this so vividly. I havent had an ounce of opiates since WSOP. Im 2-3 weeks from being clean of withdrawal and the worst is behind me, and I stumble onto these. I clench them in my hands for the rest of the drive to the casino. I even call my dad to tell him to try and get motivation to rid of them. He told me to throw them out the window obviously. Its why they were clenched in my hand. I rolled down the window and just hang my hand unable to open it. I cant bring myself to get rid of them. I remember laughing at it. A weird thing about being on oxy/heroin then getting clean is the emotions, despite being in pain from withdrawal I was laughing again, I hadnt laughed in a while. Emotions are strong when you havent felt them in a long time, whether it be anger or joy or sadness it is overwhelming. Anyhow I convince myself that I can handle doing 3 more and be fine. So I crush one up and blow it. I go into the casino to play, and within an hour I am getting the other two crushed up. My tolerance was still sky high even after a month roughly. I blow all 3 in an hour and play for a couple hours and leave once they wear off, withdrawals end up increasing a bit and now I am just wanting some hydrocodone to make the withdrawal go away. So now I break my 3-4 weeks clean (immediately following WSOP) and buy some loritabs. These just took the pain away. There was no high from them but it took a lot to make the pain go away, was taking 3 10s at a time 5-6 times I day. Ashamedly I was actually snorting these too :/ which is a lot of powder and aspirin. My body has been waking up from not having oxy. What I mean is oxy numbs you physically and mentally. You could jerk off for 3 hours and make your dick bleed but you wont get off. Youre emotionally and physically numb. So my sex drive is coming back. I have about 6k to my name. I am playing cards one day and I just snap. I lose it. I cant handle the monotonous live game. Not to mention I was playing 1-2nl as thats what was available in Tulsa outside of weekend nights and a scheduled big game. So I text a girl I messed around with before oxy. I havent talked to her in 18 months she had no clue I was even doing oxy but I still remember the text I sent (for the most part) I sent her a text asking her if she wanted to go on a mini road trip. (Im absurdly blunt and overly analytical and it hurts me with women) She asked to where and I responded by jokingly saying theres a good satanic cult meet up in Kansas. A few messages exchange and I tell her to just pack a bag and I will be there in an hour. She agrees. I run home and pack myself a bag. I go to pick her up and shes having second thoughts and I convince her once again. We go to the airport (yea its changed to flying somewhere) with intention of taking the next flight out to anywhere really. Well Tulsa has few options so we have to go to Dallas and we will assess from there. I only have cash mind you and they rape you for buying cash. We get to Dallas and its either Vegas or Orlando. Vegas it is. We get to Vegas and I we have no reservation so we go to Caesars (decent rooms much cheaper than Bellagio etc) and all they have are Junior Suites. Fuck it give me two nights (its a Friday and were going back Sunday because she works Monday) at 650 a night. Then we eat a couple nice meals and money already running thin. Now, I am supposed to be having fun on this trip. I like this girl actually, shes a great girl. However what I have yet to mention is when I ran home and packed my bag I left my bottle of hydrocodones... every passing hour after flying to Dallas I am further into withdrawal. I end up drinking most of the trip. I have the shits. Im sneezing. Im paranoid and over analytical and it just made an awful trip. At one point on that Saturday night she gets frustrated and cries and tells me “I like love you _, but this _” the first __ is my name, the second I dont remember. I basically just got hit with the first part and I actually cry, standing in front of the Bellagio fountains. It was a combination of frustration with life having gone broke, opiate withdrawals, was drunk trying to mask withdrawals and that aided it and lastly hearing her say that just hurt me because I had clearly hurt her. I had messed with her 18+ months ago but was always playing cards never really made any efforts, essentially unavailable emotionally. Then I take her to Vegas and I am drinking and so fucking paranoid to fool around with her cause I am withdrawing and will blow a load in seconds or wtf ever else. Those words hit me hard though. I am too dumb to know that she felt that way. That is pretty much my assessment of that and a common theme with women for me. I do not pick up on subtle cues very well, and I am so analytical that any cues I do pick up I find a way to chalk it up to something else. She was angry the rest of the trip and I never once talked to her again. I tried once but its irrelevant. I am in my early 30s and have never had a serious relationship in my life, thanks to poker and drugs. Honestly I think poker is the biggest reason. At the end of the day when you first start playing poker it is an addiction. I at one time in my life was a poker addict (spoiler alert I still play) and it consumed me. Time away from poker was spent altering my mind. I never was available to anyone. Before I played poker I had normal encounters with women. The longer I played the worse I became. Ok I will try to rev this up a bit, those two or three months I reflect on a lot though. I think about her occasionally and had even meant to tell her this stuff at one time but never did (shes still unaware of everything outside of the shutdown breaking me, and that was more me than the shutdown). So part 6 ended with me selling my truck. This actually happens now. I get home from Vegas with her and have relief with hydrocodones. I shatter my relationship with her, and actually one with a good friend who had owed me money and I had him run his card for my flights from Dallas to Vegas to save like 2000$ and made the mistake of saying I will write his debt off which was 3x what the flights cost. In fairness he used a company card, I agreed to terms and failed them. He was a very good friend to me and I have never talked to him since either. Partly because he is kind of a psycho (I say this kindly, hes just good friend or a bad enemy, not much in between) and told me if I ever see him I should turn around and run (to this day if I see him I would be tempted to do so, the guys a brute, hits harder than anyone I know, and I could write several pages of stories about him, I have seen him shatter the front window of a brand new corvette with a punch, not joking, shattered not cracked, be it a fluke or not I saw it, was in 2010 sometime, he went to jail obviously, quite the ramble on this but am tempted to share the story as its something out of a movie) Fuck it. Short version. At a bar 2010 with him his roommate and one of my friends in Dallas where he lived and we were visiting. His roommate walks over to a table of girls to hit on them and comes back saying her brother is mad. His roommates back turned to the table, my friend Joey is facing that table. The brother starts walking towards us angrily as Joey watches. This guy has 40lbs on Joey, but Joey is a freak of nature. Once in range Joey swings and lays this guy out cold. Bar fight ensues. Joey breaks another guys jaw and has the original guy knocked out and the first guy in torn up. Theres a pile of security and shit with Joey on the bottom. It gets split up (Joey never got hit somehow, or had no bruises) and the bouncers are taking him outside. On the way outside with bouncers routing him by pushing him in front he bumps a table. Asshat hero at the table with two guys two gals says “hey buddy watch the table”. Joey breaks his right arm free and swings around his body (guys on his left) and literally knocks this guy on his back while still in his chair. Basically got a wind up and a 180 degree turn for that punch. Outside they push him off and tell him to get the fuck out of here (cops are called already, I am not sure why they didnt try to detain him tbh, he fucked 3 guys up at this point) so Joey being Joey he kicks a potted plant over walks out towards his car to drive off and on the way to his car hes walking between two cars, one of which is this brand new 2011 Camaro and he just shatters the window... hits it dead center and fucking shatters it. Cops arrive pretty quickly and scoop him up. One of the guys had his jaw wired shut and one needed reconstructive surgery on his nose if I remember right. The third guy got out good I guess. There was a fuck load of blood though. Ok back to my shit. Had to tell that though, its a nuts story that doesnt even sound real. I wouldnt believe it from an anonymous source either, its ok. As 2011 wears on I am losing control further. I end up having to move out of the house I dump like 40k into (while my sister refuses to show me any of the note progress and its now her house again, though she loses it eventually) I have nowhere to go basically. My parents wont let me come if I am doing opiates. So I end up staying with a friend in Joplin MO. I am unable to stay afloat on pills and poker. I go busto a few times. Random money would arrive to me from old carbon checks to Stars paying out to running ok on TruePoker (kept a 10-15k roll alive long enough to do opiates for a couple months) but I am bouncing from hydros to oxycontin back and forth, running out quite often. I end up in a methadone clinic early 2012 and eventually quit doing the pills. I am beyond depressed, barely leaving the room I had at my friends house. I am sure I laid in bed for 7 days straight a time or two. I pay him no rent and have to borrow money for my clinic trips. He had the house for free via a mutual friend though. Once my True account ran out I go on poker hiatus. From 2012 to 2014ish I play essentially no poker aside from a few hands on Intertops from left over cake money. Which I bust eventually. One isolated poker story from this stretch goes as such. I am staying at a hotel my grandfather (poker one) owns in a small town in NE Oklahoma. Hes letting me stay in one of the cabins on the property. I drive 45 minutes 3-4 days a week to get methadone here. I am depressed have no job and hustle money somehow. I dont even know where it came from but I would stumble onto a thousand here and there. Tulsa is having tourneys one weekend. So I go play this 350$ two day. I forget the guarantee (it wasnt wsop or wpt it was local) but I think its 100k. It is one of the two or three times I enter a casino over these two years but I bag day one and day two goes well and we end up chopping it 3-4 ways with me and another guy taking two best spots at 15-16k. I remember zero hands from this tourney. I go back to the cabin I was staying in. I have 15-16k now. I remember being alleviated about having money. I hadnt held 10,000$ in 12-18 months. I dont play a single hand of poker with it. It was so calming to have this money, I was content and didnt want to lose a dime of it. I did buy some oxy with it despite being on methadone and it doing nothing basically. This actually all happened before moving to Joplin, so it is chronologically wrong here. I slowly bleed this money off over a couple months. I just remember the contention I had for having it. I get accustomed to methadone eventually and move back to Tulsa with another friend. I get a normal job slinging Pizzas at Papa Johns and fucking hate it. What an awful company, they make good pizza (for chain) but they are a joke to work for. Tip those drivers well, they make shit and get (at the time) 50 cents a delivery. PJs charges people 3$ and gives 50 cents to the driver... Later on I have a buddy who deals circuit events and I get him to help me get hired. He gets me on under the assumption I have dealt before, I have not. I have dealt at my home games back in the day a time or two, I ended up being fine. I deal an event in St Louis then am trying to get set up for Tunica, buuuut I have a felony from when I was 18 (pre poker, never told story but long story short I got B&E charges for getting into a bunch of unlocked cars) and that ends my dealing career. So I move back home as the friend I was sharing a place with in Tulsa was on methadone and genuinely the dumbest guy I know. He was a highschool friend who I partied with a long time, but he ended up fucking me out of rent and didnt pay (just kept my money) and we get evicted. Side note to the dealing job I had. I did play some poker in St Louis because the stop was so slow. I ended up making like 800$ dealing and 2k playing 1-2nlh while there. I play no poker when returning though, once again content to have any money at all. I am still on methadone which my parents hate me being on it for obvious reasons. I get a job near them at a mushroom farm doing manual labor. I needed the exercise. Then get hired on to work in a warehouse driving a forklift for dick money. I do this for 6~ months or so. I will do the next part picking up here. I make an unusual style return to poker. It is a great story imo and things get more positive.
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