I’ll raise you 5

This week I decided to take a late flight to LA so I could spend more time at home with my driver and the pups. It proved to be only a so-so idea as there was a gate and terminal change before we were to board, but I got into LA around 12:15 and was in bed by 1:20. It would have been sooner had I known that the lock on Page’s door was so finicky. I spent a good 10 minutes outside his condo fiddling with the key and swearing…a lot.

Page told me before I got there that he would be up at 4:30 Sunday to finishing getting ready to go back to South Africa. I assumed he did all that no troubles because I didn’t hear a peep. So much for that as I later found out his trip was riddled with troubles. Apparently, he had no ticket to South Africa waiting for him, once he purchased it himself and got to Washington DC he lost his ticket from Johannesburg and much yelling and screaming ensued. What’s brutal is that he flies back to the States to promote his new audiobook in two weeks, then has to fly back to South Africa to finish his current film project. Oofah.

Sunday brought class #5 and more encouraging signs. The class is really starting to gel and Josh is such a phenomenal teacher. There are some really funny mofos in my class and I sometimes find myself just standing there watching them enjoying their work, then I realize I’m in the scene with them. Level 1 has 3 classes left then Level 2 starts January 14, and yes, I am already signed up for Level 2. I was having some doubts about going forward with this due to the travel and some self-doubt/frustration until I had a discussion with my driver last week on the way to the airport combined with the last 2 classes just blowing me away. So I’m going to ride this wave and see where it carries me.

For those of you that know me know that I have a way of Forrest Gumping my way into certain situations. When I was a kid, I was a ballboy for the Dallas mavericks and worked the visitor’s lockerroom. I saw so many cool things, got to meet a galaxy of NBA stars and got some cool collectibles (Jordan’s game used shoes Feb ’90). One of my best friends is a professional hockey player and it was with him that I got to take a drink from the Stanley Cup. Another of my best friends is a professional wrestler and he’s let me tag along to some cool cities and introduced me to a ton of people (and he lets me stay at his condo when I’m in LA), but I have to say that one of, if not the, coolest things I have ever done took place Sunday night and well into Monday morning — I played poker with Jay and Silent Bob.

Kevin Smith posted a note on the bulletin board of his website that he was hosting a poker game at the VA production offices Sunday night at 8:30, Jason Mewes would be playing, and there were 8 spots open. I won’t get into the particulars of how I got in, but I did, and as I walked in at 8:25 I realized this was going to be a story to tell. Kevin and Jason were extremely down to earth, approachable, and they treated everyone there as if we were regulars to the game. The table was a custom made “Chasing Amy” themed table with HOLD’EM MCNEIL (a play on the name of Ben Affleck’s character, Holden McNeil) emblazoned in the middle of the table along with cards containing stills form the movie. Oh, the chips? Custom. Before we got started, Kevin asked if anybody knew how to deal and I raised my hand. I’m not Vegas-level, but I can hold my own (that’s a terrible pun) manage. With that, Kevin and I alternated the dealing duties using 2 decks and from there the night was off and running.

At one point, I was up a couple hundred bucks thanks to a couple of full houses and some shrewd betting until Darryl beat the odds and caught me on a huge pot (and considerable amount of my chips) and from there it was a slight decline. Around 1:00, Jason decided to order pizza from a place that “would deliver anywhere and they’re open late”. Good thing, because it took over 75 minutes for the pizza to get there and when it did arrive the name of the place was crossed out on the boxes and another name was written on there in sharpie. I have to say the highlight for me was the obscure reference tangent that Kevin and I went on that saw such late 70’s/early 80’s tv references such as: Pink Lady and Jeff, Magruder and Loud, Challenge of the Super Friends (live action show) and The Girl, The Gold Watch and Everything.

At about 4:15 we wrapped it up with a couple of hands where everybody put in $20 and played (I lost then, too). Kevin was gracious enough to sign the two jokers for me and I was on my way back to Santa Monica. With the time difference, I called Melinda and woke her up at 7:00 Texas time to tell her about the evening before getting to bed around 5:30 am LA time.

Thanks again to Bryan, Ming, Kevin, Jason, Josh 1 & 2, Lorene, Carl, Brian #2, Darryl and James for a great evening. I hope we can do it again sometime, but with me actually winning some money.

Miles Traveled: 2,470
Total Miles: 12,350

Platinum Challenge Points: 1,235

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