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Archive for Photography

Nov
06

The Club Guy

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Part 3 of the November iPhone Photo Project … aka…NaNo-iPho

June 2009

It was late, about the time the clubs start to let out in Las Vegas. I was a deer hunter in a tree stand. Just sitting and waiting. It’s not quite fish in a barrel, but when the club guys (aka Los Angeles Douchebagicus) begin their migration from the clubs and toward the DUI arrests and Rohypnol cage, they are a lot easier to convince to play cards. I had a stack of green, 14 stacks of red, and a bottle of beer I wouldn’t finish. That’s when The Club Guy sat down with $600 (six stacks of red) and proved within one hand he had no idea how to play cards. Before long, he had destroyed everybody at the table (except me, fortunately) and run his $600 to north of $6,000. He couldn’t lose. He couldn’t stack his chips.

The beauty of it was, no matter how hard his friends pushed him, he wouldn’t get up. He was in a sick zone and almost unaware of what he was doing. Then, some old, cranky drunk said something snide that snapped Club Guy out of it. Club Guy looked up as if waking from a dream, stood, and left with everybody’s money. I had 2,000 bullets and my gun jammed against the guy. Not only did he destroy the table, he left before I could put him out of his misery. Like the Great White Whale of Club Guys, I’ve been looking for this guy ever since, and will again when I’m in Vegas this weekend for work.

poker-chips-palms

Nov
05

Chilean millionaire

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Part 2 of the November iPhone Photo Project … aka…NaNo-iPho

January 2009

I have made a number of bad decisions in my life, but never any that have resulted in me having so much money in my pocket that I couldn’t count it in public. I was in Vina del Mar, Chile and made a series of exceptionally poor decisions that led me through a bar, to an ATM, to a poker table, and eventually to bed before a long day of work. When I finally got around to counting what I had in my pocket, it took laying all the bills out on my bed so I could see it all at once. It was there in the posh Chilean hotel/casino that I discovered I had 1.2 million in Chilean cash. If you’re wondering why I’m still humping a computer job after that big score, you can find the whole story over at How I became a millionaire. Turns out you can’t get very far with Chilean millions.

chile-money

I did the math. If I do all I need to do between now and the time I have a break on December 9th, I should have about 10 minutes a day for Rapid Eye Reality. The last time I ran into this situation, I let my little home here wither on the vine. In an effort to not let this happen, I needed something to keep this space alive.

I noticed yesterday that I have about 120 photos on my iPhone that I have taken over the past ten months. Most of those photos end up getting posted to my Twitter feed or Facebook. They rarely appear here because the picturess generally suck. Still, they are sort of a visual record of my 2009.

So, for the next month or so, I’m going to post one of the photos and the briefest of stories about it. Hey, at least it’s something, ya know?

***

Anna Nicole Smith’s final rest
January 2009

It’s a long and winding road around the Caribbean Sea that leads from Paradise Island, through the heart of Nassau, and on to the airport that would eventually take me off the island for another year. Once again, after more than a week in the heart of the islands’ biggest poker event, I found myself weary and in the back of a cab.

The cab slowed just enough as we passed the salmon-colored gates the guard the little cemetery on the ocean’s edge. There, somewhere in the ground laid the body of Anna Nicole Smith. She was a woman who sought fame and found it. She was a woman who wanted money and found it, too. Now she was as dead as everybody else in the sandy ground alongside the highway. For all her life of reality excess, she was now part of what could only be described as a rolling sight-seeing trip in a place far more beautiful that her legacy could ever boast.

We didn’t stop.

anna-nicole-smith-grave

Oct
24

Fireworks break

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We’re getting ready to head into Otis’ Six Weeks of Crazy that will see me in plane seats and hotel beds as much as I am home. Today, we took the afternoon to take a drive around the area, enjoy the each other’s company, and check out the October fireworks. We again confirmed why we love this part of the country as much as we do. All the photos are on my Flickr account. Here are a couple examples. Happy weekend, y’all.

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Aug
16

Baby steps

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I took this picture on our last day in Hilton Head. I spent several days trying to think about what it represented (other than a goat in a window, of course). I solicited captions on Flickr and BG knocked it out of the park with “The lesser-known red-light district of Amsterdam, South Carolina.”

Finally, I looked at it one more time and figured it out. The goat reminded me of Bill Murray’s agoraphobic character in “What About Bob?” In this case, it’s, “Baby steps out the window…”

I’m about to enter a very special What About Bob phase of my life, I think. The goat will be my guide.

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Jun
06

If you like a man in a kilt…

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…you might like a few of the pictures I took this afternoon at the Greater Greenville Scottish Games and Highlands Festival.

I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about men in kilts throwing very heavy things that has such a wide appeal, but they’ve obviously got something going for them.

My only regret is that I didn’t have any gamblers with me. The prop betting potential for the Scottish Games was fantastic. I can’t tell you how badly I was jonesing to bet on whether the big guys could flip the caber end over end, or, as in the photo below, use a pitchfork to throw a heavy burlap sack over a large horizontal pole.

More men with big muscles and insufficient lower-wear at my Flickr account.

Update: Tom, a fellow local blogger and photographer. has a much more comprehensive report on the games over at Random Connections.

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May
26

Touch the sun

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I’m still getting used to the new normal around Mt. Otis and I’ve managed to let the day slip away without much in the way of writing. In lieu of anything substantive, here’s a picture I took with my iPhone last night.

phone-home

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May
22

Phriday phone pics

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It’s no secret that the iPhone camera is just about the the only bad thing about the current generation of the device. As it is, the iPhone is like Marilyn Monroe with a goiter–almost perfect, but noticeably messed up.

Nonetheless, I whip the phone out on a regular basis. As Tom from Random Connections put it to me, his weapons cache consists of a DSLR machine gun and point and shoot pistol. His cell phone camera is his knife. That’s pretty much how I view my iPhone camera and I whip out my knife on a fairly regular basis.

I would never print any photo I take with my iPhone. Most of the pictures I take go directly to my Twitter feed and then never again see the light of day.

I looked back through the photo file today. While the pictures roundly suck, they have recorded the past several months of my life in a way that I might not have otherwise. So, I thought it might be fun to throw of a few of the pics out there today. You can see larger versions of the photos by clicking on them.

greer-snakeG-Rob and I were out this week for a game of disc golf at Century Park in Greer. It’s snake season in these parts and G-Rob stumbled up on one as we navigated the creekside Hole #14.

There were, in fact, two of them, but I scared one off as I got a little closer for a pic. While often confused for a copperhead, this little guy is apparently a Northern Water Snake.

G-Rob likes him some snakes and spent half his morning researching our new little friend. For my part, I have recently started to believe that my death will likely result from a Timber Rattlesnake bite. When is it going to happen? Well, that’s up to the snake.

hotel-shiningWhen I got to Mar del Plata, Argentina, I was exhausted and starting to catch the Argentinian Steak Flu. I was barely paying attention to anything as I checked into my hotel.

I ran into one of the guys I knew from 441, the production company that produces ESPN’s poker content.

“Welcome to The Shining,” he said with a bemused look.

I had no idea what he was talking about until I got off the elevator and looked down the hallway. I half expected two twin girls with hollow eyes to be waiting for me at the end of the hall. Fortunately, Pauly keeps a Big Wheel with him at all times, so we were able to stave off the fear and boredom with a few rides through the hallways.

pauly-glassThat’s Pauly in the glass. This is how we ended a lot of our nights on the road–hotel bar, finishing up undone work on our laptops, drinking whatever the local brew was.

In Argentina, where this photo was taken, the local beer was Quilmes. It came in three varieties. All of them were reasonably good.

Funny thing about local beers, though. On more than one occasion on the road in Latin America, I ended up at bars where the local beer was either exhausted or just simply not stocked. “Budweiser? Heineken?” the bartenders would ask.

I guess it’s like going to some place in America that think it’s très gauche to stock the local beer. That’s how I ended up drinking a Bud in Uruguay.

cristalCristal, left, was the local beer in Chile. Man, it sucked. Unless it was ice-damned-cold, it was almost undrinkable. Its name spawned many a joke about the champagne with which it shared a name.

On our last night in Chile, we went to a place called “Hollywood” at 3am. We blitzed the bar and within 30 minutes, the place was out of Cristal.

“Heineken?” the bartender asked.

Even though the beer was horrible, we couldn’t help but be pissed off that we had to drink Heineken in South America…again.

chip-monkeyIt’s all about the branding.

There is a certain amount of branding my team and I must endure while on the road. In the old days, this meant wearing some ill-fitting polo shirt or uncomfortable cap. These days, branded folks can wear about anything they want as long as they plaster themselves with faux-embroidery stickers.

The stickers come in all shapes and sizes and, if the photo to the left is any indication, will stick to just about anything.

That’s the guy I call Chip Monkey. He counts chips for me when we’re at a tournament. We’re in the middle of a mild practical joke war. I may write about it someday soon. Here he’s drinking Kalik, the local Bahamas brew, at the first stop on our wrap party there.

speed-canSeveral years ago in Las Vegas, my friends began calling Red Bull, “Cocaine in a can, baby!” It wasn’t a slogan I expected the energy drink maker to adopt, but it was funny to hear the folks yell it across the poker room to each other.

I try to avoid Red Bull. It makes my head and heart do funny things when I forget to moderate. Sometimes though, especially when on the road, I need a pick-me-up.

During one South America stop–and I honestly forget which one–Change came to our work station and said, “Dennis Phillips is buying something called ‘Speed’ for everybody at his table.”

Change further reported that Phillips et al had drank so much of the stuff, the casino had sent someone to the store to buy more.

When I caught the Steak Flu in Argentina, I was dragging ass pretty bad by Day 2. I needed something to push me through the night. Sure enough, the bar carried Speed in a can. It was horrible.

I drank it anyway.

Categories : Drinking, Photography, Travel
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May
14

New dads are allowed…

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…one gratuitous photo gallery post after their kid is born. This is mine. I can’t promise I won’t continue writing on my continued attempts at being a decent dad, but I won’t spam you with tons of kid photos…after today.

Those are just a few. Feel free to check out my Flickr page for any of the rest.

d-mom-bro d-brother chelle-birth-2

d-mom-g mom-g g-sleeping

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Feb
07

Prelude to a post

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tractorI am not crazy, or at least that kind of crazy.

A post is on the way, though maybe not for a day or two. Maybe not at all if I decide you all will think I’m nuts. That’s never stopped me much before, but in the past I was at least sleeping enough to make it sound like I was joking.

Anyway, I shot this little picture today while I was confronting my own mounting mini-insanity. I’ll attribute both the impending institutional commitment and the significance to this picture to my on-going off-and-on relationship with insomnia. And, yes, I’m being mildly hyperbolic. I don’t foresee myself going off the deep end, at least not this particular deep end.

As 2009 is the year of capital O optimism, I’m fairly confident I’ll crack this little period of sleeplessness with my usual nothing-is-a-real problem attitude. In the meantime, I hope you’ll excuse me while I happily avoid too many references to the 1980s movie Dreamscape and anything involving Seattle.

And if I fail in any of these goals, you will at least know I tried.

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