Musings on Poker and Other Stuff
I am notoriously bad at social media. I basically only Tweet and such at live tournaments. In the spirit of social media I had been noticing this whole Instagram Photo-A-Day deal. Any other time in my life I would undoubtedly miss days and to be honest probably have nothing to post even if I did remember. But, being that I knew I would be working for 3 weeks. I just went for it. I did a photo a day every day of September. okay, I missed one day because the theme was 'Before You go to Bed.' Before I go to bed the last thing I am thinking about is Instagram. I thought it fitting to skip that day. Some days were harder than others. I kind of want to come up with one of my own and have the PokerNews or Poker people do it. We will see.
In the mean time, it is over. I thought I would share some of them and their respective Themes.
Some I took Literally.
(Far Away) Me and Josh Cahlik, PokerNews blogger at WinStar Oklahoma Event
(Night) Shooting the Lederer Files
Some I just had to put in:
(Natural) At Gay Pride Downtown
Some I had to be more liberal with:
(Frame) I tried to frame myself with cat ears and the flowers.
These two looked like they had been on filtered before I uploaded them: So I didn't.
(Father) with my little brother
Many times I've had the experience of departing from and returning to the same place. At first it started with home. I would go travel somewhere, explore, and when I would return I would have an interesting feeling of comfort from seeing things I knew and recognized. And yet, I continued to change. I would recognize something, but because of my internal changes my experience of it would be somehow different. There were certain feelings that I would always get as I flew over the Manhatten skyline on my way back to school. Like somehow the experience of the physical place brought out the parts of me that place nurtured. I used those visual cues to help me adjust bouncing around from place to place.
I came to Cannes in 2004 to help market a movie. My mom helped produce the movie. It was such a special experience that I will always treasure. My mom and I still have jokes we share from the weeks we spent here in my early twenties. (I will scan some pix when I get home...they were actually taken when people took film into the store to be developed.)
When I heard I was going to be coming here to cover the WSOP I was a little bit apprehensive. There are a couple of places from my life experiences that I suppose I want to protect. Places that I saw with, for lack of a better word, innocent eyes. Places that I still hold as some sort of momentary utopia.
Cannes was so special and precious in my heart that I feared returning 8 years later might taint it. But, as with lots of things, I was completely wrong. It has been beautiful to return to the same place, but with a new perspective, with a new kind of age and strength. I arrived and shared a ride with people who are both colleagues and friends. When I checked in and walked into my room, just across from the Palais, I was immediately struck with gratitude. I thought the apartment I shared with my mom in 2004 was amazing. I couldn't believe how I had lucked out. Now,I'm in an amazing hotel right across from the ocean. I literally took pictures when I walked in which I will probably never both to share with anyone...but I had to actually physically commemorate the moment. I feel at once both at home and totally out of place. It turns out that has always been a part of my process. Being a little out of place is where I feel the most at home. In some ways I don't feel grown up enough for this yet. I imagine if you asked my 21 year old self where I would be at 28 I would never guess at the Majestic in Cannes. But I also would not even have a concept of what a do now. LOL. I still feel like the little girl staring at myself in the mirror for an hour before I wear my thrift store 80s prom dress on the red carpet. And I simultaneously feel more comfortable in myself and in my life than ever before. I'm both a grown up and a girl.
Like every giddy kid who is genuinely excited I had to immediately put on the robe and slippers. I sat on the Croisette and watched the sun go down.
As I sat I realized that all those experiences of leaving and returning to places were not about the places at all. They were about me dealing with my own growing and changing and pushing myself. It was an external symbol for the internal rope I was walking between where I came from and where I was going. And looking over the water I felt peaceful that in so doing I found myself exactly where I belonged. Yes, I am in an amazing and fancy hotel in France, and I even rode first class for part of my flight. But I still feel a bit out of place sometimes in those situations because the culmination of my years and experiences has always brought me back home. I derive the most joy and feel the most radiant in the most simple things. I never feel more beautiful than when I'm with my family. (which I was the days before I came here
) I still get crazy for the little things (like turn down service). And I am always eager to jump into new like a web series I'm starting with Heath and some friends.
I guess the craziest thing is that I am still finding myself in these incredibly fortunate situations. Maybe the worst thing to taint my lovely Cannes from 2004, would have been to never return. The fact that I am here 8 years later is a testament to the path I chose and the blessing that this path keeps choosing me. Like a lot of things, I'm not sure I deserve all of this. But with the fullest heart I keep being Thankful.
And trying to share all the LOVE I CANNES!!!
My mom sent me this email last week and I immediately started bawling. There is still some good in the world!
I had to tell you this story from yesterday: so the Dumb Friends League had a fundraiser -- a barbecue with Willie Nelson as the entertainment. Well, Joan is a rabid Willie Nelson fan. After Dave's dad died 20 years ago, Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson have been pretty much the only men in her life. So even though tix were RIDICULOUSLY expensive, like $750 a seat, Dave knew he had to get her there. Joan was beyond excited -- had her outfit planned months in advance (including sparkly nail polish, a denim set and cowboy hat, with a Willie Nelson bandana). She went to the doctor, and and the acupuncturist to make sure she was going to be in perfect health and have good energy. She's so freaked out about people and crowed but when she got there, she actually piped up and started talking to these other elderly ladies there. She was experimenting with appetizers, and was just so happy.
Well, imagine her face when the announcement came that Willie was sick, and had to cancel. She just crumpled, got so tiny, and I could see her fighting back tears. It was so sad watching Dave try to comfort her, and she trying to comfort him because she knew how much he had tried. It was just awful. She was trying to keep a brave face, and she said "Oh Dave, it wasn't waste! I finally had two months of excitement and anticipation about something! It doesn't matter whether I saw the show or not. It was just so great to be so happy all this time!"
I thought maybe they would reschedule the show, or refund something, or send out a little video of Willie saying, "Sorry to have missed you folks! Will catch you next time! Your friend, Willie!" or SOMETHING. But nothing came, until we finally got a little paragraph from Dumb Friends saying, "Sorry Willie had to cancel, but we know you were there for the animals! So thank you!" Which was true for Dave and me, but not Joan. She was there for Willie.
When Dave told me she'd stopped listening to Willie Nelson altogether since that night, I felt I had to say something. So I wrote an email to Willie's publicist and his website explaining all this, and sending pix of all of us that afternoon when we picked her up. Well, I sent that email out about 12:30am. So get this.....
Joan got a call at 8am the next morning from..... WILLIE NELSON!!!! At first she thought it was a joke, but when he went into his explanation about why he cancelled, the health issue, etc. she knew it was real. They visited for quite awhile -- she told him how she'd seen him back in Detroit, in Pueblo...how she felt so indignant about his tax issue that she contributed money to help him pay his tax debt.
Needless to say, she was just over the moon, and Willie is back on the music rotation at her house!!
I just got back from Texas last Monday and when I got an email saying I would be flying back to Dallas that Wenesday to be honest I wasn't overly thrilled. But I did my laundry, packed up that bag, rented a mini-van for the team and headed for Dallas. Flew UsAirways, had two delays in two flights. Sat in the middle both flights. Got charged a boat load for insurance to protect from the impending weather problems due to some hurricane.
And then things started to look up. We turned up the HIghway Man in the mini-van and headed out in the Sunset toward Thackerville Oklahoma. From the moment we arrived these people rocked my socks off. I arranged for a tour of the entire facility Day 1a. Had a blast shooting the shiz with the Poker Room Manager and the Marketing team.
Really, I already love the South and the Mid-West for that matter. But this just cemented it. People are so mellow and polite. I can think of tons of tournaments where we are sitting at our table and people will just come up and demand information or demand to use our phone chargers. It isn't what they are asking for, it is the way they do it. Here, everyone was very politely approaching with things like, "Excuse me, I don't mean to bother you, but could you please point me to this table," or "you wouldn't by any chance be able to help me find a plug for my phone for a few minutes." It is so funny how much more eager I am to help when someone just adds a little social nicety to things. Much Kudos to the people here.
Sometimes it is really difficult to get players to make a little bit of a fool of themselves. Not here! Everyone was willing and ready to sing a musical! People actually wanted to participate and were excited to watch when it was done. It felt like a community.
And even though the players didn't actually know the answers...they sure had some good ones of their own.
Everyone was talking about how this is one of the best kept secret tournaments. Well, word is out folks. I hope I come back next year and if you didn't come this year...COME!