Monday, June 27, 2011

A cover letter so long I didn't even proof read it before sending

            My name is Gregory Boytos and I am responding to a job query from the UCLA professional program in screenwriting list-serv. After two years attending UC Riverside focusing my studies on history with full intention to go to law-school, I discovered and subsequently fell in love with the story in any and all forms. This caused me to change directions almost immediately, but my sensibility did not allow me to waste the two year investment I had put into history and so I left with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and History focusing on Poetry and 20th century Europe respectively.
            In my last year of college I took a screenplay studies course and a year-long advanced screenwriting workshop which awakened something inside of me that I thought died after being rejected to all the film-heavies for undergraduate studies therein. In high school I took every film / television class my school offered and when I had completed and retook them, I petitioned along with my peers for an advanced / independent studies course to be created, and during my senior year I took what I thought was going to be my last film class.
            Luckily I stumbled into the screenplay studies course because being in it completely changed me back to my roots. Yes a story can be amazing on the page, in a poem, read aloud to a group of literary people or unsuspecting patrons at a coffee shop, but the majesty and wonder of the screen is something that cannot be matched on the page no matter what anyone says. To be sure, there are things about writing that still appeal to people in ways that a film or television program never can, but as far as the magnitude, the entertainment industry has that name for a reason: the size of the audience and their hunger for good, quick and well made stories is vastly larger and much more diverse than the literary market.
            As a child born and raised in the computer age, and currently a writer and production assistant attempting to make my way in this rapidly changing industry I am fully dedicated to the idea that the internet has already and will constantly change the way most people are entertained and for this reason alone that I want to be part of a group that acknowledges, embraces and includes this ever emerging technology.
            As my resume will demonstrate I have the necessary skills, and as I hope this letter demonstrates my love for the industry and the new Internet tentacle that is finally attracting some big market attention. The facts are: I am hungry, I am dedicated, I am smart, passionate, entertaining and humble and I believed when I saw this job listed that it was the best next step in my career, the next place I could go to learn more, help more and grow more.
            I thank you for your time in reviewing this letter and my resume, and hope to hear from you very soon.

            Gregory Boytos

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My 21st Birthday

It started 2 hours before my *actual* birthday. 10pm I was leaving Ralphs with my best friend Tom and a 6 pack of killian’s irish red. Next stop- the bachelor clubhouse known as the easton’s where all of my friends were waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for me to get so shithoused drunk that I try and fight everyone, vomit and pass out in the front yard? Of course not; they were just waiting for me to show up and celebrate, a nice quiet Thursday night in Claremont.
            When we pulled up, there were no spots, so we had a bit of a walk, which was fine. Tom and I cracked our first killian’s in the parking lot, raising it and saying “cheers” whenever a neighbor would pass. When we finally got to garage, we could hear a buzz inside, and that is when it opened, revealing my group of friends, drinks and cameras in hand, ready to catch a moment.
            Tom and I raised our beers to them, they all responded with a hearty group moan, and we stood for a quarter minute. In the garage. In silence. Chugging whatever we were holding. After 45 minutes of photo-ops and 5 more beers, we were on to our next assignment: the press.
            The press is the only “bar” in Claremont. I put it in quotes because it is the most petit bourgeois place I have ever been to, and to pack twenty-five alcoholic punk kids in there to celebrate a birthday is quite a feat. But like I said, if there was anywhere else to go, we would have gone. The inside is split into 4 quarters. Two quarters are “up top,” one of which is the bar, the other a lounge table seating area. The bottom two quarters are simple: seating, and seating with a stage, and they are divided by the walkway that goes back to the bathroom.
            When we arrive at 11:45, I am not yet 21. Everyone is excited to go in, so they all crowd around the bouncer and when I get my turn he says “no.” the following conversation ensued.
            “No what?”
            “No you can’t come in.”
            “Wait, are you telling me I have to wait fifteen minutes until I’m 21? I’ve been waiting 18 years.”
            “Yeah. Then fifteen more minutes wont hurt.”
            And so I was shut down. Cell phone in hand, I set my alarm clock for 12am, and lit a cigarette. At this point I was standing in the doorway and a line was forming behind me. I told the woman standing to my immediate rear (and far too close for comfort as her muffin tops would tickle my belt when she would swivel to talk about food with her friends) that they were at capacity, so we were waiting.
            And she believed me, turning to tell her friends as the bouncer looked at his watch, 11:54. He sighs and gives me the “fuck it” look, to which I extend my hand and receive my first stamp ever. Bare in mind that I am already 6 deep. Since it took so long for me to get in, all my friends had purchased their own pitchers, afterall, happy hour ended at midnight, I just got a cup and went to get filled up. Robyn pours me some hef, and we chug. Jimmy pours me some hef and we chug. Ramil pours me some hef and we chug. Ryan buys me a guiness pint, and I nurse half of it when ryan and pam accuse me of being a pussy.
            So I chugged that motherfucker too. Then my best friend tom’s eyes light up. He’s designated driver, so he is not drinking at all, and the way best friends work is by living vicariously through each other.
I’m pretty buzzed at this point, I believe I’m talking to hazel, she’s 24, married and with some people I know, but she’s cute, I’m drunk, everything is okay. I hear someone call my name. I slowly pull my gaze from the woman’s chest I’m staring at and see Tom staring at me, waiting for me to acknowledge him.
“yes tom?”
“come to the bar.”
“tom, we’re already here.”
“no no no. THE bar.” I say nothing, I just smile and follow. We get the prime spot on the corner of the bar, and it begins to fill in with people who came along. Then tom asks the fatal question.
“what’s your strongest whiskey?”
The bartender grabs a bottle that is called “126” and shows tom. Tom nods, shot is poured. The worst part about it is that due to a lack of shot glasses (rich white people don’t take shots of whiskey, they sip it. so sitting in front of me is a tumbler half full of whiskey, about a double; of 126 proof booze.) I raise the glass as hazel (who followed us to the bar) raises her JD shooter and I throw it back. Before the glass hits the bar, I knew that I had consumed enough.
But the bartender bought me a shot for my birthday, and toby bought me a three wise men, and pam bought me a blowjob shot (although I call it a muff diver), and tom bought me an adios, and victor bought me an adios (victor is about 35, I didn’t know I knew him, but free drinks? BEST FRIEND), and ryan bought me an irish car bomb and ramil bought a long island, toby bought a 7 mile high and tom bought me another shot of whiskey (although this time it was just Johnny Walker) and I drank IT ALL.
The 7 mile high was the last drink I had, and by this time I was quite obviously wrecked. I had danced with hazel who was sitting at the bar, while winking and smiling at a semi-hot 40 year old woman who was watching me dance, I had told the bartender he was going to kill me if he served me another drink, I had convinced the 40 year old milf to take a picture with me and tom and flip off the camera, but I was nowhere near finished.
I hear the barkeep call for last call, and I pull out my wallet. He turns to me and says “I think you’ve had enough bud.” And I’m shitfaced. SHIT-FACED.
“I KNOW I’ve had enough BUD. I had enough before all these motherfuckers made me have more. I’m pulling out my wallet to TIP you, cuz you’re fucking AWESOME!” and I slam a 10 dollar bill on the bar.
He says “thanks” as I stand up, and realize that it is very difficult. I also realize that I am hungry and I smell garlic and potatoes at the same time. I turn all the way around to see a plate of garlic French fries with noone guarding it. I blink and I am face down on the plate chewing my way around while andy and robyn try and pull me away from the people whose food I was essentially stealing.
But andy and robyn are drunk too, so when I stand up with my mouth full of fries and garlic, they burst into laughter, and I slam my face down into the plate again, this time doing a bit more drunken moaning than chewing, but nevertheless filling my mouth up again. It was this point where I black out and the rest of the story is told from pictures and assorted anecdotes retold to me to explain the pictures.
As soon as I blacked out, the dickhead bouncer who wanted to make me wait, came in and threw me out. He did it nicely, because I was leaving at this point anyway, he basically just verbally harassed me on my way out, which was fine, because he was bad at it. when we were outside, we realized that everyone was drunk. Very very drunk, so we had no sober rides except for Tom. Lance and toby decide to climb the tree out front, when the bouncer pulls them out of the tree, I kick lance in the junk as hard as I can, and fall down laughing.
Sober tom realizes that the police are either on their way, or about to be and wrangles me, lance, andy and ryan into his car. Toby and Jimmy run away on foot, the rest stand outside bewildered waiting for a ride home from Barbs, who was en route.
-we head to the amphitheatre at the Claremont colleges, our “sober up spot.”
- I leave my glasses, shirt and expensives in the car, as I expect a birthday beat down.
- on the way to the amphitheatre I end up without my undershirt.
-and my shorts.
-still have my shoes on, but tunnel vision is very very narrow, and I can’t see anyone.
-and I’m drunk and yelling. “come fight me,” and “I’m in my boxers, which pussy wants to BOX?!”
Not surprisingly, nobody volunteers. Not having much more clothing to take off, I begin to look for people who are standing around me, but I remember having the feeling of looking through toilet paper rolls, eliminating peripheral and binocular vision. I never ended up totally naked, but that’s a small concession, because I am quite certain everything was seen. And this was before I attempted the somersault, and before my clothes were stolen by Toby and Jimmy.
We left, after awhile of my nuts flopping around my clothes were returned, and I got back into the car. I was completely pissed. I could not keep my head up, so I was resting it on the window sill in tom’s dad’s Infiniti g35 sedan. We were on college avenue, the second busiest street in Claremont, at a stop sign when tom asked the obvious: “are you okay buddy?”
My answer could best be described as “uuhhowwwwwwwuhhhhhhhhhh” and with that my door opened, and I fell out into the curb. One leg was in the car, one knee was in the gutter, both hands were on the stone-sidewalk, and I was vomiting… and having a super time doing it. I would laugh every time I threw up because of what was in it. First was stolen fries, that was hilarious because I had forgotten ever slamming my face into the plate. Second was alcohol, estimated value (before mixing with stomach fluids) $90. third was more alcohol, another $60 bucks because it smelled like beer.
At this point everyone was out of the car trying to get me back in and off the 2nd most traveled street in the city, but I was concerned with slapping the puddle of vomit and laughing while everyone jumped away. I was taken by force. I threw up more, the rest however was in the toilet. Then I remember going outside for some fresh air, and passing out on the front yard in the muslim prayer position. Until the sun came up.
Tom wakes me to take me home, and I go peacefully, too weak to fight, too drunk to realize what is happening. I sleep at home for about 30 minutes before I am stirred by my mother.
“Happy birthday! Wake up. We’re going to a wine tasting.” The vomit began to rise again, but I held it in. I went, rarely did my eyes ever make it past half open, much to the dismay of the surprise guests my mother had invited:
-tom’s parents (his father taking an extended lunch break to meet us)
-ryan Easton
-ryan’s mother (having made the drive all the way from Northridge to see me on my 21st, 2.5 hours.)
-my aunt (surprise visit from New fucking Jersey) and my other aunt from san diego.
Poor travelers, I don’t remember much from that day, but I’m sure I was less than pleasant. We went out again that night, however I was still hungover. This attracted some negative attention.
When we were settling our wimpy bar-tab that evening, the bartender leans over to Tom and says, “it’s your buddy’s 21st birthday, he’s supposed to be vomiting and passed out on someone’s front yard.” Tom just half-laughs and tips the guy an extra couple dollars.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cover letter for a job I knew I wouldn't get and probably didn't want

I am a hard working, quick learning, pleasant and honest man trying to achieve my full potential. I have come a long way since graduating from UC Riverside and seek to push the journey further along with the Walt Disney Company.
When I first started in 2007 as a PA in operations I thought that “Non Drop” meant that certain tapes were more fragile than others. Now I sit at home and explain to my friends the differences in HD standards and aspect ratios and cadences and tons of other stuff that makes their eyes glaze over.
            It has been a long road, sometimes loathsome and rife with stress but usually efficient and smooth and educational. There still is a ton for me to learn, but my current position is not exactly designed to be a learning experience. I would like to be considered for the Mastering Coordinator Position and further my post production experience.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Historical Essay about Ho Chi Minh

            Arguably the most dominant Southeast Asian character on the world’s radar, regardless of their historical education is Ho Chi Minh. Many people know him simply as the man who led the Vietcong to defeat the French, the Americans and ultimately set up the best-known communist republic in the region. This is no small task for any one man to accomplish, and Ho Chi Minh was no small man. This essay will examine the idea that Minh was not only a product of history, but also a man who will undoubtedly remain well known both inside and outside of the area for many generations to come. First the history leading up to Ho Chi Minh’s presence will be examined. Then the results of his life, his legacy will be examined. It is the mission of this paper to explore the facts that surrounded his and Vietnam’s rise to power and independence as being inspired and being an inspiration to history as a whole.
            In 1873, Vietnam came under the occupation of the French. It was divided into three areas, and the French Catholicism was spread heartily throughout region and class. As is prevalent with all colonial-colonized relationships, the French exhibited their culture, their education systems, their brand of government and their laws onto the Vietnamese people.[i] This is not always a beneficial relationship for both involved parties, and often results in exploitative relationships with the people being colonized suffering more than they are aware.
            Minh was educated and employed in Paris, as many occupied peoples were sent back to the ruling nation as a cheap labor source and in an effort to train locals, so the government of the colony in the style preferred by the occupying force.
            Minh’s education must have included the popular brand of historical self-congratulation that is popular in every country. This means he would have undoubtedly learned about the French revolution. The first of many lessons in popular revolutions that leave the people of that nation to govern themselves as they see fit, this French revolution would have been the first of a pattern of successful and beneficial revolutions.
            The second revolution Minh would have come across would be the American Revolution, as it was another example like the French one, of a group of people with differing ideas about government changed the lives of the masses for the better. In addition, the French aided the American colonies win their independence, so it would have definitely been emphasized in French history classes.
            The third and most important evidence of revolution that Minh was exposed to did not come in a classroom, but in real life. It was after the Versailles Peace conference, where Minh petitioned and was denied Independence for the Vietnamese people when Minh was “left open to the 1920 appeal of Lenin, the leader of the newly created Soviet Union.”[ii] The appeal was for Asian Nations to join in the general communist principles advocated by the Soviets. As an international communist missionary working for the Soviet Comintern,[iii] Minh got experience from the acknowledged masters of revolution and communism: the U.S.S.R.
            During World War II, Minh pulled another popular move used throughout history: gaining third party assistance. Like the Thai in pre-colonial times, Minh attempted to play off of international superpowers’ fears of one another. Minh was successful at this “to a point.” In exchange for rescuing downed American Pilots, the American Office of Strategic Services sent trainers for the Vietminh’s technicians as well as helping Ho Chi Minh to “frame a U.S.-style declaration of independence for Vietnam.”[iv]
Turning to history again, Minh borrowed the Lenin-esque strategy vis a vis “Bread, Peace and Land,” to gain popular support among the starving peasantry during the famine beginning in 1944. Minh would use the popular support gained from this move when he acknowledged his historical forefathers by citing both the American and French revolutions to bolster the Vietnamese claim of independence after the Japanese post-war exodus. [v] This, like the original plea of Minh at Versailles was short-lived when China, as an ally in WWII filled the vacuum left by the French in the north.
            Today in Vietnam the Capital City is named after Ho Chi Minh. The highway planned to connect the north and south is named after Ho Chi Minh. There are posters of his face, statues of him, books and films about him and almost anything else one can imagine. As Lenin and Stalin were celebrated in the Soviet Union, and Chairman Mao was in China, Ho Chi Minh was and is celebrated as a national hero and to some extent is deified like the other big-man communists.
            It is due to this fact that Ho Chi Minh can never be pulled, or rescued from history. History was trapped in him, which led him to greatness in organizing what would eventually become his dream: an independent communist Vietnam. He is trapped now in history, and the historian that revises the way the books are written has a large task in front of them. It is hard to visualize a myth being stronger than actual fact, and this is not an exploration, or an investigation of that myth.
            However, the historical facts at this point are not disputed. If in the future they do become doubted enough for a large-scale investigation, much more than fallacies must be overcome in the correcting of possible errors; years of nationalism and general pride need to be proven as incorrect to accomplish the goal of rescuing Ho Chi Minh from history.

[i]Chandler, David… et al. The emergence of Modern Southeast Asia. Pp. 115, 116.
[ii] Chandler, David… et al. The emergence of Modern Southeast Asia. Pg.340.
[iii] Chandler, David… et al. The emergence of Modern Southeast Asia. Pg. 340.
[iv] Chandler, David… et al. The emergence of Modern Southeast Asia. Pg. 343.
[v] Chandler, David… et al. The emergence of Modern Southeast Asia. Pg. 344.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Softball: A memoir chapter 2 "A Winning Strategy"

            The team we played in the co-ed finals was good. We had a better game than they did, though they were a more solid team. The most effective strategy for winning a co-ed softball game is to have strong women on your team. Understanding that for most of the co-ed softball teams, the experience is the goal, not the competition, one can understand how weaker athletes can find their way onto otherwise strong teams.
            This is due to the way most co-ed softball teams are formed. A couple of guys who like baseball will get together and form a team for fun, then one of them will have a girlfriend who will want to play, so they put together a co-ed team. One or two more girls will trickle in; a single girl who works with one of the guys and maybe a friend of the girlfriend or a sister who doesn’t really have any hobbies and isn’t looking to date but wants some exercise and a way to entertain herself on nights when the bachelor or america’s next top model isn’t on. The point is, the men are the impetus of the team, the girls are just there as filler.
If you want to win, find strong girls to play for your team. Tennis players usually work. They can hit from either side of the plate, have developed the necessary hand-eye coordination for placement hitting and even a good deal of power, and they are agile as all hell. Ex-softball players are also excellent source of talent. Most girls growing up have played some softball, if they weren’t into soccer or gymnastics, especially if they had an older brother or any brother. Beyond tennis and softball, any athletic background will do. Our team had a tennis player and an ex softball player and the third female who was the girlfriend of one of the guys.
So the first part of a winning co-ed team is competitive males. The second part is strong females. The third part, and this is what separates the winning teams from the teams who just want to go out in matching outfits and have fun before going out for pizza, is the exploitation of the other team’s weaknesses: their female filler. A smart team places its weakest woman as a catcher to minimize her negative impact on the team. The pitcher covers home on throws to the plate so her entire contribution is throwing the ball back to the pitcher on defense, and standing in the box with a bat hoping for a walk on offense. If the only weak point on a team is the catcher, that is a strong team, but it can be exploited by making the pitcher cover. There will be a lapse in judgement or if the pitcher is tired or not expecting a play at the plate there are runs to be scored then. It’s not technically honorable, but softball is a sport and the point of sport is to win.
The second spot to look for the weak female is right field. I hate that this is still true. The much more practical position is second base so the right fielder can back up and the pitcher can shade over and front her, but more often than not, the second weakest player is placed alone as the last line of defense in right field. Aim here to score runs and the fact that the pitcher is covering home instead of the catcher wont matter. A smart team will play with three outfielders and a rover, making the rover the second weakest spot and kind of ignoring it as a position. I think this is a less intelligent move than second base, especially when there is no fence in the outfield. A four person outfield is much more efficient when considering the nill contribution the rover makes and the potential for extra base hits when the gaps are exposed.
The third weak spot, if there can be one, is first base. This is where the strongest female player should be if all three are weak. If she can’t catch a throw directed at her, you’re team is fucked. If she is better than one of the guys on the team, she wont be at first base, he will. If she’s playing shortstop, don’t hit it to her, she’s got chops. Or she’s banging the manager – hit it between her and third base and see how her back hand glove work is.
Exploiting one or all of these weak spots effectively will almost guarantee victory. If you are there to win, like we were, you will sacrifice the long ball for the sharp line drive to right field, you will try and take second on ground balls through the infield and you will pretend to stop at third until they start their throw, then sprint for home while they double-cock and flub the throw or hit the cutoff weakly only to have him turn and look for the pitcher to be covering but he’s still running in and at that point it’s a foot race but he still has to catch the ball and make a tag and all you have to worry about is whether you want to dive headfirst or slide traditionally.
Playing for fun may mean opening yourself to losing and not caring, but not for me. Competing and losing is the opposite of fun for me. Winning is the most fun there is in sport and if you disagree, I genuinely think you aren’t giving yourself enough credit or you haven’t had a proper taste of victory. Winning is important. I have won many more games than I have lost throughout my life and it has never effected my ability to relate to people or make friends. If you think you have to lose to people for them to like you then you need to win more than anyone. Winning is not all there is, but it is the reason for sport. I would never hurt anyone to win. I do not advocate aiming at people, taking people out with slides, or any other “accidents” that some sports are okay with. What I am saying is that if you want to win, challenge the weakest people on the field, and to do that you need to know where they put the weakest people on the field. Alternatively, to win you need to find original and effective ways to compensate for your weakest players to avoid their being exploited by an opponent with as much time and analytical fire power as we had on “Algo” when we developed the following strategy.
We won the championship because our women were better than their women. We had a clinger and a girl with self esteem issues who was fundamentally capable at the sport, but unable to perform under pressure. The clinger was the catcher. She was weak, that’s where weak people play. It was no secret. I remember her hiding in the dugout for close plays on very many occaisions. She understood her role. A person who overestimates their ability is as much a detriment to the team as someone who is just plain awful. The girl with low self esteem played second base. She was fronted by the pitcher and backed up by the right fielder. She made some plays, but she was usually counted on for an error, if the ball got to her. Our pitcher was a beast and tried very hard to keep the ball away from the second base person with the low self esteem.
I have stopped naming names for this chapter. Chances are nobody will read this or remember what position they played, but if they do I’d rather keep it between them and I as opposed to making it a public thing. I’m not sorry for thinking and saying these things, and I’m sure there would be a brief discussion as to why I thought the way I did, an explanation from me and an acknowledgement and that would be the end of it. I’m not naming names to save myself the pain of having this conversation in the future because it sounds boring and I’d much rather do anything else.
Our secret key was a big one that formed my views of softball strategy forever. Our third girl was the pitcher. Pitching is either able or not able. In softball you just have to throw it a certain height and have it bounce on the strike zone twice out of five times. This can be taught and is pass/fail. Throwing it higher or with spin is a marginal advantage at best and even that can be developed by a capable female in practice. Our girl pitcher was good enough and that’s all we needed. Softball is designed to let the teams hit, so why waste talent at the pitcher’s spot when they could serve a better purpose in left or right center? Think about it. I don’t expect you to thank me, but think of me when you hold up the trophy.
We won that day because the weak points on our team were shored up as efficiently and effectively as possible. There was no sure-spot for the other team to hit and so they fell into the old softball trap of wasted effort called the long ball. It is a frustration reaction and it happens to even the best softball players. A stifled competitor will almost always react negatively and if you’re prepared for that reaction you will win the game or whatever you’re competing in.
Plus the other team was really drunk. Visibly drunk and drinking on the field, in the dugouts, parking lot, stands, wherever. They lost to us and invited us out for beers. To be fair and honest about my team’s strategy and skill, I must add that the team we beat that night was the drunk team – meaning they played every game drunk and were probably under the impression that a proper level of drunkenness enhanced their play. Looking back from several years later I can now say that they were better drunk at everything, which is common among certain types of alcoholics.
I can say they were alcoholics because this story is clearly going in the direction of me and a couple of the guys from my team joining their team to make a competitive all male team. I drank with them, after them and in new and alarming ways that would change the face of intramural softball at UCR for years to come, which will be visited and revisited later, and it all started with Algo’s victory over them in the fall of 2002 using the strategy outlined above.
Now entering caviat town. I am sure there are very many women who are more than capable athletes. I can name hundreds that are better than me. I’d estimate that there are millions of females on this earth who are very talented athletes. I’d also estimate, and fear, that those women are very upset now and possibly googling my name to find out where I live so they can come shove these pages down my throat. Relax, ladies. Uncle Greg is just merely playing the odds. I’ll go against Dr. H.S. Thompson’s advice and explain.
Chances are if you are a talented athlete you’re playing the sport you’re talented at for a living, excluding you from being implicated in the discussion above. The next tier of athletes, the former competitive athletes that rejoined normal society likely still play a competitive version, albeit amateur of their former chosen sport. Assuming no women went to school on rec-league softball scholarships, there are no women from this category playing rec-league softball. If you are one of these women, you should pitch for your rec-league softball team, unless you’re a better position player than a male. Third tier athletes, like me, probably play rec-league softball. You should pitch too. See how much it benefits your team to save a position like that.
I realize that this chapter is one of the more sexist things you can imagine. Me too. If men and women were comparable athletes, you would be able to tell me who won the last two women’s world cups without using google, name more than three WNBA teams, or show me a professional women’s softball or football league. The fact is, men are better at sports than women and that difference in skill translates to entertainment value, which translates to popularity and money and markets. Am I better than women at sports? Some of them, sure, but not all women. This is not an absolute. There are exceptions, notably dancing, ice skating, gymnastics and lacrosse, all feminine sports because they require grace and diligence more than kinetic abilities and hand-eye coordination.
To me it is a fact that men posses a different skill set than women. This is not a quality judgement. For every thing men are better at, there is a thing women are better at. Rec-league softball is just not one of those things. Be mad if you want. It is my opinion that I am right about this and if you disagree that’s on you. If you want to be angry at me for noticing something about reality and writing it down, so be it. If you want to win at co-ed softball, hit at the weak women.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cover Letter for another Assistant Job I Didn't Get

My name is Gregory Boytos and I feel I am a perfect fit for this job. For the past two and a half years I have been working exceptionally hard as a PA. As the network has seen record growth and an amazing boost in the quality of their programs and revenue, I have remained a PA. I wish there was a way for a company’s employees to grow with the company, but on a scale the size of the network, it is understandable and there is no bad blood. However it is time for me to grow as an entertainment professional and I need to take a step sideways in order to take a step up.
My writing career began with journalism as a contributing writer for the UCR Highlander, a weekly publication at UCR. I wrote articles ranging from A&E to sports features and opinions. This is where I discovered that writing was my future. I joined the creative writing department and focused on poetry, dabbling in creative non-fiction and fiction before finding my way to a screenwriting workshop where my training in truth, objectivity and efficient diction combined and became greater than each combined. My last act in school was to serve as poetry editor for the annual literary journal “Mosaic.”
Since undergrad I have attended and completed UCLA’s professional program in screenwriting, began an improv comedy career and written and produced a crowd of short films, web series and sketches. I finished a novella that began in a fiction class and continue to spend twenty hours a week writing my own original work and editing work of colleagues and friends, all for free.
My career is tumbling in the direction of being a writer / producer and I need to be around professionals in that field. I need to grow. I need a job where I can learn the skills I lack and hone the skills I already have. I am a dedicated, reliable, prudent and efficient man who is willing to go the extra five miles to get the job done, whatever the job is. I thank you for your time and appreciate the consideration.


Gregory Boytos

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Awesome Half Page Bio

My first act, as a zygote, was to cure my mother’s endometriosis. I was never thanked officially, but was raised well and given every opportunity available to succeed while growing up and, surely, into adulthood. My parents made innumerable sacrifices that I will never know to make sure I fit in and got the things I needed or erroneously wanted and there is not nor will there ever be a proper way to thank them; except to succeed.
This is my primary inspiration for my career. My chosen career happens to be story telling. My chosen path happens to be writing. I got a cat in the fifth grade named Graham. He was a gorgeous Russian Blue. I hate pet people, but I admit that when he was alive I treated him and spoke of him like he was a real person. I loved Graham more than anything I had ever known.
He got sick when I was in the eleventh grade and my parents could not afford to have him treated, so instead he was put down. That night, a lot of tears and even more whiskey, I vowed to never have to tell my children that we couldn’t afford something like that.
In college I studied history. I loved it, but according to most of my professors I was bad at it. I wrote the papers like stories, they said. They were easy reads, but lacked any historical analysis, they lamented. Maybe you should try writing writing, not historical writing, one said.
The next quarter I took a screenwriting class; or I tried. The class was full, and I was fifth on the wait list. I showed up every week, not knowing if I’d get credit for the course, and annoying the bejesus out of the instructor who tried, in vain, to talk me out of it, but I was hooked and there was no way I was quitting.
One creative writing degree and one UCLA Professional Program in screenwriting later, I am a writer, an actor, a production assistant, a boyfriend and a son that makes his parents proud enough to cry. My mom is Italian so it’s really not that hard, but nevertheless, I know they’re proud and I would relish the opportunity to have this program help me make them burst. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Letter I sent to philips ("electronics")

Below is my response to an email I received from philips and below is the email they sent me. happy Friday. Also it may be quite clear that there are some words in yellow. I don't know how to use spell check on blogger so as a result, some things are spelled wrong and in yellow and i really don't want to go through and fix each one by hand; would much rather type this long explanation.

Is this a fucking joke? I'm only asking because i have friends who are comedy writers who might come up with a scam like this knowing full well my history with the wonderful (sarcastic) philips (left lowercase on purpose) "corporation" (disrespect intended).

To catch you up: i had a problem, i called, emailed, filled out a couple of tickets on your simple (sarcastic) and easy to use (sarcastic again) website. I received a phone call asking questions. I answered these questions to the best of my ability and to the satisfaction of the asker. Then I got an email a week later asking for proof of purchase. This was sent in reply. A week later I received another email informing me my proof of purchase was invalid and to provide another method of proof that i had indeed purchased this equipment (the wonder of which is not lost on me. are there many service calls for stolen equipment?), and promptly sent all of the information i had regarding the purchase including the purchase confirmation page, the receipt, a packing list, shipping confirmation and even the first page of the owner’s manual (which, ironically, is where your warranty information is displayed). And then the trail went cold. Nobody ever came to fix my DVD player. Nobody called to schedule somebody to come and fix my DVD player. Nobody even called and apologized for forgetting about a customer. Weeks later I followed up, replying to the old emails to inquire about my file or ticket or claim of whatever you dickholes call it when your plastic dogshit doesn't operate like the DVD player i spent money on and haven't heard until this lovely email below which brings me back to my original question: is this a fucking joke?

Surely a company that could not and would not address a problem that occurred out of the box wouldn't ignore my warranty claim for nine months and then try and rape me out of more money. Surely I'm on a list somewhere because this isn't the first angry email I've sent you goddamn sodomites, unless nobody reads them. In which case: fuck off. All of you. Don’t ever send me anything again. I don't even own your goddamn DVD player anymore. I gave it to my retarded cousin so he had somewhere to smear peanut butter besides all of the functioning Sony products in his house.

Now i will condescendingly go through your email and point out all of the things that are wrong and should be corrected for future distribution to former customers. I have to be condescending because in light of the above events, i am convinced this company is run by lower level humans who can barely read or write or understand basic business principles. Ready lil guy? Here we go!

"Protect your investment" - wrong because your company does not honor warranties (no protection) and investments are supposed to appreciate (get worth more dollars) over time, not depreciate (get worth less dollars). a hyuck. Are we havin fun yet? A hyuck.

"Thanks to the generous warranty on your Philips Home Theater System you’ve never had to worry about unexpected repair bills" correct. I’ve never had to worry about repairs because you motherfuckers don't fix the broken shit you sell hard working Americans.

"Our extensive nationwide service network consists of factory trained technicians who are committed to keeping your product in good working order" but who for some reason don't. Nobody ever made an attempt to perform anything that could be considered service to my DVD player. shucks.

This email has more bullshit than the bible and is far less entertaining. I'm done wasting my time on you people. It is as simple as this: you don't care about your customers. Which would be mitigated by quality products or warranties that were honored, but unfortunately that is not the case. I wish you nothing but luck with your lil company. Surely your days are numbered if this is your business model.

And by luck i mean herpes.


Gregory "disgruntled ex-customer" Boytos

On Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 8:54 AM, Philips Corporation <> wrote:

Protect your investment!   

Dear Gregory Boytos,

Thanks to the generous warranty on your Philips Home Theater System you’ve never had to worry about unexpected repair bills. Why start now? Maximize the life of your product by purchasing a Philips Extended Service Plan. It’s simple! Just click on View Offers Now and enter your invitation number to select your extended coverage term.

Our extensive nationwide service network consists of factory trained technicians who are committed to keeping your product in good working order. After all, no one knows more about your Home Theater System than we do!

Enjoy peace of mind with these valuable benefits:

  • One Low, Up-Front Price

  • No Deductible or Hidden Charges

  • Replacement Coverage1

  • Nationwide Service Network

  • Factory Trained Technicians

    Be sure to extend the protection on your Philips Home Theater System with a Philips Extended Service Plan. Hurry! Offer ends July 4, 2011.


    Maria Perez
    Vice President, Aftermarket

  • Your Invitation Number:

    Model Number:

    Two Ways to Sign up:

    Visit us online at:

    Call us a

    Total Product Protection:

  • Parts and Labor Coverage

  • Factory Trained Technicians

  • No Deductible

  • 1

  • 1 Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for complete details.

    To ensure delivery to your inbox, please add to your address book.

    Please do not reply to this email. This is an unmonitored address, and replies to this email cannot be responded to or read. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at

    Follow this link to unsubscribe to future email communications about this product. You may also send us correspondence via postal mail to Philips Extended Service Plans, P.O. Box 32009, Louisville, KY 40232-2009.

    Philips Extended Service Plans are offered and sold by Service Net Retail Solutions LLC, PO Box 928, Jeffersonville, IN 47131.


    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Cover Letter for an Assistant Position I didn't get

    To whom it may concern,

    My name is Gregory Boytos and I am currently underqualified for this position. That is good news, because I am a quick learner and hard worker and am willing to stick my neck out for people who have stuck their neck out for me. I am a much better fit that someone who has just enough experience because I’m hungrier. I have much more to prove and that added value will save thousands of dollars down the line.
    What I lack in experience I make up for in intelligence and hubris. I will show up on time. I will stay late. I will bring my thick skin and sense of humor with me wherever I go. I will answer phones, roll calls, schedule meetings, flights, dinners, dry cleaning, anything to learn what I need to learn to keep my career moving.
    I thank you for your time and hope to hear from you soon.


    Gregory Boytos

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Toby's [incomplete] version of events (celebrideath)

    They say I have a gambling problem. That is really not the case. If you have a gambling problem, that is, a serious and legitimate gaming addiction, you’re only up or down lately. When you go on a slide and lose a bunch of someone else’s money after losing your job everyone loses their head.
    The fact is that I have been playing cards since I could hold them. In my family it was just something we did and I had a gift. That gift paid for college. Everyone seemed proud of me for graduating in four years and coming out in the black. I never took a student loan or had a job. All I did was play cards. 
    There are things called streaks, everyone has them. For a month or two, no matter how much sleep you get, you are tired. Some people call that depression, some call it a streak. Some people go on these streaks for years without ever knowing it. People think that life has consistency to it but it doesn’t. It can’t. You’re either on your way up or on your way down.
    After I graduated I got a job as a statistician. It sucked but I could go in whenever I wanted and bring my work home as long as I gave my boss the paperwork on time. It fit in well with my lifestyle, I could sleep in and show up late, take a long lunch and work until I finished, then go home and drink, and if I finished early on a particular night I could go play some poker before coming home and still have time for the quality time with Greg and Jimmy.
    I guess the problems started the first year of the pool. I got second place and Mark won, and everyone was so excited for him that they ignored the fact that I had more deaths than he did, but he won because of points which is fine, but he picked Tupac Shakur as a joke and got lucky. I would have been happy to have been outpicked, but for a joke to beat me for the money really messed with my head.
    When we went to Vegas, I wanted to show everyone how much money skill could win if not pitted against dumb luck so we pulled in and I jumped out, tossed my keys to the valet and hit the tables hard. The saying goes that the house always wins, but there are things you can do to tip the odds in your favor. Every game has its statistics that change throughout the game, and knowing these is huge.
    I wont go into details, but rest assured that my background in gambling as well as mathematics makes recognizing and capitalizing on these percentages incredibly easy and I was on a tear for the first thirty-six hours, then I got tired, but I had no idea where the room was, because none of the guys told me, and my cell phone was out of batteries, and I didn’t know Mark’s last name so I just hung out on the casino floor until they came looking for me again which wasn’t until Sunday.
    That, I guess was the beginning of a streak that I hadn’t ever heard of, let alone experienced. It lasted four years straight, non-stop and I pushed it as far and as hard as I could. I lost my job because I stopped going. I stopped going because I was making twice as much in the casinos and card rooms as I made at work, so economics demanded sacrificing the work that benefited me the least.
    Around the time I lost my job is when I met Al. He was a rounder like me, that is, his game of choice was poker. He was a regular in the big game at the casino, and the more I played in it, the more I noticed that he never lost either. He noticed the same about me, and soon we were casino pals.
    We never hung out away from the casino because we both had our own friends, but since I was the only pro I knew, and he had the same problem, we gravitated towards each other. We were essentially colleagues and our relationship was strictly professional. We would sit around on breaks from the game and talk shop, that is, swap stories and new strategies that we were working on, bounce ideas off of each other and things like that.
    It was through these conversations that Al revealed the wonderful world of sports betting to me. I had never really placed bets on sporting events aside from ten bucks on the super bowl with Greg or Jimmy, just to make the game more interesting, just to have something to cheer for. Al appealed to this notion, he said, “if you think ten bucks makes a game interesting, try riding then thou.”
    I imagined it. It seemed awful, but at the same time it made me feel liberated. I put my first sports bet down after a twelve hour session at the poker tables. I had won four thousand, so when I put down the two thousand dollar bet on the favorite to win, I was only partially nervous. Al bet the same way, and we relaxed in the sports book to watch the game.
    I won. It was the most intense basketball game I had ever watched or heard of, and I played competitive basketball all the way through high school. I played in three state championship games, two of which were decided by less than four points, and somehow sitting in a leather chair miles away from the actual action, I was more involved than I ever imagined I could be.
    Cashing that ticket in was like an orgasm. I had to lean on the counter to keep from falling over while the woman counted my thirty-five-hundred dollars. Sports betting seemed to be the easy ticket. It was less involved and intense than poker, and the odds were already declared before I put my money in.
    The streak continued. I had enough money saved to pay rent for a year and I was still winning. I upped the stakes as any gambler would do. If I was winning five thousand every day and only risking one, I could win ten by risking two, or fifteen by risking three. So I naturally put down ten because fifty thousand dollars sounded great and after a four year streak I felt more or less invincible.
    I won and I was not surprised; fifty thousand dollars from one basketball game, my salary for the whole first year out of college. I had won in one hour what it used to take me a whole year to earn and it was not nearly as satisfying as I had thought. Imagine drinking a gallon of something that made you more thirsty than you were before you drank it. That was where I had ended up, dissapointed by the biggest win of my life; the pinnacle of my young career.
    Al looked relieved. We were sitting in the sports book drinking champagne, expensive champagne, the kind you drink for the taste, and I was chugging it.
    “Slow the fuck down guy, what you tryin’a forget about? You’re rich.”
    “I dunno,” I said, “I guess it just doesn’t have the rush I thought it did.” I was telling the truth
    “That’s your problem. You got a hard on for that adrenaline.” He poured more champagne into my flute, the bubbles collected at the bottom, pooled their courage and exploded towards the top. We clanged glasses and I chugged mine.
    “If I shouldn’t be in it for the rush, what should I be in it for?”
    “The money, there’s other stuff for the rush.”
    “Well, whatever the other stuff is, I think I’ll pass.”
    “Sure thing. Well, I haven’t had an honest job in twenty years, if you want to be able to say that nineteen years from now, you stick with me.”
    And I stuck with him. It wasn’t an honest job like he said, but it paid well. I took the fifty thousand I won and spread it out over every sport I could. I was betting on horses, baseball, basketball, football, billiards, boxing, cage fighting… you name it, I had money riding on it. If there were odds, I was in them.
    I was moving a hundred thousand dollars a week and loving it. My streak was insane and now closing in on five years. I did more than pay bills. I gave my parents money, bought them a house. My brothers got cars, I paid for my sisters wedding, I set up trust funds for their kids to go to college, I bought the guys pizza.
    I would have spent more on them, but I knew they wouldn’t understand. If I threw my money around too much they would probably have an intervention or something like that. I kept my money a secret more or less. It was difficult, but I had to do it. I went and got another apartment where I could live as my new lifestyle could allow me to do. I kept paying rent back with the guys, but I was never around more than twice a week, and even that much was too much.
    I felt stifled. These were my best friends since kindergarten and Mark, who used to be our neighbor but we kind of fucked him out of college so he moved in. I never really liked him, but he was easy to make fun of and a good sport. But the guys, Greg and Jimmy were as close as my brothers and I couldn’t share this amazing success I was having. It made my huge bank accounts and flat screen televisions and leather sofas kind of lose their shine. But only kind of, because the lifestyle I had created was amazing.
    I almost completely stopped playing poker and went to the casinos one day per week to pick up my winnings from the previous week and place my bets for the upcoming one. This would only take an hour at most, and since there is a hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week, I obviously had time to kill.
    The first couple weeks I had yet to adapt to the lifestyle. My money was so young, it had yet to learn about the finer things in life. I was trying my hardest to spend more, but it wasn’t happening. I would get the six-dollar burger instead of the ninety-nine cent chicken sandwich, I would get criss cutt fries instead of extra lettuce, an extra large dr. pepper instead of water. I couldn’t spend even half of what I was taking in.
    I went to the casino to talk to Al. He was my only friend in the new life, and I didn’t know where to start living the good life. He was where he usually was, at the poker tables. He saw me and stood up.
    “Follow me,” he said and walked out of the poker room. I followed, and he lit a cigarette. “Having some trouble kid?”
    “Yeah, how’d you know?”
    “I told ya, I had a job once too.” He took a drag off his cigarette and pointed at me with the two fingers that held it. “You’ve got more money than you know what to do with.”
    “Yeah, I mean, I’m buying the stuff I always wanted, I’m giving money away to my family, I just have so much, and only so much space to keep it. Every wall has a flat screen, and I am just out of walls.”
    He shook his cigarette at me. “You see this jacket?” He pointed at his leather jacket.
    “Yeah, it looks like my jacket.” It did.
    “Well, this ain’t your jacket.” He opened the lapel to reveal the label, it was not in English.
    “What, a Japanese jacket?”
    “It’s dolphin skin, illegal in the states, thirty thousand bucks.”
    “That’s fuckin gross Al.”
    “Well, it’s the nicest jacket you’ll ever see. Touch it.” I touched it, it was smooth like glass but soft, like silk.
    “That’s fucking amazing.”
    “Isn’t it?”
    “Clothes? I don’t know Al, don’t you think that’s a little, I don’t know, gay?”
    Al laughed the smoke out of his lungs and coughed once it was all gone.
    “Gay? Kid, I’m wearing a thirty-thousand dollar jacket, it’s a fuckin pussy magnet. Gay…”
    “No, the jacket is nice, I’m saying that clothes shopping with another guy is gay.”
    “Well you haven’t had much luck finding nice shit on your own.”
    “Alright Al, show me.”
    Al cashed out of his game and took me to a dark little shop in the garment district. It was unassuming from the outside, just like any other shop with dressed up mannequins looking at their watches or looking off into the distance, with a door covered in black paper and bells that alerted the owner/operator that there were customers.
    A small asian man came out from the back room. I could hardly see him, but he recognized Al.
    “Terry-san, how you doin?”
    “Good, good… what can I get you?”
    “Nothin for me, but this is my friend Toby, set him up will ya?” Al slapped me on the chest.
    “You got it Alberto.”
    “Alright kid. I’m going to cut out so as not to seem like such a queer, since you’re so scared.” Al smiled and turned to leave.
    “I was just kidding Al, go ahead and stay.” I didn’t want him to leave me alone with Terry, even though Terry seemed nice, I was not in the mood to be readjusted in private with a strange tailor whose english was marginal at best.
    Al stayed and helped me pick out my new clothes. I dropped two-hundred thousand dolalrs in cash into this place, no receipt.
    “Thank you Toby, Alberto, see you soon.”
    “Ever think we’re in the wrong business Al?” He laughed and lit a cigarette.
    “Never. That guy busts his ass and his wife is a bitch, she’s pretty but she’s a bitch.”
    “Well thanks Al, this is some cool shit I bought.”
    “And I’m sure you got more in mind for next time.”
    “Maybe. I think I’m going to take a break for awhile, I’ve never spent so much in a year, let alone in an hour and a half.”
    “What do you mean take a break kid? You take a break, you lose whatever edge you got.”
    “I’m not going to quit playing, I’m going to quit spending.”
    “Kid, if you get too much money in the bank, you’re gonna lose that fire, that need to win, like how you were this morning.”
    “I guess so.”
                “Then you need some bills. A constant pressure.”
    “I have two apartments Al, anything more would just be sick.”
    “Why the hell do you have two apartments?”
    “It’s complicated.”
    “Whatever.” Al drove me back to my car at the casino and I went back to my place to hang my clothes up. I was hungry. I grabbed a pizza and went back to the guys’ place to hang out in my old clothes for a bit. I thought about what Al said, about bills. I was making an insane amount of money and I had set everyone else up with a comfortable life, all that I had left to do was get some insurance for myself.
    They were all their normal selves. Jimmy and Greg were working on the pool at an insane rate. It was starting to take a toll on them, or so it seemed. Jimmy had been out of work for nearly a year, and probably hadn’t cut his hair or shaved since. From the looks of it, he changed his shirt once a week, and his pants were just dirty. Greg was never clean shaven or well dressed to begin with, but something was just different. He breathed deeper than usual as if he was wearing a back pack or hiking or something.
    I didn’t say anything. We all grew up looking for the same adulthood, the most money for the least work, and to work less later you have to work hard now, and one day God willing, you will get to relax. It’s why they put so much into the pool and college, and so little into their bullshit office jobs. It’s why I started gambling seriously and why I put so much of my money away, so one day I could quit.
    But that day would not come for some time as it were. And while I was riding high, I wanted to stay up there. I moved out of the second apartment and into a house. It was a nice house, a huge one in the hills. I had a pool, a home theatre, a personal cook, barber, massuesse, bartender, everything. I paid the employees for a year in advance, which set me back a couple months, and the mortgage was five figures, so I needed to maintain my streak.
    I had the fire like Al said. The need to win that would keep me sharp, keep me working hard. I put my nose back to the grindstone and hit the casino full time. Al was still there as per usual, and he looked happy to see me all dressed up. He said I looked good, like a real gambler, and that’s how I felt for once. For the first time in my life I belonged somewhere. But not for long.
    As my success blew up, other, older gambler guys began to resent me. For the same reason professional atheletes haze atheletes, these guys put me through a lot of shit. It is difficult to describe or convey the stuff they used to pull, and even more difficult to prove, but I know a lot of the stuff that could be viewed as bad luck was more bad blood than anything else.
    Sometimes I’d walk into the players club and they’d all stop talking and watch me. Other times, I’d be sitting behind them and one guy or another whose money was lining my pocket would be whining about how “That kid hasn’t paid his dues,” or, “that kid’s luck will run out and everyone will know what I already do.”
    It was disheartening. More money than I ever could have imagined and I had still yet to become legitimate in anyone’s eyes. It was not just luck, even though luck had a great deal to do with it, but when you have studied the games as much as I have you know certain things that discount luck, make it a non-issue.
    And that’s when I began living the life of a professional gambler. I would play for two days straight, sleep for twelve hours, and take two days off. It gave me time for vacations, which is something I never got to do while I was in school. I never really traveled much at all, but I spent a lot of time on the road; the school-far-from-home paradox. I would drive to L.A. once a month, an eight hour round trip and all my sight-seeing consisted of was desert and the bus-stop towns past San Bernadino. Not exactly what I would call worthy of vacation, more of a commute.
    So I did the traveling thing. Pick up a couple girls, get on the next plane to somewhere and go get drunk for a couple days, or put on my old clothes and go back to the old apartment and hang out with the guys. I don’t know which was more pleasurable, well, I do know which was more pleasurable, but I can’t decide which one I liked more. Every guy fantasizes about jet setting to some beach with two bottle blond coctail waitresses and being in complete control for a couple days, but there is something to be said about being normal, about spending time being quiet with people who know my history.
    But I was rich and one thing I learned is when you are rich, you don’t have to choose. I did everything I wanted whenever I wanted, it was more than nice, it was amazing. Complete freedom, I could sleep when I wanted, work when I wanted, eat, drink, go for a drive, play golf, whenever I wanted. The only limit to what I could do was my imagination and my ability to be awake.
    When I was in college, I would usually only go to bed out of boredom or responsibility, and now that I was never bored and completely free to any and all whims, sleep wasn’t really as much of an advantage as it used to be. I developed a pretty severe coffee habit, about a cup an hour. I tired energy drinks too, but they seemed too fake and they hurt my stomach a bit. I wanted to stay awake, but not the fake way. I looked at the ingredients and began experimenting.
    Nothing really worked as well as I needed it to. I went right down the list until I got to B12. Now this was readily available over the counter at any pharmacy, and not too expensive, not that price was an issue. The bottle says one tablet in the morning and one tablet at lunch for increased mental sharpness. It was like coffee in pill form. It kept my head sharp, which is a definite plus in my line of work.
    But I have a tendency to ride waves, so instead of taking one in the morning and one at lunch, I took two every four hours. I could stay up for seventy hours and not show any signs of fatigue: no yawning, no fidgeting, no loss of attention, nothing. I would pop these supplements, work for three days straight, sleep for one and take three or four days off. People thought I was on drugs because they would go home, sleep, hang with their families, come back and there, in the same seat, in the same expensive clothes, would be me and an insane amount of other people’s money.
    And Al was apparently known around the gambling world for being a guy who knew how to get things. Gambling was a side job for him, and when he wasn’t sitting in a game he was connecting guys who had money and needed drugs to guys who had drugs and needed money. Of course he took a small percentage as a matter of business so he was never involved officially aside from being the middle-man.
    I had a friend growing up who I lost touch with, but a few years after he moved away with his family he overdosed. It wasn’t as personal as it probably could have been, but he was a big enough part of my life, of all of our lives where we felt the need to swear an oath never to do drugs. Jimmy is the only one of us that ever went farther than the occaisional joint. He tried coke in college, but he said it was stupid. I think his exact words were, “I got really fucking wasted, put a straw in my nose, breathed in only to feel completely sober, have my teeth go numb and ramble on like some slurring shaman,” so I never felt the need to try it myself.
    I guess the B12 could be considered a drug, but I didn’t get high or anything so it would be a hard argument to make that my motives were anything suspect. It was just like coffee; too much coffee and I’ve never met anyone who needed to go to rehab for a ten thousand dollar a day nonfat soy latte habit. The B12 was just another point on my score sheet. Yet another edge over the common man. Another step towards mastery. The pros could think what they wanted, they could whisper all they wanted, they already talked enough, I didn’t mind them having one more topic.
    I was in awe. If I would have known winning like this was possible I wouldn’t have waited to hate my job so much before quitting and gambling full time. I went to college in Vegas for God’s sake. I was in the gambling mecca taking sixteen units and working in the school cafeteria playing poker on the side. I spent college working full time, going to school full time, playing as much poker as I could and sleeping whenever I got the chance. They think I never paid my dues, I think they should try college.
    I was being forced to prove myself daily and it began to pile up. Just because I had never been six figures in gambling debt and had to starve to achieve my dream, never beat the wrong people and caught an ass kicking, never had to learn anything the hard way, didn’t mean that my success was in any way illegitimate. I was frustrated.
    I started slipping. They were in my head and I didn’t even know it. I was still making bank, but my play was doubtful. Instead of playing smart, sticking with the numbers I started messing around trying to beat specific guys who had been harping on me the most. I was better than them regardless of my past and I was going to show them. I knew the game better, I knew people better and I was out for blood.
    This continued for a couple weeks. It was the cardinal rule of poker to keep it impersonal, and I was doing the complete opposite. I was not trying to win money, I was trying to steal it, and this offended the poker gods or something because this was the beginning of the unwinding. It had been building for some time, and the levee holding my poker wave finally broke.
    I had lost before, to go years without having a day in the red would be impossible, and I had taken my fair share of shots to my bankroll, but it usually rebounded within the next couple of sessions. Poker is all about the swings. They’re not exactly pendular, except on a very small scale. The bigger the swing, the more dangerous it is because it is difficult to stop. I mistook the beginning of a huge blow back for just a minor slip.
    Bringing yourself off of a poor streak takes attention and skill. Since I was more concerned at the time with busting certain guys then watching my wallet, on the whole I was slipping. I was still beating the guys I wanted to beat, but in focusing my aggression at my cohorts, I let everyone else chip away at my bank roll. And then the worst case scenario came up as it tends to do in times like these.
    I ran out of the B12 vitamins and I was feeling tired so I didn’t pick them up on the way home from the casino. I went into the house, walked through the foyer, past the theatre and kitchen, into my bedroom, jumped onto the bed and before I could pick up the remote and flip on ESPN I was out. I had been up for four days and it felt so good to finally rest.
    I woke up and it was still dark. I guess I should say it was dark again. I turned on the television and I was watching highlights from a day that I completely missed. My cell phone had about a dozen missed calls on it, all from Al. I called him back.
    “Hey kid, where the fuck have you been?”
    “I was taking a nap.”
    “A nap? Kid I’ve been callin’ all day.”
    “Yeah, I slept all day, I was tired.”
    “Listen, you need to come down here quick and settle up.”
    I had a three game parlay set up, and settling up means I lost. Usually, when I have a parlay that is on the fence, meaning that I picked one winner out of two games and needed the third to win in order to get paid, I would place a back door bet on the team I didn’t pick to win the third game so I would be gaurunteed to at least break even. This was the first time I slept through an entire day, especially one so important. This was a six figure nap.
    “Ok Al, I’ll see you.” I was still wearing my clothes from my four day bender, they were wrinkled and probably stunk a little bit, but I needed to go down and pay, or at least try and work something out. I grabbed my keys and hit the road.
    Al was steaming when I got there. “I thought I taught you better’n that kid.”
    “Relax Al, it’s my money.”
    That seemed to make it worse.
    “It was your money kid, you fuckin lost. That was a six figure fucking nap.”
    I decided that not talking was a good angle at this point. I just looked at him and followed him into the sports book. I didn’t get why he was so mad, we played the same games the same way and he got into the back door on the parlay, so I was the only one that lost here.
    I wrote a check to the book, I had been playing so long that I was betting on credit in there, not like everyone else who had to put the cash in up front. It was one of the benefits of being a preferred player at the place. Two hundred thousand dollars was the most I had ever lost, but it wasn’t that much of a hit. It made me realize that I wasn’t as invincible as I thought.
    Al was noticably colder towards me ever since the nap incident, but not in a huge way. We still hung out and shot the shit when we were both around, but he stopped giving me unsolicited advice. If I came in an old t-shirt, Al wouldn’t mention that I looked like a jackass, if I slept through another back door chance, I wouldn’t get a dozen missed calls, he even stopped running his picks past me for advice.
    It was kind of like when I was in high school and my dad caught me smoking pot with Greg in my back yard. He never yelled at me or grounded me or anything, things were just different from then on, like he expected so little of me that I could never dissapoint him again.
    I slowed down my live play considerably and picked up more on the sports bets. This left me with more risk, because I was depending more on research than skill and numbers. It was still better than a coin toss because I knew the teams I was betting on and betting against, but with sports betting, unlike poker, once my money was in I had no way of improving my odds aside from betting against what I had originally put in, but then I would have to double the original bet just to break even, and the in game bets could only go through some nuts-o back room bookie who still wore a bowler hat because he still thought Odd-Job was cool.
    I was still taking the B12 vitamins, but not doubling up like I had. They say the sharper the blade the easier it is to bend, which is apparently why one uses an axe to chop down a tree instead of a scalpel. Come to think of it, I have never heard that, I guess those pills work in moderation. I sound smart and I’m not liable to sleep for more than a day.