Saturday, February 16, 2013

On The Oxygen

On The Oxygen

A counselor told me that I’m as addicted to work as I was addicted to anything. Going through my life history with him was like attaching one bender to the next. It was Coca-cola, heavy metal, and video games when I was early in my teens. Then it became Adderall, trance, and poker. This was swallowed up alcohol and partying, which was then followed by weed, hip hop, poker, opiates, and uppers.
Take a guess which stage I’m in during this picture. Hint: Note the eyes and the fact I lost 40 pounds this year.
When I got clean I didn’t really change my nature. I just took to running every single day for two hours. Taking intermittent breaks was only allowed if I did 25 push-ups after slowing down.
My passions in life are now Jesus, Naty, my family, my work, books and TV shows.  Sadly, it doesn’t always come down to that order.
It doesn’t surprise me so many ex-addicts become Jesus freaks. You need to latch onto something. When a current of anger, jealousy, and greed drips through you try reading Matthew. Imagine you had a real reason to believe in it.
This guy I was talking to made a good point. No one latches onto that many things without getting something from it.
My neurologist says a light form of Asperger’s is to blame. His prescriptions tailored to that condition have saved my life for the last two years. They helped me to quit all drugs and alcohol. I must concede, he might be right.
This counselor said it likely came from some form of emptiness as well, some drive that can nearly kill you but also gets you places.
This reminded me of an article I just read about Michael Jordan. If you don’t click on any link I normally post you should really click on that one. That piece captivates as much as it haunts. You get a real sense of a man fighting his demons with rage and competition. You get the sense that this icon, the greatest basketball player of all time, feels nothing that he’s done.
If I analyze why I work so much it’s really because I think anyone can do it. As my hero Adam Carolla says, “it’s not that I have low self-esteem. I have no self-esteem. I don’t know what it is.” I believe anyone can become as good as I supposedly am at poker if they put their heart in it. That’s why I believe so much in Assassinato Coaching.
That same belief can haunt me. I should take the title of “professional poker player” with pride. I should wear it like a crown. I can make money anywhere on Earth, come whatever may. I am a hard worker. If there’s a nickel out there to make I will find a way to get it.
But deep down I don’t believe that. I think if I ever stopped working I will lose everything I have. I’ll go back to being poor and hopeless like I was for so many years. I think someone will overtake me.
I’m really glad I worked with this professional. I think one thing my generation fails to do is listen to someone older than them. Yes, many old people are crotchety and don’t know a thing, but most are like poker players who have played millions of hands. They probably have something earned from experience to share.
My goal lately has been to take it easy. I have a set hour I have to get off the computer every day. I broke the rule once, and felt like crap afterward.
There’s more to do at this computer than I could explain. Things are going so well right now. I’m too grateful. I was desperate for permanence in my field, to the point I believed I could never attain it. Now things are going so well. I’m dumbfounded. I’m so so happy now…that I’m terrified. What if everything changes?
There’s never an end to what you could be doing, especially if you’ve opened many doors of opportunity. Someone could always use something from you. There’s always another paycheck to chase. Is this really what you want to consume your life?
I’ve been reading a book set in Thailand recently. A Thai policeman remarks the problem with capitalism is that the head-of-the-household needs to become a monster in order to survive his system. Once he’s achieved the dream his own kids are afraid of him. The Thai policeman continues to think that the Thai women are attractive to foreigners because even what they have attained is not permanent. They sift in and out of the unattainable. They want one pleasure, one vice, clearly their own for a specific hour, and they want to be left in peace.
Do you own a house? Have you quit working? Do you feel good enough to start thinking differently and studying? We will get you back to work, or make you move. Enjoy this 80% hike in property tax. We gotta make way for someone else who never gets to see the house they’re working so hard for. Culture vultures in Birkenstocks. 
I’m not in any mood. Read it twice. There’s just too much open on my screen.
I’ve been working hard on this breathing technique a boxer taught me. He said it keeps him cool-minded when he’s out there. He says it works when he’s reading too. I’ve been doing it for a day or two. Everything is so much more enjoyable when your heart rate goes down.
It’s just hard to turn on. I’m at war when I’m consulting. Figures, percentages, numbers, schedules, mental breakdowns, mental blocks, seventh place again, squeezed bankroll, makeup, equity, EV, do you do this because you know it to be true or is that just what you’ve heard for oh so many years?
Really enjoying only working a certain number of hours per day, although I’m at a loss for what to do when I’m forced to get off the computer.
Working at home is a pseudo drag. You’re never that far from constant financial and personal progression. It’s addicting because it’s supposed to be. How am I supposed to lay down and play a video game? There’s work afoot!
Yet, you never see the colors when you go fast.
Maybe I don’t want to remember everything in my life. It really tortured Michael Jordan.
Maybe I do. I like having a record for how I spent my days. You can read the really succinct notes about it here, but it’s mostly for me – to remember, to see. There should also be some good book and movie recommendations. Their might even be more fun links.
I don’t remember anything if I don’t write it down. Which is a shame. Life is too good to be forgotten.
Four hours of appointments in the morning. Lunch and blogging. Discussions with Full Tilt. Talking to my sister about the wedding. Reading Beyond Opinion and The Bible. 2.2K Zoom poker hands played. I wanted to play a lot of hands. I feel sharp. Went for a long jog listening to Stic Man’s The Workout and a TED Talks about how foreign aid is killing Africa.
I listen to Anders Friden’s side project Passenger. It’s horrible. I can’t believe I was sad in 2003 that I couldn’t find this CD
Three appointments. One cancellation. My internet goes out completely, but my air card holds out. I meet with a professional for a life line check. I am told I am work addicted and not enjoying my life. After hanging up I make a plan to pray, read, and relax more. I remember the boxer’s advice.
Three appointments, consultations, lessons, whatever. Naty and I go to Rosti Pollo’s with Javier. I eat too much, because I can. I show Javier some concepts on Zoom Poker, but the situations never pop up. I love Zoom because you can test theories rigorously, but it’s not happening today.
He goes to a tennis match. I watch Matthew Janda’s third donk betting video again. I study The Bible. I start reading about Thailand. I watch Anthony Bourdain cruise through Mozambique. Crazy how they still speak in pseudo Portuguese.
“So, are you celebrating freedom from the Portuguese today,” Anthony Bourdain asks at a parade for their independence day.
Their official goes, “we are not celebrating freedom from the Portuguese. They are a people, just like us. We are celebrating freedom from colonization.”
The number one comment confirms I’m paraphrasing.
Everything goes wrong in the morning. My family doesn’t answer their phone for the umpteenth time. I try to read something on my laptop and the program glitches out. My feet get dirty on something and I track it to the bed. The phone rings literally eight times while I’m trying to read. I want to scream, “but it’s my day off! WAAAAAAAAH.”
I go play squash with Javier. He kicks my ass as always, but I’m narrowing the gap. We play three full games for the first time. I feel way better.
I go to the Ministerio De Hacienda and get a page that confirms my address. I walk into Sour Bitter street, buying a Mango bubble tea which does not taste like bubble tea, but is delicious. I copy the page to a CD while the woman who is supposed to be helping me continues to go back to some party for a pregnant girl. When she hands me the CD at the end she neglects to hand me the case. The cashier says the price written down on the receipt for me is not the correct price, even though it’s on all the menus. Take my unbilled 200 colones you need so damn badly.
I walk into a video game store. I buy the component cables for my PS2 so I can connect it to my HDTV. They have a Playstation 3 on display with hundreds of games on a hard drive. I own a PS2 because you can mod it. This makes me salivate. Although I knew it existed before now I can see it. This will be in my new house.
I go home and mail the address confirmation to Full Tilt. They reply with, “please send this to Full Tilt.” Good to see those guys have gotten back on track.
I play Xenosaga and some first-person shooters for a few hours, then watch Law and Order and drift to sleep.
My Plugs: Check out my vids at Pocketfives Training, contact me for lessons at, see other stuff I write with my friends at, and follow my Twitter @TheAssassinato and Facebook at

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