Monday, July 24, 2006

Though the ACM conference ended a couple of weeks ago, there's still one thing about it I haven't been able to shake. It's this red thing. We got it when we registered for the conference. And I don't know what it is. Anybody?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tom woke me up at 11:30 this morning, 5 minutes before we had to leave so we could get to the Rio for his noon tournament (the $1.5k No Limit Hold 'Em event). So here I am in the press room - unshowered, unshaven, helping myself to the pastry platter since I missed breakfast, the only person with a 5 year old laptop, the only person having trouble typing the letter 'n,' and trying to look respectable doing it. I'm cultivating the eccentric journalist look, hoping that they buy it. Occasionally I'll stand up, stretch, and start doing Tai Chi. People fear what they don't understand. If anyone asks who I am, I'll pretend to be shocked they don't know. If you want an update on the poker action, be sure to check out Tom's blog (the link is on the sidebar).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another day in Vegas. Blogging from this laptop is harder than you might imagine. The 'n' key is sketchy at best. Today's highlights: using my recently acquired press pass to hang out in the media room (complete with refreshments and pastries) and getting a shot of Hollywood icon James Woods eating popcorn while playing in the $2k No Limit Hold 'Em event, a few tables down from Tom.

I'm having so much fun in Vegas I forgot that I'm supposed to be making a movie.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Where to start? I began writing this blog post from the Imperial Ballroom in the Park Plaza in Boston. I’m finishing it from a rental house in Las Vegas. To recap:

This is what happened to my car on July 3rd, less than 24 hours before I was to leave for Boston. I’m not as concerned about the stuff that was stolen as I am about the damage done to the car. Unfortunately, I only have liability coverage on my car insurance, so no help there. I’m really not sure how I’m going to be able to afford to fix it. Maybe I’ll play the nickel slots -- daddy needs a new rear windshield.

Rewind to Boston. I attended the Alliance for Community Media national conference as a representative of SPNN. The conference was held at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, and I arrived with two teenage girls in tow. RayLynn and Mai Cha were the two youth chosen from the Set It Up crew to attend the conference. In recent years, there has been a drop off in the youth presence at the ACM conference. In the end, the total registration for youth at this year’s conference was two: Mai Cha and RayLynn. While the number is certainly disheartening, their impact was felt. By the end of the conference, the two had reached quasi-celebrity status. They not only attended but participated in the conference workshops, asking questions and bringing their unique perspectives to the table.

When thinking back on the conference, the word that keeps popping up is “exhausting.” Being the sole adult chaperone, chasing after two teenage girls for sixteen hours a day wore me out. However, it was also unbelievably fun. I had never been to Boston before, and (save for the East Coast attitude and criminally bad driving) the city is fantastic. Our first night, we walked to the river and listened to a live performance by the Boston Pops with special guests Aerosmith, emceed by Dr. Phil (!). This was followed by the most spectacular fireworks display that I have ever witnessed (did you know there are fireworks that explode into wireframe cubes?!).

We walked the Freedom Trail, a red line that twists around downtown Boston (and eventually across the river to Cambridge) and stops at different historical landmarks. We saw the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old South Meeting House where people congregated before the Boston Tea Party, and the graveyard where John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams are buried. We walked around Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, saw the boats along the Long Wharf, and strolled around Boston Commons. We had fresh octopus in Chinatown, clam chowder at the keynote luncheon, and on our last night in Boston, Mike (the executive director of SPNN) took us out to Legal Seafoods. One of the highlights was the dinner boat cruise aboard the Spirit of Boston, where we spent three hours of a gorgeous day out around the harbor.

Fast forward to today. Current temperature: 102. I arrived yesterday evening, was picked up by Thomas Fuller and whisked away to the Rio. Tom’s friend and housemate Pi-master (so named for his interest in mathematics and his affection of pi-themed clothing) was playing in a final table. After a well-fought run, Pi-master was knocked out in third place, netting him $85,904. Needless to say, the experience has been surreal. In the first few hours, I saw Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer, Scotty Nguyen, Joseph Hachem, Gus Hansen, and Phil Hellmuth. I even ran into Simpsons co-creator and Mental Engineering panelist Sam Simon.

More to come…