Zen Madman Day 7 of 100

I woke up grumpy and unshaven. I'm going to sleep cleaner and happier. Today started off rough, but picked up. Tomorrow will be a long day.

  • 1,000 VPPs
  • 2 videos
  • 1 chapter
  • 1 Taekwon-Do class
  • 1 music practice
  • 1 blog

Another mediocre day. I wanted to write 10 chapters today, but managed to finish only 3. Is it possible that I've overwhelmed myself with too much stuff to do?

  • 3 chapters
  • 2 poker videos
  • 1 blog

Zen Madman Day 5 of 100

It rained. I'm not sure that helped me get stuff done, but it was soothing in its own way. I quickly learned the drawback of having window screens to let in the breeze. This flooding was nothing like the dishwasher fiasco, though.

Not too much poker. Lots of poker videos:

  • 1,000 VPPs
  • 3 poker videos
  • 1 Taekwon-Do class
  • 1 music practice
  • 1 blog

Hand of the Week 6

Zen Madman Day 4 of 100

Day 4 was less than ideal. I let myself get distracted by black cards, poker championships (which I didn't play), and nuclear kittens. I had a lot planned for the day, but made some serious scheduling adjustments. I'd like to say I relaxed a bit and that I'm now prepared for a hard week, but the feeling only lasted until I woke up this morning. It's raining, which contributes atmosphere but not energy.

  • 2,000 VPPs
  • 1 video (The Sixth Star Volume V)

Zen Madman Day 3 of 100

I can't say things are getting any easier so far. A little quality sleep would be more than welcome. I managed to pick up the pace on the poker at least, largely by nine tabling. I also decided to spend 24 hours at some point writing a short mystery novel.

  • 7,100 VPPs
  • 2 videos
  • 1 blog

Zen Madman Day 2 of 100

I was physically exhausted all day, so I took two quick naps, Da Vinci style. My focus was been mediocre at best, but my spirits are high. I'll need to keep that fire to grind through the tough days like today. In other news I made a runner-runner royal flush. Very exciting.

I wanted to go to my friend and singer's third degree test, but after an awful night of sleep, there was no way to do it without falling way behind pace. I can't afford that this early in the game. I need a solid first week to keep myself motivated for the rest of the challenge.

  • 6,000 VPPs
  • 2 chapters
  • 2 videos
  • 1 blog

Zen Madman Day 1 of 100

I woke up exhausted today. Within an hour I was on the creative high of pounding out a couple chapters. I got a sorely needed haircut, played some bass and guitar, got a little free fighting in, ran a mile, then came home for round 2 of poker. I only had 2 hours scheduled, so that was no problem. After grinding out a couple more chapters for the book, my brain feels like mush. Hopefully I'll sleep through the night.

  • 2,100 VPPs
  • 4 chapters
  • 1 music practice
  • 1 Taekwon-Do class
  • 1 blog
Somehow it looks so paltry to me when I write it out, but it felt like a long day. Just 99 bottles of Buddha on the wall...hmm...should I have gone with luftballons?

Zen Madman Day 0 of 100

I began my 100 Days of the Zen Madman at the stroke of midnight. More like the click of midnight since everything's digital these days. I'm only five hours into my madness, and I'm already tired as hell. That's because I'm out of shape, out of practice, and thoroughly unprepared for what lies ahead. Rather, I'm mentally and physically unprepared. I'm emotionally committed, though, so I expect the body and mind will fall in line. Time for sleep.

Progress so far:
1790 VPPs (296,223 total)
1 video produced
1 chapter written
1 blog

Hand of the Week 5

100 Days of the Zen Madman

700,000 VPPs on PokerStars
100 Blogs (written or video)
35 Taekwon-Do classes (taken or taught)
35 Music practices (with band or solitary)
20 Poker videos (full length or short form)
4 Songs recorded (in a pro studio)
3 Parties attended (gotta have some fun)
2 Shows played (electric or acoustic)
1 Book published (with a co-author)

The hardest thing about extreme grinding is maintaining a balanced life. I began 2010 year with the goal of getting Supernova Elite in 6 months, but got sidetracked by other interests. Now it's September and I've only got about 300k VPPs, so I need to grind 700k more in 100 days to reach Supernova Elite this year (that's the pace for 2.55 million VPP/year).

I'm giving myself this challenge to prove that I can accomplish this without giving up on artistic expression, literary accomplishment, poker coaching, exercise, or even fun. My notion of a "balanced life" may sound unbalanced, but I can only stay sane when I let myself get a bit crazy.

The Professional

When you want something done right, they say you should do it yourself. I prefer to find someone who takes pride in their work. A professional. A true professional.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that my move has been less than smooth. I won’t re-list the problems with this place, but I will say that I was losing sleep over a number of them, particularly the menagerie of malfunctioning doors. Long story short, they’ve all been fixed.

Short story long, I met a member of the DragTheBar Limit Holdem squad a couple weeks ago at a party. In response to my complaints about this new apartment, he mentioned that he was a carpenter and a locksmith. I offered him the job of fixing the place. While he wouldn’t take my money, he did accept my offer of poker coaching in exchange for repairs. So I’ll be teaching him to take other peoples’ money instead.

After sitting here for three weeks watching the original contractor get nothing done, I needed to find a professional. I did. In nine hours, he fixed everything but the plumbing. My Taekwon-Do student (the master plumber) came back to fix that. Now everything in the apartment works, and I’m ready to begin my psychotic 100-day challenge on Thursday.

People ask poker coaches why they coach. The good ones do it because they love teaching. That’s true for all types of teachers. One of the most gratifying things about teaching is the favors students will do for you. It’s not gratifying just because it helps get things done (which is awesome). The gratification comes from knowing that your students are doing these things from their heart, because they appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your knowledge with them. And that’s really what it’s about on both sides. Taking the time to help someone else.

So thanks to my guys for taking the time to help me out. It’s made a world of difference.

When It Leaks, It Floods

If when it rains, it pours, then when it leaks, it floods. I have neither slept more than an hour nor eaten more than a snack since 11 AM yesterday morning. That's 41 hours of less than perfect existence. At least I received my weekly affirmation that I'm a little bit clutch.

Today's high jinks began at 9 in the morning when my friend and former student came by to repair the plumbing mess left by the guy who's been "fixing" the house. My guy is a master plumber, which means he knows his shit (the other guy, not so much). He replaced the valves on all of the heaters, repaired the leaky toilet downstairs (which had hot water melting the wax sealing it to the floor), and replaced the pipe beneath our clogged sink. He also shut off the gas and electricity which had been carelessly left on in the boiler in the basement. That's the thing that could've blown up.

The only thing he didn't repair was the pipe leading to and from the dishwasher. He asked if it was leaking, we said no (it wasn't), and he said it would probably be fine. Turns out it wasn't fine. I don't blame him for that. He already did us a huge favor by coming to fix everything two days before his knee surgery. He asked if the pipe was leaking, we said no, and that was that.

The guy I blame is the one who's been doing shoddy work throughout the house, and the guy who left the gas and electricity going to the boiler, ambivalent to whether or not we got blown up. (When confronted about this, he gave some bullshit excuse and acted snotty.)

Long story short (too late), we ran the dishwasher twice today. The first time we watched it like hawks and it ran smoothly. The second time, I sat in my office while the pipe broke about and blew water all over the kitchen, into the bedroom, bathroom and living room (and the shower downstairs). Once alerted to the disaster, however, I ran to the sink and grabbed the knob next to the spraying water. I turned it counter clockwise and it sprayed my face more forcefully. I turned it clockwise and the geyser subsided. Fortunately, we'd recently purchased two 12 packs of paper towels. We need to get a new one tomorrow.

Two hours and one blog later, the floor is dry and I'm exhausted. I hope this blog isn't incoherent, because I feel a bit delirious. I always look for the bright side in things, but right now the best I can come up with is humor. My life has become Grade-A slapstick. And hey, I still haven't gotten blown up yet.

I Didn't Get Blown Up

I didn’t get blown up. That’s the best thing I can say about the past three weeks.

Two days after moving in to my new apartment, I commented on a building bearing the plaque “Dadi’s House.” A neighbor related to me the sad tale of Dadi’s wife, who had smelled a gas leak, called 911, and gotten blown up, along with her child and two cops. The children in the neighborhood fashioned a plaque made of multi-colored tiles to rechristen the widower’s home.

I spent the first two weeks in my new apartment struggling to grind out chapters for the book I’m writing with Dusty. The struggle came not so much from the traditional writer’s block (although that was an element), but rather from the insane distractions coming from my mess of a new home. Renovations were supposed to be completed one month before we moved in, but here we are, no end in sight. A short list of what’s been wrong with the place:

  • Recently installed mailbox sucks
  • Front door doesn’t lock properly
  • Office door doesn’t fit the frame (drags on the floor, gap at the top – not quite the sound booth I was aiming for)
  • Bathroom door creaks on its hinges
  • Bedroom door handle falls off
  • Light fixtures not affixed
  • Mice
  • Insects
  • Paint all over the floors
  • Fuse box painted shut
  • Thermostat painted over
  • Poorly installed kitchen cabinets
  • Poorly installed microwave
  • No hot water upstairs
  • Hot water in the toilet downstairs (this melts the wax seal at the base of the toilet, causing water to leak all over the bathroom)
  • Kitchen sink won’t drain, except into the dishwasher, which leaks all over kitchen floor
  • Leaky water heaters with broken valves (covered in paint)
  • Broken water boiler valve sealed by a sock wedged in with a screwdriver
  • Broken water boiler in the basement, which was left empty of water, but with the gas and electricity on (this could have blown up at any minute, but it’s “fixed” now)

I called my former Taekwon-Do student, who’s a master plumber, so the water issues are getting straightened out. And I didn’t fall down the half-installed stairs (even when I was told they were fully installed). And I didn’t really need to go out last night, so who cares that the stairs got lacquered while I was upstairs eating dinner. Who cares that I couldn’t come home the other night because the stairs had been painted?

I didn’t get blown up, so I guess I’m running pretty good.

Hand of the Week 4

Shameless Self-Promotion

I don't know how long this offer will be available, but right now you can get my book, Way of the Poker Warrior, for free when you sign up for three months of poker training at DragTheBar. To make things better, they'll throw in a fourth month at DragTheBar for free. This has to be the best deal in poker training right now. My book is written to help you get the most value out of every training resource you use, and DragTheBar is the highest caliber of training resource available. It's a perfect combo.

Way of the Poker Warrior is all about applying things I learned from the martial arts to my poker development, so I'll give you a shameless self-promotion parallel in this blog. When I was first running my Taekwon-Do school, I was very awkward at sales. I had a hard time pitching the service I was offering and a harder time asking for money. I had confidence in my product, but somehow I felt it was impolite to push someone into a sale.

My outlook on sales changed when I realized one simple fact. Practicing Taekwon-Do made my life better. Wouldn't it stand to reason that it could improve others' lives as well? In fact, I had seen it change many of my friends' lives, sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes in massive ways. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wasn't just going for a sale, but that I was trying to change someone's life for the better. I was never much of a capitalist, but this was something I could get behind.

In a rapid decanting, but I poured my heart and soul into Way of the Poker Warrior, and I believe it can improve anyone's life (not just poker players). I've gotten enough feedback from readers now to know it's not just my ego saying that I wrote a book that I'm proud of. It's not just the writing that I'm proud of though. It's being part of the continuity of education. The lessons that I teach in my book are not fabricated out of thin air. They're things that I learned from my teachers, from my friends, and from my life. All I've done is synthesize that wisdom into a series of easily digestible chapters. And that's a product I can sell, because I believe in it, and I believe it can help you.

So there's my shameless self-promotion.

Moving Sucks. Free Books Are Good.

I've spent the last 10 days moving from a studio apartment into a second floor two bedroom. It sounded like a great idea at the time, and I'm sure I'll enjoy having both a bedroom and an office, but right now it feels like a 500 big bet downswing. Complaining about everything that's gone wrong would be about as entertaining as describing every bad beat that occurs in a 500 big bet downer, so I'll spare you the gory details. Instead, I'll let you in on a way you can get my book, Way of the Poker Warrior, for free. It's late, so I'll be brief: Click Here.