April 2009 Archives

three kings

On one trip to the Tulalip poker room, Jake and I played seven card stud. It's a cliche, of course, that you don't let poker become personal, yet I have to admit that I very badly wanted to pants Jake at the poker table. When he deemed a discolored chip his "lucky" chip, it became my mission to raise so much that he had to risk it.

This is called "very poor poker play."

I hit four of a kind, crushing his straight and earning me the lucky chip. He rebought and played on. It became very tense, very personal, as we used poker chips to demonstrate our unspoken contempt for one another. A little later, I hit four of a kind a second time. Jake was reeling, angry.

And then the following cards were dealt.

John: (7d, 4d) Kd
Jake: (?, ?) 8s

Three to a flush is a no-brainer, so I raised. Jake called. One by one the cards fell, until finally we were looking at this, with one card still to come.

John: (7d, 4d) Kd, 3s, Kh, Ks
Jake: (?, ?) 8s, 8h, Ah, Ad

Jake was betting massively, completely unafraid of my three kings, so I rightly figured he'd hit his full house. But my god, I would not lay down trip Kings, not against this asshole, and certainly not with the vibrating horseshoe that'd been lodged 18 feet up my ass all day. I raised into him. He was incredulous. So was everyone else. So was I, for that matter.

And then I caught the fourth king on the last card, and I took the rest of Jake's chips.

Was he ever livid. He was nearly hysterical with rage. The whole ride back to Zoe's house, he berated my stupidity for chasing a fourth king. And he was completely right. It was a horrible play by any measure but one.

drawing dead

One of the last times I saw my dad, we met in Vegas, where he suggested we stay in the Westward Ho motel and take the city bus to Fremont street, where we ate $4.99 buffets at casinos that you've never heard of. Yep. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about that Vegas trip, save one detail.

We were playing poker at the Plaza, long before TV poker became the fad that launched me out of my poker rooms. I wore a hat so that people would be less likely to surmise that matching hairlines = relatives. Why? Because we colluded when we played. When one of us hit a hand, the other helped him pump up the pot by re-raising. At day's end, we split the winnings. It's not cheating, exactly, but it's close enough to cheating where one uses words like "exactly."

Today, in the eight chair, my father was mostly a spectator. In the two chair, I was on a roll. I was boss at this table, and my luck just ran and ran for hours. My primary victim was one of those people you wish wouldn't sit down at poker tables, the person who obviously cannot afford to lose any money but into whom you must bet anyway. He was a poor player, constantly a bit behind me, and I pounded his weak hands. Clearly a local, he was an older guy, maybe 65, whose skin and clothes were completely sun-drenched. His withered straw cowboy hat was frayed, as were his faded shirt and jeans. What teeth remained were chaw-yellow. His most distinguishing feature, though, was that his left eye had been through some sort of calamity. The puncture hole was just to the left of center, and the eye had long ago shriveled and turned purple-black. He made no attempt to hide the injury.

As I squeezed his chip stack dry, he grew more and more agitated. I blissfully couldn't understand what he was mumbling. And finally, my dad and the dealer called Security, who escorted the man out of the casino. He kicked and screamed like only the psychotically broken can, spitting foam in my direction.

The dealer then explained to me that the man had threatened to slit my throat, among other body parts, and that my dad had seen him fondling something strapped above his ankle. Wow. You try playing on after that. I did, with my dad literally watching my back, but my streak was over.

That night, uncomfortable with the possibility that if the man was staying in a Vegas motel, it was probably the Westward Ho, I resolved to always price him out of my hotel in the future.

you don't know jake

Continued from yesterday

Meanwhile, I was interested in this girl, Susan, my co-worker, and we'd been hanging out a lot lately. I'd confided in her about my anger with Jake, my frustrations with Zoe, and of course the death threats.

Within weeks of Jake picking up the mop at my particular Starbucks, Susan and I were in my Jeep, heading to dinner. "Okay," she said nervously. "I have something to tell you and you're going to hate it."

I went cold all over. Yep, she was dating Jake. And yep, I'd mentioned my interest in her to Zoe and him.

I did an illegal u-turn and started driving back to Susan's apartment. "What? What is this?"

"I'm driving you home."

"What?! WHAT?! You mean this is it, just like that, it's over?"

"That is precisely what I mean."

What followed was an unreal volley of acrimony about how controlling I am, about how she needs to find out about people for herself, blah blah blah. Does it matter? It did not. I was seriously creeped out, both by Jake's stalking and by Susan knowingly inviting between her legs someone who continued to threaten my life. Yes, it's over. And how.

I stopped outside her apartment and waited for her to leave. She started breathing heavily, upset. And then, just when I thought the creep factor had peaked, she snapped the needle on my creepometer.

"Do you want to spend the night?"

Jesus H. She obviously considered this her ace in the hole. How flattering.

"No. For so many reasons. Get out."

• • •

Jake must have been satisfied with his measure of revenge, as I never heard from him again. Small price to pay, that. Susan wrote me six months later, telling me that she'd broken it off with him and that what can she say, she's a slow learner. I didn't reply.

• • •

In my "post ideas" queue has long been "creepiest moments of my life." I've resisted writing it, even though you guys already know a few of them from other posts. Susan's claim to fame is that she's the only person who made the top five twice. In one two-minute period, yet. Not too shabby.


A conversation this weekend turned toward "has anyone ever threatened your life?" To my surprise, I was the only one at the table with stories. I'll tell the shorter tales later, but first let me dispense with Jake.

Like most of my friends' boyfriends, Jake was a lazy fuckup who did the bare minimum necessary to keep her. Zoe was damned lucky that he would deign to mooch off of a single mother, he thought, and even luckier that he let her wash his socks.

I despised him. For a time I tried to reach out to Jake, for Zoe's sake, but even at the poker table or in a video game, he was an irredeemable sack of tepid yak shit. I could find nothing to like about the man. Worse, he made my friend feel down on herself. Unforgivable, that.

En route to a poker room one day, he let slip that he was going to Europe with another woman, a "friend" about whom Zoe should have absolutely no problem. "And did she?" I asked.

"I haven't told her yet."

Ah. Of course. And now he was expecting me to do his dirty work for him? Nuts to that. I kept my mouth shut. Three days before he departed, he finally mentioned it. Zoe blew. He yelled back that he'd already told her, that she was overreacting, that she was too controlling, that he'd even told John. She would not be mollified. He flew off to Europe, and she cried on my shoulder for a month. Pure bliss.

Soon after his return, she broke up with him and took up with his former office-mate, Ken. Ouch! But deserved. And then a curious thing happened: I got the blame. Jake became convinced that in his time away, I'd turned Zoe against him. A few psychotic phone calls, encounters and emails later, we all broke off contact with the guy.

Then Jake changed careers. To put it in reader-friendly terms, imagine that a Starbucks accountant blamed you for his relationship's demise, then took a job mopping floors at the Starbucks branch where you happen to pour coffees. That's how much he changed careers.

Around the same time, word started to filter back to me from all directions: Jake had put $20,000 on my life. He apparently couldn't stop talking about the bounty, either, if the number of people who dutifully reported it back were any indication. I'm of the opinion that only talkers talk, so I wasn't terribly worried about the bounty being real. But after a few weeks of hearing the reports, I couldn't exactly ignore them.

I discussed the situation with one of my oldest friends. d'Andre agreed that Jake was probably full of crap. "Just in case, better send me a map to his house," he added.

I did. Meanwhile, I steamed at the universe. How come Ken was getting laid and I was the one getting death threats?

To be continued tomorrow

the duvet cover

Dorkass is my old shopping buddy. Her taste tends to be dead-on, but more than that, she effortlessly fulfills the role I need her to fulfill.

I once badly wanted this Calvin Klein duvet cover. Unfortunately, it was priced like a Calvin Klein duvet cover, probably some $200 per ounce. I didn't get it. Time and again, she saw me admire it and not get it. And then finally, one day, the Bon marked it 10% off. It was still outrageously overpriced, and I was racked with doubt as I stood in line, clutching it to my chest, agonizing about whether I'd ever be able to afford a house. And Dorkass eased up to my ear.

"Do you loooove it?" she cooed.


"Do you ever do anything nice for yourself?"

"No," I said with a surprisingly straight face.

"You deserve this duvet cover. It's too beautiful not to get." And then she added the final nail. "John, if you get this duvet cover, the first woman who sees it will throw her legs open."


It's three days later, and the first woman to see the duvet cover is sleeping off mas tequila in my bed while I sleep on the couch. I'm sleeping fitfully when I hear the horrendous sound of tequila being evacuated in a hurry.


"Oh my God," I thought. "I hope that was in the bathroom."

It wasn't.

The next day, I went to work and collected Dorkass, making her come home with me to see the bright orange enchilada puke splatted all over my bed and, yes, the duvet cover.

"Wasn't quite what you promised me."

dex vs. ed

Ed: Despised Percy, piddled from fright
Dex: Percy is her favorite person in the world, piddles from joy
Advantage: Ed

Ed: Fearlessly leapt off a 90' cliff
Dex: Afraid to walk through a hole in the wall
Advantage: Ed

Ed: Bit me when I made her dance with me
Dex: Constantly trying to get me to dance
Advantage: Ed

Ed: Stood still while crapping
Dex: Ambles leisurely
Advantage: Ed

Ed: Always managed to avoid running full-speed into the poop scoop
Dex: Gets her whole face in there, then wants kisses
Advantage: Ed

Ed: IQ = unknown
Dex: IQ =(unknown).2
Advantage: Ed

Ed: Never crapped in Cheryl's home
Dex: Crapped all over it, including the walls
Advantage: Dex

Ed: Enjoyed having cigar smoke blown in her face from the hot tub
Dex: Runs off to see Percy while I'm in the hot tub
Advantage: Ed

Ed: Never once invited comments about how I got a dog just like Obama's
Dex: Does
Advantage: Ed


Speaking of porn, last week I was reading about iPhone apps, and the article emphasized that porn was the the single fastest growing content area for the medium. I'm not a porn guy, so perhaps I'm not the best judge. But I couldn't help but think of how when a call comes, the phone stops whatever it's doing and displays a picture of the caller.

I tried to imagine whose picture would be worst. Sue, certainly. Or maybe Dirt. Yeah, Dirt's picture would probably permanently damage me.


kevin smith epilogue

Inevitably, someone posted video of the guy's striptease from a few posts back.

Hard core nudity here. You've been warned.

calling her shot

Years ago, I used to watch Dorkass' occasional softball game. Actually, I was more of a participant. I'd stand behind the backstop during her at bats, heckling.

"You really should think about vertical stripes," I'd say as she swung. And she would positively crush the ball over the outfielders' heads, pausing to glare at me before she sprinted to first. I have no idea what she was imagining the ball was, but you couldn't help but admire her power.

I hadn't gone to her softball games in 10 years when I decided to take one in recently. She was not thrilled. A decade of gooey slugglishness has softened her skills considerably. I even felt a flicker of empathy. No, this time I remained on the bleachers, from which I heard her ruefully snap "You know you suck when John isn't saying anything."

Truer words.

They played on. Dorkass stepped to the plate for the fourth time. Immediately before the windup, the opposing pitcher turned her head and yelled "LEFT FIELD!!" to her left-fielder. Ca-RACK! went Dorkass' floating fly ball, straight to the left-fielder.

I was finally properly motivated. "Hey Dorkass, you're supposed to call your shot, not the pitcher!"

Ah, there's the glare.


When I saw that ew.com had a feature on "Our Favorite Tomboys," I of course clicked the link. For me, this is what "Our Favorite Lesbian Love Scenes" would be for other men. And then I came across this.


Uh, folks, no. Hell no, even.

"Our Favorite Bar Skanks," maybe, but certainly not our favorite tomboys. One gratuitous shot of this "high school girl" doing a Playboy bunny stoop over a car engine doth not a tomboy make. For the record, this is a tomboy:


Got it?

package artist

Have you seen this clip from Britain's Got Talent? I've watched it like four times. If nothing else, I've never seen Simon so delighted.


Have you ever watched a sporting event on TV, seen vacant premium seats, and wondered how on earth they remained unused? I know I have. And now I understand the reason.

Tonight at the Mariners' home opener, when on TV you see two empty seats immediately behind home plate, consider it a monument to my worth. I know I will.

Ditto the empty reserved table at her favorite restaurant, which never, ever takes reservations. And the empty limo that would have driven our inebriated selves home. And the empty space in my head that paid for these things in advance.

heavy lies the cr0wn

Dorkass and I have been playing the video game Left 4 Dead in recent months. It's a first-person shooter where you team up to traverse a city full of zombies. One of the major achievements you can attain is called "Cr0wned." It consists of killing a witch with one shot, which believe me, ain't easy. You basically have to walk right up to her and shoot her in the face when she's standing to eviscerate you. On your first thousand attempts, the witch, not you, succeeds.

Dorkass was trying for the achievement first, which meant that I suddenly had to try to get it before she did. After many maulings, I did. I gleefully reported it. A prideful Dorkass redoubled her efforts, to no end, unless you count serial disembowelments.

Finally, sheepishly, she handed me her controller and asked me to get the achievement for her. I said I would try. Within minutes, I found a witch. Blam. Dead. ker-BLINK! went the achievement notification.

"Oh. My. GOD!" Dorkass moaned.

"What, did he get it right away?" laughed Frank Frank from the kitchen. He found it particularly amusing because, he says, Dorkass had been holding forth about how much of a better player she is than me.

There's no vindication as sweet as oblivious vindication. No vindication I know.


Thanks to a repetitive-stress injury in my foot, I'm off the treadmill and into a new gym this week. I hadn't been to a gym in over a year. Can't say I missed them a lick.

I was on the elliptical machine, bored out of my skull and wondering why on Earth people like those things, when I glanced around the room. It was the usual assortment of geriatrics, gym rats and moms that frequent area gyms during the daytime, with one exception: a stunningly beautiful girl behind me, smiling at me. Don't fall off the machine, don't fall off the machine, I thought as I tried to look a little more fit and a lot less epileptic.

20 minutes later, I looked around the room again, and this time the beautiful girl positively beamed at me. Wow, I mused, very pleased. I must look better than I thought.

I finished up, then went to the laundromat, store and bank before returning home. There, I undressed for the shower. I examined my old gym shorts. They had a five-inch split right up the butt crack.

vindication of a wuss

Yesterday I went hiking with Minette's camera. Minette came along, too, to carry the camera. Near the end of our journey, we came upon a small man-made pond, and she spotted something therein. "SALAMANDERS!" she squealed, like others would shriek "Shoe sale!" or "Corn dogs!"

And then she spent the next half hour trying to get the perfect salamander photo. This included making nature look more natural. "Here," she said, handing me a salamander. "Hold this here until I'm ready to take the shot."

"Uh, how do we know it's not poisonous? Why don't you hold the slimy thing and I'll take the shot?" I think it was when Minette saw me pulling my hand inside my sleeve that she abandoned any notion of my being an animal wrangler.

"So are you afraid of all wildlife," she asked on the way to the car, "Or just the slimy?"

I hate when women tear my balls off instead of cutting them cleanly.

Later that night, she sent me a link. "Dude. That newt...WAS toxic." Per wikipedia, the newt secretes a poison that's deadly to humans if ingested.


I was the youngest child in my family, and given that, my siblings took delight in messing with my understanding of the world. Escalators, for instance. Their perpetually replenishing stairs eventually filled the basement at JC Penney's, and a man had to come clean them all out. He was called an Escavator, which for years made plenty sense. So too did Grandma's hard attack. As for ellomenopee, I thought that was one letter of the alphabet until I was 27.

The oldest, Linda, ran screaming from our mother's presence when I was eight, and since I lived with Mom, I have few memories of Linda. One memory bubbled up during a trip to the grocery yesterday, though. We were driving through Ohio farmlands, presumably on a trip to see our grandmother, when we passed some cows. It was then that Linda sought to educate me.

"John, do you know where chocolate milk comes from?"

I had no idea.

"Brown cows."

I nodded gratefully, feeling stupid for not having known, or at least not having guessed, something this obvious.

"Then where does skim milk come from," I asked Sensei.

"Skinny cows, stupid."

I just noticed this product for the first time and emailed her the photo.


on ancientness

My recent efforts to roll back my clock are thwarted now and again. Aging friends just make me remember that, well, I'm aging too. Witness this shopping list at a friend's house:

shopping list.jpg

Yeah, I'm a dead man for publishing that. (Although I'll go to the mat for the principle that refrigerators are public domain.) And might I add, a little more fiber and a little less of item 4 might mitigate the need for items 2 and 3.

And so it's come to this. So desperate am I for things to write about, I'm back to last June in my ideas queue.

My mentally ill sister was staying here, yapping my ear off. She's missing whatever gene allows a speaker to notice that the listener is standing on the roof, contemplating whether the two-story fall would kill him or just maim him and make him even more of a captive audience.

Watching TV, talking on the phone, pretending I'd fallen asleep—none of these tactics worked. I came to think of her as The Claw. Desperate, I finally I pretended I had food poisoning and could not leave the bathroom. I was prepared to stay in there for days. I thought this plan bulletproof, but it didn't so much as slow the munitions. She stood outside the door and loudly yammered away about all the familial and governmental conspiracies allied against her. I silently vowed to join them.

I reminded her that I was really sick and could use some privacy, which bought me no more than five minutes before she thought of something so dire that it trumped even diarrhea. I resorted to moaning and plopping wet wads of toilet paper into the toilet. No effect.


$1000 and everlasting gratitude to anyone who can prove I was adopted.

not disappointing

I glanced at my Google stats this morning. I'm always amazed, and more than a little bewildered, by the search criteria that land people on this page. Fully realizing the circular nature of this exercise, I present you with some favorite Google searches that led people to Stank:

  • hot female college coeds who were tubesocks
  • Underwater dook lighting
  • sitting on the toilet
  • pound the round mound
  • fuck john stank
  • Stank Feet Asian Woman
  • meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, the, government
  • men, who, hate, male, gynecologists
  • ruthie, foster, is, she, gay
  • did, you, ever, take, shit, stank, you, thought, that, you, would, die
  • all skin fat man's neck
  • massive bowell obstruction
  • nearest-bus-stop-to-silverdale-crematorium
...and definitely my favorite:
  • "Can a sociopath exhibit warmth of any kind?"

moron taxonomy
stupid church signs
super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

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