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Daniel - Poker Journal

Omens Abound

10 Mar 2008


Over the weekend no work was scheduled so I was free to do whatever I wanted. Thing is, I wasn't entirely sure what that was just yet. I'd already walked more earlier in the week than I have in well, who knows how long. Feeling as though I've done a fair bit of the touristy thing, I decided that I'd stay in on Saturday, read, finish writing my book, watch some CNN, and just have a day indoors- alone of course.

I had to get something to eat, though, so I ended up taking a trip to Salad Works and Zoom (a juice bar) before becoming a hermit for the evening. I was already feeling better and decided that I wanted to walk just a few more new paths. I ended up walking by this young kid who was holding up a huge sign in the middle of a busy street that said, "FREE HUGS." I thought I'd remembered some kind of youtube phenomenon surrounding this campaign and something about it intrigued me. I parked myself on a bench, the sun was out, but it wasn't anything like a mid-July Vegas heat. It was what I would call, perfect weather.

Many people walked by him, he'd look them in the eye and most people just walked on by. Very few people actually decided to hug him, and strangely enough, every person that hugged him was a woman. Not because this boy was cute or anything, he looked a bit dumpy, frankly, but I think it speaks to one of the core differences between men and women and how they share their feelings.

Men often keep to themselves- unwilling to show any sensitive side at all, instead opting for a macho exterior, while women are more willing to tap into their emotions and share with others. I found it a bit sad actually, mind you, I didn't hug the guy either- I'm not much into hugs myself.

Other people started gathering as well, watching the boy, almost like he was a circus freak. He wasn't yelling, wasn't asking for any money- he was just there to give away hugs. I kept wondering what brought the boy to do this? I also thought about how courageous he was to stand out in the middle of the street, not worrying about whether or not it looked foolish, only that it's something that meant something to him, and in his way, he felt like he could make a difference in the world- one hug at a time. I don't know that it worked, but something about watching this happen live was mesmerizing. The boy was out there for hours and hours, relentless.

After I'd seen enough I walked by a group of younger kids, one of them practicing his golf swing. I noticed a flaw and as I walked by said, "You are cocking your wrists too early." He looked over at me and said, "That's so weird, that's what he said!" pointing to his buddy. Hey, I mightt suck at golf but I'm getting better at figuring out why other people suck too!

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As I started back to the hotel I realized that I'd probably need to pick up another book since I was all but finished "Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama. I didn't really have any sort of a plan for what kind of book I was looking for, I figured it would just hit me. Then a title jumped out at me: the Alchemist. I remembered that a high school friend recommended that I read that book- saying that I would be able to relate to it's story. It was a pretty short read so I decided to buy it.
As I continued through the bookstore I also found another book I'd been meaning to read, "Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt. Angelas Ashes and Tis' were both books I really enjoyed so I figured this would be a no-brainer.
I ended up finishing the Alchemist in two days, not being able to put it down. What an awesome story- uplifting, enlightening, and spiritually awakening. After reading it, I started to think about all of the omens that had been crossing my path since being here. If you haven't read the book that probably won't make sense to you, but let's just say that omens play a big role in the book.
I just "happened" to watch the Talented Mr.Ripley for the first time this week, after wanting to see it for quite some time. The story was brilliant and the message in the film spoke to me. I just "happened" to pick up the Alchemist at a time when my brain is thirsting for knowledge, wanting to understand my purpose, and what direction my life should go in.
All this could be coincidence, I imagine, but I prefer to believe that there is something more going on here. That I'm being given clues as to what I need to do with my life, just like the boy in the Alchemist.

I don't know where this all ties in at all, but I had a nightmare last night that scared me so much I didn't want to go to sleep. I don't remember all the details-that often happens with my dreams- but I remember a few distinct moments in the dream that got my heart pumping madly:

My house had been broken into, only it was half my current house and half my house in Toronto. I remember seeing my old basement, the same place I used to have nightmares about my father after he'd passed away. Only, there was a roof on the basement made of glass and the sun shined through it. There was a hole in the glass, which is where the house was entered by, what I guess had to be robbers.

For some reason that really scared me, but that's not what made me jump. All of a sudden I was in a beautiful neighborhood, it looked like a golf course in the background but I wasn't golfing, nor was anyone else. Then I walked by a pure white golf cart where a man was talking to a woman in the cart. The man was wearing bright clothing, very preppy looking and had platinum blond hair. As I got closer, he turned his face to me. It was Chip Reese. Only, his face didn't match his clothing or the scenery, it was a bit older and almost swollen looking. He turned to me, smiling brightly, and said, "Hey Daniel, how's it going?" I woke up in a cold sweat.

I have no idea what this dream means, but I don't doubt that there is something within that dream that I'm supposed to understand.

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On Sunday, I continued to read and then later that evening, I once again met with some of the crew from the Full Contact Poker Forums. The group was much bigger this time, and strangely, it seemed that most of the new crew showed up first, which I thought worked out nicely as it gave me a chance to get to know them a bit better before Irish and the crew showed up and started skulling beers (skulling means chugging down here).

I made sure to leave the bar by 10:00pm because I had a 6:30am call time and didn't want to be sluggish as I knew it would be a long day. My work day is over now, and I have another early call for tomorrow, a 7:30am pick up at my hotel. It also looks like I may have to stay an additional day if we don't get finished tomorrow. I really hope we are able to finish. I am enjoying my stay here, but I'm getting a bit home sick and want to get back to starting a new chapter in my life.

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