Getting to The Rock

Well, it’s been almost three weeks since I’ve arrived on The Rock and so I thought it proper to take a break from all that’s gone crazy in our online poker world and write a little something about the experience.

Unfortunately, on my journey here I wasn’t trapped between anybody worthy of the sandwich guy and his dad rant. Nor have I run into any Euro-snobs in need of attitude adjustment. Other than a slight mix up with my flight at Gatwick the actually travel portion of my journey here was quite normal. That’s not to say that putting one’s life in two suitcases, 100kg container, and a 5×8 storage cell is easy or without its share of challenges. Literally, I was running around until the very last minute getting things prepared for the move.

I tried to sell some of my stuff on Craig’s List and I found myself wanting to weep for humanity. I was selling everything from appliances to computer equipment to scuba gear and so I must have attracted every nut job that can use a mouse to point and click his way around Craig’s List. Here’s some of my favorite crack heads:

Before I start off, let me be very clear that in my listings I specifically said people must pick up the items and that I was accepting cash only.

I was selling an Ikea bookshelf for $20 that retails for about $80. It’s not necessarily heavy but it is 7′ tall. One guy emails me and tells me he wants it (he’s was about the 20th person to respond) but that it’s inconvenient for him to drive to Westwood to pick it up and offers to throw me a fiver to deliver it to him. I responded “Thank you for your most generous offer of $5 to drive this bookshelf across town but it’s already been sold to someone who was able to pick it up.”

Another guy emails me about a bunch of scuba weight that I was looking to get rid of. Normally this stuff retails for $2 a pound. It’s basically lead so it’s not like it depreciates in value with age. I had somewhere like 80 lbs of it and I was selling it for $20 (about 0.25 a pound) to whoever wanted to come and pick it up. One guy had 13 emails going back and forth with me about exactly how much I had, was it hard or soft weight, blah, blah, blah. When I’ve answered just about every question you could ever think about pertaining to lead, he emails me and asks if I ever make it down to Orange County (about 30 miles south of Los Angeles which on a good day is an hour plus drive) because it’s difficult for him to get up to LA.

I was selling a server that I had purchased years ago and quit using. I have one guy who even asks me why I’m selling it and I make a specific point of telling him that I am moving out of the country and need to get rid of it. I told him I can’t take it with me and it’s already on the verge of being obsolete so I didn’t want to pay to store something that was going to be worthless when I came back. He has me take photos of it, describe parts in detail, rip off the cover on the server and shoot pics inside of it, the whole nine yards. Now, I’m asking $100 for something that even if you just bought it and could savage one part you would get your money back. He asks if we can do a trade because he’s strapped for cash but has some stuff he needs to get rid of.

After the great Craig’s List sale I called the Salvation Army to come and pick up whatever didn’t sell. Then I had cleaning people come and clean the place so I could get my security deposit back. In between I rented a Uhaul and packed up everything I wanted to keep and drove it down to a storage facility. I’ve never really had a move like this before. Usually you have a departure point and a arrival point. Here I only had a departure point and as it became more and more barren I had no place to stage things.

Soon I had no bed, no couch, or anything else that wasn’t in my suitcases. I remember talking to Katkin the night before he left for Dublin and he said he was going out to play poker because he couldn’t stomach being such a loser that he was sitting in his empty apartment on the floor playing online poker. I was at that point. So after selling my car and getting a rental for my last two days in LA I figured I would just pop into the Courtyard by Marriott in Marina del Rey and get a room. They were full. I drove by a few other places and they were full too. I went back to my apartment and in the lonely, dark room I searched for a hotel to stay in else I had to sleep on the bare carpet that night. Full, full, full, full, full.

Nude, Nude, NudeFinally I find some fleabag hotel down near LAX. Anybody who’s ever been down to LAX knows that it’s one of the worst neighborhoods in Los Angeles. My hotel is just down the street from a place that advertises “Nudes, Nudes, Nudes.” I check in with my two 80lbs suitcases (this is no exaggeration, I paid the extra luggage fee to prove it) because there’s no way I’m leaving them in my car in this neighborhood. Hell, I’m not even sure about leaving them in my hotel room when I have to go out but at least I can keep an eye on them when I’m in my room. So I check in and the guy tells me I’m on the second floor. I ask about the elevators and he tells me there aren’t any. So I lug these two monster suitcases up a flight of stairs.

I’ve been moving crap all day and by the time I walk into this stanky little hotel room I’m dead tired. As I lay there half passed out on the bed I begin to think how good a couple of cold brews would taste. There’s no mini-bar so I head downstairs and go to the gas station mini-mart. No beer. I cross the street to another gas station mini-mart. Score! I spot a selection of beers frosting away behind the refrigerator glass. I yank on the door but it’s locked. It’s then that I notice the sign that says “No Alcohol Sales After 10pm.” WTF?!?!?

Defeated and dejected I go back to my hotel.

I spend the next day running last minute errands and then head over to Marina del Rey to have dinner with Rafe, his girlfriend and Hughes. We talk politics, poker, life, and geeky stuff into the wee hours of the morning and then I head back to

I’ve got an 8am flight so it’s an early, early morning. Sixteen hours and two layovers later I arrive on The Rock. I swing by the office and pick up the keys to my apartment.

More on life in Gib to come . . . .