November is Seattle’s worst month, but even at that there’s a comforting quality to the gray blanket of low clouds, the cool rain dripping daily from evergreen needles and thatched roofs, the lazy sunrise and reassuring peek of setting sun well before dinnertime. I remember driving around in the dark, wipers on high but still insufficient to keep the windshield dry, peering out into the night, headlamps making crystal beads out of the fat droplets. This is the time of year to light the fireplace, snuggle on the sofa with tea and blankets, wear sweaters and slippers and dig out the Netflix.
I reluctantly started the much-hated non-Sorkin season seven of West Wing and was surprised at how much I liked it. Clever writing had given way to clever plot lines and it felt more like 24 than West Wing but I immediately ordered the rest of the disks. I also watched The Lady Eve, one of Paul Phillips’s recommendations. An old Preston Sturges con-artist romantic comedy with Henry Fonda, I’m surprised I never saw it before. I should order all the rest of Sturges’s films – talk about clever writing!
With nothing on the rotisserie until Thanksgiving Day I called Mike Craig and asked if this would be a good time to fly down to Phoenix and work on our poker book (second poker book, actually – I wrote one of the chapters in the upcoming Full Tilt Strategy Guide – Tournament Edition) and fix me up with the four hot chicks he keeps threatening on me. It was, so I booked a flight and got a suite at the Westin Kierland. Mike offered me a vacant condo but I wanted a place with a gym so I could continue my workout regimen uninterrupted. Mike is one of those rare writers who actually gets work done, which is why I twisted his arm to collaborate on this book with me. Originally I was just going to publish a collection of my blog entries but as we strategize and synergize it looks like there will be a ton of new material. I’m excited.
I won’t go too much into the inner workings of politics, sausage-making, or writing a book, but suffice it to say that we’re making progress despite taking plenty of time to hang out with Mike’s family, smoke cigars out by the fire, and eat at each of the new Mastro’s restaurants with a different one of his yenta selections for me each night. We also got to see Arnie the Compmeister, whose wife and daughter it turned out the Craigs actually knew already. I’ve been drinking the 2004 Twenty Bench Cabernet by the glass – 2004 continues to be a very promising year for Napa, perhaps as good as 2002. I plan to fly back to Seattle on Thursday, in time for turkey at the Saltas, with a stack of Myspace addresses burning a hole in my pocket.