One More

You have to read this column as well. More Sports Guy. This one is the anatomy of a bludgening in Vegas. John, I know you can relate to this one. Personally, I have never been destroyed in Vegas. I guess it is due to my view towards gambling. I don’t look at it as I can win x amount. I look at it like ‘I’m prepared to lose x much’. Of course, that probably dooms me right there, but at least I never get killed. There is too much to do to keep gambling like that.

For example, my bad losses are like this one. Last trip. It’s probably 11:00pm and we’re in the NYNY. I sit down at a $10 pai gow poker table. I’m the only one at the table. Just me and the dealer. For those who have never played pai gow, its very simple. You get 7 cards. You have to make a 5-card poker hand and a 2-card poker hand. The only rule is your 5 card hand has to beat your 2 card hand. Anyway, to win, both of your hands have to beat the dealers 2 hands. To lose, both of them have to lose. If you split (win 1 lose 1) then you push and you get your money back. Needless to say, very often you’re pushing and drinking for free. Anyway, I sat down at the table and got $100 in chips. I proceded to LOSE 6 hands in a row. Right off the bat. I then push one, then lose 2 more. Win one, then lose one again. For those of you scoring at home, I turned a hundred dollar bill into $8 (less drink tip) in about 13 minutes. Absolutely brutal. But, its not like losing $800 or something.

Funny, a $92 vodka tonic didn’t taste as good as I thought it should…

click..click..click..click….. Weeeeee!

And so the never ending roller coaster that is my life keeps on rolling along. However, I have some good news to report for a change. I actually had a really good day yesterday. Start to finish. Seems stupid that I’d get so wound up about one good day, but these days I’ll take what I can get.

Starting off, I actually had a good breakfast. 2 pieces of banana bread (no nuts) which I haven’t had in years. Lots of butter. Terrific. Then, I actually had some work to do in the AM… requests were coming in and keeping me busy, which is always good.

For lunch, I was meeting my friend Adam. He wanted to give me a few more pictures to put on his website (AJsAngels.org). So, we met at Yen Ching downtown for some Chinese. Not only is it good to see a friend you don’t see often and just shoot the shit, but he cut me a check as well. See, he has really wanted to pay me for the development of their website. I told him repeatedly that I would do it as a donation for free. He pretty much insisted that he pay me something, so I finally buckled. I would have done it for a 12-pack of beer and a sandwich, but cash is nice too.

Last week I had emailed him to see if a friend of ours had anyone to setup a website for his new business. I figured he would probably use the same people he used for his old business, but it couldn’t hurt to ask. Well, Adam told me that he showed Barry the AJsAngels website and Barry liked what he saw. He is interested in having me do his new website. Which is very exciting.

When I get back to work, the day is just going well. Obviously. Good food. Friends. Cash. Tough to argue with that. About an hour after I get back from lunch, my boss comes by my desk and hands me an eAward. eAwards are HP’s way of recognizing jobs well done. Apparently one of my customers has been very impressed by my performance and thus the eAward. Granted, its only $50, but hell, that’s better than a stick in the eye. Its always nice to be recognized.

I keep working, just sort of grinning to myself. Finally, a little good fortune. But the day wasn’t over. I get an email from a ex-teammate of mine who had someone ask her if she could do some web development on the side. She was way too busy, but forwarded the person to me saying that I do that kind of thing all the time. They asked me if I could do a realtor website (and emailed a link to an example they liked). Looking at the site, I could probably do that quite easily. So, I may have another website lined up to do.

After work, I was heading to Mom & Dad’s for dinner. Everyone knows you can never go wrong with some home cooking. Folks and my little sis were there and had a great dinner (far better than I would have since in my house right now I have some crackers, microwave popcorn, beer, ketchup, and Pepsi. That’s it. That’s the list.)

After I got home, I talked on the horn with George, and discussed future business plans. That sort of thing has been getting me excited lately. Despite the fact that I have no clue how to run a business, I can almost guarantee at some point, I will.

So, to recap, 3 good meals, talking to a couple friends, recognized at work, cash money in my pocket, possibility of more side work on the horizon… Quite a day. If I were less of a cynic right now, I might think things have turned a corner. Perhaps its all the recent experiences that have seemed to reinforce that sour outlook. Ya think?

All in all, it was really nice to have a whole day with multiple good things happening. It has been a while since I could say that. Of course, blogging about it will probably piss of the good fortune gods who will resume smiting me with gleeful vigor for breach of their confidentiality.

I hope its not starting already. When I got to work this morning, I realized that I forgot my watch. I don’t know if there is anything to put a repeated crimp in your day worse than not having your watch. Every 20-40 minutes I look down at my wrist and silently curse to myself. So, if you have the time, send a few positive thoughts my way. Keep this thing rolling and help me try to ward off the (undoubtedly) returning darkness…

Vegas Baby

Las Vegas is just about my favorite place on earth. I am in double-digits in visits. Funny thing, I don’t even gamble that much. I just love the vibe.

The Sports Guy from ESPN.com has written one of the greatest columns regarding the average joe’s adventures in Las Vegas. I highly suggest you read it. It pretty much sums up what I would write about.

To anyone who has been to Vegas, they can relate to his piece. We all have our favorite little stories from past trips. John playing his “system” and losing his entire bankroll in the first 2 hours of the trip. Hillman drinking so much, he spends the entire next day in bed. Our first proposition from a horrible looking prostitute. Good times.

The only down side for me now is that G and I went to Vegas 3 times in the 4 years we were together. Not to mention, that those were my 3 most recent trips (including just this past February), so the vast majority of my Vegas memories now involve her. Probably doesn’t help that every trip had a significance to it as well. First time was a surprise after I proposed. Second on our honeymoon. Third, well that was Valentines Day this year and what would become our final trip.

So, I both want and don’t want to go to Vegas again soon. It would be absolutely terrific to get down there with some of the boys again. Maybe have a little more stake money in my pocket than the last time we were down there. Catch up, and rip on each other. However, at the same time, will going down there make me feel like when I go to downtown here? Full of memories? Stomach doing hula-hoops around my asshole? The question remains. I suppose there is only one way to find out.

I guess the key would be to stay somewhere new. Go to new places (there are plenty to go around). Skip things that we might have done together. Well, that… and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. To quote Homer Simpson, “To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” (Or this one, “Oh Lisa, you and your stories. Bart is a vampire. Beer kills brain cells. Now lets go back to that… building… thinggy… where our beds and tv… is.“)

Anyway, in the imortal words of Double-Down Trent, “Vegas Baby”.

Just when I thought I was out…

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
– Michael Corleone, Godfather III

Not that I thought I was in the clear, mind you, but this goddamn see-saw is making me crazy. Maybe I’ll have a good couple days. Maybe I feel invigorated and ready to move on. Then out of nowhere, everything slaps me upside the head again. I really don’t have anything new to add to this diatribe I’ve been spewing for damn near 4 months. If you want to know how I feel, just go back a few posts and you’ll know. The more things change, the more they stay the same… literally.

A couple things I would like to know. Why does my stomach still do summersaults when something reminds me of her? For example… I’m working on the AJsAngels.org website yesterday. I’m making photo galleries of their auction events. Not even thinking, I open the images from the 2005 event. Of course, I see her in a picture, just half of her face in profile, across the room and somehow it feels like its just all happened again. I’m beginning to wonder if that is EVER going to stop happening. I don’t know if that is the reason I was awake at 3:20 this morning or not. I have been sleeping pretty well lately. Perhaps this morning will be an anomaly.

Could be a couple other reasons recently though… I’ve recently had the first question about her from someone who hadn’t heard. I knew it was coming sooner or later. Part of me is surprised it took as long as it did, but then again, I don’t see many different people. I still hate actually having to say it. Having to admit I was thrown out on my ass. Of course, you try to play it off very nonchalant, but inside your brain starts talking to you. Once it gets going, I have a very hard time stopping it. Going to the gym sometimes helps, but as soon as I get back to the apartment it will come back. I’ve really made an effort to eliminate things that remind me of her. For example, I’ve bought a bunch of new shirts and thrown out stuff that reminds me. Not everything yet, but a little at a time. Funnily enough, that does help. This is how messed up my brain is. In the novel I’m reading a character goes to a restaurant and orders a glass of wine. The author mentions the winery, Silver Oak, which I instantly remember that we had at a family dinner at Crane Creek one evening. And as was said on The Simpsons, “And here come the pretzels!” (George, that’s for you). I sometimes wish I had a much worse memory. It truly infuriates me to know end that I let this stuff get to me.

Strangely enough, the movie Clerks 2 also reminded me, but I’m going to write my review of that one shortly.

Dreams are still happening too. Have yet to think of a way to combat that little problem. Frontal lobotomy, perhaps?

Why do we seem to sometimes enjoy making our selves miserable? I ask because I heard a song the other day and have listened to it 5 or 6 times since. The song “Home” by Michael Buble. The song is actually about a guy who is on the road for an extended period and just wants to get home. My interpretation, of course, is I just wish this was all over and I could go back ‘home’. Back to the way things were. Back to the house, the dogs, to everything down to the littlest of things. (you can hear the song from his homepage… see the controls in the upper right part of the page: http://www.michaelbuble.com/) Sometimes I just really hate my apartment. Hate starting over at 32. Hate the whole bloody process.

I’ve recently broken out a bunch of albums that I listened the hell out of in the early to mid 90’s. Stuff I haven’t heard in years. Its nice to be reminded of things that were PRE-divorce for a change. Even though I was going to school full time with no end in sight, working full time for peanuts washing cars and delivering pizzas, and had no girlfriend for years, at this point, those are the plesant memories. Never thought I’d be saying that…

Net Neutrality

I figured I should add my blogging voice to the growing cacophony in the so-called blogosphere about the subject. I’m sure that most of you have heard about the debate, but I doubt that any of you could really explain what it is all about. Granted, its not your fault. The mainstream media really has no clue as to what this all means, thus, they can’t hardly describe it in any sort of way that makes sense. Really, what this boils down to is that big companies want to have faster access to the internet than regular old joe schmoe. Of course, this completely ignores one of the best features of the internet is its egalitarianism. Every bit of data is treated equally. From the most important piece of email to the least important video clip of someone getting kicked in the balls. It doesn’t matter. A bit, is a bit, is a bit. But, the major corporations want to tell you that THEIR traffic is more important than your traffic. They want to create a tiered internet, with only the exalted few (read: those willing to pay huge fees) will get priority access over all other traffic.

I have a couple clips for you to see, compliments of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It is amazing that although his job is to mock the absolute insanity of our elected officials (of which, there is MORE than enough to go around), he does so in such a way that really makes you see just how asinine some of these people are. First up is a clip about Sen. Ted Stevens, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, ranting about the ‘internets’. You might have seen this already, but its worth another look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uuJh4bv-fg

Here is another piece from the Daily Show. More about the net neutrality debate in congress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc06y7iaZ20

The little inside joke about the PC is that Mac commercial that is on TV… this guy plays the ‘PC’ computer that freezes up.

Anyway, this is a very important issue. This bill wants to fundamentally change the way the internet works. Apparently, what they don’t realize is that the very reason the internet grew so quickly and so successfully is its openness. Another good analogy of this debate can be found here: Paying by the Stroll. This puts the neutrality debate in terms that everyone can understand… a sidewalk.

Anyway, on any one of about a million blogs out there you can find every argument under the sun as to why this is a bad deal. I’m going to defer to people who are far smarter than I am, yet who I agree with. This is a bad idea. Call your congressman and hope they have more technical understanding than your grandpa does.

The Office Scourge

Any of you who work in an office environment know what I mean. There is one thing that your co-workers can do that is far worse than anything else. It is so horrible, so distracting and awful, that it can damn near ruin your day.

I’m talking about burning the damn microwave popcorn.

A fellow employee who sits just over the cubical wall from me did this not 30 minutes ago. Is there anything worse than the smell of burnt popcorn? Usually, burning anything smells bad, but burnt hair is a scent not often experienced in a professional setting. There is a specific layer of hell for the popcorn burners.

Now, back when microwave popcorn was the new-fangaled invention, people burned it all the time. Figgerin’ out them fancy mic-er-waves was hard. But c’mon people. Its 2006. Microwave popcorn has been around for what… 15? 20 years? At least? Who doesn’t know how this stuff works by now? Even when the microwave you’re using doesn’t have the specific ‘popcorn’ button (which is really just a crutch for lazy people) it really isn’t that difficult. Insert bag. Cook on High. Remove when popping slows down. Voila.

Of course, there is one other instruction that I’m leaving out: Don’t leave the microwave unattended. Ever. What you think is being gone for 30 seconds, in microwave-popcorn time is 3 minutes. More than enough time to burn the hell out of it.

The only other rule, is more of my own creation: Once you have burned the popcorn, DO NOT take it to your desk and try to salvage any unburned kernels. That just allows the stink to linger and linger (or spread to the people that are fortunate enough to not sit close to the break area). You’re not going to enjoy the popcorn anyway. Just throw that crap away, eat the 75 cents it cost from the vending machine, and move on. You can either buy another bag and try again, or give up. Those are your only 2 options.

Burning popcorn is almost as bad as someone who brings last nights fish as leftovers for lunch, heats it to a vigorous steaming in the microwave, and funkifies the entire office.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Boise State Football LotD

In order to get myself geared up as well as share the wealth to anyone who might be interested, I’ve created a new page on this site. On the right you will see a link titled “Boise State Football Link of the Day”. Every day I will post 1 (or maybe more than one if I have them) links to articles I’ve found that mention or are about Boise State football.

It is my one true passion that I have. I figure I spend so much time finding information, I might as well try to get it to someone else who might be interested. I began it Saturday, July 15th. As of this post going live, we’ve got 46 days, 4 hours, 39 minutes and 27 seconds til the season kicks off. Not that I’m counting or anything…
So, visit daily if you want. If you couldn’t care less, ignore it. Simple athat.Go

Go Broncos.

Boise State Football Link of the Day

I am going to create a new page for my blog. Everyday I’m going to try to post a new link to some site or article on the web about Boise State Football. Just to get geared up.

I’m not sure exactly how this will look, but I’ll play with it for the first little bit.

Here is the Official Boise State Football website: BroncoSports.com

Check back. Get ready for football season!

Tuesday, August 29th

History of The Blue Video.  God, I do love the Blue.  I was at that first blue game in 1986.  And haven’t missed a home game there in the past 14 years.

Tuesday, August 22nd

Fox Sports WAC Preview

Friday, August 18th

Yes, I’ve slacked off. I just haven’t found that many interesting articles out there that weren’t already in the Idaho Statesman (which you should be reading already). But I have one today. Here is an article about recent Boise State recruits out of Northern Orange County California.

Friday, August 11th

Boise State v Fresno State rivalry. Can it be much of a rivalry if they’ve only beaten us once?

Thursday, August 10th

Early BCS Championship Contenders – Look at the last one on the list. I gotta say, its pretty exciting to be included in these sorts of discussions. Hope we don’t implode.

Wednesday, August 9th

New Era, Same Expectations – preview from the Nevada perspective

Tuesday, August 8th

Erickson ends up where he begins, trying to rebuild Idaho. I don’t think you can mention this enough, the fact that Idaho has lost 47 games in the past 5 years. Think about that for a second. Thats almost averaging TEN losses a year. Way to go Idaho… For the record, in the same 5 years, BSU has 53 WINS. (including 64-7 and 70-35 victories over Idaho)

Monday, August 7th

Tradition of great Running Backs at Boise State

Sunday, August 6th

The fastest guy on the team. Finally landed in a position.

Saturday, August 5th

Getting off on the right foot. A history of season openers at Boise State

Friday, August 4th

EA Sports NCAA Football video game has had an uncanny ability to predict the outcome of Boise State football games. Amazing.

Thursday, August 3rd

Boise State’s Success on the Blue. This is an amazing article. Here are a few stats for how BSU has done playing on their home turf over the past years. 45-2 at home since 1999. (both losses to ranked BCS teams). Since 2000, Boise State has outscored opponents at home 1809-666 for an average score of 45-17. Since Bronco Stadium was built, they have gone 200-50. An 80% win percentage. Unbelieveable.

Wednesday, August 2nd

CAMP OPENS! Broncos are on a mission. And so it begins… And here is a USAToday article talking about what Bronco fans have known all along.

Tuesday, August 1st

Is Nothing Sacred? Column about the WAC-y schedule that some teams, specifically Boise State, are playing in order to appear on ESPN. I agree its crazy, but sometimes, to get the exposure, its worth it.

Monday, July 31st

Broncos Primed for 5-pete.

Sunday, July 30th

The WAC is getting wackier – Why does it seem the Honolulu paper has more articles dealing with Boise State than our local does?

Saturday, July 29th

Mountain West Conference expansion possibilites. Gives pros and cons of possible new memebers including Boise State, Fresno State, UTEP, Nevada, etc. On the other hand, here is an article about the new stability of the WAC after a bunch of changes. Not so fast there, fellas.

Friday, July 28th

Article about new Boise State Head Coach Chris Peterson in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Good article. I think we’re in good hands. I was a little nervous that he had said he never really wanted to be the head man, but I think he’ll end up enjoying it and doing a good job. Hopefully he’ll be here for the next 10 years.

Thursday, July 27th

Top 5 college football ‘value’ teams. Its a gambling thing. I know we ‘cover’ a lot, so do with that information what you will..

Wednesday, July 26th

WAC stuck in the middle of nowhere. AKA, we suck. Side note, I truly love how Fresno people continually spin the fact that they’ve never won the WAC. Part of me hopes that the win it, just so they can stop being so delusional. Yes, beating the big teams is great… but people remember conference championships. Even if the conference sucks. By the way, if the conference is so bad, shouldn’t you have won one by now?

Tuesday, July 25th

WAC Media predict Boise State will win its 5th straight WAC title. Smart bunch, them. Always fun to get one for the thumb. Also, linebacker Korey Hall named pre-season defensive player of the year. That guy is scary. Has been for 3 years.

Monday, July 24th

USA Today’s Around the WAC column. Starting with Boise State. Complete with this little nuggett, “In perhaps the most staggering statistic for Boise State, some 54 players earned varsity letters last season. All but eight are expected back this fall. This could really be a special season in Boise â€? the depth and talent are there for an undefeated run through the WAC and a chance to make some real noise in the Bowl Championship Series.” Niiiiice.

Sunday, July 23rd

Wisconsin State Journal article about the Packers offensive line starting 2 rookies, one of which being former Bronco and best offensive lineman in Boise State history, Daryn Colledge.

Saturday, July 22nd

University of Idaho loses its all-WAC kicker for upcoming season. Awwww.

Friday, July 21st

Broncos sign an additional running back from LA.

Thursday, July 20th

University of Hawaii has pathetic student turnout. 3 to 6 percent of their home crowds are students. Boise State sets aside 18 percent of the capacity of Bronco Stadium for the students. Of course, the only times in the past 4 years when we haven’t sold out, it is when not all the students use their tickets… damn lazy college students. I never missed a game when I was there.

Wednesday, July 19th

FoxSports Top 100 Heisman Candidates – Ok, now this is a stretch. No matter what happens, exactly 5 or 6 guys will be in the discussions for the Heisman trophy. So, the top 100 is overkill to the nth degree. Our own Jared Zabransky checks in at 83. Provided he doesn’t melt down again like he did last year.

Tuesday, July 18th

New Store in Boise Could Be Bronco Fan’s Heaven. An article about the new Blue & Orange Store that just opened in the mall. I might say, it is my favorite store of all time. Every time I go in there, they have the football highlight DVD’s playing. Even though I’ve seen them all a dozen times, I still stop and watch.

Monday, July 17th

Junior College Running Back verbally commits to Boise State. This article is a few days old but this guy sounds like he could be a real game breaker, provided he’s healthy.

Sunday, July 16th

ESPN College Game Day’s Lee Corso’s 10 Predictions for the upcoming season. Check out lucky number 7.

Saturday, July 15th

Fox Sports preview of the Boise State Broncos – Good article. Not completely accurate (at least 1 player they mention has left the team and another is injured), but overall a good job.

Swirly? Really?

Is it possible that I’m the only person that ever went to Junior High? The reason I ask, is I saw this billboard the other day and only one thing popped into my head. (click for larger… sorry for the quality, I took it while driving down the road)

Get a Swirly

“Get a Swirly at Roaring Springs”? Um… no thanks… I’ll pass.

Are you telling me that whoever runs their advertising department… or anyone who works for them at all, knows what the hell a swirly is? I suppose, for those who were never juvenile enough to know what a swirly is, I should define it. Ya see, a swirly is when someone dunks your head in a toilet and flushes it. Pretty simple. See this Wikipedia entry. I thought that was a universal term, but obviously I’m wrong. You can go to youtube.com and search “swirly” and you get a large number of hits. Click Here if you need a visual demonstration of this in action.

To my way of thinking, this is the equivalent of them advertising, “Come get an Atomic Wedgie at Roaring Springs!”… which we all know is when the underwear get pulled up and over the top of the head. Or perhaps, “Purple Nurples only at Roaring Springs!”. Maybe some of you older folks would understand if it read, “We’re mooning everyone at Roaring Springs!”

Now, I have never been to Roaring Springs. Maybe they really are giving out honest to god swirlys there. Who knows? All I know is when I see a giant billboard advertising it, I am immediately taken back to being young and dumb and really doesn’t make me want to go there.

Perhaps it IS just me…

I shall slog no more

I’ve been meaning to write about my (mis)adventures with the book Shantaram for a few weeks. Here goes.

I received this book as a gift from my mom. She really enjoyed it, found it interesting, and thought I might too. For those that don’t know, the book is set in India (Bombay specifically) in the late 1970s. It is also the first book by the author Gregory David Roberts, and according to him is mostly auto-biographical.

I picked up this book with the best of intentions. I love to read. A good book is better than just about anything else. I will read just about anything that will keep my interest. Also, I am not one who will put a book down lightly. Something in me always makes me want to finish it, no matter how bad it is. I’ve only dropped maybe 3 or 4 books total in my life before the finish. Plus, I seem to be unable to skim forward in books either. In Tom Clancy’s The Sum Of All Fears, he spends WAY too much time describing in very minute detail just how the nuclear weapon the terrorists build is put together. I read every page. Bored out of my skull, but I didn’t want to miss anything. (Side note: years later I listened to the abridged book-on-tape, they pretty much just cut out all of that technical crap, I was amazed how well the story flowed). So, for me to stop reading this book, really tells you something. I got through page 600 or so and finally just gave up the ghost.

I have many problems with this book, beginning with the fact that it is 933 pages long. I have the oversized paperback version, and it still has to weigh 5 lbs. I tend to read in weird positions, and such a book really puts a damper on my ability to do that. Now, I don’t have a problem with long books. Quite the contrary. If a book needs that many pages to tell the story, go for it. For example, one of my all time favorite books, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is 976 pages, and I still wished for more when it ended. However, the way Roberts makes use of these pages is what I have a problem with. I would read page after page after page where NOTHING HAPPENED. My mind would drift off as I’m reading because there is nothing to keep my attention. Be it descriptions of him walking around Bombay, or these interminable scenes of him and his “friends” in a cafe having discussions about their philosophy on life. Not only could I not keep the multiple characters straight in my head, I didn’t care enough about what they had to say anyway. Holy crap. Mind numbing. Had this book had 1/3rd of it cut out, it might not have been so bad.

But, now that I think about it, it probably would have been so bad. The author seems to be way too much in love with his words. Maybe the editor should have been a little more insistent with him. Allow me to give you an example of what I mean. The following is an excerpt from page 400. He is describing a sex scene (the only one I read in 600 pages, thank god). Don’t worry about this not being appropriate for the kiddies, like me, they probably have no friggin clue what he’s talking about:

“I pressed my lips against the sky, and licked the stars into my mouth. She took my body into hers, and every movement was an incantation. Our breathing was like the whole world chanting prayers. Sweat ran in rivulets to ravines of pleasure. Every movement was a satin skin cascade. Within the velvet cloaks of tenderness, our backs convulsed in quivering heat, pushing heat, pushing muscles to complete what minds begin and bodies always win. I was hers. She was mine. My body was her chariot and she drove it into the sun. Her body was my river, and I became the sea. And the wailing moan that drove our lips together, at the end, was the world of hope and sorrow that ecstasy wrings from lovers as it floods their souls with bliss.”

What the Fuck?!? Pardon my French but for god’s sake why? If you found that passage at all appealing, then you might enjoy his writing (and if so, don’t ever recommend a book for me…). I, for one, spent the lion’s share of my time reading wondering to myself WHY I continued to read.

My other major problem with this book is the story itself, and the character of the author. Being supposedly autobiographical, this guy has an unbelievable ego. The basic story is he is convicted to 19 years in Australian prison for burglary. He makes a daring and cunning escape, and flees to India and starts a new life. Ok, I could buy that. However, we are constantly bombarded with how great this guy is. He is always the smartest one in the room. Of all the non-Indians, he is the only one who can speak the “local” language of Marathi. A point which he beats us over the head with more than once. He is so smart and kind-hearted he sets up and runs a free medical clinic in the slum in which he lives. So, he’s smart AND giving. Wait, while in prison, he has withstood some of the most horribile torture you can imagine. He endured if for extended periods of time and never once “broke”. Never did anything that would make his life in prison easier (but would be considered snitching). Ok, so on the scoreboard we’ve got Smart, Giving, and Tough (mentally and physically). Oh, I almost forgot, he is the best fighter on the planet. Able to take down even the strongest and armed man using only his bare hands. Multiple gansters? No problem. Sneak attacks by the police or some Africans? Ho hum. So, again, we’ve got smartest, most generous, toughest, and badest. I nearly forgot, he is so charismatic that leaders of all types (legit and nefarious) all take him into their confidence and act as father figures to him. Trust him immediately. Teach him everything they know. And, of course, being so smart, blah blah blah, he is able to run any criminal enterprise to which he is assigned, and run it perfectly where none of his subordinates or bosses for that matter have any reason to be upset. Simply amazing. All of these points are hammered home MULTIPLE times throughout the book. He has his picture on the back of the book, and if I had to guess, I’d say he looks a lot more like a gay poetry-slam artist drinking espresso at Starbucks reading the Village Voice as opposed to a ex-mafia, multilingual, charismatic, international gun runner and bare handed killer. But that’s just me.

I read an online review (one of the few who didn’t absolutely love this book for some reason) who described it well. He likened the book to being trapped somewhere by some guy who keeps telling you these rambling tall-tales about their life, each one getting grander and grander as they go on. You sit there, trying not to encourage them but nodding and smiling politely and uttering the occasional “wow” or “really?” Until you realize, that this guy is completely full of shit and takes you for a gullible moron who is eating this stuff up. That’s what this book is. Granted, I’m not exactly familiar with the Bombay underworld, but I do have a healthy cynicism about what this guy says.

I’m wondering why there was such an outcry of anger about James Frey (A Million Little Pieces) supposedly making up stories in his book. Why no anger with Gregory David Roberts?

Anyway, I didn’t mean to write 1,300 words on this book. But, much like the book itself, criticism could not be contained in fewer words.

An altogether disappointing experience (as if you couldn’t tell…)