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Happy Birthday Wicked Chops Poker Blog!

Happy 1st blog birthday to my fave poker blog, WickedChopsPoker!
Snake, Addict, Chops - I hope you have a lot of hottie Sheilas sending you their love. Here's a virtual card party from me, and of course, I'm sloughing my chips off to Snake. Have a great day, and, by all means — Phil Gordon for Prez!


A Day in SF

Yesterday was a great day. I took the MUNI down to the Ferry Building. Nano tunes included:
  • Killers: All These Things that I Have Done
  • Neil Diamond: Cracklin Rosie, Cherry, Cherry
  • Bruce Springsteen: Badlands, The Rising
  • Killers: All These Things that I Have Done (on repeat)
I met with Larry Habegger and we talked about podcasting. He's getting his feet wet with turning his World Travel Watch column to audio. You can listen to it in his "Worldwide" category. I gave him some ideas for what kind of content I thought would generate him more traffic to Travelers' Tales, and we mostly talked as fast as we could catching up on his other projects and writing classes.

Next meeting was with my publicist. It went. We practiced an interview that we are actually going to do a podcast for. I didn't have all my equipment, and since I was just seeing the q's for the first time, we both definitely needed the practice. We'll finish it up another time.

It was drizzling a bit and I caught a cab to the Six Apart offices over on 4th Street. I had a great lunch with my friend Harold, and we talked about the possibility of working together. I was pretty amped. It's not often I get to talk to like minded people. Afterwards I wondered where all my enthusiasm came from, and I just sat back and thought to appreciate. Those moments seem to be fewer and father between these days. Is that a testament to the projects I've been working on, or the people I've been hanging with. I don't know. But, might as well just appreciate the energy flowing through me when it does happen. Luckily, Harold is cool. He knows me and isn't intimidated or too annoyed with the Jen Show when it comes in doses.

Then, it was off to Fillmore and Waller for a meeting with my Creative Storefront team. The cafe was fantastic. Cafe Du Soleil. Big wooden share tables, some two-tops, a bar, casual French food, wine, coffee, and a pot de creme to write home about. Free WiFi of course. I had a white wine to chill me out. We're nearing completion on our website. Still have a few edits, need to do new photos, etc. But then we'll be setting it off into the world. You can have a sneak preview.

Dinner with Tara at Tommy's on Geary. Good margaritas. Ok carne asada. We went back home and she watched LOST for the first time. She said it was a good thing she hadn't started watching from the beginning because if she had, she'd have been hooked.

I'm in Palo Alto now. John should be in Vilnius. He said he slept 5-6 hours on the plane, the most he has ever. Didn't wake up till the breakfast cart came. That's good news.

Current: Palo Alto, CA
Next: Burbank on Sunday April 2.
Moving to Pasadena: Tuesday April 4


Today is a great day/ John Playboy recap

I'm in a stellar mood. Maybe it's from laughing with kids for the whole weekend, maybe it's because I had an Americano for the first time six or seven days, or maybe it's just because I'm oft to feel really good about life fairly often.

My Jenopolis idea is working. I'm getting viral marketing consulting gigs. Some pay, some for friends. It's kind of like I'm building a portfolio in an area that I've been living in for four years. Only now, it's the new black. And I want to try and do as much as I can with it, not just walk the limbo line with the high bar.

For starters, I'm going to start working for Mobissimo. Small gig, pretty small to start. But who knows. We're also taking Written Road to the next level. New advertising opportunities. Travelers Tales bought our first book ad, so those will start in April. I've also got some writers that are eager to start, and I'm long over due in doing a WR newsletter. I've got other fires cooking too, but I'll talk about those when they eventuate. Bottom line is that I need to make Written Road and VivaLasVegasBlog live up more to my vision. Both have been treading water for some time now.

On the John front, he's been packing up the apt. You have to check out his post about the Playboy Mansion, complete with a photo of him and two bunnies. Too funny. He's got a total deer in the headlights look on his face. He leaves for Vilnius, Lithuania tomorrow. His fourth trip in a year.

I have meetings all day tomorrow. Some for Jockstrap, some for Jenopolis. More meetings and Jockstrap PR on Thursday. Back up to Marin for the weekend and I fly home on Sunday. I must say, I'm a little releived that poker won't be on this week. I hate missing our home game.
Monday the cable guy comes over, and on Tuesday I'll move the stuff over. I've hired a Big Man with a Big Van from Craigslist. He has a great ad. Very professional. And it's only $55/hour for two guys. I'm so excited about the new house I can hardly stand it. John's pretty excited about his new office, too. He's got the guys that made Hoodwinked in his office.

Ok, that's it for now. I hope you're having fun.

Current: San Francisco, CA
Next: Burbank, CA (April 2)
After that: Las Vegas (April 17-19)
John: Prague, Vilnius, Amsterdam (3/29-4/11)


A Visit With the Old Life

It's funny how in some senses, a year is just another year. No big thing, months passing, like they do—six more wrinkles, a few more pounds, a new country in the passport, but still the same familiar calendar page turns.

This time last year I was on the tail end of being with Susan after her back surgery. Lots of TV, happy hour cocktails at home, and as much TT work as I could handle. It was about time for the Final Four and I was meeting most of my family in Vegas. AND I was going to the Howard Lederer All In Camp. I knew nothing about poker, except that I was moving to Vegas to go watch the World Series, so I'd better well learn. It was barely a year ago. Barely just.

Tonight I'm spending the night in one of the homes I grew up in. Grew into an adult, I should say. I came to SF and took a job as a nanny for a little girl. My alma mater was the same as the mom's and the dad thought I was a jock since I'd just biked across country and spent the winter working at a ski resort. The little girl, Katie, was not even three. I lived with them for about two years, and then spent the better part of the next few years coming back. I've lived with them off and on, here and there. Now, Katie is 14. My old room is their home office, but the kitchen is the same. This is the kitchen I sort of learned to cook in, the house I sort of learned to clean. It wasn't my strong point. But I remember mopping the floor one day and thought, it's a good thing I'm learning this now, before I have a home of my own. And then, after two years of childcare, I found myself losing my hair. I was literally washing bunches of it down the drain every day. So, I stopped to think and heard myself say, I'm giving all my energy away to someone else's kids. I better stop and save some for mine. Then my journey with Travelers' Tales.

Nine years later, I'm in their home again for the weekend while the parents are on a long weekender. And I'm just as spent at 9pm as I was all those years ago. Only this time, I'm thinking, how will I ever do it? How will I give up everything to take care of my future kids. I never had more than five minutes alone to check my email this weekend. Never more than ten minutes alone for a phone call, if that. Even though all the people I'm seeing this week are such a dear part of my life, I feel farther away from my life than I have while traveling in Bulgaria or Lithuania.

I want to be home, moving into the new white house with John. I'm eager to create my new routines of walking or biking to Colorado Blvd, having lunches in the side yard on a sunny day, playing Sunday poker at the dining room table, inviting friends over for dinner. And, of course, immersing myself online in my projects. That's my life.

I'm in this really weird phase right now where I want to do it all. Books, magazine writing, podcasting, video blogging, travel/gambling show hosting, and yes, my sweet viral marketing. I want to become a Word of Mouth Expert. It's a weird place to be in. To be in the middle of your dreams changing. Lucky for me, it's not the first time I've experienced this. I'm fully aware it's just a passage. From one time period to the next. And when I weed through the projects and find the one or two on top—when I get to point C—there'll be another dream lighting my fire for the next journey. I know this. And there's nothing for me to be scared of about having kids. I mean there is, but you know, there really isn't. Everyone figures it out in their own way.

Tonight I put 14 yr-old Jackson the white lab to bed, knowing full well that when I leave on Tuesday it might be the last time I see him. I turned off the family room lights like I have a hundred times. Tomorrow 8 year-old Matt will wake me just after six, and we'll have one last full day. There's a chance this could be the last time we have this time together. But for whatever reasons, I'm not sad. I just want it to be as much fun as possible.

I'm sorry I haven't had time to blog. But I did set up the two kids with their own blogs, and they've been enjoying it.

On Saturday, John went to the Playboy Mansion for a charity event. He said the reality of it wasn't as great as your idea of it. John and Pauly have yet to write about it, but the Spaceman wrote up a fun post about the night, and CJ posted a picture of him with two bunnies. It was sweet that these guys and Gavin asked about me and sent word via John. And it's going to be even nicer to go back to Vegas next month. It will be the marking of the full year's passing. And the first day I met John. We're going to stay at the Golden Nugget, my first time in those rooms. I love Downtown. But we'll spend most of our time at the Bellagio. I'm going to be in heaven when we set foot in the Fontana Room. It is my favorite spot in all of Vegas. It even rivals the Foundation Room patio, my favorite Strip view. Anyways, I digress…I think this year has been the biggest growth spurt I've had since I added six inches to my height when I was ten. Damn my shins hurt then. "Growing pains," my Popo said. Right now it's just my heart that hurts from expanding.




There's friends that love you, friends that get you, and friends that tolerate you. You know you're blessed when you get a three-fer all in one.

Being back in the Bay Area, I'm surrounded by a good majority of my three-fers. How cool was it for Susan to not only notice all my new (fat) clothes, but say how great I looked, AND know why the yellow shoes are exactly me. Too cool. A good friend.

I'm going to be having three-fer friend meetings all week. I really have more family up here in the Bay Area than I do anywhere else. Family being my second families, not my blood family.

Oh, and then there's the added bonus of James saying that I should do a book called Jen Leo Pigs Out! We were rolling about this. A recipe book. Or, an anthology about stories of excess. I like it. But we might have to wait until I'm more famous for the masses to get the humor of it all.

Anyway, it's nice to be back here. But it's also nice to finally have someone and some place to go back to. I can't wait to move in to our Pasadena House! I'll either be back Thurs night, Friday night, or Sunday. And we won't know when until next week.

Have fun at poker night everybody. So sorry to miss it!

Current: Palo Alto
Bay Area till the end of the month.


Hello from Palo Alto - near Stanford

The new computer is the best thing ever. A hair better than my new black and orange laptop bag that I got to carry it in. I know that having a new lease on computer life can't compare to those happy about having a true new lease on life -- but I feel much more myself now. All is well in the Jen Leo world when she's connected to her PowerBook. (G4, 12")

Especially now that I have sunglasses and red shoes.

But, of course because I blogged about the "yellow" shoes, blog readers seem surprised when they see me in the red ones. So, yes, the clothes bit is slowly coming together, too. Blue jeans, black tee, camel clolred denim jacket, red shoes,and a Mac laptop swung at my side -- this is the Jen Leo look. If I could wear this every single day, I would. And I just might. It's a free country, so they say.

So, I'm still consumed with trying to organize the old email and old files, but that won't last long. As soon as I checked my email I had an assignment from Student Traveler on travel podcasts waiting for me. Nice. Any minute now, my new publicist will walk through the doors and we'll get some action plan going for Jockstrap. Better late than not at all.

For lunch, Susan made chili, as she said. And tonight it's veggie risotto and mango mojitos at the Brady's.

I've only told 1/3 of my Bay Area peeps that I'm here. Which is fine for now. I don't know how long I'm staying. Definitely through the 29th, but it's all up in the air after that. If I get to see Dana (from college), and/or her family, then I'll stay longer. If I don't, I'll come home after my meetings are done and help John pack the hosue before he heads off to Vilnius again.

Believe it or not, I'd rather be here (and in Burbank/Pasadena) than in Vilnius right now. Did I just say that? I mean it. I've got a lot going on and I'm all revved up to take it on. I'm trying to drum up some extra freelance work, and if comes to fruition I'll be happy as a clam, working in the Little Old Lady, my new nickname for the Pasadena house.

Things I've seen recently that I'd like to remember:
a young girl doing the hula hoop in our back alley
a mexican cowboy buying a woman at Starbucks a cup of coffee
a bank attendant helping a blind woman
teaching toddler Reilly to play catch

Current: Palo Alto, CA
Next: Greenbrae, CA (Thurs - Tues)
John: Burbank now, Vilnius (April 1 - 11)


Almost Computer Day!

We went to Melrose Mac today to check in and buy the new Powerbook G4 12" so they can transfer the recovered data. I've also ordered iLife06 so I can podcast. I wanted to podcast last year, but I never got the software situation sorted. Now, I can do all the editing myself with Garage Band. I'm so excited to have my mac back, or a mac, I can hardly wait.

In other good news I won $350 over the weekend. Is that the most I've won online in a tourney? I think so. And if I knew how to lay down, I'd have gone even farther. But still, I came in sixth and saw some final table action. I was even chip leader for a bit, and that was fun. But there's no real need to play on PokerHost again. It didn't start on time and I think it might've even broke down once during the play. Maybe twice. I was only there because it was a freeroll.

I had other news...what was it?! Oh yeah, The Thong Also Rises is a finalist in the ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards. Humor Category. I'm glad it's not in the travel catergory, lots of competition over there! But hey, the guy who wrote Keeping the Baby ALive till Your Wife Gets Home could clock me. That sounds like the funniest title! That and Lon. L. Emerick's You Wouldn't Like it Here. That sounds funny. I think they announce the awards in May.

What else? I showed off the new house today for the first time. And realized that we have a small cozy living room. Not sure why I thought it was bigger before. Oh well, no worries. We still don't know how to set up the second bedroom. It'll probably be a dining room. But what else? It can't just be a dining room. Maybe a library with two good arm chairs? That sounds nice. We're having a tough time deciding which is more important, a new sofa bed or a new 42" Plasma HDTV. I know we're a ways off with either, but still, that's a hard decision to make! The other thing I really want is a patio set. But John's convinced it'll get stolen and or ruin the grass. And I can't argue with that. We do not have an enclosed back yard. I guess I'll need some kind of fold up table and such. I might ask for a bbq for my bday instead of a trip to Milwaukee. Dare I utter those words - ahhhh! That's almost harder decision to make than the sofa and TV!

I'm looking forward to going to San Francisco on Wed. I have a bunch of storage stuff to sort out. Not looking forward to that.

Yes, I'm fully aware that I'm spoiled. But like I will continue to claim, there's a difference between being spoiled and being a spoiled brat. And I will do everything I can not to be the latter.

Current: Burbank, Ca
Next: San Francisco, CA (3/22-??)



You're not missing anything, folks. Mellow laundry day with some work.I'm still doing some work on Jockstrap, and the Vegas guide. And getting things sorted for my next vm projects. Online publicity for those that don't get viral marketing. I'm calling a few friends and trying to do a better job at keeping in touch.

John's coming home early today. Instead of tomorrow.

I'm going to go on a hunt for free boxes so I can start packing up. I'm also interested in having a nice lunch. I've been thinking about Le Pain Quotidien. They have one in Beverly Hills. It's a small chain, and I used to go there quite a bit when I was staying in Belgium a few years ago. Baskets of breads with lots of spreads, big salads. Sounds great right about now.

Tonight I'm going to see Rock of Ages. Turns out John will be back in time, and I'm willing to bet $50 he won't want to go. And I can't believe I'm letting him off the hook because I barely want to go. But I do want to support my friends' friends, and it'll be fun to do something different with Leigh and Seth. I'll have fun once I'm there, but it's like dancing. You have to drag me to get out there, and once I'm out, then I'm having a blast.

Hungry now.

Have a great weekend!

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: San Francisco, CA (March 22-?)


Luck of the Not Irish

Yesterday was my lucky day.

If the house wasn't exciting enough, my heroes at Melrose Mac told me that they could recover my data. This, after the Apple geniuses, said they couldn't without sending it away and charging me at least $900 with the possibility that the problem might not be fixed. So, a case of beer for my Melrose Mac heroes.
This week I'll have a new 12' Powerbook G4 with most of my old info still on there, and hopefully the addition of ILife06 so that I can start podcasting.

So, check this nice turn of events:

1)Turned in lease to make it official
2)Found out the computer content is saved.
3)Found Skylight Books in Los Feliz, then had cheese & wine at the Village Cheese & Wine Shop on padded outdoor patio seating with heat lamps right at the Alcove. I can't wait to go back.
4) and now it gets interesting -

I played some $3-$6 at Hollywood Park with our friend Shig. I was shocked at how green I was. I'm a lot better than last year but when the people at your table are all regulars and know eachother by name, a gril like me walks up and they smell fear. But what they didn't know is that I play by Phil Gordon's Little Green Book of Advice and that I'm lucky.

I took a huge pot (it took the dealer three sweeps of piles of chips to deliver me the blue). Those poor suckers. I had the nut flush on the turn, but there was a possible straight on the board and a few kept betting and betting. I raised a few times and the quiet guy in seat 8 (I was 10) muttered "Bitch" under his breath shortly before I showed my cards. I was shocked. I couldn't believe someone called me a bitch for playing. Hello, it's poker. You're supposed to raise if you have a good hand. A frigging made hand.

So, not long after that scenario I flopped quad Queens. I had already raised pre-flop, but that didn't stop them. Like a goober, I didn't re-raise the rest of the time. I knew I was going to be taking their money and there must have been three or four players that went all the way to the river. One, I didn't want to be called a bitch again. But, two, there was a brassy old woman named Bea all loaded up with gold on the other end of the table who was talking shit about me. I thought I'd go easy on them so as to make some friends. But no, I show the ladies, and then they berate me for not reraising. Whatever. I told them I didn't want to get called a bitch again and that I was just trying to make some friends. What was I thinking, there are no friends in poker. One guy, the guy that would sleep between hands until his kebabs came, he had me beat on a hand that I went all the way on. At the end he said he didn't reraise me because I had been nice to them on the queens. Ah well.

The point is, I need a lot more experience in the card room. Seems a given, but luckily John wants the same thing. So, we'll see what happens. Next time I'll leave earlier and try and make the $20 + $15 with rebuys tourney. I went home $53 up.
But the funniest part of the night was in front of the valet. I was still flustered from telling Shig the stories. (That reminds me, the room mangager must've heard and came over to me and told me to get him the next time someone calls me a bitch. Lol. I told him it had been a misunderstanding. Seat 8 said he wasn't talking to me, but referring to Bea because she was giving him a hard time for taking a while to decide.)

Anyway, back to Shig. Like I said, I was still all excited and yammering away at the mouth. I wasn't watching what I was doing, where I was going, and missed the whole valet set up. I gave them $2 at the desk, but then thought that I wouldn't have to pay the guy again at the door. Shig was looking at me funny, so I fumbled in a crowded coin purse for dollars, but I only had one single.

"You don't get out much, do you?" Shig said.

I laughed. Of course I do, probalby a lot more than him. But cut me some slack, I've never flopped quad queens OR been called a bitch before. And I'm exciteable.

It was fun. I want to go back.

Happy St Patty's Day everyone. I'll be at the FridayForty tonight. I think my friend Scott is doing some kind of stand up comedy thing. But I'm not really sure what it is. It starts at 11:30pm. Pretty late, but if Mark is reading this and he wants to join me, just call.

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: San Francisco, CA (3/22-?)
John: Scottsdale, AZ (3/16-3/19)
John Next: Vilnius (4/1-11)


The House Found Us

I've been on blog restriction most of the week. For two reasons. First, a good friend of ours found a potential house for us to buy in Charleston. We were pretty excited about it because it was at a fair price in a spectacular neighborhood. We can't quite leave the West Coast yet because of work, but we've been looking towards Charleston as the ultimate homeland once we can leave. John told me not to blog about it so it didn't jinx us, and other reasons. Well, it didn't matter because the house ended up not being available. We were sad for a bit, but I have greater faith in life taking us where we need to be, and we'll get to Charleston in due course.

Then a weird thing happened. I got on Craigslist and started looking for house in Pasadena. The reason this is kind of odd is that I'd gotten accostomed to the idea of living in our tiny place for the rest of the year. I just had. The transition was becoming less rocky and I was starting to settle into the whole I live in LA fact. Anyway, this little white house popped out at me, and it seemed perfect. Plus, it came to us the same day we found out that we couldn't go after the Charleston house. We weren't looking for a house with all the needing to be in Vegas for the summer bit, but there it was, so cute. John said go for it, and sure enough, the owner was still showing it to potential renters.

We went, and John loved it. Two bedroom plus a good size living room. Ok kitchen with a dish washer, private garage, little back yard, and option for a small pet. It has lots of windows, heaps of light, and is in a beautiful neighborhood with big wide streets lined with big old palm trees. We're 1.5 miles from the heart of Colorado Blvd. and maybe a mile from the Metro. The house has been truly cared for. Hard wood floors, super paint job. It's respectable. And it's a place we can both feel good about having guests in. John was concerned that I wasn't that in to it because I wasn't jumping up and down, but my mind was already onto invisioning our new life here, where to put the furniture we don't have yet, and how my life was going to be as a work at home gal. I dropped him off at an appointment and spent the next hour driving around the hood, looking for coffee houses and mexican food. I will admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the seriousness of it. But it is a great thing we're doing this, and I think our lives together, and as individuals, will be improved by this move. It's the first thing that is ours.

I turn in the lease today (we're renting for a year). The only issue thing is that John and I both woke up this morning with the same thought on our minds...we forgot to ask if anything "weird" happened in the house. I'm thinking old lady dying in the kitchen. John's thinking double homicide. But I'll ask before we hand the paperwork over. Or, maybe it's better not to ask...

Current: Burbank
Next for Jen: San Francisco, March 22 -?
John: Phoenix/Scottsdale, March 16-19
Next for John: Vilnius, Amsterdam, April 1-11


How come nobody knows what viral marketing is?

There are lots of things going on, as usual. Yesterday I was having difficulty with the tagline for Jenopolis Viral Marketing, and I still am. It seems, that whenever I mention this, nobody knows what the heck I'm talking about. So, I have to come up with a very clear tagline to explain to people it's about spreading the word, their word, their brand, via online marketing and word of mouth.

Some of the ones my team of experts have come up with are:
It's contagious!
It's the new black of online marketing
Catch the fever
Targeting the best eyeballs since 2006

So, as you can see, I still need help. Nothing is quite explanatory yet. Still too vague.

Right now I'm about to attend a WOMMA teleseminar about Creating Customer Evangelists.
But lets not get all excited about the future and forget that my computer is in the shop. It is in the hands of the data recovery experts at Melrose Mac, and I hope, and pray, they can save my content. Please oh please oh please. I really need it. In the grand scheme of life, of course I don't. BUT, it is the only thing I have. Friends, and loved ones, not included.

In my magazine rack: JANE, and Cosmo. I hear Jane is publishing first person essays, and I have a pitch to Cosmo brewing. Wouldn't it be nice to make more than $200 for a magazine piece?!

On the nano: Neil Diamond

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: San Francisco (Mar 22 -?)
John's travel: Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, (Mar 16-19)



Thanks for checking in everyone, and sorry if I haven't been updating. I think we now have equal readership of John's friend's and my friends on this site.

The good news is that I've had more "enjoying Los Angeles" moments than I've had "hating LA" moments, recently. I only had one Anti moment this week. That was while I was buying shoes. I have zero sense of style, and as you've heard me complain before, am desperate for clothes that suit my personality more than the plain jeans and crap I have now. And in these them thar parts, shoes are a big deal. People are always checking out your shoes, if not judging you by them. So, I bought some obnoxious yellow ones. They are soooo comfy. And I just can't wear the spikey chic heels that seem to always be acceptable. Neither John or I like me being taller than him, and that's a good excuse, but the other reason is that I haven't grown up wearing them and I'm a complete klutz, so I'd fall and break my ankle anyway. Yellow, baby, BRIGHT yellow.

We took them for a walk on Melrose Saturday morning. They fit right in. Lunch was at a great hole in the wall called Joan's on Third. Not really what we were looking for, but now I know where to find some cool treats if I'm ever off to a picnic or need a caterer.

On Sunday morning we were dressed and out of the house by about 7:30am. We headed over to the Rose Bowl Flea Market and man, was that fun. Next time we'll have to rent a van because I found some furniture that I wanted and we had no where to take it home with, let alone put it once we got it here. We did bag up some little stuff - an Underdog glass, two Planter's peanuts cocktail glasses, a Gambler's Scene West newspaper from 1982 featuring Jack Strauss winning the WSOP. And then an old style kitchen wall hanging thing that says Hamburgers Taste Good, or something like that. But the armoires I could've had!!! They do it every second Sunday of the month and we've already decided this will be a regular trip while we're here. It just might be the best flea market ever. We were there for 2.5 hours and only got through half of it.

Other than that it was working and poker. Oh yeah, and in case you hadn't realized, it's girl scout cookie time. We've already gone through two boxes. And while we're on the food subject, two things. One, I'm cooking more. Be forewarned, falafel gives you gas. But it's worth it. And on the second note, we are constantly searching for a Mexican hang out restaurant. Last night we tried Mucho Mas, and I liked it a lot. It's hard to find a good mexican restaurant in the Valley. The lines at Casa Vega and Don Cuco are just too ridiculous. Mexico City is really fun, but the chips don't suit John, and that's his fave part. All this said, I just remembered we had a really good dinner at Senor Fred's but is that place to full of itself? We'll have to try it again and double check....

For those keeping tabs on John, he's leaing for Spring Break this week, then I leave, then he leaves. We probably won't see eachother for three weeks. The upside is Vegas on his return!!!! Let's all say it like a mantra-- THEhotel!

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: San Francisco, CA (still working on dates, end of the month)


My desk is as fast as the new Apple Book Pro

Oh my gosh, I can't begin to tell you how much more work done I'm getting at my desk than at coffee houses and in the living room. Lots. But that also might be because more is coming in, all on the front burner.

Here are some of the things I'm working on:
  1. By Sunday, I'll have written three mag articles this week, with another pitched.
  2. Wrapping up the Vegas Guide, and starting promotions on What Color is Your Jockstrap?
  3. Re organizing writers for Written Road and VivaLasVegasBlog
  4. Consulting writers on their book marketing plans
  5. Creating a business plan for my new viral marketing consultancy work. That is the most fun of all of the projects. I've got a designer working on logos, biz cards, and letterhead, while I work on the campaigns and how to structure it on the back end. I should be pitching work in the next week or two.
I'll be working at home in Burbank this weekend. I'm going to spend a fair chunk of time on correspondence as I've fallen into another crevasse where that's concerned.

Current: Burbank, Ca
Next: San Francisco, Ca (don't have dates)


The Long Road to Normal

Hey all, life is good. I got paid for some of my guidebook work and am paying off debts, gassed up the car, fooded up the fridge, and am cranking away on work. (Yes, I know fooded is not a word). My next humor book, What Color is Your Jockstrap? is almost out so it's past time to pitch to magazines, and this year I have some connections to work with. If anyone knows anyone who reviews books, send them my way. There are some big names in this book including Tim Cahill, Elliott Hester, Susan Orlean, Rolf Potts, and....
It's a zany, gross, amusing book of travel mishaps, and I love that we've included men this time around.

I'd like to say hello to Katherine Colvin. I heard she requested this website address, and I appreciate her interest in following along! John and I had great fun with Jenn and Bob this weekend. They are good friends. We went out for Thai food at Chan Dara near Larchmont Village on Friday night, then headed over to the first Big Lebowski event. And I'll be the first to say it was a bust. Pretty darn lame. Hardly anyone was wearing costumes, and they didn't have a proper screening of the movie, which is what I was expecting. They just wanted to show it on the bar's tv monitors. It was a convention of Kahlua guzzling LA slackers, without their name badges. We took our mini party to a bar called Daddy's and had a much better time there. Bob and Jenn got to walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and we passed stars like Mae West, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, and Art Linkletter.

The best part was getting to experience a better side to LA. We took a walk up at the Griffith Observatory on a sunny clear day, had lunch at Mexico City, one of my fave restaurants in Los Feliz, and showed them Atwater Village where I'd like to rent a house if we decide we'll be here longer than a year. Then we got John and trucked down to Long Beach for dinner and the rest of Lebowskifest. Now this was a party! About half of the three hundred people there were in some kind of costume, and Jenn got a bunch of pics. We drank Caucasians and had fun watching these movie lovers.

My computer is still down and there's nothing to be done except take it to Apple and pay out the nose. But I've got several deadlines going on, so maybe I'll get to that tomorrow.

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: San Francisco at the end of the month


Bulletin Board

Michelle Snow, please get in touch with me at jenleo @ gmail dot com. Or call Travelers' Tales for my personal phone number.

I'm not getting your emails and I have a job for you if you're still interested.


Blackjack Night!

I almost didn't go to poker last night--almost. But I knew that would be a mistake as it is the best night of the week, and I was right. But you might now hear me referring to it as Blackjack Night. Last week they started $5 blackjack tournaments between dinner and poker, and man oh man was it fun. We had a big tournout yesterday, must've been 15-16 people.

With the Blackjack, you play 20 rounds with a dealer button moving around the table for who has to bet first. Everyone plays against the dealer, but you are playing against everyone else in terms of who has the most chips. At the end of the 20 rounds, the three people with the most chips win. So, some people are betting big, some are getting lots of chips early and then betting the minimum $50 on the rest of the hands to hold onto their stack.

And then there was me, who bet agressively, even going all in at one point with a medium sized stack, and took first place in the end, thanks to John. He did the math for me on the last hand so I could figure out how much to bet and how much to keep behind in order to out run the remaining 2-3 contenders. I always had second, but I needed to beat one guy with a similar stack in order to get first. First place got $35.

Man oh man, I can't wait for the Expert Insight: Beating Blackjack with Andy Bloch DVD!!! It's night quite out yet, but oh is it going to be great. Andy was part of the MIT group that was written about in the book, Bringing Down the House.

Poker was poker, so much less entertaining than the Blackjack with everyone whooping and a hollaring. The food is getting better and better, thanks to our host Mark. We had meat lasagne, eggplant parmesan, veggie salad, and grilled veggies. What a night. It is really the best night of the week. This week will be the exception though. Tonight...our good friends Bob and Jenn are coming to town and we're going to the Lebowski Fest. John has still never seen my favorite contemporary movie, so we'll squeeze in a showing over lunch. Tonight is the midnight screening and party, tomorrow night is the bowling. And all my Blackjack winnings say this could be the best night of the YEAR. I'm using my Blackjack money to buy Lebowski Fest posters!

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: here all month till the end of the month


Is Anyone a Unix Specialist?

Two things going on:

1. My computer broke and is stuck in some kind of Unix code. I'll need to get it out of this black screen, and then I can save what's on the computer. After that, maybe it can be salvaged, or maybe I'll need a new one.

2. JADE Magazine interviewed me.
Jennifer Leo: A Suitcase Full of Underwear

Current: Burbank, CA
Next: Nowhere...


In My Magazine Rack

We moved the desk in yesterday and I couldn't be happier. Well, of course I'll be happier once I have some art up and my old desk turns into a dining table, but what I'm saying is, I'm quite pleased with my new "station," as I'm calling it. there was no way I could wait to paint it.

Bringing the desk into the bedroom meant moving the bed, and whoa...this is the biggest difference of all. Lets just say I wasn't the first to mention the improved Feng Shui. The whole energy of the room feels better and we haven't done a thing towards decorating yet.

Things are going GREAT. I made several new friends at the travel show, one of which is really hooking me up. Abbie is connecting me with a bunch of the editors at the big glossy women's mags, and soon the men's mags, too - which means Jockstrap just might have the best launch yet.

Anyway, I'm super gung ho about writing right now, so the desk couldn't have come at a better time.

Since yesterday we did what was on the nano, now we'll do what is in my magazine rack.

Business 2.0

Fast Company
and I'm using the March issue of BLUFF as my mousepad. you want to talk about Brokeback Mountain? I loved the scenery, but the movie didn't blow me away like other Ang Lee movies. I even liked the story line, so I'll have to think about what I felt was missing.

Current: Burbank, Ca
Next: Fingers crossed it's Vegas on Sunday.

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