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Social media update: they’re banned no more!

I was one of the last holdouts to embrace social media. That should surprise nobody since I’m also still lugging vinyl records around and view DJs who work only off computers as dorks. I ignored Facebook until 2008 because I figured if people wanted to talk they could holla at my ever present cell phone. Yeah, remember back when phones weren’t smart? We’d blast out abbreviated text messages to each other 10 times a day instead.

Then, as more and more authors and DJs started tweeting I ignored that as well. Who needs 140 characters of gibberish, I thought. Then I realized I could stalk – I mean, follow the progress of – my favorite hot tennis players like Victoria Azarenka and Bojana Jovanovski at Twitter.

Lightbulb! Now I’ve not-so-reluctantly entered the beast. So if you want to follow me at Twitter go ahead and I’ll follow back. You can also friend me at Facecrack.

PS: My precious Bojana won her first WTA tournament! She took down the Baku Cup last month in some country nobody outside Eastern Europe ever heard of. Unlike social media, I was a big supporter of Bojana’s early on, way back in 2010 when only people in Serbia knew about her. Get on the Bojana bandwagon, there's still plenty of room!

Purity Ring is like Tarwater on ecstacy!

Friday night I was in the BLR studio mixing beats as usual. Ever since some dirtbags stole our Technics turntables I've had to get my theme song online. They stole the mixer I loved so much too, so when Abdul hit a wrong switch on the new mixer I couldn’t get music from the computer right away. WTF DEAD AIR DEAD AIR! So I threw on any random track and it turned out to be 'Change' by Norm Talley. That's house music.

Those who’ve listened to the WORD’N’BASS Show on the radio or via the livestream know I prefer starting with downtempo, gradually ramping up the beats to house and electro, then closing with a drum & bass set. This way the mood lifts from chilled out to energized from the beginning to end. Call it symmetry.

Anyhow, since I opened with house I decided to skip downtempo and make it all house and electro. While mixing through longtime staples like DJ Hell, Neotropic, Sasha and FC Kahuna… I found this song Lofticries by Purity Ring. So. Sick. How did I not discover them before? It’s like Tarwater dropped some ecstacy and found a woman to sing for them. Whatever they do beyond their debut album, Purity Ring is on my “must hear” list from now on.

The hiatus, and the dream, are over!

I took a break from WORD’N’BASS for a bit as my work and recreational interests led me from Vancouver to Reno to Las Vegas over the past several weeks. Only Vancouver was work, the usual frenzy of press conferences, cocktail parties and meetings across one of North America’s best restaurant cities.

The other trips were strictly poker. Started out with the Reno Pot of Gold summer tournament in June and ended it in Vegas here in July at the World Series of Poker. Instead of the Main Event, I focus on preliminary bracelet events where you can still bag a cool $700,000 or so if you win. Meh, went busto in two bracelet events.

Got crushed by repeated suckouts in the first one. I’d spend hours accruing chips and then get knocked back down by donkeys. My J-J vs 10-10 preflop was a sweet spot to double up. No, crushed on the flop when a donk catches a 10! Then I pushed all-in with Q-Q vs A-K vs 10-9. Instead of tripling up, the donk who shoved with 10-9 rivered a straight. In the second tournament I got in trouble chasing a straight/flush draw, nearly crippled to 12 big blinds, then lost a coin flip A-Q vs 8-8. Bye bye, sucker!

While in Vegas I kept seeing Wynn casino billboards advertising Tiësto. Weirdly they had no dates, just a picture with his name and the Wynn logo. WTF? One time a cabbie was driving me around and I asked him when’s Tiësto coming? “Don’t know.”  The billboards don’t know, either. Thanks to rephlektor incorporated, I just found out Wynn is hosting several Tiësto shows this fall, around the time he resumes his annual tour of US college campuses.

Anyhow, now that my Victory Dream 2012 is over, expect more regular updates here at WORD’N’BASS. My girl Michelle has a review of Emily St. John Mandel’s latest novel, I’ve got some new DNB, electro and downtempo mixes that’ll go up soon, and there's a backlog of new announcements I'll be catching up with. Ciao for now.

Lana Del Rey 'backlash' is bollocks!

The first time I saw singer Lana Del Rey was on Saturday Night Live, when she performed a few songs in an odd manner that had me wondering why she kept breaking convention with her timing and monotone delivery. I was blown away by her actually, because all these singers nowadays try and show off their vocal abilities by holding high notes for too long. Not Lana. No, she sang about loss and obsession with a stoic, almost numb aloofness.

Since I’ve been too busy watching Chelsea FC early in the mornings and late at nght, I didn’t realize there was a “backlash” about her SNL appearance until Michelle brought it up. Apparently a lot of American music fans and critics panned it. Twitter blew up with people saying she’s only a star because of her dad, her delivery was amateurish, she supposedly canceled a tour so that she could polish her game since everyone hates her.

It’s all nonsense. Problem is, American music fans are so accustomed to singers bellowing formulaic songs about shopping and boyfriends and getting over boyfriends and whatever cliches pop singers shriek about nowadays they were shocked by Lana’s stark delivery.

“You can’t break conventional timing!” “You must screech long and hard, and sing about jibberish!”

GTFO. American musical tastes were flushed down the toilet long ago. That’s why I only listen to electronic music, classic jazz and select alternative music that’s different from what we've seen before. Lana brings retro glamour to the scene. If the mainstream morons think Lana sucks then that means she’s good. As for Lana canceling her tour? Nonsense. She’s playing San Francisco's Amoeba Music on Thursday. I’ll be there.

PS: Lana has a fall tour, there was never a spring tour scheduled to begin with, Just Jared says. And the haters can suck it -- her album Born to Die debuted at No. 2 and her videos are blowing up Youtube. Her haunting song Video Games has 27 million downloads alone. You go girl!

AIR is in America, BPM is on Youtube!

Been neglecting poor little WORDNBASS.com lately and now I’m eons behind the inbox, which still blows up with announcements. The most interesting of which was AIR has a new album woohoo!

As a film buff I like that they have a US screening tour for the classic flick "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" that inspired this studio album – their seventh since 1998. But the only California screening is in Santa Monica, which will make my friends in SoCal happy but do you think their skipping the SF Bay makes me happy? Or sad? You are correct.

Meantime, the WORD’N’BASS Show has continued with the stream on my DJ page flowing as always. In fact I uploaded a recent drum & bass set to Youtube and plan to do more like that soon. This set is just a snippet of an hour-plus set of DNB and includes tracks by DJ Pulse, Ulterior Motive and Beta 2.

Kaskade wins ABDJ at last!

Some readers might remember back in 2010 when I tried rallying the troops to vote for Kaskade at the America’s Best DJ competition. He and DJ Qbert were in a heated competition and either winning would be great I figured.

Then the ABDJ folks announced the race was close, with both guys barely fending off DJ Pauly D -- from that stupid MTV reality show with Snooki the midget who 'wrote' a novel -- among the leaders. What's that show called? I don't watch TV and those duncecaps aren't worth Googling.

Anyhow, fearing Paulie D could actualy win, I went volcanic and started ranting here and at Facebook. The Friday before final votes were tallied I played nothing but Kaskade during the WORD'N'BASS Show. Well, Kaskade fell short back then to Qbert, but this year Kaskade won first place!

Great to see him bag the big prize. They're doing a party Oct. 9 to celebrate, but I recently got back from Vegas where I saw Paul Oakenfold and Paul Van Dyk play, so I'll sit this one out. Congrats buddy, you earned it. And since we're talking Kaskade, let's rewind baby!

Happy birthday Fatboy Slim!

Right about now we can bet Fatboy Slim is doing a jig, swinging a glow stick in one hand and a bottle of Tangueray in the other with his head held against oversized clubland speakers. On a Sunday? Yeah, because today (July 31) is his birthday. Fatboy Slim’s big beat albums were among the most popular from the late ‘90s to early 2000s when it seemed every house and breakbeat fan had Palookaville in their collection and DJs who spinned at parties always had a couple of his vinyl records in their record boxes.

I am more of a drum & bass and progressive house music fan myself, but I do have a couple of his albums that get a play here and there. I also have fond memories of my old roommate Dave working Fatboy Slim into his house/breaks sets, back when we had a studio with these huge speakers he got from some DJ in LA who was going to jail and needed to liquidate everything. Dave would bump Fatboy so loud the bass would shake the windows and sometimes even the walls. One day our neighbors, a group of gay clubbers who were tolerant enough to never call the cops, said our bass was knocking things off their shelves. Big bass, baby!

Fatboy is 48 years old today… getting up there in age but still drawing big crowds around the world. Back in June he played the Electric Venice Festival and shot video from his POV. Actually I have a feeling Fatboy Slim, whose birthname is Norman Cook, is not swigging gin today. Not because he’s old mind you. He was in rehab while back to lick excessive liquor thirst and considering he completed the Brighton Marathon last year it looks like he’s staying on track. Good job, and happy birthday!

No, I didn’t win $8.7 million!

Back from Vegas and there’s nothing new to report. Spent countless hours dodging the heat, shuttling back and forth from Paris to the Rio, playing tournaments up to 14 hours a day with occasional breaks poolside where the sun fried my white face red. Rinse repeat last year’s WSOP and the year before that and it’s the same  routine as always, only this was the first year I didn’t drink liquor. Treat poker like a sport and you’ll be in the November Nine, baby!

Or not. Problem is I didn’t make it past Day 1 in the two bracelet events I played in. Each morning I’d sit in that Paris shuttle, Kruder & Dorfmeister bumping on the iPod with my big ass Technics headphones, telling myself to chill out:

“Play small ball. Don’t bluff too much. Play position, be patient. Make your move late, it's a long tournament…”

Then I’d sit down to find scenarios like bracelet winner Carter Phillips to my immediate left – with position mind you – and decide to bluff him before he bluffed me. That’s how it is at WSOP, you either catch sick cards (sure), make moves or the pros will bully you. In event #38 I went card dead and won five straight pots with stone cold bluffs. Eventually you must have some good hands or you’ll get nailed. I did not, I did, see ya…

WSOP final numbers: Tournaments played: 4. Cashes: 1. Earnings: $2,197. Hours played: 37. Hookers encountered: 3. Cold showers: 2. Workouts: 0. Marlboros: 76. Double cappuccinos: 9. Martinis: 0. Poolside sunburns: 1.

Welcome to Las Vegas!

The World Series of Poker trip is here at last. On Sunday, June 19 I'm playing the $1K buy-in NLH event #34 and Wednesday's $1,500 buy-in NLH event #38, two three-day events over six days. PokerNews and Card Player both cover the events in real-time which is pretty fun to observe as the hands happen. Also, in addition to TV and live streaming ESPN does pretty good daily updates. Last year when I busted out as a 99/1 favorite after a donkey caught runner-runner aces PokerNews covered it but I blew my top and didn't give my name.

This year I'm going to keep my cool and try and enjoy the process rather than simply focus on the prize. See y'all when I'm back, when I'll post a new downtempo set. Meantime check out this sweet drum n bass show by Ulterior Motive and MC System.

Aha, a newspaper 'gets' boxing!

The New York Times weighed in on "At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing," an excellent book on American writers and boxing I told y'all about a while back. It's edited by George Kimball with a bevy of top notch writers adding pieces to the Library of America book. It's a banging review that captures the essence of the sport:

More than any other sport, even baseball or golf, boxing calls forth the muse in writers. It’s no surprise. Where there is risk there is drama, and boxers put more at risk than other athletes. In a single evening, they roll the dice with their health, marketability and sense of identity. When you have a bad night in the ring, you can’t make it up in a double­header on Sunday, or on another football field in a week’s time.

Good to see there are actually newspaper writers who undestand boxing. While pitching my novel Bistro de Mars a bunch of agents cited variations of the "boxing is dead" argument when declining to represent my work. Meantime, Manny Pacquiao is drawing 50,000 fans to Texas Stadium, selling more than 1 million pay-per-views everytime he fights, and tonight there are world championship bouts on both HBO and Showtime. Yeah, boxing's dead guys.

Tell that to Carl Froch who despite holding a title in a dead sport landed a supermodel wife in Rachael Cordingley, who thousands of men will watch scream "Get him Carl! Carl do it! Bloody hell! Carl!" from ringside tonight. She's garnered a cult following among boxing aficionados.

Rain, rain go away!

It's now mid-May, I'm back from a long, exhausting business trip to Canada, and the rain has followed me home to the SF Bay. When I left for Vancouver, San Francisco was in a heat wave with 80 degrees the standard and sunblock becoming the norm. Summer seemed minutes away.

Naturally, it rained most of the time in Canada and I traded in the Lora Piana Scottish wool suit for a less non-waterproof Versace. It didn't keep me dry, so I got jacked up while darting into press conferences, restaurants and hotel suites at the Metropolitan, Sutton Place, Four Seasons, Fairmont, etc, etc.

As always, restaurants were the good part of the trip. Fois gras and cassoulet at Lift was the bomb but check out their upstairs bar overlooking the bay. They served a fanstastic Hendricks martini at an outdoor fireplace. The Shore Club served one of the best ribeye steaks I've had this year with Slide Five and other downtempo electronic music bumping in the background. One of my favorite boutique hotels, Loden, just completed a conversion of their restaurant into a French bistro called Tableau. Even though I loved their prior lounge format, their duck special and Plymouth martinis mean I've no objections.

What I object to is this rain. Here I anticipated a return to 'sunny California' and it's exactly what I left behind north of the border. How am I supposed to work off all those calories, run in a plastic suit? No thanks.

Skipping book parties to hurl... I mean, Vive la France!

I had every intention to attend "Ecology and Socialism" author Chris Williams' book launch party in Berkeley on Saturday with our sometime book reviewer Michelle. Williams' book argues that time still remains to save humanity and the planet from environmental collapse, but only by building social movements for environmental justice that can demand qualitative changes in our economy, workplaces, and infrastructure. I'm more into novels than political science but hey, it's close by and it sounded like the event was getting some local hype.

First, I had to run the Cleveland Cascade stairs to keep the Health & Fitness 2011 goal on track. After a morning spent at Saul's, Peet's and loading up on coffee, I tried rehydrating with this "sugar free healthy" alternative to Gatorade called Nuun. It's crap! Tastes like Alka Seltzer and the after effects were similar: After 3 laps I nearly hurled my eggs and hash but kept on running and doing pushups and dips on the benches. By the time I got home I felt like James Kirkland -- a punching bag. It took hours to recover and I scrapped the lit event.

When you make physical sacrifices like Saturday's, it's always important to give yourself a reward. That's about to start, since Versus is televising today's Paris-Roubaix bicycle race from France and I've got a full bar. We're starting with Petit Zinc cocktails and finishing with a bottle of 2007 Cab Bordeaux that's an intriguing 50-50 blend of cabernet sauvingon and merlot. Some food will happen: French bread, cold plate, salad, and chicken and sausage cassoulet. This will tide over our Francophile jones till the Tour de France. Or serve as one of several warm ups. PS: Go Fabian Cancellara go!

Here's music, don't spread the word!

I may not have posted many new DNB and Downtempo mixes to the archive at my DJ page lately -- new computer terror makes me reluctant to deal with the process -- but that doesn't mean the beats have slowed here at WNB HQ. Friday nights are still spent in the studio and the live stream is flowing as always from 10 pm to midnight. Last night I braved the miserable rainy winter to hang with my man Abdul, drop heavy bass and spread the word on my new favorite discovery Ulterior Motive.

Nowadays lots of DNB, downtempo and house music labels and promoters are shipping me fresh new beats. Some get played during the WORD'N'BASS Show, some get posted at the homepage, some even come with strange notes requesting I not share the music like this head scratcher I got from a label that's known for both its house and DNB albums:

This is an exclusive promotion pool for special friends and partners of the label. Please keep it exclusive and don't send it to anyone as these tracks are still unreleased.

Why ship free, unreleased music to media and DJs, then ask them not to spread the word? My best guess is the record execs want word of mouth to spread and DJs to play stuff nobody's ever heard, leading music fans to ask questions and DJs to say, "It's not released but the producer is so and so." This in turn creates mystery and intrigue, so when said producers or DJs actually launch a new album there's pent up demand. Slick, very slick...

Barry Eisler turns down $500k, zombie authors bum rush St. Martin's!

Joe Konrath is a talented crime author who penned some great thrilers like Dirty Martini, Whiskey Sour, Fuzzy Navel and a bunch of other cocktail inspired titles. He's also the guy who turned me on to absinthe last year, to the horror of my girlfriend and to the thrill of my ex-neighbor who is now in a prison, a madhouse, or engaged to be married.

Since finishing a three-book deal with publisher Hyperion, Joe took to self-publishing. He also got into a habit of listing the financial incentives of going straight to ebooks instead of the traditional bricks and mortal publisher route. Lots of people follow his adventrures at his blog.

Joe last weekend dropped a bit of a bomb when he announced best selling novelist Barry Eisler has turned down a $500,000 advance from a major pub to instead self-pub his next book, then carried on a long, long conversation about it:

Joe: Indeed. "Barry Eisler Walks Away From $500,000 Deal to Self-Pub" is going to be one for the Twitter Hall of Fame.

Barry: Here’s something that happened about a year ago. Anecdotal, but still telling, I think. My wife and daughter and I were sitting around the dinner table, talking about what kind of contract I would do next, and with what publisher. And my then eleven-year-old daughter said, “Daddy, why don’t you just self-publish?”

Meantime, in cities and towns across America, a half a million struggling writers are thinking: "Hmm, St. Martin's has a half mil they're just waiting to spend. On authors! Writers who can spin a yarn, writers like me! Meee mememee argghh!" Let the stampede begin.

March Madness an Ulterior Motive!

It's that time of year, so I've been watching college basketball every night after escaping the media salt mines. Every night since March Madness began. It should come as no suprise that I root on anyone from the West Coast in the NCAA Tournament. When 11 teams from the Big East all are seeded while St. Mary's and Colorado get kicked down to the NITs do I need to lay out the premise? It's obvious there's an inherent East Coast bias.

Four of the 11 went busto in the first round while all the Pac-10 teams except USC made it to round 3, which is actually round 2 but college hoops is big money and they're trying to stretch this thing out until eventually the NCAAs will have 69 seeds, so let's not get into that argument.

Instead let's take a quick break from the Madness for some DNB. During this time of year what else is there? Hoops, DNB, reading a novel or two while blazing the heater, flight jackets when we dare creep outside. Meanwhile we wait for spring with dreams of sunshine, beaches, bikinis and tan lines.

Ulterior Motive is a duo who some of my favorite producer/DJs like Teebee and Ed Rush have recently worked into their sets. Folks out in the UK are already comparing these young guns to the likes of Chris Su. I like their style, kind of techie with controlled pacing and a bit dark with rumbling bass. Not spazzy fast and tense, mind you. As a longtime DNB studio DJ I love this clip of them mixing live in Serbia. As you'll see, not much happens in the studio but delicious beats. Well, there was that naked chick who rolled in wearing only a trench coat a few years back but that's the exception.

PS: Go U of Washington, go SDSU bye Gonzaga and UCLA it was a nice run!

UPDATE: SDSU and Arizona made the Sweet 16! They tip off at 3 pm and 3:30 pm PST Thursday. Now we must figure out how to bail out of the newsroom early and hit the sportsbar.

No gloating after Borders goes busto!

The rumors surrounding Border's impending bankruptcy that reached heated levels in recent months was confirmed when the bookstore chain entered Ch. 11 bankruptcy this week. As I told author Karen Dionne, the fallout will take weeks or months to gauge, once the many publishers owed millions of dollars by the superstore figure out how they'll deal with it.

Some believe midlist authors will get iced, leaving the biggest publishers like Simon & Schuster and Random House to bet only on proven bestselling authors. Let's hope not, since most bestsellers are schlep that nobody I know reads. Karen's hit list includes her own publisher Penguin, as well as San Francisco pub Wiley, among others:

My publisher, Penguin Group (USA), is the hardest hit at $41.1 million. Others with more than $10 million at stake include Hachette, which is owed $36.9 million; Simon & Schuster at $33.8 million; Random House at $33.5 million; HarperCollins at $25.8 million; Macmillan, at $11.4 million; and Wiley at $11.2 million.

Here in the SF Bay, Borders is closing a dozen stores, from San Francisco to San Mateo to Santa Cruz. Thankfully, their Palo Alto store on University Avenue will stay. This is good, because when I make weekend jaunts to the city my day always includes a shopping spree at Borders before hitting a matinee at one of the downtown indie movie theaters to catch foreign or classic films.

Unlike some who may find the irony of Border's crash and burn amusing -- after all, the firm pushed hundreds of independent bookstores into closure over the past decade -- I take no pleasure in their demise. Fewer bookstores means fewer places for book lovers to hangout, window shop or enjoy a cappuccino with their lastest novel. Hell, I discovered Tokyo Doesn't Love Us Anymore, the best novel since the millennium, while rummaging around Border's Palo Alto shop. So they'll always have a nostalgic spot in my heart.

Today's sign of the Apocalypse!

The New York Times confirmed that Snooki's ghost-written novel "A Shore Thing" will make its bestseller list in hardcover fiction. Snooki, real name Nicole Polizzi, announced the news at her Twitter account Wednesday with the following statement: "OMG I'm a New York Times Best Selling Author!!!" Her "novel" will debut at No. 24.


Cruising LA with James Ellroy!

One of our best living novelists today is undoubtedly James Ellroy, an author known for his crime novels with deeply noir undertones set in the Los Angeles underworld. "The Big Nowhere," "The Black Dahlia," "LA Confidential," and many of his other books helped define LA as a character, not just a setting. I can hear him now:

"Hello all you peepers, prowlers, pedophiles, pedants, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps!"

That’s how Ellroy greeted the press corps as he pitched his new TV project "James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons" that premieres January 19 on Investigation Discovery. Stephen Jay Schwartz got to join a bunch of journalists on a bus trip with Ellroy across the City of Angels. He used the occasion to dig some info out of Elroy like this jaw breaker: the outline for his latest novel, Blood’s A Rover, was over 400 pages long. The novel itself is 656 pages. Non-ficiton maybe, but I never heard of a novelist doing such a long outline. Check out some other interesting tidbits Stephen dug up at Murderati.

Listen to your elders!

Last week I went on a tirade about Snooki. Not a big deal, just another BPM type rant. This week I discovered that her literary agent also happens to rep some of my favorite authors including two talented writers I consider friends. Snooki isn’t a typical client of his. Still, author blasts a "writer" who shares representation with friends' agent? Smooth.

This reminds me of a comment my grandfather once made after reading this blog and finding FTBSITTTD rants about James Frey: "You should watch what you say... you don’t want to burn any bridges." Perhaps one day I’ll listen to my elders. Or not. But after spending most of the fourth quarter rewriting Bistro de Mars I’m starting to pitch agents again. So, it’s time to change it up with a new rule: only blast people who can’t write their way out of a paper bag. Wait...

New Year, same old bullshit!

Since most people stare at the TV for hours everyday like zombies and buy whatever the idiot box tells them to, Snooki of MTV’s "Jersey Shore" fame can now call herself a "novelist." Publisher Gallery bet that mindless drones would sweep into bookstores or click buy on their iPads by the thousandfold.

They’re probably right. Doesn’t mean Snooki wrote the novel so is she really a novelist? That question hasn't been answered. I’ve got no problem when these celebrities publish their memoirs with a ghost writer doing all the work but stop with the so-called novel bullshit. 4/1 odds she didn’t write three of A Shore Thing’s 304 pages. Checkout the Amazon reviews BTW, some of them are comedy.

This happened during the same week a publisher NewSouth Books dished a new "edited" version of Mark Twain’s "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." If by edited they mean "delete the N word because non-PC phrasing cannot occur in classic literature." If by edited, they mean "pretend like racism never happened." If by edited, they mean "cash in on Twain's recently published bestselling biography and censor him because he’s dead and has no living family who can sue the crap out of us."

My first blog post of 2011 was supposed to be more rosy, but the first week's events put me in a bad mood. Oh well, cheerio next time! Ship me something good to report and I’ll do it.

San Francisco is full of literary boozers!

So November ended with a major goal accomplished. Bistro de Mars rewrites are now done but don’t call it a NanoWriMo project. It was written over several years and I just used last month as a period of retooling in solidarity with thousands of wanna-be authors who also hit the book writing grind. Hope everyone who participated in last month’s marathon can now enjoy the holiday season free of literary hair-ripping.

The holidays mean we can trade in the hours spent on laptops typing like maniacs in cafes for hours spent shopping for presents, drinking winter cocktails and enjoying hearty food. Here in the SF Bay, I’ve no doubt our many independent bookstores will cash in on the literati who choose to buy books as Christmas presents. I’ve always felt the SFC is one of America’s most bookish cities and today read a piece where the NY Times analyzes just why the city is a haven for bookstores. In a nutshell:

THE same quality that gave rise to the city’s proliferation of small bookstores -- compact, walkable neighborhoods with a militant objection to chain stores -- makes it easy for visitors to explore the city’s literary terrain.

Buried at the end is another key to the trend. In San Francisco, the average annual per capita expenditure on books is perennially among the highest in the nation. Same goes for booze -- SF ranks as the No. 3 city in America on money spent on both books and liquor. Coincidence? I think not.

So as we collect gifts to shove under the Christmas tree, we’ll do it thusly: Start at the neighborhood watering hole with a round of martinis or ale followed by a trip to the friendly neighborhood bookstore, where we’ll find more than literary turns by celebrity "authors" dishing their biographies or ghost-written so-called novels on the front tables at B&N. We’ll instead snap up novels by the iconic Charles Bukowski or JD Salinger or current day talents Andrea Portes or Stephen Schwartz, and follow this with a night capper like the B-52 or Sidecar.

That sure beats shopping in other areas, where folks either collect the latest best-sellers at strip malls or simply shop online. I’d rather spend a day trolling around bookstores like Modern Times, City Lights, Booksmith or Green Apple than the super stores anyday. It’s one of the many perks that make living in the SF Bay so much more fun than these other homogenized areas.

Bad bluff at the WSOP Tahoe!

So I played the WSOP Circuit event at Lake Tahoe last week, which is another excuse to relay my latest restaurant and lounge discoveries. As for the tourney itself, I didn't cash. I got the flu and canceled one ring event to sleep in my hotel all day instead. After recovering enough to not blow chunks all over the table, I played a tourney that was going fine, for about four hours.

I built a pyramid stack through a mix of catching moderate hands and bluffs (pulled off five sick bluffs with zilch in four hours with nobody challenging). When my chips are stacked in a pyramid you know I’m doing the pimp stroll. Tourney director moved me to the feature table, with bleacher seats and photog-friendly spotlights that required Prada aviators. Check.

Eventually, I started one of my standard traps -- call with pocket Kings, anyone raises I shove when it gets back to me -- but after three calls I remembered going busto at this summer’s WSOP in Vegas when a donkey caught runner-runner aces to crack my kings and called instead -- intending to shove on the flop. But an ace fell on the flop, of course! So I had to fold on a big bet, losing half my stack.

Later I had pocket 4s, made a big pre-flop raise, was called by an Asian maniac who sucked out earlier and should’ve been long gone. Flop was A-Q-8, he checked, I insta-shoved. Dude had an ace. BAD bluff! I was now crippled. You know how the rest goes. Bottom line, two mis-played hands and I went from an above average stack to busto in eight  minutes flat. I am an expert at either falling to 99/1 underdogs or bluffing when they catch big flops.

The good news is Michell (who railed like a pro) and I bailed from the WSOP event to 19 Bar on Harveys 19th floor, where they bumped midtempo electronic music against a backdrop of dim lights, candles and a gorgeous view of Lake Tahoe, and served fantastic gin martinis and raw oysters. Another key stop was Friday Station, on the 18th floor of Harrah’s. I enjoyed filet mignon and prawns overlooking the lake for my birthday dinner. So, it’s another unprofitable poker road trip but when the food and liquor flows not all is lost.

November can only mean one thing -- burn writers, burn!

While most here in the SF Bay have spent the week following our Giants’ World Series victory getting drunk and streaking through the streets naked, there’s a subculture of diligent authors who hope to complete an entire novel by month’s end. The horn rimmed glasses-wearing hipster tap tapping away on a laptop for five hour stretches at Caffe Trieste? Probably a NanoWriMo participant. He’ll bust his ass all month writing prose, sleeping little, exercising none, and surviving on 12 cups of French Roast daily.

Big deal! I spent the weekend giving Zoey the Sphinx a sponge bath and popping peanut M&Ms out of the freezer. True story. But I did enter a similar author’s event over at Backspace, where the November Marathon is underway. Rather than an entire novel, in the Marathon we choose our own goal and stick to the task until completion, which must happen by Nov. 30. My goal is rewriting the first 100 pages of Bistro de Mars by Nov. 15, when I am off to play the WSOP Circuit Event at Lake Tahoe.

I decided this rewrite was necessary after carefully considering feedback from Hard Case Crime founder Charles Ardai and longtime novelist Walter Satterthwait, two guys I massively respect. So, Bistro is getting reworked into a fusion of literary and crime fiction. This means it’ll become a less character-driven story with more action and faster pacing. This also means I’ve rejoined the ranks of café carcasses. A favorite haunt is Oakland’s Grand Avenue Coffehouse, where a hot barista who looks like Rihanna before she dyed her hair blood red and started smoking weed all day churns out a mean double cappuccino.

Vancouver is a foodie town, SF is a Giants town!

Been a whole two weeks since updating little old WNB because I've been traveling like a maniac lately. Also, the San Francisco Giants are going to win the World Series for the first time since this storied franchise moved here from NYC more than 50 years ago and I must catch all games, press conferences, nightly analysis, etc., which is a time-consuming endeavor.

While covering global commodities I sometimes travel the globe. Over the past year the job’s brought me to London, Amsterdam, Chicago, Boston and now Vancouver. These last two trips took two of the last three weeks and as one might imagine, the days and nights were long. Days due to working my ass off, nights due to scouring for places to enjoy the beatdowns my Giants issued to the Phillies and Rangers.

Per the usual routine I have some food/bar recommendations from Vancouver, which is as good a restaurant city as my hometown. Hit Lift Bar & Grill for amazing seafood, veal, pate and a world class wine list. Meantime, The Loden Hotel, a swanky boutique with a great bar, replaces Palisades (converted to condos) and Zin (closed with hotel) as my favorite lounge.

I felt like a fool as a cab drove me and a couple associates down Robson Street in the rain, only to discover Zin was long gone. But we lucked out because the cabbie said, "If you liked Zin you’ll like Loden." Winner! The hotel’s lounge plays downtempo electronic music, their bartenders make fantastic cocktails like an authentic Vesper and there is a nice mix of appetizers, entrees and deserts. And they even had the Giants playing on mute. Best of all worlds, baby!

Now it’s time for game 4 of the Giants-Rangers series. Many in SF became giddy after the Giants owned Rangers ass and took a 2-0 series lead, but I told friends this thing would change once it moved to Texas. No more easy wins. Sure enough, Jonathan Sanchez went busto on Saturday and in a few minutes we’ll see if the world's best barely-legal-to-get-wasted pitcher Madison Bumgarner can bring the heat. If not, this series officially becomes a world class mess. Others seem to enjoy this whole "torture" thing. I do not. I like beatdowns because they're less stressful. Go Giants!

Update Nov. 1: Bumkiller pitched a gem of a shutout for eight innings, striking out Rangers DJ Guerrero 3 times in a row, allowing no baserunner to 2nd until the 7th inning, and Giants won 4-0. What a stud this kid is. Monday night Tim Lincecum can bring home The City's first World Series!

Buzz from the guy who didn’t attend Bouchercon!

So Bouchercon ended over the weekend and no I didn’t attend. That’s for published novelists who write crime novels, thrillers and mysteries, and their fans who want to load up on swag. I did cruise around on the sidelines though. This included the San Francisco launch party for Stephen Jay Schwartz’s crime novel "Beat," lunch with Shane Gericke, and cocktails with literary agent Anne Hawkins (friends not biznis). Correction: She drank wine and had her usual dry humor, I drank Hendrick’s martinis and talked shit as usual.

At Stephen’s launch party in North Beach I also ran into some friends like Alexandra Sokolov, Shane and a hot Latina who called San Francisco "Frisco" and claimed she’s a local. WTF? No local calls the city Frisco. Eventually she fessed up: relocated from LA, like everyone. Also met Kim from LA, who had shipped a copy of Beat and saved me from 10 hours of misery during last week's SF/Boston flights. In addition to being Schwart'z publicist, she has her own book she’s promoting and did a quick signing.

Shane and I have similar backgrounds -- we're both career financial journalists, are prone to putting brutality and violence in fiction, both enjoy fine liquor -- so we gabbed at each other pretty much non-stop. Somewhere between Stephen's launch party and lunch the next day he got a black eye. Seems everyone wanted to know what happened, but I didn't ask. What, you can't run face first into an enraged mystery author's fist without an interrogation? You can't down a glass of Johnnie Walker, throw it at the bar mirror and get thrown into the street without being asked dumb questions? You can't do pirouettes with a stripper at Big Al's without... I kid.

Throughout the week cocktail parties went down. These are "private" schmoozers that aren’t official Bouchercon events but are hosted by the publishers. I got an invite to the 5:30 pm Kensington party Friday but (surprise!) worked like a jerk till 7 pm and ended up no closer to the Embarcardero than 2nd and Howard Streets. That’s when Umbria’s head waiter sat me down and started pouring Saphire down my throat.  

In unrelated news, I located my precious Hayden Panettiere! She was ringside at the Vitali Klitschko vs. Shannon Briggs heavyweight title fight in Germany on Saturday. Unfortunately, her boyfriend Wladimir was kissing her. Bastard GTFO. Yes, I must cease online stalking and will -- just as soon as she returns my emails/facebook messages/phone calls.

Boston is like San Francisco, only Redsox are busto and Giants are champs!

Boston is like San Francisco. That’s what the locals like to say when finding out you’re from SF. Not a bad comparison. It is a restaurant, bar and club town, which I can confirm after eating steak and seafood and drinking martinis at every joint we visited during a weeklong business trip. If you’ve read this blog awhile you know the routine: Press conferences, meetings and cocktail parties day and night. The highlights come on the sidelines, when gluttony kicks in.

Since I cover global commodities, we had a crew of journalists from three continents eating ribeye steak, Steele Vineyards cabernet, raw oysters and creamed spinach at Morton’s Steakhouse. The next night I took one of my sources on the town. Or I should say, he met me at a company cocktail party, jumped in a cab and before you knew it we found the best martinis in Boston (Annie’s), enjoyed one of the best seafood meals I ever had (B&G Oysters), then cabbed to The Liberty Hotel, a prison they converted into a hotel, restaurant and nightclub.

Here Techno music flowed as we rode a long escalator into wall to wall eye candy. Lots of hot babes in cocktail dresses. More importantly, they showed Tim Lincecum pitching Game 1 of the NLDS on a muted TV above the bar. It was enjoyable watching Tim destroy the Atlanta Braves cut to heavy bass after 1 am EST on a Wednesday night.

By Friday I was pretty rundown. Working days, drinking nights, and jetlag combined to tap the energy reserves. Solution: Wake up early, take a long, hot shower, drink coffee and make sure you look good in a suit. This last part is key. Because even if you feel like shit, if you look together and don’t let your head fall on a table in front of everyone, you’re in the clear until recovering with a Hendrick's martini, escargot and lobster at Anthony's. Sometimes you get lucky, too. I did on Friday, running into a source who gave me a nice scoop that I was later able to confirm from my hotel room at the Westin.

In the same way, Atlanta will claim the Giants lucked out to advance to the NLCS. Braves fans will say the Giants were fortunate their second baseman committed three errors in Game 3. I say that Jonathan Sanchez owned their asses for 7-1/3 innings, Romo nearly blew it, but Brian Wilson saved the day. Tonight he didn’t have his best stuff, the umpire made some cockblocking "ball" calls, but Wilson still struck out two to finish off the Braves in the NLDS, 3-1. I can’t wait to enjoy the Giants-Phillies pitching duels starting Saturday, in the PST time zone this time. Those three hours are the difference between a half lobotomy and a night’s sleep.

Screw me Hayden possibly engaged!
In the media salt mines today I finally got around to lunch at 3 pm, when it was time to scour the Internet for the latest sightings of my precious Hayden Panettiere. She is partying it up at Oktoberfest in Germany with Wladimir Klitschko, who is the world heavyweight champion so it’s doubtful I could kick his ass. They're probably having rough sex drunk on beer right this minute. Still, Hayden's breasts are featured prominently in these pics from Germany as she struts about in a traditional German dress.
I enlarged the pic, the better to analyze all details of Hayden's pretty face, breasts and hands, when what did I find? A ring on her left finger! This is a sign Wlad and Hayden could be engaged, not just dating. Am surprised none of the gossip websites caught on to this important detail. Normally they pursue engagement, marriage and "baby dump" (typo stays) stories like hurricanes. If I’m correct call me BPM Scoop! If wrong, all the better. I can continue sending Hayden my standard the text message: ITTSUTT! Scroll down three entries for the translation. And no, I’m not obsessed. Just observant.

BPM Smith's Electronica tracklist!

Just now getting around to posting the tracklist from the Sept. 19 mix due to the usual: long days in media salt mines followed by nights spent lifting weights at 24 Hour Fitness sausagefest, downing Hendrick’s martinis and eating a boatload of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Big supply = much work to be done.

A bit of a changed vibe in my latest Downtempo set after a series of lounge-style mixes. I recently decided to drop more Electronica and less chilled out or "thorazine music," as one of my old DJ buddies used to call my Downtempo faves like Boards of Canada, Tarwater et al. Since I ceded last Friday’s WORD’N’BASS Show to the benefit party so my friends could stream the event live, I figure now is a good time to post a new mix for the permanent archive. Here’s the tracklist of my latest Electronica mix:

Intro: Boards of Canada - Zeotrope
Aaron Sontag & Nica Brooke - Inner Peace
UNKLE - What Are You to Me?
Midnite Music Co. - Black Seven Music
Röyksopp - A Higher Place
DJ Shadow - Six Days
Smith & Mighty - Life Has a Way
Felix Da Housecat - Watching Cars Go By
Neotropic - Northwest 37th
Dimitri of Paris - Reveries
Underworld - Trim
Tommy Guerro - Archaic Days
Air - Mike Mills

BTW I am back in the studio tonight (Friday, Sept. 24) dropping Downtempo and DNB sets from 10 pm to midnight per the usual. Gonna remix an LTJ Bukem track with new vocals by an ex-girlfriend who will be in the studio... remotely.

Yae DJ Qbert won, Bay Area represents!

He'd been DJing for over a decade already, but I first got into DJ Qbert back in 1998. That's when DJ Shadow brought in the ace turntablist for his iconic album Preemptive Strike, which remains his signature album to this day. I was so blown away it became the main fuel in the photography studio, where my man Ben and I would dwell in the lab all night printing our black and white artsy fartsy pics. Other nights I’d switch over to the digital studio and make "narrative series" till dawn. Back then I was all about DJ Shadow and DJ Krush, all that pre-trip hop stuff.

Later I had graduated college and returned to my hometown of San Francisco, where everyone’s favorite was Dr. Octagon, a breakthrough hip hop character that showed the genre could include space age lyrics and surreal themes while still garnering an audience. Like Preemptive Strike, it marked Kool Keith’s artistic pinnacle. Who was manning the decks in that one? You got it. So against that backdrop, it’s a great pleasure to report Bay Area native (Daly City born) DJ Qbert was voted America’s Best DJ in 2010. He’s earned it over a long, prolific career where his signature scratching has become the benchmark by which all others are judged.

I’m not gonna dwell on the negative much here but I must say: Thank gawd he beat out that douche bag DJ Paulie D! Dude’s a bandwagon jumper who shouldn’t have been in the contest to begin with. Evidently DJ Times decided to throw him in there to garner some buzz among mainstream inbreds who watch MTV’s Jersey Shore. It almost backfired, because once the douche broke the top 10 the brawl was on.

Got some cool messages from readers who voted for Qbert as well as second place finisher Kaskade of San Francisco after my nudging during the WORD'N'BASS Show, here, and at the social network sites. Thanks guys, and thanks to all who voted for a real DJ who represents the art properly. PS: Locals bagged the No. 1 and 2 slots, showing what a rich and diverse DJ scene we have here in the SF Bay.

Hello, Hayden Panettiere!

Since my upcoming novel "Bistro de Mars" is set around boxing I've got an excuse to talk fights on occasion. I also gotta think there's a few here like myself who enjoy seeing the smoking hot actress Hayden Panettiere wearing a skimpy black dress. That's what she did last weekend  in Germany while watching from ringside as her boyfriend heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko pounded the stuffing out of top contender Samuel Peter. Hayden gets so excited! Must be something about blood and beatings.

Just think if this little honey was getting excited about stuff you do. You know, cheering wildly while you fix the car's broken mirror that you smashed through a garage door last weekend ("Woohoo!"), or grill steak on the BBQ ("Yae!") or write a short story ("Go, go go!") or play a poker tournament ("You're all in!"). Yes, I think it's time to give Hayden a call and a quick reminder in case she forgot: "It's time to step up to this!"

Labor Day lounge time!

I <3 three-day weekends. We hit Reno last week knowing every ape in California hits the road on Labor Day Weekend, when it's better to stay local. Did the WORD'N'BASS Show Friday night working Kaskade into my Downtempo/Electro/Trance/Whatever-I-feel-like set and encouraging listeners to vote him up at the ABDJs.

Saturday night we hit Oakland's Sidebar, a nice joint for martinis and appetizers on Grand Avenue overlooking Lake Merrit. Their bartenders have the skills and quality ingredients to make it a proper watering hole for Oaklanders and those wanting to escape SF's too-busy bar scene. The gin martini of course is the key that unlocks the answer to any bar's quality. They go beyond the Saphire and Tangueray standards and stirred ours with Hendrick's and Plymouth, two top notch yet overlooked British gins, with Noilly Prat their default vermouth. Enjoyed awesome martinis with duck confit, salad and taragon deviled eggs. Two thumbs up.

Sunday it's BBQ time, Giants vs LA, Sanchez and Kuroda ready to rumble. These are two talented but volatile pitchers so anthing can happen -- sick game. If my Giants win and San Diego Padres lose (they're in meltdown mode, 1-9 in their last 10) the Giants will be tied for 1st place in the NL West! I'm  prepping the BBQ and drinking Sammuel Smith's Ale in the sun as we settle into some good ol' Americana: Tri-tip steaks, veggies, brews and baseball's race for the Playoffs.

Who let that clown DJ Pauly D in here!

Got a press release today saying the top 10 DJs at the 2010 ABDJs are A-Trak, BT, DJ Pauly D, DJ Qbert, Jazzy Jeff, Kaskade, Mixmaster Mike, Roonie G, Steve Aoki and Wolfgang Gartner. Waitwhat -- DJ Pauly D? Never heard of him! Well, until Jersey Shore blew up on MTV and even then he was just some cartoon character. I watched the show one time and figured whatever, it's amusing like watching a gimp trying to cross the street before the light turns. Dude's fine for the reality TV circuit but the ABDJs are about who's the best DJ in America.

DJs like Z-trip and Christopher Lawrence, guys who spent more than a decade playing gigs at big and small clubs around the world and honing the art of mixing on turntables, have won this thing. Now some clown nobody ever saw is suddenly the best? Does anyone even know what kind of music he "mixes?" If DJ Pauly Douche wins it instantly destroys the credibility of the ABDJs altogether. And remember, there are thousands of TV heads who will vote for him because they don't know a GD thing about what makes DJs any good. Now I'm not drinking many bottles of Haterade nowadays because everyone who is successful has put in hard work somewhere, but this has gone far enough. Vote that clown outta there!

I'd normally vote for anyone who plays drum & bass because that's my true love but in this case let's vote for someone already in the top 10 to give them the best chance at winning. Two from the SF Bay Area are Kaskade and DJ Qbert. Both are great. Kaskade was in the top 10 last year but fell short. He produced that fantastic album "Strobelight Seduction" a couple years ago and created the catchy and addictive track Move for Me that was my anthem for New Years Eve 2009. My sister Cynthia met her husband Ashwin at a Kaskade show back in the day. So that does it -- vote for Kaskade!

Keno in Reno!

What happens when you burn your poker bankroll in Vegas on horrible luck during the WSOP and Venetian Deep Stack tournaments, settle into some non-poker fun on the strip but madness happens and your girlfriend ends up at Sunrise Hospital? Yup, you reload the bankroll in the minor leagues. So I'm off to Reno and there will be no WORD'N'BASS Show Friday night (Aug. 27). Back next week tanned and relaxed from sessions at Steamboat Villa Hot Springs, the hotel's pool and poker rooms of the Eldorado and Peppermill casinos. Don't forget Tangueray 10 martinis at Bistro Roxi. And Beefeater 24 martinis at the Grand Sierra lounge. And...

Balzac had balls!

After another late night DJing Downtempo/Techno and Drum & Bass at the studio -- and working in those tracks from Simian Mobile Disco and DJ Mettrix into my sets --  I slept in late Saturday morning and did the usual late brunch with Michelle. But instead of going out to Saul’s, Mama’s Royal Café, or Full House, I cooked my traditional French omelette: Salami, brie, scallions, red bell peppers, parsley and pesto with a pot of Peet’s Coffee. Afterwards she hit the gym, I procrastinated by mulling over French author Honore de Balzac.

Balzac is as famous for drinking 20 to 40 cups of coffee per day as he is for banging out nearly 100 novels. Dude wrote 14 to 16 hours a day in a prolific career cut short when he died at age 51, probably due to excessive coffee, tobacco and food. This gives me an idea for a challenge, and accompanying memoir called...

"Balzac Has Balls," a year-long journey in which author BPM Smith replicates Balzac's 20 to 40 cups of coffee regimen. Throw in excessive smoking, French food and writing.

Balzac Has Balls documents every effect, from heart palpitations to paranoia to mad prolific writing to late nights to weight fluctuations, appearance changes, relationship changes, all-night DJ sessions, poker tournament blow-ups, workplace and public melt-downs, emergency room visits, and whatever else happens over the course of one calendar year. Hell, there's even a book cover ready to roll. Best seller, baby!

James Frey + Betty White = not sexy!

What does a best-selling "memoirist" who is now a novelist do while waiting to deliver "The Final Testament of the Holy Bible," the second of a three-book deal with Harper Collins that can't possibly live up to its grand title? Get into porn. Or I should say, hook up with Marky Mark and write the pilot for a new HBO series about the porn industry.

James Frey tells everyone's fave tabloid the NY Post, "We're going to tell the type of stories no one else has told before, and go places no one has gone before." Question: Nobody's done a story about porn stars before? And will this be a memoir?

Meantime, actress Betty White landed a two-book deal with Putnam that starts in 2011 with a tomb called "Listen Up!" Well that's what the mainstream media says; in reality it was White's literary agent Loretta Barrett who inked the deal.

Subjects will include love, sex and celebrity, and will focus on her life during the last decade or so. Now if "The Golden Girls" ran in the '80s and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" ran in the '70s what's that leave? An 88-year-old woman talking about sex. Do.Not.Want.

Beats, buzz and beatdowns!

Hot new album on tap from the British DJs Simian Mobile Disco. The album's not out till fall but their publicist rephlektor inkorporated dished us a phat track Nerve Salad. Yes, I'll be among the first DJs to work this into an electro set this Friday (Aug. 13) during the WORD'N'BASS Show. I mix live 10 pm-ish as always.

Nancy Pearl buzzed up one of my very favorite authors Emily St. John Mandel giving props on both her novels, LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL and THE SINGER'S GUN, on NPR's Morning Edition. Listen here.

Sometimes I get pissed when the food is not served properly in the morning. For example, Tan's Cafe in San Francisco's SOMA once refused to serve my egg, bacon and cheddar sandwich on an English muffin at 10:35 am -- five minutes after their breakfast cutoff. Bust my balls you get banned! So, for the past five months I have not set foot in that cafe. Well, they're lucky I'm not some chick who snorted rails all night then at 9 am got hungrAY. For Chicken McNuggets. Because if I was, I'd tear their asses up like a Mickey D's window.


Tour de Francophile, or, another excuse for cocktails!

"The ear-pieces weren't working very well..." -- Alberto Contador's excuse for being a jerk.

If the posts are slower than usual this month it's for three reasons: The media salt mines have brought long, brutal days due to wild commodity markets, I've been busy pitching literary agents about my new novel Bistro de Mars, and the Tour de France. Yes, every July the Tour takes priority over all other pastimes. Several things have happened in this year's race. Lance Armstrong went busto after crashing three times on the first mountain stage, Andy Schleck is (was?) in the leader’s yellow jersey, and that bastard Alberto Contador is breathing down his neck.

Contador, in a panic after Schleck dropped him on a climb to take yellow, on Friday broke cycling’s code of honor that says you do not chase down a teammate who is poised to win a stage. Saturday morning I tapped the espresso machine with Hudson Bay Café cappuccinos and watched that same rider Vinokourov make a sick solo breakaway. That would've been back-to-back stage wins had Contador not attacked him on Friday. Andy was not "in trouble" he was only caught off-guard because he never expected Contador to attack Vino, who should’ve vilified Contador.

My Tour routine is a mix of espresso-fueled early mornings with traditional French breakfasts and evening French dinners with cocktails like the Sidecar, martinis and Negronis -- a gin/Campari concoction invented by Italian count -- and of course Bordeaux wine. So far we've had Coq de Vin, Cassoulet, cold plates of baguettes, brie and salami, various pasta dishes and now my neighbor and fellow Tour aficionado Spencer is talking about roasting a duck. Just call me BPM Francophile until August.

Tonight (Sunday, July 18) we’ve got  a Tour dinner on tap and I must stay in a media blackout until 5 pm PST, so I don’t know WTF happened. Instead of waking at 4:30 am for Versus' live coverage we slept in, enjoyed organic Mexican coffee and drove an alternate rout to Mama’s Royal Café due to a late-night shootout in Oakland that shutdown the I-580 freeway. Homeboy whipped out several guns, donned body armor and went ballistic! Now it's midday Sunday and the helicopters are still circling near mi casa as I down a protein shake and prepare to dodge gunfire on the way to 24 Hour Fitness. Shall I wear body armor?

Let me make one (already outdated) prediction: Because Sunday’s stage has a notorious "beyond category" climb that finishes with a category 1 it’s Schleck, not Contador, who brought the heat and is poised to become this year’s Tour winner ... as long as he performs in the 52 kilometer time trial. Go Andy go!

Books to counter film industry’s summer of schlep!

I don’t know why people bother heading to movie theaters during the summer. "Blockbuster" season is here and it’s brought the usual brain-dead schlep, CGI clusterfucks and pureed diarrhea. Me, I’d rather put a bullet in my head than watch Prince of Persia, Iron Man 2 or Grown Ups.

Where the film studios fail, the book industry picks up the slack with two publishers launching new novels from some of their best authors. This week Random House put out "Kings of the Earth," the sophomore novel from Jon Clinch, the critically and commercially acclaimed author of Finn, and Pinnacle Fiction launched "Torn Apart," the latest from talented crime writer Shane Gericke.

Wondering how to ride the summer train wreck? Snatch copies of Kings of the Earth and Torn Apart to enjoy on beaches and coffee houses and boycott theaters so the mental midgets in Hollywood start making better movies. Instead, score DVDs of forgotten ‘90s cult flick "Romeo Is Bleeding" and the James Bond classic "You only Live Twice." Enjoy the books with cappuccinos and the flicks with thematic cocktails.

For example, tonight we’ll watch good old Sean Connery play James Bond with martinis. According to my trusty "Little Black Book of Cocktails" -- another perfect summer book to score --  I should drink several Vespers, "the martini made famous in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale…" Here’s the recipe (my choice in parenthesis):

1-½ oz gin (Beefeater 24)
½ oz vodka (Ketel One)
1/3 oz Lillet

Shake well in ice-filled shaker, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon peel. And remember, when you’re doing it Bond style the shaker is a must. Most times I go either way but tonight it’s shaken, not stirred, to avoid "bruising the gin." Cheers!

Fourth of July train wrecks!

I kicked of Fourth of July weekend on Friday by mixing downtempo and DNB at the BLR studio. The downtempo set was solid, so check my audio page Monday when I’ll post it. DNB mix was a train wreck though. Big fat FAIL! I hate it when you line up a ton of banging tracks but find your timing is off. Still, it was fun. Mixing DNB is kind of like cooking because even the failures are enjoyable.

Which leads me to the Fourth of July. Slept in late this morning, waking just in time to watch ESPN kick off our national day of gluttony with Nathan’s International Hotdog Eating Contest. As the host introduced participants -- booming their nicknames and historical accomplishments like a boxing announcer -- I kept wondering where the little Japanese dude went.

Takeru Kobayashi  boycotted the event and got arrested while trying to bum rush the stage after San Jose’s Joey Chestnut won for the second year straight. Causing a train wreck during a nationally televised awards ceremony? Now that’s doing it American style!

Afterwards, I spent the afternoon implementing Health & Fitness 2010. This included loading up on hemp milk, L-arginine, zinc and ginsing complex and pumping iron while blaring an American classic, Leonard Skynyrd’s Free Bird. Try that, loud, on repeat. Next I ran the Cleveland Cascade.

This evening it’s back-to-back barbeques -- at my neighbor Louis’s annual event and at Michelle’s, where she’s got a tri-tip steak marinating and Manhattans on tap. Let’s hope tonight’s steak simmers better than that DNB I cooked up. Enjoy the holiday, folks. PS: Don’t blow your arm off! UPDATE July 6: Ran late preparing Coq au Vin for last night's viewing of the Tour de France. By the end of the bloodbath I was too drunk to post that downtempo mix so it'll go live on Sunday, July 11th. Yae Beefeater 24! UPDATE July 18: Scrap that I'll post it sometime soon... Since I'm a slow procratsinating jerk here's a sphynx kitty cat taking a drive.

Chad Batista is a donkey!

Since returning from Vegas with mixed feelings about the trip it’s back to long days in the media salt mines, lifting weights in an effort to resume Campaign Heath & Fitness 2010, and of course Friday the WORD'N'BASS Show resumes at 10 pm. Vegas was mixed because I played well but the donkeys sucked out like motherfuckers!

My first WSOP tournament sailing along fine enough. We started with $3,000 in chips and I made some good folds to escape danger and one bad call when a dude shoved with two pair and froze like a deer about to get steamrolled while I mulled it over. "Trust your read," they say but my read was wrong that time. He was just nervous in general playing on a big stage. Still, I got away with some sick bluffs like 9-high after projecting a tight image, which helped me worked my stack up to $15,000 in just under seven hours.

Just before the dinner break I got moved to a table with an idiot from Northern Europe, a pretty solid Aussie, Internet pro Chad Batista, a meathead who tried bullying an old Greek man, and a cynical American in aviator shades who talked trash and whom I immediately liked. Batista kept getting all his chips in bad and sucking out. One time he was all-in with pocket 4s vs. 8s and caught a 4, another time he went in with 8s vs. 10s and caught an 8. Because he stupidly overplayed hands before the flop I decided to take all his chips at the first opportunity.

It happened. I caught pocket kings and three-bet pre-flop. Viking three-bet to $1,800, Batista shoved for $24,000, I insta-called. Nordic dude started talking as if to pry info from me. I said simply, "We already made our moves, do whatever you gotta do." He folded. Batista tabled a weak ass ace-queen, pwned! After I flopped trip kings and he only had a paired queen I was a 99-1 favorite. That’s when shit hit the fan. LOL at PokerNews.com coverage. They quoted Batista saying it was the worst suckout ever but didn't name or quote me. So I’ll quote myself: "What the fuck!"said BPM Smith.

I left without further word and chain smoked Marlboros outside the Rio until Michelle showed up. We spent the night drinking gin martinis at iBar, a swanky watering hole at the casino's heart, then had a fantastic Italian dinner overlooking the pool. My next event was another tournament of playing well and running bad. That one ended when I got it all in on the flop with pocket jacks vs. a paired 10 and was once again a prohibitive favorite. Dude promptly caught another 10 on the turn and I was outta there.

In contrast to my WSOP 2010, one of my poker buddies Kurt Disessa got 7th place in his event. I had asked him how he did it before flying out there myself. "I decided to always get my chips in good," he said. That worked for him, not for me. But I’ll be back in 2011 just as optimistic (wrongly?) as always. One day I will end the donkey stampede by slitting all their throats.

World Series of Poker here I come!

The heat wave here in the SF Bay is so intense it’s like I’m already in Las Vegas. Not yet. I’m flying today (Saturday, June 12) and will be there for the next week, when I’m playing two bracelet tournaments, Event #24 on Sunday and Event #30 that starts Wednesday, June 16. Both are no limit hold ‘em. PokerNews.com covers the hand-for-hand action within minutes after they’re played. No WORD'N'BASS Show Friday, June 18. Ciao...

Hard to believe Noisia is a debutante!

Among my favorite additions to the weekly studio DNB sets in recent years is Dutch Drum & Bass crew Noisia. It was 2007 when I first discovered them while digging through vinyl at Berkeley’s Skillz DJ Workshop, where they’ve got turntables you can listen to records before buying.

Since then Noisia productions have been a staple of my DNB mixes. Some of the archived sets like last year's 420 mix and this one and this one have Noisia tracks in them. Their productions are best in the middle or late parts of a mix when you wanna drop the hammer and let the bass go boom! I always wondered why it was hard to find Noisia stuff here in the SF Bay, figuring my fellow DNBheads would gobble up anything they could find.

Guess that’s because it’s always been two tracks on a 12-inch here, one track on a compilation album there. Now, with Noisia’s debut full-length album we should find more gloriously dark beats from the bass kings of the Netherlands. What's unusual is it took them five years after establishing their label to put together a debut album. To me, that's like a kickass author who is widely-known and appreciated yet only puts out short stories and never bothers with a novel until years later. It's about time, fellas.


Memorial Day literary buzz!

Memorial Day was overcast here in the SF Bay which means it’s a good thing we sparked up the BBQ Sunday night. Smoked sausage, baby back ribs, grilled bell peppers and onions, cole slaw, Boont Amber Ale, the prime stuff. Since it’s a national holiday I spent today sleeping in then dosing on Peet’s double cappuccinos and catching up with all things literary. Here’s a few fun links:

Bill Clegg has cut so many big time deals at William Morris he’s among a handful of literary agents the book industry widely calls a uberagent. He once went on a crack rampage, dissolved into a sex and drugs abyss and fell off the map. Que up Michael Jordan: "I’m back!" With a memoir "Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man" from Hachette Book Group that folks in the biznis have buzzed about since it was sold eons ago -- in 2008. The New York Times gives him the full treatment.

Last week Publishers Weekly did a piece on crime writer JA Konrath’s deal with Amazon Encore that told an interesting but incomplete story. Konrath put them on blast with a point-for-point rebuttal at his blog. Now he’s giving away free eBooks from his Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels series of thrillers set in Chicago. He says steal this eBook, piracy is good. I don’t know about that but am always happy to dish WNB readers free stuff when authors or DJs are cool with it.

I recently started reading a new novel about a vampire/bodyguard for the President of the United States, a thriller that scored Christopher Farnsworth a three-book deal with Putnam. "Blood Oath" is in stores now and I’ll post a bit on it soon on the homepage. Meantime check out the President’s Vampire site.

Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel The Singer’s Gun now has a trailer. I like the mysterious vibe cut to phat beats, but who was the producer they used? It’s at Vimeo.com.

Looking to summer beats (not those kind)!

Nothing evokes the vibe of summer like deep house music. It brings to mind beaches, hot bikini babes and suntans for those of us who are unafraid of skin cancer. Looks like this summer’s theme song will come from one of Nervous Records’ artists Theo, Boris, Nicolas Matar or Willie Graff. Maybe all of them? The iconic NYC label’s got albums from each set to the theme of steamy summer days.

Wanna know what else evokes memories of summer heat? The World Series of Poker, in June and July, when it’s 120 freaking degrees in Las Vegas. I’m playing this year… just booked the trip. Virgin America as I do whenever possible. They have ambient blue lights, play downtempo electronic music in the cabin, and minimal chaos. American Airlines fucked me to and from Chicago with their horrible music, one lame movie we all had to watch (or not) and by dumping a sick and screaming toddler next to me. Naturally I got her virus and therefore America joins Delta and Alaska Airlines in the BPM Banned Section.

I will hit Vegas June 12-18 and play in two no limit hold ‘em events that week. Now all I gotta do is resume playing poker. It’s been such a grind of business writing and travel this year I pretty much fell off the local circuit and skipped two World Poker Tour events I normally play here in California. No more. Starting tonight at Artichoke Joe’s I am back. Let’s hope the donkeys don’t immediately circle me with their idiotic calls in hopes of issuing bad beats. UPDATE: Got 12th place, two spots from the final table. Not as rusty as expected. Still have lots of work before I am battle ready for the WSOP.

Return of the Tilted Kilt!

I hit the road once again for a business trip last week. Have I mentioned the day job is in the financial media? It’s fun, I get to write plenty, but it’s also a hard grind. Last time was Amsterdam, this time Chicago. More of the same: meetings, cocktail parties, press conferences and side action.

Most big stories happen outside the official events. They happen in face-to-face meetings between commodity traders from around the world. My job is to infiltrate. No, it’s to do meetings day and night with said traders so I can report what’s happening behind the scenes.

It’s a relief to leave the 16-hour days behind but in the midst of deadline pressure and constant shuffling from hotel suites, bars and lounges we did have some fun. One night after a cocktail party we hit Ditka’s for chops and drinks. They serve the best pork chops I’ve ever had. Since I’d already started drinking Saphire I skipped the wine and did a Tangeray martini. Apparently it's a Chicago thing to have blue cheese stuffed olives in martinis. Don’t want.

Other highlights included the swanky Drake Hotel, where Queen Elizabeth stayed years ago and Joe Dimaggio carved "MM" onto a restaurant table. That’s Marilyn Monroe. Also, fois gras and steak at Nomi, on the seventh floor of another hotel, and hotties at the Tilted Kilt.

One night we were about to hit an Italian joint when a friend from Montreal said, "I gotta see the Canadians beat the Penguins." We did so at this legendary sports bar I last enjoyed during the 2007 World Series of Poker at the Rio in Vegas. The Celtic-themed bar famous for scantily clad waitresses is no longer at the Rio, which will put a damper on my WSOP experience next month. But from now on every visit to Chicago will include a stop. I <3 the Tilted Kilt waitresses.

Oakland cops kill Bambi, Russell is a junkie!
Women in my neighborhood are getting carjacked and bashed with hammers by criminals, yet the only signs of the Oakland Police Dept. come in green tickets stuck on car windshields each morning. Today they finally decide to "serve the public." By shooting a baby deer seven times until it died!
OPD clowns say they had to blast the deer because "it was acting disoriented in an urban environment" by hiding in someone's backyard. Oh really? Today in Milwaukee two adult deer crash through the glass doors of a bar and get trapped. Bar patrons liquefy the deer with bazookas. No, they tackle the deer. OPD's excuse is they're not trained to shoot tranquilizers. Yeah, they are only trained shoot live bullets. At humans.
In other Oakland news, ESPN does a feature on Raiders QB Jamarcus Russell and thinks they’re digging up dirt. They quote a bunch of people saying his problem is binge eating and falling asleep at team meetings. Fail! Try addiction to downers, painkillers and a bevy of prescription narcotics. Isn't that common knowledge by now? Ask his dealer.

420 DNB tracklist!

Thanks for the love on my recent 420 DNB mix. Got some cool emails and messages about it, which are always appreciated. As usual a reader wanted the full tracklist, which I don't tend to post in it's entirety because it takes too much space.

Which reminds me of a listener of the weekly WORD'N'BASS Show who often used to call the studio at 1 am when I was finishing the night's DNB set to ask which producer I played 15 minutes ago whose track went "la de da da boom!" Often I knew and would dish it. Anyhow, for the listeners who want the full rundown, here's the tracklist:

Intro: Candyman (sample from movie)
Mode Mellow - Plasma Surface
Nu: Tone - Take Me Back
John Rolodex & Synoflex - Novocaine
X-Plorer - Technology
Photek - Age of Empires
SKC - Space Pigz
BSE - Potemkin (remix)
Outer Space - Creature Noises
Nu: Tone - Beliefs
High Contrast - Make it Tonight
BSE & Chris Su - track unknown (remix)
D.Kay - Eternal Love
Cord - Mental Silence

Bullet blasts through studio!

"You just watch out for the motherfuckers and hope to make it home." -- Studio sidekick Abdul.

As usual I chatted with my studio sidekick Abdul Friday afternoon, who had unusual news: "Some dude got shot right outside the studio. There’s a bullet in the wall... He died." In a city of 150 or more killings annually, this one didn’t even make the newspapers. Murder is no longer newsworthy when it happens so often.

Sure enough, when I rolled into the studio I saw the exit path of a large caliber bullet. Not some .22 mind you, this was a .45 or bigger. Someone even wrote "bullet hole" next to the blast. So I snapped a pic with my camera phone, shipped it to a few friends, and hit the decks.

My Los Angeles trip yielded a bunch of scores like new albums by Death in Vegas, Calyx and Teebee, Photek, Cinematic Orchestra and best of all, Air’s "Love 2." Oddly, when we hit Air’s show at the Fox Theater a few weeks ago they had no copies of Love 2. Is this North American tour not in support of their latest album?

So as I settled into a Downtempo mix it was disconcerting to receive a half dozen text messages asking things like "WTF?" "Are you ok?" "WTF?! R u serious…" Didn’t mean to cause panic, folks. In retrospect perhaps it’s not a good idea shipping gun shot photos without comment. Lesson learned.

LA parties like it’s 2019

Just returned from Los Angeles after a week spent at parties. First was Michelle’s birthday, where the food and beer flowed all day. Second was shopping on Melrose, where I totally overpaid for a 7 Diamonds shirt. Third a poker tournament at the degenerate capital of America, Commerce Casino. Fourth a night spent drinking at Hollywood’s drunk capital, the street outside Boardner’s at Cherokee and Hollywood Blvd.

It’s the kind of urban pocket where you take a Marlboro break outside this historical watering hole thinking, "Damn I’m hella buzzed." This is a misconception. Realized only when you spot a couple dry humping in the street, another guy pissing on the wall, and the smell of 420 from a crew of twenty-something hipsters dressed like Prince circa late ‘80s, all a matter of feet from three cops who ignore it all. Other highlights included a bar called Tony's in Redondo Beach with Chris and Monica, my favorite transplanted Los Angelinos. Every bartender served proper gin martinis, no fails to bitch about. Yae!

Oh yes, those of you who were disappointed my 420 DNB mix was posted on the homepage but not live, it is banging now. Sorry I blew it but in our rush to catch a nearly-missed flight I’d forgotten to activate the link. Here it is... enjoy it with a post 420 puff.

Parties, beats and pissing contests!

Litquake is hosting a book launch partAY of the humor anthology "You're a Horrible Person, But I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice" on Thursday, April 15, at at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. Pre-show and post-show reception wines provided by Mansfield Winery. That means it's time to get drunk. Cover's $20, tickets are here.

If I was captured by a dungeon gimp who forced me to read Bronte novels, watch Twilight TV shows or die y'all know my choice. Dead meat. My high school teachers and college professors made me suffer enough that any further torture would result in permanent brian damage anyhow so I'd tell the gimp just kill me, kill me now! The British don't agree.

Spanish producer/remixer/DJ David Tort hit the United States recently to play the Winter Music Conference in Miami ahead of his mixed album "Nervous Nitelife: David Tort" that launches June 8. That means I've got free beats. Click here for his remix of the classic Winx - "Don't Laugh."

Quote of the week: "I worked on it for 5-6 years and actually tried to have it published, but couldn't find an agent or a publisher. From the moment I saw one copy in between two covers, it was all gravy from there." - Paul Harding, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction on Monday for his book "Tinkers."

Today's literary pissing contest: Author pitches literary agent Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint Literary Management, a solid NYC agency. Colleen thinks his work sucks, ships a form email rejection. Man goes volcanic, replies back:

"Best of luck with your list of minor writers, third-rate writers, irrelevant writers, non-writers... Perhaps you should consider a career change: selling used cars might be a more appropriate profession for someone of your lack of acuity."

Colleen gets indignant and unleashes the dogs. Blogs about him by name, starts a "haiku" post on Twitter, then decides it was all a mistake and pulls the Twitter thing and closes comments on her blog. Rodney King, drinking Crown Royal, pulls up in a '76 Caprice and shouts, "Can't we all just get along?!"

Oakland lounge scene heats up with Air!

No WORD'N'BASS Show this week because I'm catching French downtempo band Air, who are playing Oaktown Friday night. It's their first Bay Area show in three years and this time I'm not missing them. Way back in 2007 they and Cinematic Orchestra played San Francisco club Bimbo's on consecutive nights and I had to choose between the two.

Now I <3 both bands equally but is it a boatload of martinis and Cinematic on a Saturday night or Air and fewer cocktails on a Sunday? Easy choice. This time I am there like nair on a spring bikini babe's hair. If you want Friday night beats go ahead and bump one of my archived sets or check out the latest from Lantz, my man on the peninsula who mixed a sick mash-up this week.

The madness has begun!

Spring is here, and unlike most years when mid-March meant playing the World Poker Tour stops in San Jose and Reno, this time I’m staying put and enjoying March Madness here in sunny Oakland. Two reasons: First, my poker game is rusty and I will not be a punching bag for the pros. Second, our local guys at Cal Berkeley demolished Louisville in the opening round of the NCAAs and St. Mary’s just kicked Villanova to the curb in their second round match.

The East Coast media bias is heavy in college basketball and I notice the talking heads at ESPN always presume California teams will get drubbed against the "big boys." Well, they can put Villanova and Louisville in a pipe and smoke them because the West is the best bitches! Next up for St. Mary’s is the Sweet 16. Cal meanwhile goes against top seeded Duke on Sunday, which makes me a bit nervous.

Also causing anxiety are the many television ads that drop American IQs by two points per hour. I am not used to TV. Unless the Olympics, WSOP or a major boxing match are happening I just don’t watch it. What CBS needs to do is take a lesson from Japanese television and run some interesting ads like this. I’m not sure what the dog is trying to say or what kind of hallucinogenic drugs they fed the kid… but I like. UPDATE: Cal is busto and I now predict Duke crushes everyone to win.

Amsterdam is great but their martinis are not!

has been neglected recently because I had to hit Amsterdam. With my return I'll be posting lots of new audio and stories about some brilliant authors and DJs. First off is the latest from Chus & Ceballos, one of the best House music duos today. As for Amsterdam, my take is it's the bomb. A very clean city with the taxis nearly all Mercedes, hearty and elegant food, and nice people with the exception of one insane cab driver. Since this was a business trip and my day job is in financial news, I attended a few cocktail parties. One was on a heated boat that trolled through the city's canals.

Every cocktail party featured an open bar. The boat party had smoking hot Danish bartenders serving wine, beer and liquor including gin. They also served great food. The boat was jammed to capacity with 80% men in suits and just 20% women. Some of these women were really smart. That evidently helped them make it to the top of the corporate food chain. I admire these women who are able blow up in a male dominated industry.

Lots of schmoozing, gossip and deals happen at such events. I was pleased to meet an analyst from the Royal Bank of Scotland who said he will take me to dinner when I hit London later this year at a joint with a cigar bar. He found it amusing we Americans cannot enjoy a Cuban cigar here in the states due to the embargo. As the boat cruised along we passed some odd sites like a submarine parked in a bay but I was too busy drinking and talking to notice much except the nighttime views of Amsterdam are dramatic.

Hit a few good restaurants in town including one called Sluizer. Went there with a bunch of European journalists including from the Czech republic, Finland and Germany. I was the American who demanded a martini when the bar was closed. The Czech guy, an American expatriate for 15 years, said his current country drinks more beer per capita than anywhere on Earth: "They figure it's not even like alcohol, it's like water."

Late that night we got stranded and ended up staggering through downtown Amsterdam until finding a cabbie who was sleeping and got pissed when I woke him for a GD ride. A cabbie who doesn't actually want a fare? He had a great quote though: "It's been cold here for three months straight. This city is shit."

I beg to differ. Another night we hit a fantastic restaurant/club in downtown. Thirty of us ate antipasti, mahi tuna, shrimp and fish balls, ribeye steak with french fries (yes they use mayonaise instead of ketchup and yes it's gross) and chocolate molten cake. Lots of wine. Downstairs was a night club that had house, trance and techno music, my kind of joint. They let you smoke inside so my suit now needs to hit the dry cleaners for the second time in a week but it was worth it.

On my last night I ran into an American salesman from Atlanta who sat drinking Grolsch beer at the hotel bar. What are you drinking? Gin martini, of course. This led to my only complaint about Amsterdam: Getting a proper martini was impossible. It simply is not a martini town like San Francisco. I struck out at a bunch of bars, restaurants and clubs. One place served a concoction of gin and vermouth in a water glass, on ice. WTF? A nightclub couldn’t make a martini outright and I ended up settling on gin and tonics. Even the hotel bar garnished martinis with a lemon rind instead of olives. The bartender gave me the side-eye when I said, "Wait a minute, you don't even have olives?"

On the 11-hour flight home, which consisted of drop dead gorgeous Danish stewardesses strutting the aisle in bright blue uniforms, the occasional screaming toddler whose mothers didn't do enough to shut them up, and long hours of misery muted by vicodin and new D&G aviators scored at the Amsterdam airport, I read Emily St. John Mandel's latest novel "The Singer's Gun." Wow, what a writer she is. No sophomore slump here. Catch it when her new novel launches this May. I will hopefully do a Q&A with her in April so y'all can learn more about her. Meantime, now that I'm back in sunny California it is time for a proper martini: 80% Tanqueray gin, 20% Noilly Prat extra dry vermouth, two green olives looking at me through a chilled cocktail glass with happy red eyes. It's great to be home.

Topics not related to the Super Bowl!

The Saints are up 13-10 over the Colts in the third quarter as half the US population spends "Super Sunday" guzzling Budweiser and stuffing their faces with cardboard pizza, Cheetos and chicken wings. Not me. I’m sipping Gatorade and preparing to run the Cleveland Cascade while monitoring how many games the NY Knicks are out of playoff contention -- forget about the GS Warriors’ hopeless season of misery -- and how many consecutive knockouts Edwin Valero can score. Answer: After losing to Lebron James and the Cavs it’s 13.5 games behind the Celtics, and 27 and counting after Valero’s KO on Saturday.

Not interested in football? Good, then get your vote on! The International Dance Music Awards are open for biznis. In all categories I'm voting for folks with either a San Fracisco Bay Area connection or a favorite musical genre like DNB or Tribal House --- not that bubble gum pseudo Techno or pop "artists," who IMO shouldn’t even be at the IDMAs. They have the Grammys and a billion other music awards shows. Still, the IDMA nominees bring both easy and difficult choices.

Best terrestrial radio station? Obviously KNGY 92.7 representing San Francisco! Then it gets tough. Best American DJ? Kaskade, a local who has mastered the catchy Trance hook, or Roger Sanchez, who helped bring tribal and progressive House to a mainstream audience? Best radio mix show DJ? Well, since BPM Smith didn’t get nominated that’s another tough choice. Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto and Pete Tong each do fantastic work. There are 57 categories total so eventually we’ll just have to pick and submit our votes before polls close Feb. 26.

Does the death of J.D. Salinger represent the end of great American literature? No, but when you group him with his peers like Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow and John Updike, it sure as hell represents the end of a great era. The Guardian story for some reason excludes my man Charles Bukowski though.

Massive Attack has a new album out! But it sucks, according to Stuff, which makes comparisons to Coldplay and Sting. Whoa... If that’s true then let’s all listen to their 1998 album Mezzanine for the 298th time. And burst in tears.

Drum & Bass DJ Aphrodite, returning to the USA in the near future and still playing shows practically every week after so many years on the decks, gives the BBC his take on today’s DNB parties, pirate radio, Acid House and hearing his music on some TV show called "CSI."

Sometimes our attention must turn to things unrelated to books and beats. This is observed in complex mathematical equations. British + bikini + pretty tattoos + hot tub  =  Jessica-Jane Clement, the hottest woman on Earth. Ever.

Female robots hotter in concept than reality -- for now!

"It’s too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?" -- Gaff, in "Blade Runner"

Now that my novel Bistro de Mars is written, re-written, copy edited and proofed into oblivion I was supposed to pitch a few literary agents after escaping the media salt mines tonight. Time to move to the next stage in this project, right? Wrong! Because I happened upon this:

Meet Roxxxy, who may be the world’s most sophisticated talking female sex robot.

Wait a minute. One of the sub plots of my fifth or sixth novel that will be written oh, sometime around 2018 includes female robots so realistic that men develop fetishes and no longer pursue real women. Forget that Roxxxy looks like a truck stop tranny in Britney Spears drag. Does her appearance mean that hot, human-like robots will be more fact than fiction by the time I get around to writing it?

Pondering female sexbots is intriguing and well, let’s just say I got sidetracked for the next three hours "researching" what she’s capable of. Here’s Roxxxy in action. Feel depraved yet? Don’t. Just drink a few Midnight Martinis and watch a dozen other Roxxxy videos at youtube. You’ll feel better after your fourth or fifth drink, I promise.

RIP J.D. Salinger!

J.D. Salinger
, author of "Catcher in the Rye" died today at the age of 91 at his home in New Hampshire. If I had to name one person who inspired me to write it was J.D. Like everyone, I read him in high school and it was the first time an author seemed to express the alienation I felt at school, teachers, parents, cliques and all those damn phonies.

Man, I’d kill to get 91 years out of this life because that’s not expected -- a diet of Saphire gin, Marlboros and Peet’s Coffee won’t yield longevity -- but it’s a bummer knowing America’s greatest living writer is alive no more. Facebook was buzzing today with lots of my literary friends brooding over J.D. For some reason I was surprised at how many seemed to identify with Catcher in the same way I did, then and now. J.D. also penned a bunch of short stories and books like "Nine Stories" and "Franny and Zooey," the namesake of my precious sphynx Zoey. But Catcher is what he'll always be known for, and I'm gonna read it this weekend for the sixth time.

The only upside to January 28, 2010 is the likelihood that we’ll soon be reading about auctions for new J.D. novels, which are sure to get fast-tracked to publication now that the notoriously private author has passed. Rumors have swirled for years that he was writing everyday in his cabin, hoarding these brilliant literary gems from a world he wanted no part of. I hope he’s finally found where the ducks go in winter. RIP, old friend.

Sara Gruen, break out the popcorn!
Sara Gruen, once a talented midlist author whose "Water for Elephants" (Algonquin Books) made her a budding star of the book world, must be loving the lineup they’ve got for the film adaptation of her novel. Director Francis Lawrence and actress Reese Witherspoon are attached to the flick and now Variety reports Sean Penn is about to sign on the dotted line.
Oddly, I discovered this tidbit the other day at Perez Hilton. When a lowly author makes the gossip blogs it means there are stars who actually write novels -- not just sell their names to one -- right? Longtime WORD’N’BASS readers will recall Sara blew up large back in '06! Congrats, Sarah! PS: When is "Ape House" hitting bookshelves? UPDATE: Ape House launches in summer 2010, launch date finalized later... Seems everyone is jumping on the Elephants bandwagon now. "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson is now reportedly in talks to star... If so, they will have to retitle it "Blood for Elephants."

Cocktails and escapism amid news from Haiti, author Ted Sares!

The New Year opened nicely with a poker road trip to Reno (two final tables in tournaments, doubled $ at cash games). It quickly went downhill. Of course everyone’s talking about Haiti, where journalists have an easy time getting into the country to report carnage but supplies nearly a week after a 7.0 earthquake leveled the country’s capital are slow in arriving.

Yeah, I lived through a similar quake here in San Francisco back in ‘89 that resulted in death and destruction. But the scope of damage in Haiti is so much worse. As a fellow journalist I was taken aback by this reporter’s experience: Smells of death, urine and, OMG, cold showers and snoring roommates. The country can use donations for supplies, recovery and an eventual rebuilding effort, but more immediately the issue of saving lives is key. I recommend Doctors Without Borders. You can learn about what they do here.

Meanwhile Ted Sares, author of two non-fiction books on the sport of boxing and a columnist at Bad Left Hook, last week suffered a subdural hematoma and was rushed from New Hampshire to a hospital in Portland, Maine. Doctors reportedly drilled a hole to relieve pressure and removed the tube on Saturday (Jan. 16). Today they’re hoping he can go home and begin rehab. Ted, a fellow cigar and jazz aficionado with whom I’ve had the pleasure of chatting many times online, wrote "Boxing Is My Sanctuary" and Reelin' in the Years: Boxing and More. I’m sure he’ll be back to writing and enjoying his beloved Montecristo cigars soon. Hang in there big guy.

Amid all this bad news I’m not gonna bitch about getting sick for the third time in three months. Saturday night’s drink of choice was Theraflu and Friday night I pulled off a decent Drum & Bass mix during the WORD'N'BASS Show only after a "disco nap" and a train wreck Downtempo and House set. I’m still wretched but screw it: Time for an American tradition called escapism. The Golden Globes start shortly and I’m heading over to Michelle’s for cocktails, appetizers and the usual snarky jabs at celebrities. We’re gonna utilize The Little Black Book of Cocktails by churning out Classic Martinis, Vespers and Cosmos while capping on attention whores strutting down the red carpet.

Downtempo and dub tracklist!

Alright I blew the upload of that Downtempo and Dub mix I posted awhile back. My bad. It should work when you play it now. Here's the full tracklist:

Dub Pistols - Ghetto
Papa Byrd - Soul Motion
Dub Congress - Dub the Hemp
Plasticman - Closer 2 (BPM Smith remix)
Tarwater - Lower Manhattan Pantour
Plaid - Little People
DJ Krush - Out the Dub-ble
Panaphonic - Empuma Bossa
Moby - Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
The Crystal Method - True Grit (BPM Smith remix)
Kid Loco - Relaxin' With Cherry
Tarwater - Shirley Temple

Hope you enjoy it... finally!

Oakland thieves must die!

I hella <3 Oakland but this busto city that has no money to hire cops was recently ranked the 3rd worst metropolis in America in terms of crime. Despite our rep as the murder capital of the west we only ranked 12th worst for killings. In the less prestigious car theft category Oakland ranked 1st. And no, I'm not shouting, "We're No. 1!" because last night my car got broken into. Jerks smashed a window in but didn't get the car stereo -- whose face I always remove ever since Oakland thugs stole my last one -- and they didn't get my amps and woofers. Hopefully Global Underground will send me their upcoming Carl Cox album so I can rattle windows in the neighborhood with it... Come to think of it, I should stop doing that. Cuz that's probably why these crackhead zombies targeted my car -- jerks know my gear will blow their ghetto ass car stereos out of the water.

Hello San Francisco!

Back here in my beloved SF Bay and am stoked the holiday season is underway. The Christmas tree at Union Square is lit up, shoppers are all over downtown, and our office lobby has igloos, reindeer and lights flashing spastically. It’s enough to make Santa real happy. Those of you who caught Friday’s WORD'N'BASS Show heard a surprise guest set by DJ Socialista, who took the first half of my 10 pm to midnight slot. She mixed Brazilian bossa nova and electonic beats. Had a fun show, thanks girl!

Going backwards in time, London for me was not DNB parties, diamond-wearing tarts and British accents. It was meetings with North Americans, Europeans and Asians all over The Strand, where I rolled through a bunch of swanky joints like the Howard Hotel, Grange Holborn, Charring Cross and Strand Palace. Also did a cocktail party at Simpson's on the Strand, where I got loaded on gin before dinner one night. Which leads to the topic of food. In London it's pretty good, so ignore the stereotypes and hit places like:

Gaucho. Argentine beef with any side dish you can think of. Seems like it's the hottest restaurant in London right now. Warning: Don't trust the matre'd to fetch a cab or you'll end up with an unlicensed Eastern European armed with a navigational device who will get lost. Johnston's Brasserie. Nice menu with some prix fix lunches, cute friendly waitresses in a laid back setting. Buddha Bar. Amazing pan Asian cuisine, downtempo electronic beats by their resident DJ on the mezzanine, and a giant Buddha statue in the middle of the floor. Best of all, when you go to the restroom you piss on a wall-length screen projecting images of fish and bodies of water. Weirdest of all, an attendant washes your hands afterwards. WTF? The restaurant/club produces a series of albums that a hostess said their resident DJ started. I got a couple of their compilation CDs that are now getting worked into my downtempo sets. Buddha Bar also has locations in Paris and NYC, so next trip back east I am so there.

On the 10.5 hour flight home, which I’d have missed if not for a sympathetic security guard who let me plow ahead of the check-in line, I read Sometimes we’re always real same-same by debut novelist Mattox Roesch. Fucking sweet book. It's an interesting story about a young LA gang banger who is basically exiled back to Alaska. Tight prose too... I read it behind aviator Raybans loaded on three vicodin and bumping Downtempo mixes on the iPod. Flying is a whole different experience when you roll like that.

PS: Some of my fellow drum n bass-heads over at Groundscore suggested I get new beats on Camden Street, where many record stores are located. Didn’t happen because I worked like a jerk for 12 hour days the whole week. Hell, on the last night I posted two stories at 2:30 am London time to beat out a morning flight and the accompanying drug haze. Which is why these are called the media salt mines.

London calling!

Another month, another trip away from the SF Bay. This time I'm hitting London for a week of cocktail parties, meetings with market sources, press conferences, etc. My day job as a financial journalist kept me from burning more of the poker roll at the LA Poker Classic, which kicked off this weekend with their $500k NLH event #1. Since London is ground zero for Drum & Bass I'll try to snag some of the latest and greatest UK producers, just in time for the next WORD'N'BASS Show. See y'all Friday at 10 pm.

Reno, again!

It's Friday night (Oct. 16) but that doesn't mean I'm in the studio dropping DNB and Downtempo as usual. No, the Grand Sierra's Pot of Gold poker tournament is underway so while y'all are smoking and drinking yourselves silly I'll be driving to Reno for the second time in under two weeks. My old school buddy Dave's in it but in reality he's in for it. Because I cannot drink Starfucks my coffee brewer and Peet's are in the suitcase, with Marlboros probably setting off the fire alarm in our non-smoking "special poker tournament rate" room. 411: Last week played 5 tournaments made 1 final table, would've made 2 of 5 if not for a brutal suckout when as a 4/1 favorite I called a donkey's panic-shove with a dozen players left. Right call, wrong river card.

Speaking of the Biggest Little City, back in my early post-college days I tried getting the Reno Gazette-Journal to shift me from general news to the police beat. "That's a senior level job," my boss said. Oh really? Flunkies and junkies are police reporters because they work late hours and their sources are cops. So instead of covering methface criminals now I cover capitalist tycoons. Glad to be in the financial media and not the newspaper industry which is busto. But I still like crime reporting so "Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan" (Pantheon) by Jake Adelstein sounds like the bomb.

Almost every author I know has one fear before hitting the road on a book tour: Empty bookstore, nobody wants their signed novel, most don't know who they are, and finally the janitor says, "We're closed." Well guess what, it can get worse. How about you do a book signing and lots of folks show up for autographed copies, including one guy who beats your ass in front of everyone! It happened this week to a woman who they're marketing as the UK's next star pop singer (I <3 British babes). Anxious novelists who are preparing road shows, remember this story and your outlook will brighten. Thanks, Leona Lewis!

Just clearing out the email box!

Alright, so I fucked up Miguel Migs' free download when announcing his new album 'Get Salted Volume 2.' His publicist emailed me a new one and you can listen now.

When you get an email with the headline "YO," 95% of the time it's a fellow Drum & Bass-head. This one came from Analogue, a live DNB band from Essex, UK, who just finished a video for their debut single "Brainwash." Phat beats and hot British babes? I am so there!

Friday night's coming fast and that means I'm in the studio dropping Downtempo and DNB. It also means 10 new emails from Soul, who said a bunch of things. I don't understand what, "We now can give the World golden showers" is about so I'll presume it's good. Catch the show streamed live at 10 pm-ish.

LoveParade is no more, now it's called LovEvolution and they announced it happens Saturday, October 3, starting at 2nd and Market Street, ending at Civic Center Plaza. Sick lineup. Just a few names: ATB, Lee Coombs, Mark Farina, Groove Armada, DJ Rap, Garth and the usual suspects Compression, M3, Audio Angel, Colonel MC... More details coming soon at the homepage.

Sunday books, beats and buzz!

Everyone's on the thriller bandwagon nowadays. Longtime fantasy writer Terry Goodkind kicks wizzards and hobgoblins to the curb in favor of Martian babes and pirates in "The Law of Nines," which Penguin imprint Putnam launches this Tuesday (August 18) in hardback and ebook. Protagonist Alex Rahl nearly gets rundown by a truck flying a pirate's flag, and Jax is a woman from another planet. Hot!

That basterd DJ Slinky Wizzard better get to work. He's out of the studio and is instead trolling a yacht around Ibiza with my precious Sienna Miller. Dlisted rubs it in our faces with the bikini pics, resuilting in widespread leering and a 69% drop in worker productivity come Monday.

Thievery Corporation, which has been touring the world this year in support of their album "Radio Retaliation," plays San Francisco on August 28 at the Outside Lands Festival. Bring sunblock or an umbrella or Raid, depending on weather and the number of panhandling bums in Golden Gate Park.

Don't expect a sophomore slump from Emily St. John Mandel, who told me her second novel recently sold to Unbridled Books. She just sent them a final draft and her upcoming work sounds tight. I'll post details soon at the homepage. Meantime, check out one of this year's best novels Last Night in Montreal, her debut that amazed me this summer.

Speaking of Unbridled Books, I just noticed the literary publisher -- which also put out novels by Andrea Portes and Margaret Cezair-Thompson -- is at Facebook and Myspace nowadays. The indie pub is now touting their latest can't-miss novelist Mattox Roesch, who debuts with "Sometimes we're always real same-same" on September 8.

Sienna Miller likes Trance DJs!

I knew I should’ve got into Trance music. Back in ‘99 and freshly relocated back to my hometown of San Francisco, the Drum & Bass fever hit and I ignored the "cool kids" who were all about Trance and House. My bad. Cuz the adorable Sienna Miller is now dating Psy Goa Trance DJ Slinky Wizzard. Never heard of him. But he’s got a label Flying Rhino Records. While that bastard flies Sienna to the beaches of Ibiza I’m here in Oakland dodging muggers and maniacs who will bash your brains in with a hammer. True Story.

I mentioned the hammer-wielding car-jacker outside mi casa awhile back. Across town, last week DJ Mouse got jumped outside the studio at 10 pm. So, on Friday night I punched my way into the studio at my regular 10 pm time slot and after mixing downtempo and DNB sets departed for the car at 12:30 am with a Louisville slugger. You can’t be too careful in Oaktown, amiright? Speaking of the WORD’N’BASS Show, I posted my latest downtempo and electro set. It wasn't live four hours before a listener asked for a tracklist. I guess there are others who’d also like to know but don’t exert the effort to contact us, so here it is.

Sean Dawson - Allegory & Metaphor
Geotropic - La Continela
DJ Hell - The Angst Part II
Laurent Garnier - Forgotten Thoughts
Node - Reflux
Jondi & Spesh - We Are Connected
Gregory Tresher - A Thousand Nights Pt. 3
Pole Folder & CP - Apollo Vibes
DJ Hell - Electronic Germany
Neotropic - Nincompoop
Rae & Christian - Swimming Pool

Oh yes, my man Lantz also dished his latest breaks and hip hop set. No tracklist. At nearly two hours long it’s got too many tracks for me to type out. But I will type an official statement to the actress who dazzled all in Layer Cake: Sienna Miller, it’s time to step up to this!

This relationship is kind of horrible!

Today I returned to the media salt mines after a week off. While walking in San Francisco's SOMA District during happy hour I overheard the following conversation between a woman in a sundress and her hipster boyfriend:

Girlfriend: "I’m fucking starving, okay?"
Boyfriend: "Whatever."

Evidently, Mondays aren’t happy. Their brief dialogue included three elements from British author Mike Dash’s new book "The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, and the Birth of the American Mafia." Guess which three. His publisher Random House is also putting out Frank Portman’s new novel "Andromeda Klein" later this month. I don’t know man, judging by their intro he might have hit a sophomore slump:

"Andromeda Klein has a few problems... Her hair is kind of horrible... Her partner-in-occultism, Daisy, is dead... Her secret, estranged, much older and forbidden boyfriend-in-theory, has gone AWOL... And her mother has learned how to text... In short, things couldn't get much worse... Until they do."

Meh. Let’s hope this trite marketing copy is Portman appealing to today's teenage demographic and he’s not actually churning out shallow prose "with a twist." If not, and Portman's latest simply fits the current YA formula, then it’s an ironic turn for the longtime front man of the Mr. T Experience -- which didn’t sell out like so many alternative/punk bands here in the SF Bay.

Ross D and Lantz are not on the Michael Jackson bandwagon!

During the feeding frenzy surrounding Michael Jackson's death, various media whores came out claiming they <3 Michael from day 1. Even Paris Hilton came out of her Valtrex den to claim Michael's daughter Paris was named after her. "Look at me!" shouted the deluded. The media covered so many GD angles it got to the point where I simply ignored all Michael Jackson news. So he was a prescription drug junkie and ODed, fine. Bummer.

Don't think I'm heartless because I did appreciate the artist in Michael. There are many DJs out there who were oblivious to the pedophile accusations, the celebrity gawking and the physical train wreck of MJ. Take Ross D, a DNB producer from Philly who's making his studio album debut this summer. He remixed Off The Wall as a nod to Michael. And my man in San Francisco Lantz, who does a remix of Billie Jean in this Breakbeat set that I posted as an audio feature last year. This stuff was done before MJ died, not after. The rest are bandwagon jumpers.

I never sampled or remixed MJ in my DNB or Downtempo sets but I've got my faves. Forget about 'Thriller,' to me Michael's pinnacle was 'Off The Wall.' That's his best album ever, and my appreciation of him as an old school R&B staple was magnified when I listened to it after he passed. Same goes with other deaths this summer. I reviewed Gatti-Robinson I and II after Arturo Gatti's hot Brazilian stripper wife allegedly killed him. In the wake of Vernon Forrest's killing by random thugs -- who need their severed heads FedExed to KFC for deep frying -- tonight I watched Forrest-Frank I on mute while lifting weights and bumping this DNB set. Later I'll watch Forrest-Mosley I and II, and my personal fave Forrest vs Adrian Davis when he won his first regional title.

Seems to me the best way to respect those who have passed is to relive their best work, whether it's listening to their music, watching them perform, or reading their books. Guess I'm not alone on this. MJ's music sales have gone through the roof since he passed. I remember Charles Bukowski books were hard to find in bookstores after he died. These are signs that people are naturally nostalgic. Years from now, when it's not in horrible taste, they're gonna call the Summer of 2009 the Summer of Death. Watch your back.

This is what killed Vernon Forrest: 1971-2009

This is why most authors go into an Internet blackout on writing days. I'm spending a lazy Sunday proofing (again) my novel Bistro de Mars. No intentions of surfing. It’s catch-up time, since the media salt mines beat the novelist out of me for two weeks straight. I take a short break before dinnertime and the headline sinks my heart: This is what killed Vernon Forrest. Now I’m searching to find out why yet another of my favorite boxing champions has passed. There’s hard news and there’s expressions of mourn. None of it is satisfactory. I’m too nostalgic about Vernon, Olympic Class of 1992 -- the same Olympics my protagonist Jesse Kellogg is hoping to make in this WIP. After the shock wears off, memories of the ‘90s flash like the wild horses running through southwest Reno.

It’s dusk on Christmas Day, I’m heading back to Reno after festive times with The Fam. Driving a Jaguar past Oakland, the gas tank in reserve. We need to fill up ASAP, says my then-girlfriend Jody from the passenger seat. I hit a Union 76 station on Martin Luther King Way. While fueling up, a crackhead starts working the windshield with a squeegie. "No thanks," I tell him. He continues anyhow. Then a hoodlum in a black leather jacket strolls up and bashes the crackhead’s face in with foot-long pipe. Why are zombies converging right here right now? A flashy car. Gifts fill the trunk and rear window. We’re eye candy for criminals.

I head to the Jag’s rear, pop the trunk and put the clip in my .22, leaving it out of sight but close enough to use quickly if needed. Crackhead staggers off wimpering while thug stands there next to the gas pump. Jody’s looking from him to me, confused. I know thug’s leather has an inside pocket, the most common location for a concealed handgun. He pivots his head at me. I watch but say nothing. He stares, I stare back. Finally, he leaves. Neither of us said a word but we exchanged non-verbal messages of violence, appraisal, stalemate.

Once we’re safely heading home on I-580 East, I tell Jody that the dude might have car-jacked us but he was uncertain: What was in the trunk?  Had he charged it would’ve been a firefight because no way in hell would I let him take my car and girlfriend in that impoverished neighborhood. People disappear for good in those situations.

Now that I live in Oakland I avoid that gas station. No reason to go there, since mi casa is in a nice part of town and we’ve got plenty of places to fuel up. Out-of-towners don’t know the good spots and locals presume there’s no danger when in fact, there is. This is what killed Vernon Forrest. Back in 2005 I read that Antar Bey, son of controversial Black Muslim Bakery owner Yusuf Bey, was killed while fueling his BMW at the very same Union 76 gas station. Victim of a car jacking.

I felt discouraged by the continued violence in Oakland yet in an odd way, validated. First, because you simply don’t gas up at that place, period. Second, my packing heat just might’ve prevented murder from happening. Now we hear they came after Vernon Forrest when he needed air for his late-model Jaguar. Gas station in a bad southeast Atlanta neighborhood. He was packing. This is what killed Vernon Forrest.

A boxer dies when he goes South!

Sad news out of Brazil that continues the recent trend of bizarre celebrity deaths. Two-time world boxing champion Arturo Gatti was killed in a resort town apartment. Hard to believe such a tough guy known for his electrifying come-from-behind knockout wins can die from strangulation by purse strap. After recovering from shock, my first thoughts were the epic Fight Nights that Gatti provided for my friends. There was Gatti-Ruelas at Bully's Sportsbar. A dozen of us enjoying burgers, ale and cigars -- back then you could light up in Nevada bars -- and growing restless as Gatti fell behind on the cards.

"He'll catch him late, watch," I told my buddies. "They call him the 'human highlight reel' for a reason." Sure enough, Gatti caught Ruelas with devestating punches to save his championship by KO -- again. I've got his two bouts vs. Ivan Robinson on tape along with one of the most brutal KOs I've ever seen when he put Joey Gamache to sleep in Madison Square Garden. Those were before the epic Gatti-Ward fights that are among the most exciting trilogies in boxing history.

Oddly, Gatti's tragic end also made me think about my first effort at writing a novel. South of a Daydream Wish was about a burned-out former boxer who kills a drug dealer and flees to Mexico with his smoking hot girlfriend. The journey doesn't go well. Gatti bailed to Brazil for a "second honeymoon" with his semi-hot Brazilian wife Amanda Rodrigues Gatti. Reports say they drunkenly argued the night before his body was found. Bad things happen when boxers go South of the border. While the external world -- cops, lecherous men, the conformity of society -- were antagonists in Daydream Wish they're reporting that the final antagonist in Gatti's life was his own wife.

Amanda Rodrigues Gatti was arrested on suspicion of murder (includes pic of Amanda) after she made conflicting statements and couldn't explain how she was in that apartment for 10 hours without realizing Gatti was already dead. They found him face down in his underwear with blood on his neck and head, suggesting she killed him in his sleep. Everyone who saw Gatti absorb tremendous punishment and come back fighting knows nobody on Earth could've killed him while awake. Some might expect him to beat the count one more time. Sadly that won't happen. RIP Arturo Gatti.

Meter maid flogged with Joe Hachem book!

I awoke Thursday morning to find a parking ticket on my car and got so mad I wanted to dump a bucket of pig's blood on the next meter maid that passed by. Why? Because I was parked on my own GD driveway! The City of Oakland decided that rather than solve one of 52 murders that happened so far in 2009 it's more profitable to send flunkies out with marching orders: Issue more tickets unless you wanna get another job. In this economy? Get cracking! Some say meter maids are just doing their jobs. I say they are cretins who suck the blood out of infants. They choose their jobs instead of installing cable TV or plunging toilets. In other words they choose to to fuck over the public eight hours a day. D. Wright you are a mental midget so FU, loser!

Remember when I found out 2005 World Series of Poker Champion Joe Hachem signed with William Morris and was writing a biography? Well, his book Pass The Cocaine finally launched and he talks about WSOP stuff we already know, throws in anecdotes about growning up in Israel, being a chiropractor in Australia and other boring tidbits unrelated to Vegas strippers, gambling degenerates and coke. In short, his book sucks so forgetaboutit. BTW for the three people who were wondering, no I'm not playing this year's WSOP. For the first time since 2006. Sometimes "life" impedes upon gambling.

Was bumping Sasha's album Involver today while proofing Bistro de Mars for the third (last!?) time and was impressed with his remix of Felix Da Housecat's "Watching Cars Go By." This album's been on the shelf for quite awhile and I forgot that track is about robots as a feminine ideal who will make all your sexy daydreams happen. In a robotic female voice cut to smooth basslines. Hot! I am so gonna work that track into Friday's WORD'N'BASS Show. 10 pm I spin downtempo and electro; drum & bass afterwards till I run outta gas. It's streamed live here, at WNB.com and on 104.1 FM locally.

Speaking of hotness, am I the only one who thinks actress Emma Watson is smoking in a cute innocent kind of way? Harry Potter might be the greenest book ever published but Emma's underwear are beige. Since when do 19-year-old women wear granny underwear? This is either the most recent sign of the Apocalypse or we are reverting to the 1930s. Next thing you know the young babes will stop shaving. Then we'll know the Apocalypse is here for real.

Bass + 4th + Tour = sleep deprivation!

Happy 4th of July kids! Today Americans celebrate our independence from the British Empire. I'm doing it with true American classics -- BBQ chicken, fresh baked corn bread and Blue Heron Ale brewed just north of San Francisco at the Mendocino Brewing Co. I'm also putting some British style bangers on the grill. Why not? I've got mad love for the many cultures across the pond whose immigrants made America what it is today -- as diverse in cuisine as it is in art and music. Besides, everyone knows I <3 England cuz British women are smoking hot and London invented Drum & Bass.

I gave props to some of the true DNB masters, UK duo Total Science earlier this week. Then Friday night I gave them a nod by mixing their track "Pop Psycology" (not a typo) into the WORD'N'BASS Show's DNB set. I headed to the studio without a Disco nap knowing full well that I'd follow a late night with an early morning since the Tour de France kicked off in Monaco. By the time I woke after the alarm's fifth tuba-in-ear attempt I already had a text message from neighbor and fellow Tour aficionado Spencer. By the time I incoherently replied "Yeah" and turned on Versus (they're streaming it live for those who won't pay extortion money to Comca$t who jacked up their rates and reduced services after TV went digital) he was already at my front door about to knock. Best idea: Watch on TV and Internet simultaneously to mute insane commericals.

This manner of punch drunk Tour viewing continues a tradition that we call "The French Breakfast." Wake up early as hell, serve Peet's Coffee with French bread, brie, blueberries and mango, add a salami omlette and groove to the ebb and flow of European cycling in real time. This morning's prologue sure as hell justified the effort amiright? We saw Lance Armstrong take 1st place for a minute before Alberto Contador beat him to claim he's the leader of team Astana while Fabian Cancellara killed them all. Young gunslinger Andy Schleck fared quite well for a climbing specialist. I predict he's the rider who will surprise many in what they're already calling an epic Tour de France.

Weekend escape from biznis and thugs!

Yesterday in my day job I got a trader on the phone and before cutting into an interview asked how he's doing. "Burning out," he said. The beats I cover as a financial journalist are commodities and by their very nature the sector's a GD roller coaster. During the worst recession in 40 years? Remove a track at the top of Space Mountain, tumble head-first to the ground, pick yourself up, dump a bucket of ice or vodka on your head and climb back up there. We journalists ride the chaos with them because someone's gotta cover the Apocalypse.

That's why it's so important to leave that shit behind on weekends. Friday's WORD'N'BASS Show is the traditional kickoff into another, more relaxing and creative world. So I was stoked last night when we got new turntables to replace ones these certain Oakland thugs -- I know these jerks did it but they deny deny deny! -- stole from us. So I brought in a bunch of vinyl records by Noisia, DJ Absract and Klute that were getting dusty. The mixing probably wasn't my best but I sure as hell had fun. Ended up rolling an extra hour just for kicks. Won't know if the mix is worth posting till I rattle some windows in my car stereo en route to an overnight party with The Fam. Sunday I'm poolside in Prada shades getting sunburned like any good Irish American does in late June. I am so outta here Bay Area...


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