molly's game book

Jack Giroux Has Been Reading Molly’s Game

I hope Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut is as exciting as Molly Bloom’s book. It’s a great story. Before running high-stakes poker games – which Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire, and Todd Phillps attended – Bloom almost made the Olympic Ski team, had a 3.9 studying political science at CU-Boulder, and came from a family that sounds like a dream team of success stories. Her success story is a fun, very dramatic and wild tale of ambition. It’s all about someone who sees a tremendous opportunity and continually fights for it. Almost at every turn, she faces challenges that she, in some ingenious ways, overcomes.

Bloom tells the story of her rise in the underground poker world at a quickfire pace with candor. There’s some Hollywood gossip, but she’s more honest about her own experience running the games, the enemies that come with the territory, and the nuts and bolts of the world she lived in. Anyone interested in the subject matter, Bloom, or Sorkin’s film should read Molly’s Game. Considering how entertaining it is, it’s not the least bit surprising it’s being adapted into a movie.

Jacob Hall Has Been Playing Thumper on His Nintendo Switch

I was skeptical about the Nintendo Switch…until I actually got to play one. And then I had to have one. Immediately. Nintendo’s new video game console scratches a very different itch than my PlayStation 4 does and being able to take it on the go has made it one of my go-to devices for traveling. It’s a cool machine that feels nice in your hands and makes all kinds of delightful noises. I am happy to have it in my home.

But as I knew going in, the current game library isn’t quite up to snuff. While The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is as good as you’ve heard, there aren’t a ton of options out there yet. However, the promise of this being a strong platform for smaller indie games has me hopeful for the future.

Enter Thumper. Originally released on other consoles and PC last year, Drool’s “rhythm violence” game is like Rock Band re-imagined as a cosmic horror tale. You guide a small beetle along a strange, never-ending track that stretches far into…outer space? Alternate dimensions? Time itself? There is no story here, just unsettling imagery and an even more unsettling industrial soundtrack that feels like it’s being pumped out of the speakers at Hell’s most popular night club. Like other rhythm games, you have to hit certain “notes” on the track and react to obstacles with the proper timing to ensure a high score. And to stay alive. Because the unspecified world of Thumper is dangerous and your beetle is fragile. There is nothing quite like journeying into the horrors of cosmos and facing off against giant, Lovecraftian monsters while your every move contributes to a soundtrack that can’t help but set your nerves on fire.

Thumper is the most exhausting game I’ve played in some time, but I can’t stop playing it. I’ve never seen anything else like it – a rhythm game that isn’t about recreating familiar songs and all about immersing you in an atmosphere of dread and terror. It’s an incredible accomplishment.


Peter Sciretta is Back on a Diet, and the Struggle is Real (Especially On The Road)

I’ve been very open about my struggles with weight gain and loss in the past. A few years back, I lost about 75 pounds and wrote about it on the site. Over the past couple years, I gained a significant amount of weight back. So a couple of weeks ago, I went back on a diet. This time I decided to try the Keto Diet as I’ve heard so many great things from a variety of people I follow and know. The Ketogenic diet is basically a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet, where the body is forced to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Like any diet, you’re cutting a percentage of calories as well. But the hardest part of this diet for me is staying under 20 grams of net carbohydrates a day.

To make this harder, I had an unscheduled work trip to Atlanta, Georgia pop-up in the second week of my dieting. It’s much easier to eat a high-fat low carb diet from the comfort of your home kitchen (especially when your wonderful girlfriend is doing it with you), but a lot harder on the road. Even though it was frustrating, I was able to find options nearly everywhere I went, from airport food courts to hotel room service to on-set catering. It’s not easy to order a protein-style grilled chicken sandwich from Chic-fil-a, but I did it. It’s not easy to go to a craft services tent filled with a selection of the best junk food you can imagine and choose the tiny bag of nuts hidden in the corner, but I did it. And I’m convinced that if I can make it through a 3-day trip across the country on this crazy diet, I can do it anywhere.

Cut to this weekend; I attended the Cars 3 premiere, which had an afterparty in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. To set the scene, there were buffet tables set up all along the main drag of Radiator Springs with all kinds of food and desserts. The Cozy Cone Motel was passing out their signature bread cones filled with awesomeness, as well as free ice cream and churros. I saw a kid running down the street with three churros in each hand, just because he could. It was hard, but I made it work. I ate a couple of bunless sliders from the buffet and a breadless turkey sandwich and veggies from Flo’s. Flo’s was empty as everyone was outside partying. It was just Adam Sandler and his kid next to us as we removed the bread from our orders and ate our meat. And yesterday, I journeyed to Beverly Hills to interview Cars 3 director Brian Fee at a junket, which had a spread of excellent sandwiches and desserts (seen in the photo above). The temptation is real.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m very grateful I get to be invited to these cool events. It’s just while on a diet, it’s difficult. And unlike other diets, having a cheat day or cheat meal is more problematic. It takes a few days of eating keto to get your body into ketosis. So if you eat one cheat meal, it’s likely that you’ll knock your body out of ketosis and it could take another four days to get back “in the zone.” As much as I wanted one of those Churros, it’s not worth three or four days.

Last week, we went shopping for a variety of alien-sounding diet ingredients like Almond Flour and Swerve. I’m peeing on a small chemically treated strip every morning. Is this what my life has become? It’s been two weeks, and I’ve lost 11 pounds so far (some of which was probably water weight). I have a long way to go. Don’t worry, my weekly Water Cooler update won’t be about dieting, but I will probably write more about the progress a few months from now in a future segment.

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