That title should actually read trips. I’ve been on an absurd number of trips lately and it doesn’t appear as if it’s going to let up. Just recently, I did a two week trip to Finland/Estonia/Russia in September and I just returned a few days ago from a three week trip to Poland for Worlds and then a one week addon trip with my family. It’s been pretty nuts. All of the trips were good though and I managed to snag some awesome business class seats for most of the flights — using credit card points. And on the last leg home this most recent trip, I was lucky enough to sit in Lufthansa First Class from Munich to New York JFK. It was crazy! The seats are absurd. This was the seat across the aisle from me:
It was just awesome. The food was great, the seat was super comfortable, it turned into a completely flat bed and Lufthansa does turndown service where they put bedding down. It rivaled a normal bed at home. Incredible! The seat retails for north of $10,000 one way so I guess it should be awesome. But, obviously, I didn’t pay for it with $. I used miles and it was worth every one of them. I just hope to get into the Lufthansa First Class cabin again — maybe next time flying through Frankfurt so I can visit their First Class Terminal.
Speaking of being pampered — tomorrow I have a massage scheduled. It’s my first massage in a long time. Maybe over a year. When I was living in Costa Rica, Cayman and Vegas, I used to get them regularly but I couldn’t find a masseuse that I liked in Philly so I gave up. I think that was probably a mistake. I think I’ve developed a few injuries from lifting and lack of soft tissue work. I’m going to fix that going forward by getting at least one massage per month. I also found a really good chiropractor who is way better than the ones I’ve gone to in the past. This guy definitely gets it and he doesn’t just crack my back a few times before sending me on my way.
But all that being said, I’m still struggling to get my back better. It’s the same injury that popped up around April. I think I’ve finally narrowed it down to a lack of soft tissue work and my bed. My back felt great on my trips and, even without any lifting while home, it really felt terrible. The last few nights, I’ve been sleeping on a big couch cushion that I pulled off my couch (it’s about seven feet long, part of my sectional) and I feel fantastic. So I’m probably going to get a new firmer mattress (even though my current one is about three years old and it was an expensive mattress, I think it’s too soft for me), get massages, do stretches and see if that resolves the back issue. This is actually the first time that I think I’ve figured it out! It feels like night and day depending on where I sleep. It would be amazing to be able to lift again — I’ve missed it so much and I’ve gotten very weak. I would love to be able to gain back all of the weight that I’ve lost over the last few months.
hookgrip continues to get bigger and bigger at a significant rate. I’m still having a ton of fun with it and I am excited to see where it goes from here. I’ve brought on a few part-time employees to help me with things that I don’t really have time for. And I started importing some products to sell (such as knee sleeves, which have sold really well). I have some more items on the way and I think what I have planned should be popular with the weightlifting/crossfit community. It’s been a great experience overall — having fun, making enough money to pay for trips, great feedback, seeing some amazing weightlifting, etc. The facebook page is north of 28,000 likes and the instagram (which I started posting on about five months ago) is around 8,500 likes. I’m still getting good feedback on both and I have a huge amount of content still to distribute. Overall — things are going great! I couldn’t be more excited for what will happen with hookgrip in 2014.
I’ve talked a little bit in the past about poker stuff that I keep up with these days. Which, frankly, isn’t much. I watched Ultimate Beat — which I was interviewed for. I think Scott did an amazing job researching a very difficult subject. It’s a hard story to tell and I think he got some good feedback about how to tell the story a bit better and I think he’s redoing it. But really I’m not sure what sort of fixes he’s making. I’ll have to wait to see it. I also know that there was the Justin Timberlake movie (called Runner Runner) which has some aspects that were loosely based on my life (obviously an overwhelming % of the film has nothing to do with me, it’s just a few things that seem similar to my story). I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’d like to see it at some point soon. Maybe once it’s available via on demand. It’s still cool to see a mainstream poker film though!
Lastly, I’ve been approached by a few companies about employment in poker. Partly because new jersey poker is moving along nicely and I live nearby so I guess I’m a logical candidate to be part of the physical presence in New Jersey. The fundamental problem with the offers so far is that I’m just too tied up in hookgrip things these days to take a desk job. Especially jobs that don’t pay particularly well. If the jobs paid significant money, I would have a tough decision to make but at this point, I can make enough money from hookgrip to pay the bills and I have reason to believe that it could do a lot better for me down the line. So I don’t see a reason to uproot my hookgrip progress for a job that doesn’t offer nearly the same upside or any sort of significant current compensation. Although, the prospect of returning to poker in some sense does really appeal to me. I still love the market and sometimes I think about all of the things that I wanted to do with PocketFives in the 6-12 months following from the time period where Black Friday happened. We had some big plans and great momentum. It still depresses me a bit to think back to the 2nd quarter of 2011. Sad days but I’m glad I emerged from it mostly unscathed. Either way, poker in the future is still a maybe! But for now, it’s all weightlifting for me.