50-Plus Things About Amy

1. I have one tattoo.

2. I managed both the men’s swimming and wrestling teams in college. George Stephanopoulos was on the wrestling team that I managed. He spent the better part of the year on the bench.

3. I have a chapter published in a book entitled “Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View”

4. I am eligible for Irish citizenship, although I wasn’t born there and never lived there.

5. I have three piercings; all relegated to the ears, as anything else seemed like a really bad accident waiting to happen.

6. Yes. They are real.

7. I got my undergraduate degree in engineering, motivated in part by the fact it only required one English course.

8. I have been an “unnamed source” in Barron’s

9. I was part of an expert witness team that secured over $100 million settlement for a telecommunications patent holder.

10. I used to play keyboards in bands named “Guido and the Scum Puppies” and “Rosetta Stone: A Legend Written in Rock.”

11. I once spent a night in an Athens whorehouse.

12. I am obsessed with titles. I can’t write an article without spending an inordinately long time coming up with a title first. (My current company changes every title I write to maximize page hits, which makes me cringe every time) If I ever write another book, it will be a book of just titles.

13. The title for my memoirs (which I will never write) is currently, “Poker Dreams and ARIMA Nightmares.” The focus of the work would be how I used my poker obsession to forestall completing my Ph.D. dissertation. I am still not wholly satisfied with the title and may spend the next year coming up with a new one.

14. On a really humid day, I can get my hair to look like a brunette Marge Simpson.

15. I once had a decent ass. But after spending a month writing in the mountains of New Mexico, I came home without it, and haven’t seen it since.

16. I am mildly dyslexic and can not spell.

17. I am not supposed to drink beer anymore, as apparently Celiac disease was the underlying cause of my asslessness. When I cheat, I am an amber girl.

18. I have really small hands. My ring finger is just under a size 3.75.

19. I have really small feet. I had to buy my last pair of hiking boots in the kid’s section.

20. I buy most of my clothes at second hand stores.

21. A google search for me can sometimes identify links to fetish sites because I once wrote an article called Poker Voyeurism and wrote another article where I mentioned golden showers.

22. I once sold a car to an illegal immigrant from Venezuela named Ivan for $1. It was the best offer I could get. The last car I drove was 14 years old when I sold it to a teenager in the neighborhood. It’s still going strong.

23. The drummer from Tesla once peed at my house.

24. I used to write and instruct investment courses for online investment sites. The singer for the band Spoon was one of my editors.

25. I once told a guy he looked familiar. He was the mayor of Austin. His staff nearly peed themselves laughing.

26. I was a road manager for a band for two weeks once, just to get a free trip to Paris.

27. I got my high school letter in golf, and haven’t golfed since.

28. I was once interviewed by FOX Memphis after I had consumed 7 cranberry and vodkas.

29. I can call the bubble before a tournament and deliver like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield.

30. I am quoted in “Tales from the Tiltboys.” I’m also mentioned in “The Poker Face of Wall Street,” “Take Me to the River: A Wayward and Perilous Journey to the World Series of Poker” and “Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker.”

31. Diane Swonk, the former chief economist for Bank One and financial talking head, publicly called me an idiot for investing in gold in 2001. I made 45% on my investment. At the same meeting, Swonk claimed the US economy wasn’t in a recession, with the catchy phrase, “I’ve seen a recession, baby, and this ain’t it.” It turns out that at the moment she uttered that phrase, the economy was in recession.

32. I once had a job evaluation where under “strengths” my boss had written “Amy is willing to call napalm in on her own location if it means taking out the enemy.” He told me later that it was the highest compliment he ever paid anyone.

33. I have served on the Board of Directors of the SIMS Foundation, a non-profit organization providing low-cost mental health services to Austin musicians.

34. I have served on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Women Engineers, entrusted with managing over $5 million of their trust fund investments.

35. I had one internet stalker with a confirmed psychiatric history.

36. I don’t believe in the natural rate of unemployment.

37. I forget to eat during poker tournaments, sometimes for days at a time.

38. My father’s golf foursome had at least two members who belonged to the communist party.

39. My maternal grandfather was a member of the Fenians.

40. I am not a social conservative. This would have been a near genetic impossibility as no recessive gene for it has been seen in my family for generations.

41. I tend to be a fiscal conservative. This translates to both economic policy and personal practice.

42. I think that The Simpsons and South Park are brilliant commentaries on American culture.

43. I smoke, drink and cuss (I quit smoking once for 10 years). I told my kindergarten teacher to put her ass in a sling. I had no idea what that meant, but it got the desired effect. I was hooked after that.

44. For the first two years I played poker, I had a reoccurring dream. It was nothing but poker hands. No plot. No opponents. Just hands and boards. Hundreds of them each night.

45. My favorite place to hang out in Austin is Chuy’s on North Lamar. Good cheap tex-mex and frozen margs with salt to die for. (The Chuy’s downtown was where the Bush twins were busted for underage drinking)

46. I was once stopped by four policemen on bicycles. It was St Patty’s day at 2:00am. I was wearing a green felt hat with a feather. I was also driving the wrong way down a one way street (I was aware of this – but I thought no one was looking). When they pulled me over, I thought I was toast. But they just wanted to remove the barricade I was dragging from my car…ooooops. Once disengaged they let me on my way. Austin is my kind of town.

47. My favorite pizza is from D D’s in Poughkeepsie NY where I once lived. Years after I moved, I saw a guy at an IBM location in Austin that looked familiar. It turned out it was my D D’s pizza delivery guy.

48. A sausage egg McMuffin is about the only fast food I will eat. And to me it is as close to perfection as breakfast gets.

49. I read a wide range of books. But I have had to limit my fiction reading as some books, while brilliantly written, haunt me for long periods of time. Three books that still haunt me are Kamala Markadaya’s “Nectar in a Sieve,” Tim O’Brien’s “In the Lake of the Woods,” and Keri Hume’s “The Bone People.”

50. I don’t care if something is good or bad as much as I care that it is fair.

51. I started stalking the professional poker player Mike Matusow in an attempt to write his story - going so far as to sit next to his mother during the 2005 World Series of Poker final table. In 2009 Mike’s autobiography “Check-Raising the Devil” was published, co-written by Mike, me and “The Shrink.”

52. In college, my roommate talked me into going to the auditions for Playboy’s “Girls of the Ivy League.” She thought it would be fun to see who else from school showed up. I was actually selected, but declined the final interview. The issue was scheduled to come out the same month I was to start at IBM. I still have the offer letter. I have no idea why.

53. I’m known for my frugality. But I paid retail for three notable belongings. I own a first edition set of Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs. I also paid top dollar for a pair of Ferragamo boots and my Stetson.

54. You don’t fully come to terms with your mortality until someone you slept with dies. Although more than a decade after our alliance, a 44 year-old dropped dead of a heart attack at the Narita International Airport and I suddenly had a much better understanding of the terminal element of time.  

55. When I was young, I was in a PBS holiday special called “The Occupants, ” a teleplay written by my neighbor. She eventually became a mystery writer, but is perhaps best known as the subject of the poem, “For Eleanor Boylan Talking With God,” written by Anne Sexton - another of my neighbors.

56. In graduate school, I developed a long-long hedge black box model using cluster and discriminant analyses. I’ve been too cheap to buy the software I need to replicate it up until now. But I’m starting to feel the urge again.