Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'll get the bad stuff out of the way first. Mr. C is not doing very well. His situation is stable and I don't think he is in a lot of pain, but there is pain. Every doctor's visit or test causes everyone in the family to hold their breath knowing that one day the news will be very bad. Yet we are thankful for the days we have and the memorys we share.
His wife has set up a scholorship fund in honor of Mr. C at the local university. That is one of the most fitting tributes to a man that I have heard of and my and the wife were happy to give a nice chuck of change to get the ball rolling. My employer is almost certain to match the amount. It is a good company.
In almost every other way, life is about as good as it gets. I love my wife more than ever. We make enough money to support ourselves without killing ourselves. Most everyone else in the family is healthy. If this is a baloon that is about to bust, I don't see any signs, but I will do my best to best to enjoy, appreciate and share the best of it while it lasts.
Tomorrow I head to G-Vegas (Greenville, SC) for a new years poker tournament bash. Results, stories, and maybe a picture or two will follow.
Happy New Year to all.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Christmas has gone and New Years is approaching fast. I used to hear my parents and their friends lament "Where does the time go?" Well, time accelerates with age. The first 4 years of my life seemed to take about about as long at the last 40, and the last 40 will be about the same as the next 400. I'm not over the hill, I started at the top and the trip down is getting steeper.
I have to say though that I'm not in a mood to complain. My job now is much better than it was at the start of the year. I'm home more with my wife and dogs and that is where I want to be. We need to start going back to church and that will be a good way to start the new year.
Some of my poker playing friends will be surprised by the last comment or think that I would go for my wife, but they would be mistaken. You see, I get a lot out of going to chruch. I enjoy the cerimony, though I don't think it is required to get God's ear. I enjoy the friends I make at church. I enjoy the activities. The teachings about applying faith in my daily walk mostly make sense and serve as a good reminder. I'm not really sure about how in control God is, but we'll know in good time. I'm just trying to behave like a fellow human until that time comes.
I'm not some christian zealot, but I do consider myself a Christian in that I believe the teachings of Jesus of the bible. Those same teaching are available in many forms by many names, but all with the same message. Sin is thinking of yourself. Love is thinking of others first. Love is the opposite of sin. Jesus is the love you have for your fellow man. Jesus of the bible is trying to tell us to think more about our fellow man than we think about ourselves. I believe it is really that simple. Many teachers throughout time have taught the same message. The Golden Rule is the same love.
The Christian church teaches that all men are sinners. All men are sinners if thinking about yourself first is sin. Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride (seven deadly sins) all involve thinking of one's self first. Love, pretty much by definition, is about thinking of others. In the bible, all of the lessons of Jesus are about this type of Love in one form or another. The Gospel of John has one commandment, which Jesus calls a new commandment: "Love one another."
I've always had problems with the way the faith is taught in church. They say we need to know Jesus and let him into our hearts. That is true, but they show us some painting of some white guy with long flowing hair who is supposed to be from Nasarath, Isreal. They talk about angels and ghosts, but none of that is real to me. I just keep quiet during those parts of the service. They don't answer the question, "What is Jesus today?" They say he left, but he is with us, but he will return. That confuses me.
(Boy, this is really getting deep for a blog.)
I think Jesus, the way to paradise, true peace, Zen, Nirvana, or whatever you want to call it is nothing more that loving others. That's it and that is something I can apply. It also works better for some other nagging questions.
I've always had a problem with the teaching that you must know Jesus (the son of God as taught in church) in order to get into heaven. What about all those souls that lived before Jesus walked the earth? What about the souls that never ran across a missionary or never saw a bible? Are they damned because of when and where they were born? I don't think God changes the rules that quickly. I don't think God changes the rules at all. Love has been available to all men for all time.
Here are a few versus from the christian bible just to drive home the point that this is what Jesus taught:
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn.13:35)
"Anyone who says "I love God", but hates his brother, is a liar. For whoever who does not love the brother whom he can see, can not love God whom he has not seen" (1Jn.4:20)
"If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1Cor.13:1-3)
"God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them" (1Jn.4:16)
It's still hard as hell to do, thinking of others all the time, that is. I am a sinner more than most. I know some folks who are way better at love than me. Many wouldn't even call themselves Christian, but they get it. Knowing what I'm supposed to do and still not doing it nearly enough makes the sin all the worse. But it does make going to church and talking to the members much easier, even if I don't try to explain what I just wrote. I can tell them I know Jesus with conviction.
So the next time someone asks you if you know Jesus, you might have a different answer. You might smile knowingly and say "yes." You might not. Probably not. Just don't let "religion" get in the way of faith.
Jesus is love. You probably already know him though perhaps by some other name. The more love we have in the world, the better. When we all love all the time the world will be a paradise and isn't that what the bible promises us will return? Please remind me to do my part. Thanks.
And Happy New Year to all.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I hope my reader doesn't mind the recent commercialization of this here blog. In case you haven't figured it out, I'll take a few minutes to write a few words about someone elses site for cash. It's not a ton of cash, but it might get me through a day in Vegas sometime.
I can't believe all the things I've got to get done before the end of this week, yet I sit here playing poker and blogging. Time to go check something else off the list.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I’m just back from a whirlwind of travel. In the past 7 days, I’ve been to LA, Vegas and Dallas. Coming back from Dallas tonight was great. I got bumped to first class from my reserved middle seat on the over-sold flight. Talk about Christmas gift. It was great.
Over the past 3 years, I've been a traveling computer techie. I’ve logged around 200,000 miles and spent somewhere around 5 months in various hotels all over the country, so I’ve gotten to know a thing or two about traveling. Travel can either be fun or a super pain in the butt. Finding good flights, hotels, and car rentals can be as big a challenge as getting to and from your destination.
A friend of mine put me onto a new (to me) site that could be a big help in future travels. It’s called HotelReservations.com (http://hotelreservations.com/). HotelReservations works the way you want to work. If you like working with people over the phone, HotelReservations has toll-free numbers for the USA, Canada, and Europe. This can be a huge plus over the other reservation sites, because if you are in France and you have a problem, you really need to get somebody on the line. I like making my reservations on-line, but I called the US toll free number and had a person on the line in less than 60 seconds. Outstanding.
Of course, you can book your whole trip on line at HotelReservations. The interface makes it easy to enter the dates of your trip and the options that you need and it pulls back the best rates available. The screen is crowded with info. Some will find it busy at first, but I like having lots of info on my screen so that I don’t have to search around. It took me about 5 minutes to see how it was laid out. Once your hotels are on the screen you can sort the results by Value, Price, Quality, or simply A-to-Z. You want to only see hotels with Free Breakfast and Children’s Activities? HotelReservations has got you covered for these and many other preferences.
For beginners, the site has great information to help with booking your trip no matter what company or site you end up booking with. Topics like what is an Internet Special Rate, Credit Card Safety, and effectively changing your reservations and subjects which every traveler should know.
Check out HotelReservations.com. They do groups, too.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
As you can tell from the posts below, I’m just coming off a terrific trip to Las Vegas. Seeing all the poker bloggers has recharged my interest in all things poker. I want to read about poker, learn poker strategies, go over hand analysis, and find the hot places to play poker. The hot site to find all this information is at CardsChat (http://www.cardschat.com).
This site is the online poker forum for the world wide poker community. The site says so right on the header. And when you look inside, you know that it is true. In addition to the subjects that I’ve already mentioned, they have message boards for the theory of Texas Holdem poker, tournament poker tips, freerolls (I love that section), where to play live poker, and special events for Cardschat.com members. They have the rules posted for the beginners, a glossary of terms for those on the rise, and advanced strategy articles for those polishing their games to a bright shine.
The Cardschat.com forums have over 100,000 posts, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding interesting things about poker that would have made you money had you found this site earlier. Cardschat.com also has great bonus offers and reviews from the biggest online casinos like Party Poker, Titan Poker, Full Tilt, Paradise, Absolute, Stars (you get the picture). It is a one-stop shop for getting your poker on, the right way.
You don’t have time to make all the mistakes yourself, so get to http://www.cardschat.com and learn from the mistakes (and good advice) of others at Cardschat.com.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Each player at the table has his own touch-screen that allows him to bet, check or raise when it is his turn to act. Hold cards can be checked by cupping your hand over the cards on the screen to reveal upturned corners. Remove your hand and the cards return to only showing their backs. The big screen in the middle of the table shows each player’s chip count and bet amount.
The game that was running on the 10 player table this night was a quick tournament. The blind structure was crazy, but that was to promote rapid play so everyone got a chance. It can be restructured for any style of tournament or cash game.
The general consensus among the bloggers that I spoke with liked the tables. A few objected to the way the table raced off chips between levels. This was a minor thing to me. Most loved the way you could show either or both of your cards from a winning hand, and so this feature was used to taunt opponents liberally. The interface made it too easy to fold your hand when a check was available. More than one player folded their hand when no bet was required. That is probably an easy fix that won’t get made, but we’ll see. I don’t see this table replacing many human dealers, but it will have a place for micro-limit games and sit-n-go tournaments that are now too expensive for human dealt games.
A bigger potential hit was the heads-up version. This was a small table with 2 player consoles and a screen a little bigger than the old Pac-Man bar tables. This table saw a ton of action as the bloggers played king of the hill style. If PokerTek makes a coin op version for “amusement only,” they could put one or more of these babies in every bar and pool hall in America. It was that fun. This table could also open up the ability to play heads-up tournaments since casinos can afford to have dealers running such small games.
Thanks to Becca Bernstein and the gang from PokerTek for lots of fun, food, drinks and a look at a likely part of poker’s future.
Monday, December 11, 2006
The week started with wrapping up my home fix up projects of the previous week in time to head out to Los Angeles. I spent the work week in Simi Valley with a customer of mine teaching them the ins and outs of SQL Server performance. Simi is a great area with its beautiful scenery and proximity to LA and great SoCal weather, it’s got about everything. The folks I met were very nice and seemed to enjoy the workshop.
The last day in Simi did have some unusual excitement when a brush fire broke out on the mountain above our location. Many of the employees (and at least one visiting trainer) made a special trip to the front steps to check out the action. I’m guessing that the fire was 1 to 2 miles away, but we could still see flames shooting into the air and helicopters dropping water onto the hottest spots. You just don’t see that often in NC.
At the end of class, I had the assignment from my NorCal sister-in-law to deliver a care package to my nephew at UCLA. So I got to have the fun of filling a grocery cart full of crap (fun crap, but still crap) like Gatorade, beef jerky, snickers bars, etc. The young man is into his first final exam period and his mom wanted him to have plenty of fun eats. Well, he’s got them now.
From there, I got to LAX way early for my 10:30 flight to Vegas. As luck would have it, I was right on time for an earlier flight and got on and to Vegas 2 hours early. That gave me time to meet up with the bloggers at the MGM and play a couple hours of break-even poker ($2-4 limit). Saturday was the big winter edition of the World Poker Blogger Tournament at Caesar’s Palace. You can see Special K in action at this site (http://www.lasvegasvegas.com/pokerblog/archives/003956.php#more). I’m the face in the foreground just behind the water bottle. My buddy Falstaff (http://pokerstage.blogspot.com) is facing me with his back to the camera. I did well going much deeper this time than in the summer, but still running out of luck before the final table. Falstaff did better than me, but still no money. Congrats to –EV for his tremendous win.
That night we went to a reception hosted by PokerTek (http://www.pokertec.net) to show us their PokerPro ™ tables. I want to save my impressions of the tables for a separate post. They gave us a good party so that we would give them some vInk, so I’ll do them right.
The rest of the night was full of poker (Harrah’s (lost) and Imperial Palace (won)) and a nap up until time to go to the airport. I got back home without incident in time to start preparing to go to Dallas Monday evening for the coming week. I could have spent the whole weekend in Charlotte and not have been so rushed, but I opted for Vegas and the poker bloggers, so I’m to blame for this mad schedule. I’ll be way behind for Christmas. Oh well.
Big thanks to all the poker bloggers (and others) who will never read this post (and a couple who will) but made my weekend a true blast including Falstaff, PokerProf, Flipchip, Iggy, Lee, Brian, Tina, Tim, Michael, Byron, Ryan, John, Maudie, Gracie (still sorry for knocking you out of the tourney),(http://www.sheverb.com/), EasyCure (not sorry for knocking you out first (gigli) :) ), Pauly, and Catitude. This is is a great group of folks. Thanks again, guys.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Wow. I came across a great site today full of some of the best poker accessories available. The site is Cardroom Supply. You can get to the site by pointing your browser to http://www.cardroomsupply.com/tehota.html. Right away, you will likely be blown away by the incredible “No Limit” Casino Quality Poker Table. This jewel only costs $5500, so look, but don’t touch unless you must have the absolute best. Cardroom Supply has tables for all budgets. The $245 72” table with folding legs is more my speed. The will even customize your table top with a words or your logo.
Cardroom Supply also has a great selection of poker chips. They have 13 gram Pro Clay chips that look terrific as well as standard 11.5 gram Suited chips and knockout 11.5 “High Roller” chips. You really need to see those to understand what I mean.
Of course, to give your game a professional feel, you need cases and racks for you chips. Cardroom Supply has those as well at great prices. Take my advice and order the accessories when you order your chips. If you are like me, I intend to order the extras and never seem to get to it and suffer as a result. Don’t do the same to yourself.
Cardroom Supply can also stock your game with Cards, Dealer Buttons, Tourney Timers (one of their buttons is also a timer, very cool), and more. Don’t miss this site when stocking your poker supplies or shopping for the poker playing love of your life. The folks at Cardroom Supply will take good care of you.
You can order on line or call their toll free number (877.867.0823) and they offer free shipping on all orders over $100. You can’t beat free.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I had planned to spend this vacation around the house doing a ton of the little projects that I've ignored for the past 2 or 3 years. It was a good plan, too. It just didn't work out as I had planned.
My first project was to deal with some water that was seeping into my basement. My house doesn't have a full basement. It is more like a dug out crawlspace. The water and moisture down there recently took out part of a dugout wall and a foundation pier. One pier is not cause for major concern, but I sure don't want it going any further. So on Sunday and Monday, I installed a sump, sump pump and a dehumidifier. I had also scheduled to have my house treated for termites on Tuesday.
Tuesday brought torrential rains to Charlotte, so the termite guy couldn't prep the outside of the house and decided to do what he could underneath the house. I continued with some indoor projects. When I went to check on him, I found about a foot of water overflowing my sump. I kicked on the pump and looked around for the source of the water. It was coming in from 3 sides of the house and collecting in my sump at the rate of about a gallon every 5 minutes. Suddenly I know what the next project is, stop this damn water.
I take note of where water is standing near the house and dig a few temporary trenches (digging in the rain sucks) to relieve the pressure, then go back to my indoor projects.
The rain and Thanksgiving take up the next two days, but I make my plans and wait. Friday is spent prepping around my house. On Saturday morning I hit the Home Depot for a trencher and 200' of corrugated pipe. I'm going to give this rain somewhere to go.
I take careful note of where the gas line runs from the street to my meter and start digging. The trench on the left side of my house goes great. I get about 80% done on the right side of the house when it happens.
I will never forget the pop and rush of air I heard when I HIT THE GAS LINE. I remember looking down to see a 2 or 3 inch hole where the gas was erupting from the ground, my hands still on a running, combusting trencher. I'm lucky to not be dead already. I know right away I have a new entry in the top 5 dumbest things I've ever done. I pushed the trencher forward and myself backward in a lurch and head inside to get my wife out of the way and on the phone to 911. I head to the neighbor's house to alert them as well. I get some tools in hopes of shutting off the valve to stop the leak and get a neighbor to stop traffic. The trencher eventually stopped from lack of oxygen, I think.
I had no idea what would happen if the gas caught with me at the valve about 20 feet away, but I had to give it a go. I get my wrench on the valve and twist. It doesn't budge. I tell myself to stay calm and deliberate and try again. Again, nothing. Within two minutes, the fire department arrives (the station is only 3 blocks away) and I stay out of the way. They also try the valve without success. One of the guys eventually crimps the line and stops the emergency.
The gas company came and fixed the line. What I hit was a T off my line that feeds my neighbors house. Ooops. The bills are going to run about $150 for service and repairs. I am glad to pay so little for a valuable lesson. I eventually got the pipe laid and I'm waiting for the rain to see if I've done any good.
My wife likes to tease me about stuff like this. I guess I'll never live it down for a long time, I hope.
The vacation is now over. Many ToDos got done. A business trip to LA is next week with a weekend in Vegas tacked onto the end should be fun, if not deserved.
See ya around.
Friday, November 17, 2006
I've only heard that the pictures are running and have not seen the issue. When I do, I will post a copy of the pages here. Check it out if you find yourself in a newsstand next week.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Please go to Pauly's site (http://taopoker.blogspot.com/). Read more about the details. If you feel like helping out, send an appropriate email to email@example.com and express your displeasure.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Not that anybody asked, but here is my take on this election.
We are at war. There is a large group of well funded terrorists in this world that want to see us out of there part of the world. A smaller group of those people(like Al Qaida) want to see us and our way of life dead. The first group believes that anyone who does not believe in their god as described in their book should not set foot on their land. It doesn’t matter to them that many of their neighbors encourage the presence of outsiders. They believe they are right and they will kill the innocent to make their point. This group is a problem, but at least they keep their problem in their own country which is a long way from anywhere I plan to visit.
The second group want me and you and any other Christian, westerner, non-Muslim dead. There is no room for negotiation for them. This is a much bigger problem as we found on 9/11/01. We should have learned when the USS Cole was hit, but that was a long way away, so it didn’t matter so much. We should have learned when our embassies were bombed in Africa, but again, that was over there. Before 9/11, I thought that Bin Laden was a straw-man set up by the Clinton administration to distract us from his lying and legal problems. I found out how wrong I was. (He was lying and had legal problems, but that's another post.)
So here we are today, fighting that war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It can be argued that Saddam had nothing to do with Bin Laden and that the reasons for going to war there had nothing to do with terrorism. Fine. I think you are wrong, but fine. That doesn’t change the fact that they are there now and they are fighting us. On yea, they are also dying, as they should.
Did Bush lie to get us in Iraq. It doesn't really matter because saying he did does not change the present. Let’s not forget that Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction. They have been found buried in the desert and reported in the major newspapers and in Senate investigations (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html for those who doubt), though buried far from the front pages. So he didn't lie about that. Were there other lies? If so, please point me to a democrat that stood up and said so before we went to war. You won't find any.
Let us also not forget that Saddam was paying Palestinian suicide bombers’ families $25000 per attack. You may have noticed that the number of bombers in Israel dropped just after our invasion. “Oh”, you may say, “but I side against Israel because (they asked for it/treat the Palestinian like dogs/fill in your own blank here).” Well I’m sorry you feel that way. Gandhi and King showed the world that you don’t need to resort to killing innocents to affect change. You need courage, and nothing more. So I’m always going to side against those who fight without uniforms and hide behind women and children and who use churches to store their weapons (Palestinian, Arab, Persian, American, whatever). These are acts of cowards. I don’t side with cowards.
Many democrats have advocated pulling out of Iraq. They bluster that President Bush when into Iraq without a plan. OK. So why is it better to pull out without a plan? I’ve yet to hear any plan from anyone wanting to pull out of Iraq. I think their only plan is to get elected. If you think that by pulling out of Iraq that Al Qaeda will make nice with us, then you need to visit lower Manhattan. It just isn’t so. They want us dead.
So if I don’t get to play on-line poker, so be it. Poker really isn't THAT important (there goes my WPBT card). If I don’t get to burn a flag to make sure more terrorists are killed, I’m willing to go for that. I may not like the inconveniences (I don’t). I may not agree with many of the changes that are taken with a goal of making us safer (I do disagree with many of the changes). But when I walk into the voting booth tomorrow and look at my choices, I have to go with the side that is killing the enemies that want to kill us and against the side who will give the other side exactly what they want. I prefer to holding my nose to arming my enemy.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Last Tuesday at work, a friend and co-worker sent an email to about 300 folks at our office looking for a NASCAR fan who would like to share expenses with a writer friend of his (we'll call him LC). The lucky fan would be provided a press pass to the race which would include behind the scenes access to the crews, cars, and drivers. He sent the mail around 10 am and I did not see it until almost 4 pm. I felt sure that the opportunity had passed, but I wrote anyway, and I was shocked to find out that there had been no replies. I jumped all over it (after checking with Mrs. K, of course). Mrs. K would later tell me "with all due respect", that I must be "the luckiest son-of-a-bitch in the world." Yea, she like NASCAR, too.
So Friday after work, LC and I took off for Memphis. We got away about 4 pm. We had to stop for a while for me to take a conference call with a customer and we hit some traffic in Gastonia and we hit rain pretty much the whole way, but other than that the trip whet great.
Nine and a half hours later (sheesh) we arrived at our hotel in Memphis. There was a long delay checking in to the hotel. A group of guys had arrived just before us for which the clerk could not find a reservation. The lead guy was pissed to say the least. He accused the clerk of lying about not having any more rooms and about the reservation being dropped at 9:30. It was an ugly scene.
During a lull in the action, I asked for and got checked in. When LC and I got to the room, it looked like it had been recently used with one bed a mess and beer cans in the trash. I called the front desk and he asked us to come back down to get another room. Another room?!? The guy without the reservation were going to love that! Well, he about exploded when I said loudly, "thanks for getting us another room so quickly." I do love to launch a good "grenade". I didn't even stick around to watch the rest of the show. It was time to duck and run. Anyway, that room only had one roach, so we hit the sack for about 6 hours and headed for the track.
The pictures tell most of the rest of the story. John Schneider (Dukes of Hazard) was there driving the General Lee for charity and singing the National Anthem. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was hanging out, literally. The race was great, though my man got passed with 2 laps to go and didn't win. You can read about the race and any number of other sites like this, so I won't go into detail here.
Juan Pablo Montoya
We headed back right after the race. I got home around 3 am on Sunday having had 6 hours of sleep in the past 46 and not feeling too terrible. Some of the pictures are in the hands of the magazine editors. I'm hopeful that some will appear in next week's issue.
While I was at the track, I had two people surprise me. The first was Tuscaloosa Johnny. He and I played at the same starting table at the World Poker Blogger Tour tournament at Caesar’s Vegas. He was in Memphis doing an internship that involved one of the race teams. It was very cool to see him again. You should visit Poker Nation and read some of his stories. He finished in the money at this year's WSOP Main Event, so he knows something aobut poker.
The other bigger surprise happened while taking some shots on pit road during qualifying. Rob L., who I worked with back in the mid 80s at a small TV station in Wilmington, NC recognized me and said hello. Rob and I were great buds back in the day. I ran into him once since my TV days and that was probably 20 years ago. As it turns out, he lives about 2 miles from me in Charlotte. Rob works for NASCAR now and seems to be really enjoying life. That is always good to see. I hope we get a better chance to catch up real soon.
Running into these two guys just goes to show that no matter how far you travel, you are probably going to be seen by someone, so you'd better behave.
Great weekends make for hard Mondays, but I wouldn't trade.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
I just got back from a friends house where we played a little cash game among friends. Everyone was friendly except the cards. It started out with my flopped two pair getting rivered by a bigger two pair. Then my set got all in against 2 other players and one of them turned a straight. And on it went like that. In 4.5 hours of poker, I won 4 hands. 4 frickn hands. The capper was at the end of the night when I went all in over the top of a small raise with AQ and got called by A9 suited. The first and forth cards off were both nines.
Poker Sucks. I quit (again). (vent complete)
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Today marks eight years since Mrs. K marched into our Little Church and said "I do." I love her more today that ever. She is the best friend that I've ever had and I'm looking forward to the next eight years. Even when the poker cards are running against me, I can still feel like the luckiest guy in the world. Thanks Dear.
Monday, August 28, 2006
I'm back in Charlotte having the first Monday at work in a long time. Man, did I miss this not at all! I'm starting a slightly new job with the same organization within the same company as before. The brings a lot of anxiety, but mostly, my mind in still on the road.
The trip just ended was a good one to say the least. One week of baseball with my wife followed by one week of pool and poker with good friends other than my wife (I put it that way because my wife it my best friend) is just about a perfect way to live life. My work doesn't suck, but it exists to make weeks like the last two stand out.
We did have one experience that needs to be put in writing, though I'm sure it is one of those "you had to be there" kind of moments.
During the pool tournament, there were various raffles of different pool cues going on. Young girls would walk around showing the cue and asking everyone if they wanted to participate in the raffle. Most of the girls were young and sexy. But then there was this one young 'lady' who stood about 5' 4" and weighed around 220 lbs. This girl was seriously under-tall. Her stringy blond hair had one big purple streak down one side. Her makeup and leather bustier were pseudo-goth. That was bad. The bikini briefs, fish-net hose and go-go boots completed a most, um, how can I say this, startlingly unattractive picture.
After she passed our seats, several people had their comments. I was stunned into silence. No, I didn't even get a picture.
This all happened near the end of our match. As we were leaving the hall, we noticed the bikini-goth babe also leaving but about 20 feet ahead of us. This turned out to be the perfect distance for watching, not the girl, but all of the various reactions to the girl from the folks making their way to the hall.
Some laughed, others made puke faces, others turned and bumped into still others. I had tears in my eyes before we went 50 feet and was about to fall over laughing in 50 more. Seeing the girl had it's somewhat cruel humor, but seeing the reactions on a moving stage like this was most entertaining.
The whole trip (two full weeks) went by without injury or the loss of anything significant. All of the games went off on time. All of the flights went off on time (more or less). All of the hotels had our reservations. If anything, the smoothness of the trip accounts for the lack of adventure of these posts. Things just went the way they were planned.
Special props to Jaxon at http:\\tripjax.blogspot.com for his great pimpage to this site. I've traded emails and comments with the man, but have never met him in person. I look forward to that day. If you haven't checked out his blog, go there now.
On last posting of some of the pictures that I couldn't get up during the trip and it will be time to move on. (And I'm not going to post about the last hand of poker I played in Vegas where my AA got cracked to triple my loss for the week - Ouch). Okay, I'm still having problems with the pictures. Later.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The team went down to defeat last night, but they played proud and always as good sports. They teach me a lot in that regard, and I thank them for that. I also thank them for taking me along on this wonderful ride. For a couple days there, pool in Vegas was more exciting than poker in Vegas. That is no small accomplishment.p>
Thursday, August 24, 2006
As for the poker, that really is going well. After 5 days and about 10 sessions of almost all $1-2 no limit hold’em, I am up $180. It is not a huge amount for the time spent, but it is fun and anything on the plus side is a welcome change to my usually casino poker experience. $180 is nothing compared to my pool teammate John Mike. It just 2 days, JM cleared about $1100 from the same $1-2 games that I was playing in. The game at the Riviera is pretty good with all of the pool players drinking and playing. I’ll hit it again tomorrow.
Speaking of pool, the team is in the money. We have won two matches and lost one. I am writing this at 3 am pacific time. Not 30 minutes ago we finished up the second win. And it was an incredible win. Let me tell you about it.
The match is won by one team winning 3 out of 5 contests. The match started out about as bad as it could. We put up Brent, a good player ranked a 4 (right in the middle of the APA handicap system). He played a 5 who was shooting like a 7 (8 being the highest). He tore Brent up in short order.
The next game had Mark go up against the other team’s 4 named Jeff Burton (not the NASCAR driver). This Jeff Burton was a bald 6’ 5” and 350 lbs. making him the lowest ranked player per pound that we have faced (which has nothing to do with anything). Jeff Burton shot like a 5 or 6 using safes, english and very good cue ball control to take Mark out 3 games to none. To make things worse, the opponents had a female fan in the gallery who would yell out “bullshit” every time Mark made a difficult shot. I guess they had given up on the sportsmanship award. Also, I’m not saying that Jeff has ever sandbagged to keep is ranking down, but he sure shot like it. That is to his credit. Our heroes are now down 0-2.
We were then forced to put up our ace player Wade. Wade is a seven who really shoots a beautiful game of pool. The other team put up a 3 which means Wade had to win 6 games to the opponent’s 2 games. To make the situation as dire as possible, the other player won the first game, so we are now needing Wade to win 6 games in a row or we are done for the tournament. Since you already know the ending, you also know that Wade did just that. In fact, the other player never got close to having a shot on the eight ball. Villains 2, Heroes 1.
The villains put up a 5 next and we counter with the first appearance of the Suarolator (also a 5). I guess Wade got our team’s attitude on the right track, because Suaro ripped his opponent a new orifice and put the set away 4 zip. Villains 2, Heroes 2, but the situation is still not even. The other team still has their ace player to come and we are forced to play our lowest ranked player, Jenna. Long story short, Jenna KICKED HIS ASS. She played like a 2 on a few shots, but she made all the big pressure shots when she had to and put him and his team away 2-1. Heroes win 3-2 which puts the team in the money.
The down side it that there is no time to celebrate. That match ended about 2:40 am and our next match is at 8:00 am. So it is off to bed with me. Good night.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I got back on the plus side playing $1-2 no limit at the Riviera. I played tight, hit a few hands and walked away up $101.
I decided that I would buy my self a present and rode the Deuce (double decker bus that runs up and down the strip) to Mandalay Bay. After playing more no-limit, I attended the Ted Nugent concert at the House of Blues. What a great concert hall! What a kick ass show!!! I haven’t had that much fun at a show in a long, long time. I actually felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up several times as Ted hit some of my favorite opening riffs. And he played all of his best.
I’m currently down about $26 for the trip playing poker. The pool team arrived in town last night, so we’ll probably shoot some today. I’ll play more poker and maybe even some craps.
I’m having trouble posting pictures from the end of the baseball tour. I’ll get them posted as soon as I can.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
On Thursday, we got up and out as early as we could. Me and my wife work together really well when it comes to getting somewhere on time. We do what needs to be done and are usually a bit early to our destination. We just hate being late.
This trip threw a 13 year old into the mix. We don’t have any kids of our own, but my brother’s son G is along on this trip. Man, do teenagers think differently. Don’t get me wrong. He is a great kid. He is great as adults go, and even further along that his peers, but that brain is still running on a different beat.
Of instance, if you ask G to get ready, he’ll reply ‘OK’ and may or may not start doing anything. If you give him something specific to do, he’ll get right to it. As he is doing his task, if you turn on the TV, he will stop an watch TV, and not just for a second, but until you break the trance by reminding him of his task. I thought it was funny as hell. It will be fun to see how much of this he grows out of and how much is just G. I’ll bet a lot of it is just G.
Anyway, back to Thursday. Our first stop was the Santa Monica Pier. We arrived about 45 minutes before the 11 am opening (who would have thought), so we strolled around for a bit. Once open, we rode the roller coaster a couple of times (Mrs. K and I rode once each – we don’t roller coaster well anymore). The coaster was a bit lame, so twice was enough. We then rented bikes and rode down the beach to Venice Beach.
The ride was great. The weather in SoCal is amazing. Highs in the 80s, low humidity and sun shine every day. It is obvious why so many people live there. If it weren’t so full of people, I could probably get Mrs. K to move there one day.
Venice Beach is something else. The head shops, tattoo parlors, tarot card readers and street performers made the atmosphere just barely the PG-13 that we required. The shops were tame enough and some of the street performers were entertaining. We had a good lunch and headed back to the pier and the car.
The next stop was the Mulligan Family Fun Center and go-cart racing. With LA traffic, it took us about 45 minutes from Santa Monica to Torrance. The carpool lane helped a bit, but it could have been much worse.
We gave G a shot at the climbing wall before the race. Let’s just say that he had fun trying. The carts were slow as go-carts go. I just didn’t have much luck picking out the rides this day. We finished up with a round of miniature golf. I learned something on the golf course: My wife can putt. She birdied the first two holes and really set the pace. I managed a tie with a late run and her unlucky 5. She claims that I cheated on the score, but if that were the case, I would have cheated to win. I can see that we will have to try this again.
Finally, it was time to head for the game. We found our way over to Angels stadium at Anaheim. Parking was conveniently next to the park and not too expensive ($8 compared to Dodger Stadium $15, AT&T $25). I got one ball in batting practice which I gave to a kid. The game was good with more than a couple great fielding plays. G enjoyed the brats and lemonade and we were out of there by 10:30.
We made the long drive back to the hotel in Calabasas and got right to bed as we had a long drive in the morning.
Friday morning, the alarm went off at 7 am. G and I had showered the night before, so Mrs. K showered, we got packed, ate breakfast and hit the road. Our destination was AT&T Park in San Francisco. The distance is a little over 300 miles.
Instead of the Pacific Coast Highway, we needed to make time and opted for I-5. There are a few cool things to see on this route, but not many. It is mostly brown desert. We did drive by what must be the worlds largest cow patty. There were cows as far as the eye could see, and we smelled every one of them from the comfort of our car. Peeee-uuuuuuu. We also came across some garlic trucks and farms near Gilroy. I didn’t like that much better, but Mrs. K loved it. It reminded her of a college friend who used to cook with garlic all the time.
We got to San Jose and a lunch meeting with my other brother (not G’s dad). He wanted to visit with his nephew. After lunch, we took a tour of his workplace. He works at TellMe. If you have every used AT&T directory assistance and spoken to the machine, that is what TellMe does. It is need stuff. The atmosphere at his office is a lot of what Microsoft used to be. I miss that. We are much to corporate now, but that is what size and law suites will do to a company.
After a short stop at the hotel, we were off to the ball park. If I have a complaint about the park in San Francisco, it would be the parking. The signs to Lots A & B are clear from the I-280 interstate, but they don’t tell you that these are permit only lots. The don’t tell you how to get to the public parking, and it is the folks who use the public parking are the ones who need directions the most. Two illegal U turns later, we found it.
The park is beautiful, but cold. Be warned, if you go to a night in San Francisco, take your ski parka. It gets COLD. Mrs. K, who has no tolerance for the cold was in her sweat shirt before the sun went down. G and I held out as long as we could. I went for my sweater after the 3rd inning, and G went for the blanket after the top of the 4th. But we keep score at the games and people who keep score don’t leave early. There was never a question about that.
Once again, the game was good , but not terribly exciting. The Giants beat the Dodgers 7 to 3. There was a great play from the 3rd baseman who caught a ball on the line and fired across the diamond to first while falling away. I love that play. Ray Durham made a great play right in front of us on a hot shot and a bad hop the get a critical out.
Getting out after the game was easy, even though it was a sell-out. We got back to the hotel by the airport and got to bed ASAP. Seven AM seemed early in LA. Four fifteen this morning was down-right cruel. But that is what we did. Mrs. K had a 7 am flight back to Charlotte. G had a 7:55 flight to Denver. They are both in the air as I write.
I’m waiting on my 9:30 flight (now 10:00 flight) to Las Vegas.
So I’m in Vegas now. Everyone reached their destination though the Misses is loney without her Ipod and dogs. The Ipod became a story as we tried to get out of San Fran. The checking and boarding was an adventure without the excitement. G was on a United flight that left between Mrs. K’s flight and mine, which were both US Airways. Given the wat SFO is laid out, that meant checking the bags of me and Mrs. K, walking two terminals (roughly one half mile) to check G’s bags, then returning to the original terminal. Here, we go through security to get to Mrs. K’s gate.
As we are going through security, they take a long look at G’s carry-on bag. I mention half-jokingly (since you can’t full joke around TSA) that they are looking at his Ipod. At this, Mrs. K gasps that she has left her Ipod (the new one we got switched out 4 days ago) in the rental car. She was actually looking out for me and my pool cue which was stuck in an odd crevas in the car and she forgot about her own stuff.
Well, she doesn’t board for another 45 minutes and the ride to the rental car garage will take about 30. I leave G with the Mrs. And take off for the train and the rental care counter. By the time I locate someone to help me and actually find the Ipod (I also left a glasses case in the car) 35 minutes had elapsed and I was too late to get it to her. I bid her farewell over the phone and instructed G to meet me just outside of the security checkpoint.
Now G and I have to hike back to Terminal 3 where we repeat the security tango and arrive at the gate for the flight to Denver. I give G a big hug, call his mom in Boulder and start my vacation.
I hike back to terminal 1, grab a bagle and settle down at the gate to Vegas. I’ve now been in Vegas 14 hours. I’ve taken a nice long nap and played one tournament (didn’t cash) and about 4 hours of no foldem holdem (AKA $2-4 limit). I’m down a bit, but feeling pretty good.
The rest of the pool crew arrives tomorrow. Ted Nugent is in concert at the house of blues (might go) tomorrow night, and the week is spread out before me. Time to partake.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
As I mentioned yesterday, we start today in San Diego and we need to get to Dodger Stadium by Noon for the start of the Dodgers and the Florida Marlins. We zoom on the drive up I-5 until we hit the LA County line. That is where we loose our HOV lane. That is also the first time we need an HOV lane, wouldn’t you know.
No matter. We have plenty of time built into the schedule (well, 30 minutes). We creep and crawl for a while, but get moving enough to get us in the area on time. I was really surprised that there were no signs to the stadium until you get right there. It is not far at all from downtown LA at the confluence of I-5, I-10, and 101, but unless you know to turn onto 110, you would never know it was there.
Though the stadium is near the urban core, it looks and feels like a suburban park. Once in the ravine, you don’t see any buildings of any size. The only parking is in the large lots adjacent to the ball park. The park itself is nice. It has good views and reasonably wide seats. I would never guess that it is the third oldest major league ballpark (1963). It has the same feel as the new single-use parks like Petco Field and Camden Yards.
The game was a wild one. The Fish broke out to a 4 run lead in the top of the first. The dodgers broke back for 2 of their own, but they would never catch the Marlins. The Dodgers pitching was bad. Their fielding was bad. But the brats and the fans were good. Between innings, the jumbo-tron started showing dancing fans. One of the fans that they focused on was a very pretty young woman in a small bikini top.. As soon as she knew she was on, she lept to her feet, raised her hands high above her head and began wildly shaking two of the biggest boobs I have ever seen. She got very little air time. Dodger stadium is a family friendly place, damn it.
The game ended 15-4 in favor of the visitors from the east. We are now at the pool of our hotel contemplating ordering pizza delivery and a good nights sleep.
Tomorrow we tour LA and watch the Angels take on the Mariners. Later.
Another great day in Paradise.
The wife and I hung out at the hotel in the morning. The down time during a vacation can be as nice as the busy times. We had to be at the airport to pick up my nephew G.around noon. We got there right on time, but still had a few minutes until G made it out to us. We stopped by the information table and spoke to a very nice lady who gave us everything we needed for the rest of the day.
Once out of the airport, we headed for lunch. We picked Old Town San Diego. It was a nice little area. We didn’t see much besides San Diego Avenue. It was filled with shops and restaurants. Coyote’s didn’t have a line and they had a posted howling hour from 4 to 6, so it seemed like a good place. They waiter and the food was good.
By 2, we were headed to Belmont Park. Not the horse race track, the amusement park. We let G get his fill of the roller coaster (see picture of G and Mrs. K on roller coaster), bumper cars, and other rides. They had several wave rides for those in swim suits. These were hills with water jets shooting water up the hill to form a wave that could be ridden with a board. It was a lot of fun to see the kids trying to show off for the tourists and the girls and busting their asses in the process. I’m easily amused.
4:30 had us heading to the ball game. Petco Park is right in downtown San Diego. Currently, it is surrounded by under construction condo towers. When they get those finished, I’m betting the this will be one great area to hang out in.
The park itself is very nice. They have about a half acre outside of the outfield for sandlot games, corporate events and just laying out in the sun. The stands were very comfortable. Our ‘obstructed view’ seats were fine (as shown in the nearby picture). We could see to whole field except for a sliver of right field and the adjacent foul area.
The game was good. It was tied in the 7th, but the Giants pulled ahead for good in the 8th. I would have rather seen a home town win, just because I don’t like the Giants. That goes back to the Braves/Giants battles of the 80s, but has been fueled more recently by Barry Bonds. Bond had a bad game never reaching base. He did have a 390’ pop fly out, but that was it.
We got back to the hotel around 10:30. Today, we move on to LA to see the Dodgers play the Flordia Marlins. We have to get started early as we are still in San Diego and the game starts at Noon at Dodger Stadium, a 1.5 to 2 hour drive.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The sky was foggy some times and clear as a bell other times. The whole drive was beautiful, at least until we got to LA.
I'm having some trouble uploading my pictures to the site. I did get some keepers yesterday. I'll get them posted as soon as I can.
Santa Barbara was particularly beautiful. I would like to return there sometime and look around and maybe hang out on the beach. All of the homes on the hills were impressive.
Once we got south of LA, it was time to stop for Mrs. K's on-line class. We found a comfy Borders Books and let her chat with her classmates.
We arrived at the hotel in San Diego about 8 pm with out a wrong turn or any real adventure. I like it that way.
Today, we pick up my nephew G and go to the ball game at Petco Park (Padres v. Giants).
Monday, August 14, 2006
This was the first day of baseball. We got started right on time, but ran into a problem with the iPod. Even though Mrs. K used it yesterday, it was showing no battery power and would not charge. It was a short drive to the stadium, so we decided to worry about that after the game.
The game was good but short. In fact, it was the shortest game that I have ever seen, in person or on TV. The entire game took 2 hours and 1 minute. The game started out with an incredible catch robbing the first batter of a base hit.
After that, we saw a lot of pop flies, 6 base hits, 2 errors and one home run (by Jason Kendall). The ball park had good dogs (Italian sausage) and good beer (Fosters with many more choices). The fans were friendly, but were not always in the game. They get points off for doing the wave and cheering louder for the ‘dot race’ than at anytime in the game.
We got out of the game and turned our attention back to the iPod, since that was our entertainment for the long drive back and forth to San Diego. We tried to charge it more, but couldn’t get it to work any better. By 6 o’clock we determined that it was broken, but it was Sunday and nothing would be open. My sister-in-law insisted that I check their web site just in case.
Turns out that they were open until 7, so off we go to the mall. Once there, my wife didn’t think my attitude toward Apple was helpful and made me leave her at the service desk with my brother.
At the end, the iPod Genius (their title, not mine) read the warrantee date wrong and gave us a new iPod. I give him credit for living up to his word. I give Apple no credit for selling crap and acting like their products are great. This is my wife second replacement iPod.
Tomorrow, we drive to San Diego via the Pacific Coast Highway. It should be beautiful. I’ll post pictures.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
At the airport. We woke up to find it raining. It was not a storm, but a cool steady rain. That has not happened in Charlotte for months, but it was going on today. Luckily, it slowed up enough for us to get the bags in the car and from the car to the airport without getting soaked
The flight was delayed for about an hour, but the winds were good and we only arrived in San Francisco about 20 minutes late. One of the only good things about traveling a lot is that you get to skip many of the lines. When we got to the airport in Charlotte, we got in the Preferred Members line behind 4 people instead of the regular line with about 400. Security had a long line, but no line for Preferred members. When we finally got our bags and made our way to the rental car center, the lines there were outrageous, but we are Avis Preferred Members and we went right to the car.
We spent the day wondering around the Fisherman’s Wharf area, drinking some beers, eating some ice cream and taking some pictures. We are staying with my brother A in San Jose.
On Sunday, we start the baseball. So far, so good.
Friday, August 11, 2006
It’s vacation time. For Mrs. K and me, that means baseball. Three years ago, when the term blog had not even been invented (AFAIK), I blogged the baseball trip that we took to the mid-west. That trip took us to 9 games at 8 different parks in 10 days (throwing in the Field of Dreams in Iowa on our day off).
For the next week, we will be traveling around the state of Califorina on a quest to visit all five major league baseball parks in 6 days.
The ininerary looks something like this:
Saturday August 12 Arrive San Francisco
Sunday August, 13 Tampa Bay @ Oakland (1:05 pm)
Monday August, 14 Travel Day (Hwy 1 – Pacific Coast Highway)
Tuesday August, 15 San Francisco @ San Diego (7:05 pm)
Wednesday August,16 Florida Marlins @ LA Dodgers (12:10 pm)
Thursday August, 17 Seattle Mariners @ LA Angles (7:05)
Friday August, 18 LA Dodgers @ San Francisco Giants (7:15 pm)
Saturday August 19 Depart San Francisco
As an added challenge and pleasure, this year we will add my nephew Greg to the trip for the last four games. Greg is one of those kids who was born as an adult. He is easy going, quiet, and a general pleasure to be around. Come to think of it, that is better than most adults I know. As I write this, he is on a scout canoe trip down the Colorado river. That will keep him from joining us until Tuesday. I hope he is not totally worn out and home-sick when we get him. It will be understandable if he is not at his best, but I won’t be surprised if he does great.
After the week of baseball, I put Mrs. K on a plane home, I put Greg on a plane to his home near Denver, and I get on a plane to meet my pool team in Vegas. Yep, this will be my third trip to Vegas in as many months. Of course there will be lots of pictures and text on my adventures there, as well.
Right now, I am in Reagan National Airport awaiting my flight home. I had a last minute business trip to the Executive Office of the President. That is pretty heady stuff for me. It took me about an hour to fix the problems. Good thing since the baseball adventure starts tomorrow morning.
It’s no wonder that I keep hearing Sanatra singing “Come Fly with Me” over and over in my head. Travel, Baseball, Wife, Poker, Sanatra, Vegas, Pool… It’s all good.
Monday, July 17, 2006
In the MGM Bar
The Castle Excalibur
Just a couple of friends I met on the Strip.
Phil Gordon runs the Roshambo Tourney
Bonus Code Iggy
Str8 Flush over A high flush - Ouch!
Eva & Falstaff
Winning the WPBT event at Ceasar's
View the rest of the photos at FlickR