Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It is so quiet here in my home office.  I've just spent about 4 hours around my 6 year-old nephew.  The difference in noise level from then to now is astonishing.

Our church does one of the best candlelight services on Christmas Eve.  It has always been a very traditional Moravian service.  I know that all things change, but my church is changing so fast that I can hardly keep up.  This year they installed a big projector screen in the sanctuary.  For the 30 minutes leading up this the service, the screen showed the kind of crap that you get in the movie theater.  Among the gems was bible trivia, unscramble the letters, and name this tune.  I thought is was tacky.

Tomorrow will be busy and loud and my wife's family will miss their husband/father/grandfather a great deal.  I'll miss him, too.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Is Anybody Out There?

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Long time tilting

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Not much to post

Where have all the bloggers gone?

I have read them every one

When will I ever learn?

When will I ever learn?

 

The last work day before the holiday for many folks and the blogsphere is strangely quiet.  The trip reports and pictures from the WPBT are posted.  The comment war has cooled to an uneasy peace.  The blogger TOC is but a memory.

Oh well, hope you all get what you want for Christmas (unless you want part of my bankroll).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I want one

From an article  in Next Energy News:

"Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs."

http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/next-energy-news-toshiba-micro-nuclear-12.17b.html

What could be cooler than having your own power plant.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We thought it was funny

When we arrived at the hotel for our Aruba vacation, we were given an information document listing the rules of the all-inclusive package we had purchased.  Also included was a description of the restaurants that participated in the program along with descriptions of the dishes each restaurant offered.

While reading this section, Dr. K started laughing.  What had her tickled was that one of the restaurants offered a selection of "fresh" fish.  Not fresh fish, but "fresh" fish.  I don't know why they put fresh in quotes, but neither one of us ordered any "fresh" fish to find out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A couple of quick updates

The on-line freeroll rolls on.  I started with a $1 win in a freeroll on Poker Stars.  That $1 is now up to $11.73.  It is almost time for a new level.

I've not been happy with my physical condition for some time now.  I've made some changes in my life and I'm feeling better than I've felt in at least 3 years.  That also means that I've not done much in the way of exercise for 3 years.  Upon returning from vacation, I went to the local Y, ran some and weighed myself.  I came in at a whooping 200 lbs.

Some would say to me that I'm skinny as it is and I should be thankful,and I am, but also know what I should weigh and 200 is 20-25 pounds too much.  I sometime snore when I'm heavy and Dr. K deserves better.  So I'm running and watching what I eat better.  I'm putting this out there to give me incentive to do my workouts and drop the weight so that I can report back with progress.

Maybe I can get the on-line bankroll and the scales to the same number.  It a goal!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Aruba

That's right.  About 18 hours after arriving home from Vegas, Dr. K and I left for the airport and Aruba.  We had first-class seats for the trip down and we had no trouble getting to them.  The trip to Aruba from CLT is direct and takes about the same amount of time as a trip to Vegas, 4.5 hours.

We got a great deal at the Westin for our all-inclusive package.  The hotel was under some heavy renovation, but that didn't cause anything to be shut down or really get in our way at all.  We got a great upgrade to an ocean view room through a friend of mine that works for Starwood. 

We were all set and we did nothing.  Well, that was the plan.  We slept late most every morning.  We did go horseback riding on our second day.  It was great fun, but Dr. K got a little boo-boo butt on the ride that would dog her for the rest of the trip.

When not on horseback, we spent our days drinking frozen rum drinks and reading on the beach.  Dr. K favored the Bananarama and I was sticking to Pina Coladas and daiquiris.  The other beach goers ranged from mid-20s hardbodies and honeymooners to late 60s retirees.  Big and small, fat, ugly, pregnant, slim and beautiful were all there.  The only group missing were the school aged children.  The fact that we were there when they could not be was no accident. 

Our drinks and meals were covered by the all-inclusive plan that we won/purchased (remember, this was the winnings from my pool team's championship plus our buying Dr. K's trip).  The drinks were a bit weak, but tasty.  The food was fantastic.  The breakfast buffet was top-notch and didn't close until noon.  Lunch was by the pool.  One night, we dined on the beach on a four course meal.  Another night it was Italian, then Steak, then Chinese.  We returned to the steak place on our last night.  It was terrific.

I almost finished three books in the 5 days we were there.  Act of Treason by Vince Flynn was first.  Next was The Collectors by David Baldacci.  Those two were on loan from T who had just received them from Falstaff.  Thanks to both of you for the loan and the suggestions.  Both were great reads.  My final read was a suggestion of Dr. K's - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.  Wow, what a story.  I'm going to finish that one up a soon as I finish this post.

We returned to CLT last night, rested and refreshed.  Dr. K retrieved the dogs this afternoon.  I took the day to dig through mail and email, read some more, shoot some pool and generally get ready for my return to work tomorrow.  After our good rest, I think I'm ready.

WPBT - Day 4 and then Home

This was one of those days of playing poker in Vegas that I know all too well.  I don't think I changed what I was doing from the first two days.  I just could not buy a hand.

I started with the usual up around 10, shower, call home and get ready for the day.  I added a long session of fix my text messaging with AT+T that took about an hour, so I was ready to go around noon.

Poker started at Harrah's.  They had a couple tables of $1-2 NL going.  I think I took the first hand after I sat down and proceeded to slowly loose about $400 there before I left.  I lost a lot of chips when my flopped 2 pair with pot sized bets on the flop and turn got sucked out on by a pocket pair of 5s hit a set on the river.  A two outer, geeez.  Shortly there after, I hand a set of 10s cracked by a one-outer full house.  Otherwise, I couldn't seem to get any playable cards.  If I got into a hand with good drawing cards, they wouldn't hit.  This went on for the rest of the trip.  I really would have been better off if I had stopped earlier and watched football with the bloggers in the IP sportsbook.  I'll regret that I didn't for a while.

Dinner with the Falstaff clan at the top of the Stratosphere was fantastic.  I really enjoyed getting to slow down and chat with the folks around me over a great meal.

After dinner, I took one more swipe at the tables at the TI.  It was late. I was playing super tight, and the cards never came my way.  I ended up loosing all but $150 of the $1k that I had at the end of day 2.  I was determined to leave Vegas a winner this time and I did, but boy is it amazing how the streaks in poker can feed you one minute and run dry as the Nevada desert for hours on end.

I caught a few hours of sleep before heading out to the airport.  I tried to get on a direct back to CLT, but it was oversold.  My planned flights when fine and I got home about 8 pm.  That's a good thing, because about 18 hours later, me and the wife were flying out. (see the post above)

WPBT - Day 3

A full week has passed since I left Las Vegas and the blogger weekend behind.  A lot has happened since then, and none of it involved the internet, writing, or computers, so this blog did not get updated.  I do have some good memories from the second half of the WPBT, so let's go back there.

Saturday was tournament day.  I got my usual 10:30 start of showering, calling home to Dr. K and checking the internet (email, web sites, etc.).  I finished that up around noon and headed out for lunch.  Subway provided me with a nice footlong sub, chips and a drink along the short walk from the IP to the Venetian. 

Once there, I met up with Jim and we sat down at a $1-2 NL table.  I found that my cards were dead.  I mostly say, watched and waited until the 2 pm sign-in for the tourney.  During that time, I saw Jim take down one of the biggest $1-2 NL pots I've ever seen.  In short, Jim went over the top of a bet with an all-in and after much hemming and hawing, got 2 callers.  With over $700 in the pot, Jim shows his set of 9's.  Each of his opponents shows QQ.  There was no chance of a flush and the turn put an end to their hopes of a runner-runner straight.  Jim walked away from that table up about $1200 in 1.5 hours of play.

Then it was time to get down to the business at hand, the blogger tournament.  I'm not going to do a long write-up about my tournament because I didn't have a long tournament.  I got seated at one of the toughest tables in the room.  Carmen, Waffles, G-Cox, AlCan'tHang, Rooster (the eventual winner), Columbo, and others were there to take my chips.  I flopped a top set on the second hand and got pushed off of it with a big raise to start down a bit.  A few hands later I wake up with AA on the button.  There was only one caller and the blinds left, so I call.  The flop was raggedy.  It is checked to me and I bet the pot and get two callers.  The next card makes a flush draw possible.  Columbo bets and I push all-in.  He does a good job of replaying the hand, mentions that I can't have aces and folds.  I tell him later what I had.

About 4 hands later I limp with KJs and hit 2 pair on the flop.  I bet hard and and Rooster comes over the top all-in.  I've got him covered and I need chips so I call.  He turns over a flush draw and hits it right away on the turn.  The river doesn't bring a K or a J and I've on life support.  I had the champ all-in and a 60% dog and can't dodge a card. :}

Two or three hands later, I get AKo and limp.  Waffles on my left pushes and I call.  I can't beat his KK and I'm gone.  That is a shame mostly because I wanted to spend more time playing with this line up.  They were a good group.

I played some more $1-2 and broke even.  I went to dinner with BG, Skoon and T at Margaritaville.  It was a good time and Skoon picked up the check, but I'll get him back somehow.

Later, during a solo rage, I ran into a jerk at the IP who accused me of cheating by looking at my neighbors cards.  I think I was looking at his hands for betting style, but I'm not even sure about that.  Anyway, that tilted me at just the wrong time.  My cards went dead and I couldn't get him.  I finished the day down around $350 between the tourney buy-in and the final session.  Day four would be worse.

News You Can Use

News Bytes of the Week—Why pregnant women don't tip over.

It's good to know someone out there is studying this stuff.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

WPBT - Day 2

Just a quick update.  The day was filled with playing poker.  We started with lunch at Caesar's and then poker at their poker room.  I left there $150 lighter.  I just could not catch anything to play for about 2 hours.

Next stop was the IP poker room where my luck improved.  I found a few good hands and friends that wanted to donate chips.  I got back a bit over $100 to drop my deficit for the day to $50.

The evening was spent at the MGM poker room for the blogger mixed games.  We had three full tables of bloggers playing omaha, stud, crazy pineapple, and more; just about anything except hold'em.  I found my best luck in omaha hi/lo.  I left the MGM about 1 am with $260 more than I came with to put me up over $200 for the day.  But I was not done.

I spent the rest of the morning in the IP poker room.  I hit a rough hand when my big slick ran into someone's monster.  I didn't see it, but the betting was too big and out of character.  I think it was a set of 9s.  In any case, that put me back about $120.  I worked my way back up to leave the room plus $25.

So for the first time in my life, I am up over $1000 for a trip.  This may be a high-water mark.  The big blogger tourney is in a couple hours.  Let the game resume.

Friday, December 07, 2007

WPBT - Day 1

I've been in town for 23 hours now, and what a 23 hours it has been.  It has been great to see some old faces and throw down some cards with them.  Here are some highlights:

  • Diamond Jim took down first place in the 3 pm tourney at Caesar's Palace for a prize of $950.
  • The last of the Charlotte crew arrived on time around midnight last night.
  • Early in the day, I hit an A high flush with Kd, Jd, 10d, and 9d on the board.  I folded it to a big bet.  My opponent showed me his Qd for the straight flush.
  • Brian, Falstaff, and I sat at a table with a bunch of brits. Steve from Warsaw (also called Mumbles) was one of the wildest players we've ever seen.  He called a girls hand as Aces just before calling her all-in with pocket 4s and an outside straight draw going to the turn.  He hit is on the river sending the girl into a card flinging rage.  Funny stuff when it doesn't happen to you.
  • On the biggest hand of my life, so far, I hit a set of Jacks on the flop.  My opponent bet pretty big and I went all in for a total in the pot of a little more than $200.  The board was J, 9, 7 rainbow.  He called and showed his set of 9s.  The turn brought the forth Jack and the win and a $161 bonus.
  • After getting down $100 early, I rallied to a first day net of +800. (more than doubling my previous best day).

Time for day 2.  Later.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's Just About Vegas Time Again

Here I sit in Charlotte.  My bag is packed.  My bankroll is fat.  My mind and body are on GO.  All that remains is to get on the plane and sit for 4.5 hours.

My reservation to get on the plane is for 8:25 pm which would get me into Vegas a little after 10 pm Vegas time.  That schedule sounded good 8 weeks ago when I cashed in the miles to get the ticket.  Now, that is now unacceptable.

I checked the seating charts on the USAir web site and noticed that there is an 8:25 am flight out of CLT that is only about 2/3 full.  Flying stand-by that early in the morning with that many seats available should be a snap.  I plan to be at the airport around 7:25 am tomorrow to find out.

If all goes well, I will be in Vegas well before noon tomorrow.  That would be in about 19 hours.  That sounds much better.

My plans for Vegas are simple and few:

  1. Play some poker (probably just tourneys and $1-2 NL)
  2. Meet up with blogger friends old and new
  3. Do what looks like fun (limitation: Only do what I would do if my wife were standing nearby)(that really doesn't limit ME a whole lot)
  4. Get home safe and on time

So that's it.  I'm taking my laptop, so I may post some pictures or write a quick blurb, but don't count on it.  I have another trip planned  for as soon as I return, so this blog may not be updated for 2 weeks.  Now go enjoy your time off.  I will.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lindsey's Hand

Falstaff loves me like a brother(-in-law) for stuff like this:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Older Women are Looking for the Right Figure

Something I noticed in Yahoo News today via the Drudge Report.

Item: "Older white women join Kenya's sex tourists"

The article starts:

"MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Bethan, 56, lives in southern England on the same street as best friend Allie, 64.

They are on their first holiday to Kenya, a country they say is "just full of big young boys who like us older girls."

Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex."

Did they really write "Hard figures are difficult to come by"? I guess that is the point of the story.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Podcast List

When I travel, and that seems to be quite often, I'd rather listen to podcasts than music.  There is so much music that I have heard so many times before.  At least with a podcast, I feel like I've done something useful, as if I had read a book.

The purpose of this post is to list the podcasts that I load onto my MP3 player for traveling.

Honorable Mention

The Current List

Looking over the list, I can't help but see what a geek I am.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Poker Conversations and more

  • Expensive weddings
  • Stiff legs (2 or 3?)
  • Vegas in less than 2 weeks
  • Hollywood, CA
  • Brian should find something more interesting to do (than text us messages)
  • Vegas in less than 2 weeks
  • What to do with an English Degree
  • Aruba reading
  • "Is it time to play Omaha yet?"

For a good while last night, it seemed that I couldn't get a good hand unless someone else got a better one. I ran into AA three times with quality pairs (KK, QQ, and JJ). A few other times, I was able to give the right read and get away without losing my stack, but not often enough.

Thankfully, I was not involved in the worst hand of the night. I don't remember all of the cards perfectly and I don't remember the pre-flop action. They saw a flop of KJK. I know Nate started out with AA and Falstaff had a typical Falstaff hand of Q10 or Q9. In any case, there were three players as LA Lindsey was also hanging around and calling every bet. Finally, by the river, Falstaff had put both Nate and Lindsey all-in and showed his turned straight. Nate showed his AA in disappointment. Lindsey started to muck and showed what she thought was trip kings. "No", I said, "that's a full house." Lindsey, who couldn't read her flopped full house, took a pot worth 200+ credits. Ouch. She finished the night up about 220.

Me, I lost 50 or so. Oh well, Vegas is only 12 days away.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Short Post

I'm headed to FLA this afternoon, so there is not much time to write.  I'm using the down time while I download podcasts to listen to during the flight.  I find podcasts much more interesting that music.  I'll have to post my podcast list another time.

Update on my Zero to Infinity project:  I started with a $1 cash in a Poker Stars freeroll.  That one dollar is now up to $8.76.  I've only played $.01/.02 no-limit.  I'll try moving up to $.02/.04 when/if I get it up to $10.

I'm planning to be insanely busy tomorrow.  A post will be difficult, but we'll see.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Home Game Report

The gang gathered at Special K's Place last night.  Not this blog, but my actual home to throw down some cards.  The regular location was out as the irregular Falstaff was out of town on business. (Aside: Why does his business include running a poker tourney?)  He was kind enough to loan us a set of chips with which to play.

A few players were running late, so we didn't start up until 7:30.  It gave the players who arrived on time a chance to meet and chat with my wife, Dr. K.  She never comes around the regular game and doesn't like Vegas, so this was something of a rare appearance.  Diamond Jim had a buddy with him.  California Al is in town for a couple weeks.  Jim sure didn't want him to come all this way and not get to play hold' em with the gang.  He was not disappointed.

I noticed right off that the game was much slower starting out without Falstaff present.  That boy likes to mix it up with straddles and by pushing the action.  It seemed like an hour before we got our first $5 bet.  Nate arrived about 9 and then the chips started flying.  We had 8 players for the balance of the night: just the right amount.

I think Jim, Nate, and T were the winners on the night.  Skoon was so up and down all night, I really don't remember where he finished.  I know I lost the rest of my chips on the last hand of the night when Nate hit his 5 outer on the river.  That's okay, they were my original chips.  My best starting had of the night was pocket 9s or AKs.  It could have been worse.  Skoon got pocket As five times (I think) and won with them once(1)(uno).  Yikes!

We have a saying that originated with Jim that I would pay that much (bet amount) to watch a monkey fuck a football.  As it turns out, we are not the only ones.  I was reading BadBlood's post about his new/old home game where he writes

"But now I go back to the games from which I came. I'm just thankful that the player base will have me back. Strange as it seems, part of me misses when Teddy says "Aw hell, I'd rather watch a monkey fuck a basketball." 

I think football is a better line, but you get the point.

I don't remember much of the conversation topics, but they included:

Thanks to all who made it to the house.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pictures of the Day

I'm posting a picture because I don't have anything to write. So there.

This is a picture of a relative that was found among my Grandmother's stash of pictures. It is a tintype (or ferrotype), about 2 in. by 3 in., that is very hard to see. You have to get the light just right.

To get this shot, I put the tin in the corner of a picture that was already on my wall and focused the lens of my 6 MP DSLR to get the picture with room on all four sides. That way I know I got all of the picture in my shot. Here is the result that came out of the camera:

Raw from the Camera

Once I got the file into Photoshop, I cropped the picture down to a nice size, keeping the originals unaltered. I used the levels and color balance controls to bring out the image. My eyes popped when I saw how much of the image was really there, but I could also see the damage on the image.

Image Adjusted

The time consuming part of picture restoration is in the clean up phase. I probably spent another 3 hours on this image and I'm sure that I could spend another 6 that would make a noticeable difference. This is the final product. From the 2"x3" original I got a nice sharp 5x7 and could likely push it to 8x10 without much loss of sharpness.

Fianl Image

I love the eerie and powerful feeling of working on these images. I can't help but think about the man in the picture and what he would think about the technology that is now at my fingertips.

I mentioned above that this was a relative. I don't know that for a fact. I'm going by the features of his face and the fact that my grandmother had the picture. This man looks like several of my relatives on the Curtis side of the family. I suppose he could also be a Gray or a Temple. The Curtis' and the rest were located Southeast of Richmond, VA near present day Burrowsville. Being a tintype, that would put the date of this shot somewhere between 1870-1910. I guess it is possible, though unlikely, that someone will see it and know something about him. I'd love to put a name with the face.

I guess I had something to write after all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Time for a Tagline Change

I was reading a friends blog today. He was nice enough to post a link to this site with a short description. He took the description of the blog from the tag line in the header above. As I read it, it seemed that the description of myself as a redneck seemed pretty played. It was funny (to me) at first, but it's time to move on.

Those who know me probably believe the geek part without a problem, but I live near the center of a large city, I work for a very large software company in a technical position, and while I do own a pickup truck, its main duty is to haul home improvement supplies from Lowe's to the 1908 bungalow that my wife and I are renovating. The redneck doesn't fit, at least not compared to the real rednecks that inhabit "this neck of the woods."

So I guess that makes me a poker playin', picture takin', pool shootin' son-of-a-gun, er, geek. I haven't written much about the pool shooting part. I'll have to add a few notes about that next time I shoot league pool in a couple weeks. Later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

MASS Decides that On-line Gambling is worse when State Allows Gambling

This article from the Boston Globe (boston.com) titled Internet gambling is a target of Patrick bill will soon be all over the blogsphere.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/11/10/internet_gambling_is_a_target_of_patrick_bill/

So the bill will allow 3 casinos in the state that previously had none but ups the penalties for on-line gambling to 2 years in jail and $25,000. You would think that they are trying to stifle competition or something.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More Pokerage

Last night found the regular gang at the Casa de Falstaff for a special Sunday evening edition of Friday Night Poker. We started with a hold' em tournament. My cards were completely dead. I got involved with the first hand where I saw a cheap flop with A8 and caught my A on the flop. I bet and got a call. The turn put a possible high straight on the board and my bet drew a big raise from Nate. Suddenly, my pair didn't look good and I got out. I proceeded to sit patently and wait for some cards, and wait, and wait.

I didn't get involved in another hand (save seeing an occasional cheap flop not hit me) until level 4. By then I was very short on chips. I caught J10o in the big blind and checked. I caught both a jack and a 10 on the flop. Since I needed some chips, I decided to check in hopes that at least one of the 5 players still in the pot would bet at it. The very next player (T) pushes all in for just a little more than I had. It folded around to me and I insta-call. She turns over Q8 looking for a gut-shot 9.

Now I'm not going to pass judgement on what she did here except it is something of a good play if she expected everyone to fold. Given that I was an 80% favorite to win the hand at this point, it was a very bad play if she expected to get a caller. Of course, this was one of the 20% as a 9 was the next card on the table and I was out of the tourney before I even won a hand.

The tourney finished up after another hour. Nate won with Jim coming in seconds and Dave was on the bubble.

We started up the cash game at this point and my cards didn't get much better. I got "beat up" in the second hand against Falstaff when my QT sooted couldn't get any traction. Then I sat quietly for about the next hour waiting for my cards to come. For those at home keeping score, that is three hours of poker without winning a hand.

Then things turned around. I didn't start getting great starting hands, but my playable hands started hitting. From that point, if I saw 4th street, I won the hand all but twice. One of those was a showdown with Nate trying to trap me with a river check. I didn't bite. The second was Falstaff overplaying his little pair into a ATA board where I had a T. I didn't want to take a chance on ruining a good night.

In any case, I ended the night up a healthy amount in league points (about 164 points after the tourney and cash game). I hope to host the game this weekend in Falstaff's absence.

What the ... ?

Why is this so interesting:

(from Scientific American) Ovulating Strippers Make Bigger Tips

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa025&ref=feedburner&articleId=9668695D-E7F2-99DF-342C3B954158E8E2

You would think from this that we are all just a bunch of animals. Hummm?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Microsoft Releases Live Writer

I don't normally pimp software, but this was something I want to try out. It just so happens that Windows Live Writer lets me update this here blog. In fact, the purpose of this post is to try out the new toy.

So far I'm not impressed. The editing area is small, though it does pick up on the color scheme of my blog and mimics it. It does have spell checker and it looks like it will log me in automatically which I've had trouble getting blogger to do that.

The controls are familiar with the normal functions. It can keep track of multiple accounts which is good, even though I only use this one account. It will also work with other programs to blog content (very un-Microsoft like). Actually, the fact that MLW works with blogger is a minor miracle.

Here is a recent picture (testing the photo options):

Falstaff in Hamlet

This is Falstaff in a summer production of Hamlet.

The photo editing features are crude compared to Photoshop, but are great compared to the blogger interface. WLW let me add the border and gave me good control over the link, alt text and other effects. Link options (like the one to Falstaff's page above) are improved over blogger as well.

Oh, did I mention that Windows Live Writer is free from http://www.live.com/. Very cool.

From what I've seen tonight, I'm going to keep using this, assuming that it uploads what I want from this post.

Hitting the "publish" button now.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The pressure for legal poker builds

I know that the fine amount that the WTO is trying to levi on the US is old news ($100 billion), but the countries and places that are applying pressure is growing.

http://www.redherring.com/Home/23131

Also see what I wrote on this topic a month ago.

http://specialksplace.blogspot.com/2007/10/this-is-how-on-line-poker-will-become.html

It looks like we are right on schedule.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What day is it?

I knew that as soon as tried to be like a real blogger that I would be in trouble. I thought writing something every day from Tuesday until Vegas (12/6) would get me in the mood (OK, I’m already there) and make me feel like a real blogger. Heck, I thought I might even pick up a few more readers. Then, wouldn’t you know, my workload exploded. I’m in training and we had a deliverable for today that took me until 1:00 am to get to a point where I could turn it in.

Now it is late on Thursday and I haven’t done anything but work all week. Our stove broke, but I haven’t had time to look at it. My truck needs to get to the shop for transmission work, but that will wait. One of my little dogs isn’t feeling well. The yard has been ignored for too long. My sheets miss me. I think I still have a wife.

This training class ends tomorrow. I’ll get plugged back in to my life then.

Did I mention that I feel better than I’ve felt in about 3 years? More on that later.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Since I obviously don't have anything else to post...

The link to Maudie's poker blog has changed to www.pokerperspectives.com


If I can't write anything interesting, at least I can point you to someone who can.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

World Series - Game 3

I cannot believe that the wife and I dropped everything this weekend and went to a World Series game. We left Charlotte at 9:30 Saturday morning and flew to Pheonix. The layover was about 45 minutes, so I was a bit nervous that we would miss our connection an the whole adventure would be a loss, but this was the only flight that we could get at the last minute. We acutally got to Sky Harbor in Pheonix a bit early and got right on our flight to Denver.

My Brother G and his son 'Little G' (who isn't little at all anymore) picked us up, and, after checking into our nearby hotel, we all headed for the ballpark. We have Brother G to thanks for scoring the tickets and offering two of them to us. I think he knows how much it means to my wife to get away right now. Thanks Bro!




Before the game


We've seen more exciting baseball games, but we've never been so exicted to see a game. I knew we were good when I asked the wife if she wanted to walk around or anything, she just smiled and said, "No, I'm juuuuust fine."




Special and Dr. K at the World Series

We got to hear Carrie Underwood do the National Anthem and Phillip Baley do "God Bless America." Craig Biggio stopped by to accept an award. The Red Sox won a game with lots of offense and more excitement that the score would suggest.






I had a real "Rain Kahn" moment when 4 F-16s flew low over Coors Field for the flyover. They looked so close and were so loud as they left that I pretty much couldn't contain myself (though I don't think I yelled 'Bulldozer!'). I have no idea why such a sight has that effect on me, but so be it.


The Brother K and his son G

We hit the airport in Denver this morning at 7:00 (mountain time) and were back home in Charlotte by 1:30 (eastern).

Dr. K and I had planned to see a game in Arizona when we went to pickup up her degree in August, but Mr. C was sick and my wife didn't want to be away from him for any longer than necessary. He was disappointed that we had returned early on his account. He was very serious when he promised to make it up to Dr. K and myself. I really can't shake the feeling that he played a part in this adventure. He kept his word this time just like he always did.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

(Jott from Special K) Were now in Denver we are headed for the game everything went real smooth with t...

"Were now in Denver we are headed for the game. Everything went real smooth with the fight. This is great".

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Fun with Photoshop

When Dr. K and I arrived at Crabtree Falls, the scene was perfect. The sky was blue, the sunlight was streaming through the trees, and the water was rolling over the rocks. It was beautiful, except for the kids. As it would happen, a whole pack of we-blows had descended on the spot where I intended to work my pastoral magic.

Dr. K and I suffer kid better than someone, I’m sure, we’ve just never met that person. Putting a few kids in the way of our good time is tantamount to abuse.

Anyway, I still got my shot and a little bit of editing got me the photograph that I was looking for.

First, here is one of the original photos:



Notice the people all over the damn place. We waited for a while, but they were showing no signs of moving on. Next is the final shot that was posted to this blog on Sunday:






The effect was achieved by overlaying two identical shots taken a few minutes apart. Since most of the people had moved around, I was able to digitally cut holes in the top layer to let the clear bottom layer show through. Where this didn’t work, I used the clone stamp tool to blot out the remaining folks (or parts there of).

Digital is soooo much cooler than film.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Day in the Mountains

With all of the rough times that my wife has been through, I thought it was a good time for the two of us to get out of town for the day. Our favorite destination over the years has been the mountains. We really enjoy driving the scenery and hiking to waterfalls. I snap the pictures and Dr. K enjoys the surroundings and is sometimes amused by me (on purpose or otherwise).




(Click any picture for a larger view)

The reports on the quality of this year’s fall colors have been discouraging. We are in the middle of a wicked drought, but don’t believe the reports. We thought the colors were spectacular, the best we have seen. I took a few shots so you can be the judge.





We drove up through Hendersonville, NC and into the Pisgah National Forest. Our first stop was Looking Glass Falls (above). This has always been a difficult falls for me to photograph, but yesterdays pictures came out just fine. From here, we cruised the Blue Ridge Parkway (with the top down, of course) to lunch in Asheville.





More cruising and sightseeing (above) led us to the Crabtree Valley Recreation Area. We embarked on a 3 mile hike through the woods where the halfway point was Crabtree Falls (above). This is one of the most photographed waterfalls in North Carolina for good reason.

After this hike it was time to head home. My recently acquired GPS unit provided Dr. K with the best laugh of the day. We were near Little Switzerland. Let’s just say that this unit doesn’t know the mountain roads very well. It led us into a residential area to a dead end that had my wife laughing so hard that she couldn’t catch her breath. I didn’t mind that at least 50% if the laughter was directed at me. I was just glad to hear her laughing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I’m Back and Loaded

My on-line poker bankroll hit the felt a few weeks back, but I’m back now with a new infusion of cash. The story really begins back in the old days as the whole poker boom hit. I’ll try to keep it short.

I guess I pumped $200 or more into low limit and micro-no-limit poker trying to learn what I was doing. I was reading books and picking up what I could from 2+2 and WPT broadcasts. Shortly before meeting Flipchip and the Poker Prof at the 2004 Fiesta al Lago at the Bellagio, my bankroll hit the skids. I was out of cash, and besides, it was time for vacation in Yellowstone with the wife and Vegas with the in-laws. I quit playing on-line for a while.

Well, after getting back from Vegas and watching the pros play in person, I decided that I needed a poker fix and I didn’t want to wait for all of the transfers to clear. I searched my accounts and found that I had one quarter ($.25) left in my PokerStars account. That was enough to get me into some .01/.02 NL games. Just the fix that I needed.

I won that night, and the next, and the next. Pretty soon, I had built that quarter up to $10, then $20, and $50 and on. I don’t remember exactly how high I got it, but by the time the UIGEA hit, my roll was over $325. Not knowing what was going to become of on-line poker, I decided to pull all but $50 out and just play with that on Full Tilt. I worked that fifty to over $110 before lady luck caught up and my roll found the felt. That was August.

And that is where I stayed. Except for burning some Full Tilt Points on turbo freerolls, I didn’t play on-line poker. Then, last night I entered the PokerStars Freeroll to play everyone’s favorite Canadian (DN) in Aruba. I didn’t qualify, but out of 10,000 players, I finished 1234th and scored $1. I took that dollar to the NL tables and quickly turned it into $2.24. Tonight, a nice rivered straight and a couple other small pots brought the total to $4.41.

I guess by now you can tell that it is not about the amount of money, but about winning and learning. I’m just going to have some fun and see if I can push this start into anything worth playing for. I’ll try my best and only step up levels when appropriate based on the size of the roll. (Is it time for .02/.04 yet?) I’ll try to give somewhat regular updates on my progress. I’ll enter the WSOP main event when I hit $10,000. That should be somewhere around 2023 if my luck holds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Conversation Topics at the Poker Table

Last night was a special Sunday edition of the Falstaff home poker game. We welcomed a returning player (M) who has moved to LA, but was in town this weekend. She even brought a friend along (Big Tony) to give the game some new blood.

Special K had an especially good night taking over $200 (play money, of course) profit for the night. I actually hit some cards for a change. I made some good reads and survived a bad play or two.

The conversation at the table was lively at times. Here is what I remember of the topics discussed:
Cat pee
Naked Actors - Naked Audience
Really bad plays
FedEx Commercials (“Absolutely right, Mr. Turkeyneck”)
Gregory Hines
Vegas in 7 weeks
Thanksgiving is going to suck
Commercial Residuals
Guys showing their stuff
Orange penis joke
The ground can cause a fumble
“Oh, did you straddle?”
Poker lessons from Suzy

As you can see, the Falstaff home game is always fun and never boring. We really don't say it enough - "Falstaff, thanks for hosting!"

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dr. K's Speech for her Father (Mr. C)

Dr. K hates public speaking. She is a very shy, quiet person. She is particularly shy in crowds. I think we attended sunday school for a year and a half before she ever spoke in class. You may be able to imagine how difficult it must have been for her to address the assembly of mourners at the service for her father.

That said, she was determined to present this last gift to her father and she was willing to face her fears to get it done.

She nailed it. She didn't read the speech, she told the story. She smiled, and paused, and emphasized exactly as she needed and I don't think she left a dry eye in the house. I could not be more proud.

So without further ado, here is what she said:

"I have been very blessed to have Ed Chapin not only as my father, but also as my friend. And I know that my brother and sister, Chip and Terri, feel the same way.

I could spend a great deal of time speaking about my father. But I feel I can best describe the man he was by just some of the lessons we learned from him.

Our father taught us many lessons of LIFE:

He taught us to love life and to seek life’s blessings everyday.
He taught us that we do not JUST have a responsibility to help others but that it is an honor and a privilege because in helping others we are doing “God’s work”.
He taught us that the true character of a man is not overshadowed by his mistakes.
He taught us that we can never have enough friends and each friend is a treasured jewel.

Throughout his life our father has also taught us lessons of COURAGE. These lessons were never more apparent than in the past few years:

He taught us about strength and determination in the light of great hardships and about perseverance even in the darkest of times.
He taught us that our inabilities do not define us.
He taught us to face our challenges with hope, with dignity and with faith in God.

And most importantly, throughout his life, our father taught us many valuable lessons of LOVE:

He taught us to love ourselves,
He taught us to love our families and friends,
And he taught us to love those who are so down and out that they may not even love themselves.

Our father, our friend Ed Chapin also taught us that because of your friendship and your love, he was a very blessed man."

Yes, he was. - Special K

Friday, October 12, 2007

This is how on-line poker will become legal (again)

The on-line gambling ban ("Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act" or UIGEA) imposed by congress last year is in trouble (in my opinion). The World Trade Organization is looking to fine the US for about $100 Billion for trade treaty violations. The US has already been found guilty. We can look for a federal judge to find a reason to strike down the law on a technicality very soon. That would get the conservatives out of this mess without having to take any action that would upset their base.

There is a good explanation here: US faces US$100 billion fine for web gaming ban http://www.itnews.com.au/News/62937,us-faces-us100-billion-fine-for-web-gaming-ban.aspx

It looks like we are almost there.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Some thought from this past weekend

I’ve never watched anyone die before. I mean I stood right there and watched for my father-in-law’s final breath. When it came, it was a relief. I was relieved for him, for my wife, and for myself. Ed’s life was much too short (73 years), but his suffering was too long. To see all that come to a close and to stand with my sobbing wife was a lot to take in and really won’t sink in for a while. I’m not looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Ed and his wife raised a family that is so unbelievably strong and committed to each other that I can barely comprehend it. If Ed needed anything over the past year, it happened and happened quickly. It is good to know that I’ve got that kind of love backing me up if I hit some bad luck. It is also sets the bar high for me should one of my loved ones need my help.

Hospice Rocks! Anyone who has ever needed Hospice or experienced the care that they give must surely agree. They are wonderful and indispensable in smoothing the transition. They did it when my father passed a decade ago and they did it again this weekend (and the weeks leading up to this weekend).

My mother-in-law and I bump heads over politics. We disagree on the funding of the arts. There are other topics that my wife won’t let me talk about around her mom. I even got an index card to carry one Christmas with approved conversation topics. But I love her. She is tough as nails when she needs to be. She ran a virtual marathon in the caring of her husband over the past two years. She would sleep or eat like she should. She wouldn’t leave his side. She didn’t abandon her grown children, but you knew that she was going to give her all for her man. My wife shares a lot of that.

It is easy for me to place my sadness. My sadness for Mr. C (Ed) is done. I’ve been feeling sad for him over the past 2 years. He didn’t want to leave, but he pain and suffering is done. He stayed strong throughout and is now in a better place.

I have a little sadness for me. Ed was a great guy and he was great to me. I’ll miss him and I’ll always wish we had done more together. He gave me most of what is important in my life. I feel awful for my wife. I was told early in this process that it is especially tough for a girl to lose her daddy. Seeing the grief in her face makes that fact undeniable. In feeling bad for my mother-in-law, I again feel for myself. It scares the hell out of me to think that I could lose Dr. K someday or someway. I don’t know what I would do and I don’t know how Mrs. C has done it, but she has been strong.

I know that the coming days will find a new normal. The old normal will never return and that will have its own challenges. One day at a time.

Coming soon: Dr. K's speech

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Friend Ed


Edwin Hubbell Chapin II of Charlotte passed away today, October 06, 2007. He was the son of the late Harold Miller Chapin and Elsie Chapin Banks of Newton, Massachusetts. Ed is survived by his wife Peg, his son Edwin (Chip) Chapin III of Raleigh, his daughter Dr. K and son-in-law Special K of Charlotte, his daughter Terri Hennessey, son-in-law Grant Hennessey, grandchildren Kyle and Erin Hennessey of Fort Mill, SC, his sister Harriette Philips of Nevada and niece Karen Hoppe of New Hampshire.

Ed graduated from high school and joined the Navy at age 17 where he served for three years. Once out of the Navy, he enrolled in Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts where he graduated with a degree in business administration. After college, he moved south to take a job with a beer distributor in Charlotte. Ed commuted to the UNC School of Social Work Master’s Program every week until graduation in 1967. After graduation he continued working at the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, and in 1969, he became director of the department. He remained with Social Services for 17 years as director and in that time, his genuine concern, thoughtfulness, kindness and caring earned him the enormous respect of his staff.

In 1989, he left the Department of Social Services to become an assistant county manager of Mecklenburg County. After retiring from his county position in 1995, he became the president of Thompson Children’s Home in Charlotte. In addition to his work at Thompson Children’s Home, he served on numerous boards, including Mi Casa Su Casa, the Program for Accessible Living, The Bruce Iron Camp Fund, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, and the Board of Advisors at the Schools of Social Work in Chapel Hill and Charlotte. In 1969, he was named one of the Top 10 Young Men for Mecklenburg County by the Charlotte Jaycees. He was honored at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill as a Distinguished Alumni in 2005. In September 2007, by Proclamation of the Mecklenburg County Commission, a wing of Mecklenburg’s new Social Services building will bear the name Chapin Hall in his honor.

Edwin H. Chapin II was a visionary who had an extraordinary ability to foresee the impact of social and political change on the public welfare system. He was sought out to serve as an advisor and leader of many local, state and federal organizations in the public welfare system, as well as the many other aspects of human services systems. He served as a Director of the National Association of Counties and was a part of their Welfare Reform Task Force. Ed was active on a national level in the debate regarding social welfare reform. He worked hand in hand with state and federal officials to develop policies to most effectively and efficiently serve the social services population. His many contributions will never be forgotten.

Throughout his life, he enjoyed traveling with his wife, Peg, spending time with family and friends, attending weekly get-togethers, sharing stories of his life’s adventures and playing poker. Spending time with his grandchildren, Kyle and Erin, always put a smile on his face like rolled up Aces over Kings.

Ed was a gentle soul who made friends easily. He will be remembered for his warm smile, funny stories and loving heart. Above all, he adored his loving wife Peg, his family, and friends.

As a lasting tribute to Ed’s work and life, his family and friends have established a scholarship in his honor at UNC Charlotte. In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Edwin Chapin Social Work Scholarship in care of Susan H. Ingle, College of Health and Human Services, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223-0001 (http://socialworked.blogspot.com/).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

FreeRooooooll!

Poker Tournament

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 3481962

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Bro K wins a big award

I said in a post below that my little brother has been leading a project that would do big things. Well, the word is out and a big award has come in. Here is the best part of an email that I got this morning:

"Tellme won best-in-category (network/internet technologies) for Phonetop in the Wall Street Journal’s annual Innovation Awards!
See the blurb here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119022921763532686.html"

Congrats Bro!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Friday Night is Alright for Poker

Friday twas a fun night playing poker at Casa de Falstaff. The usual suspects gathered to sling cards and chips at the appointed hour. 2PuttBurdie made a late entrance (due to a haircut appointment) and an early exit (because he played like a hair stylist). He left partly because he was on 3 hours of sleep in the past two days. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

It was an interesting night for me as I got up big early, only to go incredibly card dead as to lose the $100+ that I was up and the $40 that I started with. In one stretch, I took three good pots in a row with two flushes and a straight. I remember betting into a short stack on a 3 spade turn when the jack that gave me a straight and draw to a flush (10s in my hand) also gave the short stack flush (K in his hand). I also had a big blind junk hand flop trip sixes only to see the four flush on the river and correctly ID’ed the holder of the A and the nuts. That was a good lay-down.

But the best lay-down was after about 2.5 hours of dead hands where I was dealt two big red kings under the gun. I make a standard 16x blind raise ($8 I think). It folds to the button who is loose anyway and pushes $40 all in. The small blind (Falstaff) immediately goes all in for more than I have. I could not imagine any hand that he could possibly do that with than AA. I think for a while and then fold face up (gasp from the crowd). The button turns up TT and Falstaff turns up AA. A ten is the first card off the deck. No A or K hits and the button takes it down. Falstaff said that he had only seen 2 other players lay down KK pre-flop. I don't think I've ever done it before and probably never will again.

Conversation topics from Friday poker:
OJ and the Palace Station robbery
Tampons/Shoes
Pecan Pie Walnuts
I can’t wait for December (WPBT)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
3 Bicycles?
Writing is way better than lighting.
I don’t want Pauley’s job
Monkeys and the footballs they rode in on (that was not Friday, but it was funny)

Monday, September 10, 2007

More Fun with Old Pictures

My last post of old pictures was so much fun, I decided to dig through some really only pictures and see if there was anything fun in there. I found a few that you might enjoy.





This is one of the first pictures that I ever took with my own camera. I was about 10 or 11. I sold Christmas cards in August to earn enough points to buy a camera. The guy in the picture was a friend of my older brother. Notice in this shot how much room he has between the sofa and the table. I took this shot with a nice strong flash so I'm sure there is no way he hit the ball.




This is my younger brother on the family minibike. I wish I had gotten more bike in the shot, but I love the massive amount of tape that is holding the gas tank onto the bike. I'm sure that was safe! This 'kid' is now making some of the software that will blow peoples minds over the next 12 months. You go boy.




Here is a shot of Special K's wheels that he drove through high school and college. It was wore out by the time I was done with it.




Here is a pic of Special K from '79 when he was a pole vaulter at Independence High School. Look, I'm really skinny with definition in my arms and legs. What the heck happened. My buds Marvin (hood) and Ansle are seated. I won this particular meet (Queen City Relays). One of the guy I beat that day was a guy named Ben Browder. He went on to be in some Si-Fi shows or something (Stargate SG-1 actually). Two weeks after this shot, Ben told me he hoped to become an actor. "Sure, sure, Ben. Whatever." Good job, Ben!




Here is a shot of my dorm hallway at the end of my first weekend at Carolina. You may note the multiple cases of beer, boxes of KFC chicken and Domino's Pizza and other various levels of trash. Good intro, guys.





Finally, one of my favorites. This is a picture from the summer before my senior year in high school. Note the metal LCD digital watch, short tennis shorts and and a bit more hair than I currently sport. Oh, yea, the guy who wouldn't leave me alone till I took a picture with him was some Senator or something. Hehe. Good times.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Images from Camp Comet

This past weekend, a reunion was held for the campers, counselors, and staff of Camps Wohelo, Comet, and Comet Trails. I spent three summers at Camp Comet as a counselor (81,82, and 83). It was a hard, great, happy, frustrating, and growing time for everyone. I did not attend the reunion, but I have heard from several folks who attended the camp.

Interest seems to be high. Some folks have found this blog though Google searches and contacted me about a picture that I posted over a year ago. So in the interst of giving them something to find when they get back here, I'm posting a few more pictures that I have from those days.

Enjoy (Click the pictures for bigger versions)





This was my gang in my second summer at camp. The names were (front from L to R) Matt, Jason, Richard, and Antonio (Standing from L to R) Steve, Andy, David, Saul, Oscar, and Brad. Of the three summers, this was easily my favorite group.

This is a picture of Matt and Andy out on beautiful Lake Comet (snicker).





This is a picture of the star of one of the street hockey matches. He was one of the nicest kids but tough as nails when it came to hockey.





Here is a picture of Special K from 1983 with a couple of friends from Wohelo.

And finally, the original picture (cleaned up a bit) of the gang that made the summer of 1982 special. I hope you are all doing well.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Legal Poker Gets Closer

This post was inspired by Falstaff's post from yesterday of the news that some counties in West Virginia have legalized table games in their casinos, including poker. This will move legal poker much closer to my home in Charlotte, NC

So just how close has legal poker come to Charlotte?

The short answer is one hell of a lot closer.

When playing poker around the country, I usually get the question, “Where are you from?” Part of my answer usually includes that it is as far as you can get from legal poker in the lower 48 states. I’m not exactly positive where that point really is (or was), but I’m sure it is damn close to Charlotte.

Here is a list of casinos that offer poker and their road distances from Charlotte:

Belterra Casino Resort, Florence, IN 334 mi (7.5 hours of mixed roads)
Casino Aztar, Evansville, IN 419 mi.
Atlantic City Hilton, Atlantic City, NJ 454 mi. (along with many otherAC casinos)
Casino Windsor, Windsor, ON 504
MGM Grand Casino, Detroit, MI 505 mi.
Hard Rock Casino, Tampa, FL 505 mi.
Silver Star Casino, Philadelphia, MS 508 mi. (along with many other Tunica casinos)

By contrast, the new closest place to play will now be:

Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center, Sod, WV 283 mi. (4 hours 38 minutes)

So the difference is only about 50 miles, the amount of time it will take to get there is down by a whopping 3 hours.

The other big surprise to me was the relative distance to the Tunica area casinos. I always thought that the distance to legal poker was about equal whether you went north (Atlantic City or AC), South (Florida) or West (Tunica). I really didn't know about the Indiana poker scene until Falstaff went there recently. But I had no idea that Tunica was 50 miles further away than AC. I would have guessed AC was further, and maybe it is by road. No way do I think that Canada and Detroit are closer.

All of the above times and distances are according to my Garmin Nuvi 350, so actual drives times will likely be much lower. Also note that I have not counted gambling boats in this survey. They are a whole different category to me. YMMV. Let the gaming begin, again.

Friday, August 10, 2007

What am I supposed to feel?

That ‘s the question that keep going through my mind. My wife IM’ed me today to give me an update on her father’s condition. He is known as Mr. C on this blog.

Regular readers know that Mr. C has been having a hell of a time with various cancers. He has had kidney, bladder, brain, and lung cancer diagnosed and treated over the past two years. The IM from my wife added bone cancer to the list. Mr. C is in a lot of pain. I don’t even want to speculate about what this means for the rest of his life.

To write that this situation is bad/awful/sucks and any number of other descriptions would just be redundant at this point. I can't know what it is like for Mr. C at this point. I have no way of putting myself in his place. I don’t really know what Mrs. K is going through. Hell, I’m still trying to figure out my reaction to my own father’s passing almost 12 years ago.

I don’t get the punch in the stomach feeling. I try to stay alert to what my wife needs and take what I can off of her shoulders, but there really isn’t much that helps. I look for opportunities to hug her, hold her, and listen without offering advice. But when it comes to feeling, it’s hard to describe. In a way, it’s almost like I don’t feel it.

I’m not going to figure it out by writing out this post and I’m not going to get into it any more since there are others who are feeling it terribly and need help with it. It’s just not time to be me oriented, but my lack of feeling does worry me and I’ll have to figure that one out once the current storm has passed.

Ten years of knowing Mr. C has not been nearly enough.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Photoshopping

Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm taking some time to go through the pictures. Here is what Photoshop can do:


This is a repeat of the photo from Sunday:





















And here is the same shot after photoshop:




















Much better

Fear the Lemming

It's fantasy football time again. Lemmings Rule!

Vacation Wrap-up

Now that my short vacation to Arizona is past, it’s time for some obviouservations.

People without class find it extremely easy to display this fact at a graduation. I love it when the parents, family and friends of a graduates cheer and clap for the accomplishment of their loved-one. They deserve it. They don’t deserve some ass who thinks they are funny and intent on calling attention to themselves. One even let loose with a blast from an airhorn (most of the graduates were audiologists - idiot). I was quite embarrassed for some of my wife’s classmates. Let’s just put it this way, if I noticed their lack of class and decorum then there is a real problem.

Arizona has lots of trees. Before this past weekend, the only parts of Arizona I had seen were Phoenix and the Hoover Dam. Both of these areas are very desert-like (in the same way that the ocean is very water-like). I really like the forests up around Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Who knew?

Sedona is unbelievable. The scenery is absolutely awesome. Their airport is about 1000’ above the town up on a plateau. The light was not good for the few hours that we were there. I’m sure I missed many good ‘postcard’ shots.

My wife and I get along great on trips. It is a testament to her patience and easy-going nature. I don’t think her family would believe she has an easy-going nature. My family wouldn't believe that I am considered quiet by my poker buddies. Is that funny or sad?

All of my brothers and their wives have at least a Masters-level degree. I think Dr. K is the first to that level. Did I say that I’m proud of her?

Does anyone know for sure how we should be addressed? Is it “Mr. and Dr. K”?

We had a celebrity on the trip back to Charlotte today. She was a nice looking middle aged blond. She was very chatty with the flight attendant and was very nice about posing for pictures. I have no idea who it was. That’s probably a good thing considering the run-ins I’ve had with celebrities like Tobey Maguire and Cameron Diaz.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Make that DOCTOR K (and I'm not talking about me)

My lovely wife got her doctorate awarded today in Phoenix. Pictures:







































Afterwards, we drove up to Sedona. Here is a small taste of what we saw:




















































Tomorrow we go up to Mormon Lake for some horseback riding (Dr. K's first time) and more sightseeing. It should be fun.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Surburban Rock Hill Freezeout

As good as the ending to Sunday’s game was, this was bad. At least the buy-in was relatively low. I drew the A and, therefore, the dealer button as my seat. It would be the only thing I won all night. Actually, that is overstating it. All night only lasted one hour and 5 minutes.

I started by seeing two flops in small raised post with suited A. Neither hit. I fold to bets on the flop. I played suited J-6 from the big blind. Hit the flush on the turn when I had to call an all in for 2/5ths of my stack. All-in had suited Q to take it.

Next hand I'm playing 4h5h from the small blind. Me., button and big blind play unraised. Flop is a flush with a 4. check-check-check. Turn is a 4. I bet, bb folds and button raises 100. I call. Turn is a blank. I bet another 60, he calls and show the other 4 with a bigger kicker. One orbit complete and I’m down under 600.

I play QK to a small raise. Flop is a blank for me. Falstaff bets and I fold. He gets one caller. Turn is a Q and river is a K. They both run up a good pot and Falstaff’s paired 8 is beaten by the callers pocket 10-10.

I sit quiet with dead cards through the next level looking for something to push. I get QQ second to last hand before the break. I push the 300 left. Player (Matt) on my left insta-calls and one other player calls. Matt pushed him out on the flop and turns over AA. I don’t impove. I'm out first.

I made no bad plays that I can see but still did not win a hand. That's the way it goes some nights. Falstaff is down as well and is the next player out. We hit the road and I'm home by 10:15.

On the bright side, we didn't waste a lot of time just to go out on the bubble and the buy-in wasn't very high. It is also a lot easier to remember all of the hands I played.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A good day at the Web Bank

"Your EFT withdrawal request has been submitted. Please allow up to three business days for your request to be processed. "
-- Neteller

It's not much by some standards, but the $265 that was just released will sure be nice to get my hands on. Considering that it was down to $.25 at one point, it's like pennies from hevean.

A good night at the table

Yea, it was a very good night. The gang gathered for a special Sunday edition of the Falstaff home game. Schedules had been busy with plays, charity rides and some work thrown in here and there. All of which means that we hadn't gotten together is a few weeks, so we finally found the time last night.

I started out pretty good by pushing Falstaff off of two good pots with a set of 3s and a flopped nut flush. I only showed the set. I took another good pot when my all-in with a set of 2s got two callers and held. That got me up near $100. Falstaff noted that I had raised three times early in the night which doubled my total for the year. I like the tight image.

I took a couple of beats too. Dan made a runner-runner baby flush to beat my slow-played trip kings. DavidB sucked out on my top pair of jacks by chasing a flush draw but instead hitting a case A on the river.

Nick I. hit quad 3s to take the high hand and the running bonus. John hit a wheel straight flush (I think he called it the iron wheel?) after the bonus period to felt the bonus pot. In both hands, they only held one playing card (Nick a 3 and John the A).

The big hand of the night happened on the last orbit. I was on the button with KK raising the straddle to $4. I got 4 callers. The flop was K-9-6(J). Dan led out for $5. John called and Nick A. (yes, it was a two Nick night) went all-in for $56. I hesitated a bit for show and then called. Nate calls. Dan folds and Falsteff goes in the tank chattering-on about the pot odds and having outs, but he folds (for the record he had J-10). I only have $2.50 in front of me, so Nate and I push the rest in blind on the side. Nate turns over AK and Nick turns over 9-6. Fours on the turn and river give me an unneeded boat and I raked the pot of the night.

I finished the night with $214 off of a $30 buy-in. I’ll take it every time.

We have a special Tuesday night tournament this week. Hopefully, my luck will continue running good.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Catchup

Blogging is slow these days. It’s time for a catchup post.

Congratulations to Dr. Pauly, FlipChip, and all my other friends who just completed covering the World Series of Poker. They not only survived the entire 45 days, but they produced the best poker coverage ever witnessed by man. If you didn’t follow the stories, behind the scenes looks, deals, prop bets, and pictures from the Rio, then you missed out. Great job, guys.

I’ve just started a new job with the same employer. I really don’t know how much of a new job it is since I’ll be doing the same stuff with new customers. These customers are going to be larger and general more important. Some of the work we do could actually mean life or death for the end users. That’s pretty heady stuff for a database guy.

But before I get too far into the new job, I’ve got some vacation time to take. Due to the illness in the family, we won’t be going on our planned trip to Aruba. Mrs. K and I agreed that this was not the time to be gone for a week. I’m hoping we can take this trip in Dec or January. We have until April to take the trip without losing it.

My poker play is pretty stagnant. I’m not winning a lot and I’m not losing a lot. I have tried playing a few sit & go’s with one 4th of 90 cash and a 2nd out of 90 out of the money finish. The latter was a super satellite where the winner was to go on to a satellite to a $50k tourney. Maybe next time.

We’ve been getting a bunch of things done around the house. I’ve been picking things off of my list since March. My travel schedule in May and June slowed me down, but I’m home now with at-home vacation coming up, so I going to put it into turbo “Tim Taylor” mode and knock out a few more items.

More catching up later…

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Surgery Update

Mr. C had a pre-surgery MRI this morning. The image showed that the tumor had grown to a point where surgery would do more harm than good, so the surgery was cancelled. The family and doctors are assessing the remaining options. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

Mr. C's Surgery

Mr. C from the last post will be having surgery to insert chemo wafers on his brain tomorrow afternoon (make that today). This has been one hell of a long road for the family. It is hard when you are on the second row like me, but it is excruciating for my wife and her mom and siblings. Mr. C is a trooper and is doing everything he can to hold on to a decent life.

The World Series of Poker moves on to Day 2 tomorrow. People will die in Iraq tomorrow. The MLB All-Star Game will be played tomorrow. It will be hot all over the country tomorrow. Mothers and wives and husbands and sons and daughters will get the news that relatives will be born and die tomorrow. Through it all, life goes on for those who are left. That’s what my logic brain tells me.

I see the pain in my wife’s eyes and the heartbreak on my mother-in-law’s face. I see Mr. C’s friends come by to say goodbye with pain in their hearts. I know it happens every day, but we feel it so much more when it happens to those who are close.

As far as I know, Mr. C doesn’t have much more chance of dying tomorrow that most any other day, but we need to say our piece, just in case.

If you couldn’t tell, I really don’t have that much of a point. I’m just dumping some of my stuff here. Thanks to those of you who pray. We appreciate you very much.

I'll update this space tomorrow or as we learn more.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Some games are more than just fun

Some friends came to my in-laws house to play some poker last night. I play poker because I like too. Most of my friends that play poker play for the fun of it as well. Last night, we played Mr. C playes pokerpoker because we like someone who likes playing poker. As the long-time reader of this blog and a few others know, my father-in-law is very sick with cancers. He actually has three cancers now and it facing more surgery next week.

Mr. C is more than just a father-in-law, friend, father, grandfather or mentor to many of the people he has come to know over the years. He is one of those rare individuals that truly touch the lives of the fortunate folks who cross paths with him. Since he has taken sick, people that worked with and for Mr. C, friends, lost classmates, and many others have been coming out of the woodwork. They express their concerns, offer to help, or just chat. His friends and family have started a scholarship in his name at UNC Charlotte and have donated over $50k to fund a full scholarship and are working toward a second. Seeing how people around Mr. C have reacted to his illness gives me peace in the knowledge of the morality and selflessness of our fellow men and women. I’ll only be able to put into words, a tiny fraction of what he means to me. I’ll have to save that for a future post.

Special K's chip tricks are much better than his gameOn Saturday night, Mr. C wanted to play poker. He has enjoyed playing cards since he played pinochle every day with his ailing father over a forty years ago. My wife told me a story about the future Mrs. C having to wait to go on a date because Mr. C hadn’t played cards with his fatheryet that day. My wife, Mrs. K, plays daily backgammon games with Mr. C now. Those are going to be extraordinary memories for her in the coming years.

On Friday night at Falstaff’s home game, I mentioned that Mr. C wanted to play but couldn’t get out. I didn’t have to say another word. Everyone that could make it was ready to go. Falstaff started working on getting Mrs. Falstaff her date in time to still make the game. Diamond Jim and T were on board as well.

So on Saturday, we all gathered at Mr. C’s casino. My cards and my game sucked really bad, but that really didn’t matter (well, in reality, I still got really pissed off and had to cool off for a while, but that is part of the game). What really mattered was that good folks rose to a good cause.

The bottom line is that Mr. C had fun. My wife, her family, and I are so very grateful. Every good night for him is rare and precious these days. You all gave him and us a great present. And you thought you just came over to play poker.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sometimes, It Sucks to be Me

I got to LAX right at the end of this mess (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070624/D8PVFPG00.html). They wouldn't let us off the plane for 45 minutes. I got to deal with the long lines (actually, it was a mass of humanity) to get to the rental car buses. That took another 20 minutes. Then the traffic in and around the airport was snarled up because they had closed the freeway to film some TV show or movie. Yuck.

Even without checking a bag, it still took about an hour and a half from landing in LA to getting to my rental car. I guess I got a little cocky getting out of CLT and the travel gods put me back in place.

It really doesn't suck to be me though. Not anymore. Thanks Mrs. K.

It Must Suck to be Them

I really don’t know how regular people travel these days. I’m traveling today, which is a Sunday. I figured that Sunday morning would be a pretty slack time at the airport. Business travelrs (like myself) would be traveling later in the day. Vacationers would have left on Friday or yesterday if possible. I could not have been more wrong.

The airport was a mad house. Before I even got off the parking shuttle bus I see the huge long lines of the curb check-in. That line must have been 50 yards and 50 minutes long. I find a hole in that line to get into the terminal building and see the same horror repeated at the ticketing desk and again at the first class check in. I was running a little short on time to catch my flight, but I wasn’t checking any bags, so this was only some rubber-necking on my part (you know, slowing down to look at a disaster and being glad that it’s not you).

I find a ticketing kiosk in my personal corner of the asylum. I wait while the one person ahead of me finishes up and I’m on my way to the security screening in about 45 seconds. I notice that the folks that I shared the shuttle with have barely dinted the check in line. That must suck.

The line for screening is pretty long as well. There are just people everywhere. However, I’ve get my platinum status with US Air’s frequent flyers club and Charlotte has a special line for us. This line is not really a line as there is nobody waiting there. I zip to the front and the process goes just great. By not ckecking a bag and having preferred status, I’m guessing that I saved about 90 minutes in the boarding process.

I’ve got plenty of time now to find a breakfast biscuit, get to my gate and wait for the call for first-class passengers to board. That’s right. I got bumped up for this cross-country flight. I waited at the gate for about 10 minutes.

We are on our way now with arrival in about 3 hours. I’ve got a comfy seat with lots of elbow room and brunch on the way. This makes travel bearable. I don’t know how I survived travel as a commoner. It must suck to be them.

Catching Up

I took some time off from the blog over the past week or so. I was coming off a long stretch of travel and wanted to spend time resting and catching up around the house. Blogging just fell to the bottom of the priority list. But some cool things have been happening and I’ve got a few hours with nothing better to do, so I’ll go ahead and catch you up on what’s been happening.

While I was in the Seattle area, I got first wind of a new opportunity coming my way. One of my three accounts was being moved to another division. I was given the option of moving with that customer or staying on my current team with my remaining customers. When I returned home, I also got word that one of those remaining customer would probably not be renewing their contract. The new division would give me some additional money, higher profile assignments, and the travel opportunities would be more exotic.

My current manager has been the best I’ve ever worked with and my team is a great group of guys (and a gal). However, the current job would be reduced to one customer for a while, and I would probably be moved to a new manager and a new team. Since change was inevitable, I went for the money. I may end up looking back on the past year as the good times, but I’m happy about the change for now.

I started working with a local theater company as a volunteer grunt. Shakespeare Carolina is a pretty descriptive name for this low budget group of very dedicated actors, directors and stage hands. My buddy Falstaff is one of the driving forces behind SC which is why I decided to go with them. I almost always enjoy hanging out with him (losing money in a poker game is occasionally the possible exception). Working on the current production has not been an exception. I only spent a few hours on The Taming of the Shrew. I expect there will be a lot more to do in Falstaff’s production of Hamlet come July. In that play, kings get killed a lot, just like when I play poker. I’m looking forward to it.

Right now I am on a flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles for my last scheduled database performance workshop. This one is in Simi Valley on the northern edge of Greater Los Angeles. I’ll get to LA before noon. I hope it keeps going as well as the start (see next post).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My day in Vegas

Being a jet-setting world traveler is not easy, but that was my role over the weekend.

I have been in the Seattle area for the past 10 days presenting training to my colleagues. The weekend before the assignment was spent with the wife. She loves to go to major league baseball games. We had not been to Safeco Field where the Mariners play, so she came along, we went to the game and she went back to North Carolina on Sunday. So that was the first weekend of the trip.

When I found out that the second weekend was the summer edition of the World Poker Blogger Tournament in Las Vegas, I couldn’t resist making my reservation and getting my butt to Vegas. Unfortunately, airline tickets are expensive. The cheapest tickets from Seattle to Vegas were running in the $400 range. US Airways was no help with their lack of frequent flyer seats for the entire month. I was able to find an awards ticket of Southwest Air, but only for arrival Saturday morning and departure on Sunday morning. In other words, I would only be in Vegas about 22 hours. Well, 22 hours is better than nothing, so I was off.

The trip down was very smooth. The plane left right on time and arrived early. I got right into a cab to the Orleans and actually arrived before my flight was scheduled to land. I gave Falstaff a quick call and the poker was on.

I donked around with some $1-2 NL for a couple hours and decided to break for lunch when I got back to even. The bloggers really started to gather at TGI Friday’s around noon. It was good to see some old, familiar faces like Badblood, Dr. Pauley, Mr. and Mrs. Spaceman, and Zeem in addition to getting to know some new faces like Irongirl, Waffles, and Carmen. There was also the added pleasure of seeing M who I knew through Falstaff’s home game before she moved out to LA.

The tournament was not good. The Orleans really shafted us by jacking the buy-in, skipping levels, shortening levels, and generally treating us as a nuisance instead of paying customers. Maybe it was just the ass-clown of a poker room director, but it reflected on the Orleans. I’ll probably never set foot in the Orleans again.

I think I played well. I busted out 19th out of 45 or so after seeing only one quality hand in 2 hours. Congratulations to Mrs. Spaceman on her big win.

After the tourney, it was time to get out of the Orleans as quickly as possible. I jumped into the car with Carmen and Waffles and we headed for the MGM poker room, the just barely unofficial home of poker blogger cash games.

I sat at another $1-2 NL table and proceeded to get nothing for an hour and a half. I don’t think I saw a better hand than 3-3 the whole time. I busted out of my $100 and decided to just hang out the 30 minutes that remained until Falstaff, T and the rest of the gang caught up.

Dinner was great with a ton of conversation. Rock and roll and WWE style wrestling dominate my memory of the conversation, but I’m sure there was much more. The cost of dinner was steep, but that’s the way it is in Vegas. The food was great, so it worked out.

After dinner it was back to the poker room for more poker action. This time T and I sat at a $2-4 limit table. I had a really good run that saw me turn several boats and my share of other strong hands. One hand in particular that I remember had me flopping two pair with Js and 7s. The 9 on the turn hit my opponent’s pocket pair of 9s and the river J gave me a really big pot. It made for good TV I’m sure.

We played until about 3 am when T and Falstaff had to go. I left for the airport around 4 and made my way back to my hotel room in Seattle. I got there about 11 am on Sunday. Let me tell you, it is really painful waiting to get on a plane after being up all night. You want to sleep, but can’t. Once you get on and sit down, you want to lean back and sack out, but they don’t let you until you are airborne. The process feels like it takes hours.

Once back in Seattle (Issaquah, actually), I lay down for a real rest and end up sleeping until 6 pm. I ate dinner, did some work, and watched some TV until about midnight. 7:30 on Monday came and I was good to go.

The trip wasn’t easy and I ended spending $80 more on poker than I won. It was still a good time. Vegas almost always is a good time.