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,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 (

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


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