Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Last 10 Days

No, not the LAST 10 days, just the few that proceeded today.  This is just a catch up post.

Things have been good since I returned from Norfolk.  I've been catching up at work, writing a little training, cleaning the inbox, reading blogs - the usual stuff.  I am getting ready for 3 trips to the west coast that will be followed by a 3 week international trip.  All of that will happen in the next 6 weeks.  It's like the adventure is just taking a little break or just reloading.

How about a random picture.  Dr. K and I attended our nephew's T-ball game this past weekend.


I don't have any kids.  This one isn't even related to me, but I caught this slide at home plate and thought is was just cute as hell.  Next time, when there is a play at the plate, he'll be ready.

We did play some poker at BG's on Friday night.  I lost the tournament.  I got an early lead when I sucked out on Skoon's flopped flush by rivering one of the four cards that turned my 2-pair into a boat.  A couple more hands were all I could win.  I took a small profit in the cash game that went until midnight.  The game broke, we raced off the remaining quarters and I won the final point that put me dead even for the night.  We broke in a couple of new players.  They weren't new to the game, just new to our game.  Welcome Brian and Dale.

This weekend the Dr. and I will attend a Cinco de Mayo party.  The party is actually on Dos de Mayo, but we are not Spanish so who cares.  The margaritas won't taste any better 3 days later.  Saturday is poker with Falstaff and Sunday I fly to Phoenix and drive to Tucson for 3 days in the fun and sun customer's air conditioned building.

OK, one more really cute T-Ball picture before I go.


That's got to make you smile, unless you are like me and that brings back bad memories.  Nah, I still smile. 


Monday, April 21, 2008

Boudreaux's and Reckless Kelly

Saturday night turned out alright for just about everything.  Dr. K and I met up with Falstaff at Boudreaux's in Charlotte's NoDa neighborhood.  The food and the company were first rate.  Falstaff found the Mojitas to be first rate as well.

From there we walked next door to the Neighborhood Theater for the show.  The Sons of Bill warmed up for the headliners.  They were adequate.  It was obvious that the guitar player had to tone down his playing so as not to outshine his brothers.   He did let loose in the next to last number.  You could tell that the boy has talent.

Then we got Reckless Kelly.  This band rock-a-billied everybody in the house.  They were fun.  They were tight, and they were rockin'.  Dr. K was so impressed that she downloaded a whole album's worth of their song on Sunday morning.  Anytime Dr. K has a good time, that is good enough for me, but this show would have taken a lot of work to not enjoy it.

Thanks to Falstaff for showing us a good time.  I hope we get to repeat this often.


TripJax has a brilliant post on a new game that is sweeping the liberal nation: Obamaha.  Go check out his post here: http://tripjax.blogspot.com/2008/04/obamaha.html

Did you notice that if you add a G to the the last name of the leading democratic presidential candidate, you get Go Bama!  How's that for a 'change'.

Now go read TripJax.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Boring Friday Night

*** Nothing interesting here. Move along. Nothing to read here. ***

I'm back from a week in Norfolk, VA. Falstaff is hosting a poker game as I write this. I passed in order to spend the time with my wife. It is absolute hell having so many great options on how to spend tonight. I made the right choice.

Tomorrow night, Falstaff and I are escorting Dr. K to see Reckless Kelly in NoDa. We are dining at a place we've never been and going to see live music which we never do. Should be just another wonderful and boring night.

Be sure to catch my Top Nine list on http://www.lasvegasvegas.com/pokerblog/. It should be released at 6 am this morning.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I spend way too much time doing a certain thing that, while enjoyable, really doesn't accomplish anything.  Sometimes, when I'm by myself and I don't have anything that has to be done right away, I can do it for hours.  When I'm finally done, I have this guilt that I shouldn't have spent so much time on it.  I could have gotten bills paid or dishes washed, or even gotten a little better at Guitar Hero.  But no, that time is wasted, never to return.  When I do it on and off, all day, as I sometimes do (even sneaking a little in at work), there's always a little there, some times it is okay, but it would be nice if there were more available, if you know what I mean.  Not to mention how taboo that kind of thing is at work.  I really have to be careful.  The funny thing is, if you don't do it for a while, it's really more fun when you get back to it.  It's like things build up and are ready for you.  I'm relaxed and ready to read all the new posts in the blogs that I follow in Bloglines.  I sure wish my wife was in to it.  What did you think I was writing about?

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Little Bit of Life Tilt

Poker teaches me how to deal with life sometimes.  Today was a perfect example.  There was no big crisis, just a series of events where the deck of life just refused to give me the card I needed.

CLT Security Line - At the airport, a woman breaks into line to get up with her friend in front of about 200 people.  At least one person said something about it.  Hint: I'm not in France any more. (see the post from 4/8/08, point #2 for an explanation).

Access to base - I spend 2 hours getting a pass to my work location for the week.  I had sent the application for this on Wednesday of last week and was told it was taken care of on Thursday.  I guess not.

Line at Subway - I allow a sailor to go into the Subway  ahead of me.  I like to do things for our men and women of the military.  Once at the counter, he orders 6 footlongs, all with different toppings.  We did have a little juvenal fun marking one sandwich with black olives as BO and the second one with black olives as #2.

Working space - I finally get to my work location and the desk I was supposed to have was taken by someone who was supposed to be out all week.  Instead, I get the edge of a desk all week.

What does poker have to say about all this.  Well, sometimes you just don't get the cards you want.  You may start out with a good hand, but the wrong cards can turn that to crap in a hurry.  So I did today what I do at the poker table.  I stay patient and wait for the cards, or at least the right situation to come along.  It always does, as long as you don't quit too soon.

Here's hoping for a rush tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Blood and The Bracelet

Last night was a special night at the Casa de Falstaff.  Bobby Bracelet was in town and it was Saturday night, so that must mean that poker would be played.  In honor of the Bracelet's visit, Mr. BadBlood drove up from his home in G-Vegas to take part in the festivities.

The other 8 seats were filled by the regulars of Special K, Falstaff, Mrs. Falstaff, Jim the Knife, T, lil Nick with  special late appearances by Nate the Elder and D Brown.  The night stared loose and quick with bets of 15-20 right out of the chute.  BadBlood and Bobby are used to bigger, looser games and their games show that.  Their presence made the whole game much bigger.

I think my luck on the night was about average to a little below.  I stayed pretty tight and waited for decent hands before getting involved.  If the flop hit my hand, I would bet strong and force out all but the big draws.  I rarely had to show my hands. 

One particular hand had everyone wondering what I held.  I think I made a 3.5 raise UTG+2 and got 3 or 4 callers.  The flop was something like Q96 rainbow.  D Brown checked in front of me and I fired 15 at the pot.  Everyone folded and I raked and folded.  For those interested, I had AQ.  I also made one boat and one nut flush on the night.

Once midnight hit, T and The Bracelet split the high hand jackpot and we switched the game to Pot Limit O8.  D Brown had a sick run in the first 6 or 7 hands of O8.  He was hitting just about every river he needed to mostly scoop pots. Thankfully, not much of that was mine.  One of those was a scoop against T who thought she had a nut low with A2 in her hand giving her and 8 high low hand, but the A was counterfeited on the board and D made a 7 high low hand with something like 35 in his hand. 

T got stuck for 110 on the night.   I'm sure driving 10 hours direct from Nashville to be at the game didn't help a bit.

I finished the night adding about 120 to my bankroll.  Here are some of the conversation topics that I remember:

  • The Bracelet's card cap condom
  • GPS tracking devices
  • Working in Iraq
  • "Is Nick OK?  He's been in there a long time."
  • At least they don't stink
  • Grape Vodka
  • Virgin Islands Beer
  • The Bracelet was ranked 860th in the world
  • Salsarita

Thanks again to Falstaff for hosting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Clinton and me

I don't get too political on this blog as it tends to send people up a pole where everyone can see their ass. In fact, though what I am going to write about this time isn't really political, though it does mention a couple of politicians. It is really about the truth and how we react the being lied to.

Bill Clinton brought up the Bosnia issue again yesterday. The flap over his wife's lying about the circumstances around her visit was just about dead. A lot of people are scratching their heads over why he would go anywhere near this topic, but he did, and I think what he said speaks volumes. In short, the man is a liar and his wife is a liar, and if you disagree, then you are now lying to yourself.

Here's what he said in a campaign event in at Boonville High School in Boonville, Ind:

"You know, I got tickled the other day. A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me. But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated — and immediately apologized for it — what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995 [sic]. Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up." [emphasis mine]

It is well documented that:

  1. She made the comment at least twice
  2. The first time was mid morning
  3. She has yet to apologize for the 'misstatements'. She did admit misstatements a week later and after video of the Bosnia aired on CBS.

It looks like she is going to lose the nomination, so this probably doesn't amount to anything, but it is beyond me how she has any support.

But to me, the most interesting part is to watch how much people will lie to themselves once they have staked out a position on anything in order to keep from changing. If they supported Hillary before this, they are 98.765% likely to still be Hillary supporters now. It won't matter to them that she lied. There are now other reasons for them to stick with the same candidate.

Politics really doesn't matter here. People have the same reactions to anything where they are emotionally committed. It could be a relationship, a job, religion, or global warming. People would rather lie to themselves than to see the truth and change. The hard part comes when I turn and look in the mirror and see that I am guilty of this as well.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Random Observations from Europe

  • They let you through airport security with your shoes on.  I guess that explains all of the planes blowing up over Europe.
  • As long as you are quite and smile, people are generally pretty nice, even the French.  Maybe I should try that in the States?  Nah.
  • Coffee in France is the best I've ever had.  I mean every cup was better than any I've had elsewhere.
  • Driving at the speed where I feel comfortable absolutely rocks.  Round-a-bouts rock.  Four-way yield intersections rock.  Basically, all of this adds up to being treated like an adult on the road (like in Germany at least) is so much better than being treated like the basest idiot (like in the US).
  • With a little bit of concentration, not much really needs to be said.  Not communicating with the people around you gets old in a hurry.
  • Why do we not use the Metric System?
  • If I were dropped on earth and had to choose one language to speak, English would win hands down.  If only two languages are used, English is always one.  Second choice?  Probably Pig Latin so as to confuse anyone who speaks English poorly (they can and do use their native tongue to confuse us).
  • Power plugs are dear.  Don't assume one will be where you need it.
  • Futbol, Rugby, and Snooker are better games than Football, Basketball, and 8-ball.  NASCAR racing is better than F1 (F1 cars are better, but the racing is worse).  Curling and Team Handball are just plain weird.
  • Public German TV limits itself to R-rated porn.  French TV does not.
  • I paid 7.4 eruos for a half litre glass of Coke near Notre Dame.  That's $10.  Yea, it had ice and lemon and tasted really good.  I can only wish death on that business and move on at this point.
  • It is good to get home.

Paris in the Spring?

I finished up my trip to Paris yesterday. The weather was looking bad and since that doesn't make for good outdoor pictures, I decided to take myself back to the Louvre to try to catch what I missed the day before.

The Louvre is just enormous. There are no two ways about it. I arrived at 10 am with a good idea of what I wanted to see. I rented another e-guide and finished up the antiquities (Egyptian, Greek, Roman) before moving on to the Italians and other foreigners. This tour was heavy into Rafael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo painted 15 paintings in his lifetime and the Louvre has 7. Michelangelo's work is so distinctive, whether it is his painting or sculpture. Here are some pictures of Da Vinci painting and Michelangelo sculpture:

Portrait by Leonardo da Vinci

by Leonardo da Vinci

John the Babtist by Leonardo da Vinci

The Slaves by Michelangelo at the Louvre

Rebelious Slave by Michelangelo

Everything was just stunning. I'm sure the pictures won't do justice to the art. Actually, for me, after two days on my feet going from gallery to gallery, one masterwork looked about like another. It started to become more fun to watch the people watch the art. With that said, here are some of my favorites from day 3:

Splitting Headache

at the Louvre


French Crowed Jewels

Mummy Caskets


Sarcaufagus of Ramsus II

at the Louvre

Coffin at the Louvre

After the Lourve, I headed back toward my hotel, but stopped for my last meal in Paris. I ended up getting pizza and beer. I know, this is Italian and German, not French, but I was hungry damn it. Put the best of Italian and German cooking in the hands of a French chef and you are in for some good eats.

I stuck around for another beer when it started to rain a bit. By then end of that beer the rain was still falling but I couldn't wait any longer. I covered the camera and headed for the hotel about 5 blocks away. I'd like to say that the rain stopped about half way and it did slow a bit, but that was to make room for the snow.

Snow in Paris

SNOW!?!. What the hell. I thought this was Paris! In the SPRING! Anyway, I got my things packed, set the alarm and got to bed early. Wake up this morning was 0345. It was still snowing though not sticking to anything but the cars that I could tell. The temperature reading on the way to CDG was between 1.0 C and 0.0 C. I needed no help in translating that, but the road was solid and I made it just fine. I still don't know half of waht the cabbie said on the way out. I just laughed and smiled. "Just watch the road" I'm thinking.

I'm in the airport at 0455 right now. Time to get checked in for the the 0645 flight to Frankfurt and the 1145 flight to CLT. It will be good to get this one done.

Europe this week

It's been quite a week. I've not posted since last weekend only because I've been too busy. After my sightseeing, my week turned to work. Running a workshop that I've done dozens of times not shouldn't take so much of my time, but it always seems to. In addition to that, just finding food and sleep in a strange, time-shifted land makes time extremely short.

But I finished that up on Thursday afternoon and it was nearly time to let the fun begin. I drove to Frankfurt to be close to the airport (top speed - 185 kph). I had an early morning flight out. Before dawn broke, I had checked out of the hotel, dropped off the rental car and found my way to the proper desk at the airport.

My flight was on Lufthansa. This marked the first time I've flown from one foreign airport to another. It was also the first time I've flown on an airliner where the first announcement or instruction was not in English. I thought it politically interesting that the order of languages on Lufthansa as German, English, and then French. Maybe it's nothing.

We got to CDG airport in Paris on time and my bag was the first out of the chute. I love it when that happens. I go to the cab stand and just point to my hotel's name and address. We were probably half-way there before the driver knew I was American. I've worked pretty hard to do that as much as possible on this trip. Advice that I got about staying quiet has proven to be good. The cab ride with tip came to €40 with a tip for what should have been a 20 minute ride. My hotel room was ready (it was still only 10 am), so I dropped my bags, got organized and hit the road.

I got a 3 day pass for the Metro and the next thing you know I'm emerging on the Champs-Élysées. Another good piece of advice that I got before leaving was to get a ticket for the double-decker tour bus. I got a Red Bus ticket and spent the rest of the day touring and taking pictures. I managed to get to the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and many points in between. Here are some pictures from Day 1 in Paris.


Arc de Triomphe

 Charles de Gaule Airport

 Notre Dame

 Eiffel Tower

 Eiffel Tower Detail

 Eiffel Tower

 Joan (Jeanne) of Arc

 Eiffel Tower

 Eiffel Tower

You notice that I made my way back to the Eiffel Tower for a night shot. It was definitely worth it. Day 2 was much simpler, just as exciting and more exhausting. Two word: The Louvre. I purchased a walking tour before leaving the states. I had heard that the lines were terribly long, but I never saw them except for the main entrance near the pyramid.

This tour took a couple hours and was a good start and introduction to the highlights of the museum. After lunch, a nice lady gave me her electronic tour guide and I was off on tour number two, the history of the museum. I got through this tour and part of the antiquities tour when my e-guide and legs died. Here are some pictures from the day.



 Under the Pyramid at the Louvre

 Coronation of Napoleon

 Venus de Milo

 Winged Victory at the Louvre

 Some Painting by Leonardo

 DSC_0103  at the Louvre

So it is now 0230 on Sunday morning. The weather for tomorrow doesn't look great, so I'm likely to head back to the Louvre for the rest of what I can see. There is a station that will drop me right in the museum. I may stroll the Champs-Élysées if the weather turns good. Either way, I leave for home Monday morning for a 6:45 flight to Frankfurt and an 1145 connection to Charlotte. It's been a great trip and it will be great to get home.