Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Reunion Fist Pump

Saturday night, I attended my 30th year high school reunion.  That line in itself seems almost an impossibility.  It can not have been 30 years since I walked across the stage of the old Charlotte Coliseum to accept the results of 12 years’ work.  We were the 13th class from Independence to graduate. The date was June 13.  And I was the 12th person to get their diploma.  Tim Blume was the 13th that day.  I had known Tim since at least the 2nd grade.  Tim died about 5 years later.

Wow.  You get the idea now that this is going to be a serious post – a real rocky ride.  You’re right.  The last 30 years have seen a lot of ups and downs, so this post will have the same.

I don’t think Tim was the first classmate to pass and I don’t remember the order, but I remember Tim, Linda, David, Gary, Rusty, Bobby, Susan and others when I remember my class.  I also remember Taylor, Frank, John, Ansle, Patty, Andy, Jody and scores of others from my class who are still around.  All of these people shared one of the best times of my life with me.  When I’m old and my mind is gone and I can’t remember where I am, I’ll still remember many of these folks and the times we had.   Those were good time.  I knew it then and I enjoy remembering them now.  So I took it on myself to see that we had a 30th reunion. 

I got the ball rolling by calling and sending some emails to those classmates I could locate.  We formed a committee, turned the majority of the work over to a company that specialized in reunions and waited.  I had the pleasure of hearing from many with clues to the whereabouts of others or questions or friend requests on Facebook.  I enjoyed each one.

So along comes the night of the party.  We had about 80 of us show up.  To say I had a great time is an understatement.  Many of the folks that I wanted to see couldn’t be there, but so many others did.  I tried to chat with as many folks as I could.  I really enjoyed showing off Dr. K to prove once and for all how luck I am.

  I had a terrific conversation with a couple that, to be diplomatic, I parted ways with well before graduation.  Another buddy who I’ve known since I was 5 who couldn’t make the party, changed his mind and showed up anyway.  After about two minutes, we all got past how our looks have changed and it seemed like we were back together after summer break.

There were so many grand moments, but there is one that I shared with no one that will be with me forever.  I was standing to the side of the room with my back against the wall (my normal position for school dances).  In my field of view, the friend who is suffering with cancer is dancing with her childhood friend, the lady who recently lost her hysband is chatting with the lady who’s put her life back together since a plane crash took her husband and son.  Three girls who were inseparable in school are inseparable once again.  Everyone I see is smiling or laughing or dancing.  It all came together in that moment.  If I had done anything, I wanted it to be creating that moment.  I couldn’t help but give a little fist pump and a muffled “Yes!”.   That was what it was all about.  it’s about right now.

I really didn’t know why I took it on myself to start the reunion planning, but I left knowing that it was the right thing to do.  I think Tim smiled, too.

To all of you who have sent your thanks for the evening, you are very welcome.  I think I should be thanking you.  I got way more out of it than I put in.  It will take a while for the smile to wear off.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vegas Poker May 2009

If I were superstitious, I might find an outside factor to blame on my reversal of fortune, but being superstitious is bad luck, so I won’t go there.  I got really bad cards for the last two and a half days and made a few bad calls along the way, so I could blame myself and the normal variance in poker.

Naaaa.  I think this about sums it up:


This is actual data.  I made a quick chip count every time I hit the button.  I then multiplied the number of entries by 7.8 to get the hand estimate.  You can see where I got felted 4 times in about 4 days and won the very last hand before heading to the airport Monday morning (QQ) holds up.

I also tracked the number AA KK and QQ hands I was dealt.  I saw AA 5 times, KK 7 times, and saw QQ 5 times.  Statistically, I should have seen each about 3.75 times, so no complaints there.  I would have done better had I not seen them at all.

One of the oddest things to happen involved an all-in by a player that was not a full re-raise.  Say Player 1 checks, Player 2 then bets 2 BB, and Player 2 (short stack) calls.  Player 1 then raises to 6 BB.  Player 2 calls and Player 3 goes all in for say 9 BB the first bet.  Player 1 then asks if the betting is now reopened and is told no.  Player 2 is now allowed to go all in for 13 BB.  It happened at the Venetian when I was Player 1.  I still haven’t figured that one out.  I called and split the pot with Player 3 so I’m not unhappy.

Other Interesting tidbits":

  • Mandalay Bay has some really odd rules like no chopping and sign-up for comp time is done on a paper card at the desk.
  • Excalibur has Strip Poker on Saturday nights.  A stripper actually gyrates on a soap box in the poker room.  She does wear a small bikini.
  • Excalibur also has PokerPro automated poker tables.  I’m not a fan.  I spent too much time trying to get my cards to show distracting me from the game.  I guess that would go away with time, but I don’t plan to spend it.
  • Binion’s in Downtown Vegas has had a makeover.  The poker room has moved and is very nice.  a new sports bar/restaurant sits in the middle of the casino level.  I enjoyed my dinner there.
  • The Center City development looks incredible.  Sorry, I didn’t get a pictures.  You’ll either have to trust me or go see for yourself.
  • The min-raise for a utg straddle in a 1-2 NLH game is up to the house.  I asked in several different places and got both $6 and $8 as answers.
  • Naked women (or nearly so) walk around in the Shops at the Venetian.  They look more silly than sexy.
  • PokerTek, maker of the automated PokerPro tables is based near Charlotte, NC where poker is very illegal.  Go figure.
  • Harrah’s proved to be a fine place to stay on the strip.  Location, facilities and price were all good.
  • The Venetian was in the process of literally booting up its new player tracking system as I was leaving Monday morning.  It was probably in use by noon.  Players will now be clocked in and out at the table instead of at the desk.

Despite my poor play, it was a good trip and has me looking forward to the next one, probably in October.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Video Joke

My buddy TripJax did a very bad thing this morning without realizing it. He showed me xtra normal, the Text-to-Movie site. Of course I had to make something and once made, it has to be shared on my blog. And once on the blog, it absolutely must be linked on my Facebook page. So here is my first extra normal movie. It is a new take on a old, bad, and slightly off-color joke. I apologize in advance.