Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some of the best geek video ever

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights (If you know what this is already, you’ll love the video)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Odds and Ins and Ends and Outs

The odds of me making my 100 post year seem to be slipping away.  I only write when I feel like it or if I have something that really needs to be said despite how I feel and that is just not conducive to a lot of posts this time of year.  So be it.

I am having a hella good time with our new podcast.  The whole intent of the podcast was to have fun, go fun places, and meet people that I want to meet.  This has worked out remarkably well.  We’ve (we being Falstaff and me) posted 2 shows and recorded the tracks for 2 more.  That’s enough to get us through our upcoming Vegas blogger trip and that trip should be a bounty of material.  That’s our plan anyway.

If you haven’t, check out the ‘cast at

I’ve been learning about digital recording, editing, creating Feedburner, Call Burner, Skype, mp3s, WordPress, RSS feeds, iTunes, Audacity, jpg logos, and on and on.  It has been frustrating at times but I’ve really enjoyed learning new stuff.  I think/hope that the result looks and sounds professional.  That is a key to getting and keeping an audience.  I know a lot of podcaster don’t want to charge or get sponsors for their podcasts out of a desire to remain creatively unfettered or under some moral obligation to keep the internet free.  No me.  I’d like to get some sponsorship and make the deal produce some cash.  Not a lot of green, but enough to cover the cost of the equipment, licensing, and maybe a room in Vegas for a few nights.  That should be doable.  Heck, my poker hobby has made money so far.  Why not our podcast?

Did I mention that it is up at

Other Odds and Ends:

  • The trip back from Sao Paulo was hell and I really don’t feel like reliving it enough to write it up except to say that the gate agent who thinks seat G is an isle seat can kiss my American butt.
  • Everything I had to be thankful for in 2008 is still in my life in 2009 plus one or two things.  It has been too much to have asked for.  All I can be is thankful.
  • I’m skipping poker tonight to be with Dr. K.  Good call.  I’m really glad the game found enough players without me.

That’s enough for now.  Dr. K will be home shortly.  If you need something to do, take 40 minutes or so and listen to The Gambling Tales Podcast.  You’ll sleep better for it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Impressions of Sao Paulo

I’m winding up my visit to the 3rd (or 3° as it is written here) largest city in the world (or 6°, depending how you count).  There have been many interesting things I’ve noticed here so I’ll jot a few down before I forget.  First, the caveat: I’ve only seen a small portion of the city, namely Morumbi, and the roads between there and the airport.  All observations are from my very limited experience.

The place looks like many places in the US at street level.  There are tall buildings and shops and busy people going to and from work.  The people dress about the same as in the US.  I think I could have forgotten that I was in Brazil if I didn’t speak with anyone.

There is no such thing as someone who looks Brazilian.  They have a much or more of an ethnic mix as the US with Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Native Americans.  They do talk funny, though.  They really, really like their meat.  The Brazilian restaurant is the same, but the meat is much better than where I’ve been in the states.

Brazilians pride themselves on being good hosts and do a fantastic job at it.

The elevators are odd.  You hit an up or down arrow as I’m used to.  When the arrow above the elevator door lights, that doesn’t mean the elevator is arriving.  That arrow might just go out with no elevator.  The arrow will flash when the elevator is arriving.  So you get on and hit the button.  If you don’t hit is quick enough, which may be before the door closes, you very well may be going the direction you didn’t want to go.  This get to be a real problem when you have to swipe a card to get to your floor.

Some here say Portuguese sounds more like Italian than Spanish.  I’ve always heard that it’s enough like Spanish that Portuguese speakers can usually understand Spanish.  I’ve been corrected.

They have TV channels that don’t have soccer, or so I’ve been told.

Tipping in the restaurants and for other service workers is not expected.  When getting change for a purchase, the cashier will usually not give the pennies unless you insist.  They will, however, insist that you give them enough to cover every penny.

The hotel staff here at the Hilton Morumbi has blown me away with great service, especially the staff at the Canvas restaurant.  I arrived for dinner tonight and the hostess remembered that I was there for Sunday brunch.  That was 4 days ago.  She almost remember my name.  I left a cheese plate on my table when I left and it was brought it up to my room in case I wanted a snack later.  Now that is service.

I’ll probably think of more later.  All in all, it’s been a good trip.  I’m still looking forward to home.  It’s been a long year of travel.

Sao Paulo is Huge

Here is the view from my hotel.  I’m not downtown, but on the outskirts of town.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Podcast has arrived.

“Press release” from bloggers Falstaff and Special K

Gambling Tales Podcast is now available.  Join Falstaff (John Hartness) and Special K (Curtis Krumel) as we take you through the best in lies and legends about gambling today and through the ages.  .  Show #001 with Badblood and the origins of gambling is available immediately.  New shows are scheduled to appear every two weeks.  Guests scheduled to appear in future shows include Dr. Pauly, Lee Jones, Dr. David Schwartz (UNLV – Roll the Bones)

The podcast is available at

RSS Feed:

Available on iTunes at

It will be searchable on iTunes by the weekend.

Email address for Questions, Comments, and Suggestions:

Subscribe today!

Bloggers: Become a friend of the podcast (FOP) by posting this information on your blog.  Drop us an email with a link to your post and we’ll link to you on the Friends of the Podcast list.  See you in Vegas Dec. 10-14!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

G-Vegas Poker Conversations

I played poker badly at Badblood’s last night.  The drive down is getting easier and seemingly shorter.  Blood introduced a great new set of clay chips.  They played much better than I.  On several occasions I was not thinking about who I was up against and/or not trusting my reads.  It cost.  I did get lucky late and finished up about $50.

Table conversations:

  • Douchbag Marital Moves – aka bailing a friend out of jail.
  • Boy parts?  I need more Doritos!
  • Having our own personal WSOP on-site reporter
  • Darvin Moon is the worst player ever to make the final table – What?  He’s still in?
  • Stina with a winna
  • Gary Gary the faux fairy
  • Date night poker at Badblood’s
  • The teller at the Sphinx convenience store touched my prostate.

My big lesson on the night: When you notice and admit that you’re playing like crap, there is really nothing to tilt at.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Podcast is Coming

Did I mention that I’m starting a podcast?  It’s not just me.  It’s Falstaff and I.  Actually, I did mention it a few posts back, but I didn’t say much about it.  Now that we have a couple of shows in the can (save for editing the segments together) and will be posting it to the web, I fell like I can say a bit more.

The title of the show is The Gambling Tales Podcast.  We will talk about what is going on in the gambling world, tell gambling stories (mostly about other people’s stories) and have an interview where our guest tells his tale.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and gathering stories and there are millions or stories, so we shouldn’t have a problem with material.  The bad economy is also fueling a lot of action around legalizing casino gambling around the country.That along with poker news should keep us full of recent developments to talk about.

Most of all, we are looking to have a load of fun with the podcast.  It will be a vehicle to talk to people that we would like to talk to anyway and to go places that we want to go.  We may even find a sponsor or two if the show is any good.  That would be a big plus.

There are a few things left to organize, but I’m hoping to post the first show today or tomorrow (since we talk about the upcoming WSOP main event that starts back up tomorrow).  Be on the lookout for it.  I’ll post the url on this blog once it is finalized.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sick on the Road

I’m sitting in the airport terminal at Baltimore (BWI) at the end of one of the most difficult trips.  The customer wasn’t ready with my workstation.  Fixing that took half a day.  Things went well for a while until I started coming down with a cold.

I’ve been on over 200 customer visits in the last 5 years on this job and I’ve never gotten sick to the point I could not go to the site.  That is, until yesterday.  It’s not that I couldn’t work.  I did.  I just couldn’t is good conscience expose my customer to my illness.

They were great about it and they all wished me well.  The boss even made a joke that I should use more virus protection.

I’m feeling much better today.  I got to the site at 6 am to finish up what I needed at the site and headed to my current location.  With luck I’ll be home in a couple hours. 

Monday, November 02, 2009

Grill Cheese Tilt

I have one fun story left over from my last trip to Las Vegas.  It happened in the Venetian poker room on my last full day in town.  I started playing around 3:30.  At the table next to mine was a blabber-mouth with a voice that carried great over the clack and murmur of poker chips and conversations.  Everyone for three tables in all directions could hear everything this guy said.

I remember him going on for at least ten minutes about one of his fellow players being Canadian.  He yapped about someone he once met from Canada and how it gets cold there sometimes.  Yap, yap, yap, eh.

Luckily for my ear and bankroll (my stack was shrinking) I had to go over to the sports book to meet CK and F Train.  They didn’t arrive right away, but I was ready for a break so I stayed in the sports book.  Once CK arrived we chatted while we waited for F Train.  In all I was away from the tables for for about an hour and a half.

When we get back to the poker room, I got seated immediately at the same table that I had left.  This time I was facing in the direction of the loud mouth.  It was no surprise that he was still running he mouth, but now his tone was different.  He was angry and frustrated.  It had something to do with a grilled cheese sandwich.  He was calling the floor to ask how long it should take to get a sandwich.  He wanted to know where the server who took the order had gone.  He wanted the name of the cook.  Basically, he wanted someone’s head on a platter. And a grilled cheese sandwich.

This went one of at least 15 more minutes.  I could tell my entire table (who had been listening to this guy for over 2 hours were pretty humored by his frustration.  I started making some cracks about the situation.  I told my neighbor “I want to order a grilled cheese just to see if I can get mine before he gets his”, and “If I had a grilled cheese right now I would stand up and exclaim aloud that this was the best grilled cheese that I’ve ever eaten.”  The whole table was into the act before long.

About this time I look over to the table with the loud mouth and noticed that he was in a big hand with his opponent all in and two-thirds of the loud mouth’s stack involved.  Loud mouth was behind and did not catch up.  Unbelievably, that shut him up.  He silently grabbed a rack, loaded up his chips and faded away.  Thus ended the first known instance of grilled cheese tilt.  And the whole poker room quietly rejoiced.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Poker Friday Night

Many of the usual gang and a couple of unusual folk gathered at the Special K casino for some poker and camaraderie. Both were found in generous supply.  Falstaff came by early for dinner a bit early.  We were soon joined by Mr. Jones, Jim the Knife, LouD, Big Nick, and special guest Shamus and thus we had our 7 to get us started.  We were later joined by the Brown Recluse and Lane B.

The game of choice was .5-1 NLHE.  I don’t remember much from specific hands.  I was able to out kick Falstaff on a couple of hands, but he was able to out draw me on a couple of bigger hands.  The middle of the night was especially cruel to me time after time seeming to draw the worst card out of the deck at the worst time over and over.

At 11:00, we switched out to .5-1 NL Omaha which was a bit better to me as I recovered my earlier losses to end even for the night.  Mr. Jones and JtK were the big winners with LouD and Falstaff funding their score.  That is all from a day old memory, so me need correction.

Some of the table conversation:

  • Is Barak Obama more likely to win the best actor oscar or start at quaterback for the Panthers.  Answer: Probably both.
  • Ups and Downs of the Breeders Cup
  • Running numbers for the mob
  • Good gambling books
  • Vegas in December – Blogger Gathering
  • Never going back to the IP (that wasn’t me)
  • Gambling in WVa, AC, Cherokee, and Tunica
  • Could we switch to the deck with the face cards in it?

It was a bit stressful getting the right number of runners for the night, but all worked out well in the end.