|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, November 22, 2003
deseretnews.com | Today on TV: "South Park (8 p.m., Comedy Central): This episode of the rude, crude, animated series wasn't available for preview, but the cable channel describes it like this: 'A Mormon kid moves to South Park and Stan has to kick his (butt). . . . When Stan and his dad meet their new Mormon neighbors, they become fascinated with how genuinely nice they are. While the other boys mock Stan relentlessly for wimping out, the rest of the town starts to believe that Mormons may not be so bad after all.'"
The link is to "Today on TV" from the Deseret News, the Mormon-run newspaper (well, they're both Mormon-run, this one unabashedly so). I love how the episode "wasn't available for preview," and the plot seems nice and inoffensive upfront. I really hope as I continue to search the archives of the paper here to find a juicy letter-to-the-editor or two about this episode.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
A link to my man Iggy, on whose advice I am riding...
I'm totally not making this up just now.
I sat down at 8PM EST and thought, "Eh, I'll play a couple hands on Party Poker."
I played maybe 10 hands total. Same game - $1/$2 Limit.
I played for 10 minutes. Won $40. Had to log off, there was no way I continued to get hands like:
Pretty much all in a row. I lost on zero of them.
Again, just to reiterate, I just must motherfucking rule or something.
More lists for my afternoon of boredom – doing my best to not be negative today:
TOP FIVE WORDS OR PHRASES OF MINE (in no order)
1. “Take It Up The Ass” – A personal favorite saying of mine, just goes to describe any circumstance that has the potential to be extremely unpleasant.
2. “Knock On Wood” – Not that I’m superstitious, but I use this phrase a good deal, and always have to find some wood to knock on. When I’m in the car, this phrase becomes “Knock On Simulated Wood Grain.”
3. “Regardless…” – The best word I know of to introduce a sentence that will close every loophole of the argument you’ve been making for the last ten minutes. The corollary to this statement would be “That Being Said,” which says fundamentally the same thing.
4. “From The Waist Up, I Imagine” – Thanks Chevy Chase, that line from “Fletch” is perfect while playing cards when someone says “I’m big,” referring to being in the big blind. Even if I’m not saying it aloud, I’m at least thinking it.
5. “In A Perfect World” – I should have been an economist. I think like an economist, I understand economic theory, but most importantly, I talk like an economist. While “if you assume” is probably the indispensable phrase of economists everywhere, my version is “In A Perfect World.” Another loophole closer here.
FIVE THINGS MOST PEOPLE (well, Anna, my brothers might) DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME
1. Once wore the full costume as short-lived but beloved McDonaldland character “Mac Tonight” (the dude with the crescent moon head) for the Grand Re-Opening celebration for the local McDonald’s
2. On one day in college, had two 40s of Colt 45 and a big bag of salt and vinegar potato chips as my only meal. Yes, I got sick.
3. Wouldn’t touch a girl I really should have in high school after she slept with my scuzzy friend Steve.
4. Put a scuff mark on the wall with the end of a pool cue to create visual evidence for trouble my brother deserved, and did in fact get into.
5. Have only had one fight ever in my life with Bob, and that was over melted cassette tapes back in 1989 or 90.
FIVE MOMENTS IN MY LIFE THAT WOULD MAKE MY HIGHLIGHT REEL, WERE I TO HAVE ONE
1. Sliding to my knees at the left field wall to grab the ball, turning from my knees and firing a dart to the second baseman to nail the batter trying to get in there for a double (sixth grade).
2. Draining a casual 35 foot jump shot to beat two much better basketball players in a game of “21” one Saturday in college when I was on FIRE.
3. Full court five-on-five Freshman year of college, playing in one game outdoors where I was matching bucket-for-bucket long jumpers and short pull-up shots with Jake, the best player we had on the floor. Never played a better game of basketball anywhere.
4. Taking $90 in winnings at a poker night back in August, beating a more experienced player heads-up that was there that night, who everyone else at the table hated.
5. My run at blackjack on my last day in Vegas in January 2002. I won $70 in a slot machine, took it to the Las Vegas Club Casino, and ran it up to $400 over eight hours of steady and conservative play.
FIVE THINGS IN MY LIFE I’M VERY PROUD OF
1. Having a group of friends that are all extremely diverse individuals. Unfortunately, they’re quite geographically diverse as well.
2. I have had the willpower to quit some of the behaviors in my life that weren’t doing me any good (i.e.- drinking soda).
3. I had the strength to walk away from my marriage rather than buying into empty promises to try to fix it.
4. Of the women with whom I’ve had sex, only one is a WASP.
5. I have developed an excellent vocabulary and possess above average grammatical skills as well.
FIVE AREAS IN WHICH I THRIVE
1. Cooking (not baking)
2. Trivia games, particularly pop culture and sports
4. Doing math in my head
5. Learning things on my own
FIVE PEOPLE I’M GLAD I’VE KNOWN (there’s plenty more)
1. Reuben – Now there’s someone I haven’t talked to in way too long
2. Jen – Too many dominoes fell in the right spots (mainly for others, but for myself too) because I knew her and her friends freshman year.
3. Dan – Again, too long since we’ve talked. He’s on the short list of people that I know understand me without reservations. Too bad sometimes his attention span wasn’t in tune with the level of conversation required.
4. Nate – Of all the people in my life, the one I’m saddest that I can’t have around more often.
5. AO – I dwell on this too much, but this is the only relationship I think I’ve ever had with a girlfriend that wasn’t rooted in self-esteem smashing dysfunction. I’m really not overstating that. It’s not as if I want this girl back, I want the feeling I had in the first three weeks with this girl back. It’s not about her as much as it is about knowing that I am capable of being adored, I am capable of having fun without strings, and I am capable of being the confident and charismatic person I know I’ve buried inside me for the past few years. Of course I want to be wanted, and I want to be lusted after, but I just don’t want to deal with the hang-ups anymore. I don’t want a woman that is going to make me feel inadequate (not like that asshole) this time. I want something light, something fun. Something where the rewards outweigh the efforts. I’m glad I knew AO, not because she was the “right” girl for me, but because, in my head more than my heart, I needed one relationship like this to keep reminding me that they won’t all be like my ex-wife. Or Julie. Or Jen (different Jen). That’s what I want again. (The short and the long of it is that I’ve been told that I suck for so long that I have started to believe it)
FIVE BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ
1. “The Outsider” by Richard Wright (no, not the one with “Pony Boy”)
2. “Seabiscuit” by Laura Hillenbrand (it really is all it’s cracked up to be)
3. “Miles: An Autobiograpy” by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe (most frequent and artful use of the word “motherfucker” by any book in history – besides being extremely entertaining)
4. “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving (best book ever)
5. “The Natural” by Joe Klein (about the misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton)
Tell me you saw South Park last night. Favorite. Episode. Ever. The creators of the show grew up in Colorado, where the Mormon influence spills over from Utah enough to be more prevalent in those towns than it is in the Midwest. Therefore, I knew that someday they’d make a show that harpooned the Mormons, which is what last night was all about.
The basic plot involved a new kid coming to school, and Stan, while initially wanting to kick his ass, was somehow won over by how unbelievably nice the kid was. He goes to dinner at the kid’s home that night, which is “Family Home Evening” for the kid’s family, a night of no TV and family activities. Although Jello was not featured in the plot, they did have Rice Krispie squares with chocolate frosting, so that figures.
Anyway, the night closes with “scripture” reading from the Book of Mormon. Stan asks about the BOM, and the story of Joseph Smith is told in flashback/musical format. The songs go something like this:
Joseph Smith, he talked to god
Dum dum dum dum dum
He said he was a prophet man
Dum dum dum dum dum
And, as the story got stranger (which it would, see the “facts” as they were presented on the show below), and the song got longer, the “dum dum dum dum dum” obviously became “dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.”
Here’s a quick list of the facts about the origin of the Mormons, as told by South Park:
- Joseph Smith (JS) was having trouble deciding what religion to be, and prayed on it. God told him he should start his own religion because the other ones were wrong.
- JS was visited by the angel Moroni, who told JS that there were gold plates buried in the woods nearby (this is 1800s Midwest – Missouri I think) that were the account of Jesus’ second coming – this time to the white people that lived in America at that time.
- Did I say “white people in America at that time?” Sure did. Apparently, the “lost tribes” of Jerusalem made their way to America. Contrary to archaeological and common sense evidence, those people were white people (from Northern Africa? Uh, alright). Anyway, Jesus came here and taught the white people new ways. Then, after he left, another lost tribe came in and slaughtered these white people (not before they wrote on these gold tablets), and as punishment had their skin turned red by god, which is how you explain (huh?) how there’s no evidence of white people, only “red” or Native American peoples on this continent (or, for my money, hemisphere) from that era.
- So JS “found” these gold plates and the “seer stones” which could help him translate the BOM, which was written on the plates in some ancient language. No one else ever got to see the plates, I’m sure that was an order from god himself.
- To translate these plates, JS asked a rich publisher friend to transcribe his “translations.” He “had” the plates in a hat, in which he apparently also had the seer stones. He would bury his face in the hat (to control the holy glow, or light of god, or whatever that was coming off these plates) and “read” what was on the plates.
- The rich publisher friend was excited and took this translation home to show his wife. His wife, being much smarter than he was and far less gullible, thought this whole thing reeked of hooey, and asked her husband to put this to the test. She took the early pages of the translation and hid them. She told her husband that if this was, in fact, a true translation, it should be easy for JS to recreate the “lost” pages.
- This trick threw JS for a loop. He had to go “pray” on what to do, because he was worried he had “angered god” by losing his pages. Of course, god WAS angry, and told JS he could no longer read from that specific plate from which the early “lost” translations had come. Luckily, there was another plate that had the same story in the hat, and it was just going to be worded a little differently.
You know, the more and more I hear and learn about these people, the more I wonder why these guys are treated more as a legitimate religion and not as much like a cult** as one might expect. I mean, if this was a religion that was only believed by 5000 people, even with 150 years behind it, this would probably be considered a cult. If someone were to have invented this religion fifty years ago, it would probably be considered a cult. I really don’t get it.
**And by “cult,” I’m not insinuating mind control or domination or anything like that. I’m using that word to compare this religion with what have historically been the religions to which we lend credence, and comparing Mormon origins and theology (in an extremely general sense) to splinter and fringe groups as opposed to previously established religions. The Mormons somehow have found a niche in the “acceptable” group, which reflects a hell of a job of marketing over the last 150 years by their people. Especially in the era of the religion’s origin. Today, few care if you’re Catholic or Ba’hai or Wiccan or whatever, as many people have a very casual relationship to formalized religion, compared specifically to the mid 1800s.
”This is really dumb, but I’m about to share my Award-Winning strategy for playing BATTLESHIP. I play on my Palm Pilot against the CPU, and here are my stats:”
Of course, this is how a lengthy treatise on BATTLESHIP strategy began before I deleted it. The above paragraph is a testament to my downtime here onsite. I called my boss and ran through my agenda for today, and practically begged him to drop more work in my lap. Sadly, there’s not a whole lot else that needs immediate attention.
Here was my list that I prepared first thing this morning:
- Cross reference data from checklist as I left it yesterday with anything that may have changed this morning (done in fifteen minutes, will do this twice more today at worst)
- Talk to a manager onsite that presumably needed help (left a message after finding out in the system that he accomplished what he needed to do without my help anyway – five minutes, probably done with that today)
- Clean up the grammar and spelling in a new item in the system I helped a manager create yesterday (two minutes)
- Get the manager’s user file set up properly (passed off to my boss, that’s what he does, two minutes now, ten minutes at some point later today)
- Follow up with vendors who need to confirm that they are in fact coordinating training for their people tomorrow. (two voicemails for two unconfirmed vendors, two minutes each, possible ten minutes each later today)
- Set up training time for small user group from overseas vendor that’s onsite (two minutes earlier, will take about 30 minutes later today)
So, what we have is 30 minutes of “actual” work this morning in the two hours I’ve been here. The rest of my day, presuming nothing new hits (which it could, which would be great), could be wrapped up in a neat and tidy 90 minutes.
And I can’t use the Internet to pad my day.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
I Must Just Motherfucking Rule Or Something
My first foray into online poker for real cash, playing Limit Hold 'Em ($1/$2), and I played for basically one hour, probably somewhere near 65 hands, and am up $37.50.
I rock today I think.
It’s another non-traditional Thanksgiving coming up next week. There’ll be no turkey, in its place? Prime Rib. Add a cousin from my dad’s side having dinner at my mom’s house, who I haven’t really ever met as a young adult (and frankly, I can’t remember last time I saw her, could be never, I don’t know), and a friend of mine coming in from out of town late that night, and it’s a very different Thanksgiving than what I’m used to.
Well, sometimes traditional isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Last year, I helped kill the traditional multiple bottles of wine before dinner, and ended up getting woozy and puking just as dinner hit the table. Needless to say, I didn’t eat.
The one thing about this upcoming weekend that I absolutely loathe is the frenzied shopping that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving. Seriously, I’m going to try to do 100% of my shopping online this year (again, I’ve done it before), because I just freaking hate standing in lines anywhere, but particularly if it’s just to get another dollar off of a DVD or something. The most ludicrous part of this loathsome Friday is the “early bird” sales that happen at quite a few of the lower end department stores. They open their doors at some ridiculous hour like 5AM and encourage women by the scores to flock in to save an extra ten percent on their Precious Moments figurines or whatever.
So, I guess it goes without saying that I’m not exactly what you’d call a “people person.” Actually, I get a little manic when I’m around crowds just about anywhere. I really don’t like people inside about a three-foot bubble around me. If you have to be closer than that, you better have a damn good reason, and I better have the exits clearly mapped out in my head, because I’m getting out of there. For this phobia alone, I was always LOADS of fun at those sweaty college house parties. Gee, cheap ass beer I don’t want to drink, girls that aren’t going to talk to me (who I couldn’t hear over the din anyway), Pearl Jam’s “Ten” CD on repeat, and I’m shoulder to shoulder with about twenty-two dozen people? I’ll walk home, thanks.
But what drives me the most insane is when I hit crowds in places I’m not expecting. The lobby of a restaurant while on a waiting list (if I can’t make a reservation and be seated promptly, we’re going), in an almost full theatre with someone on each side of you, and you weren’t expecting a sell out (a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it 90 minutes), and most especially, in a store.
I don’t have that many requirements for going shopping. I don’t mind going to multiple stores to get different things, I don’t mind hemming and hawing over decisions, and I don’t mind treating shopping as a leisurely day out. I do mind having to wait more than five minutes for assistance on the floor if you ask for it. I do mind having to wait in a checkout line more than five minutes. And I do mind not feeling like I’m free to inhabit my own space in the store. I go manic, get impatient and paranoid, and make myself leave.
That’s why the day after Thanksgiving is a great day for a nap.
I’m always thinking of lines way too late to ever put them in good use. I was walking into a restaurant at lunch today, and this girl, probably somewhere between 19 and 25 was walking by on the sidewalk wearing one of the shortest mini skirts I’ve ever seen, sporting legs that carried her all the way up to at least 5’10” in her heeled boots. She had a little bit of what we used to call that “alternative” look to her, and wasn’t drop dead gorgeous enough to be COMPLETELY out of my league. She did give me a nice smile as we passed.
I should have stopped her and asked, “Excuse me, you wouldn’t by any chance have a thing for older, corporate types now, would you?” I really should have said something. Anything. What legs on that one.
So, my first foray into playing poker online didn’t exactly go as planned. I guess Party Poker was having massive server problems last night, which served to just frustrate the ever-living crap out of me. It took me no time at all to log in and put money in the system, but that’s when things started getting ugly.
First, I couldn’t see the money I had put in. The system said sometimes you have to log out and log back in to be able to see it. So I did, but it still wasn’t there. On the second time I logged out, logging back in became a problem. The “trying to connect” dialog box was up for five, then ten minutes before I decided to reboot my computer.
Thankfully, I got on and checked my cashier window, and my money had made it over there. So, armed with cash, I went looking for a game. Now, Party Poker is similar to visiting a casino’s card room in the sense that to get a seat at a table, you get on a list, and people in front of you are given first crack at empty seats. So, I put my name on the list, and within five minutes was offered a chair at a table for $1/$2 limit hold ‘em. I went to the room, clicked on the chair, chose which portion of my cash I wanted to sit down with (I picked $41, as it was a strange number that might make me look like a little more of a veteran than a round number like $50 would), and was seated.
Immediately upon getting seated, I was bounced from the room. Actually, I was probably bounced from the server, but Party Poker’s interface is such that you’d never really know if you are or aren’t officially logged in to the server until you try to take some sort of action to move around. So, I was pissed off, as I was trying for over half an hour just to sit down and play cards, and was thwarted at the last minute.
Again, I had problems reconnecting, but found myself back, found all my money intact, and put myself on the list for another $1/$2 table. I was monitoring another game and at the same time my position on the list. I went from being 309th on the list to 88th, but even that took nearly thirty minutes. Then, the servers seemingly crashed again, and all my waiting was for naught.
Rather than continuing to experience frustration, I logged off for good and watched TV. I really would have liked to play cards last night though.
FIVE UNDERAPPRECIATED CONCEPTS
1. The Chinese Buffet Restaurant – I love Chinese buffets. There are too many out there that have exactly the same stuff (I tend to think a lot of the food may come pre-prepared and they just steam it and put it out there), but if you can find one that obviously does things differently, you’re golden. To me, there’s nothing better than variety when it comes to Chinese food. A little Mongolian Beef, with a side of Orange Chicken, Beef Lo Mein and an egg roll. Don’t forget the steamed dumplings and Crab Rangoons too. Chinese buffets rule.
2. Left Lane Fast/Right Lane Slow – The reason I call this an underappreciated concept is that there seem to be a group of drivers out there that feel it’s up to them individually to determine how fast traffic should move. While I feel that the whole “LLF/RLS” concept is at least referred to in Driver’s Ed, I think it is something that should be explained more thoroughly to up-and-coming drivers. Any time you’re in the left lane, and you can read the logo on the grill of the car behind you, you need to move over or speed up. It really should be that simple. Why isn’t it?
3. XM Radio – Now that I have an honest-to-god commute again (40 minutes one-way, as opposed to the ten minutes I was driving previously), I really am loving having the XM in the car. I thrive on variety, and out here in middle America, variety is not what you’re getting. I can pick up some Milwaukee and Chicago AM stations, but my FM radio is entirely that Clear Channel Communications Corporate formula radio. “Edgy” morning shows (just because you can say “penis” on the air, doesn’t mean you should – you’re not funny) on the rock stations, or “Breakfast Bunch” garbage on the easy listening stop on the dial. Drive time music that doesn’t really vary on the day-to-day on any station. At least with XM, I can wander to and from variety, hopefully finding something I don’t mind listening to for a few minutes. I drove another car with a CD player in it for a week last week, and got pretty bored pretty quick with the music I had at hand. I’ve never really been bored with the XM.
4. Ethnic First Names – I really believe there are too many Jennifers, Ryans, Ambers, Matthews, and Heathers walking the planet. If you’ve got a uniquely ethnic last name, why not make the most of it? Why give your child the same name three other kids in his grade are going to have? I have an Italian last name, and I hope that I can talk my wife (whenever THAT might happen) into not only bearing my children, but cooperating on giving them Italian first names. I love Santino for a boy (shortened, of course, to Sonny), and Maria for a girl. Actually, there’s a lot of other names I like too like Bruno and Luciano, but you get the idea. Why be boring, why be the same?
5. Online Gambling – One of the three best reasons to have the Internet at all in my opinion, I’ve put money down on the NFL, the NBA, played blackjack, and bet on (and watched live) horse racing all on the net. Soon, I’ll be playing cards for cash too. Look, like it or lump it, people like to gamble. That’s why Vegas is such a huge draw. I really don’t get why the government outlaws Internet gaming within our borders. Why not regulate it, tax it, and keep that money from crossing our borders? Wouldn’t that make sense? Is it just the puritanical side of the government that wants to pretend that, because they make it “illegal,” no one is actually doing it? How blind is that? By the way, the three best reasons to have the net are to blog, look at naked girls, and gamble. Period.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Liability lawyer's group lists hazardous toys - Nov. 18, 2003
What ever shall I get the kids for Christmas? Ingestion/choking? Eye injuries? Allergic reaction/ingestion? Blunt impact/puncture?
Is this a warning to parents or a commercial for legal services?
Monday, November 17, 2003
As I’m trying not to look at my data list again for the rest of today, I give you LISTMANIA 2003!
FIVE UNDERAPPRECIATED MOVIES
5. “Iron Eagle” – You have Louis Gossett Jr chewing scenery. You’ve got Jason Gedrick at his most petulant. You’ve got the kid who played LaMont in “Revenge of the Nerds” as one of Gedrick’s buddies. And you’ve got high flyin’, foreign butt kickin’ action! Besides the problems that are cripplingly obvious with this movie (so the kid can not only steal an incredibly well armed plane from an Air Force base, but coordinate a flying refuel for his mission, all before the Air Force base staff realizes a multi-million dollar piece of machinery is gone?), there are a few things that just make me happy. First off, the most unintentionally funny moment of the movie is when Col. Sinclair (Gossett Jr) gets shot down, apparently, and Gedrick in his plane rips off his oxygen mask and screams “CHAPPPPPPYYYYYYYY!!!!” Chappy? I don’t get it. Second, the whole subplot about Gedrick only able to fly when he’s got some Van Halen imitation power rock playing in the background is terrific. Like the music that plays right about when Popeye gets his spinach, somehow hair band metal turns a seventeen year old kid from a lousy pilot into a dogfighting veteran capable of taking out the entire Air Force of a country full of evil Arabs. Lastly, one of my favorite clichés, “kids can do it!” Somehow, some way, an entire attack is planned on this unnamed Arabic nation by the cunning and guile of a bunch of Air Force brats who pull fast ones on their parents. “It’s so ridiculous, who says it can’t work!” That’s the spirit of “Iron Eagle.”
4. “The Best of the Best II” – Another movie playing to a cliché with a time honored tradition. What happens if an evil businessman with a huge gang of thugs and lackeys takes over a small town with the knife and not the olive branch? And what happens if only one man can stand up for the women (um, only the hot women) and children (not hers, she’s probably still a virgin, but really hot) of that town against tyranny and oppression? Will anyone still be in the theatre by the time the climactic battle happens? I know I will. So-bad-it’s-good, this movie pulls out every stop along its way to mediocrity. Is the hero an outsider to this town, somehow drawn like a moth to a flame with a protectionist instinct for freedom and liberty? Absolutely. Does he know karate? You betcha. Does the hottest girl in town spurn the oafish overtures of the villain and end up in the sensitive-yet-ass-kicking arms of our hero? Oh yeah. Do fifty-gallon drums get blown up while a stuntman leaps away from them and into an inflated bag? Count on it. My favorite part of this movie comes when the hero somehow and instantly convinces about eight dozen skinhead rednecks who have been “brainwashed to kill” for the big bad guy that he’s not so bad, and neither is this town. No one has to die. Instead of some big eloquent soliloquy, you get something quick and clumsy, along the lines of “Come on guys, really. I mean really.” Classic garbage. Just let me know when it’s on Spike TV again.
3. “The Sandlot” – I always forget about this movie, and then catch it once or twice a year and forget how good it really was. There’s the kid who peed his pants from “Parenthood” in the main role, along with the redheaded fat kid who is a latter day “Chunk-from-the-Goonies” type. There’s the kid with the horn rimmed glasses, and the daredevil who will try anything. There’s even a bad guy, the huge man-eating dog that lives just over the fence from their sandlot baseball diamond. While the set piece is framed with a present day look at our two main characters that is largely unnecessary, this movie is a testament to what being ten or twelve years old was like for just about any boy. You had your friends, you had your rivals, and you had your life, and for many of us, that was baseball. Add the fact that it was filmed in Utah where I did a lot of my time in those years to the mix, and it really is a movie I enjoy a great deal.
2. “Brazil” – For three years now I’ve asked for this movie’s Criterion edition on DVD, and for three years I’ve been disappointed. I purposefully haven’t seen this movie in about eight years, simply because I want to watch it again when I can get a high quality version (like a DVD – but only the Criterion edition), and also have the ability to watch it virtually uninterrupted. The reason I say that is the last time I rented it, back in college, my roommate Loaf showed up ten minutes into the movie, stated that he’d “always wanted to see” the movie, and then proceeded to ruin it for me by asking me every forty two seconds “Why did he just do that… What just happened there… Why is her face all distorted like that… Who’s that guy… Where did that come from…?” One thing to remember about “Brazil” is that it lives on a planet all its own. Some things JUST HAPPEN in the movie. Just deal with it. It’s a weird, futuristic, bureaucratically inept society. Weird crap happens. Move on. Watch the movie and shut up. If you do, you’ll see sort of a “1984” meets “Monty Python” meets god knows what. It’s about a little man who dreams big in a world that doesn’t want to allow him even the luxury of that dream. Horribly interesting movie, and something I’m looking forward to seeing again.
1. “Undercover Brother” – How can you not love a movie with a funk soundtrack? How can you not laugh your nuts off at Doogie Howser going all berserk on a couple of security guards? How can you ignore great writing like the following exchange:
Chief: “Because you know, behind every black man…”
Doogie’s Character: “…is probable cause.” (I probably screwed up who said what, who cares, it’s a funny line)
Anyway, it’s an obvious knock off of “Austin Powers” in subject matter and spirit, but it plays as a pretty original piece of work. I could have done without Chris Kattan as the main villain’s top henchman, but the plot to control the black populace through the “General’s Fried Chicken” was genius. I’m a big fan of this movie. Whatever happened to the “Sistah Girl” actress from this movie? She was awfully hot.
FIVE MOVIES THAT I CONSIDER THE WORST I’VE SEEN
1. “Darkman” (Nate and I predicted every line of this movie just before the character would say it. Terrible movie)
2. “Formula 51” (wanted so badly to be “Snatch”)
3. “Solarbabies” (King of the bad movies, in my opinion)
4. “Moving” (so depressing to see Richard Pryor all decrepit)
5. “The Bear” (stupid freaking nature movie)
FIVE PEOPLE WHO IF AMERICA REALLY LOVES, I NEED TO MOVE TO CANADA
1. Toby Keith (f’in cracker shill)
2. Celine Dion (you say she’s from where? Aw, nuts.)
3. Barbra Streisand (besides being an annoying singer, anyone you can call “fabulous” should probably be on this list for me)
4. Jessica Lynch (First it was “do you support the war?” Then it was, “OK, if you don’t support the war, you can support the troops.” Then it became “Alright, if you don’t support the war, and you don’t support the government controlled media’s interpretation of the White House’s anchorman puppetry and scenario creation and embellishment, can you at least still support the troops? I feel bad for that poor pawn. That’s it.)
5. Star Freaking Jones and her fat freaking head on those Payless Shoe Store freaking commercials. Go away. Now.
FIVE “I THINK I’M MORE ___, BUT I’M REALLY MORE ___”
1. I think I’m more Johnnie Fever, but I’m really more Les Nessman, except I do know how to pronounce “Chi Chi Rodriguez.”
2. I think I’m more Buzz Lightyear,, but I’m really more Green Neurotic Dinosaur. I’m not sure who my internal monologue sounds like, but it’s probably a lot like either Wallace Shawn or Gilbert Gottfried.
3. I think I’m more Dennis Miller, but I’m really more Craig Kilborn, which is what you get when you lower Dennis Miller’s IQ by 40 points, and take half his college credits away, replacing both with 80s TV references.
4. I think I’m more George Costanza, but I’m really more Larry David. Hopefully, you’ve seen “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and know of what I speak. Larry David IS George Costanza (the real-life inspiration). But, he’s not as manic, and is twice as mean. I think that fits about right.
5. I think I’m more Rob Petrie, but I’m really more Buddy from the writing team. Buddy is a funny dude, which is cool, because I’m capable (the divisible by Pi joke last night was pretty funny, wasn’t it Mike?) of delivering a good punchline every now and again. But I’m not carrying the show. I’m comic relief, at best.
I won one pretty big pot last night playing poker on a stone cold bluff. I was sitting on something like 2/6 suited, and I was sitting as the big blind. I raised it nominally, and got two calls, which was surprising. When the flop hit with a great deal of ugliness (something like 9/8/3 mixed suits), I bet into it again, and got one call and one drop. When the turn gave another 3 (or something like that), I jumped in to try to position like I had the set of threes. It worked beautifully, and I caused the final fold and took a nice little pot (well, probably something like $500) with absolutely nothing. I love it when a bluff works. I think my usual crew doesn’t think I bluff a lot, so that generally plays to my advantage, as they think I’ve obviously got something big when I go in. Works out well that way.
So, here’s the delight in my day today. We were supposed to have a key portion of the software rollout ready for action on Friday. It’s Monday afternoon, and it’s still not ready. Why? Well, there’s a group at the company here that has chosen to remove HR record keeping from their files, and instead has chosen to keep their headcount list proprietary to their department. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t do what HR does as well as HR does it, because the headcount list I’ve been trying to collect data on for the past week has grown by 30% over the last two days. That’s at least one week where they could have provided better data, but somehow didn’t realize they provided a sorely incomplete list. So, it’s been on me to get this data collected to get it loaded, and the primary asset we have here at the company is out of the office today. So, not only am I fretting over a list that’s grown by over a quarter in the last two business days, but I can’t get my data complete, and on top of it, I’ve got to deal with suppliers to the system who are framing their opinion of me and my company around this failure to provide access to them and their people on a promised timetable. They’re annoyed, I’m frustrated, and there’s really nothing anyone can do about it. Except for keeping better records. They (the disorganized department) really ought to consider that.
I’m irritated a bit at my bank. I mean, it’s not their fault, but the checks I dropped in on Saturday morning become “Monday’s work,” which means that I’m not going to see the money until tomorrow. I REALLY wanted to play Hold ‘Em online tonight, but it looks like that’s going to have to wait. Speaking of Hold ‘Em online, what I’m looking to do is take $50 and invest it in learning how to play Limit Hold ‘Em at one of these online poker sites. I figure that getting schooled for my $50 will be a small price to pay for learning how to play the game that much more effectively when I hit the casino soon.
I spilled a big huge full cup of coffee all over my desk this morning. Thankfully, it only soiled one paper, which wasn’t essential, and it managed to stay away from my PC box. It did, however, lightly stain the beige cube walls a touch. Ticked me off, it was my good coffee from home.
Quick, what’s the only thing more embarrassing than cashing your eighty-cent mutual credit slip at the window on your way out of the track? Try offering said slip to the bartender as part of your tip and having him tell you he doesn’t take those as gratuity. Betcha he’d take it if it said $5 instead of $0.80 on it.
More thoughts from today and the weekend:
My Spartans looked really terrible on Saturday versus Wisconsin. Actually, I can only vouch for the first ten minutes, as after they went down by two quick TDs, I knew what was coming. The one big, ugly blowout loss they always seem to suffer each season. Now, they had played out of their abilities for the early season, and there really is no shame in losing to teams like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, or even Louisiana Tech, but losing like this just doesn’t show the same discipline and fire I’ve come to expect from John L. Smith’s teams. Then again, they’re still the Spartans, and they’re still going to have that one major collapse every season.
On the other hand, I did find something encouraging in the Lions loss to the Seahawks yesterday. Joey Harrington played pretty darn well (from what I saw), especially considering he was down his two favorite receivers. He had a good amount of zing on the ball, and wasn’t afraid to go downfield with his passes. Hakim had a pretty nice grab in the end zone for one touchdown, and the pass up the seam to Scotty Anderson was really nice too. I saw Scotty hurt in the second or third quarter, and I hope it isn’t serious. I don’t know if he got back in the game or not. The defense got abused, but that was to be expected. We’ve got no secondary, and can’t bring extra defenders into the box to stop the run. Plus, we’ve got to sit back and play zone, and any passing game worth their salt can pick us apart. And that’s what Seattle did. More power to them, we’re not equipped to play good football at this point, and it showed.
I got talked into playing a quick game last night at my brother's house. There were four of us including myself, my brother, JS (but not his girlfriend this time), and JH. We all staked in $10, and got ourselves a sleeve of chips to play with.
JH and JS both bought in twice (went out, wanted to keep playing, bought another sleeve for $10), and kept giving their chips away. First it was to my brother, then I took a sizeable chunk off of JH to eliminate him and leave my brother and I heads-up with $50 on the line.
Within the first couple of hands heads-up I had taken a couple of small pots to pull slighly ahead of him in chips. Then, he made a really puzzling play.
I got dealt Q6 off suit in the big blind. He called the big blind and I checked to see the flop. Q77 mixed suit hits the board. I'm sitting on two pair, and we're both sitting on about $2100 in chips or so. He's first to act and moves in for $500. Now, I'm thinking maybe he has a 7, or possibly a Q like me. I decide to push him back and see if he raises. I push my $500 in and raise an additional $200. I don't think it was likely I was backing out of this hand. He simply calls.
The turn comes, and it's another 7. No flush possibilities on the board, but it doesn't matter as I've got the boat. The ONLY hands he could be hiding in the pocket right now that could beat me would be anything with a 7, or AA, or KK. I figure he doesn't have one of the pocket pairs, as he didn't come out firing pre-flop. And I'm also gambling that he doesn't have a 7, as to see four of a kind in a heads-up game is really rare. So, my guess is, he's got nothing.
He raises me all-in, which I gladly and quickly call. I turn over my queen, and he turns over 56 of diamonds. 56? The river comes, and it's a 3, not that anything really could have helped him at this point anyway.
He explained that he was trying to bully me out of the pot. Well, there are times to run away, and holding top two pair after the flop playing heads-up probably isn't one of them.
I won $50 last night.
Sunday, November 16, 2003
GIVE ME BACK MY SON!
I'm holding my Guest Map hostage. If I don't get one more person in the next week who ISN'T related to me putting a pin on there and saying hello, I'm taking the goddamn thing down.
You have one week, or the Guest Map gets it.
That is all.
The Weekend Report
I'm still flabbergasted that my new company paid me up to the day for my Friday paycheck. I was counting on two weeks lag time, but instead I'm $1100 ahead of estimates. Add to that what I found out via online banking today. I logged in to see if my check had hit the account yet (it hadn't), and saw that my credit card, which I had let get seriously delinquent before paying it off, is now active again. In other words, I've got a whole line of credit (a pretty substantial one too) that I wasn't counting on. Of course, I'm not touching it anytime soon, but I probably ought to have them send me a new card for emergencies. I cut the old one up awhile ago.
So I put my check in the bank and took $300 with me, with the thought that maybe I'd join my brother and friends up at the casino yesterday for some Limit Hold 'Em action. Limit, however, freaks me out a bit. I'm still a beginning poker player, regardless as to how well I've managed to play against my usual group, and Limit Hold 'Em is not what I would consider a strength of my game.
I mean, I understand the basic concepts. In theory, there's a select group of hands that should/can be played from different positions on the deal. After the flop, you should have a pretty good idea where your hand stands as far as the odds are concerned. For example, in a big game with, say, four players choosing to see the flop, you've got two hole queens. QdQh. Let's say flop comes KdAs7c. No flush possibility for the table, straight draw is possible, but you do have two of the possible four queens out there. Basically, there are two over cards (Kd/As) to consider as pairs that could beat yours, not to mention the possibility of two pair (with any two on the board). From here, you almost have to assume that your queens need a third to accompany in order to be good. There's two queens you haven't seen, and there's five total cards you have seen (your two in the hole plus the five on the table). That means that there's five cards you can identify, leaving 47 either in the deck or in someone else's hand. You've got a 2/47 chance of a queen hitting the turn, and then a 2/46 chance of it hitting the river (assuming it doesn't hit the turn). That's basically a 5% chance of winning the hand. That should dictate your play based on pot odds. If there's $100 already in the pot, and you only have to call $5, get into it. If there's $60 in the pot and you have to call $10, forget about it.
So basic concepts for odds of making your hand versus pot odds are something I have a grasp of. I still don't do a good job of playing things like the check-raise properly in a limit game. I can bait an opponent in a no limit game more easily, especially because I'm not afraid to blow some chips to make a point. But in a limit game, you're limited (see how that works) to the size of your bet, so it's not really as much of an intimidation thing you can create as it is, really, whether or not you have the cards to be playing with fire.
I could be way wrong in my assumptions, I'm just trying to put it down so it makes sense to me.
I did buy the Sklansky/Malmuth book, and intend to dig into that, as well as reread "Caro's Book of Poker Tells," which I had just finished. I think I'm a smart enough guy to be able to study this game (no limit, particularly) and have it make a difference in my strategy and profits.
So, to get back to my point, I didn't go to the casino. I did go to the track, but was bored pretty quick unfortunately, as I didn't feel like sitting and drinking beer by myself for hours on end. I blew through $20 and took off.
My tasks for the week outside of work are basically two:
1) Augment my wardrobe slightly - I think I need about two more shirts and one more pair of pants to be satisfied. And maybe a better black belt than what I have.
2) To audition a new brand of underwear - I'm really getting sick of these boxer briefs I've got. They're from Jockey, called the "Athletic Midway Brief," and are made of Lycra to theoretically hold their shape. Theoretically. I'm so freaking sick of these things twisting up around my legs that I think I'm going to entertain a change. I'll probably keep the pairs of Jockeys I currently have in order to use them while exercising (assuming that's something I might take up someday), but I have to retire them before I go bonkers. I went to a department store yesterday, and the ONLY brand they carried were Jockey. Needless to say, I left empty handed.
Lastly, I'd like to thank my Canadian girlfriend (snicker) Anna for her description of dress up day at her house this weekend. I had to bounce what little I remember from 12th grade calculus out of my head to make room for the image of you (or rather, what I assume you look like from that overexposed pic I saw) bouncing around your living room wearing nothing but... well, if you're not going to read her site, I'm not going to tell you. It's my fantasy, go get your own.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
About the Author
Greatest Hits [archived]
Guinness and Poker
Al Can't Hang
The Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Tao of Pauly
Scott, Texas' favorite Fat Guy
Only Built 4 Cuban Links
Up For Poker
Ugarte's Poker Grovel
JD's Cheap Thrills
Poker Stars Blog
Vegas Poker Blog
Poker in the Weeds
Nickle And Dimes
Not a Poker Blog
Dispatches From The Culture Wars
Horse Racing Links
Curb My Enthusiasm
Daily Racing Form
They Are At The Post
Tampa Bay Downs
Your Average Horseplayer
Tote Board Brad
Left At The Gate
design by maystar
powered by blogger
Syndicate this site
Online Poker : Visit Dr. Pauly at Tao of Poker for the best written journal on Poker Around. From on-line poker rooms to off-line live tournament coverage including the WSOP.
Las Vegas : The Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog is the goto stop for people who come to Sin city to hit the tournaments and poker rooms. From the World Poker Tour to the World Series if it's big poker in Vegas it's blogged here. Home to the Prof's Las Vegas Links Directory.
Utilities Provided By