|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, January 03, 2004
It's Just My Kinda Day Today
Santa Anita Race 6
Portland Meadows Race 5
I went to the track to kill some time today. I was hanging in there, just nickel and diming my way down $20, up $7, down $11...
Then, a guy I know and one of his buddies showed up out of nowhere. Thus starteth my run.
I was down about $20 at the time (steadily betting over nearly three hours), and only planning to spend $40 for my entertainment this Saturday. I flipped the TV over to Santa Anita, and started looking for a horse I could play.
It was a MSW race for four year olds and up, six furlongs on the dirt. There were three relatively strong favorites in the race, but I'm of the opinion that when you're talking about older maidens, you can throw a lot of popular opinion out the window. Anything can happen.
This is where I found Luther. Luther was a morning line 15-1, and went off at 23-1 in this race. What I liked about Luther was threefold. First, his trainers didn't look like they had any idea what to do with this horse. His previous three races (starting with the most recent) were 5.5 furlongs on the turf, 1 and 3/8 on the turf, and 6.5 on the dirt. He looked OK on the dirt, but was in over his head on the turf (they probably tried turf because he was Irish bred). He did (and this was the second thing I liked about him) post an 80 and an 82 in those two turf losses, which were near the top of the strongest speed ratings on the program for this race. Plus, his workout times were solid.
Why not take a flier?
$2 WPS turned into $77.20 with Luther's convincing win. I was really proud of myself for that pick.
The next race we turned our attention to was at Portland Meadows, home of the cheapest claiming races in America. I love these bottom-of-the-barrell tracks, as it can sometimes be easy to talk yourself into making a play on a longshot, because all the horses suck balls anyway.
Princess Katrina, a morning line 5/1 horse running out of the three hole, was sitting at 19/1 with three minutes to post. I also liked the nine horse, Ashley's Attitude (ML 6/1, on the board at 16/1), as it was a sloppy track, and I always like front runners in low level claimers when it gets sloppy.
So I put $4 WPS on Princess Katrina, who dropped to 6/1 at post, and took a flier on a $1 exacta box on Katrina and Ashely's Attitude.
Sure enough, Katrina crosses the line easily by 2.25 over Ashley's Attitude, giving her the win, and giving me visions of dollar bills dancing in my head.
The WPS bet returned $44, and the exacta payout was $121.
And I walked away right after that race, $200 richer than when I walked in.
Just won my very first $5 SNG NL game. That was really satisfying. Actually, what was nice was that I flopped the nut flush, drawing to a straight flush, on the very first hand. TWO people with lower straights went all in on the flop, I called, BOOM, had $2500. Never looked back.
Friday, January 02, 2004
Just for clarification's sake, here's what happened in that $1/$2 Limit Game:
Sat down at 19:39
1) Dealt 59clubs - hit trip 5s, +$12.75
2) Dealt 84clubs - flopped flush, one more hit on turn -$7
3) Dealt Ah6d - hit trip 6s, +$22.50
4) Dealt 3c4h - fold
5) Dealt A4d - hit another A on the flop, fold to me +$6
6) Dealt JhQs - fold on flop (K hit), -$1
7) Dealt 9Ts - fold to me after hitting a pair of 9s (top pair) on flop, +$9.50
8) Dealt 59d - K and A as well as two spades flop, I raised heavy preflop (when didn't I?), folded to me on the flop, +$16.75
9) Dealt Q8d - lost $11 to pocket 6s (took him to showdown)
10) Dealt Q8h - two Jacks and a Q on the board, +$18.75 with two pair
11) Dealt 7h8c - two aces hit the flop, fold after -$3
12) Dealt 3d4c - folded after 3 overcards hit the flop, -$2
13) Dealt TcJh - hit a J high flush, +$24.50
14) Dealt Ks4h - folded to me after J9d3h flops, +$15.75
15) Dealt 3hJc - JJ loses on showdown to AA, -$6
16) Dealt AdJh - J flops, 33 pairs on turn/river, two pair stands +$34
17) Dealt 39d - 55 pairs on flop, 9 on turn, A on river, lose to fives full of aces, -$10
18) Dealt A4s - 55 pairs on flop, fold to me after turn, +$9
19) Dealt 5c9d, fold, leave table at 19:56
Seventeen minutes, +$73.50.
Man, sometimes I just love that damn Party Poker site.
I sat down tonight with $38 in the bank, and promptly got run on two $10 SNG NL tables. I plopped another $100 in, and came in third in my next $10 SNG.
Then, things got fun.
I decided I'd go over to the $1/$2 Limit tables and play like a maniac. I saw EVERY flop, raised on EVERYTHING at EVERY opportunity, and basically pulled everyone off their game.
I was hitting flushes, sets, two pair, you friggin name it.
Fifteen minutes later, I'm up $79.
Total for the evening? Went from (effectively) $138 to $199. Life is beautiful.
Names Changed To Protect The Innocent
From: The ex-wife
Titled: Just to make it clear...
I don't want to come off as rude or anything, but I think you were right. Talking to you just makes me kinda feel sad and since you won't talk to me talk to me about anything it just frustrates me.
Also, I hope that you don't think that I want to get back together with you. I think that to you, it may have come across as such in our past couple of conversations. At one point I did love you, at least then I thought that was love, and I still care for you and hope that you are having a good life. But I was meant to leave you and our life and I was meant to go to England. That's just a fact.
J just isn't ''a'' one, he's THE one. He and I both feel like the two of us were destined to be together, and all of the events of our pasts lead us to one another. We compliment eachother in everyway humanly possible..he owns a software company, and we spend literally 24 hours a day together, 7 days a week, both working from home and both raising the girls... and we could not be happier. We have the same mindset, the same ideals, and we both make eachother better people. He makes me a better person.
My definition of love has changed since we have been together. I did care for you, under my new definition, I don't think I truly loved you. If I had, I wouldn't have treated you as I did. I care for J more than I do for myself, and he cares for me more than he does for himself, and thus we go out of our ways to make eachother happy. And it comes naturally, without any effort whatsoever. I don't have to try...it just is.
Love is also about commitment and sticking through the rough patches, something I never could've done with you. Having children is wonderful but hard, and there is no way I could have done this with anyone else but J. He's truly my partner in life and in everything.
My reason for telling you this is not that I want to hurt you, bur rather to tell you that this is what I really wanted in life. At the time I knew I wanted something different, something that would fill what I felt was missing...I just didn't know what that was. Now I do...I wanted the life that I have now with J.
But I do stand by everything that I have said in previous conversations...I should've handled everything differently with you. Hindsight is 20/20. There is never any way that I will be able to change how I handled things, but I do hope you know that I am sorry. From the bottom of my heart I am truly sorry.
I wish you all of the best, and hope that whomever you do end up with treats you with the love and respect that you deserve, and that you find the happiness that you're looking for. I'm sorry it wasn't me who could be your partner...I do miss you and your friendship and hope that one day you will be able to forgive me and possibly be friends again.
Wow. That was kinda ballsy, wasn't it? First off, I can't claim that I've remotely at all even thought over the last twelve to eighteen months that there was any desire on either of our parts to get back together. That's why this email comes a little out of left field.
Actually, I know right from where it comes. When approached by her, I keep everything in the past. Unless she's reading this blog, which is highly unlikely, she has no idea what's going on in my life. And it kills her not to know.
And, actually, that amuses the shit out of me.
I'm just a little chagrined that, out of really nowhere, there was a need for her to get this off her chest (which has got to be enormous if she's breast feeding, she was a DDD cup when I knew her) the way she did.
What do I care if she's married and has kids with some other dude right now? I'm just glad we aren't still living in misery as a couple.
There's really not a thing about her life at this point that personally affects me anymore, and that's more satisfying than you could possibly imagine...
Back in the saddle again…
It seems kind of insane to me to close a plant down for two weeks over Xmas/New Year’s, but open it back up for a Friday before closing again for the weekend. It bears mentioning that nothing is actually manufactured here, just engineered, so the loss of productivity isn’t as tangible.
I would figure that the Big Three automakers are all churning cars through their factories, and that’s why I’m at my desk today instead of in front of the TV or PC. If the Big Three are moving product, then the suppliers need to be responsive. Unfortunately, as a supplier to the supplier, I’m responsive as well.
Before the break my boss sent me an email that gave me a list of fifteen some odd tasks to accomplish, as technically I didn’t really have the last two weeks off. I think I nailed about twelve of them, couldn’t possibly get one done due to a lack of resources (not my fault), and slacked on three semi-biggies. So I hit the office a little early today and flat out busted ass.
And then didn’t realize until 1030AM that my boss was, in fact, home in front of the TV.
So I’ve eased up on the gas pedal this morning, and have left one last significant task for this weekend. My 2004 “plan.”
I’ve never been really good at planning. I’m generally quick on my feet, I know how to multi-task and prioritize, and I can’t be labeled as a full-fledged slacker. I get what needs to get done, done.
Just don’t ask me to tell you in January what I want to or should be doing in March. Ask me in March.
The whole idea of “how do I get there from here” does require planning, however. I know, ultimately, that I want to do well at this position, keep gaining responsibility, and be in my boss’ shoes within a few years. That is a realistic goal. And I’m working hard, getting things done right the first time, and being very responsive to what is asked of me. I know I have to perform this job well, and I feel that I’m doing it.
Isn’t that enough of a plan?
So that’s my task this weekend. Writing down my plan.
I’ll never know how much is enough either. I could write my plan in two sentences: “Know what questions will be asked before they’re asked, and be prepared with the answers. Increase my visibility onsite, and come to be viewed as a valuable resource to the company to which we supply.” I’m also capable of being verbose. I could write five to eight pages off of those two sentences as well.
How much is enough anyway?
Well, at least I have something to do rather than watching the surely unwatchable game between Dallas and Carolina this weekend.
The “I Kinda Met A Girl” Update
I’m not going to get ahead of myself here. Nothing has really happened since our day together on Tuesday. Except that I did call Wednesday evening to thank her again for hanging out with me, told her I had fun (which I did), and invited her sometime next week for a drink after work. It sounds like she’s interested in doing that, but there’s nothing definite on the agenda right now.
I’m mentioning this because it’s a little amusing how the dance goes in the early stages of a possible relationship (again, I’m not getting ahead of myself, but Tuesday was undoubtedly a date).
I know that it was up to me to make the first post-date phone call. That’s just tradition. If the guy doesn’t call, it’s because he’s avoiding her. The guy needs to be the one to call first, and so I did.
Of course, I had a little bit of an internal struggle over when to make that first call. I know that you can’t go more than 72 hours, and you probably can’t go more than 48. I figured that if I caught her 24 hours later, and kept it short, that it would be the right move. So I called New Year’s Eve at about 8PM, thanked her again, told her I’d like to have a drink this coming week sometime, said Happy New Year’s and left it at that.
What wasn’t clear is who should be placing the next call. I think this works like tennis at this point. I served it up, now am waiting for the return volley. I think that’s right. I’ve put the onus back on her to tell me when she’s free next week, and will hopefully get that call, maybe this weekend.
There is only one thing that’s real clear at this point. She’s a student, and students are broke. So, putting cheap fun aside, it looks like I’m buying. But that’s not a bad thing. Just means a little less gambling on a week-to-week basis.
Speaking of gambling (and I often am), I just wanted to continue to vent a little bit over getting run in every SNG game I’ve played over the last few days. I think that I need to reformulate my strategy a little bit.
Iggy, by way of another site, had a quote that mentioned that it’s OK to be a tight player pre-flop, but it makes sense to take the reins off after the flop hits. Now, excusing the fuzzy math that accompanied that idea, there is a lot of merit to this thought.
At my home game, I’m much more inclined to semi-bluff (or hell, even flat out bluff), as I know that no one there can read me, and that I’m going to get a lot of respect for my raises.
I think I’ve got a mental block on these SNG games on Party Poker. I’m sure I can’t play them the exact same way I would at my home game, but I think it only makes sense to loosen it up a little bit post-flop.
Here’s exactly what my mental block is telling me, which leads me into folding a lot of hands on the flop:
”These guys will see a flop on anything, someone’s got two pair or better, and I’ve got nothing.”
If I’m holding a JT suited, and the flop hits A63 rainbow, I probably need to get out of there. But what if I’m holding A2 suited? I’m probably playing it. But what happens when I’ve got that A2s, and the flop hits KT4 rainbow?
Am I wrong to run away from that nearly every time? What if I’m holding A9s?
I guess what I’m assuming, right or wrong, is that if the “wrong” face/overcard hits for me, and there’s no flush/straight possibilities, then I have to run away. Unless I’m in late position and can try for a steal. Or if the pot odds make my call correct, which is a rarity in these games on the flop. I’m assuming that if there’s a K or a Q on the board, my A is no good. And I’ll need to see 10-1 on my money at least to make the call to see the turn.
How do I combat this though? Raising pre-flop doesn’t do a great job of thinning the field like it should (one memorable beat – an 82s saw my $125 pre-flop raise when blinds were $15/$30, and flopped four flush – but caught trip 8s on the river to beat my two pair) in these smaller level games. And it seems like it only makes sense to flat-out bluff if you’re sitting on the biggest stack on the table, as that guy gets the most respect and the fewest calls.
How much of this play online at lower stakes is about catching a hand?
Another realization I came to is that I need to be much more aggressive when the blinds are low. It gets problematic if I’ve been treading water and reach the final five or six with only the 800 (give or take) that I started with in my stack. I see one flop that doesn’t pay, fold the small blind, and pay into the big, and all of a sudden I’m sitting on only 550 when the blinds increase to 100/200.
I think it’s paramount to catch a couple of monsters early and get that chip count as far up as possible before those blinds increase. Otherwise, you’re just hoping you catch something decent in a blind and can do a little damage with it, or you get forced into making a play on an all-in (like a J8s) that you’re praying doesn’t get called. Those guys who are sitting at 3k in chips when the blinds hit 100/200 are just biding their time waiting for the guys with 400-600 to knock each other out. I need to be one of those guys.
One last strategy I need to adopt is that I have to get out of the habit of pre-selecting my play all the time. In other words, I fold too quickly. I think, especially short handed, that the quick fold is setting me up as a mark. Now, if I were able to catch a hand when someone tried to steal raise, I’d be thrilled they had that perception of me, but I’m not usually catching a hand. I don’t need to be one of those “thinkers” that drives everyone else nuts at the table, but I can’t always make it feel easy for the opponent either.
Man, do I have a lot of work to do to get my game right online. You now see what I’ll be doing between football games this weekend.
What a good lunch. I went to my favorite little Italian restaurant/deli, Pereddie’s, and had their “Romano” sandwich for lunch today. It’s Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomato, garlic, and olive oil on a baguette. Oh yeah. Excellent stuff. I was also able to pick up some San Marzano tomatoes (crucial for red sauce), and some Prosciutto and a baguette to take home.
While they are sitting currently on the front seat of my car, don’t think it isn’t tempting to go out there and grab the bag and have a picnic at my desk.
One of my top lamentations about living out here in West Michigan is the lack of availability of artisan/specialty foods. There’s not one grocery store (anymore) locally that carries the San Marzano tomatoes, and I won’t make red sauce with anything else. It’s tough to find actual Parmagiano-Reggiano anywhere (once in awhile at one store, that’s it), I’ve only seen sea salt a couple of places (and only the big brands), and the quality of bread around here is staggeringly terrible. There’s a place called the “Grand Haven Bakehouse,” which places its bread at most of the local stores. It’s absolutely terrible stuff, and they charge through the nose for it. We do get La Brea Bakery bread locally, which isn’t bad, but it’s just not the same as good Italian bakery bread. And don’t even start with me about what the supermarkets are baking in back.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand why stores don’t devote a small section to some of the better stuff out there. I think there’s a mentality that people don’t know the difference between Hunt’s tomatoes in a can and real San Marzano tomatoes. Look, you make two red sauces, identical in every way except substituting great tomatoes for Hunt’s, and I guarantee you that you’ll only buy those bad ones when you’re making chili or Swiss steak.
What I wouldn’t give to have a Zingerman’s or a Livonia Italian Bakery around here. A place nearby where I can get a great loaf of bread, a few slices of good Prosciutto, my canned tomatoes, and a great artisan pasta.
It’s never going to happen in my humble hamlet though. It seems that the only businesses that continue to proliferate in this area are the chain stores/restaurants. They’re even talking about putting a Wal-Mart in right across the street from our West Michigan chain Meijer store (which is fundamentally similar to a Wal-Mart). I’m not looking forward to that.
If I could open up a place in town that was an Italian bakery/deli/lunch counter like my former hometown of Plymouth’s own “Joe’s Deli,” I’d be a happy man.
I didn’t do anything at all for New Year’s Eve this year. As a matter of fact, I slept right through the turn of midnight. I knocked off half a bottle of wine (Mondavi California Barbera, which was good) and was asleep by 11PM.
It’s a real hard holiday to be alone. It’s even harder to be around couples. I could have (and in retrospect, should have) went to a party a friend was throwing, but didn’t really feel in the mood.
And no, there are no New Year’s resolutions. I did promise myself that I won’t let this website fall by the wayside, like I did for so many months in parts of 02 and 03. I did also promise to take a vacation this year, which I badly deserve.
Aside from the Vegas trip over Super Bowl, I went nowhere last year. When your only vacation is over before February fourth, that’s pretty depressing. So I’m going to get out of town for a while in either late spring or early summer. Some of my choices might include:
1) I’ve always wanted to be in the studio audience of “The Price is Right.” I could see my boy Dan out there if I went.
2) Vegas over Memorial Day Weekend is a good thought, and is probably the front-runner at this point.
3) I’d love to get back to Jackson Hole, WY in the late spring, and, assuming I haven’t ruined my friendship with Nate, would have him come up and join me.
4) Italy. A definite long shot. But maybe three days in Amsterdam (with Thor from Norway? That’d be awesome), and two in Italy. That’d be a good trip.
5) Road tripping to three or four different horse tracks and casinos. I think that’d be a lot of fun. Rent a car, hit the open road, see some races at Saratoga, the Meadowlands, and Mountaineer, gambling at Atlantic City along the way.
6) NYC, again. That city never gets old to me.
Smart money says I’ll be gambling. By the way, if anyone is geographically close to where I’m at (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin) and planning a large NL Hold ‘Em tournament over a weekend sometime, I’d appreciate an invite. God knows you need more dead money around, right? That would be a good mini-vacation. I’d love to play in a couple of tournaments (at least) this year.
All right, there it is then. My New Year’s Resolution 2004: I WILL PLAY IN AT LEAST TWO NL HOLD ‘EM TOURNAMENTS THIS YEAR.
The Best I Ever Had
Best Sandwich – Ham and mozzarella on Paesano bread – Zingerman’s
Best Restaurant Meal – Veal Chop - Bistro 336, Grand Rapids
Best Pizza – (tie) Clover Bar, Grand Haven / The one Hungry Howie’s pizza we called and thanked the pizza man for after eating it (was wasted)
Best Wine – Carmenet Moon Mountain Cabernet
Best Beer – Bell’s Old Ale, served off tap at Bell’s in a brandy snifter
Best Liquor – Johnny Walker Blue, on the rocks
Best Dessert – My own homemade cannolis
Best Bread – Paesano – Zingerman’s
Best Homemade Meal – My homemade seven course Italian spread
Best Date – First date with ex-wife, dinner and drinks
Best Girlfriend – Ex-wife, before we got married, before she started sapping my money away
Best Lay – AO the restaurant hostess, in a walk
Best Experience – Crashing uncontrollably through the front door after dinner, groping and kissing AO, not making it to bed, just rutting like wild deer in the doorway of the bedroom on the floor – and I had actually broken up with her the week before.
Best Endurance – My very first time, something like almost four straight hours.
Best Lighting – My first college hookup, who was way hairier than I thought when I saw her in daylight for the first time after nearly a week of hooking up “after hours.” I wonder if she planned that?
Best Illicit Hookup – Getting a hummer from a nearly 40 year old co-worker after a late work party, meeting ex-wife (not yet officially dating) at 2AM after a shower, and she was none the wiser.
Best Crush – MP in college, who wasn’t going to date me, but didn’t mind hooking up every so often.
Best Arm Candy – JP, my one time roommate who I took out twice. The only woman I’ve ever been with where I was conscious of the glares I was getting (the “who the hell is this guy being with this girl?”) from other guys out in public.
Best BJ – (Tie) The Co-Worker / AO, on the floor on her knees, with all the windows open in the middle of her living room, in full view of anyone who might walk by.
Best Use of Props – AO and the peaches
Best Non-Traditional Location – The very last time with the Ex-Wife, in the bathroom of a local bar.
Best Looking Girl I’ve Dated – CS, in high school, who was so good looking I got suspicious of her motivations for dating me (because I’m stupid and have no self confidence).
Best Looking Girl I’ve Slept With – JB, who really was a tremendous pain in the ass otherwise.
Best Decision – To not have children with my Ex-Wife
Best Decision I Was Originally Opposed To – Buying Frye The Dog in 2000.
Best Year Of My Life – 1998 – Had a great year at work, got back together with my college crush (Ex-Wife), closed out the year with the best commission month I ever had (net $22,500 after taxes).
Best Adrenaline Rush – Hitting my first and only Little League Home Run in my last game ever
Best Vacation, Family – Jackson Hole, WY and white water rafting
Best Vacation, Personal – Golf trip to Mesquite, NV with Bob, Nate, and James.
Best Concert – “Blues Picnic” circa 1993 with my Dad.
Best Showing of BG’s Big Brain – 1992 regional Quiz Bowl finals, personally destroyed the other team and sent GHHS to state. I’m such a loser.
Best Role Onstage – (Tie) Quince in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” this past summer / Our last performance of a scene from “True West,” where I played the nervous author brother, and big huge James played the ne’er do well brother, and threw me violently up against a wall (as a surprise – it worked).
Best Line From a Bad Review A Show I Was In Got – (speaking of a technical mishap at the very end of the show where the lights all went out) “The actors took it upon themselves to improvise lines they must have thought were pretty funny. But they were not.” (“You Can’t Take It With You,” spring 2003)
Best College Talent – Unstoppable on NBA video games (NBA Jam excluded)
Best Current Talent – Taking friends’ money at poker
Best Poker Hand – Quad Deuces, Party Poker
Best Night of Poker Winnings - $110, home game
Best Night of Gambling Winnings - $150, track
Best Single Bet Score - $130 on a 25-1 shot to win ($4WPS) at Northville Downs
Best Handicapping – “Dearest Enemy,” May 2003, GLD. Said he’d come from way back to challenge, made up over nine lengths to win, paid off at about 17-1.
Best Gambling Advice Taken – “Never bet against Brett Favre.” (Thanks SportsGuy)
Best Gambling Advice Given – “Don’t play so many hands pre-flop.” (To Mike, who still hasn’t made that work for him yet)
Thursday, January 01, 2004
Y'all is brutalizing me...
Can a brother get a playable hand up in this bitch? These SNG games are killing me. I've gone two whole orbits now with not one hand worth a damn.
(By the way, in the middle of typing that sentence, I just finished in fifth place on that SNG. I had 650 left, blinds were $50/$100, I was in the big, holding AQo, and raised an early raiser who proceeded to raise me all in. I called, saw a K and four small cards hit the board, and he flipped KK)
Two SNGs tonight, both fifth place finishes. I'm really not upset with the bulk of my game tonight, just the small little bits of impatience that are killing me when I finally do get something in the hole to use.
And that's what's brutalizing me. Got a KQ suited down? Watch two aces hit the board. Playing a JT of spades? Three diamonds on the flop, one on the turn.
It's been like that all night. I can't remember the last time I hit trips on the flop, I haven't helped any of my small pocket pairs, and I'm getting absolutely murdered out there.
And, although I know it's partially my fault (poor play, I'm a guppy), I really feel that this is out of my hands. I'm doomed to get shit cards lately, and that's all there is to it.
I think I'm 0-5 in my $5/$1 SNG NL games this weekend. No better than 4th place, one 9th (that was embarrassing).
I've got to fill in the gaps. I was doing so good there for a little while...
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
I just finished watching one of my favorite movies, "Almost Famous," and it got me thinking... What do I love about music?
- I love that I feel cooler than everyone around me while listening to the soundtrack from the movie "Superfly" while driving in the summer with my windows down.
- I love how Coltrane says a lot by playing a lot, Miles says a lot by playing just a little, but what they're each saying is just as powerful and moving as the other.
- I love how the opening piano chords to Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" (among dozens of other songs) sends chills up my spine.
- I love how a dumb Broadway showtune like "Surrey With the Fringe On Top" can be reshaped in jazz into something much more engaging and interesting.
- I love how hearing Joe Cocker or Janis Joplin can always bring me back to 1990, Nate, and billiards in my basement.
- I love rolling my eyes and thinking "how could I have possibly liked these guys" going through my head even as I'm singing along to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer playing on the radio.
- I love that the theme to "Welcome Back, Kotter" is one of my favorite songs, and I know all the words.
- I love that you can dissect a great jazz solo, particularly on a live album, by form, function, and purpose, or you can kick back and hear that cat just blow.
- I love that Thelonious Monk's "mistakes" are twice as interesting as most other piano players' best tracks.
- I love that Jimi Hendrix couldn't read music.
- I love that some of the great ones died early and didn't go through that "Now Playing at your State Fair" sort of career decline.
- I love that a great hook in a great rap song goes on an infinite loop in my head and provides the rhythm that can keep me going on a daily basis (you'll currently catch me whistiling "I Love The Way You Move" all day long).
- I love that Miles with Herbie, Ron, Tony, and Wayne sounds nothing like Miles with John, Red, Philly Joe, and Paul.
- I love that a song like the Beatles' "For No One" seems to have been written with my life in mind.
- I love that a song like Miles' "It Never Entered My Mind" can bring me to a full bodied state of emotional lament over every woman who ever danced through my subconscious.
- I love that one two minute conversation about favorite bands with a stranger can often determine whether or not you're capable of being friends for life.
- I love that people can appreciate songwriting from the poetic lyricism of Bob Dylan to the ridiculously uninterpretable "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen.
- I love how music can be the question, the answer, the joke, and/or the punchline.
- I love how a person can feel like part of a small club for owning albums by non-commercial artists, but can feel embarrassed along with millions of others for turning up their radio and singing along with bad soft rock on the radio.
- I love that Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have the balls to record Christmas albums.
- I love how different artists can take the same song, deconstruct it, and rebuild it on their own terms creating something very similar, yet fundamentally different than the other.
- I love the sloppy guitar solos on Led Zeppelin's albums, the ethereal harmonies off "Pet Sounds," and the infusion of African rhythms and instruments on "Graceland," and how although they are all of the same genre (rock and roll), they are stylistically diverse, and all equally wonderful and powerful.
Alright, I think I'm done rambling about music. That movie always reminds me of how much I love my CDs.
Call me TiltBoy
Good god. I just hopped on PartyPoker and lost $12 in two $5 SNG NL games.
In about ten minutes total.
You know, if you're not feeling patient, and don't really feel like playing serious poker, you probably shouldn't be playing for money.
On the first table I folded for 3/4 of the first orbit (actually getting dealt the 2c in my first four hands), landed a pair of sixes, and pushed it farther than I should have and got bounced by pocket aces.
On the next table, I think I lasted five hands. I had two pair (top and middle), and was beaten by top and second pairs.
I logged out, and think I need to get a nap in or something.
I got a call yesterday morning from K, the "I Kinda Met a Girl" girl I had plans with for last night, and she mentioned that she got out of work early, so we could bump dinner up from the 7PM timeframe we had set. So instead of dinner at 7PM, I picked her up at 2PM to help me buy a new pair of jeans with the promise of dinner after.
I'd say the day went really nicely. I like her personality, and we were never really at a loss for conversation all day long. We made a couple laps around the mall, found a pair of jeans, and blew $10 at the video arcade (where I was soundly beaten in skee ball, by the way). We ran into a friend of hers working at the mall who suggested a newly opened Irish Pub/Restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids ("The Black Rose," thumbs up) for dinner, and got there just before the crush of the after-work crowd moved through the front door.
Where I think I earned bonus points last night was that this friend of hers that suggested the pub showed up with a couple more of her friends, and we joined them for an hour after we had our dinner. Nice people, the whole lot of them.
After that, we went back to the house at which she stays (as a boarder/nanny to a young couple) and watched "Pirates of the Caribbean," which I had yet to see. With the lights on. And the homeowner building an entertainment center in the same room.
It was a good day. We share a lot of similarities and I'd be surprised if we didn't manage to get out together again really soon.
Side Story Highlight of the Mall Trip
We walked into a Xmas store, just browsing for nothing, and there was this manger scene near the back that actually had a Santa figurine kneeling with nearly clasped hands over the straw bed of the Baby Jesus (not to be confused with "Big Baby Jesus," aka Osiris, aka Dirt McGirt, aka Ol Dirty Bastard). I took a long taper candle and put it between the nearly clasped palms of Santa, and made it look like Santa was about to rain blows with this huge club upon the head of Baby Jesus. I was horribly amused by it, and got a nice snicker from another passing shopper as well.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Just some things...
I've been pissing and moaning about this for a little while here, but I ripped my favorite pair of jeans, and now I can't find a suitable pair with which to replace them. I almost spent $90 on what are ostensibly the same pair from J Crew prior to Xmas, but I thought maybe someone would come through for me instead.
No such luck.
Problem is, now they only have them in boot cut, which I frigging hate. I did find some pairs at Gap.com I would consider, but the ones I really liked weren't available in my size (36x32, it's not like I'm looking for something too out of the ordinary here). I'm definitely not going back to Old Navy for jeans, so I'm stuck waiting until the stores replenish their stock after Xmas.
My Lions really hung a nice victory on the Rams this weekend. Had they been able to play like this all year, they easily would have been a .500 team. Thankfully, with Cleveland's win (among others), the victory only knocked them down to the #6 overall pick from the #4 pick they had coming into the weekend.
Here's hoping 2004's Lions show some of the same tenacity with which they closed out 2003.
Too bad I can't say the same about my Spartans. I'm not saying anything else about that awful bowl game, except that I watched Jay Mohr's comedy special moreso than that poor showing.
I got a badly needed haircut yesterday, but I think it was not only badly needed, but just plain bad. I realized that I have fundamentally the same haircut as all of my 16 year old step sister's friends-who-are-boys, but what separates my head from theirs is my unwillingness to use a half bottle of gel to lock every hair in place on my head (I call it, "The Schwimmer"). So, when you go to a discount stylist, who is probably used to cutting the hair of twelve to seventeen year old boys more than a twenty nine year old's, you're running a risk.
By the way, why do I want to recap my Xmas and share my New Year's plans with a complete stranger just because she's cutting my hair? Maybe I don't enjoy the pleasantries of small talk as much as some people, but when you're telling someone lies about your New Year's plans (party with friends, a gala event), rather than coming closer to the truth (playing $5 SNG tables at PartyPoker alone at home), you feel much shittier about your life.
Well, who knows... Maybe after tonight I'll actually have a date for New Year's.
Kind of on that topic, I don't think there's another holiday that makes me feel shittier about being alone than New Year's Eve. Well, I suppose maybe Columbus Day, but New Year's Eve would easily be a close second. It's less about the "someone to kiss" thing than it is about all the good couple memories I can recall from New Year's Eves past. Seems like everyone is pairing up on this night, more than any other.
I just grabbed a seat at a $5 SNG NL table. I can already tell it's going to be an irritating game. I've got a "thinker" on my right. Sigh...
Monday, December 29, 2003
Remember When I Kinda Met a Girl?
Funny story I linked to there. I took this girl I was interested in up on her offer to exchange books, and she showed up at our dinner exchange with her boyfriend, his 3 year old, and the child she nannies (also 3).
She called tonight, and has finished "A Prayer For Owen Meany." I'm buying her dinner tomorrow night. I only stipulated that it be a restaurant with a waiter and a wine list.
We actually talked for nearly an hour on the phone just now. Real natural conversation. Sometimes, with as withdrawn from society as I've been at times, I have real doubts as to my ability to relate to other people, let alone women.
I think I'm doing alright. Hell, what does a 29 year old with a career job and a Buick need to do to impress a 23 year old college student anyway? Not much, one would hope.
Now, to find a restaurant...
Weekend Gambling Update...
All in all, it was a pretty good weekend.
Christmas Day featured two games of skill with money on the line at my mom's house. First, "Find the Pickle." Now, now, I know what you're thinking. Actually, a shiny green pickle ornament gets hidden somewhere on the tree, and the first one who finds it gets a mystery gift. My strategy this year was "shake the tree and watch it fall to the ground." The ornament hit me in the foot on the way down, I hung it to the neckline of my t-shirt and pretended to continue to look for it with my scavenging brothers for the next two minutes until they realized the game was over. The prize was $40 in Muskegon Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificates, which I promptly spent on two big-ass tenderloin steaks and a four pack of Guinness (that's right Iggy) in the can.
The second event was the family cribbage tourney, which I also won, giving me the prize of $50 in Sacagewea dollars. Fun to get, hard to carry around and spend.
As Bob mentioned, we also spent a good portion of Xmas Eve and the rest of the weekend on Party Poker playing in SNG games. We finished 38th in a 200 player multi-table tourney, which I consider a minor victory for a guppy. I'm also just under 50% (4 for 9) in the money in the SNG games. Three seconds and a third, but one of my losses was at a $30 level, so I'm down a little bit there.
The OTB gambling at the track didn't go very well on Friday unfortunately. It was one of those gambling kryptonite sort of afternoons, as I saw longshots ruin my exactas, and good jockeys give good horses bad trips. The net loss over three hours was about $55, so I left a little irritated.
Which brings me to our home game for poker last night. We had nine players, with most of the usual suspects and one new guy, all with the $10 buy-in, winner-takes-all format.
It was one of those nights for me.
I get an awful lot of respect at this table for my raises. That image serves me really nicely when I pick and choose a spot or two to make a play for a big pot. But it doesn't hurt to win a big one early. And did I ever hit a big one early.
I was dealt AA in middle position, made a mild raise off a couple of callers, and was re-raised significantly by the player on my left (an older lady I try to force out of as many hands as possible, as she draws miracles). She had one caller, a few folded, and I re-raised her much more heavily than she had re-raised me. I think, with our $5/$10 blinds, I had set her in somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 preflop. Amazingly, she called, as did another.
The flop paired a couple of fives and showed a seven as well, all rainbow. I certainly wasn't worried about being up against trips at this point, and made another huge bet. She called, and we drove the other guy out of the pot. Turn put a blank up, and I bet heavy again, and got another call. River showed another blank (everything was under 7 on the board), and I went heavy again, and she called me. She was disgusted to see my Aces, and flipped over pocket Kings to prove she wasn't calling on nothing.
I essentially doubled up early, and it gave me some hefty ammo to play into a lot of pots that I probably wouldn't have normally.
By the way, not only did I get that AA in the hole early, I actually drew AA FOUR times over the course of our nearly six hour game. The last time I hit it, I knocked out the aforementioned older lady to drop the player count to two.
And you're not going to believe what happened.
I'm sitting on about $6500 in chips, she's on about $1200, and the other guy is about the same. I get the AA in the big blind, the other guy folds, and she raises small. I push her all in, and she calls.
She flips over KK.
And I beat her KK again with my AA.
It took about six more hands to win the game. Sometimes, the cards are just falling in the right spots for you.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
A Very Gaming Christmas To Me
Well, I guess when you start to really enjoy your hobbies, your family does their best to add to your enjoyment.
My dad, for instance, always gets some golf related paraphrenalia for Xmas. His wife? Usually something to do with wine. Actually between the two of them they collected three bottles of wine, seven wine glasses (one set of four, one set of two, and one "ugliest ever" gag gift), and one wine decanter.
This year, my gifts generally appealed to my gambling jones. Mostly the horse racing end of things. I got...
500 poker chips (11.5g clay) in an oak carrying case
Six horse racing photos, including:
- A triple dead heat G1 "at the wire" photo from the 1944 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct (matted)
- Secretariat's maiden victory (also at Aqueduct) winner's circle photo (matted)
- Seabiscuit beating War Admiral in their 1938 match race at Pimlico (matted)
- Three prints of antique photos from Toledo Downs (I think) back in the mid 60s. All winner's circle stuff. (Kinda got these for myself)
"Seabiscuit" on DVD
$10 in gold coins (Sacagewea $$), which I promptly used at the track (used = lost)
A book about a gambler/banker in Canada who stole $10M from his bank to cover gambling debts (was that a hint?)
That triple dead heat photo is nifty. I'm really glad I wasn't betting on that race that day. I'd have been pissed.
Strange also this year that I got almost zero as far as clothes were concerned. Bob did get me an MSU shooting shirt, but it's more of a pajama thing, and not something I'm likely to be wearing out to meet the Queen of England or anything.
Aside from that stuff? Here's a partial list of the rest of my take, with comments:
- A rice cooker, two Japanese stone rice bowls, and a set of chopsticks (one of those presents that I'm either going to really love, or use once and really never touch again. I don't know which way that scale is going to tip until I try to get creative with the rice cooker.)
- A bottle of Mondavi "California Barbera" (I love Barbera wine, but hate buying anything that has a big name winery attached to it. It's like having to go out to dinner at Olive Garden. If the food is bad, you've proven your point. If you enjoy your dinner, you almost hate yourself for it. I'll keep you posted.)
- Outkast's new double CD (Had I not gotten it, I would have had to burn it, so it's nice getting the actual discs. I really need to listen to my CDs more.)
- The Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating (a really terrific book that gives good advice on artisan cheeses, pastas, and other foods.)
- A doctored "Big Boy" bank (Apparently, and seemingly funny to everyone except me, I used to call the Big Boy "Sweetie Boy" when I was a pup. So my brother and mom bought a Big Boy bank, and changed the name on his chest to "Sweetie Boy.")
All in all, a nice Xmas.
I did, by the way, drink one of my bottles of Barolo on Xmas Eve. I kept it for one full year before cracking it open. It was pretty good, but not spectacular. I'm hoping for more out of the other one, not to mention my two expensive bottles of Brunello I picked up.
- I know I've been kissing Brett Favre's ass here lately, but something tells me he could ignite this team into one of those "special" playoff runs and get them to the Super Bowl. They've got enough talent to get out of the NFC, and if the cards fall correctly for them on the AFC side, they could win this thing.
- That being said, Philly is my pick to come out of the NFC. They're too well-rounded, even with the apparent loss of Brian Westbrook. They will need one receiver to really step up, and I'm guessing that guy will be Todd Pinkston.
- Although I have money on Denver ($10 to win $150 in a futures bet made last January) to win the whole thing, my AFC pick has got to be New England, provided they stay healthy. Their team defense is incredible, and they have guys on offense that aren't going to demand double teams and/or special attention, but will turn in big plays when given the opportunity (see: Troy Brown, David Givens, Daniel Graham). Somewhere, someone is smiling on Tom Brady's career. Not only did he get a Super Bowl ring, and seemingly can't make a bad move with the ball in his hands, but don't forget, he got to pork Tara Reid for a little while. Must be nice to be young, rich, handsome, and a Super Bowl Champ.
- Aside from the favorites, the teams in each conference I'd least like to face would be Baltimore (AFC) and Green Bay (NFC). The Packers get a pick because of the Brett Favre factor, and the Ravens are the only defense out there that have the potential to pitch a shutout against anyone if they want to. Ray Lewis will have these guys keyed up for a run through to the Championship game. I don't think anyone's beating either of these guys in round one.
- Apparently, I'm rooting for Cleveland to lay the wood to Cincy on our 1PM CBS telecast, while looking for the Rams to light up my Lions on Fox at the same time. This would, of course, give the Lions the undisputed fourth pick overall in the 2004 NFL Draft in April. On this topic, here are my Top Ten Sports Telecast Days of the Year:
(in no order)
1. NFL Draft (both Day One and Day Two): Always fun to have twelve to fifteen hours of NFL coverage smack in the middle of April. Plus, I can watch who the Lions are banking their future on, and which teams pick my Spartans.
2. Super Bowl: Of course, this one goes without saying.
3. NFL Conference Championship Weekend: Usually, these games are better than the Super Bowl. Less pregame, less pagentry, less of a halftime show (those always suck), and you can usually count on one game that might have a little bad blood involved.
4. Any other NFL playoff weekend: The level of play is ratcheted up in the postseason, and the superstars really get an opportunity to shine.
5. NFL Opening Weekend: No one is on a bye week, everyone is out to set the tone for the season, and football is back after too many months of baseball coverage on SportsCenter.
6. NBA Draft: Not usually as fun as the NFL Draft, as I'm not as big a basketball fan as I once was, but it's usually well produced for TV, and normally features the commissioner stumbling over a few foreign names (Nikoloz Tskiitishivvilli anyone?).
7. Lions Thanksgiving Game: This is the one sports tradition that trumps any and all others in my family. I really hope they never take this game away from the Lions.
8. MSU Bowl Game: Not exactly a yearly guarantee, but even if it's the Humanitarian Bowl or the Las Vegas Bowl, I'm watching.
9. MSU in the NCAA Basketball Tournament: Izzo usually has these guys ready. I'm a little worried about this year's crew though.
10. Any NFC North divisional game for the Lions: Hell, any Lions game at all, as far as I'm concerned.
Party Poker Update
I played three NL SNG games yesterday, finishing as high as third in one of them. I've yet to win, but I've been "in the money" 50% of the time I've played, which doesn't put me in a serious "net loss" scenario.
I did take a rough hit last night in a $10 SNG table. Early enough in the game I get dealt 99 in late position. I saw a raise of $100 and one caller before it got around to me. I was in a gambling mood, so I re-raised $500, leaving me with about $250. The original raiser thought about it, and pushed all-in. The other guy called as well. So I pushed in too.
The original raiser was holding a K8 suited, the other guy a ATo (?!?), and I had my nines.
Two Kings hit the board, and I was out.
Maybe a dumb move, but hey, I felt like gambling. I did have the best hand to start out with, so I don't feel too bad about gambling my chips away.
I think I'm enjoying these SNG games ($10) more than playing Limit, although I'll still play some Limit in order to keep learning about it for my casino trips.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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