|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, February 21, 2004
The Scrolldown: Texans, not necessarily in Texas, blogging about more than just Texas
Dan M's site. He'll be in the Grublog classic this weekend, and I happened to land at the same SNG with him this morning.
Iggy's Poker Blog
I was sitting on a $10 SNG on Party this morning next to a "female" player from Cincinnati. I wonder if it was Iggy... Although "she" was playing coy as if she had never heard of Ig before. Liar.
BEAD ME A SHIMMERING DANCE @ gemsweater.com
Seriously, just go. I'll give you all your money back if you're not laughing out loud within the next five seconds (guarantee applies to broadband customers only, restrictions may apply. Thank you Mimi Smartypants.)
Friday, February 20, 2004
Y'all are in trouble
I just took down a $10 SNG on Party. I played some awesome poker, making the right bluffs, the right calls, hitting amazing cards the whole way.
Nice win for me tonight!
Today, 90% Poker Free!
I find myself time challenged to a great extent lately, and as a result have not gotten in as much online poker as I’d have liked lately.
I did play in two $5+$1 SNGs last night, placing 10th in one (first hand flopped top two pair with the Ace being paired, guy went all-in on AJ, just top pair, but hit his J on the river. I did have him beat to there), and placing 2nd in the other.
In the one I played to second place in, I did a masterful job in breaking up my opponent’s strategy at the end. I took a considerable chip lead (2300 with 8 players left, other max of 900 or so) early, and played only the super premium hands for awhile. So I was folding. A lot. Even when we got down to 4 of us, I was still folding quite a bit, as I wanted to make the money at least.
So down to 3, one of the other players started making a habit of pushing huge bets in to push me off the BB. I let him a couple of times when I had absolute junk, but called in on a K9 suited, and hit top two pair on the flop, playing back really strong, and took a nice pot.
The over-the-top crap stopped at that point, which helped out a lot.
I played aggressively to the end, and was distracted enough that I probably didn’t play my last hand, middle two pair, thoughtfully. So I’ll blame second place on my cousin, who was sitting with me and trying to chat. Yeah, that works.
Still, second isn’t bad, and gave me a net $3 profit (Whoo. Hoo.) last night.
And I’m still tuning up for the Grublog Classic.
Setting them up and knocking them down…
I got to have a little bit of fun yesterday at work.
Just to recap, I work onsite at our customer’s site, managing a utility and process for the acquisition and tracking of an asset this customer utilizes. I get to be the point of contact for the vendor pool as well.
Without getting too specific, let’s just say that these particular assets are each unique and have a finite quantity.
We’re probably at a point right now where there are more purchase orders open on which vendors can position their assets than we’ve ever had before. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing due to both the additions to the asset pool (the more in house, the more profitable our program is), as well as proving our acquisition and tracking system is a benefit to the client. It’s a curse, however, as many of these purchase orders are requesting fundamentally similar assets be provided for review.
So here’s what happened yesterday:
There’s one particular asset that I’ve seen positioned by two different vendors to two different purchase orders. The asset is unique, and comes from the same source. That source, obviously, is playing one vendor against the other behind their backs to try to land their asset with my client at the best price possible.
Vendor A was the first to get this asset up for review with a buyer onsite here, and the buyer made Vendor A an offer to acquire.
Normally, that’d be pretty good news, except that this morning Vendor B has scheduled this asset for review with another buyer at another facility with the client. And although it’s certainly not a sure thing that this asset will be purchased today, the provider is gambling that today’s offer to acquire will be higher than the one he had on the table with Vendor A at the other client site.
I say “had,” because here’s where I got to have fun.
I got the offer to acquire yesterday morning from Client Buyer A. He thought he had this asset locked up, but I knew already about the other review scheduled for this morning. I went back to Vendor A and made the offer, and figured that the provider would recognize the “bird in the hand,” and take it.
The provider wanted to keep the offer on the table, have the asset reviewed this morning at the other site, and hopefully have two offers from which to choose (and possibly have them compete).
I let Vendor A in on what was going on, and told them that the provider was going behind their back to set this stuff up through another. It’s not illegal, just marginally unethical, what they were doing.
Vendor B, on the other hand, had no idea. Still doesn’t.
I went back to Vendor B yesterday, and negotiated their positioning price down 10%, which I had hoped would bring both vendor’s prices closer to equal, and would convince the provider to take Vendor A’s offer.
The provider still wouldn’t budge.
I then negotiated with Vendor A to give the provider one last chance to take what was on the table now, canceling the review for today, and securing a spot for this asset onsite. I gave Vendor A permission to play hardball with the provider by telling them that they were going to take the offer off the table, and that they knew what was going on and that this unethical behavior would spoil future relations between the vendor and provider.
The provider still wanted to do the review today. They turned their back on the bird in the hand to try to make a few extra bucks.
Only thing is, they don’t know that the buyers in their review this morning already know this. How? Because I went ahead and told them what happened. And they will very likely sour on working through a provider that is willing and able to go behind their back at any given moment for a few extra bucks.
Good luck getting through that review today guys. That’ll teach you to screw with my client. Well, and don’t screw with me either. I can be a manipulative sonofabitch when I want to be too.
Consumer Advisory Update
Here’s a simple truth about our friend the cough drop. The flavors of root beer and menthol do not mix. Do not be fooled.
That is all.
Public Service Announcement
Five Pieces of Advice for the Youth of America
1)There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called “college.” Wait until you get there to pick up your pot habit, or your debilitating gambling addiction.
2)If it’s itchy AND scaly, it’s probably just jock itch. Go buy a tube of Lotrimin and get it taken care of.
3)Chat shortcuts, such as “OMG” and “u” and “OIC” are no substitute for real human being communication. Break yourself of that habit immediately.
4)Don’t touch her if there’s even a remote chance you’re ending up on a sex offender’s list for it. And no matter who you touch, wrap it up. You want to end up on “Maury” doing a paternity test? PSA #4A, by the way, is “if you’re invited to go on a TV daytime talk show, turn down the invitation, it’s bound to end badly.”
5)Make sure you have the following in your repertoire: Two good jokes, one memorized short poem, one CD suitable for listening by candlelight, one talent you can display at a bar (karaoke, an impression, a bar trick), the ability to cook one meal well, and at least one hobby that does not involve computers, comic books, action figures, or movies about elves, spacemen, or superheroes.
Link List Lament
Where’d Anna go?
My favorite blogger in the whole blogosphere, and she just up and disappears, taking her site with her.
It has to be an intentional disappearance, as Blogger won’t take down a dormant site. It has to be dismantled by the owner. And this one was most certainly dismantled.
I did try emailing her as well, as she’s been a good resource for dating advice for me lately, but didn’t get a response.
My guess? Maybe this website hit a little too close to home for her. Maybe her dismantling of the site is the result of a fight with her man, the equivalent of my breaking my Madden 2001 disc in front of my ex-wife because I couldn’t take her bitching about my gaming anymore. Maybe her man didn’t want to hear about her past anymore, maybe he got insecure about her crush on two of her co-workers.
Or maybe she just grew uncomfortable with the writing.
Regardless, I miss having her blog to read daily, and hope I get an email back at some point letting me know she’s alright.
I can’t wander the web at work. I do, however, read the first twenty five words of news articles from around the globe on Google’s news tab.
I just read on Google about what is probably going to be the GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. That is, if the first twenty five words of this review are any indication:
Man, do I love a good lubriciously nude dance. Is “lubriciously” even a word? It’s getting caught by SpellCheck, but I should probably trust the San Diego Union Tribune, which is probably California’s eighth best selling newspaper. One half of one percent of California’s population can’t be wrong.
Did you see the contract they agreed to? Seven years at $43M. Wow. Talk about mortgaging the future. Not only do the Skins now have to address what to do about Patrick Ramsey (he’ll have to be traded), but they’ve got a QB in his mid 30s with an albatross contract tied around his neck that isn’t going to come off the books for awhile. Good luck with that salary cap in three years when Brunell walks away from the game guys.
True story… I think it was the NBA Draft of two years ago, when I saw Notre Dame PF Ryan Humphrey selected by Utah in the middle of the first round. I immediately called my brother and said, “Watch this, they’re going to trade him for a big white stiff.” Sure enough, a few picks later a trade was announced that sent Humphrey to Orlando for the draft rights to big white stiff Curtis Borchardt. A seven foot lumbering white guy with foot problems is always a good gamble, right? And yesterday, the Jazz acquired Tom Gugliotta and Gordon Giricek. Both white guys. They can now put on the floor Gugliotta, Ostertag, and Kirilenko up front, with Giricek and Matt Harpring in the backcourt. True, you’ve got no true PG in this lineup, but you do have five white guys out there.
For all the periodic talk about minority hiring in sports, why do we continue to ignore the fact that the Jazz seem to be going out of their way to put white guys on the team?
Man's call says he's kidnapped, on jet
This is some seriously scary stuff. Let’s throw out for a second the legitimate possibility that this dude is mentally unbalanced and created this “kidnapping” in his head as a bizarre little fantasy. What if he’s telling the truth? How would he have been “kidnapped,” and what could he have been doing for Al Qaeda (heard on the news that’s who “kidnapped” him) on that plane? Carrying a bomb, I suppose. I’m really eager to hear more on this one. If Al Qaeda is strapping bombs to American citizens and sending them up on planes, that’s pretty damned insidious.
That all being said, I bet he had too much to drink, was unbalanced, and just said something that was taken the wrong way and security turned the plane around.
I wonder though, how much stuff are we not hearing about?
The word 'evolution' OK again for teachers
Freaking backwater South. If a parent wishes to have curriculum controlled as per their religious beliefs, they should send their kid to a church sponsored private school. It’s that simple. We’re in 2004. You’re just now making it OK again to say that evolution might possibly be the way things came to be on this planet?
Agencies use e-mail to alert people about STD exposure
Government sponsored sex spam. Terrific. Oh, and now I’m officially upset that there are people who meet through chat rooms and web sites having sex. For the record, I’m currently not having sex, but I guess everyone else with a computer is. Damn cyber hippies.
A $222M jackpot tonight in the Mega Millions lottery promises a post-tax/post-lump sum discounted prize of around $120M.
I hit that, I’m in Vegas by Sunday.
That’s actually where my dad, his wife, and her daughter are vacationing now through Tuesday. Were it not for this upcoming apartment move, I would have participated in that old tradition of sending along $20 of my own with my old man for him to make a bet for me.
I was thinking $10 each on the Broncos and the Redskins to win the Super Bowl. I hate both teams, and I’d guess one would win just to spite me. But I need my money right now, and can’t go all crazy with the gambling in the near future.
Which, of course, sucks balls.
I do have $120 in PartyPoker, and $40 in at YouBet, so I’ve got that to goof around with. Speaking of YouBet, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but the Magna tracks (Santa Anita being one) have been yanked from the YouBet simulcast, as Magna wants people to use their own proprietary gambling site to wager rather than YouBet. That’d be all fine and dandy if it weren’t for one confusing thing. The Magna site (Xpress Bet, I think) isn’t available to me in Michigan. YouBet is. I couldn’t begin to tell you why, but that’s how it works. What I have a problem with is the fact that I think Magna should be amenable to putting their track feeds out there anywhere horse betting is legal. The more money wagered on their tracks, the richer they become. I can’t imagine that the money they’d make signing users up at Xpress Bet would eclipse the money they’d make by keeping their feeds on all available channels. Makes no sense to me at all.
I’m mainly griping because I don’t get to see any Portland Meadows racing, as that’s a Magna product, and that’s where I like to put my money.
Back to the lottery. I don’t understand why people line up to buy $20 or more worth of tickets for drawings like this. I look at it this way. Say you have a giant gumball machine, and if you happen to get the “golden gumball,” you win a prize. You can see one of these special gumballs on top of the pile. That’s the gumball you would win by pulling every other gumball out of the machine first. In other words, removing chance from the equation. Buried somewhere in the bottom of the machine, obscured from your view from the outside, there might be another golden gumball. That’s the gumball you’d get by chance, if maybe there is another one in there, you don’t really know.
So you plug a quarter in the machine and turn the handle. You know you’re not going to get the one on top, that one would be very nearly the last one you’d pull out of the machine. Does putting another quarter in the machine improve your chances of getting the golden gumball? Does putting a dozen quarters in help?
Each quarter pulls a random gumball out. If you don’t make a significant dent in the pile of gumballs in the machine, you are as likely with quarter number one to get the golden gumball as you are with quarter number seven, seventeen, or seventy (provided there are a lot of goddamn gumballs in there) to pull it out.
Might you get it? Sure. But you’re far more likely not to get it. And each additional quarter, again provided you’re not significantly reducing the size of the pile of gumballs remaining to purchase, has a blind chance, very nearly equal to the very first quarter’s chance, of landing that golden gumball.
I agree with the assessment that the lottery is a “stupid tax on people who can’t do math.” That being said, I always buy more than just one ticket, but never more than five.
I think three is my number today.
I’m not feeling lucky though.
More Underrated Stuff
Things from the past that you can’t convince me weren’t great for America, but are somehow gone today
>>Those big bags of popcorn you could get at the grocery store that took up half your cart were awesome. I blame that Redenbacher asshole for putting the screws to the small market farmers and eliminating almost every option but microwave popcorn from the stores. You know that’s how it went down. Orville may look like a down home sort of friendly southern cracker, but I’m sure when it came to busting down the doors of the popcorn competition, he went in with guns a’blazin.
>>Jason Bateman = Comedy Genius. Well, at least that was the equation back in the 80s with his show, “It’s Your Move.” He pranked the crap out of that older dude who went on to be the husband to the lesbian on “Married With Children.” I’m not sure why this show didn’t do better. I also think that egomaniacal Ricky Schroeder kept Bateman from realizing his potential. Bateman used to guest on “Silver Spoons,” but I’m sure that little blond bastard knew Bateman was stealing the spotlight, and brought the latter-day minstrel show that is Alfonso Riberio into the picture instead. Screw Ricky and the oversized toy train he rode in on.
>>Blackberry Flavor New York Seltzer was the shit. I remember back in maybe 1989 or so, all the sparkling seltzer drinks hit the market at about the same time as Snapple. And that unholy faux-fruit drink is what survives instead of NY Seltzer and Canuck-friendly competitor Clearly Canadian? Wrong on so many levels. Take your guava mango monstrosity with you on the way out the door.
>>I remember that back when I was a kid, there were always uniformed grandmas walking around the Burger King and Wendy’s, and they would bring you your crown, more ketchup, and bus your tray for you. I guess that’s a job even an illegal Mexican immigrant wouldn’t want now. Are all those old people now handing out fliers at the entrance to Wal-Mart and putting that highlighter mark through your receipt at Sam’s Club? Well, whatever keeps them off the roads, right?
>>Where did Saturday morning cartoons go? Seriously. And where are my kids going to find Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons now? Does everything have to be snarky and slick like Spongebob now? I want my Droopy cartoons back where I can find them. And while you’re at it, quit screwing with the Transformers. They were super cool before you needed to buy eighteen together to build the uber-Transformer robot. And while you’re talking to the cartoon council, I’d like to see old M.A.S.K. reruns too, alright?
Just the kind of kid he’s raised
I’m housesitting for my dad while he’s in Vegas this weekend. Well, he royally pissed me off last night, so chances are in about 30 days he’ll notice a few hours of Spice Channel on his cable bill with tonight’s date stamped on it.
He owes me on this one.
That’s the kind of guy I am.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Back on the block
Somewhere in the middle of “too busy at work” and “not enough to say” was born a short hiatus from my usual blogging. The “too busy at work” thing has actually been pretty nice. I rather enjoy being challenged with a lot on my plate, and this week has been all about work on my plate.
Keep your collective fingers crossed for me, as I found a tremendous apartment for which I applied yesterday. I’d only been looking for two days, and happened to stumble into this joint from a classified ad, and am praying that they choose me as their tenant.
It’s a two bedroom upper apartment at the rear of a rental house. I’ll try to do it justice describing it:
From the back door, you walk upstairs in an amber-colored wood paneled hallway, leading up to the front door. Just inside the front door is the apartment’s three season porch, which is walled in the same rich amber wood, and fully windowed. French doors open up into a small living room, and an arched doorway leads into the hallway. On the left is a completely remodeled bathroom with new tile, new pedestal sink, and new fixtures. Next door on the left is the kitchen, which is open, but completely retro. The oven/range alone looks like it’s been time warped out of 1955, but it looks clean and functional. Stepping into the kitchen is like stepping right into the 1960s, and that’s kinda cool.
So, I really want this joint. Rent is only $585 per month, and I think it’s cheap at the price for that. This town (my hometown) is a resort town in the summer, and I’d be really excited to have easy access to downtown anytime I want to walk down.
By the way, you’d know my hometown as the real-life inspiration for the summer resort town featured in “American Pie 2.” Great Harbor = My Town.
T-minus three days…
Oh man, I can’t wait for the Grublog Blogger’s Poker Classic this Sunday.
I’m going to tune up tomorrow night with a few SNG battles, and maybe even enter a multi or two on the way.
I hope I can be focused on my practicing, as I just reactivated YouBet, which gives me live horse racing gambling on my laptop to go along with PartyPoker. I can see the furious Alt/Tabbing between the Aqueduct program and Party on Saturday already.
For the Classic, I’m going to be focused on little goals. First, I don’t want to be the first one bounced. God knows that isn’t out of the realm of possibility though. Secondly, I’d like to have at least one scalp to hang from my belt. Third, I want to make it to the first break in the upper 25% of the leaderboard. I think any and all of these goals are realistic, so those are the ones I’m coming out with publicly.
Oh, and I’d like to win the damn thing.
My guess? I’ll bet we end up with 25-30 players, and I’m out at about #18 or #19. I think that in this group it’s likely that I’m less dead money than a few people, but more dead money than most everyone else. Making the top third of finishers would be a HUGE victory for me, in my opinion.
I just have to be really careful not to play dumb. Not that my version of “playing smart” is going to win me the tournament, but if I can try not to do anything too dumb (i.e. – continuing to bluff at a pot I’ve missed, even though I know I’m going to get called down), I think I can tread water for awhile.
Actually, you know what my main motivation to not do anything dumb is? I don’t want to see a slew of posts on Monday morning about “BG’s ridiculous hammer all-in” or something. Nothing like the fear of public embarrassment to whip one into shape, right?
Who da Champ?
Here’s hoping the Lions are smart enough not to try too hard to acquire Champ Bailey.
I’ve got this sinking feeling though that Millen feels like he needs to hit a PR home run here, and bringing aboard a player like Bailey would be one of those moves the fans could really get behind.
Except, of course, for us hard core fans who understand what sorts of draft choices we’d be giving away to bring this young and talented DB aboard.
If I were, say, New England’s GM and had cap space, I might look at a #1 and #2 this year, and a #3 next year to acquire Champ. They have picks to burn, and not a lot of needs.
Unfortunately, the Lions need more than just a DB, no matter how talented. With pressing needs elsewhere, and well positioned picks in each round, they need to get starting lineup caliber players out of their first three rounds, or this draft will not be a success. Trading two of those picks (or all three) for one Champ Bailey isn’t a smart move. If there are two areas on the team that I’d feel OK about leaving status quo, it’s at LB and CB. Compared to needs on the OL, at skill positions, and for a pass rushing end (or two), our needs at LB and CB aren’t as pronounced.
This is probably the year to chase someone like Antoine Winfield or Jason Webster, both of whom will be complimentary to Dre Bly, and both of whom cost considerably less than Bailey would, both in cap dollars as well as draft choices.
I think the Lions are doing a smart thing investigating the ability to acquire Champ, but I think they need to be smart enough to back away from the trading block when the price proves to be too steep.
Here’s my projected Lions starting lineup for 2004:
RB: Chris Perry*
FB: Cory Schlesinger
WR: Charles Rogers/Az Hakim/Tai Streets**
TE: Casey Fitzsimmons
G: Drafted Player*/Beverly
DB: Bly/Jason Webster**/Cash
S: Sean Taylor*/Holt
Smacks of desperation
So two hours after putting in the application, I’ve got an appointment to sign the lease on Saturday. Whoo Hoo! You think she was in a hurry to fill the joint?
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
From the RTATS Archives... Circa 1/18/04:
"As for my home game, I'm really ready to take that next step.
I've totally proven that I can adopt different styles at the table, and win with any of them. I've played like a rock, I've bluffed, I've won with amazing cards, I've won without hitting anything higher than a set all night.
I'm not saying this to be cocky, but on any given night if I'm sitting down with our regulars, there's little reason I shouldn't be able to beat everyone at the table.
It doesn't always work out that way, but with somewhere between six and twelve players per game, I've won the pot over 50% of the time. No one else is really that close.
From a purely financial standpoint, you don't mess with a good thing. But from a competition standpoint, I really have no idea where I stand playing this game. I know I'm not good enough to challenge pros or a lot of successful amateurs. But I bet I'm better at this game than I think I am.
PartyPoker is no gauge of ability. Especially in a NL game structured to be completed amongst ten players in under an hour. I have to use what NL experience I have in my home game as the only indicator of my skills.
And that's ridiculously difficult, as I know that there's not another player at the table who has put the time and effort (and reading and practice) into learning and understanding the game the way that I have. I know that six out of ten of our regulars have very little in the way of sound strategy, and couldn't milk a pot from the table if they tried.
It's not as if I have zero competition here, but with as much dead money as we bring to our games, I don't get the full table workout I need in order to get better.
To make it short: I need a game. I need to find a group of people who have been playing for awhile and get into their game. I need to see where I stand. Do I play well enough to learn big tourney strategy better to explore that area? Am I only good enough to take down the home game with regularity?"
Apparently, there are those from my home game who are reading good ol' RTATS and I've been told that the above statement is being held against me.
Nice that I find out about this from my mom too.
Invite me over for the games or don't. I'm not getting any further into this as an argument. I don't have that kind of energy. All I will say is that I don't write to this blog with the intention of anyone I know reading it (save my brothers), and I don't feel like I said anything worth getting upset about anyway.
Monday, February 16, 2004
Is the sky supposed to be that color?
I’m a little giddy today. That’s what three straight days of blue sky and sunshine in the latter stages of a Midwest winter will do to a guy.
We look for the little things to bring us joy out here. It must really suck to live in San Diego or Tempe and have the same weather all the time. With nice day after nice day, what the hell do you people have to complain about? Well, the Cardinals and the Chargers I suppose.
Anyway, I have the proverbial “bluebird on my shoulder” this morning, which is never a bad thing. Unfortunately, I also have Murphy and his book of law on my other shoulder, which is due to doing a favor for a friend, one which I have a bad feeling about (the favor, not the friend). More on that in a little bit.
So even with blue sky, sunshine, good coffee, and not a ton of work on my shoulders today, I still have that half-empty feeling of looming dread lurking in the shadows.
But hey, when don’t I have the sinking feeling that things are about to get effed up in the very near future?
Sit ‘N Groan
I had a pretty full weekend, which left very little time for playing on PartyPoker. I did, however, get into three SNG games (all $5+$1), and placed in two of them.
It’s pretty funny, but in both SNG games in which I placed (2nd in one, 3rd in the other), I got burned by the poker gods pretty badly. I’m usually a pretty decent short-handed player, especially live. I play a pretty fearless game live, am pretty hard to read, and am unafraid to lose 10% of my stack on a worthless hand on a semi-bluff if I know it will loosen the opponent up for later. Online though, I’ve been going through a bit of a dry spell heads-up. It’s partially the cards, of that I’m confident. I have been totally missing flops lately, with massive overcards hitting my small suited connectors, or watching an egregious amount of spades hit my suited Q9 of diamonds (and not making a pair or straight draw either). I take a few bluffs here and there, and I know my opponent does too.
But where I have hit trouble in these last two SNG placements was sticking with the theory that “if you’ve made a hand, it’s probably the best one” in a short handed scenario.
I’m not talking holding 67 and hitting a pair of sevens when AQ7 hits the board. I’m talking about making a hand.
In one bust out, I made a full house. I moved my chips in, and was called and busted by another higher full house (yes, it’s happened to me twice in a week now – and I’ve played less than ten SNGs this week). What are the chances?
In another, I was holding KQ suited, moved a bunch of chips in pre-flop, was called by pocket 33 (I didn’t know this, obviously, at the time), and moved the rest of my chips in the middle with a KQ3 flop. Sheesh, didn’t see that beat coming.
Both those were pretty tough to swallow. You’d think top two pair in a shorthanded scenario is pretty good. As you’d think any full house, not even the nut house, would be the winner. At least I made money in these games.
I need to sharpen up my skills. Focus on one type of game (SNG or NL Ring or Limit Ring, whatever) and just get good at it. Well, it would help to have a bigger bankroll at this point, and it would help to have more time than I seem to lately.
I had a pretty terrific weekend with K. I picked her up at 4PM Saturday, and she didn’t take off until 9PM Sunday (29 hours, hence the title). And we didn’t get sick of each other. It was a nice thing.
So, here’s what happened.
We went to catch an early dinner, as we had tickets for a show later on. The restaurant was Pietro’s, a Grand Rapids based local chain of Italian joints that are priced about the same as an Olive Garden, but the food and atmosphere have a little more character.
We spent the first thirty minutes or so in a discussion about gay marriage (again). Well, actually, the argument was about defining what is and what isn’t an irrational argument. My perspective is that although I believe somewhere down the line the so-called conservative viewpoint will be conceding defeat on this issue, you can’t by any stretch of the imagination say that their arguments against gay marriage (well, not all their arguments) are irrational and without legitimacy. And K took the opposition.
Man, I love it when I’m challenged like this.
Anyway, we got a bottle of wine (a 2001 Barbera, wouldn’t have paid any more than $9 in the store, paid $22 in the restaurant), some pepperoni bread (yum), and just relaxed and talked further.
Two things stand out about dinner. First, shortly after eating the pepperoni bread, she landed basil shreds at her gum line in her teeth in two spots. I didn’t broach the subject until we left the restaurant (two hours later, still there), and got chided pretty hard for not telling all throughout dinner. What’s the protocol on that anyway? The other thing that stands out is a discussion we had about who our ideal celebrity fantasy women would be. If you’re a reader of this space, you know my pick already, and that’s Anna Nicole Smith circa 1993 (?) when she was doing Playboy and those Guess Jeans ads (hers was Brendan Fraser). What was notable about this conversation was this one little aside she offered, “You’re a butt man, I can tell.”
Whoa, is it that obvious? I’d like to think that I’m not getting caught checking out women, so I guess I’ve got to work out that kink in my game, right?
On the way out of the restaurant I saw two teenagers hop out of their car (Valentine’s Day Dance at their school apparently) all bleary eyed with quite the cloud of smoke following them out. Made me a little misty for the days of yore.
There is not a set of circumstances I can currently imagine that would get me back into a theatre for another three hour performance of “The Vagina Monologues.” I kept wishing Grubby’s teenage zombies would come out onstage and put an end to my misery.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Look, I understand why this has turned into a female cultural phenomenon. But that doesn’t mean I had to enjoy it. Sure, there were some parts that were pretty engaging and powerful, but to paraphrase a reviewer who saw a different production of this show across town on Saturday, the “humor” material “would bomb in even the worst comedy clubs out there.”
I can’t remember laughing once.
I’m an open-minded dude, and I’m all for the arts and everything, but I don’t want to hear the word “vagina,” or the fifty two slang terms for it, two hundred and eighty seven times over three hours. It made me uncomfortable. Conservative upbringing I suppose. Whatever. I don’t want to hear five minutes on why there’s hair down there. I really didn’t want to listen to three women tell stories for awhile about the first time they got their period. And by god I didn’t want to hear the monologue “Reclaiming Bundt,” with the cake name replaced by the ugly and pejorative slang term. To me, there is no uglier word out there, and I don’t care what your motivation is for embracing the term, I was uncomfortable, and remain uncomfortable, hearing it aloud. And I was horribly uncomfortable when the audience was encouraged to say it aloud, as K was badgering me to do as well. I said it once in unison with the crowd, and felt like I should be sequestered to the bathroom to suck on a bar of Irish Spring.
Here’s how horrible of a human being I am. As I’m tracking which monologue we’re currently watching in the program down to the very bottom, I realize we’re in our last one, a statement about “Vagina Warriors.” These are women who are doing something about women who are suffering around the world. There are five women onstage reading this statement (which was fifteen minutes long) out of binders.
At the end of the statement, the binders close, and I’m OVER FREAKING JOYED that this show is finally over. I can clap, I can go home. Thank god.
But wait. NO! Upon finishing the statement, the narrators begin telling the stories of a woman, one of the women onstage, who has been counseling victims of sexual abuse for two decades. I realize that WE’RE NOT GOING HOME until each and every one of these five women gets their life story told and is recognized for their contributions to women’s causes by the audience.
And all I can think about is that I THOUGHT I WAS GOING HOME NOW, BUT IT’S GOING TO BE ANOTHER UNCOMFORTABLE THIRTY MINUTES BEFORE I’M OUT OF HERE.
Overall, the worst theatre experience of my life, and I”ve seen “Phantom of the Opera,” so that’s saying a lot.
I did have one of those moments when we first got to the theatre where I saw someone from across the room who could have been someone I knew ten years ago. Well, it couldn’t have been her now, but it was as if she was plucked out of 1994, and dropped in 2004 right in front of me.
This was a girl I never dated, only hung out with, but was so magnetic that if she had said out of nowhere, “How about you pack a bag, leave everything else behind, and let’s move together to Colorado where we can live off the land and braid hemp jewelry to sell to the tourists?” not only would that have not surprised me, but I think it would have been an offer I’d have seriously considered.
It was the type of moment that made me realize I’ve met some really remarkable people in my time, and even though I only knew Jodi for a couple of months at most and never so much as kissed the girl, her impact on me is something I can feel in a truly tangible sense when the right atmosphere surrounds.
The rest of the night
I really wanted to get out of the night without spending any more money, so we went back to my house to watch a movie. There’s still a concerted effort to take things really, really slow, which we talked about a little bit on the way. In other words, even though she’d be spending the night (so I could have a couple more beers and not have to drive her home 20 minutes away at 3AM), she’d be spending it on the fold out, and I wasn’t getting any.
Not that I thought I’d be getting any anyway.
So we watched SWAT, which was just OK, and got some sleep, me upstairs, her down. Sigh…
As K’s car is still in the shop (a 93 Dodge with 140k miles and a fuel pump problem? Hello scrap heap!), I was part chauffeur and part problem-solver for her yesterday. I drove her out to the college (30 minutes away) for a rehearsal she couldn’t miss (and sat there inside with my dog for the hour and a half it took), and helped her figure out how she was going to get around tomorrow when her schedule was demanding and there was no good solution to her problem.
So I let her borrow my car today. I know I’m doing a nice thing by helping someone out, but I really have this ugly sinking feeling about lending it to her. I’m just expecting bad news as a result, and I really hope I’m wrong. I’m sure I am, but that doesn’t erase the concern. At least I’m scoring bonus points, right?
I also cooked dinner, or at least the main course, last night. Mom was supposed to cook, but got home later than expected, and I was half way through the prep cooking for the Chicken Scaloppini (recipe below), so I just kept cooking. It turned out awesome. Scaloppini is easy, but this one really kicked ass. I think K was impressed too.
So we spent all afternoon and evening Saturday, and all day together on Sunday. I was charming when I wanted to be, helpful when I needed to be, unobtrusive when warranted, and engaging in conversation when prompted.
Maybe someday I’ll make someone a pretty damn good boyfriend. God knows if we’re going to get to that point here.
CHICKEN SCALOPPINI RECIPE
1 – Flatten boneless chicken breast by pounding with a mallet while it’s between sheets of plastic wrap. Don’t pound too much, you don’t want distended chicken.
2 – Dredge chicken in egg, then in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
3 – Put olive oil and butter in a frying pan (roughly equal amounts), heat up, add minced/chopped garlic. When sizzling, add chicken breasts. Oil/butter should come up to edges of sides of chicken breasts, but not overlap them.
4 – Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan, salt and pepper while cooking.
5 – Cook until done on one side, flip, cook until done on other, transfer to holding pan in hot oven until all the batches are through.
6 – When all the batches are done, carefully discard most of used oil, as it’s probably browned up quite a bit (ignore if you made only one batch in the pan). Put back on burner, deglaze the burnt stuff on the bottom of the pan, add more oil/butter/garlic, and get it hot again. Add some dry white wine and let the alcohol start to burn off. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, add basil, salt, pepper, and oregano as well as some lemon zest. Let it reduce on medium heat, but don’t scorch the butter or garlic. This is where you’re making your sauce.
7 – Boil up some angel hair pasta. Plate up angel hair with a couple of scaloppini breasts on top, drizzle some sauce over, zest some lemon and grate fresh real parmagiano-reggiano on top. Add fresh diced tomato as a final garnish.
Thanks to the searcher from German Google who used the above term to find my page. I’m glad to see you found me, rather than encouraging your delinquency by finding actual pictures of hobos at their worst.
I have an invite from Lord G to play in a reasonably soft NL home game on Wednesday night. There’s a part of me that would like nothing more on the planet than to play poker Wednesday, but there’s another part of me that knows that 11PM will roll around, we’ll be at 10/20 blinds, I’ll have 1100 in chips in front of me, and I’ll be more focused on getting sleep for work the next morning than playing the J8o I was just dealt properly.
In other words, were I to play, I’d have to take Thursday off of work. And I don’t feel like I have enough vacation time for that.
Speaking of vacation, I know I’m less than 50 days off of what was a pretty decent little break over Christmas, but man, I could use a few days off. Some of my days, like this one today, are pretty mentally challenging. Not because I have so much on my plate, but really for the converse reason. I don’t have a ton of stuff to do, and what I’ve been doing I’ve accomplished rather quickly anyway.
And I’m tired enough that I’m spending more energy staying awake than I am chasing information around.
But vacation would be nice. Not just “a couple days off” vacation, but a whole big “getting the heck out of town” vacation. Maybe this summer, if I’m lucky, I can get out and go somewhere fun. Maybe it’ll just be camping. I don’t know. Regardless, I want to get out of Dodge and have some fun.
I am in the market for a new ISP. Any suggestions for a route to investigate? I’m a little put off that the local cable company wants to charge me $43/month for cable modem, but smart money says that’s where I end up.
Is there an option for non dial-up Internet that I should look into? DSL?
Sunday, February 15, 2004
The 7th @ Tampa Bay:
I have an email service that reminds me when certain horses are running so I can put down some money. Unfortunately, I wasn't at the track for this race yesterday, but I guarantee you if I was, I would have seen I Match Too cross the finish line first with a bet on him in my pocket. Here's the payoff:
"10 I Match Too 104.80 42.80 17.80"
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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