|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
There's something to be said for low-grade Internet stalking. I'm talking about the simple act of Googling some long-lost name from your past, landing a result or two, and using what you might find to maybe speculate a little bit into their lives since you've been missing them.
You might be surprised to know that although I tend to dwell a little bit on the situation with the ex-wife, hers is not the face I see when I want to remember what love feels like. I loved her, I was in love with her, but she didn't love me more than I did her.
No, that wasn't in the ex's heart. Despite her early-separation claims to the contrary, she wasn't in love with me. Probably never was.
I knew what that felt like - to have someone madly in love with me. It was never the ex.
It was a girl who, for six months almost ten years ago, was able to show me what being adored was all about.
I can close my eyes and see her sitting on my bed, barely wrapped in the untucked sheet, as warm and rumpled and breathless and satisfied as I was. And I still can feel what it was like to see her bite the corner of her lower lip and drop her eyelids just oh so slowly in that way that could only mean "come back to me here, come back to me now."
And I would. Eagerly.
And words never got in the way, because they weren't necessary. Not at first. Chemistry took care of that. Chemistry was the equalizer, my blinders to the situation.
She wasn't smart enough, focused enough, driven enough, old enough for me at that age. I wanted more from a woman, and she just wanted everything I could possibly give her, and wasn't taking the subtle attempts to distance myself appropriately.
And so I took her to dinner, three blocks from my house, and I was breaking up with her - I did break up with her. But then she grabbed my thigh under the table and blinked slowly with a growing smile, and I wasn't breaking up with her right then anymore.
To date, this was the only time I've left a restaurant without seeing my bill. I left far too much money on the table, and we could barely contain ourselves on the sidewalks. Two steps inside the door was all it took before she was pressed up against the stairs and attempting to wiggle both of us out of our clothes.
It was the last time with Angelique.
I've Google-stalked her for a few years now. One picture in one newsletter was all I could ever find. She wasn't a small girl when I knew her, but had her curves in all the right spots. She's bigger now. Less attractive. But maybe once every other month I'd Google her and pull up the newsletter and just think for a couple minutes what might happen if I were to track her down today. I'm pretty sure I know where I can find her.
The newsletter is gone. I tried to find her today, scoured through the archives of the website from her organization, but it's gone. And that saddens me a little.
I don't think I miss Angelique. There were solid reasons I didn't stay with her, despite sharing a ridiculous amount of chemistry with the girl.
I think I miss the thought that I could pull up a picture of a slightly overweight Hispanic girl from ten years gone that was the last woman in my life who really loved me. Someone for whom the act of saying those three little words to me was raw and pure, yet loaded all at the same time. She wanted to put her feelings out on the ledge, walk across that tightrope, and it was, very simply, because she loved me.
I don't miss Angelique, but I can't deny that I think about her. And I wonder if the complexities of marriage, partnership, friendship, and love are so vast that they eclipse the simple notion of unadulterated desirous love at my age. Does a girl of eighteen with no roadmap, no retirement account, no kids, no dog, no mortgage have a next step planned past "I love you" when she falls and falls hard? Probably not, but does a woman of thirty?
I want love to be simple and optimistic. I don't want to audition for fatherhood or provider status. Not yet. I want to know that when whoever the next she will be crawls up under my shoulder and rests her head on my chest that it isn't two kids and a picket fence that's in her head. I don't really want anything in her head beyond feeling that she belongs in my arms.
Love, on my ex-wife's terms, was loaded. I want to have the feeling again that when my girl twists the corner of her mouth into a smile and casts her eyes demurely to the floor that it's me that she wants. Just me. Not my kids, not my 401k, not a lifestyle or anything like that. Just me.
That's what I miss about Angelique.
Sean wrote in my comments yesterday:
Jennie Finch >> Kournikova Come on dude.If we're just talking beauty, I don't see how it is possible to hold that opinion.
Now, I get the "Kournikova isn't half the tennis player Sharapova is" argument, and I get the "she's a spoiled bitch, and Jennie seems like a nice gal" position as well. But come on guys... if Jennie Finch wasn't "Jennie Finch," and Anna Kournikova wasn't "Anna Kournikova," and they were both in your hometown bar on a Saturday night, who would you be drooling over?
Yes, I think Jennie is a good looking woman, and yes, I really do enjoy big tits and a smile. But - and this is coming from a guy who really enjoys a girl with more curves than most - Anna wins every head-to-head match-up you could put on the plate for sheer physical beauty. No contest. None.
Again, taking personality completely out of the equation, there's a real short list of women who might be the most perfect looking specimens of womanhood out there. And Anna's absolutely on that list (with Laetitia Casta circa 1998, Elle MacPherson in her prime, and Heidi Klum).
I'd date Jennie over Anna, from what I've seen of both of their personalities, but that's as far as I think I could take Jennie over Anna.
THG had a questionnaire a few days ago, where one of the questions was "Which minor celebrity do you currently have a crush on?"
My answer? Mary Louise Parker, specifically as her character on The West Wing. A brunette that can fill out a dress, dish out the sarcasm, and is brilliant to boot? Absolutely, sign me up. But if we're reaching back in time a bit, here's some of my other minor celebrity crushes...
Anna Nicole Smith
Teri Hatcher (circa Lois and Clark)
Vanessa Marcil (circa General Hospital)
Jodie Foster (I have no good reason for this)
The Not-So-Obvious of the Past
Yasmeen Ghauri (from the Victoria's Secret catalogs years ago)
Dana Barron ("Audrey" from the first Vacation movie, was on 90210)
Dina Meyer (thus endeth my 90210 list)
Tracey Gold (pre-eating disorder)
The Current Not-So-Obvious
Yes, you heard me. Kelly Clarkson. I can't remember where I read a quote recently that read something like, "Tell me what the difference is between J. Lo's ass and Kelly Clarkson's," but I thought I should decide for myself.
Wow. She might have no chest at all whatsoever, but she's got a terrific body for a short girl otherwise. An ass should have shape, and that shape should be a bubble. My neighbor, for as hot as she is, has an ass so flat that it is basically non-existent. Kelly Clarkson has a tremendous ass.
I'm not buying her album, but still...
Ring My Bell
Fucking hell... You ever click innocently into a website while at your desk and find out that there are naked pictures of Paris Hilton present?
(cough) Yeah, me either.
Anyway, I took the leap and signed up for Vonage VOIP service yesterday. Since I barely use my phone at home, and pay $45 a month for the baseline bargain plan (which they just jacked up $3.50 a month anyway), I figured this was worth a shot. For $16 and change a month, I get 500 outbound minutes. That's plenty. Looking at my last bill, I had 68 minutes of long distance in January, and would guess that my local calls were maybe double that. Maybe. So my guess is that I was essentially paying about $.25 a minute whether local or long distance. Vonage takes that down to about $.07/minute. Sounds like a deal to me.
By the way, if anyone else is looking to take the plunge, let me know and I'll "refer" you. I'd appreciate it.
When it comes to technology, I'm both a "have" and a "have not." I do have VOIP, TiVo, satellite radio, home WiFi, and broadband. I don't have P2P software, a CD burner, satellite or digital cable, HDTV, a camera, a cell phone, or a camera-phone.
It's the cell phone that most people are just simply aghast that I'm living without. Let me debunk the myths...
But you need a cell phone! Says who? I don't need to be that reachable, not even for work. And since I have little use for my home phone as it is, why would I want to pay $40 a month to have another phone anyway?
It's cheaper than having a home phone. No it's not. It's about the same price as the bargain plan from a wired carrier, and it's $25 a month more expensive than Vonage. And neither Vonage nor the wired carrier make you sign a contract for two years and/or buy hardware.
Wouldn't it be cool to have a camera-phone? Or text messaging? Or to have all those awesome ringtones? Seriously, no. I can remember when phones had an actual tiny little bell inside that got dinged by a little lever repeatedly to indicate someone was calling. When did it become acceptable for a phone to play Lil Jon at top volume to tell you someone's trying to get a hold of you?
But what if you're stuck somewhere and need to get a hold of someone? Stuck where? Get a hold of who? It's not like I'm commuting from Anchorage to Juneau and might need to get towed out of a glacier some random morning. Really, the only actual use I can think of for making a phone call while driving would be ordering a pizza on my way home from work. Oh, and maybe comparing notes with Bob if we happen to be at the track on opposite sides of the state at different times.
Well, what if I need to get a hold of you right away? Well, what would you have done ten years ago in the same circumstance? Maybe showed a little bit of patience? Let's do the math for a minute, and see how unreachable I really might be...
My commute = 30 minutes each way * 5 days a week = 5 hours a week
Taking the dog outside to take a leak = 5 min a pop * three times a day * 7 days a week = 1.75 hours a week
Grocery store / errands = maybe 1 hour a week total
Things I do for fun outside the house = let's say I play poker at someone's house, and hit the track too = 6 hours total
So, basically, if there are 168 hours in a week, I'm "unreachable" for 13.75 of those hours. And if you're smart enough to know where to leave the message for me, you'll get my attention - at worst - five or six hours later on a Saturday night. Any other day, maybe an hour after trying.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I don't need a cell phone.
Monday, February 21, 2005
My Private Hell
In case you didn't read the news, Paris Hilton's Sidekick was "hacked," and her notes and numbers were splayed all over the web. Some excerpts...
Do business woth Andre Harrell somehowNice. While I might enjoy another Paris Hilton sex tape, I'm pretty sure I'd take a pass if it featured Garry Shandling. Let's hope they're talking about something else entirely.
Although Bob and THG have discussed it in far more detail than I will, the three of us did hit the casino in god-forsaken Manistee on Saturday for some live poker.
"Live" is one way to put it. "Action-packed" would be another. "You've got to be fucking kidding me" would be yet another. Table of ten, and there were two guys that saw 100% of the flops. There were two more that saw at least 85%, and two more that hovered around 75%.
"Wow BG," you exclaim. "That's a dream scenario! Sounds like the softest game imaginable!"
Wrong. To me, "soft" means lots of limping, and people who play hands so weakly that they're in a position to get run over if they insist on playing third pair through the flop. That sure as shit wasn't this game.
If I had to guess, 75% of all pre-flops were raised, and 60% of all pre-flops were capped. Capped with at least four players along for the ride.
"Wow BG," you exclaim. "The dealer must have been throwing pocket pairs and big aces around the board left and right!"
Wrong again guys. These players were capping with Q6o and J4s. By "capping," I mean "being the dickhead responsible for raising in the first place." I got Kings cracked twice - by J8s (two pair) and T3s (two pair). In both cases, in any sensibly played game resembling actual "poker," I'd have had the overpair to the raggedy board and had been in a good spot to win it. I had Tens cracked on an underboard, I had an 8-high flush flopped rivered by a T-high flush.
These guys would play anything.
My favorite hand (my favorite loss) came early in the day. I was hovering near even for most of the first five or six hours I was planted in that seat, and had JTs. Flop came (let's say) KQQ. Not that I'm some sort of genius with tells or anything, but I had a pretty strong read that a dude across the table had KQ down. But with an open-ended straight draw, I called a two-bet on the flop. Turn came, and it was a brick. Now, like I said, I was pretty sure I was beat at this point. I was UTG, and bet out $8.
Now, my logic on this was that if it gets called around instead of raised, I might be good to see one more card. If I get raised, I'm drawing dead. Yes, a check-call would have accomplished the same thing*, but then I would probably have been on the hook had I hit the river.
I bet, and as I was getting my chips in, the dude across the table said "Don't bet at this unless you want me to raise." He was too obvious to try to be backing me off the pot, I knew then he had the boat. I said, "I was hoping you'd say that," as my chips hit the pot.
*(Yes, I do understand that a check-call doesn't put me in the position to get raised off the hand. Yes, he would raise me with a set of Queens, knowing he'd likely still be good and wouldn't want me to complete my straight. I would normally check-call there like "the book" says to do, but I had to see him raise me on the turn to get out of that pot. Deep down, I knew I was dead, so I had to get away from the hand, and that was my out.)
What was hilarious was that the guy to my right's wife was also in the pot. She was a horrible player. In the two hours or so I had been sitting there, she had blown through a couple hundred easy. She called, the dude with the boat raised, and I mucked right away. The wife had to call.
Now, this got the guy on my right really upset. What pissed him off even further was that the turn card paired on the river, and ended up making a lesser boat for his wife (bricks full of Kings, as opposed to Queens full for the other guy) that she had to bet, and I was wearing a shit-eating grin because I had read the other guy dead-on, and had not chased a dead hand to the river.
So I'm grinning like a fool, and the guy to my right starts just absolutely fucking tearing into me - loudly.
You have no idea what the hell you're doing here, do you? You bet, you're representing a monster, and when he raises you, you fold?!?! What the hell kind of play is that? Pfft... Moron.OK, so I'm the moron for having a guy dead-read, and floating a test bet out there to see if I'm good? I think he was really just more cheesed off that I cost his wife another bet on the turn. Dumb, my ass. Either way that street was going to cost me $8, I just got the info I needed before I got put on the hook for even more money than that.
So, all of a sudden, a table that has been completely devoid of poker nuance all embrace their inner-Sklansky. I've got two guys (not the one on my right, who's absolutely fuming) on my side of the table trying to explain why the check-call is the play there. I take about ten minutes of this as politely as possible, and then someone actually check-calls on the board before some helpful soul says, "See, see! That's what I mean by check-call!"
I turned back and said, "I understand the nuance. Thank you."
So all of a sudden, I'm the fish at the table. I don't think there's any advantage to changing that perception, so I just shut up and went along for the ride. Pissed off and stewing in silence, but along for the ride nonetheless. I figured that if I could hit a couple of hands, I'd have people thinking I was sitting on junk and calling me down.
Didn't work out that well. My good starters were missing flops or getting cracked by that same junk I was hoping they'd put me on. I ended up blowing $240 in my last 90 minutes at the table by trying to loosen up. I pushed K8s into a flopped two pair - but ran up against a legit hand (flopped set of Jacks) instead of some loose-maniac's pocket crap. I pushed overpairs too hard, and failed to recognize at any point that I was beaten by the four gap offsuited cards that were catching straights and pairs and rivering flushes to the suited five or four in their hands.
It was unbelievably distressing. The play wasn't this bad at the Excalibur. Seriously.
I burned through all that cash there, and just got right the fuck up. It was like my poker nightmare. All the factors were in place. First, I used up all my card karma (having QQ stand up once, having it make a top set the second time) early in the day. Second, someone who has no clue calls me a moron. Third, I spend the next five hours steadily folding the ragged hands being dealt my way while looking for the one hand with which to bust the dickhead on my right. Fourth, the action at the table was surreal, and I couldn't get in the mix. And fifth, when I did catch hands that were standing up for everyone else, they weren't for me.
It's like I was the only one in the room losing to legit hands. I would have bet my VPIP was somewhere in the 7% range, and that was easily 1/3 the number of anyone else at the table. The cards were just that shitty.
Then again, I made almost the whole nut back playing blackjack. I really needed that.
Total for the day:
Craps = -$75
Poker = -$252
Slots = -$8
Blackjack = +$195
Total frustration = -$140
Lots of talk in recent months and even today about anniversaries (or birthdays) of blogs. I had never really counted how long I've been doing this, but I kept up a half-assed blog for seven months in 2002, put it away for awhile, then really started cranking in late May 2003.
Wow. Over two years of writing. To me, that's just astonishing. Granted, most of my "early" stuff was either actual thoroughbred selections or the sort of link-and-snipe treatment of news stories that really irk me about other blogs.
Yeah, I suck.
In the spirit of the days of yore, I used to do a TOP SEVEN list. Today, it's going to be a RANDOM ASSORTMENT OF TOP SEVEN LISTS for your amusement.
SEVEN RANDOM THINGS THAT PISS ME OFF, non-poker related
>> The "Jennie Finch is hotter than Kournikova" conversation
>> Any hot female athlete conversation that includes slightly above-average looking Natalie Gulbis
>> The "Barry Sanders lost more yards than any RB in history" rebuttal to his greatness
>> "Parmesan" cheese in wedge form
>> Jason Richardson getting no mention on TNT's coverage of the dunk contest when the announcers were calling out the great dunkers in the league to face Josh Smith
>> Getting pissed that the neighbor is home and not helping shovel, then seeing her knock on the window and wave to you
>> Somehow having a $10.99 pizza special turn into a $29 delivery by adding breadsticks and a two-liter of pop.
SEVEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME
>> Will not eat / drink anything with that black licorice flavor
>> Could do one impression (a character from a local Morning Zoo radio show's arsenal) in high school so perfectly, I was accused at a talent show of lip synching the bit
>> Had Z.Cavaricci pants and pin-striped jeans in my wardrobe at the same time
>> Found out just today that I was elected into the inaugural class of the Maddenmania Forums Hall of Fame (where I blogged before I knew what blogging was, essentially)
>> Would choose Phil Hartman if given the first draft pick in the SNL Fantasy Leagues
>> Once booed a guy doing someone else's stand up comedy bit at an Alano club's winter party
>> Was once the front seat guy responsible for keeping a driver awake on a long drive home where all he wanted to talk about was the Rapture - and no, we're not talking about Blondie.
SEVEN PEOPLE/CHARACTERS/THINGS I LIKED MORE BECAUSE I THOUGHT THEIR NAMES WERE COOL
>> Benoit Benjamin
>> Boba Fett
>> Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" album
>> The early 90s Lions defensive backs Bennie Blades, Ray Crockett, and Melvin Jenkins
>> Appolonia and Vanity (although you gotta give it up for Vanity in her prime)
>> Koko B. Ware
>> Otis Thorpe
SEVEN PEOPLE THAT PEOPLE SAY OTHER PEOPLE SAY THEY LOOK LIKE WHEN THEY REALLY DON'T LOOK LIKE THESE OTHER PEOPLE AT ALL WHATSOEVER
>> Drew Barrymore (no you don't)
>> Christina Ricci (you're sunken and sallow, but that's where it stops)
>> A thinner Travis Tritt (sorry Swayze)
>> The chick from Wilson Phillips (way to narrow it down)
>> Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Pauly can fill in the punchline)
>> That guy from TV (Joe Penny? Greg Evigan? Tom Wopat?)
>> Lucy Liu (possibly one of the most unique looking Asian celebrities, and yet...)
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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