Tuesday, November 22, 2005

10 Reasons Thanksgiving > Christmas

10 Reasons Thanksgiving is the Best Holiday

10.  Grandma’s Stuffing
9.  No gifts to wrap
8.  Eat and then fall asleep watching football
7.  Wake up and eat again
6.  Catching up with family
5.  Sleeping in on Friday while the women get up early to shop
4.  Calvert Hall plays Loyola in the “Turkey Bowl”
3.  I can eat a “slice” of Cranberry Sauce faster than you can
2.  Leftovers

And the number one reason I love Thanksgiving

1.  I don’t have to enter the hellhole that they call a mall during the holidays

While I certainly don’t condone terrorism or the slaughter of innocents, I can almost rationalize it when I have to go into a mall or toy store around Christmas.  You can’t park.  You get stuck behind the slowest people.  They bump into you.  You can’t get a salesperson’s attention.  Those bell ringing Salvation Army people at the exit of every store.  Christmas tunes that are stuck in your head from store Muzak.  (Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaaaa)  Old People.  Young People.  Adolescent People.  Rude People.  Nice People.  Humanity in general.  Checkout lines.  The litany of offenses that I think should be punishable by execution on the spot is almost endless.

Whew, I feel a little bit better after venting about that.  I am sure this feeling of inner peace will last .05 seconds into my first Christmas shopping trip.  See why I love Thanksgiving?

Best Wishes to all of you and your families this week.  I hope your team wins, your turkey is cooked to perfection, and your family is together and healthy.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Horrible Football Weekend

Wow. With the glaring exception of the Buckeyes beating the Wolverines, my football life stunk this weekend. Allow me to recap.

1. The Steelers lost to the Ravens. I think Tommy Maddox should be cut. He played very poorly and appears to have lost whatever it was that he had. Poor and slow decisions along with inaccurate passes doomed the Steelers. It did not help that Ward made an acrobatic punt of an incomplete pass that allowed the defense to intercept in OT. The ideal situation yesterday would have been a win for the Steelers, and a win for the Bengals. This would have put the race for home field in the Steeler's own hands. If they beat Cincy and Indy, they would more than likely have secured home field for the playoffs. It did not turn out that way despite a great Cincy/Indy game.

2. One of my fantasy teams was playing the matchup I was looking forward to the whole season. In my office league, I was facing the Tax Chicks. This team is co-managed by two friends in the tax department and I really, really, really did not want to lose to them. They are also rabid Browns fans. This was a very good football weekend for them. Damn.

3. Gary is probably in agreeance with this one, but for different reasons. Texas Tech beat Oklahoma. I am not a Sooners fan, but I hate the Red Raiders. I dated a girl that went to Tech when I was in the Army and I used to drive 13 hours on my monthly 4 day weekends from California to Lubbock Texas. In addition to the fact that the town is "dry" and if the wind blows in a certain direction the whole place smells like a porta potty, the girl was sleeping with some other guy. I found this out the hard way. Although the failed relationship is ancient history, (and I was pleasantly surprised to find out several months later that the guy was married and was just leading her on), I still hang onto the anti-Red Raider sentiment. It seems that the program there has enjoyed a modicum of success in recent years, but I was surprised to see them take out the Sooners. Sorry GCox25.

So, in summation -

The Browns won - Booooo.
The Steelers lost - BOOOOOOO.
My fantasy teams went 1-2 (and lost the pivotal game to the Tax Chics)
The Red Raiders won. - Booooo.

If there was any positive notes for the weekend it was all the house stuff I got done and a Christmas gift project I am working on for my parents. I made some good progress on it this weekend and I am excited by it. Mom or Dad might stop by here so I can't spill the beans yet but will try to get a picture of the finished product.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Shout out to Spoof Dawg

I know my little brother stops by this blog from time to time to check on his older brother. We live in different states, so we only get to see each other a handful of times each year and like typical guys, I am not too big on talking on the phone. He is a great guy and a great brother to me so it really struck a chord in me when he recently had to be hospitalized.

It was tough to see him in the hospital bed with only a fraction of his usual energy and personality... and very telling about Stefan as a person that his hospital room was standing room only. I came in from Ohio on a Saturday and went straight to the hospital with SteelerSteph. When we found his room, there were already three people in there, Steph and I made two more and within 30 minutes 4 more people! I am sure there were some hospital rules being broken, but maybe they turned a blind eye because they liked Stefan so much too.

Fast forward a few weeks and I talked to Stefan on the phone this week about my upcoming visit back home for Thanksgiving. I was very relieved to hear the old Stefan on the phone with me. He is still recovering, and slowly putting some weight back on, but his spirit is back. I know it was a pretty dark time for him and I respect him even more for battling through it. We talked about maybe setting up a blog of his own while I will be in town. He is a very well spoken and literate man, it would be something that I would be interested in reading. I hope that he takes up my offer.

So if you know a person suffering with celiac disease keep them in your thoughts and prayers and give a shout out to my little bro.

Love ya bro.

Thanks for the Support

I was surprised at the amount and type of comments I got on my recent donkeyness on Party's BlackJack. Thanks for all your support.

$300 is not going to make or break me, and the amount of money is not really what troubles me. It is the lack of discipline and the desire to gamboool. I'd like to think of myself as a better than average player. I read about poker, practice poker, think about poker, and try to adjust my game to table conditions. I think that should put me a step or two ahead of the competition.

The rub is that I want to be a winning player. Who doesn't? The reality is that I could sink $100 a month into this "hobby" and be fine financially, but I want this to be a moneymaker, not moneytaker. I am a competitive person and the bankroll is the scorekeeper for this sport. I do not like to have my butt kicked.

So is there a takeaway from this? I guess. Stay way from -EV games (even if there is a chance of a large and instant payoff). Stick to the levels that my bankroll dictate. This is my second trip down bankroll demolition drive. This trip was a different route, but with the same result.

I fell that I am left with a decision point.

1. I can play at the higher levels and risk loading money on each month. I enjoy the higher stakes and the opportunity to win more. I also think that the higher levels offer more learning opportunities.

2. I can play at the lower levels and build my bankroll and gain some more experience. The trade off here is that the time/money quotient is much lower. My time is valuable. If I spent 2 hours at .05/.10 HE and have +$5.00 to show for it, is that really worth it? I more than likely will not have learned much, ABC poker seems to be the way to go at the lower limit tables.

I could argue the benefits of either decision. My plan for right now is to load some more money onto Neteller and really focus on the levels I should be playing according to my bankroll. I feel comfortable in a 2/4 through 5/10 game, but I think I need to prove to myself that I have the discipline to earn my way to those games. If I am consistently making money (right decisions) at the 1/2 game, then eventually my bankroll will allow me to move up. This path is proven. I read DoubleAs old posts. His results are somewhat atypical, but not unachievable.

So, thanks for the comments of support, and yes Veneno, I want another crack at you. I will be online, learning, reading, playing with the rest of you and fighting my "Hey Josh, let's GAMBOOOOOOL!!" demons like the rest of you. It looks like it will be a constant battle.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I am a bankroll donkey.
I am a bankroll donkey.
I am a bankroll donkey.

I uninstalled Party Poker from my computer last night after I proved to myself that I am unable to resist the temptation to donk around on the BlackJack they offer. The +$350 I gained on that site this past weekend. Gone with the Donk. I tried to chase a $100 SNG bust out. Bet $100, 12 vs a dealer's showing 8. Hit. Bust. Oops.

Bet $100 again, dealer blackjacks (with the A as the down card, not that I would have bought insurance anyway)

Last $100.... can't lose three in a row, can I? You bet I can!!

Embarassed and pissed at myself for urinating away many hours of building the bankroll on PP, I uninstalled the software. That will teach me!!

Back to the UB.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Jarred memories from Jarhead

I saw Jarhead this weekend and it brought back a lot of memories from my own basic training.  Those memories are a real mixed bag, amazing highs and lows all concentrated into a 3+ month surreal experience.  The live fire exercise where one Marine freaks out, stands up and catches one in the skull really took me back to our day on that range.

1st Platoon, Echo Company of the 2/13 Armor Battalion was headed to the range on a rainy Kentucky day in October.  Rucksacks and rifles, canteens and camaraderie, marching or running…. that is how we rolled.  We marched or “double timed” all over Ft. Knox except for the occasional ride crammed in the back of a deuce and half.  “Nut to Butt, get to know your neighbor!!”  I think we marched to the live fire range that day on a cold wet gray day.  I was kind of excited; this would be the first time that we were going to do anything with live rounds whizzing over our heads.  I was not worried about getting shot; they told us that as long as we stayed down we had nothing to worry about.  The rounds may seem like they were right over head but were actually being fired about 6 feet above the ground.  I took their word for it.

The range had a sand/dirt/rock surface that really, really sucked to low crawl on…. and low crawl we did.  For those not familiar with this exercise, you have to low crawl on your stomach and back underneath an obstacle that is strung with very low concertina wire (barbed wire) and around demo pits.  Crawling under the wire is interesting; it grabs and snatches at everything on you - uniform, canteen, rifle, helmet cover.  The trick is to just go slow and make your way through.  I don’t recall anyone freaking out about the bullets and tracers zipping by overhead, but it made for an interesting night.  The part I do remember is someone pissing off a drill instructor and the whole platoon having to do it again.  And again.  By the time we finished that “training” it was very dark and I had worn the skin off the insides of my knees and elbows.  The damn wet sand got into my BDU’s and the constant scraping of low crawling through the course was like sandpaper for skin.  The other really neat part of the night was when I paused too close to a demo pit and it went off.  The concussion of the blast picked me up and flipped me over.  I was stunned and disoriented for a little, but eventually got my head out of my ass and finished.

Another nagging memory I have of basic training is the feeling of a complete lack of control.  I was completely at the mercy of the drill instructors.  I ran until they were tired.  I polished and pressed until they were satisfied.  I ate what, when, and as fast as they desired.  It was a weird feeling, many times I felt a sense of detachment as my mind left my tired body.  How much brain power do you need to just keep running?  This one night, we did something to make the drill sergeant unhappy and he decided we needed some running and exercise to remedy the situation.  I think it was the closest to hysteria I have ever been.  I was just running and crying.  Guys around me were doing the same with many just flipping out.  I was completely at the mercy of the DI and his whistle.  It seems funny to write about here and kind of hard to explain, but that night I was not sure when, if ever it would end.  He just kept thrashing us and there was no alternative.  If someone dropped back, it seemed to piss him off more and made it worse.  What can you do?

Basic was not all bad though.  There were many bad times and tough days, but the often talked about sense of camaraderie is real and helps.  It may suck, but it sucks for all of you and you are all in it together.  They really teach you to live and die as a team.  The sense of accomplishment when you complete it is also one of the greatest feelings I have experienced to date. It is up there with the day I got married.

There were a few other very memorable days in Basic that included the first time I fired the main gun on my M1A1, the graduation day when my father came in uniform (he was a Major at the time) and my Drill Instructors had to come to attention for him and salute him... ha! I will also not forget turning 18 in the middle of basic and the week plus that I spent in reception and processing - what an odd time that was. Perhaps I will be motivated to post about some of those experiences soon. Hooahh. Go Army.... just not while Bush is still in office.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

No poker this week, but a lot of good posts about it

Stupidly busy week at work with 12+ hour days being the norm leave little time for Poker and SOCOM. Over four years of marriage under the belt have produced a wiser, more mature (p-whipped?) me that instead chose to spend my hour or two awake at home each night with the wife. She is never happy when I am not home until 8:30 or 9, I figure that ignoring her for a hobby would only exacerbate the situation...

Despite the busy work week, I found some time to read blocs through my bloglines while waiting for the phone to ring while taking support calls. There was a good post by Chipper about blind stealing that made me think about my actions when in those positions. He backs it up with some data. Thanks Chipper. I also enjoyed thinking about Will-Wonka's Drawing Dead post. He has had some great self game examination posts lately which might jog something in your own head about your game.

I also enjoyed reading my usual suspects: Jordan, Gary, Derek, Mourn (cool word association post that I happen to agree with), and all the other blogs on the right of this one.

Lastly, a blog I added to my blogroll recently is ScurvyDog's Sound of a Suckout. For some reason I picture him as the pirate guy in DodgeBall. Aaarrgh.

I also saw Jarhead last weekend and it inspired me to write up the memories it stirred from my Army Basic Training, it is sitting in draft mode on Blogger right now. I kind of ran out of steam, and it does not fit anywhere in this blog.... but it was cool to reminisce and be amazed at what I endured in the fall of 1993.

Poker Forecast - Intermittent throughout the weekend with almost a 0% chance on Sunday. I am headed into the Burgh late Friday or early Saturday to visit the inlaws and get ready for the big game Sunday night. I took Monday off from work as a day of recovery. I am a little concerned about the outcome of the Sunday night game. The Browns always play the Steelers tough and the Steelers have some key injuries. Roethlisberger - Out, Batch starting in his place. Jerome Bettis and "Fast" Willie Parker - out, Duce Staley and Verron Haynes starting in their places. LB Joey Porter, may be out and I have not heard about Farrior. This is such a great rivalry, I really hope the Steelers win. Cleveland stinks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Remember that show?

I do.

I think my parents may have watched it, it was kind of a hit during its run. If I recall, it was a bunch of thirtysomething yuppies and the drama that was their world.

They seemed old to me then. Now? Not so much.

I turned thirtysomething yesterday. It rained and I was sick. Harbinger of things to come? I hope not.

I know some of the fellow bloggers I play poker with have already passed this milestone, and some others (despite what a judge might guess) are still approaching. Some people let it pass without much thought or fanfare, others get a tattoo. Overall, I can't complain too much. I am healthy, have a great loving wife, and a great supportive family. Enough said.

For my birthday, my wife and her brother and his fiance took me out to dinner at a nice restaurant called House of Hunan in Medina, OH this past Saturday. We ate in the Tatami Room and had to take off our shoes. It was the kind of room and table where you sit on the floor...kind of authentic. The service and food was great and the best part of the evening was when I got two tickets to the Steelers v. Browns Sunday night game this November 13th. There will be 5 of us going down to tailgate and then cheer the Stillers past those stinky Browns. I can't wait. I LOVE tailgating in Pittsburgh and especially against their rivals... the Cleveland Browns. I have made the Pittsburgh v. Cleveland game the past 4 or 5 years and they are always good games. We hate the Browns and they hate us. Does it get any better than that?!!? I will get my face painted as usual and will be yelling belligerently while wearing my latest piece of Steelers paraphenilia... I have dubbed it the Hurtin' Helmet. When I put it on, even without any drinking, I immediately feel like drinking and yelling and tackling things. It is an instant and amazing transformation. So far, its use has been confined to home, the 13th will be its first real game use. "Who Rides? We Ride!!" Oh yeah Joey, you know it.

This is turning into a rambling post. My head is still a little fuzzy from being sick. I feel a weird sense of detachment from reality, and odd lightheadedness. I will conclude with some poker news.

I have been focusing on HU SNGs again and doing well. I felt lucky yesterday and took a shot at a Single Table $30 SNG. I won! The defining hand was when I called an all in with QQ and a big chip stack trying to knock out a short stack that came over top of me on the button. I was hoping to see AK or a smaller than KK pair. Doh! However, the poker gods smiled upon me and smote his wired Aces by giving my quad Queens. Talk about overkill.... I went on to win and credit all the HU play for getting me first. I was outchipped when we got to the final 2 by almost 2 to 1 and through steady and controlled pressure, I got all of his chips. I cashed out $100 to Neteller as some profit taking and kept the other $50 in UB. Nice.

Hope everyone else is having a good week and cracking with quads.