Friday, November 10, 2006

Anyone else on top of this?

Not Jordan's beloved Razz - BG's novel.

I did not realize how much I was enjoying my daily dose until it went dormant yesterday and I spent a second every 15 minutes today seeing if your name went bold in Bloglines. Wow, that is some great stuff. I would buy it.

Keep it up BG, I am not sure if I want "Lane" to deviate from his plan because of Sarah but that is kinda how life goes, huh? Excellent balance of knowns and unknowns and you have effectively, efficiently, and wonderfully brought me along in this story so far. I have always enjoyed your voice (and ScurvyDog's too) and would read pretty much anything you two decide to post. The fact that the post is a great story is icing. Pure cake and icing.

Good luck with the loftier 3k words a day goal. I am probably making this plea on behalf of more than just myself. Even if this does not make the NaNoWriMo goal please finish the story. I have this fear of wondering the fate and rest of "Lane's" back story for the rest of my life.

Catching Up

Did anyone notice the dust collecting on this chunk of cyberspace?

I have been busy staying busy. Work, poker, brewing, laundry, being a
single father (to my pets)... blogging has not been a priority. What could be more
important? Well, let me tell you.

SteelerSteph gets back late this Friday from her 3+ week training in North
Carolina. Despite her absence (being careful not to discount how much I
missed her) I have not been bored! Somewhat unexpectedly to me, my days
have revolved around our beagle, Copper. He gets up when I do at 6:45 and
does his business outside. By the time I leave the apartment for work, he
is soundly back in his doggy dreams under the comforter on our bed. I
don't know what he does until noon when I come home at lunch to let him
out, but I suspect it is the same thing he is doing when I leave. I can
almost surprise him when I come home and he has to stretch and shake off
the sleep. Weather permitting, we take a short walk and I head back to the
office. Routine is repeated when I get home around 6 PM and he is my
shadow until he reluctantly gets into his crate around 11.

Knowing he is cooped up all day in the apartment really makes his patented
"hound dog" look haunt me. If I have to leave during a weeknight to get
food or something, I really feel guilty. I suspect I am giving him
feelings he may not really posses, but regardless, it is really cramping my
style! I had planned on hitting the casino for some live poker while Steph
was out of town, but put that off for my homie. Ditto for going out to
catch a movie (I want to see Borat). The weekends are all about my canine
buddy as we cruise PetSmart together and he accompanies me on trips to the
grocery store. If he would just figure out that I come back everytime I
leave him in the car to run in someplace, he could maybe lose the frantic
howling routine as I walk away from the car. It can startle people because
it sounds like our government is trying to extract information from him at
Guantanamo. Torture indeed.

I did manage to put aside my doggy guilt this past Saturday and attended a
brewing demonstration by a local brew club at a store in Macomb, MI. I did
not know what to expect and I was very surprised at what a good time I had.
The guys brewing were are very friendly and willing to share their
expertise and their handiwork. It was hard to keep an empty cup and I had
to be careful; that homebrew can be powerful stuff. After enjoying the
free beer and food, I took the opportunity to purchase my ingredients for
the next batch. I also picked up a $2.95 adapter that is worth 10x that.
It allows me to hook up my wort chiller to my kitchen sink since I no
longer have access to an outdoor hose. I brewed once before I had this
little machined piece of convenience and I had to hold the hose to the
faucet head for at least 20 minutes. What a pain in the ass. Not this
past Sunday though! Armed with some tips on when to add ingredients, I had
my cleanest brew yet. It went flawlessly and I am hoping the product turns
out as good as the process was. No boilovers, much less mess to clean up,
I am ready to do it again as soon as my fermenters are clear. It was also
my first time using Dry Malt Extract (DME) so I am curious to see how this
batch tastes. It should not make a difference, but all my other batches of
HoneyWheat used liquid malt extract.

My bankroll on Full Tilt is like a tire with a very very slow leak. I
loaded $100 on there and have been playing mostly $5 and $6 SNGs with some
grinding thrown in .50/1.00 Limit. The play there is much different than
Party. I would dare say "better"... or at least more "patient". So many
of the single table SNGs go to break, it is nuts. 5-6 levels in and we are
still 6-8 handed? Not uncommon. Compared to Party, the low level SNGs seem
to be much tighter. This has been different and I think I have adapted my
game correctly. I play more suited connectors in position and try to limp
into more pots in the early stages. I have been seeing good results mixed
with some spectacular bad beats. I am looking to string together a few 1st
and 2nds so I can get some momentum with this seed money. Wish me luck.

Finally, I feel comfortable saying that we have sold our house in Ohio.
After an exciting back and forth negotiation, we accepted an offer. Originally, they wanted to close on the 15th of December but we got a call last week to see if it could be moved up to November 15th. Umm, sure! I had to jump through my own rectum to get all the arrangements in place on such short notice but that was well worth the extra 2k + closing a month earlier will save us. Curious what you could have moved into in the sprawling metropolis of Medina, OH? Here is what you missed. The movers are coming this Monday and I will be there Monday and Tuesday to make sure everything gets packed and loaded and then sent up here to MI. It will be delivered Thursday of Friday hopefully sooner rather than later because SteelerSteph and I are driving to Florida for a wedding that weekend. A high roller like me driving to Florida? I know, craziness. When we made the arrangements, the financial burden of the house and apartment was still looming large and into the foreseeable future. I am not excited about the drive, but with free gas (company car) and a free hotel that we had in Orlando, it was almost a no brainer. Driving to Kentucky Friday after work, dropping off Copper, and then heading the rest of the way Saturday. Attend wedding on Sunday and then do it all again in reverse. Yeah, I know... some guys have all the fun.

The net result of these wedding shenanigans is that I will miss a lot of cool stuff. Ohio State vs. Michigan. Yup. Steelers vs. Browns. Check. DADIX. Roger. The icing is that I am not that fond of the friend that is getting married for the second time. She is a childhood friend of Stephanie so I am doing the good husband thing and keeping my mouth shut. It would be nice if I could catch DNasty while I am down there, but I doubt there will be time.

Edit - I drafted this in an e-mail two days ago and since then I have been doing pretty well on the SNG's the seed money is up over $150 now even with the failed shot I took at a 90 person MTT with a $10 + 1 buy in. I finished 33 and was never really a factor after a horrendous beat took me well below average right after the first break. Maybe I will try a larger field game like that again, I felt like I could take it down. I hope this run continues now that I posted about it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

One of the words in this post was on my SATs

Just dropped SteelerSteph off at the Detroit Metro Airport for a three and half week training in Raliegh, NC and I am feeling a little melancholy. It did not help that I was living in a sitcom this morning; I could practically hear the studio audience laughing. It quickly went from bad to worse when I got to work and reached its nadir as I drove away from the airport worrying about Stephanie lugging all her crap through the airport. “Will they hassle her for what I know is overweight baggage?” “Did she have too much carry-on? – who knows what the rules are these days?” “I hope she gets there ok”

I drove her unfamiliar mini-van away from the unfamiliar airport being careful not to hit anything, an exercise that increased in complexity because it was raining. What a recipe for a shitty day!

So what was the sitcom this morning? Glad you asked. I stayed up late last night since the bed and our bedroom was taken over by clothes in various stages of packing. I watched the Cardinals implode in the most spectacular fashion and finally got to bed around 1 AM. I knew that I had to be in the office by 7:30 this morning for an appointment with a director on my team. I don’t know what happened to the alarm set for 6 AM, but I do know that I went from dead sleep to full panic in about 2 seconds when Stepanie asked, “Don’t you have to be in to work early?” Sleepy Josh, “Yeah….what time is it?..... 7:29!?!?!?! Ohhh shit!”

I went into the bathroom and immediately stubbed my toe on a scale that was not there the day before. “Goddamnit, that hurt!!” Relieved the bladder and I turned on the water in the shower to get it hot and got ready to jump in. Standing outside the shower, I pull the little plunger thing up on the tub faucet and “WHAT THE FU-K?!?!?!” I was instantly confused, wet, and cold. Somehow the shower head was facing directly out at me and I quickly realized this was not going to be a good day. Water under control, dripping wet and pissed I asked Steph if she had done anything to the shower. “Nope”. Whatever, I gotta get going.

15 minutes later I am out the door and into school bus hell. I call the director I am supposed to be meeting with right then and get the info I need to get started for when I finally will make it into the office. The stalled Ford Taurus blocking the right lane of the two lane road was a perfect touch to the morning.

Director taken care of, I get back to my own desk to find out that our collaboration software is slowly grinding to a halt. Our instant messaging screen sharing meetings won’t work, our Quickplace rooms won’t authenticate and our webserver is not displaying the proper awareness that shows if the names listed on a page are in the office and logged in. Quicker than I can say, “Fan-Frickin-Tastic” I am neck deep in troubleshooting and have to bring down all the collaboration software for the firm during business hours. I am sure that even the non geek out there can appreciate that this is not a good thing.

11:30 and I finally got everything back online and 100% functional and I ran out the door to speed to the apartment and got Stephanie to the airport 2 hours before departure. I guess the silver lining in all this is that I was so busy and stressed this morning that I did not have any time to feel bad for myself (like I do now) and worry about the next month (like I am now). Somehow, writing about it here provides a level of catharsis and I feel a little better already.

Tomorrow will be a better day (how can it not, I have the bi-monthly office bowling league!!) and the dog, cat, and myself will start to work out our new routines. In all of this, I feel the worst for the dog. Steph has been home from work with him for the past 6 months. The little bastard is spoiled and he is pretty emotional for an animal. I am planning on making a trip home to the apartment everyday at lunch to let him out for a quick walk, but that will not make up all the time he spent at Steph’s side. I am slightly worried he might stroke out when she finally comes home. I am sure that at a minimum bladder control will be lost.

Soooooo. Bachelorhood until November 10th. What to do? I guess I hope that I don’t lose my whole bankroll on FT because of all the extra playing time I will have! I am going to set a rule that requires at least 30 mins of exercise before I fire up the virtual tables. It is always easier to exercise without SteelerSteph for some reason. Good chance to drop a few of the pounds that have attached themselves over the past few months. I should get the opportunity for some live play in the local casiono(s) and have high hopes for good results there. Watch some football, drink some beer, play some poker. It will be novel and new at first, but I am sure that by the time Steph gets back I will really be missing her.

Look me up at FullTilt, SteelerJosh.

Nadir was the word that somehow came to mind from the SATs. I am pretty sure it is a nerd word for the lowest point on something and the polar opposite of apogee. Insert nerd laugh here -->

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Live Poker Fun

I miss playing live poker. I forgot how much fun it can be to drink some beers, talk some smack, and rake some pots with friends. The stakes are low enough that it can probably be classified as pure fun, but if you get a little luck (as I did) you can make a nice profit. We played 3 five dollar SNGs with second place getting their buy in back and first taking the rest. With 7 players this created a $25 profit for taking it down. I hope they invite me back :)

If my buddy Aaron is reading this, I know he will say, "I told you so" but I had some serious luck. I was winning my races with AK and even got quad 6's one hand. It was a good night.

Game 1. Jim V was a card rack and was playing some good power poker with his big stack. The biggest hand of the game was one that was so rigged it belonged online. QQ vs J9 vs K10 on a QJ9 flop. Fireworks and Jim tripled up with his flopped straight. Jim and I got heads up and he had a decent chip advantage. I got it all in PF with A4 vs his 78 and he caught his straight on the river to take it down and I got my money back for finishing second.

Game 2. I took this one down without any real memorable hands. It seemed to go pretty fast and at the end it was me and Mike B. Time ran out and I won it on total chip count. Mike played solidly and it would have been an interesting HU match if time would have allowed it.

Game 3. I took this one down also with some solid play and a nice dose of luck. The first one out of the game was DFed when he could not get away from his pocket KK on an all heart flop. Three way, there was a pot sized raise (300) from EP, a call and Derek showed me his hand. None of the Ks had a heart on them and he was in a tough spot. Personally, I would have made an easy fold here but I did not advise him as such because I am a believer in one player to a hand. He made the interesting move of shoving all in and the EP raiser (Jim V.) folded (which surprised me) and then Matt agonized a long time over making a call. This was the first or second hand of the tourney so DFed's all in meant Matt would be all in. As it turned out, Matt had a baby flush and made the tough call. DFed missed the runner runner he would have needed to stay alive and was the first one out. He would be unhappy to know that Kings held up two or more three times this game. Oh well. Sixes would prove fickle too as BHoj got Jim V. all in with 66 vs Jim's 44 and the 4 on the flop sent Hoj packing. A hand or two later I hit quads with my pocket 6's and sent Matt home. It came down to Jim and me heads up and I had a huge chiplead and the game was called.

Final Results:
Game 1: Jim V., Josh S.
Game 2: Josh S., Mike B.
Game 3: Josh S., Jim V.

A good time and I am looking forward to the next time we can get together. I introduced them all to the Hammer and it was being played a good bit! I did not get it once the whole night, but there were a ton of 7s and 2s on the boards. I think it was played at least 6 times and picked up a few pots. There are some good players in the bunch and I am looking forward to being put to the test by them. Hopefully you can make it next time Bean!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Full Tilting

Tempted by Full Tilt’s new reload bonus and claims that they will be around for awhile, I reloaded on there what I withdrew from Party. The past two nights have been a mixed bag. Two tabling 1-2 Limit saw me lose 10 BB over 200 hands. Same old, same old, dodge a river card here, catch a river card there and the results would have been much better. Biggest loser of the night was my AK vs. AQ. One of those nights.

Last night was much better. While chatting with DNasty and watching his beloved Tigers put on a pitching clinic, I played in my first SNG on FT. It was the tightest $10 SNG, hell any level SNG, I have ever participated in. 45+ minutes in we still had 6 of the original 9 participants. Over an hour in, I busted on the bubble when I ran my AJ into the BB’s AA. The A on the flop all but sealed my deal. I did drop the hammer twice and advised the table (both times) of what I thought was the best damn hand in poker. The table was so tight, it did not seem to get me any extra action on my big hands….but it made an impression. When the pocket rockets sent me packing, the comment was something about the best damn hand in poker. J Amateurs!

Dissatisfied with my bubble, I fired up some 1-2 Limit and hung around my buy in. I lost with the Hilton Hoes twice and could never get any traction. Curious about the waters the next level up, I found a seat in a 2-4 game. It was a much better game and a few hands in, I noticed a familiar name to my left. change100. Hmmm, could it be “the change100”? That would be pretty cool and a first for me. I have never accidentally run into another blogger at the tables. If I did, I did not know it. I have certainly enjoyed playing with them on purpose in SNGs, MTTs, and blogger events but have never bumped into one accidentally in a ring game. I didn’t really know the protocol or etiquette for a situation like this so I just blundered ahead and asked in the chat box. “Change, shot in the dark here – are you a blogger?” Yup, it was her. “That is pretty cool”, I thought and then proceeded to check raise her after I limped in the SB with KQs. K36 flop and a K on the turn. The turn was checked around and I checked the river hoping for a bet (I was really out of position, but confident I had the best hand). Change100 obliged me and was not happy with my check raise. After expressing her displeasure in the chat box “aaarrgh” and making the crying call with 36 she let me know we were no longer friends J It was nice the couple hands it lasted. I felt a little bad check raising a blogger, but I would not expect anyone to play me soft and would not do that to someone either. When I recalled her perfect week with football picks (meaning she picked against my Steelers) I did not feel so bad about catching that 3rd King on the turn. 36 was her hand and the number of Jerome Bettis. Jerome was an awesome Steeler. Coincidence? I think not.

It was getting really late so I played a few more orbits and wished her luck. I wonder if I will start bumping into more bloggers as the pool of sites we can play on is shrinking. That would be a double edged sword. Cool to run into them, but most of them are pretty solid players so that is one less fish to fleece.

On the good news front, we have an end in sight to our home for sale in Ohio. We had a very low ball offer come in (it was so tempting to counter offer “at least kiss me first”) making a lot of demands. 20k below list. 3k towards their closing costs. All the appliances, we pay for their home warranty, and they want to close 60 days from now. Wow! It is a buyer’s market for sure, but that is a little outrageous. We countered with agreeing to all the concessions but only knocking 5k off our list. They responded by coming up 5k. Hmmm, this is not really getting us anywhere. Long story short, we sent an official counter offer last night for 10k off list and meeting all their demands and our agent expects it to be accepted. We shall see. However it shakes down, if we can sell this house life will be much better for the Steeler household. Maintaining two properties in two different states is neither a fun nor cheap experience. I hope this deal goes through.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bloody Nose

Poker punched me in the face the past two sessions. Normally this is nothing to blog about, but it was poor timing as I had just moved up in limits. I am comfortable at the limit (it is still just chips meaning I am not playing scared) but the beats are a little bigger to the bank roll and I am throwing in the towel and moving back down. I'll be back bitches.

I won't be back this weekend though because I am enroute to the house in Ohio that is still for sale. Motivated by watching home improvement and house flipping shows, we are headed in to paint the two rooms we never painted when we lived there and to install some blinds upstairs. A thorough cleaning is also in order as we have not been there since the beginning of September. I am not fazed by the work ahead this weekend, I enjoy getting projects done, but there is no Internet or tv at the house now. All I will have for outside contact is my trusty little BlackBerry (which I am blogging from right now). No football, no poker, just a partially empty house. The bright side is that I plan on exercising the ST1100 if the weather permits. I also plan on picking up some brew supplies for the next batch of honeywheat I will be brewing. Oh yeah, we might even sell the house as we have a buyer coming through tonight and we are apparently on their short list. Wish us some luck because I am convinced that is what it will take to sell this place in the current market.

No Steeler football this weekend so I will not be missing much during the drive back to MI on Sunday. After last weeks game I am not sure I would be missing anything even if they were playing!

DoubleAs busted out of the ArUBa tournament but is still having a good time. Next time Scott.

Have a great weekend out there.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Poker was Meh this weekend with a little Blah thrown in for good measure. I guess the good thing is that I avoided tilt for the most part, and did not go chasing despite the hits that kept on coming. My stats in PT were in line (17 to 22 VP$IP) with all the other winning sessions and I played my good hands aggressively and got action on them. The cards just did not fall my way. There was one read that I made and did not act upon…. I just had to see! That bothered me to the tune of a $9.00 loss so it was not catastrophic by any means, just plain old dumb.

The trend I noticed was the same old one I read about quite often on other blogs. Get stuck early and spend the rest of the session fighting back. Three of the four big sessions saw me not making it back. I dropped a buy in and a half twice on the $25 NL tables and only one session saw me up that same amount. I also hit a rough patch on the ½ Limit tables and was proud of making some decent laydowns. Not sure I would be able to get away from KK, 1010, and AK in limit in the past. I dropped some of the gains I had made on replacing my 2% of DoubleAs in Aruba, but I am still headed in the right direction overall. It feels good.

Speaking of DoubleAs, I am anxiously waiting for some updates from Mean Gene and the UltimateBet Blog from Aruba. I was disappointed to see that their blog did not offer an RSS feed, so I will have to check that one from home. I have a good feeling about DoubleAs in this tourney and I am more excited about it than I otherwise would be because I have some money on it. I figure it is like me playing the tourney for a $125 buy in but with a much better version of me playing and I get to stay in Detroit, not sunny Aruba. So, win-win, right? Umm, yeah. I have been to Aruba once and would jump on the opportunity to get back there. I spent an 8 day honeymoon there at the Divi Divi resort and it was awesome. I did the whole tourist/newlywed thing with SNUBA diving, horseback riding on the beach, booze cruises, etc. and the weather and ocean was fantastic. Looking at the pictures on Mean Gene’s blog took me back there instantly.

I am sure that Gene will be glad that he was out of town and missed the debacle of a football game between the Steelers and the Bengals. It was almost like the Steelers wanted the Bengals to win. It was a very frustrating experience to watch all the turnover mistakes. Muffed punts that the Bengals recover and score with. Fumbles that the Bengals recovered. Interceptions in the end zone that really swing momentum. Dropped TD passes. Ugh, I can feel my blood pressure rising. I hope that game was not a harbinger of things to come. I know we can’t win them all, but the offense and special teams might being trying to prove that they can lose them all. The contest last week with Jacksonville was a good game against a good opponent. This week it was a bad game with an average opponent and the Steelers made way too many mistakes. The score should not have been as close as it was. Booooo Bengals and Steelers. Hooray Beer!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Sadly, it has come to this. I am really excited because DirecTV finally came to the apartment and was able to hook up the dish and restore our service. The service includes the NFL Sunday Ticket and TIVO.

This 16 day hiatus from TIVO has helped me realize something about myself.

I love TIVO. If you have never had it, you would not understand. If you have had it and never lost it, you too would not understand.

I managed to live 29 years without you and I know now that I took you for granted while I had you the last year. I am sorry TIVO, I will not do it again. I will appreciate every commercial you let me speed through with your happy "Be-doop, Be-DOop, Be-DOOP" chirp. I will praise you for allowing me to watch LOST when I want to watch it, not when the network says I have to. What, I am busy during High Stakes Poker on GSN? I know you have my back. There was a show with something Pittsburgh Steelers related and I was not aware it was on? You have me covered there too lil' buddy. You know that staying up to watch Lucky Louie would make me tired and cranky the next day so you assure me I can rest easy and watch it on Monday when I get home from work. In short, you are the man TIVO. Keep on doing what you do I promise to keep you happy by recording our favorite shows (sometimes two at a time!) and even finally allowing you to offer some of your zany suggestions.

In the "Other News that Dugglebogy does not care About" department, I am proud to brag that my "children" went 2-0 this weekend. I started off my season in both leauges with a win, although one took a tackle for a 9 yard loss of Washington's althletic TE, Chris Coooley. I scraped by with a .5 point win there. Consider me a fan of the Vikings D for week one (although Mean Gene and I both know who really defines Defense and is starts with a Pitts and ends with a burgh). Bragging will continue as my wins do.

No poker yet this week, but I have been enjoying a modicum of success at the micro-limit NL Hold Em on Party. Two months of positive results at the $25 Max Buy in NL has me feeling that this focus shift from Limit to NL is what I was looking for. I plan to keep grinding away and taking a shot at the next level as I feel comfortable.

I missed the Mookie last night, but plan on being there next week... that is always fun.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Koney Island

Can anyone tell me why there are approx 125 of these per square mile in MI and why or what I would eat there?

I am quite curious, but too afraid to actually venture in one. If it is a greasy spoon type place, give me a Waffle House and I am all set.

1st full week in MI and I have been to the B&M casino zero times. Money is pretty tight right now with a mortgage and rent. I am looking forward to getting some live action in now that I am only 30 mins from the downtown Detroit casinos but it will have to wait for a windfall like a big score online or selling our house.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Enough Already

I need to get some tv service or something else to do in Michigan. For Fook's sake, poker is really pissing me off right now and I seem to be in a flat spin. This is particularly frustrating after a great August that saw me making steady gains throughout the month. With no DirecTV service yet (screw you installers) I am spending a lot of free time mashing buttons and getting the shock. No banana. Stupid monkey, when will I learn?

Baahh Humbug.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Unpacked (Almost)

Had some time for poker today and it was not nice to me. I think I played well, but I could not win a HU SNG if my life depended on it and my one MTT was 1 hour and 26 mins for nothing. My JJ could not win the race against the maniac that hit a three outer on the river earlier against me to stay in. Funny how that catches up more often than not. The guy that should have been on the rail survives his all in with me and then proceeds to knock me out later in the tourney.
One thing I enjoyed in this MTT, and I have to thank Hoyazo for, was playing my pocket pairs. I utilized his treatise on playing middle pairs and raised them 3x BB regardless of position and it went well for me. A great example is when I had pocket 8's late in the tourney and raised to 3600 UTG +1. In the past I might have limped with these hoping to hit a flop but this time my raise won the blinds and the antes. I raised all my PP 3x and almost any hand I was playing and this really helped to disguise my monsters and my hammers. Looking at my stats in the disappointing final table money miss, I think I might have played a little too tight. I was hot early on and was chip leader most of the first hour. I checked my stats after the break and I was only 14% VPIP according to Party which means I was closer to 10%. Pretty tight. This is good, as I have been working on that, but that is probably why I finished out side of the money.
Actually, poker has pretty much sucked since the move, but what else am I going to do? I have no tv service yet (not until the 14th..don't ask, but DirecTV can bite my ass) and you can only arrange so much crap. After dropping half a G at Ikea, at least I have a place to keep all my clothes and I have lights in each room. Pretty much, moving into an apartment after living in a house.... sucks. On the bright side I am now 14.4 miles from the office and there is a ton of shit nearby the new homestead. I got my haircut, purchased groceries, had pizza delivered, and found some nice dog walking less than a mile from the Steelerhome. Curious how I will feel when it is winter here.
Ironic that DNasty is in MI this week but we will not see each other. He is in the woods have man sex with his brother or something. They call it "camping up north" but I think I know the real deal. I might have to re-develop my passion for sleeping and eating without walls and roof but 3 years stationed at the National Training Center and sleeping under the stars for 2 weeks out of every month kinda killed that desire. It did develop a knack for knowing how to shit outside and which MRE's were the best, but not so much a desire to rough it. Anyway, I hope DNasty is smart and uses protection...
from mosquitoes.
Before I go iron something for my first day in my new office, let me worry publicly about Big Ben and his appendectomy that will cause him to miss the opener. I am not a Batch hater (which is against the grain in my new locale), there is something about Ben that just wins games. Charlie might get it done, but I have less faith/hope that the defending Super Bowl Champs will start the season with a win. I wonder what this is doing to the line at Mansion.
Have a good week all and make HighonPoker's Poker.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Break from the Move

For my Cleveland Office Fantasy Football Draft. I had to drive into the office... check that... FLY into the office because I got stuck in IKEA with the wife and parents-in-law. Wow. That place is not designed for an easy or timely escape... but I digress.

Running late, I hauled as much ass as I could in Detroit traffic and got to the office (and my only means of connecting to the net right now) and started off my draft right with Shaun Alexander in the third pick. Surprised he was there.

My favorite quote of the night was, "That Wali Lundy pick has me rattled!" (after Mr. Lundy went with the first pick of the 10th Round)

My team shook out like this:

QB: Daunte Culpepper
Jake Plummer

RB: Shaun Alexander
Julius Jones
Deshaun Foster
Jerious Norwood
Dominic Rhodes

WR: Terrell Owens
Andre Johnson
Rod Smith
Nate Burleson

TE: Todd Heap

K: Matt Stover

D: Baltimore Ravens

I like how they look on paper, hopefully there are no injuries (or suspensions T.O.!!) to my big starters and I really like my Norwood pick late in the draft. Fast Willie might lose to him in a footrace... that kid is FAST!

Back to the boxes and the unpacking in the new apartment. In case you have not experienced this, it really sucks moving from a house to an apartment. It really feels like you are taking a step back in life. Not to sound snobby, but the second refrigerator that we kept in the garage is nicer and bigger than the only one in the apartment's kitchen now. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Barring a complete crash of the Northeast Ohio housing market, we will be back among the homeowning class in 12 months.

I am getting high speed cable hooked up tomorrow in the apartment. See you all then.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

M Day

Move Day.

Michigan Day.

Off to the land of Thrice Confirmed Huge Junk. Wheeee.

Maybe this is the same scientific phenomenon that occurs when you buy a new car and then notice that every third car you pass is the same one..... but there seem to be several other bloggers going through the move process and they all seem to express the same feelings I have... only better than I can.

Scurvy Dog
Mean Gene
Poker Poison

I have not tried it, but I understand Mean Gene completely when he says, "It is very difficult to successfully throw away a garbage can." I also identified with his Bittersweet post. Well put.

I am moving today and will not have cable in the new place until Friday so I will have to get my blog fixes via Bloglines and the BlackBerry. Good luck to all at the Mookie and WWDN. Miss my chips.

In summation: Moving is teh Suck.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

No Hammer, No Glory

Let this be a lesson. From teh Mookie:

PokerStars Game #6028848228: Tournament #30401788, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2006/08/23 - 22:28:43 (ET)Table '30401788 1' 9-max
Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: HighOnPokr (2075 in chips)
Seat 2: smokkee (3078 in chips)
Seat 4: Iakaris (1900 in chips)
Seat 5: aquaverse (565 in chips)
Seat 6: hoyazo (1750 in chips)
Seat 7: STeelerJosh (3292 in chips)
Seat 8: willwonka (1160 in chips)
Seat 9: bthecloser69 (1805 in chips) I
akaris: posts small blind 15
aquaverse: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to STeelerJosh [2h 7d] <---The Real Deal, 72o

STeelerJosh: folds embarrassedly
Iakaris: raises 210 to 300
aquaverse: raises 265 to 565 and is all-in
Iakaris: calls 265

*** FLOP *** [8d 6d 7c]s
*** TURN *** [8d 6d 7c] [2s]
*** RIVER *** [8d 6d 7c 2s] [3h]

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Iakaris: shows [Kd Kc] (a pair of Kings)
aquaverse: shows [Qc Qd] (a pair of Queens)

smokkee said, "the hammer woulda took it"

So true it hurts smokkee.... so true.

Michigan Vanity Plates

As you may have guessed by my avatar, blogname, face paint, etc. I am a pretty big Steelers fan. For that past two years I have had customized plates on my car and I will be losing them when I move to Michigan. I mistakenly thought that it would be easier to get custom plates with Steeler references in MI. I was wrong. I can't even get my current Ohio plate up there!

With DNasty's help today, we came up with the following available plate ideas:


I think my favorite two are COWRPWR and STLRN8N. I am leaning towards the latter since I am not sure how long Cowher will maintain his coaching job. There seem to be some rumors around the lack of a contract renewal with an organization that has traditionally renewed coaching contracts with two years left on them. Personally, I hope Bill stays but I would respect a decision to not renew if it was on his part. If he was forced by the Rooneys to leave (unlikley, but possible I guess) I would think the Steelers organization would be making a mistake.

Whew, I have to be careful... I can get on my soapbox pretty quickly on anything Steelers related (don't even ask me about #22 Staley) Anyway, if you think you are pretty creative and want to give it a shot, try your idea on the link below and leave me a comment.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My New Name is "Chedda Bob"

Detroit News is the Craziest

In some odd twist of the cosmic controllers of DirecTV I am receiving Detroit local channels on my television now. This came to my attention when I got home from work last night at 7:58 PM with the intention of telling Tivo to grab the new season of Prison Break (outside of my Sunday night HBO tv manifesto, Prison Break and Lost are required viewing) at 8 PM. My best efforts were thwarted because I no longer had a channel 8. WTF? All my local channel numbers were weird. I finally found Fox on channel 2 and pressed record. Previously, my channels stopped at 3.

I had a sneaking suspicion that the call to DirecTV for the upcoming move may have caused this funny state of affairs. Funny you ask? Yes, hilarious. If you have not had the pleasure of staying in a Detroit are hotel and enjoying the Channel 4 News, you are missing a lot. The news is ridiculous. I think that the local news always finds the worst stories to cover, shootings, robberies, rapes, etc, but apparently D Town is really rough! One bad thing just does not happen to a person in the D, but multiples! “In other news tonight, a Wayne County woman was hit by a car, her unconscious body was mugged, and then she was shot and killed in a drive by. In Macomb County tonight a young boy was caught stealing a car, raped an old lady, and held up a local convenience store.”

So, SteelerSteph and I watched the news with a small amount of building apprehension about the upcoming move and I don’t think I reassured her much when I explained that we were moving to Oakland County and that county was not mentioned in any of the great news stories. We are excited about the move and Steph’s new job with *Edit by Bobby Bracelet*, a large pharmaceutical company. (Can you get in trouble for your husband’s blog?) We have started packing the unsold house and I am about to find out what fun the logistics will be of living in one state and maintaining a property for sale in another. Open to any advice of anyone that has done this before…. ScurvyDog, Duggles?

I guess my solace will be that no matter how rough it gets driving back to Ohio to mow the lawn or staring at the bank account when I am paying a mortgage and rent…. I will be able to enjoy the goodness that is Local Channel 4 News at 11 and the cheer they will bring. I just hope I don’t get carjacked/shot/thrown into Lake Erie and make the news…..

On the poker front, I am really starting to like my shift to low stakes NL on Party. I am developing the cash NL skills that I lacked and making slow but steady additions to the bankroll. It has been interesting to see how I develop in this area, I know that I could grow faster with more aggression, but right now I am happy with my results and decisions. Other than the Mookie, I am pretty much sticking to Party these days so if you are on there, look for STeelerJosh on the baby NL tables.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nervous for SteelerSteph

Nervous for SteelerSteph

She set off for Novi, MI this morning at an ungodly hour (“O Dark Thirty” is what we called it in the Army) and last I talked to her she was close to her destination at 8 AM.  While the more dramatic might call it destination unknown, I would not fault them.  She was traveling to meet a group of her potential new co-workers at a Panera Bread in Livonia, MI and then off to meet with the division VP and her potential new boss.  That is a lot of unknown to deal with in one morning.  Job interviewing is a stressful proposition, I am sure she did not sleep well/much last night and I am sending her all my good thoughts today.  She really deserves a break and has jumped through all of the hoops required for this new job.  She has not given the new employer any reason not to hire her…. But you just never know with these things.  Good luck Steph, I am feeling good things.

Was SteelerJosh playing the role of good husband last night and helping her prep for this last interview?  Of course not!  He was at a Dave Matthews Band concert with a buddy from work.  I would feel a little more guilt if Steph was not the reason I was there.  I have been a DMB fan since their inception circa 1990 and I had a $100 Ticketmaster gift certificate lying around.  She found a local Ticketmaster outlet and turned the 2 year old gift certificate into tickets to see Dave at Blossom Music Center.  I thought that this was a pretty cool thing to do as I would not have done it myself.  She could not make it with me (because of the whole interview thing today) but I asked a buddy at work and it was on.

Dave brings back many fond memories for me.  When I got out of the Army in 1996 and went back home for a few years, I did a lot of partying with my brothers and their friends.  It seemed that Dave’s albums, “Recently” and “Under The Table and Dreaming” were always playing.  My brother can play a mean air guitar to DMB’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower”.  Hand that kid a fire poker and watch him get busy on the coffee table.  Anyway, watching all the stoners, long hairs, hippie chicks, frat boys, and other monkeys getting their head right for a Dave show took me right back to that place and time last night.  I miss them… the times and the friends.

The only cloud I could see outside of my silver lining last night was that I am getting old!  Mingling with drunk and stoned underage crowd clarified the age difference.  I am on the cusp of really standing out in a DMB crowd as an old guy.  Booo getting old.

Well, think good thoughts for SteelerSteph and her big interview.  I will be sure to post the results…. as long as they are good!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Maybe if I bitch about it here

It will stop.

Probably not, but I am tired today of the bad beats and bubble finishes. Twice today I have lost a HU match with trips flopped and my opponent has the case 4th card and a higher kicker.

I have been knocked out on the bubble in both 10 person SNGs I played and once was to a 4 card flush when I got it all in pre flop waaaaay ahead. Goddamnit (that is for Karen).

On the good side of life, my first batch of beer is maturing well. I am 4 bottles into it and each one is getting better. I think that by next weekend they will be prime for the drinking. I drank 2 today and they are getting quite tasty. 10.5 alcohol by volume in a 22 oz bottle will do ya like my man Larry the Cable Guy says, "Get 'R Done".

I am in another 10 person SNG as I type this because I am a real glutton for punishment. I decided to bump up the stakes to $22, maybe that will make a difference.

We held our first open house today and had one family through... but they came through twice! I hope that bodes well as another family saw the house by appointment today and it was there second time through as well. They brought the kids with them today and they really like the house. I hope someone makes an offer soon because I really need to sell this thing so I can get to Southfield. SteelerSteph has a 4th interview with Glaxo Smith Kline in Michigan on the 3rd of August with a tentative start date of August 21st. Despite the fact that this will really put us in a pinch, I am hoping she gets the position because GSK seems like a really good company to work for and she deserves a break. The past 5 months have been rough on her and she has been a real trooper. Wish us well, we could use all the good karma we have saved up.

In case you were wondering, my Raspberry Wheat is in the primary fermenter bubbling away and I am pretty excited to see what becomes of it. The boil last weekend went well and I think it will be ready to transfer to the secondary fermenter some time this week. After that, one more week and she will be ready for bottling. Mmmmm Beeeer.

As I am typing this I have outlasted 5 of my starting companions in the $22 SNG, I will wait to publish this until this is over. I am sure you are all holding your breath :-)

KK in the BB...... and I doubled up. T4290, next hand the guy I doubled through pushes all in on tilt and I call with K10 on the button and he flips K6. Nice.
I got KK again (2nd in 3 hands) and no callers. Just get the blinds, T6755. Just like that, I am ITM.

2nd in chips and 1st and 3rd are duking it out.

AJs in the SB, I shove and 1st calls with 99. I lose the race, but get second place for my first cash in a 10 person SNG today. Cool.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Wish I was in Vegas

Wish I was in Vegas…

Because I am reading all these blogs about the blogger hijinks and the WSOP going on out there. But life is not too bad here. I had a poker-less weekend (save one HU match on Party that I managed to drop, I hate slowplayed quads that give me an Aces full of nines Full House)

I did get some traveling, boating, and golfing in while SteelerSteph was hawking the homestead to potential buyers. We thought we had a very promising buyer, a perfect one according to our realtor: “Out of town buyer that has to relocate in a specific time frame”.

Family of three from St. Louis that was in town for two days to find and purchase a house and needed to move within 5 weeks. BINGO! That would be perfect for us and we thought our house would be perfect for them. They visited our house twice during their two day trip (once each day) and Steph was told that we were on the short list. She is in sales and practiced a little of her craft when she pointed out the flat driveway (Feature) and that it was great for a basketball hoop (Benefit), the favorite sport of their 16 year old son. She also mentioned that the neighborhood had a lot of children (it does) and that there was a cute 16 year old girl down the street (another Feature/Benefit I guess!). We found out Saturday that our house came in 2nd place and an offer had been made on another property. “If that offer falls through for some reason, we would be next blah, blah, blah”. That was a little disappointing, but not devastating.

On the subject of preparing a house for showing, I think SteelerSteph outdoes herself. How do I know? I told her that if I came into our house and saw how perfect it was and those damn little notes that she leaves in strategic places I would urinate in the refrigerator or a hamper to express my displeasure at the perfectness. For example, we have a two story family room with a wall of windows. Since we watch tv in that room and it is westward facing, we get sun in there in the afternoon and it can produce some glare on the television. This is not acceptable, especially with many of the Steelers games being broadcast at 1 PM. We installed room darkening blinds and the top level are powered and can be adjusted with a remote control. She puts a folded card next to the remote sitting on the coffee table - “Remote Controlled Blinds – Keeps House Cool in Summer” in very pretty girly writing. Gag. Walking in to the kitchen, you are confronted by a dish of “Treasures”, some type of chocolate, and another card with sentiments of welcome, enjoy the house, and thanks. See what I mean? Encountering cute little cards like that combined with the immaculate house would create an intense desire in me to upper deck one of the seller’s immaculate toilets. But, I suppose I am not the target audience. That would be the true decision maker when it comes to domiciles, the woman. There is a built in workbench in the garage and a full basement to keep the guy occupied while his wife samples the chocolates and reads the cards. He might even play with the blinds because they have a remote, which lends a touch of masculinity to it, right?

While our house was coming in second, I was here . I was not there at 1:30 AM when the fire started, but was there the next day to witness that aftermath and watch some of the recovery operations. Some of those houseboats are huge and they are docked very close together. I was really surprised that there were only 4 affected by the fire. They credit the quick acting people that were in other docked houseboats that cut the lines and pushed other houseboats out of the docks. Craziness. We were on a pontoon boat and a jetski and had a great time on the lake. My sister in law lives in Richmond, KY and we came to spend the weekend with her and go out on the lake. On Sunday, I got 18 holes in at The Bull. . There were 6 golfers so we played a two team 3 person scramble. I was happy to contribute a natural birdie on a par 5, but it was overshadowed by an eagle on a par 4. All in all, a very nice course with a lot of blind shots, well defended greens, and challenging terrain.

Hope to get some poker in this week, but it is shaping up to be another busy one. I am still interviewing for my replacement at work and that has been an experience in itself. Here is an interview tip: Don’t make sexual moaning noises and pretend to spank a computer while saying “Bad Computer, Bad Computer”. The wonders never cease.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Family Reunion Poker

I am posting this from my Blackberry and it likes to skip the letter "t" when I type fast so please pardon any missing "t"'s. I posted my NWA rant from this device also and it was missing a few.

I attended my wife's annual family reunion in Brockway, PA this weekend. It is always a good time and it got better in the past two years because of poker. The host/organization duties rotate each year and last year it was our turn to run it. Each year there is a golf scramble on the Saturday before the reunion Sunday. We decided to host a poker tournament after the golf outing. About 28 entrants for the $10 entry fee and we offered $5 re-buys during the first hour (with all re-buys going towards the reunion fund). It was a great success and the reward for good work was, yup, you guessed it, more work! Even though we were not hosting the reunion this year, we were asked to run the tournament again this year. I was bummed at first because I could not play last year since I was running it. Helping decide play rules, handling re-buys, balancing tables, and keeping things moving was too much to do while playing. SteelerSteph knew that I really wanted to play so she volunteered to run it this year. (Thanks Steph in case you ever read this blog).

26 entries in the 2006 Reunion WSOP created a first prize of $130, an amount I am proud to say I brought home! It was interesting as the mix of players was eclectic at best. There was a group of 10 or so avid players, 10 players that were social players and a handful of just for fun players. It seemed that almost everyone at my starting table wanted to see the flop no matter how much it was raised PF. I am kind of glad I did not get many premium starting hands because it helped me avoid the inevitable bad beats. I limped with suited connectors a lot and got paid when they connected. My one premium hand (KK) was doomed on an xAx flop. I raised 3x BB (600) and had three callers. I continuation bet the flop with another 600 and I knew my one caller had an A. I checked the turn and the river (she checked too) and was not too surprised when she flipped AK. The play was very passive until the final table with min bets all the way with full houses and flushes not uncommon.

I made the final table with a smaller chipstack and was able to double up twice through the chip leader. My first double up happened when I limped with 68h on the button. The flop came all hearts and I jammed on the gutshot straight flush draw figuring my flush was good anyway. The chip leader had already put in a 2k bet but I was confident he did not have the flush already, I knew him and it was a semi-bluff. He thought for a minute and then called. He said he knew I had the flush so I am not sure why he called. He had outs with his Ah but they did not come and I was now in the top 3 with chips. A few hands later I finished him off when my QJ flopped two pair. I jammed again and he quickly called. The speed of the call concerned me, did he get a set? But his PF action of limping did not make me think pocket pair. He normally would bet that. With a flop of QJ7, he flipped his Q7 and was all in. I felt a little bad because of my aggressive final table play, I don't think I could have gotten away from a flopped two pair heads up either. Just bad luck. No sevens came and I was the new dominant chip leader with 7 to go. 7,6,5 got it all in one one hand and then there was 4 of us left. I took out fourth on a hand I can't remember and then took out my father-in-law 3rd with my 33 v his AQo. He turned a Q and was crushed by my rivered 3. Whew, good job John, I got lucky on that coinflip. The final hand of the tourney was my AK v Holly's A9. The favored hand stood up and I won my first family reunion WSOP. I knew I could outplay most of them and had final table expectations but did not think I would take it down.

The next day we got a small cash game going with $5 buy in and .05/.10 blinds. I did well in that also cashing out more than 5 times my buy in. I am either on a little rush, or I am seeing some fruits of my poker labors. The play was pretty bad so I am leaning towards a 70/30 split. 70% experience and 30% dumb ass luck.

Happy Fourth of July to all and condolences to DNasty. I think Ben moved to the Bulls because he heard STeelerJosh was moving to the D and there is only room for one Ben in my heart.... The stupid no helmet wearing QB Super Bowl winning one. I appreciate Wallace's style and think he would make a fine Steeler Linebacker. Good luck in Chi-town other Ben.

No Internet poker out here in the sticks (dial up only) but I will see you all on the virtual felt again soon. I am headed back home tomorrow and cannot wait. My homebrew is ready to be bottelled and in 3 short weeks I will be enjoying some fine honey wheat "HammerBrau" or whatever the hell I decide to call it. Suggestions welcome. The next batch I am planning will be a much lighter raspberry ale. This high test stuff (10.5 alcohol) takes too long to ferment.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A little Poker

And a lot of other stuff....

First off, I have not posted in awhile because I have not played much poker. I managed to get some in the past few days and it has rekindled the poker flame. I have not had many hands that make me think, but this one I think I did the right thing, it just did not go my way. Any thoughts? Did I over play my AK? The guy was loose relative to the table, but not a true maniac. I did not put him on KK or AA due to the limp from the unraised SB, I think I would make the same play again.

$25 NL Texas Hold'em -

Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 9
Seat 1: ultimate8s ( $29.25 )
Seat 3: Victoria85 ( $25.50 )
Seat 7: lwrestler105 ( $15.76 )
Seat 8: STeelerJosh ( $22.40 )
Seat 9: GoldOreMarty ( $4.15 )
Seat 5: baysia ( $15.95 )
Seat 6: alivesey ( $23.05 )
Seat 10: Pascwaly3 ( $28.25 )
Seat 2: mickssid ( $14.75 )
lwrestler105 posts small blind [$0.10].
STeelerJosh posts big blind [$0.25].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to STeelerJosh [ Ac Ks ]
Pascwaly3 folds.
ultimate8s folds.
mickssid folds.
Victoria85 folds.
baysia folds.
alivesey folds.
lwrestler105 calls [$0.15].
STeelerJosh raises [$0.50].

ifold220 has joined the table.
lwrestler105 raises [$2].
STeelerJosh raises [$5].
lwrestler105 is all-In [$13.51]
STeelerJosh calls [$10.01].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 2d, Jd, Ah ]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Ts ]
** Dealing River ** [ 7d ]
STeelerJosh shows [ Ac, Ks ] a pair of aces.
lwrestler105 shows [ Jh, Jc ] three of a kind, jacks.
lwrestler105 wins $29.97 from the main pot with three of a kind, jacks.

I managed to fight back and only be down $9 for the game, but I really thought I was ahead in this hand.

On the non poker front, I am busy boy. I have accepted a promotion at work that will require a move to Detroit. I am excited and scared by the prospect of a new postition in a new place. I have been performing the same role for my company for the past 6 years, so it was getting to a breaking point... I think I made the right decision. We have listed our house and SteelerSteph is interviewing in MI already. Wish us luck. The housing market is not that great in Northeast Ohio right now, but it is even worse in Metro Detroit. The upside of the move? (besides a fresh challenge) is that DNasty might be my neighbor next year. Come on back to the big D, D. Eminem, Kid Rock, and I miss you. 313, what?

This summer is shaping up to be a full one. Pack a house into a 2 bedroom apartment for at least 6 months. Find the missus a job. Learn my new role, and centralize a 16 server mail system geographically distributed in 15 remote offices into one functional 4 server centralized model. Wheeeee! In between all that, I will keep trying to get better at poker.

So, any advice on Poker, Lotus Notes, Selling a House, Keeping a Marriage, Relocating to Michigan, Shopping for an Apartment, and sadly, storing a bike is welcome here. Storing a bike you ask? Well, yeah... it seems that a lot of apartment complexes in Metro Detroit do not allow any motorcycles on property. Thanks to all in the "Loud Pipes save Lives" school of thought, you kind of ruined it for all of us. No matter that my ST sounds like a sewing machine in a fog bank, it is "a bike" and therefore machina non grata. I have to decide if I want to store for awhile or outright sell and repurchase when I become a homeowner again.

Wish me luck in my new role, and in finding my replacement which is proving much tougher than anticipated. Here is an interviewing tip. When asked what your favorite team is in an interview environment (as a seugeway into talk about what makes a successful team and teamwork) do not give "Pantera" as an answer. If you do make that mistake, do not make it worse by advising the interviewer that you memorialized the late lead singer, "Dimebag" Daryl by naming your firstborn after him. This is an accounting firm here people, play the game! Say the 1979 or 2006 Steelers (bonus points from me) or make up some crap about a high school team. Pantera, Lotus Notes, and accountants. Google that.

Lastly, I can't help but admit a little guilt for letting this blog languish since ummmm December. I was (am) a losing player this year (damn you -EV Blackjack) and it took its toll on my budget, desire for the game, and inspiration for the blog. I am back now with an online pittance for a bankroll and back on Party since they have allowed me to remove (or at least hide) their BJ icon. The going can be tough there, but I am enjoying working on my NL cash game chops and the SNGs are so juicy there.

I won't make the Mookie tomorrow, my firm is having its annual conference and I will be getting crunked with a few hundred of my closest friends from Chicago, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Elgin, Cleveland, and Kalamazoo in a hotel. The conference, mercifully, does not start until 10 the following day so the night before of open tabs is always an event.

I am not normally a pimp, although my pimp hand is strong. If you have a few minutes and enjoy what I think is one of the most unique voices in a blog, check out TenMile over at He is on my blogroll, and I need to update my links on the right. I particularly enjoyed his recent story about an Alaskan pilot of a single engined craft. Seems odd when I type it out here, but trust me; TenMile can spin a story like few else. Aces to you TenMile.

Monday, June 12, 2006

1-800-I Won't Fly NWA Again

0430 CST and I am still in OKC. After the strangest incident trying to get out of here last night and my worst travel adventure yet, I have sworn off of Northwestern Airlines. Fuck'em and their appalling lack of customer service. They were the cheapest way in and out of here....guess I got what I paid for.

What was it? Never found out for sure, but my plane to Memphis was quarantined 10 yards from the gate. I happened to look out the window about 45 minutes before I was supposed to head out and saw a scene right out of "Outbreak" on the tarmac. Dudes in silver suits and self containted breathing apparatus were all around the plane and this whole hing was surrounded by a phalanx of flashing lights. Marked cars, unmmarked cars, HAZMAT fire trucks, ambulance....if you had a light bar on your car, this was apparently the place to be.

All the gate attendant could tell us was there was a suspicious substance and the plane was quarantined. "Odd" methinks, especially when we are told this will result in a 20 minute delay. I have almost a 2 hour layover in Memphis so that is ok....but I am wondering if I really want to be on that particular plane.

Eventually we are told that we will need to rebook our connections because they are erring on the side of safety. Fine with me, I avoid the line at the desk of what turned out to be the only NWA employee left in he airport and call the 1800 number they posted on the board to reschedule flights. It turns out that it is impossible to have me in Cleveland hat night, the best they can do is get me to Detroit or Columbus. That will not really work, so the agent on the phone suggests I could do the 0600 flight (the TripJax special) out the next morning and I will be in Cleveland by 1113. This sounds like the best overall option as it was not garaunteed that I could make my connections in Minn/St.Paul or Detroit or Memphis if I could get ou of here that night. I ask about accomodations at the airport (don't want to inconvenience GCox with another 0400 jaunt to Will Rogers) and he advises me to see the gate attendant. Back in line I go. I am in touch with SteelerSteph throughout this process and the frustration I am feeling is cushoined by the fact that I could be worse, I could be one of the 50 poor bastards stuck sitting on the quarantined plane breathing in this suspicious substance and sweating their asses off. The engines were not turning on the plane, I don't imagine the AC is running. I finally get to the front of the line and ask about a hotel voucher. I am very surprised to hear that I am on my own. Unless a flight is delayed for mechanical reasons, if NWA can get me to my destination within 24 hours, I am on my own. I protest, "but you cannot get me to Cleveland until tommorrow, I have to sleep somewhere!". "Policy sir, you are allowed to sleep in the airport"

It is not this lady's fault so no use arguing with her and there are 15 more people behind me so I just ask about my checked bag to make sure that we can reunite. "Yes sir, baggage claim 6". Ok. In retrospect, the conspiracy theorists and I suspect that this baggage claim 6 was a ruse to get me out of the presence of what was apparently the only Northwestern employee in the whole friggin airport. I pass through TSA and head down to baggage claim. I am not happy with NWA right now and my plan is to make my case with the ticket agent or the highest ranking NWA employee I can find. Is it worth the $50 hotel voucher for them to lose a customer for life? I suspected not. I arrive at the baggage claim 6 and stare at the single lonely bag making the circuit. Not my bag. Ha! The NWA luggage office is locked and closed while its neighbors United, Continental, etc are doing a booming business. Ha Ha!

I eventually decide this is a lost cause and go to the ticket desk to see what I can make happen. The answer is not much when it is not staffed and the check in is all self service now. 5 pm on a Sunday and it appears that the only NWA employee is protected from me by TSA. With only a boarding pass for the 6 am flight the next morning, I don' like my chances of getting back to her. I pick up a piece of the NWA propaganda titled "Customer Guide: Customers First Program" because I need a good laugh and I still have the stupid hope that if I could just explain this situation to a rational person, I can get it taken care of. I find the number for the ombudsman Lynn Pahl, "Director - Customer Care and Sales Support". I call and get a recording telling me they are closed on weekends and to call back between 0730 and 1630 on a weekday. I guess customers do not require care on a weekend. Way to go NWA.

Admitting defeat at this point, I weigh my options. I can get a cab to a hotel and save my receipts and try to fight the good fight later this week. I can call Gary and see if I can crash at his house for one more night. I ultimately opt for the latter since I would be pissed with him if the roles were reversed and he did not call me when he was stuck at the airport less than 20 mins from my house. I would not be excited about the 0400 wakeup the next morning would require, but that is a minor annoyance. Gary picked me up, we got some pizza to take back to the house and I got to enjoy some unexpected OK hospitality for another 10 hours.

Thanks again GCox for hosting us and taking me to the airport, twice. A hearty "FU" to NWA and its "Customer Care".

I hope my checked bag is waiting for me in Cleveland. We will see.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Casa De Cox

I guess I should have paid some more attention to my plane ticket because I was very surprised to have a 3 hour layover in Minnasoooota this morning. The plane ride from the Twin Cities to OKC more than compensated for the three boring hours. I ended up sitting in the middle of a posse of good ‘ol boys. Most were on the way home from a fishing trip in Alaska and my favorite was an oil driller that had been in Kuwait that very morning. Besides being entertained with stories for the 2 and a half hour flight, I learned some handy things. Besides GCox, does anyone know what a noodler does?

After meeting up with Gary and Trip (they were easy to identify, how many other people walk through the airport holding “The Hammer”), we decided to grab a bite to eat and get down to the business of being here. Poker! My first experience in a OK Casino was a good one. We all sat in the lowest limit game the Chickasaw Nation spread (3/6) and I was happy that I was not at the same table as Trip and Gary (sharks). I came right into the BB and peeled the cards up to see AQo. Cool. I checked from the BB and was pleased to see a Q high rainbow flop. Bet it out and had two callers. Bet on the turn and scooped the pot without a showdown. This was one of the few hands that did not go to a showdown. The second hand I looked down to 4d7d and completed $2 from the SB. I was happy to see an all diamond flop and was pretty sure I was good by the turn when a heart came and it was checked around. I called the raise by the button along with two others. The river was another blank and I bet out this time since I thought the button would probably check it down. Two folds, he calls and his trips lose to my flopped flush. I then did something that I am not proud of. I folded my third hand…. The Hammer on the Button. I know, wimp move but these people were playing any two and were not fazed by any preflop raises. The rest of the night was interesting, I was up and down, but usually within 2-3 BB of my 100 buy in. I went on a little rush at the end with a set on the flop that turned into quads on the river. One or two hands later I flopped a straight with my KQ in the BB. The fun of this table was you could nut peddle all day long and you would have people along for the ride. I cashed out up half a buy in (151 actually, perhaps an indicator of where this week is headed) and happy with my play. I made a good lay down when the river counterfeited my flopped two pair with a second 10 and put the fourth diamond on the table. The nice lady with the oxygen tank showed me the Ad and I was pretty sure she had one just like it behind the one she flashed me. The only play I would have done differently was when I made the mistake of thinking I was HU and there was another player still in the pot. I had a read on my oxygen tank lady and knew she would fold. She did, but the guy that was still in called me to the river where his Q9 beat my QJ on a board with 3 overs to his 9. You like that action, but Gary was right when he said you cannot get people off a hand around here.

I racked up and headed to Gary's crib. After meeting the kids, the animals, and the missus, we cracked some Keystone Light. Surprising huh? Low Limit Poker - No Limit Beer and all that. The hospitality is Southern finest and Gary had some gifts for us for coming down here! I am looking forward to reading Positively Fifth Street and passing it on to the next blogger. Thanks Gary. Time for the Mookie.

I just busted out 12th in the Mookie. Happy with my play, it went off the tracks on a misread. I raised AQo in EP and the BB doubled my bet. I called and started to put him on a hand. The flop came Q high with two hearts and I hoyed him announcing to Gary that I was sure I was ahead. I was not. GWScott made the easy call with his set of Jacks. Ouch. It was probably my best Mookie yet but I obviously have some work to do on my game. It feels stronger and I feel better.... but not there yet. I think a few days of hanging and playing with some other bloggers might help. Fun stuff and I won the Okie Vegas last longer bet that I just made up. Wheeeee!

Enjoy reading this while you are working tomorrow and I am living the good life with Trip and GCox in Okie Vegas tomorrow!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Chumming the Water

The Sharks will be out in force!!

Poker Tournament

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7330476

Hoyazo Inspired Me

I guess this falls under the concept that "It's the thought that counts" because it was certainly not about the cheddar. I took down a $1 PokerStars 45 person MTT tonight. I tried the MTT because I wanted to have some of the fun that Hoyazo does when Hoy makes it look so easy....

I pulled the patented Hoy a few times and also employed the reverse with success. After the first big pot I took down, I never left the top 3. Moderated aggression fo shiz. Thanks for the inspiration Hoyazo, it netted me $13 and a boost of confidence!

*edit* stupid Blogger, giving up on uploading the screen grab of this impressive victory, you will just have to imagine my name at the top :)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Hoyazo = En Fuego

I have not posted in .... let me see.... carry the 1.... Um.......forever. Between work and cruise I took last week, poker and blogging has not been a priority. Things are looking up in that area as my work "busy season" comes to an end today.

Bloglines made it easy to catch up on my reading after a week OCONUS (Outside the CONtinental US for you civilian types) and my favorite blog to catch up was hands down Hoyazo's Hammer Player's Poker Blog. I really enjoy his screenshots (one of his recent posts must be some kind of record) and his "strategery" towards the game. He gives enough insight into the game and his style, but does not give away the whole thing.... just a taste. Anyway, the trademarked Hoyazo and Reverse Hoyazo included, it is very fun to read the exploits of a blogger that is really coming into stride with his game and dare I say it, running hot right now. If you have not been there yet, make sure you stop by and congratulate Hoyazo on his takedown of the Party 40k Gauranteed. Well played and even better chronicled, sir.

In the OTHER department I have some adminstrata to take care of.

Big Thanks to Jordan, the Devil's Advocate. He produced on his bounty for the DADI and I am now the proud owner of a sweet pair COPAQ card decks. Thank you for running your 1010 into my JJ.

I am getting pumped up for Okie Vegas, although it has been pushed to the back burner of my mind the past month. Work and life gets into the way of cool things like this.

I used the bulk of my online bankroll to finance the drinking, gambling, and excursions on my 7 day cruise last week. Back to the cellar for me, but that is where I still belong so it may helpful as I will not be able to give into the temptations to frolic in the levels above my BR. The winnings (think positive) of my Okie Vegas trip will be the seeds of the new improved STeelerJosh BR. Tally Ho!

Lastly, there is a potential for a big change at work on the horizon. Can't get into details here, but it would be a big change for SteelerSteph and me and something that I am looking forward to. Will post the details on here for any family and friends that stop by once I can.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Trying to find an easy way to update my Blog links

By using all the links I setup in Bloglines!

Let me see what this does:

Monday, April 17, 2006

Okie Vegas

Gary C’s Okie Vegas

Crunching some numbers to see the most economical way to get to and from the upcoming blogger get together and had some interesting results. I have several options, driving, riding, flying and hitching.

Since hitching is inherently dangerous, I can rule that out…but it is technically an option I guess. I tried that once while in the Army stationed in California. I was trying to get back to Barstow, CA after letting my boys take my car home from the Cowboy bar were I was successful in scoring a cowgirl. I ended up doing a lot of walking and ended up going Greyhound after a disastrous first and only attempt at hitching. The first car that stopped offered to take me to the next town if we could play the Vito and the Security Guard game. (If you missed the Sopranos last night, you missed a good episode) I would have been playing the role of Security Guard in this gentleman’s offer. Ironically, when he first explained what was required to get me to the next town, I thought he was offering me a lollipop filled with a bubble gum center.

For the record: I declined. I know DNasty would be asking. I found the bus station in the town and waited for the next bus. Was it worth it? Not really, but it made for an interesting life experience. I think SteelerSteph may have heard this story, or at least some form of it… but I am glad she does not read this blog!

That leaves me my two 4 wheeled options, my two wheeled option, and finally a plane. I had initially ruled out the plane because the ticket prices seemed too high. Min $250, but upon further reflection, I think that price will be hard to beat.

It is about 1,059 miles from my house to Oklahoma City. 1,059/46 mpg = 23.02 gallons of gas for my ST1100. Gas is about 2.90 a gallon right now and I expect it to go up this summer, but I will stick with 2.90 for the calculations. 23.02*2.90*2(round trip) = $133.51 in gas. I was toying with the idea of doing an IronButt ride down (1,000 miles in 24 hours) but would need to get a hotel room on the way back, and possibly on the way there if I am getting too tired to ride safely. $80 hotel room with the possibility of needing one for two nights. I would estimate that I would be 85% successful on making the full distance so lets say hotel costs would be $92. Motorcycle cost would be $225 plus one hell of a sore ass and two extra days off of work. That $250 flight is looking a lot more attractive.

For grins, if I were to drive my Honda Pilot down there (my choice because it has XM radio) I would be looking at 50.43 gallons of gas setting me back $292.50 in fuel costs alone.

The more I cogitated about this trip, the more obvious the right choice became. I could take less days off from work (I get plenty, but it is always nice to have a cushion), have an easier time sitting down to play poker, and spend less time traveling if I flew.

So, Gary, what time can you pick me up at Will Rogers World Airport?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I had some disturbing news this week. I was checking my e-mail on Monday and caught a quick line in one of the messages that Larry Grodsky had been in a motorcycle accident in Texas and been killed. I did not know him personally, but I enjoyed his articles in Rider magazine each month and he was a well known rider coach. I imagined that I would take one of his courses in the future and he seemed like he would be a cool guy to hang it with. He was a Pittsburgher - so we probably had two passions in common.

I wanted to corroborate this news but could find nothing on Google besides a death notice for a Lawrence Grodsky, 55 of Squirrel Hill on April 8th. Hmm, that seems to fit but I wanted to know more about what happened. This was Mr. Safety, what possibly could have happened?

I finally found some posts on the BMW Georgia board and they seemed to be in the same position as me. Saddened, shocked, and curious.

I finally had a chance to follow up on this some more today and found the Rider magazine write up on Larry.

I would imagine that there will be more info coming out on the exact circumstances. I have discovered that most riders have a slightly morbid curiosity of how accidents happen and the results. I think it is a combination of innate curiosity, a desire to learn from other's mistakes, and to try train ourselves by going over how we would react in a certain situation. There are inherent increased risks in choosing to ride a motorcycle, but we all try to minimize these. We also rationalize them to a degree since you could die doing a million other "safe" things. The joy and pleasure that riding brings seems to outweigh the potential risks.

When someone who is considered to be one of the bests is killed doing what he does best, it is pause for thought. Several thoughts hit your brain at once: "At least he died doing what he loved." "Wow, if it can happen to Larry, it surely can happen to me." "That sucks." "He will be missed." "What a shame." All this went through my head and more, but I still rode to Columbus from Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday this week. I may have kept a closer eye out for deer, but what can you do if one decides to leap at that exact horrible moment.

Bottom line? This saddening little nugget of information will remain a placeholder in the back of my brain. I will be a little sad this week and in the future when I think of it. I will continue to ride and be the safest rider I can be. Like poker, there is always the challenge of bettering yourself and learning something new. There is risk and reward, choice and consequence. They both also bring me a lot of excitement and pleasure when done well.

Enjoy your play and Ride Safe.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Autocross Report

I pulled off of I-70 and followed the GPS’ directions to Cooper Stadium and immediately saw a bunch of tricked out imports and good old American horsepower parked together. This must be the place, where else would this mix of “Buy American”, Burn some rice, and whatever the hell a Subaru is get along?

The mix of cars was quite eclectic. There were about 25 drivers in cars ranging from a new Corvette (it appeared to come with a blond female passenger seat ornament), to home built racecars and even a handful of go-karts. The go-karts were running when I got there, they apparently get an hour of track time while the rest of the cars are on a lunch break. Those little things can move!

I found Zsolt pretty quickly and snapped a pic of his Civic. He is in the stock class, the only improvement he has made to his car is upgraded Pirelli rubber. The home made race car in the background was in the second group or drivers so I did not get to see that thing go, but Zsolt told me they are very fast.
Since I arrived before the second hour of runs by the real cars, I got to witness the “tuning” before the runs. The more serious racers were busy checking and adjusting air pressure in their tires while the WRX with its hood open below appeared to by dialing in some different suspension settings along with adjusting air pressure. A small sample of the cars is also visible in this picture. The Subaru WRXs seem to be pretty popular, I am guessing the turbo combined with an all wheel drive system makes them pretty competitive.

I watched a few runs by Zsolt before I decided to acquiesce and ride with him on a few. It was quite an experience. He tried to prep me by explaining this would not be a like a video game, but to me it was quite reminiscent of Gran Turismo (Playstation 2 driving/racing simulator). I am not sure how he kept track of which way to go around the cones that defined the course on the parking lot, but that was his job. Mine was to worry about him flipping the car over! The course consisted of a pretty short straightaway with a long slalom and at least 5 very sharp corners. Here is a shot of Zsolt’s car in the last turn. Not sure if he is three wheeling there, but he was definitely sliding and screeching some rubber.

I rode four runs with Zsolt and they were all pretty exciting. He was averaging 37 seconds a run and really attacking the course. I might have left a permanent dent in his passenger seat floor where I was pressing my imaginary brake pedal through the floor as we approached the turn right after the longest straight of the track. He really followed through on the brake late and hard theory. There was an expensive aroma of burning rubber that made its way into the cabin that may have mingled with some burnt clutch.

“I love the smell of burnt Pirelli’s in the afternoon. Smells like… victory”

My hat is off to Zsolt; he is a pretty good driver and is really passionate about his hobby/sport. I can only imagine what he could do if he had his hands on my favorite car that I saw race, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. That thing took off like a scalded cat and you could hear the turbo from across the track. A chirp at all four corners and it was moving into turn one with a quickness. It was sweet.
The ride home was nice, I was able to get off the highway and explore some backroads. I was tempted to stop and take a picture here and there, but it was too much fun to ride! If it does not snow this weekend, I will be riding to Baltimore, MD. I cannot wait for summer.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Motorcycle Goot, Bankroll not so Goot

I got some riding in this weekend which was awesome and some SNGs and ring games that were pretty bad. All in all, a good weekend! (The bike can really compensate! - no wiener jokes please)

I will not bore you with the poker beats (save the first one which was magnificent... my AA vs 73s) but the net result was a buy in at 3/6 LHE and $200 in SNGs. Ouch, a big dent, but not on the canvas yet. The usual, a few amazing river catches by my opponents and my good reads became big losses. I didn't tilt and spread the love around several sites (under the pretense that maybe my variance would be on the plus side on UB if it was on the downside on Full could work!) So, why was the weekend not a complete "bust"? Because it was warm enough to RIDE!

I rode almost everyday to work last week and had to use my Gerbing heated jacket liner and gloves only one day. On Saturday, I had a nice day planned. SteelerSteph was in the 'Burgh with her family so it was me, the dog, the cat, and the bike. I had a breakfast ride planned to Mansfield, OH and told a friend that I would then head on down to Columbus, OH to watch him participate in his Autocross racing. It was the first "Test & Tune" of the season and he was pretty excited. This guy lives for racing... getting up at 1AM to watch Formula One racing in Europe on the Speed channel, reading books like, "The Secrets of Speed: 2"... you get the idea. He is an interesting dude, a computer programmer here on a work visa for the past 6 years. He hails from Hungary and I can always count on him to offer a unique perspective on things. Although I have travelled outside of America a good bit in my life, when talking to Zsolt I have found that I still maintain a solidly Amer-centric point of view on most things. I try to keep up on my current events, it is a habit from my days in military intelligence. When talking about events or policies it is usually an enjoyable mental challenge to understand my friend's point of view. He is quite worldly and has had some pretty interesting life experiences.

The ride down to Mansfield was not an interesting life experience. I had been up late the night before (takes some time to lose half your roll) and even after I shut down the computer, I could not sleep so I cleared some of the list in my TIVO. I probably got to bed around 3 and had to be on the road by 0830. I begrudgingly got out of bed around 7:45 and got ready for the day.
1. Let Copper (the dog) out to pee. He is going to be alone for a good 8 hours today. Sorry buddy, the pavement is calling.
2. Check the weather. Sweet, no rain predicted. In the high thirties right now, migh hit 51 today.
3. Take care of hygene and make sure I get some Steelers gear on. My name is the same on the ST1100 boards, gotta make it easy to recognize STeelerJosh!
4. Lock up and hit the road. I gotta make some time up since I am leaving later than I hoped. No back road fun for me on the way down, gotta "slab" it.

Here is the bike: ready to hit the road.
I packed some shoes (I wear riding boots and they are not comfortable for a lot of standing around or walkingd), a camera, some bottle water, and some extra warm stuff in case the forecast was wrong. I set off at an illegal pace down I-71 that only increased until I finally rolled off the interstate. No cops, no problems!

I got the Cracker Barrel 5 minutes ahead of schedule and over half of the gang was already there (long distance riders like breakfast). The attendees had ridden in from as far South as Tenessee and Kentucky and as far North as Michigan. Ohio was well represented with riders coming in from all over the state. The parking lot looked like this when I got there with eventually 17 bikes cooling their engines while their owners caught up.

While most of the riders were on Honda ST's (1100's and the newer 1300's) there were two Gold Wings, a V-Strom, a BMW, an R-6 (don't know how that guy rode a sport bike all the way up from Kentucky) and a few others. All the guys are good guys. I caught up with many that I had not seen since last summer and met some new faces. It's true, "you meet the nicest people on a Honda..."

Breakfast eventually ended and headed further South with a 4 bike caravan. Uncle Phil was headed back to Tenesee and Jason and his brother Daniel (the R-6 rider) back to Kentucky. While it is neat to be in a pack sometimes, I prefer solo or pair riding to large group riding. The foursome was nice and we took turns leading until I peeled off in Columbus. The GPS took me right to Cooper Stadium and I was not really sure what to expect when I got there.

Getting late so I guess this will have to be a two parter. My first Autocross report is up next. Since I am in a motorcycling mood, here are two pictures from a great ride last year.

This is was on SkyLine Drive in Virgina. A slow but enjoyable ride through a great state park. There are lots of curves and you can get into a nice rythym. The scenery is spectacular

This was my GPS on a quick break on a ride in West Virgina. Damn that is a beautiful sight to behold. I like my women curvy and my roads curvier!