Sunday, November 11, 2007

Those Brownies

They had me and SteelerSteph sweating and cursing the first half. I think that Sawyer learned his first bad word in utero as SteelerSteph dropped several F bombs. The Steelers D could not get off the field four 3rd and longs in a row....against the a game that was for the division lead. I guess if I have to teach my son bad words that is an appropriate instance. That and if the Steelers D did the same thing against the Ravens. Other than that? Ixna on the Uckfa little Sawyer.

Not much poker this weekend. I missed the neighborhood game Friday night. SteelerSteph and I went to the movies and caught Michael Clayton. Pretty good flick, I enjoy George Clooney. After that I had some servers to reboot for work and I was pretty beat from two days of passing judgement on my fellow man. I am still surprised how much that whole experience weighed on me. Anyway, I did get some online poker in and it was a little frustrating. I finally got the roll above the amount required to get out of $2 SNG hell and I bubbled on my first shot at the $6 +.50 turbo SNG. The play there was slightly better than the $2 dollar games but I think it will be very beatable. Once I get my online roll back to the $10 games I plan on making some appearances at the blogger games again. Dead money or not, I miss the challenge and the shared donkerey. Plus, I can't let DNasty make all the noise at the blogger tables.

I will sleep better tonight that my beloved Steelers did not drop a game to the Browns and are looking good at 7-2.

Friday, November 09, 2007


We left the jury deliberation room last night after reaching a consensus on 3 of the 4 counts. The Aggravated Stalking charge was our sticking point and with a 9-3 vote of guilt it appeared that we might be in for a long Friday. Instructed to report back at 8:30 this morning, I endured the traffic home with a heavy head. I was surprised at how much this whole process was affecting me. It is hard to describe the whole experience and everything that goes through your mind but a few of the words that came to my mind were "sobering" and "sad". The rational part of me was focused on the "facts" of the case and coming to a common sense conclusion of what the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The human side of me calculated the consequences of our actions and conclusions as jurors and there were no happy endings there. The whole case brought home the level of insulation I (and I would propose most of the bloggers I read) have from a lot of the ugliness in this world. I would venture that all of us are above the poverty level and do not have to deal with the decisions, problems, and ramifications that I was witnessing in the courtroom. The preposterousness of someone assaulting me outside of my mobile home, physically forcing me inside and then to get naked and smoke crack is not even something that I could come up with in a crazy nightmare. Who does that?!!? Who has to deal with that possibility when they wake up?

The case was as such: The defendant was charged with Home Invasion 1, Aggravated Stalking, Domestic Violence, and Resisting/Obstructing. The prosecutor put the 911 caller who notified the police about the struggle on the stand first.

He was awoken around 3:30 AM on April 5th, 2007 by the sounds of a struggle outside. He looked out his window and saw two people fighting. He thought it was two guys at first and was ready to go back to sleep but realized that it was a woman and a man so he called 911. While on the phone he witnessed the man pull the woman so hard that the porch railing she was clinging on to broke. He watched him drag her into the mobile home and the light come on and then go out. He stayed on the phone to talk to the cops in to the mobile home park and to the right lot. we read a transcript of his call and listened to a recording of it.

Next, the victim took the stand. She was led by the prosecution through telling the story of multiple contacts with the defendant (important for satisfying some of the charges but this was not obvious to us at the time). According to her, he was stealing her garbage and on April 1st, against all the rules of the Personal Protection Order in place since March 2nd, 2007 against him, she caught him looking in windows of her trailer. She opened the back door to confront him and they exchanged words. It was detailed to us that the back door was about 4 feet off the ground and there were no steps. He parked in the lot of a store close by despite the available parking in the trailer park. Then, on April 4th he called the victim to ask if she was working the next day. She was and her shift as a package handler starts at 4 AM. She has to walk to work as she has no transportation and when she was leaving at 3:30 that morning she was attacked by him outside the mobile home. In the struggle, her company ballcap was knocked off, her wallet was dropped and left outside the home. This was important since the cops found this outside on arrival and it was suspicious.

During the struggle, after the porch collapsed, the defendant bit her on the face and she thought she was bleeding (felt something running down her face) and she gave in. She gave him the keys and they went inside and then it got really weird. According to her (and not denied by the defense) he forced her to get naked and then smoke crack. She said that he smoked too. She knew the "lingo" telling us that she "hit the crack pipe twice" which makes you wonder some, but she was not on trial. Anyway, the cops got there and were banging on the door and shining flashlights in the windows. The defendant made her crawl to the bathroom and put on her clothes telling her that he was going to run out the back when the cops left. Then the phone rang. She did not answer it the first time and when it started ringing again she told him that it was work because they knew about her domestic situation and if she did not answer they would call the police. On the phone was a dispatcher for the police and she pretended it was work. She answered a few of his questions with Yes/No/Yeah answers and ended the call abruptly with the message that she was not feeling well and would not be coming in to work. With that, the cops made forced entry and the defendant hid in the closet. She ran towards the cops and they found the defendant and cuffed him. Other questions were asked during cross examination but overall her story was believable and corroborated with pictures of her bitten face, bruises, the trailer porch and the eyewitness 911 caller.

The arresting officer took the stand and gave details about the call and the subsequent chase of the defendant. Apparently (the defendant was a pretty big dude) they had trouble cuffing him behind so they cuffed him in the front and took his shoe laces. While escorting him to the patrol car he took off running and they gave chase on foot. Sporting the stereotypical cop doughnut eating very large gut I chuckled to myself thinking no way this dude caught the running guy. I was right, it was his partner that caught him when he tripped (he was running in socks now, his shoes fell off) in a parking lot across the major road near the park. The re-arrested him and kept a much tighter grip on him. Once they knew he was "arrestable" they left the personal property he had on him (he claimed he lived there) at the trailer. Among these items were his car keys. The victim testified earlier that she used these keys to find his car. It was parked down the street and in there she found and listened to a very disturbing tape. That was among the most telling and confusing evidence in the case.

The tape was accepted into evidence without objection by the defense (not sure why) and it apparently was the defendant talking to his mother. The transcript was one and a half typed single spaced pages of profanity laced rampaging by the defendant. The tape was played and it was pretty disturbing. The person raging on the tape was far different than the man sitting in front of us. At the time I was not sure why they were playing the tape but parts of it became important during deliberations and I suppose it set the reference for the character/personality of the defendant. It was a vulgar roller coaster and I was almost uncomfortable for the older ladies in the jury with me when he was dropping the "F-ing C U Next Tuesday" line.

The prosecution rested and then the defense called his mother to the stand. She did not add much and mostly talked about things before the dates in question (although this was not obvious at the time). We were sent to deliberate around 3:45 PM and finally had to leave a little after 5 PM as we were unable to reach an agreement on all of the charges. We agreed to guilty on 3 of the 4, the aggravated stalking was our sticking point. I was not looking forward to today and getting back in that room with these people.

We started back in a couple minutes after 8:30 today and it was quickly obvious that we were in the same spot as last night. 9 for, 3 against. There were 7 factors that had to be satisfied to meet the charge and two of them involved assessing if the victim was caused emotional distress and if the victim felt intimidated, harassed, etc. 2 of the jurors did not think she was distressed on the April 1st incident. This was important since the charge said there had to be 2 non continuous incidents that met the conditions. They reasoned that since she did not call the cops, she was not distressed. One gentleman did not believe her testimony when she said she was terrified. "If she was" he reasoned, "why did she open the trailer door and try to confront him?". Mentally, the night before I had rationalized with myself and was prepared to go with a Not Guilty verdict on this charge if it meant that we would not have a mistrial. This was a minor charge, the major charge was the Home Invasion 1. As it turned out, after 2 plus hours of debate it became a moot point.

The clerk came in and told us that the judge wanted us to present the 3 counts we agreed on. (and the communication while in deliberation is very weird. There can be no contact with the judge or any parties. We would buzz for a "runner" person and then we could submit a question that we wrote on paper. The reply would be written by the judge on the paper and run back to us. This was an obstacle to communication and dragged out the process as we had several clarification questions.) We were summoned back to the court room and instructed to read our verdict on the three counts. We did, were polled individually as to our answers, and then we were sent back to the room. When we announced Home Invasion 1, the guy started crying and was pretty upset. I reminded myself of the times I have made a mistake and regretted it... and that there are consequences for actions. The mother remained pretty stoic and the victim, his wife started crying too. Not sure if the tears were relief, sadness, or both. My money is on both.

Back in the room, we started deliberating again and pretty soon the clerk came in and told us the judge was coming to see us. Some postulated that we were going to get talked to about reaching a verdict but that was not the case. He advised us that he let the prosecution drop the charge that we were stuck on and that a sentencing date had been set. Since the trial was concluded, his demeanor with us changed completely. Suddenly, he was sharing his opinion with us and information that we were not allowed to know during the trail. He told us that we had reached the correct conclusions (in his opinion) and even brought in the prosecutor to give us more background that we could not have considered legally during the trial. I think that helped ease some the burden from our minds that naturally comes when you make a decision like that.

The clerk handed out a personalized and hand signed "Certificate of Appreciation" to each one of us. I found that odd. Would I frame that and hang it? Where?!? I don't think that I want to dwell on this whole experience. I understand the concept of civic duty and I am embrace it. I would gladly serve as a juror again and expect I will (just not in the next year, I am exempt for 12 months I think). That said, the human side of this whole thing is pretty depressing. I don't know how the court staff, the victim advocacy/support groups, detention facility staff deal with this ugliness all the time. It really is sad. Here is a 28 year old woman who looks like she is older than 40. She has been beaten into submission on many levels, among them physically, and she has two kids with her husband: a crack addict with sever anger management issues and an unfathomable attitude towards women. What is her future? What are the kids' futures? The father's future in prison. It is a zero sum game and outside of the prosecutor's office there were definitely no winners today.

I headed back to my milquetoast upper class neighborhood in my well running comfortable car and appreciated my position in life. I am a happily married, expecting father to be, working at a job I enjoy at a company that appreciates me, lucky person.

Jury duty helps your perspective.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

They call me juror #4

I was randomly selected to the first group of 30 from the juror pool and then selected to the panel of 12 once in the courtroom. The case is expected to take 1-2 days and is a criminal trial. I have to admit it is quite a sobering experience and I am curious how it will all turn out.

Jury Duty

Jordan (the devil's advocate of poker bloggers) crossed my mind this morning as I sat in the Sixth Circuit Court parking lot this morning. Somehow I screwed up my calculations when I set the alarm last night and I bad beat myself out of an extra hour of sleep. Arriving 40 minutes before my scheduled juror report time left me plenty of time to lawyer watch in the parking lot. If only I could get some poker on my Blackberry....

Congrats to DNasty who apparently took down the Mookie last night. Looking forward to hearing his side as soon as I finish this jury gig. Nothing against civic duty but I am hoping this is pretty short lived. Work will be crazy the next 8-10 months and this is not a good time to have to be away from the office. I don't think that Jordan practices law outside of Zoo York but I will be looking for a lawyer sporting a Superman shirt and rocking an ipod.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Test Picture Post

I took this at a Steeler game and was playing with the BW Focal point setting in Picasa 2. Testing to see if this will upload with that setting even if I don't save it. Go Steelers!!
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Friday, November 02, 2007

Overheard in a WaWa Parking Lot

My younger brother noted that I have been running
silent/running deep on the electronic front lately so I feel compelled to
post. I spent an enjoyable hour talking
to him on the phone last night which was a welcome distraction from the very
monotonous drive through Northern Ohio on I-80.
This post is for you “Lucky”.

SteelerSteph and I spent this past weekend in PA doing what
Pennsylvanians do best and quite often: tailgating and watching football. It started early on Saturday morning when we
drove west from Pittsburgh to Shippensburg, PA to watch her little brother play
in his final home football game.
Surprisingly, the weather cooperated and it was a great tailgating-football
watching day. My parents drove up from
Baltimore and were treated to a 56 to 10 thrashing of Lock Haven by the
Shippensburg Red Raiders. It is always a
treat to see them since I live so far away.
Pre and post game tailgating consisted of Omlettes (cooked to order by
yours truly and Chip), Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork, Hot Cider, Coffee, Beer, and
lots of snacks. My little “Fire and Ice”
portable grill/cooler combo is a great invention and served its purpose well
this trip. It was sad to have the day
with my parents end, but nice to know that we would see them soon for

Sunday brought more of the same with the team I was rooting
for winning handily. The Cincinasti
Bungals have a special kind of hatred for the Steelers ever since the Steelers
knocked them out of the playoffs (by knocking Carson Palmer out of the game) and
went on to win the SuperBowl. Plus, the
“away” game for the Steelers in Paul Brown Stadium is usually more of a
semi-home game. The cheering is usually
equally loud for each team. SteelerNation
travels well.

Poker has been good lately too. I finally beat my neighborhood game (now only
-$15 after 4 sessions… much better than -$140).
I also took down a 13 seat $25 buy in monthly home game tournament that
is organized by DNasty. I was feeling
good about my game and called it ahead of time.
I told D that I was going to take it down and I did.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

5% Poker 5% House 90% Baby

5% Poker: I dropped $70 Saturday night in the "friendly" neighborhood poker game. That brings my two session average to -40. It is a mixed game that ranges from "Two Card Guts" and "Acey Duecey" up to plain ol' NL Hold 'Em. It is dealer's choice and there are always crazy games with wilds. I struggle with figuring out when my 4 of kind Kings is going to lose to the 5 of a kind 3's. The game is mostly loose with one LAG that was the big winner (+160) this week. He has the best poker skills and is very aggressive with pot bets when he senses weakness. He also hit a ton of his winning cards on the river this past game. I will work on my strategy for playing in a Loose Passive/Loose Aggressive game where the gamblers don't mind the stakes. I already know that I cannot bluff much or at all and that with all the wilds and crazy gambling games that are played I really need some luck. I suspect that I am a little too tight right now. Regardless, it is a good time and I enjoy being able to play for 5-6 hours with good people, get my beer on, and then stumble home through wet lawns and heat up some pizza rolls cuz I have the munchies at 2:30 AM.

5% House: The house is coming along with a lot of hard work. I learned the true meaning of Labor Day this weekend when I spent "Labor Day Weekend" power washing and then staining the deck, weeding and raking all the landscaping, removing rust stains from exterior surfaces of the house, getting a chip/crack in the windshield repaired before winter, mowing the acre plus and whatever other bidding the pregnant missus ordered. She did help with the weeding and it was appreciated. The deck staining was the biggest PITA as it has a ton of spindles and was really in bad shape. The previous owners of this house suck and if I ever had the chance to meet them, I would kick them. It took me 2 hours to stain one section of railing and this was less than 1/4 of the whole railing. Uh oh. The staining took basically 2 days but was very rewarding as the difference was amazing. The wood was high quality wood and it looks like a new deck now. After 3 days of "vacation" I could not wait to get back to work. My brain is in much better working shape then my painting shoulder.

90% Baby: SteelerSteph and I had our mid-pregnancy ultra-sound on Friday. This can be a pretty nerve wracking milestone of a pregnancy. During this ultrasound the doctors measure and inspect all kinds of things to make sure development is proceeding correctly. It did not hit me how complex this entire process is until this session at the hospital. They check things as simple as making sure the heart has 4 chambers and they are the correct relative sizes. How does all this crap know how to develop? It boggles my mind. It is also during this ultrasound that they can tell you the gender of your baby if you so desire. We desired and much to my surprise and pleasure I found out I will be having a baby boy!!

This took some time to get my head around. When the ultra-soundologist (I just made that title up) asked if if we really wanted to know and then typed "It's a", drew an arrow to some bit on the computer screen, and then finished on a line by itself, "Boy".... I just started laughing. I could not stop. I had imagined and prepared myself mentally for many years to be the father of a girl. I was ready for the tea parties, the hairstyles, the discussions of *gag* emotions. I was dreading the puppy love, broken hearts, and those dirty little boys that would be interested in my daughter. I KNEW what they were interested in, I was a dirty little boy myself. That would be my cosmic karma payback. Add to this the odd offspring pattern my family seems to have (a generation of all girls, a generation of all boys, and my youngest brother kicking of this generation with two girls) and I was confident I would have a daughter. In an odd way, I was looking forward to the special bond that seems to exist between fathers and daughters. I look at how my wife has a special love for her dad and thought that would be pretty cool to be the dad for a girl. I was ready.... and in an instant... I was not.

A boy? What? Are you sure?

Really?!? A boy?! Wow.

How sure are you?

A boy. I have to admit to initially being a little disappointed. I was so mentally prepared and had focused on all the "benefits" of having a girl that this was a bucket of cold water. The more I processed this new information, the more it grew on me. While I felt an odd sense of loss that I would not have a girl, the expanding awareness of my options with a boy were growing. I could rough house with him, build stuff, throw the ball around... he might like sports and if he inherits my wife's athleticism he could have a lot of success on the playing fields. This is going to be sweet, and I won't have to worry about what those dirty little boys will want to do to my daughter.... I will have to worry about my dirty little boy! :)


The other constant thought in the back of my mind during the ultra sound was that this is probably the session in which my friend at work learned of his little girl's trisomy-18. I am sure his despair at this news was inversely proportional to my pure joy in learning that we had a healthy and properly developing baby boy. He and his wife are still in my thoughts as I progress along the path that they tread recently. At each of these types of checkpoints, I find myself mentally putting myself in his shoes. Those shoes hurt.


Finally, because I don't want to end on a sad note, I found out Sunday of some more fantastic baby news. I can't share more than that because it is only 5 weeks... but it is good news and I am very happy for this couple.

Gotta jet and I am working on getting some $$ back online so I might see you there soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Motivational Posters

Stumbled Upon a "Motivational Poster" Maker.

Will share some of the fun I've had with it.
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Monday, August 27, 2007

Population of Suburbia (+2)

I am pretty sure this is another milestone of some sort. Another pebble on the path of "living the dream"?

It just feels so white bread and stereotypical to me and I am not sure why. I bought a piece of lawn care equipment this weekend. Big deal. Why does part of me feel like a sell out?

Perhaps it is because this just so fits into my own image of "Suburbia" and all the negative connotation that concept carries.

I can just picture some jackhole riding around on his golf course looking front lawn and thinking how great his 2.3 kids, white picket fence life is going. I just don't see that as me, besides, white picket fence was too expensive and we went with the Invisible Fence.

All kidding aside, I am excited about finally owning a riding lawn mower even with my hang ups about the yellow and green branding. Stat wise, I paid $50 more for a mower that has a 2 inch bigger turning radius, a 4 inch smaller cutting deck, and a .4 gallon smaller tank. Maybe that is why I am troubled by this purchase. There is no doubt that I need a riding mower to cut the acre we now own. There is not doubt that I calculated the break even point. (without accounting for my time.. I make too much an hour in my mind for it EVER to be cost effective for me to spend time mowing the lawn) If I assume 26 weeks of paying a lawn service per year (April through September) my break even point is 52 weeks. Add in fuel and maintenance and I am at about 57 weeks, or two years and one month of mowing until it is cheaper to own vs. "rent". I did not account for the extra time out of my life it will take nor did I factor in the sense of a job well done and the fun of riding around on stuff. Lets call that a wash.

You may be asking why I spent more for the mower that did pound for pound did less than the Deere. Easy answer: SteelerSteph. She did not like the color of the Husqvarna. It was orange. The Cleveland Browns are orange and brown. Therefore is would be a loser (like the Browns). It was a no-brainer for her. She also liked the idea of a John Deere and said that she wanted to sing "the John Deere song" while I was out mowing. I don't know that particular tune but I can picture her singing it with relish as she contentedly watches me through the window - riding around on my not quite golf course looking front lawn and thinking how great my almost 1 kid, Invisible Fence life is going.

Coming Soon: I got it home, backed it off the $19.99 for 75 minute Lowe's rental truck, and attempted to start it after splashing a gallon of fuel into the tank. Nothing. Not even a click or an attempt to start. I almost read the manual, but decided to attach it to the trickle charger and let the battery charge for a night. Curious what tonight will hold. The drama: To crack the owners manual or not?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What I would have posted about

Since I am so frustrated with Comcast and their crap service and customer service I did not post about the live play I had Friday night. It was a good time. I played at DNasty's brother's house in a 12 person 6 max NL Hold'em tournament. It was fun to play 6 max as I got to be a little more aggressive. For some reason, the tournament management software calculated that 4 spots should pay and the difference between 4th and 3rd was $10. I busted out third after (in hindsight) I tried to bluff the calling station that had managed to chip up at the right time. He went on to win. I liked my play (my story made sense) but the story is not worth anything when the other player can't read. That was my mistake. I represented a K and he was just playing his own hand. I left with $25 more than I bought in with and felt good about my overall play. Laid down some decent hands when I figured I was behind and made some good moves with what was probably not the best hand. Saw AA and KK once the whole night and a few middle pairs.

Lastly, I think I might have to change the blog name to include babies since they are taking over my life before they really take over my life. The wife and I went on a bit of a baby shopping spree this weekend. When the dust settled, we are now the proud owners of a "Travel System"... a fancy name for a stroller that also has a car seat for an infant, a crib, and a pack and play. Assembling the crib was not too bad and the stroller is fun to push around. Funny... women spend the first 9 months carrying the baby around and then the guys seem to take over. I can't explain why, but I am looking forward to pushing a stroller around. I just enjoy it.

Parting image: Steely McBeam violating Comcast with that dumb foam beam he carries around. Sideways.

Comcast Suxors

It has been nothing but issues since I was forced to start using their high speed service. I have no choice as they are the only high speed service available in the new house. (outside of overpriced and slower satellite broadband)

I am posting this while "borrowing" a neighbor's unsecured wireless network. God bless the non technical using technical products.

To put this into perspective, I hate Comcast 13x as much as I hate Steely McBeam. Yeah, I know that is a lot but I have never had problems with other broadband ISPs like I have had with my short and torturous tenure with Comcast. Aaaargh. I want to scream.

Fack Comcast in the icehole. (gotta keep this safe for work)

Friday, August 17, 2007

For the Record

I just caught wind that the masses were waiting for me to weigh in on the new Official Steelers Mascot, Steely McBeam.

Officially, all I can say is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

WTF was the Steelers marketing team thinking?

1. The resemblance to ex Steelers Coach Bill Cowher is laughable. I am sure that new head coach Mike Tomlin really appreciates having the "Ghost of Coached Super Bowls Past" frolicking and performing silly antics on the sideline of each game under his new tenure.
2. The Steelers were a pretty popular team last time I checked. They have a nationwide network of fans, do they really need a mascot?
3. How about some cheerleaders?
4. Apparently they did not learn from previous mistakes. The Steelers had a mascot in the 80's that thankfully was retired the same year Dr. Suess ate green eggs and ham in the afterlife. Steeler Stevie, Michael Landon, and Theodore Geisel... RIP.

I am excited for the new season and the new head coach. I will be happy with a playoff appearance and expect a much better performance from Roethlisberger this year. It would be hard to be worse than last year when he was still plagued by after affects of his helmet-less Super Dave Osborne impression into that lady's windshield.... and the rumors of Cowher's "retirement", etc, etc.

Side Note: My name was memorialized for eternity this morning on the P&M Technology Team Fantasy Football trophy this morning. The ceremony was lightly attended but still special. In my acceptance speech (which I delivered in my myself) I mentioned that I was glad that my team name was not as offensive as it usually is. DonkeyPunch, Drop The Chalupa, and Team Shocker are not next to my name plate on the trophy. Last year I named my team after the sweetheart deal that I got on the Ravens defense. Snatched from the grasp of the league manager because he only had $1 left to bid on a D, I won the championship last year with "2 Dollar Defense" in large part because of my 2 buck D. They scored a shit ton of touchdowns and really were the difference in several of my games. Perhaps the Steelers D... and the silly new mascot will be my $2 difference this year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Baby Rain

Perhaps this is the same syndrome as what I call "New Car Syndrome". You might know the phenomenon by another moniker but it works the same: You purchase, or are close to purchasing a new car, and then you notice them everywhere. They were probably there all along, but now your awareness has been expanded to recognize them and they just seem to be all over the place. A maroon one, one with a sunroof... "that one has aftermarket rims".... you know what I am talking about.

Apparently, my awareness now registers babies and new fathers because they are all around me at work. A teammate of mine became a first time father yesterday and another is attached to his phone as his wife was due Sunday and if she does not go into labor by next Monday they will induce. Another person on our tech team is pregnant with twins and is a month further along than my wife. It is raining babies here.

Before I get rained on, I guess I should get as much poker in as I can. I am excited to get the part of my brain that regulates poker some exercise. I know that I will be rusty, but I am still anticipating the challenge of some live poker this Friday. The tournament structure will a 6 max so I am expecting some increased aggressiveness. The group of guys are pretty skilled and I would put myself in the middle of the pack skill wise. I would be pretty impressed with myself if I took it down. It is Friday night at 8 and will be a long drive home so no drinking. That should help.

A very large project that went horribly awry at work has finally completed and my life will be returning to normal. This is a good thing as teh job has been teh suck for the past month. I am very ready to move on. (Note to any work friend readers.... ready to move onto other things, not other companies!)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I wonder...

.....if there are any similarities between storing and restarting a blog and storing and restarting a motorcycle?

I have not put any Stabil into this blog nor have I hooked up the battery to a tender. I wonder if it will still fire up for me on the first try?

Let's give it a test, start with something strong.

"I just bought an awesome house in Michigan"


How about this....

"I am going to be a father this January!"

Ahh, there it goes!

It is scary, but true. After several years of effort and with the assistance of modern medicine, SteelerSteph is 16 weeks pregnant. We don't know the gender yet, but plan to find out when she goes in for her ultrasound that is given between 18-20 weeks. I am a little apprehensive about this milestone of the pregnancy as this is the ultrasound where they really look at the organ development and other progress indicators on the baby. A friend at work recently had to go through the unthinkable anguish of burying his newborn that was diagnosed with trisomy-18 during the milestone ultrasound Steph and I are scheduling.

That was a tough one. They decided to carry the baby to term and she was "born to heaven" last month. I have never been to a funeral where the casket only required one pallbearer and hope to not repeat that experience again. There is something that goes completely against the grain of human nature when you bury a baby. The image of the toy sized white casket will be in my brain for a good while to come. I can't even attempt to imagine the sorrow and questioning that my friend and his wife are going through. Scary.

I hope to be posting with some regularity again. Life has been an absolute whirlwind and I have not played much/any poker since the move to Michigan. Some live events (neighborhood game, DNasty tournament) but nothing online. Since the demise of Neteller, I have not tried to load any more money online. I cleared out the online bankroll in December and saved $300 of it as a nest egg for the bankroll. It has hovered around there from the limited live action I have seen since then. The motorcycle riding has been curbed to riding to and from work and that is not very exciting or any sort of impetus to blog. Basically, I lost my original mojo for this blog and I am looking for some new things to inspire me. Hopefully I will be able to work some poker back into here too.

Take care out there. Very bummed that I missed Okie Vegas 2 but really enjoyed the recaps. If I can get some bucks on FT, I hope to make a Mookie in the near future.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Crazy E-mail Day

I survived the DST update at work (so far) and life is getting back to some semblance of normalcy. There is a good bit of follow up required and minor issues to stay on top of, but on the whole I would call the patch and update effort a good success.

In between tracking down the final few rogue calendar entries that refused to update this past Friday night, I checked my gmail and had two "phunny" e-mails. Most Phishing e-mails are pretty easy to spot and understand the angle that is being shot. The first one I got (on my work account actually) is the standard type:

Dear Telus member,

You are receiving this email with regards to your personal account.

Please read carefully before continuing as some vital information is being updated.

Your account is showing to be incomplete due to a data failure in our systems and you MUST provide us with a correct information within 48 hours of receiving this email.

Failure to comply will result in account termination.
To update your account provide us with the following datas:

1. Maiden name:

2. Primary and secondary email address:

3. Account Password:

Ensure the informations are correct carefully before submitting it, mistakes can terminate your account.

Thank you for your support.
Account Supervisor Team

The grammatical and spelling errors usually are a pretty good tip that something is not right. If you are a major company and you are sending a communication to all your consumers, don't you think that it would go through at least one or two reviews and someone would catch the "informations are correct" and the "provide us with a correct information"? Secondly, a close look at the Sent From "" and the Reply To "Please respond to" fields are another big red Stop sign. Finally, how many times are people warned that, "XYZ will never ask you for your password and blah blah blah"?

I guess there are enough complete and total morons on this planet that these horrible phishing e-mails are +EV for the creators.

The second one I received, and the motivator for this post, was a little more interesting. I am curious what the angle is here. Driving traffic to a site for ads? Hosting malicious code and driving my browser to it so I can be infected? It does not ask for any info... but it caught my attention in the Inbox:

From: Beat me (
Subject: Beat me in poker and I 'll pay for your trip to vegas
Hey Bud ,
I heard on the boards you are a preety good Poker Player.
well, I can beat you ass in any type of poker and mostly texas holdem any given day.
Come visit me in my favorite poker room, get a decent bonus and the best of all,
If u beat me in the game I will pay for your Trip to VEGAS!!!
look for user 'playpokerwithme'

See you Tonight on

Since I am at work and I don't understand the "trick" here, I did not visit the geocities site on the link. I would not advise anyone else to either. I am curious if other people got this e-mail, perhaps my address was scraped from this site?

In addition to all the unanswered questions above, the most lingering and perhaps most important is - Could beat me ass in mostly texas holdem?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hell's ZIP Code is 48169

A co-worker read teh blog today and IM'd me to correct my apparent mistake -

"your blog is off.. it's not Bullshit Cold... it's "Sofa King Cold"

I let him know that I was reserving that for the next level of chilliness, the kind where Hell starts getting icicles. You can't pull anything past these wily Michiganders. He immediately replied,

"there is plenty of ice in hell"

I may not be able to see that 23s coming to crack my Aces, but I saw this one a frozen mile away - "let me guess, there is a Hell, MI?"

Masterful user of the inter-tubes that he is, he simply replied with:,_Michigan

Quickly followed by where he would prefer to live in Michigan:

And concluded with the proof that it is so cold here that all people do is think about sex: (SFW)

I am sad to admit that while I have yet to get off on the big beaver, the lovely SteelerSteph has. Drunken College exploration you ask? Hardly. There is apparently a very nice mall at exit 69 on I-75. Since I try to avoid malls like a part time job, the chances of me hitting the big beaver while getting off on 69 are slim. I wonder what the degree of correlation between the double entendre suggested here and the act of going to the mall with my wife is.

I suspect it is high.

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We've Gone Plaid!!

I figured Michigan might be a little colder than Ohio as it is an hour or two North of where I used to live. I was right.

I never knew that the outside temperature display in my Honda could display negative numbers. I learned this morning that it can.

There is a term for this, I think what I am experiencing is known as "Bullshit Cold". Yup, we have gone past plaid cold, beyond ludicrous cold directly into Bullshit Cold. Rick Moranis would be freezing his little nerdy head off if he were in Detroit right now.

When the Pilot reluctantly cranked to life this morning, the outside temp gauge was displaying -4. With the accompanying brisk wind I am sure the windchill had us in the negative 20s. It hurt to breathe in.

All of this cold bs naturally leads to some self introspection. "Wtf am I doing in this?" "This is bs, who would live here?" and thoughts along those lines.

The icing on the proverbial cake was DNasty pinging me from Florida this morning asking if it was cold enough for me here. While I was glad to see he dodged the weather disaster that struck on Friday (Hurricane? Tornado?) I also have to laugh at him. His dumbass is excited to move back here!! I am excited too. Misery loves company, especially company that likes to play some live poker!!

Hurry h-h-h-home D-D-D-Dnasty (not a stutter, just chattering teeth from the negative degrees) but don't slip on all the snow and goddamn ice around here. If you fall, you might get stuck. You know, like that stupid kid in a Christmas Story. I triple dog dare you to move back here from Florida. :)

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

$2 MTT fun

I played in a $2 + .25 today on FT and it was amazing. 457 runners, 176 left at the first break!?!?

The blinds were 50/100 at the break, I cannot fathom why they insisted on impaling themselves on each other. Consistently.

I was a few hundy above average at the break and never really saw great cards. Two biggest pots were 56s where my OESFD missed but my bluff won (second hand of mtt) and a key double up against a maniac when I had 88 about 45 mins in.

81 spots pay, so my goal was to simply make the money and then start taking some more chances. That got a little tougher with 137 left when the SB caught a flush and cost me about T1600. My read that my middle pair was good on the flop, his K5c was flushing on the river and I paid him off on the Q high board. Tighten up or get looser to accumulate and make a real run? That was the question. I thought that I had enough chips (T3900) with 100/200 blinds that I could still wait for some premium hands and spots. Let's see if that works. One double up with the right donkey (and there are still some left around) and I am sitting pretty.

One small problem, the homebrew is starting to kick in a little. I am trying to drink enough so that I have 28 empty bottles for my next batch which I will be bottling next weekend. Tough job, I know. I have a lot of the high octane stuff on hand right now (10.5% abv) so two a day is a tall order.

92o in the BB. Doubt I get to see it for free. Surprise! I did, but the QJ6 did not help me at all. Fold to the raiser.

A9s in the SB and I flop OESD. It fills on the turn and I check it heads up. River pairs the board and my 600 bet is called. The hand holds up and I get some ammo.

AQo very next hand and it is folded around to me on button. Bet 700, SB goes all in for 250 more and BB folds. Hmm, have to call here. He flips AK and I am in trouble, especially when the K flops. NH sir, I give back my gains.

T3740 when the blinds hit 120/240 25 ante. 109 left, money starts at 81. First hand for me at this level is 1010. Win the blinds and antes. T4275 and I promptly get moved for the first time in the MTT.

First hand on the new table is KJo in the BB. I raise pot on the SB limp and he ejects. Cool. AQd is next hand and the early pot bet looks fishy. Apparently I was smelling myself because I jammed on him and his AKc hit a flush. T720 and the beep of life support can barely be heard over the gasps of this fish. I really considered folding that, should have trusted my fishy intution.

In an amazing run, the cards start coming and who am I to deny them? AJ two hands later and I turn my T650 into T2450. Then, one hand after that, my 99 gets all the chips in the middle PF and I am up against KJ. I hit a 9 on the flop and he is out. T4430. That was quite a fast and wild little ride. Let's check the tourney info. 61/95. I am in the BB for the old price when the blinds go up, that never hurts.

I am roughly 13x BB and I get AA in LP and one limper in front. I raise pot, folds around to him and he jams. Easy call, plus I have him covered by 1200 and he shows 88. The flop gives him 4 more outs with a gutshot and it does not materialize. T7290. Wheeee this is fun with good cards.

Stats look like this with 92 left:

Statistics for 111 Hands
Street Saw Saw/Total
Flop 19 17%
Turn 15 14%
River 13 12%
Showdown 8 7%

Street Won Won/Saw Won/Total
Pre-flop 4 4% 4%
Flop 2 11% 2%
Turn 0 0% 0%
River 3 23% 3%
Showdown 5 63% 5%

Random Thought while playing - I saw Freedom Writers last night and I had to admit I was moved some by it. It was not my choice of movie, but I was glad I saw it. It inspired me enough to call and thank the teachers in my life, my mother and my brother's wife. It was certainly a variation on the Dangerous Minds theme with hot white teacher doing right by the minority class, but I found it much more adept at tugging the heart strings. There were several points where the painful lump in my throat rose and I was not too far from crying. Not sure why that was, I guess I could identify with the characters and the respect themes. Last time a movie did something like that to me was Legends of the Fall. I know even admitting seeing both of these movies might put me "under suspicion" but I have to admit that I cried during the mustard gas scene in Legends of the Fall. Something about a movie with three brothers and the military made it very easy for me to put myself in the shoes of the characters. (I have two younger brothers and I served as an Armor Crewman from 93-96) The scene where Brad Pitt watches his younger brother get mustard gassed and then tangled and stuck in concertina wire and then chewed up by machine gun fire got to me. For some reason I could see that as myself and my younger brother Jared.

As I typed that, we lost 9 more and the bubble is ready to burst. 83 left and I am falling behind average. 5790 with 8300 avg stack. Hand for Hand begins and I fold A10o to a raise in EP. I get 88 in MP. Decision time. I decide to go in a blaze (the bubble popped and the difference between 80th and 64th is $0) I jam and get one caller with J8. Cool! I dodge his three outs and very dubious call (he only has 4300 left now and I have T12300) and I am back in the saddle.
Two hands later, AJo in the BB. I dislike this hand. Two raises in front make it an easy fold.
Blinds escalate to 250/500 with 50 ante and I am sitting 22/69 with 11k. I get a support call from work and now I am really multi-tasking. Auto-folding and the large blinds/antes are taking their toll. T9900 and no cards and still on the phone.

300/600 75 Ante. 8700, still on phone and no cards. This is an issue with the firm's CIO so it will take the time that it will take.

500/1000 100 ante. I go out 31st while I am still on the phone when my A7 splits the pot with A3 and then I get A7 the very next hand. I interpret this as a sign from the poker gods and that justice will be served so I go all in PF just like last time and get called by AJ this time. Fickle poker gods! 31/457 and I am not too unhappy with that. I think I could have gone farther if I had not spent 40 plus minutes on the phone troubleshooting a local mail replica issue with the CIO during a very crucial phase of the mtt, but that is how it goes. I am rewarded with a massive 3 dollars in profit and the feeling that my game is not in bad of shape as it sometimes feels.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

For the Record: This Sucks

From the "Goddamn Politicians Creating More Work for Me" file, allow me to present you this:

For the unaware (which I assume are many), Mr. Bush and our bicameral legislature decided it would be cool to extend our Daylight Savings Time by 4 weeks starting in 2007 (in addition to a lot of other junk in the act, but that is the specific change that has me riled up). 3 weeks at the front end and 1 week at the back end.

Hey, the kids get an extra "hour of light" on Halloween!! What's the big deal?

Allow me to enlighten you.

Once I get beyond the fact that I never got Daylight Savings Time (DST) in the first place - I prefer the analogy of cutting of 12 inches off of the bottom of your bedsheet, sewing that 12 inches onto the top of the sheet, and then calling it longer - this is going to create a lot of extra work for IT departments throughout the world and possible frustration for many corporate and home users.

Microsoft has released Operating System patches for its servers (unless you are on a Windows 2k server... good luck with that) and for Windows XP clients with the new rules for DST. Ok, cool. That addresses that.

Now, what about all the stuff that runs on top of the operating system. Like say, perhaps, my beloved Lotus Notes. That inherits its DST rules from the OS. Ok, that sounds good too. Patch my OS, Notes will inherit the new rules. Call it a day and crack a cold one. Not so fast.

This thread on the Domino forums sums it up nicely: (C&S is Calendar and Scheduling and DWA is Domino Web Access, a method that users can get access to their mail file from their home computer)

I have a client where the C&S system is about the most critical thing in the environment. Especially for executives.

So here is the best case scenario. On December 12th when it shipped you applied the MS Windows patches to all of your workstations and servers as well as the appropriate APAR's to your servers. As soon as you did that all meetings previously scheduled for the three weeks in question now appear one hour later than they should except on your Blackberries which aren't patched because the patch isn't available. Now you start creating more meetings for that time period which are stored and appear correctly except on Blackberries where they will appear an hour earlier than they should.

This is the BEST scenario. It falls apart very quickly if you take a while to get the Windows patches out or if you can't patch EVERYONE fairly close to each other from a time perspective.

Oh by the way if users are using DWA from home their machines probably aren't patched so they will potentially be scheduling bad entries right up to the deadline.

BTW, the worst thing that will happen is that ALL your meetings occurring in the US and Canada will be screwed up for three weeks.

Good Luck!!!


Another poster posted his plan, it is very similar to mine right now:

I think you are right Rob..Everyone who works on large enterprise should freek out. This change will impact every individual's calendar. Here is our plan

1. Complete the OS patch across all Laptops, Desktops, PDAs, Servers, LPARs etc by end of January

2. While this patch is being loaded, work with IBM and start testing Agents to fix Calendar entries that have been scheduled before OS Patch. Testing should include running agents on Rooms & Resource Database

3. Apart from R&R, we also have external application which we use to reserve Conf Rooms with VTC. Hence will have to patch application

4. Once all clients are patched, final step would be to run the agents. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping agents work as expected and don't kill the servers :)

5. We use lot of application databases that use Calendar functions. We have to modify IBM agents to run against all our application databases.

6. Setup a swat team for March 11 to perform some testing. Not to mention, Keep IBM support person on standby


There is also an effort underway to patch Sametime Meeting Servers, as all meetings will move 1 hour ahead like Notes meetings.

Notes Admin who is not worried about this change, should read the problem between the lines, else will see Admin Assistants standing next to him on 12th March :)

I am a little ahead of the last guy and I am attending a call with IBM tomorrow night at 9PM (might miss the Mookie) that I hope will shed some more light on this situation as far as the "tools" they will have for us administrators to ease the burden and pain for our staff. I am hoping for an agent that we will be able to run centrally that will adjust the affected entries in each calendar and also in the Resource (conference rooms, projectors, etc.) Reservations databases. As it stands right now, it will be a piece of code that each user will have to run on their own computer. I know anyone of you that read this blog with any regularity would fall firmly into the "user" category. No offense, but if I have the choice of leaving something important up to you or doing it myself... I will take the latter everytime.

To sum it up, this could be viewed as a mini-Y2K. The ramifications are not as dire, but it is an external change that will affect computer systems and may have some unknown consequences. At a minimum, I am expecting some disgruntled staff that go to the conference room they had reserved only to find it already in use or people showing up for meetings an hour after they start... basically, a lot of corporate fun.

For the non nerds out there (I expect DNasty to be the only one that made it this far... and that is iffy) enjoy your blissful ignorance of the IT stress that is going on in the background because of the wonderful Energy Policy Act of 2005 and that extra hour of daylight on Halloween.

Trick or Treat.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

For DNasty

JJ vs AK is how it went down.
I can honestly say that "Vegas" took all my money.

F-ing hooks, I mostly hate 'em. 3.33 an hour - far from a living wage.

Thanks for sweating me D

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nothing to Read Here

Keep it moving folks.

I seem to have misplaced my muse but feel compelled to make a post to the blog. Recipe for less than mediocrity? I think so.

How about a quick catch up for any family and friends that read this. The holidays were great and I enjoyed spending time with both families (in-laws and out-laws). The chance to spend time with family and friends certainly trumps any material gifts and there were quite a few material gifts given. How about a quick top 3? I was most excited to give my wife her Garmin 330c GPS. The more cynical out there might question my motivation (to get my GPS back) but that was just a nice byproduct of this thoughtful gift.

For the non techies and the late adopters out there, a GPS equals piece of mind and carefree driving. This was driven home to me recently on an out of state trip without one. It sucked. I had to pay attention to where I was, wonder if I had gone too far or not far enough before I stressed out looking for my next turn. I also had no idea how close I was to making my 5 PM arrival deadline. A GPS mitigates all of that bs. It lets you know exactly how far you are from your next turn, offers a surprisingly accurate estimate of your arrival time, and prevents arguments with your spouse who swore that she needed it more than you and then was at home when you called home to see if she was really using it (she wasn't). It is hard to express the freedom to someone that has not used one in a new city or foreign country, I think Detroit qualifies as both, and just how cool it is. I got a sweet deal (~$320 delivered to my front door, and had a bow on it for our drive to Columbus. SteelerSteph was excited when she finally saw it and the detour function came in handy when I-70 came to screeching halt. We had to make the kennel before they closed at 6:30 and the detour button took us off the highway at the first available exit and put us back on a few miles down the road. Smoooove.

All that stuff I just said, ditto it for the exact same model my father received from my mother and me. He was geeked too and for some reason that still escapes me was proud that he navigated back to the house with it one day by doing the exact opposite of "bitchin' Betty's" instructions. "Off Route, Re-Calculating.....Turn Left in 500 feet" I suspect that he had to eventually give in to her coaching. I love my dad.

Personally, I got some good geek gifts from the Mrs. (4 GB iPod Nano, Scala 500 Bluetooth Headset). I purchased the Nike + kit post Christmas and will be seeking motivation to TripJax myself using the Nike website and the little shoe fob and reciever. A buddy at work has it and showed me his running progress over the past four months. Pretty cool. Football season as I know it is over so there is little excuse for chicken wings, pizza, and Sundays that I don't leave the couch. I am mourning a post season with no Steelers presence and the departure of Coach Cowher. Hard to imagine the team without him but the NFL goes on.

Poker has been extremely lackluster lately (none live and online is biting my ball bag big time). Perhaps this is highly correlated to my misplaced muse. Hmmm. Poker stinks, I have not ridden since the middle of November..... might as well delete this blog!

Does anyone else feel funny or like an impostor offering poker advice when you are a losing player? I do! 2006 was a good year, but a disastrous December found me ending the year down a few bucks online. I know that I have personally grown as a player and if I kept track of live play I would be decently ahead for the year, but I still feel that I am not one that anyone should take an opinion from. I know that I am 10x the player I was at the start, but this run of poor decisions and bad cards has me questioning my "poker skills". I am looking forward to the triumphant return of DNasty to Detroit and playing more live games to re-stoking the flame and helping me continue to improve. I think we both feel that the other has something that we could learn from as we struggle to find our own game. Hurry back D, my bankroll needs your discipline and patience!!

How long has it been since I have blogged? My hands hurt from typing all this! This is the first weekend in a long time that I will not be moving/unpacking/working/travelling/visiting in what feels like forever so don't be surprised if there are more posts to this dusty corner of cyberspace. Right now my agenda includes brewing my next batch of homebrew (a Fat Tire Amber Ale clone), attending the motorcycle show down the road from here, and spending some time with SteelerSteph. Will get some poker in if the mood strikes and some motorcycling if the weather permits. Yay me!!