Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Crap Start to the Week
Last night was one of those nights when I seemed to be running from one thing to another. Come home from work ... heat up dinner ... pick up prescriptions at pharmacy ... go to high school honors assembly ... go to homeowners association meeting ... return home to see how much I was blinded out in the Bodonkey ... take out garbage recyclables for weekly pick up. Exciting life, huh?

I was not in terrible shape in the Bodonkey when I got home, missing the first 45 minutes of the tournament. I doubled up and was looking okay until I stayed in a few hands too long. At the end, I was in the big blind when the small blind (big stack) raised. Thinking it was just an attempt to grab the blinds, I went all in with Q-3os. Unfortunately, the small blind called (with a so-so hand -- I don't remember what) and sent me to the rail. Dumb play on my part.

Having a lot of hustle and bustle before a tournament seems to take away my concentration. Yeah, this sounds lame-o I guess, but I find that I need to concentrate much, much more in online tournaments. I never seem to make stupid moves in tournaments when I play live.

I have been getting pretty bored with online poker lately. I haven't played live for some time, so I am hoping to play in the final WSOP circuit tournament this weekend in Hammond, IN. However, I did go back to playing some $1/2 ring game action on Full Tilt the past week. I forgot how juicy those games can be if you are at the right tables. One good week and I won back what I had been pissing away over the last few months.

I am awaiting the unfortunate landslide I expect in next Tuesday's election. The poor economy has just absolutely killed McCain. I'm not sure if he could have won anyway, but at least things might have been a little closer going into the final week before the election.

I offer early congratulation to Mondogarage, an ardent Obama supporter. To help him celebrate (he he), I have been posting comments on his blog in Arabic. Oh Mondo -- in case you were wondering, my last comment (on your new phone post) read something like "You may use your new phone to celebrate the victory of John McCain." Lame attempt at humor from a crying McCain supporter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Random Friday Thoughts
1) Getting older - Yeah, it sucks getting older. I was thinking about playing a WSOP circuit event today. However, it would have meant missing work and driving 2 1/2 hours each way. In the younger years, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Today, I know that I want to be ... need to be at my best if I want to play my best and prepare to go deep in a tournament. I have crap to do at home, and I just wasn't mentally and physically where I felt I needed to be. The karma just wasn't right. However, one thing experience does give you is the wisdom to make better decisions. In the past, I would have gone anyway, made some donkey move, then been pissed for playing when I was tired. I will shoot for another day.

2) World Series - Well, I hope the Philly-area poker bloggers are enjoying the 2008 World Series. Best of luck taking home the crown. It just sucks, however, knowing that the best team in the National League is sitting home wondering how they could play such shitty baseball after having a kick ass season. I didn't believe in curses until Bartman. I believe, brothas and sistas, I believe!!

3) Television - What will be left to watch on television once the election is over? My television viewing usually consists of Prison Break, Survivor (finally getting tired of it), WSOP on ESPN, other poker shows, and anything dealing with the 2008 elections. Oh for the good old days when commentary about O.J. Simpson was on 24/7.

4) Cash games - After some horrendous losses at the cash tables, I am finally back playing some better poker. Knock on wood -- no terrible suckouts have been foisted on me this week. Did I just jinx myself?

5) Diarrahea of the mouth - See #3. It is amazing how political elections elicit some of the dumbest comments know to man. I will miss having politicians covered 24/7 in hopes that they will say something really stupid. Perhaps this weekend I will compile a list of the dumbest things said in relation to the 2008 election. Expect that the list would feature Sarah Palin, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Michele Bachmann (anyone else think she is cute?), ...

6) Maverick - I always considered myself a maverick as I was growing up and involved in work and organizations. Some people probably would have thought the term "asshole" suited me better. I may have missed out on some opportunities because I was independent, stood up for what I thought was right, and didn't follow along with the political sharpies who sucked up to gain power and control. But damn ... when I look back today, I am proud of how I got where I am.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time Out for Some Personal Stuff
For the first time in 16 months, I feel like I don't have something hanging over my head. Some catching up on things in my personal life:

1) I sold my house in September. The stress during the 14 months the house was on the market was unbelievable. Thank goodness I sold it before the economy went in the crapper. However, I lived for many months with some physical problems, but I didn't want to face them until the house was sold -- just in case I had to hear more bad news.

2) I finally got my ass in to see my doctor. After some testing, I now know that my cholesterol and triglycerides are up and I have a hiatal hernia, gastroesophageal reflux, and gastritis. I have the nasty procedure coming up in about a month (you can guess what that is), and I am hoping that there are no major problems.

3) I have applied for sabbatical leave at my school for the spring 2010 semester. Should I receive it, my son has already postulated that some of the time will be spent studying in Las Vegas. Bright kid!

4) My mother turns 83 tomorrow. She is a long-time sufferer of chronic depression. She just came back from the hospital and is not looking very good. She lost a lot of her will to live when my dad passed away a few years ago. She has seen so many friends die and has had some extensive medical problems the past several years. I hope things will turn around and she'll be here for at least a few more years.

5) Whenever I started feeling sorry for myself when my house wasn't selling, I thought of Jen, a co-worker. Jen is in her early 30's, married, and has a young child. She is smart, lively, and stunningly beautiful. However, Jen has been fighting breast cancer for the past year. How could I possibly whine about my house when she was bravely dealing with cancer? After treatment, Jen's cancer appeared to be in remission. Just when things were looking good for her, she found out the cancer returned and she was facing a double mastectomy. Before she could have the operation, she found that the cancer spread to her bones ... How can life be so unfair sometimes?

Speaking of unfair, if you haven't been to katiemother's blog, please stop by and offer your support. She tells a tale of every parent's nightmare.

So ... although life can be quite a challenge, things are actually not bad for me right now. I feel pretty lucky.

And if you have a few spare minutes and are so inclined, please send any prayers or good karma to my mom, Jen, and katiemother, her daughter, and her family. Sometimes we all need a little help.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dookie Win
Ah, a win is still a win, right? After getting my brains beat out on bad beats the past few days, it was good to see hands actually hold up. I still can't repeat my sole Mookie victory. Maybe someday ...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Everyone Else is Doing It, So ...

You are The Devil

Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession

The Devil is often a great card for business success; hard work and ambition.

Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. This is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remember that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I was able to sneak into 4th place in the CardsChat Team Event #1. I played a little too loose at the beginning and was in danger of being one of the first people out. I tightened up and came back after much effort, then lost a coin flip (10-10 vs A-J) and was short stacked again. I was only 1 for 3 in coin flips, but I did have one suckout.
It was interesting playing for a team. I played a little differently in order to make sure that I was going further once we hit the points. I even passed up a call late in the game when I could have potentially knocked someone out. Ahhh ... if anyone who saw the play (several were surprised at the non-call) wants to hear my strategic reasons, pm me @ CardsChat.

Went out as a 67% favorite -- my 7-7 vs A-6sooted. He had pot odds to call.
Gotta win those hands late in tourneys. If I win, I double up late, then ... who knows. Yep -- a lot of things go into taking down an event of this size.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Finally ...
Justice may not be perfect, but sometimes things just have a way of working out. Rot in jail, murderer.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Horrible 30 hours for Chicago baseball
After what looked like a most promising postseason for Chicago baseball, a sense of gloom has engulfed fans.

The Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in the National League, have looked terrible in two home losses to the LA Dodgers. Pitchers can't pitch (Dempster), fielders can't field (four errors in game two by Cubs infielders), and hitters can't hit (the first six hitters in the line up are a combined 10-46 in the first two games). This has been the best Cubs team in my lifetime -- strong at virtually every position, a great pitching staff, decent reserves, and a great manager. What happened? Virtually everyone has already given up, but with Harden and Lilly starting the next two (hopefully) games, the Cubbies still have a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The White Sox were not expected to win game one on the road with struggling pitcher Javier Vasquez pitching. Vasquez was fourth in the AL in strikeouts, but has been stinking up the place his last several outings. Tonight's game, with Mark Buehrle pitching, is huge. It is entirely possible that the Sox could sweep the next three games with Danks and Floyd following Buehrle. However, the hitters need to bring their bats. The Sox can't depend upon another 1-0 victory as they did in the playoff with Minnesota. If a game five is needed, Buehrle would have sufficient rest to start.

Will the Cubs come through, show their regular season form, and return to Wrigley Field for a deciding game five? Will the Sox pitching staff get them through to the next round? After waiting over 100 years for both teams to be in postseason play in the same season, the fans deserve some payback.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Royal Flush # 2 !!
Unfortunately, there was only one other player who had a hand. I couldn't get him to bite on the river bet.

Bodog gives out a bonus, so at least that should be good for an extra $50.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Danks and Thome Seal White Sox Division Title
It is fitting that by the slimmest of margins -- one pitch -- the Chicago White Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 1-0 in game 163 of the season to crown the Sox division champions and send them to the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Rays. All season long, the Sox and Twins alternated between showing flashes of brilliance and playing unimpressive baseball. And ... for the first time in 102 years, both Chicago baseball teams will be in post-season play.

I got my ticket to game 163 by waiting for the tickets to go on sale online after the Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers in a make up game on Monday, tying the Twins and extending the season by one game for a winner-take-all playoff. As soon as the tickets were available, I jumped in and was able to snag a lower level seat. I did not want to be up high since the temperature was supposed to drop into the 40's during the game.

As I drove through Kankakee on my way up to Chicago, I swore that my cat was in the car with me. Yuck - the smell of cat pee flooded the car. I confirmed this same rank air exists in Kankakee since I smelled the same cat pee smell on my return trip. Does Kankakee always smell that bad? Also, I thought I blew a hole in my muffler when the Mustang started making this terrible noise. I couldn't see a helicopter above me and the road was smooth, so I thought the noise came from my car. When the sound disappeared a short time later, it became apparent that someone else had an exhaust problem. It must have been incredibly loud in order for me to think that it was my own car.

I got to the game 1 1/2 hours before the start. I watched a little Twins batting practice and noticed that one player whom I did not recognize (not that I would recognize many of the enemy anyway) was flipping several bp balls to fans. That was a very nice gesture, and it kept the fans from shouting some of the usual junk they will shout at opposing players.

My seat was in the first row of section 156 -- directly behind the Sox bullpen in left field. Watching John Danks warming up, we knew that he was ready for a great game. He was popping the ball in AJ Pierzynski's mitt and was hitting the corners on almost every pitch. Later in the game, we all watched the pitchers warming up very carefully. Geez - how can anyone have the reflexes to hit a major league fastball?

The game itself was fantastic -- and way too close. A great throw by Ken Griffey, Jr. nailed a Twins runner at the plate, John Danks pitched a great game, and Jim Thome's 461 foot blast off a high change up was the only score in the contest. It even took a nice diving catch by defensive replacement Brian Anderson to seal the victory. I heard an unconfirmed report that Bobby Jenks's final pitch was clocked at 100 mph by TBS.

The game atmosphere was fantastic. The fans were into the game 100%, and there were high fives at every important juncture. The electricity was unbelievable. The fans stayed for quite some time after the game, and those of us close to the field were treated to a champagne shower by some players who came out from the clubhouse to celebrate with the fans. It doesn't get any better than that.

Listen to Chicago sports talk radio on the way home made the two-hour drive go by quickly, and I even had a fun time ordering food at a Burger King drive through. When told that there was no Dr. Pepper left, I howled "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" and had the workers laughing their butts off. But hey -- it scored me a free piece of pie!

This game was a good reminder that games are won on the field, not by reputation or by roster. Sports Illustrated picked the White Sox to finish third in the American League Central, and picked the Twins to finish last! All everyone heard about in spring training was how the Detroit Tigers were packed with players and how Cleveland would make a strong run against the Tigers. Yeah, well ...

My congratulations to the Minnesota Twins and their fans. They gave it a good run, and the division title, after 163 games, was really decided by one pitch. Had the game been played in Minnesota instead of Chicago, I imagine my mood would be quite different this morning. Although there seems to be no love lost between the Sox and the Twins, the Twins stand as an excellent example of a well-run professional sports franchise. They will be back.

As for the White Sox -- bring on Tampa Bay! Actually, the Sox go into the series without well-rested starting pitchers. Javier Vazquez, who will start game one, has been terrible in his last several starts. He can hopefully get into the fifth or sixth inning before the bullpen is needed.

Although the White Sox are the underdogs against the Rays, I would not be totally surprised to see them win two, or possibly even the series. Let's play ball!