Monday, July 26, 2010

Catching Up Since the Cobwebs Have Started to Gather ...
Back at Work
I now have two weeks back at work under my belt. For those new to this blog -- after many years of student-intensive work, I was granted a sabbatical for the spring 2010 semester. The spring semester was reserved as an opportunity to refresh myself professionally and catch up on the latest clinical research and theories. I left the day-to-day grind at the end of January (first time since the early years of the Reagan presidency!) and just returned to the office July 12. I had to teach myself how to use our new computer system, then bam -- back to seeing students.

I am fortunate to have landed in such a great place to work. I love my job and have great colleagues. Difficult to complain.
Update on my Son
I just got back from the Mayo Clinic tonight. My son had his first visit there since his surgery in April. All looks well, which is what we expected to hear. There is never a guarantee on the future for any of us, however.

We were certainly glad to hear the good news, and were reminded of all the prayers and good thoughts we received from our friends. Thanks again to all the members of the online poker community who helped us through those difficult days last April.
Blogger Sighting
I was able to grab a beer with OhCaptain Sunday night. Unfortunately, I had to get home today and just missed seeing Katitude as she also invaded OhCaptain's neighborhood. Hmmm ... the December poker blogger gathering -- BE THERE!

New Tuesday Night Private Tournaments
I stole this from Schaubs, who stole part of it from lj:

Our fine degenerate friend and poker junkie LJ has arranged two weekly tournaments that will start up tomorrow night (July 27th, 2010).

Check it out and make sure you join in the fun!!

"here's the info, it's two tournaments, one regular MTT at 9pm EST and a super turbo KO at 9:15pm ET. password for both is spewday. (no period)

Tournament #174055893 07.27.10 21:00 ET - 3000 chips
Tournament #174065188 07.27.10 21:15 ET - Super Turbo KO"
They are both at Full Tilt Poker. First tournament is $10 + $1, second one is $6 + $0.60. Check 'em out!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Even a Blind Squirrel ...
Yeah, I have sucked lately in the blogger tournaments, but this goes to show that I am not completely hopeless. The field might have been small, but the CardsChat loyalers are all pretty decent playas. I'll take it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Las Vegas Trip Report: Looking Back
It has been over three weeks since I returned home from my latest trip to Las Vegas and I have not yet written a trip report. I guess the lazy summer days slow things down a bit.

I went June 19--26, flying out of Chicago Midway Airport on my old standard, Southwest Airlines. I had recently been flying American Airlines, which really had some unpleasant flights because people did not want to pay the fee for checking luggage and instead brought on board the biggest carry ons possible. I could not believe how long it took to board on American because of this. On Southwest -- no problems. The flight was uneventful save for a family that was encouraging screaming between two of their kids. Good thing I didn't have a taser.

As always, I let finances and location dictate where I stayed since I only spend time in my room to sleep. The Imperial Palace rooms have always been fine with me. Easy check in and check out. No problems with the elevators. Stayed for almost a week with little cost and no problems.

I started out by playing at my Las Vegas poker home, Bally's. I got a call from cmitch, who came over to splash a few chips with me. We had a late dinner at Paris and caught up with each other. Afterwards he headed back to the Rio to try to crush the donks there. Me -- I preferred the action at Bally's and stayed there.

Sunday morning was the day of the blogger breakfast I attempted to arrange. cmitch and ck had recommended having it at the Rio. I decided to take the shuttle over there from Harrah's. Joining me on the ride over were Shabazz Jenkins and Memphis MOJO. They were both nearing the end of their trips.

We got to the Rio to see if any other bloggers would show. Nope. The early morning breakfast just seemed to not work for others. Anyway, it was great to catch up with Shabazz and MOJO.

Speaking of breakfast -- I decided to get one of the Harrah's Buffet of Buffet passes -- a twenty-four hour pass that gets you in the buffets at the Harrah's Las Vegas properties. It was $34.99, but I got it free using comps I received for playing poker at Bally's. I used the pass to also eat dinner that evening at Paris and breakfast the following morning at Harrah's. Not a bad deal at all. After eating at three buffets in a day, however, I reached my Las Vegas trip buffet limit. Good thing I do not eat like that at home!

I only played in one tournament while in Las Vegas -- one of the Binion's Poker Classic events. I just, for some reason, was not in a tournament mood. I was doing well in the NL Hold em tournament until I made a really bad decision. I lost focus for a few minutes and that was it. I was shocked to be out. I left in a daze and went back to the strip to lick my wounds in the Bally's cash games.

I met a couple of bloggers for the first time on this trip -- SmBoatDrinks and IlliniFan97. Drinks and I played a little NL at Bally's and then I had lunch with both at Margaritaville right before I left Las Vegas. We got to hear the blow-by-blow description from one of their friends who went deep in a WSOP event.

Meeting (in person) new friends and seeing old ones was the highlight of the trip for me. I did okay at the cash tables, coming out ahead despite taking a few hits to the junk the last two nights. However, this trip overall just seemed, for lack of a better term, uninspired. I was in my favorite city playing poker at my favorite place, yet I did not seem to be having as much fun as I usually had. What was wrong?

I didn't really figure it out until I got home. For many years, Las Vegas had been my refuge -- my hideaway place from work, stress, and life in general. However, seeing that I had been on a sabbatical from work and therefore my stress level was almost nil, I didn't get the same feeling being there. Also, my more recent trips to Las Vegas have been split between being trips I took by myself and trips I took with one or more family members. When spending more than a couple of days in Las Vegas, having family around seems to keep me grounded more.

I did have fun on the trip, though, and had some sessions at Bally's that were a blast. My flight back home was even quite humorous as I sat next to a Las Vegas guy who kept pushing money at a flight attendant to get us, as he called it, "first class drink service." He thought he was even going to get us drinks before takeoff. We had a great flight!

I was only at the Rio once during the Las Vegas trip, so I missed seeing some people who were working, playing in tournaments, or generally observing the action. I thought about playing in a donkament, but the vibe just wasn't there this trip.

Unfortunately, my work sabbatical is now over. I spent my first week back in the office this past week. It felt really good. But if work starts getting to me anytime, I'll just need to remember that the December blogger gathering and tournament in Las Vegas is only five months away.

Friday, July 09, 2010

LeBron = LeDouche
Professional sports is just littered with really stupid, egotistical people. Hello Tiger Woods -- want to go from legend to pariah in no time flat? Ben Roethlisberger -- want to see the sales of your jersey drop to zero and have everyone in the country think you are a d-bag?

And then there is LeBron. What a dumb fuck. Seriously -- how stupid can this guy be?

It now looks like the NBA, which has sucked for many years anyhow, is really the closest thing to professional wrestling -- at least from what proports to be professional sports today. The big difference, however, is that anyone with a brain knows that professional wrestling is what it is -- grand theater. The men and women of wrestling, as gifted athletically as some of them are, are incredible actors, continually performing in story lines which usually come back to the most basic one: good vs evil.

Hulk Hogan, arguably the greatest wrestler of all time, provided one of the greatest moments in professional wrestling at the Bash at the Beach in 1996:

In one spectacular moment, the greatest good guy in the sport's history turned heel -- became one of the bad guys. Sound familiar? (Thanks to Bill Simmons at ESPN for reminding me of this classic moment)

There is a difference, however: Hogan's about-face was planned and developed to create additional story lines that keep professional wrestling going. Does LeBron realize what he has done?

People follow sports in part to escape from the real world. However, there are some ideals we hold dear, real world or not. Words like character, honesty, integrity come to mind.

LeBron James is tremendously talented and was admired by many sports fans. This whole self-promotional, egotistical farce that he perpetrated upon sports fans everywhere is being judged more harshly than he and his idiotic handlers ever imagined. But I guess they don't live in the real world anyway.

I read an article in Sports Illustrated and was saddened by the disasterous effects that the BP gulf oil spill is having on commercial and sport fishermen. I know several people who are going through medical, financial, or personal difficulties. The economy sucks. People are struggling.

And then we have LeBron. Yeah -- just draw so damn much attention to yourself, then crap on the loyal sports fans of Cleveland in the most heartless way. You were concerned about your "brand?" Well -- you just screwed yourself. Dumb fucker.

I pretty much stopped watching the NBA after Michael Jordan's second retirement from the Bulls. Now I am beginning to remember why.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Catching Up On Some Family Stuff
Man, I need to catch up on some posts. I still have not posted a trip review from my recent journey to Las Vegas and have a few interesting posts to put up regarding my search for locations in music trivia/history. However, here are a few things going on with me recently:

1) Poker -- Went out in the VeryJosie when I ran my A-Q into Q-Q (thanks PokahDave) and out in the Mookie when I had Joanada crushed and all in with two pair after the flop and she sucked out on me. Such is life in blogger tournaments, right?

2) My sabbatical and non-contract days are almost at an end. I return to my regular working schedule on Monday. I am actually looking forward to it. My best friend at work recently retired, so I am the final remaining member of my old lunch group. Where does time go?

3) Family situation is always changing. Adopted new cat that had been hanging around the house. Wife claimed that having him neutered would cost only about $50 -- about the fee that the local humane society charges when you adopt from it. Ha ha -- wrongo. Neutering, requisite health tests, and license/tag fees ran me almost $350. Another mouth to feed.

Wife is now at the one year mark for being unable to find a full-time professional job. The economy has really tightened up the job market in my area. It looks like her unemployment benefits have ended, barring a reprieve from Congress. She might have to pound the pavement soon to get a regular job while continuing her search for professional employment. Not a happy time for her.

Oldest daughter is having second thoughts on moving to Texas. She really wants to stay home for another year, but boyfriend is in Texas. I don't know how this one will turn out. Her tentative moving date is less than seven weeks away.

Son is recovering well from his surgery. He has a big scar, but it has healed very well. He has regained much control over the right side of his face. We make our first trip back to the Mayo Clinic toward the end of the month. Things look very good -- as far as we know. He will take his drivers license test soon.

Youngest daughter is struggling with new braces. She is a drama queen and does not handle pain very well. Hard to believe my baby has only one year left before she begins high school.

So ... my life is interesting. Poker has been in the background lately. However, the LeBron sweepstakes and the success of the Chicago White Sox (damn -- they are playing really well!) have kept me in the sports loop. My World Cup pick -- Spain -- is in the finals. NFL games will be here before we know it. Sports life is good -- with the exception of the Cubs!


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Get your copy of Lost Vegas now!
My copy of Lost Vegas is on order. You can get your own copy of Dr. Pauly's long anticipated book by going to Lulu. It's less than the cost of a Full Tilt Step 3 ticket donkathon, so what are you waiting for?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

lightning36 Blogroll

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Quickie Chicago Sports Update
I do not believe that LeBron will be wearing a Bulls uniform next season. I have no confidence in Bulls management's abilty to do much of anything. I, of course, hope LeBron comes to Chicago, but I've already heard the old "we've cleared salary cap space and free agents will flock here" routine ever since Jordan retired for the second time. If the Bulls don't get LeBron, I hope that LeBron stays in Cleveland. The sports fans in that city deserve a championsip.

Stick a fork in them -- they have been done for some time. Time for the Ricketts family to clean house -- Hendry, Piniella, Zambrano for a start -- and do things right. Trade D Lee to a contending team to reward him for his years of service. They had their chance and they blew it.

After spending an unbelievable amount of money on some free agents, the Bears management has fans thinking success. I have my doubts. Get rid of Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith for a start. Tell Brian Urlacher that talk is cheap. I think he is done. I hope Jay Cutler has a much better year. I would like the Bears to prove me wrong, but I don't see this team scaring other teams. I see a .500 season give or take a game and no playoffs.

White Sox
The White Sox's recent winning streak saved the baseball season. They are now right in it with Minnesota and Detroit, two very good teams. It would be great to see a good pennant fight between all three teams.

The disassembling of the champion Blackhawks due to salary cap issues has come quickly. Gone are Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Kris Versteeg, Colin Fraser, Adam Burish, and Andrew Ladd. Likely a few other changes will be made.

What to think? Well the Hawks knew they would need to clear space to keep their top stars. The bottom line is that they won their first championship in almost fifty years. That was worth everything. Hawks management put the team together (well ... thank Dale Tallon for most of that) and can do it again. Their best strategy would be to simply do whatever Scotty Bowman says! I have faith that this organization knows what it is doing, but at this point it is hard to see a repeat -- at least for next season.
Where Has He Been?
Chicago ... Clear Lake, IA ... Las Vegas ... Cincinnati

I am finally home tonight after almost three weeks of stop and go trips. It looks like I will now stay put for three weeks before heading up to the Mayo Clinic at the end of the month.

Back to the Office Soon
Sadly, my sabbatical ended last month but I am still off on some non-contract time. I return to the office in just over a week. I have not been in for an official working day since the end of January. In that time, a new web-based computer system has been implemented. As expected, noone seems to like it. My co-workers have all been dealing with it since I have been gone. That also means that at least they understand it. Looks like I need to crack the instruction manual and start learning it quickly. It should be fun returning to work as the least competent person in the office.