Monday, August 17, 2015

If you are up for a little fatherly reading ...

So today, aside from being a really challenging day at work, is also the 11th anniversary of my father's death. I'd like to say that it just seems like yesterday that he passed away, but the reality, at least for me, is that it seems so long ago...

I started this blog in 2006. Over the past 9+ years, I have shared stories about my dad, usually around significant times, like his birthday, the anniversary of his death and Memorial Day. I posted some of my favorite stories, including memories from going to his bowling night when I was in junior high school, my dad and cars, going drinking with my dad at a local VFW hall, my dad and the Rolling Stones, and more sobering stories like dealing with a father with dementia and watching my father die.

In a mood for some funny stuff interspersed with sad stories? Check out this link:

I hope that after I croak, my kids remember some fun stories about me.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dog Days, Part Two

This past week was one mutha of a week for me -- that is for sure. I wanted to drive to the Chicago suburbs tonight but might have to wait until early tomorrow morning since I feel listless and exhausted. These truly are the dog days of work for me in my job and with some particular situations the past few weeks. However, they will soon be over -- in about another week or so.

So aside from having a really busy and stressful week at work, luck and the life run good gods were also toying with me. For example, take Monday. Exhausted at the end of the work day, I immediately had to change clothes to make a softball game at 6:00 p.m. Whenever I have a really busy day at work I almost always suck in softball if I have a game that night. Monday didn't disappoint. I went 0-3 at bat and flubbed a play or two in the outfield. I grabbed a beer with a few guys after the game, then headed home only to get a flat tire. Unfortunately, my son apparently used my lug wrench to help a friend and never returned it. I called a towing service for some roadside help, but they were having a busy night and I had to wait almost an hour for them to get there. To top things off, I got home and found out I will have to deal with my health insurance provider over an upcoming minor surgery they say they won't cover.

Oh -- and did I mention that I started having automobile battery issues? And when I told my wife she said that she had one of her own? Geez. One week, one new tire and two new batteries. Life doesn't get any better than that, huh?

I just felt listless today and even passed up an opportunity to stop at Harrah's Joliet for some poker on the way up north. It's just one of those weeks -- what can you do?

Tomorrow thundering36 and I are going to watch the Cubs at White Sox game. thundering will be in his Cubbie blue and I will be wearing my traditional black and white. As you might know, I root for both teams although the Sox have always been my top baseball team. However, they appear to be pretty much dead in the water while the Cubs are smoking in their bid for a playoff appearance. It should be a great game as Chris Sale is scheduled to start for the Sox.

Oh -- and a quick shout out to my friends who are having a great time in Las Vegas this weekend. Alysia, Koala, Chris and Cokeboy are all playing in the Aria 1:00 p.m. tourney today. Best o' luck to them all except for the guy who busted in the first hour (ummm ... Chris)!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

San Fran, Ali, lightning and the Dreaded Pocket Kings

This weekend I was able to get in three poker sessions at Harrah's Joliet, one of two casinos in which I have had outstanding success in 2015. In my final session I ran into a situation that had me thinking of my poker buddy Rob and his arch enemy, the dreaded pocket Kings.

The set up: $1/2 NL table, $200 maximum buy in, full table of nine players.
The players:
San Fran -- relatively new to table, wearing 49ers gear, talkative, friendly, about $200 behind, on the Button
Ali -- relatively new to table, more serious, aggressive, won several big pots right away, about $600 behind, in the Cutoff
lightning36 -- about $300 behind, in the Hijack

A few times in all three sessions, talk centered around the new rules for straddling at Harrah's Joliet. Straddles were allowed from the button and under the gun with utg having priority. Additionally, we were told several times that there was no limit on the amount of the straddle.

Action had been kind of quiet and slow before San Fran came to the table, but he changed things rather quickly. He was talkative and somewhat aggressive, which really picked up the game. At one point he decided to spice things up.

"Okay," he declared. "I'm straddling $15 on the button. I won't look at my cards yet and I guarantee that I'll call any raise up to $40 total."

Play continued around the table. Fold ... fold ... fold ... I looked down at my cards and saw the dreaded pocket Kings! I cut out eight redbirds and placed them in front of me, and then added a ninth one. I was thinking of raising to $41 just for laughs, but decided to just go with $40. I had not been doing anything crazy, so I am sure that anyone paying attention knew I had a big hand. These guys hadn't been at the table very long and might not have seen it that way, or might not have cared anyway.

I was surprised to see that Ali, in the Cutoff, also called. San Fran looked at his cards and also declared "Call."

At that point, with $120 in the pot, I was prepared to make a big bet and take my chances that neither player hit a set or two pair. I don't know that I would have believed either of them anyway. The only thing blocking my path was if an Ace appeared on the flop. The dealer put out the flop: rag, Ace, rag. Dammit! Being first to act, I checked. Ali pushed out a bet of $80 or $100. Double dammit! San Fran reluctantly folded and the action was on me. I gave a disgusted look and folded my Cowboys. San Fran and Ali started talking after the hand. Apparently (since neither one showed - but I have no reason to not believe them) Ali had A-K and San Fran had A-2. My pocket Kings were behind both after the flop. Not fair! They really are the dreaded pocket Kings.

We all laughed about the hand afterwards. Ali and I speculated on how much fun it would have been if the case King had been part of the flop. Certainly that would have been fun for me!

Although the poker gods were not exactly in my favor in that hand, I was soothed because even though I lost a little money, the game was fun -- exactly what we recreational players live for.

I then thought of Rob and the dreaded pocket Kings. Bah!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Dog Days

Just a short post to say that I am still alive and kicking, but just supremely busy as August is really one of the worst months of the year at work for me. The pressure the last few weeks before classes start is always a challenging time in so many ways for those of us who work in student services areas in higher education. Being the boss man has some benefits, but dealing with all the associated issues with last-minute students, frustrated parents, fatigued workers, etc is sometimes overwhelming. For several years, I used the beginning of September to go to Las Vegas to blow off some steam and relax, as well as helping to celebrate thundering36's birthday. This year, however, I will make my return to Las Vegas in the first week of October to attend a professional conference. The trip is now only two months away!

On the home front, my mother continues to struggle with her health. I will have three kids in college at once this school year, so money has just become a concept with me. I get it, it goes. At least when the kids were little the expenses were a lot less.

I did get out to play some poker with cokeboy99 a week and a half ago. He tells the story that I hate to repeat: I got my butt kicked. Fortunately, he had a good night, so there was at least one positive on the night.

I don't know when and where I will play next. I have been doing great at Harrah's Joliet, so that would seem to be a logical choice. If not for poker there, I would be sucking major wind in 2015 poker-wise.

Okay -- lunch hour is ovah. Back to work. *sigh*