Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Little Ketchup

It is amazing how fast time seems to fly by sometimes. It has been 3 1/2 weeks since I last posted here. Back during the poker boom, posting every day or at least every few days was the usual routine. Now, life seems to intrude more and more. Over time, I have posted less and less about poker and more about life in general. This blog was always an outlet for what I was feeling. It has always been like an old friend. With that, a little bit of an update.

After my horrendous poker luck experiences on my June Las Vegas trip, I did get back to more regular poker. Poker buddy Nick was able to meet me and play some poker at the Par-A-Dice riverboat casino in East Peoria, IL. Although I did not have a great day, it was fun seeing Nick stomp the competition. After tightening up my game and getting a few minor victories, I took a huge psychological loss when, at Par-A-Dice at a later date, I lost a $700 pot when, with about $400 behind, I  raised to $15 with A-A in the big blind and was called only by the button, who had limped in. He had a stack of about $350. The flop was 10c-7d-3c. I led out for $25. The villain then raised to $80. What? For whatever reason, I didn't get the vibe that he hit a set. If he did, why not flat call or raise a little to build a pot? Two pair , given the board, seemed unlikely. I began to think that he had either something like A-10 or an overpair like J-J. I had seen this guy raise big preflop previously with things like A-Q. I decided to shove! He was in for $95 and had about $250 behind. He went into the tank, confirming in my mind that he did not have a set. I knew I was ahead one way or another. He took some time and I was tempted to call the clock. Finally, he decided to call. The turn -- the Ace of Clubs! He turned over his hand -- 7c-6c! He called off all his chips with middle pair and a 7-high flush draw. I was hoping that the river would pair the board and give me the win, but it was a rag. I lost about $350 on that hand after working to build my $200 buy-in to $400. I felt pretty discouraged and ended up shoving with a big pair several hands later and lost to two pair.

So ... what do you think? Was I foolish to push all in given the circumstances I described? Would you have bet a different amount? Even if I had and I hit a set of Aces on the turn, could I have folded if the villain went all in? I seriously doubt that!

In the past couple of weeks, I have had winning sessions at Blue Chip Casino (Michigan City, IN),  Harrah's Joliet and again at Harrah's Joliet last night, when I had a great night. The poker gods gave me some cards and I sucked out on a big hand. Poker is fun again!

I do not have an exact date set for my retirement yet, but it will be in July 2020, so I am already under the one year left mark. This coming Thursday, I celebrate 25 years at my current place of employment. Geez - how time flies. I'm bringing in some food for my colleagues to celebrate. A colleague just retired on Wednesday, and I will be moving into her office sometime in the next six weeks. It is a huge corner office that is nearly identical to the big office I had to give up when I ended my tenure as head of the department. I could just stay in my current office, but what the heck - I want the big place!

I had been looking at some cars to replace my Mustang that finally petered out, and was considering the 2018 version -- red Mustang convertible, or a 2016 BMW convertible -- a different metallic orange color. I decided to pass on both. For now, I will continue to drive our trusty 2005 Grand Caravan -- rust, dents, scrapes and all!

I don't think I have even mentioned softball this season, but I play on a senior league team. I haven't been mentioning softball because I was having a truly crappy season at bat. We had a round robin first round last Wednesday. I only went 1-3 in the first game but went 3-3 in the second. My team won a tie breaker and won the right to play the top seed in the other division. My division is the "recreational" division and the other is the "competitive." We are due to be slaughtered Monday night. I have heard that we will be spotted 10 runs. If that is true, we will likely get two per inning for the first five innings. In previous iterations of the league, the bottom teams were spotted five runs over five innings. It won't really matter as we will get killed. My usual position is short left field (unusual outfield configuration). I will probably get lots of business Monday night.

Las Vegas
I currently have plane and hotel reservations to go to Las Vegas Sept 1-6. I'm probably about 80% sure that I am going. I have traditionally taken a trip there in September. Perhaps I will celebrate thundering36's  birthday with a juicy piece of meat at Gordon Ramsay's STEAK.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

What It's Like to be Falsely Accused of Improper Conduct

This is a post I wrote last September, but never published. It was written during the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings. I actually wrote more than one version of the post but ultimately decided not to publish it to make sure that there was no way it could possibly cause me any trouble with my job. Well, things have changed. My plan to retire in July 2020 was accepted by my school's board of trustees. And, much to my delight, I found out today that the woman who is the subject of this post is now no longer employed by the  school. I will happily buy some donuts for my co-workers Monday morning to celebrate.

With this as some background information, I now present the post I wrote last September.

Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that Brett Kavanaugh is innocent (or guilty) of the actions of which he is being accused. I have no direct information on which to make an informed opinion at this time. I also in no way wish to minimize the pain that women who have been sexually assaulted have had to suffer. I only wish to present a true event that reaffirms the need to not just believe (or disbelieve) a story based only on a person's gender without some type of substantial evidence.

I have worked nearly my entire adult life in higher education, often in administrative positions that involved supervisory responsibility. As I near retirement, I consciously decided to no longer take on an administrative role, but instead to enjoy my last months before I move on. Although there are many gratifying aspects of being a supervisor responsible for the effort of an area or department, I and others who have done so will likely tell you about the most challenging part of the job: personnel management.

Now I have to tell you, when it comes to work behavior, I am not exactly a company guy. I am not afraid to speak my mind to administration, I am brutally honest, I rebel against things I think are stupid or unreasonable, I relish in being a non-conformist. But aside from this, I am pretty much a boy scout when it comes to unsavory behavior. People who know me know this.

I was recently head of my department for a five year period. I supervised several professional employees, most of whom were heavily covered and supported by unions. Disciplinary processes and procedures for one union were extensive and specific. The good thing about that: good employees were amply protected. The bad thing: poor employees were also amply protected.

One employee in my area was just a poor employee. When I began my term, I had many things to fix. One of these was this employee's job description, which was poorly written and allowed her to essentially manipulate things so that she did little work while being paid for full-time employment. Once her job description was amended, she continued to exhibit poor work habits. She hid in her office and sometimes refused to do work she was obligated to do. She had no problem lying to cover things up. I had to discipline her under the union progressive discipline guidelines. And then things started to happen.

It began with emails to me that read along the lines of "lightning, you frighten me so sometimes. You are usually so nice to people, but you have been scaring me. I would like to resolve this issue." When her emails were getting her nowhere, she decided to up the ante after being disciplined for not doing her assigned work and lying about it. She went to Human Resources and told them that I has slapped her on her ass! Human Resources, of course, had to investigate this claim. And until the day I die, I will not forget the day that the director said "lightning, I need to ask you this: Did you slap this employee on her rear end?" And I had to say " No, I absolutely did not do this nor have ever touched this employee in any way, shape, or form." Very uncomfortable and somewhat humiliating. 

Now fortunately for me, HR had dealt with this employee previously and knew of her manipulative and lying ways. So the director chose an interesting way to deal with this: she told the employee that if this was true, the employee, now that she alleged this, had to go all the way with this and lodge a formal complaint that would be investigated. The employee then asked for paid time off to write this up and was given, from the head of HR, a complete paid day off to write up her complaint! I was told that my employee would not be in the next day so that she could be paid to stay home and write up her lies against me!

Well guess what? The employee took the day off, came back to work the day after, and informed HR that she decided not to follow through with her complaint. Looking back, I wish my life had not been so full of complicated work issues and family issues that I didn't have the time nor the energy to possibly seek some sanction against the employee. And I had to keep in mind that she was still in my area and I would be responsible for supervising her after her false claim, which was personally extremely difficult. And in dealing with this, I had to just go on with my job and without everyone, save one person in the department that the employee confided in, knowing what had happened.

I grew up a religious person and spent my life trying to do the right things. Dealing with my anger over this has not been easy. When horrendous things were happening at work and things in my personal life became very challenging, I just seethed over this. It is several years in the past now, but not forgotten.

I fear for the future when I hear biased politicians, talking heads and commentators of the day espousing themes like "men are bad" and "women should always be believed." Has a significant percentage of our population really gotten that stupid and rigid? Hey thundering 36 -- is that spare room in Australia still available? You might get a boarder.

Thanks for reading.