Friday, July 31, 2009

500 and change

More pictures for Waffles!!!!111!!!1!! This post has a little bit of everything, heck, it is 4am, what else have I got to do?

Keeping track of post numbers is a bit frivolous, seeing how I have numerous blogs, and blogs that have been transferred between Livejournal, WordPress and Blogger. That aside, this is number 500, baby! There have been some mundane happenings this week for me, and knowing that the next post would be #500 kept me from posting. Funny that I finally get inspiration to post the big #500 at 2:36am on Friday morning... I'm fresh off a big downswing in poker and a break up, and I'm ready to make some changes.

Erin and I talked by the river and half-heartedly agreed to end things. I went into the afternoon discussion with full intentions of breaking things off, but I think the consensus we came to is that Erin leaves for Jordan at the end of September, and we'll go our separate ways then. I feel a bit weird about the whole thing. Right after the "break up", I actually felt a lot more attracted to her than the past month or so, and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we can have fun, but I don't feel responsible for all of the "bad" things about having a relationship (i.e. loss of freedom, having to do things, blah blah). With a few days since our talk, I've been feeling very lonely, and that isn't a feeling I was expecting. It feels amazing to be loved, and I now realize how much I love the security of being in a relationship, but this new realization makes me think I was more interested in a relationship than in a relationship with specifically Erin, and although it sucks to admit, it seems like a good thing to admit now than later.

In a possibly related note, I've become hip to Blues Traveler again, fresh off a 15 year hiatus from listening to the band:



I've downloaded four of their songs, and this band is amazing... anyways, back to the juicy stuff.

The "break up" is a catalyst for some other changes in my life. I will be moving out of my parents' basement in a couple of weeks, and there is definitely some anxiety along with the move. I'm moving in with a friend from the teaching program, who I don't know terribly well, but the living situation is hard to beat. His parents moved to Dominica, a small island SE of Cuba, and he is staying at their house near Mill Creek. The house is huge, and it is just us two sharing the 4br 3ba house, my rent being $450+util, which is equivalent to sharing a house with five others and having 1/5 of a bathroom in Seattle.

I've spent the last month pretty much being a worthless slob. I've gotten out and taken a few pictures, and I will continue to get out, but I've spent way too many hours sitting in front of my computer with gmail and facebook open, waiting for something to happen. I've made a few goals for August involving spending my time more productively (specifically on the job front). Another goal involves normalizing my sleep schedule. The heat wave Seattle has been in for the past few days has encouraged me to stay up late and sleep in until past noon, when the room warms up and makes it impossible to sleep. Last night I went to bed at 5am and woke up at 2pm today, mostly because I didn't have anything to do. I don't really like not having anything to do.

Speaking of the heat wave, two crazy things of note. First, I went down to Magnuson Park last night with my mom's cousin's foreign exchange student Peter, who was passing through on his journey of the US. Seattle hit 103 degrees, and Magnuson Park had cars parked all the way up to Sand Point Way. I've never seen so many cars parked there, there were literally five times as many cars as I think I've ever seen there before.

The second crazy heat happening occurred this afternoon right before softball. I rode my motorcycle to the UW Bookstore to possibly purchase a few middle school math books that could help my first year of teaching, or substitute teaching. I ended up finding a good book by none other than Danica Mckeller, or Winnie from The Wonder Years!



The reason I purchased this book is that her experience with math up until the 8th grade is the complete opposite of mine. I was amazing at math, and it came very easily to me. Most of my students won't have that same experience with math, and Danica's book expresses very real ideas of fear and frustration with middle school math. It is mostly focused for girls, but that works, because she gives plenty of examples on how to relate math concepts into terms that tween girls might understand, and I would never think to consider.

Flipping through the book, I came to a section on factoring, and Danica uses friendship bracelets and beading to explain factors. Say you are making a friendship bracelet and you have 16 onyx beads and 10 sapphire beads. In order to make a design or pattern for the necklace, you need to see how the beads can be divided. How many different groups can you make with the 16 onyx beads? Well, you could make 16 groups of 1 bead each, or you could make 8 groups of 2 beads each, or 4 groups of 4 beads each. How can we split up the 10 sapphire beads? Now which groups should we use to make the bracelet (this is up to you!) Guess what, you just factored!

Something feels a bit weird about a book written by a former child star, who graduated with a mathematics degree from UCLA, and is focusing on spreading the word to girls that being smart is sexy. I mean, the message is great, but also looking like this is sexy:





The fact that she relates the fear of a middle school math test to getting a bikini wax scares me a bit. If I have this book in my math class library, I'd like to place a bet on whether the girls or the guys will look through the book more (and no, she does not have scantily clad pictures of herself in the book, well... besides the cover's low V-cut).

OK, I got way off on a tangent there (not a co-tangent, mind you). What I was initially going to say is about the Seattle heat wave. When I left the book store and made it out to the parking lot where I left my motorcycle, which had been in the shade, I noticed that the Honda Ruckus parked next to me had its center stand melted into the blacktop of the parking lot. It was crazy! I thought maybe the Ruckus had been there a long time and nobody actually used it, because it was parked there when I arrived two hours earlier. Then I looked at my bike, and my side stand had punched through (melted through?) the black top. There was a hole about an inch deep in the black top, and I was scared that I wouldn't be able to get my side stand up out of the hole. I was actually pretty lucky, because I parked on a slight decline, and if the bike had tipped over a few more inches, it would have crashed down on top of the Ruckus. I was able to lift the bike's side stand back up through the hole in the black top. I never thought it would get hot enough in Seattle to have my steel side stand melt a hole through blacktop.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WSOP Coverage elicits a walk down memory lane

While reading through the blog roll today, F-Train revealed that ESPN would be airing it's first episode of the 2009 WSOP tonight. I made a pact to stay inside today until the sun goes down, because it is 95 degrees out and we don't have AC, so I'm holed up in the basement watching the 2009 coverage right now.

There are a few really interesting aspects of the $40k final table for me. First, I know the results, but it is still interesting to see how it goes down, or how ESPN wants to show it going down. The commercial breaks are freaking ridiculous, and eventually I had to bring my laptop into the room, because I couldn't stand watching the same four commercials after every... single... hand.

I like watching Greg Raymer play. He reminds me that there is much more to the game than just playing poker. There is a gentlemanly aspect to the game that a lot of people ignore, but I think Greg places importance on both being a good poker player and a good person. I would like to emulate that. Playing live at Tulalip yesterday, it became very apparent to me that being nice to other people at the table would benefit me better than being cold towards others. A lot of the older players at the table were there for enjoyment primarily, and to make money second. By being friendly, I keep them happy, and I probably make more money off them in the long term because of this.

Justin Bonomo brings back memories, because I stayed in a house with him during the 2007 WSOP. Also in that house was the first event winner of 2007, Steve Billrakis. My friend, Brandon Schaefer, was also in the house and playing plenty of events that year. It felt awfully strange to show up to the rental mansion on my ninja and see the dining room table full of computers, and know that these guys must be at least a little weary of me showing up... an unknown in the house of millionaires. While I was staying with them, Justin Bonomo had a large chip lead going into a final table, and ended up crashing and burning to finish 7th or so.

As I type this, Justin just got knocked out, at the hand of Isaac Haxton. Isaac Haxton elicits another few memories. The first is that at the mansion in Vegas during the summer of 2007, these poker geniuses I was staying with were watching a taping of the... 2007 PCA where Haxton was heads up. Here's one of the hands I remember them watching on TV:



The guys in the room were having a great conversation about the hand as it occurred, and most of the guys went nuts at the end of the hand.

Another interesting thing about Haxton is that he is the nerdy cock-sure type of gamer that I despise. He knows he is good, and to me it seems like cockiness, not confidence. Internally, I'm not sure how different he and Greg Raymer are, but to me the difference between Greg's confidence and Isaac's cockiness is very apparent. He reminds me of a lot of the Magic the Gathering players I have met over the years, and it is kind of funny that the WSOP coverage says that he and Justin both still play Magic.

Having just read a murder-mystery book, he also seems like the socially awkward guy capable of being a serial killer like the one in the book I just finished last night. In an ESPN interview with Justin and Isaac, Isaac admits that he is socially stunted, in contrast to Justin. I'm not sure if Isaac doesn't value social interaction, has never been good at it, or what his deal is. I don't think having a social life is the best trait in the world, but there is something about being socially awkward, knowing it, and not really caring... it is kind of spooky.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Let it Ride till I Die!

With a free Monday, I decided to take off on my motorcycle and soak up some summer. I ventured north to Anacortes and Mount Erie. I took the ferry to Whidbey Island from Mukilteo, which was a quick 20-minute ride, without having to wait in line thanks to my two wheels. Fifty miles of island motorcycling later (the best kind of motorcycling?), I reached Anacortes. I wasn't supposed to reach Anacortes, I was supposed to stay on Rosario Rd., but I took a wrong turn and wound up in Anacortes.

Anacortes smells so good. It smells like fish, which makes me want clam chowder, but I didn't eat clam chowder because I had half of a day-old Subway sandwich in my backpack that I had forgotten about until midnight last night, then put it in the freezer after being in my backpack in the 90 degree heat for six hours... but that's another story. The sandwich was freaking good. Maybe it was just me being happy at finally finding the route to Mount Erie, and eating the sandwich with company of ants and these minuscule critters that kept biting me and dying by my finger tip.

The view at Mount Erie is ridiculous.



An old guy up there with his woman said he made the trek in February and they could see Mount Rainier from the view point. Mount Rainier is 100 miles away.



Add to the view, the too-many-to-count rock climbing routes, you've got one kick-ass location. I ate lunch on the summit, in the shade of some friendly trees. I read some from my library book that is due back next Tuesday, then I got out my climbing shoes and decided to test my might at a few of the little bouldering problems around, and one of the easier longer climbs, which had two of the little rope prongs at the top, which I ignored. The climbs were pretty easy, but with no rope and nobody to hear you scream, the adrenaline still flows.

After climbing, I tried half-assedly to take a dip in either Lake Campbell or Lake Erie (of WA), but I was running late, for a very important date! A date with lady luck, at Tulalip Casino. I road the back roads to the casino, at least until I hit I-5 at exit 218 and had to freeway the rest of the way. I road on Reservation Road, which intersected with Indian Road, and I could picture a Native American crying. I did my best to stop the tears by paying the ridiculous rake and bad beat jackpot at Tulalip.



Warning, poker content!

I had the shittiest stretch of cards for my first hour of play the the 4/8 limit game. The table was full of limpers, and I couldn't even limp with my 63o and Q2o. I almost played Q3 suited UTG because it was suited, but refrained. I was down about $45 from folding, folding, and more folding for an hour, until I finally won a pot as the big blind and checking down the flop, turn and river to win with 4th pair. I tipped the dealer.

During my stretch of shitty cards, there was this guy in his fifties who was drunk at the table and in a trucker's hat. All the staff knew him, and his name, Doug, was on his striped trucker/bowling shirt. He was a pretty funny guy, and said Mondays were his lucky day. When I first sat down, he had just won the high hand jackpot from the previous hour with AAAAT for $300. He was jubilant. He also brought up an interesting idea of letting the high hand jackpot ride, and having a shot at $600 the next hour. Him and the dealer discussed this at length, and they agreed that there needed to be some maximum hand, say quad 3's (why they didn't pick quad 2's, I'll never know). So if you hit quad 3's or higher, you can't let your high hand jackpot ride--and if you get beat in the second hour and let it ride, you forfeit your original $300. Also. ALSO! According to Doug, there needs to be a low hand jackpot, where the person who won a hand with the crappiest hand each hour needed to win $10 or something. This Doug is on to something! If casinos had low hand jackpots, people would play crap cards and call down with crap cards, trying to hit the jackpot. The only problem I see is having too much rake/jackpot money taken out of the normal pots. For every $10 in the pot, $2 is taken out right now, one to the jack pot and one rake dollar for the casino. But back to me winning money.

I won another pot with AQ on an Ace-high board, and the villain missed his 8 kicker, but called me down the whole way after a re-raise on the flop.

I won a pot with Q8 from my BB after limped to me and catching top pair with my 8. Same villain called me down and mucked.

I won my fourth and last hand of the day with AT under the gun. I limped (as was accustomed at the table) and got re-raised by an older gentleman in his 80s, to my immediate left. The guy to his immediate left called two bets cold, and I called from UTG.

Flop brought an Ace and I checked. The older gentleman bet, and the dude to his left called. I hesitated, and could not really figure out what I could beat, but called anyways. We checked it down the rest of the way, which made me feel a lot better about my AT, and it held, making me wonder how much value I lost not betting it, but on the flop I wasn't sure why I was calling, and my chips were all racked up and ready to go. If either of them fires the turn I probably fold.

I was card dead for an hour, lost almost $50, then won almost $100 back, showing down each of the four hands and never having a hand as good as TPTK. It was a weird session.

After 90 minutes at Tulalip, I moto down to Kamiak for a pickup soccer game, and the traffic is non-existant. Completely opposite of last week, trying to get out of Seattle and up to Kamiak at rush hour. There is something to be said about going for a moto ride and coming in from out of town during rush hour, as opposed to leaving town at rush hour in the afternoon. The soccer game was fun, I scored a goal! It was hot, 90 degrees is no degrees to be playing soccer in.

Now I am home, in the basement, drank my GnT and ate my Dove Bar. Sleep soon.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Mix Ever

I finished up a rap mix last week, which saw the likes of Naughty By Nature, Tupac, Biggie and friends. Now I am working on a non-rap best mix of all time. To give you an idea of a few songs, here are two that are definitely making the cut:

Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjNjJR9jUGo

Guns N Roses - November Rain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwu7ixmQk0c

What other songs should I add?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Short-handed Limit Hold'em Hand

I sat down at an empty $1/$2 limit hold em table while eating lunch today, played ten hands of heads up, then another ten hands 3-way, and this was the first hand of 4-way play. Both UTG and SB were playing LAG-y, which seems optimal for short-handed limit play.

I'm on the button. UTG raises, I re-raise, SB calls, BB (new to table) folds, UTG calls.

Flop comes 6d 6s 4d. $10 in the pot to begin with, SB leads out, UTG calls, I raise, SB three-bets, UTG folds, I call.

Turn is A of spades. $17 in pot. SB bets, I call.

River is K of clubs. $21 in pot. SB bets, I call.

Initial question for you (more to follow in comment section once hands are revealed):

1) Who was holding what? (SB and me)

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Confused Again. Need Waffle-guidance, stat.

Never a good title. Lots going on in my mind these days. Not working and not going to school during the summer leaves me with a lot of free time, and I'm not sure if that is a good thing.

I'm trying to store up as much energy and create as many positive memories as I can during the summer to last me through Seattle's 10-month rainy season. I've been out hiking at least one day each of the past three weeks, which was a little goal of mine when summer started. It really is beautiful up in the mountains, and hiking has a way of clearing my head to prioritize what it is I really need to be working on when I get back to the city.

This Monday I returned to Leavenworth, this time with Chelsey and Mary Ann. Chelsey actually works Mondays, but from 4am to 10am as a barista, so as soon as she got off, the three of us headed up highway 2 to Leavenworth. We stopped at Sultan Bakery, and they didn't believe my ranting and raving about the place until our meal came. I split a breakfast sandwich with Chelsey, and she was a bit skeptical about not having enough to eat until her half of the sandwich arrived. We were all stuffed for the next 60 or so miles of the drive.

Turned out to be a classic car show in Leavenworth on Monday, and Chelsey is a big car and motorcycle buff, so she checked them out while Mary Ann and I acted like we knew the difference between the cars besides color (which I still had trouble with). We got gelato, then headed to the river and shotgunned beers. It wasn't pretty. Well, Mary Ann and Chelsey were pretty, but not me. I think I downed the beer in under a minute, which might be a new world's worst shotgun record.

After the river, which was a little too fast and too cold to swim in, we headed to the other side of Icicle Rd. and Chelsey and I did a bit of rock climbing. I had climbed here a little over eight years ago, as a freshman in college. I remember driving out at night, with snow on the ground in February, and camping in the snow while Becky tried to put the moves on me, to which I refuted (I was an innocent freshman).

Mary Ann soaked in some rays as Chelsey and I climbed up the side of the mountain looking for slabs of rock to climb, with beers and cameras in hand. Chelsey would find a rock to climb and I would use her camera to take pictures. Then I would find a rock and she would do the same for me:





I had a good view. I think Chelsey captioned her photo as "looking for a hand hold." I see a good hand hold... yeah. The climbing was fun, but I was going barefoot, which made it very difficult.

The three of us headed back to Seattle and stopped for a quick dip in the Wenatchee River on the way. We hung out again at Eddie's house last night, along with his friend Arez, who he met growing up in Toronto. I'll be living with Eddie at his parents' house in a month or so. Eddie's parents moved to Dominica last month, and will be staying for a year or two, so Eddie is holding down the fort and I'm helping. The house is ridiculously nice, with 3-4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, and I'll be paying $450/month plus utilities to have my own room, a spare room, my own bathroom, and a spare bathroom in case I stop up mine! Jackpot! We're out in the burbs, which isn't so bad because my likely teaching job will be out in the burbs, too.

Erin is back from Italy, and things are all sorts of confusing. She leaves for a 10-month stint in Jordan in September. If she left today, I think we'd probably split and see if we're still single when she returns to start anything serious. But with two months between now and her move, we have time to get to know each other better, to a point where we might want to stay together during her time in Jordan. 10 months and many thousand miles scares me. Erin scares me. Heck, I scare me!

I'm confused again about relationships in general. A lot of the marriages and relationships I see around me are pretty good for the most part. My parents are still together after what.. 50-60 years now, is it? (haha) All of my good friends' parents have stayed together. My three best friends are married, and they all seem to have found great mates.

My current confusion is that I think Erin would be great as well, I don't doubt this, but I also think there are plenty of other women out there that would be better. I've been hanging out with Chelsey more since summer began, and she is dream-girl material. Plays on a soccer and softball team. Just obtained teaching cert. Loves to travel. Has the same humor. Loves beer. Loves hiking. Loves motorcycles and old cars. Is a model. Pretty much out of my league, but she also seems like such a better match.

What scares me is that if I continue to think this way, I'll never be satisfied. Say I ditch Erin and then Chelsey and I get together. What happens when someone who is a better match than Chelsey comes along? The other obvious hurdle is Erin thinks I'm a great match for her, and I think Chelsey is a great match for me, and Chelsey thinks Waffles is a better match for her, and Waffles thinks The Wife is a better match for him, and The Wife thinks Betty is a better match for her... the cycle is endless! Madness!!

I feel like I should have learned this lesson in high school, but alas, I did not date in high school!

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What is...

What is the best compliment a person could give you?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lake Wenatchee



Last year, I was invited to come camping with a few people from my teaching program up at Lake Wenatchee. I had never been to the lake before, and we went in August, during our summer break. A handful of us from the cohort made the trip up last year and we had a blast.

This year, I was the only person from the cohort besides Caroline and her family (who invited us out last year). I motorcycled out again this year, and the ride was great except for the five mile stretch of grooved pavement between Monroe and Sultan. I have very little control over the bike on grooved pavement, and it was like going over a wet grated bridge for five miles.

Once in Sultan, I stopped at my favorite bakery to shake off the grooved pavement blues and eat a huge breakfast sandwich. I finished the entire thing, and staved off my food coma until I made it to Lake Wenatchee, then promptly passed out on the beach. The mosquitoes were a lot worse this year, which must be due to coming earlier in the season. I kept my sweatshirt and sweatpants on the entire time, even though it was 80 degrees--just to keep the bugs from biting.

I decided to only bring a tent and sleeping mat this year, no sleeping bag. This was a mistake. I froze my tush off at night, and tried to cocoon myself in my sweats and motorcycle gear, to no avail. As soon as the sun rose, I hopped on the motorcycle to get out of the forest and find some sun to warm up. I rode the back way to Leavenworth, which is an incredibly fun road to ride. I hadn't checked my phone for the time, but I knew it was early because of the sunrise and the fact that Leavenworth was a ghost town.





I explored the town a bit, trying to find a place for hot chocolate and breakfast. Sandy's opened up an hour after I arrived... at 7am. I felt guilty just ordering a hot chocolate, so I ate a big breakfast and had my second food coma of the trip. I elected to siesta in the Leavenworth park, in the sun, before riding back to the Lake Wenatchee campsite. I got a bit of reading in down by the lake, then rode back to Seattle.

On the way back to Seattle, I stopped at two spots. First, Deception Falls, which is just a waterfall right near highway 2. It was a nice spot to stretch my legs and snap a few pictures.

video

Second, I stopped at the Lake Serene trailhead, which I intended to hike this past Monday until finding out one of the other hikers hiked that trail last week.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

God Taketh Away and God Giveth

Decided to play the $34k guaranteed today on Tilt, while continuing my job search. I can't remember the last $24 tourney I bought into, it must be back a few years at MatH (and I think that was only $22?). Things were going smoothly, actually better than smooth, with an average stack and the bubble approaching. I was playing tight and picking my spots to steal and re-steal effectively.

I lost most of my stack with AK on a KKT flop. We got our stacks in the middle on the flop and I was up against KQ. A cooler for him until the river, and then it turned into a cooler for me! Glad to play well in the bigger buy-in tournament, and I did notice a drastic difference in play between the $1 and $20 tournaments. There are about 1/20th as many flops seen at the higher levels, lots of aggressive players.

I fired up the $1 rebuy and so far the deck has hit me in the face. This hand made me feel a bit better about the beat I took in the $34k guaranteed:

Full Tilt Poker Game #13277538948: Daily Dollar Rebuy (98243370), Table 262 - 120/240 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:18:20 ET - 2009/07/08
Seat 1: scan_de_naver (6,300)
Seat 2: meanhappyguy (26,087)
Seat 3: killerace221 (5,190)
Seat 4: rbassdo (48,114)
Seat 5: YuRiVeR (5,469)
Seat 6: DR K-27 (10,835)
Seat 7: Kael07 (15,044)
Seat 8: changlong1 (1,635)
Seat 9: milomaster (10,266)
scan_de_naver antes 25
meanhappyguy antes 25
killerace221 antes 25
rbassdo antes 25
YuRiVeR antes 25
DR K-27 antes 25
Kael07 antes 25
changlong1 antes 25
milomaster antes 25
scan_de_naver posts the small blind of 120
meanhappyguy posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to meanhappyguy [Qc Ad]
killerace221 raises to 720
rbassdo folds
YuRiVeR calls 720
DR K-27 folds
Kael07 folds
changlong1 folds
milomaster calls 720
scan_de_naver raises to 6,275, and is all in
meanhappyguy raises to 26,062, and is all in
killerace221 folds
YuRiVeR calls 4,724, and is all in
milomaster folds
meanhappyguy shows [Qc Ad]
YuRiVeR shows [Kd Ks]
scan_de_naver shows [As Ah]
Uncalled bet of 19,787 returned to meanhappyguy
*** FLOP *** [8s 2c 5s]
*** TURN *** [8s 2c 5s] [Qd]
*** RIVER *** [8s 2c 5s Qd] [Qh]
meanhappyguy shows three of a kind, Queens
scan_de_naver shows two pair, Aces and Queens
meanhappyguy wins the side pot (1,662) with three of a kind, Queens
YuRiVeR shows two pair, Kings and Queens
meanhappyguy wins the main pot (17,997) with three of a kind, Queens
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 19,659 Main pot 17,997. Side pot 1,662. | Rake 0
Board: [8s 2c 5s Qd Qh]
Seat 1: scan_de_naver (small blind) showed [As Ah] and lost with two pair, Aces and Queens
Seat 2: meanhappyguy (big blind) showed [Qc Ad] and won (19,659) with three of a kind, Queens
Seat 3: killerace221 folded before the Flop
Seat 4: rbassdo folded before the Flop
Seat 5: YuRiVeR showed [Kd Ks] and lost with two pair, Kings and Queens
Seat 6: DR K-27 folded before the Flop
Seat 7: Kael07 folded before the Flop
Seat 8: changlong1 folded before the Flop
Seat 9: milomaster (button) folded before the Flop

Rbassdo, the big stack, said "looks like the ladies arrived fashionably late" after the hand.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Fun With Words

With a free summer ahead of me, I've decided to start up a little writing project on my old creative writing blog. The premise is using a Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds "Live at Radio City" performance as inspiration to write 1,000 word maximum posts. I hammered out two posts tonight, and was able to find both the "Bartender" and "When the World Ends" live performances from the show on YouTube to compliment each post.

I downloaded the entire performance a few years ago, and I'm glad there are still some copies of the shows up for others to see. I intend to make it through all 27 tracks eventually, and hope to find videos for each track. The writing is a bit sparse so far, but it is meaningful to me at least!

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

4th of July Weekend (Quasi-Uber)

The time? 7:02pm, Sunday evening. I'm registered for two micro-stakes poker tournaments that begin in the next half hour, I'm about to fix myself a gin and tonic, and start writing about my weekend. Why don't you grab a drink, sit down and relax with me?

Finished making the G&T and found that one of the tournaments started and I missed the first hand. I would have folded, but the hand ended up being Q's vs. Aces, and the Aces turned quads... not a bad start to a tourney for that guy!

Music for the evening will be Dave Matthews Band, "Under the Table and Dreaming". I was big into Dave Matthews Band in high school, I went to three or four concerts out at the gorge, but then they became so popular with MTV and the frat crowd I was a bit ashamed to like the band. I've continued to listen to them, but on the sly. Tonight I break my silence: I like DMB still, go suck an egg if you think less of me now.

Music, check. Poker with lots of folding, check. G&T, check. Alright, I think I'm set to start recapping the weekend.

Friday marked the first of a three-day Potlatch ultimate frisbee tournament in Redmond, WA. I've been going to the tournament for the past eight or nine years, and when the 4th of July falls on Friday, the weekend, or Monday, the tournament is a 3-day affair instead of just two days. Three days makes the tournament stand apart from the other weekend ultimate tournaments in the summer, not to mention the 100 teams from all across the nation (and Mexico, and Canada!).



I decided to only play one day this year, for a couple of reasons. First, I've been wanting to go to Tahuya Day with Tessa and Jared for the last few years, and I have always picked Potlatch over Tahuya Day. Last year, I made plans to only play one day at Potlatch, then partake in Tahuya Day, but the weather was craptastic, and I would rather be playing ultimate in the rain than sitting in a lawn chair drinking margaritas in the rain, so I stayed at the ultimate fields. The other reason I chose to only play one day at Potlatch this year is because I'm fucking rusty! I play ultimate once every other week, and that just is not enough to be in shape or have consistent throws.

Poker update: knocked out of my first tournament when AJ on an AJ8 flop loses to a naked frush draw that gets there after the money goes in. Next tourney starts up in 7 minutes.

Friday ultimate at Potlatch was great. The weather couldn't have been better, it was around 80 degrees without much wind. We won all three of our games for the first time I can remember in a long time. I think my team a few years ago, maybe even last year, won all three games one day, but the team was a weird mix of really good college guys and crappy old timers like myself--so it wasn't a true Tacoma stink team--like this year! All of the games were tight, with the first going the distance at 16-14 in a game to 15 (a mini-Federer/Roddick match for the tennis lovers out there). The team was playing well, but I made a lot of throw aways, which was frustrating. The team didn't care much, because the throw aways did not lose us any of the games, but the throws I was botching are throws that I *can* make, but I wasn't making due to my rusty game. I should have holstered the cannon, but couldn't resist.

Our game schedule on Friday was such that we played a game, had a 2nd round bye, played a game, had a 4th round bye, then played our final game. The schedule kept us fresh, and even better than keeping us fresh, allowed me to pick up my motorcycle from the shop during our 4th round bye! I got a call from the shop at some point in the morning, and couldn't wait to get my bike! When I got to the shop, it didn't take long for me to pay and for them to wheel the bike around front and get me on my way. Before leaving, I noticed that they had not changed the front tire, which I thought we had agreed on. They did not bill me for it, but the front tire is just as old as the back tire that blew out on me a month ago, and it needs to be changed soon. I inspected the tire, and it still has some tread on it, so there is no imminent danger, but I am dreading taking it back to the shop now, after waiting a month for this fix.

I made it back to Potlatch for the last round, this time on the motorcycle. The ride back to the fields felt a little weird. Not good or bad, but just a little different. The clutch is still a lot tighter than I am used to, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am used to the clutch catching right in the middle of the release, but now it catches about 3/4'ths of the way when I release the clutch lever. This makes shifting between gears a lot faster, but it also makes the initial shift from idle to 1st gear a bit longer. Again, some good to it, and some bad, but now that the weekend is over and I have gotten used to it, I think I prefer the tighter clutch. The fact that the back tire has a larger diameter than the old back tire, and the new tread on the back tire vs. the worn front tire also affect the ride.

One of the fun new sideline games at Potlatch this year was a Dare game based on cards. How the game works is a deck (or two, or three?) was passed out on Thursday night before the tournament started Friday. The goal of the game is to find the next higher up card than yours and ask them to give you a dare. If they do not think up a dare for you in one minute, you get to swap cards with them--also, if you complete their dare, you swap cards with them. I never got a card, nor was I too interested in playing because of only being there one day, but a lot of my teammates were getting into the game and trying to work their way up the ranks. The two best dares I saw on Friday were one guy licking the entire length of field tape (tape is put down at Potlatch along the sideline), which was about 100 yards. He was on all fours crawling along licking the tape from end to end for a king! The other dare was a girl going for a jack, and she first had to get this guy and all his friends cold beers, and then make out with another girl of this guy's choosing. By the time I left on Friday, my friend Josh was up to a queen. I stayed to watch the showcase game between Team USA and Team Canada, while eating free pizza and drinking free beer. Team USA won 16-14.

I had such a good time on Friday at Potlatch that I was beginning to question my decision to only play one day, but I'm glad I followed through with Tahuya Day. I got up early and met at Tessa and Jared's for an 8:00am caravan down to Tahuya, WA. The weather was flawless, and I was on my bike for the second day in a row, and it felt great. The caravan down was fun, and I'm glad to report it was uneventful. We rolled into Tahuya right around 11am after a stop at the QFC for a hundred cans of beer and some ice. The guys cracked open beers as soon as we dropped off our stuff, and I got to meet Tessa's family and friends. Her dad grew up in the house, and I can see why he never left.



They've got a compound similar to my friend Marc's, where Tessa's parents own one house, her uncle owns the next one down, and her cousin owns the third in the string, right along the water. The porch is huge, and there were probably 20 of us up there sitting in the sun and shade drinking. We got one game of liar's dice in before the parade started up, and Brian put me to shame at the end game. We were tied at five dice each, to Ben and Erin's zero dice (noobs!), and he ran a clinic.

The parade was pretty short and sweet, which is the perfect kind of parade in my eyes. Tessa's dad partook for the first time in a while, and his family pelted him with water balloons and water guns as he rode by, like any good family should! Tessa's mom made a strong margarita, and although I remember thinking, "Wow, this is a strong margarita!" I still had a second one, which promptly put me to sleep after the parade ended.

I woke up to people taking pictures of me passed out on the living room floor, so I woke up by being the first to hop into the inlet. It took me a while to figure out what to call the body of water just off Tessa's back yard, and apparently it is an inlet. It juts off the Hood Canal, and apparently Bill and Melinda Gates rolled up one afternoon last Autumn and Tessa's grandmother, a house down, was out ready to yell at the trouble-makers and run them off, then realized who they were.

We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting off small fireworks and swimming in the inlet. At one point, all of the youngsters (i.e. under 50), hopped in the boat and Tessa took us for a ride around the Hood Canal--it was awesome:





Poker Update #2: Second tournament started, and I'm chipping up in this one. Just had AA in the big blind and it was limped 3 ways to me, and for the first time ever, I checked with aces in the big blind. I bet the flop and it folded around, so nothing extraordinary happened, but I sat there with aces and my option and wondered, "Have I ever checked in the big blind with aces? I don't think I have, let's see what happens."

Back to Tahuya. Beers, clams, steak, swimming, and fireworks. That, my friends, is hard to beat. I grew up shooting off fireworks with Marc at his cabin, and we would get pretty into it, rigging our own fireworks in our teens. When I hit college I grew a bit tired of spending mass amounts of money on things to just blow up (funny how that changes when you use your money instead of your parents'!). Jared and Reuben went nuts this year and spend $300 on mortars and all sorts of goodies, and I couldn't help but share their enthusiasm. I taught them a thing or two over the course of the day, but they had plenty of ingenious ideas themselves.

The two highlights of the night had to be Ben knocking over my tower of beer cans with a single roman candle shot, and when Reuben's huge mortar decided not to shoot up into the air, but instead exploded in the mortar tube and shot gravel shrapnel that cleared the house. I was 15ft from the shell and was lucky enough to turn my back on the blast just in the nick of time--I could hear the gravel hit the windows! That woke us up. A honorable mention would be Erin's early show of lighting a ground bloom and sticking it in a Corona bottle, which cracked the bottle in half. We tried to duplicate her feat numerous times and we turned another Corona bottle black, but couldn't break it in half.



Once the fireworks were done, most of the crew took off for Seattle, to sleep in their own beds, but Tessa, Jared and I stuck around and slept in the game room. The dozen or so beers since 11am found me with the sandman as quickly as my head hit the pillow. I was awoken in time for breakfast: bacon, eggs and whatever those breakfast rolls that start with a C are called--not cinnamon rolls. Polished that off with the help of some OJ, thanked Tessa and her family for the great hospitality, then headed out from Tahuya a different way than I came.

I rode north from Tahuya, and my word of mouth directions from Tessa's mom and dad weren't entirely clear, so I just followed the road along the water until it turned into a gravel road. I was a bit hesitant to ride on the gravel rode, given my nearly bald front tire, but the sign said only six miles, so I was hoping a return to pavement was the reward. Up until this point, I was still being very careful on my motorcycle, and riding still didn't feel quite right. On the gravel I was mostly in first gear, and the gravel road twisted along the Hood Canal for the six or so miles. I kept thinking I should stop and take a picture of the interesting road and forest, but there weren't any places to pull over and a few cars did cross my path on the ride.

For some reason, when the pavement returned, I also got my riding groove back. From being extremely cautious on the gravel road, I must have gotten a better feel for the bike. The road after the pavement came back was also one of the most fun roads I have ridden on. Between the start of the pavement again and Bremerton, I passed by every mile-per-hour turn sign from 10mph turns to 45mph turns, twice over. There were dozens of 20mph turn signs, and with proper balance on the bike, I was able to take them at great ease going 35mph--which gave me riding confidence back. After the first few turns, I was comfortable knowing the right speed to stay safe, so I didn't have to look at the speedometer while negotiating turns, which seems safer and the right way to do it.

I had a lot of fun on the ride back to Seattle. I got to the Bremerton ferry terminal literally two minutes before they started boarding, and as a motorcycle I got to hop to the front of the line, where only one other motorcycle was waiting. We briefly chatted and it turns out that he was coming back from Tahuya as well! Not bad for a town of 5,200, as of the 2000 census.

Poker Update #3: Second tournament, just got the addon for 11k chips at the first break, which is about 1.5k above the average stack. Got a ways to go, 550 runners left, 90 pay, $700 and change for 1st.

The ferry ride was nice. Since me and the other motorcyclist were the first vehicles allowed on, we also got dibs on seating in the ferry. I found a booth and zonked out once the ferry started moving. I woke up probably thirty minutes later when the sun started to shine on me and woke me from my slumber. We were in the middle of the body of water just west of West Seattle, and we had a gorgeous view of downtown Seattle:





I rode back up Hwy 99, spent a few hours at home taking a shower and talking to my Erin in Italy, then rode back over to Potlatch to catch the last few rounds of disc. I enjoyed the quick ride over the 520 bridge, and got to the fields just as my team got booted from the tournament in the D-pool quarterfinals. A team from my college was playing in the C-pool semi-finals, and I cheered them on, but they lost 8-11 in a tight game. The score was tied at 8-8 and there was a marathon point that must have lasted 15 minutes, whoever wins that point wins the game, and sure enough, that is what happened.

The finals was a rematch of the showcase game from Friday: Team USA vs. Team Canada. I didn't end up staying to see who won, but I did watch a few of the points with my Tacoma team. I found Josh and he was sporting a fluffy white baseball cap with the Ace of spades on it... I talked to him and found out that not only did he get an ace card in the Dare game, he got all four aces, one of each suit, which won him Five Ultimate shorts, a jersey, and the hat. I didn't realize Five Ultimate was putting on the game, but I told Josh I wasn't sure I even wanted to know what he had to do for those aces. He told me that his favorite dare was finding a woman, switching clothes with that woman, then serenading one of the girls who works for Five Ultimate in the other girl's clothes. Oh, and he had a zillion girl's numbers on his cast--so it looks like he had a good time this weekend, too!

If you see this man, run in the other direction.



Poker Update #4: Up to 19k chips with the average around 10k.

Hmm, running out of things to say about this weekend... it was fun! The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse this week, but I'm still hoping to get out and hike. Also, take some resumes out this week to middle schools in the area to see what the job prospects are looking like for next year.

Well, I was hoping to do better, but the time is 9:29pm and I am finished with the weekend recap. I could keep on rambling with stuff while I play poker, but I may as well just finish this post off and call it a quasi-uber. Hope you all have a good week!

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers

On Tuesday I started out in a funk. Coming off of a great weekend in Metaline Falls and Spokane, I felt like a bum. Erin called from Italy on Tuesday morning, which helped me get out of my funk. After talking with Erin, I met up with Peter, my mom's cousin's old foreign exchange student from Belgium, who has spent the last five months traveling South and North America. We headed to the pool and had fun in the sun. Two knockouts from my teaching program happened to be at the pool too, and coaxed Peter and I into going out for drinks later (did not take much coaxing).

We went to an Irish pub in Kirkland, and we ended up playing a few rounds of pool. The girls were in top form, leaning over the table and trying to jinx us with their cleavage and tight jeans... aka heaven.

Wednesday, I carpooled down to Portland with a few friends, and we saw the Sounders FC take on the Portland Timbers. The two soccer teams are not in the same division, so the Sounders were playing their A-squad defense and B-squad offense. At 2-1 in the second half, they subbed in one of their A-squad offensive players, Montero, and Seattle held off Portland from scoring any more goals. I lost a bet on the first team to score when Seattle scored 80 seconds into the match, that was a bummer. At half-time I double-or-nothing'd the bet, but no more goals were scored, so Andrew got to keep his winnings from the first bet.

The Portland Timbers fans are insane. The rivalry is going to be sweet come 2011, when the Timbers join the MLS. Their mascot is a lumberjack who carries around an honest to god chainsaw, and revs it throughout the match. The smoke from the chainsaw revving smelled great. Also, the fans had a sign saying, "Keller: Do the Cobain!" with a picture of a shotgun... classy! Oh yeah, having seats in the second row wasn't so bad, either :)



This next picture is of the pregame festivities. A big paper lumberjack cutting down the space needle.



After the soccer match we crashed at Andrew's place in Portland, and I finally watched "The Godfather" for the first time. Good, long movie.

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