Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Buck Creek Pass Picture Show

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Got in a nice hike this weekend (and Monday) with Stacey and my dad. 10 miles and 3000 elevation up to Buck Creek Pass about 15 miles West of Leavenworth, WA.

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It was amazing.

The hike was a bit of a grunt, but the trail started at an old mining town called "Trinity." There are tons of old abandoned mining towns in the Cascades, and this one is fairly well-preserved. The trail then wrapped around mountains and crossed dozens of little creeks, winding its way through the valleys and eventually up a mountainside to the Pass.

It is a pretty remote hike, into the heart of the Glacier Peak forest. It is also currently a detour on the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Canada to Mexico, due to flooding which wiped out another section of the trail.

We hiked all the way up to Buck Creek Pass on the first day, leaving Seattle at 7:00am and arriving in camp as the sun was setting around 8:00pm.

Stacey had a few up close and personal experiences with deer, chipmunks, bugs and butterflies. My dad has been hiking in the Cascades for nearly 40 years and that was the closest he's ever been to deer.

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No zoom on that shot either!

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The bug is about as long as my dad's finger up to his second knuckle. It had two long antenna-feelers and flew straight into Stacey's face earlier. Well, its brother did... cause his brother got SQUASHED.

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This was a meadow filled with butterflies. Stacey's about to touch a little black butterfly in the above shot.

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We also had a few close encounters with Marmots. These two were on lookout laying on the rock. They are basically mountain beavers. I wanted one for a pillow.

Sadly, we don't have great shots of the close encounters we had with chipmunks!

The second day we hiked up to High Pass Trail (I believe?) and didn't have to carry our packs, which was niice.

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We climbed back down and played cards and rested in our tents for a quick nap in the afternoon. We then climbed towards Flower Bowl and watched the sun set on Glacier Peak.

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We had a great kitchen set up, and had some tasty freeze-dried meals both nights.

Monday we woke up before the sun and made our way out to the sunrise on Glacier Peak--so blue. We hiked the 10 miles out about two hours faster than our hike up and got to the trailhead around 1:30pm. We had plenty of time to get back to Seattle, then Portland for the work day today. Except for one thing.

The car wouldn't start.

Dead battery. Quite possibly the worst feeling in the world. On par with toilet water going up to the brim about to over-flow after plugging up the toilet.

Being a weekday, there weren't any hikers at the trailhead, and the first pair we saw didn't have jumper cables (nor did we). Three hours of waiting later, because we were out of cell phone range, two older hikers made their way out from the trail, who we had passed early in the day.

They didn't have jumper cables either.

I decided to divide and conquer, sending my father out with the couple to the ranger station with a cell phone to get some help. My dad is about the least techincally-savvy person on earth, and needed a lesson in cell phone usage. Needless to say, Stacey and I were a bit worried. We distracted ourselves with cards and playing with more chipmunks. We would put peanuts on the side mirrors of the car and the chipmunks would climb up through the engine (the hood was up), onto the front window and then get the peanut.

An hour and a half later, the one private resident at Trinity arrived in a truck with his two husky dogs and one chiwawa. We flagged him down and he thankfully gave us a jump.

We found my dad at the rest stop (I guess there was no ranger station?) with a tow truck. We honked and he was RELIEVED to see us. His story was pretty amazing too, but we all made it back safely to Seattle by 10:00pm and Stacey and I made it to Portland by 2:00am.

Work wasn't too much fun today, even though I didn't arrive until 10:45am!

More summer fun to come this next weekend out at the coast with my three best friends, more pictures for sure!

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

cat bloopers

Holy. Jesus.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Word as Therapy

I'm in the mood to post a nice and long rambling message about my life.I feel like I am in a unique position in life, one with endlessopportunity filled with tough decisions to make. The line between rightand wrong is so hazy in these decisions, there might not even be a right and wrong.

I'm sure looking back ten years from now I will wonder what would have been if I did X instead of Y, but unless I really screw up, I don't think I will have many regrets. I've always been pretty good about making good decisions, which is why poker has been such a big draw for me.

I'm starting to realize that although making good decisions is basically what poker comes down to, there are a few other areas where I feel I am at a disadvantage when it comes to being an ideal poker player.

Memory, attention span, and lack of a killer-instinct are my biggest faults as a poker player.

I finished the book about Stu Ungar a month or so ago, and he was quite possibly the best poker player, and self-proclaimed best gin-rummy player in the world. Suffice to say, I feel like my decision making skills are probably better than Stuey's ever were. He didn't win because of his decision-making skills. In fact, he lost everything because of his poor decision-making skills.

His memory was amazing though, something I will never have. Somewhere in the book I read a paragraph about how a dealer quickly flipped over one card at a time and stopped at the last two. Without missing a beat, Stu was correctly able to say the number and suit of the two remaining cards. Not only was he able to do that with cards, but he could also do it with people. Pick up a tell and use it to totally demolish his opponent.

Under most circumstances I don't want to totally demolish my opponents. In a way, this can be good. I strive for a fun game that people will enjoy coming back to and (hopefully) giving me their money. The problem of course lies in the fact that without this killer instinct, it is sometimes hard to push myself to get better.

Over the past year I've read stories about players going from unknown to superb players in the span of a few months or a year. There is a soccer player in the premiership that has only played for something like six months, but once he found the sport he loved, he just played and played and played.

With poker, that is what a lot of people do. I've played online for over two years now, and I am certain that someone who has never played a hand of poker could be better than me at the end of this month if they had the drive. In a month, someone could play more hands online than I have in the last two years. I don't think I will ever be the type of person to just drop everything and completely submerge myself in one thing. It comes at the cost of perfection, but perfection isn't really what I'm after.

Ramble on, young man.

I am most happy with my life when I have a good balance going on. I enjoy a balance between hobbies and a balance of time between sleeping, being with Stacey, and enjoying my hobbies. If I have too much sleep I get stagnant and feel like I am not doing anything productive. If I play too much while ignoring Stacey or sleep, I get unhappy quickly and get grumpy fast. If I have too much Stacey, well, I've never really had too much Stacey :) I assume I would miss sleep and my own little hobbies though.

Getting back to the start of this post, I feel like I am in a very unique spot right now, and the world is my oyster. I don't have a ton of money, but that could change, and I don't really need a ton of money to do what I want. I want to travel, but I'm beginning to realize that there are more ways to see the world than landing an 8am-5pm job and taking my two or three weeks of vacation to exotic locales.

Peacecorps is an option, the JET program is an option, the possibility of studying abroad in grad school is still an option.

I know I'm going to enjoy my life, but I want to be able to remember it. I don't want it to be like a lazy Sunday, or some of the summer days in highschool when I played Everquest all day and night. Did I have fun? Sure. Was it relaxing? Yes. What did I accomplish? Not a damn thing.

Just like bluffing in poker. A bluff every now and then is all you need. It puts the fear of doubt into your opponents' minds. I'll be the first one to admit that I need a nice relaxing Sunday every now and then, to recharge my battery-but I don't need that all the time.

Accomplishing something hasn't really taken up a lot of my brain power, but the more I think about it, the more I really do want to make a difference. In a random kid's life through teaching, to my own life by completing an MBA, to a lot of people's lives by starting my own business... the possibilities are endless.

I have gotten a lot of great information out of my poker hobby the last few years. I'm not sure if I was ever a 'results-based' thinker, but I am now definitely a 'decision-making' thinker. Something I read in the archives of Rizen's blog was an entry about how he attributed his success to his ability to always want to do better and improve. He would look over hand histories and critically analyze his plays at the end of the day. One entry he wondered why he didn't do the same for his life in general. Was sitting in front of the computer all day a good decision? Was drinking four Cokes while playing poker a good decision? He's been on a diet recently and has cut out Coke from his diet and started exercising more.

I am starting to critically analyze my life as well, day by day. I still think I make good decisions, but I am really lacking a sense of accomplishment that comes with a goal in mind. I don't think winning any amount of money in poker will fill that void. Now... with that money, I'm sure I could start a business that might fill that void, but the actual playing of poker isn't what is going to do it.

Poker will likely become another hobby that I am above-average at, not great, and not good enough to turn into a profession.


Sunday, August 20, 2006


Easy: 97 - chris the spider

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Vene Vide Vice

He came, he saw, he conquered.

My friend Brandon gave me a call Friday morning, saying he would be swinging through Portland Friday night and was wondering what I was up to. Fortunately, not much, so we got to hang out a bit for the first time in a year or so. He's been up to no good for a while now, as evidenced on his blog.

Stacey and I and our friend Rob were down at Ground Kontrol (21+ arcade) when Brandon showed up. They have some sweet old arcade games like Street Fighter 2, the original Mortal Kombat, Missile Command, a slew of pinball games, the old Simpsons arcade game... the list goes on. Since there were four of us, we obviously chose to play the old Simpsons game first, so all four of us could play at the same time.

We pumped quarters in and quickly found out that the "Marge" character wasn't playable. So Rob, Stacey and I played Homer, Bart and Lisa while Brandon kept trying to feed quarters into various slots to get Marge working. Then I noticed that Homer had 11 lives. OOps. We rotated and had a good time.

Next we played some pinball games and Brandon smoked us, hitting multi-ball glory on the Star Wars game.

We headed home and played a little bit of poker, then after Rob left we had an intense Spider Solitaire event. 3 computers, 3 games of spider solitaire trying to get the highest score/lowest moves on the easy, medium and difficult settings. Brandon "Phil-Ivey'd" my high scores. And as I was going to bed he said, "If I'm asleep when you wake up tomorrow, it means that I've got the new high score."


His scores to beat are 98 on easy and 114 on medium and 304 on difficult. I tried once yesterday and got 99 on easy*with* a mis-click, just to let you know Brandon...

Brandon and I are going to start a push-up bet. 50 push-ups a day for the first week, then 100 a day indefinitely. We are still trying to work out a bet for whoever bails first. Brandon, what do you think about a %0.5 or %1 bankroll entry into a tourney of the other's chosing? Another way we could do it is say until the end of the year, if one of us doesn't do the 100 pushups a day 700/week, on Sunday that loser has to deposit $5 into the other person's stars account at the end of the week.

For me, I've got to have good incentive to keep something up for longer than a week, and I think this will do just fine. We can always fall back on having the loser wear a dress to Thanksgiving Turkey bowl at Greenlake...

The bet starts tomorrow, my shoulders are going to be killing me.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Returning to the Felt (Part I)

Part step back in time, part looking to the future. I'm hoping to getsome live poker in this weekend at either Spirit Mountain or La Center. This post is an attempt at giving some history of my casino-poker experience, so that I can critique it and learn from it for this upcoming session.

First off, I'm not a winner at live casino poker. I've had just about as many winning sessions as I've had losing sessions-but the numbers look something like this:


Besides my first win in my first casino experience at South Lake Tahoe (which I promptly lost two times over the next night), I haven't had more than a 4xBB win. I have played mostly $3/$6 limit, with a few $2/$4 limit sessions thrown in at Spirit Mountain.

South Lake Tahoe:

This was my first live poker experience, and the only place I have played where you get complimentary beverages. The occasion was my girlfriend's 21st birthday, so her, her sister, her brother and I all decided to play poker at Harrah's. We were at a new table and the
dealer helped everyone with a few pointers.

I didn't feel too much like a newbie at that point (but looking back, of course I was!), especially being seated at a table with three other people I knew. I don't remember all too much about that first night except that I was the only one out of four of us who won money. I think I played pretty tight, got KK once and raised the whole way and took down a nice-sized pot on a very non-scary board with only one or two callers the whole way. I also hit a flush. Those two hands basically made my night and I walked away feeling great about my play and buying everyone else drinks.

The next night was much different.

The second night I definitely did not have any advantages over the table like I had over a few of the players the night before. This was the first night I played against the 40-50 year old asian lady-type who has a big stack of chips in front of her. I just assumed she was good from all of the chips, but more likely she hit flushes or straights on some of the 8-to-the-flop hands.

The night before the most people to one flop was probably five, and usually there were only three or four. People folded, I think I might have even won a pot on a bluff once. The second night I was at the complete mercy of the table. Most hands were at least 6 or 7 to the flop and nearly every hand got shown down.

I was at the mercy of the cards, and the cards weren't showing much mercy! The most memorable hand of that fateful night was my 88 hand in MP.

EP raises, guy to my right cold calls, I cold call along with 3 others and the blinds. Flop is As 8c Ad. Jackpot. Check, check, I raise and get three callers.

Turn is a 3h. Check, check, I raise and only the guy to my right calls.

River is Ah. He checks, I bet, he calls.

I show my flopped full house, and he shows his AQ for quad aces and a $100 high-hand prize. I'm stunned. Then I finally blurt out, "thanks for not raising on the river."

There was a mountain of chips in the middle already, but could have been a lot more! That one hurt.

After another hour or so in that game I called it quits and felt pretty dejected. This was my first experience losing big, and I was completely out of my element in the extra-loose preflop game. I thought the dreaded, "If I moved up to 5/10 or 10/20 I would own, because I could put people on hands better!"

Thank god I didn't have a bankroll for that! My friend Brandon soon put me straight shortly thereafter, and recommended the Ed Miller book on loose games SSH? I think it is? I read that (and should probably read it again) after I got back to Sacramento, and realized how poorly I played at Tahoe.

I played a few times at a card club in Sacramento, losing overall. The play was similar to the second night at Tahoe, and there were a lot of regulars at this club. Mostly tricky, gambling Asians. Had a couple winning sessions, but nothing big. Had a couple losing sessions usually due to me not letting go of a primary holding and losing to a flush or two pair.

The two big hands that stand out from that card room were these:

First was when my Kings got beat by a flush on the river. I raised the entire way and got reraised on the river. I called and mucked when he flipped up 7h3h. No straights, no pair, just a flush draw. I have no idea if he had odds to call, he might have, but after I mucked he said, "You have a king?" Because I had flopped top set. "I had two," I said, and the table groaned.

That same game I royally sucked out on someone with AsTs when the flop came Ac Th 2d. I flopped top two, but he flopped a set of T's. I bet, he raised, I reraised, he called on the flop. Think we got everyone out on the turn when a blank fell. When he 3-bet on the turn I realized I might not be ahead. An Ace hit on the river and we capped it. I felt pretty bad afterwards, because he flipped over his set and I happily showed my AT like I was the shiz. What a suckout.

I hit the Jackson Rancheria Casino once, which is about two hours SE of Sacramento. I probably should have just driven to Tahoe, lol. I had to wait an hour to play, but when I did get in, the game was pretty fun. Not too much memorable happened there, I think I ended up $8 or so, not enough to pay for gas.

As I was about to leave, a new guy sat down and straddled my BB, and proceeded to raise every chance he got for the next four hands. With crap. I think he just did that to set an image, but I'll never know, as I got the hell out of Dodge!



HORSE weekly tourney? And a Stud hi/lo hand for Hoy!

I run across a lot of funny names at work. Funny names this week:

Richard Simmons
Charles ALCANTar (arrr! Should have been hang!)
Rich Beggar

In sad poker news, I fired up Full Tilt last night and was not happy to see a new $1 HORSE SNG being offered. Previously, the lowest HORSE SNG was the $5+$.50 ones I was playing. Got some *terrible* players in there, usually one or two out of the full table who didn't know all of the games.

The first SNG I played last night was pretty bad, I was drawing much too often and at much too little, and understandably not hitting. There was a stud hand where I got dealt Qs7h5s and saw that no one else had a spade up, so I chased a flush to 6th street. Just not very good poker. I think I got sent packing on the second go-through of Hold'em in 6th place on a coin-flip preflop.

I've started to realize that a lot of bad beats that occur in tournaments are between a shortstack and a large stack. Beginning to understand the value of having a large stack for tournament theory. I'm sure more than a few of Jamie Gold's suckouts came because of his dominant chip lead. He probably wouldn't have made the same play if it meant he would be the one going out if he lost.

Anyways... the second SNG I played was much better. I took three out of the first four pots in Hold'em with AK, AQ and A9 (on the button). Built my stack up to about 2200 from 1500 starting chips and cruised through the first round of HORSE.

*ALERT* Stud-hi/lo hand here*/end ALERT*

Then I had a couple of very promising draws snapped by the player directly to my left. In "E" on 4th Street I had 2,4,5,7 all of hearts and her board showed KQ. She raised out and I just flat called, waiting to hit either my low or a flush before I started re-raising. Neither came, and I had to fold my Q-hi to her shown pair of 3's on the 7th street.

That was a very frustrating hand, because my notes on her stated that she would call anything down. Against a different opponent I think that a semi-bluff on 4th street or beyond might be warranted (especially the river?), but I felt like waiting to hit, then making this particular opponent pay me off was the best strategy. It was frustrating when nothing hit, but in running through how to play it differently, I'm not sure I could have lost less money than the way I played it.

Suggestions, Hoy? Anyone?

I would have been happy hitting my low on 5th or 6th street and re-raising in hopes of hitting a straight or a flush to scoop the whole pot-but being content to just chop it up if my hi-outs didn't come.

When the SNG got down to 6 players, I was lucky enough to be among the big stacks. The HORSE SNGs take on a unique tone when they get down to the bubble and the stacks are varying sizes. We had three people with between 2-3k in chips, and three players with less than 900 in chips. Unless someone gets extremely lucky, or plays very poorly, those big stacks will make the money (top 3). Seeing how this is a limit event, and 3 of the 4 rounds are bet primarily on "up" cards, it is a card game to bluff your way back into the money.

We widdled our way down to four people, and I knocked out the 4th after he got anted-down to being all-in blind for "O." The first hand into 3-handed play I knocked out the lady next to me in a huge raise/re-raised pot with AAK5, I think she showed A2xx and had capped it preflop. No low help for her! Definitely no reason for her to go to war with that hand, seeing how we were all relatively even chip-stacks.

Heads up lasted only about 10 hands, but I lost about a 2:1 chip lead, then gained it back and knocked out the other guy still playing "O" with another AAxx hand. I was a bit scared that he might have tripped up when the board came Qh 5c 9s and he raise/reraised, but he hand JJT9 and didn't hit his outs.

Glad to see that there are still some questionable plays at my level in the HORSE SNG's. Thinking about testing out an $11 one soon, but think I'll work on my Full Tilt roll a little more first.

If I were to go about arranging a private HORSE blogger weekly tourney, would anyone be interested? Has anyoen tried to get a weekly HORSE tourney going before? I was thinking about maybe 5:30pm on Wednesdays-enough time before the Mookie to play the majority of the tourney; or on Thursdays overlapping the WWDN:NOT tourney, which seems to usually have a pretty low turnout.



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Reason for the lull

For some reason or another, I haven't been able to post from work. It is hit or miss as to whether I can post comments on other blogs. Some days I can, some days I can't. I have continued to write, hence the mass posts today-but when I get home I am just way too lazy to format the email I sent to myself from work and post it on blogger.

So I spent some time this afternoon doing some bloggerdom house-keeping.

So yes, this week... where to begin...

I guess I will start with the biggest thing that happened this week: Stacey and I got into a lull in our relationship (of over 2.5 years now). We just had a very awkward week. Didn't get to see each other much, and when we did we either fought or remained distant. I went up to Seattle for the weekend and we both just sort of stewed.

Not to worry, we had an amazing talk last night while lying in bed that lasted until much much much past my bed time-but I felt perfectly awake all day today because of the weight that talk lifted from my shoulders. We basically resolved to feel less obligated to include each other on everything we are doing. In a way, we both felt suffocated by the closeness of our relationship. We have resolved to give each other a bit of space, or at least just realize that we don't *have* to do everything together, nor should we feel obligated to.

Basically, if I want to go play poker at the pub, she doesn't want me to worry about not spending time with her if playing poker is something that I really want to do. Conversely, if she feels like sticking around her restaurant afterwards and having a few drinks if the mood strikes, she doesn't want to feel guilty about leaving me home alone. A big reason for us guilt-tripping ourselves is that we work basically opposite schedules, and see each other rarely.

We've lived with each other for two years out of our 2.5 year relationship, so in a way the tight bond that we grew to have also in a way restricted us from being our fun-loving independent selves. We're both still very young (compared to Waffles) and realize for us to have our happiness at a maxim (both self and relationship happiness), we need less obligation at this point in our lives.

I told her towards the end of our talk that I don't think at any other point in my life, or with anyone else, would I be able to take this sort of step in a relationship. We trust each other so much, and neither of us want anyone besides us-we just honestly want more space to experiment with likes/dislikes and just grow as people. We've been through ups and downs, and have an amazingly fair and just and intelligent way of solving our problems. I'm really excited to see where this takes us.


In other "fun" news, the big mistake from this weekend was hitting the casino on the way back from Seattle on Sunday afternoon. Two-hour waits at the poker rooms led me to a blackjack table.

Now first, let me preface this story by telling you another story about "drinking blackjack" on Friday night. Chuck and I played, one of us would be the dealer, the other would be the drinker (player). Chuck was up first and won maybe four hands out of an entire deck of cards. He drank heavily.

Then it was my turn to play. I smoked him. I only lost two hands in a run through the deck. I was doubling, splitting, standing when the dealer had a six up. I was on fire. Sadly... I won... nothing. Heck, I didn't even get to drink!

So, back to the casino. I sit down at a $5 min bet table and just feel the luck oozing out of me. I plop down $40 which lasts me 10 hands.

1st hand: I get dealt 12, dealer shows a 2. Everyone stays to me, I hit, go busto. Dealer shows 12 and goes busto as well.

This was my only borderline regret from the session besides sitting down in the first place. I mean, I was drawing 2:1 against a face card, but hit.

Over the next nine hands I didn't receive a single face card. What I *did* receive was three 11's. I doubled each time and got hit with:

Bam, 3.... BAM, 2... BAM! 4

That's right, doubled on 11 and ended up with 14, 13 and 15. Each one lost.


The next $40 lasted me just as long, my 20's running into 21, 19's into 20's. On the last hand I got dealt a 5 and a 6 for my last 11 of the night. All my money was in on the hand, so I couldn't double. I hit and got a 5. 16. Dealer showed a Jack. I hit again and got a 6. 22. Busto.

I'm an idiot for sitting down in the first place, but that was some sick sick luck there. Besides the first hand I don't think anyone would have played my hands differently, but that is what you get for playing a rigged game I guess!

Stick to poker!

I'm loving the Full Tilt HORSE SNG's!

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Beginning of Story with numerous endings

"What is your name?" the young boy asked.

Bruce Johns wasn't having a good day, and didn't feel like answering.

"My name is Ethan," said the young boy, having a conversation with Bruce whether he wanted to or not.

"Bruce," he finally said.

"Bruce! That is a pretty tough name, you look like a Charles to me!"

Bruce laughed.

"Why's that? You don't think I'm tough?"

"Not tough enough to be a Bruce!" the kid responded.

Bruce couldn't help but think what a little punk this kid was. If he had known what Bruce had gone through in the last 24 hours, he wouldn't think twice about his proper-fitting name.

"You look like a Samantha to me." Bruce said to the boy.

"Oh ha ha, Mr.!" the boy said, trying to think up a comeback.

Just then, the bus rounded the corner and pulled to a stop before Bruce and the boy.

"Ladies first," Bruce said with a smile as he waved the boy forwards.

The kid shot Bruce a sideways glance as he climbed up the bus stairs. Bruce got on behind him.

The bus was fairly empty for a Saturday afternoon, about half of the seats were vacant. The kid plopped down on the first available seat, while Bruce walked to the back of the bus. As Bruce turned around to sit down, he could hardly believe his eyes.

The boy was being held at knife-point by a scruffy-looking forty-year-old man in tattered clothes.

I just hammered out (then deleted) a post on anger and poker. It basically just got into how funny I think anger is when it comes to poker. How you shouldn't get mad when the cards are flipped up and you are a favorite and end up losing. Things out of your control shouldn't affect your anger at all...

I went on to talk about how whining about beats is bad, yada yada. As I was reading it I became pretty disgusted with what I wrote. And I couldn't really see any personality at all in my writing, other than an authoritative horse's ass.

Suffice to say, I don't strive to be an authoritative horse's ass.

The purpose of this blog is to be part of a fun community. Every other blogger seems to have a very unique personality to their blog, from Pauly's hookers and WSOP shenanigans to Iggy's monster-posts, to Hoy's imaged strategy to yosoyveneno's Heads up sexual innuendo matches to Double A's strategy.

I am struggling to find my personality.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Novel Intro

**I think writing a book would be a lot of fun, so I'm going to try and piece together a story on here. For now I will probably jump around a lot, but I will try to keep it as close to chapter-form as possible. Any comments are greatly appreciated.**

Being a sophomore in college is light years different than being a freshman. The giddiness is still there on the first day—tracking down friends from the year before, scoping out attractive members of the opposite sex that you have been deprived of all summer. After the first few days though, life reverts back to normal and you come to the realization that you’ve got at least three more years of school before you are finished.

Freshmen spend months wide-eyed at the change in lifestyle. Drinking and partying with no supervision for months before the interim grades come out. Unfortunately for Matt Cameron, he is a sophomore.

“What’s up, biotch?!” Greg Anderson said as he walked into the dorm room.

Greg was wearing a wife-beater tank-top, shiny Los Angeles Dodgers athletic shorts and white Champion socks. He didn’t exactly have a great body, and looked more like an aging Ron Jeremy. Greg had a wet toothbrush in his hand and a white towel draped over his shoulder as he strolled into the room.

Greg and Matt decided to room together their sophomore year because both of their plans to move off-campus fell through at the end of freshman year. Matt was already regretting the decision, because even though Greg had seemed cool the year before, Matt realized he didn’t know Greg as well as he thought he had.

“Not much, just doing some reading for history class,” Matt said as he looked over the edge of his book from his lofted bed.

Matt was wearing a white under-shirt and checkered pajama pants. He had his contacts out and had pillows propped up so he could read a section of his 800-page history book in bed.

Greg flopped down on his own bed and sighed, “Man, I’m in heaven.” He paused for a few seconds, looked over at Matt and said, “I know you are too after seeing those girls out at the Quad.”

Matt had been playing ultimate Frisbee that afternoon out on Todd field along with a few dozen other guys and girls. Greg had been tossing the football with a few of his friends now in the frat system, staring at scantily clad women walking by or sun-bathing. The women would walk by either completely ignoring Greg, or taking a glance at one of his friends with a better body, to which Greg would respond, ‘Yeah, I’d hit that.’

‘No Greg, you’re never going to hit that,’ is what Matt wanted to say.

“Yeah, they looked pretty good,” Matt said, fainting interest.

“Did you see Rebecca?! God DAMN!” Greg said as he shook a little on his bed.

Rebecca was a slut. Matt knew of at least four guys she had slept with from his floor alone last year. There were about two dozen other all-guy floors on campus, not to mention off campus houses, frat houses, and co-ed floors. All told, she had probably slept with a hundred guys last year alone and aborted a dozen or so fetuses. Matt wondered if she kept count.

“She was wearing a fucking G-string out on Todd field! Daaaamn!” Greg said as he continued to writhe on his bed like a dancing Quagmire from Family Guy.

Matt did his best to politely ignore Greg’s writhing and stories of “hot bitches,” when Greg’s cell phone rang and he went into the hall to talk. Matt didn’t own a cell phone. He thought it was nice of Greg to go out into the hall to talk, but wasn’t sure if Greg went into the hall to talk because he had good intentions, or just because he wanted to be seen talking on his new cell phone.

Matt suddenly realized that last year, the only time Greg and Matt spoke was either in the bathroom, or in the hall on the way to the bathroom. Greg was always in the hallway or the bathroom. Always ready with a ‘What’s up?’ or a quip about the current sports story. Matt glanced up from his book across the room towards Greg’s laptop—sure enough, he had Internet Explorer open to the ESPN homepage.

**Not enough action for a first chapter, maybe I can lead with action, then tie this into the 2nd-4th chapter**


Where to write a story?

I always envisioned that if I had a house overlooking the ocean, I would be a competent writer. The Pacific Ocean has always brought out my creative side. The vastness of the ocean, its power, age and beauty—the secrets that lie at its depths. Its jellyfishes, sharks and undertow frighten me. Tossing a baseball, Frisbee or football on its beaches makes me smile from ear to ear. Watching, feeling or hearing the rain pour down starts my imagination.

My mind drifts to the past. History I wish I knew, but don’t. Lewis and Clark holed up in a fort for an entire, miserable winter of rainy days—second-guessing why they ever undertook their journey in the first place. Leaving the Northwest early, risking their lives in the snowy mountains instead of spending another day in the torrential downpour of the Willamette Valley.

What did the natives think of Lewis and Clark? What did they think of the French, Russian and Spanish fur traders before Lewis and Clark? If not for the help of the Natives, Lewis and Clark would have never returned home, how terribly ironic the Native’s fate became.

If I were born a Native American Indian, what would my prejudices be? Probably nothing, until I learned the history. What if history were kept secret? If history was only known by a select few seers, would the general population be racist? Would long-standing, archaic traditions stick around?



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Kleinman Eruption

It had been a month since I played “competitive” ultimate. The July 4th Potlatch Tournament always brings out the best in the group from Tacoma (wow, their website sucks! hah). I usually only get to play with the group once a year, but the team is getting more organized and invited me to play in this weekend’s ultimate tournament in Portland. Seeing as how I like to play Frisbee, live in Portland, and love the group—how could I resist?!

My groin said, “I know of a reason,” this morning, but unfortunately for it, I don’t speak groin.

The two days of Frisbee were well worth the $35 entry fee. I biked to the fields the first morning and ended up losing half of the vision in my right eye about half-way through the first game (of four). It wasn’t overly hot out, but I think the constant exposure to the sun just zapped me. I wasn’t playing well, nor was I feeling well. Luckily for me we had a bye our third game, which allowed me to rest in the shade for an hour and a half filling up on sugar and fruit.

The 4th game I felt good as new, and we jumped out to a big lead over a team we thought we had no chance of beating. We took the half 8-4, but eventually lost 13-15 when they started clicking. We then find out Sunday morning that we are the bottom seed in the B pool (out of A,B,C) for the bracket play.

Of course, this means we get to play the #1 seed in the first round. We assumed we’d be in the top half of the C pool, but here we are warming up to play the top team in the B pool. I actually felt pretty good about the day, because if we lost our first game, we’d be put in the consolation bracket with teams more our level.

Then a funny thing happened. We just completely crushed the #1 seed. We came out hot like the game against the top seed on Saturday, but unlike our collapse on Saturday, we pushed it even harder in the 2nd half and rolled to a 15-6 victory.

Unlike Saturday, Sunday I was feeling great and playing great. I had a couple of risky throws that drifted just over the hands of defenders into the receiver’s hands for scores. Probably 50% of the time those throws will get D’d and I will look like an idiot for throwing it, but everything was clicking and the throws found their way home. I had a couple D’s myself, laying out for one and ripping down a disc in flight. It felt great to play up to a level I have in the past.

We then got crushed in the next round. Oh well, we had our moment of brilliance! As one of our players said, "If you had told me yesterday that we would finish tied for 3rd in the B pool, I would have thought you were nuts!"

Other than the ultimate, it was great to see friends from Tacoma. It is fun to be part of a group that spans about 20 years in age difference, but still feels like a close-knit group of friends. In a way, it is similar to what I think the poker blogging community might be if I attended some of the Blogger get-togethers. Just lots of genuinely good people with one common bond, completely different histories--add alcohol, and you have yourselves a good time!


Monday, August 07, 2006

And they call me Mr. Ed

After reading up on the blogger shenanigans in Vegas a month ago, I had an interest in finding some HORSE games online. I heard Full Tilt had some HORSE SNG’s, but never got around to making a deposit. I’ve been playing on Stars exclusively, if for nothing more than the great customer service and multitude of players.

Last night I decided to make a deposit at Full Tilt after reading XA Kid’s blog (a frequent poster at PokerTips.org). He likes to play the heads up HORSE SNG’s, but I decided to just play the 8-person SNG’s.

I go to make the deposit and find out that not only did I already have a Full Tilt Account, but it still has money in it! I love finding money!

I waited for a HORSE SNG to fill up and took down a few Hold em’ and Omaha Hi/Lo pots… and then… the dreaded Razz approached. I have loathed this game for a while now, and was sure it would lead to a quick exit for me in this SNG.

I don’t think I played a single Razz hand, but I did notice that there was some pretty interesting betting going on. Players betting with Q’s and K’s on their board. I figured if I could get a hand, it would pay off nicely. I’ve been burned by this before with A23 as my first 3 cards, pairing two of those three, then dropping a K and Q on me as my next four cards.

I thought better of it, and just folded my way into Stud.

This is when I realized that I had no clue how to play Stud either.


Folded most of those hands, but to be fair to myself, the best starting hand I was dealt was AQ3. Folded my way to Stud Hi/Lo, one of my new favorite games.

I stomped down hard on the gas through the end of O(maha Hi/Lo) and was the chip leader with six left going into R(azz) S(tud). Basically just folded for two more orbits again. Found myself as one of the two short stacks with four remaining going into the H round, where the strategy of playing the other short stack became more important than my cards or opponents.

Squeaked into the money, and then busted a few hands into O.

Played another HORSE tourney afterwards and was one of the two big stacks when it got down to 4, and I finished 2nd after a nice beat.

Played *another* this morning and bowed out 3rd again.

I’m definitely not playing these for huge financial gain right now (I think third place nets $2.50). But I really like the ability to mix up the game. I also like the practice in the multiple formats, as I realize that my Razz and Stud are weaker games. I don’t want to abandon them, I would much rather practice and make them stronger parts of my poker arsenal.

The similarities in the games are very interesting as well. R, S, E all have some of your information shown, whereas H and O are less informative. I have played a lot more *a LOT more* H and O than R, S and E, so I find myself much more comfortable betting, trapping and bluffing in the HO games. Some players build up nice stacks in the RSE rounds, when I know they don’t have the cards all the time, but they have an Ace up, and my 3, J, K just isn’t worth the call. It will be a fun challenge to get better at all the different types of poker involved in these HORSE tourneys!


Friday, August 04, 2006


Well, I had a good time (like always) playing with my fellow bloggers last night. Spock and I capped off the night by picking horses when it was down to five players. Whoever's horse won, got a signed MS paint image by the loser.

Needless to say, I lost. I was decimated, as SLB and KAT, both Spock's horses, made it to headsup.

Go check out Spock's page (link above) for my splendid art.


In other news, I made it fairly deep in a $5.50 MTT on Stars earlier yesterday night and felt like I was playing very sound poker until the hand that knocked me out around 100th (out of 1700). Raised it up with AJo and got min-reraised. I remember thinking that I was probably beat at this point, with a chance of QQ-AA, but also a chance of a resteal or a lower pp.

I didn't want to seem weak, and had a large enough stack (just above average chip-stack, although the reraiser had me covered), so I called the raise.

Flop came Jh 5c 4c

Pretty darn near ideal for me.

First (possibly 2nd or 3rd?) mistake I made was checking the flop. I really should have bet out to see where I was. He bet half the pot and I raised it up to the point where I basically comitted myself. He called, then called my push on the turn with pocket kings.

It was frustrating to play well for 3 hours, then dump it on this hand. It is a hard hand to get away from once I see that flop, but I think I can probably lay that down when I am playing my A game.


In non-poker news, gf and I went camping for a few days (hence no updates) and only saw three other people the entire trip. It was absolutely gorgeous. We hopped from lake to lake and the trip would have been ideal if not for the billions of mosquitos that ripped our legs and necks to chickenpox and back.