Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday Update

Haven't had too much to post about recently, but that won't stop me from posting! (You can learn from this, Brandon)

My time in Tahoe is coming to an end, so I've been trying to think of all the things I want to do in my last week here. Parasailing, hiking up Mt. Tallac (9,000ft mountain--3k elevation gain), swimming lots, basketball at Kahle, hitting the casinos, playing with Sacramento friends. Lots to do in my next week, but how have I spent the last few days? Playing WoW. Damnit!

The game is just way too addicting. Especially after I found my old pvp rogue. I'm an orc, and I love the Horde--mostly because I get to sneak around and stab the goodie-goodie alliance in their backs. I love to stalk. I've been watching Ichi from the porch, as he stalks all the little rodents in the forest. He would make a very good Orc rogue.

I've also been playing around with Fraps a bit, and hopefully I'll get a little WoW video up sooner or later, with some of my stupid amazing feats of dumbness skill.

Now, to give myself some credit, I did accomplish all most, of the things I put on my to do list this weekend. I changed the oil in my motorcycle (which reminds me, I need to change the oil in the Explorer before the hiking trip/seattle trek), I wrote up some of the Pirates v. Ninjas finale, and I registered and paid for my two classes this fall up in Seattle.

But, the majority of my time was spent playing WoW, and I had a nice, relaxing weekend. I took a few breathers to walk around in my hiking boots, attempting to break them in. I've used them before, but not in a while, and I want to make sure they don't rub me wrong before our 30 mile hike next week.

This weekend should be a lot of fun--some Sacramento peeps are coming up for their last chance to visit me in Tahoe. Beach and casino fun will be had, and I'm sure we'll toss the disc a bit too. My last day of work is a week from tomorrow, and then I believe we start on our hike Friday down in Mammoth, CA. I'm really excited for the hike--it is a four-night escapade through the Sierras. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, because I'll be moving back to the Northwest for the foreseeable future. Expect lots of pictures.

I should have the Pirates v. Ninjas finale ready for public viewing by the end of this week. I'm working full-time this week, so I didn't have as much writing time as I hoped to have, hence the delay.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Alicia Birthday Pictures Linkie

Perfect way to spend my last day in Nevada City: Scott's Flat Lake

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~Poker Karmic Bliss~

When I got off work today, I played with the idea of heading into town and playing poker at the casinos one last time before I move up to Seattle. I was out on the porch, nursing a drink, and planning out my last weekend alone in Tahoe. Next weekend, I'll be having some company to have a little "last-chance to see Chris in Tahoe" party--so I'll most likely be in entertain-mode instead of do-stuff mode.

The list weekend list includes changing the oil in both vehicles, cleaning up my room, doing a trial run of packing up the Explorer (to make sure everything still fits!), and getting in a practice hike on Sunday if I get all the other things are finished. After I finished the list, it was just before 6pm PST, and I decided that going inside and playing in Kat's donkament at Full Tilt would be more fun than going to the casinos so early. I headed inside, but for some reason couldn't log on to the Full Tilt server. I started dinner, and by the time I was finished, I was able to log on--but Kat's tourney had already begun. Bummer. I railed for a few minutes, ate dinner, then hopped on WoW for about 30 minutes before riding my bike to the casinos.

I, of course, forgot that tonight is none-other than Fergy-Fergalicious's night in Tahoe. A HUGE concert in the parking lot of Harvey's, which hampered my sneaky back-entry into the poker casino of choice in South Lake Tahoe. It took me 20 minutes to get around the traffic and get into the parking garage. Luckily I was able to park with the other motorcycles, because I don't think there were any car spots left in the entire garage.

Made my way to the poker room, and decided to just get cash at the casino. The $4.50 surcharge is pretty rough, but I'll need money for next weekend to gamble, and I didn't really want to buy two different sticks of gum at Safeway separately and get $50 cash-back both times. And besides, the last time I got cash at the casino, I hit a Royal Flush ;)

I asked to be seated at a 3/6 table, then I saw what looked to be an interest list for 4/8 half-kill Omaha Eight or Better--so I put my name on for that too. It turned out the Omaha game was in full swing already, and I was about 7th on the wait-list, so I got a chance to play some 3/6 limit.

I started at a fresh table, with brand-new poker chips. I don't think I've ever played with brand-new poker chips at a casino before. They actually felt quite weird. They felt more like plasticy home-game chips because the edges were all hard and sharp, and hadn't been broken in like the smooth $5 chips still in play. I won the button, and decided to keep track of how many orbits I played. When the button came back to me I started making a little stack of chips representing the number of orbits. It was also a good way to check cocktail waitress speed--which was more than fast enough for me tonight. It was actually quite close to once an orbit.

I ended up playing 5 complete orbits, and I didn't get to tip the dealer a single time. I didn't win a hand, and I think I only got to see a river once, which didn't complete my flush, and I folded. It was brutal. I folded 50 straight hands. I folded the winner once (a pair of 10's on an ace-high board to a preflop raiser's c-bet, who ended up showing 8's). I think the hand that occurred the most for me was Jack-two off-suit, again, a brutal string of cards, yet very easy decisions to make.

After whittling my $100 stack to about $20, I finally won a hand when the table got short-handed and I flopped top pair-second kicker with KQo. That hand more than doubled me up, with two ladies chasing their draws to the river and folding. A few hands after my big one win in over 50 hands, I got called for the O-8 game, and decided I had better change games for my sanity. At one point in the 3/6 game I told the guy to my left that I was going to play every hand until I got to tip the dealer. I played four to the flop or turn, and folded my diddly-squat to calling stations that weren't going to fold their hands if God himself promised he had the nuts.

The excruciating two hours left me with I think $37 when I sat down at the 4/8 game, so I stuck a Benji underneath my chips, and played tight. I brought the median age down from about 75 to about 70. The table was filled with old, retired men and women. I was more scared of the super-tight women than I was of the men. And of course, there was a token 'pretend-to-be-loose' old Asian guy directly to my right, pretty much stacking chips from the entire table who would fold anything but the nut low or high by the turn to this guy's aggression.

My luck was much better at the O-8 table. I scooped one big pot, then got halves of a couple large semi-kill pots, to get me back to even--and then some. I was dodging outs like crazy, flopping the nut straight and having it hold up with two flush-draws on the turn and low draws to boot. I started slowing down my steam-rolling of the table, and decided it was time to head home about an hour into my O-8 session--around 1am. I knew I had a lot to do tomorrow, so I called it quits, and was shocked to cash out up $60--from being down to only $20 at one point. That is a $140 swing, almost all from an hour of Omaha 8 or Better!

It sure does feel better to lose money, then win it back (and then some!). As opposed to winning money, then losing it back!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Night I Chose A Door

I really shouldn't still be up. Tomorrow, I have a long day planned with either a six-hour hike up Mt. Tallac, or a 4-hour round-trip drive to Nevada City to pick up the rest of my stuff left at Kristina's. I also have to be at work seven hours from now, which means getting up six hours from now--and that usually equates to a grumpy and yawn-filled morning for yours truly.

But I have a feeling tomorrow will be different.

Tonight, I finally forced myself to answer a few questions that have been troubling me about my decision to try the teacher's path. I eventually tagged on a "Path" label to the bottom of my "To Do" list. I started jotting down what I need to do, and what I want to do in the upcoming months all the way out to the end of the teacher's cert. program. And I was able to put my doubts to rest.

I have from about October 2007 until June 2008 where I can work full-time, if I so choose, which should be more than enough time to save enough money to get me through the "no.way.in.hell.can.I.work.and.go.to.school" Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 schedule of the teacher's cert. program. That also leaves late August and all of September 2007 for me to get my observation hours done, catch up with friends, settle in, and charge my batteries for the long road ahead.

It didn't really hit me until I turned off my computer tonight and my head hit the pillow--but I've finally done it. I've finally chosen one of the many doors I've tried so hard to keep open. I've blabbed about it before, but my whole life from 1982 to 2004 was about keeping as many doors open as possible, and I was pretty good at it (and lucky enough to have lots of doors open to begin with). Then I graduated college and felt lost in a world that I really had no experience with. It was time to chose one of the doors I had tried so hard to keep open for myself, and I had a damned hard time doing it. I knew by choosing a door, I'd be closing other doors for good--and that isn't something I was willing to do.

Instead of choosing a door--instead of moving back to Seattle and starting a career--I decided to see what other doors I could pry open. I had a blast wandering, and I have no regrets whatsoever with the way I spent my time from 2004 to 2007. I grew. I tried new things, I met all sorts of new people, and all of my experiences have influenced who I am today. If I had gone back to Seattle and started working on a career right away, I would probably still be eating a McDonald's breakfast once a week and drinking copious amounts of Mt. Dew. I also would have objected to that last line I wrote, asking, "What is wrong with McD's breakfast and Mt. Dew?!"

But, I've changed. And it is a change for the better. And now I've changed some more--it finally struck me tonight that teaching is not only something I want to do, it the best possible door for me to pick out of the millions of doors I've managed to keep open. To me, it is the most worthy profession out there. More important than doctors or policemen or firemen. But much more important than worthiness is the fact that teaching makes me happy. And much like frisbee brings out the best in me, so too does teaching.

When I realized all of this tonight, in my pitch-black room with my head resting on my pillow--a smile broke out across my face. And it felt really, really good. I felt as though all of the doubt and worry I had about this whole teaching choice had just been released from my body. While I watched all the negatives disappear, I realized I was left with happiness, excitement and determination to prove that I can be a great teacher.

I'm sure the doubts will find their way back in from time to time, but I am going to hang onto this feeling I have tonight for as long as I possibly can.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Hats, Hops and Hucks

Man, for only getting to play one point, due to the torn ligament in my ankle--I sure had a blast this weekend. Maybe too much of a blast at some points--especially during my fabulous dry-heaving Sunday morning. The tournament was as-advertised, and most everyone there was just a blast to be around. I took TONS of pictures, because I wasn't playing. I'll probably make a post tomorrow or the next day with a few of the better pictures. About half-way through taking pictures, I just decided to start snapping as many photos of smiling faces as I could--because there were a lot of smiling faces, and it was a great thing to see.

The team I ended up tagging along with went 0-5 on the weekend, but it was one of the most fun teams I've ever been a part of. We heckled other teams for a good six hours on Sunday, and we took numerous team-trips down to the creek to cool off. Mo, the tournament director, runs a great tournament, and after 15 years of holding this tournament, he's got it nearly down-pat. Lots of good food, too much beer to drink, and great fields to play on--I'm not sure what more to ask in a frisbee tournament.

My downfall came Saturday night, when I drank about 10 beers on a fairly empty stomach. I didn't even sip water that night, and on Sunday I was feeling it. I laid around in a near coma until about 1pm. I remember diving into the tent the night before, but I don't remember doing any of the elbowing or steam-rolling that my two lady-friends in the tent accused me of. I do remember tackling a few other people, but hey, that is just me when I get drunk and challenged to tackle somebody!

But yes, besides the not-remembering things part, and the dry-heaving on Sunday morning--I had an absolute blast. And hopefully some of the pictures will show what a blast other people were having :)

In other news, Julias_Goat is a bitch, and made me force-forfeit my chess game in the chess-tourney we're having. I'm pretty sure I was winning, and we're playing this tourney for money, so way to go, D-bag. We have two days to make a move, which I planned on making at Anne's place--but couldn't hook up with her because the internet was down at work on Friday and I couldn't get Anne's cell number from a friend in Seattle, because he was attending a wedding in Spokane.

Everyone else in the tournament sent me a reminder (which gives me another two days to move). To all of those people--thanks a million, I really appreciate that you didn't take the easy way out and make me forfeit, due to matters out of my control.

Also, Pirates v. Ninjas Part Three is up, over at MHG-RPG. I'm thinking about making Part 4 the finale, so if you have any crazy schemes when the pirates and ninjas meet, the time to comment is upon you--you have one week.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Torn Ligament Blues

Dr. Bannar was nice enough to see me yesterday afternoon, when I came in for my afternoon shift. He took a look at my sprained ankle, poked a few places that felt fine and a few places that made me grimace with pain. Dr. Bannar then shot me back to Marty to take a few x-rays (free of charge, thank goodness!), which came out negative. No fracture, but he's pretty sure I tore the lower ligament in my ankle. Apparently there are three main ligaments that hold ankles in place, so the two that are alright are the ones that I use for walking--which hasn't been interrupted too bad--but the third is vital for running, which I can't do.

Bummer, because I shelled out $90 to play in the Hats, Hops, and Hucks tournament this weekend in Santa Cruz. Fortunately, I was able to get a little refund, even though I still plan on going, I just don't plan on playing. Also, it turns out Anne, from my old Daoc-days, lives in Santa Cruz now--so I might hang out with her a bit this weekend. Should be a fun weekend, even though I am a bit bummed about not getting to play in a really fun hat tournament.

My WoW addiction has begun again. Must...still... get outside! Although, I must admit--when you're holed up at home with a torn up ankle, WoW is a nice escape.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

RPG, WoW, and Armadillo Run!

Games, games and more games!

What else am I supposed to do while I'm laid up with a sprained ankle?

The latest installment of Pirates vs. Ninjas is up. It is a shorty, because I was busy this weekend (and I'll be busy again next weekend--but expect another installment by next Tuesday). I have a good idea of where the story is going now--and I'm looking forward to more improvising from the four horsemen who have nicely enough joined in the fun. Willy and Schaubs commented on the last post, and you can see what they suggested now. Tyler emailed me his suggestion, which will probably come into play in the next episode.

I attempted to play softball last night, and my best contribution was the 12-pack of PBR's that I brought to the dugout. We polished those off quickly, and with two innings left, we were thirsty and all out of beer--just like at a Major League park. We ended up losing in extra innings, and I got to play a bit of 3rd base. Didn't let any balls get by me, and even threw a runner or two out--so I felt like I contributed. If I had been 100%, who knows, we might have won!

I've been fighting the WoW itch for a while now, and I finally decided to download the game today. It took about 9 hours. And now I'm waiting for it to patch, which will take another hour or so. I really should have plugged into the router for this, instead of doing it all via the wireless connection--ah well, live and learn. I don't have to buy an account just yet, because my old one is active still, being taken care of by a friend.

While the download was happening, Tyler introduced me to a real cool game called Armadillo Run. It is on the featured links section to the right. It is an engineering-type game, and the demo shows you a little bit of how it works. Tyler sent me the full version, and I can send that out via some gmail trickery if anyone is interested. The game is addicting. You can finish the levels all sorts of different ways--using elastic ropes to sling-shot the armadillo to the goal, or using rockets and girders and rope. All in the name of engineering, of course!

Now to figure out what class to play in WoW... hmm...

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Three Post Night!

So worth it!

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FIFA Games 5 and 6 (and 7)

"Alphabetic Aerobics" Blackalicious

Well, I lost games 5 and 6. Each time by two points. The first game was frustrating, and I couldn't get anything going--yet, I was still in the game until they scored again in the 90th minute to win. In game 6, we were scoreless until the 65th minute, when I had a nice pass from Markay to Tybo for the score. The other team came roaring back and scored 3 goals in the final 25 minutes to win.

I also played a game 7, but didn't have enough space on the ol' hard drive to capture video. I ended up winning it 4-3. Lots of goals, but nothing too spectacular.

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Five Lakes Hike and the Sacramento Quickie


Got off work right around 10:15am and rode my Ninja up around the west side of the lake. Easily the most beautiful part of the lake to bike. Riding up around Emerald Bay will never get old for me, and hopefully I'll make a few trips back to Tahoe after I move back up to Seattle.

Kristina and I met up at a deli in Tahoe City, took our time chatting and eating the huge half-sandwiches at Rubicon Deli. We weren't really sure about our schedule for the day, we wanted to go for a little hike, and possibly raft down the Truckee--but Kristina didn't bring her floatie, and the river was incredibly busy. It seemed like a weekend crowd, not a Thursday crowd.

We ended up heading to the Five Lakes trail head. It was a 2.5 mile hike up the side of a mountain that used to connect the Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley ski resorts. There are a few old chairlift poles on the mountainside, but no cables or chairs attached. I think they cut the cable to make people buy lift tickets to both resorts instead of getting all of the terrain for one relatively low price.

The bad part of hiking up an old ski-area is that there is very little shade. Lots of open area for skiing equals not many trees for shade! We forgot to fill up our nalgenes with water at the deli, so we did the whole hike with no water. It was pretty brutal, and once we found the first of the five lakes, we hopped in. It felt great after sweating on the hike up, and the lake was probably a little warmer than Lake Tahoe (because it isn't as deep?).

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We hiked back down, then headed to the River Ranch, which is a little restaurant at the end of the commercial float trip. We got one of the last remaining tables with shade, and ordered some nachos and fries to go with our 6 cups of water :) We munched those down by about 4:30pm, and were still planning on hitting up the Truckee pickup frisbee at 6:30pm. Floating didn't really sound great, but we were pretty warm again from the hike down--so we tried to find a beach on Lake Tahoe to toss the frisbee and swim.

After a few misses, we found a little boat launch place. It didn't have sand, but it had a little small-gravel area for people to splash around in. We waded and tossed the disc a bit, but the wind was pretty brutal, so we packed it up and decided to hit the really good happy hour deal at the River Grill. I went there once before, on one of my first motorcycle rides around the lake. $3.50 huge margaritas. Yum. We gulped those down, then headed out to frisbee. We were among the first few there, and tossed the disc around until the game started around 7pm.

I forgot about the whole elevation thing, and that--combined with the tequila in the margarita--didn't bode too well for Kristina. She played a lot of points and played well, but in between points she hunched over a few times and held her sides. That elevation change can be brutal--and she already lives at 3k feet! After frisbee, we zoomed back to Nevada City, and I decided to have a little fun on Hwy 20 and zoom past a few of the trucks trying to slow our progress down.

I was well ahead of her, so I decided to head to Safeway and pick up some pita bread and hummus for a late-night snack, and of course, some Nacho Cheese Doritos! Yum x2. We nibbled on those, then promptly fell asleep.


Friday started off around 9am. For me, at least. Kristina still wakes up super-early, even when she isn't teaching in the summer. Although, I guess waking up at 7am isn't super-early compared to her usual 4 or 5am wakeup time during school. We chilled for a few hours, then decided to go check out the new Harry Potter movie and see if any tickets were available for the matinée showing. We stopped by Pasties, a really good breakfast shop in Grass Valley, and ate our vegie pasties while standing in line, waiting for the ticket office to open for Harry Potter 5.

We were about 20th in line, and the theater wasn't full--on the first full day of shows, which surprised me a bit, until I realized Grass Valley is only 20k big, and most fans probably saw it Thursday night. The movie itself was really well done. I enjoyed it a lot, and the cinematics and casting were very well done, like usual. The only gripe I have with Harry Potter 5 is that nothing really happened? It felt like a Simpsons episode. It made me laugh, and it had a few good messages, but everything ended in pretty much the same place it started.

We got back to K's place, and relaxed a bit, trying to figure out what to do before the Ani Difranco concert. We ended up just taking naps, lol. We were hoping to go for a walk with the dogs, but we were pooped from the hike and frisbee the day before, then a bit sleepy from the movie. We woke up and were on our way to Northridge Pizza, when Kirstina asked me how set I was on pizza. I said, "Not at all, really." She suggested sushi, and I quickly agreed that sushi sounded better than pizza.

We went to this little sushi place in downtown Nevada City, and sat at the only two open seats--at the bar. It was a bit cramped, but the sushi was amazing. It had been about five months since I last ate sushi, and that stuff is bomb. I had one bite where a piece of wasabi made my eyes water, oooh that's the good stuff :)

I decided to splurge on parking at the fairgrounds, instead of parking in Grass Valley and walking 20 minutes to the concert. Since the show didn't start until 9pm, the parking attendants had already left, and we didn't have to pay! Woot! Kristina and I checked the fairgrounds out, and found the sale tent. I ended up eyeing an Ani DiFranco DVD, and picked it up. I considered it a "parking fee." Can't wait to watch it later this week.

Roxie ended up meeting us a few minutes before Ani took the stage, and we had a blast listening to Ani and her band's amazing songs. It was truly the perfect setting to watch Ani play, and she seemed so happy to be playing her music among the trees and friendly concert-goers. There were trees literally surrounding the amphitheater, which made for a really cool experience. I spent half the time watching Ani sing, and half the time staring up at the stars. I saw a shooting star, but didn't have time to make a wish.

For knowing less than half of the songs she played, we all had a great time. She played two of my favorite songs, "Skipping Stones" and "You Had Time." Skipping Stones is such a great song, and I was happy to hear her play it. She talked a lot between songs, some about the war, a lot about the beautiful area, and also a lot about her 6-month old baby. What an amazing life that kid will have. How cool would it be to have Ani DiFranco singing you lullabies every night?

Roxie headed back to Sacto for the Saturday Tournament, and I crashed at Kristina's place for the night.


I woke up at 7am and was out the door by 7:15am for Sacramento. The ride was pretty uneventful, and I made it to the fields in West Sac with plenty of time to spare. I took it easy the first game, and only played a few points. We won that first game about 15-3. The second game had us play the eventual champions, and we got pounded 4-15. That game was a wakeup call, and we beat the next team 15-4. We had a bye in the 4th round, and ended up 2nd in our pool.

We played the top team from the other division, who we beat pretty handily. They had just finished a really rough game, and the sun was getting really hot--so while we rested in the shade, then were out running for an hour in 100 degree weather. In even conditions, the game would have been close, but we won 15-7 because of the circumstances.

With the score at about 7-4, I sprained my ankle pretty bad on a weird play. I tried to help a teammate out in the end zone, as I saw his guy breaking for a score. I poached off my guy and tried to make the D, but misread the wind and the disc. I went up to block it, but realized I was too far underneath it, so I made a sort-of half-assed jump, then was planning on turning around and running back to defend my guy. I landed, then took a step and heard my ankle pop about four times in quick succession, and I went down. It hurt like a bitch, and I stayed down on the sideline for the next few points, but when we took half, I was able to walk over to our shade-tents. Walking wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, so I'm hopeful that I'll get to play in the Hats, Hops, and Hucks tournament next weekend. I iced it on the sidelines, and I'm pretty sure it is a low-ankle sprain. I'll probably ask the guys in Physical Therapy at work if I should do any particular exercises to get it ready for next weekend.

For the Finals, we ended up having a rematch with the team from round two. We ended up giving them a much better game, as we changed our strategy up a bit. The game was tied at 6-6, but they ended up pulling away in the 2nd half, and we ended up losing 8-13.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The tourney was a blast, and while I didn't get to play the 2nd half of the semi's game, nor the finals, I had a really good time hanging out with all my Sacto frisbee buddies, and drinking beers on the sideline during the Finals game. Also, I'm glad I hurt my right ankle, and not my left ankle. I don't really need my right ankle to ride my bike, but my left ankle is in charge of shifting gears, which can be important at times!

After the tourney, we showered at Conor and Kristen's, then headed to John and Liz's for games. Kristen and Conor crash and burned out of the poker game, and promptly fell asleep on the couches. I ended up beating John heads up for 1st place. We didn't have any bets going except one: if you lost a pot with pocket aces, you got to make someone chug a beer. Not only did I win the tourney, I also lost a pot with pocket aces, which I slow-rolled to lose a small pot to two-pair on the river--perfect! I then tried to make Liz (the victor in the hand) chug a beer, but she pretty much sipped it--weak. I only had one noticeable suckout, which was KQo preflop all-in against A5o. Not a huge suckout, but it helped me stack up and eventually take out Dave. I think I took out John by picking up ATs and calling his bluff-all-in preflop with T6o.

Headed back to Conor and Kristen's to crash.


Woke up at 11:30am, wow. Thought we'd wake up earlier than that, and get a bite to eat. Kristen and Conor had a wedding to go to in Stockton at 2pm, so they rushed around then we headed our respective ways. The ride back to Tahoe was nice. I love that ride through the El Dorado National Forest. Lots of curves, like riding around Tahoe--but along a river for a 20 mile stretch or so.

I got home and saw the kitchen counters completely covered with beer cans. It put my Coast Trip beer can shot to shame. I guess they've been partying nonstop since Thursday night. Holy crap I'm glad I was out of town this weekend!

I should have the Pirates v. Ninjas updated by Tuesday afternoon. More softball tomorrow night, and the big frisbee tourney next weekend. Fun in the sun!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


A lady I work with at Tahoe Fracture nearly had a heart attack today. Because she is deathly... DEATHLY!!! afraid... of...


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Apparently, Michelle, another lady who works in medical records (who just found out she's preggers), opened the drawer beneath her desk this morning and a little chipmunk popped out!

How cute, right?


Laurie went CRAAAZY and ran out of the room like a gunman had just stormed in. A chipmunk. Laurie wouldn't set foot in the room until everyone promised to their God, swore on the mother's and father's lives, and just about every other promise--that there were no rodents in the room. She was white as a ghost.

After about an hour of her standing around where I work, freaked out, she rubber-banded the bottom of her pant legs (so the chipmunks wouldn't run up her pants, obviously), and tip-toed back into the back office.

Now, I'm not really trying to poke fun, I'm more interested in how the hell some fear like that can develop. What are the odds that she's actually experienced chipmunks up her pant-legs, to logically fear that happening? Pretty close to zero, I'd think. I fail to see anything that a chipmunk could possibly do to me, to make me fear it. Poisonous snakes--death--OK, I fear you. Chipmunk who wants preggers Michelle's Snicker's bar? Awww cute.

Now, I guess the weirdest thing I can't stand is Styrofoam. I wouldn't say I fear it, but if someone was assembling new computers behind me, scratching Styrofoam all day long, I might just have to leave. Something about the screeching sound just completely makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. The lady who is deathly afraid of chipmunks can probably juggle Styrofoam balls all day long, though.

I just don't understand it.

And I'm glad I didn't tell her how a chipmunk climbed up my leg while I was eating outside Tahoe Fracture Monday for lunch ><. It dropped down from its hiding spot underneath the picnic table and into my lap. Freaked me out a bit, but this lady would probably have to look both down AND up if I told her that story!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What the Bleep (were they thinking?!)

So, I made a comment on M's blog about What the Bleep, and forces of energy and what not. Then someone commented after me, saying the movie had pretty much been debunked entirely. So, I did some research of my own, and found this gem:



"Don’t believe me? You don’t have to because David Albert, the professor from the Columbia University physics department who was featured in the film, is quoted in Salon.com saying:

I was edited in such a way as to completely suppress my actual views about the matters the movie discusses. I am, indeed, profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness. Moreover, I explained all that, at great length, on camera, to the producers of the film ... Had I known that I would have been so radically misrepresented in the movie, I would certainly not have agreed to be filmed."


"The second example was of the supposed “Maharishi Effect.” John Hagelin of the Maharishi University, described how in 1993, violent crime in Washington D.C. was reduced over a two month period, by 4000 people practicing transcendental meditation (TM).

There were many problems with this experiment. One was that the murder rate rose during the period in question. Another was that Hagelin’s report stated violent crime had been reduced by 18% (in the film he says 25%), but reduced compared with what? How did he know what the crime rate would have been without the TM? It was discovered later that all the members of the “independent scientific review board” that scrutinized the project were followers of the Maharishi. The study was pseudoscience: no double blinding, the reviewers were not independent, and the experiment has never been independently replicated. Hagelin deservedly won an Ig Nobel Prize in 1994 for this outstanding piece of work."


"The third example was the work of Masura Emoto, who tapes words to bottles of water. The water is chilled and forms into crystals descriptive of the words used. For example, if the word “love” is taped to a bottle, beautiful crystals form; if the words “you make me sick” are used, ugly images appear.

What the film makers didn’t say is that Emoto knows the word used, and looks for a crystal that matches that word (biased data selection). To demonstrate a real effect, Emoto would need to be blind to the word used. James Randi has said that if Emoto could perform this experiment double-blinded, it would qualify for the million dollar prize. (He has never applied.) Such a protocol would show there is no correlation between the words taped to a bottle and the crystals formed within. These experiments have not been performed to a scientific protocol and have never been independently replicated."


Booooo for bad research methods and phony statistics!!!


FIFA Game 4

Markay with the Hat Trick! Tybo still leads the league in scoring with six goals in only four games, but Markay is up to four goals and is tied with a few others at four. Markay also shows off some fancy footwork in this video, played to "I Can't Win" by The Strokes.

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Pirates v. Ninjas, Part One

Part One of Pirates v. Ninjas is up, over at mhg-rpg.blogspot.com! Go check it out, leave a comment whether you're playing or not!


Monday, July 09, 2007

Live Earth and Softball!

Metallica kicks fucking ass!

I know, I know, I said I would update the Pirates vs. Ninjas thing yesterday or today, but I stayed at work from 8am to 8pm today. I could have tried to update from work, but what I've already written out is here on my laptop, not on the internet.

So, I guess there was a pretty big concert on 7/7/07 that I didn't read much about called Live Earth. Youtube has quite a few videos of the shows in London, Tokyo, and New York (those are the only three places I know of). London had some stellar, blockbuster names play, including Metallica, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Beastie Boys to name a few. I think Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer, Alicia Keys and U2 played in New York. The premise of the concert I think was just being smart about the Earth we live on, recycling and using less fuel and whatnot--great cause and great music.

Balls, checked just now and it looks like the videos have already been removed. Awwwwwwwwww, Peaches!

So yeah, I worked from 8am to 6:30pm today with a half-hour break for lunch. Then I stayed until 8pm watching the Home Run Derby on ESPN. I got invited to go play softball with Gina's softball team, which also included Marty, Michelle, and Tara from Tahoe Fracture. I could have left work at 6:30pm and chilled at home for an hour or so, but I had to be at the softball field at 8:30pm, and it was just a mile from work, so I stuck around late. The derby pumped me up for softball, anyways!

Softball was a blast, and it was the first time I've played since Junior or Senior year of college intramurals. I think softball was the only championship I ever won in intramurals, playing on literally dozens of different basketball teams (we must have finished 2nd ten times in basketball). I even lost the ultimate frisbee championship game (because we couldn't field a team for the final game--we would have schooled them).

I was a bit rusty, and we had 12 people, so Coach Gina and I sat out the first two innings while we were out in the field. Sitting out, and the Tecate beer Gina gave me as a consolation for sitting out, helped ease my nerves a bit. Gina put me batting 2nd in the order to compensate for my sitting out, which I was a bit nervous about.

Back when I played baseball, I was a pretty good fielder, but couldn't hit the broad side of a barn door. Our team was in the field first, and Marty was pitching. I could tell from his attire that he plays a bit of softball away from work. He had the baseball bag with bats and softballs. He was wearing baseball pants with a batting glove hanging out of the butt-pocket. And I'm pretty sure he had stirrups on. To make a long story short, he walked in four runs in the top-half of the 1st inning, then yanked himself as pitcher. Mark came in to relieve Marty, and I felt like there should be music blaring (like they do at all the Major League games when the relief pitcher trots in from the outfield). On Mark's first pitch, the guy lines it right back to him, and he tosses the dude out at first to end the inning--nice!

We're down a quick 0-4, and Allyson, a very big newbie to the game of softball, is leading off. She whiffs a few times, then trickles a grounder back to the pitcher for the first out of the inning. I'm up next, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the same thing Allyson did, or hit a little dink pop-fly to the infield. I take the first few pitches and then swing at an eye-high pitch--my wheel-house! I zip a grounder right up the middle, for a pretty nice base-hit. It was far enough away from the pitcher that he couldn't take a stab at it, but it was hit hard enough that the shortstop, who was shading towards 3rd base, couldn't even make a play on it.

I couldn't believe it, I got a hit! Gina was up next, and grounded it to 2nd base, who threw it to the short-stop for the force-out on me--while Gina prevented the double-play by making it to 1st just in the nick of time. Marty launched one as the next batter, and Gina scored all the way from first base to get us on the board!

Not much eventful happened until the top of the third inning, when I got to go in on defense. I chose left-left field (we had four out-fielders). That inning, two balls were hit to me, and I ended up catching both of them! The third out was a line-drive to Tara at 2nd base, and she made a leaping grab to end the inning. It was a great inning, because the two fly-outs to me I completely mis-read, but I was close enough to stretch waaaay above my head and to the right to make the catch both times. I looked like a complete doofus, but I got the outs! The fact that Tara had to make a big stretch for hers made the inning complete :)

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, we made a little run, and I got up to bat with men on 2nd and 3rd, and only one out. I waited for my pitch, and on the fourth or fifth pitch of the at-bat, I grooved a shot into shallow-right field and made it to 2nd base for the stand-up double--driving in two runs! 2-for-2 with 2 RBI's??? If you had told me that before the game, I would have laughed you out of sight. We were still down 7-4, but the game was within reach.

With two outs and nobody on in the top of the 4th, a big guy on their team hit a sort of soft line drive right down the line towards me, and I raced to grab it in the air--I got to the ball in time, but it bounced off my glove and onto the ground. Instead of kicking myself over the error, I picked it up quick and fired it into 2nd base, where Tara grabbed it out of the air, spun around, and tagged the guy out trying to stretch my error into a double! No more error for me!! Woot!

My next at-bat came in the bottom of the 5th, and again I had two people on, but this time on first and second, with two outs--a much more difficult situation. I had found gaps my last two times up, while waiting for a good pitch... but this time the first pitch looked extra-juicy, so I wailed at it. I crushed the ball pretty good--easily my longest, prettiest hit of the night, but it went straight at their left-fielder, who caught the ball and our little rally died out. The score was still 7-4 bad guys.

The game was pretty uneventful from there on. I got a few grounders that made it through the infield, but no heroic plays or anymore at-bats. I ended the game with 3 put-outs, and I went 2-3 with 2 RBIs. Not too shabby! Hopefully, I'll get to play a few more games with them. They were a really fun team to play with, and there was talk of a hot-tub party at Tara's place after the game. She's actually house-sitting for Dr. Bannar this week--so that would have been freaking awesome, but ah well--hopefully he's out of town for two weeks! :)

I promise the Pirates vs. Ninja update tomorrow by early afternoon. Schaubs, Willy, Tyler and Marc have all responded, so everything is a go!

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Fun With Psalms

A travelling Bible saleswoman just came through the office, and tried to unload a whole stack of Bibles on me at the front desk. I shot her down, but she did toss a "New Testament: Psalms Proverbs" book at me, and I grudgingly took it.

I was bored at work, so I started flipping through it. Then I came across this gem:

Luke 20:29
"Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children."

Awesome. What is the moral of this story, exactly? LOL. Also, if the Bible can start sentences with And, then I can too!

And now I'm going to search for more funny psalms.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Updated Bike Map

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Looking at the map, there are a few places I really want to hit before I move up to Seattle. The biggest is probably Hwy 1 along the coast near Big Sur. I might be able to fit this in if I do the Hats, Hops, and Hucks tournament in two weeks--but I'm not sure if I'll be attending, and if I do, I'll probably want to carpool.


777 - Jackpot!

7/7/07--what a day!

Woke up around 10:30am after playing Starcraft a bit too much the night before. I got in a round of FIFA, which was my previous post. DTran was originally planning on arriving in Tahoe around noon and playing basketball with me at Kahle for a few hours, then heading down to the casinos to play poker. He ended up getting a late start out of the Bay, so he didn't show up until almost 4pm.

I decided to go hit Kahle anyway, and I luckily found a spot with two wily veterans: half-court shooting Dave, and his partner in crime, Mike. Our fourth teammate was a scrappy young guy who owned the boards. We were potent. Dave, Mike and I were on fire from 3-point range--and when you have 3 players making over 50% of their 3-pointers, and an awesome rebounder, we pretty much hit a 3-pointer every time down the court. We won six games in a row before finally falling to another pretty stacked team of youngsters. For not playing basketball the last month, I was glad to find my shot still intact.

Basketball ended around 3pm, so I went home to shower, then headed down to Harvey's to meet up with DTran. They hit some bad traffic, apparently a burning car on the roadway (which is super-dangerous in the forest-fire prone Tahoe National Forest). I got to the casino before them, and still wasn't sure which game I wanted to play. I'd been debating between $2/$3 No Limit, and $3/$6 Limit. I have only played in the $2/$3 NL game once since moving to Tahoe, and I lost $200 in about 15 minutes, before eventually winning it all back over the next hour or two. For the most part, NL is a lot more fun and challenging to play--but I finally decided that if I played the $2/$3 NL game, I'd be playing with "scared money," which is no way to play no limit.

I got seated right away at $3/$6 Limit, and after watching a few hands, I was very glad with my decision to play Limit instead of No Limit. The table was a very friendly table, and the entire first orbit at the table, I don't think I saw a single pre-flop raise. Good table to be at! The table banter was also extremely light-hearted and funny. Players took their bad beats in stride, and poker karma was in full force. If someone took a few beats in a row, he'd get a big pot within the next orbit.

The table dynamic was almost perfect, and I'm glad I am finally able to recognize when I'm at a good table or when I should get up and find another. The table had four or five old, retired guys who played very tight. One old Asian guy who was willing to mix it up, but for the most part played tight. Two late-20's Filipino guys sat down at the table, and for the three hours I was at the table, it was pretty much the two Filipino guys making fun of the old guys (or each other), then the old guys firing right back at the young guys. I was in the middle of it all, jawing back and forth at everyone--but all in good humor, and there were lots of laughs.

About 30 minutes into the session, DTran arrived and he brought two friends, Jeremy and Hy-son (like Tyson with an H). The three of them all work at Google on the Gmail team. Jeremy is on a six-month work visa slash internship with Google, and he is originally from Paris, France. Hy-son is from Vietnam, and I didn't quite catch if he is on an internship, or if he is working permanent at Google. Needless to say, they had money to gamble with! I don't think I've ever really met any French people before, but Jeremy was pretty cool. Nice guy, funny, and had a a funny french accent to go with his humor. I resisted doing the annoying French laugh in front of him (hau hau hau), but it was difficult... very difficult.

The three of them took a while to get seated, and while they were waiting, I get really my only memorable hand from the evening:

Get dealt KcQd in the BB. Five limpers to me, and I check my option.

Flop comes AdJdTd. Flop the straight, and have a draw to the 2nd highest flush.

SB checks, I lead out for $3, and one of the two Filipino's directly behind me raises to $6. Rut Roh, he either probably has the Kd, or a made flush, or possibly a set is what I'm thinking. I don't really see him raising here with anything less. I'm not really sure what the two guys were thinking who cold-called the $6 bet to my right, but I decided to call as well, with all the money in the pot--and hoping for another diamond.

Turn comes 6h. SB and I check to the re-raiser, who bets out $6. One caller, SB folds, and I call, hoping for that last diamond. As the dealer burns the final card before the river, I think to myself:

"Diamond, Diamond, Diamond... man, I sure hope that guy doesn't have the Kd if another diamond hits... how cool would it be if the river is the Kd??? Royal Flush!"


BAM!!! King of Diamonds!!!

I lead out for $6, guy behind me re-raises. 3rd guy reluctantly folds, and I let off the other guy easy by just calling (I didn't want to be THAT much of a dick). I show the Qd and rake in a pretty big pot. Everyone starts hooting and hollering, and I got a jackpot worth $529 for hitting the Royal flush! Tipped the dealer nicely, and thought about swimming in the sea of red chips in front of me :)

7/7/07 the luckiest day ever? Royal flush jackpot says yes! That is the first Royal I've ever had, and after it happened, all I could think is how glad it didn't happen at the penny/two-penny tables on Pokerstars, where all I'd win is the $2 pot, and have no jackpot :)

I made a conscious effort to not loosen up with the $600 in front of me at a $3/$6 table, and I folded like a madman! I had a blast at the table chatting it up with all the old guys, who had plenty of stories to tell, and couldn't wait for someone to listen. I downed 4 Sierra Nevadas, and just had an all-around blast.

I checked in on DTran and friends periodically, and tried to make a "whoever makes the most money wins" bet with DTran, but he saw my Royal flush already. Damn! David was doing pretty well, and had a healthy $150 or so in front of him after buying in for $100.

Jeremy, on the other hand, wasn't doing so hot. His big hands weren't holding up, and he'd only win the blinds with Aces. His table eventually broke, and he ended up sitting directly to my left for about 20 minutes before he busted out and opted not to rebuy with his shitty luck. His bustout hand happened when he only had $5 left, and found As3s. He ended up flopping the nut flush, but an opponent found quads on the turn. Unlucky, but also very lucky that he didn't have anymore money to lose on the hand!

Hy-son apparently flopped a straight-flush on his table, for a $250 jackpot. He got up and left quickly thereafter, happy to win money his first time at a casino.

We finished up playing at about 6:30pm, and were ready for some dinner. David was last to get up from his table, so we bet on how much he won. I didn't get a very good look at his stack, but Jeremy said $40, and I went with $30. Hy-son picked $35. We all put a dollar on it, and Jeremy finally won something, when DTran came back and announced $47.

We headed to Sam's Place, and I chowed down a monster Calzone, and washed it down with a very large Hefeweizen. J had a burger, and DTran and Hy-son couldn't finish their monster calzones. Jeremy taunted David and said it was just three more bites. David had probably 1/3rd of his calzone left, and he bet Jeremy $5 that J couldn't eat it in 3 bites. He took three HUGE bites, and just barely made it. It took him a good 5 minutes to finally chew and swallow all of that last bite, and I don't think anyone else at the table could have done it.

Hy-son and I paid for Jeremy's meal, because we won the big jackpots, and he had shit-luck on the night (besides prop-bets!). After Sam's place, we headed to my place, then walked down to the beach. It was just after 8:30pm when we went down to the beach, and it was starting to get dark. That didn't stop us from bringing a disc and a football though, and we ended up playing 2v2 football on the sandy beach.

Me and Jeremy vs. DTran and Hy-son. The teams were made at Sam's place, when Jeremy had finished his burger and we agreed that the next person to finish their meal was on J's team for games tonight. First play from scrimmage, J tosses up a duck, DTran intercepts it and returns it for a Touchdown. Balls!

0-1, playing to 3. Next possession, we miss four passes in a row, and turn the ball over. I make them start from their goal line instead of ours (wily!), and I end up intercepting Hy-son and returning it for the equalizer.

1-1. Next possession, DTran lobs a nice pass to Hy-son for the score.

1-2. Jeremy and I work the ball down the field, and get a nice little slant to me for the score.

2-2. They start with the ball, and I suggest losers buy drinks for the drinking games tonight. David quickly agrees, because they have the ball. By this point, it was almost completely dark, and it was getting hard to see the ball--so I honestly didn't think they'd complete a pass.

Then comes the greatest play of sand-football ever at Zephyr Cove.

David is the QB, and sticks the ball out at the line of scrimmage and shouts, "Blue! 42! Green! 16! Hut...Hut... HIKE!"

And as soon as he says HIKE I snatch the ball from his out-stretched hand and run it in for the score!!!!!! We Win!!!!!

After a bit of rubbing it in, we head to Safeway and get a 12-pack of Sam Adams, 4-pack of Guinness for DTran and I, and a 6-pack of Fat Tire. We didn't really plan on drinking heavily, but I wanted to show them beer pong, and perhaps a drinking game or two.

We ended up playing beer pong with bottled Sam Adams Light. It was much better than our usual Natty-Ice at the house. Jeremy and I rocked the house against DTran and Hy-son. I was on fire, and on our first shot, Jeremy sunk his, and I bounced mine into the middle cup for a quick 3 drinks for DTran and Hyson. We got the balls back to shoot again because we both made em'. J missed his, but I sank mine for a 4-0 lead.

DTran and Hy-son missed their first six or so shots, and I ended up sinking my first 5. At one point in the game, we had them down to two cups, and we had all of ours still. Can you say, "Rout?!" By the end of the game, they ended up only hitting one of our cups, but both Jeremy and I air-balled shots on the single cup, so we had to each drink a cup for the air-ball. So technically, the DTran/Hyson combo had to drink 17 of the 20 cups--but I helped them out by drinking 3 of their 17.

Jeremy and I then lost to Hy-son and Cody, when Hyson caught fire at the end. He first sunk it in the same cup Cody sunk his in, to send us down from four cups to one--then he made his first shot at the solo cup, to ice the game. Losing at beer-pong gets me wasted fairly quickly, so shortly thereafter I hit the hay.

We woke up this morning around 10:30am, and walked down to the Zephyr Cove Resort, where half of the house used to work. I actually don't think anyone still works in the restaurant anymore, but at one point Jen, George and Cody all worked there. Jen's in Shasta now, George moved to work the jetski rentals, and Cody works at Push Fitness. The food was damn good, and David "I'm rich, bitch!" Tran picked up the bill, cause he's like that.

We headed down to the beach, and were just planning on checking out the scenery and tossing the frisbee and football--but we ended up getting hot and all jumped in the lake. It felt great after the burning sand on the feet! We got lots of tossing in, and played fliers up for a while. Can't wait to get back to Seattle and have people to toss with more often.

All in all, great weekend, and 7/7/07 delivered in a big way :)

Not sure what I'm going to do this afternoon, it is a toss-up between frisbee in Truckee, and chilling at the house for the afternoon. Leaning towards frisbee, but I'll give Lis a call and see if her and friends will be playing.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

FIFA Game 3

Added a Pearl Jam track to this video, "Don't Gimme No Lip."

The game started out with two quick goals by the opposition. One off a free kick, and another sweet crazy angle shot. Went into the half down 0-2.

Marc Markay got the troops fired up by getting into a little altercation at the start of the 2nd half. He gave some defender a shoulder to the gut, then had a few choice words. On the next possession, Tybo hit a rocket through the keeper and into the upper right corner of the goal. Markay then scored the equalizer and added a nice celebratory dance, complete with a little Markay Shimmy and Tiger Uppercut!

Unfortunately, we couldn't find the net in any of the other dozen or so attempts on goal, and ended the game tied at 2. Balls.

Record is 2-0-1 now with the tie.

I've got the Pirates vs. Ninjas writeup almost finished, just need to fit Tyler's character in. Marc's been MIA because of his move, and doesn't get internet until Tuesday, so I think I'll write his character in later. I should have the first installment posted by Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Time to go gamble it up with DTran!!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Bunny vs. Cat


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Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July

This 4th was unique, I'll give it that.

For most of the past decade, I've spent the 4th out at Marc's cabin on Lake Tapps, just south of Auburn. The spot is hard to beat. It is at the tip of a peninsula on the north side of the lake, pretty much the perfect spot to see the fireworks happening from all around the lake; and then the big show at the end of the night.

We've had some pretty memorable 4th's out there, usually involving us blowing something bigger and better up. We'd save our change all year and go to either the Tulailip or Muckleshoot Indian Reservations to buy fireworks. One time Marc walked up to a stand and the shady looking Native American behind the counter asked, "Over the counter, or under the counter?"

Marc turned to me, smiled, and said, "Under the counter."

I remember that little hidden box the dealer pulled out. Cherry bombs, half-sticks of dynamite... and bigger. We got a cherry bomb and a half-stick.

But that was back in the hay-day of illegal fireworks buying, where they had trouble even giving the stuff away. But over the past six years or so, dumb kids (and adults) keep blowing themselves to bits every 4th of July. This has led to a big crackdown on the fireworks that can actually do some damage. A decade ago, I remember buying 20 M-80s for $20. And I even got the guy to throw in some sparklers for free. Those same 20 M-80s would be worth their weight in gold today. They just can't be found anymore.

Whatever police agency was responsible for cracking down on fireworks made their presence known, and shut stands down in a hurry. Those stands lost tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. The sellers caught on quick, and stopped selling the good stuff entirely.

Ever since the crackdown, I've lost interest in setting off fireworks. I don't really think it was entirely due with the crackdown, but the crackdown definitely didn't help. Sort of like playing $10/$20 NL six-max poker regularly, then dropping down to $1/$2 limit. The wind in your sail is nowhere to be found.

The past few years, fireworks have taken a back seat for me on the 4th. When I think 4th of July, I don't think patriotism or yippee! fireworks! I think heading home to Seattle, seeing friends, and playing in the best frisbee tournament in the world: Potlatch. And I've had an amazing amount of fun returning to Seattle for the 4th since graduating college.

But this year seemed strikingly different than past 4th of July's for me. This is the first 4th of July I've been by myself. I think for the past 10-15 years I've either watched the show with family or friends. Being alone for the 4th is kind of weird. Like New Years, 4th of July is probably the next closest time I just want to have someone to hold close and share the moment with.

I remember a few years watching the fireworks out at Lake Tapps, right around the end of high school / beginning of college. I'd be having a blast the entire day and on into the night shooting off fireworks, but when everyone gathered out at the point to watch the big fireworks show, I felt something missing. Grandma had Grandpa, a few of Marc's aunts and uncles would scoot their chairs closer together, and the younger couples would snuggle close. I wanted in on that, and I think I've really only experienced it once or twice in my life. Along with the fireworks on the 4th and New Years, I could sit close to my girl and watch every sunrise and sunset of the year and not get bored.

Finding a girl that would want to do that, and also fall into other desirable categories for me isn't the easiest thing in the world. My team of 100 chimpanzees have been compiling the data, and I think I've really only gotten to know one girl (maybe two) in my life that I could envision grabbing a big blanket and heading up to a knoll and watching fireworks or the sunrise for the rest of my life. And she's married.

The biggest problem seems to be that the type of girl who likes to do the wholesome things I like to do, also tends to have a strong faith in God (and a chimp just whispered in my left ear, "Republican, too!"). I won't say being a Republican isn't bad, but I can say that about faith in God. I have no problem at all with Christians, Catholics, Muslims--you name the religion, I have no problem with it. I just have a very hard time seeing myself marrying a religious person. If I did, that religious person would have to share my questioning nature. And, not trying to sound like an ignoramus, "faith" to me tends to involve stopping the questions, and believing in something without proving or questioning it--and that isn't something I'm really willing to do.

Speaking of religion, Christianity to me is a lot like the USA. In theory, I can't agree more. Treat everyone like your brother--sounds great to me. Let freedom ring, equality for all--hallelujah! Brainwash the young into loving Jesus by having them color his portrait in--no thanks. Let women earn roughly 75 cents to every dollar a male earns at the same job, and have a Senate comprised of nearly all old, white men--I fail to see the equality.

I could get off-track in a hurry, so I'll stop there.

Standing on the top of a hill overlooking the amazing display of fireworks at Lake Tahoe, a few other thoughts entered my head. What an amazing motivator the fireworks and music are on the 4th of July. If I was overseas, "fighting for my country" and saw a fireworks display and heard Ray Charles "America the Beautiful" or other patriotic songs playing in the background, I could see myself tear up. I could see myself renewed with energy that the country I'm fighting for is the best country in the world.

Then I thought to myself--wouldn't the best country to live in be a country that didn't need to spend millions of dollars on fireworks and emotional songs to remind you that you live in the best country? I might be patriotic for that day, or the next week--but what about the other 51 weeks? It just seemed a little bit like the "We Are The Champions" song.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm going to continue to love fireworks. They make me think, and they are very aesthetically pleasing. But I don't think I'm ever going to stop questioning. I wonder what people are thinking who are watching the fireworks and have loved ones overseas. If I was in that scenario, I think the only thing going through my mind would be to hope as hard as I could that the loved one gets home safely. Bashing the Bush Administration wouldn't even be worth the energy for me, because I know it wouldn't bring that loved one back any sooner.

In a different time and setting, I think my views would change. I've lived nearly my entire life in a big safety blanket. No wars close to home, and honestly--no real reason to be patriotic. During WWII, I could see thinking differently. Somebody has to stop the Nazis. In that case, it seems like there is a clear evil, and as much as I would hope for a loved one (or myself) to get back from overseas alive--I would realize there are more important things than my love one's life. If I, or my loved one, has to sacrifice their life so Nazi Germany doesn't take over the world--so be it.

When you, or the corporations that you've helped breed, rule the world already, the same type of motivation doesn't work on me as it might have during WWII.

I suppose that is enough ranting for one post. Shucks. I am up at the Truckee Book and Bean shop again, ready for some high-quality pickup frisbee in 15 minutes or so. The motorcycle ride up here was amazing, and I missed my ninja up in Seattle.

OK, a little more--there is another thing I that actually occurred to me on my walk back from watching the fireworks last night. I was walking back in the dark, on a dirt path behind my house, and I realized that it wouldn't be too far-fetched for a bear or cougar to leap out and me and take me out. Walking alone through the forest at night, with no flashlight, probably isn't the smartest thing in the world to do. I realized then that even this slight change to my psyche changed what I cared about.

When your life is on the line, you don't really care much about riding your motorcycle or playing frisbee on a gorgeous day. You care about living. There are plenty of people in the world right this moment that fear for their life, I'd wager thousands in every continent (save Antarctica?). One might argue a life lived without worrying about whether or not you'll wake up the next day is better. You probably have a lot more fun, and get to ride motorcycles and make art and relax. If you're fearing for your life, you probably don't have much time to relax. That, and I don't think it is feasible for everyone in the world to live like we do in the USA. I'm pretty sure that's been proven, and we'd need the resources of five planets for everyone on Earth to live like us.

Recycle, bitches. Oh, and use less shit.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Backpack and Seattle Recap

My Dad and I went to REI this morning before my flight back to Tahoe and picked up the above backpack. It is pretty sweet, and I hope to use it for many years to come. I was initially looking at a smaller-sized backpack, but my Dad sort of grunted his disapproval--him wanting me to get a larger pack to carry more of his stuff. It will also definitely come in handy for our 3-night camping trip in the Sierras in about six weeks. I was starting to worry about what I'd do for a backpack, seeing how the canvas on the old red one I was going to use starts to tear at about 20lbs. This guy can hold 35lbs, and comfortably place most of the weight on my hips. Gold!

My Seattle trip was great, but I have a few gripes. I talked with the adviser for the UW Bothell teaching cert. program, and everything was looking good--then 10 minutes after we hang up, she emails me saying that I'll need more math classes if I want to teach Middle School math. Blarg. I don't really want to take more math classes. I might, if middle school is really what I want to do, but I also might sit in on a few K-5 classes and see if I would enjoy it there. I think 4th or 5th grade in the right setting could be a lot of fun. I would be with one class, and teaching them everything--instead of 5-6 different classes with students filtering in throughout the day. I could see burnout happening for me if I teach the same thing six times a day. If I get a class and get a variety of subjects to teach them, I think I'd like that more--but I'll have to wait and see until I get some more observation under my belt.

I was also a bit disappointed in not being able to hang out with Tessa and Jared. Our schedules didn't work out well before the Coast Trip (they had to work), and I couldn't get a hold of Tessa after the trip. Monday was gorgeous, and I was hoping to hear back from Tessa to go for a run, but no luck. I had tentatively planned on going up to Jeremy's for some Wii action later Monday night, but sitting around playing video games just really didn't appeal to me by then. Tyler, Renee and I went over to Sand Point and played handball and racquetball for an hour and had a blast. Tyler whooped both of us, but I made it closer in racquetball. I don't see how people play 2v2 racquetball--that ball zips around the court like Speedy Gonzales and you're trying to hit it, while not hitting the other three people in the court.

After sweating for an hour, we got outside and Renee told me to find a girl so we could play doubles instead of the 1v2 rotation we'd been doing. I told her I'd work on that. I said I was glad Stacey wasn't around, because if we had tried to play racquetball with her, there would most likely be three corpses in the room, and Stacey left standing with a bloodied racket after accidentally cracking us on the head going for the ball.

I didn't really get to enjoy the sun at all on Monday, but I did spend a lot of time with Mom and Dad. After racquetball with Renee and Tyler, they came by for some Zeeks Pizza. They headed home, and I finished watching the 11-inning Mariner's game with my Mom. I was in a running mood, but didn't really want to run around at night (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't), so after some ansy-pants shuffling around the living room, I remembered my parents have an under-used treadmill downstairs. I ended up doing wind sprints for about 15 minutes, traveling 1.23 miles. I'd walk for two minutes, then spring for a minute. I'd walk on turtle-pace, then pump it all the way up to "performance" level for the sprinting. That thing can move!

I was also a bit disappointed in not getting to play with the Tacoma team this year at Potlatch, but that was offset by the amazing Canadian/Australian/Sacramento team I picked up with.

The flight back to Reno arrived right on time, and I got to write out the intro to the Pirates V. Ninjas story I'm about to start over on mhg-rpg.blogspot.com. Still waiting on Tyler and Marc to add their quick bios to the ranks before I start. If you're on the fence, start a quick little blurb over there, and again--don't worry about being obligated to participate, I'll gladly kill off your pirate or ninja (or other) with gusto!

Mt. Rainier from the plane:

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Barley Bill, Gotta Love Him!

Tried frapsin' a round of Tiger Woods golf tonight, and it turned out to be one of my best rounds of virtual golf so far! Chipped it in twice! I got to witness the roller-coaster ride of emotions my favorite custom-made virtual golfer--Barley Bill--is prone to have. He waved confidently to the non-existant crowd, belly-thrusted after making a long putt, and even teared up a bit on his approach to the 18th green while holding a big lead. After missing his first putt on 18, he threw a little temper tantrum (even after being up 5 strokes with no other golfers behind him). Then Barley Bill sunk his final putt on 18, tapped his heart (or one of the two lonestars on his chest) and waved to nobody as he walked off the green.

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FIFA Attempt #2

Well, the sound didn't work in the second game of the league. I'm going to switch up a few options that I think might make a difference.

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This is my first attempt at using the retail version of Fraps, which was a birthday present from the folks. I captured video from the entire game of FIFA, which came to a ginormous 15GB. I edited out everything but the intro, the goals, and the out-tro. This cut down the video to 14MB!

Things to work on for the next video:
1)Better video quality
2)In-game audio

Any other ideas? I think maybe cutting the replays after the goals, and adding in some of the off-the-post shots, or some of the nice jukes would make the video a bit more lively. Then at the end of the season, I can hopefully get a little highlight video to some kick-ass music.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Coast Trip and Potlatch 2007

Another great coast trip is in the books. Andrew, Tyler, Renee, Marc, Sarah and I had a blast over the last three nights out in Ocean Park, WA. Andrew and I swam in the ocean two afternoons. It was a bit chilly, but warmer than Lake Tahoe, and after running around on the sand, the cool water felt quite good!

We played cards, played some game cube, and generally just had an all-around great time. This was the first time we had a place with a hot tub, and it is pretty sweet to have on the coast, especially in June. June on the Washington coast is no picnic. We had rain the first day, and high winds nearly every day. I don't think it got above 70 degrees. The hot tub was a nice addition. The first year we had a ping-pong table, the second year we had a pool table, and this year we had a hot tub. I think we all agreed that the pool table got the most usage, but the hot tub was a distant second. I think I hopped in four different time in the 3-night trip.

The four guys got a golfing trip in, and we played a little 9-hole course near Ocean Park, the same course we played last year. Tyler and I, versus Andrew and Marc. Last year they won by one stroke in a best-ball competition, and this year they somehow managed to pull off a victory by one stroke again. We were all playing pretty well for not playing in at least six months, not getting above a bogey (granted we were playing best-ball duos) for the first few holes. Tyler and I were up by one stroke until the 7th hole, when Andrew chipped in from the fairway to pull it back to even. We would have gone up two or three strokes on that hole if they had to putt it out. Bad beat! We triple-bogeyed and they double-bogeyed the eighth hole, and we tied the last hole to lose by one stroke again. So we had to be beer-bitches for the night.

The golf trip also had the most amazing moment I've ever been involved in at a golf course. Tyler, who hadn't really hit anything in the air; Marc, who had been slicing every shot; and Andrew, who can actually play, but wasn't playing well--they all stuck their balls on the green on the par-3 5th hole. They were all beautifully perfect shots, and the old guys in front of us watched them all smack their balls on the green. I didn't even shoot, because we needed a Tyler drive on the score card (each team had to take 4 drives from each player, and I was at 3 drives already). The moment is captured forever on the 8th photo down below. Literally one in a million chance of this happening.

Potlatch was amazing as usual. It is great to meet up with all my old ultimate friends every year, and I found pretty much everyone again this year. My old Junior Nationals teammates were playing as the 1st seed in the A pool again this year, on a team called Five-Point Ballas. Apparently their whole team name was longer, and involved ninjas, hence the "five-point" so some of them were dressed up as ballers, and others as ninjas--it was pretty sweet.

I tried to find my old Tacoma team I've been playing with the last four or five years at Potlatch, and ran into Tom White playing on the closest possible field to the cars, so I waved him down and asked about the team. Apparently the team dissolved/melded into another team, which was playing right in front of me--and they had a pretty set team in place. Bummer. A few of the old players had tried to already get in and play a few points, but were basically told "you can't play." Admittedly, they aren't the best players, but me trying to go play with the team didn't make much sense at that point.

Enter the amazing, random meeting with Tracy and Oren! As I was walking around taking pictures and figuring out what to do next, I thought I saw Oren near one of the Port-O-Potties. It was him, and they were playing with a mix of Canadian/Australians. I knew them from Sacramento, and apparently they moved up to Canada in March! After listening to my brief story about the Tacoma team, they suggested I try to play with them, who lost a player to an ankle injury in their first game of the day. Playing with Australians and Canadians sounded like a blast, little did I know, two of those Canadians were Patty and Graham! Woot! And I also knew Steve Lahr and Jack from the Sacramento community (we actually played last weekend in Sacramento against each other), who picked up with the team because they knew Patty, Graham, Oren and Tracy.

So I ended up randomly picking up with a team I knew six players! They were playing in the C pool (the upgraded Tacoma team was playing in the D pool), so I had my work cut out for me. I'm used to playing in the F or G pools with the old Tacoma team. I had a blast, and I think I helped the team more than I hurt the team. I didn't turn over the disc all day, which is always a good thing, but I didn't play stellar defense. Those guys were freaking quick, and I'm a slow bastard.

Stuck around after we lost in the Semi's of the C pool, by one point (ouch), and got to watch Jeremy and crew lose their Semi's A pool game by one point (double-ouch). Got home for some dinner, then headed up to the pool to take a quick dip after running around all day.

Time to wrap this up and let the pictures do the talking. Not too much planned for my next two days up in Seattle, might get a jog in with Tessa tomorrow, and I'll probably get a dinner in at Rosita's. Just planning on relaxing and getting in some quality time with mom and pops!


1)Helping Marc move to his new house
2)Helping Marc move and taking up his whole cul de sac with cars
3)Andrew and I in the hot tub with our beers and backup beers
4)Lounging around playing game cube
5)View from the living room
6)Marc, Andrew, Sarah playing pinnochle
8)Most amazing golfing experience ever
9)Beers consumed
10)Chase Left-handed sky at Potlatch
11)Cool D #1
12)Cool D #2
13)Some of the old gang

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