Saturday, April 26, 2008

GTA 4? Oh My


Spring in Seattle

Home--pretty much sums it up.

I'm not sure why I hadn't really felt it since moving back to Seattle last August. The last eight months I've mostly spent my time re-acclimating myself to my home town. Everything is different through older eyes. Everything seems smaller than it once was, which is depressing in a way.

Riding the 1200 miles up from Tahoe on my motorcycle, behind Dad in the Explorer, I had lots of time to think about my future. I knew living with my parents was going to be bittersweet. I love my parents, and love living with them, but I'm also ashamed to say I'm 25 years old and living with my parents. Somewhere in the middle of Oregon, I remember tackling the pros and cons of living with my parents, and I had this great vision of walking down to a local pub with my parents for dinner. We would buy a pitcher or two of beer, play some pool, and have a fun and relaxing evening together.

Last night, we did just that. The three of us played a game of shuffleboard (shuffle-puck?) and on the first throw of the evening, with no warm-up, my Mom rolled the puck down the sandy counter and it stopped perfectly along the back edge of the counter for a 4-pointer. We didn't roll another 4 all night (although I think I did manage to knock her 4 off the board). Dad and I got a game of pool in after dinner, and he was confident that I would sink the 8-ball out of turn. This is usually a good bet to make, but somehow I managed to sink it AFTER hitting all of the solids in--there's a first time for everything!

Today was another one of those perfect Spring days in Seattle, where everyone and their mothers go outside to catch some rays. Greenlake was popping again this Saturday, and I got in a good three hours of ultimate. John from my teaching program was out at the field with his pregnant wife and her sister who is a beast at ultimate. The four of us headed to Baskin Robbins after ultimate, and I got a triple-scoop Chocolate Mouse Royale. Dear God it was good. I hadn't had Baskin Robbins for years, and I was ecstatic to find my favorite flavor still intact. I actually feel like I am throwing my money away if I buy any other flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins, because Chocolate Mouse Royale is THAT good. Dark, rich chocolate, filled with little shavings of hard dark chocolate--come on! How am I not gonna eat that?

Speaking of pregnant wives, when I got back to my cell phone after ultimate, I received a picture message of Marc's baby, Claire. I love that name, and he is the first of my friends to have a kid, so he got to snatch the name before any of us... bitch. Congrats, Marc and Sarah :)

I got a few games of Magic in with Tyler, then the two of us headed to Marshall to hoop it up. Tyler hasn't shot a basketball in six months, but he still won the first game of 21. He retired on top while I hopped into a game of 2v2. My teammate was the other guy playing 21 with us, and seemed to be pretty decent... until we started playing 2v2, doh. We started off ice cold and he threw up a number of air balls. I think the other team scored 5 points before we sunk our first bucket. We were down 5-10 and 6-11, then I caught fire. I remember thinking "alright, time to get hot." 8-11. 10-11. 12-11. It feels so good to play bball when your shot is falling, and it was raining 3's at Marshall this afternoon. We finished them off when I faked a 3 and drove baseline to lefty in a rare layup (I don't make layups... ever).

Life is good.

Seattle is still different in my mind than the daily view I take in, but days like this connect the past to the present. I remember the sunny spring days down in Tacoma (close enough), where ultimate frisbee out on Todd Field played out from about 3pm to 8pm. The players would come and go, and the girls bathing in the sun would do the same. In Seattle, I remember plenty of sunny afternoons in Springs long ago, playing basketball and baseball games until dark.

Spring might just be taking over as my favorite season. I've always said Summer, but with Spring you've got these rare, amazing days that are my favorite. You've also got the anticipation of Summer. With Summer, you've usually always got nice days, but you look forward to a wet Fall, Winter and Spring.

Today is almost over, and I'd rate it 5/5 on spirit, 5/5 on body, and 2/5 on mind. Time to go read!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jessica, Secrets, Death and Poker Poker!

Can't believe tomorrow is Friday. This week flew by. Jessica, an old friend and recent blogger, came into town from Alaska for the week, and prefaced her trip with, "I have a secret to tell you." Well shit. That could be damn near just about anything now, couldn't it? I took a few stabs at the secret. Was she pregnant? Engaged?... Single? Someone gave her Facebook a congratulatory "6 months!" comment, so I was pretty confident with my pregnancy call. We had made plenty of long-distance drink bets, but she's capable of pulling off a bluff like that.

Well, the secret was definitely not quite what I expected, and I'll leave it at that. We had a great time and talked for hours on Friday night at the little German pub Tessa has blogged about a few times. Jessica was staying at her sister's house, which ended up being literally two blocks from the church I play basketball at on Tuesdays and Thursdays--in a part of town I'd never been before two weeks ago. Her sister's house also is only five blocks from the German pub, with LITERS of beer. We each got a liter stein, drank, and talked while we watched the incredibly age-diverse crowd stroll in.

After our liters, we each grabbed a Guinness and hopped in the hot tub. We never really hung out much at UPS, but we played IM sports together all the time, and had fallen out of contact for a good three years. Facebook rocks, (go die in a garbage bin, Astin) and we never would have found each other if not for that glorious internet monstrosity. I took her back to her sister's, but we made plans for breakfast the next morning.

We headed up to Sunflower for a scrumptious breakfast, so scrumptious, we had to put off our basketball plans for a few hours. I wasn't really sure what to do on a lightly raining Spring Seattle Saturday, then the Henry Art Gallery popped into my head. She is an Art major, and it was a really cool experience to go to an art gallery with someone who knows her stuff. We'd be looking at paintings and photographs, and she would point out all sorts of things about the images I would have never seen.

We actually got to the art gallery before it opened, and had 15 minutes to kill. When my Dad and I shot photos of the cherry blossoms a few weeks back, he really wanted to show me the amazing reading room in the UW library, but it was Sunday and the library was closed. I took Jessica to the library and we were both wide-eyed at the room. HUGE room, maybe 300 feet long with dozens of long tables stretched from side to side like canoe seats. The ceiling is another 60-100ft high, and light comes into the room through very brilliant stained glass windows lining the East wall. It is really a sight to behold, especially with the hundred or so students scattered throughout the room, studying away. Jessica and I roamed around the room with huge smiles. I don't think I could get any work done in the room, I'd just stare up at the ceiling, or at the windows, all day long.

Jessica's trip got a big hiccup when her Uncle passed away early this week, so we didn't get a chance to get that game of basketball in, but there is always this summer when she is in town... right Jessica?

Classes are going--sure makes the day go by fast having no free time! Tuesday night was actually kind of funny. Natalie (carpool buddy) and I drove out to a School board meeting in Lynnwood, which is a requirement for my Weds. class. I offered to drive, because I don't drive in our regular carpool (I'm a bum!). I arrive at her house and as we're walking from her house to my car, her boyfriend shows up. Oh hey! she says. Introduces me, and I move to shake hands, but he just stares at her. Hands her some food, then gets back in his car and drives away.

"Ohhh man... that wasn't good timing," she says.

Um... what?

"We haven't talked for two weeks."

Um... what? gulp. We laugh about it, but the boyfriend doesn't return any phone calls or texts. I startle when I drop her off at night and a car starts up across the street from me and blasts its lights at me. I hope she doesn't get beaten.

The next night, I'm walking out from work and get a call on my cell from an unknown number.

"Hey, this is Chris."

"Hey Chris... this is Natalie."


"What's Up?"

"I... don't think I'm going to make it for the carpool tonight. I cut my finger with a paring knife just now, and I think I need to get it stitched up."

I hear: "I've got two black eyes and my boyfriend has your license plate number."

Luckily, she shows up to class 30 minutes late, with a huge bandage on one of her fingers.

Besides death-by-Natalie's-boyfriend, I almost died thinking it was a good idea to check the alignment on my motorcycle by going no hands along 65th on my way to work Wednesday morning. The bike started having a seizure on me, with the front tire wobbling side-to-side like crazy. I grabbed the handlebars real quick and somehow didn't fly off the bike. Lesson learned! On the way to class tonight, some idiot driver in front of me decided to merge into a lane with another car in it. The cars actually touched before both cars veered to the opposite sides and slammed on the brakes. Not far from death there on a motorcycle.

I'm giving serious consideration to abandoning the motorcycle come late August/September... but we'll see. I've got the beginning riding out of the way, and if I ever marry into money, I can get the next step up--a bike that doesn't wobble as much when I ride with no hands!

Finally, Thursday night rolls around. Class gets out at 8pm and I get to REST.

The Good Doctor had a post about the sinful small-stakes Omaha Eight-or-Better game we all love, and I've been craving some since Monday. I sat down and had fun...

1) J45T no hearts. Limped family pot. Flop is AJ3 all hearts.
I call a bet hoping for a deuce. Turn 2. Woot! Blank river and the flush takes the high, I take the low, and a sucker mucks his flopped set.

2) Unraised pot. Make a pair of Aces on the river with a paired board and flush, folds around.

3) Raise pre w/ J2A7, win the pot on the JTT flop.

4) HUGE pot, QQ34 raise UTG, capped 4 ways. 8KQ rainbow flop, 3-bet 4 ways. J turn. Deuce River and I scoooop.

5) very next hand: J5A9 in BB. Flop 9K5 w/2 diamonds to my A-hi diamond flush. SB raises, I re-raise, folds to him and he calls. Turn 5, boat up. Check Raise Call. River case 5. He checks, I raise, he Re-raises (mwah ha ha), I re-raise, he calls and mucks his QQ w/flushdraw (behind the whole way I think?)

6) Try and steal with A57T on a Q46JA board, end up taking 3/4 the pot

And I got the fuck out of Dodge, up 3 buy-ins at limit O-8! There's a first time for everything!

I forsee ultimate frisbee and a whole lot of reading in my future!

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

420, baby

420 poker

Had a blast in the 420 tourney with my life-loving online friends. I played 42o like aces all night long. And we were this >< close to getting a 17-way chop for $41 a piece, which included Jordan and Kat, who had already been bounced from the tourney! But it was way too fucking complicated for any of us to figure out... shit.


BPP Week 18: A Favorite Thing

"A Favorite Thing" themed blogger photo project week, eh? You guessed it, more ultimate photos:

2008-04-20- Magnuson Ultimate 131

2008-04-20- Magnuson Ultimate 114

2008-04-20- Magnuson Ultimate 050

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Holy Hell

((imagine this being sung between blasts on the harmonica))

I've got to post more,
But I ain't got no time.
Work has been busy,
Stressful all day!
Work ending soon though,
Then I'll be just fine!
Have all day to,
Talk and play.
Get to read,
All I want to.

Monday, April 14, 2008

BPP Week 17: Photographer's Choice

I half-assed it again this week, but at least I've got something? Saturday was such an amazing day, and would have been a perfect day to take pictures, but I couldn't stop myself from running around outside and hanging out with friends. I got more ultimate in on Sunday, and brought my camera. I sat out for about 10 minutes in my 2 1/2 hours of lazy play, but I snapped a good 80 pictures of the chill, Sunday ultimate game:

2008-04-13- Montlake Ultimate 053

Next week: A Favorite Thing--I should be able to give this next week more effort.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

4/20 Up in Smoke Tournament

You doing anything on Sunday, April 20th? Yeah, you are... Why not also join some friends for a $4 re-buy tournament, where I guarantee Phil won't be able to look into your soul, because there is no way he'll be able to see through the smoke. You've got a week to sign up and join me, Schaubs, Jordan and the Good Doctor. See you next Sunday!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

First Day of Spring

What an absolutely gorgeous day. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we're known around the world for our rainy weather. We like that image.

Does it rain in Seattle? Yup. All the time. You wouldn't want to live here, hit the road, buddy. That's what we tell Californians.

Now sure, it does rain here a lot during the rainy season, but then we get weird days like today. All week it had rained off and on, and the temperature couldn't have gotten above 55 degrees. For some reason, today was 70 degrees and I do believe I got a bit sunburned at ultimate. I optimistically checked the weather just now for tomorrow, and it is back to 55 and a few showers. Next weekend?

High of 44 degrees and chance of snow...

In poker news, the bankroll is reaching critical levels, and I may be joining Mrs. Chako in her bankroll management method.

Classes are going well. John from the teaching program was at ultimate today, and we eventually got to chatting about the program. So far, there has just been reading, writing and discussion. Nothing too time-consuming or crazy. The professors have been testing the students a bit in class, trying to let us know what we're getting into. Some of the students are getting a bit squeamish, but I think John and I are pretty similar when it comes to our personal goals for teaching. It is really the only thing I can think of that fulfills all of my wants in a job. Having a cushy job, or a job that makes a ton of money isn't high on my list, and those could easily be two of the biggest factors for people not wanting to teach.

John also invited me to play in a basketball game Thursday night after class. He plays with a bunch of guys (and a few good women ballers) Tuesday-Thursday nights, at a gym that he's got keys to. The game is a little on the late side for work nights, 9pm-11pm, but any other time wouldn't fit into either of our schedules. It is pretty much the exact scenario I was looking for. I was thinking about getting some friends together for a summer basketball league team, but my friends are scattered all over Seattle--trying to coordinate everyone for a league team would suck. Pickup basketball is perfect.

Thursday night was a lot of fun. It was my first time playing a pickup game since last summer in Tahoe. I didn't make it in time for the first game of the night, but I got into the second game and my (relatively stacked) team held court for the rest of the night. The only woman in the gym was on my team, and she had played college ball, and had a sweet jumper. She must have hit 6-7 3-pointers during the course of our 4 games.

Friday night I went out with friends to another Magic tournament. This time we headed up to Edmonds, and I got my ass handed to me once again. I didn't win a single game all night long. It was doubly frustrating, because I had some decent cards, but just got outplayed. Think I'll take a break from these tournaments--they were fun, but I could find much more enjoyable ways to get spanked for $15.


Thursday, April 10, 2008


My classes have been going well over the past two weeks. I got home from class last night to catch the final two tables of the Mookie, while I watched a few streaming episodes of Survivor on The recognizable faces in poker blogging showed up to play last night, and the final four were Waffles, LJ, Hoy and Vinnay. Lots of hype for Hoy to take this bad boy down for the first time ever, but he got fancy with J5o and gifted his chips to LJ.

It got down to Waffles and LJ, and Astin and I made a side bet on the O/U of when the game would end. Astin only set the bar at 5 minutes. I quickly took the over, with the loser not being able to blog about food for the next week. Whenever the loser has the inkling to talk about food, instead he has to talk about hockey. Heads up lasted a good 30 minutes, and boy was my BAGEL WITH BUTTER good this morning! I added apple juice on the side to step things up a notch, and the apple from concentrate really added to the meal as a whole. I look forward to my two sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Turkey, cheese, sandwich. MMM FOOOOD.

I dreamed about Hoy last night.

Hoy was a she, and she just got called down into contestants row on the Price is Right. She wasn't whooping and hollering like some contestants--she was all business. Bob Barker's lovely ladies brought out a cubic zirconium diamond necklace to bid on. The other three contestants got their bids in, and lady-Hoy tilted her head down to the microphone and said, "$9126." And I could just tell that she knew the exact price of the necklace.

Bob Barker: "The actual retail price is... $9125!"

Ouch. It just wasn't Hoy or she-Hoy's night tonight.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Photo Project Week 16: Colors


Blue Bird

I cheated as well, these are photos my Dad took on his Audubon trip to Eastern Washington on Saturday. He's the guest photographer this week.

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New Blog

For one of my courses, I've got to keep a journal, and the journal can be in blogging form. I've started up a journal for this class at:

If you have any interest in reading and/or commenting about my struggles as an aspiring teacher, head on over.


Saturday, April 05, 2008


*written Friday afternoon while still at work*

I'm not quite sure how to introduce this, so I'm just going to say it: my friends and I are going to pay money to play in a Magic: The Gathering tournament tonight at a card shoppe. Even with braces, glasses, pimples and a bowl haircut, I thought Magic tournaments were too dorky for me as a kid... but we're going to do it tonight. I am going to get my ass handed to me by nine year olds. Luckily for me, my little contingent is planning on hitting a happy hour beforehand, so my protective "socially responsible" guard will be down well ahead of time. I can't wait to curse out some kids and knock over some tables if I lose. On the off-chance I win, it'll be fun to gloat and mock my mentally and physically dominated opponents.

For the record, Jeremy started the "Let's go to a tournament!" idea, and for that I hate him. For life. Not really, but... we'll see. We've been keeping an ongoing email dialog, and receiving those emails has turned out to be a shining moment in my work day:


Chris: With all of us going, I don't have too much of a preference, if Tyler thinks Edmonds would be more our pace, I'm fine with that. I'm going to bring a nalgene full of cran-vodka to spice up my draft, I don't know about youz guyz.

J: let me get one of those! I can see it now: late in the 3rd round drunken Chris elbows his opened top nalgene spilling delicious beverage all over some magic fiends collection. Magic fiend's friends encircle Chris. Chris and friends make daring escape ... or die trying.

we're playing for pushups as well.

C: lol! Let's do it! public humiliation push ups are the best---and no deoderant allowed Fri. night.

T: Agreed! 5 per loss, and 3 to give out to whomever for each win? We need to get some team jerseys... Orlando Magic anyone? :p

C: I bet we could get some of the "locals" in on the pushups, if so, we've got to form an alliance. I call president. If you can hook a brother up with a Jameer Nelson jersey, I'm in. Tyler, can you do me a huge favor and walk over to REI and buy me four nalgenes? (Seriously, I'll pay you back tomorrow)


This is going to be fun.

My friends and I started playing Magic: The Gathering waaay back in middle school. I remember being hesitant to follow in Marc and Jeremy's footsteps then, because of the dorkiness factor. I eventually relented, because going to school, playing ultimate frisbee after school, then walking down to Marc's house for hours of Magic is what our little group of friends began doing every day. We kept it up through the first few years of high school, but eventually moved on to greener pastures.

My Magic cards sat and gathered dust for the next ten years... *cue Desperate Housewives narrator* but time has an interesting way of revealing who we really are.

Upon my triumphant return to Seattle last Fall, Jeremy, Marc, Tyler and I decided to dust off the old cards and get a game of Magic in. It was a blast. Instead of Mountain Dew, we drank beer, but pretty much everything else was the same good ol' times we had back in middle school. We talked plenty of shit, smited people to 1 life, then let them hang around before one of our egotistical asses attempted to kill off everyone in one spectacular display of wizardy (boom). This usually ends up getting countered, and that guy dies first.

Jeremy made the very bad decision to start collecting new Magic cards again, and he's boughten two, if not three BOXES of cards since we started playing again. Tyler has thought up masterful deck ideas and boughten specific cards to kick all of our asses. I've pretty much just taken my beating like a man. I do my pushups for losing, then hop up and get my ass whooped again and again. Jeremy has even gone to a few draft tourneys by himself already. What a donk. Draft tournies sound like a lot of fun though, because everyone starts out equal (much like a poker tournament). You get to pluck one card from the pack and then everyone passes their cards to the left, and you pluck one from that package and pass the pack along until all the cards are gone. You do this two or three times, then you start play with the cards you've drafted. There is some luck involved, but I'd argue my lack of skill will make itself known before a single card is played.

Until tonight!~

*Post-Tournament Update*
Well, there weren't any children or ladies present last night (big shocker on the latter). Jeremy had said that kids and women kicked his ass last week, so I came prepared to be humiliated--luckily I was only humiliated by my peers. I went 0-5 on the night, and apparently my drafting skills need a bit of tweaking. You end up drafting 45 cards, but only use 22-24 of those cards in your deck (16-18 mana). Almost all of the cards I drafted I could use, which made it difficult to whittle my deck down to 22 cards (I ended up playing a 49-card deck which is unheard of, and I went 0-5, so there is a reason doing so is unheard of).

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Q1 Assessment

Mind: C
Body: C+
Spirit: B

Three months into 2008, and I'd give myself passing grades on my mind, body and spirit goals for the year. I haven't challenged my mind much at all over the past three months, but I did obtain a new job and I've learned a lot from scratch about the home loan business. I hadn't worked a 40-hour work week in over a year, so adjusting to the normal schedule again through me for a loop. I haven't sweated every other day, like I set out to, but I have gotten myself out a lot more than years past. I've probably gone for ten more runs than I would have, had I not been thinking about my sweating every other day goal. I was getting in alright shape there for a while, but I hurt my ribs a few weeks ago playing frisbee, so when I lost a few push-up bets last week, I couldn't believe how difficult pushups had become after a few weeks of no pushups. My spirit score is better than the others because I think I've spent my time pretty well. I've had a relaxing and balanced schedule, but I also fought hard for my in-state tuition over the past few weeks. The teaching program has begun, so I'm expecting both the mind and spirit scores to rise, but I really hope to keep getting out and being active on the days I'm not working and going to school.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools and First Day of Class

Cut off all my hair today. It was starting to get a little too shaggy for my liking, so it had to go! My big, lovable, floppy ears are out again. I missed them. When I was growing up, my main priority was to cover the big guys up--whether it be a mushroom or "bowl" haircut, a hat, a hoodie--I was never gonna get the girl with my two huge ears. It couldn't have been my social awkwardness or skinny frame, pimply face or the fact that I ran away whenever a girl actually showed interest... nah, it must have been the ears.

Like the rest of you lame bloggers, I thought up some good stories to go with my lack of hair, but didn't actually follow through. You guys are too smart, and I am way too lazy to try and pull a fast one over on the day everyone is on their toes not to get tricked. Kidnapped by white supremacists, joined the Army, got beaten to a pulp and they shaved my head in humiliation... or maybe it is just my quarterly hair cut.

I filled up the sink with hair, but I didn't want to track hair all over the house to grab the camera and take a picture. I didn't plan to cut off all my hair, I started shaving and sorta just kept on going, or else that camera definitely would have been out.

My first night of class at UW-Bothell was amazing. I learned some time in college that I enjoy classes for three reasons:

1) I like the professor. The subject could be an audio-video lecture on the progress of glaciers over the last month--but if Jeff Matthews (my college advisor) was teaching the class, I'd enjoy it.

2) The material. A senior-level class on the mating habits of the Kappa Kappa Phi sorority, regardless of the professor, I am going to enjoy.

3) My classmates. This is sort of broad. I could be in a class with a good friend and enjoy it, even if the professor isn't great and the material is dull. Also, if the class is filled with gorgeous ladies or funny and witty people, I tend to enjoy it much more than another class.

My UW-Bothell cohort has all three. The professor for this first class is amazing. She loves technology and I can actually create a blog to write a journal for the class. She's got an iPhone and her new favorite thing to do is check out fellow teachers' blogs. Before the class started, she was reminiscing about a 2 1/2 hour Bruce Springstein concert, and pushing her way to the front. She knows her stuff, and is quick to point out other sides of a discussion if we start to get side tracked.

The material I am interested in, pretty much the newest theory of teaching and self discovery of if we are truly ready to teach. I think I am, but we'll see at the end of the quarter.

A distant third would be the makeup of the cohort. Five guys, 30 women, and holy Bacon are there some lookers. And some incredibly funny guys and gals, and some very serious guys and gals. We've got it all, and I can't wait to start diving into the material... once I get my books...which the UW-Bothell bookstore didn't have...