Monday, June 23, 2008

Solstice Break Ends

I ended up making the most of my last few days of break. I bummed around the first week, waking up at 11am and playing lots of video games. This week started much the same, but then the weather got better and I got outside a bit. A friend of a friend was out camping at Cle Elum lake from Wednesday to Saturday this past week, and with rough directions and no way to contact him, I headed out on the two hour motorcycle ride east.

After an hour of searching, I was ready to give up when I noticed a van at a campsite that did not have a vehicle my first trip by. James, Kashaun and Charles were back from a trip to the store and had the best camping spot on the river, it was amazing. As soon as I got off my bike I was treated to chili they had just whipped up and James offered me a Corona with a lime in it... these guys know how to camp!

The sun was out and James got the kooky idea to make a diving board in the river out of rocks. The river sloped off quickly, so we were diving into probably a 10ft deep section of the river, which eddied instead of carrying us downstream.

2008-06-20- Cle Elum 063

Oh yeah, and the river was refreshing. That means it was fucking cold! James commented at one point that he needed a bra, because his balls were so high up.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pre-Bachelor Party

A few of us got together to celebrate Andrew's two-week long bachelor party trip to XXXXXX with his friends who have the time and money for the trip (sadly, I have neither). The trip is going to be amazing, but I'm glad in a way, because I'm not sure I could make it through two international weeks with those guys. Last night five of us drank 13 pitchers of beer from 11pm to 2am.

I was glad the bar was within walking distance, but I went a little overboard on the drinking. Trying to keep up with the 6'4" 240lbs bachelor is never a good match for my 6'1" 150lbs frame. I hugged the toilet then went to bed.

Good luck and god speed, brave travelers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stupid WoW Addiction

Well, this is round 4 for me in WoW. Four rounds of one game qualifies as an addicition, I'd say. Especially since I've pretty much spent all of Saturday and today sitting in my chair playing the game. Waffles makes the game fun to play, as does playing a new class (Hunter) with professions I haven't done before (skinner, leather-working).

I'm imagining roaming through the horde countryside, killing mobs and skinning them along the way to hide my path while searching for lowbies to kill. I've got two pets so far, my trusty bear pet named Smokey, and my boar named Baconbits. Thanks for the name suggestion, Waffles, even if it did mean I had to die again trying to tame the damn beast.

We're playing on Alterac Mountains pvp server, alliance side if you are interested in joining up. I haven't been PK'd yet, so that is good news. My crowning achievement tonight was finishing up the long quest culminating in bringing Van Cleef's head to a soldier in Westfall. The soldier shouts across the zone that I, Rambette, am the savior of Westfall.

Emotions, lots of emotions. First of all, I'd like to thank God, and my parents. I was proud, bashful, and even a bit sentimental. My time is done in Westfall, and now I'll move on to greener pastures. Before I got too teary-eyed though, a guy came up to the same soldier, spoke a few brief words, then I see the zone-wide message:

"All hail Hotballz, savior of Westfall!"



Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Little Bit of Everything

Motorcycle trip, live poker, pictures and maybe even some poetry if you're lucky--how about them apples?

I rode the ninja up to the cabin today. I was in dire need of a good motorcycle ride, and the trip up to the cabin was perfect. I checked the mileage when I rolled up to the cabin and the trip is just over 70 miles--35 miles on the freeway and 35 miles on windy two-lane highway. The freeway riding is fun, because traffic was moving along quickly, and the two-lane highway was a blast because I only got stuck behind a semi once, and I was able to pass him within a few minutes.

Because I was at the cabin, and my potlatch team is "Spear It!" this year, I tried to find some tree limbs to whiddle down into spears. I found a couple good stashes of fallen wood to use, whiddled a few "spears" and then left for more motorcycle riding. I'll likely be back up to the cabin on Sunday with the family, and there will be plenty of time to whiddle then. Good ol' whiddlin'

There is a mountain loop road up near the cabin, and I wanted to go check it out for future reference. I wasn't really sure what to expect, because I knew the Cascades had gotten some snow this past weekend. The cabin is only at 500ft elevation or so, but lies in a valley surrounded by mountains. This morning was mostly cloudy, so I could see the base of the mountains, but not the peaks.

I love it when clouds mask the true height of mountains. The way the clouds settled in today, the mountains rose from the valley, up about 1000ft, then became engulfed in clouds. With the cloud cover, you just have to guess where the mountains end, and I invariably look about twice as high as where the mountain peaks probably are. I couldn't shake the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" song in "O' Brother Where Art Thou" from my head:

The mountain loop road eventually changed from paved to dirt road, and I don't have much experience riding on anything but pavement with the ninja. Ninjas are meant to ride on pavement, but this dirt road was the smoothest dirt road I've ever been on. I fishtailed quite a bit, but besides the monster pothole or two that rocked me to my core, the road was a lot of fun to ride on. I didn't see a soul for about 20 miles on the dirt road until I came upon three other motorcycles stopped at a turnout.

They were low on gas, asked me if I had been on the road before. I hadn't, but I knew it was a loop, and we were close to the midway point. They said they would be able to go about five more miles before they would have to turn around and get gas. Lucky for them, about a mile later the road took a turn for the worse:

2008-06-12- Cabin Trip 007

2008-06-12- Cabin Trip 009

2008-06-12- Cabin Trip 013

Snow and motorcycles don't mix, as my Dad can attest to (ask him for the story next time you meet him). I headed back to town a bit disappointed about not being able to do the loop just yet, but my gloom was quickly lifted when the sun started to shine through the clouds on my way out of the forest. I was running low on gas myself, and after getting gas at the only stop sign in town, I had to go back to this park I passed by to take a few pictures of the mountains:

2008-06-12- Cabin Trip 016

2008-06-12- Cabin Trip 026

The blue sky reveals that the mountains do not actually rise to Olympus (darn!), but the lighting was really cool. I wish I had brought a disc and a buddy to toss with, then it would have been perfect.

It was still early, so I contemplated taking Jordan's advice and hit a casino on the way home for some live poker. I contemplated for the next 40 miles or so, and decided to go for it. It had been a long time since my last time playing live poker, I was due!

There were a handful of tables running at Tulalip, and I put my name on the 4/8 limit and 1/2 NL lists. I would have rather played No Limit, something I have only done once or twice live, but the 4/8 seat opened up first.

The first hour of play had me folding non-stop. The table was lively, and there was money to be won, but every hand was going to a showdown and I simply didn't get the cards or the flops to see showdowns with. I finally picked up a pot raising UTG six-handed with 99 and picked up the blinds.

A few hands later I get dealt KK in the small blind. Old guy who just sat down a few hands ago raises UTG, button calls, I repop it, which gets a few "Ohh??'s" from players not in the hand... UTG calls, as does the hijack. Flop comes a very nice uncoordinated all unders flop, and I bet out. Old man UTG calls, Button folds.

Turn comes the dreaded ace, but I have UTG on QQ-TT, with AK a possibility, but for some reason I doubt it. I bet out again and he just calls, so I am pretty sure I'm good. River comes a blank and I fire again, and he insta calls with... Jack-4... for J-hi. What?!?

If you've played low-limit live limit games, you know most of the old guys are the steadiest rocks out there. This guy just called the river with jack high. It was a huge pot and brought me back into the positive, but I went on to spew half of my chips over the next hour. There were a ton of limped pots, and I was getting more than enough odds to call with suited connectors and those dastardly middle pairs, but I just wasn't hitting anything on the flop, turn, or river.

I got 99 three times within about 20 minutes and the only time I won was the first time when the blinds folded to my UTG raise. The other two times the flop came all unders, which made my hands almost impossible to get away from. The first all-unders flop was against the same old UTG man from the last hand, and he ended up having kings this time.

The second all-unders flop I took with my nines was a brutal hand. Four of us capped the betting preflop and saw a flop of 2h,3h,4d.

Second to act across from me bet out and the three of us called. Turn came the 7c.

Same guy bet out the turn and the three of us called again. River came the nasty 5s.

Same guy bets out the river, guy to my right flat-calls and I fold. First to act check-raises the river and the other two players call.

First to act has 66 for the rivered straight.
Second to act flopped a set with 33.
Third to act rivered a lower straight with AQo.

I was surprised to see I was ahead preflop, but found it incredibly hard to get away from this hand before the river. I pretty much just spewed chips like this for two hours outside of the big hand with KK. Damn live poker.

Overall, a very fun day, and I can't wait to get more of these in during the summer :)

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Left To My Own Devices...

I am a bum.

Once upon a time, my nickname was "Mr. All Talk," because I could talk a good talk, but not walk the walk. I've really got good intentions, but I am laaazy. I've got two weeks of no class and no work, and I can't figure out what to do. I was thinking maybe a trip, possibly get lots of writing in, take some pictures, work out--you know, all the things I wish I could have done over these past two months of having school and work take up all my time.

So far? I've settled on going to sleep at 2am and waking up at noon... not quite what I call productive. I'm not worried just yet, it is only Tuesday of a two week vacation. I just need to make sure the walk gets started soon. I've been toying with the idea of starting up World of Warcraft or Age of Conan, but unless Waffles finally starts up the Waffle House, what point is there?!

I hit the pool this afternoon and tried to see how many laps I could swim without a break. Guesses? One. One lap. It was pretty bad. I back-floated a lot. I'm trying to figure out what kind of workout schedule I can set over the summer and on into the school year. Before I set a workout schedule, I'll probably need to have a normal schedule set, which is something I'll be lacking these next two weeks, and will likely be lacking for the rest of summer. Hopefully I'll get lots of hiking in, which reminds me, I should probably get cracking on a few of those hike plans!


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ichi the Skunk

My cat, Ichi, is a very regal cat. He doesn't much like anyone but me. Sure, he'll "love" you if you have food, especially tuna or turkey, but petting him is another story. He snakes his way around the living room to avoid my mom and dad's outstretched arms.

Within the last hour, I was playing a little online poker, doing laundry and cleaning my room when Ichi decided it was time to come and sleep in my lap.

"Ichi, I've got work to do," I insisted.

"Sure you do. Shut up and be a pillow."

As I was petting him, I noticed a little streak of white fur on the back of his head. He's a black cat, so it was noticeable. Ichi tends to rummage around in our neighbors' yards and gets all sorts of stuff stuck in his fur, so it wasn't a huge shocker. I picked it out and eventually booted him off my lap and continued cleaning my room. My Dad called to me from upstairs and said that Ichi was staring down a bird on the bird feeder out back.

Now, Ichi has caught his share of birds in the past, and has proven his mettle as a hunter, but I have to question sitting directly under the bird feeder 6ft above his head. He stared up intently at the bird. The bird nibbled away at the feeder, and some seeds the bird was eating floated down towards Ichi, hitting him in the face. And then it came...

White hot loving from above. Right on Ichi's back. I'm not petting that cat anymore.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Off to a Good Start

What could be a better way to start a new life with an improved work ethic than to take off from work three hours early? Ahhh thankyouverymuch. The grueling training process starts for the new temp, and I'm a little happy she's having as much trouble as I originally did. I keep reassuring her that she can't possibly screw up as bad as I did, with deleting an entire database and what-not. She'll catch on.

I took off a little after 2pm and headed home to get some paper writing done, which I accomplished before dinner. One paper down and one project to go this week--then another paper due next week.

So, as far back as I can remember--I have always done what I want first, then do what I'm supposed to do later. All the way back to eating lunch in the cafeteria in grade school. My mom would pack a sandwich, a juice and a ding-dong, and I would always eat the ding-dong first. I mean, it didn't really matter what order I ate things in, did it?

I'm starting to find out that yes, it does. Because eventually there will be a time where I don't have enough time to do all the things I want and need to do. I might as well lessen the shock now. If I only have time to eat the ding dong or eat the sandwich and I eat the ding dong, I'm not going to get all the nutrition I need. Instead of playing games and satisfying my wants to have fun first, I'm going to attempt to get all the necessary things out of the way first, then relax and have fun as a reward. The fun should be less important to me than the necessary things, but for most of my life this hasn't been the case. I don't mind a perfect balance by any means, but it'll take some focus on the necessary things to get there.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ghost of Summer's Past

About a year ago, I came to the realization that I wanted a career change. From contract-working desk jockey to teaching middle school math. Quite the lane change. I was wasting my time. I have no regrets, because it took me wasting my time to realize what I really wanted to do--regardless of the pay, regardless of the under-appreciation, and regardless of the extraordinarily long hours.

That night last summer I was by myself and couldn't help but smiling in the dark when my mind was made up. I envisioned my future self looking down into my room from above, reminiscing that this particular night would be one I remember as the beginning of my long road to becoming a teacher. Tonight, I had a similar experience.

About an hour ago I began a long-winded post titled, "Ramble On, Young Man." I had plenty of things to get off my chest, including a big stress right now of wondering if I will be able to manage the incredibly heavy workload that being a teacher will entail. In my rambling, I didn't really feel satisfied with my answer, so I got up, shaved, brushed my teeth, and took a shower. My mind raced around a bit, but when I was leaving the bathroom after my shower, I caught myself glancing into the mirror and I silently asked myself, "Are you ready to do this?" I stopped for a second, looked into my reflection's eyes, and for truly the first time answered myself with a smile, and a resounding "YES!"

June 1, 2008: The day my work ethic changed.

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