Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Bowl 2008

I just got back from playing in the 11th annual Turkey Bowl game at Greenlake. Sunny skies and 50 degree temps made for an unusually warm and dry Turkey Bowl. This year we reverted back to full-on tackle football. I'm not sure why I played, because I have no health insurance and I will be proper fucked if I get injured--but play I did! It was another amazing turkey bowl, but before I get into that, I want to take a look back at past Turkey Bowls:

Turkey Bowl 2007

Last year was a lot of fun, but a little on the tame side.

Turkey Bowl 2006
Not much of a recap for 2006, but I did mention my push up bet with Brandon, and how much push ups on Black Friday SUCK!

Turkey Bowl 2003
2003 was amazing. I don't think I'll ever have another Turkey Bowl like I did in 2003. 5TDs, 1INT, 2sacks--in an 11 on 11 tackle football game?! Come on! Also, watching butterball own Marc--it was an amazing year of football.

2007 might be my second best effort over the years. To start off the day, I was not really sure if we would have a game this year, because all of the usual suspects had morning plans this year. I headed down to Greenlake anyways, just in case the old Garfield crew showed up. When I got to the fields, there were big FIELD CLOSED signs all over the place, much to my dismay. But then I spotted a group of scruffy looking guys on the side of the field. I only recognized one guy from past Turkey Bowls, but the group was welcoming, and started picking teams right away.

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret... I'm not the most menacing football player. I'm pretty much a stick. Which isn't bad for flag football, but when it comes to tackle football I'm probably not the best choice to be on your team. So I've got one knee on the ground, putting in my contacts when I get picked... 2nd overall, first pick for the dark team... WHAAAT?!? I expected to get picked last or second to last, but I'll take it!

As the first pick, I felt obligated to step up. This year I surpassed my yearly quota of one tackle. If I get one tackle, I'm happy. I finished the day with probably five tackles, one sack, two interceptions and a TD on defense. We were playing 8 on 8, so I was very pleased with my defensive performance. On offense, I played a lot of offensive line (again, I'm a stick--but a stick that is willing to mix it up!), I caught a few passes at wide receiver, and also got to QB a few sets. I think my first set we turned the ball over on downs, and the second set I threw a screen pass to Frank "The Tank", who rumbled about 80 yards for the score, breaking multiple tackles along the way.

All in all, it was another great Turkey Bowl, even though none of my friends were able to go. I am going to be beyond sore tomorrow, and I am thankful for the day of rest between football Turkey Bowl and frisbee Turkey Bowl on Saturday. In one of my dumbest moves in a long time, I started a push up challenge on Thanksgiving Day. I'm an idiot. I'm so sore from football, I'll barely be able to move for the next 24 hours, yet I'm expected to do 200 push ups. I've got frisbee all day Saturday and an all-day hike on Sunday, how the fuck am I supposed to do 400 pushups over the next four days???

Start lining the charity coffers, chumps! Bet against me! You can't lose!

*edit* sadly, there were no TV crews this year--maybe next year!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Being alone isn’t a good thing in most cases. Alone in a dark alley… alone on a desert island… alone because you’ve got no friends or family…

I’ve had many conversations in the past about being alone in the relationship sense, and usually the conclusion is that “It’ll happen, no rush.” I’m a pretty firm believer in that conclusion for myself. If I really wanted to be in a relationship with someone, just anyone, I do not think I would have a very hard time. I think that is the case for most people. Most of us have some standards though, and right now my standards are pretty high because I don’t really want to be in a relationship while I’m living at home with my parents (and the women I am after probably would not think too highly of my hole in the basement).

Hopefully once I find that special someone, I’ll be with them forever, so I’m in no hurry. A part of me thinks that the longer I wait, the better chance the good ones will all be taken. There is definitely some truth in that statement, but there are so many great women out there, I think I’ll find one.

Anyways, one of the conversations I had recently was with a woman in my cohort who explained that she has always hated being alone. She would always call a friend or be interacting with someone if she could help it. She said it stemmed from insecurities when she was younger, and she developed the habit of always wanting to interact with people. She was writing a paper for class, and it was about a time she found herself alone, and at one of the lowest points in her life. It is a pretty amazing story that involves her describing that loneliness and eventually turns into a surreal experience of finding a random book on a shelf and losing herself in the book. It sparked her interest in reading for fun, and is probably a big reason she is in my teaching program today. After complementing her on a great story, I said, “You never would have had that experience if you had a friend around, would you?”

She thought about it for a minute and responded, “No, I don’t think so.”

Being alone isn’t so bad. Actually, I fear people who can not stand being alone—what are they hiding from? What is so bad about being by themselves?


Push up Challenge 2.0

Starting on Thanksgiving, I'll be doing 100 push ups a day. Who's with me?!?!!! Or who is against me, and wants to bet how long I'll last?

If you want to make a bet, I'll donate my winnings to charity if I make it past your specified date... tis the season!

An Omen?


Monday, November 24, 2008

Bankroll Challenge Update

I'm just posting this to strike fear into the heart of Dr. Chako.

I'm closing in on break-even... you won't be able to just sit on your money for this one. Start firing up those SNG's if you don't want me to pick what the wife wears next home game!


Sunday, November 23, 2008


More often than not, I am happy. I think it is because a lot of things make me happy. The happiness is usually a subdued happiness, which might manifest itself in the form of a smirk here and an inner smile there. It isn't often that I have a shit-eating grin that I can't wipe off my face. This weekend was unique because it was filled with moments that made me extremely happy--moments you experience and think: I should remember this.

Shortly after my last post, I watched the Apple Cup. And it went to overtime, just like I called last Saturday. Now Jeremy's got to do 100 pushups on our first day of skiing this winter. I think I'll make it easy (and humiliating) for him by having him do ten pushups at the top of every chair lift until his 100 are done.

Poker night slash birthday night at Casa De Chako was amazing. Not to sound too mystical, but The Chakos always seem to have a glow of positive energy around them, which seems to instantly bring up the energy in a room. It might just be that whenever we're together we're giddy to play poker or go jump in a river, but I'm already looking forward to our next bash.

Zeem and Cayne's Josh filled out the poker bloggers, and a few newbies from The Wife's work joined us for two tournaments. I won the first tournament with a couple nice suckouts and then my hands held up and I took it down. Dr. Chako got second and The Wife got her money back in 3rd.

In our second tournament, The Wife and Doc both made the money again (ringers...), along with Zeem. I think The Wife took the second one down, with Zeem in 2nd and Doc in 3rd. After the second tournament finished up, it was around 11pm and we had a pretty interesting conversation about poker and styles of play. The Wife and I play a similar tight-aggressive game, but either because she is a woman or because she plays a wee bit tighter than me, she is always picked out at a table as the nit (for a definition of nit, here's a post by GadZOOKS). She provided a few stories from her casino trips where other players not in the hand comment "uh oh, look who's betting..." and guys will still call her down to middle pair when she's got the nuts. She takes advantage of calling stations by playing tight-aggressive, and it works: she is a winning player.

I'm still trying to figure out how to play multiple styles, and I think I learn a lot more by playing a small-ball style that Dr. Chako plays. You see a lot more flops and get the opportunity to test yourself with many difficult decisions. Normally, I play tight-aggressive and attempt to make my opponents make the tough decisions, but I often wonder how that makes me any better as a player. I've still got plenty to learn, and the complexity of poker is why I love it.

After poker, I gave Tacoma Josh a call to see if he'd still be up for some Guitar Hero World Tour, and he vocally nodded in agreement. I got down to Tacoma around 11:30pm and we rocked out on his new drum set and new sliding guitar until 4am. Mashing the drum set is an incredibly fun addition to the series, and I had flashbacks of my middle school percussion days. I was a terrible drummer. Still am! Highlight of the night had to be earning enough money to unlock the Tool set list, including Parabola, Schism and one other song. Tool songs are fucking epic. Parabola must have had five different outros, and all I can say is, I'm glad I was on the guitar and not on the drums.

During the second song, Schism, Josh started in on a drum solo like Animal from the Muppets...

... he was going strong for the first minute of the drum solo, while I continued strumming away on the guitar. After the second minute of soloing, Josh started to slow down. After the third minute, he started to fall apart. During the fourth minute of the drum solo, the drums were silent. I continued strumming, and noted the time the drums were quiet. 3:41am, and Josh has officially run out of gas.

Schism > Josh.

He grabbed energy from somewhere and finished out the set, possibly it was from the delicious Black Butte Porter. I drove back up to Seattle and arrived around 4:30am and fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow.

I awoke at noon today to a sunny afternoon and decided to skip breakfast. Instead, I took my poker winnings, my motorcycle, and rode off to Duvall for a prime BBQ pork sandwich. I didn't plan on drinking in Duvall, but the lady at Teddy Bear BBQ saw my Moose Drool sweatshirt and let me know about their Moose Drool on tap special. I decided to grab a pint to go with my sandwich and watch the first half of the Seahawks game. Their bbq pork sandwich is so good, NOM NOM NOM!!

I talked with the owner after overhearing that they are opening a second store in Monroe, which just so happens to be directly on the way back from Stevens Pass. She let me know about their website, and I headed out to ride the High Bridge Road on my way to Marc's for the second half of the football game.

My third time eating at the BBQ shack and my fourth time on High Bridge Road, and they just keep getting better. My High Bridge Road ride today was amazing because this time was the first where I could see the snow-capped mountains to the west. With the onset of winter and my first season's pass, snow on the mountains is like the pre-game show before an NFL football game you've been waiting to watch all week. So close to skiing action, I can't wait!

The Seahawks ended up blowing it again, but Marc and I got a few games of Madden in before I rode back down to Seattle. The ride was freezing, but I had a pizza and hot tub to look forward to. A soak in a scorching hot tub after three slices of pizza is definitely something that gives me a shit-eating grin that does not go away. Add a woman or two and a day of skiing to the pizza and hot tub equation, and that equals a grin that will not go away all winter :)

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Update

We're finally getting some snow in the Cascades! Ski season approaches, and I spent too much time this week working on mix CDs for my trips up to the slopes. Other than anticipation for skiing and boarding this winter, this week was also busy at school, and my Mom's foot surgery was Wednesday. The surgery went well, and besides being groggy from the pills, she is doing great. Dad and I are fixing all the meals and running errands for her while she recovers, and he has not even complained (much) yet!

In a weird coincidence, my cat Ichi hobbled in Thursday night, not putting any weight on his front right paw. I wasn't sure if he was making fun of Mom, or if he actually hurt his paw. He also had a gash on his ear, which did not look pretty, so either another cat or a raccoon got to him. We visited the vet today, because Ichi still was not putting any weight on his paw. He got checked out and the doctor thought his paw was either sprained or had a small fracture--but did not recommend an x-ray because there was not a big difference in treatment for where the sprain/fracture is located on his paw. The cut on Ichi's ear was actually a bigger surprise, because it went all the way through the ear, and after the doc cleaned the cut out, the hole was big enough to see through! Ouch! He'll be an indoor cat for the next few weeks.

School is steadily picking up. We've got a ton of work coming up at the end of the semester--right when the Stevens Pass will be opening. I'm trying to get as much of the work done before the ski resort opens. We've got papers, lesson plans, digital vignettes, parent-teacher conferences--all sorts of crap! Interesting crap, though.

Today is the Apple Cup: UW vs. WSU, and both teams are winless in conference this year. The anticipation for the game is probably higher than most years, because UW has not gone winless in their 100 year history, and it would please WSU more than any team to complete a defeated season for UW. I've got action on the game with one of my skiing buddies. I got 10:1 odds on a pushup bet that I could not refuse. If the game goes to overtime, he has to do 100 pushups. If the game does not go to overtime, I do 10.

Tonight is also poker and birthday night at Casa De Chako! I plan on bringing a present that is over 100% of my income... alright, the jig is up, my income is $0. I'll also try and dig some information on the current state of Dr. Chako's bankroll on Full Tilt for our side bet. I'm down a bit from where I started at the beginning of the month, but the losses aren't too bad.

After poker, I'll probably head down to T-town and get some Guitar Hero World Tour in with a guy who doesn't like sleep. Apparently he's got the place decked out with the drum stand and everything--get ready to RAAAWK!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

WoW! What a Glorious Sunday!

In another typical "MHG 180" I went from canceling my WoW account last Tuesday to picking up a copy of the expansion on Thursday and pretty much playing it non-stop Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I did get a study session in from 10am-4pm on Friday at school, which allowed me to justify my WoW addiction.

Saturday was Tyler's birthday. We started off with some doubles racquetball, and I got brained twice by flying racquetballs--good thing I have a thick skull. I "let" the birthday boy win all the games, then we headed to his house for some WoW and Smash Bros. People started to show up around 2:00pm, gathering at his place en route to the 3:45pm showing of the new Bond movie. I'll echo most of the reviews and say that this flick is somewhere in the middle of the Bond movies. Some of the camera work made me queasy--stick with one camera shot for more than half a second in the action scenes, please! Daniel Craig definitely pulls of the "off the grid" Bond very well. Timothy Dalton did a great job in the same type of Bond role, but I think the majority of Bond viewers like Bond for the gadgets and witty one-liners, something the Sean Connery and Roger Moore (and Pierce Brosnen?) Bond films perfected. Best part about the movie is the new Bond girl. She might be my favorite...

Today has been a great day. I haven't logged onto WoW at all, and I've spent the majority of the day outside. I woke up and made myself bacon and eggs, then helped my Dad replant four trees in our back yard. The tree roots will hold our yard from falling into the neighbor behind us, at least that is the plan. After that, I zoomed out to frisbee for a few hours, then hit the UW outdoor rock climbing wall for an hour. I was able to finish a few new routes on the wall, so now I've got a few under my belt I can start with, then move on to harder routes once I'm warmed up. I also learned that black t-shirts are not the best color to wear when rock climbing, since the white climbing chalk tends to show up well on the black cotton.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Minesweeper 1-outer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Computer Mumbo-Jumbo

Ever since Halloween, I've been on a World of Warcraft... dry spell. That's right, not a binge--a dry spell. Halloween fun over in Hanford. The election. Ski-season anticipation. I'm not sure what it is, but when I sit down in front of my computer, I'd rather check the weather channel or play Minesweeper than play WoW. The big expansion is coming out on Thursday, and I'm sure I'll get back into the game shortly, but I'm enjoying my 4th hiatus from the game while it lasts.

I still spend quite a bit of time in front of the computer, including the new C&C3 game and even installing my old Madden 06' football game. I've got football fever in addition to my ski fever, and going up to Marc's house to play Madden 08' every two weeks just isn't enough. I started up an 06' franchise playing as the G-Men, and I'm loving the potent defense mixed with the power run game.

Madden was running fine yesterday and the day before, but for some reason when I went to play the game today, the game moved at lightning speed. I'd hike the ball and before I knew it the play would be over and the clock would be ticking down faster than I could call a play. I looked online to see if anyone else was having this problem and came across a very helpful forum where a guy said the problem lies in my Intel Core Duo processor.

With Windows XP and an Intel Core Duo processor, the fix is amazingly simple. You can set Windows to use only one of its processors on specific executable files you are running. I simply told one of my processors not to help run the Madden game, but it could still help run iTunes and my browser.

If you alt-ctrl-del to bring up the Task Manager, find the process that is running and right-click it. Set the Affinity to just one of your processors, and you are set! I'm not sure what other uses this could be helpful for, but I guess if you want to try running the old Oregon Trail game on your new computer and have any shot at shooting a buffalo, you'll probably want to shut off one (or both) of your processors for the game.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Attractive Women

So... I already know temperance does not work for me. If I want to play poker, I'll play poker. If I want to play video games for hours on end, I'll do that too. Trying to organize my day and set limits on play time just does not work well for any extended period of time. Astin took a break from poker recently and found himself sitting there with nothing to do. I feel ya.

The newest thing I want to change about myself is something I have noticed in my education classes at UWB. Whenever something happens, I tend to look for reactions of the attractive women first. Somebody might make a joke, and the entire class will laugh. I'll laugh along too and take a quick glance around the room for the reactions of a woman I deem attractive. I tend to ignore a lot of people in the class on a daily basis, and I don't like that.

I've done this for a while now. I remember back in middle school and high school I would bury my head in my crossed arms on the table in front of me. I would secretly peak up at my crush from time to time. It was probably very obvious to her and everyone else around us, but at the time I thought I was being pretty slick.

I'm not really sure why I do it. I've been thinking about it over the past week and I think the best explanation is that I'd rather see an attractive woman's reaction than a non-attractive woman's reaction if I have to choose between the two. Simple as that. Oh, and I guess I would rather see a woman's reaction than a man's reaction. I'm not sure if this is how I was born, or if the media has conditioned me to view attractiveness as an important aspect of people I meet.

I don't think I'll stop preferring attractive women anytime soon.

Actually, a few months ago I was shooting hoops and just shooting the lights out. I figure the reason I was shooting so well is that an attractive woman was watching. I think she was one of the other guy's girlfriends--so it wasn't like I was trying to win her undying affection or anything, I just felt I had something more to prove with her as an audience than with just all guys in the gym. I realized it on the drive home and wondered to myself:

"What if I act like attractive women are always around?"

I would always be trying my best. Always be trying to impress--not in a cocky way, but in a way they may find intriguing. Always be chivalrous and humble.

Of course, like I said earlier, temperance and I do not work well together, and I ditched the idea not long into the experiment. But I have noticed a few environments where I am at my best regardless of hot women: ultimate frisbee and teaching. I think when there are attractive women present in these environments I can also reach a heightened level 2 bestness.

This winter I'll hopefully be skiing and snowboarding with two snow bunnies from my teaching program. They are lookers, and I am excited to spend time with them up at the slopes this winter. I'm not excited because I want them... and I guess until this moment I didn't realize why...

I am excited because I will be at my best with them around.

More often than not, I'm happy when I am at my best. Which is why I love playing ultimate, and why I'll love teaching.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Rock Climbing

I picked up rock climbing my freshman year in college. I got climbing shoes and a chalk bag for Christmas in 2000, and I had a blast climbing all sorts of different man-made routes in the old racquetball court. My Resident Assistant (RA) Jeff was a climbing enthusiast and he taught me the "Take Away" game. First person chooses a hold anywhere on the wall and that is the goal (usually somewhere relatively high on the wall). That person then climbs and touches the hold, then gets to take away one of the holds he used. The second person then climbs and touches the final hold without using the hole taken away by the first climber. The game gets confusing when the majority of the holds have been taken away, and you have to start making leaps at the final hold--fun though! The only problem I had is that Jeff was 6'6", so he could make huge leaps and bypass holds that I couldn't.

I did an anthropological study on the culture in the rock climbing wall area my junior year. The language, music and feel of the rock climbing wall was different from anywhere else on campus. "On Belay" "Belay On" "Climbing" "Climb On" "Dyno" and various grunts and screams were all common. There was a CD player in the climbing wall, and I heard a lot of different music, but usually folksy or reggae. When I was the first one in the room I would usually pop in "The Bends" by Radiohead or Pearl Jam's "Versus." Whenever I hear Radiohead, I always think back to rock climbing at UPS.

Encouragement from other climbers--strangers by any other association--was a strong draw for me to the sport. Other climbers are always willing to spot you or give advice if asked. I remember a number of times where I just couldn't figure out a particular problem and a more experienced climber would give me a suggestion on how to tackle whatever was giving me issues. Maybe leaning a little more to the right, or getting my left foot up on the ledge instead of my right foot.

I separated my shoulder playing ultimate frisbee my junior year at UPS. Ever since then, I haven't been able to pull myself up with my left arm, which put an end to my rock climbing. I messed around a little down in Tahoe on the big rocks by my house in the Tahoe National Forest, and did not feel any pain in my shoulder, but I haven't climbed at an actual rock climbing wall since college.

It turns out that one of my snowboarding buddies this winter likes to rock climb. We've exchanged emails about going for a climb one of these weekends, but we've never gotten around to it. She climbs at an indoor club in Everett, but she says it requires harnesses and costs $15 a trip, so I'm not too interested in climbing there. I prefer harness-free bouldering, which only takes you about 15ft up. Today there was a break in the week-long rain, so when I saw the sun I left her a voice mail and headed over to Marymoor Park's outdoor rock wall.

I was the only one at the wall, and the wood chips in the climbing area were still a bit damp from rain earlier in the morning. The rock wall at Marymoor looks a bit like the EMP in downtown Seattle, but more jaggedy and vertical. It is roughly 40ft high at its peak, not something I'm going to climb without a rope! I had a field day and climbed all around the base of the structures. There are overhangs, inward slopes, outward slopes, chimney chutes--it has got it all.

Once I was warmed up and remembered how to use my legs to climb instead of just relying on my arms, I started making little personal courses/goals. See if I can start on wall X and make it to wall Z. See if I can climb the length of the overhanging wall (not even close!).

I was reminded of a lot of things on my climb today. First, I love rock climbing. I've missed climbing over the years. Second, I suck at rock climbing. This is a bit unusual, because I usually don't love things I'm terrible at, but rock climbing is the exception. You need upper both upper and lower body strength for rock climbing, of which I have neither. In addition to strength, good strategy is key for climbing, and besides knowing I need to use my legs, I forgot all the little tricks I picked up climbing at UPS.

I listened to Radiohead on the way home, and remembered a big reason why I got into rock climbing in the first place was its solitary aspect. You can get a lot of thinking done while rock climbing. It isn't a team sport, and there is a very simple task: climb the wall. Other climbers can help you along the way, but they can't climb the wall for you. Also, you can climb the wall however you want, and the creativity in route creation and execution is where a lot of the fun comes in. What works for one person might not work for you, and that is alright.

I've had a few things bugging me this past week, and I think my time rock climbing helped me figure out exactly what it was that was bugging me and how to put an end to it.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Great, Great Speeches

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In the Works

I had an amazing day yesterday, and I have a much larger post in the works to journal what I experienced on election day. I'm 26 years old, and I think yesterday is right up there with the collapse of the Berlin Wall when it comes to positive important days in my lifetime. When the Berlin Wall was destroyed, I was only 7 years old. My story of yesterday's election is one I hope to share with my kids one day.

Well, I guess the saved post posted prior to this posting, so the "In the Works" post actually refers to this post.


Letter to My Children

Mom and Dad,

Thank you for the box of cookies and the card! The 7-layer cookies were shared (really!) with my roommate and a few of my new friends here at college. I can't wait until Thanksgiving when I can see you two and all my old friends again.

Things are going great so far! Everyone is so friendly and I am really liking my classes, especially my History course. The professor is really funny, and he challenges us at the same time. One of our big papers due at the end of the semester has to do with comparing a big event in our lifetime with a big event in our parent's lifetimes. Would either of you be able to help me with that?

Looking forward to November,

PS: Sending more cookies is OK.



Hope this batch of cookies made it to you! Dad may have taken one or two before I was able to tape the lid shut...

We're happy to hear your first semester at college is going well! Dad got caught up in your question and spent days writing a response to your question, so I passed on this homework assignment, professor. Here is his response, see you in just under a month:


I'm glad you are having fun in college and your professors are giving you a good challenge. As for your question about a big event in my lifetime, I would say one of the biggest events was the election of Barack Obama as the first African American President of the United States. When he got elected in 2008, I was halfway through my teaching certification program at the University of Washington.

In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the electoral college, putting George W. Bush in office for his first term. In 2004, John Kerry lost to George W. in another close race. Both of those elections were heart-breakers for me, because it seemed obvious to me how dumb George W. Bush was, and how our nation was spiraling downward in almost every respect (Iraq War, Patriot Act, Economic Recession, Housing Crisis). In 2008, we had a very interesting election because Obama would be the first African American elected President, and on John McCain's ticket, Sarah Palin would be the first female Vice President. Many people think Obama ended up winning because McCain chose a prom queen from Alaska as his Vice President instead of a more conservative pick (aka old white male).

I remember election night on November 4th. I was invited to an election party (my first) with some of the other students in the teaching program. Caroline, a student who was also living with her parents at the time, invited a few people over to her place in Kenmore to watch the election. I headed up to Kenmore and I still remember the horrendous traffic on the way there, and the big rain storm. I had the windshield wipers on high, and still could not see. I secretly thought the big rain storm was a good metaphor for washing George W. out of office, whether McCain or Obama won.

I was one of the first to arrive at Caroline's house, and her parents were just getting reading to head out to a Republican election party. I think everyone who came over to Caroline's that night was rooting for Obama. As the night progressed, the news stations colored in the various states red for McCain and blue for Obama. Obama was looking good from the beginning, winning almost all of the electoral college votes in the North East (has your teacher told you about the old electoral college yet?).

Everyone in the house stayed pretty mellow, even though Obama was exceeding expected results. Back in the electoral college days, certain states were called "battleground states" because their voters were divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida were the big three states both Obama and McCain needed to win in order to clinch the Presidency. Obama first won Pennsylvania. Then Florida. Then Ohio! We couldn't wait until 8pm, when the West Coast polls closed and predictions could be made for WA, OR and the big 55 electoral votes of California.

The INSTANT the clock turned 8pm, the news station reported that Obama was predicted to win all three states. The bump in electoral college votes to his total nudged him over the 270 mark needed to clinch victory, and we cheers'd. Shortly after, McCain gave his address to the nation, surrenduring the election to Obama. McCain's speech was probably the highlight of the night for me, because before the election I really liked him. He was a person who seemed to reach across party lines to get things done. But when the election began, he veered way towards the Republicans in order to get their nomination, and ran a dirty campaign with commercials that distorted the truth about Obama (at least in Washington State). His speech reminded me of the original McCain that I liked, the McCain who is America first, politics second.

I remember waiting around for Obama to give his acceptance speech for a while. We were getting antsy, because we all knew how good of a speaker Obama was, and this would be the speech of his life. Now, I hope mom doesn't notice this part, because I've tucked it in way down here in the letter, but since you are in college I think I can let you in on the drinking game I started before Obama's speech. Every time Obama mentioned "America" "Change" "Unity" or "Freedom" everyone in the room had to take a sip from their alcoholic beverage. I obviously would not recommend this until after your 21st birthday, but it does spice up acceptance speeches!

Obama gave his great speech and the camera kept panning to Oprah Winfrey and Jesse Jackson in the Chicago audience, weeping. Obama must have said the four key words three dozen times, because everyone's drinks were finished, and after I finished my beer I counted an additional 20 drinks I was supposed to take (but since I was driving, I called a rain check--don't drink and drink, EVER!!). Caroline's parents actually made it back to the house before Obama gave his speech, because they were actually closet Obama supporters (with lots of Republican friends). Even they participated in the drinking game, albeit with soda instead of more intoxicating beverages.

I happened to bring an old bag of fireworks to Caroline's, just in case Obama pulled out the victory. I had roman candles, bottle rockets, tanks, sparklers and bees. We walked up the street and fired them all off and had a great time. The neighborhood was a really nice one, and I assumed mostly Republican, which made shooting off the fireworks that much better! The fireworks marked the end of the night for the party and I drove home with a really good feel for the future of the United States. I actually saved this quote from the Los Angeles Times the next day:

World reaction to Obama victory: Elation

"There's a feeling of hope that things will be right in America," Randa Habib, a Jordinian writer and political analyst said Wednesday. "Obama can make you once again respect the U.S. for its values and democracy and all those things we had forgotten about over the last eight years."

This quote accurately describes how I felt about his election. The biggest reason I voted for Obama, even more important than our crumbling economy, was the World's view of America as a bully. With Bush, our standing in the world was terrible. I felt the most important aspect of the election was our World standing, and I knew the World wanted a change from the boarish Republican foreign policy. Obama's election put a smile on my face and I knew our country was finally taking a step in the right direction after 8 years of idiocy. Obama's biggest difference from Bush is that Obama actually listens, instead of just talking in generalizations.

One of the most noticeable things about the 2008 election was the voter turn out. Records were set for voter turn out that year, and the surge in voters continued to all elections since. 2008 was a big turning year for people to get out to vote, and for people of all races to feel like their voices and votes were important.

Love you, hope this helps!

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Dr. Chako Bankroll Challenge

Here is the state of my bankroll at Full Tilt--less than a dollar difference from Dr. Chako's.

Whoever has a larger bankroll (as a percentage of current bank roll) on December 1, 2008 wins the bet. I would like to up the ante and add to the $10 bet by including beer bitch duties at the next Seattle home game. Deal?


Sunday, November 02, 2008


The Weakerthans have a song called "One Great City!" and the only line I remember from the song, which is repeated a few times:


Now, I've never been to Winnipeg, but I think we all have a few cities we just hate. Usually there is a reason, whether that reason be logical or not. I used to hate the entire state of Oregon--nothing seemed to go well in Oregon. The speed limit is lower in Oregon than in California or Washington, making road trips through Oregon the pits. The traffic in Portland during rush hour takes hours to get through. Also, the road trip I took in high school down to California we got pulled over in Oregon, which increased my hatred of the state as a whole.

I've grown up since then, and lived in Portland for a year and loved it. I avoided rush hour traffic not having a vehicle, and my view of Oregon isn't so bad anymore.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ho boy

I had a good time last night for Halloween, but I'm paying for it today. I'm not very mobile, so I've spent the morning and early afternoon drinking orange juice and playing some good ol' online poker. I fired up a 180-person SNG and river-rafted for a few hours, laying enough beats to start some fun conversations in the chat box. One guy wouldn't call me MHG, he always referred to me as "ATC." When I started taking the beats instead of doling them out, I busted just short of the money in 20th.

Halloween was fun. I got invited to a party over in Kirkland with a few of the young ladies from my teaching program. They were the only ones I would know at the party, so I was hesitant about going, which is the same issue I faced going to Matt's Halloween party downtown. I did not want to stay in again this year, as I've been known to do in the past. The decision was a tough one, but I finally decided to hit the Kirkland party when I found out there would be beer pong, hot tubbing, and my tall, blond friend Jenny dressed up as a femmebot:

I've never been to a big Halloween party where the girls dress slutty before, and I can't really see myself going to many more in the future, so I went for it. It was a great party, and the girls did not disappoint. The three femmebots were all smoking hot and I distinctly remember a sexy bee with golden glitter on her flat stomach. There was also a hot devil in some sort of skin-tight red costume that either had holes in it, or used some sort of magic to reveal skin at various locations. The girls were ridiculously hot at the party, and the guys were hilarious. The host had a full batman suit, including wings that extended for a 12-ft wingspan. Scuba Steve, Ulysses S. Grant (in full Union regalia), Ghost Busters, and everybody's favorite: big fat guys dressed as girls.

Brad Gilbert's niece was at the party, and I was dressed as a tennis player, so she introduced herself. Brad Gilbert has coached Agassi and Andy Roddick over the years. I also ran into someone from UPS who graduated with a business degree the same year as I did--small world. Played a few rounds of beer pong, which I have not done since last summer. The domination picked up where it left off. There were two tables set up and an interesting rules question came up on the table next to us: if the ping pong ball gets stuck in the opposing girl's cleavage, is it an auto-win? I think so.