Monday, May 31, 2010

Night Cap

Played the Daily Dollar this evening after a rainy morning of ultimate and a sunny afternoon BBQ.

I saw Aposec72 at one of my tables, his QQ got busted by TT AIPF, then he got 2-outted again to bust from the tourney a few hours in. My player note on him going into the tourney was "folds a lot and then gets bad-beat with good hands." Spot on!

I saw SmBoatDrinks at a later table, and that name is super familiar, but I can't remember if he is a blogger or where I know that name from. Anyone?

(edit: after a quick search I found his blog and linked it)

Ended up running fairly deep in the tourney to end a very nice Memorial Day Weekend. Golf, ultimate, friends, drinks, poker, and a new lady friend?! TBC...


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Photo Week 21: Rocky Golf

Played a round at Nile Country Club this afternoon. $23 for a "twilight" start at 3pm with Erin, Breanna and Jared. My round was as rocky as this docky, with lots of triple bogeys and a quintuple bogey (hit my 8ft putt to save 9!). I sunk a handful of 8-10ft putts today, but couldn't hit my driver or irons for nothin'.

The degenerate gambler in me won a beer bet with Jared, and a "who sets up the next round" with Erin. Both bets were up and down bets, where are balls were an equal distance from the hole and I bet the other person I could get it in the hole in less strokes. They both choked.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I only play at Full Tilt!

Battle of the Bloggers
Play Online Poker with poker's top bloggers

Brought to you by online poker room Full Tilt Poker

I still play online poker, but only freerolls and micro events. BBT is too rich for my blood, unless it is a $4k freeroll!!!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Live Poker

I have no idea when the last time I played casino poker was. It might have been with Dr. Ferrari at Snoqualmie Casino back in August last year. In fact, after a bit of searching, it was!

Matt wasn't the only Seattle blogger to spend time in a local casino this week, but I ventured up to Tulalip instead of Snoqualmie this time. My trip back in August was probably the worst luck/skill I've ever experienced playing casino poker. I would run 2nd nuts into nuts and flop nut flush draws in huge pots never to hit. I burnt through my buy-in in 45 minutes and quit. I think I won the blinds once with QQ and that was the only hand I won that session.

I've been hankering for some live poker for a while now, and decided that Saturday was the day to play because I had plans later in the evening, but nothing to do during the day. Tulalip is the closest casino to where I'm at now, and I've had pretty good experiences there in the past, so I checked out their website to see what tournaments and other goodies the casino offers. Turns out the bad beat jackpot for Hold'em cash tables is the biggest in state history at $250,000. In the past, I've seen it in the $10k-$20k range. Holy shit! Both cards have to play, and quads have to be beaten to win the big jackpot.

I arrived at the casino and put my name on the 4/8 limit list at noon, and we started a new table about an hour later. The table was abuzz with talk of the huge jackpot, and it definitely affected the table play. Any pocket pair and any suited connector I was playing, and I'm sure everyone else was, too. This led to me bleeding plenty of chips for the first hour. I hovered around my starting stack for the second hour, then bled some more chips at the beginning of my third hour. My stack dwindled from $200 to about $75 or so, before I went on a ridiculous heater.

A new dealer moved to our table at the 3.5 hour mark of my session. I was dealt two pocket pairs on my first two hands. I saw flops with both, the turn with one, but folded... only to hit on the river both times. I was dealt J8o a few hands later and folded preflop, which would have quaded up. I kept a fairly good poker face and didn't let anyone else know I missed out on $100-$200 in the past few hands, but I decided to start playing any two cards the dealer dealt me, and I won literally every hand but two for the rest of that dealer's down. I flopped three sets and got paid off every time. I turned and rivered straights and flushes like they were going out of style. I finished up for the session and took off.

The experience was awkward for me. I've obviously been at tables where individuals go on heaters and it just seems ridiculous. Theoretically and probability speaking, one hand does not affect the next, and I felt silly calling and betting with hands I normally wouldn't, just because my previous hands had been winners that I missed out on. It shouldn't happen that way, but my hot streak just kept on rolling, and I was finally the person at the table people were rolling their eyes at and I was nearly tilting the table over with my mound of chips.

The jackpot didn't hit. And over my four hours there were only maybe three boards where the bad beat jackpot was a possibility (where quads over quads were possible, or quads and straight flushes/royals).


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Photo Week 20: Playing Hookie

Wednesday I took advantage of Wayne G.C.'s stellar $14 deal again. I got incredibly lucky with the weather, as there were DARK clouds within sight for my entire round, but I was in the sun for the majority of the round. As soon as I finished the 18th hole, the rain started and didn't stop until after dinner. The round was a lot of fun, and I treated it as another practice round, playing best-ball style. This time I shot even par--a nine-stroke drop from three weeks ago playing the same style. Next step is to actually keep a real score, forcing myself to hit balls from the rough and count all my putts (that is going to suck).

Almost felt a little guilty being out there playing on a Wednesday at noon.


Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Figuring Stuff Out

Being almost 28 and single, a lot of my time is spent thinking about relationships. My three close friends, friends since 1st grade, are all married. Two of them have young children, and I can't help but feel jealous of where they are at in their lives. They each have an amazing woman in their life to share their experiences with, and two have a clear purpose.

I'm jealous of my friends because they are in a position I wish I was in. I wish I had found a woman to share my life with by now. I wish I had a clear purpose, whether that be a child, the likelihood of a child, a spouse, or even a steady career. Right now I am single, without kids, substitute teaching, with very little keeping me in one place other than the gigantic fact that this is where I want to be.

I have younger friends who are traveling the world, and I wonder why I'm not doing the same. Italy, Alaska, Central and South America, Singapore--I would love to go to all of those places, and with a substitute teaching schedule I can go, so why not? One part of me realizes that I have already "gotten out" in my earlier 20s. I moved up and down the West Coast, living in Sacramento, Portland, Nevada City and Zephyr Cove on the shores of Lake Tahoe. I had an amazing time living in different places, and experiencing (slightly) different cultures than the one I grew up in. Eventually, I came to the realization that although moving around was fun, I really wasn't accomplishing anything, and I was ready to. I also missed my friends and family. My friends were settling down and starting families, and my parents weren't getting any younger. I wanted to spend my time with the people in my life I cared about.

So here I am in Seattle nearly three years later. I have my teaching cert, but my teaching career isn't off the tarmac yet. Friends are popping out babies, but I haven't found anyone to join that brigade yet. I'm in the odd late-20s stage where I'm not interested in short-term relationships, but also weirded out by thinking about marriage on the first few dates. I notice wedding rings now--maybe the first sign of "getting old".

This rambling on and on about life and relationships has pretty much been clogging up my head since January, but something clicked last week, which is still being absorbed into my thick skull. I met an old couple-friend of mine from Tacoma last week. Their wedding was my first ever wedding, back in 2005, and I hadn't seen them since. I looked them up on Facebook a few weeks ago (an interesting story in and of itself), and we watched Survivor together last Thursday night. It was a great night, and it was as if our friendship hadn't skipped a beat. They purchased a house in Seattle, and also have a 2yr old baby now. I was happy for them at the same time as being a bit depressed in my single, childless, non-house-owning persona.

And then I realized...

Dave would kill to be where I'm at right now. Marc, Andrew, Tyler... any of those guy friends of mine who are married and have kids or have purchased a house together with their spouse... they would all kill to have my life. Maybe just for a day, or maybe a week, but having the pressure of a wife, a kid, and a house all squarely on your shoulders, 24/7, that is a draining pressure. Seeing me rolling in on my motorcycle, having just spent the afternoon killing time riding around North Seattle, stopping at a dive bar for a burger and a pint. That is something I can do any day of the week. I don't think Dave has had the time to "kill time" for the last four years, what with house remodels and a new child.

It really just comes down to the old "Grass is Greener" adage. I would love to have a wife and a kid right now. My friends would love the freedom and carefree life I have. When I finally realized this, leaving Dave and Jenny's last week, a smile crept across my face as I put my motorcycle helmet on. I know sooner or later I'll find the right woman to spend the rest of my life with, we'll buy a house and hopefully have a child or two. That is what I want, but it doesn't have to be right now. I always thought 30 would be a good time to start settling down, so I'm nowhere near panic mode. Dad had me when he was 40! Plenty of time!

Until then, I need to live it up. This doesn't mean spend all my money traveling, but it does mean that I need to realize and utilize the freedom and carefreeness of my current lifestyle, because I know it won't last much longer.

I need to visit Alaska soon.

I need to get out hiking and camping as much as possible.

I need to plan ahead and take classes during the summer if I am not teaching, to work towards my masters and possibly a high-school teaching cert.

These three things are absolutely and easily attainable for me right now. If I had a wife and kid, imagine how much more difficult any of these would be. I could go to Alaska Air right now and buy a plane ticket for tomorrow if I wanted to. I'm not going to, because I have a fun weekend of camping already planned with friends! Not a bad life I lead right now, not bad at all, and I'm not sure why I've been having trouble seeing that these past few months.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Photo Week 19: Tall Chief Golf Course

Could not have asked for better weather on Saturday for golf with Erin. We ventured out to the Tall Chief Golf Course, near Snoqualmie, because of the $16 for 12 holes greens fee (we ended up playing 12 more holes for $4 after our first 12!). This course is one of the first 18-hole courses I played growing up, but in the last 15 years the owners apparently had to sell off six holes to keep the golf course going. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from a 12-hole golf course, but from what I remembered about the course, it seemed like a pretty nice one--especially for the price. Sure, there were a few muddy spots (the ball is white...):

And a few of the greens had rough patches in them, which reminded me of lava or water in video game putt-putt. But for the most part, the course was kept up decently. Erin and I each grabbed a beer after a lackluster (re: terrible) first nine holes, and finished them by the end of the next hole. We broke for lunch after 12 holes and had hot dogs and some more beer, and decided that we needed redemption for our shitty first 12 holes. I shot a 73 and she shot a 69 on the front 12. Respectable scores for 18 holes... not 12!

We tipsily walked back up to the 1st tee box after lunch and she hammered a drive down the right side of the fairway, getting ooohs and aaaahs from onlookers. I stepped up to the tee and topped my first ball into the tall grass below, then teed up a second ball and did the exact same. Damn. I salvaged a six on the first hole this time around, and she parred it.

Our second round (or back 12?) was amazing. One of us shot bogey or better on every hole except for the 10th, and we both double-bogeyed that one (she three-putted and I hit two trees). We rarely duffed shots, we were both consistently hitting our drivers 200+ yards, and all felt right in the world. A complete 180 from the first 12.

I tallied up our scores on the drive back to Seattle and she ended up shooting 10 strokes better on the final 12, for a 69+59=128. I shot 18 strokes better for a 73+55=128. Dead even. There were two reasons for me being anywhere close to her score. The first is that the ladies tees and mens tees were always about five yards apart (go gender equality!), and I birdied the 9th hole on the second go around, chipping it within a foot, and I actually parred that same hole on the first go, pitching the ball from about 40 yards away within a foot--my two best shots of the day.

Looking forward to more golf!

Labels: ,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trail Work: Dungeness River

This weekend was my first time volunteering on a hiking trail. I've been using hiking trails in Washington since I was probably 2 or 3 years old, and I figure it is time to start giving back. The idea to volunteer last weekend came about at the end of March, when I spent 12 hours sitting on my ass, playing WoW and watching March Madness one lazy Saturday. At the end of that Saturday where I accomplished next to nothing, I signed up for this overnight trail work day in the beginning of May. I didn't realize it was Mother's Day weekend until a week prior... sorry Mom!

I woke up at 4:00am on Saturday morning, and was out of the house by 4:30am. I drove down around Tacoma, up through Gig Harbor and the trail head is just south of Sequim. I arrived at 8:00am for the 8:30am departure, which turned into a 9:00am departure when a few of the other volunteers arrived late due to a website time discrepancy. The view from the forest service road leading to the Dungeness Trail is amazing:

We had about a dozen people for the first day, and I was the youngest. There was a couple in probably their early 30s, and everyone else was 40+, most over 50 and retired. There was one other newbie, a 40-something mom who came out by herself for Mother's Day, to the bewilderment of her teenage boys. "You want to go out, sleep in the cold, with no bathroom, and work on trails for Mother's Day?!"

I wasn't really sure what to expect, this being my first time doing trail work. We each grabbed two tools from a nice arsenal:

The hike in to our work site was just over a mile, and I made the mistake of not wearing my work gloves--my hands were FREEZING by the time we got to the work site. I should have known better when I saw all of the frost on cars parked at the parking lot overnight. The crew leader had checked out the site on Tuesday and said the parking lot had snow all around the edges (which had melted away by the time we got there Saturday morning).

We spent about 30-45 minutes scoping out the washed out trail and options for a new trail. There were actually several different routes we could go, and the shared leadership was a really cool thing to be a part of. Some of the very experienced trail workers asked my opinion, and I had no idea, but said what I thought looked like a good route and then we would discuss the pros and cons of the different routes (and of course go with their expert opinion--but it was fun to at least talk about the different routes). We settled on a route that went way high up on the hill, mostly to avoid another wash out in the next few years. This meant more work, but work that will last longer.

My first problem to work on happened to be a patch of Devil's Club in the wettest part of our work site. I dove in and enacted vengeance on Devil's Club for all of the stings I've gotten over the years up at the cabin. Damn you Devil's Club!!

We broke for lunch, and in the afternoon I spent some of my time finishing the Devil's Club spot, then moved to working on clearing out the end of the trail of roots and rocks--filling in holes with rocks we dig out and generally leveling the trail as we go.

I was pooped when we got back to the parking lot and camp site. I took a picture of my boots from my work in the trenches, and then fell asleep in my tent as soon as my head hit my sweatshirt-converted pillow.

My nap ended in time for dinner, which was hamburgers provided by the crew leader. She also provided breakfast and two trail pass parking passes, which I can turn in for a year-long Northwest Forest Pass (hello hiking this summer!). We sat around the campfire for a few hours after dinner, telling stories and playing the game "What am I?" Kind of like 20 questions. We spent about 45 minutes trying to guess this one guy's "What Am I?" and eventually knew that he was a children's toy and that children play with his head and open up his head and there is more fun stuff inside...

Mr. Potatohead.

I slept like a rock. I really should have spent some time looking up at the stars, but I was running on about five hours of sleep and grubbing or moving rocks all day.

Sunday we decided to leave the muddy Devil's Club section of the trail alone, because the mud is up to your shins and it isn't going to dry out anytime soon. We did dig a trench, to flow water into one lane, which will hopefully drain out the section of water so volunteers can make the intended trail in the next trail work party. Instead of playing in the Devil's Club, we had some fun projects involving huge trees that had fallen in our new route.

Don brought a 6ft saw on Sunday, and I'll quickly describe the process. We scout the entire tree, which means climbing up the hillside a hundred feet to see if anything will happen if we cut where we are planning on cutting, and doing the same below our cutting spot. Sometimes the trees will fly up after cutting through it with a saw, depending on where other trees are applying pressure to the downed tree. This tree is relatively safe, because it is wedged between a few trees, and the base of it has already been cut for the old route, so not much pressure is being applied by the massive root section.

First step in the cutting process is to ax in a starting spot for the saw.

Two people then saw back and forth until the saw is fully into the tree by a few inches. Then someone hammers in wedges to the top of the cut, to make sure the saw can get out of the cut. When the wedges were placed into this first big tree we cut, I was told to get up on the saw and work with the other newbie to finish the cut. There is a dangerous side and a safe side to each tree cut, and I got the dangerous side. The footing was bad, and when the saw broke through, the tree would be coming my way. We struggled a bit to get started, but then we had a really good flow going and made quick work of the tree until the crew leader told us to stop and have Wayne finish off the cut from one side (which involves taking a handle off the saw and just letting him cut if from his side.

Four saw cuts from Wayne and the tree trunk fell to the ground, and a branch none of us saw whapped down right where I would have tried to escape to... I got lucky there! Everyone else was surprised by how close of a call that was, as usually the call to swap to a one-person saw is done much earlier, for safety reasons. Once the tree dropped, we had to make another cut. I got to sit out the first half again, but we swapped sides for the second half and I got to cut from the safe side, and also finish off the cut by one-manning the 6ft saw. They told me when I "hear the tree talking to me, get the saw out and go!" I heard the tree crack numerous times and got the saw out and got out of there, but nothing moved. They said they would have made fun of me if we were loggers, but since we're all just volunteers, they liked my cautiousness.

Eventually I one-manned through the entire tree and it just sat there. The wedges at the top, and the force from the lower part of the tree apparently held it up, so we had to kick it to the side to get it to thump down.

Lunch on Sunday was great. We completely lucked out on the weather this weekend, with just a slight drizzle on our way back to camp Saturday afternoon. The sun at lunch also attracted a butterfly, which seemed very comfortable both on me and my bagel:

After lunch we took a brief walk up the trial another 1000ft and came to a big land slide. I used the landslide to skid down to the river. I spotted a tree crossing the river and I thought it would be amazing to have a picture taken up there, but I'd never try to cross it.

Then on our way back Don gave it a shot, so I raced back to the beach spot to snap a photo, unknown to him!


We spent the rest of the day cutting and moving more big trees, and finishing up tidying up the trail for hikers and horses. Our last project of the day had the entire team working together to push, pull, and man levers to get a big tree out of the middle of the trail and up over another downed tree.

Overall, an amazing weekend, and I look forward to volunteering again in the future on trails. It really is a lot of work, and we only worked on about 300ft of a 6 mile trail. Great weather for the weekend, great people, and we stopped early enough on Sunday that I even made it back to Seattle in time for dinner with Mom!

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Photo Week 18: Volunteer Trail Work

I was out the door and on my way by 4:30am on Saturday, to the Olympics Mountain Range for my first ever volunteer trail work party. I'll have a much more in-depth post up tomorrow, but for now I'm exhausted and just need to get this photo up for the week so I don't have to pay Brandon $5.

The trip was amazing, in every aspect. Especially the butterfly aspect:


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Photo Week 17: Fore!

Saturday saw me and a few friends outside playing 18 holes of golf on a windy and sporadically wet Seattle May Day.

For the past week, I've been looking forward to golfing with this group. All I knew about the other three players is that Jared hasn't played much golf and did not have his own set of clubs... here's how the lineup turned out:

Jared: Beginner. No clubs, had to borrow my dad's old set of clubs.

Your hero: Beginner-intermediate. I've played forever, but usually only a few times a year. I'm a duffer. Sub-100 and I'm happy.

Erin: Her birthday was last week, and I saw that she "likes" golf on her Facebook, so that is what got this foursome started.

Breanna: One of Jared's new girlfriends? ???

So, that's my lineup going in, not really sure what to expect, but knowing that I'll have a fun day with Jared and the ladies.

It turns out Erin's dad is the golf pro at the country club in the town in Montana she grew up in. Her form is perfect, and probably can shoot in the 80s if she played more. Breanna played competitive golf growing up and says she had a 10 handicap when she was 16. Holy Jesus girls with good golf strokes are hot, I don't know what it is, but wow.

The ladies weren't playing great, as it was their first round of the season, but it was also easy to tell that they knew what they were doing and are way, way better at golf than yours truly. They set up their putts and put a little ball marker down, which is way more professional than anything I do on the golf course.

I filled up my golf bag with eight PBRs, and Jared stuffed his bag with a 6-pack of tall boys. Here is the score card:

This is the first time... maybe ever, that I didn't keep score. We were having a great time, and Breanna said it was the first time she has ever drank on a golf course--she had always taken golf so seriously growing up, and I guess she hasn't played a ton of golf since she turned 21 (and I have no idea how long ago that was). I set a skins-handicap system in place: if you won a hole outright, you had to drink a beer. Breanna started out hot, but the beer didn't loosen up her game like it did mine!

Erin and her friend Sarah left us after the front nine (Sarah just tagged along, as she surprised Erin with a visit for the weekend). The backside was pretty chill, and my favorite hole was the 11th. Big fairway to drive the ball down, and of course I drive it into the 10th fairway with my natural slice. My second shot I hit my 4-iron about 180 yards between two trees and around a third, landing presumably close to or on the green. I have trouble finding my ball, and finally find it about 20 yards from the pin... on the cart path. I decide to play it from the cart path instead of kicking it off, and the good karma got rewarded with a chip-in birdie!

Labels: ,