Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sigh. In a training room in Texas. Courtyard DFW for those of you keeping score (or stalking me). Travel sucks. Nothing against Texas… or Dallas for that matter… I could be in Denver or Phoenix or New York or Chicago… it doesn’t matter. Travel sucks.

This trip is particularly irritating. A couple of managers decided that I need to audit a regional ad-hoc training, ostensibly so we can determine whether this particular method and/or trainer is preferable to SOP. They determined this on FRIDAY, so I had to book a flight to get here on MONDAY. Naturally, by that time, direct flights cost about as much as a small car, so I had to connect to get here on ArizonaAir (AKA America West). I attempted to book a stopover in Las Vegas, but our travel group didn’t get adequate airline kickbacks to rationalize that path.

So now I’m sitting in this damn room, pretending I’m taking notes.

One positive note… remember that bonus Party threw my way a month or so ago? I’ve built that little stake into $100+ on Party. It took a win in a $10+1 O8 last night to do it. I just need to remember to uninstall the Party software before I get my laptop back to the office. So my next goal is to build the Empire bonus over $100 as well (right now it’s at $50+). Maybe I’ll download that one tonight…

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I wasn’t allowed to vote for the AFI’s top 100 movie quotes, having never been a pretentious, self-important movie critic. But here are a few that they missed (for obvious reasons):

1. “PC Load Letter? What the fuck does that mean?” – Michael Bolton, Office Space
2. “Put the lotion in the fucking basket!!!” – Buffalo Bill, Silence of the Lambs
3. “Listen asshole, you just took a shot at me, I think you do know something.”
“Well, who gives a fuck what you think!” – Jack Cates and Luther, 48 Hours
4. “I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?” – Jack, Meet the Parents
5. “You were raped?!”, “Well, at first, yes…” – Brian and mother, Life of Brian

Monday, June 20, 2005

Quick sports takes:

· Ummm, memo to Larry Brown: If San Antonio needs a key three-pointer, you might want to cover the best clutch shooter in NBA Finals history.

· Memo to ESPN: Before you anoint Tim Duncan as “The Big Fundamental”, perhaps you should teach him how to shoot free throws. One would guess that those would be part of the fundamentals as well.

· Buy stock in Paula Creamer. While not in Annika Sorenstam’s league golf-wise (no one really is), she has more than enough camera appeal and personality to be a powerful force in the endorsement world, much more so than the gawky, dog-faced Michele Wie. The fact that she’s from my current hometown and was born in the same hospital as my kids has nothing to do with it.

· If you haven’t seen the Donkeypuncher and you’re believing him when he says that he looks like Usher, take it from me… he looks a lot more like Michael Campbell.

· Playing tennis on grass makes as much sense as playing golf on asphalt

· Watched some of the UltimateBet Poker tournament. Wow, was it bad poker! And the commercials with Annie Duke were cheaply made and patronizing (“You can ask questions, and get answers from the best players in the world!”). However, it did point out that there is some spectacularly crappy play at UB and those guys end up being the winners!

· I’m building up my PokerStars account again. I had about a buck festering there a couple of weeks ago. Played the .05/.10 tables until I got it above $3. Played one of their new 5-table $1+.2 MTTs and cashed. Now I’m above $10, a tidy 900% increase! Save me a seat in Vegas!

“It’s not that I’m lazy… It’s that I just don’t care.”

“My only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.”

– Peter Gibbons in the movie Office Space and me every freakin’ day

Of course, I’m blogging this from my desk, so take that for what it’s worth.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Sports Guy touched on a subject near and dear to my heart this week… food. Or more specifically, GREAT food. It has inspired me to blog about MY food pantheon…

1. My mom’s potato salad – Everyone who has ever had my mom’s potato salad swears that it is the best they’ve ever had. Heart-stopping gobs of mayonnaise, mustard, boiled eggs, just the right amount of celery, and mounds of slightly overcooked potatoes make this numero uno for the ages.

2. Chili-cheese fries at Steve’s in Torrance, CA – Oh sure, you’ll be regretting it later (or more likely, whoever is sleeping in the same room will be regretting it), but these oozing, greasy fries heaped with chili of indeterminate meat origin and shredded orange cheese-like food and raw onions is a true culinary masterpiece. And you won’t gain weight from eating it since you’ll just shit it out within three hours.

3. Big Macs – Kind of a historic food for me. It represented my ascendance into quasi-adulthood. When Mickey D’s first came up with the concept, I was too young to try it, content to munch on the cheeseburgers. As my appetite grew, I aspired to the “adult” food and the $.55 Big Mac was the symbol of what “big kids eat”. It also signaled to my parents that McDonald’s was no longer the cheapest option in town.

4. My wife’s spaghetti – Betty Crocker’s recipe or it would be ranked higher. This is the recipe that Screech plagiarized and marketed to the student body in Saved by the Bell. The best spaghetti sauce ever.

5. Malibu Chicken – I doubt anyone in Malibu really invented this, and I’m not sure why Sizzler thought that Malibu was the likely origin of this inside-out Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe. A deep-fried chicken patty with melted fake-Swiss cheese and ham on top with a dip of mustard-mayo sauce…. Good stuff. Reminds me of those six-hour college study sessions at Sizzler with unlimited salad bar and sodas. Good times.

6. Blue Crab Claws at Joe’s Crab Shack in Miami – During the heyday of the dot-coms, I worked for a company (with the Donkeypuncher) that believed in hemorrhaging money and that sales meetings were the best way to do it. They rented out a big chunk of the restaurant and paid for all-you-can-eat crab claws for a couple of hundred people. Conservatively, you could have fed three countries with the stuff we threw away that night and paid off the national debt of Brazil, but the claws were spec-tac-u-lar!

7. Molson Ultra Dry beer – sold only in Canada – After a different sales meeting for a different company, my wife and I had dinner at a steakhouse in Banff. I decided to try Molson Ultra Dry for the first time and fell in love with it. Every meal after for the next week, I asked for this golden nectar. Even my wife agreed that it was the best beer she had tasted. Once back in the states, I tried to find it to no avail, using the Internet and even emailing Molson directly. Since the alcohol content is double the US standard for beer, Molson decided NOT to export it, making it impossible to get. Dicks.

8. Togo’s Large #9 (Hot Pastrami) – Sure, the fat content is roughly 40% ,but the sandwich is filling and tasty and has a high satisfaction-to-dollar ratio. One of my proudest moments is splitting a family size (according to their menu, can feed 4-6 individuals) Hot Pastrami and a full bag of Ruffles with a buddy during the Ed Zschau for Senate Campaign in 1986.

9. Haagen Dazs Swiss Almond Chocolate Ice Cream – The best, creamiest ice cream ever. Chocolate Ice Cream with chocolate covered almonds. Of course, it’s been discontinued, and I haven’t had it for almost 15 years. They have a pale imitation called Swiss Almond Vanilla, but that’s basically Baskin Robbins Almond Bon Bon. I worked at Baskin Robbins and Farrell’s dammit. I know my ice cream.

Shit, now I'm hungry.

For all of you who consider losing a $200 pot to a one-outer to be an "injustice", check out Iggy’s blog for a cold splash of real world tragedy and injustice.

It’s only money at the poker tables. Money can be recovered eventually.

Iggy, my deepest condolences to your wife and your family.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

“Just because the kid’s mother is a money-grubbing, ambulance-chasing scumbag doesn’t mean Jacko is innocent” – Me.

I think we can all agree that Michael Jackson has become a monstrous freak. I would LOVE to see him accidentally step on Mike Tyson’s foot and watch the ensuing carnage. It would be pure poetry to watch two of the most fucked-up people in the history of the planet in the same place at the same time, with one of them beating the other to a bloody pulp. Hmmmm….

Oddly, Mike Tyson is actually the saner of the two, which might be the only time Iron Mike finishes on top in that particular comparison. His demons have been seen before; violent inner city upbringing without a male role model, violent relationships with women, violent temper in a violent profession, well, you get the idea. Underneath it all, you sense a desperation, a childlike desire to have a normal life, but a complete lack of understanding of the way to achieve it. Everything he ever had, he got because of his violent lifestyle. Now that his violence has been muted, he’s a lost soul.

Now, Jacko is another story. His upbringing was no less traumatic, a child star in an abusive household, denied his childhood by an ambitious and abusive father. But his mind splintered in a completely different direction. He funneled all of his considerable resources into capturing that lost childhood, trying to surround himself with young boys who worshipped him, warping his personal appearance, and transforming his ranch into a big kiddie theme park. He’s likely a pedophile, certainly a complete sociopath with absolutely no grasp of social conventions or adult interactions.

We have a rare opportunity as a country now. We have an angry, famously violent psychopath and a twisted, sociopathic pedophile, both self loathing, both looking for affirmation in a world that deems them both undesirable. We need to bring them together. In a ring. Bareknuckled. And let Mike Tyson wreak his vengeance on the world that has turned its back on him… in the form of Michael Jackson. Can you imagine it? It would be the real life equivalent of “Bambi meets Godzilla”. It would make millions, maybe enough to get Iron Mike out of debt. Call your local cable company NOW.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ahh, the joys of being on the poker bandwagon…

As Mean Gene points out, many national media outlets are making a half-assed attempt to climb aboard the already overloaded poker bandwagon, sending poker newbies out to cover the WSOP like it’s some sort of Star Wars theater line or political convention. Sure, it’s irritating and patronizing to those of us who know our Hammer from our Big Slick, but these articles, featurettes, and soundbites are expanding the reach of poker to a big wide world of new players, growing our krill population exponentially.

I’ve been playing poker for REAL money since I was in the seventh grade. Well, nickel-dime-quarter is REAL money, at least it was in 1974. So I don’t need to be reminded the ranking of the hands, I don’t need to be told that my 72o is an underdog to AA, but, you know what? Some people do. And they’re the ones I want at my table. They’re the ones that I want to encourage to make that first deposit of $100 and sit down at the $.5/1 tables to “learn how to play”.

When the televised poker craze was just starting over a year ago, I watched every show and read every article about poker I could, just because it was there. Now I find that I ignore a large percentage of the mass media poker binge. Celebrity Poker, Hollywood Home Game, all that shit… is just that… SHIT.

“News” articles on ESPN, CNN, NY Times, any national news… these editing staffs are all YEARS behind the curve on poker knowledge. So I don’t read any of their stuff. Now I read blogs for my poker fix. But remember, most bloggers are way way way on the leading curve of poker acumen. The online poker virgin wouldn’t understand the vast majority of the pokerspeak bloggers use regularly, much of which is unique to the bloggers anyway. You won’t hear Sexton or Chad discussing the “Hammer” or “Fish” or “straddling”.

So, just consider ANY major media source to be the poker equivalent of Mr Rogers (“Hi, boys and girls, can you say ‘Flop?” and bloggers to be the poker equivalent of the Iron Chefs. They’re catering to the 99% that don’t give a shit about most of the crap that poker bloggers blog about. Those people need a voice too. And we don’t have to listen to it if we don’t want to. But I want those 99% to bring their wallets and play at my table.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I may have narrowly avoided a disaster of Hellmuthian proportions. Watching the 39857th replay of the 2004 WSOP last night, I saw a commercial for “the perfect Father’s Day gift, The First Season DVD of TILT!”. I said loudly, “Who the fuck would want that?”

My eleven-year old son said “I thought you liked that show. I think Mom was thinking about getting that for you.”

I shuddered and said “Go and tell your mother RIGHT NOW not to buy that piece of crap for me. If she already bought it, have it take it back!”

Trevor ran off dutifully and I heard him tell my wife what I said (not verbatim, but close). She came out later and told me that she was indeed thinking about getting it after hearing the commercial, but hadn’t made it to the store. THANK GOD!

Oh, and keep an eye on the comic strip Foxtrot. This week, the dad is gonna try Internet Poker. I was gonna post it, but don’t want to run afoul of the “syndicate”.

Please follow all copyrights associated from

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I’ve decided it’s a good time for me to follow the trend (being completely unoriginal) of blogging some random facts about myself:

1. For those who are new around here, I came in second in a WPBT event last year, before the advent of the rankings, losing to MtDewVirus in the king of all heads-up battles.
2. I was on Jeopardy in 1988. Post-Art Fleming and pre-Ken Jennings. I said “Shit” when I missed a question and was white-sounded out.
3. I was one of the first geeks to actually court my wife via email (again in 1988). Long story short, she was the IT Help Desk Admin in SoCal, I was a new hire in NoCal. A friend told me she was cute, so I starting flirting with her via email and voicemail sight unseen. The rest is history.
4. My wife was a finalist in Miss Torrance. Funny thing is, I think she’s prettier now than she was back then.
5. Our fifteenth wedding anniversary is next week (6/9).
6. I am a third-generation Japanese-American, and consider myself an American of Japanese descent.
7. I go all-in more often with nothing than with the nuts.
8. I eat at least five cheeseburgers a week, mostly at Carl’s Jr or Jack in the Box
9. I’m a strapping 5’7”, 165 lbs.
10. I’ve bowled a perfect game.
11. At various times over the last ten years, I’ve been a trainer, a training manager, a training specialist, and a training consultant… in software, hardware, financial services, retail, and bio-tech.
12. I change jobs a lot.
13. I fold Ace-rag more than I probably should, especially short-handed.
14. I skipped the first grade.
15. I graduated high school in 1980 at the age of sixteen. Teri Hatcher graduated in 1982 from the same school.
16. I once won a $5 bet by sticking an entire McDonalds cheeseburger in my mouth.
17. I get really irritated when people misspell.
18. I believe that Joe Montana is a God, put on the earth to spread the gospel of the 4th quarter comeback.
19. My kids are waaayyyy cuter than your kids.
20. In my spare time, I like to do Cryptic Crosswords.
21. I also lost on a short-lived gameshow hosted by Dick Clark called The Challengers. I didn’t swear on that one.
22. 1430 on the SAT, 760 on the GMAT. Add those up and you get diddly.squat.
23. Never been arrested, though I’ve stood by and watched friends get cuffed and dragged down to the station. I even picked them up when they were released.
24. My favorite beer isn’t even sold in the US, Molson Ultra Dry.
25. Welcome to the Bay Area: Gallon of unleaded $2.59, 1372 sq ft house $650,000, five terrible sports teams… priceless.
26. Mary Ann > Ginger
27. I once worked with Tiger Woods’ half-sister Royce. She used to brag about her teenaged brother that was winning SoCal junior golf tourneys in the late eightiesl. I told her that I’d kick his ass if I ever got the chance. By the time I met him in person, he had already won two US Amateurs. I genuflected at his feet and embarrassed both him and my wife.
28. I was once fired from a job for telling someone that I would “break their skinny little neck”. That same person was subsequently fired for threatening someone else.
29. According to standardized IQ tests, I am a genius.
30. According to my wife, I’m an absent-minded professor and a slob.
31. I’m usually the guy who is prodding the drunkest guy to do something stupid.
32. I was on the basketball court during the game where UCLA suffered their worst defeat in school history (48 pts to Stanford). I was running a promo for Compaq where audience members shot free throws. Most free throws won a laptop. A ten-year old kid beat a sixty-year old who couldn’t reach the rim.
33. I’ve had 11 dogs in my life (Snippy, Tootsie, Tubby, Taffy, Sneakers, Brownie, Poppy, Chip, Pepper, Muffin, and Lucky). Snippy and Tootsie were the first two, the next seven were puppies from three litters, Muffin was an inbred grandchild, Lucky (the current dog) is a rescue from the Humane Society.
34. I don’t like cats.
35. I own ten Star Trek episodes on VHS.
36. I helped launch the Books R Us program for Western Publishing. If you’ve been in a Toys R Us that has a carpeted book area in the back, I was part of the pilot program for it.
37. I have exactly one eagle, a chip-in from the fringe after a driver-three iron went slightly over the green.
38. The girl I took to the Homecoming Dance in my senior year was later imprisoned for passing bad checks.
39. I worked with DONKEYPUNCHER at a dotbomb.
40. I ragged Tommy Lasorda when I saw him at a resort, then was horrified to find out he was the featured speaker for my company sales meeting the next day.
41. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in the seventh and eighth grades.
42. I’ve never been outside of North America.
43. I think “Friends” and “Seinfeld” were overrated. So were “ET” and “The Natural”.
44. I think that f-bombs are a necessary (and underutilized) part of language. They convey a great deal of emotional and rhetorical impact, get everyone’s attention, and are rarely misunderstood. How many fucking words can you say that about?
45. I miss Battlebots.
46. I believe in capital punishment. In fact, I think there should be a pay-per-view that shows gladiatorial combat between death row inmates. Winner gets a private cell for 30 days (till his next match) with full hotel amenities. Loser… well, dies. Death row costs drop 50% immediately, revenues from pay-per-view go up…. Win-win.
47. I rank the Star Wars films thusly: Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi, Attack of the Clones, and the lamentably horrid Phantom Menace.
48. Bad News Bears > Sandlot…. And while I’m at it… Field of Dreams > The Natural
49. Current favorite non-premium hand to play = 87 sooted.
50. I’ve never read Super System or Theory of Poker or Winning Low-limit HoldEm.
51. If you’ve read this far, you probably know more about me than all my groomsmen combined.

Well, I’m now freerolling at both Party and Empire. They’ve taken back their bonus bucks after letting me play with house money for a week or so. The result? I have over $50 at each site, after leaving my accounts dormant for months. Small potatoes, sure, but FREE potatoes.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the Vegas reports, anxious to hear which blogger will make the televised final table of Event #2. Maybe bloggers will even get an edition of “The Nuts” and an interview with the execrable Norman Chad. I’ll put up $50 to any blogger who pukes on Chad, but video or photographic evidence is required.

Bubbled in a SnG with AA making a set on the flop and losing to a rivered flush that didn’t have pot odds to call the flop bet. Oh well. You play at Party to increase your EV, and you’re gonna take it in the ass sometimes. If you make EVERY play correctly, you can still lose to Lady Luck.

Speaking of that, I kinda liked hearing Raymer’s commentary on the final table for last year’s main event. He pointed out some of the thought processes that led him to make some of the decisions (good and bad), and the table sense of his opponent’s play. It would be nice to have that in the future rather than the Lon and Norman Show.

Also, it might be fun if we could have a live blogger video feed of the final table of the WPBT event. Has anyone considered this? Or at least a chat room...?