Thursday, January 31, 2008


Mystical, yes. Philosophical, yes. Strong-willed, yes.

Bald? Hell, no.

Doesn't run anywhere in my family, thank God.

One week to go?

At the rate candidates are dropping out, we may be down to two candidates within a week. Fred last week, Edwards and Giuliani today - they're dropping like flies.

Thankfully, this will be the last political post for, oh, a week or so.

Figured I'd go to Real Clear Politics to see where numbers currently sit, since they're generally pretty close.

I'm not too thrilled, especially since Rudy was 2nd in NY/NJ and his voters might very well go to McCain. Not all of them have updated numbers, but those that do are not looking good.

Unless you like McCain and Hillary. Then you're probably happy. Me, I think I'll sharpen my survivalist skills if either of them gets elected.

California: McCain +8.3, Clinton +11.7
New York: McCain +9.2, Clinton +22.9
New Jersey: McCain +3.0, Clinton +18.0
Alabama: Huckabee/McCain Tie, Clinton +15.0
Arizona: McCain +17.0, Clinton +10.0
Colorado: Romney +19.0, Obama +2.0
Connecticut: McCain +16.0, Clinton/Obama Tie
GEorgia: Huckabee +15.0, Obama +6.0
Illinois: McCain +11.0, Obama +29.0
Massachusetts: Romney +21.0, Clinton +6.0
Missouri: Huckabee +1.0, Clinton +13.0
Oklahoma: McCain +9.0, Clinton +17.0
Tennessee: Huckabee +12.0, Clinton +14.0

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida screws up another election

Well, McCain won in Florida last night and is now the delegate leader.

I'm not too thrilled about this outcome, and if McCain is on the top of the ticket it will be very difficult for me to go to the polls on Nov. 2.

Advance voting is now open in Georgia, so here's hoping my vote makes a difference. I cast it for Romney.

The sad part is that in the last full polls, Thompson was winning by 12 and 15 points, so he would have had a good showing here, at least. I don't understand why anyone would drop out before Feb. 5, since so many are at stake that day.

Right now Huckabee and Obama seem to be leading polls in Georgia. Hopefully Huckabee fades.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dammit Mister Hat!

Note to self:

Whenever you go to play poker - be it online, live, or on a rooftop - do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget your Riverchasers hat. EVER. AGAIN.

I went to CC's for a friendly neighborhood game last night, and was in a hurry so I could not find my hat which I now wear every time I play, because I've never been under with it.

I was doing ok for the first couple hours, as I was up almost a full buyin. We started with 1/2 NLHE, and then changed to dealer's choice. It was fun to play a whole bunch of different games in one session - PLO, PLO8/B, 7-stud 8/B, Pineapple, and Pot-Limit Hold 'Em. I did OK in most of the games, but PLO8/b saw both big hits and big misses.

I started getting tired, and stuck around longer than I should have. As it passed midnight, I was sitting around my original buy-in amount. Unfortunately, with the game as Pot-Limit Pineapple, I got waaaaaay too loose and got taken behind the woodshed. Probably my fault for selecting 2/4 limit Pineapple on one of my picks. I should have picked Badugi, or Razz, or SOMETHING I've actually played live before, and not just online.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I will NEVER forget this hat again.


Friday, January 25, 2008

New pick?

Since Fred dropped out after South Carolina, I've been trying to figure out where my support would go.

I'd been thinking about Romney, Giuliani, even Huckabee. I would not vote for McCain in any way - I would vote for Obama before I pulled the lever for McCain. Let's hope the race isn't McCain v. Hillary.

Anyway, I posted a poll a couple months ago about who should you support, and it matched up for Fred for me. Well, they've revised it, so I took it again.

Here are the results:

Mitt Romney
Score: 44
Health Care
Line-Item Veto
Death Penalty
Gun Control
Stem-Cell Research
Social Security

-- Take the Quiz! --

The other scores:

McCain 34

Giuliani 29

Paul 28

Huckabee 26

Clinton 23

Edwards 21

Obama 20

Kucinich 17

Gravel 10

Strip Fire

The Monte Carlo is on fire, for unknown reasons.

I'm hoping no one I know is around it right now.

Bring to a boil, insert words, let simmer for a week

Sometimes things come along and you write them up right away. You're surfing around, you see something interesting or watch a funny clip, and you post it right away.

Sometimes, you want to write about something, but you can't quite figure out how to write about it. You've got an idea of what to say, but no idea how to put the words down on paper or on screen.

It took me until today to finally figure out which way to write the post. I'm not sure why, but I guess it finally clicked.

I finally spoke with my sister last week, and got the full update about how her battle with IBC was progressing. She was diagnosed in early October as a high Stage 3 case of inflammatory breast cancer, and was starting treatment as Stage 4.

(Note: IBC is not the type where you find a lump. It starts as a bruise and spreads rapidly. In my sister's case, it took eight months to go from non-existent to essentially Stage 4.)

Anyway, I finally spoke at length with her last week and got filled in on the last few months. She seems to be responding to her treatment very well, almost in a model way. They caught it before it got to the lymph nodes, mostly because my sister is even more stubborn than me and pushed everything through as quickly as she could. Once they picked up what it was, things moved rapidly. Diagnosis to the beginning of chemo was less than three weeks, I think.

She's now gone through four chemo treatments, and sounds like she's doing very well (all things considered). Some of the things that would make other people faint or cringe seem to be taken well in stride - fatigue, energy, etc. She keeps a journal online as well, so we can all follow her progress along with her and not ask her the same fifty questions over and over.

Apparently, the Francis clan is becoming quite resilient to cancer, which is definitely a good thing. I found out a couple years ago that an uncle and grandfather on my mother's side (who I hadn't spoken to in years) died accordingly of prostate and colorectal cancer.

This afternoon, I got a bit of a surprise. I was speaking with my father, as I was filling him in on my sister's condition, and found out something that I had not known before.

In 1996, I spent the whole Spring term seemingly shuttling back and forth between Atlanta and New York because he was gravely ill. Damn near died, mostly from drinking too damn much. He was in the hospital for a while, and after two months in Beth Israel, Cabrini, and a hospice, he moved to Arizona. He was diagnosed with a bunch of problems - severe lung damage, liver damage, and what I thought was a polyp in his colon.

Well, I found out today I was wrong on that last point. Not a polyp. Nope, he had stage 1 colon cancer, and had a decent-sized tumor removed. Obviously, it didn't spread to lymph nodes or grow through the walls, but definitely more serious than a polyp or ademona. That's fine now, though at 70 he's got enough other health problems to worry about anyway.

Had enough terminology yet? Good. Me too.

I had though I would just drop dead of a heart attack some day from too much food and too much fun. Turns out it'll probably be some form of cancer one day.

Anyway, in the meantime, I'm sort of wondering what to do, if there really is anything to do. I can't just freak out, but I can't ignore that cancer has gone from non-existent to prevalent on both sides of my family tree. I've cut out most behaviors that would be risky, but beside that I've been at a loss as to what I can do aside from that.

I had been kicking around an idea for a few weeks, but hadn't given much more expanded though to it. I'd been thinking a little about participating in a Relay for Life or 3-Day event, and now I'm thinking more strongly about it. Besides, it would ensure I try to shed some pounds from my 240-lb frame.

So, to sum up: Sister is doing well, beating back every challenge so far with IBC. Found out cancer is more prevalent in my family than I thought. Trying to maintain a balance between concern about family history and FREAKING OUT.

I feel like I'm missing a decent ending for this post. Maybe I should have let it simmer a little more.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Extreme Lotto

Doyle's room re-opened to US customers a couple of months ago. They are running some freerolls that are essentially Lotteries.

1000 starting chips, blinds escalate every TWO minutes.

Once we hit the cash (about 30 minutes in) it became a pushfest. Thankfully, the virtual deck hit me pretty hard.

The deck kept hitting me, again and again, and look what happened:

The scary thing is, they have eight more of these. This finished in just over one hour.

Now if I can just figure out how to get the funds to a site with rakeback! I don't think I've done anything on this site in over a year, so we'll see.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Frozen Tundra

The first game doesn't start until 3 PM, so I still have a little time to write this up.

Giants (+7) v. Packers - I think the Giants' defense will keep this game close, but there is almost no way Eli Manning pulls out a win outright in temperatures 20 below zero, even with their road streak. Packers win, but don't cover the spread.

Chargers v. Patriots (-13) - The Chargers have even less of a chance at a win, and I don't think they have much of a chance to cover, considering Billy Volek is starting and Norv Turner is heavily involved. Pats cover and win going away.

UPDATE 11 PM: If I knew Phil Rivers was playing, the pick would have gone the other way as that makes a big difference. As for the Giants - well, I got the pick right, but Eli Manning can go SUCK MY BALLS.

Bigger rant to come tomorrow after I'm done swearing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter Wonderland

On Wednesday, we got about 3 inches of snow, and Alex and I had a good snowball fight before my class started.

It snowed again, and we've received another 5 inches of snow here in Atlanta.

We got to take advantage of the snow again, this time, to make snowmen on the front lawn, even though they'll be gone by Monday.

Samantha's decked out for the Arctic tundra.

By now, the snow's melted off the roof.

Alex with Kim, rolling a snowball, and Maggie sniffing this strange white stuff.

Alex with a snowman, complete with Olympic hat.

The second snowman, with a cowboy hat.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We're Brothers Forever

Well,it's an intersting pimp outfit.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rare treat

One thing that made Alex sad at Christmas was that we didn't get any snow.

Both in Atlanta and Florida, we had warm temperatures (hitting the 80's some days) but no snow.

Thankfully, as a nice surprise tonight, it is snowing.

It is also sticking. We will get about 3-4 inches of snow tonight. The car, lawn, and driveway are already covered.

And on a fun note, Alex and I had a short snowball fight, something we probably won't get to do again for another year, unless we wake up very early tomorrow morning for a reprise.

Ralph Wiggum For President

Hey, if I have to choose between Mccain/Huckabee and Hillary, maybe I'll write him in.

Come to Jesus time?

At this point, who knows, but that would be an interesting twist. Hell, it might even help Britney.

You never know.

(Click through for embedded video.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Charity Series

Starting in March, Full Tilt will hold 14 events as part of its first annual Online Charity Poker Series.

All of the rake from these tourneys ($5 or $10, depending on the tourney) will go to the selected charity for that event. More will be added to the list below:

Week 1, Day 1 completed

I've made it through one week of classes, and had my first day at the tax office Saturday.

All of them went pretty well - I've got the computer set up now for webmeetings and I've got MS Project working fine for my assignments.

I have one early class on Tuesdays - so that menas I will end up being home on Tuesday nights, watching the one program I had hoped to avoid.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Dear T.O.:

There's no crying in football.

After all he's been through.....he has a girlfriend, who's dumb as a post, and he had to go to Mexico with her.....any now he's going through another playoff loss (sniff, sob).....he's a HUMAN!!! all you do is write a bunch of crap about him (sniff) and all you people want is more more MORE MORE MORE!!!!! LEAVE TONY ALONE!!!!

OK, I'll stop that now, and forget about going 1-3 this weekend.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another pregnancy outing

The kid would probably be able to walk out when born.

So, let's see if I've got the right chronology...

She works up a $250,000 poker debt.
She pays it off to Rick Solomon in a very special way (but without videotape, thank God), during which time she "falls in love".
They get married in Vegas in between shows.
She files for divorce.
She recants the divorce.

On the bright side, at least Danielynn Smith/Birkhead will have someone else whose life is just as screwed up.
I don't know who will announce they're preggers tomorrow - seems like a busy time, or at least a time for getting busy.

Debate Winner

Fred! absolutely destroyed this debate tonight. You knew 20 minutes in when he went after Huckabee's lunch and Huckabee was stammering in his reply.

Fred is right - it is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Go hit the tip jar, volunteer, do what you can.

And Ron Paul is still a whacko, admitting tonight his Truther roots and Truther following, comparing the Iran incident last wekk to the Gulf of Tonkin, and so on. Hopefully after tonight he will not be on the stage anymore.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who do you support?

H/t Rightwingsparkle. Scores are about what I expected. Take it and comment about your score.

Thompson 21.0
Hunter 21.0
Romney 20
McCain 15
Huckabee 14
Giuliani 13
Paul 9
Obama 7
Clinton 5
Richardson 5
Edwards 5
Richardson 4
Gravel 0

Men heartbroken nationwide

Apparently, Jessica Alba is pregnant.

I'll give you a few minutes to compose yourselves since she's apparently off the market now. Sorry, folks.

My top 5 was Jessica Alba, Monica Bellucci, Christina Aguilera, Halle Berry, and Jaime Pressley. In the past year, all five have gotten pregnant. I guess I need to revise the list a little, aside from having all names that end in a vowel or a "y".

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Falcons Don't Use Trojans

But that's not stopping Arthur Blank from pursuing USC coach and former Jets/Pats coach Pete Carroll.

I don't understand why Carroll would want to return to the NFL, and I don't understand why the Falcons would try another college coach after the Petrino experience.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Essence of McLovin

This is just weird.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hitting the parlay

My picks last week:

Steelers (+3) lost by 2
Chargers (-10) won by 11
Giants (+2.5) won outright
Seahawks (-3.5) won by 21

Not a bad start! I just wish I could have bet the parlay in Vegas or someplace where betting is legal.

Oh, and let's also note my preseason pick to win the BCS...just won the BCS. Yes, I picked LSU over Michigan, and it was LSU over Ohio State, but I think that's close enough.

As for this weekend:

Seattle (+8) I think they may even win outright.
Jacksonville (+13) but I think the Pats win. 10 might be a better line than 13.
Indy (-8) Indy at home against Norv Turner?
Dallas (-7) Early blowout.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Note to self

When feeling down, don't decide to watch The Grapes of Wrath.

It's one of the best movies of all time, but probably not good to watch when already feeling a bit down about things.

Might be because Christmas is over, might be because we're back home, might be because of work, might be a combination of everything and then some.

I did get through my readings for three classes today, so I suppose that's a good step in the right direction.

I'm hoping to put up some picture posts tomorrow from the trip, if I can get all the links to align correctly.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tetris Reenactment


I would have preferred models in bikinis myself, but some points for creativity.

Quick Picks, Wild Card Edition

Steelers (+3), Chargers (-10), Giants (+2.5), Seahawks (-3.5).

I probably won't be watching very much of the games, though. I need to get off on the right foot this semester, so I'll be buckling down this weekend for studying and phone calls. I signed up to do a few calls for the Thompson campaign in South Carolina, so I might do those this weekend. I took a small list, to see how I felt doing it as I've not done it in a very long time. Hopefully, it helps.

UPDATE: 2 of 2 so far, barely made it with the Steelers losing by only 2. Watched a bit of the debate and remembered why I hate McCain so much, the lying douchebag.

Friday, January 04, 2008

FTOPS 7: Already?

Yes, already.

Full Tilt is running the seventh installment of its very, very successful Online Poker Series, FTOPS. That's not a shill, it really has been successful, despite recent trouble I've had there.

So, here's the schedule. Hopefully I can get into one of these this time. My hope would be the $129 KO on Sunday the 10th, the $322 Razz, or the $535 HORSE. Might be difficult unless I pull a Ferguson very,very quickly.

New addition this year is the Knockout, which is a Bounty tournament where you'd get $20 every time you knock out another player.

Date, Time, Buy-in, Game, Guaranteed Prize Pool

Wednesday, February 6th, 21:00 ET $200 + $16, NL Hold 'em $750K
Thursday, February 7th, 14:00 ET $240 + $16, PL Omaha Knockout $100K
Thursday, February 7th, 21:00 ET $500 + $35, HORSE $300K
Friday, February 8th, 14:00 ET $200 + $16, PL Hold 'em $100K
Friday, February 8th, 21:00 ET $200 + $16, Limit Hold 'em 6-Max $150K
Saturday, February 9th, 14:00 ET $500 + $35, PL Omaha 6-Max $250K
Saturday, February 9th, 16:30 ET $100 + $9, NL Hold 'em Rebuy $400K
Sunday, February 10th, 14:00 ET $120 + $9, NL Hold 'em 6-Max Knockout $150K
Sunday, February 10th, 18:00 ET $300 + $22, NL Hold 'em $1M
Monday, February 11th, 21:00 ET $1,000 + $60, NL Hold 'em 6-Max $1M
Tuesday, February 12th, 21:00 ET $200 + $16, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo $200K
Wednesday, February 13th, 21:00 ET $300 + $22, NL Hold 'em 6-Max Rebuy $1M
Thursday, February 14th, 14:00 ET $200 + $16, HA(1/2 PL Hold 'em,1/2 PL Omaha)$100K
Thursday, February 14th, 21:00 ET $300 + $22, RAZZ $150K
Friday, February 15th, 14:00 ET $200 + $16, NL Hold 'em 6-Max $150K
Friday, February 15th, 21:00 ET $200 + $16, Stud $100K
Saturday, February 16th, 14:00 ET $2,500 + $120, NL Hold 'em 2-Day $1.5M
Saturday, February 16th, 16:30 ET $100 + $9, PL Omaha Rebuy $300K
Sunday, February 17th, 14:00 ET $240 + $16, NL Hold 'em Knockout $300K
Sunday, February 17th, 18:00 ET $500 + $35, NL Hold 'em Main Event $2M

Set it up

I've decided on my classes for the Spring. Unfortunately, with GoSolar down, I can't finalize them until 7 AM tomorrow.

I might just do it in person tomorrow- the kids and I are heading downtown for a car show at the World Congress Center and buying my books for classes.

I've decided on five classes:

Information Technology Mgmt
Corporate Finance
Mgr. Control/Cost Systems
Operations Management
IT Project Management

I decided not to take Marketing (required) or the Finance elective I'd selected.

Two are online, and three are in person, so I don't need to commute in every day of the week.

With five classes left, I'd be seven classes away from completion after the Spring term ends, so I can still finish the program by the end of the year.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fred's Message to Iowa Voters

I'll let this be the only political post today. I'm not in the mood for any others.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Looking back, Looking ahead

Hope everyone had a Happy New Year's celebration.

We spent New Year's Eve in the oddest of places - Gainesville, Florida. We spent the past week around Florida - two in Pensacola, then two in Tampa, then three at a conference in Temple Terrace (north Tampa), and New Year's Eve in Clearwater on the beach before returning home. All stops went pretty well, and we all enjoyed going around Tampa. It's definitely a city I could be comfortable living in - aside from the hurricanes.

We decided to get off the road before all the amateur drinkers started hitting the road. That meant either stopping in Gainesville, or trying to get to Valdosta before midnight. If I were younger, I might have kept going, but with the kids in tow we decided to stop. Of course, it didn't stop me from doing a dog bark as we walked out of the Whataburger in Gainesville. Nothing got thrown at me, from what I could tell.

Now, we are back home, and I get to type this as I watch Georgia whup Hawaii, 38-3 in the 3rd quarter. It's probably best to type this up now and get it out of the way.

Looking back.....

Getting in shape - This didn't happen. I started during the summer, but radically fell off. I'm in better shape, but not significantly better. I probably lost 10 pounds, which is about 40 less than I needed to lose.
Job - Well, that didn't work out very well. But their stock is down 20% in 2007.
Sleep more - Mixed returns there. I only stay up extremely late every other night.
Take a bunch of classes - I got to 21 credits, after taking the Spring off, with nothing lower than a B. Not too shabby.
Triple My Poker Cashes - Online play sucked this year, but I had very good returns on live casino play and home games. I didn't go to Tunica, and didn't go to Atlantic City, but I did get to Vegas and Tampa casinos. I really need to step up my live play, because I cashed EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I made a trip to a live casino.
Enjoy Vacation Time - Mixed, considering I've changed to a full-time student. The one work vacation I took (New Orleans) was ruined by finding out about getting blocked for jobs within the bank, and tilted me for the rest of the trip.
Reduce Debt - Definitely didn't happen, considering what happened after June. It's worthwhile debt, though, and investing in my future. Aside from school, there was nothing else added.
Win a fantasy League - Well, this goal was met - in Opposite World, because I finished last in FFL. I hate Vince Young and Frank Gore.

OK, that wraps up 2007. I never have a good odd-numbered year, but I always have good even years. Let's hope this is the same.

But ya gotta have goals. So I've come up with a few:

  • Cash in a WSOP Event. It doesn't matter if it's a Circuit event or in Vegas itself. It's time to set this as a real goal for 2008.
  • Win a large-field MTT (1000+). The largest field I've hit is 400, but that was in 2006. I need to hit up another win, not minor cashes.
  • Finish the drill - graduate if I stay full-time all year. I've got 36 credits to go. I'm taking between 12 and 18 in the Spring. I can do this, unless I reach the next goal.
  • Find a job in IT and/or management. The search is on, and I have my first two CIS classes this Spring, but I need to re-enter the workforce, for many reasons (including my own sanity) as soon as possible, either juggling it with classes and tax work or immediately after tax work ends near the end of the semester. Should traditional searches not yield what I'm looking for, franchising may be available as a possibility in the fall.
  • Study harder. I found myself falling back into some old bad habits - procrastination, lack of focus - and my final grades, while very good, reflected this from various points in the semester. I've really got to achieve a better focus if I want to get what I want out of this experience.
  • Continue quality family time. One good side effect of the last six months has been to spend a lot more time with the kids. I've been able to take them places and do things with them that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do, and I want to keep doing that, regardless of what the rest of the year brings me. Whether it means hiking up Stone Mountain, or seeing a wild dolphin right outside a playground (which happened in Thursday), I definitely feel like I'm spending more quality time with them.
  • Volunteer more. I don't mean APO stuff only, but other stuff around the city. I did a lot less in 2007 than in 2006, and that's something I need to remedy, whether it's directly with organizations or through church. I've toyed for a while with the idea of joining K of C, and might go ahead and do just that.
  • Travel more, and ENJOY it more. The past week was pretty fun. It was about 85% fun and 15% AAARRGGHH!!!! As the kids get older, I think trips will get easier and easier. At least, driving trips. I don't know about flights - that might be asking too much. But, perhaps driving to New York, Boston, and/or North Carolina might be a little more feasible.

Well, that's enough for now. I'll probably come up with more, but this is enough to focus on for now.