Monday, December 21, 2009

Recalling the memories

On Saturday, we bid a fond farewell to our fifteen-year old station wagon.

We bought it in March 2007 from my wife's grandmother, who no longer needed it after turning 90. It only had 22,000 miles on it, and I needed a vehicle to commute to and from work and graduate school, so we went ahead and got it.

It had several problems at the time - a gas tank fissure, a coolant leak, and brakes that needed repair - but we hoped that it would suffice going to and from the office and school for a year or so.

While going through the accumulated items in the car Saturday, it was interesting to remember times throughout the years.

  • Papers and souvenirs from me desk after getting laid off from my job in the summer of 2007.
  • Potential employment with the Atlanta and Marietta Police Departments.
  • Quizzes and study guides for many different business school classes.
  • Paperwork for interviewing with Emerson, and my acceptance there (My Emerson interview was actually the first of three that day - I was hopping!)
  • My poker chip set, brought to many a poker game :)
  • Paperwork for the unemployment office for myself (in 2007-2008) and Kim (in 2008-2009)
  • Paperwork detailing my preparation for graduation in 2009.
  • Paperwork detailing the massive debt I would be taking on as a result of graduating in 2009.
  • A dog leash, from when our dog Maggie passed away.
  • Souvenirs from family trips - Amicalola Falls, Georgia Aquarium, Fernbank Museum, and the Atlanta History Center

We expected it to last slightly more than a year, and it ended up lasting almost three years. It actually did not die a natural death - even though it seemed to be constantly on the precipice. A couple of weeks ago, while in a parking lot, a SUV backed into our car's bumper, and damaged it and the rear quarter panel. Unfortunately, the value of the car was so low that it was totaled, and a check written (which showed up today).

Fortunately, it saved us from doing brake repairs, tire replacement, fixing a cracked radiator block, replacing a head gasket, an oil change, winterizing, body work to fixed a rusted hood, and annual emissions. We even got by on gas, as we brought it in on an almost-empty tank :)

So, now it is time to car shop again. We won't be getting another teenaged station wagon, but at least it did the job when we needed it.

Rest in peace.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Setting the 2010 Tourney Calendar

Since I've gotten a whole host of announcements and press releases over the last few days about 2010 events, I've decided to compile them as best as I can for easy viewing.

Of course, it is too bad I don't have the vacation time needed to enjoy all of these fine events. However, I'm sure I can find a nice sample.

January 6-27, Southern Poker Championship, Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS. This is a WPT-affiliated series, and with room rates of $69/$99, it might be a good quick trip from Georgia. I am actually thinking that the $340 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event on Sunday, January 17 or the $220 Bounty NLHE event on January 23 might be what I target if we are able to head down there. Besides, it would probably be much easier to drive a couple hours, than hop on a plane to the Aussie Millions or to Atlantis.

January 20-February 11, WSOP Circuit, Harrah's, Tunica, MS. I thought this was cancelled, which is probably not a very good sign.

January 29 - February 25, Deep Stack Extravaganza, Venetian, Las Vegas, NV. Offered every three-months, this is a fun tournament series when someone isn't flipping over chips and tables.

January 21 - March 4, L.A. Poker Classic, Commerce Casino, Commerce, CA. This is one card room that I've always wanted to go see, as I've heard the place is absolutely gargantuan. Many options available, with 50 events to choose from, and I could always try to visit family while there too. Too bad it doesn't overlap with the Texas-Alabama game for the BCS.

March 13-14: WSOP Academy, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV. I normally would not include this, but since there is a slight chance I may actually be in Las Vegas for this weekend (hooray for fellow fantasy football fanatics), I'm linking to it. This weekend may be much, much more about basketball, what with those conference championships and setting the brackets for March Madness the following weekend.

March 30 - April 24, WPT Five-Star World Classic, Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV. Only listing because it is one of my top-two poker rooms (the Venetian being the other) but the entry fees for this are a bit out of my range.

May 7-19, WSOP Circuit, Harrah's, New Orleans, LA. I missed the 2008 edition after going in 2006 and 2007. A 2010 trip is possible, but with it being a bit earlier this year it might be difficult as it had been closer to Memorial Day, making it easier to leave work. The detailed schedule hasn't been defined yet, but it's earlier than previous years because of...

May 27 - July 17, World Series of Poker, Rio Las Vegas, NV. The schedule has just been released, with FIFTY-SEVEN events over seven weeks, now starting BEFORE Memorial Day. Yowzah. No idea what I might possibly be interested in yet, or if I would even be out there this year. Besides, even when I did go, I was shut out of the final $1500 donkament, which led me over to the Venetian for their Summer edition of the Deep-Stack Extravaganza. Though there are initial claims more space will be available, I think most players would believe it when they see it.

That ought to be enough live poker to manage over a few months for most folks - and if not, then you're either doing this full time or need to call a certain 800 number for addictive tendencies :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fandom by the numbers

A little while back, GeekSoapBox decided to look at the teams rooted fr over the years and how they've done, with some help from being a long-suffering Mets/Islanders/Jets fan. It was interesting to figure the overall winning rates and how credible the "long-suffering" description can be.

It seemed like an interesting idea, so I figured I'd write it up. Eventually. Like, now, perhaps.

My situation is a bit different, as I converted on all teams from my old home to my new home at almost the same time, but still good to review. I moved to Atlanta for school in 1995, but it wasn't until the early 2000's once I got married that I made the "official" conversions - and the fact that the NY team did something in each case to tick me off probably lent an assist as well.

So, let's see how we stack up in the four major sports:

1. Baseball

NY Yankees, 1985-2003: 1672-1332, .557; World Series Champs 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000; World Series 2001, 2003; Playoffs 1995, 1997, 2002
Atlanta Braves, 2004-2009, 507-464, .522; Playoffs 2004, 2005
Total: 2179-1796, .548; 4 World Series Titles, 6 World Series Berths, 11 Playoff Berths

Easily far and away the best record, but those Yankee records include a few down years in the early 90's when I went to the majority of my games. I still miss the bleacher creature days.

The big catalyst here for finally switching was a problem most people have with the Yankees: free-agent signings. Until this point I'd been comfortable with the players they signed, as they weren't necessarily bad guys to the general public. However, after the 2003 season, they signed A-Rod (ROID ALERT!), Gary Sheffield (mopey and a tendency to quit on games) and Kevin Brown (whiny, self-absorbed prima donna). I hated these signings a much of the popular 90's crew was fading out of the clubhouse, and finally switched to the Braves. While the Braves haven't been as prolific in the playoffs as the Yankees, it has been fun to root for the Braves and against the Yankees whenever they were on - which worked GREAT until this past October.

2. Hockey
NY Islanders, 1991-2000; 264-365-87, .421; Playoff berths in 1992, 1993, 1994
Atlanta Thrashers, 2000-2009; 288-378-101, .441; Playoff berth in 2007
Total: 527-732-185, .429; 4 Playoff berths

This one was hard to define. Atlanta did not have a team when I moved here. Switching to the new expansion team was quite simple and justifiable, considering the Islanders had been so inept in management (see Spano, John, Maloney, Don, and Milbury, Mike) and it was an expansion team that I switched to.

Between the woeful Islanders and the Thrashers' expansion pains, this is easily my worst winning percentage among the four sports. Surprisingly, neither of these teams has the worst record of teams I have rooted on. The Thrashers are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, so they could get their second playoff berth this year as things may be on an upward slope.

3. Basketball
NY Knicks, 1985-2004, 822-704, .539; 2 Finals appearances (1994, 1999); 9 other playoff berths (1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001)
Atlanta Hawks, 2004-2009, 168-263; 2 playoff berths (2008, 2009)
Total: 990-967, .506, 9 playoff berths

I started following the Knicks after the Patrick Ewing draft, back when Knicks games were still available on local channels, before the MSG network even existed. Some dry years in the mid and late 80's became a strong run in the 90's which unfortunately happened at the same time as Jordan's ascendancy. Their best chance disappeared in 1994, with a Game 5 preempted by the O.J. chase and a Game 7 highlighted by John Starks' 2-for-18 shooting. The Riley years were fun; the Van Gundy years were somewhat entertaining but I tired of them during the tenure of Scott Layden and swore them off entire when Isiah Thomas came in to run the show during the 2003 season. I'm counting the entire 2003-2004 season for New York, though, and starting the Hawks' tally with a lovely 13-69 season in 2004-2005.

The Hawks "lead the way" with the worst winning percentage among all teams I've rooted for, sitting at .390 over 5 1/4 seasons.

Surprisingly, this may have the brightest future, as the often woeful Hawks are among the league leaders in many categories and have a 15-6 record a quarter of the way through the season.

4. Football

I save this for last, because it was the last team that I switched. And boy, what interesting timing that was.

New York Jets, 1986-2005, 141-177-1, .444; 2 division titles (1998, 2002), 4 wild card berths (1986, 1991, 2001, 2004)
Atlanta Falcons, 2006-2009; 28-32, .467; 1 wild card berth (2008)
Totals: 169-209-1, .447; 2 division titles, 5 wild card berths

Yes, I was a Jets fans when the Giants won Super Bowls XXI and XXV. Lemme tell ya, it doesn't beat the fun of the Joe Walton/Bruce Coslet/Pete Carroll/Rich Kotite coaching carousel!

Thankfully, the dark times were replaced by good times under Bill Parcells, with two division titles and two other wild-card berths thanks to the players brought in - even though he left in 2002 and Herm Edwards took over, most of the players were from that time, when the team was actually halfway decent. Plus, it was much more fun to watch Vinny Testaverde and Curtis Martin that it was to watch Ken O'Brien/Browning Nagle/Boomer Esiason/Neil O'Donnell.

I was starting to get tired of the relapse to the "same old Jets" and when the Jets screwed up their draft in 2006 after another losing season (following a couple seasons of schizophrenic results) I swore them off forever and switched to the Falcons - just in time to have one sub par Falcons season and the eruption of the Vick scandal.

So there you have it - a lot of playoff berths, in both cities, but only the four titles of the Yankees' late-90's dynasty. Thankfully, all of the teams I root for now either have good prospects for the future or are already contending for playoff spots. It really is getting to be a better time to be an Atlanta sports fan - the Braves contended for a wild-card spot until there was one week left in the season, the Falcons sit one game out of a wild-card spot, and the Hawks and Thrashers would make the playoffs is their seasons ended today.

Meanwhile, the teams I left have not won any titles either, up until about 2 months ago. I don't think I have ever rooted so hard for the Phillies in my life. Hopefully the Yankees' 2009 title won't be the start of another dynasty of titles but will just be a blip on the screen.

If nothing else, this was a fun little trip down memory lane. For the most part, it hasn't been very much long-suffering as much as a long parade of mediocrity with wild swings between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Finally, a Vegas recap

Well, it's been about ten days since we all got back from Las Vegas, but work has just now let me actually have a couple of minutes to write up how everything went.

We flew out to Phoenix the day before Thanksgiving, after we finished work for the day, with the expectation that getting through the airport would be absolute hell, being the world's busiest airport on the busiest travel day of the year. Shockingly, we parked with no trouble, took the shuttle to the airport, and made it through security in less than ten minutes.

The kids' first cross-country flight went pretty well, as they both fell asleep about halfway through the flight and slept for about an hour and a half. We touched down early, got the rental car with no problem, and checked into a hotel near where my folks lived with no problem. Shockingly easy trip - perhaps a good sign.

We woke Thursday morning and went to my father's place to pick him up. The kids had met him once before, last summer before chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Despite being declared free of lung cancer in December, he still looked extremely haggard and droopy compared to the last time we had seen him.

We stayed there for a little while, talking with his neighbors, before heading to my uncle's house for Thanksgiving dinner. While it seemed that my father was not appearing in great shape, my uncle (who is his identical twin) appeared to be in pretty good shape for a 72-year old. He was the first to move out west, about fifteen years ago, and bought a house which was, at the time, in a fairly undeveloped area nestled within the mountains. However, since moving out the city has sprawled, much like Atlanta, and it is now much more populated than before.

I also got to see my cousin Donald for the first time since I graduated from high school. Back then, he was dropping in and out of school while trying to be a full-time musician in a band. Now, he's got the wife, three kids, and house in the suburbs while teaching at a community college. His kids were there as well, so Alex and Sammie had some playmates for the day to get worn out. Everyone got to meet family that hadn't been seen in a very long time, or got to meet new family for the first time. No fights, no disasters, and twelve well-fed Franci made for a very good Thanksgiving.

On Friday morning, we checked out of our Phoenix hotel and went over to pick up my father before hitting the road for Vegas. Amazingly, we got on the road by 9:00 AM, which is almost unprecedented for us for any road trip, and got out of town to US 93 easy enough. US 93 runs from Phoenix, through the Joshua Tree National Forest, meets with Route 66, then keeps going to and over Hoover Dam before turning into I-215 just south of Las Vegas.

The drive was uneventful enough, and extraordinarily beautiful - we took many pictures, and uploaded almost 200 of them to Facebook. We stopped at In-N-Out burger to satisfy a long-overdue craving, and to introduce the kids to what they called the best burger they'd ever had. It did take us an hour and a half to get over the Hoover Dam, as apparently the rest of Arizona had also decided to cross that day. We rolled into Vegas around 3:30, coming north on the Strip so that I got to see the famous welcome sign in person for the first time, despite many previous trips.

To say that it was nigh impossible to lift the kids' jaws off the floor would be an understatement. As we drove into Las Vegas they kept pointing everything out - a pyramid, a sphinx, a rollercoaster, the statue of Liberty, and so on. I don't think the enormity of it all hit until we had walked through the Flamingo and out onto the Strip itself. With the Bellagio, Caesars, and the Mirage all across the street, and people everywhere, it was a lot to take in for such little guys - distractions everywhere, and a scene on every corner of some sort. Thankfully, at four in the afternoon, there wasn't many things that would have been unseemly for little eyes.

We walked up to the Mirage and went into the Secret Garden area, as we had talked about doing with Sammie on her birthday. The Secret Garden is where the Siegfried and Roy's white tigers live, along with lions, dolphins, and many other animals.

As you can see, the dolphins wanted to say hi to the new visitors.

After the Secret Garden, we stayed at the Mirage to go to BB King's Blues Grill for dinner. The kids love blues music, they love ribs and barbecue, so it was an easy call for dinner. Another fun time, and a good meal.

We left the Mirage, and walked outdoors just in time to catch the volcano show outside.

Alex's reaction was priceless.

We walked down the Strip a bit, to the Bellagio to show off the Chihuly glass ceiling and the Botanical Gardens, We also did a stroll through the shops, where Sammie almost drooled in front of the Tiffany's store when she saw the Cinderella design they had in the window. After watching the fountain show, we went back to the room where Kim and the kids fell asleep around midnight.

My father and I headed downstairs for a little while, as he'd been itching to go to the blackjack tables since getting there eight hours before. I actually had not been planning on doing ANY gambling this trip (please stop guffawing) but was not going to let him go downstairs on his own, either.

I took him over to one of the blackjack tables by the poker area, which also happened to be one of the pink tables near the front with girls dancing on a stage behind it. He didn't seem to mind it. Neither did I, as it meant I could keep an eye on him from the poker area.

I sat down at a $2/$4 limit table to donk around for a little while. It was typical no-fol-em-hold-em, with your typical LAG-gy tourists. Bottom pairs often were good. I sat for about 90 minutes and left up about $80. I went over to get my father to take him upstairs, because otherwise he'd sit there the whole damn night. Turned out to be good timing, as he was up about $60 himself, and I crawled into bed at a very-early-for-Vegas 3 AM.

The next morning, everyone woke refreshed, as it seemed much easier to breathe and more humid in Vegas than in Phoenix. We went to the buffet downstairs for a relaxing and stuffing breakfast while watching the flamingoes outside and opening the rest of Sammie's birthday presents. Afterwards, Kim got a massage and went to one blackjack table, and my father went to an adjoining blackjack table while I ran around with the kids and took care of checking out. Both of them finished ahead a little bit, and the kids enjoyed watching the flamingoes, swans, ducks, and koi while climbing up and around the entire Flamingo pool area and wildlife habitat.

We packed up and left Saturday to return to Phoenix - we were going to drop my father off, then head to the airport for a red-eye flight out before using Sunday to recover. We figured leaving around 1 would allow enough time to drive back with a couple hours to spare.

What we DIDN'T take into account was that Thanksgiving drivers are complete morons. A wreck a half-mile before the Dam backed up traffic about 15 miles, all the way into Boulder City. We received quick word that it would take a few hours to cross the dam - which would eat up of our reserve time and make it impossible to make our flight back home.

Thankfully, we were still in the vicinity of Boulder City and I still had a strong signal, and started trying to get through to fins an alternate way back to Phoenix. CrankyCon came through big time in being able to pull up an alternate route touching into California - yay for being home with kids. :)

We started heading down NV 95 into the Mojave desert, and headed right into a duststorm followed quickly by a RAINSTORM. IN THE DESERT. Apparently, it was the one day a year it rains in the desert.

We made up a lot of time heading down to several nameless desert towns and towards Needles, California. At the border, we cut east to Laughlin, NV and then Kingman, AZ in terrain that would have reminded you of the Road Warrior.

We made it back to my father's house, amazingly enough, shortly before 10 PM. We'd lost about two hours on the way back by going a different way, but that was a lot better than the four hours we had been looking at for crossing at the dam. We got to the airport about an hour and fifteen minutes before the flight was due to depart, but with the place almost empty we sailed through.

Our flight, after some mechanical trouble, left at 1 AM. The kids had slept for the second half of the drive back, to rest up for going through the airport. Once on the plane, Sammie passed out, while Alex fought it for a while but finally fell asleep once he saw I was going to sleep as well.

We touched down around 6:30, and made it to the car, which promptly DIED. The battery went dead while we were away - something we knew was coming but were hoping to stretch as long as possible. Apparently the 20-degree temperatures while we were away were enough to do the trick.

After a jump and fuel, we rolled home, and fell into bed at about 8:30 in the morning.

We slept until 4 PM.

Great times were had by all, and the rest of the household cannot wait to go back...

on the condition we fly straight into McCarran next time.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Football Recap

The Falcons looked horrible, and at 6-6 may not even break the curse of consecutive winning seasons. With the Saints coming in next week, I'm a wee bit scared.

Tech: nice job going to the Orange Bowl, even if you got your butts handed to you by a down SEC team in the Dawgs.

Texas: buy a watch.

Fantasy: Our regular season ended last night. I wasn't too high on my team at the start of the year, and I had good reason to be worried about age and injuries. Let's see what happened (original comments from August in parentheses, additional comments in italics)

QB: Donovan McNabb (Rd. 6, which I chose over Matt Ryan, and might haunt me all year) Damn straight it haunted me - he missed weeks 2-5 with a broken rib and then alternated between 30 and 5 points all year. Finally benched.
Backup: Carson Palmer (Rd. 8) Saved my team this year from the likes of Matt Stafford.
Backup: Chad Pennington (Round 16) Replaced by Matt Stafford after getting knocked out for the year.

RB: Tomlinson (Keeper, Round 3) The wheels on the bus start falling off...missed a couple weeks early on and is probably never returning to form, has had one 100-yard game all year.
RB: Michael Turner (Keeper, Round 1) Hurt with a high ankle sprain and could miss the rest of the year.
Backup: Jamal Lewis (Round 9) Concussed again, and retired.
Backup: Leon Washington (Round 12) Broken arm, out for the year.
Backup: Ricky Williams (Round 13) THIS is the guy who stayed healthy all year? Wow. Also saved team from total despair.

WR: Anquan Bolden (Keeper, Round 2) Missed two weeks, and whined several others, in a down year. Not helping the case to change scenery for more moolah next year until Sunday night.
WR: Roy Williams (Round 7). Decent week 1, missed a couple weeks, and traded while out of lineup.
WR: Wes Welker (Round 4). Missed weeks 2 and 3, but has been taking in 12 catches a week since.
Backup: Laverneaus Coles (Round 10) Cut before the season started.
Backup: Nate Washington (Round 17) Hurt, and cut.

TE: Tony Gonzalez (Round 5, yay, another Falcon) Stayed healthy all year and has set records for Falcon TE's - which weren't too hard to break.
Backup: Tony Scheffler (Round 18, meh, it was the last pick of the draft) Useful for the one Falcons' bye week.

Defense: New England (Round 11) Good when it needed to be.
Backup: Dallas (Round 15) Cut after week 3.

Kicker: Adam Vinatieri (Round 14) Injured, missed several weeks, and cut.

After all of this, one would think a 2-11, or even winless season, right?

Well, after the bad news, some good news from the season:

Week 2: With McNabb out (big shocker) Carson Palmer stepped in as starting QB and began lighting it up. The Bengals, at 9-3, are still doing so.
Week 3: Snagged the Saints' defense off waivers. At 12-0, that's looking pretty good.
Week 5: Snagged Rashard Mendenhall off waivers to replace the downed Tomlinson.
Week 6: Traded the disgruntled and overrated Roy Williams, and replaced him with Miles Austin off the waiver wire.
Week 7: Picked up Sidney Rice.

The year was also filled with stupid moves (such as a one-week play of the Arizona defense when I refused to play the Saints against the Falcons) which cost me games as well.

I even looked at a fire sale when I was 4-6 and had almost impossible odds to make the playoffs - winning out and several other teams spitting the bit - but ended up not making any moves.

Somehow, though, I somehow squeaked into the playoffs as a wild card with a 7-6 record. after winning the last three games by an average of 44 points and other teams did not fare so well. As it ended up, in a strange development of parity, all team ended up with records between 8-5 and 5-8, and 7-6 was indeed good enough to make it.

It's gonna take more than the mess above to knock out the reigning champ :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Chip-slinging for a good cause - Shronk Memorial

Where: Full Tilt Poker
Tournament ID: 121607994
Title: Justin Shronk Memorial Tourney
Game: NLHE
Buy-In: $5+$5
Starts: Sunday, December 6 at 18:00 server time (6 p.m. EST, 3 p.m PST)
Password: Justin Shronk (title case, with the space)
H/t Irongirl.

Founded in 1884, Temple University has grown with the city in which it thrives, Philadelphia, PA. Today, Temple is a comprehensive public research university with more than 37,000 students. With schools of law, medicine, pharmacy, podiatry and dentistry, Temple is the nation’s fifth largest provider of professional education. At home and abroad, Temple remains committed to providing access to educational opportunities and improving local communities. Temple was the first college in the United States to offer a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting in 1948. The School of Communications and Theater, with nearly 4,000 students and six departments, is the third-largest academic unit at Temple. Through creative instruction, a curriculum that reflects today’s changing media and professional facilities, the school provides students with an unparalleled educational experience. The result is high national rankings and demonstrated success in readying students for first jobs and careers.

The Justin Shronk Scholarship will provide scholarship support for students majoring in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media within the School of Communications and Theater. Students must have financial need, and there is a preference for a student who has a deceased parent. While a student at Temple, Justin’s father passed away and he considered dropping out to help his mother. With her encouragement, he remained at Temple, graduated and went on to start his career. The recipient of the scholarship should also exemplify some of the same characteristics that Justin exhibited during his life—an absolute passion for everything media, a great wit and sense of humor, loyalty in his friendships, and someone who would take a job for less money to be able to do the work that he loved. With a generous gift earlier this year from Brian Lemke, Justin's cousin, the scholarship was permanently endowed and will honor Justin's memory in perpetuity. We are hoping to raise additional funds toward the endowment through this tournament to increase the amount available to award to deserving students in Justin's name year after year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back Safely

Vegas writeup to come tomorrow, and we are home safe and sound.

A couple of lasting thoughts, though:

1) It would be really helpful if the porn slappers didn't hold out their "lady cards" for every male that walks past, even if they are five years old.
2) Traffic sucks approaching Hoover Dam.
3) Alternate routes across the Mojave Desert are very interesting, especially in duststorms and then RAIN.
4) Delta may give us trouble, but at least their planes don't break.

Will tell you more tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Home Ed

I was reminded again this week of how different things may have turned out this year.

We got Alex's report card this week, which went very well. We also met with his teachers, to determine his progress and to confirm that he was coming along nicely.

Earlier in the year, we were very worried about Alex getting into St. Joseph's, and had many discussions about what we would do if he was not admitted there. It still seems like yesterday - which means this year has gone by even faster than I thought!

I was completely against the notion of sending Alex to public school, given my past dealings with it and my political leanings. We were seriously leaning towards the option of homeschooling instead of going to the local public school.

Throughout February, March, and April, I began looking at more and more resources for a homeschooling curriculum - with my job situation tenuous (thanks to two rounds of downsizing and who knows how many more on the way) and Kim's status uncertain as well, it was something to strongly consider.

I gathered information about local events which catered to kids who were being home schooled, and searched for information about types of homeschooling curriculum online, in case we decided to go that route (or in case it became absolutely necessary).

One thing I was worried about was having any sort of support if we went that route - but even though we would be taking on this responsibility ourselves, we did find a lot of resources available if we did decide to go the homeschooling route, which was always good to know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Not sure who else may read this and/or experiencing the same problems, but I haven't been able to access anything in Facebook or Twitter for the past 24 hours.


Amazingly, had this happened just two years ago, I'd be extraordinarily nonplussed. Today, with all the people I keep up with through those portals, it's a bit more unsettling.

Apparently, I asked for a side of crank to go along with my coffee this morning.

Friday, November 06, 2009

How to celebrate properly

For a while now, we've been trying to figure out a good way to celebrate Sammie's birthday, since it falls right in the glut of a bunch of other holidays and important days.

We've been trying to figure out how to balance the actual birthday with visiting family, taking time off work if we went to see family, doing something special, and so on.

I'd also thought about going to see family since they are, as usual, in crappy state health-wise and we don't know how many more visits there might be with those relatives.

So, we went ahead and finally made plans for the birthday.

We'll head to Arizona to see my father, who has had more health problems (different than the stage 4 lung cancer which somehow decided to up and quite and still in remission).

While there, we will also see my uncle and my cousin's family for a nice holiday get-together.

The next day, we will go ahead and celebrate Sammie's birthday.

OK, probably not clear enough...

All right, fine, I'll make it easier to understand.

No, we are not having a birthday party at Pure, Sapphire, or Rehab. But, we will all drive up, and take the kids to a few places, including the Secret Garden/Dolphin Habitat and other fun kid things to be determined, then begin heading back east.

We don't plan on staying long, but enough that the kids, their grandpa, and hopefully we will all have a good time without having to worry about any unexpected craziness. It's been a crazy and topsy-turvy few weeks, and we almost decided not to go out West.

Even though we won't be able to do some of the things we'd hoped, it will still be good for the kids to see some more evidence that yes, I do have relatives, and yes, this is where you got your silliness and craziness from, and yes, this is what you have to look forward to.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Legendary conversations extended

H/t because, well, because I can.

Darth Vader: Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.

Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

Darth Vader: No … I am your father!

Luke: No. It can’t be. That’s not true. That’s impossible!

Darth Vader: Search your feelings, you know them to be true.


Darth Vader: Yes, it is true… and you know what else? You know that brass droid of yours?

Luke: Threepio?

Darth Vader: Yes… Threepio… I built him… when I was 7 years old.

Luke: NOOOOO! … Wait, huh?

Darth Vader: Seven years old. And what have you done? Look at yourself. No hand. No job. And you couldn’t even levitate your own ship out of the swamp…

Luke: But… I destroyed your precious Death Star!

Darth Vader: But that was when you were 20! When I was 10, I single-handedly destroyed an entire Trade Federation Droid Control ship!

Luke: Well, it’s not my fault…

Darth Vader: Oh, here we go… “Poor me… my father never gave me what I wanted for my birthday… boo hoo, my daddy’s the Dark Lord of the Sith… Nobody loved me… waahhh wahhh!”
Luke: Shut up!

Darth Vader: You’re a slacker! By the time I was your age, I had already exterminated the Jedi Knights!

Luke: I used to race my T-16 through Beggar’s Canyon.

Darth Vader: Oh, for the love of the Emperor… 10 years old, winner of the Boonta Eve Open… the only human to ever fly a Pod Racer… right here baby!

Luke looks down the shaft. Takes a step towards it.

Darth Vader: I was wrong… You’re not my kid… I don’t know whose you are, but you sure ain’t mine.

Luke takes a step off the platform, hesitates, then plunges down the shaft. Darth Vader looks down after him.

Darth Vader: And get a haircut!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Ga-Ga meets Bruce Dickinson

Yes, THE Bruce Dickinson.

H/T The Culture Spoke.

So Close

Went out 2nd among our little group in our last longer bet.

Unfortunately, 2nd pays nothing.

On the bright side, I finished 5,691st, and 7,500 paid, for a profit of $7.50.

I had a set of eights, was called by 10-10, who then hit his two-outer on the turn.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Las Longer - FTOPS Warm-Up

There is a Warm-Up tourney tomorrow at 3:15 EST which is expected to have 50,000 entrants.

Several of us are gong to do a last-longer bet.

Want in? Follow the link below. $5 from each loser to, the winner...which will be me.

Click here.


Turn a small buy-in into serious cash and win your seat to the FTOPS XIV Main Event with The FTOPS XIV Warm Up.

There is $250,000 in guaranteed prize money up for grabs starting at 15:05 ET on Sunday, November 1st. As an added bonus, the winner will receive a free $535 entry to the FTOPS XIV Main Event.

Buy in directly for $5 + $0.50 or satellite your way in for as little as $0.50 or 50 Full Tilt Points. This tournament is limited to 50,000 players, so grab your seat as fast as you can.

To register for The FTOPS XIV Warm Up

1.Log in to Full Tilt Poker.
2.Set the filters in the browse area to Tournaments, then select FTOPS, Hold ‘em, No-Limit and click Low.
3.Look for the FTOPS XIV Warm Up tournament on November 1st at 15:05 ET.
4.Click Register Now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not the End of the World

Some people have compared the Yankees-Phillies World Series as a worst-case scenario, a woeful end to the season, and an ugly pairing of Goliaths.

I won't name names or anything.

I'll be honest and say that baseball has been mostly off my radar the last few weeks. The Braves choked in the final week in going for the wild card, and since then my attention has been on football and only football.

But this series actually interests me.

I'm looking forward to seeing the two best teams in baseball, and clearly the best team from each league, battle it out in a heavyweight fight. The past several World Series have featured one or even both teams with little appeal to the whole country (2005), or a foregone conclusion (2004, 2006) , or a plucky team whose fans barely support it (2008), or a team that just got hot at the right time but was severely outclassed (2007).

There, now that I've pissed off readers in every time zone, let's look at each series.

2008: While the Phillies generated a lot of interest, the Rays were an out-of-nowhere team than was miserable for its first ten seasons before catching lightning in a bottle - and even then it took most of the season before people actually started going to the games, and most people thought going into the Series that the Phillies would finish it quickly - which they did.

2007: Red Sox sweep the Rockies who pretty much went on a sizzling tear to capture a weak western division and somehow get to the Series before getting trounced by Boston in a sweep.

2006: Cardinals! Tigers! Egads. Both with devoted local followings, but the Cards were almost a lock to beat an in-over-its-head Tigers team that fell back to mediocrity as quickly as it had risen up from a 119-loss season, as they missed the playoffs in 2007. This was probably the first year I felt guilty about not watching every game - or even more than one game.

2005: The White Sox were notable for breaking the Black Sox curse, which would have probably gotten more play if they were not following the Red Sox. Besides, the other Chicago team has the national following. The Astros had the worst record of any playoff team, and as the wild card was another team that just got hot at the right time but was in way over its head.

2004: This was an exciting postseason, yes, but does anyone think the Cardinals had a chance after the Red Sox came back from 3-0 in the LCS? I don't know anyone who game them a chance. I still watched every game, but you knew how the Series would go.

The last series with this sort of excitement was probably the 2003 series between the Marlins and...the Yankees. Yes, the Marlins had the worst record of any playoff team, but with 91 wins still can lay claim to belonging - and this series may have been another crucial point in finally bringing a halfway decent stadium to Miami. Unlike 1997, they did not gut the team, and eventually plans finally went through to build a new stadium (which is still one year away).

This year, though, the two teams featured are far and away the best in each league. Neither one snuck into the playoffs. Neither one waned at the end of the year. Neither one let up in the playoffs, with each cruising to easy victories.

I'm looking forward to it. I actually plan on watching the games this year, which I don't think I've done much of since...2003, actually.

As for who I am rooting for...well, it'll be tricky to explain to the kids. I used to live in New York and was a huge Yankees fan, but being here combined with the way the Yankees were going (bringing in cancers like Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, etc.) made me turn on them entirely. I did make sure to take the kids to the old Yankee Stadium before it was turned down, but that was more for the stadium than to root on the Yankees.

I don't begrudge the Phillies much, and frankly I'd rather root for the team that beat the Braves and isn't completely full of steroid/HGH users.

Even though I think the Yankees will win (mostly due to the bullpen), I'd much prefer a Phillies repeat. If nothing else, it will shut them up about Donovan McNabb's piss-poor play lately.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Luck of the Irish.


All kidding aside, Andy Bloch is one of my favorite players.
However, I have no problem taking his or anybody else's money. Just because you've been on TV a bit doesn't mean I won't know what you're doing.

Full Tilt Poker Game #15477681092: Table Andy Bloch - $1/$2 - Limit Hold'em - 0:52:01 ET - 2009/10/21
Seat 1: Stoges5 ($21.65)
Seat 2: APOSEC72 ($63.20)
Seat 3: undeadmoney ($101.10)
Seat 4: Andy Bloch ($108.45)
Seat 5: staniv ($26.45)
Seat 6: dtowndestroyer ($13.85)
Seat 7: sc00ter80 ($46.95)
Seat 8: MunkeyPoker ($21.80)
undeadmoney posts the small blind of $0.50
Andy Bloch posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to APOSEC72 [Qs Kh]
staniv folds
dtowndestroyer folds
sc00ter80 folds
MunkeyPoker folds
Stoges5 raises to $2
APOSEC72 calls $2
undeadmoney calls $1.50
Andy Bloch calls $1
*** FLOP *** [5d Qd Jh]
undeadmoney checks
Andy Bloch checks
Stoges5 checks
APOSEC72 bets $1
undeadmoney folds
Andy Bloch raises to $2
Stoges5 folds
APOSEC72 calls $1
*** TURN *** [5d Qd Jh] [8s]
Andy Bloch bets $2
APOSEC72 calls $2
*** RIVER *** [5d Qd Jh 8s] [2s]
Andy Bloch bets $2
APOSEC72 calls $2
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Andy Bloch shows [Qc Ts] a pair of Queens
APOSEC72 shows [Qs Kh] a pair of Queens
APOSEC72 wins the pot ($19) with a pair of Queens
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $20 Rake $1
Board: [5d Qd Jh 8s 2s]
Seat 1: Stoges5 folded on the Flop
Seat 2: APOSEC72 (button) showed [Qs Kh] and won ($19) with a pair of Queens
Seat 3: undeadmoney (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: Andy Bloch (big blind) showed [Qc Ts] and lost with a pair of Queens
Seat 5: staniv didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: dtowndestroyer didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: sc00ter80 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: MunkeyPoker didn't bet (folded)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh, THIS is why i don't play more...

In Daily Double - A tonight, with above average stacks in both tourneys.


KK in BB for me, average stack
AA in UTG + 1 for short stack
QQ on button for big stack.

Fade the Q.

The Aces were a short stack, so if I fade the queen I chip up by about 40%.

Two-outer on turn.

Dealer: Hand #15279036656
Dealer: APOSEC72 shows
Dealer: Smelleh89 shows
Dealer: Weakette shows
Dealer: APOSEC72 shows two pair, Kings and Nines
Dealer: Weakette shows a full house, Queens full of Nines
Dealer: Weakette wins the side pot (4,690) with a full house, Queens full of Nines
Dealer: Smelleh89 shows two pair, Aces and Nines
Dealer: Weakette wins the main pot (6,050) with a full house, Queens full of Nines

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Chinchilla Day

I am so using this in the office.

H/t to the wife who does not have a blog, hence no link.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cussing at Work

Stealing this from a friend because it is:

1) funny;
2) indicative of half the things I actually say in the office on a daily basis.

Cussing at Work

Dear Employees:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their co-workers.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realize the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with co-workers.

Therefore,a list of 18 New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING' phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

Number 1
TRY SAYING: I think you could use more training.
INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the f___ you're doing.

Number 2
TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter.
INSTEAD OF: She's a f___ing bit__.

Number 3
TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late.
INSTEAD OF: And when the f___ do you expect me to do this?

Number 4
TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible.
INSTEAD OF: No f___ing way.

Number 5
INSTEAD OF: You've got to be sh___ing me!

Number 6
TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with...
INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a sh__.

Number 7
TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project.
INSTEAD OF: It's not my f___ing problem.

Number 8
TRY SAYING: That's interesting.
INSTEAD OF: What the f___?

Number 9
TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented.
INSTEAD OF: This sh__ won't work.

Number 10
TRY SAYING: I'll try to schedule that.
INSTEAD OF: Why the f___ didn't you tell me sooner?

Number 11
TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues...
INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his a__.

Number 12
TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir?
INSTEAD OF: Eat sh__ and die.

Number 13
TRY SAYING: So you weren't happy with it?
INSTEAD OF: Kiss my a__.

Number 14
TRY SAYING: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.
INSTEAD OF: F__ it, I'm on salary.

Number 15
TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand.
INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your a__.

Number 16
TRY SAYING: I love a challenge.
INSTEAD OF: This f___ing job sucks.

Number 17
TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that?
INSTEAD OF: Who the f___ died and made you boss?

Number 18
TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive.
INSTEAD OF: He's a pr_ck.

Thank You,
Human Resources

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Transfer needed

I may need, in the next couple of days (and perhaps sooner), to do a PayPal for Full Tilt transfer.

The good news: I've been able to triple my meager bankroll into something where I can actually play a bit.

However, I'm needing to pull some off for unexpected items, and don't have the time to wait 2-3 weeks given that it is still pretty small potatoes - only about $100 for now.

Considering my balance a week ago was at $1.85, that's pretty impressive. It actually is now between 150 and 200, after the $50 Take 2 bonus and some decent sessions at cash tables. I'm looking to leave about $50 and take the rest out.

So, if you are looking to gain some Full Tilt $ in exchange for transferring via PayPal, I would appreciate it.

Hit me up in the comments, or at aposec72 AT gmail.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Brief History of Internet Time

H/T Julius Goat.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Easiest Bonus Ever

I started the month with $0.40.

I ended the month with $1.85.

Bonus won: $50.00. I think the highest I ever got, with limited play, was $5.
Easiest...clearing...ever. Thanks for the freebie.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Props to Cox after all

I've written a whole lot this year about how I expected 90 losses.

I've written about expecting a bottoming out and that the team should be blown up.

I've written it's time to start the rebuilding effort and time for old stalwarts (and managers) to go.

Time to write it....

I was wrong.

The Braves won their 82nd game Wednesday night, clinching a winning season due to a three-game sweep of the hapless, actual 90-loss Mets (well, 88 at the moment, but I don't think they're winning 9 of 11 to end the year and avoid 90 losses). I would have written this during the day yesterday, but got caught up and, well, stuff happens.

So, it's time for to admit that I was absolutely, completely wrong in my assessment. Not just a little wrong, but completely wrong in the preseason prediction of powerlessness.

As it stands now, the Braves sit 3.5 games out of the wild card, having jumped over Florida and San Francisco and trailing only Colorado.

I had thought, after two crushing defeats to the Marlins a couple weeks ago and the following five-game slide, that there was no chance at postseason play.

Apparently, the Braves players did not agree, having now won eight of their last ten.

It is possible that the Braves squeak into the postseason. Their remaining schedule has three games in Washington, three games at home against Florida, and four more at home against Washington.

They should win the series in Washington and may even sweep, since they do a lot better on the road and the Nationals are even more atrocious than the Mets.

I'm not sure if they will pull it off at home - especially in front of a fan base as quiet as a Sunday picnic - but the fact that they are still in it after tons of injuries and many, many rookies means I actually have to give Bobby Cox credit for a well-done job.

That sentence still makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Tickets are probably still available - I might just pick up a couple.

We'll see what happens - but at least it's become a close race to enjoy instead of mind-numbing defeat night after night - but again, enough about the Mets.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's a cubit?

Wow, original content!

And so it was that the waters engulfed Atlanta for ten days and ten nights, and Michael rode the flood out with son and daughter and fish and computer.

Upon the eleventh day, Michael awoke to see the sun shining overhead and the waters receded.

Then the LORD spake to Michael "Cometh out of thine ark, made of brick and wood and stucco, and see all that I have given to you. This lawn shall be yours to make of it, and I shine the sun in the heavens as a sign to you that the waters have receded.

"For about two hours.

"Now, go forth, and mow thine grass so that it doth not grow so high from the mighty floodgates of heaven."

And Michael obeyed the LORD and did what he was told, for he knew the work must be done. With his mighty faith in the RAS connection which would allow him to work from home, he set out to fulfill the LORD's work.

And the LORD smiled upon him when the grass was cut, and spared him from the mighty plague of hay fever.

Not enough, however, to build the reservoir to hold all the rain. That would be foolish.

So let it be let it be done.

Stand by for smiting in 3....2.....1......

(Bonus points for anyone who gets the title reference and the comedian who used it)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Truckin' Pimpin'

Read, enjoy, subscribe yourself. I'm taking off for the weekend. Peace.


Truckin' --

September 2009, Vol. 8, Issue 9
Welcome back to the September issue of Truckin'.

1. Tangerine Rockets by Paul McGuire
Lennie was an international legend. His father walked away from a plane crash and passed along some of those good luck genes over to Lennie.... More

2. The Red Pill by Sigge S. Amdal
She dropped the face and began to cry, as tensions rose around me. The waiters stopped waiting tables, people stopped talking; they were just exchanging knowing glances and judgmental comments... More

3. Fine Tuning by Milton T. Burton
He looked perplexed. I slipped my hand beneath my coat, came out with the little silenced .22 Magnum auto, and shot him right in the center of the forehead. The hollow-point bullet exited the back of his skull, making a colorful little jet of blood and brains as it went... More

4. On Scoring by Human Head
One look at the eyeliner, eyebrows, gold hoops and herringbone chains, and I knew this was the Angel we were supposed to see. As she drew closer to the door, the tattoo's left little doubt. She didn't say anything. She just looked at me... More

5. The Joys of Gambling by Johnny Hughes
Saratoga Springs, New York in August was the gambling capital of America in the 1920s, with the horses, the spa waters, large and ornate casinos, and America's wealthiest citizens in a gilded age, when money and wine were treated like water... More

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been...
From the Editor's Laptop:

The September edition of Truckin' marks the return of the Human Head after a four year hiatus. I'm enthralled to have him back in the mix. Everyone's favorite Norwegian word wanker, Sigge, returns for a second month in a row. We also have a couple of Texan scribes in Johnny Hughes and Milton T. Burton. And of course, I have a story inspired by a recent trip to Colorado.

Thanks for telling your friends about Truckin'. May you will increase your karma ten fold! The contibutors here write for free and you'll be doing me a huge favor by helping get the some publicity.

If anyone is interested in being added to the mailing list, or perhaps you are interested in writing for a future issue, then feel free to contact me.

I have to sincerely thank the writers for sharing their bloodwork. Thanks for taking this leap of faith with me. And a special thanks goes out to you, the reader, for your loyalty and support over the years.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Allez Cuisine

I went to a cooking club event on Sunday, and decided to make several dishes after going shopping for the rest of the family and for the club gathering. So, let's report the details a bit differently...

Apologies for crappy pictures - I took them with my phone, so they didn't come out too good.


台所競技場の今日の戦いのための主題はコショウである。 鉄のシェフは私達の裁判官のために3枚の皿を準備した。 私達の皿がいかになったか見直そう。

(No? Ok, back to English.)

The theme for today's battle in Kitchen Stadium is peppers. The Iron Chef has prepared three dishes for our judges - let's review how our dishes turned out.

The first dish prepared is a plate habanero/pineapple wings.
I combined habanero peppers, serrano peppers, cayenne pepper, and fresh garlic with balsamic vinegar, molasses, and pineapple juice. It allows for a nice, smooth, sweet taste at first which eventually gives way to the spice of the peppers, but is not too overwhelming. I didn't want anyone to be breathing fire, and wanted the taste of the peppers to really come through with the dish.

The second dish prepared by the Iron Chef is italian stuffed peppers with pancetta.
I took fresh pancetta and cooked it with finely chopped onion. I then combined this with freshly sliced chopped provolone, ricotta, and parmesan cheese, and added fresh green peas to the mix. I used this mix with some red bell peppers to really bring out some color and, well, you can't go wrong when adding bacon (which is essentially what pancetta is.)

The third and final dish prepared is a traditional common French dish,
The kids found it funny when I removed the eggplant from the bag of groceries, as they had never had it before. It's traditionally a stewed dish, very common and not requiring many exotic ingredients. After the kids "helped" me chop the eggplant and season it with salt and spices, I added fresh garlic, basil, parsley, carmelized white onions, yellow and orange bell peppers, zucchini, and diced tomatoes while cooking it up with some wine and black pepper. I served it with rice and the kids definitely seemed to enjoy eating it.

Thank you, Iron Chef, We judge these dishes to be quite good, and tasty. But
could you explain your presentation to us?
Well, I had to drive for 40 minutes to bring the dishes. These exotic plating devices are called "aluminum foil" and "tupperware".

ありがとう。(Thank you.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Get your degeneracy on

I'm just doing a straight re-post on this from Dr. Pauly, but some folks here who enjoy gambling (check) and fantasy football (check) might be interested.

Sundays with Dr. Pauly returns next Sunday on Fantasy Sports Live. is proud to announce our annual Sunday's With Dr. Pauly promotion with $750 in free bonus cash added. Compete at fantasy football against one of the top gaming bloggers in the country, Dr. Pauly, and earn some free cash for your efforts. Last year Dr. Pauly had a rough time and it was pretty easy to get bonus cash with about 25 different winners. This year we expect him to snap back, and make it a bit more profitable for those out there who can consistently beat his score. Simply enter weekly $11 fantasy football leagues named "Sundays w/Dr Pauly" and compete for all of the free bonus cash shown below in addition to our normal 91% and higher cash prize payouts.

$500 in Free Bonus Cash Available to all FSL Users

1) Beat Dr. Pauly's fantasy football score for three straight weeks at any point in weeks 1-15 and gain entry into a season ending tournament of champions in week 16. $125 in bonus cash will be added to the TOC and anyone who beats Dr. Pauly's score in the TOC will get a prorated share based on the number of points above Dr. Pauly's score.

2) Win a 5 week mini-series (W1-W5, W6-W10, W11-W15) and get $25 in bonus cash and entry into the Super TOC with $125 in bonus cash added. Highest cumulative fantasy points over any 5 week series gets the immediate $25 bonus and entry into the Super TOC with Dr. Pauly (automatic entry). $125 in bonus cash will be added to the 4 player Super TOC and anyone who beats Dr. Pauly's score in the TOC will get a prorated share based on the number of points above Dr. Pauly's score.

3) Score a top three highest individual fantasy football score at any point in the series and win free bonus cash. The top three scores will earn a free bonus of $100/$50/$25.

$250 in Bonus Cash Available to FSL Users with a Sports or Gaming Blog for 1 Year

Eligible bloggers can compete for all of the prizes shown above and are also eligible for the for $250 in additional bonus cash.

1) Score a top three highest blogger individual fantasy football score at any point in the series and win free bonus cash. The top three scores will earn a free bonus of $75/$50/$25.

2) Gain entry into the Blogger Battle TOC and compete for $100 in added cash with $75 for first place and $25 for second place. Beating Dr. Pauly's score for three straight weeks, having the highest blogger score in a five week series, having the top individual blogger weekly score over the entire series, or ending in the top 5 in blogger points overall for the 15 weeks gets you in the the Blogger Battle TOC.

Bonus Cash Summary

All Users

TOC - $125 Added Cash
Super TOC $125 Added Cash
Highest weekly score $100 Added Cash
2nd highest weekly score $50 Added Cash
3rd highest weekly score $25 Added Cash
Week 1 Series Winner $25 Added Cash
Week 2 Series Winner $25 Added Cash
Week 3 Series Winner $25 Added Cash

$500 in total added cash


Blogger Battle TOC $100 Added Cash
Highest weekly blogger score $75 Added Cash
2nd highest weekly blogger score $50 Added Cash
3rd highest weekly blogger score $25 Added Cash

$250 in total added cash

Results and standings will be updated weekly here at the FSL blog. OK, now that I have explained all this, go out and get yourself some free cash already. .

Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy New Year

With Labor Day comes another football season filled with crushing disappointment and agony for all but a few football fans across the country.

Professionally, I'm looking forward to the Falcons season, and I'm hoping they can at least get to their bye week at 2-1, with their first three games against the Dolphins, Panthers, and at the Patriots. I think they might be able to post another 11-5 season, and most people are expecting more than just a winning season - something which the Falcons have never done in consecutive years.

I haven't gotten too much back into the college game yet, and I'm not expecting much from Georgia this year after the loss of so many key players through the draft - Stafford, Moreno, etc. I'm interested to see what Florida can do but I'm obviously not rooting for them very much.

As we do every year, we have our fantasy league too - and this was an odd year drafting for me. I could have a five-win team or an undefeated team, it is really hard to tell. Hell, you tell me what you think.

My keepers were Anquan Boldin, Michael Turner, and Tomlinson. Here's how it ended up:

QB: Donovan McNabb (Rd. 6, which I chose over Matt Ryan, and might haunt me all year)
Backup: Carson Palmer (Rd. 8)
Backup: Chad Pennington (Round 16)

RB: Tomlinson (Keeper, Round 3)
RB: Michael Turner (Keeper, Round 1)
Backup: Jamal Lewis (Round 9)
Backup: Leon Washington (Round 12)
Backup: Ricky Williams (Round 13)

WR: Anquan Bolden (Keeper, Round 2)
WR: Roy Williams (Round 7)
WR: Wes Welker (Round 4)
Backup: Laverneaus Coles (Round 10)
Backup: Nate Washington (Round 17)

TE: Tony Gonzalez (Round 5, yay, another Falcon)
Backup: Tony Scheffler (Round 18, meh, it was the last pick of the draft)

Defense: New England (Round 11)
Backup: Dallas (Round 15)

Kicker: Adam Vinatieri (Round 14)

It might not be the best team, but it is probably the oldest. If healthy, it could be the best, who knows.

Considering there were two or three other teams that drafted horribly, it could have been worse. At least I have a sporting chance to defend my title.

Oh, and.....GO FALCONS.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Up Close with Vouchers

As some of you know, my oldest son started kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. with this, there have been a lot of information sessions at church about activities related to his class, to the school, and to being involved in the parish more heavily as parents as well as parishioners.

One of the more interesting meetings, which I attended on Tuesday night, was a meeting to learn more about something called the GRACE Scholars Program. In 2008, Georgia passed a law allowing the diversion of tax dollars which would have gone to general purpose activities to specific Student Scholarship Organizations such as Grace Scholars. There have been about 15-20 of these specialized groups set up, and GRACE Scholars is directed at students who are attending and entering Catholic institutions.

It was an interesting presentation. It highlighted how it would help the church with general operations (by freeing up funds for other needs thanks to replacement funds arriving). It highlighted how students would benefit, as more students without the means to pay for Catholic school would be able to attend thanks to such donations.

Lastly (and most importantly for us), it highlighted how donors to the program would benefit, as all contributions made would qualify as charitable contributions. Since these SSO's are set up as non-profit organizations, any contribution to them can be included in itemized deductions on your tax return, thus decreasing your overall tax liability. Furthermore, once the forms are filed with the Department of Revenue, the amount of tax you wish to be redirected away from general coffers will be directed to programs you may care much more about, especially if one of your kids is attending such a school.

It was a very interesting presentation. Georgia is currently one of only a few states which has passed laws that authorize vouchers and a version of school choice available to families who would otherwise not have the resources. Georgia has set aside $50,000,000 of its expected tax revenue to be allotted to these sorts of programs, so hopefully there will be a lot of people who take advantage of this option.

We had about 60-70 people at the presentation Tuesday night, and there were a lot of questions, but it was very well received. Hopefully it means more of a benefit to taxpayers and to parishioners, while also enabling better access to such forms of education for those who may not otherwise be able to access it or afford it.

For me, it's one more reason to be glad to live in Georgia instead of back in the north - even if school starts about three weeks earlier here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Real Technical Help Flowchart

H/T Skidoo.
This method has worked for ages upon ages of tech support and bad service calls.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Can you name the U.S. Presidents?

Can you name the U.S. Presidents? - sporcle

Shared via AddThis

See if you can beat 1:27.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time flies when parenting

At lunch today, we saw a baby that was not quite two months old. She was not able to hold up her head yet, and was still a tiny little thing.

It was quite adorable.

I remember when Alex was that size, and how we would always be constantly holding him in the same way, and how tiny he was then. We even talked about how he (and we) would always fall asleep in the rocker while putting him to sleep or feeding him

Today was his first day of kindergarten at St. Joseph's. No nerves or tears from him while we were there, but instead easgerly meeting new classmates, comparing Spider-Man backpacks, and already making new friends.

Time flies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I need a map

It now looks like I won't be returning to New York until middle or late September, when I'll really think I should be back in school.

I was able to get the necessary paperwork to transport my mother's ashes back on a plane. I'm shocked that it took only a couple of weeks to move through the NYC Department of Health. They advertise a response time of eight to twelve weeks, so getting the needed paperwork in only 2-3 weeks seems like a minor miracle.

There's one problem, which I found out late last night...

No one knows where in the house the ashes are. It's still pretty stuffed, and it'll be difficult to find some things throughout the house, so I'll be spending a good couple of days helping to clear out as much of their stuff as I can while trying to find the urn.

I've been a bit tilted since this little revelation, but I think the folks up north finally understand why I've been pushing so hard to get back up there to help with a lot of cleanout.

Some closure would be nice.

Sorry for the rant and (aside from that) the lack of posts - I've just not been feeling it a lot lately, and most things I've been finding have ended up being re-posted on Facebook or shared on Google Reader instead of being re-posted here.

Beyond that, hopefully I can see some friends when I do finally make it to NYC, even if only for a little while.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Vegas Recap III

Click here for part 1 and part 2. I'm combining the rest of the trip into one entry, otherwise I won't finish it until September.

I woke up at the gawdawful Vegas time of 9 AM. I didn't want to oversleep, so I actually set an alarm clock and woke up to it on the first try. As my family can tell you, that never happens.

I strolled over to the Venetian, and registered for the $550 Deep-Stack Extravaganza event around 10:30. Having some time to kill, I grabbed some brunch before the tournament started as I watched the registration line queue further...and further...and further, until it was out into the 100-degree heat.

Turns out the Rio stuck to its guns, and did not re-open registration Saturday morning, so anyone who had been looking to play in the WSOP was left out in the cold. A couple hundred of them came over to the Venetian to register, so instead of an expected field of 550-600, there were 780 people in the field.

I got my card and went to Table 89, Seat 9. My table was about as far off to the edge as possible, so it was a bit more on the quiet side. The others who were playing (a friend from local games here in Atlanta, Hoy, and Chad) were much closer to the middle of the floor, and I'm sure had a much better view of things from their tables.

The first level went very well, as I turned a flush on one hand and rivered a boat on another to quickly jump over 23,000 in chips from the starting stack of 15,000. However, it's generally not a good sign when the good hands hit in Level 1 - because the good hands don't show up in later levels when on display early.

That's exactly what happened here. By the first break at the end of Level 3, I'd slipped back to an average stack, as my table was playing very loose - almost no hands were won pre-flop.

I found out at the break from CK that Chad busted in the first couple of levels, and I found out my friend from here also busted.

I continued to not get many cards in levels 4-6, and even when I tried to steal blinds and antes had no luck pushing anyone off a hand. My stack continued decreasing in relation to the blinds, until just before the second break. With blinds at 300/600 and a 50 ante, I had a stack of about 11000 - a decent enough stack to come back with, still, but less than half of the average. The pushmonkey on my right, in middle position, raises to 2100. I re-pop it to 4500, and the rest of the table folds back aroiund to the push-monkey, who thinks for a few seconds and then decided to move all-in, having me covered.

I call instantly, knowing I am probably way ahead as he likes to play any ace.

I flip up my two black queens to his king-jack offsuit. Yes, JacKing Off, not even a raggy ace. I am way ahead.

The dealer must have played the Mookie previously, because the three-outer hits with a King on the flop.

I manage not to punch the dealer in the face as I gether my things to leave.

I went to cool down at Tao with a nice bowl of noodles. I met up with Matt and another of his friends who was also playing (and had busted).

While we were talking, I saw one of the craziest things I've ever seen in a poker room. One of the chip leaders is involved in a very loud dispute with another player and the dealer, and the floor has come over to investigate the situation. Apparently, another player had mucked his cards, but on top of the chip leader's hand (which was probably pocket aces). After about fifteen minutes of deliberation and review (including consulting the tape for a decision), the floor decided that he had not protected his cards - at which point, he pushed his chips all over the table, onto the floor, and into all the other stacks in one fell swoop before storming off.


The dinner break began immediately, as the staff went to the tape again to try to reconstruct the other player's chip stacks and remove the one stack from play - since the dumbass-in-questions was ejected from the tournament.

I managed to shoot the shit outside with Hoy for a little while on the break, before play resumed again. He went on the chop for second-place money, which is far better than what any of us were able to do.

I spent the rest of the night at the cash tables at the Venetian and the Bellagio. I played the mixed game again for a little while, then moved to the Bellagio. Despite going to Vegas numerous times, I had yet to play in the Bellagio's poker room.

I only cashed out up about $10, but I did end up getting to see a whole bunch of players who had already left the Rio. Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, and Erick Lindgren were playing Chinese Poker in Bobby's Room while Phil Ivey was playing against a couple folks I didn't recognize at the $4,000/$8,000 level. Marcel Luske was in the main poker area at the $30/$60 PLO table.

There may have been other notables there, but none were notable enough for me to recognize.

On Sunday, I got a message from Tuscaloosa Johnny that he and a couple others (including 1QueensUp1) were going to play at Binions in a $150 NLHE event which was starting at 2 PM. I decided that, instead of spending a bunch more on another cab ride (which i was sick of by this point) that I would take the monorail to Sahara and then cab it from there - since I probably wouldn't have another chance to catch the monorail and I'd never done it.

I ended up sharing a cab to Binions with a couple of already-drunk coeds (yes, on Sunday, at 2 PM, but it's Vegas) and making it to Binions just before the end of the first level. This game, unlike the Strip games, was full of mostly locals and regulars.

Nothing much to report from this tournament, as I went out early thanks to being crippled by aces being cracked AGAIN (#5) by A-10 offsuit with a runner-runner straight, and being out shortly thereafter. Meh.

I headed back downtown, got my camera, and walked around to snap a lot of pictures of the touristy stuff and record what shows I could - the kids really liked being able to see the Bellagio fountain show as well as the Mirage volcano show and a few of the couple hundred other pictures I managed to snap (yes, they were all suitable for younger eyes.)

I headed back to the Rio for one last session, which ended pretty quietly for a small loss of about $20. I decided to head back to the IP, pack up, and get ready for my early morning flight cross-country.

Unlike the trip out, we left on time and I made it home around 4 PM - just in time to turn around and be back at work sixteen hours later, after putting in about thirty hours at the poker tables over this trip.

It was time to go back to the grind...for a grand total of three days, before we packed up again and headed north. Since I've finally got pictures off my camera, that'll probably go up over the weekend, along with a photo and video dump from this trip.

So when is the next one?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A nice surprise

Full Tilt released a major software upgrade today, after a bucnh of problems with incremental changes and a boatload of problems.

Well, apparently Full Tilt also decided to compensate users in other ways as well:

Surprises are good sometimes - though clearing it may be difficult on a near-empty account.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Battling ghosts

We interrupt the regularly scheduled juvenile humor and poker posts for something a bit more introspective...

Some readers might remember my posts about going to New York over Christmas, and my sister's battle with inflammatory breast cancer that ended the day after Christmas while we were there.

Obviously, it's been very difficulty for family members all around, most especially the immediate family members, her husband and two kids.

I found out last week that my nephew, who also pledged APO this past term, will not be returning to college for at least one term. I don't know yet if it will be longer or not.

I also found out last week that they are moving out of the house where they have lived for almost 25 years. They will be moving to Brewster, closer to other family members (another sister, my brother-in-law's family, and my stepmother) into a house which used to belong to my brother-in-law's parents but was passed on to him last year.

Over the next few weeks, the current house will probably be cleared out and renovated, sold, rented...I'm not sure if a course of action has been decided.

Herein lies the ghost part of the story.

Fifteen years ago, shortly after I started at Emory, my father got seriously ill and moved to Arizona to be with my uncle to take care of him. The remaining family members - including my sister who passed in December - and I helped clear out our old apartment of all our stuff so that it could be rented out. Since I had only completed one year of college and was not ready to return to New York yet, my sister took many of the items to keep at storage at her house.

Included in these items was an urn. My mother had passed shortly before, and was cremated. We had kept the ashes at home, as quite a few families choose to do. This was one of the items that went upstate.

I jumped around for the next three years, with the idea that I would return to New York eventually to live and move the items out. Long Island, New Jersey, Brooklyn, or elsewhere in Manahttan - winter breaks, summer, holidays, etc. Aside from one summer in Atlanta, working for BellSouth as an intern, I returned to New York for almost every break until it was almost time to graduate.

Up until the beginning through my senior year, that was the plan, when I started seriously thinking about staying in Atlanta.

Flash forward to the present - many items are still there, most notably my mother's ashes.

I found out Friday that the move was now definite. Knowing that we didn't have the certificates needed, I started making calls to get the needed paperwork so that, when I go up to New York (which will now probably happen in a couple of weeks) I will have what I need to bring the ashes back.

I've got a whole bunch of mixed emotions about this endeavor. My sister's kids are going through a very difficult time, with school uncertainty combined with moving and the other aftereffects of this loss. It's been difficult for them, and also difficult for the rest of us to see the pain they are going through.

For me, as well, it's dealing with some memories that I honestly haven't had to deal with in a while - not to mention the possibility of finally having to Do Something regarding my leftover life from New York from so long ago. I've spoken with some family members about the ashes, and hopefully we'll soon decide what is the best thing to do with them - bury, keep, scatter (and where?) - but it's not a decision that I feel should be made only by me. Miraculously, I was able to get the paperwork for the ashes in only a week and a half (thank you NYC DOH) so I can bring them back.

When I go to New York next month, I'll be trying to reconcile myself with more than one ghost and finish up some business which should have been done long ago.