Thursday, March 26, 2009

Enough downers

I've been very jumpy over the past few weeks (with good reason) and by the end of the day I may not have a desk anymore. It's been eerily quiet today - and of course, I'm firing off a post in between developing two proposals and editing code.

So let's change the mood a bit - I got one bit of good news in the past couple of weeks, which if nothing else might work as a backup plan.

I submitted it in correlation with my Examiner site, even though that is inactive until the end of April. I figured it couldn't hurt, the worst that could happen would be "no".

I got a slightly different response.

I am pleased to inform you that your request for press credentials to cover the 2009 World Series of Poker has been approved. This year, all media badges will feature a photo of the bearer. Please forward a high-resolution (300 dpi or greater) passport-style photo of yourself in jpeg format so we can complete your official credential. You may pick up your badge in Amazon A&B in the World Series of Poker
tournament area at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The credential office is
open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

So, if the worst does happen today (or before Memorial Day, for that matter), maybe I'll be traveling out west for about seven and a half weeks during the summer to try and hack it out there as a rank amateur (at least compared with a bunch of folks who might/might not read this and do a far better job).

I was planning on going out over the summer for a blogger get-together and possibly play in an event. Sounds like some folks are thinking of the second weekend in June or the fourth weekend in June, so that was when I'd also go out.

But if the worst case scenario hits, then maybe I'll actually head out to try and pass myself off as someone who knows what the hell they're doing.

Besides, if it doesn't work out well, I can always try to feed off the cash games. It worked last time I went to Vegas for work.

In another related bit of good news, I got a bunch of offers (thanks Total Rewards) for staying in Harrah's properties, including the Rio where the WSOP takes place, for FREE. Sometimes, desperate sellers can make for good times for buyers. As soon as I confirm when I'm heading out, I'll be taking advantage of it. (There are also free nights at the Imperial Palace and Flamingo, too.)

As for more traditional occupations - I've been looking, just in case, but ideally I would like to stay here. Unfortunately it's out of my hands at this point, so every one of us is just waiting around on pins and needles for the guillotine to fall - and hoping it falls somewhere else.

UPDATE, 3 PM: I'm safe and live to fight another day, or at least come to my little desk. A very big sigh of relief around these parts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No wait for a trap

In decompressing after a long day and firing up a Sit and Go on Full Tilt, I ran into this on the very first hand.

Raise UTG, get call from button.
He checks, I c-bet, he calls. Time to slow down.
Turn: check check.
River: I fill up with Jacks over Tens, but he has the case jack. He bets, I fold, he shows the quads.

I can't blame him too much for defending his blind and getting lucky, but geez we didn't wait long there, did we?

(I don't owe anybody a dollar for that - no bad beat or crying call that knocked me out.)

On the bright side, two hands later I got my chips back. Twelve hands later, he lost his stack by pushing 40 BB with 3-3 and then A-9 offsuit. Forty hands later, I took it down.

A decent way to decompress - though I would prefer the RNG not try to hate on the very first hand for a while.

Round 2 About to Begin

Well, it is indeed happening sooner than I thought - the company will be making its second round of cuts/RIF's, probably today or tomorrow. Round 1 in January claimed 10%, this round is expected to claim another 7-8%.

Obviously, everyone is on edge. I'm even more worried than normal because I had to leave early yesterday afternoon to get one of the kids at school because they were sick. I am hoping that is not the final impression they have, as I've been explicitly trying NOT to leavae any earlier than absolutely necessary for classes, let alone anything else. I'm still the new guy, after all.

To say I'm on pins and needles right now would be an understatement.

In related news, I had a three-hour session with Microsoft yesterday (including remote diagnostics) and was basically told that the computer is not repairable by them as they can't figure out what is wrong with it now either.

This has not been a fun month. Hopefully, it starts to get better very, very soon. Between work drama, school drama, and home drama, I've had about as much as I can handle.

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Sunday, March 22, 2009


Normally, at 4:20, this would be a good heading to have.

However, it's four-twenty IN THE FREAKING MORNING, so it's not a good thing.

OK, it could be a good thing at this time, but really it's not.

I've been up not because I was playing poker, or out having drinks, or on a trip, or out partying, or any other form of debauchery.

I'm awake because this little laptop decide to crash approximately nine times today while I was trying to do research and write my portion of a paper for my Capstone class which I was supposed to upload tonight so we could present a workable draft for review and discussion after Monday's class.

It took me almost eight hours to do the research required for what amounts to a page and a half of writing, because this computer seems to have forgotten just how to allocate memory, and has decided to adopt to attitude of Oliver McCall by just shutting down at random points, which kick-starts a long, painful boot and recover each time.

It took 30 minutes to download and open a simple Excel document from a SharePoint site - which is about as good an example of fucked-upness I can think of.

Like many other things, I'd been hoping this computer would just make it until graduation. It's looking more apparent it won't make it until May unless a minor miracle occurs. Given how much I've worked it, it's not much of a surprise, but it is still one more annoyance I didn't fricking need right now.

Looks like I'll be trolling on eBay for a refurbished model again - I did that a few years ago with an old Dell, and it worked well for a while, so perhaps I can find a decent one for under $200 (if current auctions are a sign, I should be able to get around that price point.

And no, even though it is 4:20 and I did just complete an assignment, I am not celebrating with a bowl. Unless you count ice cream - though generally the munchies come AFTER the bowl, not in the bowl.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Home stretch

Six more weeks.

That is all that remains.

I got back two exams yesterday, with mixed results.

In my Finance exam, I lost the points I expected to lose, but lost barely anything else. Despite the low score on the test, it was good enough in comparison to ensure that I am solidly in the "B" range for now.

In my later exam, there were a few inconsistencies with what I wrote and what was read in review, so the grade was a bit lower than I expected - not low enough to cause major confusion, but still too low for my comfort level.

I still have a solid "B" in my capstone class and I'm moving towards an "A" in my MGS class so hopefully I can finish these last few items as quickly as possible. This item is more for myself, I think, to get it all clear.

March 23: MGS, I/S Org Analysis
March 30: MGS, Data Collection Exercise
April 8: Finance, Exam 3
April 13: MGS, Niche Market Analysis
April 13: Capstone, Final Exam
April 15: CIS, Paper
April 20: Capstone, Presentation
April 27: MGS Data Presentation
April 28: CIS, Final
April 29: Finance Final
April 30: Finance StockTrak Report

Graduation is May 9, now to be held in the Georgia Dome. On the bright side, I don't have to worry about dishing out tickets or sitting outside for four hours sweaty and drunk during commencement like someone else I know.

It doesn't seem so intimidating when I put the tasks in this manner, but in reality it seems very foreboding to me right now, especially combined with the sword of Damocles hanging over us all at work.

Hooray for pressure!

Wrong fade

I wrote earlier thgis week how I'd put down Kansas to win.

Well, I had switched up my brckets in error. I'm in three different groups/pools, and I wrote from one where it was a just-screwing-around bracket.

There are two of those types of brackets, and one which is a little more involved, so for the sake of posterity I'll mention that one again.

My only goal is to do a better job on my main bracket than Obama did on his bracket. I doubt that Sportscenter would devote ten minutes to me filling out my bracket - but perhaps the media could focus for that long on another of his failed policy objectives instead of his bracket.

OK, here goes:

Round 1 Upsets: #9 Siena, #10 USC, #9 Texas A & M, #11 Utah St., #10 Minnesota, #11 VCU, #9 Butler, #11 Temple, #12 Western Kentucky

Elite Eight: Louisville over Kansas, Memphis over UConn, Pittsburgh over Villanova, and Gonzaga over Oklahoma

Final Four: Louisville over Memphis, Pittsburgh over Gonzaga

Champion: Louisville

Enjoy the rest of the day in front of your wide-screen TV, following the games on the web, or in the sports book watching every game at once.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day...

Example A - enjoy the classics of poetry and literature:

O well for him who lives at ease
With garnered gold in wide domain,
Nor heeds the splashing of the rain,
The crashing down of forest trees.

O well for him who ne'er hath known
The travail of the hungry years,
A father grey with grief and tears,
A mother weeping all alone.

But well for him whose foot hath trod
The weary road of toil and strife,
Yet from the sorrows of his life.
Builds ladders to be nearer God.
"Tristitiae", Oscar Wilde (1845-1900)

Example B: celebrate days of yore and special remembrance (like our 8th anniversary of being married in New Orleans).

Example C: Celebrate in the traditional festive way of millions across the country - drunk off your ass. And, if some of you end up at Right Wing Tavern in Woodstock, hoist a pint for me if I'm not there.
Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good maiden voyage

I said last month I would be playing very few BBT4 events until May, and that it was likely I would only play the Brit Bloggerment on Sundays as that was the only event I was not tied up doing something else - class (which kills Rivershasers or the Mookie) or family time (which kills Skillz).

With the 4 PM start time of the Brit Bloggerment on Sundays, it's actually possible to play, either because I'm taking a break from schoolwork or, like yesterday, I'm stuck on the couch sick.

So, I played in my first BBT 4 event yesterday while stuck on the couch, after trying to slug through a book for class, while sick.

All things considered, not a bad showing:

Yep, I'm now a whopping 85th on the leaderboard for the month. I'm not winning this month, but I never really had plans to win one of the $2K month packages right now. It's been so long since I played a bloggerment it was just fun to do for a little while.

It took my mind off the aaarrgghhhh feeling in my stomach for a little while - though I'm sure a bad beat early one would have done it.

Yucky present

You know what's really not fun about a birthday?

Being sick all day and not being able to do anything except shuttle between bed, bathroom, and couch hunched over and pathetic.

You know what else is not fun?

Not being able to take a sick day from work and classes because of required meetings and deliverables for both work and school.

What a crappy way to turn 32.

At least I was able to watch the NCAA Selection Show live for the first time in three years. I even did my brackets already.

Let's just say you should probably fade the Jayhawks, if my history proves anything. Not that the pick is much of a stretch - repeating is very, very difficult.


Friday, March 13, 2009

I find your lack of hope disturbing

Apparently, someone decided to publish a quiz to see how "progressive" the quiz-taker was in their political leanings - though it's a bit slanted for my tastes.
Well, I took it, and apparently my score was so off the grid that I am apparently a troglodyte who like to club baby seals, grind them up, and pour the contents into my gas tank.
That's not entirely true. But they taste delicious!
I had a score of 91/400. I am curious to know your results.


Every six months, there is a consignment sale at the church down the street, which is where we normally buy a lot of the clothes for the kids for the next few months - it beats going to the mall. For the first time this year, we've decided to sell items at the sale which we no longer need - clothes, toys, and other stuff the kids have outgrown.

I took the kids yesterday to the sale, and they actually made measured decisions about what to get or not get. They actually said no to some things a decent amount of the time, so I know they were actually paying attention to all the clothes I'd pulled out.

After my classes end in April, we'll hopefully start looking at doing some re-designs within the house. Once clutter is removed, we can start working through the house.

We'll go from the living room (which is probably the easiest to do) and work backwards through the house - kitchen, then dining room, then the rest of the first floor. We've talked for ages about getting new dining room furniture, so hopefully if we both have jobs over the summer we can finally look at a replacement set.

Thankfully, we don't need to go after a new television right now - even though the set we had downstairs broke, we were able to pull out and hook up another set - the same television I had when I was an undergraduate many moons ago!

Next, we work on the front and the outside of the house - a lot of lawn work, before the weather gets hot, and finally putting in a food garden of sorts, though I will not be filling cabinets with SPAM and other survivalist measures - yet.

Lastly, we'll work on upstairs. With Alex starting kindergarten, it'll be time to look at some kids furniture for his room, including a desk so he can actually do homework. He's actually excited about having homework like I've had - which is good, but strange, since I don't ever remember being excited about homework. We'll also need to re-do Sammie's room, as she's getting ready for a big-girl bed and we'll have to look at bedroom sets which would fit well with the rest of the house.

In a recession, you don't look to sell your house. You look to upgrade what's already there. Since things have been tight and may stay that way for a while, we'll want to find something with decent quality but mildly inexpensive if at all possible. We really need to change the layout of the house so it feels more like a home instead of a place to store all our stuff, as George Carlin would have put it.

I'd like to actually have people over sometime for a poker game, movie night, or other fun gathering of folks in my own house. I can't wait until I actually have a modicum of time to see people for more than 10 minutes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Good lack of focus

I'm glad I haven't been paying attenntion to many things lately, otherwise I'd probably be more worked up about Steele's flip-flops since becoming RNC head than I actually am.

Apparently, there have been a lot, including a big one over the last couple of days.

Perhaps if there was actually a clear position to differentiate the party, it might actually have a chance of success. Too bad nobody gets the message, and the limited amount of attention I've paid just involves blundering on all sides.

At least I know I'm not wasting my time.

Not so hot

I figured that going to Disney World for a few days with the family would be a nice way to get away from the grind and recharge my batteries abit before getting into the next two months.

Sunday was spent doing a little bit of work for school, finishing up a paper for my consulting class due Monday. I also found out my grade for my Capstone midterm, and I'm sitting with a solid B at the moment in that class.

Monday, though, marked a return to work and school that I was not expecting. The last three days, actually, have been pretty rough.

It looks like we will be cutting another 8% of the workforce within our area, on top of the cuts of 9% a few weeks ago. I had been hoping the next round, if necessary, wouldn't occur until May and after classes were over,but it doesn't appear to be that way.

I'm not as confident in this round as I was last round (which wasn't much) about surviving. I'm more than a bit nervous this time around.

I also bombed another Finance exam today, running out of time and not being able to finish two of the questions. For those that know how I take tests, I'm normally one of the first ones done on any exam, so the fact I ran out of time so badly (along with at least 1/3 of the class) is probably a good indicator of the difficulty of the test.

Lastly, Alex was throwing up last night, and in getting out of bed Kim broke a toe, so she's now in a soft cast for a week after a fun hospital visit tonight.

So it's not been a good return so far. Instead of refreshed, I'm already looking forward to the next break and feeling exhausted. I guess a shitload of stress and only 3 hours of sleep a night will do that. I'm even starting to see and feel some of the depressing symptoms I've had in the past, and I really don't have a desire to return to those days.

So when the hell is the Summer Blogger Gathering in Vegas, anyway? That might be needed, especially if I need to find other means of income!

June seems so far away......but really, when is it?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Much closer

H/t Otis:

Apparently, I don't ave to drive all the way to Ocala, New Orleans, Biloxi, or Tunica for a live poker fix.

Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina (just up I-985 and US-23) now has electronic poker tables. All of the tables are automated, with no dealers - they belong to PokerTek, a company I had invested in a long time ago when they became featured in some Atlantic City roms, before being featured in Excalibur's room.

So, instead of driving 5-6 hours or a live fix, it's now less than three hours away.

Not bad...not bad at all.

You wrote how much?

Back home, safe from the constant reach-arounds from Mickey Mouse and friends over the course of Tuesday through Friday, as well as a drive which should have been less than seven hours each way, turned into ten each way.

And, oh, the stories to tell.

As well as to read - with over 2500 items sitting in my aggregator and a ****load of e-mails, I think I know what I'll be doing tomorrow when not working on homework due Monday and studying for a test Wednesday.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

New month, new sale

With spring fast approaching and tax refund checks starting to show up in the mail, many homeowners are doing what they often do in a recession.

Remodeling. Hey, if no one's buying houses (aside from the government) then now is a decent time to take a little set-aside money to do some projects around the house.

Next week, I'll unfortunately be doing lawn work. Lots of lawn work. I suck at it.

Other folks will do other projects around the house.

A couple people I know may even be creating new game rooms for their house. Hey, if all the materials for putting it together are cheap, then why not? Game systems on sale, furniture on sale from business who are going out of business, and of course, poker tables for making it a full-fledged game room.

Here as well, it's a buyer's market - overstock specials on poker chips and other assorted poker supplies for building a new game room...just in time for March Madness, to go along with the 48-inch TV you can buy for 2/3 off the price, the bar furniture you bought at liquidation prices, and any other amenities you can probably find for dirt cheap.

Hopefully this summer I'll even have some time for hosting a home game or two.

Now if there's just a way to get out of doing the lawn work.