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.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Working and Blogging Can Mix

I try to keep work stuff (at least, current job stuff) out of this blog. I may post something occasionally on Facebook that pertains to Emerson, but normally I don't talk about any current company stuff.

Previous companies, of course, get the unvarnished treatment.

However, I want to link to something that was done recently within our company, which makes me extremely glad to be working here. I would NEVER have seen this sort of commitment, either way, at Bank of America - probably because we would have been too busy lobbying behind the scenes, in secret, for the latest TARP bailout.

I have to give kudos where kudos are due, and in this case I have to give kudos to Emerson's board and management for making their position and reasons extremely clear to their employees and to the public (which is why I don't feel bad posting this).

David Farr, chairman, chief executive and president of Emerson, said Congress and the Obama administration’s stimulus spending is “out of control” and blasted health-care and energy reform efforts as costly to business.

“Congress and President Obama are driving way too fast to pass into law a number of vastly complex and hugely expensive government programs,” Farr wrote in a letter to employees Monday. “With the multiple stimulus bills and bailout programs recently passed into law, the amount of government spending is already out of control. We would never manage our own households this way … It is time to say STOP all new spending!”

Farr said the House and Senate are pushing ahead with health-care legislation “at a furious pace with little or no serious discussion or analysis.”

“We agree there are significant issues to be addressed with our current healthcare system and Emerson is involved in the discussion on the various alternatives and solutions,” Farr wrote. “But why the sudden rush?”

Farr also blasted the cap and trade energy bill as costly to U.S. businesses.

“In this unprecedented global economic downturn, U.S. businesses and individuals are struggling to survive,” he wrote. “It is a mistake to think we can spend our way out of the recession with huge government programs, increased deficits and tax increases.”

Farr then urged any employees who agreed with him to contact senators and representatives.

This originally came out last week, so yes, I am a few days behind. Sorry.

Ken Lewis would never have taken such a stand for Bank of America.

I'm glad David Farr did take a stand. I'm not just saying that because he signs my paycheck, either - I'm glad that he would take a strong stand against these bills (and, of course, that for the most part I wholeheartedly agree with what he says).

It's very refreshing.

Now, back to work.

Yum Yum

H/t to Atlanta Metblogs. It's worth a post, especially for a foodie like me...

Central Atlanta Progress has coordinated what looks like an interesting week for Downtown restaurants. So CAP is the official business community booster organization for Downtown Atlanta, and contrary to how that may sound, they acutally do some interesting stuff.

One part of that interesting stuff Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week. Go to Downtown’s swankiest restaurants, and get a three course meal for $25/person.

Also, it is a good time to mention a few other restaurant week events in other neighborhoods. Inman Park is having a special day on July 29th – up to 20% of restaurant sales (depending on the restaurant) will go to paying for the Inman Park Security Patrol fund.
So, go eat somewhere you normally wouldn't (or couldn't).

Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week

When: July 27 – August 9

Where: All the best places

Inman Park Dine Out

When: July 29

Where: All your favorite Inman Park restaurants

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Old-School Thingamabobs

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About

(Geek alert)

I find it funny that there are several items on this list that I still have the kids do from time to time, but I often remark how they do things now technically that I would have never dreamed of doing when I was younger, whether it involves the digital camera, DVD player, a cellphone, computer, or other high-falutin technogadgetry.

Of course, there are still some old school things they do - just last week was an exercise in cash and currency which I was doing to help Alex with some math exercises. It's a lot more tangible than trying to explain Online Banking.

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mash you up

An interesting mashup, which just proves no one is safe, even after eating a shotgun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Karma payback

You're going to get hurt calling raises with garbage like this.


Don't call preflop raises with any two cards, even if they are suited.

Don't call big raises on the flop with a baby flush draw and a gutshot when you're priced out.

DQB, mofo.

This came in a knockout MTT, and I had him covered as well, so the bounty helped after getting one of my ten outs on the suck/resuck.

I made sure to wait on posting this until after the cash bubble broke, to avoid completely jinxing myself. I'm sure I'll bust now in five minutes, now that this post is up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vegas Photo Dump

Well, I decided to put up some of my images from Vegas instead of putting up the next part, mostly because I still haven't been able to get my pictures off my camera. I did get my phone pictures loaded, but not the camera pics yet.
So, here's a few that actually appear halfway decent.

Nice flop, huh?

Caesar's Palace fountains, while walking about and enjoying a cigar.

My setup at the Venetian - pics of kids, dinosaur card capper, and chips. I snapped the picture early in the first level after a full house in the river and turning a flush. Unfortunately, they were not as big as I had hoped the pots would be.

Fremont Stree Experience in the middle of the afternoon, I snapped the picture while on break from the Golden Nugget's HORSE tournament.

Alex gave me one of his dinosaurs to take with me to Vegas. I used it as a chip protector and card capper while at the tables. Cute, huh?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vegas Recap II

I woke up at the bright and early hour of 11:45 AM after getting to bed at the early hour of 7 AM. I decided to get a few hours sleep after playing at the Rio and Venetian, before heading to the Fremont Street area to play at the Golden Nugget.

It was my first time heading downtown, despite three previous trips to Las Vegas. I hopped in a cab and headed up after finding out that the monorail only goes to the Sahara, stopping a couple miles short of downtown.
I got there a little early, so I walked into Binion's to check out their poker artifacts and some of the history. The WSOP was held there from 1970 until 2005, when the move to the current location of the Rio was completed.

After a little bit of walking about, I walked to the Golden Nugget and took my seat. During June and July, the Golden Nugget was running something called the Grand Poker Series, which I wrote about here as offering a wide variety of games. On Friday, the tournament was a $240 HORSE tournament, which plays to my strengths in stud games.

Yes, I know - I'm decent at stud, but under the age of seventy. Weird, huh?

In the first round of five levels, I didn't get much done. I dropped slightly, but played very tight.

In the second round, during Omaha 8/b, I got my first pocket aces - A-A-3-7, double suited. I raised untilt he turn, when the straight got there and knocked out any lows.


In Stud, I started with aces in the hole, and watched them go down to trips on sixth street.


We took a break after Stud H/L, about three hours into the tournament. I walked across the street and got a deep-fried twinkie in order to offset my tilt, as I was now down to about a half-average stack. I managed to not win a single hand for the last four levels of play before the break. Considering Limit Hold' Em is not my strong suit, I wasn't feeling very good.

At the beginning of the third round, I got pocket Aces again. This time, they got run down by the more traditional pair of Sevens which couldn't fold to three-bets.


Yes, in three levels, I had rockets cracked THREE TIMES. Remarkably, I still had chips.

I held on through Omaha with one split pot, and won one small pot in Razz, hoping that I could make my comeback in Stud or Stud H/L.

On the second to last-hand of Stud H/L before the break, I ended up all-in. I started with 6-4-2, all clubs, and decided this was the time to push. I raise and get three callers.

Fourth street brings a Queen of clubs - bet, I raise, and two others stay along for the ride.

Fifth brings an offsuit 5. I bet, they both call.

Sixth brings a blank. I call off my remaining chips. I need a club or a three or an ace to stay alive against both players.

Seventh street is dealt, face down. One player shows two pair, one player shows a seven-low. I'm dead without an ace, club, or three, though the three would give me the scoop.

I squeeze the card and look.

The three of clubs.


Still alive.

I went to the break with a decent stack again as I'd almost quadrupled up from that one hand. With under 80 players left and 24 paying, I had a chance again of cashing.

Thank God that crubs get there.

Unfortunately, it did not continue. The blinds and antes increased very quickly at this point and they caught up to me. I got shut out in a Omaha pot where I though I'd be taking at least half with my A-3, only to see A-2 flipped up. In Razz, I went brick-brick after big bets on 4th and 5th.

Finally, in Stud, on Level 19, I ended up all in with a pair of Queens showing and another club draw on sixth street against two pair. I could not catch another queen or club and was out in 59th place.
Crubs did not get there, nor could I get payback for getting aces cracked three times earlier.

I still felt OK about my showing, having faded three-quarters of the field. Since I had basically bought in with my winnings the night before from the Venetian and Rio, I wasn't feeling too dejected as one would normally feel after being bounced from a tournament.

I headed back to the IP to get changed before meeting with some friends at Tommy Rocker's near the Rio. There were plans for some of us kooky conservatives to meet up in Vegas for drinks and whatnot, so about thirty or forty of us met up for drinks and general complaining. Considering that cap-and-trade legislation had just passed the House, we had a bunch to kvetch about.
After that was over, I headed back to the Rio, determined to chip up in the cash games and buy into Event #51 on Saturday for the WSOP. I wasn't going to buy into it if I couldn't justify it on my available cash.
I sat down, and had a decent session. It was not a great session. Just good. It could have been great, if I stood up 30 minutes earlier. I was up about $300 on a 2/5 NL table, until I got aces cracked (AGAIN!) and then got slowrolled by a douchebag next to me who decided K-10 was a good enough hand to call raises with before hitting his king on the river. It knocked me down to about plus 150.
I left and headed to a blackjack table to cool off for a little while. Normally, I am terrible at blackjack, but in this case I cashed out around +200.
Close enough, I decided, and I headed over to the Rio cage around 1:15 AM to register for Event #51.
The event sold out. As the last $1500 donkament on the WSOP on a weekend, it sold out at 2700 entrants, and registrations had closed about 20 minutes before I came up to the cage.
There were a few people looking to unload satellite lammers, and I though about trying to buy some at a discount until it was clear that registration was closed and was unlikely to re-open in the morning.
With that in mind, I decided to head on back to the IP around 2:00 and get some rest. Since the WSOP was out, I pretty much decided right away, like Hoy and a few others, to play in the Venetian Deep-Stack Extravaganza on Saturday instead. I had a couple friends from Atlanta who were also in Vegas to play the event, so it would probably be fun.
I sat at the IP for a little while and took some pics of the Dealertainers, and found Michael Jackson. He apparently wasn't dead, just dealing three-card poker at the IP.
To be continued ...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Vegas Recap I

I'm a little delayed on putting this up, but I think my memory is still in pretty good shape to begin putting all of this down.

This trip, unlike previous Vegas sojourns, begins with me rolling out of bed and going to work. Exciting, huh?

I was scheduled to leave Atlanta at 9:15 PM on a Delta flight. I was trying to see if flights were available to go standby on an earlier flight, but it was not to be. I spent the day slugging through work, running one meeting and sending off several proposals, before heading home for dinner. Since my flight was not until 9, I had time to go home and enjoy dinner with the family before heading to the airport.

We got to Hartsfield around 7:45, which would normally be more than enough time to make it to the gate. I kissed everyone goodbye and headed to the plane.

As soon as I made it through security - in record time - I got a text from Delta indicating a delay for my flight.


I wasn't able to connect via wireless, so I hung out in the sports bar to watch the NBA draft. I managed to catch the first Hawks pick before finally boarding my plane at 10:30 PM.

We made up some time and got to Las Vegas in just under four hours. I got off the plane around 11:30, and made it to the Imperial Palace around midnight. Really, it was about 3 AM Eastern time.

In most cases, that's bedtime.

Not in Vegas, baby.

Time to go to the Rio. I got there at 1 AM after I was not able to connect to the group which was heading for the Gold Coast for bowling.

I was, though, able to book a good live cash session at the Rio for the next two hours.

After standing up, in the black for about $100, I started walking out to the cab stand. I was "fortunate" to walk past a hooker twice who kept trying to flag me down. The first time, I was walking the wrong way, so I guess when I went by the second time she thought I was a potential mark - I think I walked so fast to the cab stand that I left skid marks.

I hopped in a cab back to the IP and went upstairs. I looked at the clock - 3:40 AM - and decided I really wasn't that tired yet.

I wasn't sure at this point if I was going to play in WSOP #51, so I decided to walk to the Venetian and get some information about their Deep Stack Extravaganza which was taking place simultaneously.

I got my Club Grazie card, the DSE information, and decided I would sit for a little while. I sat at a 1-2 NLHE table for a little bit before switching to the 4-8 Mixed Game populated mostly of dealers from other casinos.

Yep, 4-8 of Omaha 8/b, Razz, Stud, Stud 8/b, 2-7 Triple Draw, and Crazy Pineapple at what is now 7 AM Eastern time.
Based on the picture to the right, it went OK.

I left up another $100 after about two more hours. By this point, the sun was starting to break, and I finally grabbed dinner (!) at the McDonald's on the strip with a Sausage McMuffin. I finally hit the hay around 7 AM Pacific time for a few hours, before the bulk of the trip was to begin and, hopefully, it would all go as well as the first two sessions at the Rio and Venetian.

To be continued...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Catfight with lightsabers

Why, yes, it is a slow day at work. Why do you ask?



More Blogger Wub

Give Drizz and CK some props today for coming in 5th and 7th in Binions' Poker Classic Limit Omaha-8 Tourney.

Double blogger final table - nice job.

Even if limit in a hi/lo game is second in torture only to Razz.

Of course, the biggest shout has to go to Hoy for chopping for second in the Venetian Deep-Stack $560 (which I played) and taking down $51,000.

That should buy plenty of hookers and blow.

Evian Roller Babies

You know, I never saw this whenever I was skating in Central Park.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Vegas by numbers

A better recap to follow, but here's some interesting numbers from the recently completed trip.

Hours outbound flight was delayed: 4
Minutes from McCarran touchdown to sitting at a poker table: 90
Poker rooms played in: 6
Tournaments played: 3
Tournaments cashed: 0
Types of poker games played for cash: 8
Dealer tilts me: 2
Player tilts me: 2
Aces Cracked: 4
Aces Held: 1
Fights Witnessed in Tournaments: 1
Poker Pros sighted: 9
Poker Pros playing Poker: 3
Poker Pros playing Chinese Poker: 4
Hookers that tried to chase me down: 4
Hookers I managed to outrun: 4 (just so we're clear on that)
Bloggers/friends seen: 5
Pictures of "Michael Jackson": 3
Pictures each of "Dolly Parton", the "Blues Brothers", "Elvis" and "Mariah Carey" at the Imperial Palace: 1
Sunrises seen: 3
Drinks ingested: Infinite
Cigars smoked: 1
Cigars that will be smoked by me for the rest of my life: 0 (probably)