Friday, December 28, 2007

Presents II

My sister and brother-in-law gave me a warmer/cooler thermos like fridge that runs off of a cigarette lighter outlet. The year before it was an air hockey game and the year before that it was a table top race car set. It would fit great on the transmission hump of a van or an SUV, but she knows I have a fourteen month old mini cooper. I think she gives me things that she really wants for herself. Just where am I to put this little monster that can warm a picnic basket or cool a six pack? On the back seat! they all tell me. Not sure I want to put it in the back seat of a convertable. Things could get blown out of there. At least it comes with an AC adapter too. Maybe I could put it in the office near the monitor. C'est la vie, Que sara, sara, and off motoring I go... Thanks Sis.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Today at work I'm wearing a blue shirt that is similar but better than the one I got two years ago, that is better than the one I received two years before that. All three look the same from a distance, but up close I can tell. I don't care that it's basically the same pattern. At least they are blue, and I like blue. Thanks Mom, Merry Christmas.
At least it wasn't a self made album by Dan Torbin

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Power through Fear, Sucks

I may lose some friends over this article; then again I may gain even more new ones. There was a time when the cover of time magazine declared that the next ice age was on the way. They were very proud to point this out and used it to explain the effects of then current global weather patterns. Confirming temperature readings with ice core findings seems to be reliable for the last hundred years, but beyond that 100 years / 100 meters of ice in Greenland and Antarctica, the ice is under so much pressure and has flowed so much that dating and coming up with an accurate measurement is practically nil. Contamination is also a real danger once they bring the core sample near to the surface and let it rest to become less brittle and test-able. If anyone tells you that they know what the temperature was in your town two hundred years ago or more, they are lying. They do not know for sure, but are just making the best guess that they can since actual measurements were not taken then.
I remember the brown skies above LA during the 1960s. We had ‘smog alerts’ all through the 1970s to the point where our cross country coach would send us out to the oil fields a mile south of my high school so that we could run practice in the hills and not be noticed by the administration. I have not seen the brown air from my childhood in a long time. A couple of times in Houston in the late 70s, and Salt Lake City in the 90s, but not much at all lately. Invisible pollutants are still there and being measured, but it sure is nice not to see so much brown sky anymore. I glad many industries are being responsible and running cleaner, but if anyone thinks that they have a zero carbon footprint, they are kidding themselves and lying to us all. Do you know how the high prophet of environmentalism Al Gore, who grew up in a hotel and spent summers working the family tobacco fields, gets even close to a zero carbon footprint? He does it by buying carbon credits from the real energy savers. Hopping all over the globe in private jets and lighting his many estates is definitely not being an energy saver. What is the main component that affects heat on our planet? Man? No, it’s the sun. Manipulate that energy, and you may have something. Volcanoes annually pump more toxins into the atmosphere than any industry does today. More oil leaks up from the bottom of the ocean naturally every year than is spilled in any industrial accident. I am not saying that there are not any problems here. I am saying that in relation to global events and global weather, man made problems are miniscule. The planet will kill us off long before we could ever conceive of endangering the earth.
Why is there all this type of talk in the first place? Money. Government grants funding new research which come up with new inventions to be taken private and sold to the public to make more money for the individual or entity that contracted the university to seek the grant in the first place.
All this talk of global warming is to gain Power through a tyrannical Fear that will Suck the tax money out of your pocket and into the pocket of someone wanting this research done. Instead we should have our taxes reduced and should have the choice to give to the charity and/or research facility of our own choosing. The governed in this country are supposed to give consent to this communistic re-distribution of wealth. The officials we have elected are instead taking our implied consent and re-distributing our tax dollars in a fashion that helps to keep them in office/funded. Eisenhower complained of a do-nothing congress. In my book, that is one of the better types of congress. Why must they continually twist, contort, and otherwise re-write existing laws, and claim that they are doing something new, instead of investigating why current laws are not being enforced. If they find an old or current law that is not ‘good’, repeal it first, and re-write it from scratch instead of piling on layers so thick that a twelfth grader can no longer comprehend the tax code.
This rant has been building for about thirty years and I could go on for another thirty thousand pages, which might bore us all. Instead I will just advise that you re-use, reduce, recycle, get involved, monitor your government, and live well. And remember what the romans said of those that did not involve themselves with governmental affairs, that they were idiots.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Maybe it's Just New Game Shows

I am transfixed on DUEL. Still like are you smarter than a fifth grader and deal or no deal. Miss one vs. one hundred. Older game shows are slipping from memory. Maybe I only like them when they are new. Then again, I still remember Art Fleming hosting Jeopardy. I'm so confused, off to finish Christmas shopping and maybe a tournament or two.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Geek Clock

Since Vista has nice tranparent gadgets, one group decided to make a free one for XP at I downloaded the full version and have hundreds of clock faces from old schoolhouse to mickey mouse. I have the one of the planet mars up now, and will probably keep it at about half transparent to see the windows behind it. Pretty cool to me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Purple? Me?

You Should Have a Purple Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays represent a time of creativity and expression.There's no way you'd do something bland simply for tradition's sake.
You are an independent person, and you definitely do the holidays your own way.And you're decadent enough to go way over the top with any unusual holiday ideas you have.
Your purple tree would look great with: Purple lights and ornaments
You should spend Christmas Eve watching: A Christmas Story
What you should bake for Santa: "Kitchen sink" cookies - with a ton of things in them

Well, Red is usually my color, and Blue from all those years of Dodger seats.

Put them together, and you may get purple...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eleventh of Thirty

Small turn out for the local clubs last tournament of the year. Did see a few people that I have not seen in while though. Fun getting caught up on their families, while flipping through free poker magazines. One player came up and said, too late to learn anything from there, we are about to start. Not getting his joke, I told him that it was entertainment value only, then finally got it and laughed. Some nights I am too serious and too slow. An hour in I see Ace Queen while sitting under-the-gun, and raise three times the big blind. The button pops and says, oh my, the tightest person at the table just raised from early position. Then he asked if anyone else heard the creak the 'rock' made. The woman on my left [who plays like a pro, but won't admit to it] just nodded, and they both smiled when I said yeah, I think a pebble just fell off when I moved my arm. Some time during the second hour we shrunk down to two tables, and I got moved to the first table. First hand I re-raise after the flop a guy on my right that I've knocked out of tournaments before. He is a little wary, and finally folds. I tell him good lay down, and he mutters something about me making two pair on the flop. I respond, 'yep, cause no one raised my big blind pre-flop and so I just lucked into that hand'. Not going to tell him that I only had top pair of jacks. Poor guy started playing so loose he was knocked out a few minutes later. It got down to six at each table, with such a small turnout, the prize pool was smaller and only the top four places were set to be paid. This could be negotiated by the final ten players at their discretion. I didn't make it that far. A guy goes all in for three hundred when the blinds are four and eight hundred. I re-raise with Ace-King for three thousand and the kid on the button re-raises all in for twenty thousand. He has me covered. I'm pretty sure I have the kid beat, but not sure about the little all in on my right. If I call I may loose the main pot, but win a bigger side pot, or could just fold and lose my three thousand. I called with what I thought was the best hand and was right. The little all-in had queen-jack, the re-raising kid had ace-nine. Flop comes ace-ace-10. I'm in the lead until a nine hits on the turn. Kid has aces full of nines, l-a-i has an open ended straight draw. I am not happy and turn away as a nine hits on the river. Now I also have aces full of nines and chop the whole pot with kid raiser. A few hands later I'm in the small blind for six hundred, we've all ante'd two hundred and the big blind to my left is in for twelve hundred. He gets some kind of glint in his eye, and the whole table folds around to me. I call the big blind. He raises enough to put me and my ace-seven all-in. After pondering for half a minute, I call with all and show my ace-seven diamonds. He shows two red fives and it's off to the races we go. No aces or sevens appear on the flop, turn, nor river and I'm out in eleventh place. I don't know if the ten negotiated to pay ten places or not, I do know that I was not one of them, this time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Memo of the Day

At this time of year, companies and individuals doing business with blanked may send holiday gifts to individual employees or to the agency. This note is a reminder to all employees to be conscious of the limitations that apply to gifts given to blanked employees as well as the requirements of the Political Reform Act and Fair Political Practices Commission rules.

As a general rule it is usually simplest to decline or return gifts. However it is often impractical or unreasonable to return some gifts. Holiday goodies and similar gifts may be accepted if they are given to celebrate the holidays and not as compensation or reward for services provided or work performed. blanked's Administrative Code does prohibit compensation or rewards to employees from outside sources for performing their duties.

If gifts are not returned or declined, they may be reportable under the Political Reform Act and Fair Political Practices Commission rules. Employees required to file annual disclosures of their economic interests on FPPC Form 700 are required to report any gifts from a party within their disclosure category that are collectively valued at $50 or more per year on their annual disclosure statements. Acceptance of gifts valued at more than $390 per year from any single source is prohibited. However, gifts that are given to the agency and not to an individual do not have to be reported. Gifts such as food baskets or candy boxes can be shared by a group or department and then are not subject to this reporting requirement.

Gifts are considered not to have been received if they are returned to the donor within thirty days. If return is not possible, the gift can be turned over to a public or charitable institution without being claimed as a charitable deduction. In the case of return or donation to a charity, the gift does not have to be reported. A record of the donation should be kept, along with an explanation why return of the gift was not feasible. When possible, the donor also should be informed of this action.

On a separate issue, some employees have commented that too many personal packages are being delivered through blanked. Please be considerate of our hardworking mailroom staff and keep those deliveries to a minimum.

Please enjoy the Holidays and if you have any questions on these guidelines, feel free to contact either the Ethics Officer or the Legal Department.

Do I have to report that CD case now? No, it was done during a break onto a personal machine.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A work in progress that hit me this morning...


The first dozen are spent wandering, learning and being taught about the world around you.
The second dozen are spent with the feeling of immortality, exploring and taking on this brave new world.
The third dozen are spent concentrating on those around you and taking the teachings of the first two dozen and passing them on to new dozeniers.
The fourth dozen are spent either wisely or foolishly, grasping hold of the bigger picture, then coming to terms with our interdependence.
The fifth dozen can be one of the toughest of all. Struggling to stay above the fray, learning to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and the growth of those around you.
The sixth dozen is spent passing the time about your loved ones, some traveling more, and some traveling less, to do so.
The seventh dozen is spent. Maybe take a nap before wandering, learning, and being taught about the world around you.
Not many get an eighth dozen or more. You’ll know what to do when you get here. Or not.
© calm dragon proto 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Afternoon Wanna Go Blues

Spent the weekend recuperating. Finally sent HERO back to Netflix, watched some football yesterday. Only missed two games in picks against others in my league for the third straight week, so I'm moving up there. No money involved, just bragging rights at the end of the season. Played a little Sword of the New World which is an RPG that is free. I have a musketeer, a fighter, and a scout running around the non-PVP server. I received the client on a demo CD in a gaming magazine a few months ago, loaded it a month ago, and dabble in it's world for a couple of hours a week. Lots of pretty colors, and was fairly easy to get use to after playing through the tutorial. They make their money when you use real money to buy fantasy weapons, armor, other artifacts. I haven't done that, and just enjoy the free diversion now and then. Even with the client loaded from the CD the first time, it still took a long time to download the updates the first time, ever since it has been very quick, even through my wireless router. The other two games that occupy my recuperating time are Sid Meier's Railroads! and Universal Combat - THE space simulator. Started a commercial trader and tried a non-combat role. It was fun, but after aquiring 24 million credits in twelve hours, I wasn't sure if I wanted to wait for the special artifacts on the third day, or if they would even work on my trading ship, since I did not have a Research Officer, that some of the artifacts require. Probably go back to being a military commander of a carrier and work my way up to fleet control again. Deleted the first two campaigns I was in, so will have to start from scratch. Feeling a lot better, may even play in the local tournament tonight.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Haven't written for a few days, not because of a lack of topics, but because I'm sick and tired. At least I was yesterday. Bed rest and fluids helped, and even kept a bowl of chicken soup down last night, so I'm back at work today, then off for three days. I have a reservation for Las Vegas this weekend, but I think I'm going to cancel it. The national rodeo finals and the poker blogger events are happening there, and though I've been in 'lost wages' at the same time as them the last three years, the trains did not meet. This year I'm gonna chill and not spread what virus may be lurking near me, around the town. So again, I do not meet fellow poker bloggers nor rodeo participants on purpose. I may have met them at the poker table and not even known it. No worries, there will be other events. I do have a free pass to a movie tonight, a few dozen passes. SalsaTV sent me a couple hundred to pass out for tonight's showing of the Golden Compass. Spent Tuesday night handing out the passes to employees at the mall the movie is showing in looking for a business to host the passes. Not one agreed, traffic to them would be insignificant or not the type of customer they would want. Whatever, the employees still wanted the passes, even if their managers did not. Gave a dozen or so out at work, and nearly a couple dozen at a poker tournament last Monday night. Still have a few left, want to go with?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fiftieth of a hundred plus

Sunday December second, two double ought seven, I awakened early to a very cold morning. A sub forty degree morning. Which is unusual for me in both ways. Early and cold. It wasn't so early that I could drive down to the garden and play in their four thirty AM tournament, but still before CBS's Sunday Morning would come on, and all the political shows that come before the football pregame shows. I decided I would try a new venue on this day, and trek nearly a hundred miles into the desert east towards palm springs to play on the reservation at their eleven AM tournament. Five dollar entry fee with re-buys and an add-on at the first break was mentioned in their advertisement in the magazine and on their website. And maybe it would be warmer in the desert. The local news told me it would not be warmer until Tuesday. Oh well. I got up and made some breakfast, even my tri-weekly pot of coffee, showered, and waited for eight thirty or so to take off motoring to the desert. It is still cold. Punched on the seat warmers and recycled the air warming in the cab for the two hour drive that lay ahead. The seat warmers proved too effective while wearing a jacket and something had to give. The jacket would not easily come off at ninety miles an hour, so I punched the button of the warmers until it cycled to off. Traffic would slow right before every highway patrol sighting. I was cruising with a good group of cars out of the city today. No music, but various talk shows were punched up on the AM side of the radio. Religion, politics, pre-game football, horse race handicapping, computer repair, cars, were all being discussed on the dozen or so stations that I was flipping through with a button on the steering wheel. I should have listened to music. I arrived earlier than expected, parked in a lot in back of the casino fortuitously near the poker room entrance. Went in and asked how much. Eight dollars she says. The receipt says five dollars. I guess that the other three is a service fee, but I still wish it was accounted for on the receipt. Ten tables in the back are starting to be set up. I don't want to wait for an hour in here, and don't want to play in a cash game, so I wander back through the rows and rows of slot machines of the main floor. This has got to be the first time I had seen so many free machines at an indian casino. Maybe it was the time of day, maybe it was the day of the week, but it is more my experience for these machines to be two or three people deep instead of the machines out numbering the people ten to one. Not taking the hint, a few minutes later I popped a bill into a one armed bandit, without the arm, and start punching up twenty five lines at a penny a piece with an extra daub at bingo against other slot players somewhere. As I steadily lost three quarters of what I slipped into the machine, I hit a minor jackpot to bring me up to half of what I put in, and cashed out. Wandered around some more near the buffet and all the restaurants. Don't know why, I was still full from this morning's breakfast, and I had made the coffee too strong. With about twenty minutes before start time, I go back to the poker room, grab a magazine off the rack and flip through stories on how to play wild games, and how not to bluff the river in a limit game and other none-such. Plasma screens showed various football games also. Two showed the countdown and the blind structure for the tournament. Good, I would not have to crane my neck one way or the other to see them, like the place on the lake with only one tournament screen. Ten tables are set, and more players want in, but will have to wait until someone busts out during the first hour before they can be sold a seat. With all the re-buys and add-ons purchased this morning, the prize pool should be a few thousand. I wasn't going to get that far. Most of the folk were limping into every pot. If someone did raise, there were not many challenges. No one ever challenged my raises. Great, pegged as a rock my first time here. Must have been all the folding the first hour when they were limping in. You have to give some action to get some action, and I wasn't giving much. Bought the add-on at the break [and the end of the re-buy period] walked back to my car for a bottle of water. Yes, I could have asked a waitress to bring me one, but it was break time, and I needed to walk anyways. Coming back from the car to the elevators, two employees were emptying trashcans, the same two were their when I first drove up too. One had a caution sign and she said halt, entrance closed. I stopped. She smiled and said, 'Just Kidding' and waved me through. About eight people were waiting for the next elevator, and I did not want to be late back from break, so I backed up and looked for the stairs. None were marked, but I found a door that led to a staircase. Down to the first floor I went and out the double doors of the first floor, that seemed to be emergency doors, without alarms. I went through them and back into the casino from the cold wind outside that I found myself in and headed back into the poker room on time and with refreshment. Either the employees or the cameras did not like me taking the stairs, for a security guard came through the poker room a minute later and stared right at me. I smiled and tended back to my magazine at the table waiting for the next hand. He moved on. During the second hour, all though most of us had ten times our starting chips, the blinds were increasing every fifteen minutes too. When they reached the one and two thousand level, I had about seven thousand left and was feeling very frustrated. The times I did have a medium pair or better and raised first in a pot, I would not get any callers. Then I re-raised another, half a dozen would call all-in and being sure to be drawn out on, would have to drop out of the raising war. Lovely. I didn't last longer than the second break. Went all-in with a pair of nines and was called by three hands, an ace queen, a king jack, and a king ten. The table chip leader paired his ten, and I couldn't catch a third nine to pass him up. Before the flop, as we were all in and showing our cards, he mentioned that I had the best hand. I just nodded and thought, yeah, but not the favorite. As the river came and chips moved to the holder of tens, I picked up my jacket from the back of my chair, and the free magazine from before, and my water bottle, and headed for the exit. Took one last look, five full tables left. Fiftieth place of the hundred or more that started. I can beat this room, I'll be back. Motored out of the lot and onto interstate ten, tuned to an NFL game and listened to their action all the way home.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Smile, it's the holidays

Just a couple of shots of the artificial tree in the lobby of the building I work in. And a short video clip too. I've seen it for years, but this year they seem to have added a lot more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chop, Chop, Chop ...

Last Monday evening's small club tournament was a strange affair. Folded most hands in the first hour and bought the super sized add-on at the break and got ready for less wild poker after the break during the next three levels. The hands actually started to get better, and the loose play evident during the re-buy period faded away. So much in fact that two hours later there were still three full tables of players after starting with only forty. Somehow in the fourth hour, we lost enough players to break the third table, and finally knock the players down to ten for the final table. Right after receiving our seat assignments, someone proposed a deal, a ten way chop. I've heard it joked that we should on these small tournaments, but now it was serious being considered by over half the table. We did agree on ten percent off the top of the prize pool for the dealers, and also to expand the prize pool from four places to ten just before this came up. No one objected, and players started to co-mingle their chips in the middle of the table. A ten way chop of the prize pool. We all went away happy, the guys who busted out in eleventh and twelfth place were not happy. As a cash game for no-limit started up, I cashed in and head home. A ten way split? Yeah, it really happened, and I have the cash in my pocket to prove one tenth of it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

10th place bubble

Big Boy was giving me trouble all last night. Every pot I entered, he raised or called. And he was hitting lucky river cards to take some big pots in this tournament against the rest of the table too. He asks a lot of silly questions acting dumb during the game, but I've heard him outside during breaks talking strategy with his buddies. I tightened up in the third hour as my stack was becoming a shrinking violet. When I did defend my big blind with King Ten spades, BB called me with queen jack of clubs. Flop comes out eight-nine-four rainbow. Not very dangerous, turn was a rag, and the river was a ten. At first I'm thinking, great I paired, he didn't. Then he says 'straight' and sure enough, I see it, put on my coat, grab my drink, get up from the table, and head for the door. The worse part it was a small field of about thirty that started, and looking around I saw a couple of dozen players I'd beaten heads up before at final tables. I have never played against this guy before, but I think I will again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Freaky Voice Overs

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a skunk during those talking apple commercials for applebees? Wanda Sykes did a great job for both the commercials and for the movie Over the Hedge, but I just still picture the skunk with an apple, instead of the talking apple...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wi-Fi Piggybacking Widespread: Study

By Michael Santo Executive Editor, RealTechNews
According to security firm Sophos, wi-fi piggybacking, which is jumping onto someone else’s wi-fi network and using their bandwidth, is a lot more popular than thought. A survey of 560 respondents, run from October 13 - November 6, 2007, showed that 54% had freeloaded off someone’s unprotected wi-fi.
As we know, people can be arrested for wi-fi theft. But is it really theft? Most people think it’s a victimless crime. But it’s not for the ISP, who loses revenue.
Additionally, if people leave their wi-fi routers unprotected, allowing others to piggyback onto them, the worst problem is that people can get into your network, and if you don’t have your hard drives locked down, infect your systems with malware or grab sensitive files, with perhaps enough data for ID theft to occur.
It’s been said before, but it’s good to say it again: when you get a new wi-fi router, before using it, first change your router password. This should be the first thing you do. Default passwords for specific brands of routers are well-known disable SSID broadcast. There’s no reason to broadcast it, really encrypt with WPA or WPA2 You can take further steps, like restricting access to specific MAC addresses, but personally, I thnk that’s not necessary. The above three steps should be plenty.

Thanks Mike.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kay shots

Just putting the pictures of this silly florist up. Wonder if she's sold any?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Drawing Dead

At this morning's Omaha tournament out at the Lake, there were so many players and so few dealers that we were sitting with eleven players per table through the first break, dealing to only ten players, and letting the player on the button sit out. You could play with eleven, but every card would be dealt and the only mystery would be the burn cards and the folded hands. I think the director made a nice save instead of letting the later players waiting in a queue for a free seat at a ten handed table. All that being said, the second level after the break, blinds up to four and eight hundred, with sixteen hundred being the bet on the turn and river cards. I look down to see a pair of sixes, an ace, and a ten. Cool, I limp in late position and see a flop with four other players. King, six, Ace hit the board. Great, trip sixes and since no one raised pre-flop, I'm thinking I have the best hand [which I did at the time] and raise, then the guy to my left three bets, the rest fold and I cap it for sixty four hundred. He calls. Turn is a King, great I have a full house. little did I know, so did the guy to my left. We cap the betting again until I am all in. A four hits the river, he has an Ace and King for kings full of aces, and my sixes full of kings doesn't look so hot. I'm out in about thirtieth of seventy seven players. Maybe I'll drive back out there for tomorrow's no hold'em tournament, or stay in town for a bigger one, tough choice. Cya.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Um, 'kay

Drove by a flower shop last night on Beverly Blvd and saw a sign in the window that caused me to blink. It was a sale on arranged BOKAYs. I'm going to have to snap a picture of that tonight on the way home....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


So glad to be off of savings time. Almost makes me want to move to Arizona or Hawaii to avoid it ever again. The new game I bought online finally arrived in the mail last night. Well, it's not exactly a new game, but an ongoing series of refinements to become THE space game, because Universal Combat Collectors Edition from 3000AD is the game for me. You have to want to play a game like this. It is not an arcade game, nor a series of puzzles, but more of an open universe where you can roam in one of many career paths. A diplomat, an explorer, a mercenary, a police or military commander working your way up the chain of command to obtain fleet command and control of the hundreds of ships of/as various races, in dozens of systems with planets and thousands of mission zones on those planets. You can swim underwater, walk/run to another base, drive a vehicle, pilot a fighter, shuttle, deploy mining drones, beam up to your command craft in a transporter, and involve yourself in the political history of this universe. This game is going to suck a lot of my entertainment time up. There is also work time, poker hobby time, apartment cleaning time, local politics time, Dodger time, that all have to be addressed. Is it any wonder that I do not believe in 'savings' time?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fourteenth of Forty

Argh again. Right before the second break, I get my chip stack eaten away at. The coup de gras was the last hand of the sixth level where I was the big blind for eight hundred, ante'd a hundred and only had three hundred left after that. Four folk on my left folded and got ready for the break when a loose-agressive player went all in. The rest of the late position players folded, the cutoff and the small blind folded, and I look and find a King and a eight of different suits. I know he has a worse hand than this terrible level eight hand that I have, but how bad? It takes me a few minutes after the break started to finally call off my last three hundred. He shows a nine and a eight of diamonds and we are off to the races. The flop comes with two nines, and with a jack on the turn, I'm drawing dead. The four on the river was no help so his three nines wipe me out and I head home before making another final table. Maybe better next week.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fortieth of Eighty

Argh. Played at the large club last night in the seven PM tourney and barely made it to the first break. I thought it would be a small halloween crowd, but no, entrants kept lining up right up to the start time. Starting to recognize half the crowd at this large club. Same entrants over and over. Two or three players from the hay days of the smaller club too. I was dealt a number of great hands during these fifteen levels, but was either raised over the top and driven out, or called by even better hands. For a few hands, we were just passing the chips around the table. Then the bets got smaller and the chip stacks evened out a bit. Three of us were larger, and two were really small with a lot of action every other hand. I didn't stop myself from calling the all-ins by the short stacks and eventually became one of them when two others doubled-up through me. No re-buys in this tournament and I was finally knocked out in about fortieth place. Lesson learned. This tournament is twice a day, everyday, but I don't think I'll be playing that often here, since it is still only a hobby that pays for itself and I do have a job that supports the rest of my life. Ramble...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mini Explosion

There are now a half a dozen mini coopers in the company parking lot. Mine was the second one, and I'm still the only convertable with a turbo sports package. All different colors too, there's a red one, a white one, a green one, oh, you get the picture. Let's Motor!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Twelfth of Fifty

Monday after work started towards the card club, and realizing I was two hours early, spied and stopped for dinner at some joint on the side of the boulevard called Angelo's Fine Italian Cuisine. They were not kidding. Some of the best fettuccine with shrimp, peppers, and red sauce that I have ever tasted. The two glasses of wine helped to enjoyment that much more. Finished up the Police box set on the way to the club and arrived in a good mood. Paid my sawbuck and was assigned table four seat one. Oh boy. When the characters started to take their seats for the tournament, I noticed a lot of folk who like to gamble approach table four. Lucky me, seems I was in for a couple of hours of folding as they pushed their chips all-in on just about every hand. I was prepared for this, and didn't mind at all. On the last hand of the re-buy period, I bought a super-size add-on which consists of twenty five hundred in chips for another twenty five bucks. When you start with only three hundred in chips, this is a big bonus. The second hour has four fifteen minute levels, and when the antes start to kick in, a round of poker gets expensive. Table five after three hours. Finally our table four broke up after three and a half hours of play, with me folding almost every hand during that time. I'm moved to table one with a much more laid back crowd. A couple of the quieter players follow me from table four. Right off the bat I'm dealt a pair of aces and called someone else's all-in raise. His king-jack could not catch up and I doubled up and crippled his stack. The very next hand I call another all-in with Ace Jack, they showed a pair of nines and with an ace on the flop, I eliminate him and and add a few thousand more to my stack including additional limper's chips who did not call with all they had. Wow, I was being blinded away at the old table, and within two hands moved up respectively to over ten thousand in chips. The next hour went smooth as I was just starting to get settled in. Table three breaks up, and then table two starts knocking players out ever other hand to the point where the director starts pulling from our table one to fill in the empty seats on their table two. Gets down to twelve players, six at each table and the guy on my right raises to five grand. I look down and find ace-queen, both of diamonds and have to make a decision. To go all in for about fifteen grand and try and take him on, or fold and wait for a couple of others to be eliminated and coast to the final table. It took a minute or so, but I finally pushed all-in and he quickly called with two jacks. I received no help from the flop, turn, nor river and was out in twelfth without any prize money. C'est la vie. I coasted all night, and then went out with nary a whimper. I will probably be back there next week. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

View of Smoke from Space

Check out this NASA image site for smoke trails from Southern California.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chop Top Two of Fifty

After checking the P.O. Box after work last night, I still had plenty of time to check back at the little local card club for the Monday night tournaments that the security guard at Dodger Stadium told me had started up again. It use to be a fun time, even though it was canceled the last couple of times I went there. So I zagged down through Bell Gardens and was listening to the Police Box Set. The mood just seemed right. I walk in and see how the place has been fixed up. Tables are all arranged at a sweeping angle between the doors instead of harsh logical settings as it was before. One cash game was going on, and a Pai Gow game was starting up against the back wall. I turned the other way and sat in the restaurant for a meal, since I was over an hour early for the start time and hadn't had a meal in six hours. Sat, ordered, grabbed a Poker Pro magazine, chatted up the floor man to confirm start time and waited. Read a few good articles and a dozen bad ones, then wandered over to the window to sign up. Parted with a sawbuck, received my seat card, and walked outside to wait some more. Clear night sky above. No stars. City lights to bright. Also smoke haze was all around the horizon. Malibu to the west, Santa Clarita to north, Riverside to the east, and Irvine to the south, all ablaze and smoking in the distances. It was over thirty miles to fire nearest to where I was. Just before start time, I walked back in and sat down at my table. Looks like four tables are setup and players wandering everywhere. From the seven seat at table two, things looked okay. A loose aggressive player on my right that had me folding many large, but marginal hands pre-flop, and a tight aggressive player in the ten seat across from me, forcing me to be sure of my raises and calls. I ended up folding over ninety percent of my hands for the first three levels. That first hour or so, nearly a dozen other players wandered in and wanted to play, so near the middle of the third level, the director called another dealer and setup a fifth full table. Cool, a pool a fifty. In this tournament, you can buy a single re-buy for ten, [which gets you five hundred in chips] a double for twenty, [a thousand in chips], or wait and do an add-on at the end of the third level for twenty five [and get twenty five hundred in chips]. Since I was folding to outrageous raises when it was my turn to be the blinds, I did a double re-buy and just kept waiting and folding. I was watching the other players playing, having a good time, bluffing, and re-buying two and three times to stay in during those first three levels. What a wild hour or so. At the end of the third level I left my twenty-five for the add-on on the table and went out to discuss the tourney so far with the few folk I recognized there. Most had extreme stories of bad beats and fluctuating stacks of chips. I mentioned that I have only played three hands and folded all the rest due to the action at my table. I did not mention that was working a strategy that included folding large marginal hands. After the re-buy and add-on period was over, I started to look for hands with appropriate situations to play them in. Tighten up and raise with only the best hands in early position behind the blinds, and loosening up in late position including on the button if no other raises were in yet. The opportunities were few and far between as many times I would have a small pair or two Broadway cards only to be behind a raise and a re-raise already at the pot. I was not going to war with these types of hands against those types of raises. Finally I was being dealt a pair of aces here, a pair of kings there, and was the one doing the raising and re-raising take a few pots and eliminate a few of the shorter stacks. This cycle of low cards to high cards usually happens every twenty to thirty hands or so, but it was more like fifty hands for me. I scraped up enough to make it to the final eleven players, only to see a middle position raise from the short stack of seven thousand all-in, and me in the big blind for four thousand already holding a three-six of hearts. Ugh. Everyone else folded to me and I could either let him have the antes, and blinds of almost ten grand or put up a few more thousand and call his raise and race a flop, turn and river cards for the pot. It was my toughest decision of the night, and even with pot odds of three to one, my cards were a much bigger underdog if he had a high pair. I called three grand leaving another ten grand in my stack and he shows two black jacks. All black cards showed up on the board and I ended up contributing to his rise to the final table. Finally the other table after four hours of play knocked out the remaining couple of players so that we could form a final table of nine. Instead of paying just the top four, we voted to pay down to ninth place, and send ten percent out to the dealers. Play continued after a break and we drew for seats. To my right sat a woman who I guessed that she had a set of queens when she did when I had two pair of kings and jacks and folded to her big raise, another player called her and she showed that I was right by eliminating the other player in eighth place. I did pick up a few hands and no one called my raises from the small blind nor from the button for a few rounds as I stayed a medium stack and others started falling to my amazement faster than leaves in fall. Some were falling by playing any ace, even if their other card was as low as a two. I wasn't playing anything lower than ace-ten and my cards were luckily holding up. That's what I said every time I won a pot. That I was 'lucky'. I wasn't telling them that I was folding the kind of hands that they were playing. When it got down to four players, the chip leader had about thirty thousand more than second place and fourth place and I had about fifteen grand each with blinds going up to four thousand and eight thousand and five hundred each in antes. My ace-jack beat won a race with the leader who had ace-eight. The chip leader won a couple of races and eliminated both fourth and second chip players chip stacks before I could stretch and say 'wow, heads up play time'. The final two of us battle as I took three straight pots to nearly even out the our stacks and offered to be sent away for five hundred. I re-raised the next hand and offered to go away for four hundred [second place paid 350 that night and first paid 725]. I reminded him that if he won six hundred or over that it would involve immediate paperwork for the IRS and the director nodded when he looked at him. I took another small pot with a raise and the director put the final grand on the table and showed us what we were playing for. I mentioned that it was my lucky night and I was going to end up with all the playing chips. The other player's eyes went big when I reached into half of the prize money and pushed all the five dollar chips to the other leaving five hundred in one stack and putting five seventy five on the stack closest to him and saying, I'll even go for this split, and he finally said OK. Five Benjamins for me and just under six for him. One AM and the alarm goes off in four hours, thanks, it was great, gotta go, and we shook hands, signed the roll, and parted from the card palace. All in all, a good night for Proto.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wind fanning the flames

Malibu observer writing about the fires and stalkaratzzi:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Across the Universe

The two part Menagerie will be playing in 300 theaters around the USA on Tuesday, November 13th to promote the HD-DVD version of Star Trek episodes. Might be fun watching an old 4x3 TV episode on the big screen. They are still casting younger actors for the latest movie. Zachary Quinto of Heroes' Sylar as Spock and Chris Pine is considering the role of Kirk. Korean-American actor John Cho as Sulu, and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Star Trekkin' is still alive.

Monday, October 15, 2007

UIGA testmony Radley Balko testifies before Congress about online gambling.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

821 of 1337

A lot of fun competition this afternoon. Folk were helping each other get along until someone re-raised all in. Then it was each best hand for itself. Thought I had a cinch three of a kind an hour and a half into the blogger's tournament, and got 'flushed' down the river, again. At least I didn't go out on a single pair. Or worse, a bluff. Will try again next year...

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Have you see all the prizes for this tournament today? I do not want to go out on the bubble this year! And why aren't you playing?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Omaha Luck

Thanks Nadine, luck was with me today. Enough good luck to get to the final table through six tables of live players. I arrived a half an hour late. Zooming down the interstate number fifteen was not as quick as I would have liked it to have been. I walked up to the desk and asked the director if I could still buy in. He said if he has a seat in the next fifteen minutes, I could buy in then. So I left my name and filled a cup of player's coffee and waited. A few other people asked the same thing and ten minutes later, a new table was started for a half a dozen of us plus an over flow from a non-dwindling table. As you can see buy the rapid blind structure, you need to make a move fast and collect chips, or buy the time the blind bets get to ten thousand and twenty thousand, you aren't going to last very long. Still I played the tightest omaha game of my life. For going a king with a pair of sixes and waiting for pairs of kings, queens, and aces to play with an ace two for the low half of the pot, if a low hand qualified. To qualify for a low hand, you have to have five cards that are eight or less. Three on the board, and two in your hand. For the high hand, normal poker rules apply except for the three on the board, two in your hand rule. Came in seventh of nearly sixty and took home a benjamin for my trouble. Time to rest from the playing and the traffic there and back. Will be shooting for good time Sunday afternoon for the blogger tournament.

Air Apparent

Wow, running the portable room air-conditioner for a couple of days last month doubled my electric bill. Yeah, right. An upstairs apartment with windows on all four sides. Now where am I going to find thirty bucks... Hmmm, there's a Omaha tournament in Lake Elsinore this morning. Warm up the mini, I'm motoring!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So long dinner

One of the couples I met at the Stadium Club this year threw an after season thank you dinner for the bartenders and wait staff that treated us so well over the last few years and asked me to participate. I gladly accepted to help show my appreciation for the wonderful professional and friendly service I always get there. We met at a BBQ Restaurant at a mall in the valley, and the one that requested a non-sushi place went to Arizona to watch her cubs in the playoffs instead. No worries, the other nine of us showed up and had a great time. I'm glad I showed up to help thank them for another wonderful year of service.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Maudie embedded this thing into her blog and now I can't stop playing it between calls...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blogger's Poker Tournament coming up at Poker Stars

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 3512560

Have you?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Just Foolin' Around

Remember that ten bucks that Doyle's Room gave me for just being a player of free games. Then they deceided that they did not want to cater to USA customers after the IGA was tacked onto the defense budget and signed into law. I was forced to move that ten bucks to full tilt or lose it into the ether. So I created a full tilt account and moved the sawbuck over a few months ago. On my day off today, I went to play a few free money HORSE sit and go's. Was having so much fun, I used a buck and a quarter to enter my first online tournament for pay. The picture shows that I was lucky enough to beat out forty four other players for first prize. Not nearly as much as a face to face live tournament, it was a fun feeling getting into the final six and into the money at all. Cool, a new way to pass the time while folding laundry or hunting up some lunch.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wait a sec...

What was wrong with DoubleSec that they had to come up with TripleSec?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Season's dead, friendships still there

Commiserating with fellow fans after the team was mathematically eliminated at the stadium club last night during the last couple innings was both painful and helpful. Talked turned to off season gatherings and e-mails and phone numbers were passed around. Sounds like a fun off season in the making. Well after the game, we were getting kicked out of the club and said our goodbyes. I noticed a group of twenty somethings going down the ramp ahead of me. They were moving slow since one of them was hopping on one foot. As I passed one of the girls asked, 'can my friend ride to the car over there on your back?' Amazingly I answered 'absolutely' and kept on walking. Three strides later, there is a leap onto my back and just as amazingly I did not stumble but proceeded to clamp my hands behind her knees and kept walking to where the first one pointed. The things a greybeard has to put up with now and then. About twenty yards through the parking lot, she exclaims that she can walk now. Then repeats it a few seconds later. I let go, she slips off, we wave and I walk towards the mini, remotely lowering the top. Motoring away, I just grinned and waved again as they piled into their sedan. Go home, Proto.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Dodgers are back in town for one last week. I've got the tickets, might as well go...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cheap Web Hosting

So, I went with a cheap hosting service just to see how it would be. I must admit, that I like it a lot. To create the forms I need for my players, I've had to learn a little PHP scripting over the last week or so, but there are hundreds of good tutorials on the internet, and an online manual at So is where I've been hanging my hat. Maybe I'll have my forms working the way I want them to in another week or two.

Friday, September 21, 2007

30 years of DnD April Fool Bestiary

Jared von Hindeman came up with a list of thirty years of stupid monsters from April editions of Dungeon magazine etc. for a very weird trip down a forgotten dicey path. I think I still have some paper and pencils around somewhere with a character's statistics et al.

Does this disturb you?

Thanks Dodgers

With four straight loses to the Colorado Rockies, and thereby moving into fourth place, the chances of post season play are nil. This weekend in Arizona should cement the deal. Six more home games next Tuesday through Sunday the thirtieth. Want to go with?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Da Tour

Click here and then on the Alyssa Milano Tab to see a tour of Dodger Stadium.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Stayed home ill after the tummy turned this morning. Fall weather has hit which would normally be a good thing, but my stomach thought otherwise today. Started to feel better this afternoon after fluids and toast stayed down, so I get online and start boring myself with DSL speed tests. Went to a number of different sites after a google search. Did not realize you had to be in a specific country to do some tests. Fortunately most were in the USA. Here are the results:

Flash Test:

Java Test:


:::.. test results ..:::
Download Connection is:: 345 Kbps about 0.35 Mbps (tested with 386 kB)
Download Speed is:: 42 kB/s
Upload Connection is:: 209 Kbps about 0.2 Mbps (tested with 386 kB)
Upload Speed is:: 26 kB/s
Test Time:: 2007/09/19 - 3:17pm
User Agent:: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win 9x 4.90; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070914 Firefox/ [!]

Cute, nice to know I'm getting the cheap service I'm paying for. Maybe now I'll upgrade my audio drivers like the 'are you ready for vista' test said I should.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Argument Club

Witnessed a guy at the Stadium Club bar trying to hide the fact that his fiance's best friend was helping him buy shots and helping to hide the fact from those back at the table. The guy is also talking about how she once gave him a black eye. She was a tough little blond with a dodger cap. He was an average punk with white cap on backwards that went so well with his red buzz cut. The BFF was short brunette that had her date back at the table also. She was just trying to have fun. I start describing the scene to the couple on my right. They look to my left, and to the table way behind us near the glass and chuckle along. The two to my left down their shots, grab their beers and other drinks and head back to the table. A few minutes later, the capped blond from the table is at my left asking for her tab to be closed out. She waits for her card to be processed and is obviously steaming. She gets her card back, and is signing the slip just about the time they guy comes up to find out what is going on. She explains that she knows he was doing shots, she knows their friend was helping him cover for it, and that she is not stupid, and that he is ruining their marriage, their engagement, everything. I put my hand up to my mouth, and tell the guy on my right, 'the saga continues'. We have a nice chuckle and the white cap starts talking to me. 'What did you say?, come on, I heard you, you said the saga continues!' at which point I turn to him, raise a left eyebrow, and turn back to my drink. She then begins to tear into him again and starts to leave. Fortunately for me his attention turns back to her. I did not come to get my knuckles dirty, nor my nose broken, so I was glad his side show stopped with me and he paid more attention to the main event. I get up from my stool, find another buddy and start telling him the story. He can't believe it and asks me where they are. I point to the left of where I was sitting and goes over there to witness what finally happens. I wish I knew. I leave for a few minutes, come back, and all parties are gone. Seems a whole new crew of customers has taken over the place. Find a place to sit, watch the end of the game, and start all over again. Why am I even writing about this? dunno. Just another glimpse into the life of uncle Proto.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Wild and wooly weekends. Gotta love them. The last week was a trip to Dodger Stadium to see if the team would stand up or slide down. Ended up winning two out of three from the Padres and from the D'backs. So they are still in the hunt. Last Friday was the deadline for season ticket holders to purchase their post season tickets. I let the deadline pass. A friend I bought brunch for at the game yesterday said I could have one of theirs. If indeed the team makes it to post season play. Thirteen more games to decide that starting with a double header in Colorado tomorrow. Last Saturday and Sunday games were during the day, so instead of sitting down in the sun all afternoon, I reserved a table and pigged out on omlettes and roast beast for six innings upstairs instead. Al joined me both days. He bought Saturday and I bought on Sunday. His wife joined us on Sunday and he slipped me the fee for her brunch. I was more than willing to include her, but he insisted. Fine. He does know his red wines though, and I trusted him to make a couple of fine selections. Those were the only meals I had last weekend, for after making three trips to the buffet each day, I was stuffed. Waddled into work this morning. Some of that was the two big meals the two days before. And some of it was staying up late playing with my new website and getting the host program to receive e-mails from my game players. That's working, but the forms are not. Seems they were for Windows version of PHP and now I have to re-write them for UNIX version of PHP. Fun, fun, fun. Back to coding when I get home tonight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Replicator is Near

I was sitting in the dentist office yesterday afternoon, to have some work finished up, when I pick up last June's Popular Science and start reading about Fabricating Items at Home OMG, need a replacement Lego piece? Want to create that perfect chocolate confection? Just 3-D print it! Okay, so the flashlight took about eight hours to print, still hobbyist and inventors alike will love to have one of these twenty four hundred dollar kit printers in their home shop. The days of the Star Trek Replicator are getting closer, and yes I asked if I could take the magazine home. Twenty years from now, you may just shop for patterns online, download them into your 3-D printer and produce the item in your own home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Web Host Search

Wow, I didn't realize how inexpensive web hosting has become. There are dozens of big name companies with services for next to nothing. They are practically throwing gigabytes of storage and hundreds of e-mail address's at you for a couple of bucks a month. Picking and choosing is going to be the hardest part. I like that ones that offer up example sites too. Now to find the best deal for me...
...It was Hero's night at Dodger Stadium last night. No, not the TV show, but city and county firefighters and police and marines etc parading through the outfield before and after the national anthem. Applause rang out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

PCMagic ain't

Argh, my dial-up ISP had their servers go down at about 1:30 PM PST Monday afternoon. Ten years of site building, down the drain. It was hard sending e-mail through them for the last month or so, and the last week I had been sending my players their turn files manually. No notice from them that they were shutting down, I bet I don't get a refund being paid up through next February either. This bites. My players game is stalled until I find a new place to host the web pages and an e-mail account that they can send turn files too. Argh!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Tenth of Two Hundred Five

Darn, almost made it to the top three to qualify for the next tournament. Oh well, it was fun having over thirty five thousand in chips in front of me for awhile. I'll win this one soon, and then the next one after that! Just watch me...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Forty Five of a Hundred and Seven

Thought about going back to the little club, then remembered how the crowd was, and how some new IRS laws for gaming are going into effect, and decided to try to swim in a bigger tournament. It had been nearly 8 months since I played at the larger places, but as rinky dink as the small place was getting, I wanted better value for my tournament fee dollars. Boy did I get it. Printed receipts, courtesious staff, over a hundred competors and a nice prize pool that would pay down to at least eighteen places, if not twenty seven. Even saw a few folk from the smaller clubs, who blew my cover when they came over and shook my hand and talked about other places we've played at. So I'm not a rookie, but I am still unproven. I can win the small ones, and place in the money in the bigger ones, but I have never won a big event. I would wind up not winning this one either. Folded over ninety percent of my hands before the first break. Made one great call to triple up, and another call to end up chopping the pot when we both showed ace queen that paired the queen on the board. Called an all-in and had another guy overcall, ended up checking it down only to triple up the guy that was going to take me out. Yup, if I had not made that call, I may have continued further than forty fifth place. With the blinds at one and two hundred, I threw in my last five hundred. He being in the big blind only had to call three hundred more, everyone else folded and I thought I was going to collect the blinds, but no, he called and I showed my pair of nines to his queen two. Whew, I'm over a seventy to thirty favorite, until a queen hits on the flop and I become a ninety to ten dog. If I had the eight hundred to bet there that I had lost to him before, he may not have called this time, but I didn't, and he did, and I was out. No prize money for me this time. I need to find a local H.O.R.S.E. tournament since I'm having so much fun playing the free ones online. Five different poker games that change at each level of blind increases, fun fun fun. Off I go...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Strategies for kids from Neighboring Countries

Who'd a thunk global management and risk assessment via poker?

We will begin by distributing in advance of our workshop a paper on education in
virtual worlds. We will aim our trajectory going forward as projection of a new
way of thinking embodied in the learning and understanding of a game. We will
demonstrate the teaching of the game to beginners. We will talk about why it is
a good idea to teach poker to kids. We will demonstrate transition to an integrated real and virtual Internet environment. We will introduce team play. Lastly, we will examine the critical issues surrounding poker and other games of skill in education and beyond. What are the key strategic thinking points of departure? How far should we go in promoting poker in the field of education? Should poker be taught to children on the $100 laptop? Can poker and poker strategic thinking serve as a departure point for openness on the Internet, global education, and beyond?

All this thinking is getting started at Harvard, and I thought poker was just a hobby that pays for itself.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Warm and Powerless

Just after one PM Saturday afternoon, I was highly involved in a game of Sid Meier's RailRoads! with the one portable air conditioning unit pointed at my back and the computer running the stereo sound system at movie volume. Playing on a wide screen TV is highly recommended by me. I was just thinking about getting something cool to drink when BAM, the power goes out. Not just a breaker tripping, but the whole neighborhood. I hear jets making course corrections ten miles away, and dogs communicating fervently. Oh well, hope the hard drive didn't take a dive on the less than year old computer. I quickly realized that it was hot. triple digits hot and no breeze to speak of. So in order to stay cool, filled the tub half way with cold water, grabbed a book from the headboard, grabbed a drink from the fridge, and placed them all on a wooden TV tray by the tub as I slowly slipped in. Ah, refreshing and COLD. Not moving into this quickly am I. Inch by inch, toes first, then the rest slowly dunked until cool. Dry off the hands, sip drink, and start to read. It was really quite comfortable in there. Just over fifty minutes into the book, I heard my fans come back on, for a second, then two seconds, then power's back. Finish the chapter, then get up, dry off, and reboot, making sure my two systems are okay. The old one running the VGAP game in the back room, and the new one wired into everything in my living room. All survive and it was back to gaming in front of a cool breeze once again. Amazing how much of my entertainment is electrical powered. Movies, radio, computer, yet the sun was still bright enough to read a book by. It's after one in the morning, and almost cool enough to go to sleep. Think I'll do so, and say a 'thanks for the reminder' prayer tomorrow morning.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day game fun

Took yesterday as an annual leave day and went to the last weekday day game of the Dodger season. Did not sit down in my seats, but instead made a reservation at the stadium club for brunch and a bottle of wine. The brunch buffet was great, as always. Sat at the glass next to a few other old timers and had fun watching the Dodgers come from behind to tie and eventually win in extra innings. I loaned my tickets to another couple who were going to take clients down to the seats and watch the game close up. They offered to pay for my meal, and of course I agreed. Turns out that their clients did not want to go down there, but stay up in the club. Still got my meal though. Took the rest of my wine to their table when the clients left and enjoyed their conversation until the guards kicked us out about a half hour after the game ended. Went straight home after the game and fell fast asleep. Woke up at three this morning to the sound of thunder. Thunderstorms in Southern California? Very rare indeed, usually left over from a tropical storm from Mexico. Almost no rain, and what little I saw on the ground at 3 AM was gone by the time I went out to the car at 6 AM. Water doesn't seem to last in the desert. Was in the high seventies before the sun came up, and may go over one hundred again today. Maybe I'll find an air-conditioned movie house after work today...

Monday, August 27, 2007

3000 Celebration for Biggio

While I was in Houston, my sister-in-law received some passes to a company event at Minute Maid Park for the Astros game and before the game started there was a celebration of Biggio's 3000th hit. Excellent, free beer, free food, free game, all I had to do was pay for closer parking than my brother wanted to. They take such good care of me when I come to visit. A glass of wine after every evening meal. A key to come and go as I please, and a pool for when it's hot, that the big o'chocolate lab of theirs takes laps in every day too. So rested now, it's hard to get back to work. Have I been back a week already?

Friday, August 24, 2007

So That!

You Are 76% California

You're so Californian, you belong in Hollyweird.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Swell gone

Well, the swelling was from the last of the antibiotic. Seems when it attacked the virus it released toxins and puffy checks were then in vogue. Took my x-ray and referral paperwork to the endodontist who scheduled me for September tenth. Great, three more weeks with a chipped tooth. Must be careful not to infect it again. I love these little floss rakes. Don't have to waste so much floss wrapped around fingers anymore. Enough of all that, have a nice lunch at a local diner and head back to work. Tons of e-mail awaits. What did these folk do when I was gone? Last regular season Dodger Day game at home is on Wednesday the twenty ninth. You won't find me at work that day. Celebrity poker tournament in town today, think I'll swing by there after work tonight and see who wins. May play a cash game or two, too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tooth better?

Early Friday morning, about eleven days ago, I started to get a pain in my upper left jaw. The night before, Rich had burnt the lamb chops on the grill under the beach house, but still served them up as the only meat of the evening. I soaked two of them in applesauce thinking it would help. It didn't and I even chipped a tooth on one of them. Our host had already gone home the night before on a family emergency, more like lots of little things piled up on the spouse and he had to go. I had the keys to the place, [to lock up on Saturday with] but knew I had to see a dentist come dawn on Friday. I asked Tom for a referral, He gave me a card for a dentist in Bay City and I was off as Rich and Bob were waking up and getting ready to pack to go home. Tom and Glen would stay all day Friday. I cross the drawbridge after a barge goes by on the inter coastal waterway and head up the state highway to Bay City. Get out my special Oklahoma cell phone and cheaters and dial the number on the card only to find out that they can not take a new patient today and give me a referral. I call the Bay City Dental office they referred me to, but they had a dentist call in sick and were rescheduling patients. Argh! [throb] I pull up to the original one I was going to and asked them to call around for me. They found a guy a few blocks away that could take me. I cruise over to K street with a twenty mile per hour speed limit, and pull in just fine, only car out front. Announce my presence and they give me a form and take my insurance card. When the dentist arrives, the first thing he does is ask "who has that mini cooper out there? I want to talk to them!" So I rise, and walk outside with him, and press the remote to open the top and let him get in. He impressed with the dash and the room and asks all sorts of questions. I answer as best as I can and finally close it up and we walk back inside. The staff can not believe how good my insurance is, and ask me if I pay extra for it. I do. They x-ray and prod me and perscribe me an anti-biotic to take to clear the infection and to make sure and see a dentist when I get home for that root canal that has to happen. Great, that is what I am going to do today, off to the local dentist in five minutes. The anti-biotic seems to have worked as the pain went away quickly, but it is starting to swell today, so I better go now and get it checked. Cya.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Home, Home, Home

Woke up in Las Cruses last Tuesday morning, and realized I had tickets for that night's Dodger game. Eleven hours later I was there. Thirty two hundred miles of fun during those days, L.A. to the gulf coast of Texas, to Houston, and back. Some poor critter at night ran under my right front tire in west texas. A week later as we were packing up the beach house, my host noticied a bubble in my tire. Looked in my mini-guide for the nearest mini-dealer. Sugarland, Texas. Wouldn't make it by closing that weekend, so instead of heading for L.A. first thing last Monday morning, headed for the dealership, in and out within four hours after describing the issue to the tire insurance company. Then went to my brothers, packed up the rest of my stuff, said bye to my niece and nephew and headed west. Made Las Cruses by midnight, spent the night for free [well, used some rewards points] and then headed west again to make the game. Had the rest of the week off from work, so just kept going to Dodgers games the rest of week and last weekend. It seems when I was gone, they slipped from first to fourth place, by losing seven straight series of games. I'm glad they are starting to win again, but it is a long row to hoe to even get to a wild card spot, let alone back into the western divisions first place. More stories later, back to work I go...

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Made it to El Paso, had fun driving through Arizona Monsoons, and rush hour in Phoenix. Didn't leave LA until noon, so it was dark when I reached Texas. A little hotel sleep, shower, and head out this morning for a border island beach house on the gulf of mexico. Cya in ten days or so.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Loud Crowd

Dodger Stadium was packed to the rafters with one of the loudest crowds I've ever witnessed. Every other inning it was the chanting of 'Barry Sucks' that was the loudest. I stood up for each of his four at bats with the rest of the crowd around me. By his third at bat, the flashes from all of the cameras going off looked to me like a supernova with each pitch. How could anyone hit the ball with that kind of a distraction? Well, he didn't, until his fourth at bat of the night with a blooper over the shortstop. When no runners were on base, the Dodgers pitched to him. With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers walked him. Very good strategy, except for one thing, forgot to score enough runs to win the game! Hopefully he will not tie nor break Hank Aaron's all time home run record here, but the next two games are sold out in anticipation. If he does break the record here, those poor San Francisco fans will have to watch the highlights from Los Angeles. That's the only part that makes me grin. Of the next few pitchers BB faces, Friday night in San Diego against Greg Maddux is his best shot. BB has hit 8 home runs off of GM in his career. I'll be there again tonight and Thursday, clapping for the Dodgers and booing the other team.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

System Restore Works

A few days ago, I told my new home system to safely remove the flash drive from the USB port I plugged it into, but instead chose the controller for the two DVD drives in the system. uh oh. Went to play Railroads!, no cd drive found, rebooted the system, only the two internal hard drives found, no optical drives. Argh. Dug through the carry-all bag that came with the system and found the driver cd. Popped it in, went to device manager and tried to update the controller's driver. Unable to read from the drive! Rebooted into system setup and changed the boot order to the first DVD drive, put in the XP Media Edition restore disk I got from the manufacturer, system booted fine from the drive. So the drive can be read, windows just forgot how to talk to it. I was this close to re-partitioning the drive, re-formatting the partitions, and re-installing the operating system when I finally remembered, system restore. Took the bootable disk out of the first DVD drive and went back into windows, launched the system restore tool and picked a checkpoint from the week before. Rebooted the system again, and my drives all appeared! Launched Railroads! just fine, launched another game from the other drive, whew! Must stop scaring myself and just remember to use the tools that I have.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sneaky Prius

There is a hybrid car in the subterranean parking garage here that scares me half to death. It is as quiet as a mouse, and when I'm walking through the garage to the elevators, I don't ever hear it coming. It should beep or whine, or something. Too quiet.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Side of living here

I'm easly amused while driving, another LA driver saw this and I thought it was cool too. You might follow that link and think the same.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Training Ball over the Shirt off my Back

Strange doings over the past week or so. Most of the time was spent downtown, either at work or at Dodger Stadium for dinner and a show. What great shows they were. Even the ones lost were very close, or offensive see-saw battles. Except for one, but I didn't really expect for them to win six in a row. Most of the season it was hard to win three in the row, so five was a treat! Have been spending a lot of time in a new circle in the club overlooking the game. Have gotten to know more about A, his wife L, their daughter J, and heard about son M more in the last week than I ever knew before. They even sat at the window with me and bought a few of my meals. How cool is that? It was hard for them to let me pay for anything, but I was able to grab the check a time or two. See, they didn't have to sit in their hot seats during day games, nor sit at the bar only to cool off, they could sit down by the glass and watch a panoramic view of the game in air conditioned comfort. Of course we could have all stayed at home, but it's the company we keep that helps to define us. During the night games, as I would enter and leave, a woman commented that she liked my dodger shirt. It was not my favorite one, and instead of smiling and thanking her, I just commented that it was the browniest one I own, and hurried out the door down to my seat. I should have stayed and talked, and if I had been thinking, I would have. I haven't bantered longer than a few minutes with a woman in months, and here was one willing to risk a comment. It might even be the one that wanted to buy my shirt the week before.
Wait, I need to explain that one. I'm sitting at the stadium club bar finishing my last beer about twenty minutes after a Tuesday night game some time back. A couple of blonds were on my left and during the eighth and ninth innings were surrounded by a half dozen yokels having a grand time. When the game ended, the gaggle left the place leaving the two of them alone to joke with the bartenders. When one of them quizzed about them no longer being surrounded, she responded that now she could pay all of her attention on him. I thought I only muttered 'lucky you' but he wheeled and said that it could be on you Proto. Now knowing my name she and her sister ask about the baseball I was semi-juggling. I told them that it was an 'official training ball' that I caught during batting practice, and showed them the stamp saying so. The younger one asked what I was going to do with it. I answered that I would put it on a shelf with twenty or so others, until a nephew or niece came over and wanted to play catch. I don't think I have that many, but I said it anyways. The elder then commented that she like my shirt and offered to buy it from me. She started saying that the style of shirt I was wearing was no longer for sale in the stadium stores. It was, for over two years, why didn't she get one then? After pondering that one out loud, I mentioned that my rates were not reasonable and the bidding would have to start over one hundred dollars. After saying that she didn't like the brownish ones that were on sale now, she then remarked that she knew I had another shirt underneath, and started counting with twenty, then thirty, and finally fifty. I shook my head at each offer and they packed up and started to leave. As they went to pass me towards the exit, I extended the training ball and offered that to her.
"For me?"
"really? a present"
"absolutely, I have plenty."
With a girlish grin she skips off with her new toy after her younger partner, and I get a warm feeling of proving that there are nice guys in the world. Even if they won't sell their blue and white Hawaiian pattern Dodger shirts off their backs to them.
That was a long explanation, but it helped me remember it.
The Dodgers are away until the thirty first of July, so maybe I'll gamble a little this next weekend, and catch up on the hamsters in big blunder 8, too. Neither of which will improve my conversation skills, yet they entertain me.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Eighth of Forty, to Where?

Something strange is afoot. I find myself playing just well enough to get into the money, then make a big play, get knocked out, collect my prize and go home. Once I make it into the money, I don't seem to care about getting higher and maybe even placing first. Is it because I do not want to fill out a W2 or get a 1099 for the higher amounts? Maybe. Then I would have to start verifying all of my losses to counter against winnings. This 'hobby that pays for itself' is starting to get into a dangerous range. Cash games are not a reporting problem, just have to keep track. I use a statistics database created by another player. Tournaments would seem the same, but they are not. If you make twelve hundred or more, the amount has to be reported. Some states, like mine, it has to be reported at six hundred and up. Five hundred and ninety nine and below, no form is required. When the prize money gets that high, I seem not to be at the top of my game. Could be the late hour, and knowing that my alarm is going to go off at five thirty in the morning, then again, it could be just avoiding the paperwork. Let's say I made fifty dollars an hour at work, a ten hour day would be five hundred bucks. If I made that much the night before in a tournament, should I think about changing careers? No. Not at this stage. Wins are not packed close enough together, and I love what I do for work, and they like me doing it too. Maybe I'll just keep it to weekends and stay away from weeknight tournaments. I started to write about how the new format at the local club took my suggestion and is only paying one place per table of entrants. Last Monday night it was four tables so only four places paid. When it got down to eight of us, someone suggested that we pay fifty bucks for all, taking four hundred out of the prize pool for the top four. We all agreed. Next hand the suggester goes all in for twice my stack. I look down at ace-king of diamonds, hesitate knowing how loose he plays, and three to act behind me. I know I'm getting fifty no matter what, and call. He shows two black queens, I don't improve on the flop, turn, nor river and am out in eighth place. A fun race, one that I won an hour earlier, but not now. Collect my fifty bucks and head for the door. Getting up Tuesday morning on four hours sleep was not fun. Why do I do this to myself? Well, as fun as it is, I'm not doing it anymore. I think I'll stick to the weekend tournaments at the bigger clubs around town. It's a little more expensive than playing at this little club, and the prize money is better, but the field of players is also larger and it will be more of a test to get to that final table. The skills are improving, the books are being re-read, all I need now is a wish of luck.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Was your Fourth happy?

My mostly was, watched the fireworks at the stadium with some buddies, though driving home in an open convertible whilst various neighborhoods were shooting off missiles into the air with their reports booming all around me was a little scary. At least none landed in the car. Did see Live Free or Die Hard that day, and had a blast watching all of the amazing stunts in that film. Critics be damned, I had a good time. Saw the Transformers last Friday afternoon. Wow! Nice work with the CGI and the continuation of the mythos of autobots and decepticons. A very loud movie too. The only bad thing last week was the Dodgers having to lose four in a row before finally winning one yesterday. Well, it's one in a row now! After the all-star break, the season will resume it's march to the October playoffs. My fingers are crossed. Fires breakout, water intakes are found to have mussels after their spawning time upstream, water pumps being shutdown because of endangered smelt fish, lack of rain during the last year, all make for a doubling of water rates. Watched an episode of Big Brother 8 Sunday night. A new bunch of misfit hamsters act out for our viewing pleasure. Not sure exactly why I like this show so much. I do not subscribe to the live feeds, but I do read some forums that describe the feeds now and then. Strange, strange, strange. A new computer/phone was announced today at and Looks like something cool for the phone hacker in you!

Friday, June 29, 2007


With the Dodgers winning three out of four in Arizona, they now have the mean o' San Diego Padres to contend with this weekend in the race for first place. Then another full week of games, so you may not here from me for a bit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fourth of Forty

I was lucky to even get to the final table last night. Some aggressive betters were eating away at my chip stack until I put on the sunglasses, found a good hand and re-raised right back. After that hand, one player turned to my opponent and said, uh-oh, you created a monster. A couple of buddies from the stadium club were also in the tourney. The one at my table won every hand I played against him, and the other got knocked out in the second hour from his table. Four hours into this thing and I start thinking about my alarm that's going to go off in five hours time. No worries, stick to my game plan and doubled up twice quickly at the final table to about middle chip position. Then just sat back and watched short stack after short stack start to get knocked out. With each person that goes out, the remaining get a raise in prize money. The top nine agreed that tenth place should be paid, and ten percent of the pool to the dealers, so there was no need to worry about those issues. Eighth, seventh, and sixth place finishers leave the table and I'm still here. Grinding up to third in chips with a steal thrown in from the button now and then. Fifth place finisher is knocked out and there is just four of us now. I look down from the big blind and look at two black queens. I should have raised right there, but just let the flop come out. The only other person in the pot was the small blind who limped called my blind. When the flop came, he grinned and checked. I bet half my stack and he re-raised all in. The board was a jack-four-nine and I did not put him on a set, but maybe a straight draw. He was the short stack so I would still have a couple of thousand left, and with blinds at three thousand and fifteen hundred, it was now or wait. Wait? This is the best hand I've had in an hour and I could knock out the fourth place player and get another raise to at least third place prize money. I call, he turns over jack-nine for two pair. No queen appears on the turn, nor the river, but the river does pair the board with another jack which gives him a full house. I'm crippled as I put up the ante and small blind. Fold to their raises on the next hand. On the next round I'm down to a single chip for five hundred. The ante amount. Chip leader to my left goes all in and the other two fold. It's a race for the antes, he pairs, I don't, and am out in fourth. Half past midnight I collect and cash in, say my goodbyes and wish one of the players remaining some luck. Didn't stick around to see who won, my alarm was going off in a few hours...

Monday, June 25, 2007


Sleep. I got a lot of it this last weekend. No chores to worry about. Bills and work all caught up. Watched 'Over the Hedge' after running disk doctor machine on the rental DVD. Way too many scratches on the darn thing to play through the movie. Once repaired, it played fine. I got that disk doctor 18 months ago as a Christmas present. I guess I can tell them it works now. I feel confident in using this noisy thing for cleaning disks now too. Maybe I'll curl up and take a nap now...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Twelth of Twenty

Not exactly what I expected last night. Only twenty on a Wednesday, and started late, as usual. Ten minutes before what was suppose to be the start time, the tournament director asks me for an opinion of his new format plan. Triple the buy-in, triple the starting chip stack, and start two hours sooner. 'Perfect for me', I tell him. Then he goes on that it would be a freeze-out. Meaning only the winner gets any prize money. Second and third place etc would have to negotiate a chopped prize pool or fight to come in first. The problem would be playing well enough to be in the top three every Wednesday. Instead I could set the alarm for three thirty every Friday and Sunday morning and play for a wee bit more money against a much larger field for payouts down to eighteenth place [if over one hundred players sign up]. I have every other Friday free, so it is possible. And I've been there before and done well enough to bring home a few Benjamin's. With this Wednesday night thing dying, and similar clubs in parts of town that I do not want to go to, I am thinking of letting it go and switching to Friday and Sunday mornings. Being recognized as a rock and having no one call my raises is not fun either. When the blinds were at one hundred and two hundred with a twenty five ante last night, I raised under-the-gun for six hundred. No callers. The director walks by and says 'now that's respect'. I shake my head and think no, it's them knowing I'm a rock and probably raising with a pair of aces whilst they hold nothing. I must have thought it out loud for the guy on my right who was in the big blind ask, 'so, you have aces?'. I just nod and ante up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Twenty sixth of forty or so

I did not go into the tournament last night with the right attitude. I went in as a cheapskate, and exited too early. I remember a couple of weeks before, when I won, that I had an attitude that I was going to do very well. Last night, instead, was full of wishes and draws that did not quite come to fruition. It's not that I was getting any worse cards than normal, just not betting aggressively enough when I did have a good hand. That, and folding to the over aggressive group that was there last night. I knew better, and tried to change during the second hour, but it was too late. The damage to my chip stack had already been done, and it would have taken a string of lucky miracles to get back into the action as a chip leader. They didn't come, and I went out with two high pair against a little three of a kind. Once more ace and I would have filled up against them and tripled up in chips, but no, out in twenty sixth with no prize, go I. Took a lesson with me though, go in with the right attitude.