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.