Bring your own fork

July 31, 2005 - Sunday

 Oh Ye of Little Faith

Beth is in Santa Cruz right now, at Grace’s BlogHer Brunch. The girls up there apparently logged on, checked out the mess in my last entry, and then started placing odds on whether I had cleaned it up or not. My wife, Chuck booster that she is, apparently was firmly in the “There’s no way in hell he cleaned up, he doesn’t even know how to turn on the vacuum cleaner” camp.

Bzzt! Wrong.

You can apologize at your leisure, honey. In print.

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 Lessons Learned

Never leave a Jack Russell Terrier unattended and bored for several hours.

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July 30, 2005 - Saturday

 Breakfast In Bed

Our new dog, Sammy, likes to sleep in bed with us. That’s usually not a problem. Usually. This morning: problem. Gross problem.

Sometime in the night last night, Sammy puked in our bed, right up at head level. And while that might sound disgusting, it’s disgusting on a level above and beyond the disgustingly gross grossness of waking up to a face full of dog puke. Because it wasn’t just random dog puke — it was kitty-litter-snackin’ cat poop dog puke.

Gooooooooood morning!

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 The Big Stack

Poker again at the Commerce tonight on the $100 No Limit table. I ended the night + $200.

I had several hundred dollars in chips in front of me toward the end, making me the Big Stack at the table. It’s good to be the Big Stack. It’s fun. First, because you’ve built this big stack up by taking money away from the other players, which is about %1000 percent better than having them take yours. Secondly, because in No Limit chips are like bullets, and the more ammo you have the better. So you can flop middle pair with no kicker and bet out big to scare everyone else into folding. Or you can slow play absolute crap, calling other players’ raises on the flop and the river and then come over the top at them on the river with a bet big enough to put them all-in and watch them fold because they’re not quite sure where you are and they aren’t quite willing to risk it all on the chance that you’re not bluffing — and you are bluffing, because you can afford to lose if they get brave and call you. But mostly being the Big Stack is fun because you’re the big dog at the table and what you do influences everything everyone else at the table does — everyone’s watching to see what you’re going to do. They’re afraid to bet because you might raise them, or they won’t play if you’re in the hand, or they fold to your small raise, etc…. They fear you, which is always good for the ego.

Best hand of the night:

The player to my right was a young kid who was very sharp, very on top of the game, and very eager for you to know it. He was jabbering all night, predicting (usually correctly) what everyone’s hand was, telling me why he played each hand the way he did, telling the (really incredibly stupid) dealer how to read the winning hands, etc. He was aggressive and confident and really a pretty good poker player. Also, kind of annoying. Also, the chip leader — until I sat down at the table.

Me and Mr. Poker ended up in a hand together. I had AQ offsuit and the flop came 10-Queen-4. There was two to a flush on the board and I had no piece of that. What I had right then was top pair with a top kicker.

One of the players bets out $20, one other player calls, and then Mr. Poker raises in front of me to $60. I think about it for a minute. I think if someone had a set they would have bet it harder, and I don’t think Mr. Poker has one — I think he’s just being aggressive and I have him on a Queen, maybe on a flush draw. I think my top pair is good right now, but that won’t last long if I let the other players stay in to pair a King or catch a flush. I need to bet big to get everybody else out and take down the pot. And so I totally overplayed the hand: I went all-in with $150. I wanted to make damn sure that people folded or that I’d get paid off big if they called me and missed.

The other two players couldn’t fold fast enough. But Mr. Poker… Mr. Poker couldn’t believe I had come over the top at him like that. He intimidated me with his poker savvy by predicting my hand: “What have you got, Ace-Queen? You have Ace-Queen, huh?” I agreed that I did indeed have Ace-Queen.

He shuffled his chips and stared at the cards and muttered about how maybe I had a flush draw or I could be bluffing or I could have flopped a set or did I have Ace-Queen? And I agreed again that, yes, I had Ace-Queen. And he asked if his Queen-Jack was good and I told him that, no, it wasn’t, but he should feel free to call with it if he didn’t believe me. And he shuffled and muttered some more and then finally he showboated.

He said, “This is how a real poker player does it,” and he turned up Queen-Jack and mucked it. So I turned up my Ace-Queen and told him “Good lay-down.”

For some reason, that infuriated him. He got really flustered, kept insisting “I knew what you had, you didn’t have to show!” and I kept saying “I just wanted you to know you were right!” and he got very agitated. Man, did that get to him.

And that’s why that was the best hand of the night: it got to him. For some reason, that one hand totally took him out of his game and he just fell apart and started hemorrhaging chips after that — mostly to me. Before long, he was busted out and I was the Big Stack.

That was fun.

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July 29, 2005 - Friday


We had another episode of “See Chuck squeal like a little girl” around here last night. I discovered that the Game Show Network is showing reruns of The Amazing Race every night at 9:00. I stumbled across an episode I hadn’t seen before and realized that I missed a few seasons of The Amazing Race before I got hooked on the insanely addictive wonderfulness of the show and that now I get to see them every night at 9:00. Tivo has been activated.


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July 28, 2005 - Thursday

 It Rang

Proving Beth’s theory that when you “put stuff out there in the Universe” it causes it to happen, not long after posting my last entry saying I hoped the new job wouldn’t call — they called.

It was the president of the company, no less, calling to see where I stood with the resignation of the guy who brought me in. I was honest with him. I told him that while I had worked with the guy before and had known him for a long time, I was also a little bit concerned about reporting to him because I had had problems working with him in the past. I said that I viewed his resignation as either a big opportunity for me if they still wanted me or as really bad news if they didn’t. I said that I was excited about joining the company and that my resigning manager’s problems and issues were definitely not mine. I said that my attitude coming in was to do things their way and do the best job I possibly can. I said I hoped they still wanted me.

Fortunately, they still do.

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 Don’t Ring

Last week I wanted the phone to ring. Now, I don’t.

The guy I’ll be reporting to at the new job called the other day to let me know he won’t be there on my first day … and probably not ever. There’s been a reorganization at the company, with him reporting to a new department head who he doesn’t get along with, and he’s probably going to resign over it. So the guy who brought me in, the guy who campaigned to get me hired, the guy I’d be reporting to in a two-man department — that guy is going to be gone. And so in my paranoid brain burns the question: does that mean I’m gone too?

So I’m willing the phone not to ring this week. I want this job. I need this job. I hope like hell I still have this job. I’m dreading a phone call from someone at the company rescinding their offer.

Don’t ring.

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July 26, 2005 - Tuesday

 Home Again

We had Gable cremated after the vet put him down last week because we want him with us and we couldn’t bear the thought of his body being just thrown away somewhere. He was a part of our family in life and his memory will continue to be in death. Having his ashes, we’ll know a part of him is still with us.

His ashes came in the mail today. Yeah, in the mail. Talk about your emotional whiplash. I came home to find a big package on the front step and I got a little bit Christmas morning excited, wondering what cool thing Beth had bought or Zoe’s Bubbe sent her or I had ordered for myself and forgotten about. Then I saw the label and I knew it was Gable. I went from goofy little thrill to crushing sadness in about 2.4 seconds.

I brought it in and left it on the table. It took me awhile to open it. I didn’t want to face the finality of it. For the last week, I keep momentarily forgetting he’s gone and thinking I see him. Every dark shape on the floor when I’m locking up the house at night is Gable. Every night, I start to open the front door to call him in for the night before I remember he’s gone. I keep forgetting he’s gone. It still doesn’t seem real. Opening the package, holding his ashes in my hands — that would make him gone.

When I finally got around to opening the package, I was surprised. I was expecting something drab and utilitarian. For one of our old cats, for example, Boris, his ashes came in a big steel can with a plain white label. That’s not what was in this package. For Gable, they put his ashes in a really nice stained wooden box with his name on a plaque, something suitable for display on a fireplace mantel. Peeling away the bubble wrap to find this beautiful box was like a punch in the gut. That’s when it really hit me that he’s gone. Holding that box, reading his name on the plaque — that’s when it really hurt, even more than a drab can would have.

So Gable’s up on the mantle now in his beautiful box, with his name on the plaque, looking oh so suitable for display, and it’s oh so wrong. Gable doesn’t belong in a box up on the mantel. He should just be here with us, alive.

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July 24, 2005 - Sunday

 Journalcon Poker Poll

I’m thinking of hosting a Texas Hold em poker game in my room at Journalcon but I want to know there’s interest in it before I get my hopes up. So I’m doing a handy dandy poker poll. If you’re coming to Journalcon in San Diego this October, I’d appreciate you answering the following questions.

So whaddaya think, folks? Should I fire up Casino Night at Journalcon or not?

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 New To The Blogosphere

Two of my former coworkers have popped up on the blogosphere: Terry with Thoughts and Babblings and Rantings, and Kevin with A Fool Uttereth All His Mind.

Check ’em out!

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One Year Ago Today (ish)



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