Bring your own fork

July 29, 2006 - Saturday

 No Limit … Gangstah!!!

I went out for more poker last night, this time at the Commerce, and pretty much got my ass handed to me. First, because I wasn’t getting the cards. Second, because I started making the game personal.

There were three “young people” in their mid to late twenties at the opposite end of the table: a very pretty girl, her boyfriend, and their idiot friend. They were all playing pretty tight, and the girl was catching hand after hand after hand — it seemed like every hand she played, she’d flop a flush or a straight or a full house. And naturally, I had second hand in most of those pots, so she was taking me down pretty good. Her boyfriend was playing pretty well too, but I started to get a pretty good read on him toward the end and took a couple of big pots from him when I caught him bluffing. And the idiot friend was … well, an idiot. He had pocket 4s and flopped a set on an early hand and thought he was a poker god from that point on. Luck seems to love idiots like him.

But what made it personal for me was the idiot friend. Loud. Obnoxious. Wearing a HUGE bling-bling wristwatch, along with a purple dress shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks and his name embroidered on the cuffs. And he was a wigger. Except he was Asian, which I guess made him… What? A jigger? Chigger? Kigger? Whatever, he was a total pain in the ass. I ended up staying in hands, chasing cards that could never come, just hoping that maybe I’d get lucky and beat him like a red-headed stepchild.

First, his betting style. Every time — EVERY time — the action came around to him, he’d sit. And think. And pointedly look around the table at every person’s chips, counting them. Then he’d sit. And think. Some more. Even when it was obvious that he was going to fold, he’d do this. Because he wanted us to know that he was a force to be reckoned with.

And if he was betting… Oh my god, that was a production, too. After sitting. And thinking. And counting everyone’s chips. He’d slowly. Deliberately. Carefully. Count out the chips he was betting. Stack them neatly. And then slowly, oh so slowly, place his hand palm up on the table behind them and ssslllooowwwlllyyy slide them in, pushing with his fingertips. And then bring his hand back with a flourish.

And then if he won — either because everyone folded to his bet or someone called him and his hand held up… Oh. My. God. The celebration. He’d jerk in his chair, pump his fists, yelp “Yessss!!!” and then start up with what pissed me off the most: “GANGstah!!! Oh yeah, that was so GANGstah! We’re keepin’ it GANGstah!!!” at the top of his lungs. Pocket Aces? Gangstah. Eight high flush? Gangstah. Seven/deuce with a deuce on the river? Gangstah. And if one of his friends won, we’d get the same “GANGstah!” crowing, along with him leaning over the table and pointing at whoever had lost the hand and bellowing “DEVASTATING!!!”

I wanted to rip his head off and shit down his neck. And the other two were getting under my skin, too, with their choruses of “Ohhhh, SNAP!!!” whenever one of them turned over a winning hand.

And so I played too many hands, chasing cards that never came, and ended up doing exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do: I gave them all my money. And I’m sure they’re telling stories now about the fat old guy who walked away from the table DEVASTATED!!!!

I hate poker sometimes.

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July 28, 2006 - Friday

 I’m #15!

I played in a No Limit Hold Em tournament at the Bike yesterday and finished in 15th place, which also paid $55. Woo, go me. 15th out of 89 players isn’t too bad, and the fifty-five bucks… Well, that almost covers what I spent on the entry fee and rebuys. So all things considered, I won about -$15. Woo.

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July 25, 2006 - Tuesday

 The View From Longmont, CO – Again, Redux

Greetings from what’s shaping up to be my Colorado home-away-from-home: Room 204 of the Longmont, CO Hampton Inn. This is my third time here, and my second time in this room. I was here in November and then again in February, and it was snowy and cold both those times. This time it’s 95 outside and more like L.A. than Colorado. I think I prefer the cold. Maybe next time…

Here’s the non-snow room:

Longmont, CO - v3

And here’s the non-snow view:

Longmont, CO - v3

And now… I’m off to share a “It’s a small world” moment with my dad. He lives in the southern part of Colorado near Durango — about 5 hours from here — and he’s been in the hospital down there recovering from pneumonia. He called me out of the blue last night to let me know that he’s been released to a convalescent home and to let me know that he’s not down there anymore; he’s moved up to Fort Collins to be near his daughters/my half sisters. And Fort Collins is about 30 miles away from Longmont! Small world. So I’m off to visit him and the girls tonight.

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July 20, 2006 - Thursday

 The View From Pickerington, OH

Greetings from Room 333 of the Hampton Inn Pickering, just outside Columbus, in beautiful Pickerington, Ohio. There isn’t really much to say about Pickerington, or even Ohio, for that matter — I’m just here and I have to get used to it. But I get to go home tomorrow, so I’ve got that going for me.

Thus far my trip has been most notable for my shame at watching tonight (and now reporting it here) America’s Got Talent, hosted by the estimable Regis Philbin. And in the background I’m listening to the “reporters” at Fox “News” jizzing all over themselves with the wet dream that Syria will unleash a hellfire of “weapons of mass destruction” on Israel over the conflict in Lebanon, so clearly my TV viewing choice-making apparatus is completely FUBAR right now. It must be something in the local water supply — that would certainly explain the 2004 election results here.

Anyway, here’s the view:

Pickerington, OH

…and here’s the room:

Pickerington, OH

And just for fun, here’s a picture of Zoe’s (newest) kitten Ebi:

Guitar Solo

And here’s me changing the TV channel to something with a little more intelligence to it: HBO and The 40 Year Old Virgin.

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July 11, 2006 - Tuesday

 The View From Plano, TX

Greetings from Plano, Texas. I’ve been here three or four times in the last two months, training at clients that are all located within about 3 square miles of each other. I usually call it Dallas, but this time I’m keeping in real and calling it what it is: Plano. Texas.

Warning: this entry is going to be a bitchfest. More so than the usual entries are, I mean, so be advised.

This trip started out badly and has not improved at all at any step of the way. Virtually everything that can go wrong has gone wrong every step of the way, even stuff I never could have predicted.

First, I had to conduct this training on Monday/Tuesday, which meant travelling on Sunday. Which meant I missed going on a HOG ride I was planning to go on, which I was not a happy camper about.

Then, I had to fly on US Air/America West. I hate America West. HATE them. Every time I fly that piece of shit airline, something goes wrong — either a missed connection or a cancelled flight or a late departure/arrival, you name it. This time was no exception.

When I purchased my tickets online, I made sure to request aisle seats. So of course when I checked in at the airport, they had me in middle seats on both flights. I waited until most of the plane had boarded for them to miraculously find an aisle seat for me, which of course meant that when I finally made it to the aircraft, there was no more overhead space left and I had to check my bag. Amazingly, they didn’t lose it. I was sure they would.

Connecting through Phoenix, the flight was delayed. Of course. And of course it was delayed with us all on board. We sat there at the gate for nearly an hour, baking in the summer desert sun, with the air conditioning turned off. Which meant that when we finally got to Dallas, it was nearly midnight.

Checking into my hotel, I found that my reservation for a room with a king bed had somehow turned into a room with two double beds. I raised a stink about that, got my king-size bed, and then found that the in-room internet wasn’t working. Of course. I still had some prep work to do online for my class the next day, so I had to use the business center computer at 1:30 a.m.

Getting to the client site today, I discovered that their A/C was broken. Really broken. Not broken as in “Sorry, we can’t blow any cold air for you,” no, it was broken as in “We can only blow hot air and we can’t turn it off.” So in the 95 degree Dallas heat, I was training in a conference room where the heater was blasting and you had to go outside to cool off. And of course this was the one trip where I forgot to pack an undershirt, so I spent the day sweating through my dress shirt. Lovely.

And at a business across the street from us, a woman was shot in the head in the parking lot at lunch. It didn’t have any impact on me or my time here, but it certainly didn’t help to know that this had happened just 50 yards away while I was running my mouth and sweating.

Now I’m back in my room and the internet is working again — for the moment — but now I find that I can’t log in to my company’s website to set some things up for class tomorrow. So I’m going to have to shuffle and dance in the morning and try to train these people on my company’s software without actually using the software if our developers don’t get it back up and running by tomorrow morning.

God, I love my job sometimes. And travelling. And Texas.

Here’s the room:

Plano, TX

And here’s the view:

Plano, TX

And just fyi, when I tried to actually post this entry, the fucking internet connection in my piece-of-shit hotel room was down a-fucking-gain.

I can’t wait to get back home.

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July 5, 2006 - Wednesday

 The View From Tampa, FL

Greetings from room 316 of the Braden/Tampa Hampton Inn.

Ya know, there’s a series of commercials for the Hampton Inn chain that’s getting a lot of airplay lately — the “Bedheads” campaign (cast with an annoying collection of perky 20-somethings). They’re playing up how comfortable the bedding is at the Hampton Inn; how great the feather pillows and down comforters are. Well, I’m here to tell you: they are great. The pillows, that is. I don’t really care about the comforter (but it is quite nice — much nicer than your standard skanky polyester motel bedspread), but I do like me some Hampton Inn pillows. Every time I’m packing up at the end of a trip, I’m tempted to stick one in my suitcase. So in this case, go ahead and believe the Bedheads hype.

This particular hotel, however, apparently hasn’t gotten the Bedhead memo. Here we have the skanky polyester bedspread and weird synthetic blend pillows from the pre-Bedhead days. Sleepytime won’t be the glorious experience it normally is. Sigh…

Anyway, here’s the room…

Tampa, FL

And here’s the view…

Tampa, FL

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Silent in Gehenna.

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One Year Ago Today (ish)



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