Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Well that was a first...

None of my fantasies about me and a gaggle of nurses in the middle of the night start or ended this way. And yes, there's more than one. And no, I'm not going to share them with you.

I was in Chapel Hill for work on Wednesday, having driven up there for a 9AM Thursday meeting that was cancelled around 8PM Wednesday night, well after I had arrived in my hotel room. Lemon. So after a nice dinner with a buddy, I went back to the hotel, read a little bit, watched NCIS and went to sleep. I know, I lead an exciting life on the road.

But at about 4:24 AM, it got a lot more exciting. In all my travels, I've never had a fire alarm go off in the middle of the night when I was in a hotel. It took me a second to figure out what that noise was, then I did all the normal things you're supposed to do. I went to the door, and didn't smell smoke. I felt the door handle, and it wasn't hot. So I decided that the odds of me dying imminently were slim, and got dressed. I tossed on pants, shoes, shirt and my jacket. Then I thought about it for a second, and decided that since my death apparently wasn't an immediate concern, I put my laptop in my bag, put my ipod in my pocket and headed for the door. I did eventually decide that I wouldn't waste the time for socks or to pack the rest of my clothes in a bag, figuring that might be a little excessive.

By the way, in January, even in the south, 4:30 AM is COLD. So I walked down the stairs, thanking Marriott Rewards once again for honoring my "low floor" request, and headed out into the night with all my fellow hotel guests. Obviously most of them were more concerned for their safety, as quite a few of them were in their pjs with no shoes.

And no, none of the pjs were terribly interesting. I was also disappointed. I look around at the bevy of freezing women and announce "I brought my car keys. I'll be going over to the Honda to get warm. Up to four of you are welcome to join me." I had a pile of takers, four nice young women who were in town for a nursing conference on hyperbaric chambers.

Yep, it's the middle of the night and I've got four nurses in their pajamas in my car with me. No baby oil, no Twister, not even any peppermint hand lotion. And frankly, it was too damn cold to take anything off anyway. Not to mention that whole married thing, and the fact that two of the four were uglier than a bulldog chewing on a bumblebee. So we sat there for a few minutes before the fire department gave us the all clear, and went back to our respective rooms.

I know, it started out sounding like it was exciting, but really wasn't. Sorry, I'll try to do better on the hijinks and shenanigans front next time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More on the Media Question...

Here's what I currently have -

1) 46" LCD TV (in den)
1) Xbox 360 (also in den)
1) PS3 (ditto)
1) 500GB external HD (in office next room over)
2) laptop computers, 1 Mac 1 PC, neither one stays on or in one place all the time

I currently come home most days, plug my laptop into a USB hub on my desk which hooks into the external HD, and then when I download stuff from iTunes or bittorrent sites, it's all set up to download to the external HD.

What I'm trying to figure out is the best way to be able to listen to my music in the den using either the PS3 or the Xbox, as well as play back the TV shows and Movies I've downloaded on the big TV. Watching them on the 22" monitor in the office is fine, but I'd like to be able to watch them with Suzy, and seating in the office is limited.

So what I think I should do is this -

1) Get a cheapo PC with Vista Home Premium and a couple gigs of RAM (looks like abuot $3-400)
2) Get a small network switch and run a hard line into the back of the Xbox
3) Put all the stuff that's currently on the external HD into the PC, and set it up as a shared network drive, then set that as my destination download drive for iTunes etc.
4) Use my existing external HD as a backup

Does that make sense? Smells like the whole mess is gonna run me around $400 total, which ain't bad, but it would sure be nice to only do this once.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Media Management

There will be a poker post coming about my trip West by God Virginia. For now, suffice to say that I need to learn when to get up and put money in my pocket. It suck to be up $750 in four hours and still finish -$100 on a two-day trip. It sucks more when it's against players that suck. I am becoming a big fan of West Virginia poker.

But anyway - here's a question for my geek friends (and you know who you are). I have a shitload of music, movies, TV shows, stuff like that. I live off my laptop, so I store all my stuff on a 500GB external drive. I would like to be able to easily view those TV shows, play that music, etc. on my TV. I have an Xbox 360 and a PS3, both of which can do something like this. But the networking is what is giving me issues.

Is my life going to be easier if I just set up a PC somewhere that is hard-wired on a network to my 360 and store all my media on that PC?Or is there a solution I don't know about?

What about an Apple TV? Can I play stuff on there that I don't buy off iTunes?

And what about stuff I download via BitTorrent? What do I have to do to get one of these devices to play unprotected avi and mpg files?

I'm obviously not averse to spending money on this shit (note ridiculously large TV in my den), but I'd like something that's at least a little bit seamless on the execution side of things.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Once upon a time...

There was a really, really bad day in America. Some really bad men hijacked some airplanes and killed a lot of people. Some brave people fought back and crashed their airplane to keep them from killing other people. In North Carolina, a guy that had been pretty outspoken against the new President had only one thought, "Where is the President? We need a leader. Right. Now." And he decided to give the President that he did not vote for and didn't really believe had been elected in the first place his support. Because the country needed a leader, and he was the one we had, even if he wasn't the one he wanted. And in the first few days and weeks after those attacks, that President did pretty good. He exceeded the expectations of the vocal critic from North Carolina, and handled the worst crisis of my generation as well as could be expected. We won't discuss the seven years that followed, because they are actually beside the point.

The point is this - our country is now in a crisis of a different sort, but one that is no less real and will in the end directly affect more people than the first one. We have a new President, who has the opportunity to be a leader. I'd like to ask all my friends that didn't support Obama in his campaign and don't like anything he stands for to give him the same chance that I gave W. He might not be any good at anything. He might be just more of the same. He might be worse, and he might mortgage our future even more heavily to make today's balance sheet look better.

But he might be good for us. He might be able to do 1/3 of what he says he wants to do. And he deserves the benefit of the doubt for a little while. So give him a shot, even if you don't like him. If I can be big enough to do it for a President I hated, you can too. Then, if he screws up as bad as W, feel free to resume the hate.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bad Read, Good Outcome

That might have been the theme of my weekend. It was certainly the theme of two big hands I dragged the pot in.

Firstly - Special K raised preflop to $2.75 from early position. One caller before it gets to me on the button, where I had straddled to $1. I make the loose call of $1.75 with J6o, and the flop comes down a lovely J-6-x (x might = a king, but I don't really remember). K bets out, the other preflop caller folds, and I raise. I put him on AK or something of that nature. He thinks for a moment before he raised all in, and I call. He tables the first pair of aces he's seen since October (and I can attest to most of this, since I've been around for most of his sessions since October), and they've been cracked by some dumbass with J6o. The board doesn't pair and I double up.

Secondly - I don't remember any of the preflop action, but the flop came down with a king, and I had KJ soooted. Jim the Knife was firing on every street, and I was calling him down. I didn't feel like I could really re-raise with the Jack, but it was good enough to keep calling with. Everything finished out and Jim tabled a King as well, but no kicker. I didn't put him on anything that strong, but it was a good result. So my reads weren't spectacular, but the results were ok.

One hand where my read was good, and hand held up, went down a little like this. I'm in a blind. BadBlood raised, Jim called, and I looked down at 5d-2d. I remark that I have recently fallen in love with this trashy-assed hand, and make the call. The flop comes down 5-2-9 with two clubs, and I remark that I can't talk about how shitty my hand is, get a raggedy-ass flop like that and NOT bet out, so I bet out at it. Blood raised me, Jim moved all in over the top, and I had to have a nice long think about things. It took me a while, but I finally decided that Jim would make that move with a huge range of hands, and moved all in over the top for my last few pennies. Blood got out of the way, and Jim turned over the best and worst of all possible worlds for me - Kc-7c. I saw the flush draw, and did something I practically never do: I offered to run it twice.

It shows how snakebit I still feel about the last half of 2008 that I even offered to run it twice when I was a 64% favorite to win the hand. Jim agreed, and the board ran out club-free both times, leaving me to drag a huge pot. I finished up pretty significantly on the evening, making up for an awful showing the last time we had a game at my house. I thought about it later, and am still intrigued by my own offer to run it twice. It probably stemmed partially from playing at Blood's house the night before, where running it twice when there are big pots on the line is a fairly common occurence. It also stemmed from a sense of impending doom that goes back to last year, but the fact was that I was only on buy-in #1, and that's a pretty rare place for me to be that late in the evening.

So all in all it was a good weekend of poker, with me logging a rare pair of back-to-back winning sessions to put me back in the black for the year. It looks like the home game is on the road this weekend as your intrepid heroes head north into real hillbilly country to take on the games at the Tri-State race track in Charleston, WV. Lemme know if that's close to your neck of the woods (literally, woods) and we'll grab a beer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My first post of the new year

Is lame. I'm alive, but still have nothing interesting to say. Work is keeping me busy, and I'm actually pretty happy about that. I'm writing a good bit about the Aussie Millions over on PokerNews, so that's good. Caldwell resigned, that's kind of a bummer. I like John, and his cute wife and baby too. even though I haven't met the baby. But really, what's not to like about a baby?

I've played a little poker. It's all kinda sucked, so I'm stuck already. Headed south tomorrow night to play in a game where I am absolutely going to be one of the softer spots at the table. But who cares? I get to hang out with Otis, G-Rob, BadBlood, Brian the Red and Absinthe. And I hear there's some dude coming down from the mountains who might have written a thing or two about poker himself.