Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two Authors Two Books Today

Pauly's daily take on the WSOP is a must read.  Which makes he's opus on his journeys in Vegas something that should have been bought this morning.

Don't have the link?  I'll direct you to his site to provide.  Or click here for Lulu's site to purchase.

Kilt-donning, poem-slinging, home game crushing (ok two of those are correct).  Falstaff comes out on Lulu as well with his book Red Dirt Boy

Go now, go long, get the free shipping by combining the two!

High Stakes Golfing with Brunson and Tomko

While the poker-gasm is heading into the final turn with the WSOP Main Event coming soon, here's a chance to see some poker legends off the felt via interviews on high-stakes golfing.  If you did not catch the show tonight, there are links below the media lead:

The Golf Channel’s hit show, Golf in America, will be featuring interviews with Jack Binion, Doyle Brunson, Dewey Tomko and Mike Sexton about the high stakes world of betting on golf. The interviews are for a story about Bill Walters, the legendary gambler turned golf course property developer and his influence on the landscape in the city of Las Vegas. The show features. The show will air on the Golf Channel tomorrow, Tuesday, the 29th, at 9 p.m. ET.

Watch the preview here

And download the episode here.

Open Air Love

If you'll excuse the mixed metaphors and horrible spelling today as my workload has been a tad on the heavy side lately despite getting the two weeks off of school.  Three months ago the dates were circled on a calendar as my sister-in-law claimed some decent seats along the first baseline at the new Target Field.  Little did I know that picking up some work at Bluff Magazine along with my usual end-of-the-month final table wraps at the PokerStarsBlog would leave me with no sleep between pantsless reporting and champion spreadsheet jockey duties at the bullseye.  Boxer briefs with triscuit shavings were exchanged for a polo shirt and clean khaki slacks as the day of seeing major league baseball outdoors in Minnesota was a scant ten hours away.

After getting by on a concoction of green tea, migraine pills, and aerobic exercises that had my fellow cube dwellers taking second looks it was time.  This ride would be with the boys after my brother-in-law and E dropped in for a pre-game drink before heading down I-94 into the tip of downtown from the 4th Street exit.  Only briefly during the magical 1991 campaign had I seen the outskirts of a Minnesota stadium with such vibrancy.  The Metrodome was newer back then, hosting the 1987 World Series, NCAA Championships, and a Super Bowl in a short time span, but now sat dormant for the most part several blocks away as the Twins christened their new home several months ago.  After purposely parking on the rooftop to get a view of the new digs there was little reason to doubt why ticket prices went up.  Instead of a robotic sports game, you now got an open ambiance as seen by the huge jumbotron IN COLOR that peaked from the 5th street vantage point.

Target Field (link to original)

After getting down from the parking ramp, and crossing into Gate 29 sponsored by Treasure Island Casino we joined a sell out crowd for a Monday night game against the Detroit Tigers whom were just a half game off the pace as the Twins have been slumpping as of late.  The hallways jammed packed as people large and small donned Mauer, Morneau, and Punto jerseys.  And yes, one Favre jersey on a saddened 11 year old's face from the Iron Range hoping for football season to start with the silver fox behind our center once again.   

But, that's a few month away before the helga hat comes out of the closet, for now the boys of summer were about to take the perfectly manicured REAL GRASS field.  And what a view it is.  From section 107 row 17 (which you can get a virtual tour of from the Twins home site here, just plug in the numbers).  You don't get the blue skies and tasty chicken strips with a Summit Pale Ale to wash it down with but a glimpse at seeing baseball the way it should be viewed.  The flattened seating makes you feel as if you're ground level despite being 17 rows up.  The sell out crowd would never get a chance to start out with a roar after the repaired Francisco Liriano took the hill and promptly started batting practice while spotting the Tigers four in the first inning. 

I barely could move from my seat, but that was a personal choice, taking in every inch of the stadium as the Twins tried to claw from the 4-0 start. The pine trees in center, the Budweiser party deck similar to the rooftops our group has taken in at Wrigley for the past three years but built into the surroundings, and skyline views all made this an entertainment ticket, not just paying for the activity on the field.  Slugger on his last leg Jim Thome would place a ball over the left field fence, but it is not enough for the home team as they would lose 7-5.  Unlike year's past when most people would have labored up the steps before the last out, nearly all of the seats remained filled until the hometown hero blooped the last out into the 2nd baseman's glove.  After looking at the size of the crowd and seeing the clock hit 10:30 I figured it would be past midnight before getting safely back to the surburbs.  Color me surprised as my kid-marred Trailblazer was able to reach home a little after 11 as the streets flowed with little traffic unlike years past if the Metrodome acquired a sizable crowd and left many gridlocked for an hour past game time.

Worth the extra cost?  Absolutely.  Would do it again?  Let's wait till August when some friends from out-of-town drop by  :)  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Harder Than Rocket Science

While the sight of baseball from behind a field instead of kicking the lime-streaked foul ball lines is settling in, so is my appreciation for the effort being put forth on the diamond.  No longer is every swing and miss critiqued, rather it's stored for later use, much like seeing a tell at the poker table.  Eyes front and center, both hands on the follow-through, swinging thru the hips, all were shown last night.  The clouds finally broke the outcast skies as the sunshine forced the bleacher crews to become right fielders with hand visors trying to block out just enough light to see a line shot coming from the bat of their child. 

Appreciation of kids gets lost among the daily routine, the struggles of job security, and the inevitable times of a kid being a kid.  They don't shoot out with a grand knowledge of the world and it's societial rules of etiquite.  They're immature since they haven't made the mistakes that we have yet.  That doesn't prevent the scolding and losing patience of when one of those written or unwritten rules is broken.  The parent's mind breaks from logic for a few seconds and becoming a bubbling volcano only capped by a thin but iron clad lid of reason.  Yes, there's times when that lid is blown off and shoots towards Jupiter at the rate of a Stephen Strassburg fastball after the little footstep are heard coming down the hallway for the sixth request of a drink/book/movie/snack.  Out on the playing fields at the beginning of the season I lost that appreciation.  Focusing more on "he's better than that" rather than "I'm glad he's enjoying himself".  He could feel my glares but I was blinded by my tunnel vision of setting my son out there unmolded and him transforming into the best player on the field.

Then you kind folks wrote in on your own experiences with this, and it made me realize WHY I'm making the trek thru my parent's backyard that once held the tee box of a makeshift six hole golf course and up to the ball fields where Ricky Vaughn would have been impressed with my inability to throw it across the plate.  I am merely the hand that guides now, it is his decision to play and at what effort level he chooses.  If he wants to hit up the cages, we'll do that, have a catch in the backyard, let me get my glove, but it's his choice not mine.

Last night my boy hit the first pitch thrown to him without much effort and lined both of them hard.  His swing was fluid and I could tell there was a level of concentration going on unseen during that first game.  The person who needed to improve was the one wearing the size 13 shoes, not the size two.  While I'll still wince at the dropped balls, as long as I get that goofy smile with the thumbs up, I'll know there's a chance that both of us will become better in our respective roles and continue to enjoy each other for who we are.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Kids Listen Better to Directions

After reminding my co-workers in a different country of a work process for the fifth time in six months that causes corruption to a database when not followed I have no more words.  If you have a relaxing breathing technique you'd like to forward that does not involve giving birth I'd love it have it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carnival For Two

Are you an official college student for signing up or when grades are handed down at the end of a quarter/trimester?  While I failed to rush a decent frat or school classmates on the finer points of beer pong after a night of downing a half handle of Captain Morgan, my first of 14 quarters towards graduation is in the books.  Like most people working two jobs and going to school is a tad stressful and in dire need of stretching the day to about 32 hours so tired bodies can do more than complain about being tired.  My senior moments have come in more frequently, suddenly snapping awake after standing with the fridge door open handling a carton of eggs staring blankly at Sportscenter as they replay the missed World Cup call by Koman Coulibaly who replaced Jim Joyce as the goat of officiating in the United States.

The eggs were returned safely to the upper shelf to become a Ham/Sausage/Bacon omelette at a future time after the drool was mopped up from the sides of my face.  No one mentioned that pushing yourself to become more would ever be difficult, but sitting on my ass and watching potential seep thru my cubical chair would have left me with regret.  Facing my family daily knowing that I did not put up a fight would allowed the specter of depression to unlock the front doors and close the genuine smiles found every morning, unlike the fake ones seeing in the pictures hanging throughout the house from years past. 

For Father's Day, I'll focus on the weekend spent alone with the boy as we both got to indulge a bit with daddy not having to work or type up a paper until Sunday.  He already has an eye for video games much like his dad as bad weather found him inside playing on the Cartoon Network's site while I completed DragonAge on the PS3 for the second time.  When the sun came out the garage door was opened for heading up to the community pool to cannonball dive off some steam.  Well, for him, I found two towels, one lounge chair and drifted off while MILFs paraded in front my view point (best time of day for seeing cougars is around noon to two).  After a little time at the gym, which is a bitch to motivate yourself to go during the summer, it is time to hit up the Hennepin Country Fair.    Sadly, I've seen larger "fairs" put in the parking lot of our city's string of mini-malls.  Regardless of size, the agri-magician provided free laughs and a petting zoo highlighted by a Texan Longhorn not named Vince Young as Wyatt needed some coaxing to feed the rather rabid bunch of goats in the middle cages.  But after one chocolate and vanilla striped animal licked his hand clean of the grains, he didn't want to leave.

I should have stopped at the $1 cup of goat food. 

Instead I overspent on pop, cheese curds, and god-forsaken plastic swords in the run-down carnival section.  Thankfully exploding a Bombay gin bottle gave me a wide smile at the cost of $5 for nine balls, even the boy managed to throw one thru a used Budweiser and earned himself a Twitter-like stuffed bird which dominated the conversation for the balance of the car ride home.  While the "prizes" certainly were not worth the forty bucks spread amongst the well-worn games of chance but surprisingly good squeeky cheese curds, his smile over-shadowed the lost Jacksons very quickly.  

Money can always be replaced, those brief moments of a child's joy cannot. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Snowflake

Two people, two personalities.

Children would be easier to raise if they came out the same way, had the same sleep schedules, and refused to eat their veggies with the same pout.  One book written by a billionaire author would be given to you as you peer thru the tempered glass at the little blue or pink blanket to raise your child from ages 0 thru seven.  After seven the rules and guidelines would get thrown out with last night's party leftovers, but before then parenting is as easy as taking a stroll thru a beautiful Minnesota morning along the Mississippi.

People don't live in the Matrix however.  Instead you get a new book daily that is drafted on the fly with every temper tantrum and hug.  Never knowing which side of the behavior coin is going to hit the deck after sending little number three with your last name emblazed on his back.  Last night it was my turn to take on the new project of introducing my daughter to sports.  As you may have read here, this is the child who will make kool-aid in a bathroom sink, pile two rooms worth of pillows to reach a box of Wheat Thins/Chips/Oreo cookies then proceed to lick the middles off of each cookie and put the box back in place.  I think a large monetary tip to cover her Kindergarten teacher's psychiatric care may be needed for next year.  To say my daughter is "strong willed" wouldn't do it justice, it would be like calling Phil Hellmuth "a bit into himself".  If she wants something, and you don't want her to get it, duct tape and/or welding her door shut might prevent her actions for a few moments until she figured out how to MacGyver the obstruction using her Barbie Princess Beauty Kit and clothes hangers.

While the boy seems to be finding his stride after more "nice swing" than "bend the knees, chin up, elbow angled, etcetcetc" (thank you commentors), my daughter is going to take a different approach.  She doesn't feed off "nice swing" and regular encouragement, instead she will do her own thing until the rage of watching that little pink glove getting thrown to the ground happens for the 15th time ends with a kicking four year old getting hauled away to the car.  Although to her credit yesterday after the first 10 minutes of a Milton Bradley-like defiance, she let up and actually tried to scoop up a grounder while crouched in the hands-on-knees ready position for the remainder of the practice.  Its hard when your kid is the only one not waiting patiently in line and filtering thru like the others.  The stares of disgust from other parents do not bother me, but rather I feel as I'm failing her by not helping her become like the others.  Prim and proper are not in my daughter's vocabulary and maybe that's a good thing, as her intelligence leaks out in the form of not having any reservation to ask questions and try things when she doesn't understand.

Love her for who she is, but how does a parent mold such a child while not breaking the form that keeps her unique?  No, she's not a snowflake, but she's my kid and even while she's prone face down on the long patch of grass on Brittany Field and the urge to toss her in the SUV to drive away is seconds from happening, there's needs to be a way to enjoy her difference to my son's attitude, to the crew-cut boy next in line, to the red-headed girl already showing the freckles and alabaster skin.  Just one of a billion parents re-writing a parenting book that will never get drafted, and a billionaire author won't be able to publish those pages, due to the fact that each child IS unique.  And while my unique child did not earn Dairy Queen last night, she does me proud each day for being healthy and being herself.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

High(er) Rolling Rant

There were no less than three posts written this weekend while driving to the trailer/cabin in Hinckley.  Since my cell phone does not double as a mobile office and can barely receive text messages but can ass-dial certain writers to remind them to eat their veggies and be sure to have a clean plate after dinner, this space remained dormant aside from a poker brag on Sunday while tooling around in the afternoon.

While my low-rolling online self will not change anytime soon since our government insist on throwing wispy laws towards the likes of PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Bodog.  Rules that make it harder, not impossible for online degens to get their fix of four card crack and mega-satellites to the World Series of Poker Main Event.  The holy grail of satellites.  The endorsements.  BJ Nemeth and Flipchip taking YOUR picture with that pile of cash along side of an increasing better Norman Chad doing the post-game interview sometime after Minnesotans return to below zero temperatures.  That's November not August despite urban legends that it's cold up here.  It is, but it's a dry cold.

The UIGEA.  Is all about what's wrong with our government and aside from the political circus going on in g-Vegas' home state, the reason why this voter without a political affliation will ever pick a party to follow.  You, Bob Goodlatte, despite taking money FROM gambling sources sneak in a line detail that threatens the employement of my friends. You whine when people who even oppose gambling say it was backhanded and terribly obtuse law, and use your poltical ties to force others into this thinking.  As my friends have toiled in the Amazon room for the past few weeks, and will continue to do so until the November Nine are named, they are working for less and less as the ambiguity of this law prevents their sites from running a business without the threat of a FBI/CIA/Starsky and Hutch ban stick being waved over their heads and make the profits that they should be. 

While James Dempsey and Sammy Farha battle it out for the $10K Omaha Hi/Lo bracelet this morning, doubts of future events being so grand are in question.  By this time next year we could have the road laid out for legalization of online poker.  You know, something that several states have done legally in brick and mortar casinos/cardrooms and had prior to your nanny state law. This this isn't meth or some hard drug that currently gets you thrown in jail for possesion, instead this is a game that is dealt 24/7 in most states and at worse you get thrown to the floor for being an asshole after slow-rolling the nuts on that 85 year old Korean War vet who caps his cards with a Purple Heart while playing $2/$4 limit daily with a huge "I'm a 10 Percenter" button over his black suspenders. 

There's no law against being a dick, but there is one because some people choose to play virtually versus driving 45 minutes (or more) to play live.  Stop being a dick Bob and let people play how they choose versus how you and your morally twisted backers think everyone should act with THEIR MONEY.  Do I walk into congress and demand you cease plunking down $50K+ on that country club membership, or a third Porsche because I think it's a waste of money?  No.  You earned it, you get to spend it.  Just like this weekend after a friend's advice to "Bet More", I did so.  Playing $25 to $75 hands of blackjack and Pai Gow for three hours with money I earned through my second job.  The rush for someone who normally makes less than $20/hour was worth more than the $300 I took away from the high stakes area and got a touch of the high life even if it was in a backwater casino located in a fly-over state.

My money, my choice.  Your money, your choice.  This is America, land of freedom to fuck up if you want to, stop being a hypocrite.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

PLO: I Fail To Suck again

Missed my son's baseball practice and was worried I was going to min-final table cash as I came into the last nine with the least amount of chippies.


We don't post pictures of min cashes here

Oberdonk had me at least four to one HUs holding just five big blinds. I took the extra $50 to chop it up and the small timer had another decent score under his belt. Sorry again for the dust rising in this space as my last week of school's first quarter ends and well, there's some work to do aside from the three jobs I've been juggling. And dropping the ball on my head this point would make those mornings of not being able to see straight all for naught.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Steps in Parenting: Smiles

Busy much?


While personally I consider myself further outside the World Series of Poker than Pokerati, seeing that I do my "reporting" without pants and nor to I subject myself to the air conditioned Amazon room for 18 hours a day, I am no less rushed as the circus of cards parades in Las Vegas.

But, there are two little ones at home that don't get to see all the spreadsheets, inane meetings about planning a meeting, or the four a.m. Monday morning deadlines for that third job you picked up to stay fresh with work that you actually enjoy doing.  They are not privy to the corporate ladder, traffic jams, or why mommy and daddy could really use a drink after a day at the zoo.  Lately a sense of growing-up as a parent has been trickling in-between the late-night study sessions, subbing for softball games that have been "forced" to go to (batting a clean 1.000 in four games with 17 hits thank you very much) since speaking to nothing but Microsoft Excel and degenerate poker players could render a human into a ball of doing nothing but charting out historical data on lime tossing bets 24 hours a day.

Kids get to see daddy laying on the ground as a perfect opportunity to pounce, to question, to use as a pillow.  They don't care about the two hours of sleep a night for the past four days, and nor should they, because work and play for a parent has the kids in mind first.  Sure the hard-working bread winners need to kick back on a side porch with nothing but a microbrew hitting the back their throats, as I will be in two days since my plans to see a group of friends in Vegas has officially fallen thru thanks to airlines who wish to charge the equivilent of a black market healthy liver for a short flight to the nation's capital on sin.

That's in two days, yesterday yet another step in parenting took place in my poor excuse for a backyard.  I think landscaping companies check out Google Earth and see my dirt lined yard, drooling at the prospect of trees that need to be uprooted and infinite rows of sod to lay.  It was in the patch of grass that my son stood in a batter's ready position with the newly erected ball trampoline behind him to act as a surrogate catcher since his mother was pitching and I took to the field to play all seven positions behind her. 

That's when I saw it.

The smile.

It came briefly after a hard liner nearly headed deep into the trees that separate our land from a pond and some townhouses.  Then came back with every swing hit or air.  If you want an example of such a smile, and perhaps a perfect frame of one, look no further than Speaker's AJ in the bottom of this post. You can read the words too, I hear he puts together words in a readable manner (THATS INTERNET SARCASM), really read the post then enjoy the smile.

Parents know that there is one reason you go through the arguments of cleaning up the playroom, blood pressure raising rants about changing their mind after ordering food, and the endless shuttles to a new activity.  It's that smile.  Some parents think throwing toys, movie, and amusement parks in their faces will allow their lips to curl upwards.  True, it will but I akin that to a rub and tug versus real sex with another human that you've known for awhile.  It's a fake-ish smile so to speak, the genuine grin comes out after a sense of accomplishment, like yesterday when Wyatt's fluid swing started connecting or after he came in the house and instead of going thru a Tom Emanski video worth of things he could improve on I geuninely praised him on the fact he was moving towards the ball, reach out with his glove, and moving the bat in more than one linear motion thru the box.

The next game is tomorrow, and a different father along with a different son will show up to have a different outlook on the same field in my parent's backyard that I grew up on wearing jersey #9 with B & M Video layed across the front of it.  And both of us will have that smile regardless of balls dropped or being told to take a seat after so many swings because it isn't about becoming the next Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasberg it's about smiling and enjoying the little time you get to spend with each other.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June 1st = Internet Poker's Y2K?

If you worked in IT on December 31st, 1999 than term "Y2K" would probably set off a series of flashbacks of not watching your female friends flash their boobs after doing that 5th round of Irish car bombs at the New Year's party but instead sitting huddled around fellow geeks hoping your company's mainframes wouldn't suddenly go tits up and eat itself.

The world did not end, computer problems were minimal, and I was still eight months away from being a legally married man despite becoming a homeowner just two weeks prior.

Now that the Internet Poker version of Y2K has come to past, will the UIGEA's ugly "due date" has come and past but as of right now (7:30pm CST) PokerStars has 187,183 players on 29,660 tables and Full Tilt has 88,844 players on 27,304 which doesn't seem like everyone got the fuck out of dodge and are continuing to play.  For now, a sea of calm even at 2 + 2, whose official June 1st thread doesn't show a lot of panic, except for a popular credit card option being cut off.  I for one have never used a credit card to deposit so I wouldn't know about such things.

Still, I have a (large for me) paycheck coming to me in the next few days from SCOOP, and was hoping someone in the 2+2 thread would have chimed in about any problems with cashing out.  No worries.  I can still play in the WSOP this year if my heart desires such action unlike this douchecanoe who pulled something akin to trying to put a hand in the till of an open register at the 7-11 while the cashier tried to make you a Big Gulp.

I hope there was an angry mob of player waiting to give him a beat down for trying to steal another player's chips.

Poppy Day

For most Americans yesterday was a day of rest.  A day of reflection.  Many of us were hurrying around after enjoying the weekend filled with family and friends huddled around grilled meats and cold beer thanks to those who we'll never see nor hear about unless their name and face show up during the six o'clock news to report their death in the Nuristan providence of Afghanistan as a result of a war that no two people can explain in exact words as to why we are there.

That is now, even while considering myself a grown man physically and somewhat finanically since there's a mortgage, car payment, and a weekly paycheck from a corporation where many of you drop by to get low prices on toilet paper, I still couldn't go up to my father and ask why he chose to serve our country in the manner he did.  Personally that was not a choice since my deaf ears and near blind eye prevented any notion of donning the eagle, globe, and anchor like my father, three uncles, grandfather, and great-grandfather before him.  Instead I silently salute these men who flew over Hanoi, or dug foxholes deep in Korea with no other political gambit in mind other than "save our country".  Soliders do not have luxury of knowing the why they are there, nor are they supposed to question it (you could watch a scene from "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise going on about disobeying a direct order and it's importance) unless there's a man or woman in fatigues nearby to cite references for you in perfect dictation.

These soliders live by the Code of Conduct, where they voluntarily give their lives so that people like me could freely take yesterday and bike down a clean back path to a sand filled park on a day that was meant to be spent outdoors.  To watch two kids huddle near a dirt patch, crouching down low to examine the lengthy earthworm and its slow movement in the black earth.  The freedom to fill it with school, work, a second job, and family time because men and women of our country decided in their life to kiss their loved ones good bye in order me to make those choices.

"I choose" is a short but powerful saying.  One that people don't always take a step back and see that option is available to them but it's there.  You choose to work that second job until 4am, so that your kids can have that private school education and learn a second language or get prepped to enter a better college before being able to cut their own steak.  You choose to sit on the couch while wanting a better figure.  You choose to work in a job where many other depend on your innovation, your leadership, your time.  Americans get those choices because there are those who operate with little more than a name patch and a symbol of rank around the world to give us those choices.

For that I am graceful for the men and women across the nation who serve and die for our country and if I was a praying man, I'd send one your ways to help your safe return so that you can enjoy the sunshine on a park bench while watching the lives of people you gave those freedoms to.