Thursday, May 27, 2010

Steps in Parenting: Sports

Getting to the office a few hours before most people show up gives a chance to stroll thru a mostly open parking lot and a few moments to take in scenery without glares of possible mental health problems from another corporate drones.  No cars zooming thru the front road, sprinklers saturating the bits of grass between the concrete dividers, and a smoke monster waffing thru the edges of once sizable marsh that now has a center of ledger balancing for an unnamed retail store standing in the middle.  It's a scene out of your favorite zombie movie, 28 Days Later sticks out in my mind despite my horrible attempts at a British accent.  The pavement is calm, no other walks of life within an corrected eye-sight radius just morning calm before the storm of deadlines and deciphering emails from people who speak English as their second or third language. 

Its the quiet walk that allows 10 minutes of reflection, breathing the fresh air before stuffing one's self into a cubical with pumped in freon to battle the near-summer humidity.  Before retiring last night I got to watch my son's first at bat from a thrown ball on the camcorder we had purchased around Christmas time but have only used sparingly and looked in disgust.  There he was holding the bat a little bit differently than practiced in the backyard over the last couple of years, knuckles not making the straight line, knees looking a bit stiff, and eyes more focused on the pitcher rather than the softened red-stiched ball they use. He would swing a total of ten times, feebly fouling off a few like Nick Punto having to face Mo Riveria but mostly finding air.  No stomping, no throwing the bat, just continued patience of trying again and again to get one between the chalk.

But, that wasn't my source ire watching the video.  It was the little figure in the polo shirt on the third base line behind the fence.  It was the father of that kid with gestures of WHY, turning around not understanding the seemingly smooth swing not connecting with the ball, embarrassed with his child's lack of skill as other parents tried to watch and wait for their little tikes turn. 

The embarrassment was on me.  I hated that person for not encouraging his son more, the fact that the much more mature baseball player wore the number three on the purple shirt with gold lettering that cost $5 more.  The player who could have packed it in after five whiffs instead gutted it out until he was directed to the bench and told to try again the next loop thru the numerical order was the man on the field not that selfish s.o.b. wincing in the background. 

Maybe it's due to this new parenting step of seeing my little athletes run around outside my body with my last name and wanting success before years of practice, wanting the natural home run swing and dedication to the sport laid out on a particular day.  The horrible feeling of becoming "that dad" when all I wanted to see was a smile on his face made me wonder if showing up for the games is a good idea.  My negative presence could not have helped in the least, only damaging the passing of the love of the diamond on to my son and daughter.  Time will tell if the asshole in the stands can take his son at face value and encourage what is there instead of trying to force what isn't.

Good thing there's a blog to talk to myself without worries of a doctor trying to cram Clonazepam down my throat.  And being able to reflect on a short walk is more therapy than that $250/hour master of the DSM could offer.  Now the part will reside in the father growing up to be the nurturing parent versus heckling fan.  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Opposite of sleep

If this were a poker post, I'd throw in a thought about lucksacking my way to a win with the bloggers this weekend.  No, not in the BBT 5, as the talented pen of Jeremiah Smith erased me in the long line of bad luck I've had in these tourneys with another bad beat.  Thanks again to Al Cant Hang and Poker From the Rail for their great set up in sending a few bloggers to the WSOP on their dime once again.

Instead I spent the weekend that was supposed to be "let's-let-daddy-catch-up-on-sleep-weekend".  Well, everyone who said life slows down after marriage and kids can lick my humidity induced sleep-deprived taint that does not feel quite as bad as the adolescent shown below (thank you Olivia Munn and Attack of the Show for providing some laughs but damn that sounds painful):

The humidity did not help my "day off" in which I got to play parent for four kids from 6am - 1pm at my parent's home which still employs the "open the freezer door for air conditioning" standard.  Fine for persons with access to pouring themselves a drink every 15 minutes, not so good for a 6 month old toddler or persons who had to calm said screaming toddler. 

Not fun.

Continued fun on the day consisted of watching my daughter "play" t-ball for the first time.  Still dazed and confused like a med student forced to take their MCATs from a reflection on a funhouse mirror as "Paradise" is blown thru 5 18-foot speaker towers, I was a looking forward to watching my baby tune up for her future ticket to college via softball.  Instead, of some Pete Rose-esque hussle I got to watch this:

Except Ramirez actually keeps his cap and glove on and doesn't demand his hair be put up in a different pony tail every five minutes.  Sit on the infield?  Check.  Throw glove?  Check.  Pout?  CheckCheckCheck.  Need a drink?  This one I don't really her because it was hot, but the kids did get a break every ten minutes while she took one every five.  Thanks to the Patti LaBelle diva showcase on the field, daddy and the family did not get the promised dilly bars from Dairy Queen on the ride home, instead we were treated to more crying and whining. 

But, like any responsible parent after tucking in the offending child, a loooooooong pull off a handle in a relaxing chair made the silence sound like a peaceful orchestra playing a sweet, airfilled melody to let the torn body heal up for June which is shaping up to be just as crazy as May.  If anyone has a handy replacator I could use about three of myself next month.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

If I win does that make me a slut?

This was not skill, this was getting hit with the deck. Great group of bloggers I'm assuming as I saw the twitter feed announce the tourney so I joined in. I apologize for the lack of posting around here as three weeks straight of working at the bullseye and on SCOOP has left me with a half of brain cell which I'm killing at this moment via Captain and Coke.

Be back soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coming up after the plunge

There's the anticipation of a big event.  The waiting for the excitement, exhaustion, and unknown to take place at a future date.  Much like intaking a deep breath before plunging off the high dive, the thrill of letting gravity do it's thing before crashing thru the cool water and remaining under the liquid until the lungs burn for some air.

For some time now there was two weeks blocked off my calendar as it was last year during the Spring Championship of Online Poker or SCOOP as it may have been mentioned 15 millionteen times here.  While it was just another gig for my friends, for me it marks the two times during the year that I get to hold my breath and play a part that while it becomes increasingly familiar still is foreign and exciting for someone who usually spends a day doing very rote work on set timetables.  My name next to theirs is like a list of words and you're supposed to find which one is different or doesn't belong in the string.  They are professional writers and rightfully so as time and time again their craft is appreciated with our admittedly small niche market of poker fans who still get the thrill of having those hundred thousand dollar turn cards described to them.

So what am I doing there?  An accounting dunce by trade, but a degenerate gambler and lover of cards/poker after the parenting pants come off at night.  Maybe it's because my writing comes out fuller when speaking about subjects that touch me a little to provide a tiny spark for words.  Yes, I still go "DAMN!" when someone busts on a nasty beat (but when writing final table wraps you secretly cheer for those eliminations).  As with my prior experiences with SCOOP and WCOOP at PokerStars, this one was no different, I have the same happy exhausted face today after writing up 23 wraps and helping with Short Stack Shamus on a quick final table live blog for the Main Event (won by toetagU for $1.1 million).

Heck, I even played a little playing in four events and won a few a bucks after cashing in the PLO rebuy and the Main Event-Low all for a total of $30 in buy-ins thanks to a free ticket to two events and a satty win for a HORSE tourney. 

Now there's been time to exhale, for me at least as my friends are already gearing up for their biggest assignment for the year with a little thing going on in Vegas for the next month and half. (according to the Harrah's countdown clock, just 10 days away?!?!). I wish them the best on their journey to the Rio this summer and hope they continue to entertain us with the sights and feels of the massive Amazon room filled with poker players playing chess while holding chips and other playing a slot machine with the five board cards to come.

I of course wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a certain G-Vegas suburban warrior who plucks me from the bullpen, hands the ball over and gives me a swat on the ass with some encouraging words as I stared down the next final table wrap like a middle reliever coming in mid-game.  While I do not possess skull and crossbone imprinted glasses, I akin it to this:

Hey they even get the number right. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

SCOOP Main Event: I sucked but less than 17,469 others

While I won't be fullifiling the dream of hacking my SCOOP ME-Low write up with some third person narratives, I did manage to turn my freeroll from the media tournament into a 1719th place finish in the tournament.  Good for most of a ticket to Las Vegas if I wished such things.

I do wish, but this string long nights is hurting my soften brain and the last thing I need is burn-out especially since I may have some extra duties coming around my door during the WSOP found a different source.

Coupled with two kids driving their mother thru a wall of wailing and finger wagging all weekend, and well a mental health day or two in Vegas might be the right tonic. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Work means some play

A little work and a little play this evening.

Thanks to my lovely bride bringing the kids up to the cabin, I'll be home alone for the weekend while working SCOOP, and since it's a short night (NLO8 with 10 minute blinds) thought I'd treat myself to a tourney as well.

Starting table?

Yep, that's the Michael Mizrachi :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A different kind of redemption

Red: These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized.

Heywood: Shit. I could never get like that.

Prisoner: Oh yeah? Say that when you been here as long as Brooks has.

Red: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyway.

My first day back to cubical land there was an envelope with my name and my mailbox address with cube city.  After plowing thru a mountain of emails of go-ons while I partook in a spring vacation of sorts, the envelope was getting lonely and needed to be opened since the usual plastic toys of de-motivation a rubber binder encouraging you to get healthy, a stuffed animal promoting the new baseball stadium, or a ruler with the words "You Measure Up!" (I know I do, and my wife loves me for it POW!).
Inside was a piece of paper folded over hastily twice with black and white lettering stating "YOU ARE APPRECIATED!".  After opening the fold a business card fell out saying I could receive a free health pellet if I rung the bell down at the cafeteria.  Inside the "card" was a "THANK YOU!" written in block 64 sized Arial Unicode font with the copied signature of a manager so far removed from my position I'd met her only thru large multi-departmental meetings. 

My choice of poster:  Jessica Biel
Despite my fingers currently moving outside my conscious thought and still struggling to calibrate my body to an upright position after working a string of nights that blended into morning, I yearned to be on my couch eating triscuits at seven a.m. finishing up a piece on how someone took $11 and turned it into $45,000 by flipping over virtual poker cards for 16 hours.  I don't have a poster of Marilyn Monroe or Raquel Welsh laid across my cell.  Instead there's photos of my family that protect my hand-dug tunnel in which I move deftly back-and-forth from when I am called.  Crawling through that tunnel while carefully dragging behind me in a waterproof tarp tied to my foot by a length of rope, whatever stream of pop culture and as many witty remarks one can make as the virutal cards fall the same but different ways.    
Red: [narrating] Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can't squeeze a drop without say-so.

Do I despise "working for the man"?  Not at all, I enjoy the people here, I like the company otherwise I wouldn't still be here after being employed there for almost half of my life.  Heck, I'm going back to school for a better position here. But, there are walls.  Those walls file people into their places of expertise to carve out profit for the collective in the most impersonal way possible beyond the immediate co-workers which you share break times and grazing days of bringing in your mom's freshly baked banana bread for everyone to share.  Beyond that you are an ID number, a slot under which accountants list you as a salary and insurance expense.  Some people live their whole lives under that guise that the company appreciates them by receiving little trinkets and a free fruit cup.  They work their 30 years, draw a pension to pay for cable, and move off to a double-wide in an Arizona retirement community to play bridge at the rec room for a dime a point on Thursdays.
But, I wanted more when someone gave me a rock hammer a few years ago.  I wanted to do something that maybe perhaps only a few people read but least it would have my name and my creativity (or lack of) listed under the by-line.  It meant sacrifice of time and a few "no, I need to leave early tonight" but the return on the time investment cannot be measured tangibly.  Getting personal thanks, being able to hoist a beer with those who were up with your in those wee hours and share a story related to the cards or how their daughter managed to paint half the bathroom with fingernail polish after passing out after a long morning half way through Cinderella on DVD (that one happened on Friday).  You feel as part of a team, unlike the emblazment of a serial number connected to several passwords to perform work with zero personalization required nor wanted.
Red: [narrating] Andy Dufresne - who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

I am honored to work with such folks as Otis, Dr. Pauly, Change100, Short Stack Shamus, Falstaff, Jen Newell, and F-Train who bring the poker news daily to your doorstep without possiblity of your neighbor's sprinkler or cutie wittle woof-woof rendering the paper illegible.  These are professionals and importantly friends and for a couple of weeks a year that tunnel opens up for an amateur to slide thru and enjoy the open air.  I hope you have enjoyed the coverage of SCOOP at the PokerStarsBlog thus far as week two is half way thru and I'll be starting up again on Friday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scoopin to Truckin

Real life was put on the back burner for the past week or so, but still managed to squeeze a trip to the trailer, birthday party for my princess, and a mother's day breakfast for 20 that people surrounded me while I closed the books after working thru the night on some donkey who overplayed pocket deuces for SCOOP at the PokerStarsBlog.

I have a post about the past week swirling at the moment but remaining upright without a case of Sobe energy or other pharmmies that are on the FDA's approved list is a tad taxing at the moment.

Instead I encourage you to read something much more substantial and worth a few minutes to read and re-read:  This month's edition of Truckin'.

If you read here (and maybe that guy in the #5 slot has wrote something here before), I'm sure there's a few familar faces popping up in this month's edition between the dick extension and tranny call girl ads:

1. Uncle Louie by Paul McGuire

He used to be full of life and love and generosity, but no more. These days, he was capable of saying horrendous things that made you feel like you were three inches tall. He had the madness of an angry blind dog... More

2. State Line by AlCantHang

It has never once failed me when I yell "OY!" and look like I'm going to eat your next born. People generally shrink away even though I barely reach 5-foot-nothing. Not once in my life had it failed, that is, until the "old dude" took a fucking swing at my gourd... More

3. If You're Gonna Lose, Lose Big by Broseph

I was starring at their boobs and I got the idea of maybe trying some threesome action. It's a tough bridge to cross, and I had no idea where to start. I decided to just start making out with Gwen and hoped that would work... More

4. American Hero by Dawn Summers

The skies were just this shade of pitch black at nine in the morning. The rain was slamming against my windows. And the wind, oh the wind huffed and puffed and tried to blow my house down... More

5. Self by Drizz

With a "normal" middle-income life that most Americans live grinding out work for the man and making enough scratch to satisfy the needs and wants, there’s hardly time to take a step back and enjoy this existence... More

6. In Between Fighting Souls by Tenzin McGrupp

My quagmire of a life resembles
A wretched Fox sitcom,
A Shakespeare play,
A black and white Woody Allen film.
Except that Joey Buttafucco is the lead actor
And stands forty-five pounds overweight... More

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Perfect Game Thrown

Just as Dallas Braden was getting the 27th out of his perfect game, I was doing something that I haven't done in recent times. Ok, probably longer than my kids being born or growing arm pit hair for the first time.

Making the final table, five places paid

After a long grind six handed with me having to shovel manure to steal blinds I found pocket queens

You're serious, the 15 aces in the deck didn't hit?

Yes sir, playing in the same tournament I'll be covering at PokerStarsBlog

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Vegas Turns Four

Cheers to you honey.  May your Tinkerbell pinata be filled with candy and money and your screams be muted for just one day because daddy is a bit tired this week.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

2010 SCOOP Mid-week check in

Sorry if I've neglicted these pages but SCOOP is in full swing meaning late nights and early mornings while covering this madness puts a crimp on other activities.

Here's what I have worked on thus far (and one more write up due for Event #8 which at this point isn't finishing any time soon):

Event #1-Medium

Event #2-Medium
Day 1
Day 2

Event #4-Low

Event #5-High

Event #7-Low

Be back soon folks with something more than the air I'm puffing right now.