Friday, August 16, 2013

The $50,000 Epiphany

It has been over a month since I walked down the aisle at Roy Wilkins arena to take home a gold stamped leather binder showing the Rasmussen College school crest (Doctrina, Concretio, Successio with a rockin Moose for a mascot) with a piece of cardboard that set me back around $50,000.  My wife sat in the upper deck besides her dad and my parents of 38 years, all of whom I owe my life to both figuratively and literally.  Sure I opened the padded folder a few times just to see if my name in fancy calligraphy proclaimed that my time as a student has ended and new path would present itself after shaking the hands of an academic dean I never met and would never see again.

Willingly give up 3.5 years of sanity and free-time to break a corporate glass ceiling that might as well been made out of Kevlar wrapped around the insulation used for the Space Shuttle seemed like a much easier task sitting over a bonfire in northern Minnesota.  It didn’t take Toby Robbins or Henry Rollins to shout in my ear that stasis was slowly killing whatever momentum this life had after breaking out of the haze of a head injury.  Sure, work was going in the right direction with accolades and praise for taking on extra work for the same pay while staying in the poker blogging game covering every –COOP tournament series PokerStars could come up with.  Giving up at this point would have been a trout slap in the face to me and anyone who invested even a nice word in my general direction.

There was no need for a life coach or religious schema to tell me that God would guide my rum-soaked soul to the promise land of fiscal and conscious independence if certain rules of life were followed.  What was needed was another complete detachment from day-to-day life, not completely unlike a certain wheel-assisted ride down Las Vegas Boulevard.  Letting go of a secure job for the chance to become that skinny third grader with the bowl cut and bright blue eyes who could shout out multiplication answers so fast some kids didn’t even try to contest.  Until a few weeks ago, that kid represented the last time I felt whole.

Strangled by insecurity despite a good, solid base at home, I let assholes into my head to plant doubt strong enough to grow a stalk to take Jack up into the clouds for his fight with the giant.  Every glance at a mirror was one of pity and pain wondering if life was supposed to feel that way.  There was no Facebook or Twitter back then to seek out a group of like-minded individuals who perhaps were struggling with similar depressive depths.  Maybe for the better as the brutal landscape of social media likely would have been more devastating than a chant during recess about the inability to hear and communicate like a normal elementary school student.  In retrospect it’s easy to look back on such events and blow it off like a flame on a birthday candle.  As a parent it is easy to go “you know what, in [XX] years you won’t even care or remember how kids at recess made fun of you”.  Yeah, 30 years later after the most amazing stretch of personal advancement, I’m sitting on a couch secure with my skin recalling a bunch of fourth graders throwing around a partly chewed up Nerf football not letting me play with them anymore.

I remember being curled up against the brick underneath the newly painted letters proclaiming the building was Cedar Island elementary during most recesses just wishing I could hide in the library despite my love for sports.  Thanks to my bump on the headspot I cannot recall many good times except for a select few that I follow on Zuckerberg’s peep show that allows me to feel good about their new step into parenting, offer condolences to the death of a parent, or question their life choices while posting a selfie with a Green Bay Packers jersey on.

The core of this whole epiphany was not receiving that $50,000 piece of cardboard or what it took to get to that moment that was captured by that offers a SPECIAL DEAL of only $50 UNITED STATES DOLLARS FOR A DIGITAL PRINT MUST ACT NOW!!!!  Seriously, the grad is probably strangled by the amount of debt they just ran up for the past four/five years, do you really thing they have $119.99 for the specially embossed 3-D pic of them wearing an article of clothing that will get used the same amount of times a wedding gown does?  Fuck. Off. 

Sorry.  That’s a rant for another time (luckily my father-in-law takes awesome life stills without directing me to a credit application for the honor of possessing one of them).

As I sit here now into my third drink and re-finding my love for writing in non-APA formatted structures, or any grammatically positive formations for that matter, I see a lot of good in my future despite this new debt sitting over porch’s roof.  Just like when entering adulthood, parenthood, or maybe a familiar neighborhood time is supposed to slow down.  No more parties that end up with a threesome in a cardboard box while others are discussing the superiority of grape over cherry Kool-Aid on a deck at 5am while waiting for McDonald’s to open to grab a Sausage McMuffin and hash brown (yes I’m old enough to remember the golden arches when they actually closed for the evening).  The epiphany came down hard yet landed softly into my timeline.  Stop rushing, hug more, accept more, put up with less.  Enjoy yourself or no one else will, stop expect each day will be filled with glowing unicorns blowing rainbows and perfectly distilled vodka out of their asses.  There will be times you will not like your spouse, there will be times a parent will want to take a full roll of duct tape and stick their tantrum-filled kid on the roof of a jet liner bound for Sri Lanka, there will be times that make a person question is it worth it.

It is.

Life may seem like shit if the manager just informed the department of cutbacks, a best friend suddenly goes AWOL from the friendship, or finding out that Axe Dark Temptation body spray really does not turn panties moist from grinding on that very special lady in the navy blue tank top with three visible bra straps and frayed daisy dukes when Blurred Lines takes to the DJs rotation at TGI Friday’s.  I thought like this for waaaaaaaaaaay too long and it hurt my relationship with my wife, my kids, and my friends.  Opening eyes to notice, hey people may seem ok through the veneer paneling they present in public, but likely have the same insecurities and issues about Christian Ponder throwing forward passes that you do.  Yes, I will struggle to upkeep this new direction but its better to state it and point a finger in the mirror call one’s self out on their bullshit versus not realizing it at all.

This scribbling tonight is the result of writing this post over and over in my head for the past month but never breaching the gate of turning on Microsoft Word to bang out 1,223 now 1,224 words.  At first it was a cautionary tale of after-college doldrums of how college students are not prepared for the utter financial clusterfuck they are about to enter (I just got my “guide to paying your student loan” from the college BEFORE getting my official degree).  But, to expound on this when I am relatively better off (married, just got promotion which breach previously mentioned glass ceiling, and no credit card debt) seemed very hypocritical since I’m not in the same fiscal state as a 22 year old trying dig their way out of the well-used county fair demolition derby port-a-potty of bank interest on top of their student loans while job humping LinkedIn,, and mom’s good friend who owns a collection agency might hire the bachelor of accounting as a financial relief consultant to those that have not paid their Citibank Student MasterCard in two years or more.   

Instead a few words came out about the stressed yet calm currently in this author’s life.  My kids love the fact that daddy does not need to sit behind a laptop and expound on the different moral viewpoints of Martin Luther versus Immanuel Kant as it relates to a reversing subledger accounting journal entry.  My wife gets her friend back instead of the highly strung, over-sexed husband.  Well, he still wants sex just not at a Bree Olson pacing and enjoying quiet nights together to critique the Chopped contest’s use of pickled deer hooves as a base for the dessert round. 

Personally it’s a new life, one that should have started 15 years ago as a fresh out of college student but I wouldn’t trade my life experiences for anything, except a Vikings Super Bowl win and maybe some MN State Fair cheese curds with Dogfish 90 minute IPA to wash it all down.  But my life is just that my life.  It is not yours, nor should I or anybody tell you how to get to your one of many destinations.  Judging others for not making enough, like the story I heard at work about a young accountant working 12-13 hour days 5-6 days a week at a Big Four firm and being judge for leaving “early” because he actually had a life outside the office, seems short-sighted by most but some are driven to such career aspirations.  Yes, I was initially aghast but know that I should try to learn from both sides of such a situation.  Hey, if you want to retire by 45 and rock your millionaire lifestyle, go at it until those zeros pile up on the bank statement because that person is getting to where their goal path ends.  No different than my route to a bachelor’s degree while maintaining some degree of social interaction with my family and friends. 

And getting the college degree was not my goal.  My goal was to get to this point and being able to see that cute third grader again in the mirror before the glasses, acne, and depression.  I wanted to like myself again versus panning for praise from those around me. Yes, it cost $50K, yes it took almost four years, but I sit on this beige couch in suburbia-land with a sweaty Captain and Coke after tucking in the kids that I enjoy being me and accept the faults and awesomeness that come from it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day One

Not heading to Vegas but seemed appropriate and for whatever reason my head wanted to wake up at 3:30am to debate whether a man would rather lose all of his digits or his big (or perhaps not-so-big) digit Theon Greyjoy-style.  The debate was set at a deadlock as losing the sense to touch things and touch pretty things with your penis seemed cruel.  Thank you for the kind words on Monday.

Take it away Carnie, Wendy, and Chynna.

One day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 4

No excuses (honestly I really wish I could have kept this journal because holy shit did I hit some emotional craters).  Just these words that represent one of the last three papers I will write as an undergrad.

The topic is the phrase "every photograph is a self-portrait" and needed to be only a page long.

Self-Portrait of Opinion
On a personal level I have lived better in the last few years due to my experiences in the past.  Having a traumatic head injury 13 years ago locked me into a prison of reliance on others, unable to act out socially with friend or emotionally with my wife and new child.  Five years ago the abatement of concussion symptoms finally rusted the iron bars of seizures and light-sensitivity giving me a second chance at a productive life.  Since that time I set myself goals in self-improvement, some large, some small.  The first stop was regaining the ability to drive as my license was taken away due to the seizure spells.  After gaining my picture on a Minnesota state ID, I decided to inquire about hearing aids to enhance my social skills.  Unlike my hearing aids worn in high school, these brought out the songs of birds and my children’s voices as if they were speaking to me for the first time.  Lastly, my three and a half year journey to improve my financial and professional worth will come to a close as of June 22nd, 2013.  Graduating from college is a journey that started as a high school graduate of Osseo Senior High gaining entry to Arizona State University and realizing that money sometimes can knock our life’s course off onto a different road.  The phrase “every photograph is a self-portrait” means to gather all of the experiences plus the personality of an individual into their critique of an image.  My journey through life thus far is not the same as a person who may read this paper, much like my thoughts on a photograph would be different than that of the same reader. 
            For example, if I looked at picture of my family’s home and described its surroundings, I would do so with pride as we have put a lot of work into our house by trimming aging trees, replacing windows and siding, and put on a brand-new roof.  A person with financial wealth may look at my home in disgust, pointing out how small it is with splintered wooden beams in the entryway or the cracked blacktop driveway.  Or someone who is poor and unable to afford their own home may see it as an unattainable castle with perfectly lined bushes guarding the basement floor.  The cash-strapped individual may also look at a picture of the backyard to see a large half-acre of wooded land and marvel about all the space.  Whereas the rich may turn their noses up at the choppy, weed-riddled landscape and weathered shed that could use some paint.
            “Every photograph is a self-portrait” is saying “this is how I view the world from my perspective”.  My recent experiences in life have left a scar that I am proud of and will allow for growth in the years to come.  Because that growth my perspective on paintings and other photographs now would not compare to that angst-ridden person coping with the darkness of a head injury.  Even the same person could (and should) have two different opinions on a photograph at different times in their life.  

Four days.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

50 days

She stood no more than arm length’s away trying not to look at the task at hand. Lightly colored face with a nose stud and auburn hair hidden with a bun. Her shirt was slightly ajar with button hanging to the left revealing a hint of carefully selected lacy underthings.

The whole thing?” she asked in genuinely surprise voice like she’s never been told this before

I want all of it” as I pointed in a downward motion leaving no question as to my intention

She licked her cherry red lips moving slowly forward, never taking her eyes off mine.

I returned the stare with a devilish grin of satisfaction after being pended up for this moment.

Her eyes grew gently softer as her hands reached their destination.

Thank you for the big tip, most people around here stiff us”.

No problem” I said as I walked away with my two servings of mostaccioli for the kids, side salad and lasagna for me and the wife, and some of the best cheesy garlic bread you’ll find around the metro area.

One-third through the last quarter of school and carrying the load of five classes (one of them for six weeks) has been trying on the psyche (see McGrumpy post from last week). That’s why I asked a few close friends what they prescribe for a case of the HOLY SHIT I’M TAKING ON TOO MUCH. All of them mentioned at least three of the following four things that will become the medically recognized cure for keeping your shit together. Gastrointestinal issues have the BRAT (Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet which sucks ass but gets you through the gut pains.

Feeling like your life is a never-ending string of court appearences, spreadsheets, bad hotel coffee, and over demanding bosses? Meet the BEST diet!

B – Booze Easiest fix on the planet. Makes you socially intelligent and completely forget about next week’s overbooked meetings

E – Exercise Kids turning into movie extras from a poorly adapted Stephen King book? Go run/walk a 5K. Wife/Husband nagging you for the 26,174th time not to leave an open cereal box on the counter? Try some sit-ups with planks.

S – Sex No matter how you get it done, get it done. If you need to mix this with Booze, and make it Exercise as well, this is GOOD multi-tasking, well done.

T – Take-a-break Say “no” once in a while. Lock yourself in a treehouse with an iPad and play Slotomania or brag to the worn Claudia Schiffer poster about beating level 324 of Candy Crush. Don’t think, just get away and come back when the body is able.

The big 5-0 is done. Time to buck up for a rough next three weeks, if you’re playing in SCOOP starting on May 12th PokerStarsBlog has you covered.  But, before the madness ITS DERBY WEEKEND!  Gambling and booze in one neat package.  I was told Ocelot Sports may have a few words on those equine slot machines.  I hope so, otherwise I'm betting on numbers, colors, and if they have four legs.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 60

I thought I had my shit together.

I was wrong.

While the end of this section of my life is about to end and start anew I feel as though my body is moving a few seconds too slow for my mind. No, this isn’t an attempt to regain past athletic feats but trying to not lose me. Spending time staring out of windows at home with viewpoints of (finally) melting snow, brown grass, and a familiar street with a far off window displaying a single strand of oversized red Christmas lights without a thought, and suddenly too many.

Bad thoughts, cashing out on the society as I know it with student loans due, being a role model at work, and hugging my kids despite trying to bang out a 1,000 word missive on Gauguin’s The Swineherd, Brittany (despite not being much of an art lover it’s a pretty kick ass painting). No more marriage, no more begging for affection when its needed, just taking a small roll and living off skills acquired whether they be academic or degenerate.

Feeling numb when elation should be flowing, that piece of paper which cuts through the glass ceiling is reachable like the cap and gown in an UPS box sitting under my bed. It hurts the soul to feel like there’s no one in the world that can touch this grey then be expected to man up and stop pouting and move on with life. It could be labeled depression, but the feeling isn’t down, it’s stuck in neutral like a blown engine that looks perfectly fine but has a few frayed wires that need connecting. Those wires show the abuse of overuse, too much thinking and not enough doing. Conspiracies versus giving into trust. Creating stories when there isn’t one to tell.

I blame no one but myself for this and I know this feeling is one that will come back as it does sporadically even after moving on to the suit and tie phase that I would have hit several years ago if I didn’t turn mush brained. But, my solid core will see this through I just need to put down my imagination for a few moments at a time and let things read as they are presented versus fearing the worst.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

73 days

Current mood: Needing Alka Selzer

This was supposed to be a daily diary of sorts but life does not always comply with ones wishes including the pack of Gillette Mach 3 blades that my stomach has been trying to digest for the past three days. It could have been the return to long running as a seven mile jaunt around Maple Grove through Fish Lake regional park, Bass Lake road, and at least two other lakes in view were part of a beautiful “spring” day that ended with watching snow flurries with my wife at a local non-restaurant chain bar serving up some firecracker chicken bites that got my rum laced taste buds’ attention.

Or, it was looking at the final schedule for school. A cold sweat maybe some stress for an unknown reason as there are five classes with two of them being “seminars” for easing me into the workplace which I have already done on the corporate level for 15+ years. But, there are several holes in my suits game that need some pimping so it is a welcome sight to see the school and work getting me ready to make this leap once I walk across the floor at Roy Wilkins convention center in mid-July to receive my empty folder with instructions that the real degree is in the mail and should arrive in 4-6 weeks.

Or, is it the fact that in just 11 weeks the turmoil of my daily schedule will be reduced to being a trusted co-worker, a daddy who actually likes discussing the strategy of putting more character points into Constitution than Magic, or a husband that feels left out right now and wondering what will come next. A person could quote Red from Shawshank talking about people become institutionalized and getting used to a way of life. I got used to depending upon everyone for the majority of my life whether it be having someone repeat a piece of a lecture to having my wife and sister drive my broken head to and from work for a few years. But, for the past four years it has been a daily struggle to be a little selfish, a little independent.

On the dangerous roads of Westeros (Photo cred)

Honestly at my core I have zero real wants and it scares me. I enjoy the temporary and the excitement of a random get together with friends of similar intellect and levels of degeneracy. Hugging my kids and their warmth returned in kind. Watching Game of Thrones and Arya’s struggle with her journey to reach a home, a meaning. But there’s nothing long-term that I want. I could care less if I attain the corporate rank of Senior Inquisitor of the Northland General Ledger. Money does not really tickle me except to have enough to pay the bills, feed my family, and have fun on the side. The “next step” seems to be walking through that floating door from The Twilight Zone’s opening credits with nothing but imagination behind it.

No, I do not need religion or some other pre-drafted path to follow as much like my run last Friday, if the road to the right looks like fun that’s where I will run and I hope the next journey will present itself soon.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

80 days

Current mood: Leaving Las Vegas

The NEW Frontier, Westward Ho, Stardust, and (cry) Imperial Palace. When a person says they are visiting Las Vegas there is a clamor for wishing that individual “good luck” or “don’t get rolled by hookers” depending on their level of potential degeneracy. In my case the word “wheelchair” comes up more than fifty times for good reason as my button for stopping most of the time short circuits after two consecutive dealer Pai Gows or just watching a winning craps table chest bump as another pass line bet makes it there.

This time was different, oh I still put a good dent into the city’s Captain Morgan supply, like .0002%, but the flavor or theme of the trip was unlike the WPBT trips usually found within these pages. No 5am steak and eggs after spending ten hours to lost five dollars at a table. Playing long enough to outlast everyone except the morning crew’s vacuum cleaners and the poor blonde in the sparkly silver dress with the slit cut nearly to her armpit waiting on douchebaggis maximus to stop berating the dealer from the Liaoning Province for flipping up a six card 21 after Mr. 35 degree hat turn pressed his bet up to ten dollars.

Photo Cred (my Father-in-Law who does not have a blog)

Nope this time was for good fun with the right people and avoiding the shit show that I usually dive in like Ndamukong Suh when he’s not busy stomping fellow professional athletes into the Ford Field turf.

My kids acted better in Vegas than at DisneyWorld to my surprise as the reins were iron tight, yet they both enjoyed the trip enough to ask when they could return. Small things like a 10 minute conversation along the revived Fremont Street with a sizable woman twisting balloons for their enjoyment as she seemed happier that someone made her feel human for 10 minutes than the nice tip for twisting up a flower and a motorcycle in latex for the boy and girl who managed to get both home to the frozen north four days later.

After my wife zipped from the new “D” casino down near the Golden Nugget on the new Flightlinez I took leave from the family for the only time while they were awake to meet up with two ladies with similar taste for drink and leaving politeness at the door. Writer Jen and the lovely PokerVixen managed to direct me a whole block away to foreign territory for this Vegas vet. Aside from golfing and watching my wife plummet to the earth in a parachute, I have not gone off Strip or Fremont. Ever.

But, a rocks glass of Templeton Rye and two intelligent ladies making their marks in Sin City was too much to pass up. As I abhor chain restaurants/bars, they turned me to the excellent Mob Bar to imbibe on brown liquids as I probably scarred them with a timeline of how I met my wife. The hospitality did not stop there as we hit up Cheetah’s for $1,000 foursome fantasy dances in the VIP with an eight-ball, Goose and Juice, and Peter Dinklage slipping into character for our amusement.

While a coked out story may be fun to type up, we actually more fun taking down the Four Queens instead. My gambling vice/leak has been and always will be slots. Those damn things with their Mr. Monopoly bonus game hopping around the square board hoping to land on Boardwalk for a plethora of pennies.

But, the player’s card offered a challenge to acquire X amount of points in exchange for a t-shirt. I love free t-shirts almost more than my kids and would even sit through a lap dance at the Glitter Gulch if it meant receiving a $1.99 ink pressed shirt with “Grinded dry at the Gulch” happily displayed across the chest. So, play we did moving from Wheel. Of. Fortune! To little fishes that refused to give up their bonus game like a pouty socialite refusing to drink anything but Cristal, we tried them all, and I managed to not only acquire the points but notched a decent win thanks to the Playboy machine that did not give out enhanced ta-tas but rather a few hundred for mild progressive win.

After bidding good night as PokerVixen carted me back to the Mirage by way of seeing Vegas’ attractions that do not offer a free buffet and 2-for-1 Bud Lights, I believe renting a car will be in play for the next trip. I found out that sitting in a $1/$3 NLHE game is quite boring if the tablemates include Ms. SERIOUS PRO GRINDER who was working her iPad to pass level 236 of Candy Crush , McLovin clone on my immediate right asking me no less than a dozen times in two hours if I would show my cards after placing a chip on top for the dealer, or even the smartly dressed Bro who defined his fellow Bros by actually being pleasant at the table and telling them to fuck off from the rail.

Will I be back? Of course. I may be “maturing” but my degeneracy is evolving rather than dying. And meeting up with the fine folks I’ve met through poker writing and now my family makes each return trip worth it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

88 days

Current mood:  The Gambler

Despite my two dozens trips to Vegas, being 38 years old, and bringing my kids and parents and in-laws on this trip...  I couldn't sleep.  Despite working two tournaments yesterday including watching Team PokerStars Pro Max Lykov rip through the last two and an half hours of the Sunday Warm-Up for a $110K victory...  I couldn't sleep.  For better.  For worse.  It's Vegas and I still love it.

Yes, it's Super Mario day!  Played at the wrong time or the history books of hockey would be focused on number 88 and I would likely have a bunch of jerseys with double infinity instead of upside down sixes.

So, two quick salutes.

A body that big isn't supposed to move like that

And of course, my tradition since the start of the WPBT.

Take it away Carnie, Wendy, and Chynna Phillips:

Future performance at The Quad?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

92 days

Current mood:  Wide awake and ready to dance

Quick hit and run today because finals and a busy weekend approach along with working ahead for vacation next week.

One thing came in the mail last week and I stare at it everytime while walking through the kitchen into the porch.  Not wanting to open it and just marvel in its perfection.  15 year old me probably became numb unable to walk without strategically placing rising body parts.

I'll be in my room, never mind the peppermint smell (photo cred)

 It's TOPANGA!!!  Now that life is complete, I'll go do that nose dive off the top of the Imperial Pal... sigh again.  Yes, I have a subscription to Maxim.  No, I do not actively pay for it as due to some magazines folding they awarded me a 12 year subscription to it.  And now I have some reading material for Vegas since I abhor pools but tolerate them to spend time with the family and pay $12 for a watered down girly drink.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

94 days

Current mood:  Neither here or there

Three days left in the hardest quarter of this whole return to academia thing and the last piece should be a cakewalk.

This is short on purpose due to herding cats inside my mind and wrapping up the four classes along with planning out my 20th+ journey to Vegas next week.  Not a usual Pai Gow at 5 in the morning at the Gold Coast with a row of leftover vultures in La Perla (or more likely the three for three bucks bundled panty pack from Wal-Mart) looking to pick my bones clean but instead giving my money to the curvy pit boss who always seems to wear red like she works at Target.

No, this trip with feature the kids and paying back my parents for being the awesome bedrocks of support after we decided to become birthers nine years ago.  Yes, there will be (hopefully) some Moscow Mules with a couple hot local ladies if their schedules workout.  Yes, I have demanded my father sit at a Pai Gow table with me which may scar him for life.  Yes, I will have fun but just not the usual lets drink for 24 hours straight and end up dancing naked with the dealertainers of the Imperial Pal...  oh fuck THAT. 

I will report from our favorite spot on the strip becoming "modernized" with fake bartenders, fake dealers, and "clean" floors with working front doors.  I liked the surly dealers and the ones who actually put an effort into looking like they were have fun too. The broken front doors with caution tape draped across it since 2003 were a symbol of awesomeness, probably like regular gamblers looking back on places like The Dunes or Frontier.

We'll see if they did right. 

3 days to quarter end
7 days to Vegas
95 days so I can weep like a child getting his first Atari 2600 game.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

96 days

Current mood:  Appetite for Destruction

After finishing up the latest wrap for the MicroMillions 4series there was a decision that most people make at around 5 o’clock on a Saturday night.  Go out or watch a Matlock AARP-a-thon.  As a wise-ass once said “No good stories come from sitting on the couch with your dick in your hand and Andy Griffith on the TV”.

Despite knowing only a good buzz would help through the time, sitting on the beige sectional did not appeal after hanging there for a good portion of the previous three days doing poker work and putting the final APA-formatted touches on my final research papers.  Thanks to some early mornings fueled by grit and Lipton green tea, the responsible side of self allowed the degen side of self to earn a window for fun.  Corned beef and cabbage with teriyaki wings from Buffalo Wild Wings mixed with 12 year old Jameson on the rocks?   However someone gets their Erin-go-bragh on is up to them, especially if it involves cheesy mutated and stuffed tater tots with sour cream (I just gained five pounds thinking about those again). 

Today brings the usual night time with the high rollers in the Sunday Warm-Up but trying something that even this lifetime Minnesotan has not done…  snow golf

Yes, it’s 5 degrees currently.  Yes, winter is still in full effect here.  But, it’s a new experience and aside from questionable hypothermia possibilities my only question is if they are putting the beer cart on a snowmobile.

Minnesota Cooler (image cred)

5 days to the end of the quarter.
9 days to Vegas and some goddamn sun for once.  
96 days to the finish line.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

99 days

Current mood:  Grant Fuhr's used jockstrap

Strategic day off worked.

Ahead of the curve, all thanks to planning, and...

The Great One.

Yeah, I tried tucking in half my jersey in the back growing up on the ponds around Maple Grove and during games people would try to knock my shit through Hennepin county.  But, I was fast, not very good, but fast, mainly the reason I'm alive and typing these words today.  Skinny as a rail just like him and thinking one day I'll have Janet Jones in my living room re-enacting that hot gymnastic in American Anthem routine that likely passed for porn back in the 80s.

That didn't happen.

Instead I'm 38 and drooling on myself while holding down two jobs, a family, and 99 days away from college graduation.  Cheers to the double digit days as Vegas degeneracy approaches in two weeks, as I will attempt to lose my dignity again that has been slowly rebuilding by holding down too much responsibility lately.

Cheers to 99 as we get closer to that "Let's not speak of what happened last night graduation bash".  Seriously, there should be wheelchair parking, Project X without the teenage cliches, and free passes from spouses and sig others to have one night with zero consequences except for a raging hangover and Waffle House breakfast.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

100 days

Current mood: Brick Tamland’s less intelligent brother

About all I hear anymore (credit)

Since my schedule and the weather does not leave much room to enjoy this hobby of running, yesterday was a bit of a treat. At 8:30am, emailed the wife to let her know that a 5K run was in the works after work. At noon, it was the only thing I looked forward to as people continued to enjoy the fact that my mailbox was allowed to receive electronic messages and spat out replies like a good little corporate drone. Highway 169 on the way home looked like someone mistook the Minnesota sheet of asphalt for Kabul as cars swayed to miss the craters left by this state’s wonderful winter.

Stretchy pant, stretchy shirt, adjust dick to comfortable position, another stretchy shirt, track pants, and a light jacket top with a hat and Freddie Mercury screaming to ride his bicycle. READY FOR SERIOUS RUNNING!

Then the wind hit. It was cold. It is always cold. So cold. My jaw froze into a state like I just saw a naked Kate Upton trampoline video. Blowing a hot breath into my jacket gave temporary relief but I was too out of it to bother grabbing even more layers. After rounding the block’s corner my body said to turn back. After reaching the 5K with most of it through a nasty headwind it said thank you in a winded voice.

God bless the hand bra (credit)

The conscious thought tank has been empty for a while but something has this lanky form separating the sheets each morning instead of looking at the black numbers starting with a four against the grayish glow and burying my face back into the one warm spot in the house. Thus begins the double digit countdown tomorrow and only a week and half before some required degeneracy in Vegas will strip away this tired shell for the final push.

Monday, March 11, 2013

102 days

Current mood:  Smells like mid-age spirit

Finals week.

Technicially its next week, but this all of the semi-lengthy research papers are due as a rough draft which the professors are actually saying "don't make me fuckin work next week and get your shit together this week". 

Roger that.

Soon I will be allowed to join proper society again and not make pop references three years too late.  Have you heard of this series called "Deadwood" or "Game of Thrones" (which I caught up on in 9 days)  they are pretty awesome.  Unlocking HBO for the first time since I was a freeloader at my parent's home and remember acting sick during Wimbledon so I could watch the early round matches on HBO because there was that, or waiting until the weekend to watch some tape-delayed "feature" match on NBC featuring Bud Collins on mic with Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, or that kid Boris Becker tearing it up. Now, I push a magical button and any HBO series worth its weight is displayed on my iPad in any room with a better picture than my TV which has Gumball, Spongebob, or these annoying and expensive cartoonerized tops called Bakugan playing at all hours.

Cathouse?  Meow.  Odd.  And strangely educational.  $2,500-$3,500 for a "party"?  I can see why broke dicks in Vegas chance with the law on the strip versus shelling out enough for a 1998 Ford Explorer "fixer upper".

1097 days of school down.
102 days to graduation.
14 days to Vegas (Wilson Phillips anyone?)
11 days to end of quarter
3 days to the start of MicroMillions IV

Get there.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

103 days

Current mood:  Satisfied

Once the weight of having kids is lifted off your shoulders, you can truly begin being a parent.

Despite my final papers coming due this week and the impending MicroMillions IV I wanted to spend every moment possible with the kids this weekend since the wife was enjoying some time with girlfriends that somehow did not result in naked pillow fighting.

Princess Yahtzee
Getting ass kick playing Call of Duty
Making dinner together
More Sledding
Facetime (not the Apple iEverything kind)
Falling asleep while watching Planet Earth
Walking around in PJs all day
Going out for ice cream with M&Ms, skittles, Nerds, chocolate chips, sprinkles, walnuts, and Hershey's syrup on top
Crash hard a second night after sugar rush

This will become much easier once research papers are a thing of the past and the CPA exam (leaning more towards doing this) is the only thing between me and total victory.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

106 days

Current mood:  Beer-thirty

Assume you deserve nothing, and you will gain everything.

Not sure which famous philosopher or Big Brother housemate came up with that saying but it has been one of many self-improvement thoughts that actually works.  This applies more towards feelings than receiving things like compensation for labor (Pauly knocks it out of the park again yesterday with "Pay the Fucking Writer").  I got lucky in respect to poker writing as I put 100% confedence towards my employer, who I see more as a friend than someone handing out work assignments and he puts his confedence towards someone who does not count writing or journalism as his talent.  I love poker, I love writing about poker, but no matter how many comments come across, I won't ever feel like a poker writer unless I dug into the pits of a WSOP or EPT event.

Pauly and Brad are two of the few reasons why I'm sitting at this chair feeling like I just partied for a week straight on Duval street while I put the finishing strokes on academic quarter number 13 of 14. Friends like them are the reason why I got off my self-pitied ass, rode a mechanical bull in Key West, and sit at night learning about the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and Supply Chain Management which will arm me with something more powerful than a drunken right hook at a Boxer machine, the college degree.  I realize the school "name" is not there, but my choices were limited due to the life that was built for the past 10 years and since I've been with my company for over 15 years, the degree name means shit at this point for what I want to do with it.  "Making the most of it" would be a running theme for my sitcom life and right now it feels pretty good.

My conscious mind at this point is a bowl frosted shredded wheat that's been sitting in milk for three days. And that day off next week will get me freshened up for the MicroMillions IV which the PokerStarsBlog crew is gearing up again for full coverage.  So, if you are a non-American please drop a line if you're playing and good luck!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

107 days

Current Mood: In between the Matrix and Castle Wolfenstein

One moment I was happily banging away at spreadsheets and pleasing customers with timely returns on their emails. The next, while walking to grab some documents from another department while weaving through the cube jungle everything turned into an 8-bit first person shooter game for a moment. The sort of mind screw that comes with being completely spent as it’s not sleep deprivation (still going to bed at 8:30pm-9pm ROCK STAR!) but rather listening to my brain cells popping from over simulation to textbooks versus the usual acidic death from rum.

It feels much like covering the WCOOP where a tournament can take anywhere from 10-24 hours depending on the degens ability to remember they are playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just a constant flow of action with a little time for guilty pleasures of a quick episode of House of Cards or not-so-quiet game of Go Fish with the little ones who are at the point where if they up a card that someone previously ask for they just say “HAND IT OVER I KNOW YOU HAVE THE SEVEN!”.

Here I am chronicling the boring daily life of a married accountant where most who would read here see me in a different light. And should the time come that a novel burst out of my handle of Captain, the more exciting stories would hit the pages. But, this is ordinary time. People call it the grind, and if one were to look through the archives here the word grind shows up more in describing lifestyle versus the poker reference from which it spawned.

If Hemmingway were able to hop on Blogger daily, would his life seem more exciting than reading his classic novels? Likely, no but any fan of his work would probably enjoy his drunken musings born from a laptop sitting at Sloppy Joe’s. But, the world needs those creative types like Dr. Pauly to live for life versus worrying about future health and 401(k) plans. Personally it goes in spurts as my choice to be a father and husband come with a responsibility which I give my life to. But, there’s a side, a fun side which wants nothing more to hop a plane to rage alone in Vegas or join a traveling troupe of poker writers to live out a hedonic weekend free of all societal barriers and bust out of daddy mode for a few hours so that responsible person feels good about what he does.

An inter-conflict that I welcome because it means my body has not given up and will continue to push limits and wants to experience the new. Whether its achieving a CPA certification, blowing quarters at the Gold Coast Pai Gow dealer after a fourth straight tilt-inducing lose-lose while hooker row besides the sportsbook sizes up the wad of cash in my pocket, or coming home to a big hug from my son and daughter after work, all things made possible because I haven’t given up on wanting more.

And won’t. Even if it means feeling unconsciously alive in the short term due to overwork, the long term benefits are there. And much like the good doctor’s recent post about not being sure about hitting 30, or 40 years old and making it there with no desire of sitting in a diaper pool of fermented creamed corn and chipped beef at the age of 80, I can relate. Why not build memories instead of a double wide in Scottsdale that you may never see. My 401(k) is not for that double-wide but rather to bankroll whatever time on this earth I may have when people say my earning days are over from writing and pushing ledger entries.

That’s what your retirement should be for.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

108 days

Current mood:  Frozen

Fuck you Punxsutawney Phil

March is supposed to bring 40 degrees and shorts weather, not another round of "LETS GO SHOVEL SNOW AT 4:45AM!".

Seriously, eat ass Phil.

Monday, March 04, 2013

109 days

Current mood:  Walking dead

Eight weeks down for the quarter, three toughest weeks left.

Much like the half marathon in G-Vegas, the first part of the race seemed to go too fast, and then the hills around mile eight.  Not inclines. But hills.  The professors are nice enough to pack large research papers all in the last three weeks of every course, however those weeks do not open up on the online course until the Friday before that particular week.  For example:  Week 10 with the research papers due the assignment will not open until this Friday.

But, being a person of mild intelligence, I took a strategic day off between now and the final day of the quarter to attack any and all academic hills regardless of difficulty or blandness.

Or I might just wander around the house naked watch HBO to Go on my iPad with a 128oz. tumbler of Captain and Coke.  It's a toss-up.

For those who can and have the means to, PokerStars is put on their fourth edition of the MicroMillions next week.  While it hurts to sit on the sidelines and report on tournaments that I would love to jump in and maybe hit a lucky string for some coin, they do an awesome job for the low rollers like myself plus they get the Sunday Majors/EPT coverage treatment with the reporting crew.  While reporting is great and I will be on the reporting team for this one, I miss being able to play.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

110 days

Current feeling: Rock Me Amadeus with a side of panic

I just banged out 1,899 words on the globalization of money markets.  Please. Keep it your pants, as I know you want some but I’m a happily confuzzled married man that should be taking some drugs right now that would allow me to shut down all feelings until day 91 when I finish my last final for this monstrous quarter.  Robot accounting works since those million dollar checks are nothing but numbers in a ledger but applying the same conceptualization to a six and nine year old while trying to remain part of their lives is borderline abuse.

No more robot coasting to the next assignment or class or achievement.  They continue to flourish with simple queries about their day, and I feed off of their energy despite running these days with that low fuel light on. “In a few weeks when daddy is done” becomes put the laptop down for 30 minutes and put together that Halo Lego set with 750 pieces and can assembled within that half hour.  Not really.  That fucking box lies worse than the Imp after being cornered by Lady Stark (yes, I'm hooked on Game of Thrones now bear with me please as its been awhile since I've attempted to watch something that came out in the current decade).  And the pieces?!?! I’ve seen larger attaching parts on a baby mosquito.  Carpal tunnel surgery will come from helping out with these monstrosities versus banging out 4,000 words today (Sunday Warm-Up tonight at PokerStarsBlog, a prelude to the 7th Anniversary Sunday Million which an hour and half before game time already has over 18,000 runners and a cool million guaranteed to the winner). 

See you on the other side.