Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Home Alone

OK, I'm a bachelor.
No, the wife and the baba did not die in a fireball plane crash. She went to Salina, Kan., which is almost as bad, seeing as how it's about 157 degrees there, or about six degrees cooler than here, with the only difference being that it's also humid there, pushing something called the heat index to about 187 degrees.

Every year Kate's family travels to western Kansas, which is about as bad as it sounds, to visit her grandmother, watch a demolition derby and try to dodge violent, tornado-spawning thunderstorms. The highlight of the four days is a chicken dinner, and while this is a highlight because it's the best damn chicken dinner you've ever had, it's not worth four days of mall-walking, sweating and mosquito slapping.

Why am I so bitter? I worked in Salina for almost five years at the Salina Journal (sorry, no link, it's not worth it), and while I did enjoy the experience there — the city does have its merits, including a fluffy artistic side, meaning 4,000 out of 40,000 came to see our initial production of Shakespeare in the Park, which was a blast — it's still western Kansas.
That means the outdoors activities offered there include hiking on a crappy lake trail in 100-degree, humidity-splashed weather, biking on a thin highway with 18-wheelers storming by or fishing. I have no problem with fishing, I even support it and write about it, but it's just not my thing, kind of like hunting or crossword puzzles.
Colorado has mountains, which pretty much ends the competition right there.

So I'm at home, alone, and you might think this means I am sitting around the house in my underwear, the dogs licking waffle syrup off my bare chest, while I sing "I wear short shorts." Nope. I'll be in the mountains, of course.
I'm climbing Friday, hiking Saturday (for work, actually, ha ha ha sometimes being an outdoor/adventure writer is even better than covering the WSOP) and probably doing something epic Monday with my longtime hiking partner.
Despite this smorgasboard of high-altitude debauchery, I'll approach the next few days with a heavy heart.
I'll miss my little guy.

I never thought it would be possible that I would value family over mountain climbing, but it's happened, I'm a full-blown Dad now and wish I had my little guy with me. I fear that by the time he gets back, on Monday, he'll be saying his first few words, and not one of them will be, "Da Da." (He does say "Ma Ma," but he says that when he wants food, probably just a result of three months of breastfeeding; when Kate was thrilled that that was basically his first word, I reminded her that he basically sees her as a refrigerator).
I'll have fun these next few days, but I may, in fact, be happiest when I get updates from Kate in Salina.
• • •
I'm on the biggest rush of my life on the poker front. I know it seems to be much more fun to bitch about bad beats these days, but I've increased my total bankroll by a third just this month, up to more than $1,000 for the first time in my life. This may not seem like a lot to you, who play in the Big Game and call off $1,500 bets when you've got eight outs, but for me, it's a lot of money, and I'm thrilled.
The light is shining bright in my dark tunnel that is poker knowledge, and the game could not be more fun at this point.
I'm picking off bluffs regularly, I seem to know what my opponent has more and more and continue to drag big pots despite continuing to play extremely tight and only occassionally aggressive.

More and more, I'm convinced that erring on the side of careful play is much better than erring on the side of aggression, at least online at the levels I play. If that means I leave $50 out there, as I did twice last week, then so be it. I've also had one losing month in my last nine, and limiting your losses is the key to plumping up your wins.

And if you think I'm throwing the doom switch down, well, I'm not because ironically I'm on the worst streak of my life playing those $2.25 Hollywood Poker, full-table tournaments at work during my lunch break. I've cashed something like 3/15 in the last two weeks, with more suckouts than I care to recount (9,6 versus my A,Q is my current favorite against a jerky luckbox who claimed he was 11 in the chat box and certainly acted and played like it).
My theory is all my bad luck is going there, leaving me with either neutral luck or good luck when I play those cash games in the evening. I've moved up to playing .50 NL about 85 percent of the time now; I'll stay there until things start to inevitably go bad.
That's the sad thing about a long, extended winning streak; you're always looking for that piano above your head.

• • •
Song of the week: "Throw It All Away" by Zero 7. A great band releases a new album, a departure (a writer's nice way of saying, "not as good as their other albums," but this song rules.

Movie of the week: "Little Fish." Great performances by Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett pushes this mediocre movie into three-star terriority.

1 comment:

Raveen said...

hye man just stared reading your blog today.....erring on the side of caution though it might be working for you now is not the right strategy aggression is key especially when u start moving up in limit....if u play cautiously u will end just playing cards instead of people....anyways i got a site too

check it out

gl at the tables