Thursday, February 26, 2009

My new killer rock band

Facebook fun with Gracie. I could not resist posting it because 99.8 percent of all Memes are really stupid. But this one is not.

We TOTALLY look so prog/thrash metal, maybe with a dash of punk.

How did I do it?

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm a hobbyist

I doubt I'll be participating in the BBT4.
I think it's a wonderful opportunity for us, and I give props to Al for setting it up. But there are three good reasons why I probably won't take part.
• It's expensive - It sucks up time and a lot of money to play the whole series, and I can't devote much of either to a series that I have an outsider's shot of making much of an impact on anyway. I'm a decent MTT player at best, and against a large, tough field that will surely show for this, I don't have much of a shot.
• Poker is a hobby now, and maybe not even a serious one - I'll still read books about it and watch it on TV, but I'm not playing as much as I once did. The Mookie is almost always the only MTT I play during the week, and I think I'm probably going to devote one day a week to cash games. I'm a little discouraged at the coolers and bad beats I've taken lately, but more than that, I'm also in a general downswing and have found the games to be much tougher than ever before. I'm a good player, but there are thousands of good players online now, and I'm tired of fighting so hard for just a bite of fish every once in a while.
Poker's not gone from my life, not by a long shot, but it's no longer a large chunk of it.
• The general "feel" of these BBT4 events - The douchebag factor seems to really crank up for these things because the stakes are so high and it attracts a lot of players who aren't in our regular group. I love the Mookie partly because I know the players and hardly any of them are douchebags. This is the consequence of having a high-stakes series, and though I think it's worth it for all of us to pay that consequence, I personally don't want to be a part of it. I got really tired of the fighting, nasty comments and overall douchebagness of last year's series, and I just don't want to go through it again.
You might see me at a couple of these events, but for the most part, good luck to all and win some seats - I want to have someone to pull for in this year's WSOP.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Four apparent and obvious rules of having multiples

1. They can be easily categorized, like library books, kittens in a litter or cartoon characters - Like one is "the active one," "the naughty one," "the tester," "the funny one" or "the smart one."

I find myself doing this, too, to others' credit, but I really need to stop. Labels aren't good for anyone, especially girls. It's OK to say "Allie is more independent" because she is, but it's not OK to say "Allie is the girly girl of the two."

2. If you have twins or triplets, you MUST watch "Jon and Kate Plus 8."

OK, OK, we do watch it, and I enjoyed how they raised several issues of having multiples that we go through, too. But I got a little tired of this show. It seems like they have taken it over and do shows on how they prepare dinner and things now rather than really did deep into their relationship. And I love it when Jon stands up to her, but that doesn't happen nearly enough.

3. If you have multiples, you automatically agree with any attempts for parents to have children with a doctor's help, including in-vitro fertilization, implantation, or warm KY Jelly. This, of course, includes that crazy-ass woman who was determined to have eight children at once, raising her total to 14, meaning she now has more offspring than a feral barn cat.

This one baffles me. Of course I am supportive of any parents who want to us whatever is out there for the joys of having children. I know a few who now have kids as a result. There are some miracles out there. But why does everyone assume that's how we had our twins? I've even been asked many times lately, "Why did you have treatments if you have a single son too." Is that was this batshit crazy woman has done, just made everyone assume that every pair of multiples was created in a test tube?
And EVERYONE who finds out we have twins brings up that woman. It's not the same thing, folks. Not even close. Not even remotely close.
That woman is nuts. Nuts! We aren't. Usually.

4. If you have twins, you must love to talk about them to complete strangers all the time, even while you're trying to have dinners.

Rock stars must be the same way, right? Who wouldn't want to answer whether our twins were "natural" while we're trying to eat?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The thin red line

What do you see in the photo?
Is it what you see when you're stuck in traffic?
Is it what you see when you're sucked out on for the fourth time that night?
Is it what you see when one whiny child runs one way and another runs the other, and the third runs the third way?
Does this thin red line represent the frustrations of life as they stretch your sanity harder than Gov. Schwarzenegger's facelift?
I used to see that, too.
Hell, I still see more than I'd like.
But I see something else. These days, I see it more than I ever have before.
I see serenity.
• • •
Last summer I almost ruined our home game with my best friends.
At our game was a likeable but loud guy who only got louder as he got more sloshed. He was also pretty bad, but he thought he was pretty good. You know the type. Those players are great for our bankrolls. We want them in our games.
Except when they hit.
He was hitting a lot. A LOT. And it was pissing me off. I was deep into my "It's not fair" whine in my head. It's not fair that I wait all night for a hand and he plays crap and wins all these pots and waaaaa. Well, poker is fair, more than we really realize, but sometimes it is not. And that night, when the flop came A-4-5, and I held A-5, I knew I was good, trapped him and got him to go all-in. He actually had a good hand, too, A-4, but I had him, until another 4 fell on the river.
I threw the cards across the table and stormed out. When I heard him talking about how I was being whiny, I came back in and said I was leaving. And I needed my chips. It broke up the game.
We recovered from the douchebag move, but it showed me that I let things get to me far too often. I lost $5 on that hand, so it wasn't the money.
It was the fact that I lost.
• • •
Well, I told myself I would not let poker do that to me again. I took a hard look at figured out pretty easily that when I was losing at online poker (I rarely got to play live because of the kids), I was a lot crappier to Kate and the kids than if I was winning. And I also figured out that I was the same way in our softball games.
I was Type-A, competitive and high-strung. I'll never apologize for that. It's partly why I'm successful. But you can overdo it. I was, of course, overdoing it.
It was time to change.
It was not immediate, and I knew it wouldn't be. But I did two things to help. Rather than using running and mountain climbing as a way to stoke that competitive fire, I learned how to throw the fire into running and mountain climbing. So instead of a catalyst, it became a campfire, a way to burn off all that nervous energy. It's helped. I honestly think it's one reason I had a great fall. It's one reason I continue to run better than ever. Running is a mental sport as well as a physical one, and that's something I really just learned last fall.
The second? I took a hard look at poker and figured out ways to resolve my anger toward the game. I played to my strengths, cash games, where, coincidentally, there aren't as many suckouts. I stopped playing daily, making certain nights of the week "movie nights" or whatever else I want to do. And when I'm at that home game, I play a LOT more hands. I play to have fun, not to win.
It's still a work in progress. But things are a lot better.
• • •
Funny thing is, when I changed my attitude about poker, it changed my attitude about life, too. For some reason, our incredibly difficult situation, our twins (now 21 months) and the toddler, wasn't so challenging any longer. At times, it was even a lot of fun.
As that happened, poker became a fun pastime again, an outlet. It will never be as healthy as running, but after I'm done with a session of poker, my mind is empty, not troubled like it was.
It could not have come at a better time. The kids test us continually, and I still don't always pass. Andie, especially, fusses almost non-stop from when I come home until they go to bed. It wears me down to the nub.
Last night, during a fuss, rather than yell, like I might of in the past, I lay down on the floor. She came up to me and I started tickling her. I st her with me and we watched "Monster Inc." with the gang. I played with both of them for more than an hour.
They went to bed happy girls.
• • •
Saturday night I had easily one of the worst poker sessions I've ever had. It was by far my worst live limit poker session.
I went to Black Hawk, where the limits are still $2-5 spread until July 1, when the new, $100 betting limit takes effect (note: thank GOD for that). We got there at 7 p.m., dodged all the people waiting in line at the buffet and got a new seat at a table that they opened up. Nine new players. Normally I'm glad to see this: It means you'll get a bunch of people who are there for a Saturday night (i.e. fish).
The only problem is, you have to wait a bit for everyone to loosen up. Poker can be like running in the sense that you don't want to bust out and steam off your energy. Players, just like runners, pace themselves.
So. Wanna guess when I got my good hands?
Wow. You're good. And after a tiny rush, when I flopped a set of 7s and had A-K a few times and won with K-J against a lady way overplaying K-2 (and had not very much to show for all that), the pots started growing after about an hour, and I figured it was going to be a good night.
And I did not win one pot for another six hours.
Not even scraps.
I got a ton of junk. The only exceptions were when I got A-Q twice, which ran into K-K both times.
Then these three hands occurred among the trash: I flopped trip 10s with Q-10 (played in late position) and raised it to the river, where an old man who didn't raise pre-flop showed me A-10. I flopped two pair with 9-10 and raised both times, and the two players who played every.single.hand. both got two pair with their weak Aces by the river. Then, desperate and on my second $100 buy-in, unheard of for me in this game, I flopped a K-high flush, invested $60 in it and lost to an A-high when he got his 4th diamond on the river.
When the guy showed down his Ace, I turned to my friend, angrily said "I'm done" and walked off.
But before I left, I told the guy "nice hand."
Poker sessions like that one used to infuriate me. They'd stick with me for days. Why me? Why? What did I do?
But the thin red line burned away, and what was left was the photo above, the one I took of a sunrise on a day climbing Longs Peak, my favorite mountain in Colorado.
That's the red line I strive to see now, more than ever, when poker, and life, wants to turn up the heat.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Three random thoughts for #500

• This is my 500th post! Holy crap! That's a lot of posts!

(You would think that I would really try to do something special for said 500th, but alas you get this).

(Check back in a couple days. I'm working up a post I actually like. And there's even a picture for those of you who don't like all those damn words).

• I'm going next Friday. Looks like we're gonna get hit with some serious snow. Yay Colorado.

• Remember when I was a force in the Mookie and actually made a final table and cashed every once in a while?
Yeah, me either.

I built a great stack, up to 10K, in the first hour and was out in 18th place thanks to a suckout (duh). I am more aggressive now - no, really - but I just can't seem to break through any longer.

To ski or not to ski?

Back in the day when I was climbing every weekend, before we had an anklebiter and then went for the two-for-one special on anklebiters, there were weekends I didn't want to go.
But I went anyway. I needed to finish the 14ers before Kate started demanding an anklebiter. There are 54 14,000-foot mountains in Colorado, so this was not an easy task. And I only had three, four or maybe five months to climb. I needed to take advantage of every summer weekend I could.
Now that I have anklebiters, I do things because I want to. Free time is at a premium and I'm not going to read a Jane Austin novel if I don't want to.
So Friday I am supposed to go skiing. It's all set up. Day care lady taking Jayden for the day (she already had the twins)? Check. CDs picked out for the trip? Check. Equipment all put out? No. Not yet. That's part of the problem.
The reason i didn't always want to go climbing is it's a pain in the ass. You have to drive to the peak, and that's at least three hours. If you're lucky. You have to get all your equipment together. You have to get up really fucking early.
All of this is true for skiing too. And not only that, but it's supposed to be snowing. It's supposed to NOT snow in Denver, but in Greeley, it is, which means not that great of a drive. And the drive is already more than a couple hours.
It's a good problem to have to be close to the slopes, but it's a problem nonetheless.
Money is not the issue. I bought a Four-Pass that gives me four days of skiing, knowing that even going twice pays for it. The problem is, I've gone once and do feel like I need to get my money's worth. And I don't know when, if, I'll get to go again. March looks out, almost completely. Maybe next weekend, but probably not. By April ski season is basically over.
I guess I need to go. Back in the old days, a day without kids, where I just stayed at home and watched movies or read or wrote, was a really boring day. I would have killed to go skiing then.
Maybe kids really are aging me. Now staying home seems like heaven.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear kids: Don't follow by example

Dear Jayden, Andie and Allie:

We need to talk.
I've noticed an increase in the pitch, tone and decibel levels of your voices lately. That's not good. Mommy and Daddy are very stressed, tired, irritable people these days. No, it's not because of you. Well, OK, yes, it is. But we love you. No, we do not wish your monster in the closet would eat you, OK? We like having you around.
Here's the thing, though. We, meaning Mommy and Daddy, refer to that voice as "whining." We also like to call it "fussing," "crying" and "OMGWILLYOUPLEASESHUTTHEF---UP?" And whining - we'll just call it that to make it easy on you - stresses us out more than anything.
Seriously. Your diapers full of poop that smells like a dead bird crawled up your ass three years ago? Getting us up from 1-3 a.m. OR sleeping through the night but waking us up at 5 a.m.? Your constant demands for juice, crackers, clothes, shoes, pacifiers? You getting into every tiny, little, odd, packed-away, well-organized thing you can find in the house and stashing it somewhere or just throwing it on the floor? Your messes after every meal that made us wish we had installed a drain in the kitchen so we could just hose off the table, the counters, the floor and your faces with a power wash? No. No No No No No.
Really, it's the whining. And let me give you a hint. Whining is not the way to get attention.
No, really, it's not. No, it's not. NO, IT'S REALLY NOT.
Sigh. I know. You've seen, in glimpses, all those stupid TV shows like The Bachelor, which Mommy watches sometimes, and all those people do is whine for attention. I have to apologize for the example most of us are setting. That's why we prefer for you to watch The Backyardigans, Little Einstein (though little Annie whines a bit too much, too) or Peep, with repeated viewings of Wall-E thrown in there.
Really. Seriously. Whining sucks. We work really hard to fulfill your needs. But there are three of you, and there's someone exactly like you who needs as much attention as you, let alone your slightly older brother. We don't need the whining to let us know you need something.
And now I'll stop because, kids, this post is getting pretty whiny.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Two minutes of motivation

Did you run in high school? Play football? Basketball?
I get that question a lot, especially after hearing me talk *cough (brag) cough* about running my latest race or half marathon, and every time, I have to choke down a laugh.
Me? Are you serious?
I was never really an athlete growing up. I was picked on quite a bit growing up and as a result was seen as someone with about as much skill as a dolphin on a sidewalk. So this probably influenced my opinion of my prowess on the athletic battleground, aka "recess." I could kick a mean kickball, pin many a snot in tetherball and club anyone in raquetball.
But, yeah, those snide comments were mostly warranted. When we wrestled in gym class, I was pinned more often than the no-named guy in pink shorts who faced Hulk Hogan on "Saturday Night's Main Event." I was one of the more feared runners on the football field, but that was in band football. And I STILL can't dribble a basketball and run at the same time, which sort of limits what you can do on the court.
I was good at things that didn't require talent or skill. I became an accomplished mountaineer because I did it many, many times, over and over, and could learn about things like the weather and nutrition and pace and scrambling. I could bench press 300 pounds because I lifted weights, over and over. And now I'm a runner because I run, over and over.
It's not magic. It's just hard work. There are many, many, many of you out there who could smoke me on the course if you wanted to start. I hope to see you out there, and if you do, wave at me as you pass me by.
It's not the tiger's ability to run with abandon, jump with skill or pull down an antelope with one paw. It's his eye.
*Cue Survivor here*

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A slow-rollin sucka

At the Mookie last night I was berated - mildly, but still berated - by a player who I respect and won't name here because I'm not into pissing matches.
It's a blind versus blind confrontation. It's folded around to us blinds. We're really just underway - the blinds are 25/50 - and we both have most of our chips from our starting level of 3,000. Actually, he has around 2,250, and I have a little more than my starting stack of 3,000.
He's an aggressive player, more aggressive than most, and we just had two confrontations last week, one when I made a questionable play but it worked, the other where he made a good play with Aces and I sucked out on him. I'm not really sure if that's important, but I thought I'd mention it here.

OK, so I have A-K unsuited. He raises me 3xs the big blind. I re-pop him to 350. I have position and I want to get more chips in the pot with this premium hand. Plus, to be honest, this is a move he likes to make with me a lot, and I wouldn't mind sending him a message to knock it off and win the hand right there.
He JAMS all his chips in.

So I had to think a while. When I finally called, he showed A-4 (sooted, of course), lost and then berated me for taking my time. I think he was implying that I was slow-rolling - and he even mentioned that - but mostly he was just amazed that it took any time at all for me to call there.
He called it a "snap call" many times.

Now, really? Is it REALLY a "snap call?" I wanted to think if it was worth a race so early in the contest, when a tight player (me) re-raises a guy and he jams all his chips in? What could he really have there? What do you put him on there? I figured at best I was racing and might even be facing KK or AA even if it is unlikely. Even if he has 77+ I'm racing there.

What do you think?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Keyed up

I got in the kind of trouble over Christmas husbands get into when their wives bust in on them spending a little too long on one of their old girlfriend's Facebook page.
My transgression? I lost the keys to our mini-van.
That left us with one copy. Kate then informed me that our mini-van apparently has the security system of K.I.T.T. If we lose the second key, not only will we not be able to start our car, it will cost $300 to replace it.
Apparently the auto makers are finding all sorts of ways to make money if the buyout doesn't come through.
Kate had a copy made, but would it start the car? Oh, no. That was just so we could get inside the car if we lock the kids in there "by mistake." I've been tempted to make that mistake lately, but that's another post.
So imagine my sense of panic when Kate could not find our last key Saturday morning. It was LOST. Lost, I tell you. Lost.
"We're..." Kate said. I would tell you what she said but Kate is a good Catholic girl and prefers keep her PG rating intact. I've blown mine a long time ago. So I'll finish. "We're fucked," I said.
We looked. And looked. And got juice. It's kinda hard to set aside a lot of time looking when you've got three little kids wanting stuff from you.
I should now mention here that Friday, I watched all three kids. Things were, as you can guess, a little hectic, and by the time I had stopped by McDonald's (breaking one of my vows that I would never take my kids to those places, it's interesting how we make those vows before we have kids and we figure out what it's really like to raise children), all three were in full fuss. Full. Fuss.
When they are in full fuss, they do not like Daddy leaving them in the car, even if it's because you are taking one twin inside in one hand and you've got the toddler by the hand in the other.
So, yeah, it's somewhat understandable that I might toss the key somewhere, like on the table, and worry about other things, like getting the kids in their seats, putting the grub on their plates, getting their bibs on, cutting up an apple, etc.
At least it was to me.
Kate thought differently.
"Um, maybe it's at the gym," I said with hope. I went to the gym milliseconds after Kate returned home Friday and it could have fallen out when I was doing crunches.
Kate returned from the gym and shook her head.
Upstairs. Downstairs. The movie theater? My car? The van? We were getting desperate. We called the dealer and pleaded our case. We needed our van, or we have no transport to take the kids anywhere. Daycare. Parks. We were stranded. Fucked, in other words.
The dealer said he could cut us a key, but we have to have the van towed there. OK. Not a terrible solution. I called the towing place and they were on their way.
Except as a last resort, I grabbed the cut key Kate had made. It won't work, Kate tells me. Lowe's said so. We'll see.
It started the car.
I come back, smug. Man I am good. See, I tell Kate. You should try it.
So we cancelled the tow, cancelled the appointment at the dealer and put off getting new keys until Tuesday. Life returned to normal, which is to say, only kinda chaotic.
We were reveling in our kinda chaos when Kate decided to go get subs for everyone. She put in the cut key and began to pull out of the driveway, and...
the car died.
Really. Really? Really. This security system really is amazing. I guess we're protected against terrorists who would want to crash our mini-van into, um, our recreation center or the inflatable bounce place or something.
So we called the tow place again, called the dealer back, both could still help us, and I went to get the subs. Her mother was there. By the time I get back, Kate's gone at the dealer and MIL's got all three kids.
Kate called me at the dealer.
Guess what she found at the bottom of my purse.
Just guess.
One guess.
Man. You're smart.
We've taken to calling Allie "swiper" these days, as I've said in previous posts. Our theory is that she took the keys and stuck them in Kate's purse.
And though I was frustrated at this, I was also relieved.
After all, it got me off the hook.