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Archive for October, 2007

The popular line from Animal House may not 100% reflect upon me, well at least not the middle one, but the first one I’m feeling certainly does.  Turn 37, be married with a 3-year old and work from home?  Yeah, that’ll do it to you.  Have that ol’ metabolism slow down?

Try 202.6!

Gulp!  Back in 2001 I had a long holiday season and came out topping in at 194.5.  A wager with business colleages for $500 each along with the two losers taking the winner and their spouse out for dinner anywhere in Atlanta of the winner’s choice was motivation enough for me to drop a limb’s worth of weight.  Invested 500 in a trainer and 5 1/2 months later, voila!  Dropped 26lbs!  Down to 168.5.

Six years later, no one to compete against other than myself.  I was going to lose 20lbs in 30 days but am going to expand it to 60 days, figuring it’d be healthier.  I’m stating it here and I’ll come back on New Year’s Eve and see how I do!

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The wifey wanted to get away for the weekend,…and it actually she that suggested Morongo a casino resort just 90 minutes from L.A.  Hey, this hypnotism thing is actually paying off.  Now there’s ulterior motives to probably everything we do in life as altruistic as we all may come across.  There’s a set of outlet malls in Cabazon, where Morongo is located, with probably 200 stores.  So one way or another this had the makings of an expensive weekend.  We set out on our way on a chilly October morning having stopped off at some apple orchards so she can get her fill of apple picking.  We arrive at the hotel at around 5pm and check in and I realize that this is my son’s first casino trip.  I know, I’m a bad parent for waiting until the age of three to take him to his first casino right?  But I wanted to wait until he could fully appreciate the atmosphere…..oh and the smoke and the dregs of society.  Um, er.

Headed to the outlet malls and I got some great deals at Izod and Nike.  Landed back at the hotel at around 9pm and thought I’d keep myself busy by playing a little poker.  I’ve heard it’s the new rage.

The room is nice, non-smoking and about 25 tables or so.  Line for the $2/5NL was about eight deep so I sat down at a $1/2NL table and bought in for $100 in $1 chips.  I guess they don’t like to buy people in with $5 chips?  Anyway, about 30 minutes in, I’m about 2-3 away from being called for the $2/5 game and these folks are fairly tight, no gamble in them.  I pick up A10 spades and raise to $12 (which was a big bet for this table).  Player behind me calls and the SB goes all in for $60.  I know I’m behind but likely no more than a coin flip, I hope.  So I shove my rack in and the player behind me himm/haws and puts his plastic rack of $100 in.  Now I know I’m behind but I’m a little bored.  I apologize pre-flop to the woman who went all in on the SB.  Flop, ten high rainbow and neither of them improve (6,6 and A,Q).  I drag a nice pot for $1/2.  I’m called to the $2/5 table about 10 minutes later.

Played ok most of the night but likely a few too many hands played on my part considering the texture of the table, mostly tight solid players.  I could tell I wasn’t going to make a lot considering the personnel.  I wound up grinding my way up to about $800 up when the following hand came up:

I’m UTG with 10,10 and limp in.  Player behind me makes limps and another player makes it just $15, another player calls and a short stacked player on the button makes it $100 to go.  BB, who’s loose calls and I consider pushing, but don’t want to play a huge pot with just a middle pair.  I call and the player behind me goes all in for another $450 more.  Original raiser folds, player who was all in obviously is still in and the player to my right (BB) quickly calls.  What do I do?  I have $100 invested (although not counting that) and there’s about $450 in the main pot, and now $900 in the side pot.  Player on my right did not push (he had another $250 left).  How can I put anyone on a hand.  I put the guy that shoved all in originally on a couple of high cards, button on maybe JJ, and guy on my right, well who knows in that he smooth called a $100 and then smooth called $450 and didn’t go all in?  It’d cost me in reality $700 (as the other $250 would be going in) to win about a $2,100 pot.  I take about 2 minutes and show my 10,10 and muck.  Flop, was 8 high, but the turn and river brough A, A so I figured I’d make the right call.  Short stack turns over 9,9.  First all in guy had KQ off suit and the BB on my right had K2 suited?!  I’d have dragged a couple of dimes, but how could I justify calling.  I think I made the right move under the circumstances.

In hind site, no, as I played a little careless misplaying a couple of hands in the wee-hours and left only up $120 on the night and beat tired at 6am.  The good news is that I saved some money at the outlet malls but wifey spent enough causing me to not be able to play poker until 2008.

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It’s been simply just about 15 minutes since the Boston Red Sox have won their 2nd World Series in four years.  Who would have ‘thunk’ it just five years ago?  But this era of baseball has changed and so has the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry forever.  But with today comes a changed Yankees team actually.  The Yanks may take a page out of the book of the Red Sox this time and start brewing some home grown talent in Chamberline, Kennedy, Cano, Melky Cabrera, and will now tout a new manager, likely tomorrow in what seems will be Joe Girardi. 

The signing of Girardi IS the right move in spite of the overwhelming heartfelt love of Yankee Don Mattingly.  In as much as I personally love the guy, he’s never won anything!  Kind of reminds me of another, now former Yankee, Alex Rodriguez who tonight has opted out of his contract with NY.  Yes, today is a BIG turning day in Yankees history.  Rid yourself of the 2007 AL MVP and you’re actually in good shape.  Yes, I’m appreciative of what ARod has done, but seemingly the Yankees cannot with with him.  Perhaps it’s the distractions, but the Yanks have not made it to the World Series while he’s been a Yankee.  Meanwhile, another third-baseman who beat the Yankees in 2003 and just won his 2nd World Series and is the 2007 World Series MVP, and coincidentally a former Yankees farmhand, should be a a huge target for a New York Yankees team that can use a winner – Mike Lowell.

Yes, today is a turning point….Joe Girardi as manager, no more ARod, and the Yanks will heavily go after Lowell, probably overpay and yet still get a good value.  Yankees will resign Posada and Rivera, also likely overpaying but they have no alternative and now seemingly more money to do so thanks to Mr. Rodriguez.  I think you’ll see a much improved Yankees team because of this and the Yankees continue to develop their farm system and go back into battle with the defending baseball champions, The Boston Redsox. 

Now going into Tuesday, is it possible the rumors are true????  Joe Torre putting on Dodger Blue?  OMG.  Hey if there’s one thing that could fire back up the ol’ Yankees-Dodgers rivalry, maybe that’s it.  And is it possible Don Mattingly will follow him to LA?  Cand you imagine Donnie baseball in that color? 

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The good news is that I finished 15th in this tournament.  The bad news is that they only paid the top nine!  In a rather thin field, maybe 90 or so, they also had rebuys, which I loathe.  Started 3,000 in chips, 25-25 with 40 minute rounds.  I think in the first 3 rounds I would have rather watched paint dry my table was so tight.  I played too many hands early on, but figured I had to since these guys were chinsy.  We lost no one in the first 2 hours!  I was right about even after the break and rebuy period and I believe I was the only one at my table not to rebuy!  I just don’t like’em.  In fact, 9th paid only $650 so if you bought twice (340+300) you’d have made $10.00!  Anyway, wound up doubling up right after the break on the following hand

I have KQ suited and raised (blinds were 100/200) to 600 UTG.  Both blinds call me.  Flop J,9,2 with two hearts.  I bet out 600.  SB folds and BB goes all in for only another 800 more!  Ugh.  With now over 3,000 in the pot….how can I not call?  I guess I could not b/c I only had 3,000 going into the hand and only had 1,800 left.  But to just give it?  I’m thinking if he had a J he’d have bet out.  But if he were on a heart draw?  But I would still have outs if the former were true…any 10, any K or Q.  I call and he turns over K,8 of hearts.  I wind up winning the pot with Q high!  Three hands later on the button, I have KJ of clubs and 2 limpers in front of me.  I raise to 650.  Guy in front of me calls.  Flop 469 with two clubs.  Not a bad flop, with two overs and a good flush draw.  Check.  I opt to check.  Turn, bingo, 10 clubs.  Guy in front of me bets out 1800 into the pot.  I push and he instacalls.  I announce flush and he says he has outs.  Two pair?  Nope, majorly slow played AA with A of clubs.  No club on the river and I double up again to about 12,000.  Who needs rebuys?

Maybe I do as we get down to two tables and we’re in the 200-400 (50) round with literally 5 seconds left and the dealer was still gathering cards in when the tournament director announces break.  All players state they want the next hand.  UTG raises to 1,200 and I look down at JJ.  I’m in midposition and not sure I want to play a big pot with a guy that raised UTG.  I’m thinking he could have around an AK, QQ, KQ, or so.  Flop a safe 6,3,2.  He bets out 1,500.  I smooth call.  If an A or K comes, I can get away.  Although if I raise and he has the QQ, I’m dead.  Turn, another 6, which I’m not worried about A6 or any 6.  He bets out 1500 again.  I opt to smoothe call again thinking of an A or K comes, I can get away.  I’m still worried about QQ, because I think he’d bet that way.  River a harmless ‘7’.  He goes all in for about 7,000 and just has me covered.  There’s now nearly 10,000 in the pot and this is for my tournament life.  But I decide he has AK now.  If he had QQ, I’m thinking he’d check.  I call.  He flips over 7,7!!!  Ugh.  Guy next to me chastizes me.  Thanks buddy.  Ok, so I played poorly, but goes to show you that you can put your opponent on a hand, but instincts can kill ya.  Ouch!  The tourney slump continues.  At least I only bought in once.

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FRAXA

One of the reasons we went to NY this weekend was to attend a charitable benefit put on by our friends Ron and Amy Watkins.  Their son Niklas has Fragile X.  Fragile X is a form of inherited mental impairment ranging from learning disabilities to more severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities.  FXS is the most common known cause of autism or “autistic-like” behaviors. Symptoms also can include characteristic physical and behavioral features and delays in speech and language development.

In knowing Niklas for his eight years and to see his progress makes you thankful for what you have.  In going through what we have been going through with Shane, we realize we are very very lucky. 

Ron and Amy were exceptional hosts and put on quite the benefit raising around $50,000 on Friday evening for the cause.  They’re amazing individuals, but of course they are.  They have no choice but to be.  Wouldn’t you be active too on behalf of your son or daughter?  To learn more about FRAXA click this link.  Up through November 1st, Dorris Buffet (yes, there’s relation) will match any donation for new money.  If you haven’t made a charitable donation in 2007 to any charity, here’s one that is definitely worthwhile.

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Pride or the Yankees

I was in New York over the weekend and have had a few days to let the news of Joe Torre’s (or some would call it ‘management’s) decision to turn down an incentive-laden deal to continue managing the New York Yankees.  After owner’s George Steinbrenner’s comments during the series with the Indians, I’m sure Mr. Torre was a bit upset.  And there are many that think the Yanks’ offer of $5 million plus up to $3 million in incentives was a slap in the proverbial face.

But after much thought and seeing Joe’s press conference where he perceived it as a slap, you can see his pride getting the better of him.  I think there’s such thing as too much pride however.  I think there’s a time to realize what your situation is and evaluate it.  Too many players in baseball get rewarded after big years only to flop the next.  Then you have those that have an MVP type year and ‘only’ make above the league minimum.  The term what have you done for me lately…well that’s a sales mentality.  Hm…here’s an interesting concept….people in the US typically get rewarded for performance.  If you don’t perform, you don’t (or at least shouldn’t get paid).

I’ve always subscribed to this.  If I don’t work hard, or I don’t produce, don’t pay me.  Novel concept I know, but there are way too many out there that get paid for mediocrity.  I’ve worked with too many individuals in the past that feel they are entitled to make money simply because they show up at work.  What ever happened to pay for performance.

I think the Yankees offer, after much thought, was an EXCELLENT offer.  It would still make him the highest paid manager in baseball, and offers him up to $3 million more in incentives!?  After the seeing the Red Sox make the World Series last night, it made me sick.  My thoughts are moreso that Joe’s lost that fighting feeling, the winning ways.  And no doubt this is tough to keep after 12 years in New York.  I agree with management that he should have had the game stopped when Joba Chamberlin was being swarmed with those Cleveland bugs.  How can you let your team play under those conditions?!?!

Seeing the man that always keep his cool, somehow let his pride get in the way of a very good deal, seems well, odd.  Torre’s always been the most pride-ful of Yankees although never a Yankees really, never playing for them.  I’m thankful to him as a fan for all he’s done in NY, but also tired of those feeling they have ‘it’ coming to them.  Why not shove it in management’s face and accept the Yankees offer.  Who knows….winning the World Series would have locked in his 2009 option and another $8 million payday…oh…and would have paid him for performing!

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So we’re headed to New York for the weekend to celebrate Shane’s 3rd birthday with his cousins and grandparents.  So we’re leaving in our black Saab and start driving out of our condo when we see flashbulbs and camera lights going off.  Huh?  There are literally six paparazzi camped outside our condo.  How’d they know it was Shane’s birthday and he was going out on the town, lol.  I think they even snapped some pictures of us until they realized this black Saab was not Zac Efron‘s black Audi.  Apparantly today is Mr. Efron’s birthday and I’m thinking the paps are awaiting him to head out onto the town.  These guys’ll take pics of anything for a buck it appears. 

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