Friday, November 27, 2009
Be groovy, y'all.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The young man had a look about him, one I had seen before: furtive, figuring, running the numbers. He smoked the bummed cig with some urgency, and with his free hand practiced rolling a quarter over its knuckles.
He played. I just knew he played. He just hadn't gotten it down yet, is all.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We are staying in a neighborhood that is very familiar to us. It is the neighborhood where we lived, met, dated, and fell in love. We ung out in the independently owned coffeeshops, danced until 4 am in the clubs, and ate tamales from the street vendors. But even back then things were changing, and even though we didn't care to face it at the time, our early presence in the neighborhood was bringing about the eventual gentrification. It was a neighborhood artists could afford to rent in, and since artists lived in the neighborhood, it became the hip place to live. The demand made rent prices increase, artists moved out in search of cheap rent, rinse and repeat in the next neighborhood over. Eventually, artists learned that to stop the cycle, they had to beg, borrow and steal enough money for a down payment, buy a building in the next neighborhood, wait for the suits to move into the area, sell the building to them for five times the original purchase price, and move out of the city with the proceeds. Artists don't make money from art; they make it in real estate. (More on this in the future.)
So, now, instead of five panhandlers on the main six-corners, there's is one. Most of the bodegas and taco stands are gone, as are the druggies and gangbangers. The are replaced by fancy restaurants, valet parking attendants and little combo coffeshop/wine store/green grocers.
The kids needed some groceries today, so I went into one of the latter establishments today. It was three blocks from the place DW and I met. She lived on the second floor, I lived on the third. The neighborhood was run by the Cobras to the north of us, and by the Mob to the south. Both stayed out of each others' way, yet the Cobras had to contend with other gangs, and as a consequence, there was often gunfire right outside of our building. More than once I had to corral my children into my daughter's bedroom, the only room that didn't have windows exposed to the street.
The woman who waited on me today at the store commented on my ball cap. I was wearing my "Dead Guy" hat. "Is that from Rogue Brewing?"
"Yes, or a latent wish."
"Or, a 'don't mess with me unless...' hat."
"Well, I suppose there is a little of that left in me. Twenty years ago I lived three blocks north of here." I wanted to reclaim a bit of what used to be.
"Quite a bit different back then."
Yes. Even the graffitti has changed. No more gang symbols or cartoon figures with doobie in hand. The taggers speak to the new residents:
Monday, November 23, 2009
It amazes me that I lived in this city for nearly twenty years. In six short years much of what I knew is gone, replaced by banks and Starbucks and hip clothing stores. Community Service workers clean the streets for another night of littering.
The bed sucks. The train runs every ten minutes not 100 feet from the window. The folks staying upstairs have a toddler who likes to run the length of the flat and bang on the piano at 0630.
The water tastes funny.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
He min-raised UTG, and by the time it got around to me in the BB, I was getting 6:1 to throw in two more cents with 7-10-J-Q. The flop was 77Q. After he raised my flop bet, I check-called until I was all-in. I wasn't going to lay it down, so I should have just jammed the turn, but eh... Only one hand beats me, and this is Omaha. Pocket Aces no good.
After that, any time I raised, he came in, I imagine looking to get a little payback. Since the guy had position on me most of the time, I knew I had to pick and choose my spots carefully.
As the game wore on, I noticed that it wasn't just me. He was calling everyone's raises. He also did a fair amount of raising himself. And he was losing. And it wasn't because he was getting bad beats while playing stellar hands.
PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha, $0.02 BB (5 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com
saw flop | saw showdown
Hero (MP) ($9.20)
Preflop: Hero is MP with 8, J, 10, 9
UTG calls $0.02, Hero bets $0.09, Button calls $0.09, SB calls $0.08, 1 fold, UTG calls $0.07
Nothing new here. Even 6-handed, three players will call a raise at The Deuce.
Flop: ($0.38) 9, 2, 9 (4 players)
SB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $0.38, Button calls $0.38, 1 fold, UTG calls $0.38
Somebody else has a nine. let's see who it is.
Turn: ($1.52) 8 (3 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $1.47, Button calls $1.47, UTG calls $1.47
Well, we can't all have a nine. Someone has a big pocket pair, or three deuces.
River: ($5.93) 7 (3 players)
Talk about a redraw!
UTG checks, Hero bets $2.18, Button calls $1.39 (All-In), 1 fold
Total pot: $8.71 | Rake: $0.40
Button had J, K, J, 3 (two pair, Jacks and nines).
Hero had 8, J, 10, 9 (straight flush, Jack high). And I got paid!
Outcome: Hero won $8.31
You just have to wonder sometimes.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Last night I managed to get stacked in the deuce game with Aces in the hole, and then recovered with Kings in the hole. I saw some big hands go by when I didn't play the slightly odder combinations, which is okay. I missed a lot of draws but managed to keep from investing a lot to see the turn. And perhaps most important, I can't remember getting rivered by a two-outer. A good night overall, as I ended up a couple bucks.
I suppose playing the micros is not all that exciting to read about. No monster wins to crow about. I play to win most of the time, yet it occurs to me that what I am really doing is playing to learn, to think, to challenge myself. (Is this crowing?) And, when a hand goes down that gets my attention enough to think it is blogworthy, I get excited.
PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha, $0.02 BB (6 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com
saw flop | saw showdown
Hero (Button) ($5.18)
Preflop: Hero is Button with Q, 9, 8, K
UTG calls $0.02, MP calls $0.02, CO calls $0.02, Hero calls $0.02, SB calls $0.01, BB checks
Flop: ($0.12) 4, 6, 10 (6 players)
Not much for me here. The ten gives me a gutshot and that's about it. But it's a good gutshot, and the pot is still small, so I call with position.
SB checks, BB checks, UTG bets $0.12, MP calls $0.12, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.12, 2 folds
Turn: ($0.48) A (3 players)
Well, well, well. Any Jack, any 7.
UTG checks, MP bets $0.26, Hero calls $0.26, 1 fold
River: ($1) J (2 players)
MP bets $0.52, Hero raises to $1.04, MP calls $0.52
Total pot: $3.08 | Rake: $0.15
Hero had Q, 9, 8, K (straight, Ace high).
MP mucked 6, 10, A, 3 (two pair, Aces and tens).
Outcome: Hero won $2.93
Had the guy bet the pot on the flop or turn, I would have had to fold. Top two are always hard to play, but you have to find out where you stand ASAP, before it gets expensive. And you have to at least try to get rid of the questionable draws against you. If an opponent comes back hard, then you can fold to a set and be done with it; or at the very least, that is when it's time to slow down, not from the get-go.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I listen to a lot of different styles of music. There is very little that I dislike, and will even endure those styles low on my totem pole if the mood is right. I could wax about music being the language of the Spirit, but I won't.
I owe this eclectic taste largely to college and community radio stations. While we have a rather sizable selection of music at home, I find it efficient to listen to what others want to play, people much more informed than I who do it on a volunteer basis for the sheer love of music. I am comfortable in their hands.
Not too long ago, the DJ for one of my favorite radio programs passed away. His name is Richard Francis. I don't know much about Richard, and most of what I do know I have learned after his death. What I cared about was the music. Richard's show, "A Different Nature," was what might be referred to as experimental: ambient, spoken word, musique concrete and noise; in other words, what might best be described as avant garde. The radio station at which he volunteered held a sale of Richard's music CDs, albums and cassettes, books and VHS movies today to help defray some of the costs his family have incurred associated with his death. We wanted to help, and I wanted to pick up some music that I knew I would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
I came home with 43 CDs and DW bought several books. Money well spent.
I thought about making a list of the music here. Instead, I thought I'd try something a little different. A lot of the music I picked up I am unfamiliar with, and some I know the artist but not the work. So I thought we'd discover a couple of them together by way of YouTube.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
DW routinely walks the pooch, Annie, around the perimeter of the back eight acres. The dog loves the walk (one can tell) and anticipates certain stops along the way to look at horses, touch noses with the neighbor's llamas, and also do the nose thing with a white-faced-heifer another neighbor has been grooming with three other feeders.
We received an email a couple days ago from the latter neighbor that a truck would arrive Thursday, today, to butcher White Face and friends. Annie said her goodbyes yesterday.
This morning's walk came with cell call updates from the field. Burly guys. Hanging carcasses. You get the picture.
This is the highlight of the day?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When I came down from the bedroom this morning, DW was prepping the animals' food. She turned to me and exclaimed, "Good morning, my vet!" I looked around the room, half-expecting to see our veterinarian sipping a cup of coffee. No, she was speaking to me, and kissed my morning mouth. I was surprised at this greeting because, aside from my veteran status and how it applies to my health care, the subject just hasn't come up, not even on Veterans Day.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and went to the dungeon to do my reading for the morning. I had an email from Crash, thanking me, vet to vet, for serving. Again, I was a bit surprised. Back atcha, buddy. A couple fellow bloggers had some Veteran Day messages on their sites, so I was well-primed for reflection.
If I hadn't mentioned it before, would you, my dedicated readers, ever think I had been in the military? Be honest.
Me either. Yet, my story is probably not much different than a lot of guys around my age who served. I was against the war, yet my lottery number was 8, making me a very likely candidate for being drafted. I did poorly in Community College, wanted badly to be out of the house, knew a guy who was in the Navy who talked it up, and not seeing many options, volunteered. Two minutes into boot camp I thought I had made a horrible mistake.
But I made the most of it, which was easy, actually, because I was already used to sometimes illogical authority, and had a goal, which was to get medical training and help with the care of returning soldiers. I was assigned to be the Recruit Chief Petty Officer of my company (093), graduated as an E2, and had tested so well that I was asked if I might prefer to go to the Naval Academy. I declined. Hospital Corps School was a breeze because I already had a bit of medical training, and Ocular Tech School was even easier, as I had a year's experience in the eye clinic at my first duty station (Annapolis - Ha!). At the end of my B School, I was asked if I might be interested in taking over the School. The only provision was that I would have to re-enlist. Again, I declined. As much as I liked the job I was doing, I looked forward to the end of my four years.
I didn't see any action (the war wound down shortly after my enlistment), and because of that, I've never really considered myself a soldier — more of a lesser veteran — but a caregiver to soldiers. That part I carry with me.
Reading done, breakfast eaten, chores completed, I prepared to go into town. On top of the mail to be sent out was a note asking me to pick up a "memorial flower." I do every year, and either wear it in a button hole on my work jacket or wrap it around the rear view mirror in my rig. I was curious why DW wanted one but didn't ask. (She later said she wanted one because the one I had put in her car several years before had faded.) Instead I wondered how I might ask for two.
There were four guys from the local VFW at the entrance of the Safeway. I peeled off five singles on my way to them.
"Hello young feller!" He was about eight years my senior.
"Well, bless your heart for thinking so!" I handed the guy the bills and he reached for a poppy. "Can I get two, please? One for my wife."
"Sure thing! And thank you!"
"Yes, thank you." Another vet. With a neurological disorder. His eyes showed a deep, struggling-to-engage, sadness.
I used to tend bar. Not a fancy bar; a neighborhood place in a very questionable neighborhood. The bar was the headquarters for the local yet powerful gang, and the only reason I was hired was because I dated a woman of their ethnicity and therefore I could be somewhat trusted. (I could also count and knew how to handle a gun.) The place survived on the regular patrons who weren't gang bangers: Postal workers, Mexican day laborers, suppliers for the gang (the only tippers), and their women.
Occasionally, strangers would walk in, middle-aged white guys. No, make that gray guys. They always came alone, never said a word, had a couple drinks while staring at the counter, and then left. The same eyes. Nam vets.
I say thanks. I give thanks. I also mourn.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Hero (SB) ($13.95)
Preflop: Hero is SB with K, Q, Q, K
1 fold, MP (poster) checks, Button bets $0.45, Hero raises to $1.55, 2 folds, Button calls $1.10
Flop: ($3.30) 7, A, 4 (2 players)
Hero bets $2.30, Button raises to $4.60, Hero calls $2.30
Turn: ($12.50) 6 (2 players)
Hero checks, Button bets $0.70 (All-In), Hero calls $0.70
River: ($13.90) K (2 players, 1 all-in)
Total pot: $13.90 | Rake: $0.65
Button had J, 5, A, 3 (straight, seven high).
Hero had K, Q, Q, K (three of a kind, Kings).
Outcome: Button won $13.25
So, what have I learned so far? I already knew preflop margins are slim in Omaha. I forgot my PLO mantra of "patience and paranoia."That's the main lesson.
I also have a sneaky suspicion that I need to read up on strategies for playing short-handed PLO as the game seems to rely on more aggression than a full table (as it should be).
I'll get back to you.