Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Feelings are hurt, and that's OK.

Played the 8-Game again last night, but just for an hour as I didn't have much time due to a cluster-f that is still playing out with DW's vehicle. Let's just say I went to save the day but the dragon had other ideas.

Same mix of players. Not the same players, just the same types. Stan is to my left, so I know who I have to fear. I have a LAGtard to my right. I've been at the table eight hands or less and I know he is what he is. One of my usual PLO foes is sitting across from me. He's not the best player in the world, yet he's capable enough.

We are in the PLO round. I am in middle position with Qc9hKsJc (for some reason the hand converters I use don't like 8-Game hands), and my PLO foe raises the pot from UTG. I call. Everyone else folds. The flop is beautiful...almost: JhAhTc. The foe bets out 2/3 of the pot. I pot it. He pots it. I tank.

I'm good right now but with no redraw. A heart can kill me. The question centers around his bet. Why the small bet and then a re-raise? He may have the same hand as me, only with a redraw. Yet, he may  be trying to take the odds away from me as if I have a draw. I am really on the fence here. If I call, we're flipping for stacks. What would Hwang do?  I just can't lay this hand down... or can I?

I jam and he calls. I am stunned to see Qh8dAs9d. The turn is the 7s, nothing. The river brings the Ad and I frantically look at his holdings again, expecting that he has somehow boated. Whew. Then I am stunned again as he types: "Nice slow roll, asa (Asashoryu)."

Of course, being the nice guy I am, I respond, "Just had to think, bro, with no redraw."

And Stan lights into me, "Don't teach them how to play!" Yeah, I know. Let it fly, good readers.

More importantly, perhaps, I should not let them know that I have an inkling myself. Not that it mattered. Another LAGtard sat to Stan's left, she and the one to my right swapped chips like lovers swap spit, and I just waited. It wasn't long before I tripled up.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Serves him right.

My buddy Stan says that HORSE is softer than the 8-game. I can't imagine how, but I've never played HORSE, so I'll have to take his word for it.  Lord knows I have a long way to go when it comes to the stud games and lowball. But I'm holding my own, and apparently there are many who have less of a clue.

In fact, I'm doing somewhat better than holding my own when it comes to leaving the game up. Last night I doubled up when I was certain I was jamming 4 x the pot only to split in the NLHE. I guess he didn't believe I had the Broadway to his two pair. Calling stations abound in the limit games and I guess the urge carries over. Each game does have its own gear.

I don't depend on the NLHE round to make significant headway. I figure every player is somewhat proficient and come to the 8-game after doing some time in Hold 'em, paying one's dues, so to speak. I may be assuming an awful lot there. Yet, there always seems to be two players who are more interested in gambling than playing, and as a consequence, make their stacks very, very vulnerable. Bless their hearts.

Even though the game is six-handed, there are rounds in which I don't play a single hand, even in the Hold 'em games where I feel most comfortable. Last night really wasn't that much different as it checked around until (he and) I hit on the river. Tonight was more of an anomaly, for in one round I had pocket tens set up and pocket kings hold up. Both hands I played aggressively preflop and saw folds on the flop, even with two callers.

One of those players evidently had enough of what he must have seen as unwarranted aggression, especially since it was on his Big Blind. And, having called both times previously, when I again raised it up 5 x BB with pocket Queens, he, of course called. Or it might have been a short-stack strategy of some sort, I don't know. He only had $2.17 to my $13.57. And because he had so little behind, I had no qualms calling his check-raise all-in on the flop of 3dAdTh. If he had an Ace, well then good for him, but for some reason I didn't think he had an Ace. Maybe not even a diamond draw. His call any raise approach meant he could have just about anything. And I was correct. He held 3s10s.

The Ks came on the turn, giving me a few more outs. Come on Jack!

Ace of Spades. Pretty.

He left the room right away, and since the other donk at the table had also recently went away, plus I had evening chores waiting, I left as well.

I was still running the hand over in my head as I went out the door. As I walked up the path to the duck coop, I noticed our OCD neighbors were burning garbage in their mini incinerator. With a good northwesterly wind for most of today, the smoke should have made its way right to our back door. That's the way it usually goes. If they just burned paper, I don't suppose I would much care. I don't know what all they burn, but I do know it stinks something fierce. But now the wind had shifted, amazingly coming from the northeast, pushing the smoke back toward their house. 

I'll take the small victories.

Local Associations (or something like that)

The above is a working title. And the below are first attempts. An artist and theoretician I know has already deemed them "very retinal," which may or may not be a dig. You see, Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art, coined the phrase "retinal art," which means art that appeals mostly to the eye and largely does not engage the mind. If pushed, I would have to agree, to a degree, and would prefer to have more of a balance on that continuum. Therefore, I have assigned titles that suggest there is more to the picture than meets the eye. Or rather, there are elements of the photos that have inspired associations, and the titles reflect such.

As Seen from Heaven



Eclipse or Hole?

Faint Mirror

Three C Homonym

Upside Down World View

UTQ (Underneath, The Quiet)

Of course, if I am to find balance, I cannot rely on the titles to carry the conceptual load. But it's still early in this project and I know where they're laying new fiber optics.

(Oh, and the cobwebs? Much harder than I thought. As in most things, time will tell.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

The phrase

Each morning I do my warm-ups: Coffee, reading, coffee, breakfast, and putting the birds out. By the time I get to the birds, I have a good contemplation going. This morning, like a song stuck, came "lookin' further in."  It's another old one. 

In Passing

Know that silence is near and in turn be granted
romantic lucidity in time for catching up.

With your new perception, were better
all else fail you to see things you know
about Godly people, the joy you get, ready
to speak, is not their joy or sorrow.
--Italian Spiritual
written by my Grandfather, Alfonzo Remuni

The thing we cannot know: all time different.
Past waivers between that which is caused,
remembered as what has changed.
Who told you to anticipate the future,
waiting for something skipped over into?
Don't look back. The immediate stops for no one.
--Translation of old Italian maxim

Although my father, Daddy Rem, died when I was still in my teens, I was afforded attendance at his dying words: "It's about time I be lookin' further in."

I rarely said anything when I went to see my father in the hospital. After all, I hardly knew the guy. I really didn't even think of him as my dad. Yet, I was caught up in the idea that this was our last chance. No Regrets. But then again, maybe he intended to do all of the talking, affording me perspective. Perspective that comes from identity and not necessarily self-affirmation.

Daddy Rem says, "You know, the only way I feel I can fight this thing is to eat. My lungs are filling up with my own body while my body is eating me alive. Kind of complete, you know. But if I keep eating, maybe I can upset the balance ... gain some ground. And if that doesn't work, maybe I should quit eating.

"Me and my appetites.

"A woman I know suggested I try to quit smoking through hypnosis. I figured that's what smoking was, hypnotic, like driving a car down a long smooth deserted highway at 100 miles an hour. That and fortune telling: you get there eventually, so all you do in the meantime is wait."

He was in real pain that last week. The morphine wasn't touching him. Actually, I knew that it was in fact effective — to the degree that an observer can be objective about pain — because I had worked in a hospital where they used a lot of morphine and Demerol. It never stopped the patient from crying out in pain yet they did sleep most of the time, doped up. And eventually, if these folks were going to get better, they didn't remember much of anything from the time they were on the opiates. Something I also picked up working in a hospital was the ability to know three days in advance when a person was going to die. There wouldn't be a time when Daddy Rem would look blankly back on his hospitalization. He had less than twenty-four hours.

In sort of the same way and for the same reasons, I can't be too critical of Daddy Rem in those last days. I didn't know much at all about his life, except to leave Mom and I pretty high and dry from when I was a toddler until he died. Besides know he was a rambler, I sure wasn't going to be able to find out much now, once more being on his way out.

Closer still to the end, he did a lot of screaming. He had that delirious burst of energy that folks get right before they go, which, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, gives false hope to loved ones..


"Yes, jump up screaming at stuff on the walls.

"Your lipstick smudged bathroom mirror, the message
pretty clear but in the wrong room.

"Jump up screaming at the cosmos and HIT THAT WALL, because you're just what the drywall needs, sucked up like a grease stain the size of your nose.

"Jump up screaming at the mere mention we're all in this together.

"I tend to think about you a lot lately, kid. My memory of you is a Post-it taped to the air I breathe…that we all breathe, sooner or later.

"HEY, jump up screaming at the wall on fire, stretched out as far as the eye can see.

"As your grandfather said, 'There ain't nothin' worse for a body than anticipation.' Did us both in.

"Grandpa said, '... and I ain't gonna tell you why!'... just bound."

It was almost like he was prophesizing.

In Dad's last six hours on this earth, I slipped him a half-pint of whiskey. Horror-killer. If the morphine had him prophetic, the whiskey made him nostalgic.

"Farsighted folks just got to be oversexed. Can't see close; afraid of being alone,
so they compensate. Hyperopic. Hypersexed.

"I see a woman at a distance with eyes three times bigger than behind those binoculars, I think: 'easy mark.'

"Knew a woman in the Navy slept with the biggest guy on base. He was easy to find. And man, was she possessive. Wouldn't let the guy out of her limited sight. Not that he minded much. He had about the same prescription as she.

"I can remember him sneaking her into the barracks and keeping us awake all night with their goin's on.

"Open a window, will you, boy?

"Had my own chance at sex overdrive when I was in.

Easy; and easy was just what I needed at 19 years old and headed for the arena.

Used to go behind the barracks late at night with the rest of them young lovers. Bunch of us under blankets doing the dirty deed. It took the Night Watch half an hour to make their rounds and by that time we could be out of there.

"No long good-nights. Just the way I liked it, 'cept she was mighty loose.

"Did you open a window? God, I'm sweating.

"It was no secret to anyone that I was no good. Now, mind you, in the same way, I wouldn't say that I was always in the wrong. Just no good. “

(The Kid thinks of mortality as authority to rebel against. The Kid thinks about older relatives he could kill with a sentence he avoids. He says, “Pity the angry, whose eyes never roll back in their head after something pops for good, them just sitting there at the dinner table, not moving, staring straight ahead like it was you getting killed.”)

My father says, "Kid, the only place for anger is on the road, where nobody's at fault. Just you and the varmints you run down. Redemption is easy for the easily preyed-upon and now I see that I've been doing it to myself.

"Got that window open? It's about time I be lookin' further in."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 15

The September Basho is over, and did not end without drama. Hakuho and Asashoryu, the two Yokozunas would meet. Asashoryu came into the final match with a 14-0 record for the basho; Hakuho stood at 13-1. I cannot say that I was happy to see the result of the first match, yet it was interesting to watch. Over so quickly, Hakuho was ready, Asashoryu not. The throw an afterthought. But now, both rikishi had 14-1 records, which necessitated a play-off.

I am grateful to the person who has uploaded this basho, especially for the full length of the play-off match. It shows the complete pre-match ritual, and all that sets the tone for what may transpire.

By the time the wrestlers entered the dohyo for the last time, I could see that Asashoryu had found his place. The furrow that he had in his brow during the ritual was gone. He was looking though Hakuho. DW came down into the dungeon just before the actual match. She chuckled when she heard Japanese coming from my speakers. I told her what had transpired in the first match and that the second was just about to begin. We watched it together and it was delightful. It was one helluva match, back and forth, and of a length few could endure, all which demonstrated just how powerful these two men are.

There will be those who criticize Asashoryu for his public celebration in the dohyo.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It was a good day to be out and about, and after not finding what I sought, I turned my trusty steed south. Regardless of ambivalence toward final resting places, last week’s visit persisted, not because of the place, but for those who have gone on before me. Class was still in session.

I cannot say that I come from a long line of Masons; yet I am aware of three generations. My grandfather on my DM’s side wore his ring in place of a wedding band, and my DGM participated in the Eastern Star; one of their sons is a member in membership only; and, my brother, a man who would do so for two reasons: Grandfather and because he’d try anything once. Thinking it might be a way to keep a memory, I once inquired of the local hardware store owner, also a wearer of the ring. I went to a breakfast for introduction but, resistant to rote and an attitude perceived, took it no further.

The place was bigger than I thought it might be, with fewer symbols than I supposed, though a significant number stones were facing east. Even though many markers were as old as those I saw last week, except for one, they were all intact or repaired, which may be why my focus shifted to words.


Is it me

or is this weird?

If you have a Little Davinci Princess who would love to be in a daycare with a profecional artist dressed as a princess all day and paint and have profecional art lessons and not be bored at a regular daycare please call me. I only charge 300 a month and if you just want to schedule on everyother weakends on saterday to have an art lesson that is fine two. We have thee girls atending so far and we will all dress up like princeses before we begin are art lesson. these are pics of some costumes i have and the begining of the Princess Art Studio for Girls.
And a sample of a pastel that I just began, email me for more pictures or any further questions."

Craig's List. There were images attached. 

Happy Birthday Asashoryu

My avatar at Poker Stars and Poker Academy is a picture of Asashoryu. Why a sumo wrestler? Not just any sumo wrestler, Asashoryu is a champion, a Yokozuna, the highest rank a sumo wrestler can achieve. Not that I'm a champion, by any stretch.

Sunday is Asashoryu's 29th birthday. He currently has the lead (13-0) in the September basho, which will conclude in two days. In this short clip on day 12, he is wreslting against Kaio, an Ozeki, the second highest rank. Kaio is Japan's darling of sorts. He is a fine wrestler and has been at it for many years. He is a crowd favorite largely because he is Japanese. Asashoryu is Mongolian, as is the other Yokozuna, Hakuho (12-1).

Note the respect he gives Kaio at the end of the match.* Many other opponents end up in the third row.

Asashoryu is a joy to watch before the match as much as during the match itself. He has the power of a offensive guard in football and the grace of a ballet dancer. It is dance well-rehearsed. When other wrestlers enter the dohyo (ring) with Asashoryu, they find it hard to look at him, in a competition that has as much to do with the ritual psyche-out that precedes the actual match. They are most likely going down and they know it.

You can read a synopsis atōryū_Akinori. The last sentence is the first paragraph: " In 2005 he became the first man to win all six official tournaments (honbasho) in a single year." He was so overcome with joy the moment this was accomplished that he cried tears of joy, if ever so briefly, for rikishi are not supposed to show emotion in the dohyo. This was a small "outburst." My "hero" is not without controversy. The Wiki article outlines others.

The last year has found Asashoryu floundering, a strong word to use. He has only won two bashos. many wrestlers are lucky to win one in their entire professional career. Injury has taken its toll, yet the crowd has expectations. At 29 years old, ten years into his career, he is past his prime.

*If so inclined, the YouTube user who posted this video has the September basho online, and has done a superb job of it.

Addendum: Asashoryu defeats Kotomitsuki on Day 14.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I played a little poker last night. So what……..else is new?

I hit the 8 Game. I wish I could write about it, still a bit too fuzzy on the stud game (is Razz considered one?) and Triple Draw, yet maybe I can if I download some hand histories. Probably more questions than anything else. Stand by.

I also fired up a couple $1 Double or Nothings just to see if I could do it. One turbo, one not. Turbo started before the not-turbo and had more players left early in the going. I never went below ten big blinds in either, built late and handed the deciding bubble blow at both tables. Yay me.

OK, back to the 8 Game. You know you’ve sat down to something special when the first thing you see is chat like this: “A raise and a re-raise and you call with 97?” The game was No Fold ‘em. Now, just to figure out who the player was berating.

Limit O8:
VBOOS: raises $0.20 to $0.40
sportweek: raises $0.20 to $0.60
** RIVER *** [Jh 5h Qd 9h] [2c]
Seat 3: VBOOS (button) showed [5d 3h 7h Ad] and won ($3.43) with HI: a flush, Jack high
Seat 4: sportweek (small blind) mucked [Ac Ah Qc 3d]

…and so on. He kept betting with basically nothing, would not fold, and he kept hitting. And so the table got even more funky. Sportweek, the commentator above started doing the same, raising with nothing, hitting a pair of fives on the river in stud against me with nothing more than a pair of fours in the hole and one helluva draw showing. And so…

Seat 3: VBOOS showed [Qc Ac 3c 6d 7c 6h 8s] and lost with a pair of Sixes
Seat 5: bastinptc (button) showed [2d Kd As Qh 3s 4d 5s] and won ($6.36) with a straight, Ace to Five

VBOOS left shortly thereafter, and I knew I should as well.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Enough to make a guy go into analysis

In case one might think I wasn't serious

 (tweaked to the nth degree)

One interesting note so far: I was looking for advice on the web (Get it? Grind it into the ground, bastin.) for how to best shoot these things and found that spider webs are generally referred to as cobwebs. I was always under the impression that cobwebs were the dust-covered remnants of an active web.

C'mon people! Dew droplets on a web! Give me a break.

Of course there is a lovely garden spider out in its namesake amongst the tomatoes. Want me to get a picture of it? Yes? Okay, tomorrow. I'm a whore for my eleven.

Actually, lest anyone think that I am an ungrateful sot, I have fond memories of garden spiders. Digressive association: Someday I will have to tell you about a favorite fishing hole.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This before I try a series on cobwebs

A spider on a Jerusalem Artichoke flower with dinner near

Laying it down

A bit on the tired side, I went to PAO last night with the idea that I’d play a little NLHE without risk to my Stars roll. There was a $200 table open but it was full and there was someone waiting for a seat. My buddy Stan was there, and when he typed into chat, “8-Game?” I said let’s go. Maybe the Stars bugs wouldn’t find me in a game I rarely play. (Hey, it’s my paranoia and I’m going to milk it just a bit longer, if that’s okay.)

The night before, I had joined Stan in a game and managed to take a sizable pot down when I rivered a higher straight to a maniac’s rivered straight, but last night I couldn’t get any traction, losing a few small pots and bricking when I opened with Aces in the hole in 7-card (my first hand at the table). I was down a few bucks when the room started to empty, and when Stan suggested we move, I was more than ready.

It generally takes me a while to warm up to a game, and I do not find it surprising that I lose more than I should when I first sit down, just like when I’m ready to leave. I have to tell myself to get the feel for the table and then figure how to play it, for the micros aren’t completely filled with donkeys, or at least players worse than I. Aggression may very well mean that an opponent has the goods.

The first game we sat down to at the new 8-game table was NLHE. The second hand in I was able to limp late with K 10 off after an EP limp. The flop came 10d5s6h. The EP checked and I bet the pot, which he called. A 10h came on the turn and again he checked. I bet 2/3 the pot and he doubled my bet. I called. The river was the Qd and he led out for about 1/3 of the pot. Value bet?

Quite often when Stan and I play together, we Skype and discuss strategy. It helps because I don’t have a lot of experience in more than three or four of the eight games, and, having played poker most of his life, Stan does. After some discussion, we decided that there were just too many hands that could beat me here, including A 10. Plus, I didn’t have any read this early in the game.

Still, there was some lingering doubt. I take a player’s level of aggression into consideration when sizing them up. Are they in every pot? Do they come in with a raise from any position or just late? The usual stuff one is supposed to look at. This guy was doing all of it, so I was inclined to put him on a wide range. But could just seven hands more give me a good enough read to risk my stack?

From UTG in PLO the villain bets the pot. This generally means one of maybe three things: one helluva good rundown, good suited Aces or Kings. More often the first two. Admittedly, I called light on the button after three callers. I had 7hKsAs2h, yet I figured my position gave me some wiggle room to see a flop of 4dKc7s, top two pair. The villain checks, one caller makes a 1/2 pot stab and I pot it. The villain re-pots.

Yet again a check-raise. What would you do? Stan was leaning toward pocket Kings or a set. In that I had a King, I tended to discount that portion of possible hands, yet Aces and fours or sevens might be in the mix. Yet, for some reason I jammed. He called. Turn was a 2s, river a 9s. He had the Kings. There is a reason I have been avoiding PLO this last week or so, at least without the proper program update.

I played for another sixty hands or so, bouncing around a dollar or so, ending with more than double my buy-in. I’ll take it. Yet, within that time frame I watched my worthy opponent rebuild by playing solid, aggressive poker with enough discipline to lay down his raised hand when I flopped the nut straight with a flush redraw.

As I left the room, I told him that I enjoyed playing with him and wished him good luck. I am quite certain he owned that table the rest of his session.

Great title

God-awful flick.
Albert Finney and Edmond O'Brien, separated at birth?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Red Flag Warning

We have a couple sizable wildfires burning about 150 miles to our south. Last night there was a bit of smoke on the horizon at sunset. Tonight there is considerably more.

The second photo is not much longer after the first. I had to do chores so the camera was put away. I would have liked to get a couple shots from the neighboring prairie to get some good horizon shots.

These kind of shots are extremely rich in color; yet when i compare the first (earlier) to the second, the deep reds of the second seem to pop more. So, I went back into a copy of the first and had some fun with it by increasing the saturation and adding some blue.

Just thought I'd share

I’m not a big fan of cemeteries. I have to catch myself from calling them “graveyards,” monuments popping up through the grass. I never know where to step. And, as readers will know, Mr. D and I have an ongoing dialogue (more a study group, really, although my tutor has yet to learn PowerPoint), so I don’t really have a need to seek out examples. Yet, within that real estate’s bounds lies a history of a culture, interesting calligraphy and inklings of stories, all of which do interest me.

There were familiar names, families who have owned or still own many acres in the area and roads named in their honor. Names that in the here-and-now carry more connotations than “pioneer.” I shall refrain.

We are on Anderson Road. Not only is there more than one fir in the picture, I wonder if at one time there was only one on the entire length of the road, for across the way is what remains of an oak savannah, the predominant flora in this area some 200 years ago. The trees in this photo must be the progeny of that solitary Douglas, long gone, for a tree at least 160 years old would be much larger than these.

There are people who dedicate themselves to photographing headstones and documenting the cemeteries that contain them. I ran across websites of groups who have organized around this purpose. I would not have found these sites had it not been for a question I found myself asking: Is there a prescribed way in which a broken headstone be placed if it is not to be repaired? While I did take photos of intact markers, that part of me that is drawn to chaos and transience is what I present here as my own study.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Sufficiently attuned to that around me and in a certain mood, I set out in a familiar direction, north, with no destination yet in mind. As I approached an intersection, I recalled a spot I had passed on my way to and from two of my more favored field photos and made the required turns to the gravel.

I came home with two posts.

Reaching my destination, I meandered about, framing this and that. I had no intention of taking the above picture, and in fact did not do so until I returned in the process of leaving from some distance down a hill. I mean, who would care about such an image, a common sight?  Yet the amateur birder in me took note and was made curious. There was a piece of black cloth covering the opening from the inside.

Not covering it completely. There was a hole torn in the fabric. Mild apprehension did not prevent me from inserting a finger, just enough to see within. I touched plastic.

Some birdhouses are constructed in a manner so that they can be readily opened for annual cleaning. This one opened with a pivot up. I was a bit creeped out and thought Robert Duvall might be nearby. It may have had something to do with where I had found myself this day, primed as I was.

Nothing of the kind.

I dutifully logged my find, five days after the last visitor. I had no need for any of the contents nor felt an obligation to leave anything behind.
I count nine vapor trails heading north, the Cascade lane. The Stellar's Jays are especially cranky today. A spider decides it is too far from the electrical line and makes his way back.

"My name is Judy, I am Ben Kramer’s older sister.  I just read the tribute you wrote to him on your blog.  It was beautiful.  I wanted to thank you for the lovely words and for providing insight into another part of Ben’s life."

I think I'll go take some pictures.


A guy re-raises a shortie, they’re all-in when the bickering is over and he flops quads. “That’s the way it should always be.” I tell him he would then find himself playing Solitaire. Yeah, I like to chit-chat. And I like to take good chunks of stacks. And triple up. “Did you have Kings bas?” If I tell you, I’ll have to leave. The room had five people waiting, then zero. I was planning to bank anyway.

Feeling full of myself, I revisit PLO. Gump is sitting in a wild room and I take a seat to the left of the maniac. I do well but go cold on the inevitable spew. Then I’m back to even. Making a guy put 25% of his stack in to catch his flush doesn’t work as well here. I protect my set to no avail. No, I’m not calling that pot-sized bet on the turn with three diamonds now on the board. Others would. I would in the past. Not today. Nope. I just came to see my buddy Forrest Gump, and he left a few hands back.

That Gump is a funny guy.

I’ll be in the $10NL rooms if you need me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How the morning passes

I slept in this morning, not because of my usual practice of staying up late, thinking that I will miss something, but because I could not put my finger on the malaise, the source of the gut that put me down. Something I ate?

Sympathy pangs with my genetics? DM has been having a rough go of it lately, a source of concern and advocacy, she the well-trained saint. Gotta get tough sometimes, I say and do. Then again, it is my Boy’s birthday after all.

The trait is passed along, the many nights I comforted his mind away from getting the better of his matter, he curled up tight, not unlike how I imagine him after the two incidents he relates during our happy greetings call.

Being of good conscience and young, frugal and soon a father, he rides his bicycle to work, a twelve-mile journey. No longer, as the soon-a-mother prefers, helmet or no, that he stop meeting other women as they turn right.

He says he likes to go fast. Another gene, male at least: a brother who never stopped until forced (more thrown); my cockroach years, a race held downhill; a gran pere chaser and a great-grand coked fighter. Women wept.

DW shows me the two quarts of tomato sauce from two gallons of fruit she will freeze. I am reading with my first cup of coffee, maybe second, waiting for my mouth to turn, and her accomplishment does the trick.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Merry F’in’ Christmas

I took that Donkey Test several months back. Although many have questioned the validity of the test, it pretty much pegged me: Consistent winner at home games; loser in raked games. How it makes such a determination, I haven’t a clue; and why a distinction is made between the two games leaves me even more baffled. Numbers guys, here’s your chance to enlighten this home game hero.

Hero: I heard a new definition tonight (grammatical anomaly about to happen, if it hasn’t already): “A sandwich full of baloney;” yet, I prefer “an over-used term.” (Maybe it’s gastrointestinal distress.) Okay, enough PoMo oblique play.

DW and I were chatting yesterday when my phone alerted me to a text message. Knowing the day and that nearly two weeks had passed, we said in unison, “R.” I called him to let him know I would come for the late cash game but avoid the tourney.

This evening, at 1945, just as I was settling in for a warm-up at PAO, R called.

“Where are you?”


“Why aren’t you here?”

“I said I would come for the late game.”

“Well, there’s only seven here and we’re playing cash.”

“’Well’ yourself. How the hell was I supposed to know? I’ll be there shortly.” Men…

I had $70 in my pocket, enough for a standard $60 buy-in to the .50/1.00 game. I told DW I would be home no later than 0100, or when my money ran out. Hopped in the rig and got to thinking. I could buy in for $60 and top off my stack with the $10, or I could stop at the ATM. If I dropped below, say $30, I would be cramping my game. Short stacks don’t stand a chance at R’s. Another hundo would be more than enough, and carry me through the week for groceries, etc. And the truck needed gas.

The new ‘do was a hit. Someone made a comment similar to Crash’s. R asked, “Did you get a job?” I sat to the task at hand.

R was to my right. “Fuck You” Frank was to my left.  Then R’s girlfriend, Mike, Ed, “Fuck You” Phil, and Santa.

Regular readers (which is the only kind I have, and I appreciate each and every one of you eleven) will recall that this is a pretty loose game. Q 8 is considered connectors. Any two suited are playable. No one except me knows more than three words in French. So, I typically play a TAG game, very patient, and when I’m in a hand, I look for unseen disaster at every turn, or river. Make them pay. And trap with monsters, because that’s what they’re doing with coolers. Everyone except R, his girlfriend and me love to play the coolers. Well, maybe Santa is more ABC too.

Santa is frustrated. He’s playing big hands pre and they go nowhere. Santa also likes “the speech.”

“I guess when I do hit, I’m going to have to bet the hell out of it to get rid of the draws.” He bets the pot. R 3-bets him and the table is in stitches. He has no choice but to fold.

Santa is a great guy, make no mistake. The kind of person who volunteers for hurricane disaster relief in the Gulf. So, when he has to rebuy, I feel for him. He reloads for a second hundo. I flop a set of fours and then trip fours, and I go easy on his top pairs. My bad. Yet I have $70 of that C-note.

Hey Matt and Grump (conduit), 2-4 was a monster for “Fuck You” Phil. A four on the flop and runner-runner twos against my nines (I smelled it and lost very little) and then suited for the babiest of flushes against the girlfriend’s pocket Jacks. I lost $10, about the same amount as the girlfriend.

That hand was early in the game for me. I was playing loose with 89off, and when “Fuck You” Frank folded what I knew to be a better 9, I was content to check/call the turn and check/check the river, for I knew he was waiting for me to bet. I have watched carefully these last two years.

I suppose the single best thing about playing these guys is that they don’t play top pair the same way I do. I was happy to do little but feel with those nines. Yet, I have no clue what Phil had when I flopped a set of eights. I limped pre in the SB, along with several others. The flop had two spades, and I checked. Phil bet the pot and I 3-bet. Phil called and I took the remainder of my chips, about $20 and shoved it dark. The board paired. Phil called and I doubled up. He said he had a pair bigger than the board. I didn’t ask to see. My bad.

Pockets eights again. Eight on the flop and R’s girlfriend and Phil are in the hand. Suffice it to say I milked it and did well with eights full of Kings. And there was tension. She didn’t know what hit her.

I more than tripled my buy-in, but sessions like this are rare. In fact, this is my best-ever. I usually walk out a winner, but only a half buy-in or less. I’ve been busted maybe twice in two years. Yet, two things nag at me: I don’t like when people I consider to be friends mope; and, I have to change my game. Santa knew he played poorly against me, for he said so. The gf I’m not too worried about. R will handle that. Yet, I began to hear for the first time at this game that an assessment has finally been made: don’t get involved in a pot with bastin when he comes out firing.

It took them long enough.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some poker

Both winning big and losing big will keep me awake at night. Last night it was the former. Yet it wasn’t just the win. After all, it came at Poker Academy with no real money at risk. Just time, which is close enough, and close attention, which will result in replaying with eyes closed. That and a nagging sinus thing.

I forced myself to go to bed after the game. I could have written about it then, but like I said, my head. I eventually fell to sleep, resolved to type it out this morning.

“Honey!” I knew the tone and was out of my chair and halfway up the stairs when I heard, “There’s something in the wood stove!” The large fish net did not do the trick. The light coming in through the side door did. I have a lot of practice catching birds bare-handed.

Rising to the occasion even though the head still hurts a bit. Not as bad as when I first set down at the table last night. It was a good table, tough players for the most part, but a couple softer spots that are easy reads found their way to the game. But with my head…

Stan, the #2 player at the site, opens up with a small raise from the Button. I suspect he’s on a steal. I have K 10 suited in the BB and call. A ten comes on the flop with a gutshot Broadway. I check and he bets the pot. I call but I lost control of the betting preflop. The turn gives me a nut flush draw, rinse and repeat. Big pot. The river is a blank and I fold to his jam. He types, “Whew!” Yeah, I knew. Another Tylenol and more Tiger Balm. Get the gut and head working in unison.

Time flies when you’re grinding away. Traction sometimes takes a while. I get back to even, even a little ahead, and the pocket Queens on a paired board with flush potential slows it down. And as the night wears on, there are fewer players, mostly diehards. Still, there is a mark that patience will out.

Two nights in a row I’ve watched this guy. Aggressive, bluffy, calls light. Two nights ago he had position on me. Not last night. Even so, he was catching when my C-bet was no deterrent; yet, I was returning the favor enough that we were swapping chips even-Steven. The difference was that I was not calling light and forced him to lay down top pair a couple times. (He likes to flash, bless his heart.)

The funny thing about winning big is that the excitement of it makes the hands at the time seem of monumental importance. Maybe it’s enough that it was pocket Jacks. The villain limps just like he does most every hand from EP (playing 60% of his hands), I 3-bet it, my buddy who likes to push me off of hands (see QQ above) calls and the villain obliges. The flop comes 6h3c4h. Not pretty but not too dangerous either. The Villain checks, I bet the pot ($60), buddy whiffs and the Villain makes it $180. It think about it a minute. What do I know about this guy? Would he play something like 57s like that? No, he raises with such a hand from EP. I’ve seen it more than once, because, bless his heart, he flashes. He limps with small pairs. Did he set up? His style is not to check-raise. I’ve never seen him do it. If he has any part of the flop, he comes out firing. His check-raise is retaliation for that top pair hand in which I did the very same to him from the SB. (Hey, a set of eights with an LAG yet to act,,,you tell me.) Nah, he’s on a draw. All-in. He has me covered and calls with 5c5d. Turn and river are blanks, TYVM.

Something I’ve learned over the last couple years is when an aggressive player such as the villain misses big, his aggression gets the best of him. That energy has to go somewhere, and if I am lucky, it is toward me. Me with the better hand. I take the rest the very next hand with a Queen high flush. He had Ace high and bluffed the river. Better than him taking out some drywall, I suppose.

I’ve made an enemy for life, and it feels good.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don’t get me wrong

My letter to Poker Stars must have landed on the right desk. Updated software brought me a set of jacks in the SB. It might be the $10NL game that has me building back from a pittance one again. But I didn’t stick around long enough to make an assessment. I dropped in to see if Sis was around. She wasn’t, so off to where we first met, Poker Academy, now in death throes. Free sites everywhere one turns, so why pay for the software up front to learn?

Learn? Some. Dewey has something to say about this. Hard knocks can be had anywhere. You get what you pay for. Something like that. I get back to even and look for an art magazine to read. I see a photo I like. It’s for a fashion designer’s new line.

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately. Art stuff. I could bore you with it. Theory. I’m gearing up to talk the talk should the need arise. Problem is, it’s all talk. Not the theory. The jar. The same jar as twenty years ago. Glass endures. I can hear the ocean. It’s mostly commercials.

So I walk the dog. The tree frogs are chirping in the dripping leaves.

And pour a scotch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

8.5 mile river run

DW and I took a boat ride down the local river. I got some fishing in, and caught and released two native rainbow trout, no steelies. Saw lots of salmon spawning. DW has been wanting to do this for a number of years. It was a perfect day to do so. We had a great day, and now, we're both rather tired, so I'm going to dump photos and go.



Monday, September 14, 2009

There remains a strong resemblance.


Sing along with me, will ya?

David Crosby

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It's gettin kinda long
I could have said it was in my way
But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
Cause I feel like I owe it to someone

Must be because I had the flu' for Christmas
And I'm not feeling up to par 
It increases my paranoia
Like looking in my (rear-view) mirror and seeing a police car
But I'm not giving in an inch to fear
Cause I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone

When I finally get myself together
I'm going to get down in that sunny southern weather
And I find a place inside a laugh 
Separate the wheat from the chaff 
I feel like I owe it to someone

I fault myself

I have a nagging feeling that I need to add another questionable avocation to my heading. "Blogging?" Perhaps, yet that is more a sub-topic. Maybe I need to take the time to think about what it is exactly in these pursuits of mine that make them questionable. Easy: each lacks in some manner.

On one of those social sites, a college friend wrote:

"Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers." Cesar Chavez

to which I responded:

 "Language may be a reflection, yet it is not exact; hence, the need for discussion as an attempt to clarify."

to which another responded:

"Ya, niggah, dat right."

Tonight, after returning home from seeing a play with DW and a friend, I saw that two more responses had been posted, and when I called up the site, the crass statement above (not mine, the other) had been removed, presumably by the gentle-mannered initial poster. The next response was from a woman who wrote:

"The Chavez quote was wonderful --"

Again, the initial poster:

"I thought so you!"

Given as I am to second-guessing myself, I thought that my response might have been too pithy, as it seemingly generated only the censored remark. I certainly did not want this college chum, nor the friends whom we share on that site, to think ill of me. So, I set to dig deeper and wrote this email:

My dear Xxxxxxx,

I hope that you understand from my response to the quote that I am not criticizing the sentiment expressed within. I believe that on the surface it in indeed lovely.

What may stop me short is a reflection back upon the struggles of Chavez and the FWA. They had to work long and hard for people to understand the plight of farm workers, and I dare say the struggle is far from over. Yet, for them to make any progress, a campaign had to be waged, an information campaign, so that a dialogue could begin. People needed to understand, to overcome misconceptions. Once the discussion began, people's minds were changed, and so was their "exactness."

Language is powerful, yet meaning is elusive. Clarity is a constant struggle, whether it be between long-time intimates or with the cashier at the grocer. One might say that "the enemy" depends on the ambiguities in language to manipulate people into thinking that there is no struggle. "Believe me, end of story." Politicians and talk radio hosts come to mind. That "exactness" depends on no discussion, on maintaining ignorance. One believes face value is truth and nothing improves. And that is be why we must look beyond sentiments.

I may be rambling a bit, I am not quite certain. Nor do I want to appear to be lecturing. It is difficult to convey complete ideas with little snippets on Facelessbook, so I thought I'd give this a try.

Peace and hugs,


P.S. And what was that one guy about, the one you apparently deleted? 

 And I hit "Send."

And then I started to second guess myself some more. I went back to read the quote again. Perhaps I had missed something, not read close enough.

"Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers."

 Two words stood out: "exact" and "growth." Language, Chavez seemed to say, was capable of being the former (never mind that a reflection is not the object itself) and allowing the latter, a becoming, if you will. In that I had chose to ignore the word "growth" because "exact" had stuck in my craw, I felt a need to comment further, and posted this comment below my friend's:

"An afterthought: language can change, and within that change might lie the growth of which Chavez speaks."

Another snippet. As I reread it, I see gaps that one may or may not be able to close. Language changes because language can effect change, even within itself. Change is growth? Change is at the very least not static.

It is late here, so I do not expect a response to come right away. I may do well not to expect a response at all, for I have found that silence often follows what I may think is sincerely said; that, and anticipation being what it is for me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anticipation is my forté

The fourth and next to last photo in this both long and short series.

Shorter days ahead

DW met me in the driveway. "How did the photographing go?" I made a face.
I wasn't out long, and hoping to see something new,  chose to drive some roads to the west of my usual trek. Different fields, but not all that different. I suppose that makes sense, yet one can hope. I took one photo worth saving.
Clearly the field in the foreground has been burned more recently than the one in back. You can see inside the loop that the grass is starting to grow again. The cycle continues.
Autumn is fast approaching and the area's biggest harvest festival is this weekend. We've never been, even though I wouldn't mind seeing some tractor and horse pulls. What keeps us away is the alcohol, for it is widely known that much is consumed on the festival grounds. Fights, puke, those sorts of things. The local cops have their hands full. The State Patrol, County and nearby municipalities' officers patrol the highway. Good.
I imagine there was a time when this festivity provided a vital role for the community. After several months of sweat and toil for 16 hours a day, neighbors gathered to catch up on gossip, share new knowledge and achieve some catharsis from drink and dance. There is a purpose to such ritual. Now, despite a well-advertised "Family Day," I say that if you have to work so hard to sell the positive, there is still going to be an odor to the PortoSans. I'll do without.
The grass seed farmers don't have much to celebrate this year. Their market is glutted; future burning will be severely limited, which will mean more labor and costs; and everywhere around here is evidence that they are making a switch to other crops, so they may not have the free time to tie one one anyway.
Thousands of acres of grapes for wine have been put in just in the past year. And thousands of freshly plowed fields tell me that there is a late crop going in, and that can only be wheat, a crop that had a good price a couple years ago, but no longer. I'm afraid in seven years the same will be said for grapes, and the price of Oregon wines will plummet. Cheap wine with which to celebrate the harvest.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stand-Up in Stayton

Sometimes it just comes over me, the bug up my butt over some little thing,and to let off a little steam I go blue.

"You know it's not for you." A running joke with Gary at the Post Office regarding the usual addressee of packages delivered to our P.O. Box.

"Yeah, I know. It's got some foreign writing on it."

"It's from China."

"Maybe it's a baby. You know, Chinese babies are all the rage now."

"It's a parcel."

Yes, it is small, so maybe it is a partial.

"A parcel." Nary a smile.

Then it's on to BiMart, kinda like a cross between KMart and CostCo, only smaller and employee owned. Co-owner Linda is awaiting my check-out. We have history.

"Hello beautiful."

"Hey there. How are you today?"

"Fine, thank you."

"You still have that tattoo, I see." She is referring to the 2" x 3/16" black line I have on my left forearm, my ode to minimalism.

"Yeah, not much I can do about that. Funny thing is, my newest one if already fading." I then proceed to pull up the right sleeve of my t-shirt to show her the letter that signifies the first letter of DW's name. "The guy didn't do a very good job."

"Just ink from a pen?'

"And a safety pin, nothing fancy. I suppose I could have protested but he was bigger than me and we were in a confined space for an extended period of time."

Now, she laughed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three examples. Maybe four.

The other day I was listening to one of my favorite college radio stations,, and the DJ was hyping some event that the station was sponsoring. In the announcement, he jokingly gave directions to the shindig by telling listeners to “follow the trail of knuckle flesh.” I made a mental note to use this phrase as soon as possible, and given my elitist tendencies, I did not imagine it would take long to find cause.

Thursdays find me in Salem at and for a designated time. I arrive when a high school lets out adjacent to my destination. By the time I get back in my rig, the adolescents have dispersed. Today there was a straggler.

The first thing that came to my mind was that this student had been in detention. Why that and not Chess Club, is worthy of exploration but my mind instead drifted to the one time I was in detention.

I was a sophomore at a rather large school in the western suburbs of Chicago. I was waiting for the school bus to take me home. Why the bus was not waiting for me, I do not recall. As I stood there among familiars, a younger lad, also from my general area but on a different bus route, approached. He and his comrades had a question that urgently required my answer: Why had I drawn on my jeans just above the right knee?

What had I drawn? In dark blue blue ink on a lighter denim, I can only imagine that there was, at the very least, a peace sign. I can also imagine characters from “Mad” magazine, paisleys and such, for those were heady days, pun intended. I was a young Flower Child, as hard as that might be to imagine, and as such, decorated myself accordingly so that others of the same ilk might recognize another. There were a few of us, not many, and we were largely the consumer variety of sheep. Chess King, a division of Kmart provided the accoutrements.

I had bought these pants with my own hard-earned dollars. I was a soda jerk for 20 hours a week, and at $1.10 an hour, I had the pants for less than a week’s wages. I figured that since I bought them, I was free to do what I wanted with them, and in that I knew from the questioner’s posture that he had something else than a discussion about art on his mind, I told him that an answer would not be forthcoming. Yet, he persisted, so eventually the inquiry became to resemble a challenge based upon, I can only presume, a difference in ideals, for his attire and hair style suggested something contrary to mine. He was, in short. a Greaser.

I do not remember how exactly we came to find ourselves entangled on the ground, yet I do know that I had the best of it (I was then, and may be still, someone whom one may assume is passive and therefore an unskilled tussler) until a shop teacher happened by to pull us apart. He cared nothing of a tale for my innocence. Hence, the detention.

Free-associating like the above memory can be enlightening but driving in heavy traffic is neither the time or place for such focus. Eyes and mind on the road, bastin.

Of course, there is an exception to my rule of defensive driving, and that is when I have my camera and see something that screams to be photographed. Sadly, today I forgot the thing, so I am left with words to portray what I would have otherwise captured in two dimensions.

As I neared my town, I caught a glimpse of a bumper sticker on a sizable pickup as it sped past. It read: “Keep Oregon Green/Shoot an ELF. I was confused. I wondered if elves were not green creatures themselves, and if not, say they were Caucasian in skin tone, then what woodland creature might be green and in preference for that truck owner.

In that our town is the last sizable community before entering the Canyon, it was not unlikely that I would again find myself near that truck, close enough to read the sticker more carefully; “Keep Oregon Green/Shoot an E.L.F.

The acronym gave clarity. The Earth Liberation Front, a fringe environmental group given to extreme acts of vandalism designed to protest a variety of concerns, from paving over and building housing tracts on the landscape to, most recently, radio frequencies. As an old hippie, I probably don’t need to point out that I empathize to a degree; however, I must point out that I am not a fan of their methodologies.

Nor am I a proponent of murder in the name of a contrary ideology.

(Now that I have written the above, I will be curious to see if “flowering plum trees” is replaced as my number one google hit, and if so, where that trail might lead.)