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Archive for December 2006

Poker Flashback

Posted on December 31, 2006 by under Poker.    

I wish I had more time to play poker and develop my skill. I really think I have some potential. I just don’t have the time to devote to playing.

Anyway, I will have my runs of ups and downs but the one thing I am truly proud of is that I am a good sport. I don’t blow up over my bad beats. I might be upset for two seconds. I may even come home and blog about it. But then, I am over it. I think it is important to have a positive attitude about poker because it does take some amount of luck. People get lucky sometimes. Bad plays get rewarded. Not just for other people. I’ve seen my bad plays get rewarded also. It works both ways. I try to play smart but sometimes you just want to play crazy. If you get lucky against me, I’m going to call it like it is but I won’t hold it against you. And if I get lucky against you, I’d expect the same. Please don’t whine like a little girl or worse yet, cuss and scream like a jackass. You know you’ve had your lucky breaks too.

I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted in 2006, but when I did play I actually placed decently. Here are a list of my 2006 APL event finishes:

  • 1 First Place Finish
  • 1 Second Place Finish
  • 3 Third Place Finishes
  • 2 Fifth Place Finishes
  • 2 Eight Place Finishes
  • 1 Ninth Place Finish
  • 1 Twelfth Place Finish
  • 1 Sixteenth Place Finish

Other highlights include qualifying to play in the Big Boys Toy Show poker tourney. I didn’t win. Bill Bird actually won that one. I had some crazy highs and lows playing online poker. I think this was the year I played $1-$2 NL and $10 SNG for the first time. Don’t worry, I haven’t gone nuts or anything. I usually only venture into riskier higher stakes only when I am on an upswing so I’m not actually playing with my own money.

I haven’t done too well on the $10 SNGs but I have a pretty good track record on the $1, $3, and $5 ones. Last night for instance, I did a $10 SNG and got knocked out on the first hand. The minute I saw my pocket aces I knew I was doomed.

Blinds were 5-10 (remember this is the very first hand). It was call, call, call. Then the action turned to me. I wanted to play it agressively because I didn’t want to get sucked out on so I “bet pot” on middle position. When everyone called my bet I was really worried. I was sure I was going to get sucked out on but I could not get away from it.

When it came time for the player to my immediate right to call, he raised to almost 500. I was relieved. I thought this is my chance to make everyone fold so I don’t get sucked out on. So I did the only sensible thing to do. I went all in.

The player to my immediate left called. I was surprised. I really didn’t want any callers. When everyone started folding, I thought this isn’t too bad. I can handle a two-person showdown. I just need my aces to hold up. Then it comes to player on the right and he called too. It turned into a three way pot, much to my dismay.

Player on the left had pocket jacks. Player on the right had pocket queens. I desperately wanted my pocket aces to hold up but no such luck. When player on the right flopped a set of queens I knew I was done for; I need not wait for the turn and river. I knew my other two aces had gotten folded by the other early callers. Blech.

Anyway, you can find my other blog entries about poker here. You can find a full list of my 2006 APL event finishes here. Click here for 2005. And here for 2004.

NOTE: As you can tell I actually did better in 2005. I was able to play a little bit more then. I didn’t have quite as hectic a year. Here are my list of event finishes:

  • 2 First Place Finishes
  • 2 Second Place Finishes
  • 2 Third Place Finishes
  • 1 Fifth Place Finish
  • 2 Sixth Place Finishes
  • 2 Seventh Place Finishes
  • 1 Eight Place Finish
  • 1 Ninth Place Finish
  • 1 Tenth Place Finish
  • 2 Eleventh Place Finishes
  • 1 Twelfth Place Finish
  • 1 Thirteenth Place Finish
  • 3 Fourteenth Place Finishes
  • 3 Fifteenth Place Finishes
  • 1 Sixteenth Place Finish

I didn’t do too badly in 2004 also (I had several second place finishes) but that doesn’t really count because I was only playing at Fingers. It doesn’t have the 160 plus player turn out that the APL ballroom does.

At any rate, I’d like to give a big thank you to APL for making this information available.

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Checkmate

Posted on December 26, 2006 by under Flickr, Games, Movies.    

Checkmate

Today was kind of a disappointment but we managed to make the best of it. Today was supposed to be the day Brian and I get to spend to ourselves and enjoy our couples massage together at Healing Waters. The last few days have been really hectic (Christmas eve at my parents’ house in Derby and then Christmas day at Brian’s parents’ house, always an all day event) so we were really looking forward to our relaxing hour and a half massages. I had scheduled it as a surprise for Brian almost a month ago, but I ended up telling him about it shortly after. In the spirit of pragmatism, we agreed that it would just be our Christmas present to each other.

We started our day by having lunch at Chili’s. Our friends the Dills work there so we thought we would pop in on them. Anyway, lunch was good. When Dill found out that we were watching a movie that evening, he gave us a couple of movie passes. In exchange we left him a really good tip (almost as much as our entire bill). I thought it was nice of him to give us the passes. One good deed deserves another, right?

After lunch we hit the nearby Super Target to get some fruits and veggies for the suggies. Then we came home to take care of some last minute stuff and leave dinner in the cage for the suggies because we anticipated being out for the rest of the afternoon and evening. When we arrived home I found a message on my phone. It was Healing Waters calling to reschedule our appointment because one of the massage therapists assigned to us had fallen ill and was sent home. They could not find anyone to fill in. Brian was really mad and threw a fit. I felt really bad because I had scheduled this way in advance and I knew he was really looking forward to it. We ended up rescheduling for Thursday afternoon, but Brian was already upset.

Add to that the fact that we noticed Bebot’s “maintenance required” light lit up and would not go away. Being the worry warts that we are, we figured we’d just go to Eddy’s and have them check it out. Brian called them ahead of time so they would expect us. When we arrived, one of the Eddy’s guys looks at the car and fixes the problem by simply pushing a button. Apparently, the light is set to come on every five thousand miles. They are supposed to reset it each time we come for an oil change but we went at three thousand miles and I think they forgot to reset it or something. Anyway, I’m glad that Bebot is fine.

With that out of the way Brian and I decided to cheer each other up by having a contest. We said we’d give each other a hundred dollars each to spend at the mall and who ever got the most items for their money would be declared the winner. The only rule we had was that we could not buy crap just for the saying of having the most items. It had to be something that we wanted or would use. Naturally, Old Navy was the perfect venue for our competition. Where else can you buy a ton of crap for cheap?

Brian and I ended up getting about the same amount of items but his totalled about $75 and mine came to $99 and change. We declared him Victor but truthfully I think he had an unfair advantage because they usually have more guys stuff on sale. Next time we we have a contest I think we will do it like supermarket sweeps. The winner would be whoever can come closest to the maximum limit without going over. Although, if we do it that way then I’d have an unfair advantage because I’m better at math. LOL. Of course, Brian could always use a calculator. There won’t be a rule against that.

After Old Navy we stopped by the Gap (Brian still had $25 more to spend and I wanted to see if we could get another pair of his-n-hers matching shirts–yes, I like to torture Brian–incidentally, our total came to more than what he had left but that’s ok because we got our matching shirts–LOL). Brian found some cargo pants he liked and I found us some green mens tees on sale for $5 a piece. I got one in XS and Brian got one in XL. He was really hoping I wouldn’t be able to find a shirt that came in the sizes we needed, but I’m pretty resourceful. Now we have four matching shirts! We have our Nerve shirts (I think these were our first), Blogger shirts, red shirts and now our green shirts. I made him promise to wear it to poker on Friday and he agreed. (more…)

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New Discoveries

Posted on December 25, 2006 by under Family, Reviews, Toys, Web.    

In keeping with my promise to share with you all the cool things that I come across, this blog entry is more of a “Did you know?” post. These are the things that I discovered recently:

  • Kodak has a camera trade-in program. As digital cameras go, I really don’t like Kodak. I am partial to Canon. Most of my digital cameras have been Canons. I also like Nikon cameras because of their excellent reputation among photographers, professionals and amateurs alike.

    However, I have to give some props to Kodak for their innovative new marketing approach. They will take any digital camera and give you a cash rebate toward a new Kodak EasyShare digital camera. I think it is a brilliant idea. So brilliant, in fact, that I almost bought myself a Kodak on the spot.

  • Rouxbe rocks. Why? Because it is a cutting edge way to learn the culinary arts. This is one of those ideas that you kind of wish you thought of yourself. I predict that this will be the next big thing. Just as I thought MySpace would be great when I joined about three years ago (I was a Friendster user first) and Flickr would be the most popular photo sharing community when I joined it early 2004. I remember getting a month or so of “pro” membership to Flickr by convincing five other people to register. Fun times. Anyway, I actually didn’t know what direction Flickr would take back in those days because it started out as some sort of game. It just kind of evolved into what the members of the community wanted. So anyway, I think Rouxbe is going to be huge! So join today while they still have some 1900 founding memberships left.

    If that’s not enough reason to join, you should join because it is a well-designed, user-friendly web site. I know because my friend Ritchie worked on it. He doesn’t do anything crappy. He only does outstanding work. There you go. Check it out. Then send him a message to tell him how awesome you think the new project is.. He will appreciate the positive feedback.

  • Blurb will get you published. Self-published, that is. Personally, I think the Blurb way of publishing is actually better than Lulu. There are pros and cons to both, but as far as designing the book I think the software that you use with Blurb is more user-friendly and versatile. For selling, Lulu is probably better. Anyway, try them both and you decide.
  • Almost everything at Zazzle is on sale right now. Personalized postage, shirts, hats, mugs and calendars are on sale for $9.99 plus free shipping. You can’t beat that. I actually ordered some personalized stamps for us to use next Christmas. It’s got our picture on it with the words “Happy Holidays from Brian and Ching” printed underneath. I will post a picture when I receive them so you guys can see. Or you could order some yourself and see first hand.

    NOTE TO MOM: I think this would be a great idea for your letter campaign. Put your web site URL and phone number on the picture or something. It will surely catch the eye of anyone who comes in contact with the envelope.

These are all the ideas and discoveries I have for now. Until next time.

P.S. Here are some of the photos that we took on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Enjoy!

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Recently Watched Movies

Posted on December 21, 2006 by under Movies, Reviews.    

Now that school is out Brian and I are catching up on some movie watching. We’ve watched almost a dozen movies in the last couple of weeks. Last Saturday Brian and I watched The Pursuit of Happyness. We went home and decided to play a couple of movies as we wrapped gifts. We watched The Break Up and Accepted. Needless to say, we were up until the wee hours of the morning.

Today we watched Eragon. It was a lot better than I expected. I was thoroughly entertained. The little dragon was really cute.

On the drive home Brian made the comment that we’ll probably discover in sequel that Arya is really Eragon’s sister, which made me realize that the story is a lot like Stars Wars. Eragon was left to live with his uncle much like Luke Skywalker. Arya was raised as a Princess like Princess Leia. There are a lot of parallels in the two stories. Eragon had to rescue Arya from Durza’s castle like Luke rescued Leia from the Death Star.

The Varden were like the Rebel Alliance, Brom was like Obi-Wan, Murtagh is the Han Solo character, King Galbatorix is Darth Vader, his army are like the Storm Troopers, and all we are missing is a wookie. Then again, there is a sequel! Let’s just hope they don’t bring Jar Jar Binx. LOL. This is just the beginning. There are a lot more similarities but I won’t ruin the movie for you because it really is a must see. The visuals are breathtaking.

Kidding aside, here are my thoughts on the other movies that we have seen lately..

The Pursuit of Happyness was good but I expected more out of it. The movie previews kind of built it up so much. It made me cry but it wasn’t the bawl-fest that I expected. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s probably good that it didn’t make me cry as much as I Am Sam did. I don’t think there was a second in that movie that I wasn’t crying. Anyway, The Pursuit of Happyness is an inspiring movie. It shows that hard working people prevail against all odds. Believe in your dreams and persevere. Happiness will follow.

The Break Up was disappointing to say the least. It wasn’t funny and it wasn’t enlightening. I could relate to some of her concerns and his concerns but none of it was entertaining. Why would I want to watch something that I experience in my daily life? It was a waste of two hours. Thankfully, I was productive. I was wrapping presents as I watched the movie so at least my time wasn’t completely wasted.

Accepted was pretty funny but it’s not the kind of movie that I would really go out of my way to see. Obviously, this one came from Brian’s Netflix queue.

The movies that I borrowed that we (or I in some cases because Brian refuses to watch some of my films although I always watch his with him) watched recently include, Intimacy (a foreign film), Somersault (foreign also), and Girl with a Pearl Earring. I have a thing for foreign films.

Intimacy is a French film and had lots of nudity. I’m not sure I quite got it. I think I was distracted by all the sex scenes.

Somersault is an Australian film. I really only rented it for one reason. I wanted to see Abbie Cornish, the girl that Ryan Phillippe cheated on Reese Witherspoon with. I figured she has got to be something special. She’s okay. She is youthful and vibrant, but probably not someone worth throwing a marriage away for.. Somersault is a pretty good movie, as indie films go. What he did, though.. Cheating on his lovely wife, who I love and admire dearly… That was really stupid.

I watched Girl with a Pearl Earring because I love Scarlett Johansson. We’ve had it in our movie collection for a long time but I’ve not had a chance to watch it until now. It’s a good period piece and even better considering that the movie is about a woman in a Vermeer painting.

It’s amazing how many movies I’ve seen in such a short period of time. Even crazier is the fact that I have so many more to watch because we are completely behind in our movie watching.

If I don’t post another entry until after Christmas, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

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There is a God

Posted on December 17, 2006 by under Flickr, School.    

THE GRADES ARE IN!

The unofficial grades for fall term have been posted. Somehow I made it through with three A’s and only one B despite all the obstacles I’ve had to overcome this semester. Like, not realizing that I wasn’t supposed to take four courses in one semester while working a fulltime job. I’ve dropped it down to three classes next semester so I don’t have a nervous breakdown and don’t kill Brian. I wanted to finish my MBA in three semesters and received a rude awakening. That may be possible if you don’t work at all and you just focus on your studies. However, it’s not realistic for someone like me who actually has to work to pay the bills. You live and learn.

Anyway, it was such a relief to receive a B in Operations Management (DS 850). That class is so horrible. It was the first business class that I thought I might fail in. It was the only class I had this semester that required so much effort. It was so challenging, in fact, that it almost discouraged Ray from pursuing his MBA. In all my other classes the learning came very naturally with minimal effort on my part. Minimal effort is all I can afford to exert right now for school because work is requiring a lot out of me as well; which is really difficult for me because I don’t like turning in mediocre homework and projects but this semester the quality of my school work is just not at the level I would like it to be. To all the potential employers who might be reading this, I just want you to know that I am very much capable of superior A-plus work. I just spread myself too thin this time is all. I learned my lesson, though. (more…)

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