Archive for March, 2011

Mar 28 2011

Long Overdue Poker Update

Published by under Poker

It’s been a while since my last poker update. I haven’t played much poker for a while. I took a break from poker around May of last year. When I started my new job in June, there just wasn’t time as I was trying to get up to speed with everything going on there. Pile on the normal chaos of a family with 5 kids, and it just wasn’t a good time.

Well, I’m trying to get back into it. So one of the first items of business was to update my records that I had been keeping. I really didn’t have much of an idea how bad last year was, but I knew last year was my first losing year playing poker since, well, ever. That wasn’t a good feeling. I had losing days before, obviously, and even losing months. Never had a losing year before.

No matter where you look, there is evidence that the games are getting tougher. I’m not convinced they aren’t beatable, though. The itch to play has come back too. So I have intentions of scratching it and trying to get back to winning some again. Poker has provided a lot of fringe benefits for the family and it’s still something I enjoy. I really want to get back to that.

Down to dollars and cents:

As I said, last year was the first losing year I’ve had playing poker. All inclusive (bonuses and rakeback) I believe I lost about $1600 last year nearest I can piece together from everything. If that’s off, it’s only off by a few hundred one way or another due to a miscalculated cashout. Since I was playing a lot of 100nl nlhe and plo, that really isn’t that bad. An 16 buyin swing is the equivalent of a bad day, basically. I pretty bad day, but a bad day still. I’ve had a few days that were more than that won or lost in the past. It was just part of the game.

When I quit, I was a bit frustrated with poker, but it wasn’t really with the amount I had lost. That was well within my comfort level of what I could lose. In fact, a bigger hit to my BR last year were cashouts (who knew a new job with a really decent pay bump could be so expensive) where I took far more out of poker than I had lost. The frustrating part was I didn’t feel like I was playing well. Those losses came over 66k hands of poker. I wasn’t making the right adjustments and wasn’t playing what I should have been.

Taking a year off is giving me a new perspective and desire to do well. Mostly to just have fun. I’m not depositing any more money. I have around $1k in my accounts right now and plan on attempting to build that up. Along with a new ambition to do well, I’m also switching games. A limit game this time. I’m going to try and see if I can make a successful run in limit omaha 8 or better. Those of you who don’t play poker and have made it this far, I don’t expect you to know what that is. Those of you who do play poker and have made it this far, I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing…

I’ve alway liked omaha. I’ve always liked split pot games (usually the 7 card stud variety). Mostly I’m intrigued by some of the success that Adam Schwartz (the podcast host) has had with the game and I think games like these are less saturated with good regulars which should give me a decent chance to do well. Each time I’ve switched games, it’s taught me new concepts I’ve always been able to take back to other games. I don’t expect to play just O8, FFS. It’s just my carrot right now. Hopefully a carrot that leads me back to where I had been in poker before last year.

I’ll post updates when I have them. O8 is a slow game and I can’t play as many tables as I could with nlhe. I don’t expect the 150k hands a year like I was able to do. I’ll be lucky if it’s more like 50k hands, but I’ll put up information as I have it.

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Mar 21 2011

Movies: Randoms Part 1

Published by under Entertainment

Again I’ve fallen a bit behind my movies so I’m going to try a few different things. First off, I’m going to limit these to like 5 movies. Maybe that means I’ll just post more frequently. I’ve also decided to simplify my ratings. I used to do some granular rating of 0-5 and a lot of the minor ratings were completely at the whim of when I wrote the review. I’ve decided to just rate it with 3 ratings. Bad, good or great which would change very little.

So, in no particular order, here are 5 random movies that I’ve watched over the last month or so.

The Crazies

This movie has a ton of similarities to the tv show, The Walking Dead. If you liked that, you will likely like this. This is just on a smaller scale. Instead of a sheriff trying to find and save his friends in family in a post apocalyptic world, here he is merely trying to save his family and friends in their small town from a biological weapon released turning the residents into Zombie’s. It’s really hard to have a truly original zombie or any horror story for that matter. This one is no exception as it is a remake. What a movie has to do to make it decent is to not resort to cheesy tactics, have interesting characters and enough suspense to carry viewers through it. This movie has all of that. It’s probably the best zombie movie I’ve seen (not that I see a ton) since 28 Days Later.

Good

The Lottery

Several years ago, many large cities began creating a system of charter schools to raise the academic offerings to the normal public school system. These schools had a concentrated effort on making sure kids were learning instead of just passing the standardized tests. This film covers a few families who are on the large lottery lists to get their child into these schools and the people trying to make these schools a success against parental and political adversity. What really surprised me were how many people were against these schools. Even more than groups like the teacher’s unions but parents. I can’t really see a parent not wanting the best education options for their kids. While it’s interesting to watch and see what people are willing to go through, there really isn’t anything surprising that is happening here. It’s a bunch of people trying to make things better pushing against the slow moving mountains of change and politics. Still worth seeing but not a great doc.

Good

The Da Vinci Code

PSN had several movies free to rent last month. This was the first one and I decided to squeeze it in since the follow up, Angels & Demons, was being removed from the instant watch from netflix. After watching it, I decided I didn’t have to rush to watch the 2nd one. I never read the books, but I believe they tried to keep a little to close to the book. The movie was just too long. I found my self not caring how the loose ends tied up for the last 45 minutes of the movie. Which is a shame because it was really well acted and there were a lot of interesting story points with it.

Bad

Bomb It

Bomb it is a documentary covering the history and geographic influence of graffiti. It’s basically a better version of Exit Through the Gift Shop. Well, that might be a bit misleading. It certainly doesn’t have the polished production quality of Exit Through the Gift Shop, but it’s all stories straight from the mouths of those who lived it (or are living it). There are a few people who grace both films, like the semi-celebrity Shepard Fairey who is one of the few trying to monetize their delinquent industry. I actually found some of the stories that came from other countries, where people are using this more as a medium of political protest than for attention, more interesting. It also interviews people on the other side of the story. The business owners and political figures who are reacting to this common urban art form. It isn’t great, but it’s a good window into this world that we all see but few know what’s behind it.

Good

Art School confidential

This movie really feels like 2 different movies. The first movie trying to feed off of a lot of stereotypes and perceptions of the art community with a feel of movies like Rushmore or The Life Aquatic. Probably other movies that don’t star Bill Murray too, but those were what came to mind. The nice part is this one seems to be better written and has an incredibly entertaining performance by Jim Broadbent as another stereotype portrayed as a poor, starving artist who is an alumni of the art school and willing to bestow pearls of life wisdom to students for the lowely price of a bottle of his favorite elixir. The main character, Jerome, decides to go to the Strathmore School of art in hopes of, well, getting girls. While there he gets educated in things he thought he knew and disillusioned with things he thought to be true. If you’ve ever watched a coming of age movie that takes place in college, this is what they would have you believe all of our higher education experiences would be. The 2nd half of the movie turns more into Jerome’s relationship the “Stathmore Strangler”. A killer that has been plaguing the campus. Eventually getting to the point of having to decide between what he wants and his own integrity. Truthfully, it’s not as boring as that sounds. There are lots of interesting characters and funny dialog that is very tongue in cheek. I doubt everyone will like it, and maybe I like Terry Zwiggoff films too much, but I liked it a lot.

Great

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Mar 06 2011

Living With a Toddler

Published by under Humor,Personal

With 5 kids, it’s no big surprise that most areas of our house are typically a disaster area. Today it was the kitchen. Amy had all the kids out of the house so I attempted to address some of the damage.

On the kitchen table were crumbs of cinnamon cereal that the oldest thoughtfully left out. The youngest took this as an open invitation to help herself. Nothing surprising there, but the aftermath was less than amusing. The oldest “cleaned” up the mess since he played an integral part in this scenario. Of course, by clean up, we meant just brush the majority of it off the visible surfaces off and certainly didn’t actual intend for any one to break out the heavy duty tools like a broom or a wash cloth, but whatever.

While I was sweeping a wash cloth over the table, I ran across a particularly stubborn section of crumbs. Didn’t think much of it since there was a great deal of sugar in the crumbs and just assumed that it was some crusted over stuff that had gotten wet. Then I noticed the elmer’s glue bottle dangling precariously over the edge of the counter. Cap still open. Closer inspection verified my Sherlock Holmes like deductions that the cereal was in fact, very literally glued to the table.

Awesome.

I was fortunate enough to catch it prior to it fully setting so it wasn’t like chipping away at cement, but it wasn’t pleasant either. Most of our stuff can easily be described as “old, piece of crap ____” and our kitchen table is no exception, but it still doesn’t mean that I was gonna leave the fruits of this day’s learning experience to be a reminder for the rest of the table’s life. Around here, that may not be that long but one can hope.

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