Wow. Wowie wow wow
A little astonishment now and then adds spice to life. In our jaded, ironic, snarky world it's almost embarassing to admit that one was astonished by something one saw or heard or did. I try my best to put on a front as a world-weary poseur, but there's still too much of the romantic in me to pull it off.
Not that any of this is earth-shattering stuff, but still. After watching the magnificent Steeler victory on Sunday I decided to play a little poker at Full Tilt and see if my luck had changed. It hadn't, and I am now slowly coming to see that luck might not be involved, but skill. While it's true I'm not getting cards, my poor play is adding fuel to the fire. But you don't care about my problems. Oh, just admit it, once and for all.
So after logging off and looking at my chef's knife, and then my wrist, knife, wrist, I scrolled through the tables to see if any pros were playing. I'm not a fanboy, but it is kinda neat to see that, oh, Erik Seidel is playing at a cheapy PLO table. So I'm scrolling and I see in red type that some bigshot is playing at the $.50/$1 NL table. That's about the speed I run at, so I logged on to see who among the high and mighty was sitting with the unwashed masses.
Turns out it was the highest and the mightiest. Yes, Phil Ivey was playing at a $.50/$1 table.
The waiting list was 208. As you might expect, the chat was what you might expect acolytes might say to an especially revered Tibetan monk. Phil usually responded with a polite but brief "Peace" and "S'up?". He had $200 when I started watching.
When I left, he had over $17K.
I joke, I joke! Actually, when I left he had about $230, as I only watched a half-dozen hands. One player had a great line. He and Ivey were in a pot together, the flop comes queen-high, Ivey bets out and the other guy raises him like six times the pot. Ivey folds, and the guy turns over pocket kings. He starts getting razzed by everyone for such a scaredy-cat play, and he answers something like, "Hey, I'm sitting next to the best player in the world here". A good answer, I thought. It was all kinda neat.
What was more than neat came yesterday, as my company unveiled the new building we're moving into on February 9th. It's on what's called the North Shore, right between Heinz Field and PNC Park. About a 20 minute walk along the river from where I work now, and I know that because I often walk down there on my lunch breaks. From the outside the building looks quite nice, lots of exposed brick, lots of glass, some curves. It's a big honking building, too, a monster, as we're consoldiating about 4 buildings into one.
So yesterday we have a chance to go down and take a tour, see our desks, etc. There was a little ceremony first, we had the mayor and our county executive and the CEO there to say a few words, and then the 800 or so of us waiting in the cold counted down and they lit up all the floors and the sign with our name on it. Nice. And then there were fireworks, because in Pittsburgh everything is celebrated with fireworks.
Fourth of July? Fireworks.
Ball game? Fireworks.
Arts Festival? Fireworks.
New Pope? Fireworks.
Commemorating the explosion at the fireworks factory? Fireworks.
The ground floor is going to be retail eventually (hopefully a bar or two. Or three) and there they laid out a nice little spread for us, sandwiches and chicken tenders and cake. All very good, though the hot chocolate was woefully underpowered. They had bruschetta and this tomato salad to spoon on top and it was fantastic. And I don't even like tomatoes. Anyway, I nibbled a bit and then I headed for the entrance to look around my new office.
Wow. Wowie wowie wow wow.
It's gorgeous. Everything is brand new and it smells brand new, like fresh paint and furniture polish. The colors schemes are muted but still aesthetically pleasing. The word "cubicle" is often equated with "cell", but ours are quite spacious, the walls around our computers high enough to provide privacy but dropping off so with a little roll of the chair you can talk to the folks around you. The desk itself is dark wood, and all the accents are brushed aluminum. When I opened my bolsters they hissed like they were powered by hydraulics. It's the little touches like that I appreciate.
But it's the big touches that get the jaw dropping. Like, get a load of the view! From my fourth-floor office I'll be looking out at Point State Park, the Confluence, and Mount Washington. Compare this to my view right now, which is of a blank wall. The nearest window to me looks out over a parking lot and a freight train trestle. Our building now is a converted factory, and it was converted in the mid-80s. It's nice...well, not really. It's got character, I'll give it that.
But our new place has a fitness room looking out over the city. The bathrooms...well, if you saw the facilities we have now, compared to what we're gonna have, you'd understand my delight. The conference rooms have big, comfy leather chairs and spectacular views. Off each elevator there is a central area with well-upholstered chairs and plants.
The only concern I have is the cafeteria. Our current one is fan-freaking-tastic, but while the same company is providing the victuals in our new home they don't have the same space or cooking facilities. Just so long as they have Sizzle Salads on Thursdays and fish sandwiches on Fridays.
Quite a few people on my team couldn't make it to the viewing and asked what I thought of it. "Be glad you didn't go," I said, and as the concern showed on their faces I said, "Because you'd want to move RIGHT NOW." I would gladly carry my computer all the way to the new building. It's that spectacular.
At lunch I won't be able to walk across the 16th Street Bridge and stroll through the Strip District, but I can cross the Fort Duquesne Bridge and lounge around the fountain at the Point. I can eat lunch on the lawn below our building or while sitting on the deck outside PNC Park. It's gonna be a great place to work. Especially if I get my fish sammich.