That's where I finished in tonight's Blogger Bracelet Race. I knew a flop of 6c-8h-9h couldn't be good for my Aces, but I went ahead and committed all of my chips against cemfredmd, who of course flopped middle set. I picked up a flush draw on the turn but didn't get there and I was done. No great loss, as I wasn't in a poker state of mind. My mind, it's fried. I could use the rest, and now I'll get it. I'll put a happy face on this if I have to use a baseball bat.
Fear and Technobabble
Did my little presentation at BootCampPGH this past Saturday, I guess if I had to assign a grade I'd give myself a solid B-minus. I was more nervous than I thought I'd be. I'm the quiet sort (unless I'm on the court, or I've had 2 beers) and while public speaking doesn't scare me THAT much, I was more nervous than I expected. But I guess it all went all right, and hopefully Pittsburgh will soon be home to scores of bloggers and podcasters raking in the dinero.
Public speaking is usually listed as one of the greatest fears people have, but most of that particular terror was burned out of me in one ghastly moment. I was in 7th grade and in one class we had to give an impromptu, one-minute talk about a random subject. The bell was just about to ring and the teacher who was substituting for a week (who I later took tennis lessons from) picked my name out of the hat and told me to speak about my favorite foods.
Now, my longtime readers know that I can go on at nauseating length
about this subject
. No pun intended, but this should've been a piece of cake. Instead, I froze. I froze SOLID. I think I got ten words out. I nearly threw up on the floor. A deer, in the headlights. I got a sympathy D for not voiding my bowels.
For some reason, that nightmarish experience liberated me from the worst of the public speaking terrors. One thing I try to do, at all times, is project a sense of absolute confidence. Even if I'm speaking on a subject I know nothing about (like, oh, poker) I maintain an air of serene omniscience. Because the audience can smell fear. They can smell it. And then they attack.
I also tend to speakveryquicklysothatmywordsruntogether, and when I speak in public I focus on how fast I'm talking and how clearly I'm enunciating. Which helps me come across as calm, cool, collected. Even when my belly is full of writhing eels.
It didn't help that this past weekend was, well, an emotional roller coaster. Now, I do
have a fear of roller coasters, one that dovetails nicely with my fear of heights. But you know how when you get off a roller coaster you're laughing and exhilarated? Yeah, that was me this weekend. Am I being cryptic enough for you? I certainly hope so. Hoo boy.
Oh, I actually have a question for yinz. Does anyone use Netvibes
? I read about it over at Slate
and now I'm obsessed with creating the perfect information-loaded home page. Hearing about all sorts of neat stuff at BootCamp got me into this techie state of mind, I feel like I'm missing so much neat stuff that's out there. I'm behind the times. Out of the loop.
Sip From The Trough Of My Wisdom
Even for me that's a horrible title. Anyway, a few months ago I went to PodCamp Pittsburgh
, which was (and is) a gathering of very sharp online media experts talking about the latest trends and technology and good stuff like that. This Saturday I (and hopefully you) will be attending BootCamp PGH
, which is a one-day version of PodCamp that's geared more for beginners and those who haven't quite decided to take the online plunge.
Worried that BootCamp might be too advanced for you? Fear not. Because I'll be part of a panel discussion during one of the sessions, and I'm the yutz who never figured out how to include a graphic as part of the banner on this blog. Never mind telling me how to do it now, I'm resigned to my fate.
The topic of the discussion is Bare Basics of Monetization
, so if you've always dreamed of selling out your artistic vision and wanted some pointers, I'm your man. BootCamp runs from 9AM to 4PM at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and my session will be at 3PM. If you're at all interested in blogging or podcasting or new media I strongly encourage you to attend. Like I said, there are some really smart folks who show up to speak at these seminars. And the muffins are usually pretty damn good.
Last Sunday I wrote one of those self-help posts
where I hectored myself for playing in micro-tournaments that don't provide an adequate return on my time. I haven't been able to play in many of the recent blogger events because of volleyball and the Penguins, so last night, after deciding to stay in and enjoy some me-time, I hunted for a tournament or two to while away the evening.
I saw a $.25 tournament with over 2000 players...no! No! That's exactly the sort of time-waster I want to avoid. In case I matched luck with my A-game I wanted some dough at the end of the day. But the breaks haven't gone my way lately, and I was a wee bit tired, so I settled on a $15 MTT and a $10, 180-person SNG.
The SNG did not go well, especially after my pocket kings were cracked by an ambitious player who re-raised all-in with QJ. Flop the queen, turn the jack and I was crippled. And, soon, out.
The tournament didn't go much better. After doubling my stack through brilliant reads and savage aggression (and that straight I flopped) I lost 3/4 of it when I ran kings (again) into a set of sixes. The break arrived with me holding a meager $800 in chips, and that's when my cell rang. It was a fetching lass of my recent acquaintance, and our conversation was distracting enough that I missed the end of the break and, indeed, any concept that I was still in the tournament. When our chat was done I saw I still had a window opened and moved to close it. And found that I was still alive, though blinded down to $550.
And then, the fun began.
The very next hand I doubled up with 99. The hand after that I somehow managed to triple-up with an unimproved A-10. So now I had a vaguely playable stack, and play it I did. Like a beast.
Somehow I managed to bob and weave myself to the biggest cash in Mean Gene history, finishing 4th out of 862. In a tournament I very nearly gave up on. How did I manage it? I played very, very tight at some very, very aggressive tables. I stole just enough to keep my stack viable. And when I got big hands, I got action. I doubled up with AA vs. JJ, with AK vs. AQ, with JJ vs. 44, with 99 vs. AQ.
That last one was a biggie. We were still twenty from the money, losing that hand would've crippled me, but the other guy's re-raise didn't smell like a big pair and I somehow managed to find enough gambling mojo to make the call. And, this night at least, the Poker Gods smiled upon me.
And they smiled on me a few other times, in ways that made me feel warm and loved. The one impatient call I made all night was when a shortstack re-raised all in with me holding the A-7 of clubs. He had A-J and had I lost I would've been crippled. The flop came K-J-10, giving me outs...and a beautiful queen of hearts fell on the turn. The chop tilted the other guy, to the point where he was still bitching at me five minutes later. Like water off a duck's back, is how his words affected me.
Down to the final twelve I had a medium stack and I really wanted to make that final table. A dream that seemed to end rather cruelly, as I ran AK into Aces in a battle of the blinds. I lost 3/4 of my stack on that one, but I caught cards on the next two hands and, feigning tilt, managed to double up on the second one when the big stack made an ambitious call with 10-8 offsuit. And then it was final table time!
Moving up a spot early on meant an extra hundred bucks in my pocket, so you can imagine my distress when THREE different shortstacks doubled up by hitting longshots on the river. I tore my thoughts away from the extra $400 I might've had and focused on the chips in front of me. Not that it did me much good, as the blinds and antes gobbled me up and left me almost too short to push anyone out.
I took my stand with KQ and, to my profound dismay, the guy who'd crippled me in that AA vs. AK hand raised. I felt even worse when the chip-leader called, and worse still when the board came J-J-7. Oh well, a nice run, and 8th place wasn't bad. The dude to my left made a moderate bet and chased the chip leader away, and I found that I was dominated by AK. Wow, I actually had outs, I could hit a queen and live...and just like that, a queen on the turn!
Even though I was wearing a my warmest flannels and huddled under a blanket, I shivered thanks to the clammy sweat that arrived when we made the final nine. And I was shaking like the leaf when I pushed with A-4 against a bully who kept helping himself to my big blind. This time he had 66, bad news. "An ace? An...ace?" I begged, and on the turn, there it was!
There were three players who each had huge stacks, and I never could find a way to gather enough chips to join them. Down to five the player I'd been jousting with for 3 hours ran KJ into KK, and we were four. I had 1/3 as many chips as the guy in 3rd place, so when I found KJ myself I decided to go with it. And ran into Aces. I flopped a flush draw...please? Pretty please?
No. The Aces held and I was done in fourth place. I couldn't complain, and I won't start now. I should've been done around 11th place. And then, again, in 8th. Ending in 4th place was around a $400 improvement. Not bad for the bankroll. Or the confidence. Which is filled to the brim at the moment, and will stay that way...right up to the point when I get bounced in 794th place in my next tournament.
Last week I saw an incomprehensible movie with no easily discernible plot. The movie was Inland Empire
and was directed by David Lynch.
This afternoon I saw an incomprehensible movie with no easily discernible plot. The movie was Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Theaters
and was not directed by David Lynch. That's Hollywood for you--cranking out the same cookie-cutter movies over and over and over again.
The opening sequence of ATHFCMFT
was vomit-threateninly funny. It was a parody of those little ads you see before the movie starts where anthropomorphic bags of popcorn and candy dance around and entice you to visit the concession stand. And then a bunch of hardcore and very metal pretzels, gumdrops and nachos throw down and blast out a kickass song called "Cut You Up With a Linoleum Knife". Which song contains some of the greatest lyrics in music history:
If I see you videotaping this movie
Satan will rain down your throat with hot acid
And saw your testicles
And turn your guts into snakes
This is a copyrighted movie for Time-Warner
If I found you sold it on eBay
I will break into your house and tear your wife in half
If I have one criticism of the film is that it needed more Carl. More Carl is always a frickin' good thing.
Now I'm jumping back on the Lynchian bandwagon and I'm working my way through Season 2 of Twin Peaks
. More on this later, perhaps.
Opening Day Rage
I was fortunate enough to score a belated ticket to Opening Day. That's about the only thing that went right the whole day. The parking situation in-freakin-furiated me. None--and I mean NONE--of the lots around the park were open. They were only allowing people who reserved spots and/or had prepaid tickets to park there. There's a huge new parking garage that just opened--you weren't allowed to park there. The huge surface lots between PNC Park and Heinz Field? Nope. Oh, there were spots open--scores of them. And that didn't include the spots taken by people who decided to set up their grills and coolers next to their cars.
Funny, I thought my tax dollars helped to build that parking garage. Funny, I thought the Pirates wouldn't want to piss off their customers, especially after 14 consecutive losing seasons. Funny, I thought the bankrupt City of Pittsburgh could use the revenue that comes from packed parking lots. Especially as the Bucs won't have many sellouts this year. Then again, maybe there's a reason why the Pirates are considered one of the worst franchises in professional sports. And maybe there's a reason why Pittsburgh lost about 60,000 residents in the last seven years.
Enough with my petty ranting--how was the game??!! Well, it was about 30 degrees out. The beer vendor only ventured into our upper-deck section once during the entire game. And the Pirates best moment came when Chris Duffy was balked over to second. That was it. The bars were jam-packed after the game--here's another point for ranting. McFadden's (a chain of Irish pubs) just opened a huge, HUGE place on the North Shore. It was standing-room only before the game. After the game there was a line about 100 deep to get into the place. It has two entrances--only one was open. Why not open BOTH of them and have a bouncer carding at each entrance? That gets people in twice as fast, that means they'll drink more, and it means that thirsty bastards like myself won't say "Screw it" and go home. Why do so many folks resist taking my money? I'm more than happy to give it to them...and they won't let me.
I took some pictures. I'll just post one. Digital cameras are neat.
Who's The Idiot Here?
Played a tournament tonight. 1500 players. I staggered into the money, doubled up, doubled up again. I had an above-average stack and picked up aces under the gun. I raised, and the only caller was in the big blind. The flop came king-high, he led out for $3K, I came over the top for $15K more. He thought a bit and called with K-8. He went runner-runner to make a gutshot and knocked me out in 102nd place.
Played for three hours, played well...and I made a profit of two bucks. OK, I'm playing these micro MTTs to work on some things in my game...but WTF am I doing playing for three hours to make a two-buck profit? True, had I won that last hand I would've had a halfway decent stack and maybe could've made a run at a nice little score.
But...Geno...sack up and start playing with the big boys and girls. Maybe splurge for a $10 tournament? The bankroll can fade that.
My buddy Rick was over to watch the Penguin game and he enjoys playing cheapo 45-person SNGs. Came in 2nd in one tournament, and on 5 occasions I sucked out to defeat the eventual winner. He had me dominated with a bigger ace four times, and once he had QQ to my 66. Maybe I used up all the luck in my computer and that's why my aces got cracked. That seems plausible.
David, David, David
Went to see Inland Empire
tonight, which of course is David Lynch's latest offering. What's Inland Empire
about? It's about three hours long. Wukka-wukka.
I have no idea what the goddam movie was about. In comparison Mulholland Drive
was "See Spot Run". I don't feel too bad about my lack of understanding, as Laura Dern herself said that when she went to the premiere SHE was hoping to figure out what the hell she'd been working on for two-and-a-half years. Lynch himself said that the movie is about "a woman in trouble". Well, that helps
, but not enough to lead to true enlightenment.
I guess I could Google "What the fuck + Inland Empire" and gather some insight. But it's late. I should say that I "enjoyed" the movie, as Dern gave an outstanding performance in about 15 different roles/characters/manifestations. And it had Lynch's usual disturbing imagery, one scene in particular will be giving me nightmares. Though hopefully not tonight. As I'm sleepy.
Honor Thy Enemy
While I'm professionally committed to wiping them off the face of the planet, I have to admit that Full Tilt's commercials during last night's WPT premiere were pretty goddam good. Especially the Jennifer Harman and Gus Hansen spots. I would buy a used car from Jennifer Harman. I would vote for a political candidate Jennifer Harman endorsed. Anyone know what her Q-rating is?
Of course, my overlords at UltimateBet
also had a nice, glossy commercial for the 2007 Aruba Poker Classic, coming up in September. Did you know we're hosting satellites
for the Classic on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Of course you did. And it's very nice in Aruba in September, very nice indeed. Ask DoubleAs
--he will confirm.
I had only two complaints about the UB ad--too many quick cuts, and I wasn't in it. Nor was I in the commercials they were running before. I guess my Q-rating isn't as high as my agent led me to believe.
And, no, I don't have an agent. Though I like to pretend that I do. It makes me feel happy inside.
Liked the new WPT set and the graphics were good, I preferred them to last year's. Sabina Gadecki was fine as the hostess, she asked some good questions. She'll take some getting used to, of course, though her work is cut out for her because Shana Hiatt is doing her thing on Poker After Dark
. Which I haven't watched in quite a long time, but when I did it seemed that Shana was really hitting her stride. If one can hit a stride as a poker hostess, Shana is hitting it.
A few weeks ago I was flipping channels and I stumbled past Fox News (the only way I'd ever have it polluting my world) and I saw a familiar face--Courtney Friel, the WPT hostess between Shana and Sabina. My mind tried to process this and after saying "WTF?" a few times I consulted Wikipedia. Turns out Ms. Friel is now an anchor at Fox, and according to Wikipedia it "seems like she may be a frequent guest of Hannity & Colmes".
Say it ain't so, Courtney. Trading Mike and Vince for Sean and Alan? The only way I'd appear on the same set as Mr. Hannity is if they put us in a steel cage together.
I Hate Poker
Just thought you'd like to know.
I mean, Jesus.
It's getting ridiculous.
I don't wanna talk about it.
You don't wanna hear about it.
I'll try to focus on the good things. Beautiful day today. Walked around town. Bought two lovely shirts and they were on sale. Had a couple of beers in a new pub that opened and did a Dial-a-Bass with Al
. Took a nice nap.
Gettin' REALLY Good At This Poker Thing
This morning, as I checked my email, I found a desperate marriage proposal from Isabelle Mercier. I politely declined. I told her, for the hundredth time, that this tiger's gotta prowl.
Now that that nonsense is out of the way.
After watching the NCAA games last night and eating much too well (filet, ribs, twice-baked potatoes) I got home a bit after midnight and decided to play a little SNG. Put on some sweats. Had the cat curl up at my ankles. Very comfy. Very comfy indeed.
Dozed off after about 5 hands. Woke up. Won a little pot with a set of sixes. Dozed off a few hands later...
And didn't wake up. Until 3AM.
I finished fourth.
Reviewing the hand histories, when we reached bubbletime the other shortstack did all he could to hang on until my somnambulist ass was disposed of. But I didn't go quietly. I won like six all-ins in a row. I went runner-runner to make a straight after the chip leader flopped top pair with A-J. I had pocket sevens against KQ and won the race. I had AQ and made the nut flush to crush KJ. Reading the other players' incredulous bitching and moaning about my survival skills was quite amusing. If only I hadn't had that last Bass Ale...I probably would've finished fifth.