Friday, August 31, 2012

Goals for September

Edit: Putting this one off for a month.  I'll most likely give it a try for October.

I decided to give myself five goals for the month of September--one easy one, two medium-difficulty ones, and two hard ones.  Here they are.

#1 (Easy): Download 100 new albums.  This should really be ridiculously easy.  I am hoping to start adding more jazz to my world.

#2 (Medium Difficulty): Read 4 books--Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell; The Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass; The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides; and Feast of Crows, by George R. R. Martin (Book 4 in the Game of Thrones series).  This should probably qualify as a hard challenge, since three of these books are quite long, with Feast of Crows leading the bunch at nearly 1,000 pages.

#3 (Medium): Walk for 20 hours.  I just got an ipod and filled it with 5,900 songs, so this one should be pretty fun.

#4 (Hard): Drink no more than 10 Cokes, 5 Starbucks coffees, and 48 beers.  Give or take a few, each month I average 30 Cokes, 20 Starbucks coffees, and about 100 beers.  More than halving each of these will be pretty tough.

#5 (Hard): Write fiction of any kind for 20 hours.  I have some story ideas rolling around in my brain, but I don't want to limit myself.  My only goal is to sit at my laptop and click away.  If I sit down hoping to write some realistic fiction or a short story about pixies or else a fantasy like Game of Thrones but instead pump out three chapters of a romantic novel set in a senior citizen's home, it still counts.

I have two goals with these challenges--to be healthier and to inspire myself creatively.  I am not sure whether I will achieve all five goals.  It would be nice, but even if I only go 3 for 5, that will probably qualify as a "successful failure."

But I don't want to think like that yet.  I think I have a decent shot at all five.  Slightly less than even money.  No, that's not true.  My best guess would be that I have a 37.67% chance of total unflinching success.  A wise man, in short, would probably bet against me.

I will update my progress on this blog a few times a week.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Old Post

I made a post on the two plus two poker website a long while back.  I enjoyed writing it.  Hope you enjoy reading it.  Here it is:

* * * 

In light my considerable success as a Low Stakes Poker Pro, as well as my Small Stakes Poker Pro Ranking of 4,954, I have decided that it is time for me to write a small-stakes poker strategy book as a sort of gift to humanity.

Before I begin, I will place my bookwriting services up for bid. The bidding will take place in a process that I will identify as "The Race for the Book." Note to poker publishers: If you want to stay in the running, you will need to include the following in your offers.

First, I want Willie Randolph's rookie card, and I want it in mint condition. If you don't know who Willie Randolph is, then you've fallen behind in the Race for the Book.

Second, I want an annual subscription to Uncanny Tales magazine. If Uncanny Tales no longer publishes a magazine, then you'd better hire a crack staff to put one together. Failure to satisfy this condition constitutes a dealbeaker. (If Uncanny Tales doesn't exist anymore, and if you are going to assemble a crack staff to start writing one for me, then I want each edition to contain the following elements: at least four (4) ninjas; at least four (4) midgets; and at least one (1) midget-ninja. Remember that satisfying the midget-ninja requirement DOES NOT satisfy the separate ninja and midget requirements. In short, and to clarify: I want at least nine (9) midgets and ninjas. At least four (4) MUST be ninjas, at least four (4) MUST be midgets, and a ninth separate character must be BOTH a ninja and a midget. If you decide to go with NOTHING BUT midget-ninjas, then the Uncanny Tales edition must contain at least NINE (9) of these characters. Aside from ninjas, midgets, and midget-ninjas, I also demand that each edition contain the following superheroes/celebrities/undead creatures: no fewer than six (6) zombies, eight (8) vampires, two (2) werewolves, as well as Green Lantern, Spiderman, Aquaman, Superman, Kiefer Sutherland, Oprah Winfrey, and a pony with a braided mane.

Third, I want a monkey in a cage delivered to my door in the dead of night.

Fourth, I want a supply of bananas to be delivered to my door in the dead of night in order to feed the caged monkey for the duration of the monkey's life.

Fifth, I want the monkey to be able to play the piano. The piano will be of the tiny variety, such as to be monkey playable, and it will be delivered by you in the dead of night.

Sixth, If the monkey cannot play the piano, then I want him at least to enjoy banging on the keys while wearing a black tuxedo, tophat, bowtie, and tailcoat.

Seventh, If the monkey has also been trained to grip an unlit cigar between his teeth while wearing the tuxedo, tophat, bowtie, and tailcoat, then I will as a sign of goodwill include an additional chapter to my book: "Four-Three of Clubs: The New Ten-Seven of Diamonds."

Eighth, I want at least $20,000 in ones in a green duffelbag. I want you to give me the money spy-style in the following manner. I will be at the local train station. Your agent will bump into me. He will drop his green duffelbag, filled with cold hard cash, and he will pick up my green duffelbag, filled with monkey waste. I will be wearing an orange shirt, a yellow tie, plaid pants, rope belt, Grizzlies ballcap, and shades. Your agent will be able to recognize me because my socks will not match.

The bidding process begins on Friday, February 15, 2008. Early bids will not be accepted. Over the next three days, I will supply the title, the table of contents, as well as several ideas for the cover art of my book. In the meantime, I'd recommend that you get cracking. You've got monkeys to find and magazines to write.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dealing with HP

One problem with living and working in the UAE nine months of the year is that you have no choice when it comes to buying a new laptop.  The laptops that are available there are old and overpriced, and ordering from an online laptop seller leads to high shipping costs.  So when I came home to the States, I did my research and decided to order the Pavilion DV7 7012nr laptop from  I figured its high-resolution screen and excellent processor would give me a good laptop to play games with when I am bored off my ass in the UAE for this coming school year.

Well, it arrived and I promptly bought a game for it--Skryim--which looked awesome.  Just one problem with it though, the space bar.  Every third or fourth time I tapped the space bar, nothing happened.

This led to sentencesthat looked likethis.

I thought, Well, it's no big deal, I'm hitting the space bar too softly.  But no.  I found a dead spot on the space bar that would not register regardless of how firmly I pressed it.

This led me to call HP technical assistance a grand total of four times.  During the first call, which lasted somewhere between 1 and 2 hours, they eventually decided that they would mail me a new keyboard along with instructions for installing it.  Okay, fine.  Playing Skyrim didn't require me to use the space bar anyway.  However, I knew that I would eventually need to get it fixed.

The box arrived.  I opened it and found the keyboard . . . with no installation instructions.

Easy fix, I figured.  I'll just call them back.  On call two, the lady who answered told me four things, which I would like to analyze just a bit.

1.  HP doesn't have instructions to install a keyboard.

2.  I can get the instructions to install the keyboard at the local HP store.

3.  She does not have address information for the local HP store.

4.  She is unable to transfer me to someone else, anyone else.

Concerning #1: If HP doesn't have instructions concerning how to install my keyboard, then how do HP's employees install HP's keyboards?

Concerning #2: How can I get keyboard-installation instructions--which the same rep spent 2 minutes insisting did not exist--at the "local HP store," which does not exist?

Concerning #3: Isn't it a big hint that the local HP store does not exist if a rep for HP does not know where it is located?

Concerning #4: During my first call, the rep transferred me to someone else.  Is this rep truly so stupid that she doesn't know how to transfer a fucking phone call?

A third call ensued, during which the rep insisted that he would do two things.  He would (1) call me back within 2 hours with instructions on how to install my keyboard and (2) send me keyboard-installation instructions via email.

Neither of those things happened.

So finally, I made call number four.  This is call number four in its entirety (removing the button-pushing and initial identification BS).

Rep: How can I help you?

Me: I want a full refund.

Rep: You did not buy the laptop within 21 days.


Me: I bought it 6 days ago.

Rep: You did not buy it from HP website.


Me: Yes, I did.

Rep: I will transfer you to customer service (said the customer service rep).


Then I heard a click, a couple of rings, and then a recording which stated that customer service was closed.

So basically he hung up on me.

Needless to say, I am returning my laptop to HP for a full refund.  I sent it today.  But hey, if you have about six hours of free time spread out over eight days, I highly recommend that you buy a defective laptop from HP and then try to deal with their HP tech specialists.

The only funny thing that I managed to salvage from the experience was that all of the tech specialists had strong Indian accents but identified themselves as John, Alice, John, and Tom.  Gold.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Live Poker = True Boredom

I played some live poker tonight.  I had tried two other times, but the casino didn't have any games running.  Considering that one of those days was a Sunday, I felt sorry for the casino and myself.

I showed up at the casino at 8ish and had a seat soon after.  It was only $1/$2 NL.  There was a Russian dude two seats to my right who told the waitress that he wanted "Russian vodka."  You can't get any more predictable than that, I figured.  But then an American to my left ordered Bud Lite.

I had brought a book.  Read three chapters of it.  The book saved me, because if I'd had to sit in one of those chairs for three hours and rely on nothing more than interaction with the other poker players, then I might as well be playing Russian Roulette with a BB gun in the parking lot.

From my $200 buyin, my stack had whittled down to about $98 when I was dealt AKo.  It folded to me, and I raised to $10.  Small blind called.  Big blind, a very small stack, went all in for $22.  I figured a shove would make SB fold, so that's what I did.

He owned himself by calling with ace ten offsuit.

Flop J 4 2 rainbow.  Turn ten (of course).  River queen (of course).

So that boosted me right back up some, but I continued to passively whittle away at my stack from boredom until I said fuck it and went home a $62 loser.

When I first started playing live poker, I used to show up feeling some kind of excitement.  Cold hands.  A general feeling of nervous excitement.  I could play long stretches and actually enjoy myself.

Now casinos just seem like suckholes.  But at least I can say that I went.  So there's that.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympics = Hunger Games

My girlfriend recently commented on how the Olympics remind her of the Hunger Games.  The glitz, the spectacle, the overly vibrant color, the fact that the U.S. women's gymnastics team looks like it is starving, and the likelihood that all of the other athletes want to simultaneously kill Ryan Lochte.