29 September 2005

lost and gone forever

i've totally become obsessed with this Lost show now that Netflix has sent me the first season on DVD. josh and i have watched 12 episodes in the span of 2 days. it's kind of sad, really.

anyway, here's an essay i just wrote. enjoy...


Folding Aces
an essay

There’s an ongoing debate in the poker community regarding potential situations where you might fold a pair of Aces pre-flop. I won’t bore you with the details, but it boils down to determining if winning the hand hurts your chances of winning the tournament. That is, does potential short-term success actually hurt you in the long run? It does, but rarely.
It’s so rare, in fact, that few people recognize it as it’s happening. Your average player either has no idea such a thing can even exist or thinks the whole idea is ludicrous. The one time I had this come up I noticed a split second after all my chips had gone in the middle. Thirty seconds later it was over.
It was an expensive mistake.
Several years ago, back before I became a degenerate gambler, I started hanging out with this poet I met downtown. Nothing really happened because I moved away before I could work up the courage to express my feelings, but based on our phone conversations in the weeks following, I’m sure something would have. The potential for it to turn into something good was just too high. After a while, though, the distance became too big of an obstacle and everything just fizzled.
Of my numerous mistakes, this is the one I regret the most.
Between then and now, contact has come in waves, and each new wave brings promise. It’s entirely possible, though, that all that hope exists solely in my head.
I’m sure of it, actually. I realize now that I’ve been borderline delusional this whole time.
One of my many character flaws is that I find very few people interesting and fewer still hold any real intrigue, so naturally I have trouble meeting people I like and/or find attractive. I’ve dated very few people in my lifetime and probably only liked about half of them. It’s a pathetically shallow statistic and I’m by no means proud of it. An extension of that flaw is that I tend to have trouble getting over the few people I’ve genuinely liked. Large portions of my writing output is a cathartic attempt to move past that. Sometimes it even works.
It hasn’t this time, because months--nay, years--after the fact I’ve made little to no progress. I feel like that eternal Woody Allen character who after fifteen years of analysis is still rehashing the same issues. And why is that? They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, but it hasn’t worked yet. And miles and miles of distance didn’t help either. What can you do when a storefront display in Little Rock reminds you of someone you haven’t seen in two years? Maybe it’s because I haven’t written a 300-page volume about it. Maybe that’s the only way I can deal with something like this. The thing is, I don’t know that I have another one of those in me, and I certainly don’t have the time to write it.
That brings me back to folding Aces. They don’t win every time, but they’re the best chance you’ll ever get, and in a game this unpredictable, that’s all you can really ask for.
So why would you ever fold them, knowing you’ll probably win? Well, essentially the rest of the table takes them out of play and creates a scenario where they do more damage than they do good. They ruin your chances for the rest of the tournament, so you toss them, but it’s always a little painful. Still, you have to move on. There are other hands to play and other pots to win. It’s just that none of them have that same potential, so even if folding is the right play, you’ll always wonder what might have been.
But at least you’ll still be in the game.
And sometimes that’s better than Aces.

-- Pittsburgh, 2005

21 September 2005

Bergman, etc.

so "Saraband" is great, just fantastic. It ends with Liv crying, and i'm not sure if there's a better way for Bergman's last film to end, you know?

Oh, and i'm working on some writing, now that i've figured out a better way to schedule my day. Keep an eye on the dpress blog

also, it's Bill Murray's birthday.

But that's not why i'm posting today. I'm going to debut a new segment (i feel like Letterman) that i like to call "My Time is Worth More Than This Movie". I get dragged to a lot of movies, you see, both local and hollywood, and very often they suck. Now i don't mind so much, because i can sometimes get in free and when i can't i write it off on my taxes, but not everyone has such a luxury. In that light, i'll periodically let you know what to avoid.

The Brothers Grimm
PG13, 118 min, 2005

with Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Monica Bellucci, and Jonathan Pryce.
written by Ehren Kruger. directed by Terry Gilliam

When i walked out of the theatre and someone asked me how the movie was, my first response was, "well, imagine if Van Helsing had been done by someone competent. It's that bad."
I've always had this weird dichotomy about Gilliam films where I don't always enjoy them, but I always respect them. This is the first one i don't like or respect. It appears the general idea was to bring all the Grimm fairy tales together under one big story about how they came up with them, but it comes off as if the screenwriter didn't feel like doing any research and just threw every story he'd ever heard against the wall to see what sticks. Half of the random stuff going on has nothing to do with the Grimm fairy tales, but rather Aesop's Fables, the Bible, and possibly Sesame Steet. And you'd think with all those competing storylines, it would at least be interesting, but no...it's boring. Really boring.
The highlight of the film comes early when Mackenzie Crook (Gareth Keenan, UK's The Office) appears one of the Grimm cohorts (and, sadly, not Assistant to the Regional Manager), but when the army takes off his head near the end, we're faced with 2 questions. 1) How does a mate as cunning as Gareth, who was in the Territorial Army, get beheaded by the French army, as he'd clearly be ready for them? and 2) what the hell are we supposed watch for now?

15 September 2005

Saraband

the new Bergman opens tomorrow in the Steel City. woo-hoo.

14 September 2005

fantasy cool people league

if anyone's interested, my roommate josh is starting a "Fantasy Cool People League", which is sort of like fantasy football, except there's no money and no real rules, per se. you pick 5 starters and 3 backups and you get points whenever they do "cool" things (a loose definition that's very whimsical). then your points translate to, well, nothing really. some standings, maybe.

anyway, here's my team as an example:
1. Shaq
2. Elvis Costello
3. Bruce Willis
4. Harry Connick, Jr.
5. Sufjan Stevens
bn. Ashton Kutcher
bn. Jeff Tweedy
bn. Peyton Manning

let me know if you want in.

roberts

so i'm watching this confirmation stuff on cspan for our next supreme court justice, and i've decided a couple of things:
  1. he's obviously a very intelligent guy who knows how to keep himself out of trouble when answering questions.
  2. his eyes seem rather creepy to me. no idea why.
  3. i gain more respect for ted kennedy everytime i hear him talk. [1]
  4. he dodged/refused to answer roughly 60 questions. [2]
  5. the whole thing reminded me of poly-sci.
  6. the senate is much better behaved than they were when mccarthy was around.
[1] this is a new step for me in shedding my conservative past, as ted kennedy was always billed as the black sheep in the kennedy family. i think it has to do with that DUI incident years ago.

[2] i'm fluctuating (sp?) back and forth between respecting his stance that he cannot comment on specific issues as it is not his job as a judge to have any biases and suspecting that he's using it as a convenient excuse to distance himself from unpopular viewpoints. i've yet to decide which way i'm leaning.

p.s. i've added the word verification setting. there is just too much spam.

10 September 2005

poker books

in regards to a voicemail from matt, and because this will just be easier to type than relay over the phone.

if you want to really learn poker, i recommend these books:

for tourneys:

Harrington on Hold 'Em, Vol 1 & 2

cash limit games:

Small Stakes Hold 'Em (D. Sklansky & M. Malmuth)
Hold 'Em Poker for Advanced Players (D. Sklansky)

general

The Theory of Poker (D. Sklansky)
Super System (D. Brunson)

pretty much anything by 2+2 publishing and their invaluable web site: twoplustwo.com

08 September 2005

katrina

well, it bloody took long enough, but finally the Democrats have started standing up for the American lower classes and those hit by the hurricane.

NY Times article


"This is deeply disturbing to a lot of Americans, because it's more than thousands of people who get killed; it's about the destruction of the American community," (Howard) Dean said. "The idea that somehow government didn't care until it had to for political reasons. It's appalling."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said: "The powerful winds of this storm have torn away that mask that has hidden from our debates the many Americans who are left out and left behind."


i miss the good old days when they did this a lot.


01 September 2005

*sigh* August *sigh*

well, this month didn't go all that well, but whatever. at least we got through it alive, right?

oh, keep in mind i was in Maine for about 2 weeks, which severely crippled a lot of my production.

films seen for first time:

The Bad News Bears
The Dukes of Hazzard
March of the Penguins
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Poolhall Junkies

um...there was something else, but i can't remember what...


books read for the first time:

The Teachings of Don Jaun: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (C. Castaneda)
Tournament Poker for Advanced Players (D. Sklansky)
Harrington on Hold 'Em Vol. 2 (D. Harrington)

film:

days spent filming: 0
editing projects started: 0
editing projects completed: 1 (Reclaiming our Past)

illicit gambling:

DISCLAIMER: so these numbers are really skewed for a couple of reasons this month. 1) while in maine i couldn't play my normal 4 tables at once online, which severely limited the table hours and therefore my winrate (table hours are, of course, different from real hours). 2) i also couldn't, for obvious reasons, find games at my normal stakes ($2/$4 limit where i buy in for $100), but rather smaller games and live tournaments which involve significantly less money. 3) i had three live cash game sessions which were just disasters. 4) i've made a concerted effort to improve my tournament game, which is sort of a feast or famine proposition and that's taken even more time from cash games. i've been playing very well in tourneys, but running into a bit of bad luck. (i.e. tonight in a $5 tourney where first prize is $380 i'm the chip leader for a long time until my QQ is cracked by TT when he makes a improbable flush on the river, severely crippling me. i get busted a couple of hands later in 25th out of 315), 5) on top of all that, i managed to hit a rough patch this week. so it goes.

hours played: 93.1
+/-: +$343.66
$$/hr: $3.69
bonus $$ won: $200
tournaments cashed: 5
tournaments won: 2

ugh...but still a winning month, so i guess it could have been worse. next month we'll try to get back over $1k

misc...

days spent driving all around the Northeast: 3
weddings attended as groomsman: 1
times tipsy in front of parents: 1
legal fish caught in maine: 1
legal fish accidentally dropped back in water: 1
lobster eaten: 3
nights spent sleeping in same bed as milo: 1

the iTunes top 25:
  1. Chicago (Sufjan Stevens)
  2. Reno (Bruce Springsteen)
  3. Softley and Tenderley Jesus is Calling (Robert Sean Leonard and Steve Zahn)
  4. Radio Cure (Wilco)
  5. Seven Spanish Angels (Ray Charles and Willie Nelson)
  6. When the Stars Go Blue (Ryan Adams)
  7. Come On! Feel the Illinoise! Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition, Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream (Sufjan Stevens)
  8. Jesus Was an Only Son (Bruce Springsteen)
  9. Miss Misery (Elliott Smith)
  10. Outta My Head (M. Ward)
  11. Day is Done (Nick Drake)
  12. Casmir Pulaski Day (Sufjan Stevens)
  13. Promising (Wilco)
  14. Lonely Street (Willie Nelson)
  15. You Heard Wrong (Bill Ricchini)
  16. White Center (Damien Jurado)
  17. I Wanna Die (Jolie Holland)
  18. Burn (Ray LaMontagne)
  19. Ode to Divorce (Regina Spektor)
  20. Ariel Ramirez (Richard Buckner)
  21. If I had a chance (Soltero)
  22. South Nashville Blues (Steve Earle)
  23. Une Annee Sans Lumiere (Arcade Fire)
  24. Not Dark Yet (Bob Dylan)
  25. Jealous Guy (Jimmy Scott)
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