Saturday, May 28, 2005


It’s funny how as we age, different things in our lives take on an ever changing significance. When I was in the sixth grade, the most important thing in my life was whether or not I was going to get the Air Jordans I wanted that would surely rocket me to popularity, fame, and fortune (I didn’t get them). It seems silly thinking back on it, but not that silly, because I’m still a shoe freak, only now it’s not for the fame or fortune my footwear could potentially bring, I’m simply neurotic.

OK, given the fact hat I’m still a freak for shoes, perhaps that’s not a good example since I own more pairs than my wife. (Did I just inadvertently let slip another secret shame?)

Birthdays and Christmas, those were always significant. When you’re growing up you plan your entire existence around them. As you head through the middle of your life, they aren’t nearly the big deal they once were, for you or anyone else. Then, as you head towards life’s twilight, they begin to take on increasing significance again, because well, who knows how many more you’re going to have? I think I’ve hit the middle stages, because it took until yesterday to realize that I’m going to be turning 29 in Vegas. If I would have realized this earlier, I would have booked our trip to arrive on Thursday instead of Friday. Now, I’m kicking myself, but I have an idea: Everyone should buy me lots of presents to make up for my oversight. What? Ok, maybe you’re right; an idea that only benefits me isn’t really that great for you. What was I trying to say? Oh yes…this realization has reawakened a singularly wonderful anticipation that I thought was long gone. Something tells me I’m not going to easily forget number 29.

Gene and Daddy, if you happen to peruse this page, this is my exhortation to you to take Iggy up and come to Vegas, dammit!

Here is a flowery and all too lengthy itinerary for those who aren’t tired of reading such things yet:

Friday, June 2

7 AM—Begin freaking out that I’m going to forget to bring something important. Things I might also be freaking out about may include, but are not limited to, suddenly having the vocabulary files in my brain corrupted and being unable to form an intelligent sentence upon meeting everyone, arriving in Vegas to be greeted with the realization that during the plane ride some unspeakable monstrosity has grown out of my forehead rendering me unlookatable (see:hideous), or I have simply booked my trip a week early or late.

11 AM--- Arrive at the airport. Yeah, I’m one of those punctual early freaks, too. This will also allow me time to debate with the Gestapo **aherm, oops** TSA/Homeland Security personnel about the logic of banning lighters but allowing matches on the aircraft. If you don’t see me the entire weekend, it means I was a little too vigorous in my debate and am now vacationing in a room with no windows.

1:10 PM---Get pissed off at the passive aggressive schmucks that should be boarding with Group 3 who start crowding the line trying to get on early even though they have barely even begun boarding Group 1. It will be annoying because now I will be forced to make a soccer mom feel like an ass because she didn’t think anyone would call her out on her bullshit. I will then be even more annoyed that she doesn’t feel like an ass, she will still think this is perfectly OK and that she can’t believe I’m so rude. Fuck her, and her parachute pants and fanny pack.

1:45 PM--- Take off. I hope.

2:25 PM--- Arrive in Vegas, forget the rest of the world exists.

3:10 PM--- Arrive at the Golden Nugget, hope that the $20 under the credit card works some magic in getting us some sort of upgrade. To boost the magic, we will tastelessly make out and make sure everyone within 25 yards is aware that we are on our honeymoon.

3:25 PM--- Enter suite (I’m thinking positive), drop bags, and make a mental not to thank Pauly for the tipping tip. I always make sure to grease palms liberally when in Vegas, but for some reason I never considered doing it at the hotel desk.

4:15 PM--- Head out and peruse Freemont a bit, then off for the obligatory shopping.

8 PM--- Dinner at Elements in the Aladdin. I always like to have at least one outrageously expensive meal while in Vegas.

10 PM--- Grab helmet and mace. Storm Castle.

After this, God only knows……

Due to the schedule, I likely won’t make it to the Rio until/unless the bloggers reach the final table. And since I kept completely forgetting amidst all of the WPBT satellite brouhaha, here’s a shout out to Poker Nerd wishing him good cards and a strong bladder during Event #2, which he got into through Full Tilt (Bonus Code: HHead).

*sigh* Five more days. Must settle down. Don’t want anticipation to peak too early….

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Early Twentysomething Follies

I have never passed out, puked, or fallen down in a bar. I’ve come close a couple of times in my early twenties, but it never happened. Now, I’m not sure if it counts as a bar, but it did happen once at a strip club in Vegas. As we edge ever closer to the auspicious blogger gathering, for some reason this one shameful incident is all I can think about. So, in an effort to exorcise the demons, I thought I would regale everyone with the story.

My first ever trip to Vegas came shortly after my 21st birthday. We had just returned from Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, and needless to say, I was more than overjoyed to be back in the land of plenty. In hindsight, I certainly wasn’t ready for the city of plenty.

I was more than pumped when we all arrived at the Casino Royale. Never let it be said that the military doesn’t put their people up in swanky places. What the hell, I guess it’s better than having to stay on base, eh? We had a ton of old-timers in my shop, and they couldn’t be more stereotypical. As soon as the bags were placed in the rooms it was time for some alcohol and nude ladies.

Honestly, I have never really been a fan of strip clubs. I can’t stand the idea of paying a (most of the time) subpar female an exorbitant sum of money to tease me with something that I cannot, in fact, actually get from her. I always felt my money was better spent at a club, where I could spend less than half that amount and likely get laid out of the deal, but I digress. Come to think of it, the only times I have been to any strip clubs were during TDY trips when I was in the military, either in Ft. Walton Beach or Vegas.

Even though I wasn’t naturally inclined to go, I wasn’t about to decline, lest I become a pariah in my workplace. I was just getting over that “new guy” hump and cementing a fairly high position within the social hierarchy of our shop. The place in question? Little Darlings. Not the best, but certainly not the worst strip club I’d ever poked my head into.

I’m not sure what the deal is these days but at that time, even though they didn’t sell alcohol inside, you could bring alcohol and the bouncers would keep it outside for you in their little podium. Pay the cover and you get a cup, which you could fill with the alcohol you brought and bring inside. Well, lo and behold, there was a Texaco across the street, they have alcohol! Let’s get some and then we’ll be back. My friend Jay and I ran over and began shopping.

Here’s the thing: Jay was a really cool guy, but also a bit insane and a bit of an alcoholic. He was seven or eight years older than me, but we got along well because he was a “G” from way back and I was a “G” from not so way back. The difference between us was that I was growing out of it, and I knew Jay never would. While perusing the vast (yes it’s true, VAST) alcohol selection offered by the Texaco, our eyes both spied something I wish to this day we wouldn’t have: Cisco.

(For those of you that are unfamiliar, Cisco is a fruity and syrupy alcohol consumed in mass quantities by idiot teenagers and winos. It is commonly referred to as “liquid crack”. It’s really cheap and will get you FUCKED UP.)

Jay and I each bought two bottles. Strike One.

Return to club. Commence drinking. We figured, “Hey, why fuck around with a stupid cup? We’ll just hang outside and swap gangsta adventure stories while we drink and then we’ll head inside.” After the first bottle the crackification began, and the idea of some nuded up chicks started to seem much more appealing.

Jay: “Hey, let’s hurry up and finish this second bottle and hurry up and get inside.”

Me: “Good idea, lets do this.”

We chugged what was left of our second bottles. Strike Two.

I proceeded to roll into the joint feelin’ fine, my game was tight. Heading over to the area of the club where everyone else was, I got a look from one of the waitresses. You know the look, the one where not a thing is said, but you know “It’s On”. The evening was shaping up wonderfully. After hanging out with everyone for a few minutes, a couple of the dancers came up to me wondering why I hadn’t talked to their girl yet. In the interest of keeping my game tight, I threw off some bullshit about how I was busy but would join her in a bit, which I did after giving it another 15 minutes or so. Yeah I know, I was a regular Don Juan. I chatted her up for a while, but the club got a small rush and she got busy having to attend to other patrons drinks. She promised she would be around later and we could make some plans since she got off at 2. Nice.

Wandering back over to our group I found that someone had ordered a pizza and that sunuvabitch looked awesome. I can still taste it to this day, tons of meat and jalapenos, absolutely delicious (isn’t it strange the stuff we remember?).

I had two big slices. Strike Motherfuckin’ Three.

That pizza seemed to be just the thing that the Cisco was waiting for, because it proceeded to beat me around like a pimp, slappin’ a hoe. I could barely walk or speak. All I really remember is that time started moving really fast, and I had to throw up, so off to the restroom for me. After calling Ralph on the Big White Phone, the pizza started talking. It said, “You need to sit on the throne, NOW.” The pizza was talking sense, and I sat.

The next thing I remember is the supreme effort it took to raise my head. Someone was pounding on the stall door, it was my boss (who incidentally was an extremely cool guy) checking to make sure I was alright. I told him I was OK and headed back out. It was only after making it back to the group that I realized (because one of the guys told me) that I had been absent for nearly 90 minutes. O God, no wonder my legs were numb. For the record my power nap did nothing to dilute my shitfacedness, in fact it seemed worse than ever. It was, in fact, worse than ever, a fact confirmed when one of the guys who relayed the fact that while I was napping Jay had eaten an ashtray. No, I’m not kidding. He ate half of an ashtray.

No biggie though, I still have outs tonight! Where’s that waitress? Aaah, there she is, and I saunter over to resume our conversation, because as luck would have it, it was only 40 minutes or so till she got off. I wish I could tell you what I said during that conversation, but I can’t. My best friend Jonbo caught snippets and later told me it wasn’t pretty. My game had ceased to be tight, Mr. Cisco unraveled it completely. Needless to say, after that conversation the invitation from earlier was summarily withdrawn. Oops.

That was over seven years ago, thank God I’ve grown up a bit and learned from my mistakes. What’s the moral of my little story? Dunno. Perhaps the message is stay away from the Cisco. Maybe the message is to always remember to pace yourself. Like I said, I don’t really know. I just wanted to type out a story and get it out of my head. Aaaah, the freedom that comes with another expunged secret shame....

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Every. Single. Hand.

Even though I haven’t played any poker for the last few weeks, I’ve still managed to learn something (or rather, had it reinforced) that I thought I’d share. Normally the Mrs. will sit and play a SnG or two on most evenings, a few of which I watch. Among many of the things that I’ve taken away from watching and trying to critique the play is this:

Every single hand matters. Every. Single. One.

Many of us who play in the low level monkey SnG’s (myself included) have a tendency to pay less than full attention during the first 3 levels of a tourney while the monkeys battle over insignificant blinds and knock each other out. I mean, why should we? What’s the point? Who wants to get beat out of a huge pot when the blinds are only 20/40?

What about those times when you had to let a pot go because you didn’t bet your 55 on a 238 board and a confirmed donkey overbets out at you, making folding the best decision because you no longer have the odds? Granted, you only spent T40 on the hand, but you missed out on a T160 pot that adds up pretty quick when you take a few of them. And the whole time that little voice in the back of your head knows you would have taken the pot down had you simply thrown a bet out there, but you weren’t sure about making the bet because you didn’t pay close enough attention on previous hands.

Most all of us have heard the theories about a butterfly flapping it’s wings in Brazil that ends up setting off a tornado in Texas (or some variation of this). Those few insignificant hands that we don’t pay attention to or misplay out of carelessness can make potentially huge differences in the later stages of a tournament. Those two or three pots that were pretty small (between T80 and T140) in the early stages could end up making all the difference while you get blinded waiting through cold cards. If you get beat out of a big pot it could save you an exit. I’m not necessarily saying you should be taking a ton of unnecessary risks and habitually make marginal plays in these early stages, but pay attention more than you normally would in the early stages and your almost guaranteed to find spots where you can take down a tiny pot here and there with little or no risk, instead of just letting it go.

No one can play absolutely perfect poker, but we can always try. And by trying just as hard in the early stages when it isn’t very convenient or fun just may be that necessary edge to get you the win you so richly deserve. Don’t let those donkeys take your ten bucks.

(Now if I can just follow my own advice, everything will be dandy)

(Oh yea, here is a funny link to do with that butterfly business I mentioned)

Monday, May 23, 2005

The many names of....

Since many were kind enough to comment on my blogger introduction question, I’ll just dispense with any mystery or formality.

Just call me Head, it’s the easiest and what many of my friends call me.

Or, you can call me by my Christian name, which happens to be Jeremiah.

Or, as I am called by my Islamic brothers, Jerebdullah Ali X.

Or, my Native American moniker, Head Like Planet.

More comfortable with alter egos? Super Vanilla Bear

My medieval name? Sir SwearsaLot (Sir EatsaLot will also be accepted)

Super hero name? Shit, I have no idea. (I wonder what my special power would be. Protecting the earth from the tyranny of bacon?)

Don’t really give a shit one way or the other? Then I’m just that one dude who types out some strange shit on his blog when he doesn’t want to do schoolwork and there’s nothing but crap on TV.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Pre-trip Musings

The Vegas posts are coming fast and furious now. Here, let me add yet another. The anticipation running throughout the household is now palatable. Here is about the only serious question I have regarding the upcoming degenerate extravaganza.

When meeting a fellow blogger for the first time, what is the proper way to introduce oneself?

Really it’s a nonsensical question, but it keeps popping into my head because I have an inordinate fear of fucking it all up.

As we get closer to the inevitable, I find it increasingly amusing to watch the reactions that various people have when we tell them about heading out to Vegas?

O Wow! Going to see some shows, do a bit of gambling, and relax for your bitrthday?

This usually prompts a ‘look’ betwixt the wife and I…

No, we’re going for three days of drinking, gambling, and little sleep with a bunch of other poker bloggers.

Huh? What’s that?

Here’s where I think about explaining, but then just say fuck it.

We’re gonna go get drunk and play poker with a bunch of other degenerates from the Internet that we’ve never actually met in person before.

Cue quizzical look. They have no idea anymore whether or not to think this is a cool thing.

Umm, great. Trips to Vegas are always fun, have a good time...[trails off]

Cue my own smug feeling that I’m about to meet a great group of folks with the higher concentration of smarts and cool than one is likely to find anywhere else. This morning I thought of what I imagine to be the best description of this auspicious occasion:

WPBT II: The drunkenness of Mardi Gras minus the pageantry but plus the hookers and other strange shit.

One last thing I wanted to throw out there. I am continually shocked to find that the WPBT does not have some sort of alcohol sponsor. Hell, it truly boggles the mind as to why they’re not lined up outside the building throwing money at all of us, but I digress. I was thinking that as a contingent, we should make it an official goal to have an official alcohol sponsor no later than WPBT IV: The Search for Clean Pants. What alcohol, though? Beer or Liquor? Guinness and SoCo? Maybe we should just get a casino to sponsor the contingent and then they could flex their casino muscles to bring in the other sponsors…

Bloggers, so hot right now. Bloggers.