Archive for December, 2008

26
Dec
08

White Christmas

I always used to wish for snow on Christmas in Washington. After this last week, I doubt anyone wishes that for a long time here. I enjoy the snow – until it causes a loss of power. I had just put a turkey in the oven as 8 people were coming over for a feast. Thirty minutes into the 4 hours it needed to cook and bye bye power. I wasn’t about to let that stop me, so I called a friend and I drove the barely cooked turkey to his house but I just kept driving as I thought it wasn’t worth getting stuck in the snow. Back to the house and I shoveled the driveway and sidewalk yet again. Apparently the power company liked my work and the lights came back on. I was back in business for dinner!

Dinner with friends was absolutely fantastic. Played a few games, enjoyed each other’s company, played with the kids, and ate way too much (or at least I did). I cherish these times and will miss them a lot. The turkey was a free range turkey that was never frozen. It tasted awesome and was falling off the bone as I carved it. I think the lesson here is: Make sure you drive your free range turkey around before you fully cook it. It clearly enjoyed the ride.

I suppose this is a blog about poker so here’s a quick update. I’d been steadily losing over the past week and was frustrated as I kept getting my money in good, but coming out bad. Things where I would trap someone who had K7o on a 7 high board while I had TT. I’d raise all-in on the turn and get called only to see a King fall on the river. However, last night I basically made up all of my losses in one of the best sessions I’ve ever had (in recent memory). This definitely helped. As for making Supernova – I’m under 14k VPPs to go. I’ll need to put in a good chunk of time this week to make it.

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23
Dec
08

Living in the Arctic

In case you haven’t heard, Redmond detached itself from the state of Washington and drifted out of Puget Sound into the Arctic Circle. There is over a foot of snow in my yard. This is a 9’ snowman made out of snow just from my deck…and if you look carefully, you can see that there is still 6 inches of snow covering the whole deck. The bottom ball of snow likely weighs more than 100 lbs. It was everything I could do to move it once it was done. But it was a ton of fun to make it…check out the smile on that snowman.

photo

Christmas will be a white one this year. I’m having some friends over and cooking a turkey dinner so that will be a great time! It’s also probably the last time I’ll see some of them for a while. I’ll miss them, but they just have to come to Vegas to get away from the snow now. Although it snowed in Vegas, so maybe that won’t work well either. :)

The day after Christmas I sign the escrow papers and get the final estimate for the move. I thought originally I’d move myself to save money, however, I’m likely just going to pack most of the non-breakable stuff and then have movers pack and move the rest. It’s just not worth it otherwise. I still don’t have a place to move to – I’ve been waiting on a rental owner in Vegas to get back to me one last time. If her place is available, I’ll take it. It’s in Rhodes Ranch – southwest corner of the city. Otherwise, I’ll rent another place that is still in the southwest, but a little further north and east.

On the poker front, the cards have been flying, and I’m trying to get used to playing a lot again. It’s hard with all of the stuff going on. I’ve been trying to make Supernova rank. If I make it, it will mean an extra $1500 next year in my pocket. I have 15,327 VPPs yet to earn (out of the 100k it takes) and I’ll be there. Wish me luck…

13
Dec
08

the final poker night

After more than 4 years of hosting a regular poker night, the tradition has ended. Thursday night was the final poker night. I moved the game to a minimum $100 and no maximum. The blinds were $1/$2. I bought in for $200 and encouraged a few others to do the same – with little luck except for Mark, who I knew wouldn’t let me down. (As it turns out, this cost me at least $100.)

The game brought out all the regulars and we were playing 11 handed at one point. This sucks way worse when you’re at a dining room table with a fruity vinyl tablecloth as opposed to the poker table which is packed for the move already. There were even a few spectators at some point. The night was moving along fine until I tried to bluff Craig off of his ten high flush. He had flopped it and I needed a heart. When he bet $15 on the river, I pushed him all in for ~$75. He thought for a long time but finally called. Nice call. I re-bought up to $200.

Within the next hour, I called a preflop raise and flopped a flush of my own. I had 56s spades and the flop was 792 all spades. I made a decent size bet and Mark called me. I figured he had the Ace of spades. The turn was a blank and I bet $100. He says something about his Queen high flush not being any good, thinks for a while and then calls. I push my last $97 on the river (another blank) and he again thinks for a long time but finally calls – and then shows the Queen high flush. Ugh. What a great start to the final poker night – down about $400 in less than 2 hours.

We played until almost 3:30 in the morning when it was the hardcore regulars left – Mark, Craig, and myself. We finally decided it was time to stop and on the last hand I was dealt A8o with the Ace of hearts. I raised to $12 and they both called. The flop hit my Ace with 2 hearts so I bet $25. They both sighed and folded. I did really want to win the last hand, but it turns out it was legit. We ran out the cards and this was the final board.

photo Not only did I win the hand, I had the nuts (well, okay – except for the straight flush possibility). The other odd thing is that my poker chips have a picture of Wild Bill Hickok who was shot and killed playing poker with the hand Aces and Eights. Not quite the same hand, but if he would have been playing Texas Hold ‘em instead of 5 card draw, then perhaps I had his starting hand. However, I’m glad I didn’t make the actual Dead Man’s Hand. :)

Thanks to everyone who ever came to a poker night at my house. It’s been a pleasure hosting and I have had a lot of great times and memories I will cherish. Thanks again, and while the tradition will stop – I will be starting a yearly poker night in Vegas. Stay tuned…

10
Dec
08

the bigger view

Sometimes we all need to step back and take a bigger view of our lives. And sometimes you just need a bigger monitor. :) My Samsung 30” showed up today and is now beside my Dell 24” turned vertically. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, as well as how full my desk feels now. (Apologies for the crappy photo – taken in low light with an iPhone.)

photo

In case you missed the last post, the house is sold and closes on January 15th. Tomorrow the appraiser comes as well as a moving company to give me a quote. I am still undecided if I’m going to move myself or not. I already plan to drive at least one rental truck filled with things like my pinball machines, poker table, drums, and a few other things I don’t dare trust to a moving company. But as I walked through the house yesterday, I’m thinking it might all fit in one big 26’ truck. That would be nice.

Oh, and I’m sure no one cares, but I smashed my Geometry Wars 2 “Timeline” high score today, and am now 44th in the world. I doubt I ever come close to that score again. I only wished I had recorded the game.

And finally tomorrow is also the final poker night at my house. The poker table is already in the garage packed in a crate so back to the dining room table it is. It should be a fun time, but it will be sad to see everyone go when it’s over. At least I won’t have to nag everyone to accept/decline the invites anymore. :)

07
Dec
08

pending

So I thought that once I left my job in Office Labs (7 weeks ago now) that the build up of stress from almost 13 years at Microsoft would quickly disappear. I thought wrong. Things actually sped up – I interviewed realtors, picked one, got my house somewhat packed up and staged for so it could go on the market. This doesn’t seem hard when you look at how clean the house was, but it was a lot of work. Then there were the random showings with 30 minutes of warning. These were usually the days I was still in my pajamas, hadn’t made the bed (with all 10 staging pillows and the silk comforter to make it look awesome), and was in the middle of lunch. It turns out I can actually clean the whole house in under 30 minutes. It also turns out I now have something similar to tennis elbow – only it’s called vacuum arm.

In any case, the build up only worsened as the offer on the house came in – and came in much lower than I would have liked even though the house was priced well. The market is not exactly a seller’s best friend right now. I’m usually one to love negotiating – however I usually don’t back myself into a corner before I start – which the economy has done for me in this case. I got word last night that they would probably accept the latest offer, but nothing is done until it’s signed. I haven’t slept well the past few days, and so this morning when the Realtor called to say they had accepted the offer, the stress of everything finally let go as did a few tears. So as of 5:30 tonight, the house has gone “pending” with closing set for January 15th.

So now it’s time for a glass of wine to celebrate the end and the new beginnings that are about to be written. And because I doubt I’ll have a break between dinners with friends, the last poker game at my house, and trying to figure out how I’m going to pack and move all of my stuff to Las Vegas.

It still doesn’t seem real to me, but I have a feeling it will all come together right after the holidays. I’m excited and can hardly wait.

02
Dec
08

the final day

It all started with a Guinness. Today, that is. At exactly midnight I was drinking a freshly poured Guinness beer at JJ Mahoney’s (where else would I be?). It seems strange except I was celebrating the Metallica concert I had just seen. It was pretty awesome and extremely loud. My ears are still ringing. Seriously.

After the first opener – a band called Sword – I got a call from our Realtor. There was an offer on the house. The price was lower than I wanted but it’s always just a big negotiation, so bring it on.

After the beer, I came home and had a little chocolate, and I blasted out a new high score in Pacifism (Geometry Wars 2). And finally off to sleep.

And when I woke up, it was STILL December 2nd. lol. I wrote the counter offer, had someone else look at the house and asked “Can we just write up the paper work?” on the spot. Quite strange, but good for us. So now there are two potential buyers, but only one offer so far.

In any case, today is the final day. Roughly 12.7 years of my life. Thanks again to all the people who made my journey what it was. Amazing. Thank you Microsoft.

Now it’s time to look forward…

Assuming everything goes fine with the offer, I’ll be in Vegas by the first week of January. Just in time to catch the coldest part of the year and then begin enjoying the warmth that greeted me two years ago on my sabbatical. I can’t wait. I don’t think I’ve been truly warm since then.




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