follow me on Twitter

    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    I'm Famous!

    No, not really. But I did get a cool shout-out.

    Dan Shanoff, current blogger and formerly a writer for, used to write a Sports Night Before Christmas each year for's Daily Quickie. This year, he wrote one for Deadspin, the place online where you are most likely to find me these days. (Here's the wiki entry for Deadspin, for those unfamiliar with the site.) You can find the complete poem here, and see that there, in verse 14, he gives a shout-out to the commenters of Deadspin, and references a few by name. The first referenced? Well, read it and see

    On Dweeze! On Lt. Winslow! On Kid Canada! On Denis Lemieux!

    On Metschick, on Pam (NJ), on Jen P (Alas, room for too few!)

    Pretty cool, huh?

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Best Christmas Song Ever

    The scene in Meet Me In St. Louis where this is first used is heartbreaking. It is a sad, sad song, but still, in no small way, optimistic. Kinda where I am right now.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Fun With You Tube

    Let’s open with a little thing from Saturday Night Live (Note: Not family friendly, but incredibly catchy)

    A little London Calling, from the Joe Strummer tribute at the 2003 Grammys (look at that line-up: Bruce Sprinsteen, Elvis Costello, Miami Steve, and Dave Grohl!)

    James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks singing Sweet Baby James

    Fatboy Slim’s Weapons of Choice

    Because you can’t go wrong with Christopher Walken dancing, Pennies from Heaven

    And because it never gets old, The Evolution of Dance

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Library Thing and Other Free Stuff

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Library Thing. This is a great little site for book lovers. On it, you can track and catalog your personal library. You can open a free account, with up to 200 entries, or a pay account, with unlimited entries. The site is linked to both Amazon and the Library of Congress, so you can search by book name, author name, or other fields. Once you find a book you own, you click on it, placing it in your personal catalog. You can use the site to set up your own library catalog for record keeping purposes, or use other functions to search for books to read in the future based on the contents of your library. Try it out – it’s somewhat addicting. (Link via Written World.)

    While we’re on the subject of free things online, Kung Fu Monkey had an item awhile back linking to a post at The Simple Dollar listing 30 essential pieces of free and open source software for Windows. You can find the piece here. I don’t have an Office Suite on my home computer, so I have been using AbiWord for Word Processing and Open Office’s Spreadsheet as an Excel substitute. Both work very nicely. I also downloaded Gimpshop, a Photo Shop substitute, but haven’t played with it much.

    Notes From The News

    Just a couple of tidbits from today's Press Citizen:

    Man escapes police by crawling out of squad car window

    While under arrest Monday night, Kenneth Charles Cannon, 47, of Coralville, performed a disappearing act by squeezing through the rear window of a squad car.

    When pulled over, police said Cannon was wearing a wig to hide his identity. He also “reeked” of alcohol and refused to take blood-alcohol tests at the scene, police said. Cannon was searched, handcuffed and placed in the rear of a patrol car. However, Cannon somehow rolled the rear window down, crawl through it and stumble from the car, police said. Officers found him trying to hide behind a small tree and he was taken back into custody.

    Guess you could say he was a loose Cannon.

    Hundreds of people waited over night for new Buffalo Wild Wings to open so they could get free chicken wings for a year

    Their friend, Mike Hanson, 19, of North Liberty showed up several hours later to take a spot for someone else who had to leave the line for work.

    All three said they would definitely brave the cold again, but not just for the free Buffalo wings, Hanson said.

    "To tell our kids 20 years from now that we were here the day it opened," Hanson said.

    Okay, Mike, maybe you were being ironic and it didn't come through in the article. But if you are, please not that your kids? Are not going to give a fuck that you waited in line all night just to get free chicken wings for a year.

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    In re Swiper

    How incompetent are you as a thief if all it takes to stop you is someone saying “Swiper no swiping” to your face three times? Does that really work, and, if it does, would standing in front of the White House saying “W no desecrating the Constitution” over and over work? Further, do you suppose his parents named him Swiper, as they were members of a large family of thieves and high hopes for their son? Or is Swiper a nickname, given to him ironically the way people call big guys “Tiny”?

    The Pace Of Blogging

    Here's the thing. It may seem like I haven't been doing a lot of blogging this fall. And I haven't at least here. But I've done most of the Survivor and Amazing Race summaries this fall over at our summary sites - the last five Survivor's in a row and five of the last six Amazing Race's. In other words, one or (usually) two 2,500 - 5,000 word posts a week, every week, for three months. But we're down to just one more Survivor I need to summarize, the episode this week, so my bogging mechanism can return to Corn'O'Copia.

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Sign On

    Mediacom (in case my previous post didn't show where I was coming down on the issue) came out today and hooked up cable Internet. And Sinclair caved in and will allow Mediacom to continue airing KGAN (our local CBS affiliate) til January 5, 2007 so negotiations can continue. I have a theory why, based on something I was told at the Mediacom office in Iowa City yesterday (I was there setting things up for the Internet - did I mention I have access to broadband at home again? And it was cheap - $9.95 a month). I asked for an antenna kit, as they were giving them to their customers to be able to get KGAN. The clerk told me I didn't need one, because they had been able to find away around the restrictions that were prohibiting them from simply swapping KGAN with the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities. I'm sure that was a come to Jesus moment for the folks at Sinclair. If Mediacom can do that, it pretty much makes KGAN irelevant. More as the situation develops.

    Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Bye, Bye To The CBS Eye

    My non-Iowa readers, and you know who you are, are probably unaware of the little battle we are experiencing between Sinclair “Rightwing Bastards ‘R’ Us Broadcasting and Mediacom Cable. This means that, barring a last-minute resolution, I will no longer have access to CBS on my cable package after tonight.

    You can find a nice summary, though obviously from Mediacom’s point of view, here. To me, the heart of the disagreement appears to be this:

    Mediacom’s lawsuit against Sinclair was driven in large part by our desire to protect the interests of our customers. Sinclair has insisted that Mediacom pay for all of its stations in our service areas in a single package without consideration to the differences in the various markets. We believe this all-or-nothing scheme violates antitrust law.The ultimate result of this “tying” of Sinclair’s stations would be to increase the price of cable television to consumers by millions of dollars. It is not fair to our customers who ultimately bear these costs and we have decided to draw the line by asking a federal court to stop these practices by Sinclair.

    In effect, Mediacom is accusing Sinclair of requiring Mediacom to pay one price for all 23 Sinclair stations in 18 Mediacom markets instead of negotiating individual prices for each market. It’s easy to see how this could result in a nasty increase in the amount Mediacom has to pay for rebroadcast rights for Sinclair stations. Cable pricing is unfair enough as it currently stands; I would never pay for Lifetime on its own, for example, but have to pay for it as part of the package. But at least it is part of the package, and if I choose to watch it I can. Requiring Mediacom customers in eastern Iowa to pay for Sinclair stations in Alabama that are not now and never will be part of our cable package is beyond unfair.

    Sinclair’s statement of the situation is here. It might just be me, and it might just be my opinion of Sinclair, but I find their statement to be a lot more weaselly than Mediacom’s. Most noticeably, there is nothing contradicting Mediacom’s assertion that Sinclair is trying to force Mediacom to pay one price for rebroadcast rights to every Sinclair station in a Mediacom market.

    Now, being without CBS is not that huge a thing for me. The only thing it affects are Survivor (available online), NFL games (don’t really care all that much as CBS carries AFC games and I am an NFC fan), and TAR (ACKKKK!!!). But it is kind of disconcerting to think that a station I grew up with will not be there anymore. Still, I hope Mediacom doesn’t do a massive cave-in; I think Sinclair will be hurt far more, with advertisers jumping ship to other options, than Mediacom. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. At the very least, it inspired this little parody from me:

    So bye, bye to the CBS eye
    Turned my TV to the station but the station was dry
    Them Sinclair boys demand too much of the pie
    Guess I’ll pull the signal down from the sky
    Pull the signal down from the sky

    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Brain Or No Brain

    I’m not usually inclined to watch Deal Or No Deal. It’s not appointment television for me by any means. But it is on prior to several shows that are appointment television for me, most particularly Heroes, and so I will, on occasion, watch parts of it. If you don’t know how it’s played, here’s a nice Wiki write-up.

    So anyway, last night’s contestant was a big ol Southern guy, currently unemployed, living in his sister and brother-in-law’s basement. His sister, brother-in-law, and best friend were there as his supporters. He got off to a nice start, eliminating lower-valued briefcases from the board, and at one point, getting a $218,000 offer from the banker.

    Now here’s the thing. After accounting for the fact that you’d probably lose roughly 35% to taxes, with $218,000, you’d clear around $140,000. I don’t know about you, but $140,000 would pay off all my debt, buy a new car, and give me a serious down payment on a house (or, if not a house, cover rent payments for four to five years) with some left over, and I’m absolutely certain I probably have more debt than our contestant. I’d have jumped so fast at the deal it would make head spins, which probably eliminates me from the contestant pool because I’d be too willing to make a deal instead of gambling and still playing.

    Not last night’s Brainiac, however. He chose to keep playing, after a couple more rounds of choosing briefcases, was down to a $57,000 or so offer from the banker. There was only one high value briefcase left on the board, the $750,000 one, and approximately five low value ones. But he kept playing, eliminating several low value briefcases, until there were only three left: the $750,000, the $100, and the $10. This prompted an offer from the banker of $150,000, which after taxes would still be roughly $98,000. I’m no longer making a down payment on a house with that, but I’m still paying off all my debt, buying a new car, paying rent on a new place for a year, and having some left over.

    Encyclopedia Brown’s support group was mixed. His brother-in-law and best friend were telling him to say no deal and eliminate another briefcase. But not his sister. Oh no. You could tell she wanted nothing so much in the world as for him to take the money and move the hell out of her house. When he said no deal, she plopped down in her chair, unable to watch what happened next. So what happened next? The next briefcase he picked held the $750,000, meaning his prize was either $100 or $10. He rejected the banker’s offer of $55, a split of the difference, and then walked away with $10, roughly, oh, $217,990 less than he could have had.

    So why am I writing? Is it to comment on a show so idiotic that the only skill you need is to be able to identify the numbers between 1 and 26? Is it to comment on the gambling mentality that says keep playing long after the odds have shifted against you? No. It’s because of this.

    As they kept eliminating briefcases, they would update and say things like “You started with a 1 in 26 chance of having a highest remaining dollar value briefcase and you now have a 1 in 20 chance!” But I don’t think this is correct. If you turned your briefcase in each round and selected a new one, yes, when you selected your new one you would have a 1 in 20 chance, but you don’t do that. So instead, you still have just a 1 in 26 chance, the original odds when you chose your original briefcase. Because your briefcase doesn’t change during the course of the game, the original odds don’t change. At least that’s how I see it intellectually.

    Yet, somehow, this doesn’t seem right intuitively. By the time you are down to three suitcases, you have a one in three chance that the briefcase you initially chose has the highest remaining dollar value. Right? Or are we talking two different things? Is it that you still have the 1 in 26 chance you chose the highest remaining dollar value briefcase initially, but the odds that you have the highest remaining dollar value briefcase in your possession changes as briefcases are eliminated? Does that make sense? Help me, mathletes!

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Leaving Pennsylvania In The Broad Daylight*

    *Note: Did not actually leave Pennsylvania in broad daylight, but rather under the cover of the night.

    Okay, this weekend was the road trip to Coatesville, Pennsylvania to drop off cats and a dog and pick up a four-year-old. Here are some bullet points from the trip.

    The trip was supposed to be me, three cats, and one dog. However, when I went to Lone Tree to pick up the cats from my friends who were housing them, Sweetie, the oldest female cat, had gone missing. She was hiding in Bob and Von’s basement like Anne Frank in the attic. As a result, only two cats went east. So, if anyone wants a cat, let me know. (She was found over the weekend while I was gone, too late to make the trip.)

    I’m glad I live in a civilized state where we don’t charge people to use the highway. From the far side of Chicago on, the trip was on tollway. Hat tip to the Indiana Tollway for being one of the best maintained roads I’ve ever driven on, for having a 70 mph speed limit, and for being the cheapest. Hat tip to the Ohio Tollway for being three lanes for all but about 50 miles of the 236 mile tollway. Hat tip to the Pennsylvania Tollway for, uhm, not having anywhere near as much construction as people said there would be.

    Heaviest amount of traffic, volume-wise? The stretch of 80 between I-55 near Chicago and Gary. This stretch also had the greatest concentration of billboards for adult-oriented businesses. Six if you count Hooters, and I do; Hooters is an adult-oriented business for people too cowardly to frequent actual adult-oriented businesses. “Oh, I go to Hooters for the food!” Right, and I go to strip clubs for the music.

    Worst congestion? The stretch of Highway 30 from Lancaster, PA to the extremely misnamed Paradise, PA that runs through Pennsylvania Amish country. For my local readers, think the bit of road in Main Amana with all the shops on a Saturday or Sunday, except multiply the stretch of road by five miles, the people by 100, and make the stretch of road a major highway instead of a side street.

    I know it’s judging a book by it’s cover because I didn’t go into either establishment, but I imagine the quality of entertainment at the Amish Musical Dinner Theatre and the quality of the food at Jakob’s Amish Barbeque is not very high. And don’t get me started on the store that referred to itself as America’s Best Southwestern Store. Southwestern what? You had an Indian and cactus on the sign, so I assumed Southwestern United States. Sorry, there’s just no way I am believing that America’s Best Southwestern Store is located in southeastern Pennsylvania.

    Note to hotel owners: If you offer me a complimentary newspaper, I? Will take it. That’s who I am; that’s how I roll. Conversely, if you offer me a lukewarm glass of orange juice and a cold Danish and call it breakfast, I? Will pass. That’s who I am; that’s how I roll.

    I took my mother’s car, because, well, mine sucks and her car is relatively new. It also has a six-cd changer, which makes traveling nicer. Here are some songs I listened to repeatedly.

    Dar Williams

    I've never had a way with women

    But the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could
    And I've never found a way to say I love you
    But if the chance came by, oh I, I would

    But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother
    We never make our passions other people's concern
    And we walk in the world of safe people
    And at night we walk into our houses and burn

    Iowa, oh-oh-oh-oh, Iowa, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-I, Iowa

    How I long to fall just a little bit
    To dance out of the lines and stray from the light
    But I fear that to fall in love with you
    Is to fall from a great and gruesome height

    So I asked a friend about it on a bad day, her husband had just left her
    She sat down in the chair he left behind

    She said, "What is love, where did it get me?
    Whoever thought of love is no friend of mine."

    Iowa, oh-oh-oh-oh, Iowa, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-I, Iowa

    Once I had everything, I gave it up
    For the shoulder of your driveway and the words I never felt
    And so for you, I came this far across the tracks
    Ten miles above the limit and with no seat belt, and I'd do it again

    For tonight I went running through the screen doors of discretion
    For I woke up from a nightmare that I could not stand to see
    You were a-wandering out on the hills of Iowa and
    You were not thinking of me

    Oh-ah-a- ah-a Iowa

    Untouchable Face
    Ani DiFranco

    think i'm going for a walk now
    i feel a little unsteady
    i don't want nobody to follow me
    'cept maybe you
    i could make you happy you know
    if you weren't already
    i could do a lot of things
    and i do

    tell you the truth i prefer
    the worst of you
    too bad you had to have a better half
    she's not really my type
    but i think you two are forever
    and i hate to say it but
    you're perfect together

    so fuck you
    and your untouchable face
    and fuck you
    for existing in the first place
    and who am i
    that i should be vying for your touch
    and who am i
    i bet you can't even tell me that much

    two-thirty in the morning
    and my gas tank will be empty soon
    neon sign on the horizon
    rubbing elbows with the moon
    a safe haven of sleepless
    where the deep fryer's always on
    radio is counting down
    the top 20 country songs
    and out on the porch the fly strip is
    waving like a flag in the wind
    y'know, i don't look forward
    to seeing you again soon
    you'll look like a photograph of yourself
    taken from far far away
    and i won't know what to do
    and i won't know what to say

    except fuck you...
    and your untouchable face
    and fuck you
    for existing in the first place
    and who am i
    that i should be vying for your touch
    and who am i
    i bet you can't even tell me that much

    i see you and i'm so perplexed
    what was i thinking
    what will i think of next
    where can i hide
    in the back room there's a lamp
    that hangs over the pool table
    and when the fan is on it swings
    gently from side to side
    there's a changing constellation
    of balls as we are playing
    i see orion and you say nothing
    the only thing i can think of saying

    is fuck you...
    and your untouchable face
    and fuck you
    for existing in the first place
    and who am i
    that i should be vying for your touch
    and who am i
    i bet you can't even tell me that much

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Wednesday Song

    Final move update tomorrow. For now, a song.

    Dimming of the Day

    This old house is falling down around my ears
    I'm drowning in a river of my tears
    When all my will is gone you hold me sway
    I need you at the dimming of the day

    You pull me like the moon pulls on the tide
    You know just where I keep my better side

    What days have come to keep us far apart
    A broken promise or a broken heart
    Now all the bonnie birds have wheeled away
    I need you at the dimming of the day

    Come the night you're only what I want
    Come the night you could be my confidante

    I see you on the street in company
    Why don't you come and ease your mind with me
    I'm living for the night we steal away
    I need you at the dimming of the day

    Yes I need you at the dimming of the day

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    Move Update And Sign Off

    * Reached my primary goal of getting everything to the storage unit that's going to the storage unit. Have a nice staging area of things going to my mom's house. However, did not reach primary goal of having everything that's garbage bagged and ready for the garbage man tomorrow. On the other hand, I'll be shocked if the garbage man takes all of the bags and boxes and other items I'll be leaving for him. My first trip with the U-Haul tomorrow may be to the landfill.

    * Probably two-three hours left of work before everything is ready to go, though if I fall into "box it up and sort it out later" mode that could shorten considerably.

    * Last post from North Liberty - the computer will be taken down and moved tomorrow. Not sure what kind of access I will have at night from here on. So good night for now, and talk to you all later.

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Move Update

    * It is easier to unload than to load.

    * The correct answer to the question "Will this fit in the car?" is always "How badly do you want it to fit?"

    * Garage is clean, except for approximately a pick-up truck load at the front of stuff that needs to go to the landfill, which was not open on Sunday. I found that out the hard way, by jamming the car full and driving there. I should have looked online. The pool shed and the pool chemical room are empty of our stuff, though there are some things in there that were there when we moved in. My, our?, bedroom is empty of everything but the bed, the nightstand and alarm clock and lamp, and my clothes. The only other things upstairs are in the display cabinet in the hall. I'm saving those for among the last things I do - the cabinet is full of very nice, very fragile, very meaning laden things. Ditto the pictures on the wall. My last load, which I finished about a half hour ago (and just got out of the shower), was from the kitchen. Everything is out of the kitchen except for the things I will take to my mom's house. That leaves the computer room, which, considering the cds and dvds and some of the books and some of the albums and the three bookcases and one cd case were moved out Friday, basically just means the computer desk and the computer. On the other hand, I've taken to using the room as something of a staging area, but the things I am staging are already boxed and waiting to go to Williamsburg. On the third hand, there is a big closet off the computer room, and that thing is PACKED. It's at least an hour's worth of work.

    * My goal for tomorrow is to have everything that is going to the storage shed in the storage shed by the end of the evening. I plan on getting a U-Haul on Tuesday and moving the rest of the stuff going to my mom's in one load. This supercedes the previous plan of relying on friend's trucks - there are at least three pick-up truck loads, so better to take one U-Haul than three pick-ups.

    * I still need to place the cats for four nights, from Tuesday to Saturday. Any takers?

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Random Moving Thoughts

    * Got a storage unit about five minutes from the current house. Proximity is good.

    * On Friday, I moved 6 long boxes of comics, 14 short boxes of comics, 5 milk crates of comics, 14 milk crates of books, 6 milk crates of albums, 3 milk crates of video tapes, 6 milk crates of dvds, and 7 milk crates of cds. By myself.

    * Milk crates are the perfect moving carrier for things like dvds, cds, books, and comics. But man, that many are heavy.

    * Friends are good to have. Friends with trucks are better. Thanks Matt! Everyone, give Matt a big round of applause.

    * On Saturday, Matt and I moved eight loads with the truck, taking everything out of the house that needed to be moved by truck except for the stuff going to my mom's house. Oh, and a baker's rack. Cause I didn't have it cleared.

    * I moved eight loads on my own in addition to the eight loads Matt and I moved. Indeed, except for a half hour when Matt and I had lunch at Subway, I spent twelve hours Saturday engaged in moving activities. I am way ahead of where I wanted to be at this point, though there is still plenty to do. The basement is empty. The boy's room is empty. The living room is practically empty. We even got the home entertainment center, which I thought for sure was going to have to wait so I could break it down.

    * Nice to have an extra hour of sleep tonight. I can really use it. I am sore, sore, sore. My arms, particularly. I'm not sure which is worse. The eight loads we moved by truck were heavy, but the most items we had on any load was six, for a total of around 30 items. As a result, we got those eight loads moved in 2.5 hours. If you do the math on the milk crates alone up top, you get 61 milk crates (thanks decades of restaurant work!). As a result, my arms feel rubbery.

    * Left to move? My bedroom, kitchen, computer room, toys, and one really jam-packed closet. Left to clean out? The rest of the garage and the pool shed. Tomorrow will be another busy day.

    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Thursday Song

    Top of the World
    Dixie Chicks

    I wished I was smarter,
    I wished I was stronger
    I wished I love Jesus,
    The way my wife does
    I wish it had been easier,
    Instead of any longer
    I wished I could have stood
    Where you would have been proud
    That won't happen now
    That won't happen now

    There's a whole lot of singing that's never gonna be heard
    Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow
    Think I broke the wings of that little song bird
    She's never gonna fly to the top of the world right now
    Top of the world

    I don't have to answer
    Any of these questions
    Don't have no God to
    Teach me no lessons
    I’d come home in the evening,
    Sit in my chair
    One night they called me for supper,
    But I never got up
    I stayed right there,
    In my chair

    There's a whole lot of singing that's never gonna be heard
    Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow
    Think I broke the wings of that little song bird
    She's never gonna fly to the top of the world right now
    Top of the world

    I wished I'd of known you,
    Wished I'd of shown you
    All of the things I
    Was on the inside
    I'd pretend to be sleeping,
    When you come in in the morning
    To whisper good-bye,
    Go to work in the rain
    I don't know why,
    Don't know why

    Cause everyone's singing, we just wanna be heard
    Disappearing every day without so much as a word somehow
    Wanna grab a hold of that little song bird
    Take her for a ride to the top of the world right now
    To the top of the world,
    To the top of the world,
    To the top of the world,
    To the top of the world,
    To the top of the world
    To the top of the world,
    To the top of the world,
    To the top of the world

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    You Know How I Know You’re Stoned?

    You deposited your bag of pot at the bank along with the night’s receipts from the pizza place where you work. Course, that also could be how I know you’re stupid.

    Police arrested a Pizza Pit employee after he allegedly deposited some marijuana at the bank last month.

    Adrian Michael Hilton, 25, of Coralville, is charged with possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor punishable by no more than six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    According to a criminal complaint filed by the Coralville Police department:
    Employees at American Bank and Trust told police they found a bag of marijuana in the Pizza Pit deposit bag dropped off in the night deposit box Sept. 17. Pizza Pit employees identified Hilton as having made the deposit.

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    So Where Were We?

    I'm moving. It's a matter of financial necessity. I'm going to my mother's basement.

    Yep, 47 years old and living in my mother's basement. But at least it means I'm going to be going to get Ethan soon, and I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me. I missed his birthday, damnit. Not that I forgot it, or didn't talk to him and send a card (saving the gift for when he gets back), just that I wasn't there with him on that day. He was a c-section birth, and I was the third person to hold him in his life, and I wasn't with him on his birthday. I cried a lot that day.

    And now I'm moving, having to be out by the end of the month. It's tough to pack up what's left of a life together; tougher still when you're packing up what remains of your family. Every object, it seems, has a memory attached to it, and the better the memory, the harder it is to pack away, put it in some box and seal it, never knowing when you might release that memory again. It's like slogging through a deep, snowy field, knowing you have to reach your destination but getting more exhausted with each step. And so you put it off, and put it off, and put it off, hoping that in condensing the time to accomplish the task you can also condense the pain and heartache of the task. But it doesn't help. It just adds a nice layer of panic to the sadness.

    So, that's been my life lately. Haven't had much to say - well, that's not true. I have a lot I could say. Haven't had much I want to say. I'm kind of private like that. But I know that this pain has been building, and this day has been coming, and it has colored my life and my existence for so long, manifested itself in so many ways, and I hope that sometime in the future, maybe even the near future, I can start being a little more of who I think of as myself. I mean, the last time I played poker with friends, I freaked out over a hand and was a complete and total asshole, and I still haven't apologized, still haven't said I was sorry because everytime I start to compose an email to say so I start crying and drop it. I start crying a lot these days. I cry in the car sitting out front of stores. Cry in the car sitting in the parking lot at work. I cry before I leave for work and on the way to work and the way home from work and at home after work. I run into casual friends who ask how things are and I have to fight back the tears. I can't even manage an "Okay" for most of them. I'll often say "bad" and just leave it like that, hanging in the air, and then I'll go and cry. There's a phrase in Paul Simon's Slip Sliding Away that captures it perfectly:

    She said a good day, ain't got no rain
    She said a bad day's when I lie in bed and think of things, that might have been

    I just want days with no rain, with no tears. Haven't had any in a long time, not sure how long it will be before I have one again.

    And that's who I am right now, and that's not who I want to be, cause that's not who I believe I truly am. So I'm moving, and boxing up a life and storing it away, and maybe after that's accomplished, maybe after my son's back, I can at least start to rebuild, start to reform, start to live again, live and not cry. That's my dream, and I hope it will be my future.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    TAR Summary Written And Posted

    New TAR summary up here.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    "Who did it? Frank?"

    I am not normally a big Norm Macdonald fan, but this is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in quite some time. I love Stewart's reactions to this.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    Rain Forest Picks Pella

    Film at eleven, story at PC Online.

    Yet another example of the total incompetence of the project management team. You could locate the facility at A: near two major highways right next to a brand new entertainment center where said entertainment center has already offered to make the most significant private sector financial contribution your project has ever received or B: in a far more out of the way and difficult to reach location. So which do you choose? Well, if you’re smart, you go with A. You have to go with A. What did they do? They went with B. I’m beginning to think they have a death wish.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    You Know What Sucks?

    Playing poker for six hours, til 3:00 in the morning on a work night, as part of 2,000 person tourney where the top 18 advance on to the next tourney, and finishing 20th. Yes, I finished better than 1,980 people. Yes, I finished in the 100th percentile. But I still missed the payoff, and missed it by two people. The only thing that would have sucked more would be being the poor bastard who finished 19th.

    I didn’t make many mistakes, though. Looking back at the hand that brought me out of contention, I would still play it the same way. I was sitting at about 80,000 chips, 15th with 26 left. I get dealt A-K spades in third position. The person in first position went all in with 40,000. Factoring in blinds and antes (the blinds at this point were 3,000-6,000, the antes 750), the pot was over 55,000. I had a great starting hand, so I didn’t just call, I went all in myself, hoping to isolate him. Everyone else dropped but the big blind, who called my all-in. This left a main pot of over 135,000 and a side pot of 80,000. I still wasn’t worried, thinking I would only be dominated by A-A and a slight dog to any pair. The short stack shows A-J hearts, I show my A-K spades, and the other caller shows A-K offsuit. So far, so good. All my fellow A-K have to do is fade the J and we split 215,000. From that point it would be tough not to make the top 18. And, in a perfect world, three spades would hit the board, I’d take the entire 235,000, and I wouldn’t have to play another hand.

    The J hit on the turn.

    I was down to 40,000, and when you lose 15,750 every rotation (with blinds increasing every ten minute), that’s not a good place to be. I still outlasted six other people, but I missed out on top 18 by the barest of margins. I couldn’t catch a hand the rest of the way, and finally called a raise with 10-5 suited. I was big blind, I only had 2,000 in chips after paying the blind and my ante, the small blind alone on the next hand would be more than my chip stack if I mucked, and even if I waited and everyone called (at this point we were a table of six) and I had a decent hand I could win more money from this pot than waiting. So I called, saw my 10-5 up against A-4, and lost to Ace high.

    On the other hand, you know what doesn’t suck?

    Saturday, or more accurately early Sunday, I played in an 1,800 person tourney. In this tourney, the top 36 moved on to the next round. In that one, I ended up 21st. I got some great cards and played them well. But the thing I am proudest of in that one is how I played at the bubble. At the 37 mark there were three of us who didn’t have enough chips to make another rotation of blinds and antes. I was watching the tables where the other two people were. They were automatically mucking every hand, hoping someone went out first. I, on the other hand, got dealt A-10 spades right after the button. Now, I could have folded. The other two people would be put all in by the blinds before I was. But I went all in anyway. Two people called, the flop was all spades, and I tripled up. On the very next hand I got dealt K-K. I went all in again, got called by the big stack who had A-J, and doubled up again. A few hands later I doubled again, and coasted not only to the top 36 but to 21st. The next tourney is Saturday – the top nine move on, with the eventual goal a tourney where the winner gets an Aussie Millions prize package.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Today's Song

    The Wreckers, Leave The Pieces

    You're not sure that you love me
    But you're not sure enough to let me go
    Baby it ain't fair you know
    To just keep me hangin' 'round

    You say you don't wanna hurt me
    Don't want to see my tears
    So why are you still standing here
    Just watching me drown

    And it's alright, yeah i'll be fine
    Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine
    Just take your love and hit the road

    There's nothing you can do or say
    You're gonna break my heart anyway
    So just leave the pieces when you go

    You can drag out the heartache
    Baby you can make it quick
    Really get it over with
    And just let me move on

    Don't concern yourself
    With this mess you've left for me
    I can clean it up, you see
    Just as long as you're gone

    And it's alright, yeah i'll be fine
    Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine
    Just take your love and hit the road

    There's nothing you can do or say
    You're gonna break my heart anyway
    So just leave the pieces when you go

    You not making up your mind
    Is killing me and wasting time
    I need so much more than that
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    And it's alright, yeah i'll be fine
    Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine
    Just take your love and hit the road

    There's nothing you can do or say
    You're gonna break my heart anyway
    So just leave the pieces when you go

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    How It Should Have Ended

    Courtesy of Blog@Newsarama, How It Should Have Ended. I particularly like the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings entries.

    You Know How You Know I Have Kids?

    Because the only band-aid I could find to put on my skull when I cut it open last night on a metal shelf support has a Power Ranger on it.

    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Fun Little Time Waster

    Okay, I know I’m the resident comic geek, but Crap and TanMan might enjoy this site too.

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Thought For The Day

    You know, you come back from a meeting to your cube, and even though it’s a nice cube, a window cube, it’s a cube, and you’ve been sitting at it, or at something similar, for almost fifteen years, and in all probability you’re going to be sitting at it, or something similar, for another twenty years or more, and suddenly the idea of getting killed by a stingray while at work doesn’t seem so horrible.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Genius Of The Day

    I'll just reprint the whole thing found here.

    A man was arrested Friday night after he allegedly threatened a waitress at a Coralville restaurant.

    Christopher Paul Huffey, 18, of Moscow, was arrested for second-degree harassment at 7:15 p.m. Friday outside of the Steak n’ Shake, 2806 Commerce Drive in Coralville.

    According to police, Huffey passed a note to the waitress stating he would “beat her” if she did not bring him her tip money within two minutes. He later admitted to writing the note, police said.

    Wow. There's dumb, and there's dumb. And then there's this guy.

    It reminds me of one time when I was working at Country Kitchen in Coralville as a manager. It was a Saturday, actually, early Sunday, about an hour after the bar rush had ended. We used to get all the cops on the midnight shift - city, highway patrol, sheriff's department. They would come in after their post-bar duties had ended. It was one such night, with about eight different officers in the main dining room, when some guy on a bike - a bike, mind you - decided to leave without paying. I was getting coffee for the officers and the waitress said "Dweeze, some guy just left without paying." Before I could say anything, three or four cops were on their feet saying "Who?" She pointed to him out the window as he was climbing on his bicycle. They started moving towards the door at about the exact same moment he glanced back inside. The look on his face was priceless. He dropped the bike and took off running, but he didn't have a chance. It was great.

    Friday, August 25, 2006


    Just a quick update.

    I mentioned someplace else that my surgery is scheduled for next Monday, the 28th. Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, in case anyone local wants to stop in. Lesa and Ethan are not back, but the pain is just getting to be too much to put off any longer.

    Drew was here a week, and is now in Pennsylvania with Lesa and Ethan. Having him here, and then losing him again, is really fucking me up right now, especially combined with Ethan not being here. Thus, the lack of posts and the brevity of this one. Pity too, cause I do have some cool poker things I could talk about. Maybe later.

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    My Autobiography

    Will be entitled I Don't Want The Damn Ball, A Life With Three Dogs

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Must Read Of The Day

    I don't write about politics all that often. For one thing, if I did, who would chronicle my poker exploits or the other mundane details of my existence? For another, there are often others who express what I am feeling much better than I could. One such person is John Rogers of Kung Fu Monkey (link in sidebar). Rogers is a professional writer for tv, movies, and comic books. He also writes succinctly and directly from a political viewpoint I almost always agree with. Case in point - his post today, Wait Aren't You Scared?, about the terror ring British officials broke up. Go, read the whole damn thing. I was tempted to quote it all, but will just excerpt a bit.

    “Wait, Aren't You Scared?"

    Errr, no. And if you are, you frankly should be a little goddam embarrassed.No false bravado and it's not that I don't take terrorism seriously. I do, which I why I voted for the guy who believed in securing our ports and fighting terrorism with criminal investigation methods -- which is, if we may remind everybody, how this particular plot was busted.

    I am just not going to wet my pants every time some guys get arrested in a terror plot. I will do my best to stay informed. I will support the necessary law enforcement agencies. I will take whatever reasonable precautions seem, um, reasonable. But I will not be terrorized. I assume that the terror-ists would like me to be terror-ized, as that is what is says on their nametag, rather than, say, wanting me to surrender to ennui or negative body image, and they're just coming the long way around.

    I am absolutely buffaloed by the people who insist I man up and take it in the teeth for the great Clash of Civilizations -- "Come ON, people, this is the EPIC LAST WAR!! You just don't have the stones to face that fact head-on!" -- who at the whiff of an actual terror plot will, with no apparent sense of irony, transform and run around shrieking, eyes rolling and Hello Kitty panties flashing like Japanese schoolgirls who have just realized that the call is coming from inside the house!

    Maybe it's just, I cast my eyes back on the last century:

    FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

    CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

    US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

    and I'm just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    A Thursday Song

    (Maybe it's just my computer at work, but You Tube seems to be running slow.)

    You Can Never Be Too Motivated

    Via the Newsarama Blog (Newsarama being a comic site you can find linked in the sidebar), Star Trek motivational posters from echosphere. (Ack! Nothing but the first pic is opening up in a window. I guess I need to put the captions after the pictures.)

    (You want to know why they argue all the time? Because the make-up sex is incredible.)

    (If you're afraid of the transporter... If you have nothing but contempt for computers... Maybe outer space isn't for you, dude.)

    (Don't worry. They'll come up with a way to dispose of her by the end of the episode.)

    (Yes, it is perfectly understandable that Kirk had the know-how to make the gunpowder and put together the bazooka to defeat the Gorn. That's why he's the goddamm Captain.)

    (To be fair, he was green blooded and he did have pointy ears...)

    (We're going to pretend this never happened.)

    And for the proprietor of Minions

    (Landru means never having to say you're sorry.)

    Linkage Tweakage

    Added two new links to the comics section - Chris' Invincible Super Blog and Random Panels. If you like comics, and you have a sense of humor, be sure to check them out. In fact, check them out even if you just have a sense of humor - you might enjoy them.

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    From The Obvious File

    From today's Press Citizen:

    Derek L. Butterfield, 20, and friend Terry Holmes were on their way to Iowa City when their car ran out of gas about a half-mile west of the I-80 overpass of Highway 6. Butterfield and Holmes started to walk along the interstate to get help. They decided to cross the median area when Butterfield, apparently unaware he was on a bridge, jumped over the concrete barricade and instead of landing on the median fell to Highway 6 below. Holmes witnessed the fall and officers responded about 2:17 a.m.

    Police think alcohol might have been involved,...

    Really? No way!

    So to recap, jumping off bridge into river and then going over the dam is dangerous, but can possibly be survived. Jumping off bridge onto paved highway, not so much.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Why? For the love of God, Why?

    Are there no powdered sugar donuts in the vending machines? And no Snickers in the candy bar machine?

    My God, why hast thou forsaken me?

    Monday, July 31, 2006

    Dweeze's Poker Prayer

    God save us from idiots who don't know when to fold.

    So anyway, playing a 90 person 2,000 chip sit and go. Doing okay, about a half hour in, get dealt pocket aces, Ac, Ad. I'm first to act, and raise it 200 chips, or five times the big blind. Five times the big blind, which should chase all but good hands. I get called by three people, including the small blind. So we go to the flop with about 850 in chips.

    Flop comes down 2c, 5c, 3s. I don't like this flop. Small blind checks, I go all in with about 1,400 chips. First person after me calls - he's the chip leader and this is about a quarter of his stack. Second person to act also calls, but it puts her all-in. Small blind mucks.

    Cards are shown. First person to call has 9c, 10c, and is playing for the flush. Second person has Qh, 4h, and is playing for the straight.


    So of course she won, hitting a 6 on the river after a the turn was 3d, which took the other two Aces out of play for the straight.

    Later on, a different table, I get dealt pocket Ks. Again, raise pre-flop of five times the big blind. One person calls. Flop comes down 8-8-Q. Now, I figure there's a chance the caller might have A-Q or a small pocket pair. So I go all in. She calls, shows Qc-8c, and I'm meat unless a King comes up. Which it doesn't.

    Here's the thing. Both times I did the right thing pre-flop. Good size raise, should have chased anyone with crap. It didn't, but it was the right thing to do. And in the first hand, the huge raise on the flop again should have chased anyone thinking about drawing to a hand. Again, it didn't, but it was the right thing to do.

    Of course that, and $1.00, will by me a bottle of Pepsi at work.

    Only One Thing To Say

    Fuck it's hot.

    End transmission.

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Keep It Gay?

    Interesting little story on Talking Points Muckraker:

    “I posted yesterday about a decorated Army Arabic linguist who was kicked out for being gay.Among other questions posed to him by an Army investigator attempting to confirm his gayness, Sgt. Bleu Copas of the 82nd Airborne Division says he was asked if he was involved in community theater.”

    The army kinda gives a non-denial denial

    "I expect that that question was not actually asked, but there are more than one million Soldiers in the Army and at my level we work Army policy, not specific cases, so I know nothing about this particular case."

    Hmmm. So many thoughts about this one. I think it best to just turn it over to Mel Brooks.


    Do it? Of course not.
    The theatre's so obsessed
    With dramas so depressed
    It's hard to sell a ticket on Broadway
    Shows should be more pretty
    Shows should be more witty
    Shows should be more...
    What's the word?



    No matter what you do on the stage
    Keep it light, keep it bright, keep it gay!
    Whether it's murder, mayhem or rage
    Don't complain, it's a pain
    Keep it gay!

    People want laughter when they see a show
    The last thing they're after's a litany of woe

    A happy ending will pep up your play...
    Oedipus won't bomb...
    If he winds up with Mom!
    Keep it gay!
    Keep it gay...
    Keep it gay!

    And of course, much later in the song is the ICCT motto:

    Comedy's joyous, a constant delight
    Dramas annoy us and ruin our night.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Is It Me

    Is it me, or is there something incongruous about seeing a lavish spread of leftover food from management meetings being placed in the breakroom for anyone to eat right next to the place where people are putting food donations for “Thanksgiving in July”? I mean, couldn’t someone find the time to set a good example and drive the leftover food to the homeless shelter?

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Stones Would Play

    I keep forgetting to mention this. Not sure why, probably because of that whole
    "I don't want your pity" thing I discussed in an earlier post.

    As some of you know, I develop kidney stones relatively frequently. As a general rule, they pass without treatment besides good drugs to help me with the pain. The first time I got one, the pain was so intense I figured I had to be dying. Now, after several years of developing them on a more or less annual basis, the pain is as intense, but it is a familiar pain, one I know the cause of and one I usually don’t think twice about except when my supply of percoset is running low.

    That may have been part of my current problem. I see my urologist a couple of times a year, but I am not as faithful about that as I should be. In fact, when I went most recently in May I had skipped since last summer. Perhaps if I had gone sooner he would have discovered sooner what he discovered in May – that I have a huge, or as he put it, abnormally large, kidney stone in my system.

    That’s right. I have an inch diameter stone in my kidney that, as the good doctor put it, is not going anywhere by itself.

    I know, I know. It's teh Internets. Guy says he has an inch kidney stone, he probably has a half-inch kidney stone, maybe 3/4s. But my doctor said it was an inch, not me. And really, he has no reason to lie.

    My urologist gave me five options. First, try to shrink the stone to a size where it will pass. There are chemical methods by which stones can be shrunk. However, these take months, if not years, and are not always successful. He didn’t recommend that option.

    Option two is traditional surgery. Put me under, cut me open, cut open the kidney, take out the stone. Fairly effective at solving the problem, fairly invasive and effective at causing new problems. For instance, it’s tough to completely stitch a kidney up. Again, not on the recommended list.

    Option three is lithotripsy. Under lithotripsy, doctors bombard the kidney with sound waves, breaking the stone up sonically. I’ve had this procedure done before, and while it removed the stones (none quite as big as the one currently residing in my kidney), I was in the hospital for several days as I passed a lot of little tiny stones. Further, with a stone the size of what I currently have, the doctor thought I would need two treatments. The process would be go in the hospital, have the procedure done, be in the hospital a couple of days, go back for a CAT scan the next week to see how much was left, then go back into the hospital for a second round of lithotripsy. No thanks.

    Option four involves a relatively new procedure. A small hole is cut through my back down to the kidney. A camera is inserted until it locates precisely where the stone is. At that point, a suction tube is inserted to suck the kidney stone out. Recovery time is a bit more extensive than lithotripsy (probably three nights in the hospital), but the stone is pulled and nothing is left to pass. It’s also far less invasive than cutting the kidney open.

    There was a fifth option, but we both rejected it out of hand. Under this option, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and a crew of oil company drillers would be shrunk, injected into my body, work their way to the kidney, then drill a hole in the stone and plant a teeny-tiny nuclear weapon. The bomb would go off, blowing the stone to bits. We rejected this option because who wants a teeny-tiny nuke going off in their kidney? Certainly not me.

    After reviewing the options, I agreed with my doctor that option four was probably the best. So, I need to have surgery sometime in the next month or so. I’ve been putting it off until Lesa comes back because a: I need someone to look after the dogs for a few days, b: I need someone to look after me for a few days, and c: I really don’t want to spend three days in the hospital by myself. However, the frequency of pain has been increasing over the past week or so.

    I’ve been having incidents every day, several times a day if I do any strenuous work, like mowing the lawn or vacuuming the pool. For instance, I spent about a half hour this morning working on the pool after I first woke up. Not that I am usually a hard worker at 7:00 am, but the temperature for working on the pool was the best it has been for several days. Plus, the chlorine I put in yesterday really cleared the water up, making it easy to identify where I needed to vacuum the most.

    The drawback is that I have had pain since I got done, and I still have it. It’s tolerable if I just sit in one place, but as soon as I get up and walk around it gets bad. I started this post around nine, it’s almost three (work gets in the way sometimes), and I am still in pain. My evening is clear and I may go home to take a perc and rest. Problem is, if I take a perc, I’m pretty much non-functional for the next four-five hours. So I have to measure that factor against the extent of the pain.

    I would not wish kidney stone pain on anyone, and I worry that Ethan will suffer from it someday. It tends to be hereditary, and my father was in fact a sufferer. It’s a dull, throbbing pain – it feels like someone is hitting me in the side with a ball peen hammer every five seconds. For the past seven hours. I had a female former coworker who had two children who was a kidney stone sufferer who told me that as far as pain goes, childbirth had nothing on kidney stones.

    So if you see me walking, hunched over like a 70-year old, that’s why.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Is This A Guy Thing?

    So I’m at the local pool supply store, taking in a water sample to be tested and picking up some chemicals. The employee on duty, who I believe is the owner’s daughter, is quite hot, in an unpolished way. Do you know what I mean? She’s someone who probably would not look comfortable, or maybe even all that attractive, in an evening gown, but in a bikini top and shorts, which is what she was wearing, she looks good. Damn good. Dayum good. Especially since the bikini top was filled with nicely sized, perfectly tanned breastesses.

    So, of course, during our conversation my eyes kept moving downward. I caught myself several times talking to said breastesses, gave myself a mental kick, and readjusted my line of sight. If she noticed, and she would have had to be the densest person on the planet not to notice, she didn’t call me on it, which was good, because I would have had no defense.

    Now here is what I am wondering. Two things, actually. First, is there any comparable phenomena for the ladies? Are you ever talking to guys and find your eyes wandering to a specific body area? Cause all men, except for those of the gay persuasion and even including some of them, talk to the breastesses when the breastesses are as nice and as present as these were. Don’t deny it guys. You do it. Accept it, admit it. But do women?

    Second, if you wear a bikini top to work, and you have nice breastesses to put in the bikini top, do you do so with some expectation, and further, with some acceptance of the fact, that said breastesses will get ogled at some point? Help me ladies. Help me.

    More Poker Boringness

    Yesterday was a pretty fruitful poker day for me. I placed 60th in a satellite tourney of 1,200 players, qualifying me for a tourney in August where first prize, indeed the only prize, is a entry package for a WPT event at the Red Rocks Hotel in Reno. I also did fairly well in several other tourneys. So what stands out for me? A hand I lost, which would have brought out the Mr. Rant in me if it hadn’t dumbfounded me so.

    It’s in Full Tilt’s daily 500+25 chip tourney. We are down to around 70 players from the 900 that started, and we have all placed. I’m sitting about 20th with over 15,000 in chips when I get dealt A-K spades in the big blind. I raise 3,000 pre-flop, get two callers. The flop comes down Ac, Kh, 3s. I check, the second person to act bets 2K, next person calls. With the antes and the blinds, there is now over 15K in the pot. With my bets and the blind, I am down to about 11K. There is a straight draw on the table, so I decide to just take down the pot right now if I can. I go all-in. The first person to act, who had bet the 2,000 after the flop, calls. She has about 9,000 in chips, so, as they say on the WPT broadcasts, her tournament life is on the line. The other person folds and I get about 2K in chips returned to me. Our cards are flipped over and I show my A-K. She shows pocket 7s.

    That’s right, pocket-fucking-7s. Pocket-fucking-7s when there is an A and a K on the board and someone has just reraised you all-in. It was a mind-boggling, stunningly-insane call, which of course paid off for her when a 7 came up on the turn. There was no A or K on the river, and I was effectively crippled.

    Using the poker odds calculator at shows that I still had better odds of winning the pot after she made her set (my odds of winning at that point were 9%) than she had of winning when she made the call (her odds of winning at that point were 8%). Even if I only had an A or a K instead of both, she was still only a 9% to win. The only way she becomes favored is if she thinks I have a pair smaller than hers or if my two cards include neither a A, K, or 3. There is no other scenario. The only way she makes that call is if she is, as Goth said in a comment to the last poker post, only playing her cards and not giving any thought whatsoever to what I might have.

    It’s one of the most aggravating things about the game. A person makes an absolutely idiot call and gets rewarded for it. Nine times out of ten – correction – eight times out of a hundred – she loses that hand and is knocked out of the tourney. Yet she won’t remember that, she’ll remember that pocket 7s paid off for her very nicely one time and she’ll continue to bet them in the future.

    Song For Ethan

    I know this was probably written as a song to a lover, but it really captures how I have always felt as a parent.

    When You Come Back Down
    Nickel Creek

    You got to leave me now, you got to go alone
    You got to chase a dream, one that's all your own
    Before it slips away

    When you're flying high, take my heart along
    I'll be the harmony to every lonely song
    That you learn to play

    When you're soaring through the air
    I'll be your solid ground
    Take every chance you dare
    I'll still be there
    When you come back down
    When you come back down

    I'll keep looking up, awaiting your return
    My greatest fear will be that you will crash and burn
    And I won't feel your fire

    I'll be the other hand that always holds the line
    Connecting in between your sweet heart and mine
    I'm strung out on that wire

    I'll be on the other end,
    To hear you when you call
    Angel, you were born to fly,
    And if you get too high
    I'll catch you when you fall
    I'll catch you when you fall

    Your memory's the sunshine every new day brings
    I know the sky is calling
    Angel, let me help you with your wings

    When you're soaring through the air
    I'll be your solid ground
    Take every chance you dare
    I'll still be there
    When you come back down

    Take every chance you dare,
    I'll still be there
    When you come back down
    When you come back down

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Dottie Ray

    Nice article in the PC about the Dottie Ray show. I did Dottie’s show several times during my years as ICCT President, and it was always a delight. You can’t slip anything past Dottie.

    Wow. That was remarkably snark free.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    On Dogs

    Dogs are always happier to be in a car than you are. Think about the happiest you’ve ever been in a car. Maybe it was the first nice day after a long winter and it felt good just to be able to drive with the windows down. Maybe it was driving around town at 3:00 am trying to get your newborn son to go to sleep. Maybe it was losing your virginity in the front seat of your parent’s 75 Buick LeSabre to a girl whose name escapes you right now, but before anyone starts accusing, it was almost thirty years ago, and sometimes at this age you forget what you had for lunch yesterday. But I digress. The point is, no matter how happy you were at that moment, if a dog had been in the car with you, the dog would have been happier. A dog’s life is pretty good, but any dog would trade it all for the right to get a driver’s license and opposable thumbs.

    A Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub from Subway, for those interested.

    Linkage Tweakage

    Did some severe linkage gardening. Added the soon to be ever popular Kissing Suzy Kolber, the always hilarious How To Write Screenplays Badly, and personal faves I Deserve Everything That Happens To Me, Father Knows Shit, and The OT Blog Roundup. Enjoy!

    Saturday, July 08, 2006

    Driving Tips - Because I Care

    To the guy in the white Range Rover:

    If within seconds of the two-lane road you are driving on becoming a four-lane road five cars pass you, then perhaps you weren't going fast enough. Those signs with the numbers on them? Don't just treat them as an indication of how fast you can go, look at them as an indication of how fast you should go.

    A driving tip. Because I care.


    To the elderly lady driving the tannish sedan:

    I know making a left turn can be somewhat intimidating, especially on a road that is somewhat busy. And I'm sure it doesn't help that there is a line of cars behind you getting impatient. But one of the things the road people do to alleviate these concerns is to install what they refer to as, in their technical jargon, a left turning lane. See, that way, you can sit in that lane waiting to turn while all the other cars who don't want to turn can keep driving and no one will ever start honking at you. That's why there were signs and those arrows with the word "Only" painted on the road.

    A driving tip. Because I care.


    Friday, July 07, 2006

    You May Already Be A Winner

    No maybes about it my friend. I am a winner. I AM A WINNER! So to those of you who laughed at me, who said I would never amount to anything, who said "Dweeze doesn't have what it takes to be the eighth caller", HA! WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?

    You know, the advantage to having your clock radio go off at 6:15 is that 6:15 is just before when KXIC has their first give away of the morning. The other advantage is that at 6:15 it takes a lot longer to get eight callers than it does at, oh, say 9:15. Or 5:15, for you Who fans. So you can think about it a minute, grab the phone, and still wind up winning the free passes for next week's John Deere Classic. Sure, the restraining order says I have to be at least 100 feet away from Michelle Wie, but that doesn't mean I can't stand 101 feet away. And I will. Oh yes. I will.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Status Update

    So, I hear a lot of you asking, how are you Dweeze? What's new in your life?

    I know what you mean by this - you want to know when the pool will be ready and when you can come over. Bastards!

    Heh heh. Just kidding. For reasons I'll detail below, a pool party sounds like a blast.

    Anyway, we had a slight setback on our way to pool readiness. The filter motor burned out, meaning we were unable to run the filter for a couple of weeks until our landlords got in replaced. So, this allowed the tadpole population to revive slightly, necessitating another large scale liquid chlorine attack. Many tadpoles knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the liquid chlorine that day, I can tell you.

    However, this put the whole cleaning process back a couple of weeks. Things were further complicated by the fact that, while the chemical levels in the water are fine, more than fine, the water is still incredibly cloudy. I finally deduced that the reason for the cloudiness is the large amount of leaves that got into the pool over the winter. I had scooped out a ton, but there were still a lot slowly decaying into dirt and silt. Thus the cloudiness of the water. I am in the process of vaccuming out the bottom of the pool, but it is somewhat slow, tedious work. Further, because the best time to do it is when the sun is directly on the pool (which allows me to better see which areas need cleaning), I can't do much during the week. So the process is going slow.

    See, over the winter a lot of leaves got in the pool. The answer to the problem for next winter is for either our landlords or us to spring for a hard cover for the pool. The landlords put a tarp over it this last year. This was bad for two reasons. First, a ton of leaves fell on the cover. Because it was a soft cover, and because there was still water in the pool (except for the most northern areas, it is recommended that you leave water in an outdoor pool over the winter) I was unable to clear the tarp. Then, when it snowed, the weight of the snow drove the tarp out of it's holdings into the pool, effectively dumping the leaves into the pool. Where some of them still are. But I'm getting them. Oh yes. I'm getting them.

    The pool is probably swimmable now. In fact, I've been wading into it to clean it, due to the fact that, well, it's easier to clean a pool that way. It would be like swimming in a chemically treated lake. You wouldn't want to swallow any water because of the dirt and silt, but you really shouldn't swallow the water in a pool anyway. As I've mentioned before, it is amazing the amount of chemicals that get put in a pool on a daily/weekly basis. Enough chemicals, as I've written, to kill a nation of tadpoles.

    So why would a pool party be fun? Because we are now in week two of Dweeze in empty house. Lesa and Ethan are gone for the summer. Lesa was gone last summer, but Ethan stayed. She left again a week ago, and now it's just me, the dogs, the cats, and the fish, and, quite frankly, the fish really aren't that much fun. I went three days over the long weekend without talking to anyone in person other than a clerk in a store.

    The empty house isn't the worst part. The worst part is being without Ethan. This is the longest stretch I've been apart from him since he was born. Prior to June 27th, there had only been 11 nights since he was born in October 2002 where he and I didn't sleep under the same roof. Now there's been 11 nights in a row, with more, perhaps a lot more, on the way. Hell, there is probably a possibility that this will be the rest of my life, several month-long stretches where he is not around.

    Now, I'm not telling you this because I want sympathy. I hate pity parties, hate them even more when I am the guest of honor. I'm tempted to not have comments on this post, because someone is going to post a "hang in there"or a "I'm thinking of you" or something like that. No need. I don't want it. If you're one of the folks with my email and want to drop a line, fine. But not here, not in public. Give me mock. Give me snark. Just don't give me pity.

    That being said, this is tough for me. When I think of myself, the first thing I think of is father. Not son, not brother, not friend, employee, co-worker, or even husband. I think of me first and foremost as a father. But right now I am a father without sons. Drew is at his real father's for the summer. Ethan is gone. I still feel them both, particularly Ethan. I've had to deal with Drew leaving before. I haven't had to deal with Ethan being gone. I miss him. Terribly. I miss how his vocabulary increases each day. I miss him singing "You've got a friend in me" along with Toy Story. I miss reading to him, playing with him, hugging him, putting him to bed. I don't want to go all Shane Powers on you, but I can understand how a father would regard his son as his best friend. I don't feel that way - after all, it would be a little bit creepy for a 46-year old to have a 3-year old (almost 4) as his best friend. But I understand how having a son, or any child for that matter, completely changes your life, completely changes your outlook and, at a more fundamental level, who you are. I am a different man than I once was.

    Right now I am basically living the life I used to live, able to do what I want when I want. There are two differences. One, now I'm living that life in a great house instead of a one-room apartment. Two, I hate it. I didn't know before what was missing from my life, and now I do know, and I hate it. I want my son here.

    Sure, as he grows up it's becoming obvious he isn't going to be an ace pitcher or a quarterback like I hoped. He doesn't love throwing a ball as much as he did when he was younger. No, now it's obvious he will be a linebacker. He loves to run full speed head on into anything - people, the dogs, walls - bounce off, then run full speed into them again. But a linebacker is okay, and really, it's far better to be delivering the pain than receiving it. At least that's what my dominatrix says.

    But I miss him, and can't wait til he gets back, whenever that may be. I miss Lesa too, and want her home too. I want my family in one place and the problems we've had for the, oh, past 20 months to resolve. And yes, I realize how that sounds. But it's what I want.

    I don't want pity, though. So bring the hurt. Do it now, for free, so I can cut back on my "getting the hurt" spending.

    Oh, forgot to include this when I first posted. It's the lyrics to Godspeed, a Radney Foster song that the Dixie Chicks recorded on their Home CD (and later rerecorded on the Top Of The World Live disc). If I recall correctly, Foster wrote it for his son when he and his wife got divorced. I sing it every night now, even though it always makes me cry. It's beautiful. It was beautiful before, it's even moreso now.

    Dragon tails and the water is wide
    Pirate's sail and lost boys fly
    Fish bite moonbeams every night
    And I love you

    Godspeed, little man
    Sweet dreams, little man
    Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
    Sweet dreams

    Rocket Racer's all tuckered out
    Superman's in pajamas on the couch
    Goodnight Moon will find the mouse
    And I love you

    Godspeed, little man
    Sweet dreams, little man
    Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
    Sweet dreams

    God bless mommy and Matchbox cars
    God bless dad and thanks for the stars
    God hears "Amen," wherever we are
    And I love you

    Godspeed, little man
    Sweet dreams, little man
    Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
    Sweet dreams

    Another Boring Poker Post

    I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "So Dweeze, seen any cool poker hands lately?"

    Well you know what I say to that? I say b'scuse me mother fucker, do I look like I could eat all that chicken by myself?

    Okay, I don't say that. But if I did, it would be more than appropriate for you to respond with a hearty shut up bitch, I don't know your life.

    With that out of the way, there are a couple of hands I want to talk about, one I was in and one I watched. The hand I watched was notable for what happened, the hand I was in notable for how someone reacted to it.

    First the hand I watched. I was in a 90-person tourney, about a third of the way through (meaning about 30 people had already busted out). There were three big stacks at the table, all three with more than 5,000 chips, one with more than 7,000. Hand starts and I get dealt crap in the big blind. The first three people to act muck and we get to the big stack. He raises 500 chips. Next person to act folds and we get to the second largest stack. He re-raises 1,000. Next person to act is the third stack, and HE reraises another grand. Small blind folds, I fold, back to the big stack who smooth calls the 2,000 chip raises. The second stack rereraises all in, the third stack calls as does the big stack. So we've got a 15,000 chip pot at stake. The cards reveal and we see the big stack with A-Q hearts and each of the other players with pocket kings. The two sets of cowboys aren't in bad shape. True, the only way to improve their hands is to hit a flush, a straight, or a boat. But A-Q needs to hit either the heart flush, an ace, or a set of queens to win. So what is the flop? Queen of spades, queen of clubs, queen of diamonds. Big stack flops quads.

    I don't know if it's ever happened to you - it's occurred a couple of times to me - but there a few things as nice in poker as flopping quads. Flop quads and you can pretty much consider that hand yours. In fact, as long as there is no straight flush draw or another quad draw on the board, you can't slow play quads too much. Let the betting come to you, or, if you feel compelled to bet, just make little value bets that give people the right odds to call. (One of the best way to improve the flopping quads experience is to have someone else at the table decide to represent that THEY flopped quads. This has happened to me twice, and both times I was able to bust the person by calling their raises after the flop and the turn. As someone said once, you can't bluff quads out of a pot.)

    But the wierdest thing about the hand was yet to come. The turn comes up an Ace. The river also comes up an Ace. So not only does the guy flop quads, he also flops a set of Aces. Showing on the board at the end of the hand were four queens, four kings, and four aces and that was just with three people in the hand. Talk about your impressive boards.

    As to the hand I was in, it's a 18-person tournament that pays four places. There are six of us left, and I was in fifth place but well within striking distance of both fourth and third. I get dealt K-8 on the button. First person to act, the fourth place chip holder, calls as does the next peson, the chip leader. The next person mucks, I call, the small blind folds. The big blind checks.

    Flop comes down 5-5-K. Big blind checks, next guy raises 250. Big stack calls, I call, big blind folds. I figure at least one of the two others in the pot has a 5, but I'm getting pot odds to call with my two pair.

    Turn comes out another K. I've hit a boat, Ks over 5s. Doesn't matter now if one of them has a five - in fact, I hope they both have fives and I'm the only one with a K. But even if I'm not the only one with a K, I'm still almost certain to split the pot.

    First guy to act bets 500. Big stack reraises 500, I don't hesitate to call. First guy to act then goes all in, with quick calls from both the big stack and me. This means both first stack and I have our tournament lives on the line. Big stack shows K-10 for a full house Ks over 5s. I show my K-8 for a full house Ks over 5s. Next guy shows 9-5 for a full house 5s over Ks. He's meat, unless of course the fourth five shows on the river. Which it doesn't. What does show is an 10, meaning big stack takes the pot with a full house Ks over 10s.

    I'm out, but I stick around to wish the guy a nh. We had been talking throughout the game and I felt I owed it to him. However, the first guy, the guy with the 5s over Ks, starts ranting about getting beat by the river. I helpfully point out that he didn't get beat on the river, he got beat on the turn. I got beat on the river. Guy keeps ranting, calls me an idiot noob poker player. I point out the need for him to check the hand history and that, if he does, he'll see both big stack and I had better full boats on the turn and that he was beat at that point. He must have checked, cause a moment later he comes back with "Well I had a set on the turn and you guys called me," a statement that provoked a round of "lol"s from the people at the table. I pointed out that at the time he was probably ecstatic that we called him, that if he hadn't wanted us to call him he should have made a huge bet that we couldn't call, and that if you can't handle the fact that people will sometimes hit their draws, you shouldn't get greedy and make value bets that people will call, but by that time he had already taken off.

    See, the thing is, if he had been paying attention he would have gotten more than enough information to make the right move at that point. But he didn't pay attention to anything other than the fact that he had a full house, 5s over Ks. If he was paying attention, he could have deduced when we called his initial bet that we were calling with either another 5, a K, or an over pair to the 5s or the K. Those latter two events were unlikely considering the pre-flop action (or lack thereof). And because he already had one of the 5s, if he was thinking he would have known that at least one of us had a K.

    Then, after the turn, when big stack not only called but raised, he should have known that, with all probability, big stack had a K. At the very least, big stack was representing a K. Once I called, he had to know, if he was paying attention, that at least one of us, and probably both of us, had a K. Maybe you bluff-raise and represent the K, but you don't call that raise without actually having a K. Breaking it down, there were five possibilities.

    The least likely is that big stack and I were both bluffing and neither of us had Ks over 5s. Like I say, extremely unlikely, but the best possibility as far as Mr. Rant was concerned. If we are both bluffing, Mr. Rant comes out no worse than a split pot (in the unlikely event a third K hit on the river). This scenario is one of only two where Mr. Rant's all-in makes sense, and, like I said, it is the least likely scenario.

    The second possibilty, also unlikely, is that one of us was bluffing and one of us had 5s over Ks. While this is also unlikely, as no one paying attention would call the bluff with just 5s over Ks, Mr. Rant called with just 5s over Ks so I can't discount it completely. This is split pot between Mr. Rant and whoever had 5s over Ks (with, again, the possibilty of a third K on the river giving a split pot between everyone). Mr. Rant's all-in makes sense under this scenario, because the person with 5s over Ks might think Mr. Rant had Ks over 5s, but again this is an unlikely scenario.

    The third possibility is that one of us was bluffing and one of us had Ks over 5s. In that event going all-in would chase the person bluffing, but it would not chase the person with Ks over 5s. At that point, Mr. Rant would be all-in against a better hand, needing the unlikely fourth 5 to stay in the game.

    The fourth possibility is that one of us had 5s over Ks and one of us had Ks over 5s. In that event, going all-in might chase the person with 5s over Ks, but it would not chase the person with Ks over 5s and, even if it chased the person with 5s over Ks, Mr. Rant is still dead because the only card that would win the pot for him, the fourth 5, got mucked when the other person with 5s over Ks mucked.

    The final possibility is that both of us had Ks over 5s. In that event, going all-in chases no one and Mr. Rant is, for all practical purposes, drawing dead, needing the fourth 5 to win the hand.

    So, five possibilities, only two of which give him any reasonable chance to win the hand. The two least likely possibilities.

    What then should Mr. Rant have done? Well, he could have just called, checked the river, and then folded at any sign of a bet from big stack or me. He could have also made another small rereaise, say 500 chips, an information gathering bet to see how the two of us reacted. If one or both of us were bluffing, we would fold. If one or both of us had a boat, we would call or reraise. At that point Mr. Rant could act accordingly on the river.

    But he didn't, and for the sake of this blog, he shall remain forever as Mr. Rant. To Mr. Rant!

    The Devil Went Down To Iowa

    The following thought prompted by Charlie Daniels playing the Fourth of July Concert in Coralville this year. (And, in all seriousness, props to the Coralville folks for mixing it up with their music in the park selections: George Clinton and Funkadelic, America, Kansas, Charlie Daniels - the only thing in common is that their earning power has dropped drastically over the years, which means they are available to play a free concert in Coralville, Iowa.) (Oh, and to the clerk who excitedly told me that friends were saving her seats at the concert. If you are excited about seeing Charlie Daniels, we really don't have anything else to talk about. Although in terms of full disclosure, I did see Charlie Daniels at an Iowa Jam in 1978 along with the Marshall Tucker Band, the Climax Blue Band, Firefall, and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. At least I think I did. It's been 30 years and I can't find a listing for it online anywhere and, well, I was a touch messed up at the time. But I digress again.)

    Anyway, who judged that damn fiddle contest - American Idol voters? The devil was more technically sound, more musically capable, and overall did a better performance. Johnny had a backwoods charm, was a better showman, but musically was derivative and bland. Yet he won. Rigged I tell ya. Rigged.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    To Bill Brasky!

    This is from Ask The Bunny, a regular feature at Wizard Magazine’s (a comic book industry magazine) Web site.

    Bunny, How different would “Lost” be if Jack Bauer was on that plane?


    Well, for starters, the whole thing would be over real fast. It would take about a day at the most. (Funny, most things in Jack’s life are like that.) Jack would probably find a way to crash the plane into the Others whilst scattering debris on all of the island’s other mysterious threats. With no people left to talk tersely to, Jack would then take a polar bear hostage and force it at gunpoint to tell him all of the secrets of the show, the Dharma Corp. and the island. Jack would then just start walking to Los Angeles—underwater, like Godzilla, except cooler because Godzilla doesn’t carry a rad messenger bag and rarely shoots suspects’ wives in the thigh. Stupid Godzilla.

    To Jack Bauer!


    Really brings the funny. It's a good blog anyway, well worth reading, but this goes beyond the normal level of funny into extreme funny. Rapebear funny.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Lyle Lovett Week Is Here!

    It’s Lyle Lovett week here at Corn’O’Copia. Pay attention – there may be a theme!

    If You Were To Wake Up (from the album Lyle Lovett and His Large Band)

    If you were to wake up

    And I were beside you
    Would you gently smile dear
    And whisper my name?

    And would you remember
    The way that I held you?
    And would you want me
    To hold you again?

    Time reaches to you
    Just like a willow
    That bends to the water
    And clings to the shore

    And there was a time dear
    That once you did love me
    And there was a time when
    You loved me no more

    Rain on your window
    Light on your pillow
    The way you lie sleeping
    Is it like before?

    For there was a time dear
    That once you did love me
    And there was a time when
    You loved me no more