Friday, November 28, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Turkey day was a huge success! Let's see... I don't even know where to start. Leading up to the turkey day, I went from store to store accumulating various ingredients. Then the night before, I prepared the brine and the stuffing... making the stuffing from scratch was a pain in the ass... and also, I made waaaaaay too much. Ah well, better too much than too little. At first, I was a little nervous about the stuffing but in the end, it tasted good. I used italian sausage which gave the stuffing a nice taste... I did think it was a bummer that I didn't have some of the boar that my buddy hunted... that coulda been good.

Later that night, I put the turkey in the brine and then I woke up in the middle of the night to flip it once. I then woke up early to make sure I didn't soak the turkey for too long (recommended time was 6 hrs - I think I did 7). I was worried since this was my first time that soaking it too long would make the turkey too salty. Anyways, I then stuffed the turkey, put it in the oven, and the waiting begins!

While I waited, I popped open a bottle of wine. I figured that if the food sucks, I'll just get everyone drunk. As my dad and I polished off the first bottle, my guests arrived with green bean casserole and apple pie. Now the waiting game was on. Even though I planned the turkey to be ready by 2:30, I think the actual time we got to eat was 4:30. Before I got too drunk, I made sure to start the mashed potatoes. I mixed it with shallots and that gave the potatoes a good flavor.

Here's the Astin-esque display of food:

Mashed potato

Turkey is ready!

Here's the turkey plate with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce (last two, I did not make).

And voila, there you have it - the turkey dinner table:

Astin, thanks for the link to Alton Brown's website. The fact that I made the stuffing from scratch was a big hit (as was using shallots for mashed potatoes - yeah, like I came up with that on my own). Now, I will be eating leftovers for days... I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Apple a day...

Keeps the doctors away. Right?

This morning, I did the unusual thing and went to play ball in the morning... well, it's unusual because usually, I play on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings... never on a Wednesday. However, with the Thanksgiving tomorrow, we all decided to squeeze in one more morning basketball so the usual morning crew got together to play some ball.

Afterwards, one of my buddies/coworker (we play at our company gym) comes up to me and asks me if I had the health screening done.

RR "Health screening? No. Why the hell would I do that? I'm f*ckin healthy." (yes, I'm obnoxious in person too)

Friend "It's free. They'll check your cholestrol and stuff. AND they'll give you a $25 gift card."

RR "What!? What are they gonna do. Draw blood and give me $25? To where?"

Friend "It's a $25 VISA card so you can use it anywhere. I'm about to go there right now."

RR "Shit, I'm in!"

The irony is that usually, I eat breakfast before I play ball. Nothing much, just cereal but this morning, I happened to skip breakfast. And that was apparently the requirement for getting the health screen. I knew someone was looking out for me.

Well, so we go there, get our tests done and sure enough, I'm $25 richer. AND we get the results for the cholestrol pretty quickly. Now I'm not like a super health concious eater... as a matter of fact, I drink a fair amount on the weekends and I don't really watch what I eat (I kinda do but I'm not a health nazi or anything... I don't eat fast food much but I don't worry too much about what's in something when I order at a restaurant - but then again, I don't eat out as much either). But one thing I do is I eat an apple a day... at a minimum.

I don't know if it's the apple or what but my cholestrol was below 160 (I think it was like 154 or something... I left my sheet in the car). I don't remember what my bad cholestrol level was besides the fact that it was only 2 digits and the doctor was telling me how great that was... and my good cholestrol was 67. Which was also very good. Actually, I might have them confused. Maybe my bad cholestrol was 67 and the good cholestrol was something higher. Either way, they were apparently both better than the "range for a healthy individual" and in the world of cholestrol, that's apparently a good thing.

Man, I might be lazy and I might not be a health nazi but apparently, hitting the gym 3 times a week and playing ball on the 4 days I don't go to the gym must be doing me some good (I know it sounds like a lot but the 3 times I "hit the gym", I only stay there for like an hour). And apples are key. As a matter of fact, I just crushed one for my afternoon snack right before I typed this up.

Safe travels to all and have a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm cooking the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes and since I never did that before (not the cooking but I never did the whole turkey dinner by myself), it's like an all in situation... feast or famine baby. Wish me luck. I'll make it like Astin and post some pics (regardless of whether it's great or a disaster). (btw, Astin, if you are reading this, the brine is ready so tonight, I'll soak the turkey and tomorrow morning, I'll stuff it and cook it. I can't f*ckin wait!!!!!!!)

Why I censor my posts sometimes, I will never know... most likely out of habit since that's how I type my emails (not work email, obv).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm a bot (poker post)

Last night, table chat:

pock007: just like i dont know rampage is a set farmer
pock007: rampage do u know ur a setr farmer?
RecessRampage: is that the same as set miner?
pock007: lol
pock007: u know what i mean ramp
pock007: heres a hint
pock007: 110100100101100101
pock007: do u compute?
RecessRampage: I'm a bot?
pock007: bingo
RecessRampage: sweet
pock007: :)

So this guy goes on for a while about how I'm a bot and I only play AA or KK... which was actually very interesting to me because according to HEM, I have no stats on this guy so he's either data mining or he observed something quickly or he's making assumptions based on the limited number of hands he's seen.

However, I think he's on to something.

The past few months, I've been on a pretty tough run where I can go few days making money and then I'll spend the next few days giving it back. It's really neither up nor down... at least not in any meaningful way and it's been frustrating to say the least. And based on what I can see from my HEM, there was nothing glaring... except maybe, I am becoming too predictable.

You see, as I started to go on a bad run, my desire to play has become less and less. But of course, I am a points degenerate so I have to get my 200pts per day... at least for 25 days out of each month so I can qualify for the ironman freeroll. And in my attempt to do that, I 4 table while I watch tv... half paying attention to the tables and half paying attention to the tube... which is probably why I don't notice a fellow blogger sitting at my table until I go through the HH. And during that period, I make a lot less "plays" and instead, I play my cards a lot more. The opponent is irrelevant unless the pot is huge... and even then, I'm just going by what the stats according to HEM says... so in other words, I am effectively playing like a bot.

This guy calling me out may be the best piece of advice I have gotten yet. Change doesn't happen overnight but let's see if I can start focusing on my poker mindset once again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Maybe this will help...

I'm so cranky today. I was feeling fine in the morning, ready to start my short work week, and of course, I'm stupid enough to try to catch up on the financial news that I unintentionally avoided all weekend. Sure, Citigroup is waaaaaay too big to go under but man, another bailout? Sure, let's go spend money we don't have. Wait, spending money we don't have by banking on future growth??? Hmmm, sounds familiar doesn't it? Wait, what caused this turmoil again? I'm confused. Again, I'm not saying it's a bad thing but every bail out news that comes out seems to put me on tilt these days. So, maybe blogging will help... writing has always been moderately therapeutic for me.

So last week, I talked about some of the topics I wanted to discuss. Marriage and morals seem to be generate some interest even though the topic itself will probably be uninteresting once you realize what I'm talking about.

You see, last week, my friends and I were having one of our many useless (ie political and financial) discussions over email and one of our more conservative/republican friends brought up that Clinton "was a liar and a cheat and generally lower standards." His reasoning behind that was the whole Lewinsky deal. Another one of our conservative friends brought up the point that "a guy who cheats on his wife is more likely to lie and cheat elsewhere." So, that got me to thinking... is that really true?

Do you cheat on your marriage because you are generally someone with lower standards? Personally, I disagree. Now keep in mind, I never cheated on my wife during our marriage. That's not how I roll and marriage is a big deal to me and I really hoped it was a once in a lifetime event (granted, if I never remarry, it could still be a one time event). So, in that sense, I understand that cheating on your marriage is a big deal. But is it really because those people have less morals? Is someone who cheats on his wife a bigger liar than someone who deceives the nation to go into war? Ok, bad example, and that was somewhat of a poo fling that I wanted to avoid. If you call in sick to your work even though you're fine and you just wanted to take a "mental health day" is that more justifiable? Sure, one can argue that you never took an oath under God for employment. So then, my other question is, is it a bigger deal because you swear "in the presence of God" or some other sacred reason?

Personally, I don't think someone cheats on their marriage because they are a cheat and a liar... I mean doesn't it have more to do with temptation, filling the void, etc etc? In other words, let's say that your marriage was rocky. Things were not going well and every time you and your spouse talk, it was always about necessities (like bills, who picks up the kid, etc etc) and if it wasn't that, it was always an argument. Over time, that gets old, you end up spending more time at work... and then let's say you meet someone who is also going through something similar. Unrewarding home life, constant battle with the spouse, etc... you get along, the other person is fairly attractive, you share a connection that you can't find with too many other people, etc etc... is it really totally immoral and make you a low life scum to end up having an affair to fill a void in your marriage? Again, let me make one thing clear. I understand that you should talk to your wife/husband, have discussions, fight it out, go see a counselor or do whatever it takes since this is someone you swore that in good times and in bad, you would stick together with. But I guess I am just questioning that even if you did have an affair, does that make you a less moral person than someone else who didn't? You really can't compare the two, can you? Maybe the other person has a happy marriage so they weren't "tested" with temptation. So it's not like someone who doesn't cheat on his wife or better yet, who hasn't cheated on his wife yet, is someone who has better judgment or morals than the one who has, does it? Or does it?

I just don't think someone having an affair is really indicative of their moral levels but some of my friends seem to think that it is. And back to where the discussion came from, despite what Clinton did with that bitch Monica, I don't think he was any less of a President if he didn't do that. I didn't think John Edwards cheating on his wife was that big a deal either but I know the democrats are glad they went with Obama because people in this country would immediately denounce Edwards, based purely on his "family values" and regardless of what policies, domestic or foreign, he would be pushing for. And in my mind, a man (or a woman)'s home values (as long as it's not illegal) would not affect his/her job.

So, I would love to hear it from everyone about what they think on that. I mean what if it's your boss? Picture someone that you worked with that you look up to, who is amazing at his/her job, and someone that you want to be like. If you find out that that person had an affair with someone else, would that affect how you look at that person or how you work with that person? Why?

Wow... shockingly, that did help.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where do I start????

So much on my mind and so much I wanna talk about... and yet so little time. Well, that's not true. I mean we all have the same amount of time right? So, it's just a matter of how we choose to spend it.

Over the next few days/weeks, here are things I want to touch on:
- what happened to my "going pro" and quitting job thing
- more bail out talk (insurance companies, banks, now auto!?)
- My outlook for 2009
- discussion about marriage and morals

But honestly speaking, right now, I am not in the mood to type this up. Work has slowed down so maybe I'll find some time to type then? Well... maybe not.

Is anyone interested in any strategy topics? 2008 is almost over so I definitely want to do a recap of 2008 for me, how I thought the games may have changed, what my experiences were like with 6 max vs FR, what I've learned so far, and where I want to take my game for 2009. But again, these are all the things that are swirling in my head that I really want to put down on paper but right now, writing is not what I want to do or how I want to spend my time.

I am having fun though and enjoying life which is way more than what I could have said about myself about 6-9 months ago. 2008 was a shitty year for me and so I am ready for it to be over. I hope 2008 was (and continues to be) a good year for the rest of you and I look forward to seeing a lot of you in less than a month!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do you hate money?

More nonpoker posts from me. Man, when's the last time I posted anything poker. It's weird. I play every night still to at least hit the 200pts, I win some, lose some but nothing really comes up that seems worth talking about. Maybe it's because I've exhausted talking about how to play AK preflop and polarizing 3 bet ranges or maybe it's because anything I want to post about would just be another bad beat story...

Well, anyways...

The other day, my friends and I were having another discussion, somewhat related to politics but more in terms of general governance rather than Barrack vs Maverick. It's a debate that was pretty intense but hilarious as our group has a pretty liberal democrat and a somewhat conservative republican in the group. And obviously, I think we agree on most issues but we would pick on the few issues where we disagree and just pick that topic to death and then some and laugh about it later over several beers...

Anyways, at one point, there was a discussion that came up about Exxon (I think) making record profits in Q3. In a time like this when people were losing jobs, etc, some of my very liberal friends thought that it was wrong for companies to be posting record profits... that they should be lowering the price so that it is more affordable to the consumers.

Now to me, that was the most ridiculously stupid comment I've ever heard. And I love my friends and the ones who mentioned it but my god, are you stupid? Hmmm.... let's see... we sell a product that people will buy regardless of the price... wait, they'll still pay for it even if they don't have a job? Ok, sweet!!! How much can we charge them for it? That much???? Wow. Let's do it!!!

I mean it's the same concept I talked about before with the athletes making ridiculous amounts of money. If you hate that, stop watching them. Same concept. If you hate that the gas companies are making money, don't buy gas... of course, you can't get around this country without it so then I suggest you switch to something that consumes less of it. One of the guys who argued this point drives a SUV. Um... ok. Dump that Jeep and buy a Prius. If you are so concerned about the people without jobs or what not, tell your employer that you don't need a raise but to give it to Bob in accounting because he's got two kids and his wife just got laid off from Circuit City. I don't know, whatever. But I hate that they preach like there's something immoral about people making money off of others. The way I see it, if I have to step on top of a dead body to get ahead, that's what I do. I'm competitive, what can I say. Your loss is my gain. Am I an ass or am I a fierce competitor?

And don't get me started on people without a job and how we need to help them. Come back to me when there are zero jobs out there. My friend also mentioned that several people from his dept were cut. Tough shit. They're not the only ones who lost the job. I feel bad, I truly do, but it ain't my obligation to help them out. Plus, if they are concerned about the mortgage and stuff, they should go find another job. Sure, it might not have the benefits of the old job they had and maybe it doesn't pay as well. But it's a job. It's income. There are plenty of people who are choosing to be unemployed out there. I won't throw anyone under the bus but if you are one of them, you know who you are. Sure, you're looking. FOR A JOB THAT IS AT LEAST THE SAME AS THE ONE YOU HAD BEFORE OR BETTER!!!!! If you're truly desperate, you can find a job. You can be a waiter/waitress, flip burgers at McDs, or whatever. Sure, it's not what you went to school for but it's better than sitting on your ass all day not earning a paycheck isn't it? Or is it? And that's my point. I have no problem with everyone making their personal choice to draw welfare checks or to go and do something about it. But I don't want ANY of my money to go towards those that are complaining about their bad beats in life cuz they just got laid off.

Give me a fuckin break.

Wow, was I cranky this morning or what?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday Night Euphoria

That's the best way to sum up the whole evening.

Just to give a little background... my current circle of friends that I have in Richmond was probably the first set of friends that I met outside of basketball. I met this one guy through work and then his brother moved down to Richmond and then our circle just kept on expanding as we all met new people and kinda introduced them to our "group." Plenty of jackassery goes around but the one thing that always came back was our debate about football. For as long as I knew them, they would talk about how "this is the year" for the Redskins... and the time I met them coincides with around the time that Dan Snyder took over that team. And being in Richmond, you have to listen to a lot of that bullshit nonsense. And being the Steelers fan that I am, we would always heckle them and tell them how much they suck... and sure enough, for the most part, they have sucked the past decade or so that I've been friends with them so it's been fun.

Last time they played in the regular season was back in December of 2000... it was the last game at Three Rivers Stadium and we were watching from the bar, yelling, screaming, heckling each other, doing shots, and basically having a blast. Steelers beat the Redskins at that time, as they should, being the superior team that we are and at that point, we swore to each other that the next time these two teams meet, we would have to go to the game.

Fast forward 8 years and when the schedule came out this year, sure enough, the Steelers and Redskins are playing! On a MONDAY NIGHT!!!! We had a few chances where some of us thought we could score tickets from people we knew and sure enough, one of my buddies who is a Redskins fan came through with 4 tickets. Being busy at work and stuff, leading up to the game, I have to say that it wasn't as high on my priority list in terms of excitement as it should. But when I woke up on Monday, I was giddy. I had to go into work and finish a few things but I knew that in the afternoon, I would be out of there. Sure enough, by 3:30, we were on the road, cooler packed with beer and brats. And even better, since the 4th (who was supposed to be another Redskins fan) never materialized, our foursome was comprised of 3 Steelers fans and one Redskins fan. As the lone Redskins fan put it "it's feast or famine for me." We quickly retorted with "good luck finding the ride home."

On the ride up, I think we checked every 15 minutes if we still had the four tickets and the parking pass.

Once we got to DC around 5:45pm, we were thirsty... for a beer. The 6 pack of Winterlager that we purchased was key. That was the first winterlager I've had since last winter and it was just as tasty as I remembered it. Only three of us were drinkers so we downed 2 bottles of Winterlager each and then moved on to Miller Lite. At this point, there was a slight dilemma. One of our buddies had a neighbor who was also at this game who had a grill. And since we were gonna meet up with them, we had the brats but no grill. But see, we also decided to splurge on a parking pass so we were like right by the stadium. As such, we were in no mood to leave our spot so we decided to make friends with other tailgaters so we could use their grill. The brat that my buddy brought was the boar that he hunted a few weekends ago and man, even though I'm anti hunting, that shit was good. At one point though, the guys who let us use their grill was running out of charcoal and the fire was dying down...

Bad beat warning!!!!

Until miraculously, we found someone who was willing to give us the rest of the charcoal that they weren't using. Saved by the river!!!

We celebrated as we downed our 2nd or 3rd brat. It was very tasty. Not bad for our liberal tree hugging hunter friend. So, with our stomachs full and plenty of beers flowing through us, we headed into the stadium... and I will say this. I am impressed with the number of Steelers fans there. We were in the 400 section of the stadium so we were high up but I turned my head and all I can see was a sea of terrible towels!!!! Of course, I brought mine and I was waving that thing fanatically.

Here's the view from our seats...

I was already euphoric from the atmosphere and the booze and everything... really, words can't describe how excited I was and when we blocked their punt, we pretty much exploded. When Leftwich came in, I was chanting "We are Marshall!!!" I pretty much make no sense... but we were having a blast. (In my defense, I was a big fan of him when he was at Marshall, even though I'm a big ECU fan so it's not like that came out of nowhere)

Of course, the best part about the game was this.

We stayed until the very end of the game and so sure enough, as we were walking out of the stadium chanting "Here we go Steelers, here we go!!!" with seemingly everyone else and yelling "this is a home game for us!!!!" we saw the huge line of cars out the parking lot. Since neither I nor the Redskins fan were driving, we went back to the car and pounded more beers. I think we were even drinking on the way home. We stopped by at Sheetz around 2:30am to get some grub and I shove a cheesesteak down with lots of jalapenos and man, that tasted good.

Oh, and quick thanks to the driver. You're the man. And GO STEELERS. Responsible dads are key.

However, paradise one night leads to feeling of death the next. When I woke up this morning, I felt like dog shit... but I had to go into work so I made it in around 10am... with my voice completely hoarse. But as I sit here typing this up, I can't help but think that that was totally worth it. That was my very first Steelers game since I adopted them as my team back in '94 (when I first landed here) that I saw live and man... I am just not a talented enough writer to put it in any other words besides this.


Blur - exanded (Halloween)

Alright, so let me take you all back to Friday... well, let's do Thursday. So Thursday night, our department has an impromptu happy hour... except when our dept has an impromptu happy hour, it's like weak. Wait, did I say "it's like"? I guess I meant IT'S GAY (no offense to those that like the same sex - I support your rights but the use of this terminology was impossible to pass up). Most of them are married or have kids so by the time I got to the happy hour which was around 6:30, there were 3 people remaining... 2 of which left shortly after I arrived. Fortunate for me, one of the guys on my team came a little later and then two of my buddies showed up so then the party was on. The bar we went to seemed to wanna get rid of the Sam Adams Octoberfest so it was $4 for the tall glass all night. What a deal! So, we started pounding drinks as we started arguing politics. I won't go into where I stand on the politics stuff until my next post but needless to say, most of our discussions recently have been all politics and our group has a wide array of uber liberals (though I don't think he considers himself that) and fairly conservative republicans... which makes the debates that much better. At one point, I was talking to my friend sitting across from me while the other two on each side of me were arguing with each other also... basically, the conversations are flowing across each other and it's like a yelling match followed by uncontrollable laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. Well, part of the night also included the discussion on what I should dress up as for Halloween. See, tis the night before Halloween and I still didn't have a costume... and we were going to a costume party at my buddy's the next night. Well, that was the plan but I wasn't gonna go if I didn't have a costume since I'd be like the only one and I would feel lame for not embracing the spirit.

Initially, I thought about going as Kobayashi, you know, the hot dog eating former champion.

I figured I'd buy a Nathan's Hot Dog t-shirt, put fake ketchup and mustard on myself (yes, I know they don't put condiments on theirs but it's for effect) and have a couple of fake hot dogs, put the rising sun headband and voila, kobayashi. But, the props were hard to find and purchasing those things required some planning which I didn't do so that was out the window. So, when Friday morning rolled around, I needed to figure out quick what to be. And I'm one of those guys that don't really like to get a costume at a costume store... not that I want to make one but I want to play upon the big news of the year or some headlines that most people would immediately understand. (I was eminem one year, Backstreet boys another, and then a few years of just generic shit like the surgeon looking for a hot nurse, some alien costume, etc) I thought about somehow incorporating the demise of wall street but I couldn't think of anything clever at the time. But I wanted to dress up in something where I didn't have to go to a Halloween specialty store... and then it came to me.

So, as soon as I got off of work, I ran around to a few sports stores and a toy store in search of all the gear I needed. After 3 different stops, I was ready. With a leash tied to a stuffed dog and me wearing football pads, a red jersey where I taped #7 on, and a Falcons baseball cap (in a gangsta sideways fashion), my outfit was complete. The dog beating Michael Vick baby! Amongst my friends, I continuously make fun of the Hokies (I'm surrounded by friends who are all Hokies) to antagonize my friends so it was perfect. It woulda been better if I were able to find a Hokies jersey but the above attire was the best I can do in a span of 2 hrs. Even better was the fact that I was able to return the jersey and the pads the very next day so the cost was merely for the stuffed dog (which the following day I gave it to my friend's real dog for him to chew up) and the Falcons cap (that I have no idea what to do with).

I think my costume was a pretty decent hit at the party. Everyone seemed to immediately get the joke, I was continuously stomping on the dog so now, it's just a matter of me getting a hold of one of those pics before PETA finds it and burns my house down. We drank and partied till like 3am when the kegs were kicked and we were able to find a cab home.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up on little errands here and there as well as recovering and getting ready... for MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!!!!!

But that, my friends, is a post for another day (or maybe later).


That's what my past few days seemed like... I have so much to say but so little time. I will update later but let's see, at a high level, Halloween was awesome, I went to the MNF game last night (GO STEELERS!) which was awesome, I felt like dog shit this morning, and today is election day. So much to cover but so little time. I plan on writing more tonight since I got so much to say. Oh my god. I am still giddy from the Steelers victory. That was my first Steelers game I've ever been to. It was so awesome. It was everything I wanted to be and more. BOOM!