Friday, December 25, 2009

Almost like twitter - but of course, an uber post

I just wanted to do a quick update. Not sure why. I've been wanting to blog a lot more but I'm busy between unpacking the boxes, tidying up my new apartment, work, trying to meet more people, squeezing in a workout, etc...

Let's see... to recap, this past week, I did go run on Bayshore which apparently is America's longest uninterrupted sidewalk... you're running along the water which is gorgeous. Anyways, from the area called Hyde Park Village to Channelside (another fairly known but boring/touristy area) is about 3 miles so I did a quick loop to there and back for a quick 6 miler... the first time I ran since my half marathon. I ended up running with this other guy I just met and we came in at 46min... we were literally hauling ass. Apparently, he was running with a bunch of other people that he met up with so I ended up meeting a few people through him. I was invited to go out but I turned it down since it was a Tuesday night and I already started working.

Wed night, a neighbor of mine and I went out to an Irish bar which had a huge outdoor deck... since 65 degrees is "cold" in Tampa, they had those outdoor heater stands... kinda funny... they also served beer in a 35oz cup so I had two of them and felt a bit groggy the next morning but obviously, I still went to work... it was only half day though since it was the 24th so no big deal.

The rest of my time, I've been spending just unpacking and stuff. My apartment is definitely liveable even though it still has some cleaning up to do... but really, if I didn't do anything else, it would just be a messy apartment... doesn't look like I just moved in anymore, which is nice.

As I'm going through bunch of my stuff, putting a lot of things on craigslist, I always find it funny that I find stuff I forgot about. I am generally not one to throw things away. Old photographs, greeting cards, letters, junk, etc... whatever it is, I tend to keep. I guess it's because they are all part of me. Of course, when I went through my box of cards, I did throw away a lot of Christmas cards that I've kept (I mean I had some from people I can't even recall who they were, I had one from our mailbox lady, my dentist, etc... I told you, I keep everything). So, the ones from people that don't mean anything to me, I threw away.

But as I was going through them, I also found a bunch of letters... I hate dating myself like this but I'm not gonna lie... I miss the days where you had to write letters to keep in touch. I believe that was maybe my first two years in college (94-95). We just got email but not everyone had it and especially in Japan where phone lines are charged per minute of use, the internet boom didn't hit Japan as quickly as here... and since most of my friends that I would want to keep in touch with over email were in Japan at the time, I still wrote a lot of letters... and in return, I got a lot of letters from them. And I kept them. Every single one of them. It's always very interesting to read them. It just takes you back to those days, and you reminisce the feelings that you were going through, etc etc. I remember when my grandpa passed away, my mom asked if I had any of his letters that he sent me (my grandparents never had a computer/email) and of course, I kept every single one so I was able to share all of them with her. Those are the times I'm glad I never get rid of anything.

The letters from 15 years ago are still in great shape. There were letters from some people I no longer keep in touch with, unfortunately, but it was still nice to see them. Of course, I couldn't throw them away so I put them all back in the box.

With emails, facebook, twitter, etc, the only time we send out greeting cards are during the holidays. And even then, you don't really write stuff anymore. You let the cards do the talking. It's so easy to keep in touch now and that's great... but I sure do miss writing letters... even if it was a pain in the butt sometimes... because at least with letters, you always have something tangible to hold on to.

Man, do I sound old or what?

Well, I hope everyone is having a nice holiday season. For me, Christmas was just another day of unpacking (of course, I did sleep in till like almost 1pm) but unpacking in a 75 degree weather on Christmas day was actually pretty fun... and it seems like bunch of bars and clubs around my apartment are all open tonight so it looks like I'll be going out. Guess it's time to start cooking dinner so I can head out in time to catch the football game (I have no cable and internet in my apartment - I will have internet starting the 28th but I won't get cable since I don't watch enough TV... and I was gonna steal someone else's wireless but they turned on the security so the only one I can access is a very weak signal and super slow - which is why I'm typing this from our apartment's business center).

Seriously, I meant for this post to be a quick, twitter like update. ha ha ha ha... I guess not.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Final Vegas recap

You know what? If I recap every detail, I would have like a 5 part post... and I am starting to see other bloggers do their recaps in one post... so I'm just gonna make this my final version and cram a bunch of shit in. Apparently, I lack the ability to keep things short but I'm gonna try. And also, sorry for the lack of links but at this point you know who these people are.

On Friday, Schaubs, LJ, and I went to play poker at the Venetian since I wanted to be in the vicinity of the Palazzo when Bayne checked in. His flight was to arrive at 7 and since Schaubs and I were mooching off his comped room at the Palazzo (seriously, how good does this guy run!?), I just wanted to be around when he came so I could drop off my luggage and stuff before things got out of hand. Poker at the Venetian was like a joke... so many soft spots and people donating me money... even weirder was when our table broke, LJ, Schaubs and I were still able to be play at the same table... where I ran into a friend of mine from college that I hadn't seen in 11 years. That was completely random. This was also the table where Schaubs made an inexplicably, jaw-dropping fold after he check-raised the flop and bet-out the turn... I'll let him recap the hand if he wants to but after finding out what he had, I think I shat myself a little. Ha ha, ok, I'll stop, we gave enough shit to Schaubs about that hand already.

Well, as planned, when Bayne got in, we went up to the room for yet another awesome experience... I mean I knew that all the rooms were suites (I've stayed at the Venetian before) but still, when I walked in, I was amazed... Just check out the pics...





And check out this lame, poorly taken video. I should never do a video blog...

Nevermind... I tried uploading a video but it failed... ha ha ha, anyways, it was a pretty crappy video of the blinds automatically going up and down with the remote... yes, I'm easily entertained.

I missed all the action at Hard Rock and the MGM but Bayne, Schaubs, and I threw some dice at the Palazzo... the $15 minimum is pretty vicious. We played there for a few hrs and I think both Bayne and I took like a $500 hit... (and NOT because I threw poorly) - there goes my poker profit for the week. Thank god for the earlier session at the Venetian. We grabbed some late night munchies at the Grand Lux Cafe at the V and then went to bed... my god, the best sleep I had in a week. Love the Palazzo.

Saturday was the blogger tournament at Caesars. This year, I really haven't read up on the blogs... so, even when the winter gathering details came up, the only thing I knew was that it was the weekend of 12/11-12/13. Aside from that, I just assumed that there was another blogger tourney but like in other years, I thought it was at the Venetian. That's how clueless I was... I was also aware that there was some sort of a last longer side bet by teams... and the only reason I know that was because I was on a team... I didn't even ask to be on a team or look for interest by other bloggers. One day, Bayne pops up on my chat and asks if I want to be on the team with him and Gnome. Since I didn't really care, I accepted. I didn't know what the prize was or whatever but I figured it wasn't much since it was a side bet and I had no good reason to turn it down. My only concern (which I told LJ) was if I felt too lazy and didn't make it to the tournament... of course, that thought went away when Gnome told me about how psyched he was about our team when he saw me on Thursday. He was clearly our team captain, coming up with team names (even though he choked under pressure and told CJ that we were "Team Spewmonkeys"... we later corrected him as the appropriately named "Team Roach").

Well, little did I know that so many things had to go right for us to put together this solid team. Initially, it was Schaubs that apparently wanted to put a team together. He had asked around and so the team was initially going to be him, Gnome, and Bayne (clearly, a "B" level team). Schaubs then displayed his love for his country by opting to go with Team Canada which was supposed to be with himself, BamBam and Fag55. Sadly, Fuel bails on the trip and so the Canada team took a slight hit... of course, Fuel was replaced with Pebbles so in terms of number of team members that love men in team Canada, that was unchanged. (Clearly an inside joke, hopefully, none of this offends anyone reading this)

So, since Schaubs abandoned the then unnamed team, Bayne hit me up. Upon my acceptance, we went from an unnamed team to an "A" level ballah team (obviously). What? You want proof?



How bout them apples!?

Oh wait, what's this? An email from Stars?

Hello Dirty Vizzer,

Congratulations on your performance in the WPBT Winter Tour 09 Luckbox Last Longer Challenge, your account has been credited with your prize money.

Regards,

PokerStars Marketing


Ha ha ha, yeah, we won... the appropriately named Team Roach roached our way into the lowest combined total amongst three players with Bayne busting in 22nd-ish, me busting 17th, and Gnome final tabling at 5th for a combined 44 points which apparently was 22 (?) spots higher than the second place team. Damn we're good*.

*these are obviously written in jest as I've said numerous times that I suck at tournaments.

So, in total, each of us got $120 in cash, $500 in our PS accounts (as good as cash) and the kick ass trophy. Funny thing is, that side bet totals more than the 5th place cash that Gnome got which was like $512 or something like that. Good times. And before I forget, thanks to CJ for putting this together. You are the man.

Sunday, my flight left at 6:30am so I stayed up all night and left the Palazzo around 5am after finishing a late night/super early morning breakfast with Bayne and Schaubs. I missed out on what seemed like a great time at the Palazzo sportsbook on Sunday but at the time I booked my flight, I still had a job that I would have had to go back to on Monday. Wow, when I think of it that way, how things have changed so much in such a short time.

To all of you in Vegas, it was great seeing you again. It's always a pity that we don't get to spend more time together but nonetheless, I had a great time. It's amazing how little we know each other in person and yet whenever we get together, it's like old friends reconnecting. I look forward to seeing you all in the near future. Till then, I'll be basking in the sun... even in January.

Yours truly,
the Asian Floridian

I'm from Florida dammit! (part 2 of Vegas recap)

Now that I have unofficially transplanted to Tampa (I am in VA today surrounded by boxes that the movers packed - still have internet though!!), when I was asked "where are you from" by anyone in Vegas (usually the bartender/waitress/dealers), I answered "Tampa, FL" (like they wouldn't know that Tampa is in FL). And I will say... that gets a much nicer response than saying "Richmond, VA." Let's see... usually, when I say Tampa, I hear "ooooh, nice" followed by some variation of how nice the weather must be now or how they've been there before and loved it. When I say Richmond, it is usually followed by a polite "nice" with an automatic bobbing of the head up and down like they approve it (to clearly mask that they really know nothing about Richmond) or for those that actually are more familiar with Richmond would say something like "that's close to DC right?" It's so much nicer when you're associated to something nice as opposed to just some remote city near DC...

So, by Thursday, I didn't even hesitate to answer FL to the often asked question. I usually don't play table games aside from craps because the last thing I need is an addiction to more -EV games. Well, Thursday is when all the bloggers get in and since I pretty much never play poker with them anymore, I decided that I should at least sit at the same tables and enjoy games, drinks, and the conversations. It's year 3 of blogger gatherings for me and I still didn't know how to play Pai Gow or Let It Ride. And I'm still trying to shake off the "ice man" title that was unfairly given to me (such a small sample of throws - statistically irrelevant, yet reputation wise, devastating) from the craps table. But anyways... that is neither here nor there.

BamBam summons me over to the Let It Ride table, telling me that this is almost +EV because you don't really lose much money per hand and yet you get "free" drinks so you know, if you hit a few hands, and break even gambling, then it's obviously +EV because you're getting your "free" drinks. I roll my eyes at the "free" drinks because there were countless times in the past that my friends and I would opt to gamble for the "free drinks" and it would cost us like $100 per Miller Lite... Well, anyways, so I did get to learn how to play this game called "Let It Ride" which was basically BamBam's way to sucker me into yet another table game where the attempt to get "free drinks" turns into, in this case, something like 5 drinks for $100... unless you run like Drizz in which case you get paid to drink (quadzilla in LIR? Really!?). Freakin luckbox bloggers. At least the weather in Tampa is 75 degrees now. (yes, I realize I am sitting in my empty house in Richmond - details, details) What you got, Minnesota/Canada donks?

So anyways, we're playing this game and having a good time when at some point, the dealer asks all of us where we're from. So, each of us answer and when I say "Tampa, FL" BamBam wasted no time in calling me out asking me how long I've been there. Dude... Well, that's ok because I take this newfound FL fury and I take it out on bloggers at the blogger tourney on Saturday but that brag post will be for part 3.

I also did mingle at the Geisha Bar but as is the case in all these gatherings, you don't really get to talk with anyone for too long. I mean I talked to Gnome for a little while longer since I've known him now for a few years so that was cool but unfortunately I wasn't able to talk to Peaker as much as I had hoped we would. OhCaptain also came up to me and in my defense, he looked really different from how I remembered him from last year so I didn't immediately recognize him... and then he called me out on the fact that I no longer read his blog. (Hey, my bloglines now shows 2100+ unread posts total... and I only have like 80 feeds... so it's not just your blog that I haven't read) Well, anyways, he lost like 35lbs (sorry if I'm wrong, maybe more?) so yeah, I didn't quite recognize him. Apparently, he's on his way to losing more so good for him.

So Thursday was like just a mass chaos of people arriving. I write this like a total afterthought but I also did dinner with LJ and her friend Augie and then Schaubs came in and we... shit, I don't even remember what we did. Thursdays are always like a blur, not because of all the drinking/gambling but because that's the night you talk to so many people and see so many different people that in order to recap it accurately, I'd have to have this post written on Friday... I just know that I was in bed by the time Schaubs called it a night and then when I woke up, Schaubs was getting ready to go play golf... in shorts... in a 30 degree weather (yes, Vegas gets cold during the winter time). Fawkin Canadians. (apparently, later, he wussed out and put his rain pants on)

I'm gonna abruptly stop this post now because I realize this is starting to become long...

Recap Part 1 - Post race/Pre blogger weekend

*Warning* - if you are only interested in the blogger weekend portion of the recap, you can skip this and wait for my next post.

Isn't this always the same theme every year? Where to begin, not enough time to meet/talk to people you wanted to, wanting to stay longer but exhausted nonetheless, and now, it's time for the recap and you go on a more than usual reading spree of everyone's blogs to see what you may have missed out on even though you were in Vegas at the same time.

I have already been in Vegas since the Friday before the blogger gathering. I had the half marathon to run and I had two of my friends from Richmond run the half also so we got to spend some time together. My parents also came to meet up with me/watch me run so until Wednesday, I was pretty busy in a different way and actually hadn't had much chance to play poker or gamble it up at the craps table. You all saw my post regarding the half as evidenced by a lot of you coming up to me with the joking disapproval of my time in the half. I expect nothing less! :)

Well, one thing I did notice is that Vegas is big enough that unless you actually try to coordinate your activities, it's actually hard to meet up. Since I wanted to do some stuff during the day with my parents, I figured my buddy from Richmond and his gf and I would drink/party in the evening but in the end, I think we only did that once (even though we've been in Vegas at the same time for 4 days). They stayed at NY NY and of course, I stayed at the IP and so in the end, we just never really did much together. Now I've always made it clear that while I don't consider IP a great hotel (because it's not), it's not the flea bag motel that many people make it seem like. The casino is a dump and there are many little annoying things (like the seemingly world's slowest elevators, very confusing maze-like design of the different towers, bath tubs that don't drain well, etc etc) but then again, how much time do you spend in the room when you're in Vegas? The room itself is actually decent as I'm sure Schaubs will vouch for, now that he's stayed with me at the IP. (I will neither confirm nor deny that we slept in the same bed together) Personally, I'd rather save some money and stay at the IP rather than cough up extra bucks to stay at NY NY or Treasure Island or any of those mediocre hotels that I don't consider as much of an upgrade when it comes to rooms. My total bill from the 7 nights at the IP was like $329 or something like that... I mean really... unbeatable. Well, almost unbeatable. Bayne, shut up. You'll get your props.

Anyways... for the pre-blogger gathering part of my Vegas trip, my definite highlight was taking my parents to the Jersey Boys show at the Palazzo (does it count as "taking out my parents" if they paid me back for the tickets though? prob questionable). The show was amazing. I have always loved Vegas shows. No matter which ones I've been to, I was always amazed with how good a show they put on. Jersey Boys was no different. It was a show about a band named Four Seasons... apparently, they were big in the 50s-60s? I didn't know but this just happened to be the show that my dad showed any interest in (and he's generally not interested in shows). So we go and sure enough, the show was fantastic. Even if you don't know Four Seasons, you definitely know their songs if you were like me and had to endure countless hours of listening to your parents' favorite tunes growing up during long car rides for family vacations. And it was just an awesome show that was funny, touching, and just simply amazing. But as great as the show was, the best part was that you could tell that my parents absolutely loved it and were touched because of all the memories that I'm sure all their songs brought back to them. I think I was the youngest in the crowd by at least 20 years... but I would highly recommend the show to anyone.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

It's official... (click on pic to zoom in new screen)



So I didn't quite break 1:43... instead I came in 1:43 flat. That sucks. I mean I'm happy with the time but to be so close to being on the 1:42's and not getting there blows. Even worse... see where it says "AgeGrade"? (you will if you click on the picture dammit)... well, I'm at 57.6% which no matter what you're talking about or what it means, anything in the 50ish percentile can't be good. Sure enough, this is what it says about the AgeGrade...

Age-Graded Results

"AGE-GRADED" results are calculated using tables developed by the World Association of Veteran Athletes (the world governing body for masters track and field, long distance running and race walking). These tables were first published in 1989 and are frequently updated. The tables can be used in two ways: first, by comparing your time to a standard for your sex and age, you can determine your Performance Level Percent. These percentages can be interpreted as follows:
100% = Approximate World-Record Level
Over 90% = World Class
Over 80% = National Class
Over 70% = Regional Class
Over 60% = Local Class

So in other words, I'm not even local class... awesome. Granted, I'm not even in the top 10 percentile of men (685 out of 6505) so clearly, I have some work to do. Man, I never shoulda pulled up the official results. I was fairly content with what I got but now, I feel belittled. Fuckin runners.

I did get a cool finisher's medal though... it's heavy! (really is, actually kinda impressive)

Popping my half marathon cherry

Whenever I tell people Vegas is cold in December, they don't believe it... or they think it's cold "for Vegas." Like it would be 50+ degrees or something... this morning, around the race start time, it was 35 degrees. That's fuckin cold. I want to write a detailed recap but I'm starving now so I'll do it later. I did want to post something though. I don't know what my official time is and I botched my starting of my watch and the stopping of my watch at the end...

So, knowing that I botched my start a bit (don't think it was more than 15 seconds but I can be wrong), the following were my mile splits:

mile 1 - 7:31.73 (I looked and thought I need to ease up a bit, so I did... only to discover that I eased up waaaaay too much... see mile 2)
mile 2 - 9:13.33 (ha ha ha ha ha ha)
mile 3 - 8:00.75 (I'm a rookie at this distance... pacing, not my thing)
mile 4 - 7:42.02 (finally, what I was looking for)
mile 5 - 7:40.20
mile 6 - 7:50.47 (uh oh, I better pick it up slightly)
mile 7 - 7:37.55
mile 8 - 7:45.00
mile 9 - 7:45.45
mile 10 - 7:52.37
mile 11 - 8:03.15 (this surprised me a bit. I thought I still felt solid but obv in the last 2 miles, my pace slowed a bit and I felt my calves tightening/threatening to cramp a bit... so I slightly altered my running to be less strenuous on my calves. I knew I could go strong the rest of the way)
mile 12 - 7:46.09
mile 13 - 7:26.94 (I was booking it. I don't think I had much left after this one)
the last 0.1 mile - still going... just kidding. But this is where I failed to stop.

Unofficially, according to my watch, it comes to 1:43.38. I have to believe the time was slightly faster. I hope. We'll see when the official results come up.

Not bad for my first one but if I didn't screw up mile 2, I would like to think that I would be flirting with the 1:40 mark...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodbye Richmond, Hellooooooo Tampa!

Wow, where to start... I'm gonna do my best to not make this an uberpost since I have so much to write but I don't want to overload the readers with details. I believe last time I wrote (I can check but I'm lazy), I was either torn about taking this new opportunity in Tampa or maybe I already announced that I took it... well, in case I left it at "decision to be made," I took the job. There were tons of people involved in the decision making process and to all of them who are both readers and nonreaders (ie, they don't even know this blog exists), I am extremely grateful.

So, once I decided to take the job, I started looking for places to live. The relocation package that my new company gave me was basically a killer lump sum that allowed me to do whatever I wanted in terms of making apartment hunting trips, actually moving, etc etc. So, initially, I was planning on going on an apartment hunting trip. 2 days prior to actually doing it, I decided that I should just drive down and fly back to Richmond to take care of business. So, on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I made the ~13hr drive down to Tampa. I checked in to my hotel and on Wednesday, started my apartment hunting trip.

Now, when I was searching for apartments online, I had a few places in mind. My top choice was this one:



I mean, I'm moving to Tampa so what better than a place right by the water? Close to downtown Tampa, Ybor (major party city) and Channelside (area that some people mentioned was cool), I figured this was a great location. Once I got there though, I immediately hated this place. For Richmonders, think Short Pump. Literally, a community that was developed and everything was built for that community. Totally convenient, definitely upscale, and completely isolated (it's out on its own island). I hate the fuckin suburbia now, why would I move to another? I pretty much immediately nixed this place. However, this place played a big part in choosing my final destination. When I was talking to the guy who worked at the rental office, he mentioned that this property was close to Hyde Park. I didn't know what that meant but I do remember nixing the apartment properties in Hyde Park when I was searching online because I didn't think the area was all that awesome.

My next stop was a high rise apartment in the heart of downtown Tampa. It's a building that really stands out in the skyline of Tampa (which is just as impressive as Richmond... ha ha ha, seriously, downtown Tampa blows). Anyways, here's the entry way to the apartment that on the inside is very impressive...



Basically, it's a modern condo turned apartment. 24hr concierge service, dedicated parking deck, and magnificent view of Tampa are clearly the selling points of this place. The rooms were very impressive. I mean the layout was cool and the views were definitely cool... the thing is, these were the condos that were built in the peak of the bubble... and when the economy hit the tank, no one was buying them (which is why they turned it into a rental property). As such, there are tons of retail space available on the ground floor... presumably from when this was built. No one was moving into downtown Tampa... seriously, it made downtown Richmond look awesome... after being impressed with the apartment, walking around this area made it easy for me to lose interest. Of course, this is very close to Hyde Park but close as in few miles away... few miles is a long way to go when you're drunk. So, sure enough, when I went to Hyde Park (since both locations mentioned "close to Hyde Park"), I immediately fell in love with the area.

Hyde Park area is essentially where it includes Bayshore Blvd (allegedly, the longest sidewalk in the country and as the name suggests, right along the bay), Hyde Park Village (outdoor mall - Richmonders, think Stony Point), and Soho (short for South Howard Ave) which is the home of the area's most popular bars and restaurants (Richmond, think the Fan but slightly better, according to my biased opinion). And here, I found the apartments that are essentially your typical, non-fancy, normal rental housing as you can see in this picture.



From what I saw, these apartments are mainly filled with mid 20's young professionals... a bit younger than me but I party like a mid 20yr old so I think I can get by. Literally a stumbling distance away from the bars and a crawling distance away to brunch for some hangover recovery food... in other words, perfect for me and a great transition from the hell hole of suburbia that I am in... now let me clarify that I don't hate the suburbs... except I'm single and all my neighbors are families with dogs and 2.5 kids...

Anyways, I loved the area so even though I didn't "love" the apartment (at least not the way I felt about the apartment downtown), it was definitely good enough for now. So, here I am, filling out the app for the apartment.



Sorry, this became an uber... I had a feeling it would.

One thing that sucks about Tampa... it's freakin November and it was 80 degrees today... I'm gonna die in the summer time.

One more thing... naturally, I would have the tendency to compare things to Richmond. I believe I mentioned this before (I know I have but I'm not sure I did on the blog) but I felt that Tampa was like Richmond but in FL and right by the water. After being down here for a week exploring, I believe my assessment is fairly close. Of course, it's got a major sports team (if you can call the Bucs as such but then again, my team just lost to the lowly Chiefs and then to the hated Ravens) and it's right by the water so there are things that make it better but in terms of the city itself, it's clearly not the metropolis that I was hoping to move to in the near future (think NY or Tokyo). But, it was a good time for me to leave Richmond (18 yrs in Tokyo, then 15 years in Richmond!? I mean seriously...) and this gave me the opportunity to do so and explore a pretty cool city in the meantime. I will miss all my friends and everything I had built up in Richmond but I am really excited for the new opportunities to come in Tampa.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Picture's worth a thousand words

My buddy works for a big insurance company and was able to score company seats for the Wizards v Cavaliers, aka Lebron James and others. I can't begin to tell you how awesome the seats were.. I basically spent all game heckling the Cavs even though I like Lebron. How awesome were the seats? Well, these are all pics from where I was sitting.

















AWESOME!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Because I fear the wrath of LJ

LJ, I love you, but I'm lazy and as you clearly pointed out, I'm a taker. But since I did agree to give back a little, here's the plug.

Note: This is a plug for a free poker training deal. If you are not a poker player, you can stop here since this will just bore you to tears. Hell, it's boring me and all I did was ctrl+c and ctrl+v from cmitch's blog. Thanks cmitch.

Here's the plug:

If you aren't signed up for free poker training, you are missing out. If we play at the same tables, please ignore this post.

Get Cardrunners/Stoxpoker for Free

I continue to receive CRs and Stoxpoker for free thanks to their truly free poker training program just for playing on FTP.

The link: http://www.trulyfreepokertraining.com/

The details:
Earn 5.5k FTP points in a month and get 1 month of CRs free
Earn 3k FTP points in a month and get 1 month of StoxPoker free
No hit to rakeback
You keep your points
Pretty simple (I guess it is FTP paying ppl additional RB to play)
Go sign up

To follow up on Bayne's recent post about the FTC requiring "Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service" I was not paid anything to make this post. I just can't imagine why people wouldn't sign up for it. If you hit the required number of points then you get free access to the training sites. If you fall under the required number of points then you can get discounted access (I think - may need to read the TFPT website info)

Change

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

~Anatole France


I'm born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. I moved to Richmond, VA when I was 18 to go to U of Richmond and after graduating, I stayed here for 11 years, working for a CPA firm for 8 years and then moving to a bank that is more known for its credit cards. During my 11 years here, I've met a lot of people and have become friends with a few of them. There were good times and tough times but through it all, one thing I had in common was the fact that I was always surrounded by good people. Despite the fact that I wanted to get out of Richmond (again, I grew up in Tokyo... nuff said), I was starting to get comfortable. It was an easy life. I had friends here. I have a good job in a great company.

And I'm gonna leave all of that behind.

About a month or so ago, I got a call from a recruiter. It was completely out of the blue and I have no idea how they got my number. Some job opportunity for a big insurance company. I wasn't looking but I never turn away job opportunities without at least entertaining the idea so I decided to string the recruiter along. It turns out it is for a director level position (it would be a 2 level promotion for me) in financial reporting... after the phone interview, I got the feeling that despite the fact that they really liked my experience, they were concerned about my lack of experience at the director level. Nonetheless, they invited me to Tampa, FL which is where their operations are located to interview me in person. Now I always said that if you get me an interview, I will get the job. Yeah, I know, I'm cocky. I'm also 100% in the interview to getting the offer ratio so it's not like I can't back it up. But this was a stretch. It would be a two level jump. They know that. I didn't even know if I still wanted the job... as in literally, I went to the interview unsure of what I would do even if I got the offer. Of course the money is better... but that's not what drives me and personally, I don't care about titles and such. I mean they're nice... but I have so much more in my life that I'm proud of that career/work is just a piece of who I am. At the end of the interview, I'm kinda worried that I may have actually nailed it... I mean the reason I was worried was that if I didn't get the job, it's a nonissue. I have nothing to worry about and I just keep going down the red carpet that my bank has laid out for me. But if I get the job, I have to make a decision.

Well, sure enough, by the following week, I get a verbal offer. I nailed it. What followed was probably the most stressful 2 days that I've had in a long time. As much as I act like nothing in the world scares me, I can only do that because I'm surrounded by my friends. It's easy to act tough when you know that you have friends that have your back. But this was a great opportunity... and a good chance for me to leave Richmond.

I talked to my boss about it the very next day. He then asked if I was comfortable talking to the CFO of our business segment so I said yes. So I talked to the CFO as well. This is where I'm convinced that I work for great people in a great company. They were very supportive... and appreciative of the fact that I was open with them about it. They essentially gave me advice on things to think about and they also mentioned that "as much as we would hate to lose you as an organization, opportunities like this don't come often, and we certainly cannot blame you for going after it." So, that weekend, I thought about all the pros and cons of staying vs leaving. Then, I realized that there were no cons for either one... I mean the cons were essentially missing out on the pros of each option. But there was nothing bad about it. So, I decided to take the job. My last day at my current company is next Friday. I'll be starting the new job in Tampa around mid December, after the blogger weekend.

Note: I will be unemployed during the blogger weekend so if you want to hook me up with drinks, I will graciously accept... I'm just sayin...

This decision, despite seemingly easy on paper, was not an easy decision for me. And the quote in the beginning was very fitting. There will be tons of things I will leave behind. As I started telling everyone at my current company, and they all started saying their goodbyes and giving me advice, etc, I realized that even these people that I work with or that I play basketball with will be missed. And these aren't even my friends! Of course, I'm sure I can find something similar down in Tampa. But, hence, the quote was so applicable. It's gonna be really hard to say goodbye to my friends. Of course, I can come visit or they can come visit but it will still be tough.

Having said all that, I would be lying if I said that I'm not excited. I am. Actually, I'm stoked. I'm definitely nervous and a little sad but I am mostly psyched for a new opportunity, new location, and a new life. I will enjoy the remaining time with old and new friends that I've made here in Richmond for in a month, I'll be starting all over again. But I am ready. And for that, I am psyched!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dropping off the face of the earth

That's kinda how I feel... I've been so busy in both my work and personal life that I just haven't had the chance to update my blog. I don't even know if anyone still follows or checks but oh well... I do have a twitter account but I never really tweet... I guess I'm not much of a twitter guy.

So, what have I been up to? Well, a lot and nothing at the same time. Last time I posted, I believe I was just giving up on doing a triathlon because my buddy was in NY that same weekend. I was also in the midst of trying to bench 250lbs 3 times so that I could claim that I can bench 150% of my body weight. So, let's see... athletically, what have I accomplished? A big fat NOTHING.

I am still not benching 250lbs, I have given up on doing a triathlon this year (no more tris locally), and so I guess my focus is now on the half marathon that I'm doing in Vegas right before the blogger weekend. Taking people's advice, I actually started to incorporate running into my workouts. I ran 5 miles on Sat, did 10 miles on Sun, and did a 5.3 mile interval workout today. In between, I lift weights but one thing I noticed when I mapped out my workout plan was that I didn't have a single rest day. I mean there are days I don't run but then I'm lifting... and on days I don't lift, I'm running... and I'm thinking this is getting in the way of my 250lbs bench goal. Mondays are my chest days and there are times I'm freakin exhausted after the 1st set which is essentially a warm up set. When the 15th rep of 135lbs feels hard, I just know it's gonna be a shit workout. And I've had a few Mondays with worthless piece of shit workouts which really pisses me off.

I am gonna have to figure out a way to get the workouts in and yet come up with at least one day off...

So here in VA, we now have a republican governor... For those of you that don't know, and concludes that since VA is the south, we must always have a republican governor, you are incorrect. The past 8 years, we have had a democratic governor and personally, I'd like to think that this is a big eff you to Obama. I mean come on. Some people are starting to think that maybe the government taking over business to protect the idiots... errr, I'm sorry, the less fortunate or whatever you want to call them, may not be such a great idea. Ultimately, we, the consumers as a whole, will suffer... it's like when they say you're only as fast as the slowest guy in the group, it holds true the way Obama is trying to run things. Oh well, this post is not intended to be a political post and as a hard working, fairly decent income generating individual, these days, I just avoid the news because all it does is piss me off. I never thought I would repeat what I said during Bush years but here it comes... 3 more years. I can't wait.

Where was I going with this post? I'm really not sure. I just know that I haven't written anything on here for a while and I kinda miss it. This was a nice outlet but now, it isn't much of one for me right now. Maybe because I don't really need an outlet? Not sure.

On a completely different topic, I am still digging the "Surviving Disaster" show but tonight was the premier of "V" which as most of you (I assume my general readership is my age or above) know, was an old show... in Japan, they always had some american shows on TV including Family Ties, Knight Rider, the A-Team, etc... V was one of them and growing up, I remember being freakin hooked on that show (and I was in love with Faye Grant - I apparently liked blondes from when I was really young). Anyways, so I decided that since I was so into it, I'd watch the season premier... and I'm not gonna lie, I actually kinda dug it. It's now officially set up on my DVR to record weekly along with House and Criminal Minds.

I guess this is enough for now. If you are still reading, thanks. I'm hoping it won't be so long till I post next time but it is what it is. I hope you all had a great Halloween and if I don't post till later, Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another race

So last time I updated this blog, I indicated that I was gonna miss my first olympic distance tri because of my trip to NY to hang out with my best friend from high school. As upset as I was that I was missing my race that I trained pretty hard for, I had a blast in NY, just as expected so I have no regrets. Plus I only get to see him like twice a year so it was really a no brainer. So, Monday of this week, I signed up for a 10 miler here in Richmond for this weekend.

Below is the email I received:

"Congratulations Alan T. on finishing the Capitol 10 Miler on October 03, 2009.
For your records, the weather at start time was overcast, 65 degrees F, 93% humidity, wind South 3.5 mph.

There were 58 finishers in the Male 30 to 34 age group and 647 finishers in the 10 Mile Division.

Your overall finish place was 198, your age group finish place was 23 and your gender finish place was 135.
Your time was 1:22:22.99 giving you an overall pace of 8:14 per mile."

What I learned from this race is that I need to train for the half marathon I'm running in December in Vegas. 10 miles is probably the max distance that I can wing it by cross training... the last mile was pretty brutal and hilly but even then, I felt like I was losing it (evidenced by the fact that according to my watch, I was around 72 minutes at mile marker 9). So Trebek, Peaker, you guys are right, I definitely need to start running/incorporating runs into my workout.

I really wanted to do a NY trip report too but updating my blog is fairly low on my priority list these days so as much as I want to (with lots of thoughts floating in my head), I just haven't had the chance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This and That

This post is gonna be all over the place, potentially. I have some things I've been wanting to type/write but just haven't had the time to make this a priority.

As you may or may not know, I've been training for my first olympic distance triathlon which is set to take place in Northeastern VA on 9/27. It consists of a 1.5k swim, 40k bike, and a 10k run (.9/26/6 in miles) where the swim takes place at this place called the Naylor's Beach where it's basically a river swim. I wouldn't say that I'm completely ready but I'm fairly certain that I can complete this... my goal was going to be able to do it within 3 hrs which depending on how the swim goes would be pretty tight (not a great time for anyone in my age group but great for a newbie like me). So last night, after basketball, I go to the pool to do some drills and as I was doing my warm up swim of 300yds, I felt good so I thought, maybe I should try swimming 1.5k to see what that's like... But being that I was tired, at first, I figured I would do 500 yds (that's 20 lengths of the pool). As I got to lap 20, I just thought, well I can keep going so I'll do 20 more. When it was all said and I done, I was at 60 and 6 more laps would give me a full mile so I was going to go ahead and do it when the life guard is waiting for me at the end of the pool. He tells me to hop out of the pool so I was a bit surprised but I just assumed they were closing... an hour early. Turns out a girl puked in the pool so they were getting everyone out. According to a friend of mine who used to be a lifeguard, it shouldn't be that big a deal because the pool has a mechanism to suck those things out - who knows, maybe the Y has a higher standard of cleanliness or something... I sure hope so but once I found out what happened, I was pretty glad the guy got me out of the pool.

So, I'm still feeling good about my swim (and btw, I'm paying the price today - my shoulders/arms/wrists are sore!) and I notice that I have a call from an unknown number. Turns out it's from my best friend in Japan. I knew he was gonna be in NY sometime soon for business but no dates were set. Well, it turns out that he'll be in town (in NYC) starting the 20th and then he'll be here for 2 weeks leaving on Oct 2. So basically, he'll only be here for one weekend... which happens to coincide with my triathlon. Of course, this is my best friend since high school who I made a crazy weekend trip for his wedding where I was in Japan for as long as I was traveling so giving up my tri to go visit him in NYC is a no brainer... having said that, I'm a little bummed because I was really looking forward to this triathlon and training pretty hard for it. I mean there will be other races but I don't know... anyways, so that's $80 of registration fee down the drain... having said that, I know I would have a blast in NYC - we always do and so I am definitely excited to see them. Lucko/LJ, you guys met my buddy last year (I think), wanna come out to the city? I still owe you guys drinks so it will be on me!

Anyways, so now, I'm searching for another triathlon that I can do this year - I have to do one this year because I don't think I can keep training the way I do now through the winter season without a little taste of what it's like to do an olympic distance tri.

On a completely different note, I've recently become a TV junkie... well, not really from most people's standards but for me who only had one show per week that I religiously watched (Criminal Minds), I am now at 4 shows... First one is Shaq Vs. It's an awesome show where Shaq goes around competing against the other athletes in their sports. It started with him vs Ben Roethlisberger in a football showdown and on to him battling against Albert Pujols in HR Derby, the two US women's olympic champion beach volleyball team in beach volleyball, Oscar Dela Hoya in boxing, and last night was him battling none other than Michael Phelps in swimming. Of course, each of these have handicaps to even out the playing field but it's just a fun time amongst competitive athletes talking shit but having fun. I'm not a big fan of Shaq but his personality is perfect for something like this. You can catch all the episodes here. It's entertaining as hell and also, just reminds you of how great these athletes are in terms of how good they are in their sport. I mean these are the best of the best but I think you forget how good they are when they are also surrounded by other superstars...

The next show is Surviving Disaster. This ex-navy seal walks you through a disaster scenario where the stage is set so it's real life like... and he walks you and gives you tips on what you can do to survive the disaster. First one was if the plane that you are on is hijacked, next was if you are in a tall office building (this was 10 stories) and there's a fire and you're trapped... most recent episode was how to survive a nasty hurricane (of Katrina variety, I imagine). It's actually a very interesting concept and I personally love it. I'm not saying that by watching this, if the particular disaster strikes, you'd be ready but I already learned a lot so far that I didn't know before. Next week's episode is when house robbers come in to your house... I think it's totally worth watching!

Last but not the least is 2 months $2MM. It's about these 4 twenty-something year olds who play poker professionally (LJ, you should know this since you work at CR and White Lime is one of the 4)... Anyways, the setting is that these 4 move to Vegas for 2 months with the intent to make $2 million amongst themselves. As of week 5, they are way behind, being up $35k ish as a group but it's interesting to see how these guys who are great pros but on the same token, very young guys go through bad losing streaks, tilt, deal with women and the temptations of Vegas. One kid went out, got drunk, and woke up with a $5k bar tab! They high-carded for a $1200 dinner for 6 people (hmmm, actually, didn't we do that in Vegas? I backed out but you guys are sickos) and just have no regards for money... of course, when you're like 22-25 and have made over a million dollars playing poker, I can see how you can be detached from reality. Poker is the basis but it's more a reality tv show than anything else and it's just entertaining as hell. Ah, the sneak peak into a life of degenerates. Good times!

Ok, I feel like I've written enough. I'm gonna go search for some triathlons in some appealing places and see if I can find one that's worth traveling to.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Damn, I'm good

I'm chillin out in the afternoon watching football after running errands and stuff and this email pops up on my newly acquired blackberry (Tour which is freakin awesome if you have Verizon).

This is an automated message sent from Full Tilt Poker.

Full Tilt Poker Tournament #101593141 Silver $15,000 Freeroll NL Hold'em
Buy-In: $0.00
957 players
Total Prize Pool: $15000.00
Start Date: September 12 3:45 PM ET

Dear RecessRampage,

You finished the tournament in 253rd place.
There has been $22.50 added to your account.

Congratulations!
Thank you for participating.



Ha ha ha, nothing like cashing in a tournament without even playing!!!

It's so weird that I used to pay attention to make sure I never missed tournaments like this and now, it didn't even occur to me. Good times!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Week 6 - Falling Behind

This is week 6 of the JT workout. If you've been paying attention, this is week 6 of 7. If everything went according to plan, I should be able to put up 3 reps of 250lbs on the bench next week... unfortunately, I don't see that happening. Now generally, I'm not one to psych myself out. If anything, I relish the chance to come through under pressure. In basketball, I was never afraid to pull the trigger... that's not to say that I would take stupid shots but I knew I was a good shooter and so even if I missed 5 in a row, I would just keep taking open shots, as long as they were good choices (I wasn't a stupid player either). That's my way of saying that I don't go into a workout, wondering or thinking that I might not be able to do something. I go, I do. Simple as that.

Having said that, I encountered yet another set back yesterday when I tried lifting... not to make this an excuse but the guy who was spotting me (huge gym rat) pointed out that, and I quote, "everyone is weak on Mondays... all the drinking and the partying that they do, they're not ready for a big lifting day on Monday." *sigh* That is so true for me - at least the drinking part... this weekend, I had 3 fantasy drafts and I definitely went overboard... I think I was feeling the effects till Sunday evening. Well, without further ado, here's my workout.

Flat Barbell
135 x 12-15 (did 15)
185 x 8 (easily got 7 up, on my way to getting the 8th one up, I hit a major wall, seemingly out of nowhere. I just couldn't lock up my arms so it ended up being a forced rep)
225 x 4-6 (the above set got to my head - 1 + 2FR - just couldn't get anything going)
250 x 1-3 (245 x 2 FR - I'm sure the guy spotting me thought I should just stick to 225)
225 x 2-6 (I had nothing left here - 2 FR)

Incline Barbell
95 x 12-15 (did 15)
135 x 8-10 (did 10)
155 x 6-8 (5 + 1 FR)
165 x 2-4 (3 + 2 FR)

See, the irony here is that I'm getting stronger on my inclines now. Last week, I could only do 3 reps of 155lbs. This week, I knocked out 5 and I was able to get 3 strong reps of 165lbs. Flat bench is falling apart though...

Dips 3 sets to failure
11, 15, 12 - Suprisingly, after the first two workouts, I was exhausted and did not have much left... obviously.

Pushups 3 sets to failure
25, 19, 20 - Same story as the dips. Keep in mind that any other day, I can do 50 easy (after cardio work - not after lifting)... yet on my very first set, I can't go any further than 25.

I'm not sure what to do now... The whole time, I was set on hitting my goal after 7 weeks... do I start over at around week 4 workout?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm bored with Richmond

Unfortunately, this is NOT a "I'm finally moving!" post... But instead, I think I found a way to get out of town, at least on the weekends. Now I have yet to run a half marathon but I think I can see myself enjoying those since it's not THAT taxing (I'm guessing) and it will only take like 2 hrs at most to complete (I'm assuming).

Ok, so my guess and my assumption could be completely off... but I'm fairly certain I can go out and run 13 miles in less than 2 hrs right now... and I don't even run per se (I do plenty of cardio with biking and swimming and bball). If I train, I'm pretty certain I can maintain a pretty decent speed up to about the half marathon. So, anyways, that's my long way of saying that in 2010, I'm considering doing all the Rock N Roll Half Marathon Series.

Currently, the following are scheduled:



I'm obv signed up for Vegas but now I'm considering doing a bunch of these next year.

The only problem is that they are mostly Sunday races... how ghey is that? If it were a Saturday, I can run, chill out for a few hrs and then enjoy the weekend night life in various cities. Who the fuck goes out on Sunday nights!? Wanna know who? Bunch of dudes watching Sunday Night Football. Bad beat!

Nonetheless, I think I'm gonna seriously consider pursuing this. Let me know if anyone is interested in doing something like this as well.

Oh, and here's the course map for Vegas half... Basically, we'll be starting out by the MGM-ish area and then run all the way down and back up the strip. This should be fun. I'm definitely getting excited about this.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 5 - FAIL

Going into week 5 of the JT Master Plan, I was pretty psyched. Today's workout included minimal reps of 250lbs which is my goal weight... I figured if I can even get one rep, I would be right on track... however, today was not a good lifting day for me. I wish I can pinpoint what happened but it just seemed like one of those days when I just didn't have it. Nonetheless, here's my report (for those of you completely uninterested in this weekly report, good news is, there are only 2 more weeks left!).

Flat Barbell
135 x 12-15 (did 15)
185 x 8 (done)
225 x 2 (1st one required some help, 2nd was forced rep - this is the beginning of the disappointment. 2 weeks ago, I was able to do this weight 3 times with no help... today, not even one)
250 x 1-3 (this is where I was psyched for - due to the plates, I did 255lbs - one forced rep and two negatives - I was fortunate that this one guy who is freakin huge and is at the gym all the time was there so I did get two very good negatives in FWIW)
135 x 15 (done)

This bench press killed me though... I didn't realize it at the time but my chest and my triceps were spent...

Incline Barbell
95 x 12 (done)
135 x 8-10 (did 9, no spotter)
155 x 4-6 (did 3 + 1 with minimum help)
135 x 8-10 (did 6 + 1 with help + 1 with major help - as in the last one, my left arm/tricep pretty much gave out... I had absolutely nothing left)

My last sent on the incline barbell really made me realize how little I had left in the tank... even more of that proof to follow...

Flat Dumbell Fly
3 sets of 50 x 8

Keep in mind that last week, I did 3 sets of 45 x 8... today, I did the 50lbs DBs but I could only do 6, 6, and 5... (on the 6th one on the last set, I had absolutely nothing left - I can bench press 90lbs DBs and yet I can barely lift 50lb DBs to even start the DB fly's)

Dips - 3 sets all to failure

This is where it absolutely shows that I was dead. Even last week, after the workout, I was able to do 14, 13, and 11. This week? My first set was 5... yep, FIVE reps of dips. I couldn't go back up... 2nd set, 6 reps... 3rd set, 4 reps. Essentially, after 3 sets, I can only do one more than my first set from last week. My arms were literally dead.

Good workout but man, I sure hope I can put on a better showing next week. This week, I have 3 fantasy football drafts coming up so the outlook is not good... we shall see.

Booked!

It is extremely rare that I plan things this far in advance unless it's something big (like my annual trip back home to Japan). Hell, even then, I still wait till the reasonably latest moment to book my trip... so the fact that I've already booked my flight to Vegas for the December gathering is definitely outside my comfort zone... having said that, I already know that a) I will be running the half marathon in Vegas on 12/6 and b) I will be there for the winter gathering to see some of my gay canadian friends as well as other friends* as well. And as soon as I typed this, I realized that linking a few was a bad idea but then again, amongst the others that I talk to, I'm guessing none of you would be offended whether I link you or not so yeah, deal with it.

Anyways, here's my itinerary...



Kuro and Peaker, it's unfortunate that you won't be there for the race but nonetheless, I guess I'll see you guys few days later.

The biggest win here is that my ticket cost $10... I had enough miles so I was able to score a free ticket ($10 for tax) so that is a win! Now I just need to book a hotel room but despite some others booking rooms at MGM and such, I am fairly certain I will stay at the IP where a) the rooms are cheap and b) I've never had any problems or bad experiences in terms of the quality of the room. I'm gonna be in the room for like 6hrs a day... I'm fairly certain I just need a bed and a working bathroom. And at the average price of approx $40-45 per night, you just can't beat that. (unless your name is bayne and you get sick deals cuz you're a luckbox)

See you all in Dec!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week 4

Every week, when I update my chest workout (I obv do other things on other days), I start to wonder if I should just start another blog consisting entirely of my workouts... but then again, the only reason I post this is to provide feedback to my buddy JT... which then leads me to wonder if I should just email this to him... but then yet again, I would think, hey I'm typing this much, I might as well "blog" about it since otherwise, this will never get updated... Maybe that's ok. This blog is kinda on its last leg as of right now. I feel like I'm so busy these days that I really don't have much to post on here - or the time to post on here. Before, it was somewhat therapeutic to type thoughts on here... but now, not really. I don't hate it, nor do I force myself to do it because I actually love blogging/writing but I just feel like there's no sense of direction on this blog these days. Oh well... it is what it is and it's a reflection of myself so I guess feel free to keep reading if you are interested. If not, well, if you read this blog at some point, thanks for that nonetheless. After week 7 when I supposedly reach my goal, you won't be burdened by my chest workout blog... and I can see myself getting back into blogging about other things but right now, my focus is pretty much on the 7 week lifting plan to be able to put up over 150% of my body weight.

Ok, without further ado...

Flat Dumbbell Press
50 x 12-15 (did 15)
70 x 8 (done)
90 x 2 plus 2-4 forced reps (I did 5... but no forced reps... I think I fucked up here by not getting in any FR's but I didn't really know the spotter too well and so I just kinda gave up)
55 x 6-8 all negatives (55 x 8 regular - no spotter...)

This whole no spotter thing is going to be a theme for today which kinda pisses me off because I went to the Y earlier than usual today, hoping that there will be trainers working there who knows what they are doing. And yet, not a single trainer was found. That's one thing that sucks about the Y... you never know what you get.

Incline Dumbbell Press
40 x 12 (done)
60 x 6-8 (did 8)
70 x 2-4 (FAIL!!! I could not get this up and with no spotter, I just couldn't get it started... at the same time, my triceps felt pretty nonexistent... so, instead, I did 65 x 6...)

Flat Dumbbell Fly
3 sets of 45lbs (done)

Dips - all sets to failure
14, 13, 11

At this point, I had absolutely nothing left... first 6-7 dips went smooth and after that, it's almost like hitting a bump... and then once I got to like 10, it was like hitting a wall... first set, I couldn't come back up on my 15th attempt... same for set 2 and 3.

Overall, it felt like a good workout but I was pissed that my workout was slightly cramped by the fact that I didn't have a spotter. I feel like an idiot can spot barbells but not necessarily dumbbells. I might have to get my buddy JT in to the Y (he's a member at another gym) for the last few workouts leading up to week 7 since I would think the next few weeks would be critical. Dammit YMCA, how do you not have trainers working on one of the most crowded nights!?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 3

Man, how the days go by so fast. I feel like I was just posting results from Week 2 of the JT Master Plan (aka my quest to 250lbs bench press) and it's already time for a week 3 update. Riggs pointed out that he's now on a regimen to lose weight but unlike me, he'll just do it instead of talking about. Riggs, don't be Fuel. That's no fun. So, here I am continuing to document my progress.

You know, one day, maybe I can compile this into a book... like there are so many exercise books to go from fat to thin or lazy to fit or skinny to buff... but there's never any guide for an average-ish guy to go from average to above average or whatever the goal is... of course, that's not as catchy but you get my drift. Let's say you're a 20 something or a 30 something weekend warrior, involved in many activities, but not quite in the type of shape you want to be in. There's never a guide for that. Well, I can use this 7 week master plan as one of my chapters of "how to go from a weekend warrior to being FIT!"

Of course, someone can read this, think it's a good idea, and take it before I even get around to writing a book... oh well. So be it. Without further ado, here's week 3 (as usual, the weight in lbs times range of reps is what was JT's design and in parenthesis is what I actually did):

Flat Dumbbell Bench
50 x 12-15 (did 15)
60 x 10-12 (did 12)
70 x 8 (done)
80 x 4-6 (did 6)
90 x 2-4 (required help to initially get it up. Did 3 with little help on the 3rd)

I will say, I felt a little "tough" since the heaviest dumbbells that the Y has are 100lbs (they have up to 120lbs dummbells in the other wing).

Incline Barbell
95 x 12-15 (did 15)
135 x 8-10 (did 7)
155 x 4-6 (did 3 + 2 forced reps)
135 to failure (did 8 - 8th, I can barely get it up but required no help. Then did 1 forced rep - on the forced rep, my left arm felt nonexistent)

Pushups x 4 sets to failure
43, 21, 20, 15

After the first set, my triceps and chest was nonexistent... I was certain I can at least hit 100 after 4 sets so I was a little disappointed but on the last set, I really had nothing left... Actually on all sets, I was down and half way up but couldn't lock my elbows before I collapsed. At least it was to failure...

FOUR MORE WEEKS!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Week 2 of the Master Plan

Shockingly, this is only week 2 and yet I actually felt a little stronger. When I started warming up with 135, it was astonishingly light. The cool thing about this workout is that the incline dumbbell made me feel strong. I mean I'm 6'0 tall but only weigh 165lbs... so I clearly have a smaller frame than some of the guys that work out a lot... and yet when I was doing the 65lb dumbbells and 70lbs dumbbells, there's like a guy who looks huge doing the same weights. Of course, he was doing a few more reps than I was doing but not much. It just made me feel pretty good about myself. Pack a lot of punch in this tiny body. I mean unless you're a beast like Riggs, I'm pretty sure the weights I'm lifting for my weight is pretty decent... especially considering the height. On the board I was talking about which had the body weight %, everyone at the top of the list are several inches shorter than I am.

Well, here was the detail of week 2.

Flat Barbell
135 x 12-15 (I did 15)
185 x 8-10 (I did 8... I felt like I could do more but I didn't have a spotter. That was my mistake)
220 x 2-4 (I couldn't find 2.5lbs so I just did 225 x 3... 3rd one was spotter assisted)
185 x 6-8 plus 2-4 negatives (I did 6 plus 1 spotter assisted and 2 negatives... 2nd negative was reeeeeeeeeally hard)

Incline Dumbbell
40 x 10 (done)
60 x 6 (last week, I felt stronger on the incline so I tweaked this - did 65 x 6)
70 x 2-4 plus 2-4 forced reps (I did 4 plus 2 forced reps - perfect weight/rep combination)

Incline Dumbbell Fly
25 x 12 (done)
2 sets of 40 x 6 (done and done)

Decline Barbell
135 to failure (I did 14 plus 1 forced rep - I actually thought I would at least do 15 but around rep #13, my chest started giving out)

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's the opposite of a bad beat?

In the past, clearing ironman bonuses within the month was like breathing... it got done and I didn't even have to think about it. Hell, to keep things interesting, I usually did contests against Bayne. But now, with my workouts and social life kicking in full gear, I don't have as much time playing poker... so, I came to peace with the fact that I probably won't clear my $500 ironman bonus... Until last night, I checked (just for kicks) how much bonus I am due and guess what I saw!!!



A one month extension to clear the bonus. Sweet jebus. I guess I will be able to clear this bonus after all. YESSSSSSSS!!!

7 week master plan

Disclosure: This has absolutely nothing to do with poker.

Ok, so there are bazillion things I want to do. I want to do a real olympic distance triathlon... and I want to do the Vegas half. Considering that I have no desire to immerse myself in training for either, but since running tends to come more naturally for me, I am guessing that this year, I don't think I will be able to do a tri... I might find another duathlon or a sprint tri but no real distance tri for me... at least not in '09. And to answer Peaker's comment from the other day, it's just that I don't like running... and that's why you don't see running in my workout plan. Of course, in order to do the half, I'll prob have to run some but I think I can get enough cardio in through swimming and biking so I won't do much running. We'll see how that pans out.

In the meantime, few posts ago, I mentioned that I wanted to be able to bench 250lbs (free weight, obv)... sure enough, my buddy JT read the blog and emailed me, telling me he can come up with a master plan. He knew how strong (or weak, it's in the eye of the beholder, I think) I am and so he came up with this 7 week plan, full with guidance like "make sure to take at least 120g of protein on the day of and day after your chest workout." He also told me that I need to do shoulder and triceps but not within 48 hrs prior to my chest day.

Since JT is a freakin beast I decided to take him up on his offer and today was Week 1 of his 7 week master plan (Mondays from here on out will be chest days, most likely Wed/Thurs would be when I would incorporate shoulders and triceps amongst other things).

His week 1 regimen:
Flat Barbell Bench
135 x 12-15 (I did 15)
155 x 10-12 (I did 12)
205 x 4-6 (I did 4 plus 1 with help from spotter - the 50lb increase was definitely felt)
225 x 2-4 + 2-4 forced reps (basically, I ended up with 3 forced reps, ie 3 with help of spotter)

Feedback: Hmmm, maybe I'm not as strong as JT thinks I am...

Incline Dumbbell
35 x 12-15 (I did 15)
50 x 8-10 (I did 10)
60 x 4-6 (I did 6)
45 to absolute failure (I did 15)

Feedback: Considering I didn't do much incline dumbell before this and he didn't know where to start because of it, it seemed right on par. The 6th one on the 60lb dumbell was a semi-struggle.

Flat Dumbbell Fly
25 x 12 (I did 12)
2 sets of 35 x 6-8 (I did 2 sets of 8)

Feedback: I never did flat dumbbell fly (I always did the fly on the machine) so it was a little interesting but I think I could have added a little more weight.

Dips
3 sets to absolute failure (I did 13, 11, 10)

Feedback: I actually thought I could do more but I just didn't have anything left. Kinda disappointing that my first set was only 13 reps... I was certain I could do 15+.

Overall feedback: Pretty good week 1. In terms of number of exercises, this is a little less than what I usually do since I usually would also do a decline bench press. So, we'll see how this goes. Since JT is also trying to gauge my strength and process, the outer weeks can change, even though it would probably only be a slight tweak. Considering he took the time to write up a 7 week program where in week 7, I'll be doing reps of 250lbs on the bench, I will def be working hard since a) I think I can do it and b) I don't want to feel like I failed him.

This won't be easy but it will be pretty cool to be able to do 3 reps of 250lbs at which point, I can see my name go up in the weight lifting board since that would be like 150%+ of my body weight. MONEY BABY!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are you dating or are you paying for a hooker?

This morning, on the radio, I heard an interesting discussion. Apparently, this one guy who works at the radio station heard of an intriguing thing - there are people offering to pay for whatever the person's needs are in exchange of that person living in the house with them and "caring" for them whenever they needed care. Essentially, it was like a live-in maid who would also provide services that are beyond household chores for the right price.

Example they gave was let's say there is an attractive girl who needs to pay for her college tuition (wow, sounds a lot like the workers at the rhino working to "put themselves through law school"). The guy would pay for her college tuition. Of course, in exchange, she would take care of certain household chores but more importantly take care of him when he needed taken care of. He confirmed on the radio that "taking care of him" would entail what most listeners are imagining and that it wasn't completely ok to go into details on the radio.

The female hosts and some female listeners were absolutely disgusted by this idea. They thought he was a pig and that basically he was paying for a hooker. Of course, there were mixed thoughts on this one and there were girls that called in and said if this guy was decent looking, then something can be arranged.

I thought it was interesting, mainly because of a lot of the female arguments. They thought it was ridiculous that a girl had to put out in exchange for some fee (in this example, the tuition). They thought there's no difference between that and a guy going to a dark corner, hiring some prostitute, and doing it in the back alley (or the hotel room or whatever). The funny thing is, while all these feminists errrrr, I mean ladies were ranting about how disgusting this was, I started thinking how is this that different from dating?

Ok, yeah, I get that most people would classify it differently but is it really as different as people think it is? Hell, paying for hooker is probably like getting a girl drunk for a one night stand. Are all college girls considered hookers? Here's my thought. These ladies were all pissed off because of the notion that a guy paying for her needs is receiving sex in exchange. What do you think guys are doing when they are offering shots to women? Being nice just to be nice? Or being nice to get into their pants? If your answer is because the guy is nice, then wow... I mean, wow. How old are you, 12?

Let's see. You meet a girl, you take her out to dinner. You wine and dine her, share some stories, share some laughs, you take her home and give her a goodnight kiss. You even opened the car door for her and you were a perfect gentleman throughout the night. You don't get anything more than a good night kiss but all the guys reading this knows that it's just a set up to the next date where you're obviously going to go further. So let's see, what exactly happened here? You provided the girl what she needs (free dinner, free drinks, companionship, sense of humor, etc) so that you can get what you want ("taken care of"). I mean if the live-in maid concept is like prostitution, is dating all that different???

Yeah, yeah, I get that there are plenty of exceptions and I'm not saying that any girl in a relationship is a hooker. It's actually the complete opposite. I'm arguing that the live-in maid situation is NOT the same as having a prostitute. I mean I never had a hooker but I'm guessing the transaction goes something along the lines of you negotiate, you pay, and you have sex. She walks out the door, both getting what you wanted. Strictly business, right? In the live-in maid situation, it would be different wouldn't it? There doesn't have to be any chemistry but there needs to be some level of getting along because otherwise, it would just be annoying to live with someone and to pay for their shit if you can't hold a decent conversation. That sounds a lot more like dating, doesn't it?

I don't know, what do you all think? Am I totally off the mark? Am I a total pig? If I am, I'm ok with it... I'm not Tucker Max and I'm not trying to use this blog to get laid.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm not a gym rat...

But I've been spending a lot of time devoted to exercises... of course, some of them, in my book, don't even count... like playing basketball in my mind is not an exercise... it's just what I like doing. So... my typical week goes like this...

Monday evening - I lift.
Tuesday at 7am - I play bball for 1.5hrs at the company gym.
Tuesday evening - I lift (diff areas from Mon, obv)
Wednesday evening - lift/swim
Thursday at 7am - same as Tues
Thurs evening - happy hr...
Friday at 7am - same as Tues/Thurs
Friday evening - more happy hr
Saturday - usually a pretty intense lifting day, followed by a swim
Sunday - bike 18-24 miles

I'm not big or buff by any means... I think I have a decent body... well, I've gotten compliments whenever I take my shirt off... but I have a small frame so I don't like that. I'm 6'0 and I only weigh 165lbs...

Well, the reason why I was incorporating swimming and doing 2-a-days when playing ball was because I was training for a triathlon... the thing is, it was a sprint triathlon so the distance for each leg is half of what the olympic distance triathlon is. So, my race was 300m swim/20k bike/5k run... about as short as it can be for a triathlon. Well, that was this past weekend and even though it's short, I popped my tri cherry!



I was pretty pissed off that my first transition time took so long... I had a tri top that had my bib # on and so I was trying to put that on... putting a tight top when wet is extremely difficult... and it literally took me like 2+ minutes trying to put it on, taking it off, trying again... Overall, I had a great time (not my actual time but the time I had at the race was fun) but I had way too much left in the tank at the end of the race so I was not too excited about my performance... but then again, it's my first one so I guess it's passable. I'll give it a B- for my personal grade.

I do know that I no longer have any desire to run a marathon (which at one point was on my life checklist). I will prob do a half actually... oh, for you bloggers who still read this and those of you that run (I'm pretty much talking to you and you), any interest in doing the Vegas half on 12/6? My buddy and I are doing it so you guys should join... isn't that around the winter gathering anyways?

So then this past Sunday, I did my tri... well, last night was our company league 3on3 tournament. Despite it being a company league, it's actually uber competitive and we have refs... if we can call them that... they are the same refs from the County league that I play in and they are freakin terrible. Well, in this double elimination tournament, despite losing our very first game, we actually won the next 4 games to make it to the Finals!! Of course, by then, we were totally gassed and considering we were playing against the #2 seed (we knocked off the #1 seed in the game before in OT) which was also last year's champion, and they played 2 less games than we did (because they were the #2 seed and they didn't have to go through the loser's bracket), they crushed us... during the seeding games last week, we lost to them 13-9 (it's a game to 20 by 1s and 2s or 20 minutes, whichever comes first)... last night, we got crushed in the Finals 20-4... No surprise. We were completely done after knocking off the #1 seed. Having said that, it was a total blast.

With all the workouts and my renewed social life, I've devoted a lot less time playing poker... but I'm ok with that for now.

Oh, at our company gym, there's also a list for anyone who can bench more than 120% of their weight and it is ranked by %. You have to bench the weight 3 times to qualify and so I did 220lbs 3 times, good enough to put me on the list at 132%. Of course, that puts me like 3 from the bottom but there are only about 15 guys on the list... so, my next goal is to move up that ranking. 235lbs would get me 142% which would put me on the upper half of the list so that should be my goal. Hopefully sometime in the next few months, I can get there...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nothing really

These days, I feel like I got so much going on that I really haven't had time to play poker... I think I'm averaging maybe 4-5 hrs per week... maybe a little more but really not that much more. As such, I'm struggling to come up with contents for this blog. Where has my time gone? Well, honestly, most of my time these days are spent working, vacationing/going out of town (I was in NY this past weekend), working out (my first triathlon is coming up in a month), etc... Very little poker and this kinda makes me sad because I want to play more... I just don't have the time.

But anyways, the main reason... errrr, the only reason I'm writing this post is to give props to LJ. Though we haven't talked in a while (since my company banned gchat), her text message in the middle of the night (LJ, midnight in Vegas = 3am EST) reminded me of WSOP and the fact that my nemesis as well as the only other blogger that I haven't met that I really would like to (wow, that was a long description of cmitch) are out there donking it up. Actually, that description of cmitch is not true. These two donks avoid blogger gatherings like the plague too.

But anyways, yeah, go give LJ some love since she just came in 10th in the WSOP Horse event. Fawkin aye. She was 9 people away from a god damn bracelet!!!! That woulda been so awesome but nonetheless, an awesome run. Maybe her new employment made her an even better poker player??? For those of you that don't know, she's director of marketing at CardRunners. So awesome. I love my company and my job but honestly, I'm wasting my life away. I'm in nowhereville VA and every time I go back to Tokyo or visit NY, I'm reminded of how much I miss the city life and how bored I am in suburbia. Don't get me wrong. Richmond is a very nice city... if you want a fuckin family. But for a single guy, it's boring as shit. I love my friends here and if I move, I will miss them a lot. But convenient, quiet, and good school district aren't exactly high on my priority list when those things come at the expense of entertainment. So, that's my long way of saying that I'm looking to get the fuck outta here. I might have an opportunity to move to NY within my company so worst case scenario, I'm moving to NY by Jan of 2010. Best case scenario? Finding something even before that and moving to Tokyo or NY. But either way, before I do anything, I know I have to go visit these two clowns as well.

GL to everyone in Vegas! And LJ, as I promised, I'll look up tickets for the weekend and if I find a decent flight, I'll go out there, even if it's just for the weekend. I mean it is the WSOP after all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

OMG a blog post!

It's funny how what you intend to do and what actually happens are totally different. 3 weeks ago, when I was leaving for Japan, my thought was "phew, I'll finally be able to take a much needed break, relax, and maybe play some poker." Naturally, I figured I'd catch up on reading other blogs as well as post a few times while I was there. Instead, my 14 day stay in Japan was a complete blur. Some nights, literally.

There are so many things that I can recap. But even for me, mr my-life-is-an-open-book, I don't want to disclose all... plus it would just be a needlessly long blog post. So, I guess I will just summarize a few points...

- in a totally random coincidence, my boss from my old job (who is also my mentor and a friend) was in Japan and we spent a day together showing him around
- it is possible to never leave an apartment on the 9th floor and lose pieces of clothing... and I don't mean in a good way...
- when I first got home, my two best friends from high school kept trying to convince me to move back... by the time I was leaving, they said "maybe it's good that you don't actually live here... if you did, I would probably get divorced and F will never find a job."
- My two best friends from high school are also the best wingmen in the world. M & F, you guys are the shit!
- I will never ever lie about my age and where I live anymore. I am a 33 yr old in Richmond, VA... hopefully, that will change soon.
- I ate raw liver. That's right, raw liver. Sounds nasty, I know. But it's soooo much better than cooked liver.
- I ate whale, obv raw. Best sashimi I ever had. Yeah, I know, I know, I'm generally anti whale hunting. But it was sooooooo good. So Greenpeace, you can eff off. tyvm.