Guess what? Still alive and kicking. Sorry to disappoint you all but hey I always have loved screwing up people’s wishes.
Was going to write this a few days ago when the warm weather made me feel half decent but ripped a fingernail on my one good hand half off and the bandage had me fat fingering through everything so put it off for a bit. Now it’s cold and rainy and I feel lousy but Verizon is fucking up my On Demand so it was either type or read so I decided to type.
Haven’t written a whole lot for a lot of reasons. The second stroke had me down for awhile followed by my usual mid-winter funk. Somewhere along the line I fried the computer I had bought about a year ago and purchasing a new one didn’t do my disposition any good. Follow that up with an ongoing battle with the ex over the time I’m getting to spend with my daughter, have seen her a whole 2 and a half days so far this year and maybe a total of 6-7 weeks total in last 18 months, and no poker to speak off thanks to Black Friday for online and beaucoup expenses for live so ain’t a whole lot to write about and not a lot of will for writing anyhoo.
Couple bits of good or potential good news. Weight loss is still going well, down about 50 lbs. so far, the lightest I’ve been in 30 years but still shooting for another 30-35 lbs. It helps that new health insurance is paying for a gym membership. Speaking of that issue, changed my insurance this year for about a $200 a month savings with, so far, better seeming benefits so that has helped my mood. Just had another MRI done an the doc says my brain is still there and functioning as well as could be expected. I know a lot of you will debate him on that issue but I go with him for now. No problems, maybe, he just wanted a comparison to last Oct. to make sure nothing is wrong. I say maybe because I now have to get a MRA which is a MRI with different settings. Seems the radiologist suggested it because there was an issue with the MRI, something to do with blood vessels in a section of my brain. Neurologist thinks it’s what’s called artifact, something that looks like it’s there but really isn’t because MRIs aren’t really set to detect certain things hence the MRA to double check. Better safe than sorry. Guess I’ll find out for sure next week. Other potential good news is I now have a new rheumatologist. This one has someone in the office to help figure finances to get people to be able to afford some of the expensive biologics that are out there. So no guarantees but hopefully I may soon be on some kind of arthritis treatment again. Also I found out that even though I may not qualify for anything in the next month or so there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. It seems the oft derided Obamacare has a provision that starting in 1914 allows for generic biologics which means I might not have to wait until I hit the lottery or turn 62 and qualify for a Medicare supplement. Any old port in a storm. And before a lot of you start busting on me for liking Obamacare remember this. Most of you hate it because you find it unnecessary since your employer provides healthcare. Well guess what, mine did too before he decided he didn’t need me anymore and got rid of me so just hope you don’t lose your job and have a medical catastrophe if the tea partiers have their way. And even if that doesn’t happen think about this, 50 years ago most employers provided a pension. Then came the 401K where you had to start providing your own retirement fund (and I bet you didn’t get an increase when your boss started saving that money) but even then to encourage workers companies used to provide decent matching funds. Today however, now that the 401K is a way of life companies provide sparse, if any, matching funds. Can you say big, red bulls eye on medical benefits? May not effect you but your kids or grandkids will be providing their own insurance soon enough and begging for a single payer system let alone Obamacare. I mean look what they did with ATMs. At first they were a cost saving measure but once established came the fees and they became a money maker not just a saver. Anything for a bigger profit and another zero on the corner office bonus checks.
Well, been home two weeks now and things seem to be going OK. Seems I had a second stroke, this time affecting my right, or dominant, side. Luckily it was minor compared tothe one I had 4 years ago. Only my leg was affected and that only slightly. It seems there was only a partial blockage ofthe artery rather than a total one. Still it hasn’t been a caseof beer and skittles. Spent 4 days in the hospital, 10 in rehab and still heading to out patient therapy. Stuck with a walker for a bit but think I’m about to shed it soon. Actually my leg feels at almost full strength but being laid up has given the arthritus a chance to gain a major foothold and I’m fighting that as much or moreso than the stroke. Hopefully though I see what might be a way tohelp alleviate that but that is going to depend on a visit to the rheumatologist and the new year and a change of health insurance. Here’s hoping.
The fun this time around has been with the therapists. In rehab they use both physical and occupational therapy. PT is no problem for me because work on strengthening the legs is what I need. OT on the other hand is, for those who don’t know, getting you back in to every day life, regaining use os what’s been damaged or learning to adapt in case it doesn’t come back. Last time I need both but this time around OT really had nothing to do as my living skills were not affected. The first time they brought out the dexterity exercises I just looked and said, “Come on now”. We finally reached a accomodation on stretching exercises. Turned out to be a good thing as the arthritus had me locked a lot tighter than I thought. Anyway the stretching while a major pain in the ass is doing me a world of good.
Speaking of a world of good the hospital stay has had some good, if unintended consequences. While there we solved the reasons for some vertigo problems I was having this past summer. AlsoI got used to hospital portions for meals and as a consequence I’m down about 20 lbs. Since I’ve been continuing the smaller meals at home, though not quite as small as there, I’m shooting for another 15 by Christmas. It’s helped that goodie consumption is also way down. They also decided that my diabetes is more insulin resistant than insulin dependent so that they upped the internal meds and cut the insulin i had been taking. In fact except for a bit of slow acting insulin at night I havn’t had touse a bit the ast acting stuff in three weeks. The weight loss hasn’t hurt there either. Blood pressure, which was on the high side of the “good” numbers is now solidly down on the low tomiddle of the good numbers. Like Lightning it took a major hospital stay to wake me up. Unlike him though it took me two of them. Slow learner.
The hospital stay really screwed my travel plans up though. I had planned on Mastadon Weekend and that got totally screwed. I guess i have to watch blogger gatherings. First stroke came two weeks after Al’slast Bash andthis one right before Mastadon Weekend. Maybe it’s a good thingthat medical bills put the kibosh on any plans for WPBT this year. Besides still have numerous doctor’s visits in the next month or so too. Anyway I hope I’m up and running by Memorial Day so I can make Boston Anime with my daughter (are you listening Waffles) and any gatherings that might be taking place next year.
On a closing note I see VJ has decided to hang up her pen while I was away. She will be missed but I can understand where she’s coming from. Since Black Friday it’stough to write when you aren’t doing a whole lot of playing and the blogger games have gone kaput.
Amazing the healing powers of the post. Finally got around to posting this past weekend and today I get the word that they are cutting me loose tomorrow. Considering I wasn’t figuring on going home until Friday and more than half way expecting a “well, we think you should spend a few more days with us” speech I’m feeling sky high. Of course activities still going to be curtailed a bit for a few weeks but home sounds good enough right now. In fact one semi good thing came out of this trip. Lately I had been suffering from mysterious bouts of vertigo and when your brain has fucked you up once already you start imagining the worst. Well found out that I am undergoing periods of low blood pressure. Not that it is all happy, happy, joy, joy and they haven’t figured out a way to solve the problem but low blood pressure sure beats the living dog shit out of some of the things I was thinking might be wrong. Now just have to figure out why my blood pressure is dipping down to about 90/50 and what to do about it. Plus need to get my mental attitude focused on walking again. Not that I can’t but when you’ve been labeled a fall risk and haven’t really moved around for 2 weeks except therapy sessions it takes awhile to learn to trust yourself once again. But I’m heading home and that’s a start.,
Been awile since I posted. For awhile I was busy. Then I hit one of those wtf periods that get to me. Then I was making plans to hit MastadonWeekend. Now I have no excuses. My ass is stuck back in the rehab hospital where this mostly started about 4 years ago with nothing to do somight as wellwhite again. Nothing major, at least so far, just a bit of a relapse of my stroke. My leg went weak about a week ago so they decided a bit of rehab would help. Not as long a stay as years ago. In fact looking at a Friday release as of this writing and hopefully that won’t change ut my traveling will be curtailed a bit after that. Damn I need some Internet poker. Any way I figured to let anyone out there that might be wondering that I’m still around and as annoying as ever. More on my experiences at this “wonderful” place over the next couple days.
Snuck out again for some more low limit poker. Have decided that rather than put in my usual 10-12 hour sessions once a week or every other week I’m going to try a different tack. I’m going to take between $80-120 and hit either the 2-4 or 3-6 game for about 3-4 hours, or until I lose the amount I set for the day, every day or other day. Was planning a trip for tomorrow but decided to make one tonight too. Figured a limit of $60 at the 2-4 table or 3 hours. Broke that idea first night out.
Got to Harrah’s about 7:30 and got seated right away though in the 9, one of my hated seats. (Actually it’s the 10 I hate but Harrah’s plays a 9 seat table so there it’s the 9) Playing with only $60 to start made me tighten up my game a bit. I usually don’t take 2-4 seriously and tend to take a lot of flyers but since I had no back up money in my pockets, done to keep me focused, I had to behave myself. Did a lot of folding but decided money could be made tonight because the table was a bit loosey goosey instead of being filled with nitty old men which meant decent pots. OTOH it wasn’t ridiculously loose so that you were going to be crushed by some idiot playing 2-3 off to a raise either, at least not at first. Only had one decent hand the first two orbits, K-K which cost me a bit because I raised pre and bet out the flop and turn but figured my goose was cooked when the river brought the third suited and it was. Actually I played about an hour in the 10 and didn’t take a pot. Of course I folded a lot too so my stack wasn’t ridiculously riddled. Moved to the two when it opened up but it wasn’t much better. Lost another decent amount when Q-Q got cracked and it was looking like an early night. I was down to my last $15 or so when my A-8 suited on the button flopped open ended and nut flush draws with 6 people in the pot. Someone bet the flop and everyone called. Turn was an 8 and I’m cursing under my breath. There went my straight draw. Someone again bet and again everyone called but I figure someone has the straight now and is playing it cagey. I call figuring if I hit my flush I’m getting paid off, if not I’m headed home. River is beautiful heart giving me the nuts and not only does someone bet but it is raised before it gets to me, with a caller yet. Glorioski Sandy, this makes up for last 90 minutes of suck ass hands. I three bet and the original better looks like he wants to call but then thinks better of it. The other two do call however. One has the high side straight and the other the low side. Guy who mucked said he had the low side also and figured with 3 players and 2 raises that he had to be beat. Guy who the high side had made a bit of a snide comment but if you aren’t playing open ended and flush draws on the flop in limit then you are nuts and the regular odds, let alone the implied odds, means it’s worth calling that turn bet. If that had been anything but the 8 I probably would have raised there figuring if I didn’t hit I was going home anyway but that 8 took away too many of my outs. Anyway the pot was big enough to put me about even so I’m playing a bit longer. I then watch my stack dwindle again when I have big pairs cracked two more times and actually get playable cards in the hole and watch the flops bite the big one. Then I go on an amazing tear. No, not a winning one, a chopping one. I proceed to chop 3 of the next 4 hands, one of them a triple chop. That one pissed me off because I flopped open ended on a big pot but the turn counterfeited one of my cards and while the river gave me the nut straight it also two others the same straight but only because of that turn. Otherwise I would have been even again or maybe a bit better. I then proceeded to chop at least 5 more hands including another triple before I actually won one out right. Un-frikkin-believable. And I wasn’t finished. Over the course of the rest of the night I probably chopped at least 5-6 more hands including another triple. These weren’t things like 4 card straights on the board either; they were hands where we both had the same hole cards. But my night was running like a roller coarse, almost out then up enough to keep playing.
About 10 I was down again and figuring on leaving soon when I went on a real tear this time. I actually started to win some pots and get above even. My plan had been to leave about 10:30 win, lose or draw but somewhere along the line two women wound up in the 8-9 and they were true no foldem holdem players. In fact I watched the woman in the 8 win pots on the river by playing and calling down with hands like Q-6 off or 2-3 off so that when she actually folded a hand pre I couldn’t figure out what could be bad enough to fold given what she had already shown to be playing. In fact the Q-6 pissed me off because I flopped a straight and she called down two raises with that Q giving her a gutterball draw which turned in to a higher straight on the river. Be that as it may I now had some chips and decided to play for awhile since the pots were getting much better. Just had to watch my step and I drew a line on my chips that if I went below I was leaving. BTW, that was the second time I had a flopped straight cracked. Earlier I had taken a flier on a weak ace otb and was cursing when the big blind raised but called the extra two when 6 more people calling made it worthwhile. Flopping the wheel made me take back those curses but a river that paired the board making someone’s two pair a boat made me start mumbling again. As it was I started winning my share of pots and then some so that by midnight I was about tripled up. Was definitely leaving at pumpkin time but about 5 minutes before hand I got a call from my mother. Now Mom is usually in bed by 11 so what the hell is she doing calling me at that time? Seems her and my Dad had to take my nephew to the hospital as he was complaining of chest pains and coughing blood. WTF? I said I was leaving any way so I counted up and then colored up to $175 for a profit of $115. Took it in greens since I’m heading back later this morning. On the way home I call my brother as my folks said he was headed to the hospital. They had taken my nephew as he had been asleep and had to be at work early but he woke up and noticed his son missing and headed to the hospital when he found out that’s where he had gone. I asked how my nephew was but he didn’t know just yet so I told him I would stop on my way home. About 10-15 minutes later I get a call from the folks saying my nephew has blood clots in the lungs and they were admitting him and so my brother said don’t bother stopping as he was also going to head home. That was 2 hours ago and he hasn’t shown yet so I have no further update. Hopefully things are OK. It does kind of put a damper on what was turning out to be a decent night though.
Snuck out for some poker today. Not so much that I was in the mood to play poker but more like I was bored out of my skull had couldn’t think of much else to do. Haven’t played much over the last few months due mainly to the run bad of life that has been going on and the fact that the part time work I had picked up had been keeping me pretty busy in the periods that weren’t fucked up. The last 2 weeks had kept me pretty much confined to the house and the air conditioning. Heat and humidity are as bad for the psoriatic arthritis I suffer as the extremely cold days of winter if not worse. I was relatively pain free thanks to the mild winter that just went past but so far this summer has made up for it and the last two weeks have been the worse as not only my joints but even my muscles have been screaming at me. Today was the first day that my hands and knees, while majorly stiff, did not beg me for some heavy duty pain killers and I didn’t feel like sitting around as I have been doing so I decided on a trip to Chester. Not for any major play but just to kill a few hours and the trip being such I asked my family if they felt like going. Dad and a couple of aunts said no but Mom decided she also wanted out of the house so off we went.
I had snuck off the Harrah’s a time or two in the last few weeks, mainly after a trip to the place I am doing business with, company called Advantek (they do time card systems and from my understanding of their business aren’t restricted to my local area so anyone out there needing a good time recording system for your business look them up, they are on the web, or drop me an email or comment. I did business with them for 15 years when I was running an IT dept and their product is great and support staff excellent. Figure I owe Scott and Chris the plug) Anyway, on those trips I had started playing NL again figuring I needed to knock some rust off and if I got felted early I would just book. Results were mixed. Today, OTOH, I had decided to go with limit since I had a passenger. Didn’t feel like re-buying if felted early and sure as hell didn’t feel like sitting around while Mom played slots so figured limit would stretch my time some. Really need not have bothered. I was second on the 2-4 list with #1 being a call in and was 10 or 11 on the interest list for a 3-6 game so I figured no big deal. Either I get the first 2-4 seat or with a standard 9 player table the 3-6 should soon be a go. Fat lot I knew. The run bad still hanging around. I wound up sitting around for close to an hour. Seems like limit is still the red headed step child of the poker rooms. While sitting the 2-4 list expanded to over 15 people while another 4-5 names joined the 3-6 list. Now I understand why they didn’t want to call a 3-6 game right away as it would probably kill one of the 2-4 tables but once both lists expanded and a number of names on the 2-4 list were not on the 3-6, could tell by the number of names behind me on both lists, there was no reason not to call the 3-6 game since any 2-4 players in poached would soon be filled in. They had no problem opening up 1-2 tables however as soon as the list reached 9-10 players however. They finally called a 2-4 seat after about 35 minutes but by then the call in at the top had arrived so I was still waiting and I finally heard my name called for a game about 20 min or so after. In the meantime both limit lists had expanded to about 20 names while they kept opening up NL tables. You think they could have spared one table for us lowly limit players
So I finally get to a table and my luck wasn’t much better. Kept flopping two pair and getting rivered. Can’t say it was because of no foldem holdem either. The table consisted of 8 other nitty old men who made me feel young again. Not a table with a lot of action but my two pair kept running up against guys with top or middle pair and they usually aren’t folding that no matter how nitty and someone usually wound up catching a bigger two pair or trips on the river. One timed I figured I was good when I flopped top two I saw the disaster unfolded. Had K-J suited in the cutoff and caught the flop and with 5 people in the pot I raised when the BB bet out. BB called along with 2 others. Turn was a 3 and everyone checked to me and when I bet the BB raised. Ok, I figured, he caught the 3 for two pair figuring he had a K since he bet out the flop. I’m not worried, I have a bigger 2 pair. Of course the river is another 3 and he bets, I call and of course he tables K-3. And so it goes as I watch over half my chips dwindle away in the first half hour or so. To add insult to injury even the hands I’m trashing are flopping 2 pair. Was in a 2 pair rut and in a nitty game they usually hold up but not today. My luck does eventually turn and I start to gather some chips back when they eventually call the 3-6 game. Now I’m debating. While I usually prefer a bit higher stakes than 2-4, 4-8 or 5-10 actually, do I really want to move now that I’m finally getting some hands to hold up? I decide yes and go mark a seat at the table which is right next to where I am sitting and tell the dealer to give me a yell if it’s a go. I’ve learned never give up one seat until I’m sure of the other and since I know my name was on that list for 2 hours or so who knows how long some of the others have been. They might have left already or be reluctant to move if they are winning at their 2-4 table. The game is a go however and I move over about even in chips.
The 3-6 was even nittier than the 2-4. I started bleeding again because it was impossible to put any one on a hand. The word raise wasn’t in anyone’s vocabulary after the flop and rarely before it. Again I’m catching 2 pair and I’m getting creamed. One hand early on I flop top and bottom and raise an earlier bet. When he proceeds to just call and then check-call both the turn and river I figure I’m good until he tables his cards showing he flopped top 2. No re-raise on the flop to find out where he stands even if he didn’t want to risk a check raise on the turn. Don’t know how many hands I was betting thinking I’m good when someone is sitting on a set or made a straight and the only word out of their mouth is call. Nitty wasn’t the word. Next thing I know my chips are gone and I’m in to the cash back up. That goes and so do I. As at the 2-4 table however my luck soon turns and thanks to these nitty old men I start to rebuild my stack. I say thanks because it is not a sociable table and when I’m playing sociable I’m my own worst enemy. At anything less than 4-8 and a friendly table I have a bad habit of not betting or raising the river card in a heads up situation unless I know the guy I’m against isn’t sociable. This winds up costing me money in the long run. I won’t check it down before the river nor will I check in a multiway pot but otherwise I will forego that extra bet on the river and those extra $4 or $6 can add up over a couple hours. But while some of these guys were friendly enough I didn’t have that “sociable” feeling and I just kept firing instead of passing up these bets. Helped because eventually I brought myself to even. Felt sorry for the guy on my right as I wound up catching him for a bit of swag. I woke up to pocket aces in the BB and rose. Surprisingly everyone folded even though those with money in the pot except for the small blind. Flop comes K high, no draws and he bets, I raise, he calls. Turn brings me the ace and he checks, I bet, he calls. River is another K. He bets and again I raise and again he calls. I table the A-A and he shows K-Q and says he couldn’t get away. Of course not, only 2 hands beat him and he was unlucky enough that I had one of them. Actually 6 hands would have beat him but none of the other 4 were raising hands from OOP. I needed that hand because not long before I made a boo-boo. A few hand earlier there was a 9-9-2 flop and I made a remark about not having my mojo hand, 9-2. The very next hand I get it so I play it and the guy on my left raises. With 5 players I decide to play along since my stack is back up. Flop is 9-8-J so I just check and raiser bets. Everyone drops out so I take another flyer and call. Turn is my 2 but I’m not liking straight possibilities and just check as does he. River is a K and I check again figuring on calling with my 2 pair but not wanting to set myself up for a raise. He fires and I call and then I have a major brain fart. He says “do you got it?” while showing A-Q. All I heard was got it and looking at the board think I see a straight and muck. No sooner do I toss the cards do I realize he had nothing. Fuck! Wasn’t a big pot but hey, everything counts. Not the first time. I’ll live.
I’ve got the stack built up again and been there about 3-3.5 hours so give Mom a call and tell her whenever she’s ready I’ll head out. At first she thinks I want to go but I tell her no, I’m doing OK, just whenever she’s ready. She’s just hit a small bonus on a machine so she has playing cash so says when she is she’ll come down to the card room. Fine by me. I’m not going to make a lot going forward. In the last half hour or so these guys have gotten so tight that just betting is bringing me pots. I’m gathering small amounts in position because when they all check I bet no matter what I’m holding and everyone folds. In situations like that risk now overtakes reward since the only time I’m going to get played back at is when there’s a good chance I’m beat. I might take the small pots but unless I have the nuts big pots are going to be a gamble with the possibility of losing back all I’ve gained and no chance of getting it back with everyone so nitty. No, time to leave when the table gets like that so I just tighten up myself and play position to keep stealing. Somewhere along the line the power of money makes itself apparent. They’ve opened up a second, must move table for 3-6 and still have a list but one of the floor people comes over pushing a chair. Huh? Then he tells us to square up in front of the cup holders. What’s going on, a 10 man table? Now I don’t mind but at first I can’t figure it out. Then it hits, 7 Stars member. You have that card and you wait for nothing in the poker room, no list, no must move table, nada. They’re squeezing you in at the main table. Older guy sits down and peels a couple of Benjamins off a roll big enough to throttle one of the trotters out on the track and there ain’t no “you have to make your first buy at the window” bullshit either. Must be nice to get that kind of service but I’ll never know. I have the potential for Diamond status if I decide to put my mind to serious poker again but 7 Stars is way beyond my reach. Guy is nice enough and we discuss the table for awhile but I figure Mom will be along soon and my afternoon almost done.
Sure enough Mom shows up about 20-25 min later. Seems the machines that were keeping her playing were in the smoking section and the atmosphere finally got to her. She had to up and move to the non smoking territory and she went ice cold after that. I’m UTG and tell her I’ll be ready as soon as the button passes. I win a hand on the big blind and steal a hand from the cutoff. Last hand so I decide to play a J-7 suited. The flop is air but everyone checks so I make my usual stab and like clockwork they all fold. Nice way to finish up. I count up my chips and find I’m $44 to the good. Not a great afternoon but considering I was down a buck and a quarter at one point not a bad comeback. Beats losing or sitting around being bored.
OK, blogger game now over so time to continue on with the trials and tribulations along the anime trail.
Easter morning comes along and we are up early, grabbing the freebie breakfast at the hotel and checking out. I had hoped to be heading home for Easter dinner but due to all the other circumstances we are heading back to the Hynes and the last day of the convention. Since we are heading home after that we’re driving in to town. Driving in to Boston was something I really had been trying to avoid. Boston drivers are the worst in the frikkin world, once saw one go up on the sidewalk to avoid a traffic jam and in my last trip to Maine I only went around Boston but twice barely missed being hit as the drivers seemed to think that anywhere they felt like moving was free for the taking no matter who might already be occupying the space. Not to mention general city traffic. (I’m way impatient, don’t handle traffic well. I’ll travel on back roads rather than expressways if I think I might run in to a jam up on the expressway. I’ll also travel miles out of the way as long as I can keep moving.) Didn’t believe in turn signals either. Also I figured parking in the city would cost a small fortune if Boston was anywhere like Philly. I figured however that it being Sunday the traffic wouldn’t be as bad and hopefully the garages might lower their fees on weekends since there aren’t the workday crowds. The drive in wasn’t bad and while it wasn’t like there was weekday traffic the streets weren’t exactly deserted either. Of course Yachiru, who had been behaving herself this trip, decides to have some fun with us and directs us somewhere that ain’t the convention center. Fortunately we were in the neighborhood and I made a lucky guess as to which way we were supposed to head but not before I made a turn down the wrong side of a street and headed up the down staircase. Soon got to where I belonged with a minimum of pissed off drivers, hey, when in Rome, and we soon found ourselves looking for a garage. There seemed to be a plethora of them and I drove around a bit before I found one close to the hotel. We had found out by then that a lot of stuff was centered in the hotel including the autograph sessions so we decided to start our day there. So I head down, it was an underground garage and find I am in for a surprise. The frikkin place was a labyrinth. All the entrances led to one giant parking garage and it was a maze of narrow lanes, small parking spots and minimal signage. Where the hell were we? Last thing I wanted to do was wind up walking another half mile sine I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me. Started driving around trying to find a place near the hotel or convention center and eventually got lost. Yup, lost in a parking garage. Not lost in the sense I couldn’t find my way out but lost in the sense of I had no idea how far away from where I wanted to be. Eventually saw two guys getting out of a parked car with con badges around their neck and figured good, should be close. Asked them where the entrance to the con was and informed that we were about as far away from it as can be and still be in the garage. We are? Then what the hell are you guys parking here for? Masochists. Since they said we were at the opposite end of the garage I whipped around and headed in the opposite directions and soon saw people walking and dragging suitcases behind them. Good, must be close. Thanks to the sharp eyes of my daughter she found a tiny ass sign that pointed to the Sheraton and I saw the doorway and made a quick turn around to grab an empty space I had just passed. Space wasn’t too far away but it wasn’t exactly handicapped parking either not to mention the hallway from the garage to the hotel then the walk from the elevators to the autograph area. Great, here go my legs again but at least it was better than the walk from the subway
We get to the autograph rooms and, here is that word again, unfortunately there is only one person there and he isn’t a voice actor. It is Takamasa Sakurai, who is a producer and writer of books on how anime is working to make others aware of Japanese culture. He is currently making the rounds of various cons as a cultural ambassador type. When we got there we were the only ones present so we didn’t have to wait and were able to spend some time with him. Was an interesting session. He spoke some English but there was a very good looking girl with him who did a lot of translating. They both saw my cane and were very solicitous of my welfare, grabbing me a chair and telling me to sit and not taking no for an answer. Asked us a lot of questions about what we knew about Japanese culture and how anime had affected our knowledge. Hated to disappoint him but told him that I had been fascinated by Japan and Japanese culture since my college days so anime didn’t add a lot to what I already knew but I did find the occasional surprise in the shows. I then let my daughter talk to him while I talked to one of the staff people who had come in with us. It was from him that I found out about the info book and the handicap ID that I should have gotten on my badge. Daughter had a good time talking to Sakarai-san and when we left there was a long line waiting. Her hopes took a hit though when we found out that there weren’t any other autograph sessions on Sun. We then decided to head over to the convention center and found that we could do it right on that floor, no need to hit the lobby and go the long way around. Along the way we find rooms where board and card gamers can gather to play, a library full of manga where one can sit peacefully for awhile away from the hustle and bustle of the con, a blood drive and finally, in a large room between the hotel and the convention center a mass of video games, free to play. My daughter goes ape saying if she had known about this sooner she could have spent a whole day in that room alone. Damn. Don’t know about the whole day but it would have been cool for a couple hours the day before when I needed a rest. A lot cheaper too than sending her to the dealer hall. Going out the other side we find ourselves in a strange part of the convention center with more auditoriums and presentations. Hell, what did we miss yesterday? We stopped in a few and missed a few my daughter wanted to see due to them being full. Definitely need to make sure we get info books at future events so we can plan stuff out, this haphazard, go along, get along stuff killed us. We make our way back to familiar territory and I was sorry I didn’t have my camera ready. As we got off the elevator at one floor there was a congregation of people all dressed like various shinigami from the anime Bleach. Most of the costumes were excellent but there was one a really would have liked a picture of. There were two people dressed as Kenpachi and Yachiru. In the show Kenpachi is a giant of a man with really spiked up hair scars and an eye patch. Yachiru is his lieutenant and is a very tiny girl with pink hair and a bad sense of direction. Both people had done a great job on their costumes but the best part is that, in the anime Yachiru rides upon Kenpachi’s shoulders and back giving him direction to whatever fight he is looking for. And these characters were duplicating that bit. The guy was big, the girl tiny and he was carrying her around on his back, her peering over the shoulder. That wasn’t something I ever thought could have been brought off in real life but somehow this guy had the strength to do it. Just wish I had gotten a picture of it.
Some pictures I did get.
And my family thinks I’m crazy.
It was getting a bit late and all the walking was getting to me and of course my daughter wants to hit the dealer hall again. She just loves to spend my money. Well I did promise her. We find out that it is closing in about an hour and a half, earlier than the rest of the con, so I tell my daughter OK but we start to head out afterwards because I don’t want to be lugging bags all around. Besides we still have a bit of a drive ahead. She agrees and I give her some money while I head for a soda and a chair. Tell her to stick to the tables near the door so I can find her easily when I head in and to not spend the money I gave her to hold for the parking garage. She having a zippered pocket I had told her to hold on to some bucks as back up. Being able to use only half the pockets in my pants I sometimes have a nasty habit of dropping bills from overcrowded pockets while reaching for something else so I take precautions. She tells me she wants to get a Mokona backpack and they are at a table in the middle of the room so I say go get it and get back up front since I’m going to set my ass for a bit anyway. My daughter is anxious to see if she can haggle as she found out she could do and off she goes.
I finally get my ass up and go join my daughter in the dealer hall. I’ve behaved myself and now it is my turn to indulge. I find my daughter in the process of purchasing a DVD her Mokona pack on her back.
I ask her if she haggled for it and she said no because the price was already cheaper than it had been earlier but she was going to do so for the DVD. Looking at the prices I understood why you could haggle, there was a pretty good mark up on them. She was about 5th in line at the table so I told her I would meet her overt at one of the book sellers at the end of the row and went off to browse. Picked up a couple of tee shirts for her and me. Prices were marked down as I expected they would be but the drawback to waiting is that a couple of shirts I wanted were no longer available in my size. Oh well. Then head over to the book sellers tables. Here was where the discounts were to be found and I took advantage of it. Anyone who really knows me knows I can go apeshit when I have money and am in a book store. In my younger days I would make about 4-5 visits a year to the mall with the express purpose of hitting the book stores and would blow a couple of bills on the trip. Lately I have stopped that as I do more shopping on line and collecting first edition hardcovers. Not any cheaper, just less quantity. This however was like the old days, I was bulking up. First place we hit was selling 10 books for the price of 6. Nice. Even better, when I went to check out the girl at the cash box saw all I had and made me an even better offer, $120 worth of books for $80. Back to the shelves I went to add a few more volumes to my pile. Then as she rang me up she threw in a couple more books of her choosing and a DVD or two. Not a bad deal at all. Basically the books came out to about 50% off plus the free DVDs. Have daughter stuff Mokona with as many as she can and I carry the rest. A couple tables down I find a couple books to a series I’m enjoying which are difficult to find. The discount wasn’t as good but these books are a bitch to get so I add a few of them to the bag. It’s the next table over though where we got the best deal, about 70% off cover price. Problem there was his selection wasn’t as good as the first two places but I’m able to find enough volumes to keep me occupied. Wound up making a mistake on one however. Thought I was picking up a manga but it turned out to be a novelization of the story. Actually I’m glad I grabbed it because it was a good story, the writer captured the plot of the anime very well in book form and now I need the other 3 volumes in the set since I enjoyed that one. About this time they announce the closing of the dealer hall which was probably good because Maya and I have blown over $200 on books alone, plus the shirts, DVDs, her other stuff and Mokona. And you thought Disney World could be expensive.
With the packages we’re carrying I decide to head back to the car and tell the daughter so but that instead of going out and around we’ll pass through the hall back to the hotel so that we can check and see if any presentations interest us enough to walk in. I get no argument. After that trip through the dealer hall Maya is as happy as a pig in shit and is ready to head home. We find one exhibit that interests both of us but it is already filled so we meander back to the hotel and the elevator to the garage. As we pass back through the video game room Maya remarks that she definitely has to remember it for the next trip. We get to the car and I don’t get lost getting to the exit. After all the money I just spent at the con you would think that the garage fee wouldn’t faze me but $36 bucks to park on a Sunday still irks me but what can you do about it? We are out on the streets and finally headed home, at least I hope so. Don’t even have to depend on Yachiru as we are right off I95 and it runs right down to Philly. Of course should have known getting out of Boston wouldn’t be that easy. I know where I’m going due to my earlier over shoot of the convention center and my circling the block looking for the best parking but somewhere along the line I pick up a typical Boston driver. He’s on my right hand side and slightly ahead of me and in the space of 4 blocks he has already cut over in front of me 3 times without benefit of looking or even a signal. Enterprise was going to have to do a brake job on my rental when they got it back. Eventually we have to stop at a light and I’m almost up even with him hoping I can get past on the green. I say almost because he slightly ahead due to the nose of his car being a bit in the crosswalk. Two pedestrians are still in the crosswalk on his side as the light turns green and Mr. “I got my license from a gumball machine” is in such a big hurry he starts to veer over in front of me again without looking so he can go around them. Luckily for me he catches sight of me and jams on his breaks, preventing my second accident of the weekend, because there was no way I could avoided him. Then to top it all off he goes and signals me that I can go as if he has the right of way and is doing me a favor by letting me go. Damn some people are totally clueless and have brass ones besides. Anywho we get by him and out on to the expressway and were cruising along and I notice Yachiru is taking us past the I95 exit. Wha? I figured 95 was the best way home but what the hell, let’s see where we wind up. Too late for Easter dinner anyway. As it is Yachiru did know what she was doing for once. She took us a bit west and then south and we eventually did connect back with 95 somewhere in Ct or NY but when I checked it out on Map Quest or something similar later it showed 95 bellying east to follow the coast through MA and CT which actually goes out of the way if you are heading towards my place. Trip home wasn’t too bad though we hit some traffic in CT though nothing like the traffic jam going the other way and we lost about a half hour in NYC thanks to a minor accident just before whatever bridge it was that took us in to Jersey. Luckily it was minor and we were only about a mile behind it so we didn’t get hung up too long. Last thing I needed was to sit in traffic on a highway in NYC on a Sunday afternoon. Soon we were cruising down the Jersey Turnpike and except for some reduced speed due to construction we made it home at a decent enough hour. Think my daughter is already anticipating a trip next year.
Time home wasn’t the greatest even though the daughter was visiting. Throat was still sore, still fighting an infection. On Monday I called the garage I had left my car at and he informed me the insurance company was probably going to total the car which meant that I was going to have to make a trip all the way back up there to unload my stuff still in it rather than to return the rental. It also meant another $75 fee tacked on to the rental for turning it in down here. Just what I needed. Also as if that wasn’t enough I run in to problems with the ex again. Was supposed to return my daughter on Wed of that week, a full trip rather than the meeting to the halfway point we usually make since I needed to go up to clean out my wreck any way. Tue night however a medical problem cropped up. As a result of my stroke my left leg goes haywire on me at times. It has shooting pains up it, the foot can cramp and it gets the electric twitchies. It can not only be very painful but it will not let me sleep at night as, even without the pain, my leg feels it has to be busy unlike everything else that is ready to sleep. So at 5 a.m. I send an email to the ex telling her if she really needs my daughter home that day to call her and tell her to wake me at about 10:30-11 and I’ll make the trip but I would rather not make it at all considering the lack of sleep. Of course this didn’t go over too well and the ex tries to get someone to at least drive to the halfway point but my folks are in their 80s and 5-6 hours driving aren’t on their agenda anymore and both my brother and his son had to work so that was a non starter and eventually she settled for a return the next day not without throwing a few digs my way though. What can one do? Since the leg problem is only an occasional one I got a good night’s sleep and was on the road again the next morning on a not so happy trip this time taking my daughter home and bidding farewell to my old Sante Fe, a faithful servant for 8 years. As it was my nephew’s day off he accompanied me. Think my mom put him up to it. She worries about the long trips these days because of the stroke. She definitely going to freak if/when I go to G-Vegas in Oct (No I ain’t entering any races). I will say he was handy to have along near the end of the trip as I found out later that I was fighting an infection and my ass started dragging a bit about an hour or two from home.
My week ended up with a trip to the doctor’s about that infection. Second trip there in 3 months about the damned thing as it kept disappearing and reappearing since the New Year. This time doc decided some stronger antibiotics were called for and I spending again. Infection seemed to clear up again but made reappearance again a couple months later calling for yet another, and stronger, series of antibiotics. Still don’t know if is whipped yet. Thought so but small signs of it keep reappearing though they seem to disappear after a day or so instead of getting stronger the way it happened earlier. Persistent bastard though. It’s also got me in to trouble with my doc. Had a blood test not so long ago and my sugar was way up and she’s bitching. Found out that an infection can cause a spike in sugar levels since the body thinks you need more energy to fight it and releases more sugar in to your system. Great, fits in with the way my year has been going.
Well I finally got to the end of the story. Hopefully the second half of this year is an improvement on the first but I doubt it. Right now it’s July and I still don’t know when my daughter is coming down for vacation. She’s in the play again this year which means a trip to upstate NY to see her in it and pick her up in Aug, hopefully to be accompanied by an overnighter at Pocono Downs finances willing. A replay of last year when that trip and stay payed for our vacation would really be welcome this time around. One can only hope.
Played Blogger 2 at Face Up today and while there were a lot of nits to pick the first game today was a full blown fuck up. Thing is while the screw ups during the blogger game were annoying I was also playing the $2k game at the same time and the damned disconnects really fucked me up there. Was bad enough I got thrown off the table with J-J, A-Ks and A-Js, getting back in just to see me folded and J-x-J hit the flop, but even worse was that I wasn’t far behind the leader in chips at 8k plus only to come back to find I somehow lost about 3k in chips. Now it seemed that everyone had been kicked out but apparantly not because if no one was playing then it would have been a chip shuffle between all the players but obviously someone was still connected and stealing the blinds for me to lose 3k. Wound up cashing at the very tail end of the payouts but can’t help wonder what might have been if things had gone properly as I’ve been making a number of finaltables when I play.
As if the disconnects weren’t bad enough it seems the chat Mods can’t even stand a bit of bitching about the site fuck ups. When they couldn’t quiet the folks in the lobby chat down with their griping the went and disabled the chat. Not a smart move. Bad enough the games and site were going FUBAR but to then basically keep poker players from bitching about is like throwing gasoline on the fire. Even better you have a bunch of bloggers on the virtual felt and you just cut them off from any smack talk. WTG FUG. if you need a good PR man I might be willing to take the job as it seems whoever is doing the job now hasn’t got a clue about keeping poker players happy. Screwing up the tables is bad enough but to keep people from bitching about it, not good. Even worse is the fact that the bitching in the lobby can only be seen by other players who already know what is going on. Cut that off and now you have those players, especially bloggers, going outside the site and bitching to the world at large, contaminating the pool of prospective new customers. Someone better grow some thicker skins when it comes to criticism of the site. Hey, it’s going to happen, it did on all the major sites before Black Friday. Trying to stop people from doing it ain’t going to work and is only going to make the situation worse.
I still have 2 weeks lefty on my membership so I’ll be playing a bit more. i’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for today even though I’ve been kicked from tables before though nothing as bad as today but if it keeps happening this is one player who will wait for something better in online poker to come along.
Yep, profanity in the title, that’s how pissed I am. Recently had to buy 2 new computers, first ones in a number of yeatrs. Having spent the last 25 years in IT, mainly as an administrator, most of my old ones were state of the art when I acquired them and thus lasted me a long time. Because of this however I’ve been using XP for a long time. Anyway the new machines are both Win 7 and between you and me it sucks. Because of all the hacking and the criticism Microsoft has received because of it they have grown so frikking anal about security thjat their OS is locked down tighter than a bull’s ass in the middle of fly season. Now that would seem to be a good thing if it keeps out the hackers, yes? Well it would except for the fact that it also makes doing anything on the computers near impossible for the legitimate users also. To make it even worse Mr Softy is so frikkin paranoid they don’t even give the user the ability to get rid of their damned security systems. Oh, you can lessen the security somewhat and even get rid of some things but somethings are permmanently in place and you are fucking stuck with them.
For most people these things might not be a problem but anyone trying towork over a network might as well forget it. I have a large desktop I use for video editing which is connected to about 6TB worth of external drives not to mention its own1TB internal. It’s hooked to my cable boxes, my DVD player and a couple of VCRs. I use it to record and edit old discs and tapes to preserve them in digital format before they deteriorate too much further. Sometimes however it’s better to do the work on my laptop so I copy the file I’m working on over to the laptop. At least I try. This is where the fun begins. Most of the time I try to work with the drives connected to the desktop I get error messages, usually of the “you do not have permission” sort. Used to be that it was easy to fix such a problem. You went in to security as an admin and put the proper permissions on the disk or folder. Not here. Hell, I’ve gone in and gave everyone full control to every disk I have, other computer users in the house having no interest or too damned dumb to bother trying to access anything other than their own computer, and I still get those frigging errors. Some I’ve some hpw worked around but others still keep popping up. Sometimes wonder if it’s worth the hassle. Although it’s Mr Softy that fucked the damned thing up if it wasn’t for hackers and all those that raised a frikkin stink every time a defect was discovered they might not have gone so far. Yes security is good but the commotions raised about previous OS has caused MS to go way too far so as to avoid all that unfavorable publicity. Afte all how good is a system if a person can’t use the fucking thing? So i blame all 3 groups, Mr Softy, havckers and the loud mouths that had to cause major commotions equally for this damn shit. unfortunately only Mr Softy can now do anything about it and they are too damned gun shy.