Saturday
Jan302016

Run Good Tsunami

A slightly edited version of the email I sent my buddy Greg after a crazy day at poker room last week.

A crazy night indeed. I went to play the $70 donkament only to discover that they weren’t running it (and hadn’t updated their calendar) but were instead running a $1000/hr high-hand bonus because it was MLK day. I’m pretty sure that was his dream.

I got into a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold'Em game with the max buy-in ($200). I posted in from middle position. It was playing pretty limpy as you might expect with everyone fishing for a high-hand. Within a few hands I looked at

from under the gun. I made it $8 to go and got 3 callers including the big blind.

Flop

 

Wowza! I’m thinking I probably continuation bet in that spot with one A about 60% of the time and with KK-99 about 80% of the time. So while I'm doing all this thinking and figure I’m going to c-bet so as not to look too suspicious... the big blind leads out for $12. I flat call and everyone else folds. He checks the turn

and I check behind to give him a chance to bluff the river. But, he checks instead

Here I didn’t know the policy for this card room on high hand as to whether or not it had to be played to showdown to win (it doesn’t I later learned) so I checked behind (he wasn’t calling anything anyway). I posted the high hand (AAAA8) with about 35min left in the hour. Somehow I faded a straight flush for that whole time and collected a cool $1000. By that time my the dealers had pushed so I went and found the guy who dealt it and gave him a tip.

There were a couple other interesting hands. There was a guy who joined and sat in the 1 seat who clearly had done something cosmically wrong… we’ll just call him “Hipster”. Hipster opens $15 from UTG+1. Two players call before the action gets to me in middle position. I’ve got  and decided to come along. One more call in late position so we’re 5 to the flop and already have a nice pot. 

Flop


 

Gin! Hipster leads for $23. One guy folds and another just “okie-dokie” calls. I make it $55. Late position guy folds. Hipster seems genuinely pained and finds a call. Okie-Dokie calls leaving himself only about $20 behind. 

Turn

The action checks to me. I make it $93 (what the hipster has left in his stack). He looks like I kicked his dog but finally makes a crying call. Okie-Dokie guy can’t get his last $20 in fast enough. For the side pot ($146) I show my flopped boat and the original raiser showed  and buys another $100. The dealer pushes me the side pot and I’m ready to collect the main when Mr. Okie Dokie rolls over  for flopped quads! At least the side pot keeps me afloat so I basically broke even… and broke the spirit of Seat 1.

By this point the high hand bonus was over and we’re back to $50/hr so it doesn’t really alter play at all. I end up calling pre-flop from middle position with  in a 5-way hand and flopping

 

Holy cow! Checks to me. I figure I stand to make more playing the hand than shipping it here to show high-hand and protect my weak kicker (that is actually allowed in this room) so I check. Button leads for $10. Folds to me. I call. 

Turn

I check him some rope but he doesn’t take the bait. 

River

and even my high-hand is safe! I bet $25 and he insta-mucks. But, I show the high hand of 77776 and fade a better hand for a full 45min to collect another $50 bonus.

While I’m waiting out my Quad-7s high hand, Seat 1 (the same hipster whose KK I busted) opens for $12. Again a couple calls including me with . Sometimes I might raise with 99 to see if I can take it down, but I didn’t figure it would work against him here so I didn't want to make the pot any bigger and have to make a tough decision on the flop.

Flop

 

Hipster leads for $25. I call figuring I’ve got the overpair and he might shut it down after getting called. Button calls. 

Turn !!

It’s a run good tsunami! Hipster bets $40. I make it $100 (again just enough to cover him). Button calls (for less). Hipster calls. No more action. Button shows ? Seriously?

River

I show the 99 and Seat 1 rolls over  and excuses himself from the table… probably looking for a bridge.

I should have bought a lottery ticket. Cashed out up ~$1350 for the night.

Sunday
Jan172016

Impromptu Photo Walk

Impromptu as witnessed by the fact that I didn't take my DSLR and my phone had only 20% battery when I started. After breakfast I headed downtown and took a walk. All these pics were taken on an iPhone 6 Plus. Click for larger images. Text describing the sculptures is from the walking tour and map provided near the installments (www.allureexhibit.com).

Edison Theater

Gated Alleyway

"Territorio"This piece, "Territorio", has caused something of a stir lately. It's part of an installmant of a couple dozen sculptures by Colombian artist Edgardo Carmona that form a temporary exhibition scattered throughout downton Fort Myers. It's described as

"Two parallel scenes: Irony of the dog 'marking his territory' the same way the man does by leaning against the light pole."

Apparently some folks have complained so it's been covered by the news.

My initial thoughts. I don't personally find it offensive or vulgar, but it's not really the kind of thing I'd want highlighting my city either. People interviewed by local news were more interesting, particularly one local man who said, "It's art. If people find something dirty in it then shame on them." Seriously? Yes, it's art, but the art is of a dude with his junk in his hand standing beside a dog sporting dangling balls taking a piss. It's not a Rorschach test.

That said, my opinion has softened a bit. While I walked around downtown this particular installment was constantly drawing groups of people; definitely moreso than any of the others. So, I agree it's art particularly when taken in the context of the other pieces showing common street scenes. And since it's temporary it's not really a reflection of the city just an installment that one can take or leave. But let's not pretend it's not a guy with his business hanging out.

Closeup "Territorio"

"Mambeo""'El Mamo', recognized as the leader of the indigenous Kogui community in Santa Marta's Sierra Nevada, is brought to life."

 

"Cadencia"

"One single sculpture masterpiece brought to life by two units come together like an African myth."

Closeup "Triálogo""Object, subject, animal, gestures, and movement create one single moment in this sculptural display."

 "Melómano""A music lover's excitement and curiosity creates a sense of mystery and allure as to what could be so magical in the song."

The rose atop the book is not part of the sculpture. It's origami left by a passerby. I would have prefered a unicorn.

 Closeup "Al Galope""A study of intensity and restriction: While the horse is standing still, it is both awake and eager to gallop."

"Juego de Ajedrez""This piece portrays the containment of the opponents as they sit face to face across the board."

"Negación a Baco""Re-creates the conflicts of those who have drunk too much as they sit in park benches and one refuses to take another drink."

"Juego de Dominó""Domino players are an emblematic part of the tradition and life in the Caribbean and Antilles."

 

 

Saturday
Dec262015

Ice Ice Coffee

I’ve made a shift to cold-brewed coffee. The benefit of cold brewing that most interested me was the lower acidity. It seems the older I get the more sensitive I’ve become and coffee is particularly problematic source for me mostly because I drink A LOT of it.

You don’t need anything special to cold brew your own coffee. You’ve probably got a jar and some cheesecloth in your kitchen. And, that’s all you need other than some coffee beans. However, I picked up a couple of items to get started with for the sake of convenience. 

A burr grinder. It’s a manual grinder that produces ground coffee of uniform size. I already have an electric blade grinder, but the grounds usually end up too fine or too coarse (or a combination of both) because there’s no control other than how long you keep the blade running. And, it does generate a very small amount of heat. Coffee hipsters purists point out that this heating of the beans can release some of the flavor and generate static that causes the grinds to stick everywhere. For me it was really about the consistency of the grounds.

My second purchase was a “Cold Brew Iced Coffee Travel Bottle” that includes a filter for brewing the coffee and makes a handy way to take it to work. Overall, I’m pleased with the bottle. It’s the perfect size for making two large cups of iced coffee; one for the morning and another after lunch when I need the caffeine boost. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now and the only issue I’ve had is that the screen of the filter ends pretty much exactly at the plastic “collar” of the top. Because of this, through normal handling the screen bent inward a bit allowing any ground coffee above it to pour freely into the bottle. It’s not a big deal, I pushed the screen back out and handle it a bit more carefully now, and if it was a bit less full of grounds it wouldn’t have spilled anyway. However, if the screen were just a fraction taller it wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

The process is simple. (1) Grind some whole beans, (2) Put the ground coffee into the filter and screw on the cap, (3) Fill the bottle about 3/4 with cold water, (4) Place the filter onto the cap, lower the filter into the bottle and screw on the cap, (5) Put the bottle in the fridge, (6) Wait 8+ hours. Enjoy!

Ground coffee

The Bottle Filter

Ready for the Fridge

 

Wednesday
Nov252015

Dude, You're Getting Man-In-The-Middled!

Damnit, Dell! Dell ships laptops with a self-signed root CA (certification authority) installed in the trusted root store... with the Private Key! Here's a screenshot of me visiting a website "secured" with the eDellRoot certificate. Since the CA is not trusted in my root store I get this warning when accessing this test site. But, if you were on a Dell it would be trusted and you'd be none the wiser that you were visiting a bogus site where all your encrypted traffic can be viewed.

Simpler : If you have a Dell machine (with this CA certificate trusted as it was installed at the factory), ALL your encrypted traffic (banking!) can be intercepted and inspected without any warning.

This site provides a handy, easy-to-read response to determine whether you should panic.

Green is good

If so, this DuoSecurity article has good background and links for removal instructions.

Again, all of this is only a concern if you have a DELL.

Saturday
Nov142015

Busy But Bored

“At least it’s not boring.” How many times have you heard that on a particularly busy day? It seems a common notion that just because you are busy you must not be bored. As if the two conditions were somehow mutually exclusive. However, if the tasks that are keeping you at 100% are the same tasks as yesterday and the day before… and the week before then there is little reason for your mind to exercise or engage in any creative thinking. You’re bored. 

Unfortunately, even if the specific details of the tasks differ from day to day when the undertaking of those tasks does not result in some sort of measurable progress you are destined to remain bored. Worse still if your efforts result in a loss of ground in whatever current battle you are waging. Sisyphus’ punishment wasn’t the boulder it was the futility of his exertion. That futility is a path to boredom and frustration.

Sisyphus’ punishment wasn’t the boulder...

The danger, of course, of boredom is carelessness. And in the cases where you are working at a feverish pace inattention to detail could have serious consequences. It’s even more important in these times when you are hectic but lacking intellectual challenge to exercise mindful attention to detail.

What can you do about it? 

  • Segment - Break the work into smaller pieces with a clearly defined goal line. Maybe today you will only move the ball five yards instead of scoring a touchdown but that’s five less yards you will have to gain tomorrow.
  • Prioritize - Analyze the tasks to be done and determine which are the most important. The 80/20 rule applies here. Identifying the most important items and attacking those first can have a cascading effect of solving or nullifying many of the lower priorities.
  • Delegate - Once you have prioritized you can focus on the most important responsibilities and delegate the more mundane chores down to a lower level. Obviously, though, if you are the lower level  this is not among your options.
  • Move On - If your efforts are truly futile then moving the ball 5 yards does not matter if it just gets reset tomorrow. In this case the only thing to do is take your ball and go home… or at least go somewhere you can challenge yourself and meaningfully participate.