Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hope you got everything you wanted

Its the day after Christmas and I hope everyone got all they wanted today.  Or at least their kids did.  My kids were spoiled again, especially the girl but hey if I can't spoil them, who can I spoil?  But they're good kids, their mother did a great job raising them ( I missed a lot of time working odd hours when they were young) and their aunts and uncles helped a lot too.  I had a good day as well though Santa did not bring me the winning lottery numbers.  I'm sure he will next year or maybe the Easter Bunny will come through this spring. 

On Christmas morning we had brunch at my sis in laws place.  We made some sausage balls and a sausage/egg bake dish as well and brought it over with us.  There was a lot of people with in laws, nieces, nephews, girlfriends, etc there but we managed to have a fair amount of food left over still.  The kids (except for old ones like my boys and my nephew Jay) all got presents from their aunts and uncles while we oldsters ate and gabbed and caught up from our last visit.  A good time all around. 

Last night dinner was at my house.  We made a 10 lb standing rib roast, about 6 lbs of loaded mashed potatoes (including cheese, garlic, butter, bacon, and cheese), green bean casserole, corn, brussel sprouts, plus appetizers.  Oh and the ham from brunch made a second appearance as well.  It was another major food fest.  At the end of the meal there were 2 pies and a birthday cake (my son's girlfriend had her birthday on Dec 25 as well lucky girl) to finish it off.   The house was fit to burst with 16 people in it but we managed to feed them all.  Not so much on the leftovers though as we only had a some corn, less than a pound of the rib roast and some ham left at the end of the day.  But no one left hungry either. 

After that I was one tired puppy.  So was the PQ as she made a lot of the food.  Luckily the roast itself was very simple.  Most everything else was too, probably the most work went into the potatoes and I did the work on that.  Still it was a good bit of effort involved in preparing and getting ready.  And we both were falling asleep by 9 last night.  I slept pretty good too until I woke up with pretty bad heartburn.  I forgot to take my Omeprazol pill in the morning and paid for it that night.  So my sleep was interrupted at 3 am and though I managed to get more sleep later, I'm still pretty tired.  But all in all, a pretty good Christmas with friends and family. 

This morning I made breakfast for the daughter and myself.  I cut up a few potatoes and made home fries for us.  While they were cooking I cut up some of the left over roast and heated it up in a little butter and garlic then made omelets with the beef and some cheese.  Prime rib omelets with cheese and homefries.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  The rest of the day I've spent relaxing and and doing a little reading.  The PQ went out with our girl to do a little Post Xmas shopping.  The last thing I want to do is shop right now.  I do need to read up on some of my new games to play but maybe I'll do that tomorrow. 

I still have to buy 2 things though and I want to do that in the next week or so.  I was reading the best time to get furniture is after Christmas and we need a new mattress so I imagine we'll be buying one this week or next weekend.  Also, I am planning to buy a handgun in the next few weeks as well.  Now I know some of you will look upon this with undisguised revulsion and disdain, others will shrug it off and still others may actually applaud.  We all have our reasons for how we think of guns and private gun ownership.  My view has been espoused before but to some it up, I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

It's not like I live in a high crime area or go to areas that are high crime, though some of the areas I referee in are not the nicest parts of town.  Still I cannot bring a gun with me onto school property so I won't be armed and dangerous while I'm refereeing.  Thank God for gun free zones like schools.  They disarm the law abiding but provide a bunch of disarmed victims to the criminals who do not obey the law.  But the thing is, I don't want to be at the mercy of some criminal who may decide his best chance of not going to jail for robbery or something is to leave no witnesses. 

When I was a much younger man, the general thought was "give the robber what they want and they will leave you alone."   This also extended over to rape as ladies were told it was best not to resist and get it over with.  Back then, states offering concealed weapons permits were few and far between.  Now many states have rethought this issue.  While it is true that usually a robber is not interested in harming you and just wants your money, victims were injured or killed enough times that people got fed up and demanded the right to protect themselves.   Think back to this past June when a guy robbed a pharmacy up in NY and killed the 4 people inside.  The pharmacist gave the guy drugs but that wasn't enough for him and he killed all the witnesses.  That is a statistic I don't want to be a part of.  I've been at the wrong end of a gun twice, once I was lucky not to be shot while another guy there was wounded. 

Studies have proven that areas that allow the citizens to carry weapons have less violent crime than areas with strict gun control.  The main reason is, most criminals want to get their money, drugs, etc in the least dangerous way.  Can you blame them?  They don't want to go to "work" with a good chance of dying when they do their "job".  That's why places with more liberal gun laws tend to have less violent crime.  Arm the victims and the criminals don't want to work so hard for their money.   And for women, I would think it a no brainer to be armed if at all possible.  After all, many criminals target women specifically because most are not armed and most are at an extreme physical disadvantage in a confrontation with a man.  But enough preaching from me.  Just keep in mind that I am not a gun nut in any sense of the word, in fact guns still scare me a little.  They are tools, but they are tools that can seriously harm or kill a person who takes them lightly.  Still I think gun ownership is for me. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scoring Big

I got to play poker twice in just over a week?  Say it ain't so, Joe.  Back on the 10th the PQ and I hit the company Xmas party at Raymond James Stadium with about 200 other people from all of Security Operations.  I introduced her to some people in my department she hadn't met before as well as some people from other departments.  It was my duty I felt since she has done the same to me on countless occasions for different County functions and outside of the Clerk of the Court and a few others, I couldn't tell the difference between Sally and Darlene and Sue if you paid me.  Of course she is better at names than I am anyway.  That's why she makes the big bucks.

So after the party which we left around 10 or so, we headed down the road to the Tampa Hard Rock Casino.  We hadn't been there in quite a while and had never played in their new poker room so it was almost like the first time for us both there. 

We both sat down at a 1-2 NL table while I was waiting for a seat at 3-6 Omaha Hi/Lo to open.  I played for a while folding almost every hand and losing a couple I did play as nothing was hitting for me and my cards were nothing to write home about.  Fortunately my Omaha seat was called before too much damage occurred and I headed there.  Omaha did not start well as my hands were still not so hot and the ones I did play would not come through for me.  But after losing half my original stack in the first hour or so, I finally made a hand stick and even though I only got half the pot, it got me started back on the road to plus ville. 

A little while later I get into a hand with QQJ9.  Flop comes down 998 and I bet my trips with both a flush and straight draw as 3 people calling me.  Turn makes me golden when a queen hits.  I check this time and a guy bets, another calls and I check raise them both.  They call.  River is a 7 and I bet out with one guy calling me.  His straight doesn't beat my boat and I scoop a decent pot to put me a little over even for the day.  Later on I scoop a pot when my 2347 flops trip 2's and turns quads.  2 hands later I call down a guy with a with trip aces even though I think I'm beat,  He has trip aces too but I outkick him and scoop another.  After that it's pretty slow for me, I mostly fold stuff pre and postflop but I'm not losing much.  I played for about 4 hours and came away up by almost a buyout while having a really good time.  The PQ on the other hand lost some but not too badly then decided to play video poker for a while.

Once the clock struck 2 am I went and found her and played a little video poker with the PQ.  She lost a bit more but I managed to pull quad Queens and won a little cash.  It was a good night for me, not so good for her, but we had a fun night all the way around. 

This week I've not been feeling too well, I came down with another cold somehow.  Seems a little soon to get another one after I just got over one, especially since they've had very similar effects, all in my lungs.  I was coughing a bit last Saturday and Sunday but felt ok on Monday.  Then Tuesday I started coughing again for some reason.  Tuesday night I had a scary moment as I woke up choking at about 2am.  My lungs had built up fluid as I slept I guess and I was coughing so hard I thought I was going to vomit.  After that, sleep did not come easily for me and when I did sleep, I woke up really groggy on Wednesday.   I almost didn't go into work but decided I had to as I had a lot of stuff on my calendar that was due.  I managed to work 7-1 and went home to nap.

I probably should have stayed at work.  I'm just falling asleep and a delivery truck pulls up outside.  My daughter was home for a few days but wasn't in the house so I got up and brought in a couple of Christmas packages for my sons.  I get back down and nap for almost an hour while my daughter goes to get the dog from my sis in laws house.  She came home then went to my mother in law's place next door to make sure she ate and took her pills only to find her gone.  She comes back home and wakes me up.  I tell her to drive the neighborhood to see if she is walking around then she goes to the convenience store to see if she walked down there.  While she's doing this my sister in law is heading over to look as well and stops at the grocery store near the house.  And that's where she is, sitting outside resting after walking there.  She apparently wanted some ice cream.  We all breathed a sigh of relief. 

The rest of the week was just muddling through to the weekend.  I managed to put in 7 hours overtime even though I took time off on Wednesday.  Friday night I took the PQ out for Chinese food then we both came home and crashed before 10pm.  We're getting old it seems.  Saturday we didn't do a whole lot but went to play poker last night.  I again got into an Omaha Hi/Lo game while the PQ played a small tourney.  The tourney didn't go well for her but I was doing pretty good in Omaha about doubling my buy in within 2 hours.  She was thinking of playing the 8 pm tourney so I gave her some cash to play it while I continued playing. 

I'd have been better off quitting and putting my money in the tourney.  Omaha went real bad.  I just kept getting bad cards and mostly folding.  When I got good cards, flops completely missed me.  Low cards got all high flops.  High cards got all low flops.  I watched this guy get AA four or five times and I can't get one ace most of the time, never mind AA.  I never got a really premium hand like A23x or AA24 the entire time I played, which was about 6 hours.  I still managed to keep my stack up there until I got into 2 big pots in a very short time.  I was winning them both comfortably until the river managed to completely screw me.  Guys kept calling down on so/so draws and getting the magical card but every draw for me died on the vine.  First I got AA57 double suited.  Flopped a set of aces and a flush draw.  Board had another low card.  I pushed the betting but couldn't get a couple of guys off.  Of course the river screwed me putting a wheel draw in which is what I lost to.  Never got my flush.  All I was looking for on the river was a card over 5 or one to complete the flush but of course not.  Same thing happens 2 hands later when I'm sitting on 2334 and flopped a set of 3s on a 359 board.  No one has much I can tell so I push the 3s.  I would love to see an Ace or 6 hit for the straight or the board to pair but river is a 2 and I'm screwed again.  It was ugly.  I lost a big chunk of chips in those 2 hands pushing winning hands that became losers and after that it was a matter of time.  By the time the table broke I was down 40 bucks after being up over 100.  I was not thrilled. 

The PQ on the other hand was killing it at the 8pm tourney.  First off she knocks out the tourney host to score club level tickets to the Lightning vs Bruins in January.  She called his limp on the button with 4-5 and got the bingo when the flop came out A23.  He bets, she pushes in over the top and he calls with A9.  Good bye Fisher, hello tickets.  I go and see her and she is rocking a pretty big stack.  I talked to her on her next break but she doesn't need much advice from me, she is doing fine without it.  When my Omaha table broke I sweated her for a little bit then went to play a little 1-1 no limit hold em with the 40 bucks I had left from Omaha.  Should have just sweated her.  Again I lose on the river, this time with a set of 6s.  I pushed all in on the turn for about a pot sized bet and got called down by an open end straight draw.  3 on the river and that's that.   I was a bit pissed because I felt I played it right, especially waiting for the turn to push.  I knew then I'm only giving one card and the wrong odds for the guy to draw with and yet he calls anyway, which is fine as his odds are over 5-1 against, and still here comes his magical card.   Some days it doesn't pay to play

So I sweat the PQ some more at the final table.  8 are left when I get there and she is 6th in chips.  Action is pretty tight for a while but 2 gals a few places to her right are starting to push a bit, one of them really started building her stack while the other went up and down some.  Finally one gal pushes the PQ when she gets some decent cards to push back - K10 suited - and she goes all in over the top.  The gal thinks for a bit but calls with A7 off.  PQ flops the flush draw and gets there on the river to double up.  A bit later the other gal to her right really builds a big stack and knocks out one of the guys to get to 6 and the PQ takes out the guy to her left when he pushes A8 into her AQ and she flops QQ.  Four of them have pretty close to equal stacks and the one gal has about twice what everyone else has so they make a 5 way split of the cash with the big stack getting a little over $900 and everyone else dragging $700.  Can you say cash??   So at least one of us had a good run that night and actually since I staked her for part, I did ok too. 

I started this post a week ago and just am getting around to finish it now.  Sorry about that folks, it's just work is really putting it to me and I come home late every night and tired out of my mind.  Most nights I start to nod off in my chair as well.  Concentrating enough to write is just beyond me then.  Still it's Christmas Eve.  Got all your shopping done??  Mine was pretty pain free all in all.  Just like the last few years, I did almost all of my shopping online.  As long as you do it early, its not usually a big deal and a lot of place provide free shipping.   I get to miss out on the lines, the pushing, the traffic, the parking lots, and lining up at 4 am.  I feel so deprived and depriving the rest of the world of my company at such a time is also just mean of me.  Not much holiday spirit for me huh?  Anyway, outside of a few odds and ends for the PQs stocking, I am all set for tomorrow.

Well let me end this hear.  I got more to say but I ought to do it in a separate post.  I suppose this time I'll get it done in less than a week or 2 as well.  Merry Christmas everyone.  Enjoy some family time, some food time, and don't forget those not as fortunate as yourself as well. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Just not feeling it

Sorry about my dearth of posts of late.  You know when you're playing poker sometimes and you can almost read exactly what you're opponent has everytime you get into a hand.  You're just feeling it and it feels so good.  And other times, your reads are all wrong, things aren't going right and even when you make a right play, it turns out bad.  You just aren't feeling it and you really can't trust your reads at all. Well that's me, just not feeling it lately. 

Normally I enjoy the time around Thanksgiving a lot.  And I have much to be thankful for.  My boys are happy, healthy, have good jobs, girlfriends, and they're not out occupying Wall St, or Tampa, or even my house.  My daughter is doing well in college and is far enough away that her hand isn't in my pocket looking for spare change.  Hell she even has a job now so she's almost self sufficient.  The PQ is doing well and so is the dog.  Life should be sweet and easy shouldn't it?

It actually is quite good.  Just got my year end bonus which was pretty nice.  We had a good year this past year.  Also just got paid for my high school football games.  another nice little check.  Tonight is our company Christmas party.  Well actually our division, Customer Operations, is having a party.  We don't do a company wide party as it's not easy to find a place to seat 4000 people plus guests in one place.  Of course we could do it at the site of our party, Raymond James stadium.  After all what's the use in having the naming rights to a stadium if you don't make use of it.  Still outside of putting everyone on the field for dinner or taking over a few sections of stands, I don't see how we could do it as a whole.  So we break down into divisions or even departments. 

Last year my department was a new addition to Customer Ops and so we just did a department party.  We went to a Brazilian steakhouse here.  I recommend it highly.  Everyone had a great time and we were hoping to do the same thing again this year but instead we are going as a whole division so there will be 200 or 300 people in the club section of the stadium where it will all be set up for a party.  My first year with the company we were part of Security Ops and the division party was at the stadium as well.  We had a good time then and hopefully a good time tonight.  After the party the plan is for the PQ and myself to hit the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa and play some cards.  After all besides a party today, its the PQ's birthday.  So if she wants to play cards, we're playing cards.

I've come down with another cold and am pretty pissed about that.  It's similar to my last one which wasn't long ago.  Has me a bit worried, I shouldn't be catching a cold this soon after the last one.  I'm not coughing as much or feel as poorly but still.  The PQ is just getting over this one so by Monday I ought to be ok but I am still not happy. 

Well time to sign off.  I'm trying to track down what happened to one of my online orders and I gotta get a few things done still.  Hope everyone is doing well.  Stay lucky boys and girls.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

They're just like you and me

What makes a person into a serial killer?  What internal defect of the mind, chemical imbalance, brain malformation, etc allows a person to go up to other people and just kill them?  Sorry for bringing up a pretty grim subject, but I've been wondering about this for awhile. 

What got me thinking in this vein was watching a program about a man called The Railroad Killer.  This guy, an illegal alien (though most US serial killers are home grown) would hop on trains and kill people that he found near the railroad tracks or break into people's houses and kill the occupants.  They figure he killed at least 10 people (he confessed to a bunch more) between Ohio and Texas but it could be a lot more.  Mexican authorities felt he killed a number of people over the border there as well.  The FBI felt he could have been linked to up to 200 cases in all.  He was tried in Texas convicted in 1999 and executed in 2006.  None of this sitting for 20 years waiting on appeals there. 

What got me on this kick was the execution of Oba Chandler here in Florida this week.  Oba was convicted of killing 3 women from Ohio in 1989 by taking them out on Tampa Bay at night, probably raping them, then pitching all of them into the bay with a cinderblock tied around their necks.  All 3 were alive when they went in.  If anyone personified evil, it was him.  The PQ was a court clerk when the trial occurred here and though she did not handle that case herself, she was in court a few times during the trial.  She thought he was one scary guy and that he had dead eyes.  A few weeks before this he had raped a Canadian tourist by taking her out on the bay.  The only reason she was not killed the cops thought was because her girlfriend declined to go with her and Chandler knew there would be a witness left behind who could identify him.  I guess it was ok to rape her though.  Police also believe he had killed before based on the way he did this and the fact he was willing to take on 3 at once but he never admitted to killing anyone before his execution, including the Ohioans. 

At the trial, against his own attorney's advice, he took the stand and denied it all, managing to make himself look even more guilty in the process by being caught in a number of lies.  The jury was only too happy to convict him then.  They felt he was pretty scary too.  The cops were pretty sure a killing in 1982 of a woman found floating off Anna Maria Island was his work but never tried him for it or for the rape of the Canaidan woman.  He ended up spending 17 years on death row here before his execution last week.  

Anyway, I have been wondering what makes a person into that.   Do they have no conscience, no compassion at all?  They must be pretty sure there is no heaven or hell, no consequence in the afterlife for their deeds in this one based on how heinous these crimes are.  Many people have lived next to major serial killers and never knew there was anything different about them.  They were just like anyone else.   A local lady who was a juror in another murder trial had retired from a Chicago Cadillac dealership where John Wayne Gacy bought his cars.  He would come by the dealership every other year to get a new car and everyone thought he was this nice well to do guy.  He usually had one of his many "nephews" with him as well.  No one thought anything of it. 

I used to be very pro death penalty but over the years I have gotten a lot less certain of it's effectiveness as a deterrent.  Also I know mistakes have been made when some people were convicted and given the death penalty, not to mention more than once the prosecution has convicted the wrong guy either by manufacturing evidence or having evidence the accused was innocent and not turning it over to the defense.  Convicting someone in error whether by illegal means or misidentificaton, is bad enough buy once you execute them, it's a little late to say "Oops, we goofed". 

Having said all that, some people just need to die.  There are some people so evil that society is better off without them rather than risk the chance one may escape and kill again.  "He just needed killing" is a valid point with some people I think.  But what defect in their makeup causes a person to be so unredeemably evil that society has to kill him?  Outside of defending yourself or someone else, how many people can see themselves killing another person?  Not to mention all of the deviant things many of these killers do to their victims as well.   Is it a power thing, knowing you have complete control over another's fate?  That may explain more as I have seen some CEOs and politicians whose desire for power led them to do some pretty unsavory things.  Not to mention what they did when they had power. 

Well I think I've said enough on that topic now.  Let me finish this up by saying, be aware people.  Know what's going on around you and try not be a victim.  If someone wants you to go somewhere with them, you're usually better off making your stand then and there where other people may be able to help you rather than going somewhere of his choosing.  And ladies especially, arm yourselves.  So many times men attack women because they see them as the easier victim.  Don't be a victim.  Stick around awhile, your loved ones will appreciate it. 

Saturday's short term investments

Betting on sports takes a lot of analysis and a little bit of luck as well.  You can have everything going for you and still lose on a last second score in garbage time or a pick 6 to turn a close game into a blowout at the end.  I wish I could say that has caused my recent losing streak but in the end, I've just made some bad bets.  Today I'm turning it around, believe that if you feel lucky. 

I really like Michigan -3.5 at home vs Nebraska.  Good teams give Big Red trouble and Michigan fits the bill.  Running QBs also seem to be hard on their defense and Michigan's Robinson is definitely that.  I am not sold on Robinson as some kind of star as he seems to throw the ball up a lot and pray his receiver takes it away from the defense, but he extends a lot of plays with his legs and can go for a long run at any time.

I'm taking Ga Tech -10.5 over Duke.  Ga Tech runs better than anyone in college football.  Duke can't stop the run.  Nice weather so assuming Tech isn't in the giving mood, they win by 20+. 

Finally I like the over 57 for Boise St/San Diego St.  Both teams can score with top notch offenses.  SD St doesn't prevent the score as well as Boise.  Looking for a game in the 42-27 range.  It will probably be 10-7 instead but I'll take my chances.  I also looked really closely at taking SD St +18 as they are a pretty solid team.  Boise has to be down after blowing their chance at a National Championship game, especially with OSU losing last night.  I may yet take that flyer. 

In other news, PQ wants to play poker tonight so looks like we will be gracing Derby Lane with our presence.  I've been playing a bit online lately but not particularly well.  I also need a nap this afternoon as I have been up and down since 3:45 this morning.  The dog had to go to the bathroom then.  I turned to her after I took her out and said "You know, I really wanted a fish."  I wish she understood but I don't think she did as she was jumping on me at 7 for the same reason.   At least I am able to walk around outside in shorts and a shirt still.  It was cool but nice out, maybe low 60s.  Sucks to live in Fla in the winter. 

BTW I took Denver +4.5 over the Jetskis on Thursday.  I was very happy to see how that one ended.  Tim Tebow will never be confused with a classic pro QB but the man gets it done one way or another.  I noticed at the end of the game, his passes were right on target.  And he can make plays with his legs and take hits that would wipe out other QBs.  You are gonna see a bunch of teams using the option read offense like Denver is because most QBs are not big enough to stand up to that kind of pounding.  I seriously doubt Tebow can for many years either.  But he can run it now and say what you will, he wins.  I've been a fan of his for a long time.  I know he's converted a lot of non-fans with the way he plays.  I am no Bronco fan but I am now.    Well enough for now, I need a nap. I hope you all are lucky today. Maybe bet against me and you will be.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lucky we have a dog

The PQ left me all alone yesterday as she headed out to Orlando with her sister and our niece to spend some time at Universal Studios.  Our daughter joined her there and they had a good time last night or so I am told.  I on the other hand was all alone, flying my big ole bed with no copilot.  Well I did have the dog at least.   And a good thing too as it was a bit chilly last night, all the way down to 50 and below.  Brrr, haven't seen weather that cool in many months.  But the dog kept me warm, no frost bite or anything.  Of course there is a bad side to this as someone licked my face at 6am to go outside. Still a bit chilly then as well. 

Today I don't have much planned.  Maybe I'll actually pitch some cards this afternoon or tonight.  I need to do a couple of things with my car today and some laundry as well. I'm so domesticated sometimes.  I was thinking about making a beef stew for when the wife gets home but maybe not today.  She might end up picking up dinner on the road back from Orlando.  But before I do anything else, I better put down a few short term investments on the college games today.  Haven't been running well the last couple of weeks but today we turn it around

I'll take over 50 in the Miami/FSU game today.  Game should be fairly high scoring, I wouldn't be surprised if they are close to the over by half time.  Then again I've been wrong enough lately to know it might be 3-0 at the half as well

I also like Western Ky getting 42 against LSU.  WKU is a decent team playing in a classic let down game for LSU.  LSU should still win comfortably but they are already #1 and beat Bama last week.  I'm sure there are a lot of bumps and bruises they want to get healthy so I'll take the dogs. 

I was looking at the over in the Oregon/Stanford game today but the weather has me worried as it's supposed to be rainy today.  A wet natural turf field would slow Oregon down a bit.  So I think I'll avoid that one.

Finally I want to take Iowa +3 at home vs Mich St.  Iowa has played well vs Mich St covering the last 5 times they played.  I think they win outright here but I'll play it safe and take the points.

Well gotta get to work here.  Hope everyone has a great day.  Hope it warms up a bit more today like to 75 or so.  Cuz it's supposed to be in the 40s tonight. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Finally getting my due

I finally received my just recognition for my superior refereeing today.  I must say it has taken long enough for this to come but it was well worth the wait.  Today I had to referee a couple of youth playoff games.  Both games were very close, the first one ended 19-13 and the second one was even closer.   In the second game, the score stood 0-0 until there was 1:20 left in the game.  Both teams were able to move the ball some but never got too close to the end zone. 

But as we got near the end of the game, the home team (East Lake) took a run wide to the right and managed to out run everyone to the end zone.  Boom, finally someone scores, now we won't have to go overtime.  East Lake kicks off and for some reason kicks an onside kick.  Me, I kick it deep and make them go the whole field but maybe they were worried someone on the visitors (Lakewood)would take it all the way.  Anyway the ball gets kicked past the front line guys, is scooped up by a guy in the next line who goes left around the end and runs it all the way for a TD.  Boom tied up again.  Of course both teams missed the extra point so a minute later we are in OT.

East Lake got the ball first.  4 tries from the 10 yard line to score then the other team gets a shot.   On 4th down, East Lake is just inside the 3 yard line still.  They hand it off and the runner is stopped inside the 1 but before he goes down he reaches the ball out and gets it to the goal line.  I look over to the linesman and he is charging in from the side with his hands in the air as I nod yes to him that the runner was not down when he put the ball out.  So we give them the TD.  They don't get the extra point but they have the lead.  Lakewood gets the ball and scores on a run on the first play but it's called back for holding by the head ref.  One of the blockers grabbed a defender's shirt right at the point of attack and kept the guy from participating.  No TD.  Lakewood ends up not scoring and we all head for home. 

I was limping toward my car (I hurt my calf in the first game and it was really aching by then) and outside the gate I ran across an old lady, The old lady said to me "There you are you cheater.  That wasn't a touchdown.  You stole that game from our kids."  I explained to the lady that the runner had reached out and the ball had reached the goal line. 

"No it didn't, we were right on the line and that ball never crossed the goal line."  I decided not to get into a fruitless argument in the parking lot and continued walking while I was thinking - sure lady, you are 40 or 50 yards away from the action and blocked off from view on your side and you saw it better than 2 referees who were 10 yards and 5 feet from the action.  As I walked away she continued, "I hope you were well paid for your call."

"Thank you, I was" I called over my shoulder as I limped to my car and drove away. 

Really lady, it's the ref's fault you grandson's team lost?  Because we ruled the ball reached the goal line and you didn't think so?  There are times when a referee's call can be significant but hell, these 2 teams went at it for an entire game and were still tied after that.  Also a lot of these people don't understand about the goal line and the end zone.  The end zone starts at the edge of the goal line closest to the field.  For my part, I imagine where the goal line begins is a pane of glass extending up in the air and if the tip of the ball just kisses that glass, it's a touchdown.  It doesn't have to get into the end zone, it doesn't even have to cross the line, it just has to reach it.  And from my point of view, it more than reached it.  So too bad lady, your team lost.  But at least you gave me my due.

My wife gave me my due tonight as well.  No not like that you bunch of pigs, get your mind out of the gutter.  She gave me my due for cooking up dinner after coming home tonight.  I made some roasted pepper chicken penne for dinner tonight and was well complimented by her and my mother in law.  So at least she didn't think I cheated her. 

Well thats all for me.  Off to bed and to rest my calf.  Other than the calf I feel pretty good. Tired.  At least Mark Sanchize and the Jetskis came through for my wallet today.  And at the half, Pitt and Balt have only scored 15 points.  Of course the Pats and NYG had 0 points at the half and ended up with 44 so things can definitely change there.  Good night all.  Hope you get your due as well.

Another bad investing weekend

Went 1-3 yesterday again.  Ugly.  Of course after looking at it, I didn't play the Arkansas game which at least would have brought me up to 2-3.   I am looking at a couple of pro games today however.  Here's another chance at investing glory or going down in flames. 

Give me the NY Jetskis +2.5 over Buffalo.  I hate picking Mark Sanchez but I think they are playing well while Buffalo is searching for who they are.  The road team seems to win this one a lot.  I'll take the points and a 1 point game.

I also like the under 42 in the Pittsburgh/Baltimore game.  Pitt has maybe found a defense and last year both teams were under 32 in both games.  I throw out week 1 as an anomaly, especially in light of what Jax did to Flacco. 

Stay luckier than me everyone.  At least in betting.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The days go too slow and the years go too fast

A couple of days ago, the PQ and I celebrated our 27th anniversary.  We didn't do anything overly special but I did take her out to dinner at an Italian place up the road that night.  Last year I took her to a really nice local place and would have taken her back there this time but I couldn't get a reservation before 8pm.  The place was closed for remodeling for quite a while, they redid the dining and kitchen areas, and since they reopened they've been pretty busy.  On a Thursday night when we had to work on Friday, we didn't want that late of a dinner.  So I checked around and this place in Palm Harbor had a good reputation and had no problem getting us in.

What a nice dinner we had.  Started with mushrooms stuffed with italian sausage in a sherry wine sauce which may have been the highlight of the meal.  The PQ had chicken saltimboca and I had veal abruzzi.  Both were delicious.  We also got a bottle of reisling to go with it.  When they showed us the wine list they told us every bottle was $29.  Not a terrible price for a bottle of decent wine at a restaurant.  Then I noticed they had Eroica which is a reisling that was produced by Chateau St Michelle in Washington state with the help of a famous German winemaker Dr Loosen.  When it came out it was listed as one of the best 100 wines in the world and I had tried it a couple of times and loved it.  It also normally goes for around $25 a bottle (maybe 21 or 22 at Total Wine, my favorite place to shop) so to get it for $29 at the restaurant was a steal.  The PQ had never had it so I'm not sure when I drank it without her but she loved it as well.  Needless to say we enjoyed a splendid dinner.  PQ was just raving about dinner to her sister a few minutes ago, especially the stuffed mushrooms.

Last night I had to referee a football game.  Kind of a weird game, a lot of turnovers and crazy stuff happened, and I was with a put together crew of guys I had not worked with before.  The head ref was very good though.  Both coaches were mad at us at different points, the visitors especially so after we spotted the ball favorably for the home team on a 4th down play and they made a first down by millimeters.  I had one oddball call for assisting the runner.  The visitors had gotten an interception and run it back to the home team's 20 yard line.  On first down they tried a run off tackle.  The runner got hit about 2 yards into the run but before he gets tackled one of his teammates grabs him and helps drag him forward.  They go 4 or 5 more yards.  Well since it happened right in front of me I felt it was my duty to drop a penalty flag for assisting the runner since you really aren't supposed to do that.  Unfortunately for the visitors that was the best thing to happen on that play.  Before the runner finally gets taken to the ground another guy hits him and knocks the ball out.  It falls to the ground and the home team recovers.  Visitors were unhappy about that as well but it was a good fumble.  If the runner hadn't been helped he would have fallen to the ground my earlier and never fumbled. 

No youth games for me today.  Today starts playoffs for the youth league.  They are playing games on both Saturday and Sunday.  I don't ref today but have 2 playoff games tomorrow.  Its nice to be able to rest today, I hurt my achilles a little last night.  Nothing too bad but it is sore a bit today.  Many years ago I was playing with my boys in the backyard.  I slipped on the grass and ruptured my achilles tendon pretty badly.  It occasionally bothers me today.  Luckily it is the other leg that is sore today.  I should be fine tomorrow I think but am glad I get today to rest. 

On to the short term investment strategy for today.  Last week was a very bad week.  Only Andrew Luck tying the game against USC and going to OT saved me from a goose egg.  1-4.  First bad week all year.  Then on Thursday, Transocean (RIG) reports a horrible quarter missing earnings by quite a bit.  The stock which I was up 10% on at the time got crushed, down over $7 a share in no time.  It finished the day falling from 56.5 to 49 and now I'm down a couple percent in it.  Friday it was up $1 so I am close to even.  I'm not crushed by this, I have faith RIG will turn it around and I almost sold out of something else to buy more shares.  Probably should have.  I plan on selling some stocks over the next 2 months.  I think the market will be pretty good through the end of the year so I am definitely selling some winners (and losers) to raise cash so that when the bear returns - which I think will happen within the next 6-9 months or less - I can pick up some bargains along the way.  I am keeping my gold positions and may even add to some of them.  I missed an opportunity to pick up some Yamana when it temporarily tanked when gold got hit last month.  It's now back up to 16 so I'm leaving off of that for now.  But I think they are in great position to take advantage of today's gold prices not to mention how gold may go a lot higher soon.  They are one of the lowest cost producers in the business and they have more and more gold coming out. I expect a very nice quarter from them on their next report.   Ok enough of the stock talk, now for the very short term investments.

I'm taking Alabama -4.5 in the big game against LSU.  2 things motivate this call.  Satan is the coach of Bama and Les Myles will never be confused with Jesus.  I have also heard the head of the sports book at Caesars said he would set the line at Bama -6 and take all the action he could get on LSU.  If he is that confident with Bama, so am I, and I only have to give 4.5. 

Give me UNC -3.5 over NC State.  Big rivalry game and NC State is just not very good.  4 wins but outside of beating a decent Virginia squad, they have wins against Liberty, Central Mich, and South Alabama.  Not Va Tech, Michigan, and Bama by any stretch.

I also like Washington getting 16 at home against Oregon.  This is a decent UW team but not in Oregon's class however Oregon may be caught looking ahead to their huge matchup with Stanford next week.  Its a home game for Washington and they're gonna be pumped up for this one.  I think Oregon wins a close one.  Last week that would translate to a 45-3 win for Oregon. We'll see about this week. 

Ow ow ow ow I just got a leg cramp in my calf.  Time for a V8.  I should have drunk one last night when I got home.   

I also might bet Virginia -3 over Maryland.   Maryland is terrible, I don't know how they beat  Miami early in the year cuz they are regressing.  After losing close ones to good Ga Tech and Clemson teams they get blown out by a decent FSU (next year they'll be a really good team) and then lost to a baaaad BC squad.  UVa is up and down, but they have victories against both Ga Tech and Miami sandwiching a loss to NC St.

I am also looking at Arkansas -5.5 at home vs South Carolina.  I liked this better at 4.5 but I might play it here anyway.  Arkansas is a better team, especially at home and though South Carolina is good I don't think they cover this. 

Well that's enough for now, gonna drag my aching leg into the shower and get ready for the day ahead.  Still putting together another unfortunately non-poker post.  Not much poker in my life, a little online small stakes stuff but I have been too busy with football and such to play much.  I did just get my winnings from my death pool victory last night.  200 bucks   Sweeet.  Well I hope you all have a great weekend.  Stay warm, it's even a little chilly here.  Last night was pretty cool and windy to boot.  When we went out for the pregame I was regretting not putting on my long sleeved shirt for the game but as soon as I started running around I warmed up quickly.  Hope my short term investments warm up as well.  Get lucky or stay lucky my friends. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday night's all right for fighting

Let's hope not as I'd prefer not having to deal with that in my games tonight.  Looks like it's gonna be another rainy day today.  We got rain off and on last night and its really wet out there today.  This morning has been more of the same.  I wouldn't be too worried about it for my games tonight if I was in Seminole but I gotta ref in Pinellas Park.  Seminole's field is in good shape and drains pretty well.  Rain all day would make it a bit messy but nothing bad.  Pinellas Park's field is not in great shape.  It drains poorly.  Last time there was major rain on a game day, the field was a quagmire and a good part of it was under water.  If it keeps raining today, I don't want to see what the field will be like when I get there at 5 tonight.  Well, I can pray for some sunshine still.  Won't dry the field but will keep it from getting worse at least. 

I just checked today's forecast and this afternoon should be partly cloudy with a high in the 70s.  It could be worse.  I could be back in Rhode Island where they're expecting a high in the 40s and snow tonight.  Snow in October?  I remember some flurries that early a couple of times growing up but not anything that stuck.  Never had to ref in the snow thankfully.  Late last year we had to do a game at night when it was windy and in the 40s.  That was cold.  But it wasn't snowy or rainy.  That would have been ugly. 

Congrats to the St Louis Cardinals on another World Series win.  I was half rooting for them as I admired how they had come back from the dead just like the Rays and made it to the playoffs.  I was also half rooting for the Rangers as I used to be a fan of theirs when I lived there and they've never won one before.  But since the Rangers knocked out the Rays from the playoffs in both the last 2 years I was also rooting against them.  I've heard the ESPN talking heads call game 6 of this series one of the greatest games ever.  Really??   Exciting, yes but great game??  I don't think so.  3 Cards errors leading to Ranger runs.  And I'm not talking about a booted ground ball or a bad throw, I'm talking a pop fly to left turning into "you got it,  no you got it, no I got it, no nobody's got it"   A bunt fielded and thrown into centerfield.  Wild pitches.  The works.  Then in key positions the Rangers can't get the final out to end the game including Cruz not catching Freese's drive to right that ends up being a tying triple in the 9th.  That was a very catchable ball.  A good right fielder makes that play.  Guys like Cesar Geronimo or Dwight Evans made that play routinely in the 75 series.  Still it was very exciting.  Too bad I was too beat to watch the last couple of innings.  Or maybe a good thing as I got some sleep instead.

Well this has been a quiet week on both the work and referee fronts.  I haven't done any games since last Saturday and my hip now feels fine.  It was a good time for a little break, my body was really feeling it and this rest gave me a chance to recover.  Work settled down a little this week.  And the market rocked.  Europe finally got off their ass about the Greece issue and put out some semi concrete plans on how to deal with it that made some sense to the powers that be.  It is no real solution, just kicks the problem down the road a ways but it brought some stability to the issue and the markets responded really favorably.  It worked out well for a number of my holdings.  Gold was up nicely (I'm sure Mojo is please that Goldcorp went from $45.50 to $50 this week), Sanofi which is the French drugmaker who makes a lot of the flu vaccines, took off for me this month, going from 31.88 to 37.50 this month.  Doesn't happen if a deal isn't announced.  Transocean (RIG) really went up as well.  It started October at 46 and finished Friday at 60.  That was a nice month.  I almost bought more when it got down that low but I had no extra cash and didn't want to sell anything then.  I probably should have. 

Now time for some short term investment information.  I'm looking at a few games today.  College has really been good for my bankroll this year, much better than the past 2 years.  First off I want Wisconsin -7.5 over Ohio St.  OSU has been improving but they're not in Wisconsin's class yet.  Wisconsin has to be disappointed about the way they lost to Mich St.   Are they mad about the loss?   If so, they spank OSU.  If not, they play a sluggish game and hopefully still cover.  I'll take them.

Next I like Penn St -5.5 over Illinois.  Illinois is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.  Their only cover against a woeful Indiana team.  Penn St has been improving as the year goes on.  Lets take them at home on a day likely to be pretty sloppy. 

Give me Arkansas -10 at Vanderbilt.  Vandy is 4-3 and playing at home but lets look at who they've beaten.   Elon?  A bad Mississippi team.  An ok UConn and an ok Army team.  Nothing much.  Arkansas has played much tougher competition and had their scare at Mississippi last week.  They won't overlook Vandy. 

I kinda like Kansas St +13 at home vs Oklahoma.  OU cannot be happy about last week's loss to Texas Tech but KSt is playing really well especially at home.  3 teams in common so far this year with similar results from both teams.  I can't see OU winning that big as much as Stoops wants to.

Finally give me the over 61.5 in the USC/Stanford tilt.  Both offenses put up a lot of points.  Should not have a problem exceeding the number.  

That's all I got today.  I'm gonna wrap this up by hoping everyone stays warm and dry up there in the northeast.  I will write again tomorrow as I've been working on a different post but have a lot more to do with it.  Till then I hope you all stay lucky.  Make good picks everyone.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yep, this is what we have become

From referees getting beaten up to referees who deserved to be beaten up.  I posted about a fellow ref who was hurt in a brawl down here a few weeks back.  He is doing well now.  Well due to all the work I've been putting in on field, I missed this one last weekend. 
Hey give me the damned ball ref
Arizona was playing at home and whipping UCLA 42-7 just before halftime when a student decided he would make a spectacle of himself by repeating the glory of the 70s and streaking down the field.  Here is a link to that bit of nostalgia.  Of course a second video in this link also features the 80s era brawl that broke out right after that trip down memory lane.  Yep fun times in Arizona.  Now it turns out the referee impersonator is being charged with a felony called  "criminal impersonation" that can put him in jail for 18 months. Wait a minute, impersonating a referee is a felony in Arizona? Really? A college prank is worth 18 months in jail? You can't blame him for that brawl starting can you? Maybe.  According to this report the guy admitted to streaking so he could put it on his application to be on the game show Wipeout.  Really dude?  Putting on a fake ref uniform and streaking in a televised football game to get on a game show?  Maybe you don't deserve 18 months in jail for that but maybe the cops should have tased you when they took you down so you can feel a little bit of pain to go along with your stupidity.  Now I wish the head ref had handed you the ball when you went on the field.  Then one of those players would have an excuse to flatten you (a la Mike "Maddog" Curtis in 1971) and really make me chuckle.   BTW, can you really charge someone for that if they are actually refereeing a game?  Hope not, I'd hate to have a few cops putting the cuffs on me when I'm walking off the field.  This is what we have become isn't it?

I'm feeling a bit like damaged goods here today.  It's been another busy week between work and football and I am one tired puppy right about now.  At work, a number of people were on vacation or out sick this week.  That crud I had is still making the rounds it appears.  I know I'm still coughing occasionally.  Kept those of us still in the salt mines busy mining and such. 

Thursday night I had a JV game at Northside Christian.  It was a typical small school JV game and I had a good time with the guys.  The weather was just starting to turn chilly.  Nice night.  Nothing much to talk about otherwise.  Friday night was a bigger game as I had Largo at Boca Ciega.  Largo has been one of the best teams in the county over the past 5 years while Bogie has been a perpetual underachiever but I figured this game would be fairly close.  It was a perfect night for a football game with temps in the 60s at game time.  As we got out on the field pregame to check the field and talk to the coaches we got to see a beautiful purple and pink sunset.  Made it worth it to be out on that field. 

The game started with a bang as Largo took the opening kick off to the house.  7-0 ten seconds into the game.  Bogie drives down the field later on and ties the game up.  Then kicks off to the same guy on Largo.  This time they managed to tackle him on the 16 yard line.  Their 16.  Largo punches it in and goes up 14-7.  In the second quarter, Largo ran a halfback option with a throwback to the quarterback from around midfield.  The QB juked out the one defender with a shot at him and took it all the way.  21-7.  Good thing the coach warned us they might run this play.  Late in the quarter Largo scores again after a Bogie turnover and at the half they lead 28-7.  By the score it looks like Largo is killing them but really, Bogie had been able to move the ball on Largo and mostly stop Largo's running game.  Largo's QB was not really effective passing.  Some big plays had led to most of Largo's points. 

In the second half Bogie continues to stop Largo, who does no favor to their cause by continually trying to pass instead of running and taking time off the clock.  Midway through the quarter, Bogie hits a couple of big passes to go from their own 20 to a TD and is down 28-14.  Largo then fumbles a few plays later deep in their own end and Bogie punches that in for a score.  On the TD play a few players get into it in the end zone.  No punches are thrown so we don't have to toss anyone (throwing a punch is automatically an ejection, even if it doesn't connect) but we ended up calling 2 personal fouls on Bogie and one on Largo.  The Largo coach wants us to enforce the penalties on the next kickoff but because these were dead ball fouls that occurred after the TD was scored and not live ball fouls, we had to enforce them on the extra point.  So Bogie had to kick the extra point from the 18 and got it blocked.  Still we are in the 4th quarter and it's 28-20.  Late in the game Largo got moving a little and Bogie was desperate to stop them when a guy for Largo breaks a run and gets the clinching TD.  On that play I got bumped from behind and my left when I turned to follow the play.  It wasn't much of a hit but I guess I stepped wrong when it happened because I felt this pain in my hip.  Felt  kind of like a pulled muscle but I didn't think much of it. 

The game ended soon after and as I was walking back to the locker room, I felt the pain in my hip.  "This isn't good" I thought as I walked to my car later.  It hurt to do anything much.  I just hoped it was a bruise and would go away over a short time.  I got home a bit before 11 and after eating a bite the PQ rubbed some Ben Gay like stuff on my hip and I went to sleep.  6:50 came awfully early Saturday morning.  I had another 4 game set to work, all on the field.  I felt ok but still sore a bit.  Unfortunately I still felt pain in my hip.  I hoped it would loosen up while I worked.

When I got outside to go to the game I felt how really cool it was outside.  It was maybe 55 degrees.  Chilly by Florida standards.  I was in my usual shorts and short sleeved referee shirt but I brought my long sleeve shirt with me in case it stayed chilly.  Fortunately when I got to the field it was already starting to warm a bit.  I was working the first 2 games with a very experience group of guys.  Not a problem, I figured we would knock those games right out easily.  Young kids, only 8 minute quarters, should be quick games.  Yeah right.  As I warmed up and stretched I felt more pain in my hip.  Not good.  Stu the guy on the clock told me if I couldn't go, he'd be willing to fill in for me.  I told him he might have to as I just didn't know how long I could go. 

The first game would have been hysterically funny if it hadn't been so long.  2 teams of 7-8 year olds who mostly hadn't played football before this year.  Even though this is week 8 or 9 of their season, they still are all over the place.  We could have thrown penalty flags on every play.  The visitors were all over the place, the home team was a little better.  And anytime someone got tackled hard it seemed, they got hurt.  We had so many injury time outs where the kid got removed then was back playing in 2 or 3 plays.  Instead of this game being done quickly, it just kept dragging on.  Late in the game I turned to the head ref during a time out and said, "Jim, this is like herding cats out here."  He agreed.  Surprisingly the team mother for the visitors heard my remark and told me "You don't know half of it.  The whole team are 7 year olds.  Getting them all to do the same thing at the same time is impossible."  Mercifully the game finally ended with the home team winning 19-0.  But we are already behind after one game time wise and the home team is doing parent appreciation day so before every game they are introducing all the players and their parents and family while they walk on the field.  Fortunately I didn't have to run much so my hip didn't trouble me too much.

The next game is the next age group up.  Not so new to the game but a little bigger and faster.  Even so, we make up a lot of time during the game.  Unfortunately, the game ends 0-0 and we have to play overtime.  Just one overtime and we do the KC tiebreaker like they do in college.  Both teams get the ball on the ten yard line and get 4 plays to score.  The visitors score and run in the extra point.   The home team scores on 4th down but gets stopped short of the goal line for the extra point and loses.  So we don't make up much time in the end.  My hip is hurting a bit more but I still didn't have to run much.  The only thing saving me right now.

The third game are JV Pee Wees.  That's the next age group up, kids around 12 years old.  These kids run and pass a lot more.  Again both teams are pretty evenly matched.  The home team scores in the 2nd quarter but misses the extra point.  Still it looks like we'll avoid overtime and the game is going well.  Not many penalties or big plays making me run too much.  Passing to a minimum.  Unfortunately that changes in the 4th quarter.  The visitors hit a couple of passes and a big run.  I had to chase the plays a bit and I'm hurting, especially when they get a first down inside the 5.  I'm hoping for a turnover to keep the visitors from scoring but it's not to be as they get the tying TD.  Now I'm hoping they hit the extra point.  Wrong again.  We are tied 6-6 when the game ends and go to OT again.  The home team has the ball first but throws an interception on 3rd down.  The visitors run on first down and get to the 6.  The home team jumps offsides the next play and the visitors now have 2nd and goal from the 3.  They punch it in the next play for the win.  I'm pretty much dragging my leg behind me now and I tell Stu up on the clock that I can't go any more so he comes down to take over.  Dragging my ass up the stairs to the press box was no picnic but I made it.  Good thing I did.

The next game had a lot more action and long plays in it.  I'd have melted out there.  Late in the first half we had another one of those muffed kicks I mentioned a week or 2 ago.  One team kicks off and the ball kinda rolls around for a bit.  The receiver goes back to get it and drops the ball when he tries to pick it up.  A guy on the kicking team picks up the ball and sets off for the end zone.  The head ref chases the play to the end zone and when the guy gets in he gives the touchdown signal.  I'm up in the press box telling the announcer that they're blowing the play.  When he asked what I meant I told him, that was a muffed kick, not a fumble and the kicking team gets possession at the spot they recover the ball but they don't get to advance it.  Luckily Stu was on top of the play and marked the spot of possession.  After the TD signal he calls the head ref over and they talk a second then spot the ball on the 24 yard line where it was recovered.  And the announcer looks smart telling the crowd why that wasn't a TD.  We don't always get the calls right, but we try to.  When the game finally ended I slowly dragged my way down to my car and called the PQ to see what was up for lunch.  It was about 2:30 and I still hadn't had a bite all day.

I met up with the PQ, her sister and my niece for lunch at 5 Guys.  Best burgers and fries ever.  If you're unlucky enough to live in an area without 5 Guys, you are missing out.  If you do have them around and go to any other chain, you are being extremely foolish and your taste buds will revolt eventually. After lunch we made it home and I basically passed out.  I barely got my picks in by 4pm for today's NFL games, the PQ had to keep waking me up as I was snoozing in front of my computer.  I did get in 2 good short term investments taking Michigan St +7.5 over Wisconsin and the over in the Penn St/Northwestern game.  The over hit before halftime and Sparty did me proud in a wild finish.  I trooped off to bed and slept for about 2.5 hours.  Could have gone a lot longer but had to get me and the PQ some dinner.  I really wanted breakfast so we went to IHOP and I got me breakfast while the PQ had the more traditional dinner at night. 

Today I woke up feeling a good bit better.  My legs are a bit sore but my hip hasn't bothered me all day.  I will go outside and jog shortly as we're going to get our flu shots in a few minutes.  We'll see how the hip feels then.  So I guess I'm off.  No NFL bets today though I might take GB over Minnesota.  I am putting something down on Baltimore over Jax tomorrow though.  Gotta think what to make for dinner tonight as well.  So I'm off.  I hope you guys stay lucky.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bruised and battered

It's been a rough week this past week.  My cold hasn't done me any good and though it is better, it still bugs me.  I took both Monday and Tuesday off from work as I was just coughing too much.  I couldn't imagine working like that, especially handling phone calls and other questions.  Plus I didn't want to infect my coworkers with this crud as well.  I know, I know, when did I become such a magnanimous man?  After all, part of the joy of working in a cube farm is passing on the assorted gossip, rumors, and germs to your fellow farmers.  But I've turned over a new leaf here.  I want to be a better person and a good example for my fellow man.  Besides it's in my best interest for my fellow co workers to show up to work healthy and hearty.  The more they do, the less I have to do.  I believe De Tocqueville called that "enlightened self interest."  Yup, that's me, Mr Enlightenment.

Even though I wasn't feeling great, I went to work on Wednesday.  My coughing was way down and I was actually able to sleep in my own bed on Tuesday night, albeit not particularly well.  It was still more restful than sleeping in my recliner was.  I didn't think I'd make it through the whole day on Wednesday but I did.  People could tell as the day went on that I was pretty far gone though.  They commented on how quiet I was as the afternoon went on.  When I got home I ate and coughed for awhile then put together my gear to ref on Thursday as I had a JV game to referee.  

I was still pretty tired on Thursday after another fitful night of coughing and sleeping.  The medication my doc gave me was helping but I was still waking up in the middle of the night coughing a couple of times.  Figured the times I wasn't awake were not the most deep sleeps either.  Again by the time I got out of work I was pretty tired but still had to get to the game.  I managed to get through that with the mininum of fuss and not too much effort.  Fortunately the game started at 6 so I was home by 8:30.  The wife made me a bite to eat and sent me off to bed when I started falling asleep by 9:30.  I slept hard till about 4 am then off and on till I got up a bit before 6:30.  I was still dragging a bit when I headed off to work even after a pretty good night's sleep.  I had another game to do on Friday night at Anclote High School, a relatively new school just north of Pinellas County in Pasco.  I had never been there before but knew it would take a while to get up there.  Going anywhere north of here after work is a major pain so going to schools like Tarpon Springs and East Lake which are in the far northern part of the county are a long ride time wise.  Anclote was a bit further than Tarpon making it even more fun. 

Friday was another tiring day at work.  I left work a little early, went home and gathered up my gear, then took PQ's car and drove up to Anclote.  It took me a bit over an hour to go a little over 20 miles to get to the school.   What a nice school.  Though I was a bit surprised at the location.  If we have a hurricane, even a relatively minor one is gonna flood that area.  The school is about 3 feet above sea level and maybe 3/4 of a mile from where the Anclote River meets the Gulf of Mexico.  So let's lay out a ton of money on a new school that will be completely destroyed if we ever get a big hurricane through here.  Besides which you'll never be able to use it as a shelter as most people there would be in more danger than staying in their own homes.  Brilliant use of money Pasco County School Board.  And we wonder why municipalities are short on money.  Once the big one comes, they'll be the first ones to plead poverty because they have to repair all the buildings that they put in the wrong spots.  I mean this is not 1940, why are we building new schools in areas that we KNOW will be flooded.  Admittedly, building a school anywhere in Holiday is going to put it an area that's likely to flood as I doubt any part of the city is in an area that won't flood in a major storm but still, why not build up the land you put your brand new school on so that it won't be flooded by just about any hurricane?

I wasn't with my normal group for this ball game, I was filling in for a guy on another crew who was off camping with his family for the weekend.  I'd worked with this crew before so it wasn't a big deal for me to work with them and they were used to me so I don't think they had an issue either.  It was a nice night for football, temps in the 70s with a bit of a breeze.  Anclote had a fair amount of players but they were not a very big team size wise.  Not unexpected as the school is still mostly freshmen and sophomores due to it's newness.  The visitors from Zephyrhills only had 27 or 28 players but these guys were BIG. 

The first quarter was without much action but the home team got a drive going and hit a field goal to take the early lead.  The next drive, Zephyrhills drove down the field pretty well and then they got me pretty good.  There was a running play to my left and I turned and started moving that way to cover it.  The left guard for Zephyrhills came through the line and hit the linebacker to my right and bounced him into me.  The edge of the linebacker's shoulder pad scraped my arm just under the shoulder and I thought "That's gonna leave a mark."  I was hoping I wasn't cut as I didn't want to have to stop the game so I could get myself attended to.  Can't have a player or referee bleeding on the field.  Bloody players we send off to the sidelines and continue the game but a ref has to be fixed up (or carted off in some cases) before we can continue.   I was hurting but didn't feel any blood so we kept on going.  Zephyrhills finished the drive with a TD and never looked back after that.  At the half they were up 20-7 and we went inside to discuss the half and drink something.  I managed to suck down a bottle of water and most of a Powerade while we talked.  I checked out my arm and it had a nice looking scrape but nothing too bad.  But it did hurt. 

The third quarter was more of the same.  Zephyrhills scored a 49 yard TD on a broken play that Anclote defended well, then the runner turned back the other way and it was all green to the end zone.  They kicked off to Anclote and the returner goes 90 yards for a TD.  Anclote kicks back off to Zephyrhills and their returner takes it 80 yards for a TD.  Three touchdowns in less than a minute.  I turned to the head ref after the last extra point and told him, "If this next kick goes coast to coast, it's definitely coming back for an illegal block" and we laughed about it.  Luckily the next kick was not a TD. 

In the 4th quarter Zephyrhills took a 35 point lead when they hit a short field goal and we could then run the clock without stopping for the rest of the game.  They kicked off and the same guy for Anclote again goes coast to coast.  85 yards this time.   We get set up after the extra point and Anclote kicks off to Zephyrhills and damned if their returner doesn't take it to the house as well!  I've been in games with multiple kickoff returns for TDs but I've never been in a game where both teams did it back to back twice.  Just crazy.  The final score was 51-16.

Needless to say by the time that game finished I was pretty beat.  I had 4 games to work Saturday starting at 8am.  Why that early I have no idea.  All year I've been working the last 3 games of the night starting at 5pm.  This time I was scheduled originally to work the games at 11 and 12:30 and on Wednesday my schedule was changed and I was given 8 and 9:30am as well.  Not exactly what I was planning for my Saturday morning.  So after the game Friday night I headed straight home.  I got home about 10:30 ate a bite and then headed to bed.  I was asleep about 11:30 and had my alarm set for 6:50 am.  Didn't need it.  About 6:10 I woke up and even though it was earlier than I planned, I felt good.  I felt better than I had in over a week.  I figured I ought to be pretty tired and sore but outside of my shoulder/upper arm, I really felt great.  I went into the bathroom to look at my arm and this is what I saw

Not a pretty sight huh?  That's about as bad a bruise as I've ever had, even during my ball playing days.  Anyway I got ready for my games and was out the door about 7:10.  Even though the first game wasn't slated to start until 8, if we can start them a little early, I'm all in favor of it.  It was a nice morning, cloudy and cool with a good breeze blowing.  I got to the field just as the sun began rising to the east.  The clouds were streaked with pink and orange and the field was still covered with dew.  I was working the first 2 games with a ref I had worked with occasionally and a couple of new guys I didn't know.  It was good to work a bit with the newbies.  I had to show one how to handle the 1st down chains for the changeover at the end of the quarter.  He got it reversed the first time, but he'd never done it before.  I remember my first games refereeing. 

The first game was the youngest kids and they were the JV youth team as well so these are almost all kids who never played before this year.  They actually played pretty well though I let a lot of holding calls go or I would have thrown a flag almost every play.  The second game was much the same thing as these were slightly older kids but still pretty small.  And inexperienced.  We called this one a little bit tighter but still let a lot go.  Both games were close and played pretty well all things considered.  After the second game, both the head ref and one of the new guys were finished and 2 new guys took their place.  Jack was the head referee and I knew him pretty well.  I was telling Evan the other new ref that Jack was the referee of the first game I ever did.  I brought that up to Jack before the coin flip and we got a good laugh out of it.  I was not a very good referee when I started.  Probably drove Jack crazy as he worked a number of games with me. He on the other hand is a very good ref.   

Both of our next 2 games  went pretty well.   They were closely contested and nothing ugly happened during either game.  By the 2nd half of the last game though, I was getting really tired.  Seems like my energy was just about gone.  It took all my strength just to walk to my car and drive home.  When I got home I had a quick lunch and took a shower.  By 3 pm I was nodding off trying to watch football and maybe figure out a few short term investments.  It was too much for me so off to bed I went.  3 hours later the PQ woke me up as she wanted to play in the 8pm poker tourney that night.  I was so groggy I didn't want to think about it but I went off with her and since they had an Omaha table going when I got there, I decided I would play that while I tried to wake up.  Unfortunately most of the players had been there a good while and they packed it in not long after I got there so that was out.  My choices then were between the tourney and playing hold em.  I eventually decided on hold em.  Should have just not played anything and bet the dogs or something.  I ended up giving up $60 and missing out on winning a big pot when I folded AJ preflop to a raise/reraise and seeing the flop come out JJJ.  The raiser had 10-10 and I was all set to call her raise to $4 but the reraiser had KK and when he came over the top to $12 I put him on a big hand and dumped it.  Much to my dismay.  That cost me a big pot as they continued betting post flop.  Also I would have won $100 for hitting quads at that time.  It's been forever since I've hit quads playing NLHE.  After that just about nothing went right but I did manage to keep from going down completely with a couple of timely raises and a decent bluff.  Losing $60 beats losing $120 anyday.  The PQ did not last long in the tourney as her AA ran into 55 that rivered a straight and then she played some hold em as well with not very good results.  Just a bad weekend all around I guess.  Enough for now.  Stay lucky people, luckier than I.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Excuse me sir

I believe that's my lung.  I managed to cough it up at least 5 or 10 times today.  No work for me today, not because it's Columbus Day as the markets were still open today.  Nope, it's because I didn't want to infect the rest of the office not to mention I barely slept last night.  I was coughing so much I couldn't lay down and so after trying twice and coughing like a madman when I laid down, I spent the rest of the night trying to sleep in my recliner.  I got some sleep but it was pretty fitful.  There was no chance I would be able to work today so I called off.  Went to the doctor and got a couple of prescriptions to help me with the coughing and help me sleep but nothing else she can do for me as she believes this is a virus and there aren't any drugs that will take care of it.

Sunday did give me some good news at least.  Besides the Jets covering by 1/2 a point anyway.  I am in a death pool with some guys at work and a bunch of other guys.  All told 61 people pitched in $10 and the payouts are $310 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third.  When this weekend started there were still 31 people left.  I barely made it out of week 1 myself as I had Arizona over Carolina and Carolina led that game for a good chunk of time.  But Az did come back and save me unlike KC and a few others.  Since then I've had some pretty good picks like GB last week.  This week there weren't a lot of games I looked at and felt comfortable with.  One of the biggest lines was Seattle at NYG.  I really thought about taking the Giants, a lot of other people did take it, but in the end I just do not feel comfortable with Eli Manning in a game he should roll in.  So I took San Diego over Denver instead. 

And I was right.  Seattle led much of the game then the Giants took the lead and knocked out Tavaris Jackson who was lighting them up pretty good.  Figure this one is over.  Nope, Seattle comes back
The greatness that is Charlie Whitehurst takes them 80 yards downfield in a little over 2 minutes and punches in a TD to take a 4 point lead.  I wasn't really paying all that close attention to the death pool as I was feeling so lousy and watching my fantasy teams more than anything.  Still there was more than 2 minutes left for Eli and the GMen to take this one down.  Eli lead them straight down the field mostly using his new favorite toy, Victor Cruz instead of my guys, Nicks and Manningham.  1st down NY on the Seattle 5 with 1:27 left.  Plenty of time for NY to run a couple of plays to try to punch it in but on 1st down they get a false start penalty to get moved back to the 10.  Bad teams do that, get false start penalties at home in key situations.  First and goal from the 10 and Eli tries to hit Cruz in double coverage and leads him just a little too much, tips off his hands and is grabbed by a Seahawk who goes coast to coast for the TD.  Game over, thanks for the memories Eli. 
Something stinks in NY

This was such an important game because 27 of the 31 players remaining had taken NYG.  While this is going on I'm watching the end of the Houston/Oakland game.  I looked at the death pool then to make sure I hadn't taken NY as I had thought pretty hard about taking them early in the week.  When I saw how many people got knocked out I looked at who was left.  3 of us had taken SD and one guy had Houston.  I watched Oakland sitting on a 25-17 lead try to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory.  I really thought they would lose it as Houston moved almost at will down the field late in the game.  But Richard Seymour got a big sack and forced them to take a FG.  Houston kicks off to Oakland who does a quick 3 and out and here comes Houston again.  This time Seymour roughs Schaub on an incomplete pass and Houston is down on Oakland's 26,  I know this time they're gonna punch it in and it looks pretty good as with 8 seconds Houston is down on the 5 but Schaub scrambles out of trouble on the next play and throws an inexplicable dead duck with no pressure on him that is picked in the end zone.  Game over.  We're down to 3. 

Now all I have to do is depend on Norv Turner and the Chargers to beat Denver in the late game.  I hate depending on untrustworthy coaches in big games, but if SD pulls it off, we're in the money.  I like being in the money.  San Diego jumps on Denver early and it's 23-10 at the half.  I'm feeling pretty good.  We're 26-10 in the 4th quarter but I see Denver has finally brought in Tebow to play QB.  Now do I think Tebow is a young gun who will light up San Diego, not really.  But there is something about the kid.  He is a winner and he makes things happen around him.  He runs a ball in from 12 yards out and they get the 2 point conversion to close to 26-18.  Next series Rivers gets sacked and fumbles and Denver has the ball on the 33.  Couple of plays later Tebow throws a screen to Moreno and he takes it all the way in.  I can see it now, Denver gets the 2 point conversion, ties the game then wins it late.  But they just missed a pass in the end zone and SD still leads 26-24. 

SD takes the kickoff and for some reason starts passing.  There's only 3 minutes left, is it too much for me to expect you to run some time off the clock.  Incomplete, Incomplete.  2 plays and they take 9 seconds off the clock.  But somehow Rivers hits a 42 yard pass on 3rd down and they take it down field and chew up clock finally kicking a field goal w2ith 28 seconds left.  SD kicks off and Denver starts on the 20 with no time outs.  Tebow hits Lloyd on the sideline for one of the nicest catches I've seen this year.  Originally called incomplete but reversed and Denver is on the 40.  He hits Fells in the middle of the field for 31 more yards and they're down on the Charger's 29.  I can't look. Tebow spikes it with 1 second left.  Oh no.  One last play and they are easily in range.  San Diego is not the most imposing pass defense either.  Tebow takes the snap, runs around some, gets away from some tacklers and unleashes one into the end zone.  It hits a Charger then a Bronco but fortunately falls incomplete, game over.  And the 3 nicest words pop into my head, In the Money.  Amazing that if Denver catches that TD, all 31 people remaining lose on the same day in the death pool and everyone is still alive.  I know 28 others were rooting for Denver at the end.  But it was not to be.  We might do a split and everyone get 200 or we might play it out, I don't know yet.  Since I wasn't at work today I didn't do anything about it. 

So I want to thank ole Eli Manning for pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Sunday and killing off 27 players in the death pool all at once.  I heard the screams.  Damn Chicago just missed scoring the back door cover at the end of the Detroit game so I went 1-1 on the pros.  Well it's bed time for me.  Doubt I will be working tomorrow unless my cough is a whole lot better.  I hope you all had a better weekend than I did, but knowing I cashed the death pool makes me feel so much better. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thirty bucks.....that's it???

What word best describes how I feel today?  Bad doesn't quite do it justice, but horrible may be too much.  I guess lousy is the closest I can come to it.  I'm a little chilled, pretty sore and coughing quite a bit.  Not a fun way to spend Sunday.  Good thing the NFL is on as that's about all I can handle today.

Last night I had 3 games to referee.  The weather was pretty crappy.  It was cloudy and very windy when my first game started a little after 5.  Temps were around 80 so it wasn't cold but the wind was blowing pretty good, around 20 miles an hour with gusts over 30.  We could see dark clouds coming from the east so we felt it was a pretty good bet we would get wet.  We were right.

The first two games went without a hitch.  I had a really good group of guys to work with and that makes it a lot more fun to do.  Everyone had a good bit of experience which is not always the case for the late games.  A lot of the experienced refs don't want to do the games late on Saturday.  They have a point as most of them do games on Thursday and Friday nights and their wives and families would like to spend some time with them.  The problem is the late games on Saturday have the oldest and best players and you really want to have more experienced people doing the games.  So some weekends we have some pretty inexperienced people doing games but last night was not the case.  Everybody there had been refereeing for quite a while and I had worked with all of them many times before. So we were having a pretty good time but by the second game it started raining.  Not too hard but with the wind, it was a bit chilly and a pain to ref in.

The third game started and we knew this was gonna be some work.  The teams were not too far apart talent wise but they were kind of sloppy.  I had a couple of unusual calls in this game.  Early in the game I was covering a kickoff.  The home team kicked it deep and as the return was developing I watched a blocker on the receiving team coming back toward the ball carrier to block for him when one of the kicking team hits him dead in the back.  So I flagged the kickers for blocking in the back.  The home team coach was quite unhappy about that one.  In truth I have only thrown that penalty maybe 3 times in 9 years but it's never a good idea to ignore a block in the back, even away from the ball.  People who get hit in the back and knocked down want to retaliate unless you give them a little penalty justice in my experience.  Before you know it you have guys out looking to take cheap shots all over the field.  And we can't police everything. 

At the half, the home team is leading by 14-0 and looking pretty good but they've picked up a fair share of penalties for holding, block in the back, etc.  A couple of them were completely unnecessary and cost them TDs.  So they aren't real happy with us.  They kick off to start the second half and kind of pooch the kick over the first couple of lines of players.  The ball lands and then hops toward a receiver and bounces off of him and right to one of the kicking team.  He plucks the ball out of the air and sets sail for the end zone.  He's gone.  Except there I am whistling the play dead and giving the kicking team the ball on the 33 yard line where the guy caught it.  The coach (and fans) start yelling and we have to explain to them that a muffed kick which is what this was, cannot be advanced by the kicking team as the ball has never been possessed.  If the receivers catch and run with the ball then fumble, anyone can advance the ball, but a kick cannot be advanced unless it has been possessed and fumbled.  A muff is not possession.  It took me a moment when the guy first caught the ball and took off but I realized it pretty quick.  I have seen that miscalled on kickoffs and punts a number of times.

The next play the quarterback rolls to his left and is looking to pass.  I run forward to cover the line and make sure he doesn't step over the line before he throws.  While I'm rushing forward, a receiver is coming across the field from the right side to either catch a pass or block, I don't know which.  Didn't matter because he hit me right in the small of the back.  That stopped him but it didn't do me any good either.  That hurt.  The head ref stopped the game for a couple of minutes to make sure I could continue and though it hurt a little, it wasn't too bad.  I'm surprised it isn't really sore today but the way my knees feel right now, I'm pretty glad it isn't. 

Late in the third quarter I was covering a punt and as the return went on a kid tried to tackle the runner and got hit and broke his arm near his wrist.  He just laid on the ground screaming and we had to have the paramedics come take him to the hospital.   That delayed the game for about 20 minutes all told.  When we started the game up again, it started pouring.  The wind was blowing and water was just dripping off my hat.  I was not unhappy when that game ended and I made my dripping way home. 

The daughter was home from school this weekend.  It wasn't planned that way but she was having some car trouble and brought it home to be fixed.  She is starting a job soon so this was probably the best time to get her car fixed.  It turned out to be a relay for her engine fan and all is well now so everyone is happy.  She is preparing to head back to school and said she was hungry and my wife suggested I give her a little cash to get a bite and some gas as well.  So I gave her $30 and her reply became the title of my post. Since when is $30 not enough to get a bite to eat and some gas.  I'm not talking about filling her tank, I know that's more but still.  I looked at her and said "Hey I worked hard in the rain last night for this $30."  And she smiled at me and I gave her another 20.  I'm just a sucker and she knows it.

Well back to football for me.  I have 2 pro picks this week.  I'm taking the Jets +9.5.  I hate the Jets and Mark Sanchez but lately they have either beaten or played close with the Pats.  Every time they look like they are in trouble they put a good game together. Kinda like Pittsburgh. 
I'm also taking Chicago +6 over Detroit.  Detroit has played well but also been lucky to come back from big deficits.  In fact they ought to send a check or 2 to Tony Romo after that last fiasco.  If they fall behind big again, I don't think they get back in this one.  I'm not sold on Chicago being a good team but give me the points on this one.

I went 3-2 in college yesterday fortunately taking the over in the Texas/OU game and not playing a side.  Nebraska did their best to lose to OSU but came back to win but unfortunately not cover.  That hurt.  And GTech surprised me by only winning by 5 over Maryland.  But the rest went well as UGA's defense came up big and Arkansas put the wood to Auburn.  Hope your picks were better than mine.  Stay lucky