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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Welcome to Zombieland

Starring myself as the head zombie.  Good thing this is a holiday weekend as I could really use an extra day off here.  I had a hard week but not necessarily a bad one.  Got a fair amount accomplished and all but I was ready for this weekend.  Of course before the weekend truly started I had to get through Friday night first.

Friday night I had a football game to referee.  It was the wrap up of the spring practices at most of the high schools and a lot of them played games against each other to finish it off.  So instead of hitting each other, the kids got a chance to hit kids from other schools for a while. 

I expected to be rusty, after all I haven't done a game since early November, but I got into it fairly quickly. Unfortunately I also got waylaid fairly early.  A tight end came across the middle on a drag route about 3 yards past the line of scrimmage.  This happens quite a bit as the offense loves it when a linebacker crashes into the umpire while trying to defend that route.  It's why the NFL has gone to putting the umpire in the offensive backfiled with the referee except in certain situations. This time did not work out quite as well for the offense.  The quarterback was in a shotgun setup and it was a bad snap that he muffed.  As the ball rolled away from him I stepped up toward the line of scrimmage to help cover the loose ball.  The tight end came across and ran smack into me.  He bounced back, I bounced the other way, my hat goes flying.  Comedy all around.  That hurt a bit.  Hurt more yesterday.

The game went pretty well and was not badly played all things considered.  There were not a lot of ticky tack type, players being idiot type fouls.  No taunting or anything like that.  I almost got through the entire first half without throwing a penalty flag.  Then late in the half I got the visitors for too many men on the field on a punt.  Just before halftime I then took a TD away from the home team when I called a holding on a touchdown pass.  It was the only hold I called all night but it was an obvious one.  It didn't matter as two plays later they managed to score anyway.

We knocked out the first half in under an hour and we figured we would be done by 9:30 (game time was 7:30) if the game kept going like it did in the first half.  But it was not meant to be.  About 4 or 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter a kid broke his arm on a play.  That delayed us about 15 minutes.  We went into the 4th quarter with the visitors ahead 14-7 but the home team managed to tie it up a couple of minutes into the quarter.  I was talking to Ron the head ref after the TD and we were both thinking the same thing.  Someone better break this tie cuz we don't want to go overtime in a meaningless spring game. 

At first it looked like a tie was not going to happen.  The home team had really dominated the action after the visitors lost that kid with a broken arm.  But they managed to keep the home team out of the end zone.  It looked like the visitors might pull it out but a kid dropped an easy interception which he would have been able to take to the house on one play.  Then the home team missed a pretty easy field goal late in the game which would have won it for them.  So the 4th quarter ends tied at 14 and we go to overtime. Yuck. 

Much like college football, we play a Kansas tiebreaker in Florida high school ball.  Whereas college football starts at the 25 yard line, we start them out at the 10 yard line.  The home team lost the toss and the visitors elected to play defense.   The home team wasted no time getting 9 yards on their first play then scoring on their second play.  The visitors managed to score in one play on a pass to the end zone.  Both teams kicked their extra points so we went to double OT. 

The visitors started out on offense first this time and fell apart fumbling the ball away on 3rd down.  The home team wasted no time with their 4 downs almost scoring on a run on the first play and pushing it in on the next to win the game.   Good game, enjoyable to ref for the most part (when I wasn't being collided with) and the coaches were not going off the deep end.  Both coaches are new at their schools and seemed to be on their best behavior.  Good thing as the home team coaches were a major pain to deal with over the past 10 years. 

Saturday morning I woke up earlier than I wanted to.  Man did I ache.  Of course since I hadn't done much of any exercising since the season ended last year, I was not in great shape to ref.  I have neglected rule number 1 - Cardio.  The couple of times I was run into or stepped on didn't hurt.  I was a complete zombie all Saturday morning. Besides being sore I was also really really beat.  Even after drinking a large iced coffee and having a couple of donuts, I just couldn't get moving.  I didn't even do any blogging like I had planned to do.  Instead I spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon just watching Law and Order and napping.  Finally late in the afternoon I started getting it together. 

This morning I woke up a bit earlier than I wanted to as the dog was pretty insistent on going out about 6:15 am.  I made breakfast for the family and didn't do a whole lot after that.  For one I'm kinda poor due to the expenses from moving, for two I'm still a bit sore and tired, not like yesterday but my body keeps reminding me that I'm closer to 60 than 40.  I should have poured myself a glass of V8 yesterday but I forgot.  I made sure I did today.  I know a lot of people (my family included) who can't stand V8 but an old softball umpire swore by it as a good way to prevent cramps after doing some games and it seems to work pretty well for me too.  I feel much better now than I did early today, not to mention yesterday.  Wish I had remembered to drink it yesterday as well.

I have not done any poker playing to speak of over the past few weeks.  I did stake the PQ to play in a tourney last weekend.  It was a ladies only tourney with the top 2 places getting a seat to the WSOP ladies tourney.  Unfortunately she ran well but went out 6th.  While she was doing that, I was drinking beers, talking to a few guys and betting horses for the Preakness.  My Kentucky Derby luck did not translate over and I lost some cash on that one. 

Well that about wraps it up from this end.  Sorry it so boring down here.  Only about another 5 months of 90 degree weather to go before it cools down.  Maybe tomorrow I'll try to hit the poker tables but probably not.  For now I hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day weekend.  For those of you on the real or virtual felt, stay lucky you nuts.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What happened to my weekend?

It's another Sunday afternoon and I'm wondering where the rest of the weekend went.  I wish I could say it's been a productive and fulfilling weekend but it really hasn't.  Then again, I didn't want much this weekend either.  It was a long week again, but I did get a fair amount done.  Still sorting and putting away stuff at home during the week as well.  And getting used to living here.  I don't wake up at night and have to remember where I am now but I'm still not sleeping really well here.  Finally it appears I am coming down with a cold.  I noticed it Friday that I was coughing a little bit.  Saturday it got a little worse and today it's no better, maybe a bit worse.  And it's deep within my chest so I fear it will be a while before I can shake it, especially with how warm the weather is now where I am constantly going from heat to AC and back.

What else has been happening?  I have been watching the Yankees disintegrate with a certain amount of glee.  What is it the Germans call it, Schadenfreud?  I just looked it up and it's Schadenfreude so ding me one point for spelling.  But it definitely applies.  The Yanks have been handing out money on all of these long term contracts like candy corn at Halloween and it looks like it might be coming back to bite them a bit.  Is it possible for even the Yankees to spend too much money on contracts and lock up stars into long term deals for too long?  Jorge Posade is the least of their worries too as he is on the last year of his contract.   They still have 4 years and 92 mill for Sabathia who has looked far from all world this year.  Derek Jeter is owed 34 million and though he is much improved from his early season slump, is .267 the hitting you expect from a guy earning over 15 million?  And let's call those gold gloves over the past 2 years what they really are, reputation gold gloves.  Yes he is a fine fielder who doesn't make many errors but he also doesn't get to near the amount of balls now that a lot of other shortstops do.    

Now lets talk about the biggest overhang of all.  They are paying 32 million this year to a guy hitting a whopping .252 with 6 homers and 22 RBI's.  Now those aren't horribly bad statistics (Posada is hitting all of .165) and there is a lot more baseball to come.  He could turn this around and have another A Rod type season with 35 homers, 110 RBI's (maybe 1 or 2 in the clutch) and hit .300.  But the man will be 36 in a couple of months and will earn an average of 25 million until he is ......42.   I would not expect too many more big seasons from him unless he can channel his inner Barry Bonds as he ages.  I mean Ted Williams flirted with .400 as a 38 year old and even hit .316 in his final year at 41 but A Fraud is no Ted Williams.  And he's set to make about 174 million over the next 7 seasons. 

The Yanks started the season pretty strong but lately have looked kinda OLD.  They've lost 4 in a row, the last 2 in the Bronx against the hated Red Sox, and after finishing up against the Sox today they come down to Fla to play the Rays.  Could be a bad stretch for them.  The Sox have come back from a poor start to attain some degree of respectability and are only 1 game below .500 now.  Nothing they'd like more than to get to .500 by sweeping the Yanks in NY.  The Rays got off to an even worse start than the Sox, saw Evan Longoria hit the DL after 5 at bats and Manny Ramirez retire in semi disgrace after a 2nd positive drug test and managed to keep it together and go on a tear.  The starting pitching has been excellent, the bullpen much better than expected and even though the hitting is one too great, it has improved significantly from earlier in the year.  A few days ago they passed the Yankees to take over 1st in the AL East. 

Matt Joyce has finally been given a chance to play every day and is leading the AL in hitting.  Casey Kotchman was picked up to replace Carlos Pena's slick glove at first and has not disappointed there but has also shown much more at the plate than expected.   Both of them grew up in the area, Kotchman just down the road from Tropicana Field and Joyce across the bay.  And though his hitting has cooled significantly from the start of the year, Sam Fuld has done an admirable job replacing Carl Crawfords glove in left field and his feet on the base paths. 

Outside of baseball, what else is happening? Why the Stanley Cup Playoffs of course.  I want to thank Very Josie for attending the first game of the Bruins/Lightning playoff series last night.  She didn't say she was going to the game but she must have because the Lightning put it to the Bruins 5-2 last night and Boston is a town where they almost never win.  How could that happen?  Only the curse of the Very Josie can explain it.   Unlike last series, I don't expect a sweep by the Lightning this time.  Both teams are very similar, with good goaltending and defenses.  Of course the Lightning don't have Gigantor playing defense for them like Boston does but the Bruins don't have St Louis, Lecavalier, and Stamkos playing for them.  It will be interesting to see how the rest of the series plays out.  On the other side, I'm picking San Jose to take down Vancouver out West.  I think San Jose got a huge monkey like an 800 lb gorilla off their back when they took down Detroit in 7.  It was not so much that they didn't blow the series after a 3-0 lead but that they finally won a clutch 7th game in the playoffs after so many disappointments.  It was really nice to see ex-Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle get some nice publicity from the media and I expect another tough series out there as well as here.

On the poker front, I didn't recap last Saturday's tourney.  I didn't last too long but I felt really good about my play.  I was determined to be much more aggressive this time and it paid off for me.  After losing an early hand to a lady when I flopped top pair and turned a straight draw but she turned 2 pair after flopping middle pair.  She refuses to leave a hand when ever she hits nearly anything until the river.  She knocked me out once before when she kept luckboxing crap hands into two pair and trips against big pocket pairs.  I have yet to see her hit the money though as she is as adept at giving it away as she is in making it.

I got her back later on when I raised in position with a crappy 6-5 off.  Flop was ugly 8-3-2 and she called my continuation bet so I figured she had probably hit an ace.  Now I know she knows I play tight so she is either putting me on a big pair or more likely AK, AQ.  Turn is a 10.  I make a 2/3 pot bet representing a pair but she calls again.  Now I know I'm beat.  The river is an ace and she checks again.  I was gonna give up but said screw it, I know she is weak but that ace might scare her.  So I bet another 2/3 the pot and she makes some comment about that ace making it for me and folds.   Whew.  I took another pot off her later on with a similar hand when all I made was a low pair.  It felt good.  I went out on a bit of a freaky hand. 

I was on the button with 34 suited.  We are only in the second blind level.  There was one caller then the guy 2 seats to my right raised it up 4x.  I didn't give him a whole lot of credit for a hand though he could have one.  He hadn't played too much but I felt he was more than capable of stealing there even with the blinds fairly low.  So I called.  So does the first caller.  Flop was beautiful.  Q33.  It's checked to the raiser who bets 1000 into a 1300 chip pot.  I didn't want to appear too eager so I just called him.  Then the first caller raises to 3500.  The original raiser thinks for a moment and makes the call.  Then it comes to me and I start to think.  I didn't put the original raiser on QQ though I did think he might have KK or AA.  More likely I put him on AQ instead.  The last raiser I wasn't sure about.  Again I doubted it was QQ and didn't think it was AA or KK though it was possible he slow played AA to that point.   I really thought he had KQ or QJ or maybe JJ or 10-10 and he thought the flop missed us both.  Turn is a 7 putting 2 spades on the board.  The last raiser pushed all in and the original raiser folded.  Time for me to think hard.  Again I didn't put him on queens or 7s but it was a small possibility.  I could not see him reraising the 7s like that after the flop and that was a little strong to have QQ for flopping nearly the absolute nuts with no real big hand possibilities out there.  I really put him on a queen with maybe a flush draw or maybe Q7 for top 2 at that point.  He had been in one other hand where he pushed hard on the turn and he had a good hand but not the best one.  Unfortunately he showed almost the same hand I did when he turned over 6-3.  That surprised me a little only because he called preflop with 6-3 off then called a substantial raise out of position.  He lucked into trips like I did.  When he sees my cards he says "chop-chop" as we both have trip 3s with a Q7 but the dealer then turns over the river and it's a 6.  Good bye to me.   I had to laugh, wished everyone good luck and went off to see how the PQ was doing. 

PQ was surprised to see me so soon.  I told her it was one of those things, 3 outer on the river.  She was doing well, being more aggressive and taking some shots.  The DJ from the radiostation was 2 seats to her right and I told him he better look out as she was gonna take him out.  Turns out a bit later she did.  She raised with KK and he called her with AJ.  Flop was Jack high and he pushed hard so she put him all in and cleaned him out.  So she was pretty happy though she ended up going out about 12th when her JJ lost to A10.  And that was our Poker tourney.  Haven't played in the week since then and am not sure when I will again.  This no poker really sucks as I feel I'm getting rusty as hell.  Well can't be avoided as I am too busy and broke to play live right now.  Maybe in a few weeks when everything settles down.  I can dream can't I? 

So that's my life such as it is right now.  Hope everyone else is doing well and for those who are still playing regularly, stay lucky you nuts.   Go Rays and Bolts.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Back in the game

Good morning boys and girls. I am back as you can see. God how I hate moving. There are still things we need to unpack and take care of but the house is coming together. It had better as tomorrow I will be cooking and entertaining a good part of the day for Mother's Day. We are having some of my wife's family over for brunch in the morning then I'll be making dinner for her on Sunday night.

Today is a different story. I am working on putting stuff away, setting up some stuff, washing clothes, etc. Got a lot to do because tonight we are hitting the poker tables again. It wasn't in our original plans but I got a call from the PQ yesterday morning at work telling me we were going to play. Apparently she was on break and the radio was playing and the DJ announced they were giving away a free entry into the poker tourney on Saturday night. So she called in and won. Not too shabby as it's $97 to enter. I just had to laugh. She'll probably hit the money too. I know I'll be rusty without playing any poker for the last 2-3 weeks.

Amazing how much things can change in less than a month. The Tampa Bay Lightning were struggling into the playoffs after being overtaken by the Caps for the division lead. They did finish the season strong though after getting a couple of guys back from injury, the all important one being Ryan Malone who does all the little things around the net. Then they fell behind Pittsburgh 3 games to 1. Every close game went against Tampa Bay and the only game they won was a blowout. But they put it together, blew out Pittsburgh in game 5 and won the last 2 to take the series. I thought Tampa was the better team going in but Pittsburgh really played well, especially considering they didn't have either Crosby or Malkin. A couple of more breaks and they win the series. Then Tampa faces the Capitals and the man I hate the most in hockey, Alex Ovechkin. Personally I think Ovechkin may be the most talented player in the game (I think Crosby is a better all around player though), however I also think he also likes to take cheap shots when he can get away with it. I didn't think TB matched up that well with Washington and if they got into a run and gun type game with them, the Caps would blow them out. So TB takes them down in 4 straight. Much gnashing of teeth in Washington as this is the 3rd or 4th time in a row they have been whacked early in the playoffs, usually as the favorite.

Time for a break. Ok ladies, I just saw a commercial on TNT and they talk about Penelope Cruz and how she is married to that hot guy Javier Bardem. Javier Bardem is hot? Really ladies, is this true? I know I am not one to judge who is hot or not and I have my own peculiar tastes in which women are hot - btw Penelope Cruz is VERY HOT. But is Javier Bardem really a good looking guy? I'm sure my view is being colored somewhat by my first view of him being in "No Country For Old Men" where he definitely looked pretty crazy. So am I completely off base? How about his twin, Jeffrey Dean Morgan? If you are unfamiliar with him, he starred in "The Losers" and "Watchmen" and he looks nearly identical to Javier Bardem. Too bad Paz Vega is married cuz if the 2 of them got together I would never be able to tell the couples apart.

Thank god "In Plain Sight" is back on tv with new episodes. This is such a good series. Why is it most of the good series on TV are on cable channels? I'm not talking about stuff like Dexter or Weeds on HBO or Showtime, the shows I like the best are ones like Burn Notice and In Plain Sight on USA, The Walking Dead on AMC, and Justified on FX. Really well done shows. Ok enough tv and movie talk, back to sports.

Now TB gets to take on the Boston Bruins (my fave team growing up - love the cool B on the unis and the black and gold colors) to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. Hey Josie, one request. Can you go to the first Bruins/Lightning game? You went to the first Rays/Sox game this year when the Rays were 1-8. One 16-5 thrashing later and the Rays have gone 17-6 since then and are a game behind the Yankmees for first. Thanks Josie, you do bring good luck. So do me a favor and attend the first Bruins/Lightning game wontcha? Of course if you do and you manage to curse the Bruins like you did the Sox (wasn't this supposed to be their year, they got all these great pitchers and added Crawford and Gonzalez and all? ) would Gary every forgive you? I know y'all are such good buddies and all but some things transcend friendships. Especially to Bruins fans. Then again you wouldn't be cursing them in favor of the Canadians which may be the only unforgivable offense to a Bruins fan. OMG the series they used to have when I was a kid. And almost every time the Canadians would take them down in a massive 7 game series. Then Orr and Espo and company broke through and won it all. What a great picture that is of Orr leaping in the air, parallel to the ice, when they won it all.

Well time to get to work now. Hope everyone has a good weekend and those of you who are mothers have a great Mothers Day. And remember you young fathers that you had better honor the mother of your children even if "You're not MY mother" and please don't ever say that to her. Learn from your elders who were not wiser. I know wisdom is supposed to come from experience but that is the number two thing not to say to your wife. Number one is of course calling her the "Black Hole of Money" in the hearing of your young children who cannot wait to tell her you said that. Twenty something years later I am still paying that bill. Perhaps I was right. Anyway have a good weekend and stay lucky you nuts.