May, 2007:

May Poker Results

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Wow, May was not a good month. At least not economically.

Let’s lead off with the bottom line, because it’s ugly, and I want to get it out of the way: -$74.09.

Whew. I could go on and on about how many unlucky hands I had, and it would be true, but it would be completely meaningless. That happens all the time. I continually put myself in positions where outdraws were possible. In Hold’Em, that’s exactly what you want to do. In Omaha, the number of draws is often crazy, and you can easily get sliced up overbetting decent flops, even though the people who are calling are risking their tournament lives…

OK, I’m over it.

First, the highlights. I had a really good streak mid-month, and was up about $140 for the month at that time. Now you can appreciate the slide that I’ve been on since then…

I had two straight-flushes this month, and one royal flush. The royal came in Omaha, and there was no low, and I was called down, so I actually cashed in on it. It’s rare to get called if you hit one in Hold’Em, so it was a particularly sweet moment. On the other hand, it was in a “Limit” game, so I didn’t clean up. In fact, I finished 4th in that tourney, one out of the money. 🙁

On to the breakdown. I played in 24 Hold’Em one-table tourneys. That’s an investment of $264. I collected $180. I lost the last 8 in a row, so I was ahead a few dollars until the last week.

I played in 12 multi-table Omaha 8/b (Hi Lo) tourneys for $22 buy-ins, total invested $264. Three in-the-money finishes, for a return of $278.00, for a minor win. Considering that I lost the last 7 in a row, that’s were my early profits were, which I gave back too easily.

The rest, an amalgam of multi-table stuff (including a few $5 Omahas, but mostly Hold’Em). There were 18 of those, ranging from $1 to $15 in buy-in size. Total invested $139.30. Only three cashes out of the 18 tourneys 🙁 and they were all in $5 Omaha games, for a total of $83.07. So, I made a decent return on my Omaha ones, but blew 100% of my multi-table Hold’Em ones this month. I should have played nothing but Omaha. 😉

So, a bad result for the month, with some bright spots. I got to up my play a bit (nice long weekend on Memorial Day), but finished the month really poorly after a great start!

See you next month 🙂

DKIM and Thunderbird 2.0

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In an effort to get a handle on who is signing messages with DKIM, I just added a message filter which automatically tags and stars any message that has been signed. I can now visually see which domains/users are DKIM-enabled, and get a sense for whether the mass is coming, and how quickly, etc.

This will also let me write better spam filters against DKIM messages, because I’ll have more data to analyze without have to waste time opening headers that aren’t appropriately tagged.

If I learn anything useful (which is doubtful), I’ll report back…

DKIM now installed

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DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is now running on my server. I don’t think there are enough sites using it yet for it to have been worth my effort (it was more effort than I expected it to be), but now it’s done, so we’ll see.

Of course, if everyone else also said “It’s not worth the effort, and I’ll wait to see if it gets adopted”, then it will never reach critical mass.

For now, the only really useful thing is that I can now credibly (and easily) toss all email that purports to be from any of my originating domains to us. My spam filters did a reasonably good job tossing those, but now I should be 100% sure that an email claiming to be from a domain that I control, actually is from there.

I had hoped that another benefit would be verifying that any email from yahoo.com was legitimate (since that’s such a popular spamming return path). Unfortunately, while Yahoo! definitely supports DKIM (and the original DomainKeys), many legitimate yahoo.com users don’t send their emails through the Yahoo! smtp servers, so their emails don’t get signed. Oh well.

In any event, I’m now an enabler of the future of anti-spam measures, rather than a laggard. 😉

Next step on this train is likely to be greylisting. There is a lot to like about it, but a lot to be wary of from a business perspective. I didn’t give a link because I’ll do that if I install it and get it running.

So close, and yet, so far…

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Well, the semi-final started at 8pm. 1931 entrants, top 100 move on to the final, so roughly 5% make it…

When there were 184 left, I was in 82nd, so it was looking possible, if not probable. Then I went card dead. When there were 113 left, I was in 113th.

Still, I got A3 offsuit (a horrible hand, but better than nothing), and shoved all my chips in. Everyone folded except the big blind, who had to call, because it was only 400 more chips for him (which is the problem with having a very short stack). Anyway, he had J8 offsuit. The first card off the deck was an A, so I was looking great. No J and no 8 on the flop, yippee! Unfortunately, both the turn and the river were 8’s (what a joke), and I was out in 113th.

Like I said in the title, so close and yet so far.

Still, I played for free for 8 hours in total, and had a blast.

One hand worth mentioning, just for fun. Early on, I had roughly 1700 chips. I had JT of hearts. The flop came 9h Jc Qh, so I flopped an open-ended straight flush. One guy bets 200, and I call, and one other calls too. The turn is the 8h, so I make the straight flush. Now I’m praying someone has the A high flush, and the other has a straight. 😉

First guy bets 200 again, I call, third guy calls again.

River is a another Q. First guy checks, I bet, third guy raises, first guy folds, I re-raise all-in, and he calls. I assume he has a flush, or possibly even a full-house, or at the very least, a straight. Nope, he has three Q’s. Go figure. Anyway, I had over 4000 chips after that hand, and was able to sustain that through another 1200 people, before finally busting out. Nice hand, bad overall result…

Temporary success against the odds ;-)

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I’ll save the normal monthly poker update for the end of the month, where it belongs. 😉

In the meantime, I’ll report on an interim success story, which might not have a happy ending, but at least had a happy beginning. 🙂

Today, I played in a tournament in the morning, and did OK, but didn’t make the money. When I finished, it was 1:56pm. I glanced at the tournament schedule, and noticed that there was a freeroll at 2pm (in 4 minutes), where the top 50 players got a free entry into tonight’s weekly semi-final tournament to win a free seat to a big tournament played in Aruba!

A freeroll is a site’s way of giving back (or sucking in, depending on your perspective), where you pay nothing to play in a particular tournament. Sometimes, they restrict the number of players, sometimes not.

I registered, and when the tournament started, there were 3500 entrants. That meant that the top 1.4% of the entrants would move on to the semi-final. Note that the semi-final doesn’t get you a seat in Aruba, it just gets you an entry in the final, which is the one that can get you in to Aruba.

Tourney started at 2:01pm, and at 6:23pm, I finished in 34th. First place and 50th are worth the same, so 34th doesn’t matter. In fact, once you’re safe, it’s idiotic to risk your chips against a bigger stack, because the only thing that matters in this type of tournament is finishing in the top 50.

Anyway, at 8pm, I’ll be in the semi-final. I have no expectations of moving on, but I’ll do my best. The fun part is that I got to play in a meaningful tournament, without risking a penny, got 4.5 hours of enjoyment and experience, and now get to try and repeat that feat. Cool. 🙂

Sometimes technology lets you down :-(

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I forced myself to take my long walk today. As usual, I am extremely glad that I did, but for one thing. I walk with an iPod, with a Logitech Bluetooth headset. For the first leg of my walk, I was listening to Wicked (I know, huge surprise) 😉 but in the middle of “Wonderful”, it stopped playing.

It could have been any of the three devices running out of their battery charge (the iPod, the BT transmitter, and the headset/receiver). A quick check revealed that all were charged up.

Turns out the iPod was simply on the fritz. This happened once before, nearly a year ago, so it’s probably not something I need to worry about.

I forgot how do the reset. I could have called Lois, and had her Google it, but I didn’t care enough. I walked the rest of the way (another 80 minutes) in a more “walking meditation” state, which was fine too.

I don’t know why I didn’t remember the iPod reset dance:

  1. Slide the hold switch so that it’s on hold.
  2. Slide the hold switch so that it’s off.
  3. Press the Menu and Center buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds.
  4. Wait for the Apple logo.

If you see the logo, you’re done, it’s rebooting. If not, there are deeper tricks to try. Mine worked, and it’s charging back up now, since it continued to drain the battery the entire way home, even though it wouldn’t play a single song…

Martina McBride Rules!

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This could easily get very long, so either settle in, or bail now, seriously! 🙂

Last night, Lois and I went to Radio City Music Hall to see Martina McBride perform. From past posts (or if you just happen to know us), you know that Lois is a country music fanatic. However, for all of the live music we’ve seen over the past few years, none of it has been country.

At least two have been bluegrass, which we both like (me probably more than Lois), but it has been a long time (over 15 years) since we saw one show at the Grande Ole Opry in Nashville, and neither of us could tell you who was in it (at least I can’t). 😉

I can remember when I first discovered that my stereotype of country music was wrong. It was 20 years ago (give or take a year), when my boss’ boss mentioned to us that his favorite artist was Juice Newton. Yup, I thought he was pulling my leg. I can’t remember whether he gave us a copy of her CD or we bought it, but either way, we ended up with a copy. It might also have been one of the first CD’s I ever owned, as I was a little late to the party of adding a CD player to my stereo at the time.

There are lots of excellent songs on the CD, but one of my favorites is “Angel of the Morning”. It’s not that I became an instant country fan after hearing that CD, but it is the case that my mind was opened to hearing more.

I honestly can’t recall whether Lois liked any country artists before that CD, but sometime close to hearing that CD, she went on a much deeper odyssey into the genre than me. For those who know us, you know both of us can be compulsive. Mine are usually gambling or gaming oriented, with an occasional tech project thrown in. Lois’ are generally more noble (or at least useful, and for certain less destructive).

Lois’ obsession with country music hasn’t faded one bit. It has simply grown and morphed. There are groups that we used to listen to repeatedly, that she has no interest in any longer. However, in all cases, they have just been replaced by someone she is now exploring, musically and lyrically, etc. It was not unusual in the past for us to listen to a specific song five times in a row. Now, it’s rarely more than twice, so some change has occurred. 😉

Anyway, for a very long time, Martina McBride has been at or near the top of Lois’ favorites. She has a voice that is truly incredible, and even though she doesn’t write most of the songs she records, she is active in selecting and producing the records, and her talent for recognizing and polishing other talent is evident.

Our goddaughter is graduating from William and Mary tomorrow. When I first heard that Martina was coming to NYC, and to Radio City Music Hall no less, I was 99% sure that we’d already be down in Virginia for the graduation and wouldn’t be able to make the show. Through a series of events (some of which were misunderstandings on our part), we decided that we could commit to being in NYC through Friday night (the night of the concert). I bought tickets.

We had seats toward the back of the orchestra, center stage. Even though we were pretty far back, the seats were reasonably good, with one exception. The sound board (which is pretty damn big) was four rows in front of us. In itself, it wasn’t that distracting, but it attracts lots of people (most of whom are working) and they are standing around it, which is very distracting. Oh well.

The acoustics, as usual in RCMH, were outstanding.

RCMH is owned by the same people who own Madison Square Garden and The Beacon Theater. I’ve written about the Beacon twice already (Dave Koz and The Allman Brothers). They run a very impressive technology marketing program. I usually get emails directly from them announcing artists that are coming to one of their venues, and am offered an opportunity to purchase tickets at least two days before they go on sale to the public.

However, what was impressive to me this time, was that I got an email a day before the show, letting me know the lineup for the evening. The opening act was going to be Rodney Atkins, coming on at 8pm. He was to be followed by Little Big Town. Then there would be a short intermission, followed by Martina at roughly 9:30pm, all subject to change, of course.

I can’t ever recall getting this kind of information before (without having to explicitly dig for it myself). It was very nice to know that Martina wouldn’t be on until 9:30, so that expectations are set appropriately.

OK, finally, on to the show. 😉

We are familiar with both Rodney Atkins and Little Big Town. We own Rodney’s most recent CD (he has three), and both of Little Big Town’s, so it was a bonus that they were both opening for Martina. Rodney came on almost exactly at 8pm (unusual, since most shows start at least 5-10 minutes late, and some much later). He was good, and didn’t disappoint, but he wasn’t amazing. In fact, he’s better on the CD (and the Radio, yes Jamie, including XM). 😉 I don’t mean to imply anything negative about him or his performance, it was all good, just not exceptional in any way.

He only played four songs, all good ones, including two of his big hits: “If You’re Going Through Hell” and “Watching You” (a.k.a “Buckaroo”).

After a short break, Little Big Town took the stage. They are incredible. Two guys, two women. All four can sing well enough to be solo stars. The guys both play guitar, reasonably well, but mostly rhythm. The band behind them are also incredible. Lead guitarist played a number of instruments (including Dobro), drummer, bassist, etc. Their harmonies are not to be believed. They played for nearly 50 minutes, and every second was delicious.

Then the expected “short intermission”, slightly longer than announced.

At around 9:40 Martina took the stage. Wow. Her voice is crystal clear, operatic range, strength, softness without breaking up, in short, she can produce any sound she wants, the way she wants to produce it. In addition, she has a stage presence that all of the greats do.

I realize that if I start describing individual songs, I’ll miss tomorrow’s graduation, so I’ll make some larger points, and then conclude with the encore. 😉

Martina also has an exceptional band behind her, which includes her brother Marty, who plays guitar and sings really well too. They did a duet where he sang the part that Keith Urban does on her CD. The lead guitarist is amazing, which brings me to my big point.

Many people who profess to hate country (or more likely make fun of country music), do so on the basis of their perception of the lyrics of the genre. That’s my personal opinion. In addition to thinking that the lyrics are predictable (and silly), and that the voices are twangy, I guess that most non-country lovers also think that the musicians are inferior to their favorites.

If I’m right about that, then they are wrong. The top acts all have extraordinary musicians, and the musical productions are first rate as well. Some songs are as good as the best rock bands, other as good as the best pop bands, etc. To me, the genre is most defined by the content of the lyrics, but otherwise, it’s a little harder to categorize the entire genre as different than the others.

I’ll finish that thought in describing the encore.

After a long standing ovation (one of many that Martina garnered throughout her set), she came back with the entire band for an encore. Before the band came out, just the lead guitarist came out, and he played a wild solo electric guitar riff that was definitely rock. When the band joined in, and Martina took the stage, she rocked out with Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. Of course, Martina nailed it. But, so did the guitarist. He did the solos as well as Pat Benatar’s group ever did, and that’s not to take anything away from Pat’s guitarist (get it?).

Martina has a woman in her band, Jennifer (I missed her last name). 🙁 She played the fiddle, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and sings harmonies with Martina. She is so talented and has so much stage presence as well, that I will be surprised if I don’t hear about her going out on her own at some point in the future. As Martina said: “She sings like an angel”.

After “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was over, the band left the stage, and Martina stayed only with her lead guitarist. This time, he only had an acoustic guitar. After telling a story to introduce her final song, she sang “Over the Rainbow”.

Are you kidding me? For Lois and I, accurately accused Wizard of Oz (and more importantly) Wicked fanatics, this was the perfect culmination of the evening. It was an amazing rendition (interestingly, Dave Koz also did a beautiful “Over the Rainbow” at the Beacon). Also, the guitarist was wonderful on the acoustic guitar this time, minutes after rocking RCMH on an electric one.

We walked home on cloud nine, and Lois couldn’t stop talking about the concert all the way down to Fredericksburg in the car this morning.

To sum it all up, Wow!

Twitter

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In early March, I discovered Twitter by reading this post on Jamie’s blog. I immediately signed up for an account. Even though Jamie’s blog claimed that he didn’t see an immediate application for it, I did.

Lois and I follow the lives of our godchildren via their away messages. 🙂 That’s useful, but not ideal. First, since both have laptops as their only computers, if they leave them on 24×7 in order to keep us old-folk up-to-date, they are abusing the computers. If they log off, we are blind…

Twitter solves that problem in a number of ways. Not only doesn’t their computer have to be on, they don’t even need to own a computer! You can update Twitter, and get updates, entirely through SMS on your phone. Now, you can also use a phone web browser with a stripped down web interface. For me, the fact that you can receive (and send) updates via IM was the nicest touch, especially that they supported Jabber, my preferred IM client/server. Also, you see the history of all the messages, which is nicer than “missing” an away message state change.

So, it’s already late May, what took me two months to write about Twitter? After a day or two of liking it, I hit a bunch of technical problems. Jamie thought that it was just wild growth on their part, with the inevitable hiccups that come with that. Perhaps, but they didn’t respond to support tickets either, and then closed them out without a response or a fix. Not nice.

Anyway, I still find it to be highly quirky in terms of availability or stability, but there’s something about it that I still like, so I’m likely to continue using it for a bit… I still haven’t introduced my godchildren to it, because I don’t want to waste their time if Twitter is going to implode on itself…

Welcome WordPress 2.2 :-)

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Announcement went out 35 minutes ago, and I’ve already successfully upgraded. Haven’t touched anything that’s new, but here it is, waiting to be abused. 🙂

Eric Sink and Sourcegear Rock!

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I’ve been a T-Shirt nut my whole life. I have hundreds of them, and prefer to wear one over any other form of shirt. So, when Eric Sink offered up an opportunity to earn a very cool Sourcegear T-Shirt, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

As promised, here are front and back shots of me wearing the shirt:

SGT-Front.jpgSGT-Back.jpg

Click on either photo to see a larger version 🙂

Thanks Eric!!!