Frustration

White Out Conditions in Westchester

Send to Kindle

We had to run some errands this morning. We left the house at 10:20am and drove to Chappaqua. While there, it started to snow. By the time we got back, less than 30 minutes after it started snowing, the conditions were white out and the roads were extremely slick.

When we got within 8/10’s of a mile of our house, we started seeing multiple accidents, with multiple police cars on the scene. The last stretch to our house is first entirely up hill, then entirely down hill. No momentum on the up hill, because one of the accidents was a car that was wrapped around a telephone pole on the opposite side (must have lost control coming down the hill), with air bag deployed. 🙁

Took a very long time to make the final 8/10’s of a mile, but we made it safely, so we’re not complaining.

Drive safely out there!!!

Frozen Shoulder

Send to Kindle

For the past four months, I have had pain in my upper right arm, 1/2 way between the elbow and shoulder, whenever I move my arm/shoulder away from my body, or over my head. If I move too quickly, the pain can be intense. Otherwise, it’s just wildly uncomfortable, and I have to stop immediately.

Googling around seemed to indicate one of two problems: Frozen Shoulder, or Pinched Nerve.

A week ago on Tuesday, I had my annual physical. My doctor referred me to a leading orthopedic specialist (Lois looked him up, and she thinks he’s the Met’s team physician!). It took over a week to get an appointment, but I got in this past Thursday (two days ago).

After a detailed examination, and five X-Rays, he diagnosed it as Frozen Shoulder.

Vigorous physical therapy is the prescription, with nearly 100% success of recovery. Apparently, even without it, most people regain a majority of their original motion within two years.

He referred me to a top sports therapy group in NYC. We called, and they charge $325 per session. The doctor told me to have three sessions a week. Ouch! $1k/week? I don’t think so. Who needs their right arm anyway? 😉

Seriously though, given all of the manipulation that he did, and that the X-Ray technician did as well, I already had more motion in the arm the next day, and with exercises that I found easily on the web, I intend to start the regimen myself first.

I’m now officially on the road to recovery! 🙂

Extreme Temperatures

Send to Kindle

Lois and I lead a crazy life on a number of levels. One of them, is the temperature that we typically keep our house at. In the winter, we tend to keep the thermostat on 58 degrees. It sounds colder than it is, given that we have amazing flannel sheets and a very thick comforter, etc.

Essentially, we spend 99% of our time in the bedroom. If we turn on the heat, the bedroom gets very hot very quickly, and the rest of the house stays cold. The thermostat is in the dining room, so we have to keep it very cold there in order not to broil in the bedroom.

In the summer, we keep the thermostat close to 80 degrees. Again, if we turn on the air conditioner, the bedroom freezes quickly. So, instead, we use a fan in the bedroom, and we don’t mind being a little on the warm side. We had a fan that lasted forever that we had purchased from Sam’s Club, but it broke this year. I ended up buying a tower fan by Lasko that we were pretty happy with all summer.

Back to our current situation, dead of winter…

There can often be a chill in the air in the bedroom. Two months ago I had a brainstorm. While shopping at Sam’s Club (one of our favorite places), I spotted a ceramic space heater by Lasko. Ours looks something like this, but I’m not sure it’s the exact model. Similar tower design to the fan we bought over the summer. The fan was $40, and the heater was $50. Both have remote controls.

The heater ended up being one of the better purchases we’ve made. It heats the bedroom quickly, maintains the temperature easily, can be set to keep a specific temperature or shut down at a specific time, etc. Very versatile and fits our needs and lifestyle perfectly. As a bonus, we expect smaller bills from ConEd, but we’ll see at the end of the winter.

That’s not why I started this post though. I just wanted you to get a sense of what the temperature should have been in the house this week…

We left the house on Monday morning to spend a few days in the city. When we left, the thermostats were both set at 50 degrees (we only have two zones, one upstairs, and one downstairs). We got home at 10pm on Thursday night (we weren’t planning on returning until Friday morning, and it turned out to be lucky that we came home early).

The minute we opened the door from the garage, Lois says to me “come in here quickly, something is wrong with the heat.” She was right (though I wasn’t as sure as quickly as she was).

It turned out that the house was 97 degrees! It was a furnace, even for people who like it hot. Clearly, the heat kicked on at some point during the three days, and never kicked off again!

I had to turn off the emergency cutoff switch to the furnace. We left everything off all night, and it only got down to 70 degrees by morning, which for us, was like keeping the heat on all night long. 😉

We had the service people out during the day. I had mis-diagnosed the problem to be a bad thermostat. They correctly diagnosed it to be a bad damper (one of the motors and blades that controls which zone gets the heat, etc.). The repair guy bypassed the bad damper (downstairs, which we rarely spend any time in anyway), and everything is back to normal for the moment.

They are supposed to come next week and replace the dampers and get us really back to normal. Now that we have the space heater in the bedroom, the only reason to run the main heat is to ensure that the pipes don’t freeze in the walls. Otherwise, we would only care when we have company. 😉

No Longer a Digital Download Virgin

Send to Kindle

In this post, which I just published a few minutes ago, I mention that I just purchased Acoustic Sketches by Phil Keaggy. In that post I said that I would write separately about how/where I purchased that “CD”. This is that tale…

I have purposely avoided the seduction of purchasing music for downloading online, even though I buy most things online (including the vast majority of the CD’s that I buy), and even though 99% of the time, I listen to ripped MP3’s of the CD’s that I buy!

Why? By far the biggest reason has been DRM (Digital Rights Management). I am 100% against illegal trading of copyrighted material, in any form. I want to see artists/authors compensated fairly for every user of their works. That said, as a consumer of a legitimate purchase, I want to be able use that work for my own benefit, in any manner that pleases me (short of making it available illegally to others!).

DRM sounds harmless enough. After all, I can certainly listen to the music that I purchased, as many times as I want, right? Sure, to begin with. But, if I buy a DRM-protected song on iTunes, I can play it on my laptop, and only on an iPod (and a specific iPod at that!). Today, I love my iPods, so it sounds like there is no problem. However, in the future (could be soon), I could easily fall in love with a new device (say, the next generation Zune), and the song I’ve already purchased will not run on that device, simply because I chose to buy it from Apple.

Ugh. Further, the CD provides a perfect backup device on two fronts. First, I don’t travel with it, so it sits with all of my other CD’s, patiently waiting to be re-ripped should the need arise. Second, it’s at the highest possible quality, so if in the future I want to rip into a new format (not MP3), or a higher bit rate, I can easily do that. But, since for now, I am happy listening to 96kbps MP3’s, I save space on my laptop and iPod while still owning the master copy on the CD.

If I download a song, even a DRM free one, I have to actively think about a backup strategy for it. Not rocket science, but an extra step at a minimum, plus, it’s not likely to be CD quality (not that I can hear the difference), so I can’t (necessarily) take advantage of future encoders.

The only thing that ever made me feel badly about not downloading was the immediacy and convenience of the process. The impulse nature didn’t hit me as much. Under most circumstances, I’m happy to wait a week to get my delivery from Amazon.com in the mail.

A month or so ago, I looked into the new Amazon.com MP3 download service. Here is the page for Acoustic Sketches. The more I looked into the Amazon service, the more I liked it. DRM free. 256kbps encoding (like I’ve said too many times, I can’t hear the difference, but others can, so the sale should give a reasonably high quality file). I decided that sometime in the next few weeks, I’d take the plunge.

Acoustic Sketches turned out to be the perfect guinea pig, because the price of the downloaded album is $9.49, and the price of the CD is $14.99 (though I can swear that when I looked yesterday, it was $16.98, but perhaps I am just crazy…). That’s a big enough difference to make the plunge obvious. Also, since this was still a bit of a gamble for me, if I hated the result (for any reason), I wouldn’t necessarily feel the need to run out and buy the real CD, which I would if I were buying something from Girlyman (for example).

So, earlier today, I hit the “One Click Purchase” button, and a few minutes later (probably more like one minute on my FiOS connection) 😉 I had the entire CD downloaded. Yes, I used iTunes to “convert” to 96kpbs. I intend to archive the 256kbps version for posterity, but I still prefer the smaller files on my laptop and iPod.

If you read the post before this, you know that I am extremely happy with the album itself, so obviously, the resultant download worked as well as expected (from a sound quality point of view). That said, there are a number of things that I am truly unhappy with (perhaps frustrated with is a better term). None of them will stop me from purchasing more music from Amazon.com, because I definitely will, but nonetheless, the experience is far from what I’d like to see (given my personal preferences!).

So, what’s the problem?

Purchasing the music couldn’t be simpler. On Windows (and I think Mac), there is a small helper application that you can install if you want to purchase entire albums. You don’t need to install anything to download individual songs, though the helper app makes even purchasing a single song easier.

The app can be configured to automatically import (add) the song/album to iTunes or Windows Media Player (WMP). I found it a tad strange that you can’t check off both, but it’s not a big deal to me. After all, I could have a Zune and an iPod, and want each to be sync’ed from their own library, etc.

First, the songs have the most important ID3 tag information already encoded. That’s a good thing. Except, the name of the song also has the name of the album in it, in parens. This is silly, since the album tag is filled in correctly! What’s worse, the filename is taken from the name tag, so the filenames on the system have the parens and the album name in them as well. Ugh.

That might be the only real complaint, since I think the rest has more to do with my personal preference. From that perspective, I recognize that few other people will be annoyed by these nits, since they won’t go through the process that I did, but here it goes just in case anyone cares.

If you say that you want the files automatically imported into iTunes, then you get a copy of the file in iTunes (meaning, a duplicate on the filesystem, not just a pointer to the file in the directory where you download the files). Not a huge deal, but still, something to potentially have to clean up. For me, this becomes necessary (though annoying), because iTunes will only convert files that are already in iTunes. In other words, I can’t pick a file in a directory unknown to iTunes, and tell it to convert that file to MP3 in iTunes (that would be ideal for me for this application). Perhaps there is a way to do it in iTunes, but it’s definitely not obvious.

Next, when I use iTunes to convert the file, there is no option to replace the existing file. So, I end up with two files in the iTunes application. I know, this is an iTunes problem, not an Amazon one, but it still affects the entire pipeline of deciding to purchase music online. One file is the original 256kbps file, and the other is the new 96kbps converted file.

Next, because both files are in the same directory, iTunes had to create the new one (the one I want), with an extra “1” hanging in the filename, since the original has the correct name. So, after I delete the original file (in iTunes, not my canonical Amazon download directory, which I will archive permanently as the original file), I need to change the name of the file on the filesystem. Of course, that means telling iTunes (file by file!) that there is a new location for the file.

Finally, I need to edit each song individually to remove the album name and the parens from the ID3 tags.

When all is said and done, I still end up with the album on my computer a week earlier than waiting for the CD to arrive, and the sound (to me) is identical. But, I had to work a lot harder than I should have, even though I got it sooner, and paid less. When I rip the CD, it goes directly into iTunes, with the correct filenames and the correct bit rates in one motion, and I already have my permanent archive in master format. Oh well…

One last nit. If you looked specifically at the Acoustic Sketches page on Amazon.com MP3 Downloads, you will note that in addition to being able to purchase the entire CD for $9.49, you could purchase individual songs. Note that #7, Looking Back, is only 40 seconds long. It still costs the full freight of $.99. Fair enough. Oh oh, wait a second, now look at #12 “50th, The”, which is 7 minutes and 2 seconds long. It’s $1.94.

What? They want more money for long songs, but no discount for teeny tiny songs? Just seems wrong. If a song is $.99, I can live with that, but then long songs should also be just $.99…

So, am I likely to purchase more CD’s for download? Definitely. But, if it’s a favorite artist, and the price differential is close, I will likely still buy the CD instead. A specific example is the new Little Big Town album A Place To Land. It’s $8.99 to download (cool!), but only $9.99 to purchase the CD. We are nuts about Little Big Town, the difference in price is small, so I will likely purchase the CD.

New iPods = New Joy + New Headaches

Send to Kindle

I have a good friend (let’s call him Ed, because that’s his real first name) who is perhaps the worlds best gift giver. I am embarrassed to admit how many amazing gifts he has given me over the years. I have reciprocated on rare occasion, and I’m sure that while my gifts pleased him somewhat, they more likely amused him as feeble attempts to give true pleasure.

Ed got me my first Blackberry, my first Sony Voice Recorder, Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Canceling Headphones, my first GPS system (a high-end Garmin) and a few other really cool toys, all over the past eight years.

When he got me the GPS, he bought Lois a 30GB iPod (Video). I had a Creative Zen MP3 player at the time, and I was happy that Lois now had her own device. Lois isn’t much of a techie, so she didn’t really want to manage the iPod (meaning, run iTunes on her laptop, select music, sync, charge, etc.). Since loading iTunes on my laptop didn’t interfere with the Creative software that I was running, I was happy to manage Lois’ iPod for her.

So, I loaded all of our collective MP3’s on to the iPod, and we used it primarily in the car (on our extremely long drives) for both of us, but really, 90% of the time for Lois’ music. Away from the car, I’m the only one that used the iPod, primarily when I was taking my long exercise walks, because it was just a tad sleeker than my Zen.

This has worked out great, for years now, as between us, we only had 18GB filled out of the 30 on the machine, so there was no need to upgrade. Further, the battery is still holding a charge reasonably well.

Then, as I’ve reported twice already, on occasion, the iPod started freezing (nothing too terrible, but annoying nonetheless). When the new iPods became available at Sam’s Club, I started thinking hard about getting a new one. Then a good friend of mine asked me for advice as he was interested in getting his first iPod. Voila! I realized I could kill two birds with one stone. Get us a new iPod, and keep Ed’s karma alive by finding a very happy home for the old iPod.

On our next outing to Sam’s Club, I bought a new iPod Classic, 160GB. I still only have 18GB of music on it, but now I can also back up my hard drive (if necessary or desired), etc. Just more wiggle room. I couldn’t resist, and I bought an 8GB Nano as well. Man, it’s a crazy feat of engineering. Sweet little thing. It could never be my sole iPod, because 8GB just won’t cut it. But, for exercising and just running around, it’s more than enough, and I already love it to pieces.

So far, I’ve covered the New iPods = New Joy part of the title. On to the + New Headaches part now…

When Lois and I were driving to Peekskill on Saturday to see the David Bromberg concert, I took the Nano so that we could gear up in the car. I created a little playlist of Angel Band and Bromberg tunes. We were listening to them in the car, and when Angel Band songs switched to Bromberg, Lois asked me why I haven’t put on One Voice (Angel Band’s best song, where they cover The Wailin’ Jennys song). I knew that I did.

So, I skipped backwards, and sure enough, it was there, but didn’t play. The minute I selected the song, the next song in the playlist started playing. I tried to play the song straight from the album, but it skipped after showing the metadata there as well. OK, no big deal (I figured), it must have copied over weirdly.

The next day we made our usual long trek, and had the Classic in the car for entertainment. We tried to play One Voice on the Classic, and it wouldn’t play either! Seemed too coincidental that the same song didn’t sync correctly to two separate devices. Along the way, Lois tried to play Bring It On Home by Little Big Town, and it too wouldn’t play. So far, those are the only two songs that we’re sure don’t play, out of the 7080 songs on the Classic (no, we haven’t tried them all yet). 😉

So, yesterday, I fired up iTunes on the PC, and sure enough, those two songs play perfectly. Further, if I select those songs on the iPods themselves, but through iTunes on the PC, and play them, they both play. They are definitely playing from the iPod, and not from the PC hard drive (I’ve proven that much to myself). That means that the songs transferred correctly, but something in the library file that contains the metadata on the iPod simply can’t play those songs!

So, the next logical thing to do is to search the net. I was shocked to find so many people claiming to have exactly the same problem. The trouble is that nearly every post was from 2005, and involved iTunes 4.5+. There were many solutions proposed, some temporary, some permanent, each receiving mixed success with those who originally complained.

One semi-common denominator was that the skipped songs were often purchased songs, so they had some form of DRM associated with them. That’s not our case. 100% of our songs are ripped from our own CD collection. They are all ripped at 96kbps (I’m far from an audiophile, and the smaller disk space requirement is a good balance for me).

Anyway, lots more searching and trying unsuccessfully a few of the suggestions, and I decided to try a suggestion that someone claimed worked 100% of the time. Select the song in iTunes, click on the Advanced Menu, and click on Convert to MP3. Yes, it’s already in MP3 format, but hey, I tried it anyway. It made a new copy in the iTunes Music directory (remember, mine were ripped by Creative and stored elsewhere on the disk).

The resultant file was slightly larger than original, but not by much. The only horrible side-effect was that all ID3 tag information was lost. In my case, it was only two songs (so far), but if I end up discovering lots more problems (as many people in 2005 complained about), that fact alone might cause me to search for a better solution. Once converted, I moved the new file over the old file (so that all of my other players would still find it where it was), and resync’ed the iPods. Both songs now play perfectly.

Whew!

I’m holding my breath that it won’t happen to too many more songs. While easy to fix, it’s still a more painful process than it needs to be, given that I have to re-enter all of the ID3 tags by hand, and I don’t look forward to doing that too many times… It also can’t be fixed while on the go, as you have to be at the computer to convert and resync.

Perhaps some poor soul who searches for the same problem will stumble on this post, and save a little time and sanity in the process. My two reasons for writing this post are that (helping someone by chance) and memorializing the fact that Ed is indeed the world’s greatest gift giver!

Breaking a Promise to Myself

Send to Kindle

When I started blogging, nearly a year ago, I decided to avoid politics and business. I really wanted to blog about personal stuff (computers, food, music, poker, etc.). Aside from a minor comment or two about how certain performers use the stage to share their politics, I’ve resisted (sometimes mightily) from jumping in.

I’m about to go back on that decision, and I’m none too happy it. I seriously hope that I can avoid the inevitable slippery slope, and I certainly intend to try hard to do that.

If you know me, you probably think you know my politics, but you’re also likely as wrong as you might be somewhat correct. In fact, I think 99.999% of all politics and politicians is/are corrupt. I don’t mean that so many individual politicians are corrupt, and take bribes, etc. The entire system is skewed to selling out your principles if you hope to get anything done.

The only saving grace in all of this is that most legislation stalls, and that which gets through is usually watered down (and unfortunately laden with pork), so that the sheer inertia of our government is what keeps us from spiraling into hell.

Whew. Now that that’s off my chest, I can get to the real point of this post.

While the volume and proportion hasn’t been overwhelming (so far) at the concerts that Lois and I choose to go to, it annoys the hell out of both of us whenever any performer feels compelled to share their politics with the audience. Last I checked, we didn’t pay (darn good money in most cases!) to come to a political lecture in general, nor did we specifically anoint this performer as the know-it-all keeper of political knowledge.

To be clear, I don’t want a lecture that supports my beliefs either, so this has nothing to do with not wanting to hear a dissenting opinion. Of course, it’s rare (nowadays) with the majority of the groups that we see, and the fact that the venues are in and around NYC, that the lectures are anything but anti-Bush and anti-war. Wow, how clever, as we don’t get enough of that sentiment on TV.

Some are classy about it, but guess what, I don’t appreciate that either, though I’ll quickly admit that it’s a tad less painful than a rant. An example of class is Kathy Mattea. We loved her concert (which you can read about here). I can’t even recall the exact comment she made, but she dedicated one song to a polite, but clear anti-war sentiment. Like I said, classy, no rubbing it in anyone’s face, but the dig was still unmistakable.

A different form (and much less prevalent) of political agendas was Kathy specifically promoting Al Gore’s presentations on behalf of raising awareness for Global Warming. Again, not over the top.

One more example before I get to the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I also reported that we enjoyed seeing Treble at Joe’s Pub. This is hardly a well-known group with a platform or following, where you might expect (unfortunately) to hear any political opinions. While they didn’t give any speeches, they had a generally clever song that I assume they wrote (they don’t write many of their own songs), and in two of the verses, they are just plain ugly about President Bush. Wow, they’re just so darn accomplished that their opinions about politics deserve to stand the test of time by being burned into their CDs.

I don’t begrudge them their opinions, and as I said to Lois right after we heard the song, I’d much rather hear the opinions in the form of a song than in an actual speech, but still, give me a break, please.

OK, now the ice-breaker. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, David Bromberg is one of my all-time favorite performers, in particular live, but I have many of his CDs, and love most of them as well. Clearly, he grew up in the Viet Nam era, and the strong Folk singer culture (Dylan, Baez, Seeger, Bromberg 😉 etc.), so I get that he feels the need to speak out.

So, the first time I saw him in over two decades was last September (2006) which was before I started blogging. So, there was no individual post about him, though I summarized it in my uber getting back into live music post. We saw him again solo at Joe’s Pub.

In both performances, his encore was a speech, with background guitar. It annoyed the daylights out of Lois. She would have happily got up and left if I was willing, which I wasn’t. It annoyed me too, a lot, but the first time, I pointed out to Lois that at least, he truly was trying to communicate, rather than rant. Specifically, when he started speaking against the current administration, the majority of the crowd whooped it up. He immediately asked them to be silent (in other words, he didn’t use the opportunity for self-aggrandizement). He said: “I don’t need to reach those of you who agree with me, I need to speak calmly to those that disagree.”

They quieted down and respected him. I respected him as well, because most artists in his position prefer the applause than actually making an intelligent argument. I listened, so he got what he wanted. That said, it’s not what I paid for, and I was thankful that he waited for the encore, and didn’t waste a lot of show time lecturing me.

As noted above, he repeated the exact same act at Joe’s Pub. Oh well…

Last night, we went to see him again, at the Paramount Theater in Peekskill, NY. I will blog separately about the concert, and give all of the appropriate links in that post. As in the first show at BB King, Angel Band (his wife’s group, that David’s band backs up) opened the show.

We were (unfortunately) fully prepared to hear the same speech again at the end of the show. Most gratefully, we didn’t. But, we didn’t, because he didn’t need to. Instead, his wife, Nancy Josephson, used her microphone time when Angel Band was in the spotlight to tell a story about how she came to write an anti-war song. The speech came complete with her acting out the head banging on her kitchen counter that occurred (to her) and therefore inspired the song, when she first heard the term “the surge” on the radio.

The song itself is gorgeous (melodically, and harmony-wise). The words are interesting, if not quite as inspiring as Nancy would like us to believe. If there was no explanation at all, I would have appreciated the song, and the universality of the message. Essentially, the song is about mothers uniting against war, refusing to let their children participate. A nice message (if ultimately naive beyond description, though I’ll try anyway down below 😉 ). For me, by tying it specifically to “the surge”, it became embroiled in the current divisive politics that are destroying this amazing country!

My point is that as an ideal it’s fine to wish for a world that never saw another war. But, to shape the argument in a way that claims that no war is ever worth fighting, quickly loses me.

Since I can’t resist, I’ll point out two issues with the “can’t we all just love each other and resist all wars” messages. Don’t get me wrong, I’m adamantly anti-war (I even demonstrated at the age of 13 at Bryant Park against the Viet Nam war). That said, anti-war, at all costs, is too high a cost, and there’s ample proof of that.

First, let’s look at the brilliant Sally Field, who at the Emmys, made the astoundingly insightful claim (quoted exactly, as I just watched the clip again a second ago) “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no god-damned wars”. Ah, of course. It reminds me of watching 60 Minutes interviewing Palestinian mothers, who lamented (while crying to the cameras!) that they had only lost three sons as suicide bombers, and that their remaining two sons hadn’t yet given themselves to the glory of becoming a suicide bomber. Thanks Mom!

Second, let’s look at Nancy Josephson’s view that no mother should give up any child to war. I think there were a lot of Jews that behaved all-too-passively while being politely marched to the death camps. Surely (they thought), it can’t be worth fighting, we’re only giving up material things. Surely (they thought), there is not so great an evil in the world that could conceive of the final solution, so we don’t have to resort to violence.

The point is, there are things that are worth fighting for, as appalling as that notion is. It may very well be true that Iraq is not. For sure, both Lois and I strongly wish we had never gotten involved there, and we wish there was a way to get out that wouldn’t leave us worse off than we already are. But, to confuse and conflate a legitimate distaste for the current specific situation in Iraq, and try to push a naive message that no war is ever necessary, and our kids should all be flower children, is equally appalling to me, if not actually more so…

I’m done, except to beg all performers who are being paid by their audience to entertain, to stop pretending that your opinion is more important than mine. If your music itself is known to be political, that’s great, as I can easily self-select whether I want to hear it. But, if your music is inherently not political, then I shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege of being lectured.

P.S. Note that this message isn’t being forced on you, you didn’t have to read it. It wasn’t presented to you as part of another activity that you chose to participate in, and therefore couldn’t avoid this little insert. Also, you weren’t charged for the privilege of reading my opinion, nor did I attempt to profit from you in any way, by running an Ad on this page, etc. This is a major difference from what we are subjected to as an audience in the above matters!

Dumb Play in Weekly Poker Tourney

Send to Kindle

Well, the notes say it all…

*********************************

896 entrants, top 90 paid

I had some time to play in qualifiers this week. I won three
seats, so in addition to playing in this one, I have two
additional entries that I can use on any future Sunday. In
addition, I also came in the money in two other qualifiers,
and made a profit on my attempt to win more seats. All in
all, a very good qualifier week!

4 more entrants, and we would have paid top 100. We’ll have
to see whether that ends up being a factor for me or not…

Started off reasonably well. Was 43rd early on, but without
playing any hands, quickly drifted down to 141st. No biggie,
still happy with my position at this point…

800 left, in 276th
787 left, in 144th
712 left, in 191st

Made it to the first break! 🙂

On two hands, I chose not to chase. I know with 100%
certainty that it was the “correct decision”. In both cases,
I would have caught the correct river card, and landed a
mountain of chips. Still, I know I was correct.

What bugs me isn’t that I don’t chase ridiculous hands. My
problem is that when complete idiots chase against me, they
hit more often than the odds would predict. Of course, as
you see from the above paragraph, I too would have hit both
“miracles”…

Oh well, gotta play the way I play, and take the results as
they fall…

586 left, in 237th

I stink. I raised UTG with 99 to 700. One guy reraised me to
1900. I knew he had AA (though, of course, he could have had
AK, etc.) Anyway, if I folded, I would have had 2400 chips
left, and been the big blind next hand, which would have
meant being in the high 300’s with 460 left. Of course, that
would have been the smart thing to do anyway.

So, instead, I decide to gamble. I reraised all-in, and of
course, he had the AA, and I lost (as I deserved to).

I finished 461, and I have no one to blame tonight but me,
which is also preferable to blaming horrid luck, etc…

Disappointing Result in Sunday Poker Tourney

Send to Kindle

Nothing more to say other than my notes taken during tonight’s big tourney…

***********************************************

929 entrants, top 100 paid

Won my entry on Friday.

Poor start. I had J2o in the big blind on the first hand.
Flop came 5JK rainbow. Small blind and I were the only two
in the hand. He bet, I called. He checked when a 9 came on
the turn, bringing two diamonds. I over-bet the pot, he
thought, and called. Then another K hit, but also brought
the third diamond. He made a pot-sized bet, and my J with
lousy kicker faded quickly. I folded. Not down too much, but
not an ideal start either…

Won three small hands, and at least I’m above my starting
chips now, but not by much. Better than it was though. 🙂

And now I lost one (I had 99 vs KJo and a K hit the flop),
so I’m down a drop again…

And now won one, so I’m up a drop again.

And now down a drop. Too much see-saw…

850 left, in 362nd

Just got killed by an idiot chasing a horrible hand, when I
had KK. He caught a baby straight on the river, when he was
drawing next to dead all the way through. ARGH!

Now I’m in deep trouble. This will be a short night…

803 left, in 789th

Whew. Won an all-in with AKo vs ATc. Still low, but much
better than before…

753 left, in 655th

Made it to the first break, unexpectedly! 🙂

736 left, in 645th
692 left, in 570th
590 left, in 415th (scratching and clawing)
499 left, in 415th (still bouncing up and down)

UNREAL.

I’m down to 1100 chips. One guy raises to 400 (blinds are
100-200). I go all-in with 99. He calls. He has A5o. Flop
comes 9TK, so I flop a set! Turn is a Q. Of course, the
river brings a J and, of course, the miracle “runner runner”
straight. That’s the second incredibly lucky river that
someone caught on me tonight, and it cost me the tournament
the second time.

I finished 445th. Simply unreal…

September 2007 Poker Update

Send to Kindle

So, the streak had to end at some point, and it turns out, that September 2007 was that time. No complaints (at least not that I’m willing to voice publicly). 😉

At one point during the month, I quoted an ancient line to Lois: “If I didn’t have bad luck, I would have no luck at all!”. Seriously, I can’t even count the number of bad river beats I took this month. Like I said previously, that’s actually a good thing. If you get your money in with the best of it, and someone draws out, they are lucky, but playing incorrectly (most of the time).

All that said, it was hardly a horrible month, so my play continues to be relatively successful. Grand total for the month is down $130.69. Nothing earth shaking, and hardly a meaningful percentage of my current account balance. In other words, it isn’t affecting my play in the least, which is a good thing.

In fact, while the “cash” is down, I have a $215 credit toward any future tournament (which I’ll likely use to play in the weekly big one this coming Sunday), so I am actually up this month, though unless I cash in that tournament, I will never see that phantom profit.

Speaking of which, I’ve done well in qualifiers lately. I won an entry to the big one yesterday on Friday. Then on Saturday, I won another entry (which is the $215 credit I mention above). I have also won a bunch of seats into the nightly 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo that I like so much.

Finishing up, I played in the big one last night. I couldn’t get people to play with me when I had big hands, until one did, and he got very lucky on me. I’ll conclude with my notes from the tourney, but you can skip them if you don’t care, since I have nothing else to add after them…

******************************************

910 entrants, top 100 paid

Crazy start. First hand, I’m dealt KK under the gun (UTG). A
“pot” raise, given that the blinds are just 5-10, would only
be 35 chips, with 9 people to act behind me! So, I raise to
a whopping 55. Everyone folds, and I’m ahead 15 chips.

I then fold every hand (10 in a row), and I’m back to even
with 2500 chips. Then, I’m UTG again, and I get AA. Now, I
might be willing to raise less, but I think it might look
smelly, so I raise to 55 again. Again, everyone folds, so
I’m up 15 chips again. Then I fold the two times I’m in the
blinds, so I’m back to even.

866 left, in 386th
857 left, in 278th (finally won a hand with JJ)
795 left, in 335th

Made it to the first break 😉

688 left, in 353rd (won another hand with JJ)
633 left, in 315th

Again, KK UTG. Raise, everyone folds…

597 left, in 295th

TT UTG. Raise, everyone folds. This one, I’m happy about 🙂

QQ in middle position. Raise, everyone folds. Not happy
about that, but I have a feeling that when I’m finally
called on one of these, I will be beat, so I’m not going to
complain. At least the blinds are rising, and I’m winning a
drop more with these hands than in the beginning…

544 left, in 259th

Well, I was 100% correct. I raise with QQ, I get an all-in
to my immediate left. I have more chips than him, so I’m not
at risk. Everyone folds, I call. He has 77, so I’m crushing
him. A 7 comes on the flop, so I’m way behind. However, to
tease me, 2 clubs come on the flop, and I have the Q of
clubs. Then a club comes on the turn, so now a club on the
river, and I would win. No club, and I have only 1400 chips
left.

Next hand, I am the big blind. I have K6 of clubs. One guy
raises. I realize he has a better hand, but I’ve watched
people in this type of position before, and the ones that
bet like idiots, win their fair share, and then I’d be right
back in it. Otherwise, I’d be out, and that would be fine
too.

So, I pushed all-in. He called. He had AJo. I wasn’t
crushed, but was behind. An A came on the flop (what a
surprise), so I am out in 479th.

None of the people that played poorly at my table (but had a lot of chips!) made the money. In other words, I didn’t underestimate their abilities, I just got unlucky…

Bad Result in Sunday Tourney

Send to Kindle

I shouldn’t even bother posting. The only good news is that it didn’t drag on that long, and torture me with a “near the money” finish, like last time… Here are my notes:

871 entrants, top 90 get paid

820 left, in 232nd
815 left, in 135th
774 left, in 143rd
683 left, in 243rd
579 left, in 385th

Lost two hands with JJ, which in one, I flopped a set. So
far, not really going my way… I folded both to very large
bets, the second one with both a flush and straight
possibilities on the board. So, I’m still alive, but far
from healthy. I will need to take some chances to survive…

542 left, in 455th

Finished in 476th. Lost a “race”. I had 55, was called by
someone with AJo, A came on flop, game over…