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Finally Back on Track in Big Poker Tourney

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I’ve had a bit of a dry spell in the big one, including some very near cashes. Tonight felt like it was going to be another one of just missing the money, barely.

Thankfully, this one has a happier ending (no surprise, given the title, right?). 😉

Here is a log of my notes, nothing else needs to be added.

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937 entrants, top 100 paid

<sarcasm>Great start!</sarcasm>

My best hand in the first 10 has been K6. I have had 2-3o
twice, 2-5o twice, 4-8o, etc. Only down 25 chips, so it’s
not a big deal yet…

Just called a small raise from the big blind with A9o (my
best hand by far!). Flop was bad, so I folded to the raise.
He showed, and had KK. Next hand he raises again, I folded my
A6o in the small blind. He shows AA. Still only down 55 chips, so nothing real to report yet.

880 left, in 358th
863 left, in 253rd

Wow, some people are amazingly stupid. Aggression is one
thing, and in general, very powerful. That said, it can
easily cross the line into complete stupidity, and I just
watched someone cross that line multiple times, after he had
a reasonable stack. I guess he thought his early luck had to
hold up, no matter what. He’s now gone…

Made it past the first break 🙂

687 left, in 364th
505 left, in 363rd
478 left, in 154th
409 left, in 150th

Made it past the second break 🙂

321 left, in 200th

Starting to slide, just because of the blinds. Haven’t
played a single hand in a while, so it’s not that I’m
“losing” any hands. This can’t last long, one way or
another…

233 left, in 212th
203 left, in 132nd
193 left, in 149th
164 left, in 149th
159 left, in 140th

Made it past the third break 🙂

143 left, in 134th
137 left, in 134th
129 left, in 117th
123 left, in 115th
120 left, in 115th
117 left, in 114th
114 left, in 99th

I won with ATs against KK. A came on the turn, thankfully.
The very next hand, I had AK in early position. I folded.
The big blind went all-in with A9o. Thank goodness I folded,
as the flop came A9X. Whew.

113 left, in 106th (because of the blinds and antes)
108 left, in 102nd (going to be very close!)

All-in with ATh. We’ll see if anyone calls…
NOPE! Thank goodness! 🙂

106 left, in 91st
105 left, in 97th
104 left, in 96th
103 left, in 94th
102 left, in 94th
101 left, in 94th

ONE MORE TO GO!

MADE IT!!! It’s been a long while since I’ve cashed in the
Big One. Whew! Still short stacked, but I can relax now…

99 left, in 91st
91 left, in 89th
86 left, in 82nd
84 left, in 80th

Moved up one more level in the money!

Now out, in 79th!

Won my entry last Saturday. Got back $400 tonight. Sweet!

Welcome WordPress 2.3

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The only plugin that I had installed which supposedly wasn’t compatible with 2.3 was Google Sitemaps Generator. There was a newer version available, which was compatible. So, I just took the plunge and upgraded. Smooth as silk.

This is now the first post that has any tags associated with it. 🙂

September 2007 Poker Update

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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…

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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

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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…

Silly DKIM Update

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This is an unnecessary post. I’m mostly doing it because I said I would, but really, because I changed the permalink structure of this blog, and this will be my first post with the new structure (though old posts are available under the new scheme as well). 🙂

It’s been a little more than three months since I started signing all outgoing mail with DKIM. The only smtp servers other than mine that seem to always sign with DKIM are gmail servers. Many Yahoo! users don’t send through their smtp servers.

Like I said, nothing real to report, just that after 3 months, gmail users are the only ones who I reliably see DKIM signatures for.

Bad result in Sunday Big Tourney on 9/2/2007

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No narrative necessary. Here is the log from my notes from today’s tourney, the first one in over a month that I got to play in…

846 entrants, top 90 paid

800 left in 11th
723 left in 35th
677 left in 56th
631 left in 26th
523 left in 13th
399 left in 283rd (I played one hand really badly!!!)
326 left in 269th
255 left in 114th (I got wildly lucky, thankfully!)
216 left in 110th
163 left in 138th (folded one hand I should have played!)
142 left in 133rd (folded another winner…)
134 left in 107th (won an all-in)
128 left in 117th

38 to go to the money, it’s going to be really tight!

118 left in 100th
103 left in 99th

13 left to the money, not looking great…

Had a tough choice, and I asked Lois what do. There were 97
people left (7 to go), and I was extremely low on chips.
Someone went all-in. I had JJ. I knew that I was likely a
slight favorite, but if I lost, I was out of the money. If I
won, I would definitely be able to make the money.

Lois said “Go for it”. I did. He had AQ. An A came on the
flop, and I was out in 96th. Oh well. So close, and yet, so
far!

I misplayed one hand very badly, and then got a little
tentative in two hands that would have won as well. In other
words, I truly didn’t deserve to make the money, even though
I came really close…

Independently, I came third in an Omaha Hi-Lo last night, and third again in the same tourney today, so I’m up for the month (since I won the entry into the big one in August, so there was zero cost to play it in September).

So, in truth, I can’t really complain. 🙂

August 2007 Poker Update

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Another month, a ton more poker played. 🙂

The month started off OK with 5 days of poker generating $70 of profit. Then a trip to Zope made for zero poker played for the next 5 days (until the weekend). For the next few weeks, I was really busy on weekends, and while at Zope, had no time to play during the week either.

When I got back to NY mid-month, I got to play during the week, but weekends were still busy until the end of the month.

I started losing in dramatic fashion for a few weeks in a row. I made a few bone-headed moves, that I knew were bone-headed moves when I made them (a little out of frustration, and a little out of feeling that my luck just had to change, which is a different form of frustration). That said, for the most part, I believe I was playing as well if not better than I did in July (when I was winning a ton), and I was just wildly unlucky on more rivers than I can remember in recent history. As they say, if you get all of your money in with much the best of it (meaning, not 50/50 races), then you’re playing well and doing your job.

So, with the exception of the few bone-headed moves, I really shook off the bad beats (better than I ever have before), and I plowed on, playing the same way. I was surprised that I was able to handle the slide as well as I did (psychologically), but I have to admit that a huge part of it is that my account is so healthy, that I knew that even if the slide continued for months, I still wouldn’t have to put any new money in my account, and I could continue to play with confidence. There’s nothing like a healthy account (bank, brokerage, poker, etc.) to keep your decisions on track.

At the peak of the bad streak, I was down $354! Not a good thing, but truly nothing compared to my July win.

Then, with nothing changed on my part, but with fewer river beats, my results started changing, and dramatically at that. In addition, on at least 3 occasions, I was the one with the lucky river, handing someone else a bad beat. 😉

I started cashing frequently in Omaha Hi-Lo tourneys. There were many (some pretty small), but the highlights were a second that returned $343 (I won my entry into that tourney for $3). I was the chip leader when there were only 2 of us left, but I can’t complain. The day before, I finished fifth in the same tourney (also won my entry), and got back $131 for my $3.

Bottom line, I ended up $74 for the month (after hitting up $119 mid-week). I’m pretty happy with the turnaround, and with the fact that I didn’t get frustrated and start playing too stupidly.

Sounds like a reasonable month, given how badly it went in the middle. Well, it was actually a much better month than the “bottom line” implies. As I noted in a non-poker post, I was unable to play in any of the big Sunday tourneys in August. I was busy at 5pm (booked in advance) on every single Sunday. While I played a few qualifiers this month (because you can unregister and use the Tournament Dollars [TDs] for a future entry). I lost them all.

This week, I am available to play (tomorrow). It won’t be August, but the qualifiers played this past week are part of my August results. I played in two qualifiers this week. I won a seat in both! That means that in addition to playing in the big one tomorrow, I had enough TDs to play in a future Sunday big one of my choice, without having to play in another qualifier. Each was worth $215, and they are not included in my results for August. In fact, they both show up as losses, so I’m negative $46 for those two entry fees. To be consistent with previous accounting (and I’m comfy with that decision), any winnings in future tourneys with these TDs will be free money.

In addition to that, I’ve won quite a number of qualifiers to my nightly 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo (I had a really good streak), and used one of them on Monday night (that I had won on Saturday!) to win the afore-mentioned $343!

The point is, that this month turned around a lot more than just -$354 to +$74.

So, another month with a positive cash-flow in poker, therefore another happy month. 🙂

Verizon FIOS TV

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So, I’ve been using Verizon FIOS for my Internet connection in the house for quite a while now, and I absolutely love it! When they first installed it, the tech said that they would be introducing TV over the same fiber connection, likely within 6 months.

Well, it’s been much longer than 6 months, but it finally became available.

Lois and I have relatively pedestrian TV watching habits, including not owning an HDTV (even though I think they are awesome). I had both a cable connection (just basic, no boxes) and a DirecTV satellite with a large-drive DVR connected to the satellite. Don’t ask why I didn’t get rid of the cable when I got the satellite over 12 years ago…

I also have a pretty screwy (but very reliable) wiring setup to allow the cable or the satellite to be displayed on either of our two TVs (one upstairs, one downstairs). That was (by far) my biggest hesitation in ordering FIOS TV.

I got the announcement of availability in my neighborhood in the mail, and then researched it online. As intrigued as I was, I actually decided to wait a while, just because of the pain. Then a few days later, while at Zope, I got a marketing/sales call from Verizon (almost definitely outsourced), pitching me on taking the FIOS TV package. What convinced me in the end was that they too (like the cable companies) are now offering “Triple Play” (phone, Internet and TV). Well, I already have phone and Internet from them, and adding TV will actually lower my combined bill (Verizon and Cable) by a reasonable amount, while giving me more channels plus a DVR for the FIOS stuff as well.

Sold!

So, they installed it yesterday. The tech was great, and I only had to explain my screwy wiring once, and he got it right. Cool. But, in order to get the cooler services, they also had to swap the free WiFi Router that they had previously installed for FIOS Internet service with a better one that handled OnDemand TV as well. The old router was a Dlink 624. When first installed, I was apprehensive, because I didn’t think all that highly of Dlink stuff. It has been flawless for over a year, and I customized it to handle all of my special needs (notably VoIP and Slingbox).

The tech replaced it with a gigantic Verizon-branded router. Turns out that it’s an ActionTec model, clearly made for Verizon.

He told me that I really shouldn’t change the defaults. Yeah, right. 😉

Well, by default, it worked correctly (and well) for the Internet, but it didn’t work for my Sling and VoIP, because they were set up to do things in a special way.

The router has a very powerful menu system, which was not intuitive, nor easily discoverable. I struggled to find the right bits to make my changes. When I finally found the right bits, any change I made was “accepted”, but then the router simply stopped working. It would not hand out any DHCP addresses that weren’t the original default. It had no way (that I could find) to marry a MAC address to a DHCP address to “lock” a machine to a particular address.

Oh well, after doing a “Factory Reset” a few times, I gave up, and decided to live with their defaults.

It was extremely painful to make the changes to my Asterisk machine (Red Hat 9), because I can’t easily log in to it, and I couldn’t ssh to it because it was on a different network. 🙁

I had to boot a Rescue CD, enable ssh, ssh in, mount the internal drive, edit the networking startup scripts, and then reboot. Finally, I got all the right bits working, and the machine (and VoIP service) was working again. The Sling was slightly easier, but painful as well.

Anyway, Lois asked if it was worth it to have upgraded, and the answer yesterday was clearly “No”. Now that’s it’s done, I’m feeling less negative, and we’ll see wither the FIOS TV stuff makes up for the hassle…

A very Wicked Sunday :-)

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If you read my last post, you know that the highlight of yesterday was going to see Wicked for our fifth time. In addition to that specific highlight, the day turned out to be spectacular in a number of other ways. Therefore, this post will likely be very long, and I apologize if you’re only tuning in to hear what we thought of the two leads in Wicked. You can either search or skim to find out the $64k answer to that question. 😉

Amazingly enough, I have checked off every single category that I have previously used in this one post. Well, it’s only amazing because there is something about each category in this post. Clearly, I could just check them all off every time if I felt like it. 😉

We debated going in on Saturday night, but that decision ended up being made for us when I won a free entry into the nightly 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo tourney, which I played in the house. Since we’re less than a week away from the monthly poker update, I’ll just say that I came 10th (they paid the top 10 only), so it was a “good” result, but economically, far from first place (first was 15 times larger than the prize I won!). Also, because of Wicked on Sunday, this was going to be the fourth straight week that I would not be around to even try and play in the big Sunday weekly tourney. OK, that accounts for the Poker and Gambling categories being in this one.

When we woke up on Sunday, we both checked email on our Treos, and neither of us turned on our laptops. When we got home, we didn’t turn them on either. That made yesterday one of the only days in recent memory when we were in NY, didn’t have company, and both of use chose not to log on the entire day. Not sure it ever happened before, but if so, it’s a rarity. That also meant that there was no poker played yesterday, which is also unusual for a day in NY without company, but not as rare as not logging on. So, this qualifies as being in the Computers, Poker and Gambling categories.

We drove in on the early side, straight to the apartment. On the way, we listened to the latest CD from Girlyman (previously reviewed here) Joyful Sign, and loved it the entire way in. Shortly after arriving at the apartment, I went on my 8+ mile walk around the city. The weather was nearly perfect. 100% cloud cover (the sun didn’t even peek out for a second), and not too hot or too humid. Ten degrees cooler and it would have been perfect. My typical time (average would be a misnomer here) is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Yesterday it took me only 2 hours and 5 minutes, so the cool weather helped. Of course, I listened to my iPod the entire way, and it didn’t freeze this time, adding to the nice day. This qualifies for adding Music as a category, and of course, the entire post qualifies for Personal.

After a shower, we relaxed and watch Friday night’s episode of Monk (on the DVR). We always love Monk, but this episode was weak in comparison to most. We still enjoyed it, but aside from sharing with you what we did the entire day, it also qualified as one of only two things during the day that also correctly put this post into the Frustration category.

We debated what to do about lunch. Both of us were hungry enough to do a big meal, but after the gorging that we did last weekend, we were both glad to have slowed down this week (amazingly, I lost all of the weight I gained last weekend!). So, we also didn’t want to go too crazy. We finally decided to go to the Palm, across from the theater, but not over do it. Yeah, right. 😉

We got to the theater, picked up our tickets at the Will Call, and crossed the street, only to find out that the Palm doesn’t open for lunch on Sundays. Perhaps they don’t open for dinner either, but a passerby told us they did, so they might. Marginally disappointed, we decided to find another restaurant. I spotted an Applebees 1/2 a block away on Broadway and 50th. We decided to head there. Serendipitously, when we got to the corner, I spotted the other Ruby Foos on the corner of Broadway and 49th. I previously blogged about how great Ruby Foos is, though I’ve only eaten at the uptown one before. Clearly, we both felt that we were meant to eat there. 🙂

The menu is identical to the uptown location, and the decor is as well. The building itself uptown is two floors, so the layout inside is much more opulent, but there’s nothing wrong with this location. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. That’s not entirely true. Lois actually didn’t like the filler and sauce for her main dish, but we so enjoyed the calamari appetizer, that eating just the grilled shrimp and scallops off of the top of her dish was good enough. This paragraph qualifies for the Food and Dining categories.

At the end of the meal, our waitress asked us if we were going to see a show. When we told her it was Wicked, she said that she was really interested in seeing it, because whenever her sister comes to visit her in NYC, she goes. Her sister has seen it five times, but our waitress was working each time, and hasn’t gotten to go yet. Omens anyone? I mentioned to the waitress that we were about to catch up to her sister. 🙂

We strolled over to the theater, and were blown away by how good our seats were. It turns out that EE is actually the 4th row, not the 5th, as the AA row is only right and left orchestra. Essentially, the real orchestra is in row AA. 😉

Of course, the omen of EE (5-5) for our fifth time, wasn’t lost on me. 😉

We knew we would love the seats, and the performance, but we were both nervous about the abilities of the stars. I don’t want to turn this into a mystery novel, so I’ll dispense with the suspense. We knew within the first few notes that Glinda (played by Kendra Kassebaum) sang, that she was not going to cut it, by our standards. She has an excellent voice, but she doesn’t put it together for this role. Not even all that close. She’s by no means awful (like the understudy I wrote about), but it was passable, at best. OK, we still had anticipation of how Elphaba would sound.

She comes on in the second song, but doesn’t sing until the third. In the second song, it was obvious that Elphaba (played by Julia Murney) was an excellent actress. We were not disappointed in the acting of any of the previous leads (other than the understudy), but we typically sat much further back, so you don’t really appreciate facial expressions, etc. In fact, everything was far more interesting this close up, and I was painfully aware that it would be easy to get trapped into only wanting to see shows where the seats were this good. Given how much we’ve enjoyed so many other shows, and Wicked in particular, from much worse seats, that would be a real mistake!

Then we got to song #3, the first of many that showcase (or can) Elphaba’s talent and range, “The Wizard and I”. As with Glinda, it was obvious in the first few notes that Julia didn’t have it. She’s not bad either (though I believe that the raw vocal talent between the two lies in Kendra, not Julia). There are two problems with Julia’s voice:

  1. She can’t transition ranges smoothly. She might be able to sing in a particular range (high or low) reasonably well, but when she switches (which this role does frequently), her voice often cracks, or does something else that is less than stellar.
  2. She has no power, and when she pushed the notes that require it, I felt badly for her. Also, she couldn’t hit the highest of notes required by the role.

The last problem, though it was relatively minor, is that each of them brought their own special little styling or phrasing to their solos. None was over the top (as was the case with the oft-mentioned understudy), but it’s annoying nonetheless (I’ll expound momentarily on that theme). That said, one surprising positive note was that there was little fooling around when they sang harmonies together, and for the most part, it was pleasant and reasonably done, but most certainly not spine chilling!

The closest I’ve ever sat before yesterday was 22 rows back (so 18 rows further than yesterday). Lois had a single seat in row L once, when we bought an extra ticket for a surprise visitor from England. I sat with our other two friends in the balcony that day. Even in row L, which was only 12 rows further than yesterday, Lois says she saw so many new things from the close-up seats. That’s not a major statement though, since those of you who know Lois, know she’s essentially legally blind (no, for those of who don’t know Lois, that’s not a joke, or a crack at my wife). So, she was particularly thrilled to see things that I had easily seen before, even from far away. I think it made the performance magical for her, even though she felt the same way (if not even more critical) about the singing of the leads.

Now my exposition on styling and phrasing. Feel free to skip this rant, or the rest of the post, if all you came for was a review on this performance of Wicked. You’ve gotten that already. 😉

I completely understand (but don’t like!) when a musical group that has been around for ages gets tired of playing the hits in exactly the same way each and every day. From my perspective, it’s still incumbent upon them to deliver what their paying audiences expect, but at least I understand it.

In some cases, they have good reasons/excuses. Bruce Hornsby is now teamed with Ricky Skaggs. When they perform, it’s mostly a Bluegrass theme, and it gave Bruce the opportunity to update some of his big hits in a radical way, but perhaps still appreciated by the fans who came to hear Bluegrass!

For a different perspective, I always love to listen to the live version of Mr. Bojangles by David Bromberg. The song was written by Jerry Jeff Walker. As an aside, Lois and I attended a benefit in Austin, TX in May 2006, with a lot of famous people presenting and/or performing. One was Jerry Jeff, who sang Mr. Bojangles (wonderfully!), and we were about 15 feet away from him! David tells (in the middle of the song) how he and Jerry Jeff used to play the song together live every night (forever), and how he (David) never tired of it. On the other hand, Jerry Jeff did, and after they would perform it for the audience, they’d play it for themselves, and “do horrible things to it“, so I really do understand.

The other excuse/reason to muck with a song would be if you were playing it to the same audience frequently, and you might expect that they would appreciate hearing it differently.

Unfortunately, none of those situations applies to a Broadway play. The overwhelming majority of theater goers are seeing any given show for the first time (and likely only time for that show). Second, the cast didn’t write the songs, and rarely have been in a given role for that long, and shouldn’t have the need for artistic freedom with the piece. Not to mention that there is (or should be!) a director involved, ensuring the quality.

Theater goers should easily fall into one of three categories:

  1. Never seen or heard the show/music before. While you can argue that they might like the stylized version, or least not know or care about the difference, I doubt you could argue that they would like the original (often Tony-winning!) version any less.
  2. Been to the show. Well, they’re coming back for more. 😉 Unless they saw this specific cast, doing this specific stylized version, odds are that this group will be at least somewhat disappointed.
  3. Never been to the show, but listen to the CD. This might be the largest group, but certainly is second behind #1 if not. This group only knows the gold standard for how the music is meant to be sung. If they’ve listened to the CD more than once (or, in my case, over 1000 times, no exaggeration), they have no choice but to be disappointed. The correct version is imprinted on their brains. 😉

There must be thousands, if not 10’s of thousands of ultra-talented actors/singers out there who would kill for an opportunity to star in Wicked. Here’s why I simply can’t comprehend the way the show is being performed (and I’m sure there has to be something wrong with me, or my thought process):

For the auditions, tell people that they have to listen to the Original Cast CD 1000 times, and come back when they can sing it note for note. Only then, do you audition for the acting part of the role.

What could be simpler? No styling, no phrasing, no ad-libing of any kind. You can either nail the songs or you can’t. If not, then Next!

But, for some reason, perhaps that the Director is bored hearing the same show every day, they allow the improvisations to continue, and they continue to recruit sub-par singers…

OK, it’s finally off my chest (sort of). Both Lois and I are decidedly against seeing it again with these two ladies in the lead. Here’s hoping they get swapped out sooner rather than later. That said, both of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience yesterday, and got to concentrate on other aspects of the show, which were delightful from our up-front perspective. I’m still laughing at the woman who reviewed the story as weak, the sets as weak, and the singing as fantastic. Oh well, that’s what makes the world interesting. 🙂

So, is there a lesson learned here? Yes, trust YouTube! Seriously, it was obvious even from the really poor quality of the cell-phone made YouTube videos of both leads that this was not a role they could handle. The seats were too good, and everything else about the opportunity as it unfolded was awesome, that we really couldn’t pass it up. But, I know to trust my instincts in the future, and go with the force, Luke…

Both Fiyero and The Wizard were played by actors new to us in their respective roles. The Wizard is a character actor whom we’ve seen on TV hundreds of times! Both were outstanding, and added thoroughly to our enjoyment of the show.

The above obviously qualifies for both the Broadway and Music categories, thus rounding out all of my previous categories (with one exception, which I’ll get to next). Hopefully, it was obvious to you that the performances of the two leads was the second reason that this post qualified for the Frustration category…

If you needed any proof of why Lois and I are together after so many years, I’ll share an honest-to-goodness story from yesterday, which is not as uncommon as you might think. During the performance, I was thinking that if I were Bill Gates, I would rent out the theater on a Monday when it was dark, pay Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (the two original leads, and both are on the Original Cast CD) to join the remainder of the current cast and chorus (or, if I really was Bill Gates, probably bring back the entire original cast for the night), and invite 2000 of my closest friends, to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime good time.

At intermission, Lois turns to me and says: “Wouldn’t it be great if we were rich, and we could pay Stephen Schwartz (the creator of the Wicked Musical) to get Kristin and/or Katie Kate Reinders back together with Idina or Eden Mendoza Espinosa (thanks very much to Steph for correcting my hurried mistakes in the comment below!), for just one night, and invite all of our friends?”

Folks, I’m not kidding. We’re too alike for our own good. The difference between us is that Lois only wished to be rich enough to pull it off. I wished to have the kind of money Bill Gates has, so that pulling it off wouldn’t make a dent, or seem even a little unusual for me to do. 😉

I’m telling this next part out of order, because it is 100% inconsequential, other than it is a perfectly valid reason to tag this post with the final category, VoIP. 🙂 While I was out walking, Lois called my cell phone, something she rarely does. She let me know that she couldn’t dial out normally from the apartment, but had to add a prefix of “9”, which routes through our external VoIP provider (see, a legitimate use of the VoIP category). Turns out that calls routed through our house line (which is our default) were failing because the house router got a new dynamic address from Verizon FIOS that was not in the previous ranges, and the firewall at the apartment didn’t like the new address. Problem solved easily this morning…

So, you think you’re done reading? I beg to differ. Our day was not over yet, as this was about Sunday, not just Wicked. 😉

We went back to the apartment, packed up, and headed back to the house. On the way home, we listened to another Girlyman CD (Remember Who I am), and it too is excellent! Just as we were pulling in to our cul-de-sac, a car pulled in behind us. Our neighbors two doors down were coming home from the movies. We’re nuts about both of them (and their daughter), and even though we live 200 feet apart, we rarely get to spend quality time with them given each of our schedules.

So, after 10 seconds of schmoozing in the cul-de-sac, we unpacked our car and walked over to their house. We hung out for nearly 2 hours, and then got home and collapsed, watching two 1/2 hour comedies to unwind (both were hysterical), and then dropped off on the early side.

Finally, something not really related to Sunday. Aside from Wicked yesterday, which was a last minute thought, I have been unable to play in any of the weekly Sunday big tourneys in August so far. This has been marginally disappointing, given my excellent (if lucky) results in July. I did play in a number of qualifiers during the month, even knowing I couldn’t play that week, because you are permitted to unregister a seat, and get Tournament Dollars (TDs) which you can use to register into a future tournament. That said, since I knew I couldn’t play, I didn’t enter many qualifiers. I didn’t win the seat in any of them…

Today, while writing this blog, I decided to try my hand at a qualifier, given that I’m likely to be free (for the first time in a month!) this coming Sunday. I put up $15.50, and top three players out of 40 would win an entry. I came third, and won the seat! So, in the first try to win a seat in the first tournament that I can actually play in, for the least amount I could realistically spend to get in, I got the seat. Woo Hoo. Happy endings all around. 🙂

P.S. Even though this post is incredibly long, somehow, I feel that I’ve left out something important from yesterday. Oh well, I should have logged on last night after all. 😉

July 2007 Poker Summary

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So, I just finished the month on a reasonable high note, coming 3rd out of 108 players in an Omaha Hi-Lo tourney. I was the leader going in to the final table, and when there were 7 left, I was in last (one really bad hand, very poorly played on my part!). So, coming in 3rd was satisfying, even though I lost on the river on the last hand, or I could have gone further.

Last month, I abandoned (perhaps not forever) the summary by tournament type, etc. I’ll skip that this month too. In fact, this is going to be a really short update, since I’ve covered the highlights already. To repeat the biggest highlight: I won qualifiers for 4 of the big Sunday tournaments in this month. I cashed in 3 of the 4 tournaments, to the tune of $900, $900 and $419.

I peaked at up $1983 (as reported earlier). After the third in my last tourney of the month, I’m up $1980 for the month (I rounded up $.03). 😉 So, I hung on to all but $3 from my peak, over the past 2 weeks. Not too shabby!

As reported earlier, I gave back roughly $300 in a one week period after I peaked (so obviously, I won it back). At the time, I said that I would comment on my style changes, etc. That’s what I’ll close with this month.

After the second $900 cash, my account was flush, and I felt that I could do two things: take some more chances and play in some slightly bigger buy-in tournaments.

I did both. Ironically, while I splashed around a few more dollars in buy-ins (the largest was $38, so don’t think I went crazy), I lost most of them on truly bad beats. I’m not complaining, just saying that I was (generally speaking) holding my own in the larger tourneys, which I’d avoided before, simply because a losing streak could have crippled my account. Now it would barely make a dent. Well, it definitely dented the account, but I won it back. Whew.

Second was style. I decided to play a little looser. In fact, I played a little too loosely on occasion, and that cost me money as well. That said, it was a fantastic learning experience, as I definitely hit a couple of big hands that I never would have even been in, and I got to understand a little better the range of hands that other people raise with (given that often before, everyone, including me, folded to them, and playing looser, I sometimes got to see their hands).

While I don’t intend to become a loose player in general, or even as a rule, I see value in being able to do it on occasion, situationally, and it’s an addition to my game that has already served me reasonably well, and I expect it to continue to serve me.

Anyway, looking forward to continue learning. Alternatively, if I can’t learn (because of having a thick head), then I’ll gladly take some better luck, so that the account can keep growing. 🙂