Friday, March 30, 2007
Posted by Jason at 8:03 AM
Thursday, March 29, 2007
*Disclaimer - Author has no intention of disparaging Southie, its inhabitants, their surroundings, their automobiles, their parking spot markers, or their furry creatures.
To: Older, public-urinating man
Re: Yesterday evening
I wanted to thank you for rendering me speechless after parking my car, turning off the ignition, turning off the lights, sitting there a brief moment longer to finish a phone conversation, and having the good fortune to watch you saunter up, prop yourself up against a chain-link fence, whip it out, and relieve yourself 6 feet in front of me, in my direction. The fully monty, brotha!
Whether you were too drunk to hold it or too old to care, your actions were a novel way to welcome me home after a long day of staring at a computer screen. For that, I thank you.
(n.b. / FYI - the title is a Beatles reference...well, a reconstituted Beatles reference)
Posted by Jason at 7:32 AM
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
It's not all bad - over the course of my lifetime of playing (pretty much the past 3 or so years), my net winnings are definitely on the plus side. It's not like I am mortgaging my home, car, and Starbucks mugs. My teeth haven't rotted out from meth use. My liver is still healthy.
The down-swings, however, drive me nuts. In the poker world, they call it "being on tilt" if your play becomes a bit reckless after sufferring a "bad beat" or two. I try not to fall victim, but it's very difficult sometimes - for example, when your opponent has literally one card out of 44 unexposed cards which would cause him to win, and he catches it on that final "river" card. Ugh. That happened on Sunday. I hate "one outters" when I'm on the losing side.
Since the start of the new year, i switched on online No-Limit cash games. Not like the tournaments on ESPN, more like the structure of "High Stakes Poker" on GSN, minus the high stakes. $100 buy in to a table. I usually play 2 at the same time. Some nights, you grind out a $40 win, some nights you end up $300, some nights, down $200. Hopefully, in the long run, things end up positive on your side.
I said to myself if my bankroll ever hit 50% of its peak, it was time to cash out. That happened Sunday. This year, my $100 became $1,700, and ended at $893. So, still a win, and a good one at that, but with my record-keeping that friends have criticized, I learned my hourly take was around $8.00 an hour. Not bad for sitting in my recliner watching Planet Earth on Discover HD. But once you're up there flirting with 20x your buy-in, you begin to feel invincible.
Now that Spring is here, and it's lighter later, and it's warmer in Boston, it's time to make the formerly fat jeans less tight, read more, resume my Spanish classes, and not obsess about hiting my flush draws every night.
This is just like my revelation playing golf my senior year in college. I'm not very good at the game. Sometimes shots are incredible, sometimes my Approach Wedge works like magic, sometimes my Putting is on. But never does my entire game come together, and I end up around 100-110 for a round of 18 with my method of scoring (no penalty strokes, hole max 8, winter rules all year, reloading off the tee is OK, etc). Once I decided in my head that I wasn't going to be shooting in the 70's, and I wouldn't get better at golf unless I took lessons, practiced a ton, and devoted lots of time and money to my progress, I relaxed and had fun playing. Now, I don't really worry about my score, and my enjoyment of playing golf has skyrocketed.
I need to do the same thing about poker. I'm not going to become a pro. It won't pay for a down payment on my dream home. But, it's still fun, and playing with moderation will make me less irritated during the bankroll swings.
Ahora, yo regreso aprendiendo mi Espanol.
Posted by Jason at 7:56 AM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Posted by Jason at 8:16 PM
Posted by Jason at 8:10 AM
Monday, March 26, 2007
Posted by Jason at 7:38 AM
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Posted by Jason at 11:59 AM
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Posted by Jason at 10:57 AM
I'm headed to the airport in a bit to test my luck with a jetBlue flight from Austin to Boston. After returning home last week a day early and skipping this same flight last Friday, I learned that my friend Mike had flown the opposite segment from Boston to Austin on that same day just before the snow. He was headed to SXSW last weekend. So, basically, I would have been hanging out in the gate area as he deplaned into the same gate area.
A couple weeks ago, and again after the fact, I learned that my friend John was on that same Austin to Boston jetBlue flight that I was also taking. I find it odd that I completely missed him in the gate area or on board, but we had an hour delay, so I was waiting elsewhere.
This morning, I'm not sure which Boston friend I will be seeing on this flight or at the airport. I do know that Jamen asked me to buy him a UT hat (he saw mine and liked it so much) and mention it on here. I think it's a pretty cool hat. And wearing it around Fenway, I would be less likely to get bludgeoned than if I had a Yankees hat on.
Posted by Jason at 8:42 AM
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Pre “liquid/gel bomb” rules, I can recall numerous discrepancies in shoe removal procedures. Some airports let mostly all shoes through, while others made you remove everything – from cowboy boots to sneakers to flip flops. What’s a hoodie at one TSA checkpoint is a jacket at another (and, therefore, needs to be removed).
The human element of TSA screening is what creates this confusion, and I’m assuming, travelers’ frustration with the inconsistent rules.
This week in Dallas, during my 12th flight this year with all of my luggage as carry-on, I learned the following: my small, unmarked container of my hair stuff is a no-no (“fine, take it”), and my clear, solid deodorant is actually a “gel” (or, “close enough to one,” as informed), and needed to be in my small quart plastic bag along with my other creamy / liquidy / gelly stuff. Perhaps I need to refresh my memory on chemistry 101. I still think it’s a solid.
And the unmarked container deal – the simple way around that is reusing marked containers. I have plenty of little bottles of stuff. Who is to stop someone from carrying 3 oz of lighter fluid through security in a little Marriott shampoo container?
I know it’s a character trait of mine – having the last word, being right, etc. With the TSA, for people like me, it’s excruciating sometimes, because passengers are never right when the TSA challenges us.
Posted by Jason at 8:13 PM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
It's not necessarily a common occurrence in LA to see clear across the area from Hollywood to downtown (upper right area beneath the reflection). The smog created with Cali car culture combined with the marine layer can be terrible!
Posted by Jason at 10:19 PM
Posted by Jason at 8:59 AM
Monday, March 12, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Posted by Jason at 10:04 PM
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Many of my friends and old co-workers are aware of this strange obsession, and have fueled my fire by purchasing mugs for me during their travels. Mike the Architect bought me mugs from China (and his mom even bought me a Cleveland mug), Jamen bought me a mug from Cancun, my old co-workers even chipped in – Stuart bought me Frankfurt and Australia, Tim bought a mug from Thailand, my old boss Allen was great in buying me mugs from Kuwait and some other exotic locales. My companion-in-mug Elliott (another old co-worker) bought the most mugs for me…..and vice versa. We often traveled to different cities for work, and bought each other mugs whenever we saw new ones that we knew the other did not have. I got him doing the mug thing until his new wife put an end to the insanity.
Ever few years, they release a new style of mug – the perfect way to rope people like me in to buying multiple mugs for the same cities. For example, I have 4 different Boston mugs. My favorite is their “art deco” one which included only a few cities in the series.
Every so often, I will find an out of place mug – i.e. a city mug for a city in which I’m not. Once in Philadelphia, I found a New Orleans mug (which I mistakenly put into my checked luggage to have US Airways break – never did that again!). In Providence, I found a Cleveland mug. And at Logan’s Terminal A Starbucks this week, I found a Niagara Falls mug – probably my best “fish out of water” mug score thus far, as I don’t plan to be in Niagara Falls any time soon.
I think Niagara Falls is mug #61. I’ll have to do a mugcount at some point.
Last summer, I had a MAJOR mug misstep. En route to Croatia last summer, I saw a Starbucks at Gatwick that had multiple mugs from places throughout the UK and Ireland – a Scotland mug, a London mug, an England mug, a Dublin mug, etc., . Probably 6 different ones in total. I figured I would purchase the mug bounty on my way back from Croatia, as to not be on vacation and on the buses that travel Croatia’s coastline with a half-dozen ceramic mugs in tow.
Well, I should have thought that with my different flight routing and carriers, I would not be passing through the same terminals going in each direction. Headed there, I flew Newark to London-Gatwick (where Continental has quite a large operation), then connected to a British Airways flight to Split, Croatia. Coming back, it was BA from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Gatwick, and Gatwick to Cleveland to Newark (reward ticket, cheaper-mileage first class the whole was if I did the Cleveland thing, so why not?) The problem is the whole International customs / immigration thing. When flying between different countries, the connecting procedure is not as simple as deplaning and walking to the next gate. I should have figured that their immigration area would not spit me back into the general concourse, but instead direct me through a labyrinth-like maze that bypassed the Starbucks I saw on the way through the first time.
Total missed opportunity. Total bummer.
Posted by Jason at 9:24 AM
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I’m at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood today, and for what they charge, they are ripping off their guests in terms of Internet access. Shame on them – major thumbs-down.
These days, free WiFi is common in hotels. For properties without free Wifi, often their offerings are free High-Speed Wired connections or daily access fees – something like $10-$12 for 24 hours of unlimited access.
The Renaissance Hollywood offers the $10/day wired High-Speed package for the guest rooms. Terrific. Unfortunately, their wireless provider is a different company, which charges $2.95 for 15 minutes and 25 cents per minute thereafter. What a rip-off!
Free wireless should not be limited to the budget or midsize hotels. For example, Courtyard prides itself on free High-Speed Internet.
I’m here on business – we have 7 meetings scheduled this week, many of them at the hotel. It would be nice to have laptop Internet access without absurd fees, as our database software is web-based and accessing it throughout the day would be helpful.
Posted by Jason at 7:49 PM
Monday, March 05, 2007
I was trying to impart my travel wisdom to him during the drive, as he hasn’t been on an airplane since before 9/11 – get to Logan early, 6am departure means leave for Logan around 4am (from Waltham), security lines are surprisingly long early in the morning, no liquids, don’t look too drunk because they’ll deny you boarding, don't pack anything that will land you in a Mexican prison, etc. He mentioned that he's most concerned with waking up somewhere without one of his kidneys, leading me to believe that he watched too much Nip/Tuck this season.
Posted by Jason at 8:01 PM