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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Resolutions 2012

So - the serious post went up earlier today.
Now for the fun and games.


Resolution #1 - Attempt to look more homeless.  The fake homeless make good money in this town and it's about time I got a piece of that action.

Resolution #2 - Ties into #1 - Develop a drug habit.  This will help me to accomplish many things.  It will help me to accomplish #3 and #1.

Resolution #3 - Lose Weight via my new found drug habit.  I don't know if I'm going coke, crack, smack or horse - it's a tough decision but I'm all about making the tough decisions in life.

Resolution #4 - Alienate friends - I think this one will be pretty easy with my new homeless look and drug problem.

Resolution #5 - Develop nickname of Crack-head Larry - No one is going to know my name and this is the nick name that I am hoping to receive from the people at the shelter.  I also guess that this answers question #3 for me now doesn't it.

Resolution #6 - Commit a major crime (and maybe some minor ones too) - I have been drug free and crime free nearly my entire life, it's about time to change that don't you think.  This will probably coincide with #3 and the new found drug habit, but it doesn't have to.  Maybe GTA, or Car Jacking or armed robbery.  There are so many choices to make for this one that I'm giddy with excitement.

As you all can see, 2012 is going to be a banner year for the Serge household - I'll try to blog about it as long as I don't sell off my computer for crack and lose my electricity for non-payment.  Hope you all stay with me for this ride of a lifetime!!

New Years Revolutions 2012

Every year, right at the very beginning or the absolute end people come up with their resolutions.  It's just as traditional to make a list of things you want to do for whatever reason as it is to break those resolutions just a few weeks later because, honestly, if we were going to make a change what difference does it make that the calender says January 1st instead of March 22nd?  None at all.
But for some reason the 1st of January holds this mystical power over people that they think that they can just spout off a bunch of lists and it's automatically going to happen.  As if we get this sudden burst of willpower that magically only happens when the calender year changes.  It doesn't happen and resolutions (much like promises and hearts) were made to be broken.
With all that said, it's not going to stop me from making mine. :)

Part of my list is about bettering myself because honestly - why make a change if it's not for the better?
Nobody ever starts off their resolutions with "Resolution #1 - I'm going to develop a crack addiction and screw over my family.  Resolution #2 - I am going to be homeless by April.  Resolution #3 - I will have a cardboard sign and stand on the intersection of Charleston and Decatur begging for money and in the process chasing off that bitch who stands at MY CORNER with the sign that reads "Breast Cancer, please help" While at the same time smoking a cigarette which is only going to give her lunch cancer to go with her titty cancer."
Most my list, however, is just really goals that I have in life for the next 12 months - and most of them superficial because lets face it, I'm pretty superficial.

So, Enough small talk - We are two days early but here are the grrouch's 


Numero Uno: Become Debt Free - The absolute most important goal that I have without a doubt is paying off all of my debt (excepting the house).  I have been working at this goal for the last couple of years and now it is within striking distance and I am getting tired of saying that this is a goal and just want it to be done.  Going into 2012 I have approximately $5,400 left to pay off before I can scream at the top of my lungs that I am debt free and start living a life without shackles.  This will be a huge burden lifted once it actually happens.

Number Two: Grow a really radical handle-bar mustache

Number Three: Beat 24 Video games - No, not beat a video game based on the TV show 24, it's beat 24 different video games.  In 2011 I have beat 19 video games and that is with taking a lot of time off during some trying times.  I believe that I can average 2 video games per month beaten.  The nice thing about this goal is that it forces me to diversify my entertainment habits - this gives me something to do other than obsessing over poker 24 hours a day and wanting to do nothing but.  You have to have variety in your life and I plan on it.

Number (Fantastic) Four: Play More Poker - I was planning on putting this much further down the list but dammit I already mentioned it in #3.  So lets address the big pink dead elephant in the room shall we.  2011 sucked giant monkey balls.  2011 was the 1st year where I ever was a loser over the course of the year and I absolutely hate it.  It's depressing to look back and see the crap that I went through at the poker table session after session.  I need to get back to my winning ways, I need poker to provide a nice steady second income for me so that I can escalate #1 which is paying off my debt.   See, everything ties together in senior grrouchie's blog of bullshit.

Number Five - Five - Five Dollar Footlong - How is footlong not a word?  Where was I going with this one again, totally had an idea until that stupid Subway commercial entered my brain.   Oh yes, I got it.  read more. December 2011 was a good month for me to get back into the spirit of reading.  It's something that I really do enjoy but I just randomly forget all about it and end up taking a decade off from doing it.  However 2012 is going to be different because I got me a new fancy dancy Kindle Fire to fuel my reading.  I'm also back in touch with an old friend who happens to read all the bloody time and is a fledgling editor for some up and coming novelists.  As far as volume of reading I'm going to take it light and give myself a goal of 18 books in 2012.  That's 1.5 books every month which should not be hard to do at all.  A lotta books don't have a lotta words/pages in them and you can easily fly through them in just a few days if the story and writing are any good.  This also ties into my diversifying my entertainment.

Number 6: Blog more - I just am going to pretend that you all are Audrey II and the only way to satiate your outrageous appetite is by blogging more often. Bonus points to those that get this reference off the top of your head with no help from any sources what-so-ever.  In the past I have had several failed attempts at blogging in one form or another because I just get all moody and shit and don't want to tell the world of 7 readers what is going through my head.  However, this time feels different because I am enjoying the interaction and I genuinely am enjoying it.  At this stage of my life I also have a little bit more to write about than I did when I was younger.

Number 7: Write a short story - This one really could have been tied into the previous mention of blogging more.  It could have simply been "write more" and any numerous avenues of writing could have been included, but I broke it off because longer lists look more impressive.  Truth be told I love to entertain, even if the only person I am entertaining is myself.  I'd like to see if I am capable of creating a work of fiction that lasts more than just a few pages and that can hold the interest of others as well.  I honestly think that I will fail at this though and all of my attempts will be horrible and end up in deleted files never to be seen again.

Number 8: Stop Going Bald - listen, I know that I really don't have control over this one, but this is my list so let me at least pretend that someday I'll be able to have the same illustrious flowing beautiful hair that I did when I was in my teens and early twenties before genetics decided to kick in full gear and stop "receding" and just start "balding" instead.  I just want to be a long haired hippy, why can't I just have this one thing?  WHY?

Number 9: Number 9: number 9; number 9: 

Number 10: Keep track of my finances better - I'd like to be able to see where my money is going. I'm a trained accountant for crying out loud, you'd think that I'd be better at tracking my own finances but NoOOoOoooOo.  I don't appear to give a hoot (don't pollute) about them at all.  I'd like that to change and as such I have set up a spreadsheet to aid me over the course of the year.  I plan on tracking my spending in such categories as Video Games, Blu-Rays, Music, Nights out on the town, strippers tipped, lines of coke snorted off of a strippers tit, Prostitute's paid (Separate categories for street walkers, escorts and brothels) and other miscellaneous categories.

And all the while I am going to be using this blog as a way to report the details back to each and everyone of you who actually decide to read along.  2012 is going to be the best year of my life and I actually hope that I get to interact with you all more and hopefully get to meet some of my new found internet friends when the time arises.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On Writing

Here's the thing - this whole blogging experiment which I have gone through several times and then quit when I got bored of it is more to get me to write more than to actually interact with people.
Do not get me wrong, it tickles my fancy to no end when I see that someone has actually taken the time out of their day to not only stop by and read what I have to say, but to comment on it in some way as well.
I've always fancied myself as being the creative type in some manner, but I have never been able to harness the power so to speak.  I generally have ideas floating around in my head but I always feel that it comes off horrible when I try to put it to paper.
I used to write a lot in high-school, short stories and what not. Then college I found myself taking some creative writing courses just so that I could write more.  I enjoyed them a lot but when they were done so was I.

This past Xmas (I know, it was so long ago) I found myself gifted with a Kindle Fire which has really started putting me back into the reading mood.  I have gone through 2 novels by C.S. Splitter, a collection of short stories by S.J. Moyer and A short story by Stephen King and am now working my way through The Dark Tower Part 7.

The more I read the more I have this desire to write which explains the frequency of which I update this little corner of my internet universe. However, what I would really like to do is get to the point where I can take the demons in my head and craft them into honest-to-goodness short stories to share with my friends (and potentially have them not suck).

So, I think that I'm going to have to start looking for books on the craft of writing.  I'd like to read about how others approach the idea of a story.  It has to start somewhere (that is after your original idea).  How do people do it though?  Do you map out your ideas in a time line?  Do you make a flow chart of different characters and idea's and plot devices and then just somehow connect them all?  Do you just sit down and type and see what comes out and then figure out a way to work it all together after the fact?

If anyone has any advice or can point me to something that they think would be a good read on the subject I'd love to hear about it.

Now, back to The Dark Tower so that Very Josie and Tricia Kristufek don't continue to brow beat me about not having finished it.  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To pay or not to pay

Over yonder on Very Josie's Blog she posed a question that I thought was going to be quick and easy but I found out I wanted to write more about.
It's a simple question.  You make some purchases from a store and then when you get home and go over your receipt you notice that they forgot to charge you for something.  What do you do?  Score one for the good guys? Go back and pay?

Everyone is out for themselves and we are all being ripped off by outrageous prices anyways.  It was not my mistake, I didn't hide the item.  They failed to ring it up, I'll accept it as a discount on my purchase.
This is the way I want to react.  However, it's not that simple in my mind any longer.

When I was young.  Shit yeah, I'll take advantage of anything thrown my way. I'll even create an advantage if possible.  I was young, dumb and none of it was my problem.

One big example of this was a local (non-chain) comic shop that I used to frequent when I lived in Punxsutawney.  It was run but a couple of guys who I wasn't a big fan of but I really didn't hold anything against them.  They sold stuff that I really liked and made it so that I didn't have to go to a bigger city in order to buy it.  Beavis and Butt-Head comics, collectible cards and the like.
At the time I was into collecting Ren and Stimpy cards and so I went through a lot of the loose cards that they had figuring out which cards I needed to complete my set and which cards I just wanted doubles of because they were cool.  After about 30 minutes or so I came up to the register with about 60 cards fully intending on purchasing them.
The clerk (one of the owners) went through the cards and looked up the values for them  and after a few minutes he came back to me with a price and I said "sounds good to me man."
Next thing you know his register popped open and he handed me the money that he quoted me and put the cards under his register.
My teenage brain gave myself a series of hi-fives because I just pulled off the ultimate heist.  I just sold this guys own cards back to himself and got to leave the store with money - which I would just come back and buy the cards I wanted on another day anyways.

A few years later in life in the same town they opened up a Sheetz Gas Station - and if you have never been to one you are missing out.  They are the greatest place in the world and they serve some really damned good food.  I am particularly fond of the chilly cheese dogs that they used to sell pretty damned cheap.  In fact, I almost lived off of them for a summer and for FREE.  Their mistake, my gain.

What had happened was, I would order my food and then stand around with my ticket waiting for them to call my number.  When they did I would go up to them with my cash in hand and my ticket, they would hand me my food and then turn around and walk away.  I was not one to complain so I left with my food happy as a hooker getting a tip.
My mistake was that I was evidently was supposed to go pay for my food in between the ordering and the collecting process.  Their mistake was to assume that I knew that.  I did not and thus I got a lot of free food.  :)

However, I have now worked in retail for the past decade and I understand how every lost/broke/stolen/missing item affects the whole ecosystem.  I have worked in big box retail where small disappearances don't mean a whole lot but they do add up over time.  I have worked in small chain's as well where every penny counts.
When I get older one of my goals in life is to open up a small retail store that caters to people like me and with that in mind I really don't want people ripping me off in any way what-so-ever.

So, back to my original thought process way at the top of this page, If I were in a situation where I got home with "extra" product that I had not paid for I would rectify the situation.
I would either go back to the store to pay for the item or I would call up their support line and let them know what happened and then ask them how they would like me to pay for the item.  I'd offer over the phone via bank card.
I feel that is the right thing to do for myself and hope that I receive a lot of good karma for it in the future.

This is really the way my parents raised me and it is how I shall carry on.

One last story to the last point that I just made.
My parents were eating at a local restaurant (big chain) and after their meal they were enjoying a few cups of coffee before leaving.
Someone ended up calling a bomb threat into the place and so the management team went around to everyone and told them all that they would have to leave at this very moment because a situation had come up.
So my mom tells me that the next day she pulled out the bill (they had already received it and just had not paid yet) and wrote the check out, with tip, and sent it into the place with a note explaining that it was not paid for because the place had to be evacuated.
I made fun of her to no end for this at the time telling her she should have taken her free lunch.

Now, I look back on that situation and hope that if I am ever confronted with something similar I will make the same decision that she did.

I know this was a lot to read so I thank anyone who actually made it the whole way through and hope that it all made some sort of sense because I cannot be bothered to go back and proof read.

:)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mile 81

When I first picked up Mile 81 from the Kindle store I knew it was going to be short being that it was listed as a Kindle Single.  I expected it and yet I was still a bit disappointed with it.

Upon completing the book my wish is that it would have been an extra 20-40 pages longer so that I could get more of a feel for it.

The mystery car, evil entity, whatever it truly was could have been fleshed out more.  Has it done this before? Will it do it again?  Where did it come from and where did it vanish to?  There could be so much more there and who knows, maybe in the future there will be.  I would definitely like to read more about it.

Also, I would have liked if the ending was a bit more drawn out.  It was just sort of "Well, I have nothing else so let me try this" and blammo - it works.
I would have preferred if there was a lead up to how the car was dispatched.  Maybe some sort of happening to give the hero an AH-HA moment before he took care of business.

Either way, much like most everything else Stephen King that I have read I did enjoy it, I just feel that he has a lot of other short stories that are much better than this effort.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

So December is basically over and I say that because the 25th ends Gift Giving Season.
Today is recovery day and more importantly Eat Left Overs Day.  Oh how I love ELOD.

In fact, in the microwave right now I have, re-heating just for me, some extra turkey-mashed potatoes-stuffing-corn-and-gravy all heaped onto a big pile and ready to be stirred and devoured. As luck (and a set schedule at work) would have it I also have off today which means that I can be lazy, eat left overs and play some video games in peace.  I've been thinking about 2012 a lot and I've got a bunch of stuff on my mind.
Most of it is just rehashes of things I obsess with on a daily basis - debt, poker, video games and the ilk.

I've got a few people coming into town this next year to visit me (that's what I say at least). In reality, they are coming into town because Las Vegas is a great tourist destination with tons of places and ways to gamble and a ton of entertainment in the form of gambling (duh) and shows. 
A few of these friends have even informed me that they will be in town during the course of the year and are willing to take a few moments out of their fun having to catch up with me as well - and that is pretty cool.

My plans today involve playing Star Wars The Force Unleashed 2 because I heard it's a pretty short game and that will allow me to hit my goal of beating 20 games during 2011.
I am also planning on working on my Budget Spreadsheet today at least for January.  I'm getting anxious to have my debt gone now that I actually see it as an attainable goal.  I'm hoping that once it is done I can somehow find a way to integrate it into this whole blog thing for everyone to see (I really don't want to have to go with screen-caps but will if necessary).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Xmas

Today is Xmas and it's about to wind down for me.
Last night I went out for some fun during the holidays and didn't get home until 5 am and didn't get to sleep until 5:30 (just so that I could have been up for a full 24 hours - I'm lame).
Then 7:30 rolls around and I've got this ungodly bright light thing coming through my windows and of course Monster has to go out to fertilize the lawn which means that I got a whole 2 hours worth of sleep.

Being that it is Xmas and that I suffer from seasonal depression (or seasonal affective disorder as it's also referred to) I want to say that I actually enjoyed today for the most part.  Normally I just stay in my place and ignore everything from the outside world and wishing for the holidays to be over.  However, today (and yesterday) I got to spend the holidays with my parents which made it all worth while.
I got some great gifts that I'll get a lot of use out of and at some point maybe I'll add some pictures.

My eye lids are getting very heavy and as much as I want to go out and treat Tony BigCharles to a Xmas meal I am just completely unable to.  However, I will make it up to him and do it over the New Years holiday as I have a number of days off and I know where he will be hanging out.

I hope all of you had a great Xmas and will have a great New Years.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Xmas

I hope that all of those who visit my small piece of the internet have a very enjoyable holiday season no matter what it is you might be doing.
Sitting at home alone with your pets or celebrating with your family.
Playing poker on the strip or paying strippers with crisp new ones.

For the 1st time in 6 years I will be spending this Xmas with my parents and I can't think of anything better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Morality in Video Games

I am going to come out and admit that when I play video games I play strictly to my own personality.
I try to envision myself into every main character and I make choices for them much like I would in real life.
I have done this in every form of gaming that I have done over the course of my whole live, perfectly exemplified by my characters in all of my Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

The reason why I bring all of this up is because earlier today I had a conversation with one of my friends about morality choices in video games.  We were talking about how we are playing our Skyrim characters and how we plan on playing the next one.

Truth be told, my current character is a female mage who I had planned to have a huge chip on her shoulder. She was going to be a take no prisoners, kick your ass and loot your corpse later type of person.  Don't F'n tell me what You want me to do - present it in a fashion that leads me to believe there is something in it for me or go fly a kite.  Yes, she was going to be a bad-ass.
But, then reality kicked in.  I saved a prisoner for no reason other than he was a prisoner.
I killed some bad guys because they were bad and I saved some good guys because they were good.
I even took on a quest to help some little old lady because she was nice and it was the right thing to do.
Don't get me wrong, I still caused some mischief.  I stole a bunch of stuff because I thought it would look better in my house and I try to give sarcastic responses whenever the option is given to me.
In essence, I went right back to what I always do, I played (not with) myself.

So, as we were talking about this I think I came to the conclusion that morality choices in video games suck because there isn't enough gray area covered.  You are either the extremely evil dark lord of the universe or you are a goody little to-shoes pussy pansy saint who feeds the homeless and adopts stray cats in his spare time.

Here is one typical encounter to help shape your morality in a video game.
I will type it up in the style of "choose your own adventure."

You happen upon an elderly lady with a walker standing near a tree looking upwards.  She is trembling as she begs kitty to come down before she gets hurt.
What do you do

A) Crawl up into the tree with some treats and catnip that you just happen to keep in your bag of holding in order to entice the kitty down and out of the tree, avoiding danger and probably enduring yourself to the old lady so much that she puts you in her will (Turn to page 54).

B) Cast paralysis on the old lady and the kitty so neither of them can move.  Light the tree on fire so that the old lady now has to watch her prescious kitty burn alive, screaming for help.  Then Kick the old lady's walker out from her hands so that she falls down and breaks a hip.  Sever both of her legs and arms until she is just a torso with a head - in extreme pain.  Take her back to her own house and bury her in the back yard so that only her saggy tits and head are sticking out of the ground.  Cover her in the Cat-Nip that you carry in your bag of holding and dump milk and soft cat food from the can all over her face and old lady titties.  Open the door and let her other 300 cats out of the house so that they can slowly devour their owner over the course of the next week or two (Turn to page 666).

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Reluctant and The Willing

Over the course of my numerous years it's not often that I actually sit down with a good book or two.
I'd much rather spend my time doing something that is much more interactive (and not in a choose-your-own-adventure type of interactive) like playing poker, strategy games (includes the like of Risk and Strat-O-Matic Football) watching movies or playing video games (which I really consider to be a hybrid between movies and novels just with fancier graphics).

I do have a collection of books that I am forced to lug around with me and I think I have read most of them, but the amount of books I have read in my lifetime is probably dwarfed by what an avid reader will go through in a year.

Mostly I stick to the horror genre and more specifically Stephen King as his stories always seem to draw me in and keep me interested.  My other genre of writing is autobiographies that lend themselves to the more humorous side of life and wrestling books! 

There was a time when I used to read more often and it is something I am trying to get back to doing.  Over the course of 2012 it is my goal to read at least one book per month.

With that being said, I wanted to talk about two books that i read this month which I really enjoyed a lot.
The author is C.S. Splitter who is an independently published author with a great knack for making characters believable and likable and who also interjects just the right amount of humor during dialog.

In his first book The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles) C.S. Splitter creates a lovable cast of misfits with every day real problems that you find yourself caring about.  The main character Tom Crayder is your every day average guy with a wife, a job that he struggles at and an expensive hobby who just wants to keep his head above water and enjoy his life.  The people that he interacts with are also real people who you find yourself interested in and eventually caring for.
The Reluctant does a great job of setting up the series and introducing all the main players. It is a quick read and highly enjoyable.  This is the type of story that you read and enjoy because you feel like you can really relate to the characters and their lives.

The second book, The Willing (Crayder Chronicles), grabs you early and doesn't let you go. 
It is a faster paced, more action orientated book that makes you want to keep flipping through the pages to see what happens next.  
When I 1st sat down with The Willing my plan was to read a chapter or two and slowly finish it up over the course of the next week or so.  However, that plan was ruined when I realized that it was 2 a.m. and I had go through about half the book in one sitting.  I swear the only reason I didn't finish the book was because my eyes were refusing to stay open.

So, there really wasn't a whole lot of review in any of what I said - it's just more of a recommendation.
I honestly think that these are two really good books - plus if you go with the kindle versions they are cheap. Buy them and give them a chance.  Even if there is something wrong with you and you don't enjoy reading The Reluctant you only spent 99 cents.  You spend more than that on a cup of Coffee. You spend more than that on most single songs on iTunes.  Hell, even the "value menu" at most fast food joints are more expensive than 99 cents any more.  I really don't see how you can go wrong.

As for the Review.
Tom Crayder is a typical guy who loves his wife and wrestles with day to day decisions as his business fails, his eye wonders and his plane keeps him in debt.
He meets up with guy, Jake, who operates slightly below the law and ends up running errands for him basically to continue to make timely payments on his airplane.
During his travels he runs into a small town Farmer with a timid dog and an intimidating shotgun, a small town police officer with a sharp tongue and a large man named Tiny who wants nothing to do with the police.
Half way through The Reluctant he winds up face to face with an organization who is offering to make his financial troubles disappear in exchange for him helping to take care of bad guys that the police cannot touch.
Throughout both of the novels the thing that really keeps you turning the page is the dialogue.
The conversations in these two books are interlaced with humor and actually read like real conversations.
There are awkward parts and there are parts that give you an actual out-loud chuckle, but through it all it feels real and not forced and that is why you find yourself caring for the characters.
Even through their flaws they feel like people you know.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Credit Card Down

Just a quickie, which is how I usually like it.

Today I gathered up all my scratch and paid off another credit card.

Close to a $700 payment which pretty much drained my bank account dry, but getting out of debt is more important than having money in my account right now.

This was one was my Lowes card that I had to use when I had to replace the water heater in the house that i'm currently paying for.  Emergencies suck and that is why everyone should have an emergency fund, myself included.

One bill down and just a few more to go.
I will be out of debt before 2012 ends and that is all that matters currently.

High Five!

My Typical Evening

Starts out with both of us playing with my Wii.
A little later I switch on some Oral Roberts so that
She'll turn on some Talking Heads.


I know there is more to this, but I don't want to put too much time into it right now :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gypsies

I'm fairly certain that sometime within the past week I have done a horrible grievance to a gypsy and her family.

Let me explain.

Saturday night a couple of friends pay me a visit and insist that they would like my company for the rest of the evening, I think it sounds a little fishy but I play along and join them in their misadventure.
During this evening I end up at a friends house while watching a movie I have never heard of and drinking Honey Jack (Jack Daniels with a splash of honey).
Mistake number one - I never drink my alcohols straight, I'm a mix-it-with-coke kinda guy.  However, there was nothing to mix it with so I went with Ice.
Mistake number two - I drank 3+ glasses of this tasty new beverage :)

Now, I am going to admit that I could not taste the honey with the first glass.  It tasted like regular old Jack to me and it took me a little while to down it.
And my 2nd admission is that I could not really taste the whiskey with the 2nd and 3rd glasses (and the half glass that I finished for someone else) but I could really feel it.

My guess is that sometime after glass #3.5 and making it home around 4am is when I had the encounter with the mysterious gypsy.
It's pure speculation but I'm going to guess that I made a late night stop at the local gas station for some Energy Drinks to help me recover in the morning and upon exiting the store a gypsy beggar happened to be outside asking me if I could spare any change for her starving child at home.
I probably made a proposal for an exchange of services in which she would first have to remove her false teeth, upon which point she started yelling at me in a foreign language.
That foreign language ended up being a gypsy curse which was supposed to translate to Thinner, however because it was so late and she was quite tired she mispronounced a few words and the curse actually ended up being the worst headache that I have experienced this year (I would have much preferred the other because I have read that book and could use the weight loss).

So, here I sit, going on 48 hours later my head is throbbing and I'm dumb enough to be looking at a computer screen and watching the Seahawks play the Rams (you can debate which of those two is more stupider).
Thinking about drilling a hole in my head to let out the bad spirits - it's either that or apologize to the gypsy lady and everyone who knows me knows that I don't do well with apologies.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Change of Fortunes

Last night was one of those Poker nights that started off like everything was going to go wrong but through patience and some good old fashioned luck everything turned around.

In my 1st two hours I had zero pocket pairs but I had AK 5 times and I lost every single time with them.
I also had KJs where I flopped the 2nd nut flush draw and I made a large raise against the PFR and ended up getting some other guy all in who of course had AXs for the win.
A re-buy later I was looking for a change of luck.

I limped KK UTG because there was a lot of raising and re-raising at the table, I was hoping to get lucky and catch one of those times but instead there were 3 limper's to the flop.
AQx and my bet of $10 took it down.

A few hands later I picked up AA in the Small blind and I got to pull my chips back because it folded around and I got the privilege of chopping with the BB.

Finally, around 2.5 hours in my luck decided to take a change for the better.
In a limped pot I have 86s and the flop comes out 666, end up making $60 off of that hand.
A little bit later it folds around to the button who makes a $8 raise and I mistake it for weakness so I make it $28 in the big blind with 72spades.  The button pushes all in which is only an additional $26 and I'm pretty much forced to call.  He asks me if I have a pair and I tell him a pretty big one as I turn over The Hammer!
He flips up QQ and is not happy to see a 72x flop.
No Q and the board doesn't pair and my monster hand pulls in the pot.

A little bit later against the same guy I pull the same type of move on a Flop of K64 and I have 42.
I get the same guy all in and he tells me that he needs either a 6 or a 7 and I show him my bottom pair so he looks a bit happy until the other 4 shows up on the river and I once again take all his chips after getting my money in behind.

Now to the most important two hands of my night.
There is a raise to $12 in early position and a few callers.  It gets to me and I have AQclubs so I throw my money in the pot as well. 5 to the flop for $60.

Flop comes out ATJ with 1 club, a pretty dangerous board as the guy who raised could have made that raise with AK or KQ from his position.
However, he checks the flop as does everyone else.  I decide that I'm not much interested in having to suffer a check raise and I'd prefer to keep this pot as small as possible if I am going to make it to show down, I check.
The turn is the 4 of clubs and now the PFR wakes up a little bit and bets out $25, folds to me and now I have Top pair, A gut shot and the nut flush draw - I also feel pretty good about just calling here - calling $25 into a $85 pot.

River is a 9 (no club) and the PFR decides to bet out $75 and now I have a decision to make.
With him not leading out on the flop I have a really hard time putting him on KQ.
AK is still well within his range as is another AQ or AJ/AT.
However also in his range is hands like QJ or KJs, etc.
With the way he took interest and threw out a small bet on the turn a flush draw was also a huge possibility with a suited connector like 97s etc.  
After thinking for about 2 minutes I decide that he had a busted flush/straight draw and NOT two pair or better but also a good shot at AK, I eventually decide to just call.
He Flips up KT of clubs for the busted straight and flush draws and a lower pair than mine, I flip up AQ clubs and rake in a good sized pot.

After that hand we took turns raising each other out of a couple of pots and then this one comes up.

A few limper's including myself and the previous villain who was on the button when one of the blinds decides to raise it up to $12.  There are 2 callers and then I call because I assume the button is going to come along with whatever 2 cards he has and I was right.

Flop comes out Q69 with 2 diamonds and in my head I yell BINGO!!
Pre-Flop Raiser makes it $25 to go so I sweeten it up and bump it to $55 total when the button decides to make it $155 to go.
I still have $250 behind and he has me more than covered.  The original raiser decides to get out of our way and I have another decision to make.
He limped on the button so his range is huge at this point.
AQ and KQ possibly
78 diamonds obviously and any other 78 for open ender, AX diamonds, 69s or Q6s for a smaller 2 pair as well.
QQ is not in his range because I think he raises that every single time in his position.
66 and 99 as well, but I have a Q and a 9 so more leaning towards 66 if he had a pair for a set.
After thinking about it for a minute or two I decided that his range was too wide to just give the pot to him so I pushed all in and he immediately called showing his 66 for flopped bottom set.
The turn blanks out and the river drops a black 9 on the table and I flip up my hand for the rivered bigger boat.
Villain was pretty PO'd at this point and racked up his remaining grand of chips and called it a night.

So, while I have had a string of pretty bad luck, last night found me in the opposite situation by getting all my chips in bad but coming out on top due to some good luck.
Hate to win that way but I'll take every victory that I can get!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Platinum

It's the end of the year.
It's crunch time.
This is the point where you can have a full year of regret lying ahead of you or you can make the final push, hit your goal and smile about it.
No, I'm not talking about the holiday of receiving (I've stopped believe that it's about giving years ago because if that were to be true then people wouldn't be disappointed in their gifts).

For me, it's December and it's time to look back over the course of the year and see if I have maintained my Platinum status at Caesars Entertainment.

To be honest, without cheating and looking at the web page, I could not tell you more than 4 benefits to having a Platinum card over the others.
The only one that really matters to me is this one: When I get hungry I get to skip the big lines at all Caesars properties.
It might not be much, but when I'm hungry and taking a visiting friend or three to one of the restaurants or buffet's it's really a pretty big convenience to skip the line of 40 people and get into my own special line that maybe consists of 5 people.

However, I like having a slightly upgraded status and a card that shows it's own special color and here I sit mid December needing only about 5 hours of poker in order to make sure that I am qualified for Platinum for another year.

While I had no plans earlier today it does appear as though I'm going to head down to one of my favorite gambling spots and find a seat at a hopefully soft table and enjoy myself for at least 5 hours.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Compulsive

As ridiculous as this sounds, every time I visit my own page (whether to post something or to check a comment out that someone else left) I compulsively "feed" my electronic fish.

I see the five of them just kinda floating around and looking at me and as soon as I make that mouse click to "feed" them they get all happy and their little fishy tails wiggle around.

Yeah - I really do.

Part Time Job

The sheer amount of difficulty that I am having being able to actually land a part time job is staggering right now.

And, before you read into that too much do note that I have a full time job but I'm just looking for some extra income to help pay my bills off within a reasonable time frame.

I have had a few places where I didn't get a call back, but more annoying I have had several places call me back and go through phase 1 of the interview process only to tell me that they won't bring me on because I can't offer them open availability (a grocery store) or because I can't give them full access to my days on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and a 4th day during the week (electronics store).

The funny part is that even after reading through my application where my situation (full time employment) is laid out in front of them they'll still call me just to tell me that I can't give them what they need (Kinda like a relationship right there).

So I finally thought I found one that was promising and they were perfectly willing to hire me but in order to start work for them part time I had to offer up 5 weeks of Full-Time availability for training.
Oh well, another one down and time for round 4 of applications.

I doubt it will get much easier from here because the holiday season is almost done which means that places will be getting rid of more people (holiday help) than they will be bringing on.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

2012 A Look Ahead - Financials

Probably the most important aspect of this series is my Financial situation and as such you think I'd actually deal with it first, but that's not how I roll yo!

The past couple of years I have made really good strides to pay off my debt and get myself into a position where I'll have an advantage over almost every other person in the world. It is going to be one exciting time and I know that I really need to give myself the final push and make it happen.

My debt situation right now looks like this:
Lowe's CC (emergency water heater replacement): $629
Dental Bill (oh, I still need more work): $2100
School Loan (Blah, college haunts me): $3350
Last Credit Card (no wit here): $2500

So, we'll do some rounding, carry a couple of ones and take into account payments that will be made in the month of December and just say that I'm starting the year with approx $8,000 worth of debt.
From where I was just a few years back this is a very manageable amount and I will have it all gone by the end of the year (however, I wish to have it gone long before then).
I have cut back on a lot of my "fun" money and will focus even more to make sure that I can scream "I"M DEBT FREE" before 2012 ends.

The only debt that may or may not exist for me by the time the year ends will be my house.

So, in order to try to eliminate my debt quicker I have been searching for 2nd (part time) job.
And, in this economy it appears that because so many people are trying to get so few jobs the employers get to be a lot more strict.  It amazes me how hard it has been for me to get a 2nd job.  I have gotten a few calls for interviews but I keep getting told that they won't hire me unless I have open availability (or they want me to give them Friday, Saturday, Sunday and another day during the week 100% open) and that has been what is stopping me.  Working a full time retail job makes it difficult to give another place that kind of availability for just a part time extra throw away job.

Either way, I will keep looking and hopefully find something for a few hours a week and a few extra bucks in my pocket.

My goal (as unrealistic as it may be) is to have my debt paid off before the World Series of Poker hits town again.  I am hoping to have enough dedication to give monthly updates as to where I stand and how far away I am.

Monday, December 05, 2011

2012 A Look Ahead - Xbox 360 Gaming

If you haven't read part one of my series please feel free to go back and do that here.
It deals with the PS3 and the games that I'd like to beat/complete.

So part two naturally deals with the Xbox 360, as system that I saw myself playing less last year than in previous years.
In a previous post I also brought up the fact that I really don't see myself renewing my Xbox Live Gold subscription, at least not for the yearly rate.  As I go through my mental list of 360 games that I want to beat I'll see if my decision is right on or if it's a decision that I wasn't really thinking through.

So, without further ado:

Skyrim - I know that I won't be finishing this game by the end of December and as such it's my goal to finish it off next year sometime.  Fallout 3 took me 100 hours to get through the game sans DLC and I expect that this one is going to be even longer than that with all of the side quests that I keep running into.  I'm currently over 30 hours and barely scratched the main quest and haven't even completed any of the Guilds yet.

Fallout 3 - I want to get back to this game and beat the 5 DLC's that released for it. I expect to probably put about 30 hours into them and get my 1500/1500 (or whatever it is).

Fallout New Vegas - I don't have a real answer why I didn't bother to even put this game in my system and start it up over the course of this previous year with how much I loved 3. I thought maybe it was because after 100 hours I was a bit burnt out on this type of game but with how much I can't stop playing Skyrim I guess that's not an excuse.

Oblivion - Listen, I realize that this list is kinda stupid and stemming from the fact that Bethesda makes awesome RPG's, but I never got around to this game and I'm realizing that I have really really missed out by skipping it.  I don't know what the real chances of me even getting to this one are because I don't get to game nearly as much as I did when I was younger, but this is more a guide (wish) list than a "I'm going to do it no matter what" list.

Gears of War 3 - This game is currently on the list but I might take a few days to run through it before December ends so that I can reach my 2011 goal.
Star Wars TFU2 - Picked up the CE cheap and this is another game that I might run through to end December because it's short and should be pretty fun.  These are the only two games that will hold that distinction though.

Tales of Vesperia - yet another game that has been sitting in my backlog for far too long.  However, the biggest issue with this game is that I'll actually have to buy a 2nd copy of the game to play it since my other copy is a sealed Collectors Edition and I have a hard time cutting the shrink wrap with the value that it holds haha.

Mass Effect - I need to give this game a 2nd chance.  I played about 3-4 hours of it earlier in the year but I really just wasn't in the mood to play it at that time I guess.  So, I'll give it another shot since this series is supposedly one of the best ever.  We will see.

Dead Rising 2 - a nice fun zombie killing romp.
Alan Wake - thinking about getting my 1000/1000 - Just have to beat it on Nightmare and do some collecting.
Red Dead Redemption - Loved the few hours I already put into the game after hating GTA IV so much, so I definitely want to go back to it and actually finish it.

Much like the PS3, a 10 game list (I think) and definitely full of quality games.  However, the thing that I notice is that the 360 game list has a lot more hours worth of gaming as it's very RPG focused while the PS3 has more action games.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

2012 A Look Ahead - PS3 Gaming

2011 has been great year of video gaming for me as I played and finished more games than I have in a number of years.

At the beginning of the year I set out a goal of beating 20 different games and a side goal of beating one game for every system that I own.
Right now, at the beginning of December, I sit with 18 games beaten and am pretty close to my goal.
However, Skyrim stands in the way of me completing the goal as I won't beat Skyrim before the end of the month and I have no desire to play any other games.  So, 18/20 isn't too bad for me really.
As for beating a game on every system that I own I will say that I at least came close for current gen consoles.  I Have beaten games on the 360, PS3, DS and PSP (missing the poor Wii).

So, with a great year of gaming behind me I am looking forward to another great year.
Last year I tried to come up with a list of games that I really wanted to beat and it did help to keep me on track so that if I didn't feel like playing something I had a list to turn to and just grabbed something quick and dirty out of it and this year I'll be taking a similar approach.

Here is a list of games that I want to beat or finish/complete for 2012.

Heavy Rain - My first play through on this was without guides and just doing what I felt like when it came up and I got a pretty crappy ending.  So, I want to go back to this game to get a better ending and clean up the Trophies to get my Platinum.
Ico - Classic game that I never got around to playing on the PS2
Shadow of the Colossus - Another classic that I just never got around to playing
Prince of Persia Trilogy - Got the 3 of these games pretty cheap off of PSN and never played them.
Demons Souls - I need to give this game a real shot or just chalk it up to the fact that I don't have the patience and tolerance to be able to play this type of game as I get older.
Dante's Inferno - I would like to beat this game one more time and Earn my Platinum.
God of War Ghost of Sparta - I want the Plat for every GoW game, this should be fairly easy once I buy the game.
Batman Arkham City - The first game was awesome, from what I have seen of this game awesome is just the beginning.
Uncharted 3 - For some reason i put off playing Uncharted 2 until this year and will not make the same mistake by putting off the 3rd part for 2 years.
Dead Space 2 - Loved the 1st one but for some reason have not gotten around to the 2nd
Dragon Age 2 - Loved the 1st but something keeps stopping me from playing this.  I think it might be the change in combat (and I guess I'm one of the few who liked the 1st combat) and the fact that I don't really ever get into Action RPG games.
Final Fantasy 13 - I just have to give it a shot. I picked it up cheaply and I need to put it in and see what happens.
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure - I know that this is a game geared towards kids but man do I really really really want to like it.  I really hope this game is a smash success and that they use this as a launching point for similar games aimed at more mature audiences.  I would love to see a super hero game using this type of format, instead of having DLC where I pay money to download other characters give me action figures that I have to place on my Portal of Power instead.  F'ing Brilliant.

And, this list got a bit bigger than I was expecting so I am going to end it and just break down the games that I am interested in playing/beating by system instead of all in one.
So, obviously my lists will contain more games than my goal of 20, but my lists will give me some sort of guidance to keep going.

Xbox Live - You won't be missed

Before December ends my Xbox live membership will be expiring and I am undecided at this moment if I'll even bother renewing it right away.

As this year has moved on I actually use the Live portion of Xbox less and less.
My plan was from September on to play a lot of Gears of War Horde from the new game and that really has not happened.  Thus far I have played one session and haven't even put any time into the campaign (which I was hoping to Co-Op with some east coast friends).
And other than that pretty much all of my games are single player experiences which is how I like it.
So, by not renewing what am I really missing out on?  Not a whole lot that I can see.
At least not until Borderlands 2 comes out which I am pretty sure that I'll be playing just as much as the 1st.

My current Xbox gaming list shows me no need to give Microsoft more of my money for a service that I'm not really using currently.

Skyrim - and lets be honest with Skyrim, all of my gaming is offline for that anyway because of Microsofts horrible policy of having to have the latest patch on all of your games to play while online.  Skyrim is a single player game that has zero multi-player experience, yet I cannot stay online and chat with my friends because I refuse to download the latest patch?  Horrible. Also horrible that the latest patch broke some fundamentals of the game which is why I won't update.

Red Dead Redemption - I got a few hours into this game and really want to get back to it because it was pretty fun.  Once again a single player experience, I won't touch the multi-player.

Mass Effect - Single Player
Star Wars FU2 - Single Player
Gears of War 3 - the only game that I would even use Xbox Live for.  While I can run through the game single player to beat the campaign I want to run through the game with some friends instead.  So, maybe I'll get to this after I'm done beating Skyrim. I do have a couple of 1 month Xbox Live codes and I might just use one of those to go through and beat Gears instead of a whole year subscription.

The only thing that might be missed is the group chat feature while playing my single player games and admittedly I don't really use that feature nearly as much as I used to.  I also think it's BS that you have to have an Xbox Live Gold account to use the feature but it's their system and their rules.

And, truth be told, I've been using my PS3 a lot more this past year than I have been using any of my other gaming systems (oh, my poor unused Wii Wii).
I don't need to pay a yearly fee to stream my Netflix through my PS3, it plays all of my recent Movie and TV-Season purchases that are all on Blu-Ray and I can play online with my friends without giving Sony money month after month.


Friday, December 02, 2011

9 years

Milestones come and go and generally you don't think about them too much.
My 10 year High-School reunion happened a few years back (and I received my invitation to it 3 days before it happened).
If my college had 10 year reunions I believe it would have happened this past summer.
And, as of today, I have officially been working with the same company for 9 years.

Time keeps on ticking, day after day and you don't really think about it.
I constantly hear people say "man, where has the time gone" or "Wow, it's December already?"
And when someone walked into my office and said "Serge, really? 9 years? How in the hell have you done it?" I thought to myself:
"Self, that's a bloody long time."

So, to celebrate this not very momentus occasion I'm going to go home and get my grub on.
Then I'm taking my talents (or lack thereof) to at least one casino on the strip and pretend I'm a tourist again.

Luckily today is also the 2 week anniversary of when I last got paid, so my employer has been nice enough to put some more money in my bank account again.

Poker and craps baby.
And, if my luck runs hot - Strippers and Blow baby.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I won my dog in a game of craps!

I know this doesn't come up nearly as much as it used to when my parents were kids, but I can remember watching movies that showed the dangerous side of gambling where people could bet anything at all.
People would go to Vegas and come home with someone else's car because in the heat of the moment that person threw their keys onto the poker table to call a bet with.

Being out here in Vegas for about 5 years now I do realize that none of this ever happens in actual sanctioned casinos.  Sure, it is possible for you to lose just about everything, but it's no where near as easy as it's made out to be in the old movies.

So, while the title of my blog is technically correct, it's no where near as cool as I would like to make it out to be.
Mind you - I did not win him with the sweater - that was later added by an evil person who likes to play dress up Barbie with unwilling subjects.
But, that cute little guy above, Monster, is my fur-baby and the only reason he is in my life is because of a game of Craps.

Well, let me restate that as one of two reasons he is in my life.
As much as I love dogs and that excited look on their face when they haven't seen you for more than 20 seconds I would not have gotten one if it were not for the girl I was dating at the time.

But, now that he is in my life I cannot picture living without him.  It truly was the best game of craps that I had ever played and probably will ever play.

It was at Sam's Town for those of you familiar. They have this great set-up with a bet that I have not seen at any other casino ever, even ones owned by the same parenting company.
3 bets sit prominent at the center of the table.
All Small to the left, All Tall to the right and above it the All or Nothing.
You can place up to a $5 wager on any of them or all of them if you so choose and all you need is a hot roll to collect.
The All Small and All Tall pay out at $35 for $1 and the All or Nothing pays out at $175 for $1.

So, on that fateful night as the dice were passed to me I placed $2 on each of the numbers and I rolled for probably about 30 - 40 minutes or so hitting many numbers and many points.

I started my roll with somewhere between $100 and $200 and I walked away with $1175 give or take - a big portion of that from hitting the All or Nothing roll.
There is a lot of adrenaline that rolls through the body when you shoot the dice for an extended period of time, each role adding a little bit to your stack. But, nothing quite as exciting as needing one number for a big payout and finally nailing it - In my case it was Yo-Eleven.
Funny thing is that I hit it one other time as well when rolling but not for such a big payoff as I only had $1 on each number.

And, as a side note, in addition to Monster, my $1100 score was the reason I also bought my first Xbox 360.
We had gone out to look at renting a video game to play for the week and next thing you know I'm buying an Xbox, a 2nd controller, Madden, 99 Nights and Dragon Warriors 5 (I think).

Good times.  Now that I live further away from Sam's Town i'm kinda happy because it means that I don't spend so much time at their craps table pissing away money, but at the same time I really miss rolling the bones there.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Adventures in Skyrim - Am I a Thief?

The day began innocently enough as I made my way through a cave picking berries and looking for anything else that might be of use to me in the cold, harsh world outside. After I finished clearing the area out and was satisfied that nothing else of interest was left I decided to continue my journey onward.

As I left the cave I saw three fairly angry men making a ruckus and coming my way.
I immediately assumed that these fellows were angry because it was so bloody cold outside and because they were wearing steel armor all over their body.
You see, when subjected to the elements, metallic armor might not be the best to go with.  Metal attracts the elements and will magnify the effects.  So, it was only natural of me to assume that since it was very frigid outside today and that we were in the middle of a snow storm that these gentlemen were feeling the effects of the cold more than I was.

It was out of the kindness of my heart that I conjured up a heating spell and applied it to their armor in an attempt to help them take the chill off so that maybe we could have a nice conversation before I was on my way.
It's at this point I realized I don't quite have the amount of control I thought i did over how much I was heating their armor up and I accidentally set all 3 of them on fire until they passed out of lack of oxygen after their stopped screaming and stopped breathing.

I felt a little bad about what I had done so I decided to search their remains for any type of identification so that I could notify their loved ones of the accident that had just occurred.  It was then that I found a note stating that these guys were given money to rough me up and kill me if necessary in order to punish me for some sort of evil deed that I may or may not have actually done.

Here is the agreed upon amount. I
expect you to faithfully carry out my
request to teach a lesson to the thief
Kiarya. You need not kill her, but I
have no qualms about it if you deem it
necessary.

-- Gilfre

Obviously I am no Thief, I am a Mage.  I don't sneak around backstabbing people, I kill them with awesome spells and shouts that the common folk cannot begin to understand.  So, I see this as a misinterpretation or maybe this Gilfre just had the wrong name when she hired these men to track me down.  I don't know, but I can tell you that I don't take too kindly to my good reputation being ruined by a commoner.

Gilfre, I do not know who you are or even where you live for that matter but you and I are going to be having a conversation in the future about this little incident.  Sometimes my conversations are spoken through the fire and involve a bit of Shouting, but I'm sure you'll understand that you cannot soil my good name and expect no repercussions.

Adventures in Skyrim

This is a little late as I have wanted to write something about it now for a couple of weeks, but better late than never right?

So I broke down and bought The Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim because I know a lot of people who are going to be playing it and it would be nice to have people to talk to about the game while playing it.
Usually I am late to the game and pick things up when they are cheap and all of my friends have beaten the game, mastered the game and made it their bitch.  So, when I try talking to them about the game I either get too much information (which spoils some stuff), I get douche bag attitude (you are just playing that now, I beat that when it first came out loser) and with some I get good helpful information but I never get to "live" the experience with anyone.  So, knowing how much I loved Fallout 3 (100 hours and I still haven't touched the DLC yet) I figured that Skyrim would be a game I could easily get 100+ hours out of and therefor worth a day one purchase.

My only regret is that with getting it and not having played Oblivion yet that I might not be able to go back and play Oblivion because it would seem outdated compared to the newest release, so we will see how that goes whenever/if-ever I finally get to Oblivion.

Rough calculations put me approaching 30 hours into the game and I have not played nearly as often as I truly would want.  I have just recently hit level 17 and am running through the game with a Mage who is also specializing in one handed ax's (for when magic fails me) and crossbow's for hunting down elk and whatnot.
I am not cheesing the game in any way, I am not focusing really hard on getting any stats up high, I am just playing it as I see fit and running through the vast world that is Skyrim.  I am also loving every bloody minute of it.

My character is named Kiarya (I think that's how I spelled it) and is a throwback/reference to my old college days playing Dungeon's and Dragons with friends.  In fact, in pretty much every RPG that I play over the years post Behrend has me naming my characters (in the games that actually let you name characters) as a nod to those late night gaming sessions of yesteryear.
While the names that I give my video game characters might not 100% fit the person they are referencing, it still gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that will never be replaced.
Skyrim is no different.  I am already planing other play through's of the game using different types of characters and all of their names will come from the same place.
There will be a Rand (most likely my thief), there will probably be a Fallendelf (or Fal for short - who will probably specialize in healing and illusion spells), there will be a Zerg or Zorg who will be just a big brute of a Nord with low intelligence who wields big weapons and slaughters everything in his path provided someone else set him on that path. There might be others as well, but these are the ones that I'm thinking about currently.

I came in here to write a little story that occurred while playing and instead I went elsewhere.  So, as to not get too long winded I'll save that story for next time (which might actually have a completion to it instead of being open ended like it currently stands) and hope that some of you get enjoyment out of it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Poker Night

I have not had the opportunity to play much poker recently so I am happy to report that I went out last night and through extreme patience and I had a profitable evening.

I originally headed out to the IP as Alaskagal of Allvegaspoker.com was going to be starting her shift.  However, upon arriving to the parking garage, I was greeted by a gent who told me that they were only allowing people staying at the hotel to park in the garage and I would have to park over at Harrah's.

Being that I was feeling kind of chilly in the brisk air as it was I decided I was not parking at Harrah's and headed over to Bally's instead.

The session started up and down as I won a good sized hand with a set of Kings early on but lost it all back plus a little more when someone flopped a set of Queens on me.
In fact, I had a series of hands that took me from about $250 starting stack to about $60.
Being that I had only been out for about an hour and didn't want to head back home with my tail tucked between my legs this year I decided to just go into extreme short stack mode and grind it back up (or get involved in a coin flip situation and hope to come out on top ha!).

So, For about the next hour or so I sat with my stack between $50 and $70, playing very little (got no cards as well) and waiting for any opportunities to add any chips to my stack.

Finally, willing to gamble it up I got into a situation where I was willing to play a hand in a less than desireable way in order to try to get more chips.  I called a raise with QQ (instead of reraise/pushing) hoping to get a couple of others to come along so I could push any flop.  However fate smiled on me when a Q came on the flop and a local doubled me up.
Same Local gave me another buy-in a few hands later when I called a smallish bet on the flop and hit my gutshot on the turn which he never saw coming - Still think I would have got another $100 out of him if the board didn't pair on the river.

I went on a hot streak and added a lot of chips to my stack over the course of about an hour where I hit everything (2 gutshots, 2 flushes, a couple sets, etc).

By the end of the evening I finally had one guy join my table (not a local, but a guy who is in town a lot) who I recognized and left shortly afterwards as the game was dying down and only us nits had the chips.

I then went and lost $26 at the craps table when the non-local came over to talk to me for a few minutes since he sees me around a good amount.  I then headed home and took a 3 hour nap before getting up today to watch football - but I should have slept because it's a crappy game I care nothing about.

Turkey Day and Black Friday

Turkey day and Black Friday, American traditions.

The great news this year was that for the first time in 5 years I actually got to spend a holiday with my family and that is worth more than anything else.  I am happy to have them living on the same coast as myself again and I didn't realize how much I had missed it until I got it back.

That being said, just like old times Christmas to us is more of a "season" than a particular day.  We have never celebrated holidays like other folks for the most part.  I usually get at least one or most of my presents early and because I will never grow up I always get toys (the toys generally have changed to awesome electronic toys as the years have gone on however I do still get a traditional toy - this year I am expecting Skylanders Action Figures).

So, Christmas is getting ahead of myself, Turkey Day comes before it.
Oddly enough, this Turkey Day we actually ate turkey.  This is something that does happen once in a while but we have been known to go with something less traditional like Lamb or whatever instead of the normal mass slaughtered celebrated bird.  But the turkey was bloody delicious as were the rest of the normal decorations of corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cheese cake.  Oh, even the next day leftovers were to die for.

My #000000 Friday shopping was mostly done the night before and just a few items done the morning of before heading out to work, however it was 95% done online.  And lets be honest, online is so much better because I don't have to deal with hour long waits to get to the register, I don't have to fight soccer moms for the last Kinnect and hope I don't get pepper sprayed while trying to pick up my cheap electronic addictions.

I did pick up a few things that I really wanted pretty damn cheap (and maybe some of this will be overlapped from my last post, but I don't care) and stuff for others as well, even though that stuff will go unannounced for now.

I grabbed a copy of the Wii game Metroid: Other M for $4.99 and free shipping from Best Buy.
I grabbed Blu-Ray copies of The Crow and Gran Turino for $4.99 and free shipping from Amazon.com.
Of course my copy of The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition on Blu-Ray from Amazon.com which is actually being bought for me as a Xmas Gift.
Also I did snag my copy of Mad Men season 4 on blu-ray for $8.99 from Amazon.com.
And, At the last minute I grabbed the last two Harry Potter movies on Blu-Ray for $9.99 each (Amazon.com again).

On a related note, I am very interested in the idea of the new version of digital copies included with movies now a days - Ultra Violent or whatever.
I like the idea that they are not just a one use and done (hopefully) and stored on the mystical cloud so that you can start and army of digital movies to add to your collection.
This is going to be something that I'll hopefully be taking advantage of so that I can watch digital copies of great movies on my Kindle Fire without having to go through the hassle of ripping and converting the movies myself.

I have most of what I want to get for the old man bought for the holiday season however I'm still working on the old lady.  I just gotta find the right gift (you know, other than the ultimate gift of my love lol).

Black Friday was boring and as every other year involved me working and selling crap to people who somehow manage to not work on such a day.  I didn't sell anything impressive or that would actually make me any money, but I helped some people find things that they want and let them leave with a smile on their faces which is what is important.

Life is good.
Take care and enjoy your family this holiday season - and please stop buying clothes for your pets, they don't like that shit.  Treats - Treats are what they like.  I have talked to them, this is what they tell me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The day before

It is the day before gluttony day and I sit here and think of what I am thankful for in my life, at least that is what I should be thinking about.

Instead I have been browsing video game and poker forums and blogs.
I have now purchased my 2nd X-mas present which should be delivered Monday.
I do find it amusing that I purchase my own gifts for other people -they just need to give me the money :).

I also splurged and bought myself a gift while I was on Amazon.com.

1st things first - the gift that I will be receiving (though maybe I'll wait till actual xmas to give it to myself from my parents) is the Blu-Ray of Lord of the Rings Extended edition which is on sale and I have been waiting for it for a long long time.

In college I was a huge fan of the movies, watching all of them in the theater multiple times each.
I bought them on DVD when they were released and I bought the extra special extended edition box sets when they were released as well. I believe they were a Best-Buy exclusive that came with bookends and whatnot - either way I have never even opened them, though it saddened me after one of my moves noticing that the shrink wrap on one had become ripped.  Oh well.

I also traded for the Blu-Ray collectors case that Best-Buy offered up as a pre-order bonus for ordering the regular edition of LOTR on Blu when they were released.  I didn't want to buy the regular edition Blu-Ray's because I knew I would be getting the extended versions as well, so I saved some money there and now only own the movies 3 times instead of 4 times (heh).  So, yes, I am excited to get my boxed set in so that I can now place the movies into the special holder that I bought for them.
I cannot wait to spend a whole day watching all 3 movies (C'mon Hobbit - we need you).

And, while I was ordering that gift for myself from my parents I also decided to spend $5 on myself and ordered the Blu-Ray version of Terminator 2 - one of my all time favorite movies.

Tomorrow between 4:30 and 8:30 Amazon.com will be having a sale on Mad Men Blu-Ray's for $8.99 each and I will be picking up the 4th season as I own the other 3.

I am hoping that there are some other TV shows that get some really good Blu discounts on Black Friday and the coming weeks as I am adverse to paying the type of money that they usually cost.  I'm a $20 and under type of guy.

I have been playing much Skyrim and will continue to do so for at least 100 gaming hours.

I am going to try to dedicate myself to reading 1-2 books every month.
For December I am reading a recommendation from an old friend - The Reluctant - which I purchased for the whopping price of $0.99 instead of getting it for free as I would like the author to at least make a nickle off of my read instead of nothing.
And, the other book that I'll be reading is one written by a high school friend with whom I have recently gotten back in contact with (and am addicted to his Youtube cooking show) Strange Works of a Strange Dreamer.

And, as a final note, everyone should check out Testosteroso which is a pretty damn cool band from the York/Lancaster area of PA that I was just introduced to earlier today.  Check out the webpage and listen to the songs on there - I love the take on Duck Tails and LOVE Mail Order Bride.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Musings

Today while having a conversation with a close friend through text messages my brain formulated it's own rationale to my current living situation.

I had likened not living in my own house to having to pay child support.
Every month a large portion of my income goes to something in which I have no control over and occasionally gain visitation rights to.

The response was "well, lets hope it doesn't last 18 years."

And that was when I came up with this.

My current living situation is more akin to a STD than child support.
It will clear up within a year but man does the itching suck.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kmart - Customer Service Gone Horribly Wrong

Working in retail for the past decade has given me the opportunity to complain a lot about how I think certain decisions that the company (company can be either at Corporate level or even just on a Senior Manager level at the store) makes because of whatever reasoning I might have.

I was taught by my Admin Manager from day 1 that the customer is always right and we will do anything we can to make them happy because they will give us repeat business if they felt we took care of them fairly (no matter how we felt about it).
This has been ingrained in my head for over 9 years now as I take care of my customers on a daily basis.  From making a sale to correcting an issue after the sale, I take care of my customers every single time.

So, it is with much frustration that I am now in a situation where I am dealing with another retail company where I have an issue and I feel like I am getting the run around.

My problem started before 12:30 pm today and here I sit typing at nearly 3pm with no resolution other than I can expect a phone call within the next 48 business hours to discuss the situation and find a resolution.
So, enough vague and more explain!

Kmart has been running deals with rewards as long as you are signed up for their reward service. I will not be divulging the name of said website because I do not want to advertise for them with the lack of customer service I am currently receiving.

There was an advertisement that is running all week long stating a deal in the form of Purchase $XXX and receive $XXX in reward coupons for a future purchase.  Must equal a certain amount after tax (and per the official representative online) you CAN use previous reward coupons to bring the price under $XXX and STILL QUALIFY.

So, I go to my local Kmart to take advantage of the promotion.  When I get my product there are 2 cashiers near the register who are talking to me, one of the cashiers is new and the other is not.
Normal chit chat occurs and I explain to them why I am making my purchase and what I figure I will qualify for by making the purchase.
Neither of them have a problem with any info provided.
The new cashier is the one running register and cannot get his log in to work, experienced cashier gives new cashier his information so he can run the transaction (this really has nothing to do with anything, I am just retelling everything that happened).

He goes to ring everything up, but I ask for it to be done in two transactions to be on the safe side because I am expecting reward X for purchase #1 and reward XX for purchase #2 and would rather keep them separate just in case the system will only recognize one reward per transaction.
They both agree this is a good idea.
We make sure to use my rewards card (done via my phone number) because the system only prints the reward coupons if the person is registered for the reward program.
We run the transaction and no reward coupons print - I look at the receipt and my reward program was logged correctly.
Both cashiers cannot figure out what went wrong so they call a supervisor who comes back and flips through the add looking for the information.  A few minutes later she finds it and looks at what I purchased and tells me that because I used a previous coupon which brought my transaction down 1 penny below the threshold, I did not qualify.
I explain to her that online, through the official Kmart representative of this program, has verified and spread the word that the use of other reward coupons to lower the amount will not affect it and the purchase will still qualify.
She tells me that i am wrong and that they do not know how the system works and because of the product that I had purchased (it is a NON REFUNDABLE product) there was nothing she could do for me.
She told me that I need to pay more attention in the future in order to qualify for the rewards.

So, instead of continuing a conversation where I am being told I am SOL (the customer is not right) I left before a heated conversation could ensue.

I used my phone and looked up Kmart customer service phone number and gave them a call while I was still in the parking lot.
I explained my situation to the person who did all the normal apologizing and after nearly 20 minutes she informed me that all I had to do was go home, log into the reward program online and that my reward coupons for $XX would be in my account there and I could print them.

That was not the case, I have no reward coupons stored in my online account.
So, via online chat I contacted another Kmart representative and explained my situation through a series of very lengthy typed out messages.
He as well did the typical apologize, this is a rare case, sorry about your issue BS before finally getting to a point where he told me that he was sorry, he could not help me at all because my transaction occurred in a physical store and he can't help with those types of matters.
He then provided me with a different 800 number and told me that I should call there to resolve my situation.

So, I called and after explaining everything yet again I get told that she will get a hold of the Store Manager at the store and he will call me back to discuss any resolution, and he has 48 business hours to do so.

So, here I am, hours later and possibly waiting for another two days to talk to someone who might be able to come up with a solution that has already dragged on for way longer than it ever should have.

If this were my store the situation would never have gotten this out of hand.
First off I know all the promotions for the product I am selling.  If someone says that they are going to be taking advantage of a certain promotion but they have the wrong information I explain it to them.  I tell them how exactly they need to go about it in order to achieve their desired goal.  I do not just push them through and when something goes wrong expect someone else to take care of the matter.

Second, if there were an issue after the sale I would have taken care of it immediately, right there on the spot. I would have come up with a resonable solution or gotten someone involved with the authority to do so. I would not have looked at the customer sand said "Sorry, your shit out of luck, you need to pay more attention." (I told the cashier what I was going to do and why, they made the sale knowing the desired outcome but weren't smart enough/trained enough to know whether or not the desired outcome was achievable?)
I would never have let the customer leave the store upset and feeling wronged.  THIS IS NOT HOW YOU CREATE REPEAT BUSINESS.

So here I sit, hours later, getting more and more upset over the whole situation as every single person I talk to cannot come up with a simple easy solution even though I have told each and everyone of them what I was willing to do or how I would take care of it if this customer was in my store with this issue.
No, I have to wait another 2 days and hope to get a call back from the Store Manager and hope that he can provide me with some sort of closure in an attempt to keep my business.

I would have had this particular situation taken care of in less than 5 minutes At The Store.
Kmart let me leave pissed off and getting more angry with every level of service I deal with, potentially losing me as a customer and everyone who I am going to tell about my issues and how they will not take care of you and no longer care about you once the sale has gone through.

--- A disgruntled customer

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Clean Slate

It's the proverbial Clean Slate where the past is wiped away and the future is at the end of a cloudy tunnel.

Everything that once was here is now gone and everything that will be here remains a mystery.

As I looked back over some of the stuff that I had one here I realized that at this moment none of it mattered.
I didn't want to reflect on it any longer, I didn't want to re-read it.  Most of it was poorly written anyways, though I assure you that most of what I will write is going to be poorly written as well.

I didn't get this far in life off of my good looks and grammar!

The past 12 months have been full of hardships for myself but I am looking towards the future now.

I now have my family with me again, I love in the greatest city in the F'n world and I have a job that pays me more than I need and is as secure as any job is in this rough economy.

And, how can I forget, I have my Monster.
Even though he hates to have his picture taken.

Starting this next week I am going to be back on a set schedule at work which will help get me into routines that I need to be in.
I have a goal of posting a blog once per week about whatever is going on in my life - good, bad and ugly.
I will attempt to start going to the gym again.

That is enough of an intro - I now have to go eat some Doritos's and play some Video Games before the day escapes me.