Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm playing in the last WBCOOP game on PokerStars - NLHE. So far, so good.

2:30pm... So, I've started seeing a chiropractor. It was an accident really. They were offering free spine checks at the gym, and with that, a free diagnostic exam (foot scan, range of motion tests, xrays). I figured, why not? There are some skeletal anomalies in my family, and based on my various occasional running pains, I was pretty sure I'm a little out of whack. I suspected one leg was shorter than the other.

So I went for the free exam, which confirmed some things I knew. My hips are out of alignment (making one leg shorter). I've destroyed the arches in my feet (thanks to my love of Converse All Stars and other horribly unsupportive shoes). I learned some new things - my lower back is slightly curved, and my neck is losing its curve. I carry my head too far forward (thanks to terrible posture at the computer desk).

My thinking in going to the chiropractor was that if any of these things are going to cause me pain, it will start now, because I'm significantly increasing my running mileage and workout training for the 25K race in May. I don't have any pain right now (aside from occasional running tweaks).

So, the chiropractor recommended a 12 week plan of adjustments and at-home exercises, and shoe inserts. My insurance covers just about everything - my out-of-pocket costs are slim.

And now I'm totally paranoid that the chiropractor is gonna mess me up. I should never have consulted wikipedia. Now I'm thinking chiro's are all quacks and they're gonna kill me. Considering how much I believe in the body's ability to heal itself, you'd think I'd be all about chiropractic. My insurance wouldn't cover it if it was a scam, right? Damn you, wikipedia.

I'll report back in 12 weeks!

2:43pm... Nothing exciting poker-wise. I've grown to enjoy the PokerStars Big Game TV show. So for this game, my goal is to raise more preflop. That's the story of my life around here, eh? I don't like that PokerStars doesn't give an audio indication of a raise.

2:55pm... Pushed all in over the top of a short-stack that raised to try and isolate... AKd... got an extra caller along for the ride! Extra caller had pocket 10's, original raiser had AQo. Flopped 2 pair, turned the boat. Phew! I was thinking of going to the library today, but it looks like I'll be playing too long. We'll see!

3:13pm... Whew! Thought I was toast when I flopped 2 pair, AQ, and the board came 4 diamonds. Big pot. Got to check down the river. Thought maybe I'd be going to the library! Nope. About half way through the field. I'm currently 43/473. So far, so good on my PFR practice. Currently 12%, much higher than my typical single-digits.

3:20pm... Ya know, the J4 from this past Winter Classic still haunts me.

3:38pm... Yawn. 70/354. Missed the library window. I'm watching a hummingbird nest with 2 babies -

3:51pm... Good read! *pats self on back*. Doubled through with JJ. Chicago's upcoming weather forecast sucks ass. We've had only FOUR days over freezing in January here this winter. Another winter storm (and cold ass temps) are scheduled to come through here mid next week. I hate Chicago weather!! Get me out of here!!

4:01pm... Seinfeld's Soup Nazi episode is on. Break snack: PB&J and a pear. I've got plans to make my favorite asparagus potato soup tonight.

4:48pm... Gambooool'd with a double gutshot and flush draw... then doubled back to even with JJ... and got berated for being a fish. LMAO! Yup. Tag me, baby. This game is taking forever. 20 spots or so to the SCOOP tickets. I should just fold to the loot. I'm starting to get antsy. 25xBB or so.

4:55pm... 33/163. Another break. I've grown bored.

5:12pm... Bubble has passed. Folding laundry. 18/146.

5:47pm... Can't believe I'm still here, with as goofy as I'm playing. PUSH! AGAIN! Wheeee! 30/64, about to get the next level up of SCOOP ticket. Ha!

5:55pm... Ya know, this whole hooplah about the "best time to exercise" to lose the most weight... OK, how about this theory, people: the best time to exercise is whenever you will actually do it. I've tried the whole "workout in the morning for the residual calorie burn and metabolic boost." Ya know what? It never lasts - because I am not a morning person. So what good is burning a few extra calories when I quit after a few weeks? Workout whenever YOU want to workout. It makes a whole lot more sense to build a sustainable, ongoing habit than to start, stop, and fail, over and over. For the record, my best time to work out is after lunch. And that's just me.

6:25pm... Alright, now I'm getting hungry. 35 people left. I'm middle of the pack. I should probably decide if I'm playing this thing for real or not.

6:30pm... Food wins. Pushed with an open-ender. Didn't hit. $33 SCOOP ticket for 31st place. That works!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playing in the Mookie for the first time in a whilez. Enjoying a hot mug of decaf Chai, latte style. Sitting in my new comfy computer chair - one of the best investments I've ever made, even though it was only like $120 on sale. I got The Montbrook from Staples.

One bummer about playing in my comfy chair is that I don't have Poker Tracker on this computer. Boo.

Sweet! Doubled up early (KK vs AJ, held up).

There's one game left in the season in the online poker league I play in. Had I not missed a couple games due to work, I can guarantee I'd be in the running for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. As is, I'm a couple spots outta the loot with just the one game left. Still, it's fun to have a regular game, as much as I wish it was a live game. I even made it out to the casino this month, but chose to donk around at 3/6 limit (though I do love me a full kill game).

Now, I'm donking around the Mookie :)

I will get a chance at some live poker this Sunday, at a new-to-me local game. Me likey.

In other news, I do believe I'm holding all of the documents I need to do my taxes this year. So early! I might even file before February! Awesome sauce.

I'm still waiting for someone to say that I'm not the only one who likes pickles on salad. I cannot be the only mutant out there.

I'm gonna go read Runners World for a while... biab.

Now THIS looks like the solution to my treadmill boredom! If only I can get it on my iPod... VirtualActive.

First break... I'm 5 of 16. Meh.

Half hour later... 6 of 11. Done reading Runners World. I've had pocket 4's a zillion times tonight. No floppie for me.

Damn it. I'm gonna go back to folding.

Actually, I should turn into aggro-maniac. Heh. As if.

I highly dislike playing short-handed. But I am up to 2 of 10.

Final table! So now it's like a SnG except uneven starting loot :)

I'm getting a headache and I wanna go to bed. That never bodes well for my poker game. Who calls an all-in with KQ? Sleepy me. I'm hungry, too. Cranky is soon to follow.

Break #2. 3 of 9. Guess I'd better go get a snack.

Well, there goes 160 calories I'll wish I hadn't eaten, come scale-time tomorrow. (Chobani Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt, if you must know). Chobani is my favorite Greek yogurt. I love Greek yogurt - don't really eat regular yogurt anymore. Actually, I don't really eat dairy anymore, except for yogurt. If it weren't for yogurt, I'd be vegan. Even more so than cheese, yogurt is the one thing I haven't desired to give up yet.

I even found a creamy replacement for my coveted ranch dressing - if I were to go full-on vegan. Mmm miso dressing... but I love yogurt. Sometimes it's my breakfast side-kick when I know I've got a long stretch before lunch. Other times, it's my late-night snack, when I just need enough fuel to get through another hour or two before bed. (I tend to eat a light dinner, so if I eat it too early, or stay up too late, I get hungry!) I'm fairly certain that I'll give up the yogurt someday... but not today.

Hell, the ranch dressing in my fridge right now is a yogurt-ranch dressing. HA!

And with the blinds putting me around 12xBB, I'm just about nearing push-or-fold mode.

I've been trying to make my own dressings lately, because I eat at least one giant bowl of leafy greens every day, and commercial dressings tend to have a bunch of crap in them. Even when I go organic with the dressing, they're not as whole-foods as I'd like. I made one decent one so far, a cucumber dill dressing, but it works better as a salad topping than the actual dressing. Anybody have any killer salad dressing recipes?

And... out in 4th. That KQ hand zapped my will to live. Tomorrow is another day.

Goodnight, world!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So, I made it home in time for tonight's PokerStars WBCOOP NLHE game (the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker). PokerStars is a great supporter of the online poker community. They ponied up some great stuff for this year's WPBT tourney at Aria this past December.

6:20pm... I raised UTG with AA. I flopped quads. I blinked a few times to try and get the sandman outta my eyes. Seriously? That's a lotta A's. I got paid (well, as much as I was gonna).

6:35pm... I've been engaged in idle chit-chat. I don't usually talk at the table when I play online. I'm letting them all think I'm a guy.

6:41pm... I'm bored. I've drained my DVR of poker shows (and every other show). Live TV is tormenting me.

6:46pm... Called a shorty's all-in with 66. He had AJ. I won. He called me a bastige lol! Same guy I had quad rockets against. Phil Laak has rockets built into his last name!

6:56pm... First break. Average stack.

7:00pm... The Biggest Loser. So, Jillian is leaving after this season. I totally thought Bob would leave with her, but it looks like he's staying. The new trainers aren't really that interesting to me. I love Bob and Jillian. I own DVD's from both of them, and they've been a big part of my weight loss this past year. I hear Jillian has a new show in the works. I hope it's better than her last solo show....

7:08pm... Button raised with 44 when it folded around, and a bully in the BB put me all in. I saw him push a couple people around with junk, and I rolled the dice. He had J8. I won. Doubled up w00t!

7:21pm... And just like that, I'm the table chip leader. Does anybody else like to eat pickles on your salad? Or is it just me?

7:30pm... Yawn. So I'm going to a chiropractor for the first time tomorrow. I scored a promo at the gym. I get 2 spinal x-rays and a digital orthotic foot scan, amongst other things. Like a spinal wellness check. I already know I'm a little out of whack... I put more weight on my left side than my right, and consequently my left ankle over-pronates when I run (whereas my right doesn't). While I don't have any pain issues now, I'd love to find out if there's anything preventative I can do as I start upping my mileage in the next couple months (training for the 25K race in May). Should be interesting!

7:53pm... Still treading water. I can tell you this, though - my "better breakfast" is not made from Subway's frankenfoods.

7:55pm... Second break... I'm just under average stack. Not bad - I don't think I played a hand in the last 40 minutes.

8:01pm... The State of the Union, 2011. I used to love watching stuff like this. These days I usually just get the reader's digest version from the news the next day - but the slogan amuses me: how we "win the future." So hip. No epic fail? Wow - Hilary Clinton looks different.

8:16pm... whew. Took a risk with AJ when I hit top pair A's and got check-raised on the flop. I was being bullied by A8 with a flush draw. Held up, doubled up. Breathe!

8:17pm... There it is - TO WIN THE FUTURE! I think we should make a drinking game out of it. SHOT!

8:19pm... China scares me.

8:29pm... It's not just the winner of the Super Bowl that deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. HELLS YEAH. Nerds unite! But seriously. Yes.

8:32pm... Props to teachers. Reward the good ones and stop making excuses for bad ones. YES, PLEASE. (I'm a teacher, and lemme tell ya - the system is effed. The majority are rewarded for longevity and not quality of work. I've been doing it for over 10 years and still can't swallow that it's the right way to do things).

8:40pm... Obama's first joke. I'm short stacked. Gonna push soon.

8:42pm... Doubled up, my KQ hit a Q vs A3. Man, I am at the slowest table ever. There are 4 different people with VPIP's below 10 that fold every hand after the timer. Nobody home. I'm at about 12BB.

8:44pm... Oh no, Mr. President. Our food is NOT safe to eat. Keep those blinders on...

8:45pm... Joke #2.

8:54pm... Best joke yet. Smoked salmon lmao! Everybody is running out their 160 second clocks. We're a handful of spots away from the loot.

8:55pm... Third break. One bust to the loot.

9:06pm... No American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. Damn I wish all of this could come true. And, this is the longest bubble of all times.

9:20pm... Out, 66 vs. KK. 116th place out of 720 - wins me a $11 SCOOP entry ticket.

Just in time for the end of the State of the Union.... gnite all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: XXXXXX 973470

Saturday, January 01, 2011

For those that have asked "how I did it" regarding my weight loss in 2010, here's the answer:

2010: How I Did It

I'm not done yet, so here's to continued success in 2011 :)

Happy New Year!

It's time for the 6th installment of my annual reflections and musings on the future. Previous New Year's posts: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

Looking back on 2010, for the first time in a few years, I actually played a bit of poker! Nowhere near as much as my love for the game would have me play, but I did play regularly (thanks in part to an online poker league I joined with a friend on Full Tilt). I also made it out to the local casinos a few times for live poker, and made my favorite trip to the poker mecca for the WPBT Winter Classic in 2010.

I feel like my game is improving, and not necessarily due to any studying or practice I'm doing. It's improving more because I'm maturing as a person. Maybe maturing isn't the right word - but a fatal flaw in my poker game is tied to a personality trait whereby I don't like to cause conflict. (So, yes - raising is hard for me to do!) But the older I get, the more I feel like in life that I will step right up and cause conflict if it suits my needs or my beliefs. (Get outta my way - I'm becoming a badass in my old age!) And that, my friends, is helping my poker game. I'm a lot more comfortable at the tables than I've ever really been in the past.

I had a really good year in 2010. It was an incredibly difficult year at work, but I channeled those challenges into fueling progress in my personal life. I lost 80 pounds in 2010, and settled into a whole-foods organic lifestyle. I went vegetarian in March 2010, and around that time, also completed the Couch to 5K running training program. I'm now a runner! I run at least 3 miles, 3 times a week, with my "long" run at the 5 mile mark right now. My race pace is around 11:30/mi and regular pace is around 12:00/mi. I ran four 5K races in 2010, with a personal best time of 36:32.

It was a pretty good year financially too. For me, "pretty good" means, I didn't struggle to make ends meet every month. In light of the economy and the general state of things, I consider myself very blessed to have solid full time and half time jobs. I was also able to earn some extra income with photography and portraiture, as I'd hoped in 2009 when I spent what would have been my Vegas money on a set of studio lights instead. I'm patting myself on the back. That was a good decision.

Travel was another high point of my year. At this time last year, I was hoping to make it on at least one trip in 2010. I managed to hit all 3 - a week-long photography workshop in New Mexico in February, an August trip to San Diego to attend the Syndicate World Conference and meet my guild mates in Ultima Online, and of course the WPBT Winter Classic in Vegas in December. And, miraculously enough, I came home from Vegas even - which means, 2011 begins with some money in the poker box!

You see, the poker box is my poker bankroll. It has been a few years since I've had a poker bankroll. When I moved into this house 4 years ago, I had a decent low-stakes bankroll, but spent it on new furniture. Then came some rough years financially, and I didn't have the extra cash to refill the poker box. This year, though, the poker box is starting out with a few buy-in's - which is a fledgling state at best, but it's a start!

So, what am I looking forward to in 2011?

First and foremost, I look forward to continuing this more healthy lifestyle that I've adopted. I plan to hit my final weight loss goals in 2011 - to hit the -100# mark this spring, and -15# or so more by the end of the year. (Hitting -100# puts me in the healthy range for my weight, so those last 15 are vanity pounds). I plan to run a 10K in the spring, and am considering training for a half marathon by the end of the year. Now that my finances are a bit more settled, I plan to make a concerted effort to pay down some debt and put more money into savings. (Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do that via poker!)

And yes, I do plan to play more poker in 2011, particularly live poker. The old Empress Casino Joliet is now a Hollywood Casino property. They spread NL now, and while there are only 5 tables, it's better than the 3 they used to have. It's a much nicer poker room these days, and I plan to play a bit more there. I've also heard rumors of a poker room opening at Harrah's Joliet this spring. That would be interesting. I'd love to have 2 close-to-home options, in addition to the Indiana boats (which are close to work but the opposite direction from home).

I hope that you've all found something to be thankful for in 2010, and something to look forward to in 2011! Here's to a happy and healthy new year to you and yours. Thanks for your support and friendship and for all the good times! And many more...