Sloe Times

A journal of my adventures in learning and growing personally and professionally

Monday, November 29, 2004


General: So that's Disneyland?

A relatively uneventful flight (accented by long lines and long waits at both the departure and arrival location) brings me from Chicago to Los Angeles. Then a good distanced shuttle ride brings me to Anahiem. The shuttle made a stop at the Disneyland Hotel before moving on to the Marriot. It seems small. One of the other passengers who is also working with TD this event said that Disneyland is very small compared to Disney World (which I have only seen from the air) so I'll take that at face value. Still seems pretty small for a 'major' theme park.

Holy cow it's been a long day, but I'm trying to tough it out so that I can be on a resonable sleep schedule. Tomorrow is going to be a LONG day of setting up the TD event but it should be good fun. No pictures from today though I should have gotten one of gloomy Chicago and sunny LA just for the contrast.


General: SoCal here I come

Thanksgiving was a nice laid back event with a little traveling involved to see family. Working on the principle of "receive and inflict no pain" it was all good. :) Dinner was traditional at the Father-In-Laws and I did my best to eat more than I should have. To get it out of the way, I'm thankful for my wife, my family, my friends, and most of all my son. I'm now putting the final touches on packing to fly out in the morning for GenCon SoCal. I'll be in Anaheim, CA until the 5th and fly home first thing in the morning to still arrive home after my sons first birthday party. On the one had this sucks, and on the other I don't have to be there when all the people are around. Don't get me wrong, I want to be there and celebrate the birthdays for the boy, but I have more fun with him when it's just me and him. When the rest of the relatives are around he tends to resemble a football in a hand-off drill. So I'm going to miss the party but I'm not too upset about it. I'm fairly certain though that the wife is less than pleased but that's life.

The thing that's killing me at the moment is thinking about 3-4 hours in the air plus waiting time in the airport. Since I have not yet moved into the iPod generation, I'm loading up my trusty mp3 player (non-expandable 128M Intel jukebox with a built in AM/FM radio). Song selections for the trip:

In addition to the music, I'm pulling out my "Dragonlance Annotated Legends" which has been on the shelf for quite awhile. Fortunately this serves two purposes, one I have some reading material, and two I can get it signed by Tracy Hickman since Margaret has already been kind enough to do so when it was mailed to me. I can't explain why the Dragonlance setting and series of books has always been my favorite, just accept that it is and the fact that Margaret has continued to expand on it pleases me to no end. My own Dragonlance PBeM campaign is still moving along though the time sinks from work have occasionally caused me some delays and pain.

Anyway, time to finish packing. Hope to have lots of pictures to share and I'll try to keep things updated as I go rather than try and find the time on the back end that just won't be there with the end of year rushing that is looming.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


General: Things that get the foot tapping and booty shaking

After reading through all the lists of 'top 5 favorite songs', it occurs to me that just thinking about it started a maelstrom of thinking in my little brain. How can you possibly limit yourself to a top 5 songs? This is why my music collection is hundreds of CDs and hundreds of gigs of MP3s. Pure lunacy to even attempt to constrain music so. Having a decent memory and a good ear for music, I can recall title and artist on most anything I've really listened to and deemed 'good' music. After 11 years this still surprises my wife and you got to figure that after that much time, if I can still surprise her with anything about me, that's got to be something. Then again I'm full of basically useless trivia, among other things. So after much anguish and brain wracking I came up with my own list of 5 songs that if I were forced to never listen to anything else ever again, these would be them in no particular order:

Da Hool - Love Parade
George Strait - Ace in the hole
Dido - Thank You
Enya - Boadicea
Nelly - Air Force Ones

It's very hard not to try and re-edit that list over and over again (I've already done it 11 times).

I have a subscription to Rhapsody and fortunately they've got a fairly wide and deep collection of music that makes setting up mood music for coding, playing, writing, etc pretty easy. One of the things I struggle with in dealing with my personal music collection is the sorting and grouping of it. The best I can do is grouping by Style, beyond that I generally just construct lists of songs I'm specificity wanting to listen to instead of having a random stream of one specific style.

To that end, Rhapsody has a radio feature where I can plug in my favorite artists and then it will stream music at me that fits those types. The upside is that I get a large selection of tunes streamed my way. The down side is that there's no sense to the music, it's just spewing random selections of everything in those genres. I think this is one of the reasons I like the DJ/Mixing culture so much. For me, I can fixate on a beat or melody and then string songs together that hold or shift the feeling or splice things together to make something really cool. Currently working on a mix of Snoops "Drop it like it's Hot" and Missy E's "Work It" that should be off the hizook [sorry, couldn't help it].

This tangential spew brought to you by the number 5 and the letter M.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


General: My eyes are bleeding

Do you realize how much effort it takes to read through a month and a half or so of blog postings? Never mind the time, that would have just been used up in small chunks as opposed to one long bonanza of post reading. Eyes burning, must flee computer screen.

Having been away for so long, something funny just occured to me about poker blogging in general. The blogs evolve from the shiney new performance obsessed form (to be replaced by other new performance obsessed blogs) into a slightly more laid back "ups and downs" style. Most stay in this area of posting style. Some hit a specific (and desired) niche like the blogfather or Hank and others are more open ended like BG or Pauly. I'm not saying anyones blog is better or worse than another (who am I to judge?) just noting an observation and wanting to send out a general "Thank You" to all of the bloggers for sharing their experience, insights, highs, lows, and everything in between.

Friday, November 19, 2004


General: Fantasy Football

For not being much of a football watcher I think I've turned into a heck of a fantasy football player. Early on in the season I was saddled with a retarded draft (mostly because I didn't understand how the Yahoo! auto-draft really worked) and then an evil amount of injuries. Checking out the wayback machine, my team looked like this:

Starting Lineup -
S. McNair (Ten - QB)
S. Moss (NYJ - WR)
An. Johnson (Hou - WR)
C. Rogers (Det - WR)
M. Williams (Min - RB) [Traded Steven Jackson to cover for Bennett]
W. Dunn (Atl - RB) [Traded Reggie Wayne for a starting RB]
L. Smith (Phi - TE)
M. Andersen (Min - K) [A 'lucky' waiver pickup after losing Nedney]
Jacksonville (Jac - DEF)

The Bench -
J. Delhomme (Car - QB)
A. Boldin (Ari - WR) [Injured]
W. Green (Cle - RB)
S. Morris (Mia - RB) [Picked up off waivers, dropped Calico]
M. Bennett (Min - RB) [Injured]
G. Jones (Jac - RB)
B. Franks (GB - TE)
P. Dawson (Cle - K)
Pittsburgh (Pit - DEF)

At the midway point in the season, things looked pretty bleak, I was 0-7 with only 7 weeks left to play. However, I had also been watching the waivers, watching the players, and reading all the free advise I could find. I finally was able to field a real team on week #8 and thus began the winning streak and there's a real possibility that I could win out the rest of my games with a little luck at this point. Game #14 pits me against Manning and many of the IND recieving corps, that will be tough. But just to record the change my team went through, here it is today:

Starting Lineup:
D. Brees (SD - QB)
K. McCardell (SD - WR)
An. Johnson (Hou - WR)
J. Morton (KC - WR)
M. Pittman (TB - RB)
D. BlaylockP (KC - RB)
J. Witten (Dal - TE)
N. Kaeding (SD - K)
Arizona (Ari - DEF)

D. Carr (Hou - QB)
J. Gaffney (Hou - WR)
S. Moss (NYJ - WR)
A. Boldin (Ari - WR)
L. Evans (Buf - WR)
O. Smith (Min - RB)
W. Dunn (Atl - RB)
M. Bennett (Min - RB)
A. Smith (Ten - RB)

Here's to winning out. :) Now, here's my 5 lessons learned from this year.

  1. Don't give too much weight to someones kooky scheme for drafting the 'hidden' talent.
  2. Do your research, there's plenty of free, good, advise for fantasy players out there, use it. If you really want to spend a few bucks, there's a number of services that that will help you understand individual player values that can impact your draft. (I'll probably do this for next year)
  3. If possible, get into a live draft to give yourself more opportunities to adjust your drafting to catch key players. If you're in an auto-draft situation, you're probably better off not messing with the priority order very much.
  4. Do your research. Read up on player performance and keep an eye out for injuries. Watch the waiver wire like a hawk. Identifying trends and picking up rising talent or replacement talent for injured super-stars is the best way to fill gaps and improve your team.
  5. Pay attention to your matchups. A middling player can shine when up against teams that are weak against that player or position. Shuffling players around to take advantage of these matchups can garner those extra few points that can really come in handy in close contests.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


General: Stunning

Lets just say that I have been busy is a bit of an understatement. Honestly the pace of things doesn't look like it's going to let up any time soon either. I'm off to Southern California in a couple of weeks to help out the True Dungeon crew at GenCon SoCal. I fly home on the boys birthday. Not the best timing in the world but with commitments made and plane tickets purchased it was too late to do anything other than make sure I can get home as early as possible. It's kind of hard to believe that it's been a year since he was born. He's walking around now with less and less assistance on things to hold on to and there's real communication with him now. This of course is one aspect of life that has kept my hands full. The other is continued activity on the game beta testing front. This month we're on to "Acts of War", an RTS being published by Atari, and after a bit of a learning curve to deal with the AI it's turning into a challenging but enjoyable game. The sad part is that all of this is a sad replacement for cards but it looks like I won't be able to re-fund my online accounts until January. In the mean time, there's plenty of freeroll action every Sunday on Royal Vegas for the CPC and Check n Raise is still doing quite a bit of beta testing on their java client. Honestly though I haven't been playing as much as I could mostly because I did I'd convince myself to invest the money and time that I don't really have right now.

*sigh* January is just around the corner and the itch is very much there. I've pretty much dropped out of the community as it were and that's a shame. I happened to look at stattracker this morning and was stunned to see that there are still visitors. Probably just mis-guided souls doing google searches but if I were really going for readership I'd probably be more on top of this. Since that isn't going to happen, I expect to pretty much be MIA until about mid-January and then back for the long haul. The number one goal for next year is to not get into a position where I canibalize my bankroll. We'll call that new years resolution #1. :)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


General: Seven Score and Twenty Years Ago

Back in about late '83 - early '84 I started reading "The Gunslinger" and last night I finished reading "The Dark Tower" It took me awhile to figure out when I would have read the first book in the series, but I had to figure it was around age 9 or 10. Now that I've read it to the very last page, I have to say that the ending was a mystery right up until about the last chapter (not meta chapter mind you). Thinking back over the whole series I have to say that the ending isn't really too surprising but it is definetly a thinker. My wife on the other hand (who finished the last book a month ago... oh the fight over who got to read it first) hated the ending. I suspect she was hoping that it really would have ended a chapter earlier and now she just knows too much and that offends her senses. :) Things have been hectic enough that I hadn't actually started reading until last week and it was a little slow going but at one point in the story King tells you that it will pass very rapidly now, and sure enough it did. I'm not sure if that was right at the half way point in the book but finishing it didn't take half as long as getting that far. Go figure.

It has been an interesting journey with Roland over the years and like the story, time with him seemed to stretch at times and on others go by in a blink. I think one of the things I've always liked about the Dark Tower series is that even when there wasn't a book specifically in the series, you could glimpse a brief view through his other works. I can't imagine what I could read now that would fill the void that has been left by two major series of books. First was what amounts to the final chapter of the Jack Ryan books (we'll not include his most recent book with JR Jr.) by Tom Clancy and now the last book in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Funny, the characters, settings, and stories of both authors intertwine throughout their books in many and interesting ways and I suspect that's why they entertain me so. I call this the incidental series. For there are books that are not neccessarily directly about the characters of previous books or the settings in previous books but if you pay attention the ties are there. John Grisham is another author who does this and I enjoy his stuff very much as well.

Oh well, I recently recieved my autographed copy of "The Annotated Legends" which I'll probably wait just a little longer before I start to read it. It's difficult to want to pick up another large work after screaming through 850ish pages.


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