Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goals & Traditions

As sadistic as it may sound, I enjoy running.  Especially during the afternoon when I use it as an excuse to get out of the office for an hour and get some fresh air.  Unfortunately, my history with jogging is checkered.  I've suffered knee injuries and other issues in the past.  And, the older I get, the slower these ailments heal.  In light of this, when I began running this year, I vowed to take it easy.  Nevertheless, I also set a goal -- to run 225 miles for the year.  Why 225 miles?  Because of this:

225 miles is the exact distance from my hometown (Bethesda, MD) to New York City.  Although jogging 3 or 4 miles every other day (in addition, of course, to lifting and other less strenuous cardio in the gym) doesn't seem like much, I found this to be a motivating visual.
It took nearly ten months, but the goal was reached this week. 

And, while I'm still typically running relatively short distances, my times have vastly improved since January when I was regularly huffing though 9:45 to 10:00 minute miles.  Most of the time, I'm now hitting 25's or even 24's for three miles:
My new goal is to clock a 5k in under 24 minutes.  I need to shave about 30 seconds off my best.  Something to shoot for.   
In other news, today is Halloween.  I seem to vaguely recall Halloween being a fun holiday growing up.  I recall shaving cream becoming contraband the weeks leading up to Halloween, with stores refusing to sell it to minors, and our efforts to acquire the same.  I seem to recall melting the tip down around a needle, turning the can into a foam-firing weapon, which we'd use to terrorize other kids.  Sometimes, eggs were also involved.  When we eventually got bored, or ran out of ammunition, we'd trick or treat.  In short, Halloween was an excuse to be a dick and collect free candy. 
Nowadays, my perspective is a bit different.   For the past ten years or so, I've maintained the same Halloween tradition: I work as late as possible.  Then, I head home, unscrew the light above my porch, and retreat inside my abode.  Once inside, I sit with the lights out and pretend I'm not home.  It's not festive; but it beats dealing with a bunch of punk kids in shitty costumes looking for handouts.
And, on that note, Happy Halloween.    

Friday, October 25, 2013

Incompetence and Frustration

As much as this blog may lead people to believe my life revolves around degeneracy and having a good time, that's not an entirely accurate portrait of Pete P. Peters III (yes, I just added the III.  If RG can do it, why can't I?).  I mean, I've been a lawyer for 15 years.  I clerked for two years; I then spent over a decade at one of the biggest firms in the world; and that transitioned into my current job.  Hell, even before law school, growing up on Strong Island, I worked pushing carts and stocking the dairy aisle at the local supermarket for 6 years during high school and throughout college.  I fucken hated that job; yet, I did it.  I've never been canned/laid-off from anything.  The fact of the matter is that, while I've certainly had a lot of fun over the years, when it's time to work, P3 III gets the job done. 
As a result, I sort of expect competence from others . . . And this leads to the source of my current frustration . . .
. . . As I mentioned previously, I'm in the process of renovating my condo.  The kitchen is first up on the list.  I've been dealing with this project for about 3 months now, from the design stage to where I am now -- awaiting delivery of appliances/cabinets, et cetera on Wednesday, with demolition to follow.  To get to this point, I had an initial design meeting.  I then had the contractor measure the kitchen.  I had two more design meetings to set up the layout.  I had another meeting to pick out appliances.  I had a flooring contractor come in to take measurements and provide an estimate on tile-work.  I then had another design meeting to pick out counters, colors, finishes, countertops, etc.  When it was all finished, I had yet another meeting with the contractor, who came by again to re-measure to ensure that the cabinets, counters, appliances, et cetera, would all fit the design scheme. 
This was followed by nearly a month of tying to schedule and coordinate deliveries . . . with demolition . . . with installation of the flooring . . . with installation of the kitchen. 
Finally, as mentioned above, everything is scheduled.  The cabinets/appliances have all come in from the manufacturer and are awaiting delivery, which is set for Wednesday.  The finish line is in site.
Last night, while watching Thursday Night Football, the thought occured to me -  I hope all this shit will fit through my front door.  My main concern was the center cabinet -- a rather large cabinet.  A silly thought.  Of course it will fit.  The contractor has been over to measure twice.  Surely he would have thought about this.
I get to work this morning, and this thought is still gnawing at me.  I call my design consultant, who's employed by a company I won't name (hint:  it rhymes with gnome repo).  I voice my concern.  She tells me the cabinet in question is 33x36 and says she'll contact the contractor just to verify all is OK.  Shortly thereafter, the contractor calls.  He says, "most front doors are 36 inches.  That's standard..."  That's great, but I'm pretty sure my door is NOT 36 inches.  I drive home during lunch and measure.  The doorway in question is 32.5 inches wide.  Good times.
Apparently, this potential issue simply escaped my hired professional contractor.  Indeed, rather than measure the opening to my place to make sure all the appliances/cabinets would fit without problem, the contractor assumed my door was a "standard" 36 inches.  Now, as a result, I'm looking at scheduled delivery Wednesday of cabinets that I can't even fit through my front door.  Better yet, I'm not sure what this means with respect to the design of the kitchen in general, and the remaining cabinets which have already been manufactured based on the design specs and are awaiting delivery.  I'm a lawyer, not a contractor.  But I assume that if one piece of the puzzle gets taken out of the game, it impacts all the remaining pieces to the puzzle.  In other words, I'm not sure the solution to this problem is as simple as just replacing the one corner cabinet.
I emailed both the designer and contractor to let them know that the current cabinets are not going to fit through the door.  Now, I await a solution from their end.  I mean, there is a reason I choose not to tackle this project on my own. 
I should have just sold my place as-is and bought something new . . .  Fucken incompetence. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Same Shit, Different Weekend

The title says it all.  It's a rough life; but someone has to live it.
I left work Friday afternoon at 1:30.  I waited for a minor diversion, and then bolted for the elevator to make a quick escape.  I was in AC by 6:00.  My buddy Jimmy C. was coming to town Saturday afternoon to watch the college games and enjoy adult beverage, so I figured I'd monkey mash as much as possible Friday night.  I immediately hit the 100-Hand Bonus Poker and ended up $280 after an hour or so.  Several flopped flushes and two flopped AAA within 10 minutes paved the way to a profitable session.  
Around 10:00 I hit the poker room.  First hand, barely in my seat, I look down at AQ UTG+1 and raise to $12.   I get 5 callers.  Of course.  The flop is KT4 (two diamonds).  I decide to check and see if I can get a free card.  Besides, with $75 in the pot, a C-Bet would have to be in the range of $50, and someone must have caught enough of that flop to call a bet.  Seemed like a bad spot for a semi-bluff.  So, I check and it checks around.  The turn is a J hearts (putting two hearts on the board as well).  Clean living.  I lead out for $65 and get two callers.  Praying for anything black.  River totally blanks.  I lead out for $150 (a little more than half the pot).  After a quick fold, the button tanks, but ultimately folds.  Up a quick $120 or so after a hand.  Nice start.
Ten minutes later, I flop another Broadway draw, this time with KQ.  This time, I'm in position, and continue my preflop raise with a healthy C-bet.  Both players call.  Fuck. Me.  However, the T on the turn completes my nut straight.  I barrel ahead, and after a fold, shortstack shoves for $35 or so on top, which I snap off and scoop another nice pot.  Up.  Nearly $300 in 15 minutes.  And then . . .
. . . the wheels fall off.  This time, my train wreck comes in the form of three flopped sets, each of which gets cracked by the biggest donkey at the table.
SET #1:  I'm sitting on just under $300 with TT.  I raise to $12 and old man numb-nutz calls.  He's sitting on about $80.  Flop is xTx (all hearts).  I bet $15.  He flats.  Turn blanks.  I bet $45, he shoves, I snap.  River blanks.  He shows the flopped flush.  Good game.
SET #2: I'm sitting on a little over $200.  I pull JJ and raise to $12.  Numb-nuts, having lost most of what he previously won from me, is sitting on about $100.  He flats.   Flop is xJx (all diamonds).  I lead, he flats.  Turn blanks, I bet, he shoves.  Yep, lets do this again . . . I call.  River blanks.  He shows J4 diamonds.  Well done.
I reload for another $100, and proceed to win a couple of decent pots . . .
SET #3:    Once again, its numbnuts and I.  I pick up 88 UTG and raise to $12.  Numbnuts flats.  Flop is AJ8 rainbow.  Wow.  Finally.  Good sign.  I'm so relieved, in fact, that I check to numbnuts, who bets $15.  I put him on an Ace, and figure he can't get away from any top pair here.  So, I check-raise to $40.  Numbnutz calls.  This is where I win it all back!!!! Turn is a K.  Yep, it's getting scary again.  I bet out $80.  Numbnuts shoves.  This again?  Really?  It's another $120 to me, and I call.  River is a Q.  Really?  AJ8KQ?  Really?  Numbnuts flips . . . you guessed it - AT.  Good game, sir.  Time for a shot of Patron.
I hit the bar, and then decide to call it a night.  Up $280 at Money-Mash-Party-Time.  Down $255 at a game of skill . . .  Story checks out.
Saturday morning, I get up around 9:30, grab an omelet at Sammy D's, and hit up some sweet, sweet VP.... and I win another $100 . . .  I'm unarguably talented at pressing buttons.
Jimmy arrives at 1:30, and we cab over to Toga Bar at Caesars for some college football.  From Toga, it was off to Harry's Oyster Bar at Bally's.  And from Harry's, it was off to the AC Irish Pub.  And from the Pub it was off to Land Shark Bar.  And from Land Shark Bar we went over to Showboat to catch the end of the Penn State game.  As an aside, Jimmy is a member of the Penn State Athletics Hall of fame.  I'll let you decide what sport this drunk fool (with beer dripping down his shirt) use to play:
                            [Jimmy at the Shandygaff, State College, PA, circa 1995]
After a 4-overtime win, it was off to Mortons for fillets and Cabernet (we went with a bottle of Silverado 2008).  After Mortons, it was off to Amada at Revel for some adult beverages (we were still thirsty).
After Amada shut down, we decided we were ready to get some gamble on.  Not wanting to walk very far, we settled for a single-deck game next door at Showboat After Dark.  We played an hour or so, had a few beers, and each won $100 or so.
Then it was back to Harrah's.  We both had to be up fairly early to make the 2-hour drive to the Meadowlands for the Jets-Steelers game at 1:00.  So, we intended on making it an early night.  And, after another hour or so of black jack (during which Jimmy made another $100 and P3 broke even), we heading back up to the room . . . at 3:00 am.
I woke up at 7:15 Sunday morning.  Thanks to a splitting headache, I didn't even need the alarm.  It took an hour or so to motivate and get out of the room.  We filled a laundry bag with ice from the ice-machine, and fled.  We hit the swamp at 12:30 and immediately cracked some cold beers.  Hair of the dog was my only hope at feeling human again.

After watching 52 minutes of Gino being Gino, we decided to split.  Jimmy was headed back home to the wife and kids.  I was heading back to Harrah's for one more night, having decided that the office must be deemed closed on Columbus Day. 
I arrived back in AC by 6:30 and tried to Rally.  But after dinner and the first half of the Cowboys game, I decided to pull a Demarco Murray and call it an early night...
Having taken it easy Sunday night, I found myself up by 7:00 am Monday morning and feeling great.  Not ready to leave, I went back down to the Casino to monkey mash a bit more.  I put $100 in the 10-handed VP machine and promptly lost it all.  I proceeded to the Platinum Hits machine, which has treated me well in the past:

I quickly hit 7 quick hits (sadly, not at full bet), and won $100. 

I went back to the 10-hand VP machine, figuring it must be ready to pay off.  I put in the $100 voucher, began pressing some buttons, and shortly thereafter, was out $100.

I moved back to a the Platinum Hits machine.  I put in $100, and started betting $1.25 a hand.  I got down my last $2.00, and hit the bonus - 15 free spins.  Timely.  I won $280.  Not looking to push my skill luck, I decided to call it a trip and hit the road.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cashing Tickets

During my Vegas trip in March for NCAA conference finals, I played four MLB season totals: 
  • Cards OVER 86.6
  • Braves OVER 87
  • Rays OVER 86
  • D-Backs OVER 82
The first three cashed easily.  The D-Backs kept it interesting all season, but ultimately came up a game short of a push (at 81 wins).   Over all, I'm happy with the results.  I'll prolly take a long weekend trip to the desert this fall and "free roll" some Mr. Cashman, a bit of Ms. Kitty and a whole lot of sweet, sweet video poker with the proceeds.  After all, found money is the best money to blow like a degenerate.
My first weekend at Fanduel was successful as well.  I played a total of ten "50/50" contests (where twenty players compete, and the top ten finishers double up), and cashed 8 of them (2-0 on college and 6-2 NFL).  I also joined three tournaments (for $2 each) and cashed one of them for $8 (finished $178 out of 2,784).  My initial $100 deposit is now $154.  It could be beginner's luck.  Or, maybe the average Joe betting Fanduel is a easy money.  Time will tell.  At the very least, it made two days straight watching football a whole lot more interesting.