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Not much new going on

Sorry, been slow updating here. Been busy taking care of kids and life and such. Tracy has been running a lot, and I’m really proud of her. She’s lost a lot of weight and she’s running a lot faster than I am now. Lauren is almost a year and and doing great, she’s crawling well, but can’t stand up on her own yet. Lucas is quite a talkative little 3 year old.

We went out to Phoenix a couple of weeks ago to visit Tracy’s brother and dad. That was good, it’s nice out there. It wouldn’t be a bad place to retire, but the summer heat can be tough.

We also spent a weekend up at Yosemite. There was some drama because we were totally unprepared for snow and it dropped more than a foot on us overnight. We got stuck for a bit, but it wasn’t too bad once the sun came up and melted some of it away.

More pictures at:

Work is fine, working on some interesting projects that I can’t really talk about. Tracy’s work is fine. The economy is making life interesting, there’s lots of opportunities for making money I think. I wish there was a way I could invest in the toxic asset purchase plan or PPIP as it’s called.

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Eve Online

I’ve been playing Eve online for a month and I am impressed. I’ve signed up for a few more months. It is the most complex game I’ve ever played. I haven’t played much WoW, so it’s possible that in total WoW is more complex. But I’m sure that from the perspective of any one individual character, Eve is more complex. Wow skill trees are confined to specific classes, while Eve doesn’t have that restriction, though it does make certain things easier for certain classes and races.

I have just been flying around and blowing things up. I haven’t done much of the mining, manufacturing, corporation management types of things. The economy is supposedly one of the most interesting in an MMO, and I look forward to investigating it some more.

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Christmas fun

The Tracy’s family all came over for the past few days to celebrate Christmas. Nothing too exciting really. We opened some presents and mostly just hung around the house. Tracy got me a running jacket, even though I said I didn’t need anything. Lucas got a small basketball hoop which he and his uncle Ed had fun with. Tracy got some clothes. Overall, not too exciting it was nice for the kids to get to spend time with the family.

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Mocha, big cat

Last week our dear cat Mocha died. She’d been sick for a few weeks, not eating well, avoiding us and generally not being her happy self. We may not have taken her to the vet soon enough, and I feel a bit guilty about it. They diagnosed it as probably cancer and probably incurable, but I don’t know if there would have been more options if we had noticed it earlier. She was big and brown and furry and we miss her.

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Eve and Left 4 Dead

A couple of weeks ago I bought Left 4 Dead. It’s pretty good, but I guess it’s not my kind of game. For one thing I’m not really good at it, so that makes it less fun. Also the zombies are our friends, so I feel bad about killing them. It is a really well conceived game though and the graphics are very good, so I applaud it for what it is, it’s just not my style.

I started playing a bit of Eve Online. It’s possibly one of the deepest games I’ve ever seen. There’s many different play styles, a vast number of skills and options, and active developers and community members making constant improvements. It’s not for the faint of heart though. I don’t know if I will stick with it, because of the amount of time that it could require.

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Political divides

I know a few Republicans, but not that many. I get exasperated when I talk with them about politics honestly. When I think about the easiest way to describe differences between Democrats and Republicans I do it this way: Democrats believe that by working together we can make the world a better place. Republicans know that everyone will look out for himself.

Unfortunately, these days that statement is probably better a description of libertarians than Republicans. The Republicans have something of an identity crisis since the rise of Rovian politics of divisiveness and partisanship(maybe it started with Monica Lewinsky). The Bush administration has really brought the Republicans to a new low.

I think voting on the expected effect of macroeconomics policies is pretty difficult because no one can predict the economy and how it will really perform, it’s far too complex for any analysis. There are too many variables and too many externalities, and even economists frequently disagree.

Voting on the effect of microeconomic policies is fine though. I won’t fault someone for voting on McCain because they think McCain will lower their personal tax rate. I won’t necessarily vote that way, but I am sympathetic to those who do, particularly struggling low income workers.

For me, the issue is about how the parties treat people. In general Republicans are cynical about the intentions of others. Republicans support a strong defense because they don’t trust other countries, they believe in always having a military threat to enforce stronger bargaining positions. Bush is one of the most extreme of the group. Bush advisors personally drove in the war on terror, the unilateral decision to invade Iraq, the detention of enemy combatants at Guantanmo, torture, and unauthorized wiretapping.

I am an optimist and I like to believe that working together we bring out the best in people, but it’s tempered by the realization that everyone has to look out for their own interests before they can work for the good of the people.

Go Obama.

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Aruba Recap

I didn’t last much into Day 2. There was a missed opportunity or two, but nothing that I felt like I hugely misplayed. I did wait a bit too long and let myself get blinded away to almost nothing. One reason for this is that there were two big stacks right behind me and one of them was playing super loose, so I didn’t feel like I could steal that easily without a big hand. I didn’t get any big hands the second day, and I was already short stacked.

The tournament was very well run. The tournament dealers were excellent, some of the best I’ve seen. Everything went off in a timely manner, no big changes or surprises.

Even though I didn’t make the money I did make some decent money in regular cash games. They have a couple of weird structures/features to their games. The casino is dealt by locals but the tournament is dealt by special tournament dealers that are flown in as part of the UB crew. So the local dealers aren’t quite as good, but they are fine. The only games they had are Hold’em(both limit and no-limit) and pot limit omaha. They unfortunately didn’t have any of my specialty omaha hi/lo.

The pot limit omaha game had this awesome structure for smart players. I played a 5-5 game, and the way the rake works is that once every 1/2 hour before a hand, they throw a little “Time Pot” indicator into the pot. When it’s a Time Pot, if the pot reaches a certain size($210 at the 5/5 game I was playing), they take out $70 from the pot before it goes to the winner. If it doesn’t reach that size, the next pot is a time pot. So if you’re paying any attention at all, you just play super careful when it’s a Time Pot. I probably played 5 hours of the game without paying any rake.

The other odd thing about the Aruba cash games is their Mississippi Straddle rule. Any player can straddle for at least 2x the big blind. When they do, the preflop action starts immediately the straddler’s left(yes even if it’s any blind), and then it proceeds around to the left ending with the straddler. I’ve played in lots of games with kill pots like this, but when the someone kills action would always start to the left of the big blind and then go around skipping the straddler and it would come back to his action after the big blind. This Mississippi Straddle means it’s even better to straddle than a regular game, so in both the 5-5 pot limit omaha game I was playing and in the 2-5 no limit hold’em game I played, straddling for 10 on the button was very common. This made the games play much bigger than normal. I saw a $3k pot at 2-5 nlhe.

All in all, it turned out very well. I’m happy with how everything went. I hope to win another seat next year.

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In to day 2

I’m into day 2 of the poker tournament, but I expect it to be a short day. I’m a very short stack with 6800 chips when the average is 27k. I’ll post more of a recap later, but I didn’t have many cards or steal opportunities.

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Parental Political Poker

I made a deal with my parents. I promised not to give Barack Obama any more money if they didn’t give John McCain any more money. Unfortunately, I think I got the worse end of the deal because they weren’t going to give him that much, while I might be willing to give the limit to Barack. My dad mentioned that we could do mutual abstaining, but that doesn’t really matter because both our states are solidly decided already. Maybe I can have Tracy give to Barack instead.

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Judith Tierney

On Saturday Tracy’s mother passed away. She had been fighting cancer for about a year and in the past couple of month she had gotten very weak. She was always kind to everyone and never said a bad word about anyone. She was an elementary school teacher for over twenty years in Three Rivers, Michigan. I’ll remember her as someone who was always warm and welcoming to me, someone who cared deeply for her family, and someone who was loved by everyone.

Tracy and Lauren will be going home this weekend for the service next Wednesday. I’ll be staying home to take care of Lucas.

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