Monday, June 28, 2004

Poker and Work

I started playing Texas hold'em about 22 years ago while taking my biannual trips to Las Vegas to play the slots with my wife. At first I lost every time I played, then I started to win a few games, eventually I won more than I lost, and now I’ve come to a place where I have a good chance of winning every time I sit down to play. And just in time too! It seems like the world (or at least the USA) has caught the poker bug, and now it’s the thing to do, everyone wants to play.

I played in three tournaments this past weekend, I lost miserably in the first, won it all in the second, and placed in the middle of the pack for the third. I had a great time and did not beat myself up over the losses. I was thinking about my performance as I played a couple of quick online tournaments (won one, lost two), and finally realized what it is I like so much about the game. “All things being equal, I can beat the best in the game on any given night, if I play smart” I can sit for hours throwing in bad cards, waiting for that pair of aces, or kings, and when I’m finally set, jump in and kill my opponents, or I can bluff and achieve the same results. It is a lot like life. I can play smart and win, I can BS and win, or I can play dumb and lose; the key is that the decision on how to play is in my hands, I just have to choose to win. Now – If I can only figure out how to recognize when I’m on a bad run of cards and should just take my money and go home. I tend to want to play through the problem and wait for better cards when what I should be doing is looking for a new game.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I love California

Surfer Girl Posted by Hello

Sometimes a simple picture says it all. I saw this one in the parking lot of the Block of Orange Mall. I stopped, looked, then went to get my camera. - I wonder what the driver looks like?

I bet they don't have this in Nebraska!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Panda Panda

Panda Panda Posted by Hello

I not sure what this one means. It's been on the Artesia on ramp to the 91 fwy in Cerritos for over a year, I've passed it a dozen times. Each time I think, who would spray paint pandas on a sign? And... Why? I don't have a clue, any ideas anyone?

Spammer Busted

My day goes something like this; wake up, check email, filter through about a hundred pieces SPAM to get to two or three real emails, In the afternoon I repeat the process, and then it again before I end my day. In total, I either manually purge, or using software, automatically purge about 250 pieces of SPAM per day. I’ve tired just about everything to combat this problem. I've changed email accounts a half dozen times, I've spent hundreds of dollars on SPAM tools, all to no avail. It’s hopeless.

I friggen hate spammers. How many times do I need to see an advertisement for penile enlargement? Anyway, I digress, this 24 year old kid, Mr. Smathers, working for AOL, sold 92 million email addresses to spammers. He disserves more than a fine and some jail time. Can we send him to Iraq, maybe even as a hostage? Then, with the Muslim terrorist jagoffs threaten to behead him; we can say, oh, whatever....

But seriously, can't we at least make him a bitch in some prison?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Beheading is the most humane method of killing - right

Bastards, bastards all. Killing an innocent man is never humane, even if Islamic law says so. Cowards kidnap and kill, it does not matter if they do it by beheading or by a bullet. It's still wrong, wrong, wrong.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Israelization of America

Israelization of America, Part II By By M. Amir Ali

Speaking of Bias, can we really call Aljazeerah a news organization when they publish this kind of inflammatory crapola? The author builds on the myth that America is controlled by Israel, bla, bla, bla, I'm not even sure if this can be considered news, it's more like a focused verbal attack, or just outright wartime propaganda. The author, Dr. Amir is an American (I think). But is not an American in the classical sense, his agenda is clearly anti-American, anti-Israel.

He tries to build a case that America plans to continue rolling through the other Muslim countries, and he uses Andy Rooney as his non-biased American reference point. Does anybody actually listen to Andy Rooney? It's crazy talk. Give it a read and try not to close your browser in disgust.

Dr. Amir Ali can be reached at

Read more of his propaganda here, or just google muslim and hate, he pops up all over the place.

oh, and don't forget to read this post. it will make your day too.

Speaking of wormtongue

Wormtongue has his own website and a rather large fan base (if you believe the site propaganda). He's never been one of my favorite LOTR characters, but its nice to know that even the screwed up characters can catch a little love now and then.

Media Bias - The BBC

Tom Gross on BBC on National Review Online:

This sickens me. I have friends who lap up the pap the media spills out as if it were wine from god. Evey word is truth because the unbiased media said so. The BBC is a problem in the UK and in the world. We have the same problems in America with the networks, Cable, and NPR. You must listen with a discerning ear, or else your head will be filled with the corrupt words of grima wormtongue or the enemies of freedom and truth will have won.

These reporters are helping to kill innocent people, every word a bomb or a bullet, every paragraph the final solution. Something must be done to stop them. Read, post, inform others, spread the word. Look for truth always.

Thanks to my pal TC Skeptic for the link.

Buck Fush - a nice thought

Buck Fush Posted by Hello

OK, how do you scream "I'm a liberal" - well, drive a metro, go to to UCLA, and plaster your car with anti-bush bumper stickers. I'd be surprised if this guy is not on a FBI watch list. His driving sucks too.

I think the W with the slash through it might mean he don't like the President.

Iran 'seizes British boats'

Iran is going out of its way to make friends again. This time arresting British sailors in a river that is suppose to be split down the middle by Iraq and Iran. It seems to me that some level of flexibility is in order regarding river traffic. Iran might be trying to push its advantage a claim the river, or may just be pushing back on the nuclear issue. Either way, they just took a pointed stick and shoved it in the UK already bloodied eye.

WTF could they be thinking? Dumb move on their part. This will only make matters worse in the area. Will Iran be next in the war on terror?

Can you say it louder please?

Understated Posted by Hello

Once I saw this, I just had to drive around front to see what kind of a troll would post this on the back of her 8 year old beat up ride. The woman driving was ugly with a big U. And big, and had a nasty disposition... Ah, who am I kidding, she was cute, I guess she did not fit my stereotype. I was expecting truck driving mama from hell with big tats and no teeth. I got twenty something with a nice smile.

I still don't get it though. Why in hell would someone put this on their SUV?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Spank me

ok - but I'm big and harry Posted by Hello

What? Why don't you spank yourself?

Weblogs can kiss my ass

I came across this in my daily random link walking exercise. It blows my mind that people can be so perceptive, yet at the same time so annoying. I like posting to NY times articles, especially when it has something to do with a favorite topic or some bit of trivia. So, toolpastefordinner can go screw himself.

How many kids?

Hawaiian breeder Posted by Hello

I love it when a family advertises how many children they have, especially when there is a whole bunch of them.

Translation, I am a virile Hawaiian male. (driving a minivan)

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Atheist Prayer

I didn't know Atheists had a prayer. It might look better on a woman though.

Our brains, which art in our heads, treasured by thy name. Thy reasoning come. The best you can do be done on earth as it is. Give us this day new insight to help us resolve conflicts and ease pain. And lead us not into supernatural explanations. Deliver us from denial of logic. For thine is the kingdom of reason, and even through thy powers are limited, and you're not always glorious, you are the best evolutionary adaptation we have for helping this earth now and forever and ever. So be it.

Wait - it looks like we are talking an environmental Atheists prayer. Would this be considered Wicca?

Jesus Dress Up!

That's not funny, that's sick. A website dedicated to dressing up Jesus while on the cross. My personal favorite is the death head t-shirt with cutoffs. What is yours?

Yummy - pork chops in Israel!

Pork can now be served in Israel

And.... BACON, oh don't forget the bacon, and ribs, and Chinese short ribs, and pork dumpling, and, and, oh god, I'm going to Israel tomorrow.

Did I mention BACON?

Friday, June 18, 2004

Score one for Bush

Putin Warns of Sadam Attacks

Putin says:

"After the events of September 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services several times received such information and passed it on to their American colleagues"

If this is true (and why would Putin lie), Bush will use it from here to election day. Bush needs the help.

Abdulaziz al-Moqrin on his way to hell

Al Qaeda leader responsible for beheading shot dead by Saudi security forces

Sometimes it is nice to see quick justice. The only thing better than news of the man's death would have been a video tap, perhaps released on Little Green Footballs, showing that actual killing. One can only wish.

My condolences to the wife and family of Paul Johnson. His death was senseless. What cause did it further? How can these Muslim fanatics think this does any good? They must be stopped.

Carson Can Man

Carson can be ugly #2 Posted by Hello

I see this guy once a week. He's always loaded and heading towards the redemption center. It's what I've come to expect in Carson. I threw a can out of the window of my truck once, he stopped to pick it up, then thanked me.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Carson can be ugly

Ugly #1 Posted by Hello

Sometimes you don't see how ugly the world can be. Especially when driving along the same route day in and day out. I've passed this one thousand times and thought, "yuck - ugly." Like the proverbial train wreck, I just had to take a picture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

People often ask

View from my Truck Posted by Hello

People often ask "How can I live in LA?" Well, with this in my back yard, it is oh so easy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Pledge 'no decision' changes nothing

Pledge 'no decision' changes nothing
Oh God, this is stupid. As an atheist, I just do not understand the hubbub over this. Why waste time, energy, and money on this silly issue? We have plenty of other things to worry about, like President Bush going after officially sanctioning religious organizations to do government charity work, or private (read religious) school vouchers. There are many more important issues for my fellow atheists to champion. It reminds me of a recent California election, a Libertarian candidate for Governor had a platform that was based on (of all things) “Ferret Rights”, this in a year when California was focused on energy and the economy. Talk about discrediting the Libertarian cause, people thought him nuts, and by association Libertarians, nutcases. The same is true here today. People tire of the pettiness of this fight, especially when the focus is on war and terrorism. This does not help the atheist cause. Not at all!

We need a leader. Any volunteers?

Saudis can do more to curb terror

"also says Saudi Arabia continues to abet terrorism by exporting radical religious beliefs and that the government has not acted strongly enough."

But... they are helping, no really, they are. They stoped some funding, that's a good thing right?

Saudis won't negotiate on hostage

“Our friends” the Saudis

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

POTD - Minibiker

Mini Biker Posted by Hello

I don't get it. A small scooter, a big man (or woman). Commuting in heavy morning traffic at about 30 mph. He ended up bouncing off a city bus and careening into oncoming traffic. It cannot be safe to ride one of these things.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Attacking west a sin, say Saudi clerics

Does any rational person believe murder, bombing, and kidnappings are good things? What credibility do a few Muslim clerics have when it should be blatantly obvious to everyone that the actions of the Muslim extremists have noting to do with religion; it is all about politics and power. People, innocent or not, are pawns in this process. These clerics are wasting their breath. Their words are poison meant to confuse the minds of the those who will listen to their rhetoric.

"The bombings and killings have revolted people and hurt individuals and their property, and no one with the slightest knowledge of Islam can doubt that this is an atrocious crime and grave sin,"

The Muslims who will listen to them are not the same Muslims that will be killing Americans tomorrow. Why do these clerics get any press at all? It is action, not words, which will carry the day. Will these same clerics stop the young homicide bombers from crossing the Israeli border tomorrow? Will they stop the senseless slaughter of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia? No, they will instead speak to a microphone and call it a sin with the official blessing (and winks) of the Saudi government.

Of course it goes even deeper, young Muslims are being trained to hate, to be intolerant of the Infidels in their midst, to hate anyone that is not like them, to kill in the name of Allah. It can only stop when…. God I wish I knew.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

World of Games is Gone

Another Good Store Bites the Dust Posted by Hello

I find it disturbing that long time businesses disappear without a warning. I've been filling my families gaming habit for years at this dive, now it's gone like dozens of other businesses along the Little India section of Pioneer Blvd in Artesia. Hell, even the hospital my son was born in was converted to a shopping plaze. My bet is World of Games will become World of Sari's, or more likely, a Korean bible store. Time will tell.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

A review of David Sedaris' new book.

I bought this book at the Borders in San Lois Obispo the day after it was release. It was in a large display at the front of the store. I was there to purchase the first two Harry Potter books for my son to read. On the way to checkout, I passed the display and picked up the book on a whim. I had heard a good review with the author on NPR a few days before. I was also familiar with Sedaris’ work from This American Life, so I thought it would be a good read. As I paid for the books, the clerk looked at me kind of funny, as if to say, “ah Harry Potter and David Sedaris do not go together”, but he though better of it and just voiced, “Wow, you’re the first customer to buy this one”.

I read the book in brief spurts over the next week, sometimes in my truck at a stoplight, sometimes in a few quite moments before class, and occasionally while at lunch. I can read a book anytime, and often do two things at once, like read a book and order my lunch, or read a book while walking. I was reading this book while waiting for my lunch at Fantastic Burger in Carson, a place for truckers, dockworkers and refinery workers to eat, when the staff asked me why I was reading a book about Barbie Dolls. I tried valiantly to explain it was a collection of essays, humor so to speak, and not about Barbie Dolls. I could read what the staff and dinners were thinking as I tried to explain myself. "r i g h t... this guys totally gay". I think my fumbled explanations actually dug the hole a little deeper.

Sedaris’ book contains 22 essays. I devoured each one. My favorite essay was the last; ‘Nuit if the Living Dead.” Sedaris describes his decision to drown a mouse, is caught in the act by strangers in need of aid, and is tortured by the impression he is leaving on them. I laughed all the way through the read; partially because Sedaris is gifted with a wit that is reminiscent of Mark Twain, partly because the situation is just so damn funny, and partially because he connects with the reader so well. We have all been in the same situation, had the same thoughts, felt the same compulsions (except maybe the head touching thing), and felt the same shame.

I recommend the book highly. It is a very good read.

Nitt Witt Ridge

Only in California Posted by Hello

I came across this at 6:00 a.m. in Cambria during a coffee run. It took me half an hour to find Nitt Witt Ridge, in the end it lived up to its name because I felt like a nitt witt after driving past this landmark twice before finally finding it.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Parting thought on "Bill"

I had been attending a two-day intensive business simulation as part of Pepperdine's MBA program. As the weekend simulation ended, the participating teams assembled to discuss impressions from the two-day event. My troubled ex-friend "Bill" (see Stirring the Ashes and Immaturity and Tattoo below) attended. The lead facilitator asked each team to comment in turn on the question "What did you find most unexpected about your experience." Bill answered out of turn with the insightful response "Well I for one found the things we did not expect to happen were the most significant events." Ah... Hello, come again? Bill's comment was not quite the innovative B school commentary one would expect; it was, as usual, off target, non-specific, and spoken like a well-trained parrot. I believe it was Bill's last performance.

Immaturity and a Tattoo

I ran into “Bill” at a school function the evening after I posted Stirring the Ashes, while at a school function. Bill walked into my team room, pulled down his lower lip, and tried to show it to me. I understand his lip is tattooed with a profanity. Why, I don't know.

I was not inclined to read Bill's lip as it did not occur to me that he would actually want me to read his lip. I mean, who the hell reads a lip? I kept thinking, why is this guy showing me his teeth? After a moment, Bill turned on his heal and marched agressively out of the classroom, flipping me off and banging on the door as he left. Later I passed him in the hall, he made farting noises. Now Bill is (or was) in Grad School and is at least 35 years old. One would think, hmmm, grad school = maturity right? Well, maybe not in this case. I’m thinking Bill never matured past about high school. Poor bastard.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Stirring the Ashes

Stirring the Ashes

As I sit here at Joe R’s on Broadway smoking a fine Tony Borhani cigar, my thoughts return to the meaning of the phrase "stirring the ashes.” I never really understood the phrase before, yet now it seems to be only appropriate as I reflect on the end of a promising new friendship. I've been thinking about how my friendship with “Bill”, a fellow classmate at Pepperdine, had moved from friend and comrade, to disillusionment, and now even fear. Earlier in the week, I had resolved to write about it to help the healing process, as I started the essay, I realized I was actually stirring the ashes, looking for something smoldering beneath the burnt remains of our relationship. And, just when I saw a dull red ember, when a small spark of hope appeared, Bill reached across the electronic ether and pissed in the fire.

It was a subtle thing really. My instant messenger client’s buddy list showed an obscene screen name in stead of the usual Bob or Carol. As I watched, the screen name changed to another vulgarity, and then another. It was Bill of course, acting out some puerile fit of rage. He was sending me a message; "I hate you", "I despise you". I confronted him via chat and offered an olive branch he threw it back in my face. He continued to respond with increasingly more obscene screen names, until I could no longer play his game. Finally, I took control and ended the relationship by wishing him well, saying goodbye, and then deleting him from my buddy list. I will always remember the date, time, and place this friendship ended. I will also remember his last screen, it flashed onscreen as I deleted him from my friends list. "You too?” – Yes, me too.

The Tony Borhani is gone to ash.
I brush them from my shirt,
and feel the grit on my fingertips.

Why does it hurt so much to loose a friend, even an asshole?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

What Would Jesus Eat?

Apparently some people think Jesus ate nonanimal "non-living foods". This sounds like a bunch of new age crapola to me. And here I though Jesus was a fisherman?

Why do people belief weird things?

Friday, June 04, 2004

Leslie's Dream Time

My son’s girlfriend, Leslie, has read my blog and declared, “There is nothing personal in it”. Well dear Lesley, I don’t think my life as a student/manager/husband/father is very interesting, so I don’t normally look inward, but prefer to commend on the evils and foibles of the world around us. But, because you read and look for the personal in what I write, I will write it. (cause I like you!)

We’ll start with a dream. I dream a lot. Every night, many times a night, and to my distress, I remember them all. Normally my dreams are all about solving some big, hard to understand, complex, logic problem. Only it is a lunatic’s logic and it cannot be solved, and then I go crazy and end up killing people. I say normally because if I read or watch a monster movie, I dream about monsters for weeks to come. But, I've had no monster exposure lately, so last night's dream was about grad school again.

Grad school sucks and well, it occupies much of my dream life as well as most of my waking life. Usually, my dreams go something like this: The Professor calls me to the whiteboard, and then asks me some impossible questions that only Einstein on crack and possessed by Satan could answer, and of course, I write something like 47, whereupon the teacher tears me apart to the cheers of my classmates. Last night was different. Last night the Time Value of Money was ‘Alien” and she was chasing my cousins, the Browns, along a very dark beach (with spiders). If the Time Value of Money caught my cousins before I solved the equation, my cousins would be tortured, killed, and eventually thrown to the sharks that were circling offshore. (Did I mention the sharks? No? well, it’s a dream you know and somehow I always dream about sharks.) The only problem was, I did not know what the variable values were for the equation because the “word problem” was written in Russian, and my son could only speak Japanese, and Russian looks kind of funny with backward letters and.... the problems can go on forever. Did I mention the equation dealt with uneven cash flows? No? Well for some reason uneven cash flows was the friggen central theme of my dream, I could not even figure out what currency to use, and if I had to convert it first, and if I should use a excel, or a calculator, or a pad of paper...... oh god, the dream went on for ever and ever. Then I wake up, tell my wife that the Browns and their lovely new baby are in trouble, ask her to call them from work, and then go back to sleep and dream it all over again. By 4:30, when I finally woke up for the day, I had dreamed at least five or maybe even six different versions on this same friggen dream. Once again I was stuck in a continues loop dream. (It happens all the time)

I still can’t solve problem 14 from chapter 3. I hate Grad School

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

E-Mail Links Cheney's Office, Contract (

E-Mail Links Cheney's Office, Contract (

Does anyone really belief that Dick Chaney did not have a role in awarding his former company contracts? I mean come on! The guy used to be one of the people who ran Halliburton! This email goes toward confirming what a great many people already intuitivly know.

Vote anti-bush/anti-republican this year. It's time to clean house.

Uhaul Sucks, or even better Uhaul = Uhell

Wow, I do not normally write journal entries in my blog, but in this case, I feel compelled to do so. Uhaul ruined my memorial day weekend by making what should have been an easy move on way move from Berkeley to Los Angeles into an epic disaster. The story is complex, here it goes:

I placed a reservation with Uhaul for a small trailer three weeks before I needed to use it. I received a confirmed reservation at the time of the reservations, and a call from their traffic office the day before the move, telling me where to pick up the trailer. I was driving up to Oakland from Los Angeles so I wanted to be sure the trailer would be where is was supposed to be in Oakland so I could pick up the trailer and then continue on to Berkeley for the planned move. I needed to move on my son out of his apartment the next morning or face some stiff financial penalties.

When I arrived to pick up my trailer, the local Uhaul yard acted as if they had never heard of me before. I showed them my reservation number, they responded that they did not have my trailer nor could they offer any other help resolving the issued other than a lame “Sorry – you need to call the traffic office”. Hobart, the CSR in Oakland, was decent, he actually tired to help resolve the problem by calling the traffic office for me. The best Hobart could do was a promise that somebody would call me back the next day by 5:00 pm because no trailers were available anyplace in the bay area. I asked Hobart about my reservation, the whole Uhaul team actually laughed.

Being assured that somebody from the traffic office would call me “maybe”. And, that the call would come a full day after my reservation was scheduled for pickup, set off numerous alarms. I anticipated a major screwing coming down the pipe: I was right.

I called the traffic office, they referred me to the 1-800 customer service number; the lady who answered rudely told me that the problem was my own fault and that I should have handled it the local Uhaul center in Oakland. She gave me the name of a “big boss” at the main traffic office in Oakland to call. I called this new number, asked for the big boss, and the was placed on hold until after 5:00 p.m., when they dropped my call. I called back, but everybody at Uhaul had left for the day.

The next morning I stopped by a Berkeley based Uhaul retal office because it was close to my hotel and they had a trailer in their yard. I had driven past the day before and spoke to a yard worker who refused to help me because “he had a hot date and I needed to get out of his parking lot or he was going to lock me in.” He eventually told me to stop by the next day and he would get us some help. So… the next morning (the day of the move) I showed up, waited in line, asked for the trailer, and was subjected to downright hostility by the local employees. The “General Manager”, who could barely formulate a proper English sentence, was at least willing to tell me that I could not have the trailer because I did not have a reservation for the trailer in her yard and that somebody else did. My reservation needed to be filled in Oakland (where they did not have a trailer). The GM was rude, insensitive, and actually told me to get out of line so she could help customers with reservations. She even told me there was nothing I could do about the situation. I needed to “deal with it and find a trailer on my own.” What is the penalty for manslaughter?

I spoke with Uhaul traffic again – they found a trailer. It would not be ready until 3:00 and it was an hour south of Oakland. I needed to drive and pick it up myself. I called the place to confirm my reservation; they had my trailer, only it was much bigger and only available NOW. They would give it away if I did not pick it up with 2 hours. I drove right out and picked it up. They were nice, of course it was not a Uhual company store! So, by Noon of the following day I have a trailer – my worries are over right? No, not really – now I must drive to LA in Memorial Day traffic instead of the day before. What a pain in the ass, it was nine hours of torture.

BTW – I passed the Berkeley Uhaul yard later in the day. My trailer sat unused in the yard. Reservation my ass! I asked the traffic office about it, it seems Uhaul does not have an inventory tracking system. The company is based on tracking and renting inventory, how do you say U-idiot?

I called Uhaul the next morning to arrange for a return of their trailer; they asked me to return the trailer to a yard in Laguna Beach. Now not that I have anything against Laguna Beach, but it is about an hour (or more) from my home on a good. After a long argument, the controller agreed to let me return it to my local Fullerton Uhaul Yard. In Fullerton, they wanted to assess me higher fees because I had different trailer that I had originally arranged to rent and it was not returned to Laguna Beach. They also claimed I had damaged the trailer. I popped a cork, yelled quite a bit, and got them to drop all additional charges.

A promise: I will never rent from Uhaul again. I will go out of my way to make sure my family, friends, and coworkers do not experience the same problems that I did. Uhaul will never get another penny from me. Uhaul SUCKS.

New names for uhaul. Uhell, udonthaul, Usuck, noUhaul.

Other sites:
Uhaul Sucks
Don't use uhaul
Planet feedback Story
The Peters Bad Experience
a miserable and stressful experience