Monday, 15 October 2012

Busy life, good life.

As I reflect on the week that was, I realize that quite a few things occurred, fun, fullfilling or otherwise.  As usual, dad spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday recovering from the lack of sleep over the weekend. 

On Tuesday Sheila, Jasmine, Asher and I went to the theatre to see "Frankenweenie".  We thought we would try Asher at this because he has been watching some television lately, and often stays involved for reasonably long periods of time.  As it turns out, he isn't quite ready.  He sat down as we arrived just as the movie started.  He was on his booster seat with his tiny 3d glasses on and actually sat still for about 3 minutes.  Then as soon as dad thought about his sitting still, it ended.  A bag of popcorn to distract only worked for a while, and in the end mom and Asher had to leave with about 15 minutes left.  The movie was very well done by Mr. Tim Burton and Jasmine and I both left satisfied.

Wednesday, I took Asher and Jas to the pool after school, the Aquatic Centre had reopened after being closed a month for maintenance.  Asher was in all his glory, jumping and screaming with excitement most of the time we were there.  He did spoil Dad though allowing me a few trips to the hot tub where he sat nicely and gave me a chance to relax a bit.  Taking the little guy to the pool is a great workout, just trying to keep him safe is extremely intense and thankfully its only him I have to worry about.  Jasmine is very good in the water and she had met up with one of her best friends and was off doing his thing.  After swimming we drove up the Hart Highway to run an errand, and Jasmine stopped at her friend's house to say hi.

During the day on Thursday I read in the paper about the opening of a new park a Duchess Park and we decided to go and check it out.  Jasmine is very enthusiastic about all things park related, and she was screaming with excitement when I surprised her and drove up to the park.  I had her convinced we were just running a few errands, so the park was a happy shock.  The new playground was designed to be fully accessible for those children in wheelchairs, and by all observations there is little fault to be found in the set up.  Asher was having a blast as all of the ramps made for easy maneuvering and easy access to the kiddie slides.  He also had a lot of fun on the shifting pirate ship and the sit down merry go round that dad sat on with him.  Jasmine really had a good time too, as there was parts of the park that were designed for older kids, a 15 foot high slide, complete with vertical ladder to access it, a spinning wheel that you could hang from and rapidly send yourself into a dizzying whirlwind, as well as a climbing structure made of heavy rope that was shaped like the Eifel Tower.  (Jasmine actualy pointed this out, telling me the thing was "like Paris".  How she knew this, I don't know.)  After a quick trip to Parkwood Mall, we returned home to start dinner.

Friday brings the start of my work week, but it didn't stop me from getting out and having a good time.  We had a few tickets to the hockey game, so the guys, myself and a second staff member all went to the Spruce Kings game after dinner.  One of the guys comes to a number of games with me and quite enjoys it.  The second guy isn't as into sitting still and watching the game but he did very well on Friday.  We all enjoyed ourselves, and the game was well played as well.  Prince George won 2-1 in a good defensive battle with plenty of solid hits.  After seeing a number of good movies at work in recent weeks, I have really been enjoying our weekly Friday night outings.  It really helps me forget that I am weekend warrior who rarely gets a weekend to myself.

The hits kept coming as I got up Saturday to a nice egg scramble and bacon breakfast that Sheila had made.  I forced myself to get my workout in, and after mom and dad showered we all jumped in the car for a trip to the "Pumpkin Patch".  Not having been before, I had checked out the website to find out that for $5 each we could all hang out on the farm and the kids got a free pumpkin as well.  With that in mind we arrived to find it quite busy, around ~25 families were out and about.  I hadn't even realized that Blackspruce Farms also operates a petting zoo year round, and that was also included for the tiny 5 dollar fee.  Armed with a bucket of feed (also included) the kids had a blast visiting with goats, bighorn sheep, potbellied pigs, cows, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, bunnies and more.  Asher sat briefly and held the baby bunny, he is really curious these days so his attention span is short, but he loved how the bunny was sitting on him.  The kids spent some time playing on the playground they have before we went to pick our pumpkin.  Being that we live in the frozen north and spring and summer total about 4 months, we can't have a real pumkpin patch in Prince George.  Instead, in  one of the fields an area was roped off and store bought pumpkins had been spread all around.  This was awesome for toddlers as they didn't realize this wasn't a genuine pumkpin patch.  Asher was overwhelmed with the quantity of pumpkins in the field.  He had a blast bending over at nearly every one and attempting to pick them up.  He managed to get one in the air, laughed hysterically and dad had to help or he would have fallen over.  He almost lost his mind when he saw the green pumpkin, something was obviously different about it and he knew it.  Jasmine also enjoyed running around to find the perfect one for her, and is now attempting to get permission to carve it yesterday or today or tomorrow.  The poor girl loves Halloween despite a huge fear of rubber masks and scary decorations.  She had a few bad experiences that have left her emotional scarred.  It's too bad because she really is a tough cookie most of the time, and Halloween is the only thing I can think of that evokes these kind of emotions.  This is a girl who would spend a week at a time away from mom and dad at the age of 3 and not get home sick (she was with Papa and Aunties).  Jasmine was jumping off the 5 meter dive platform at age 6 (something I didn't do until age 25).  She has no qualms about trying new things that may prove difficult or challenging, so it hurts me to see her in such fear.  Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse from year to year but as Halloween is hardly important in the grand scheme of life we will deal with it.  It makes it easier that she still enjoys the rest of the holiday and will get a kick out of watching Asher this year, who seems more then aware that Halloween and fun go hand and hand.

We finished the week off by having my brother and his girlfriend over for dinner last night.  Sheila made a great dinner, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and a nice mixed gree salad.  My brother and I had a few fierce battles on his xbox, I hadn't tried out his new NHL 13 game and while I lost all 3 games they were all close 2-0, 2-1 in a shootout and 2-1 in overtime.  The ladies (mostly Jasmine) spent time decorating cupcakes that Larissa had brought over and everyone enjoyed them.  Asher was hilarious, he kept walking up and down the stairs between the men playing video games and the ladies decorating cupcakes.  On his way back down he would vocalize loudly as he regularly does.  He thinks he is saying words at this point, and it is funny when he carries on for a long time as if we can understand.  Asher jumps off the bottom stair and runs over to his uncle and dad to share the candies that he had got from the ladies. 

I was also pretty successful in the getting things done department this week.  I completed 3 proper workouts, then had a couple other impromptu sessions as well.  I raked most of the yard, though I left the piles so Jasmine and I can have a fight or two out there.  I even did some cleaning tasks that I never tackle, while I am proud of myself, I was quickly reminded that these are just every day things that people have to do.  While I will likely have a lazy day today, I am looking forward to another busy week.  Swimming, park visiting, hockey for me on Thursday, a walk or two, and my workout sessions are all on the books.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A Light Poker Story

As has been established in previous entries in this blog, I play a lot of poker.  My poker play provides an additional income for my family as I only work 4 days a week at my "real job".  It also is fun for me otherwise I would struggle mightily to continue playing regularly, and a lack of enjoyment would likely effect my ability to make money at the task.  Juggling my real job, my family life, and my recently started hockey season means that my poker sessions are restricted to a couple times a week.  My opportunities to play come on the slower days of the week in terms of poker action, so I often find myself struggling to make the best of it.  This past Sunday afternoon I sat down at the table, the 1 table as Prince George struggles to support the one poker room that we have.  As I was filling the one open seat I had no choice but to sit to the right of the loosest guy on the table (okay, him and I were probably tied for 1st).  A quick glance around the table and I could see at least 4 guys who are beyond tight another 2 tight aggressive players and 2 unknowns.  I proceeded to win one pot early to bring my stack to $300ish then things went awry. 

I started playing too many pots, all of them against my loose friend on my left.  I was out of position repeatedly, and he kept using his place behind me to dominate.  I was down to $120 after one particularly bad play, and I was in a silent steam.  A seat opened soon, and though it was only 2 more to the right, it was better then where I was.  I moved, and slowly calmed down.  I lost a few more, but before long another seat was open, and I was now 4 seats to loose guy's left.  By now I had found that the only other loose player was beside the other guy on the left, so I was now in great position on both.  When I say the others were rocks, I am not exaggerating.  One player saw 1, yes 1 flop in the 5 hours I played.  He did not make a pre flop raise at all, and even folded his small blind for 1 dollar on about 7 occasions.  Another man did 3 crosswords while he played 4 hands in 4 hours.   So, I continued to raise and raise and raise.  I managed to trap the second loose guy a few times.  He limped everything if he didn't raise so I would toss in $15 and isolate him, or him and his neighbour.  Twice, with big aces I flopped an ace and checked.  Both times I got action later on when loose man made a hand.  I over bet the river in one pot after checking my ace twice, and got him to pay off with second pair.  I still hadn't beat my nemesis, but I was back to even at $325ish.  That's when I hit it big. 

My original loose friend (we are friends, he is a nice guy) and I had been teasing each other back and forth about playing every hand.  There is a running joke at the casino that I can't let a late position spot go without a raise.  In this pot my friend had straddled and I was on the button (a few players were away from the table).  I looked down at a 10 4 of hearts.  Going into acting mode, I took a deep breath picked up 4 reds ($20) then stopped.  This got a laugh from buddy, and I proceeded to call the $5 announcing that my hand really was awful and I had worked hard to stop myself.  No raise and we see the flop of Q74 2 spades.  My friend bets $15 into a $30 pot, folds from the rocks and I call on the button telling the table that my hand had "slightly improved, but that's the only hint I'm giving."  Of course this story is beyond obvious.  The glorious 4 comes on the turn.  I call $25.  Blank on the river and my friend check calls my $45 before seeing my trips.  It felt really good to finally catch a hand against him and even better to win some of the money due to table talk.  See, I do reasonably well at the 1/2 NL table but for the most part I rely on reads, instincts and play making.  If I am in a pot, especially if I have made a big bet, I go silent.  I stare straight down at the community cards, or a spot on the wall.  I do this whether I am bluffing, holding the nuts or otherwise.  I occasionally break this habit, but I try to be consistent.  I haven't master the art of table talk, and am jealous of guys who have the ability to manipulate players with their words.  Perhaps that will be my next endeavor in improvement.  Until then I can enjoy my little moment and the $200ish profit I squeezed out of the game on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.