Then the angry man swore at me

So, some time ago, a neighbor asked me if I knew of any local poker games. Umm…no. I don’t know of anything. I sit at home and drink when I’m not working or chasing Moo around the house.

But, my father knows people so I asked him. He put me in touch with a guy (this is starting to sound very Rounders) and I asked about the game. We were invited in September, but I was in FLA. In October, MerlotMan and ChurchBomber were here. They played last Friday and I knew I had to go. Luckily for me, said neighbor was unavailable.

Into the Lion’s Den I went. Fortunately, the game has a $20 buy-in so I knew I wouldn’t lose too much money.

My poker history:
The 2nd or 2rd day on a job I started in 2000, I was invited into an office game. A new coworker assured me it was all in fun and it would be good for me to get to know everyone. I played and actually won the most money that night. I also tried to play 3 pairs in one hand. I had no clue what I was doing. We played rather irregularly over the time I worked there and I lost more than I won, but it was all in fun.

Every Thanksgiving, needing an excuse to not sit around and get plastered, we play poker. MerlotMan likes to make up different games and the 3 of us don’t care because A: we’re not playing for money and 2: we’re drunk. We also play on vacation. It’s all in fun and we have no idea what we’re doing.

JewelrySlut and I have watched Rounders about 100 times.

I watched several episodes of the World Series of Poker back in in 2003 or so.

That’s it. That’s the extent of my poker playing. When I asked for the general rules about how the local game works, I got a huge email back using a lot of words I didn’t understand. I was about to walk into a foreign land. The only saving grace was the $20. It was cheap. If I got knocked out, I could leave or play “the money game” in another room. The latter sent shivers up my spine. They play winner take all and set some money aside for a year end payout.

So, I arrived and walked into a house full of flabby men, all at least 15 years older than me. They were all excitedly regaling each other with tales from their conquests on varied poker websites.

Oh crap…they were REALLY serious.

We drew cards and got seated. $20 buys you $3000 in chips. I had a lovely looking stack in front of me. I’m to the left of the dealer (out of the blinds) and scared to death. I think, to avoid looking horrified, I shoved in enough chips to see the flop. I quickly folded afterwards. That was my plan…fold everything. As long as I wasn’t in the blinds (seats where betting is mandatory), I could play for free and watch the game develop. I was hoping to start noticing trends or something. I just got more confused. I decided to only stay in a hand if I had pocket pairs of 2 cards of the same suit (one bring an ace). I even managed to win a few hands. I didn’t realize I’d won them until people told me, but winning is winning.

The guy next to me busted out and so did a few others in the other rooms. I’d survived the first wave of cuts! It was time to consolidate tables. I was shuttled off to the dining room.

By now, about 6 people were out, so the rest of us had their $18,000. Minimum bets had gone up and I was in a new room. A room filled with VERY serious-looking people. The guy next to me looked like he could be an extra on Rescue Me. Irish as can be and angry. He was also shaking violently. The table was bouncing. I figured it was best not to say anything because I liked being alive.

(Here’s where the story gets really boring)

I folded for a while until I suddenly had something like Ace-5 in my hand. The flop brought out a pair of aces and another 5. HOLY SHIT! I had a full house!!!! I bet a little more. It was me and Seamus McTwitchy. 4th Street brought some card or another. The River (look at me all cute-like using terminology) brought out another Ace. I was stoked. I had a full house!

With determination in my voice and regret that there wasn’t a camera to record this moment, I uttered the immortal “I’m all in” and pushed in all my chips.

Seamus swore. He had more chips than I did, so he called. I turned over my cards and the room went wild.

The host looked at me just before I turned them and said “Nice Ace”. I was baffled. How did he know?

“Did you see my cards?”
“No…why else did you go all-in? You had the 4th ace”

OH SHIT! I had 4 aces. I had no idea. I saw the hand all wrong. I still thought I had a full house when, in actuality, I had 4 of a kind. Seamus, not thinking I had the Ace, called my bet. He figured we’d split the pot because what was going to beat our combined 3 aces and 2 5′s. Well, my 4 aces beat it. He was PISSED! The room was happy to see 4 of a kind.

I scooted ever so slightly out of range of Seamus’s fists and we played on. I was suddenly in a good chip position.

2 hands later, I had another full house. Trying to make hay while the sun shone, I pushed in again. It was down to me and a man with gnarled hands named Bruce. He called my bet. Whoopsie…Bruce had 4 of a kind. I lost half my chips all at once.

Seamus looked happy.

A few hands later, I was in bad shape. I was down to the end. It was Seamus and me. I had 2 clubs in my hand and 2 were on the table. I was close. Seamus raised the pot enough to force me all in if I wanted to see the rest of the cards. What the hell? I only had enough for 2 or 3 more hands anyway. All in I went.

People saw my clubs and, suddenly, interest in the room went up. I don’t remember what Seamus had, but a flush would beat it.

Non-club comes out. I was resigned to my fate.

Club! Flush! Woohoo!
“Get this fucking guy out of this room! I don’t care where he goes. Get him out of here!”

I peed a little bit because I suddenly had a beet-red Irishman screaming at me. Luckily someone had come by asking for players because the group in the kitchen was short. I scurried away, simply happy to be alive.

It didn’t last long in the next room. Minimum bets were $1500 and I only had like $5000 in chips. I went down in 4 hands. I went back to the dining room to report to Seamus that I’d lost and he swore at me again.

I grabbed my coat and left.

They’d started with 20 people and 9 were left when I busted out. I’d beaten half the field. That, of course, left me short $20, but I felt some sense of pride. I’d lasted longer than 10 poker nerds.

I’ve been invited back to December’s game. I won’t be going. Shmuppie will be away that weekend and the rest of us are either going to the beach or staying home and enjoying a quiet weekend. Poker-related stress does not factor into my plans.

But, they start the new tournament in January. Would it be worth $20 per month to piss some people off? It just might be.

What the hell happened to Halloween?

(Puts on old man hat and pulls pants past nipples)
In my day, we went out trick or treating for hours. There were no adults present and people gave out candy! Lots of candy!

I guess if she weren’t such a nitwit, I’d be compelled to feel bad for Shmuppie. But, she doesn’t know any better, so she had fun the other night. JewelrySlut persuaded Shmuppie to play along for one last year and match her sister’s outfit. JewelrySlut wanted to dress them as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat in the Hat. To say they were sickeningly cute would be an understatement. Moo didn’t wear her huge blue wig for long, but she was aware that something silly was going on and had a good time hamming for the camera for a minute or two.

As always, we went up to my parents’ house to trick or treat. In our neighborhood, nobody gives out candy, so it’s a total waste to even make the effort. Of course, by leaving the neighborhood, we become those very people, but that’s not my point. We had a quick dinner of not quite heated food (a specialty at their house) and went out at about 6:00. Until then, there had been one kid at the door. One Kid. We were out for about an hour and a half, and by then, Moo was getting tired and restless in her stroller, so we went back to the house. Apparently, very few people had come by. We’d seen very few people on the street.

Where did everyone go? Was it a Sunday thing? Was it because Raleigh doesn’t believe in Halloween? I was so confused.

Adults, and sluts in particular, have hijacked Halloween. Folks, it’s not an adult holiday. It’s a holiday for kids. It’s a night for kids to go house to house and beg for candy. It’s not an occasion to dress like a HOAR or to get blindly drunk. We have 364 other days in the year for that. Leave Halloween alone. But, that’s never going to happen. Along the way, some marketing genius convinced people that this was a major holiday and you needed to treat it as such. Whoever “they” are, they managed to build another Christmas out of this.

It’s too damned much.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some kids on my lawn that I need to shoo away.

Audit this (grabs crotch)

We had our annual HOA meeting the other night. I missed last year’s meeting because I was away. When I think of silly days throughout the year that I look forward to way more than I know I should, Annual HOA meeting comes up near the top of the list. Others, if you care, include: Fantasy football draft days, fantasy baseball draft day, the first 2 days of the NCAA tournament. This, of course, excluded holidays and birthdays. I’m talking about random days that are just too much fun to ignore.

Unfortunately, turnout was piss poor this year. I was sad. I had hoped for a bunch of drunken rednecks to show up and start screaming that the dues were too high or that they hated everything.

Instead, we were subjected to an evening with BigSexyGlenn. Of course, knowing this would happen, I made up a list of things he (or others) would say at the meeting and passed said list out to people at the meeting. It was fun to sit there, knowing that he had already demanded we do an audit and that, any moment now, “I have a degree in property management” was coming. When it did, I looked at a few people who were nearly in tears from laughter.

I leaner that BigSexyGlenn didn’t like the fact that we tried to grow 3 corn stalks behind our house this past summer. Apparently that detracted from the curb appeal of our homes. Mind you, as you would expect, the curbs are in the front of the house and the corn was out back. BigSexyGlenn is all about consistency of house appearance. He wants everything to look the same; that’s how it works in a townhome community. Noting that, I emailed the board a list of inconsistencies at his house. I wonder if they’ll do anything about them. Glass houses, asshole…glass houses.

Otherwise, the meeting was dull. There weren’t enough people there to start any fights. The biggest uproar was over BigSexyGlenn’s insistence that we have an audit done. When the treasurer asked him what he thought would be involved, he could not answer, but countered by asking the Board if they’d read the NC state laws on townhouse management. One person finally said “You just want us to say ‘no’ to feel better about all this, don’t you?” That was beautiful.

He also chided the board for not breaking into a house that had been in foreclosure to fix their blinds. Again, they asked “Did you want us to break in?” He said they should have done something. “You mean break in, right?”

It went on like that for some time. I applaud the Board. I know what they go through and they’ve had an especially hard time of it lately. Last year, they lost over $10,000 in income when 3 houses defaulted on mortgages and stopped paying dues. That’s a lot of money. They managed to keep things afloat and continue the improvement projects I started. Kudos to them.

I bought a big exercise ball last weekend. It’s quite fun. I sit on it for about half the workday. I had realized that I was slouching while I worked and would end up with a stiff neck by about 3:00. Now I have a big orange ball to bounce around on. Since I couldn’t get to the gym today, I took the opportunity to exercise during a particularly uninteresting conference call. People babbled about something; I did these nasty sit-up things. JewelrySlut and I have to find a way to work the big ball into our love play. Because that will be awesome. Shockingly, there’s some site in Australia devoted to finding ways to exercise while boning.

The internet is awesome.

Walkin’ by myself

The past 2 mornings, I helped out at school. They’re doing fitness testing and the gym teacher asked for volunteers. Help at gym class? Hell…I can do that!

Tuesday was an inside day. Remember the standing broad jump and the infamous shuttle run? Well…I officiated the former and gawked at the latter.

Today was the 1-mile run.

I have this to say about teachers everywhere: You do God’s work. I could NEVER imagine having to put up with that many kids who didn’t belong to me without killing at least 5 of the little shit heads.

“Stand behind the line, jump from both feet. I’ll mark where you land”
Simple enough, right?

Child 1 stands over the line.
“Behind the line”
Child stays there
(Points with yard stick) “Behind the line please”
Child moves back the slightest bit
“Listen, I can do this all day if you want. Get behind the line and jump”

Rinse, repeat, kill.

They had to do the mile today. Shmuppie finished in about 9 minutes or so. She was 3rd or so in the class. One kid walked the mile in 32 minutes.

Think about that. Do you know how hard you have to try to walk a mile in 32 minutes? We’re not talking about some decrepit old lady; we’re talking about an 8-year old. To take that long takes a lot of something? Determination? Spite? Hatred for all authority?

How do you harness that kind of obstinance and make something useful out of it? Or, as I suspect, does the school, at this age, just say “Fuck her” and move on? Hell…who’s to say they didn’t say that 2 weeks in to Kindergarten? This behavior was not a today phenomenon.

Before I go and sound all “In my day” on you, I know we were awful little kids running around in 1982. But I can’t ever recall anyone being as rude and awful as some of these kids are. The teacher says sit down? They look him in the eye and walk the other way. There’s a difference between kids being kids and a lack of respect.

And…how much of it is race?

On a lighter note, 2 mothers were there helping. These kids, because of the nature of the school, have been in class together since Kindergarten. Shmuppie will stay with this exact group through 5th grade now.
“Look at Johnny…he looks like he gained weight. What do you think that could be from?”
“Oh…I bet he’s on medication. Probably steroids. They make you gain weight.”

Really ladies? You’re gonna look at an 8-year old kid in the year 2010 and assume medication? Really? The kid’s got a damn body by McDonald’s there. This same child walked the mile and was panting and sweating after less than 1/4 mile. The little bastard is fat. I’d wager he hasn’t eaten anything green in months!

Damn kids. I hate them all.

Hmmm…at current time, the dopes down the road are sending us emails to tell us that they’ll never read emails from us ever again and that we should never email them ever again…and again.

Annual Homeowner’s meeting tonight. I plan to hand out lists for people that show things that are guaranteed to be said at the meeting. Mostly, they’re things BigSexyGlenn will say. It should be fun.

I helped at school today. The kids are evil and the gym teacher is a saint.

I have nothing else to say for now. I’ll just sit here and bounce on my big ball.