Friday, April 20, 2007

There Goes June...

As some of you might recall, last November I was talked into getting my hands dirty once again, and leapt into the adventure which is National Novel Writing Month. I had completed it twice previously, though many moons ago, and I was proud that I managed to complete it last year.

Have I done anything with my 50,000 words since then? No, no I haven't. Which is a sad thing - I really should approach my most recent work and examine it for signs of life. I've been making at least token attempts to balance my life recently, and I have become aware that I have been neglecting the writing side of my personal equation. Even the one semi-regular outlet I have, this here blog, has undergone periods of neglect.

I know from experience that writing doesn't just "happen"; you need to create time and space for it. Wishing won't make it so. Now, I'll just point out here that I am haven't yet committed to a new regime where I can dedicate chunks of time to the literary arts, I have merely decided that I want to decide if I want to or not.

You can't call me indecisive, that's for sure. I think. Maybe.

Into the midst of this self-analysis of the State of the Garth (at least as it regards writing) fell quite the bombshell. Yesterday a seemingly innocent email arrived in my inbox, which immediately gave me pause. After completing NaNoWriMo last November, I rewarded myself by donating some cash to the good folks who organise it every year. The email yesterday was soliciting some more donations, but this time it wasn't for National Novel Writing Month. No, this was for something different.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you... Script Frenzy!

Now, this is just the teaser site, not the fully operational battle station version (to steal from Ryan who stole from Lucas). But here are the relevant details:

1) Write a script (for stage or screen) of at least 20,000 words in the month of June
2) Work alone or in teams of two; 20,000 words is still the goal in either case
3) Be awesome

June is a busy month for me, and probably for a lot of you. My June includes two inter-city footy matches, one weekend in Chicago, and a trip to Vegas to play in the WSOP. In addition, I've never written (or even attempted to write) a screenplay in my life. But in my bag I do have the screenplay for Reservoir Dogs (true), and I also have a book called "How To Write A Movie In 21 Days" (also true). Since I was carrying around these two books even before I received the email, I would seem to be in real danger of signing up for this thing.

(The other books in my bag? "Last Exit To Brooklyn", by Hubert Selby, and Phil Gordon's Little Green Book.)

I would also like to announce the first casualty of Script Frenzy, who has already cursed my name for telling her about it. Yes, Gracie is Patient Zero once again. Now I just have to work out if I am foolhardy brave enough to take the plunge myself...

Hypothetically, if I was to sign up for this thing, can anyone suggest any good screenwriting software? The formatting alone will probably drive me bonkers. I was recently told about some Mac software that looked pretty juicy: Scrivener. I might grab that anyway, for general writing (not just Script Frenzy - if I indeed do it), but I'd love for some input if anyone has any.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

For one reason or another, it appears I'm continuing to talk about movies. Blame the migraine, or blame Ryan, but that's where we're at. Last night I decided to (continue to) take it easy, eschewing the poker once more for some movie viewing. As previously mentioned, I had actually viewed my current NetFlix offerings, and had managed to send two of them back to home base. This is a rare event. For those who were dubious about my claims to being the best/worst Netflix customer in the country, I present to you a screen shot of my Netflix queue that I took yesterday.

So, do you think I should go for the upgrade to 4 at-a-time?

That's correct - I have had a Netflix DVD for over 2 years. A DVD I have watched once, about 6 months ago. And which I just recently purchased because I came across it bundled with "Pi" (a movie I also love) for $10.


I should also mention that my self-proclaimed status as best/worst customer of Netflix is under fire from someone close to home; apparently All-Star was actually a paying member of Netflix for a year before he realised who they were. As the story goes, back before anyone knew what it was, All-Star signed up for a free trial of Netflix and promptly forgot about it, not noticing when the "you pay now" phase of the membership kicked in.

Please note that he has more than made up for this initial tardiness in the interim. But still: hilarious.

While examining my Netflix queue, I noticed that there was a new "Watch Now" option. I understand that while it is new to me, it may have actually been around for 18 months or so, but I was still intrigued. It appears for a small subset of Netflix offerings you can actually watch them instantly on your PC. Naturally, since I am such a high-churn user of Netflix, I had to try this out immediately.

After perusing the selection of movies, I settled on watching "Cool Hand Luke", a movie I have been meaning to watch for some time. Once I had finished watching the movie, the only thing I could think was: "Why the hell didn't someone make me watch this movie 15 years ago?!". Luke has immediately leapt into my Pantheon of Heroes, sharing some ground with another of my favourites, Yossarian (from Catch-22). Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the flick... and who knows, maybe I'll actually get around to watching a few more.

I have also set the line for "amount of time it will take a co-worker to tell me to stop saying 'What we have here is a failure to communicate'" at two days.

Take the under.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Aussie Rules on Deadspin

I would remiss if I didn't point out an article on Deadspin featuring Australian Rules Football. And much like many of the commenters, I have no idea why ESPN doesn't feature it more often. Or hell, I'd settle for Versus.


Sometimes it starts with an almost imperceptible feeling that something is "wrong". Maybe it's the strange sensation of not being able to properly see my fingers typing away at the corner of my vision. Sometimes it starts with a shimmering dot somewhere in front of me that I notice, eventually, cursing. Once I suddenly and completely lost my peripheral vision while out and about with my parents, causing me to immediately begin running into things while trying to navigate the challenging layout of a suburban mall.

All of these things, once identified, cause me to take immediate action: usually a good bout of swearing, followed by scrambling to see if either myself or All-Star has a cache of contraband codeine stashed after our latest visit home.

It means I'm getting a migraine.

Yesterday I was treated to the shimmering blind spot version, when mid-morning I noticed a little circle of pain in the upper left of my field of vision. With dread I watched as the little circle expanded, slowly, into a large spiral arcing and obscuring large portions of my view. During this migraine precursor there is not much I can do except ingest painkillers, stay away from my computer, and wait to see how bad it is.

If I'm lucky, once the blind spots pass, I'm only suffering from a Baby Migraine. Some discomfort, but with the right drugs, and perhaps wearing my sunglasses in my cube (a genuine excuse to look like a bad-ass, or a pretentious dork (I go for bad-ass)) I can tough the day out.

If I'm unlucky I get the Big Papa Migraine, where it feels like someone is applying a power-drill to my skull, and I'm completely incapacitated.

My episode on Tuesday was an Obnoxious Older Brother Migraine - more than enough to have me wanting, and needing, to go home, but able to be toughed out if necessary. Unfortunately, due to a customer call and a couple of pressing issues, I didn't feel I could flee the premises, and so I was forced to endure the day, hoping that the couple of issues would resolve themselves and I could depart.

No such luck; as it happened I got out of the office after the rest of my team had left. Nice how that happens, sometimes.

I still managed to get home relatively early, and while I wasn't able to take a nap immediately for fear of not being able to sleep that night, I did the next best thing: order a metric ton of comfort food and watch a movie (in this case "Punch Drunk Love", which I've had out from Netflix for over a year - I'm either their best, or worst, customer, depending on how you look at it. It's like I'm donating to them in appreciation of their business model). A nice hot shower, and early to bed, has me in relatively decent shape today. I refer to the day after a migraine as being the "aftershocks" - when I'm still not 100%, could still be a little headachey, and wanting nothing else except to head home and nap. Again.

Some people have managed to identify their migraine triggers, and have been able to tailor their lifestyles accordingly. I've never managed to do it, which is both a blessing and a curse; part of the reason I haven't been able to work out exactly what causes the magic for me is that my episodes are (thankfully) infrequent. My dad suffers from them, and states his triggers as stress and lack of sleep. I can't easily say that either of those are direct causes, though I can't argue that they may be contributing factors in my case. As I was saying to All-Star just the other day, I haven't had a regular sleeping pattern in quite some time. And stress? I can't say that I have been feeling it more recently than normal, and could make the argument that I'm feeling a little less stressed than I have in a while.

It is true that I turned up to work in a bad mood for whatever reason, a mood that was only amplified when dealing with the crap that was on my desk to deal with when I actually began to perform my daily duties, but I have to think that's more a symptom than the disease itself. Not to mention I don't recall "being a moody bitch" as one of the common threads in previous episodes.

If nothing else it makes me grateful that I don't suffer them with greater regularity or intensity, and that this is nothing much in comparison to other conditions people have to deal with on a daily basis.

I'm still gonna wear my dark glasses in my cube though. Just try and stop me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Extra Spice

Sometimes I need a Monday to recover from my weekends, and such was the case for the one just passed. This time of year in DC is jammed full of events coinciding with the blooming of the cherry blossoms along the DC tidal basin. While this also heralds the beginning of the deluge of tourists who descend upon DC, it also allows those of us lucky enough to live here the chance to attend some cool exhibits and showings - most of which are free. As I said to my parents when they were over here visiting: "Make sure you get to see as much as you can. After all, they're paid for by my taxes!"

I kid, I kid.

Often times I miss some of the cool things I might be interested in seeing, but this past weekend I was invited along to catch a special showing of the latest anime creation from Satoshi Kon, called Paprika (WARNING: Paprika link has sound), and the director was even there for some entertaining pre-screening commentary (that had to be interpreted).

It has been a long time since I have taken in some anime; the last time had been a movie I saw as part of an anime festival back home in Australia, and it had been even longer since I had had my face taken off by Akira and Ghost in the Shell. I really enjoyed Paprika (which is being released into theatres later this year), not just for the movie itself, but also as a reminder of the extremely cool stuff that is out there if you look for it.

In addition to watching the movie itself, I also got to have a great time people-watching. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to be anywhere near an anime screening or convention, you are missing out on a great cross-section of fandom. All around us were wonderful examples of otaku, fan-boys and fan-girls geeking out in all their finery. In the crowd we had people sporting punk hair-dos, wigs, and afros. Anime shirts and questionable fashion abounded, as did plenty of funky back-packs and electonic devices of all shapes and sizes. My only regret is I didn't manage to see anyone engaging in cosplay; I personally was hoping for some people in Sailor Moon costumes, but would have settled for just about anything. Apparently there was at least one Power Ranger wandering about earlier in the day, but I missed out.

After the movie there was to be some Q&A with the director (which I described as being "Fan-Boy Super Happy Go Lucky Question Time!!!"), but we decided discretion was the better part of valour, and made our escape.

After reflecting on the weekend, I decided to look up an item or two on Amazon, which was the catalyst for pulling the trigger on a few items I have had on my Wish List for some time. And so, with some pride, I present to you a fantastically nerdy Amazon bundle:

Items Ordered
1 of: Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict [Paperback]
By: Roger B. Myerson (Author)

Sold by:
- 1 item(s) Gift options: None

1 of: 300 [Hardcover]
By: Frank Miller (Author), Lynn Varley (Author)

Sold by:
- 1 item(s) Gift options: None

1 of: Ghost in the Shell [DVD]
By: Atsuko Tanaka (Actor), et al

Sold by:
- 1 item(s) Gift options: None

1 of: Witching Hour [Audio CD]
By: Ladytron (Artist)

Sold by:
- 1 item(s) Gift options: None

If anyone can beat this selection, I would be at once impressed and a little scared.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I am continuing to examine and fine-tune my online poker diet, as I try and look at playing in tournaments and games which I think suit my bankroll, sleeping patterns, and overall game. Right now this means continuing to hit the Daily Double on Full Tilt when I can, though earlier this week I entered the nightly Stars tournament at 8pm on a whim and was pleasantly surprised to see my starting stack was 3k - effectively making it a Deep Stack tournament. Sign me up! The 8pm start time is a little more problematic for me to hit it with any regularity, but I'm going to try and get there when I can.

I've also decided that for the time being I am going to avoid the bigger buy-in tournaments unless I manage to satellite in - and right now this probably means the Stars Million, as the Sunday 11:30am tournament is a personal favourite.

Last night I was able to hit the Daily Double after returning from the gym, to once again try my hand at this tournament I enjoy so much. (I'm trying to get myself to the gym more regularly - between footy training on Tuesday and a game on Saturday I figure once a week at the gym should get me in decent shape. Right now my body doesn't know what has hit it.)

As sometimes occurs, the two tournaments were a study in contrasts; I could get nothing going in DDA, but in DDB I was a card rack and managed to (almost) bust someone in the first orbit when my AA held up against villain's KK.

I made it to the first break in both tournaments, just below my starting stack in DDA, and still sitting pretty in DDB. The second hour wasn't kind, and I found myself in trouble early in the third hour in DDA, forced to go out with a whimper and not a bang. Midway through the third hour things went pear-shaped in DDB, and I found myself short-stacked. Looking down at AJo in MP, with two limpers before me, I decided it was as good a time as any and pushed my remaining chips into the middle. Which is when the button pushed over me. Uh Oh. With AA. Uh Oh.

J on the flop. J on the turn.


Two hands later my AKs beat another mid-stack's KQs... and I was off! I spent the middle stage of the tournament around the top 10, going as high as 3, as I managed to occasionally pick off blinds and antes in addition to having my occasional big hands pay off. At one point the guy I almost busted in the first orbit reappeared at my table with an extremely healthy chipstack. This lasted for a while until I finished the job, busting him and his JJ with QQ - which put me back into the top 10.

As we got down to 27 or so left, my table had heaps of chips. The lowest stack on my table would have been middle of the pack on the other two tables... which was when I made a mis-step, reading my opponent incorrectly and paying off flopped trips, which crippled me. I punched back immediately, working my way back up to a semblance of a stack.

The next hand I got the hand I am now calling "Kryptonite": AQ. As previously mentioned, I am going through a stretch where I can't win with it, and can't win against it. It is getting to the point where if I see I have it, and know I need to push with it, I am already gathering my things to leave. Likewise if I get in against it, no matter my holding, I almost immediately wave the white flag. Last week I got my AKo in, and was called all-in by AQ - I instantly went "Uh oh", and saw a Q spike on the river.

This time it was a little more conventional, as someone woke up with AA, and I couldn't pull an AJ-like miracle. Even though I finished deep, I can't help shake the feeling I should have done better.

Next time.


The mighty AlCantHang has been working some of his magic, looking to create a Blogger Bracelet Race. He is doing his utmost to ensure that this is a blogger only event, as we try and send one of our own to the WSOP. Because of this we are guarding the password with our lives to try and ensure the integrity of the event. Here are the details:

Tournament name: Blogger Bracelet Race
When: Sunday, April 29th, 7pm ET
Game: NLHE Deepstack
Buyin: $24+2 or token

For the password, please email Those of you who get the password, please keep it under your hat. Let's send a blogger to Vegas!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It's Official

After much to-ing and fro-ing I have locked up the dates and booked tickets and hotel rooms.

Yes, I'm going to the WSOP.

I am flying in on the evening of Thursday June 28th, and flying out on the red-eye on Tuesday July 3rd. Sometimes being an ex-pat is handy (what do you mean, Independence Day?). I'll be staying for the duration at Hooter's casino (sorry Drizz!), as that seemed to provide the most bang for my buck, so to speak.

The plan is to play Event #47, a 2k buy-in NLHE event, which kicks off on June 29. Of course the perceptive amongst you may also have noticed that Event #48 also kicks off on that day. Event #48? What's that? Oh, only the 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball with Rebuys (Limit)...

So now I have two and a half months to try and build the bankroll, see if I can win a bracelet race, and agonize over the "backers or no backers" question.

Good times. Good times indeed.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Very Australian Weekend (if you don't count the snow)

It is with some joy that I have discovered some Australian-friendly (or at least Australian-tolerant) bars in these parts. The discovery that these bars will show both cricket and Australian Rules Football enabled me to perform the following this past weekend:

1) Wake up Saturday morning after 5.5 hours of boozy sleep at the ungodly hour of 7:30am to discover it has snowed
2) Get my shit together, and get picked up to go to footy training/co-ed footy game
3) Discover it is pretty damn cold to be running around in 30 degrees with snow on the ground
4) Discover that the snow and the cold is turning the footballs into oval bricks
5) Head to the bar after running around for the better half of three hours
6) Go home for some recuperation
7) Head to the bar at 11:30pm for the live telecast of an Australian Rules game from back home
8) Proceed to drink a ton of beer as my Fremantle Dockers get jobbed by the umpires
9) Pass out for 8 hours
10) Wake up, shove some food in my gob, jump in and out of the shower, and head back to the bar
11) Drink a ton of beer while watching Australia beat England convincingly in the cricket
12) Discover on Monday morning that the oval bricks have created some pretty spectacular bruising on my forearms. (No, I don't catch the ball with my forearms... you know, I'm just going to shut up).

That, my friends, is how to have an Aussie sport-filled weekend in the USA. Now if I could only do something about the snow...

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Like Your Old Plan Better Than Your New Plan

I know witnessing my indecisiveness and dithering makes for fascinating blog fodder, but I figured since I've come this far, why not continue?

OK, here's the new new plan: if I can swap out having to work on June 30th, I can look at playing Event #47, 2k buyin, which starts on Friday the 29th of June. Looks like the weekend of the 16th ain't gonna happen, and the weekend either side is devoted to big games of footy (against North Carolina and Boston, respectively).

Upon inspection, June is totally jammed. How the hell did I get so busy?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Further Adventures in Scheduling

Well that didn't last long. Looks like there is a chance the 6/15 event might be off for the moment. Tracking...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

An Adventure in Scheduling

As part of my drive to get organised (woah... couldn't even write that without laughing out loud) I decided it come time for me to take a gander regarding booking for the WPBT event in June. As I was doing that I decided I should maybe see if there which WSOP events were candidates for a visit from Garthmeister J.; I have decided that I may as well see about throwing my hat into the ring for a $1500 or $2000 NLHE event (leaning towards the $2k).

Looking at the WSOP schedule, I realised there was a prime candidate: a $2k NLHE tournament kicking off on the Wednesday before the WPBT. Perfect!

Which was about the time I decided I better check my work schedule. Sweet, nothing on for that weekend. Now, what about footy?

Oh, crap.

Yes, it appears that the first inter-city match of the season takes place on that Saturday, neatly deep-sixing any chance of my appearance at the WPBT Summer Classic, let alone the WSOP event immediately preceding it. Dang.

Anyhoo, I've sent out feelers to determine if the footy date is set in stone. If it is, I am going to be forced to sit on the sidelines for this one, and take dial-a-shots from my couch.

I am still seriously considering jetting into Sin City for a WSOP event, however. There are two other 2k events that caught my eye; unfortunately the one on 6/30 does have a clash with work.

But Event 25, kicking off 6/15, looks like it could be a winner. So tell me, oh mighty Imaginary Internet Friends... does this date appeal to anyone else?

And if there is another event you think I might have overlooked, let me know...