Monday, July 25, 2005

The Big Rake

We went to Vegas last weekend to celebrate a good friend's birthday, and we also managed to play in a poker tournament at the Luxor. Fantastic! The low-down:

It was a "freeze out" tournament, which means once you bought in, you played until you ran out of chips, and then you're out: no re-buys, no do-overs. For $33 in real money, each player received $350 in "poker" chips, meaningless blank chips you couldn't walk out with and cash in anywhere. We started with around 120 players (9 tables, 12 people per table, plus a lot of "alternates" who filled in the first openings as people went out in the first round).

I did well: made it to somewhere in the top 20, down to three half-full tables, but didn't get into the money (you had to make 7th and up for $). The star of the show, however, was my amazing wife, who was down to her last two chips, and then went on an "all-in" explosion, winning the next four hands and knocking out about 7 players in the process. She not only made the final table, she not only made top 7, she knocked out several more players and eventually went "heads up" against the only other player, eventually losing out on a final all-in.

Very exciting stuff! The Big Rake proves her Vegas dominance (2nd Vegas tournament, 2nd final table) once again, and wins enough money to make our new dining room table a reality! WSOP, here we come!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Safeway sociological experiment

I have been shopping at the same Safeway grocery store for the past 3+ years. Yesterday, I inadvertently conducted an experiment. My data:

Normal shopping experience (the "control," right?) :
  • Time: usually Saturday AM
  • Wearing: t-shirt and jeans
  • Buying: same old stuff
  • Employee reaction: over the years, I usually am greeted upon entering, but am otherwise ignored. Also, in all of this time, I think I have NOT bagged my own groceries maybe twice (even though there are actual baggers working).

Yesterday's shopping experience:

  • Time: Tuesday PM
  • Wearing: navy pinstripe suit, blue dress shirt, blue/lavender tie (came straight from work)
  • Buying: same old stuff
  • Employee reaction: I was greeted several times, asked by five different employees if I "needed any help finding everything," and was additionally asked by four different employees if they could "help me." At checkout, a bagger not only left a different lane to bag my groceries, but I was additionally asked by two other baggers if I needed help out to my car.

Conclusion: might not be worth the dry-cleaning bill, but dressing up for the grocery store certainly get results!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Why I hate Suburban Dad

As I head into my second month of the new job, I am realizing that the length of my commute home has little to do with train schedules, possible BART strikes, or weather, but instead one overriding factor: is there a Giants game tonight? Because if there is, Suburban Dad is going to slow me down.

Suburban Dad never takes transit, instead driving to work in his SUV and paying for parking. Suburban Dad, therefore, has no "commuter courtesy." What this means is that Suburban Dad, riding BART for the first time with Bored Wife and Anxious Kids (all in matching brand-new Giants hats they picked up at the mall), likes to stand in the middle of the train platform and stare at the map, too afraid to ask for help or directions, but apparently not afraid to block the way for others who know where they are going. Suburban Dad stands in the middle of the escalator, because it's a ride, right? Suburban Dad assumes everybody else is going to the baseball game and not trying to go home, and so stands in front of the turnstyle, fumbling for his unused ticket, instead of standing aside so people can get past him.

In short, Suburban Dad is a jerk and a nuisance, but worst of all, Suburban Dad doesn't know that he's a jerk and a nuisance because he's too self-absorbed to turn his head slightly to the left and realize there are other people on the train with him, people who don't give a rat's ass that he's using the firm's tickets with his family instead of clients for the first time in years.

Not that I'm irritated or anything...