Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Friday Night

Yes it's a chick flick. Yes you can make fun of me. But the question is...

Is it your Friday night too?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


After rocking a short stack, climbing as high as 600,000 chips and then bouncing around the poker spectrometer, Paul's LAPC came to an end. He finished in 28th place. I am really proud of him. By the way I'm calling this Paul's "Obama shot."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In the money!

Yesterday was a difficult day for Paul. Admittedly, he didn't play perfect poker. But he scraped and clawed his way into the money. He currently has 90,000 chips. Average is about 180,000 but anything can happen.

We were talking last night and it feels so good to have finally cashed again. We have done things differently throughout this tournament and it feels incredibly good to be rewarded. This couldn't come at a better time as there are more tournaments down the road. This is the plan: Double up. Double up again! Double up again!

Keep your fingers crossed,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Well above average

I used to be forced to listen to Garison Keiller's tales from Lake Wobegone, where blah blah blah and all the children are above average.

Well Paul is still in the tournament and his 120k stack is well above average. His play has been phenomenal. Yesterday he eliminated a player early on to get his day rolling. Then when Isaac Haxton took his place, Paul began picking on him, whittling him down. Once Haxton got desperate and pushed all-in Paul finished the job. He also snapped off a bluff from Karga Holt and managed to keep the ever dangerous Nick Schulman from doing any damage.

There are 170 people left. The survivors from today will definitely make the money. Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dinner Break

Paul is in his element. I haven't seen him this focused or this enthusiastic in a long time. I too, am extremely excited. I have none of the usual nervousness that I've had in recent tourneys. That said, I am having a very difficult time studying for upcoming midterms. I have railed Paul for eight hours and I think I picked up a tell on one of the other players at his table. Paul agrees. Right now he's sitting on 37,000 chips, which is considerably above average. My one regret is that we didn't get the MMA bets in for the fight tonight (DON"T TELL ME RESULTS!). I thought about getting the bets in and we even discussed them but in all of the poker preparations, we both forgot. My bad.

I don't know what will happen but I am extremely excited.

LA Poker Classic

Today is Day 1 of the LA Poker Classic. Due to a contractual snafu, the media coverage is going to be terrible. The best place for online updates appears to be PokerNews but there may also be a dribble from Cardplayer and PokerListings. I'll update as I can but since Paul and I are trying a new and much more involved game plan for tournament days, I may or may not be able to post regular updates. Paul is at Table 37, seat 7. His table is unlikely to break today as they are breaking the extra tables in the "poker tent" first, and then breaking in descending order from Table 66 on down. I don't recognize anyone at Paul's table but since I don't know all that many players and half of Paul's opponents have pulled hoods on their head, this isn't saying much. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This is the latest from last semester's professor, currently on sabbatical in Australia. I received a D- on the final paper (which caused me to get an A- in the class) and I have asked for clarification. After 7 weeks, he has not clarified anything. Instead he chose to send this email:

I just received this email from Associate Dean, Professor _______ and I
think it is timely. Even though it describes undergraduates, I think it
is also relevant for MBAs. In asking for more feedback, I trust that
you will be open to very candid comments/insights which may or may not lower (he meant raise) your grade.

Cheers, ________
The article.

My response:

I'm not sure I understand how this article relates to me. Are you suggesting that my motivation for going through all of this is that I feel that I worked hard and thus deserve a higher grade than the A- that I have?

If so, sir, I find that insinuation extremely insulting. I work in an industry in which one is measured by results, not by the degree to which one puts in effort or the amount of entitlement one feels. Furthermore, in 22 years of receiving grades I have never contested one.

Even now, although this process has already taken 4 times longer than I could have imagined, I am still not yet contesting my grade. What I am doing still after seven weeks, is simply asking for an explanation of how that paper rates a D-, an explanation I have still not received.

I have zero interest in the beliefs of simpleminded students at other universities. I fully understand what it means to study in and for that matter to work in a meritocracy. Let’s keep our discussion to the issue at hand. I welcome any and all comments on the paper, and the more candid the better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The Broncos are in a rebuilding year. Although it hasn't been made official, pundits everywhere are predicting a switch to a 3-4 Defense, which'll require fat fat men. Since this season is likely to be a wash, I recommend bringing in some veterans now to mentor the youngins. No I'm not talking about Julius Peppers or Albert Haynesworth. Obviously having those guys would be great but IMO not worth the price they'll command.

I'd like to see the Broncos work out two aging studs that have recently been let go by their teams: Ravens CB Chris McAlister and Jaguars RB Fred Taylor. Both of these guys have reached the twilight of their careers but at least one of them probably has a good year left in them. Both are wealthy and are just looking to extend their careers so the Broncos probably wouldn't have to dig deeply. Not flashy, not long term solutions, but they just might be able to help ease this transition and allow the Broncos to stop some gaps this year in order to spread the needs over two years.

Chop Chop

BroncoTalk again reporting six more Bronco cuts.
  • John Engelberger
  • Dewayne Robertson
  • Nate Jackson
  • Niko Koutouvides
  • Marquand Manuel
  • Jamie Winborn
The only cut I question, and this only slightly is Jamie Winborn. He alone showed decent tackling and perhaps a little potential. In cutting these six, Josh McDaniels has freed up ~$25 Mill in cap room while making one thing crystal clear: You need to make plays to keep a playbook in Denver.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Attempting Elbert

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

*Although I hiked with four other people, I really don't know what Saturday was like for them. Due to cold, wind, and an inability to walk side by side, each person spent most of the time accompanied only by their own thoughts. This post reflects that.*

all my pictures here.

For the past three weeks, I'd been questioning my decision to attend grad school. Stuck in two classes requiring more homework than I'm wont to provide, to say that I'd been unhappy about school's demands on my time would be an understatement. Instead of boning up on the intricacies of demand, I repeatedly retreated--with a glass of whisky and a comfy armchair-- to the high peaks of the Karakoram, Bernese Alps, and the Alaska Range. I tore through Three Cups of Tea, This Game of Ghosts, The White Spider, and most recently In The Shadow of Denali, by Jon Waterman. I have (almost) no desire to climb huge scary faces, but for reasons I've never been able to pinpoint, I do crave the tests that mountains provide.

As the semester progressed, I became increasingly depressed about the lack of meaningful challenges in my life and at the same time increasingly obsessed with attempting a winter ascent. Instead of solving "Least Cost Spanning-Tree" problems in Decision Modeling, I began reading trip reports on SummitPost and An 81trucolrs post and a few phone calls later, I had assembled a group of like minded climbers: Jennifer, Paul, Jeremy, and Kevin. We eschewed easier winter climbs like Mt. Sherman and Quandary Peak, opting instead for Mt. Elbert, the second highest mountain in the contiguous U.S. Although Sunday called for better conditions, I insisted on a Saturday attempt. I knew that if we scheduled the hike for Sunday, I'd forgo homework on Saturday and get even more behind than I already am.

We snatched a few hours of fitful sleep at Jeremy's before getting up at 4:45, but snowy roads prevented us from hiking until 7am. We began heading up a valley toward Elbert's east ridge, an ambitious 12 mile roundtrip route.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

Under low clouds and with temperatures in the teens, we made steady progress up the unplowed road to the upper trailhead. At the two-mile mark, we strapped on snowshoes and began breaking trail up through a never ending aspen forest.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

After another mile, the faint vestige of trail petered out, leaving us amidst thick trees. Unsure of our location, we began slogging through deep snow in the general direction of our target. On normal (summer) ascents, I generally don't give myself credit for beginning a hike until I'm above treeline. Here though, breaking trail when it was my turn, I knew I was in it literally up to my knees.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

Although I'd scoured pictures of the route, read the description and printed close up topo maps of the area, I had no clue where we were. You'd think the highest mountain in Colorado would be easy to find, but under a heavy blanket of clouds, our topos proved useless as we had trouble distinguishing snow capped peaks from clouds. The thick aspens didn't help. We literally could not find the lack of forest through the trees.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

On no trail but our own now, we slowly trudged up a snow filled valley, making our way toward some ridge, any ridge. I ate discs of Salami and choked down a nasty, runny, smooshed up egg that I'd thought was hard boiled. Hours later, we climbed out of the trees before spending a great deal of our remaining energy gaining a windswept ridge.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

Although I didn't think this at the time, I'm now convinced we were actually on the correct ridge. However, because we'd approached from a much lower point, the slope looked nothing like the pictures I'd studied. With windchill bringing temperatures close to zero, we put on everything we had and continued upward. At this point we'd been hiking for about 6 hours but we still had 1.5 miles 2000 vertical feet to go. People were in good spirits but exhaustion and cold were becoming a factor. We agreed to make one last concerted effort which lasted all of 20 minutes. It had been good hard fun but we'd moved too slowly and expended too much energy. Perhaps we could have endured a brutal forced march to the summit but it would have been miserable and dangerous, and would have meant hiking down in the dark. We weren't even certain that we were even on the correct trail. As the wind swept around us, we huddled together at 12,400' and admitted defeat. I shared hot tea from a thermos I'd borrowed from Walker and then we began the long trek down.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

Ironically, less than 20 minutes after we'd turned around, the sun broke through and we actually began to see the mountain we'd been trying to climb. Once out of the wind, we began warming up, stopping even for a five minute lunch. After 9 miles and 3,000 vertical feet, we made it to the cars. On the drive home, Paul and I had a strategy/motivational discussion that left me more excited for work than I have been in months.

From Valentine's Day Elbert Attempt

In 24 summits I'd only turned around once before (due to lightning) but in this case, we made the right decision. Surrounded by miles and miles of untouched snow, I didn't hit upon any brilliant epiphanies but I nevertheless returned to Boulder with a feeling of peace. Before Saturday, I acted as if my life course and bagging summits were a foregone conclusion. Now I'm taking everything a little less for granted. Although I failed to summit and spent the entire day without a clue as to my location, I still found the perspective I needed. This semester will still be a difficult one and I'm certain these classes will continue to try my patience, but in failure yesterday, I found what I needed to succeed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cutting (dead )Weight

Apparently the Godfather isn't the only place where you can see severed horse heads. According to, the Denver Broncos just cut TEs Alex Haynes and Chad Mustard, RBs P.J. Pope and Anthony Aldridge, and WR Clifford Russell. Russell, Mustard and Haynes were complete nonproducers. However, the two RBs cut by newly anointed Head Coach Josh McDaniels, both showed promise to me. Tough break, I guess.

The Broncos need two backs to carry the load. With a healthy Ryan Torain, my choice for second back is actually veteran Michael Pittman. The Broncos will never do it because Pittman is considered over the hill but he runs very hard, has great hands, and is willing to get his hands dirty. He also can act as mentor for Torain.

Speaking of cuts, although i could name at least 20, here are five other players the Broncos should cut immediately:

Tatum Bell (RB): Bell is to the NFL what Scorpion ("Get Over Here") was to the video game Mortal Combat. He has one sweet move ("Bell tries to bounce it to the outside!") but once you figure out how to counter it, he's really not very good.

Marquand Manuel (S): Every single person who played safety last year for the Broncos should be on the street.

Karl Paymah (CB): This kid tries hard but that only really counts in Pop Warner.

Carlton Powell (DT): Carlton Powell perfectly embodies the prototypical (horrific) Denver D-linemen. He, like everyone not named Dumerville, is a no-talent no-name. Let's clean house and draft some guys who can actually play football.

Matt Prater (K): Rookie kickers face a lot of pressure in the NFL but that's the nature of the business. The Broncos can do better.

Coming Soon: Attempting Elbert!

We got up early and go lost, we broke trail, we created a snowshoe luge run. Real blog and more pics to follow soon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Not (quite) So Simple

It never fails. The more stressed I get, the more I retreat into the headphones. Here's a few slightly more complex songs and limited commentary:

Poe - Spanish Doll

Poe is a work in progress, and a leisurely one at that. One of her albums shows just how bad "chick rock" can get. But the other one captures that dark yet upbeat feel that has enabled Zero Seven and Portishead to have such success. But poe is a little less polished than ZS & P. She takes more risks (or is more schizo) than them. Her range is broader. I'd actually really like to hear Spanish Doll sampled for some slow, myopic hip hop piece.

Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses (Possibly NSFW) YouTube

Most FF songs are annoyingly similar. This one takes a small step forward, thanks to a Spoon-like guitar intro and some scratchy synth stuff which takes some of the focus off of FF's weakness: their vocals. Despite the fact that they pronounce it "My u-LUSS-eeze," the song remains just as catchy as Take Me Out and others but adds more complexity.

Ratatat - Truman

I couldn't help it. I really could have picked any Ratatat song here because their melodies seem like simple guitar riffs. That is until you realize that they actually sound like simple guitar riffs by aliens in a paper ripping factory inside a bottle, in your weirdest dream. This band does not categorize well. As for Truman? Truman is a little bit drum n bass, a little bit wierd vibraphone, and a lot awesome. Maybe you already knew that.

A penny saved

You can't spell Mismanagement without G-M. Here are the top 5 salary cap figures by position in the NFL. These numbers do reflect teams' abilities to wiggle. Since salaries are not guaranteed in the NFL, teams try to push a player's salary into later years. Since injuries are inevitable, they hope to save money and avoid a tough decision. That said, many players survive long enough to put pressure on GMs. That list reflects who's due in 09.

Jamal Lewis (due 6.5M) will be restructuring or selling cell phones.
LT (due 7.8M) should do what J Lew does but he probably won't. He could be the next Shaun Alexander (MVP to out of work in the blink of an eye)
Marvin Harrison (due 12M) isn't worth even half of this. (How are Anquan Boldin and Fitz not on this list?)
Champ Bailey (due 12.7M) should be traded by the Denver Broncos.
Orlando Pace (due 8.2M) is getting a little old and injury prone for this type of cash.
Julius Peppers (due 14.1M!!!) will be wearing a different uniform come September.
Defensive Tackle: Shaun Rogers and Jay Ratliff should be on this list instead of Tommie Harris and Cornelius Griffen.

Three teams had mulitiple players on this list but failed to make the playoffs:
  • Bears: Tommie Harris, Robbie Gould (this should really only count as 1.2 players though)
  • Bills: Aaron Schobel, Lee Evans
  • Rams: Orlando Pace, Tory Holt
  • Browns: Kellen Winslow, Joe Thomas, Jamal Lewis

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Valentine's Day Quandary?

Are you feeling lonely? Been spending every single freaking night alone? If so, you probably have realized that Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Since we both know you have no one for whom to buy ridiculous crap, it's time to envelop yourself in Mother Nature's warm embrace instead. Let's see if Cupid can bare his ass above treeline:

What: Winter ascent of a 14er or high 13er.
When: Valentine's Day Weekend
Where: Elbert, Quandary, Sherman, or ????
Who: You, if you are very physically fit and have lots of cold weather gear.

Barring another nasty stomach bug, I'm 100% doing this. You should too. Comment or email me asap if interested.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What I'm listening to

I so don't have time to be posting on the blogger but all (school)work and no music makes Truman a dull boy.

No time for reviews. These songs are awesome. Their soul runneth over. Drink up:

The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army YouTube (It's been long enough. You can admit that this song makes you feel like a total badass)
Fiona Apple - Get Gone YouTube (Slow to develop but worth the wait)
Tom Waits - Clap Hands (You love The Wire. Now love Tom)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Shannon not invited to the HOF party.

Shannon Sharpe was snubbed this week by Hall of Fame voters. It was his first ballot and most feel he will eventually get in. In my opinion, the HOF voters made a huge mistake in not welcoming him in immediately. He broke records in the only (3) categories by which a Tight End could be measured, redefining the position in a way that dynamically changed how modern offenses are run. The very fact that the Hall is considering him a wide receiver is a testament to the way he changed TE. With trash-talking and pass-catching skill in spades, Sharpe was one of my absolute favorite players to watch. Oh and he also won more super bowls than John Elway.

A classic Shannon Sharpe quote (about Free Safety Eugene Robinson):
"He can't out-talk me or cover me. He went to Colgate, but I'm smarter than he is. I might bump into him. I know he's not going to be covering me one-on-one. We know that's not going to happen, don't we?"
For shame, Hall of Fame.