Tuesday, March 31, 2009


ESPN has just reported that the Broncos are trying to trade Jay Cutler because he no longer appears interested in playing for them.

Big ups to the brash new coach and the big baby quarterback. Great job all around people. Seriously, well played.

My fan allegiance is now also on the market.


Today is my birthday. I am very content. My life is going swimmingly. I really am happy with all aspects of my life.

Year 29 began somewhat inauspiciously. I came home two nights ago to discover that Roxy the cat had unleashed roughly 500 gallons of urine onto my bed, soaking my comforter, sheets, mattress pad, and a good sized section of my pillow-top mattress. Walker washed everything and the comforter went to the dry cleaners. I spent the night on the futon bundled in warm camping clothes. Problem solved.

Then last night, 15 minutes into my birthday, I discovered two other older (yes, it was cat) pee stains on the mattress! These smelled horribly. Apparently I have been sleeping on a mattress saturated with cat pee for quite some time.

Although three of my last four significant others told me they loved the way I smelled, clearly this situation had to change. I Febreezed the $#!! out of the mattress and hit the futon again. I woke up early to take Roxy to the Vet to see if her now empty bladder was inflamed.

That's when everything began to turn around. The cute-ish Vet Tech reduced Roxy's bill estimate by $90, Walker made me breakfast, and then my roomates presented me with a much needed, extremely light weight insulated air mattress. Perhaps if the pee smells continue, I'll just use my awesome new pad.

The morning has been spent blogging, lounging, and waiting for Jess's cake to cool.

Plan for the day: Study, Shave, Shower, and buy a nice bottle of whiskey for those late spring winter storms I keep hearing about.

Dark Canyon 1: The beginning

From Dark Canyon
all my pics here.

I'd already been gone from Boulder for what felt like three weeks straight but I jumped at the chance to help lead a crew of seven Boy Scouts aged 13-15 years through Dark Canyon. Poker tournaments in San Jose and Las Vegas had forced me to miss the equipment shakedown and the always chaotic food buying session (where we unleash multiple crews of cash flush scouts at King Soopers to hunt down every package of available fruit snacks), while a subsequent tournament meant that I'd be leaving the trip early and driving to Vegas.

But I made it for the important part: 6 days and nights in the Utah desert, which this year proved to be windier than Chicago. As we made our way from Boulder to Green River, Utah where I'd be stashing my car before we headed south for the backpacking portion of the trip, I fielded an array of questions: "How do you play poker?" "Will you teach me how to win millions?" "Why don't your car windows stay up?" "What's college like?"

After ditching the car, I grabbed a ride with Mr. ________, a dour but surprisingly knowledgeable old man who told me that he was on some sort of medication that made it so he couldn't taste anything at all. Between handfuls of Cheese Puffs, he relayed that his doctors had advised him to "use this as an opportunity to lose a little weight." Conversation faltered so we retreated to the static-y fm dial offering exactly two selections either sleepy big band arrangements or "Neeeeeeeewwwww Country!!!!".

From Dark Canyon
Two crews spent one night at Goblin Valley State Park before splitting up. Walker, Mr. ______, and I took the seven older scouts and left my dad and a few bright eyed, overly enthusiastic fathers with the younger crew.

The Dark Canyon trailhead is actually on the wrong side of the canyon so we strapped on packs and began the 3 mile trek around to the other side. This canyon garners scant mention in any guidebooks, so Walker and I were relying for info on topos and a trip report by a group of 50 year olds from 2007. Rumor had it that we'd be descending 1,300 feet down a 50 degree sloped scree field to get into the canyon.
From Spring Break 2009 - High Adventure (Walker B.)

From Spring Break 2009 - High Adventure (Truman B.)
The rumors were accurate.

The scouts couldn't wait to start scrambling down. I let them go but told them that if they got careless and broke an ankle, I'd make their passage to the top as jarring as possible. I didn't have to say anything to Mr. _____ to slow his progress; His body accomplished that. He has no menisci in his knee so a descent like this one in high winds and with a full pack must have been excruciating. He fell a few times but managed to jab a walking stick into the rocks each time, thus ensuring that he fell uphill. Some choices are easy. About halfway down the slope, hiship decided that it was through compensating for his knee. This slowed him down further. Before the trip, three adults had advised him to go with the younger boys but he refused, wanting to spend a week camping with his youngest son.

Resting at the bottom I took my pack off, and laid on a rock looking up at the old man 400 feet above me, his son sticking by his side. I was about to turn 28 and I realized that someday that old man would be me. I would be in a canyon or on a mountain somewhere and I'd be cursing my way up or down, refusing to acknowledge that in every person's life there comes a time when the body says no more.

From Spring Break 2009 - High Adventure (Walker B.)
But today was not that day for me. Leaving my pack, I jogged back up to the duo and offered to take his pack. He told me that every part of his body said he should give it up but that I could have it when he died. As the shadows began to lengthen, we made our way into camp where Walker and six eager scouts had dinner cooking on a sandy beach inside Dark Canyon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Electronic Toothbrush

I have heard these are good. Many people I know use them. Which one do you have? Do you like it? What should I know before I buy one?

Friday, March 27, 2009


I know this blog has been sucking recently. I have been busier than usual which says a lot. I promise to get something decent up stat.

(At least one of these will be) COMING SOON!!!!

Dating and Economics
Dark Canyon
3 for 3
Authenticity and the Upcoming Tat
Dinner with Mom and Dad (and why my social life is in shambles).

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Paul is deep in another tourney. This back to back to back cash has made 2009 incredibly exciting.

What I see is an extremely focused Paul, one not worried about what other people think of his play anymore. Yesterday he began the day with 23k chips. He ended the day with 297k. It was one of the most clear examples of raw aggression I've witnessed.

Here is a hand as best as I can remember it:
An extremely short stacked Hoyt Corkins pushes his stack in from the Hijack (whoever eliminates Hoyt will get $5000 in cash on the spot). The button raises, the small blind calls, and Paul in the big blind thinks for a while and casually slides out a stack of the largest chips. Hoyt is already all-in but the other two have a decision to make. They need the $5k bounty that Hoyt represents. But they are afraid of Paul. They twist for a while and then reluctantly fold. Paul turns over K, 4 offsuit. Unfortunately Hoyt has a higher K but since Hoyt was only eligible for a small pot, Paul is freerolling. Hoyt wins the hand, quadrupling up, while Paul breaks even. The other two players look at Paul in absolute disgust.
Hoyt is a friend but there are no friends at the table. Plain and simply put poker is not for the emotional. The cards have no conscience. No one apologizes for suckouts anymore. This game requires that any advantage be pushed as far as allowed. Last night, shortly before the money bubble burst, Paul had absolute control of his table. With 46 left in the tournament and 45 getting paid, he heartlessly raised every single hand, stealing 9000 chips each time. Because he had everyone outchipped they didn't dare raise.

It's not an exact parallel but I can't get Kanye out of my head.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Best pickup?

Of all the players the Broncos have signed this offseason, one of my favorites is backup QB Chris Simms. I actually campaigned for the Broncos to sign him last year. Say what you want about his skills, which IMO cannot yet be fully evaluated. What no one can question is his toughness. If you don't know the story, here's a BroncoTalk article explaining why. Bottom line, football is all about depth and Simms is a much better backup than Patrick Ramsey.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

If you can keep your head

when all about you are losing theirs...

Last night Paul was eliminated from the NBC National Heads Up Poker Classic. Although he played brilliantly in the last match, he needed to catch one of 12 cards on the river to stay alive, and none came. When the final card "bricked," I felt sick to my stomach, which is probably one tenth of the feeling Paul felt. The disappointment hit me in waves: on the way to the cage to get paid, throughout the impromptu business meeting with Paul's newest sponsors, and on the drive back to Paul's amazing Vegas house.

Just as I had allowed myself to feel excited, nervous, and exuberant during the first 24 hours of the tournament, I allowed myself to feel the loss. Since 2008 had been a frustrating year from both a personal and professional standpoint, I'd resolved to do 2009 differently. This year is about authenticity with myself and with the people in my life.

Paul was eliminated in the round of sixteen, which makes this the second tournament cash (of two) in a row. In back to back tournaments, he has been on the doorstep of what I consider big time money. While it is frustrating to have come this close twice in a short succession, I am also extremely proud of his performance and mine. The poker landscape is as tough as it's ever been: There is less room for error, less spots with great equity, less weak players looking to give money away.

These tournies take a lot out of Paul and I but we are both getting better at getting what we need both from and during them. Last night after studying footage and going over the blind structure in preparation for his next opponent, we ran for miles through the Vegas chill and then practiced sun salutations on his patio. The day before, when I'd awoken with a hangover and a migraine, we both went to the spa for massages and a steam bath.

Yes I was disappointed last night but today is a new day and today I take solace and joy in knowing that we are doing a lot of things correctly. We know what the new poker frontier requires. Our new approach has rekindled my competitive fire and made me fall in love again with this job. I'm calm, I'm happy, and I absolutely cannot wait to do it again.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


from the really drunk girl (with so many rockstar fingers!!!!!!!) overhearing my conversation at Connor O'Neil's tonight after class.
"You're a good looking guy, so why are you on Match.com?"

Me: "It's not just for lepers anymore you know."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Feeling Good

That last post was allowed to sit at the top for half a day. No longer.

My middle school coach (the one who wasn't a pretty cool lesbian) used to walk out of his office in the stanky boys locker room and say, "It's a great day to be alive, men!" He had an infectious positive attitude and was the first adult other than my parents that I found to be a positive role model. In his office, he had a picture of him covered in blood and camoflauge, sitting next to a deer that he'd killed with an arrow. He had a huge grin on his face (and later named his son Hunter)

While I don't get my jollies from slaying wildlife, Coach A's daily take no prisoners joie de vivre attitude has always resonated with me. Today, I feel absolutely great.

I measure my quality of life by four things:

  1. how work is going
  2. how school is going
  3. how much physical activity I'm getting
  4. my ability to attract awesome hot people.
The final category isn't going as well as I'd like at the moment but the other three more than make up for that. I went for a run with Walker on Sunday and felt amazing. I wanted to run for hours. I also cranked up the tunes yesterday and banged out 5o pushups before class. Nothing flexing the mental and the physical muscles at the same time. Workwise, Paul asked me to act as a coach when he's in tournaments. He played extremely well and cashed in the last one, and I know I helped him get there. As for school, I'm 1.5 semesters in and I have no doubts that I belong. Too bad professional student isn't a lucrative career option because I love school and I'm good at it.

On Friday, Paul plays another tournament. I couldn't be more excited. The day after that, I take my econ midterm. Bring it on. Please.

I am lion. Hear me &*^%^&*% roar!!!!

Monday, March 02, 2009

We studied heuristics and biases...

but I'm really just learning about the latter.

I just met with top administrators in the CU Evening MBA program regarding my options if things with my professor cannot be resolved. To back up, I am in a discussion with one of last semester's professors regardng my final exam grade, which was a D-. This caused my overall final grade to drop from an A to an A-. While it may not seem significant in the grand scheme of things, I don't believe my final exam warranted anything less than a B-.

Today the administrator said that if my professor is unwilling to change the grade, my one recourse is to file an official grievance. If I file, the Dean will convene a group of faculty to review my paper. They then vote on whether the grade should be changed or not.

The problem is, and this was made extremely clear today, no panelists will vote against the professor. Here's why:
  1. My professor is one of their colleagues.
  2. The subject matter is not in their area of expertise.
  3. They don't want to tell someone else how to grade their classes.
  4. Most importantly, if any of their own students file a grievance, my professor may have the chance to reciprocate.
The writing on the wall is clear. If we cannot reach an agreement whenever my professor actually decides to review my test (he requested that it be snail mailed to him in Australia), my "recourse" is extremely unlikely to go my way.

Broncos D looks to... Get Older?

This is not a post about the Jay Cutler debacle although it does indirectly pertain...

In the last week, the Broncos have signed free agents Brian Dawkins (35), Andre Goodman (30), Andra Davis (30), and Renaldo Hill (30). With Champ Bailey (30) opposite Goodman at the other corner, the Broncos will definitely be in contention for the oldest secondary in the league.

I like most of these moves individually but collectively, they are quite puzzling. In an era in which teams constantly try to get younger, the Broncos appear to be doing the opposite. This flies in the face of everything one would expect for a rebuilding year, a year in which the entire defensive scheme will likely shift (to a 3-4). Why would the Broncos go the veteran route now?

Theory 1: Jay Cutler's contract expires in 2 years. Even the Barrel Man knows Cutler is unlikely to resign after last weeks events. Perhaps Head Coach McDaniels wants to try a desperate "win now" approach for the next two years and then rebuild. Problem here? The broncos need a NT and a much better pass rush. Can they really hope to get an entire D line in the draft AND have them compete right away?

Theory 2: It might not be possible to bring in a bunch of rookies, teach them the 3-4 Defense and expect them to win playoff games before free agency and salary contracts decimate the team. Better to bring in veterans, install the defense and help Denver reset the tone around here. THEN rebuild. Call it the "three years to greatness plan." Problem here? By the time the defense puts it together, the offense will be gone. Stokely will retire, Cutler will not re-up, and Eddie Royal will be looking for a new deal. Also, seeing as how over 30% of NFL coaches were fired this offseason, no coach should bank on a 3 year plan.

Theory 3: McDaniels actually sees these guys as relatively long term solutions. The Broncos have taken fliers on aging defenders (Dre Bly, John Lynch) in the past, with varying degrees of success. Lynch certainly had some miles left in the tank but the Bly signing is much more contentious. Problem here? One would expect a new administration to have a new mindset. That said, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick (from whom McDaniels learned the craft) has made a career out of cobbling together veterans who still have something left to give (Adalius Thomas, Teddy Bruschi, etc.)

My best bet is Theory 1. The Broncos aren't rebuilding, they're reloading.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mad Men meet Madden

I constantly look for people, stories, yes even ads that inspire me. Call me a sucker but this gets me incredibly pumped