Chillin Chillin...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sam's First Steps

Samantha took her very first step this past weekend. I can't remember if it was Saturday or Sunday, but Mommy has it written down in her baby book.

Last night Leslie and I sat across from each other so Sam could walk back and forth to us. But for some reason it's not cool to walk to Daddy, only to Mommy. So after she walked to Mommy, I would get her and she would then walk back to Mommy. Samantha thought this was the coolest game in the world. It turned into Daddy's coming to get me, and I need to run to base (Mommy).

She would laugh so hard when I would get her, that when she started walking back to mommy she was very wobbly. It was a fun game for everyone. We will continue to practice, and hopefully she will be able to show her walking skills off to the family for her birthday party on Sunday.

Monday, February 27, 2006

On-Line Poker Strategy II

When it gets down to 4 - 6 players my game is still about positioning. I don't like going into a hand without being the raiser. I don't always stick to this with suited connectors or A rag suited, but for the most part I will fold unless I'm coming in for a re-raise.

Early position play:

I try to be very tight in early position (keyword being try). I want to make sure I don't find myself in pots with the chip leaders. I start to consider whether or not I want to call certain bets based on the people who I am playing against (who are the blinds). I open my hands up a bit and play almost all pocket pairs depending on the table's aggressiveness. If a lot of re-raising is going on I will avoid playing low pocket pairs.

I will pretty much call any hand on the small blind unless I'm the short stack. I like to see what the big blind does when I just call. If he raises all the time, I will wait for a monster and just call to then re-raise him. If he checks, I will raise to see if I can steal the blinds. At this point the game because a mind game. You just have to mix up your play, and hope to catch the guy to your left (big blind) on a bad hand.

Middle position play:

In middle position I try and steal the button with mediocre hands (AT, AJ, KQ, KJ, etc.). This gives me the ability to represent the flop when someone checks in to me. I like to take advantage of players' tight play in this stage of the game. Players tighten up when the table gets to four to six people so they can sneak into the top 3. This is the best time to build your stack with little to no action. Just make sure you pick your battles. If you raise every time the big blind is the same person, eventually the table figures out what you are doing.

Late position play:

I stick to my tight game in late position. If I am the chip leader, I will pick on the short stacks in this position. Other than that, I will typically raise 3 to 4 times the blind if I have a strong hand.

Note: If the action is down to me and one other player and I have AK or AQ I will re-raise the player if he is the short stack, where I will only call if the player has the same amount or more chips than me. Don't want to risk a big portion of my chips on AK or AQ without seeing a flop. Don't like to gamble at this stage unless I have a big chip advantage. Not worth all the time you spent in the tourney to risk it on one hand.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

On-Line Poker Strategy I

I have been playing poker on-line for about 2 years now, and I wanted to share the strategies I use. They are quite simple, and you have probably heard them before from other poker players.

These tips are all related to sit and go games. I usually play 9 or 10 person tourneys, but these tips are also effective in the 18 or 20 person tourneys.

Seven or More Players

Early position play:

In early position I will only play premium hands (pocket 9s or higher and AQ or higher). The last thing I want to do is get re-raised by someone I don't have a read on yet. Especially since they are so many different types of players in the on-line world. I have no problem folding an AT and waiting for the next hand. You have to be able to do that if you want to win in this game.

Middle position play:

Here I start to open up my hands a little bit. I'll try and limp in with A rag suited, or suited connectors. If I get raised by more than four times my bet, I'll fold; otherwise I'll call and hope for a good flop. If I don't hit the flop, I'm out.

Late Position Play:

Here my play is the same as middle position, but I'll raise with A rag suited and suited connectors (usually only if there are no raisers or callers before me). Here I usually raise 2.5 times the blind. I've noticed a lot of players are afraid of this raise. It's not the minimum raise, but it's pretty close. I usually don't get too many callers with this raise. People think it's a please call me raise, I have a monster hand. With monster hands I will raise the typical 3 or 4 times the big blind, and hope the blinds think I am trying to steal the blinds.

One thing to know is that if I am the short stack, all of these tips are thrown out the window. When I'm the short stack I wait for a big hand and go. If I'm on the button, and nobody has called or raised, K high will put me all-in (try and steal blinds). Otherwise I wait for A high or a pocket pair and go all-in.

Another thing I like to do is create a tight table image. It allows me to steal blinds later in the game (increases my bluffing power). To do this I play limited hands. Sometimes I show monster hands when nobody calls my raise pre-flop. And I will fold in the small blind if nobody has raised and I have nothing (even though it’s cheap).

That's it for now. Next I will talk about how my strategy changes when it’s down to 4 -6 players.

Happy Birthday Jazmin

Friday, February 24, 2006

IT Jobs... Permanent or Contracting

With the exception of a 3 or 4 month contract in between jobs in 2002, I have always had a permanent job. I loved that 3 or 4 months. The money was coming in. I think it was something around a 30% increase in take home. Not sure why I have always looked for permanent positions opposed to contracting gigs. Maybe it's the medical benefits, the 401(k), stability, and vacation. That was my reasoning, but I have recently found out that most contractors that go through recruiters have these same benefits.

So what is the advantage of a full-time position? Salaried employees always seem to make less money. That's at least the impression I have gotten. If you have the skill set, you shouldn't have to worry about finding another job if the contract ends early. It seems to me a lot of people out there are taking advantage of this. Maybe I should consider it? Still need to find out more information on it. So if there is anyone out there with something to share, please do so.

The Science of Time Tracking

It amazes how some companies I have worked for struggle with time tracking. Whether it's making sure people are putting in their hours or deciding on how to track hours, it always seems to be an issue. Let me run though what I have been exposed to in the six years I have been working:

  • The first company I worked for used Changepoint for time tracking. This was a pretty cool tool. At first we were asked to update our time to the minute. That eventually changed to 15 minute updates. What was so ridiculous at this company is that we also had to track the amount of time we spent tracking our time. What a waste of time.
  • Company two also used ChangePoint if I remember correctly, and I think it was done in thirty minute time spans, which I loved.
  • After that company I started contracting. Time tracking consisted of a Word Invoice I would send to the Director of IT every month. The company was only about seven or eight people at the time, so there was no reason for a time tracking system.
  • Then off to Company 3. This place was an IT shop. You know a company that creates state of the art IT solutions so companies can increase revenue and become more efficient. Well they were tracking time in Outlook. Yes you heard me correctly, Microsoft Outlook. Somebody created a time tracking tool using the Calendar in Outlook over there. It wasn't soon before the system had too much data, and was extremely slow. Especially when everyone in the company waited until the last day of the month to update all of their entries for the entire month. Finally they created an in-house time tracking tool (pretty weak if you ask me). This was the first company where I noticed time tracking was being captured in multiple places. We had a weekly task list that captured how much time we spent on tasks (Excel document). We also had a weekly status report (Word document), that described all of the tasks. I was doing this for the entire team. Then I had to update my time in the time tracking tool. Copy and paste time. What a waste of time. And for some reason at the end of the month I had to print out my timesheet, sign it, and then give it to my manager. Don't ask me why.
  • Company four was pretty cool. We had badges that we scanned when we got in and left that tracked our time. We were supposed to clock in and out for smoke breaks, bathroom breaks, lunch, and cell phone usage, but the department I was in never did for some reason. They had a tool called Track It, but nobody ever used it. The one other thing we had to do was sign on to a web site and approve our time for each pay period. Pretty painless. Oh yeah, I forgot my manager was really strict on making sure you we put in 47.5 hours a week. Was supposed to be related to our bonus, but the rumors were everyone always got their full bonus no matter what.
  • The current company I work for is pretty interesting. I am documenting my time in Track It detailing out each task. All of the stuff I work on goes in this one task. Each time I have a new task, I just add it in to the hours of the one task. Then there is a bug tracking document that originally was in excel and is now a VB.NET application. It tracks each bug, the amount of hours it took to fix, and what days you worked on it. Pretty much the same information. About a month ago we started updating another excel document that has the amount of hours we spend each day on the project I am on. Each day has a comment where we put if we are updating bugs or creating new functionality. In addition to all of that documentation, we have to sign a sheet at the end of each pay period with the amount of time we took off for holidays, sick time, vacation, etc.

Seems to me none of these companies have mastered time tracking yet. Not sure why it seems to become such a difficult task wherever I go. I know one thing, these time tracking companies out there are making lots of money.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pictures of Sam

I figured there could never be enough pictures of Sam on my blog.

Mommy and Sam

Daddy and Sam

Daddy and Sam II

Gator Sam


Getting my PC back

Wow, I did not realize what a pain it was going to be to get my PC up and running again. Fortunately I was able to borrow my buddies external hard drive for storing my restore file, and get a copy of XP Professional from another buddy. So on Tuesday night I formatted the hard drive and reinstalled XP. After that I had all of my files back on the PC, and it was off to setting up the DSL connection.

In the morning Leslie started installing some applications (, acrobat reader, etc.). When I got home I installed Trillian, iPod Software, iTunes, Poker Stars (should have been first), and all of the Windows Updates (this took forever and 4 or 5 reboots). This time I made sure I installed Service Pack 2 on my machine. I think if I would have had the Personal Firewall installed on my machine beforehand, I wouldn't have had to go through this.

My buddy from work is supposed to be cutting me copies of Visual Studio 2003 and 2005, and SQL Server 2000 and 2005. Oh yeah, and Doobie has Office XP on the hard drive, so I'll have to install that as well. Hopefully I will get all of this done by tomorrow because I have a new project I am going to start, and would like to get some work done this weekend. It's a pretty small project, and they couldn't match my quote ($300 under it), but I am going to take it anyway. I have a feeling these guys will be throwing more work my way in the future (at least that's what they say).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sports Sports Sports


We have the Heat coming back from the All-Star break playing the New York Knicks in NY at 7:30. The Heat is on a nice run winning their last three (Detroit and Orlando twice). Hopefully they can continue the streak. I really like the starting lineup with Antoine Walker. Not only is his performance better when he is starting, but I also feel that Posey comes off the bench with something to prove.

Heat - 107
Knicks - 97


The Gators Baseball team swept Miami in Coral Gables over the weekend. Very big accomplishment for the Gators. I think I remember reading this was the first time we have swept them in Coral Gables. Looks like that number one ranking is the real deal. With a young pitching staff, it will be an interesting year. No breaks too, because the next two weeks they play Wake Forest, FSU, and Texas A&M.

The other big game tonight is the Gators hosting Tennessee. Both teams need this game coming off losses over the weekend. Alabama crushed Tennessee, and the Gators lost to Arkansas in overtime (gave up another close one at the end of the game). I have a feeling both teams will come out with a lot of energy. I'm hoping for a close game like the game in Tennessee, but for some reason I have a bad feeling about this game.

Gators - 57
Tennessee - 73


Our buddy Ricky Williams failed his fourth drug test. He must have found out I have season tickets for next year. They have kept most of the news on this pretty hush, hush, but it looks like we won't be seeing Ricky for another year. Hopefully Ronnie Brown can stay injury free next season, because it looks like he is going to have to carry us the entire season.

There has been lots of talk about the QB position. The big names people have been talking about are Culpepper, Brees, and McNair. All of them are a crap shoot. Culpepper isn't supposed to be ready until October or November. Brees is progressing faster than expected, but I think he is still a big gamble. McNair hasn't played an entire season in how many years now? I say go with Gus for one more year, and get a young guy in the draft. If there is nobody in the draft, wait for the free agent market or draft next year. It's not like we are going to win the Super Bowl next year.

My take on Chuck Norris

As long as I can remember I have always disliked Chuck Norris. From Walker Texas Ranger to all of the other ridiculous TV shows and movies. If I remember correctly, the dislike I had for him and his shows is one of the first things my wife and I realized we had in common when we first started dating. Whenever we were channel surfing, if Chuck Norris' face came on the screen, a rude comment would be made by both of us and the channel would be changed immediately.

Well, something changed in the past couple of months. I started listening to the Dan Le Batard show on 790 the Ticket (with Stugotz). Talk about obsessions with Chuck Norris. These guys are Chuck Norris fanatics. They actually had Chuck Norris on the show last week, and were so nervous they completely screwed up the interview (was pretty funny).

I have to say, these guys have turned me into a fan of the Chuck Norris sayings. Now that doesn't mean my finger will start to cramp up when he shows up on my TV. Maybe the rude comments will be replaced with on of the famous Chuck Norris facts. We'll see.

With that being said, I would like to share my favorite Chuck Norris facts in no particular order.

1. The leading causes of death in the United States are: 1. Heart Disease 2. Chuck Norris 3. Cancer
2. Chuck Norris can divide by zero.
3. If at first you don't succeed, you're not Chuck Norris.
4. When Chuck Norris says "More cowbell", he MEANS it.
5. Chuck Norris was so mad when he found out Santa wasn't real, he invented Hanukkah.
6. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
7. They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Neither does Chuck Norris. He doesn't have to.
8. Chuck Norris sleeps with a night light. Not because Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.
9. Chuck Norris ends every relationship with "It’s not me, its you".
10. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How To Poop At Work

We've all been there but don't like to admit it. We've all kicked back in our cubicles and suddenly felt something brewing down below. As much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, the WORK POOP is inevitable. For those who hate pooping at work, following is the Survival Guide for taking a dump at work.


When farting, you walk really fast around the office so the smell is not in your area and everyone else gets a whiff but doesn't know where it came from. Be careful when you do this. Do not stop until the full fart has been expelled. Walk an extra 30 feet to make sure the smell has left your pants.


The act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping. Walk in and check for other poopers. If there are others in the bathroom, leave and come back again. Be careful not to become a FREQUENT FLYER. People may become suspicious if they catch you constantly going into the bathroom.


A fart that slips out while taking a leak at the urinal or forcing a poop in a stall. This is usually accompanied by a sudden wave of embarrassment. If you release an escapee, do not acknowledge it. Pretend it did not happen. If you are standing next to the farter in the urinal, pretend you did not hear it. No one likes an escapee. It is uncomfortable for all involved. Making a joke or laughing makes both parties feel uneasy.


When forcing a poop, several farts slip out at a machine gun pace. This is usually a side effect of diarrhea or a hangover. If this should happen, do not panic. Remain in the stall until everyone has left the bathroom to spare everyone the awkwardness of what just occurred.


The act of flushing the toilet the instant the poop hits the water.

This reduces the amount of air time the poop has to stink up the bathroom. This can help you avoid being caught doing the WALK OF SHAME.


Walking from the stall, to the sink, to the door after you have just stunk up the bathroom. This can be a very uncomfortable moment if someone walks in and busts you. As with farts, it is best to pretend that the smell does not exist. Can be avoided with the use of the COURTESY FLUSH.


A colleague who poops at work and is damn proud of it. You will often see an Out Of The Closet Pooper enter the bathroom with a newspaper or magazine under their arm. Always look around the office for the Out Of The Closet Pooper before entering the bathroom.


A group of co-workers who band together to ensure emergency pooping goes off without incident. This group can help you to monitor the whereabouts of Out Of The Closet Poopers, and identify SAFE HAVENS.


A seldom used bathroom somewhere in the building where you can least expect visitors. Try floors that are predominantly of the opposite sex. This will reduce the odds of a pooper of your sex entering the bathroom.


Someone who does not realize that you are in the stall and tries to force the door open. This is one of the most shocking and vulnerable moments that can occur when taking a poop at work. If this occurs, remain in the stall until the Turd Burglar leaves. This way you will avoid all uncomfortable eye contact.


A phony cough that alerts all new entrants into the bathroom that you are in a stall. This can be used to cover-up a WATERMELON, or to alert potential Turd Burglars. Very effective when used in conjunction with an ASTAIRE.


A subtle toe-tap that is used to alert potential Turd Burglars that you are occupying a stall. This will remove all doubt that the stall is occupied. If you hear an Astaire, leave the bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace.


A poop that creates a loud splash when hitting the toilet water. This is also an embarrassing incident. If you feel a Watermelon coming on, create a diversion. See CAMO-COUGH.


A case of diarrhea that creates a series of loud splashes in the toilet water. Often accompanied by an Escapee. Try using a Camo-cough with an Astaire.


A bathroom user who seems to linger around forever. Could spend extended lengths of time in front of the mirror or sitting on the pot. An Uncle Ted makes it difficult to relax while on the crapper, as you should always wait to poop when the bathroom is empty. This benefits you as well as the other bathroom attendees.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Wedding Crashers

My buddy Jared got married this weekend. What a great time. Had way too much to drink, and probably made of a fool of myself on the dance floor and the wedding video.

So on to the funny story. The wedding took place at the Signature Grand in Davie, FL. This place does all types of functions, and has a bunch of ballrooms in it.

In Jewish weddings it is custom to dance the hora. The dance consists of everyone forming a circle around the bride and groom and their parents. They each take turns getting lifted up in a chair while everyone in the circle is clapping and singing. So while Jared's dad was being lifted up in the air, Jared's brother-in-law (Rick) recognized one of the guys lifting his dad up. He thought to himself, that looks a like my buddy Jim. So he waited until the dance was over, and went up to him.

He says, "Jim right? You're a police officer?" And Jim says, "Yes!" Rick says, "It's me Rick." So they catch up for five or ten minutes. After catching up Rick says, "So who are you here for, the bride or the groom?" And Jim responds, "Neither." He then explains that he had a Police Officer banquet a couple of rooms down, and the party was real boring. Him and a couple of his other police officer buddies went to the wedding in the room next to Jared's, but that too was pretty weak. Then they walked by Jared's wedding, and knew they finally found a party.

Then Rick noticed the kippah Jim was wearing, and said, "Jim, I didn't kow you were jewish." He said, "I'm not, I just wanted to blend in."

So Jared and Jen (his wife), will always have wonderful video memories of the police officer with a kippah nobody knew (except Rick), dancing the hora on there special night.

Friday, February 17, 2006

19 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity:

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy." . ..

8. Don't use any punctuation

9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.

15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.

16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Poker Last Night

So last night I played two tournaments. The first was a $50 18 person tourney. I played very tight most of the game, and was not involved in too many hands. It was down to 12 players, and I took a stand with this really loose player with the blinds at 25/50. I had pocket 8s and raised it up to $150. This guy re-raised me for another $200. Was hoping he was over playing A rag or had AK or AQ. So I called. The flop came T76. Good flop for me. It was to me and I checked (looking back, this is where I think I made my mistake). He threw out $200. I figured he was trying to buy the pot here. So I re-raised him to $700, leaving me with $300 or $400 in chips left. He re-raised me all-in. OUCH. I knew I was in trouble, but had to make the call. He flips over pocket Qs, and I am out of the tourney.

On to the next tourney. This one was a $200 9 person tourney (most expensive game I have played). This was my 2nd time playing the $200 tourney. Didn't make the money the first time around. Again, in this tourney I played very tight at the beginning. Most of the other players did too. Long story short, I won the tourney. Cashed in $900.

Two of the big hands were the following:

Down to six players and I am one of two short stacks. I’m on the button and the other short stack calls the big blind (75/150). I have AQs, and re-raise all in (around $900). The small blind is the large stack and he re-raises all-in. The big blind and the other small stack fold, and I'm thinking I am in trouble. I was right, he flips over pocket Qs. Only 3 live cards... The flop comes K64... Turn J... River T. Yes!!! Somehow I hit the straight. Very lucky hand. That put me in 2nd place.

Down to four players, and still in 2nd place with the guy in 3rd very close. I'm on the big blind for this hand, and I'm dealt K8. The small blind raises pre-flop the minimum raise (still 75/150) to 300. I decide to call and see a flop. The flop comes AK6. He checks to me, and I bet 150. He just calls. The turn comes 9. He bets $300, and I re-raise to $1200. He goes all-in. I take a minute to think…

If he had the A he probably would have raised more pre-flop. Well, maybe not. But he would have definitely bet after the flop or re-raise me on the turn. So I'm convinced he doesn't have the A. Probably has the K or is bluffing (was leaning towards bluffing). My 8 kicker worried me, but I made the call. He turns over KT. Ouch!!! But as you already know, I won this tournament, and the 8 came on the river.

I was very lucky on both of those hands. After this hand I had more than half of the chips remaining. Played very aggressive, and stole a lot of blinds. The guy I played heads up was extremely tight with his starting hands. He also could not throw away his hand if he hit a pair. The final hand came down to my AT vs his A9.

Bankroll is now at $2900.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Went to see the show Wicked last night with the Mrs. for Valentine's Day. Overall the show was pretty good. Started off pretty slow, but after the intermission it was entertaining. It definitely puts a big twist on the Wizard of Oz. Will have to watch the movie again. Whoever wrote the book had a very creative mind.

Things I liked:
The Wicked Witch of the West was good.
The Wicked Witch of the West was getting it on with the Scarecrow.
Oz is The Wicked Witch of the West's father.
Oz was played by Marcy's first husband from Married with Children.

Things I didn't like:
Wasn't in to the music (besides the Wicked Witch of the West solos).
The Good Witch didn't sing that well.
Thought the Wicked Witch of the West's sister would have had a bigger role.

Most amusing scene at the show was the two drunk women sitting to the right of us dressed up Guh-Linda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sports Post

So the Gators lost again to South Carolina. This time at home. The game wasn't on TV, so I am not able to criticize how we played. By looking at the stats, it looks like we did not defend the three to well and Brewer had a horrible shooting night. It's surprising how we can look so good against Kentucky one day, and then lose to the team with the worst SEC record, not once but twice.

This loss drops us to two games behind Tennessee in the SEC East, and one game ahead of Kentucky. Our next game is against LSU (first in the SEC West) on Saturday at 1:00 P.M. Need to come up with a win so we can hold on to second place in the East (need the bye for the SEC tourney).

The Heat have a big game on the road tonight against Dallas. This is a tough game. Dallas is on a big winning streak, and the Heat have yet to beat any of the top four teams this year (Detroit, San Antonio, Dallas, and Phoenix). As much as everyone talks about Shaq not being the same this year, I think the key to this game and there run to the Finals is the supporting cast. Posey, Payton, and Walker need to provide some consistency on both sides of the court.

As for the Dolphins, there are reports out (which the Dolphins have denied), that Terrell Owens was here talking with the team. Jason Taylor, Chris Chambers, and Randy McMichael have already come out and said they don't want him. Would be interesting to see how these guys would react to the Dolphins signing him. I have a feeling it's not going to happen (just a gut feeling). Would rather see us spend money on guys for the offensive and defensive lines... oh yeah, and a quarterback. I'm crossing my fingers for a Rivers, Culpepper, or Favre pickup. We shall see.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Birthday Weekend

Have been pretty busy at work this week and have not been able to post. This is a good thing (the days go by so much faster). Had a very good birthday weekend. Friday night I went out to dinner with the Mrs. and Samantha to one of my new favorite restaurants “The Blue Moon Fish Company.” The food was awesome as usual, but kind of wished we got a babysitter for Samantha. Instead of enjoying my dinner, I was worrying half of the time that she was bothering the other customers. She wasn’t crying or anything, just talking loud, and continuously throwing her toys on the ground. Will have to remember that for next time.

Leslie gave me my birthday present at dinner (an iPod). I still have yet to get it working. I’m still having problems with my PC and my laptop only has one USB port (I need two to setup the iPod). So hopefully this weekend I can try and get the PC working again. My buddy Matt is supposed to get me a copy of the OS software for me (probably should call him). Then it’s off to listening to my music.

Saturday night a bunch of my friends came over for some pizza and poker. Didn’t win any money, but had a great time. Wore my new poker shirt from Sam. We setup on the porch (was a little nippy) so we didn’t bother Samantha sleeping, and I had a TV out there so we could watch the Gator Kentucky game. The girls spent most of the night inside talking. Was a good time by all.

Sunday morning we had the family over for brunch. Leslie made french toast (recipe from Helen) and I made the eggs. My in-laws picked up some bagels and my grandma brought over some tuna fish. That covered all of my favorites. We had a great time like we always do. Everyone sat around talking after we ate. The weather was beautiful. My pops and I played a bit of klabiash on the patio for a bit. We didn’t get to finish the game, but I was winning of course.

Once everyone left, Leslie and I cleaned everything up and chilled out the rest of the afternoon. We were really exhausted. We actually both passed out for about an hour. We debated on whether or not we wanted to go to my Aunt and Uncle’s for the Super Bowl, but we were just too exhausted. So we chilled at the house, and watched the game. Watched the first half and was unimpressed with the game and the commercials. I love the “Secret Fridge” commercial, but that was about it. Leslie passed out some time in the second half, and I stayed up and played poker until the game was over.

Poker Update: Had a really good session on Friday night. Almost hit the 3K mark. Have since dropped a bit and now hovering around the 2.7K mark. Think I am going to take the rest of the week off. Have gotten back into to playing almost every night.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Super Bowl Prediction

Super Bowl Sunday is around the corner and and it's time for my prediction. I usually have a pretty good idea on who would win with the amount of research I do during the fantasy football season, but this year I slacked with fantasy football. First time in about five years.

To be honest, I have no clue how good Seattle actually is. I mean, I know Alexander is awesome, and Hasslebeck has his great games, but I don't know anything about there defense.

As for Pittsburgh, I know Big Ben is great when he is healthy (which he is). Hines Ward is one of the best wide-outs out there, and there defense (blitz-burgh) is tough to play against.

So through my lack of knowledge on Seattle I am going to have to pick Pittsburgh. The score, I have no clue. But for fun I'll throw out Pittsburgh 27 - Seattle 17.

What will be interesting come Sunday is the quality of commercials. I have a feeling we will be disappointed. I heard today that since the Winter Olympics will be starting within the week, a lot of companies are not airing there commericals for the Super Bowl and saving them for the Olympics.

Maybe the game will be better than the commercials?

Miami Heat Basketball Game

So last night I was fortunate enough to go to the Miami Heat basketball game with my buddy Jared. He scored lower level, 2nd row seats in between the foul line and three point line across from the Cavaliers bench. It was unbelievable. First big shock was pulling into the underground garage where all you saw were BMWs, Bentleys, Lexus's, etc. Once we got in the Arena the first thing we had to do was check out the seats. Wow!! Ten feet from Lebron James.

After that we headed back "up" to the concourse level to get something to eat and drink. Not surprised, but the food and drinks were expensive. My personal Papa John's pizza was $7 and my Budweiser Beer was $6. After killing both of those, I decided to go with a Corona Beer (looked like a 40 oz) for $12, and cinnamon almonds for $6. At this point I was so glad I didn't have to pay for the $230 tickets.

So after all the drinking and eating we headed back down to the seats. Jared introduced me to the guy who got us the tickets (very wealthy), and his lawyer (very, very wealthy). They were drinking double Black Label on the rocks. The lawyer noticed we did not have passes to get to the VIP lounge, so he brought us into the lounge to get us bracelets. Pretty cool stuff. Inside the lounge was a full bar and restaurant. People were eating steaks, sushi, you name it. There were rooms off to the side with flat screen TVs so you could watch what you wish.

After we finished checking out the lounge we headed back to the seats, and the introductions were about to start. Just before they started, Marv Albert walked by us. He and Steve Kerr were setup just to the right of us for TNT. We were so close the fire they let out during the introductions burnt most of Jared's hair off. LOL, no just kidding he didn't have any hair to begin with, but it was pretty hot.

So the game starts, and about one or two minutes into the game the guy to the left of me taps me on the shoulder and says, "If you lean forward when the ball is on the opposite side of the court, I can't see." LOL, I apologized to him and sat back for the rest of the game. I thought this was hilarious.

When halftime came around we hung out in the lounge for a bit. Inside the lounge there were the likes of Matt Geiger (ex-heat player), Alex Rodriguez (does he need an introduction), and a bunch of rich Hispanic people. I have never been around so many wealthy people. You could just tell by looking at them that they were wealthy. Watches that had to be worth $10,000. Pimped out clothes. It was crazy. The net worth in that room had to be close to a half a billion.

Later on in the game the big screen showed some of the other celebrities at the game (which we had better seats than): Jason Taylor (I'm sure he went to Hard Rock after the game for some Poker), Charles Johnson (ex-Marlin), Rony Seikaly (ex-Heat), and Anna Kournikova (Tennis player).

The game for the most part was dominated by the Heat. The fourth quarter had some amazing plays by Alonzo, Shaq, and Wade. There was a Wade alley-oop to Shaq that had to be on SportsCenter.

It was a pretty amazing game. Probably will never sit that close again at a basketball game. Well, that's if you don't count my Sunday morning basketball games in Weston. Just a little bit different I guess. Definitely a game I will never forget.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Does the Perfect Job Exist?

So it's been a while since I have been happy with my job. I find myself always looking for the perfect fit. When I was working up in Tallahassee with Company 3 I had a cush position. I was technical lead / project manager for a client. I maintained 8 or 9 applications with the main one being an ASP.NET/VB.NET intranet application with an Oracle 10g backend. Had three developers on my team, and ran a weekly status meeting with the executive officers and IT staff.

When we had projects in development I mostly managed the projects, and handled any "emergency" ad-hoc reporting requests. I liked being involved with the design of all of the applications, but once it came to development I had no problem handing it off. Just was not challenging. We are talking about building forms or reports, and calling stored procedures. Too easy. I would still be a resource to the developers for the business rules and understanding the database schema, but that's pretty much it. I found it more challenging when the executives would come to me and ask for specific data with crazy conditions. That stuff was fun to work on. For some reason I always found it more interesting and challenging to write SQL than to write ASP or VB.

Although I continued to gain more and more responsibility at Company 3, I was not happy with my salary. I was making good money, but expected an increase with the added responsibility. So I started looking for a new job. Found a place in South Florida, Company 2, that seemed like a good fit. I also was very interested in working directly for a company. Up until this point I had only worked for IT shops. Company 2 was definitely a company that showed big time growth opportunities. And they were looking for someone to come in and help them to convert there in house application from ASP to ASP.NET. Two big plusses. So the family and I made the move back home.

This was in the plan from when we made the move to Tallahassee. We wanted Samantha to grow up around the family. Both Leslie and I were brought up around our grandparents and wanted the same for Sam.

So Company 2 kind of sold me on the .NET conversion, but there was no buy-in from upper management for the conversion. Something I did not know when I came on board. Apparently they had been talking about moving to .NET for a year or two before I started, and politics always got in the way. Too make a long story short (too late for that now), after three months of updating Visio diagrams I was contacted by a recruiter. Told him I was not thrilled with the work I was doing, and he was able to find me a job with Company 1.

They were looking to re-architect there .NET Intranet application. It sounded very cool and exciting. But here I am now three months into the job, and I have been put on an emergency project, and I am doing updates to a VB.NET client application that has probably the worst design of any application I have seen... and I have seen some pretty bad ones.

So what do I do? I am now on my sixth job in six years of work. Would like to find a place I can call home. I have been considering the contracting thing. I would be interested to see if I could make more money doing that. Would love to open up my own shop, but just don't have enough contacts yet for something like that. I'm sure things will eventually work out on the job front for me. Will just have to wait and see for now.

* - See "Four Things" post if you are interested in the Company Names.

High Stakes Poker

So I was watching one of my favorite poker shows the other day on the Game Show Network, "High Stakes Poker." Poker seems to be one of the few things that I watch on TV these days. Basically it's a bunch of the best poker players in the world playing a cash ring game. I think the minimum buy-in is $50,000 and the maximum is $1,000,000. I'm pretty sure Daniel Negreanu bought in for a million (must be nice). The likes of Doyle Brunson, Ted Forrest, Sam Fahra, Jennifer Harmon, and others are on the show.

I'm just amazed that there are people out there that spend this kind of money on poker. I mean, I saw Ted Forrest lose $200,000 in a matter of 20 hands (I would love to put that money towards my mortgage). I'm not sure I would be able to walk after losing that kind of money. Later on I saw Daniel Negreanu raise somebody $1,000,000. What!?!?!?! Now, he did happen to have the best hand, but still how does somebody risk $1,000,000 on a poker hand? I would be interested to know how well off these players are. I guess if you have $100,000,000, a $1,000,000 raise isn't that big, right?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Install Seatbelts for the State of the Union?

So during commercials of the Gator/Ole Miss basketball game I am flipping to Bush's State of the Union address. Is it just me, or is the standing ovation after every 10 words ridiculous? Am I the only person out there that finds this extremely annoying? What is the point? Ok, he is the president... big deal, does that mean it should take the guy hours to give a 10 minute speech. On with the regularly scheduled TV programs please. Sit down and keep your hands in your lap, and let the guy finish.

Gators beat Ole Miss

Alright, so the Gators come up with a win on the road on ESPN last night. Big win for us, especially considering we were playing without Lee Humphreys and a banged up Cory Brewer (who should not be playing). Donovan already came out and said Brewer will not be playing Saturday against Kentucky. We need him healthy for March.

Taurean Green and Al Horford led the team in scoring, but the two things that impressed me most in this game was the team defense, and the play of the young guys (Walter Hodge, David Huertes, and Garrett Tyler).

The team defense was awesome. In the man to man they were double teaming Ole Miss's big man Curtis when he got the ball on the block, and everyone was rotating and helping out when the ball was swung out. Not the easiest thing when you have such a young team. This shows what great team chemistry these group of guys have, and the good coaching and preparation. The 2-3 zone defense they played late in the game was also very effective. The guards up top were moving to the ball and rotating, and the guys on the baseline were coming out and defending the three. The only way this defense is effective is if you have big men that are quick and can run to the ball on the wings, and we are fortunate to have a bunch of guys who can do that (Noah, Huertes, Brewer, Moss, Horford).

Then there is the play of Hodge, Huertes, and Tyler. Hodge has become a very consistent player who will gaurantee you a couple of three point shots and a layup or two every game. He is very explosive. There was a point in the game where it looked like we were getting tired and couldn't buy a bucket. Hodge had a steal or a rebound (can't remember), and took it the entire court and made an easy layup in traffic. Big boost for the team. Momentum changer.

I think this game was Huertes' break out game. He has scored for us in the past, and has proven he can knock down the three point shot, but his defense has been suspect. This game he proved he can play defense. He had four rebounds, and did not give up any open three point shots. I also like his aggressive plays towards the hoop. He made some nice offensive moves to the basket that came up short, but those shots will eventually fall.

Tyler also played an important role in this game. With us thin on the bench he was able to come in and play very good defense. His quickness on defense led to Ole Miss taking bad shots and giving the ball up.

Overall a very impressive win for the Gators on the road. I think the same kind of play will be needed for our game with Kentucky Saturday night. Kentucky did start off slow, but they are on a nice run right now. With College GameDay being in Gainesville on Saturday, the game will be very hyped, and will provide with a great game atmosphere. Should be a great game.