Sunday, April 26, 2009

When the Ads say too Much

On-line advertising. Obviously, it is a huge marketing source, and will only get bigger as more and more of our lives move into the world of the internet. Here are the three ads sitting on right side of my Facebook page a couple weeks ago:

Get Fit to Teach

Even with the busy schedule of a
teacher, you can get in great shape
without the gym or lifting weights.
I'll show you how I did it.

Thirty Plus Local Singles

Meet and chat with successful beautiful
singles at Thirty Plus Singles. Sign up

Looking for Love Over 30?

Do you every find it scary how much your ads know about you? Damn. Get off my back. I’ve been “over 30” for one month. Why you gotta go and rub it in already? Maybe with my teacher’s schedule I’m so overweight and unattractive from my lack of workouts girls under thirty don’t find me attractive anymore. I don’t really care that the advertisers know stuff about my life, but stop insulting me. You’re right I am thirty, and I’m not as active as I’d like to be. I know. I’m a teacher. I’m getting my Master’s. I just had surgery. Cut me some slack.

Thought of the Week: Tuesdays

When booking tickets for flights at sites like travelocity and expedia Tuesday is a good day to look. (Also, if you find the price you like don't assume it will still be there in the morning.)

If Thirsty...

A minimum.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Roommate Switch

My friend Gio made an allusion to a Seinfeld episode. I hadn't seen it. Probably many of you have. But just in case you missed it. The Roommate Switch. TV writers have moments of brilliance, that non-TV guys like me, can simply laugh and appreciate.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Perk of Running my own Business

I used to paint houses in San Jose. I started my business in 2000. It was my main source of income for about a year. When I moved back to San Jose I painted houses occasionally until I moved in 2003. I haven’t painted a house or lived in San Jose since I started teaching full-time in the fall of ’03.

I recently received this letter:

Dear Kevin J Burrill,

You were recently chosen as a potential candidate to represent the professional and business community of San Jose, California in the Biltmore 2009 Honors Edition of Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals.

We are pleased to notify you that your candidacy was formally approved February twentieth, two thousand nine. Your confirmation will be validated within seven business days following our receipt of your enclosed Verification.

The Publishing Committee selected you as a potential candidate, based upon your current standing as well as criteria from executive and professional rosters. Given your background, the Publishing Director believes your profile would make a fitting addition to our Honors Edition publication.

Wow. That’s great. What an honor. This isn’t just based on my “current standing,” but also I met the “criteria from executive and professional rosters.” Who was on the committee that managed to find me so quickly by February twentieth, two thousand nine? And who spells out February twentieth, two thousand nine? Nice job Biltmore. Keep up the good work finding other top San Jose executives like myself.

Thought of the Week

"You can observe a lot just by watching."
--Yogi Berra

Those Selfish Bastards


Hey Snow Guy

Can you clear the snow in the parking lot so it easier
to park our cars. Thanks.

This may be true

Two rights and you're there

Monday, April 13, 2009


The people have spoken. And overwhelming they are in favor of having this blog include columns about poker. However, if you are not very familiar with poker, or you are one of the three people to vote against it I have provided an article summary at the bottom. You may skip down there now. You do not need to read “the story” and “the summary” as they will both contain the same information. For anyone not familiar with all the poker jargon I wrote some poker information here that may make it easier to understand the story.

The Story:
Five or six years ago I was playing no-limit hold ‘em in St. Louis. I had AdQd and made a small raise pre-flop. Several other players called. The flop came out Kxx, with two diamonds. The guy to my right bet out $15. I called, and at least one other guy called behind. The turn was a blank. The initial bettor checked and I fired $25 or $30. The young kid in late position called (I say young kid because he looked only 2 or 3 years older than I was at the time.) The initial bettor folded and left us heads up going to the river. If a diamond hits I make the nuts, and I think I would also be good with an ace.

The river came another blank. I missed. Obviously, my only chance to win is with a bet. I bet out $50. The kid goes into the think tank. He clearly believes he’s behind, but is reluctant to fold his hand. Finally, he asks me, “If I fold will you show me?” I’m thrilled with the prospect, but don’t want to seem too excited. So I shrug my shoulders and act reluctant as I say, “sure.” Even after the comment he still thinks about if for another minute. Finally, he announces, “Call.”

He turns over KJo and takes down the pot.

I’m left baffled. Could this rook really pull off a read like that? Finally, I ask him, “Why did you ask me if I would show my hand?”

“I just really wanted to know what you had.”
“I said, `sure.'”
“You did? Oh, I didn’t hear you.”

Are you kidding me? I just lost a $200 pot because I didn’t say “sure” loud enough. I meant, “YES. SURE. Yes, sir. I’ll show my cards if you fold. No problem, sir.” *

The summary:
I was playing poker in St. Louis a few years ago. I had a very poor hand, but decided to make a bluff at the end. The other guy spent a great deal of time contemplating calling my bet. After much deliberation he asked me, “If I fold will you show me your hand?” I said, “sure.” He called anyway and won the hand. It turned out he only called because he didn’t hear me. If I had said “sure” louder I would have won over 200 more dollars.

*Next time I’ll tell you about a hand five years later when I bluffed with ten high and an even younger kid asked me, “If I fold will you show me your hand?”

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thought of the Week

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Looking for a Logic class at the JC

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Poker Player

I did not write this story. It was just e-mailed to me this afternoon.

Two couples were playing poker one evening. Jim accidentally dropped some cards on the floor. When he bent down under the table to pick them up, he noticed Bob's wife, Sue, wasn't wearing any underwear under her dress! Shocked by this, Jim upon tryingt o sit back up again, hit his head on the table and emergedred-faced.

Later, Jim went to the kitchen to get somerefreshments. Bob's wife followed and asked, 'Did you see anything that you like under there?' Surprised by herboldness, Jim admitted that, well indeed he did. She said, 'Well, you can have it but it will cost you $500.' Aftertaking a minute or two to assess the financial and moral costs of this offer, Jim confirms that he is interested. Sue told him thatsince her husband Bob worked Friday afternoons and Jim didn't, Jimshould be at her house around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.

When Friday rolled around, Jim showed up at Bob's house at 2 p.m. sharp- and after paying Sue the agreed sum of $500 - they went to theb edroom and closed their transaction, as agreed. Jim quicklydressed and left. As usual, Bob came home from work at 6p.m.

Upon arriving, asked his wife: 'Did Jim come by the housethis afternoon?' With a lump in her throat Sue answered 'Why yes, he did stop by for a few minutes this afternoon.' Her heart nearly skipped a beat when her husband curtly asked, 'And did he give you $500?' Sue, using her best poker face, replied, 'Well, yes, in fact he did give me $500.'

Bob, with a satisfied look on his face, surprised his wife by saying, 'He came by the office this morning and borrowed $500 from me. He promised he'd stop by our house this afternoon on his way home and pay me back.'

Now that, my friends, is a poker player.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Water for Elephants

I got on the airplane to Dallas and opened up my book. I began to read:

I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.

When you’re five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I’m twenty-three, you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It’s a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I’m—you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you’re not. You’re thirty-five. And then you’re bothered, because you wonder it this is the beginning of the end. It is of course, but it’s decades before you admit it.

…What’s on the menu tonight? I know some of us don’t have teeth, but I do, and I want pot roast. My wife’s, complete with leathery bay leaves. I want carrots. I want potatoes boiled in their skins. And I want a deep, rich Cabernet Sauvignon to wash it all down, not apple juice from a tin. But above all, I want corn on the cob.

Sometimes I think that if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I’d choose the corn. Not that I wouldn’t love to have a final roll in the hay—I am a man yet, and some things never die—but the thought of those sweet kernels bursting between my teeth sure sets my mouth watering. It’s fantasy, I know that. Neither will happen. I just like to weigh the options, as though I were standing in front of Solomon: a final roll in the hay or an ear of corn. What a wonderful dilemma. Sometimes I substitute an apple for the corn.

Later came a beautiful scene where one of the nurses gave Jacob a bowl of fruit she had brought for her lunch. It had strawberries, melon, and “apple, for God’s sake.”

This was just the first chapter. I kept reading. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Jacob never remembers if he’s 90 or 93, but he remembers a lot of other things. Gruen takes you through those memories beginning with how he found himself in the 1930's working on a traveling circus.

Gruen was asked how she approached the plot for the book.

Her response:

For Water for Elephants, which was the first historical thing I’ve written, I did all the research ahead of time. I needed to feel that I new the subject matter in and out.

I hate outlines. I hate outlines, hate them, hate them.

I usually know what the crisis of the book is going to be, though I don’t know how I‘m going to get there. I try to make it bad enough that I don’t know how I‘m going to get out of it. And when I get there, I have to get out of it. I just get myself geared up, and I write every day and see what happens.

One night after I learned I had gall stones I opened my fridge to make a salad. As I sat across from my friend eating a fat chicken burrito, I ate a salad with lettuce, bell pepper, and apple. Jacob got to eat apple before we got out of chapter one. I’ve had many apples over the course of my life. However, the best apples I’ve ever had have been since reading this book. Like the small apple pieces I cut up in that salad. For some reason I never fully appreciated the taste until now.

The book ends as beautifully as it began. The ride there was a memorable one. Water for Elephants.

Thought of the Week

Democracy is a process by which people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.
--Laurence J. Peter

Fail Blog 2009 Pg-13: Quarter One

All of the following have been carefully screened. Each one has been identified as possibly offensive. If you are under the age of 13 or easily offended click here. All others may view the photos below and get a good laugh.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Family Guy

A scene from a recent episode of Family Guy:

Lois: Why in the world would you want to play golf with O.J. Simpson?
Peter: Why not? He’s the Juice. One of the greatest football players ever.
Brian: He murdered two people.
Peter: What? O.J. Simpson?
Brian: Yes.
Peter: Was this in the news?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


After discovering I had gall stones the doctor gave me three prescriptions to take until I had the surgery. Each had a caution label on the bottle.

One was for pain that "may cause nauseau." One was for nauseau, that "may cause headache." The third was for sleeping that "may cause drowsiness."