Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garage Sale Ad

Craigslist post from a guy after moving in with his girlfriend:

Mom, deal with it.

We moved in together, and we're happy. So is the baby on the way. Kidding. I'm kidding. No babies.

But we do have lots of stuff to sell. For starters, I was never using one ironing board, and now we have two. And we also both owned Borat and Wedding Crashers. I know, right? We were destined for each other.

So, stop by Saturday, April 18th between 8am and noon. Pass judgment on our living arrangement. Then, bring a piece of it home with you.

It's like she says, why buy the cow when you can sell a toaster?

Thought of the Week

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
--Abraham Lincoln


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Buying a House

I am considering buying a house again. There are Pros and Cons of both options. I will give you the top of my lists.

It is a good investment.

I don't want a house.

In addition to all of that information, below I provided a recent chat with my 9-year-old niece. After reading the dialogue you should have enough information to vote on my survey. If you vote "no" feel free to share any good ideas of how I might otherwise invest my money.

Kristina: HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
me: hi kristi
how you doing?
Kristina: good
me: do you think I should buy a house?
or do you think I should stay in my apartment?
Kristina: the apartment is enough for you
me: yeah
Kristina: houses are expensive
me: I can afford one
I just don't need that much space
Kristina: yeah
think of what you could buy instead of a house- food, clothing
stuff like that
me: I can probably buy that stuff anyway
Kristina: yeah
but you could buy more of it
me: so you think just keep the apartment?
Kristina: 80000000% yes
me: that's a really strong opinion
I'll stay here for now
Kristina: why did you want my opinion?
why not an adult's
me: I dunno
I asked adults too
I just wanted to hear what you thought
Kristina: what was what most people said?
me: sometimes kids have a simpler way of looking at stuff
I've had people say both ways
the problem is I don't want a house
Kristina: then y did u ask anyone in the first place???!!
me: I don't want one, but I think it would be a good investment because home prices have dropped and they should go back up
Kristina: don't buy what you don't want unless it's for someone else

what is your favorite kind of pie?
mine is apple
me: I'm not sure
but I do like apple
that may be my favorite too
Kristina: have you tried my mom's chocolate chip?
me: yeah
it is great
I enjoy that one a lot
Kristina: sorry
I have to go now
me: okay
talk to you later
Kristina: bye bye

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ten High

I told you the last poker story so I could tell you this one.
Again I plan to write it with the jargon included. So if you’re uninterested in learning the poker lingo I will include a summary at the bottom. You may scroll down now.

The Story:
Last summer I was playing in a 1/3 no-limit game. I was dealt 9To in late middle position and I limped in hoping to see a cheap flop. Unfortunately, the kid to my left raised to $15. Usually, I would be happy to fold this hand, but everyone was coming along. By the time it got back to me there were 5 other players involved and no chance of a re-raise.

This kid looked like his most recent birthday party was his 21st, and he bought in for the minimum $100. My guess was he walked in with about $108 in his pocket. He was down to about $70 and didn’t want to bust out.

I called the $12 and took the flop. It came out 443. It was checked to me and I passed as well. The preflop raiser bet out $20. To my surprise everyone else folded. I thought there was a decent chance he was betting with AK. If that was the case it should be pretty easy to bet him off his hand. I said “raise” and slid in a stack of chips large enough to put him all-in.
The kid deliberated for a long time. He was thinking out loud trying to figure out how I had a 4 in my hand. He even guessed the possibility of A3 (which wasn’t a bad guess; I likely would have made the same play with A3). After enough time convincing himself he finally believed there was a chance he was behind. So he asked me, “If I fold will you show me in your hand?”

I answered, “sure.”

He flipped over his whole cards revealing two jacks. He looked on with a mix of disbelief and disgust as I unveiled a ten-high.

I don’t play poker often so it took me five years to have the situation come up again. I learned from the past. This time I said “sure” loud enough.

The Summary:
Several years ago I was playing poker and lost a pot because I did not say “sure” loud enough. Last summer I was playing again and bluffing with absolutely nothing. The guy next to me asked me the same question I was asked years ago, “Will you show me your cards if I fold?” This time I said, “sure” loud enough. He folded, and I won the pot.

Thought of the Week

Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.
--Yogi Berra

Mini Golf Fail

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mystery Headaches: Part I

The fall of 2005 I found myself living in Agoura Hills, CA. I played hockey and went to the gym regularly, and on the days I wasn’t playing Ultimate Frisbee I worked as a substitute teacher. At the time my endurance greatly exceeded my income. Despite being in good physical shape I began a battle with what I first thought was an ear infection.

I remember my first time at the health clinic, the place where immigrants, day workers, and substitute teachers go to the doctor. I guess this is the closest thing we have to national healthcare in this country, and after my first visit I thought this place was great. I went in with no file on record, no phone call, and no appointment. I sat in the reception area for about four minutes and the receptionist apologized for my wait. I met with a doctor, had two kinds of drugs, and was out the door within fifteen minutes of the time I parked.

However, after a couple visits I was tired of being misdiagnosed with an ear infection. So I told the doctor my concerns, and added that I thought the symptoms got worse when I got water in my ear. With his medical expertise he responded, “Then try not to get water in your ear,” and sent me home with some more antibiotics. My warm feelings about the inexpensive health clinic began to dissipate.

Next I headed to the ears, nose and throat doctor. In case you didn’t know… that exists. I still had no money and no insurance, but I found people to be charitable when they became aware of that information. This time I had a competent doctor. He could not tell me the cause of my pain, but with some certainty concluded that it was unrelated to my ear. Now I knew it wasn't my ear, but after a few weeks the intense headache came back. At 3:30am one morning I sent out an e-mail to my medical friends that resulted in diagnosis of migraines.

I tried Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Codeine, and other drugs with no avail. So eventually I gave in and went to the neurologist. He gave me some additional sugar pills specifically designed for migraines. I didn’t care for Dr. Label much. He flippantly and unsympathetically concluded that I had migraines, and he smelled bad. He was confident that I had had migraines in the past and now they were just more severe. I simply needed to identify my triggers so I could minimize their occurrences. The first incident occurred when I was at a five-star resort in Florida, next to the pool reading a book and drinking ice water that was brought to me by a cute young girl. I wasn’t stressed. I didn’t have triggers.

I also didn’t know what else to do. I thought maybe I had some kind of brain aneurism or something. I remember wondering if there was a slight chance that I might die during one of my hockey games. I decided I would ask that question to the doctor during my next visit, but I would play all my games until then. I didn’t die.

Not only did he tell me death from hockey was unlikely he also told me getting a brain scan was unnecessary. However, nothing he had told me was working so I was getting desperate. My previous visit he even gave me medicine to inject into myself. None of the pills helped so we had to try something stronger. That medicine also didn’t do a damn thing to relieve the pain, but sticking a needle in your own ass does take you mind of it momentarily. I opted to cough up $1200 for the MRI.

The MRI report stated the following: My brain parenchyma is normal. There are no signal abnormalities, and there are no enhancing lesions. However, my vertebral arteries are somewhat tortuous, slightly displacing my medulla posteriorly and towards the right. This is of questionable significance.

This was the over-detailed way of saying I was fine. The summary added that my brain was "otherwise unremarkable." I would dare to disagree. They don’t even know me.

Thought of the Week

I heard a guy on the radio today say that with regards to steroids we can safely conclude that baseball is self-policing itself.
He then added that that comment may have come from the department of redundancy department.

Fail Blog of the Week

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weighing in on Steroids

I’ve heard the argument, with regards to steroids, that maybe we should just let the players all take whatever they want. Then it will be a level playing field. What would be wrong with that?

That is a reasonable argument. Also, I think it isn’t far from what was happening in baseball.

I’ve said this analogy several times now. If during a test to my students I said to them, “You all know the rules. I’m going to be back in fifteen minutes.” Then I left the room. If I found that 80% of my students cheated how could I blame them? They are competing on the same curve as the person sitting next to them. If the vast majority of the competition was taking advantage of an edge wouldn’t you too? I wouldn’t blame the 80%; I would blame me for not enforcing policy better.

I don’t blame the players for using steroids in a time when there was no penalty against it. So stop blaming them. Blame Major League Baseball. We recently found out A-rod did roids too. Many people were shocked, because they wanted the golden boy to pass up the villain Barry Bonds on the all-time homerun list. I wasn’t shocked, nor should anybody have been shocked. If the teacher isn’t in the room most of the kids will cheat.

I’m happy about Manny’s suspension. Baseball has policies in place now to keep players from using steroids. If someone breaks a rule, there should be consequences. Now Manny is out for 50 games. Good. We have rules in place against performance-enhancing drugs. Now, if the rules are broken the rule-breaker should be punished.

Stop calling Bonds a cheater. They all took steroids and he was just that much better than everyone else while he was on them. That’s why he became the game’s villain. If you want to bash Bonds, fine. Rip him for being an egotistical, selfish, inconsiderate asshole, not for being an amazing ballplayer that happened to use steroids too. *

Now tell the players to stop taking illegal performance enhancing drugs; the teacher is in the room.

*Click here for a good Bonds-bashing '06 article without critizing the steroid use.

Thought of the Week

You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.
--Yogi Berra

Share the Road

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Dartmouth Stowaway

The day our paths crossed. I was busy with no job, no residency, traveling the country going to baseball games. Then I met 21-year-old Carl Strom, who made me look like a conformist.

Steve, a college friend, and I had been traveling since California. As we were getting back on the freeway in Houston I saw a guy standing on the onramp holding a cardboard sign that read, “New Orleans.” That happened to be where we were going. Soon three of us were jammed into the compact rental car. Carl had left California about a week earlier and hadn’t showered since. This was evident.

His backpack consisted of some metal pipes, two olive canisters, some straps, and an old seatbelt. Connected to it was his tarp, and red plastic gasoline canister, which he used for water. He even wrote "water" in big letters on one side so people wouldn't question his sanity when he drank from the container. Carl had taken a bus from Los Angeles to El Paso, and then jumped on a freight train and rode it to Houston. He said, "I admit it was a little bit of a thrill to take that train, but it was also real practical too." He had just spent a month in California with his parents and was returning to New Orleans. He said it was nice to be "home for a while."

Carl allegedly after high school went to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He was there one year, but left because it was "elitist." Steve asked him what he studied there and he responded, "Well, nothin' really. That's why I left." Later I commented that he must have got good grades in high school. He replied, "Yeah, I played that game for a while." It sounds like the main character in Water for Elephants, a book set in the 1930’s. However, I think finding an Ivy-league educated stowaway has to be even less common now.

Carl’s upper middle class parents live in Tapanga Canyon in southern California. His younger sister attended UC Berkeley. He began an education at Dartmouth, and then chose to spend a half a year living in a canoe. He started with his canoe in the Atlantic up in the New England area and went through the Great Lakes and made his way over to the Mississippi. He took the Mississippi River all the way to New Orleans. Then stayed there for a while and worked as a deckhand. Carl took the road less traveled.

He seemed very intelligent, but spoke more like a deckhand from Louisiana than a student from a prestigious New England university. He was heading back to New Orleans to get work on the boat again. This time he scheduled an appointment for mid-July to get certification to become an able bodied seaman. He thought this would make him more employable, and maybe one day land him a job off a Californian coast. Our car ride discussion topics ranged from geography, to war to abortion. When we finally arrived in New Orleans Carl asked to come into the motel to clean-up. He pitched in $10 and spent the night on the floor.

His odor infected the hotel room less severely than it did the car.

Thought of the Week

If you're driving in the rain thinking your car is getting cleaner... it's probably been too long since you washed it.

Car Seat Fail

I've never had kids. So can you guys that have
them let me know if this looks alright.


Now if your husband said he was just doing it to help a
neighbor and earn some money couldn't you, as his wife,
insist he doesn't have sex with another woman just out of
principle. That sounds reasonable to me. Especially if you
already assumed he was sterile.