Thursday, June 30, 2005

Flash App

Here's a cool flash app found via fellow Malleteer Chet. The woman reminds me of Androo's last girlfriend. You can grab her with your mouse if she gets stuck.
More Asshatness

I hate all the top 50 or top 100 lists that have become the latest way for entertainment companies to make a quick buck, but this latest one from Discovery about the Greatest Americans takes the cake. Oprah Winfrey is #9?!? That's five spots ahead of Einstein and six spots ahead of Thomas Edison. Mohammed Ali and Lance Armstrong are ahead of Neil Armstrong. Sigh.
Four More Years

I'm not sure about the exact date, but about this time four years ago was the day I met my beautiful wife Marissa for the first time. We were serving hamburgers and chips to the low income residents of Mercury Court in Nashville with the singles class from our church. Marissa was putting the hamburger patties on the buns and I was adding pickles and tomatoes. I noticed this cute girl to my left was scrunching up her nose everytime I reached across with a pickle, so I started putting the pickles closer and closer to her until she finally said something about it. She hates pickles a lot in case you haven't figured it out already.

Now she's my wife and is 14 weeks pregnant with my kid, and she still hates pickles. I love you baby, and I'm looking forward to at least 40 more years with you.
The Forgotten

I've been meaning to post a link for my Atlanta friend Jay Croft for quite a while. His acting journal is a pretty good read if you're interested at all in the world of theatre. My sincere apologies to Jay for taking so long to link to him. I also apologize in advance for any comments Heff or Uncle Bull leave on your journal. Hopefully they won't act too much like ignorant Wilfreds.

Jay and I met years ago in Atlanta at the Blue Oyster Bar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today's History Lesson

A discussion about generic beer today led to me stumbling upon the History of Falstaff Brewing, which is a very entertaining read, although slightly biased. Falstaff created the famous generic beer in 1984, along with a M.A.S.H. 4077 brand beer. There are a few cans available on eBay, so Heff needs to snag one for his beer can collection which sits atop his bar.
Lunch Walk

So after a quick lunch of a can Vienna Sausages (it's pronounced "Vigh-een-uh" down this way) while sitting in my car reading and listening to music on NPR, I decided to go for a quick walk. It was probably about 90 degrees outside at the moment and humid, but I decided I'd just make it a quick jaunt down the sidewalk behind the building I work in.

As I set out, I could see an old man and a woman about 2 blocks down. I had seen them before and had noticed a WW2 Vet sticker on the back window of their truck. As I walked by them the old man nodded at me and asked "so what do you think about the day so far?"

I stopped. "Well sir, I'd say so far it's pretty hot out here."

So we started talking and I soon brought up the sticker on his truck. He started telling me about his WWII experiences and we ended up standing there talking for over 20 minutes. He was in the 2nd Army and got off a boat in Le Havre, France and proceeded to stay on the front lines most of the way across Germany. He said he rode on the front of a tank most of the time and carried a BAR.

It's always an honor to talk to men like him. I wish I had the time to sit down with him for a few hours and chat. My walk wasn't very far today, but it sure was a lot more interesting than it usually is.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Scrushy Acquitted

It's good to see that some things never change. Apparently the city of Birmingham, Alabama is still full of ignorant asshats. Apparently the prosecution side of the law is not attracting the best and brightest anymore either. How on earth can 12 people come to the conclusion that Scrushy "didn't know" about the massive fraud going on at a company he built from the ground up?
Wakeup Call

So I'm snoring and sleeping soundly this morning when the cell phone, which I use as an alarm clock, starts ringing on the side table next to my head. I roll over, pick it up and see that it's 4:15 am.


"Alan?" I recognize the voice of Ms. Reetha, who is the lady that keeps my Father, who is in poor health and has been close to death for quite a while.

At this point, there's a million things running through my head. My father's dead. I'll have to call work and get ready to drive to Columbiana, which car will we take, do we have enough cash to make it down there, etc.

"Yes ma'am," I say.

"Are you doing alright," she asks?

"Ummm, yes ma'am."

"Well I wanted to call you and let you know that my husband and I are getting remarried this Wednesday night and we're bothing being ordained as bishops and we wanted to ask you to be there."

There were several seconds of confused and stunned silence on my part.

"Well Ms. Reetha, I can't really drive down to Alabama during the middle of the week right now. I've started a new job and our finances are tight with the pregnancy and stuff."

"Well, OK, I just wanted you to know about it. Your father's doing much better, you know after he had that recent spell and all..."

She went on for several more minutes, while I lay there pondering on whether I should say something about what time it was. In the end I decided to just play along and politely get her off the phone. Needless to say, after my adrenaline started flowing at 4am I didn't get a whole lot of sleep the rest of the night.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hatch Lard Update

I couldn't come up with a reliable D.B.A.N. reading this morning. I think my scales are really on their last leg. It's either 314 or 316. I haven't lost any weight in a few days, most likely due to some sneaky carbs in the meat dishes I tried at the Chinese Buffet last week. I was looking at the "crab meat" in the supermarket over the weekend, and it turns out they add sugar to it and it has a lot more carbs than you'd think. There's zero crab in it too, in case you were wondering.

That was Thursday, and I've been strictly on the low carbs since then. Even though the weight hasn't dropped, my waist size definitely has. A few weeks ago I'd go to the bathroom every 3 hours or so and undo my pants to let my waist breathe, since the pants and belt were so tight it was cutting off circulation. Today I can fasten them without straining.

This past week I got sick of hardboiled eggs, so I've turned into an omelet expert. I throw 3 eggs and a little dash of milk into the cuisinart and set it on high. While that's going on I melt a chunk of butter in the skillet at medium heat then pour in the eggs. Medium heat is the key. The first one I tried I had it on high like I was frying an egg and it ended up scorching the outside too much.

After I flip it, I throw in some chunks of ham and two slices of cheese and fold it over until the cheese melts. A little tobasco sprinkled on top and you've got yourself a meal. The great thing about an omelet is I can mix up the ingredients when I get bored. I can use bacon, sausage, and different kinds of cheese. I'm going to get some feta cheese sometime this week since I haven't had a good feta cheese omelet since the last time I was in Chicago. It only take about 5 minutes total to make the omelet too, so it's quicker even than the chicken breasts.

So a few months ago the Honda gets runt-over in Atlanta by an SUV. This past Saturday Marissa is pulling into the local McDonald's where Victoria and the other cheerleaders on her team are doing a carwash. A guy in a big-ole-truck doesn't see her as he's coming around the turnaround out front and crunches into the left front quarter panel. Mother and baby are OK, but Marissa was upset and emotional and nearly gave the old man a heart attack. When I got there his hands were shaking so bad I had to ask him if he was OK.

So Hatch will be driving a rental car for a while once again while the Honda gets towed into the garage for more body work. I took some pictures of the damage which I'll get posted soon. The quarter panel is toast, and it will probably need another hood along with a headlight assembly. I'm worried the wheel might be damaged so I'm going to insist on them checking the alignment which they didn't do after the last accident.

I think my car is cursed. At least the man that hit Marissa was very nice and polite about the whole thing instead of being a Wilfred. I nearly Heffed myself when his insurance company called today and said he took full responsibility for the accident.
Weekend Poker

I only played in one tournament online this weekend. It was a freeroll on Pokerstars on Friday night to qualify for a Sunday afternoon tournament that sends seven people to the WSOP next week. There's no way I could go to Vegas next week even if I won, so I was playing very aggressive to see what happened.

I've finally pounded the concept of playing aggressive positional poker back into my head, so I've been doing much better lately, although I have no wins to show for it. I did play some really cheap ring games last week and ended up adding about 10 bucks back into my stake.

In the tournament Friday night, 338 people started. I played tight unless I was in position and ended up taking down a few small pots from the button or the blinds. I got an AKo at one point and raised large and after all the betting was done, four of us had all or most of our chips in the pot. I sucked out a King on the river to knock three people out of the tournament at once and moved into 2nd place overall in the tournament.

I stayed in the top five in chips for a long time after that. I probably knocked about five more people out of the tournament and turned into a total chip bully on whatever table I was moved to. After we reached about 80 people left in the tournament though, the cards turned almost completely cold on me. I slowly dribbled down the ranks, losing with hands like AQo or KQo and had the Hilton sisters busted twice on the way down. Eventually the blinds and antes started catching up with me and after pushing in with an Ax in desperation with about 2k left in chips I was busted out in 51st place. The top 18 moved on to the next tournament. So close, but so far away.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Great Arkansas Coincidence of 2002

I've been studying odds as they relate to poker lately, and a few weird things have happened in real life the last few days that really got me pondering coincidences. I was randomly browsing links in the Wikipedia yesterday and read the entire article on Robert Heinlein. Then a conversation about Robert Heinlein blossomed on a mailing list of old Malleteers that I belong to.

Then today I was browsing the Wikipedia again and somehow stumbled onto an article about Fatty Arbuckle which I read along with some related links. Then they started talking about Fatty Arbuckle on NPR while I was driving home from work this afternoon.

Those are pretty good ones, but on the list of amazing coincidences in the life of Hatch, the greatest one happened back in 2002 on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Marissa and I had driven to Little Rock that morning to attend the memorial service for her step-brother Brian, who had just passed away from cancer. After a long day we were leaving Little Rock and headed back east towards Nashville.

I like to sing, even though I know my voice is not all that great. As we were cruising down the interstate, Marissa made a comment about how it was gonna be a long drive. I started singing the theme from "Smokey and the Bandit."

"East bound and down, loaded up and trucking, we gonna do what they say can't be done. We got a long way to go, and a ...."

"Oh my God, please no," yelled Marissa.

The radio was turned completely off at this point and as she yelled she leaned forward and slapped the button to turn it on.

There was a half second pause...

Out of the speakers came the opening chords to "East Bound and Down", playing on a local country station that we had been tuned to earlier.

There was a shocked moment where neither of us did anything, but then I started laughing hysterically and soon began singing the song again, this time accompanied by Jerry Reid. Marissa sat there in shock shaking her head while I sang the rest of a song that was last played regularly on the radio around 1977 or so. I have no idea how to calculate the odds accurately in this situation, but I suspect it would be high.

To take a very rough and possibly wrong stab at it, I would say the odds of me starting to sing any given song I've heard and know some lyrics to are probably 1 in 3000 or so, which is probably how many songs I know. So even if the radio station had the exact same list of songs, the odds of the station and I picking the same song at the same time are One in Nine Million? Then you have to adjust for the fact that I picked it within 10 seconds of them starting the song, plus other factors and I think the odds go up from there.

P.S. No, I didn't have to look up the lyrics. I love the song.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Angry Hatch Night

Last night was an angry night online for me. First I had a bad night in poker, losing about two bucks in a nickel/dime ring game then going out 9th and 8th in two different nine player SNG. In the last hand I was busted out by a pair of nines when I had a pair of Jacks. After that debacle I logged off poker and logged into Everquest 2 for what I was hoping would be a few relaxing hours of killing virtual creatures.

While I was online I decided to work on my tradeskills, so I went to the virtual online market to buy some supplies. The stuff I need sells very cheap, so I usually just go in and buy all of it that is available. This time I was tired and didn't notice that some jackass had set the price about 1000 times higher than normal so I blew every bit of currency I had for that character on crap.

I think I'm going on break from poker and EQ2 for a while. I don't have the patience for either right now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Power of the Hammer!

PokerStars Game #1952734674: Hold'em No Limit ($0.05/$0.10) - 2005/06/22 - 20:31:04 (ET)

Table 'Izar II' Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: Hatch68 ($3.10 in chips)
Seat 2: StevieRaay ($7.40 in chips)
Seat 3: leonard52 ($1.90 in chips)
Seat 4: 19bernie ($9.60 in chips)
Seat 5: hizarsch ($8.30 in chips)
Seat 6: dregon ($4.60 in chips)
Seat 8: Owly ($2.25 in chips)
Seat 9: ochj12 ($4 in chips)
leonard52: posts small blind $0.05
19bernie: posts big blind $0.10
ochj12: posts big blind $0.10
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hatch68 [7s 2c]
hizarsch: calls $0.10
dregon: folds
Owly: folds
ochj12: checks
Hatch68: raises $3 to $3.10 and is all-in
StevieRaay: folds
leonard52: folds
19bernie: folds
hizarsch: calls $3
ochj12: folds
*** FLOP *** [8c 2h 9s]
*** TURN *** [8c 2h 9s] [7c]
*** RIVER *** [8c 2h 9s 7c] [7h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hizarsch: shows [Qd Td] (a pair of Sevens)
Hatch68: shows [7s 2c] (a full house, Sevens full of Deuces)
Hatch68 collected $6.15 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $6.45 | Rake $0.30

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hatch Wins?

I played in two of the dollar MTTs last night on Pokerstars. In the first one I went down in flames in 42nd place.

In the second one, I was doing well in level 1 and had about 2500 in chips. Then just as level 2 started Pokerstars decided to go on hiatus for a few hours. I had just moved up to fifth place in chips when the whole site went down and didn't come back up until about 11pm. I got the following email a little while after that:

Tournament #9199130 has been cancelled due to technical reasons.

When a tournament is cancelled before players are in the money, we refund each player their tournament fee, and then divide up the prize pool basedon the following formula:

- 50% of the award pool distributed evenly between remaining players
- 50% of the award pool distributed proportionally according to the chipcount

At the time of cancellation there were 33 player remaining, and your chipcount was 3,530. Total chips in play were 67,500.

Prize pool to be divided equally: $45.00/2 = $22.50
Prize pool to be divided based on chip count: $45.00/2 = $22.50

Your share in money equally divided: $22.50/33 = $0.68
Your share based on chip count: $22.50 x (3,530/67,500) = $1.17
Your entry fee refunded: $0.20

Total money refunded to your account: $2.06

We apologize for the inconvenience.

The PokerStars Team

So I guess I'll count this as placing in the money, at least on a technicality. I got my entrance fee back plus an extra 86 cents.
Of Course Hatch Sings!

On the first day of Summer, the Hatch scales said to me "You're down to three-hundred sixteen."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday Morning D.B.A.N.

Today's D.B.A.N. report is brought to you by Wilfred, who can't find the time to update his blog but has plenty of time to send me internet hoaxes and extremely old jokes via email. Thanks Wilfred!

Today's number is: 320

No cheating over the weekend. Paul and I ate at Golden Corral on Saturday so lots of meat was consumed. I didn't exercise enough over the weekend due to being on a sugar crash, but I did get some walking in and last night I did two sets of bicep curls and triceps extensions with a 12 pound dumbbell. That's not really heavy enough and I'll probably try to get a 15 pound one sometime soon. I can still feel a little bit of burn today though, so it's been a while since I've really worked those muscles.
Weekend Update

Hello, I'm Hatch and you're not. I feel like I'm hungover today, but it's due to an almost complete lack of sleep last night. The dachshund kept waking us up making puking noises about once an hour. For Father's Day Marissa and I went to O'Charlies for lunch yesterday. I ordered the prime rib and broccoli, basically the same thing I ordered at the same restaurant last Monday afternoon. It wasn't very good yesterday, though. Marissa wasn't as happy with her meal either. We like eating there because we can both get what we want and it doesn't cost too much.

I played some more 45 person MTT at PokerStars this weekend. Still having no luck. I think I have improved my game by playing a lot tighter early on, but I'm losing big heads up hands towards the end.

In the last one I played last night, I had managed to get over 10k in chips built up, which was twice as many as the next player in the tournament had. On the button I was dealt the AK of spades. The UTG player goes all in with about 2k. UTG+2 calls that, with about 3k still left in his pile. I pushed in with my 10k, hoping UTG+2 would fold and it would be heads up against the smaller stack. The guy thinks about it for about 30 seconds, then calls.

UTG shows AQ. UTG+2 shows AJ. Of couse the AJ ends up pulling two Jacks and an Ace by the river so I lost over half my stack and went on tilt. I probably should have just called the bet and tried to see if I could check it down to the river with the second guy to knock the first guy out.

The final hand I was in for that tournament was slightly odd. I had A6o and called an all in from a bigger stack. Three people ended up being all in for the hand out of four players. The other players had AQo, AKo, A4o, so all the Aces were in play. The bigger stack hit a Q and knocked three people out at once.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Well, Marissa is definitely not faking being pregnant. Victoria and I went with her to see Dr. Thornburg today and we all got to hear the heartbeat. Only ONE heartbeat was heard, but of course the doctor had to be cruel and tell me she couldn't rule out twins yet. The next visit is in five weeks and the ultrasound will be in nine more weeks.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hatch Loss : The Beginning

I tried walking again today at lunch. I did 4/10 of a mile total instead of 6/10 like yesterday. My lower back started aching again, but I didn't have to stop and rest. Uncle Bull yelled at me yesterday and hurt my feelings. Actually, he talked me into giving the low carb thing a try again. Hopefully no more pregnancy announcements will come along to crash me off of it this time.

For this attempt I'm going full psycho on the diet. I bought two big bags of Tyson frozen boneless chicken breasts yesterday and cooked one bag in the oven last night. I added a little bit of Dale's for marinade and slid them in for about an hour. Then I put them in a big tupperware container in the fridge. So if I'm hungry, I eat a chicken breast. It's pure protein and it fills me up for a least two hours. I took three to work today in separate baggies and threw them into the fridge. One for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for later in the afternoon. I also bought a couple of blocks of cheddar for small snacks at night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Don't Play Poker Tired

I tried another dollar tournament last night on Pokerstars. I was doing OK, then I started getting tired during a bad run of cards and lost my patience. I was about 13th in chips with 20 people left when I was dealt A6d in late position. I tried to steal the blinds and raised about half my chips. One person calls. The flop is garbage. I should have checked, but I put about half of what I had left in. The other person re-raises enough to put me all in. I called. They show a pair of 8's. Turn and River are no help and I'm out in 20th. Dumb play on a night I shouldn't have played anyway.
Hatch is Fat

Good God almighty. I am completely and utterly fat. I've known this for a while but now I'm angry about it. I decided to take a walk at the end of my lunch break today so I set off down the residential street behind my office building. The sidewalk was almost completely shaded and it was about 82 degrees outside. I know from past experience that 110 strides at my normal pace is approximately 1/10 of a mile. I walked 330 strides down the sidewalk then turned around. A few minutes later my back and my hips start aching. By the time I made it back to the building, I could barely stand up. I look like I lost a wrestling match with a lawn sprinkler.

I know Heff and Uncle Bull and Frances are going to chime in with lots of advice, but do me a favor and don't. I have to do this myself. I'm not going into a lot of detail, but it basically comes down to eating less and exercising more. I weighed 324 pounds this past Sunday morning. This morning I weighed 322. It's not much, but it's a start. My hate will make me stronger.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Movie Review : Mr. and Mrs. Smith

We got to the mall this past Saturday at about 11:30am to get ready for Victoria's birthday celebration. I had to snag two of the large tables in the food court, drag them together, run down to the cookie store to get the cookie cake, get 12 soda orders, eat some pizza, then follow three girls around the mall a few times at a trot so they could do a scavenger hunt. By the end of the hunt, my ankles, hips, and back were groaning.

So it was with a sense of relief that I settled into my seat in the theatre to watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith, especially since I didn't have to watch the Sisterhood of the Pants chick flick that everyone else was going to see. I had low expectations of this movie going into it, and ended up being pleasantly surprised.

At it's core, this movie is about a failed marriage that gets turned around. All the other stuff is just window dressing. It's like a James Bond movie that has good character interaction and dialogue. Pitt and Jolie are beautiful people and so is everyone else in this movie. It all starts out a little slow, but by the end I was extremely satisfied with the whole thing.

My only complaint was the stupid $%$#@* that brought a couple of 3 year olds into the movie. One of them screamed loudly everytime there was an explosion or gunshot. This movie had almost as much gunfire as The Matrix, so you can imagine how annoying that was. Add to that the old fat white guy behind me who gave an extremely loud, deep belly laugh everytime anything remotely funny happened. It was so odd that I came to the conclusion he must be on some type of medication.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Monday Lunch

I had lunch today with old Malleteer buddy Greg Hanners at the Elliston Place Soda Shop in Nashville. Your typical meat and three, with the added bonus of their A/C being out today so they had a huge fan sitting near the door blowing on all the patrons. Reminded me a lot of eating in those places in the 70's with my grandfather since none of them had A/C back then. It had been a while since I'd eaten there, so I didn't recognize any of the staff, but apparently the cook is still the same because it was as good as I remember. Nothing like good ole Southern home cooking to fill you up.
Pokerbot, Not.

I have to admit the idea of creating a script to play poker online intrigues me, but I don't have the money or time to spend on it. Scripts like this are one of the reasons I'm only playing in tournaments online. I'm sure there are people running them for tournaments also, but in a tournament one mistake in one hand can cost you the game, so running percentages over and over automatically won't help you as much.

My other problem with this is how everybody is misuing the term 'Robot' nowadays. A script running on a computer is not a robot. A remote controlled device trying to destroy other remote controlled devices on TV is not a robot. I used to get in arguments regularly with two guys a few years ago who were working on their latest 'robot' for their grand scheme to get some airtime on TLC or Discovery. I'd interrupt them to ask what kind of processor they were using to control the autonomous movement that would qualify it as being a robot.

I realize it's a losing effort, much like people using 'begging the question' inappropriately, but what good is life if you can't make bold, defiant, yet useless stands on principle every now and then?
Tennessee Cockfight

Holy chicken strips! They arrested 144 people and killed 300 roosters after raiding a cockfight in east Tennessee. I've heard the smell of burning cocks can be sniffed as far away as North Carolina. Calm down, Uncle Bull. Read the article one more time before you hop in your garbage truck and head south with your gym buddies.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

In Harm's Way

After an exhausting 7 hours at the mall to celebrate Victoria's birthday, we sat down for a nice late dinner at a local Tex-Mex restaurant just down the road from my house. As we got up to leave I noticed a really elderly man sitting at a table with his family with an oxygen tank. I noticed he was wearing one of the blue baseball caps that a lot of naval veterans wear, but I was so tired I didn't really take any more note of it.

As I stood at the register waiting on my change, it was like a bell went off in my head and I turned and took a closer look at the gentleman, who was facing me. The cap said CA-35 USS Indianapolis. I stood there stunned for a minute and told Marissa and Victoria I'd be outside in a few minutes.

I walked over and said "excuse me, sir?" He looked up at me and smiled.

"You were on the Indianapolis," I asked?

"Yes sir," he said.

"Were you on her when she went down?"

"Yes sir," he nodded. His eyes got this faraway look that I've seen when talking to some war veterans before.

"It's a real honor to me you," I said, extending my hand. "I read the book about the Indianapolis a while back. I never thought I'd actually meet someone who was on her."

"Well, thank you very much," he said while giving a surprisingly firm handshake for someone that old.

His eyes looked like they were about to tear up, and I know mine were, so I nodded to him and his family and left.

If you don't know about the USS Indianapolis, the short story is that she was sailing from Guam shortly after delivering the atomic bomb to the island of Tinian. On July 30, 1945 she was hit by two torpedos from a Japanese submarine and rolled over and sank 12 minutes later. Out of 1,196 men on board about 900 made it into the water before she sank. They spent almost 5 days in the water, watching each other get eaten by tiger sharks. Only 317 were rescued.

I've read about the Indianapolis since I was a kid. I think the first time I heard about it was when I was reading the novel Jaws in second grade, which made me go look up the whole story at the library. I never imagined I'd actually meet one of the survivors. Only 317 of them made it out of the water almost 60 years ago, so the youngest of them would be 77 years old at a minimum. It's not every day you get to meet a hero, but tonight I'm thankful I was able to.

If you're never read the book "In Harm's Way", you should. I need to pick up another copy of it myself. I wish I had gotten the gentleman's name tonight, but I was too nervous to remember to ask.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Lost Bach Aria

An aria written by J.S. Bach in 1713 that was only recently rediscovered was partially performed this morning on NPR. Very cool stuff.
Live W.S.O.P. Coverage

If you're interested in some good blog coverage of the 2005 World Series of Poker, click on over to Dr. Pauly's WSOP Live Blog. Apparently the Stud tournament nearly led to fisticuffs this week. Great stuff.
A Suckout Story (Annotated)

Here's an annotated version of my last post for my dumb friends Heff and Uncle Bull.

I played in my fifth $1 + .20 (I had to pay $1.20 total to play) MTT (Multi-Table Tournament)on Pokerstars tonight. I was in the groove, playing the cards right, and being agressive when I needed to be. I made the final table. (MTT had 45 people it, final table means I was in the top 9) There were still 9 of us left when I was dealt A4c. (The two cards dealt to me were an Ace and a Four of Clubs.) I called a small raise in late position (a person ahead of me raised it to 800 total, which is above the 400 that I normally would have had to put into the pot to continue playing) and the flop had two clubs. (The flop is the 3 community cards dealt in the middle of the table after the first round of betting. Two clubs in the flop gave me four clubs, which is only one club shy of having a flush, which is a very strong hand in Hold'em Poker) A smaller stack (someone who had less chips than me) pushed in (went "All In", putting all their remaining chips in the pot) ahead of me and a larger stack did the same. I thought about it a bit. Two cards to come and about a 1 in 3 chance to draw the nut flush. I called. (Two more community cards still had to be dealt. I needed one of those to be a club to give an almost unbeatable hand. There were 9 clubs still left out there somewhere, so I could estimate my chances roughly by multiplying 9 * 4 = 36% chance of getting one of those clubs with the two remaining cards to come. A nut flush means I would have the best flush possible since I had the Ace. I "called" the bet by pushing all of my remaining chips in, meaning the guy with more chips wasn't technically "All In" anymore.)

Small stack had nothing. Bigger stack had 3 nines. (Three of kind, which is a pretty strong hand.)

The turn was the club I needed. (The turn is what the 4th community card is commonly called.)

Yes! I pumped my fist in the air.

The river (the fifth community card) paired one of the other cards on the board, giving the bigger stack a full house. (So he had 3 nines and another pair on the board.)

Out in 8th place.

Yes, one position out of the money. (The top seven got at least some reward for playing.)

I told myself when I made the final table night that I'd play really tight until I made the money. I'd still make the same call given the same chance, though. I knew the bigger hand liked to bet big with dubious cards. I had already put a note on him about it. Not a lot you can do when your nut flush gets busted on the river by a boat except swim to shore and wait for the next tournament. (Conventional wisdom in poker says to play really conservatively when you start the final table, letting other people bust out first to make sure you get into the money.)

(The term "suckout" refers to the situation where someone is virtually beat in a hand, but draws a very unlikely card to beat you. In this case there were only about 7 cards in the deck that would help the other guy after the Turn card, so he had about a 14% chance to beat me on the River.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A Suckout Story

I played in my fifth $1 + .20 MTT on Pokerstars tonight. I was in the groove, playing the cards right, and being agressive when I needed to be. I made the final table. There were still 9 of us left when I was dealt A4c. I called a small raise in late position and the flop had two clubs. A smaller stack pushed in ahead of me and a larger stack did the same. I thought about it a bit. Two cards to come and about a 1 in 3 chance to draw the nut flush. I called.

Small stack had nothing. Bigger stack had 3 nines.

The turn was the club I needed.

Yes! I pumped my fist in the air.

The river paired one of the other cards on the board, giving the bigger stack a full house.

Out in 8th place.

Yes, one position out of the money.

I told myself when I made the final table night that I'd play really tight until I made the money. I'd still make the same call given the same chance, though. I knew the bigger hand liked to bet big with dubious cards. I had already put a note on him about it. Not a lot you can do when your nut flush gets busted on the river by a boat except swim to shore and wait for the next tournament.
Happy Birthday Freak!

Victoria, my favorite goofball turns 12 today! If she's lucky her Mother and I might let her live to see 13. We had her birthday dinner last night at Demo's Steakhouse in Lebanon along with Tori's Nanny Renee.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Book Review : Logan's Run

I bought this book last week and I read it during my lunch break yesterday and today, sitting in my car munching on a sandwich and carrots. A total of 187 pages in an hour and forty-five minutes, so it's a quick read.

As could be expected, there are a lot of major differences between the book and the movie. They share the same basic premise of people voluntarily submitting to euthanasia at a young age and the story of one enforcer of this tradition deciding to 'run' when his turn came up. I've been a fan of the movie since it first came out. My parents wouldn't take me to see it so I had to wait and see it on television a few years later. Like all boys growing up in the seventies, I was a huge fan of Farrah Fawcett, but was of course disappointed in the small role she had.

In the book, which is set in the 22nd century, modern society is what has resulted in the youth movement of the 1960's successfully taking over the world. On your 21st birthday, you are expected to show up at a local shop and be quietly put to sleep, which is opposed to the carousels and the age 30 limit depicted in the movie. Domed cities exist in the book, but the outside world is still accessible. When Logan and Jessica begin their run, they leave Los Angeles and visit a submerged city, the Arctic, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington DC, and finally Florida, seeking the "old man" and Sanctuary while being followed by the Sandman Francis.

The book has enough differences from the movie to make it an interesting read. If you're a fan of classic Sci-Fi books like I am you'll enjoy it. The scene of the runners making their way through a android recreation of an American Civil War battle is worth the price of the book alone.

Buy this book Now from Amazon!
Cheap Poker

Since I left Atlanta I don't really have any place to go to regularly play Hold'em tournaments. Add to that fact that I don't really feel right about leaving the wife and kid at home to go sit in a sports bar for several hours at night. I thought I was going to have to put my poker play on the back burner for a while, but Pokerstars came to the rescue.

They've recently started offering 45 player Multi-Table Tournaments for $1 + .20. I threw in 50 bucks, so I'll get to play at least 41 of these tournaments before I go broke. They're a lot of fun, and the competition is better than the free tournaments were. It's so nice not to see four or five people go all-in on the first hand anymore. I've played in four of these so far, and the highest I've placed is 16th. The top seven players make it to the money, so I haven't earned anything back yet.

I figure this is a good way for me to keep practicing my skills, and since I'm not playing in the pansy free games I'll have something more interesting to talk about. I plan on limiting myself to two or three a week, so my initial buy-in should last about three months. After I've played 41 MTT's, I'll examine my position at that point and see if there's any point in continuing. So if my bankroll is less than the $50.00 I started with at that point, I'll just go back to the free tournaments.

I'll also be able to play in some freerolls on Pokerstars now, so those should be interesting as well.
Old McHatcher Had a Farm

A recent article from Time has me feeling nostalgic for my days of feeding the hogs on my Granddaddy's farm. I'm tempted to gather up the wife and kids and buy 20 acres somewhere out in the middle of nowhere and start raising Heritage animals. Ten dollars a pound for pork is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sad News From Chicago

William "Uncle Meat" Wilkins was found lying in a pool of his own urine near a scattering of garbage cans. Details are sketchy, but it appears Wilkins stumbled upon a group of varmints engaged in an illicit drug sale.

"He shoulda had a shotgun with him," commented one local resident. "The varmints in this neighborhood can get mighty testy."

Wilkins leaves behind a wife, two daughters, and a big goofy kid somewhere out west.
Movie Review : National Treasure

I can close my eyes and see Jerry Bruckheimer sitting around a table with the director and other producers of this movie when they're working out the final storyboards.

"I'm really excited about this movie, Jerry," says Jon Turtletaub, the director. "We've got a great script and some exciting visual elements, and best of all we can mostly use real life locations so we can save a lot of cash on the special effects and CGI."

"Well, I've made some changes," says Jerry.

The tension in the room rises noticeably.

"I've got this idea for a BIG ending! We'll have this huge pit underneath lower Manhatten. It'll be at least 50 feet across! Then we'll put this system of walkways and dumbwaiters in the pit, but they'll be old, and dangerous. That way we can have someone fall into the bottomless pit and die horribly..."

"But Jerry, no one is supposed to die in this movie, it's a Disney flick..."

"Then. Then! When they finally get to the bottom of this pit, we'll have this empty room."

"But Jerry, the script has them finding the buried treasure chest in Virginia, we already have the location booked..."

"And in this empty room there will be a secret door. Behind the door will be the treasure! Oh my God the treasure! It'll be a chamber bigger than a football stadium! It'll be overflowing with treasure! And we'll have these moats full of something that burns, so when someone lights it with their torch it will slowly reveal the treasure!"

"A torch Jerry? Why would someone bring a torch down instead of a flashlight?"

"The torch will already be there! He'll light it on the way down."

"How's a torch still gonna burn after 200 years? I dunno Jerry, this is starting to sound a little over the top..."

"Over the top? Over the top!?! This is a Bruckheimer movie! It has to go over the top!"


So anyway, I actually enjoyed the movie. Victoria and I watched it last night. The ending was almost completely ludicrous, but overall it was fun, just like a Bruckheimer film should be. I give it 7 out of 10.

Buy this DVD now from Amazon!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hatch Getting His Read On

One of the great things about my new job is that I'm only about a mile away from my favorite used book store The Book Man/Book Woman. They've got the best selection of old Science Fiction paperbacks that I've ever seen. Today at lunch I picked up the original Logan's Run paperback and a couple of the Fred Saberhagen "Berserker" series of books. According to the F.A.Q. on his website, Saberhagen says the Berserker books can be read in any order, but he does recommend reading the original novel, Berserker, first.

This novel is a series of short stories, so I should be able to read one everyday at lunch to get the brain juices flowing. I read one today after I bought the book, and while it was obviously dated, it was still very enjoyable.

Buy this book now from Amazon!
Movie Review : Taking Lives

This movie has been on our NetFlix queue for quite a while, so I'm not sure why I put on the list in the first place. I had heard very uneven reviews of it and it lived up to them for the most part.

The Good:

1. Cinematography - It was filmed in and around Montreal, Canada and the look and feel of the movie was great. It had the required eerie, dank feel to it that set a great mood for this type of movie.

2. Hmmm. Nothing else to add to this section.

The Bad:

1. Writing - Horrible. Plot inconsistencies ran rampant like Paul Clemmons at a rib eating contest. There were only two possible suspects, and Keifer Sutherland was obviously used as one because everyone just knows that Keifer Sutherland has to be the evil guy in any film he's in. You could see almost all the plot twists coming a mile (kilometer?) away.

2. Acting - The bad acting can mostly be blamed on the bad writing. Keifer Sutherland must have made out like a bandit on this film. He was barely in it long enough to qualify putting him in the credits. Hawke was decent. Angelina Jolie only really shined in the slightly odd sex scene which barely skirted the edge of pornography.

3. Plot - Huge holes. No real effort is made to explain why the serial killer started killing. Apparently bad things happened when he was young, but we never really find out what they were. Also, they mention DNA several times in the movie, but even basic testing would have blown the case wide open. There were two "plot twists" in the movie, and the final one is the only one you won't see coming from a mile away.

Overall, I'd avoid this movie unless you're a fan of the "spot the serial killer" variety of movies or you just have a real hankering to see Angelina Jolie in her birthday suit. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'll weigh in with a 4, and that's with the 1 point that any female nudity adds to a movie.

Buy this DVD now from Amazon!

Friday, June 03, 2005


I'm simply stunned that anyone could be so incredibly asinine to think that Scrushy has no culpability with any of the HealthSouth dealings. The jury is currently deadlocked on ALL charges. Hopefully I'll never be involved in a jury deliberation like this, because I swear if I was in that room they'd probably have to arrest me on assault charges after I started wailing on some uneducated hick that believes Scrushy is "saved" and deserves to keep the 100 million plus he ripped off from investors. Gah! There needs to be a basic IQ test administered before anyone should be allowed to serve on a jury.