Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Whitewater Memorial Day weekend

Whitewater Adventure on Cache Creek

After an unplanned detour through Sacremento, we finally made it to the camp site at Cache Creek for our overnight rafting trip. After cruising the campground parking lot looking for signs of Chizz, I finally opted to ask some random people in the parking lot, "Hey do you know Chad and Lyndsey?"
"Oh, yeah, they're right over here."
Miraculously, they just happened to have met our trip organizers earlier in the day, and directed us right to them; past the barn, a playground, over a hill, across a field to the back of the campsite's picnic area. Had we not asked for help, there's no way in hell we would've found them.
Quickly we pitched our $30 WalMart tent and got to drinking. But at this hour, there was no way I was going to be able to catch up with them. They'd been drinking since 2 pm. Soon after, everyone hit the sack. Including my friend JoeO.
It was a cold night. Fucking freezing. Even in our 15ยบ mummy bags, we couldn't stay warm.
The next morning we got moving quick. The launch area was bustling with rafters and their gear. After a swig of Stoli, we loaded our gear onto the gear truck, and then ourselves on the buses. From there, we rumbled to the actual launch area. We endured a quick orientation on how to use a life-vest and how to paddle a boat, and we were off.
We quickly got the hang of navigating the boat, and soon we were maneuvering around rocks and through rapids with relative ease. A couple times our boat got caught on shallow rocks, but mostly we were able to navigate around most of the dangers.
"Mother" is the class 3.5 rapid we had to negotiate. Though for us novices, it did seem a bit intimidating, at that point, we were expertly weaving in and out of rapids, no problems whatsoever. Maybe it was overconfidence that did us in at the end. Or perhaps it was the 6-8 beers I drank while on the river, in lieu of the water I should have been drinking to stay hydrated.
The final bit of rapids seemed harmless. It was a gentle left turn followed by a sharp right turn which was flanked by a large bush on the left bank. It didn't look too menacing, but once we headed down the short rapid, making the sharp right turn became immediately impossible. I watched as our boat slid under the bush, and smacked my GF right off the front of the boat. Another instant and the bush swept me out of the boat too, and an instant later I was bobbing helplessly downstream.
I reminded myself to keep my toes in front of me as my ass cheeks painfully bounced on the shallow rocks beneath. We finally made it to shore, and luckily our friends retrieved out boat for us.
We shivered up the shore to retrieve our tent, cooler, etc, which had been lined up along the banks where we were going to be camping that night. In a few hours, the stretch of shoreline became a massive tent city. The ipod player emerged, as did the coolers of beer and booze.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of cocktails, beers and volleyball. Sinewy steaks and bone-dry chicken breasts were on the communal menu. As were baked potatoes the size of my head, corn on the cob and pasta salad. The latter items were edible, the previous items, not-so-much.
We were informed that the day two's rafting route was to be a repeat of day one's, (due to road closures) so it seemed to me that opting out might be a good option. As I rubbed my aching butt cheeks, we decided that we'd make the drive home rather than freeze our asses off for another day.

Overall, I had a blast. Besides having a cold, and being cold, I had a terrific time on the river. Camping was pleasant too, as was the communal living aspect of the weekend. Whitewater Adventures runs a decent excursion, and for just over a hundred bucks, they provide quite a fun time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

J5 live

With short notice and discounted tickets, we hit up the Jurassic 5 show last night at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center. Not that I need discounted tickets to see one of the best underground hip hop bands in the world, but it certainly helped with the decision making.
We started the evening by meeting up at Cluck U. Chicken and putting back a couple gallons of beer, which warmed us nicely. Had we known that the Leavey Center doesn't serve beer, we would have smuggled some in. But alas, we entered the arena empty handed, and sobering.
I was surprised to see the sparse crowd at the Leavey Center. It looks like the marketing team did a lousy job of promoting the show. In fact I hadn't heard word one about the show until a Santa Clara U. student told me about it. The Mercury News' Arts & Entertainment section didn't even list it on their calendar. I imagine many fans stayed home because they knew about the beer situation.

Dilated Peoples opened up for them with a slew of songs I couldn't recognize or identify. They didn't perform badly I suppose, but the audio in the arena just isn't perfect for hip hop.
Luke made a call to one of his buddies who was arriving late. He showed up with something nice to spike our gatorades with. Sobriety and concerts is like oil and water. They just don't mix that well. At the very least, sobriety should be at a minimum at any live music event, in my humble opinion.

When J5 took the stage, the difference in skillz is obvious. J5 can turn a party out. They rocked the stage and got the crowd jumping. Furthermore, these dudes can rap. UNLIKE some of the shit that on the radio, these MC's aren't just chanting, hooting and hollaring, repeating the same 'hooks' over and over again. Their lyrics can be profound, the delivery flawless, timing on-point. J5 impressed the shit out of me, to put it eloquently.

So despite the poor turnout, my relative sobriety and poor acoustics, J5 live was a fantastic mid week treat.

Friday, May 19, 2006

home game

After an extended losing streak at my home game (excluding one win a couple weeks ago) I won one last night. The first game was horrible, and I ended up getting blinded out due to being cold decked. But the second game was mine. I concentrated on playing aggressively and going with my reads. Early on I got bluffed out of a pot by AaronManiac, but redeemed myself when he tried an all-in bluff which I called. I got a tell off him and decided to make a risky call. It paid off. With the chip lead, and momentum, I busted JoeO with my pocket 7s vs AKo. That gave me a big chip advantage which I proceeded to use to dominate the rest of the field. In the end SamD and I went heads-u. I won outkicking his top pair for the win, redemption, and a rejuvenated self-confidence.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Poker bad

Last night I played 3 sit n go's and three times I lost crucial hands to horrendous bad beats. As painful as bad beats are, I reconcile with myself the fact that I played great. I made a couple HUGE bluff calls and some big steals. And the bad beats were TRUE bad beats, with my opponents having 4 or less outs to win. Of course the unlikely happened in three games in a row.

The bad beats were abound these past 10 days. I've been on a losing streak. A couple times my losses were due to horrible play, but mostly bad luck. Pretty much all of what I've gained over the last couple months have been decimated this past week or so.

My confidence is a bit shaken. My resolve has waned slightly. Playing great poker is all I can do though. If I keep playing my game: Stay aggressive, keep disciplined, make great reads, I will win.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Star Trek at Caffeine Guy

Caffeineguy linked to a couple StarTrek spots that you have to check out.
It had me laughing for a solid 3 hours. At least.

Check out these commercials for Star Trek on G4.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I bought my first deck of Copag plastic playing cards about a year ago and haven't played with anything but Copags at my home game since. Actually I gave away a deck. So I've been playing with this deck for at least 6 months.
If you've been playing any amount of cards using the cheap Bicycle playing cards, you'll know that these cards don't last very long. At most two games of poker is all they can take before they need to be thrown out.
Plastic playing cards last thousands of games. They are hard to mark, tear, or otherwise damage.
However if any cards do get damaged, KEM and COPAGs offer replacement cards.

Rochester Chess Center has the best prices for plastic cards... And probably chess stuff too, if that's what you're into.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


My GF and I stayed home an watched HOSTEL, produced by QT.
We're both fans of horror movies and this one seemed to be interesting, especially since it had QT's name attached to it.
Hostel is a film about a euro-backpacking adventure gone wrong. 3 guys head off to Euro-land (where the Euros come from) to indulge in the booze and women that reside in Euro-land. Some Euro-dude suggests they check out a hostel in Slovakia where hot Euro-chicks love dirty American backpackers and will sleep with them on-demand. Well that seems to be the case until one of the guys mysteriously disappears. This is the point where things go horrible.
The beginning of this movie is anything but horrifying. Actually from a male perspective, it's quite watchable. Mostly because the Euro-chicks have PERFECT Euro-breasts which are highlighted during the obligatory sex sequences. Strangely my GF thought that the first half of the movie was pure garbage, soft-porn. I didn't see anything wrong with the soft-porn aspect of it.
Hostel then suddenly turns ugly. When one of the backpackers wakes up in a very dirty room, with lots of second hand surgical tools lying around, it's obvious that he isn't in the Hostel anymore.

Insert horrific torture scenes here.

Hostel does not take the standard path to terror. It imagines a worse case scenario of a Euro-backpacking trip and runs with it.

The acting is quite good. Good photography and scenery is better than average. The story could be worse. But at the end I felt a little cheated. I loved the aspect of revenge which brought the film to a close. But if they had added a bit more personal element to the good and bad characters, I could have related more.
The movie has sex and violence. Perfect for the fellas, not so great for GFs. And take note that the torture scenes in this movie make the Reservoir Dog's ear scene look like Winnie the Pooh.

Why did the killers want to kill. What happens to the protagonist? What happens to the torture complex? Does it continue to operate?
Too many questions are left unanswered. Which is probably what the filmmakers intended to do.
For the sequel of course.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I just finished listening to TOOL's long awaited 5th album 10,000 Days.
Let me just preface this by saying that Tool is my favorite band and favorite live show. I also need to preface this by saying that each time they release a new album, it takes me two or three listens before my impression sets in. At this point, my feeling is that this is definitely TOOL through and through. Which means, this album is good, solid, dark, hard hitting. Also typical of Tool, it is punctuated with extended melancholic sounds-capes, gritty distorted guitar riffs, smooth, loud Maynard vocals and soul throbbing bass-lines. All very typical Tool
This album is typical Tool. Too typical.
Actually as a standard addition to the Tool library, this is essential listening. Is it better than Lateralus or any of Tool's other albums? I'll venture to say no.
Worth purchasing and supporting? Absolutely.
A refreshing change from crappy pop-rock and shit southern rap hooks? You fucking bet.

After a listening, I feel newly rejuvenated. My music ears are alive. My concert radar is on.