Friday, September 22, 2006

A New Goal

Ta Da. I finally hit the brick wall. Yep, I'm done.

Curiously it didn't quite come the way I expected. First off, and most importantly, I figured I'd hate Hold'em more than I've ever hated any game in my life. Yes, even more than Chutes & Ladders, lol ;)

This didn't happen. If anything, I have a new found appreciation for HE, and can finally hear that rhythm, the flow and texture of the game. Instead of hearing nails scrape against a chalkboard in the back of my head while playing the dreaded game, I now hear music, albeit faint. Surely nothing like Stud, but it is there, and I never really thought I would grow to appreciate HE at all.

I also thought there would be one final boom at the Riverside. One guy slapping someone (a woman most likely), and getting told he "Shouldn't hit patrons" and should "sit out a few hands and calm down," while I went absolutely ape and jumped on the guy's back and gouged his eyes out (this is not out of the realm of possibility, btw).

I thought the end would come with a bang. A bang which would land me expelled from the cardroom, if not in jail. Or so absolutely fed up with the mob-like ownership that I couldn't bring myself to enter the premises again.

None of this happened. It was more like a soft crash. I just wasn't going anywhere. I was spinning my wheels. I was getting more and more choked up by the smoke. I had to listen to people cough up lungs and wheeze all day. People who are doomed (some already on oxygen). I smelled it everywhere.

One day I lent a sweatshirt from my car to another player who was cold. He is a non-smoker, btw. He left it at the front of the poker room for me to pick up the next day. I picked it up and put it back in my car. That night, when we entered the car to go home, it smelled so overwhelmingly of smoke that we both just stared at each other in shock. I mean it smelled like someone had smoked a pack of cigarettes in the car itself and hadn't opened a window. All of this, for a sweatshirt left in a NON-SMOKING poker room overnight.

Oddly enough, smoking never bothered me. My Mom smoked while I was in utero. She smoked in a dinky little 400 (max) SF trailer while I was a toddler. She smoked the entire time I was growing up, as did my ex-step father.

But I started thinking about my future. I already had cancer once, and this summer a scare with a spot on my lungs. What does my future hold if I continue to spend 40-50 hours per week in a cardroom surrounded with smokers (the Riverside allows them to stand right on the rail and blow smoke into the room)?

I started wondering about other aspects of my health. I was eating Pizza Hut almost every night, instead of the fresh fruit and veggies from my garden. I was "forgetting" to drink my shakes while at RS. Instead of getting 3-6 per day, I was getting one or two, max.

I wasn't really making any money, as anyone can see by my stats.

And I was making money online, albeit a very modest amount compared to what I could make live.

So I just decided to stop. No big boom, no blow-up. No swan songs or threats about never entering Riverside again. I have no problem with them, oddly enough. I might end up playing once a week or so.

And the car? Well, I'll work on it here at home, online. It's not forgotten. I simply have a new goal.

Felicia :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mostly Off-Topic Update

Still having some PC problems. Not sure if I just want to wipe it clean, or try to figure it out somehow. Right now I'm in stall mode, because I'm doing so many other things.

Poker is going okay. No big wins, but no big losses, either. I can't believe I've made it this long. It's ALL HOLD'EM, ALL THE TIME, and my IQ is probably dropping daily.

I have amended my car strategy to get something in the interim. Something that gets close to double the gas mileage. While waiting for the 10k to do some SVO putting, I am getting only about 15 mpg going over Union Pass every day. That is just a waste.

I stumbled upon the bright idea (anyone else would have figured it out earlier, but with my new, diminished brain size it took me longer) after I bought a membership to Sam's Club in Bullhead.

They charge about 3-5 cents less per gallon than the cheapest place around here (Golden Valley and Kingman are typically less than BHC, but Sam's is obviously an exception). I added up that in gas savings alone, we would get back our membership costs (or very close, depending on how many days per week we drive to Laughlin).

So of course the next logical step in my thinking would be that if I bought a cheap car sooner, even though it does burn regular fuel, I could save about 1k per year! The way I'm running, it could take a year to save enough for the SVO car and converter. I need to do something sooner, even if it's temporary, and it is a hassle to buy, insure, register, etc, only to have to do it all over again in a year.

That is my amended plan. No biggie, but there ya go.

In other news, I'm looking forward to fall gardening. I have read that this is likely the most successful season in our area. It is more like summer for the rest of the country. The temps are in the 80's by day, sometimes low 90's, and drop at night. This is contrasted to temps of high 90's through 115 by day and 90 by night in the summer here.

The cooler nights help a vegetable garden. We just don't get that in the summer. The peppers have no trouble, and the root crops seem to fare well, but things that need a cooling off period at night are extremely stressed. Shading doesn't seem to help much. I built an arbor and have a strong shade cloth on it, but most of my plants still died or went dormant anyway.

Here is a post I wrote to the gardeners on 2+2 yesterday. Please feel free to skip if you're not interested. I'll send you off with a nice, little "blow me!"
When we last heard from our heroine (harhar), she was suffering in Arizona with an average temp about ten degrees above normal. Everything was dying. The garden looked bare. All was thought lost...

Summer Update: "I have lost a lot of things over the past month. Sorry I haven't been updating.

The gypsy peppers came back hard and strong. One of my tomato cuttings got blown off of my garden cart during a freak storm, flipped completely over, and broke the main stem off. This, after months of babying the poor thing. Another cutting is thriving, though, and the original tomato plant keeps producing, even though it has been attacked by aphids and now some kind of caterpillar, grr.

The berries look just horrible. Sick, sick, sick. I had been warned that blackberries and raspberries don't do well here, and I believe it. I should have made them indoor/outdoor plants.

The sweet potatoes are taking off like gangbusters. Even the non-budding trash we planted on a whim instead of putting in the compost bin is thriving. I am starting to believe, more and more, that root plants will do very well here, since they aren't as subject to the crazy winds.

I nursed some low-water usage cantaloupe and watermelon (persian cantaloupe, desert king watermelon) seeds and got them sprouted. I hardened them off, then planted them in a bare, southern area of the garden with lots of room to spread. So far, only one cantaloupe and one watermelon has really taken off. The rest either died, or didn't sprout in the first place.

I am starting several plants indoors now and not even contemplating ever taking them out permanently. They are either cool weather crops (baby sweet lettuce) or tender crops. I have black cherry tomatoes, currant tomatoes, red cherry peppers, Italian basil, blue bush beans, little finger carrots, and two varieties of blueberries.

Glenn brought the gardening cart/greenhouse inside, put it directly in a south facing window, and we took the solar shades off to allow more sunlight in. So far, so good.

We inquired about a wind turbine, and even got permission from town, but then we ran into bad news. Although the wind is very strong here, it is erratic, as I had suspected. So the overall, average windspeed is only 6 mph. Horrible for a turbine, really, due to the patterns making maintenance a nightmare (one minute it will be dead still, the next, it will be blowing 75 mph), and the unreliability of providing usable energy for us. Oh, well!

Glenn finally got the solar oven working again. It still needs lots of work, but we are hoping to build a more permanent, cob structure around the oven, to keep it protected from the crazy wind."
September Update: I did not give up on the garden. We killed the caterpillars and haven't had a problem with them since. Spider mites are another story, lol.

The squash stopped producing. Rather than letting it continue to suck up valuable water, I simply dug it up and composted it. C'est la vie.

The cherry tomatoes are still good. I was unsuccessful in starting black cherry tomatoes and currant tomatoes. I'll try again late this winter.

None of the berries made it. Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are all dead. One blueberry plant (indoors) is surviving. Oy vey.

The sweet potato plants still look great. It's been about 110 days, so I dug one up. Only one potato, and it was tiny, maybe the size of a white, icicle radish! I still had Glenn cook it up anyway. I'll check another in about a week or so.

We got one Desert King watermelon. It was about the size of a cantaloupe, then split open. Luckily it was just about ripe, and edible. It tasted delicious, although it doesn't taste like a regular, red watermelon (it is yellow).

Some of the Persian cantaloupe were pollinated, then died anyway. Go figure. The plant is thriving, vines everywhere, so we are hoping for a second wind. This time I'm not pollinating them myself, but letting the few, stray bees in this area (they are rare) do it for me. I figure if I wasn't able to do it myself successfully, maybe they will succeed where I failed.

The indoor garden was a failure, even though I had a large, south facing window with a lot of heat and sun. I guess veggies really do need to be outdoors, regardless of how harsh the sun and wind is.

I am starting a fall garden now (I have heard that in Arizona this can be the most successful gardening season). Leftovers from spring/summer include:

Gypsy Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes
Mediterranean Bush Bean
Olive Tree
Sweet Potatoes
Thompson Grape Vine

Fall Gardening Projects:

Little Fingers Carrots
Green Bunching Onions
Early French Radishes
Caesar Salad Romaine Lettuce
Gourmet Greens (lettuce)
Baby Butter Lettuce

All in progress. Not yet in progress are:


So that is it for me. How is everyone else doing? I know Ray (Zee) is a big winna, but how bout the rest of youse?
Did you get your sex fantasy fix? Good, me either ;)

So besides gardening, Hold'em and car thoughts, what else is going on? Well, not too much. My life is so stable, so routine and nice. Most people would be bored stiff, I've no doubt, but I crave stability after my hell of a childhood and adolescence.

I am still clearing our land. One acre doesn't seem like much, until you purchase one acre in the desert. It's flat, it's bare. We still need to clear about 1/4 of the land of tumbleweeds and other weeds/bad foliage.

I have ordered two more trees. Both for drought conditions. One evergreen, one deciduous. They have been bred to grow fast in harsh conditions. We'll see how that works out. I hate buying more landscaping, instead of propagating it, but I'm almost scared to do cuttings on my existing trees, due to the rate of failure and the evergreens being so young.

Everything is growing pretty fast, for the Mohave, that is. We use our gray water, so instead of our trees only growing maybe a foot per year, they are growing at double that rate. Yay us!

Our cob/adobe making project has kind of gone down the tubes. While the bricks are awesome, and turned out fabulously, we simply lost a ton of volume to erosion. The monsoon rains can be so hard that even sundried bricks tended to melt somewhat. It was a disappointment, but the labor was worth it, IMO, because it toughened me up and made me stronger :)

Now we are gathering tons of rocks for use against the harsh winds and rain. We pile them around trees, bushes, shrubs, veggies, fences, etc. It is tough work, but at least rocks stay put and won't erode!

I had thought about getting some Pygmy Goats to help with the garden and clearing of land. I know that they are easy to care for and good in that capacity. The milk they give out is negligible so I wasn't interested for that reason.

I have changed my mind, however, because what I would really like to do is get a boat and get on the water more often. Cruising is great, I would do it all the time, but Glenn won't let me, and I know it's not really that responsible, either. Although cruiselines have been forced to be more environmentally responsible, I'm not kidding myself, I know that it's a lot of fluff, and can't be good for the oceans. The "fluff" factor is why many people won't cruise. Yeah, it's meant to be a vacation. It's meant to be games and parties and basically a floating hotel.

Maybe after about ten cruises in a year, I would get bored. I would probably start focusing more on the various ports around the world, instead of the on-board activities. I would probably go insane with the PA announcements. Golf putting, free-throws, ping-pong and other little games would get old and boring.

Last year those four cruises I took were mostly a way of healing. I just feel good on the water, on a ship or boat. I feel good in the sun, relaxing and letting the sun heal me, the ocean breeze blow in my face. I like to walk the deck. I like to do very low-impact activities. I like just being out there and rocking myself to sleep at night.

I make no apologies for those cruises, and for liking cruises, in general. But I know that Glenn would never go for that many cruises in a year, much less the 20 or so I'd like to take ;)

But he might just go for a small boat of our own. A little 25 footer with a tiny cabin, bathroom and galley. We are only 20 miles from the Colorado River. We can cruise up and down without even taking the thing overland. We can bring our dogs. Goats are obviously out of the question ;)

So that is going to cost me another 10k, minimum. I can do it. I can endure more ALL HOLD'EM, ALL THE TIME. I just need to get better at it, instead of just coasting along. I get bored, so I play in a predictable, lazy way and don't make much dough. Dumb.

Joining Sam's Club was a good decision for me. I don't really care for shopping, and I like to buy in bulk, because I'm a cheap bastid.

Although Sam's has a ton of stuff, they don't have all of the things that Walmart has. So I won't be able to completely eliminate WM from my life. And I'm too cheap to buy name brands from a more responsible mom & pop store.

SC is right across from Riverside, and also has a great feature to be able to pick out everything I want from the store, online, click for them to do the shopping for me, then go in and pick up everything the next day. No "shopping" required. This is awesome for my lazy self. Glenn likes it even more (he hates shopping more than I do).

One day I hope to buy bulk in a co-op, but the one here sucks, so there it is.

And that brings us to now, today. I hope to have more poker happenings, including funny sayings at Riverside, for you soon.

Hope you're having a great week!

Felicia :)
Monday Night Stats:

-$45 (4/8 Kill HE)
-$5 (2-6 HE)
=-50 Net winnings for Monday, September 18, 2006

(Total saved for new car pre-August 15 $2500. Current total $2015)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Technology Disaster

I have some things to write about, but the past few days have been a PC disaster for me. I won't go into details. Suffice it to say, the guy who sold me this laptop (used on ebay) never bothered to clean it up before he sold it. Glenn bought it for me right after my mastectomies, since my baby 3 lb. laptop died during the surgery. Neither one of us had the time or energy to do much with it then, and I kind of let it go.

So I paid the price a year later, with some virus problems and other messes. I'm such a cheapskate that I never stop to think about the real price that I pay when I go for these extreme bargains. In time lost, effort and headaches I spend much more than I would if I'd just bought something new and decent. I'd say 'live and learn,' but the problem is, I never learn! I just keep making those stupid, "incredible" deals year after year.

I have amended my car plan a slight bit. Nothing hugely different, just a plan I stumbled upon while thinking about my unneeded SUV, and how it gets about 15 mpg or less going over Union Pass every day on our way to Riverside.

I'll write more about that today if my poor laptop doesn't crash yet again. Wish me luck!

Felicia :)

Friday Night Stats
Last night:

+$40 (4/8 Kill HE)
+$30 (2-6 HE)
-$10 (2/5 NLHE)
=+60 Net winnings for Friday, September 16, 2006

(Total saved for new car pre-August 15 $2500. Current total $2065)