Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Shock of The New

A stimulating piece in the Times suggests that undertaking new experiences together is an important part of keeping a relationship fresh. The article specifically addresses what couples do on "Date Nights."
Rather than visiting the same familiar haunts and dining with the same old friends, couples need to tailor their date nights around new and different activities that they both enjoy, says Arthur Aron, a professor of social psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The goal is to find ways to keep injecting novelty into the relationship. The activity can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or something a little more unusual or thrilling — like taking an art class or going to an amusement park.
I also thought this bit of information, from the same article, was noteworthy:
And recent brain-scan studies show that romantic love really can last years into a marriage. Last week, at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in Albuquerque, researchers presented brain-scan data on several men and women who had been married for 10 or more years. Interviews and questionnaires suggested they were still intensely in love with their partners. Brain scans confirmed it, showing increased brain activity associated with romantic love when the subjects saw pictures of their spouses.
It’s not clear why some couples are able to maintain romantic intensity even after years together. But the scientists believe regular injections of novelty and excitement most likely play a role.
Date night for us is tomorrow night (Sunday). We had been planning to see a movie. Now we're going to reassess. Maybe a jaunt down to Cabo for Tequila at Sammy Hagar's bar, and then a night of spearfishing off the Baja coast? Then the wife will get arrested and I'll have to dress in drag to convince the corrupt mayor of the remote Mexican hamlet where we've gone to fence our stolen gold doubloons that it was his brother, the notorious Don Bigglesworth, who was responsible for revealing his role in the hijacking of the gunboat to El Securidad. We'll escape from town in the back of a refrigerated produce truck, holding each other tightly among the frozen yams as shouts of vengeance ricochet like bullets off the cruel and tender desert sun.

Or maybe we'll just try a new movie theater. Have to start slow with these things.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Return To Form Black Magic

Back from Vegas where despite playing mostly B- poker, I managed to bring home some decent dollars. A few random thoughts, mostly poker-related:

-There is no time more dangerous for a poker player than when s/he sits down at a new table. You don't know who's solid or loose; you don't know tendencies; you don't know anything. That's why I think it's not a bad idea to fold every hand except AA or KK for the first hour at a new table. Really. I could have saved myself 500$ easily had I heeded that advice this week.

-Of the people who tell you or carry themselves like professional poker players--especially the ones in their 20s--maybe only 5% is really good enough to make a living at it. The rest just like the myth of it. These are the guys who exude the most attitude. They raise lots of pots in late position with 6/8s. They have complicated headphone setups. The straddle every time they can. And they cannot make laydowns.

-If you were to resolve, when playing casino poker, never to bluff, you would save yourself money.

-If you were to resolve, when playing casino poker, always to assume your opponents have exactly the hand they're representing, you would save yourself money.

-If you were to completely forego playing suited connectors, you would save yourself money. Exception: you are ON THE BUTTON (not one off) and there are three people ahead of you in the pot. Not two: three.

-Limping in first position with AA is often a good play.

-Do not go or stay to the Hard Rock Hotel. Unless you are consumed by a need to see a signed copy of the guitar Jon Bon Jovi played at the Woodlands in 92. Or whatever.

-Anyone who thinks playing poker "professionally" is fun should try sitting in one seat for six hours, playing six hands, and losing four of them. Which is what I did today.

-The bright side: the four hands I lost cost me 60$. The two I won netted me 450$.

-If would pay 1000$ in cash to anyone who could guarantee I never see the Q3o again.

-Same with the 69o.

-MAN I saw those hands a lot.

-And not even suited!!!

-Taco Bell: not as good a guilty pleasure as you may remember. Although their "fiery" sauce, while not actually fiery, is quite tasty. I saved some for my Cheerios.

-If you bet a flop containing two suited cards and get a caller, check the turn if it completes the flush. If they check behind you, 80% chance they just made the nuts. If the river doesn't give you any new options, make a very small probe bet: 1/5 the pot, say--as though to represent a value bet of a nut flush of your own. If you get raised, fold. I know: it's possible a canny opponent has recognized the pattern, and raised you off the best hand. But, as noted earlier, assuming that you're being bluffed is death. Fold. Good players make good laydowns. That is THE skill, at 2/5 and 5/10 NL. Nothing else comes close.

-If you never played any cards because they were suited except Ax, you'd wind up ahead. Q4 or K5 of clubs are losing hands.

-"Stranger's Almanac" by Whiskeytown is a great album to listen to while driving through the desert at night. It is NOT a great album to listen to while playing cards. Unless you plan on drinking yourself to death while you sit there. Which is not a terrible plan, really.

-The money in poker comes from other people's mistakes. Yes, you can occasionally take pots through cunning and brilliance. But very rarely. (At least, at low levels). Your goal at the poker table: do not make mistakes. Let your opponents make them. Then, take their money.

-The word that most perfectly captures what Vegas is NOT: Snuggly.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Additions To The Gangsta' Roll

Two new additions to my blogroll today: La Critika and Gonna Need A Bigger Boat.  The first is written by a new friend.  It contains all sorts of good stuff--about grad school, life in LA, and most important, reality TV.  Here's one of my favorite posts.

The second is written by an old friend, one I've known since I was 12. In fact, my first serious girlfriend was HIS first serious girlfriend (as far as I know). That ought to tell you something. Like? Like how about what a stud I was to have had a "serious girlfriend" at 14.  I also had a haircut that could probably accurately be described as a serious mullet. But that's another story.

Anyway, Ray is not only a great guy, he's someone who NEEDS his own blog. A few years ago I mentioned to him in passing that I had never really liked the Kinks. The next time I saw him he'd made me a five-CD collection of their material AND a fourteen-page packet with essays on each individual song. As anyone who knows Ray will tell you, as far as responses go, that was actually pretty restrained.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Links To Other Sites

This reminded me a fair amount of myself and a lot of my brother. The Onion: funny because it's true.

Monday, February 4, 2008


This is longish, but well worth your time. It will appeal especially to fans of horror, the Twilight Zone, British comedy, and parody--in other words, every male I know.

Hat tip: ColdBacon