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Views: 439
Date Posted: Mar. 19, 2:35pm, 1 Comment

Admit it.  When you drive by an accident, you can't resist slowing down and looking.  It's just something that seems to be hard wired into us.  We are drawn to drama and conflict. 

When I read the paper today, I saw the rumored break up of recent Oscar winning leading actress Sandra Bullock and Jesse James caused by tattoo model Michelle "Bombshell" McGee.  What did I do, I Googled it along with thousands or millions of others. 

When I heard about the brouhaha on 2p2 a few days ago regarding Nick StoxPoker Grudzien and CR, I couldn't help but follow along as things unfolded.  Somewhere in the 87 pages and 1300 replies, there is even one little passing mention of Zimba at CR that AceCR9 posted.  Thanks for my likely first ever mention ever on that site...LOL

There is one big difference to be found amongst people in these scenarios.  There are those who prefer to be a part of the conflict and others who prefer to gawk from afar.  Some people seem to crave the conflict in their lives.  It somehow makes them feel more alive.

It is particularly evident when you visit an online forum.  The conflict junkies seem to gain some kind of fulfillment from expressing their thoughts.  They feel compelled to share their opinion, especially if they disagree with anything stated.  Unfortunately, it rarely ends with their sharing a different perspective, but becomes a personal attack.  Invariably, they insist that you are essentially an idiot for having an opinion different from their own.  Their goal is to beat you down and prevail.  They aren't looking for compromise or a coming together of opposing minds.  Either side of the argument is steadfast.

While I'll admit my role as the drive-by gawker of conflict, I've never understood that element about human nature that I call conflict junkies.  Call me strange, but my inner pacifist is strong.  I look for compromise and conciliation first, conflict and argument as a last resort.  I try to appreciate a different perspective or at least respect the right to air your different viewpoint.  It's not that I don't have strong opinions or feel that I'm right in having them for myself, but I feel equally that it doesn't have to be shared by everyone else.

I will freely offer my input if requested or encouraged, but I'll usually refrain if I sense it won't be heard.  What is right for me, isn't necessarily right for you.  We don't have to share every same belief or opinion.  Even on a pure theoretical debate stage, the semantics of language and the subjectivity of claimed fact and truth often undermine any debate's meaningfulness.  Everyone will be coming from a different perspective and frame it with a different context. So can't we agree to disagree?  If it is important, can we negotiate some compromise solution?

I was asked why I didn't contribute anything to the Stox/CR debate on the 2p2 forums.  What good would it do?  Yes, I was an active part of CR in the early days.  Yes, I know who the former disgruntled employee who vented in the debate was.  Yes, I could contribute something to the discussion, both good and bad, but for what end goal?  I have no agenda.  The direct parties involved can speak for themselves.  They need to be responsible for their actions.  Unfortunately, it often takes forum conflict junkie zealots to unmask those that resist the urge to be transparent.

I'm a firm believer in some sort of karma.  I will be answerable for my choices.  So will they.  Let me not be the first to throw a stone.  While I am guilty of gawking at the drama as I drive by, I never have had the desire to be the one in conflict.  Peace out!

Views: 453
Date Posted: Mar. 14, 4:49pm, 0 Comments

I was up late last night working on some projects for my merge partners at Poker Curious.  They have an ambitious agenda and I'm assisting their sites, while they will push along mine.  I'm not sure if it was staying up late to work or the time change, but today my brain is fuzzy and unfocused.  I may not get a lot of project work done today, we'll see. 

I wanted to share this electronic group from NYC that I stumbled on last night - Ratatat.  They create some great grooves, that kept me energized for hours.  Interestingly, some fans have played their songs backward and they sound just as good.  It's an interesting concept that is obviously easier to appreciate with electronic music with no lyrics.  I included one of the several examples I found at the bottom.






Views: 504
Date Posted: Mar. 11, 10:14pm, 3 Comments

When I was born, they were blue.  For most of my childhood, they were brown. For most of my adulthood, they have been hazel.  During my lifetime, my eyes have changed colors, and so have I changed.  As a young child, I had blond hair, which turned to brown as I got older.  Now it continues to slowly recede while showing slight hints of gray. These outward changes symbolize to me that life is mutable.  There is no constant.  There may be a some predictable physical progressions, and an accompanying societal progression, but our minds and actions can wander where they like.

I share these observations in an attempt to address the question of a 30 year old new PC member I spoke to in our chat room recently.  He is searching for meaning and purpose in his life.  He is searching for a career which will really satisfy him.  He is still searching for his true passions.  The process seems so daunting to him, as it should be.  Those are big questions.

In February, I devoted a couple blogs to a discussion of finding your passions - Pursue your Passion and Discovery

Instead of rehashing those thoughts, what I wanted to emphasize today is that it is the small moves that make the difference.  Don't allow the daunting big questions to deter you from making the small moves.  Using a poker analogy, you don't move from a being a TAG player to a LAG overnight.  You don't change your natural tendencies that easily.  You do it in baby steps.  For instance, you start introducing some new hands to your opening frequency.  You see how they fare and get reinforced by your results.  You try some new moves, slowly testing the waters.  You might experiment with donk leading instead of check raising your strong hands and bluffs when out of position.  Each small move you try slowly changes your image.  You may like the new results, or you may not. Each small moves pushes you in a new direction. You may not even end up where you thought you wanted to go.  But that is the beauty of life.

Using myself as an example, when I was younger, I didn't know that I would become a teacher.  I didn't know I would make ice cream for a living.  I didn't know I would own an art gallery.  I didn't know I would run a poker training site.  I didn't know I would be an entrepreneur.  I didn't know I would be an active blogger.  I simply took small steps each time to try something.  Some things stuck, some didn't.  Some things I did well at, some I didn't.  But I firmly believe that each one of us has many options.  Our lives can go down many paths.  Unfortunately, that potentiality seems overwhelming to us at times.  Breaking it down into smaller decisions can often remove the inertia and allow us to take that first step in a new direction.

These days, my life may not be the shining example of spontaneity, or even of excitement.  I lead a sedate, married with kids, suburban lifestyle, working many hours out of my home office.  But my goal years ago was to create a stable, loving environment to raise kids with my wonderful wife.  At times, the routine can seem uninspiring, but as I always tell Mrs. Zimba, as long as my mind is free and hopeful, I will always be satisfied.  Each day, I can take small steps in the process of determining my future.  I can't predict where I will end up.  It doesn't really matter, as long as I have my family and my passions to accompany me.

No condition is permanent.  Determine that you want to change.  Then go out and do something.  Anything.  See where it takes you.

Views: 487
Date Posted: Mar. 8, 11:55am, 0 Comments

While it took me six months of requests and my questions were limited from my usual interview style, I was still thrilled to get an interview with Ilari 'Ziigmund' Sahamies in support of an exclusive Ziigmund bounty freeroll Poker Curious will be hosting on PowerPoker on March 21st.

This weekend, I tried to have a more normal balance of family activity with work.  It was pretty domestic. I mowed the lawn for the first time this year, on Saturday.  I vacuumed the house in preparation for a dinner party we had Saturday evening.  I dug in four Hyrdrangea plants Sunday morning, giving myself a nice popped blister.  I watched my son's indoor soccer game match which they won 9-1 to end the season on a good note.  Finally, on Sunday evening when I'm usually in my office alone, I watched the Oscars, which I don't usually do, with my kids because they asked me to join them.  So score points for being a good suburban dad this weekend.

Views: 491
Date Posted: Mar. 6, 2:43pm, 0 Comments

There is a reason we all enjoy reading a good rant or listening to a sharp witted comic.  We take pleasure in hearing someone else let loose, revealing their intense thoughts and criticisms on the world around them.  They are often venting or riffing on subjects that we also find disturbing.  It is a guilty pleasure; one that we don't often allow ourselves.  We are naturally conditioned to withhold our more extreme thoughts and actions.  We have learned, as adults, that muzzling our more severe perspectives is beneficial for our survival and success. Being too 'prickly' will create more trouble than it's worth, so we mute or try to control those parts of ourselves.

What this dynamic seems to create, though, is a state that I would call subdued sublime rage.  Your primal thoughts and feelings are involuntary, but the battle for your resulting words and actions is constantly waged within you.  It creates this tension that is never resolved, except by decisive action which can introduce more strife. 

Let's look at this dynamic further. By the time you are considered an adult, you have experienced enough to know that life is complex, full of conflict and often unjust.  You have enough education to know that there are numerous ways to escape and many possible belief systems.  You must navigate your life between these parameters to carve out your sanity in the balance.    Anyone significant you interact with must be factored into your equation.  You are constantly weighing many layers of considerations before taking any action.  A major defining feature of your adulthood is having to do things you don't particularly enjoy.

As usual, I'll use myself as an example.  Friday, I had my bookkeeper here at the house for over 7 hours.  She sat at my desk going over the last year's records for both Poker Curious and my old gallery.  She has worked for me for 10 years.  She's a sweet kind lady.  But these days are torture for me.  They dredge up the past and unpleasant aspects of business that I don't like to focus on.  As she's not here most of the year, she asks a million questions about the minutiae of every aspect of the business.  I am having to explain the non traditional online poker world to her. I am repeatedly reminded about the aspects of modern business that I detest; taxation, insurance, lawyers, government regulations and overall bureaucracy.   Everything has to be balanced, reconciled, and reports printed out.  I go through more paper and ink during her visits than the rest of the year combined.  She is paid hourly, so I feel the clock ticking the entire time. 

The entire day is a necessary evil, but one that I would love to reject entirely if I had my way.  Externally, I smile, answer questions, dig through files and bear it as best possible.  Internally I roil and rage.  Why do I put myself through this?  I prefer to keep my life simple, but complexity and complications are thrust upon me.  I prefer to keep my life sane, but injustice and insane bureaucracy greet me instead. While I can rationalize and contextualize myself through most of life's situations, it definitely foments something I can only abstractly describe as subdued sublime rage.  Maybe someday I'll be able to put it better in words.

Views: 501
Date Posted: Mar. 5, 3:09am, 0 Comments

D as in disappointment.  It's something we deal with every day in our lives and at the poker table.  Some examples from my life. Today, I played solid winning poker, building off a solid 6 BI win yesterday.  But instead, I lost most of my biggest hands where I went all in on the turn with 80% equity and ended the day down 3 BI's.  Yesterday I was due the latest draft of a web page I'm adding.  The designer missed his deadline and asked to have until Sunday to complete it.  Tonight, when I came home hungry at 7:30, instead of a full meal prepared, there was mac and cheese on the stove. Three completely different situations where I experienced disappointment.

It is only natural to feel dissatisfaction or anguish when things don't go our way.  But the reality is the negativity surrounding disappointment exists not in the real world, but only in our mind.  It is not the situation, but our interpretation of it that causes pain.  It is my choice how I react to each of these situations.

In the poker example, I have experience to buoy me.  I have experienced many days where I ran below equity.  I know if I keep putting in my money good, it will work out long term.  I took a break when I felt the disappointment building and affecting my game.  I did something completely different for a few hours, taking my mind off of playing, and when I returned for a short session tonight, I was fresh, focused and playing optimally again.

In the case of the designer not meeting the deadline, I can look to what the psychology world calls reverse vision.  It states that we often focus on the opposite of what we should.  In this case, I'm looking outward, at an event I can't really control (his personal problems and tardiness) instead of looking inward at what I can control.  How can I be disappointed by the failure of others if I don't live up to my own expectations.  When I see my own weaknesses, I'll be better able to accept the weaknesses of others.  Or in the opposite situation, if I cry "woe is me" when in the big scheme of things this is relatively minor and many others suffer to a much greater degree, I am also guilty of reverse vision.  It doesn't mean my designer isn't responsible for his actions, only that I can welcome the challenge or actively problem solve the situation instead of bemoaning it.  In this case, I turned my attention to areas where I could make progress and allowed for the fact that I won't meet my original goal for that project. 

In the case of my dinner, I need to realize the context of the situation.  My wife was ill most of the day, side affects from her doctor's visit and treatment.  She felt awful and didn't prepare her usually wonderful and complete meal.  I am an adult and can prepare my own dinner if I'm not satisfied.  I was feeling lazy, so I chose to eat a big bowl of it and be done with it. 

It does me no good to hold onto disappointment.  It doesn't serve me any purpose. A simple life truth is that we find what we look for.  If you look for negative things to happen, their frequency will increase.  If you look for positive things, you get the story.  Manage your expectations well and you'll rarely be disappointed.  If you expect nothing more from life than what it offers, you will never be let down.  None of us are perfect, so don't expect that of others.  Look to focus on what you can realistically control and accept that part that you can't.   

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned"  - Buddha

"The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances." - Victor E. Frankl

"People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

Views: 964
Date Posted: Feb. 28, 6:23pm, 5 Comments

I was watching a few minutes of the Olympics Saturday when this Nike video
aired. Nike has put out some great ads over the years, but something about this one really appealed to me.  It stayed with me long after watching it.  I then looked it up online and posted it to PC and CR in the sports forums.  I thought it might make for an interesting blog to break down the specific elements that captured my interest.

The first image is of the graphite constructed spring legs of an amputee as they prepare for a sprint.  The music is spare yet sprightly.  It immediately displays a progressive stop action advancing scenes of the runner sprinting down the track.  It is amazing and inspirational to see what technology has created for amputees to compete at a high level.

The second image series captures a soccer player doing some fancy dribbling.

The lyrics of the song now kick in - "It's not how you start, it's how you finish"

The third image series is Deron Williams dribbling and dunking emphatically.   He is a success story of hard work in the NBA.

The fourth image series is Maria Sharapova taking a forehand and overhead slam.  For us guys, the brilliant touch is the super sexy side cutout from her shirt tease.

This transitions quickly to the fifth image series of an Asian woman aggressively doing martial arts maneuvers with a spear.

More lyrics - "But it's not where you're from, but where you're at."

The sixth series is slightly extended of a Tony Hawk type character on a bicycle, capturing the twirling, acrobatic moves along his course. 

Transitioned excellently into an anonymous bull rider getting spun and thrown.

The pace of the music, lyrics and images increases now as we see a quick series of falls and spills by athletes...

"Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down"

- A female gymnast falls off awkwardly off a balance beam
- A female diver catapulting awkwardly into a pool
- Another gymnast falling on her tumbling routine
- A hockey players falling to the ice
- Rampage Jackson, very entertaining MMA fighter, being thrown to the canvas, hesitating and hurting....

"How quick are you gonna get up? How quick are you gonna get up?"

Rampage gets up angry and lunges hard at his opponent with a crushing blow.

Transition to Ladainian Tomlinson juking down the football field.

"Everybody gets knocked down, Everybody gets knocked down"

And finally to Lance Armstrong in his 'Livestrong' shirt powering up the road on his bike.

"How quick are you gonna get up? Just how are you gonna get up?"

Just Do It and finally the Nike logo.

The music is catchy, energizing and snappy. The lyrics are simple, motivational, and inspirational  The transitions are brilliant. The images race across the scene, capturing the variety of sport; sweaty and sexy, slow motion and super speed,  scintillating, sweaty and strong.

A great minute spent celebrating sport.

Views: 844
Date Posted: Feb. 27, 5:08pm, 0 Comments

As I've stated before, one of my favorite things to do at Poker Curious is interview players.  I decided to contact David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes after his NAPT Venetian final table success.  I haven't spoken to him much the last couple of  years, but I've always respected him as a player and person.  I am looking forward to the interview and I'll let you know when it's up.

In doing the research for his interview questions, I came across an old CardRunners page I was asked to prepare in September 2007.  It featured all the guest pros on CardRunners, with a brief bio and a picture.  It was later updated with CR 2.0 and then disappeared altogether.  Hopefully, it will reappear in improved fashion when CardRunners rolls out the next version of the site, as it humanizes and creates cohesion with the group of guest pros who create the instructional videos we all appreciate.

This is the old list:

X-Aaron Been
X-Serge 'Adanthar' Ravitch
X-Brian 'Bdog4' Cain
X-Harry 'bortarun' Greenhouse
X-Brad 'bradsmitty' Smith
Tom 'brystmar' Berg
Ryan Daut
X-Blake 'Empiremaker2' Stevenson
X-Fabian Sjoblom
X-Dan 'Fruitypro' Weston
X-David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes
X-Brian 'Hookem148' Rue
X-Ian 'IanJ' Johns
Phil 'Jackal69' Shaw
X-Michael 'Johnnydrama' Berra
X-Josh 'jsup' Supsak
X-Jason 'mkind16' Laso
Isaac 'menlo' Baron
Derric 'Sixpeppers' Haynie
X-Andy 'Tufat23' Teng
X-Emil 'Whilelime' Patel

I put an X by the names of those guest pros who moved on or who aren't active.  I had contact with each one of them in my operations manager role or preparing the videos back in the day.  So I have a natural nostalgia for an older time and place that was CardRunners in the early years.

There seems to be a natural turnover as players shift to different stages of their poker careers or de-emphasize it altogether. Many capable guest pros have filled their roles, so it's not a criticism in any way.  I commend the long time instructors like Brystmar, Sixpeppers, and Jackal69 for their longevity and dedication.

I would enjoy interviewing each and every one of them to follow up and see where they are today.  Watching their poker careers ebb and flow, along with their growth as people is satisfying to me.  Poker isn't what they are, but what they do.  When I interview players, I try to focus on a variety of issues, not so much how they play poker.  I sometimes struggle with my desire to dig much deeper into areas of personal interest that might not be of interest to the general public that doesn't know these individuals.  I'm just a curious person.  Poker Curious and life curious.

Views: 776
Date Posted: Feb. 25, 4:14pm, 1 Comment

I watched some of the streaming final table of the NAPT Venetian main event yesterday.  I was excited to see an old poker friend, David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes playing.  He is one of the few poker players who I've seen try to balance his poker interest with high powered other career options like law school, working for a hedge fund, and being an author.  I know it has created tension in his private life, but he's a very talented player who has done well both live and online.  He has an acute mind for the game and he obviously relishes the challenge when he can carve out the time.

David played quite well, from what I could tell, remaining very composed while nursing a smaller stack for a while.  Then five handed, he got Aces in against A,Q and doubled up to a healthy second place stack.  A few minutes later, he got Aces in against the chip leader's Jacks for the chip lead, only for a Jack to come out on the flop and be out in 5th for $184k.

At that point, Sam Stein had a massive 18 million, where the next largest stack had 3 million, 4 handed.  I figured he would waltz to the win, but kudos to Tom 'Kingsofcards' Marchese, who remained patient and played very well heads up to take down the title.  While checking things today, I found an interview that Tom gave to FTR a couple years ago that was interesting if you are into heads up and analysis of his game at that time.  It's also interesting to see the progression of players who really apply themselves.

Views: 399
Date Posted: Feb. 23, 11:13pm, 3 Comments

I'm back from my short Vegas trip.  The three highlights of the trip all include food and drink.  The first morning, I was picked up at 6:30 am to head out to Green Valley Ranch to hang out with a professional sports betting friend of mine, PC member degenaMATT, to watch some Premier League soccer matches and basketball and do some sports betting.  He allowed me to pick three matches, and bang, I came through 3-0 (beginner's luck obviously). I was putting away the Mimosa's which were excellent, while he was enjoying Crown and Coke's.  It was a relaxing and fun time to do something different from my usual routine.

I relaxed during the afternoon before my evening business meeting at Palm's Place.  Unfortunately, he was feeling under the weather so once we talked for several hours, he asked me for a favor.  He wanted to crash and would I accompany his lovely Swedish girlfriend for a late night dinner?  Being the giver that I am, I obliged.  We had a great meal at Simon in Palm's Place with some pleasant conversation giving me insight on growing up in Sweden.  The restaurant is very nice, but was surprisingly empty.

The last night, we met again in his suite, for extended conversation regarding our working together.  Then we headed over to Little Buddha in the Palms, for a sushi feast.  I was surprised that they cut off the ordering at 10 pm, but we ordered a few more sushi rolls at the deadline and lingered for a while longer.  I guess it's considered the off season, but I thought they were used to serving late hours.


Special thanks to degenaMATT for his hospitality, rides to and from the airport, and use of his laptop. I'm glad to be back home now and resuming my more typical schedule of staying on top of the daily online details.

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