Friday, September 16, 2005

I raise that weak-ass hand you're purporting to have ...

About the only activity that I enjoy playing more than golf (which I suck at) that doesn't involve a woman (not that women aren't welcome, but they are, but I was trying to present "having any type of sexual play and/or intercourse with a woman" in a good way, when I should have just written "other thank fucking chicks") is poker. Wow, that's a poorly constructed sentence.

Anyway, I've been playing poker since I was about 12 years old. At fiestas and other family parties, as the day wore on the cards were inevitably broken out at the back of the house, away from all the guests. Most of the time there was a friendly, family table, though often there was another table of no-mercy, cut-throat poker, family or not.

One of my uncles taught me how to play, initially. He was a crazy player, a master bluffer and an all around good guy. About 20 years ago, doctors gave him about a year to live. He quit drinking and quit smoking. The year passed. Then five. So he started drinking a little bit again — just a scotch or a seven-seven here and there. 10 years passed. So he started smoking again, though not as much as he once did. He's determined that the doctors that gave him 12 months to croak are dead and buried long before he decides to take the big dirt nap. He rocks.

But stay away a safe distance from him, ladies. He's pugnacious and more than overtly flirty — if you have a pinchable ass and get near his hands, your ass will be pinched.

Anyway, he got me hooked. He would serve as my backer for years — providing me money to play. If I lost, he lost. If I won, I got to keep half of anything above the money he started me out with. So I learned to play relatively conservatively, to ensure I would take home money. I stayed out of iffy hands and only bet it up hard when I had the monster hands.

The hardest thing to do, unless you have a bunch of friends who already play, is trying to find a regular game. Some of my friends and I had a semi-regular game for a while. We played about every two weeks. The most anyone would lose was $40, and that was a BAD night. But people get married and have kids (other people, not me). This puts a severe cramp on poker.

Luckily, I had another semi-regular game. But that eventually broke up. Finally, I got sponsored into a bigger-money regular game. I had some great streaks at that house. Once I paid my rent and utilities — about $750 a month — with poker winnings two months in a row. I had my losing nights, but my father taught me to set a limit of what you can afford to lose and stick to it. Once I hit that mark, I stop playing. I don't dig myself deeper trying to win it back.

It's some of the best poker advice I've ever received. My dad gave it to me early on, when my uncle was teaching me the game, and often in the years after that. His father, my grandpa, was an inveterate gambler; likely compulsive. He lost a lot. At one point, my grandmother gave her brother power of attorney over our family land to ensure that my grandfather didn't gamble it away. Unfortuately, my grandmother passed not long after that, and my grandfather passed soon after. My bastard great uncle kept the land. My side of the family hasn't talked to his side since then.

Anyway, my grandpa's gambling had a deep affect on my dad. He rarely gambled, and only then in the friendly family games. And that's why he urged me to set limits of what I could afford to lose and to stick to it. And so I do. And so, even though I have losing nights, I have more winning nights. And the amount I win is more, balanced out, than what I lose.

So shuffle 'em up!!

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• Some of the best food at a Chamorro fiesta isn't necessarily served out in the front of the house. While the food there is certainly fantastic, and there's plenty of it and it comes in a wide variety of types of food, the outdoor kitches at the back of the house is where the real homey food is cooked. While it's not fancy, it's delicious. So if you're ever on Guam and get to go to a fiesta, take a chance and ask the host if you can take a look at the back kitchen. Your tummy will thank you.

digital dzeritis ...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

guess what ... digital camera came in ... finally!

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The ancient Chamorros, while being tall, immensely strong and strapping warriors, almost never engaged in physical battle. Instances of serious wounds and death were extremely rare. Their preferred weapons? Words. Yep, the ancient Chamorro warriors honed their debating skills with wars of words, usually creative insults.

Teaching gig No. 2 ...

I'm leaving the office in less than an hour to make sure I get to the university in plenty of time — especially since I want to check the mail for my camera and to stop by the store to pick up a drink.

It was a bitch grading papers. I'm sure I was too easy on some of them and too hard on others, but overall too nice. Next time I let my visceral, vicious editor side loose on the college kids.

Notes to self:
• You're a professional who knows much more than these kids do now, and likely ever will.

• Bring some napkins for the whole gushing streams of forehead sweat.

• Relax and have fun.

Random Guam Fact of the Afternoon:
• Scattered thunderstorms with a high of 86° Fahrenheit. Translation: It's humid as all hell out there! Ugh!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blog Libs ...

OK, what’s the deal with (NOUN)? I mean, really! Are we all so (ADJECTIVE) that we don’t really care about personal (NOUN) anymore? That’s just (CURSE WORD) (ADJECTIVE).

Don’t get me wrong. When (PLURAL NOUN) start to (ADVERB) get crazy, I’m just as (ADJECTIVE) as the next (NOUN). But (EXCLAMATION)!!!

Is it just me? Am I the only (NOUN) who actually gets (VERB) when (PLURAL NOUNS) (VERB)? Do you think people in (GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION) ever (VERB)? Aren’t (PLURAL NOUN) too busy (-ING VERB)? Or (ANOTHER -ING VERB)?

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• Oh, like you give a rat's ass.

Monday, September 12, 2005

molding the minds of fragile youths ...

OK, here's the deal. The professor who was supposed to teach basic and an advanced journalism courses at the local university, and be the advisor to the student newspaper, died suddenly of a heart attack in the late summer. So the university asks my boss to take over for him, to ensure continuity. She accepts and does a great job and is having a fun time doing it, even with all the extra work it means for her.

But then she has to go off island for three weeks. Week-long, work-related conference ... week of vacation ... another week-long, work-related conference.

So there's a problem. She initially taps the local news editor to teach in her place, but his job keeps him swamped.

You guessed it. Mr. Editorial Editor (me) gets to take on the responsibility.

Tonight was my first lecture (ack) and then my first meeting with the school paper's staff (not so ack, cuz it's my business and expertise, after all). No. 1, I forgot how much I sweat when I'm standing, pacing and writing on the board in an under-air-conditioned classroom. No. 2, I didn't go over the material as well as I should have, and so had some points of stuttering, some points of having to flip through the book, etc.

Not so bad, but I could have done much better. My boss has a much more natural teaching style. Me, not so much. But I'm working on it and will prepare a little bit better for the next class (two days) by doing a bit more reading. And the next one shouldn't be too tough, because it's basically a speaker for the majority of class time. I just have to do a short spiel at the beginning, then introduce the speaker.

And one of the classes I will do a lecture on editorial and opinion writing, which is definitely my area of expertise when it comes to journalism, so that should be fun.

I get to do this for 3-1/2 weeks — 7 classes. One down, six more to go. Wish me luck!

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The Chamorro name for mistress — which is a very, VERY common practice on Guam — is achakma'.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

the delicous tease of premium cable ...

Because of budget issues, I've only had basic cable for a couple of years now. Honestly, the way the cable company here gouges us is insane. I can't wait until the new telecommunications player here, which bought the old government-run phone company, starts offering digital cable through the phone later this year. I'm sure they'll have some multi-package deal with cell phone, regular line service, long distance and cable that will beat the socks off of anything else out there. And maybe THEN I can once again to afford at least HBO, which is famous for its great original series.

Anyway, for some reason this weekend, HBO has been working on my set again. I think it's one of those "free weekend" things. So it's been great watching some of my old favorites, and some of the new stuff that I haven't seen, some of which is really good.

And it's shown me just how much I fucking miss HBO. And I'm sure it's going to be gone in the morning when I wake up ... *sigh*

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• One of the unique components of Guam's culture is chenchule', which is a system of reciprocation. When someone gets married, or a member of their family dies, you make a donation of money or goods/services to the family. When a similar event happens in your family, the other family does the same for you. And all of it is according to means; the richer you are, the more you give.