Life and Times of a Burned out Student

Monday, February 28, 2005

Poker on me.

So I'm competetive. So what. I just happen to like to win, that's all. It's not like I get all upset and pout when I lose...Oh wait, I do.

This Saturday there was a small Hold Em "Tournament" at my house. It so happened that I didn't win...not only did I not win, but I didn't come close. Looking back, I made a few mistakes over-playing some mediocre cards, but all in all, I didn' t have much to work with.

At the end...and how un-magnificent could it be. Dealt 2-4 off suit, meeting the big blind put me all in. The board didn't look great, but I made my 4's. The other two players remaining in reveal their cards..."Queen High," says Brandon. "Pair of Threes," says Magee. I jump in -- "Oh baby, pair of fours!" While magee is correcting his error, "I mean pair of Tens." This means I lose the hand, and my stack, even though he mis-spoke. There wasn't enough in the pot to do me much good, I would have still been clinging to life...I may have had four hands left to wait.

But OH, did I pout. I sat there fuming while the others played. I became the designated dealer, piping in random comments about how much it sucks to lose.

But I got over it, I always do.

So what's to be done? Can I really change this side of myself? We have all had friends who get really upset about nothing in particular and punch walls, throw controllers, but my affliction wasn't much like that. I just get really mean. That's just as stupid.

I guess I'll just have to win from now on.


Maybe not allowing pride to enter the situation in the first place would be a better idea. With poker, I think I should win, because that is what I've always done. Until recently, I hadn't lost consistently at poker, ever. Now I'm just average. I either need to improve my game, or expect to lose every now and again...and enjoy the ride.

Saturday night was one of the more interesting I've had this year...being so busy with school/work/parenting I've had little time for fun. This was fun. I had "the boys" over, we laughed, talked, and did something which I enjoy. So it should be remembered that way. And so it is.

Friday, February 25, 2005

And it was good.

So ends my first week as a blogger. One down and several thousand to go.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Parenting gone to the dogs.

Now that I have posted my obsession (things 4 free), my passion (writing really good fiction, ok so it's not that good), and my firstborn (he loved that cake), I'm left with few ideas.

Plus I just read Sam's blog (, and somehow, somewhere deep inside I know that my life will never be as compelling as his. Maybe that is a former Canadian turned trapped MidWesterner doing what both Canadians and MidWesterners do best, longing for something bigger, better. "Wouldn't that be awesome to live in (insert favorite exotic locale here)... we would have so much fun." When in reality I might live in Seattle right now instead of Muncie, I never go out anyway.

It's funny how boring parenting makes you. JoAnna and I always talked about when we were (just) dog owners that we were boring because we became "those" dog owners that only tell their friends about all the funny things that the dogs did. Even though we promised we never would.

Now we have a son. Things get worse.

The dog is still there...good ole' Max. But it's a surprise to him if he gets more attention than Lucas (the son) laughing at him.

Now we've moved on from telling our friends about the funny things the dog did...and move into telling each other the funny/cute things the son did today. We eliminated the middle man and report directly to each other.

So, true to form. Here's the cute/funny things the kid does.

When we give him a bottle of milk, he opens and closes his hand in a mock udder sqeezing manner (sign language for milk, I guess), which he picked up in about 30 seconds. When a train goes by our house, and I do mean by our house, he hears the horn/whistle and goes, "hoo-hoo." Boy, did our house sound like a looney bin trying to teach him that for a week. He now waves, and says "Hi" with brain-drippingly cute inflection. I get to see him wave bye more often though...It's all wrist twisting, no fingers...hilarious.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Some Fiction

I figured this would be a good place to place some of the fiction I've been working on. It will give me, hopefully, some feedback, but also motivate me to keep writing. For those of you who have read this (both of you) and think I'm not giving you anything're right. But keep in mind that I lost at least two chapters due to faulty Pocket PC batteries.

So now I’m driving. My car, like any good Midwesterners’ car, intuitively heads west. The darkness of a country road envelops me like a warm blanket. Yellow lines and dots are my only scenery this night. Occasionally two piercingly bright lights break through my stream of consciousness, shocking me back to reality, keeping me alert for the next few moments.

The silence is killing me; I need some noise, some human interaction. On a normal night, some Dylan, some Beatles, even some Elton John (the old stuff) would be appropriate, but this is no normal night. In the middle of the deep blue-black Kansas night, I feel so alone. Nothing for miles. Just outlines of black hills rolling over black hills. I reach for the radio, and my ears are filled with AC/DC’s Brian Johnson wailing, “Yeahh, you, SHOOOK ME ALLL NNIGHT LONG.” I never thought I would be this happy to hear music this bad. There is something so Kansas about that song; it just works here.

Anyway, this isn’t about me heading west through Kansas in the middle of the night, it’s about why I’m heading west through Kansas in the middle of the night. And the reason is that I’m going to visit her. Maggie is the reason that I’ve been getting up in the mornings for the last year and a half. You know, “working a job you hate so you can buy shit you don’t need” – it’s all for her. They say that a ring should cost two months salary, but when you make $6.50 an hour that’s just not going to cut it.

The great thing about working retail is that you get to see the state of humanity so clearly. It gives perspective to the rest of life. This happens more than an office where it’s all stuffed shirts and posturing. Everything is real in retail. The customers, the product, the fake employees and their pasted on smiles: “Have a good day”…yup, it’s all real.

Retail is where the stuffed shirts come after they’ve had a “helluva” bad day.

These guys, these stuffed shirts, these “men” come through my section looking at me like…well they just seem to have this sense of entitlement – like they deserve something from me. Like I should be grateful that they showed up tonight. You really see this when something doesn’t go their way: slow service, something is out of stock, “high prices”, or some other minor inconvenience causes these shirts, these men, these CONSUMERS to get riled up, like I owe them something. Like they are better than this.
Listen, I don’t even know you, don’t call me “buddy.”

First Cake

Friday, February 18, 2005

things 4 free

So I am completely consumed by the idea of getting stuff for free. I would fall into the category of technophile, though I don't have the resources to back that up. I can't get my wife to put our money where my techno-dreams are.

There is a new wave of e-companies that are basically advertising whores. They get a list of companies that make money from subscriptions (BMG, Columbia House, etc), and say, "Ok, for every new subscription we bring you, you give us X amount of dollars." They in turn pass this amount (say 1/10 X) on to us the subscriber in the form of a bulk purchased electronic item...after we have forced Y amount of friends (where y = 1/10X) to join on our behalf.

This setup is a dream/nightmare for someone like me. The possibility of being able to scheme a way of getting a new piece of electronic equipment (read "crack" or "highly addictive drug") with minimal effort and a little coercion of those close to me. Dream come true. Nightmare because it is all consuming, like a drug habit. (Think Pedro the Lion's "Fix")

I end up frantically checking for progress on these sites, hoping against hope. Oh well, it keeps me from running to the corner to score an ipod where my local Best Buy (read "drug dealer") would sell me a fix...and say, "I'll see you here tomorrow."

With that in are the referral links to those awful sites.
20 GB Ipod -
40 GB Photo Ipod -
1GB Ipod Shuffle -
14" IBook -
Another 20 GB Ipod -