Archive for December, 2004

I’ve been telling myself all week that I’m going to leave work early and go shopping. There’s no one here and there’s nothing to do.

Now is the time!

I will soon collect Jenny and head to Barton Springs, where I will hunt for shirts that will make me look professional and tidy at work. And perhaps some that make me look hot and sexy at da cluuub. (Easter eggs when you mouse over the boots at the end.)

This will fall inline perfectly with Gus’s online shopping expedition on zappos.com. He can buy some new boots to wear to the cluuub — because the ladies can’t resist flashing lights and an obnoxiously loud hum!

It’s 5:30 and I actually did some work today. Yippie! (semi-sarcasm)

Now, I have a new cRIO project that I can start, and it will be unlike any other project I have done before. I’m actually dorkily excited about it, since it will give me a chance to learn more about the products and the doc process before Liesl leaves. Plus, I’ll get to test out how well the process works now, being new blood and all.

The problem is that it’s 5:30. That’s not the best time to start something completely new. Starting a project late in the day results in one of two things:

a) I’ll get started and be on a roll, so I won’t leave the office until I absolutely can’t work on it any longer without someone else’s input.

b) I’ll half-ass it while waiting for Gus to finish what he’s doing and not really give it the attention that I’d like to.

I don’t like these options.

I have four boxes of leftovers from four different restaurants. Ever since I returned from Minnesota, I’ve been eating out because Gus and I aren’t big on cooking or eating random stuff in our house.

But rather than eat a smorgasbord of a chuychanga, bacon burger, reuben the great, and queensland chicken salad, I’d like something ridiculously simple, like an entire can of corn or a cucumber.

Anyway, I’m going to Lake Charles to play poker for New Year’s weekend, and I keep getting invited to NYE parties. A decent amount of stuff happening downtown has also been brought to my attention. I may have been able to make a case for staying in town if I knew I’d be going to half the NYE events in Austin.

But come to think of it, would I actually make it to all that stuff? Even the several must-go’s are likely to turn into should-go’s and well-I’m-having-fun-here-so-let’s-not-go’s. Getting me to travel anywhere that isn’t less than 10 minutes away from my house is somewhat of a feat. If I’ve been drinking and hanging out with anyone that I like, it’s even harder. So I’m probably better off sitting in one place all night and soberly winning money at the poker table.

I’m trying to decide whether it would be worth it to carry over all of my Big 10s from the days of yore. Angelfire makes it really hard to do, as I can’t just transfer all of the files from that directory to a local folder. So this is half a technical difficulty and half just me deciding whether to bite the bullet and manually do it. Not much is going on here right now, so I think I’ll try it.

Also, I have a bunch of friends with live journals who aren’t linked on here right now. Should I link them? Live journals are like blogs with training wheels, but my friends write some cool (or at least amusingly spastic) stuff sometimes. Should I link to them even if they can’t link to me?

Is anything worth any of the time I spend on it??? I am so close to going home to play poker for the rest of the day.

Last night, I won two single-table tournaments for a net gain of $195. However, I must begrudgingly mention that in between those two tournaments, I lost about $60 playing structured.

I need to stop playing structured.

Honestly, I’ve either won or placed in almost all of the last 10 tournaments I’ve played. It should be my natural game choice. But I’ve always been able to hold my own playing structured and can usually make around $100/night. Compared to tournaments, open-ended structured games offer more immediate gratification.

But when I have a bad night, things just SUCK. It’s really easy to get caught in hands that I shouldn’t be in and not be able to bounce back as quickly. As I’ve said before, the lost money is just part of it. My damaged ego is the real problem.

I’ve never put any more on the table than it would cost to enjoy a night on the town, so I haven’t felt the negative monetary effects of playing a bad streak of structured poker. But man, just the fact that I lost can put a damper on my entire evening, and possibly my next day.

When I win a tournament, I remember that I’m good at this, and enjoy it. And it’s not about luck, but implementing the right strategy. There is also a proven strategy to winning structured games, but I’ve found it to be less reliable. Even when you factor in the types of people playing and the betting limit on each round, it’s still hard to tell who is serious and who is screwing around. With 10 people in the game and several new people constantly rotating in and out, I guess it’s obvious that I’m not going to be able to read everyone, or establish a table personality for my opponents to misread. Maybe what I love best about tournaments is the elimination process.

On that note, I think I’m gonna add some Big 10s. We’ll see how it goes.

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night like I always do and heard the freezing rain outside. I was sure it would be cold today, and I was right.

Who the hell did this?!?

We’re supposed to visit my aunt in Minnesota tomorrow, where the current weather is Fair, 2°F, feels like -12°F. Gus suggested calling my aunt and telling her we couldn’t make it to the airport because it’s too cold here. It’s sort of ironic.

Speaking of irony, I saw a commercial today that featured a young female police performing her first arrest for drunk driving. Five months later, she was killed by a drunk driver.

Worst use of irony in a PSA of its kind EVAR!!

Sure, it’s too bad that she was killed. Most people find death unfortunate, no matter who it is. However, I think that commercial was attempting to imply that her life was extra-valuable because it was her job to arrest drunk drivers who could possibly kill people.

I don’t buy it. I think it makes as much sense as pro-life extremists killing doctors who perform abortions. I agree that the policewoman, as well as any abortion doctor who is dead now, both had the potential to greatly impact their communities. I don’t think their deaths should be seen as more important simply because of the careers they chose.

The more important issue that I want to drive home is that preventing death alone does not a noble person make. That dead cop could have been a real bitch. And that abortion doctor could have been a real nice guy.

Had the dead policewoman not been killed, she may have quit the force a year later anyway to have children or pursue another career goal. The abortion doctor may have done the same, if the pro-lifers hadn’t been playing God.

And further, what if the handful of lives the policewoman saved were those of crooks and gangsters? What if the fetuses the abortion doctor removed were of those same ill-reputed types?

“But Kat,” you say, “you are doing some extreme speculating. You’re asking how I know that they’re not bad people, but how do you know they’re not good?”

And I answer that I don’t.

My point is that when a life is taken, be it a police officer or an abortion doctor (or a teacher, or an athlete, or a child), it is only as important as every other life that was taken before it and every other life that will be taken after it.

I believe that commercial was trying to raise awareness of the “extremely” harmful effects of drunk driving, but I don’t like how they used a policewoman to make it seem “extra” bad. I believe the makers of this commercial could have sent a more accurate message that is less condescending by focusing on the thoughtlessness of the act of drunk driving and not any particular type of person that it can kill.

This reminded me of that episode of Family Guy when Peter hurts his foot running home and grabs it screaming, “AHH… sss… AHHHH… sss…” for about 10 minutes afterward. At first, it’s funny, but then it goes on longer than it takes you to laugh, so then it’s boring. Then you get annoyed, but it continues on for so long that you end up laughing again. It’s a pretty good combo of sadism and genius.

Gus and I spent last weekend at Jim’s house in OKC. Jim is one of the coolest friends we have and visiting him is always fun, but I cannot go back there until he cleans the cat piss out of the guestroom carpet. It will probably involve a team of steam cleaners, and possibly a new futon, since the smell has permeated the walls and everything in the room. I hate to sound like a primadonna, but that room is simply unbearable. Everytime I went in there, I wanted to blow my own head off with a shotgun.

In other news, we visited Gus’s parents in Norman. They gave us Christmas presents. Gus got a big car for his Homies and a bottle of Crown. His stepmom, Lana, gave me Celine Dion perfume. I don’t think she’s a big fan on Celine Dion, but simply thought the perfume smelled nice. I am slightly uncomfortable with wearing a fragrance associated with an ugly, talentless elk-woman. I suppose if it really does smell nice, I can buy a non-descript glass perfume bottle and pretend it has nothing to do with Celine Dion.

Last night, I had a really strange dream. Well, first I had insomnia for a little while. I awoke around 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Gus awoke around 4:30 and decided to take a shower and walk to work. He’s a trooper, Ah tell you whut.

So I got back to sleep and dreamed that I was caught in a legal scam that involved stealing some vaguely-explained intellectual property from my company, and I was going to end up taking the fall. Most of it took place in a nice hotel. There were also several trips back to Illinois, to Jerry and Mike’s houses particularly. I reunited with random faces from my sketchy high school past. Gus was with me in these parts of the dream, so that made them the most pleasant. The rest of the dream involved people I’ve met in Austin that I don’t talk to anymore.

I don’t talk to them anymore because they are likely candidates for screwing me over in a corporate legal scam!!

The dream ended up consisting of a scene where I sat in a dining room free-floating in space with some strangers and some folks I sort of know. There was chocolate, and maybe poker.

I ended up in a large cavern, similar to that of the pod scene in the first movie of the Matrix trilogy. I wasn’t trapped in anything and there were no tubes connected to me. I was just lying on a big strip of rock that jutted out of the cavern’s wall. There were some other people scattered around me, but I was still scared at first. I had to spend a moment trying to figure out why I was there.

It turns out that the point in my being there was to sleep peacefully for the first time. When I woke up, I rolled off the rock and hung in midair inside the cavern.

I believe it was the most closure I’ve ever had in a dream. When I awoke in real life, I deduced that I’d been shot or thrown out of a window because I was making it too hard on the corporate scammers.

Although I made up the sleep I’d lost early this morning, I do not feel rested. Insomnia is not cool.

I’m going to start by griping about my wisdom teeth, which are coming in. Again. They only bother me ever few years for about a week, so I haven’t bothered to have them pulled. My left one has been hurting for awhile now — this may be the time. *cringe*

Since it’s the season of giving, I’ve been getting Christmas presents from all kinds of people. But have I thought about giving Christmas presents to all kinds of people? No. Not at all.

Gus and I don’t really “do” Christmas. We don’t even exchange gifts with each other. But when an unknowing friend decides to drop by my desk with a batch of cookies or small trinket of wintery kindness, I feel like an asshole for not reciprocating.

So last night, I headed to Morning Glory, an anime store on Airport Boulevard that my roommate told me about. She bought a really cool plastic monkey there that you can feed little air-freshening crystals. When the crystals run out of juice, the monkey poops them out, and you feed it more. She keeps it in her car.

I thought it would make a great present for a friend who shall remain nameless in the off chance that she reads my site. But when I went to the store, the guy said he was out of monkeys and just had poop.

I can’t buy my friend poop alone!

So now everyone’s going on vacation and I’m going to be the jerk who didn’t buy presents for anyone. By the way, I sound like I care a lot more than I do. I think giving gifts is kind of a crapshoot. You can’t expect anything in return because then it would be a really insincere gift. My friends know me. They know I’d rather have 100 of my closest friends over for drinks instead of go shopping. It’s all good in the Austin hood.

Because I don’t. And the more I’ve been watching people do it lately, the prouder I am of not being a waste of people’s time.

That sentence just wasted your time, didn’t it?

Anyway, I’m sitting at work, bored off my ass and excited to start my new position in CompactRIO. I’d rather be given deadline-driven work than hunt for things to do. Hunting for things to do is actually a greater task than whatever real work I could be doing.

In other news, I also got an e-mail from Tre, publisher of 512 Magazine. He’s looking for an editor in some sort of capacity. That should be an interesting offshoot of what I did (and got tired of doing when bitching, moaning, and slacking were thrown into the mix) for Feedback. The magazine appears to cater to a more upscale crowd, so I’m moderately pleased with the recent correspondence.

I attended another tournament with Jennefer last night and came home with $515 (second place) and a large zit on my forehead from the stress of getting to that point. I don’t usually play in pricey tournaments (this one had a $50 buy-in), but I hadn’t played all week and I was itchin’ for a live game. After winning $100 (third place) in the previous tournament I played, which Jennefer also brought me to, she seems to think I’m really good at this. She’s been playing a lot longer than I have and knows half of the poker-playing population. I think she appreciates having another woman play in tournaments with her, since they’re all male-dominated.

The game we played last night was in Hutto, just a right-turn from the middle of nowhere. The giant house had a large gravel driveway filled with pick-up trucks and a large pavilion in the back with a stage and a dancefloor. I was told later that the owner of the house is married to a singer and that is where she practices. The inside of the house looked like someone had converted a traditional lodge into a home. Giant deer and buffalo heads stared down at the 40 or so participants from their high-placed plaques. Everything was made out of wood and appeared hand-crafted. The rest of the decor was southwestern: large, rustic, and comfortable.

My opponents were mostly good ol’ boys in their 50s, donning cowboy hats and plaid shirts. Some drank whiskey out of mason jars. Some revved Harleys during the hourly breaks. There was also a spattering of young men, one of which remembered me from busting him out during the GCue poker league. I ended up busting him out again last night when he went all in with two pair against my set.

I’d like to break here and say that I am glad I didn’t sign up for the GCue poker league a second time. Although Phil, Nate, Gus, and I were on one of the more high-profile teams, playing in the league means a weekly commitment without a reconcilable payout. In the last league, 2000 Flushes (our jocular team name, brought to you by me) had the second highest point total overall, but we received no prizes. The top finishers received plastic trophies and bar tabs. Unfortunately, GCue bar tabs don’t buy plane tickets or nice dinners. I’m much happier following Jennefer to real tournaments, since the competition is about the same and thus, my chances of winning are the same.

Anyway, after I put a few people all-in and won early in the game, I was doing consistently well throughout the night. Only a few people seemed bitter at all, but I’m used to dealing with that, regardless of the stakes or situation. For a house full of good ol’ boys, they took losing to a woman quite well. Except for the father of the house’s owner, who didn’t have to.

A couple of weeks ago, Gus threw a nice birthday party for me. A bunch of our friends came bearing gifts of white wine and DVDs (do these folks know me well or what!).

Unfortunately, a certain person who was not invited to the party had to deal with the harsh trials and tribulations of answering the innocent question, “Why didn’t you go to Kat’s birthday party?” that was asked of him at work the following week.

Overcoming in the face of extreme adversity, he took matters into his own hands. He would not be made uncomfortable anymore! He immediately notified his and Gus’s boss of these fatal injustices. How dare Gus throw a party for his beloved girlfriend and only invite their friends? Why did he not also include people who stopped speaking to him or hanging out with him years ago? The nerve!

The boss in question knows that our socially inept protagonist could have chosen any of the following responses:

“I was busy that night.”

“No, we don’t really hang out.”

or even, “I don’t like Kat and Gus. They can go jump in a lake.”

However, this authority figure decided to confront Gus personally.

Silly and childish as the matter truly is, I believe it should have stopped before this point. It’s not Gus’s problem that this person is uncomfortable. If this person wants to publicize his personal problems, that’s his issue. Short of openly hanging out with our friends en masse, there’s nothing we can do about how this person feels. If he really wants to be included, all he has to do is be nice to us. We’re not terribly picky.

But he doesn’t seem any closer to doing that, which is fine. However, it is highly inappropriate to bring up such matters in a work environment. A senior-level manager at a tech company should not be expected to play the role of an elementary school teacher. I find it ridiculous that the social woes of this individual were entertained for even a moment of company time.

As an added post script, I would like to restate my belief that the best way to solve a personal problem is to approach the person who is bothering you directly and honestly. If that doesn’t work, move on and avoid making everyone else miserable.