Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010: How Lost Should Have Ended.

From the folks at How It Should Have Ended comes perhaps the funniest Lost video yet. (And yes, I'm including the Connect Four Million Commercial) Obviously, I would suggest that you don't watch it if you haven't seen the Lost series finale. Took me a few minutes to stop laughing the first time I watched it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27, 2010: Best WSOP Picture of 2010

"So...uh...I know this great little Italian place in the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace..."

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010: Happy Anniversary

Today is an anniversary of sorts. Yes, I know that I generally do a lot of "Two years ago today" or "Five years ago today" posts. Damn, even the last post before this one was a "16 years ago today" post, but I have to acknowledge June 25th.

Last year at this time, I was sitting on a tarmac in Colorado Springs, Colorado for FIVE HOURS in an effort to get to Las Vegas with my friends for the World Series of Poker. It was a nightmare, to say the least, and if you haven't read my in-depth post on the incident, check out this post from last year.

The thing that made it worse, was that all anyone could talk about was the fact that Michael Jackson had now, every time someone commemorates the death of The King of Pop (like today), I'm taken back to that horrible time on the plane in Colorado Springs...Dave and Jeremy and I playing 300 hands of Chinese Poker; Tony, Meagan, and Melanie ready to snap since they were in desperate need of a cigarette. No food, no drink, no was horrible.

Happy Anniversary. Wish I was in Vegas right now with the rest of the gang.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17, 2010: 16 Years Ago Today

In 1994, I was in my 3rd year of University at the University of Waterloo, and I was living in a student house along with 4 friends. 16 years ago, on June 17, 1994, we were gearing up for game 5 of the NBA Finals featuring the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets. The series was tied 2-2, and considering it was being played at Madison Square Garden, to say it was a big deal would be an understatement.

As we settled in to the game, suddenly we were shocked to see NBC cut away to a police chase featuring a white Bronco. That's right, the O.J. Chase was 16 years ago today. It's still crystal clear in my mind as I saw my friend and roommate Buzz (an affable Philipino who loved John Starks) jumping up and down screaming at the TV to go back to the game.

We never really got to see the game (which the Knicks won 91-84) as the Bronco chase took over, although we did get some split screen action before NBC decided that the chase was more important. Thinking about it today and remembering Buzz getting upset, made me wonder: Where were you when it happened? What were you doing when O.J. was being chased by the LAPD?

Let's hear your stories in the Comments Section.

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11, 2010: Waterloo Arts Festival

This weekend is the fifth anniversary of the Waterloo Arts Festival, something that I'm very proud to say that I've been involved with since Day One, 18 months before the first year in 2006. This year's event promises to be fantastic, and I urge everyone in Southwestern Ontario to head out to Waterloo Park on Saturday and Sunday for this amazing FREE event where you can see International Performing Artists like last year's Human Fountain (pictured above).

For more information and directions, visit

I hope to see you this weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10, 2010: The Real Magic Of Facebook

A lot of times I hear criticism of Facebook, that it's just a way to keep tabs on people that you don't really want to be in touch with, or that it's a way to "creep" other people. Let's be honest, the main purpose of Facebook is to be social, that's why it's called "Social Networking." But there are a lot of positive things as well. For instance, I use Facebook to promote this blog, and a huge part of my traffic comes through there, so it's a great tool for me.

But in the last couple of months, I've found another purpose for Facebook.
This is my Uncle David. He's 24 years old (yes, he's younger than me), and he left for Afghanistan in early April and has been there about 2 months now. Aside from the occasional email from him, I have no contact with him, obviously. But every once in a while, in odd hours...I see him online on Facebook, and I get to chat with him as if he was only a few hours if he was home. Just tonight we got to spend about an hour online.

Tell me again that Facebook is a waste of time. I dare you.

And keep my Uncle David in your thoughts.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6, 2010: Crazies At The Casino

It's been a while since I've written on my adventures in the poker room at the Branford Casino, and after my last couple of trips there, I think it's time for a new post on the subject. I've only been a couple of times in the last 2 months or so, but both times it was an adventurous visit.

The first trip was early last month, and while I was settling into a pretty decent table in the new poker room (which I love), I kept hearing a ruckus at the table behind me, and this annoying voice incessantly yammering away. So, I look over, and in Seat One at the 2-5 Limit table behind me is one of the oddest creatures I've ever seen.

It was a guy who was wearing a T-shirt with some sort of random winged pattern, or shiny cross, or some sort of trendy sparkly doesn't matter which one, but you know what I'm talking about. He's really weird looking, and somewhat pear-shaped, with some odd facial hair that makes me unable to tell if he is 18 or 45. He could have been anything in between. It was impossible to tell. But the thing that made the whole ensemble, was the black ballcap that he was wearing, that was...and I kid you not...bedazzled with gemstones to spell out 'PESCI' on the front. And then the voice I was hearing made sense...

This guy, on every hand, whether he was in it or not, kept talking and yelling at the top of his lungs, and cackling, and making one a Joe Pesci voice. Seriously. And as if it wasn't bad enough hearing him constantly ask if he was there to amuse you, like he's some sort of clown, then when he would actually be talking about poker, he would refer to himself in the third person by saying something like "Pesci raises!", or "Pesci's gonna take down this pot!" (The exclamation points are by design because this cartoonish moron just kept yelling.)

As I mentioned in my description, this guy looked nothing like Joe Pesci, and the impression might be passable if you had a horrible cell phone connection, but not in person. It was quite entertaining to say the least, especially watching him react to everything that happened at the table with an over-exaggerated "Ayyy-Ohhh!!!" all the time, which, to be honest, sounded more like Andrew Dice Clay than Joe Pesci. But more entertaining was watching the dealer, who had him immediately to his left, looking like he literally wanted to take his own life.

As difficult as it was to drown Sparkly Fake Pesci out of my peripheral attention, I had enough to focus on at my table, with Sweater Vest Charlie and the Cackling Greek at my table. Sweater Vest Charlie is an older Indian guy who always goes through the same script when we're at the same table. As soon as I sit down, he says "Oh, look out, the pro is here now...10-20 player at the 5-10 game", telling the whole table that I am from the higher game, while I have never even played a single hand at the 10-20 game in my nearly 6 years of playing there. He then proceeds to complain about every single thing he can, which slows the game down to a crawl.

The Cackling Greek is an older guy who always wears a ballcap and plays horrible cards, chasing all the way to the end hoping to make some miracle hand. It's generally fine to lose to a player like that when he makes his hand because you'll win much more than you lose in the long run. But the annoying thing is that after he wins a hand on some ridiculous suckout, he looks at you and just cackles like he's a witch stirring some sordid brew.

So I'm dealing with these two guys at my table, and the constant drone of Sparkly Fake Pesci behind me, and one of the waitresses keeps coming by our table. I'll just call her Diana, and for a frame of reference, I've never been a big fan of hers. When she works in the restaurant downstairs, she never gets your order right, or is around if you need her, and quite often forgets to bring you cutlery with your meal. Plus, she's constantly complaining. Just for a visual, Diana is probably about 50 years old, and closely resembles Timer from the Time for Timer Saturday morning cartoon videos from ABC when I was a kid. (see video below)

On this night, Diana is working in our section, and with every single trip in the room, she has a tray full of drinks and no idea who ordered them. Every time. So what she ends up doing, is standing in a centralized location where all 3 of her tables are in earshot, and just yelling out "Who ordered the hot milk? Who has a large draft?" Quite the finely oiled machine she's got going on, huh?

In one of her confused deliveries, she is standing at the end of our table, hollering out drinks and hoping someone answers her, and when she turns to face a different table, the drinks on her tray topple over, and in what I can only describe as one of the greatest moments I've seen in that building, the drinks completely soak the Cackling Greek, who is sitting on the end of our table. I was facing him, so I had a full-on direct view of it, and it was almost like it was in slow-motion, this fantastic sequence of events and variables that made for a wonderful image that is burned in my memory, and that I hope to never lose.

Then, earlier this weekend, I made another trip, and continuing our trend of fantastic service (sarcasm fully intended), as we went down for dinner in the restaurant at the casino, we were told "I can seat you, but you won't be able to order for 5 or 10 minutes." We said that was fine, but asked why, and the hostess told us that "You don't have a waitress right now. She needed to take a walk for a few minutes or she was going to snap." Sounds like a great start to the dining experience.

So after looking at the menu and the specials, we decide what we wanted to order, and in about 10 minutes, our waitress arrived, looking like she was in a seriously pissed off mood. I said that we wanted to order the special we saw listed at the front entrance, and she snapped at me, "What specials?! I don't know about any specials! Nobody around here tells me anything!" and stomps off.

No, that's not a joke. That really happened.

Amy, if you're reading this, I'm not eating there anymore unless I know you're working. Period.

But my poker table was the real story from this trip. It was without a doubt the oddest and angriest group of characters I've ever come across in my 20+ years of poker. Now, having said that, there were also two people at this table who I consider friends, a player I'll refer to as I.A., and my good friend Norm.

But the rest of the characters are what made the night. There was George, a regular who is loud and very vocal. There was a player I refer to as Barney Rubble, the Italian guy who always talks about the hand non-stop after it's over, and sounds like Fred Flintstone's neighbour...if he was Italian. There was the European manic who played everything all the way to the end, and who I couldn't tell what his accent was (Polish? Russian? Eastern European?), there was an INSANE Indian guy whose sole purpose was to yell at everyone else. And there was Roadkill, an emaciated Asian man who insists on analyzing everything after the hand, whether he was in it or not. I call him Roadkill because if you ever have the unfortunate distinction of sitting next to him, he smells like he just ingested a meal of feces and a rotting porcupine carcass. It's disgusting.

The night started off with Roadkill constantly pointing out what beats what for the dealer, in case they were unclear that a pair of Aces were higher than a pair of Jacks...and constantly going on with what would have happened if a different card came. He is a master of stating the obvious, and when other people are in a hand, he keeps telling them what they had, and what they could have done differently. I had to mention to him a couple of times as he interjected himself into a situation that he was not involved, that nobody was talking to him, and since poker awards no silver medals, nobody cares that he would have had the second-best hand IF he hadn't folded. (Yes, these are the things that Roadkill talks about.)

Then he gets into a big pot with Barney Rubble and the European guy, and after the Euro wins with a miracle hand on the river to crack to big hands, Barney decides to tell Roadkill what he should have done differently. Irony of all Ironies, Mr. Know-it-All shockingly doesn't like to be told what to do. So these two are now arguing over what they should and shouldn't say to each other, and I point out to the table "Isn't it funny that the two guys who never shut up and always want to tell all of us what to do, now are mad at each other?"

Then the Indian guy decides to slow-roll a winning hand on me, which I feel that there is no place for in the world of poker, and I point out that it's a douchebag move. Some of the other players back me up, and he starts getting belligerent with them, then accuses the players that know each other at the table of conspiring to cheat, and accuses the dealer of skipping him on purpose when he wasn't there and making him pay his Big Blind when he came back, when there was no way he could have missed it (when of course...he did.)

Then he decides to waste everybody's time by betting the wrong amounts, and stalling constantly, and since we had a dealer who never says anything to the players, the other players have to point out when he does this, and then he stops and yells at them to stay out of it because they're not even in the hand. And then George starts yelling at him, and the pit managers come over, and they're yelling at George, George is yelling at them, in short, everybody is yelling at everybody, Norm is laughing his ass off, and the entire poker room is staring at our table.

Things calm down for a while, but then, after a dealer change, a big pot is brewing and the Indian Slowroller is stalling again. The dealer tells him it's his turn once, then he tells him again...and then I say calmly to the dealer "He's just waiting for one of us to say something so he can start yelling at us. It's what he does." And sure enough, he starts yelling at me, someone else starts yelling at him, the floor gets called over, and Norm keeps laughing. Indian Slowroller says to me "Shut your mouth, you're not even in the hand?", to which I responded "Are you drunk? I am in the hand, I'm the next one to act, and I'm the one waiting for you when we all know you're folding!"

And sure enough, he folds...and the new dealer turns to me and says "Wow, you really nailed that one."

Just another night of fun-filled frivolity and hijinks at the Casino. Can't wait until next time.