Saturday, April 29, 2006

blog.jimgross.net

In the course of setting up sixpitchers.com, I upgraded the hosting package to get Perl scripting support. Included in the upgrade was a free domain name, so I grabbed jimgross.net (strangely, jimgross.com had already been registered by someone at the same hosting company, 1&1. Pretty sure it wasn't me.) So, anyway, I went ahead and set up another WordPress blog at blog.jimgross.net and imported all the sensational content from here.

Just one more way we here at How We Got Enron! ...the musical are endeavoring to make your web experience the best possible. Or something.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oprah Noodlemantra

After lunch today with a couple co-workers, we were talking during the drive back to the office about movies our kids enjoy and the film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" came up. I said that I thought Johnny Depp was a very good Willie Wonka. One of my co-workers said "He's a good actor," facetiously adding, "I loved him in '21 Jump Street.'" At this point, I tried to remember one of Depp's co-stars from 21 Jump Street but couldn't come up with anyone beyond Dom DeLuise's kid and that wasn't who I was trying to think of. So after I got back to the office, I looked up the show on imdb.com and found who I was looking for - the great Richard Grieco! While I was there, I went ahead and clicked on Johnny Depp's name to see a list of his credits and see what he might be working on currently. That's when I saw this odd little tidbit:

Sometimes Credited As:
Oprah Noodlemantra

I searched the page for "Noodlemantra" and found that Johnny Depp had indeed had himself listed as Oprah Noodlemantra in the credits for 1991's "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" in the role of "Teen on TV."

You never know what you might learn on any given day.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Should I sue...

...for copyright infringement?

A CNNMoney.com article on February 17 relates the story of "a Houston theater company... setting a tragic story to a musical tune, in a play simply titled Enron: The Musical."

Five-and-a-half months after I started How We Got Enron! ...the musical (and about three-and-a-half after I let the blog fall into disrepair) it seems the world has - at least inadvertently - recognized my genius. This is a proud day for everyone here at HWGEtm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

CONSUMER ADVISORY!

A couple friends from work and I went out to Boston Market for lunch yesterday. I had the meat loaf with new potatoes and that really good creamed spinach they have while coworker #1 had turkey with two sides that I can't remember now. Coworker #2 saw a sign in the restaurant for a new "top sirloin" meal that they apparently recently introduced to the menu. This turned out to be a poor choice on his part. After a moment of reflection, I decided that it's probably best to avoid "top sirloin" in a place that uses plastic knives. Just a friendly FYI!

On the plus side, I also had a really tasty brownie.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pick Six

So I think I found something that I can engage myself in, writing-wise. While those of you who don't enjoy the baseball stuff may not find it particularly interesting - I'm looking at you Gregory and Amanda - perhaps it will inspire more writing of other stuff like cats pooping on scooters. And let's face it, everybody likes cats-pooping-on-scooter stories.

Here's the deal. I'm going to pick six Cubs prospects. One each from the June 2005 amateur draft, the Midwest League (low-A) Peoria Chiefs, the Florida State League (high-A) Daytona Cubs, the AA Southern League West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (man I hate that name), the Iowa Cubs (AAA Pacific Coast League) and the big club. I haven't finalized my list or even the criteria, but right now I'm looking at last year's 1st round pick Mark Pawelek, a 19-year-old left handed pitcher from Utah; right hander Angel Guzman or outfielder Ryan Harvey who both played in Peoria last season; JG favorite Brian Dopirak, a power-hitting first baseman who struggled a bit in Daytona last season after dominating Midwest League pitching in 2004; "K"orey's little brother Eric Patterson who had a breakout season for the Jaxx (guh) last year; top prospect Felix Pie who may start the season in Chicago, but whom I expect will be in Iowa in April; and Ronny Cedeno who performed well after a September call-up and should be the opening day starter at short.

The idea is to do regular updates on these guys and the organization as a whole, a la Jamey Newberg, but without, y'know, the talent. This will probably die off eventually too.

In the meantime I have a thrilling study on leadoff run production that is sure to amaze and I'm still working on a weather/fatigue study on the Texas Rangers. NEWSFLASH: IT'S REALLY FREAKING HOT DOWN HERE IN THE SUMMER!

Until the cat poops on something else (proverbially speaking, I hope) that's as good as it's going to get I'm afraid.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

...and then I won $400

So after the disappointment of the single-table tournament chronicled below, I played at PartyPoker again in a $100 no-limit cash game and finished more than $400 up after about 3½ hours. It's too late so I won't go into much detail on all the big hands, but I did save the best for last.

I had decided to go to bed after my last hand before the big blind. That hand turned out to be QT clubs. I raised right off the bat to $3 (blinds are $0.50/$1.00) and had two folds before a re-raise to $7. Everyone else folds around to me and I call. What the hell, it's my last hand. The flop was Jc, 6d, 3h, so I'm left with not much outside of the three clubs. But once again, it's my last hand, so I decide to be a little cute with it. I check and the other guy bets $5 and re-raise to $15 trying to steal the pot and also planting the seed that maybe I've got wired jacks and hit my set on the flop. If he re-raises, I'm dropping the hand and going to bed up a couple hundred bucks, but he just calls the $15 bet. The turn is the deuce of clubs giving me nine outs to the flush. I decide to semi-bluff to see if I can buy the pot for $30. No such luck, he re-raises me to $60.

Sometimes in poker you just have to play a feeling, and while I'd been riding a hot hand all night, I hadn't really drawn out an anyone yet. It just felt like the right time to see if I could, so I called. At this point, I've got $82 invested in the pot on nothing but a flush draw, and despite my own misgivings, I was getting 5:1 odds on my $30 call after the raise (because of my own ill-advised $30 opening bet, of course). The odds of hitting the queen-high flush were 4.1:1 against. So there's one reason to call right there. Also worth considering were the higher implied pot odds if my read was right on his hand; I figured he was riding a high pair so my flush would hold up if it came in at which point I'd put him all-in for his final $72.20. Basically I was getting better than 10:1 odds (assuming he called on the end) on a 4.1:1 chance to hit the flush.

By now you've probably guessed that flush came on the river. And so it did when the nine of clubs fell. He calls my bet for the rest of his stack, turning over his kings to meet their sad fate while the $300+ pot slides my way.

Why I finish one out of the money...

...a lot.

I have a bad tendency in poker tournaments to finish one off the money. For example, if 4 players are going to finish in the money, I'll finish fifth more often than not. Once I break through I'm pretty dangerous; there's a good chance I'll win once I get in the money. But today I had another reminder why I find it difficult to get over that hurdle.

Event: $30 buy-in single table (10 players) at PartyPoker.com

Key hands:
  • Early on, with all ten players still alive and the blinds at 15/30, I get a pair of queens on the small blind. Everyone folded to the player in ninth position who raised to 60, the dealer re-raised to 150 and I called. The original raiser re-raised all-in with his last 530 chips, the dealer re-raised all-in with 735 chips (which was unnecessary since both the original raiser and I had less chips) and I called with my last 505, hoping I was against smaller pairs like jacks or tens where I'd be a big favorite and/or AK which would have me at about a 55/45 advantage. So now we've got three players all-in before the flop and a pot of 2160 chips. The cards are turned over and I see AQ offsuit in ninth position (bad news for me since he has one of my queens) and a pair of aces on the button. It really could not have turned out much worse for me. The aces were about an 85% favorite with my queens a distant second at about 10% and the AQo in really bad shape at around a 5% chance to win. The flop brought little help to anyone: 7h, 8s, 5d and now the aces were about a 90% favorite. The turn (fourth) card was another 8 (diamonds) so I'm pretty sure I'm finished with only one out - the final queen in the deck. Then it happened - the case queen came on the river making a full house for me (queens full of eights) against the "dead man's hand" of aces over eights. The miracle card saved me and allowed me to triple up my stack, taking the chip lead with 1930 chips (the player on the button got his 230 chip overbet back).
  • With four players left I'm in pretty desperate shape, short-stacked with only 515 chips left after posting the big blind of 300. The button moves all-in with 2710 chips and I have little choice but to call with AJ offsuit. The player directly behind me and the small blind folded, leaving me a shot at 1780 heads-up against JT suited (hearts), making me a 2:1 (67/33) favorite to win. The flop was 2h, Kd, 5s and when the ace of hearts fell on the turn, I had made top pair, but now my opponent was left with a heart flush draw and my chances of winning actually went down about 7%, from 4:1 (80/20) after the flop to about 73% with one card to come. The river card was a harmless 2 of diamonds and I survived. Unfortunately, so did all the other players until the next key hand five hands later...
  • At this point I'm on the button, third in chip count at 1480 with the leader a little less than double my stack at 2830 and second-place at 2595. The short stack was also on the small blind this hand(200/400) , leaving him with 895 chips after posting the blind. After a fold from the chip leader, I raised with KT suited to double the blind at 800, leaving me with 680 chips. The big blind re-raised all-in and now I have a decision to make. This is the same guy that earlier moved all-in with JT suited and now I'm wondering if he has something similar. I decide he's probably holding either a small pair or a weak ace. In either case, he's the favorite. But there's still a chance that he's holding smaller suited connectors or maybe he's just trying to push me off the pot and pull in 1000 chips for free. I call. He has a pair of sevens which means we're in a virtual dead heat with him holding a slight 51/49 advantage. The flop brings a seven, but also a nine and a king, leaving me in a huge hole but with some glimmer of hope. When the turn brought a jack, I had a little more life with four queens to make a straight and two kings left to give me a better three-of-a-kind. Alas, the river was unkind this time and brought only a lowly six, knocking me out of the tournament. One off the money. Again.
In hindsight, there are a lot of reasons that was a bad call on my part:
  1. This guy hadn't shown much of a propensity to bluff earlier, so the only real chance I had was that he was raising with weaker suited connectors like the jack-ten he played earlier. I should have placed this likelihood at about 20%.
  2. My initial read was right: small pair or an overcard ace. I should have rated this at around 60% probability.
  3. The worst case would have been a high pair (KK or AA) or AK. Given that tournament tables tend to tighten up at the end, in hindsight I should have judged this at around 20%.
If I had properly evaluated his likelihood to be bluffing or raising with a worse hand at 20%, that leaves me with an eighty percent chance that I was about to risk my tournament life on either a coin flip or as a significant underdog. A bad gamble no matter how you look at it. If I drop the hand, I'm in bad shape with only 680 chips left and the blinds at 200/400, but I'm still alive and maybe someone goes out in the next hand or two. Or maybe I catch a monster hand. Live to fight another day.

Since I've made the same mistakes several times in the past, I'm hoping that writing it down this time drills it into my thick skull. *sigh*

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Why has JG stopped blogging?

It's been almost three weeks. What gives? Busy at work? Can't think of anything interesting to write about? Working on something that will amaze and astound you when it is finally released - nay, unleashed upon the world?

We'll continue to track this story and update you as events warrant.