Monday, 21 December 2009

Review: Connections

Connections, a 10-part series written and presented by James Burke, was first broadcast in 1978. It presents an "alternative view of change", and examines the way in which one invention leads to another.

The main theme of the programme is the interconnectedness between all branches of human endeavour. It is when knowledge from different disciplines is connected that new uses for already-existing technologies produces what we might call invention. From these inventions, stem further inventions, eventually leading up to the technology we see around us.

Through viewing the history of invention as a web rather than a timeline, Burke disassembles the simplistic classroom notion that inventions follow a pattern of linear-development. The whole notion of 'categorising' technological development is questioned. For instance, though it may be possible to draw a 'historical line' from the development of the wheel to the modern automobile, the modern automobile may just as well be at the end of another line of development, for instance, the development of alloys, or machine tools. This might necessitate looking back through the history of combustion and gunpowder or alchemy... and so on.

The series uncovers the various impulses required for invention to take place. The first real invention, states Burke, is the ancient-Egyptian plough. Its invention was necessitated by the need to settle and plant seeds when the ancient nomadic-lifestyle could no longer be maintained. The production of grain necessitated the construction of pots for storage in granaries, which necessitated the development of a writing system so one could tell who's pot was who's. The development of a writing system allowed for a way of recording the patterns of the stars, which became necessary in being able to predict when the Nile would flood...

Though the example I gave above might seem a little deterministic (and beautifully familiar to anyone who has played any game of the Civilization series) it is clear that human creativity and intelligence, rather than just mother necessity, do indeed have a role in invention. For instance, in order for the practical benefits of astronomy to be realised, someone at some point (or many people at many points) will have had to have looked up at the stars on a regular basis and noticed the patterns, and been able to deduce how these fitted in with the world around them.

This ties in with another of Burke's main points: just because we can see the way in which the technology of the past developed, does not mean we can accurately predict how the technology of the future will develop. Yes, we can already ascertain certain technological issues likely to emerge in the near-future: the need for large quantities of clean, renewable energy (e.g. Fusion), the increased understanding of the workings of our own bodies and brains, the potential benefits to exploring our part of the universe. But there is no way of us knowing where the crucial connection will come.

For instance, a common tool of science-fiction is the idea of teleportation. But what does this involve? Our current assumptions of the relationship between the physical body and consciousness would imply that if you were to be destroyed in one part of the universe and recreated atom-for-atom in another part, you would be a 'new' person. But would your consciousness also be 'new'? What would happen to the old one? How do we have any way of knowing based on our current, limited understanding of identity and consciousness? Not only is the technology beyond us, but the philosophy behind it too is beyond our current level of understanding.

Take an historical example. People often laugh at the idea of geocentricism (the Earth being at the centre of the universe) and are surprised that only 400 years ago it was the orthodox opinion. But how many of us, given a telescope, a pad of paper and loads of spare time, would be able to prove that the sun is at the centre of the solar system? How many people still would be able to prove that even the sun was not the centre of the universe?

The answer is... very few. But the reason we find the idea of geocentricism so quaint is not because we have all done the calculations and discovered it for ourselves, but because we have grown up with the idea of geocentricism as part and parcel of a modern education. Thus it does not seem contrary to reason for us, as it is what we are used to.

One of Burke's other main points was that, although conceptually, the interdisciplinary nature of invention remains, the fact is that invention is now the realm of the specialist rather than the gentleman amateur, of the team of experts rather than the lone ponderer sitting on a hill. Would a man like Benjamin Franklin find any role in science today? There is a strange paradox at play. The further technology advances, the less we understand it... but the more we rely upon it. Burke's first episode, which recalls the North-Eastern blackout of 1965 (United States) is a vivid illustration of this.

Let us take ourselves to the present day; you reading this blog. Do you have any idea of the processes involved in getting my thoughts from my keyboard to your eyes? You may know the basic gist of it. Keyboard buttons trigger electronic signals in computer - these signals stored in the memory - the memory represented by 0's and 1's - this data can be sent over the Internet...

But do you know how the electronic signals work? Would you know how to build one from scratch? Do you know someone who can?

Perhaps the best thing about the series is Burke himself. He is fluent and has personality, something lacking in many modern documentaries. Burke tells a good story, and is good at making the viewer feel slightly ashamed of themselves without directly preaching. He delivers with clarity and honesty, and though he seems to get quite excited at times, there is a certain scientific authority behind everything he says.

Friday, 18 December 2009


Had I been in Coventry I probably would not have bothered with a post like this. After all, snow is much more common there than it is in this little South Coast fishing village that we call Brighton.

The snow made an entrée at around 3 o'clock, when I was still doing my chores in town. I was quite embarrassed by the instant satisfaction it seemed to bring everyone. People were saying 'Merry Christmas', et cetera. That isn't depressing in itself, but I felt it rather lame that a thimbleful of snow should be the trigger for such happy gestures. Could they have not waited for it to settle? For only once it settles is it really beautiful and worth celebrating. The 3 o'clock bout of snow only lasted about fifteen minutes and had melted before you could say Jack Robinson.

From 5 till 7 I was working while listening to BBC Radio 2. Chris Evans (who is a nutter) kept reading out texts sent to him from all across the country, all about the same thing: the weather. In Brighton, where we were currently without snow, it seemed quite foreboding, especially when I heard there was snow as near as Southampton and Surrey.

Sure enough, the snow came. At around quarter to nine I could make out the familiar white flakes illuminated by the street light. It took me around half an hour to realise the stuff was actually settling. It didn't stop, and at around 11.20pm I took a walk. I must say, it was amongst the most hostile walks I have taken. Of course, it was a magnificent sight... that which I could make out. But it was practically a blizzard, and the torrent of snow made it impossible to walk, as the direction I wished to walk was against the wind. Soon a wall of snow had formed on my jumper, a wall so well built I had to shake it fairly vigorously to break it off. But the bricks kept coming.

I was only out for about ten minutes, though there were a few others out too, some still trying to make it from A to B, others simply out to enjoy it.

Seeing things at night is one thing. Seeing things in the honest light of day is another. So I set my alarm clock for dawn.

What an awful thing an alarm is to wake up to! There is no sound more frightening to greet the dozy and confused brain. Perhaps someone shouting or screaming, or a cat growling would be worse, but at least they would be natural. The alarm has been designed to alert and scare us. Worst of all, however, is not being woken up by the alarm so much as waking up just before it goes off. This adds the dread of anticipation into the equation.

Which is precisely what happened this morning. Well, it certainly got my heart racing and I had no choice but to get up. Within ten minutes I was out. Brighton under heavy snow is a rare sight to behold. And I really do mean rare. Say, once every five years. We get snow more often than that, but it is seldom cold enough for it to settle. Well, today was an exception. The side roads were full of the stuff, and even the main roads were not immune. The salt managed to ward off the first round of fire, but the onslaught of the ice brigade proved too much for it and it had to yield. The aftermath was eerie. The few cars that went along were virtually silent, only the slightest purr of the engine to be heard. They were almost sliding across. Eerie is the best word, for I feel it signifies an experience that is close to what we are used to, but different in such a way as to make it strange to perceive.

The roads and the pavements were basically one, and one had to watch where one trod. I'd say the snow was about 2 inches deep, or 5 centimetres, though it varied, as there had been some wind, meaning there was more snow on the ground than there was on rooftops or railings.

Returned home at about 8, removed my cap and coat and delighted in the warmth. I did not take any photographs. Do you know why? Because then I would have simply posted them here in the "well, see for yourself" style of presentation. With this done, I might have forgone the effort of writing.

Just realised I never updated you about the MiniFTOPS. All four of us DKSOPERS played the 7-Game but none of us cashed. I'm not suggesting we had an edge there. I made it to the 15-minute blinds part (15 levels in) but went bust in NLHE of all games. A9 versus AJ on a A54 board with two diamonds. Was short. He min-check raised to 2,000. But there was only 4,000 left in my stack so I had to go with it.

Also played the $26 KO six-max with deuce. Like the 7-Game it was a very good structure, but I ended up making a hero shove with TT on a Jack High board. Basically, I put him on AK, but he had QJ. Won a few all ins, but then shoved 89 suited UTG (six-max, remember!) for an M of around 5. Was called by Kings and lost. I think it may have been a shove too far but then I would say that, because I lost. Nevertheless, am working on an essay concerning the exact topic of survival-shoving in tournaments. There is great motivation behind the topic, because the question of "should I shove here of wait for a better spot" comes up in basically every tournament. I embark upon this project with an open mind, and I may be surprised by the conclusions. I hope the other DKSOP playerwriters will read it with an open mind too.

Currently down $155 from my stars adventure, but it's a long term thing so can't be too disappointed just yet. "Oh well".

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Evans Unleashed

Often when I run around the park, I see people walking their dogs. Many of these dogs are unleashed. This isn't really an issue, thankfully, as most of these dogs tend to be small and unthreatening. They're not the sort of dog who will become a news story after mistaking a 3-year old child for a snack.

And 3-year olds were precisely what I saw a few days ago, also in the park. They were from the local nursery, and there were about sixteen of them, being walked along by four teachers. I say 'teachers', I doubt they were going through a GCSE syllabus, but I can not think of a better name to call them. How nice for the children to be getting some fresh air in a park as pleasant as St. Anne's Well Gardens rather than being stuck in a stuffy, artificially-heated little nursery hall. However, then I saw something very sinister. No, it wasn't a paedophile lurking in the bushes. I noticed that the children were on leads. They were literally, being walked along by the teachers. Each lead had around eight children. Let me draw a diagram to demonstrate.

(from bird's eye view)


T = teacher, c = child
- and | represent the rope system by which the children were constrained

I'd never seen anything like this before.

I know it was common in the past to have elasticated reins to stop children from venturing too far from their mothers, but at least these were individual and still allowed some room for manoeuvre. Having the children constrained as a group with virtually no room for manoeuvre seemed very strange, as if a lazy form of mass-parenting. One wonders how the children will ever grow up if they are constrained in such a manner. Perhaps it will become customary. Maybe in the future a new metaphor will be introduced to the English language: "having one's harness removed". This will mean the same as "taking away the training wheels" means today.

Perhaps it would be better for our society... if our dogs were on leashes, and our children were left free.


Returning to the title. It isn't just for the sake of a pun. It's because I will be writing opinions on some things which matter, rather than park politics. I have some books I shall be reviewing, along with some epic documentaries my brother has fed me. I will try to be honest in my thoughts. If I end up writing things which are somehow controversial (amongst the... two people who read this blog) or have not been said before, it is not out of any particular desire to be controversial or original. I will simply be writing what I think.

Stanislaw Lem - The Star Diaries
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels

Jakob Bronowski - The Ascent of Man
Carl Sagan - Cosmos
James Burke - Connections
Alistair Cooke - America well as few other, shorter programmes or one offs, that have made an impression on me, however slight.

I don't think this has been a very good blog post. The language has been rather lazy, and I have used italics far too frequently, as if that would somehow compensate for the laziness of what has been written. And I use the word 'lazy' twice in two sentences, as if I could not be bothered to think of a synonym. Still, at least I've made the effort to actually finish all the sentences that

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Running Good

Marathon training really isn't easy. As the Brighton Marathon website warns, it's basically the hardest physical task available to the common man. But I've now committed myself to it. Yesterday I received notification from the Alzheimer's Society that they had no places left, and that I would be notified again sometime in January as to whether they would be able to accrue any more places. Obviously I can't wait that long. Training has begun and I want to start raising funds as soon as possible. So I phoned Cancer Research UK and got a place with them. It's official. I am going to run the Brighton Marathon.
At the bottom of this post is a little poem from Phil Hellmuth. Not sure if it was written by Phil Hellmuth Sr. or Jr. But I often repeat that last two lines to myself when running. Have always been a fan of Hellmuth, not because of his 'PokerBrat' persona, which is pretty contrived anyway in my honest opinion, but because he wins. As for my own winning? Well, MTT variance is a bitch. Roll currently $503, and the only reason it's that high is that I've had a decent run in STTs and cash, where your edge doesn't take quite so long to reveal itself. But I already know I have a large edge at low stakes MTTs. It's how I got my bankroll to where it is in the first place.

Watched Alistair Cooke's thirteen-part 1972 series America recently, in rapid succession. Was the visual equivalent of a book/puppy you don't want to put down. Will write some more detailed thoughts on this, along with other series I've watched/books I've read recently, in separate, more detailed blog posts. Bought Matt Mattros's The Making of a Poker Player yesterday, in Borders, who are currently on a 30% sale. I go there quite frequently, and might be commissioned to snap up a few shelves once the going gets really tough. I missed the opportunity last year when Woolworths collapsed. Also, Harrington on Cash (Vol. 1) arrived today. Beautiful book.
Here is the poem, I mentioned:

The Universe Conspired to Help
The man had a dream He knew what he wanted, it seems- Once he was sure in his heart this was it He vowed Someday that he would achieve it- He Wasn't quite ready to do his thing But he felt pretty certain what the future would bring- When one day the time was right When he was ready to fight the good fight- He conquered all his excuses and set forth To take the risk-fraught first step without any remorse- Once he took the first step down the line The universe conspired to help make sure he was fine- He never dreamed he would accomplish so much That the universe would give him such incredible luck- Now older and wiser he understood the hardest part Was convincing himself it was time to start. -Phil Hellmuth-

Monday, 7 December 2009

Poker Updates

Came 3rd in a 1000-person $4.40 4-max MTT for $280. Dominated my table(s) throughout, even on the occasions where I got short stacked. It seemed most of my opponents were simply unable to adapt to the dynamics of four-handed play. Was fairly action-filled, and average stack for most of the tournament hovered around 50BB. The final push for first was rather slow. Eventually I took a flip with the big stack at the Final Table and lost. Had won a few flips earlier on, but I think I owe much of the success to value betting more aggressively than normal; generally pushing my edges harder.

I know have a permaroll on Stars, so am trying to expand it using effective bankrolling.

Currently at $528. Will update every so often.

Wrote some poker-literature which I sent to three of my friends. One has read it and said it was a "good read" - presumably with pun intended. Another has replied that he will read it soon, and the other hasn't even bothered to reply. It's fairly short (8,000 words) and is just a few mini essays on some of the few topics on which I can speak authoritatively, such as not being a complete idiot and losing your bankroll on a frequent basis just because you have ego issues.

MiniFTOPS soon! Realised my LHE game needs a lot of practice, so have swallowed my pride and am practising the fundamentals at $0.25/$0.50 on Stars. 1,000 big bets is an ample cushion. I reckon the most fundamental difference between it and NLHE is that the blinds represent a large chunk of the average pot, and must be contested if you are to survive. I was definitely playing too tight before this and basically just getting blinded to death, entering pots as if I were catching air in a ceiling of a sinking ship, almost in denial to the fact that I was going to drown anyway.

Christmas tree will be up on Wednesday. Should be good.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Plans for December

Have decided to run in the Brighton marathon, and will be following the training schedule recommended on their site. This is the most physically ambitious thing I've ever done, but I have an inspiration. In March 2009 I walked from Coventry to Leamington alone. It took three hours and I had to navigate the most narrow roads, and I had made things difficult for myself by not bringing a map. All I had were some directions I had hastily written for myself before setting out. It was all done on a whim, but the feeling I got when I realised I was near Leamington, and better still the feeling I got when I sat down for a meal, was one of invincibility and conquest. I want that feeling again, and if running 26.2 miles won't give me that feeling, I don't know what will.

Going to play a few MiniFTOPS Events. Have already qualified for Event 2, but expect to play in the following:

Event 2
Thursday 10th December, 7pm
$22 7-Game Freezeout
$30,000 guaranteed
4k, 12 minute levels

Event 7
Saturday 12th December, 8pm
$11 NLHE Rebuy
$250,000 guaranteed
x * 1.5k, 2k addon, 10 minute blinds

Event 8
Sunday 13th December, 6pm
$26 NLHE Six-Max Knockout ($4 per)
$200,00 guaranteed
5k, 10 minute blinds

Event 10
Sunday 13th December, 10pm
$33 NLHE Freezeout
$400,000 guaranteed
5k, 12 minute blinds

Event 13
Tuesday 15th December, 6pm
$33 NLHE Six-Max Shootout
$30,000 guaranteed
3k, 6 minute blinds

Event 20
Friday 18th December, 6pm
$22 NLHE Freezeout
$150,000 guaranteed
5k, 10 minute blinds

Event 24
Sunday 20th December, 6pm
$13 NLHE Knockout ($2 per)
$150,000 guaranteed
5k, 10 minute blinds

Event 25 - MAIN EVENT
Sunday 20th December, 10pm
$55 NLHE Freezeout
$600,000 guaranteed
7.5k, 12 minute blinds

Of these-
Events I will definitely play in: 2, 7, 20, 24
Events I will play in if I have the roll/time: 8, 10, 13, 25

Of the definitely category, that will likely cost $88
Of the potential category, that would likely cost $147
Total: $235, (c. £142)

This is not a huge amount, and it basically represents the worst-case scenario.
Bit disappointed that there isn't a straight Stud event, but beggars can't be choosers.

I might also play some live events. There's a mini-series at the Brighton Mint Casino from 27th-30th. Might play the 1st and 4th events, both of which cost £55. If I am selective, will just play the last event, as it is deepstacked.

I may even foray into a tournament at the Brighton Grosvenor, if they have anything good going. Feeling very confident about my game (no changes there).

It'sa still gotta be done!

Even though I am writing about the ninth day, I'm still only 1/3 through the original text (as the entries actually got longer for the later days, as if the earlier ones were not already long enough by themselves). I want to get this finished by the New Year at best, and at worst by any time before I go on another set of travels. I am also writing some other thing which I wish to be able to send to my poker-playing friends by Christmas Eve - I have not let on about this little project before, and will leave it as a surprise till the day I send it.

Worked fairly hard in November but could take longer hours if I managed my day more efficiently. And longer hours equals longer pay-cheques. Not bad hey, what what?

That's about it for now. Will probably post once results from the various MiniFTOPS (or live events) start coming in.


Well it's still going, but as tomorrow is a Monday and the start of a few things, I may as well consider the month done and dusted.

As for my objectives:

Keeping fit
I did reintroducing running into my repertoire, but not as frequently as first anticipated. Weather made it difficult to run as often as I wished. Rain isn't a problem in itself, but GALES and STORMS are. Did succeed in eating more moderately.

Learn Italian
It was well on course, until I was informed that we are not actually going to Rome this December after all. Nevertheless, we will be going somewhen early next year, and will continue to learn it, but on a less urgent basis.

Become a successful 25NL Grinder
Tried this for the first week of so of the month, and it cost me around six buy ins. I reckon I was running 'below average', but that I was still uncertain as to where my edge actually was - and this is pretty fundamental when playing four tables at once. Instead I started 1-tabling 50NL which has gone better, though I am still down for the month, mainly due to that early 25NL loss and MTT variance. I only made one major cash and that was around $150 in a $3 rebuy. Oh, and I won a 45 seater $11 MTT, but lost or only small-cashed many others. I did make SilverStar, by the way, and it wasn't at all rushed. It was actually achieved just after midnight on the twenty-fifth, as opposed to just before midnight on the thirtieth... though in actual fact the deadline would probably have been in Eastern Time or Pacific Time, as it is universal.

Peru Report
Going well. Currently writing about Day 9 out of 20, and it's reached over 20,000 words so far. It's a strange thing to write; it's almost like reliving the holiday again. Even stranger is when I type along and almost know what phrase is going to come next before I've read it; not from memory, but simply because my way of structuring sentences/paragraphs are pretty much the same then ('twas only last month) as they are now. For the record, the Peru Report is based on prose I wrote while I was there, but the typed up version is edited and far longer.

Am going to make another post about my December objectives. Will do that NOW

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Back. Newvember

Hey guyz OMG I'm back!!1!

Will keep this brief. Here are my plans for the month

I) Keep Fit
This will be achieved through running three mornings a week, and I shall try my hand (literally) at dumbbells, sit ups and push ups. I will also have more moderate lunches.

II) Learn Italian
May be going to Rome in six weeks. Fortunately we have a book here called "Learn Italian in 3 months." Will just have to do it in half the time.

III) Become a successful 25NL Grinder
This is perhaps even more ambitious than the previous two plans, but I think I'm finally ready. I don't *need* the money, so I'm free to play how I feel best. If this goes well I should be silverstar by the end of the month, though that isn't the aim. The aim is just to play perfect poker.

IV) Write Peru Report
An account of my travels there. This is less urgent than the other two and I don't expect to be finished any time soon.

That's all for now. Have almost recovered from jetlag. Just as well. Tomorrow I am needed to man the phones at the office so will be in at 9.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Off to the New World

Back on the 29th.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

An (Un)Interesting Dream

I'm not a workaholic, and I never will be. I find workaholics a dull and preachy bunch. For instance, one workaholic, via facebook status, lamented at the "80 hour week" they had ahead of them. What a workslut. I guess some people's definition of a fulfilling life is suddenly waking up aged 55 with some house in the Home Counties, with a boring family, kids going through "uni" so they too can become some godforsaken workaholic who squanders their youth (and a good chunk of their adulthood) pursuing goals they don't really want.

Yes, I'm not a workaholic. Though I am by no means workshy either. However, in my current line of employment (freelance data work) the urgency with which the work has to be done varies and, accordingly, the time at which I work changes too.

Last night my venerable employer sent me work at 6pm. It was only meant to take 4 hours (including breaks), and initially, it did. However, on completing it, it was clear that there were other things which needed to be done which had not been pointed out to me - so I took the initiative and did them too.

Suddenly, it was midnight. Realising I was past my best, I slithered to bed. Set alarm for 5, got up, finished work around 8 (i.e. within the last hour).

However, despite this five hour rest break, as far as my mind is concerned I never actually stopped working.

What is this riddle I puzzle you with? Well, let me elucidate.

I dreamed about work.

I remember two distinct segments of the dream (although curiously enough, not the order in which they occurred).

One segment involved me walking around what looked like a mixture of a children's playground and a cemetery (yes, very sombre combination). In fact, there were actually some children playing, seemingly insolent male youths probably around the ages 9-13, but they did not notice my presence. The climbing frames/swings they were on were seemingly suspended over a pool of water. I tried to get out of the place I was, but it was surrounded by either bars or hedges, and the entrance was in fact a golden/red gate which, confirmed to me, that I was trapped. I saw some sign which told me where I was, confirming indeed that this was a cemetery. (I should note at this point that the data work I do is for Cemeteries and Crematoria) I think the place was 'Salisbury' or something. In the dream I remember having had the distinct feeling that the place I was in was somewhere between Coventry and Brighton which, as it turns out, Salisbury is. Also, for the entire time, I was lugging around in my hands what appeared to be various computer parts - a mouse, a keyboard, a falling-apart laptop, and I was having difficulty balancing all these things.

Some interpretation: like most young adults I am irrationally scared of children in that age group, as they tend to be uncouth and armed with knives (or so the Daily Mail would have us all believe, anyway). The falling apart computer equipment is clear - my laptop IS falling apart as I write. And the water? Well, obviously I must have needed the toilet.

The other segment involved me looking at a huge department store from a side glance, as if it were an architectural paper. The building was arranged in such a way as it was easy to tell from outside where one floor ended and another started, and the horizontal segments of the building were visible too, creating the effect where you had probably around 24 floors high and 17 rooms across, each room per floor resembling the proportions of a railway carriage. They were not all the length, some were even slanted away from my point of view slightly as if the building was not built in one straight line. It was when I heard the voices of two of my work colleagues in the background that I realised that the building was just a strange visual representation of a spreadsheet, and that Column E (which was long, and slanted away from me) was 'not as important as the other columns' and the data didn't really need to be recorded.

This subconscious conceptualisation of the 'everyday' has happened to me in dreams before. In one dream, I think in July, I dreamt that a metaphorical game of Civilization 3 was being played on the staircase in my house, with the more modern military units at the top (large, ghostly figures, but their colours and contours clearly distinguishable) fighting some earlier military units (mid/late 19th century).

Anyway. It's 9AM now so will get leave the realm of the imaginary and move on to the less important stuff, the so called 'real world'.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A little MTT session

After dinner yesterday, on realising I had the last free evening for about a month, I decided to make the most of it... by having an MTT session. The last tournament I had played in a week earlier had been a great success. As I boasted in my previous post (or posted in my previous boast) I came 4th for $981 in a $5 turbo.

This week's tournaments were rather less eventful.

Tourney I
$7.50 NL Hold'em [turbo]
Time 18:30
Entrants 976
Position 318th (19:27)
Prize $0.00

Not too exciting - believe I got knocked out after isolation shoving the big blind with 98o after there were several limpers. I was expecting to get one caller, but the dead money was so lucrative I figured it was worth a shot. As it happened, I got called by QTs, who beat me.

Tourney II
Daily Thirty Grand [$11 NLHE - $30k guaranteed]
Time 19:00
Entrants 7994
Position 431st
Prize $31.98

For the hour and a half this tourney was rather lame. I had not exceeded 3,000 (the starting stack). Suddenly I doubled up a few times in succession. The last of these hands was magnificent.

My elimination hand brings up issues of when and with which hands I should be shoving with.
I understand the theory, i.e. "shove to survive", "shove with hands less likely to be dominated", but it's the practice I am weak on.

Tourney III
$3.30+R NL Hold'em [$50,000 guaranteed]
Time 19:15
Entrants 9472
Position 2335
Prize $0.00

Nothing too interesting about this one. Not sure if I'm too keen on 12 minute blinds either.

Tourney IV
$12 NL Hold'em [turbo - 45 players]
Time 19:30
Entrants 45 (Sit & Go)
Position 9th
Prize $0.00

Well, lost a flip on the final table. Weird! I never normally lose those! 7 paid, but gotta play for first.

Tourney V
$5.50 NL Hold'em [turbo - $12,000 guaranteed]
Time 20:00
Entrants 3600 (Capped)
Position 1671
Prize $0.00

Well, it was always going to be difficult to repeat my 4th place finish made last Saturday. Ended up making another of those 'survival shoves'. I did not survive.

Tourney VI
$11 NL Hold'em [$15,000 guaranteed]
Time 20:15
Entrants 3322
Position 1841
Prize $0.00
Not much I could do there. 3 way all-ins always were risky!

Tourney VII
Sunday Quarter Million [$250k guaranteed]
Time 20:30
Entrants 27535
Position 13299
Prize $0.00

I think this hand speaks for itself.
Miraculously, I've yet to cash in the Sunday Quarter Million

A fun little session, except for a period of about half an hour where Stars just stopped working. There was much anger, and huge outrage was expressed on the 2+2 forums. I felt like the television producer who had just happened to be making a documentary about the New York fire service in the run up to 11th September 2001, and who captured the first airplane.

Not that I would call Pokerstars crashing "history in the making", but it was so unexpected, rare and abysmal to be, for me, one of those "where were you when it happened" moments. Well, I was sat happily in my bedroom, as I suspect most Sunday night Stars players are. (That is to say, their own respective bedrooms, not all in my bedroom, I don't think my router can support 200,000 simultaneous log ins. Seemingly, nor could Stars...).

In other news, am stocked up for Peru. Took out some CASH which I shall change for Dollars tomorrow and have bought some new leather shoes. The Brighton streets were not too busy today, particularly the seafront. I suppose that's what RAIN does to people. Yes, RAIN. Probably the first we've had in a month. Arrived at the Brighton Grosvenor at about quarter to noon to see the results of the recent Deepstack I had missed. As it turns out, I had missed nothing. The tournament result printouts betrayed the fact that they had had their regular tournaments on Saturday and Sunday nights, but that no deepstack had been played. This is disappointing. I might have to wait all the way until GUKPT side events to get a good game, and that hasn't even been scheduled yet!

On the topic of schedules and disappointment, I'm gonna quickly read Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days" before my own voyages. It was in my father's science-fiction section, which includes works by Clarke, Asimov and Lem (whose "Star Diaries" is one of my favourites).
As it turns out, the copy of Verne did not belong to my father but, rather, "Brighton College Junior School Library". It is laminated, has a library stampcard inside and the book is part of a series called "Children's Classics", these words straddling the book's title garishly and almost mockingly. I do so detest the fact that some books have been designated as 'suitable for children', implicitly demeaning the book and any adult who chooses to read them. There is some truth in the fact that children won't really be able to appreciate certain 'adult' aspects of some books, such as lust, ageing, and personal alienation. Whether we like it or not, it is hard to understand something we have not had direct experience of. However, the things which are common in a lot of "books for children", such as unidimensional characters and a pervading sense of 'adventure', can be as entertaining and thought-provoking for adults as they are for children.

To cut a long story short (excuse the pun), a book does not have to be 1,100 pages long and littered obscure existential references and populated with cynical, complex, passive-aggressive characters to be appreciated by a thinking adult.

And nor does this blog.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Welcome to Royal Fish's Tilt Blog

Or, should I say, welcome back, for those that know me will recall that my old Warwick Blog boar [sic] the same name. Now, of course, I am a graduate of that university, and have moved on from being a student of history to a student of life. *RAISES EYES TO THE HEAVENS IN A PRETENTIOUS, PIOUS GESTURE* Yea, 'tis life's long examination that now I must pass; and may I not be he who sits silent in the seminar eternal, but he who speaks, he who rules. Fall not into mediocrity, but rise to neverending triumph.

And so on. Ironically I am now reading a lot of the history books which I should have read as part of my course - mainly on Medieval Europe ("if one can talk of 'Medieval' as being a distinct age in human development").

Why have I started this blog? Out of vanity, essentially. I enjoy writing all manner of nonsense and I know there are people who enjoy reading it. Even those of an outwardly cynical and seldom-pleased nature will enjoy it; they even enjoy the fact that I just referred to them.

What do I intend to write? Well, such self-referential twaddle as this. But it's my twaddle, and mine alone. It is nonsense through my eyes. It is the nonsense that is important to me.

How often will I update this blog? Whenever I feel the urge to. At one point this could be everyday for a week. There may be one month stretches with not so much as a comment. I can assure you that I won't be writing much this month anyway, as I am off to Lima, Peru, South America (, World) for a family holiday. As usual, I'm looking forward to the flight (some 14hours from London to Madrid to Lima) as much as the destination itself! Apart from attending two weddings I suspect most of the time will be spent touring Lima and the surrounding area.

Indeed, the trip is shrouded in such mystery and speculation that I'm not even sure when I'm returning to England! What I do know, however, is that on my initial departure on Thursday 8th October, I shall have to leave my house well before dawn to catch the flight. Whether this will mean getting up ridiculously early or staying up ridiculously late is something that will be decided at the time. Neither is easily practicable, seeing as I normally sleep somewhere between 1am and 9.30am.

Indeed I've been keeping fairly normal hours recently. Gone are the days where I would stay up for 40 hours "just to see if I can". Let it suffice to say that my circadian rhythms have suffered so much in the past that I can't imagine jet lag, in the scheme of things, posing too much of a problem.

Poker. Was going to be playing the £220 Deepstack tonight (300 big blinds, 1 hour levels, dealer dealt) at the Brighton Grosvenor. Alas, one of my stakers had to pull out. That plus family politics. On boasting recently to my parents about winning $981 after coming 4th in a 3600-person $5 turbo on Stars, my mother made her usual anti-gambling tirade. Variance.

There are some nice looking events coming up in December though. Indeed, I've vowed never to play low stakes live again. As I have a job at the moment, I can play higher games. Will look into 1/2 at the VIC next time I am there.

Haven't played much online since my fourth place finish. With the risk of sounding like a workaholic busybody lifeslut, let's just say I "don't have enough time". I'm simply spending too much time on other things (work, eating, meeting, watching the Palin travel series) that I haven't any nice stretches for MTT playing. My connection isn't too great either, something which I shall be resolving on my return from Peru. In a recent example, I played some 2am $20+$2 tournament, part of the MiniFTOPS. I did quite well in the first hour... but that was the last hour played. Not because I was eliminated in one fell swoop - it took me several hours. But I did not play a hand. My connection, conspiring with memory issues (probably both from my machine and from the Full Tilt server itself) meant I was unable to play a single hand after the hour. Sometimes I would be able to log on and see my hand, only for the server to freeze for a minute and then show me as sitting out again.

I should be getting a new laptop at some point. My current one has served me well since September '06. But since then, the CD drive has bust - the replacement CD drive has bust, and the screen has lost most of its suspension - effectively meaning I can no longer change the angle of the screen. Nor indeed, can I use the computer as a 'laptop', gravity will not permit anything other than a completely flat surface.

One thing which isn't a flat surface is the Earth. I shall bear this in mind while travelling the 6,000 miles or so to Peru.

Here endeth the blog post.

Will post again shortly.

In the mean time, you can read my old blog here: