Friday, December 30, 2005

GPS: The Movie

GPS The Movie is coming out in 2006. Direct to video? Maybe.

The concensus on the geocaching forums: "At the very least, this movie will do for Geocaching what Space Balls did for NASA.".

In some additional strangeness, it's filmed in Seattle and Gig Harbor, and of the nine characters listed on the web site, I only recognize one name as matching a prolific cacher in the area (except for Bob, who's a weiner dog).

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

WA House of Representatives commends underage poker player

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO.2005-4611, by Representative Buck

WHEREAS, Matthew Johnson was born at Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1988; and
WHEREAS, Matthew Johnson grew up in Alamogordo, Crete, Greece, and Brinnon, Washington, where he attended the Brinnon School District for elementary school and junior high, and currently attends Quilcene High School where he is a sophomore; and
WHEREAS, Matthew Johnson is carrying a 3.95 GPA and has a career goal of becoming an Air Force fighter pilot; and
[lots more whereas clauses showing Matthew's a neat guy]
WHEREAS, Matthew Johnson, ... in his free time ... is a typical teenager who enjoys watching DVDs, playing video and computer games, and learning poker, especially Texas Hold'em;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the state of Washington honor and congratulate Matthew Johnson for his character, dedication, hard work, maturity, and leadership in achieving these many outstanding and significant accomplishments...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Bad day, good day, bad hour, good hour

I've been playing pretty crappy lately on NoblePoker.com's 2¢/4¢ tables. My original $2 freeroll win grew to about $11.50, but that's been dwindled down to $7, and back up to $11, then down to $8, then up to $10, and its now back down to $9. The players there are (duh) crazy-loose, so no matter what I've got, I'll have multiple callers or raisers. If I could play tight enough, that'd be primo, but the looseness is contagious, and I'll do stupid things like I did last week.

I've bought in for $1, and I'm now down to 75¢ after about 30 hands. Haven't won a thing yet, just blinds and folded pots. I get dealt KK on the big blind. I raise pre-flop, and after a few rounds, it's being capped at 8¢ by five of us.

The flop comes A69 rainbow. Small blind bets 2¢. What should I do here with three others left to play? The smart move is to fold. With four other players in, one of them has to have an ace, giving him top pair. But no, I'm so wedded to my kings -- my first good hand in what seems like forever -- that I raise to 4¢.

Even if I'd checked, I'd be able to get better information about the next three players. But no, the guy to my left folds, late position raises to 6¢, button calls, small blind calls, and I fold.

No. That'd be the right thing to do. Instead, I re-raise to 8¢. The other players all call.

The turn is a J. We all cap another 16¢ round. The river's a 4. Small blind folds in the middle of another 16¢ round. My kings lose to late position's A5o (pair of aces). What was I doing in there?

Going on tilt, I waste away my remaining buy-in over the next couple of hands going for straight draws.

So Friday night, I was feeling pretty low about my poker skills, which causes me to play tight, which usually helps my game. It's when I'm feeling good and cocky that I lose. Several folks stopped by and played, including TMIB who made his first poker night appearance (he played OK, but got crap cards the whole night, so he was out his borrowed $5 at the end).

Twice on Friday I beat my opponent with top pair and a very slightly minor kicker, like KQ vs. KJ, or AT vs. A9. I was up from the get-go, and ended the night $26 ahead.

Monday night I was feeling like I could do it again, and had the (very loose) Davis brothers over to play, along with hard-to-read Phil "Fualaau" and mix-it-up Trestin. I bought in for $10, and again, I made bad plays against the loose players and had to rebuy an hour later.

I tightened up my play, loosened up my tie, and slowly began to re-build my stack. The big money hand was against Phil, when we were both in for about an $8 pot with something like 85J-8-3 on the board, no flush possible. I was holding JQ for jacks and eights, and Phils betting told me he didn't have the eights (too agressive after the flop to bet on middle pair like that). He either had a Jx, or pocket fives. After agonizing for about three minutes, I called his final $3, and he showed his JT. Nice.

Strangest hand of the night 1: I get dealt KK, and Jon, to my left, gets dealt cards, even though he had no money left. A misdeal is called, and I save my kings by quickly tossing Jon a buck to keep my cards alive. Nobody objects, but they know I've got power cards. At the end of the hand, my kings stand up, and I've won $1.25 (including 50¢ of the $1 I gave Jon).

Strangest hand of the night 2: Three handed, Tres accidentally shows his 4s pre-betting. He realizes it, though, so he knows I know one of his cards.

I've got QT, bet 75¢ (my universal "I've got a hand" bet), and he calls. This tells me he's either got A4, K4, or 44. There's really nothing else he could have. The flop comes rag rag Queen. I bet $1, and he calls (!?). The turn is another rag, he calls another bet of mine, the river's another rag (no straight or flush possible, if I remember right), and I bet $2. With my pair of queens, his 4x can't win. To my surprise, he thinks I'm bluffing and calls.

Gift cert sells at 107% of face value

$50 gift certificate, on sale for $53.59. WTF?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pokerdome: RFIDed cards, rabbit chasing, and 15 second limits

Wil Wheaton's post at cardsquad.com is farked, so I'm re-posting it from the RSS feed in its entirety:
At least once a week, someone tells me that poker has put on its water skis and leather jacket, and jumped the shark. And at least once a week, I point out that even the re-runs of the WSOP are still pulling down great numbers, book stores are overflowing with new (and surprisingly good) poker books, and online poker sites are packed with tens of thousands of players.

Today, FOX (who else?) is making it very difficult to argue with this week's proclaimation of poker's Fonzie-esque leap, with the announcement of "PokerDome."

It's part of the new series that Joanne blogged about on Monday, sponsored by the soon-to-be-broke MansionPoker.com. After participants play in a series of tournaments, six of them will end up in a $60 million dollar winner-take-all SNG, which will be played in a specially-constructed set, inspired by Tina Turner's Thunderdome: "The dome is a wonder in and of itself, featuring one-way, mirrored glass with microphones located everywhere, so fans sitting around the dome can see and hear all of the action."

Wait. It gets worse: "The series . . . has another special trick up its sleeve that should add to the drama. The phrase 'speed poker' is an understatement as players have 15 seconds to decide how to play hands that could ultimately lead to the biggest defeat or biggest win of their lives." Obviously, that's something to be proud of. Let's take the best players in the world (presumably) and eliminate the decision-making ability that separates them from some jackass playing a Party Poker Turbo SNG.

They are going to put RFID chips into the cards, so we can know what the mysterious burn card is, (How have we played poker all these years without knowing that all-important bit of information? God bless you, FOX Executives!) And just because FOX isn't fucking with poker enough, they'll also add rabbit hunting on every fucking hand.

A FOX Sports executive says, "From a network perspective, this will be the largest poker deal ever brokered in television history. This will feel every bit as big as our Fox NFL telecasts."
Perfect. Get ready to don your foam dome and wear nothing but a diaper and some paint, because you may pay for the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge!

It's Pokerdome, brought to you by your friends at FOX, who never saw a great thing they couldn't try real hard to fuck up.

(Hat tip to the blogfather.)

Now that's good smack

Scene: An engadget.com blog entry about the Maxell "blown away" guy ad making a comeback.

Situation: Commenters are debating about whether the guy in the chair is 80's and 90's goth rocker Peter Murphy.

Commenter Dissent asks, "Uhhh... hey, old people, mind explaining to the non-geriatric generation what the hell youre all talking about? And whats a 'peter murphy'?!"

D3 replies, "I didn't know you could read Engadget on your LeapPad, Dissent."

Instant classic.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Don't Play Poker Online While People Are Shooting At Your DSL

Don't you hate it when you get pocket aces, and before the site registers your all-in click, you get your DSL shot out? Yeah, me too.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lucius Malfoy on Forbes' list of 15 richest

Forbes has published their annual list of the 15 richest fictional characters. At the bottom of the list, at number 15:

#15 Malfoy, Lucius
Net Worth: $900 million
Source: Inheritance
Age: 51
Marital Status: Married, one child.
Hometown: Wiltshire, England
Education: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Forbes also writes:

[T]he value of Malfoy's personal possessions has appreciated significantly. Since the return of Lord Voldemort, artifacts and tools of the Dark Arts have become hugely popular, trading briskly in secondary markets like eBay and Borgin and Burke's. As the patriarch of an ancient family, Malfoy is reputed to hold a wealth of valuable objects. Despite repeated searches of Malfoy Manor, his home in Wiltshire, the Ministry of Magic has been unable to find any prohibited items--but sources close to the family say they still possess countless treasures.
The full list of all 15 is in their special report.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

WWdN: i am the modren man

A touching story of the generation gap between 80's parents and their teenage kids: Wil Wheaton is Mr. Roboto. His son thinks he's lame. I'm Kilroy.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Goblet of Fire: It's OK

I posted this to ericakeithley's LJ, but there's no harm in posting it here, too. We caught the midnight showing of Goblet last night, and maybe I was just tired, but this wasn't nearly as good as PofA and Stone.

The director made Dumbledore into a sniveling girly man in this one. That's not the way I remember him from the book, and was my biggest disappointment. Dumbledore, as Rowling wrote him, is an unwavering rock, like Gandalf and Yoda. In this film, he's more like Piglet. Oh me! oh my! It's quite troublesome being a small weak headmaster with all the evil in the world! What are we to do, Harry Poohter?

There's no house elves at all, either, which means that Dobby, Winky, and S.P.E.W. don't appear in Goblet. Dobby's primary task has been given to another character, which is actually more appropriate than what Rowling wrote, but cutting out Winky made the mystery of the dark mark less mysterious.

Hermione is looking good at the Yule Ball. Tres would hit it. ;-)

On the plus side, the director did a very, very good job at dropping hints as to the biggest whodunit in the story. The book made this more of a deux est machina (I'm sure this is the wrong term, misspelled, but hopefully you know what I mean).

And it's scarier, which was to be expected. Krys had a few eye-covering moments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Cold turkey poker? Bingo.

So my recent run of poker playing has worried Kim a bit. I'm glad she's there to keep me in check, because my recent ancestors have had trouble with addictive behavior. I think I'm fine (and I'm up to $11.20 out of thin air), but we all know that when you're suffering an addiction, you're not the best judge of your own behavior.

Kim's concern rubbed off on Krys, who on Saturday morning asked me to promise not to play poker for a week, live or online. No problem.

So Saturday night, we're out at the canal, and I'm bored out of my mind. Boredom is kind of the point of going out there, but Wimbledon is running on the DVD player, and I'm scrounging my laptop drive for something to play. The dialup connection is mediocre, and I don't feel like waiting for every Flash game that I might want to try out on AddictingGames.com. I've got Madden 2003 (maybe), I've already played Flight Simulator 2004 (herky-jerky on my laptop), Neverwinter Nights (someday I'll get around to finishing it), and Masque WSOP Casino Game Pak (which Jim McManus says was a decent preparation for the real WSOP). Poker's out, though, so I dig through the disk and find... six-card bingo? What the heck, I'll try it out.

What a pointless, mindless game. How can the old folks find this mentally stimulating?

Barn building, or rounding up migrant workers?

Turk Lurker has a blog post today about the Mechanical Turk and the beauty of distributed work.

[C]ompare it to the street corners in almost every US city where immigrants congregrate to wait for someone to stop by with a truck and hire them for the day or a few hours.

There's nothing ominous in that. It's just that you need some work done and you don't necessarily need a full time employee to do it. Now I'm not advocating paying illegal immigrants like I'm sure someone will point out, but if you need a basement cleaned out quickly you hire 5 guys for a few hours and get it done.
...
Dividing up work and managing it wisely to get it done is when humanity really shines. You can build a barn by yourself, but it's much easier when a community comes together and gets it done quickly and efficiently.

As of last night, I'm up to $7.56. The kid started last night, too, and she's made 39¢. Getting paid to waste time ain't bad work, if you can get it.

Dense cities, like NYC, seem to work best, because almost every building is labeled, and the photos are pretty much on the right block.

Friday, November 11, 2005

But they're sooooted!

At ESPN.com, Phil Gordon writes on The Value of Suits. Runner-runner? 4.2% of the time. Fold.

Unfrozen robot lawyers taking our jobs

"These books and ancient journals, they frighten and confuse me. When I see a lawyer fighting to format his briefs properly, I think 'Oh no! Is the software defective?' I don't know, I'm a robot - that's the way I think.

"When I talk to a lawyer in the courthouse, and they tell me how they Sheperdized a case using the folios in the law library instead of Westlaw, I think, 'Tragedy! The network must be down!', but I don't know, I'm just a robot.

"But I do understand that we robots can win the cases and make the deals for less money than the legacy human lawyers. I never sleep, I have virtually limitless memory, and I get smarter every day. Ladies and gentleman, I'm just a robot, but I do know that Shakespeare was right."

(See also, wikipedia)

The Wonderland Project

From Exit133.com: TV Worth Watching: The Wonderland Project

I’m sure we’ve all dreamt of doing the Wonderland Trail – the 94 mile long hiking trail around Mt. Rainier. Okay, maybe not all of us. But I’ve thought about it and I’ve had a few conversations with folks about what a reasonable amount of time would be to do the trail. I’ve heard eleven or twelve days. I’ve heard nine days. That’s a lot of time spent hanging out with marmots and Cliff Bars.

Ultramarathon runners Skye Thompson and Zac West attempted do do it in under 24 hours. Their story will be on channel 9 (KCTS) at Sun 11/13 1:00 PM and Mon 11/14 3:00 AM. Get that Tivo ready!

(This cache, on the Wonderland trail, went almost three years before someone claimed it this summer.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

In Soviet Russia, the turtle sees YOU

Remote-controlled tactical turtles are totally the wave of the future.

Colonial Motel shuttered

Motel closed for safety violations agrees to license revocation:

A Lakewood motel shut down last month for numerous fire, health and safety violations has agreed to the revocation of its license, the state Department of Health announced this week.

Lakewood city and fire officials closed the Colonial Motel, 12117 Pacific Highway Southwest, on Oct. 11. This was the second major inspection of the Colonial. The first one, in 1999, temporarily closed the motel.

Too bad -- this was one of the nicer motels on the strip, which isn't saying much. My school bus used to stop there every morning on the way to Tyee Park.

It's progress, though. The city of Lakewood reports that there's a new La Quinta and an Amerihost being built to the north (by Denny's), and a new commercial center is being built to the south, where the old Fort Clark motel got burned out last year. A sign on the other side of the Bridgeport Way overpass indicates there's a Peppertree Hotel being built there, too.

Methinks there's a demand for hotel rooms.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

WSOP Tournament of Champions finished; even better than last year?

Spoiler, but suffice it to say that Phil Hellmuth and Mike "the mouth" Matusow made it to the final table, and when ESPN broadcasts this show on Christmas Eve, we can expect even more witty repartée than Hellumuth/Annie Duke last year ("sorry, Phil, I thought I had the nuts").

Friday, November 04, 2005

Get paid to find Waldo

Amazon.com has a new program that wants you to 'Complete simple tasks that people do better than computers. And, get paid for it. It's the Amazon Mechanical Turk:

1) Pick a task, which Amazon calls a HIT. "For example a HIT might ask: "Is there a pizza parlour in this photograph?" Typically these tasks are extraordinarily difficult for computers, but simple for humans to answer."

2) Find Waldo.

3) Profit! "The money you earn is deposited into your Amazon.com account, where you can turn it into cash at any time by transferring it to your personal checking account."

(thanks, Slashdot)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

E.R. Rogers for sale

The News Tribune reports, "Steilacoom's landmark E.R. Rogers Restaurant is on the market at an asking price of $1.7 million. It will likely remain a restaurant into next year, but after that, its fate could be up to a new owner."

Will Wal-Mart sell $398 notebooks, desktops?

You'll probably be able to get a laptop for $398, but you'll have to fight the Friday-after-thanksgiving crowds at WalMart to do it.

Bingo.

The best trip report ever: Tiltboys in Vegas

I've no idea how old this is, but this long but hilarious read contains gems like the following flashback to a UK trip:

Yes. For those who haven't gleaned this yet, there are some among us in the group who think the Diceboy's prowess at the craps table, and his winning at poker despite a penchant for playing hands that Malmuth would politely call, "ABSOLUTE FUCKING TRASH", (at least that's what he'd call them after Dave had snapped him off with one) all indicate that Dave is one of those rare individuals who lives on the far right hand side of the normal distribution for luck meted out over one's lifetime. The consensus is that he's actually about six sigmas out. A sort of statistical singularity, if you will. No wonder he's always got that damn self-assured grin on, even when he's drawing slim against you in a huge pot. Rafe helps illustrate Dave's knack:

Here's a typical example from one time when Dave and I were traveling in London and we stopped at one of the card clubs to see what poker was like in the U.K. (at least this is how I remember it ;-):

Diceboy and a Brit are head's up on the river in a hand which the Brit raised preflop under the gun. Flop had come AA2, turn 2, river 2. Dave leads into him every round, the guy raises every time, and Dave calls, except the river which he reraises. The Brit now is thinking what to do.

Dave: You have an ace? I thought so. I started 3-2 off, and just sucked out, so you should probably fold. Unless you want to donate, in which case you should probably raise again.

Brit: [frown]

Dave: Ahh, that frown is a tell. I think you are going to fold. Nice laydown.

Brit: Listen up you young hooligan, you might be able to get away with coffeehousing in the colonies, but here in Great Britian we frown on that sort of thing.

Dave: Aha! I put you on a stuffy British attitude. I just won another 5 pounds in a side bet with my friends. I could tell just by looking at you that I was locked.

Brit: [tilt]. Raise!

Dave: Well, I guess you've got me. I should probably lay down, but instead I'll pop it back once more. If you call, I'll muck though. I'll even show you one card. [exposes the 3]. If you have pocket aces, you should raise.

Brit: [mega tilt]. I raise, you imbecilic twit.

Dave: Did you know that 'imbesilic' and 'besilic' actually mean the same thing? The cabbie on the way here told me. I'll just call.

Brit: [flips over AK]

Dave: Nut full house no good! Runner-runner quad deuces! [flips the 2, does his body-builder's clench]. Grrrrrr!!!

Brit: [hard power tilt, wings the cards at Dave and says] How can you bet and call me the entire way with that fucking trash, you bloody fool?!?!?!

Dave: Didn't anyone tell you? I live about six sigmas out on the tail of the normal distribution. My adjusted odds makes me a 3-1 favorite to win with 2-3 offsuit. I can't believe you called me with AK suited.

Floorman: [Hears the Brit screaming and comes over]. I'm sorry sir, but we have strict rules against throwing cards and using profanity here. I'm afraid I'm going to have to have you removed.

Brit: [froths at the mouth and screams unintelligible profanities at the top of his lungs as the security guards drag him out]

Dave: [to the rest of the table]: Geez, that guy should take it easy, he could burst a blood vessel in his brain. Kinda reminds me of the time I was in India and was playing a no-limit karmic freezout with the Dalai Lama. Good player, the Dalai, but has a tendency to go on tilt. So anyway, I put him all-in with 3-2 and snapped his pocket kings. He wanted to pay me cash instead of karma, but I didn't fall for that trick. I've got good karma for the next twenty years now. So I've got that going for me...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stick this fish in your ear, and wear these glasses

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter 5:

Ford, with a lightning movement, clapped his hand to Arthur's ear, and he had the sudden sickening sensation of the fish slithering deep into his aural tract. Gasping with horror he scrabbled at his ear for a second or so, but then slowly turned goggle-eyed with wonder. He was experiencing the aural equivalent of looking at a picture of two black silhouetted faces and suddenly seeing it as a picture of a white candlestick. Or of looking at a lot of coloured dots on a piece of paper which suddenly resolve themselves into the figure six and mean that your optician is going to charge you a lot of money for a new pair of glasses.

He was still listening to the howling gargles, he knew that, only now it had taken on the semblance of perfectly straightforward English.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review, on Carnegie Mellon University's new translation hardware:

CMU computer science graduate student Stan Jou, 34, of Shadyside, stood before the audience yesterday morning with 11 tiny electrodes affixed to the muscles of his cheeks, neck and throat.

The Taiwan native then mouthed -- without speaking aloud -- the following phrase in Mandarin Chinese: "Let me introduce our new prototype."

The sensors captured electrical signals from Jou's facial muscles when they moved to form the silent Chinese words. In a matter of seconds, this information traveled to a computer that recognized the words and translated them into English and Spanish. The phrase was then displayed on a screen and spoken by the computer in both languages.

Never quite got the hang of conjugating French verbs? Always wanted to visit Poland, but were afraid you won't be able to prattle with the Poles?

"In the future, we could implant the electrodes into your mouth and throat if you want and have your mouth become multilingual," Waibel said.

While certainly the most revolutionary, this device wasn't the only new communications tool showcased yesterday.

Waibel exhibited "translation goggles" that displayed his words on a miniature virtual screen, seen only by the wearer of these souped-up eyeglasses. His speech was translated from spoken English into Spanish text, almost like having automatic movie subtitles for the real world.

(found via Engadget)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

MPAA writing legislation to close the analog hole

The EFF says:

[T]hat's not spooky enough for the MPAA. For their party trick this year, they want to take one of the most basic and ubiquitous components in multimedia, and encase it within a pile of legally-enforced, complex, and patented proprietary technology - forever.

Ladies and gentlemen, the MPAA have chosen Halloween week to resurrect their most misconceived monster ever: the Thing from the Analog Hole.

Feel free to flick through this new Halloween document: it's a legislative draft proposed by the MPAA for a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, on the topic "Content Protection in the Digital Age: The Broadcast Flag, High-Definition Radio, and the Analog Hole," on November 3rd.

On Thursday, they'll be no doubt declaring this law's passing to be vital to the entertainment industry's survival, just as Jack Valenti told the same committee that the home video-recorder would kill the film industry.

Here's what the proposed law says, in a nutshell:

Every consumer analog video input device manufactured in the United States will be, within a year, forced to obey not one, but two new copy restriction technologies: a watermarking system called VEIL, and a rights system called CGMS-A (we've covered CGMS-A before; we'll talk a bit more about VEIL soon).

And what might these MPAA-specified, government-mandated technologies do?

They prescribe how many times (if at all) the analog video signal might be copied - and enforce it.

A hundred years from now, we'll be lucky if we can access any "turn of the century" cultural works at all.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pocket aces net a school of fish

Or, "The insanity of micro-limit poker"

I don't think I can add much to this beyond letting the hand history speak for itself. This is at a 2¢/4¢ table, and the net result was a $1.37 win (24¢ of which I put into the pot).

I'm on the button in an 8-player game. Union is on the small blind. I'm dealt AdAc

Preflop:
power545 calls 2¢
Chuba calls 2¢
gc67 raises to 4¢
TarzanaTan folds
banski calls 4¢
I raise to 6¢
Union calls 6¢ (5¢ + 1¢ small blind)
Big Blind folds
power545 and Chuba call 4¢ more
gc64 caps it at 8¢
Everyone else calls; the pot is 48¢.

The flop comes an irritating 5c9c3s.

Union bets 2¢ from the small blind.
power545 and Chuba call.
gc67 raises to 4¢
banski calls
I'm sensing fish galore, so I slowplay my aces and just call
Union raises to 6¢
power545 and Chuba call.
gc67 caps it at 8¢
Everyone else calls; nobody folds; the pot is now at 96¢.

I'm worried -- somebody has to have a flush draw, or is holding two pair, or is on a straight draw.

The turn is 7h

Union bets 4¢. Everyone calls. Nobody folds.

In meatspace, Darthslumlord, watching over my shoulder, says "I think you're in trouble." I tell him "I think these aces are going to be expensive for me."

The river is 2d. Someone holding the hammer now has two pair.

Everyone's got cold feet. They check around to me on the button. I'm shocked, but bet 4¢ to scare possible stronger hands out. Everyone calls me, except Chuba, who folds.

With six players still in, I win, pair of aces. Union shows a pair of sevens with ten kicker. Nobody else shows. I rake in $1.37 (in a 2¢/4¢ game - holy cow!).

If you're thinking about playing online for real money, but don't want to actually put real money through teh internets, I'd strongly recommend you find an evening that you can stay up until 1 a.m. (pacific time) and sign up for noblepoker.com's nightly $200 tournament. Signup begins at 10:00 p.m., and is limited to the first 500 players. Space goes quick; don't expect space to be available at 10:01 p.m. The tournament starts at 11:00 p.m. The top 150 places pay real money. I placed 19th and got $2.00.

Then, play tight with those winnings.

Pet cemetery dug up to build motel

Found at fark.com today:

newsobserver.com

After 35 years, the Pet Rest Cemetery in far northwest Raleigh has succumbed to development -- perhaps a Hampton Inn, owner Steve Rogers said.

That means a new home for Yogi, Sniffy and a pig named Arnold.

By mid-November, Kaauamo must disturb the rest of Puddles Eggleston, Capt. Nick Danger Myers and Sir Timothy Flash of Skye.

"At least I'm not having nightmares," he said. "Yet."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pumpkin carving at the old Ruleslawyer's place

Tres and Kelly came over last night bearing four good size pumpkins that they'd gotten from Safeway. Combined with the two pumpkins that Kim, Krys, and I picked up at pumpkin patch, we had six pumpkins to tear through last night.

We started by getting some stencils from HomestarRunner.com, and Krys wanted a cat, so we got another stencil from Gr8pumpkin.com.

Two of the Safeway pumpkins were rotten inside -- blue? ewwww... -- one of them unusably so. Kelly was couragous enough to carve the other rotten one into Li'l Brudder. Krys carved hers into a traditonal freehand jack-o-lantern, then put "Hi" on its forhead (better than "Poor Impulse Control", I guess). I carved the cat. Kim carved The Cheat. And Tres carved Trogdor.

I think they turned out pretty well.

Eight-year-old kills bear

You gonna eat that?
"I was scared," she said, then paused for dramatic emphasis. "Because bears will eat anything!"

[Officials] shook their heads in amazement at the news that the first hunter to bag a bear was a third-grade girl from Kitzmiller, on Maryland's border with West Virginia.

...The Humane Society of the United States, which has urged Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to ban bear hunts, expressed concern Monday over the age of the hunter and noted that the first bear killed last year was a young bear.

"Governor Ehrlich is personally responsible for exposing young children and young bears to this cruelty," read the news release.

So how did Sierra make the shot? "I'm fast at everything," she explained.

"I can't imagine the pride," said Tim Kvech, 31, the second hunter to bring in a bear. "My daughter's 9, and I can't do that."

The third hunter to come in -- and the third to arrive in a red pickup -- was Tera Roach, 23, a Reisterstown, Md., native. She had trapped two bears in Maine, but the bear she shot Monday, a 147-pound female, was her first bear kill in Maryland.

Hearing of Sierra's feat, Roach said, "That's good to see any kids out there, especially girls."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Harry Potter's 'flying' car taken

Harry Potter's 'flying' car taken

Police said the rusting Ford Anglia, registration 7990 TD, went missing from the South West Film Studios in St Agnes on Wednesday night. ...

Police suspect a Harry Potter fan, or a classic car enthusiast, sneaked into the studio site with a trailer to remove the car.

Don't waste your time checking the candy

Are strangers going to poison your kid's trick-or-treat loot? Myth busted. No documented cases.

What about needles and razor blades? Inifinitely more likely than zero -- maybe as many as 10 times in the last 55 years, but probably only once.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wil Wheaton on Phil Hellmuth

Seriously, Phil; grow up.

I tuned in a bit late, just in time to see Phil raise from early position with pocket threes. He was called by one player who had AK. A king hit the flop, so Phil slowed down. He never improved his hand, and he eventually folded to a bet on the river. It was a great play from Phil, who even said, "I think you got lucky with ace king," as he showed his cards to his opponent (who was one seat to Phil's left.)

Another player at the table asked the dealer to see Phil's cards, a perfectly reasonable request, and well within the "show one, show all" rules.

The dealer turned Phil's cards up to the other players, and started the wash.

Phil said, "Who wanted to see my cards?"

The dealer pointed to the 5 or 6 seat, and started the shuffle.

Phil's voice took on this incredibly condescending tone and he said, "You know, it's very bad etiquette to ask to see another players cards."

Excuse me? Phil Hellmuth is going to give lectures on etiquette? What's next? Mike Matusow or Josh Arieh on manners? How about Scotty Nguyen on hairstyles?

Goonies Kill Granny

CLEVELAND -- The gang of teenagers who called themselves the "Goonies" that was terrorizing Slavic Village is now facing a murder charge.

One of the victims, Therese Szelugowski, who was 76, died this morning after being attacked and robbed two weeks ago.

Police announced the arrest of fourteen teenagers last week in connection with a string of attacks in the area near saint hyacinth.

wkyc.com | Plain Dealer

Slick shoes!

Pumpkin PC

A case mod for the season: turning a Pumpkin into a PC

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Two FTF attempts, zero FTF's

Two weeks ago, I attempted to get a First-To-Find on The Dash Point Case geocache, but was four hours too late, and had to settle for third. Yesterday, I tried to get Brown's Point Part Deux, but again missed FTF by four hours, getting 2TF and nearly losing my GPS in the process.

It's nice to get some new caches out there that aren't film canisters in random parking lots.

Lawyer wins Rock Paper Scissors World Championships

Paper wins and a Toronto lawyer goes home $7,000 CDN richer. See also, Cnews.canoe.ca's report.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Quick poker notes

In no particular order:

  • Darthslumlord called the other day. Happy Days has $3/$6 poker tables again.
  • I spent the end of my gambling bankroll, with the exception of my lucky $5 CDN bill, on the Port Townsend/Port Angeles Cache Machine, so my poker's been limited.
  • I have, however, been playing on NoblePoker.com. I played a 500 player $200 freeroll a couple of weeks ago, finishing 19th, and getting $2 as a result. I haven't played a lot, but I've slowly built that $2 into $3.80 at the 2¢/4¢ tables, and plan on grinding at that level until my bankroll gets to $10, at which point I'll play some $1 tournaments.
  • In my last live game, I got really lucky on the last hand of the night, having gotten Q2o on the big blind, and seeing a 2-2-K flop, a rag turn, and a Q on the river. Sucked in some good size money from two others with Kx.

Cat saves Tonya Harding from masked assaulter boyfriends

That's if you believe her side of the story. Read between the very, very wide lines, and it becomes a not atypical day in the life of Tonya Harding.

"Nolan pleaded not guilty Monday in Clark County District Court and was released on his own recognizance." That pretty much explains it all right there.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dear Onion: 1st amendment is dead. Love, White House

Protecting the Presidential Seal. No Joke. - New York Times (need a registration?)

You might have thought that the White House had enough on its plate late last month, what with its search for a new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war in Iraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it found time to add another item to its agenda - stopping The Onion, the satirical newspaper, from using the presidential seal.
...
"It has come to my attention that The Onion is using the presidential seal on its Web site," Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel to the president, wrote to The Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr. Dixton's office was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Court nominee; days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, was nominated.)

Citing the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote that the seal "is not to be used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement." Exceptions may be made, he noted, but The Onion had never applied for such an exception.

The Onion was amused. "I'm surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion," Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for tax breaks for satirists.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Helmuth and pocket sevens

I read Phil Helmuth's Play Poker Like the Pros several months ago, and at that time I was convinced that his goal in writing the book was to get more fish at his tables, and to mislead his opponents as to how he plays. In the book, he writes:

To begin with, I recommen playing only the top ten hands and folding on all others. The top ten are, in order of relative promise, A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-K, J-J, 10-10, 9-9, 8-8, A-Q, and finally 7-7. . . . In general, I recommend playing the top ten hands regardless of your position in the betting order or the number of bets that it will cost you to get involved in the hand. Always raise with these ten hands, no matter what it costs you to get involved.

Pocket sevens? WTF? I thought he was insane.

Fast forward to today...

I'm watching the TiVOed 2005 WSOP main event, day 1, and Helmuth is at the featured table. He's just come back after spending several minutes (and a few blinds) storming around the room after losing to AJo when the jack paired on the river.

He sits down, looks at his cards, and sees AQo. He raises, and to his left, Paul Magriel looks at his pocket sevens and re-raises. Everyone else folds, Helmuth goes all in, and loses when the cards come J-9-4, 9, 5.

Of course, Helmuth rants that only some of the worst poker players in the world would raise that agressively with pocket sevens. Phil, I know a book you should read...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Goblet of Fire: PG-13 (US) and 12A (UK)

(Tip o' the hat to The Leaky Cauldron.) Grown-up Harry Potter is too scary for children:

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has given Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a 12A certificate. Children under that age can watch only if accompanied by an adult. The previous three Harry Potter films were all given a PG rating allowing children of all ages to watch them unaccompanied.

A graveyard battle between Harry and the Death Eaters was deemed too frightening for some young children as well as a character being dragged below ground by a tangle of plant roots. There are also too many scary spiders, which can cause nightmares, for a PG rating.

The language is stronger than in the earlier films, reflecting the maturation of its central characters, but an interjection of “piss off” did not impress the examiners. The long-awaited death scene may also disturb some.
...
The BBFC said: “The tone of the film is much scarier and darker than its predecessors. We expect most parents will still take their children but they should be aware that youngsters of a nervous disposition might be upset.”

Rumor: Serenity on DVD Dec. 20

Serenity on DVD December 20:

From DigitalBits.com:

Our ever reliable industry sources are telling us that Universal will soon announce the DVD release of Joss Whedon's Serenity for 12/20. Early word indicates that the disc may include Whedon audio commentary, along with at least 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Future History, We'll Have a Fruity Oaty Good Time, Re-Lighting the Firefly and What's in a Firefly), a video introduction to the film by Whedon and 6 minutes worth of outtakes. Some of the details on the extras comes from the BBFC website (click the link and hit enter). We'll post more as it comes in.

(link and parentheticals in original) (Edit: title change)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Won't somebody think of the trailer-living highway folks?

Developer seizes land under mobile homes:

A new property owner took over [Lakewood Mobile Court] on Sept. 30 and distributed notices the same day. Residents were told they have one year to leave before the park shuts down.
. . . [M]any of the 30 mobile homes at the park are too old and decrepit to be taken away; half were built around three decades ago or earlier, according to the city. Hilsinger said his probably would collapse if moved.

Some Lakewood leaders fear closures like this one could become more of a trend as neighborhoods improve, making the land more lucrative to developers

Love that Lakewood city government -- living in fear of improved neighborhoods and lucrative development. Sigh.

Netflix download service - dead in the water

Netflix 'indefinitely postpones' online movie download service - Engadget - www.engadget.com

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed during an analyst call yesterday that they had “indefinitely” postponed the test launch of that new online movie download service they’ve been testing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wonder no more, but ho hos stay in the northwest

Bakery closure means no more Wonder Bread in Washington, Oregon

A decision by bankrupt Interstate Bakeries Corp. to close a bakery in Lakewood will cut off the supply of Wonder Bread. . . .

The two states will continue to get a supply of [Hostess] snack cakes from a Seattle plant that will remain open.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chewbacca now a US citizen

(UPI) - Chewbacca actor Mayhew given citizenship

Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca now lives in Texas. Now, think about that. THAT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE! Why would a Wookiee—an eight foot tall Wookiee—want to live in Texas with a bunch of five meter tall humans? That does not make sense!

(Edit: five meters? what was I thinking? two meters is even too big.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

IMDB - 15 years old today

IMDb 15th Anniversary

The lists that continue to be the backbone of the Internet Movie Database existed before October 17,1990, the fifteenth anniversary date we celebrate this week. They were originally collected and maintained by a hearty group of movie fans who frequented a Usenet group (a text bulletin board) called "rec.arts.movies." The lists included the credits for actors, actresses, and directors, as well as biographical entries for moviemakers who had passed on (known back then as "the 'dead' list"). But we mark the date because on October 17th, our founder, Col Needham, wrote a series of Unix shell scripts which made these lists searchable. The ability to search existing data is one of the key components of the Web experience, and it immediately made the lists more meaningful and useful. Though the new name was still six years off, the Internet Movie Database was, in essence, born.

Wow -- and I thought I was an early adopter, posting my first usenet message in June 1992.

George Bush hates blue people

Yeah, I know the video of the bombing of the Smurf village is week-old news by now, but this blog headline was too good to let pass (thanks, Best Week Ever (Thursday, October 13).)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Incredible Shrinking Poker Rooms

The news is a few days old, but it's big in online poker. Party Poker, who shared the same pool of players with Empire Poker and three other sites (same games, different skins) have booted their four partners. Net.rumors are saying that this is a bad thing for online poker, and a lot of folks are jumping from sites like Empire to the larger crowd at Party, but after seeing Empire's crowd drop from 35,000+ down to it's current 8,433, I'm thinking that the guaranteed money freerolls will be a lot easier to see money in.

2000 pounds of Pong

Engadget spotted this: 334 separate 1970's game systems, for sale on Ebay.

Starving the Timber Beast

From the Cascadia weblog today:

Starving the Timber Beast: The Oregonian today reports on an unexpected consequence of a tight federal budget:  the US Forest Service doesn't have enough money to prepare timber sales in old-growth forests.

From the article:

[T]he administration and Congress are starving the U.S. Forest Service of money to plan sales of the big trees, and fight the inevitable appeals and lawsuits by their defenders. Forest managers say they are no longer pouring their shrinking funds into thankless conflicts they rarely win.

'We can't afford expensive timber sales -- the kind where controversy is engendered,' said Gary Larsen, supervisor of the Mount Hood National Forest. 'We're trying to find those where people can agree on the benefits.'

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Road trip - Day 7

Day 7 – July 1 – Pinetop/Lakeside to Yuma

It's laundry day!

We wake up, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and rested, and leave the campground to head into town to do the washin'. We have breakfast at McDonalds (in the same parking lot), which has a newly re-asphalted parking lot -- we can tell by the smell. Laundry's done in short order, and we head south.

Just after leaving town, we hit the easternmost part of our journey, a few miles in to the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. We stop at the visitor center for an hour or so, which is amazingly high tech for being this far from a major metropolitan area. It really reminds me of a smaller version of museums you'd find in Tacoma or Seattle, with the multimedia displays, very professionally done exhibits, and access additional information electronically. This was nothing like I expected (e.g., the DuPont history museum, run by a couple of people out of one room of their house).

Outside, we walked a labyrinth and chased grasshoppers. It was already getting very, very hot, so we headed back into the air conditioned car, and drove through the Salt River canyon and Tonto National Forest. We stopped for lunch at the Country Kitchen in Globe, review the map, and decide that because of wildfires reported in the area (red triangles on the map), we'd head south to Florence and Casa Grande to I-8, instead of going through Apache Junction and Phoenix. We also had originally planned to stay at a campground in Apache Junction, which would make the next day a long, long drive, but because we were going to head west on the interstate, decided to drive untiil we got tired.

We cross Gonzalez pass, and south on SR-79, where we drive thorough what we still refer to as a Ned forest.

Just before we get to the I-8/I-10/SR-79 interchange, we stop for a few minutes to be sure we're going the right direction, and to get some snacks out of the trunk. We step out of the car, and it's very much like opening the oven door to take out a pizza, with a wave of heat washing over us. Yay, A/C.

40 miles later, the Saturn's built-in thermometer is showing that its 111° out. We need a bathroom break, so we stop at the only gas station in a 15 mile radius. Sign on the door says "No restrooms," but Kim asks anyway. They suggst we drive up SR-84 to Maricopa, but instead we hop across the freeway and go behind an abandoned gas station. While there, we check out a huge tangled cactus, and Krys gets skittish because the sound of the wind in the grass sounds to her like rattlesnakes.

We pull off in Gila Bend for dinner, and after driving the business route, don't see anywhere that we'd dare eat, so we end up stopping at a gas station / Subway / pizza place. We sit near a rowdy pre-teen table, but the food's good.

Continuing on into the sunset, I spot a Weyerhaeuser train in Dateland, and we decide to stop for the night in Yuma. We check out five hotels, and decide to stay at the Days Inn. It's dark, but still in the 90's, so we hop in the pool until we get kicked out at 11. Great day.

Miles today: 405
Miles total: 2328

Monday, August 29, 2005

Road trip - Day 6

Day 6 – June 30 – Grand Canyon to Pinetop/Lakeside

Up early, we grab breakfast at the Surly Café, then walk to the Red Line tram to see the canyon before we go.

Surprisingly, we're sharing a tram car with the "Swedish" family we sat next to in Kingsman, 150 or so miles earlier. They -- and several others -- are from a tour group from Iceland. We stop a few times on the way to the end of the line, at one point sharing an overlook with just one other person. It's a 3000 foot drop, straight down, and (happily) Krys is very hesitant to even get near the fence at the edge.

We tram to the end and back, check out of the hotel, hop in the car, and hit the road again. On the way to Flagstaff, we stumble across a gift shop that we'd heard about, and we've really got to use the bathroom, so we stop. Bathroom use costs 50 cents, because they have to truck their water in, but we buy a few trinkets (and a really neat gift for someone). It's dark, too, because their generator's out. We're talking ruu-ral.

We arrive in Flagstaff, and take a left turn towards Albuquerque. We stop at Albertsons for gas and -- you guessed it -- bottled water, and get fixin's for lunch and dinner. Back on the road, where signs urge us -- beg us, please! -- see the meteor crater! give us your tourist money! We pass.

Similarly, Kim was not impressed, but I was looking forward to standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, so I took a detour off the interstate in the hopes that I'd find it. It was surprisingly simple, because it's at the corner of the main eastbound street in town and Kinsley Ave. If I'd have been coming westbound, I don't know that I'd have found it.

I'd never thought about it, but of course your standard intersection will have four corners, and this one was no different. The northeast corner had a Route 66-themed Hallmark store with a wooden cowboy out front. The southwest corner had an Eagles themed gift shop blaring their music across the intersection. And the real corner, the northwest one, has a bronze statue and a trompe l'oeil painting of windows reflecting a girl (my lord!) in a flatbed Ford. (The southeast corner, incidentally, has a visitor information kiosk in a parking lot.) Sadly, the park with the bronze statue is next to a JC Penneys that burned down last fall, so the entire area is cordoned off with a chain link fence.

We hit the drive-thru at Sonic (the first time I've ever been to a Sonic) for a cold drink, and head a few blocks down the road to a rest area, where we can use the bathrooms (locked?! doh!) and eat our lunch fixins from Flagstaff. Krys, for no readily apparent reason, wants to stay in the 100+ degree car, so we leave the doors open while she eats there.

We hit a truck stop for the restrooms, then back on the interstate. Kim and Krys sleep for the next 60 miles as I drive past tacky teepees and metal dinosaurs advertising free cactuses and petrified wood if we stop in and look at the gift shops. No, not this time through. We arrive at the Petrified Forest National Park visitor center, and watch the movie about how the petrified wood was formed, which is a great film until the end, where they preach for about five minutes straight about how never to take any of the petrified wood from the park, or you'll get handcuffed and stuffed into a police car and have to spend the next ten years in a national park prison cell with some furry guy named Yogi.

We buy a few chunks of petrified wood from the gift shop (huh? guess it's OK if the guvmint takes it), leave the visitor center, and enter the park, but not before being warned by the cashier at the gate not to take any petrified wood under penalty of Yogi, and having to declare the rocks we just bought. We drive through the painted desert, and admire rocks that look like Wile E Coyote stacked them.

We stop at the Crystal Forest, read the display (paragraph two again threatens us with Yogi), and check out the wood.

On the way out of the park, there's a stop sign at the cashier's kiosk, which forces us to stop. Apparently nobody called us in, so the guy in the booth just waves us past, and the threat of jail for being accused of taking a rock is over. Whew.

After leaving the forest, we drive through the town of Show Low (main road: Deuce of Clubs Ave., get it?) and soon arrive at Lakeside Campground. Close to the highway, but plenty quiet and warm enough for the night. We fix dinner, play a board game, then head to bed.

Miles today: 301
Miles total: 1923

Road Trip - Day 5

Day 5 – June 29 – Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

A quick breakfast at the Circus Circus bagel shop, a stop at the casino for a few more souveniers, and we're back on the road. Leaving Las Vegas, baby.

But first, a stop at Albertsons to get gas and bottled water, then on to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Since 9/11, commercial trucks have been banned from the dam (unless they go through a long pre-screening process and get permits to cross), and cars are "randomly" selected for inspection. Not much of a slowdown today, and we're soon paying $5 for the privilege of parking in the garage at the west end of the dam.

It's dam big, dam hot, and dam expensive to take the tour. We take photos, check out the tomb of the dam dog, head back to the car, and cross the dam into Arizona. Arizona is on mountain time, but doesn't participate in daylight savings time, so we set our watches ahead zero minutes. (I find it's easier to think that Arizona's on Pacific time in the summer and mountain time in the winter, which works, although it's not really true.)

70 downhill miles later, we arrive in Kingman, and have lunch at a 50's style diner on Route 66. At the table next to us, there's a family speaking a foreign language; my guess is Swedish, although they're not punctuating their statements with "bork bork bork". Kim and I discuss how multi-cultural our trip has been so far, with the wide cross section of people we saw in Vegas and now here.

Back on the road, and another 70 miles to Seligman, where we stop for gas and a snack. I'm not sure why it's considered the "Birthplace of Route 66", considering it's not at either end and not really at the center, but it is (really, the sign says so, so it must be true). Route 66 parallels I-40 for the next 18 miles, so we take the dusty two-lane paved road through the hilly desert, and after passing a chain gang cleaning trash, we reconnect with the interstate, and soon reach the turn to SR-64 to the Grand Canyon.

There's a bunch of brush fires in the news -- we're a bit worried about our trip over the next few days -- and we see a couple spots of smoke on the horizon (photo enhanced to show smoke plumes).

We soon arrive at the park entrance, but still see no sign of the canyon. Krys points out, "Dad, it's a hole in the ground. You won't be able to see it from far away." Duh.

We take the long way in, stopping at a few overlooks, and check into the Maswik Lodge and have dinner. The food is typical cafeteria food, but with a really surly staff. Yum. We finish in time to catch the sunset, and watch the entertainment as some fool climbs onto an outcropping where one slip means a thousand foot fall bouncing down the sides of the canyon. He makes it out, and after sunset makes it back. The smoke on the horizon makes for a hazy sunset, but it's still pretty spectacular.

We head back to the lodge, hang out for a bit, then come back to watch the stars come out. They do, we're impressed (hmm...) and head back to go to bed.

Miles today: 298
Miles total: 1612

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Road trip - Day 4

Day 4 – June 28 – Las Vegas

Today was our first of three non-travel days during the trip. We slept in late, getting up at about 9:30 and had breakfast at the bagel shop in Circus Circus. Krys and Kim went swimming until noon, and we hung out in the hotel room, resting and updating our notes and budget.

At 1:30, we headed out into the 104 degree temperatures again and walked over to the Riviera for lunch in their food court. Krys picked at her KFC chicken, I ate my Pizza Hut pizza, and Kim was a little wary of her Subway sandwich that the server mishandled when preparing it. Gloves? Cross contamination? Whazzat?

Back to the car, and up to Fremont Street, where we bought a few souveniers, and were disappointed to see that the big Horseshoe at Binion's Horseshoe had been removed. For repair? Replacement? Dunno. I know Harrah's bought them out a few years ago, but the WSOP finals were coming up in a few weeks, and it'd be a sad sight if the wires were still hanging there for the final tables.

When Kim was Krys' age, she had her photo taken in front of a million dollars that Binions had on display. We'd hoped to take the same photo with Krys as the subject, but apparently that was removed, too, a few years ago.

Back to the strip, and we check out the Coke and the M&M theme stores. The barhop at the Coke store did a great job getting Krys involved in his hawking of 8 oz. bottles of Coke. I ordered three bottles, and he made Krys swear that she knew how to open the bottles, and that if she spilled, she'd have a week's worth of restriction for every drop spilled. Once she agreed, he handed her the bottle opener, and of course, the bottle slipped as she partially opened it, splattering Coke on the counter. Good laugh, good Coke, good times.

We had dinner at the buffet at Circus Circus (decent), then attempted to take the trolley ride to the Sirens show at Treasure Island (a bit bawdier than I expected), to the fountains at Bellagio (nice), and back to the hotel. We managed to do it, but it took a lot longer than it should have, took us asking directions from multiple people to find where to catch the trolley (in one spot, it was at the bottom of the parking garage at the Imperial Palace). My advice: it seems insane, but drive it. It'll be faster and less frustrating. Or take the city bus.

Lame. 10:30 at night in Vegas, and we're asleep again.

Miles today: 10
Miles total: 1314

Road trip - Day 3

Day 3 – June 27 – Wells, NV to Las Vegas

We left the Shell Crest Motel as soon as we could the next morning, and set out in search of breakfast. Wells is a small town by most standards: population 1000. I believe that it exists solely because it's at the intersecton of I-80 and US-93, and makes a good overnight stop from Boise to Vegas or Reno to Salt Lake City. Our hopes for breakfast weren't high, and our standards had been lowered by the motel, so when Kim saw Bella's Espresso House, she was OK with that. Not being a guy, she apparently didn't notice the signs to Bella's Gentlemen's Club (link probably SFW) on the way into town ("Come stay at a real working Brothel"), but it turns out that the restaurant and the club are a few blocks apart. A quick breakfast, some nasty gritty coffee, a trip to the local grocery store for a case of bottled water, and we're off on our longest planned day of driving, with miles and miles of nothing, punctuated with miles of more nothing.

40 miles in, we're cruising at 70 MPH though 6000 foot elevation desert. 20 miles after that, we cross the Pony Express trail in Shellbourne and use an outhouse at the rest stop there.

At 146 miles on the day, we hit Ely for lunch at McDonalds. Ely is the biggest town between Twin Falls, ID and Vegas. Kim and Krys posed with the moose statue out front.

It's at this point of the trip where we first diverted from our original plan. This was already becoming a long day, and we were already getting a little tired of driving. I'd originally scoped out four different routes to Vegas, two of which had us stopping at the Ale'E'Inn restaurant and Area 51 for dinner, one of which involved driving a dirt road through a canyon, and the most boring choice: following US 93 into town the whole way. This last one is the fastest route, though, and even though I insisted early on that this trip was more about the journey than the destinations, I fully agreed that I just wanted to get to Vegas. US-93 all the way, baby.

At 169 miles, I end up stuck behind a truck going through Connors Pass (where US-93, US-50, and US-6 run concurrently. Not only is it doing well under the speed limit, not only am I stuck behind it for ten miles because there's really no place for it to turn off, but it's a WalMart truck, and there's something about WalMart that just makes me grumpy -- even just thinking about it. Once we're out of the pass, As soon as we hit a two lane section of road, I punch the accelerator, pass him, and then have to slam on the brakes as I pass a surprising crossroads where US-93 heads off to the right. Grrrr...

About 50 miles later, we're all in need of a bathroom break, but the signs indicate a rest area ahead, so we push on a few more miles, to discover that the rest area has parking and picnic tables, but no bathroom, and no secluded place to go. We dance, hold it, drive another 20 miles, and stop at an unnamed dirt road about 6 miles short of Pioche. Krys got to see a cattle guard up close and the three of us were surprised at the amount of trash under the bushes out in the middle of nowhere.

Another 83 miles, and I stop briefly for this photo at the intersection of US-93 and SR-375, the Extraterrestrial Highway. I'm suddenly reminded of a bumper sticker I'd seen the day before on a car at the Dead Mouse Motel: "Aliens: the other grey meat." No Area 51 for us today, though. Onward.

20 miles, and time for another bathroom break. We stop briefly at the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, and although a sign at the bathrooms says "Closed - out of order" on the women's side, the men's side is open and functioning, so we take turns using it. We watch a small lizard among the rocks, then, as we're getting back into the car, the ranger pulls up and says "You're not using these restrooms, are you?" "No," I answer, thinking that truthfully with a Clinton-esque bit of logic, I'm not using them -- I'm done. "Good," he says, "They're not working. There's another one about half a mile up the road." We thank him and leave.

About 50 miles later, we enter Clark County, and Kim's starting to be excited about being close to Nellis AFB again. Sure enough, we soon see official looking "keep out" signs along the road. 60 miles of desert later, we arrive in Vegas. We see Fremont street and the Stratosphere on the way in, and check into our room at Circus Circus after a fairly long line at the check-in desk. Dinner at The Pink Pony (good food, but ack! what a theme!), and we drive the strip to see the town at night. We're so lame -- we're in Vegas and asleep by 11:00.

Miles today: 456
Miles total: 1304