Friday, February 24, 2006

¡31 Hours of travel makes Brandon go crazy!

¡Hola, Amigos! I'm finally at the hotel in Ushuaia and it's midnight here, 7 PM on the West Coast. I left the San Diego airport yesterday at noon so I think that makes 31 straight houurs of flying/layovers. Not cool. I don't think I've ever felt this tired after traveling before. The good news is that it's naturally bedtime so I might be able to beat jetlag. Unfortunately, my mom was delayed in Buenos Aires and she doesn't get here until 5 AM. Crazy.

I got our itinerary and it looks ridiculously sick. Tomorrow we're going to Tierra del Fuego National Park in the morning then getting on the boat at 5 PM and setting sail for the end of the earth. I'm going out on a limb but I don't think we'll have Internet access so I'll try to keep a journal and drop a big post on y'all in about 10 days.

I'm wiped out and it's time to hit the hay. Thanks to everyone who responded to the last blog. I would like to talk about things more but I'm too out of it. Regarding alcohol, I've never felt controlled by it and I just felt like stepping back for a bit. It was mostly brought on by going to Seattle for the holidays and getting hammered every night and feeling like crap every day. Then New Year's came and it seemed like a good time to step away from the bottle. Don't worry, booze fans, I'll be back. Regarding blog apathy, I really do appreciate everyone pumping me up to keep it up. I almost deleted that first paragraph when I first posted that entry because I knew it would seem like I was trying to get sympathy or whatever but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy all those comments.

OK bedtime for real. Until next time...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Who cares?

I've had a bit of writer's block lately. Everytime I start thinking about writing a blog entry I think to myself, "who cares?". Who gives a rip what I ate today or what poker related crap I did. I'm sitting on my ass all day long and I really don't feel like writing that for a week straight. "Well, today I sat on my ass and played poker and tomorrow I'm going to do the same thing." It's a good thing that I'm flying to Argentina tomorrow and I'll finally have something interesting to write about.

I don't know too many details regarding this trip. My mom set everything up and I just filled out a few forms. Hopefully I'll be able to hit y'all with an update while down there but at the very least expect a few pictures of me mugging with penguins in 2 weeks.

Poker has been swell and my poker+travel bankroll is pretty healthy. I won a tournament today for $5200 and now I only need to make about 10K more to cover all roadtrip/WorldCup expenses AND have enough to play in 17 events at the World Series of Poker. Idealy I'd like about 10K more than that but I'll be fine as long as I don't miss cashing in all 17 tournaments. That would be gross.

I started doing heavy planning for the baseball trip and even bought my Phillies tickets for May 4th. I bought good seats, recommended by Sir AlCan'tHang, and we're sitting 5 rows back on the first base line (well, actually on the line but halfway into right field) with a nice view of downtown Philly. Apparently it's college night, too, so the scenery should be great.

Speaking of Al, I was thinking about making an amendment to my New Year's resolution. I think I should be able to have a few special occasions where a few shots can be consumed. I think special moments should be limited to 5 or 6 per year and should be truly special. Al's love for booze is legendary and I think sitting in box seats with the SoCo king is special enough for yours truly to let down his hair. I'm also reserving the annual Memorial Day Weekend Vegas trip for my 2nd boozing of the year. 4 left, any suggestions? I'll save one for after I win my first WSOP bracelet. 3 left!

Well, I should finish my laundry and get my bags packed. Antarctica, here I come!

Monday, February 13, 2006

I’ve been playing a lot of poker the past two days. Yesterday I played almost forty $215 Sit n Gos. I started off insanely hot but cooled down toward the end, finishing my session with 6 straight non-cashes. Today I played most of the big Sunday tournaments. I blew a chance at good money on BoDog when I was the chipleader and made a move against the the guy who was 2nd in chips with 55 left. I figured he wouldn’t call without the nuts and I was wrong…he called with the 2nd nuts. I opened in middle position with KTs and he called from the big blind. The flop was Q73 rainbow and he check-raised my continuation bet. I figured he could fold a Queen and I’m still pretty sure he would have but he wasn’t folding a set of 7s and I crippled myself. Oh well, I live and die by these plays. I’m just pissed that I didn’t get a running straight. It seems like I always build a big stack by playing like this then go down in flames. One day I’ll find the happy medium. The winner in this tourney got $25K and I had to settle for $250. That was my only cash for the day which means I lost about 1K. Oh well.

I tried for a while to find a good program to host my World Cup and Baseball Roadtrip schedules online and I think I found one. Let me know how easy it is to get these files, provided they even work:

World Cup

Road Trippin'

If you have to register first, just do it and stop being a sissy. It's free and takes half a second. The URL contained in the body of the World Cup file is a map of the sites where the games are going to be played. I'm hoping to find tickets to 1 or 2 games but for the most part I just want to party with fans in the city that their game is being played. I think just being there and watching the games from one of the local bars will be great fun. I have a friend in Munich with a couch to sleep on and possibly a shower to get clean. Maybe the plan will be returning to Munich every 4 or 5 days to shower then leaving and partying for 5 days straight. Who needs a hotel/hostel during the World Cup? Do you know who I am? I'm really looking forward to checking out all of Germany's fine cities. We passed through last Spring but the whole stay was 2 days in Cologne, one day floating the Rhine, then spending 5 hours in Frankfurt's train station. I think there's more to Germany than that and this time I'm going to do it right. I'm still exploring the possibility of renting a car but I don't know how feasible that'll be. I don't know the exact dimensions but the country looks like it's about 400 miles x 400 miles so I won't ever have to travel ridiculously far. I planned my schedule based on the best games on each day but I also adjusted a bit for ease of travel. If you look at the map and try to follow my path, you'll see that I never travel cross-sountry and rarely even go halfway. I can drive 200 miles in my sleep, especially when I get to go 150 mph! Anyway, the trip would be more fun with a partner so if any of you are interested let me know. July 8-23 there's nowhere in the world you'd rather be and YOU KNOW IT! If someone came along I'd definitely get the car. If I'm by myself(likely) I'll just take the train. A lot of people think that I must be a soccer fanatic but I'm really just a casual fan who's obsessed with sports and has some money and free time. An addiction to travel doesn't hurt either.

I'm really stoked for the baseball trip and tickets are starting to go on sale. I don't want to pay Ticketmaster charges on 30 different tickets so I'll probably just pre-order the key tickets like Red Sox-Yankees, Mariners Opening Day and Cubs-White Sox. THe rest I'll try to buy at the door. I found out that the Giants game I was planning on attending is already sold out but I have a free day so I'll just go to the next one. If you live in a city with a MLB team and want to go to a game, let me know. I'll be looking you all up anyway but it'd be nice if you could holla back. I'm still trying to find a good van to buy. I want to go kinda cheap but I don't want it to break down, obviously. I guess I can pay a little more for a quality piece of machinery since I'm going to resell it. I just don't want to lose a ton of money in the deal since it's going to be a bastardized sort of 2-month rental. I found this on Craigslinst but it may be a little too nice. Maybe something with a few more miles and without the leather. Let me know if you're in Seattle and you know of a good deal on a minivan. I'm pretty set on driving a van since I might be sleeping in it from time-to-time and I'd just like a lot of room in general. I don't think I could handle living in the Prius for 2 months. I'd also like a legit minivan as opposed to an old Chevy molester van. The minivan is embarassing but the molester van would make me an outcast. It would be fun to sit on the side of the road and offer candy to little kids but I don't think I'm going to do it. This one might be right up my alley. Carl, can you run some cash over to this guy's house tomorrow? Thanks.

I decided to get a room on the Party Poker Million cruise even though I'm not going to play in the main event. I want to go on the cruise and I found a friend willing to share his room with me for a small price. I'm getting back from South America on March 8th then flying to Ft. Lauderdale on the 11th and returning on the 20th. I'll probably just pack my things and drive back to Seattle on the 23rd or 24th. Then the baseball trip starts on April 3rd.

I've been thinking of different things that I could do with the baseball road trip. I'd love to do it for a cause but I don't know how to do it. Maybe I could get people to pledge a certain amount of money for every thousand miles that I drive or something. I also think it would be fun to figure out some kind of sponsorship. Maybe this year I'll just do it by myself and make a little documentary and try to get more out of it if I want to do it again. Do any of you fine readers have ideas? I get ambitious ideas, like writing Toyota and getting them to give me a new white van that I could paint red "stitches" on and they could film me going to all the stadiums and make a commercial out of it. Major League Baseball could sponsor the trip since it's at the beginning of the season and have updates each week on Fox Saturday Baseball. But we all know that I'll never contact these people and I'll end up just doing it by myself and end up with 20 minutes of crappy footage. Oh well, at least I get to buy a camcorder.

Seriosuly, if you thik of something cool I can do with this trip, let me know. If you think I'm an idealist piece of crap then let me know that, too. It's 3 AM and I better get to bed. Laters.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I'm Back

I think this is the longest I’ve gone without a blog entry since starting this bad boy in August. A lot of people asked me if I was too depressed to write after the Super Bowl debacle but that’s not the case. The Internet crashed at the Red Roof Inn that we were staying at and the connection has been extremely shaky here in Carlsbad. The Internet has already crashed in the middle of two unsaved drafts and it’s a rather discouraging occurrence. I just downloaded a program called Blogger for Word and I’m writing my entry in Word so that the Internet shakiness won’t have any affect. It’ll probably improve my spelling and punctuation, too.

The trip to Detroit was a lot of fun. Anytime you get to vacation with your brother and good friends it’s going to be a lot of fun. It really frustrated me that we could only find 2 tickets to the game and I really owe Morgan and Cliff a ton for letting me and Renee go. The next time the Hawks go to the big game, I’m going to do things differently.

I don’t have a ton to say about the Super Bowl. It was very frustrating but there’s nothing we can do about it. The Seahawks executed like crap and they didn’t deserve the win. The refs didn’t help at all but the Hawks are good enough to overcome that if they just played their game. The Steelers D executed their bend-but-don’t-break strategy perfectly and the offense made enough big plays to get the W. The two calls that frustrated me the most were the Roethlisberger TD and the Locklear holding. The QB sneak was ridiculous because the side judge ran halfway down the goal line with one hand up like he was spotting the ball short, then suddenly decided that it was a touchdown. That was absolutely ridiculous and it made me want to vomit. The Locklear hold was an example of an official anticipating something that didn’t happen. In the Carolina game, on Steve Smith’s punt return, the official anticipated a block in the back then saw the blocker pull up at the last second so he picked up the flag. On the Locklear play, the official saw Locklear get his hand inside Haggans shoulders and anticipated he would hook him or drag him down. Neither happened and it was obvious. I would have loved to see that one picked up, obviously. 1st and goal from the 1, down 14-10. Pittsburgh’s shoulders were slumped, oh man….It hurts to think about how the game could have gone. I won’t even talk about the penalty on Hasselbeck because it was so freaking absurd but those 15 yards proved to be huge thanks to Randle El’s sweet pass.

OK, I realize I just wrote a lot about the officiating but I still blame the Seahawks first and foremost for blowing the game. I just hope that they use this memory as motivation for next year and come out determined to kick ass. I’d like to resign Shawn. I feel like running back is one of the most overrated positions in football but I think Shawn is very underrated as a running back. I don’t know if that makes sense but it does to me and he fits our offense well. Let’s get him locked up for a few years and Franchise Hutch if we have to.

I’m back in Carlsbad right now for about 2 more weeks and I’m loving the weather. It’s sunny and 70-75 every day and a nice change from the rain of Seattle and bitter cold of Detroit. Renee’s flying down next week for President’s Day and I’m definitely looking forward to that. I only have 2 months left before moving back to Seattle so I’m glad she’s getting one last chance for a vacation in the sun.

On February 23rd, I’m flying to Ushuaia, Argentina to meet my mom. I was supposed to spend more time in South America but my friend Will had his Ecuador trip cut short and I decided to just do the Antarctica thing. We’re catching a boat from Ushuaia to Antarctica and we’re going to spend a few weeks kicking it with the penguins. I’ll definitely charge the camera batteries for this trip.

In late March I’m going to drive back to Seattle then start the baseball road trip in the beginning of April. I’m getting so ridiculously excited for the trip that I can’t stand it. I promise to break down the trip and devote a whole entry to it soon. I think the Mariners could surprise some people this year. I guess after posting 93 losses last year and 99 the year before, a simple .500 winning percentage would be great. I’m amped for a full season of Felix Mania and I’m expecting great things from Mr. Johjima. The strating rotation should be better and Mr. Beltre will have a better year. Jeremy Reed is a year older and I think he’s poised for a breakout season. Only time will tell but I’d like to have a lot to talk about this summer. It’s so painful to root for a 90-loss team, I can’t even describe it. Let’s go M’s!

The road trip ends on June 2nd in Denver and I’m flying to Berlin on the 8th for soccer’s World Cup. I’m going to be there for 15 days and I’m going to try to be in a different city every day. I’m going to travel to the site of the best game for each day and try to actually attend 1 or 2 of the games if I can. Even when I can’t attend the games I want to be in a bar in the city it’s taking place in and party with the winning fans afterward. I’m going to buy a US jersey and a Japan jersey and wear those two shirts for the entire 2 weeks. They’ll probably be nice and ripe by the time I return.

The World Series of Poker starts on June 27th and I’m going to try to drive down to Vegas at some point between the 23rd and that day. Poker has taken a backseat in my life and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I need to figure out how to get back on my game by the WSOP. I don’t think drinking 843862873 gallons of beer in Germany will help my poker game that much but there are sacrifices that we all have to make for the good of humanity. I’m just trying to do my part.

Well, blog entries after a long hiatus are usually about future plans. Sorry if there isn’t anything new or interesting in here. I’ll try to figure out how to host excel files on the Internet then put up a link to both my baseball road trip and World Cup schedules. Until then, remember my motto: “Everything in moderation, including moderation”.