Saturday, November 29, 2008

Run Good, Run Better, Run O.K.

[Content Disclosure: 100% Poker; 62% more well deserved gloating...]

Well week two of the PokerListings Run Good Challenge is in the books. There are several important factoids to report:

*only one player has managed to score a money win each of the first two weeks; I Run Good!
*five of the eight blogger spots are locks after week two; joining me, the points leader, on the safe list are Amy, Michelle, Benjo and LuckBox.
*there will be a wild scramble for the remaining three open spots with Change100 holding a dominating position among the also-rans.
*Matt Showell will once again not qualify as the PokerListings representative, which means congratulations to Dan Skolovy. (OK, technically Matt could make it if he wins next week and Dan dies of turkey poisoning.)
*Liz Lieu cannot play poker that early in the morning; at least not after another night out at Thunder Down Under!
*In response to several complaints about my perhaps unintended subtlety: I finished third in week two, which makes my point total from the first two rounds a lock for the finale in week four. So this Saturday I will be freerolling from somewhere on the road.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Run Good, Run Better, Run Best

[Content Disclosure: 99.44% Poker; 24% Personal Gloating; 12% Glee]

The second addition of the Pokerlistings Run Good Poker Challenge is underway. Same format as last time around with three qualifying events leading up to the grand finale.

This time, however, it appears that skill rather than luck and blatant bad play will dominate the event. After several grueling hours of intense, high-level poker the first event ended with the truly quality players making it through to the classic three handed finals. With all of the money on the line the truly accomplished Michelle Lewis played with skill and aplomb to take down a well deserved third place. Amy Calistri showed her daring and confident game to battle mightily only to fall in the end and take home the cash for second position. Nicely done ladies!

However, no one could have been expected to overcome the truly deft and seasoned play of the eventual winner. The true class of this event managed to control the play and assert his skill and poker knowledge to a degree not seen in many a tournament. Shall we ever see in our time, so much dexterity and finesse applied so cunningly to the game of poker?

About the only analysis that can be made of this dominating victory is simply that when you get so many big cards, it really takes nearly no skill at all to win. Yes, my fair readers with aces coming out of my pockets and suckouts galore; I have finally scored in the Run Good Challenge and not only put some cash in my depleted account but I also find myself on top of the RGC leaderboard. If only we could freeze this moment in time before I revert to donkeydom next week.

Ah, for one brief shining moment that was Riversalot.

For more about me, see: Dr. Pauly, Spaceman, Donkey Dan, Benjo, Amy and Short-Stacked Shamus.

Round Two preview.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sincerely Sin City

[Content Disclosure: 34% Poker & Casinos; 55% Life in Las Vegas; 26% Dark Underside of Life; 9% All of the Above]

No I am not Leaving Las Vegas, in any sense of the phrase, at least not yet. But I do hear often from friends about living here. Some won't even visit because of the dark energy of Sin City. So, how is it really? You might ask.

Well those who know me well, understand that I can stand in the middle of loud noisy crowds and be mostly unaffected. I don't have a problem with the proximity of greed, avarice, depravity or lust. About the only thing that really bothers me is being in the ongoing presence of stupidity. But Vegas does present some challenges.

First, this is a city like any other city. You can get dry cleaning done or your muffler fixed (No, that is not a sexual reference). People have normal lives here, even when 8 hours of your day might be working in a casino. But it is also true that the excesses that bring visitors to Las Vegas, do come up on a regular basis when you do the job I do.

I often leave casinos alone, well after midnight. A single, middle-aged man, who dresses normally and is in a casino alone late at night or very early in the morning does get propositioned. To deflect the lovely ladies of the evening I go with my standard response: "Why thank you Miss, but I am much too tired this morning to truly enjoy the company of someone so fetching as yourself."

Practice that line a couple of times, until it rolls smoothly off the tongue and it works wonders with out implying insult or superiority.

Now I am not suggesting that Las Vegas does not wallow in excess. It clearly does but I am a bit of a teflon shield when it comes to becoming deeply mired in the muck. Not so some of my friends, who also trod the land of glitter as writers. Should you truly wish to experience a glimpse into the dark side of my current hometown. I would like to highly recommend two blog posts from my friend and darkside resident Dr. Pauly Mcguire.

I am particularly fond of these two offerings from the Dark Doctor, as I have spent some time myself at the "Hooker Bar" he inhabits in the first piece. All the poker media have, as this is the closet libational emporium to the convention rooms at the Rio where they hold the World Series of Poker. But Pauly brings that place to life or something that resembles life.

The second piece reflects on the underside of Las Vegas, that anyone who stays up long enough is likely to encounter. I recommend both articles highly but suggest you keep a light on while you read.

1. Existentialist Conversations with Hookers: Malestrom at the Hooker Bar

2. Emissaries from the Land of Indulgence

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Haiku by Bakusui

I found these beautiful illustrated Haiku on a site called Greenleaf

I think I'll post one now and then....

this demonstrates my current mood, even though it's springtime here

Poker Shrink Radio Appearance

[Content Disclosure: 100% Poker; 92% Shameless Self Promotion]

I am making one of my infrequent internet radio appearances this week on Lou Krieger's Keep Flopping Aces on Rounder's Radio. The show airs live at 9 PM EST on Thursday. You can also catch an audio replay anytime after by going to Lou's archives on the Rounder's Radio site.

We are obviously going to be talking about "the book" as Amy and I approach our delivery date next week. I also want to talk with Lou about some of the things I saw at the World Series this year; some interesting incidents that were reported in the media very differently than how I saw them. In particular, I will be talking about the Scotty Nguyen H.O.R.S.E. coverage and the Phil Hellmuth penalty/non-penalty on Day Five of the main event.

Remember, 6 PM Thursday night for all of my left coast friends and for those of you in Australia, well you know how that works, I think the show is already over.... How was I?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cupid Graphics

Valentine's Day will soon be upon us, and that means that Cupid will be busy at work shooting his arrows of love at unsuspecting people with his matchmaking magic. To celebrate the power of Valentine's Day as a time to find and express love, I decided to post this collection of clipart Cupid Graphics. Feel free to download these fun cartoons of cupid and place them on your Valentine's webpage, or use them on homemade Valentines.

Bear Cupid graphics LOVE YA.

Cute Black Cupid graphics for free.

Black and white cartoons of cupid in silhouette form.

Fun black and white cartoons of cupid for Valentine's Day.

The cute baby Cupid graphics for February 14th.

Free cute clipart cartoons of Cupid shooting an arrow with bow.

Fre Cupid graphics of cute baby angel with arrows.

Frindly cartoon of Cupid clipart picture in red.

Cute baby cupid graphics with halo and hearts.

Happy Valentine's Day! Thanks for checking out these free clipart cartoons of Cupid and Cupid graphics for the upcoming special holiday. I hope you have a romantic day and are struck by one of Cupid's arrows!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some Thoughts on Therapy

One of my oldest and dearest friends is in therapy, an endeavor I would never have thought he would undertake. But times change and losses happen. He called me last week to have a conversation about his therapy and after we were done, he suggested that I should put what I told him in my blog. I thought about that for awhile and since I am not actually giving anyone specific clinical advice, I guess I will share my thoughts on therapy.

As a professional disclosure, I do have a degree in psychology and while I am not in an established clinical practice, I do have several clients, most of whom are professional poker players. If any of my clients read this, I am confident what I say here is consistent with my therapeutic style.

Let's call my friend, Jeff. Of course, not his real name. Let's not call his ex-wife anything. I never really liked her but she is not the source of Jeff's problem; as always, life is the problem. Jeff went into therapy about a year and a half ago with a specific issue to resolve and is currently a bit unsatisfied with the course of the therapy. This is what prompted the phone call to me.

I should say to those who are not familiar with psychology in general, that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of different forms of therapy; practiced by individuals across a wide spectrum of clinical modalities and belief systems. Meaning--it ain't all the same. But in Jeff's case, we are talking about a fairly standard form of "talk therapy", where the client sees the therapist once a week for a 50 minute hour and talks about their life, the situation and/or the problem.

The goal of such therapy is to uncover the various aspects of the client's problem or issue or whatever we, he or she wants to label it and to provide the client with tools to solve, resolve, move past or "fix" it. This form of therapy is essentially a dialog between the therapist and the client. Here is where Jeff's therapy got off track, in my not so humble opinion.

Intelligent people who enter therapy often need a period of time to simply vent. Usually followed by details of the issue and a good deal of background about how and why they got to the place they are now unsatisfied with. This process of getting it out and mulling it all over out loud can and should take some time. Let's arbitrarily say this process might take three months; sometimes longer, sometimes shorter but let's go with three months. Several issues now arise, not the least of which is that you or your insurance company are paying the therapist to sit there for these sessions. Quite frankly, a therapist is not motivated financially move the process along because once you get what you need, you stop coming to therapy and you must be replaced with a new client. Sorry, but money is a factor in what should be a completely caring, healing process. Yes, life sucks or at least someone gets a bill for it.

Now the therapist has some kind of training, usually at least a Masters degree in clinical psychology and probably, depending on local laws, some training in actually conducting therapy sessions. They also will have some frame of reference, some philosophy for his or her work. All too often that therapeutic frame is simply a continuation of the talk process. I do not believe this is helpful to the client in most circumstances and, in fact, it creates a dependency in many clients that does not lead to resolution of their issue. Very quickly the weekly visits can become very comforting. You get to go to a safe place and talk to someone about your life and they are completely and uncritically willing to listen. All nice and warm and fuzzy.

Now, if you treated your job like this you would soon be unemployed. You don't deeply ponder an issue for an indeterminate period of time, not if you want to keep collecting that paycheck. Action is called for and at some point in the therapy process, there needs to be a call to action. It is the therapist's responsibility to make that completely clear to the client. Once you have gotten your issue or issues on the table and once you have explored the depths and shallows of that issue; well, then it is time to do something about it.

You see we come to therapy because of some discomfort in our life. If you went to see your doctor, you would not be surprised if the conversation turned to the subject of disease. Well, that should happen in psychological therapy as well. Just take the word apart. Dis-ease. Not at ease. Something is wrong, is that not why you went looking for some help? The therapist should be always working towards the goal of the elimination or transformation of dis-ease.

Unfortunately, talk therapy can become very, very comfortable. Those weekly sessions become something you look forward to and they should not be. You are attempting, I hope, to resolve some issue in your life and to move on; to get back on course; to solve or resolve the issue. But instead you get stuck in the cycle of talking about it. That is the failure of the therapist. At some point, there needs to be a goal oriented conversation initiated by the professional in the therapeutic relationship. What is it that you are hoping to accomplish and what skills or tasks can the trained professional present to you to accomplish those goals?

At this point, therapy should not be comfortable. You probably will not look forward to those weekly sessions and you won't be doing all the talking. There will be questions, there may be assignments, there should be progress and in most cases there will be discomfort, anxiety and often tears.

If this type of interaction is not happening in the therapy setting, then you are simply paying someone to listen to you. Get a dog or better yet talk with an honest, caring friend; someone who knows something about life, which is precisely what a trained therapist should be in the first place.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jennifer Harman and Cat Condo Conversions

[Content Disclosure: Big Felines 68%, Small Kitties 22%, Charity 33%, Poker 7%, SPCA 89%]

My good friend Matty is in town again and as is our ritual, we met in front of the MGM Lion Habitat and then went over to the SPCA Shelter to visit the Cat Condos. Our first surprise was that Gino and Belladonna were the afternoon residents at MGM. We actually got to meet and touch those two about a year ago when they were tiny cubs. Here is a picture of me with Belladonna, she is about 150 pounds heavier now.

After visiting with the big kitties, Matt and I went over the the SPCA No-Kill shelter and were horribly disappointed to discover the Cat Condos were closed for renovation. My fault, I know they have to completely redo that section of the shelter every year or so and I just didn't think to check the website. We did manage to run into some of the great staff and were told that these are hard times for many pet owners with the financial crisis and in particular the ever mounting foreclosures in the area. Many more pet owners have had to surrender their pets because of lost homes and pet restrictions on their new residences. But on the bright side, we also were told that the SPCA is able to handle this influx of animals mostly because of the money raised this past year by the Jennifer Harman Charity Poker Tournament.

So here is another hats off to Jennifer and all those who volunteered their time and energy to that worthy project. And once more a reminder that you can make a donation to the SPCA No-Kill Shelter right here. And details of next year's charity event will be posted as soon as we have them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Valentine's Day Clipart

One of the most fun and romantic holidays of the year will soon be upon us. Let's celebrate the special day with some free Valentine's Day clipart pictures.

Every year on Valentine's Day I buy roses and a nice romantic card for my wife, and we go out for dinner at a cozy restaurant. What do you do for your Valentine's Day celebrations?

Pink hearts valentine's day clipart for free.

Pink title free Valentine's Day clipart.

White and pink frilly hear valentine's day free clip art for lovers.

Romantic bear with hearts and flowers in this free valentine's day clipart image.

Roses and heart chocolates for valentine's day present clipart.

Black and white frilly valetine picture for the romantic day.

Black and white heart valentine's day border clipart for free download.

Be Mine Valentine's Day Bee clipart.

Free valentine's day cupid clipart with purple loin cloth.

Envelope with a Valentine inside, for your lover or friend.

Free Valentine's Day clipart of chocolates and roses for that special someone.

Valentine's Day is one of the most special holidays of the year! Make that special someone happy by doing them some kind of romantic Valentine's gesture for them. I hope these free clipart were useful. Be sure to check out our other clipart themes before you go. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your lover!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Silhouette Clipart

If you have a webpage or family dedicated to the family, or to any kind of family activities, these family silhouete clipart may be useful in decorating your page. I hope these images help you celebrate our most cherished institution, the family.

Family Silhouette Clipart black and white.

Black and white family silhouette clipart pictures for free download.

Fun and free black and white silhouette clip art of family.

Mother and baby family silhouette clipart images for wholesale websites.

I hope these family silhouete clipart images were useful. Be sure to check out some more clipart themes before you depart. Goodbye for now!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Snowman Clipart

Christmas is a lovely and nostalgic time of year, with all kinds of beautiful traditions and symbols. One of the most awesome symbols of Christmas is the snowman! When we were kids we all sang Frosty the Snowman and watched the cartoon on tv, we all rolled gigantic snowballs outside and created snowmen out of them, and we all decorated the snowman with stones or vegetables of other objects for its face.

In the spirit of winter and Christmas here are some fun snowman clipart pictures for you to download for free. Please enjoy!

Free snowman clipart for Christmas fun.

Free snowman clipart images for winter holidays celebration.

Frosty the Snowman clipart for kids to get excited about winter and into the Christmas spirit.

Kids building a snowman clipart picture for seasons greetings.

Happy holidays! Winter snowman clipart for kids to enjoy in the cold weather.

Frosty freezing snowman clipart in the icy ice cold wind.

Frozen ice and snow man clipart for winter time fun.

Free snowman clip art for the winter season to come.

I hope you found the above free snowman clipart useful. Get into the Christmas spirit and enjoys the wonders of winter.

Free Elegant Wedding Clipart

These days a lot of engaged couples preparing for their weddings are trying to stick to a reasonable budget, and creating their own wedding invitations is part of that process. I hope that these free elegant wedding clipart are useful in helping you create a professional looking invitation.

Good luck with all your preparations, and I wish you a wonderful wedding and happy marriage. :)

(note that these are thumbnails, and may be enlarged by clicking on them)

Free elegant wedding clipart of bride and groom posing for photos.

Free clipart image of elegant church and wedding chapel.

Free elegant clipart of a lovely wedding cake ready to be sliced.

Elegant bride and groom having the first dance in this free clipart.

Free elegant wedding clipart of two doves tying hearts together with ribbon.

Free elegant Precious Moments wedding clip art picture.

Free elegant weding clipart picture of bride and groom cutting the cake.

Free elegant wedding clipart of new bride and groom at the altar.

Free clipart of wedding dress being lifted in elegant way by flower girl.

An elegant diamond wedding ring in this free clipart.

I hope you found these free elegant wedding clipart useful and attractive. Be sure to check out more of our clipart themes, as we have some other wedding clipart on pther pages.