I love this photo from my college friend’s blog.  He is a full time corporate scientist and a part time professional photographer.  Check out the alignment of cigarette, hamburger and beer with the center line of the exercise bike.  Steve’s sense of humour might be amongst the cheesiest on the planet, but he is one smart and interesting guy.  I wish there was less space between his home and mine.

As for my New Year’s Resolution?

I think I need to get out and enjoy my surroundings more.

I’ve been spending a lot of mental energy on the two separate goals of fixing up my home and furthering my career.  I’m within short driving distance of a ton of awesome experiences.  Life is too short to be over-thinking my next trip to Home Depot, so home improvement will go to auto-pilot for a little while.

I probably won’t relax too much on my work – I think I’d be short changing myself if I did that.  I enjoy what I do and it benefits humanity.  Luckily I can scale back on the “networking” component and refocus on the project accomplishment component.  I’ve got a few ideas for long term development that fit with my current gig but I’m not going to sacrifice family life happiness for them.

I spent a few slothful days recovering from a week long visit with my in-laws.  My mother-in-law is of the stereotypical “dreaded” type.  My own parents aren’t exactly the “I can’t wait for them to visit” type, but at least they keep the visits short.  Being a parent myself I can see where they are coming from but it doesn’t make their behaviour any less annoying.  It is of interest to note that “Honor thy father & mother” ranks right up there with “Thou shalt not kill” in rules handed down to us thousands of years ago.  I’m no Talmudic scholar, so maybe the weights are different amongst the Big 10.  But still – if they were mentioned in the same breath, er tablet, then it has to be some kind of constant for human  existence.

But I digress – back to what I was talking about.  More doing.  More experiences.  That is my New Year’s Resolution.  Less TV, less movies, less internet.  Not only am I not going to turn down a chance at a nice meal, a party, a hike in the nearby mountains –  I am going to make those things happen.  My social network is growing in this new home town of mine.  Time to put it to work!

Here is how it happened:

Friday 10:11 PM – JetBlue 777 from Boston touches down in Vegas.  I’m on it.  Your life just got that much better.

Yes.  10 minutes early, I think.  I scored during the trip by learning of a better route between my home and downtown Cambridge.  I tried it my first day back and shaved 10 minutes off of my commute.

Friday 10:12 PM – Fire up the text messages to find friends.  Who doesn’t like friends?  Text messaging is so hip.  Maybe I’ll even send out a few tweets.

Texting is apparently passe.  Twitter is it.  Although I had signed up for Twitter when it first came out, I never used it.   Being around people who connect through Twitter was a little strange.  Having my experiences documented by others in real time was very strange.  Not knowing what was going on within a cell phone signal radius was very strange.  I’ve since started playing with Twitter more and see the attraction – the allure of an immediate memory dump and hope that someone will enjoy your pithy 256 character format.  But still – it is very strange.

It looks like a slippery slope – blog -> twitter -> borg society.

Friday 11PM – Get to the IP, drop off baggage.  Locate people who received desperate cries for attention text messages.  Party like a rock star.  Albeit an aging rock star, but a rock star nonetheless.

Found said people at MGM through my quaint text messaging efforts.  I still love that $6 shuttle out of McCarran and up the strip, but mental note:  if it goes to the Flamingo, get off and walk to the IP rather than wait for a tour of the Ceaser’s drop-off circle.  Do rock stars use public transit?

Friday 11PM  – Saturday 9AM  MGM, IP Geisha Bar, random houses of ill-repute.  Whatever, Baby, I’m up for it.  Rock.  Star.

Crashed at 4:30 AM.  Nothing unseemly happened during those first 5 hours in Vegas.

Saturday noonish – try to find out where the ArgCie and ss-Pablo wedding is going to take place.  The Vegas Courthouse, which is the designated site, per sheverb.com, since all of the fake reverends can’t even get their shit together enough to perform a wedding in Vegas.  Geesh. Anyway – Googlemap says it is 3.5 miles away. Really?  There are a bazillion wedding chapels in Vegas.  Why do I have to go 3.5 miles?  There is a perfectly good one right in the IP.  Some people are so finicky.

I woke up around 9:30 and made some mild noise to see if my roomie (Senor Maha) was interested in breakfast.  I took his “ugh” as a no and headed over to the MGM.  Texted a breakfast connection and found the MGM diner after being misdirected to breakfast at Wolfgang Puck’s.  Yes, a $15 omelette probably would have been good, but they weren’t going to sell me one until 11:30 when they opened.  Instead I settled for a 5-meat omelette at the MGM diner.  To find the MGM diner you must give up on Wolfgang Puck’s and go look for the buffett.  You will spot the diner out of the corner of your eye at the last possible minute.

Saturday 1PM – watch marriage, that is if I haven’t passed out from exhaustion due to the long trip out there.

Ok, the wedding of Pablo & Gracie was pretty awesome.  It reminded me of my own vows 1.3 decades ago and reminded me to be more attentive to my wife.  Also I was able to ride up and down the strip in a stretch limo with stripper bars and a window that might or might not have been ready to fall off of the limo at any moment necessitating the owner spending $7000 and waiting for an replace to arrive from someplace somewhere that I didn’t care about because I was sick of listening to him at that point.

Also – some guy spilled his drink all over pants #1.  Luckily, I had brought both pants #1 and pants #2 with me to Vegas.  Unluckily, pants #2 were back in my room at the IP.

Salternative – weasel my way into The Procedue.  But definitely wedding first.  Wedding before boobies.  Yes.  That would be the right thing to do.

Probably if I had Twitter and followed BadBlood I would have had a better chance at this.  As it was I didn’t even see him once during the whole weekend.

Saturday 2-3PM – mill about at the Venetian.  Prolly eat some noodles in their fabulous noodle bar.

No noodles necessary.  5 meat omelette still working its magic.  Milling about also blocked.  I dug up my players card and brought it to Vegas only to leave it in my room.  I’m sure it enjoyed its time with pants #2, but I was forced to wait in line for a replacement players card.  Or like the Rooster would say, playa’s card.

Saturday 3PM-7PMish – play poker.  Final table.  If I make it far enough, I’ll chop it to stop it because…

Yes I particpated in poker in that I sat at a table, received cards and moved a few chips into and out of the pot.  Whether any sensible person would call what I did actually ‘playing poker’ is debatable.  I did still Iggy’s blinds once so yay me.  He’s apparently quite good at poker in Latin America.

Alternative – 3:05PM – 7PMish  Drink at bar.  Maybe eat more noodles, but probably a different kind of noodles.  That is to say, different from the first kind of noodles I ordered today.  If you thought by ‘different kind of noodles’ you thought I meant penis, then you are very wrong.  I’ve only grabbed one particular penis with any kind of affection in my lifetime – we’ve kind of got a thing going on and I don’t want to break it up.  So yeah – really noodles.  Not penis.

Yep, still no noodles.  I wasted $5 in a slot machine that Joanada was going to show me how to play but didn’t because she was actually only using me to enable her play on crazy +EV run on -EV games.

Saturday 8PMish –  Hofbrauhaus! Praise be to the Germans!  Deutscheland uber all, bitches!  I’m not German (close though – Swiss and French).  They sure did fuck a lot of things up last century, but none of the people that made those decisions are alive anymore.  Can you really hold the children of lunatics responsible for their ancestors actions?  No, I say.  Exhaulted producers of both beer and sausage!  And oom-pah bands!  And dirndls!  Go here for a free beer coupon!

Highlight.
of.
the.
trip.

(the wedding was all good and heartwarming, but H-House was fuuuun.)

A group of stalwarts made it here and partied like German rockstars.

Sausage, large/tiny beer comparisons, sausage, pretzels, vomit, spankings, and boobie-flashing by random strangers.  Also a waitress who knew how to work her dirndl.

Saturday 11PM – Back to the strip.  Craps!  Pai gow!  Low limit poker!  I got a whole lot of money that I’m ready to burn, so get those stakes up higher.  Actually I’d quite like to win some money.  I’ve never really ‘hit it big’ in Vegas.  I say this trip I’m due, baby, I’m due.

A funny thing happened in Vegas…I really didn’t feel the gamble in me, so I didn’t.  I hung out at the bar and chatted with various people, or simply stared off into space and watched the freak show that is the population of the IP after midnight on a Saturday night.

Sunday 3AM – get into an argument with Iggy about something stupid.

Now, I told Iggy I had put this time aside for him.  He tried to start an argument earlier in the evening when we were negotiation what this argument would be.  Since he is heavy into thefisticuffs, he assumed we would be duking it out by the bikerack.  When I corrected him on that he challanged me to a spelling bee.  I suggested we use British spelling rules and he lost on the second word.  “Centre”.  Funny thing is that caught the er->re inversion but insisted on spelling it with an “S”.  S-e-n-t-r-e.  I told him he was wrong, he was angry and insisted that should have known he meant “C” instead of “S”.  He pouted after I informed him that spelling bees don’t work that way.

I somehow becaume distracted and didn’t notice 3:00 AM roll around.

Is that my fault?

Maybe.  I think I was distracted by the fisticuffs taking place near one of the gaming tables.  Apparently some homie insulted some other homie and his girlfriend.  Rather than go the spelling bee route, they settled it with their fists.  Or rather one set of fists and the other guy’s turtle-like shoulder and back.  Suprisingly, the guy who received the beating was escorted out because the rest of the table agreed that he had been acting like an asshole and deserved the beating.  Justice, the IP way.

Anyway – back to the Iggy/Biggestron bout:

Maybe I should have gone to him at 3AM and made some ridiculous statement about the utility of adversting in our society.  Perhaps I could have suggested to him that Guinness tastes better if you cut it with ice and Budweiser.  Maybe I could have told him that sniglets do not, in fact, ‘rule’.  Whatever – I didn’t start it with him.  When I told him we were 45 minutes past our appointment, despite the fact that we had been sitting next to each other the entire time, he tried to start something but I was having nothing of it.

Biggestron 1, Iggy 0.

Sunday 6 AM – likely asleep.   Maybe not.  Redbull does give you wings.

Close!  I made it until just after 5 AM.  Redbull might have carried me the rest of the way but I was done for the night.

Sunday 12 – will football still be showing?  Will people be watching?  Who cares?  Football bores me.  I will buy drinks for anyone who can explain to me why it is interesting.  I get baseball.  Baseball kicks ass.  Hockey is alright, but I’ve sort’ve moved on from hockey.  But football?  Nope.  I even played in high school so it’s not like I don’t know the rules.  Just boring to me, that’s all.  Like I said – if you can make football interesting for me, without involving putting money on a game, I’ll buy you a drink.  Not much of an offer in Vegas, but there it is.

Breakfast in at the IP diner.  Waited 40 minutes to sit down, only to wait 30 minutes to eat an overpriced, undergreat breakfast.  Roomie not amused by my terrible suggestion but still pleasant about the whole 60+ minute overpriced undergreat breakfast.

Passed through sports book.  Football didn’t do it for me so I went shopping for gifts over at the Forum.  Apparently the Magic Store never changes their inventory.  I have now bought the last cool thing there and will likely never return.

I sat down and played about 45 minutes of 3/6 hold em’ when I saw an open seat at the table.  It reminded me of the first time I ever played poker in a casino – I by myself and tried out 3/6 hold em after receiving a few months of training in my $2 spread homegame.  Finished up $50 thanks to some good cards for me and slightly less good cards for other people.  One new player couldn’t believe that he could lose with a full house and contested my win over him (my 888JJ vs his 777JJ – board was J8J 7 7 – I had pocket 8’s he had A7).  Nicely played sir – perhaps you can find a few reruns of the world series of poker on ESPN where they explained the game more clearly.

Maybe I’ll go check out the Las Vegas pinball hall of fame.

Went back to the SportsBook and did just this.  Not many takers on this journey.  Roomie came along, but I suspect only out of abject boredom – he was playing some game on his I-phone when I asked him.  The PHOF was pretty awesome.  They had pinball machines that were over 40 years old and still working.  They had the pinball machine that I played while bowling as a youth (NY Taxi driver).  They had the pinball machine that my friend had in his basement (Kiss) when I was growing up.  They had the baseball game that my parent’s had at their bowling alley when I was an even younger youth – 3 pitches and a control consisting of a large silver button.

Here’s the amazing thing – almost every machine was in working order and you could play them for their original price – mostly between 25 and 50 cents.  Best $10 I ever spent in Vegas.

Sunday afternoon – pick up some magic trick gifts at the Magic Shop in the Forum shops for the boy.  Maybe some jewelery for wifey.  It is a Christmas tradition in my house.

Done.

Sunday dinner – either Sushi Roku in the Forum Shops or Todai Sushi in Planet Hollywood.  Anyone interested?  I have not had great sushi since leaving California.  If I were a better writer I’d slide in some clever analogy here about a man seeing his firt woman after a long stretch in jail.  Yeah – that’s how I’m going to eat that sushi.

The sushi restaurent ended up being a sushi buffet.  I wasn’t interested in eating $30 worth of buffet food so I settled for a slice of pizza while I walked around the Planet Hollywood shops (Miracle Mile?).  I noticed that the same stupid non stock rotating magic shop could also be found here.  Not that it mattered – I’m really not planning on ever patronizing them again.

Sunday evening – Open!  I can’t plan out my entire Vegas weekend, can I?  That would be kind of uptight of me.  I probably would have put bowling with Proud Geek, but my shoulder is still a bit sore from my bike accident last month.

Hung out in the sportsbook and watched the rest of the Dallas game.  This one was kind of exciting.  I dumped $40 on video poker after hitting quads in the first 5 minutes of play and running my initial $20 up to $55.  I figured I would just play for the big score and be done with it rather than hit-and-run the poker machine.  When I was out $40 I missed the $35 I could have made.

Sunday 10:00 – get back to McCarran airport.  Flight out at 11:10.  Sunday night security lines suuuuuck.

Made it back to McCarran on time.  Security was line was super light.  I couldn’t find anywhere interesting to eat so I elected to order a fruit-smoothie, figuring I could use some nutritional recharge.  I asked for the carrot-lover’s smoothie but the smoothie-jerk told me that they were out of carrots and that he could make it without the carrot juice.  I saw a whole stack of carrot’s behind him but didn’t feel like arguing it with him.  Maybe those were just display carrots?  Anyway, I told him that a carrot juiceless smoothie “would hardly satisfy a person who had just asked for the carrot-lover’s smoothie” and went with some berry mixture smoothie.  I hate seeds but there was really nothing else there.  Sometimes you just have to take your lumps in Vegas.

Monday morning – land in Boston.  Get my sorry ass home with public transit.  Sleep.   Do some work from home.  Come back here to check this outline.  Post amusing updates on timeline.

Made it home.  Took me nearly 2 hours to get from the airport to my house by public transit (its a 30 minute drive).  Slept.

Missed the pokerstars freeroll.  I reengaged my Twitter account and read about everything I missed over the weekend, including the events that I took part in.

Good times, but wondering if I will return next year.  I think I might be done, Winter Gathering.  It’s not you – it’s me.

Then again I think that I’ve said that everytime I returned from Vegas, so who knows?

Print out this handy schedule and take it with you to Vegas, so you will always know where your pal Biggestron will be this coming weekend.  To those who may have my cell number in their phones from previous trips, it is still the same.  Call me for a good time.

Friday 10:11 PM – JetBlue 777 from Boston touches down in Vegas.  I’m on it.  Your life just got that much better.

Friday 10:12 PM – Fire up the text messages to find friends.  Who doesn’t like friends?  Text messaging is so hip.  Maybe I’ll even send out a few tweets.

Friday 11PM – Get to the IP, drop off baggage.  Locate people who received <strike>desperate cries for attention</strike> text messages.  Party like a rock star.  Albeit an aging rock star, but a rock star nonetheless.

Friday 11PM  – Saturday 9AM  MGM, IP Geisha Bar, random houses of ill-repute.  Whatever, Baby, I’m up for it.  Rock.  Star.

Saturday 9:01 AM – Breakfast at the fabulous IP diner.

Saturday 9:45 AM – Sleeping in my bed.  Likely developing heart burn from fabulous IP diner food.

Saturday noonish – try to find out where the ArgCie and ss-Pablo wedding is going to take place.  The Vegas Courthouse, which is the designated site, per sheverb.com, since all of the fake reverends can’t even get their shit together enough to perform a wedding in Vegas.  Geesh. Anyway – Googlemap says it is 3.5 miles away. Really?  There are a bazillion wedding chapels in Vegas.  Why do I have to go 3.5 miles?  There is a perfectly good one right in the IP.  Some people are so finicky.

Saturday 1PM – watch marriage, that is if I haven’t passed out from exhaustion due to the long trip out there.

Salternative – weasel my way into The Procedue.  But definitely wedding first.  Wedding before boobies.  Yes.  That would be the right thing to do.

Saturday 2-3PM – mill about at the Venetian.  Prolly eat some noodles in their fabulous noodle bar.

Saturday 3PM-7PMish – play poker.  Final table.  If I make it far enough, I’ll chop it to stop it because…

Alternative – 3:05PM – 7PMish  Drink at bar.  Maybe eat more noodles, but probably a different kind of noodles.  That is to say, different from the first kind of noodles I ordered today.  If you thought by ‘different kind of noodles’ you thought I meant penis, then you are very wrong.  I’ve only grabbed one particular penis with any kind of affection in my lifetime – we’ve kind of got a thing going on and I don’t want to break it up.  So yeah – really noodles.  Not penis.

Saturday 8PMish –  Hofbrauhaus! Praise be to the Germans!  Deutscheland uber all, bitches!  I’m not German (close though – Swiss and French).  They sure did fuck a lot of things up last century, but none of the people that made those decisions are alive anymore.  Can you really hold the children of lunatics responsible for their ancestors actions?  No, I say.  Exhaulted producers of both beer and sausage!  And oom-pah bands!  And dirndls!  Go here for a free beer coupon!

(all times from here on in are ‘ish’)

Saturday 11PM – Back to the strip.  Craps!  Pai gow!  Low limit poker!  I got a whole lot of money that I’m ready to burn, so get those stakes up higher.  Actually I’d quite like to win some money.  I’ve never really ‘hit it big’ in Vegas.  I say this trip I’m due, baby, I’m due.

Sunday 3AM – get into an argument with Iggy about something stupid.

Sunday 6 AM – likely asleep.   Maybe not.  Redbull does give you wings.

Sunday 9 AM – definitely asleep.  I’ve never tried coke and I never will.

Sunday 12 – will football still be showing?  Will people be watching?  Who cares?  Football bores me.  I will buy drinks for anyone who can explain to me why it is interesting.  I get baseball.  Baseball kicks ass.  Hockey is alright, but I’ve sort’ve moved on from hockey.  But football?  Nope.  I even played in high school so it’s not like I don’t know the rules.  Just boring to me, that’s all.  Like I said – if you can make football interesting for me, without involving putting money on a game, I’ll buy you a drink.  Not much of an offer in Vegas, but there it is.

Maybe I’ll go check out the Las Vegas pinball hall of fame.

Lunch on the fly today.  Find random sustenance as I move about.

Sunday afternoon – pick up some magic trick gifts at the Magic Shop in the Forum shops for the boy.  Maybe some jewelery for wifey.  It is a Christmas tradition in my house.

Sunday dinner – either Sushi Roku in the Forum Shops or Todai Sushi in Planet Hollywood.  Anyone interested?  I have not had great sushi since leaving California.  If I were a better writer I’d slide in some clever analogy here about a man seeing his firt woman after a long stretch in jail.  Yeah – that’s how I’m going to eat that sushi.

Sunday evening – Open!  I can’t plan out my entire Vegas weekend, can I?  That would be kind of uptight of me.  I probably would have put bowling with Proud Geek, but my shoulder is still a bit sore from my bike accident last month.

Sunday 10:00 – get back to McCarran airport.  Flight out at 11:10.  Sunday night security lines suuuuuck.

Monday morning – land in Boston.  Get my sorry ass home with public transit.  Sleep.   Do some work from home.  Come back here to check this outline.  Post amusing updates on timeline.

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

The WBCOOP is an online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers.

Registration code: 566639

I haven’t had much time for posting lately because of my current professional transition.  Most of my mental energy is being spent on wrapping my head around a scientific field that I’ve skirted for years while pursuing other things.

I don’t write much here because I’ve been filling notebooks old school style as I put my education to work.  Ph.D. is short for doctor of philosophy.  Of greek derivation, Philo = love, sophy = knowledge.  I love knowledge.  I get off on wikipedia.  I’m happier than a pig in shit as I wade my way through decades of work by scientists who have gone before me.

My previous two positions nearly destroyed my interest in science.  I turned to poker.  I turned to blogging.  I turned to whatever would make me forget that a good part of what made me who I am was being ignored.  I’ll take some of the blame for that – I live in a free world.  I wish I would have left either one of them a long while ago.  I guess sometimes you have to be lost before you can be found.

One of the things that is fueling my transition is the absolute exuberance demonstrated by my newest professional colleagues.  I’ve just left one of the best research institutes on the planet.  Maybe I’m still floating, but what I saw while I was at Harvard I see in my newest colleagues.

Excitement for new ideas.

Passion for following up on them.

The energy of a small group of scientists and their support staff focused on making  the world a better place by creating new medicines for sick people with no other options.

They sound like bullshit corporate values.

But we aren’t corporate.  We are a startup – we are sitting on 2 years worth of burn (which for a biotech means a pretty decent load of cash…) and plans for extending that with a few products going into the clinic.  With some luck (and luck is just the residue of design) they will make it to the marketplace.  I’ve seen the data for these new drugs and it is good.

Fucking.

A.

 

Officially listed at 5-foot-9 in the Boston media guide, Pedroia is probably two or three inches shorter than that.

Last year he was rookie of the year – and that was on top of being part of the 2007 world series champs.  This year he picked up a well deserved gold glove for his play at 2nd base and now he nabs AL MVP in just his second full year in the majors.

Nearly every scout he met on the way up told him he was too small to play major league baseball.  Now Fenway fans expect him to take down anything that comes within diving distance of second base.

He started off the ‘07 season with a batting average that hovered somewhere around .150 – he finished the ‘08 season with a hitting streak that had him riding over .400 at times.

It has been 13 years since a Red Sox player took league MVP (Mo Vaughn in 1995 after “Roid”ger Clemens in 1986).  The pleasure of watching ‘Pedie’ play over the past couple of seasons has made it worth the wait.

Just 102 days to spring training…

 

****

image

Details on this disturbing image here.  l will be touring the bars near Harvard as I say farewell to my labmates of the past 3 months, but there is no reason for you not to try and pin the tail on the donkey Thursday night on Bodog.

What a week that was.

1)  I accepted an offer for a sweet new position with a local biotech start-up.  I’ll be doing work that interests me, I’m going a step up the career ladder and I’m going to be loaded with pre-IPO stock on top of a healthy raise over my last gig.  This opportunity seemingly came from nowhere. After chasing openings for the past 5 months with networking, polite follow-ups, resume tweaking and just plain ol’ desperate pleading I was found by a recruiter who hooked me up within the span of two weeks including initial contact, interview, offer, negotiations and signing.  I used to curse recruiters for wasting my time with poor job match-ups but until further notice I will be singing their praise.

2)  Some minor breakthroughs in my current research means that my 3 month stint at Harvard will likely result in some publishable work.  Science can be such a tease sometimes!  I’m making a quick trip to Chicago next week to use some of the facilites at Argonne to test the work.  Preparations for the trip have been driving me a little crazy.

3)  I slipped on some wet leaves and crashed my bike in the middle of my town’s busiest intersection during my daily commute.  I suffered only minor road rash and a sprained shoulder.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of sharing the road with Boston drivers, let me tell you that this was a close call.  Had my crash happened 5 seconds earlier I could have easily been wearing tire tracks on my back.

4)  I booked my flight to Vegas for the Winter WBPT.  Yay!  I’ll be there Friday night through Sunday night and I’m staying at the IP with the Monsieur Mahafahtu.

5)  President-elect.  Wow.  Either way this election was going to have a historic result, but as a not-yet-able-to-vote resident, I’m glad this is the way that it went.  The day after the election, the surly black guy that works in the
coffee shop where I pick up my morning carbs looked me in the eye and
asked “What can I do for you, brother?”.   On top of that, previously puritan MA residents voted to decriminalize pot.  Obama and marijuana – the last elected democrat didn’t inhale.  It is fitting that we can do so now without the fear of a permanent mark on our records.

6) Second place in the first HPT of the season, the premier poker event of the Boston suburbs.  Sweetness.

7) Dustin Pedroia, the little RedSox second baseman who could, nabbed a gold glove.  It is so awesome watching him excel when everyone told him he would never make it in the majors.  He is a poster candidate for the “believe in yourself” approach to life.

8)  I went to my first meeting of the Boston Wort Processors, a group of homebrewers profiledrecently in the Boston Globe.  Nice people, and the host had a pretty damn cool loft in Boston’s South End.  One of the brewers from Allaghash breweries held forth on rye beers and cask aging/fermentation.

9)  I somehow forgot about the WSOP this year.  Ok – this one is really for next week, but I was reminded when my TIVO captured a couple of new broadcasts of the Main Event coverage.  Lucky for me the final table is still set to be played.  I plan to avoid all live reporting and watch the ESPN coverage on Tuesday while playing the Bodonkey.  Norm Chad may be corny and annoying, but he still makes me laugh.  The November Nine – classic.    Let’s face it – the bloom was clearly off the rose so far as the ‘poker boom’ goes.  I hope that somebody in Harrah’s marketing gets a gold star for this one.

Speak the title of this posting to someone and watch their reaction.  It works best if you slip it in while you are talking about something else.

If they are listening to you, they will look up at you like you have said something and ask you to repeat it.

If you repeat it, they will still stare at you like you have said something that they cannot quite understand, but they think they should.

The sentence is of course, completely meaningless.  But it has perfectly valid syntax.  It was invented by Noam Chomsky to illustrate that our brain processes syntax in a different area from actual meaning.  It also demonstrates that syntax and meaning are tackled essentially simultaneously.

That confused look you get from your listener is cognitive dissonance.  Which is to say, one part of their brain gave a checkmark at the same time another part gave a big ol’ FAIL.  Your brain has to pause a few moments to resolve the dissonance, or at least forget that it happened.  Towards that end, the sentence serves as a subtle verbal stun ray.

A not so subtle stun ray, but stunning nonetheless, was an experiment done by Marc Hauser, who spoke the title phrase in a seminar I had the pleasure of sitting in last week.  Hauser studies ethics, or rather how our minds make ethical choices.

Using fMRI, Hauser located a region of the brain called the trans parietal lobe that is responsible for separating intent from outcome, and what’s more – he was able to use this information to manipulate people’s brains in a way that altered their ethical thinking.

For example – Mary is putting a white powder in her friend’s coffee.

The powder can be either sugar or poison – Mary can’t tell the difference.

Case 1:  Mary is angry at her friend and wants to kill her, so she intends to put poison in the coffee.

She either fails or succeeds based on whether she picks the correct substance.  Her friend dies or lives.

Case 2: Mary likes her friend and wants to put sugar in her coffee.

She either fails or succeeds based on whether she picks the correct substance.  Her friend dies or lives.

2 different outcomes, 2 different intents.  4 different scenarios.

A suitably sized group of test subjects will rank these as follows in terms of acceptability (from most to least acceptable)

1. likes her, gives her sugar

2. likes her, kills her

3. hates her, gives her sugar

4. hates her, kills her

So even though her friend dies in situation 2, it was an accident and is not considered to be quite as bad as trying to kill her friend but failing.

Now – deactivate this particular portion of the brain by applying a strong focused magnet in the region where the trans parietal lobe is located and the ranking of the answers becomes:

1. likes her gives her sugar

2. hates her, gives her sugar

3. likes her, kills her

4. hates her, kills her

Two items have switched place, simply by putting a magnet near the subject’s head.  Intent is down rated and outcome becomes the primary case for judgement.

I love science, especially when it starts to catch up with science fiction.

I swear that I have never uttered the words ‘in da house’ in my life.

They’ve improved their software, and the action at Bodog is always goooood.

I’ll be here playing under “TRexRoar”:

You are invited to play in, post or forward this information.

Don’t Miss Tuesday’s Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament!
Start Time 9:05 pm ET.

Think you have what it takes to bust out a poker pro?

On Tuesday October 28th, 2008 professional poker player and author,
Eric “Rizen” Lynch, will compete in the Bodog Blogger Tournament Series.

There will be a $75 bounty on Eric’s head and the poker blogger who
takes Eric’s last chips in this tournament will receive a $75 credit to
their Bodog member player account. This blogger will also receive a
signed copy of Eric’s book, Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a
Time. If Eric wins this tournament, he will give the $75 credit to the
poker blogger that places 1st runner up. That player will then receive
the credit of $75 to his or her account.

This blogger tournament series is open to poker bloggers world wide and runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 9:05 pm ET.

More details available at the official blogger series site at http://www.bodogbloggertournament.com

If you are new to Bodog, please sign up at http://www.bodoglife.com/promotions/poker/blogger-tournament/

So what are you waiting for?

Register today and may the best poker blogger take the bulls eye on Eric “Rizen” Lynch!

I’d like to tell you about an online poker chip site that I found: NevadaJacks.net.

NevadaJacks can meet all of your pokerchip set needs. They sell chips in any quantity that the home poker enthusiast might want. In fact, if you order a 300 or 500 chipset, they will ship to you free of charge.

There are chips for all budgets – composite, clay, and even authentic retired casino chips. If you have a design that you want imprinted on your chips – for example the logo of your poker club – NevadaJacks can do that for you too. Custom chips take only two weeks two make and have the image imprinted directly onto the chip – not just slapped on with some cheapo sticker. The custom chips are 10gm ceramic casino grade chips and would make a great gift for that poker enthusiast in your family.

If you aren’t sure of which chip you want to buy, you can order their sample set to see which one suits you best. The sample set was priced in Oct 2008 at $20, half of which will be credited back if you purchase a 300 chip set or larger.

NevadaJacks also has you covered if you want a high end poker table – they sell the same one used in the ‘Poker SuperStars’ event. If you just want a fold-up table top – they’ve got that too. If you are up for a little work in the shop, NevadaJacks sells a DVD with step by step instructions for making your own poker table.

The NevadaJacks site (http://www.nevedajacks.net) is well organized – tabs guide you to whatever you need and if you still can’t find it there is a robust search function to help get you where you are going. If you want to hear what the cognescenti have to say about poker chips, NevadaJacks runs a chip and home game forum that is extemely active. They have over 3000 posts there which should be able to answer any question you might have, and perhaps put a few into your head that you haven’t even considered before!

I have a 500 chip set from NevadaJacks that is currently on its way to my house – when are you going to get one for your game?

Next Page »