Saturday, October 04, 2003

Back to blogging…

OK, it’s been a while, but I’ve got a perfectly good excuse: the website ate my blog! I spent about 45 minutes last week working on an update, and when I hit the Post button…nada. My mentor Scott K suggested that I first compose my blog in a Word document, then copy & paste into blogdom…thank you, Scaaaaaaat! I do good blog now Scaaaaaaat!

Now to give a short update on the last two weeks: drove to Boston for the ESPN reality show tryout, chickened out and instead hung out at Jillian’s and Cheers (formerly The Bull & Finch) for a few hours with my lovely wife; missed a couple days of work last week due to a combination of stomach bug and major case of the blahs; went to the podiatrist Wednesday morning due to a severely ingrown and infected left big toenail…which seemed to both cure my bowling slump and lift the gray clouds hanging over my head lately.

Up until just yesterday I was going to skip the next pro tour stop at Holiday Lanes in Manchester, where I pretty much spent the majority of my adolescence. But now I feel that I can muster up the confidence to allow myself a decent shot at qualifying, so I’m mailing in the $100 entry fee this weekend. I’ve never bowled well there on the tour, but it’s my favorite bowling center and I know I’d have the “home field” advantage if I qualified for action on Sunday. It’s so hard for me to just concentrate while staying relaxed, instead of trying too hard, getting too emotional, charging the foul line, and overthrowing. I know what I need to do to bowl well, I just need to allow myself to do it.

After hearing about my good buddy Dave winnng a quick $500 playing online poker, I recently decided to try my hand at it as well. I went to, wired $50 into my account, headed off to a $2/$4 Texas Hold ‘Em table…and lost it all in about an hour! Dave had made it seem so easy; why couldn’t I win a hand?! I swore off online gaming forever, or so I thought.

I logged on the other day to play for free (they give you “funny money” to play at just for fun tables), when I realized that 50 cents remained in my account. I actually found a $.02/$.04 table, and quickly doubled my stake up to an even dollar. Come to find out, they run tournaments for as little as a buck. So tonight I entered a $1 tournament, trying to stage the biggest comeback in all of gambling history. With almost 600 entries, first place paid $146. However, I came up 135 places shy of the win. Although I placed in the top 25%, only first through 54th won money…so my venture into the questionably-legal world of online gambling is officially over, for now.

Friday Five

1. What vehicle do you drive? 2003 Nissan Maxima, metallic gray

2. How long have you had it? Since Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve already logged 8,000 miles…drove it right from the dealership in Hartford down to Baltimore.

3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle? My personal favorite is the radio controls on the steering wheel. The 240-horsepower engine comes in handy as well.

4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle? The fact that I was totally misled by the sales manager about trading in my leased Altima for the new car. I just had to fork over $750, when I was repeatedly assured by the jackass-in-a-cheap-suit that I’d have five full years to payoff the remaining amount due on my lease. I feel the blood boiling just thinking about it…

5. If money were no object, what vehicle would you be driving right now? That would be a toss-up between a Cadillac Escalade or Hummer H2. Yep, I’d be one of those environment-hatin’, OPEC-supportin’, gas guzzlin’ mega-SUV owners!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

I'm really not in a blogging mood tonight...totally unmotivated at work, bowling like shit, my left big toe is all red & swollen, and I'm still pissed off at the car dealership that swindled me into trading in my leased car for a new one.

Hurricane Isabel is plowing through the Mid-Atlantic; I hope all my friends in DC/MD and my family in Northeastern PA get through it all without too many problems.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

It was a pretty uneventful...ok, downright lazy...Sunday in Central Connecticut for me. My weekend highlight was yesterday- picking out my wedding gift from that lovely wife of mine. I got a 27-inch TV for the living room, a huge upgrade from the 20-incher we've had for the past couple years. Jen was willing to buy any set I wanted From SAM'S Club or Wal*Mart (paying with their store credit), but I decided on a Sylvania for under $180. It was the biggest set that would fit in our entertainment system, plus I felt we didn't need to waste any extra dough on a flat-screen or HDTV. It took me two-plus frustrating hours to reconnect the digital cable & TiVo to the new boob tube, but got it done in time for the start of our weekly NFL fix. Thanks Moops, I love it! Now we gotta get the stereo speakers hooked up...

It was a relief to see the Pats rebound today from an awful Week 1 loss and beat the Eagles, last year's NFC runners-up, 31-10. An 0-2 start in the AFC East would've been a tough hole to climb out of. I'm still worried about New England's running game. Tom Brady was the master of dink and dunk today, completing high-percentage passes to ten different receivers...but the Pats will eventually need to establish the run if they want to be playoff contenders. Hopefully this will be Kevin Faulk's breakout season, because I don't see Antowain Smith regaining his 2001 form anytime soon.

I've been doing a lot of daydreaming as of late, waiting for that million dollar lightbulb to flash over my head. And while I haven't written a book or invented a new game (although I'm gradually working on both), I did get an e-mail from ESPN that's fired me up:


ESPN introduces Dream Job, a new reality series that will visit 29 cities across the U.S. in search of the next SportsCenter anchor. One lucky person will walk away with a one year, on-air
SportsCenter contract and a possible starring role in a SportsCenter commercial. The Dream Job Open Casting Tour kicks off on Tuesday and is coming to a city near you!

For more details on the Dream Job Open Casting Tour, click here.

Dream Job premieres February 2004 on ESPN."

There was a period when I wanted to become a sportscaster. I took TV journalism classes in college, and even applied for a prodcution assistant job at the ESPN headquarters in nearby Bristol...still got the postcard from them turning me down. But after interning one summer for Channel 3's sports department, I realized how difficult it would be to succeed.

So now I've got plans for Saturday- a tryout at Jillian's in Boston. I may have a face for radio, but at least I also have a glimmer of hope to fufill a dream.

Friday, September 12, 2003

First Friday Five

Since the originality lobe in my brain is currently working on some get-rich-quick schemes, I've stolen yet again from Scott K by starting my own Friday Five:

1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed? Yep, except I prefer Jim to James.

2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be? I am totally content with my name...but if I could change it for just a day, I'd have to go with one of these: Sol Rosenberg, Max Power, Paulie Walnuts, or Abdul Akbar.

3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?) I am named after both my grandfathers; James was my mom's dad, and Erich was my dad's dad. Both passed away before I was four, but I am proud to have inherited their names. Supposedly I'm like Grandpa Jimmy in a lot of ways (same height, baggy eyes, penchant for gambling), so it's fitting that I'm a Jimmy as well.

4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why? I'm a big fan of Jennifer. Love the name so much, I married one!

5. Is the analysis of your name at / / astroexpert accurate? How or how isn't it?

James at
You have a natural interest in the welfare of your fellow man, and a desire to help and serve others in a humanitarian way. You are responsible and generous, although somewhat scattering and disorganized at times. Any jobs requiring systematic and conscientious effort, or involving any form of drudgery, dismay you. In your work, you would seek a position offering self-expression through contact with people, such as sales or teaching, or a position giving scope to your creative, artistic talents. You are good-natured and likeable, and people tend to confide in you and seek your advice in personal problems. Others sense your sincere interest and desire to help, and you can always be counted on to see the bright side of any problem. You enjoy making others happy and you never let your own problems "get you down" for any length of time, even though you do tend to worry too much at times. Your optimism can be a source of inspiration to others as well as yourself. In close personal relationships you are usually thoughtful and considerate. However, your natural interest in others, coupled with your sympathetic reaction to problems, could draw you into emotional situations which may be difficult to get out of.

And now Jim:
Your name of Jim has many sterling qualities but does not give you an overall stability. You do everything with an intensity to the point of fervour, and either you feel tremendous elation or you are in the depths of despair. People often disappoint you because you are idealistic and are apt to place those whom you admire on a pedestal. Then you become disillusioned when they fall short of your expectations. You are quick mentally and like to see things moving at an accelerated pace. Patience is not one of your virtues; you want to move when the impulse strikes you. While such spontaneity is fine at times, you must take account of conditions and employ careful analysis so as to avoid disastrous results such as accidents due to hasty actions. Most things you do, you do well, but as soon as the task, hobby, or job becomes familiar or routine, you are bored and crave a change. Travel and new horizons ever intrigue you, but your hunger for greener fields is insatiable, and so you do not experience contentment and peace of mind. There is such a driving power within you that, you cannot find an outlet or if your actions are thwarted in some way, you feel the reaction through extreme tension in the region of your solar plexus. The intensity and consequent outbursts leave hurt feelings in their wake, usually involving those closest to you.

All I can say is...what a crock! The Law of Large Numbers says that the more bullshit you put in a name analysis, the higher the likelihood is that some of the bullshit will actually be correct...but WOW, he was right on about my solar plexus stress! And that Alfred J. Parker looks just like another well-respected soothsayer, Mr. Lloyd Schumner Sr.

Go Pats!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Yet Another Bad Beat

OK, time to dive right into the deep end of this blog pool; it's time to rant! Not going to whine about how bored I was at work today, "not gonna do it!" I actually put in a semi-productive eight hours. My frustrations are centered around a type of poker called no-limit Texas Hold 'Em.

Some of my bowler friends and I have regularly played poker after our Wednesday night league in Cheshire. Over the past few years I've had my share of wins and losses, but over the long haul I'd have to say that I've made a decent amount of money. That is, until yours truly decided we should switch from playing games like seven-card stud and criss-cross to more of a tournament format. Since all of us are big fans of the Travel Channel's World Poker Tour, I devised a miniature version of their TV show. Anywhere from six to 10 of us all pony up $20 in exchange for $1,200 in tournament chips, with an option to buy $1,000 extra in "funny money" for $15 more. Basically it's winner-take-all, unless more than one player remains at the end of the two hour time limit.

Normally, I'm not a big bluffer when it comes to poker. If I don't have a good hand, I'll fold. But when I feel that my hand is better than everyone else's, it's go time. And patience has been a virtue for me at the poker table. But with this tournament format, you're not afforded the time to wait for good cards to come to you. Aggressive play, including a fair amount of bluffing, is needed to win in this game.

Needless to say, I've had some major struggles making the necessary adjustments to my game. Since we switched to no-limit Hold 'Em over the summer, I'd have to say we've played about a dozen times. My total winnings: zero. Nada. Zilch. In fact, the best finish I've had so far is a measly fourth (out of eight). This has made for a very gut-wrenching last couple months of poker; I'm a gracious winner, but a terrible loser.

Tonight, for example, I was dealt a queen and a jack. Since I had two high cards, I decided to stay in the hand. The first three community cards that were flipped (called the flop) came up queen, four, jack. So this means I now have two pair, which is a very strong hand in this situation. I decide to go for it and bet all of my remaining chips. My friend Tony thinks about it for a while, then says "Ahh, what the heck," and calls my bet. Everyone else folds, so we flip over our cards. I show my queen/jack, and Tony has ten/nine. So if either of the last two community cards are a king or an eight, Tony would make a straight and beat me. ANYTHING else would make me a winner. The fourth card, also known as the Turn, is a six. One bullet dodged, one to go...but sure enough, a friggin' eight pops up on the last card. I got beat on the River!

Needless to say, it was a very quick trip out the door, in the car, and back to Rocky Hill. There's not too many feelings worse than that burn I get in the pit of my stomach when I've been screwed, and I still feel it a bit at 1:00am. I think all this ranting has kinda helped, though. Time to find out if I'll be able to get to sleep without dwelling on yet another losing night of poker...

What a baby I am!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Not An Innovator, Just An Imitator

Jim K Blog comes to you courtesy of my good buddy Scott K. After reading all of his posts over the past week or so, I was motivated to try a page of my own.

I am the newly-wedded hubby of Jen, aka Bean (hi Moops!). We live in the suburbs of that booming metropolis called Hartford, CT...New England's Rising Star. I'm a financial services consultant for a local insurance company, as well as part-time (marginal) professional duckpin bowler. Ahh yes, just livin' the good life!

Born & raised in the Hartford area, I'm very fortunate to have a close-knit group of family & friends here. I also consider the Baltimore-DC area to be my home away from home, thanks to my bowling buddies who live down there, as well as Scott K and his dapper man Billy.

That's all I've got to say for now...smell ya later!

Is this the first of many postings, or will I just lose interest like I do with every other hare-brained idea I come up with?!?! Stay tuned to find out...