Blog Day 2009

Yup, it’s that time of the year again, Blog Day, where we’re all supposed to give our favorite five blogs for the year. This year, there’s even a link for it to Technorati, which I’ll admit that I’m not sure what it’s really supposed to do. But hey, I’ll go along with it. Here’s the link to last year’s Blog Day 2008 post.

Last year I had all these self inflicted rules on myself. This year, I’m not having any of that. I’ve yet to decide if I’m doing it on all of my blogs or just this one; I’m thinking this will be the only place I’ll do it, though I could change my mind, since I’m actually writing this one ahead of time. You can see who I recommended last year on Mitch’s Blog.

Also, what I’m supposed to do is let those people know that I mentioned them. I don’t think I did it last year, since only one person I wrote on actually found it and made a comment on the post. I’ll have to think about this one as I’m writing this post, although I could probably just link to the last post of the blogs I’m recommending, and they’ll see the trackback in some fashion. Yes, I’ll do that; thinking as I go along. 🙂

So, here we go, in no particular order, but without the shackles I put on myself last year. These are 5 blogs I actually make sure I read often.

1. Sire’s Wassup Blog. I talk about Sire all the time here, and I think we’ve actually educated each other on many thing over the past year and a half. I actually met him on one of those diary blogging sites, but we didn’t know who each other was at the time. I find his blog entertaining, and I rarely miss a post. What’s his blog about? Whatever he wants it to be about. I like that; independent Australian thing. 🙂

2. Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online. Man, Marelisa makes me think every time I read a new post of hers, and it’s all good stuff. She takes a lot of time crafting her posts, and there’s never any junk in it. In an odd way, she reminds me of how I might write if I didn’t try to have a post almost daily. As a matter of fact, I’d love for you to read this post on Freedom, Nonconformity & Unconventional Living. Her blog is about changing your mind towards better things; gotta love that.

3. 21st Century Affiliate Marketing. John Dilbeck might give you the impression of being a mountain man, but this is one of the smartest guys you’ll ever deal with. I love reading his posts also, as they’re always very thoughtful, and he’s one of the best commenters you’ll ever see. He talks about affiliate marketing and, lately offline marketing also.

4. HSH Financial News Associates Blog. Tim Manni writes this blog, which is all about financial news and the like. I discovered it just after I started writing my finance blog, and it’s very good, and always up to date. Sometimes he beats me to a story, sometimes I beat him to one. I love the challenge.

5. Electronic Village. I met Wayne Hicks on Facebook after I created my blog sharing group there. He was one of the first people to share his blog with all of us there. His blog has to be something special if I keep going back to it, since most of you know how much I don’t like Blogger as a blogging site. This blog is all about black news issues, and it’s always timely and well written. Once again, we sometimes are competing on the same stories around the same time, but I get so much from this blog, I must admit. Now if I can only get enough overall support to one day end up in his top 25 blogs written by black authors, my life would be complete.

And that’s that. I hope y’all check these folks out, because all of them write quality stuff. Onward to 2010!

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Take Responsibility For Your Blogging

Some people have a lot of chutzpah. They do something they should have known better not to do. They get caught. Then, instead of owning up to the event, taking it like an adult, apologizing and moving on, they get stupid, look for a scapegoat, and act as if they never did anything wrong to begin with.

Such is the follow up to the post I wrote a couple of days ago when I talked about a blogger who hid behind a fake name and pretty much slandered this model. Through a court order, Google gave up the email address, the model learned who it was and talked to the woman, and all should have been over at that point.

Instead, said “slanderer”, named Rosemary Port, decided that not only was she wronged by Google for giving out her email address, but she’s now going to try to sue Google for $15 million dollars for violating her privacy in responding to that court order.

Okay, the obviously stupidity of the lawsuit aside, can anyone tell me what this woman is thinking, other than she wants her own little bit of publicity now? She stated that her original post only had two visitors before Liskula Cohen, the model she decided to slander, decided to sue to find out who she was. She’s trying to say that Cohen pretty much made a big deal of this, and in fact is the one who violated her privacy with the original lawsuit.

Oh come on now! This is beyond a pot calling a kettle black. This is definitely not taking any responsibility for one’s actions; can anyone say “clueless?” Google has never told anyone that they would have absolute privacy in using Blogger or anything else. We all have heard where, with a court order, Google will release search records of people being investigated by the police or other law enforcement groups. What makes this woman think she deserves any more immunity for what she did than what some of these other people have done?

Of course, there are some free speech advocates who believe this is the start of something bad. They say that, in many circumstances, people deserve to have their anonymity protected, so the rest of us can get information we might not otherwise get. I don’t dispute that, as I wrote elsewhere about someone who lost her job after being as a community blogger, a move I disagreed with because the woman hadn’t written anything disparaging, as far as I could see, about the company she was working for. The sensibilities of companies these days, who feel they have the right to control what workers do outside the workplace as much as within the workplace, is a slippery slope that people balance every day. In my previous post I talked about my own belief in privacy issues, which our friend Sire disagreed with and ended up writing a post on drug testing that’s gotten some very interesting responses both pro and con. It sometimes seems as if we’re moving in a direction where the divide between privacy and doing what’s right is getting wider.

Anyway, I don’t see this woman’s lawsuit going any further than being allowed to file it. She’s having her 15 minutes of fame right now, and she’s the only one responsible for it. If I were Cohen, with this latest move, I’d sue her for slander and defamation just to make a point. But I’m like that; what are your thoughts?

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Poker Tournament, The Follow Up

On Thursday, I posted about going to my big poker tournament. Instead of responding to the comments on that post, I wanted to write an aftermath post, which is this one.

I didn’t sleep well the night before, though I went to bed early, for me. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted to do well; heck, I wanted to cash. But I had no real idea what I was in for.

I got to the casino 45 minutes early, hoping to walk around the room and get acclimated to it. No such luck; they didn’t open the door to the poker room until 15 minutes before play started. I actually felt like I had to go to the bathroom, you know, #2, and went to a place I know is kind of a secret hideout (yes, I know the casino pretty well), and I realized it was just my stomach kicking my behind literally. This was a big deal, it seems.

Play started right at 11AM, and at my table, there were only 3 of us. I asked the dealer what would happen, and he said some players are always late, and that the table would eventually fill up. I won the first three hands, mainly because the other two players didn’t want to play the first two hands, and I actually won something on the third hand. So, a nice start, but only three players. A fourth player joined the game, and in a few minutes he asked me if I was wearing my shirt inside out for good luck. I looked at myself and indeed, my shirt was on backwards; groan! I got up, went to the bathroom, and flipped it around; what a start to the day, right?

Eventually the table was full, and now it was grind time. It was ugly. I started with $15,000 in chips, got up to $15,750, and then dropped. I mean, I only had a few good hands in the first two hours, as blinds increased 3 times, and on my good hands it was as if they knew I was holding aces, which I was. I let one guy beat me out of a hand I probably had, but couldn’t take a chance at; that irritated me. I eventually got him back twice, though.

At the end of the first two hours, we got our first break. I was tired and tense. I just couldn’t relax, and I had position #1 at the table, which meant I was sitting right next to the dealer. I don’t like that position because I always feel like I’m not really playing the game with anyone else from that spot. I had just over $10,000, which meant I was still in it, but only 12 people had been busted out at that point. That was surprising to me; usually, poker education tells people to play somewhat aggressively early on to take advantage of low blinds and build up their stash. I got the feeling that most of the people in the room were just grinding it out; no breakaway stars. I called my wife, then I got something to eat. I didn’t eat much, because my stomach was yelling at me, even though I’d only had water while sitting at the table, and I’d eaten breakfast, though it was 5 hours earlier.

When we went back in after the break, I saw that the average in the room was around $16,200, so I wasn’t really all that far out of it. We all sat down and started playing again. I still couldn’t relax, and I didn’t feel like I was breathing all that well either. The room was cool enough, yet I felt it was stuffy for some reason; I think it was just anxiety. And my stack kept getting smaller and smaller, and that was without my playing all that many hands. I actually lost almost half of my chips on one hand, when I decided not to challenge this guy for the rest of my chips, even though I had a pair of aces, but the other card in my hand wasn’t all that good. That might have been the worst play of the day for me, but so be it. I made it to the second break, barely hanging on, and knowing that the blinds were going to really start escalating after the break.

When we came back in, that’s when I learned that because we only ended up with 175 people, they were cutting the prizes off at 20th place. I knew there was almost no way I was going to get there without taking some risks, but I didn’t have the money to take any risks. That is, until I got into this hand with the same guy who dealt me my early beat. I went all in with a pair of 5’s, he called with ace-king, and I won, which doubled my money and gave me new life. He lost the very next hand with another ace-king and was gone, just like that. That meant two people from my table had gone before me; two others would end up going before me also. Finally, nearly six hours of play in, just before another break, I was going to be gone in two hands, rather have it taken out of my control, so I went all in with ten-jack of clubs, against a queen-seven caller. The flop gave me a pair of jacks; the turn gave him his queen, and the river gave him another queen, and I was done.

I ended up finishing in 109th place, and it was around 6PM. The way it was going, the people who were left were going to be playing until 2AM, then leaving and coming back early Friday morning. As I thought about that I realized that my busting out when I did probably did me a favor.

I say that because, overall, I didn’t enjoy myself. I was tense throughout, and not breathing well. I was able to be cool when I was in a hand, but when I wasn’t, I felt like I was grasping at better air. I was staying hydrated, but I hadn’t remembered to take all of my medication before I left, though I did take my shot. I was also really tired, even though I mainly drank water and only a couple of diet sodas. Driving home, I was depressed, tense, and exhausted; I never saw any of those feelings coming on from a tournament where someone else’s money got me in.

What did I do? I put on Donna Summer music, a couple of songs I think are great driving songs, and played them over and over; that did the trick eventually. “Walk Away” then “Dim All The Lights”; you know how some songs just seem to fit the road well? Man, did I need that!

So, were there some lessons learned? Well, maybe. First, I really do hate sitting next to the dealer; nothing I could do about that. Second, sometimes it’s hard to relax in unfamiliar territory; at least I got a newsletter out of it. Third, once I was tight, I forgot some of the rules of the game I know, while remembering others; that didn’t bode well for me long term. One has to remember them all if one is going to play with the big boys.

On the other hand, I learned that I could hang with the big boys. Two players who actually made the trek to Las Vegas to take their shot at the World Series of Poker, and paid the $750 entry fee into this tournament, busted out before I did. Both of them probably had way more fun than I did, because they remembered one of the things I forgot; you never think of chips as money, just as an ends to the means. The money was already paid; ugh!

Anyway, that’s my tale. I did the best I could, and I guess that’s something to be proud of. I just feel I could have done better, but I also don’t think I could have handled another 8 hours of that kind of pressure. One of my Twitter poker friends said I’d do better next time; not if I have to pay for it! lol

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Bloggers Can’t Hide Behind Fake Names Anymore And Defame Others

I’m a privacy guy, believe it or not. I believe drug testing for most jobs is a violation of privacy. I’m against racial profiling (I would be). I’m against someone being allowed to see your entire credit report without your permission. I’m on the Do Not Call registry. I have a fake name in the phone book. In other words, I protect myself where I want to protect myself.

I also believe in being open about who I am most of the time. Every blog I’m on, I’m Mitch, although I was on one of those “diary” blogs and had a different name back then. I had wanted a place where I could talk about things that irked me in the world without having it come back to my business blog.

What I never did, though, was take that anonymity, find one person, and start slandering them, or saying rude things just because I was hidden behind a fake name. That’s one of the problems I’ve always had with online conversations. Some people hide behind a fake name and say things they never would in person. That’s just not right, and I don’t like it one bit. I’ve always wished I could get back at those people in some way, while being glad that none of that stuff was ever aimed at me.

This week, some woman in New York finally got hers. After slandering this model, Liskula Cohen, Cohen got a lawyer and sued Google to get the name of the person on whose blog these things were being written. And a New York state supreme court judge granted her that, so Google had to give it up. Well, they had to give up the email address, since names can always be faked, and this model knew who this woman was, and called her up. She’s still thinking about suing, but said it could possibly be avoided if the woman issued a public apology.

Man, nothing makes me more happy than this. Our local newspaper allows people to comment on news stories online, and there’s never anything said that brings any real discussion to the conversation. Are people really so bored and hate their lives so much that they can’t take the time to put together a constructive thought, instead putting everything down with the most hateful thing they can come up with (at least they’re not allowed to use bad language on the site)?

Well folks, be put on notice. Unless your site is in another country, Google, because they own Blogger (which I don’t like), will have to give up the info, and at that point your behind could be cooked. I’m thinking a nice little lawsuit would shake things up. The woman, still unidentified but who has a mouthpiece lawyer giving his opinion, said the things she said might have been disgusting, but they’re protected under free speech. No, they’re not; if you make stuff up to hurt someone intentionally, that’s slander, and you’re going to lose in every court in the country.

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My Big Poker Tournament

If you’re reading this relatively early on Thursday, I’m not home. I’m at a big poker tournament, taking my shot at what should at least be a $50,000 first prize. Let me tell you the story.

Back in early July, I decided to take a Friday off and head to my favorite casino, Turning Stone Casino in Oneida, NY. Okay, it’s also the closest, but I just love going there when I have some extra dollars.

I’m not a bad poker player. Some of you may remember when I wrote about my time in Reno and came back from the casino on my first day up $650. I’ve often come home up $300 or so. I’ve also often come home without any of the money I started with. But most of the time, I’ll break even, or pretty close either side.

On this particular day, I was having a horrible go of it. Nothing was going right on that day. If I’d listened to my inner mind, I’d have left an hour into being there and come back home. But reasoning just doesn’t go that route, and it’s a good thing it didn’t.

I was just sitting at the table, thinking about a hand, when they announced that it was time for “the drawing.” Throughout the poker room, people started yelling out their table and seat number. Not wanting to miss out, I started yelling “Table 23, Seat 5.” Lo and behold, I won! Everyone cheered, and I smiled and felt pretty good about something finally going my way.

Of course, I waited a beat, then asked, kind of sheepishly, just what it was I won, because I hadn’t been paying attention. The dealer told me I’d won an entry into the $750 regional tournament on August 20th. Sweet! Now, the downside is, because I won, I’ll have to pay taxes on that amount. The upside is, if I can make it through the first day, I’ll automatically have qualified for the money, whatever it turns out to be, but the minimum I can come home with is $1,200.

How do I know that if I make it through the first day I’ll make money? What they do is determine how many people are in the tournament first. Then they’ll determine how many places they’re going to pay out. What I’ve been told is that, once they have that number, they’ll play down to that number, and once they reach it then they’ll stop the tournament for the day and start it back up again the next day.

Based on how tournaments usually go, at least 25% of the folks will be gone within the first hour. Many people are internet players, and they’ll take chances that may work while sitting at a table playing for money, but some of them will crash and burn because of those tactics. Online, it’s not about reading people, but about playing cards.

After that, things slow down drastically. I expect that the shortest period of time this will take will probably be 6 or 7 hours. We get a break every 2 hours, which is a good thing. The thing about poker is that if you’re patient, you can last a long time. However, you will have to win some hands here and there, because in tournaments, blinds go up every so often, which will take your money whether you play hands or not.

I say right now that I’m going into this tournament making sure I win. I’m also saying that I’m going into this tournament “knowing” that I’m going to make it through the first day. That’s my first goal; you have to be in it to win it. And knowing that I’ve made the money will make the second day much easier mentally.

So, wish me luck. However, just because you see a post on Friday doesn’t mean I lost and came home, as I’ll have another post ready to go for Friday, just in case I decide to stay there overnight. I’ll let you know what happens.

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