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61  Community Forums / The Lounge / Re: Tales from the Tube on: November 29, 2010, 01:20:08 PM
Just caught up the last few posts Phil, just a great read as per usual.

My one complaint is that you didn't manage a slight detour to a retail convention in LV in mid-November.

Don't tell me you got mugged in the car-park 

I came so close to detouring to Vegas on the Saturday I felt quite like Gollum and the ring.....as regards scary you will never guess it!!!!
62  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 29, 2010, 11:47:35 AM
3 please chompy
63  Community Forums / The Lounge / Re: Tales from the Tube on: November 29, 2010, 09:42:57 AM
So it’s Sunday morning. Bright and sunny and I am here in wonderful West Coast America. The urge to take the car and explore is strong but I have a plan, and the plan was to play some poker at the Garden City Casino. As you know last night I arrived and had a look round and I had some reservations but today at 11am it is a different place entirely.

For a start Sunday morning poker is about as weird a feeling as you can get. I was brought up on tournaments only taking place in the evening and the centre of the poker cosmos was based in Luton. My early days playing the game were a heady mix of, getting it a little bit wrong, all the way through to, misreading my hand and proudly declaring I have a flush only to realise it was king high. As I had turned over my cards they were live and the king high won!!! Even better was that it was against a player I didn’t like very much. Sometime later I didn’t like this player at all, but that is a whole different story.

Now I have only one rule when playing in America. Walk to the table and tell everybody how excited you are to be finally playing live, the great game that you have seen so often on TV. Bless them, but the Yanks do so love to believe my novice Brit nonsense. Anyway I am having a damn good time. Catching cards like Sicilian on any given evening at the G (Stop bleating Phil) and tilting the table nicely with a range of moves.

Of course as you all know I do like a bit of chat at the table. I think poker without chat is best done online, and the beauty of live poker is that the person next to you can’t go anywhere. So I am swapping stories about sport and baseball (please do not confuse the two). The Giants are about to win the World Series, named of course because nobody in the world except Americans gives a toss about rounders, and the fact that that the San Francisco 49’ers are in London. I sit in my seat thinking isn’t it weird that they have sent us their American football team and in a pseudo reciprocal arrangement we have sent them.........me.

It is a fast paced tournament and after a few hours play and a nice cash I find myself outside in bright sunshine. I go retail visiting, as it is a passion as well as a job, to try and understand what works in retail. I go to Staples and Fry’s and Micro Center and get some good ideas and then at 7pm return for tourney two, return of the Snatty.

The evening crew are a wild bunch and the casino is hopping. There must have been more than a dozen cash games going on but I feel right at home now. Same routine walking to the table. Same result. Lots of humour, a little effort, money at the end of it. Now i could have gone touring but I didn’t. Some will say that was a waste and maybe they are right but as the old saying goes “you pays your money and takes your choice”, and my choice was to play poker and if the quote I need to justify my actions dates back to 1846 so be it.

My trip was almost over but little was I to realise that the scariest moment was heading towards me at a rate of knots.

Please make sure that you carry a bottle of water on the tube in the hot weather.
64  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 27, 2010, 05:47:53 AM
Well done Dave. Awesome performance!!!!
65  Community Forums / The Lounge / Re: Reverse Sheep Quiz Number Whatever +1 - brought to you by CheatingForNothing.com on: November 25, 2010, 12:39:35 PM
What is the Trafford Centre?
66  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 24, 2010, 05:47:24 PM
Was thinking of playing the sat for for the GUKPT jobbie at the Vic then Jiminy Cricket popped up and told me to go home like a good boy, so now I am sulking.
67  Community Forums / The Lounge / Re: Tales from the Tube on: November 21, 2010, 09:01:29 PM
I am still not sure what vast looks or feels like. The word itself almost defies a logical explanation and often is best explained as an emotion. In terms of America I got a real feeling of vast as we flew into Charlotte. Out of nowhere in the middle of a landlocked mass appears what looks like a number of Lego like skyscrapers. To put it into perspective, get a large lump of Blu Tack, stick half a dozen pencils in it and place it in the middle of your lounge. Just look how out of place and incongruous it looks.

That was the feeling as I came into Charlotte. I would have loved to have a walk round but my next flight took off in thirty five minutes so i went towards my next gate. There were quite a number of American Football fans going to all points, and strangely they were all mingling without the need to kick the living shit out of each of other. How strange.

I chat to an American soldier about life the universe and everything. He is a class act and it made me realise yet again how quickly I categorise whole nations without a moment’s thought and always to the lowest common denominator. We land in San Francisco and this time I follow the signs to hire cars and have to get on a monorail to a four storey car park that has all the hire car companies in one building. Boston look and learn.

At this point I make the one wrong, truly wrong, call of the trip. I am offered at a tremendous discount the opportunity to drive a Mustang as my hire car. My heart says YES YES YES in a sort of Harry met Sally orgasmic way, my head says no, you are almost certain to prang it. But think about it for just a few seconds. Cruising down the West Coast highway with the roof down in a Ford Mustang, why on earth did I say no?

Still they did give me a free upgrade. Yes I am driving from San Francisco to San Jose in a brilliant white Ford.......Focus. Not quite the same huh. Get to the hotel. Check in. Shower change and head off to the Garden City Casino. I need to find something to do on Sunday and I know I could go travelling around experiencing the sights and sounds but I need to stop moving for a bit. As I sit here now I think I should have gone exploring but you can only make decisions at the time.

Now I don’t know if you have seen the film 21, and if you haven’t then might I recommend it, or better still the book “bringing down the house “ by Ben Mazrich. Well in the film, our hero as a test of his card counting prowess, has to go into a Chinese Casino. No Caucasians. I walk into the Garden City Casino and I am knocked out of my stride. This is a big version of that casino. There are about 40 poker tables. There are other table games but no roulette. I watch some of the cash action and know instantly that I am not going into that particular bear pit. Knackered and ready for bed I head back to my hotel!
68  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 19, 2010, 11:11:00 AM
It is a lovely comp the Thursday night. Lots of gameplay and had much fun with Blondes, Winkie,Dingdell, Nirvana, and overtheborder and loads of new peeps.
Paying down to 5  with savers done for 6th and 7th......organised by me when in good shape. Always pays to plan ahead.

Went out 6th
Kalam helped my A9 crush AK early in the evening. He was in pretty good form all night.
69  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 18, 2010, 04:34:44 PM
Do you get bonus chips and if so by what time?
70  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 18, 2010, 11:22:47 AM
Normally 30-35 but tonight sees a few luton make the pilgrimage to the big smoke to the big smoke to show off our mad skillz in the 300 gukpt thingy at 7.30.

Oooh, I could still make it to luton in time once I'm out of the 300 ;-)

I just came acroos the Vic comp but I can't play Friday.....or maybe I just can't play.
71  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 18, 2010, 10:38:57 AM
Thinking of playing tonight......how many runners does this tourney get???
72  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 15, 2010, 07:36:12 AM
excellent work Mr Plums

THIS!
73  Poker Forums / Live poker / Re: Chompy's Recidivist 2010 G Luton League/Scrabble thread on: November 12, 2010, 09:34:32 PM
bring it home your royal plumminess
74  Community Forums / The Lounge / Re: Tales from the Tube on: November 10, 2010, 10:01:18 PM
I am due to be in Framingham for a couple of days and in the middle a hugely important meeting. The weather is grey but warm and the countryside is honestly staggeringly beautiful. The fall in Massachusetts is a just a riot of colour, a myriad of reds and browns.

Framingham feels like a middle class town that is fully engaged in following the American Dream and doing okay whilst doing it. Lots of nice eateries, smart shops, lovely looking properties, relatively new cars. A bit too sanitized for my taste. Well everything is sanitized apart from The Red Roof motel. To be honest it is a bit dirty. The curtains don’t keep the light out and I am pretty sure that some of the people staying here are long term unemployed or homeless.

I decide to make the most of my time and spend as much time as possible researching electronic and IT retailers. I go to Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot but eventually end up at my favourite no money fun a book store. It is such a pity that this is a dying breed of retail outlet. I can spend hours in a bookstore but limit myself to a quick twenty minutes. I fear that the next generation will not have the feeling of opening a book on the first page. Somehow reading a book starting on the first screen just does not feel as good. The trees are probably happier mind.

Quick as a flash I am loading myself back into my entry level Daewoo, oh sorry Chevrolet, to head back to Logan International. This car is nothing but awful. Small, slow, automatic and when they said entry level they weren’t kidding. Manual winders, key door locks with no central locking. It is as though I have been transported back to a time when the biggest argument was about who is going to get out of their chair to change the channel on the TV.

It is Saturday morning and I am about to spend the whole of the day flying across the USA from Boston to San Francisco using one of life’s more tortuous routes. The key to US Scareways cheap pricing is that every flight seems to have to go through their hub in Charlotte. For this journey it is a bit like driving from London to Leeds via Ipswich. But the pricing was so cheap and I had little else to do so it made perfect sense. Well as luck would have it I start speaking to a local couple from Charlotte who are absolutely lovely and we talk London, England, America, books, flying, politics.  The trips to the US are really teaching me about how being open to a situation and opportunity to meet new people, always leads to a more fascinating time than just sitting and reading a book.

So when you are out and about and have the opportunity to smile at somebody and say hello might I recommend you give it a try.
75  Community Forums / The Lounge / Re: Tales from the Tube on: November 09, 2010, 12:47:52 PM
I am sitting in yet another hotel room as I write this up. It is November the 9th and it is Rachel’s birthday. It is the first time I have missed one of the kids birthdays and to say I am feeling guilty would be one of the world’s greatest understatements. However I promised myself, when I took my current job on, I would give it the full lash and when an opportunity arose to be at a manager’s conference then I had to say yes.

Rachel I love you, happy birthday from me and the readers of this thread. XXX

Okay when I left you last I had landed in Boston. I went out to where the buses take you to the hire car offices. And wait. And wait. Now it is with some annoyance that I am watching bus after bus for other hire car companies slow, look at me, I shake my head and they pull away. Eventually the Alamo bus arrived. The reason it annoyed me so much is that they were all empty. Surely one or two buses could have serviced all of the hire car companies.

Hire cars in the U.S. are a necessity. Cabs are expensive and this is a country with space so rather than going up, buildings go sideways major centres excluded. Dummy back in mouth I approach the counter and surprise, surprise everything goes smoothly. It was great. Now I want to be able to tell you that I didn’t approach the wrong side of the vehicle..... But I can’t. Thank the lord I woke up just before getting inside and wondering where the hell the steering wheel had gone. I have of course done that, only the one time, and it was a very long time ago.

I take my time and familiarise myself with the controls, set up the SatNav, and oh so slowly pull out of the parking space and out onto the service road. Nobody about and the Sat Nav can’t locate the service road and is repeatedly telling me to go to indicated route. Well lady let me tell you, if I could find the indicated route I would go there. 3mph and totally lost 200 yards from the hire company. I now have a monster truck right up my rear bumper and he very kindly starts blowing his horn. It is 11 at night, I am lost, I am tired, I am just a bit nervous and some good ole boy is just giving me a friendly welcome.

He passes and I follow him. It doesn’t really matter where, as I know the satellite will kick in once we get to a major thoroughfare. So I follow him into the staff car park. Brilliant. Genius manoeuvre.  Well I manage to extricate myself from the staff car park with directions to get onto the main drag and start pootling down the freeway. This is more like it. At one point I even unclench my right hand from the steering wheel and turn the radio on. The thin layer of sweat on my top lip starts to cool as the moment of stress evaporates.

Then we reach the first toll booth. Bugger. I forgot to take my wallet out of my coat which is in the boot. So I get out and people start hooting. Great. Pay the toll. Thin layer of sweat returns. Knuckles white, whole body stiff as a board. By the third toll I have mastered the whole thing and by the time I pull into my motel in Framingham I am calm.

The motel is a Red Roof establishment and it is a throwback to the Starsky and Hutch era of motels. I am too tired to care as I dump my bags down and go to sleep. Tomorrow I will start caring again but then tomorrow I will probably stick to the indicated route.
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