Poker at Mohegan Sun

Helaine asked if I would be interested in brunch at Mohegan Sun today? I said sure… though I sense diet time is just around the corner for me.

This is one of those incredibly decadent brunch buffets with virtually everything you can think of that’s vaguely related to breakfast. Add to that amazing desserts and coffee and I’m there in a heartbeat.

I stuffed myself on raw clams, shrimp, lamb chops, freshly cooked pasta (with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms but very, very minimal sauce) and a passion fruit crepe with mango ice cream for dessert.

Before breakfast, I walked into the soon-to-close poker room and put my name on the list. As I returned, a new $5/$10 Hold’em table was opening, and I was called. It was a nice group of people; lots of fun.

More importantly, over the course of the afternoon I won $292. I continue to feel my poker skills are going up. I’ve won the past 3 or 4 times I played. But, it is very possible to be lucky for a run like that (and more profitable to be lucky than skillful).

It’s a shame Mohegan Sun’s poker room will close in early September. It is a very nice room; smaller than Foxwoods but a little more nicely appointed and sedate. A poker room can make good money for the owner, but nowhere near as much as slot machines… and that’s what will go in. I sense Foxwoods will change the rake structure, in essence raising the price to play poker, once the MS room is closed.

Rebuilding the website

I’m not sure why, but I’ve finally got the bug to build this website correctly. whether I can accomplish that is another question.

I figure the first thing I need to do is establish a style, and that means CSS, something I don’t understand 100%. That makes it a bit more difficult.

I also worked on getting some dynamic weather data, specifically forecast model data. That meant shell programming, in BASH. Again, this is something beyond my expertise. Luckily, I have the guidance of Bob Hart at FSU. His knowledge of ‘ix’ languages and GrADS (which I’m using to produce the graphics) is scary.

There is also a version of HAMWeather running, though not customized at all.

This will take time. But, there is a huge amount of satisfaction (as I got a few minutes ago when a PHP enabled include worked) in writing and debugging code.

My last computer class was 1967… and then in Fortran.

Southwest VISA card

Our Southwest Airlines VISA credit card, from First USA, has become a royal pain in the ass. The problems started almost immediately when we got the card in March. We were ‘declined’ more than once for security purposes and now because our magnetic stripe wasn’t read correctly (2 different cards in 2 separate readers) declined again.

Even in cases where First USA knew they would ‘decline’ our next transaction, they never called, leaving that responsibility to the gas station attendant or grocery store clerk.

What service does my yearly service fee buy me?

Today we received a letter saying that a $5,000 payment by check had been returned to them, account closed. I immediately went to the computer, checked the account, and it’s fine. This being Saturday, there’s no one at the bank to speak to. The woman at First USA was incredibly rude and made it clear that First USA is too big to service it’s customers on a personal basis.

This will be fixed, but I am steamed.

Emmy judging

I am a 7-time Emmy Award winner (OK – it’s the local rectangular base version, not that nice round national one – shoot me), so I have some sort of obligation to NATAS and will try and fulfill that by hosting an Emmy judging party for the St. Louis region next Saturday.

I found an email from the NWS in Taunton, MA and took all the email addresses from there. Hopefully, I didn’t miss too many people.

A long time ago, Helaine and I attended a judging session held at Channel 8. Good God! It is scary to think this is how it’s done. People were inattentive and we hardly ever got through an entire tape.

I hope to live up to that high standard at this session.

Here’s the letter I sent:

Hi (Insert Name Here),

I’m writing this extremely personal note on behalf of the Boston/New England Chapter of NATAS and the annual Emmy awards. As you may know, each year entries from our area are judged by our peers in other markets, where it doesn’t rain every day during the month of August and the dew point doesn’t stay above 70 for- – – oh sorry – – – I haven’t taken my medication yet.

Anyway, as we are judged, we are called upon to judge others. This year, it’s your chance to steal good lines and map drawing techniques as we watch the weather people from St. Louis, MO and environs.

Would you be willing to help judge? I have volunteered my house in Hamden, CT to host a judging session next Saturday (8-16) at noon. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided. Ivy the dog will be there for one-on-one petting sessions.

It’s your chance to meet some of your fellow weather people, tell us how awful your station’s owners and management are, and trash everything you see from St. Louis. You’ll get a better understanding why the Emmy always seems to go to some no talent… sorry… again no medication yet.

As an incentive to you in other states, many Connecticut State Police officers have pledged to write no tickets to anyone traveling below the current temperature (Celsius only). You folks in Boston should remember we schlep there every year for the actual Emmy ceremonies, so don’t kvetch.

Please let me know if you can attend. Detailed directions will be provided.

Your name and email address was actually plucked off an email from Glenn Field at NWS. If you’re now out of the business, selling cars, please excuse the intrusion.

All the best,

Geoff Fox

WTNH News Channel 8

ps – You know, most people read the “ps” before they read the letter.

Deer – on my front lawn

When we moved into our house, in the summer of ’90, I planted a few fruit trees, in the mistaken belief that I’d take care of them and one day eat the (pardon me) fruits of my labor.

Well, I never really touched the trees and they’ve grown, but never produced edible fruit.

This year seems to be different. Maybe it’s our awful summer weather, or maybe the horrendously brutal winter (it can’t be the spring as we didn’t seem to have one), but whatever the reason, the peaches are very nice… albeit small.

My plum tree has loads of fruit, though nowhere near ripe yet.

Yesterday, Helaine said she had seen a deer near the fruit trees. Tonight, as I was getting ready to take Ivy for a walk, the deer was back with two babies.

Steffie yelled for me to get the camera, and I ran upstairs in that uncoordinated way that makes my walk so easy to parody. The batteries were in the charger, so I pulled them out, dropped the charger to the ground and tried to race downstairs without killing myself.

TV Weatherman Succumbs to Deer Related Death – – I didn’t want to see that.

There wasn’t a whole lot of light, but enough for me to get a few decent pictures.

The funny thing is, most times of the year, deer are pests. They eat our flowers in the spring (when we get one) and, if I had planned on eating the fruit, they’d still be eating it.

Arnold for Governor

It has been speculated for a while now that this evening on The Tonight Show, Arnold Schwarzenegger would announce he was NOT going to run for Governor of California. In fact, Matt Drudge made a big deal out of it.

No one told Arnold. He appeared with Leno and announced his candidacy.

With loads of people now running to be California’s governor, and with the election rules such as they are, it is possible that Gray Davis will be removed and replaced with someone who has less popularity than he!