Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Thanks For Playing!

The fascinating thing about blogging, for me, is not just the fact that I'm casting my life upon the waters of the internet for anyone to read, but that I can go back at the click of a mouse and find out what I was thinking on this date in history, from 2003 onwards. I know other people have been keeping personal journals all their lives; but despite various attempts at diarying at points in my life, I've never been able to do it with any consistancy. Why? I think because I don't like writing for myself. I like writing for other people to read. I like choosing my words carefully in order to make you laugh when you click my bookmark and see a new post. It doesn't matter that there are only about 10 people who read this thing regularly--even if it was only 2, or 1, or just someone randomly Googling the words "Cautionary Tale" every week or so, it still provides more motivation for me than just writing something for myself. Must be the Leo in me.

Anyway, so the ability to go back and check on my state of mind on New Year's pasts is quite a feature. I generally tend to be depressed on New Year's, but I note that I only posted about being depressed twice in the last 5, which is impressive. Maybe because depression isn't all that funny, and I strive to stay funny so that all 10 of you will stick around for another year! But this year, I'm not depressed at all. For the first New Year's since I started the blog, I'm gainfully employed, full time, in a job that I really love and am passionate about. I'm in a good place with family and friends, and we have again the hopeful prospect of political change in the wind for 2008. (Mind you, if we get a Democrat in the White House the "good place" with my family may change--my mom holds me personally responsible for betraying the Republican party at times like this.) I'm in reasonably good health mentally and physically, as are my pets and family. This may be one of the best New Year's in the last decade for me, simply because I don't have anything to dwell on while listening to Pink Floyd's "Time" in a darkened room. Go, 2008!

So how did I start this new year on a high note? By getting completely cleaned out at penny poker. Jesus, my luck was just awful, and I had a great time. We pulled out This Book, and I got to call some great variants like "Liz Taylor" and "Rescue 9-1-1." As you might expect from a book authored by Phil Foglio and James Ernest, these variants are wild and brilliant and hilarious, resulting in huge pots. If you like poker and don't take it too seriously, you should add this book to your library. Just to give you a taste, here's the two games I called last night:
Liz Taylor. 7-Card Stud. Queen of Hearts is wild, and starts in the middle of the table. First person to get a jack or king face up gets "Liz." She stays in his hand until a new man comes along--ie, someone else is dealt a face up jack or king. So until the last faceup card is dealt, you don't know for sure who's going to end up with the wild card. Prevents early folding, builds the pot, and carries a nice suspensful jolt.
Rescue 9-1-1. 5-Card Draw. Natural 9-A-A beats all hands. Everyone's discards after the first betting round go into a pile in the center called "The Media Crew." The injured cards (one-eyed jacks and the suicide king) are wild. Play is as normal, but before the winner collects, all the cards in the media crew are revealed. If a 5-card hand can be made from that pool of cards which beats the winning hand, then the Media Crew has arrived at the emergency first! All cards are reshuffled, another hand is dealt to all live players, and the pot stays. Play continues until a player has a winning hand that isn't trumped by the media. Last night we had two full houses beat by the Media Crew before someone finally won with a 7-high straight. It was awesome, the pot was enormous and there was a huge tension each time we flipped the media hand and started sliding cards around to see what we could make of it. Totally worth the $3 I lost last night.

So...Happy New Year, y'all!