Monthly Archives: August 2009

Poker Can Be Frustrating

Poker can sometimes be really frustrating. The last two times I have flopped a two pair: 1) My opponent had a 3 of a kind, 2) My opponent had top two pair, while I had the top pair and the third pair. I lost a lot of money on both occasions. Maybe I’m playing those hands too fast and loose, and not paying enough attention to my opponent. But I suppose luck has a bit to do with it too.


I played a small Texas Hold’em tournament today for the first time in months. Not that I was ever good at poker in the first place (I was decent amongst people who were weren’t very good), but I’m not half as good as I used to be. I can’t read anybody, and I don’t remember the odds for certain hands. More playing time and more studying will help that.

EDIT: I also realized that I wasn’t paying enough attention to the game as the hands unfolded.

Comic #500

I just made it to Comic #500 for The Chalkboard Manifesto. Wow.

Thanks to everyone who helped me make it this far, especially those who’ve been there since the beginning. More extended thanks to come in the TCM Blog tomorrow.

Comic #500 is as good a place as any to celebrate an arbitrary milestone, yes?

Finally, Some Motivation

Last night, I finally felt motivated, and it carried over to this morning. It’s amazing when I think about the number of mornings I’ve woken up where I’ve had no reason to get up in the morning. I actually was excited this morning to wake up. I finished writing my resume, which I had been putting off for a long time. I attribute this newfound motivation to a recent failure.

This last Saturday, I went apartment hunting with two friends of mine. It was tiring, but exciting. We even found a nice place, in a great location, for a really good price. Unfortunately, I had to back out because I don’t have my shit together. I don’t have a car or a job yet, so I decided it wasn’t in my best interests to move out yet. Plus I didn’t want to be jobless 4 months down the road, run out of money, and leave my roommates with the bill. My parents are willing to help out when I’m home, but not if I move out.

So not having my shit together finally had some real world consequences. I decided it was time to get my shit together. Looking for a place to live made it a concrete goal. Since it’s more tangible, I have something I can visualize. This has made me more motivated. For example, having “something you really would like” isn’t as motivating a prize as “that video game you have been talking about for months.” The concrete is better when it comes to goals.

Plus, this may be a blessing in disguise. The first place we looked at was amazing, but out of our price range. Once I have a job, it may very well be within my price range. Something to look forward to, yes?

I’m going to set my priorities, get things done, and life will be awesome.

Camel Head Shot

This was originally posted on The Chalkboard Manifesto blog…

From this news story, Australia considers mass killings of camels, comes this hilarious quote:

Tony Peacock, CEO of the University of Canberra’s Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center, said a cull was the most effective method.

“To be shot from a helicopter is actually quite humane, even though that sounds brutal,” he said. “If I was a camel, I’d prefer to just get it in the head.”

Small Things

I haven’t been super-productive this past week. Being out of a job has sucked out a lot of my motivation, and it doesn’t help that I’m going to Vegas next week. This week has sort of been a dead weak for me. It reminds me of the time in between finishing school and waiting for graduation. I’ve been doing small things to keep myself from feeling adrift, as I am apt to feel in these situations. My room is slowly being and cleaned, and I made a small change to the CM website.

Arrested Development Converts

Since marathoning all 3 seasons of Arrested Development with my old roommate, I have become an Arrested Development evangelist. It is the funniest, smartest show you’ll ever watch.

This summer I have earned two converts. My method was pretty simple. I kept making references to the show and informing my friend that this would continue until he/she watched the show. Now two of my friends have watched all 3 seasons of the show. And when I make references, they laugh.

During lunch today, my friend R had seen the show, while friend K had not seen the show. I utilized my same strategy, excluding K from the conversation to make references to Arrested Development to R. Hopefully, I’ll earn another convert.

Oh yes, and if you’re not converted: The show is free to watch on Hulu! Watch Arrested Development!

Positivity Repiphany

About halfway through ATDP, I descended into grumpiness. One particular Wednesday, I was standing on the BART platform, pondering my grumpy state of mind. I had been grumpy the entire week. I knew why too. It was a result of fatigue. I had gone from doing no work and waking up at 11:00AM to doing lots of work and waking up at 6:30AM. I was tired and stressed out. As I learned from Patton: Fatigue produces pessimism.

I kept thinking: “I need some peace and quiet. I need an entire day where I do absolutely nothing. I need to vegetate alone.” I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t be happy until I did that.

As all this went through my mind, Alex saw me and came over to talk. I was rather unresponsive. I kept reflecting on how unpleasant I must be. “Once I take that time off,” I thought, “I’ll be able to be happy again. I can’t wait until then.” This absurd thought dominated my mind through the conversation.

Several minutes later, I had a revelation. The “until” locution revealed a happiness fallacy. I thought, “Goodness, what if I do nothing all weekend and then I’m still depressed? What then?” I realized that happiness isn’t something you wait for.

I remembered Tal Ben-Shahar’s book, Happier. This arrival fallacy is backed up by science. It’s often the case that one may think that one won’t be happy until one achieves something. Then, once it is achieved, the person still isn’t happy. Happiness isn’t some prize that magically appears at the end. It’s a huge let-down.

It was very likely that a day off wouldn’t make me happy. I recalled that positivity is a choice. At every moment, I must re-dedicate myself to positivity, not hope that it will magically come to me. So there was nothing preventing me from being pleasant in conversation, except some stupid blocks that only existed in my mind. At that moment, I chose to stop being grumpy. I forced myself to smile even though I didn’t feel like it. By the end of the day, I was energized and positive.

This wasn’t a new lesson. This was an old lesson that I thought I had already learned. I thought that this “positivity paradigm” was thoroughly entrenched in my life, but I was wrong. It was a lesson I had to relearn. I had already had the epiphany, but now I needed a “repiphany.” Learning is really hard, isn’t it?

Finally, on Saturday, I got my lazy day. I lounged for hours on the couch. I didn’t even read a book. It didn’t make me happy at all. I laughed at myself. I really thought that this would have made me happy? Watching Hulu all day and laying on the couch is the key to happiness? Sometimes, I can be really stupid. But luckily I relearned my lesson.

Can’t Edit

I’ve had a phrase (originally from my AP English teacher way back when) that has helped me out whenever I got stuck while writing: “You can’t edit what you don’t have written down.” No matter how crappy the first draft may be, it is much better than having no draft. Remembering this has forced me to just write whenever I felt stuck. The editing process is better than sitting there in front of a blank piece of paper, waiting for perfection to emerge.

I want to make an analogy to life in general. Perhaps I could phrase it this way: “You can’t improve what you never try.” It is better to try something and fail than to sit there and wait for yourself to do it perfectly.