Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015: So Far So Good!!!

Greetings! And Happy New Year! I know, once again, its been quite awhile since I posted anything here. One of the contributing factors to this, is that my 'o' key and my 'space' bar are both sticking on my Sony Vaio...which I've just learned, Sony has discontinued the manufacturing of! Perfect! Aspired for years to buy one...then buy one..and they quit making them. I suppose I could utilize the 'Geek Squad' thing I paid for and let them fix it...but somehow it always seems that when I try to do anything with Best Buy it NEVER ends well! And so...I just keep putting it off!

So wow, where to start? Poker? What is that? Haven't played a single hand since I last posted. Haven't watched any on TV...haven't read a blog. Zilch. In fact, my closest brush with poker was staking a couple friends in the tournament at the Beau Rivage. The guy I staked (name withheld out of respect) is a guy I've been friends with for awhile...who was up here trying to work, having been dealt a healthy dose of bad luck so far this year. I felt like being nice and offered to put him in something. He rewarded me buy making the final table, before busting out 8th. I was bummed for him. Me? I was just happy to double my buy in!

As for my other stake horse? Well, most of you probably already know who that was! The Claw...who continues to live under our roof. In her first event, she was the bubble. Ugh. Then the next three she just busted...all in pretty irritating fashion. I wasn't about to pony up $2500 for the main...but on her second try in the Mega satellite, she won...so we still got a shot. It went south. I believe she lost with JJ to some wacko judge who's claim to fame is playing any two cards, and not caring. He beat her with 4-8 off suit. Oh joy! I received that news while at sea, on our family cruise.
Always a good idea to give a little 'shout out' to your sponsors via wardrobe choices!
Yeah...cruise! Both Squirrel and I had never been on a cruise in our 40+ years. Joining us on the cruise was our mother and her friend, my sister and her friend, and Squirrel's mother...as well as Carley. So yeah...it was me and SEVEN females! 
The 7 Ladies of Carnival Dream!
About the ONLY bad thing that has occurred so far in 2015, was Alabama losing to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl...which we were there for. In fact, we got the 'royal treatment' from our friend Barth Melius, as his dad serves on the Sugar Bowl committee. We got to go down on the field before the game. And when Bama got out to a 21-6 lead, everything pointed to a berth in the NCG game. But we all know how things turned out there. Not good. I sucked up my pride, and tweeted out my congratulations to the Ohio State fans. They showed their true skill and grit when they went out and pretty much smoked Oregon...winning the National Championship. We  watched from the Lido Deck on the Carnival Dream...with a little sadness, but knowing we lost to the eventual champion was some consolation I guess. 


Bama may have lost....and once again fell short of the goal of NT #16...and it looks like we may be losing Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin to the Niners...but we did quickly pick up  commitments from the best cornerback and one of the top RB's along with a top-notch DE...to keep the factory at Alabama rolling in the wins. Just sucks having to wait for the next season to start.

The new Monkey Mobile!
Also in the first few days of 2015...I made a tough decision. I traded in my 2004 Toyota 4-Runner...which has been a great car to me...for a 2015 Chevy Tahoe LTZ. Yep...it is a beast! Fully loaded, and just huge inside! Carley loves it, Squirrel loves it...and I love it. I rented one a few months ago when I took mine in for some minor body work...and instantly was hooked. I think the thing I  love the most about it? My 4-Runner, for all its positives, was VERY loud at speeds over 60mph. And it drove me bananas. It also had 'that little rattle' that came from the back seat, and one from the drivers-side door. Me and rattles? Oh...we do NOT get along well!!! So, this new car? At 105 mph...Cheryl and I  are practically whispering to each other! It is like a library in there! No rattles, no creaks, nothing! And the bluetooth, hands-free action? Love it. Bottom line!?? I  am NOT regretting the decision one bit. I also haggled like a mother to get my payment down to a number that when I told Squirrel, elicited an actual raising of the eyebrows! If you are married, you know how HUGE that is!!!!

Our new  house is awesome. I have to give all the credit to Squirrel and Claw...as they have made all the interior design decisions...and all I've had to do is hand over the debit card! The one and only drawback, is the busy road right behind our house...Squirrel says its like living in a road side hotel! But we will only be here until about October...when we will be moving into our OWN house, finally! The taxes are paid  for 2013 and 2014...and we are now finally 'qualified' on paper to be 'allowed' to stop renting! Thank heavens! Now I guess the tough part will be deciding where we want to live. And knowing Squirrel...it's going to have to be just perfect!

Pulling into New Orleans after a great 7-day trip...too bad our 'welcome party' included one of New Orleans' least finest.
So we got back from our Western Caribbean cruise on Sunday morning...pulling into New Orleans after 7 days of absolute bliss. We took two great adventures, one in Cozumel, the other in Isla Rotan, Honduras...which was the definite highlight of the trip. My daughter Carley...loves 'ooh ooh, ahhh ahhh'  which is the sound monkeys make. She has several stuffed ones.Well, we booked an excursion where we went on a nature hike...and came upon 'Monkey Town' where these monkeys would come right up to you....sit on your shoulders, even head...and just interract with you. It was really cool.. Carley just loved it...and didn't stop talking about it for....well, she STILL hasn't!

Pretty obvious that ALL monkeys like the Seahawks!

After that, we met the moms at a semi-secluded beach that the cruise only issued 110 excursions to, getting us away from the overly crowded beach that most of the cruise passengers opted for...and it was simply amazing. It really looked and felt like Tahiti. White sand beaches, beautiful blue water...and a coral reef right off shore that you could snorkel around. We met lots of nice people also. And Squirrel and I even got 30 minute table massages ON THE BEACH! (in the shade!!! we aren't stupid!) 

On the last day at sea, I treated my mom and Cheryl both to 'Top To Toes' treatments at the ships spa. They both came back looking like jello, claiming it to be the best thing they'd ever experienced...which made me happy. Meanwhile, Carley and I were having a blast on the water slides. Followed by a  round of putt putt golf! 

Tackling the Monster Slide with Carley!!!

I think about all the things Carley has done in just under 3 years...and it makes me proud. I love seeing that little smile on her face. The only thing I regret, is that I don't think you remember much from before you are 5 years old...so I'm sad that she won't remember most of the adventures she's been on. Oh well, there are worse things in life, I guess!
Which one is Carley? Both? Nope...the one on the right is Squirrel! Wow!!!!
One of the most amazing things (I thought) on the cruise,  was the way our room would get serviced two, sometimes three times a day. And not ONCE....did a maid/housekeeper knock on our door, like they ALWAYS seem to do at EVERY hotel I ever stay at. It's like they had a secret camera that would tell them when we were out. And whenever we came back...we were greeted by an animal created out of towels...with two little stick-on buttons that served as eyes. Our favorite, was the monkey, that was left hanging from the curtain rod!!!! No kidding! Again...Carley ate that up!
On nature walk in Honduras..Carley kept asking when we were going to see "oooh ohhh ahhh ahh' which is what she calls monkeys!
The food was everywhere! No one starves on a cruise! And there was entertainment everywhere as well, we took in a few good shows, saw some Karaoke, some piano bar, and some comedy. The moms did a little gambling in the casino. I never stepped foot in there. They had poker, but it was through those machines...where you have no dealer...and the rake on cash games was 15%...so I said 'no thanks' and stuck to the reason I was there...being with my family, and enjoying the cruise! 

There was very little I could say anything negative about. We are very excited about doing it again, I know that for sure! 

So...its always nice when you spend 7 days being happy, and being surrounded by pleasant people, right? Well...then you come home!

My mother and their group wanted to see my new car, as well as say goodbye to us. So once we all exited the ship, and got our baggage, I told them I'd get the car and drive around to where they were waiting. Great. Did that. Drove car around...spot them, and pull up in front of them. I am greeted by an angry-looking black lady in Sheriff uniform, asking me if I was loading or unloading?

"No, we just finished our 7-day cruise, and I'm just going to say goodbye to my family right there, as they are going to the airport to fly back to Seattle. I'll be just a minute."

Oh no! She had a major issue with that. Got very ugly, and for what reason? I mean...really...what reason did she have to be a bitch? Cars were standing all around us. She kept hollering about calling her supervisor. I told her that's a good idea. "What? Are you saying you AREN'T going to move your car then?" (obvious attempt to bait me into something she could actually charge me with) "No, that's 100% NOT what I'm saying. I'm saying you should call your supervisor over...so I could discuss with him your attitude, and your insistence to not let us simply say goodbye to our family."

Oh well, she went right on ranting and raving...obviously making no attempt to get her supervisor over. Instead what she did manage to accomplish was upsetting my family, and getting Squirrel all fired up wanting me to just get in the car and leave. Of course, I did...but once I did, there was no opening to get back into...so I had to listen to ALL OF THEM chirping at me now. I asked the lady for her badge number, so I could file a complaint against her. "I aint gonna give you my badge number!!!" Of course you aren't. 

Wow...welcome back to New Orleans! And people wonder why I loathe most of the citizens of that city? Not exactly how I wanted my day to start...but there it was.

Oh...it got better. I think you all know I'm a huge Seattle Seahawks fan...and are aware of the year, and the run, we had last year. Well, starting out the year 3-3 wasn't exactly what I had envisioned...but the 7 game winning streak to close out  the season was pretty awesome. And they looked, to me anyway, better than the team from last year. Well, all that ended when I sat through the absolute worst half of football that I think I'd ever seen  from the Seahawks. 16-0...and it should have been worse. Russell Wilson was 1 for 8...with 3 INT's. They committed 8 penalties, most of them stupid. It was looking like my birds were going to go out  like Bama did...one game from the big one. We were home in Biloxi by then...and I  was mostly watching from our bedroom...and hiding from the family.

Then...magic happened. And there is no need to give you the play-by-play...as I'm sure you all watched it, or at least caught the highlights. I did things, dances and whoops mostly...that I will never be able to remove from the eyes and memory of my family and some other friends who were here. I don't care. It was unbelievable what I was watching happen. But when we scored, to take the lead...I noticed there was 1:25 on the clock...and it took me back three years...to that game in Atlanta...when we scored against the Falcons after trailing huge early in the game...to take a 2-pt lead, but left Matt Ryan about the same exact amount of time to work with...and he promptly marched them down for a game-winning FG and a berth in the NFC Championship game...which they lost to the Niners. That was all I could think about. Then we went for two..and made it, on a desperation heave! Oh thank god! 

And..well, the rest is history. They got their game-tying FG as I feared they would...but then Russell Wilson took over in OT....and all of Seattle went crazy! Consecutive trips to the Super Bowl! A chance at history. Against one of my all-time favorite QB's in Tom Brady. The line is currently about even...which just adds to the luster of the matchup. Top offense vs top defense...just like last year...and we KNOW how that turned out! I don't have any predictions, hell I'm just tickled to be there again! And have the chance! Last year, it was a tipped pass from Richard Sherman that got us there...this year, a miracle finish that included an onsides kick, and a two-pt conversion. It happened three days ago and I'm still floating around on Cloud 9! 

As for the game? Would I like to go? Sure! Can I afford to go? Probably, yeah. But will I? Naw. That's just obscene to pay that much to see a football game. ANY football game. I think the most I will ever pay to see any game is $500. Anything over that just feels irresponsible. And its always almost better on TV anyway. And so...this morning, The Claw announced that we will be having an EPIC Super Bowl Party at our new home...which just happens to be perfect for staging parties in! The owner, for whatever reason...decided she didn't want to deal with a big back yard...and so 85% of the back yard is one gigantic deck! Complete with wrap around benches around the trees. Perfect for sticking one of our big screens on! It will be a great party, to be sure. And one thing Claw and Squirrel are good at? Hosting parties! So I think our Super Bowl Sunday will be fantastic!

As for poker? Well..I am maybe, possibly, going to request permission from Squirrel to go down to Palm Beach and play that event down there. I currently sit in 16th place still in the WSOP Freeroll standings, and while I've managed to make no headway with the WSOP people on getting my ridiculous '86' lifted at Horseshoe Hammond...which is preventing me from playing at  ANY Caesar's-owned casinos, it would still make me proud to qualify as one of the Top 50. That and I am kind of itching to play some tournaments, and see some of my buddies. The only other event I want to play is the one in LA...in March, at the Bicycle Club. That one is probably not as likely though as Palm Beach. We'll see. 

As for the WSOP, itself? Well...they say sometimes in life all you have to do is wait some things out. That may be just what this little stand off with them comes down to. I'll just tell you all, in fact show you...the letter I got back from the Horseshoe in Hammond after submitting my request for reinstatement. You might not notice, but the date on the letter they sent back to me was dated February 2012! And was signed by the Security Manager who hasn't worked there in a year and a half. Yeah...a lot of consideration and time went into that decision, huh!??? Pretty obvious they have orders from above that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is Will Souther to be reinstated. I mean...when they just reach into the file cabinet, grab a letter from two or three years ago, make a copy of it, and mail that to you? Please! Give me a break! 
To view the ridiculous/hilarious part of this letter, click on it to expand it to full size.
And don't think I didn't call the current security manager to inquire about it. That was a real 'fun' conversation...one filled with questions asked by me that were answered with, well, nothing that made any sense. Yeah, it was both frustrating and angered me...despite staying calm and trying over and over to get something out of her. Yeah...its pretty easy to see, the 'Jam Job' is definitely on in this case! I asked her...did they get the letter from the female dealer who got this whole mess started in the first place? The letter claiming she had made a mistake? And wanted me exonerated? Yeah! They did! She admitted. Did it matter? Nope! Why? Because, she claims a 'committee' of casino representatives made the decision to not reinstate me. When asked what 'representatives' those were...she couldn't really answer that. And I asked, since I'd never played any games on their casino floor, how could there possibly be any 'representatives' from the casino outside of poker who would have an opinion on me either way?

Bottom line? I got f-u-c-k-e-d by the one and only person at the WSOP who has the ability and the power to actually fuck me.  To that...I say this: FINE! You win, big boy! Congratulations! Your one last dying wish as a poker tournament supervisor was to see me ousted from your events? Well, you did it! Way to go! You can now die a happy man!

But the whole 'waiting things out' theory? Well...just so happens a few things are going on behind the scenes. For one...Caesars just filed for bankruptcy. Shocker...as most of us knew they were broke and swimming in debt for years now. But one of the top people at the WSOP was recently let go. That man just happened to be the table games manager at Rio. You know? The place that annually hosts the WSOP? Why did this happen? I suppose its because they are going to be forced to sell the Rio this year...which means this is going to be the last year the WSOP is played at Rio. Where is going to end up? Probably at Planet Hollywood...right there on the strip...with all that abundance (I'm joking) of parking! And it just so happens...that a certain person who serves as Table Games manager at Planet Hollywood will likely assume the position left vacant by the guy who was let go recently. And oh...wait! Guess who might have a thing or two against a certain TD from the WSOP? 

Oh....I'm sure I've given you plenty to chew on. See...poker? It is not what I live for. It doesn't shape me,  or personify who I am. I don't NEED poker to be happy or thrive. In fact...about the only time I am happy with poker? Is when I'm sitting at a final table...that IS the justification for putting up with all the rampant bullshit that just seems to always persist in the world of poker as we know it. Yes, I've met a lot of really wonderful people in the world of poker...and they know who they are, and we remain friends. But they know exactly what I'm talking about...and exactly the things, and the people that I am alluding to, and am pretty sure they all agree with me for the most part. 

So lets just sit back...and lets see what happens to certain people that are working in the poker world. Lets see where the WSOP ends up. Will they even stay with Caesar's? Or will they be bought out by someone else? Who would surely get rid of all the current management...because we all know...companies don't buy up other companies so that they can retain their managers. I am extremely patient! And I've got plenty of years left on this planet! And in the meantime...there are PLENTY of places I can go and spend my money playing poker tourneys! If the urge should happen to hit me to do so!

I hope you are ALL (even you haters!) having a GREAT 2015 so far!!!