Archive for January, 2012


Tells, Just Not William Tells

Hello faithful readers, I am back from our intended 4 day but actually 5 day stay in Biloxi Mississippi.  If you read some of my previous posts you will remember that I have a vice, but it is under control (LOL) and that is gambling.  I only go to the casinos a couple of times a year so I don’t consider it an addiction but rather a hobby.  This time I dedicated myself to the art of  No Limit Texas Hold Em Poker, an interesting game where you can lose vast amounts of money with the flip of five cards.  What is even more interesting than the game though are the people you meet playing the game.  I guess in the old days most of them would be called gunslingers, but in these modern times they use their stacks of $5 poker chips to rob you, no gun needed.

I met several people, and I think it is an indicator of my warped personality that I got along so well with all of them.  The most memorable was the dealer who looked like a gang member but was the nicest kindest family guy I have met in a long time.  Then the players, they range from the hardened casino dealer (at another casino) playing a game he knew very well, to the 70-year-old gent from Tampa who like me just visits 2 times a year.  Then there is the Hank Williams Jr. look-a-like with 32 pounds of jewelry on his fingers, the cowboy hat and the dark glasses, who could flick out a poker chip while exhaling cigarette smoke and sipping on a Budweiser at the same time.  Or the two local young guns who played poker (I think) for a living.  So then you add me to the mix and the party is on. 

I played with various combinations of these players as well as many others mixed in over the course of the 5 days.  I learned a lot, I learned different names for parts of the human body, I learned that poker dealers make very good poker players, I learned that despite the alcohol being free while you are playing, it is a long walk to the rest rooms, so plan ahead.  I learned about “tells” little signs that give away a player’s hand, and I tried to learn how not to show any myself, like jumping up and yelling YAHOOOOOOO when you get dealt two good cards.  But most of all I learned that my wife is a Saint and played the slots for hours while allowing me to indulge in my last vice.

Win? Oh I won some, lost some, then won some more.  I think over the entire stay I probably made $200.  (My wife made more on the slots, but I won’t bore you with the details about that, even though I hear about it all the time).  I know this is a paltry sum considering the hours I played, but I found it to be validation of my steadily growing poker prowess.  I mean the other times I indulged this vice I played for a lot less time and usually lost $1,000 or more in a 4 or 5 day stay, so it was a moral victory for me if nothing else.

So now its back to playing against my 12-year-old son.  He is a better player than me, he knows about tells and he knows about bluffing.  I hope he doesn’t know all those names for the anatomy yet though.  I will practice against him until I make the trip again in October.

The Man

I miss the Man.

The Man who lovingly played with me at a tender age, giving me my nickname “Butch” which I only allowed him to call me. 

The Man who made our Christmas toys out of wood in the basement as we lay on the floor above, looking through the cold air vent, he spent hours shaping pieces of wood into cars, trucks and doll houses.

The Man who loved my mother so much that you could see her beaming whenever he was in the room with her.

The Man who taught me things that at the time seemed so minor but as I grow older are so important.

The Man who only wanted a better life for his children than he had.  

The Man who ingrained in me the work ethic, the desire to be productive, the urge to be a good citizen.

The Man who allowed me to become a Man.

I miss my Father.

My Final Vice

As I get older (much older according to my bride) I find that my vices have either entirely disappeared or softened considerably.  I quit smoking many years ago for all the right reasons, but I do miss that euphoric feeling.  I pretty much gave up drinking, at least to the extent I used to consume.  Oh I still have a drink now and then, I just don’t drink to get completely wasted like my early years.  I sold my sports car a long time ago, so now I don’t have the vice of driving fast and carefree (children help to calm that one too) and I now drive a ~gasp~ Suburban SUV.

So what is left for the old guy you say?  Oh don’t worry about me, I still have a vice, GAMBLING.  No, I don’t play the lottery every day and I don’t participate in sport pools of any sort.  Heck I don’t even make friendly wagers on anything anymore.  My vice is confined to the Casinos.

I love those places, the glitter, the noise, the smell, sitting at a poker table with a stack of chips and playing cards in front of me gives me the same euphoric feeling that the nicotine and alcohol used to, without the nasty side effects.  I am not a good gambler, I rarely leave a casino with more in my pocket than when I entered, but it doesn’t matter, it is the high I get from it that drives me to these places.

Oh I know there is Gamblers Anonymous, but I have found an even better way to control the habit, I live in Georgia, USA.  This state won’t allow anything like a casino, horse racing, dog racing, you name it on their soil.  The only gambling you can do here is the Lottery and I shy away from that.

So to sate my addiction I have to travel.  My favorite destination right now is Biloxi Mississippi, it used to be Las Vegas but I now hate flying (TSA).  I love the place and not just for the few remaining casinos (after Katrina) but the weather and the people.  So next week I am making my pilgrimage to the Casinos, to get my fix and stimulate the economy of Mississippi.  If I have any money left to pay the cable bill, I will let you know how I did at the tables.

 

 

 

Pet Peeves

Driving to work this morning I couldn’t help but think of my top 3 pet peeves.  We all have them whether we admit it or not, so I have listed mine, bearing my soul so to speak.  I don’t want to be the only one though, so here is your chance to vent, post in the comments your top 3 pet peeves and I will list the top 10 in a future post. 

  1. People who are late, ALL the time.
  2. TV Commercials that insult your intelligence (most do).
  3. People who talk LOUDLY in the movie theater, during the movie.

OK friends, let her rip.

 

 

A brief intro is required here, this is an excerpt from the 1970’s portion of my Autobiography.  It tells of a British Engineer we worked for briefly, named Colin.  Roy was a fellow technician and we were assigned to work on a barge complete with sort of sleeping quarters.  The following is the snippet of that adventure, enjoy.

I have one memorable experience with Colin’s loss of touch with reality which actually spawned two of Roy and mine “classic” idiotic things that we have been instructed to do.  Roy and I were assigned to do some geotechnical drilling off of a spudded barge in the shipping channel of Lake St. Clair.  We were to work at the north end of the lake where the St. Clair river deposits into the lake.  We had a CME 55 Bombardier mounted rig driven on to the barge, two sets of drillers and helpers and Roy and I as the technicians.  The plan was to work two twelve hour shifts and get the job done in about 4 days.  We loaded the barge up near Amherstburg and it took about 14 hours sailing time to get to the site.

Being the “senior” technician I of course elected to work the day shift, after all it was March and not exactly the warmest of weather. Roy, as always, did not complain and just brought extra clothes to endure the nights.  Before we even left we were given a detailed memo from Colin, which Roy still has, outlining our job assignment and sampling depths.  However, Colin couldn’t  leave it at that, he wrote something to the effect “whilst on the barge there should be no skylarking (idiotic statement #1).  If you fall in the water this time of year you will only have 13 seconds to live (idiotic statement #2)”.  Well Roy had to come to me for the translation of a couple of those words and we at first were quite insulted by the memo, but eventually it became common banter over the years.  What are you doing Roy, oh nothing Peter, just skylarking today.  I still don’t know what Colin’s source was for the thirteen seconds to live comment, I assume he must have watched National Geographic one night.

Off we went, we sailed up the Detroit River and through Lake St. Clair to our destination.  I will digress her and give another Roy/Peter classic moment.  The trip up the river and across the lake took about 14 hours.  With nothing to do, Roy and I decided to pester the Captain of the tug about navigation.  We would see all the flashing lights on the buoys and ask him what they were.  Finally, fed up I would imagine, he handed us some charts, an instrument used by mariners to sight themselves and a quick tutorial on which lights were which on the drawing.  “Now, using that information, tell me where we are”.  The challenge was on.  Roy and I took multiple sightings on at least 20 buoys.  We scaled the drawing, we triangulated, and we did everything we thought that Columbus must have done to discover America.  After about an hour we were appalled to learn that our current location was somewhere just west of Flint,Michigan, or about 100 miles inland.  Of course being good navigators we alerted the Captain that he was aground.  He didn’t find it as funny as Roy and I did. 

After some difficulty in locating ourselves (not our fault this time) we started drilling.  After a day or so, the weather started getting quite rough. Lake St. Clair outside of the channel is quite shallow, only about 20 feet in some places.  At the direction of the tug captain we towed the barge around to shelter near a small island.  Even though I was the Senior technician, I wasn’t a tug boat captain and knew that there was no way I could force him to put his vessel in harms way.  I told him that it was entirely up to him when we went back to work.  We lounged in the sheltered area for most of a day when the tug captain told Roy and I to hop in, we were going out to the drill area to see if it had calmed down any.  After about 10 minutes it became very apparent that things had not calmed down, the water was extremely rough, and in fact you could see the lake bottom at the low point of each wave.  The tug was bounced around severely and we started heading back.  The captain let me use the ship to shore radio (no cell phones in those days) and I called Colin.  The radio had a hand held microphone and a speaker, the conversation was out there for all on the tug boat to hear.  I apprised Colin of the situation and how we would be delayed for at least another 12 hours, or until the weather let up.  With the tug captain and crew listening in Colin made probably the most asinine statement I have ever heard from anyone in my life “Well Peter, I am looking out my window and the weather appears very nice here”.  Now I had been on a crummy barge for a few days, no showers, warm at best food, not much sleep and was currently getting my internal organs shuffled around by the pounding of the waves, I use that as defense for my reply to Colin. “OK we will tow this freaking (not my exact word) thing down to Windsor, put it in the parking lot and drill there”.  That was the end of the conversation and was actually the last conversation with Colin until we did return to land.  I gained a couple of new friends that day in a tug boat captain and his crew.  Roy and I spent the next several hours telling them who the moron was on the other end of the radio and why what he said did not really surprise either of us.

Milestones

I am constantly amazed at the great people I have met on Social Media through my blog.  I started my little spot in mid September of 2011 and now just four short months later I have a total of 52 followers, 40 through WordPress and another 12 through email updates. 

Also during that same period I have had over 2300 views on my site and not counting my witty responses, over 200 comments on blog posts.  These numbers are probably small compared to a lot of blogs but they are not to me, I cherish each and every one of you that tags along and listens to my rants and rumblings.

I hope to keep this up in 2012 and I hope you will stay with me.

Thanks to all of you.

Peter Dave Hobbs

Weather Alert, South Eastern USA

I don’t usually like to forecast the weather, but I have to alert the residents of the southeastern United States of an upcoming weather disaster.  I plan on going on a min-vacation on January 23 travelling to the Gulf of Mexico.  Every time I plan this trip the weather decides to intervene.

Last year at the same time we had one of those unprecedented snow/ice storms which was made worse by the inept Transport people trying to clear the stuff off the roads.  The result was the City was shut down for 4 days and you couldn’t get out, thereby killing my vacation.

Heads up everyone, Monday January 23, 2012 will be a weather nightmare, Peter predicts it, and hey, worse case if I am wrong I could get a job on the local news doing the weather, right?

Peter’s Rules of Painting

I bought the paint in May, I think it was on sale but I’m not sure.  It sat quietly in the bedroom that it was intended to be used in since then.  Oh it had to be moved to allow the floors to be vacuumed but other than that it sat, silently, waiting for me to apply the silky contents to the walls.

I finally succumbed to the external pressure (aka the Wife) and the internal pressures (aka my guilt) and decided  that this past weekend would be the day.  I had not painted anything in over a year and I was feeling pretty good about it until I realized there was a reason I hadn’t painted anything in over a year, and that was the Peter Rules of Painting.

Each and every one of my rules came true as I tried to apply just a single gallon of paint to a small room with only two windows and two doors.  Tell me if I am alone on this list:

  1. Regardless of the masking tape you use (regular or blue) the end result is still paint getting on things it is not intended to;
  2. No matter how much you cover anything in the room with drop cloths, paint will still get on the carpet, the furniture, the ceiling and of course the light fixtures;
  3. The trim will always be darker than the walls;
  4. The cat will always come into the room just as you complete the second coat and walk along the wall (he is a lovely shade of blue now);
  5. After the first coat is on, and the painter (me) is taking a well deserved break, the Owner (wife) will say “that doesn’t look very good”;
  6. Regardless of how empty the house is (send them off shopping) just as you get in the painting groove (yes there is one) there will be a knock at the door and someone will want to discuss my life in the hereafter, as if I am not having enough trouble with the present;
  7. At least once during the process, when you turn, bend over and lean down to apply paint to the roller, your butt will smear across the freshly painted wall (go on, tell me I’m wrong);
  8. When the painting is finally done and you decide to remove the masking tape it will always expose areas that should have been painted; and
  9. The final rule is that no matter how big or how small the area is, the amount of money spent on paint is only half of the amount spent on adult beverages.

Well there is my list, I am due to paint another room this summer, but I have already decided to hire someone to do this one. 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I am not good at making resolutions, only because I know I will likely never keep them.  However, since I started this blog a few short months ago, and I have been fortunate to have a nice group of people following me, I thought that this year may be the year to actually make some resolutions and who knows, maybe even stick to them.  So I sat with a pencil and doodled a bit and made some notes and came up with this short list of Peter’s resolutions for 2012.  They are listed in no particular order.

  1. I will no longer ask  the foreign sounding person on the telephone trying to sell me something what country he/she is in (they hate this and always hang up).
  2. I will believe my son when he tells me that he has no homework, even if it is seven days straight since his last homework.
  3. I will use all five of my fingers when I wave to fellow drivers on the way to work.
  4. I will quit arguing with the TV weatherman every evening at 6pm and I promise not to question his lineage anymore also.
  5. I will quite my quest to figure out what the hell the producers of LOST were thinking with the show finale, it has given me nothing but a headache.
  6. I will quit being snotty to the people at work when they ask why I wear short sleeves even in the winter time in Georgia (duh).

Well that is a short list, and something I can probably get a grip on.  I have left off the obvious diet and giving up of vices resolutions because, well nobody keeps those. 

Wish me luck!!