Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This way it is quick but no fun

Envision a poker table with 6 players. First hand you get AA and you put in a raise. A re-raise is made and your All-inn is called by two players showing QQ an 1010. They hold up and you are the man.  Second hand you get KK, put in a raise and have to answer an All-in. Behind you another one calls the All-in. Again you hand holds up and in two hands you've eliminated 4 players. You're holding a 5:1 chip lead over the remaining player.

Envision the above situation and try to come up with a way to play well yet finish 2nd within the next 8 hands. It is a funny game.

Food chain

You know I'm all for questioning a hierarchy. Some are tested and approved while others make no sense at all and will be kept under my scrutiny for some time still. One of those that I had to accept was the traffic food chain but twice this week I was witness to persons questioning its value. They didn't break the fortress.

The traffic food chain: 1 and free game: Pedestrian. 2 and only allowed when in possession of a free license: cyclist (both with and without motor). 3 and available with a paid license: Car. 4 and only a few passes a year are given out: Truck, lorry, bus, etc etc.

Common sense should tell you when you approach a crossing on your bicycle that the car coming from your left is a danger. It's bigger, heavier and has areas especially developed for collisions where you have only flesh to soften the impact. Yesterday a cyclist thought to try out the head first approach in order to shake things up a bit. Unsuccessful although from what I could see his own head was pretty well shaken. And today we saw the bike first approach. One word of advice: Do not stand in the predictable path the bike will follow once it bounces back. Today resulted in one leg clearly broken and the other one suspiciously bend.

But....we can all breath again: the traffic food chain held up. Okay perhaps it would be better to accept it as a fact instead of challenging it. Accept that as a pedestrian your socks will be run off by cyclists. Accept as a cyclist the others are stronger. And accept as a (car)driver that even with your build in padding the other one is just to big for you ;-)

G'night and be safe out there

Monday, November 17, 2008

Was there?

Some twenty years ago a group of friends travelled to Antwerp for an extended weekend of partying. I  was lucky. Instead of having to share a room with 4 or 5 others of whom you don’t like everyone the same I ended up sharing the hotel room with two of my better friends.

It must have been the third day there that after spending the day at the beach near Oostende and drinking a few beers in the local establishments back in Antwerp the three of us were walking back to our hotel.  All the way back my friends were hanging onto each other’s shoulders but I put that down to a little bit too much of the local brew and the camaraderie that is involved with such a trip. Back in our room however they kept on hugging each other and slowly I started to get the point. Okay, they fancied each other.

"I want you now." I heard one whisper. "We can’t. H will notice." "So what, he won’t tell." "I'mm not sure, what if...." "You guys, do whatever you want to do but please let me sleep." Stupid fuggs. It was with the sound of their first kisses that I made my entry to dreamland.

------------------------------------------

During the years that have gone by I am the only one from the travelling party that has been visiting their home.  For twenty years they have been hiding their identity to the group of friends. We had numerous discussion about that. When you feel the need to hide your identity to your friends are they really your friends and vice versa when your friends stop to be your friends because of your coming out do you really lose anything?

I know in the soccer world there aren't any gay men presumably, but Daniel felt he had to hide himself for twenty years. Mark came out some ten years ago when he stopped playing the game but they never told anyone about their relationship. When leaving to go home they would make sure everyone saw they went separate ways.

At the end of last season Daniel hung up his boots. Although he told everyone that he felt his body  was too old to play week in week out I think with his 40th birthday coming up he was finally coming to the point he didn't want to hide anymore.

Three weeks later everyone from the original party got an invitation to their wedding.

------------------------------------------

During the last months there have been heated discussions within that original group. About the need they felt to hide. About me not telling my friends. About not going to the wedding.

This Friday they got married and all but one showed up. The one missing did send a video message though.  You wonder: Was there a need to hide and what if they had come out?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Teaching

"H, you really have to buy it now. It is 40% off and you know you are going to buy it for me anyway."

I got a call this morning and these are the words spoken to me by my nephew. Somehow he got his hands on a leaflet about all kinds of kids stuff on sale. He was right 2/3rds though. I was going to buy it for him and it was 40% off. But I'm kinda busy with work at the moment (I like to use understatements) and do not particularly care for discounts or perhaps more the people I have to wrestle to get to the cashier once victorious in securing the item on sale. So I told Jeffrey I was unable to go to the shop because I was way to busy with work and although disappointed he accepted my 'explanation'.

During the day however I started to get what I call parental feelings. You need to teach the young ones the value of money and perhaps even more so in the current economical climate. I tried to easy my conscience by telling myself that the value of work ethics you need to teach also but eventually succumbed to the former and not much later found myself wrestling and elbowing a few people in a shop.

So now Jeffrey is the proud owner of another game I know in a few years he is going to beat me with. But I got my lecture in about the money and praised him for being so kind to call me. Besides the bruises I so proudly wear I've a good feeling right now but I am afraid to look to my right where a pile of work is waiting for me.

Ah well there is always tomorrow. Sleep tight everyone and enjoy yourself.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obama country

Knowing how the baseball season went I shouldn't write this entry. I support the Cubs, with them out I thought the Dodgers should do it and, you guessed right, would have loved to see the Rays beat the Phillies who's ice cream logo I just don't like. But at the same time I never wrote about the Dodgers and Rays so me merely thinking can cause a jinx and thus I can safely write about something I till now have been relatively silent about. Yup, the upcoming election.

I'm a socialist-liberal. I know those terms are used to describe different political views in different countries so let me explain what a socialist-liberal is in my book. It is someone who wants to have as little governmental involvement in day-to-day business as possible without that becoming a free card to rip of the so-called weaker participants in society. It is someone who wants law and order firmly upheld but with a strong 'you are responsible for yourself' signature. It is someone who is pro abortion and euthanasia which are personal choices and against for instance guns and the death penalty. It is someone who isn't against paying taxes persé, but wants to see those taxes used in a responsible way.

Although non-US-people aren't allowed to vote they may contribute in what seems to be the most important election in decades. They also may have an opinion as, and we have seen that the last years especially, the outcome influences not only the US but life on a global scale. For me the choice is not too difficult. On one side you have a guy for the 20th century and on the other side one for the 21st century. I don't think we have time for another one from the old days. It is time for a change and for me that is Obama. By the way, had this election been run in the Netherlands McCain wouldn't even had to bother to show any commercials anymore. A recent survey showed us to be 74% in favour of Obama. I apparently live in Obama country LOL

I know Obama doesn't have a track record but having none is better then one that is too long. Personally when I look at McCain I see a man in pain, who perhaps doesn't even want to be the next president but is surrounded by people who want him to be. I think the loyalty he has shown them should be rewarded but not by voting him into office.

Whoever gets elected though has to start with what are the worst circumstances in the last 60 years and can not be envied for that. I hope that those on the sideline criticizing will be mature enough to take into account the difficulties we are facing. You are voting for a human not some mythological figure with powers usually read about in comic books.

On a last note and almost sounding religious: I think not only the US but the entire world is looking for some kind of hope and electing Obama would be a good step towards that.