Archive for February, 2006

Not Lost!

The streets go one way, and that one way may change, and it may not be the one way you want to go. The intersections have five streets converging, and no one street continues in a straight line. Highway exits have unmarked turns. Roads have multiple names. Highway entrances are in the middle of the road.

Why the hell would anyone drive in Boston?

Well, in our case, it was because church ran long. The student minister gave the sermon this week, and she’s kind of long winded. Okay, extremely long winded. Add to that all three choirs (children, youth, and adult) singing a song this week, where normally there’s one. Then, for the cherry on top, it was the day we were calling, accepting, or some other verb-ing the new lay ministers. Next thing you know, it’s 12:10 and we’re just getting home.

So, I grab the tickets, and we’re out the door. Mike asks me where the theatre is. I go back inside, and open up Silkierscarf, my laptop. A little google-mapping, and I’m confident. More or less.

I’m pretty sure I can get to the parking lot under the Commons. Since that’s our first goal, it’ll have to do. Just because I’ve never once managed to leave that lot without getting severely lost and ending up in some town I didn’t even know existed…

So, off we go. Of course, we were pretty hungry, so we stopped at the first rest area on the Pike to grab quick lunch. I was hoping there’d be a Fresh City, like there is at the first stop west of our house, but alas there would be no simple burrito for me. The Fresh City burritos have a magical quality where you can eat them with one hand and they don’t fall apart. This was not the case of my selected lunch – a quesadilla from Sandella’s. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Turns out… no.

After my first spill, Mike hooked me up with a napkin in my lap. It caught several more spills as I attempted to eat and drive. Don’t try this at home, kids! I totally should have just gave up and got chicken nuggets. Those are totally car food. Oh well, lesson learned.

We got to the exit soon after I had finished the third quarter of my lunch. The fourth quarter was never to be reached, and I threw the box in the back seat for the remainder of the journey. See, the next leg was to be on Storrow Drive, and that road scares me.

Did you know that Storrow Drive is also Soldier’s Field Road? Yeah. See, this is something Google should tell you. Anyway, here I was on a road that was obviously Storrow Drive, hoping that it was also Soldier’s Field Road. We passed by BU, then more BU, and also the river. We took the appropriate exit to bounce over to Boylston Street, and I was back in familiar territory.

People are crazy. They just walk across the street, mid block, without a crosswalk, while I’m just, you know, driving! I was nervous, but we survived.

Finally, we could see the Public Gardens. Well, see, this is where Boylston Street decides to divide. Why? I don’t know. I guessed that I wanted to be on the left of the divider in order to get to the Commons. I was totally right, thank goodness, for at the next light there was that telltale blue background sporting a bright white P.

We went all the way down to the lower level of the garage, walked up the four flights of stairs to get back to ground level, walked out the door, noted that it said “Tremont Street,” and immediately started shivering. I was glad that I chose to wear my snow jacket (at least it’s getting some use…). We were heading for Washington Street, which is behind Tremont, so we headed towards the nearest road, figuring the Tremont Street Pavilion would be near Tremont Street.

Signs lie.

We found all kinds of interesting streets that weren’t Tremont Street before discovering we were at the exact opposite corner of the Commons than we actually wanted to be. So we walked. And shivered. And walked on slushy snow. And shivered.

We found Tremont Street, continued along Boylston up to Washington Street, and everything was going great. Until Mike twisted his ankle. He grimaced and refused when I offered to get him some Advil at the CVS we happened to be standing outside of.

So onward to the theatre!

Mike had never seen Les Miserables before. I could neither believe nor understand, so I made a mental note to get tickets for us months ago. Right, so months passed, and it was suddenly the day before Valentine’s Day… oops. I did get tickets, but the lady on the phone said they might be limited visibility.

When we got to the theatre, we were ushered along the audience’s right side wall, around to the front. The lady on the phone was full of crap. The seats were awesome and awesomer when you realize they were cheap due to their possibility of being limited in viewing. We settled in for an great show. If you missed it, too bad, because it’s already done being in Boston.

I love Les Miserables. I love the story, the characters, the spectacle, the songs… everything. I’d give my left leg to play Mme. Thenardier (though they would probably have difficulty casting me if I had only that one leg…). I’d cut off all of my hair to play Fantine (conveniently necessary!). But I don’t have to be in the show to enjoy it. It was a lot of fun.

I cried.

On our way back, we followed the piles of people over to the park. This time, we would not get lost. We walked straight for the Tremont Street Pavilion (which I reassured myself actually said “Tremont Street” not just “Tremont” – signs lie!), shivering all the way. Did I mention it was cold? I think I may have lost feeling in my cheeks. And my fingers weren’t thrilled either. I need new gloves.

We managed to get back to the car, finding it with no difficulty. We followed the signs up to the exit (and those signs didn’t lie), paid our $10 weekend fee, and went up the exit ramp to the street.

I had decided in advance that I would just take that first left and hope that the street would go far enough back to get me back to someplace familiar. Luckily, that random street just so happened to be Beacon Street. It took me to Exeter, the only street from which I have ever successfully found the Mass Pike.

I made my bizarre assortment of left turns to get to the Pru-tunnel, and we were on our way! I totally drove in and out of Boston, and never once got lost! Okay, so we got lost a little bit at the Commons, but it wasn’t that lost, we were still at the Commons… So, I totally drove in and out of Boston and barely got lost!

Yay me!

Maybe now I can call myself a Massachusetts local.

Probably not.

February 28th, 2006 • 12:17 pm • dinane • Posted in Theatre4 Comments »

Boobs or Nintendo?

My next-cube-neighbor at work pointed me to a quite entertaining little video. Go watch it. I suggest headphones, if you’re at work. Unless you’re so cool you have an office. In which case, can… can I steal your office? Especially, if it has a window! I miss the day star!

Tripod sings “Make You Happy Tonight”

Are you done watching it? Good, because I’m going to talk about it now. Oh, you were lying? Now, go back and watch it first. I understand.

I went to a tech school. I went to a tech school and my class had the highest percentage of female students ever, at a whopping 24%. A common joke (don’t forget that this was a tech school) was that the guys outnumbered the gals pi-to-one. Start your snorty or snarky laughter now (be you a geek or not).

I’m not sure who invented the quiz, but it really is a simple one. This was all the rage my entire time in school. See, WPI isn’t exactly filled with eligible bachelors. It is filled with male human beings (okay that even might be a stretch some days). There needs to be a quick and simple way to determine if a boy’s existence is worth noting, hence the one question quiz:

“Boobs or Nintendo?”

There is only one right answer. There are hundreds of wrong answers. Here are some awesome wrong answers (note to boys – don’t use any of these if you ever want to have a girlfriend):

  • “Which game?”
  • “GameCube or N64?”
  • “Can I have both?”
  • “Um…” or any kind of delay in answering.
  • “That [fill in with some video game character] has some nice boobs.”

The right answer, of course, is “Boobs.” Variations include:

  • “Boobs, what else?”
  • “Boooooobs…” (this one might not get you too far with the ladies either, but at least it’s not wrong).
  • “… What did you say after ‘boobs?’ I stopped listening after ‘boobs.’”

So, girls, if you find a guy who you suspect might be too geeky, try this quiz out on him. If he passes, you can feel safe to pursue further conversation and flirtation. If he fails, run. Luckily, geeks tend to either run slowly or fall down a lot, so you should be able to escape.

And boys, if you can’t pass this on your first try, you may as well make yourself comfortable in your momma’s basement. Just make sure you don’t forget your Nintendo!

February 27th, 2006 • 10:00 am • dinane • Posted in Uncategorizable, Video Games3 Comments »

I Made These

So, occasionally, I go read Mike D’s blog. Usually, it’s when Jon Abad mentions something about his site, or the House of Rock, or somesuch. Why I don’t have MikeD’s blog in Bloglines, I couldn’t tell you. For that matter, how about I rectify that right now. I’ll even put the link on this website. Holy moly!

Anyway, a bit of a while ago, Mike D put up a link to his ever so awesome flipbook depicting a train, among other things.

Mike D just so happens to be a super-expert at MS Paint (as you will witness when you check out his site). That skill translates beautifully to the realm of flipbook. I happen to be an expert at sucking at drawing. That translates to… uh… well… good thing God let me be good at other things, huh!

But that didn’t stop me from making a couple videos myself. Why? Because. They aren’t the most awesome things ever, but if you like fireworks and tulips, you might like looking at them. Really, what it should do is inspire you to make your own flipbook, because you can do better!

At any rate, I made these. “KaBOOM!” is from a couple weeks ago, and “Spring” is more recent. Have fun playing with flipbooks!

February 24th, 2006 • 3:31 pm • dinane • Posted in Blogosphere, UncategorizableNo Comments »

Back to Basics

Okay, I admit it. I had a terrible week last week playing poker online. It was a huge rollercoaster, with big wins and bigger losses, and ultimately, I was down a third of my bankroll. Oops?

I thought about what I was doing, and I think I understand now where the money was going. It was going into games I’m not actually good at. I’m pretty good at Limit Omaha 8. I like to think I don’t suck at No-Limit Hold’em. Meanwhile, I absolutely suck at 5 Card Draw and Stud 8, and I’m barely break even at Pot-Limit Omaha 8 and regular old 7 Card Stud. Yet I was playing all those games.

I don’t play for the money. I play because it’s a fun game. It happens to be a fun game that gives me money on occasion, and that happens to add. However, I refuse to spend any more money on my pastime, so it really behooves me to try not to leak money out of my bankroll.

Every time I buy in to a $20 Stud or Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, I’m giving away my money. The Limit Omaha 8 tourneys? Those aren’t so bad. I’ve moneyed in two out of four. I haven’t won even my buy-in back at any other tournament I’ve entered recently (except for my Turbo Short-Handed Sit’n'Gos – those are still awesome).

So, I’m back to basics. I’m not allowing myself to step outside of Limit Omaha 8 and No-Limit Hold’em until I get my bankroll back up to where it was two weeks ago. As such, I’ve been playing a lot of $10 No-Limit lately (for the uninformed: that means you buy into the table for $10, and in this case the blinds are $.05 and $.10).

I’ve been having some decent luck at these tables, and only once have I felt like I was being outclassed (and I managed to back away from that table before I lost all $10). My luck even goes so far as to let me flop top trips in the hand I’d like to talk about. Top trips are awesome. The adrenaline rush from seeing them is just fabulous. It’s like the last few clicks at the top of the Superman Ride of Steel.

There were five people at my table (I mean mine – I actually started it because I like 5-handed play [can we say action junkie?] and there were no such tables available – they name them after you when you create a table!) when I was dealt two tens on the button. After being dealt a bunch of crap for a while, they looked better than aces! So, of course, when the first two players folded, I raised it up. My standard raise that day was $.40. The small blind folded, and the big blind re-raised me, making it $1.10 to go.

Now, tens aren’t the greatest hand in the world. They’re vulnerable to face cards, and more or less dead to bigger pairs. So I thought about it, using up nearly my entire time. This re-raising player had been in a lot of hands, and seemed to me to be a little tilty; he seemed a little aggravated by my pre-flop raising. (I don’t give free flops, but I’ll sure as heck take ‘em!) I knew I had a reasonably good hand, and I figured I’d back away if the flop came with any cards higher than ten, so I called.

My heart rate soared when the flop came 10-7-4 rainbow. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect flop for my pretty little tens. Since I figured my opponent for a big ace or better, I was pretty sure he’d be happy to bet this pot to the end for me. He bet about half of the pot, and I called, after giving some time and hoping he thought I was considering folding.

The turn came another piece of useless junk… actually, now that I think about it, it must have been a nine, and he bet half the pot again. I decided I would like to announce the goodness of my hand, and raised him. I did this because he might have thought I was bluffing. This wasn’t completely unreasonable, if he had thought all my pre-flop raising was a load of bullshit (which it kind of was, but the table was folding to me, so why would I stop?).

He called. I’m really not sure why he did, but I think I was ecstatic. The river was a queen. This is where I think my reasoning went sour. I guess I had decided that he didn’t have queens (why? I don’t know, but I’m glad I was right!). He checked, and I decided I’d be betting pot.

Then I looked at the pot, and realized I didn’t have that much money left. When the hand started, my opponent and I were the only ones at the table with more than the buy-in. Actually, we both had around $20. So, with the pot at $15-ish, and me at $13-ish, I went all in.

I am no convinced that was a mistake. He thought about it for as long as the timer would let him, folded, and typed “Fuck you and your runner-runner” in the chat window. (I will never understand the policy that lets people swear at the tables but not in the public chat.) What did he think I had? K-J? Ugh, even I wouldn’t be that stupid (and I’m pretty stupid). I responded “If that’s what you want to believe,” which is what I always say when people try to tell me what they think I have. He said, “Whatever,” and was gone two hands later.

Anyway, I don’t think going all in was the right answer. If I was convinced he didn’t have queens, I should have gotten him to give me just a little more of his money. Having him fold on the river just wasn’t worthwhile. Had I bet just a few dollars, he might have called. Of course, he might have gone over the top on me. Would I have believed he had queens then? I don’t know. Maybe I was trying to protect myself from having to make a decision, but that’s not what I think I was doing.

I think I made a decision not knowing all of the available information, and when I learned the information (that neither of us had enough for me to consider betting the pot at this point), I didn’t act appropriately. Bad Diane! The right options were to either bet small enough for him to call (probably $3, as it would have left him with $10, the buy-in, making it a psychologically easier call) or to just check it through if I was afraid of queens (and since I wasn’t afraid of queens, that really wasn’t an option).

In any case, I did win quite a big pot, and continued to do well at that table for another half hour or so before I decided to stop playing and watch the Olympics. Yay Olympics!

February 23rd, 2006 • 9:38 am • dinane • Posted in Poker2 Comments »

Ode to the Odor of Primer

Oh, Primer!
Your lovely smell greets me
as I walk up the stairs.
Your five gallon buckets
wave to me as I walk by.

My memory instantly takes me
back to the halls of Alden and Riley.
My scrappy clothes adorn me,
and adorning them is you,
Oh, Primer!

My hands look like they are
infected with a gross living thing.
My skin crackles under the drying
power of you,
Oh, Primer!

We do a half-assed job of
applying you to flats and cubes.
But it does not matter,
Oh Primer,
for we will cover you with your friend Paint.

Paint will bring you color and design.
Paint will bring you life and texture.
Paint will bring you depth and brightness.
Paint will bring you to life.
Oh, Primer!

Together, you and I,
we will bring the audience
to a whole new world
of wonder,
of joy,
of agony,
of sadness,
of brightness,
of agelessness,
of happiness,
of time,
of day,
of place,
Oh Primer!

February 21st, 2006 • 8:43 am • dinane • Posted in Theatre, UncategorizableNo Comments »

Piecing it Together

[Editor's Note: I know I said I wouldn't subject you to teeth talk. But it turns out that's all that's on my mind lately. Plus, this is kind of a good story.]

When I was in elementary school, I spent a fair amount of time hanging out with the girl across the street, we’ll call her AZ. Those were actually her initials. I wish I had been clever enough to realize that it would be fun to call her Alpha or A-to-Z or something. But I was eight, and also a loser, so I didn’t come up with anything quite so cool.

AZ was a year younger than me, and was super friendly. AZ and I used to race bikes and skate boards around our little cul-de-sac. This was in the days where I could ride my bike and skate board anywhere I wanted… as long as it was in the cul-de-sac (of seven houses).

We were totally racing our bikes from her house (#6) to my house (#9) along the sidewalk. Both of our houses were on the corners, so this was the longest race we could really piece together.

As we pulled around the hairpin turn at the end of the street in front of #27 (yeah, I don’t know why they numbered them so high either – I always thought they should have gone with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7), it was a close race. We were jockeying for position on the back stretch, and as we got near the finish, AZ totally had the lead.

It is difficult for me to admit this, as I generally keep this part of the story to myself, but I totally cheated. We got past #15′s driveway, whipped past the tree (which was probably barely a sapling back then – now it’s a menace and my dad is always wishing that the neighbors would cut the thing down), and finally past the electric box. There was only four feet or so between the electric box and my driveway, but I took the opportunity to take a straighter line, and I cut across the grass.

I don’t know if that was the beginning of my downfall. It might have been. But the end of it was when I saw my Aunt’s car in the driveway. It was right in front of me, and I took the knee-jerk reaction and slammed the breaks.

Wha-bam!

My next memory has me sitting on the kitchen counter with my dad looking at me and my mom on the phone. My aunt was in the room, but I don’t remember what she was doing. Everything was red, and I didn’t understand what was going on.

I don’t remember when I realized that they were gone, but I do remember my reaction. I just started screaming, “My teeth are gone!” (It probably sounded more like, “My teef are gone!”) I sat there sobbing on the counter, with my dad trying to tell me that I was fine, when suddenly AZ appeared from the garage door.

“I think you need these.”

The doctor that my mom was talking to on the phone must have heard, or my mom told him, but somehow the information got to my mom that she should put my teeth in some milk and bring me straight to the hospital. My sister had apparently spotted the teeth and ran screaming to the back yard. AZ was braver, so she brought them in. My parents left my aunt to take care of my traumatized six-year-old sister, and took me to the hospital.

There are more gaps in my memory, but I do remember that the doctor was a woman with long hair. She probably said nice things and got me to calm down. Then, unceremoniously, they pushed my teeth back into my mouth. I guess there was some hope that they might just go right back in and stay there. Apparently, I’m not the only person who ever had an accident and knocked some teeth straight out of my mouth.

The tooth fairy was exceptionally nice that night. The going rate for a lost tooth at the time was fifty cents – always in the form of two shiny quarters. I had actually lost four teeth (they didn’t bother putting the baby teeth back in), so I found two crisp dollars the next morning. Oddly, though, they were not under my pillow. They were gripped in the paws of a yellow koala bear, next to a tiny plush banana labeled “Dole.”

My memory has some more vacancies at this point. I remember my mom getting the recommendation for the oral surgeon from one of the teachers at my school. I remember going in to school with my mom to pick up work for me to do at home for a while. I’m pretty sure I missed a month of school. I remember stopping at Burger Kings and McDonalds for milkshakes all the time.

I remember thinking that eating nothing but milkshakes might be fun. But I also remember that it got pretty old, and I was soon jealous of the hot food my sister and parents were eating. I did become something of a connoisseur of milkshakes – go with vanilla from McDonalds, if you can’t make your own. If you’re making your own, definitely go with a nice white vanilla ice cream (the yellow kind is gross) with tons of Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

When it was time to have root canals on the dying teeth, my mom gave me some sort of oral anesthesia or something. It made me very loopy. The oral surgeon had posters on the ceilings in his office. That day, it was a monkey. I’m pretty sure I thought he was dancing…

A few years later, when my orthodontist and my oral surgeon had a falling out, and I got some kind of infection, I had to have gum surgery. By this point, my teeth had fused with the bone. This, apparently, was a good thing. It meant that I was probably going to get to keep my teeth, at least until I was sixteen. Funny, how at eleven, sixteen seems like forever away. At twenty-four, it seems like forever ago, but five years from now may as well be tomorrow.

If five years from now is tomorrow, next year may as well be in a couple hours. Being told that these teeth are on their way out, probably in a year, is really kind of killer. My dentist keeps telling me not to worry about that just yet (I have other tooth-related problems that are more immediate, though less traumatic). She told me that they won’t fall out while I’m eating and I won’t wake up with them gone. She told me that we’d plan ahead, that we’d be ready.

But it’s still pretty painful emotionally. Even having known for years that they’d eventually give up and die, I wasn’t really prepared to hear the news that they were really going away. Even with brochures about how realistic the implants will be, I’m still not ready to accept it.

This has been a really hard week. I don’t know how to handle a lot of this pain and fear. I’ve burst into spontaneous sobbing three times. I haven’t been able to keep a smile up for prolonged periods. I’m suddenly self-conscious about my smile and my teeth. I don’t know if I’m afraid they’ll fall out if I open my mouth, or if my stupid brain just thinks that everyone knows.

This is what depression feels like. I’ve been here before. I don’t like it. But it is what it is. I’ll snap out of it eventually, probably relatively soon, considering that I managed to write this without crying. Maybe this means it won’t hit as hard when the situation is more immediate.

I’m sorry.

This is hard.

But it isn’t the end of the world.

February 17th, 2006 • 2:40 pm • dinane • Posted in Life9 Comments »

My New Best Friend

The dentist is my new best friend. I will be having 5 appointments with her and 5 appointments with the dental hygienist. Yay me! And that’s not including the work I will eventually (but sooner rather than later) need to replace my front two teeth. Let’s all have a round of “Thank God for modern dentistry!”

I’m not in the best of spirits. I won’t subject you to the teeth talk. Hopefully I’ll be more cheerful tomorrow and we can talk about bunny-rabbits or something.

February 15th, 2006 • 5:24 pm • dinane • Posted in Life3 Comments »

Listen To Your Mom

Here’s some friendly advice.

If you fell on your face when you were eight years old, knocking out your two top front adult teeth (and the two baby teeth on either side), and after surgeries and root canals the best dentist-doctor in Connecticut tells you you’re teeth will likely fall out for good by the time your sixteen, and you’ve been lucky enough to keep them through until you’re 21, don’t stop going to the dentist for three years. I’m now 24, and it looks like they might be gone for good this year. Thank God for modern dentistry and the ability to put in fake teeth that aren’t dentures.

If you have huge fillings made of silver, and you’ve had them fore more than ten years, don’t stop going to the dentist for three years. Apparently, silver fillings expand as they get older, and they have to be replaced. Apparently if they get out of hand, you can fracture your tooth. Yes, that’s what happened to me.

If you have teeth, don’t stop going to the dentist for three years. Now that I’ve finally gone crawling back, as a delinquent, I will now be making the dentist my new best friend. I see her again tomorrow. And then to fix the fractured tooth soon after that. And then for some kind of fancy gum cleaning after that. And then maybe fore some more fixit work after that. And, depending on X-rays she took today, I may have to go back to get artificial front teeth. And somewhere in there I’ll go for a regular cleaning.

It’s a good thing she’s so nice. She really is, she explains everything if you want her to and shuts the fuck up if you tell her you’re afraid and would rather not know what she’s doing. She even gave me advice on where to go for massage therapy (apparently I keep my stress in my neck – isn’t that where everyone keeps it?).

I really hope those X-rays show my teeth really did make a miraculous recovery, and will just last forever. But I can tell you this – I am never going to skip my dentists checkups again.

February 14th, 2006 • 5:03 pm • dinane • Posted in Life1 Comment »
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