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Date: Sun, Jan 26, 2014
I again woke up feeling like playing some poker, so once again I traipsed to Harrah's Cherokee. I lost $200 quickly though a combination of sub-par play on my part, better-than-average opponents, and bad luck. But then the better players left, and I started the long slog to rebuild my stack. It took another four hours, but I left ahead by $252. Because of the weird psychology of poker sessions, this actually felt like a $450 win.
Sadly, again this week there were no hands that struck me as sufficiently interesting to recount in detail.
I did very much like the screen name for the Poker Pro tables chosen by the player next to me, though you'll probably have to have seen the movie "Rounders" to get the joke:
I think I might have to do this "poker" thing more often. It's fun AND profitable! Who knew?
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Date: Mon, Jan 20, 2014
I woke up today feeling like I needed a dose of poker, not another day of my usual work. So I drove out to Harrah's Cherokee and played for about four hours, taking home several $100 bills that had not been mine when I arrived.
In one hand, it really paid off to have been keeping track of my opponents' patterns. One older gentleman across the table from me just adored under-representing his big hands, then letting another player do the betting for him. I lost about $50 to him in a very early hand because of that. But once I adjusted to what he was doing--i.e., the fact that if he stayed in a pot he usually had a significantly stronger hand than he was letting on--it was pretty easy to handle him. And about two hours into the session, it led to an opportunity to double my money.
I had Q-9 of diamonds on the button. Several limped in ahead of me (it was a chronically passive limpfest), so I raised to $8. (All dollar amounts in this post are approximate; I did not take notes.) Mr. Passive was my only caller.
The flop was Qh-8c-3h. He checked. I bet $11 into the $21 pot. He called.
The turn was another queen. Excellent. He checked again. I bet $22. He called. This mostly ruled out the possibility that he was on a flush draw. He might pay to see one card, but he was too tight to pay to see the river if he had nothing but a draw--even a good one. There were no hands that would have flopped two pair that he would have played from early position, especially after my raise. So I could pretty much narrow his holdings down to an overpair (A-A or K-K, and yes, he would play them in this odd way) or a queen. If he had a queen, he had me beat, because I was confident he would not have called my pre-flop raise with anything less than a jack kicker, and probably not less than a king kicker.
This meant that I would have a potentially tricky decision on the river: Do I assume he has an overpair and will pay off my trips a third time, or do I assume he has a queen with a better kicker, and hope to just check it down?
Just as I was wrestling with this problem, the PokerPro table flashed the nine of hearts for our final board card, giving me the nuts. It was perfect. He probably wouldn't put me on a flush draw, and if I had been wrong about his drawing propensity, he had just gotten to the hand he wanted, not knowing it was now a loser. If he had an overpair, it probably didn't change anything. But if he had been slow-playing a bigger queen, he was sunk.
He checked again. The pot was now about $85. I had about $160 left, and Mr. Passive had me covered by just a few bucks. How much would he pay off?
Well, another factor came into play. I had twice gotten lucky after playing speculative hands aggressively, with the hands shown. Once I raised a short-stacked opponent all-in on the flop with just a baby flush draw and got there, besting her top/top. Another time I did it with my suited connectors having only flopped second pair, and the other guy called me with top pair, only to see me hit trips on the turn. So I knew that Mr. Passive might be looking to catch me trying to blow him off of a decent hand with an all-in bluff. That was the deciding factor: I was going to go for the gold and hope that he read me as being out of line again. I can no longer remember who it was, but a blogger I used to read, who played mostly online, loved the phrase, "Overbet for value," and that was screaming inside my head. It's pretty rare that I'll shove double the size of the pot on the river, but this seemed like a damned good time to make an exception.
I tapped the "all in" and "confirm" buttons, and less than two seconds later he had registered his call. He had A-Q, and had been well ahead until my lucky three-outer on the river.
Maybe the surgeon general should issue a stern proclamation to be posted in poker rooms around the country: "WARNING: SLOW-PLAYING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH."
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Date: Sun, Jan 19, 2014
At first glance, this appears to be two pretty ordinary fouled hands in a game of open-face Chinese poker.
But look again. There's something peculiar about the hand on the right. Go ahead--take a closer look. I'll wait.
Do you see it? She got 13 cards with no pair--a 13-card straight!
If you dealt out 13 cards from a well-shuffled deck, what is the probability that you'd get that result? I don't know, but let's figure it out.
The first card can obviously be anything. To state the trivially obvious, the probability of getting a non-pairing first card is 1.00, or 100%. The second card can be anything except a pair to the first. So with 51 cards left in the deck, 3 kill our hopes for the Big Straight, and 48 keep it going. The probability of a card that doesn't pair the first one, then, is 48/51, or 0.941, or 94.1%.
The third card must not pair either of the first two. There are 50 cards left in the deck, of which 6 will create a pair and 44 will not. So the probability of getting a non-pairing card is 44/50, or 0.880, or 88.0%.
We continue this pattern. When we're ready to deal the 13th card, there are 40 cards left in the deck, of which just 4 will complete our lovely 13-card straight, while 36 will pair one of the first 12 cards now on the board. The probability of hitting one of our "outs" is therefore 4/40, or 0.100, or 10.0%.
Because every one of the 13 events we've described must occur in order to end up with the 13-card-no-pair hand, we multiply all of the individual probabilities together: 1.00 x 0.941 x 0.880 ... x 0.100. The final product, if I didn't screw up the calculation, is 0.000106, or 0.0106%. To put it in the conceptually easiest terms, this will occur about 1 in 9460 hands. If I've ever seen this happen before in an OFC game, I didn't notice it.
You may be tempted to think that knowing 13 other cards along the way (i.e., the ones dealt to me in the picture above) changes this probability, but it doesn't. It would change our ongoing estimate, card by card, as to whether this hand will play out as a 13-card straight. But the question I've really asked is how often the deck will have been arranged by a random shuffle so the 13 cards destined to go to player X will contain no pairs. When asked that way, it makes no difference what happens to the other 39 cards, whether they are seen or unseen. The answer does
change if instead we ask the probability of a shuffled deck yielding a 13-card straight to somebody
when two (or three, or four) players are dealt in, but it makes my head hurt to think about how to calculate that, so I'll leave it to somebody else.
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Date: Tue, Jan 14, 2014
I'm visiting family in Utah this week, but I had to pop in to announce that I'm going to be writing about poker again on a semi-regular basis. Several months ago PokerNews launched a new section for beginning players: learn.pokernews.com. I've been invited to contribute articles introducing new players to the ways in which poker in casinos differs from home games and online games. That is, my goal is to clue people in to what to expect before their first casino poker trip, if their only previous experience is either online or in casual home games. Tentative plans are for me to do a new article every two weeks.
I think that most of my readers are well past the point of needing the tutorials that this series will offer, but if you're curious how I'll address a different audience, take a look. The first installment went live earlier today, here:
I would have put this announcement up sooner, but I was driving to Greenville, SC, then flying from there to Salt Lake City.
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Date: Fri, Jan 3, 2014
Lucy is usually camera-shy; as soon as she sees me pointing the thing at her, she walks away, or at least stops doing the cute thing she had been doing up to that point. Today, however, she lay down in a nice beam of morning sunlight from the window, and calmly let me snap a few shots showing off how beautiful she is. I couldn't pick just one favorite, so I'm posting all four, like a ridiculously proud cat-daddy.
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Date: Wed, Jan 1, 2014
Today I drove out to the only legal poker room in North Carolina, Harrah's Cherokee, and played some $1-2 NLHE for five hours or so on one of their Poker Pro electronic tables. It's the first time I had been there since September, and also the first time I've gone there without Nina. I had a nice drive, listening to some podcasts of "This American Life" in the car. The game was reasonably fun and easy. I left with a couple hundred bucks more than I started with, which is always nice. Sadly, there were no hands of sufficient interest to post histories/discussions, other than the brief accounts I posted to Twitter:
On the way back home, I stopped briefly at a roadside curiosity: The Hemlock Motel. Not a name I ever would have chosen for a business. As you can tell, it's no longer in business. Strangely, some of the rooms are wide open.
I blame my girlfriend for infecting me with her fascination with buildings and objects displaying rust, decay, and abandonment.
As the name implies, the casino is on the Cherokee Indian reservation. One of the interesting things about the town of Cherokee is that the street signs have the street names in both English and Cherokee, like this:
(For more on the language and writing system, see here
.) About four years ago, Nina and I were privileged to get a look inside the periodicals vault at the Library of Congress. (I wrote about that here
.) One of the things we saw on the "recent acquisitions" shelf was a collection of the earliest editions of the first American newspaper printed in Cherokee. I wonder how many people are still fluent in that language and its notation. Not many, I'd guess.
All in all, it was such a nice day that it made me think I should repeat the experience more often than I have been.
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Date: Wed, Dec 25, 2013
Christmas this year finds me more generally content with my life than I have been in a dozen years. I hope the same is true of you and yours.
One of this year's new contributors to my happiness continues to be my kitty, Lucy. Here's a video of her that only her daddy could love--her Christmas present. It's a big hunk of freeze-dried turkey. Usually she gets these (her favorite treats) only a one-bite size piece at a time, but today I gave her a whole one. I had hoped to be amused by watching her claw it open, but her reaction was a little underwhelming. Oh well. As you can see at the very end, she went kind of bonkers once I helped her get past the wrapping.
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Date: Mon, Dec 23, 2013
I like the "Kennections" puzzles that Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings does twice a week for Parade.com. You answer five trivia questions, then have to figure out what theme all five answers have in common.
For a while, they accepted reader submissions. The ones that Ken liked best would run on the web site, and the authors would receive copies of Ken's books. I submitted four, none of which was ever selected. Rigged, obviously.
Anyway, last night I thought up another one--my best yet. I got the questions typed up just right, then went to fill in the submission form on the Parade web site. I was dismayed to discover that they have terminated the reader contribution feature.
But I can't just let this go unused. So I'm putting it here for your amusement. (It has nothing to do with poker.) I can't do the nifty magically-appearing answers like Parade does. I'll just have to rely on big blocks of blank text, forcing you to scroll down for the answers. I'll give you the five trivia questions, then a blank space, then the answers to those questions, then another blank space, then the answer to what the five answers have in common--the thing that Parade calls the "Kennection" between them.
Here we go.
1. Earth’s southernmost active volcano, Mt. Erebus, is found on which continent?
2. What December 23rd(hey, that's today!) holiday does a famous 1997 episode of “Seinfeld” describe as Frank Costanza’s alternative to an overly commercialized Christmas?
3. “Sweet Adelines” is the name for the female counterpart to what form of male quartet?
4. What type of public school uses a specialized curriculum to attract students from across geographically defined district borders?
5. In what city’s shipyards did electrician Lech Walesa become a trade union activist, leading to the formation of the Solidarity movement?
Scroll down for the answers.
Now, figure out what those five answers have in common, then scroll down for the answer.
They all have poles. (Or, in the case of Gdansk, Poles.)
How did you do?
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Date: Sat, Dec 7, 2013
Long before my six years in Vegas that recently ended, I lived there for two years, 1980-82. During that time, I got to know a man in Henderson named Ralph Briggs. He told me once that he had been a Navy radio operator. He said that several days before December 7, 1941, he had intercepted a message from the Japanese fleet about an attack soon to be launched. He dutifully passed the message up the chain of command, then was on leave when the attack occurred. He later learned that the message he had intercepted had been ignored, and, as a result, Pearl Harbor was not at all prepared for the attack.
Even though I judged him to be an exceptionally honest, honorable man, frankly I assumed that he must be pulling my leg--not because I knew anything about the subject, but just because it seemed astronomically unlikely that I happened to know the one guy whose message, if heeded, would have changed the outcome of the single most pivotal event in 20th-century history. There are always more pretenders than real heroes, more people claiming to have been watching the JFK motorcade in Dallas than were actually there, etc.
Many years later, I was watching a string of History Channel documentaries that they were showing on an anniversary date. (It was probably 2001, on the 60th anniversary.) There on the screen was Ralph Briggs, telling the same story, which was being treated as a fully credible and factual account. I'm not entirely sure which program it was, because now I know that he's been in at least a couple, but it may well have been this BBC-produced show, "Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor
." Start watching at about 53:00 to hear Ralph. (The screen capture above is from this video.)
I have since learned that his story is hotly disputed. Some writers take him at his word, and accept that the lack of expected documentary evidence to support his account is because of later tampering with the records as part of a cover-up. See, for example, a relatively short book chapter devoted to the whole affair, readable via Google Books here
. On the other extreme, some say
that his account is "too full of holes to hold up to much scrutiny."
I have no way of knowing where the truth lies. Maybe he really was the Paul Revere of his time whose message was tragically disregarded. Maybe he was a crackpot, trying to claim for himself a place in history that he didn't deserve. Maybe he was sincere but wrong, as memories can become distorted by time and subsequent events. For example, maybe he really did intercept and pass on a message, but it was rightly ignored because it was not, in fact, anything of military significance, and he retrospectively imbued it with content and/or meaning that it did not have. Whatever the truth, it is, at least, an interesting story. In fact, that we cannot now know what really happened kind of makes it more interesting.
Absent strong evidence, which seems unlikely ever to come forth, I would never swallow the extreme conspiracy theory that Franklin Roosevelt had specific knowledge of the impending attack and squelched it so that Americans would be provoked into supporting his desire to get involved in WWII. However, I find it entirely plausible that, as with September 11, 2001, there were a multitude of clues which our various intelligence services failed to assemble and interpret correctly. I also think it's plausible that some such clues were later swept away to prevent political embarrassment. I certainly don't know
that this happened, but it would hardly be the most nefarious thing the military brass ever did.
Today I got wondering if Ralph was still alive. It seemed unlikely. Sure enough, I found his 1998 obituary in the Chicago Tribune, here
. So he was already dead by the time I was discovering that I was far from the only one who had heard his claims. It is, in fact, a well-known little curiosity among both conspiracy buffs and serious historians of that chapter of American history.
I spent a few hours again today watching some documentaries on Pearl Harbor, which is what prompted this little trip down memory lane. I think it's impossible not to be moved by the stories of both heroism and loss. To all those, living and dead, who experienced that awful day firsthand, and to the memory of Ralph Briggs, I offer my thanks.
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Date: Sun, Nov 3, 2013
I'm 52, an age where presbyopia--the loss of ability to focus up close--is universal. I got my last pair of new glasses in late 2006. Even then I could have used bifocals, but I decided to soldier on with single-focus lenses, carefully selecting ones that I could easily peek under
rather than through
for close focusing. (My distance prescription compounds the difficulty of focusing up close.)
This year, though, the situation reached a point where I could no longer continue muddling by. I was losing the ability to focus at computer distance, which is what I need for many hours every day.
I also have a lot of astigmatism--3.0 diopters worth, if that tells you anything--that is actually more of a problem than my myopia (nearsightedness). The result is that even with my glasses off, so that I'm not fighting the negative magnification of my distance correction, I can't see clearly because I'm left with no correction for my astigmatism. This is why dime-store reading glasses don't help me much.
Over the years I had heard and read a lot of different opinions about the relative merits of bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses. They would all address my problem, but with a variety of compromises and introduction of other problems that I really didn't want to face: the need to tilt my head up or down to get the right focus, lines between focus zones, tired neck muscles from holding still to keep the computer screen in focus, etc.
And the thing I most wanted to avoid was devolving to multiple pairs of glasses for different tasks. That would drive me stark raving mad, because I know myself well enough to know that I would forever be stuck away from home with the wrong pair, or wasting time trying to remember where I left the pair I want. (I love my girlfriend more than life itself, but I have watched her struggle with this the entire time I've known her. I cannot count the number of times she has been exasperated because she has found she doesn't have the right pair of glasses with her.)
The main reason I put off going for any of these solutions for so long was because I didn't like any of the trade-offs I would have to make. But about a year ago, I was listening to Penn Jillette's weekly podcast, "Penn's Sunday School
," when he mentioned that he wears, likes, and endorses something called "Superfocus
" glasses (previously known as "Trufocus"). He said they allowed him to see sharply at any distance just by sliding a small lever to change the focal point. I quickly read about them and became intrigued. They sounded like the best solution yet:
I didn't bite right away. I was then just buying a new car
and knew that I would soon be racking up a bunch of expenses moving from Las Vegas to Asheville, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on glasses if I could procrastinate another year or so.
But as I said, over the last few months, I've become increasingly frustrated by not being able to see anything clearly unless it's at least 8 feet away from me. So I decided it was time. I again did due diligence, reading all that I could about both Superfocus and the more conventional alternatives. I went to my local Superfocus vendor, a nice little shop in downtown Asheville called L'Optique
. After all of that, I decided to give them a try, knowing that the manufacturer had a 30-day money-back guarantee were I to decide they didn't fit my needs.
Specifically, I got the company's newest line called the "Leonardo" collection. You can read all the technical details at their web site if you want, but the basic idea is that my distance and astigmatism correction lenses are built into the frames, then there is an adjustable focus mechanism with a second set of lenses that snaps inside the frames. The adjustable lenses nest right behind the prescription lenses. By turning a small dial on the bridge, I can move the focus anywhere from about 12 inches out to infinity.
Well, I've had them for five weeks now, and my conclusion is that I was right--this is the best solution for me. I can't describe what a revelation it was that first couple of days rediscovering the simple joy of being able to see text and objects clearly, after years of gradually accepting blurriness as just the way things had to be. It takes just two seconds to focus the dial mechanism. I can set it so that whatever I'm looking at is in sharp focus, not just in a small part of the lens, but in the entire lens.
These would not be a good solution for somebody who needs to constantly shift focus from one distance to another. But nearly all of my waking hours are spent in large blocks of time at a single focus--long distance for driving, just a little magnification for the TV about 10 feet away, a medium amount for computer work, or dialed all the way in for reading. When I'm doing various tasks around the house--cleaning, cooking, playing with the cat, or whatever--a sort of medium focus gives me a depth of field such that essentially everything is in acceptable focus without constant adjustment. For situations like grocery shopping the same is pretty much true, supplemented with occasional close-up dialing to read a label.
Only once so far have I encountered a situation where the need to manually focus for different distances was a hassle. I was sitting with my girlfriend, Nina, at an outside table of a local ice cream shop, enjoying the mountain view. But I needed to dial in close to see where the ice cream cone was dripping, a little farther away to look at Nina when she was talking to me, and then dial all the way out to appreciate the beautiful mountains in the distance. Oh, for the good ol' days when my eyes could manage that task instantly, without assistance. (We pause here to weep for lost youth.) But to have had only one such situation in a month of use shows that that is truly the exception rather than the rule.
There are definitely disadvantages. First and foremost is the aesthetics. They are far and away the ugliest, strangest-looking glasses I've ever had. (Well, looking back on old photos of myself in the 1970s, I guess I have had worse--but they didn't seem so at the time.) They give off a definite sense of being something like scientific lab goggles rather than conventional eyewear. This is largely because the multi-focus lenses only work if they are perfectly round, which severely limits the ways in which the frames can be styled. But I spend only a few minutes a day looking in a mirror, and the rest of the time I can completely forget how they look. Besides, I am firmly in the function-over-form camp, and always have been. I'm a guy who wears a fanny pack, for heaven's sake, because it's a convenient way to carry all the stuff I like to have with me, and appearances be damned. So what do I care if strangers think my glasses are kind of funny-looking?
Here's a selfie I just took sitting at my desk:
Because the lenses are set on computer distance (i.e., with a decent amount of magnification), they makes my eyes look a little bigger than is really the case. To see how they look on me from an outside observer's point of view, you can take a look at a photo that Nina took of me at her house Halloween night here
They are rather heavy, what with two sets of nested lenses and a whole focusing mechanism. They came with a "saddle" nosepiece that runs across the bridge of my nose. It adds to the funky appearance, because it holds the lenses farther from my face than standard glasses. But I tried going to standard nose pads, and quickly regretted it, because I had to keep pushing the glasses back up into place. I put the saddle thing back in, and that problem went away again.
I like starting the day with pristine-clean lenses, and clean them rather meticulously every morning. This process now takes more than twice as long as it used to. It would take twice as long just because there are twice as many lens surfaces as there are with standard glasses. But it's even longer than that, because the second, adjustable-focus lenses are a rather soft plastic that for some reason is just harder to get completely free of smudges and tiny bits of dust and lint.
I have a vague sense that the hinged connection of the earpieces to the rest of the frame is not as sturdy as I'd like. When putting them on or taking them off, I find myself handling them with gingerly care because of this. I hope I'm wrong about that.
Today I found a very recent review of the Superfocus Leonardos by a guy whose experiences and opinions very closely match my own:http://encinitascomputerhelp.com/techblog2/?p=187
In fact, he covers so much of what I was going to say that I thought I would just link to his review, add a few words, and be done with it. But, as usual, once I started typing, my congenital logorrhea kicked in, and you're reading the result.
I was glad to see that after some use he downgraded his initial A+ rating of the optics, because I couldn't agree with that grade. If you look closely at the focusing lenses, it's obvious that they are nowhere near as clear as standard eyeglass lenses. Sadly, material science hasn't yet evolved to the point where a flexible surface can transmit light as perfectly as a rigid material. This isn't functionally a problem for me or for most users, but if you do a direct comparison with and without the focusing mechanism in place, there is definitely a slight degradation in the quality and clarity of light coming through. (Another, earlier user review that helped push me to this purchase was this one
by a professional photographer who is understandably very fussy about image quality.)
My overall conclusion is that these glasses probably are the best choice for me. Of course, I'm saying that without having actually tried bifocals, or trifocals, or progressives, or having a different pair for each kind of task I might be doing. I can only compare my actual experience with Superfocus to my imagined experience with those alternatives. So I might be wrong. But it's impractical and too expensive to try every option, so I'll just have to live with the uncertainty.
Until medical science comes up with a way of restoring youthful plasticity to my eyeballs, I'm going with Superfocus. It's a great, great idea. It's not yet perfectly implemented, I think, but still the best among an array of compromised choices.
Note added in proof: I suppose this post might sound like a paid ad. It's not. But after my car, this was the biggest consumer-type decision I've made in several years. I put a ton of time and thought into it, both before and after purchase, so I thought I'd record my experience in the hope of helping others faced with the same conundrum.Bonus material: Gratuitous cat photos
You all understand that I'm madly, hopelessly, ridiculously, embarrassingly in love with my cat, right? So I need to remind you at every opportunity how adorable Lucy is. Here's a picture that Nina took of her several months ago:
And here's one I took of her just a couple of days ago as she was stretching out in the new heated-for-winter cat bed
I bought for her:Further bonus material: Asheville fall colors
Asheville is at the peak of fall colors right now, and it turns out that the street I live on is one of the prime urban spots that people come to gawk at. It's not as nice as the vast swaths of moutainside color
in the state and national parks nearby, but we have a nice near-canopy of trees arching over the street. This is just one of them--one in my own front yard, in fact:
In the morning, this tree reflects a ton of sunlight into my office window, throwing its yellow-orange tint all over the room. It's incredibly lovely to sit and work bathed in that glow.
But it won't last much longer.
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Date: Sat, Oct 5, 2013
I took a break from work today to head about a mile south to downtown, where the annual Blue Ridge Pride festival was taking place. I thought that might be amusing, and this may be one of the last days we have this year to enjoy some pluperfect weather.
I wandered by the main stage just as this scene unfolded:
The music is being provided by a pair of twin brothers, who call themselves Synergy.
Notice that the only guy who appears to be having no fun at all is the preacher, seen for just a few seconds at the very beginning, waving his Bible, carrying a cane so big it looks like a shepherd's crook. I ran into him several times. He was walking around,
yelling about all the faggots going straight to hell preaching the gospel of love.
Asheville is a strange place, and proud to be so. It is an artistic/hippie/liberal enclave, perpetually out of step with the generally conservative state and region it's embedded in, much like Austin is to Texas.
As such, I thought this moment encapsulated my new hometown quite nicely: a sequined drag queen dancing to electric bluegrass, everybody having a gay ol' time, except for the sourpuss preacher, who denounced the fun but could not stop it. Which is kind of how the state government in Raleigh treats Asheville.
It was actually a supremely joyful moment--as I think you can plainly see--and I was tickled pink (so to speak) to have been there for it.
I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to purchase this small (11" by 14") but original painting, which was one of many in display at one of the many artists' booths set up around Pack Square Park. I know nothing about the artist, except that his name is James, he lives about half an hour outside of town, and he is exceptionally warm and personable. It is titled "Love's Flamingos." The little sign he had made to display with it said, "My love for flamingos is infinite." It's now hanging over my desk, and I think it's beautiful. (Right-click, open link in new tab to see it full size.)
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Date: Fri, Oct 4, 2013
It just occurred to me today that it has been a long, long time since anybody submitted a comment for any of my blog posts. I thought about it for a minute, and realized the likely problem: I changed my email address when I moved to North Carolina, but I never updated the email address to which Blogger sends my notifications. When the old address died sometime in July, I stopped getting notifications that comments were awaiting moderation.
I just checked, and found nearly 50 comments that had not been posted because of this. Oops! I'm sorry. It was not intentional. All except the handful of obvious spam ones have now been approved and posted. Furthermore, I have updated the email notification address and tested it, so this should not happen again in the future.
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