I'm a little tipsy. I went down to Manly to have a drink with Alex tonight; it was quite a good night. I should do it more often - just call up a random person who I haven't caught up with for some time, and just take them out for a drink or a meal or something similar. Alex is well - he's thinking about exhibiting in Melbourne, and although he's not yet making enough from his exhibitions to cover his expenses (he sold two $700 works at his last exhibition, but the exhibition itself cost over $2,500), he's enjoying the experience, and he can still say that he's exhibited works in Brisbane and Sydney, at least.

On a whim (and off the topic), I just had a look at the latest hurling results, and it turns out that the All-Ireland final is on in just five days! Tipperary plays Galway, and it should be an excellent match. (Although I haven't had the chance to watch any hurling for months. No TV channel is currently broadcasting it in Australia, and I should email Foxtel and try to convince them to show the hurling, since it's a great sport to watch, even if it is one step away from all-out war - and those of you who think ice hockey is a tough game, you ain't seen nothin' yet if you haven't watched a game of hurling.) Hopefully SBS will be showing it; they've shown the All-Ireland final for the last few years, even though they haven't bothered with the ordinary matches. Fingers crossed, anyway.

And have a meme - this one from kassie_opia, about dialect lexicon. (My dialect is Queensland Australian English, for what it's worth.)

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  • Current Music
    the quiet hum of the computer

I feel like a fruitcake

With a double helping of nuts.

I can’t remember the last time I felt something I could truly class as “depression”; whenever it was, it was a long time ago. But I began to feel it yesterday, and can’t yet shake it.

On Friday night I went out with a girl I hadn’t seen in twelve years, not since we left primary school. She messaged me out of the blue on Facebook, and after exchanging some messages, we teed up a meeting for Friday night; we, along with a few others, met up at a pub near where we both live, and soon thereafter the six of us repaired to her place for dinner and drinks. Suffice it to say that I didn’t get home until one in the afternoon the next day; it was a fantastic night, and it was great to catch up with her again.

The weird and disturbing thing is how depressed I began feeling when I got home. Not sad, not angry, not upset; just drained and empty, like there was a black hole inside my head sucking all of the positivity out of me. Perhaps someone who’s had clinically diagnosed depression can say whether this is it, but it sure as hell felt like it. It was a horrific feeling, and I’m still trying to work through it. Self-treatment (in the form of appropriate music) seems to be stalling it for a time, and a poker night with some friends from school and uni last night has also helped somewhat.

But the worst thing is I’m not entirely sure what precipitated this feeling. Maybe I went in with the idea of possibly developing the rekindled friendship into a relationship later on. I’ve noticed that I do seem to do that with new female friendships. I often feel like a bit of a creep because of it, too, but at this stage of my life I’m still rabidly single and rushing headlong towards the age by which I had hoped I would already be thinking about getting married, having a family, and all that. But she’s funny, smart, quick as a whip, stunningly attractive (although she doesn’t believe it - she recently also had back surgery, for exactly the same thing that I had it for, and consequently thinks she's getting fat), has a spellbinding voice (she's Irish), and I get the feeling she’s out of my league, since by comparison I’m not particularly good looking, I’m unfit (also for surgical reasons), paranoid, shy, quiet, not especially funny or quick, and full of self-doubt. I just don’t know why, if I asked her out, she’d ever be mad enough to say yes; and I also don't know how on earth I'd go about asking her out.

I feel like a lunatic. What sane person has this kind of thought process after meeting someone once?
  • Current Music
    Frank Sinatra - New York, New York

Interpretation, poker and birthdays and such

I’m sitting here wondering about the interpretative approach to archæology. I’m making good progress with my research question – at least with the first part – but I’ve hit a wall when it comes to the second part of my thesis, and it has to do with the theory I have to use, which deals with the idea of interpretation in the archæological record. You see, current interpretative theory holds that interpretation should be a “dialogue” between the present and the past; a hermeneutic approach that moves from present thought to past thought and back until coherence is achieved.

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Anyway, the Easter weekend (I just mis-typed it as Eatser, which pretty much sums it up anyway) was a welcome break. Kyle turned 18 on Sunday, so we took him out for dinner to a Turkish restaurant not far from where we live. The meal was great – I’ve never eaten Turkish before, and the food was excellent. Done over some sort of barbeque plate or something – it tasted like it’d been cooked on a fire, which I love. We had lamb, chicken and prawn güveç, followed by a tray of various meats; the whole thing was great, and finished up with a glass of rakı and a cup of Turkish coffee. (A recommendation: Turkish coffee is great, but leave the last quarter-inch in your cup.) I think Kyle had a good time – I certainly hope he did.

Also, I won my first online tournament at the end of last week. What makes it simultaneously interesting, satisfying and frustrating was that before the final table, I looked at only two of my hands, and both of those were when there was an all-in move against me. Collapse )

Also used the pool at the physio this afternoon. I enjoy that a lot more than the exercises I have to do every night; I'm not yet swimming, just walking in the water and raising myself up on tiptoes (my calf muscles aren't strong enough yet for me to be able to handle too much of that out of the water) and so on and so forth, but it's definitely working, and I'm progressing very well. My back still gets tired and achy very easily, but I have a feeling that'll be part of life from now on, and I think I can just about deal with that.

And as usual, have a meme:

kassie_opia gave me the letter T. Here are 10 things I like beginning with that letter.
Comment to this entry, and if you want to, I will give you a letter so you can do the same in your journal.

1. Twister. No matter that the film's meteorologically inaccurate and the plot's not particularly strong; it's one of my favourite movies to just put on in the background while doing work, and it's also a great movie to use to test a new surround sound system.
2. Terry Goodkind. I've only recently discovered Terry Goodkind's fantasy novels, and have been well and truly sucked in by them. Wizard's First Rule was particularly good.
3. Texas hold'em. If you don't know that already, what are you doing here?
4. Tubular Bells. A weird piece of music, but I quite enjoy it - the changes between the movements are very impressive.
5. Textbooks. My favourite reading material; although I like reading fiction, for some reason I have a non-fiction fetish.
6. Turkish food. I've just discovered this. And Turkish drink; rakı is a very, very good way to round off a meal.
7. ... the letter T is harder than I thought it would be!
8. Tennis. I coached it for several years to get through uni, and enjoyed getting out and having a game when I could as well. Now that my back's had it's conniption I don't know how long it'll be before I'm playing again, but I'm very much looking forward to doing so. And watching tennis live is just as much fun, as I discovered when I was down in Melbourne!
9. Tim Tams. You poor people in the U.S. and Europe, you have no idea what you're missing out on. They are the Best Biscuits Ever. Especially the dark chocolate ones with chili that they're no longer making. :(
10. Travelling. I never thought I'd enjoy travelling away from home all that much, and I do still get a bit nervous when I do (just in case I get stuck in some place like Melbourne and I've forgotten to pack underpants or something), but I had an absolute ball both times I went to Melbourne. I'm looking forward to doing more travelling in the next couple of years!
  • Current Music
    No Doubt - Spiderwebs

Have another atrocious meme

...because I can't think of anything to post about. (Except that I did manage to cash in the last freeroll I played in - whee! I finished 16th of 1,309 players and won $2 for my trouble, and I would have done even better if I hadn't flopped a flush and moved all in against someone across the table who'd flopped a higher flush. If you have a made flush after the flop, the odds of another person also having a made flush are greater than 25 to 1 against, or less than 4%, so I'd do it again tomorrow if I was in the same situation. I just got unlucky on that hand.)

So anyway, here is the memeage of fun, from kassie_opia.

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Also, I hate my exercises, I hate them good. I know they're doing me good and mean that I'll be able to avoid more surgery for as long as humanly possible, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy them... Okay, I admit that they're not that bad, just tedious - 90 minutes a day. But if I do them just before I have a shower and go to bed, then they're tolerable as part of my day's routine - I couldn't make myself get up early in the morning to do them. Nevertheless, they're doing me some good - I can feel my core muscles working hard while and after doing the programme, and I've noticed a distinct improvement in my day-to-day posture as well - which, I suppose, is the point.
  • Current Music
    Nightwish - Nemo

Relaxing at home

I thought I should probably write something a little more substantial this time. My last few entries have been entirely poker-focused, and I’m sure most of you probably aren’t interested... so what am I doing now other than poker?

The truth is, not much. I’m in the middle of Ph.D. stuff which is frustrating the hell out of me because I’ve come back to that place where I just feel like I’m marking time, even though Andy continues to tell me that I’m doing alright. I’ve basically done all of the crop history research I think I can do (on the major crops, at least), and now I’m going through the annual reports of the site, trying to work out exactly what I’ll be looking at. I’ve also been trying to pull together some theoretical ideas – I’m considering using Tom Loy’s old manuscript on purposeful systems theory as a part of my theoretical background, because I think the idea of purposeful systems and choice-outcome might be a useful framework to describe the Ottoman system around the time of the Spanish discovery of the Americas. But on the whole, I’m not as far ahead as I would like... ah well, if my supervisor thinks I’m doing OK, that’s the only thing that really matters. Plus I can run faster than he can at this stage, so he can’t chase me if I miss a meeting!

In truth, these bloody disc problems have caused me more trouble than just four months out of the loop (and on top of the pains in my legs that come on every couple of days or so, which may wnid up ultimately resolving or they may not). Four months really has set me back more than that - it's just so difficult to regain my focus. I want to keep going, I really do, but I'm still all of a muddle as to where it's all heading. I'm supposed to have a research question more or less sorted out by April so that I can write my confirmation document by May, and I'm really not confident about it. Obviously Andy's knee injury means he knows exactly what I'm going through, so I have the feeling that he'll be really helpful, but... Anyhow, I've also been given the job of convening the Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series this semester, and with any luck that should help me get back into the swing of things (as well as start getting back in touch with people - I've dropped out of contact with so many that it's just not funny!). That's been irritating yet oddly pleasurable so far - it's annoying having to chase people up for talks (I've lost count of how many times I've asked Chris for a date and topic), but each time I confirm someone for the talk, there's a quiet thrill of achievement. So far I've got definite positive responses from Carney, Jon, Marshall and Steve as well as a few of the honours students from last year, on a range of different topics, so hopefully they'll all go well. And jaydeyn_sitari, I expect you to be there without fail every week, understood? :)

On the topic of archaeology, I still really can't express how fantastic it is that there's a new Indiana Jones film coming out. No idea what it'll be like - after twenty years, there are sure to be some differences that'll keep the continuity freaks picking for decades - but the first three are all favourites of mine, and of archaeology students everywhere. I even snuck an Indy quote into my honours thesis! So there's some very definite anticip...........pation going on there. Who wants to go and see it with me?

Additionally, work on the dictionary is progressing extremely nicely thank you very much. Thanks to a kind soul, Suleyman Sarıhan, whom I met through Facebook, I've acquired another half-dozen or so new Ubykh texts, and discovered among them the previously-mentioned-at-this-journal names for seven of the months of the year! So for those (not) interested, here they are:

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Along with several other new words, they've all gone straight into the dictionary - I'm really very impressed with it at the moment, and it's gradually moving towards publishable form. Maybe I might even have it done before I die graduate!

But other than that, not too much is happening. I'm still tragically single, which Valentine's Day did its usual nothing at all to alter (although I am going to lunch on Friday with someone I like - we'll see how that goes). I'm doing a little gardening at the moment; the kidney beans are doing well, the cucumbers going nuts (we've picked half a dozen every two days for the last week), and the button squash not doing so hot, but we've done a bit of weeding around them and with any luck they'll come good soon. We hope.

And poker is beginning to frustrate me just a little bit. It’s not that I’m playing badly – in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve changed my strategy for the last few freerolls I’ve played in; instead of sitting out for half an hour to let three or four hundred suckers bust out, what I’ve been doing is playing a highly aggressive style right from the get-go, stealing as many blinds as possible and making strong raises pre-flop with virtually any two cards. I’ve come to notice that in the early stages of these cash-prize freerolls (as opposed to play chip tournaments, where people will move all-in with raving speculators), people are much, much less willing to commit any chips at all unless they’ve got an absolutely premium hand, and almost no hands go to a showdown. So if you can make a substantial raise from a good position after the flop, you’ve got an excellent chance of winning the pot. I’ve been taking advantage of this, and as a result I’ve been in the top 5% of chip stacks at the first break in the last three tournaments, and on the whole I’ve been extremely happy with the development of my game. But there are a couple of things I'm thinking about changing, viz:

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So yeah, that's what I'm up to at the moment. I'm also hoping to catch up with various people for lunchy-type things (suyongli, tomorrow still on?), and I'm enjoying life, on the whole. I'm thinking about using the uni pool, too, getting myself back to fit again and losing some of the weight I put on when I was on the floor. Looking forward to living life again!
  • Current Music
    Mystery - Hugh Laurie

A quick post

Because it's late, and I'm tired, and a little cranky. Cranky because I busted out of the freeroll tonight on an atrocious, hideous, awful beat, and even more cranky because I was doing so well up until that point, and most especially cranky because there was a stuff-up at Full Tilt Poker that meant that only 290 people got to register instead of the usual 1,400 or so, meaning that there was a much higher chance of me making the cash.

But no. I spend an hour playing good, solid, aggressive poker and catch a few good hands into the bargain, and build myself up to 13,000 in chips, and what happens? I'll tell you what happens. I get dealt the weapons of mass destruction, ♠A ♣A. And even better, two people move all in against me. I can't believe my luck; I'd be mad to throw in Aces in a situation like that, so I call for all my chips. One of them turns up ♠T T, and the other A J. I'm an 80% favourite heads-up against T-T, and an 89% favourite against A-J, so I'm thinking I'm going to triple up and be in good shape to make the cash list. Bells, whistles, and brass bands are going off in my head.

But no. The flop comes 3 ♣T 2 - making trip tens for the guy on my left, which beats the hell out of Aces. So I mentally tore the clappers out of the bells, broke the whistles over my knee, and shot every member of the brass bands. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the guy on my right has one of the Aces, which means I have to catch the one-outer to stay in. Which I don't - in fact, a third heart comes on the river, giving the guy on my right the Ace-high flush and making my Aces look puny by comparison. Look: I like pocket Aces. I like the rush of seeing them in my hand, I like the art of playing them, and I like winning off them. I've already pointed out in a previous post that there's no better way to be in Texas Hold'em than being a guaranteed 80% favourite pre-flop, no matter what two cards your opponent is holding (even against pocket Kings). But it just seems that every stinking time I get a chance to make a big capitalisation on pocket Aces, they get cracked and I get chucked out of the tournament on my bum. It's mighty frustrating, believe me. I've been tossed out of tournaments on A-A three times in the last week. That doesn't seem fair to me.

Oh well. I'll get over it.

Especially since I've just found out that the new Indiana Jones film is coming out on the 22nd of May.
  • Current Music
    Leroy - Good Time

Free money? Yes please!

I'm about to play in a freeroll in which the top 27 places get cash prizes.

Wish me luck, because judging from the last couple of days, I think I'll need it. I've had a few atrocious beats in the last few days, and it'd be nice to be able to catch some hands and play some good, calm poker for a change.

After the last bad beat, I sat down and wrote a little essay, just stream-of-consciousness type stuff to make me disengage my emotions and start thinking about my poker with my head instead of my heart. So here it is, Dealing with Suck-Outs for Dummies.

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  • Current Music
    Sugarland - Stay

It's all seeming a bit surreal that I'm home and in my own house, and not eating stupidly sumptuous breakfasts with my poker idols. It's like I had a week-long dream that I've just woken up from.

So I'm back from Melbourne, and I have to admit that I had the time of my life. The coincidence of the Australian Open and the Aussie Millions is definitely one I'll be taking advantage of in the future; I'm even thinking about perhaps playing one of the smaller events at next year's Millions, maybe one of the $240 satellites into the main event. But even if not, the week was just fantastic. Marsha and Kenna really know how to show someone a good time, and meeting all those poker players I knew from TV was an amazing (if sometimes intimidating!) experience. My back dealt with the week rather well, and although I had several times where I had to sit down (sometimes because my back was sore, sometimes my legs - I'm still a little weak from spending ten weeks lying down), it was great to be able to cheer Kenna on during the Millions. He ended up busting out in 53rd position, but at least he cashed (for $20,000), which was an OK result. I'm sure he would have liked to have done better, but we're all proud of him!

So I'm sure you'll all want photos, and I'm in the process of uploading them now, but here are a few of the big names I met:

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The last few days were pretty much like the first few - I watched a lot of poker, got a pile of autographs (I got signatures from Joe Hachem, Billy Argyros, Lee Nelson, Chip Jett, Kristy Gazes, Clonie Gowen, Howard Lederer, Gus Hansen and Chris Ferguson, among others), and went to the tennis three times. We watched some awesome matches; we saw Casey Dellacqua beat Amelie Mauresmo, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Andy Roddick, and Lleyton Hewitt beat Steve Darcis. I actually went to that last match with Kenna and Chip Jett, who was a barrel of laughs - that was a great day out! On top of all that, I finished the week a total of $67 ahead, and would have been more like $300 ahead if I hadn't had pocket Queens cracked on my last night (Saturday) against the A7 off-suit when my opponent managed to pick up an Ace on the flop; I had $100 on the table, had moved all-in with my Queens against a much larger stack pre-flop, got called, and he got lucky. But that's poker, baby, and I did manage to get back up to square that night with A J against A ♣K when the flop came ♣J ♠2 ♣2 and filled out with rags. As Kenna said to me, if you get a bad beat and can still come out even, then it's been a winning session.

Aside from all the shenanigans at the casino, I also got the chance to catch up with Rachel and Kent and their family, cousins of my father's whom we haven't seen in about 15 years, not since they moved away from Brisbane. It's incredible to see everyone you knew a decade and a half ago again - and even more incredible to see cousins I had never even met. We had a barbeque lunch/dinner at their place on Sunday afternoon, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all; it was great to see them all again, and 15 years gives you a lot to catch up on!

So in all, I've come to the conclusion that (a) I need to travel more often; (b) I should play poker more often, even just in free games; (c) I need to see my relatives more often, and (d) life's too short to waste it at home doing nothing.

So I'm going to ask Sarah out on a date tomorrow.
  • Current Music
    the sound of a night flight coming in over our house