May 24, 2013

Vacation Packing Guide

Each year, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. The holiday honors the service men and women of the United State Armed Forces who have passed away. It is common for cities to put on parades and festivities to celebrate the federal holiday. Memorial Day also signifies the unofficial start of summer! The three day weekend kicks off what is considered to be the summer vacation season, which ends with Labor Day weekend in September.  

Before taking off for a mini getaway or a big vacation, you have to pack, which can be a pain. The anticipation and excitement of a trip can quickly be overshadowed by the hassle of packing. People always stress about having everything they need and let’s not mention how difficult it can be to fit everything into a suitcase; especially if you’re using just a carryon for a plane. If you want to prevent some of the stress that comes along with packing, try using this packing checklist, that way all you’ll have to worry about it fitting it all in your bag.

Mar 23, 2013

Tournament Playing

Poker Night

Managed to go quite deep in another practice tournament. Again there was 279 competitors in a bit of a crap shoot. Finished 27th this time, held on from about 50th place to get into the fake money which was 30 places. Then I went all in with A,10o and caught someone with a better kicker.

The hand before was a nightmare. I had J,10h and they board came down J,5,Q two suited, but I had no draw. The lone opponent bet out, and I just 'knew'/had a feeling that he had top pair. I thought and thought then called his bet, leaving me with $995 when the blinds were massive. Fold you fool! I really must learn to stick to my gut cos I seem to get it right most of the time. Relaxing pictures help me, so here is one to help me next time I'm facing a tough call when I think I'm beat.

If I did become a massive winning player, and could play without fear and just enjoy it racking up the cash, then that beach is pretty much the type of place I would like my beach house condo and could chill on the patio and play some poker. Pool table in the highly air-conned property with Rachel Weisz...ok so it won't happen but that's what I think of when I think of people making millions playing online poker, why don't they do that? Another thing is you see these players on T.V. whom the commentators say, "a profilic online poker player who has won millions" etc. Firstly, is that true? And secondly, I hope they have invested it wisely, it is slightly worrying to me that you see these Bellagio guys risking everything on poker when really its just not sensible.

If I won £2 million playing poker I would set myself up with a dream lifestyle, and basically enjoy it. I would buy perhaps £1.5 million worth of property, (little 2 up 2 downs etc, new builds) which after agents fees would guarantee £5000 or so each money in rent money. Or hire some chump to run the portfolio for £20,000 a year. Up for it Scotty/Rob? Then that's your wage sorted and you can do what you want within that money. You see? I've got it all worked out, there's just that small problem of coming into £2-3 million quid which continues to hamper these well thought out plans!

Back to earth with a bump I noticed that my adsense account has accumulated a large sum of 50 cents so far! However anyone who knows me knows that I am incredibly ambitious. There is the thing with work that soon I will need to find something that can earn me decent money cos I want my own place soon.

This week there will be a full report on the Wednesday satellite as well as information about the "How To Play Poker" DVD that we are going to be filming in the next 10 weeks. The biggest problem with that is who is going to feature in it. It will be filmed properly at a new studio in Newcastle, if any pro is willing to star in it for nothing, let me know! Good coverage and we can work out a split of the profits etc. At the moment it will be sold online, through mail order and on ebay. Let me know pros!

Mar 18, 2013

Oh Georgia....Where to Go?

My husband and I are in the process of planning our yearly road trip and we've been pouring over Internet pages trying to develop a sort-of itinerary for what we want to do and see when we're out. We've decided to go to Georgia this year, as we haven't been there in quite some time and we're both ready for warm weather.

And, we're driving, which will be quite a journey but better than flying, especially with all the rules and restrictions. Last time we went on a plane, it was pretty expensive and passengers were only allowed to take one carry-on item on the plane (a purse is not considered a carry-on, thankfully). However, that pesky liquids restriction still was enact, which I forgot about, so I had to throw some of my favorite lotion away. Oh well I suppose, but it's just a long and drawn out process.

Anyway, one of the places we want to visit is Savannah, and we've found a lot of websites and articles on Savannah attractions. Since we're cheap and try to save as much money as possible, we've been watching the local Groupon page for activity deals. We're thinking of doing a Gray Line Tour - explained here - so we can learn a little more about the city from locals before setting out to explore ourselves. Plus, sometimes it's nice to relax on a bus and let someone else drive, as there's no worrying about getting lost! This is a cute little site too.

Our goal is to go at the end of April...not too soon, but not to far away, either. We still have to book hotel rooms (although I really want to stay at a bed and breakfast) and a rental vehicle, but I know we'll get that taken care of soon. Believe me, we are counting down the days!

Mar 6, 2013

Amazing Run For Benyamine

The WSOP logo
This is probably the most amazing thing I have ever read. This perhaps shows my naivety to the highest stakes of poker, although I don't ever claim to know about stuff this crazy.

According to Tony G's Blog, (I have cheekily commented asking for a link, which hopefully he will oblige with cos he is one of the players I enjoy watching) which is a fabulous read into the career of one of the more known players in the game, the professional player David Benyamine, pictured below, has been put it lightly, a bit of a roll on the cash game tables running alongside the main events at the WSOP.

David is apparently over $20 million (yes that's million) dollars UP for the WEEK! How amazing is that! Tony G reported on his blog that David's amazing run came on the $4000 - $8000 high stakes tables. Perhaps what is more amazing is that a collection of players, maybe even one, is nursing this slight hole in their bankroll. You can now access Tony G's blog from the 'hottest poker blogs' links to the right hand side of this posting. Only the best get on there, and I regularly spring clean them so you know if you click-thru, they are gonna be good. Check them out, but keep coming back here!

My preparation for the freezeout this week is basically plenty of practice at home, working on the patience and discipline mainly, followed by a trip to the casino for one of the events probably on Wednesday for the small event just to get used to it, ready for the big one on Thursday. This is my WSOP main event, the start of my live tournaments, which will hopefully be more frequent from now on. I will be starting proper online play soon aswell. My games really starting to come on.

Let's hope that plenty of these Grosvenor chips will be coming my way. I am confident that even if I bust out I will not be easy to beat. I want to go out with the luck against me but by making the right plays, and not giving my chips away. I'm looking forward to meeting some poker players and plugging my blog. I might even get some crap vista print cards made up to give out to try and attract some readers, I want 100 returning visitors every day for this blog. Ambitious, but possible! I won't be like a serial card handerouterer but if I talk to someone I'll ask if they read blogs and give you a card.

Finally a bad beat story. I had pocket eights and went all-in in a freeroll today. Went up against J,10d and the board came down x,Q,8 giving me three of a kind 8's and him a backdoor straight. Needing runner-runner to save his/her sorry ass. The turn was a King giving him a flush draw. He now was drawing to three 9s in the deck for a straight. Hello 9! I actually lay on the bed feeling crap for about 10 minutes, because this player was loose as hell and someone who could not live with anyone who knew how to fold 7,2o.

Feb 9, 2013

Things with Wings

English: Screetshot of Joan Crawford (as Flaem...
The experts came back first thing this morning to clean up after the bats. They've sealed off the last of nightcrawler's entries and swept up the guano. Now, they can get out but the bats can't get back in. It's going to have to warm up a little around here first before we are completely rid of the little buggers. At the moment it seems they are hibernating due to the drop in temperature. Lovely. Already the smell is better though and, it no longer looks like the opening of a vampire movie at sunset/sunrise!

I've caught up on a lot of work slash house things this week and am feeling pretty good about myself. My guy is in NOLA so I'm el parental solo until he returns. The girls have been cooperative for the most part. My poor4.5 year old is going through one heck of a growth phase. Right now - she's like having my own mini Joan Crawford to care for. Fun times. Oh yeah.

Somehow, we've landed on pre-Friday and the troops are calling for chow. I'm going to find something that will satisfy them before they overtake the kingdom. Back later...

Jan 19, 2013

Grand Biking Adventure

View of the Li River at the town of Xingping i...
I stared vacantly out the window of the bus as rain drops whipped by in the night.  Music pumped through my headphones, drowning out the cacophonous chatter of my fellow passengers.  I was on a bus on a Friday night, headed for Yangshuo in the Guangxi province.  As is so common in China, silly restrictions like the number of seats on the bus did not correlate to the number of passengers.  People squatted on tiny stools-most likely designed for toddlers-up and down the single, narrow aisle.  Sitting on a stool less than a foot high, crowded in on all sides by people in actual seats, for a full hour.  I have not yet had the opportunity to experience such discomfort but I can only imagine that it will come all too soon.  This is China, right?

I rose early on Saturday morning without a clear plan ahead of me.  In recent years I have adopted a more lax approach to my traveling.  In the past I tended to micromanage too much: where I was going, how I was getting from place to place, what I would do and see, where I was eating.  Eventually I realized that my approach was not working.  It took too much time and too much energy.  It took all the fun out of being spontaneous on my journeys.  It prevented me from following my whims which, usually, resulted in me having a fantastic experience I would most likely not have had given my former approach.

A fellow traveler in my hostel, a young Chinese man named Jacques, invited me to go bike riding with him.  In my reading I had learned that renting a bike and touring around Yangshuo was one of the best ways to go, so I accepted.  We were headed for the Dragon Bridge, some 9 kilometers outside the city.  To me it seemed like a great way to pass the morning and experience some of the most beautiful countryside I had ever seen.

After biking through towns, down highways, and through some winding dirt roads among a rundown village we arrived at the bridge.  To be quite honest, I was underwhelmed.  The bridge is (supposedly) around 500 years old and is the largest free-standing stone arch bridge in China.  As you can see, it is really not that big.  But I suppose given the technology available at the time this was quite an achievement.  The surrounding area is quite beautiful and I think the bridge really melds well with the scenery.  However it is clear that the top part has been rebuilt recently.  Like so many historical sites in China the bridge was not left in it’s original state or even restored while maintaining its integrity.  It is really unfortunate that this happens so often, but the truth is that the Chinese have some methods and ideologies that are just plain counter intuitive.  This is China, right?

From the bridge, we decided to take the long route back to Yangshuo by some trails off the beaten track.  This is where the real journey began.

We biked more than 10 kilometers over dirt roads and farmer’s paths.  We wove in and out of tiny villages and farmsteads.  We made our way through fields of vegetables and passed various animals-dogs, cats, chickens, cows-all the while following along the gorgeous Li River.  The sights were simply breathtaking.  As we pushed on along the trail through thick mud and pools of water we never lost sight of the omnipresent limestone karsts that are the pride of the Guangxi province.  Surrounded on all sides by fields of green and beautiful mountains, with nary a sign of modern technology or industry, I find myself at a loss for words at how much I enjoyed myself.  Despite all the pedaling and getting splattered with mud and nearly falling off my bike on more than one occasion, it was simply awesome.

Eventually we made our way back to civilization and turned our bikes in.  We grabbed lunch at a local joint with some cheap yet excellent food.  A piece of advice, if you will allow me, always try to find the places where the locals eat.  It may not be as flashy or showy as the touristy restaurants, but the food is always just as good (if not better) and a fraction of the price.  Besides, one would think (as I do) that you travel to a different country or place to experience what it has to offer, including the food.  You don’t go half-way around the world just to eat more food like back home at jacked-up prices, do you?

By the time we finished lunch it was late afternoon.  I did not need to depart for Guilin until the evening, so I wanted to squeeze one more adventure into my itinerary.  I said my goodbyes and thank-yous to Jacques and we parted ways, most likely to never meet again.  One problem with making friends on the road is that it is usually so ephemeral.  Alas, such is life.

For some reason Jacques was not interested in accompanying me on my next jaunt.  I didn’t ask why; I’m sure he had his reasons (probably just wanted to do something else).  I was off to Moon Hill.  Check back tomorrow for an account of my exhausting climb to the top of the mountain.

Jan 8, 2013

Olympics, Language Translation Services and Online Security Services

London 2012 banner at The Monument.
A publication of VisitBritain and VisitLondon research revealed the tourism benefits from the 2012 Olympic Games in London were estimated at being worth about $2.2 billion. The Oxford Economics tourism impact study on the 2012 Games estimated that the London Games generated tourism gains totaling $2.4 billion. Once allowances for displacement of visitors are made, the contribution is reduced to $2.2 billion for the UK.

They were indeed quite the memorable Olympics of the modern era, and they helped spring load a few industries. Businesses realized the need to connect with other cultures and languages in order to expand their customer base. To do that, they need to understand the prospective markets. This is where language translation services step into the game, bridging the gap between businesses and a more unfamiliar customer or client base.

Because the Olympics were a target for many hackers, spammers and even terrorist groups, the servers used to track and store precious information for the Olympics needed to have an intense firewall. One huge tech company carried out this important task, but it opened the eyes of other organizations such as the UN, Wimbledon and governmental organizations that plan huge events, where one glitch can send an entire event in disarray. Emergency planning companies and online security companies got a big bump in economic activity as a result.