A funny thing happened on the road to Alaska...

... I started caring again.

The time has come

After about six months of planning, the big trip is here.

Tomorrow morning we are getting up far too early and heading out for a four week tour to explore the roads between Toronto and Anchorage. Longer if we see any interesting roads, like maybe this one:


We're bringing the cutest teeny tiny laptop with us to keep in touch as we go; seems even campgrounds in the far north offer free wifi these days. The cutest teeny tiny laptop has been a bit of a PITA for me - I'm just not that much of a geek where I find hours of researching Linux hacks and script tweaks all that entertaining, just so I can get the damn thing to do just the basics of what I want. I now know more about sudo bash and debian thingamabobs that I really care to, but it's all set and running with what we need.

If you're at all interested, you can follow our travels here (there's a link above as well).

Alas, this poor blog will be left languishing over the next four weeks. I could have spent another few hours trying to get a windows emulator to work on Linux so I could install Full Tilt and play poker. As Joanada would say, "yeah.....no". Vacations are supposed to be getaways from the normal everyday routine, and I am greatly looking forward to the break from the poker routine. Which has become far too normal and everyday right now.

Not to say I won't be playing any poker during my travels; Joanada may be getting a home game together, combining my family and hers, when we hit Calgary on Thursday-ish. And how could I not play poker at a place called Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall in Dawson City, Yukon?

Oh, someone asked me if the Friday Night Donkaments will continue in my absence....hellz yeah! the lovely and talented Joanada will be taking over as hostess while I'm gone, which really just means that she has no chance of cashing. At all.

See y'all on the other side! Rubber side down, shiney side up!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

An impartial judge (aka Keith) spent many long and thoughtful seconds (five) going over the caption contest entries.

The winner is.....Easycure! His entry of "The ass to my left raised 5 brown chips." brought a smile to my beloved's lips. "It works on so many levels."

$10 has been sent to Easycure to donk it up in a Friday Night Blogger Rebuy game.

I'm craving chicken fried steak already

Going to be a long year 'til we can do this again...

Okie Oh Eight

I'm sitting here on my couch, my cat purring beside me, laptop on my lap, bruised ankle propped up on three pillows.

In other words, pretty much where I've been all day.

And yes even though I've been kinda lazing around all day, I hadn't yet written my post-Okie post. Totally stalling. Not sure why.

Before leaving for Okie, I had some misgivings. Frankly the thought of canceling had flitted across my brain a few times. Yes, I know I'd been booked since the dawn of time (or so it feels), but seriously, last year's event was so utterly perfect, how could this year's hope to be the same?

And it wasn't. The same I mean.

There were people I was looking forward to seeing again, who couldn't make it for one reason or another, and people there that I really wanted to spend more time with, but couldn't for one reason or another. There was a fly in the ointment that I could not get past. There was an early over-indulgence that caused me to miss some fun while I lay on the grass counting stars and being drunkenly profound in the way that only tequila can fuel. There was the solo stumble back to the trailer that ended my ability to walk (and jet ski) for the rest of the weekend. (I swear, my ankle would have found that damn hole in broad daylight, much less in the dark, while ...umm....tipsy. This is right ankle sprain #5 in 4 years. I am a klutz, with weak ankles.) There was the most incredibly frustratingly bad run of cards (yeah like that's anything new). Oh, and let's not even get started on the fact that middle age is bringing with it changes that I have yet to fully accept.

And while these things stopped this year's Okie-Vegas from being the utter perfection of last year's, don't get me wrong, it was still a shitload of fun!

Gary and Carrie, their daughter Casey, Carrie's mum Kaye (my source of pickled okra goodness!), and their trailer neighbours Bill (aka Beer Bitch) and Rhonda, and Okie co-hosts Maudie and Oossuuu are the best people you could ever hope to meet. Generous, hospitable and friendly, wrapped around a steel core of no bullshit, WYSIWYG.

I told Gary the other night (quite sober) that I would walk through broken glass to be able to hang out with them. So, being stranded, limping through an airport for a few hours is truly a small price to pay.

I've been thinking a lot about the nature of friendship lately. There are acquaintances, friends, and Friends with a capital F. The people that fall into the latter category run few and far between for me, and it was my great pleasure to spend a weekend with so many Friends in one place.

****

I gave in to my techno-envy and bought a Flip camera, which I used a bit in Okie. I didn't take as many pictures or videos as in last year, because as I get older I realize I'd rather experience an event more than document it.

But I did get some good stuff, and tomorrow's day of sitting here on my couch, my cat purring beside me, laptop on my lap, bruised ankle propped up on three pillows will be spent playing around with some audio and movie editing software.

In the meantime, here's a Mookie-style Caption and/or Guess That Ass contest. Winner gets a buy-in and some all-in bucks to blow in a Friday Night Donkament.

So this is Washington?

We're sorry, but Flight 7849 to Toronto is cancelled due to weather.
Fuckin' A.

Landed at Dulles just as a weather front was coming in. Hustled across the airport to the other terminal just in the nick of time, boarded, and then sat on the plane for a half hour as they decided what we were going to do.

De-plane, that's what we're gonna do.

Delay, delay, delay, then cancel. I'm tired, grumpy, and the ankle I sprained at Gary's lake place (details later) is swollen, bruised and sore.

Oh yay, the earliest flight they can put me on is at 3:45 pm. Quick call to the only person I know that lives in Washington, but alas, we won't be able to connect as he has no car and is a looong cab ride from the airport.

I call around, and the Hyatt Recency Reston is offering a bit of a deal for the stranded passengers.

Perfect. Quick check in, room service meal complete with frosty adult beverage (and delivered by a very cute waiter), wireless connection, ice on ankle, a last-minute lunch date with the nearby Pokerwolf, and I am a somewhat happy camper.

Still miffed I'm not at home though.

****

Okie was fun.

I need a new word. "fun" no longer seems to convey what I want it to. It certainly falls flat when trying to describe the Okie experience.

There you go...The Okie Experience. What esle could you call 4 days with some of the most wonderful people in the blogosphere?

A trip report (complete with incriminating photos and video *grin) will be forthcoming soon as I get home, collect myself, dig out all the technology cables I packed in the luggage I checked (DOH!), and pour myself a nice cold beer.

Gary, Carrie, Casey, Kaye, Bill (aka Beer Bitch) and Rhonda: thank you so very, very much.

****

By all early reports, the Gentile Conference was a success as well. I'm looking forward to reading the details after everyone suitably recovers - trust me, I know what that feels like *grin.

Outta here

In just under an hour, I'll be on my way to the airport, heading to fabulous Okie-Vegas. I've only been booked since January - after 6 months of waiting it seems a bit surreal that it's today.

I gotta tell ya, I'm nervous about this one. Not the flying part but the event itself. Last year's Okie-Vegas was so much fun that this year has a hard act to follow.

I'm schlepping my laptop down there as there will be group BDR/Mookie fun tonight. There will be casino poker, lake poker, and let's not forget the real reason why I'm going, chicken fried steak at Ozzies.


I LOVE chicken fried steak. It's probably a good thing no one makes it up here. It would totally sabotage my lose-weight-before-the-Bash bet with Surflexus and Riggstad.

Nah, the real reason I'm going is the people. I'd walk through broken glass to be able to sit and quaff a few wobbly pops while shooting the shit with the likes of Gary and Carrie, Surflexus, Maudie, Joanada, 23SkiDoo, Buddy Dank, OOOSSSUUU, etc. It's pure gold to able to hang out in a small group. Don't get me wrong, I love the chaos that is the Vegas gatherings, but I never leave the smaller events thinking "man, I wish I'd had a chance to talk to _____ more".

And cheers to those going to the Gentile Conference - you have the cell numbers, North-South Dial A Shots are in order *grin. Have fun, y'all.

Nope. Can't do it. Canuck girl cannot even type y'all without feeling like a goof.

And a huge bonne chance to the little blogger that could. Kick ass today, Iggy!

Wheeeeee! see you at the Mookie tonight, same bat time, same bat channel!

A debt paid

I rode up to Casino Rama on Friday to meet NutzCarson, and buy him the dinner I owe him for being such a donk at the Monkey Game.

Stupid prop bets *grin.

The ride up was great, and the sunny warm weather meant that everyone was outside enjoying the day (or working), so I found a seat right away.

I'd love to say that I left up, or even that I broke even. But alas, my Alaska fund is lighter by $200, thanks to rivered flushes (2), Mr. Shakey Hands' nut flush beating my second nut flush, and the most missed flops ever. It was laughable.

At one point I saw A9 hearts, and with only $18 left I flung myself at the mercy of the most benevolent (HA!) of poker gods and went all in preflop. Crazy Maniac Man called me (quel surprise), and one other, someone that NutzCarson said was pretty tight. Uh oh.

Both guys check it to the end. The board ended up with a diamond four flush, no ace. Great. Crazy Maniac Man has nothing, so I have a faint hope that my ace plays. Nope. The tight player flips over 35 clubs, meaning that his paired three wins. Good lord.

That stung....beaten by three five. That was when I made my big mistake of the night; I pulled out another buyin.

But like I told the dealer (the cute one, not the old one), there's been times when I've spent more money and had less fun. NutzCarson is a pretty funny guy to talk to, and he had me laughing so hard a few times that I got dirty looks from serious players at other tables.

I bailed just after 9, and was treated to a lovely sunset over the water as I rode to where Keith was working. It's always cool when I can watch him work in his element for a bit, and when he was able to break away, we wandered around the grounds for a bit and I got my fix of fair food.

Nirvana

One of Dictionary.com's definitions of nirvana is:
An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.
Today, I found Motorcycle Nirvana. New smooth blacktop, a slight tailwind, the engine revs at that sweet spot where there's no vibration or noise....it was like I was floating.

Utterly perfect.

I stopped at a farm stand that promised fresh strawberries. And that first taste of a ripe berry, still warm from the sun, juicy and sweet, was the proverbial icing on the cake.

Small town fireworks are +EV



****

As usual, I've returned from a few days away feeling like it's been much longer. Time spent with family I like is always good and one can't help but relax on the island. We chilled. I played with my nephew and met my new niece. I drank good beer, read, and spent evenings around the campfire watching the how the setting sun changed the landscape. And watching the Canada Day fireworks put on by South Bay Mouth.

Oh, and swatting mosquitoes. Man, those little fuckers loooooove me. Can't wait to meet the 26 varieties of mosquitoes in Yukon/Alaska.

The original plan was to stay away until the weekend, but I had to come back and finish up some client work. Yay.

****

Finally got unpacked and with a good cup of coffee in my hands, I fired up the computer. For once, I looked at my 400+ unread blog items in Bloglines with dread rather interest. I made it past the first 9 or 10, thought "good god, not this shit again", and marked all remaining outstanding posts as read.

The next immediate thought was to change the word again to still.

I can't tell if I just need a longer vacation, or if I'm finally hitting the bullshit saturation point.


    Katitude



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