(no subject)

Happy belated holidays, everyone. I've been swamped at work and otherwise occupied and, obviously, haven't been posting to LJ that much, if at all.

1. Everyone's been doing Best-Of-2003 lists, and I was going to, but I sorta feel like I haven't been paying that much attention this year. I know I've bought at least 10 CDs, but everything's just sorta melded in my brain. Here's a top 6, instead:
  1. Broken Social Scene, "You Forgot It In People"

  2. Death Cab for Cutie, "Transatlanticism"

  3. Aesop Rock, "Bazooka Tooth"

  4. Wrens, "Meadowlands"

  5. The Sea and Cake, "One Bedroom"

  6. Outkast, "Speakerboxx/Love Below"

honorable mentions
Postal Service, "Give Up"
Ted Leo, "Hearts of Oak"
Radiohead, "Hail to the Thief"
Malkmus, "pig lib"
Decemberists, "castaways..."

2. My X-mas was spent with Kath's family up in Springfield, MA. It certainly was nice to get out of Penn Station at Orange Alert; my anxiety/paranoia was nonstop and aggravating. The major highlight was the wonderful time we had at the engagement party her parents threw for us; the added bonus was that Kath's sister's boyfriend taught us all how to play poker. And now I am a poker FIEND. We spent hours at the dining room table, playing for Equal sugar packets (so each poker session became the latest installment in the Junior Diabetics Poker Invitational), and having an absolute blast. I am so happy to finally understand what the hell is going on in Celebrity Poker Showdown. (By the way - big ups to my boy Paul Rudd for stomping over Ron Livingston's ill-advised all-in on CPS last night. I like Ron Livingston, too, but any publicity for Wet Hot American Summer is good publicity.)

(Also - Kath and I are pretty sure we're gonna start a low-stakes poker night, if you're interested. Also, we might include cigar smoking.)

3. While a best-of-2003 music list might be too much to handle for my feeble little brain, I feel like I can do a best-of-2003 Xbox list a lot easier.

  1. Knights of the Old Republic

  2. Prince of Persia

  3. GTA : DP

  4. Panzer Dragoon Orta

  5. Otogi

  6. Voodoo Vince

  7. Crimson Skies

  8. Top Spin

  9. SSX3

  10. Links 2004

4. I love my iPod. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." There is nothing quite like setting it to shuffle and then hearing George Harrison segue into Public Enemy into Stereolab into Fela Kuti into something off of Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

5. Has anyone read The Cheese Monkeys? I saw someone reading it on the train on the way home from Springfield and it looked cool - like if you saw someone reading the middle of "House of Leaves", you'd say to yourself, "What the hell is that? I must read it!" The reviews that Cheese Monkeys gets, at least on the bottom of that page, are somewhat hostile, but still. I'm intrigued.
I love poker.

My friends and I play about once a week. A few months ago we had a Hold 'Em tournament, and will be having another one this Friday.

Basically, it works thusly:

Everyone buys in for $50. That covers your stake, plus food and drink.

Everyone gets the same amount of chips. We usually make it something like $10,000 to make us all feel like high rollers.

It's no-limit, but the blinds increase both every hour, and every time someone is eliminated. We play table stakes, which means you cannot get more chips. Just like Celebrity Poker Showdown, once you're out, you're out.

The purse is staggered - the longer you last, the more money you win. You win at the minimum, ten bucks. Which means you got to eat and drink for free (ten bucks of every buy-in goes towards food and drink). All the way up to the last (wo)man standing, who generally gets about $100 in winnings (depends on how many people ended up playing).

It can be a really fun night. But you need people who are into poker and will be interested to keep watching the drama after they are eliminated. It's also useful to get a dedicated dealer (my friend Lia loves poker, but couldn't afford the buy-in, so she volunteered to deal last time. This time we will have a rotating deal until people get knocked out, then the eliminated players will take turns dealing.)