let's make this short and sweet...

when it comes to reviewing albums, i'm not very good at the superfluous flowing descriptions of the sound contained within a record. the stuff that usually ends up not telling you anything at all about whether or not you will like the album, just leaves you with an adjective overdose.
so my new addition to this blog will be short/sweet album reviews that will tell you if i like the record or not, and that is it. of course, you then would have to trust my judgement which is your own decision anyway. i like what i like and can't be held liable for an album that you buy and don't like....although i'm sure that i will end being sued by a disgruntled reader for misleading album reviews...
also keep in mind that i don't have unlimited funds or labels sending me stuff to review, so i have to buy albums that i think i will like to start with, so a lot of my reviews will be positive.... unless someone, or a label, wants to provide me with material for reviewing ..... (anyone, hello?) in which case, there would be negative reviews to balance out the glowing reviews, presumably.
on with the show:

minus the bear, menos el oso, suicide squeeze (2005)

"brilliant. buy it if you like the old stuff, buy it if you've never heard it....just listen to it."

statistics, often lie, jade tree (2005)

"awesome. the whole album. start to finish. emo-tronic."
(i already talked about this band, see below, and i might copyright the name of my new sub-sub-genre so back off)

death cab for cutie, plans, atlantic/barsuk (2005)

"spectacular, just absolutely spectacular. no major label letdown, just more of the same beautiful songcrafting."

that is all for now, or at least until i can buy more music.



the numbers don't lie...

statistics ::

hailing from Omaha and the scene that has produced so much incredible music recently, Denver Dalley is one hell of a one man band. the guitarist and co-songwriter of the much-lauded band Desaparecidos, and oft-overshadowed by the wine drinking, Wynona Rider dating frontman, Conor Oberst, Denver has begun to cast his own shadows as the impoetus behind statistics. he plays all instruments (with a little help from some friends on a few tracks) and writes all songs, and does both of these very well. the music is straight-foward rock with some electro-pop influences and nostalgic guitar work that starts as a one would think a singer-songwriter would start an album, soft strumming and picked guitar with soft vocals ... then in comes the drums and the bass and the rock. dynamically varied and musically delicious, i love this stuff. this is what i have come to expect from middle america, from the early-90's through to today, solid and refreshing music that consistently helps to define the genre. get these songs and then turn up the volume and bask in the glow of all that is good in music:

- final broadcast
- reminisce
- another day

(*buy* the new album often lie from Jade Tree Records)

check out some other tunes from Jade Tree Records:

the loved ones - the loved ones
strike anywhere - chorus of one
despitado - burning house
breather resist - a social worker's nightmare
onelinedrawing - we had a deal
jets to brazil - resistance is futile
the promise ring - why did we ever meet



these are crazy, crazy nights... oh yeah...

so sorry to have been gone so long .... there has been a major family emergency, a brother with bruises on his brain, and house contracts falling through, work, commute, no laptop, etc....
i don't like excuses but those are my reasons for being absent.
i have my laptop back, and i almost have it back to where it was before it decided to go on vacation. this will make it much easier for me to post.
i have music to talk about, and poker, and college football (the Dawgs are 2-0, although i don't feel as good about that as i should) and other things, which will also make it easier to write.
however, this will all be started next week as it is my 1 year wedding anniversay this weekend and i will be otherwise occupied.
so please keep coming back as i get back on track/into the swing of things/on top of things, and other assorted cliches about getting knocked down and fighting back up (can i escape this post without using another cliche...)...., ....; ....: .... . .

double points if you can name the artist and song referenced in the title of this post
(negative double points if you have to use a search engine to get the answer).
answer to follow...



hurricane relief gambling...

the guys over at wicked chops poker are hosting a NLH tourney with raised funds to go toward the Katrina relief efforts. this is a great opportunity to play some un-free poker (my favorite)and contribute to a good cause.

here are the details:
When: Sunday, September 25th at 12pm.
Where: Copeland's of New Orleans Restaurant at Tower Place in Buckhead
What: No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament
Entry: $100 - Proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity’s "Operation Home Delivery"
Prizes: Will be announced early next week.
Register: Email your name and phone number to contact@wickedchopspoker.com

there are only 60 spots available, so sign up now!!

plus .... i will be a dealer at this shindig, so feel free to come and hurl insults at me while i desperately try to do math in my head figuring out split pots (you only get to insult me if you have paid the fee and are playing, no showing up just for heckling purposes).



changing gears? entire mindsets and strategy...

forget about just changing gears during a sit'n'go or a tournament, i have discovered that changing mindsets and strategies for each separate game that i play is even more crucial and possibly more difficult and costly.
if you read this blog, then you know i work for a non-profit and if you know what that means then you also know that i don't make a lot of money. i also live in atlanta where there are no casinos and buying into games is technically illegal.
put all of this together and it means that i play a lot of free poker, only cash games if and when i can afford them( i know, if i were good enough i would be able to continually stake myself with cash game winnings, but the cards just don't fall like that sometimes).
however, even free poker is not just free poker, there is internet play and live tournament play....here i will discuss the 3 mindsets and the trouble that exists when i am living in all 3 of them at the same time.

internet free poker: i have started playing on espn.com at their single table tournament site which is infinitely preferrable to the come and go melee of the other free sites. even in this format though, one encounters the neverending line of "all-in" players who usually go out by the second or third hand. once this has run its course and you have folded even the pocket rockets you were dealt because someone will chase a flush or straight to the river no matter what you bet, my real single-table tourney internet strategy begins: i will limp in and call almost anything before the flop and will chase almost anything else. of course there are exceptions to this rule as there are every other, obvious folds and even more obvious bets can be seen for what they are when a flop comes off. there is still some "reading" of other players involved but when it comes down to it free is free and you can only really start playing real cash-game style poker when you get to heads-up action. following my earlier statement, there are caveats to this also, but fewer. i have had some success with this "style" but am hesitant to improve my game because ... what is the point of becoming a really good free poker player? except maybe trying to win a satellite to get into another satellite to get into an .... ad nauseam, at which point i would probably suck it up and pay $60 to get myself a few rungs up the ladder.
look for me: i play under the name chazbeaner.

live free poker: to the untrained eye and the guys who scoff at the thought of lowering theselves to this point, the style of game play at these events is not the same as it is on the internet. you cannot call everything before the flop and you most definitely cannot chase everything to the river. i'm not sure why the mindset is different, especially since most of the same people that play online play at the local watering holes, but it is. here you have to play super-tight from the get go and when you do come into a hand you have to come in strong and come in with the nuts, or else. there are chasers out there and they will suck out on you sometimes, but when most people playing are there just trying to outlast their buddy at the next table for bragging rights, they will fold and give you the pot. this is not to say that this is surefire and at live games, there is a lot more reading happening, but if you can pull those people out of the sea of strangers you can take their free poker money. unfortunately for me, i usually get sucked out on by someone who has no friends in the room....or is just a better free poker player than i am. this will segue into the same question i asked in the previous section .... what is the point of becoming a really good free poker player? apart from winning the $50 bar tab at the end of the night, which i guess is some incentive.

live not-free poker: this is what i would play every day if i could. the rush, the adrenaline, the anticipation of pitting yourself against someone else for actual monetary stakes....that's what it is all about. style, reading opponents, everything i put in quotation marks earlier actually counts in this game. i'm still learning to apply and use odds, but i don't have a left brain so math and probability are not my fortes while a hand is running its course. however, i crave the psychological aspect of these live cash games....watching, reading, noting moves, movement, raise strategy, calling strategy, folding strategy... knowing just what it takes and how much of a raise or bet it will take to get someone to lay down their hand. the money winning plays a small part, but the competition and mindset is just addictive for me. i've been told that i have a "tight-aggressive" style, but i'm not sure what that means... i just tend to go a lot on feeling and what my gut instinct is telling me about a hand. sometimes my gut lets me down, but like i said i'm working on tempering that instinct with math. i just love it, every second of it ... unless it is 2am and my alarm is set to go off 5 minutes later, in which case i will forego the 4-way battle to the death and just divvy up the money ... i'm also a realist.

so anyway, i've said all of that to say this: changing mindset and strategy is extremely important to me and has actually helped me prepare for changing gears within a tournament style cash game. however, it can be costly if i don't do it.
take this 4 day stretch for example:
Saturday night: played a single table cash game and won $50 (i know small potatoes, but whatever...it's $50 more than i had when i started). felt good, played relatively well, not any embarassing suck outs on my part to keep myself in the game.
Monday night: sat down at my friend's computer to play a single table espn tourney. started playing immediately like it was a cash game, took me too long to remember to adjust and i went out 4th....i was raising with a decent hand trying to push people out and getting called and sucked out on, also bluffing and then getting called and just straight up beat. started a new table, adjusted my mindset and strategy, and won the table.
Tuesday night: went to play a live free game at a local bar, sat down and started playing free internet poker.... i was calling and chasing and getting my ass beat like a delinquent child. i tightened up and started coming correct, but by that time my stack had dwindled and i ended up all in a little while later with Kh8h and going down hard to pocket Q's. frustrated i paid for my bar tab with my own money and went home.

i play free poker because it is what i can afford, but give me a cash game and one mindset to live with anyday.

espn.com has part I of a Phil Gordon column about mastering the fundamentals of poker: position and dominated hands. good read and a great reminder that poker is not always trickeration and check-raises.
and since i started writing this post they have put up a Steve Rosenbloom article about cracking aces, changing table strategy, and tournaments with quick blind levels.
you see, the changing table strategy part is in there, i should definitely be writing for ESPN.

don't even wonder....there is still no word on the laptop i may or may not have once owned....yarr.



it's times like these...

i just sat and watched the images of the hurricane aftermath last night in shock.... what can you even say. the pleading phone calls from nurses in dire need of help all the way down to the pictures of dogs sitting on rooftops waiting for someone to come and get them. the lawlessness and desperation were something out of an apocalyptic movie, gangs have raided gun shops and are terrorizing those that survived with ak-47's, even hampering search and rescue and evacuation missions. what in the hell is happening...?
it also seems that the majority of the newscasts have focused on the major city of New Orleans. however, in my humble opinion, based on the little information available and the images that i have seen, Mississippi might have suffered the most devastating loss. more than the majority of the state's income is generated by the casinos lining the coast that antiquated laws dictated be built on floating barges. of course, if they are floating and the water that they are floating on raises, so do the buildings... and when the water moves inland, so also do the structures. this is why the casinos that were forced to float are now located where they should have originally been, on land....actually across the coastal road and on top of apartment complexes and other assorted unfortunate buildings.
i have never been to Biloxi, Tunica, or even New Orleans but i know someone who has...
snake over at Wicked Chops Poker has written an excellent post about the hurricane and its effect on the gaming industry along the gulf coast....and the memories he has of the trips made and, if i know him, the money made in those poker rooms. go there and read and then take his advice and see if there is something you can do.
i guess you just couldn't ever imagine that the memories you have of a place might actually outlast the place itself.

i will be at the 2006 Whiskey Fest on sunday at park tavern in atlanta, watching some cover bands (which for some odd reason i have a soft spot for, especially 80's cover bands...in fact, i saw a band called member's only in Athens about 4 years ago, anybody know if they still exist?) and drinking some delicious nectar.
more importantly, the event has now become a relief fund raising effort for the hurricane victims. there are many events like this that will be going on this weekend and for the next several weeks, and i encourage you to get out or pick up a phone or click on a link and help out in any way that you can.

by the way, still no laptop....awesome.