jianantonic: (Default)
When I was married to McKenzie, I was lucky to get to "play up" a lot of the time. Riding his bridge coattails, I more often than not played with really good partners and teams -- people I would not have been able to roll with had he not carried me along in my early development. Having taken 2 years off, though, and playing more locally and less internationally, I don't have the luxury of playing with the very best of the best players every time I sit down at the table. And that's totally fine. I really like playing with the people I do play with, and I consistently outperform even my own expectations. No matter who I'm playing with, I usually beat 60% at the club, and I've had some pretty solid tournaments, too.

But I do miss what I had. Being in a circle of friends who traveled to all the big tournaments, always had top players to team up with, etc. I fully hope to be playing with Toby in a lot of tournaments in the future, but he's still got a lot of hills to climb, and it'll be awhile before our partnership is one of peers rather than mentor-mentee.

I'm going to more tournaments suddenly, and I'm super happy about it...but my teams are all kind of hodgepodge, and I miss playing with regular teammates, knowing their game and knowing what to expect. I think I need to make a point of reaching out more to other local players. Probably all I have to do is ask, and I can get games with lots of top players...
jianantonic: (Default)
We've been doing better as the week progresses. We made one KO semifinal for a nice big chunk of points for Zac -- he was shocked that we got 11 all at once like that. Today we're playing in a playoff for 3rd place in a 3-session KO (they didn't get enough teams to do a full final KO). Then tomorrow I fly home to my sweet boyfriend and devil kitten. I've had a great week and I'm really looking forward to getting home, too.

Last night, we played against Val and his sponsor, Carol. Early in the match, Zac jokingly told me to fuck off. Carol, a woman at least in her 70's, was very shocked, and Zac spent the rest of the match apologizing for his language. As we got up to leave the table at halftime, Zac said once more to her, "Again, I'm so sorry about my language." She goes "I don't give a fuck!" It was my favorite moment of the week.

They annihilated us in the second half after we kept it close in the first, so Val offered to buy my drinks at the hotel bar. It was the first time we hung around after, and we ended up shooting the shit with Steve Weinstein and Bobby Levin. It's such a small tournament, they're some of the only pros here, and we were the only people around to hang out with them. That was a good time. It made me feel like one of the cool kids.

I also witnessed the most awful human behavior I've ever seen yesterday. I've already told this story all over Facebook, but I'll put it here for a more permanent record. In the first bit of the first session yesterday, a woman playing in the small room (7 tables) with us fainted. Everyone in the room stopped playing as we waited, concerned, for her to wake up. Paramedics were called, but her husband assured us that she has a fainting disorder and this is not uncommon. She's probably fine. She wakes up and the color starts returning to her face, and she says she's okay. The surrounding tables continue their play. The paramedics arrive, lift her off the ground and back into her chair, and begin to evaluate her. Then a woman (JH) gets up and walks over to the patient and paramedics and says "could you please take this outside? It's really bothering me."

What. The. Fuck.

Like, seriously, I know bridge players are selfish assholes, but that was a spectacular new low. God damn.

Anyway, one more day of fun-filled excitement, then home to my love. It's been a great week :)

Also Happy Fucking Birthday to my little sister today! I dunno if she still reads here now that I'm not on LJ and she has an infant to wrangle, but I've wished her happy birthday in several other places as well. (Hi Em! Are you still with me here?)
jianantonic: (Default)
Mixed results in the first few sessions with the team -- Zac is my partner, Max and Dee at the other table. Zac seems to be loving his first tournament and I don't think he's really gunning for all the wins or anything, but I still wanted to have something good to show for our time here; something to get him excited about playing more. We started a new KO this afternoon and won both our sessions, so we're officially in the PENIS (aka semifinals), and we'll have a nice masterpoint haul no matter how we finish the event. So that's exciting! Zac's first pigmented points are gold! That's kind of rare.

After the session, we were talking with Bruce Ferguson, an older pro who's been around forever and is just a really cool guy. He told Zac that I am "the most erotic, exotic, perfect woman there is." I mean, not *entirely* what I'm going for at the bridge table (erotic?), but I accept this compliment.

My least favorite person in the entire world is here this week, too, unfortunately, but he's had the good sense not to try to speak to me, and he's playing pairs all week, so I won't ever play against him.

People here have been super nice and I'm really glad that we chose this tournament to be Zac's debut. It's a gentle introduction, and we're still playing pretty high-level competition. I've really missed traveling for regionals. But I also really miss my Toby and my kitten.
jianantonic: (Default)
I am so sick of all the disrespect I get at the bridge table. I'm too mentally exhausted to go into the whole story from today, but it has a happy ending, anyway. My team won. We're a hodgepodge team thrown together to fill out the event, and we fully expected to be bottomfeeders, but we were solid today and tomorrow we'll play against Dave's team for the district championship. I feel like I'm playing some of my best bridge ever, and while I don't think our team is better than theirs, I think we could win. I would like that very much.

The thing I hate the most, though, is that when I complain about being disrespected, most (older white men) think I'm overreacting. The older white men in charge of ruling the game (and handing out zero tolerance penalties) don't think any of the transgressions that bother me warrant a ZT. (Then why call it ZERO tolerance if you'll tolerate MILD abuse?) But get fucking disrespected every goddamn time you play, and the littlest things eat at your soul. I just wish the directors would have my back here. Or that I could stand up for myself without looking like a whiner or some kind of tattletale.

But you know what?

Scoreboard, motherfuckers.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I called my mom this evening to get the latest from Charlottesville, and also to share the exciting news that Toby's brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first kid this September. I've only met Toby's family over video calls, but I'm still very excited about adding another nibling to the mix. I'll meet them all this summer, and then will hopefully have a chance to go back with Toby after Christmas, too. We'll see if the finances work out for two Europe trips this year.

Anyway, Mom had a really interesting and unexpected reaction.

"You know, I've been thinking, with how much you love that cat...maybe you and Toby should have one."

!!!!!!

Okay, I don't want kids and my mom knows this. She's not going to pressure me or anything -- she's got enough grandkids to be content -- but she's NEVER encouraged me to have kids before. I was really touched that she said that, even if it isn't something I want at all. It's a real vote of confidence in Toby, too. Which of course he deserves, but I don't expect my parents to give him full marks since they still love McKenzie a lot and also since I really suck at marriage. But her saying that made me feel really good about how *she* feels about Toby. Yay :)

One of my favorite things about Toby from the very start of our relationship was and is how much he adores his nieces and nephews. He is a doting uncle and they love him back. Then couple that with the fact that he doesn't want his own kids, and he's already 90% of the way to being the perfect man for me. I think it's rare you find people who are so enthusiastic and being aunts and uncles who don't want their own kids. So to find someone whose enthusiasm matches mine on both sides of the equation was really a jackpot situation. AND he loves cats. I mean, he's fucking perfect, you know?

In other news, my friend Cristal won her first national bridge championship yesterday. I'm SO happy for her, and also SO jealous. I played with her in the Portland regional and had a great time. It's what got me revved up to want to play more tournaments. She's a stronger player than I am, so I don't harbor illusions that if only I'd been at the NABC, it would've been me...but a lot of my peers have been doing very well at this NABC, and I do feel like if I were competing there, I'd be celebrating my own successes as well. I don't know when I'll get back to nationals, but it won't be this year. Sigh.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've played more sessions of live bridge this week than I had in the previous two years combined, just about. I'm diving back into it rather heavily (at the club level, anyway), and I'm really happy to be doing so. I played Monday night in a small game with Toby and mostly either beginner pairs or pairs of mentor-mentee partnerships. We won and Toby earned his very first masterpoints :) (Well, fraction thereof.) David mentioned that the club was really in need of more directors, and I volunteered myself. I want to be involved with his club if he'll have me, and it would be nice to earn a little extra money doing something I enjoy anyway. I can bring a craft or a puzzle and work on that between obligations, and make more contacts for either bridge or real estate or whatever in the meantime.

My demeanor at the bridge table has changed entirely from what it used to be. Playing with mostly beginners these days, I just don't give a fuck about the results, or the stupid cheaty things that happen at the club, because the offenders aren't doing it on purpose and how does it affect my life even if they are? I'm just really nice to everyone and I don't make a fuss over the shit that used to bug me and it turns out it's way more fun this way. There are still some people who rub me the wrong way, but it's not like I have to spend the whole day with them, so who cares? I'm having fun and sharing something I love with people I love. That's a win.

On Wednesday, I played in an open game with a friend I've known for a while but never played with. He's not an expert, but he's not someone who's playing with me to get lessons, either. I'm not sure if he's technically flight C or B but he's a good B-level player who can hang with the A's on most days. We had a 54% game, which I felt great about. We've made plans to play most Wednesdays together.

Then tonight I was going to play with Toby again in another mentor game, but we had to juggle our schedule at the last minute, so I asked Brian to play with me when Toby had to cancel. He enthusiastically accepted my invitation, and we had a 61% game where lots of relevant teaching points came up. Brian is about a year ahead of Toby on the learning train (plus several years of sort of knowing how to play but not actively working on the game), so I feel like going over more advanced theories and practices with him is doable. He did really well, and I feel like the stuff we discussed really sunk in, too. Both Brian and Toby have rather high bridge potential, and I look forward to competing with each of them in the really high level shit one day. I'm going to have to work harder than I ever have at the game if I want to stay better than both of them long-term, but I've got a few years before I have to really hit the books ;) One thing I love about this game is how you can just keep leveling up, no matter how long you've played or how expert you get. No one has solved this game yet.

Tomorrow night, I'm going with Toby and our friend Eric to see Joel McHale do some comedy. I look forward to it eating up some time in a happy way before the election. I'm so freaking scared about this Tuesday and the ensuing political climate, you guys. Even if Hillary wins, the Trumpians aren't going away. They're riled up, they're armed with misinformation and actual weapons, and they're dangerous as any enemy this country has ever seen. I don't know what it will take to bring reason back to our country, but I'm hoping it prevails...not just on Tuesday, but in the long-term. Fingers crossed, y'all.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My former bridge partner won a national title yesterday.

I have so many feelings. Mostly ones I don't want to have.

I'm jealous. I regret that our partnership ended (I still don't know why -- I was in the middle of a complete mental breakdown when he cut ties with me suddenly. Well, it seemed sudden to me. It's possible it wasn't at all. I was in a really bad place). I won't lie that I'm a little angry. He was a bridge player before he played with me, but I convinced him to come traveling and to play with me full-time. I'm fairly confident that he would be much less involved with the game had it not been for my arm-twisting several years ago. There's of course a huge feeling of "it should have been me." Not instead of him, but with him. It's really, really sad.

I'm also happy for him, and happy for my friend who was his partner in the event.

But it's really hard for me.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Last night I had my regular therapy session, followed by therapy round 2 at Josh & Mary's. Josh and Mary listened to me bitch and moan about my problems (thanks, guys!) and let me hold their baby for a while, which is exactly the kind of therapy I needed. I love that little girl. And her skin is so soft, I just wanted to give her all of the kisses all of the time.

Work this week has been good -- when I'm in emotional turmoil, I tend to be more productive at my desk for some reason. So I stayed on top of everything as it came in, and was rarely busy. I've played a lot of BBO this week, and I have felt zero guilties about it because all my work is done, for serious. I even did some real estate work from here at my insurance office, too.

It doesn't look like my aunt will be able to make it anytime soon -- she has company for the next couple of weeks, and she's taking her own real estate exam right after they leave. She said she would try to come in late February. I guess knowing she's not going to come right now could be another way to get myself going. Okay, she's not going to come reboot your life; do it yourself. I'm feeling somewhat motivated, anyway. I have productive and healthy plans for the weekend, and I'm kicking around ideas for how I will spend some of my free time next week. I'm thinking of starting a weekly or bi-monthly craft night at my house. If people came over specifically to do crafts, I'd be more likely to use all my craft stuff, too. I really should do that. Tuesday nights, anyone?

My fish are still going strong. I'm going to swing by the aquarium place in Beaverton on my way home tonight and pick up some more stuff for the tank. Watching them is really great meditation. I'm glad they're surviving, and appear to be doing well. The magnitude of the bigness that is the deal that I have live fish in there cannot be overstated. I'm really pleased.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
So I'm here in Providence as the Fall NABC winds to a close...I played a bunch of major events with new partnerships this week and did not expect to do well. Hey, I met my expectations! Seriously, though, I'm feeling good about my game. I just don't have a lot to show for it results-wise. One last shot for sort-of glory.

We had a pretty good team for the North American Swiss, and I had high hopes, especially after we drew a team of all world champions in the first round and quietly beat them by 21. We then proceeded to lose our next five matches to teams we really should have destroyed. Oh well. Not our day. We did win our last two matches of the day, though. So we didn't make the cut, and we entered the same team into a new, much less prestigious event today. We're now competing in the 0-10,000MP 2-day Swiss Teams. Winning or doing well in this would still be quite an accomplishment, but it's not a real national event. Meh.

I've had two really unpleasant runs-in with opponents this week. The first was a guy who was just a complete fucking asshole...I could tell the story but it's boring if you don't play bridge so just take my word for it that the guy was a complete dick. But then I found out yesterday that he collapsed during the finals of his event and he had to be rushed out by ambulance. I feel no sympathy or pangs over this. I don't know if he's okay or not. Don't care. He is a bad person. (I say this based on my admittedly limited experience, but he was THAT MUCH of a dick. And also Z knows him and corroborates that he is in fact a complete jerk.)

The other thing was today in the Swiss. Swiss matches are 7 boards (hands) long, and last about an hour. They give you 8 minutes to play each board. Really it takes about 4-5 on average, and then you have time for discussion or whatever, or extra time for the boards that are real thinkers. So we're playing against this old couple, and they are kind of grouchy with us from the start. Nothing specific, just really unfriendly. Then on the third board of the match, they take FOREVER to play. Like 12 minutes or so. Way too fucking long. So we've got four boards left to play and a little less than half the allotted time for the match. Jen, who is always a very polite and nonthreatening person (I can't say the same for myself), calmly stated "We need to play a little quicker if we're going to get in all of our boards." Well apparently, them's fightin' words. The old folks lost their shit at her for this. They insisted that they play fast enough and we still have 28 minutes left, who do you think you are to tell us how to play, etc. Seriously, they just went off. They fed off each other until they were so worked up that they called the director to complain about what Jen had said. Mind you, the whole dialogue after her statement was just between the two of them, getting increasingly more bitchy about the fact that she'd called. When the director comes over, the woman says "These ladies are BADGERING us!"

Seriously, WHAT. THE. FUCK.

And the thing is, this is how young people are treated in bridge all the time. The ageism is INSANE. Merely being young is offensive, and no matter how politely we handle ourselves or treat them, we are an affront and must be punished.

There are times when I have badgered opponents. (Not recently; I've grown up a lot.) But this is not one of those times. And just thinking about it makes me so angry, because THAT FUCKING BITCH. Like, does she realize she blew the comment way out of proportion? Was she intentionally lying to the director to try to get us penalized so she'd have a better score in the match? Or did she really believe that my partner's one simple comment was the most offensive thing anyone has ever said to her? Anyway. This is why I hate bridge players. I have experiences like this at every goddamn tournament. I love the game, I love most of the people I play with, but holy shit, there's always someone who just wants to make it a shitty time for everyone else...and also to blame me for it. Because apparently 31 is still a punk-ass kid.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Youguysyouguysyouguys! I finished my real estate coursework! I still have a few steps before I'm licensed -- there are end-of-course exams I have to pass, and I should study a bit before I try to take those, because some of that reading is not very fresh in my mind, but I did take one of them today and passed it (for the most recent subject material I covered). It only took about ten minutes to complete that exam, though, so I don't think that the rest of them will take up too much time. Then I need to schedule my final licensing exam, pass the mofo (you find out immediately), and proceed with my startup stuff like getting photos taken and launching a website and all that fun stuff. I'm so close! Finishing the coursework was huge for me, though. I've been stagnating for a long time, really close to the finish line but just not focused enough to fucking get it done. We talked a lot about that in therapy last night, discussed strategies to get the ball rolling again (and to stay on task), and whaddya know, I applied said strategies and was successful. Huzzah!

Therapy has been really good lately. I'm feeling a lot better about so many things, and both Z and I are much more relaxed in our coexistence than we have been in...ever. So that's good. Obviously there's a lot about it that's still really hard, but I feel like we're making the right kind of progress.

I've got an awesome long weekend ahead of me. We've got three different guests coming for various stays -- Jen Cote is coming up from NM tonight, and will be here through Tuesday. She was here about this time last year and I love her and we always have a blast together. Then tomorrow, Jen Chalfan is coming down from Seattle, probably bringing her daughter, and staying for the weekend. We're all signed up to run a 5K on Saturday, which happens to take place at a local amusement park, so that'll be a fun day. Then on Sunday, we have a new short-term renter moving in.

In preparation for all of this, we've been doing a lot of housework. That's something else I'm working on in therapy to try to be better at...not letting my laziness overcome me to the detriment of my living conditions. It's a struggle. But guests are good motivation.

I've also solidified most of my travel plans for the rest of the calendar year. I've all but given up on hitting the mileage requirement for Gold status again, but I'm well into Silver anyway. I was hoping to go someplace international, and I still might if the right fare pops up, but right now I'm just planning on sticking around here for the most part, and going to Providence for the duration of the NABC (after having Thanksgiving in Virginia with my folks). Because of my work schedule and the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm able to take two full weeks off and only having two days covered by my coworker, so even though I'm traveling for a long time, it's not a major burden on my office. That's nice. I still haven't worked out what I'll do for Christmas. I would say that going home over Thanksgiving is enough, really, but William and his family don't come down then -- only for Christmas. So if I want to see them, I need to go then. And of course I want to see them! So we'll see. All this stuff is time off work, money spent, etc. More likely to go to VA for a quick Xmas visit if I don't end up doing any more traveling the rest of the year, and it looks like that's how it'll go. I'd like to get down to Phoenix a time or two to visit with A and Katy, and my regular four-day weekends should make that a viable option. But I also want to dive into real estate up here, which means I probably should be around a lot.

Anyway, super excited to have some of my favorite people visiting for the weekend, and I look forward to hugs and talks and good workouts and girlfriend time.

<3
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
There's kind of a mini-scandal brewing in the bridge community right now. If you want to read about it in detail, start with this post on Bridgewinners and follow its links to go further down the rabbit hole, as I find myself doing right now. But here's the short version:

Some events at the fall nationals are named as memorial events for a recently-deceased player who confessed to cheating in 1979. He was suspended for a while, but then came back to the game an really reformed himself, gave a lot to the league, etc, etc...there is some debate as to whether this reform is enough to deserve the honor he's being given.

So there's that debate, but the article and its subsequent links go on to discuss the issue of the 1979 affair -- the confessed and convicted cheaters won a national event that year. Suspicious observers cracked their code during the event in question and brought it to the attention of league officials, and a shocking little was done about it. In 2008, some bridge blogger I don't know did some pretty in-depth investigation of the whole thing to find out why the fuck the league never made it right -- I'm unclear on whether the cheaters' title was vacated, but the 2nd place team was never named winners, even though they asked for a committee to investigate a hand that the cheaters played against them in the event. (The members of the 2nd place team were not the same people who cracked the cheating code and tattled on them.) I'm still going through the very long writeup about the league's actions (and lack thereof) regarding this incident, and it's glaringly obvious that the actions taken and not taken with regard to the cheating really screwed a lot of people over, most notably this 2nd place team that honestly earned a national title.

The author of the blog writes this as a call to action -- he is trying to call attention to the facts and get the league to act, or get the members to pressure the league to do more. At this point, action would be largely symbolic -- many of those involved in the 1979 scandal are dead. But I agree with the author that the league should do something. It is not too late to address what should have been addressed in 1979, and it's ridiculous how little was done. That is clear to me. BUT.

This blog is REALLY poorly written. It's very difficult to follow the story the author tells, and I can only do so because the names are already familiar to me and I'm reading every sentence three times before moving on. The guy who wrote it worked hard, and because the subject matter is interesting fascinating to me, I'm sticking with it and piecing it all together. But I really wonder if more would be done if only the story were more comprehensible. I don't know; I guess I can't say that if I'd written it, for example, it would have made some waves in the community (as it is, I'm reading it for the first time six years after it was written), but I can say that if it were clearer, more people would get past the introductory paragraph.

I do hope the league takes some action here. Bridge is a game that demands ethical conduct, and depends on strict enforcement thereof. I've been cheated in events of little consequence, and it boils my blood every time it happens; I can't imagine how it would hurt to be cheated out of a national title.

It's kind of ironic that I've taken as long as I have to roundaboutedly (totally a word) get to my point, which is that writing well is important! It's hard to take a person seriously when their presentation is disjointed. How much more might have been accomplished on behalf of the would-be 1979 Men's BAM National Champions if only someone had published the facts clearly and concisely? It's not too late, and maybe one day I'll take up that cause, but right now I just want to bitch about terrible writing.

The bridge community is made up of geniuses, but I can't stomach reading the message boards and blogs because they're all just word vomit. It makes me angry that players way more accomplished than I can ever dream to be can't be bothered to use a fucking apostrophe correctly. Bridge comrades, we can do better.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Vegas was super fun. But holy shit I should've taken today off work. I am barely here. Luckily it's been pretty slow in the office so it's not a big deal. I'm just bored and tired and cranky.

I got upgraded to first class on my flight to LAS, so I got a head start on drinking for the weekend. McKenzie picked my drunk ass up at the airport and we were back in our hotel before 1am on Saturday. Adrian had arrived shortly before, and he was already asleep for the night, so we tried to quietly settle in. Somewhere in there, though, I found a second wind I wasn't looking for, and I ended up awake doing Kakuro puzzles until 3am.

I rolled out of bed for real around 9, and A and I hit the town. He wanted to do the roller coaster at New York, New York Casino, so we took the monorail up there. When we arrived, the coaster still wasn't open yet, so we decided to start drinking while we waited. I hadn't exactly had breakfast, and I knew going into it that it was possibly a terrible idea, but YOLO...

I do think being tipsy made the roller coaster way more of an adventure. When we finished that, we grabbed some food and then started walking up the strip. When we got to Casino Royale (basically the midpoint between LVH and NYNY), we ducked in and got going on the craps table. We did quite well and both left up a couple hundred bucks. Adrian used to deal craps, so I always like gambling with him. I was too young when he worked in AC to actually visit him there. He's got good stories, though.

We were going to get on the monorail and ride the rest of the way back, but at that point, we were already most of the way to our hotel, so we just decided to walk instead. That is a long, hot walk. It was about 110 degrees outside. We saw Bruce Willis (not really, just the wax museum sculpture of him outside Madame Tussaud's, which my brother thought was real). Then we saw Bill Gates at our hotel (really. He was playing bridge. Adrian was psyched). I honestly can't remember what we did that afternoon. Must've involved more drinking. We had dinner with McKenzie and A went to bed early while I stayed up to heckle bridge players and join the midnights. We lasted exactly one round there.

The next day, Adrian and I monorailed back to Casino Royale, where we both gave back what we'd won the day before. We hopped around some other places on the strip for food and drink and to place a bet on the Blazers to win the 2015 championship. I was hoping to find a sports book with more interesting prop bets, but the only NBA bets available this time of year were who would win the title. Closer to the season, oddsmakers will set the lines for the other stuff, but instead of putting some money down that the Blazers would win X # of games or whatever, I had to go for the all or nothing bet. I put $5 down for the championship, which will pay $180 if it hits. In other words, I gave away five bucks to prove that I'm a true fan.

Adrian took off to go back home at that point, so I went back to the room for a good long nap. McKenzie took the night off and we got dressed up super fancy for a date. We went to Cirque's Love, and he loved it as much as I expected him to (lots), went back to the LVH and played more midnights (again, early exit -- apparently we're bad at bridge). Z went to bed, but I stayed up playing electronic craps and shooting the shit with Ankur and Mike. Craig and Rob joined us much later in the night, and by the time I went to bed, I was up $100 or so and the sun was rising.

I slept until noon, then went back to the casino to try to undo my losses from the day before. At one point, I was down 95% of the bank I'd brought with me, and it looked like my gambling was over, but then I hit a couple of huge dumbass bets (hard six, hit once, then parlayed, hit again for a $100 to $1 payout), and I was back in the saddle. I don't recommend this approach. It's a stupid fucking bet. I just got luckier than I deserved.

McKenzie and I had planned to play the evening side game that night, but Mike was also off, so we teamed up for loser Swiss instead. Mike and I had spent the hour before the game at the bar, where obviously the bartender liked me a lot because I could barely walk after the two -- okay, it might have been three...possibly four -- drinks I had there. I do think it was just two. But I had some of Mike's, too. Z was annoyed at how drunk I was when I showed up to play, but aside from revoking on the very first board (d'oh!), I played reasonably well and we went 3-1.

I was sober by the midnights, and we actually made it to the second round this time. We had what looked like a really solid card that round, and our opps were sure we'd crushed them, but sometimes your teammates shit the bed. So we got to go to bed then, too.

That was basically it for my Vegas escapades. Just a lot of drinking and gambling. After all the ups and downs, I finished my trip about +$100. I got back home at midnight, was in at work before 8 today, and I'm tired as fuck. But I had a good time. Woo.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I don't know if it has more to do with the particular moment in time, or just the age that I was, but the songs that were top 40 hits when I was in middle school (1993-1996) have this amazing staying power -- I can go for literally years without hearing it, and then a song like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" comes on my shuffle, and I can sing along to every word, every pause, every hum and filler word. I love that.

This morning was a windows down, drive fast, sing loud kind of commute. It felt awesome. I was confirmed for an upgrade on my flight to Vegas tonight, and now just one busy workday stands between me and some Vegas shenanigans.

The silly Blazers had to lose their silly summer league playoff game yesterday, though, so now I don't get to watch them play this weekend after all. Bah. Oh well. My brother decided to drive up from Phoenix, so I'll spend the weekend partying with him, and McKenzie asked me to pack our convention cards, so it sounds like he's setting aside some time to actually play bridge with me, too. I'm 55 points away from Gold Life Master. McKenzie wants to be playing with me when I get it, which means I shouldn't enter any major events without him until I'm over. I wasn't planning on it, anyway, but if I can find good pickup games this weekend, I'll take them. Only a Bracket I KO would pay that much for a single event win, though. Anyway. I'm excited about this weekend, no matter how much or how little bridge there is.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I had a fabulous and full weekend. I'm exhausted now, but not because of fatigue (yay!) -- it's because I did a whole bunch of awesome, active shit all weekend. Jen came down from Seattle, and we did very Portlandy things in beautiful Portland summer weather, and I spent a lot of time with Paul as well. Paul and Jen are good friends from college, and it just worked out for us to meet up both days, and it was lovely. I love Paul. I love Jen. I love all my friends. I was surrounded by good people all weekend. Other activities included a bridge lesson (Jen and me teaching Brian and Paul), game night with a huge group, 10K this morning, brunch with Lorie & David, games, ice cream, and more vegging with Paul.

The 10K was great! I was able to manipulate Jen into doing it with me, and I'm so glad she did. She's always been a runner, but due to persistent injury issues, she's taking it slow and doing the Couch to 5K program right now. She's right in the middle of that, which is the perfect time to insert a 10K race into the training, right? Heh. I agreed to do plenty of walking with her, because truth be told, I was in no condition to run 6.2 miles anyway. She was my excuse to take it a little easier than I otherwise would have let myself. We agreed to do the race in 4x1 increments, running approximately 4 minutes, then taking a 1-minute walk break, and repeating this pattern throughout. It was great! We don't know our official time yet, because it's still not posted (wtf?), but the clock was at 1:02 when we crossed. It was chip timed and we didn't start at the very beginning, so it's possible we broke the hour mark. I don't think quite...but still, an impressive time for me. My 10K PR is actually my split from the half marathon, like 55 minutes or so, but my best 10K race was 58 minutes and change. To come damn close to a PR after phoning in the training and then doing plenty of walking feels kind of amazing. Though there are rumors that the course was a little short. We're going to ignore those rumors.

Difficult things in life remain difficult, but the perspective and outlook keep improving. Improvements are outpacing my expectations, in fact. I feel good about things. ((Hugs)) to the world because I'm just feeling huggy right now -- but especially to anyone who wants them from me right now. :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm at PDX, and will pull into Charlottesville sometime this evening after a full day of travel...PDX-DEN; DEN-IAD; driving from Dulles to Charlottesville with my cousin after I land. Probably arriving about 9 or 10pm. Time zones eat three hours in there, so it's not *that* long a day, but it feels long because I'm so excited about getting there. My parents have Lucy at their place in Williamsburg until tomorrow, so no one else will actually be there when I arrive, but William and family will arrive sometime in the early morning, and I'm picking up Adrian after breakfast tomorrow, and my parents' whole family tree branch will be in the same place by the afternoon. I'm so excited! I love my family :)

And on that note, I may have been a wee bit overprotective of my mother this morning, when one of her bridge club members hounded me to hound her to keep the club open on the 4th of July. That's entirely my mom's choice and she hasn't discussed it with me at all, but if she did ask my opinion, I'd enthusiastically endorse the idea to CLOSE THE FUCKING CLUB FOR ONE FUCKING DAY. I know these people all love their bridge routines, and for close to 100 members of her club, that means showing up and playing bridge for four hours every Friday. But, here's the thing. There is no such thing as a perfectly smooth club game. Even if the director handles it all perfectly, there's always someone (lots of someones, usually), who thinks there's an error in the score, or has some trivial complaint or stupid question (yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as a stupid question), or thinks they should have gotten .02 more masterpoints than they were awarded, and all of these people call my mom.

My mom LOVES her job and she's fucking amazing at it. The ACBL just recognized her as one of the top new member recruiters in the whole league. She's a great teacher and organizer and her members love her. But they don't respect her and she doesn't ever tell them to STFU. She fields phone calls from members around the clock, every single day. She deserves a fucking break, even if she's not asking for it, and the fact that one of her members would have the nerve to push on me to push on her to NOT take a break on a huge fucking holiday really irks me.

I wish these people had even an iota of a clue how hard my mother works for them.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been a really good few days. McKenzie and I are working hard on changing our perspectives so that we stop expecting negativity from the other. I'm honestly blown away by what an amazingly positive impact this attitude shift has had. I'm trying to be more conscious of when he's bidding for my attention, and vice versa, and we're just trying extra hard to engage each other. Not forcing it, but seizing opportunities. It's working beautifully so far. We had a really nice trip to Klamath Falls for the weekend. We listened to Jon Stewart's "America: The Book: The Audiobook" on the way down, and finished it just as we were pulling into our hotel.

We played two days of bridge and then drove home after the Swiss on Sunday. As is our grand tradition, we finished 2nd in the pair event. That's not just my tradition with Z -- I think I have more 2nd place finishes than any other results combined. Not a bad way to be, but I'd love to actually WIN more often. Oh well :)

I'm working the first half of this week so I can fly back to Virginia on Thursday for the big huge Massie reunion on the farm. I'm so unbelievably excited. Lucy is already in Charlottesville staying with my parents this week, so I've been checking in with them each day and talking to her a lot. You guys. My niece is so cool. I love that kid. I can't believe she's 10 years old. She's amazing. I can't wait to see her, and the other two nieces, and the hundreds of other relatives that will be at Pharsalia this weekend.

I was just going to pack a carryon, but I've just been informed that I will be returning to the PNW with the at-long-last-completed bridal shower/slightly-belated-first-anniversary quilt for Emily and Chris. I'm really psyched to see that finished product, too. Emily, when are we getting together for the quilt exchange? And by exchange, I mean I just give it to you; you don't have to give me a quilt in exchange. I know they don't have the fourth of July in Canadia, but maybe you can come down that weekend anyway and run a 10K with me.

Oh yeah. I signed up for a 10K. It's called the Red, White, and Blues Run, and it's at the Portland waterfront on 7/6. It's my first time doing a course that loops on itself -- it's a 5K course, and those that run the 10K just do it twice. I'm somewhat concerned that I'm going to hate this particular format -- I'll be mentally prepared to go around again, but there's still something really bummery about seeing a finish line and then having to run the opposite direction. Oh well. I've got nothing to prove. I'm just gonna run. Or walk. Whatever. I'm going 6.2 miles that morning, somehow :)

I'm doing a 5-mile practice run tomorrow with Rigo, since I haven't done more than 5K since my half marathon. I should probably make sure my legs are still up to it. I think probably they are...then I'm meeting Marissa after work for noms and walks in our beautiful city. Antidepressants are great and all, but nothing's better for my psyche than walking around Portland.

Two more days of work (and really challenging workouts!), then I'm off to the east coast. Life is still far from perfect, but I'm in a great fucking mood nonetheless. I hope it lasts awhile.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've been meaning to share this story for a while. I often complain about both sexism and ageism in bridge, and in the finals of the IMP Pairs in Dallas, Jen and I got a huge helping of both from a pair of men in the penultimate round of the event. On the first board, they had a quick auction to 6N, I made a lead, dummy hit, and declarer started to claim. Before he had faced his cards, dummy shuffled his up and put them back in the board. Jen and I both stared incredulously before asking to see the cards. Both dummy and declarer treated us like we were idiots for this. "I've got six diamond tricks, four heart tricks, and two black aces. Twelve tricks. What's the problem?!" The problem is, you pompous ass, we haven't SEEN the cards. Dummy grudgingly pulled the cards back out, we looked over the deal for the two seconds it took to figure out the claim, and put our cards away, too. The opponents continued to mumble some bullshit about how could we possibly have a problem with this, gosh.

On the next hand, the previous hand's dummy was declarer in 4H. Around trick 9, he attempted to claim, and again didn't show his cards, just told us that Jen would get her high trump and he was making 4. We had to insist that he show his cards before he actually faced them. When we saw the cards, it was clear that he thought his long spade suit was good -- but it wasn't. I had five to the jack or some such holding guaranteeing me a trick in the suit for down one. He then insisted that we play it out. No, you fucking prick, you claimed. So we call the director over, and once again he trots out his "these bitches are bitches" line -- he says, "I have 10 tricks, she gets the high trump, making four, what's the problem?" At this point, there's more than one problem, actually. One, you've made a bad claim, and two, you're being a huge jerk. Anyway the director sets him straight, saying that he should know better than try to play out a hand after a claim and of course we get a spade trick, down one. He did not take this graciously.

When we moved on to the next table, our opponents remarked that it sounded like we'd had a nice time against the two previous "gentlemen." Ha. I said to Jen, "I wonder if he thinks he can get away with treating us like that because we're young, or because we're women, or both?" The female opponent chirped up to that, agreeing that this game is full of sexism and women do get disrespected all the time. Her husband and bridge partner couldn't let this sit, and he said, "Now, wait a minute, there's a female pair at our club that no one would dare disrespect!"

"Oh, well, good to know there's one pair."
"Yeah, Shawn Quinn and Mildred Breed."
"AH! I SEE! So all I need to get respect at the bridge table is either multiple world championships, or a penis. Got it."

You know what? Go ahead and underestimate me because I'm female or because I'm young. You'll soon learn that was a mistake. But disrespect me and I will fucking castrate you. Then you, too, can experience the bridge world without testicles.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm a little irked with myself over how much work I left for myself to do this week. I'm only here Monday and Tuesday, then it's off to Dallas, so it'll all be behind me soon, but I was kind of lazy last week. And of course I'm dealing with it all right now by ignoring it some more so I can write in my blog. What any reasonable adult would do.

I also feel like the weekend was over before it started. In truth, I got a lot done, and had a great time, but I'm used to my four-day weekends, and this time I just had two. Boo hoo.

I ran over to Shanon's on Saturday for a brief visit, and Jack was being super cute. I had lunch with them, and he invited me to sit in his high chair. Then when it was time to go, I said "Bye, sweetie!" and he said "Bye, sweetie!" back to me. That kid can be a real monster, but he also knows how to melt a heart.

Sunday I did my 7 miles on the treadmill at the gym while watching UVA beat Duke for the ACC title. I have mixed feelings about this. UVA looked seriously legit, and a lot of people I love are really happy that they won and got a #1 seed in the tournament, but, ugh, the last thing UVA needs is something else to be elitist about.

I went down to Salem in the afternoon to have my hair cut and repurpled. I told Angie to do whatever she wanted with it, and she went with a very-layered-in-the-back, longer in the front look. If I can reproduce her work well, it looks like a sassy vintage 'do. I'm not sure how well I'll do it, though, and it remains to be seen what it will do when I let it go curly...but I like it :) And I missed the deep purple. It's so nice to have that back. I keep thinking I'd like to try another color sometime, but I just love this purple so much!

Work today, BodyPump tonight, work tomorrow, helping a friend move in the evening, early morning run on Wednesday and then my flight to Dallas. I'm really looking forward to this NABC. I'm only entering two national events, but I have high hopes for both. Trying not to get too cocky about it, though. I don't want to be terribly disappointed when I don't win everything.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

From a really good four-mile run this morning to a dramatic Blazers victory tonight, this day has been completely awesome.

In between the two abovementioned items, my team won the Portland Regional Open Swiss today. That is kind of a big deal.

I've won Swisses before, with this team, even, and I've won events that were arguably tougher than this one, but this was LEGIT. A lot of previous wins, I've felt like I was riding someone's coattails, but this event, I fucking played my ass off. Our teammates were solid all day, too, but they are newer players and everyone will agree that my partnership was the stronger one. So this is a win where I'm 100% confident I carried my weight. And it was an open event with a strong field at a large regional. It feels fucking great. And nationals are in three weeks.

After the game, a good friend and sometimes partner of mine came up to me to ask how we did. I told him we won the event. He said congratulations, and from there, the conversation went like this:
Me: Thanks!
Him: Great win! Pretty unexpected, but great win!
Me: Excuse me?
Him: There are a LOT of good teams in this field.
Me: Yep. And we're one of them.
Him: Come on. Be realistic.
Me: Um, DUDE? NOT COOL. I think it is pretty realistic when we WIN THE FUCKING EVENT.
Him: Sorry. It's just, ugh. Sorry. You should feel good about this win.
Me: And I do, but you're making me feel less good about it, so fuck off for now please.

He's a good friend, and he's really, really awkward, and I know he didn't mean to be a complete asshole, but he was kind of a complete asshole. Our partnership is more or less over -- we didn't gel well because we each have very different philosophies, but when we did play, we usually did quite well. He's just moved on to partners who are more willing to play his system, and who he thinks are better than I am. And that's fine. He can think that. I've been on a fucking roll lately, and I feel really good about where my game is now. Of course I make stupid mistakes sometimes and I've got a lot of room for improvement, but even the very best players make mistakes ALL THE TIME. This game is not completely solvable; you can just get asymptotically closer to perfect.  And I feel like I'm getting to the place now where the distance between me and the very best players is a LOT smaller than it has been. A lot of local players haven't seen me play much because all of my partners are non-locals, but I've had a string of really solid wins, and it's past flukey. So there's a big part of me that really enjoys proving the underestimators wrong. Chris can find it unexpected that I won this time, but my plan is for it to keep happening :)

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Yesterday, my mother called me to tell me that she'd just attended a protest. My mother. Protesting. I love it. I wish I could say it was an Occupy thing, but she was actually at a thing protesting a road construction plan. Heh. Still, good for her, gettin' all civilly active like some kind of liberal.

Then today she called me to say that the ACBL (the bridge league) had called her to get a reference for someone applying for the open editorial position with the league bulletin (monthly magazine plus daily papers at all the nationals). I don't know what kind of reference she gave, but she immediately called me to tell me I should apply for it. No, not going to happen. For lots of reasons. I just think it's hilarious that she called me to apply when she was supposed to be giving a reference for someone else. A friend of mine, even.

Also, my former bridge partner just won an Academy Award. It's one of the technical ones that they give out before the big show, so that's how he's got it already. Basically he wrote a textbook on graphic rendering and they use his stuff in a lot of movies. So good for him. It would be a better story if he wasn't my former bridge partner, but that's one of the bridges that got burned in my meltdown in 2010. Oh well. Still cool. I've played bridge with an Oscar winner. (Add that to NFL coach (Steve Spurrier), disgraced US Senator (Robert Packwood), Supreme Court Justice (John Paul Stevens), Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and I think that's all the names I can drop from my personal bridge experiences. But Greg is the only one who was ever actually my partner.)

I'm playing for the next three days in the local regional. I can't possibly get there this week, but I'm pretty close to Gold Life Master. A good showing this weekend and a good NABC in March should get me there. The "milestones" become more spread out as you advance in ranking, so it's been a while since I've last hit one (made Silver in 2009 sometime) and the next one after this is 5000 points, which is double what you need for Gold, so that'll be a while. I'm hoping to hit a better milestone before that, like national champion. Aim high, man.

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Meg

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