Life Experiences & Observations

Sit Down, Buckle Up, Hang On, and Enjoy My Blog Ride

Category: Life Experiences

The Taste and Smell Saga Continues

So in August I ate something that triggered a strong smell and taste which I found very unpleasant. It was a strange occurrence at the time considering since January my taste and smell was almost completely absent. At the time I thought it was an anomaly. Since then, I started to smell that unpleasant odor in everything. Or at least everything that had a hint of that odor. It’s kind of hard to describe. So imagine you smelled a poop like smell. Then imagine only smelling poop even if the food item only had a hint of poop. It would be as if the poop was your entire smell and taste experience. It wasn’t actually poop but you get the gist.

So if the coffee you drink, for instance, has an array of scents but you can only smell the unpleasant one. It would be like drinking a wine with a rainbow of smells and tastes but only picking up one color of that rainbow. Or like a card catalog of smells of which there was only one card you could pull. If that card was not in the card catalog of the food you were eating than there would be no cards at all. Well this is what has been happening to me over the last 7 weeks. To be honest, it has almost been worse than tasting or smelling nothing. Items I loved in the past I no longer could consume because that unpleasant smell was the only smell I could pick up on.

Well all of a sudden… this evening… something changed. I ate a cookie and instead of just tasting sweet, it actually tasted like cookie. All of a sudden I started tasting and smelling a bunch of things. I was an anxious hungry goat. Then it dawned on me. The unpleasant smell I smelt before, started to dissipate this evening. The pieces of the nasal story puzzle were coming together. What if smelling this one unpleasant odor in things was part of the road to nasal nerve recovery. I mean think about it… What is smelling mild unpleasant smells in everything that has even a hint of that smell? It’s like your nose starting to recognize that smell in each food with a touch of it in the flavor profile. Could it really be that the last 7 weeks of smelling something bad in a bunch of things was actually the start of being able to taste and smell everything? I am still in the discovery stage of smelling and tasting but things seem promising. While some additional recovery will likely need to occur, something is definitely happening. I am starting to get excited to smell the world again but I am trying not to let my emotions get too far ahead of me. Going through this as long as I have, I still have to believe it will be a process rather than a single point in time.

I’m sorry if this blog is poorly written but my experience is not easy to describe. I did, however, want to at least capture it. Even if it was a disjointed capture.


Sabbatical List

  • Start learning to play base guitar
  • Take a journey somewhere far
  • Practice french
  • Take some Yoga classes
  • Volunteer at a charity
  • Write some
  • Read a lot
  • Vlog
  • Watch my daughter become a Jewish Woman (Bat Mitzvah)
  • Spend quality time with friends & family
  • Play at least 100 hours of poker
  • Experience life without corporate responsibilities

Yes, I Chose Sleep Over the Eclipse

eclipseAs you all know, there was tons of hype in regards to the eclipse that occurred on Monday. Yes, ideally I would have liked to have watched it live myself. But at the end of the day, I chose my eyelid eclipse over the actual eclipse. I also figured the video and pictures professionals would capture would be much better than my own. And I was spot on.

I think if I lived in the path of totality I might have been much more inclined to loose some sleep to watch it live. But not being in that path, not having glasses to truly look up and watch it, and not being enthused about the dullness of experiencing it through a pin hole camera… I chose sleep. Boy do I feel rested and my retinas are totally in tact.

My World Series of Poker Heartbreak!

Larry WSOPLast week I was in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP).  I had my sights on a WSOP cash.  It’s something I have never done before and it’s first on my poker Bucket List.  My plan was to play and cash in Event #25, the $1,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) event.  I won’t go deep into the intricacies of the game but it plays similar to Hold Em except you get 4 cards rather than 2, must but can only use 2 cards from your hand, and can only bet up to the amount in the pot.

I have played a lot of Hold Em over the last 15 years but over the last 3 years I have started to really enjoy learning and growing at PLO.  I have a very solid grasp of cash game strategy but this would only be my second PLO tournament I have ever played. Last year I played in the $565 buy in PLO WSOP event.

So last Tuesday was the day.  It’s always really exciting sitting down to start a new tournament with a full stack and a pristine uncracked dream.  Especially when its at the WSOP, one of the biggest stages in poker.

The event was exhilarating especially when I tripled up to 15k in chips somewhere around the 4th level of the tourney.  I ran it up even more to the point of having almost 40k in chips.  Then about 30 minutes before the dinner break, during level 6, the green felt sharks began to swirl.  Poker pros with obviously more PLO tournament experience than myself started to lean heavily with aggression on those who were trying to protect rather than grow their stacks.  See, in tournament poker, the forced bets called the blinds go up every round.  In this tournament, the rounds are 1 hour.  We were on level 6 when my game started to unravel.  After call/folding or raise/folding on about 4 hands in 30 minutes, my stack went from about 40k to 17k.  Luckily, the dinner break came along and threw me a life preserver.

At the dinner break, I did some soul searching and realized clearly what was happening.  I was playing too tight and trying too hard to protect my stack just to make the money.  I grabbed some food, headed up to my room, and spent the next hour watching PLO tournament instructional videos while getting some well needed stomach fuel.

After the dinner break it was on to level 7.  No more getting pushed around. I had made the decision that I was going to find my spot with good equity to double up.  I found that spot when my A-Q-10-5 hand with 2 diamonds flopped top pair with a flush draw.  To make the long story short, I bet, he raised, I pushed all in, he called, and I proceeded to lose the hand.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that I had 60% equity to win the hand and rather than continuing to let myself be pushed around I took a stand at the correct mathematical moment.  Unfortunately, cashing this tournament was not meant to be.

In tournament poker, if you get all your chips in with the the best chance of winning, that is all you can ask for.  Over the short run, luck may trip you up, but over the long haul good decisions with good equity will always prevail.

While I was certainly heartbroken that I didn’t cash the tourney, I felt proud of how I much I learned and how quickly I was able to adjust on the fly.  I feel like I grew enough to be much better prepared come next year.  While it’s very early, I can’t help but start counting down the days until next year’s World Series of Poker.  Until then, it’s time to fertilize my bankroll in the next 6 weeks leading up to the Arizona State Poker Championship tournament.  Deal me in!!

Variance is a Gut Punch

seven duece offMy passion is poker, a game in which the best player doesn’t always win.  There is a certain percentage of luck so in the short run any crappy player can win and any very good player can lose.  In the long run, however, the good players win and the bad players lose.  That doesn’t change the fact that every session is a boxing match and in some matches the variance is going to give you a gut punch and knock you out cold.

While mentally I understand variance, there is still some mental and emotional pain that always seems to follow a train wreck session in which you drive perfectly on the rails but still end up with a demolition. Last night was one of those nights.  70% favorite, lose.  80% favorite, lose. Long term favorite, win.  In the short run, it still hurts.

That’s poker folks!

I Once Answered “Death” to an Interview Question

000-interviewThis story I am about to tell happened a long time ago when I was returning back to Arizona after finishing college. What got me thinking about this story is the article “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.” It’s an article I read a few times a year just to help me put things in perspective. Who in their right mind would answer “death” to an interview question? Perhaps somebody who doesn’t want the job. Well, the answer is ME and I DID want the job. I obviously didn’t have much interview experience at the time as I thought being as honest as possible was more important than painting a picture that made me look like the most desirable candidate. In hindsight, sometimes both may coincide. In this case, they coincided pretty closely but not close enough to get me the job.

So what was the question? The question was, “What motivates you?” Back then, and even now, death has been one of the best motivators for me. As a result, I can officially say I have one thing in common with Steve Jobs. Yeah ME!! It may sound morbid but when you dig deeper it really makes a lot of sense. Knowledge that life is short and the time you spend on earth is uncertain, can definitely get you up and moving to make progress on your goals. That’s all I really wanted to say today. Another blog post in the books. Now go do something because you will never know when that day comes in which you can’t “go do something.”

Life Rant and What Not – I’m Back

000-bonesAlright my blog listening peeps. What am I saying? Who listen’s to a blog??… forget that thought.

I know you believed that I would never post again but I am proving you wrong right NOW!! Trust me, I know how you think. Technology has utterly failed me over the last week and a half but I am not even the slightly bit downtrodden. OK, so I am but I won’t let it get to me. Because I do understand that despite its troubles, our technology today is unbelievably amazing. The smart phone you are using right now is infinitely better and more powerful than the super computer we used just a decade ago. So I am feeling fine about my technology frustrations because our technology works 98.1567461537516% of the time. Maybe soon I will get my iTunes up and running and the backup loaded onto my slick new iPhone 7. Although how slick can it be if it can’t access my backed up data? Not real sure about the answer but that’s something for you, my readers, to contemplate.

The other thing I have been thinking about, although not really ranting about, is my lack of international travel. I am itching like a flea inflicted dog to go somewhere out of the country. The city of choice has been narrowed down to Beijing. That decision was etched in concrete when i realized that I can travel there round trip for $535!! I am blown away that I can fly to China and back for this price. Will it happen? That remains to be seen, considering all my commitments at home. You just have to hope that I don’t meander away again from my blogging adventure. Hang with me for a few short months. Travel to China is only cheap in October, November, and December so if I truly want to go it’s time to get off the pot. Plan now or die trying. Until next time.

P.S. What does the bones picture have to do with the blog content? Nothing!! It just looked cool.

Why You Need an Extra Fortune Cookie

0 fortune cookieWho doesn’t love cracking open and eating a fortune cookie after a savory Chinese meal? It provides a light dessert and a smallish paper crystal ball as a mini bonus. But many people don’t realize the importance (I use this term loosely) of asking for one more cookie than the count of your dinner party.

Why is this so important? Because if the number of fortune cookies are equal to the number of diners, the last person getting a cookie has their proverbial destiny determined by the other cookie grabbers. Having one extra still leaves the slow grabbing, remaining sole a choice for their cookie. Hence, their destiny not left in the hands of the other individuals. So next time you are at a Chinese restaurant and the cookies are provided, make sure there is at least one extra. If there isn’t, you may just be leaving your destiny in the hands of the crumbling solitary cookie.

I’m Not a Hugger, or Am I??

0000000000huggingbearsI have struggled with this question for a couple of years now. I think many who have known me and even I have known myself, as not much of a hugger. But just recently, I think I have found a breakthrough in my hug personality. Ok, I realize I may have just invented this concept but I think you understand what I mean. I actually do really like hugs. I am just not that good at hug initiation. If you think about it, this is the most difficult part of a hug. How does the person you want to hug know you want to hug them? You just open up your arms and see what happens. And with hugging, there are other logistical challenges. Like when do you let go? All of this, when it comes to hugs, should kind of be organic. But when you get right down to it, it’s not. At least not always. Through this realization, I thought it was time to bring these thoughts to the forefront of my mostly unknown blog.

I have had discussions with my brother on the importance of hugs. The conversations have mostly revolved around the facts that you never know when something drastic might happen to somebody you love. In other words, the hug you delivery today may just be your last chance to hug that person you are with. In October of last year, I had my last opportunity to hug a friend of mine who was dying of cancer. I couldn’t really know for sure at the time that it would be my last time to hug her. But, I hugged her to the best of my ability as if it was the last time. It’s these types of hugs that are the most natual and the least awkward. Unfortunately, it was the last time and I will cherish that hug forever. And I guess this is just a reminder to myself that the occasional awkwardness of a hug is worth fighting through. Because if something tragic were to occur, you would be glad you had that awkward hug than no hug at all. Getting better at hugging is still a work in progress for me. But it is important work none the less.

The Periscope Community – A Three Month Perspective

00000000000000 persicope communityI have been actively using Periscope for three months and thought I would provide some new information on my thoughts. If you read my blog regularly, then you will know I started using Periscope in September of 2015. Since using it for three months, this is a more experienced perspective.

When you get right down to it, Periscope is a type of online community. Personally, my usage has been more about watching other individuals’ scope, learning how they do it, and following the ones I enjoy most. I do scope periodically but I am a viewer more than broadcaster. That being said, many of the regular Scopers know me due to my relatively obsessive watching habits. There are essentially two types of Scopers. The first are those that are using it for the entertainment and the community association that comes with it. The second are those individuals using it in hopes of providing greater monetization capabilities for their business endeavors. Both are worthy causes, although I tend to gravitate to the former or those who are less vocal about their business intentions.

This weekend in San Francisco is the second Periscope Summit. This is a conference for Periscope viewers and broadcasters to connect with other Scopers, share their perspectives, and flat out meet those individuals that they are constantly viewing from their cell phones. I have to be honest, I wish I was there to meet and learn from these Scopers. There are many who feel like my friends and I have the urge to see which of those relationships are artificial and which are genuine. The summit itself is not put on by the Periscope Company but the Periscope community. That in itself makes it a little more genuine. I hope to attend the next one which I am told will be in Vegas and in February. One of the main downsides of Periscope that I see, with all social media, is the way it can deter you from true personal relationships and experiences. You can’t connect with people in person if you constantly have your eyes super glued to your phone.

I feel as if Periscope is like a tasty piece of dark chocolate. It tastes delicious and in moderation can even be good for you. But like anything, moderation is critical. Even positive things, when taken in massive dosages, can have a negative impact on your life. There are exercise addictions, water toxicity, and even the potential of kidney stones from eating too much spinach just to name a few.

So if you haven’t already, try it out and let me know what you think in the comments. Is it lame, is it addictive, is it exciting, or is it dull? I look forward to hearing your Periscope perspective.