Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Poker and Pool in one game?

Playing around on the computer this evening and I came by this photo with the funniest caption:

"It suddenly became Obvious to the producers that the idea of combining the game of poker with that of pool, sounded a lot better on paper."

This is definitely one of those one of a kind photos that you just don't come by often. Heh, this gentleman needs some lessons in poker. He just doesn't know how to protect his cards!

Actually, this is Rob Mollien, a magician from Holland. Rob Mollien became the first Dutchman to hoist the coveted PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters Trick Shot trophy over his head by defeating a pack of hopefuls including Lukasz Szywala of Poland, Tyler Edey of Canada, and Vincent Facquet of France. The 32 year-old from Amsterdam is a professional magician by trade but he avoided his trade mark tricks in favour of a succession of pure skill shots that went almost to perfection, to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd.

Mollien finished off with an eye-popping finale that involved spearing his cue through a pack of flying cards and an impaling a card pre-selected by a member of the audience.

Monday, April 28, 2008

You gotta check this restaurant out

A new mediterranean restaurant, Phara's, just opened off of North Loop and Lamar. There's times you walk into an establishment, whether it's a store, a restaurant or even someone's home, and you are impressed beyond your greatest expectations.

Phara's is just that. It is located where Ararat once was and I was an avid fan of their restaurant and missed them terribly. When I heard Phara's opened up, I had to try it out. As we walked in, we were warmly greeted with a pleasant smile from the host, "Hello and welcome to Phara's". Such a nice little touch that is a rarity now. We were promptly seated and I was admiring the layout and ambiance of the room. It was a deep purple with small white lights throughtout the dining room. Beautiful seating arrangements and had that "comfy" feel. Music was playing and as we sat down, the belly dancer came by and danced to the beat of the music. I love belly dancers - always thought they were graceful and amazing, especially since I can't dance, move my body like they do, and I am definitely not graceful (two left feet) - so it "wows" me!

The waiter took our drink order and asked if we wanted an appetizer - I saw hummus on the menu and said, "that's a must." He smiled, and said it was a good choice. It came out very quickly and he was right - made perfectly. The owner came by and introduced herself as Phara and welcomed us to her restaurant, very inviting and she set the tone for a great dining experience. She had a great smile and very calm demeanor - you couldn't help but feel comfortable around her although I just met her. I asked what her favorite dish was on the menu and she quickly recommended the Beef Kabob and said her cooks werefantastic.

I ordered that dish and my friend ordered the Salmon - both were so amazing. Cooked and seasoned to perfection and served with rice and vegetables. Simply amazing. She came by after the meal and asked how we liked it - um, how could it not be liked? So darn delicious.

Overall - a 10 experience. I also wanted to mention that there is a gorgeous patio out back with candles on the tables and white lights to light up the back. There's also a wooden deck that is covered where you can enjoy Hookahs that you can enjoy with a group of friends. I think it's priced per person - but not sure on that since I just walked over to see the set up. If you have never heard of a Hookah - here's a little background info:

Hookah (also known as Shisha) is a smoking device originated in ancient Persia and is used to smoke many substances - mainly herbal fruits and tobacco. I'm not promoting them since I'm not a smoker, but for those that do - I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience.

The average meal is 15.00 a person and it is BYOB - so for you drinkers, you can bring your own drinks and they'll provide you the set ups. They also don't have a website yet - I might ask Phara if she wants one. I'd love to create a site that helps her restaurant reach out to the Austin community. She's got a very moving story about her and her son and the back of the menu - so please take a moment to read it while you are enjoying your visit.

I can't wait to go back - I'm taking my girlfriends there soon and I think they will be in for a very pleasant surprise.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Angel Food Ministries

What is it? With a heart to help others and a generous spirit, Joe and Linda Wingo founded Angel Food Ministries in 1994 to provide food for friends and neighbors who were struggling financially. Today, they are still doing the same thing. The Angel Food program now is helping provide food relief to more than 500,000 families each month across the nation.

I just got back from picking up the order I placed two weeks ago. They distribute once a month at a central location and there are over 40+ volunteers that get up early on the weekend to make sure the food is ready for the community to pick up. There is even the option to sponsor a box which goes to a family that cannot afford to buy a box. They are $30.00 for the main box, and the specialty boxes are usually $18 - $20. My goal is to sponser one box per month so that a family can have food in their cabinets and refrigerator. If you can, please sponser a box this month - it's a great cause.

You can place your order online and pay with Paypal or mail a check to the host location (usually a local church in your neighborhood). The deadline is always mid month and the pick up date is at the end of the month. I told my girlfriends about it and they ordered as well. Now there is no reason for all of us to get up at the crack of dawn, so thought it would be easier for me to pick up the orders for all of us since I usually stay awake on Fridays until the sun rises, so it is perfect timing.

The menu package is pretty impressive - it's a variety box of all the basic food groups and then you have the option to get "special" boxes that are usually steaks, poultry, variety meat packs, etc.

I'm also impressed with their newly released website from their IT department to help spread the word. Check it out at: http://www.angelfoodministries.com/ It has some great information about what their mission is, press releases, recipes, host information, area to donate and much more valuable information.

The host location is responsible for collecting the money, placing your order and takes care of all the paperwork. They get a $1.00 for every unit sold and that is given to the church.

If you are interested in placing an order for May, you can visit the website above and type in your zip code to search. It will give you the closest location.

I'm excited to do some cooking this month, and those that know me...well, know that Jen loves eating out and too much of a slacker to go grocery shopping, pull those pans out and cook up a meal. Yep, I'm a slacker in the kitchen.

Ah, I also wanted to mention that the volunteers are amazing. Everyone from the person that checks you in, to those that are unloading the food from the main truck, to the sorters that are placing the orders in individual boxes, to the greeters, and to my favorite little guy who is 15 years old and been volunteering for over 1.5 years (he's a true gentleman - he helps all the females carry the food boxes to their car no matter what). They are all amazing and make sure everything goes smooth.

It's about 9:15am and I'm hitting the pillow to get some shut eye. Good night or good day for some of you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Custom Pool Table Felt - Feels Right

I'm sitting here thinking about how beautiful it would be to have a billiard table at home to practice on anytime I frakkin' want. I came across this website of a company that makes custom felt for your tables - ugh! Just makes me long for one that much more.

An eight foot table felt design runs $625.00 and to have anything you wanted printed is a pretty fair deal. My perfect idea of an image would be to have Battle Angel Alita on it (the picture above). How cool would it be to wake up everyday and glance over at the table and see her on it, then shoot a few games - heck, just having her on the table would motivate me to dunk everyone of those balls in the pockets that are beckoning them! Now just gotta save up for the pool table, find a place large enough to have a table without bumping into the walls, have the table delivered and then buy the felt.

The company, poolfelt.com, has a two week turn around time - pretty impressive. Now once it arrives, you need to replace the old felt and if you don't want to hire someone to do it and feel like taking on the tasks like a true player should, then here's your official Pool Table Cloth Installation Guide. *smiles*

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Just finished watching a poker movie called "The Deal".

It stars Bert Reynolds, Alex Stillman and Shannon Elizabeth and has a plot line that is similar to the "Color of Money".
It's about a young poker player that is a student from Yale that has the typically cocky, maverick, style of playing. He has a brief encounter with Tommy Vinson (Bert Reynolds), a retired poker player, and then a plan develops.
Of course, you have the woman that comes in to stir up a little bit of something something as we are sometimes known to do.
After Rounders, it's really tough to make a great poker movie. "Deal" is no "Rounders", but even though it was predictable -- it was still a good movie to watch. Tough not to like a poker movie. *smiles*
There's several poker cameos: Antonio Esfandiari, Isabelle Mercier, Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer, and Phil Laak.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A coworker of mine when out of town with work for a week and I had the pleasure of spending time with her three amazing children and two super awesome dogs for 5 days.

There’s all kinds of experiences we have the opportunity to experience and this ranks up there in the top ten off all time. I had met them once prior to staying the week with them, and I was a little nervous that I would completely screw something up like forget to feed them, forget to make sure they were home, forget their names *smiles*, etc. I’m kidding of course – but I’ve never raised children and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Well, they exceeded my expectations…in every possible way. She has brilliant children and not only are book smart, they are life smart – a rare combination. I enjoyed talking to them about their interests in volunteering their time with kids that were less fortunate, going to church, their school, their friends, their boyfriends *ahem*, and how much they respected and was proud of their mom.

They got up on their own everyday and got ready for school. Every morning, they made theirselves breakfast, fed their two dogs and brand new puppy prior to stepping out that door. Their maturity level was impressive as well. I could easily have a conversation with them that I would have with an adult – again, they exceeded my expectations.

These three kids are going to make a huge impact on this world – just you wait. I can tell they are leaders by their actions and independence, and always will be just from hearing about their past experiences. Can’t wait to see what milestones they reached in the next 5 – 10 years – can guarantee, they are going to be impressive. They have a mom that raised them well, taught them valuable and useful lessons in life, loved them more than anything in this world and you see it in each one of their eyes.

Most that know me, know I have never had the desire to raise a family – but after my experience this past week, I could now never rule it out. Funny how a short experience can make such a huge impact. Thanks for the experience.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The heavier ball

There are 8 billiard balls. One of them is slightly heavier than other seven. Only way to tell which one is heaviest is by putting them on scale against the others. What would be minimum number of times you have to use scale to find out heavier ball.

It's two - how?

APA Billiards League - Austin, TX

We play 5 matches and the goal is to win 5 - 0 against the opposing team, which is difficult. A 3 - 2 win makes my night and we consider it a win for the team.

I played the first match tonight and won by just a hair. It was double hill and he was on his last ball before the 8 ball and I was on the 8. I shot at it twice and completely missed the pocket - poor execution on my part. I got lucky and had the opportunity to shoot at it one more time, and finally sunk it on the 3rd try to bring in a win. I love games that go double hill - it means both players played a great game for it to get that far.

I forgot to mention that I lost the lag, so my name is on the "bottom" frame of the score sheet since the person that wins the lag is on the "top" frame. This is important and it comes into play by the time I finish writing this.

Our 2nd player goes up and wins the lag and is the "top" of the frame. He plays an excellent match, but the opponent wins.

Our 3rd player goes up and wins the lag and again, is the "top" of the frame. He plays a great match, but the opponent wins.

Ok, halt for a moment. I'm staring at the score sheet and I see that the person that wins the lag, loses the match on the past 3 matches. Statistically, that means I can forecast that whoever loses the lag will bring in a win.

I whisper jokingly to my other two teammates before they play, "be sure to lose the lag and you'll win the game." They just laugh at me...and I would do the same if someone said that to me. They both lose the lag, not because I said it, but it just happened. Guess what? They both shoot lights out - solid, very solid and win their matches.

So, all players on the bottom frames won their matches. Who says it's always better to be on top? Sometimes losing a small something brings you great rewards. Funny how it happened.

Summing it up, team did wonderful and we went 3 - 2 for the night. Good shootin'and let's do it again next week! They were tough matches tonight and we pulled it off! If this game was easy, we wouldn't be fanatics about it and keep bringing us back. *smiles*

Time to get some rest, daylight will be here soon.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Grand

Just got in from seeing The Grand at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's an entirely improvised film about 6 players who reach the final table of a huge poker tournament, The Grand Championship of Poker which parallels the WSOP main event.

Improvs are hard to do because it's tough to come up with something funny on the spot and it doesn't always come out the way you want. The strong cast pulls it off though.

The movie has a stellar cast, Phil Gordon, Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines and Richard Kind, just too name a few, so I put it on my list to see. There were also plenty of cameo, professional poker players that were in the movie, although none of them had many lines. I expected a little bit of a stronger movie with the cast, but I guess there were just too many to have enough time to develop their characters.

You should also be a fan of watching the WSOP tournaments on EXPN or ESPN2 to understand some of the satire. It makes many of the whacky scenes enjoyable and keeps you giggling for a bit.

I might even see it again, but it's another one of those movies that isn't a "must see", but for the poker community, it's a "should go and have fun see." It's currently playing at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, so get some good friends together and check it out. Relax, have a beer or two and enjoy some good food. My favorite is the tasty BBQ chicken pizza and a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream with raspberry and chocolate sauce.

It's rumored that the people in the movie actually played the poker game straight and didn't know who was going to win or lose the tournament, so that gave it a cool twist during the filming. I do love the person who wins the tournament and I was pulling for that person the whole way. Glad "the person" won. *winks*

Also, this movie wasn't released in to many cities, but Austin was one cities that it hit - so support our local theater, Alamo South, and go check it out!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Snagging a Meme

I'm snagging a meme, so sue me for meme infringement! Here goes it.

Before I start - for those who want to know exactly what a meme is.

A meme is:
- An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
- A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.
- A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes".

If I were a direction I’d be… the Future
If I were furniture I’d be...a soft bed with tons of pillows
If I were a liquid I’d be… water
If I were a sin I’d be… too much for you to handle *smiles*
If I were a gem/stone I’d be… garnet
If I were a metal I’d be… platinum
If I were a tree I’d be… a palm Tree
If I were a fruit I’d be… a sweet clementine
If I were a flower I’d be… a tulip
If I were weather I’d be… a cool breeze late at night
If I were a music instrument I’d be… a plastic guitar (for guitar hero)
If I were an element I’d be… oxygen
If I were a colour I’d be… #000000
If I were an animal I’d be… a ocelot
If I were a sound I’d be… unable to get out of your head
If I were a lyric I’d be… “But I'm not gonna quit and I'm not gonna stop"
If I were a song I’d be…If You Could read My Mind - Gordon Lightfoot
If I were a music type I’d be… fusion
If I were a perfume/cologne I’d be… Japanese Cherry Blossom
If I were a feeling I’d be… hope
If I were a book I’d be… Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
If I were food I’d be… A yummy steak
If I were a city I’d be… Las Vegas
If I were a taste I’d be… chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce and whipped cream
If I were a scent I’d be… fresh rain
If I were a word I’d be… Why?
If I were a verb I’d be… dream
If I were an object I’d be… a camera
If I were a piece of clothing I’d be… some worn in blue jeans
If I were a body part I’d be… hands
If I were an facial expression I’d be… intent
If I were a cartoon character I’d be… Battle Angel Alita
If I were a movie I’d be… Part 1, Part 2, Part 3..
If I were a geometrical figure I’d be… a triangle
If I were one of the 4 seasons I’d be… Autumn
If I were a sentence I’d be… "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

I'll have Jordan, Pumpkin and Sugar fill theirs out and I'll get them posted soon.