Archive for January, 2008

mystery solved

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

The week went quickly. Didn’t do so well in backgammon, but started complaining I wasn’t getting many tips from the pros, and it worked. After moves, or during the game I’d get some general concepts. Did get a book recommendation and some tips on boards/chips. Was thinking I was starting to fit in, until I asked which book by lamford I should be getting and was clearly told the beginners book, not the “improving your game”. A little humbling……

Got home last night and there was a letter under my door. The call from security in my first week came from my neighbor (which solves that mystery). Turns out she must be a very light sleeper and even just opening the fridge is enough to wake her up and make her log book. Read the note here Letter from neighborenvelope.gif I know the concept didn’t work for stacy ann petersen, but let me go on record, if I’m missing anytime in the near future, have my neighbor questioned 🙂

finished my 2nd week and almost trapped in my car

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Very fridgid this week. The few times I ventured out were painful. Waking up and seeing the temperature of -7 was scary.

Been making greek coffee in the apartment, but was introduced to cold press coffee. Instead of brewing, coarse ground coffee is soaked for a day to make a concentrate then mixed with boiling, or cold water. Smoother tasting (no acid). A chemical engineer from Cornell came up with the idea and started a company that sells a pitcher, filters and parts called “Toddy”. It goes for around $35 on Amazon. Not sure if it’s just something different and a novelty that will wear off for me, or if it’s allot better than normal brewed coffee. The coffee/bike shop by the office sells it for $3 cup.
I made it to the comment board on the backgammon club web site:

2008 Week Two – A great turnout with 18 players this week, including two new players, Mitch and Pete. Both won their first round matches with Mitch defeating Steve Binenstock and Pete defeating Dave Wetzel then Jesse Eaton who really hates to lose… Pete then defeated Ralph Stowell and lost in the semi’s to Shu Lee.

Did well playing again this week. One match was against Gary, he was very talkative. This was very different than the other games that were very serious. Gary had lots of stories. He was once a blackjack dealer, a highly ranked foosball player and some big $$ backgammon tournaments. Did a quick search on some of the players I’ve met, and many were highly ranked players (lookup Fred Kalantari as an example). I know I’m out of my league with many of them, but it’s sort of like playing poker against a pro. If you lose it’s expected, if you win, it’s a good feeling. No downside for me. One bad thing about the tournament, is that it’s competative. It would be nice to get pointers on things like cube play, but that doesn’t happen. Either way it’s fun, and I’ve started to dabble into some side bets/games, but am smart enough not to play for any real money.

Made it back to Jersey for the long weekend. Only issue was that I left the light on the inside of the car, and the battery went dead. I made the mistake of trying to push the car out of the garage by myself. Had the door open and rolled it back half way. I thought I was stuck in the car, and couldn’t close the door, or go forward, or backward. No blackberry, iphone, or anybody around….. Luckily, I was able to squeeze out, and call roadside assistance to get a jump start. Might be time to get rid of shuffle bowling and get some space back…..
Sunday went quick. Dad brought Anthony down, and we played games, had dinner and then watched the Giants game. Great game!!


Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Poker game was good. Format was $30 buy in and rebuys for the first 2 hours. 14 people playing and the house was about 20 miles out of town. Didn’t have to rebuy myself and ended up in 6th place (?). Was happy the way I played in the beginning. Made a few mistakes at the final table and with the blind very high it cost me allot of chips.

Went for a ride sunday morning. Nobody on the roads and I was completely dependent on the navigator. When it lost lock between buildings, I was lost. Driving in town takes does take some getting used to. Many streets one way, bus/taxi only, or light rail and cars. Not all the corners have lights and you really have to pay attention. Got close to the rental agency and made a left onto 5th street. missed the sign that cars need to stay left. the right lane was the Light Rail Track. I could see the train headlight a few blocks behind me and I’m on the track with a red light in front of me. Luckily the light turned green before the train was close and I was able to make the left. The previous stop was close and it wasn’t a safety issue (i.e. I wasn’t going to get run over), but would have been embarrassing if the train had to stop to wait for me.

Monday it started to get cold and a couple friends from work (NJ) came into town for meetings. On my way back to the apartment, I walked into macy’s, through the skyway and got trapped. was closing time and they locked all the doors, including the one i came in. After running around the store, found a security office and a way out.

Woke up on Tuesday and it was -4 degrees. When the wind kicks up it’s frigid. The bank thermometer doesn’t show negative degrees, it was -4 when I took this picture.

LCR Dice game

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Not big plans for the weekend, so I rented a car. they didn’t have any economy ones, so the cheapest was $75 for the day. Roads were very empty, and an odd thing with construction around here. seems like they close/roads/highways and there’s no clear detour. somehow ended up a the university of Minnesota and the Tomtom kept trying to send me through campus where roads were closed. made it through and found a game store that had the LRC dice. The last set I bought at an upscale toy store in Princeton weren’t readable and I’m sure I’ll loose one soon, so having a backup is good.

LCR Dice

Anyway, I’m off to the poker tournament. hope I don’t get lost….


Friday, January 11th, 2008

Was looking for things to do and found a local backgammon club . They run a tournament every thursday at a bar/restaurant called the little red wagon. Bar was relatively empty, with friendly bartendar and waitress.

Tonight there were 18 people in. Each pays $10 and there lots of other wagers that they did’t explain to the new guy. Everyone there was very serious about the game and the format was a 7 point match in the main bracket and 5 game match in the losers bracket. I did very well and made to the finals on my first night. did make a few mistakes, like roll onto the wrong side of the board and came close to a major rule of rolling dice before the other player picks up theirs. it’s worse than touching the cards in atlantic city. the penalty is you have to keep the roll on the dice, but the other play can redo his move knowing what your roll is. very big penalty.

I dd well tonight, but allot of it was based on good rolls rather than skill. Because I lost in the finals I was awarded third place which is the “bubble” position and no payout. Still was fun and I’ll go back. It’s a mile from apartment, and $5 cab ride.

There’s a poker game this weekend, i.e. I’m finding ways maintain my vices…..

ok maybe not everybody in minneapolis is friendly…..

Monday, January 7th, 2008

stopped by a local pub for dinner. guy next to me at the bar might have missed his meds today. kept trying to pay with his drivers license and other cards. after finally giving up a credit card he throws a piece of ice (or food?) at the guy on the other side of me. thought there was going to be a fight break out, with me in between them, but luckily the guy who threw the food was asked to leave and he did.

phone rang and stopped at around 8:30. At 10pm I get another call from building security. Some lady complaining that I’m making too much noise. tv was on at a normal level. Security said it was probably nothing and the lady complains allot.

…… must be a full moon tonight.

Apartment setup

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Tried to settle in today. Apartment is on the 15 floor downtown and right outside the window there’s a LED sign. Makes me feel right at home 🙂 a sign with weather, time, etc.. viewable from my living room.


Tried to setup a network, and I must have mixed up the transformer, and instead of a 5V supply it was 12V. Router became a paperweight. Luckily my boss gave me a travel router as a holiday gift, and I brought it along. Actually a really cool device. It’s a linksys WTR54GS travel router. Just as I was thinking through how to have rig it up as a wireless repeater using the WET11 in the closet, I found this think could connect up to a wireless network and rebroadcast it’s own network. In any case, it came in handy to get the network working in the apartment. Was able to get the Dell laptop, the MacBook Pro, iPhone and a wired Buffalo NAS play together. I’m getting less than 10 mbps throughput, which is fine for Internet, but really painful when I try to import allot of media into iTunes. Why do I need gapless playback analysis??? It’s something that can be fixed with a small gig switch, which is now on it’s way from

Here’s some views of the apartment

Here’s the all in one unit. It washes and dries. takes a really long time and only fits a couple articles of clothes.


Here’s the view from the living room



2 days in and so far so good.


Sunday, January 6th, 2008

May have some more time to start keeping a blog. Spending some time in Minneapolis for work.

Arrived yesterday, and I way over compensated for the cold. Shipped 2 boxes of sweatshirts, hats and gloves, and it’s been over 50 degrees…. warmer than NJ.

Spent the weekend trying to get my bearings on the skyways and downtown area. Came across this statue…

Mary Tyler Moore Statue
This downtown area is nicer than the warehouse district I’ve been to before. Right across the street from the apartment, there’s a HUGE Target store with a grocery section. Even better than grocery shopping at the CVS in princeton.

Besides being unusually warm, people in the streets are friendly, which takes a little getting used to. Everyone saying hello when they pass and stopping to see if I need help with directions (need to put the map down and stop looking lost….).
There’s many restaurants, shops, and bars in the area, watched the Giants game at Hooters. Got all sorts of local information from people at the bar (another case of people being really friendly).

I was amused by a big sign in Borders saying “Start Fresh, New Year, New You”, and next to it another sign saying the store will be closing. Guess that was there definition of a fresh start.