1st Invitational Cheshire Poker Tourney

Well, the chips all fell where they may, and in the aftermath, 3 people walked away happy, and the rest stumbled away drunk. Such was the case at the conclusion of my first stab at tournament director of a Poker game. Seven people braved the weather and a great time was had by all. Check out all the pics. I started the day by visiting Rob at 10am to pick up chips and some tips on how to play. I then picked up a fancy new poker table top, which was put to great use by us last night. Participants in the inaugural game included Dave Smith, John Kean, Greg Herage, Adam Stewart, Matt Scase and Rob Sample. Rob was a surprise addition, given that he was supposed to be playing all day at another tourney. Well, turns out he got done early, hopped a bus, and showed up half cut and with a nice $20 in his hands to join the action! Huzzah for that. He made it possible for us to do a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place game. Ironically, Rob was the only real player at the table, and was the first to be taken out. Never trust us beginners. We’re VERY unpredictable, right Rob? We set the game up with increasing blinds every 20 minutes, and $10,000 buy in for $20. I think it’s safe to say everyone had a great time, and we’ll definitely have to make this a regular occurence. What do you say boys, monthly? The table has room for 8 people, so we can have a rotating cast of characters depending who’s available. After all, if Matt can win, anyone can, right? Ha ha ha. The exit order was (I think): Rob, Adam, me, Dave, John, Greg, Matt. Congrats Matt. Pizza’s on you next time ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course, to make the night sweeter, we kept going by playing vids till the wee hours… Halo, Driv3r, DOA Volleyball (yes, I’ll work on that hack sometime). Good times. I never knew I was such an efficient killer in Halo when intoxicated! And the grand finale was Dave, Matt and I watching music DVD’s till 4am! Huzzah. Let’s do it again sometime boyz.

Phase IV Layed Out!

Well, as a reward for going away to New York City for the weekend, we let someone come over to our house and install our new carpeting on Monday in the basement! Finally, what I thought would be a day off. Well, the carpet has been laid out, and it looks fantastic. They did a good job (Giant Carpet). The new carpet is much lighter, so it doesn’t show Jonah’s hair as much, but will be prone to show dirt. Oops, can’t win them all I guess. Of course, now that the carpet is done, I have to work on putting quarter round trim along all the walls at the floor. Pain in the ass. I also started wiring the speakers up. They have been mouted on the walls, and I bought a fish tape to get the speaker wire through the walls / ducts to conceal the wiring. Again, major pain in the ass! But worth the effort, as there are no wires criss-crossing the floor. We’ve also got word back that the new couch may be in by Christmas, so now I’m gonna have to hurry up and get the bar built. That way, the whole basement would be done for Christmas! Yay! Hopefully I’ll have the whole home theatre set up soon, and I’ll post pics of what that looks like. Next purchase for me: wireless controller for the xbox. I’m also hoping I win a 52″ Toshiba HD TV at work. I bought 3 tickets for $10, with proceeds going to the United Way. Boy, would that TV look good in my new basement!

What’s that about ears and elbows?

A well known saying goes something like this. Never put anything smaller than your elbow in you ears. Well, I’m never one to listen to sayings, and I guess I paid the price this past weekend in New York City. On the upshot, I got to experience private health care. On the downshot, it ain’t any better than public health care. But I digress. It all started on the [long] bus ride to New York. It was an all-nighter, and to pass the time, I brought my MP3 player to listen to old BBC radio broadcasts of the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy. To do this, I was using my Shure E3 headphones, which are in-ear headphones to block out noise, which I also use on stage when playing music. Well, wouldn’t you know it, at one point, I tried pulling out the earphone to hear someone talking, and the damn bud stayed in my ear!! I’m talking waaay deep in my ear.

Now, this wasn’t a truly painful experience or anything, but really an annoyance. I felt all plugged up, and could feel this thing in my ear. Hours and hours later, we arrived in New York, with me still trying to get this bud out any way I could. Next step involved tweezers, but this was still unsuccessful. I spent most of the day touring with it in my ear. I finally decied to go to a specialist, since we had tickets to see The Producers that night, and I wanted to enjoy it. So, Andrea hooked me up with a couple possible hospitals. I ended up going to this one, the New York Eye and Ear hospital, where an ENT (Ear Nose, Throat) Doctor pulled it out in 5 seconds using a good light, and good clips. No harm, no foul. However, to get there took me almost 2 hours of waiting, and cost me $131. All in all, not too bad, but a pain in the ass. Of course, this doctor had to do a full check on my Nose and Throat as well, since he is a specialist. The ironic thing? I got a clean bill of health, yet within 2 days, I had a full cold, with swollen tonsils, stuffed head, etc. Whaddya think about that?

Either way, the weekend in NY was fantastic! We got to see two broadway shows, the Producers, and Avenue Q, which is kind of a spoof of Sesame Street. We wanted to see Monty Pythons’ Spamalot, but it was totally sold out all weekend. We also got to see some great improvised Jazz at a club called Detour on Saturday night. Plus, the deal-grabber that I am, I bought a cymbal set for my drums at a great price at the Guitar Center in Manhattan. The bus ride to and from NY was okay too, but left me pretty wiped out on Monday.

Phase III Success!

Okay, although I’m getting increasingly tired and grumpy, I’ve finished phase III of the basement project. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve basically been up till 11 or 12 each night working on all these projects. It’s the curse of being a perfectionist. The good news is that we’ve got everything finished off that we wanted to have done before the carpet goes down, which is on Monday. Of course we’re leaving on a bus to NY tonight, so timing was of the essence.

Earlier, I had lamented to Kev that I thought putting down the laminate should only take about 40 minutes. Well, while that may be true, it didn’t account for the prep of vapor barrier, cutting the pieces to the perfect size, trimming the lip on the edges where it was needed, installing the plastic track and mitring in for the trim and clean-up! Long story short, I basically worked on this from 7pm till 11:30pm! D’oh! So much for an easy project. At any rate, the finished product looks great in my opinion. I even thought we should’ve maybe done the whole rec room with this. I’ll probably end up renovating my studio with it next.

Now, back to the trim. It came with a little red plastic track to fasten to the floor, in which the trim would lock in. The instructions? “Fasten track to subfloor with provided screws. If installing on concrete, first install the plastic anchors by drilling holes, then use screws to mount track.” Sounded easy, but if you’ve ever tried drilling holes in 50-year old concrete, you’d know what I say when I say the damn hole never goes exactly where you want. No matter how hard I tried, the bit tended to wander a little, and holes would be slightly off. The result? Track that wouldn’t sit exactly where I wanted, hence some visible joints in the trim, and un-even surface. These things drive me batty! But at least I’ll always know who did it, and why it turned out that way. Luckily, the bar will be the focal point, so unless you’re really looking, you won’t notice the slight imperfections (hopefully). Anyway, that’s it till the carpet and then my quarter round installation.

Phase II Complete!

Well, keeping the ball rolling, Jody and I completed Phase II of our basement renovation projects. Media Cabinet, check. Painting, check. With the carpet on its’ way, we had to get cracking on working on the next part of the project. We wanted to make sure we got all the ceiling, walls, doors and trim painted before the new carpet went down, that way we didn’t have to be nearly as careful. As a result we started the prep work on Friday night, and worked through till Sunday to get it all done. Never one to do things half-assed, we started off by filling in all the old holes and sanding everything smooth so that the paint would stick well. We also taped off the critical things, so as not to bung things up too badly during the paint process.

Then, we hit all the surfaces with two coats of our paint (Behr Premium Plus – color Raffia Cream for those interested). One might have been okay, but two coats on the walls just made it that much nicer, and presumably more durable. After that, the baseboards and doors were all given two coats of glossy white paint. The end result is quite stunning, and should be even better once the new carpet goes in.

I also managed to rip up all the carpeting last night (Tuesday) and finish the trim around the media cabinet. If you want to see more pics of the renovation in progress, mosey on over to our photo sets and check out the basement renovation set.

Another part of the prep before carpet goes down was to cut up the 4×8 sheets of MDF and Oak plywood that I bought for the bar. The rec room is the only room big enough to work on material that size. Lucky for me, Kev was able to pop by for about 2 hours, and we got a lot of that done. Tonight I can work on getting the laminate put down. But that will be a separate post ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, this all has to be wrapped up before Jody and I head out to New York tomorrow night…

First Step Complete!

G’day folks. Well, as you can see by the picture, the first step on our basement renovation is essentially completed! Last night at 10pm, I finished building the media cabinet that is built into the wall in the rec room. A while ago Jody and I decided that this fall / winter would be the time we finally renovate the basement. We spend 80% of our time there, so we figure it will be money well spent. The master plan calls for new paint, new carpet, new couch, built in media centre for home theatre stuff, installation of laminate in bar area, and finally the piece de resistance, my new oak bar!

We’ve got the ball heavily rolling now. We ordered our carpet, ordered our couch, bought the paint, bought the bar materials, and as you can see, I’ve built the cabinet. If you’d like to see other pictures of the project, head on over to our flickr sets and check out the basement renovation shots. I’ll update it as we go along.

Kevin has graciously offered to help, as he so often does, and I already took advantage of that last weekend as we came back from Jim’s cabin [in progress]. This weekend, we’ll be prepping and painting the basement walls, and hopefully get all the old carpet ripped out as well. After that, hopefully Giant Carpet will come to install the carpet. I’ll do the laminate myself, since it’s just a 9’x6′ area in the back.

The most exciting part though will be building my bar. I’ve already picked up the clear red oak which I’ll be building it from. If you want an idea what I’m building, check out some pictures on-line from the plan I ordered. Click on the ‘photos’ button to see other peoples’ results. I’ll be building mine with a dry-sink, since I don’t want the hassle of trying to run water pipes and a drain to it. Especially seeing as there’s a sink not 7 feet away already! Anyway, stay tuned for lots more as I work on these projects.

Stories from an athlete, adventurer, and lover of life