Tuesday, June 28, 2005

It's Tuesday evening, and I've survived two days of my intensive Latin course. It's actually not too bad. It seems like, if you really get down to it, we're probably only covering about twice as much material as we would in one class, but without the dead days for quizzes and tests, when we probably wouldn't cover much in a regular class. In this course, we have to cover two new chapters the night before the quiz on the last chapters. But if you've sucessfully navigated two chapters beyond what you're being quizzed on (though he says some of the material in that night's homework will turn up on the exams), you should be pretty well-prepared. And the new textbook does seem a lot less overwhelming than Wheelock's Latin, the definative textbook of the subject, which the professor explained was being temperarily abandoned both as an experiment to see if the summer course's 50-75% attrition rate can be improved, as well as the existance of sites like the one linked to above, giving the answers to every homework assignment in the book (which doesn't seem particularly helpful when exams are almost your entire grade, and you are required to read and discuss the homework assignments in class).

Overall, I'm cautiously optimistic of my chances in the course. And I've already booked my post-school Vegas vacation. I had hoped to take a more leisurely trip, along the lines of my last trip, but I forgot Mom was going up to Michelle's for the baby shower, so I have to stay home with the dog. So my trip was cut short, and now I have to fly. $118 round trip with taxes, more than the last time I flew (years ago), but the price seemed reasonable enough to me. Fly in Sunday after work, stay three nights at the Las Vegas Hilton, and fly back that afternoon. I hate flying, but when the destination is Vegas, I'll face down Satan himself to get there. I get off work at 5, and my flight is after 8, so I should have plenty of time to get hammered before I get on the plane. Looked into renting a car, but that's a lot more expensive than I anticipated, so I think I'll just take a shuttle or taxi.

The on-line poker's going okay. Since I mentioned my big poker wins here, I haven't had much luck, just treading water. But that beats losing. Breaking even isn't bad at all, considering I fully admit I'm not that great a Texas Hold 'Em player. But that's obviously the way the wind is blowing, so I should learn. And I am improving. I've carefully considered why I lost the tournaments I've lost, and while there are other holes in my play, it seems like at least half the tournaments I've busted out of, the pivotal hand that killed me involved my misplaying of middle pairs. I'm pretty comfortable throwing away low pairs, but 77 and 88 have killed me quite a few times. So I've been much more cautious playing those hands, and seem to have noticed an improvement in my bottom-line (I've also been watching how others play the hand, and it seems like improving one's skills in playing such hands can give one a big advantage over a lot of fairly decent players). Of course, I just now (and I mean just now, I was playing in one window while typing here between hands) got knocked out of a tournament with AQ when someone went all-in with 22 and made trips, so what do I know?

I don't think I've mentioned my summer reading. I've been reading Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America. From what little details I knew, the story of the flood and its aftermath sounded fascinating, and I was eager to learn more about it. Also, as a Randy Newman fan, it seemed a good opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the song "Louisiana 1927." The book is quite interesting, taking its time in telling the back story of the river. I wasn't sure how interesting 100 pages on the arguments of engineers on how best to manage the river would be particularly interesting, but it is. I've just now gotten to the actual flood, so I can better judge the book after I've gotten through the heart of it, but just from the set-up, I give it a thumbs up.

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