Monday, October 28, 2013

Embrace Your Past

First of all, not one, nor two, but three companies I applied to (and made it to various stages with) have shown ads on my blog in the last week.  I find this...hilarious.  I'm not even sure how it's happening, but good for you Google, good for you.  I even clicked on one that didn't bring me in.

I am taking the week to organize my office, which at present means opening up the dozen or so boxes of my things that remained and figuring out what on Earth to do with them.  At first I found this process utterly terrifying; each box contains memories, and you have no idea what they are going to be until you actually open it.  Some of these haven't been opened since 2008, and some of those very boxes contain what I'd consider actually sacred possessions.  Some of the memories are amazing and wonderful, others were kind of crappy, and all of them left me feeling a sense of loss and emptiness.  At the moment my life is pretty, well, boring.  Some would argue that I'm at a very exciting crossroads, but that's just not really the way I felt while I was opening those boxes.  I felt alone (which I was and don't like) and very sentimental.  My lady pointed out that sentimental is good, just feel happy about it, but that wasn't the way it was working.  Eventually I figured out that it was an overwhelming feeling of "loss" that I was dealing with.  I don't save things like she does; I don't have very many trinkets or even pictures from my childhood.  I haven't seen my parents as much as I'd like in the last decade.  I don't currently have many strong local friendships.

Yada, yada, yada blah blah blah.  The point was I was getting kind of down thinking about my past and what in it had led to what I felt like was "missing" from my current life.  And you know what?  That's a bunch of bullshit.  My past is what it is.  Everything I have done, even the catastrophically stupid things (and I'm not talking about poker here), has led me to where I am right now.  There is no point in looking back and being sad, that's just crazy and silly.  It makes more sense to embrace your past.  If you made mistakes, think about them, learn from them, then push them aside and live in the moment.  Enjoy your life for what it is.  Don't settle, try to make things better, but at the same time enjoy what you have and be happy about the choices you have made that led you to have it.  I mean really, why not?

Saturday, October 26, 2013


So I went out today and got myself some closure on everything.  You have to make a $100 deposit if you want a box at most casinos (in the bay area I think it was only $50) and I had a couple of them that obviously hadn't been accessed in months.  I figured if I didn't go soon, before I start working, it could end up being months or even years before I closed the things.  So after a few hours of getting stuff done this morning, I drove myself to the Hustler and actually sat down and played hour and fifteen minutes.  That's right, that's how long I made it.  I got a scan, which extends my points another three months and lets me use my $300 of Hustler bucks to do a little Christmas shopping, and closed the box, pocketing $100.  But....

For the life of me, I cannot believe I just spent 8000 hours doing that.  Seriously, it is completely incomprehensible.  It's the worst imaginable environment you could ever put yourself in on a day to day basis, and I was at Hustler where honestly the people are not that bad.  My session was unbelievably boring (I think I won maybe 3.5 pots, and am pretty sure I didn't call a single raise), and within 40 minutes I found myself looking at the clocking wondering if I had an off by one error and had actually been there for an hour and a half.  But no, it had really only been 40 minutes and every single joke had already been made, every possible bit of small talk I could muster had been mustered, and it would normally just have been time to...what?  Put in my head phones?  Text on my phone?  Pay attention to the game?  Jeeze I just have no idea how I did it, only 2.5 months removed and it's a foreign concept to me.  Mama was falling asleep between every single hand; we had to roust her every time she got cards, and each time it was as if she had just woken up on Mars instead of the place she'd been for the last I don't know 35 hours straight or so.  The guy next to me wouldn't stop explaining why he did every single thing he did.  The guy across the way needed to critique every single hand.  Honestly it shouldn't have been that bad but it was under my skin and out of control within 3 laps.  I had to get out of there.  I went to the Bike, closed another box, pocketed another $100 and then drove home.

How on Earth did I do what I just did?  Why was I so blind?  What exactly was I trying to accomplish, what was I trying to chase?  It just makes no sense whatsoever.  Now I'm not saying the job I just took (yes, I accepted a job) is going to absolutely change my life and make me want to jump out of bed every day and sing with the birds, but it has to be better than what I was doing.  It simply has to be.  Four days ago I was cautiously optimistic, yesterday I would have said nervously optimistic, but now I am just straight up looking forward to it.  I hate to be so negative here at the end, but I simply have to be.  I enjoyed my poker career, truly enjoyed it, for less than half the time it was running.  Did I make some money?  Sure, sporadically and sometimes actually fantastically.  But was there any possible justification for all of it?  No way, just no way.  If you're reading this and are thinking about being a pro (or already are), I strongly urge you to consider all your options (all of them) before you make the plunge or just keep showing up to play for another day, week, month, year, decade.  Some people love it, but some people keep doing it because they have too much inertia or no other options.  You deserve a chance at being happy in life, and for only a very small group of people can poker provide that;  make sure you're one of them before you do something crazy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


That's right, I have gotten some. Well, not officially yet, it's kind of weird, apparently in the real world they tell you they're going to make you an offer before they actually make you a verbal offer, and then they want you to accept the verbal offer before they make you an actual offer, which is all kind of strange but makes sense I suppose.

Anyway, I'm still unemployed, but I am for sure not unemployable, and for that I am truly blessed. My lady said it best to me today (I'll paraphrase) when I was sort of flipping out over actually facing the possibility of CHOOSING BETWEEN JOBS while taking a break from the UCI Career Fair.

"Remember when you decided to play poker, and you said that your MIT degrees would help you get back into the industry if you wanted to?  Well it worked, perfectly in fact.  So calm down.  Every single kid in there is trying to become you.  You did it."

I did it rather the hard way, but one way or another I'm going to be reporting to a desk sometime in the very near future.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I had one onsite interview last week and three or possibly four more this week.  The companies that seem to like my resume are quite varied, so I'm not really sure where I'm going to end up.  The process has been slow, tedious, stressful, and frustrating, but the progress has been constant and I think I am ready to go.  Here's hoping I can code up power set no problem.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I've spent the last month finishing searching my soul for what I should do next and preparing to do it.  Specifically I have decided that I am in fact going to re-launch my software engineering career, and that involves an awful lot of studying for interviews.  The thing about software engineering is that it's pretty well-known what is and isn't fair game to expect a candidate to know in an interview, and (likely similar to many other professions) the ability to answer those questions well doesn't map precisely to ability to perform the job. I'll keep you guys posted on how it goes, but right now we're just about to "go live" and actually start applying to jobs full force.

The most important matter of the day, however, is the Pirates game.  I cannot recall a situation where a fan base needed a win in a single game so desperately.  They have been so bad, so very bad, for so very long, I've read articles about the "lost generation" of Pirates fans, people born just a few years after me who cannot even remember them ever being relevant.  Tonight though?  We will raise the Jolly Roger!