NCEA: Not Achieved

I had a good weekend. On Saturday morning I gave some tuition to the Remuera girl – she’d just had her NCEA mocks and has the real thing in a fortnight. I’m still struggling to get my head around NCEA. The maths exam lasts three hours; in that time you have to complete five “mini-papers” on the topics of Number, Algebra, Graphs, Geometry and Probability. For each paper you’re given one of four grades: Excellence, Merit, Achieved and Not Achieved. She loves geometry and blew me away with her perfect paper on that topic. She also got Excellence in the probability paper, but “only” Achieved in the other three. So what does that equate to overall, I ask. It turns out there is no overall maths grade. In the words of OMC, how bizarre. The maths topics are treated as different subjects, even though they form part of the same exam and the concepts are very much intertwined. This makes no sense to me. I also found it strange that there were no numerical marks, such as 8/10, anywhere on the paper. On the flip side, I thought the questions were well constructed and required broad mathematical knowledge, and I don’t think they were any easier than what I had to deal with in 1996.

So what makes a fair exam system? The norm-referencing used in the old School Cert was controversial but despite its shortcomings was fairer (in my opinion) than what we have now. For something as complex as maths, standards-based assessment doesn’t work. So your son Jake can “do” number but can’t “do” algebra – what the hell does that even mean? Nothing, if you ask me. Secondly, exams have to be substantially different from one year to the next; difficulty will therefore also vary from year to year, sometimes significantly, just by random chance. How do the examiners adjust for this, if at all? The fairest (and easiest) way is to say, “Jake, you scored in the 65th percentile.” Sure, under this method you can’t tell if standards are improving, but neither can you under NCEA. Finally, every mark should count. I get the impression that some kids can’t be bothered studying because a few marks here or there are unlikely to make much difference. I’ve never really liked the whole concept of grades, and I certainly don’t like only having four of them. There’s a huge gap between 55% and 69%, but if they both just get you a bog-standard Achieved, no wonder there’s a lot of students out there who can’t be arsed.

At least everyone in New Zealand does the same exam, unlike in the UK where there are several examining boards with names like MEG and SEG and SMEG (OK, maybe not SMEG), each with its own syllabus and corresponding exam. It’s undoubtedly easier to pass under certain exam boards.

I never meant this to turn into a rant about educational assessment. I’ll cover the rest of my weekend, as well as tonight’s tennis matches, in my next post.

By the way, my work has been extended to the end of November. For my mental health as much as anything, that has to be good news.

"I still call Australia home!"



(hmmmn...new fixie at our place - cherished by 'another')

I'm ba-ack! - and have cycled straight into the friendly street banter I've come to know and love (??)...

1. "where's your fucking helmet?"

and,

2. "why don't you get a fucking car?"

...I just couldn't resist pitching the following reply to querulous young lads near Central Station last night, in answer to Q.1.,

- 'they're for sissies like you'

...boy! did they burr up!!!!!

Disappointingly, no chance to deliver an answer to Q.2. though, as that came from 'impossibly-young-driver' in 'impossibly-expensive-german-car' as he whizzed past my 'inside' in Macquarie Street!

Funtimes "Down Under"!

How I Blog Now




The Sweet Friends Award




I like the idea of Bloggers generating their own awards and nominating a selection of fellow Bloggers to receive them. Some might think it somewhat incestuous and almost self-congratulatory but it's great way of finding new blogs and hopefully expanding one's readership horizons.

If I enjoy your blog there's a good chance I will also like the blogs you favour!

Joanne Fox, whose writing-based, thoughtful blog is always a worthwhile read has been kind enough to nominate To Discover Ice with a 'Sweet Friends' award which I blushingly accept. (Bazza down on one knee, hand on heart, head bowed). Joanne appears to be aware of the need to make posts of a certain length which maintains the readers interest without having a soporific effect! 

So, one condition of this award is to communicate six facts about 'how I write', (Joanne is a writer). This about how I blog:

1) At this time I have my next four posts already written although order of publication is not yet decided.

2) I don't write much personal stuff, not because I am shy or private but because it bores me and I suppose it would bore you too!

3) I choose a subject or topic that interests me and then I research it. Usually it's a painting, a poem, a book, a person or a website.

4) I always write too much and then pare it down with some ruthless editing. I know attention spans are short these days!

5) I always wait at least two days before publishing something I have written; sometimes when I return to it, I don't like it and have to make changes.

6) If you blog/write for yourself first then others might enjoy it too because it will be sincere.

Here then are my six nominees. I have chosen them because they are blogs I read that I don't think get as much traffic as they deserve:

1) An Evolution of Knowledge Stephen in Sydney, Australia doesn't post often but always says something of interest.

2) The Snee Rebecca(?) puts so much effort into her amusing posts that she must be retired/unemployed!

3) English Buildings Philip Wilkinson is an author specialisng in architecture and writes very informative posts about interesting aspect of buildings in (mainly) the south of England.

4) Sagan's Brain "Skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility". Hundreds of followers, few commenters. Great science blog. You may have to be a nerd!

5) Hedgeland Tales Excellent photos of wild birds (no, Sir Tom!) located in Peterborough, England.

6) Belgian Beers  "All about Belgian Beers. Belgian Beer Bars. Belgian Beer Breweries. A discovery of the many Belgian Beers. In a nutshell Belgium and Belgian Beers. www.belgian-beers.eu Cheers!" Nothing more to say.

Faith and grief ... part one

One of my blog friends wrote recently about trying to reconcile faith and grief. If we have a belief in the hereafter, shouldn't that belief erase the pain of grief?  Leaning on the Hindu traditions, Shady quotes the Bhagavad-Gita — There never was a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor any of these kings, nor will there be any future where we cease to be — and asks whether faith should preclude grief.

My answer to the question as posed is below.

Does faith preclude grief? No.
SHOULD it? No.
Can it make grief easier to bear? Yes.

The Greeks had two words for time: chronos, which is the measurable clock time, and kairos, which is the time outside measurable time. Kairos is God’s time, the Eternal Now. The liturgy of my church begins with the words Kairos tou poiesai to Kyrio (“It is time [kairos] for the Lord to act”): In the divine liturgy chronos and kairos intersect.

I live in chronos, in the human now. Nick is not here, he is not with us at meal time, he is not helping me rear the boys, he is not holding my hand on the streets, he is not sharing my thoughts, secrets, dreams. He is dead, and his death left an unfathomable hole in my life, brought inexpressible pain to my heart. Belief in Eternity does not mitigate that pain or fill that hole.

However, when I can allow myself to be in kairos, in the Eternal Now, when I can remember that Nick is forever and always a part of me and I of him — which means that he is with me Now and I am with him Now — then yes, my faith does make this easier.

SHOULD my faith in the Eternal Now preclude my grief in the human now? No. Because that would mean that the human now is somehow less important than the Eternal Now. That would mean that the time Nick and I shared — as husband and wife, as two people building one life, as two people parenting two children — somehow has less value than Eternity.

And I cannot believe that.

'Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner...'









...that I love London so.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner,
That I think of her,
Wherever I go...

I get a funny feeling inside of me,
When I'm walking up & down.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I love London Town
(Gerroff me barrow!)
That I--LOVE--LONDON--TOWN!!!


...but you know something really, really weird??? - we saw more bicycle helmets & hi-vis vests than we've ever seen in Newtown - NUTS!!!!

DON'T DO IT, BRITAIN, DON'T AGREE TO BICYCLE HELMET LAWS!!!

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T DO IT!!

================================================
("Sad we didn't 'rendez-vous', Mark! - but back in Feb so maybe coffee-date then? - might even qualify for the old 'boris-bikes' if I get my act together pronto!!! - au revoir x")

Advice to the newly widowed

I'm no longer a very active participant in the online group that got me through the first, worst years of widowhood, but every now and then I feel compelled to respond to a particular post.  Since I know that a lot of widow blogs link to mine, even though I don't write about widowhood that much anymore, let me post here an adaptation of something I wrote there. (I adapted it to make it more general, not addressed to the particular individual whom I was responding to.)

*****************

When I look at this online forum, I see that a lot of the thread titles are focused on fear and anxiety for the future. In those first few weeks, I could not even conceive of a future. I couldn't imagine surviving to the 6-month mark, let alone to 1 year, to 3 years. It was more than I could comprehend.

So I didn't try. Because if I tried -- I saw time stretching out before me like a sidewalk, with each square of the sidewalk a single day. And looking down that sidewalk, Nick wasn't in any of the squares, and that was more than I could bear. So I didn't look ahead.

I put my head down and looked only at the square I was standing in. I did what I had to do to move my feet from one square to the next. Eventually, I noticed that there was grass growing at the edges of the sidewalk, and one day I could look up to see that there were bushes and flowers. But I always kept my head down, not looking more than one or two squares ahead of me.

It's been 6 years now, and the time that has passed was inconceivable to me at the beginning. I can look all around and see the sidewalk behind me and realize that it's got all kinds of turns and corners that I wasn't aware of at the time. And I look in front of me and realize that I don't know where the sidewalk will lead me. And that's okay.

Because really, the only way to get from here to wherever the sidewalk goes is one square at a time. The only way I got from 2 months to 6 years was one day at a time. And that's the only way you'll get there: One day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.

Relax, and do the only thing you can: Take a deep breath and step gently into the next moment.

A bit of everything

It looks like my temporary assignment is coming to an end. I’m scheduled to finish on 5th November. There’s been a definite improvement in my mental health whilst I've had this job – since I ditched Lifeline at least – and it would be great if I could keep it at this level after I finish. I’ve maintained a constant level, or close to it, for a month now; I can’t remember the last time I managed that.

This job is nothing special but that's almost the point. Nothing special means nothing stressful. Saying that, I’m achieving more on a daily basis than I was in my last job and I even feel I have some skills that come in handy here. For instance earlier this week my boss wanted to know how to calculate the GST component of a claim on the new rate. He was impressed when I showed him; in my previous job somebody else would have made a swanky macro which gave you the answer in a fraction of the time.

My boss is a no-nonsense character who has worked for the company for 25 years. He smokes, is about five stone overweight, and has no time for corporate growth days or other such rubbish. And man does he like to swear. I have a tendency to count things, so one day I tallied all the mentions of his f-f-favourite expletive; the count reached 28 by the end of the day. The next day – a particularly bad day for my boss, I think – he dropped a whopping 59 F-bombs. I haven’t counted since. For all his effing and blinding, I find him strangely charming.

Last Saturday I attended the Asperger’s group. It was good to see everyone, including a few people, but it wasn’t easy to make conversation. It gets quite noisy there at times, and when you do have a conversation, someone else is always likely to interrupt. That of course is a common symptom of the condition.

On Sunday morning I met up with Phil who has been living in Denmark since January. I don't know how his relationship with his girlfriend has been going, but he hasn't found Denmark easy. He's can't get residency, which means he can't get a job (not that there are many jobs to be had over there anyway), which means he can't offset the high cost of living over there. He said he regrets making the move and would like to extend his stay in New Zealand, for good if possible. We played two games of pétanque, winning one each (I won the second game on a sudden-death end). The annual Waiheke tournament is in two weeks so it was useful practice.

On Monday night I continued my run of close tennis matches. We played the doubles first and I really felt like the weakest link out there. It reminded me of playing football at school: the more I avoided touching the ball, the better our team did. Superman's big serve and general aggressive play kept us in the match, even if the other team were clearly better. We somehow won the first set 7-5, but we went down in the end, 6-3 in the second set and 10-7 in the super tie-break. We did well to run them so close. My singles match was a strange one: it took my opponent some time to get into the match (he said afterwards that he struggled to read my "unusual" style of play) but once he hit his straps he was unstoppable. I won the first set 6-2, and when I clawed my way back to 5-all in the second I fancied my chances, but I eventually lost 2-6 7-5 6-2. I had no regrets: I played about as well as I could and was in good shape physically right to the end, but in the third set he had far too much firepower. Overall our team lost all six of our matches; five of them could have gone either way.

On Tuesday I tutored that 16-year-old boy again. I think he's a smart kid but just a bit lazy. He's quite happy to do the bare minimum he needs to get through the exam.

Last night we had the men's group. We watched the second half of the Aussie film Malcolm. Bloody good fun. Made we want to go to Melbourne again.

My Heroes (31): Kathryn Wiliams

Kathryn Williams


Kathryn Williams is an English folk-singer/songwriter who was born in Liverpool in 1974. She has a fragile, gentle singing style and makes hauntingly lovely acoustic recordings. My favourite is 'Relations' a collection of cover versions from 2004. You can hear her hard-to-beat live version of Leonard Cohen's much recorded 'Hallelujah' here. She often collaborates with Neil McColl (Kirsty's brother, Ewan's son). Here is their single ‘Come With Me Darling’.
 I love the fact that she is so natural, not show-bizzy or glamorous. I don't suppose she will ever get the proper acclaim that she deserves.

Köln und das rad - lots!









A familiar lament - not enough time!

Köln, Germany's 4th largest city, and as 'hummy' as can be!

Lots of art, spires, bicycles...! What more could you want?

BERLIN - never enough time!














One weekend = not enough = need a life-time!

Grey & wet, grungy & beautiful - loved! loved! loved Berlin!

...full of...

* museums & music ('b-flat acoustic & jazz club' - oh! the jazz!!!)

* bicycles & wine bars ('muret la barba', weinbar on Rosenthaler Strasse, directly oppostie 'b-flat' - you need to know this!! - plenty of room for your bicycle on either side of the street!)

...and that's just for starters - naturally lots more too!

Sad to say 'auf wiedersehen und tschüss!' but happy to say 'can't wait to return!!!'

WE WILL BE BACK!

How to Get Rich Quickly






makemoney99.com
Part One: In this part we will be explaining how you can get rich very quickly. Professor Wisemouth will be here to give you all the details that we know you are anxiously waiting for. In Part Two we will have a look back at Part One and examine how things will develop in the second part with a preview of Part Three when the real secrets will be revealed. So, let’s have a quick look back at part one; we have shown how the programme will be laid out and previewed the rest of the show. Please join us after this message from our sponsors.



Part Two: Welcome to Part Two. In Part One we introduced you to the show’s format and told you about Part Two. In Part Three the real secrets will be revealed. Let’s have a quick preview of that now. Part Three will look back at the programme so far and Professor Wisemouth will be here to tell all. Please join us after the break for the final part.


Part Three: Welcome back. In Part One we told you about Professor Wisemouth and introduced the layout of parts two and three. In Part Two we recapped on what we have learned so far and looked forward to part three. Well that’s all we have time for this week but please join us next week when Professor Wisemouth will be revealing the little known secrets of getting rich quickly. Here’s a sneak preview....
Don't you just hate the way they make documentary programmes these days?








...next stop...Hamburg!








Our cycling 'bliss' continues, which alternatively translates into explicit reiteration that Australia sucks as far as cycling goes!

We're now in Hamburg, the 2nd largest city in Germany, and notwithstanding the immensely busy city traffic, cyclists are fully incorporated into the transport climate!...

...no more excuses, Australia!...this is a really 'busy' city, and the traffic flies past - it is evident to all that there is such a notion as safe intergration!

As with the Netherlands, strict liability continues to be the 'order of the day' for any hapless motorist who might 'bump' a cyclist.

Why is this not the case in Australia? It appears to be an inordinately useful measure, and is mentioned by many who use bicycles as they manoeuvre themselves around their European cities.

How about it, Aussie pollies? - could be a 'goodie' in terms of strategic traffic planning - in fact would change behaviour overnight.

Prima facie in a 'nutshell', and upon the facts as I understand them, we need:

* Strict liability for 'people using cars' who collect 'people using bicycles'

* Separate infrastructure as speed disparity grows between 'people using cars' & 'people using bicycles'

* REPEAL OF BICYCLE HELMET LAWS - PRONTO!


...why is my advice so rarely followed? sigh!

The x factor

Firstly, from now on I'll be moving all those deadly dull poker posts to a separate blog which I've called Plutoman's Poker Planet, so you'll be spared all that badugi bollocks in future. Phew!

On Tuesday night I gave an hour's tuition to a 16-year-old Takapuna Grammar boy. He'll be doing the same exam as the girl from Remuera, only he's not quite at her level. His arithmetic was fine but his algebra needed a lot of work. I asked him to solve the equation (x-4)/2 = 7 for x. "Can't I just say it's 18? he said. Well, yes I suppose, although I'm not sure whether you get all the marks in the exam if you just slap down the answer. I then gave him the very similar expression (x-4)/2 = a and asked him to make x the subject, but he was all at sea there. I can understand how he finds the transition difficult. I always found numbers easier to handle than x's and y's. But I think a major reason why a lot of people find algebra difficult is that they just learn a bunch of rules to get them through their next test or exam, without knowing why they're applying those rules. For instance this kid could solve a quadratic equation like x² + 7x + 10 = 0 with no trouble, by finding two numbers that add to give 7 and multiply to give 10, but didn't know why that method worked. Of course he might also like to know why you'd want to solve a quadratic in the first place, and I can't help him there. I hope I can help him get through his exam in mid-November though.

After an icy blast early in the week things have warmed up again. On Saturday I've got the Asperger's group to look forward to.

Gorgeous Groningen













Couple of days in this 'funky' town and we're hooked!

Brilliant student vibe, groovy cycling, sensational walking, fantastic 'eten en drinken', and live music everywhere...

...oh! and also, needless to mention, bucket loads of bicycles and people using them!!!

My bicycle bliss!!! My bicycle paradise!!!

Smash!

It hasn't been a bad week. Last Monday I played interclub tennis. I partnered Superman in the doubles - my volleys were even worse than normal but we just scraped home 4-6 6-4 10-5. That 10-5 score is a super tie-break which comes into play in doubles matches at night. I'm not a fan of it. It makes no sense at all to me that the third (most important) set should be vastly shorter than the first two (less important) ones. I totally understand the need for a reasonable finishing time but the super tie-break seems a rather artificial way of achieving that. I'd prefer just one long set up to nine or ten.

In the singles I faced someone twice my age. It was a real battle - we had a lot of long rallies and games going several deuces - and I came through 6-4 7-5 after 1¾ hours. My opponent was remarkably fit (I tried to imagine how my dad would have coped), but he did tire a bit towards the end as I came from 5-3 down in the second set. Superman was on the sidelines, talking on his phone, not really helping my cause. In the last game I led 40-15 but he came up with two screamers to save the match points. On my third match point I hit what I thought was a decisive lob but he ran back to retrieve it, and in desperation hit a moonball maybe forty feet into the air. Surely it won't clear the net. Oh no. It is coming over. I'm deciding what to do with the ball when Superman shouts Smash! and I smash it straight into the net. I do eventually serve out the match, taking my fifth opportunity. As a team we scored a clean sweep of wins; I was on court the longest.

After the tennis not a lot happened until the weekend. I was happy with that. I did some maths tuition on Thursday night but that was about it. Saturday was an interesting day though. I'm now looking at sharing a flat with Richard and John, another bloke from the Asperger's group. We had a look at a flat in Mt Eden. It was an older house, I'm guessing you might call it a villa, and it would have been very comfortable I'm sure. However it was just out of our price range. The three of us went for a coffee afterwards; we discussed all the things we wanted (or not) out of flatting - this was a useful exercise. I'm hopeful we can find something that suits us all.

Last night I saw an Italian film - Io Sono L'Amore - with Julie at the Bridgeway. Julie's got a bad arm, and when (as usual) she wouldn't stop talking all through the film, I nudged her other arm harder than I meant to, giving her (temporarily) two bad arms. And then my bloody phone went off. I didn't even think I had it on me, and it took me some time scrabbling around in my bag to turn it off. How embarrassing. Regarding the film itself, I wasn't sure what to make of it. A lot of arty camera effects and very dark (I mean literally - sometimes you could hardly make out anything) in places.

I'm currently reading Oliver James' Affluenza. So far it's an excellent read; I'll write about it in a later post I promise.

I should mention that I voted for Len Brown in the Auckland mayoral election, so was obviously happy with the outcome.

KCL commentary

If you're wondering, KCL stands for Kansas City Lowball, another name for single draw deuce-to-seven, so if you're not interested in poker you may as well click the back button now. Here I'm posting what I think are some of the more interesting hands I've played in the last fortnight; just imagine if I'd also included the boring ones. For good measure I've also added a couple of bonus hands from other lowball games.

Hand 1
What’s going on here? Will doesn’t bet his eight after the draw. Judging by all the action he puts in pre-draw, he was drawing to a seven, so I guess he thinks he “missed” his draw.

PokerStars Game #50338251433: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/09/29 5:13:46 ET
Table 'Jokaste V' 7-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: Metallor666 ($25.05 in chips)
Seat 2: plutoman20 ($31.20 in chips)
Seat 3: Will090681 ($15 in chips)
Seat 5: Peter0985 ($16.45 in chips)
Seat 6: popaionut ($32.65 in chips)
Seat 7: dkpiatt ($42.60 in chips)
plutoman20: posts small blind $0.25
Will090681: posts big blind $0.50
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [Kh 7d 8h 4d 2c]
Peter0985: raises $1 to $1.50
popaionut: folds
dkpiatt: folds
Metallor666: folds
plutoman20: calls $1.25
Will090681: raises $2 to $3.50
Peter0985: folds
plutoman20: calls $2
plutoman20: discards 1 card [Kh]
Dealt to plutoman20 [7d 8h 4d 2c] [Td]
Will090681: discards 1 card
plutoman20: checks
Will090681: checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
plutoman20: shows [Td 7d 8h 4d 2c] (Lo: T,8,7,4,2)
Will090681: shows [7s 6s 5h 8c 2s] (Lo: 8,7,6,5,2)
Will090681 collected $8.10 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $8.50 Rake $0.40
Seat 1: Metallor666 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: plutoman20 (small blind) showed [Td 7d 8h 4d 2c] and lost with Lo: T,8,7,4,2
Seat 3: Will090681 (big blind) showed [7s 6s 5h 8c 2s] and won ($8.10) with Lo: 8,7,6,5,2
Seat 5: Peter0985 folded before Flop
Seat 6: popaionut folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: dkpiatt folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Hand 2
The biggest pot I’ve been involved in so far, and a strange one it was too. I don’t know what Alex was playing at after the draw; his 9-8 was nothing more than a bluff-catcher.

PokerStars Game #50626977303: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/05 1:40:49 ET
Table 'Aurelia III' 7-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 2: DBL_J_22 ($82.25 in chips)
Seat 3: oberon782205 ($27.55 in chips)
Seat 4: alexsongyu ($25.75 in chips)
Seat 5: Greg941 ($36.90 in chips)
Seat 6: bmw_mseries ($38.50 in chips)
Seat 7: plutoman20 ($30.20 in chips)
alexsongyu: posts small blind $0.25
Greg941: posts big blind $0.50
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [7h 2s 6h Ad 4c]
bmw_mseries: folds
ThissucksPS leaves the table
plutoman20: raises $1 to $1.50
DBL_J_22: folds
oberon782205: folds
alexsongyu: calls $1.25
Greg941: folds
alexsongyu: discards 1 card
plutoman20: discards 1 card [Ad]
Dealt to plutoman20 [7h 2s 6h 4c] [5s]
alexsongyu: checks
plutoman20: bets $2
alexsongyu: raises $4 to $6
plutoman20: raises $22.70 to $28.70 and is all-in
alexsongyu: calls $18.25 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($4.45) returned to plutoman20
*** SHOW DOWN ***
plutoman20: shows [7h 2s 6h 5s 4c] (Lo: 7,6,5,4,2)
alexsongyu: shows [2h 9c 8c 6d 4d] (Lo: 9,8,6,4,2)
plutoman20 collected $49.45 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $52 Rake $2.55
Seat 2: DBL_J_22 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: oberon782205 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: alexsongyu (small blind) showed [2h 9c 8c 6d 4d] and lost with Lo: 9,8,6,4,2
Seat 5: Greg941 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: bmw_mseries folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: plutoman20 showed [7h 2s 6h 5s 4c] and won ($49.45) with Lo: 7,6,5,4,2

Hand 3
I three-bet out of position with just a draw, albeit a very good one. I’m not sure if that’s ever a good play. However, this time my early aggression seems to help me get my big hand paid off when I hit it.

Dealt to plutoman20 [Qs 2s 4s 6d 7d]
Jayme_Mackow: folds
LaDaL_1er: folds
trouble1111: raises $1 to $1.50
carlosrap: folds
bmw_mseries: folds
plutoman20: raises $2.50 to $4
trouble1111: calls $2.50
plutoman20: discards 1 card [Qs]
Dealt to plutoman20 [2s 4s 6d 7d] [3c]
trouble1111: discards 1 card
plutoman20: bets $5
trouble1111: calls $5
*** SHOW DOWN ***
plutoman20: shows [3c 2s 4s 6d 7d] (Lo: 7,6,4,3,2)
trouble1111: mucks hand
plutoman20 collected $17.40 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $18.25 Rake $0.85
Seat 1: plutoman20 (big blind) showed [3c 2s 4s 6d 7d] and won ($17.40) with Lo: 7,6,4,3,2
Seat 2: Jayme_Mackow folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: LaDaL_1er folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: trouble1111 mucked [4d Qc 7h 3s 6h]
Seat 5: carlosrap (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)Seat 6: bmw_mseries (small blind) folded before Flop

Hand 4
He took a long time to fold here. He looked a competent player and I’m guessing he had a rough nine of some sort. In hindsight I wish I’d four-bet to $12 instead of going all-in. I don’t think he’s calling my shove without a 9-7 at least, meaning I’m odds-on to lose if he calls.

PokerStars Game #50772084629: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/08 1:13:03 ET
Table 'Lumen VII' 7-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: susankramer ($9.65 in chips)
Seat 2: Ic3-T ($54.35 in chips)
Seat 3: igrok.o777o ($15.85 in chips)
Seat 4: swordfish910 ($36 in chips)
Seat 5: A Red Horse ($22.80 in chips)
Seat 7: plutoman20 ($43.75 in chips)
swordfish910: posts small blind $0.25
A Red Horse: posts big blind $0.50
illarion878: sits out
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [3c 9c 5d 4d 2s]
plutoman20: raises $1 to $1.50
susankramer: folds
Ic3-T: folds
igrok.o777o: folds
swordfish910: folds
A Red Horse: raises $3.50 to $5
plutoman20: raises $38.75 to $43.75 and is all-in
A Red Horse: folds
Uncalled bet ($38.75) returned to plutoman20
plutoman20 collected $10.25 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $10.25 Rake $0
Seat 1: susankramer folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Ic3-T folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: igrok.o777o (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: swordfish910 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: A Red Horse (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: plutoman20 collected ($10.25)

Hand 5
I hope to knock out a few people when I three-bet my 10-8. That plan flies out the window when we go to the draw four-way. I break my hand even though an 8-7 isn’t really something I want to go war with should I make it. Luckily I do make an 8-7, it holds up, and I take down a big pot.

PokerStars Game #50847845879: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/09 15:44:33 ET
Table 'Janacek V' 7-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: swordfish910 ($32.90 in chips)
Seat 2: Ruskor777 ($22.10 in chips)
Seat 3: jose weston ($51.05 in chips)
Seat 4: Ic3-T ($70.60 in chips)
Seat 5: Angyalfold ($18.95 in chips)
Seat 6: plutoman20 ($27.55 in chips)
Seat 7: annsarah ($20 in chips)
Ruskor777: posts small blind $0.25
jose weston: posts big blind $0.50
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [Ts 7d 8s 2c 4c]
Ic3-T: folds
Angyalfold: raises $1 to $1.50
plutoman20: raises $2.50 to $4
annsarah: calls $4
swordfish910: folds
Ruskor777: calls $3.75
jose weston: folds
Angyalfold: calls $2.50
Ruskor777: discards 1 card
Angyalfold: discards 1 card
plutoman20: discards 1 card [Ts]
Dealt to plutoman20 [7d 8s 2c 4c] [5h]
annsarah: discards 2 cards
Ruskor777: bets $2
Angyalfold: calls $2
plutoman20: raises $5 to $7
annsarah: folds
Ruskor777: folds
Angyalfold: calls $5
*** SHOW DOWN ***
plutoman20: shows [5h 7d 8s 2c 4c] (Lo: 8,7,5,4,2)
Angyalfold: mucks hand
plutoman20 collected $30.95 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $32.50 Rake $1.55
Seat 1: swordfish910 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Ruskor777 (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 3: jose weston (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: Ic3-T folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: Angyalfold mucked [9c 3h 6h 2d 5c]
Seat 6: plutoman20 showed [5h 7d 8s 2c 4c] and won ($30.95) with Lo: 8,7,5,4,2
Seat 7: annsarah folded on the Flop

Hand 6
I get lucky here. Volk happens to have $5.50 left so I raise to that amount after the draw. That’s a bit more than I normally would, and it seems to be just enough to get ThaSlosh to fold the best hand. He took a long time over his decision which actually wasn’t a bad one: I’ll have a better hand most of the time here.

PokerStars Game #50850805671: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/09 16:46:35 ET
Table 'Una II' 7-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: popaionut ($70.95 in chips)
Seat 2: Angyalfold ($57.05 in chips)
Seat 3: Ruskor777 ($5.40 in chips)
Seat 4: ThaSlosh23 ($24.65 in chips)
Seat 6: plutoman20 ($34.25 in chips)
Seat 7: volk0076 ($7.25 in chips)
Angyalfold: posts small blind $0.25
Ruskor777: posts big blind $0.50
bmw_mseries: sits out
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [6c Jc 7s 8s 2c]
ThaSlosh23: calls $0.50
plutoman20: raises $1.25 to $1.75
volk0076: calls $1.75
popaionut: folds
Angyalfold: folds
Ruskor777: folds
ThaSlosh23: calls $1.25
ThaSlosh23: discards 1 card
plutoman20: discards 1 card [Jc]
Dealt to plutoman20 [6c 7s 8s 2c] [4c]
volk0076: stands pat
ThaSlosh23: bets $1.50
plutoman20: raises $4 to $5.50
volk0076: folds
ThaSlosh23 said, "34578"
ThaSlosh23: folds
Uncalled bet ($4) returned to plutoman20
plutoman20 collected $8.60 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $9 Rake $0.40
Seat 1: popaionut (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Angyalfold (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: Ruskor777 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: ThaSlosh23 folded on the Flop
Seat 6: plutoman20 collected ($8.60)
Seat 7: volk0076 folded on the Flop

Hand 7
I think it would have been easier just to pat this hand when Volk draws two, especially because I’ve got a gutshot straight draw. When he check-raises me it could be a bluff but I doubt it, so I fold.

PokerStars Game #50852518139: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/09 17:24:21 ET
Table 'Una II' 7-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: billymac222 ($22.60 in chips)
Seat 2: Angyalfold ($57.30 in chips)
Seat 3: Ruskor777 ($25.25 in chips)
Seat 4: ThaSlosh23 ($14.20 in chips)
Seat 5: bmw_mseries ($19.25 in chips)
Seat 6: plutoman20 ($52.45 in chips)
Seat 7: volk0076 ($17.50 in chips)
volk0076: posts small blind $0.25
billymac222: posts big blind $0.50
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [9s 8c 6h 5h Qd]
Angyalfold: folds
Ruskor777: folds
ThaSlosh23: folds
bmw_mseries: folds
plutoman20: raises $1 to $1.50
volk0076: calls $1.25
billymac222: folds
volk0076: discards 2 cards
plutoman20: discards 1 card [Qd]
Dealt to plutoman20 [9s 8c 6h 5h] [3s]
volk0076: checks
plutoman20: bets $2
volk0076: raises $4 to $6
plutoman20: folds
Uncalled bet ($4) returned to volk0076
volk0076 collected $7.15 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $7.50 Rake $0.35
Seat 1: billymac222 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: Angyalfold folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Ruskor777 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: ThaSlosh23 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: bmw_mseries folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: plutoman20 (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 7: volk0076 (small blind) collected ($7.15)

Hand 8
Immediately prior to this hand I showed down the second nuts. I try to capitalise of that good fortune by representing a big hand with my three-bet. I have no idea what Bob is doing calling the three-bet cold and drawing two.

PokerStars Game #50921453151: Single Draw 2-7 Lowball No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/11 2:31:47 ET
Table 'Quintilla V' 7-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: popaionut ($19.25 in chips)
Seat 2: ThaSlosh23 ($24.30 in chips)
Seat 3: URIEL_ROCK ($44.65 in chips)
Seat 4: general85555 ($19.80 in chips)
Seat 5: plutoman20 ($48.10 in chips)
Seat 6: BOB LOBLAW44 ($6.55 in chips)
Seat 7: cfh2401 ($33.10 in chips)
plutoman20: posts small blind $0.25
BOB LOBLAW44: posts big blind $0.50
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [2h 6s 5c 5d 7d]
cfh2401: folds
popaionut: folds
ThaSlosh23: folds
URIEL_ROCK: folds
general85555: raises $1 to $1.50
plutoman20: raises $2.50 to $4
BOB LOBLAW44: calls $3.50
general85555: folds
plutoman20: discards 1 card [5d]
Dealt to plutoman20 [2h 6s 5c 7d] [8s]
BOB LOBLAW44: discards 2 cards
plutoman20: bets $44.10 and is all-in
BOB LOBLAW44: calls $2.55 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($41.55) returned to plutoman20
*** SHOW DOWN ***
plutoman20: shows [2h 6s 5c 8s 7d] (Lo: 8,7,6,5,2)
BOB LOBLAW44: shows [9c 7h Td 4c 3h] (Lo: T,9,7,4,3)
plutoman20 collected $13.90 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $14.60 Rake $0.70
Seat 1: popaionut folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: ThaSlosh23 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: URIEL_ROCK folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: general85555 (button) folded before Flop
Seat 5: plutoman20 (small blind) showed [2h 6s 5c 8s 7d] and won ($13.90) with Lo: 8,7,6,5,2
Seat 6: BOB LOBLAW44 (big blind) showed [9c 7h Td 4c 3h] and lost with Lo: T,9,7,4,3
Seat 7: cfh2401 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Hand 9
Unfortunately I've lost the history for this one. I was getting endless junk in this session; I rarely saw a hand without at least two picture cards or aces. To make matters worse I had an aggressive regular player on my right who raised pre-draw at every opportunity. This particular hand I was dealt QJ on the button. More junk. It folded round to the aggressive guy and sure enough he made it $1.50. I re-raised to $4, he called and drew one, I patted my QJ. It turned out he had a genuine draw (to an eight I think) but he paired up so I won the pot and just as importantly I got to show my QJ.

Bonus badugi hand
I've been monstered more times than I care to remember in badugi, but I can't remember losing with a dealt hand as good as number seven before. If my opponent had had a bigger stack I'm not sure what the correct play would have been on the river. I might just have called his river bet. I also think Bingohero should have got out of the way before the last draw; when it was two more bets back to him he was clearly up against some big hands.

PokerStars Game #50773300165: Badugi Limit ($1/$2 USD) - 2010/10/08 2:17:08 ET
Table 'Hersilia' 8-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: CowboyBeBop5 ($23.75 in chips)
Seat 2: bingohero ($19.75 in chips)
Seat 3: fearmybet ($10.25 in chips)
Seat 5: MEEEEEET ($14.75 in chips)
Seat 6: plutoman20 ($75.75 in chips)
Seat 7: Lumelia ($80.50 in chips)
Lumelia: posts small blind $0.50
CowboyBeBop5: posts big blind $1
adrian432: sits out
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [6h 4d As 2c]
bingohero: calls $1
fearmybet: folds
MEEEEEET: calls $1
plutoman20: raises $1 to $2
Lumelia: folds
CowboyBeBop5: folds
bingohero: calls $1
MEEEEEET: calls $1
*** FIRST DRAW ***
bingohero: stands pat
MEEEEEET: discards 1 card
plutoman20: stands pat on [6h 4d As 2c]
bingohero: checks
MEEEEEET: checks
plutoman20: bets $1
bingohero: calls $1
MEEEEEET: calls $1
*** SECOND DRAW ***
bingohero: discards 1 card
MEEEEEET: discards 1 card
plutoman20: stands pat on [6h 4d As 2c]
bingohero: checks
MEEEEEET: checks
plutoman20: bets $2
bingohero: calls $2
MEEEEEET: raises $2 to $4
plutoman20: raises $2 to $6
bingohero: calls $4
MEEEEEET: raises $2 to $8
Betting is capped
plutoman20: calls $2
bingohero: calls $2
*** THIRD DRAW ***
Chuchulainn joins the table at seat #8
bingohero: discards 1 card
MEEEEEET: stands pat
plutoman20: stands pat on [6h 4d As 2c]
bingohero: checks
MEEEEEET: bets $2
Chuchulainn leaves the table
plutoman20: raises $2 to $4
bingohero: folds
MEEEEEET: calls $1.75 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($0.25) returned to plutoman20
*** SHOW DOWN ***
plutoman20: shows [6h 4d As 2c] (Badugi: 6,4,2,A)
MEEEEEET: shows [3d Ah 5c 4s] (Badugi: 5,4,3,A)
MEEEEEET collected $41 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $42 Rake $1
Seat 1: CowboyBeBop5 (big blind) folded before the Draw
Seat 2: bingohero folded after the 3rd Draw
Seat 3: fearmybet folded before the Draw (didn't bet)
Seat 5: MEEEEEET showed [3d Ah 5c 4s] and won ($41) with a Badugi: 5,4,3,A
Seat 6: plutoman20 (button) showed [6h 4d As 2c] and lost with a Badugi: 6,4,2,A
Seat 7: Lumelia (small blind) folded before the Draw

Bonus triple draw hand
I don't play a lot of triple draw, and when I do I rarely try this sort of thing. But when I hit trip fours on the second draw I give it a go. I'm sure this is a losing play in the long run.

PokerStars Game #50855353068: Triple Draw 2-7 Lowball Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/10/09 18:27:30 ET
Table 'Lydia VI' 6-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: jj9201 ($5.30 in chips)
Seat 2: Allanws ($12.45 in chips)
Seat 3: SHRAM 11 ($17.10 in chips)
Seat 4: Alexsar777 ($4.25 in chips)
Seat 5: AKrAsAtA ($10 in chips)
Seat 6: plutoman20 ($10.70 in chips)
Alexsar777: posts small blind $0.10
AKrAsAtA: posts big blind $0.25
*** DEALING HANDS ***
Dealt to plutoman20 [2s 4c Qs Qh 6d]
plutoman20: raises $0.25 to $0.50
jj9201: folds
Allanws: calls $0.50
SHRAM 11: calls $0.50
Alexsar777: folds
AKrAsAtA: folds
*** FIRST DRAW ***
plutoman20: discards 2 cards [Qs Qh]
Dealt to plutoman20 [2s 4c 6d] [Kd Th]
Allanws: discards 2 cards
SHRAM 11: discards 1 card
plutoman20: checks
Allanws: checks
SHRAM 11: bets $0.25
plutoman20: calls $0.25
Allanws: calls $0.25
*** SECOND DRAW ***
plutoman20: discards 2 cards [Kd Th]
Dealt to plutoman20 [2s 4c 6d] [4s 4d]
Allanws: discards 2 cards
SHRAM 11: discards 1 card
plutoman20: checks
Allanws: checks
SHRAM 11: bets $0.50
plutoman20: raises $0.50 to $1
Allanws: calls $1
SHRAM 11: calls $0.50
*** THIRD DRAW ***
plutoman20: stands pat on [2s 4c 6d 4s 4d]
Allanws: discards 1 card
SHRAM 11: discards 1 card
plutoman20: bets $0.50
Allanws: folds
SHRAM 11: folds
Uncalled bet ($0.50) returned to plutoman20
plutoman20 collected $5.35 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $5.60 Rake $0.25
Seat 1: jj9201 folded before the Draw (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Allanws folded after the 3rd Draw
Seat 3: SHRAM 11 (button) folded after the 3rd Draw
Seat 4: Alexsar777 (small blind) folded before the Draw
Seat 5: AKrAsAtA (big blind) folded before the Draw
Seat 6: plutoman20 collected ($5.35)

Lazy Sunday Arvo with "Amsterdamize"





Sun / wine / beer / jaunts on bicycles...but most importantly...Marc (& Lauren) from "Amsterdamize" - bliss!!!

Totally brilliant to finally meet up with this most 'famous blogger of all time'! ...and while away a perfect Sunday afternoon over a few drinks overlooking one of the many beautiful Amsterdam canals...

...and of course chatting with Marc and Lauren only served to highlight the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in Australia today.

Despite the endless Aussie discourse on 'matters-cycling' we are so far removed from the everyday beauty of Amsterdam-cycling. If we want to achieve their transport karma, we need to cleanse our minds of unhelpful labels such as 'I'm a cyclist', or 'I'm going on a 2 hour cycle ride two weekends from now round Centennial Park' (whoop-de-doo!), because until we reach that parallel mental state we can never presume we're either cyclists or have cycling culture.

Here on the ground in Amsterdam, there is no equivalent australian 'cycling-hoop-la' because hopping on a bicycle is a 'non-event'! Seriously it's no 'big deal'; it's not 'clever', it's not 'dangerous', it's not 'cool' - it's 'just done' - and you 'just do it' because you 'just do it'...

...and what's more you 'just do it' from 'cradle-to-grave'!

Notwithstanding the above, it was so 'cool' meeting Marc and Lauren - it was an uber 'big deal' and I'm mighty glad we 'just did it'!!!

So until next time, a million thanks, Marc, Lauren, "Amsterdamize" & Amsterdam! - see you later :) x