Tag Archives: Charles Hicks-Moore

Write Again

I’m writing on my private blog again starting now. It’s just before 3 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

Happy October! 🙂

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Reading William Gibson

Was it only two days ago that William Gibson’s Distrust That Particular Flavor arrived in the mail? I am nearly done and enjoying his wonderful wordsmithing. His new book is really a collection of old articles and other nonfiction Gibson has written over the last couple decades.

I picked up Gibson’s Spook Country a couple years ago and enjoyed it immensely. In this newly published collection he explains what his books are about.

That might sound funny (it does to me), but he makes an interesting point about novels.

Novels require some explanation or at least some prerequisite knowledge in order to fully appreciate them.

They differ significantly from film in that way.

He recounts the very first time he went to see a film and how he understood the experience within an hour.

Ease of use is what I’ll call it.

That ease of use is why multitudes will go to the movies and not bother to read a book (or the book that inspired it).

We do miss something when we don’t read.

Mark Twain said it over a century ago.

[I just added the first name “Mark” because there are a number of people who might not know of a man simply “Twain”.]

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

We must write in such a way that more people will want to read our work.

William Gibson does that for me.

Thanks to WordPress for reminding me:

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

My Creativity Is Taking Me To New Places

I just started another blog that is not related to writing, except insofar as a writer can convince or illuminate or educate.

My new blog is about online business that you can engage in at home.

I’ve mentioned earlier that I have two new mentors.

You’re welcome to visit anytime.

You might learn something that will lead you to have the freedom to do what you’re passionate about whether that’s writing or something else.

Who knows? You might learn a guerrilla method of selling books or something.

Here it is!

HowToMakeMoneyAtHomeUS.wordpress.com

Nobody?

Maybe yesterday was Sunday. Maybe that was it. It’s been a long time since zero (count ’em!) people visited this blog. Maybe readers have come to enjoy my longer than average meanderings.

The purpose of these meanderings is really to warm me up – most of the time. After I get warmed up I write more on my private blog. So yesterday I wrote twice as much on the private blog as I did here.

If something publishable comes from this blog, that’s wonderful. However, it’s not the original intent of these scribblings.

Spellcheck didn’t like the last word of that sentence or, curiously, the first word of this one.

Tomorrow is May. Already!?

Have you been putting anything off? You have 8 more months until the end of 2012 to get those projects completed.

My wife and I got the exercise bike put together yesterday. You won’t believe this. I need to lose some weight before I can use it.

I guess I’ll go take a walk.

Ex

Where Is The Cat?

It’s Friday night and my wife is out with friends from work (I’ll get back to that later) and I’m not sure where our big fat cat Ed is. I let the cats in for a while to have free roam of most of the house and I made the mistake of leaving our bedroom door open along with the door to the adjoining bathroom.

I’m sure I didn’t let him outside. Right? What I really do not want is for my wife to come home and after we go to bed and finally fall asleep we hear a noise. Once a long time ago we found the cat in the closet or something when he started meowing after midnight. I really don’t want to discover him at 3 am. I’m sure I didn’t let him outside. Did I?

He’s really gotten big. We have cat food that is supposed to help cats lose weight, but I don’t know if it’s working. He’s so fat that if you look at him from behind he seems incredibly well-endowed. I think he might be losing hair on the inside of his back legs because they rub against the fat. Ed’s gotten much better behaved in recent years and he and I are more affectionate than we used to be. A few years ago he would either ignore me or hiss at me mostly. I think he finally figured out that I’m not the same as the dog.

We inherited cats from my late mother-in-law and I have never been completely comfortable with that. Her cats were mentally ill as far as I was concerned. I did see something on PBS one time about how living with cats indoors will usually make them mentally ill. They just don’t have enough room to live a healthy cat life in most people’s houses. Probably you need something like 4000 square feet per cat. Most people expect cats to simply adjust to our lifestyle.

In my family we had cats that lived both indoors and out. (There goes the cursor jumping around again. This time I really don’t think that I accidentally hit the wrong key. Anybody know what that is yet?) When we lived in Valley Center we had three cats. We had the mother, Christina, and her sons, Ferd and Tiger.

I think my oldest brother named them. He really liked the name Christina and later he named my first niece that. Ih don’t remember where the name Ferd came from, but I’m pretty sure he was adamant that it wasn’t short for anything like Ferdinand. Just plain Ferd. I’ve felt for a long time that we were spoiled by those cats. They were not mentally ill. They might not have lived as long as some, but they did last several years. Eventually they got into a losing battle with either a car or a coyote. Spending my teenage years in the country I just saw that as the natural order of things.

My wife’s family, who lived in the city of San Diego, definitely wouldn’t let the cats outside. That’s what started their mental decline, in my opinion. Ed used to let you rub him or scratch him until he purred and then he would bite you. I’ve had enough cats (and puppies) to know that not all bites are created equal. I understand that many bites are play. But when the animal tries to sink its teeth into the bone, that’s not play. If it is, well, that’s simply not acceptable. I’m only going to make so many allowances for the behavior of animals. If they want to rend my flesh and open a nice gash, that doesn’t work for me.

Marianne, my wife, said that Ed was normal as a kitten and then had something that gave him a high fever and that he was completely changed after that. I guess the fever fried his brain. The good news is that he doesn’t seem to go straight from purring to attempting to sink his teeth into you anymore. At least he doesn’t seem to do it with me. He really likes to lay next to me when Marianne and I play cards and rubs up against me until I scratch that area near the tail that the late George Carlin called the “ass button”. You’ve probably noticed this phenomenon with cats as well. He practically gets up on tippy-toes when I scratch right in front of his tail. Not too hard and not too soft. Just right. Sometimes he’ll even lick my skin like it’s his own.

Well, that’s the cat that I don’t want meowing at 3 am later tonight. There’s no way I left him outside. Is there? Maybe I should let the dog roam all around the house and the garage. He’s bound to find Ed.

Now about what I mentioned at the start of this: my wife is out playing poker. She sometimes gets together with friends from work. All of them are women and most of them are teachers. The play for really low stakes. I think the most anyone has ever lost in a session is three or four dollars. I’m told that often they don’t play that many hands because they stop to talk so often.

Tonight it occurred to me that this might be a pretty unusual situation. How many husbands are at home while their wives are out playing poker with buddies on a Friday night? I don’t begrudge her this at all. God knows I’ve played more poker in my lifetime than maybe 99% of the population of the planet ever will. And even though it’s after 10 now and she’s still not home, I’ve played past midnight on too many occasions to keep track of. I just don’t play nearly as much as I used to. The other day she encouraged me to play in a tournament that started at 7 pm and I finished in 22nd place out of nearly 500 entrants and I didn’t get home until after 1 am I’m pretty sure. So this is no big deal. I would be curious how many women ever do this though.

Today I made a greek salad and took it to her after her school day so she could take it to the poker party. Someone asked me if I was a chef and I wondered what kind of men she has in her life that would cause her to assume that I must do this as a profession. Don’t most men make a salad for their wife if she asks? I’m sure some do even if their wife doesn’t ask. Or maybe I’m reading to much into her question.

Though I do run into what I would call very conservative people around here sometimes.

I remember a few years ago I had a friend from Toastmasters who had attend my club even before I did. He had a religious conversion and then went to a high school reunion where he saw a woman he hadn’t seen in years. She was surprised to see that he had become a born again Christian and they started dating and after not too long they were married. Soon he wasn’t allowed to come to Toastmasters because there were so many women there. I was blown away. He’s a good guy and I know he really enjoyed Toastmasters and got a lot out of it. He was not even close to what you might call a promiscuous person. Quite the opposite. He was glad to have found a wife at this fairly late time in his life. I don’t think he had been married before and he was probably early 60’s or at least late 50’s. His wife laid down the law and I haven’t seen him at Toastmasters in years. I ran into him a few years ago in the supermarket and he couldn’t stay long. He didn’t seem that happy.

Isn’t this unusual? It seems to me that most people – even people who think of themselves as conservative – would not object to their spouse going to a group like Toastmasters. I don’t think most people would even think they had the grounds to demand that their spouse stay away from it.

I am amazed by some of what people believe sometimes. Come to think of it I still have a good friend from high school who lives in Michigan and unless he has changed his opinion, I don’t think he thinks women should be allowed to be ordained. I’m not sure whether he thinks it’s ok for Christian women to hold elective office. I think he might simply accept that it happens in the world, but maybe he would advise a woman against it. I’m going to ask him about that when he’s in town again.

Today I saw something about a study done about rationality and religious thinking. What they seemed to be saying is that people who think rationally have less faith in God. They found this to be true even for people who were religious to begin with. I’m not sure that I agree with the methodology of their experiment, but I think I understand what they are getting at.

It’s challenging to see so much in the world and not wonder how to explain things about religion. I find it difficult to explain why the bible seems to say that the Earth was created in such and such a way and in a certain span of time. I remember an interim pastor we had who said that the book of Genesis, which contains the account of creation, was not so important when it came to how we were created. He said it was more important that we understand the why from the book of Genesis. I liked that, but I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer.

I’m not sure that we can give a fully rational answer to every scientific question when we try to address it from faith-based writings. I’m not sure that that is the function of sacred texts.

Besides, many years ago I came to the conclusion that the most important thing about Christianity is the death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, Paul basically says that if it didn’t happen, then what are we all doing? His point is that if Jesus didn’t really do that, we can all just pack it in and go home.

And I know that that approach won’t satisfy everyone either. But I do think that it’s a better place to start than in the account of creation.

Now I’m tired and I didn’t actually expect to go here when I started this tonight, but what Jesus said I do think is very important.

He was asked about what was really important. (I’m obviously paraphrasing mightily here.)

Jesus said that we can sum up all the commandments in two.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

Now it seems to me that this is much more difficult to argue with than a whole lot of other stuff and this is what Jesus said was the nitty gritty of the commandments.

I’m not sure if this is where someone asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

When that person asked that question I do know that Jesus responded by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. If you’re not familiar, well, Google it.

That story illustrates that even though someone might be very religious and righteous or they might be socially or politically very important, that if they were not concerned with the welfare of their fellow man, they weren’t really behaving as a neighbor. And, just because someone happens to be low on the social, political, or economic spectrum doesn’t mean that they aren’t very able and willing to do a great job at being a neighbor to someone. They can even be a pariah and end up treating their fellow humans the way God wants us to treat each other.

If you Google the story you’ll see a much better picture of what I just tried to say.

Have a great weekend!

Ex

I/You Can Help

Over the last few years I have found a great place to help – Kiva.org.

This reminds me of a song from the 1970s that I enjoy and occasionally find myself singing:

I Can Help by Billy Swan

You Can Listen/Watch Here.

I’ll come back to the song later.

I Can Help is a great phrase. How often do we use it? Or do it?

One of the great things I’ve found by using Kiva to help is that I get to see faces of people from faraway places and realize that I’m making a quantifiable difference in their lives. It would not be cost effective to go to Samoa and hand someone money, but I can LOAN them money and receive no interest and that will be a big, big help to these micro-business owners from around the world.

I started by loaning $50 and the first woman I loaned to was Malia in Samoa. You can start for as little as $25, but right now you can do it for zero dollars of your own money! That’s right. You can try it out by loaning someone else’s money! If you are wondering, the first person to make this possible this year was Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. He let people loan a total of nearly a MILLION dollars of his money and after that a second round of these free trials started. As I write this there are still over 5,000 opportunities for YOU to loan out someone else’s money to benefit these mostly third-world entrepreneurs.

By the way, Malia in Samoa borrowed a total of $425 from 17 of us. Each of us loaned her $25 and I’m pretty sure the term of her loan was 13 months. I remember that she paid it off early.

What are you waiting for? It only takes a few minutes to start a free trial. Do it now! FREE TRIAL!

Here’s some more information about my experience:

Including Samoa, I have loaned to people in 18 countries so far like Ghana, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Cambodia, Tanzania, Philippines, El Salvador and more.

So far everyone is continuing to pay back the money and there have been no defaults. The average loan term of my borrowers is around 13 months. You will find people borrowing for as little as 6 or 8 months or as much as 3 years. I prefer to make the shorter term loans so that I can re-loan the money faster.

Because of people paying me back and re-loaning money I have made 40 loans of $25 each. That’s not all from the original $50 I put in as I have little by little increased the amount of money I have at Kiva. When I have been paid back by several people I might have $22.76 in cash in my Kiva account in addition to what is owed me. When that happens I typically send the other $2.24 or whatever through Paypal to Kiva so I can make the next loan faster and I figure that that little bit of money is no big deal. Now I have a total of $256.00 invested in Kiva. At zero percent interest. And it feels good.

Join me now with a FREE TRIAL!

Each loan is accompanied by a photo of the person or the group and you can choose what kind of person/business you wish to support.

The sectors that I have supported so far are:

Retail 35.00%
Food 30.00%
Clothing 10.00%
Agriculture 7.50%
Services 7.50%
Arts 5.00%
Health 2.50%
Housing 2.50%

By the way, Malia in Samoa borrowed her $425 so she could buy more seeds and the like to plant in her garden and then she sold the vegetables she grew to make a profit to support her family.

You might want to help someone who has a store or who makes clothing. Your choice.

Here’s the choice that I frankly do not understand with this offer. When someone else is giving money for you to loan so that you can experience what it feels like to do good in this way, why NOT?

You can check out the site and see lots of statistics and I understand that completely if it’s your money. If you loan YOUR money I’m sure you want to check out all the numbers and the results like the repayment rate of over 98%. Keep in mind that my repayment rate so far is 100%. I’ve gotten every penny back that I’ve loaned out. It’s just that I choose to keep reloaning that money over and over. That’s how I could make 40 loans of $25 each with only $256 in my Kiva account.

Since you’re loaning someone else’s money with this promotion, please join me in helping others RIGHT NOW!

So that’s my pitch. Sort of. You can contact me on Facebook at Facebook.com/BigManWalking or you can comment on this blog.

Now for more about the song – I Can Help by Billy Swan.

I know that this song is about being helpful to a woman who’s a single mother, but it does apply.

There’s a line or three in there about:

If your child needs a daddy, I can help

It would sure do me good, to do you good

Lemme help

When you hear the words, and I urge you to give it a listen through the link near the beginning of this post, the phrase “to do you good” is really quite innocuous. It’s innocent, in my opinion. Back when Billy Swan recorded this song people did not refer to doing someone the way we do today. You’re just going to have to trust me on this. If anyone was using this phrase the way many people do today, it was a small isolated group, so please listen to the song from a more innocent (though not completely innocent) time. It’s similar to the way The Zombies sang, “Who’s Your Daddy?” It didn’t mean then what it does today to so many people.

So listen to it with innocent ears. You remember. Like when you were in kindergarten or preschool? You remember.

And that’s how I want you to join me in helping people on Kiva. With innocent intentions.

I Don’t Remember The Name Of This Post

If you’re a regular reader of my writing on this blog, AOO, you might be wondering about what does this all mean?

Unfortunately for you I am engaged in an exercise to write and keep writing and get to that place where it flows out of me more readily. I learned this idea from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. One of these days I’ll learn more about typing in italics, too, so I can more properly make the titles of books and/or movies standout.

What happens here is more for my benefit than yours. I apologize.

There can be some extra benefit if you want to look over what I’ve written in approximately two months so you can decide if you want to embark on a similar journey. You will be missing some of my writing which is a private blog containing my writing for two science fiction stories/novels.

But for now, tonight, here we are. I’m typing and I keep typing unless I get interrupted by a technical glitch that just happened. Does anyone have any idea why that happens and how to avoid it? I’m just guessing that my fingers are a little too big for this keyboard.

Here’s what happens: I’m typing along and all of a sudden the cursor jumps and often this happens in the middle of a word so I end up typing “going to the movies” as going to the mhistoryovies and then I have to go back and change it.

It just did it again as I started this sentence. The cursor was in between the and mhistoryovies in the sentence above and I just happened to catch it as I hadn’t started to type the next word yet. THAT time it really just seemed random and I didn’t notice hitting a particular key or any key for that matter. But it happens so fast when it happens that it is really hard to know if it was cause by me or it’s some sort of technical or programming glitch that someone has figured out somewhere. Just not me.

I did notice it on an even smaller computer with a smaller keyboard and it happened much more often than it does on this one. That’s partly why I believe it could be related to my big fingers.

Oh well…if you know something, please let me know. Sometimes I laugh about it and sometimes I’m not in that light of a mood.

Lighten up. You must have heard someone say that to you at some time or another.

People talk about being “light” and what I’m referring to is your mood or your attitude.

Sometimes I can just snap my fingers and do this and other times it is truly difficult.

I used to know a man who talked about “getting out of your head” and I think I understand that pretty well AND sometimes it seems to be easier said than done. I don’t think I have the idea down perfectly as I wonder about the need to be in my head in order to write some of the stories I want to write. Perhaps all of them. 🙂

Today I was not “light”. I felt pretty – there it did it again and I don’t think I was touching the keyboard. Please, please let me know if you have this problem sometimes and you’ve figured out how to stop it. I’m trying to recall if my HP had this problem, but now it seems like it’s been happening forever. LOL

I’m also interested in hearing from authors about how many books you sell each year – either by you or other retailers. One of the things that has occurred to me recently is that if you could write two books a year that sold 2,000 copies a year, you could have good to great residual income over time. If one of your works turned out to sell 50,000 or 100,000 copies, you’d be doing pretty well.

Many, many people are working on creating residual income and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about that with respect to books. I’ve heard and seen presentations about different products that are sold my network marketing companies. Nothing wrong with that, but writing does allow you more creativity and I find that to be a bonus! Also, if you have the means, buying a property and renting it out is a type of residual income if you are covering the mortgage payment and you keep a tenant in there.

What if you wrote a book about something that you knew there was a market for and it didn’t necessarily strike you as quite as creative as a work of fiction or something you had to research like Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood? Let’s say that you write one book a year that really causes you to “go to the well” of your creativity and one book about say, “How to create a website for your small business using WordPress” or something like that.

When you KNOW that there’s a market for a book and it’s not necessarily your heart’s desire, but a way to make income, maybe you should consider writing a book like that every other book or every fourth book.

I’m sure that adds up over time.

This is not in any way an attempt to kill anyone’s dreams. If you are writing and making the income you want to from writing, that’s great. However, if you aren’t making as much income from writing as you would like, perhaps a strategy like that would allow you to hold onto your artistic integrity (however YOU see that) and create more income so that in the long run you can devote more time to the thing that you really love. I’m assuming that at least part of that thing you really love is, in fact, writing.

You can also do something else to make money while you write completely and utterly the exact stuff you want to write regardless of how well it sells. I’m not saying one way is better than another. Whatever works for you.

Be careful that it actually does work, however.

You are free to choose just like me.

I freely chose to step out in faith a couple months ago and write and then write more and write consistently and soon I’ll be consistently writing more. I do expect to have one science fiction novel published by December 30th and another book about redemption published by the same date.

This process of writing these “morning pages” as Julia Cameron calls them has helped me think about my writing as well. I’m practicing writing without judgement and look at it simply as a way to learn. Insights are a bonus.

If what you are doing is working and you’re not doing morning pages, that is fantastic.

If you would like to get more of your creativity out into the world for others to see and it’s not happening in the way you would like, I urge you to do morning pages even if it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

So here I am on a Sunday night and I’ve had a restful day which my wife let me have because I woke up and my bones ached. I rarely take anything and I took some Advil earlier today. I feel better than I did earlier and yet I considered not writing tonight. I knew I could blame it on not feeling well.

Yet I really want to make this happen and I decided to just get down to it a little while ago.

I urge you to have a writing discipline. It does not have to be like mine.

What will work for you? If you’re looking for something and you’re trying different things, remember:

Morning pages are always available to you. Waiting for you, even.

Join the battle!

Whatever Works

When I started using this writing exercise regularly on February 23 of this year I expected that I would write here to get the flow going and then write more after on another private blog so that I could get my novel done and published by December 30.

Don’t make a law of your methods. Though I definitely want to continue with my discipline of writing at least 30 days in a row and then having a couple days off or maybe writing 3 or 4 days out of a week and then back to the at least 30 days in a row (this is a long sentence!), I am finding that doing what gets the words onto the page is what really needs to be done.

Tonight I wrote first on my private blog and now I’m writing here. Another goal is that by Wednesday I’m writing 2000 or more words per day and soon after that 2500. Long term I expect to be able to write somewhere between 7500 and 15,000 words a day. We shall see how that goes.

Continuing to write so often makes the discipline seem more natural.

Like an extension of you. It’s just something you do because it’s part of you.

Here comes my wife to remind me that the dishes in the dishwasher are dirty.

Looks like I have other priorities in the next few minutes. Well, with what I’ve written here I have a total of over 1300 words tonight.

I need to kick it up a notch soon to reach my Wednesday goal.

Just a few more words and I’m there. Time to give my wife some time.

How Fast Is A Week?

Today is Saturday so it’s not quite a week yet since Easter. It’s a cliche and yet time does fly. Often whether we’re having fun or not.

Sometime in the last couple of years I saw on the Science Channel that we are biologically wired to experience time the way we do. So when we notice how fast time seems to go by when we are adults versus how much more slowly we perceived time’s passage as children, there is a physiological reason for it. It’s not just psychological.

I don’t remember if the scientist got very specific, but we do have a biological clock that speeds up as we get older. What will happen if we start living to 130 or so? Time must seem like it’s whizzing by at that age.

That’s not too farfetched either. There have been a lot of breakthroughs in recent decades and one has to do with telomeres and telomerase. You can Google it. What happens to the end of our chromosomes – the telomere – is pretty simple to explain in layman’s terms. It gets shorter. When we are born it is 15,000 (pairs?) long. (I’m rusty on the terminology.) When we die of aging it’s 5,000 units long.

Here’s something very interesting about this relatively new science. They have discovered how to stop the telomeres from shortening. I’m not sure if they can make them longer, but they can stop the shortening process. The problem is that what they can use to stop them from getting shorter is toxic. I don’t know if it’s immediately toxic or if it kills you in the longer term, but that’s the problem.

There are scientists looking at how we could possible stop the shortening process with natural, nontoxic compounds. My guess is that it’s not more than a decade away.

Now that doesn’t mean that this is the ONLY factor in causing death naturally, but it’s an excellent start.

Here’s where I think a lot of people have trouble with this. Are you ready? Most people can’t be reasoned with when it comes to stopping the aging process. They might not realize it, but it’s true for a lot of people on a lot of different subjects.

If you believe (the key here is belief and NOT open-minded, rational thinking or examination of the problem) that something cannot possibly happen or cannot possibly be true, then how can someone explain the solution to you.

Let’s say you simply believe that all gambling is luck. Many people believe this and they are not willing to be challenged on it. They think that there is no skill involved in any type of gambling. If they were open to critical thinking about the problem instead of simply believing that you absolutely cannot have skill when it comes to gambling, then they can be reasoned with.

But, let’s say that they are open to learning in this area. You could help them understand that while roulette is dependent on luck, poker also has an element of skill. Why? Well, roulette is a ball going around a circle and landing in a slot (in simple terms). The “house” makes money because when you lose a dollar, they get to keep the whole dollar. But, when you bet a dollar and win, (on average) you get about 97 cents or less back for your win. Think of it this way: if you and I flip a coin 100,000 times and there is no cheating involved, the coin will come up heads about 50,000 times and tails 50,000 times. There is no magic in mathematics. But, if I win your dollar every time heads comes up and you get only 98 cents every time tails comes up, I’m going to take a little bit of your money MANY, MANY times. Hopefully you see that.

So that is similar to what happens in roulette. In effect, the house is being completely fair when you lose the bet and they are being UNFAIR (in a mathematical sense) when you win by paying you less than what they get paid when they win your bet.

Poker, on the other hand, is a game where you are competing with other players and the “house” or casino does not even care who wins. OK. Maybe they prefer that the bigger tippers win, but the house does not compete with you as they do in roulette or blackjack or craps, etc… In poker, the house makes money because they charge “rent” by taking a little bit of money out of every pot that is created by the bets of the players. The winner of the poker hand gets the pot MINUS the “rent” that the house took. In a sense, the casino is taking its tiny share from the winning players.

Now, if you understand what I wrote above, you will see how poker has some skill involved BECAUSE you are playing against human beings and not a fixed set of house rules that the house benefits from as in roulette and the other games. Because human beings make mistakes it is a game of skill and while it is not chess, you can beat the game because beating the game means having better skills than the other players. In the long run, more highly skilled players will beat players with lower skill in poker and the house will still get its little cut from each pot.

You might have thought of something and that is this: What if the house takes too much money out of a pot? It is possible for the house to take too much money out of the pot so that the game is no longer beatable. This is rare because if the casino does take too much money people will stop playing the game. If the pot has $40 in it and the house takes $20, then they are really engaging in highway robbery, so to speak. That simply does not happen because the house knows that if they simply keep the game going (all day and all night in some cases) that they will get their little bit of rent every hand. The house wants the game to move faster and that means more hands are dealt an more money is made.

This is also why online poker is so popular where it is legal. The online poker casinos can deal more hands electronically than a physical dealer in a casino and that way they can also take a smaller amount from each pot. They know that they will keep making money 24 hours a day if the games are going and the way to keep them going is to not take too much money from each pot. So they have incentive to have cheaper “rent”.

Now you can’t say “I don’t care about anything you’ve said, there is no skill in any type of gambling.” If you do, then you are not willing to listen to reason and while that is your right, it does not make you correct.

In the same way, you could say that it doesn’t matter what anyone says, “No one will ever be able to stop someone from dying of old age.” Well, you are allowed to believe that. It’s a free country. At least most countries where you can read this are free countries.

But simply believing what you believe no matter what evidence anyone offers is not being intellectually reasonable.

Of course, you could believe, too, that the trip I won to the Bahamas a few years ago in a Texas Hold’Em Poker Tournament was just luck and had nothing to do with skill. Even though there were 10,000 people in the first round and only 18 got to move to the second round. After I made it through the first round there were still 1349 people in the second round and only first place got a prize of a trip to the Bahamas and a seat in a really big poker tournament. Second place in the second round didn’t get anything – not even a cup of coffee. I won the second round and took my wife to the Bahamas.

Like I said, it’s not chess, so it’s not ALL skill. But there is some skill. I will also be the first tell you that there was some luck, too. That’s how poker tournaments go.

Of course, you could choose to believe that I never went to the Bahamas.

What did I get a passport for then?

Wait. I forgot to mention that there can be skill in blackjack if you count cards, but that’s for another day.

Ex

Getting Down To It

Today I was distracted by the Williams.edu website.

Frequent readers will probably know that I volunteer with a group called Reality Changers. We help students become the first generation in their family to go to college. My student – the one I tutor – is nearing his senior year. I recommended that he take a look at Williams.edu to see if there’s a fit for him. He’s a strong student in Japanese and that’s one of the majors that Williams College offers. It’s old and academically prestigious.

While at Reality Changers on Monday I asked him if he thought he could work harder than he works now in college. He works really, really hard now and usually goes to sleep about 4 am at least twice a week. He said that he definitely intended on working harder in college. I didn’t work as hard as he does in high school and definitely not as hard as he intends when I was in college. He’ll probably end up with a 4.1 or higher GPA and that’s probably enough to get admitted to Williams assuming all the other things fall into place. He’s a soccer player, too, and participates in extracurricular activities.

In my opinion, it’s just a shame when a student who has potential and has shown the willingness to work hard misses an opportunity simply because he or she didn’t know it existed. So I make sure to tell academically inclined students about Williams. If you know a great student who intends on working hard at their education after high school, I recommend that you at least tell them about Williams.

When I was in high school I didn’t have much knowledge about all the educational opportunities out there and my dad said that I was going to community college. I found that somewhat discouraging, but didn’t have enough freedom to say how I felt about it. I didn’t realize that I had more choices than simply accepting it. I recognize that community college can be a great place to start, but if you have the drive and you have the ability, why not explore the options. It’s hard for me to believe that I didn’t know more about how to stand up for myself in that situation, but that was a long time ago and in many, many ways I feel like a different person now.

My wife just came in to relax beside me and I don’t think she realized how much I was treasuring this time to be alone with the opportunity to write. I do like my alone time and I’m not sure that she has quite the same need for solitude. I can hear her breathing at times and shuffling the pages of whatever she’s reading.

Our room is cooler than the rest of the house and I find that absolutely wonderful. That’s especially true when it starts to get hotter as it is today. Our walls are a dark pastel-ly purple and the ceiling is bright white. Definitely have something approaching bohemian tendencies with the color in our room. There’s not really anything on the walls and we like it that way. They feel like a blank canvas to me or maybe an easy place to rest my eyes as I’m lost in thought.

We have horizontal blinds and that let’s me keep the light down. She had to turn on a lamp when she came into the room. I don’t mind it being a little dark. In fact, she probably considers it pretty dark and I see it as similar to just after dawn. Now she has turned off the light and turned on her side. I think she wants to take a nap, but I’m determined to finish this before I leave the room or more probably, join her.

Earlier we got the chance to go to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas and to my surprise she was content to sit with me on a bench overlooking the beach. We watched some birds in the ocean air. I couldn’t remember the last time that I followed a bird or a group of birds with my eyes for several minutes until they landed. It can be very relaxing. We both agreed that we would like to live there and I said that I was probably several books away from affording that. I think it probably costs around $2 Million to live there in a 2000 square foot house with probably the same amount of land we have here in San Marcos, which isn’t much.

We enjoyed the breeze and I was thinking that I don’t think there’s any way to replicate it.

I was remembering Edward G. Robinson in Soylent Green as he commits suicide with the help of the state. He’s watching a movie that shows beautiful views of nature that don’t exist anymore in the world of that film. They give him something to drink that takes him out of this world after it puts him to sleep and Charlton Heston’s character is heartbroken when he finds out and it’s too late to do anything about it.

But it would take better technology than a movie to capture the feel and smell of the breeze and the sun beating down not too hot. That doesn’t even take into account the gorgeous view of the ocean itself. Maybe there will be a market for it. Actually, I think there is a market for it if you get far enough away from the ocean. It’s just that we don’t have holodeck technology like they have on Star Trek The Next Generation and later shows.

This reminds me that I don’t think we will advance technology in many areas as fast as people expect. I wouldn’t mind being pleasantly surprised. Back in the 1950’s they thought we would have hover cars by now. I don’t mean a couple which my son pointed out that we do actually have. I mean widespread use of hovercars – so widespread that they are the primary mode of transportation like plain old automobiles are today. At least in the U.S. and several countries.

THAT reminds me that I don’t even know how many cars there are in the world and how widespread their use is in different countries. My guess is that there are plenty of countries who use cars appoximately at the same level as we do, but there are many countries that use more rapid transit, more communal transportation than we do.

Still, will we really be using Google glasses that much in 10 or 20 years? Is it possible that they will be a fad? Do you really want to wear glasses all the time that connect you to the internet so you can let people know where you are at all times? Do you really want to have information popping up in your field of view semi-constantly? I’m sure I could use it for a while, but won’t good old everyday life without the interactivity of the glasses be calling us? Also, I’m concerned that it will rapidly become a way for more advertisements to be shoved in front of us. I want less advertising personally, not more. I like pieces of land with nothing on it but nature.

How many people agree or disagree with me, I wonder.

Ex