I almost got run over by a shiny red car coming home from a movie the other day. I had been jaywalking, so I wasn't entirely innocent. My first thought upon seeing this shiny red car was how lame it would be to have a shiny red car that couldn't turn into a robot. I've never owned a car, let alone a shiny red one. But when I do finally get my license and the resulting car, it had best be turning into a robot.

The movie was okay, but it fell into the typical sequel traps. More characters and less character. More explosions and less explosiveness. But what can you expect from a movie based on a toy? I guess it's better source material than an amusement park ride. On the plus side, my favorite non-lego toy, jet-fire, was featured in a pivotal role. The character in the movie was an old war plane, but the toy was a futuristic white jet.

I remember saving about twenty dollars to buy the complex toy for myself. It takes a long time to save twenty dollars when you're seven years old. I drove with both of my parents and two of my grandparents in our light blue van with airplane seats to either New Jersey, or White Plains, or some other exo-city location. Yeah, I made that word up. It took me hours to figure out how to transform the plane into a robot, but it was very satisfying once I figured it out. And no, the blue van couldn't turn into a robot. But it had airplane seats and a motorcycle in the back.

Lunch at Wimbledon
(or Why Sports Suck)

This match was ridiculous. I wouldn't accuse myself of being a sports writer (and I hope no one else would), but I feel the need to ramble on a bit about what I just saw. Two days after dashing the home crowd's hopes of a Brit winning at the All England Club*, Andy Roddick fell one break shy of delaying Roger Federer's bid to eclipse Pete Sampras's record of fourteen major championships. He did manage to delay it by a few extra hours, and an extra set and a half's worth of games.

How happy was Roger Federer to become the all-time world record holder? He seemed lightly thrilled. But this was one of those matches where you hate to see someone lose, because you know that the pain of loss exceeds the joy of winning. Emotionally, it's a negative sum game (although financially it's quite positive). Andy Roddick should be filled with pride for the level at which he performed. But at the moment, he just looks crushed. And that's why sports suck. Many of the best contests are difficult to enjoy unless you have an over developed sense of schadenfreude. So I offer my heartiest congratulations to both participants for grinding out four and a half hours of the highest quality tennis.

* I noted that Andy Murray was referred to as a Brit before he lost and a Scot afterward. The English are a capricious lot. I'm one of the least patriotic people in the US, but I took a little joy in seeing two American women dominate the singles and doubles final in England on July 4th, not to mention the Bryan brothers reaching the men's doubles final the same day, and American Andy eliminating British Andy the day before.

It should also be noted that if New York were a city-state, like it should be, I would be intensely patriotic.

Breakfast at Wimbledon

I'm eating vegan blackberry pancakes right now and watching Roger Federer attempt to defeat Andy Roddick for his record 15th major title. Many consider this to be the golden age of tennis, largely because of the rivalry between Roger Federer (who any objective individual will hold as the greatest of all time) and his good friend and arch nemesis, Rafael Nadal. Nadal happens to be the greatest clay court player of all time, as well as the only man to defeat Federer in a grand slam final. These two greats played arguably the greatest match of all time in this same final one year ago. But instead of Nadal facing Federer in a rematch of the past three Wimbledon finals, it's Andy Roddick. And while a Roger/Rafa repeat would not be an unfitting way to see history challenged, seeing Roddick across the net makes a certain amount of sense. Roddick has lost more than any other player to Federer's dominance, with a 2 and 18 overall record, including three grand slam final losses.

The Crazy Cat Lady

I visited my mom in Massachusetts last week. I hadn't seen her for over a year, so I was very happy to be there, despite the unfortunate impetus for my visit: her cat had died. She lives in a small town, but there are some nice vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Not totally surprising for a college town. Anyway, there was a little shop on Main Street with a bunch of action figures in the window. It was a rather strange selection:

Van Gogh

Sherlock Holmes


Crazy Cat Lady


Edgar Allan Poe

I guess what all of these figures have in common is that they're a bit loopy. I like the Crazy Cat Lady, though, because she comes with six cats of assorted flavors. I don't mean that in an Alf-like way.


I've recently been on a bit of a hiatus from everything, but I've still managed to keep incredibly busy. Last month I took a "vacation" to Las Vegas and San Francisco. I use quotes because I played poker three out of four days in Vegas, and six out of seven days in San Francisco. So it was more of a work-cation. The poker itself was a change of pace from my normal games. In LV I played in soft live $15/30 and $30/60 games, and got to meet a few of my online poker friends. I also went with my girlfriend to see Love, the Beatles/Cirque du Soleil show. In SF I began learning new games like Triple Draw, Badugi, and Pot Limit Omaha. Learning new games has rejuvenated my love for poker. We also went rafting and played some tennis, so it wasn't all work and no play. However...

The night before we left for Vegas I got a distressing email from one of my poker sites. It warned me not to deposit a check I had recently received because it would not clear. Well, I had already deposited the check, and it had cleared. And I had written checks to the US Treasury against that money. So I checked my online bank statement, and the check had uncleared! Now, I didn't know that checks could actually unclear. Since my flight left at 6 AM, I had no way to deposit cash from my live poker bankroll to cover the checks. I did my best to put this whole mess out of my head while in Vegas.

The day I arrived in SF I read this article, which explained what happened to my money: Feds Seize $30 million. A U.S. Attorney from New York had $30 million of online poker players' money seized, citing the Wire Act. But the Wire Act doesn't apply to online poker. In fact, there is no Federal statute that applies to online poker, so this seizure amounts to outright theft. To summarize, the Feds stole money from me that I was trying to send to them for taxes. Awesome.

It wasn't exactly a relaxing vacation. In the end, though, I got reimbursed by the poker site (who took the $30 million hit), and this may be the act that incites US poker players to unite and fight back harder than before. Speaking of silver linings, there wasn't a cloud in sight in LV or SF. Meanwhile, it continues to rain in NYC. Welcome home, I guess.