Sunday, December 27, 2009

granny's china



My grandparents purchased this china - Devonshire, by Enoch Wedgwood (Tunstall) - for their wedding, which would have taken place around 1940, give or take five years.

I inherited the china when my Granny died in 1980 or so, though I didn't take possession for many years.

I tried researching the pattern when I first received it, even sending emails and pictures to Wedgwood, but I didn't find out what it was called until I found this:

http://www.replacements.com/webquote/WW_DEVO.htm

I can't tell you how many hours of Internet/eBay searches I did to get that much. Early in 2000 a Montreal company had quite a lot of it for sale on eBay - for amazing prices, I now realize - but I was a broke college student at the time and had to put aside any thought of buying any of their stock. In their eBay posting the company described the pattern only as "Art Deco", so I guess they didn't know what it was called, either.

I want to catalogue what I own as a way of creating another reference to the pattern online. I'm hoping I'll hear from other owners, too: I invite you to contact me with your own stories of Devonshire.

Eight dinner plates: six in excellent to good condition (slight imperfections at most, primarily due to gentle use); two have significant chips and some cracking under the surface, as though they had been dropped.

Eight salad plates: five are in excellent to good condition and three are in fair to poor condition (major imperfections like chips and cracking).

Seven soup bowls: five are in excellent to good condition; two are in fair to poor condition.

Eight bread and butter plates: six are in excellent to good condition; two are in fair to poor condition.

Six teacups: four are in excellent to good condition, two are in fair to poor condition.

Eight saucers, all in excellent to good condition.

The creamer is in excellent to good condition. *The sugar bowl with lid is missing, however.

Six dessert bowls are in excellent to good condition. They are almost 5" in diameter.

The underplate for the gravy bowl is in excellent to good condition. *The gravy bowl is missing.

The round vegetable bowl is 8 5/8" and is in excellent to good condition.

The round covered vegetable bowl is beautiful but is in fair to poor condition.

The large (14") oval serving platter is in excellent to good condition.

The smaller (10 7/8") oval serving platter is in excellent to good condition.




*One sad aspect of this story is that I used to have the gravy boat, the sugar bowl and lid, and one or two other pieces. I had them in a small, light box that someone else assumed was empty and threw away.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

phoenix

http://www.humanedurham.com/phoenix%20updates.htm



Phoenix arrived in bad shape but left us loved by people across Canada. Google him; he's worth it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

dreams and nightmares

This morning I woke up angry.

I spent almost an hour playing games on my iPhone before actually getting up, and that gave me time to sort out what was wrong.

I thought about work. Yes, there are some serious challenges right now, but the immediate present is easy enough. Training BlackBerry tech support is significantly easier than I thought it would be.

I thought about my social life, what little there is of it. Nothing painful or stressful there.

And then I remembered it. The dream I'd had before waking up.

For the past several months I've dreamed of characters and events from LOST. I'm not the only one; I've talked to other friends who've experienced the same disturbances in their sleep. I believe we've begun grieving, as we all know there is just one season left with these 'people' and this 'place'. It's remarkable, to say the least, to be this affected by a television show, I can tell you.

Last night's dream had Jack kissing me. The only bad thing about that is that I woke up from it; in fact, I admitted, waking up is likely what pissed me off.

On the other hand, my mood could have been a premonition. For, once I got out of bed, I quickly noticed that my beloved pet of 12 years, Dougie Cat, was not herself. She was quite obviously not hungry and even her eyes looked pained and tired.

I called the vet and got an appointment immediately. Within 90 minutes the blood tests were providing the news: she is severely dehydrated and is experiencing kidney failure. I requested an x-ray and we saw two differently-sized kidneys with a suspicious mass near the enlarged one. It made the decision obvious.

I brought Dougie home and we've spent the night hanging out on my bed. I watched the first two Harry Potter DVDs while she slept and I've given her water when she seemed restless. I've sent an email to my closest friends and family and I've taken naproxen for the headache I got from crying.

The appointment is near the end of the workday tomorrow. I will watch her all night tonight and I will love her forever.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

coming attractions

Damn.

It's been three weeks since my last entry. I thought it had only been two.

It's not that I've had nothing to write about: I experienced the most challenging trainee EVER in my last class at work; I seriously lusted after yet another trainee in that class (it's funny how it always takes the first three weeks for me to even notice those particular guys); poker went really well and then it went a little badly (I still have a bankroll, so that's something).

I even read a really great article over at SoulPancake that I should take to heart. If I did, I'd surely resolve much of the list I posted last time I was here.

I started another blog over at Wordpress. I decided I wanted to review iPhone apps and the biggest benefit of that is that I'm forced to write regularly to make it relevant. I'm not sure anyone's even been there to read any of the entries, but I'm going to give it a real chance to develop.

I spend so much time reading in front of the computer, though, that I usually feel like I'm not using my time wisely. Producing my own material is one way to counter that.

When I'm not writing it's because there's something I'm reluctant to talk about or afraid to face or both.

And so, in the coming days, I resolve to document in more detail some of the events I've hinted at here.

Please keep an eye out!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

overdoing it, one day at a time

Sunday is an ideal day to reflect, prioritize and plan, don't you think?

In that vein, today's entry reflects my resolution to list* all the unfulfilled ideas that have been going around in my head for the past few years.

1. Cross stitch.

I started a project three or four years ago, and I have hundreds of patterns waiting in drawers. I've thought about selling my stash but I just can't; it's still important to me and I just need god to make each day 90 hours long so that I can start getting through it.

2. Vanity Fair.

Yeah, the pile of unread mags is at least two years high. Considering it takes me a week to read each one, I should be done in six months ... if I don't do anything else on this list.

3. Books.

I have at least half a dozen poker books dying to teach me better strategy. And then there are the novels....

4. Movies.

I'm not even sure I want to go here. Besides the few files on my hard drive I believe I've got a pile of burned flicks, too. A big pile.

5. LOST.

During Season 5 I resolved I'd spend this summer watching my DVDs from the beginning so that I'd be fully prepared for the final season. There's still time, if I could just get started.

6. Blogroll.

I subscribe to 32 blogs and I have about 350 entries to read. That's not even that bad, now that I think about it. Hmmpf.

7. Twitter.

When I added the 40th Tweep to my list of Follows I remember thinking I couldn't possibly manage any more. Now I'm following over 200 mostly-awesome men and women and I give myself a headache every time I try to catch up on what I've missed.

8. Job hunt.

It's one thing -- and an easy one, I admit -- to check three or four Canadian job sites every day; it's quite another to explore all the careers I'm considering pursuing. Forensics, Web development, product design, Web design; those are just a few of my interests right now. I've been compiling information to teach myself CSS, WordPress, Thesis, etc. Since I barely know what they are, I have quite a hill to climb.

9. Cycling.

It used to be the foundation of my life. Now the mere thought of pumping tires, getting dressed and riding reminds me of a chore I keep putting off until tomorrow.

10. Podcasts.

iTunes is home to almost 400 unheard, unwatched episodes of The Guild, Best Ads on TV, Savage LoveCast, AnteUp, PokerRoad, and more.

11. Poker.

Besides the books and 'casts on this subject, I also have an extensive digital collection of instructional materials idling on my PC.




It's a really good thing I have no life.




*Note that I am resolved to "list" them, not necessarily do anything about them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

So that high I've written about?

Until last night, part of me still didn't accept the ramifications. Part of me was holding on to the notion that it wasn't really physiological or biochemical, that I could somehow make it stop on my own if I just tried.

How reasonable would it be for an alcoholic to believe she could quit drinking if only she'd stop imagining that being drunk felt so good*?

Exactly.

In The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, Dr. Kessler writes of "the body's reward system". The reward system motivates us to pursue things that are pleasurable but that also ensure our survival and the survival of the species, sex and food being two biggies.

Even the anticipation of reward is enough to encourage us to pursue the reward, he says.

Powerful biological forces are at play that make us want something enough to pursue it and then make us feel momentarily better once we obtain it.


So when my body needs food, the reward system kicks in to make my mind anticipate the satisfaction - the pleasure - I'll get from eating, in turn motivating me to pursue that food.

The pleasure we get from eating - even the anticipation of that pleasure - are hard-wired within us. Biology driving will.

Makes sense. But how does that explain my cravings for McDonald's french fries with extra salt? That's not exactly nourishing. Surely my body doesn't want me filling it with that?

Here's the kicker:

It is possible to activate the brain's reward centers by artificially stimulating them....


Can you guess where this is going?

Stay tuned.





*In the short term, I mean. In the long run, drinking too much/too feels at least as guilt-inducing, at least as dangerous, at least as out-of-control as over-eating.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

food: it's what i'm thinking about

At my workplace I'm famous for a number of things, most of them not particularly flattering. One of those things is my adoration of fast food.

There isn't much fast food to choose from near the call centre -- McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway, Tim Horton's (does that even qualify?) and KFC form something of a temptation strip along the provincial highway -- but it doesn't really matter since I tend to have a rotating obsession with specific menu items from either McDonald's or Wendy's.

There have been several periods in my life when fast food was not welcome in my belly -- there was that glorious 18 months of vegan-hood, for example, in the late 90s -- but every time I cracked open the door of whatever regimen I happened to be following the french fries and burgers and breaded chicken wraps always found their way back in.

Once inside, they became magical again. A day might start badly but if I had some Mickey Dees fries to look forward to for lunch, life always got better.

When routine starts bringing me down, I invite the fun back into life with a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger.

And when I feel sad or stressed or angry, a Quarter Pounder® with Cheese Extra Value Meal is fantastic comfort.

Literally, it turns out.

I learned of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by Dr. David Kessler the other day and I ordered it immediately from my local independent. I've only read one chapter and yet I already understand what's happening so much better.

I've never been able to figure out why I think of food so often. I've never understood why it's had such an emotional impact on me and why I can't ever really keep away.

After just one chapter, however, I know that I'm not the only one. Millions of people experience the same cravings that I do.

It turns out that the food we're so drawn to is stimulating pleasure chemicals in our brains. We're getting high from it.

I'm not that much different from an alcoholic, it seems. I turn to my drug for all the same reasons.

And the food industry knows it. They're targeting me and the millions of others like me. They're even preparing the food in specific ways that will keep me addicted, keep me coming back.

It's making so much sense now. I didn't understand before now why I would be so drawn to something that isn't even really food. I can eat it, it's true, but it isn't nourishing me and certainly isn't good for me.

So these are some of the things I know now. What's left to be discovered is the most important: can I break the chain? Can I stop needing the joy my brain experiences when I consume the salt and cheese and fat?

This, of course, is what I'm really looking for.

Friday, July 3, 2009

for @smegatron

She's the boldest and bravest woman I know; she will say it, she will do it.

She's determined, focused and hard-working.

She's talented and she's so funny she's made me pee my pants in public ... twice.

She builds me up and helps me to believe in myself; I've never known that before.

She deserves the kind of man who believes in true love ... even if she'd prefer a stalker.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

scribe

Writing used to be my whole life.

For the three years I was paid to report for newspapers I wrote virtually every day. But it wasn't as glamorous as it sounds; trying to create news to fill a hole on page four (or wherever it was - I never knew) rapidly became as unfulfilling as cleaning a toilet: it was my job, I had to do it, but no one ever noticed when I did.

(They sure noticed if I didn't do it, though; I was definitely in the shithouse then.)

I now resist writing for all the reasons I resist shopping at Frenchy's: as a consequence of once being obligated to do it, now I choose not to. Even if it's good for me.

The thing is, it is good for me. My voice is occasionally interesting, sometimes funny and now and then what I have to say is remarkable.

If I let my voice out I let me out.

I need out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

stranded

I dreamed of Ben, Jack and John last night.

Yes, that Ben, Jack and John.

What is the hold that show has on me? It's freaky, to say the least.

Jack was kind of crazy - not the drunk, pill-popping crazy we've seen on the show - really kinda hysterical nutty.

John was trying to lead us back to the island so we could see it blow up or something.

And I got to make out with Ben. Which, of course, was the best part.

Friday, June 26, 2009

he's just not that into me

Don't get me wrong; I know he 'cares'. And even though I emphasize his feelings with half-hearted quotation marks, it's not my intention to imply that they're sub-standard or inadequate.

It's just that I've given him a lot -- because I know he needs it and deserves it -- and it would be awesome to be on a two-way street.

You know what I'd like from him? I'd like him to show an interest in who I am. But that's not his way; he's passive, more an observer than a participant.

He's the kind of guy that will appreciate me three years after I'm gone from his life. That's how long it'll take him to notice we haven't connected. He cares, but he's easily distracted.

And forward I go.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

am i entitled to get what i want?

The premise is here.

It was just a few weeks ago that T pointed out that I don't know what I want.

It wasn't the first time someone stated it, just the most recent.

I remember during a chakra massage about 15 years ago that Cheendana told me there was almost no energy at all from ajna, the third eye, which is responsible for 'the ideas, visions and dreams that eventually become physical reality'.

I remember thinking at the time that a sleeping ajna was both the explanation for and the consequence of my time as a Witness.

I would like to explore wanting.

My questions are:

1. What do I want?
2. What will be the 'get'? What are the feelings I seek?
3. Why do I resist committing to want?
4. What do I risk by committing?
5. Will wanting make the getting less important?
6. If I want something bad enough and I do the work to get it, will it be alright if I don't?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

it was the bet, not the ace

I figure he's not going to bet here if he doesn't have it. No stats; decided to play without 'em.

Full Tilt Poker .COM Face the Ace - Round 1 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t25/t50 Blinds - 9 players - View hand 126152
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BigsexyLou (CO): t4460 M = 59.47
11dgaf11 (BTN): t6510 M = 86.80
hitmanoxo (SB): t1195 M = 15.93
pepe87pen (BB): t1990 M = 26.53
Ruggs11 (UTG): t2110 M = 28.13
mnt2bewitched (UTG+1): t4070 M = 54.27
lex859 (UTG+2): t1785 M = 23.80
Hero (MP1): t1375 M = 18.33
mcgilton89 (MP2): t3200 M = 42.67

Pre Flop: (t75) Hero is MP1 with 77 of clubs 77 of hearts
1 fold, mnt2bewitched raises to t100, 1 fold, Hero calls t100, 4 folds, pepe87pen calls t50

Flop: (t325) 99 of hearts 22 of diamonds 55 of diamonds (3 players)
pepe87pen checks, mnt2bewitched bets t250, Hero raises to t500, pepe87pen folds, mnt2bewitched calls t250

Turn: (t1325) AA of clubs (2 players)
mnt2bewitched bets t250, Hero folds

Final Pot: t1325
mnt2bewitched wins t1325

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

money

Tommy Angelo has suggested I hide cash all over the house.

Well, he didn't actually suggest it to me. More like he suggested it to anyone who could read - he put it in Elements of Poker.

And he didn't literally say to hide it all over the house. Which I couldn't do anyway because the step-ma has taken all the good spots.

But he did suggest that I/we would play better if I/we knew I/we weren't going to run out of money.

Makes sense to me.

(It'll probably make sense to you, too, if you use your finger to cover the "I"s or the "we"s.)

So my plan, when I finally reload, is to have 10 buyins for .10/.25 NLHE on FTP and 10 buyins in a new savings account I'll start over at ingdirect.ca.

Furthermore, I won't jump levels until I have 10 buyins for the new level on the site and in the account.

Lop. Lop. Lop.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

new plan: do nothing

I've surrendered ... but just for the moment. I sent the last of my BR - not even a small fortune - to swd805 as a stake in some future event.
In fact, that event just got decided today: I now have a 3% stake in today's $750k gtd. If he FTs it, I'm guaranteed at least $300. Gogogogogogo!

swd805 and I haven't had the most productive of partnerships to now; here's hoping that the third time's the charm!

I had hoped that by giving away my BR I'd be able to keep the software closed. No such luck; I've been freerolling like a nutball.

It's not gotten me anywhere.

I've returned to Tommy Angelo's Elements of Poker; lopping off that C-game, one element at a time.

I haven't gotten very far with the book, mind you. Every time I open it I start from the beginning again. That's not a bad thing: I keep discovering little points I thought I'd remember the first time but didn't.

Like this one:

When you are winning, and you reach a point in the session when the happiness you will gain by winning more money will be much less than the pain you will endure if you lose, quit. Away from the table you can examine how and why this imbalance occurs. Meanwhile, learn to trust the quitting voice, and to react without question.


I should be giving me permission to quit when I want, not Tommy Angelo. But I second-guess myself so much and I punish myself so much and I ignore my own wishes so much (flashback to 1986!) that it has more of an impact when it comes from someone else.

*sigh*

Just like I'm always looking for the fundamental reasons that I suck at poker, I'm always looking for the fundamental reasons I suck at life. It's no coincidence that I believe when I fix one I'll fix the other.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

already posted you-know-where

How to prepare/defend?

He made the right call on the flop, given what he had.

Should I have played more defensively?

Should I be better prepared for the worst?

Should I have checked the flop and waited to see what came on the turn, just in case it was a danger card? Risk winning less to risk losing less?
(I anticipate the argument that I should have slowed down when my opponent called the flop because he might already have the flush; let me say that once again I knew he didn't, that he only had one spade. I fired again on the turn because I hadn't anticipated the additional straight draw. Oh, and don't bother asking how I knew he only had one spade 'cause I've answered similar questions a zillion times before and no one ever believes that I 'just knew'. )


Full Tilt Poker $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players - View hand 94169
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Jeniojon (UTG+2): $4.25
Slyone_90 (MP1): $10.61
spainfish (MP2): $2.59
imaass (CO): $4.67
d3llanAA (BTN): $2.51
ebbelwoi333 (SB): $3.65
Hero (BB): $10.00
domson23 (UTG): $7.71
mopsturtle (UTG+1): $2.89
Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is BB with TT of hearts TT of clubs
domson23 calls $0.10, 1 fold, Jeniojon raises to $0.20, 1 fold, spainfish calls $0.20, 3 folds, Hero calls $0.10, domson23 calls $0.10
Flop: ($0.85) TT of spades 22 of spades QQ of spades (4 players)
Hero bets $0.85, domson23 folds, Jeniojon folds, spainfish calls $0.85
Turn: ($2.55) JJ of clubs (2 players)
Hero bets $2, spainfish calls $1.54 all in
River: ($5.63) 44 of clubs (2 players - 1 is all in)
Final Pot: $5.63
spainfish shows AA of spades KK of hearts (a straight, Ace high)
Hero shows TT of hearts TT of clubs (three of a kind, Tens)
spainfish wins $5.26
(Rake: $0.37)

posted on fulltiltforum.com

Nitty volume game not going so well

I'm playing the volume game. Eight-tabling at .05/.10. I'm folding almost everything and just playing the best hands. I'm folding small pairs virtually every time and only playing medium pairs in position. I only play AJ if it's been folded to me and I can raise with it in late position. My VPIP is less than 10 at almost every table. The only time that changes is when I get a run of good cards. My PFR is going to be the same as my VPIP in most situations.
In other words, I'm on auto-pilot.

Should I be more alert for sets? Should I reduce the number of tables I play so that my radar can be better-tuned?

If not, what should I do?

Full Tilt Poker $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players - View hand 93794
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter


dotsu (BTN): $1.70
pearlxman (SB): $9.55
Hero (BB): $10.00
DraftDodger7 (UTG): $2.23
DedUSSR (UTG+1): $2.00
Bobobowser (MP1): $14.27
TightTeddie (MP2): $11.08
Halfbeasty (CO): $13.73
Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is BB with AA of diamonds KK of hearts
3 folds, TightTeddie raises to $0.30, 3 folds, Hero calls $0.20
Flop: ($0.65) KK of diamonds TT of diamonds 99 of spades (2 players)
Hero bets $0.65, TightTeddie raises to $1.76, Hero calls $1.11
Turn: ($4.17) 88 of spades (2 players)
Hero checks, TightTeddie bets $2.50, Hero calls $2.50
River: ($9.17) AA of clubs (2 players)
Hero checks, TightTeddie bets $4.44, Hero raises to $5.44 all in, TightTeddie calls $1
Final Pot: $20.05
Hero shows AA of diamonds KK of hearts (two pair, Aces and Kings)
TightTeddie shows 99 of clubs 99 of diamonds (three of a kind, Nines)
TightTeddie wins $18.72
(Rake: $1.33)
...

Full Tilt Poker $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players - View hand 93799
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter


Hero (BTN): $12.27
DEALER ME IN (SB): $10.55
Piggedi (BB): $6.53
sadism (UTG): $4.14
dotsu (UTG+1): $3.49
7gifojaluz7 (MP1): $2.00
7Oleg7 (MP2): $1.99
ivanontilt (CO): $11.50
Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is BTN with AA of clubs KK of diamonds
5 folds, Hero raises to $0.35, DEALER ME IN calls $0.30, 1 fold
Flop: ($0.80) AA of spades 33 of spades 22 of clubs (2 players)
DEALER ME IN checks, Hero bets $0.80, DEALER ME IN calls $0.80
Turn: ($2.40) 88 of clubs (2 players)
DEALER ME IN checks, Hero checks
River: ($2.40) TT of diamonds (2 players)
DEALER ME IN checks, Hero bets $2.40, DEALER ME IN calls $2.40
Final Pot: $7.20
Hero shows AA of clubs KK of diamonds (a pair of Aces)
DEALER ME IN shows 88 of diamonds 88 of spades (three of a kind, Eights)
DEALER ME IN wins $6.72
(Rake: $0.48)
...

Full Tilt Poker $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players - View hand 93800
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Da Griz (UTG): $4.46
Chacha-inn (UTG+1): $2.04
iknowJS (MP): $5.96
EllendeAnja (CO): $2.50
ThePark911 (BTN): $8.60
whatsup9650 (SB): $9.90
Hero (BB): $11.31
Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is BB with 66 of spades KK of hearts
4 folds, ThePark911 calls $0.10, 1 fold, Hero checks
Flop: ($0.25) KK of diamonds JJ of spades 77 of hearts (2 players)
Hero checks, ThePark911 bets $0.10, Hero calls $0.10
Turn: ($0.45) 55 of spades (2 players)
Hero checks, ThePark911 checks
River: ($0.45) 66 of diamonds (2 players)
Hero bets $0.25, ThePark911 raises to $0.50, Hero calls $0.25
Final Pot: $1.45
ThePark911 shows 55 of hearts 55 of diamonds (three of a kind, Fives)
Hero mucks 66 of spades KK of hearts
ThePark911 wins $1.36
(Rake: $0.09)
...

I'm down a buyin again and I can't really take it anymore.

Beyond my own mistakes and the coolers, it's been a rough weekend for bad beats, too. If I weren't playing so conservatively and leaving tables when I start to tilt I'd be in much worse shape; I'm doing my very best to minimize my losses. I'm only down two buyins since Thursday.

Simple suggestions?