18 September 2009

Stress v Anxiety

If anyone has ever happened upon my blog, what you do know is that I always try and put myself out there, for better or worse. Let me stay true to that.

With apologies to our Fed Reserve chief, we're at or near the bottom of a pretty rotten economic climate. It's been bad since Q3 of 2008, and I don't expect it to get a much better for the US as a whole until Q1 2011. My logic is fairly simple: Fiscal 2011 budgets are being made now, and executives will remain conservative regarding headcount and budgets. Also, the policy curbs that company's have put in place regarding expenses and spending won't be lifted any time soon.

One of my strengths is to always see the glass as three-quarters full rather than half empty. It's gotten me through tough times when I was employed at large company's, and it's helped us weather big storms (including post-9/11, when no one wanted to talk to anyone about consulting for quite a long time).

This economic collapse, however, left me with my shorts at my ankles.

I blindly stumbled into a client that has kept me extremely busy since December. It has been a very good thing as we've had very strong billings since. But it also brought to light a big gap between my wife and me. This gap is kind of complicated, but let me explain it.

My wife I'm pretty sure is smarter than I am, and I like to think I'm very smart (she has a BS in Chemistry as well as a BS in Chemical Engineering). Once we had our boys, she decided she wanted to stay home with them. And she is a great mother who is a big help to the boys and to me. She does the finances for our company, helps with the new soccer club (now in its third season), as well as takes care of everything.

I've dutifully been the breadwinner who shields her from most stuff. She patiently let me go through my three years of being engrossed poker, both playing and blogging/writing about it. She then let me move onto starting the soccer club. As Summer approached, she was on to planning for the logistics of taking the boys here and there, etc. I started feeling more and more alone, and became resentful I think for the first time in our marriage.

It was a very difficult series of weeks. I was five hours away most of the time, and I was struggling with our relationship for the first time since we were married eighteen years ago. The few folks I confided in laughed that "...it took you this long..." For me, I became very concerned. I didn't want for us to transition into a new type of marriage, a new phase of our relationship.

I think that we've made it through the end of this tunnel. I know she understands where I am now and the risks there. We had a great meeting with our accountant (I've never really done that), and he actually helped frame what I'm going through. I've had my company for eleven years, and I'm basically still self-employed rather than having built a company.

We also had some tough discussions about my faith and our church. I don't feel connected there, and she has been very involved in a Discipleship group as well as in the Children's ministry. I think she went through a period of time where she felt I was broken and needed to be fixed. I definitely feel that I am broken, but I don't think there is one-size-fits-all way to cure me. Sara Groves says it like this in one of her songs, "I am just a seeker too, in search of God."

So anyways, as this big project comes to a close, the anxiety starts anew for me. It is a different class now, how do I capitalize on this, can I build a company that can sustain us? I seem to have talents and can do great things. Can I exploit these?

And can I find happiness and fulfillment through what I do for a living? That seems to be one of the macro-conclusions from my four years of poker and soccer, that I can't find fulfillment through my work and consequently dive into other things.

I don't know the answers. I'm hoping to post at the other blogs that I spent alot of money designing, but this will be our secret place if that's OK.

17 September 2009


So I haven't blogged at my new digs in more than six months, so I thought I'd hit this for what it's worth. I depleted my online bankroll through withdrawals and poor play about a year ago, and I spent my live bankroll as I quit playing. I'll occasionally goof around on FT with my two-figure bankroll or play the random SNG or Steps on Stars.

I've been in a high state of stress lately, and I'm thinking of playing more in the coming weeks. If I jump in, I'll document it here. I'm open to ideas for a new venture when it comes to poker, whether it's depositing a certain amount and grinding, focusing on one thing or another, etc. From the little I've played lately, it does look like the play in general has tightened up. I don't know if that's the case or not, but just glancing at table stats it seems so.

I'm also thinking about heading to Vegas in December, but that seems so far away. I've had some real problems thinking about anything in the future as it seems to bring on the anxious emotions. Am I alone? I'd be interested to know.

I don't know if this site is even monitored, but there you go. I'll be doing more on my other sites as well, but think of this as more of a PSA than anything.

14 May 2008

Moving Day: Find Me @ C2 Choices

We're done enough with the new design, so you can head over to C2 Choices and find me from now on. Update your links if you don't mind, and I can't wait to hear what you think! You can email me if needed at csquard@gmail.com.

13 May 2008

My Last Blogger Post (ok, Next to Last)

I'm closing on my third year anniversary of this blog. It started as a poker blog to share my terrific, rocket-like advancement in my poker prowess.

That was the first day.

I then moved onto sharing what it felt like to lose my bankroll. Maybe you've never experienced that or don't remember it. There is this cold sweat that develops over your chest, down your arm, then ultimately to the mouse that you've vice-gripped in your fist. The mouse has come a long way in three years as this post-bankroll-clearing last hand trauma normally would yield a broken mouse or monitor. The hand details are somewhere in the recesses of my hard drive and brain I'm sure, but the typical final hand was either preceded by a flopped straight taking out my overpair or someone calling my raise with some horrific hand out of position then flopping trips or two pair.

Then this site changed as I changed. Poker became a metaphor for the struggles in my life. To an outsider, it might have appeared like poker was cause. It's never been that, just as the TV or eating or surfing the web or any of the number of time-consuming ventures have been the cause of what illed me. It was more of what I had become over the decade of running my own company, a career that has become increasingly insular.

The site moved away from this URL then returned this year, and I've continued to be a part of a great community of people all over the world. I thank all of you for letting me still be in your club even as I haven't been with you as much. As many, many of you have told me and others, a blog should primarily be written for one audience: the writer. It's always been that way for me, but I've benefited most when connection has followed. Connection comes from comments and chatting and talking, and I've grown alot through my times with those who have invested in me.

As the site moves to a new URL, my poker exploits will not be left behind. And I hope many of you will take the time to follow me along the new road. I also hope I can find others out there, others who have their act together or not, others who are great parents or not, others who are great spouses or not.

Others who are believers or not. Waffles has called me the Preacher (when he's called me--or that's probably the nicest thing he's called me!), and I hope I haven't offended or come off that way. As I've grown older, I've found myself not to be a preacher but really a seeker. I've come to find my faith as a journey rather than a destination. I feel much safer being a big fish in a small pond rather than the other way around, yet I find that I am more like the latter now in my spiritual journey.

So it came to pass that I would either kill this blog or invest in it and try to do more. I decided to rebuild it. The next post will be the famous go-to-the-new-link post, and hopefully folks will update links and feeds.

So Close, I Can Taste It

I think we should be making the switch to the new design and new URL in the next twenty-four hours. Still a few final tweaks and all that. I'm pretty sure I'll have some sort of contest to celebrate it, a chance to win something if you link to the new URL and all that.

I've been working hard and stretched fairly thin (although I still don't look too thin!). The move and redesign haven't really contributed to that, but I also haven't devoted very much time to it either. I've paid a nice chunk of change to have someone help with it, and I think it will be well worth it. More in the morning.

11 May 2008

Fascinating Interviews with The Three EPL Managers

Terrific set of interviews by BBC with the managers of the two dropped clubs (Reading and Birmingham), as well the new London hero, Fulham's Roy Hodgson. Such a different view into sport than here in America.

Reading's Steve Coppell

Birmingham's Alex McLeish

Fulham's Roy Hodgson

Great interview also with game winner Danny Murphy, formerly with Liverpool. He's very candid about his own personal struggle watching Liverpool do so well while he languished at Fulham.

Murphy Delivers!

First, a happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there. We headed for brunch after church this morning. I got our name on the list at one of her favorite places, an hour wait that was fine for us as she and the boys were still at church (I grabbed coffee and a couple books as a gift for my wife after the first service while she volunteered in the nursery). She's celebrating her big day with a nap now.

I rushed to the computer when we got home to see if Fulham had gotten their victory at Pompey. With Birmingham and Reading both grabbing four goals, the pressure was surely on the Cottagers as they headed well into the 2nd half scoreless. Then Danny Murphy headed a long free kick into the netting, Kasey Keller parried shot after shot as the Fulham defense weathered an onslaught of balls, and with three blows of the whistle, Fulham survived!

btw, break up the Pirates, please...

10 May 2008

"Come On Fulham!"

Craven Cottage, 2006

The Barclay's Premier League/EPL. Probably second to the NFL, the Premiership is the best that sports has to offer. Tomorrow is exactly why.

At the top of the league, Chelsea is tied with Manchester United atop the lead. The regular season is the thing in soccer, and it is simple and just. 20 teams, play every team home and away, then add up the points for wins (3 pts) and ties (1 pt). Subtract the goals you score vs those you give up and you have the goal differential for the season. Man U is ahead of Chelsea on goal differential by 17 goals, so Chelsea must have a superior result to this weekend to take the title. They host Bolton Sunday, and Man U will travel to mid-tier Wigan.

It's the bottom of the table that makes soccer leagues around the world exciting until the last day (except for the US). Fulham, owned by Harrod's mogul Mohamed al-Fayad, dropped to the bottom three of the twenty teams at the first of the year and have been down there ever since. Now if you were the Royals or Knicks or Raiders, that would be an unfortunate situation but hardly desperate. But this is the EPL, where the bottom three teams drop out of the Premiership. With the loss goes the estimated $35mil in revenue and the prestige of the Premiership. And what happens if you drop from the Premiership? Look no further than Leicester. They played in the UEFA Cup in 2001, the tournament for top European teams who do not qualify for the Champions League. This season, their record in the League Championship division (Triple-A) pushes them down to League One (Double-A) next season.

With three wins in the last four games, Fulham has clawed their way up to 17th place with 33 pts and a goal differential of -23. 18th place Reading (33pts/-29) and 19th place Birmingham (32pts/-19) both need a result to escape the drop. Reading has the easiest path, traveling to 20th place Derby County (11pts/-65). Birmingham hosts 7th place Blackburn (58pts/+5) and their stingy keeper, American Brad Friedel.

Fulham travels to 8th place Portsmouth (57pts/+9). Known as Pompey, Portsmouth could be faulted for overlooking this game. They play Cardiff next Saturday in the FA Cup final, England's most prestigious soccer tournament. The FA Cup hearkens to the Indiana High School basketball tournament of old, made famous by the movie Hoosiers. In the FA Cup, literally every professional and semi-pro team in England play in the tournament, so Cardiff (in the League Championship division) has a chance to play in Wembley Stadium and take home the hardware of the FA Cup.

Fulham's future will be intertwined with three of their five Americans. Kasey Keller signed up with Fulham earlier this season, a seemingly over-the-hill goalkeeper unclaimed by any other team around the world. He may not be automatic in the back, but he is certainly solid. Clint Dempsey also signed with the club in the middle of the season. The former Furman All-American leads the team in goals and is now a mainstay in the starting XI.

Brian McBride, now the team's captain, is the heart of the team. Last year's leading scorer for the squad had a catastrophic dislocation of his kneecap at the beginning of the season. He's the epitome of workmanship; we'd call it leaving it all on the field if we were talking about football here. No one will outwork him on Sunday, probably no one in the EPL. And he may have his own blood all over him by the end of the afternoon.

Fulham has a tough task in front of them, lessened by Pompey's looming FA Cup match next weekend. I like Reading leapfrogging the other two tomorrow and snatching the final berth in the Premiership next season, but I'll be pulling for McBride and the Cottagers. No one will be tanking tomorrow to move up in draft position, that you can guarantee.

09 May 2008

SunBurst Amidst the Storm

Originally uploaded by csquard

It's been quite a tough week, I won't kid anyone. I've been up to my ears in pure stress, four weeks late getting started with a last phase of a big client project, late due to their delay then totally screwed-up data set needed to complete said project.

I've used poker as a stress relief, just toiling away at the $0.25/0.50 NLHE 6-max tables. Gone are the days of four-tabling away at $0.50/1 or $1/2 NLHE 6-max. Not enough time, not enough bankroll. Poker has moved from an interest to an obsession to a grind to now an escape. I play two tables at their normal size while multi-tasking for maybe an hour or so every third or fourth day, with the occasional SNG thrown in (btw, I'm now a master HU SNG player, undefeated in six straight $2+0.20 PLO and NLHE HU SNG's).

My game has gotten a bit sloppier at times, chasing more often if the bets stay small, focusing on the single big guy at the expense of the weaker stacks.

I'll have a very busy weekend as I keep working on this stuff while also taking in soccer. We're also working feverishly on the redesign and hope to get it moved to the new URL and to the new WordPress template. I'm pretty excited about it. I'll probably post some throughout the weekend, so drop by if you have a chance.

Spoiler Alert: Survivor, Best Reality Show Episode Ever!

OK, maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but this was the most stunning display of moronic combined with the most evil side of female connivingness (I know this is not a word, but really I think it is). I haven't read EW's recap yet, so definitely head there if you are a fan at all. Also, head to the Survivor website to watch this episode in its entirety.

Meet Exhibit A, Erik. He's the Superfan and would have a restraining order as a stalker if he hadn't actually been cast on the show. He's also a Herculean competitor of the Ozzy mold. With Ozzy leaving a few weeks ago for being too cocky and James almost losing his finger, Erik was the last man standing with four ladies.

Erik wins the Immunity Challenge (lapped the girls; btw, they should have had the person who finished last is out as a twist--the women were horrible in the challenge). He's like a Labrador puppy in these challenges, still sprinting at the end when the other four haven't even made it to the last stage of the challenge.

In the interim, Erik has told different alliance stories to three of the women, who then tell each other of his promises and laugh it up, all within earshot of him. He's a downtrodden puppy who just wants to be liked by these Survivor heroes of him, and it gets him down around camp. Back to real-time: after the Immunity Challenge, the four ladies are sitting around talking about what they will do, and then Cirie stumbles on the most ridiculous idea in the history of reality television. Cirie blurts out that Natalie should use her evil, wily ways to get Erik to give her the Immunity Necklace, playing on his pitiful emotions and need to be liked. Natalie knows she's going home and would do anything to stay, but even she can't come to grips with how anyone would actually fall for this. 'Why would he fall for that?'' asked Natalie. ''Ozzy, Jason, and Erik,'' announced Parvati. ''He belongs in that threesome.''

More giggling ensues, then Natalie heads to find Erik and lay it out for him: Cirie will joing Erik and Natalie to vote out Amanda, but only if Cirie gives Natalie the necklace as a sign of redemption and to show that he is indeed a man of his word that everyone can trust. The jury will also like the move, she explains.

My wife was on the sofa, and as the Tribal Council rolled on, she was ambivalent. "This is ridiculous," she said. "No one would be that stupid."

Ahhh, she obviously overstates the size of a man's brain. And the pure wickedness of the female species.

And you thought the male praying mantis had it bad. At least he gets a last hurrah before having his head bitten off...

No more superlatives. Enjoy...


Go to the bottom of the EW review to see the Jeff Probst interview with EW on Erik's move.
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