Monday, August 27, 2012

“Cards are war, in disguise of a sport” – Charles Lamb

I had a daydream today, an interesting visualization that I wanted to explore. Im not much into card games but enjoy the dichotomy of personalities at any given table and the complexities behind the game.

“Poker may be a branch of psychological warfare, an art form or indeed a way of life – but it is also merely a game, in which money is simply the means of keeping score.” (Anthony Holden)
There is a group of friends sitting at a Poker table, cards in hand. Each carefully investigating what the other players are planning. Slyly looking up from their cards to see the looks on their opponents faces. Watching how they shift in their seats. Thick, heavy air makes this night suffocating.

This group of people were randomly selected to participate in this Poker league many years ago. They have never left the league. It has created a bond of friendship. Outside this table they generally would not connect for their personalities are too different to 'play nice' all the time.

 The Card Sharks: They have been playing Poker for years. They know the ins and outs of this game. They play with a Colombo mindset, as if this is their first rodeo but in fact they have done this many times. They are humble about their talents and hide in the shadows. When they win they quickly get up from the table with their prize and hide back in the dark. From the shadows they watch the despair at the table as people pick up whatever is left and leave defeated or challenge others, accusing their friends of cheating. “I’ll share my cards if you share yours” mentality. After they see the “friends”/opponents cards they strike, even with the same exact hand. 

 Novice Players: They play to get better and they like to participate with this particular group. They know the stakes are high but they play as fair as possible and take in as much as they can. They generally lose but they learn each time. They have some decent moves but really they don’t have enough to put in the pot to play for keeps. They fold fast but stay and watch, taking notes. Others at the table do not feel threatened by them because they don't have enough to play big. They will keep track of each move and others will trust them enough to show them their cards because they know that nothing will come of it. 

"Poker Masters": those who aren’t very good at the game but have convinced themselves that they are Poker Masters. They enjoy the game profusely and brag loudly about their mild wins. They are too proud and arrogant to know when to hold ‘em or fold ‘em. They always play till they have nothing left. Always embarrassed by losing they resort to accusations to hold up their pride. They play to win, it’s not about the prize. Bragging rights. They love the game and will attend every gathering possible to try their odds. They play poker with multiple groups. A love of the game. 

The Duds: who really do not know how to play poker. They think they know the game but from every game played before it is clear that they don’t “get it”. If they have ever won it is out of pure luck. When they play they are playing for keeps but make a lot of novice mistakes. It seems that they play with their heart more than their head. They do not play smart. They seem to enjoy the game but play because they need to win. They never just want to win. 

 The Bored: hate poker, they don’t care about the prize, the people, they just show up out of boredom. They never win because they don’t try. It’s suspected that they would try if the prize was alluring to them. They are a part of the group but rarely attend the gatherings. Doesn’t seem to be their thing. 

 The game begins. The stakes are high. Shifting, watching, and evaluating their hands. Each card flipped adds noticeable tension at the table. Each player shows discomfort as their neighbor produces their respective hand. Silence. Listening for the pin to drop. It sounds like a hammer. With each card laid on the table it feels like a knife in the back. Flush face. Panic. Uncertain outcome. Winner is nervous as the table stirs. 

 "The strong point in poker is never to lose your temper, either with those you are playing with or, more particularly, with the cards. There is no sympathy in poker. Always keep cool. If you lose your head you will lose all your chips." (William J. Florence) 

 This round is over but, as always, they intend to play again. They are, after all, friends and the chips never left the table.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Return of Saturn

All I wanted was the simple things, a simple kind of life
I am going to argue that Return of Saturn is the best No Doubt album. Man, I have missed No Doubt for sure. I kind of stopped listening to them for a while because I found it impossible to heal a broken heart. All kinds of things can break your heart. "Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable" - Wizard of Oz I guess we could say I don't 'play' friends well. I keep incredibly busy for a lot of reasons, which we will get into in a moment, and I don't find time to be a constant in my friends lives. The formative friendships from childhood turned out nightmare-ish and therefore the importance of it failed to download in my brain. I love having a few close friends but I'm better at contacting each other periodically and catching up. Following each other on Facebook is also something I like. Weekly emails are fantastic. This is me. When I made time to call friends often I wasn't being honest about what was going on in my life. I didn't lie, I just chose not to talk about everything. Hell, when my high school sweetheart and I broke up after 4 years of dating I didn't tell my best friend (at the time) for 3 months. I didn't want to talk about it, I wanted to get past it. It was too raw to explore with someone else at that time. Crying in the closet and video games were my emotional outlets. Years of therapy, I haven't changed. I still refuse to air my dirty laundry with those closest to me. Skeletons in the closet. I like to keep a lot of me to myself. Big glacier here (hey, that would be a great scree name glacier-something-with-number-attached). I keep myself incredibly busy so that I don't have to deal with my emotions. I haven't had a bad life. Ive been amazingly blessed. I have had a handful of not-so-cool sucker punches. But really, who hasn't? Mine have just been the therapy type. Ive made a lot of mistakes. I have pushed a lot of good people away. I have kept unhealthy people around for longer than I wish to admit. I haven't paid close enough attention to myself or my heart. I have spent too much time in survival mode instead of life mode. I run from a lot of what I need. I dabble in potential emotional landmines.I am a workaholic. I hate drama but seem to seek out dramatic situations (not cause them but try to fix things around me but never me). I am my own worst enemy. I am taking a moment to rediscover myself now, at almost 30. Discovering yourself should be an ongoing process but I am forced to stop and listen now. Before the next stage of life I need to know how I feel, what I want, and how I plan to get there. You do everything the right way, according to the demands your parent put on you. You believe that this is what will provide the best life, the most successful life. But what is that? What does that look like? No one knows because its never been completely defined. Just some things I have been munching on. XoXo! M -Every time I click preview there are no paragraphs which I definitely put in. Urgh, oh well. You get the idea.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fresh paint anyone?

We moved!
We are now Maryland residents. You wouldn’t think there would be a big difference between Virginia and Maryland but I think there is. So far so good though. We have really enjoyed our new place for the most part. There have been some hiccups here and there; the dishwasher needs replaced, the upstairs bathroom is more outdated then I remembered, we didn’t realize there was no microwave when we moved in, it needs a good paint job, etc. But the boxes are all in and have seemingly vomited our stuff all over the place. We are not the king and queen of organization so needless to say our place is a bit of a mess and will be until we have our Organization Goddess stop by. We have even had others volunteer to help! We will be in good shape once we get help. We like it and so do our pet babies. More photos to come. XoXo!

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's legal to lie but I choose not to.

This whole Chick-fil-a thing has really struck a nerve with me. It is so drama packed and people have gotten so nasty over it. Let me start by stating that I am a Christian, the kind that reads the Bible but doesn’t believe that it’s my duty to chase others and beat them with it. I believe that Jesus asked us to love others and that judgment is not my job nor does he want to see me doing it. So, I do my very best to stay out of peoples business unless it directly affects me. I do believe what the word tells us but I also am also very careful not to listen to other peoples interpretations of the word. I trust that God will put on my heart what I need to be concerned with and what my convictions are. I am aware that the same verse can used to prove both sides of an argument and people use the Bible to support what they personally believe to be right or wrong and that is ok by me, as long as God placed that on your heart and it didn’t come from your personal opinions. I believe that God gave us freewill. By this I mean that he allows us to make our own decisions, good or bad, and expects that we will focus on our decisions and not others. I believe that God does want us to bring others to him but not out of condemnation but with love. We are to show others Gods love. We aren’t to immediately tell them what they are doing that God wouldn’t like but we are to show them Gods love. Bring them into our homes and churches and introduce them to this incredible love by introducing them to the Bible. They will read it and if they don’t then your life will be a testament. If they ask questions about God and the Bible or sin you go straight to the good book. Point out the sections that speak about what they are asking about and let God do his work. Your opinion does not matter because you have something better, THE BIBLE. Notice that the original Bibles did not come with footnotes. I don’t trust footnotes, they are only peoples interpretation and it shows lack of faith that God will move into your heart and head and help you understand. You know, I think it’s okay to have study partners and Bible study groups but it is to be looked at as a conversation. It is a forum to speak about what meant to you and how you felt about what you read, what God showed you this time. There have been times where I read the same verse weeks apart and it has shown me different things. I believe this is why the Bible will never be a one time read. Be careful what you read and who you listen to. Faith is not easy and it shouldn’t be. You should do more than just read the Bible but feel it as well. Feel Gods presence. I am a firm believer that all people were created equally by God. Therefore, I believe that all people must abide by the same laws, be afforded the same benefits, and given the same rights. What you do with them is your business (there’s that freewill thing). If you are unable to give everyone the same rights then no one should be given those rights. I do believe in a separation of church and state. Vote for what you believe in, you should. But segregating people or taking rights away from people is not what I read in the Bible. I suggest that we take the benefits away from the married; tax breaks, insurance benefits, etc because they aren’t given to everyone and not everyone is eligible. We should not need to inform the Government of our marriage status because it should not matter to them now that some are not given the rights to the benefits. Keep marriage in the church where it was developed and each church can determine if they choose to recognize the marriage or perform it. In the Bible divorce is not really an option so the rates will go way down and adultery is also a sin so we won’t have to worry about those things either since we will be following the Bible. You might be wondering about the assets that two people acquire when they share a life together. If people choose to separate or simply not marry and just share a life together the courts will look at it like a business. Sign some kind of business contract at the beginning (a prenup of sorts) so that, if you part ways you will get what is owed to you. It’s really that simple. Or, you can just allow Gay marriage and give everyone the same rights. We will discontinue the phrase GAY MARRIAGE and just call it marriage. You will continue to follow the Bible, live your life well according to his word and love others. If you believe being Gay is a sin then you won’t get a “Gay Marriage” just like you don’t cheat, get drunk, steal, lie, judge, murder, divorce, ect. We will continue to love everyone and not (publicly) exclude them. Whether they pass gay marriage or not my faith will not change. My heart hurts that this has become a public exclusion and in some cases a witch hunt. I can promise we have gained zero new Christians in this ordeal. Sadly, this has not brought out the best in us Christians. Non-gay, non-Christians see this debate and want to steer clear of us because of how nasty and mean it’s gotten. What would Jesus do? I don’t think he would be standing in line at Chick-Fil-a. Even if he supported it he wouldn’t be standing in line, posting pictures of him wearing a Chick-Fil-a shirt, bragging. He would be acting, continuing to spread the word. This would not faze him. He would not be standing on this soapbox, this would never have been his style. Love More!! I pray for Equality. What is good for one must be good for all. XoXo! M