Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Riddance to 2008

Say so long to 2008, and good riddance. This was a tough year for Eastern Iowa.

We had a near record snowfall in the winter that shutdown my home town for too many weekends. (Read – it's hard to do business when the customer can't physically get to your store.)

Then in late May, a tornado all but wiped out Parkersburg. My wife knows the Methodist pastor there and we were gearing up to help them out. I'm afraid their plight has been all but forgotten after the floods. But not entirely – here is an excellent site that will tell you what happened that Spring day and how they are recovering.


Please don't forget these people.

Like I said, the Rev and I were gearing up to help out in Parkersburg when the rains came in June. And man did it rain. And then it rained some more. There was nowhere for the water to go but into the creeks and the streams and eventually into the Cedar River. On June 11th the river started to overflow. But it didn't stop raining. On the 12th we had an historic flood on our hands. And then it rained again. Finally on June 13th the river crested at 31 ½ feet. The Cedar River had risen to the highest level it have ever been in the recorded history of our city – and then it added a flood on top of that.

I posted a few times during those days and even was able to put up a few pictures so I don't need to say anymore. We are recovering and getting back in business. Downtown is coming back, albeit slowly. The Rev has been busy with coordinating - first clean up resources and now mission teams. This on top of her regular duties as a pastor in a large church. I guess what I am saying is that his has been a tough year.

My world has changed. I don't play much poker anymore. Partly because I just don't have the free time that I used to have – but also I guess my interests have changed. I see that this is happening to others as well. I used to be a “mod” on a poker website but the founder of that site grew tired of poker and it doesn't even exist anymore. I”m sure that on-line poker will still be a popular activity and I will play upon occasion but it just isn't a big part of my life anymore.

I'm not sure what the coming year will have in store for me. But I hope it is a little calmer and less disrupted than 2008. Here is hoping we can return to the normal chaos called life.

I will continue to post here and for now I will keep the name. I still think it fits as a brief description of a casual gathering place to tell the story of my life. And know as always that I bid you. . .


Friday, December 19, 2008

Wow - It's been too long

Wow. I see I haven't posted since just before we reopened. I guess you could say I have been busy.

Let me try to bring you up to date – at least the short version.

We did reopen August 2nd. Th first floor was vacant but at least it was clean and safe. We had a simple table where we could greet customers and then we asked them to go upstairs into the rest of the building. We had no elevator service to the upper floors for the first couple of weeks so my staff and our customers had to use the stairs. We all got some serious exercise.

We had a tremendous response to our reopening. I had my staff up on second floor discussing how we were going to be able to work the floors before we opened. About 10 minutes before opening time, I got a call from another manager who was stationed downstairs at the door. He said it was time – we had a crowd at the doors waiting to get in. It was amazing. Admittedly, many of those people were just wanting to see what had happened and how we were doing, but many people bought that day and many of the others have come back since that day.

That first month we ran our department with very limited resources. We had one computer for all three floors. That was the one on my desk. That is all we had to look up stock, check open orders, order what we had sold and all of the varied taskS involved with selling furniture and ordering it in so we could get it delivered.

We are still rebuilding but it gets better every day. The elevator is still finicky but works most of the time. We now have computers on all of the floors. And we have moved into about half of the first floor. Business has been encouraging. Despite the “downturn” in the economy, we have maintained our sales pace and are doing well.

It will be at least a year before we have recovered from the physical damage of the flood. We may never return to the basement. The rest of the first floor is still a work in progress. Our Operations Manager has done a wonderful job of getting us back in the game. The water didn't just destroy the basement and first floors – it also wiped out the phone system, the computer network, the elevators, all of the infrastructure systems that we tend to take for granted until we don't have them anymore.

There is so much to talk about and so many stories have come out of this experience. I wish now, that I had taken the time to document them but it just didn't happen. I will post some more as time permits.

This has been a tough year for many of us around here. I hope that 2009 brings us all better times. I wish you all a merry Christmas and as always . . .


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Re-opening Soon

We will be back in business soon at the store. I called my people and they were back yesterday and today. We have been tagging product and getting the store ready to reopen. The first floor won't be pretty but at least it will be clean and safe. But once you get upstairs the store will look good. Those floors (we have 5 floors) look as if nothing happened.

But just to give you an idea of what the first floor looks like - here is what is left of my office. (BTW, customers will NOT be allowed in this part of the building.)

That's right. I lost everything - right down to the studs. And it was just last summer that the boss remodeled the place. Oh well. Life goes on. I will be claiming a desk on second floor and getting back in the game soon. We would like to be open this weekend but I'm afraid there is still too much that will need to happen before we can invite customers back into the store. Next weekend is more likely.

These are busy times in the Sunbob home but for those that can find it -

I bid you PEACE.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


It was a stormy night here in Iowa so I decided to join the Holdem Affair crew for a night of fun. Forty-two of us sat down to contest this weekly crown. And when the final cards were dealt it was MobeyandGoat with all the chips.He pushed Unionthug out of the match in a fine heads up contest. Bugman22j finished third. Gjones and Big lar8 finished out the money table. Wkmistress7 joined us for the first time tonight and finshed on the bubble to introduce herself to the Holdem Affair crowd. With forty-two at the start, it was over two hours before we set the final table. Golfur2 was our bubble victim this week. That set up a final table that looked like this.

Mobeyandgoat = 12800
Sunbob = 9370
Unionthug = 7830
Bugman22j = 7705
Paradoxides = 7140
Gjones = 4550
Wkmistress7 = 4475
Daggit13 = 3295
Annieboom = 3265
Big lar8 = 2570

With the antes just 25 and the blinds 150/300, we really didn’t have a short stack. I guess Big lar8 was the closest to that. And yes folks, your writer was having a decent night. I actually had AK hold up a couple of times and set me up nicely going into the FT.

We danced around for the first orbit as the blinds increased to 200/400. I even succeeded in stealing a couple of blinds. Then on hand 14 – Paradoxides was UTG and raised to 1400. All folded to bugman22j in the bg blind who popped it to 4900 – Paradoxides made the call. The flop came 6d 4h 5h. Buggy pushed all 1830 inot the middle and Paradoxides was covered but called. Bugman22j turned over Kd KC nad paradoxides must have been reading the bluff because he caled with Ac Jd. No help for Paradoxides and he was gone in tenth place.

I was cruising along quite nicely here stealing some blinds and feeling good about my game. Then hand 15 came along and I looked down to see the two red aces. Time to chip up a little bit. Let’s hope I get some action. One fold and Unionthug just smooth calls. Two more folds and I raised it to 1200. I wanted to isolate thuggy but not run him off. That bet did the trick as all folded around to Unionthug who looked me up. Now how do I build this pot? The flop came Ks 5c Tc and Unionthug started the action with 3450. Well that answered my question. Unionthug was going to do it for me. That was over half his stack so I knew he would call any raise. . . but had he hit his set? I had Unionthug covered and knew he liked to play very aggressively. I decided he didn’t have a set so I made the simple raise and pulled him all-in. I was right. Unionthug turned over As Jh to show his semi-bluff with the gut shot straight draw. I had him. The Th on the turn was no help and now Unionthug was looking for one of the four queens to complete his straight. 91 times out of 100 hands, I win this and Unionthug is on the rail. But not this time. The Qd showed her fickle face on the river and I was mortally wounded. Unionthug was our new chip leader.

I laid low for awhile, waiting for a chance to steal. In the mean time we got to hand 18 – Annieboom was short with only 1490 and posting the 400 big blind. Mobeyandgoat raised to 1300 and annieboom pushed it all in. Annie had pushed with Ah 3h but Mobeyandgoat had pocket kings. Actually Annie is just a 67/33 dog in this situation, still not bad. But now ace came along to bail her out and annieboom was our ninth place finisher.

I stole the blinds on hands 22, 25 and 26 but the blinds were now 300/600 and the 75 ante was eating me up. Then I stole another pot on hand 34 and again on hand 36. I was up to 6990 going into hand 37 but I guess I was tilting a bit because I felt that I was short stacked. I pushed one to many times – this time with Ks Js from the small blind when all folded to me. Mobeyandgoat pushed all-in. I read it as a re-steal and made the call. Oops – Mobeyandgoat showed me his Ah Jh. He caught an ace on the flop and I was done for the night. Eighth place was all I could muster this week.

That put Mobeyandgoat back into the chip lead. The very next hand Big lar8 sent Daggit13 packing when he flopped trip fives to better Dagitt’s pocket eights.

We were down to six now and paying five so it was bubble time. But the bubble action was brief this week. Just three hands. Hand 41 and Unionthug raised UTG to 1200. Wkmistress7 made the call from the big blind. The flop was Ac Tc Kh. Mistress bet 600 and thuggy took her all-in with his raise. Wkmistress7 had As 6d for top pair, but Unionthug had Ah Td for two pair. Another ten on the river and Wkmistress7 was gone. This was the first Holdem Affair for Wkmistress7 and she showed us that she belonged here. A very nice lady with more than a little bit of game.

Hand 50 saw Mobeyandgoat push and big lar8 look him up. Big lar8 had made the right call. He figured Mobeyandgoat was making a play and he was correct. Mobeyandgoat turn over 7c 9s. Big lar8 showed Jh Jd. The flop came 8s Qd As and the turn was the 4s. It looked like Lar8 was good this hand. But the river brought the Qs to give Mobeyandgoat the flush and Big lar8 was out in 5th place.

We danced for 20 hands until hand 71. Antes now 100 and the blinds 400/800. Unionthug raised to 3200 UTG and gjones bumped him to 17600. Unionthug rose to the challenge to take him all-in. Unionthug had Ac Qc and gjones held Kd Ks. No help for either on the flop but the As on the turn gave Unionthug the hand. Gjones had to settle for fourth place this week.

Just a few hands later and we are seeing big action again. Hand 77 saw Mobeyandgoat raise to 2700 and bugman22j made the call. The flop came 3s 5h 9c and Mobey bet 800 – bugman pushed his last 1660 into the middle and Mobey called. Bugman22j must have figured neither had hit on the flop because he turned over Ah 6s. He was right but didn’t count on Mobeyandgoat with pocket tens. The tens held up and we had our heads up match.

They went into the match basically even. Unionthug had a slight lead but it wasn’t much. We had two very aggressive payers here so we were settling to see the fireworks. Just seven hands in they were down to the felt. Mobeyandgoat with Th Kc and Unionthug with As 9c. The flop was 9s 8h 6h strengthening Unionthug’s lead. The turn was the Qd and now the only hope for Mobey was the double gut shot draw. That was enough as the Js bobbed to the surface on the river and basically decided the match for Mobeyandgoat. It only took Mobey two more hands to mop up and we had a new winner for Holdem Affair.

It was a great match. Welcome to the new people. It is always nice to see new names at the tables. And it is always a pleasure to sit down with old friends on a Saturday night. Holdem Affair is more than just the oldest private tournament on UB – it is also the best.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I found a video

I think now it was a mistake because it just depresses me but I wandered over to YouTube to see if they had any footage of the flood. Of course they had a bunch of it. I found this one which I thought was quite good. It also shows our store very clearly at 30 seconds in.

Yes that is our store in the middle of the river.

This city is going to recover. It is amazing the response from the community. Our store will be back and we will see people again in that store that you see on the video.

Got to go. But I wish you peace.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We are back in the Warehouse


We are back in the warehouse. The switch was thrown to put us back on the power grid on Monday and we are at least back in the delivery game. We can now deliver some furniture and we will start to receive shipments next week. Our trucks were damaged in the flood so we have replacements for now. Our trucks should be back next week as well. I can't wait for our name to get back on the streets.

This is our Finance Department. I have them set up in a room at the warehouse for now. That stack on the floor are contracts that they are trying to salvage. The whole department was underwater. The data was on the servers which were safe but the hard copies are a mess.

I'm not an IT guy but I have been recruited to maintain the "network" of stations during this recovery. I will be glad when my world gets back onto my normal job description and not that line that says. . . "Other duties as assigned."

I think that is a light that I see at the end of this tunnel.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunbob In The End

Twenty-four players sat down this week to join in the fun we call Holdem Affair. I was a late arrival, slipping in as the tables were being seated but I was able to make it this week. And I’m glad I did because the crew was kind enough to let me win this week.

It took one hour and thirty-eight minutes to pare this group down to the final ten. Here is your final table as it was seated:
Bugman22j = 8200
Jillymae = 6880
Ghoundai = 4985
Msrinny02 = 4075
Spideytwo = 2850
Sunbob = 2225
Rshocker = 2000
Nutty = 1760
ThreesRWild = 1760
Marti = 1265

With the blinds 100/200 you can see that at least half the table was in rough shape. But this wasn’t one of those nights where we see people falling in the first orbit.

It was hand 15 before we saw our first exit. ThreesRWild pushed with 1535 and got two callers, Ghoundai and bugman22j. The flop came Kc Jh 6s and bugman22j pushed to force out Ghoundai. Bugman22j showed big slick and had hit top pair. TRW held pocket eights. The kings held up and ThreesRWild wished everyone a good night.

Marti was our next casualty. Hand 22 and Marti was down to only 645. Kc Jd is good enough to make a stand – and msrinny02 looked her up with Qd Jc. But the Qh on the flop was the deciding card and sent Marti to the rail to kibitz.

Jillymae met her Waterloo on hand 26. Only 840 chips as the stacks got thin and Kc 9c had to be good enough. But msrinny02 again was the meanie. Ac Js does well against a strong king and it held form this hand when the Ah fell on the flop. Jillymae had to settle for eighth place this week.

Hand 32 was a shocker as bugman22j raised to 600 only to have rshocker push for 3100. Buggy thought about it for a moment then made the call. Bugman22j turned over Ah Jd and rshocker proudly displayed his Kh Kc. The race was on. The flop brought 3d Tc Th and rshocker was looking good. But the As came around the bend on the next card and rshocker was toast.

Now we were down to only six. Nutty was short with 1110 and I wasn’t much better with only 1975. With blinds 150/300 and the 25 ante to boot, we were in deep trouble. But I doubled up off Ghoundai on hand 38 when my pocket nines bested his Ac Td. Then a big blind special on hand 51 strengthened my stack when my 3d 4d flopped two pair.

Hand 78 saw spideytwo double up off Ghoundai when his pocket deuces actually held up against Ghoundai with the over cards. That hurt Ghoundai leaving him with just 710 chips.

Hand 80 was a wild one. Ghoundai pushed and spideytwo re-raised to 5430. All folded to nutty who jumped in as well. Nutty had made an interesting play with a suited 65. Ghoundai had pushed with Qh 7h and spideytwo held the powerhouse 8s 8d. The board finished with 9h 2s Qc 7d Js giving Ghoundai queens and sevens, knocked out nutty and Ghoundai was now back in the game.

Then disaster struck for Ghoundai on hand 83. msrinny02 woke up with a simple raise to 800 and Ghoundai called to see the flop fall Qc 9h 4d. Both checked to see the turn 6c. Ghoundai bet only 400 and msrinny02 went along for the river 9c. Now Ghoundai pushed repping the flush I’m sure. But Rinny held Kc 7c and thought nothing of making the call. Ghoundai got caught in his own trap and was done in fifth place.

We were down to the bubble, paying only three with the small field. Msrinny02 was now our chip leader with 1045. Sunbob was second with 9510, spideytwo 8190 and bugman22j with 7895. We danced and sparred as is often the case on the bubble. I stole a few blinds and by hand 100 I was in the chip lead.

The tango party spirit was finally broken on hand 138. Three of us saw the cheap flop fall Qh As 8s. msrinny02 bet 2800 and I raised to 11200. Rinny immediately pushed the rest of her stack to make the call. Rinny showed Ad Td for top pair but I held another big blind special – 8h Qd for a flopped two pair. No more help for msrinny02 and she was done. We had our money table.

And I had a very dominant chip stack now. I wish I could say that it was just mop up now but that just wasn’t the case.

I did take out bugman22j on hand 141 when my pocket deuces held up against his Qh Ts. Good game bugman.

The heads up match went 47 hands. When we went into the battle I had a 27 to 8 chip advantage but that didn’t last long. I knew going in that S2 was a formidable HEADS UP opponent and by hand 173 he held the chip lead. But I slowly chipped away at that lead so that by hand 187 I had almost reeled him back in. I snuck into the chip lead on hand 188 and had spideytwo covered when we were dealt hand 189. Spideytwo raised to 2400 and I held pocket fours so I pushed. S2 held Ks Qh and made the call. Time to race. The race ended on the flop when it came Jc 7h 4s giving me the set, I thought. But the turn was the 9c and spidey had a gut shot straight draw. The river was the 2d and I was the winner.

It was another great night for the Holdem Affair. Thank you for the opportunity to get away from my working world. As most of you know, we are recovering from a major flood and my world has been consumed by the effort.

I hope I will be able to join you all next week. The diversion is very helpful to me. I hope the rest of you have fun as well.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

ManBearPig From Start to Finish

ManBearPig From Start to Finish.

It was a small group this week. Only twenty sat down to contest the Holdem Affair. But it was many of the regulars so the competition was fierce. Sort like how the WSOP must have been before the world discovered poker and it ballooned to needing three days to play the first round. ManBearPig jumped out to an early lead and was in the front the whole evening.

We were half way through the second hour and on the 106th hand on table #2. The blinds were 75/150 and we were dealing hand by hand. Eleven left and fighting to make the final table. Two folds and MBP limped. Marti raised to 300 and MBP made the call along with ThePokerWolf The flop came 4h 5c 3c. Wolf checked, MBP bet 975 and Marti pushed all of her 1425. What in the world did she see in that flop? Wolf folded but MBP made the call. Marti showed her pocket aces and now we knew what she saw in that flop. MBP turned over pocket sevens and we could see his reason for calling but knew he was behind. His only hope was another seven or a six for the gut shot straight. The turn came and there it was – the 6d. MBP had taken it in the belly and Marti was gone. Off to the final table we go.

Here is your table:
ManBearPig = 6335
ThePokerWolf = 4525
Verdoy = 3660
Bugman22j = 2885
Stevob19 = 2825
Burdog44 = 2100
DrippinDodger = 1440
Msrinny02 = 1345
Sunbob = 1320

It was hand 16 when Stevob19 min-raised to 400 and MBP re-raised to 1500. Stevob19 was all-in with his call. Steve showed Qs Js and MBP turned over Ac Qc. The king high board missed them both and MBP has his first final table victim. It would be his last.

We sparred to hand 37. The blinds made it up to 150/300 and I had actually climbed up to fourth place. This time four folds to MBP and he raised to 1050. Two more folds and bugman22j stepped up and pushed. MBP called and turned over Th Td. Buggy showed his A J suited in hearts. The flop came king high and all in clubs. Not the suit for either of them. The Tc gave MBP his set and bugman’s only hope now was another club for the split. But the river was the Kh and bugman22j was our ninth place finisher. MBP had claimed another.

We danced for 17 more hands and watched as the 25 ante kicked in. Then hand 56 we watched as MBP folded and Hazy Cat pushed the last 1060 into the middle. Burldog44 was the only one to rise to the challenge. Hazy Cat held Qc Jd and Burldog fired back with Big Slick in clubs. The 9d 4h 8s flop gave Hazy a gut shot straight draw but the 8h turned and the river brought the 8d. Hazy Cat wondered off to the rail in eighth place.

Just 9 hands later, hand 65 saw Verdoy follow three folds with a push of 585. All folded to me in the big blind. I had already posted 300 so I only needed to call 285. But I held Kd 3d. Well, I figured since it wasn’t even a full bet to call and after all I was suited – I had to make the call. Verdoy showed a pair of fives and the race was on. The flop came 2c 2h Td and it wasn’t looking good for this poor blogger. But the Kc came to my defense on the turn and prevailed to send Verdoy off in 7th place. That boosted me into 3rd place out of six.

For the next 15 hands, ThePokerWolf and I were actually reeling in MBP and making a game of it. Then disaster struck on hand 80. MBP opened for 1200 and I looked at my cards to see two beards starting back at me. The Ks and Kd had come to join me. Okay, what do I do? Many people in this situation like to smooth call and push a non-ace flop. Others recommend a push in this situation. With 17 bets in my 5070 stack I was not desperate. I had a bit of room to play post flop. But MBP had been calling pushes and I thought I had him this time, so I put it all into the middle. And I was right, ManBearPig did call and I did have him. He showed us the pair of ladies he had fallen in love with – Qc Qh. I finally had trapped him. I thought. After all I was an 81/19 favorite. But poker is a five card game. The flop came Ts 5c 5s and my odds went up to 92/8. He had only 2 cards to help him. So what turns up? The queen of diamonds. I was done for the night in 6th place and MBP had claimed another victim. More importantly, MBP now had nearly half the chips in play.

Just two hands later MBP eliminated msrinny02 when he called her desperation push with only Th 9d. The Tc 3d Td flop gave him trips that turned into a boat on the turn. Msrinny02 had to settle for 5th place.

Hand 84 and drippinDodger had a big blind special come his way when he saw the cheap flop hit him hard Ts Kd 3h to go with his Ks Jd. MBP played him like a fiddle as he lured dodger all-in and then he turned over pocket threes. MBP had flopped a set. MBP hung another scalp on the rail and drippinDodger was bubble boy this week.

MBP now has more chips than ThePokerWolf and burldog44 combined. It was really just mop up now. Burldog44 went down on hand 92 when MBP held Ah 2h and it turned into a flush.

ThePokerWolf had managed to stay free of MBP and his opponent eating ways but it only took nine hands to bring his end. Hand 101 saw another example to prove that this really was the night for MBP. Wolf had Ah Qd and MBP held Kc Th. The flop 8h Jh Ad gave wolf top pair but the Qs on the turn completed the straight and the night for MBP.

ManBearPig took out eight of the last ten opponents. It was clearly his night. But don’t just think that was all luck. We all know it takes a little luck to win the Holdem Affair. We see it every week. But it also takes skill to turn it into the win. That was ManBearPig tonight. Well played.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Pictures

These are the windows along First Street. This is down stream so this is where most of the water left the store.
This is a shot of the Third Ave side facing into the main flow of the river. These were all traditional display windows full of furniture and appliances. As you can see, it is all gone. This is where the river came into the store. It has scrubbed this area clean. It even took off the wallpaper.
This is a shot of the main, first floor showroom. This room displayed furniture, televisions and appliances. You can see in the back, the elevator door and the door to the stairs to go up to the other floors. There used to be a reception desk in this area where we greeted customers. That desk is now in the carpet department. In the very back, off to the upper left corner of the screen, is my office. You can just see a corner of the door. That door is swollen shut. I can't yet get into my office. What is interesting, though, is that the display of china, right outside my door is undisturbed and the china is still on the shelves.
I mentioned earlier that some of our stuff was seen floating away during the flood. This shot was taken in front of the library about three blocks away. It looks like a couple of our rugs took out a street sign.
This is further down, in front of the main library entrance. That is a sleeper that got caught by something. Carol wanted to know how I could be sure this came from our store. That actually is pretty easy to confirm, our SKU is written on the bottom.

Now the clean up begins in Cedar Rapids but let's not forget that the crisis is just moving down stream. This water didn't go away, it just moved on. Eventually this water goes into the Iowa River and then the Mississippi River. There will be flooding all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Let's not forget about those people. Our crisis is over. Now it is just a lot of work. Keep those other towns full of people in your prayers as this destruction moves on.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I went to the store today

Well, the river has returned to it's banks and we could go in to see our store today. That is actually much quicker than expected. I didn't expect to be able to get in until Thursday or Friday.

Here is a general picture of the store. You might be able to see that the first floor display windows are blown out. If you double click the photo it will load the full size image and you can get more detail.

Here is a picture of a part of our first floor showroom. This area used to display furniture, televisions and appliances. Beware opening this photo it is rather large but I think worth it if you have high speed access.

We got up into the upper floors and from second floor on up it is completely clean. It looks like nothing happened. That is good as most of my furniture was on these floors.

We are going to come back from this. It will take some time and it will be a rough summer but we will return.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another shot of the store

This is about the best picture I can find of the store where I work. It is in the lower right quadrant of the picture, right along that stretch of water that used to be a beautiful river. It is the red brick building with two levels. Just to the the left of the white structure with the circular piece over the river. That, btw, is a parking ramp.

This picture was taken yesterday, Friday at the height of the crest. The river finally crested at 31'. The highest it had ever been before was in 1929 when it got to 20'. As you can see, the store is surrounded by water - literally "in the river". The first floor is flooded. This was a traditional, downtown store with windows displays all the way around. We still can't get within 4 blocks of the store today but it appears that many of the windows have been broken and aerial footage showed at least one sofa, a sectional and a refrigerator floating away from the store and downstream.

They say we won't be able to get in until sometime next week to see what we have left. We shall see then what we do next.


Friday, June 13, 2008

We have hit the crest

We have hit the top. It appears the river has crested and it is starting to recede. Looks like the crest was finally 31.12'. That is way over the historic crest of 20' and even significantly over the 23' - 24' that we were expecting when we left work on Wednesday.

This picture is a section of First St. just two blocks downstream from our store. I can't find a better picture and of course I can't get anywhere near our store to take my own picture. The "silo" shaped building is the Science Station, right on the river. The tall building (upper left) is the Ground Transportation Center and the building to the right is the Library.

It looks like it will be a week or more before we will be able to get into that area and reenter our buildings. We shall see.

As always and today even more so, I wish you all


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Aerial View of Downtown CR - Thursday 6/12/08

Thanks to the Associated Press for this aerial shot of the river. Just to give you an idea of what is going on. In the middle of the river is Mays Island. From right to left is the jail and the Linn County Courthouse, then the break in the buildings is Third Ave. Those two faint lines going to the right is the bridge that I showed in the earlier shot. As you go up and to the right (or over the bridge from the courthouse) is my store.

As I post this the level is reported at 29'. We are expected to crest tomorrow at 32'. To give you a better appreciation for what is happening - flood stage is 12'. The historic crest (the highest level ever before recorded) was 20'. We were preparing for a crest of 23 - 24'.

This has already exceeded what is referred to as a "500 year flood". They don't post flooding projections for greater than that. I listened to a radio interview with a trainer from the Duane Arnold Nuclear Energy plant near here talking about how he trains for "worst case" scenarios all the time. Nuclear plants are always training for what to do in disaster situations. He was saying that if he went into one of those training sessions proposing they consider a scenario 60% greater than ever before seen he would be called outrageous. No one had considered that something like this could ever happen.

We really don't know what to expect. It rained another 5" today in Linn County. In addition to this river flooding we have flash flooding of the streams and creeks because of the rain and there is nowhere for the rain to go.

I have to commend the city and the utility companies. 100 blocks of the city are flooded. The jail, City Hall, and the utility company buildings have all had to be evacuated and yet the city is functioning. Outside of the flooded areas we have electricity, we have police protection and we have a life. And no one has died because of this disaster. That is simply amazing to me.

We just have to wait now for the waters to recede so we can go back in and see what we have. That will probably take a week. The river is projected to still be over 20' through next Wednesday.


Thursday and the water is higher

It is Thursday at 1:10 PM and the water is still coming up. It isn't supposed to crest until tomorrow but that prediction was from yesterday and it is raining right now all over Eastern Iowa. Who knows when this will end.

Here are two more photos from this morning. The first is of that bridge that I showed you yesterday. The water was just getting up to the bottom of the deck. Well when the sun rose this morning we could see that the river is now flowing over the bridge.
The second picture is even more telling. This was taken in the middle of the next block from my store. Behind the camera is my store and then the Cedar River. We can't get to the store without a boat now. I took these pictures from the local newspaper's site. I wish I could get a shot of the store where I work. I saw an aerial shot of it on TV and it is now "in the river". We were concerned yesterday that the flooding would get into the basement. Well folks, the water is right now, a good three feet high in the first floor. I'll try to find a picture of that and post it if I can. I guess I am out of business for awhile. Who knows what we will find when the waters recede and we can get back into the store. My office is on the first floor. I imagine my desk is flooded and my computer is under water. The blizzard of papers on my desk is probably now just a soggy mess.
Thank God that no one from our staff has been injured and we are all safe for now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's a little wet here in Iowa.

I wasn't scheduled to work today but figured I should go in to make sure everything was okay. I knew the river was high but we had this very high flood wall behind the store that was supposed to protect us. . . . Isn't that a pretty wall on the other side of that flooded alley?

I took that second picture off our back dock facing toward the river.

The first picture is of the bridge right next to the store. Yes, the water is right up to the underside of the deck. And the river isn't expected to crest until Friday morning. This might get messy.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Thunder3 Showed Me How It Was Done

Well, if there is anyone still reading this blog - let's celebrate another great night of tournament poker. I know I haven't been posting for way too long. I haven't been playing much, though, either. But this week I was able to sit down and join the HA family at the tables.

What a great night. I really have to figure out how to get back into this habit again. Thunder3 showed us how to close out a tournament. He knocked out four of the last five opponents to sweep the final table clean and take the victory. He sent Azale packing in 6th place. Then SuperrSam helped him out sending Daggit to the rail. That put us on the bubble since we were only paying 3 tonight with a field of twenty-nine. I was bubbleboy tonight when twice I went up against Thunder3 only to see him turn over a pocket pair both times. Marti finished third and SuperrSam was the heads up foil. Great game Thunder3.

It was nearly 2 hours in when we finally seated the final table. And here are your finalists:
  1. Daggit13 is at seat 9 with 8125.
  2. SuperrSam is at seat 5 with 5825.
  3. Tai_pan is at seat 4 with 5455.
  4. SMOKIN HOT 38 is at seat 3 with 5150.
  5. Sunbob is at seat 8 with 4415.
  6. thunder3 is at seat 1 with 4280.
  7. takechances is at seat 2 with 3685.
  8. slick63 is at seat 0 with 2900.
  9. Azale is at seat 7 with 2820.
  10. marti is at seat 6 with 845.

With the blinds 150/300, Marti is the only one that is really short stacked. And, as we all know, Marti is NEVER short stacked. Just watch what happens at this final table.

Marti doubled up off Azale on just the second hand. 1390 is getting her in the game.

Hand 7 - Thunder3 took out slick63 when slick had to push with Ad 4d and thunder called with Kd Jd. It looked good for slick but thunder rivered a king and slick was done for the night.

Marti pulled in a couple more small pots and by the time the antes kicked in she had 2240.

Hand 13 - Five see the cheap flop fall 9s 3c 4h. With three checks ahead, takechances bet 1725. Three folds and thunder raises to take him all-in. Takechances called and showed us he lives up to his name when he turned over Th Qd to reveal a bluff with a tenuous backdoor straight draw and two over cards. Thunder turned over his pocket threes to reveal he had flopped a set. Takechances missed and was on the rail early in 9th place.

Hand 18 - Azale doubled up off me when I made a very foolish call of the all-in push holding just Kc Jc. Azale turned over Ah Qd and that was good enough to take a big chunk out of my stack.

But hand 21 gave me a big blind special when my 4s 8d turned into two pair and a 4000 chip pot replenished my stack.

Marti was getting blinded down but doubled up on hand 23 and then again with big slick on the very next hand. Now she's sitting with 3540 and climbing the ladder.

Hand 26 was huge. Tai pan was in third place and had been contending strongly all night. With all folds to Tai in the small blind - he raised to 800. SuperrSam re-raised to 2800. Tai-pan pushed back and took Sam all-in. Sam turned over Ac Qd and Tai pan showed Jd Js. Looks like a race. But this race was over quicker than this year's Preakness when the flop came Qs Qh As. Nothing like flopping a full house to make a guy feel good.

That all but killed Tai pn and he was out two hands later when his 98 suited connectors failed to crack Marti's big slick. Tai pan finished 8th this week.

That hand moved Marti into fifth place and 5 hands later she rode pocket tens into fourth place at the table. A nice little pot on hand 35 and Marti is firmly in third place.

Hand 36 - Smokin Hot 38 is short with only 1450 and felt she had to push and take her chances with Kh Jh. But Azale looked her up with Ah Kd. The Kc on the flop was the deciding card and Smokin Hot 38 finished in 7th place.

At this point Marti announced that her goal was to make it to the bubble. Well, we will see about that.

We spared until hand 42 when I took a nice pot from Thunder and also the chip lead. The very next hand Marti took a big pot from Daggit13 and followed me up the ladder into second place. The leader board was getting turned on its head now.

With antes 75 and the blinds 300/600, even stealing the blinds was profitable now.

We swapped blinds for a few hands and by hand 54, Marti was our chip leader.

Hand 57 saw some serious action. Azale was down to 4450 and pushed from UTG +1 with Ac 5s. Thunder was the only caller but Ah Qc was good enough for the task. The board ended up 3h 2s Jh Tc 6c and the kickers were the deciding factors. Azale had to settle for 6th place tonight. Thunder3 vaulted into the chip lead with that hand. Little did anyone know at the time that the tournament was now decided and we were all just playing for the also rans from here on out.

Hand 65 and Daggit13 is on a very short 2475 stack. Kc Jh looks good enough in that spot to push, don't you think? Well, it might have been if you were acting first, but this time SupperrSam had pushed all of his 3535 into the middle and Daggit made the call. Ad 3d was the super hand and it held up when the board showed three deuces and little else. Daggit13 was gone in 5th place. Since we were paying three tonight, Marti had succeeded in making it to the bubble.

As we posted our antes for the bubble action on hand 66, Thunder3 had 16385; Sunbob had 10740; Marti had 8565; and SuperrSam had 7810. The antes were 100 and the blinds 400/800.

We danced around for awhile with the usual cautious bubble action and I even had the chip lead briefly by hand 80. Then hand 82, I looked down and saw As Qs in the small blind. Sam folded and Marti limped, so I limped along for the cheap flop but Thunder was in the bi blind and he had other ideas. He raised to 4700. Marti folded and I fell in love with that strong suited ace. Now remember, I have thunder covered. I am the chip leader here so I threw my weight around and pushed it all-in. I was hoping Thunder was on a steal or maybe had a weaker ace and he would go away or I would at least be ahead if he called. But Noooooooooooo - he held pocket sixes and he will call with such a hand. And he did. Oh well, I'm only a 52/48 dog. Looks like a race to enter. But the table ended Ts 3s 2h 8c 5h and I was on life support now. Thunder3 was now an overwhelming chip leader.

I doubled up with Ac 7s on hand 85 when I rivered a flush of all things. But hand 86 I tried to push Jd 9s and ran into Thunder again with a pocket pair - sevens this time. Well this time I was 56/43 under and the race was on again. And again I came up short. I had gone from chip leader on the bubble to bubbleboy in just six quick hands. Yes, dear reader, as I have said so many times, this is a cruel, cruel game.

Marti had not only climbed the final table leader board from super short to the bubble, she had made it into the money tonight. WTG, Marti.

Hand 92 saw Marti end her night when SuperSam chased her down. All-in preflop with Marti showing Ah Ts and Sam holding Ac 8d. Marti was a 66/23 favorite on this hand but that 23% does happen and Sam filled his four card flush to send our hostess packing.

The heads up match was quick. With a 30 to 13 stack differential it was a tall order to expect SuperrSam to end Thunder's night and it just wasn't meant to be. Thunder3 too just three hands to decide this tournament and claim the victory.

As I said, it was a great night.