Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stupid New Year's Resolution Time!

Well, it was hit and miss with my resolutions last year. The hit was pretty big. Not only did I swear off Diet Coke for the month of January, I went without for the entire year (other than that one accidental slip-up at Mastodon when SOMEONE (*ahem* HEATHER) gave me a sip of her drink and only afterward told me it had Diet Coke in it. I'm not counting this.

I didn't do so good in the gym, however. I never quite got 30 workouts in 31 days. Didn't even come close, in fact. The best I could muster was losing 13 pounds in September for a weight loss challenge at work. In my defense (there's always an excuse, right?), I changed jobs, moved to California, and took a new job that requires a 90 mile commute. There isn't a lot of time to work out.

But a new year is coming. I've settled into a routine of sorts, and I'm ready to try again. This time I think I can achieve the workout goal. Here's my plan - I'm going to run 365 miles in 2011. It should be attainable, right? Who can't go an average of 1 mile a day? My friend Laurie just cleared 1000 running miles in 2010 (awesome, BTW). Mine should be a piece of cake (mmm, cake). I have some additional motivators, not the least of which is the Mud Run at the end of April with the G-Vegas crew (seriously, are you building Mastodon around this?). I'd also like to run a couple other races, too. I did the Angel Island 12K last January and it was a blast. I'd like to do it again. I also wouldn't mind running at least a 5K every other month - I think I can get my time below 25 minutes. I'm also seriously planning on bringing my running shoes to the next #WPBT.

You'll be able to follow along on Facebook since I'm still using my CardioTracker. I'm motivated, psyched and ready to kick some ass. Who's with me?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Open Letter to the Green Bay Packers

Dear Packers,

I owe you an apology. But first, a little background.

I grew up in upstate New York and was born into a Giants family. I have fond memories of sitting between my dad and uncle while they screamed at the Giants on TV. LT (the real one, not that fake dude pretending to go by the same name) was my hero. I first became aware of the team around 1976 when they went 3 and 11. I didn't care. I even had a Larry Csonka helmet, despite him playing only three seasons with the team.

Then I was off to the Army. I floundered around, briefly trying to be a Bucs and Broncos fan. Despite living in Texas, I NEVER became a Cowboys fan (although I'm not ashamed to admit fantasizing about the cheerleaders a time or seven). I had a flash back to the Giants once again when, in 1991, they practiced at my alma mater in Tampa prior to dominating the Superbowl. Watching LT practice was a special privilege.

But when the Superbowl was over, I didn't have the same passion I once had. 1991 was the same year I graduated college and started med school. It's also the same year I met the future Mrs. Chako. She was a farm girl from your great state and, unlike me, kept her passion for the hapless Packers despite their pathetic record (they were 4 and 12, but I'm sure you knew that). Her passion became my passion and we spent many Sundays curled up on the couch watching a young Brett Favre fling that ball like a robot. I was hooked.

But then it happened. Brett left. Mrs. Chako was steadfast in her commitment to the Pack. I was not so sure. Do I follow the green or, like so many others, do I follow my hero? I am almost ashamed to admit that I followed Brett - first to the Jets and then to They Who Will Not Be Named. Conflict arose in the Chako household. Cuddling was no longer an option.

But now the iron man is done. Do I stay with the purple? Do I go back to the Giants? Or, if you'll have me, do I come back, hat in hand, to Green Bay?

So, my dear old Packers, will you have me back? I'm terribly sorry, and I really miss cuddling.

-Dr. Chako

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WPBT 2010 - Trip Report - Part Deux

The memories are fading fast, so you get some random thoughts before they're all gone:

I neglected to mention the actual best hand I played, but it was kindly pointed out to me by my victim, the lovely CKBWoP. Set vs. crub frush draw and I GOT THERE! Against CK. With crubs. Well, she did let me borrow the whistle several months ago and I don't recall giving it back.

One oversight - my foursome discussed reconvening in Colorado because we were stuck together all day and still managed to have fun. All like-minded fun seekers would be welcome on any future golf outing (which I suppose includes just about every member of the wpbt), but especially the intrepid souls who joined us on the golf excursion (yes, that includes you Katkin).

Here is what you've been waiting for - the hot girl-on-girl action. There was a lot of it. I often wonder, as people look forward to the wpbt, if they anticipate the possibility of seeing hot chicks making out as much as I do. It's like, "I love going to Vegas for wpbt. There's drinking and poker and good friends and we might get to see hot chicks making out!"* The fact that a lot of the making out usually happens in close proximity to me makes it even better. At one point, with two lovelies in my arms going at it right in front of me, I turned over my shoulder to the crowd and said, "This is for me!" I don't care if it wasn't true. In fact, I most certainly wasn't. The two couldn't care less that I was standing right there. I'm totally OK with that. For the details, you are just going to have to imagine it, or by me a few drinks and I'll do my best to describe it.**

I always enjoy meeting new faces and this time didn't disappoint. I wish I had more time to talk with Shelly, who is new to me but not new to wpbt. Next time we both bring our running shoes and actually use them! Wolfie and son were generous and kind. Lightening was hysterical with his advice seeking ("I have an issue with accounting and Ferrari's. Can you two (meaning The Wife and I) help me?").***

Grange is a special case (in more ways than one). I hope to see more of the big guy, and I know The Wife has a total crush. I'm trying not to be disappointed that of the two Chakos, The Wife is the one he finds more attractive. I take solace in the fact that since he has no fashion sense, he's probably not really gay. Doesn't anyone find me attractive, dammit?****

A few quick mentions and then I'll wrap this us. The amazing Peacecorn has been saying she had a gift for our boys for quite some time. I don't know how long she's been carrying this around but we finally got it - actual moon rocks! I cannot tell you how jazzed I am about this. You'll be pleased to know that when I showed my boys, they were more excited than you would believe. Totally cool.

Before the tournament started, Dr. Pauly gave me my trophy for winning the Turkey Cup 4.0. It was a bottle of The Glenlivit 15, Red Oak Reserve. I still haven't cracked it open, so if anyone finds themselves in the Bay Area, let me know. This is better enjoyed with company.

My tournament play was poor. Grubette had my number and picked on me constantly for the 1st 5 levels. She eventually crushered me when her AJ flopped trips and I turned a King with my AK. I hung on for a little while longer, but totally killed our last longer when Drizz took me out with his KQ vs my Presto. He got my bustout prize which was my Ferrari keychain. I'm serious dude. Bring it to California, and I'll toss you the keys. You'll have to give them back of course, but not before we enjoy some of the great twisty roads over here.

Lagasse Stadium was off the hook. The food was grand even if the service was a bit slow. The company was better. Cuddling on the couch with The Wife and CK, shooting the shit with Brad, Curtis, Falstaff, Katkin, etc. was the perfect denouement to the wpbt experience. And then it was time to go.

I have one final post about one of the best nights I ever spent in Vegas. Brad, Jeff, half of Gordon, Drizz, Al and I skipped Steel Panther for a trip to the Hard Rock and an amazing concert by the Black Crows. I'm not sure how to write it, but it deserves it's own page. Maybe one of the better scribes will do it first.



*Or, if you're like me, it's like, "I love going to Vegas for wpbt. There's hot chicks making out, and... some other stuff."

**I tried to write it, but as you've already figured out, I'm no scribe. After typing, "Their tongues intertwined like two snakes fighting for a bird egg," I simply gave up.

***I'm calling a penalty on myself for inappropriate and excessive use of parentheses and quotations in one sentence. See Asterisk #2.

****I know Kat finds me hot. I have no idea why, and believe me I'm not complaining. Still, when a gay guy finds you attractive, it's like a badge of honor. I'll just have to try harder.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WPBT 2010 - Trip Report

I just got back from my 2 hour commute from work and finished a lovely dinner cooked by The Wife, complete with a glass (or 4) of wine. I'm not up for an uber-post, but I wanted to get some Vegas highlights off my chest while they're still fresh.

Day 1:
  • Got a good laugh watching The Wife get felt up by the TSA agent. Her reaction when I asked if I could take pictures was priceless.
  • Dacia allowed me to get close to her ankles at MacCarran airport. She has no idea how dangerous that is (but I'll pull down your pants anytime you ask. Especially if you are wearing those killer heels).
  • Bungalow Suites at MGM are quite nice, even if your view is the airport.
  • Off to the IP. Saw a few bloggers, but only had eyes for Kat, who bypassed me to lock lips with The Wife. I got a great show before I got my turn. I must admit I was really looking forward to her classic greeting (all Canadians say hello like this, right?), and she didn't disappoint.
  • Then I got a tongue stuck in my ear. Unfortunately it belonged to Falstaff, but I gave the big lug a hug anyway. And I bought his books!
  • Poker was played. I finally got to the blogger table and really enjoyed beating up on civilians. I just missed the CaityCaity explosion. Don't know why she blew up, but it was epic.
  • My poker highlight happened right before I moved to the blogger table. I turn 2 pair and the river counterfits me, but I sense weakness so I move all in. The civilian snap calls and announces, "Straight!" But, he flips over queen-high and I drag the pot.
  • I tap Caity (who is right behind me) so I can have a witness to this nonsense, and the dealer quips, "Figures you know Caity."
  • I drank. A lot.
Day 2:
  • Slept late but got up in time for a wonderful breakfast with The Wife, Drizz and Kat. MGM buffet is adequate, but the company was perfect.
  • Golf was played. Golf was won. It helped that my partner Dr. Jeff is an 8 handicap and far more competitive than I, which is saying something. Seriously, who let the doctors play together without demanding strokes?
  • A secret weapon was deployed on the course, in the form of the cute beer cart wench delivering tequila and a six pack to Drizz in the foursome behind us. I noticed there were no more 300 yard bombs into us after that.
  • Our foursome was completed by Iggy and the newly wed Speaker. What great company. We made plans for a golf outing in Colorado with just the four of us. I hope it materializes, because it would be a helluva lotta fun.
  • Got to and from the MGM thanks to the overly generous F-Train who shuttled us both ways. Thanks, man. Sorry we didn't get to hang more, but the #Reidbill interpretation waits for no man.
  • Poker was played. The Wife and I were winners.
  • I drank. A lot.
More to come...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Ghost of WPBTs Past

I was reliving some fond memories of my first WPBT in 2005. My write up included this hand:

I pick up A23Q on the button and call $3 into a five way pot. The flop is K53 giving me the nut low draw. I call a $15 bet and three of us see the turn. It’s a 10 and it checks to me. I check and the river brings an 8. I have the nut low. The Mark bets $50. Drizz folds, and without knowing what I’m doing, I say, “pot.” The dealer (very sharp, BTW) says, “that’s $262.” Did anyone see my balls jump up into my throat? Geez, I hope not.

The Mark goes into the tank. I’m praying he has the high when he says, “I’ve got the nut low, I think I need to call.” Shit. All I have at this point is A-high. Even a pair of 2’s and I get ¼ of the pot. I just keep smiling. Finally, he calls and turns over…

***

I also found this great pic - still one of my favorites:



I can't wait for the stories and memories that will be created in a few days.

Oh, can go check out The Wife. I think she's also excited.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Hammer

In honor of our upcoming World Poker Blogger Tour event (my 5th!), and also because I just changed my Blogspot template and wanted to see what it looks like, I decided to chronicle a hand where I threw The Hammer. I can't stop thinking about it.

In the beginning of these WPBT events, the hammer was a bigger deal than it is now (although I suspect that will change with the new "hammer-throw bonus") but there was always one rule - play them like they're aces. I forgot that rule at the worst time.

It's Bay 101 and I'm playing 8/16 with a half-kill. I'm half way through my 3rd $200 buy-in when the rush kicked in. I'm pretty sure I've never had a rush like this before or since. I had to ask the lovely Asian chip runner to help me stack chips. I was in the zone. Before the carnage ended, I broke three players at the table and eventually cashed out over 12 racks.

Ah, but the one that got away haunts me.

It's a 12/24 kill pot. In late position with 3 limpers in front, I raise with 7-2 off suit. Since everyone was gunning for me, I was sure to get a bunch of callers, but instead I was re-raised by a fairly bad player to my left (we'll call him Moron #1). I hadn't seen this before from him, but he was on mega-tilt. The big blind caps and 5 or 6 of us see a flop of 9-8-2 rainbow. It checks to me and I bet. Moron #1 raises (and secretly I was applauding this because isolation is rarely done in this game), but of course it's capped before it gets to me and I come along. The turn is a 4 and it checks to me again. I have no idea what I'm up against, so I check again. Moron #1 checks (!) - the bastard. Button now bets and gets one fold, but I smell a rat, so I raise. Moron #1 tanks, but eventually calls. So does the button. The river is a queen. Button bets.

Here is where I failed. I flat called. (FLAT? Are you f-ing serious?!) Moron #1 tanks but calls as well.

I have a pair of 2s
Button has pocket 6s (and a massive pot)
Moron #1 has Ace-high

I am certain that if I raised the river, Moron #1 would have called and the button, a fairly good player, could not have over-called with his pocket 6s. After firing 8 small bets and 3 big bets at this pot, I couldn't bring myself to fire again when it mattered most. And I lost an almost $800 pot because of it.

Beware of hammer-throwing doctors in Vegas.

7 days.

PVC Pipe WIN

Many of you also waste your time with Fail Blog. Occasionally they have WINS. This is just such an example. Maybe this means more to me because I fancy myself a musician (perhaps entertainer would be a better moniker - I have only a modicum of talent). This combines real musical talent with invention.

And when I saw it, it only had 302 views. Get in early. You'll be able to say you saw it early after it's been seen millions of times.

Enjoy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Cup 4.0

Been a while since I had some poker content to contribute, but this was a good one. Like most of you, I had gotten the invite from Dr. Pauly to attend his Turkey Cup tournament on stars. I've never played it before (I don't think), and I really didn't intend to play it this time. I was vegging in front of the TV with the family when I realized it was 8:53 pm and I remembered the tournament started at 11:55 EST. This meant I had two minutes. I hadn't played on stars in quite a while, so I got the damned "You have new software to install" message. I figured I would miss the start time and I didn't know if I'd be allowed in late. When the software was finally up, I had to remember the login (duh), but I got my seat as the 2nd hand was being dealt. I was quite happy to see the good doctor seated at my table as well as the lovely Katitude. Kat was sitting out, but I assumed she was making a clever play to allow the regular donks to do what donks do and donk themselves out in order to allow the real poker players to start playing. What I didn't realize is that 1. her "play" was actually a nap that got out of control, and 2. It turns out that the "donk" I was referring to was me.

I don't remember exactly how the hand played out, but Pauly got me all-in on the turn with his QQ vs. my AJ and I spiked an ace on the river. I think the board was KKx, and I think I picked up straight and or flush draws on the turn, but I know I got my money in behind. I felt bad for knocking Pauly out of his own tournament, but I vowed to put his chips to good use.

I spent most of the tournament in the top 10, but there was a player I didn't recognize Shackedin05 (who I now follow on Twitter - @bloomey ) who was sitting on a pile of virtual chips. He was running over the table with massive pre-flop and turn bets. I vowed to stay out of his way, but eventually had to put up a stand and bluffed him off a pot with king-high. I showed it, but there is certainly a chance it was the best hand.

Only the final table got paid. Bubble boy was the unfortunate Joe Speaker, who chose to spend his bachelor party playing this tournament. His tweet about it was classic:

My first bachelor party, I puked in a San Diego alley. My second, I spent/lost $2.5K in Vegas. This seemed prudent.

I tightened up as the final table got underway. It got down to four of us, including last year's winner Derek. It was great seeing fellow scotch enthusiast Shane Nickerson go deep, and if I ever drift back to the Islays, I'll definitely look for an Ardbeg Corryvreckan as my next purchase.

Then is was time to shift gears and when we got heads up we were pretty close in chips - a fact pointed out by Dr. Pauly who stayed to rail the whole thing. I made a small adjustment to my preflop raises because Shackedin05 was showing a tendency to push all in with my 3x raise. He was a little too aggressive, so I felt if I was patient, I could capitalize. On the button I'm dealt QQ and I make a min-raise. He shoves with 33 and I insta-call. Amazingly it held up.


Thanks again to Dr. Pauly for hosting a great post-Thankgiving tournament with some great people. Now I have even more to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blogging Again

I have a lot of things on my mind, which is impressive given that I'm not prone to all that much introspection.

Life is pretty good here at Casa Chako. We had a wonderful birthday celebration for The Wife. The kids are happy. In fact, I just got back to the computer from reading a bedtime story for my youngest. He requested Narnia again and giggled at the Chapter 4 title, "Turkish Delight." We were just talking about what food we wanted for Thanksgiving and he was struck by the coincidence. Today I took the family (minus The Wife, who preferred a nap to the wonders of Harry Potter) to the movies and we had a great time, even though I ate too much popcorn. My run times are getting better. I did a short run out in Stockton before work the other day and averaged 7.2 miles per hour, which is pretty close to what I was running for my PT tests when I was back on active duty.

All that is to say that things are pretty good. I don't like a lot of strife in my life. Most strife around here is self inflicted anyway. The Ferrari discussions were well chronicled. Lots of strife there. The Ferrari troubles have been well documented - it's still in the shop BTW (I'll have a whole post on that soon). My back and right leg have been bothering me when I get back from my commute. 90 miles never used to bother me at all. I've taken a few bad beats at poker. Nothing to brag about, but a string of 2 and 3 outers gets old. I also have been feeling very creative lately, but have no outlet. I've picked up the guitar a few times in the last several days but put it right back down after strumming a few chords. Other than playing requests for my eldest at night, I don't play much anymore. Also, back to the Ferrari for a minute, there was that brief controversy about people who I thought were friends getting offended when they felt The Wife and I were either bragging or ungrateful for the success we've had in life. That bothered me a lot more than it should. I had these brief fantasies about totally shutting down, but I like too many of you to let a few naysayers get to me. I once heard that successful people could only have successful friends because everyone else just ends up being a drag (actually, it was that rich people could only have rich friends, but if I imply we're rich I'll get more detractors and The Wife will scream, "No we're not!").

I have never apologized for being who I am. I don't intend to start now. I'm a regular guy with regular daily triumphs and tribulations who happened to make a few good decisions about 25 years ago. I'm also the guy who's gonna hang with like-minded folks in Vegas in a few short weeks who don't judge and don't expect anything other than good conversation and good friendship.

You know what? Fuck it. Putting these thoughts here, as rambling as they are, gets things in perspective. Life's pretty damn good. So I raise this glass of Highland Park scotch in your general direction and toast to the good life. Cheers!

Mastodon Prep

I realize I should be talking about the upcoming WPBT, but we don't play darts there. We DO play darts at Mastodon. I've been hearing the Mastodon buzz ever since Otis discovered those fossilized Mastodons in Colorado. Who knew he was an archeologist as well as an awesome writer?

In any event, I've been watching this video in order to train for some epic darts matches. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vegas Trip Report - October 2010



I've thought on more than one occasion that I'd like to live in Las Vegas. There's plenty of upside, but there's a downside, too. Vegas is a destination city. The good news is that friends who might not visit you in Poughkeepsie will stop by regularly for the sin city experience. The bad news is that some of those friends don't get out of their constricted lives as parents, teachers, doctors, etc., and they may tend to overindulge when they get there. As the host, there is an expectation that you will obviously meet up and entertain on some level, but at what point can you back off? What if your friend goes over the top in making a fool of themselves? Are you expected to then take care of them? Can you simply shake your head and walk away? How about if they drink 5 shots of tequila before dinner, sample 7 different beers during dinner, and then throw it all up in a planter outside the Aria?

Not that any of that happened. This is just a hypothetical.

***

This trip was so I could attend a course put on by Dr. Stoller. He is a radiologist who wrote several of the textbooks I use every day in the practice of medicine. The course was fairly basic, but so well done that I came away with far more pearls of wisdom than I expected. Money well spent. I only nodded off once or twice during the two and a half days of lectures, but it's Vegas. It could have been much worse. It was held at the Wynn, which was extra good since they house a Ferrari dealership. It normally costs you $10 to go in and see the cars, but if you own a Ferrari, they let you right in. There's some amazing metal in there, including a $2 million (approx) Ferrari FXX, based on the Enzo. Strangely, other than the Ferrari, I own no Ferrari paraphernalia, but I rectified that situation.

The highlights of the trip were:

  • Seeing my buddy Josh, who let me crash in his comped Aria suite. I always enjoy hanging with Josh, even though we've never had a great craps run when we play together. We stepped it up a level and threw the dice exactly 6 times. 6, 7, 8, 7, 6, 7. Brutal. Just brutal.
  • Seeing the lovely CK and CaityCaity, who, along with Steve (a true foodie) were my ever-present companions and eventual saviors. Seriously, I can't thank you enough. Before I went seriously south* our conversation was brilliant and lively. It's great to hang with like-minded individuals with different life experiences. Thanks, too for the lessons playing mixed games. If I subtract my losses up there, I was actually pretty close to even for the trip (thanks to some great PLO and a very loose 1/3 NL game).
  • Hanging out with Katkin. Sorry to be the half of the Chako household that won't make out with you. Sitting around chatting with you and Caity in the Mirage was terrific. The look on your face (and the subsequent tweet) about losing me and then finding me grinding at 3/6 LHE was priceless. What, I'm going to sit around and do nothing while you run to the bathroom? There was an open seat, dammit!

Every experience in life is a learning experience. This one doubly so. If nothing else, it should prepare me to pace myself for the WPBT.


*I have a HUGE bruise on my neck. I do not remember getting it, but I'm fairly sure I lost a battle in the Sage** bathroom. My assailant may or may not have been a toilet seat.

** (Yes, I put a footnote asterisk inside a footnote. Deal with it). Sage restaurant in the Aria hotel is insanely good. Seriously, if you appreciate food, go there. It's so good, you should plan your vacation around it. Get the
pâté . If you really want to add to the experience go with a foodie. I know where you can find a couple. Just please don't overindulge.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rush Poker LOLZ

Odds of sitting next to the same person twice in a row in Rush poker are pretty low. Having that same person catch a gut-shot on you twice in a row must be astronomical.


Hand 1:


Hand 2:

I'm gonna need some blood pressure pills if I join BadBlood and start playing this stuff on my Droid.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Best PLO Hand?


I'm told it's the best hand. Never had it before, I don't think. It actually held up, too.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Greatest Wife

Here is yet another reason why I have the greatest wife in the world. This is the full text of the email she just sent me:

Hey hon. Sitting in Heathrow prepping to fly to Paris. I seem to have lost the water I just purchased but other than this small disappointment, the day is on track . . . Will be in Paris in a couple of hours.

Give some thought to whether you want me to get any duty free . . . Heathrow's selection of scotch is crazy. Although the McCallans aren't numbered . . . They sell a "reserve" an "estate" a "whiskey makers select" and something called "oculus" or something like that which costs 400 pounds. I also could get other stuff . . . Research and give me some price points and I'll bring home treats if you want.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Anxious to get home though.

Love you!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Single Malt

In honor of the Bourbonators post, I made a short deviation to BevMo! and picked up a gem.

It's Highland Park. Not the $450 25 year old, but the simple 12 year old for $39.95 plus tax. It's a 2008 gold medal winner and a 95 point scotch, if you can believe that. For comparison, my favorite scotch, the Macallan 18, is only a 94 point, and it's $150/bottle.

This is a truly excellent single malt with a candied flavor with hints of butterscotch and chocolate. It's got a slow afterburn, similar to the Macallan, but with perhaps a hint of the peaty flavor in an Islay. Only the vaguest of hints, I promise you. I'm quite certain I've never had a single malt this good at this price.

I've got a ton left if you happen to find yourself in Stockton. Just give me a 5 minute heads up and I'll put my pants back on before you get here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Random September Thoughts

In an effort to retain my membership in the poker blogging community (Vegas is looming after all), I thought I'd put up a couple random thoughts. So, in no particular order:

  • For the first time since I started playing poker seriously (and was I really ever serious? Discuss amongst yourselves), I'm positive for the year and it's September! Of course, there's always a chance I'll dump my profits before Vegas. My Vegas trips for the WPBT have always been profitable despite never having cashed in the tournament, so look out.
  • I'm also profitable online on both FT and PS, although my PS BR took a big hit. I may have been drinking at the time.
  • I played one session of live poker where I ran so hot people were bidding on my seat when I vacated it.
  • I've gotten many interesting hands before, but this one was especially interesting. I was two tabling LHE Rush poker on FT. Both held up.


  • I've lost over 10 pounds in the month of September. No, I didn't cut off a body part. I've basically eliminated carbs and I've been in the gym at least 4 times a week. I'm even thinking about doing a duathalon in a couple weeks.
  • The Wife just got back from a week in Texas. During that time, I actually cooked several meals for the family, and they were all well received.
  • My marinated salmon steak was especially good.
  • Now that she's back, I will go back to eating and washing dishes. Cooking while she's here is way too stressful.
  • I'll be in Vegas at the end of October for continuing medical education from the 27th to the 30th. Who will be entertaining me when I get out of my conference?
  • I took this picture on my last FOG drive (FOG = Ferrari Owner's Group). I'm no photographer, but I'm especially proud of how this one came out. The cloud reflections are very cool. If possible, look at it full size.

You may now resume your lives.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rush Royal




After pissing away much of my BR multi-tabling Rush LHE, it was nice to luck into this. I was behind on the flop.

Edit: Needed a place for this pic. Has nothing to do with the post. If you happen to see it, leave me a comment. I doubt anyone will...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

So, That Happened...


My plan is nearly complete (scroll down to The Italians).
Now I just need to drive to New York and find those nice folks who gave me this nickname.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Well Hello There Mr. Snake!

Mommy was out getting herself prettified and son #1 was off with his friends, so son #2 and I headed off for the trails.

Captain Hook!

Our first stop was the tree cave. I should have taken a picture, but I'm not sure I could do it justice. It's a bunch of bent over trees that form a natural cave. The kids love climbing all over it. I do too.

After that we headed off over the mountain. I was impressed with the little guy's stamina. I was leading for most of the way, but he wanted a shot at point. About 2 miles into the trail, he stopped short and said, "whoa!"


"Whoa" indeed

It's about a 2 to 3 foot rattlesnake. We backed off and found a huge stick. I told the little guy to listen closely because we might hear the rattle. It turns out we didn't need to listen that close because it was much more audible than I thought it would be. He coiled right up and struck at the stick. Man, he was lightning fast! I'm glad it wasn't my ankle. Or his.

Mr. Rattler slithered off down the hillside and we were free to continue our hike. I think our little guy was impressed with my bravery. What I didn't tell him is that his good eyes, and the fact that he's lower to the ground (and better able to spot our trail companion) probably saved him some serious trouble.

From Wikipedia:

Most species of rattlesnakes have hemotoxic venom, destroying tissue, degenerating organs and causing coagulopathy (disrupted blood clotting). Some degree of permanent scarring is very likely in the event of a venomous bite, even with prompt, effective treatment, and a severe envenomation, combined with delayed or ineffective treatment, can lead to the loss of a limb or death.

At least is wasn't this guy in Florida.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Creative Process

Did you ever get an idea in your head that sounded so good you were compelled to pursue it? Even if you hadn't fleshed out the details? I think that's what lead to yesterday's post regarding the vlog. By your overwhelming consensus, it shall remain on the drawing board. For now. I reserve the right to change my mind at some point in the future. It's my blog, dammit.

I have often felt overly creative. Let me be clear, though. Just because someone feels artistic doesn't mean they should make art. Or if they do make art, it doesn't mean anyone would like it. Or care. Most good artists I know act like they could care less if anyone "gets it," but my guess is that art is conceived, planned and executed for the sole purpose of having someone look at it and have a reaction. It could be joy or revulsion, but it's a reaction. If you discover art after someone dies, it's only because they were too embarrassed to put it out there for the public or that "it wasn't ready yet."

My episodes of creativity come in powerful waves. It's almost always associated with stress. I used to write a lot of music. I did my best stuff in school when I was avoiding something else, like studying for my biochemistry final. When it hits me, it's a compulsion. I must take action. Thanks to a suggestion from newly minted novelist John Hartness, I got turned on to Evernote so I can quickly expunge what's in my brain to ruminate on later. I have an entire album ready to be written on that site. I think there's a short story or two as well.

Let me give you one insight to my level of compulsion. When I was running a lot in Germany, I became obsessed with the idea that I had the perfect television commercial to sell running shoes. I would lay awake at night because it was too good to not share. It wasn't that I wanted to be compensated - I just had to let someone know. It's almost embarrassing now, but I started calling around to Nike, Adidas, New Balance and anyone else I could think of. No one would take my call. I eventually contacted a nice woman at Nike who politely told me they had several ad agencies who handle their advertising and perhaps I should share my idea with them. I spelled it out to her in an email anyway. After it was out there and in the hands of the company, I calmed down a little, and eventually I was able to think about other things. But it wasn't a quick or easy process.

I'd love to tell you something cool like they stole my idea and now are making billions, but it isn't really true. The idea revolved around a voice in the head of a runner telling them they weren't good enough and they should just give up, but the runner kept driving on, running even harder with each admonition. I had the whole thing filmed out. I even had the perfect location to film it in Germany. It seems silly now, but there it is.

I may never make a video blog, but I love the ideas that are springing into my head when I think about it. Of course, this rush of creativity is due to increasing stress levels (complete with a cold sore on my lip!), but that's for a different blog post all together.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

To Vlog?

I loved Shane Nickerson's vlogs and have often thought about doing one of my own. Unfortunately, I'm no where near as funny or entertaining as he is. But, I do have a cool car. Would anyone care to watch me try to entertain and drive at the same time? It could lead to some hilarious wrecks, if nothing else.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Floppy Quads - RUSH style


In a rebuy tournament. Deck is clobbering me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Floppy Quads


Love this.

But it begs the question, why am I playing .02/.04 LO8? Because I'm drinking and winning, that's why.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Chosen, by John G. Hartness - Buy It!


There are so many of us out here in bloggerdom who have dreamed of writing the Great American Novel. Well, my buddy John stopped dreaming about it and actually did it. And he's a damn fine writer, too.

Buy his book. You will love it, I promise.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Poker Post!

Okay, not really. But I haven't posted in so long, that this almost counts as a real post.

I'm never folding J6 again!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Living on a Prayer -Acoustic

How have I never heard of this kid!

I give you Sungha Jung

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dr. Chako's Mini-Triathlon

I've never been one to do things half-assed. That also means I tend to go over the top when I attempt something new. Well racing isn't exactly new since I have done many over the years. Most of the races were on the road, including two full marathons, a 15K, many 10Ks and I did one leg of a marathon relay. I also did a duathlon (run, bike, run) in medical school and I did the bike portion of a triathlon in 1986. I've never done a triathlon on my own since I'm such a terrible swimmer. The ironic thing is that my only letter in high school was on the swim team, but that's because I was a diver.

My buddy Josh told me yesterday that he's training to do Half-Ironman. That's over a 1 mile swim, 50+ miles on the bike and then a half marathon (he's nuts, but he's comfortable in his madness). I would never attempt such a silly thing (I think), but I could at least try to do my own version. So that's just what I did. After putting on my silly clothes (seriously, biker clothes are juts plain silly*), I got my Camelback filled with water and put my bathing suit and swim goggles in the back pocket.


*Pic stolen from the internet, but you get the idea


Then I was off for the 2.5 mile bike ride to the gym. It was quite easy actually. Thank goodness for Google Maps with the "show me the bike route" feature.

I quickly switched into my trunks, then I hit the pool. Did I mention I'm a horrible swimmer? I managed 4 laps (down and back = 1) and then it was back into the silly clothes. I stopped briefly to watch Oosterhuistenfingensen win the British Open with a Tiger-esque 16 under (the next closest was 9 under) and had a great flashback to the three times I was fortunate enough to play St. Andrews. Then it was back on the bike for the 2.5 miles back to the house.

Back home, I stretched out really well and took a big swig of water. Then I was off and running. Literally. There is a one mile and a two mile route around my neighborhood. I opted for the one mile. I had enough in me to sprint at the end and it felt great. Only one problem.

I'm still fat.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Investing Advice

Today I met with Dan. He's an independant financial adviser with Northwestern Mutual Life and he talks a good game. He also meets my sole criteria for a financial adviser - he drives a Ferrari. Actually, two Ferraris. Well, technically he only drives one at a time, but you get the point. Where was I?

Oh yes - financial advice. Dan said we should really consider an insurance policy with NMW that builds value over time. The money you take is tax free and with good planning, you can retire in style. His plan sounded really impressive and he showed me actuarial tables with some impressive numbers based on real money portfolios over the last 20 years.

I'm sold, but The Wife isn't convinced. Her point (and I begrudgingly see the logic) is that his Ferrari money comes from saps like me who get sold on the pitch, and not from his own holdings. Her point (as I understand it) is that if you invest in an insurance vehicle, not all of the money is working for you and you could do better yourself in something low risk where ALL the money is working for you.

I realize these are tough economic times and many of my readers are unemployed or don't make enough money to invest. I'm not trying to be insensitive. I'm just curious if anyone out there has taken the plunge and if they are happy with the choice (I'm looking at you, Amy).

iPhone 4

I nearly peed. You've been warned.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy 100K Erin!


My first true love (at least in the auto world) is Erin, my 2003 BMW. Long time readers know that I named her for Erin Gray (circa Buck Rogers) because she's gray and beautiful. I used to have a terrible case of car ADD. I never owned a car more than two years. Erin and I have been together now since the beginning.

I remember the day I took delivery. A gorgeous sales rep named Ilse drove her up to me at the dealership in Wuerzburg, Germany and all I could think was, "That's MY car. Get out."

After Ilse gracefully exited MY car and handed me the keys, I vowed to be her only pilot. Other than a short couple of drives from The Wife (who hates driving stick), I've been true to that vow. Together we've seen a lot:
  • Putting on the cruise control with the top down at 134 MPH on the autobahn.
  • Scratches all over the back seat from constantly putting in and taking out the kids car seats.
  • The long wait while she sailed from Germany to Washington State after we moved stateside.
  • Sliding down the driveway after a horrendous ice storm.
  • Sliding out of the garage into a tow truck, for which our insurance premiums were increased because it was an "auto accident" (even though the car was off because the battery died while I was in Iraq and even though the tow truck driver was the one who told The Wife to push it out).
  • Hopping her on to the UHaul trailer so she could make the drive to California.
  • Calming her down after parking her new older but hotter sister right next to her.
My oldest son has asked me to give Erin to him when he goes off to college. That's 6 years away. I'll probably still have her. I just don't know if we'll be willing to part.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Golfers in Vegas - WSOP Main Event for $10

My buddy and old college roommate Colin has an excellent long drive company called Thunderball. In order to promote the business, he's set up a simulator from Full Swing Golf right in the Rio hotel. For $10 you get 5 swings. If you get an ace, your $10,000 entry fee to the main event of the WSOP is paid! Sweet deal. I get no kick back for this (unless you really want to, buddy). Press release is below.

-DrC

Full Swing Golf offers $10,000 for an ace!
Poker players can win entry fee with a hole-in-one

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (June 28, 2010)—With only a week until the world’s largest poker tournament begins, Full Swing Golf is getting into the spirit by offering players the chance to get their $10,000 entry fee paid for with an ace (hole-in-one) on Full Swing’s world-class indoor golf simulator at the Rio Hotel, the host venue.

“Given the fun-loving nature of the audience, this is a great way to get players to try our simulator and who knows, someone just may walk away with their ticket to the World Series of Poker Main Event paid for!” says Brian Arnold, Full Swing’s Senior Vice-President. “Several top poker players have our simulator in their homes so it was a natural place for us to exhibit.”

For $10, each player will get five chances to score an ace. Players will be trying their luck and skill on the par-three, 159-yard 17th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links from the amateur tees.

“We expect that many people who are outside the Main Event will try to get in by making an ace on our Full Swing Golf simulator,” says Arnold. “It will be very exciting if someone actually does it!”

As the worldwide leader in golf simulation, Full Swing Golf features a start-of-the-art infrared tracking system to supply golfers with the most accurate and sophisticated instant feedback in the game. Full Swing technology provides golfers with an extraordinary experience and precise shot information including yardage, launch angle, ball speed and carrying distance.

The Full Swing Golf Simulator is located inside the ‘Bad Beat Bar’ adjacent to the Main Event competition floor and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily in the Rio Hotel.

ABOUT FULL SWING GOLF
Full Swing Golf, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets premium golf simulators to businesses and consumers worldwide. The company offers several different configurations of its system that can be custom fit into a large number of applications including golf centers, retail businesses, resorts, teaching facilities, and luxury homes.

Founded in 1986, Full Swing Golf is headquartered in San Diego, California. With simulator installations in 68 countries, the company's distributor network spans the entire globe.

For more information, please visit http://www.facebook.com/l/d93d77ifCqZhcwIWHKawubbR_jw;www.fullswinggolf.com http://www.facebook.com/l/d93d7OpS-LUyzCw4HuOARHAiVCw;


Contact:

Brian Arnold
Senior Vice-President, Full Swing Golf
barnold@fullswinggolf.com
858-675-1100 X 135

Tim O'Connor
O'Connor Golf Communications
tim@oconnorgolf.ca
http://www.facebook.com/l/d93d7xUlafLHheFi6HY27Vlg-1g;519.341.4778

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lost Vegas: The Book

I just bought mine.
Click on the pic to get yours.

Now from one doctor to another, how do I get it signed?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Ferrari Video

For those that like this kind of thing, here's another video from our Ferrari run today. What I didn't mention in the video was that at the end of the run, 4 of us stopped on the side of the road to wait for a straggler. A cop spun around and pulled in behind us. With his mirrored shades and tough-guy stance, he told us that they'd received several 911 calls about Ferraris driving recklessly through the countryside.

"Whatever are you talking about, officer?"

In truth, we were very sedate today. It's tough to drive aggressively (not to mention outright dangerous) with all those bicycles on the road. I can just see the headline:

Doctor in Ferrari Kills Marin Bicyclers

Not something I want on my résumé.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Duck Club

Last night I tweeted, "I am in a room with 25 multimillionaires." In truth, I am not sure if that's a true number. There were certainly more than an handful, and the ones that weren't definitely had power. These were the movers and shakers in the small town where I work. Once a month they get together for a dinner club. Men only. They drink heavily and trade stories that get louder after each bottle of red. They all meet at the Duck Club, which is an active hunting and outdoorsmans club. You have to drive over miles of levies in order to get there. I have no idea how they managed to get back alive in the dark after drinking so much, but they do. The roads are all single lane and they fall off sharply on both sides. No guardrail and certainly no pavement.

I was one of the younger men in the crowd. There were several Vietnam vets and we shared some pretty incredible stories over veal chops that were cooked by a professional chef they brought in special just for the occasion. These are men who know what they like and they know how to live. Despite the money and power, there was no pretentiousness. It was just good ol' boys enjoying each others company.

Kinda reminds me of the blogger group, actually. Without the poker. Or the women.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Driving the Ferrari - YouTube

Just experimenting with video editing software and my camera. Man, this is fun!

(FYI - Tubi is the upgraded exhaust that the previous owner had installed. Adds more growl)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Verification Word

The Wife has and amazing eye for photography. She put up a post about our 15th anniversary over on her blog. Her post was much better than mine, of course.

When I went to comment, here was my verification word:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day of Awesome - Epilogue

At the risk of this becoming one of those travelog photo albums that you torture relatives with, I'll keep this brief. Here are some of the pics that I didn't have a chance to post from yesterday. If you need to catch up, start here.

How did we get an overnights worth of luggage in the Ferrari, you ask? Well, back in 1988, they still thought you might need room for golf clubs, so they made this little cubby behind the engine. It worked perfectly (after we found a duffel bag that would fit sideways). The alternative is buying luggage specifically made for the Ferrari 328. It exists! I saw a set on eBay for $2000.


The beautiful Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay.


Our lovely travel photographer hard at work.


Glamorous!


At the restaurant, they really went out of their way to make up happy. If you are a chocolate person (like me), the candies inside this box were all hand made and all incredible. And all gone.


As we ate dinner in the amazing Navio restaurant (I erroneously called it Novia on my last post), the sun was setting. Well, every night at this hotel, a bag piper plays the sun down. It was quite romantic (even for bagpipes) and it was a really nice touch. EDIT: If you click on the pic and magnify it, you can see the piper.


I wasn't kidding. They really covered our bed in rose petals. I'm sure The Wife will have better pics up soon, because she has a real camera with a flash. I just have my phone.



At check out, I noticed this hot chick so I had to take a pic. I hope The Wife doesn't mind. :-)


Thanks for coming along on my Day of Awesome. Now I have to figure out how to top it for our 20th. I should start planning now. Nah. I'll just call Betty (she's the one who made the suggestion).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Live Blogging a Day of Awesome

I've never live blogged before. I'm not even sure RSS readers can follow along. Oh well. I've always blogged for myself anyway. If you want to come along for the journey, feel free!

5:50 am - ALARM

5:50:01 am - SNOOZE

6:09 - Wake, shower and shave

6:40 - Warm up the Ferrari. Now it's getting good.


6:45 am - Off to meet another Ferrari driver for the drive up to Marin County

6:50 am - Oops. Forgot my GPS.

6:55 am - back out to I-280. I'm certainly going to miss the other guy

7:00 am - As I merge onto I-280, there is Andrew in his beautiful black Ferrari F355 B. Two black Ferraris are headed north.

7:01 am - What's on the radio? Paint it Black, by the Stones. Includes the line, "I see a line of cars and they're all painted black." I could not make this stuff up.

8:00 am - Meet 9 other Ferrari drivers in Marin county. Cars range from an older 308, to another 328, two 348s, two 355s, a 456 and a 360. I'm sure there was one other. EDIT: There was also a Testarossa and a 550 Maranello.




9:00 am - Meet at a cafe in Larkspur. Great conversation and great food.



10:30 - 11:30 am - Spirited drive along the coast. My God, California is beautiful!

11:20 am (approx) - we drive by this lake and there is smoke on the water. What's playing on the radio? Smoke on the Water. I'm dead serious. I have this very real and selfish thought: I can't believe this is my life.

Real smoke on real water.




12:00 pm - Back at home now. Picking up The Wife in the Ferrari and headed out to Phase II.

2:30 pm - What should have been a 45 minute trip to Half Moon Bay turned into an hour and a half over Highway 92. Turns out we weren't the only ones who thought about heading out this way on such a lovely weekend. We averaged 12 miles an hour for the 10 miles over the hills, which was painful in the Ferrari. I was a little worried about overheating, but we coasted most of the way down once we crested the peak. Our drive ended at the incredible Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay (thanks Betty!). We got here just in time for The Wife to change and get down to her 80 minute massage appointment. I spent the time in the spa, alternating between the sauna and the steam room, followed by a shower and then some leisurely time sitting in the comfy chair while snacking on mixed nuts and dried fruits. Unfortunately, I hadn't charged my iPod, but I had Sojourn (thanks Drizz!) to keep me company.

Ritz Carlton - Half Moon Bay


7:25 pm - After a leisurely afternoon spent strolling the grounds, taking pictures and snacking like royalty in the Club Lounge, we are off to dinner at Novia. Apparently this restaurant is a Big Deal. I'll let you know.

10:47 pm - Novia was off the hook incredible. We had the tasting menu with the suggested wine pairings. Now we're slightly tipsy and we come back to the room to find our bed covered in rose petals. Which begs the question - what the hell am I doing blogging? Pics to follow tomorrow. EDIT - not THOSE pics. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We Interrupt Ferrari News...

...for a little poker!

If you can believe it, I actually stopped driving the Ferrari long enough to play a little poker. I had Wednesday off (don't all doctors have Wednesdays off?) so I decided to head down to Bay 101 for their Thursday morning special. It's a spread limit tournament (although I never saw anyone capped by the limit. It was basically no-limit). It's an $80 buy-in plus $40 add-on. What I didn't know was that it's a $40 re-buy tournament. I hadn't planned on rebuying, so I had to play cautiously. I managed to make it through the rebuy period with exactly my starting stack of 1000 chips. Add on gave me an extra 2000 and away we went. One note about the blind structure. I was impressed. It was a 5 hour tournament. Blinds started at 25/50, but there was a 100/150 level and a 200/300 level. It went:

25/50
50/100
75/150
100/150 (!)
100/200
200/300 (!)
200/400
300/600
400/800
500/1000

I thought that was more than fair.

I channeled The Wife and played uber-tight. Made some big laydowns and pushed a few hands toward the bubble when things got tight. That plan got me to the final table as the chip leader.

Everyone cheered when the 9 seat was finally busted. He was a first class asshole who was literally screaming for his draws to hit (and he never hesitated to get his chips in with a draw - even after the rebuy period). Of course he kept hitting his draws. At least is wasn't against me.

As is usual with these things, we made a deal at the final table so that everyone at least got their money back. The real cash started at 5th place, and that's exactly where I finished. Ran into aces if anyone cares. I played well, and I'm happy with my cash in the first live poker I've played since MHG and I stormed the casino in the mountains of Washington.

We will now return you to your regularly scheduled Ferrari updates, just as soon as it stops raining and I can take the cover off.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Running with the Big Dogs

There is a regular gathering of Ferraris up in Marin county. It's one of the things I was most looking forward to when I bought the Ferrari. Today was my first ride with the group. We all met in a bank parking lot. Well, we actually met coincidentally at a gas station just down from the bank. We must have created quite the scene.

After a quick but unhurried breakfast, it was time for the run. It was spirited, but not dangerous. There were tons of bicycle riders so we had to take it easy. Most of the riders were pointing and waving, although I saw at least one finger. I think that rider was just startled by the unbelievable bark of the 430s in front of me.

This corner was slow enough to take a quick shot of the lead dogs. At a rest stop, a bicycler saw these two in front of me and asked , "Can you keep up?" "Everywhere but the straights," I replied.


The front car is a 430 Scuderia. Basically a race car for the street. Behind is a 430 Spider (possibly the 16M version).


Our pack outside of the restaurant where we had breakfast. It was a great mix of old and new. The closest car is a 308, then my 328 followed by the 430 spider and the Scud.


I got home, fired up the computer and saw that someone else had taken this photo of my car and posted it already. Man this was fun! I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ferrari - The Chase


In a perfect world, I'd be a billionaire playboy and rotate through Ferraris the way I rotate through socks. Alas, I'm just a regular guy on a budget, so I had to be very picky. I also had to get ultimate approval from the toughest judge of all - The Wife.

If I tell you it lead to difficult discussions, I'd be the king of understatement. No, I'd be the emperor. Hell, I'd be the emperor's mother. You seriously cannot believe the arguments that occurred in at Casa Chako over my silly little Ferrari fetish. They say that money and infidelity are the biggest causes of breakups. If we broke up, it would have been over a car.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know about my failed attempts (and premature elation) over at least two other Ferraris.


The 308

In April 2009, I titled a post The Ferrari that Wasn't. It's still the car I have as my background on Twitter (which I should probably change now). At that time, I found a local car in the Seattle area on Craigslist. It was a 308, which was the same car Magnum PI drove - same color and everything.

It felt awesome when I got behind the wheel. There wasn't much power, which I attributed to it being an older car. It wasn't until I brought it to Carlo at Alfa of Tacoma that I found out what a dog it was. After a very thorough $500 pre-purchase inspection (PPI), Carlo basically said, "Don't buy this piece of shit. There's a better car out there for you." You know, he could have made a mint off of me with the repair costs had I bought that car. He had a well-earned reputation as an honest mechanic and a true Ferrari specialist. I tip my hat to Carlo - a true gentleman.


The 360

In February 2009 I finished the 5th of a 5-part series with the final revelation that I bought a 2002 Ferrari 360 F1 Modena Spider. It was beautiful. If I'm being honest, it's still my dream car. I think it's one of the most beautiful machines in existence. I found it on eBay, which had a bad reputation in Ferrari circles as a place where people went to sell dogs (i.e. abused Ferraris). Of course, I had to get a pre-purchase inspection. In this case, the only one available in Alabama (which was where the car was located) was a place called Hesco. As it turns out, they were not an authorized Ferrari shop, nor did they have much experience inspecting Ferraris. When I contacted my eventual mechanic here in California about it, he basically laughed at me and told me I was wasting my money. This Hesco shop didn't have any of the equipment necessary to do a proper inspection, nor did they even know how to check clutch life on an F1 car. What they did have was honesty. For my $200 PPI, they told me a lot. They said the car looked abused and there were several really expensive and really broken things I'd need to fix before it was road worthy, including the catalytic converters exhaust and the underside of the car. It would have been at least another $10,000 on top of the purchase price. I backed out. Unfortunately, I had placed the winning bid on eBay, so I had some kind of contractual obligation. Lawyers were going to get involved, but then they realized that I had a detailed email conversation with the seller saying that if the car didn't pass inspection the deal was off. They backed down and I was only out $200 (plus a broken spirit).


MY 328

Well, as I noted in my 101 Things About Dr. Chako post, I look at Ferraris almost every day online. When I saw the 1988 328 GTS on a local Craigslist, I tried not to get my hopes up too much. After all, I'd been broken too many times. Still, I had to know more. I met Bobby (the owner) in the East Bay and we took it for a spin. In a word, it was awesome. Plenty of power, great looks and not the typical red. Oh, I like the red, but I was annoyed at the expression "First Ferrari Red" (meaning, your first Ferrari is always red - after that you can branch out). I don't like to do things the typical way, and black/tan was perfect in my opinion.

Out comes another chunk of change. This time it was $700 for the pre-purchase inspection. But this time, it was done by Brian Crall. Who is Brian Crall? He's only the most famous Ferrari mechanic in America. Seriously. People send him Ferraris from all over. When I picked up my car from his shop, there was a $700,000 F40 right next to mine, as well as several vintage cars that I can't even speculate to their value.

I was extra encouraged because as it turns out, Brian owns the identical car. Same color and everything. He sent me a report that was even more detailed than Carlo's, including pictures and recommendations. It needed some work, but there was nothing that was a deal breaker. I called the seller and expected a tough negotiation since there was $4000 worth of work that was mandatory before it was road worthy. To his credit, Bobby saw that I intended to care for the car with the same attention to detail he'd shown for his 15 years of ownership, so he immediately subtracted the $4000 from his asking price and we had a deal. A handshake and a signed check later, and I'm the proud owner of this thing of beauty.

It's a dream come true.

Next, I'll probably have to tell you about taking it to work today (90 miles away) and the smiles it created along the way.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What, Another Ferrari-Themed Post? OK!

First, some actual poker content. I let The Wife play my free roll today in the BBT5. I watched for a while and she held her own. Unfortunately, she ran into some big hands early (which would have surely knocked me out) and in the later stages her pocket Queens did her in. I was proud of how she played and honestly don't think I could have done better.

***

So, I decided to take another run in the Ferrari up through the hills. My youngest had been itching for a longer ride, so we buckled him in the passenger seat and off we went. As he is wont to do, he fell asleep within 2 blocks. That's okay. I wasn't punching it. Once we got off the beaten path and into the twisties, it became my goal to wake him up.

No such luck.

I'm sure I was babying it a little since he's far more precious to me than the car (honest!) but darn it, that engine was singing. Wake up!

Once I got to the top of Old La Honda road, I really opened her up and his eyes popped right open. We were both laughing in the tight turns and outright yelling when I really punched it on the straights. He gets it now, I think.

Later on, I pulled into a local gas station to fill up. Unbelievably, another Ferrari pulled in just across from me. We both got out, looked at each other and said, "Nice car!"


His was a beautiful 430 (16M version for those that care) and was worth easily 6x what mine is. We had a great chat while filling up and when he left, he punched it hard just for me. The sound was intoxicating.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Ferrari Thoughts

Warning: No poker content (not that I've had a lot of poker content lately anyway).

You may have heard that I bought a Ferrari. If not, well, I BOUGHT A FERRARI! There. Now you've heard.

If you click through to the actual blog, you'll see my "About Me," which includes this: "Just a humble poker-playing doctor with a Ferrari fetish and too much time on his hands."

I'm not kidding about that Ferrari fetish. Let me tell you how it all began.


In the Beginning

Like many of these stories, it started with my dad. He had his own business for many years and worked really hard to provide for us. He also was a big fan of all things ritzy. We'd be driving and he'd spot an exotic car and point it out to me. His knowledge of specifics on the individual cars was impressive, made more so in retrospect because these were the days before the internet. I remember there was a time when he left his business to work for his friend Bob at a garage. He brought me down one time and was all excited to show me a Rolls Royce that they were working on. We must have opened a closed the doors a half dozen times just to get an idea of how well it was made and how perfectly the door closed and fit. It wasn't long before I started pointing out the exotics even before he saw them.


The Fateful Breakfast


I'm 16 years old and Dad has just hired me to work as his assistant. On my first day, we head off to start with a good breakfast at IHOP. There in the parking lot were two Maseratis. This was before Chrysler took over and ruined the brand. I believe they were Meraks, but I could be wrong. All I know for sure is that they were low and sleek and I wanted one badly.


The Poster


You remember the poster, don't you? I had one and it had the desired effect. Seriously.


The Plan

When most kids wanted to grow up to be firemen or policemen or astronauts, I just wanted to be a doctor. I've always had an innate desire to help people. But deep inside, I also knew that is was the surest and most reliable way to make enough money to get the things I wanted. And first on that list was the Ferrari. It's always been first. It was never about a big house, or jewelry or anything else, really.


The Italians

Many of you have already heard this story, but I'll tell it here again for posterity. In high school, I got a job a DaNino's Italian restaurant in Wappingers Falls, NY. They were all recent immigrants and spoke very little English. Instead of calling me Chuck, they called me Chako (you see where this is going, right?). One day, they asked if I intended to wash their dishes for the rest of my life. No, I said. I'm going to be a doctor one day. Well, they thought this was the funniest thing they ever heard. As a joke they started calling me Dr. Chako. As in, "Hey Dr. Chako. Go clean up the vomit be the cash register." I took it all in stride, but I also told them, "Just you wait. One day I'll come back here in a Ferrari with a personalized plate that says DRCHAKO." They just smiled at me and went about their business. It was a challenge.


Ferrari


And now it's here. A dream I had 30 years ago and a plan I put together over 25 years ago has finally come to fruition. I've heard that sometimes, when you build up something so big over so long, that there's a danger it might not live up to your expectations. That's a load of crap. This this is even better than I dreamed!


If you aren't already bored with my Ferrari ramblings, in future posts I want to tell you about my first real ride up through the hill country in Palo Alto, and I also want to revisit the other Ferraris I tried to buy that didn't quite make the cut. It was quite the learning experience.