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Tom Courtney

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Studying Agrippa turns out to be hard [Mar. 31st, 2017|11:11 am]
Tom Courtney
[mood |jubilantjubilant]

I went to my first fencing practice last night. It was fun, and an interesting experience. My plan is to learn period techniques from historical manuals, and not worry too much, at least for the moment, as to whether that makes me a good fencer. But last night's lesson was all about very basic attacks and parries, as done by the local fencing community. I was, I expect, pretty much what you would expect from an aging heavy list fighter - I understood the ideas behind what was being taught but was pitifully inadequate at doing them. No surprise there.

My next practice is going to be very humbling - the first bit in Agrippa is all about fighting from the first guard, which is both very tiring and very much out of line with what everyone else is doing. I'm going to be hard pressed to fight this way and do something sensible. The text gives a lot of suggestions using a lot of terms I don't understand yet.

This is going to be a blast.

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Fortune favors the bold [Mar. 12th, 2017|03:08 am]
Tom Courtney
[mood |pleasedpleased]

It's an aphorism in no-limit poker that you need to be fearless when the time is right, and not care if it ends up losing you your stack. I got to pounce on a mistake by making a good play that worked tonight.

I was the button, and had a good table image, playing $1/2. 3 people limped in front of me, and I picked up 64o, and my random number for the hand was 87 (for those who haven't been following along, I discretely use a randomizer app on my watch to implement a mixed strategy, so that it's hard for opponents to be sure what I have), so I decided to make a small raise to $10. The blinds both called, and then the first limper did something odd - she put in 20, and then tried to take back 10, and was told that she had made a legit raise, even though she didn't intend to. She grumbled, but there was nothing to do. The other two limpers called, and then I made my move - I raised $125 on top, having checked to see that nobody was either short- or deep-stacked. The blinds folded, the inadvertant limper looked at her hand a while, said she couldn't call such a big bet, and folded, and the other two limpers folded. Basically, I risked $125 to win $95 with what was likely the worst hand at the table. But of course, my opponents didn't know that.

I don't know how this would play out at a tough table (perhaps Patri will chime in here). But in the games I frequent, I expect this play to work about 90% of the time or so, which makes it well worth making. Sometimes, poker can be very chess-like.

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A personal journey [Mar. 8th, 2017|02:42 pm]
Tom Courtney
[mood |energeticenergetic]

Tonight, for the first time since my right hip got replaced, I'm going to fighting practice. My plan is to hit the Framingham practice every other Wednesday, where I will do heavy list and eventually maybe some fencing, and in the off weeks go to the Carolingian fencing practice on Thursdays, and begin my foray into historical fencing techniques.

In fact, tonight on the train out to Framingham, I will begin to study my Agrippa.

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Conventions are ever so merry [Feb. 17th, 2017|02:06 pm]
Tom Courtney
[mood |energeticenergetic]

Off to Boskone. Back Sunday.

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A small lesson from history in my lifetime [Feb. 15th, 2017|05:06 pm]
Tom Courtney
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Richard Nixon almost got away with Watergate. The Senate investigations were initially explosive - Dean was a star witness damning to the presidency. The three networks took turns broadcasting the hearings, and it's estimated that 85% of U.S. citizens at the time saw at least some substantial parts of the proceedings.

But after a month, things were winding down. It looked like the hearings were going to end up netting a couple of Nixon's top aides, but that was about it. Then, on July 13, 1973. Donald Sanders asked Alexander Butterfield if there was any validity to Dean's inference that conversations were taped, and Butterfield responded with this lightning bolt from the heavens - "I was wondering if someone would ask that. There is tape in the Oval Office."

That reignited the maelstrom, and was the straw that broke the Nixon Machine's house of cards.

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maybe honesty is the best policy after all [Jan. 29th, 2017|06:43 pm]
Tom Courtney
[mood |giddygiddy]

At the general marshal's meeting yesterday, I was rather touched that after Arloff asked a question about combat archery, which I hadn't taken a look at at all yet, I actually got applause and a murmur of approval for the answer "I don't have a clue. Let's try to figure it out over the next few months." I shouldn't read too much into that, but one takes one's joys where they come.

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Exporting Randycon [Jan. 16th, 2017|06:52 pm]
Tom Courtney
[mood |giddygiddy]

Every year I go to a small gaming con run by Randy Chertkow in Chicago, titularly to celebrate his birthday. Given that I have such a good time at it, and I now have a gaming club that I'm working with anyway, it seems like a good time to completely steal the idea. So I'm currently thinking of running a weekend-long gaming con at 3 Trolls Games And Puzzles from the evening of 28 September until the afternoon of 1 October.

I'd like to reserve a block of hotel rooms at the nearby Radisson, but don't really have a good handle on whether people would use them or not. So without actually committing yourself, let me know if you'd be interested in a room if I got a block. The standard rate seems to be about $160 a night, I presume I could get some sort of a deal with enough bookings. 3 Trolls is on Summer Street in Chelmsford MA. and the hotel is about a mile away.

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Today I'm finding Forrester [Jan. 10th, 2017|11:52 am]
Tom Courtney
[mood |accomplished]

I've just finished the first pass at the letter I'm sending to the marshal's group on Sunday.

It's terrible. That's ok. I'll be working on it for the next few days, right up until Sunday when I hit the send button. This version followed Forrester's advice to Jamal:

No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!

Perhaps not as useful for non-fiction as it is for fiction, but it did get me to start. :)

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Interesting poker evening [Jan. 9th, 2017|11:58 am]
Tom Courtney
[mood |mellowmellow]

I'm normally mildly conversational at the poker table. I chat about topics of interest, though almost never politics or poker - the former because its complex and the latter because I have no reason to give opponents insight on my thinking. :) Last night ended up being a bit different.

I was sitting just to the right of a very loose, aggressive player - I'd class him as hyper-aggressive, for the jargon-enabled - which limited my options a lot. To top things off, he was hitting everything. (No really, his 85o cracked AA at the showdown, and that sort of thing was happening _a lot_.) Still, I was making a bit of money slowly over time, and after about 2 hours my randomizer came up 100, which is the number I assign to "do some Crazy Ivan stunt unless you're given some reason not to". I'm in the small blind with A7 off. 3 people limp in, and I could stick in a healthy raise, except I'm pretty sure I have a better plan, and limp as well. Sure enough, Mr. Loosey-goosey raises to 7 (too small to get anyone out, but his goal was to take control of the play of the hand), gets 3 callers, and now I reraise to 60 - the minimum number I think will do the job. One of the players in the hand, bless his heart, exclaims "Finally, you're not going to stand for this nonsense any more". Well, maybe he didn't use the word "nonsense" - its all a bit hazy.

The big blind thinks long enough to camouflage the fact that he got caught, and folds, and so does everyone else, and I scoop up the pot. The loose player chimes in with the typical "nice bet", and I say I had to do something - playing behind him was cramping my style. He points to empty seat to the left of him, and I come back with "That wouldn't be very sportsmanlike".

That comment changed the whole evening. Apparently he decided I was Danger Lad, and toned down his play a lot whenever I was in the hand. We started talking about poker situations a lot. It was fun. I learned quite a bit about how at least one example of that style of player thinks.

This entry was originally posted at http://herooftheage.dreamwidth.org/142739.html. Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comment(s) to this post there.
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first effect in [Jan. 1st, 2017|09:21 pm]
Tom Courtney
[mood |mellowmellow]

Becoming a Great Officer in fourteen days is actually an argument against returning to E.V.E. Online. :)

This entry was originally posted at http://herooftheage.dreamwidth.org/142390.html. Please comment there using OpenID. There are comment count unavailable comment(s) to this post there.
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