Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lucky streak

What a wonderful whirlwind week it’s been!

Friday night was poker night for Nearing employees. Now, a lot of people at my company make a lot more money than I do, so it gets a little cutthroat at times. But the game is usually fun, and it’s good to make some personal connections across the company. I started with a $40 buy-in, and usually I’ll lose it all midway through the night and then just deal the cards for the rest of the night, which I enjoy doing. I like being in charge, I guess.

The last time I played, which was several months ago, I walked out with about $50, but this time around I doubled my winnings, netting $100 in profit. I had terrible hands at the beginning, but I folded most of them and waited patiently for Lady Luck to come around to me and eventually my cards started to improve. I won several hands in a row with three-of-a-kinds, although I suffered a costly beat by a straight one of those times.

I stayed over at the host’s house since we stopped playing at about 2 am. In the morning I drove back to the office and walked to the train station, giving thanks for my lucky night and wondering what the beautiful new day would bring.

I planned to have dinner with Natalia Saturday night, but since I was feeling so lucky, I asked her if she wanted to try a Broadway ticket lottery, and we decided on The Book of Mormon. I took a nap and went out to meet her at the theater for her first ticket lottery. I've been trying to win this lottery for more than a year – in fact, the Lottery Dude knows me by name. I gave up on it for a while after Piper took me and Katie B to see it earlier this year, but I wanted to see it again from better seats.

Now, since I've entered this lottery at least 40 times, I usually write something silly on the home location instead of New York. This time I wrote “The Far Side” and dropped it in the barrel. Natalia got her entry in with just seconds to spare.

I can’t really describe the feeling upon hearing my name come out of Lottery Dude’s bullhorn. He surprised me by saying "From New York" because he obviously knows I'm local. Something I have been wanted for so long and endured so many disappointments – for it to finally happen was an incredible euphoric feeling! Natalia and I screamed, and I got some well-wishes from the crowd as I made my way up. People tend to be more enthused the happier your reaction. Our tickets were in the boxes on the left side of the stage, so we were much closer to the action, but far to one side. Still, they were great seats for $37 each.

As we waited for the house to open, Natalia and I tried a new ramen shop on 9th Avenue called “Kung Fu Noodle House.” They served dim sum in addition to ramen, so I introduced Natalia to the art of eating pork soup dumplings. They were OK, but not the best I've ever had – I doubt any can really top the ones I've had in Hong Kong, but there are even places in New York that are better.

The show was wonderful of course, and I enjoyed it more than the first time I saw it. One reason was that the seats were better. The second reason is that I was more prepared for the profanity and raunchy-ness that caught me off-guard the first time I saw the show. So we had a wonderful time and Natalia enjoyed the show as well. I was happy that we had a special night together since she’s had a rough go this past week.

Sunday I went down to Brooklyn to attend the annual New York Audio Show, my second time at this event. Unlike last year, there wasn't any Classic Album Sundays presentation, so I just wandered around and poked my head into room after room, listening to demos and talking to some of the vendors. I met Dr. Hsu of Hsu Research, a well-known maker of subwoofers that is now branching out into a full line of speakers. I also attended Michael Fremer's turntable setup workshop at the end of the day – he’s probably the foremost expert on analog playback in the world right now, and edits the site. He set up the turntable at last year’s event when we listened to the Talking Heads album “Remain in Light.” Here's a Stereophile post about it with a photo of me in the front row, taking pictures. I bumped into him as he was leaving the show and told him what a huge influence his writings have had on me, and my newfound appreciation for analog (yes, he's really that short).

I bought a few things at the show: Chesky CDs of Rebeca Pidgeon’s album “The Raven” and the a cappella album “The Persuasions Sing U2” from Chesky Records' Laura Cella (seen in this Stereophile post), plus a multi-channel SACD of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” And of course I entered a few drawings to see if my luck will extend a little further. I left the event and stopped by a nearby Hill Country Barbecue for my first meal of the day, an order of ribs, sausage, green bean casserole and cornbread. The ribs were as good as any I've ever had; the sausage was a bit disappointing. Texans - even former ones - take their barbecue very seriously!