Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day Zero Project #27: Play in a poker competition.

This past Friday I strolled into the Derby Poker Club in St. Petersburg, FL ready to play in my first ever Texas Hold 'Em tournament. I had spent a whole 15 to 20 minutes Googling poker strategy and I even watched a YouTube video of Phil Helmuth, so I figured I was in a pretty good spot to win the whole thing.

As I walked out the door I did forget three important things that all poker players need: my hoodie, some sunglasses and my headphones. And (spoiler alert) when I didn't win the tournament, I was pretty sure that this mistake is what cost me the trophy (and cash)

So how did I do? The tournament started with four tables and I was the last guy out before the final table, so I tied for 11th. Not too shabby for my first ever tournament. I was a little bummed about going out at that time because all the final table won something and I went home with nothing more $18 in winnings from the dog races that were taking place during the tournament.

For those who care about how I lost, my stack was running pretty low and the blinds were getting high enough that I didn't have much choice but to take my next decent hand and go all-in. I ended up being dealt a pair of Queens (which gave me some hope that I might win the hand and get back into it). I was called by two people and none of the other cards that were dealt helped at all.

Oh well, I had a ton of fun and plan to hit up a few more tournaments next year and see if I can't start cashing in on some of those prizes!

Note: I stole that bottom photo from Paul W. who was also at the tournament and did a whole lot better than I did, both at picture taking and in card playing.

Day Zero Project #99: Go on a helicopter ride.

I believe I've said it before, but I may as well go ahead and state the obvious again. If you are going to do a list of 101 things where many of them cost money then Groupon and LivingSocial should be your best friends. Especially when there's something like going on a helicopter ride which, it turns out, is a pretty expensive thing to do.

So, before heading over to check out professional hockey's greatest team (aka the Tampa Bay Lightning) we were lucky enough to have a Groupon deal in hand for Old City Helicopters.

And now that we've done it, I highly recommend taking a little tour in a helicopter. It was a really neat way to see views of our area that we wouldn't normally get. I could type about that view, but why not just look at the pictures.

View from the front seat.
Us standing outside the helicopter worrying about if we'd live.
Downtown Tampa
Co-Pilot Katie
Amalie Arena - Tampa, FL

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day Zero Project #69: Attend a music festival.

Originally this goal was on the list as "Camp at a music festival", but a Summer shoulder surgery for my wife made that option a no-go, so I had to modify this slightly to "Attend a music festival." This is probably a good thing because, although I was looking forward to getting to Bonnaroo for the first time, I also know that I am far too old for 4am drum circles.

So last weekend we took our slightly modified goal and made our way up to Gainesville for The Fest 13, a music festival we've been going to anyways for the past seven years. It's basically one weekend in Florida where almost all of our favorite bands are in one spot and you just jump around venues checking out great band after great band. All the while, you are also drinking too much beer and eating far too much vegetarian food.

To sum it up in picture form you'd have blurry, tipsy picture taking while singing along to your favorite songs.

Spiderman crowd surfing as one of your favorite band's plays At The Drive-In songs.

And fun bands with a stand-up bass that is almost as big as the venue.

In other words, it's perfect. You should check it out.

And because I like lists, here are my Top 5 sets for the weekend (in no particular order):

Captain, We're Sinking
The Sidekicks
Greenland is Melting
The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

So, yeah, I kinda cheated on this one, but I had a great time and staying at the Econolodge in Gainesville is probably less appealing than camping in the middle of  a mud field.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day Zero Project #5: Get a caricature done of myself.

This is me as an action figure. Thanks to CartoonMe at

And as a bonus here's my wife via the guy who writes the wonderful comic, Caribbean Blue.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day Zero Project #12: Make miso soup from scratch.

You may remember that the other day I tried my hand at rolling sushi and I figured that miso soup goes pretty well with mediocre sushi, so I also made sure to get this goal accomplished on the same day.

For those of you who have never made miso soup before it could be the most easy dish in the entire world to make. One could technically mix miso into water and have a very low-brow miso soup that wouldn't be very good but at least you'd get to check it off your list.

But that's not how I roll. I figured I should at least put some effort into it and make the dashi (broth). So while at a visit to the Chinese supermarket I made sure to pick up some bonito flakes (terrible smelling flaked, dried bonito fish) and kombu (a weird looking kind of kelp).

Alton Brown used to be one of my food heros before he gave up Good Eats and started hosting lame challenge shows, so I stuck to his recipe for the most part.

After you have the dashi made, you just throw in some miso, some tofu, some scallions, some mushrooms (if you remembered them, I got lost admiring all the weird foods in the supermarket, so I forgot). Again, basically copy Alton Brown.

That's it. It's a very simple and delicious side dish.

And why did someone feel the need to put this easy dish on their goal list? Who knows, but I think they won't have a problem accomplishing it.