Wednesday, December 27, 2006


For the first time in 25 years, I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas and what used to be the most anticipated date in the snoopy calendar had finally become nothing more than an arduous task. Perhaps it’s that middling age where you don’t have kids to please and you’re not young enough to get excited, I’m not sure, but either way, the magic had seeped away for me, and the thought of trundling around the shops and enduring those rather tedious family obligations was all too menacing a prospect.

However, whilst I admittedly played the Grinch and Scrooge’s lovechild this Christmas, the aftermath brought more than a rye smile to my face.

My father, Peter, has suffered a troubling year; Surpassing the dreaded 60 mark last November, he was forced to fold his business a week or two go, and for a man who is deemed virtually unemployable by society and treated like crap by the government, it’s been a pretty tough time for him.

Gambling wise, he’s been unable to avoid the poker bug, picking the game up from his two offspring around 18 months ago. During that time, he has frequented the £5 rebuy at Walsall (approximately every fortnight), and enjoyed the odd venture into the £10 comp.

Unfortunately, due to work and a limited bankroll, Dad has been restricted to what everyone refers to as ‘bingo’ comps and has always pined to partake in some ‘proper poker’.

Therefore, knowing cheap tat and cotton socks would probably be left to gather dust in a dark corner of a drawer and that his jaunts down to Walsall were now being put on hold, I decided to treat him to the Broadway’s £50 Boxing Day Freezeout.

So, brother Jammer in tow, off he we trotted to what I consider to be one of the best casinos in England. Good service, prompt starts, friendly staff, dealer dealt tables, great facilities and a censored flush in the loos, the Broadway really is the bee’s knees and a far cry from what Pops is used to at Junction 10.

The tournament lured in 68 runners and a 1st prize of £1,380. Dave Welch, Wayne Fitzpatrick and blondeite DaMatrix were all present, but overall it was a pretty soft field, and I was confident that whilst I could easily make the top 3, my Dad, a tight passive player but nobody’s fool, had a realistic chance of quietly creeping into the money.

Although one family member exited early doors, Dad and I were both running well. With 2,500 in chips and a 30-minute clock, you could afford to be patient near the start and then strike when the blinds became threatening. Whilst this is the route I took, Dad managed to accrue chips early on, and come the last two tables, we were both sitting comfortably with around 20k.

Soon enough, we were on the final, a great result for my Dad! I now had 24k and a great chance of winning, and although snoopy senior had tightened up a little too much near the bubble, he’d now guaranteed himself a profit of somesort and was very happy indeed.

During one of the earlier breaks, I recall Dad describing a hand to me where he called a 1,200 pre-flop raise with K-J suited and blinds of 100/200 and before he went any further, I commented that playing those hands was a great way to dribble away chips.

My Dad is an above average player, but not the quickest learner, and often when we give advice such as don’t play Ace-Rag or call big raises with potentially dominated hands, he’ll be eliminated from comps doing just that. This time however, I made my views clearer, and I think it finally sunk in as he later reported that he’d played these hands more affimatively, releasing them early doors and only calling (or raising) if he felt he could outplay his opponent or there was value in the pot.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, whilst I came 8th for £104, my Dad went on to carve up the final table and take top spot, eventually agreeing on a deal heads up where he took away £1,180, just £200 short of 1st prize.

Clearly shell-shocked by what was by far his biggest win to date (his other being around £150 for a £5 rebuy final table finish), my Dad was absolutely over the moon and couldn’t wait to tell my mother the good news.

What is most important, however, is not just that he won an event outright, but that the money came at just the right time. Maybe it’s because he was accompanied by his sons or perhaps even because he knew that the money would make a real difference this time round, but my Dad later commented, “I was much more focused today and played the best poker I’ve ever played”.

So, whilst he may not be a blondeite member due to his lack of computer knowledge and Internet access, I would like to offer my congratulations and say a big well done from his Beagle son who was watching nervously at ringside. I am immensely proud of his efforts and chuffed to bits that he won over a grand, especially considering that it was my Christmas gift that put him there.

As the title says, it’s all about timing, and this timing was as good as any as Christmas in the snoopy household finished on a much higher note than any of us could have imagined.

In reflection, I guess I didn’t have to dread Christmas as much as I thought I did as it ended up being one of the best ones so far…

Ps. I went out of the final when my Kings were four flushed on the River by A-T. Oh, and before you say, you can stick your 50p right up your exit holes!

Sunday, December 17, 2006


And just a day earlier, we wandered aimlessly into a building that I can't recall the name of in order to view the Dutch art on offer. Although partly closed for 'refurbishment', we still managed to see a decent amount for our €10 (although Dana didn't think so).

Most notably, I was overjoyed to encounter Rembrandt's 'Night Watch' for the first time. I'd studied this painting briefly at university, so it was great to view it in person. I remember learning of how it was almost sliced to death by a vigilante, but, as I examined the stunning piece, it was clear that the restoration work had been a roaring success as the only sign of any damage was a couple of faint lines above the dog on the right hand side.

Meanwhile, in the open air of the Amsterdam streets, Dana and I managed to find this sculptured imitation of the painting. In a 'Where's Wally' moment, Dana decided to don an imaginary red and white hat and hide from the cameras. Can you spot her? Doh.

A Damn Good Week

Well, my apologies for boring people with my endless waffling. I hope you found some of this entertaining, or at the least slightly eye-opening. To be honest, I was just happy to get away from poker for a few days and seeing as I had such a great time, I thought I'd share my thoughts and piccies with the great people of blonde. thumbs up

Fork on stand by, but before I finish, here are a few more photos that might tickle your ribs...

-- The guns... back where they belong. In a museum for the public to marvel at. --

-- Proof for all the doubters (in particular Jen), that many mens' urinal now have little flies painted on their surface so us ape-like fellows have something to entertain us whilst we pee. --

-- Booder's favourite tipple, especially during live updates. --

-- Oh yeah, and rumour has it that they don't mind their cheese in Holland... --

-- Stay safe, peeps, and rubber up. --

-- I don't know how it happened, but what day we accidentally stumbled into a coffeeshop that only sold coffee. --

-- The National Monument, apparantly... --

-- We still don't know what this building's called. It looked important though. Just like tikay but the other way around. --

-- She sure is! --

-- 'Dana Kebabs' would have been the dream find, but Dana was overjoyed nonetheless. --

-- And finally, a couple of nice untainted piccies of Dana, myself and the Dutch scenery. Smiley --


Burger Light District

As you can see from the photo below, we stumbled across the not so famous Burger Light District in which various beefy delights were displayed in transparant boxes and looked upon as mere pieces of meat.

Of course, there is also another such district for those with slightly alternate appetites (although I believe the BLD is cheaper), and, whether you're a serial curb crawler or not, it would be a crime not to a least take a fleeting glance, wouldn't it?...

Ironically, it's not even a crime to utilise the female services, nevermind take a sneaky peep. Loitering in Lynchian lit compartments, the incredibly diverse array of talent attempts to lure you into their 'box' (sorry) in order to sell their bodies to earn a crust.

Separated into the main street, alleys, backrooms, and even a sidestreet that encompasses the church (yes, the Lord himself is watching on), these ladies of the night have an early start. Wandering down the canal breathing in the 11am fresh air, Dana and I are shocked to see that the workers have already set up stall - some curtains yet to open, but many have adopted the all too familiar 'come and get me' pose and are ready for action.

Whilst some make the effort to persuade you into the murky depths of despair, others choose to eat their lunch, do their nails or chat on their mobile whilst in full display of the passers-by - not too attractive, I can tell you.

Having to deal with an inevitable flurry of jeers and abuse from drunken lads, the women remain strong and aren't scared to return the insults, even stepping outside of their room to do so. I'll never forget walking passed one street only to catch the end of a heated hooker-customer conversation. "You're not that sexy that you can get it for cheaper", shouts the prostitute as the young male walks away disappointed but simultaneously slightly embarrassed by the daylight insult. Clearly rejecting a discount proposal based upon the customer's supposed 'good looks', the confident hooker casually steps back into her box and awaits her next client, who will undoubtedly be paying the full whack.

What will instantly strike you as bizarre is the wide variety of tourists who frequent the area. Like the pokerroom, society is well represented in the Red Light District. Young lads looking to fulfill a fantasy, greasy old men hoping to get an easy ride, couples voyeuring out of curiosity and families treating it as nothing more than a 'sight to see'. It really is amazing.

Unfortunately, photos of the district are prohibited, predominantly due to the threat of being chased down the street by an angry pimp or hooker, and that wasn't a risk I wanted to take. However, I couldn't resist a quick snap of the amusingly named 'Bananenbar'. What goes on in there, only the imagination knows...

More Sexy Time
I think now would be a perfect time to use our friends the bananas...

Intent on undertaking something slightly more edgier than the usual 'smoke a spliff and gawp at the hookers' routine, Dana and I decided to venture into a 'Live Sex Show'... just to see what it was like. Honest!

At first, we were somewhat shy. Wandering around at the still light time of 4pm, we hesitated before approaching a selection of places - even standing aimlessly outside felt embarrassing. And, after deciding that one place was a no-no due to the ticket office being in full view of the many passer-bys, we came across a 'buy your ticket quickly and head in before too many people spot you' kind of place.

A friendly security guard took our tickets and summoned us into a dark dingy building. A guy in a ticket booth gave us a menacing look and pointed upstairs - he didn't seem interested in conversation.

Heading up the eerie staircase, I do recall thinking, "Is this where we get kidnapped and rogered to death?", but, to my relief, no such event occurred.

Soon enough, we came across a small theatre (a lot smaller than I first thought) in which 2 big black dudes, a couple of middle-aged loners and at least three couples (one Asian) were watching a porn film with raised eyebrows.

Strategically taking the back seats in the corner (and away from any sort of proposed participation), Dana and I watched on as the screen went up, the curtain reeled back and a young brunette lady proceeded to strip off her schoolgirl costume to an Alice Cooper medley.

With the young lass wiggling her rear and fondling her nether regions with a dildo, I'll never forget Dana commenting, "Can you believe it, they're playing 'School's Out'!" Personally, I wasn't listening to the music.

Next up was a young Afro-Caribbean girl, strangely speaking to the manager as she was performing (so unprofessional!). She had a specific area of expertise - not only could she strut her stuff, but she was also in favour of sticking a candle into one of her less visible orifices and lighting it up in front of her entertained crowd. Amusingly, she struggled with the lighter and had to grab another before it worked. Seriously, that was side-splitting.

Finally, it was time for the full show of courtingship (although the ticket seller put it differently). Awaiting the final showdown, I looked on slightly disinterested as a greasy haired fellow got jiggy with the first lass. They started off mouthing bits from Full Metal Jacket before moving onto something less recognisable. It was all very quick and rather tedious. Of course, it was interesting to see a live sex show in action, but it felt very staged and fake and not quite as seedy as I'd hoped. Plus, when the girl mimes 'Me so horny, me love you long time' it doesn't really do it for me.

Nevertheless, as the curtain closed before anyone climaxed, Dana and I felt the urge to clap, which no one else did.

Exiting to the daylight (rather rapidly I might add), I was satisfied that I'd experienced something rather edgier, but disappointed by the overall performance. At €25 each, we didn't get our money's worth, but it's still something to plop into the 'have done' category.

Bottom line, more amusement than arousal, especially when the girl couldn't get the lighter to work. Cheesy

Van What? Remember Who?

Whilst the whacky backy and Red Light District were admittedly top of our 'things to do' list, we had a bit of extra time to kill so decided to sample a taste of some of the less intriguing and throughly inferior cultural aspects Amsterdam has to offer.

First on the list was the Van Gogh museum - apparently Amsterdam's most popular tourist spot.

As a former art historian (I kid you not), this was all very interesting to me, and I vastly enjoyed the exhibition that was on show. This is where Dana tired to ruin my photo of one of the art world's most famous pieces (see 'Sunflowers' below).

To all those who hold a candle for art history, I urge you to visit this gallery if you are ever in Amsterdam. Van Gogh truly is an fascinating artist and there is plenty of information available for those who know nothing about the chap.


Double figures in 4 nights, not bad! Cool

ps, on the off chance that Dana's parents are reading this, we only 'tried' weed in Rookies. We just saw these other joints (ahem - puntastic!) in passing.

Oh crap, they're never gonna believe that! Fork truly at the ready.

Everyone's got to have a hobby...

Now That's What I Call A Museum!

For those of you who have been to the Dam, you'll no doubt have visited the 'sex museum', although I think have been called an 'erotic museum'. Either way, it's full of debauchery!

I'll save you the waffle, take a gander at our piccies, particularly the one of Dana hugging a huge penis. You can't see from the camera, but that's actually me lying down.

-- snoopy was furious that his neighbour was doing more business than him --

-- Seeing that it's nearly Christmas and I'm feeling in the giving mood, here's a quick glimpse of one of my guns. --

-- Dana finally agreed to pay for both our tickets... with a slice of gentle persuasion of course. --

-- Even in a museum I have to fend off the tottie! Sigh, it's a hard life. --

-- Worringly, I've never seen Dana so elated. --

-- Cartoons sure have changed since I was a kid... --