Saturday, October 27, 2007

A week off

I know that I haven't posted much lately and there is a reason. First off, I think I was going at it to hard and as one person told me, I needed to step back a little. So....Judy and I left last Sunday for the good ole Oregon coast and it was a well worth trip.

We have been to the coast every year for the past 21 years at least one time a year. It all started the year that Jake's Restaurant changed to Jake's Diner. I had put in some pretty long hours those first few months so Jake gave me the use of his condo at the Inn of Otter Crest. My young family had a time of their life that weekend and it started the trend. Now, every time I need to get away, that is where I go.

And true to form, we found places and saw things we had not seen before. There always seem to be something new or changing there and the weather was unbelievable for just about any time there. The first two days, the temp was in the 70's.

Tuesday afternoon, we were driving south of Newport and drove by a sign that read "Helicopter rides for $39". We pulled in only to find the building closed up. Because Judy was very excited about the prospect, I called the number and talked to the man. I asked him when the best time to go up would be and he said right now. I told him that it was too bad he was closed. "Heck, I'm not closed, I am just working on my computer.", He explained. I told him we were parked outside and he invited us in to show us around. One very small bubble type copter was all that was parked outside his office. He showed us his list of tours and we decided on the whale watching tour as he promised that we would see a few whales.

I must admit that I was a little nervous starting out. After all, the three of us just barely fit in the small plastic bubble sitting on top of what looked like an old V8 engine. There was a see through bubble type door on our side but nothing on the pilots side (He seemed to be hanging out a little). I let Judy sit on the outside and took the little jump seat in the middle with my head grazing the top of the plastic sphere. My knees seemed to be in the way of the pilots instruments as he switched on switches and pulled levers in readiness of flight. At first try the engine gasps but did not turn over. "A little cold.", he explained. A little cold! It was in the 70's outside! With a bigger draw on the choke, the engine caughed and came to life. The whole machine shook as he revved up the engine and we prepared to lift off.

I held my breath as he gave it the gas and we began to lift off. We just slowly rose and it really wasn't that bad. It was kind of like being suspended in air without any feeling of real movement (other than the shaking) or like being on a tram. We rose from the tarmac and flew out to the beach. He then turned north and past the coastline of Newport showing us the various parts of the Newport coastline. It was seeing something that we had seen many times before but from a totally different perspective. As we flew over the place where it had all started 21 years ago, we noticed something on the beach below Otter Crest that we had never known before. On the rocks below were a huge group of seals. Just north of there we flew over Whale cove and the vacation home of Bill Gates. After finding a few whales and flying all around Depoe Bay, the pilot turned back south and along the coastline from the land side giving us yet another perspective. He landed the shuddering bubble back at the Newport field and waited for the block to cool so that he could shut down the engine. I did not realize that the blocks temperature while we were in flight was above 600 degrees and he needed to get it down to 300 before shutting down.

In all, the flight was around an hour and was so well worth it. It was truly the highlight of a great week . We drove to Otter Crest right after the flight and got an up close with the seals. The week finished just like it started with sunny skies as we left the coast behind till the next time. I am now back to work and rested up, ready to charge into what ever comes up.

And speaking of what is coming up, we are almost into November and getting close to our annual Thanksgiving Senior Outreach. I am still looking for a couple more singers and volunteers so if you are interested, please call me at 419-6021

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What it feels like to be robbed

They didnt get much so I guess I should be thankful and count my blessings. I have also found a couple of weak links in my security that I have fixed. But that does not take away from the weird feeling that you get when someone destroys your property and breaks into your space.

Sunday morning around 12:30, the security company called me and alerted me that one of my alarms had gone off. At first, I thought that I had just screwed up and not set things properly since I was the one who closed up that night so I told them to not worry about calling the police. They told me to be careful and I said, no problem. But as I raced down to the diner, I began wondering. As I got closer, I punched 911 into my cell and prepared to hit send, when I saw the police. They had already been called and had beaten me to the scene. They asked me to stay in my car until they were sure that the area was secure.

I am so thankful for the Bend PD who were on the scene so quickly. We took a look at the security cameras and watched the hooded bandit casually cut the chain on the fence and just as casually the lock on the freezer. He walked into the freezer, picked up a box and walked out in no hurry. Twice, he came back and was probably walking back for a fourth load when he saw the police arriving. His car was parked in the trailer park behind the diner and he got in his car and slowly drove away just like he was leaving a friends house. He was so casual, that he looked normal to the police who although took note of the type of vehicle, did not get the liscense. After bringing in the K9 unit, the dog walked them over to where the car had been parked.

Both Judy and I slept little that night. We werent worried about what we had lost as much as the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that some one had done what they had done. For crying out loud, if they were hungry, I would have probably given them food. You really have to have it happen to understand the feeling. It is certainly not a feeling that anyone would want to have.

But I did learn a valuable lesson on how secure we really were. Immediate steps were taken to rectify the situation and I can only hope that the man on the video is caught soon.

Musicians Needed

Are you looking for something really neat to do this holiday season for someone else? Do you have a free hour on Thanksgiving afternoon?

Then consider joining us for Jake's Third Annual Senior Thanksgiving Feast. Our goal is to be the family for seniors in the area who for whatever reason don't have theirs around. Last year we served over 200 seniors an "at cost" meal served by an all volunteer staff. All tips given for the day are collected and given to the Salvation Army for use in the Holiday for needy people in the area. Last year, we collected around $350.

Here is how it works:

Jake's shuts down for normal operations on Thanksgiving. This allows for our employees who wish to to be with their families. Jim, our Chef, along with kitchen volunteers, prepares an old fashion Thanksgiving meal. Reservations are taken weeks in advance setting places for 50 seniors per hour allowing for a comfortable hour long food and entertainment event. One of our counters is cleared off and set with Finger Foods and Salads while the other is set for Pies. The seniors come up and get what they want of the finger foods and salads and then are served by another volunteer their main course of a choice of Turkey or Ham, Mash Potatoes, Stuffing, and Vegetable along with their choice of beverage. To top off the meal, they are served their choice of a wide variety of pie for desert.

Here is where the Musicians come in. While they are being served their meals, they are also being sang to by a volunteer musician. You can either sit in the corner and perform or walk amongst the guests. Acoustic is preferred and you will not need an amp.

What I can offer you in return is a huge Thanksgiving meal that you can eat with us or take with you and the great feeling that you will get from entertaining the seniors. We have lost one of our musicians from last year and are hopeful but have not verified that the Singing Sousas will return (they have entertained both of the first two years).

Think it over and if you are interested, call me at 419-6021

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

World Series of Holdem for Habitat Results

Wow, I am tired. I didnt realize how much energy I was putting into this thing until it was over. I had been fighting a bug of some sorts the last few days but taking mega amounts of echanachia and running on adrenaline the last few days, we have finally come to the end of this big event. In the middle of the event last night, I began to shake and thought that it was just my blood sugar so I ate a cheese sandwich to bolster that up but right afterwards when cleaning up, I felt very drained. I went home and soaked in a bath while drinking a cold beer and then crawled into bed. A couple of hours later when my wife came to bed, I awoke and realized that my heart was pounding and as I lay there, felt a feeling that I have felt before. My 55 year old body was telling me that I had pushed it too far again. I stuggled for half a night before I was able to calm it back down enough to sleep (maybe I should take yoga or something). Anyway, Judy went off to run the restaurant this morning and I slept in until now. Enough on that, on to the good stuff.

Yesterday started off with a check of the Z21 news and when I saw that they had put my name and number up on the screen, I knew that I would be getting a few calls during the day. I jumped in the shower knowing that shortly, my buddy RL from KSJJ would be calling for an update and figuring that I had the time for a quick shower before that happened. Right after a quick soap up, the phone rang. I quickly turned off the water and grabbed the phone that nearly squirted out of my soapy hand and standing in the shower, all suds up, I gave the interview. I realize for anyone who heard it, I have probably just just totally grossed you out.

After getting ready, I had not even made to the car before the first call came and I began endless explanations of how they could not play in this tourney but we do this every Monday so please join us.

The first caller asked me where we played. "Jake's", I answered. "Where?" she asked again. "Jake's", I again said. "But they are closed down!" she explained surprised. "Not yet." I answered and then heard someone on her end of the line explaining to her where we were at. It is funny. It has been three years and still some people think we are closed.

The day was somewhat of a blur with last minute details tied in with normal operations and duties of the diner. I was very glad when my buddy Frank showed up around 5:30 as I was able to turn over the duties to him so that I could help out the waitresses in the diner which was very busy especially for a Tuesday night. Our third partner, Richard showed up with his team from American Legion that would help control blind raises and cash in chips when they were raised but was somewhat disappointed when no one from Habitat showed up. One of our regular players, Conche, was the man who took us over $8000 and was awarded two free meals for his endevour.

With a few thank yous and introductions, the game began. Everyone wore a name tag with a star for every previous win that they had. At our prize table sat the variety of prizes and the coveted gold hat for the winner.

Twenty nine players started in the game. By my figures, that took us to $8190 for our grand total. My son, Casey, who was the winner of the previous big tourney that we had back in June, was the first person out. Shortly behind him went Brice, the self proclaimed only undefeated player. (He only played once and won)

I was playing pretty steady with my chip count rising the same. I remember one hand where a guy across from me pushed the bet up substantially. I had a pretty good hand and stared at him wondering what one of the pros would do. What would they look for? He glance over at me and dropped his eyes as he saw my stare. Wow, could that be it? Could that be the tell that shows he is bluffing. I quickly pushed in my chips and called his bluff. Maybe it was going to be my night.

The blinds went up a few times and I found my self in the small blinds with a jack/eight. I limped in and ended up with only me and the big blind, Stan. On the flop came another Jack and another Eight. I checked to Stan who quickly bet and I called. On the turn came another Jack (I had my full house). But I wanted more chips so I checked to Stan who once again bet and I called. On the river came a King. I studied the cards on the table over and over. There was a possibility of a flush but I had that beat. The only pocket that could beat me was pocket Kings or a Jack/King and three of the Jacks were already up. With confidence, i pushed all in. Stan followed and I slammed down my pocket. "A full house!", I yelled. Stan slowly flipped over his Jack/King to my total shock. Left with only enough to cover the blinds and a King/Queen in my pocket, I played the next hand and was beaten by Four Sevens! I believe I ended up in 15 or 16th place.

As I played, I watched what I felt were my favorite players playing side by side. Leslie James and my fellow blogger, Monkeyinabox (I will let him divulge his name if he wishes.). At their table was the youngest player in the game, the surprising 12 yr old Issac (Stan's grandson). I had looked up the law on this and made a few phone calls and since there is no money won, it is kind of like when a bowling alley rewards coupons that the kids cash in for prizes. Issac has already showed us his ability to play by winning a previous tourney.

I watched as the final table became set with Leslie (whos shocking all ins had held her up all night), Monkey, and Issac joined up with father and son, Bob and Rob Head (who love to get into your head), Jimmy (the exbarber), Brian, and Mike. Mike then Jimmy and then Brian went out, leaving the trio up against the duo Heads. Surprisingly, Rob took out his dad and then was taken our shortly thereafter by the kid, Issac. That left the trio that I had been watching all night. Monkey was the first to drop and shortly thereafter, the kid took out Leslie. Yes, the first World Series of Holdem for Habitat was won by a 12 year old boy who will enjoy the coast with his parents compliments of the Sandcastle Motel and Jake's. Unbelieveable

Monday, October 1, 2007

World Series of Holdem for Habitat first night

I spent most of the day either promoting and getting prizes for tomorrow nights event and as the hour go closer, I set the back room up for tonights preliminary event: The Prequalification Tourney. Leslie James (from the Twins) showed up with her husband and as the time grew closer more and more other players showed up. We ended up with four tables. Each having three previous winners who could not win tonight but would make the play more competitive.

Keisha Burns from KTVZ showed up and filmed the first part of the event. I was hoping she would play also but was quite happy and honored to have her there and to know that we would be on the news. Joe (formerly of Fox and now KOHD) showed up to play as a previous winner also.

At the last minute players asked Frank and I to play also so we obliged, sat at tables, and the play began. Since Richard and John from the American Legion were there for blind raises, we were free to play. Richard and John were representing the Operation Home Build that the funds will be targeted to.

All you girls will be happy to know that two of the four qualifiers were women and for all you bloggers, one qualifier is a blogger (monkeyinabox). The night was quite fun and finished quicker than normal as all of the tables played as a final table.

Tomorrow's event should be great with three to four tables and some great prizes from Jake's, Printer Resources, Kings Razor, Lava Lanes, Shell Stop and Go, and of course the grand prize from the Sandcastle Motel in Lincoln City. Just before we started, we were informed that the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City had donated two dinners to the pot and we decided to add those to the grand prize.

Congratulations to the qualifiers and a special thanks to all of the businesses that support us. Tomorrow night will be a great success and will bring our grand total to over $8000 raised for Habitat.