An enforced gap in contracts meant I suddenly had a week free, so time for a quick extra long weekend to North Cornwall. We stayed in Boscastle and visited various local towns like Polzeath and Tintagel , with a quick stopoff at Stonehenge on the way home (just to say I've been). A pleasant trip, although the weather could have been better. Although when the weather is good, the area is packed with tourists - for us the place was largely empty. It was a short trip (with bad light), so only a few photos in the Flickr slideshow viewable here.
November 2011 Archives
I recently had a disturbing revelation. A friend and I were talking about the book Lolita, which I read about 15 years ago. It seemed as if we had read different books. The broad structure of the plot was the same for both of us, but some important details were different. Aged 12, their Lolita was substantially younger than the girl around 15 I remembered. I recalled Humbert being pathetic and occasionally cruel, but not pathologically predatory - unlike Quilty. My friend pointed out a number of plot points I didn't recollect at all to contradict me. Double checking against the book demonstrated they were completely right.
Usually I have a very good memory of plots. It was a little concerning how wrong I was. Then I realised I was remembering the 1962 Kubrick film. In my mind the book had been completely overwritten by the less confrontational movie (so it could reach a wider audience) and I had no notion this had occurred. Quilty looked like Peter Sellers; Lolita was 14, but played by an actress that looked older. It is like I never read the book at all. Has this happened with other memories too - I have no idea.
Since last writing about poker I have fulfilled my requirement to read a poker theory book twice and started playing again. Not too much, but averaging about 2 Heads-up Sit-n-go games a week (about 20 minutes play per week). I'll share my results when I've completed a few hundred games and the general direction I'm heading becomes clear as variance evens out.
At present my results are patchy. I tilt badly less often (but still do infrequently) and sometimes play quite well. I'm better at recognising the type of opponent I'm facing and (very) occasionally manage to read a hand. I'd say 90% of the time I play "ok" for the level of competition I'm facing (micro stakes). However, I will often play blindingly bad hands in a match I'm otherwise playing acceptably. Here is an example where I became enamoured of my top pair against a player who had been playing very tight for over 15 minutes. What was I thinking, so much had me beaten.
PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $1.50 Tournament, 30/60 Blinds (2 handed) (Converted with http://www.handhistoryconverter.com)
Hero (BB) (t1525)
Preflop: Hero is BB with 3d, Ah
SB bets t120, Hero calls t60
Flop: (t240) Ad, 6h, 7s (2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t240, Hero raises to t480, SB raises to t720, Hero raises to t960, SB raises to t1355 (All-In), Hero calls t395
Turn: (t2950) Jc (2 players, 1 all-in)
River: (t2950) 4h (2 players, 1 all-in)
Total pot: t2950
SB had 6c, 6d (three of a kind, sixes).
Hero had 3d, Ah (one pair, Aces).
Outcome: SB won t2950
The longer a match, the more likely a badly played hand will occur. I recently read about decision fatigue and I think this may be partially the cause. Decision fatigue is the idea that after making many decisions people's ability to make good decisions deteriorates. A very interesting concept that applies to many scenarios. Some salespeople try to bombard people with choice hoping they start choosing badly. Be aware of how this affects you and how other people may be using it against you.
This idea fits my poker play. The worst play comes at times when fatigue is a possibility. As a beginning poker play, I make lots of decisions in a game. I've not yet reached a point where I see patterns and the choice is clear. Instead I think through nearly everything. In my last game, I honestly thought twice about folding 72o out of position against a pre-flop raise (but folded in the end). I can imagine I would quickly become fatigued. The antidote is to only start playing when I feel fresh, preferably after eating or resting. Of course the problem I will will still get fatigued during a long game and then I'll start making decisions like playing another game! Hopefully the game will become more routine and thus I'll make less decisions when playing. Well, it's worth a try.
TV news programs are increasing annoying me. Previously I have written about their disaster junkets, now I'm ranting about their apparent need for argument. It is not so much a matter of manufacturing consent as manufacturing conflict.
Many Channel 4 News and BBC Breakfast broadcasts usually include at least one segment where two people with opposing views discuss some news item. I have also seen this on current affairs shows and Sky News - but I don't watch them often (to their credit I am not aware of this being done on the main BBC news). It is claimed that they are promoting discussion, but the impression is of a bunch of schoolchildren circling the combatant and chanting "fight!". Humans have an attraction to conflict, and suggesting a controversy may gain viewers. Certainly such an approach is prevalent on the Internet (witness Godwin's law). However, I hold news journalism to a higher standard than blogs (and I think they consider themselves superior too). Perhaps the media is just catering to baser instincts to fight for viewership in an increasingly competitive news market.
These discussions rarely add any value to the topic at hand. The participants are in opposition by definition (or they wouldn't be invited) and can't be persuaded by a 5 minute TV confrontation. At the rare best there is a reasonable logical exchange, although normally the parties use all the non-logical weapons of rhetoric to win the debate. Sometimes there is a heated argument and if the producers are lucky enough to provoke a physical confrontation it can be covered as news itself! Often the role of the news anchor in these segments appears to be goading the participants.
There is the idea of journalistic balance, but this can be provided without the need for argument. Instead "talent" seems more important than reasonable, logical and most importantly truthful statements. A new journalist once explained to me that an eloquent, presentable and outspoken person is better "talent" - that is they come across well onscreen. This is why the same experts appear on TV news repetitively even to discuss areas outside their area of expertise. This is used to advantage by politicians and PR people. Even today it is possible to find flat-earthers. A news discussion with them may imply opinions differ on the shape of the Earth! Channel 4 often suggests viewers visit their website site after a discussion for fact-checking. I find this strange because I watch the news for facts, but they don't have time to present them.