Moa: The King of Destruction

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For those just joining us, or those who've known me since before I made this entry... welcome to the unofficial home of Nidoking's brain! This is a place where I dump a lot of information every night that I really don't want to carry around in my head, or maybe I've got a CRAZY notion that it'll entertain someone other than me. *pfft* Like THAT ever happens. Anyway, feel free to take a look around and see what I've been up to recently.

The Audience Participation exercise to end all Audience Participation exercises (except those that come after it):
Respond to this entry with interview questions that you'd like me to answer in my daily posts. Each day, I'll pick a question (if there are any I haven't answered yet) and answer it in my daily post, then respond to the comment here with a link to that entry. So if there are already some comments down there, you should be able to hunt down the answers easily enough and see what I've already said about myself or the random topics these jokers like to post about. (My friends are great, but a little off their rockers at times. I, on the other hand, have never been ON my rocker to begin with, so nobody out-randoms me and gets away with it!)

I may add some links here to favorite entries of my past, but other than the Young Ones/Monty Python crossover I listed in my Memories, I can't think of any right now. Oh well. We'll see what happens as I remember more things.
Moa: The King of Destruction

Every episode of House

PATIENT X: (randomly collapses while doing something)
Theme song
HOUSE: This is a simple problem. Here is the obvious cure.
TEAM: We already tried that and it didn't work.
HOUSE: Hmm. Maybe it's lupus. Break into the patient's house and find a useful clue.
CUDDY: House, go do clinic duty.
HOUSE: No.
CUDDY: I'm your boss.
HOUSE: I hate you because you're overbearing, but I still want to have sex with you.
CUDDY: Maybe another time. Do your clinic duty.
PATIENT Y: I have a simple medical problem.
HOUSE: This is so far beneath me that I'm not even going to pretend to care. Take two of these and don't call me.
TEAM: Something strange happened to the patient!
HOUSE: Interesting. It isn't lupus. Let's try something no sane doctor would ever do.
CUDDY: House, why is your patient hanging upside down from the ceiling?
HOUSE: It's a well-known diagnostic technique I just made up. Now I know what the problem actually is.
WILSON: What is wrong with you, House?
HOUSE: What isn't?
PATIENT X: If you learned to care about people, you'd be happier. Look at me. I know I'm about to die, and I'm okay with that.
HOUSE: I'm not listening to you. You're sick.
TEAM: Something strange happened to the patient!
HOUSE: I'm out of ideas. Maybe I'll go back to the clinic.
PATIENT Y: That thing you told me to do didn't work!
HOUSE: I see. Not only can I cure you, but I now understand exactly what's been happening with my other patient. It's a rare, ancient strain of hedgehog flu that can only be contracted from socks with tungsten fibers.
TEAM: You're a genius, House! You cured the patient!
PATIENT X: I hope this experience has taught you something.
HOUSE: Yes, I have a new method for trying to have sex with Cuddy.
CUDDY: No.
End theme, unless you're watching on Fox, in which case you can't hear it over the promos for the show you're about to watch next
Moa: The King of Destruction

Twitter's tech support is pretty useless

Today's Bridge: I declared 3NT with S x-x H J-9-x-x-x D A-K-J-x C K-x facing S A-K-x-x H A-Q D 9-x-x C 10-x-x-x. Brent opened the auction 1C, I responded 1H, and he bid 1S, so I jumped to 3NT to guard against a club lead through the king. As expected, the opening diamond lead gave me an extra trick there, but I still needed a few more, so I started with the hearts. The queen won, and Ken dropped the king under the ace, but I had no way to finesse against the ten. I crossed back in diamonds, and iMatt (the new player for the day) showed out. Had I known that Ken had only two spades, I might have tried stripping the hand and throwing him in with the last diamond, but I think the opponents could wrangle five tricks out of that. The question is what iMatt throws on the last diamond - I'm down to H J-9-x D x C K-x, and he has to keep two clubs, or I can throw him in and he has to lead a heart away. Likewise, he has to keep two hearts, or I can cash the suit. So he has only two spades. As it was, I had to duck a heart, and when he led a low club back, I tried the king and it won. I don't like the 50/50 chance, but I think it was necessary. We set Ken's 4C by two after that, but Brent didn't read my heart lead as a singleton. I had S K-J-10-9-8-x H 8 D K-Q-x-x-x C 5, and pre-empted with 2S during the auction. I don't know whether we'd have done much better with the heart ruff, but taking the first three tricks after Ken ducked the first spade and still having a diamond trick in our pocket, as well as a guaranteed trump trick in Brent's hand, should be a minimal improvement.
Moa: The King of Destruction

Sometimes, we need to keep things around that we thought we were done with

Today's Bridge: There were some really weird splits today, and only one of them was a goulash. Raymond opened that 3S when I predictably had no spades. I had no way to urge him to bid his next best suit, and figured spades might still be the best choice. They may or may not have been. But I opened S K-Q H Q-x-x-x D A-10-8-x C A-10-x with 1D, because I was just too weak for notrump. Ken overcalled 1S, and Raymond responded 2C. I tried 2H, he corrected to 3D, and I went for the old standby with a minor suit fit and stoppers elsewhere and bid 3NT. His hand was S x-x H A-x D 9-7-x-x C K-J-x-x-x, which didn't offer much hope. The opening spade ran to my king, and I strongly considered tossing the queen back and hoping that an opponent would be squeezed by the last spade. But that was doubtful. I needed to set up the clubs, so I started by cashing the ace, on which Ken dropped the queen. I cashed the suit, and he sluffed two hearts and then two spades, while I threw a diamond and a heart. That gave me the opening I needed to run the nine of diamonds. Ryan covered with the jack, but I ducked anyway, and Ken had to take the king, exiting with a heart. I let that run to my queen, and when the queen of diamonds fell under the ace, I made an overtrick. I tried 4C with a slight mismatch, but it came down to the trump layout - after each opponent had ruffed once, I needed trump to split 2-2 with the king onside (missing K-J-10-3), and that wasn't the case. Ryan also threw away an early 2NT by failing to cash the long hearts in dummy, although Raymond gave him another chance by not leading a diamond back to me. He made right at the second opportunity, though, and I was able to run the suit.
Moa: The King of Destruction

Lots of people learning lots of things

Today's Bridge: We started with a grossly underbid 2NT, but I didn't want to jump to game and risk missing something. I finished with a hard-fought 1NT (with A-K-x-x of spades facing J-9-x-x, the queen fell, so I didn't need to fight for a trick in Anna's diamond suit), then put Brent in 3NT with eight tricks on top and the eventual heart for the ninth. In the final hand, Anna opened 1NT, and with S J-x H A-K-Q-J D A-K-9-x-x-x C x opposite a passed hand, I opted to overcall 2D instead of doubling. (The chances of finding a good heart fit are remote.) Anna persisted with 2NT, and while I figured 3D was a likely make, I just doubled. Sadly, I didn't dare lead a low diamond to Brent's Q-x-x, which would have been worth off five, but after I cashed my tricks, he still got the queen, and Anna had to lead up to his king of spades because there were no entries to dummy at all. Since we could only make 4D, I think 300 was a great score for the hand.
Moa: The King of Destruction

Even I'm amazed at how well the stuff I do works sometimes

Today's Bridge: I was really disappointed that Brent passed my 2NT jump with more than enough power to go for game, but we were wide open in hearts and the diamond finesse that was my only hope for a ninth trick was off, so I had to cash my eight and call it done. The opponents made 2C with an overtrick and no play for game, and then I declared 4H. Raymond tried to ruff a club with a spade, then ruffed my spade lead and led a spade back. At one point, I tried to sluff a diamond from dummy on a club lead, but the opponents caught that, naturally. The final hand was S 4-2 H x-x D Q-x-x C A-K-Q-9-x-x facing S J-10-9-8-6 H J-x-x-x D A C J-x-x. I played in 3C over a 2D interference bid. The ace won the opening diamond lead, so I started with the jack of spades, hoping to set them up eventually. Ryan went right up with the ace and cashed the king before switching to a low diamond. The queen held, so I tossed a heart from dummy and led my last diamond to Raymond's king and a low ruff. I ruffed another spade with the ace, but they split 3-3, so I led the king of clubs and another to the jack. When that suit also split, I was able to throw my hearts on the spades for two overtricks.
Moa: The King of Destruction

Things are going better, I hope

Today's Bridge: Not a great day for anyone - I botched the opening 4H by misplaying the trump suit. I had K-10-x-x-x-x and dummy had J-8-x, and I couldn't afford to lose more than the ace. I ruffed a diamond in dummy, then played all of the side suits without touching trump, losing the last trick to LHO. He led back a diamond, and I ruffed in my hand, completely blowing it. I needed to win in dummy and lead to my hand, catering for a 2-2 split with the ace on my right, the only layout that would let me win. After that, there were a lot more contracts that didn't make, but I ended with a 2H Dbl that I nearly lost when I took Raymond's double to mean that he had the bulk of the trump. In fact, he had a void, but Dan ruffed one of Raymond's club tricks, allowing me to maintain trump control and throw him in to lead to my trump tenace for the last tricks I needed.
Moa: The King of Destruction

Finding some things I've never worked with before a bit confusing

Today's Bridge: It was my turn to bid contracts that I had no business playing, but my opponents were generous and my skills were up to the task. The first hand was S x-x-x H 10 D A-x C A-K-J-8-x-x-x, which I felt was more than worth a 1C opener. Anna responded 1NT, indicating precisely 3-3-3-4 distribution, and Ken cut in with 2H. Given my singleton in his suit and our combined 11 trump, I jumped straight to 5C based on the Law of Total Tricks. With the obvious heart opening lead, Anna laid down S x-x H x-x D K-J-10-x-x C Q-10-9-x - not quite the distribution I was expecting, but it was the right number of trump and just as much power as I could expect. Ken took the ace of hearts and then tried the king, giving me a chance, but I still had to set up the diamonds with some delicacy. Clubs split 1-1, but it didn't matter, since I crossed to dummy with a second round to lead the jack of diamonds, placing Ken with the queen for his bid. He covered, so the rest was simple. I navigated the 4-2 diamond split to discard two spades and make the contract. Dan tried 2H in the next hand, but the 5-2 trump fit didn't help him and despite a non-targeted defense, we set the contract by one. My next hand was S A-Q-8-x-x H K-x D A-Q-10 C A-K-9, which was just enough for a 2C opening. Anna predictably responded 2D, so I bid 2S. She bid 3C, which seemed like a reasonable trump suit, but as usual with distributed power and a fit in a minor, I felt 3NT was the best contract. She had S J-9-x H A-x D J-x-x C 10-7-x-x-x, which makes 4S look like a decent contract, and we might have had the ten of spades, which would have given me nine tricks after forcing out the king of spades. I don't remember. I took the opening heart lead in hand to keep the dummy entry and cashed the top clubs, finding Ken with four to the Q-8. So I led the nine, hoping to set up the last two clubs, but Ken thought about it and dropped the eight under it - a great move, in my opinion, since it means I need two dummy entries to establish that last club trick. I had to guess which king Dan had, and tried a spade to the jack. When it held, I could clear the clubs, win Ken's spade return, and cross to dummy for the rest of the tricks I needed. Later, I got to open 2S with S K-10-x-x-x-x H A D x-x C K-10-7-3, and Anna raised me to 3S (even though Ken had already passed) with S Q-x H K-J-x D Q-x-x-x C A-Q-4-2. Not bad, but I think the bid is either 4S or pass. Dan started with the six of clubs, and while I wanted to let it run to my hand for the free finesse, I went up with the queen to see whether Ken had the five. He played it, so I knew Dan wasn't starting a high-low. I unblocked the ace of hearts, then led a low club, which Dan ruffed. At least he was only ruffing a loser. Then he inexplicably led the queen of hearts, letting me jettison both of my diamonds. A low spade to my ten held, and I led back to the queen, under which Ken threw the jack, leaving him with just the ace. I cashed my two clubs and conceded the ace of trump for an overtrick. Ken ended with a 3H where I think Anna had a cunning deceptive play available in trump. Ken led a low trump, and she jumped right up with the queen. I'd bid during the auction, so he was planning to finesse through my hand, which would have given her the queen and an opportunity to lead me a spade to ruff. All Ken had to do was ruff higher than my six to make the contract, but it would have given him an opportunity to make a mistake, which is the best you can do sometimes. Still, it was a solid day for us and I enjoyed it throughout.
Moa: The King of Destruction

It's always sad to miss an easy slam

Today's Bridge: Ken rejoined us today, and I think he was a bit excited, because he made some highly aggressive bids. He made 4H with an overtrick on an overcall so thin it was two-dimensional (the distributions of the two hands were a perfect fit), then tried to shift Anna out of a 3C opening on 4-4-5-0 distribution with even less power. Granted, a trump void doesn't look great, but first rule of holes: When you're in one, stop digging. Even worse, I had K-6-5-3-2 of trump, and Dan's spades were just good enough that I could throw away my Q-x of hearts. Anna led hearts at me rather than pulling trump, and I had plenty of diamonds to exit with, forcing her each time while I scored my baby trumps. We ended up making their contract - off five vulnerable, which I couldn't double since it was obvious that Ken had places to try to escape to. Dan opened the next hand 1D, and I had no diamonds and five points. I made a disciplined pass, and he ended up off one - the opponents missed a decent contract with a diamond fit. I finally ended up with a decent hand - S A-8-5-4-2 H K D 4-2 C A-K-x-x-x. Not great, but opposite Dan's 1C opener, it was worth a positive 1S response. He jumped straight to 4S, which could only be a closeout, and while I wanted to look for a slam, that was an obvious discouragement. He didn't mean it - he had S K-J-6-3 H A-Q-x D A-Q-J-x-x C 3, which is worth exploring with in my opinion even with not much more than the minimum. If he supports with 2S, I cue-bid 3C-3D-4C, and whether he bids diamonds or hearts, I jump to slam. Even if we're missing the ace of hearts, it should be a fine contract. As it is, we're likely to lose a spade and that's it. Ken led the seven of spades to Anna's nine and my ace. (No point ducking at this point, I think. If I'm going to lose a trump, I can afford to lose it later.) I unblocked the king of hearts, then cashed the ace of clubs and ruffed a club. Cashing the king of spades brought a club from Ken, so I threw both of my diamonds on the hearts and a club on the ace of diamonds, then ruffed a diamond, ruffed the little club with the jack, and ruffed another diamond. I led the good king of clubs, and whether Anna ruffed with the queen and promoted my last trump or let me have the king, the slam we failed to bid was made. I had a 1C hand of my own, balanced and 16 for a 1NT rebid, but Ken doubled me and Dan responded 1NT, showing 8-10 balanced. I invited game with 2NT, but he passed that, and still missed by two while trying to set up an eighth trick. Other than missing the slam, we didn't do too badly, and I'm sure we're very out of practice by this point. I've been practicing with Vu-Bridge, but I don't think anyone else spends much time outside of our lunch games keeping up their skills.
Moa: The King of Destruction

I can't complain when opponents make things easy for me

Today's Bridge: Our summer employee is back, so we rounded up enough people for a game. I was willing to double 2C with S K-J-x H Q D A-x-x-x C K-Q-8-x-x, but didn't double Brent's raise to 3C - off three, but the play left something to be desired. They went for 4H next, and I had a hard time leading from S K-10-x-x H Q-J-x D K-9-x-x C A-10. Fortunately, after I ruffed a club, Anna took an ill-advised finesse, letting me have another heart. Finally, I got to play a hand: S Q-x H J-x D A-K-Q-x-x C K-x-x-x. Dan had S x-x-x H K-x-x D 9-x-x C A-Q-J-x, and we ended in 3D. Anna ducked the opening spade lead to my queen, so I led another one to Brent's jack and her king, and she led the ace, which I ruffed. I cashed two top trump, leaving just the jack out, and ran clubs until Brent ruffed in. He returned a diamond, so I threw a heart from hand and ruffed in dummy for an overtrick. If he returns a heart, I duck it and should be guaranteed a heart trick, however the suit lies. Brent followed with a 2C, uninteresting from my perspective, and then I opened 3H on S K-x-x H K-J-10-9-x-x-x D 8-x C x. Dan had S J-10-x-x H Q-6 D x C K-Q-10-9-8-x, and Anna took the opening diamond lead with the ace and led a club, the only lead that would give me the contract. A spade at least keeps things open, while a diamond eliminates my dummy entry before I can set up the clubs, and cashing the A-x of trump leaves me a diamond loser to go with the other four. As it was, Brent took the ace of clubs and led one back. I threw two spades under the K-Q while both opponents followed, then led another club. Anna ruffed with the eight and I covered, while Brent threw a spade. I ruffed a diamond back to dummy and persisted with another club. Anna ruffed with the ace, so I threw the king of spades, leaving myself trump-tight and one trick over again.

As for work... I'm taking on a huge effort that's all-or-nothing, and everyone else needs me to babysit them while they work with our new repository, so I'm getting very little done. At least I'm not the only one who won't be finishing the work for this sprint on time.