Tag: life

Announcing my entrance onto the professional poker circuit

It’s been a long time coming, yet the irritation I’ve felt for years is now gone. It is welcome relief, finally figuring out your place in the world, your purpose. At minimum I now know what mine is not.

Pete McDonald penned the epiphany, months in the making, after reading this piece by Alex Cerveniak entitled Why You Suck at Fly Fishing. Thoughtful by design, Mr. McDonald concludes that whether or not you are any good at the quiet sport makes no real difference. Instead, listen to the inner conscience, and do what you love no matter the accumulated skills.

The funny thing is, I read Alex’s piece too, but came to a decidedly different conclusion at the outset.

They’re always moving, covering as much water as possible, only slowing down when they’re into fish. While experience gives them an idea of which flies they’ll need for the day, they don’t actually know which ones they’ll be using until they’re on the water. And if that fly isn’t working, they don’t stick with it cause they caught a really big fish five years ago in this spot with it. They will go through fly- after fly after fly after fly- until they find the one that does. When fly changes don’t work, they’re adjusting leader and tippet diameter, or leader length, or the distance between their indicator and the fly, or the amount of split shot on the leader, or their drift, or anything else they have control over.

Once consumed, I said to myself…

That’s MG to a tee. Always moving. Always changing. Controlling what can be controlled. No wonder I kick so much ass!

Displaying confidence, wholly justified, I was nevertheless haunted by subconscious reservations. Compadre McDonald finally spelled it out for me…

A couple years ago I said in a post the only two rules of fly fishing should be, Don’t be an asshole and make the cast. Now I’m pairing it down: Don’t be an asshole; that should pretty much be enough.

It’s now clear I can no longer participate in fly-fishing because it’s inevitable I will break the rules. Since I was permanently banned from the Andros South card table (for taking…cough cough…everyone’s money…cough cough), I figure I’ve got to pay the rent somehow.

I wonder if the professional poker circuit will let me bring my own chips and deck.

MG signing off (to be an asshole someplace else)

Book review: The Fly Caster Who Tried to Make Peace with the World

To cast a fly to a fish is to hope – hope that it is hungry. The same goes for tailing fish, those bobbing and weaving in the water column, and even cruisers if you are feeling exceptionally confident (and lucky).

To cast yourself into the whirlwind called life is, however, more risk than wishful thinking. Putting yourself out there every day, regardless of your innate skill (or lack thereof), and trying to make the best of it requires courage. To do it all with some semblance of dignity, self-reflection, self-correction, and a modicum of empathy are the only true determinants of success, at least according to this technologist finance geek fly-fishing bum. If I could put myself in the shoes of one Ian McBride, whose fictional [?] life is chronicled in Randy Kadish’s The Fly Caster Who Tried to Make Peace with the World, I sincerely hope that I could look back and say I did half the job he did.

McBride’s journey is one of never ending learning, and one he questions himself constantly about. Albeit a slow start, fly casting, and fly-fishing, becomes the protagonist’s window into a world of relativity. The storyline is immersing – some might find it almost too much so. You don’t feel like you are there, but instead wind up convinced you are Ian. In his head, thinking his thoughts. Acting on his feelings. I didn’t mind – he’s a good egg.

For the fly-fishing aficionado, some interesting history of the sport is gracefully weaved into the story, as is the sublime experience itself…

Where I came from and where I was going no longer mattered; so even though I didn’t catch another trout, I wasn’t disappointed about anything, until I looked at my watch and saw the time.

Many can surely relate. I know I can.

I’ll wrap by noting again that the book starts off somewhat slow, but by the end of the first quarter it does not disappoint. That beginning is purposeful background, one that allows you to understand the how’s and why’s of one young person’s gradual advancement to adulthood. Trials and tribulations are thoroughly included, which makes the book all the more genuine.

The Fly Caster Who Tried to Make Peace with the World is available in both paperback and a Kindle version, from Amazon.

Editor’s note to the government types: I am not generating any revenue from book link click-throughs because the Colorado legislature has seen it in their hearts to indirectly put the kabosh on affiliate revenue in our fair state. That stupidity aside, the author sent me the book on the condition that if I didn’t like it I would not review it. I read it, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and hence acted accordingly.

Give and take

In the simplest terms, you present the fly and the fish takes it. Drill down however, and things are not quite so easily defined.

The fish gets hooked, and subsequently gives up significant amounts of energy trying to break free. Sometimes it does, taking a tiny piece of your spirit along with.

Other times you land the fish, and take in its beauty. Then you release it, at once giving the fish back its life and giving the ecosystem surrounding it a chance at a better one. Meanwhile, the fish and that ecosystem have given you something too. A racing heart. A sense of accomplishment. A moment of bliss.

Even if the fish finds a way to escape, it has still provided you with something. A lesson learned.

From the long-term perspective, everyone has their days…what seem like eternally memorable outings. Sometimes it is entire seasons. Even years. Nonetheless, we constantly yearn for more.

Are you taking away, or giving your all? Wantonly? Relentlessly? Generously? Unexpectedly?

I do not have the answers myself. We’d all like to think that when we’re standing on the bank we’re at one with our surroundings, but we might be fooling ourselves. How do you measure such symbiosis, when for each success there’s a failure waiting right around the next corner? And visa versa. The magic, consistently balancing the opposing forces, seems almost out of reach when you consider the next tick of the clock. How will you know if you achieved that harmony until you see the final weigh-in?

My guess is all you can do is hope. And keep fiddling with the scale.

MG signing off (to take a careful look around)

Editor’s note: There is one certainty: if you make that cast and a tree branch takes that fly, you are taking a trip to the fly shop, and giving someone your cash.

Some things I’ve learned through fly fishing

  • Find something you like to do, and make a point of doing it well. If at all possible, exceptionally well. You will find you like it even more.
  • If the best you can do still isn’t satisfying, invite someone to join who is better than you. Then watch and listen closely. You’ll be better next time around.
  • It isn’t necessary to buy the most you can afford, but you’d be well served by buying the best you can afford. Then, take care of it as though you can never afford it again.
  • Patience is not a virtue. It’s for those who can’t be bothered changing venue or tactics. When things aren’t working out precisely as you imagined, switch gears.
  • Life isn’t short. In fact it’s the longest thing a human being will ever experience. There will be plenty of opportunities to exercise forethought. So practice every chance you get.
  • The discrete experiences in the course of life are, however, fleeting. Relish the good ones like they’re the last you’ll have, and take note of the bad ones too. Remember both good and bad will be coming back around momentarily.
  • Pay attention to details. Even those that seem trivial at the time could make the difference.
  • Being prepared goes beyond the material realm. It means being knowledgeable about the conditions you will face, having a plan for engaging them, and getting a decent night’s rest so you aren’t asleep at the wheel.
  • Passion does not mean obsession. The latter is nearly always one-dimensional, while the former, when embraced in conjunction with balance, will surely spill over positively into other aspects of your life.
  • And finally…

  • Learn to tell good stories. And when you’re alone, remind yourself that’s really all they are.

PS: I’d love to hear about other’s learning experiences on the water.

“If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived”

I’s digs ’till I can’ts digs nomore

A couple of days ago, a close friend asked me where the “drive” comes from (I think I am lazy, but that is besides the point). Meaning, why I have so many projects on the plate, and just keep punching away, throwing continually towards the wall – seeing what sticks. Sometimes people tell me “you should just relax, read a novel, watch a little tele.” I read..rarely novels, but right now I am on Fermat’s Enigma (which, by the way, the previously mentioned friend gave to me). My TV gets turned on now and then, but usually just for background noise, and almost always tuned to Discovery Channel.

I don’t like trying to curry favor with people by kissing their behinds. If you can’t stand on your own, you might as well find a nine to five job, buy the stick and stucco in the burbs, write off any chance of catching a marlin on a flyrod, and call it a life. If you can, then the rest should just fall into place, as the ability to create value will always be in demand. Unfortunately for my anti-butt kissing credo, Mark Cuban is at it again, in The Sport of Business .

Like Paul Graham’s piece yesterday, this one hits home, and is well worth your time. To my friend who sometimes doesn’t “get” me, and all the rest who waste time reading my drivel, read Mark’s piece instead (as I couldn’t have explained it better).