The members of Team FemFlex and our friends get mixed up in all sorts of shenanigans every year. Maybe some of those stories are worth sharing, but viewer discretion is advised.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chicago Cicada Convention

This past weekend, I traveled to Chicago for the NPC Jr. Nationals, which has a reputation for consistently introducing the best new talent to the national physique scene. What I didn't know before my arrival, however, was that we'd be sharing space with the 17-year cicadas who were also in town for the month. If you've never seen these annoyingly fascinating creatures, consider yourself lucky. But for those of you who live in the midwest, I do not envy you at all.


The cicadas made outdoor shooting difficult for both the models and the photographers, but thankfully, it'll be 2024 before we have to deal with them again.

Having just relocated to Sacramento the previous weekend, it was not a smart choice for me to go to Chicago, but the chance to work with Jen 'The Beast' Cowan, Lori Steele, Catherine Boshuizen, and a pre-contest Sarah Dunlap was just too good to pass up. Plus, I wanted to observe the new TK/Jeff Binns super-duo in action.

Some of the FF newcomers we shot include: IFBB pro Liane Seiwald, Carrie Ann Simmons, Lori Steele, Gretchen Imes, Nez Zamorano, Lauren Burnett, Neely Tartaglia, Kelley Mullins, Amy Gilgenbach, Ann Marie, and Andrée Allaire. And Jeff arrived in Chicago having already completed recent shoots with Jessica Rohm, Kristin Rodriguez, and Regina Heiserman.

Thanks to our good friend, Lou, at Kriv Studios for the Amy hookup (he still owes us 2 more 1st-rounders). *wink*

No guarantees, but I'll do my best to get all the new models posted before the next big show, the NPC USAs in Vegas at the end of July.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Vegas, baby.

The thing I love about Las Vegas is that it's impossible to go there and not have a good time. Even when you're losing cash like crazy, you can still have fun.

I flew out there Monday for a Tuesday meeting with Mike. We played a couple of 'home' tournaments with Mike's college buddy, Pete, who is a professional poker player, and I won $40 from them. But the story doesn't actually begin there...

Because of (another) dead fish, I ended up leaving home later than expected and was unable to catch my original flight on Southwest. There was another leaving about an hour later, and I managed to reach Burbank in the nick of time for that one. After arriving in Vegas, I grabbed a cab to the Orleans and since my driver decided that we had to take I-15, the bill ended up being $19. $19 from McCarran to the Orleans!

When I got to the room and greeted Mike and Pete, the three of us decided that we could hold off on dinner until after a little poker action in the room. I was tasked with going downstairs to the casino to buy some chips for us to use. I'd never done it before, so I figured you could just get them from the tables. I sat down at a blackjack table, and requested a couple hundred in chips.

And then I proceeded to play them.

I rode a series of $5, $10, and $15 bets up to a total stack of $375 ($175 to the good). The cards were too good to leave. And then the little Asian woman in the first seat took her winnings and left the table. That should've been my cue to leave as well, because her departure changed the table dynamics immediately. I then sat and watched my stack begin to dwiddle. Loss after loss, it was getting bloody. The phone rang! The ringing would be my salvation as my stack had already dipped to about $180...less than the $200 I'd started with. It was Mike, trying to find out why it had taken over 30 minutes to get chips. I quickly explained that I was in the middle of something, but would be there shortly. Back to the game, another loss. And then another. Finally, down to $100, I pushed the bet to $50. Winner. I decided to go another $25. Winner.

Overall, $25 in the hole...time to walk away.

But that wasn't good enough.

$10. Loser. $15. Loser. $50. Loser. $50. Loser. $50. Loser.

That's right, I busted out on 5 straight losses. At that point, I got up, walked over to the cage, and exchanged $200 in cash for chips and then walked straight to the room, stopping only for 3 bottles of water and a pack of 'Sugar Babies' from the gift shop.

We all had a good laugh as I explained why the $200 in chips had actually cost 40 minutes and $400.

Mike bluffs a lot in short-handed games, so if you've got a hand, it's easy to take him out. I sometimes think Pete goes easy on us, probably because the stakes aren't that great...or maybe he's just setting us up for a huge takedown in the future, I dunno. Either way, it's always good fun with those guys. The most hilarious part of the evening was when we all lunged at once when it looked like the little raccoon would fall from the table.

We then treated ourselves to a nice meal at Big Al's Oyster Bar. Yum, yum.

The Server Upgrade Continues

If you've been following the 'Slow Downloads' discussion on the HerBiceps message boards (http://messages.herbiceps.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1159376223;start=0), then - along with having wasted valuable minutes of your life (minutes that you'll never get back!) - you are aware that those of us still in the Diana the Valkyrie (DtV) website family are in the midst of an upgrade.

What that means is that approximately one-third of you will be able to see this as soon as it's published, while the remainder of you will see it some time later, perhaps an hour or two.

At last check, the site had been moved - along with Boomerflex.com, Athleticwomenmagazine.com, and SheWrestles.com - to a new triple-decker server on the DtV Server Farm. What that means is that three separate servers are now handling the load that used to be handled by one. Based on the feedback we've received, this has essentially tripled the download speeds that users were experiencing prior to the change.

That's Phase One.

Phase Two is to build entirely new servers with faster, more up-to-date hardware. At last check, the parts had been ordered and shipped, but I do not know yet whether the new builds have begun.

At any rate, I hope everyone is enjoying the speed increase and you should be on the lookout for more improvements in the coming weeks.

My First Blog Post Ever

I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing, but since I love to talk (write), I'm talking.

I guess it's now time to publish.