Today I am officially announcing my run for the presidency. Thank you to all of my supporters that have encouraged me to go toe to toe with Obama and McCain. We can make a difference! Take a look at the news story on this huge event below!
Welcome to the website, a new TedAndNicki.com contributing journalist! Tyler John Banucci was born at 2:59 AM on August 2, 2008. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 2 oz, and 21 inches long, HE is a formidable foe for Ted's white shirts.
Everyone is happy and doing well. Tyler and family should make it home on Monday after recouperation takes place. Oma (Nicki's Mom) is taking care of Jules and Papou is already in town visiting!
No pictures yet, as after Jules I decided to keep our kids pics to a minimum on the web. Jules is a little jealous of her little bro....
6 weeks from my last post. I know that because Jules is 6 weeks old now and all time is based around her. So what has been going on the past 6 weeks? I will tell you: Feeding, burping, changing, and a little sleeping (LITTLE sleeping).
Jules has helped Daddy post some new pictures though and of course she is as cute as a button. Hit the "pictures" link on the left and take a gander.
Nicki and Ted are such proud parents and we love our little girl. She's the best thing that's happened to us and we can't believe we waited so long. We will post more movies and pics soon!
Welcome to the website, a new TedAndNicki.com contributing journalist! Jules Carrie Banucci was born at 3:40 AM on June 24, 2006. Weighing in at 6.5 pounds and 19 inches long, she is a formidable foe for Ted's white shirts.
Everyone is happy and doing well. Jules and family should make it home on Monday after recuperation takes place and "Nona" Banucci flies in to help make some dinners for the crew.
There are lots of pictures of course in our Pictures section!
Wow- guess I missed this fracas by a few days. Here is a great story about morons out there always blaming and harrasing the "geeks" because they can't read. I have to post this because as a former IT Admin, this stuff was thrown at me all the time because someone did not want to take the time to understand or read about how to solve the problem on their own. Probably a good reason why I am a videographer now!
After meeting the instructors, you sit down at poker tables with them and you start playing. This is where the course starts and you start learning- a great way to do it since after every hand, the professionals are able to pick apart what scenario you should have taken, if it was completed correctly, and alternative scenarios to complete. After 2 hours of this, we were rushed off to a taping of a final table at the WPT in Reno event. It was a long dual and very interesting to watch, not only from a poker player's perspective, but from a video production perspective, after all, this is my true profession (for the moment). I'm sure I got on TV a lot, and I was rooting for Jason Stern, an amatuer from San Jose, CA. Jason unfortunately came in second after several crushing hands in which he went in with the better hand, but the river was never kind to him. I felt his pain. The other interesting thing that happened to me on the first day was that I sat down next to a guy from NY which is actually a co-worker of one of my best friends in CT! What a small world....
The second day was summed up by an email to my Dad:
This is seriously the coolest gift I ever got, Dad. I have had in-depth conversations with each instructor (all of them are pros that I know from TV by the way). So not only meeting them (being star struck), but having cool conversations with them where THEY are actually LEARNING from ME and speaking to me like an old buddy of theirs is probably the NEATEST EXPERIENCE I've ever gotten to be a part of. The only thing that would compare to this is dunking on Shaq in the paint, being able to turn a double play with Derek Jeter, or beating Tiger Woods on a par-5 at Pebble... and then having them tell me how awesome I am.
Today they crammed my brain with so much info that I feel like I should turn pro right now. Not only did I learn an incredible amount, but we were able to put it to the test and have them critique us on our plays. I had pats on the back all around when I was able to re-run them by everyone, and they were all impressed by my moves.
In our sit-down tournament, where we were among 10 of our peers, I was in control the whole time and had a dominating chip lead for 90% of the tournament. Unfortunately, luck took it's turn and I ended just barely in third (on a pot where I could have won it all). Tomorrow is the big tourney where I face not only all my peers, but the pro's as well. Looking forward to it!"
And the third day came, where we attended more lectures and finally had the tournament. This tournament involved all 80 students and 10 instructors (pros). The prize to first place was 2 $5000 entries to WPT events, and travel cash. Second place received a $1000 satellite entry tournament, and 3rd and 4th got chipsets (yeah, nothing much). The other thing about the tournament was that each pro has a $500 bounty on their head if you knocked them out of the tournament. I lasted a long time (longer than most of the pros anyway). My undoing came on a bad beat story. I was getting short stacked (due to no cards) and the blinds were climbing, if I doubled up, I would be in great shape. I was on the big blind and a lady across from me raised it up. I saw her stutter (meaning it was a questionable hand), so I pushed all my chips in. She hesitated for a long time and finally called. I had Ace-8 suited and she had Ace-3 unsuited. I flopped an 8, which secured my victory... but wait... 2 hearts... another heart on fourth street.... and the river... another heart! Nooooo! She had sucked out a flush on me with her one heart! The 3!!!!
I was out, and dejected. But I knew that my skills had greatly improved and I was able to stare down some of the pros, which made me feel pretty good about myself. And I had lasted longer than T.J. Cloutier!
Anyway, it was a great trip, and here are some of my favorite pics from it. You can find more on our pictures page.
So I was watching PBS a few months ago (I'm old now, I get to do that), and the author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", Robert Kiyosaki, was on PBS answering financial questions. Nicki loved this book when she read it (I never did, but just dismissed it as another "get your ass in gear and pay attention to your finances" book). The reason Kiyosaki was on PBS, is he was promoting the "Real Estate Learning Annex", which is basically an expo of keynote speakers including the likes of Anthony Robbins, Donald Trump, Suze Orman, and himself. I have to admit I like Suze Orman- because she tells it straight and does not try to sell stuff to you, and I like Tony Robbins because he is able to make you see all women as hot pieces of ass (Shallow Hal reference, people!). So I thought it would be cool to make a $200 "donation" to PBS so we could get 2 tickets for "free" to this thing, and I knew Nicki would enjoy is since she is a real estate agent.
I woke up at an ungodly 6 in the morning this Saturday and we drove up to San Fran to weave around the 50,000 people we found out were going (and all of whom were trying to park in the same garage as us). We got into the Moscone Center where it was being held. I had been there for expos before such as MacWorld, but I had never seen the whole hall empty of booths and nothing there but chairs and some big ass screens. The screens were every 50 yards or so because you were there with 50,000 other people and the actual speakers were down at one end and they looked like ants (something tells me I should have just bought the DVDs of the convention for $200).
Our first speaker- how to get rich in the stock market. Basically a talk about the product he was whoring off that will get you money when three green arrows appear on a graph chart of a stock. "It's like making money doing nothing!" Nicki already got suckered into that one a long time ago and it has only lost us money.
Second speaker is some "attorney who got a conscience and turned good" (never heard that one before), who has appeared on CNN Money and other networks. He was telling us to put all of our stuff in a trust (which we already have) and then into a family limited partnership so we could never be sued from a lawyer like himself, and this was bullet-proof.... we could buy a CD that would do it for us for only $2000! Yet another product shoveling whore.
At this point I started feeling like I was duped into coming to this thing. So far I had attended 3 hours of speeches in an uncomfortable row of plastic chairs squeezed between my pregnant wife and a fat guy, with no leg room, to hear nothing but advertisements of products from these jerks. Then Tony Robbins came out. The one guy whom I thought would try to sell us crap did not even come close to selling us something. I was shocked. He had a pretty fun lecture actually which involved getting the crowd involved and making us uncomfortably shake and hug other people in the crowd. This is something Nicki loves to do, but is way out of my scope of comfort. Anyway, I played along and cheered when he asked me to cheer and hugged when he asked me to hug. Unfortunately, I did feel like I learned a little something, and that was to get out of my cynical moods for a few minutes each day and see the light. Now, back to my cynical mood....
Next up was Suze Orman. I like Suze, she takes no sh*t and tells it like it is. She did not sell anything either! Miracle of miracles! However, I did not learn anything from her that I already didn't know. Let's face it, I'm a book of knowledge.
Next up was a guy who was going to teach us how to make money flipping houses. I'm liking the flipping house thing right now. There is a new show on Discovery channel about it and I tend to catch myself watching it and saying, "I can do that!" It looks so appealing: buy a crappy ass house no one wants, put some money into it redesigning it and fixing it up, sell it for way more money than you spent on it.
Well, now we had the supposed guru (whom I never heard of), James Smith, to tell us how he made millions in the flipping business. This guy was a comedian, he was making the crowd laugh uncontrollably with his rants and raves of stupid people. His drawl and idiodic sayings like "now take a look at this" after every sentence kept us drawn in to his speech. Then the clincher was when he said: "Lady, put away your checkbook- unlike my predecessors, I ain't going to sell you a damn thing!".... we loved him. Everybody cheered! It's like everyone knew that we were here to get crap pushed on us. But not James Smith, he was preaching nothing but the truth and we were in love with him for that.... or so we thought!
Next thing you know, Mr. Smith was telling us that he's such a great guy and the most ethical person you ever met. He's helped waitresses at Denny's get a house, he bought his gardener a truck, he helped all his contractors get rich, he helped his lawnmower guy buy a house and get rich... blah blah blah. He even warmed us up by saying he loves to invest in California, and he just bought a lot in Pacifica to put up 10 houses, all powered with a windmill because "that is what the city wants, and that is what the city is gonna get!" Wow, not only is he ethical, he is environmental! He knows just what we Californians want!
Mind you he is saying all of this crap about how great he is, but he never stopped to tell us exactly how to flip houses, or how he got the waitress to afford a new house, or how he got the money to flip a house the first time, or.... well, he really didn't TELL us anything! All he did was keep tugging at our heartstrings with his ethical prowess and his amusing rants of stupid people that he like to help.
Then comes the clincher.... after telling us not to pull out our pocketbooks, after telling us how ethical he is, after NOT telling us anything of substance on how to be in the flipping business... he ends his speech with, you guessed it, something for sale! A 3 day seminar, only for $6000!!!! That was it. I nearly jumped out of my seat and in front of 50,000 people yelled "BULLLLLLLLLLSHIIIIIIIIIIIITT!!!!!!" I might have well yelled "Shenanigans!!!" (a la the Southpark episode where they get ripped off at the fair). Instead, I grabbed Nicki and got the hell out of there.
I thought my torture had ended. But it just begun, Nicki wanted more. She still wanted to see "Rich Dad" Robert Kiyosaki the next morning. Which meant waking at 6 again, driving up in the crowds, and dealing with more advertisements that I paid to see. Well, it all fell into place. Kiyosaki just went on about how rich he was, how we were all rats that were going to lose our money in the bubble, and especially about his stupid products that he was pawning off like the 30 different books and his dumb ass board game that helps you to learn how to become rich- yeah, ok. Nicki wanted to stay for more. I pretty much acted like an ass till she agreed to go. If I had to stay for the Trump to have him tell me I'm "fired", I might have gone crazy.
So I get home to report my rants, but first I wanted to look around to see if anyone else had the same opinions as me. Turns out there are a lot of people out there that are disgruntled, not only by the "Learning Annex", but by Kiyosaki himself, and some of the other speakers, like James Smith. Apparently, I should have done my research instead of going to this thing. Call me the fool.
The best rants I saw happen to be a competitor to these speakers who writes guides and newsletters on real estate investing. Although this keeps me in check that the guy may be doing this just for publicity, I enjoy his honest candor and his research into these people's pasts. To check out his page, look at the following link, especially his rants on Kiyosaki and his book. It's updated (up till today even), and is a long read, but contains a lot of research to back up his claims against these schleps that I had to listen to: