In which I move on….

That was quicker…

Than I expected. Yesterday I planned to hang out at my parents and just catch them up on what’s been going on with work and stuff and I was there when Archie text me saying that there was a guy on 2plus2 looking to employ someone as a marketing expert for an affiliate marketing company that he’s setting up. Archie got in contact and I agreed to talk to this guy for 15 minutes on Skype, just to see if I could help him.

2 hours later…

15 minutes magically turned into 2 hours…

I’d had a passionate discussion about the future of the igaming industry and outlined where I thought I might be able to help with this particular product. The guy in charge is building a team of super smart people to set up an affiliate business loosely connected to poker, sports betting and forex trading. It turns out we connected quite well and we agreed that I would work as a consultant in setting up and marketing the product, which should provide some walk around money for the next couple of months. I already have my first project, which is setting up an acquisition test promotion and on the back of that, setting up a digital marketing and acquisition plan for the business — quite heady stuff, but I was very interested in the fact that we both agreed that most companies have absolutely zero idea of how to measure the ROI of marketing campaigns, preferring to think of things like CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per acquisition) rather than thinking holistically about the campaign and the effect it has on the business.

Having the opportunity to work at something which is effectively a start-up is very interesting for me, as you get a whole load of autonomy and get to work on lots of different but inter-connected topics, something that was definitely missing for me lately — they say ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown’ and I fucking love crowns, regardless of how heavy they are.

For the first month, we’re going to work on a payment per task basis and as things get going we’ll probably switch to a day rate or a monthly retainer — I’m pretty easy about that — I will probably still try and find some other projects or a ‘real job’ to work on as well, but doing some piecemeal consultancy gives me less of a time pressure to do it — whilst keeping my brain engaged and switched on.

No time to waste…

I’m off to write a marketing plan and create a promotion to earn some sweet dollars. Will probably grind some tournaments tomorrow at the Ranch with Herchie, HamJ and maybe even JuniorHommer. Good times.

In which it happens again….

This isn’t the post…

I wanted to make today. I wanted to tell you all about an absolutely world class bit of trolling by the other two boys in HHH which made me think I was going insane. Another time, maybe. There are more important things happening today.

If you recall the post I made yesterday, I said that I had some professional concerns which caused me to rethink my involvement in the staking market this summer and longer term.

It turns out that those concerns were, as they so often are, well founded because today I was given notice by my employer that my role was at risk of redundancy. Since I’ve worked for the company for less than two years, the law says that I’m not entitled to much, in the (highly likely!) event that I’m made redundant at the end of a legally enforced ‘consultation period’. I’ve been in this position before, facing (but not taking) redundancy on two occasions when I worked in a call centre and subsequently I guess many of you know the story of how I came to leave in 2011.

It’s appropriate to remain relatively taciturn whilst the consultation period is ongoing, but I should say I think the two people handling the process have done an excellent job so far — having been on both sides of the table I know it’s not an easy conversation to have.

What now….?

I really don’t know. I guess I’ll look for another job and I’d like to stay in Newcastle for now, *not least* because it would be unfair of me to leave the boys in the shit with the house etc, at least whilst I have the possibility to stay here.

I’ve updated my CV today and spoken to a few people in my (lol word incoming…) ‘network’ about possible opportunities and I’ll keep doing that over the next week or so whilst I decide what to do — I need to act relatively quickly though, not least because the time I spent out of work at the end of 2011 was one of the single most depressing times of my life. For all the fun the boys make, I do love work. I love solving puzzles and being part of a team that’s solving problems. Unfortunately, this time, we couldn’t solve the biggest problem that faces any company together in time.

I’m leaving (again, not confirmed, but it’s a million that I can come up with a solution, I think) with no hard feelings and few regrets — I only wish I’d been able to leave on my own terms, which is something that many of you will know that I’d been considering for at least a couple of months.

Is it me….

Or just good old fashioned variance? I seem to have been in this spot quite a bit (lol, sample size!) but it does make you wonder a little whether you’re doing something wrong, or  whether the universe is conspiring against you in some way. The more likely answer to that question is that I’ve so far chosen to work in industries with high risk — gaming and video games aren’t exactly known for being a low variance way to make money — they are industries in which margins are constantly being squeezed and where if you’re not first, you’re last. I really don’t know for sure if this is the reason for it all, but that’s what I’m choosing to believe this time.

One thing is for sure, I’m handling it a lot better this time around. Last time, some things were said that didn’t help anyone, I guess I’m older and wiser now and have a slightly more que sera, sera approach about the whole thing.

We’ll see what happens next, I guess maybe I’ll try and find something a little more low variance.

Geeee elllll me.

Hoping to post something more positive next time,


In which I count beans…

I’ve never been good…

As an accountant. I get the idea, I’m just not very good at it. I have a compulsive personality, which means I’m very good at saying ‘Yes’, but not all that great at saying ‘No’, especially when I think I’ve got the best of it.

These facets of my character, for better or worse, mean that I’m a pretty active in the staking market for poker. And when Vegas and the WSOP comes around, I’m like a moth drawn to the brightest of lights — seeing the chance to get a big score with very little effort indeed, just a few clicks on a mouse or a quick telephone call to the bank and we’re in. Qualified, as TonyG would say.

Unfortunately, this is the year I think I may fly too close to that light and get burned. Between a small couple of pieces on the NPF and some other action I have elsewhere, I’ve got a pretty decent chunk of my life roll in play. Make no mistake about it, if everyone bricks, it’ll sting. It won’t be fatal of course, but it will absolutely sting. Tails will be placed firmly between legs and I’ll be this guy:

don’t make me be this guy…

I’ve just done the sums, which is something I’m loathe to do — I think I much prefer the absolute sweat of never knowing how much I’ve got in play, but I forced myself to do it this morning and I’m feeling quite exposed this summer. Actually, in the end, it’s not *that* much money, but it’s a bigger percentage of my net than I’m realllllly comfortable having in play — I think 5% is a pretty golden number, but I’m some way past that already.

The compulsiveness is the issue, every time I see what looks like a decent deal, I can’t help but grab a slice, especially as I feel the staking market is pretty inefficient right now, especially for Vegas where people can’t really know their true ROI and I might be able to find some margin.

There’s only one thing for it…..



The only possible plan is to stop punting — big field events are massively high variance, even if you think you have the best of it. I have some pieces of players at 1.5 markup in some events and that’s pretty much the absolute max I’d pay for anyone in anything, the variance is usually just too high. On the other hand, I have pieces of Stumpy and Dan mfkn Trett at 1.2, which are both clearly excellent value, even if Dan’s game is more high variance than Peter’s, I expect to print money with either investment.

The plan is to settle any existing liabilities and not take any more action, in anyone, in anything, for a period of at least two months. That’s a bit of an arbitrary number of months, but my current (over) exposure coupled with some growing insecurities I have about some professional stuff going on, it just seems like a sensible position to take. Regardless of what happens this summer, I’ll still be able to enjoy a pretty decent lifestyle, but making this decision now just gives me some more security (cf professional insecurities…)

Other Stuff…

Found out yesterday that a family member sadly passed away in the early hours of the morning. I feel quite weird that I don’t really feel anything about it. I hadn’t seen Mary (an ‘aunt’ of some description..), or any of ‘her’ family since I was  a pretty small child (including at my grandfather’s funeral a few years ago) — whilst by all accounts she had a pretty torrid last couple of years, as  a result of a rare, degenerative brain disease. It’s a weird feeling, because I don’t really feel anything more than ‘it’s a shame that an old lady has died’, which is approximately what I’d feel if the Queen passed, and monarch or otherwise, she isn’t a member of my family. Don’t know what to make of that, pretty sure I should be more upset, or something. Maybe I’m just a sociopath.




In which I weep for the state of the nation…

Last night…

I couldn’t sleep. That’s not particularly unusual for me, but last night it wasn’t the insomnia which kept me awake, nor the usual mix of nicotine and caffeine coursing through my veins. Last night, it was the rage. I’d made the same kind of mistake I’ve always made. I peered into the vast cavity of the human condition, drip-fed on Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of the terrible events in Woolwich.

abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.

Facebook and Twitter need a health warning at times like this..

It’s obvious to everybody that the events in Woolwich were terrible, unforgivable and a whole host of adjectives. I feel deeply for the solider who was killed and their families and friends and the Community-at-large in Woolwich. We don’t really understand the motives for the attack, and we may never understand them, but what is clear to me that people have jumped far too quickly to use the T-word. It’s a word with stigma, and one which rightly causes an outpouring of all kinds of emotions.

My issue is that people are leaping directly from an attack, cowardly and pathetic as this was and calling it terrorism, as if that were a handy heuristic name for ‘motivated by religion belief’ — once you’ve gone there, the rabbit-hole into ‘all Islam is fundamentalism and all Muslims are terrorists and they should fuck off back to their own countries’ isn’t particularly deep or uninviting. Having just typed those words, I think I need to wash my brain — obviously it’s filth of the highest order, but even typing them in satire doesn’t make me feel particularly great — I feel a little dirty, if I’m honest.

I could talk for hours on the true definition of terrorism (Scotty and I debated this point at length yesterday evening, and it was a very interesting discussion to have) but this isn’t the point of this blog post — suffice it to say for now that I think terrorism contains two elements — ‘extraordinary scale designing to cause loss of life and strike fear into the community at large’ and ‘symbolic or explicit reference to a political, social or religious cause‘, and broadly (although we disagree on the particular weighting of those factors), Scotty agrees.  As shocking as the events in Woolwich were yesterday, I’m not sure that they are terrorist acts — to me, they are the act of fucking madmen. Again though, that’s not the point, we’re just setting the scene for what followed.

Send in the Clowns…

english defence muppets

The Clowns source:

The utter vitriol that has been spouted by these morons in the wake of these attacks has disgusted me — the cause of the rage which kept me awake last night. Reading their Twitter stream was like looking into Sauron’s eye – once I started, I couldn’t stop, with each swipe down my iPhone the anger grew and grew to the point of insomnia. Their response, usually in CAPS was ‘anybody who can — get to Woolwich now!’ — and like the Siren’s song they came. They came to fight the police and get pissed and attempt to vandalise places of worship and fight with ordinary citizens who were equally shocked and appauled at the actions of these two psychopaths as the rest of the country. They came to use such shocking events as a recruitment tool — engaging in the very tactics they supposedly despise when the shoe is on the other foot. If my Facebook and Twitter feeds are to be believed, it’s working, at least to some extent. The number of comments beginning ‘I’m not racist but…‘ and ‘I’m not being funny, but..’  was sickening to behold, as if those four little words allow the speaker to wash their hands entirely of any responsibility for what comes next.

I get it. I get that people are rightly outraged and sickened by what’s happened. I get that when crimes of such a magnitude occur, they engender feelings of anger and rage. I get that. The rage, however, is clearly misplaced. These people are standing at the top of a very slippery slope when they compare the actions of two men to the belief set of an entire religion, and with those four little words they have put the skis on and are headed straight down at pace.

When rage becomes misplaced like this, it begets a false sense of entitlement — “I can do X because I’m so angry at Y” and like the skiier flying down the piste, the steeper and more slippery the incline, the faster and faster the hate begins to snowball. This is how riots start, lest we forget. It is impossible to end in a good place when starting out like that — there are no positive solutions to that particular equation, and nor should there be. These morons come together under this false banner of entitlement, determined to let all the deficiencies in their character play their part in destruction, violence and, at its very core, racism. Dirty, nasty vindictive racism — as if there were any other kind – appears to have gripped the minds of these people and there is to be, in their minds at least, no turning back, no surrender. A siege mentality has been created, and opinions never wavering now — notwithstanding the fact that right now there’s never been a better time to be alive in all of human history, they still see the multicultural mix which has served to define Britain since the last Great War as the enemy.

You don’t speak for me…

Except they don’t say it outwardly — they claim ‘how can we be racist? Islam isn’t a race!’ — I don’t know whether I believe that anybody could be that deliberately obtuse as to really believe that can be true — we know that when ‘semantics’ is the base of your defense to charges levied against you that you’re probably in trouble and should just concede the point. We all know that — those with a modicum of intelligence and the merest soupçon of goodness in our hearts know that. But I’m not sure they do. And that’s why I’m weeping for the state of the nation.

There’s much work to be done and much goodness in Communities all around Britain, fighting against this kind of extremism, on both sides, but until there isn’t a reason for the EDL to be laughed at as roundly as the BNP are (cf Nick Griffin’s Newsnight appearance) then we still have problems. We’ll never be able to predict or prevent random attacks by psychopaths, not without giving up more liberty and democratic freedom than is good for us — but we can eradicate and irradiate the kind of irrational and illogical thinking which causes people to believe that the EDL is speaking for them. It starts with education. It starts now.

source: @MartinBelam on Twitter

Until next time,



In which I divide to conquer…

The State of the (NUFC) Union

There’s been a great deal of musing about the fate of this man lately:

Alan Pardew

go on Alan, smile creepier, you can do it…

As ever, it started with the ‘highly connected club sources’ on Twitter, who dole out wisdom on the ‘inside line’ at SJP in toxic, hard-to-swallow portions; 140 characters at a time. Of course, these so-called club sources don’t tweet themselves, no, they talk to the prophets of the modern age, the taxi driver. Dave, 48 from Cramlington has been driving taxis for 20 years and once picked up the club tealady and I’m sure that tells you all you need to know about his qualifications to reach the upper echelons of football, and toon, knowledge.

And yet. And yet there are those who listen to Dave, our taxi-driving false prophet. Those who proclaim ‘the season hasn’t been good enough, Pardew out, Rafa in!’, or more worryingly ‘Pardew out! Somebody in!’ — like the man who steps out into traffic without looking this most pernicious of sentiments has the potential to cause great harm to Newcastle with very, very little upside.

Do you forget your history??

Remember where we were not four years ago, in the direst of straits being relegated from the Premiership and cast aside from the top table of football — destination: certain doom. In the years since then, we’ve won the Championship at a canter with the highest ever (I think..) points total and made a magnificent charge to Europe. Those, however, that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Let us not forget that we haven’t won a real cup since 1969, and that last year we ran better than every other team in the Premiership and that this year, whilst we most certainly ran bad, we’re closer to our natural position in the league than we were a year ago, that much I know.

Newcastle fans have a reputation and a history of expecting the world, of thinking we’re a bigger club than we are, and so on. I think that’s true of any club, I think any supporter thinks ‘with x, y and z we could push for Europe’, but the micro-focus which being such a storied club in a one-club town brings does rather amplify this affect. Note also that the willingness of Dave and apostles like him to appear on Sky Sports News holding court about the trials and tribulations of being a Newcastle supporter is another magnifier. At the risk of sounding pompous, I do think it matters more here, too.

Football is everything and has an intensity that you simply do not get outside of the North East and Glasgow; regardless of your position on which team you support, it does matter more here and I can’t help but think that the fact that both regions are massively working class is reflected in their respective passions on the terraces. For that alone, I’m proud to be a Geordie and follow the Toon — whatever happens to the Club, there can be no more hypnotic and engaging way to watch and enjoy football. Many of you may recognise also that there is also no more destructive or painful way to watch football either, but one has to take the highs with the lows.

Who Next?

I’m pretty certain it won’t be this guy:

Rafa, pondering his next choice of ‘project’

I don’t think he’d fit into Ashley’s plans to keep the club on a financial even keel, although he’s the only manager I’d swap Pardew for right now — pointless swapping one average manager for another, I think. In any event, the speculation is, in the end, mildly soporific — the only person who knows Mike Ashley’s mind is him, and I’m not convinced he knows what to do. I’d stick with Pardew, but what do I know?

I’m reminded of the great novelist and screenwriter, Willam Goldman, who once turned his acerbic wit to the business of show in Hollywood as a whole and had the wherewithal to say what many had suspected for a long time:

 Nobody knows anything.

I think that’s true of most things, especially football.

In which I start…

Right then.

Here we go. Again. For fuck’s sake.

In the last 18 months, I must have bought, broken and replaced 20 pairs of headphones, and started, updated once or twice and then slowly killed a similar number of blogs. Commitment , whether to auditory equipment which makes the working day easier, or to pouring my soul on to a page on the internet; doesn’t seem to be my strong point.  It seems appropriate that I’ve decided to blog again on the same day I have to go and purchase new earphones. There’s something of a modern yin and yang about it. I have new earphones and a new blog, all is well, balance has been reached. Until, inevitably, the balance is destroyed, either by a pulled earphone or a slowly arid blog.


hardly deep philosophy, but I needed a photo somewhere.


This time it’ll be different, though. I know it will. For a start, Simmy is blogging now – at least for 30 days – and anything I can do to be more like my idol is good, I think. Cunningly, I even managed to start this blog whilst breaking earphones and listening to Paul Simon. If I’m seen in a chemist attempting to buy something to make my hair ginger, you have my uttermost guarantee that I won’t be offended if you shoot me. If you see me buying *those* pants, and dancing, I absolutely insist that you shoot me.

Plus there’s the fact that this isn’t, strictly, my site. It’s Scotty’s, just happens to be about me. There’s a certain contentedness in knowing that, even if I let the blog die, people will still come round once in a while, if only to indulge their habit for playing ‘pleased with ourselves, are we?‘. In fact, SamJ has made an entire industry of it, admitting recently, ‘lads, I can watch football anywhere, but there’s only one place I can really troll Huzz’. Well. Indeed. Like a moth to that particular flame, he’s aware that the soundboard is available for all occasions. Especially if Newcastle are losing and Fulham are winning. HamJ and Herchie are (as you’d expect) absolutely merciless when it comes to football rub downs.

But it will be different this time. There are important things to discuss (soon) and I think I’m just about self-important enough to think that what’s important for me should also be both important and interesting for you, dear Reader. Talking about myself delivers exactly the dose of élan required to make it different this time. I’m sure of it. Quite how that helps my penchant for wearing earphones in bed and thus destroying the left ear has momentarily escaped me, but I’m sure I’ll get to it.

So what goes here?

I can promise that it will be verbose, sesquipedalian and prolix at (almost) all times.  I can’t really promise what I’ll blog about — just things that are interesting to me, so maybe some football, some politics, games, music and I can hear the screams already, poker. Maybe. Really though, there has to be somewhere to record ‘the things wot happen in my life’ — not a diary per se, but our house is constantly hilarious  and there really should be some place to record all of that. Even if, as I suspect, in the end it’s simply for our own amusement.

And with that, dear Reader, I leave you with a quotation from Einstein:


Einstein, roughly the same person as me.

Until next time, when hopefully we have something interesting to say.