Category Archives: Talking Shop

Belmont 2016: Weep No More


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Saturday afternoon, I told my bosses about being nervous over my picks, especially choosing 13) Creator as my pick. They told me it’s alright and it’s the nature of the game to make incorrect guesses. As long these guesses are informed guesses, it’s no worries.

A lady won a 500 dollar voucher and she must place a win bet. She asked me for advice, and I told her it’s my belief Creator will be the best choice, but ultimately, she must go for her gut feeling. She chose Stradivari. I advised her that she should view her chance as play money, and at least it was not her own actual money.

A group of gentlemen asked me about why I recommended Creator. I gave them a crash course of the Dosage index, a number denoting how pedigree influences a horse’s endurance. They did not know that this was a handy tool for races like the Belmont. (Note that it may not be a sole indicator to guess victors of the Kentucky Derby [i.e. Nyquist has an unfavorable number of 7] but it’s great to gauge classic distances.) I told them that horses like Lani (1.92), Creator (3.00), and Destin (1.43) has good dosage numbers… and alas, Exaggerator does not.

The race went and I was puzzled who was the winner? Destin? Gettysburg, the rabbit? The noise drowned out the announcing. After it was over, I saw the Winstar logo on the winner’s silks and then I saw the number on the saddle towel. WHAT? CREATOR?! I actually guessed THAT correctly?! I was very thrilled and most of all felt that I found my niche in life. An unorthodox niche, but it is MY niche. I quickly apologised to the lady on not being pushy enough to recommend Creator. The guys at the party table gave me high-fives for correctly guessing Creator. The bosses gave me fist bumps and high fives. The bartender who was pushing for Exaggerator smiled and flipped me off. I resumed bussing the tables. After my shift was over, I went to Kroger’s and one of the customers recognised me as the Girl who Guessed Creator. She ate at Voodoo and heard my recommendation.

Seeing my Triple Crown picks bearing much fruit was wonderful. The bosses and co workers noticed it, and even my mum thought it was cool to see me succeed. Deo Volente, I will be able to do this for a living, as soon my bosses give me clearance. I will find out within two weeks.

I’ve bought this bracelet in anticipation of my new path in life. On the bracelet, the engraving reads “Weep No More.” I first saw this phrase just before Derby weekend. A filly who was to run the Kentucky Oaks race was named that, it was a reference to Kentucky’s state song. As the horses processed to the post just before the Derby race, everyone in Churchill Downs would sing this song.

During that time, I was depressed, for it was around the time when the Deaconess programme advised me that due to my disability I must pursue another vocation. Since 2005, I had bouts of melancholia and wondered if I should end my life. I did not doubt the existence of God– for I know the universe is too complex, but my question was: Is God a GOOD god? Or is He the Cosmic Terrorist? Yet I attended the Sacrament, I attended Confession, and found great friends along the way.

When I saw these three words on the Daily Racing Form, it was oddly comforting. As if I was told that now is the time to live again because I have a future. I have a new job, and it was working great. So, I slept and I was all right. And after the Derby, I visited Churchill Downs and visited the Derby Museum. For the first time in years, I felt NO psychological pain on 9 May.

The Preakness was the time I must have got my bosses’ attention, as I got a trifecta and the superfecta right. And as the days went on, “Weep No More” became a beacon of hope and somehow, something will fall into place. They knew I was Autistic and they knew I can do many things well. My workplace accepted me!

Just last week, I found out that if things pan out, I will be working the programmes section and most likely, give wagering and handicapping tips. This involves a HUGE pay raise. At last, I will have a full-time job at a proper wage and benefits. I really hoping this comes into fruition. So, I bought this bracelet with these words. This Belmont Stakes, I was successful with Creator. It was not some fluke, it’s a reasonable guess that went well. God willing, I will see that I will no longer weep for my future, that my life has meaning, and my disability is no longer a liability but an asset. Please pray for me. In the meantime, I will hold on to that hope, that echo of the new earth that weeping will cease and I will see Joy face to face.

Belmont Picks: FWIW

Yesterday, I’ve downloaded the past performances for several undercard races and the Belmont Stakes tomorrow. Spent hours looking and staring, writing notes on race cards. Gave them to my general manager… who I’ve learned took them, copied it, and passed them to other managers. Thanks a lot, now I feel the pressure to do well. I did warn them about the nature of gambling, that these are guesses. So, without further ado, here are my picks for several races at Belmont. Use them for exotics (exactas, trifectas, or superfectas), preferably in boxes to increase one’s chance for hitting it.

RACE 7, THE WOODY STEPHENS, Grade II (11 June, 3:15p)
1) Sharp Azteca (he has the chops)
4) Justin Squared (I’ve seen him run well at the Chick Lang stakes on Preakness Day)
6) Seymourdini (he has a good exacta record)
7) Counterforce (for that overlay. He was second in Chick Lang)
And keep an eye for 11) Mrazek. His connections are also Nyquist’s. But… his speed is not there. Maybe he will keep up with the pace.

RACE 9, THE MOHEGAN SUN METROPOLITAN HANDICAP, Grade I (11 June, 4:41p)

4) Noble Bird
5) Frosted
7) Stanford
11) Calculator

RACE 10, THE WOODFORD RESERVE MANHATTAN, Grade I (11 June, 5:37p)

Now, this race holds a special place in my heart. You see, it was the first race I wagered and brought back my interest after years. Last year, I did an exacta for Big Blue Kitten and Slumber. They won. It’s full circle, now I’m working at the same place I made my wager. (My path in life is unfolding, I do not know what will happen, so I must place my trust in Him.) 5) Big Blue Kitten and 2) Slumber are back. I do not know which one I would use, as there are great horses like…

1) World Approval
6) Ironicus
10) Flintshire
11) Divisdero

RACE 11, BELMONT STAKES, Grade 1 (11 June)

I really like the potential of this race. Challenging but so much talent to choose from. Mix and match your preferred horses with these picks:

1) Governor Malibu
5) Stradivari
11) Exaggerator
13) Creator

I’m divided between 2) Destin and the crazy 10) Lani. He’s more disciplined than in prior weeks, but he ran the Derby and the Preakness! I hope he has the energy to endure! But I really like Creator the best.

Now, enjoy the races, bet responsibly, and cheer on!

Have Drill, Will Travel

(Although you may have sussed out the stores I visit and the particular brand, I decline to name them as I am not acting as an official spokesman nor I want to reveal trade secrets/proprietary info. I do not want my opinions to affect the general reputation of the company. The ugly Donglegate saga pretty much sealed it.)

A few weeks ago, the new palette for children’s rooms came out and paint specialists throughout the United States visited the stores, get the unwieldy box out of the back room, and installed the endcap at the color centers. First, I received a box of tools- a huge flat screwdriver to pry away the signage, a hammer to knock out screwed-on fixtures, some goggles and gloves for protection, and a regular Phillips screwdriver. I was quite excited that I got actual tools, so I can save them for my collection. I get to watch a video on how to dismantle the old endcap. And we were informed that it will be a 3-hour project per store. In my territory, I have 11 stores to do, plus bonus coverage for stores that needed help for one reason or another.

The first few days was somewhat tedious. Putting screws into the particleboard is actually a longer task than expected, so I borrowed a drill from the bike assembly department the first few stores. Then I figured that I could buy my own drill and save some time. When I drove to Marion, I went to Lowe’s and bought my first serious drill. It is a DeWalt, 18 volts and it was on sale. And considering that I will be visiting other stores, I did not want to buy a product that would crap out. $138 later, I got a drill, two batteries, a charger, and a bit set– plus a tool bag to store my tools. I recouped the cost after several store visits. Yes, several. I got periodic emails requesting help in Northern Indiana, and even the Upper Peninsula. Was tempted to do that UP assignment for the lulz. Preggie said: no dice. But I did Muncie, Winchester, Portland, Michigan City, and La Porte in addition to my territory.

The result, after installs and ancillary store visits: Two 50-hour work weeks. I enjoyed sleeping in after that!

The longest part of my installs? Putting away the paint chips in their places, all 100+ colors. The trickiest part? Putting up the long, plastic wraparound signage. The challenge? My hunger changed. I ate small lest I got sick from a heavy stomach.

I was proud of my work. Some blisters and dirt under my nails. That’s visible proof I did my job. Next week, I will take on a different challenge– the second wave of assignments for a relabelling project. And I will pace myself and eat better so I won’t crash. (And considering that next week Sephora will have a F&F sale next week, I will visit– if I have time.)

So You Want to Paint Your Room Red

Disclaimer: The following article is strictly my view, and not the official view of my employer or the stores I work in.

If someone asks me what is my profession, I would say that I am a merchandiser. And if I was asked what products I promote, I say that I promote house paint in one of the major retailers in North America. I make visits to 13 big box retailers in NE Indiana and Ohio, I order paint chips, I organize and spiffy up the paint center, and teach the associates and customers the qualities of various brands of paint. I made sure the paint equipment is functioning correctly, and I even get my hands dirty and tint the paint myself. (And if my hands are not dirty, I am not doing my job right!) It is a very good job. I am proud of my work. And today, I want to take the time to give you some advice.

Red. It is the color of passion and hot warmth. The corporate raiders would wear red power ties as a symbol of aggression and ambition. Decorators would use red objects to make monochromatic rooms less boring. And it makes any room fun. However, there are pitfalls to red paint that could frustrate any consumer. So before you paint your accent wall or anything else, consider the following.

Most reds in a given palette is actually made of two types of red pigment. You choose your red shade and when we tint your custom paint, chances are we will use a combination of these colorants to get your red: “Exterior Red” and “Magenta”. The color code corresponding to these pigments will differ with each retailer, but they all use these pigments.

Using budget paints may not get the red you want. Budget paint is quite thin and has more liquid content than their more expensive brands. I tint the paint and the pigment will dilute the formula. The result is less coverage. And when a customer select a red shade from the premium palette, I have to tell them that the recipe adapted for the budget paint will be off. To achieve some colors, the can of budget paint would overflow. So it might be better to save your money for the more expensive paint.

You may need to use a gray primer. I have customers come to me with stories on how they used multiple coats but the whiteness of the wall would peek through and make the resulting color look more magenta/pinker than intended. Usually this happens when someone buys the budget paint and painted a white wall. When a customer wanted red paint (especially if is a budget paint), I would recommend getting a primer that is tintable to a gray shade.

After tinting, wet red paint looks pinkish. That is because the red you chose is a combination of the two pigments described above. But when I dry your swatch with a hair dryer, the swatch will cure to its intended color. Don’t Panic!

That is what I want to say about red paint, as I really want you to have a successful project.