Archive for January, 2006
Well, department ski trip weekend is now over, and I’m in a pleasant but kind of guilty stage of tired non-workness. I didn’t get a lot of sleep this weekened, but I think I may have got a heck of a lot more than I might’ve got had I stayed up for all the parties that went on.
Diane and I left Edmonton around 4:00 or so, and made our way into Jasper around 9:00 with a stop in Edson for dinner. It was a nice calm drive, and we didn’t see any reason to get there in a big hurry. When we did arrive we checked into the hotel and packed our gear into the hotel. Mike and company were so anxiously awaiting the arrival of guitar hero that they had already left a message for us that we were given when we arrived at the hotel.
We got our stuff into our room and brought guitar hero up to Mike’s room where it got hooked up to Nolan’s projector and the party started! It went until about 12:30-1:00 when hotel security came by and told use we were too loud. Darn. Oh well, we needed the sleep anyways. Jeff S and Jess were our roommates, so we trundled down to our room and settled in. Slept until 8:00 when Diane and I got up and went to Marmot to spend the day skiing.
We didn’t actually get out there until after 11:00 since we stopped in town to rent skis. As fate would have it, a guy needed to sell some extra lift tickets, so we saved the GST on those (they’re $40 + GST normally in January). So we got to the hill with our tickets in hand and went skiing for a few hours. My knees weren’t incredibly happy with me – does anyone know if there are any ski tips out there to reduce stress on your knees?
After the hill we returned back to the hotel to shower and clean up for the dinner at L&W with almost everyone in the department. It was fun, the food wasn’t bad and we enjoyed. Afterwards, the party was in a big room that we booked for the department. It was really fun. Guitar hero was set up against one of the walls, and games were played by all. Much fun to be had.
There was an after party which Diane and I joined for a bit. It was loud and lots of drinking happened. I was tired so both Diane and I left the party early. Didn’t get a ton of sleep as we had to get up to go on the Maligne canyon hike the next day.
As part of the tradition, the department goes to Maligne canyon and does a hike down in the canyon every year. It was a lot of fun last year … and it was similar this year. Check my photo gallery (gallery.heraldk.ca) for some pictures.
After the hike, we stopped in Hinton’s BPs for lunch/dinner and then we returned to Edmonton tired but happy with a good weekend. Its pretty incredible to spend a weekend with Diane … she’s pretty special, and I really can’t describe how wonderful it is to spend so much time with her
I mentioned a little while ago that I had won a satellite some friends and I put on to enter into one of the Alberta poker championship tournaments. It was a $200+20 affair, and it was last night. The summary is … well, I did well, but didn’t make the money. There was ~133 people in the tournament with the top 15 places paying out.
It didn’t take me too long to get comfortable. The play was not amazingly good, and I picked up a lot of pots with my tight aggressive play. People respected my raises, and I continued to pick up a decent hand once in a while. I doubled up about halfway through with pocket kings. First guy min-raises and I come over the top for all my chips. He calls (I think he thought I had a smaller pair and didn’t want a call) and flips over pocket Jacks.
I took out a guy with 92o in the BB when I caught two pair and put the short stack all in. A few rounds later, I took another short stack out with 73o when he went all in and gave me 5:1 pot odds to take him out (I made a flush on the river with my 3 of spades).
Then I ran into a very dry run of cards. At that point in the tournament I had an above average stack, though not a huge amount above average. Probably around 24,000-25,000. Now I know that I played a little too tight, but its a little hard to make a big raise with Ace-rag from early position (I never got an ace in late position) … and that was about as good as the hands were. I saw 75o several times, and worse hands than that … and all the while the blinds and antes rose at a phenomenal rate. Over those rounds, my chip stack dropped to 16,500, and I just couldn’t find a hand to play. Then comes the hand that I kinda wish I had played differently.
I have 16,500 in chips. Blinds are 700/1500, with 200 antes. UTG raises to 3000, and then UTG+1 re-raises to 8000. I’m in the big blind and look down at TT. What do I do? I’m scared of the raise-reraise thing. The player UTG could well have a monster with his minraise. A re-raiser has got to have something, and its likely AK or AQ at a minimum (if not JJ, QQ, KK or AA). Both players have similar chip stacks to me. I think one of them outchips me by a couple thousand and the other has a couple thousand less than me. If I call, I’m pot committing myself … and the initial raiser still can act after me. I decided to fold, but I really wasn’t too sure if I should have called or not.
Turns out I should have. UTG had AJo, and UTG+1 had AKs. Board doesn’t pair anybody and my tens would’ve stood up and I would’ve almost tripled up. *sigh*.
Oh well, now I’m hoping that the cards turn out better for me. They don’t. A couple rounds later, I pick up KTs (the best hand I’d seen with no action in front of me). Guy to my right folds but didn’t seem happy to be folding, and I push. A guy on the other end of the table yells “NICE”, and flips over AA. What can I do? No bad beat for him, and I’m knocked out in 26th-ish place. Top 15 get paid. *double sigh*.
It was fun though. Until I had that bad string of cards I really felt I had an edge on a lot of the players. I felt comfortable, and seemed to have this respect from a lot of players that I’m not certain is entirely deserved. But then again, I wasn’t in a lot of pots. Just enough to pick up some blinds and antes and stay alive. I can’t wait until the next chance I get in one of these big tournaments. I think I’ve got a good shot at the money on each try
Ugh. I hate politics. Everytime it happens it feels like I’ve got to decide between a bunch of idiots who make a mitt-ful of promises that there is no way on earth they will keep, or if they do keep them all then they’ll screw over an aspect of the country they didn’t stress in their political platform.
Blah. I’m scared of the conservatives. I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems oddly creepy that Stephen Harper seems like such a good candidate when last time around, he scared the crap out of most anyone I talked to. Paul Martin is running a terrible campaign from where I’m sitting – he is running a fear based campaign which I heartily disagree with. While I might agree that I don’t want to see Mr Harper in charge of our country, I want to hear why YOU Mr Martin, will do any better! All your campaign has done is made me want to vote for someone other than the liberals. Since I can’t quite bring myself to support the conservatives, I have to move onto the other options.
I ended up picking the green party. Why? Because I empathize with their position. I hate how they are a party with candidates in all the ridings in Canada and they had enough of the vote to get federal money to support this year’s election … but their leader is not invited to the leadership debate. A debate where the bloc-quebecois leader is assumed to be in attendance even though they are a Quebec-only party. I just don’t understand.
Frankly, it won’t matter who I voted for. My riding is so overwhelmingly conservative that there is no way I can stop that. But, I have to place a vote, and so I’m going to put it where it’ll do the most good.
My roommate ordered the PS2 game guitar hero last week and it arrived last night. Excited, he went home to his parent’s place (where it was delivered) and returned to our place and we promptly set it up and started playing.
For those who haven’t heard of it, its a game where you have these guitar shaped controllers and you basically play DDR, but with a guitar instead of hitting arrows on a dance pad. There are five buttons for frets on the guitar, and you have to hold the button down while strumming on the switch where you’d normally strum on a guitar. You also get a whammy bar for more fun.
Not convinced this would be fun? Well neither was I until we started playing last night. It was really surprisingly fun. Not only that, its *hard* when you get into the late “normal” difficulty levels and even harder when you start the “hard” difficulty levels!
There’s so much fun stuff to do! I haven’t played poker online in about a week, which is a little odd for me. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get back to completing my full tilt deposit bonus any day
Its been a little while since my last post, so this will be a post that catches you up with what I’ve been up to for the last little while.
First, the big news: I bought a new TV! I ended up choosing option 2 from my list of options in TV Shopping. I figure that choosing that option is the best price/performance that I can get for my money. While LCD screens are really starting to go mainstream, I decided to hold out on that and rely on a more proven technology. I decided on the Toshiba 30HF85C. Its a 30″ CRT HDTV, and a pretty massive one at 111lbs. From my eye, the TV has excellent picture quality, and has enough inputs to handle my xbox, dvd player, vcr and my roommate’s PS2.
I picked up the TV yesterday. It cost me $690 for the TV and then I bought some cables and I actually went for Vision’s extended warranty for 3 years. I usually go against buying extended warranties, but two major things swayed my decision here. First, if you don’t use the warranty, you get the same amount in store credit (so in 3 years, if I don’t use it, I can buy something new and fancy – perhaps a HD-DVD system). Second, if I ever have problems, instead of dealing with Toshiba and having to send the TV to them, I get to have people from visions come and fix it at my house. With the TV being an 111lb behemoth, I figure that’s a good bargain. I guess thirdly, the warranty was $75, which I didn’t think was unreasonable.
Alright. What else have I been up to? On the weekend, I played a bunch of poker and won about $100 over the three days. I spent some time hanging out with Diane which was wonderful as always On Sunday night, my mom, Diane and I went to a church seminar where they played a taped presentation by Lee Strobel called “A Case for a Creator”. It was pretty interesting … but I think I’ll save my comments on that for another post.
Yesterday was TV buying day. My mom was free and was thankfully willing to drive around to Ikea and then to the south side visions so I could by a TV stand and then the TV. We got back to my place and I set everything up and then cleaned up my living room which was torn apart the night before to make room for the new television.
So that’s been my busy week, and the next week looks like it’ll just get busier! Such is life …
Well I’ve started to go into the full swing of Television shopping. There seems to be a dazzling array of options out there, and its tough because I’m not really sure how much I should spend. So I figure if I post my options, one of a couple things might happen.
- By typing out the options that I have, I can more easily weight the pros and cons of my potential decision.
- If someone is actually reading this and has an opinion they can post a comment saying what they think.
So here are the options I can choose from.
- Basic CRT Tube Television, No HD capabilities
- CRT Tube Television with HD capabilities
- Small LCD Television (26-27″)
- Larger LCD Television (30-32″)
The cheapest option and one which makes the best fiscal sense is the simplest, and cheapest option. Unfortunately, this option also lacks the features of future television viewing. HD capability is all the rage at the moment – and while I don’t have an HD source just yet I don’t doubt that I’ll get one in the near future.
An option like this will cost up to $500 for a TV up to 32″ in size. The TV would be a behemoth as any CRT TV greater than 27″ in size is way more than a single person can lift and move.
The next option is to get one of the few HDTV enabled CRT TVs. While more expensive than the non-HDTV CRTs, these TVs give the most future video viewing pleasure for the buck. While not as sleek and sexy as the LCD options, this is significantly easier on the pocket book. There is also a hidden advantage to the CRT HDTV in that LCDs still cannot display true black colour very well. But CRT TVs do not suffer from the same problem.
This option will cost roughly $1000 for a 30-32″ TV. Less is possible with a 27″ model from Toshiba. There aren’t a lot of options in this category, but they tend to be cheaper than their LCD cousins.
Option 3 is where we get to the fancy stuff – the sleek, sexy LCD monitor. As an aside, I don’t really want to consider plasma screens as they are mostly offered in screensizes larger than my living room really justifies, and to my knowledge they are largely affected by image burn-in. So that leaves LCD technology which is really starting to take over it seems. I’m really really tempted to get one. The price on these beauties are really starting to come down which means I can possibly afford to pick one up. This is category one – the smaller LCD TV ranging up to the 26-27″ range of television. My major concern is that some of the cheaper LCDs may not have the picture quality to justify purchasing them even at their cheaper price. The more expensive brands seem to be a lot better, but they’re also rather expensive.
The price points for these TVs range quite a bit, but I’ve seen TVs reasonably cost in the $1000-$1200 range.
Oh these are sweet. 30-32″ of awesome screen space, but very thin and light in comparison to comparably sized CRT screens. The downside is the price. So the question is … are these worth the high higher sticker price?
The lowest price I’ve seen these come is $1300 and they go up well over $2000. You’re paying a lot for brand name and quality of the LCD screen I think. But its hard to say – I need to look at a lot more of these especially since if I pay for something here, I’m really looking for the screen to last me a looooong time.
My living room really isn’t big enough to house a screen larger than 32″ so that’s what I’m looking at. A smaller screen might be a better option if it carries a nice lower price tag since then I can make it a secondary TV when I move to a place that can house a larger screen. I want something of quality that will last several years, wherever it is housed.
Thoughts? There’s a lot more running through my mind with this issue, but that’s kinda what I’ve got so far. The world of TVs is a vast and confusing place I’m finding. Ugh.
I didn’t really plan it this way, but this weekend was more poker filled than it ever was.
On Friday, I left work with a couple friends and went for dinner at the Druid. Then afterwards I was able to go to a poker night at Ryan’s place. I bubbled out at that tournament unfortunately. The game was pretty wild – everyone who played was crazy loose, and I didn’t really get cards to help me take advantage of the loose players. *shrug* – no worries.
Then Saturday was my own poker party. We had a surprising number of people turn out for it – so we had to have 2 tables of 6 people to start it off. My Dad, Diane, Curtis B and I made the money … and Diane took 2nd place! I finished first, though my dad claims he forfeited his stack so he could return home for dinner (which is actually true, so I don’t doubt him). It was a pretty fun day and there was some pretty incredible food people put together, crowned by Mike’s pork roast.
Today I played poker in the afternoon after cleaning the house and won $69 on Full Tilt playing 2/4. Then my mom picked me up and we went to get a set of shinpads so I can play indoor soccer for the CS intramural team.
Then I played in a freeroll tournament through PSO and took 31st for $10. The tournament was kinda odd though because only 120 people showed up … and they had 2000+ registered. So they had the top 200 make the money, and so everybody cashed a little.
So yeah … a very poker-filled weekend. Now I gotta get some work done!
What a pleasant surprise!
I arrived home today and in my mailbox is a letter from the alberta government who as part of the Alberta Heritage Scholarship fund decided to award me a cool $2000 scholarship for my achievements in my first year of grad studies.
Since my finances are all well and good at the moment, I may well turn my new found wealth to my Television fund where I am looking to purchase a new fancy tv for my living room. Woohoo! I can actually afford a nice one now without dipping into my poker fund (which was my original plan). Crazy talk
It has now officially been 2 years since Diane and I started Dating. Naturally, we had to get out to see each other and we spent a lovely evening together. It wasn’t all that fancy, but you know, that’s part of the reason that I love Diane so much. Its a pretty big day for us … two years is definitely not an insignificant amount of time. But part of what makes what we have so special is that we both feel the important part of the anniversary is to just spend time together.
So we did. We went out for dinner at East Side Mario’s which is not all that fancy, but has some pretty good food. Then we just spent the rest of the evening with each other. It was a simple evening, we exchanged a couple of small gifts, and we really just enjoyed each other’s company.
I’m really amazed at how lucky I am with Diane. She’s all I could ever hope for and more … and I really kinda stumbled into the relationship. On a day like this, I just shake my head in amazement and say … yay!
I think that’s all one can do.