Archive for April, 2006
Last night I was able to go to my first ever playoff hockey game, and boy was it a blast! The crowd was loud, half drunk and cheering really hard for the hometown Oilers. It was so easy to join in the loud cheering that I no longer have much of a voice today. The Oilers played an impressive game and deserved to win. They played an amazing first two periods of hockey. In the second period, Detroit just couldn’t get anything going, and we walked all over them. Detroit managed to come back in the third which set the stage for a nail-biting overtime period that was almost too much. We sat on the edge of our seats for the entire time standing up everytime the Oilers came close to scoring. Finally, the Oiler’s put the winner in and we all cheered like mad (I dunno where I found the voice to cheer!).
There are three players that I think deserve special mention for this particular game. Chris Pronger, Michael Peca and Brad Winchester. Chris Pronger is a no-brainer. He played a ridiculous 47 minutes last night! With the game going a little shy of 90 minutes, there is no arguing that Pronger is a huge reason the Oilers are doing so well.
Second, Peca. I was immensely impressed with his play last night. There was a huge number of key little defensive plays that I picked up on during the game and I was just so impressed.
Third, Winchester. Where the hell did this guy come from? He played an incredible game, particularly in the first two periods. He had a huge number of offensive chances. He was on the ice for at least 2 of our goals, and he made some very impressive heads-up plays. This guy is going to be huge in a year or two. Heck, he’s huge NOW!
There is only one thing I really didn’t like about the playoff game experience. Many fans were boo-ing in the middle of the US national anthem. I’m sorry, but that’s just not classy. It sickens me that fans think this is a good idea. Have some respect people! Okay I’m done.
Well, I hope I can get myself going next week. Both this weekend and the week preceding it were wildly unproductive affairs which is really not what I’m aiming for at this point when there’s plenty I *could* be doing. I wasn’t even all that busy with other stuff … I just kept getting distracted by silly little things like Sudoku. I’m aiming to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight and then get at the work I’ve got piling up tomorrow.
On the other hand, I did get the chance to watch parts of all three hockey games CBC broadcasted today. The Oilers came out with an impressive effort in an exciting game that started at 11am our time *rolls eyes*. Ottawa’s game was also quite exciting, even though they lost. I tuned into the calgary game 5 minutes into the third period … but this one was not nearly as exciting. Anaheim looked in control of the game for most of the period especially with Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf making a couple of terrible blunders that basically cost them the game.
In other news, I played some $2/$4 poker today at full tilt poker. I ended up down $2.50 for the afternoon, but I started playing again this evening and at the moment I’m up $38 which is kind of nice for half an hour of play tonight.
I also played in the PSO freeroll tonight, but wasn’t all that successful. Its a shame because first place was a cool $2500 USD! I started out well by hitting some pretty good cards, but after that I just couldn’t get a hand. I took a couple hits to my stack and then was forced to look for a hand. Finally, I picked up pocket kings and tried to get a double up off of a guy who used to be chip leader but had recently lost nearly all of his stack. He pushed me all in on the flop and I called. He had QT which had hit a ten on the flop … and he turned the queen to win the pot. Ouch! So I was out in 133 place or so out of 281 people. Not terrible, but I think i could probably have done better.
When the Oilers are in the playoffs, this is my favourite time of the year. Well, maybe not my only favourite time of year … but it certainly ranks high!
The Oiler game last night was exciting playoff hockey. Despite the disappointing finish, I think the Oil can certainly recover from the loss and come out strong tomorrow. I’m frankly confused with the “afternoon” game tomorrow though. The game starts at 11:00 am mountain time, and the only reason I can think of that they have it that early is because they want to put the triple header of hockey all day on Sunday.
But hockey players are used to coming out to play in the evening. The Oiler game is in the MORNING for us Albertans. Pro or not, those hockey players are going to be way out of their normal hockey game routine … and I have a feeling we’re going to see a sluggish game tomorrow morning despite the importance of the game.
Why is it so important to have a triple header of hockey? Frankly, I don’t know.
Anyways, now that I’m done ranting, I watched the Montreal-Carolina game tonight, and was really impressed. I’m kind of a closet Montreal Canadien fan … they’re my favourite team from the Eastern conference and I was glad that they made the playoffs. I was even more happy to see them come out and play a really strong game against Carolina, which is apparently one of the best teams in the East.
Hopefully Edmonton can get their cylinders firing up and take on Detroit with all the skill I know they posess. I’d love to be cheering Edmonton and Montreal all the way to the stanley cup final!!
I now, finally, have in my posession a Canon Digital Rebel XT. This digital SLR camera is pretty fantastic, and I am really excited about learning to use it over the coming months/years. I have some material to learn from already, and I’m going to spend a few weeks taking some photographs. When I get a bit of a collection going, I’m going to start a photoblog to post the best ones for all to see! I think it’ll be a good way to work on getting better at photography as well as learn as much as I can about it.
Stay tuned to this site for more information once I finally release my photoblog! I’m gonna have to make some modifications to my web template since its not really the best thing to hilight photographs. I’ve done some work on it already, but it will take awhile. That’s part of the reason why I won’t be launching it right away.
Not much of a post here tonight. I just wanted to mention a couple of bits of the current news.
The Italy trip is looking like a go ahead for sure. Ryan was looking into plane tickets for us today. Hoorah! Its gonna be a good 16 hour flight to Turin at least. Gotta bring my laptop so I can get some stuff done
Next, one of the 2 papers I’ve been working on of late was officially accepted to AAAI – one of the top notch AI conferences around. So that’s pretty exciting! I dunno if I’ll be going to Boston for the conference, but it would be cool to do that too.
Next, I did another casino promo, this time at Starluck casino. This time, I was up money almost the whole way through and came out with a $100 profit. Hoorah! I’m gonna wait for my cashouts to clear before I do any other promos. My next plan of action is to do a Party Poker reload followed by a Full Tilt reload. Lots of poker to play in the next couple months!
I am quite enjoying the long weekend. Ryan took us out for lunch today after the hex meeting to the new asian village, which was really cool and nice. I then played a bunch of poker this afternoon and finished up about $60 or so on the day. All in all, the weekend is off to a good start. Sunday I have dinner at Diane’s parent’s place, and then Monday is dinner with my family. Yay Easter food!
Its been an up and down season for my beloved Oilers. At times it has been damn frustrating to watch the team choke against weaker teams. At others, we seem to pull out all the stops and are able to come up with a big win here or there. They just never seem to make it easy on themselves. They’ve got a lot of talent, and there really should be no doubt that they make the playoffs.
If only it were that easy.
Tonight was the 2nd last game of the season. Thanks the Shark’s beating the Canuck’s last night, it put us in the position to win a playoff spot – if we won our game and Vancouver lost.
Let me just say that the game was a little stressful. To my eye, the refs seemed to miss several penalties. Oh well! The game went down to the wire (which so many of our games seem to) and Ales Hemsky scored the winner with 30+ seconds left to play. A little scoreboard watching later, and San Jose beat Vancouver 5-3. So we’re in!
I’m hoping to be able to get to at least one of the playoff games this year. Tickets are gonna be in high demand though, so it’s going to be really hard to even get one pair of tickets. *sigh*. Wish me luck!
But we’re in! Yay!
I can’t quite seem to get enough of tweaking my blogger template. I’ve added the ability to have short summaries for a post followed by a “read more” link. This will let me split up some posts that are too long for the mainpage so you can read them if you are interested in them. I also changed some of my statistics tracking so it’ll be easier for me to interpret what my statistics mean. For those interested, read on for what the issue was!
The trouble I was having is two-fold. First, it was hard to tell whether the visitor was either reading my blog on the mainpage or was somehow getting to the individual posts to read. Most of the time, I’m sure, they would be hitting the mainpage, but I wasn’t sure how to tell. It would be nice to see if there were any really popular individual post pages for instance.
I solved this pretty easily because blogger allows use of a couple of tags that differentiate whether the page is an individual post page or a main/archive page. These tags look like this: <MainPage>, <ArchivePage> <MainOrArchivePage> and <ItemPage>. So I set z_post_title like so:
Now when people see my main page, I can tell because the page title will be preceded by [Homepage]. Otherwise, I’ll know that its either an archive page (it’ll look like March 2006 if that’s the page they were looking at) or an item page because it’ll just be the title of the post.
The other problem I had was I was getting some odd statistics. In particular, I was getting lots of hits to items that I had posted weeks ago. It turns out that because I was setting z_post_title for every post on the mainpage, it was overriding the variable every time until the last post on the main page! So, the stats weren’t making too much sense since I kinda wanted to have an idea how many people were seeing the *first* post on my page.
I fixed that by doing this:
That’s a complete code snippet of what is needed to do the performancing tracking. My thanks to Chris Garret at pmetrics for suggesting the idea. Basically, I initialize the z_post_title to an empty string. Then, if the z_post_title is not set yet, then I set it to the post title. Otherwise, I let it be. At the end of all the posts, z_post_title is still set to the first post of the page! It works as far as I can tell, but I will find out for sure once pmetrics catches up to my changes.
Feel free to use the idea if you have your own blog and want to use pmetrics in a similar way!
Well, this weekend was interesting on the gambling front.
First of all, a guy on the PSO forums noticed that PokerNow has closed down permanently and offered players to transfer the remaining money that they had at PokerNow to an existing party poker account. The great part of this was that he and several people were transfering totals of less than a dollar to party poker and getting $25 and $50 bonuses! So I decided to try this to see if I had any money left in that account. I had $0.01, and transfered it. I got a $50 bonus! I’ve got to play 500 hands to clear it which shouldn’t take long. I’ve already made $20 playing the super loose .5/1 games.
Second, I decided to try a second casino promotion. For those who don’t know, these promotions can be positive EV if you get a large enough deposit bonus and the requirements don’t require you to play too long. My first promotion didn’t go so well … I lost my $100 deposit … and +EV or not, these promotions still have risk because the variance in a lot of these games are huge. I was still intrigued by the idea of +EV casino games, so this weekend I tried Golden Palace’s 300% deposit bonus. This time, after a few hours of blackjack, my account reached $290 from my $100 deposit!
So I’m up $90 in casino promotions. It was pretty fun, and a nice break from poker. I really think I needed a break from poker since the past little while has been a tad frustrating.
You know, it is very easy to spend money.
With my upcoming trip to Italy looking like a sure thing, my thoughts turn to how to catalogue my trip in the best possible way – and I started thinking about a camera. My current digital camera is a Canon Powershot A10 … one of the first digital cameras on the market sitting at a 1.2 megapixel rating. Don’t get me wrong, this camera has served me well … but I’ve been wanting for a long time to get into some more serious photography. I love being able to show with pride some of the pictures I’ve taken in the past to others.
I’m currently very interested in purchasing a Canon Digital Rebel XT using some of my poker winnings. I recently cashed out $1500 US in winnings to fund this. I’ve read reviews of the camera and I’ve talked to a couple of friends who already own digital rebels. My only hesitation is that I’ve only really been seriously considering this for a little more than a week. It’s a fairly hefty purchase, and as much as I’ve wanted this for a very long time, I don’t want to make it an impulse buy (since getting into the habit of making impulse buys like this will start to get very expensive fast).
I think I’ll probably go out and get it in the next day or two. My plan is to start a photoblog which I’ll be able to post weekly or daily photos as an excuse to get out and take some photos and get some exercise. Should be good I think!
Well this doesn’t happen everyday. Last night (the 30th), I was on discovery channel as part of some coverage of the poker group at the UofA. A few weeks ago, they came through and filmed mostly Darse, but got some footage of me “coding” and a mock “poker meeting”. While the process makes me a little cynical at the whole television thing, it is kinda cool to see myself on TV.
The video will probably hit the discovery channel daily planet video archive in the next day or two if you want to check it out. I’ll post a link in the comments when I notice it there.
The story was actually surprisingly better than I thought it would be. Despite the fake-ness of it, there was actually a decent amount of content (for a short blurb anyways). Cool stuff, that’s for sure!