My Life

Dinner and Edmonton Tweetup


Last night after I finally had to give up on the UPS guy coming with the RAM for my Mac Pro, I went to go pick up Diane on our way to her coworker An’s place for dinner. An had spent the entire day cooking up a storm. When we got there, her entire kitchen was filled with lots of food! We started our dinner off with salad rolls — they’re kind of like not deep fried spring rolls. Next were some freshly deep fried spring rolls, and then a bowl of wonton soup. After that the other two guests arrived and we continued to eat. There was grilled pork ribs, shrimp and chicken skewers, shrimp and squid stirfry (I’ve never had squid so tender and non-rubbery before!), and a bunch of other great foods as well. I ate so much that I didn’t eat anything all day until dinner.

Today was the Edmonton Tweetup. A while ago, I joined twitter and blogged a bit about the experience. To put it quickly – I was a bit bummed out that I was the first of my group of friends to join the twitter experience. Well that’s changed a bit, thanks to @mastermaq who found me using twitter local. After just a couple of weeks, I had several twitter friends and the service became useful for me. Not long after that, Mack started organizing a twitter meet, which apparently is affectionately called a tweetup. The planning and organizing ended up with today being the day for the tweetup.

I showed up with Diane and we had a great turnout. We had at least 14 or 15 people there, and it was great to meet everyone. There was quite a large range of people who showed up — young people, older people, and a fair range of fields (although most were tech related in some way). It was quite a fun time actually. I spent a lot of time chatting with @bruceclark since we shared an interest in photography, but I also chatted with quite a few other people. It was a most enjoyable afternoon.

After the party seemed to have waned a little, I returned home for a short time before heading out to the airport to pick up my parents who were in Europe on holidays for a month. I took them out for supper as a mother’s day thing since the actual Mother’s day involved driving my sister to a couple of gigs. I got to hear a little about their trip, and it was good to have them back in town :)

This evening I played a bit of poker, having my first real downswing at 200NL since an early downswing when I first moved up. Downswining 7 buyins is not my idea of a fun time. All sorts of crap happened to me that I had somehow avoided for the most part over the last little while of playing. Oh well, it can’t all go my way. I’m still up playing those limits, it’s just unfortunate that I couldn’t continue the trend that’s been lasting for the past little while. I guess it brings my winrate down to a much more sustainable level. It just sucks for it to happen all at once like this.

So I’m off to bed. I’m taking Megan to her first of two gigs tomorrow at the Radisson Hotel (formerly the Coast Terrace Inn) tomorrow morning. If you’re in the mood for some fancy brunch with some harp music for entertainment, feel free to stop in between 10:15 and 2:15.




I’m starting to go a tad crazy I think. This week has been insanely busy. It seems like I keep getting things piled on me. Work has been exceptionally busy as we madly prepare for the upcoming man-machine poker match. I’ve had a pile of fairly little tasks to do along with a couple of larger tasks. There’s a huge list of directions we want to go before the competition happens, and we’re going to be madly trying many of them right up until the competitions.

This week my Mac Pro arrived, so I’ve been pretty distracted by setting it up. It’s taking me a surprisingly long time to set it up. There’s a lot of things that go into my computer environment that I need to get just so. That, and copying large numbers of files to and from my drobo takes a little longer than I’d like it to.

The wedding planning continues at a relatively slow pace. We’ve got a lot of the things that we need checked off the list, but there’s still lots of things to do. It’s hard to believe that it’s only (less than) a month away!

Last night I finally caught up uploading photos to Flickr. That took entirely too long, but now I’ve got over a thousand photos up on my flirckr account. Pretty sweet to break that milestone.

Today I stayed home working and waiting for a package that contains some additional RAM sticks to put in my Mac Pro. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet arrived and I need to go join Diane for dinner at one of her coworker’s place. I don’t understand how UPS scheduling works — I saw one of their trucks stop at the building across the street, and my package had arrived in Edmonton yesterday morning. Why wasn’t my package on the truck that came that close to my place?

It seems every so often UPS just doesn’t work well for me. I was so happy to see that my RAM was scheduled to arrive today, but now it looks like it’ll be Monday or Tuesday before I get it. *sigh*.

Anyways, sorry for the haphazard-ish update. I’ve got to get going pretty soon here.


Ireland Bound


Just a quick note to tell anyone who reads this blog who doesn’t know already – I got the job with Pocketkings in Dublin (pending a successful work permit application of course). So in addition to everything else that’s going on this summer (getting married, honeymoon, computer bot competitions), Diane and I have to pack up our lives and move them overseas for my August 1st start date.

Does anyone have experience in moving overseas (or know someone who does?). If so, I wouldn’t mind chatting with people about good shipping options for the stuff we want to send over to Ireland.

Should be an exciting summer!


Dublin Poker Report


Euros!I recently got back from Dublin for a job interview. For a full trip report visit … but this post will summarize my experience at a Dublin casino for some poker.

On Saturday night, Aaron and Darse were thinking about going to play some poker so Diane graciously let me join them instead of returning to the hotel right away to sleep. So we ventured to the Dublin Sporting Emporium to play some 1/2 Pot Limit Hold’em.

The first stage in the process was to get a membership to the club which involved filling out a form and paying a 20 euro membership fee. To sweeten the deal a little (and encourage you to get some money into play), they gave each of us a 10 euro action chip to use at the tables. Once the process was over, we were admitted into the place. It had quite a classy feel, which was pretty cool. My experience at most casinos has been a feeling of cheap thrills, so it was pretty welcome to be in a place that didn’t make me feel that way. Maybe it was the whole membership process that helped it out, or maybe that casinos in Europe are just classier places?

Anyways, Darse and I had our play chips to attempt to convert into real money. So we went to the roulette table and each put a bet on a colour. I won my bet and let the action chip ride another two spins before losing it. So between us, Darse and I broke even at converting the action chips to real money. Woohoo!

The three of us went up a floor to the poker room where there was one 1/2 pot limit hold’em game going. Only two seats were open, so we played odds and evens to see who would get the first two seats. Darse was the odd man out, so Aaron and I bought in and sat down at two adjacent seats at the table. I started with 100 euros, but would later top up my chips for another 50 euros before I started to win.

Early on I didn’t get any hands which left me some time to watch how other players were doing. I’ve never really played pot limit before, although it’s not all that different from how I want to play no limit anyways. I picked out that most of the players really didn’t know how to play very well, although their play varied a little bit.

Apart from limping every so often or calling small raises with good pot odds from the button or the blinds, I didn’t play very many hands for the first several orbits. After a little while, Darse joined in with us and sat next to Aaron so there were three of us sitting in a row with Aaron on my left, and Darse on his left. Not long after that, I got my first hand: pocket twos! I made a raise and got three callers and flopped a set! Unfortunately, no one called my flop bet but it was good to win a pot.

The very next hand I picked up pocket eights and made an UTG raise once again getting many callers. The flop came A22. I made a continuation bet and got just one caller: a woman that seemed to be pretty solid. I checked the turn and folded to her pot sized bet. Well, I’m one for two now.

I continued to play pretty tight, although that was more of a function of the cards I was getting. A few hands later though I picked up aces and once again put in a raise. I got called by just a couple players. This time though I got some action from the guy to Darse’s left. He called my flop bet, but folded to my turn bet.

An orbit or two passes and I pick up aces again. Again I raise preflop, and the same guy who gave me action last time calls along with a few other players. The flop was all undercards to my aces and not particularly connected. I bet the flop, but this time I get raised by the same guy. At this point that wasn’t much more to me so I put the rest of my chips in – a raise of only 40 euro more into a pot totalling over 200 euros. He tanks for awhile before deciding to fold. Chalk it up to aces. I like aces.

We played on for a little while longer, and it seemed to me this guy was starting to take a dislike to me. There was a couple times where he squeezed me out of the pot – I would’ve liked to play against him, but I didn’t really feel like trying to do battle with my KJ-suited to his squeeze raise. A little more I think and I would’ve been able to play.

My next big hand was AK – and again my preflop raise was called by the same guy. I flopped top pair of kings on a KQx board. This time the guy raises me allin – so I call and after showing down my AK, he mucks his cards. I probably took close to 200 euro just from that guy alone!

I had one last big hand where I had QQ and got some action. I don’t remember the details, but I distinctly remember tossing three 25 euro black chips into the pot and getting folds. That was a pretty good sized pot to take down.

All told, I ended up over 240 euros to the good, which is officially my first winning session in any casino session I’ve ever played in (poker or otherwise) that wasn’t a tournament. Admittedly, I’ve only ever played cash poker games in the casino twice before. Once at foxwoods when I went to Boston and New York a couple years ago, and once when my friend Mike stopped by and we played at the casino closest to my house. So really, I haven’t had many data points – but if felt good to be up and up a good amount! It’s pretty intimidating to play live even though I know a lot about poker these days after playing so much online. So it’s good to get a victory under my belt.

All told, I think the trip to Dublin turned out to make me money instead of cost anything. The company paid for the flights and the hotel and most of the meals, and we’ll soon be settling up the cab fares. So aside from some small expenses, I didn’t really spend any money, but made a decent profit at the casino. Sweet deal!

I hope to hear back from pocket kings about the interview within the next week. I’ll let people know what the result is as soon as I know!


In Ireland


I’ve got a bunch to say, but it might have to wait for after we get home. It’s been pretty busy – we’ve been wined and dined and I spent a bunch of time at the office chatting with people. It has gone really well so far, but I’ll wait until I get home until I talk about it a bit more. For a sneak peak, you can check out my flickr stream for a few photos I took when we got here.

Just figured I’d weigh in and say that we’re here safely and are enjoying ourselves (aside from the jetlag).


Week of Busy


It’s been pretty busy the past few days. In the evenings after work I spent a large amount of time uploading backlogged photos to Flickr. I’ve gotten pretty far into my backlog, and I’ve almost got caught up to the point where I can start to post new photos again (and I’ve got a few to upload already).

I’ve been forced to change my focus though. Diane and I are headed to Ireland next week so I can meet some people at Full Tilt and hopefully get myself a job. I’ve been thinking for awhile what I could do for a demo if such a thing were called for. I was fast running out of time to make something brand new since that would take a lot of effot over a very short time period. Plus I didn’t really have any good ideas for stuff to do.

I remembered though that I had my lose-checkers program from my search course a couple years ago. So I’ve resurrected that, and my little demo program is one that utilizes sockets to play one program against another. It’s not all that flashy, but it was a really good review of socket programming for me. I’ve got the basic code working and will be testing it and adding a few features over the next couple days before we leave on tuesday night for Ireland.

I’m getting pretty excited about the trip. I don’t know what to expect, but it should be cool to see Dublin and meet some people working in a field that I’d like to be a part of.

Wish me luck!


Eileen Ivers Concert Review


A few months ago, Diane asked me if I wanted to go to a concert with her in April. It was an awfully long time in the future, but I booked it in. Last night was the concert in question, and it turned out we were there to see a fiddler by the name of Eileen Ivers. Now, I’ll admit that while I do love the style of music, I haven’t been very proactive in finding more of it to listen to. I have a few Leahy CDs, but that’s about it. So I was pretty excited to find another collection of quality fiddle music.

Eileen has a pretty impressive resume. She has won nine All-Ireland fiddle championships, and she toured with Riverdance starting in 1995. So that’s pretty cool. The band she was touring with featured several excellent musicians in their own right. They put on quite a show.

The music they played varied quite a bit with several pieces fusing a few genres. In the last song before the intermission, they played a song called “Gravelwalk” that she described as Celtic fiddling meets the Bronx. Early on, I was surprised that she broke out a wah pedal for her fiddle. I became astonished as she began to make her fiddle sound like a full out distortion guitar. Huh. I mean, I know and like Apocalyptica, which does distortion Cello, but I didn’t expect to see it on the violin.

Edit: here’s the only video I could find of Eileen playing gravelwalk. It’s too bad it’s just the distortion part, because it sounds much better in context.

(as a side note, Apocalyptica is getting air time on Sonic 102.9, a local radio station. I think this is fantastic).

The show was wonderful and the only thing missing from the audience clapping and singing (for 2 songs anyways), and foot stomping fun was a couple pints of Guinness.

Thanks sweety for getting us tickets :)


Pulled This Way and That


It feel to me that I’ve got too many open threads to work on. The past couple of weeks have been pretty productive for me at work, but I kind of feel like they could’ve been more so. Part of that is that I’m regularly getting distracted by all kinds of little things.

It’s an exciting time at the CPRG. We’ve got several projects that we have high hopes for paying dividends at this year’s competitions. Results have been around the corner for the past little while, and we might even be able to show some of them to the group soon. Hopefully our ideas will keep us in front of a quickly growing field of strong competition.

My mass uploading of photos to Flickr continues. It turns out it takes a long time to caption and title most of the photos I pick to upload. I’m trying to get a photoset or two up every night (although I might not be able to tonight, since I’m going to a concert with Diane). Last night I uploaded photos from my trip to AAAI in Boston in 2006. You can head on over to my Flickr photos to check on my progress, or you can check out my new gallery page courtesy of the Slickr plugin. I haven’t added a link to the navigation at the top yet – I haven’t had a chance to tweak this design to suit my purposes a little more. I really like, and I hope you do too, but it’s got to change a little bit to give space for a couple of navigation details.

Then there’s this whole interview thing. Diane and I are getting flown over to visit Dublin and meet the team sometime in the next couple of weeks. I need to figure out a way I can impress the development team. Any ideas on a good demo I could prepare? I’ve got to fit in some time to work on preparing something amongst my blog updates and photo uploading. Weeee!

Oh yeah, and there’s a wedding coming up that I’ve got to work on planning the details. It’s almost exactly two months away at this point. Might be a good idea to get working on that too.

It’s gonna be a crazy few months here. Let’s just hope I can stay sane until August.


Poker Night


Last Night, the CPRG met up for a poker night. We got a great turnout. 15 people bought in for ten bucks, and we played a NL freezeout. We had most of the members of the CPRG, a few people from Biotools, and a special guest: Bryce Paradis. Bryce is an amazing heads-up limit player who made 2.6 million dollars last year playing his game of choice. While he might’ve run hot at times, his profit graph is a beautiful exponential curve. It’s been really cool to meet him and chat about poker related things.

I did pretty well in the tournament, although I got shortstacked before the tables merged, and when they did I had to get lucky to double up a couple of times. I doubled through Bryce when my K9 rivered a pair against his AQ. Sorry, Bryce. Once I doubled up a couple times I managed to last until we passed the bubble. A few hands after everyone made the money, I got down to just 2K in chips with the blinds being 500/1000 and I had to post the big blind. The button called, and so did the small blind so I pushed my T9. The flop came QJJ, but I couldn’t hit my straight against Duane’s top pair of queens. Oh well, that’s how it goes.

It was a great night, and I’m glad we got such a great turnout.


Ahead of the Curve


One of the problems I have with starting to move ahead on the technology curve is sometimes you don’t get to benefit from critical mass. Recently I started playing with Twitter, but using it has made me feel kind of lame because I barely know anyone who uses it. I’ve added the one friend I know who has it, but he doesn’t use it actively. I’m also following a couple developers in the mac community, but that’s it.

So. What is twitter? It’s hard to describe it in a way to make it sound as cool as I think it does. If you watch the video on the twitter page it seems kind of lame at the worst, and no different than facebook status updates at its best. They describe it as a way to keep everyone informed on what you are doing, and keep up to date with what other people are up to.

If that’s all there is to it though, then that doesn’t explain why I keep reading about it all the time on the blogs I subscribe to. So finally my curiosity got the better of me so I looked into it a little more and found this post that describes some of the features that twitter offers for people who have learned to use it. Hmm. Intrigued, I finally signed up. But now I have a problem: I don’t have the social circle of people on twitter yet which means it doesn’t have the value for me yet.

So. Anyone want to sign up and help me make it useful to me?


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